day trip, part 2…

August 30, 2009

yesterday was a good day.

first off, cole was doing some ‘volunteer’ work at church.  yes.  really.  he was part of a mock classroom to train in the new teachers.  he did wonderful and was very proud of himself for helping.

now, since cole was going to be gone doing something, I thought we (the other 4 of us) could go and do something.  at least I could go without feeling guilty because cole was doing something on his own.

we decided to go back to taylor falls for the day to do some more hiking and climbing.  it was great.  we stopped and had fresh doughnuts on our way into the park.  we hiked around off the beaten trail for a couple hours and then headed to a little park up the river to have a picnic.  it was so easy.  just in and out of the truck.  parking where ever we wanted.  sitting where ever we wanted.  going into what ever store we wanted.  no worries at all about ‘accessibility’.

after some more hiking, we played mini golf at a place we couldn’t have stopped before.  then we went to the sculpture park to let dawson and punkin run.  and they did.  they ran and climbed and slid and ran and went on the swings… nothing holding them back.  it was fun to watch.

next we went to stillwater and walked around looking in all the different little shops.  you’d think our kids have never got to do anything…. …. oh wait…. …. they haven’t.  everything was exciting.  even the antiques.  really.

we ate at a little burger joint along the main drag and then went looking for what we were told was the best ice cream deal in town.  we found it. and it was.  a child’s size was amazingly huge.  I mean heaping.  of course, what kid isn’t tickled to have an ice cream cone that is practically falling over.  those smiles said it all. 

we started heading home around 8:00.  as brian was in the gas station, dawson said, ‘mom, can we do the exact same thing next weekend?’.  I think they had fun.  I did.

… … … … … … … … … … … … … …

now let me tell you what was going on with cole!

after having a wonderful day of volunteer work at the church, cole came home to play with friends.  he stayed dry all day!!! and, he went on the potty with 2 new people!!!  I am beside myself about this!  I was expecting a couple of accidents, but NO!!  cole did it.  he came through in a big way.  it was just the icing on the cake.  a little pat on the back saying, ‘see it is okay.  cole’s a big boy.  your other kids need to go and do regular kid stuff.  have a little fun.  stop being so worried about everyone.’

thank you God for a good day all around…  more blessings than I could list.

Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!  Philippians 4:4


it happened tonight.  I nearly crossed the line into crazy town. 

I was at walmart getting some cheerleader shoes for punkin, then some milk.  as I was rounding the corner to the refrigerator section, I noticed a very  young girl carrying a baby.  I mean teenage young.  she was with her mom who was filling a cart with formula.  not anything to unusual.  then I saw her again a little ways further down the row and noticed she was pregnant.  for sure pregnant.  there under her ‘cheer camp T’ was a perfectly round baby belly sticking out from under where the baby she was carrying in her arms had his little legs wrapped around her.  so I’m estimating about a 9 month old baby being carried and another one due.

here’s where I start to cross the line get really close to the line.  I immediately think, ‘maybe she doesn’t want this baby that is on the way.’ … … ‘maybe she’d give it to me.’  yeah.  that is what I thought.  now as she is walking away with her mom, I start to follow at a distance.  I wonder as I’m following if maybe if we would just be close enough I might over hear her say something like, ‘I don’t know what to do…. …. I’m going to have to give this baby up for adoption.’  then I could jump in and say something about how I would love to adopt a baby.  we are a nice, stable christian family and would LOVE a baby in our house.  and then she says ‘okay.  yes!  that would be great!’

… … … … … …

now I tell myself I’m being crazy.  you can’t just walk up to someone and ask them if you can have their baby.  that’s ridiculous!  just turn around and go the other way.  I can’t.  I have to follow her down another row.  could I just ask some question in passing like, ‘when are you due?’ … I tell myself again to just leave.  it was seriously all I could do to NOT  go up to this girl and offer my adoptive services!!  I kind of scared myself.  maybe she was married and all this was planned.  maybe she just looked young.  I mean I was 21 and really pregnant and carrying another baby….  people looked at me kind of judgingly.  someone even asked me if I had done that (get pregnant again) on purpose.

