About Me

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After being told I would never be able to have children, I am now a stay-at-home Mommy to Maddie who happens to have Down Syndrome. I've been married 16 years to my best friend, having the time of my life. Thanks for stopping by and sharing in our little journey through life.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lessons Learned

It would be a pity to go through what we've gone through and not learn some life lessons along the way.
I've always thought some lessons can only be learned through pain, and this is definitely true, but the lessons I'm learning now amidst the pain have more to do with healing.

Biggest lesson learned so far:
I'm not as strong as I thought I was.

It's scary and humbling to know you are not who you thought you were.
My spirit was so out of sorts and I didn't even recognize it until church on Sunday. 
It was an incredible service that had be in tears the entire time.  
 I finally realized then that I was trying to do only what God can do.
As soon as I repented and turned things over, everything changed. 

Second biggest lesson learned:
The importance of getting to know your neighbors.

We're all in this together and the bonds we have developed this past week have been beautiful.
Even though it's rough driving back to the house and seeing everything every day, I still look forward to see if my neighbors are there.
I'm surrounded by good people. 

I feel guilty though, because I've had small talk conversations with a few of my neighbors up the street who have no house left, but no contact information or way to check on them to make sure they are ok.

Next big lesson learned:
Love heals.

Even though it's listed third, this is a big one.  
I'm not sure what's been more overwhelming - the devastation of the storm or the kindness and generosity of friends and strangers.
We have definitely felt very well taken care of.  
I'm not sure I can adequately thank all of you for all you have done for us.  
I'm still processing it all, it's just so amazing!
Thank you so much!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Glory - For the Things Unseen

Yesterday was so much better than the day before. 
I had several of those good, cleansing cries and felt much better.  

As we began cleaning up, I found a scripture I had written down on a piece of paper. God is so good to give us just what we need when we need it.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 "That is why we never give up.Though our bodies are dying our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won't last very long, yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather we fix our gaze on the things that can't be seen.  For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever." 

Things we cannot see - like gracious, giving hearts opening up to supply our physical needs and even our wants (Thank you Loraine!!)
Things we cannot see - like the time given from friends traveling in from out of town (and even out of state) to come and work alongside us (Thanks Tommy, Tara, Courtney, Jamie, Jill and Troy!!)
Things we cannot see - like the phone calls offering things we didn't even realize we needed (Thanks Jennifer and Draper Christian Church!)
Things we cannot see -like the compassion, sympathy, and prayers of all of our precious and dear friends and even new friends we've never met!  
I wish I could list every one of you all by name!!

Today we are tackling the playroom...

and if we have time, the master bathroom...

Yesterday we got the carpet pulled up on the living room, worked on Maddie's bedroom, packed up lots of things in the master bedroom, got most of the debris cleaned up in the backyard, and cut the cottonwood down that was just a little sapling when we moved in.  
Thanks to all of the people in Kyle's office who came and worked so hard in the back yard!
As I'm typing this list of all that was accomplished, we had so much help along the way and I don't think I could ever adequately thank all of you who came out to help!
What a blessing!
Troubles are temporary, but the things unseen will last forever...thank you. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Emotional Ping Pong Game

Once again, thank you to everyone who has come out and helped clean up, called or texted to check on us, housed us for the night, donated items in need, prayed for us, and contributed fininacially!  

To give you an update, we are staying at Tinker temporary housing through the end of the month. 
We have been cleaning up and doing what we can to prevent further damage like boarding up the windows and covering all of the holes in the roof with tarps.  

We are so very blessed!  

Even though I wake up every day with a physical headache as well as the figurative headache of what lies ahead, my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude.  
I think it's true that love really does heal these kinds of wounds. 

That's not to say that everything has been easy and wonderful.  
I'm struggling!

I'm struggling with feeling grateful when all I want is my favorite kind of toothpaste, instead of what is donated.  
I'm struggling with the fact that I will have to replace my very favorite pillow and I just don't see how any other pillow will be as great as my favorite pillow.  
I'm struggling with the fact that all of the wonderful new clothes I just bought for vacation and only wore once will now have to be thrown out.
I'm struggling with the fact that we are at the mercy of insurance adjusters who seem to have different opinions on what we should/should not do.  

I'm struggling with the fact that I'm struggling.  

