Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lead by example...

Heres my latest God experience... Over the past few months, the thought/guilt of not being the most vocal example of a Christian to my children has been weighing on my heart and mind, a lot. I want to raise my boys to accept Christ and to be Christian men, but I don't do nearly enough out loud with the boys in this subject. I am a Christian, and I feel I am an example in areas of their lives showing this, but not enough teaching of Christ. After conversations with many around me, I know that it starts with me, and that I must lead by example, but especially for my boys at a young age, that it comes through reading and talking about God as well.
Well, it's been a physical reminder that God is present with Liam. I think nearly every day, "can a person just be born a Godly person?" I think this because Liam is at the stage where he LOVES books. The first thing in the morning "book?" The last thing at night "book?" The importance here though is that the books he choses are all children's bible stories. Now, it could be a coincidence that he choses these books, they're bigger, have big letters, and are colorful but it's constant and if I hide them, he goes through every one until he finds them. He enjoys other books and will look at them all day long, but his NEED for these bible stories turns wheels in my head about Liam's character. He knows who Jesus is in pictures before I point Him out, and to be honest, I can't recall ever saying "that right there is Jesus". He says Jesus clearly... It fascinates me. After talking with Dean about this, he prompted a new idea. That maybe while Liam was technically dead on the table while Dr. Rick worked on him, that Liam saw Jesus. Maybe Jesus was holding Liam in his arms telling him that he would do great things. Maybe. I mean, Liam has been doing this bible book thing for months and months, it's just now starting to intrigue me, or guilt me or... or...

So these thoughts have prompted conversations, and because I try not to deny my children's interests, I read Liam stories from the children's bible, from the bible story books... But I don't read my bible...

I fail at consistency on the blessing, on praying with my children and taking them to church. These things weigh on my mind, my conscience and my heart. I find excuses, or I simply just forget.

Last night guilt got the best of me, and I decided to read my Daily Devotional for Mothers. I thought ok, let this say something to me.
Yesterday's entry was from a women, who's best friends son called telling her, her best friend passed away. The women knew this, as the friend was sick, and the day before shared her worry about her 17 year old son not being a Christian. The dying mother repeated the name Monica over and over in her last dying words to her son. The son then called her best friend asking who is this Monica? The dying mother had spoke of a story of Monica (from the Bible) praying out in the garden of St. Augustine for her sons conversion to Christ. For her son to accept God and be saved... The story goes on to where when the dead women's best friend told the son this story, how years later he had been saved and done great things in the community, but showed the importance of teaching your children about God...

This of course stopped me, and I thought, well that's weird. I took the story and applied it to "I need to make sure my children accept Christ so that I know I will see them again and they don't go to Hell!"
I then decided to play "Russian Roulette" with my bible. I do this by closing my eyes, flipping to a page and saying "speak to me God". Right under my finger,

"Discipline your children while there is hope, otherwise you will ruin their lives" -Proverbs 20:18

I'm sure God was smirking upstairs just saying, see I'm here, I'm ALWAYS here... I just don't look or listen...
I laughed to myself about this and fell fast asleep.

This morning I reflected on the conversations I had with my Pastor, my friends, Dean and my mother in law. I feel it's on my mind constantly, but in the same thought feel I don't know what type of Christian I am. How good I am at being a Christian. I have this persona of a Christian, being so far out there. I don't know WHY I think this. I know Christians who have bible study shooting pool, drinking a beer... I know"super Christians" that don't do anything but eat, sleep, breathe the bible or church... I guess I'm somewhere in between, and because I don't have a flashing neon sign saying I'm doing it right, I now not only have doubts with religion in a whole, but NOW I'm doubting myself. Add another tally mark Mr. Devil...

I find myself worrying about what others think of me, how they'll perceive me, if they'll support me. It always gets the best of me. Do people know I'm a
Christian without me saying so? They need to... But does that mean I can't do this or that... No. I guess no...? Does a Christian look a certain way, speak differently, live in a church and only watch God shows and read the bible? No, some do, but that's not what makes a Christian.
In theory, anyone can be a Christian but speaking for myself, I want people to know I'm a Christian by my actions, by my character, by my children, my attitude and my heart. It doesn't mean I need to dress different, or speak different, no. But I do need to speak more, to act more and to show more. Not just for my children, but for myself and for those I may never actually speak to.

