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Archive for the ‘Joy’ Category

 Symbol of summer…sunrise on Ono Island, Alabama:  

 
 

   
  
Thank You, God, for some of the best summer memories yet, symbols of dreams come true…and glimpses of Heaven itself.

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Humanity …http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/humanity/

Medical technology gives us more choices in creating and controlling our destiny and that of our offspring.

It is estimated that 92% of fetuses who test positive for signs of Down syndrome today are aborted.

When David was in utero, all the tests came out “false negative.” We had no reason to believe anything was abnormal. His birth was normal – he came skidding out in 45 minutes flat, weighing in at 10 lbs 6 oz.

But he wouldn’t nurse, and his blood coagulated quickly – he resisted life initially, so measures were taken to keep him alive. He got blood transfusions (GIVE BLOOD!) and was the biggest, giant baby in the NICU.

A couple weeks after his birth, he tested positive for Trisomy 21. Fragile, he contracted pneumonia and his lungs collapsed 75%. He was airlifted on a Mercy Flight and was not expected to live.

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I pumped milk for him to be fed through a tube down his nose and into his stomach for months, while we lived in a Ronald McDonald House.

In his coma, we sang to him and talked to him, trying to give him the best of his only days on this earth.

Some argue that this is a waste of human and social resources. Had the fetus (David) been tested with today’s technology, it (he) could have been caught and prevented, and the six-figure price tag for his hospital care (at the time) could have been saved.

This is not a new concept; history repeats itself over the generations, but usually only the newer generations have forgotten the atrocities of the older generations. And…one thing leads to another….

Technologically advanced eugenics is indeed alive and well in the world today, whether we prefer to notice or not.

The prognosis was, if he didn’t come home in a casket and came home in a car seat instead, he’d be in a vegetative state at best, and could possibly live to age four or five.

Once I relinquished him to God, whether it be on earth or in heaven, somehow his flat line began to take off and he lived…(the little dickens extubated himself when he came out of his coma…he had a will to live).

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“Mighty David” defied all odds and, just like you and I, went on to do great things.

Like walk and talk and tickle and play in the band and paddle board and know Santa and be featured in the National Down Syndrome Society and Little League….nosiree, no vegetative state for HIM!

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imageMeeting Santa Claus while marching with the high school band in the Christmas Parade last year (He’d really hoped to meet Philip Phillips):

(Can you say JOY?)

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Quality of Life: Priceless

(beating Mom at push-ups)

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Don’t judge: there were abortions and one live birth prior to David, and two live births and four miscarriages after David…it always works out just the way God intends, even if we think we’re in charge!

No judgment, only LOVE and FULFILLMENT!

We do what we believe we must do when we must do it. God does what is meant to be, regardless.

Thanks, God, for Your perfect will and guidance….for rainbows out of clouds, for strength in weakness, for thumbs up in the face of Downs, for David and children all around the world who beat the odds and magnify Your glory, and for always being in control no matter what.

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Thank You for being an Awesome God!

 

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My friends, I have been taking a good long walk on my beach this spring and it has been nice.

I have seen so many miraculous things during my break from blogging. Things in me, things in my world.  More wonderful grace from God.

All these things have been here all along, it seems. I see this now. I guess I just need to stop long enough and really examine them.

You know, God has so many great things in this world of ours. There are so many great things of beauty. And many of these things reside in each of us. Miracles, if you will, that we were born with, that God has in each of our own worlds.

I have been walking into the hard breeze at times, sometimes into the brightness of the Son. I have been able to access answers to questions and miracles around me during my Spring Break from blogging.

I hope each of you find your own paths, to find answers in your own ways. These walks can really open your eyes!

I started this blog on my beach, hanging out my shingle under my beach umbrella so to speak, a good three years ago. It started simply as an expression for myself of the small things I notice in my world and how the Big Guy is so involved in our daily lives.

It helped me find and look to God for what I needed in my life all this time, seeing the good all around me, whether it was actually there or not. I cannot dismiss any of the good that came to me during this journal of my Musings by the Sea.

I have found a lot of answers in myself on my beach. Things I knew were there. Things I had forgotten about. And maybe some things I did not consider even possible, but they were there the whole time.

