Thursday, February 25, 2010

Time To Get Moving!

It has been a little while since we have posted (which will make sense in just a moment.) I hope all of you all are doing well and again would like to thank you for remembering our daughter in prayer.

What has been going on with us the last few weeks is easiest to explain using a metaphor. In regards to our daughter, the whole month of January (and especially the last week of Jan.) was the deepest darkest, most difficult, most desperate valley of her life. Then, on Feb. 1st after meeting with our neurologist, we were on top of a mountain! God's power, grace, and compassion were displayed in ways that even leave us a little speechless that day. Everything was great and Ansley started doing remarkable things left and right. The past few weeks--to continue the metaphor--have been spent "taking in the view". If you could imagine a long hike with an overlook somewhere along the trail and you stop for a breather, some water, and a few moments to enjoy the view. This is where we have been for the past couple weeks: Resting in the Lord, His wonderous works, His glory, His peace, His comfort, His fame, and His holiness. It has been a wonderful time. We are committed to taking moments like these when needed and not making Ansley's life a non-stop trudge up a difficult trail. We know we need to take moments to sit back, all development and dreams aside, and simply enjoy our daughter. We have been doing that in the month of February.

Then, as with any stop along the trail you stretch, stand up, take a deep breath and say: "Time to get moving." Both Jordan and I, separately in our prayer times, felt the Lord calling us to "get back in the race" if you will.. and persist boldly in prayer for the "life abundant" He has promised (John 10:10). We want to let you know how you can specifically pray for Ansley.

1. She is sick (again, I know!) A cold: runny nose, cough, loss of appetite, and grumpy! Pray she would recover quickly.

2. Her legs, arms, and ankles have stiffened up more recently. Pray God will loosen her muscles and joints to move freely as He has so faithfully in the past.

3. She is showing a lot of signs of wanting to move, but she lacks the arm strength and coordination to get that going. Pray God would give her both to enable her to start "army crawling".

4. Her babbling is ongoing, but lacks a lot of variety in sound. She kind of squeals (a lot!) and says "eeeeyyyyeeeaaaa" Things like that. Pray for her language development and that God would grant her the precious gift of speaking in her life.

5. Pray she would reach for us. I can't tell you how much it would melt our hearts to have our baby girl reaching up for momma and daddy. (This is cognitive development. A huge praise is that Ansley is interacting a ton with her mirror image and has gained more words in word recognition.. a HUUUUUGE praise!!)

6. Pray her brain and body would grow. She grew 3/4" in length at our last weigh in! which was great, but her weight and head size did not show nearly as good growth.

7. Lastly, we always said in the fall, "How awesome would it be if our neurologist walked in on her appointment in February and she was sitting up all by herself." And you know what? That is exactly what happened! So, we pray that when Doc walks in the door at her appointment in July, we pray she will be walking. I know that might sound crazy, but then again our neurologist would have told us we were crazy to think she would be sitting up all by herself as soon as February! God is not bound. God is not limited. God is not tamed. Pray He would show Christ's power through our daughter.

And, of course, by popular demand...here are some recent pictures:


Zachary can make Ansley laugh like no one else. He was jumping silly in the hallway and she was laughing at him. I love this picture.

I just find this picture to be humorous. It looks like Zachary is giving Ansley CPR. Regardless, she seems to find it entertaining : )

Zachary doing a little scissor practicing. My heart and circle were a little ambitious! He loves to use his scissors and it such a delight cleaning up all the tiny little pieces of paper. We need a dustbuster!


Zachary was working hard to show Ansley how to crawl. This may be a little advanced for now : )


My mother in law, Jan, asked for me recent, vertical pictures of the kids and I realized I didnt have any past Novemeber so we did an impromptu photo shoot.


Our handsome little man


Sweet Ansley Kate



With the teaser of warm weather we had last week, it was nice to get outside and do one of Zachary's favorite things. He calls this his "motorcycle" truck. One of his favorite little buddies is the precious 5 year old girl across the street. She always tries to tell him it's a bike, but he says, "No, it's my motorcycle truck."


