April 29, 2014

Summer Writing Project~Coming To Terms with Disability~Beautiful Holland

August 2, 2014

I started this summer with one blogging goal, to take part in a book writing project with Meriah Nikols concerning life affected by disability. But, true to life with disabilities, Addison's needs pushed this project (...and running and anything else that wasn't part of daily survival) to a far back burner. As I told Meriah, so far back it's no longer on the stove. I still feel very passionate about this project and I still need to get back to my writing. It is too good for me to not do it. I don't know if I will get any other segments written but you have to start somewhere. And in this minute this is my somewhere.

Part 2 of the writing series is Coming to terms with disability.  I am republishing this post from April 29, 2014 which explains how I came to terms with his disability.  Love, Kat

I love spring flowers. Actually, I love any flowers. Someone once asked me what my favorite flower was and the only answer I had was it depends what’s in bloom. Gardening is one of my favorite past times. Anyone who has been to our house can see that. When we moved to our home in 2001 none of our gardens existed. Almost all of what you see was dug in my free time with the kids by my side, usually with their own little shovel in hand. My kids love to garden and will tease that mama will build a garden around anything. I adore watching the spring bulbs come up. It is a little glimpse into the hope that the dead of winter will soon pass and there will be something beautiful to look forward to. Every year Allen and I go away for a time just the two of us. However, I love the blooming so much we have to go before the first bulbs, the crocuses, start to come up because I don’t want to miss any of it.

Last April just as the cherry tree blossoms opened and the tulips bloomed, I was admitted to the hospital to monitor and eventually induce Addison. The kids knew I would be sad to miss this and text me photos of the blooming tulips beside our fence. When they came to visit me in the hospital on April 28th, the day Addison would be born, they cut some of the blooms and brought them to me in a jelly glass. Addison arrived at 11:33 pm and everyone now knows a few days later genetic testing confirmed he had down syndrome.
On May 21, 2013 we met the first part of Addison’s therapy team for our initial assessment with Infant and Toddlers. At that time a social worker, Angela, came to our home along with Trudy, Addison’s physical therapist. After we talked a while about how we received Addison’s diagnosis and the impact it had on our life, Angela was eager to share with us a popular story written by Emily Perl Kingsley, writer for Sesame Street and mother to a son with Down Syndrome.

"I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this...... 

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting. After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland." 

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy." But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay. 

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place. So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts. 

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned." And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss. But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland."
So the thing is, I don’t really agree with Emily that raising a child with down syndrome is a pain that will never go away. But I completely agree it is something much different than what we were expecting.

I think her analogy is particularly fitting because those who know me well, will attest I usually end up enjoying where ever I end up.  However, I have never particularly aspired to be any specific place other than where I am.  And although I have a great time checking out new places, when asked about my trips I can surely be heard saying, "It's nice but I wouldn't want to live there."  

Well, except Italy. Being Italian, I have always wanted to explore Italy.  I had the opportunity to visit my sister while her family was stationed in Italy several years ago.  I fell in love with the country. In a heart beat I would move there and never look back.  There were many beautiful landscapes to capture the eye, orchards and vineyards and olive groves no matter where you looked.  The food was amazing.  The people, unforgettable.  Even the sheep were something to behold.  The weather was fabulous.  But the one thing I didn’t see in Italy were blooming flowers.

However, Holland!  What is the first thing a person thinks of when they envision Holland?  The one thing that was missing from Italy.  Fields and fields of tulips.  While I never thought I'd ever visit Holland, I've found out it's a beautiful place to live.
So in those early days as we wondered what Addison’s future would hold I reflected on Mrs. Kingsley’s story.  Motherhood for me is much like Italy.  It is the only place I have ever desired to be.  And yet, I have never wished to be in the Holland of a mother to a child with special needs.  As I considered all these things, I knew one thing for certain, I would never look at a tulip the same way again.

