Deacon Jake

Let’s start with a funny game. What is wrong with this picture? I am pretty confident you will be able to spot it, but just in case I will put the answer in the P.S. comments at the bottom.


There are times when my heart feels so full of love and joy, and tonight is one of those nights. As I look at each of my uniquely special boys my heart flutters with the honor of getting to do life with them.


Malachi has the most forgiving heart. This week he and I have been very frustrated with each other. When he was younger and I would get frustrated I could yell out and release some of that built up anger and Malachi would laugh at my outburst. Now when I yell out in frustration he yells out back angrily and makes sure I know he is mad too. But his sweet little heart can’t stay mad long.

Malachi has a streak of silliness in him that is coming out more frequently these days. He loves to make people laugh and desperately wants to connect with people around him. He is really enjoying school and the independence it gives him away from mom and little brother. He has been able to do school 3-4 days a week from 9:45-2:30 each day! That is a huge improvement from the 2-3 hour chunks we had to do last year without his feeding tube.


His seizures are down to about two a day and tomorrow we will be increasing his CBD oil to the max dose we are willing to try right now in an effort to take him down to one seizure or less per day.


Levi has transformed his personality in an unbelievable way over the last 12 months. This time last year he would cry if a stranger looked at him, let alone spoke to him. Now he wants to lead them by the hand all around the grocery store. He is extremely intelligent and has such an awareness of things. He is investigative and won’t move on from something until he has mastered it. He loves to help and can now complete two step instructions, which I take advantage of often when I am trying to take care of Malachi and need a second set of hands.


And Levi loves his brother so fiercely. To him, Malachi is simply Malachi. He doesn’t see anything different about him. Today I looked over at lunch and they were holding hands, something Levi initiated. Whenever he walks by Malachi at the house he takes time to stop and kiss him on the head or hug him before he continues waddling by.

This is his silly face he makes when he knows he is doing something he shouldn’t do, like stand up in the moving wagon.


He is also becoming quite the little flirt with the church girls.



This week has been a wacky one with crazy sleep schedules. On Tuesday we made the trip to the regional semi-finals game with our soccer team where we lost in a sudden death PK shootout. We didn’t get home that night until after midnight and didn’t get everyone medicated and in bed until 2am. That set their sleeping schedules into a whirlwind for the rest of the week, Malachi partying until after midnight some nights. It also seems that he is establishing his new wake up time earlier than before at 3am. I am hoping the CBD increase may help with this.


Tonight was a special day for our family as Jake was ordained as a deacon in our church. Jake was honored in an ordination service this evening and it was so wonderful to see the other deacons in our congregation welcome him in and pray over him.


If you aren’t familiar with the Bible and all these church terms, “deacon” means to minister and to serve. There are only about a dozen deacons in our church, and Jake has decided that this is where the Lord is calling him. Jake’s heart has been pulled in the direction of service other the last few years and I think a role like this will continue him on that path.

During the service this evening the pastor made a reference to the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. In that story, the people have been following Jesus and the disciples and now there is a huge crowd of them. As the day wears on, Jesus recognizes their need for a meal and the disciples start to try to think of ways to feed the crowd.

One of the disciples finds a young boy that has a sack lunch with him that contains 5 loaves and two tiny fish.  And then the miracle happens…Jesus feeds the 5,000 with it!

I have heard this story so many times in my life. It is in four different books of the Bible and I have even studied it within each book with the youth. But tonight God pointed me at something fresh and new He wanted to me to see. He pointed me towards the actions of the boy.

That boy was surrounded by at least 5,000 very hungry people that day and was the only one with a sack lunch (high five to that boy’s momma!) He very easily could have taken his meager lunch around the corner and eat it quickly and quietly under a tree, making certain that his physical needs were being met. He could have done the cautious thing and given just a portion of his lunch.

But instead he willingly gave all that he had. He did so with expectation that Jesus would do something miraculous. He showed faith. He showed the heart of a servant that we are called to cultivate in our own lives.

When was the last time we willingly gave ALL that we have to Christ? We are good at giving meager portions to God, or the chunks in our lives that are leftover when we are through with what we want.

But when was the last time you carried everything up to the feet of Christ and laid it down, expecting Him to multiply what little you have to offer to impact His kingdom?

