Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving.....

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for all we have...and I find that so many start "thanksgiving" posts - which I think is awesome, because we all need to stop and reflect and be thankful. The thing that grieves my heart is that it seems after the holidays so many go back to forgetting all that they have to be thankful of.

I was watching my daughter this morning as she stretched out to take a nap, little feet peeeking out under the covers, and in the background it was a perfect picture of us when Alexis was just 9 months old. I couldn't help but capture this moment.  I looked at the picture and thought "she has no clue how she leaves footprints on my heart by just being her....not because of really any one specific thing, but because she is such a miracle...she is truly a "God-send" and she is beyond amazing.  Every day I am thankful and humbled that I get to be her Mommy.

"I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14

It made me want to share with you to not stop being thankful just because the "season of thanksgiving" is over.  Regardless of what you're going through remember that you are fearfully and wonderfully made and no matter what - never forget that! Live every day just as you do leading up to the thanksgiving holiday.  Rejoice and be thankful for just the opportunity to wake every day and breath...because every day you wake is another chance for a 'do-over.'  Make today better than yesterday and before you know it you'll be through the storm and the rainbow will be bright!

As I look at this picture I think it's so important to never stop walking....always keep moving and trying because you are fearfully & wonderfully made.... live every day as if it's "Thanksgiving!"

Hugs,
Candye~


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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thankful Heart....

Well, I'm trying something new... a video blog...
Link to video if it does not automatically download

Bear with me as this is my first one... praying they get better! :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

From 30,000+ -- In The Clouds...

Good morning all,

I did not get a chance to post this yesterday with the hustle and bustle of the day like I thought I would.

This is going to be a little different kind of blog today.  I thought I’d just go ahead and incorporate my daily tips into this since I have a little extra time today on the plane.  Hope you enjoy it! J
Monday, September 15, 2014 (Departure ICT to DEN)


Landing at DEN
Well, I’m at 36,500 ft. in the clouds flying to Portland, OR, for a week-long conference and continued training.  It’s hard to leave my little Angel at only 28 months old, but I need to be at this conference / training.  Today’s Tip: “'Never say Never!' It will come back to bite you."  I swore I’d be the Mother that never left her side; but that’s simply not realistic if a) I plan to continue to give her “more” and b) if I plan to remain in an executive position.  However I do feel so very fortunate to work for the company I do.  As with any business they have high-expectations of their staff, but it is such a blessing that they truly are a family oriented company. 
I continue with my career, not only because I love what I do, but because I want to instill in my daughter what my parents instilled in me –

  1. a heart for God & to live for Him
  2. a desire to do better than the day before
  3. good work ethics
  4. understanding that hard work pays off
  5. nothing in life is free
  6. true partnerships in marriages really do exist (as she sees her Daddy and I working so hard together to take care of her and give us a better life)
I am so thankful for what my parents have taught me and I pray that I make it off this plane and back home safely this week to continue to teach her those things. (smile)


I am really excited about this conference and learning more about this industry, meet some of the vendors I work with frequently, and learn about additional opportunities/vendors/systems/etc. available to enhance our business.  For those that know me, know that I spent over 11-years in the aviation industry, and my career has always been in Human Resources so this has been a leap of faith and major transition to go from HR to Operations.  I have to admit, at first I was skeptical that I could do it – but I have a good business mind, and I can honestly admit that I’m starting to really appreciate IT (Information Technology). It’s nice to be able to say “it’s invigorating to go to work every day!”