Last fall Addison’s big brothers planted 100 tulips in our flower beds. As we celebrated our boy's 1st birthday on April 28th, those tulips are now in full bloom.  The idea of God’s perfect timing came to the forefront of my mind.

Addison’s due date was a month away when doctor’s felt it was imperative he be induced. Allen and I struggled with this decision for many reasons as we waited it out in the hospital with nurses and doctors constantly monitoring the well being of our boy. On the day he was born in my Bible study I read,

I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4 

Before I closed my Bible, the doctor came in to discuss my test results and told me it was her feeling we must deliver Addison right away.

As I reflect on this a year later, there are many things I know.

1- Addison was not an accident of nature. He was fearfully and wonderfully made by our God who loves Him with a far greater love than even I can begin to imagine.

2- This verse tells me God didn’t put into our hands a great trial but rather through Addison delivered us, and I believe many others yet to be known, from some trial.

3- Even though I have no desire to go anywhere but Italy, God has placed me forever in Holland. Where God puts me is where I want to be. Even in the face of great trial, I have never known greater joy and peace than when I am where the Lord has planted me.

4- God’s timing is perfect and when we seek Him diligently He will reveal not only His perfect will, but also His perfect timing to us. If Addison had been born on May 21st, when he was due, the tulips would have long since been finished blooming. But for the rest of my life tulips will bloom on our son’s birthday and remind me of the beautiful place God has chosen for Addison and for our family.
Those who know about spring bulbs understand one of the amazing things is how they multiply. You don’t really have to do anything to them. They take care of themselves. The bulb will feed off of the leaves for an entire summer. Then they go dormant for the winter. And sometime, when it seems winter will last forever, the bulbs start to peek up from under the snow until the weather turns warm and the flowers bloom. And somehow in all of that, the bulbs manage to split and reproduce so that in a few years your flower bed will be filled with many beautiful bulbs. And that is what life with Addison has been.

Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. Psalm 40:5 

Every.Single. Day.  has been one blessing after another. Even in the times of trial we see God’s hand working and blessings pouring from this little life. The blessings multiply in ways we can not explain. Emma started a journal in which she was writing all the many ways people had shared with us how Addison had touched their life or the blessings they had received from knowing him. We stopped writing in it. Not because the blessings stopped. Indeed, because there were just too many things for us to keep up with writing.

Indeed they are more than can be numbered.

Happy Birthday Addison, you are a blessing greater than any mama could have imagined!!!

April 23, 2014

Bowties, Peeps and Stuffed Things

 Our Easter holiday was filled with traditions but also some new firsts.  We made our traditional resurrection rolls and resurrection cookies on Saturday.  Somehow the little kids always end up looking like sticky boulders.  
 Samuel is such a good big brother.  He was eager to show Carmella how to butter and sprinkle her marshmallow with cinnamon and sugar.
At two and a half, Carmella is super independent and could not wait to try it herself.  
The boys potted these asters in crystal punch cups to be used as centerpieces and party favors for our Easter dinner on Sunday.  Except we forgot to send them home with company so they ended up blessing the kids various music instructors.
 And then there were the bow ties.  Our boys love bow ties right now.  And they quickly voted on bow ties in this tangerine fabric to match the little girls for their Easter suits. I can not for life of me remember why anyone thought it was a good idea to learn to tie their own versus using the pre-tied ones Kaitlin usually makes them.  But there you have it.  After some failed efforts on Saturday to get it to come out right, I assigned Aunt Dawn to getting the ties tied before church on Sunday.  This was just a bad idea all around.  Our church was meeting much earlier than usual so we were already pressing to get out the door on time.  And then we spent a half hour not tying ties.  I finally perfected it, on Monday.  
 I don't think I will ever get tired of looking down the row during worship and seeing my family lined up.  This Sunday was unusual in that 1- Addison had on a linen outfit and tangerine tie to match his brothers and 2- he stayed awake for the entire service.  (probably because of the time change) 3- he decided to wave and "talk" to Pastor during most of the sermon.
 Carmella didn't eat much during the fellowship breakfast at church so she was starved by the time we got home and made lunch.  The pink peeps in her Easter basket were enough to hold her over, though.
 And for the first time in my 22 years of parenting I bought a stuffed thing.  I never buy stuffed things.  I abhor them.  I am typically trying to get rid of them.  But this one was irresistible.  It was Allen's idea, actually.  But, gee, isn't this rabbit adorable?  Addison seems to love it.  He has been snuggling him for days.
And speaking of snuggling, Addison has had a fever so I've had the blessing of snuggling him for the last two days.  Love my snuggles!!!  Bunny and all.