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Here I Raise My Ebenezer

"Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, 'Thus far the Lord has helped us." (1 Sam. 7:12)

Jordan wrote me a really encouraging note that looked back on some of the things that God has done in our daughter's life thus far. Dad gave me the idea of calling these moments our "Ebenezers". I thought I would share the reflection with you:

Remember when Ansley wouldn't hold her head up or look at us? She seemed so far behind & look at her now!

Remember when a week ago she wouldn't eat anything? And, look at her now.

Remember when our pediatrician said her brain may have already hit its plateau? Now she understands "look at the light".

Remember when our neurologist said she may never walk back in October? Then, on Feb. 1st he said, "I have no doubt she will run and play."

Remember when he said she may never talk? Now she is cooing and babbling in response to our words, and interacting vocally with us?

Remember the way your heart felt when he said "I am in awe of what she can do"?

Remember when he said "no way, not possible" to the prospect of her sitting up on time?

Remember when her foot that had been locked tight "just loosened up" in a week or two?

Remember when we thought there was no way around a feeding tube?

Remember what it felt like when she started sitting up on her own?

Remember spending 3 nights in Children's Hospital because they thought she might have meningitis only for her to have a normal viral infection?

Remember being told she will probably need a brace for her left leg? Now she is standing on her feet better, and more naturally, every day.

Remember what it felt to walk away from Children's after our last neurologist appointment?

Remember that our daughter has 100% by the blood of Christ, His mercy and compassion, been protected from seizures.

We thank you all for joining with us. Your prayers are constantly rising to "Him who is Able" and God has shown tremendous grace and compassion towards our little girl. We give Him all the glory for the great things He has done in our daughter's life. We urge you to continue to pray for her physical and cognitive development. Pray she will continue to "awe" and "amaze" the medical community.

Secondly, I challenge you to sit for a moment and raise an ebenezer yourself. Think back over how "Thus far the Lord has helped [me]". I urge you to remember the great things He has done in your own life. These memories become our sustenance in times of weakness and drought.

"Here I raise my Ebenezer; here by thy great help I've come. And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home. Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of of God; He, to rescue me from danger, interposed His precious blood." - Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Unexplainable

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think...to Him be the glory." (Eph. 3:20-21)

Today has a lot of praises to share. God took us through quite a string of events today that we just felt stirred to share. (along with the "grand finale" at the end!)

1. To start things off, Ansley has broken her rough sleeping habits! Now she is a decent sleeper, and it isn't like we are up for hours (cough cough, like we were with Zachary!) but she does wake up once to feed. We started the day off with both children sleeping in until 7:00. (For those of you without kids, yes I did say "sleeping in until 7:00").

2. Ansley ate a decent breakfast. Covered in bananas and oatmeal, I still managed to get a decent serving in her.

3. I read an awesome devotion from Spurgeon's morning and evening. It challenged me and encouraged me to "keep sowing hope." I shared it with Jordan, and I will share it with you:

Only be thou strong and very courageous.” (Joshua 1:7)

Our God’s tender love for his servants makes him concerned for the state of their inward feelings. He desires them to be of good courage. Some esteem it a small thing for a believer to be vexed with doubts and fears, but God thinks not so. From this text it is plain that our Master would not have us entangled with fears. He would have us without carefulness, without doubt, without cowardice. Our Master does not think so lightly of our unbelief as we do. When we are desponding we are subject to a grievous malady, not to be trifled with, but to be carried at once to the beloved Physician. Our Lord loveth not to see our countenance sad. It was a law of Ahasuerus that no one should come into the king’s court dressed in mourning: this is not the law of the King of kings, for we may come mourning as we are; but still he would have us put off the spirit of heaviness, and put on the garment of praise, for there is much reason to rejoice. The Christian man ought to be of a courageous spirit, in order that he may glorify the Lord by enduring trials in an heroic manner. If he be fearful and fainthearted, it will dishonour his God. Besides, what a bad example it is. This disease of doubtfulness and discouragement is an epidemic which soon spreads amongst the Lord’s flock. One downcast believer makes twenty souls sad. Moreover, unless your courage is kept up, Satan will be too much for you. Let your spirit be joyful in God your Saviour, the joy of the Lord shall be your strength, and no fiend of hell shall make headway against you; but cowardice throws down the banner. Moreover, labour is light to a man of cheerful spirit; and success waits upon cheerfulness. The man who toils, rejoicing in his God, believing with all his heart, has success guaranteed. He who sows in hope shall reap in joy; therefore, dear reader, “be thou strong, and very courageous.”