 

As I look out the window at over 35k feet in the air – a few emotions flood me.  First, I would love to say “Hello” to Jesus – oh what joy it brings to my soul to think about being in His presence (although I hope and pray it’s not anytime too soon because I really want to get back home safely to my family…lol). Next, it makes my heart just ache wishing I could give my Bridgette a BIG HUG & Kiss and wrap my arms around her and let her know that I love her soooo very much and miss her every day.  There is not a moment in my days that I do not think of her; but it’s comforting to know that she’s in Jesus’ arms and one day we’ll all be united as a family. Finally, I look out and see all of the magnificence of God’s creation.  Under these clouds is an amazing and breathless view of patchwork of God’s handy-work.  For those of you that fly – do you ever just get a huge lump in your throat, tears in your eyes, and a fulfilled blessing in your soul to look out across the skies (as far as your eyes can see) at just the indescribable beauty? I also think that it’s amazing that this is a resemblance of the forgiveness our sweet Savior extends to us  - Today’s Scripture: “As far as the East is to the West… our sins are forgiven.” (Psalm 103:12)

To me it’s just so amazing to look out and to know that we are truly forgiven, regardless of our pasts, or what we’ve done, even the times we fail him, after we give Him our all, and surrender our hearts and soul to Him, we can be forgiven if we just simply ask Him, believe it in our hearts, and live it. (Romans 3:23 & 1 John 1:9)

2nd Leg of today’s travels:

 
We are officially in flight from Denver to Portland.  I wish I would have had time to call Alexis in-between flights but I will just have to call as soon as I land in Portland. 

Today’s Humor: Oh goodness, there are several I could share with you today! I’ll just share the one I found to be the funniest…. “That moment when you realize you’re actually singing aloud with your earphones in… When I realized I was not singing in just my head… I opened my eyes and looked at the man next to me (he must have been able to tell by the loop on my face that I was a little embarrassed) he said, “really…it wasn’t that loud.” I said “My apologies… I just…” and he interrupted me and said, “really – it’s okay, I was actually enjoying it.”  I just said a ‘thank you’ with an embarrassed smiled and went back to writing this blog…. Yes, only me!! (LOL) 
Well, it's time to get this week started.  I'm really excited that I have this opportunity, but I also cannot wait to get home and see my family! Remember, whatever you're facing, whatever battle you're given, you have a God that is Much BIGGER! Trust in Him and let Him take care of it!

Blessings,
~Candye

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Family Update "Reality of Obedience" - August 2, 2014

Good morning all,


I start with this picture of Alexis and her Papaw leaving for Texas, because you know that's where I'll end the blog - writing about our first experience apart! (big smile)

It's been a little over a month since my last blog and as I reflect back there's so much that has taken place it's hard to imagine where to start. It's become harder to stop and take the time to write/update with the convenience of social media.  Facebook and text (or SMS messaging) has taken the place of sharing pictures and updates for my blog.  However, it seems that I've been getting that gentle nudge, not only from our close friends and family and followers, but from our God as well, that it's time to start writing again.  Soooo....guess it's time I discipline myself to get back to writing and sharing what God lays on my heart.  It sounds easy, but sometimes it's not. I tried to rational within myself that it's not that I don't want to write (because I absolutely love writing) but more so that I just don't have the time.  In reality, sometimes I think I'm afraid to be honest and share what He's placed in my heart because of fear that I'll offend someone, or hurt feelings.

Don't get me wrong - life is crazy busy around our household.  Between managing a career, toddler, husband, horses, garden, finding time for family & friends, it's just sometimes a little overwhelming to try and add 'writing' to the mix.  However, I realized [in my prayer time this morning] that it's not about me.  WHAT?? Wait...what do you mean 'it's not about me?' That was my conversation with the Lord this morning.  I remember a time in my life when it was All About Me! Oh how those days are gone - and truthfully, I don't mind at all! I LOVE being a Mommy, a wife, an executive, a friend, and a servant. It's what I've always dreamed of.  I can honestly say "I'm living the dream" and it feels amazing. Now, that doesn't mean that I do not have my 'moments' and get tired, cranky, emotional, etc.... but it does mean that when I look at where I am today, I am beyond happy! I could not ask for anything more...well, I could ask for more money...money always makes life easier (despite what anyone says - that is the truth!). 

