God alone is Sovereign

1 Chronicles 29:11

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all.

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Love of Horses

Over the last few weeks I have discovered that Anna Grace has a HUGE love of horses. It was discovered almost by accident really. As you know, I like to take the kids hiking... probably 4 days a week we go. I have become bored lately with some of our usual spots, so I decided a couple weeks ago to take the kids up to the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind. They have some walking trails and a track you can run on and they also happen to have an equestrian program there. I believe it is used as therapy for the students at the school, but they have a big fenced pasture there with some very gentle horses. So, we went walking on the walking trails next to the horse pasture and the kids climbed up on the fence and began calling the horses. When the first horse walked up Anna Grace just stood there and leaned over and kissed the horse. She pet it and talked to it and wasn't intimidated by the horse at all. It was so sweet and she couldn't get enough! Since then we have been back several times to walk and see the horses and we have "made friends" with several of the horses there. I'm thinking that one very sweet special little girl will be having horse back riding lessons in the future...... Here are a few pics of our newest adventure!

Nope, she wasn't scared at all!

Anna Grace loved the horses!

Zachary really liked the horses too!

After visiting the horses we made our way to the track and Zachary of course had to try a little football!

Here is Anna Grace trying her best at the long jump!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Big Boy!

Today is Zachary's 5th birthday! I can't beleive he is actually 5 years old. It truly feels like just yesterday he was a fat little baby boy and now he is a big kid. Where did the time go? When you're in the midst of nursing and sleepless nights it feels like they're going to be babies FOREVER and then poof.... they're big, just like that! 5 years old to me feels like a milestone. He'll be starting Kindergarten this Fall and starting to do all of those things that big kids do. Goodbye training wheels, goodbye preschool, goodbye car seat. I have been lamenting a lot recently about him growing up. Things like "Oh Zachary..... where did my little boy baby go? I'm going to miss having a little boy baby in the house. I can't hardly hold you anymore you're so big. Where did my baby go?" I guess after enough of it Zachary annoucned to me the other day, "Mom, I'm sorry, but I have to turn 5"! Yes, he has no interest in staying little and I suppose it is the natural progression of things that I have to let him grow up. He is a rambuncious, sweet, loving, funny, wild little boy and he is truly a blessing from the Lord. I am so thankful that God allowed me to be his mother. Being a Mother is a gift and it is true what they say.... they grow up WAY too fast! Happy 5th birthday little boy.... uh... I mean BIG boy!

Yes, he really grew that much in a year!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Heart Cath Coming Up

Sorry I have been an absent blogger recently. There has been a lot going on in working on the 5K race details as well as just normal everyday mom and wife stuff. By the way, if you haven't registered yet for our 5K on April 14 please do so by going to www.spartanburgrunningclub.com. But, this post isn't about the 5K.....

So if you remember at our last cardiology appointment Dr. R was going to call the surgeon to talk about Anna Grace's case and discuss a game plan since she is hitting her "milestones" for her next open heart surgery, the Fontan. I heard back from Dr. R's office today and he talked with the surgeon who said to go ahead and schedule her heart cath and then if everything looks OK to plan for a summer surgery.

As it stands right now I am just waiting on a call from the cath lab at MUSC to get her heart cath scheduled. I'm sure I'll hear something from them in the next week or so. It is a little nerve-wracking waiting on the call and seeing the ball starting to roll toward open heart surgery, but honestly I am OK right now. I'm sure the week before the cath I will start to get nervous, but I really am OK today.

I know she needs this next surgery and as difficult as it is she really does need it. I think for heart kids like Anna Grace - they seem so normal and healthy on the outside. To look at her you would never know there was anything seriously amiss medically with her. But I will have to say that over the last few weeks specifically I have seen her slow down. A Lot. Dr. R has told me from the beginning that these heart kids will stop when they're tired, that I won't have to make her stop. I wasn't sure I ever believed him because she has always been so active, but recently I have seen it very plainly.

As many of you know, I am a hiker. I like to hike and I hike with my kids because it is one thing this germ-a-phobe of a heart mom can do with her kids that I can truly enjoy without dousing my kids with hand sanitizer. Nope... I don't worry about dirt, not one bit. So we hike a lot. We hiked a lot last winter and I used a hiking backpack to carry Anna Grace in. It was great and she enjoyed riding in it very much. However, she is 2 now.... and 30 pounds... so the hiking backpack is now out of the question. So, we all walk. Recently though, she will run ahead of me with her brother and then she will get tired and just stop and squat. When I reach her she'll hold up her hands and say "Mama hold". So then she goes on my hip as we walk for about 5 minutes until she has caught her breath and then she is off again until she gets tired and she will stop and squat. Well, this week instead of just squatting to rest she actually laid down on the ground. So, now she is on my hip more than she is walking. I'll let her down to play and such when we stop somewhere and find something interesting to look at, but when we are walking, she is on my hip. Other than the big scar on her chest it is a very visible sign to me that she has a heart defect.

I am hoping that after this next surgery she will have more energy. I hope she just feels better. I hear a lot of heart Moms say that their heart kids were noticibly more active after their Fontan and I pray that is the case for Anna Grace as well. So.... here we are just waiting on the call from MUSC. I will be sure to post once the cath gets scheduled. Please begin praying now for Anna Grace and the doctors and the timing of it all. And so our heart journey continues....