There is so much to process, it feels like an emotional game of ping pong.
I'm not the only one finding it difficult dealing with things.

Maddie's staying with my Mom and Dad while we clean up and sort things out.  
Mom said Maddie will be just fine and then out of blue, will put her head in her hands and start quietly crying.  
She doesn't know how to express what she's feeling, poor thing.  
Isn't that what we all do when things just get too overwhelming?  
There's nothing like a good, cleansing cry to help you feel better.  

We are hanging in there and taking things day by day.  

Please know that all of your wonderful thoughts and prayers and generosity and willingness to help is truly the thing that keeps hope alive.  
We were never meant to survive alone and being connected to each of you in these beautiful relationships is what life is all about.  

I love all of you and hope that the love you pour out will return to you tenfold! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Life Interrupted

Thank you to everyone who checked in on us and offered help in any way!
We are truly blessed!

I've lived in Oklahoma all my life.
Took shelter from tornado storms countless times and have always came away spared.

This was the first time to actually live through one.

My neighbor knocked on the door wanting to know if they could join us in the storm shelter.
(Thank you Lord! I was just thinking we were in for some rain)

Shortly after that, the sirens went off.
I grabbed shoes for Maddie and a sweater, and the ipad.

Luckily, last night we installed an News 5 app.  
We were able to watch the live stream and know what was going on.  

We knew the tornado had touched down in Newcastle, about 30 minute drive from our house.
Then we knew it was in Moore at 19th and Santa Fe, one mile south and probably 5 miles west.  

Maddie, Terrie, Ethan, and I were in the shelter but we hadn't closed the lid yet.  
I was texting as many people as I could to let them know we were in the shelter.  

Kyle's sister, Jacinda lives a few streets from us in the same neighborhood.
I tried calling and calling and couldn't get through.
I had to resort to texting to tell her to come and get in the shelter.  

We couldn't wait any longer and had to close up.

Maddie was scared, but brave. 
She buried her whole body into my lap and held on for dear life. 

The noise started with rumblings.
We knew it was heading straight towards us.

The noise got louder and louder and angrier.
All I could think of was Jacinda.
We heard metal twisting and turning.  
And then it softened.

We stayed in a wee bit longer to make sure it had all passed.  
When Ethan tried to open the lid, it was jammed.  
Just as we were fumbling around with the pully-thing, our neighbor from across the street was there.
He shoved off what was on top and pushed the lid open.  
Thank you Travis!!

Our house was hit, but still standing.  My neighbors four houses down couldn't say the same. 

The devastation was numbing and I was so scared of what I would find.

I had to get to Jacinda. 
With Maddie in my arms I ran as fast as I could to her house.
I was a wreck.  

I found her house was still standing, and I banged on the door.
Thank God, she opened it!  
We hugged and cried and cried and then I hit her for not coming to the shelter!!

As soon as we were together, I began trying to call to get the word out we were OK.
I tried to call Kyle first, but there was no answer.

I only had a short window of time for calls to get through and then we had to resort to texts.  
Somehow, a call from Randy, a good family friend from Woodward came through.  
I asked him to call Kyle and let him know we were all OK.  
He was able to get through.

 There was a small area in the living room with no glass in the carpet for Maddie to get down.
It's amazing how resilient children are.  
She went about her day, playing with the toys that were still on the kitchen table.  

I packed up overnight bags.
Kyle made it home, and we came to our friend's house for the night.
Thank you Megonigle's!!

Here's a few pictures.
We'll begin clean up as soon as we can get back in the neighborhood.  

Our neighbor's just 4 up to the north.

I'm praying for all those families who were not as fortunate to have all of their loved ones safe and sound!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Disney World Trip Report Day 4 of 12

There are a few memories in life that stake their claim and build a forever-home in your heart.  

I thought about writing out the hour by hour detail of day 4's events, but really when I think back on it, there are two memories that deserve their own, uncluttered spotlight.  

Moments that are so precious and dear I will always remember them with a tear-filled warmness.  

The first was when Maddie met Tigger for the first time.  
She hugged and hugged and hugged him, taking much longer than expected.  
But Tigger hugged back and let her linger as long as she wanted.
Kyle took a video of it.
 I was worried we had taken more than our fair share of time allotment. Hearing the laughter and the "ahhhs", though put me at ease and I realized we weren't the only ones enjoying the moment. 