It's humbling when God wakes you early to pray - it's also frightening.  A whole bunch of "What If's" come to my mind. Which is funny, because my "daily tip" yesterday was just on that topic of "Don't complicate situations with the 'what if's' - just keep doing the next right thing, praying, and leave the rest to God!"  I found it ironic when at 3:00 am this morning God stirred me to hit my knees; and although I think I know who I was praying for, I found myself in the midst of praying thinking "what if I'm not praying for the right person, situation, etc.?" Then I was gently reminded that it's not about what/who/when/etc., it's about being obedient.  It's about being getting up out of bed when you're so tired that all you want to do is roll back over, snuggle up to your miracle toddler and husband, and go back to sleep.  The reality is, when God calls you to do something you must move, because someone (maybe even yourself) needs it. 

Which brings me to today's writing.  The reality of obedience is something that we often ignore or think it really doesn't apply to oneself, when truthfully being obedient is what we are faced with every day.  We have to be obedient in order to receive.  When you think of it that way, it brings your way of thinking about obedience into a whole new perspective.  The Bible promises that if we obey God, that He will bless us.  In Deuteronomy 28:12, Moses told the Israelites, "If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all His commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God."  What we miss is that there is a condition to receiving, you must be "fully obedient to God and follow His commands". 

It's easy to pick and chose when we want to be obedient but the Bible also warns of that in Galatians 6:7 "for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap."  I don't know about you, but I certainly don't want little in turn for little effort.  I think it's just human-nature to expect and want more than the effort we sacrifice. I think about my own life, and question the sacrifices I make to be truly obedient to the Word of God and the calling; and the reality is - I'm not.  I don't do all that I'm supposed to.  Sure, I attend church (when I don't allow other things or work get in the way), I get up every morning and read my Bible and do my morning "tips" post on Facebook; we pray before we eat, I say prayers with my daughter every morning and every night; but are those really sacrifices? No! They are convenient times I spend with God.  I feel like God was stirring my heart this morning reminding me that the reality of obedience is giving more than we expect in return; going above and beyond to spend quality time with Him in fasting and prayer and doing it without any expected return at all.  Often we find ourselves on fallen knees when we are in trouble, facing something we need His help with, and if we're truly honest with ourselves when those hard times have passed - conveniently our life becomes too busy to find time to be obedient and do what the Bible tells us to do.  Yet we still expect our blessings. Before I move onto the next part of updating about our family - I leave you with this question: Are you really being obedient to God's calling and living your life or are you just existing daily? It's something to think about and find time alone with God; find your prayer closet and get intimate with our Maker - and not just when you 'need' something. My tip for today is: I challenge you to give Him what He deserves and not what is left in our reserve.

When I think of what I've been blessed with already - I could never ask for anything more.  I look at my daughter and husband and often am humbled to tears with thanksgiving! I can remember when Christmas used to be my favorite holiday of the year....now May 15, 1993 is my favorite [holiday] day of the year - because you see, that is the day God gave me Ryan, and without him I wouldn't have our daughter!
 
I was able to spend some really quality time with my family over the last extended weekend.  It's something I rarely do.  For over fifteen years now, I can honestly say that those four days in Texas was the first time I really disconnected from work and just enjoyed my family time.  I never once turned on my laptop and only checked my phone for important business needs that had to be addressed.  You know what I found...? It was okay! The business ran smoothly and nothing fell to pieces before I returned on Wednesday.  Granted, in a sense I paid for it because I went back to a plethora of emails and a mountain of work, but, I went back refreshed and reenergized. We all need a reality check and a true break; and we should do it more often than we do.  However, if you never learn the reality of true obedience starts with being obedient in your walk with Christ, then you'll never get ahead, receive your blessings, find your renewed energy and spirit.