April 21, 2014

Easter Eggs

We had a beautiful weekend full of sweet friends, celebrations and amazing weather.  There were three birthdays, 2 newborns, a long weekend with Aunt Dawn and a garden party filled with friends.  I started uploading photos and quickly realized it would be a massive amount of pictures for one post.  What a surprise!  Then I decided maybe a few smaller bites would be better.

This was our first Easter with Addison and it was delightful introducing him to all our family traditions.  Starting with dying 10 dozen eggs.  Our Henry loves to color.  It is one of his favorite parts of therapy each day.  He was a little baffled at the coloring on an egg deal.  Pa helped him through it and he caught on pretty fast.

 His finished masterpiece.  I am feeling really sentimental about this little egg.  
 I love that everything Carmella draws is his her bunny/lovey, Olivia. 
 And Samuel's Hercule Poirot egg was a work of art.
We are always trying new ways to decorate Easter eggs.  This year we messed around with washi tape a lot.  This is a great way for little two year olds to decorate eggs.  Far less messy than cups  of dye splashing everywhere.  
We also used a new method for the centerpieces using rit dye and metallic paint.

All in all we decorated 10 dozen eggs. 

 But you might be surprised its not so very many.  We took a bunch to the fellowship breakfast.  And we ate a bunch.  And our guests had fun digging through the jars to fill a carton to take home with them.

Now we will enjoy some of our favorite lunches this week, hard boiled egg sandwiches, deviled eggs, and egg salad.

How do you decorate Easter eggs? Are you a one dozen or a ten dozen egg kind of family?  How do you use the colored eggs after Easter?

April 11, 2014

Race For Respect

Before the crack of dawn  March 30 th the van was on the road with 18 running shoes

1 pair of rain boots
and two buggies.  
 Before my first cup of coffee our gang
joined 500 other runners
 in our Nation's Capital
 to face freezing temperatures, rain, wind, snow and ice for the first annual Race For Respect.

Race day was quite an experience, and I will come back to it.  However, our journey to the capital was an even greater experience.   A journey which has made each of us better than we started out.    

Working through the trials makes us stronger for the race

Aedan and Ellie were absolutely amazing.  Both of them suffer from Asthma.  Anyone with breathing issues knows how hard it is to run with asthma.  And anyone with asthma knows how hard it is to breath in the freezing temperatures.  Aedan runs in warmer months but was taking this winter off per Allen's and my instructions.  When he got out there in February to train for this race he could barely make it up the first hill, which is about a 1/4 mile stretch from our house.  He pushed on and persevered without ever making a single complaint.  Our last training run before the race he ran with me and did 7 miles without hardly getting winded.  And he stayed well ahead of me the entire time.  

And Ellie... As we have been training and tracking our progress Allen diligently tacked a report for each of us on the fridge each Sunday.  As Elisabeth watched everyone else log miles, she decided to get in on the game.  Because of the cold she only had 6 days she was able to run at all.  She managed 5K on her second run with me.  It was not looking very good for her when she ran with me last.  The weather was cold and she was struggling considerably with breathing.  But she pushed on and finished 5K.  

