Deuteronomy 4:35

You have been shown these things that you might know the Lord is God besides him there is no other.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

She Danced

We are just returning home from our beloved Gull Lake Ministries trip.  This year far exceeded my expectations as my sweet, special needs treasure was given a one on one counselor.  My did this sweet college student radiate Christ's love all week to my Jillian.  Jillian was able to participate in the Cove Kids program for the first summer since coming home to us which means I was able to attend the teaching sessions, adult dinner banquets, and refresh myself for the first time in three years.  It was heavenly to see my sweet girl so comfortable and having so much fun where she was once so full of anxiety. 

One particular night at camp, they have a talent show.  Jillian was sitting with us, and her sweet counselor, in the tabernacle watching the show when a worship dancer was up on stage.  This young woman was a teenager, and fellow camper from the state of Michigan, dressed all in black.  She gracefully moved across the stage with poise and beauty to the song Via Del Rosa.  It was a stunning and worshipful performance for all of us, but it was Jillian's reaction that took my breath away.  There in the row standing right beside her daddy my sweet, beautiful, nonverbal treasure was so moved by this teenager's worship through dance that she too began to dance.  SHE DANCED!!! She modeled each and every sophisticated movement made by the young dancer on stage as she watched her worship in this way.  When the dancer laid flat on the floor so did my Jill.  When the dancer held both arms high and one foot up so did my Jillian.  It was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever had with this sweet treasure who I have the privilege of calling my daughter.  It moved Daddy and I so much (and made us chuckle a bit as Jillian's moves weren't near as graceful as the young woman on the stage though they were just as heartfelt) that we left ready to submit to whatever it is that God has for us in the months to come.  We have seen God work miracles because we have this little girl in our lives.  This sweet treasure, once so locked inside herself, is so very connected to the heart of God!  He just radiates from her and she touches so so many who see her! 

It also has left me searching for worship dance ministries in my city because I gotta keep this little lady dancing.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

It's My Swingset

 Jillian was thrilled to find her new swing set assembled and ready to climb on in the backyard today.
 She LOVES monkey bars and so we bought this set because it had monkey bars.

Thank you Grandma for this amazing birthday gift!
Thank you to Mr. Steve who stayed until nearly 9:00 to finish building it for her!

She is very pleased, but I will let her tell you herself..

Monday, June 16, 2014

She Did It

Today my five year old treasure walked into a new school, a new classroom, greeted new teachers, and she was a rockstar.  She was just fine.  This girl...I just never dreamed that she could do any of this.  We picked her up at 11:30 and went straight to the beach to enjoy our afternoon.  What an amazing, miracle working God I serve as I never dreamed any of this would be possible.  Incredible indeed!

Friday, June 13, 2014

To Her Teachers

(It was my girls last day of school this week and this momma sobbed and sobbed after walking her out of her PK classroom for the last time.  These teachers have been the best and so I just wanted to thank them again.  It is hard to imagine that she will ever again have such amazing people to guide her through the school day, but I pray she does because it makes leaving her so much easier.) 

 Jillian with her special team of teachers.
Thank you for all that you are.Thank you for rocking, loving, and ministering to my treasure each and everyday this year.  You have loved her in ways I never thought possible for someone outside our family.  You have reached her again and again and done whatever it takes in order to do so.  You have understood who she is and embraced that time after time.  You have wept with  and rocked her in her sadness and rejoiced with her when she touched playdough.  You have written me a note about her day each day, texted me pictures of her activities when she was successful or super cute, and reassured me over and over that you care so much for her.  You have learned sign in order to communicate with her, allowed beans in your space to help calm her, and smiled through it all.  You are amazing and she will always have a piece of you with her as she travels on her way.  I love that you wrote in her book the last day that she may have taught you more than you could ever teach her because this is exactly the way I feel about her each day as her momma.  Thank you for shepherding the tender heart of this precious, precious girl of mine.  We will always be grateful to each of you for giving of yourself so much to see her grow. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Using Her Voice

The other night I had both girls by myself as Daddy and Em were out of town.  I was doing my best to keep up with both of them as always, but tonight Jillian wanted to watch her favorite Elmo song, Siesta, on the computer.  The video is about a minute and a half long and she loves to watch it again and again.  Well, as I was chasing after Anna Mei, getting her in the bath, dressed, and ready for bed, I couldn't always keep up with restarting Jill's song.  Sweet girl would just sit at the computer signing "Momma" until I remembered to check on her.  She seriously is so cute just sitting there signing momma thinking I could hear her doing that.  This lead me to get her "voice" (aka NOVA chat) for her.  I showed her the path to the momma button and then sat back and listened for my baby girl to call for her momma.  Call for her momma she did!  Each time the video was over, she would hit that momma button and the voice would call out for her signaling me to restart that video.  I would hear and come running which really made her happy.  She is so very pleased with herself when she can voice things.  I tried to catch it on video and it wasn't a completely natural use, but getting it on the spot was hard.
This certainly led me to give thanks for this incredible technology and the chance she has to use it!