I know I'm a great mother in most areas of my life, but just as important as I think it is to show my children by example love, manners, politeness, support... I need to show them by example of being a Christian and lead them to know God.

I feel this is an important story to share, because I feel God showed me last night in my doubts and my struggle that He is there. That He knew I needed a reminder and that I just have to trust Him and let Him guide me. (You too). :)


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Miracle turns TWO...

Happy Birthday to my sweet baby boy, Liam!
Every January, about two weeks before Liam's birthday and up to it, I find it hard not to get emotional. I think back to all the things I was doing around this time, just two short years ago. I was pregnant with my last child (planned and discussed), I was chasing a two year old around and preparing to deliver what we thought would be a healthy baby boy in the next few months...

When Dean was home at the beginning of January, we had gone to Johnson City for some errands, and to take Dean to the airport. The entire drive, we reminisced on the time that Liam spent in the NICU. How the road we were on was driven multiple times a day and could be done in our sleep. How Nana, Dean's mom had drove immediately after Liam was life flighted away, keeping the helicopter that held our sweet boy in her sights the entire time. Being thankful for the fact that Liam had a visitor every day while he spent those long aching weeks away from home. That the nurses loved our son and helped him get better. Then, we stopped, looked in the back seat at our two boys, but especially to Liam, headphones on, reciting the alphabet train while rocking out with "Blue". We just smiled knowing how extremely blessed, lucky and complete we are to have Liam. And honestly, how truly amazing that little boy is!

It's hard to look past the bouncing boy that Liam is today, and remember how fragile his life was in the beginning. The not knowing if he would survive the first few weeks of life, or that if he did, he could be faced with so many challenges ahead. To the hard, trying days of being a mother, a family, that had to trust the NICU doctors and nurses to "mother" our child, to tend to his brand new needs, to thinking, we really are so lucky and Liam truly is a miracle.

I am sure many that read my blog around this time of year think... "ok, enough, he's fine", and he is... It's just so difficult on his birthday to not really remember what we all had to go through just to have him now. I can only imagine when he's a teenager, when he's an adult, and when he welcomes his own children into this world how emotional and amazing it will be to look back on his journey...

OK, so TODAY! Today at 11:48 am, Liam David Ward turned TWO!!! Where has the time gone?? Liam is amazing. He went from a mere 4lbs 2oz to 24lbs 8oz! He is 32" tall, and boy is he BUSY!
Liam's favorite thing to do right now is being read to and anything to do with books. He absolutely loves books! He loves sitting for story time, turning the pages, and spending countless hours a day retrieving a new book, looking at the pictures and chewing on them. :) He knows all of his letters even in random order and is learning the phonics of each letter. He can count to 12, although we are a little concerned that he switches languages on us during them. He switches at seven, and then goes on sounding German for the next few... Lol. He's such a goof!
He loves to torment Big Brother, and does so very well. His favorite shows are Blues Clues, The Wiggles and Mickey Mouse. Liam loves cars, trucks, especially monster trucks (hurray!) anything to do with the alphabet and shapes. When he's not wrecking havoc in the house and with Jaxon, Liam can be found in the corner of the playroom, quiet as a mouse just looking through books and pointing out the things he recognizes! Liam loves to dance, and loves music as much as the rest of us. Any type of instrument captures his attention, and he'll spend hours strumming on his guitar and sitting still just listening to children's songs. He is also turning into our sports boy. He will race throughout the house yelling touchdown with his arms raised above his head. And he'll jump up with Dean and I cheering on our team during the game. If we go to a restaurant with a tv turned to a sporting event, good luck with getting his attention. Lol
Liam is no longer my star eater, although he is still much better than Jax. I guess the toddler years are filled with picky eaters, but he does like food, just of his choice.
Last week, he had his 2 year NICU appointment. He shocked all the nurses and Dr. Bondt was pretty happy to see Liam being a normal two year old. He scored above average for his actual age and will no longer be assessed with his adjusted age. Some area's he scored less on paper than he does in real life, but I wasn't too concerned as it was three hours past his nap and I didn't blame him for not cooperating. After Dr. Bondt came in to evaluate him, he said that the clinic would no longer need to see him as he was JUST FINE! While I always detested the NICU appointments deeming them pointless in Liam's development, I am happy to see that he passed each and every appointment with flying colors, and now is no longer considered in the "high risk" category. Of course, he may have things that come up later in his life, but if they do, we will deal with them then.
We are over joyed with all Liam has given our family and especially with him turning two!!! We love BIG BOY and are SO proud of you!!
Mommy, Daddy and Jaxon

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A bit of inspiration...