It always amazes me how I start with one thing in mind when writing these blogs, but God (being the typical mighty God He is) turns them and I'm even blessed, surprised and learn something from them.  It's so amusing to me how so many people send me private messages, texts, or even comment on the 'today's tips' I post on Facebook about how they needed that specific tip.  What most fail to realize is I'm only sharing what God is teaching me daily.  A while back I started sharing them because I felt like others may need them too and why be selfish and keep all the joy and learning I'm receiving in my daily walk with Christ to myself when everyone is facing some sort of battle (whether they realize it or admit it) and it just may help them too.

Most already know that my daughter went home for FIVE days with my family in Texas -- and it was THE LONGEST five days.  I won't say it was the longest five days 'ever' because truth is, the longest five days was when we were waiting to see if our IVF implants were successful or not.  It's amazing how God will take something simple and teach us something beautiful if we'll just open our eyes and heart to receive it. 

Needless to say, she had a blast spending time with Nanee, Papaw, Auntie (my baby sister) and Sissy (my niece) and Uncle Todd.  I think she grew a full inch in those five days and I'm certain she put on 5 pounds! (lol)!

She had an amazing time.  She made priceless memories that I pray will be repeated every Summer.  I cannot thank my close friends and family that extended such amazing support to me the week she was away.  I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and earnest compassion of phone calls, texts, etc., just checking in on me during that week.  It was TOUGH but I know I have the best memories of my childhood Summers with my grandparents, and I don't want to rob my daughter of that precious memory just because of selfish desires to not want to be away from her.

No matter what you're facing or where life takes you - remember your path was drawn long before you stepped foot on it...but you can easily get off course if you don't keep your faith in check, your heart occupied by Jesus and your mind filled with the Word... don't allow the desires of the world to predict where your eternity will be spent. Don't stop obeying Him when you get what you asked for...that when you should continue to forever be grateful and never cease in praising Him! For He is Merciful & Graceful in our daily blessings!

Until next time, please continue to pray for us and we'll forever be humbled by the following and love you've shown us...

"For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him." 1 Samuel 1:27

Blessings,
~ Candye








Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"Stop Talking and Start Walking..."

Today's Tip: Before anyone jumps on the hate band-wagon, please stop and read carefully, because this is not a political post.

I read all the posts, hear people talk and complain about our country and the state it is in, and talk about all the things they would do differently, truth is - no-one knows what they would actually do if they were in one another's shoes....(refer to yesterday's tip if you're unsure how to "not walk in someone else's shoes"). Let me make it very clear...I AM NOT an Obama fan - but this is not political...just wanted to set the record straight (you know, a lotta talking!)

What I don't hear or see is people on their knees praying and seeking God for His intervention. It's the same with anything we complain about, disagree with, or simply don't like.  We do a whole lotta talking and very little walking! It's time we stop complaining, stop talking to each other, and start talking to the Master that can make THE CHANGE needed.

This is a tip concerning real lives, living in a real world, with real problems; truth is we have lost the desire to sacrifice as our service men and women have done. Just as Jesus did when He went through an intense spiritual battle in the Garden of Gethsemane struggling with the temptation to save himself rather than following through with God’s plan for him. The Bible says that Jesus came to Earth to save people from sin in a fallen world. Jesus’ ministry was to culminate by sacrificing himself on the cross to make it possible for sinful people to connect to a holy God through Him. Yet why we continue to turn away from Him instead of running to Him is beyond me.

 I firmly believe it's basic math 101... (0 + 0 = 0). We have become complacent and lazy and we need to turn off the TVs and find alone time with God, with our families, or else we are going to end up in a very sad place! It's time to get our families back together and start thanking God and seeking Him instead of all the "talking & complaining." Stop Talking & Start Walking people! It's time to take our families back and stop allowing "reality TV" to dictate our days. I realize it's a personal choice for the lives we live, but if we don't find Jesus - we are going to continue to find ourselves lost in a cruel world that's only getting worse. Stop dreaming of what life could be like and start living the life He's given us! It's a privilege to be alive - start living like it! You're alive - not dead; and He's not dead either because the tomb is empty!!

