It feels like its been forever since I was on my blog..I guess it sort has been forever. I have been without a computer since two weeks before Christmas, and I am still without my computer. However, it did finally occur to me that Alyssa has a laptop, and while it is a little slow and hard to use (it's really little and my fingers are not), it sure beats having no computer at all!! I will hopefully have my computer back by the end of the week, but in the meantime, here is a quick update on our little family:
We were in Georgia for two and a half weeks in December. It is always so good to see everyone in Georgia. There are so many family members and friends that we always look forward to seeing, but unfortunately, we are never able to see all of them. It's always a challenge and we truly do the best we can. I am not sure it was such a good idea to take a trip like that so soon after having mono because physically, I felt terrible the whole time, and a trip like that is exhausting. I did manage to keep smiling most of the time, though, and even in the midst of exhaustion, was able to really enjoy seeing the people I love. It did motivate us to make some changes that we have needed to make for a long time. Our girls don't know what it's like to be at home on Christmas, and as they get older, Jeff and I really feel the need to make some of our own traditions with our girls. We have tried, for our entire marriage, to keep up the traditions of each side of the family, giving no regard to what we really wanted for our family, and next year, that will change. We are staying home! It will be a totally new experience and I imagine some homesick tears will be shed, but I am very excited to have that time with my family. Never again do I want to hear my 5 year-old say, "Mom, do you remember last Christmas? You know, the one where we were were so tired?" It's time to make some of our own good memories and establish some of our own Christmas traditions.
Physically, we are doing okay. Clara has been SO healthy (Praise the Lord), and having Megan's tonsils out has turned out to be one of the best decisions we have ever made. The dark circles are gone under her eyes and she is sleeping so much better. Jeff is training for a half marathon in June, and while I have promised to run that same race (the 5K version) with Alyssa and Emilie, I am still battling extreme fatigue. People keep telling me it takes 6 moths to a year to totally beat that virus. I am praying for less. I have installed a "Couch to 5K" app on my phone, but Jeff says that right now I am following the "Couch to Front Door" program. :-) I used to be a good runner (even though I have never liked running) so I am hoping it will come back to me.
All of the girls are doing well. They have made some phenomenal friends and are involved in some really fun things! Alyssa is still babysitting on Wednesdays for one of the home school co-ops in our area and in the nursery on Wednesday night. She is loving our youth group and her small group, and she has some really excellent young women investing into her life right now. Such a blessing. She is also volunteering at Reins of Life one afternoon a week. She totally loves being around the kids and the horses there, and will quickly volunteer to do the "yuck" jobs, like scooping up the "gifts" that are left in the arena, just to be around the horses. I still wish we could afford for her to ride, but we continue to pray that God will make that available to her. She also cleans the house of a friend on Saturday mornings for a little extra money. Love that girl.
We have found a lady here, the wife of a local preacher, who teaches art. Alyssa and Emilie are taking an art class together and are really loving it. It is so fun to see the things they create, and to see how how, even though very much the same, still uniquely different because of their individual gifts and talents. They have an art show coming up in March, so I promise to post pictures. :-) Emilie is also spending more time with her friends and really loves our church. We have found someone to teach Emilie photography lessons, as well, but that is something else on our prayers list.
I am happy to report that Emilie is doing much better. Emotionally she is more stable, and even though she is having trouble focusing on her school work, with lots of, um....encouragement (ah hem....), she is getting the most important parts of her schoolwork finished. She is, once again, becoming more pleasant to be around, and there are days when I feel like I am getting my Emilie back. There is so much in that child that is good and beautiful, and I love very bit of it that I get to see. I have missed her.
Clara is doing splendidly. She has battled some fairly severe leg pain recently, but otherwise, has remained physically healthy and is tolerating everything fairly well. She is on the same medicine regime, and we are still praying it will kick in quickly. We are still praying that God will straighten her right leg. As awful as everything is that she has experienced up to this point, that surgery is so invasive and painful. I find myself dreading it, and it is not even in the extremely near future. I am so thankful for all that God has already brought us through because I am drawing from those times now when I start to dread the future. God has been so faithful. It reminds me of the lyrics from one of my favorite songs:
Through it all, thought it all,
I've learned to trust in Jesus, I've learned to trust in God.
Through it all, trhough it all,
I've learned to depend upon His Word.
I thank Him for the mountains, and I thank Him for the valleys.
I thank Him for the storms He's brought me through,
'cause if I never had a problem I wouldn't know that He could solve them.
I wouldn't know what faith in his Word could do.
Clara had a trip to the U of M this past weekend. We took a dear friend in the ministry with us and the three of us had a ball! We have to make these things as fun as we possibly can....for mine AND Clara's sake. Her appointment was with the endocrinologist who is the one monitoring the ricketts. Of all of the doctors Clara has, this one is the hardest to talk to and the least approachable, but she is pretty much a genius so I am glad we have her. I tried to ask her a few questions, but she gets very defensive, so I decided I will talk to one of her other doctors about those things. I finally worked up the nerve to do some online research on the topic, and found out that the medications Clara is on have been known to cause seizures, heart problems, and something else awful that I can't remember, so I am back to my strict policy of no online research. I will trust the ones we pay to manage her health. :-) What we did find out from that appointment is that she has grown 2 centimeters, which is not much....but it's growth! She is in the 13th %tile for height and the 73rd %tile for weight. There were tiny signs of healing on her bones, so at least we're headed in the right direction. Something very strange happened to me while we were there, though. It has been a very long time since I have felt any emotion about Clara's conditions. I went through the whole grieving process at the beginning, and would go through other times of sadness or anger, but since we have moved here, I guess 1) We've been too busy to think much about it....we've just sort of been on auto-pilot, and 2) There really isn't anyone to talk with about it very much. Most people here don't know what is even going on, and really, I am just now feeling like I have some really close friends with whom to talk about it. But as I was watching her get her x-rays, there was something about seeing her little bitty sweet self on the gigantic table, looking at her deformed little leg bones up on the screen, and it all of a sudden hitting me that this was just not normal for a five year-old little girl....I got really mad. I had this wave of emotions sweep over me and I thought I was going to break down sobbing. Thankfully I was able to control it, because the x-ray techs were men, and I am pretty sure that I would have ruined their whole day....a woman crying....HELP!!! It was just strange. It's been a while since I have experienced that, but I am glad that I have not grown callous in the midst of everything. I am also glad I took a friend with me who was a woman and understood the many highs and lows of a woman's crazy emotions. :-)
Overall, we are really beginning to love living here. We still miss our people in Georgia, but there are so many people, places, and things we love here. Everyone has made some friends, we love our church and our small group, of course we love our ministry, and we have grown to love the weather....we don't sweat nearly as much! :-) Those of you who know me well will be able to appreciate that. :-) This has been a very mild winter, which makes me glad I saw the last one. That way I can appreciate this one!
Well, this post is already too long, so I'll give more updates later. I mostly just wanted everyone to know we're still here and all is well. :-) I have missed so many of you, so let me know how you are!
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