I stumbled across this blog through Facebook... I had no intentions on even reading one entry because I knew it dealt with a mother losing a child. Curiosity got the  best of me, and I ended up reading each and every post starting with this one... the first.
For most of you, you will read the first entry, and stop there. Yes. It mentions God. Yes. It is a mother grieving the loss of a child. Yes. There is deep reference to religion. Yes. There is raw emotion. Hurt, desperation, anger... All the above are the same reasons I didn't intend of reading this myself.
You don't have to be a Christian to respect good writing. You don't have to be a Christian to get anything out of these entries, but if you are like me and teeter on the rail of doubt, truth and trying to understand faith... then you will greatly benefit from the work of this mother, the voice of her precious baby girl...
I am in awe of this mothers strength to preserver through her daughter. For her strength to be able to cope through writing. To shelter her daughter's innocence and to spread the message of an 11 year old. I am humbled to have read many of the same characteristics that I see in myself, to be so confused in faith, church, religion, ladida... I think this mother is a true inspiration, and that so far her work is simply, amazing.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Auld Lang Syne...

Happy New Year!!!!

What a year the Ward Family had in 2012!!! As Dean and I like to say, another year gone, and we have still kept our children alive! :)
We've lived in three states as a family, Dean... four or five, and with all the traveling, it's nice to know that we will be ringing in the New Year in the comfort of HOME together as a family! Of course Dean will be leaving shortly after to his next endeavor, in Boulder, CO., but it's nice to be celebrating this holiday as a whole!

First off in 2012 Dean took a job with another wind company, Gamesa. He started off in PA, and shortly after his training was complete, was sent to Pocahontas, IA where he spent four months off and on. While he was in IA, the boys and I held the fort down in TN only seeing Dean every thirty days for his monthly R&R. After the initial time away, we quickly decided that being together was much easier on the boys, and so if we couldn't feasibly "move" with him, that we would visit for extended stays. The end of May was my first trek across the mid-west, driving solo with both boys to the Upper Peninsula, MI. Thankfully we had the help of our landlord with the puppies, and after a long month away from them, chose to no longer travel with them staying behind. Sadly, after our MI trip and a few weeks home in TN, I noticed that Argo had trouble with his balance and running, and after two or three trips to the vet, he was diagnosed with Wobblers Syndrome. Unfortunately Wobblers claimed him in August. Despite his diagnoses, we made the most out of his life, and traveled with him for the month of August back to the UP in MI and gave him the most fun filled thirty days. Swimming off the dock every day, left over dinner, snuggles on the bed and getting away with pretty much everything. When we came back to TN towards the end of the month is when we had to say goodbye. I think about him nearly every day, and I know that Jaxon misses him dearly. He was such a happy pup, and such a good part of our family.

After a week back at home, the boys and I turned around and headed to Albert Lea, MN where we have been for the last 4 months together. It was hard at times being away from "home", but we met some forever family friends, and stayed really busy!!!

