Tuesday, January 31, 2017

When You're Tired of Circling "No"

At the beginning of the year we received a questionnaire from the new insurance policy that helps cover the cost of Clara's daily ABA therapy/school. 

Oh man, here we go. 

I touched on it briefly in my book. About how I've come to expect these times and questionnaires and list of run downs be it from the pediatrician, insurance, or some other party that needs information on her development to assess where she is at or if she still qualifies for x, y, or z service. 

And while I always feel strong and prepared going into such a task, still, four years into this whole special needs thing, I somehow am still caught off guard.

The sting of circling "no" or "never" for the hundredth time just saddens this mama's heart. Because I want to much more for my little girl. 

I desperately want the answer to be "yes" or "usually."

I desperately wish she would get to a place where forms like the ones below are not our normal. 

But we keep filling them out and trusting and praying that one day, our pen will circle a different answer. And maybe it will. Or maybe it won't. This is where faith meets my everyday.

We press on in hope because the Word tells us that hope does not disappoint us. God promises that when my mama heart grows tired and weary, when I feel that I am stumbling around in this world of special needs not having a clue what I'm doing, that hope is what renews my strength, day after day after long day (Isaiah 40:30-31).

And we pray without ceasing for our little girl because God also tells us that prayer is powerful and effective and that He always listens and takes note of the words we lift to Him (1 Peter 3:12).

I don't know what you're facing today. It might not be anything related to child development or milestone markers, but I'm sure there is something that stings every now and then. A "no" or "not right now" that you really wish would just be a resounding "YES!" 

Oh, how I would love to wave a magic wand and make it all better for you, your circumstance. I really wish I could.  

However, I am slowly learning that sometimes the "no's" are a gift. It's  in the "no's" that I slow down my pace, refocus my eyes, and step back into trust with my Savior. I step out of the allusive drivers seat that I so often try to climb into and, once again, take my proper place, behind my God.

"No's" can be a gift because I learn that I'm really not in control after all. Imagine that.

So I will keep filling out the forms, embracing the sting, and all the while pushing my girl to reach her full potential. I will keep petitioning my God to mature Clara's development because nothing is too hard for Him (Jeremiah 32:27). And I will remember that it's in the "no's" where I tend to feel the closest to the Maker of Heaven himself.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Camille THREE years

Camille turned three years old on the 14th and I'm still in denial.

We celebrated, in true Camille fashion, with a pink princess party. We had a few of Camille's little girlfriends and our family over and fun was had by all!!

The little girls made princess tiaras, ate lunch, and ran around like crazy dressed from head to toe in princess get-up.

Snow cones instead of cake . . .

Love you, Camille. It's been a great three years and can't wait to see how God works in you this next year!

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Book Is Here!

For a while I felt God calling me to write my story in book form. To share my journey, in all it's realness and rawness, and what He has done, how He has carried us through it all. I felt this nudging for some time yet kept putting it off in the name of "I need to fine-tune my writing," or "I will just keep praying about it," or "Ok, God, if you want me to do this then I need you to plop the opportunity in my lap." 

And after several months of excuses I heard God telling me, "Brittnie, Just because I call you to something doesn't mean I spell it all out for you or throw open the door. Sometimes obedience looks like plain hard work. Delayed obedience is still disobedience." 


The next day, January 1, 2016,  I pulled up a blank Word document, cursor blinking, and told God if I was going to do this He would need to bring the words. And He was faithful. All I did was show up. 

I am honored and humbled (and let's be honest, intimidated) that these words are now in print, for eyes other than mine. My prayer is that it will get into the hands of those that need it, those that need the reminder that joy despite circumstance is feasible. That God is good regardless of circumstance. That God is good even when He calls us to walk the desert. Whether the desert wandering is for a season, or for a lifetime. 

Your desert walk might not look like mine. Maybe you haven't struggled though an eating disorder, been called to parent a special needs child, or said goodbye to a baby born still from your body. 

However, I bet there is something you've faced. A pain or disappointment or loss or expectation that didn't come to pass. We all have unique stories. We've all faced suffering and moments of heartache. 