When was the last time you looked around and saw a need and saw a tiny way to possibly help meet the needs of others.

When was the last time you had the faith of that small boy? How many times has our selfishness gotten in the way of God’s work?

Christ loves to work with mold-able, willing hearts that are eager to see Him in action. Release your 100% to God, regardless of what that may look like to you. For some of us that may be time, for others resources, and others emotions. Take all that you have in those areas and give them over to God and wait patiently to see how He multiplies your meager rations.

I like to think about the smile on that little boy’s face as the disciples likely filled up his bucket to the brim with leftovers from the day. What a story that boy had to tell to his future generations.

What story of God’s goodness do you have to pass on?

Thank you for your prayers for more miracles for the boys!


P.S. Jake is a school teacher and doesn’t get dressed up often. Since tonight was a special occasion he decided to bring out his fancy shoes. When he bent down and kneeled his shoes both slipped right off of the soles!! I didn’t even know that was possible. He limped through the rest of the evening, finally breaking off in the parking lot at dinner. Time for some new dress shoes I guess haha!


Blessed Be the Name

Brace yourself…I have an illogical amount of photos to share from our busy week.


Jake had the week off for fall break (yes, a wonderful week off that southerners invented) so we did our best to be intentional about using the time wisely. It is so easy to justify NOT doing things when you have children with complex needs. On a pros and cons list we are always heavy on the cons. But we can’t just talk about wanting to give them a typical life- we have to be willing to actually do it.

And almost as if we needed another push in the right direction, 4 of our 6 appointments for the week cancelled on us leaving us with some rare wide open chunks of time.


On Monday we made a trip down to Chattanooga to go to the zoo. It is a small zoo but perfectly suited to our needs. Levi hasn’t always handled the zoo well and this trip was no exception. Malachi was ecstatic about going and especially about seeing the jaguars.



Right next to the zoo is a massive handicap accessible playground so we took the boys over to check it out. Levi had never been on a playground before (germaphobe momma) and he loved every second of it. We were reminded that he knows no danger and is still learning the whole concept of cause and effect.


On Tuesday we hosted the first round of the tournament for the district championship. Our girls were able to snag the win!


On Wednesday we took the youth group out to a local campground for some tin foil dinners and flashlight tag. Malachi and Levi love spending time with the big kids!


Thursday was our busy day and started with a trip to the aquarium at Malachi’s request. His eyesight is improving so much and it was exciting to watch him track the fish. He tried hard to catch a glimpse of every creature that came close. Thankfully the otters, sharks, and penguins all got very close to him and swam right within his line of vision.



Again, Levi was not a fan.

Malachi also got to pet a snake! He waited patiently for his turn as the woman discussed the type of snake and different facts about it. He clung to every word, his eyes wide with wonder. He is such an intelligent kid, I wish you could see how well he handles receptive communication.


On Thursday night we took our soccer team to their district championship game. The game went into overtime and finally had to go to sudden death penalty kicks. Unfortunately we fell short earning 2nd in the district but we  still have a chance to earn Regional champions. On Tuesday we will travel 2.5 hours (close to the border of Kentucky) to play our first round of the regional tournament.

And then there was Friday! I still had to work on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday this week so we did our best to cram these adventures around my work hours. Friday afternoon we took the boys to the pumpkin patch, which proved to be their favorite adventure of the week!



Malachi jumped with his daddy on a trampoline style pad and I took a short video to share with you:

Levi soaked it all in and even got to eat some hay before daddy caught him.


They each picked out a pumpkin which we will be painting soon.


And we all four rode the cow train which was an interesting endeavor.


The week was refreshing for us as a family. Sometimes we just need to pretend we are typical, and that is what we really tried to do this week. It is so important for us to create these opportunities for Malachi, knowing that we may not be able to do all these fun things as easily the larger he gets. The photo on the left was from 2017 when I was very pregnant with Levi. You can visibly see how long his legs have grown!



With less appointments this week we spent a lot more time around the house. I love watching Levi play with Malachi. Their love is so special. Earlier today I was cooking for the youth group and things were suspiciously quiet so I went on a hunt to find Levi. I peeked over the couch to see him sitting on Malachi’s lap and leaning down to give him a  kiss. Their bond is so special.


