Monday, November 29, 2010

Shutterfly

Wow, I am so excited! Shutterfly is offering 50 FREE holiday photo cards to ALL bloggers! I love sending out Christmas cards each year and have always done so with Shutterfly. They have a ton of great options for Christmas or New Years cards at a great price. It's so fun to browse all their great designs. http://shutterfly.com/cards-stationary/christmas-cards All the spending this time of year can add up, so Im thankful Shutterfly has given bloggers this awesome opportunity!

We have used Shutterfly in the past for many different things and I have always been so thrilled with our results. I can't tell you how many times I get emails for 50 free prints, a free calendar or free photo book. They recently did a free calendar promotion and they turn out awesome.
Check them out to see about getting a great calendar for the upcoming year. http://shutterfly.com/calendars

Shutterfly goes way beyond just Christmas, too. They have adorable photo cards for things such as baby annoucements. http://shutterfly.com/cards-stationary They also have amazing photo books-which is my personal fav. They often send out emails offering FREE photo books. These books are not cheap, so it's an awesome deal. I was able to make Rob a beautiful Father's Day book for just the price of shipping last year! It is definately a treasured keepsake!

Bloggers, click here for more information on how to get your 50 FREE Christmas cards! http://blog.shutterfly.com/5358/holiday2010-blog-submission-form

Monday, November 22, 2010

Please Pray With Us







I read this passage this morning and was really humbled thinking about how it applies to our life:



"Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?...For the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made it known to your servant. How great you are, O Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you...your servant has found courage to offer you this prayer. O Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant...with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever." (2 Sam. 7:18-29)



I found myself humbled by how much God has done in Ansley's life. It is amazing how many times He has shown up and shown Himself strong and mighty. We are so thankful that Ansley is doing so well. We are starting to get into uncharted territory as far as Ansley's diagnosis goes--meaning Ansley's progress is becoming more and more unheard of for her condition. The "best case scenario" was to make it a year before big delays and signs started showing up. At 17 months and still age appropriate, we are more and more able to say with full confidence that Ansley is what we have always known her to be--a miracle. But, her progress has not been accomplished without the power of prayer. Therefore, we have decided to place Ansley's official 6 month goals out for all of you to pray specifically for her (plus some ones we added at the end ;) While the following list may seem completely random, they are a combination of gross motor, fine motor, balance, coordination, cognitive, social, linguisitc, and mental development. They represent an array of developmental progress. These are her developmental goals to be accomplished by April of 2011:



1. Learn how to go down stairs (safely that is!)

2. Kick a ball consistently without falling down

3. Gain better balance (She is getting better everyday)

4.Increase vocabulary to more than 50 words (She is at about 20 right now! Praise God. Pray for more clarity, articulation, and consistency).

5. Follow two and three step commands. (emerging skill.. meaning she is beginning to do it)

6. Use a neat pincer grasp to pick up small objects. (emerging and improving leaps and bounds)

7. Stack items during play. (emerging)

8. Drink from on open cup. (We aren't too worried about this one. Jordan and I laugh that we will wait until the TEIS cleaning specialists offers assistance to meet this goal!)

9. Begin sitting at the table in her own chair

10. Increase problem solving skills.

11. Increase ability to feed herself with a spoon.

12. Begin feeding herself with a fork.

13. Imitate household chores (She has starting swiffering as of recent! Very cool development and very cute!)

14. Begin showing ownership of her toys (begin saying "mine")

15. Taking and sustaining a bite on her own. (emerging)

16. Begin putting on shoes. (emerging)

17. Begin taking off shoes. (emerging)

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As for our list: Continue to pray that God would prevent Ansley from having seizures, her language would explode before our next meeting with her neurologist, God would give us courage and endurance, spiritual protection, keep our hope strong, and continue to use Ansley's story to tell His story of redemption and restoration in what feel like hopeless situations.



Thanks so much for joining us on this journey! We have been able to go into Ansley's last two six month evalutions with everything checked off the list. We pray the same for her next one in April.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Giving Thanks

Ephesians 5:19-20
"Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
I'm so thankful to spend my moments and days with my treasures. All of us parents have moments that drive us to the brink of insanity, but the joy... oh the joy children bring. Sometimes it seems so taboo to talk about the struggles of parenting; like no one wants to admit the realities of how difficult it can truly be at times. But, it is ridiculous how much the difficulties are trumped by the moments that you'll remember forever. The late nights in the rocking chair, the laughter of sibling love, the things that come out of their mouths (!), the questions they ask that melt your heart, when you begin to see a desire for God in their little hearts... treasures.
When I wake up in the morning with the mindset of making my day with them about bringing praise and worship before the Lord with the way I mother them, it's outrageous how differently our day goes. Especially in those challenging discipline moments. Zachary has such a strong will and there is a thick, black line between breaking a child's will and breaking their spirit or tearing them down with words. Discipline is a crucial time to press in with love. It's hard sometimes to find the balance between being firm and stern, but doing so in love. Especially when you feel like you're going to go stark raving mad : ) Grace.
******
Zachary walked around laughing hysterically at himself for a good twenty minutes listening to different sounds in the stethescope.