God encourages us in His word to count it all joy - the good and bad and frustrating and gut-wrenching times, because when we glory in our sufferings we are given a spirit of hope and hope never disappoints us. 

This counting it joy doesn't come naturally, at least not for me. It is a discipline that takes work and intentionality and focus. I tend to write the messages I need the most. This is true for this book. I have not mastered this concept, but still struggle through it when life takes a turn I didn't expect. 

Thank you for your love and support over the years. I couldn't have hand picked better family,  friends, and encouragers. 

If you want to learn more about the book, you can find it here.  Or here, as well as other online book retailers. 

. . . 

Is there something God is calling you to do? Something He is whispering to you but you're afraid or questioning the how's of it all. God just needs a willing heart. Just show up. Take one step and then another and then another. You don't need to know how it will all play out or when. What is your passion? What lights you up? What has God done in your life and how can you share His faithfulness? It might not look like written words in book form, but I guarantee it looks like something. Make that phone call. Write that email. Paint that picture. Research that business idea. Plan that date night. God calls us all to different things and we need all of it.

Just show up. Run your race. It's not about our strengths. It's about His strength in a life that says yes. I may have a love for stringing words together, but I can't tell you how many grammar errors were found in the initial manuscript. That is why God gave us editors. There are people that will support your race. Don't wait until you learn all the grammar rules or have the perfect office or perfect tools or perfect plans. Every one of the sentences in this book was written sitting on an uncomfortable bar stool, laptop placed on a small, wobbly kitchen island. Take that step. And then watch expectantly as God fills the gaps. :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Potty Training Camille (my 30 pound, almost three-year-old baby)

2016 was a big year for Ms. Camille. She transitioned to a toddler bed, bid her beloved pacifier farewell, and kicked diapers to the curb.

Camille turns three years old in a few days, and my hope was to get her potty trained right before the calendar turned 2017. Honestly, up until this point, I didn't really care and was not in a rush. There aren't any medals in heaven for earliest potty trained child. And raising a special needs child along side a typical child just gives you some perspective on things that are a big deal (potty training), but that really aren't a big deal at the end of the day (potty training).

Several people had mentioned to me that waiting until closer to age three made the training a bit easier. So given that advice, plus considering the spirited and strong willed nature of my little girl, I knew we just needed a bit more time.

So we circled Wednesday, December 28th on the calendar and deemed that day 1. This would allow six full days at home, if needed, before heading back to preschool on January 3rd.


And I am so thankful I listened to my mommy gut on this one and didn't stress our family out by pushing it sooner.

Tuesday night I read a few recaps of the Three Day Potty Training Method and also this run-down, set out her underwear, potty books, and reinforcement, and prayed that the next few days would be relaxed and fun and that God would give me patience and a light-hearted, non-accusatory nature for the hard moments.

As I write this the calendar reads January 10 and she has only had three accidents since starting the process. Thank. You. Jesus.

And for my own record keeping . . .

Day 1 (12/28/16): 
Accidents: 2 (pee)
Successes: 1 (pee)

*Woke from nap dry
Accidents: 0
Successes: 2 (pee), 1 (poop)

Day 2 (12/29/16): 
Accidents: 1 (pee)
Successes: 0
*Trip to Dr for ear infections so I put diaper on over her underwear in case of accident at pediatrician. Stayed dry. Took diaper off as soon as we arrived home. 

*Woke from nap wet 
Accidents: 0
Successes: 2 (pee)
*By the end of day two she was telling me when she needed to go.

Day 3 (12/30/16):
Accidents: 0
Successes: 5 (pee), 1 (poop)
*Woke from nap dry

Day 4 (12/31/16):
Successes: 5 (pee)
* Woke from nap dry 

Day 5 (1/1/17):
Accidents: 0
Successes: 4 (pee), 1 (poop) 
*Stayed dry during church and lunch and went potty at restaurant. 
* Woke from nap dry 

She is just a little bit proud of herself. . . 

When you're home bound for several days you start offering crazy ideas to your toddler like "Here, why don't you rip up this patterned paper and glue it on plain paper. That's the best I got."

She still wears diapers to sleep at night. Not in a rush there. Overall? Thankful the transition to daytime underwear has been painless. So proud of my little, big girl!
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