4. Seeing the sun for the first time in weeks it seems, I went for a run. When I run near our house, I always take the same 2 mile loop through all the nearby streets. Today, I wanted to try something different and looked for something to break the normal routine. About a quarter of a mile from our house is a gravel access road to a cell tower (or so I thought). I have run down this road 3 or 4 times only to turn around in disappointment because it dead ends after about 75 yards. Today, I thought--what the heck--and tried it again. At the end of the road I noticed something I had never seen before: a trail. Then it made sense, I had never been back here in the winter. The trail was always hidden behind the leaves. I kept running. Low and behold, a quarter of a mile from my house is an old greenway trail that runs along the ridge for a couple miles! It was awesome. It felt like my own private nature trail, it even runs by a pond in the middle of the woods. Now, I know it seems like I have taken forever to tell you how excited I am about this new trail, but God had an awesome lesson in it.
When I got back home, I was walking and I thought to myself, "I have lived here for almost 4 years, and have run by that gravel road 100 times and never found the trail." Then God spoke into my soul and said, "I am full of surprises. And, when the time is right, I will give them to you. Just wait on me." It was awesome. Four years, then God opens up something awesome in my own back yard. I thought, "God has all kinds of surprises lying in wait inside our daughter, and--when the time is right--He will reveal them."

5. When I walked in the door, Jordan started to feed Ansley and she ate more than she has ever eaten, faster, and easier than she has ever eaten. Today she ate more food than she ever has. God is full of surpises.

6. I heard a new song by Kutless that was awesome. Jordan is going to add it to the blogs mixpod.

GRAND FINALE

"I am the light of the world, he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life." (John 8:12)

This is something we have been really excited to share. Might get the kleenex box handy, because this might make you misty! Ansley continues to need prayer for her physical and cognitive development. She is a little behind "normal functioning" physically, and a little more noticeably behind cognitively. We have been working with her specialist on cognitive growth and development a lot in the last few weeks. Then, God had another surprise for us. Out of nowhere Ansley started doing something incredible. Ansley has achieved a cognitive development indicator 4 and half months early!!! She is displaying word-recognition! This is something that usually begins around 12 months, and Ansley knows, understands, and responds to a word. When we showed our developmental specialist she was speechless. She literally said, "Wow. Ummm...I don't know what to tell you. Yeah, she really is showing word recognition. Ummmm...that's not supposed to happen for a while. I...I don't know what to say. It's unexplainable." The funny thing is that right now there is only one word that Ansley understands and responds to...Light. We can hold Ansley in any room of our house and say, "Ansley look at the light." And she will do it! Our daughter, since the day she was born has taught us all a lot about how to live looking at the Light. This new development is a grace given to us to give us courage and hope. Our daughter is "advanced" in this cognitive functioning. No other words have come, only "the light". I think God is trying to teach us something with this. I believe He is quietly calling us all to look towards the light. I pray that all of you reading will join us in praise, and with our daughter, take a moment to look at the Light of the world.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Feeding tube shelved!


Psalm 31:19 "How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you..