I'm sure you can imagine the sounds that a 4 1/2 year boy might come up with


One of our many "follow the leader" games came shortly thereafter. Ansley simply grabs onto whatever Zachary is holding and he drags her behind him while they both laugh their little heads off.




And oh dear... I consider you warned before viewing this next photo of Rob's annual tradition. After he is over growing out his beard, he trims it down piece by piece. All he needed was a cowboy hat and he could've walked onto a western movie.
I present... the Fu Man Chu (sp?):



Girlfriend has a new trick...


Turning, tuuuurning...


She did it!


Psalm 68:34 "Proclaim the power of God..."

By the way... did you notice the chair in the background of the fu man chu picture? It is missing it's seat cover. Why? Because that was the starting point of our weeking stomach bug-fest. I was in the kitchen when Zachary started screaming. His stomach came up and up and up in the chair before I could move him. Poor guy. He had a rough night and the next morning it was my turn!! Lucky for me it was the weekend so Rob was home to take care of the kids while I was unconscious in bed! We are all better now and thank the Lord Rob and Ansley did not get it!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Come and See!!

Psalm 66:5
"Come and SEE what God has done,
how awesome his works in man's behalf!"


We have prayed so often in our pleading for Ansley's deliverance and healing that Rob and I would have the opportunity to spend our lives sharing Ansley's story. Pleading that if the Lord gave her this merciful healing through the great display of his power, that we would forever be bondslaves (in a good way!) to being obedient with our lips and telling of his marvelous work in her. Well, today I got that chance! My sister in law, Holly, is the leader of a moms group at a nearby church. Their theme for the year is "Testify" and Holly asked me to come testify about God's power and share our story. I was so excited at getting the chance to share what the Lord has done in Ansley's life, but also nervous out of my mind trying to prepare! I don't know of too many of us who are all that comfortable with public speaking! But, I felt confident in knowing the Lord would accomplish His purposes in bringing Himself glory and praise through His glory in Ansley's story. They had a morning and an evening session, so it was double duty. One beautifully surprising thing was how much calmness the Lord just washed over me. I was literally going nuts the entire week before in nervousness, but that morning I was just excited to share and really wasn't nervous at all! Another HUGE shocker was that I not shed a single tear. Im typically a sobby, weeping mess when I share our journey and aside from getting shaky voiced a few times, I had dry eyes! So so thankful for today!

"Our God is a God who saves..." Psalm 67:20

Random story for this next picture... For those of you who don't know, when Ansley was about a month old, Rob sliced the tip of his thumb about 95% of the way off with a tablesaw. I ran to get our neighbor to stay with the kids while Rob shoved his hand in a bucket of ice. We live relatively close to an ER and had a humorous moment while flooring it, flashers a-blazing down the road. We turned onto the main road and as I was going about 70 m.p.h. a motorcycle passed us! I looked at Rob, who was as calm as a cucumber because it seems to be physically impossible for him to fret, and said, "Hm, well maybe he cut off his thumb, too." We laughed. Then he said he was getting lightheaded, so I focused back on the task at hand. No pun intended : ) Anyway, it was rough little ER visit (obviously more so for Rob than me who had to get multiple shots inside the openness of his thumb). When we got home later that night, I made sure Rob was comfortable in bed with all of his fashioned pillow elevation devices around him (the dr. said it HAD to stay elevated while he slept) and went downstairs to the 4 week old sleeping in the pac n play.
I remember being so incredibly shaken and feeling terrified to go to sleep. What if Rob called for me and I couldn't hear him? What if something happened to Ansley? I grabbed my Bible and opened it and had one of those moments where you are just so overwhelmed with how ALIVE God's word truly is to us. My eyes immediately saw Psalm 4:8 that says, "I will lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Great moment. It became a verse I pray over my babes everynight at bedtime and when those pesky nighttime battles (nightmares, fussing etc) come. So, all of that to say... I love this shirt. And the girl wearing it. Not in that order.