I have prayed for things. Lots of things. Many of my prayers have come true. Some in miraculous ways, diversions that I never saw coming. And other prayers that have gone unanswered. And I wonder if those were the prayers I should have been praying in the first place.

This past January, Alabama played Auburn, an instate bitter rivalry. The game came down to one final play, a field goal. I know I prayed so hard for that field goal to go through the uprights, just as thousands of other Alabama fans were praying desperately for the same thing.

Likewise, thousands of Auburn diehard fans must have been praying for a completely different outcome. Somebody’s prayers had to go unanswered. Lots of Alabama fans that night saw that illustrated, I think.

God doesn’t answer everybody’s prayers – or at least not the way we ask him to. He knows what is best for us, in keeping with His miracles He prepared for us at our birth.

And so people wonder “why should I pray if God doesn’t answer my prayers?” I understand God wants us to pray for what we want so He knows what we need.

Alabama winning that night really wasn’t that important to me now in the major scheme of things. It really wasn’t what I needed at that time.

So walking these beaches has brought forth some changes in me that I see, as far as what I try to pray for these days. Just like my beach and the ebb and flow of the tides, we – you and me – seem to be changing all the time, or at least have the potential to change and not stay stuck in the same tidal pool year after year.

I have seen huge changes on my beach, as in “Abandoned,” changes that are hard to do at the time yet sometimes needed to take place in order to be purged or purified.

I have seen small changes in my beach (for the better) that seem to take place every day, as in “I, On the Other Hand, DID Inhale…”  Or changing my perception in noticing God’s ‘abundant’ Grace and Mercy every day, as illustrated in  “Gestalt Mosaic.”

Oh how I love walking on my beach! Thank you God!

But I know every Spring Break has to come to an end and sooner or later we need to face the trials and joys of reality. And my calendar is reluctantly suggesting I need to come back to reality and take care of business, too.

Somehow getting from point A to point B is never easy in life. But we never get there while our feet are lodged under a pile of sand in front of our favorite beach chair, do we?

So I am psyching myself up, looking for my flip flops and my top, my keys, my phone and am getting ready for the tasks ahead.

Oh, how walking on the beach can help us see things clearer!

This walk, my time on this beach has been so invaluable! It’s opened my eyes…highlighted some changes that need to be made in both myself and the outside world in general. And I leave my beach a much happier person! So much happier and full and complete…like “dancing in a room without a roof.”

I am ready to start a brand new beginning with my new outlook(s) and “the future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades!”

Oh how being on the beach can be so motivational!

Hey, God, thank You for Your love that You have for all of us! If we know You, we know You are foremost all about love. You love all Your children so much and we are Your fortunate family to receive Your gracious love and blessings.

God, help us always to see and appreciate Your unending love for us. Help us see it in others as well as be the picture of love our selves, just as Your Son was.

We know You love us as your children and you want the best things for us, our own unique miracles. You want us to use the very talents and blessings we were born with in our own unique miracle that you destined for each of us.

I know sometimes, as we get caught up in our own agendas of what we think is best for us, or what is really important to us, we lose track of Your purpose, Your plan you have for us. And you try to steer us back to Your original plan – Your will… here on earth, as it is in Heaven.

I cannot dismiss all the love you have blessed me with! I love who You’ve made me and I love my world. I am not worthy of all these blessings you have bestowed on me, for us -not even close. I am a sinner too. But You love me anyway and give me more than I could ever dream about.

Thank You Father for Your boundless love! Please help us all to find, feel, and understand the love You have for us. It feels great!

Everyone has Your miracle out there waiting for them. And Your miracles are GREAT and beyond our wildest expectations.

Thank you Father for these great blessings! I love you!

I am so happy!! I could just break into pirouettes on the boardwalk…because happiness is the truth!

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At the eleventh hour of the week’s end, she felt pressed to get her last set of cardio in, just under the wire.

The bright, waning moon illuminated the path before her. She darted across the seashell driveway and into the shadows of the giant, old oak tree and sprinted into the road to chase the beckoning moon.

She inhaled the brisk air into her lungs and, getting up to a good pace, was breathing hard by the time she got to the waterfront. This was not the first time today she’d lost her breath.

She felt more alive as she lost the rest of herself in the music on her iPod as she picked up her pace a bit more.