Sunday nights have changed dramatically now that we are holding youth group here at the house. I start cooking around 2:30p and the kids come at 6:30 and stay sometimes until 10:00! We get our two to bed and I start writing the blog. I typically finish typing it around 12:30a and then head to bed myself for a few hours of sleep before Malachi wakes up.

Last Sunday night Malachi just couldn’t seem to get comfortable in his bed. He squirmed and wiggled all night long and I checked on him over the monitor what felt like hundreds of times. Levi also has had something GI going on and we have had to fiddle with his feedings, especially at night so he doesn’t throw everything up. Needless to say, it was an up and down night.

Right before I closed my eyes that night I read a post in one of my Facebook support groups about one of the warriors passing away. When that happens in our online community it is always a shock and a blow, as we can all relate to the situation with our own fighters.

This one hit me exceptionally hard though because you could tell by the young boys photo that he was not nearly as severe as Malachi. I read through the comments and found one where a brave momma asked the boy’s mom how he had passed (a question we are all asking but one we don’t want to verbalize). She was very gracious and explained that it was a freak accident. He had fallen out of his bed and his mouth was too close to the side of the mattress causing him to suffocate.

I prayed for that family as I drifted off to sleep, not even being able to imagine what their hearts must be going through.


Little did I know that on that very night we too would have a scare of our own with Malachi. I posted this to my Facebook page and it just seems appropriate to share it here as well:

It makes me sick to my stomach to even type this, but I just feel like I need to speak it. We almost lost Malachi early Monday morning while we slept.

I recently moved Malachi from our bed back into his room where he has a special mattress that helps keep him in a proper position while he sleeps. We have a baby monitor on him that stays inches from my face every night, one that I obsessively check while he sleeps. I wake up and check the monitor for Malachi and check to make sure Levi (sleeping in a crib next to me) hasn’t gotten any cords wrapped around his neck…something that happens more often than I care to share. I also run my hand over Levi’s belly so I can tell if his tube has been pulled out or burst while he sleeps. I literally do these “rounds” at least 8 times a night.

When I tuck Malachi in at night I have a weighted blanket that we strategically wrap around his lower legs to keep him from contorting his body while he sleeps. Both of his hips are dislocated as are his knees so he doesn’t bend his legs. But he does fold at the waist and fling his pencil straight legs up which causes him to wake up…the weighted blanket helps prevent this.

Malachi usually wakes up around 4am but for some reason he stayed asleep that night. I sleep in a twilight sleep and jump anytime I hear either boy move and around 6:30 I woke up to a very faint noise. I glanced in the monitor and at first it looked like Malachi wasn’t in the bed, but then I saw a tiny movement and realized that he had the weighted blanket up over his face, covering his entire body and head. I am baffled as to how this happened as we are so safety conscious with that blanket and setup.

I ran to his room and grabbed it off of his face and he took a big gasp of air which sent chills down my spine. I snatched him up and held him close and asked him if he was scared and he signed with his mouth that yes he was, which shattered my heart.

Had I not that faint gasp for air over the monitor things could have turned out very differently. He lacks the ability to grab things and I don’t think he is strong enough to push a blanket off successfully. Asphyxiation has always been my biggest fear with him.

All day I haven’t been able to get this incident out of my mind. I keep replaying that visual on the monitor and that sound of his gasp over and over in my head. The guilt is overwhelming and such a heavy cloud on me right now. Last night I couldn’t sleep and instead just watched him, that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Sweet Malachi is so forgiving and has recovered from the incident just fine. But I can’t shake it. Being a special needs mom has a unique set of challenges but knowing that his delicate life rests in my hands is terrifying. There are so many horror stories like this one that didn’t end well- things that could have been prevented with just one tiny change in a routine.

Today I have hugged Malachi and covered him with kisses. I have thrown out that stupid blanket. And I have promised him that I will never make that mistake again.

But I have also prayed over his death. I have prayed that Malachi will always feel loved, safe, and comfortable. That he will never again need to feel the fear and helplessness he experienced this morning. I have prayed that when God carries him to heaven for his complete healing that He will do so in a painless, beautiful way.

This is the special needs mom life. We beg God for life for our children, yet also pray fervently over their death. I never knew a world like this one existed. A world full of so much beauty yet so much sorrow. A world where you are reminded again and again that your child has been entrusted to you for an undefined amount of time. That unknown timeline for their lives can drown you if you let it.

