Deuteronomy 4:35

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

Friday, August 29, 2014

Our Days

Now that Jilly is in school and gone all day long, our days are so different.  We miss her so much and so we have been doing our best to stay busy so that the day flies by. 

We have visited the library, art museum, biked the trails, cooked, cleaned, and made lots of edible homemade play dough.

All this activity tends to take a toll on this little, independent, trying to grow out of her nap preschooler.  She has spent several afternoons this way passed out on the couch.  I love my time with my littlest.  These memories are precious and I know it won't be long until she herself is in school all day so I am determined to enjoy her as much as I can.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

To Jillian

Dear Jillian,
I watched just now as a woman, very different from myself with a thick middle eastern accent, stunning dark shiny hair, and eyes full of kindness, lifted you from your car seat.  She smiled as soon as she saw you, instantly lifted you into her arms, and squeezed you.  She is on your teaching team.  She is, in fact, your favorite teacher on your team.  You sign all morning L as you run it down your hair because this is the sign I gave you for her name.  You sign sad and make the sign for your afternoon aid because she has just entered your life and you don't trust her just yet the way you do your Mrs. L.  Mrs. L and I have nothing in common except the love we share for you.  I would have never known this dear lady if not for you. You have such a gift sweet baby.  Your life unites those who know you.  God is written all over you, and though you can't explain it because your words are trapped inside you, others see it in you.  You are treasured by many and so very loved.  I know at times early on in your life you must have felt so alone, but I rejoice that God now provides so many to treasure you.  You are a treasure.  You are a precious, amazing, miraculous, created in the image of God treasure!  I pray you grow to know that for yourself!  I cherish you dear baby! 

All my love,

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Today in Kindergarten

Dearest Jillian,

Today in Kindergarten you lost a tooth.  Your teacher texted to tell me that your tooth had fallen out and that you were so excited about it.  You received your certificate and brought your tooth home in a little orange treasure box just like every other five year old who will loose a tooth in your class this year.  It was an ordinary event in your life that is just so extraordinary to watch.  I am awe of you my miracle.  Each morning this week, I have walked you up to your "e" school as you sign it and smile.  Though you can't use your natural voice to express most of what your thinking, you have so much to say.  I have watched you wearing your backpack and grabbing the hand of a stranger who you trust to care for you throughout the day.  I have heard that you have eaten in the cafeteria with your peers, danced to the Pete the Cat song, and listened to a story on the rug.  I know you have spent lots of time chilling out in your quiet space too, but dear, sweet baby  I am speechless for all you have accomplished!  I will never, as long as I live, understand why in the world I am the one you call momma because dear child you deserve so much more.  It is such a deep honor and privilege to walk beside you in this life.  I love you deeply, am so very thankful for all that you have taught me, and am beyond grateful that you are mine!

All my love,

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back to School They Go

 Yesterday I sent Anna Mei to preschool for the first time.  She enjoyed her morning and reported every detail of snack when she got home because she was fascinated by the rainbow colored goldfish crackers.  She is excited to be in the same school with Emily and her big friends (the teens in our ministry).
 The girls are attending the christian school that is a part of our church's ministry.  Anna Mei will be there on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and she will be sure to see her big sis often.
Tenth grade.  How did we get here?  Em was happy with her first day.  She has started her year off well.  Her class load includes a few AP courses and she just added Drama Tech.  She is busy with volleyball and didn't even get home until after 8:00 PM last night as the day was full of until noon, lunch with friends, volleyball, and sports night.  I am exhausted for her already!  Tenth Grade will be gone in the blink of an eye, but until then I will try to savor it.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Her First Day of Kindergarten

A little more than three years ago, I had this amazing treasure placed in my arms for the first time.  She weighed fifteen pounds and was completely withdrawn from everything.  She couldn't walk, eat, or be touched.  Honestly, I just prayed she would survive back then and I never dreamed she would be able to do so much. I never saw this coming because..
Today, I took her to kindergarten. 
And then I cried the whole way home.
She is in a class of 23 other five year olds and has the support of an amazing team of teachers.  This is Jilly with her teacher, Mrs. S who has dedicated her life to kids on the spectrum.   We are so blessed to be in this place that has so much to offer our special little one.    I can't wait to see where she goes this year though I am so sad to see her growing up.  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Joy in the Harvest

A farming family in our church invited us to share in their sweet corn harvest.  So we headed out to the field this morning as a family to pick it.
 We had a feeling this would be a sensory seeking dream come true for Jillian and it was!  She ran and pulled.  She jumped and giggled!
 She smiled and she smiled.  She picked and picked!  She signed corn, corn, and pointed to it.  And her radiant joy made this momma so, so happy!  When you find something that she can really enjoy friends, you just feel as if all of heaven has come to earth.
 Anna Mei enjoyed picking as long as she was close momma.  Dirt and tall grass are not her favorite combination so she was a bit apprehensive at first.  It is a bit hard for those super short legs not to fall when walking in tall grass so that adds to her anxiety.
 Eventually, she cut loose and was enjoying the beautiful morning and our surroundings as much as the rest of us.
 She loved, loved picking the corn.  She especially loved finding the (small) baby sister sized corn.
Doesn't this face just say it all?  She was a HAPPY baby girl.

We were thankful to get so much delicious, corn for free, but even better than all that corn was getting to see my girls experience the harvesting!  Precious, precious treasures these girls are who enrich and brighten even the smallest of experiences beyond anything I ever imagined.  God is so good to give them to us! 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

What Makes Me Happy

What makes me the happiest momma on earth is having my babies close to me when I am in the kitchen.  So, you can imagine my joy the other night when I had Anna Mei (who never leaves my side as I am cooking), Jillian, and Emily helping with dinner.  It was a very ordinary night with an ordinary menu, but having everybody together was heavenly for this momma.
I found this little chef apron and hat for a dollar at a garage sale.  It made Anna Mei very, very happy!
She is always in the kitchen with me and is getting very good at making just about everything!

She is such a very happy little girl.
 Because of her sensory challenges, Jillian doesn't always love helping me cook, but on this night she did!

 It is so special seeing her able to do so much!
 She touched all the ingredients and followed Momma's directions so well.  I continue to be in awe of all she is doing!
Her favorite job, by far, is doing the dishes though.  She doesn't wash much, but loves playing in the bubbles in the water.  Usually, you can find her on her stool at the sink with a big smile on her face which makes this momma smile too.

I Haven't Told You Lately

I haven't told you lately, but I think about you all the time.  I give thanks on a daily basis for those of you who gave so that this precious, joyful treasure could be mine.  So many of you shared with us a big part of what God has given you so that we could pay the ransom for this amazing little babe.  Each day as I hear her laugh, watch her play, and hear her praying and singing I stop and thank God for you.  Please don't forget that she is here because of you.  Don't forget that God used you in mighty ways to help bring this one home.  We could have never done it without you!  She is so full of joy and love.  She is a blessing beyond measure to our family and we could never thank you for joining us in making her our daughter!  THANK YOU!!!  Thank you for your faithful prayers and financial support!  You are forever etched in our hearts and such a big part of her story!