Thinking of a world of things and also of nothing in particular, the evening sea mist enveloped and tousled her mane which followed behind her as she ran.

She could see the bright moonlight reflected in the water, illuminating the depths.  A chorus of frogs competed for her attention over the music.

How free she felt! Into and out of the shadows, into and out of the moonshine she ran.

Reaching the original goal as she experienced her second wind, she decided to double her distance and to indulge herself in a double dose of moonlight.

She ran past places she knew from old, places she ran before, places she weathered the Perfect Storms before, places which held good and not so good memories– but tonight, they were all good, basked in silvery  moonlight.

Bad became good, evil became blessed. Ugly became beautiful. Sick became well. All pain melted away.

Along the waterfront she ran, at one with the elements, lost, totally lost in her spirit, strong legs carrying her farther and farther.

Reluctantly she doubled back at one point realizing she needed to go home.

But she wouldn’t, really. She went through the motions, but in her mind she ran…ran far away.

She ran to her shelter under the giant oak and mounted the gracious swing that invited all passers-by to pause and swing a spell.

Now heated, she shed her sweatshirt and hung it on the fencepost as she approached her other favorite escape.

Her shaped arms grasped the ropes as her legs pumped and brought the swing high into the shaped arms of the oak tree. It was by far the best way to cool down.

Lost on the swing anew, she sailed back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth…into oblivion.

Blissfully lost, more than ever. The evening sea air cooled her sweat and calmed her soul.

The moonlight penetrated through the sheltering branches of the oak tree and shined on her heart, which pounded in another dimension altogether.

God, thank You for blessings in darkness, for light in the shadows. Thank You for getting us from starting point to destination no matter the circumstances. And thanks for lighting our steps, one at a time, for our being able to trust You every step of the way.

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Brand new joy…

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Thanks, God, for the joy you give to the world in so many, many ways. Thank You especially for sending Your Son into this world, as we celebrate Him with joy this season.

Thank You for the joyful hope that comes with a newborn child: the fresh opportunity of a new beginning, endless possibilities wide open.

Lamentations 3:22-23 – “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (KJV)

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!“
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

© 1923. Ren. 1951

Source: http://www.hymnal.net/hymn.php/h/19#ixzz2ooVZfZnA

Hold on to that Hope!!!

~~

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Marching with the band in the Christmas parade has been a lifelong dream of our child with Down syndrome. That is all he ever wanted to do.

Music has been his passion since he was in the womb (he would kick harder when his favorite songs were on). It was a music therapist who helped ease him out of a coma in the PICU after he flat-lined.

And now, in middle school, it is the promise of being able to go to band practice that keeps him focused on his studies in the morning.

And keeps him from shenanigans like running into the girls’ locker room when they’re changing.

Besides girls, he has taken a particular liking to all things percussion. When we first asked if he could march, the answer wasn’t no, but it wasn’t yes, either.

Would he do what he was supposed to do? Would he be able to make the three-mile trek along the parade route, orthopedic inserts and all? How many chaperones might he need? What if he got distracted and became bewildered, tried to run or plopped down on the pavement and refused to budge (as he is sometimes prone to do)?

Once we secured answers to all these questions, the answer was finally ‘yes.’ He was ecstatic and talked nothing but parade for the last month. He diligently practiced various instruments at home each night and faithfully counted out the rhythm of various Christmas songs.

We often overheard him in his room, pretending to be in band class, talking (as best his speech impediment allowed) to his imaginary band mates: “Ready? Okay…(tap tap tap tap) one, two, three, four…stop – try that again, this time, faster…”

But last week the band director’s pregnancy took a turn rendering her unable to lead the band in the parade – and the middle school band was removed from the parade lineup. We didn’t have the heart to tell our son – not yet.

On a whim, we emailed the high school music director who oversees our eldest son in the high school marching band. Explaining the situation, we asked if we might include him – we were already signed up to chaperone the high school band on the parade, anyway. The answer was YES!

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The percussionists readily took him under their wing and put him to work – here, warming up on the snare. She was teaching him both technique and rhythm while we waited for the parade to begin.

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Drumming up some fun on the quads. Somebody forgot the apparatus that holds the quads while marching, so the band director enlisted Daddy to make a run back to the high school right-quick to find it in the band room, then battle the traffic and barricades back in time to save the parade. Close call, but mission accomplished!

