Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Least of These

Hello everyone - this is Jeff. This is the first time I've posted anything to this blog. Jeannie does a great job keeping everyone up to date on our life. (Thank you honey!) What I need to say is not about recent events for our family, but about something God has been doing in my heart.

One of the things God has been impressing on my heart is the verse, "Whatever you do to the least of these, you do it unto Me." As I have meditated on this verse, I have been convicted of many times where I did not behave as I should.

I have had to seek forgiveness for the way I have treated our children many times. There are others in my life I have had to ask forgiveness in the past. God continues to bring situations and events to mind as He directs. The incident He most recently reminded me of happened years ago, and I have no real way to contact the people involved. God did lay it on my heart to use this blog to seek forgiveness, and my desire is to be obedient.

During the mid 1990s, I taught middle school band at Clements Middle School in Covington, Georgia. I have many great memories of some truly remarkable teachers and students. God used that time to shape my life, and I am grateful for the experience. However, I do need to ask forgiveness from the students whom I hurt with my words and actions.

There were many times I completely lost control and as the Bible says, " gave full vent to his anger." Not only was this unprofessional, it was rude. The worst part is, I behaved this way as an example of Christ before so many students. So, I need to humbly ask, "Will you please forgive me?".

My desire is to be obedient to the Lord. My prayer is God will use this for His glory. Thank you all for allowing me this opportunity to 'borrow' this forum for a few moments.

We love you all and are so thankful for your support and encouragement.

God Bless,

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pretzel Fun!

As many of you know, we had a showing of our house yesterday. It is probably not this way for everyone, but getting our house ready for showings nearly kills us. Even if we went to bed with a perfect house every night, we would still be here in the morning. :-) I would think that could be an advantage to going to work and school...if I cleaned my house, at least it would stay that way until supper. Anyway, after the grueling task of getting it ready, we are usually pretty useless afterwards. Today was no exception.

Around 5:00 this evening, Alyssa was inspired to bake. She chose a recipe from her favorite cookbook for pretzels. Since the kitchen was clean (because we had just showed the house the previous day), and we had everything on hand, I told her to have at it! Thought you might want to see how much fun we had. :-)

Megan thought a more creative use of her dough was in order. :-) Silly Girl!

The babies agreed....a very fun night!

Alyssa to babies: "Do you want salt or cinnamon-sugar?"

The babies response: "SPRINKLES!"

That's a good lookin' pretzel!

I'm not sure what Emilie was doing (as usual). :-) Whatever she was doing...she was enjoying it!

Coming out of the oven...do you smell them?

They tasted as good as they looked!

We all agreed that this recipe was not as good as the one we got at Family Camp, but like most things we love, it is packed in a box somewhere in the garage waiting to see the light of day, and has been for the past year and a month. (But who's counting?) Maybe soon!
There were no complaints, however. Just silence and chewing. :-)

Good Night!!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Clara and Her "Boy"

Over the past 2 1/2 years, we have been SO VERY thankful for all the wonderful people God has put in Clara's life. Family and friends who have loved her beyond measure and prayed for her faithfully every day. Doctors and therapists who have provided the best of care for her. Ten years ago, I am sad to say that I couldn't have even told you what a physical therapist did, and now, ten years later, we love our physical therapists so very much, and we know that what strength and skills Clara has gained have been largely due to their expertise and time spent with her. As far as doctors go, we really feel like God has provided the very best for her. We LOVE our pediatrician and have been very pleased with the other specialists she has visited (and there are many). But of all the doctors we have, her favorite is Dr. Berenson, her neurologist. She and Megan "play" Dr. Berenson, she talks about him between visits, and this morning as we were getting ready to leave, she told Megan that she was going to see her "boy". She informed her Daddy that she wanted to eat lunch after she saw Dr. Berenson because her pretty dress might get dirty while she ate. After one visit she looked at her Daddy during dinner and said, "Dr. Berenson is soo 'bery' cute". Okay...well not only is he "so cute", but he provides great care for her.

Today was kind of a big visit. Now that we have all of her test results, it was a time for him to talk with me and Jeff about her disease and the implications of it. He would not speculate on her future...he said there is too wide of a range...and so I have decided to not think about her future, but to think about each day and let it "worry about itself". He was, however, very pleased with her progress over the last few months. She has gained a tremendous amount of strength and balance since he saw her last. He is concerned that she is still not running....but we are getting there! She is pedaling a bike...that's HUGE...and she is making great progress at going up and down stairs while alternating feet. Since we began her CoQ10, she has an increased amount of energy and rarely wants to lay around...or be quiet since her mouth has more energy, too. :-) So all in all, it was a very successful visit. No urgent concerns for now. She had her yearly EKG and is being set up for her yearly visit to the eye doctor (heart problems and blindness are two common problems for Mito kids).

Finally, anyone who thinks that Chick-fil-A is just a restaurant is wrong. It is not a place we can eat often, as Alyssa and Emilie are both allergic to peanuts and peanut oil, and Megan can't be exposed until she is 3 years-old, but on doctor visit days, we try to always take Clara. It is special for her because 1)She has us all to herself and 2) Right now, she is the only kid in the family who can eat there (and her mother loves it more than any food in the entire world) :-). We have found one in particular one exit past Dr. Berenson's and they have been wonderful. After one visit where we had received some bad news, I was by myself with Clara and quite frankly, behind my smile, I was on the verge of tears. One of the employees went out of her way to wait on us, get us refills and even brought Clara a coloring sheet and a free ice cream. Today, the manager gave her a little St. Patrick's Day cow and sat at our table for a few minutes to talk to us. So for us, not only are they a restaurant with the most fabulous chicken sandwich EVER, they are a ministry. We told them that today and I pray God continues to bless them.

