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.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Missin' Maddie

Maddie was here Sunday through Friday last week.  
I loved having her with us, but the reality is, we just have a couple more weeks of work ahead, and by sending her back to Woodward we can work hard and get it done a lot quicker!
I miss her so much!!

When she was here, my entire outlook was different.  
Everything is better with her. 
Is it possible the sun shines brighter when she's around?

(We tried to go out for a walk one night, but it there was too much debris - glass, nails, concrete, etc.  still on the sidewalks so Daddy had to give a shoulder ride.)

Things are looking up.  
The crew has moved on to texturing the drywall and will get everything painted in the next couple of days.  

Then all that's left is rebuilding the vanities in the master bath, lighting in the master bath, and flooring!
After that, we can move back in and finish up the outside painting and guttering later.  

We moved out of Tinker Temp housing on Friday and moved into Marriott's Springhill Suites.  

We don't have little bugs crawling around keeping us company.
There's actually an even temperature from one end of the room to another.
We can even shut the bathroom door while sitting on the toilet!
The bathroom shower even drains while you are taking your shower.
Good stuff.

When we checked in, they let us know there had been donations given if there's anything at all that we need to let them know.  
And we get breakfast every morning :)  

Yep, things are looking up.
Now, I just need to see my Maddie Rayne.  
Crossing my fingers I'll get back to Woodward soon!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Humbly Changed

Maddie's back home! 
It's been 4 weeks ago Monday since the tornado.
Maddie has been staying with my family in Woodward and Sunday was the first time she's been back.  
We've been really concerned about minimizing her exposure to all of the stress and day to day details of putting things back together.  

We've missed her so much and the original plan was to bring her back when everything was completely finished, however, we are still way too far out to be completed and I knew I couldn't wait that long so she's back for now.    

Of course I'm not able to get as much anything done, but we are having fun!  

I've been going back and forth, spending a few days in Woodward; coming home and working a few days on what needs to get done.  
Even when we check things off, it seems the list is always long.  

We are making progress though!  

I've been trying to figure out how in the world to effectively convey in writing the emotion of an experience I will always take with me.  
Honestly, I'm still processing it.  

A college friend of mine noticed on Facebook that we had been affected by the tornado. 
She sent me a message and let me know that she had a friend who heard about our story and wanted to help.
They came with not just a couple of things for Maddie, but 5 dresses, 5 pairs of shorts, 5 shirts, 3 pairs of pants, 1 skirt, and 3 pairs of shoes!!
Everything was brand-new from Old Navy and super cute!!

It turns out her friend, Kathryn, was the sister of the one of the mothers who died at the 7-Eleven.
The daughters, Jenna and Alyson wanted to reach out and help us.

I couldn't believe it.

I was humbled and changed.

I don't really know how to wrap my mind around this except that I know there is a lot of healing in the act of giving.  With that in mind, it was the only way I could humbly accept such a kind and generous gift.
Here is a family reeling with loss, reaching out to give not out of surplus but need.
The only thing they asked in return was to see pictures of Maddie in her cute outfits.
That I can do!
I love their hearts and their kind spirits which I'm guessing is a part of their mother they carry on inside them.
I'm sure she is so proud of them both!!!
We love you Teenager and Alyson! :) 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Time for some more Disney Memories! Day 5 of 12

Before the tornado, I was in the middle of posting our trip report from our recent vacation to Walt Disney World.  
You can see previous posts here if you're interested:

I still have a few thoughts I'd like to share concerning the tornado and the aftermath, but today...
I'm ready to write about something fun!
A few days after the tornado, I was reading in Psalm 78.
The main idea was when things got tough in times of trouble, they remembered all of the good things God had done in the past.  

I realized we have so many good memories and what a blessing it is to look back and remember and maybe even escape for a little while. 

This was Day 5 of vacation and we named this Princess day. 
This was the day I was most looking forward to and it certainly lived up to all of my expectations.

Here's why...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

My Breaking Point

It's been 16 days since our lives were uprooted and changed by the tornado. 
There have been a lot of ups and downs.

Lately though it feels like more downs, but I have to say, God always provides what we need when we need it.

Last Saturday, Day 12,  I was at my breaking point.
After the 5+ inches of rain, water was pouring in like a faucet.
 We had already had a crew out to cut out and remove the wet insulation and drywall.
With the condition of our roof, and the amount of rain we had, there was no way the tarps could keep the rain at bay.

So, we were back to square one:
Remove wet insulation and drywall
debris removal.
Our neighbor's pod blew over.

The owner of the pod came out later and said it weighs over 2200 lbs.

Our plan for the day was to head to Woodward and see Maddie.
The last day we had seen her was Monday and I knew I couldn't wait another day.

But now...more clean up...more headache...more mess...NO MADDIE!
I was mad.
I was frustrated.
I was fed up.
All I wanted was to see Maddie and leave town for a couple of days.

I had to go to the church to pick up a few things we needed.
While I was there, Nathan asked if we could use some help.
A group of six had come from Manhatten, KS to help out.

They followed me home from the church.
On the way home, I was listening to K-love on the radio and heard
Worn by Tenth Avenue North

It perfectly expressed exactly how I felt, and I was literally sobbing.

But God sent Ben, Jim, Ben, Cindy, Cassidy, and Kelsey to help us pick up the pieces and put things back together.  
I couldn't hide my feelings and had a meltdown in my driveway.  
Cindy held me and reassured me they would get things done so I could go see my baby.
They worked so hard!
And within a few short hours, everything was done!
We drove to Woodward and had a happy reunion with Maddie that night!
I cannot express how great it was to see her and spend some time away from it all.
Right now she's still staying in Woodward while Kyle and I stay at Tinker Temporary Housing on base. 
We are working hard to get everything finished to be able to bring her back home permanently.
She's been through a lot but her resilience amazes me.  

Naturally, she's scared of storms now.  
It's hard because I know I'm not able to comfort this fear.  
I told her to talk to God, and tell him you are scared.
I told her He's with you and will help you feel safe.  
After telling her this during a thunderstorm in Woodward, she settled down and went right to sleep. 

If you ever think that I seem strong through all of this, you have to know I'M NOT!
It's not at all my strength you may see, but 100% God's. 
I tried to carry this burden the first few days and I was shocked by how weak I really am.  
Had we not attended church services the following Sunday, Day 6, I'm afraid I would have believed Satan when he loves to reveal what we are really made of.  
It's like a war zone.  
Physically and spiritually.

God has been so sweet through all of this.
Gentle whispers that remind me He is here.  
Like my cross necklace I found on Day 2.
This was a ledge in the Master Bathroom.  
I had several things on it and all of them blew off, except for this delicate, tiny necklace.
I don't even know why it was there. 
Kyle had bought this for me while we were still engaged, 14 years ago.
I haven't worn it in years because the chain had been tangled up kinked and I hadn't gotten it fixed yet.
But for some reason, it was there.
Like a little tiny God-whisper that says, "I'm here."

Even though there's been lots of ups and downs, I think the ups have been higher than the lowest downs. 
So we keep moving forward, little by little.  
Thanks again to all of you who have continued to check on us, pray for us, and help out in so many ways!  
We can never, ever adequately thank you.  
And a very, very special thanks to the crew from Manhatten, KS!
I will never forget you or the events that happened on Day 12.
You were there when we needed you most!!  
I hope this post finds its way to you as well as many, many blessings.