This was my best attempt to get both kids to look at the camera at the same time

I love finding moss and I have instilled this love in my kids. Mostly Anna Grace.... who gets SO excited when she finds the moss on her own. Here is some moss AG found on her own and we all had to inspect it and touch it!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Please Pray for Sally

Hello friends,

I am asking you to please stop what you are doing and please pray for my friend Sally right now. Her son lost his battle with congenital heart defects. He had Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome. My heart is aching for my friend. She really nees to be covered in prayer over these next few weeks and months. Thank you friends for being faithful to pray for Sally. This heart journey is hard.

"As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you," says the Lord. Isaiah 66:13

The Lord heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Register for the 5k TODAY!

Hi Friends and Family,

As many of you know, over the past months I have been busy organizing a 5K event that will benefit Palmetto Hearts. Palmetto Hearts is a non-profit organization that helps families with heart children in South Carolina. As you can imagine, this cause is very special to me.

I am happy to announce that registration for the event is now open through the Spartanburg Running Club!

Here are a few details about the event:

Date/Time: Saturday, April 14th 9:00 AM at Duncan Park in Spartanburg

It is BOTH a run and a walk and I anticipate just as many walkers as runners.

There will be awards!

There will be door prizes!

The event is designed for the entire family and will include music, inflatables, refreshments, etc...

Children 13 and under can accompany their parents on the course for free.

I hope that all of you register and come on out for the event to support these special children.

Here are the links:

For registration: http://www.spartanburgrunningclub.com/

For more information: http://www.palmettohearts5k.org/

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Mother of the Year? Not Here

I just want to take the opportunity to send out an encouragement to all mothers for 2012. I follow the Gospel Coalition blog pretty closely, so when I read the below post I immediately thought of my wife Tina and many of her dear close friends. I want to echo the author of the below article in encouraging you, specifically mothers, to remember that your worth as mothers need not be wrapped up in how your matching up to those around you, but your worth needs to be in Christ who drastically stands far above all human ideas of perfection. In Christ you have grace that says you need not be perfect, or even appear perfect, but need to only remember, in Christ you are justified, perfected and considered righteous before the Father. In Christ you are beautiful, perfect and most blessed. In Christ you are free from the “Mother of the Year” award. May the Living God continue to bless you all in this coming year…

Below Article by Gloria Furman

Mother of the Year? Not Here

A funny friend of mine recently wrote:

'Not only did I make my child a kind-of-ugly pair of pajama pants that don't really fit very well, I also forgot to take one of the pins out before having her try them on. I got this Mother of the Year thing in the bag, baby!'

I made my daughter cry on Christmas Day when I accidentally threw away a gingerbread cookie she painstakingly decorated. I'm probably not going to be nominated for Mother of the Year, either.

A fictitious MOTY trophy is fun to joke about---what mother doesn't have "those" moments?
In reality, though, many of us are plagued with the nagging feeling that we just don't measure up as moms.

Impossible Perfection

Certainly, when we compare ourselves to the glorious perfections of God's holy law, we see that none of us qualifies for an award. We don't have to look very far into our hearts to uncover our sinfulness.

We use our children to bloat our egos and make us look good. We fail to love them with selfless, sacrificial love. We set bad examples and train them to value the world's opinion over God's. And these are just a few of the ways we fail to live righteously.

There are also the other impossible standards that we invent. We feel shame over projects we start and don't finish. We get frustrated over good intentions that never materialized. We beat ourselves up over getting "stuck in a rut" and having more flukes and failures than fantastic feats of faith. Even though we'll confess "nobody's perfect," we still grieve over dreams of mothering perfection that could have been.

The expectant hope we have for 2012 can easily be overshadowed by discouragement if we only consider our own potential. But grace changes everything.

The gospel of grace says that God accepts us in Christ and then he makes us holy. We don't first make ourselves holy so that God will accept us. When God accepts us in Christ we can experience the indomitable power of the indwelling Holy Spirit to resist temptation, flee from sin, live righteously, and glorify God in all things.

Even Super Mom Needs God

Advice on things like choosing a safe car seat or teaching a finicky preschooler to eat a well-balanced meal is easy to come by. What we need more than anything else for our motherhood is God's power for personal holiness.

But what if we still want to be Super Mom and show off our MOTY trophies? We need to remember there's a better award than the approval and praise of our peers.

When we're tempted to revel in the acceptance of others we need to draw near to God's throne of grace. We can have confidence that God will hear our prayers, come to our aid, and bolster our hope in him because of what our Great High Priest has done for us on the cross (Hebrews 4:14-16).

When we're tempted to become anxious about the past we need to remember that because of God's grace in Christ our lawless deeds are forgiven and our sins are covered (Romans 4:7). Even if we have forsaken God's redemptive plans for our lives he has not forsaken us. We need to repent of our sin and rejoice in God's never-procrastinating, always-irresistible grace in sustaining our souls (Philippians 1:6).

When we're tempted to worry about the future we need to remember the richness of God's mercy and the greatness of his love in sending Jesus. His grace in the past is a model and a promise of his future intentions to show us the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-7). That means we have all the grace we need for now. And when later becomes now, God will give us the grace we need in that moment, too.

You and I may never be nominated for the fictitious Mother of the Year award. The proverbial trophy case will remain dusty and empty. But nonetheless we should boast all the more gladly of our weaknesses and need for God's grace so that Christ's power will rest on us (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Glorying in God is a truer and better award than the adulation of others. Considering God's potential to deliver all the grace he promises us in Christ is a truer and better estimation of the potential of 2012. So let's start a new year rejoicing in God's work of making us a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Besides, those Super Mom costumes never fit quite right anyway.