That meant so much to me.

I didn't think it was possible to out-do that experience, but when Maddie met Mickey...wow!  
He was so playful with her!
With some characters, she became shy when it was time to meet them, but with Mickey, she could not contain her joy!  

And that joy must have been contagious.  
When Maddie fell to the ground, rolling around with excitement, so did Mickey!
When Maddie put her hands on over her eyes, so did Mickey!  
They played and played.  
Here's a clip of that!
This time there was only one more family left in line behind us, and once again...all smiles.  
No one was impatiently waiting for their turn, just smiling and enjoying a special moment.

OK, so I know I said I wouldn't clutter this post with other stuff, but I just can't leave out some of my favorite pictures from the day.
It was just a great day!

 What are the odds that my good friend Tracy would be there on the same day!!!! 
I loved that moment :) 


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Disney World Trip Report Day 3 of 12

Travel Day!  

We woke up and were ready for breakfast at 6:00 am, only to discover the breakfast buffet didn't open until 6:30!  
We decided to hang out and wait since we didn't have much planned for lunch and it was delicious the first day, plus it was included in a package deal when we booked the hotel.  

After breakfast, we were anxious to hit the road and get to Disney already!!

We weren't too concerned about a late start because we had built in a 2 hour time cushion before our dinner reservations for the Spirit of Aloha Luau at the Polynesian resort.  

They were pre-paid non-refundable tickets which was a little risky, but we planned for it.  

WELLLLL......what should have been a 6 hour drive turned into an 8 hour drive!

Buh-bye time cushion!! 

We were really concerned we wouldn't make it on time. Since it was a dinner show, we didn't know how they would handle a party coming late.  
I called the dining reservation number and spoke to a cast member.  
She said we would have a grace period of 15 minutes. 

We pulled into the parking lot for Bay Lake Tower right at 5:00, dinner reservations were for 5:15.  
Our gas light was on, but there was NO WAY we were stopping to fill up. 

Luckily, Grammie and PaPa were waiting for us in the parking lot.  
We jumped out, and ran to the monorail to get there in time. 

We finally got there and sat down RIGHT AT 5:30!  
We used every minute of our 15 minute grace period :)  

So, we began the trip with a little extra adrenaline and I enjoyed a nice glass of wine with dinner!

The food was amazing!

The show was awesome!

The only downside was the noise.
We didn't realize how loud the speaker system was.  
On top of that the performers would speak really loudly to hype up the crowd.  
It was a little too much for Maddie.  
She was scared and sat on my lap the entire show.  

On top of everything else, it was raining!  
Despite a few unfortunate details, we had a great time.
 By the way, a lot of these pictures you will see were taken by Kyle.  I didn't bring my camera along most days, and he had a Canon G15 that is a smaller point and shoot camera.  
He did a great job getting some great shots!!

After the Luau, it was back to Bay Lake Tower to unpack and settle in!
We were so thrilled with the room. 
We stayed in the Two Bedroom Villa.
This was the view from the walkway from Bay Lake Tower to the Contemporary.  
Even though it was rainy, you can still see in the top left Cinderella's Castle and the white building is Space Mountain.  
There's a walkway to Magic Kingdom and it only took about 10 minutes to walk there!
Kyle and I insisted Mom and Dad take the master suite.  
Our balcony overlooked the pool, which was nice when Maddie went swimming, Grammie could watch from the balcony.  
 I took this shot on another day, but it shows you the pool area.  

Here's the bathroom for the Master...

We had a laundry room, which was SO NICE since it meant we didn't have to pack as many clothes!

The living area and kitchen...

The second bedroom...

the galley kitchen...

Not sure what was so funny, but it was a fun picture to include!

Next, was the second bedroom bathroom...

and then there was a third bathroom...

So, it was extremely spacious and comfortable and a lovely place to call home for the next few days.  

After settling in, we went up to the Top of the World Lounge and Observation deck to watch Wishes!, Magic Kingdom's nightly firework show.  

We weren't prepared for how scared Maddie would be.
She wanted nothing at all to do with any fireworks, so that was a bummer.  
We realized we needed to get her some ear plugs for the rest of the week to help her with the loud noises.  

So, that was Day 3...stay tuned,  
Day 4 was the first day at Magic Kingdom!!!