{… sigh… sigh… put face and hands… shake head…breathe deep…}

I was just thinking maybe I don’t need a baby.  maybe it is time to move on.  maybe there is a different plan for my life.  for our family.  and now this happens.  I was almost the crazy woman like in ‘the hand that rocks the cradle’ !  I was almost a stalker! 


thankfully, even though I don’t know what will happen with my life… even though I don’t know  what I want to happen in my life… my Father does.  He’s got it all figured out.  He’s not surprised I followed her around.  He saw the pain. 

Isiah 65: 24  Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.

thank you for listening.  thank you for still being my friend after I tell you all of  ‘things’ that run through my head.  thank you for the encouragement.

battle of self…

August 27, 2009


as I am nearing the end of my ‘cycle’ I can sense the overwhelmingness of it coming like a massive black thunderhead looming on the horizon, with the smell of rain on the breeze and distant lightening flashing randomly behind the clouds.

  I am so so tired, not like I haven’t slept well tired, like medically exhausted… like when you are pregnant and just can not get enough sleep even if sleeping is the only thing you do!  it sucks.  I want to get up and get going.  there are things to do and kids to feed and dishes and laundry and phone calls and appointments and therapies….  so I roll over and cover my head and think to myself, ‘ just 15 more minutes’.  … … …   so then I lay there feeling guilty because I’m not up, showered, dressed, morning devotional under my belt and a healthy breakfast in hand as I gaze lovingly at the little sleeping faces of my wonderful children.

… … …

that’s just the tired part.  now, how about the emotional roller-coaster.  3 weeks ago I was feeling great.  like tony the tiger ‘G-r-r-r-r-eat!’.  I could take everything in stride.  I felt very blessed.  I loved brian… alot.  everything seemed like not a big deal.  I was happy and fun to be around.  exercise was fun not just necessary.  eating better was not such a chore.  I think to myself, ‘I so don’t need to be on an antidepressant.’ … … … now I feel like blah.  like blah, blah, BLAH.  I really don’t care about anything.  I feel cursed.  I love brian, but he annoys me … … for no other reason than he didn’t rinse out his glass of milk.  everything is a big deal.  I’m crabby and it would be better to just avoid me.  exercise seems stupid.  and eating??  I want a ‘baconator’ from wendy’s.  I think to myself, ‘I should be on a much stronger antidepressant.’

I also seem to lose a good deal of mental capacity.  I can’t remember much, like ‘why did I come into my room?’.  words slip my mind.  math is almost impossible.  I know we need milk and yet trying to decide who and how and when we should get the milk is overwhelming.  really.  I could cry about trying to decide about milk.  I have a panic attack about not having milk.  and since I’m panicking, I might as well try to figure out how I am going to get my little family out of here when the MOA is bombed by terrorists…  we’ll have to take the truck because there isn’t a high enough clearance on the van and the roads will probably be all messed up and we may have to drive through fields or ditches.  we’ll just have to put cole’s wheelchair in the back and pray that works. … … what if we have to run …?????  how will we run with cole???

the cramping begins.  like, double you over, stop what you are doing and just hope it passes quickly cramping.  a cocktail of percocet, muscle relaxers, and super anti-inflamitories worthy tension headaches.  everyday aches and pains magnified.

all of this … … … every month … … … over and over again.  once the dam breaks, so to speak, I will be fine.  I’ll be the me I want to be all the time.  right now I just wait as the flood waters rise and the dam starts to give way.