When we push ourselves we might find we have more in us than we ever imagined 

Most kids who went to the race chose to run the kids 1K event, or to walk the course.  Judging by the crowd, I think Elisabeth might have been the only one in her age group to actually run the adult event.  Because of what happened, details to follow, Allen and I ended up separated from the rest of our family.  But I was told when Elisabeth crossed the finish line there was a chorus of cheers for our 417, who never faltered, even in the cold.  When we got the stats later, we learned she finished 91st out of 500 runners.  Not too shabby for an asthmatics first event and 7th run!  

When things become tedious, push ahead, the feeling of accomplishment is worth it

Nathaniel has a habit of starting something and not finishing it.  Last fall, Allen decided to use running as a way to work on this bit of character.  But then life turned very busy and it dropped off for December and January.  I am very proud of what Nathaniel showed in these 6 or 7 weeks of training.  There were two weeks where commitments and weather made it virtually impossible for the kids to get in all three runs.  We excused them from 2 runs during that time span.  But Nathaniel, made a point of doing extra runs in order to get in his equivalent of 3 per week.  One day he even went for a run with the girls and when he got back headed back out with me for another 4 miles.  Along the way, he has increased his speed considerably.  He might even be able to outrun Allen now.  I'd say he's learned to finish what he commits to, wouldn't you?

As for me, in the last few years the Lord has used running to teach me so many lessons.  And these few weeks was no exception.  You can read my story in For Henry.  

The steady engine encourages those around them

And what about Kaitlin and Emma?  They just plugged along as they always do.  Steady and sure.  That's my girls.

You might get more than you bargained for, but pushing forward builds character, (or at least makes you think twice next time)

When the race came up in February, it was Brianna who rallied everyone to get involved.  In an odd twist on Wachter world, it was yours truly trying to convince everyone not to run.  We told the kids in the beginning no one was required to sign up but if we paid their entry fee they had to run at least 3 days a week until race day.  Brianna had to really test her dedication.  While she was the one who started the ball rolling, she quickly realized she didn't want to go running in 18 inches of snow and rain.      

Even though the weather has not been favorable for running, as race day approached we consoled ourselves through snow and rain by the 10 day forecast of high 50's and sun to accompany our visit to DC.  My attitude quickly turned bad Thursday night when a Nor'easter blew in bringing with it three days of pouring down rain, cold temperatures, and some wind and ice to test our conviction and endurance.  By Saturday, no one was looking forward to the trip.  And Brianna, having had her wisdom teeth removed on Thursday, was looking forward to it even less than the rest of us.

I seriously can not tell you how many times Saturday (and at 5:30 Sunday morning) you could hear someone saying, "Who's bright idea was this, Brianna?"  Even our family mantra, "We're doing it for Henry,"  was little consolation. 

And yet, when we headed to bed around midnight on Saturday,  we found the boys were so excited they were still all wide awake.  

So we, along with a couple of friends, made our way into the city.  It poured like crazy until shortly before we got to the parking deck.  Allen said God must have been answering my prayers to stay the rain for the race as it turned to just a light drizzle.  We pinned on our bibs and tied our shoes wishing the opening ceremony would go a little quicker to stay ahead of the storms.

Family pushes through the trials and shouts the victory together

Initially, we had planned on having someone watch Carmella and Addison for the run.  But I was never really happy with that.  Because the thing is we do everything as a family.  That's our greatest strength.  And we decided to do this for Addison.  I just couldn't see running without Carmella and Henry.  A few days before the race I brought it up at dinner.  And everyone agreed.  I am glad we made the decision.  Even though it made things a lot more complicated.

It's amazing how many people and how much stuff you can fit into one van

I usually run while the little ones are napping or we divide up and some stay with the little guys while one group runs and then we swap.  I gave our running stroller away a few years ago to make room in the shed.  So problem number 1 was getting, not 1, but 2 buggies the week before the race.  Problem 2 was fitting two buggies in our van.  Fillmore may be huge but there is no room for anything but people with all the seats in.  Which we needed because of the extra people riding with us.