I first want to thank you all who pray so diligently and boldly for Ansley. We appreciate it more than words can say! I have just gotten home from the pediatric GI visit with the nutritionist and Ansley has had significant weight gain the past 10 days!! She was very pleased with her growth and the feeding tube is off the table. Glory to God!!! We will be going to our pediatrician every 2-4 weeks for regular weight/growth checks so please continue to join us in prayer for Ansley's growth and feeding. The feeding is definately a struggle, so it is undoubtedly the work of the Lord that she has "all of a sudden" gained weight in the past ten days. We have been praying Psalm 68:28 "Show your power, O God; show us your strength, O God, as you have done before." over Ansley's life and the Lord continues to show favor and mercy. We have felt so heavily burdened at the thought of the surgery and feeding tube. With the way things started crashing so quickly a couple of weeks ago, the idea of a feeding tube seemed so permanent and like such a sign of what her life may look like. We could just as easily have gotten bad news today and had to praise Him through the grief, but the Lord has shown Ansley and us a great compassion today and we are so abundantly thankful for this good gift.



Psalms 66: 1-3 "Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious! Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power..."



We're pretty joyful today!!!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Prayer Requests

Psalm 13:6 "I will sing to the Lord for He has been good to me."
It is such a joy to look back over the journey we have been on and the incredible news that Monday brought. We praise God and give Him all the glory. But, the journey is nowhere near complete. We must keep doing what we are doing- calling the saints to join together to pray for our daughter. Here is how you can pray for her now:

1. She is sick. (I got it too!) Fever, runny nose, congestion- your normal run of the mill cold. Pray she will get better quickly. (more to come on this)

2. She is having a lot of trouble eating still. This was getting better this past weekend, but then she got sick. We are trying not to force feed her when she is sick....but, she meets with a nutritionist Monday, and our peditrician in a week and a half. If she doesn't start putting on weight we will have to get a feeding tube. So pray that her sickness subsides, her appetite increases, and she will be able to eat well and not aspirate (swallowing and getting liquid into your lungs- this has been an issue in the past).

3. Her ankles and arms are very stiff. We went through this with her legs a few months ago. We have to stretch and massage them. Pray God would loosen her muscles and joints to move freely and build strength.

4. Pray for her to begin to meet the next round of developmental milestones.

It is always important to give God the credit for Answered Prayer:

1. The twitching has lessened with every day!

2. As we have tried to feed Ansley more and more, we have not had to go to Children's for x-rays and tests for aspiration and pneumonia!

3. Ansley's ankles are looser than they were a week ago.

KEEP ON PRAYING. GOD IS MOVING. There are so many of you praying, and God is responding.

Finally, we don't want to be selfish with all this prayer time! Please email us if there is anything we could pray for for your children. If anything, we have learned the value of God's people uniting in prayer. Please let us know if we can pray for your children.

It has been awhile since we've posted any pictures, so here are a few recent shots.


Zachary still seems to find playing with the toys in the store incredibly fun while not neccessarily noticing the 'leaving empty handed' part, so while on a recent Babies R Us run, I found them running 'lightening fast' down the aisles.


Here is another reminder of the sweet angel you have been praying for..



Monday evening, Dan and Jan (Rob's parents) treated us to dinner to celebrate God's goodness. His brother, Kevin, joined us as well. We ordered champagne (which planted questions in our waitresses mind on a Monday at 5:00 p.m.) and Jan brought me sparkling cider




Big girl sitting in a high chair for the first time




We gave her the pacifier to try to take a little snooze with Grandma, but she would have none of that idea. They look good in their matching purple shirts. I'm on a purple thing right now..



Toasting (don't worry, it's apple cider!) to a day we will remember and look back on the rest of our lives as a day that the Lord showed Himself to be strong, mighty to save and limitless. Praise Jesus for the good gifts of this day!!!!

Our waitress asked us what we were celebrating and I told her we were celebrating God doing the impossible . (This definately received quite the blank stare of... "Huh?") She came back with the champagne and told us she now had to know what happened so I very briefly told her seven months ago up until the events of Monday and on the back of the receipt, she left us a sweet note that will be going in our memory box as an awesome keepsake to remember that day!