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Bass drums aren’t easy to pick up!

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Lined up and ready to roll…big brother was playing the baritone horn in front of the tubas, somewhere in the sea of Santa hats.

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…and baby brother was supposed to be throwing candy to the crowd as we passed, but I counted no fewer than 12 wrappers in the bottom of the Radio Flyer at the end of the night.

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Our ears are still ringing from being by the drum line. When we had to slow or pause on the route, I noticed it was impossible NOT to move your body to the beat – so we did some dancing in the street!

Fortunately, there is no picture of me wearing my reindeer headdress, although I was spotted and called out to by several parade-goers, some of whom were administrators where I work….not sure how that affects my chance at a promotion.

He got a tummy ache about halfway through and had to retire to the wagon, but he kept playing until the bitter end.

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He got a BIG surprise when Santa himself jumped off of the fire truck and came right over to give him a big hug – the jolly old guy wouldn’t stand still, but the joy he brought was immeasurable.

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And he was given a new pair of drumsticks!

Isn’t this what Christmas is all about?

Thanks, God, for the joy You brought to the world through Your Son, Jesus Christ. As we celebrate this time of His birth, we thank You for glimpses of that joy in the faces and lives of Your precious children. May we, as adults, ensure that our children know the gift of joy You have provided through Him. May all our hopes and dreams come true through Your perfect will.

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Blessings to count for this Sunday:

  • Lots of rest
  • Lots of leftovers
  • Awesome church service
  • Bountiful, buttery sunshine
  • 2 pesky health conditions disappeared
  • Good, hard, long run with good, hard, long music, through the pecan orchards and sandy washouts
  • Discovered our swing under the big, gracious oak tree…

My Swing

is a perfect way to cool down and exercise all body parts when flying high – upper body, abs, calves, quads, you name it! Pump!

Swinging

Me & my Mizunos – Wheeeeee! The breeze through my mane cooled my entire body down after the run. Purrrrrrfect…

  • Walk with the family
  • Held hands with my guy
  • Good football to watch
  • Fun pruning roses & hydrangeas
  • Long hug with Mom
  • Mom gave me pic I’d never seen before – her and my Dad, when she was pregnant with me
October 1965

At a party.
My mom, one of the original B-52s singers. Daddy always seemed to have a martini as a prop, although I don’t ever recall him actually drinking them. (and he always slipped the olives to ME – big treat).

  • Shot hoops with the kids – and sunk it every time
  • Got even more Christmas lights
  • Seashells to sort
  • Kisses and hugs
  • Rainbow toward the end of the day
December Refraction

Okay, so the rainbow didn’t capture, but you can see some of the refraction in there…somewhere. Hey, I was driving – gimme a break!

  • Excellent blogs in my Reader to read
  • Treasured bloggy friendships
  • Sweet, sweet dreams

Can it get any better?!

Thanks, God, for ALL your blessings – let us remember days like these on days when nothing seems to go right. Thank You for little pockets of fresh air that sustain us. And thanks for good health, good food, good family, good gardens, good friends and good life. Thanks for a Beautiful Day!

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I am humbly reminded that no matter what storms threaten, no matter what waves force me to swallow salty water, the sun still steadfastly sets…different, every single time,

Never in vain and never the same….

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(And I just couldn’t resist the rest of the periphery, life doing its thing as the universe does its thing: )

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These images were only possibly by a complete whim, upon resisting my better judgment to stay within the lines of my schedule today, as I hit the pause button on the demands of daily life.

They came from a guttural force, a sharp turn of the steering wheel and will, and by following my soul toward the Glory.

And look – just look! what was there waiting, there, literally around the corner, to be enjoyed!

What will YOU discover if you pause to break from YOUR routine?

Is it safer (“easier”) to stay your course, or will diverting yield even greater returns, risk that it may seem?

Will you steer straight on the course you believe He has for you, or take a chance that big ol’ God may be outside the box you created, on a totally different course than l’il ol’ you ever envisioned?

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If I ever die commuting, I will die so happy,

thanking God for the sights I get to see on my commute:

Bottlenose Dolphin Feeding Near Pier

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