The back of the line isn't so bad if you are with the ones you love

Problem 3, which wasn't really a problem, was anyone with buggies had to go to the back of the line.  Which is sort of annoying if you are a faster runner.  And, we can make some time.  Most of us finished respectably, but we could have made much better time if we didn't have a crowd in front of us.  But that is the nature of the thing, and in this life I find it is better to run together than to finish first.

Our challenges, no matter how great, will never be as hard as the next guy

As we were getting ready in the days leading up to DC we did a lot of reflecting on those with DS.  Our hearts were particularly focused on our precious friend Madison, who had just gone through her 3rd open heart surgery.  Addison has been blessed with amazing health compared to the majority of the DS population.  But there are many out there who fight for their lives every single day.  And they are doing so in the face of a world which says their lives aren't worth the trouble or expense of living.  We decided we wanted to honor the Madison's of this world in the inaugural race.  Emma made an adorable banner and hung it on Addison's buggy.  The whole morning people kept saying "Hi" to "Madison" and then we had to explain who Madison was and how she couldn't be with us because she was recovering from surgery.  When they asked what our son's name was they seemed very confused when we said, "Addison" which sounds a lot like "Madison" in pouring down rain.

In every life a little rain must fall

The actual run itself went like this.  It poured down rain.  And at one point there was snow and ice mixed in.  For those of us moving, though.  It wasn't bad.  As I have mentioned before, where we train there are hills.  Nothing but hills.  Lots of them. And they are steep.  I have decided I really like running on flat city streets.  Even in the bad weather and even with the babies, I shaved almost three minutes off my mile.  And had it not been for what happened, I think I could have made it four quite easily.  I never even got winded.  In fact, everyone agreed this was the easiest run they had ever done.

Sometimes the unexpected happens

The plan was Allen would push one buggy and I would take the other.  However, when we were lining up Samuel asked if he could push Carmella.  I was thinking it might be tiring for him but we decided it would be good for Samuel to experience working harder for the sake of his sister.  Brianna was his running partner and said she could take over if it became too much for Sam.  Later Brianna reported back that Samuel pushed Carmella, without even flinching, until the finish line was in sight.  At which point the rain was pelting her right in the face and she started screaming.  Not crying, but screaming!  I wasn't with them to know exactly how the exchange took place but it ended up with a stranger, a poncho and Brianna taking Winnie to the finish line.    

And it usually turns out better than what we planned

Addison was going along and just loving the ride.  Because really there isn't anything Addison seems to ever dislike.  Actually, despite the rain in our faces, and the general nastiness of the conditions, we were enjoying the super easy run and seeing faces of friends along the course.  Until we turned a corner at the 1/2 way point.  As we turned the rain starting blowing right in Addison's face.  And after 11 months of gentle newborn cries, this guy found his voice.  He began to shout and scream and cry in a way we've never heard before.  We have worked so hard to teach Addison how to communicate and express himself that we were both excited to recognize this next level of communication and sorry to know he was so uncomfortable.  At first we turned the buggy backwards to get the rain out of his face.  Allen held one side and I took the other.  That worked well as far as the rain went, but it was tough to maneuver since the back wheels aren't made to rotate.

Our challenges push us to greater blessings

In the end, Allen took Addison out of the buggy and ran with him for a a mile and a half.  And, while running and carrying almost 20 pounds, is not an easy task, Allen said he was glad it worked out that way.  Actually, this was probably the greatest challenge, and the biggest blessing, of the day, and not just because this is the first time since Addison was born I've been able to outrun Allen.  In fact, I had to drop back repeatedly to keep pace with my men.

You might remember we ran this race to remind us of life's challenges for Addison and all those with Down Syndrome.  But running 5K is no challenge for Allen.  He runs more than that several times each week on very rugged terrain.  However, running in the adverse conditions while carrying Addison in his arms upped the ante.  It was a beautiful reminder of the challenges God has set before us through Addison's life.  My husband has given me a lifetime of moments where my heart swells at his goodness and I feel an overwhelming sense of pride in who he is.  His devotion to God.  His love for people.  His work ethic.  The way he provides.  His loyalty.  And the list goes on and on.  The love he has for his children is at the top of the list for sure.  And the way he guards and protects and loves and pushes Addison is something poetic you have to live to understand.  In the year since Addison's birth I often roll over at night and see my husband's face and I am left breathless as I contemplate the depth of love this man has for our son.  And yet, I have never had more admiration for him than I did in those moments when I looked up and saw him running with our baby gathered to himself in an attempt to comfort Addison and keep him warm and dry so they might finish the race together.