God bless brian for putting up with this.

family day trip…

August 22, 2009

we went on a little family day trip today.  it was wonderful.  the weather was about as nice as it can get.  being together was fun.  and still… cole can’t climb the rocks and the baby is missing.

we went to taylors falls over on the st croix.  there is a state park called pothole park.  it is where the waterfalls used to flow.  dawson and gabrielle were free to climb all over the rocks along the river.  honestly, it is just the right size for little kids to go exploring.  they were thinking they were pretty big stuff this afternoon.  at one point dawson said, ‘don’t you think climbing is just a natural habit?’.  I’m sure we ill go back there and highly recommend that you visit too.

of course, cole was saying, ‘me too.’, which is always hard to hear.  brian and I tried to keep him entertained with other things.  it worked for the most part.  when we were hiking up the main trail on the way out, gabrielle said, ‘ I wish cole didn’t have a disability because then we could climb alot more things.’.  this cuts through my heart for a couple reasons.  I’m sure cole wishes he was not disabled too.  I want for him to be able to run around with his little brother and sister.  and then, I hate to have dawson and gabrielle not be able to go and do all the things that just can’t be done in a wheelchair.  they should be able to run and climb freely too.  plus, I hate for them to see cole as the thing that is holding them back.

and finally, even though I smiled much of the day.  I mean we laughed and chased and picniced and climbed and had ice cream and went on trials… … … all without luke.  all without our little smiling baby that everyone grins at.  no first tastes of ice cream,  no holding sticks as we push the stroller along, no hiking back pack with a baby inside and a nuk hanging off the side.  sometimes I wonder if brian notices these things like I do.  he does.  he told me tonight.  he saw all the dads with the babies in their little carriers too.

one of the hardest scenes that I am having a hard time getting out of my head tonight (hence the late night blogging) is the kids walking in a row down the different paths and trials.  you know… when the kids are walking by themselves up ahead of us.  dawson pushing cole and punkin skipping out in front… … … and brian and I bringing up the rear … …. … without luke.  there should be one more in our line up of children.

now, I’m going to sit with brian a while longer on the couch, until I am just soo tired I can’t keep my eyes open.  the alternative being go lay in bed and cry until I fall asleep.

crush of emotions…

August 21, 2009

being at joni camp last weekend was a complete crush of emotions.  it is hard to explain… I think it is something that must be felt.

to see so many people with disabilities and handicaps, diseases and disfunctions.  wheelchairs everywhere.  children and adults being fed by G tubes.  autistic kids having meltdowns because of all the noise and different surroundings.  it breaks my heart.  I just ache for them and their families and caregivers.  this is such a hard race to run.

and then there are the overwhelming number of STMs (short term missionaries).  people who are acting as the actual hands and feet of Jesus.  it takes a great deal of unselfishness to give up your summer weekends to go and help feed the mentally and physically challenged.  there is drool and chewed food involved.  it isn’t pretty.  and yet, here are these volunteers, pushing people in wheelchairs, being hit by kids with emotional behavioral disorders, giving caregivers a much needed bit of respite.  to see such loving and caring and giving makes me heart just swell.  tears sting my eyes just thinking about it.

I’m broken because I have to be here.  I don’t want to talk about how hard this is.  I don’t want to just stand here and let someone else take care of cole.  I should be helping too.  add guilt to the list of emotions.  there are families here with more than one child that has disabilities.  more than 2.  more than 3. … … ….

there are parents here that have adopted multiple children with different handicaps and disfunctions.  how incredible!  there was even a newly adopted baby girl with special needs.  her parents had named her … this is so cool … ‘maisey grace’.  !!!  maisey grace!!  I just cried looking at her, and then again looking at her parents!  they are so amazing themselves to take these little ones in.

my head is just spinning thinking of this.  such highs and such lows.  such hurt and such sweet relief.  compassion and tears all over the place. 

 oh, did I mention that joni erickson-tada was there herself.   it was so great to meet her.  she is so funny.  so kind.  so humble.  a complete life devoted to serving what some consider ‘the least of these’.  to listen to her talk and sing and sing and sing!!  it brought me such joy.  it makes me just want to sing with all my other brothers and sisters wherever we happen to be meeting!  I hope she was encouraging to the other families as well.