Tonight say a prayer with me for the special needs momma. Pray that the guilt and fear that the devil likes to plant in our hearts would wither and die. Pray for boldness and courage as we fight alongside our warrior children. We can’t afford to be meek. And pray for peace for our weary and worried hearts as this battle can get exhausting.

Needless to say, I spent the next several night watching him like a hawk instead of sleeping. It took me most of the week to get that nauseous feeling out of my stomach as I pondered the “what ifs”. The whole situation shook me to my core.

Our life with Malachi is very difficult, but it is so very special. Just knowing him for these past 6 years has transformed our lives and especially our walk with God. Biblical concepts that seemed so simple have come to life before our very eyes as we navigate the painful parts of faith.

I can’t imagine a life without him.

But I also have to remember that all that we are given in this life is not ours to claim.

The night he was born will forever be etched into my mind. There are certain details that I will never be able to unsee. But as we raced to the operating room and I watched those ceiling tiles whiz over my head I prayed the words of Job over and over again: “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”

I don’t know why those exact words came out. I just remember wanting so desperately to plead for Malachi’s life, but also wanting God to know that I trusted Him fully.

Those words have been playing in my mind this week as I think about life with Malachi. Every day that we get to spend with him is a gift from God. I pray that my heart always remembers these words and when that time does come for Malachi to claim his heavenly healing that I will be able to say with my whole heart “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Jake heads back to work tomorrow and our chaos resumes! This momma is headed to bed.

Much love,




Painful Roots

I had to look through my photo album to try and remember what all we crammed into this week!

We rocked out some therapy sessions. Levi has a hard time understanding when his therapy session is over and brother’s begins. He tends to get very jealous that they are working with Malachi instead of him and tries to join in on the fun.


We went to the apple orchard with our Chick-Fil-A buddies. We don’t get to meet up very often but it is always fun to spend time with those sweet children. Both Malachi and Levi thoroughly enjoyed the hayride through the apple orchard.



I was barely pregnant with Levi when the infamous Chick-Fil-A encounter happened which led to the viral post. So it is wild to see how much our families keep changing!


We ate chicken in parking lots in between appointments. I know that sounds like a weird sentence. But most days we have an hour or so to kill in between appointments and getting the boys out is getting more difficult now that Levi is so mobile. So we find a quiet parking lot and I let Levi join me in the front seat to get some wiggles out and get a few bites of food.



We all four got our flu shots! Our local pharmacy is absolutely amazing and they come out to the car for our shots so I don’t have to get Malachi’s chair out.

Levi was too young to get his at the pharmacy so we made the drive to his pediatrician in Chattanooga. This was his first ever flu shot which made me a nervous wreck- the last time he had a vaccination he went into respiratory distress and had to be put on 6 liters of oxygen. Thankfully he managed this one well.

While I am very respectful of others opinions about vaccinations, in our world it is a very black and white, life or death issue that we don’t feel like we should negotiate on. When you become a medical momma you are forced into a world where you have to choose a lesser of two evils…we have to prioritize LIFE over all else.


Levi managed to sprain his ankle on Friday morning which led to a bonus trip to the pediatrician and x-rays. He wasn’t able to put pressure on it for a bit and would fall every few attempted steps so we were concerned he had fractured his ankle but the images showed no break! He has cried several times over the last few days and held his foot so I know it is still hurting but there isn’t much you can do for a sprain other than Tylenol.

He spent a solid day and a half walking like this on the inside of his foot, which in turn caused him to fall over frequently in pain.


The weather is finally changing here in Tennessee and oh boy are we loving it! The fall days tend to be more overcast so Malachi can comfortably spend time outside without trying to dodge the sunlight. Look at all that eye contact!!! He is such a beautiful child.


img_0549 Plus now the bears seem to be in hibernation making me much less nervous about letting Levi play on the front porch and in the driveway!

Malachi’s body temperature issues have leveled out but his new wake up time has yet to be determined. We were all over the map this week, some days waking up at 3am and other days waking up at 5am. We obviously are crossing our fingers for him to settle on a late hour!