"...if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." (II Chronicles 7:14 NKJV)

Blessings,
Candye~

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Circle of Life....Family Update; April 11, 2014

Surprise! It's been just over a month since my last blog update and here I am blogging again. Yay! I'm trying to get back to a routine with our family updates again. 

"Jesus Loves Me..."
It's been quiet an emotional last 30 days...my baby girl turned 2!, my dear friend lost her Mother to cancer, another friend/colleague lost her Father (unexpectedly), my Uncle had a major surgery; all within the last 45 days. To say it's been a whirl-wind of emotions is an understatement.  I'm still not very good with funerals.  I can barely make it through my days without crying from missing my Bridgette, let alone attend a funeral.  And as soon as they play "Amazing Grace" you can just count me done.
 The one thing that gives me Hope and Peace about death is that we will see our loved ones again...and that they are no longer suffering.

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Revelation 21:4)

These last few weeks have definitely been an eye-opener for me and a reality check of sorts. Life doesn't stop for anyone, nor does death.  It's not a matter of whether you're ready or not, it's the inevitable and it is going to happen. Life is a true circle and with every beginning there is an ending. I had a friend try and make me smile one day last week while I was recapping these last few weeks with her, and she said, "you come into this world in diapers and toothless, and if you're lucky you'll exit old in diapers and toothless too."   You have to appreciate her sense of humor!

My sentiment about the circle of life is, we should never take a moment for granted and make the very best of every day, appreciate what the good Lord has blessed you with, and most importantly - make sure you're saved and ready to meet our Savior, because my friends "HEAVEN" is for real just as "HELL" is for real!
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3, NKJV)

My heart aches for those that are suffering losses, but it should also be a reminder to appreciate those in your life that you truly love, not taking them for granted, and appreciating even the smallest things they do for you - because one day you will wake up and they will be gone.  I'd rather live with a million apologies than one regret. 

"My Doodle-Bug..."
"My Mini-Me"
Okay, now onto our personal family update... 

WOW! That's the first thing that comes to mind.  It is so amazing to see her grow and flourish. She is such an awesome blessing and brings such a joy to my heart & soul.  Her laughter is infectious and her smile is contagious! She has such a sweet spirit about her and I would like to take credit for it, but I'm sure Ryan would argue she takes after him... oh and she does... her fuse is about the same length as her Daddy's... 1" long! (LOL)  I swear this baby-girl can get so mad -- so quick! However, the good thing is, she's more like her Momma in the fact that she's doesn't stay mad for long.  Life's too short....(remember? if not, reread above).  :)


"First flowers to Mommy..."
"Best-Friends..."
You know those moments in life when something amazing happens and you wish you would have capture it in a picture so you could reflect back on it and think..."WOW! I'm so glad I have picture"....  Well, that's me everyday... if you read my last blog, you'll notice I admitted to being "one camera-happy momma" and I am and not ashamed of it at all; because look at these pictures...they're priceless!! I captured the very first flowers she personally picked for me. WOW! It just doesn't get any better than that!  Captured quality time with her BFF, Molly the Beagle, and singing "Jesus Loves Me" with the dirtiest face ever....  you see, I can never re-create those moments in time; however, I can reflect back on these pictures and hopefully she will be able to look back on them when she's older and see just how happy she is and how happy she makes us.

"Love our selfies..."
"Fish Faces..."
I guess my point is, take pictures, and lots of them, laugh a lot, forgive quickly and always, don't hold grudges, ignore the little nuances in life and focus on the moments that create true lasting memories; because your next breath is not guaranteed, nor is that of your loved ones or special friends.  My grandpa used to preach in his sermons, "When you're born your clock is wound but once, and when it stops you cannot rewind it and no-one knows when that tick-tock will stop - except our Father in Heaven"...that's the truth and has always stuck with me throughout my whole life.  I honestly believe that we need to enjoy life.... enjoy what you're blessed with and figure out what your gifts are - because each and everyone of us have a purpose...a God-given talent... When I get to Heaven I want to say I used all He gave me! Now if I can just figure out what those talents/gifts are I could get started...LOL!