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dear sweet Lord Jesus, bless these families and bless the caregivers.  pour into them and refill their souls.

fall into heaven…

August 20, 2009


the first night of camp there was a welcome meeting of sorts.  all the families get together in this theater and there are little skits by the STMs (short term missionaries), introductions and singing.  when the pastor, who is actually one of our pastors, got up to intoduce  himself to the crowd, he also explained how it is that he has come to have a heart for the disabled and how close this matter really is to him.  as he went on to talk of his son and how he was born at 25 weeks, I could feel my temperature start to rise.  I was getting uneasy with all the talk of premature birth.  then they put up some different pictures of their son while he was in the NICU.  … … …

I was doing okay until I made eye contact with a friend.  then I couldn’t hold it in any longer.  I leaned over to Brian and said, ‘I don’t want to be here.’  he said, ‘let’s go.’  and so we did. 

I headed to the edge of the camp which happens to be a good size cliff of sorts down to the lake.  still trying to hold it together, I just stood staring down at the water … … wondering if I would jump, could it kill me?  and even if it didn’t (which it probably wouldn’t), could I hold myself underwater until I died?  could I fall into heaven?

I still get this feeling, though it comes less often, of just wanting to run.  I want to get away from it.  as if I could run to a place or for a certain time and that would make it better.  and the hardest part is, that I don’t now when it is going to happen.  it is completely random.

… … … … … … … …

there is something about knowing that luke is literally just a heartbeat away.  sometimes I think, that even though it seems like it will be a long time before I get to see him, he actually isn’t that far away.  if I die right now, I would see him pretty shortly thereafter I believe.  I would guess he’ll be talking with Jesus as I arrive home.  it is a comforting thought anyway.

please don’t fear for my sanity, my safety.  I am doing fine.  I won’t be deciding when I meet luke or Jesus for that matter.  I’ll leave it up to God.  I need to be here to take care of the ones I’ve been entrusted with on this earth.  I want to be with brian.  there must be something that still needs accomplished in my life.  so, I continue on. trying to  hold it together and accomplish something that will be glorifying to Him.

Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded, declares the Lord.  …  Jeremiah 31:16

my tiny offering…

August 12, 2009

luke's heart 013

there is a song by mercy me called ‘God with us’.  it is a beautiful song.  during the bridge, the lyrics say, ‘such a tiny offering… compared to calvary.  nevertheless, we lay it at your feet.’ … … I always think of luke.  he was my tiny offering.  in more than one sense. 

of course, physically, he was tiny.  I’ve never thought a word actually fit a description better than, luke is tiny.  just 2 days ago, gabrielle had a little doll or something (I can’t remember the thing) and she wanted to know if it was about the same size as luke.  she asks me this often.  I think because she held him and marveled at his tinyness and perfect form.  he was like a baby just for her, the perfect size for her to hold.  it must be what she remembers most.

a couple other moments really stand out. 

 the moment they pulled him from my body and declared he was out.  there was a whelm of peace that came over me.  finally!  finally!  I am not responsible for his life, death, health and well being.  it is totally up to God now.  (of course I know God was in control the whole  time, but that is a very hard concept when the child is in  you.)

and the moment when the doctor came into the recovery room, as I lay under half a dozen heated blankets, shaking  uncontrollably, still numb from the chest down and said, ‘he’s very sick.’  (an odd choice of words I thought)  I replied… … … ‘let him go… … I don’t want him to hurt.’  … … … … … … … … … … …

 of course this was a situation brian and I had all ready talked about.  at some point life saving measures do become to much.  we really didn’t want him to be being poked and tubed and ventilated and compressed and on and on and on it could go.  it was better to let him go.  we will have him again … vibrant and well.

then there is the fact that even though losing luke was at the edge of insanity, could I ever give enough to justify my welcome into heaven?? … no.  if I lost them all, it still wouldn’t be enough.  since HE has payed my ransom and I will not know the agonies of hell, I will do my best to make it through this life in an honoring way.  giving up what HE asks, taking what HE gives.