Speaking of late nights, we have had several with both boys this weekend. In addition to Levi’s sprained ankle he seems to have a slight postnasal drip. Since his airway is very sensitive any drainage back in his throat makes him immediately vomit. We run him on continuous feeds for 8 hours at night and for the last two nights he has been getting up around 4am and projectile vomiting.

On Saturday I attempted a trip to the grocery store with the boys and made it down two aisles before Levi projectile vomited all over the floor. I was trying to use the cart and Malachi’s wheelchair to block the puddle while holding a vomit covered Levi. Thankfully someone in the aisle offered to go to customer service for me and they brought some cleaning supplies. Never a dull moment!

So as a back up plan we are carrying a towel everywhere we go and only feeding Levi small amounts more often than normal. There are no other signs or symptoms in any of us or Levi other than his vomiting which leads us to confidently believe it is an airway reaction and not a virus.


Levi has started using his imagination a lot and loves pretending that everything is a phone. He always answers it “Hey Dada”and proceeds to have a pretty intense conversation. He hands the phone to me but gets very frustrated when I don’t say the right persons name who is on the “other line”. Silly boy.

Levi is developing a little attitude and it has shocked both Jake and I in a humorous way. For example, one day this week he turned to Malachi and said “I love you” then walked off. I was touched by the sweetness of the moment and said “You love Malachi?” and Levi turned around with a sassy attitude and an eye roll and replied “I just said that.”

He is also picking up some new dance moves. Here is an updated dancing video for you:

Malachi loves Levi but sometimes needs some space (totally relatable, kid). We have been putting him in his activity chair out of Levi’s reach.


I took this silly video for you and you can just see how happy Malachi is to play with a toy all by himself:

Jake is on fall break this week and we are planning to tackle some big projects around the house. We also have some fun things planned, like painting pumpkins and maybe a trip to the zoo. Malachi has been excited all weekend about extra time with daddy!

Levi is going through a mommy stage and will scream for at least 45 minutes if I leave the house. He is afraid I will leave him if I get out of his sight so he is following me everywhere I turn. I am really hoping this week will help ease that situation as Jake will be staying home with the boys when I go to work.

I’m not going to lie here- this week has been exhausting. There were days I was running on just 3 hours of sleep and trying to whittle down a to-do list that continued to grow. On days like those it is very VERY difficult to show the light of Jesus to people. It is hard to find empathy for others when my day is so chaotic and miserable. We spend hours in waiting rooms each week, hours in the car driving to and from appointments. There is so much unpredictability and when someone adds chaos to my chaos I tend to get angry.

But I have to keep reminding myself that even in these stressful moments, God is refining me. He is bringing my impurities to the surface, the ugly parts of my character, and He desires to scrape those out of my life.

When we are a child of God we need to be okay with the uncomfortable feeling of being refined. We need to be okay with God pointing out our ugly, knowing that His goal is for us to be a reflection of Him…something we can’t do well when we smear our innate ugliness on that mirror that He wants us to be.

James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

I tend to forget that there is purpose in pain. I forget that in order to really, truly grow I have to develop roots that painfully work their way into the soil but concrete me into that garden of Christ. And once those roots are established I can start to bloom where He has planted me. I can start to display the beauty of the Creator.

But we also must remember that sometimes God uproots us out of our comfortable, established plot of land and tries to plant us in a new garden. Those roots have to be re-established, an uncomfortable but necessary process for us to flourish in our new God-chosen spot.

I pray that my heart always stays soft enough to be uprooted and re-planted, as many times as He requires, and count it all joy each and every time.

This momma is headed to bed! Much love to all of you.




Wings & Endurance

I haven’t done a medical update for you in quite awhile so I figured we would kick off with a few updates on each of the boys.

Levi is always the “less complicated” one so let’s start with him. His vocal cords are still very much paralyzed but right now the piece of rib in his vocal cords still seems to be allowing him to breathe safely. At night he will have a desaturation a few times a week but self recovers without me having to touch him. We still keep him hooked to his machines at night so we can keep a close watch on his oxygen levels and heart rate.