As always, I leave you with these scriptures to ponder...and remember that when life gets too hard to stand... kneel! There (on bended knees) is where all the answers are...

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” (John 11:25) I am SO GLAD that our Lord has Risen and that the grave is empty! Praises be to His Name - He is Risen!! Because of that - everything else is minor in comparison.  Easter is one of my favorite holidays...and it's because of the reminder it serves... NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!

 Until next time...please continue to keep us in your prayers and know that we sincerely appreciate the overwhelming requests to read our blog... I promise I'm going to get that book finished...  :)

Forever Blessings,
Candye~
Finally a Mother to an Earthly Angel....

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Our Family Update....March 2014

I know it has been a very long time since I've written an updated blog updating on our journey, and several of you have gently reminded me..... which I sincerely appreciate.  With every email, text, or Facebook message I would simply smile because it has been overwhelming and awesome to feel so loved.  It's amazing to know so many care enough to follow our story and desire to know how our little family is doing.  It's so humbling and we could never say "thank you" enough.

I do have to be honest, I cannot believe it has already been a whole year since I wrote my last blog! I've always heard "the older you get - the faster time flies." Well, I'm not sure if it's due to age or just being so full of joy, but regardless of the cause it feels like I blink and a day has passed and then before I know it, it's been a year! And thus bringing us to today...one year later exactly. :)

Okay, so now that I've admitted I'm seriously delinquent on the update I'll just move right along and get to the actual update... LOL!

Due to the fact that it's been almost a year since my last journal entry it would be absolutely impossible to cover it all in one blog - especially considering how good God continues to be to us and bless us. So, I suppose the simplest way to sum it up is by saying this... "every day we are breathing is an absolute blessing, period; and, everything else is simply considered a bonus!!" :)

As you know, today marked TWO years since we had the privilege of giving birth to our girls.  As I was thinking about logging an entry into our "Family Journal" a few weeks ago, I decided I would start looking for some pictures to use.  WOW! I am one camera-happy Momma! (ha)  I posted on Facebook the above picture and stated, "I'll never get tired of Praising God for what He's given us.  Some days it's overwhelming to "look back" but it's so rewarding to know He chose us to tell of His Mercy and Grace." I honestly do believe that everything we have been through was (and is) part of his Master Plan, and no matter how much it hurts me to think about our sweet Bridgette I cannot help but think it's such a small price compared to Jesus dying on the Cross.  Can you imagine? Giving up your ONLY child so He could save others?? (John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.")  I can't. I mean, yes, we have lost 17 other children, but He was merciful enough to give us Alexis! And all I ever prayed for was A child; and He answered my prayers! But then it hit me (like a ton of bricks)...can you now imagine how hurt God is when we do not give Him our all? When we
doubt Him? When we sin?  I cannot imaging the pain it must cause Him.  He gave up His Son for me!  When you personalize it that way - it really makes you stop and think! It also reminds me of an old song I love.... "He paid a debt He did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay, I needed someone to wash my sins away..."  The greatest part of all....is because of His "Amazing Grace" I am saved and set free!

In the last year a lot has happened.  I'll try to make it brief and touch on the highlights since most of you see our Facebook pictures and status updates regularly. 

What I have not posted on Facebook is that we recently had an assessment done on Alexis @ Heartspring. It is a local outpatient service that focuses on assisting and helping
children with special needs grow and learn to become independent.  I'm sure some of you are reading this, shaking your head, and thinking "What?" Well, bare with me and I'll try to make the story as condensed as possible without excluding any major details so you understand the importance of this. 