Other than the whole moving across country, we've had another amazing year with the boys. Lets see here... Jax started the early stages of reading, finally learned how to ride his tricycle, had his first major injury after stubbing his toe nearly off, became a pro at shuffling DVD's in and out of the dvd player, was a ring bearer for the third time, had his first crush, learned how to drive a powerwheel, learned how to go under water, count to 100, write (somewhat legibly), sing at the top of his lungs, and buckle his car seat straps. Jaxon turned four in November, and immediately after, he decided that he would try new foods, eat better, and share his toys more.  Of course he learned a bazillion other things, but he had a great year and I can't wait to see how this next year will go for him.
Liam also had a big year! He learned so much and is doing so many things. He started off 2012 turning one, and was just learning how to walk. Now he's full force ahead and on the go. He has had some rough moments through teething and every time he gets a cold, he gets a cold and then some, so those moments weren't so great, but he seems to have gotten over the worst of the cold and flu season. Liam loves to color and is quite good at it. He also loves book time, and I'm so proud to say that he knows all of his letters by sight and sound, and can count to ten! He loves letters just like Jax did at his age, and so he makes it easy to help him learn! He learns a few new phrases and words each week and his personality is really starting to show. His favorite word is NO!, and when he says it, Dean and I can't help but laugh. He is growing like a weed, and before our move to MN was wearing a range in clothing from 6-9 months, and now is wearing 2T! He is always on the go and sometimes it's hard to even get a snuggle out of him. He's a bit of a bully and I think he learned that although he is smaller in size to Jax, he's much more solid and uses that to his advantage! He is such a funny boy and SO different than Jax. They say that your children will be different, but they really are night and day different!
I can't imagine my life without either of them, and together they are the best (sometimes the worst) part of my day, and although they fight like brothers, they also love like brothers and friends! 
I, myself, have just been managing the boys, playing travel agent and trying to enjoy the most out of being together as a family. I did make some great friends on our trips, and can't wait to plan a girls reunion in 2013! I am also going to be an Aunt AGAIN!!! I will have two more babies to spoil this upcoming year! My sister in law's, Rachel and Amanda are expecting and we'll have a nephew and a niece/nephew in the spring!!! I am also in the process of homeschooling Jax, although I haven't really gotten too much going as he was in school for the last 4 months. With our travel schedule I plan on doing as much homeschooling as I can before he needs to be in school full time. Aside from that, I got addicted to Pinterest, and have a handful of crafts that have been started and need to be finished, and a long list of do-to's on the way. At the beginning of October, I started at home workout videos, and must say that 25 minutes a day has done my body good. I don't know why I waited until my youngest was almost two to try and shed the lingering baby weight, but I am only 5lbs away from my HS weight! I still have to figure out the whole eating healthy thing, but for now, I'm waaaaaaaay ahead of my New Years Resolution!!!

Outside of traveling to be with Dean, we had two family trips this year. Our first was to WA over the summer, and that was a lot of fun. We got to visit with all of our friends and family, and celebrate 4th of July on the Columbia River! In October, we vacationed with the other side of the family, and celebrated Halloween at Disney World! This was the most fun there yet! Jaxon was able to ride almost all of the rides this time around, and despite plaguing everyone in our sights with our colds, we really had a great time!!!

For 2013, there will be some major changes for us, as we've discussed the possibility of leaving TN to break up the time spent with our families. We aren't certain on the exact details yet, but are planning on living in WA for six months and then in FL for the other six months of the year. This will all be dependent on where we are at with Dean, but I want the boys and I to enjoy each side of our families equally. Our first choice will always be together as a family, but sometimes there are projects that just wouldn't work with moving a family for. So hopefully after a few months of resting, planning and getting Dean's work schedule, we'll know more!
I can't think of too many things to regret in 2012, but am looking forward to starting a new year and seeing where it takes us!
I hope everyone has had a great year, and wish you all the best for 2013!!!
Happiness and Love,

Monday, December 3, 2012

Scattered, Smothered and Covered...

So over the past few weeks I have been on a crash course of trying to get my blood pressure under control at the Mayo Clinic, as well as figure out why I am having some nerve issues in my arms.

I have been to so many doctor's appointments, I am exhausted, and with them testing, changing meds, and trying to lower my bp, I have been a bit out of it. I'm hoping that very soon they will get me on the right track, but that may mean several more changes, tests and trials... Blah. Anyways, that kind of explains my absence from my blog.

Besides that, I have had several craft days with the boys and I must say that Christmas time is my new favorite holiday. Even though we will not be in this house for the Christmas, we bought a little tree, and decorated the house all over! It's very festive in the Ward "home away from home"! Jax is so excited to wake up knowing that it's a day closer to Santa! (We're still working on the real reason for Christmas is...)But it's definitely a thrill to see his excitement grow. This year will be great!!!
I failed miserably at the "30 days of Thankfulness" so to sum it all up... I am blessed beyond measure with the friends and family I have in my life. For the roof over my head, food on my table, and the clothing on mine and each of my three boys' backs. I am grateful and very thankful for my husband having a job, and one that allows me to be a SAHM. I am thankful for the fact, that even with the mass amount of health challenges I am faced w/daily, that it's not been more than an inconvenience and that I am hopefully within sight of some answers. I am so extremely thankful for my children. Words can not express the love I have for those two little boys. I am forever thankful for my husband, for loving me and providing for our family the way that he does day in, day out.
It's been a hard past few weeks on me personally, but without the support of my husband and my friends and family, I'd be lost!
Hope everyone found many, many reasons this year to be thankful! Now let the countdown to Christmas begin!!
I love you all and hope everyone is doing well!