Monday, May 31, 2010

Proverbs 19:21

This evening I pulled into the driveway of my beautiful white house with black shutters and took in the sight of it. I'd been gone for eight days. It was good to be here.

That was normal.

What wasn't normal was the fact that I arrived to my home this evening via our family Suburban after a two-day journey from Missouri. What should have been was very different. Right now I should be on a Houston-bound plane from Israel with all my LPM co-workers and 90 volunteers. I should be horribly jet lagged and exhausted and looking forward to a sweet reunion with my loved ones.

On Sunday night, May 23, at 11:14, instead of meticulously packing my bags for the Israel trip, I was on the highway in Eufala, Oklahoma, where we received the phone call that Curt's grandma had passed away from the stroke she'd suffered that afternoon. Instead of savoring one last night together in our bed, we pulled into the nearest motel and tried to get a few hours of sleep despite the devastation we were feeling over suddenly losing Grandma and not making it in time to see her. Curtis had planned to head to Missouri with the kids while I was gone anyway, but the spirit of the trip was now to be much different. How dainty our plans are.

It was not a hard decision to go to Missouri with my husband and children rather than go to Israel as planned. It was not a sacrifice. I loved Grandma Dixon very much and it would have been horrible not to be there. I thanked God many times for the privilege of being there, and for letting me be a little part of an amazing family. I was grateful that He never let me step foot on the plane. Plus, I'd been to Israel as a teenager and I'll admit that softened the blow.

What is hard is this moment. My LPM family will be home in a few hours and the reality of what I've missed will set it. The stories. The pictures. The bittersweet we missed you's. The conversation I'll have with my sister asking when she'll be home again. Mom trying to downplay how great the trip was so as not to make me sad. I could already hear it in her voice when she called earlier.

Let me preface this by saying that I'm feeling hormonal and my Bible sat buried under clothes in my suitcase all week. But here is the point I'm trying to make. I feel a little bit wounded. This is the second big work trip that has been canceled by a family emergency. (The first was due to Curtis' surgery in April.) I find myself doubting everything our on calendar. I feel very undependable and I do not like it. I have a big trip planned for September and I wonder if I will ever make it there.

Then the question comes. Who exactly wounded me? No one. This was no one's fault. But God ordained it. And why? Is He trying to tell me something? Is He mad at me? Is He trying to show me how little control I really have over my life?

I don't know the answers but whatever lesson I'm supposed to be learning, I want to learn it. Not just learn it, but graduate summa cum laude, walk the stage with an honor sash around my neck, and be done with it. This paragraph alone shows my maturity, doesn't it?

I need His grace.

The good news is that I still have a plane ticket to Atlanta and a plane ticket to Tel Aviv. Now, to find the time on that fragile calendar.

Many are the plans in a man's heart,
but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Psychosomatic Freakshow

Well, we had a little bug visiting our family last week. Annabeth got it on Tuesday, but I was rather confused because even though she threw up twice, she never cried or acted sick. She still had an appetite and was in a good mood. So I thought maybe it was just a fluke or something.

Late Thursday night I started feeling weird and just went to sleep hoping it would pass. I'm such a freak of nature about stomach bugs that if someone near me talks about it or has one, I start manifesting psychosomatic symptoms right away. (You're thinking that I'm really weird and you're right.) I hoped I was just imagining the nausea. My alarm went off at 7 a.m. so I could go for a jog and I knew right away there would be no jogging. The nausea was still there in full force. Luckily, I never thew up. Best stomach virus ever! I slept a little while longer and then sent Curtis to work. The kids and I were in our pajamas until well after lunch and they basically did whatever they wanted while I sat on the couch and stared.

Amazingly, my baby fever has been completely cured!

I'm sad to say that my mom got the bug on Saturday. Bless her heart. It was her first weekend at home in over a month and she had to spend it in bed.

We had a full weekend of social events planned and I prayed that God would give me wisdom regarding what, if anything, we should still do. After I found out about Mom, I canceled everything. I thought Jackson was probably a ticking time bomb. Bummer. We had dear friends in town from North Carolina whom we never get to see. It really stunk not to see them. We also missed a couple of birthday parties that would have been so fun.

On the bright side, our family had a lot of quality time together. I remember telling Curtis in tears in the beginning of April that I was so very tired and needed a break from all our activity. Curtis' surgery - which was four weeks ago today - brought an abrupt rest for all of us. I've tried to take it in.

Jackson has his end of the year school program tonight. During his Christmas program he was seated right next to the teacher and I'm sort of hoping he will get that place of honor (and supervision) again tonight. I won't have to worry that he'll do something exciting in front of God and all these witnesses.

In about an hour, Curtis and I have a phone interview with a reporter for Christianity Today. It's about my mom, of course. Do I even need to tell y'all how nervous this makes me? I'm about to guzzle some Pepto. I might even hide some in a thermos and say it's my tea. Pray for me!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Is it Bedtime Yet?

I've lost my mojo. It may take a list to get me going again.

1) I reached my goal weight and got a little gold star charm at WW. I really should have it put on the charm bracelet that I'm holding onto for Annabeth. Look, baby! This is when Mommy lost all the weight you put on her body! I'd also like to show it to my OB who encouraged me to have fun and eat more during the last month of my pregnancy.

2) We had a great Mother's Day weekend. We had lots of time with fun friends on Friday and Saturday. I was going to take the kids to the pool but the weather cooled off and I thought better of it. Hopefully this weekend it will be nice enough to go. On Sunday we went to church and then had brunch at a hotel with my parents and grandparents.