He isn’t scheduled for another Cincinnati trip/surgery until June which is amazing! He will be put under anesthesia the day after Christmas for an MRI so we can see if the spots of brain damage have changed since his last MRI. This is being ordered by his neurologist and will give us  a better picture of what impairments we might be looking at. Although he is catching up with his milestones there are several red flags that still indicate that Levi may get a cerebral palsy diagnosis due to some low tone in his legs and core. They typically don’t formally label a child with CP until after their 2nd birthday.

Levi will also have another dreaded sleep study a few days before Christmas to make sure he is still safe to sleep without oxygen. He will still have his routine specialist appointments with neurology, pulmonology, gastrentergology, and the eye doctor but at this point there are no major changes with his care in those departments. He is also getting weekly feeding therapy and physical therapy. He is down to only taking one dose of medicine a day to help control his reflux.

Levi has been fascinated with his g-tube lately which makes me a nervous wreck. He is so sneaky about it too, reaching down the front of his onesie when we aren’t looking. One of my personal goals is getting him to take enough calories by mouth to eliminate having to do any daytime feeds through his tube. We are very far from that goal, but he is making progress. He is even able to eat an entire french fry without choking which is wild!

He is trying to figure out how to run which has made life a little more interesting haha. He is one fast little rascal! And he is mastering this whole temper tantrum thing which to be honest is a bit hard to not laugh at sometimes. That boy could win an oscar award for his performances.


Jake and I were talking today about how much chaos he has added into our lives, but how wonderfully that chaos and normalcy feels. We can’t imagine life any other way.

Like a sour patch kid, he also has a sweet side and says “I wuv you” to me unprompted at least a dozen times a day. He also pretends that everything is a phone and calls his daddy on it. This morning he was acting up in church and when I turned to get onto him he quickly folded his hands and closed his eyes to pretend like he was praying, trying to get out of whatever lecture he was about to receive.

And just in case you hadn’t already figured out that Levi is a spitting image of his daddy, here is a side by side comparison for your enjoyment:


Malachi has been so healthy this year, which is something we are confident God has orchestrated. We haven’t had any surprise hospitalizations for him in over a year as his sicknesses have been able to be managed at home. His immune system is still a little wonky so we are still cautious around germs.

Malachi doesn’t have any surgeries or big procedures on the horizon. He has routine appointments with neurology, neurosurgery, gastroenterology, orthopedics, and dentist. Each week for he has feeding therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and hippotherapy.

Malachi is taking 7 doses of medication per day, five of those being seizure meds. After his recent neuro appointment we increased his CBD medication a bit to try to control the seizures a bit more. He is down to having about two a day, and the CBD oil increase seems to be helping decrease their severity. We still carry a rescue medication for him in case his seizures last longer than 3-5 minutes but most of his are currently lasting under a minute.

We watch Malachi very closely for any changes since he can’t verbally communicate issues to us. We have to know every detail about him so we can spot a change quickly. When the seasons change sometimes he has a hard time adjusting, so this week he has been dropping his temperatures a little too low at night (just under 97 degrees). When I get him out of bed he is ice cold and it takes at least an hour to get his body temp back to a safe spot.

We had some bloodwork done last week to check his kidney function, something that can be affected by his medications and diet. Some of his medications make him more prone to develop kidney stones so he typically has a lot of debris in his urine. All of his tests came back great though!

Since we increased Malachi’s CBD oil we are noticing him trying to visually see things more. I know I say this a lot, but just in case you are new to the blog: Malachi has something called corticol visual impairment which means his eyes are structurally fine but his brain prevents him from seeing. He has certain settings that you can tell he sees better in (like low and natural light) but he has been trying really hard to look at things this week, regardless of the setting.


I snapped this photo earlier this week at a soccer game and it gave me chills to see him looking at me. Beautiful boy.

Malachi broke his 4:04 wake up streak PRAISE THE LORD! He seems to be settling on 5:18 but time will tell. It really is fascinating how his little brain works.


Malachi’s school picture

Malachi’s classmates haven’t been healthy so I kept him home with me for most of the week. I work on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and obviously both boys came along. The older Levi gets the more difficult it is for me to keep him content sitting in the office. He loves sitting with Malachi and this week I caught him helping Malachi play the keyboard. He held his hand and used it to push down on the keys for Malachi. It was just so sweet.