I had been concerned about her not talking for a while.  She would occasionally say "nah" (for No) and "Mom" but other than that she would just grunt, point, or pat her hand on what she wanted but not any real words.  We talked to our family doctor about it and at first he said he really thought she was just fine.  A couple of months later we had to return for more shots, and things changed.  I look back now and think because He knows "our story" all too well, he knew that it would put my mind at ease to just go ahead and recommend an assessment.  That is when I started calling and scheduling our appointment with Heartspring.  That was back in early December and we were on the wait list until February 19th.  That was a very long wait.  During that wait she did start saying more things "yes" "no" "hey" and "Da-Da." No real sentences and my worry was mounting.

Here's the reason I wanted to specifically update on this part of our journey over the last year.  For any first-time readers, Alexis had a twin sister (Bridgette) that passed away January 4, 2012.  We chose not to do an autopsy at birth, instead we accepted what God chose for us.  I'm not saying it was easy, because one part of me was torn to pieces and really wanted to know the actual cause! But, there was another side of me that kept reminding me to "Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understandings..." (Proverbs 3:5-6)  So, that is what we decided to do.  Not sure if I've ever shared this before, but at the time the specialists shared what they thought the reason to be could have been due to a chromosomal abnormality.  Most immediately think of Down Syndrome (or also known as Trisomy 21) when they hear chromosomal abnormalities. In the case of our little Bridgette, they had been telling us that it could also be Trisomy 18 or 13 or even Twin-to-Twin Diffusion ... but honestly they did not really know 100%, and because we chose not to do an autopsy the reality is only the Good Lord will ever really know. 

So, now you will understand the rest of this story....

As we're waiting in the lobby to do our first assessment (hearing), a little handsome boy (Tanner is his name) came walking into the waiting area and was on a mission, headed straight for the train track Alexis was playing at.  For those of you that really know her - know that she has not fully accepted the "sharing" gene yet either.  With everything, it has to be on her terms.  To the naked eye you could see Tanner probably had Down Syndrome.  The odd part is that there at any given time there was at least 7 or 8 other kids in/out of the waiting room at the same time as us, and NONE of them were engaging with any other kid.  They were just doing their own thing and playing with little toys.  Yes, probably because my daughter was at the train track and they must have sensed that she was not a "sharer." (Not really funny, but as I type this I cannot help but laugh because I never really thought about it at the time - just thought maybe they were all shy).

Here is where the amazing work of God begins to shine throughout the waiting area.  Alexis had not really looked up as kids came in and out, until Tanner. Tanner walked straight to the train set and was looking at it.  He never really even looked at her.  He was probably just trying to find all the trains (that my daughter had stashed in one little corner all for herself).  As Tanner approached the track, she looked up at him and literally stopped in her tracks....and just stared at him.  I cannot lie... at fir my heart sank and I thought "oh no, I hope she doesn't cry or treat him different."  But to my amazement, she walked over, stood beside him and said "Hi!".  He never looked at her.  His focus stayed on the tracks.  She leaned around in front of him...put her tiny little hand on his forearm and said "Hi!" He turned and looked at her and grinned from ear to ear.  (Grab a Kleenex)

She reached up and wrapped her little arms around his waist and engulfed him in a bear-hug!! He reciprocated and wrapped his arms around her shoulders and there they stood, locked arm-in-arm hugging each other and saying "Hi" to each other.  I never even thought to go for my phone to capture that moment.  All I could do was watch in awe as tears found their way down my cheeks. 

Fast forward....  the assessments were good.  She passed her hearing tests, motor-skills are above normal, speech is behind but not concerning and oh yes, the infamous "she's headstrong and impatient" and yes, they actually said that! (LOL) In all fairness, because she was a preemie they evaluated her as 17 months (vs. 24 months).  It's at those times that I have a piercing pain shoot through my heart, because I begin to question myself and wonder if I'm pushing her too hard. 

As Paul Harvey would say... and now for the rest of the story...

We are getting ready to leave and we're headed back to the waiting area.  Daddy (Ryan) and Alexis continue towards the waiting area and I was lagging behind talking with the speech therapist about "next steps, tools, etc...," when all of the sudden the therapist stops talking and has this look on her face that caught my attention; immediately I turned to look and what do I see.....