Zachary serves as quite the distraction for Ansley Kate while she is eating. Sometimes this is good .. and sometimes not so much. I took a few of them today laughing together. He is so in love with her. He often greets her when she wakes up or comes into the room with, "Oh, hey precious wittle gwurl." Seriously, adorable.



Zachary loves to put his hair in Ansley's face and she thinks its absolutely hysterical.




Just lovin on each other!




Sweet Laughter





Angel Girl


This is Zachary fixing his truck engine with a reciprocating saw and all the neccessary tools for such adventures..



John 14:27 "Peace I give you; my peace I leave with you... The perfect verse to describe our hearts since Monday... peace. From complete despair.. to complete peace. Through the grace of Jesus Christ. We're so thankful to belong to the God of hope.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Lifting up Banners!!!!

In the first post we sent out last week asking for prayer, Rob included the passage from Psalm 20 including verses 4-5. It says "May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests. Today is a day that we are lifting up our banners and rejoicing that the Lord has granted our requests. When we first got Ansley's results from her MRI back in October, it wasn't long before the Lord starting bringing His word before us and pointing our hearts to call upon His power for Ansley. Many along the way have looked us at like we're crazy, have made their opinions known about how unrealistic we are being and we even ourselves at times have thought we are nuts for what we are doing. But, today, the Lord showed that He is the God of impossible. That he has heard the cries of His people, turned His ear toward our pleas and delivered! I have spent months since those MRI results hoping and praying that we would hear two specific things from Ansley's neurologist at her follow up appointments, and particularly the one today. Today.. we heard those two things come out of her doctor's mouth.

When the doctor first walked in, we did the typical 'hello, how are you?' type of run downs you do in appointments and we informed him we came prepared with a list of questions and concerns. He all the while was just staring at Ansley, who was in turn, (while chewing on her beloved rattle) staring right back. When he didn't say anything, I figured that meant launch into the questions, so as I got out my paper and began to address our questions, he held up his hand and said, "Wait. Let's wait just a minute on the questions because I'm quite amazed. Let's talk about her for a few minutes first, because just by looking at her.... I am in awe." These words were the sweetest music to our ears and we have spent months hoping and praying to hear those EXACT words come out of his mouth when he saw Ansley. Things only got better from there. We talked about how Ansley has cruised through one milestone after another including rolling over, reaching and sitting up all right on time. When we said she was sitting up, he kind of jerked back looking confused and just said, "Oh, wow, that is amazing. Wow, if you had told me back in October that she would be sitting up and doing all that she is doing, I would have said no way--rolling over, maybe, but sitting up--not possible." OH MY GRACIOUS!!!!!! We took that opprotunity to say that the Lord has heard our prayers and is moving in a mighty way in her. He then went on to say another phrase we so longed and prayed to hear and we pray will be words we hear in regards to her development for the rest of her life. He said, "Well, according to the results from her MRI, that is not the baby sitting in front of me. I would have never said what she is doing is possible based on the MRI." WOW! We are so in awe that the Lord has granted us this. We are absolutely in awe of what He has done. It gives us further confidence to boldly approach his throne with our pleas and requests for Ansley and we ask you to continue in joining us. I just looked over at my Bible laying open next to me and my eyes went to the perfect passage to describe where our hearts were even just a few days ago to where they are now.

Psalm 40: 1-3
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.

God showed us today that He has done things that are impossible in Ansley. He has shown that He has heard our prayers and delivered our requests. Ansley can do things that are impossible according to what her MRI results showed and it is because the Lord has spoken it to be. He lifted us out of the pit of despair with all the bad news last week, and gave us a firm place to stand. I pray that many will see this glory of the Lord and put their trust in Him. We have been praying Matthew 19:26 ".. All things are possible with God." Today, the Lord showed Himself strong and mighty. We are unbelievably grateful and will lift up our banners of praise to Him!!!! We also hope that this shows all who see this and know of Ansley's story that the Lord is moving in a mighty way. Persist on in prayer for our girl. God is moving. Her story has just begun..