Levi loves to open and empty every drawer he can gets his hands on…the copier, the desk, the bookshelf…. By the time Friday rolled around I was mentally exhausted from chasing him around the office and keeping him out of dangerous situations. In an effort to keep him entertained I tracked down a used play kitchen this weekend and filled its drawers with pretend food and dishes. I am crossing my fingers and hoping this is the answer but I am little afraid to get my hopes up. Tomorrow will be the big test!

This week we are hoping to knock out flu shots for all of us. On Malachi’s first birthday he contracted the flu and we almost lost him. We spent two weeks in the ICU battling pneumonia, so for us shots are a must.

There is also a chance that we will get to see our Chick-Fil-A buddies this week at the apple orchard!

Speaking of Malachi’s viral Chick-Fil-A post, a few months ago we were contacted to do a podcast interview about the incident. We conducted the interview via phone on the way home from Cincinnati and it aired this week. Here is the link if you are new to our story and have any desire to listen:

I know I have mentioned this before, but we recently moved our Sunday night youth Bible study from the church to our home each week. We were hoping the atmosphere change would bring more of our youth group teens out on a consistent basis. We also bribe them with lots of food haha. Side note- while it is a ton of work, it really has brought me joy to start cooking for crowds again. And it is so important that the teens know that we love them, and as silly as it sounds food seems to be their love language.

God has been multiplying the numbers each week and we are getting 25-35 teenagers out to study the word of God. GOD IS SO GOOD!

We split the group up and the guys go downstairs with Jake and the girls stay upstairs with me. A few weeks ago I felt a prompting from God that we needed to teach them how to truly study the word of God. Our modern world tries to teach them the the Bible is outdated and full of contradictions; that it isn’t reliable. But I feel so strongly that the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.

So we changed gears and I give them each a printed out chapter (the message version since it is the easiest for them to understand) and a highlighter. They each read the chapter and mark anything that sticks out to them, confuses them, or pricks their spirit and then we have an open dialogue about each paragraph.

I can’t explain the joy I feel when I get to discuss scriptures with these young women and hear their unique perspectives. There is just something about studying the Bible with other believers that is so special. There is no age distinction when talking about God with another sister in Christ, but how often do we limit our spiritual conversations to people our own age?

Tonight we got to a verse that led to a discussion about the common belief: “God won’t give you anything you can’t handle.” I told the girls that this was not true and by their reactions you would have thought that I slapped their mommas.

They were confident that there was a verse in the Bible that said this very phrase, but the closest verse is found in 1 Corinthians where it says that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear without an escape already in place.

They told me that believing this phrase had always brought them comfort and when they are faced with something big and say this quote and it gives them the courage to embrace it head on.

I explained that while that mindset works for them in most situations now, there is going to be a moment in their lives where something comes along that they can’t handle on their own. Even the biggest dose of courage and wishful thinking won’t help them overcome it.

At some point in our lives we will all experience true helplessness. A moment where you feel like you are drowning and there is no foreseeable backup plan to turn to.  There will be a moment in your life where your only option is to lift your hands to God and call upon His name.

When we believe that God won’t give us anything we can’t handle we accept this master/slave view of God rather than seeing the potential for a true RELATIONSHIP with the Father. God wants to DO life WITH us. Not just write out a chore chart and check the list for completion.

While God doesn’t rejoice over our brokenness, He loves to meet us there as we rest in His embrace.

So yes, we will be given things that we can’t handle. There will be things in your life that are too much for you to process, too much to physically take on, too much to bear.

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

But did you catch those early words: “But those who hope in the Lord…”

When we are faced with a hopeless situation beyond what we can “handle” we are called to put our hope in the Lord and expect Him to give us wings to fly and endurance to complete the journey.

We have seen this firsthand on our parenting journey. We have watched God sustain us physically, mentally, financially when we have been stretched beyond what we can bear. We have watched Him preserve our marriage and allow Jake and I to be one mind and one soul.

We have been broken, but God has always met us in our brokenness. He has been our rescuer, our redeemer.

So my challenge this week is for us all to stop letting our pride get in the way of our relationship with God. What in your life has become too much for you to handle? Instead of repeating the lie over and over again that you can handle it alone, why don’t you try taking the road block to God?

Instead of seeing your inability to fix something as a negative, start to see it as the beautiful thing that draws you closer to the Lord.

God bless you all this week and thank you for checking in on our family.