300

This week we started settling into our new routine as Jake headed back to work for teacher workdays. Almost everyone was masked for these meetings and they practiced social distancing so we felt comfortable with things this week. Starting tomorrow students will be returning and our district is not requiring masks. Jake will obviously be wearing one and we will continue to pray protection over him and everyone in that building.

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Side note here- Jake and I are still very cautious about taking the boys out in public, but he and I take turns running soccer practices with the high school girls, running Bible studies, and attending church. We even held a back to school cookout at a local campground this week with about 40 teens. Tonight we had the youth girls over for a “driveway hangout” and plan to do another one on Tuesday night with the soccer team. We social distance as much as possible in these settings and use the common sense God gave us. When the boys do have to attend, they stay in the periphery with one of us. We haven’t been in strict lockdown like we were in March, but still are very cautious.

But there is something that feels so out of control about Jake teaching a whole group of teens in a very small confined classroom. I am thankful God determines our life timeline and not this crazy ‘rona.

New sleep routines took effect and oh boy what a wild ride. Night one was the roughest and both boys stayed up until 2:30am, excited to be in the same room as each other. As the week progressed and both boys learned the new routine things started to get a bit more predictable. I still can’t seem to get both of them fully asleep by midnight and I am up and down with one or the other about 4 times a night but at least we are finding our groove! We are ranging between 4-6 hours a night.

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Levi has abandoned all napping unless I get him in the car seat, so by dinnertime he is pretty savage. But in his pre-maniac hours he has been so sweet. I have been blown away by the small gestures he does all on his own…

When he hears the shower stop he runs into the bathroom to hand me my towel. Seeing that tiny toddler hand shoot through the curtain with my towel is just the sweetest thing.

One morning he went eerily silent and when I went to find him he had gathered all the dirty diapers (5 had collected in the bathroom overnight) and threw them down the diaper chute to be a helper.

When I took out the bathroom trash, he got a new trash bag out all on his own and put it in the can. I mean, even Jake doesn’t do that one!

When he watches a funny video on my phone, he excitedly carries it over to Malachi so he can see it too.

He also picks out Malachi’s favorite toy and carries it over to him, setting it on his lap and holding Malachi’s hand to help him activate it.

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Time and time again he surprises me with his sweet, inclusive heart. And Malachi just eats up the attention Levi gives him.

Malachi has been thoroughly enjoying all of the time we spent at home this week. I try to vary his seating throughout the day so he doesn’t get uncomfortable but this week he rubbed a giant pressure sore/rub burn on his arm while in the activity chair. Poor Malachi wasn’t able to tell me until it was too late.

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He also got his new AFO braces this week but sadly they came plain white instead of the cool colors he was expecting. We decorated them with superhero stickers but Levi keeps peeling them off (shhh don’t tell Malachi- he will be crushed) so we have to find a better way to dress them up for him.

This weekend Jake and several of his friends tackled phase 2 of the therapy pool project. There is only a small window of time when Malachi can swim in the pool due to the sunlight. Even when the pool is mostly shaded the glare from the sun makes him close his eyes tight and he doesn’t enjoy the swim session as much as he does in low light. We have been working on building a roof over the pool and a deck around it for his wheelchair as he grows.

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On Saturday the men worked for 10 long hours and made an incredible amount of progress! Early next week we should get the roof, a railing on the tall side, and some stairs. I will post updated photos next week!

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This week I will have to take the boys to their first Chattanooga appointment since March. I am a little anxious as the hospital building we have to take them to also serves as a walk-in clinic for children. We have been working with Levi on wearing a mask to help prep him for his Cincinnati trip in a few weeks. He is up to tolerating a whole 10 seconds haha.

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Speaking of Cincinnati, Levi’s breathing has been awfully loud this week. My imagination has been sparking about what they are going to find when they get in there. I would not be surprised if they have to do another supraglottoplasty (trim the epiglottis tissue away from the airway). But I am really hoping they will still be happy with what they see. I hooked him up to the pulse oximeter machine this week and his oxygen saturations are still staying in the safe range.

Levi is still working on jumping and it brings me so much joy and laughter to watch him. I captured it on film this week to share with you- hopefully it brings a smile to your face:

This morning in Sunday School with the youth I taught some lessons from the story of Gideon. One of the lessons that I shared with them was one that applies to all of us.

In Judges 7 Gideon prepares for war against the Midianites. As he gathers his large army God speaks and says “You have too many men.” Gideon sends a batch of soldiers home but still God speaks those same words. By the end of the pruning process Gideon is left with a mere 300 men.

Yes, there are explicit reasons in scripture why God did this. One of the biggest reasons was that He didn’t want the Israelites, who were already in a rebellious state of mind with God, to claim that it was by THEIR power that they defeated the Midianites.

But I like to find ways to apply scripture chunks like these to myself and the teens in present day. I am not in a state of rebellion with God or struggling with pride in moments of success. But as I munched on this scripture this week I reflected on times in my life when God has pruned my “comfortable safety net”. For Gideon those men represented power, confidence in battle, comfort. But those are the very things that God wanted to strip away.

Jeremiah 17:7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.”

God doesn’t want us to work in the comfortable, He wants us to walk in faith. He wants us to approach impossible odds with a confidence in Him…not our own might.

I think about the many ways that God has painfully pruned things from my life that I saw as necessary, later to find out the many ways those “necessary” things were holding me back from a life dependent on Him. Pruning hurts, especially when you can’t see the purpose in the pain. But it is such a huge part of a walk with Christ!

There is always a cringe-worthy moment when God calls you to release something that are clinging to. But He sees the greater things that we can grasp if we only simply let go.

I also look at the 300 men that God left for Gideon- they were solid warriors, able to help him fulfill the task at hand. I think about my 300. I think about the friendships in the last two decades that have fallen away, friends that weren’t able to help carry the load that God knew He would bring to our family. But oh how I treasure my 300…those very special friends that pick up the swords and go to battle with me. God knows the size of the battles we are about to face and the very people we will need by our sides.

I want to type more but it is nearing midnight and Levi is wrecking the house around me in a tired rage. I guess that means it is time for us to begin the bedtime games.

Please pray for our family this week as we continue to settle into life. And continue those prayers of protection over our fragile boys.

Much love,

Leah

 

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