While I was waiting for my omelet to be made, four boys came running up to the bread display right next to me. They grabbed as many hard rolls as they could fit in their arms. I didn't want to be that mom who got onto someone else's kids, but in hindsight a gentle, "Does your mommy know you're getting that many rolls?" might have gone a long way. The boys ran over to the extensive koi ponds in the hotel and started chucking the rolls into the water. There were about ten of them floating on top. Employees started rushing over to stop the boys and then they had to get on their hands and knees and fish them out. I don't know if they ever spoke to their parents. I was trying to mind my own business, but there was that really self-righteous part of me that wanted to see them get in big trouble. Who lets their boys run around a large brunch buffet at a nice hotel? Really, people?

My mom took Tuesday off, so Annabeth and I spent the day with her. We went to the Galleria to find some specific things we need for our Israel trip. We both bought some hideous sandals that will be good for walking in. I'm trying to break them in, so if you see me out and about in them, please don't hate. Later we went to pick up Jackson from school and then took the kids to get frozen yogurt. I always get strawberries, blueberries, and a few chocolate chips in vanilla. I sampled the "tart" flavor one time and it was horrendous. I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd eaten sour milk. GROSS!

Today we've just been hanging out at home. Annabeth has had a very upset stomach for two days and has dropped her second nap. Jackson is driving me up the walls. He has plenty to do outside but he doesn't want to do it alone. So Annabeth and I went out there and sat on the hammock they got me for Mother's Day. (I've always wanted one!) My hope was that he would swing or jump on the trampoline and get some energy out, but he just wanted to sit in the hammock with us. I finally gave in. I was laying in such a way to balance us, Annabeth was resting with her head on my chest, and Jackson was flopping and twisting around like a fish that my dad caught and dropped in the bottom of the boat. It didn't quite work. There was a really nice breeze though.

I just realized that my list turned into something else. I'm going to leave it like this - two points and a million paragraphs - because it's awesome. Well, I am about 57 minutes past my tea time, so I shall go and render myself caffeinated. Adios.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


Annabeth's X-rays were totally normal. Thank God! My hands are still shaking from the phone call. Thank you for all your prayers. We are going to lunch with Daddy to celebrate.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

She's Her Father's Daughter

I am overwhelmed by all of your kind words, encouragement, and prayers. Thank you. It means so much. The update is that there isn't an update yet. Annabeth's doctor will not get to see the x-rays until this afternoon due to her schedule, so we won't know anything until later. Thank you again for entering in with us!

Dear Father in Heaven
On this day, May 17, 2009,
We ask You to set apart our beloved
Annabeth Ellen Jones
To Your great glory.
Grant her a heart to love You,
To love Your Word,
And to love Your people.
With grateful hearts
For this precious gift of life,
We pray in Jesus' Name,

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished! Luke 1:45

These are the words I saw tonight - displayed in a beautiful frame in Annabeth's room - when Curtis and I knelt down with her at the soft pink ottoman. We were about to ask something really big of God - a request we are desperate for Him to grant.

I saw those words and remembered that we had dedicated our Annabeth Ellen to Him one year ago in front of friends and family.

She is Yours, Lord. Use her for Your glory. Let her know and love You.

My daughter has a purpose and it has nothing to do with me. It extends beyond the five years she'll be in my constant care, beyond the 18 years she will live in my home, beyond my own lifetime and into eternity. God has a plan for her.

As we knelt down to pray and I held her squishy little hands, He reminded me that my baby belongs to Him. My child, who delights me to no end, is the apple of her Father's eye.

Yesterday I took Annabeth to her 15 month check-up. She had to get three shots and it wasn't very pleasant. But the most unpleasant part was when I had to remind the doctor of what she'd said a while back about the asymmetrical creases on Annabeth's thighs. She'd suggested that AB might be favoring one side, which could indicate hip problems. At that time Annabeth wasn't walking yet, so we'd hoped it would even out. Now she's walking 100% of the time and there's been no change.

I did not want to bring this up. I don't want to face the possibility of Annabeth having hip problems. We'd already had a hip ultrasound done when she was two weeks old and everything turned out to be normal. But if I avoided this and found a problem farther down the road, I would never forgive myself. The older a child is when he or she starts treatment for hip dysplasia, the worse it is for them.

So this afternoon I took my daughter to have her sweet little hips X-rayed. The results will either rule out the problem or send us down a long and ugly path of treatment (surgery and a body cast, from what I can tell). To say that I have been a wreck is an understatement. The films were sent to her doctor's office and we were supposed to get a call an hour later. Unfortunately, it was late in the day and it just didn't happen.

We're waiting, fervently praying that this will not be, and rededicating our daughter to her Father as often as we have to. But if this physical challenge in His plan, we will resolve to believe God.

I do hope to be writing less dramatic posts in the near future.

Thanks in advance for your prayers for our girl.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

It's the Thought That Counts

Right around Jackson's third birthday, he acquired the habit of saying, "I want that for my birfday!" He literally started saying it the day after his birthday. We gently broke the news that his next birthday was quite far away, but it didn't seem to matter. He has said it every day - even multiple times a day - since then.

This may sound like an annoying habit, but it has its benefits. For example, today Jackson and I were walking hurriedly through Memorial City Mall (Gap was having a sale!) when we saw a man selling remote control helicopters. Jackson was instantly sucked in and I sensed the beginnings of a little meltdown over his desire to have one. Curtis and Annabeth were waiting for us in the car and I was trying my best to keep walking. There were a few little whimpers and I knew people were going to stare when it fully erupted, but then Jackson calmed himself down and said, "I want that for my birfday, Mommy."

"Okay, baby, just remind me of that when your birthday comes."

And that was it. The hope of the birthday present is very powerful.

Now you will understand the warmth in my heart when I tell you that twice today I've heard my son say, "I want to get that for Mommy for Mother's Day."

Never mind that it was most recently during a commercial for Garnier Fructis shampoo. It's the thought that counts.