so luke is my tiny offering.  I can give him back to God, knowing in my heart that He sees the whole picture while I see just a part.  there must be a reason.  whether I see that reason here on earth or not until I go home is a good question.  and what could I possibly say to HIM? … … ‘YOU don’t know what it like to lose your son?!’  … … no, because HE does know that hurt, and in a much more tremendous way than I ever could.  HE gave HIS son so that I might be able to see mine again.  HE gave HIS son so that I could know eternal life.  HE gave HIS son so I could be in HIS presence and give HIM glory and honor and praise and blessing…. …. …. right beside luke.

such a tiny offering…

I know that some find cheerleading something to be kind of laughed at.  (I’ve been on both sides of that one.)  but when you really think about it, it is one of the most valuable things a girl can learn.  here’s why…

someday, there’s a good chance you’re going to be married.  and from what I’ve gathered from books, seminars, teachings and just plain old life experience is that a husband would much rather come home to a smiling face, a positive attitude and some encouraging words.  a smile will get you along way in my experience.  and who even notices the dishes or the laundry when they’ve got a super fun and playful wife to hang out with?

life gets hard or even just monotonous sometimes.  the captain of the matthews team sometimes just wants the head cheerleader to tell him its okay and that he’s doing a great job… with a smile on her face.  : )  and who do you think puts up the banners for all the special occasions and holds pep rallys for important dates?

how about the kids?  they need lots of encouraging.  they actually like it when you do cheer  for them.  and if they learn how to run to the door cheering for daddy when he gets home from a long day, it just makes everyone happy. 

oh, and clapping!!  how could I forget?!  you know how excited they get when you clap for them.  I’m clapping for gabrielle right now as she does her kindergarten workbook right beside me.  it makes her want to do another and she is reassured that I love her and am interested in her and what she does.

being a friend just automatically makes you a cheerleader.  I’ve been cheered on alot in the last year.  sometimes it is actual words of encouragement, sometimes it is a hug, sometimes it is chocolate chip cookies.

I write this as a reminder to myself as much as anyone else.

An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.  Proverbs 12:25

A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.  Proverbs 15:13

All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.  Proverbs 15:15

A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.  Proverbs 15:30

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.  Proverbs 17:22

I think God loves a cheerleader too.  in fact I know so… He told me.

…for God loves a cheerful giver.  2 Cor. 9:7


August 6, 2009

so Gabrielle wants to be a cheerleader.  that’s fine.  I figure if I am going to be taking her to practice all the time I might as well be the coach.  I do have some cheerleader in my history.  I know about toe touches, herkies, high Vs, and low Vs.  our first coaches meeting was tonight. 


 I was excited to go tonight… honestly… but then as I pulled up to the town hall and saw the other cheerleader moms waiting out front, I felt all of high school coming back.  I started thinking, ‘how do I look?’, ‘will I fit in?’, ‘are these moms, the cool moms?’ … I mean absolutely ridiculous thoughts.  but they did creep up.  thankfully, I was able to dismiss them quickly.  (I’ve grown up abit.)

now inside the meeting, I am not expecting much.  the usual code of conduct, background check for coaching kids, a list of cheers maybe.  I was mistaken.  there were some serious cheerleader moms there.  you know,  ‘cheerleading is a real sport and it should be treated that way!’  and  ‘we should have the same rules as baseball and football.. 2 misses and you’re off the squad!’  I was beginning to wonder if I was in the right room.  I mean these are just little girls and this is just a way for them to have a little fun right?  apparently not for this group.  next, I found out who those parents are that are demanding the kids practice more and that practice is mandatory.  part of why I wanted to be coach was so I could opt out of the optional  thursday practice.  that might not be happening now.  these little kindergarten girls need to know their form and practice their jumps and start doing little stunts, right?!?! 

anyway,  me and my 5 little cheerleaders will be playing, ‘cheerleader says’ and coloring signs and working on being positive and encouraging.  no deductions from me if you wear your pink socks instead of your white ones.  I won’t keep you from lettering because you forgot your pompoms.  we’re just going to be cheerleaders because it is fun.  *\o/*  go team!