Looking for Lovely

This handsome seven year old lost another tooth this week. I was brushing his teeth and out it popped! I think Levi was more excited to share the news with daddy than Malachi was.

Look how long those legs are getting! We are cautious about telling Malachi about imaginary things like the tooth fairy and santa; we don’t want to plant a seed that some of what mommy and daddy tell him isn’t true. But we do tell him that some kids believe in a fairy that takes their teeth and leaves presents, and we let him pretend too. We put the tooth under his pillow and the next day he gets a special treat from mommy and daddy, usually a chocolate bar.

Levi and mommy returned from Cincinnati with minor head colds. I tried desperately to keep Malachi from catching anything but grew discouraged when I watched in horror as Levi wiped his snotty nose on Malachi’s hair. Thankfully neither Jake or Malachi caught it and we were healthy again by the middle of the week.

Levi does not handle any congestion well with his airway, and this go around was not an exception. He had a very difficult time sleeping which trickled down to Malachi and I also having a difficult time sleeping. I ended up dragging our giant bean bag into the living room so I could separate the boys from one another and keep everyone close.

We tucked in for the week, going on drives periodically to give the boys some adventure. We also spent a lot of time outside enjoying the cooler fall-like days. Malachi loves to listen to the sounds of nature.

We did spot a single bear print on the edge of the pool cover this week. We are really hoping they will leave it alone!

I have been so relieved to have our Cincinnati trip behind us. Right now we don’t have any surgeries on the horizon until next summer and I feel like a weight has been lifted. I have started tackling some big phone calls and paperwork packets I have been putting off.

One of the big projects is filing an appeal with our secondary insurance for Levi’s surgery. They sent us a letter telling us that Vanderbilt could do the surgery and there was no reason for us to go out of network to Cincinnati, therefore they would not be paying any of the bills. Clearly taking him to surgeons who did not complete the original experimental surgery is not an option, but we are hitting brick walls with insurance even after getting the surgeons to call and explain the situation. I will keep filing, but it looks like we may lose this battle; and unfortunately this will set a precedent for each additional Cincinnati surgery trip that will be required in Levi’s lifetime.

We did get approval this week for Malachi’s homeschooling, so I will start trying to find the right pieces of equipment and curriculum to get him rolling here at the house. Taking on his schooling will be a big endeavor so I am no longer going to be able to handle working office hours part time as the church secretary. But maybe one day when things settle back down I can jump back into that role, as it has been a good mental distraction for me from all things medical.

Levi has not enjoyed being cooped up this week and has been getting into all sorts of mischief. He has been pestering the fire out of Malachi, and one day this week he accidentally hit Malachi with a toy. Malachi was livid, and stayed mad at him for about 4 hours. Seeing his anger made me smile, as weird as that sounds.

Levi tried to make up for it, bringing Malachi stacks and stacks of toys to try to cheer him up. He genuinely felt bad and confessed the whole story again, with reenactments, when Jake got home.

He has also decided that Malachi should be fed the same snacks he gets and has been “sharing” his snacks with him. Malachi can’t chew and choked on food, so eating most foods is very dangerous for him. Today I jumped in the shower and Levi popped his head in and told me that he put shredded cheese in Malachi’s mouth. Twice this week I caught him shoving tortilla chips into Malachi’s closed mouth, and once I caught him pouring water from his cup into Malachi’s mouth. Each time I race over to find a wild eyed Malachi trying to process what to do with the foreign objects in his mouth. Poor big brother!

Levi has been wearing a thick winter Carhart coat and this silly hat around the house just for fun.

He then decided that Malachi also needed a hat and dug this one out of a kitchen cabinet. Malachi thought it was hilarious that he had a bowl on his head and was cracking us all up with his funny faces.

Both Malachi and Levi have such big imaginations! Malachi acts out the scenes from the movies he watches, yelling when the characters yell and even crying when they cry. Levi has started making up stories about all kinds of things. This week he told us that the dog down the road bit him in his arm and that a bear also bit him and then ran into the woods. He can spin quite a tale.

Jake and his amazing friends spent another Saturday working on the therapy pool area for Malachi. I have been blown away by how kind the people in our community are, and several of them have given up entire Saturdays to help make our vision a reality. We would have never been able to afford outsourcing a project like this one.

Tonight we had our weekly youth Bible study out there and having the extra space to spread the teens out was a blessing. We still have a few more Saturdays of work left to finish the electric and small touches, but I am so thrilled with how functional it is for Malachi to swim in all weather settings.

We added a slide off the back and Levi boldly went down it all by himself this weekend. Malachi also rode down it with mommy and daddy, squealing with joy the whole ride down.

One of the most challenging things about being a youth pastor is trying to figure out which direction God wants us to take the group next. Sometimes the topics and themes I personally want to do are just not the right fit for where the teens are spiritually. We have been praying about what direction to take the group and listening for God’s prompting.

On Sunday nights we split them up and the girls do a Bible study with me. We are kicking off a new study called “Looking for the Lovely” and the topic strikes such a nerve in my heart.

If you have read the blog long I am sure you already know that Philippians 4:8 has become my life verse. I have it plastered on our living room wall, and recite it over and over again in my mind most days.

“Whatsoever things are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy, excellent, think on these things.”

This verse used to be an easy one to incorporate into our lives before Malachi was born. It is easy to focus on the lovely when you are immersed in the lovely.

It wasn’t until challenges hit that I truly understood how radical living this verse out could be. There are days when I can’t find the lovely. I can’t find the praiseworthy things, or the excellent things. My mind searches for them but can only find hard, and discouraging things to focus on.

I am in a world that I have very little control of, but the one thing I can continually attempt to control with some success is my thoughts. The Bible tells us to take every thought captive and not let our minds wander too far from where we need them to be.

Although looking for the lovely can be challenging, I see the importance and benefits of the hunt. When you train your eyes to see through darkness looking for glimmers of light, you don’t have time to focus on the overwhelming nature of the darkness.

Looking for the lovely can be a wonderful distraction and keep us from settling in that darkness where fears have a chance to grow beyond recognition.

I don’t know what darkness you may be facing, but I want to encourage you to search high and low for those flickers of lovely in your situation. They are there- God always leaves evidence of his goodness and grace for us to find. Maybe you can collect enough of them in a jar and use them to help you get to the other side of the darkness.

May God bless you this week,


2 thoughts on “Looking for Lovely

  1. YEA Malachi!!!
    Another tooth out!
    Mom you are a miracle in Malachi’s life.
    You are a wonderful example to all others who follow here. What a God fearing woman you are.
    God please pour out an extra measure of blessings on this precious family, in
    the name of Jesus.


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