There were so many fun trees and Ansley absolutely LOVED all the fun lights!
I am so in love with this picture it makes my heart hurt! You cannot help but smile when you see Ansley smile. She has the absolute joy of the Lord shining through her face when she smiles. I know that I'm partial, but she is just so beautiful!
Zachary really enjoyed decorating his jingle bell ornanament. Still can't figure out if he is left or right handed. Its still 50/50. Which, of course, Rob just says he'll be a switch hitter : )
The next three pictures are just to show Zachary's drama. Notice his facial expression changes in a rapid photo shoot. People always asked us when we found out we were having a girl if we were ready for the drama. Oh, we know drama!
Haha! He never fails to entertain, thats for sure!
I have lots of good news to share, but I first want to send out a HUGE thank you. My sweet sister in law, Holly, (though she will deny this through and through) has orchestrated some sort of "Count it All Joy" scheme. We have been receiving "surprises" on our doorstep and in our mailbox for two weeks now. Each "blessing" has some sort of "Count it All Joy" label, and let me just say.. it is accomplishing the intended goal. We could never even begin to express how much it has blessed us. We have been keeping the front blinds closed so that we don't accidentally catch someone. I still don't know how we have not seen anyone! We actually did once, because my sweet little nephew accidentally banged on the door. I thought it was intentional, so we opened it, but never would have if we had known it was an accident. I wish I could give individual thank yous and hugs to everyone who has been a part of this, but if you have been and are reading this.. THANK YOU!!!!! Everyday when we receive our "blessing" I always think of Paul's letters and specifically Philippians 1:3-4 I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with JOY.." From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!!!!
Now to all the great news! Our early intervention specialist, Amy, comes every Monday to work with us. She continues to use the word "amaze" in some form when she works with Ansley. A couple of weeks ago, Ansley seemed to have strength in her abdomen overnight. She started bracing herself with her arm when she would fall to the side and can hold herself sitting up alone for sometimes 10 or so seconds now. Amy was in awe. We discussed Ansley's trouble on tummy time in that she continues to "sky dive" instead of use her arms to prop herself up and thats why she wasn't rolling tummy to back. (She started rolling back to tummy a couple of months ago) She gave me some techniques to try to help encourage her to brace herself on her arms. The next morning, I brought her downstairs to try them all out and the Lord, once again, just spoke strength into her arms overnight. It was like it was a different baby! I think I could make a flip book from all the pictures I took! She immediately pushed her entire chest off the floor with her hands and just started leaning to one side and the other, looking over her shoulder, and within a couple of minutes, just flipped right on over. I was crying, laughing and just saying "Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Jesus!" We had quite a funny moment when Zachary then started dancing around the room singing, "Thank you Jesus"! Haha! And again, Amy was in awe. She looked at me like I was speaking French when I told her that the Lord spoke strength into her arms overnight, but the glory will go nowhere else.
Another health issue of Ansley's that God has so mercifully delivered her from is aspiration. She had a barium swallow done a couple of months ago that showed one episode of aspiration (liquid getting into the airway while eating). The radiologist and GI weren't too concerned about it, just said to postpone solids. They wanted to wait and retest mid-January, but at her last appt, I really pushed to have her retested as soon as possible. So, she had the test and passed with flying colors!! 10 swallows of thin liquid, 10 of thick, and 10 spoon fed swallows all PERFECT! I was so excited to see her eat with a spoon bc she never had before. I was surprised at how thick the goop they gave her was. It had kind of a pudding consistency to it and the tech said she had a very "mature" swallow. I was absolutely elated! The tech turned to me and said, "Well, whatever problem she had is either better, or gone now." It was such a day of rejoicing. I remember praying that morning just that the Lord is sovereign and good, and at the end of the day, we would praise His name no matter what the results were, but that it would be a day for us to rejoice in His mercy and compassion. PRAY ANSWERED! There was no other word for the state of our hearts than rejoicing!
I am going through 'Morning and Evening' by Charles Spurgeon right now, and I want to share with you the morning of December 9th. Its a lengthy paragraph, but well worth the read.
Isaiah 30:18 "Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you.
God often delays in answering prayer..Jacob did not get the blessing from the angel until near the dawn of the day-he had to wrestle all night for it. The poor woman of Syrophenicia received no answer for a long while. Paul asked the Lord three times for "a thorn..in the flesh" to be taken from him, and he received no assurance that it would be removed, but instead a promise that God's grace would be sufficient for him. If you have been knocking at the gate of mercy and have received no answer, shall I tell you why the mighty Maker has not opened the door and let you in? Our Father has personal reasons for keeping us waiting. Sometimes it is to show His power and His sovereignty, so that we may learn that God has a right to give or to withhold. More often the delay is for our benefit. You are perhaps kept waiting in order that your desires may be more fervent. God knows that delay will quicken and increase desire, and that if He keeps you waiting, you will see your need more clearly and will seek more diligently, and that you will treasure the mercy all the more on account of the wait. There may also be something wrong in you that needs to be removed before the joy of the Lord is given. Perhaps your views of the gospel plan are confused, or you may be relying upon yourself instead of trusting simply and entirely in the Lord Jesus. Or God makes you wait for a while so that He may display the riches of His grace more abundantly in the end. You prayers are all filed in heaven, and if not immediately answered they are certainly not forgotten, but in a little while they will fulfilled to your delight and satisfaction. Do not allow despair to make you silent, but continue to present your requests to God.
I often find myself struggling because we sometimes "see" things that maybe don't seem quite right. The Holy Spirit spoke so strongly to me one evening in a moment like this and just said,"What have I not done? You have prayed that one milestone at a time I heal her. What has happened to make you think I'm not doing it?" I had no answer, because He has continued, by his mercy and compassion, to deliver her through milestone after milestone. He very overwhelmingly gave me the verse in 2 Corinthians 5:7 "walk by faith, not by sight.." It becomes so easy to fight the enemys attacks when the Lord writes His words on your heart. It is impossible to argue with TRUTH!
I had a sweet moment yesterday when we received a beautiful ornament with "Count it all JOY" written on the side. I (shockingly) started crying at all the thoughts the Lord simultaneously spoke into my heart. I thought about James 1:2 that speaks of 'counting it all joy' and that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. The Lord made it so clear that this valley is not just about the struggle, but about His favor on us because He is choosing to make us more like Himself because of this. Making that our primary focus when going through difficult circumstances makes the pill much easier to swallow. I honestly (and Rob as well) can say with all of my heart that I rejoice in these sufferings, because we are seeing the fruit that it is bringing. We could have never imagined the horror of these trials, but also could never have imagined how intensely God would forever change and transform our hearts. Rob was sharing with me the verse Hebrews 12:11 that spoke to him. It says.. "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." I cannot imagine walking through this, or any trial for that matter, without knowing the Lord is sovereign. Without knowing that every moment has been planned and ordained by our Maker and no situation, however out of control it may seem, is ever outside of what He allows. It makes me so thankful for the mercy of His choosing! That He has chosen us as His people, and He is incapable of breaking His word, so we have the full assurance that He will NEVER leave us or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:8) Amen!!!!!
Speaking of my child's nutty facial expressions. Do any 3 1/2 year old take normal pictures?
I won't tell you which one of us taught him the difference between 'comfortable clothes' and 'church clothes'. Nor will I tell you which one of us now has the responsibility of always dressing Zachary for church since said person taught him the distinction. Should I mention Zachary is not fond of the difference between the two? Nah, didn't think so.