You can bet it made the race more difficult.  And you can bet it slowed us down considerably.  And I am sure people were wondering why we didn't just haul off into one of the public buildings along the way, as others with buggies had done.  But for me this was a picture of the beautiful journey God blessed us with the moment Addison was born.  Our son will likely always have to work longer and harder to do the things other people take for granted.  Allen and I are blessed to be the ones God chose to be his guides and advocates along the way.  And while we wouldn't change that for anything, we are learning a lot about how to slow down.  How to accomplish less.  How to be less.  We can never help Addison if we are running ahead to a place where he can't keep up with us.  Our whole lives Allen and I were the first in our classes, the best in our careers, and trailblazers in our parenting.  But now we are learning how to slow down to Addison's pace.  As we are learning to teach him and meet his needs, we are learning how to simply be less than we have been for our entire lives.  It is not a bad place, just something different.  We couldn't finish this race first, or even in the middle if Addison was to be with us.  In fact, we were in the 290's.  But we got to run the race with someone we think is pretty special.  That is an honor we would have missed out on if we were in the front of the crowd.

Of all the things we took away from the experience the greatest will always be this.  Sometimes there will be rain blowing in your face, and you will have to carry extra weight, and you may even end up way behind the pack.  In fact, you may end up finishing far behind everyone else.  But in the end the time it takes is not what counts.  The important matter is that we cross the finish line.

I am sorry to say it was raining so hard there are no pictures to be had.  I would love to have a photo of Allen and Addison together to paste in Addison's scrapbook.  Or a picture of our beautiful family huddled together in the pouring rain waiting for their brother when we finally got to the finish line.  Everyone else had cleared out quickly to drier and warmer spots.  But they weren't going anywhere until they cheered their Henry on.  That's what family is folks.  And that is why, no matter what he learns or where he goes, Addison is already a success in this world.  Because standing beside him in the storms of life are 8 amazing smiling faces encouraging him through every struggle and cheering him on to every victory.

 "... and let us run with patience the race which is set before us..."   Hebrews 12:1

Discerning God's Will As A Couple

I received this message from a sweet newly married couple.  It is such a good followup to our discussion on Children and God's will in our lives.  They have given me permission to share it here.

Kat Ok prep for semi long text - so, in short, your recent blog post fit right in the center of a lot of conversations we have been having lately. Before we got married we knew we wanted a large family and knew we were against using any preventative measures, I.e. The pill, iud, etc. but our plan, and what we have been using is a form of NFP. More recently, however, we've really been questioning about fully turning our family planning over to the Lord. Obviously we've been spending a lot of time in prayer and scripture, but we were wondering if you had any other suggestions of resources that helped you and Allen make this decision. Any direction, and prayer for guidance, would be greatly appreciated :) side note - glad to hear yesterday's run went well!
Dear Friend,

I just love the way you and your husband live your lives so intentionally. Most people do not and then they wonder why they wake up one day and their lives are a mess or they've wasted most of their time on this earth in vanity. 

You know the best advice I can give you in trying to truly discern God's will for your life is to consider the scripture in Isaiah 55:9.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Truly ask the Lord to take away all your preconceived notions. Ask Him to remove all the beliefs or ideas you have formed with influences and prejudices from your worldly experiences. And most importantly ask Him to fill your hearts with his thoughts and his ways.