My daughter has stopped in front of a little boy (18 months old), with the thickest glasses ever on.  She says "HI!" I knew what was fixing to happen and without notice, yep you guessed it, the tears found their way down my cheeks again...but this time there are others with tears in their eyes too. 

He would not look at her, so she squats down in front of him (he's much shorter) and puts her tiny little hand on his forearm and looks up at him (with the sweetest, most angelic smile ever) and says "HI!".... he smiles the biggest smile ever! She stands and throws her arms around his neck (making his glasses crooked on his little head) and he wraps his arms around her little waist and they engulf each other with a hug that changed the lives of so many.  It was like time stood still for just a brief moment while those two had their Godly exchange. 

His mother looked at me and I thought..."Oh no, she's going to be mad and tell me to 'get control' of my daughter..."  Instead, with tears in her eyes she said "you have an amazing daughter, no one ever wants to talk to him, let alone hug him...thank you!" All I could do was nod my head and smile all the while thinking...Our God is SO Amazing!

You see, here is what I think was happening...I believe Alexis knows she has a heavenly little sister, and I believe that she felt a connection with each of those little boys because they must have reminded her of Bridgette.  For several months I quietly had been struggling with worry about Alexis and was so afraid of what we would find out that day.  Instead, that day was a sweet reminder that God is in control and worry is of the devil! ("Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6)

God loaned us this little angel and I know that He will protect her and will provide for all of our needs! So the morale of this blog is, when you are consumed with doubt and worry, let it go, and remember that we serve a Mighty God that always protects and provides.  ("He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust." Psalms 91:1-2)

Outside of that, we have had an amazing year. We spent a lot of time in the pool last Summer... our little angel is a water baby! Bath-time is so much fun with her - messy, but fun! Winter brought a lot of inside playtime.  Which meant at Christmas we decided it was time for some new toys so we went for "fun!" instead of practical. 

After all of that... it brings us to today, our daughters birthday.  It's a day that (for me) is really bitter-sweet.  I am not sure if it will really ever get easier.  I try so hard to stay strong, but there are just days when I still just need to have a good cry. Don't misunderstand me, I am forever grateful for our little Alexis and I feel beyond honored and blessed that God chose me to be her Mommy; but it doesn't mean I do not miss Bridgette and would be lying if I didn't say I wish she was here with us!...but, I know God needed another Angel and I'm sure she's celebrating in Heaven with Poppa Colt (Ryan's Daddy); and I know him...He always did everything "B-I-G" so I'm sure they had a BIG time celebrating her Birthday today! I imagine the Angels sang Happy Birthday to her, baked her a cake as wonderful as what G'ma Prather and Sissy Amy made Alexis, and they danced on the clouds! 


As you see above, I did take Alexis with me to decorate the resting place where Bridgette's Hope Chest was placed... Ryan and I have talked about whether that is right or wrong and we candidly both admit that neither of us know the right answer...so, we are going to do what we do best... PRAY about it and TRUST God will guide our footsteps and direction so we make the right decisions.  I'm trusting God to help us with the right time/place to tell her about Bridgette too.  For now, all we want to do is bask in the presence of our amazing daughter, Alexis - love on her new puppy "Molly," Praise God for His Mercy and Grace...and most important strive to be the very best parents we can be for this child He has entrusted to us!

Hopefully I will find more time to keep everyone updated....until next time remember, "God gives His biggest battles to His strongest Soldiers"....live for today and enjoy what God has blessed you with, but always be prepared to go into battle, because you never know what the devil will throw at you.  Oh, and in case you forgot, your "owners manual" is found in the little black book called "The Bible."

("...put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil..."   Ephesians 6:11-12)

From our family to yours....until next time, please continue to pray for us and know that we love each of you and humbly thank you for caring!!

Love,
Candye

Ryan, Candye, Alexis (and Bridgette, RIP)
For this child I prayed... 1 Samuel 1:27