So those of you who are dying to know how cute Dr. Berenson really is, here is Clara with her "boy":

Here is the chandelier at his office that Clara calls the "purple Christmas tree". She can't figure out why they still have it out, but she loves to look at it. :-)

Speaking of people Clara loves:

Her physical therapist, Ms. Leigh (or Ms. Leigh-Leigh to Clara) whom we adore and who also happens to live in our neighborhood. :-) :

Work those steps, girl!!

Her physical therapist, Ms. Peggy, is standing right beside her with the other volunteers at "Butterfly Dreams Ranch". We are so very thankful to everyone involved. Without them, Clara would not have this wonderful therapy.

And of all the people God has put in her life, I think this one was especially for her:

Everyone needs a sister like that!!

Please pray for Jeff this week. He has had some pain in his arms and foot that is job-related, and this week for him has been spent at the doctor, physical therapy, and at home. Please pray he will heal quickly and that Frito-Lay would be gracious to him.

As always, thanks for your prayers!!!


Monday, March 8, 2010

You want me to do WHAT?!?!?

One thing you may not know about me is that I have translated my own version of the Bible. The JBPV: Jeannie Bryant Paraphrase Version. Jeff loves to tease me about that every time I try to recite a verse from memory, and botch it. Or, I don't always botch it, but I just know the gist of it. I am not sure why Scripture memory is so difficult for me, but it is definitely something I have to work at. So, now that you know that about me, this story will be no surprise to you.

A few weeks ago, I hit a point in my life where I really thought I had endured all I could stand. The weight of the world weighed so heavily on me, I didn't even want to get out of the bed in the mornings. I didn't want to face my children. I didn't want to get dressed. I didn't want to go anywhere. Pretty much, I was just tired. It was in this frame of mind that I pouted into the kitchen one night where Jeff was washing dishes (that sweet man of mine). I don't think my arms were crossed over my chest or my lip was poking out, but in my frame of mind, they could have been. :-) I said to him, "I know the Bible is true and all that, but there is something I just don't get. It says 'They will mount up on wings like eagles. They walk and not grow weary. They will run but not faint.' But I'll tell you one thing, I am just about to faint and I am flat out weary." In my mind, I was, "So explain THAT one, Mr. Bible memorizer." (I can never stump him on Bible questions...Don't know if that is a result of his maturity or my immaturity.) Without missing a beat, he said,"Sweetheart, I think you are forgetting the first part of that verse. The first part says,'They that wait upon the Lord.'" Well, I must say, that totally knocked the wind out of my little tantrum. Arms down and lip back in. "Oh," was all I could muster. I walked back to my room, totally humbled at this point, looked up the actual verse (what a concept, huh?), and meditated on what he had just said to me.

For weeks after that, that verse just kept popping up every time I turned around. I don't know if God does that to you...bops you in the head with things over and over until you get it. You may be a faster learner than me. I guess He knows that's what it takes to get through my thick skull. Lo and behold at Bible study a few weeks ago, Beth Moore talked on that verse. She started the lesson by asking, "Do you ever feel like God has called you to something, has you sitting on 'go', but there's only one thing left you are waiting on?" I almost laughed out loud. That is the story of my life right now! I think the friend next to me did too. She leaned over and said, "Jeannie ...that's YOU!" Towards the conclusion of her lesson, she began to talk about Isaiah 40:31: But those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they will mount up on wings like eagles; they shall run but not grow weary; they shall walk, but will not faint." She talked a lot about how we are to wait and then she said something that will change my life forever. She said (and this is NOT a direct quote), "We are to wait upon the LORD, not an EVENT, or a person, place, or thing." All this time, I have been waiting on test results, waiting on the house to sell, waiting, waiting, waiting..... This is why I have been so frustrated. I am waiting on the wrong thing.

I cannot tell you that I woke up the next morning and life was all better, but every day I am reminding myself that I am waiting on HIM. Can you think of anything or anyone better to wait on? Am I ready for this house to sell? YES! Am I ready to have answers about Emilie? YES! (story for another day) Am I ready to unpack my boxes and start living in a home again? YES!! But I now realize that, until it is God's time, it means nothing, and if I am waiting on Him, there will be peace and contentment in the process. So many times in life, it is the process that is the most important anyway. Where we would be if we were instantly gratified all the time? For me, I would be without character, without a true appreciation for all God has done for me and blessed me with, without a lick of patience, selfish beyond belief-believing that it is all about me, and the list goes on and on. After all, Noah had to wait 120 years for rain, the Israelites wandered around the desert for 40 years, and how many years did the human race have to wait for our Savior? There's no way around it. God is worth the wait.

There are many things in my life I want to see resolved right now...we all have those things. But in the meantime, I will continue to work at waiting on HIM, and I will keep trying to memorize the Bible the way it was written. :-)

Speaking of waiting, I have promised you pictures, and you have waited patiently....so here goes:

Here is Clara mounting Dink at her very first hippotherapy.

Clara working hard.

She loves taking toys out of the saddlebags and putting them in the mailbox.

She is always happy on the horse (This horse is Rosie), but this day, she was also very cold. :-) You can tell by the smiles that everyone is having fun...and they have all been charmed by Clara. :-)

The colors you will see in the following pictures are slightly offensive, and for this, I ask your forgiveness. It was the cross I had to bear for the Upward ministry. :-)

My Upward Girls

Future Cheerleader

My Girls

Go Upward!!

Have a blessed day! Much love to you all!