Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

2013 Family Christmas Letter/Card

We neglected to write a Christmas letter last year... 2012 was a super busy year for our families. We shared in mourning when family members pass away and people that we love's marriages ended and we rejoiced together when babies were born and weddings brought new members into our families. It was a year full of endings and beginnings. In comparison to 2012, this year has been less monumental, but still a time of growth.

Isaac is enjoying his job working in IT in Fishers. It was interesting for him to transition into a position in IT after working for so long running the counseling center. He is thriving in this environment and looking forward to many more years with the company.

Wani is working hard balancing homeschooling Nate and juggling Joe and Christine's school and therapy schedules. With special kids come special challenges and Wani is thankful for the support and encouragement from friends and family to help on the hard days. She enjoys doing photography on the side and is happy to see her work improving with every job. Taking advantage of having a daughter, Wani has taken up sewing and often makes dresses for Christine or gifts for friends and family.

Nate began the third grade in the fall. He seems to take this fact very seriously at times. While he is still doing well academically, he is having to work harder than he did previously. Nate enjoys spending his time building imaginary worlds through Legos and his storytelling skills. He loves exploring nature and playing with his friends. He and Isaac have been playing through the Lego video games and enjoy that time together. Nate is becoming a big helper around the house and he is an awesome big brother to his siblings who adore him.

Joe has continued in his life skills class. They are pretty structured and are working with him on his IEP goals. He seems to miss it while on school breaks. He is doing a lot of assisted walking these days. When we go out Joe often will walk holding our hands – but while at school he uses a walker with some help. He loves bouncing around to music and playing with his big brother... and sometimes terrorizing his little sister.

Christine graduated from First Steps in the spring and entered developmental preschool in the fall. We are thankful to have the familiar faces of Joe's former teachers and therapists welcome Christine into the program. The goals that she is working on in school and therapy are very similar to those that Joe is: including increasing communication with augmentative devices, progressing in the walker and others. She is a busy little bee and a very happy girl. She brightens our days with her smiles and laughter.

We are thankful for the many ways that God is blessing us and would love to hear what He is doing in your lives as well. If you want to catch up with us you can do so via facebook, or the phone/emails/blogs listed below.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. - Romans 15:13

Blessings From,
Isaac, Wani, Nate, Joe and Christine 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Being Mom...

In case you haven't noticed... I have not been blogging much in the past few months. I just haven't felt like I had anything worth sharing.  I've been in a bit of a mental/emotional slump.  I look at my life, my daily activities, and wonder: "Is this it?".  I truly believe that my value is not in what I do but in Who made me.  I am a daughter of God and that is something that I cling to on the really hard days.  But sometimes its hard to see past all the diapers and dirty laundry and cooking meals that get complained about and half of it ends up on the floor...  sometimes I need reminded that what I am doing is important, that it matters. 

“They don’t see you stand in the bathroom and gather your resolve every morning. They don’t see those of you who mother alone without much support. They don’t see the trips to the car back and forth and back and forth. They don’t see you counting to ten a dozen times before noon. They don’t see you look at the bank account and sigh and try to figure out how to make three meals with what’s left in your pantry. They don’t see you walking into the principals office, doctor’s office, friend’s house and defending your child.

They don’t see bandages placed on knees. Kisses on foreheads at night. Pillows pushed just the right way and blankets tucked to the perfect demands. Laundry folded and folded and folded. Tears that sting your eyes as your keep going. Dinners prepped over the stove. Times of laughter over silly things. Hair brushed and pulled back into pony tails. Prayers over wandering teens. Prayers over little babes. Nights spent sleeping in a chair holding a sick child. Days where the house is a wreck but you’re reading books. The brave smile on your face when you’re weary.

Those things matter.”

Our church always does a program called "Bring Your Gifts to Jesus" every year around Christmas-time.  Its always said that it is not meant to be a talent show or pageant, but a forum for sharing the gifts that God has given us and give those gifts back to Him.  But for someone who doesn't sing, dance or play an instrument it can be discouraging sometimes.  Frankly, seeing all those talents can often remind someone of their lack of talent. 

But if you really think about it, does Jesus put value in "talents" over gifts of service?  I think not.  There are so many gifts given every day by people who love Jesus and love His children that cannot be performed on a stage.  So, this year I requested that a video be played to represent all of the gifts that moms and caregivers give on a daily basis.

3 Queens from Matt Bieler on Vimeo.

That video moves me to tears every time I watch it.  Its beautiful.  If truth be told, when you're in the midst of the diapers and sick kids and doctor visits and sticky floors... it doesn't always feel beautiful.  But God sees it that way.  He knows how hard we work just to keep going.  He knows that we struggle with being satisfied with being "just a mom".  He knows that its a choice we made because we felt it was the best thing for our kids, that we could be working in a "real job" with deadlines and coffee breaks and peer validation.  So while right now the rewards might be few (hugs and kisses), someday we will have treasure waiting for us in heaven. 

"As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem." -  Isaiah 66:13

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." -  Matthew 6:19-21

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Christmas Craft Playdate

We had a birthday party for Jesus with some friends last week.
We had a couple of crafts for the kids to do: coffee filter snowflakes and mod-podge ornaments.
We had story time - tons of great Christmas books from the library!
And what is a birthday party without some cake?  The kids all had a great time and us moms loved being able to remind our children the real reason for the CHRISTmas season.

Isaiah 9:6 -  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.