When Allen and I feel as if we really need to discern God's will, we have always found it helpful to spend some time in prayer and fasting. Because of your health history, I wouldn't necessarily recommend you specifically fast. Because of my diabetes it is medically unsafe for me to fast as I used to. However, I can join in by doing a juice fast that will keep my blood sugar balanced or by giving up unnecessary things, and especially luxuries, such as coffee and chocolate. Every time you feel hungry or miss those goodies you are reminded to pray. It is also helpful to have a verse to meditate on during this time. Such as Isaiah 55:9. 

At times we also ask special friends who are dedicated prayer partners to join us in a time of prayer or likewise we will spend a time in prayer or fasting together on their behalf. You and your husband might consider asking a couple you trust to join you in praying for this decision. Simply asking for someone to stay in prayer for a decision you need to make will be more than sufficient if you do not feel you want to share the specifics. Allen and I would be glad to join you as well, if you wish. 

A little side note is building this sort of prayer relationship with a few close couples will be an invaluable relationship for you over the years. I can not tell you how many times we have all turned to each other for our own needs, our children's needs, our churches' needs, various missionaries, outreach opportunities, our extended families... and the list goes on and on. It has been such a blessing to share the praises of answered prayers together and to uplift each other through the greatest times of trial. 

April 10, 2014

The Story of Two Quilts

I promised a friend of mine I would post the pictures of my latest quilt project.... last fall.  It has seriously taken me longer to put the photos up then it did to make the quilts.  In fact, Brianna took these photos for me in February and even uploaded them but I never got around to actually writing a post.
Which is saying a lot!  I do all my quilting by hand so it can take me months to finish a quilt.
The one above is Samuel's.  He chose all the fabrics and helped me decide on the pinwheel design.  I loved his choice of fabrics so much I told him he will have to choose all my fabrics from now on.  I do not have a great eye for such things but he just walked in the fabric store and said, "I like this... and this... and this..."
The way these blocks are made there was so much wasted fabric when you trimmed the blocks down before piecing the final pinwheels together.  I was thinking what a pity it is.  When my grandmother made a quilt it was a matter of need.  They were cold.  They couldn't afford high heating expenses.  They made quilts.  And they couldn't afford designer fabrics.  They used the scraps of whatever else was no longer good for anything else... including linens, curtains, clothes and even feed sacks.
And here we spend $100 on fabric to make a quilt and are left with a bag full of scraps that presumably would end up in a box in the attic.  I was pregnant with Addison at the time and decided to piece those scraps together into a quilt for him.  And the one below was the result.  You can see slight variations in the pinwheels.
I have sewed something special for each of my kids.  I wanted to finish Samuel's before I worked on Henry's because he had waited patiently for his turn to have a Mama quilt.  But he told me I should finish Henry's first because a new baby was going to need a quilt to keep warm.
So as my pregnancy progressed with Henry it was a race to finish his quilt before he came.  Which I did just a week or so before his arrival.
Kaitlin was inspired by the remaining scraps to makeover his bassinet.  He's just about getting to the point where he will need to move to a regular crib and we are all sorry to know his beautiful bed will be packed away.
The last three quilts I have made had button details.  The kids love the way it looks.  I love the way it looks, too.
 If you are a quilter I will warn you that you need to reinforce in the layers with some interfacing because the tugging on the buttons does weaken the backing fabric.
I don't do much quilting in the summer.  We are outside all the time and it is not necessarily a project you can just carry out to the pool.  Plus, quilting is a warm sort of activity and Maryland summer's can get very warm. I ended up finishing Sammy's quilt on our trip to Boston last November.  I had thought to tuck it away until Christmas.  But Sam kept asking me how it was coming.  So one night, after he was asleep, I covered him up with his quilt.
Now I am back to a multi year quilt project of finishing one of my grandmother's quilts.  It is so close to done and I had really thought to have it finished this winter.  But, to be honest, my hands are at a point that I have hardly worked on it.  I have started a new treatment for arthritis in the last month and I am having great results with it so hopefully soon you will be seeing my namesakes finished project up here.

How about you?  What projects have you finished up lately or what are you working on now?