Monday, June 9, 2014

My Girl

This girl is one of my greatest joys.  Seriously, she is so much like I am that I can't help, but absolutely adore her.  She loves everything that I do and she just wants to be exactly like I am. Her language, her routines, her mannerisms are an exact copy of mine again and again!  She loved playing at the family museum when we took our day trip there and, more than that, I loved being with her.  She is just so much fun!

 She smiled all day long!  She loved making momma pizza with mushrooms.
 The oven lit up when you put the pizza in.  It made her smile big and giggle every time.
 She was in her element for sure as playing in her play kitchen at home is her favorite thing to do! 
 The grocery store was where she spent most of her time.  She loves playing grocery store and loved this module so much!  We must have visited it for at least four shopping trips during our four hour play session.
 The shoe store module was cute and it made her smile when momma measured her feet.
 She chose these red heels to try on, but was sad when she couldn't wear them home.
 They even had a workshop with real tools so we built a little project together.  She used a saw, a screwdriver, a hand drill, and a hammer.  She was thrilled!
 She loved all the dress up clothes too, but wasn't always so happy when momma stopped playing to take pictures. 
Here she is making me scrambled eggs exactly the way I make the girls scrambled eggs almost every morning.  She certainly has become mine and I hope I never forget the miracle that it is that she calls me momma.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Playing with Jillian

 We headed to Bettendorf today to pick up our oldest and decided to make it a family day trip.  We went to the family museum and let me say this momma LOVED this place!  It is high on my list of must do more than once in our area.  It was fabulous.  The fact that Jillian actually played for four hours just sweetens how amazing this place is because today was the first day that I feel like my girl had a typical experience.  She had no fear..that is right absolutely no fear of anything.  She signed scared once when we were getting out of the car, but that is it.  She never said she was scared the rest of the day..not even once!  She went right into the gallery area with Daddy and instantly began exploring!  She played and she played and she played. She laughed and ran and played and conquered every inch of this place.  I feel like I say often when trying to write about Jill that I have no words, but today I feel that way once again.  I simply never, ever dreamed that this sweet treasure would accomplish so much.  As I walked beside her today in each of the learning modules and watched her playing like her typical peers, I could hardly keep from bawling my eyes out remembering the 15 pound 25 month old I once held praying she would just survive.  This girl is something extraordinary.
 She loves water and so it is no surprise that she was instantly drawn to this water table.  She spent a lot of happy time here exploring the gadgets, wheels, and pipes. 

 She even went in the tunnel so that she could pop up and stand in the middle.
 She also enjoyed playing in the grocery store.  She actually played here.  She got a cart just like her sister did and began filling it up with groceries.
 Then, she got in line and unloaded her groceries and paid the little girl behind the counter.  I could hardly snap this shot because of my blurry vision.  She even used her voice to name the pretend vegetables in the produce section just like she does at the real store.
 Then, she and Anna went to the corn factory where they worked to put the corn on the conveyor belt.  Jillian did it all.  See how she is taking turns with Anna and putting the corn in?  Incredible!
 There was more water play outside!  We ate our lunch out here picnic style and Jillian loved playing in this area.
 She wore all the dress up clothes in each of the modules happily and she was so cute!  This is the space ship in the Dora area!  She enjoyed it all.
 Look at her using the watering can to "water" the flowers.
She picked flowers, went through a maze, used some balls for  science exploration, played in the barn, played house, played in a pirate ship,  interacted with a leaf mat, and don't forget all the water!  There was so much more too, but I have already included too many pictures.  Truly, this was one special day and I am thrilled to have been able to spend it with my sweet, sweet treasure!  There are just so many mountain top moments as I parent her that it never grows old being with her!  I am feeling blessed indeed tonight to have this little lady home and that I get to call her mine!

(Anna Mei had a great time too!  She was adorable and loved playing in the pizza kitchen and grocery store best.  I will post her pictures soon.)

Friday, June 6, 2014

My Oldest..

 My oldest treasure is leading a Bible study this summer for some six and seven year old girls in our body.  She is using a study called "My Best Friend Jesus" that she and I did together when she was eight years old.  Where has the time gone?  I love Tuesday mornings at my house because that is when the girls come by.  They usually do a little project like a craft or cooking and then Em sits down at the table with them to break open the word.  I love to listen in.  My oldest baby girl is growing up.
 There are no shortages of smiles when the girls are here.  There are plenty of giggles too. 
I just love having my house full of little girls.  I am grateful to God for the little hearts He is cultivating through this study in my home.  I am especially thankful for the heart that is ever developing in my Em.  I love seeing God working in her life.