Monday, February 23, 2015

For I know the plans I have for you...

Back in October we met with the GI (gastroenternologist) in Albuquerque.  We have been working to get her to gain weight though her medications and it is just not working.  This poor child can spit up an entire feed (you should see the amount of laundry we do at times).  Well, I have been praying and praying so hard for her tummy to be healed.  With Cri du Chat kids have low muscle tone.  Well, your digestive system is made up of tons of muscles, so as you can guess, those are weak also.  She just can't keep food in her tummy.  Well, I am not sure why I have been so nervous at the thought of her having a feeding tube.  Selfishness, fear, anger that she might even have to have it, not wanting her to be so different, and all sorts of other thoughts I am sure Satan has put into my mind.  I am not sure, but it has really bothered me.  Well, as we have been approaching this follow up I have just been praying that should wouldn't have to.  Well, the other night I started to pray for the wisdom of the doctor.  When we went in today and I saw that she only weighed 13 pounds 5 oz I knew exactly what the doctor would say.  Well, instead of being afraid I was totally calm.  I kept hearing these words:
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13
Well, He was right there with me because I felt a peace I could not explain.  I knew this was the right thing for her.  This little girl moves like crazy.  She loves to eat, which she will continue to do, she loves water, which she will continue to drink, and I can't imagine all she will be doing when she gets a little muscle on those skinny legs!  Thank you for your prayers and please continue to pray. 
Specifically pray for an earlier date.  Right now we are scheduled for March 27th but I really need to be able to use my Spring break as some of the time off with her because I don't have any leave and I will probably have to stay in ABQ for a couple of weeks, just to be on the safe side.  So, Team Annika prayer warriors, this is what we need, please pray!  I will keep you posted. 
She will also have a fundoplication procedure done at the same time.  You can click on the word to learn more.  This will tighten the muscle around her stomach to help keep her food in.  The feeding tube (gastro tube) will not be forever.  When she no longer needs it, it will come out.  So, that is very good news.  We will continue her therapies to improve her chewing abilities so she can feed on her own at some point.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

When you give a kid a cookie...

Today I spent time making cookies for a Monday night meal I am serving in a couple of weeks (we have a ministry that serves people in Bloomfield who need a free meal once a week and it is a wonderful time).  This is my second meal to cook (with some help) and I really feel blessed being able to help.  Usually Madelynn and I are on visit/clean-up because of work, I can't cook that often.  Ok, not the point of my post here.  

So, I was making cookies today because I just feel like it is something special I can do for the people I serve to make the meal a little extra special.  And, seriously, who doesn't like a homemade chocolate chip cookie?!  Then I got to thinking about the simple act of making something for someone else and I remembered a special guy in my life as a teenager who made (and still makes) the most amazing cookies.  Gary Shaffer, you know who you are.  I am sure there are kids in the Corrales/Paradise Hills area who have wonderful memories of this special, heart-felt treat.  And I got to thinking about what an amazing ministry this was.

Now, I am sure the first time he was going to make cookies for a Young Life night he was not thinking, "These cookies are so amazing and they are going to teach these kids about the love of Christ."  Ok, if he really did think that he was right on!  But more likely it was a simple gesture to make us all feel welcome and at home as they taught many, I am MANY, kids about Christ and how to have a closer walk with Him.  I have memories of receiving cookies when I graduated, when I stopped by just to say hi and a special batch when Dad died.  Just thinking about them makes me hungry and warms my heart.   

I really don't think that Sherrie and Gary realized the impact that a simple batch of cookies (I wonder how many he has actually made over the years) would have on the lives of the teens in that area.  I know that my wonderful brother-in-law is a product of those cookies.  He is the husband, leader of his family and in his church and he is my brother in Christ because of those cookies (and all the teaching and guidance that came with them).  But that simple act opened the door for many conversations and questions and teachings that have brought many kids closer to Christ or even introduced some of them to Him for the very first time.  All because of a simple cookie.  I know that my love for studying The Word has a lot to do with the lessons I learned from them so long ago.

I know what you are thinking, "Really Kelsey, I think you are getting a bit philosophical about some cookies!"  I don't think I am.  When you spend time making someone cookies (or anything else for that matter) you are telling them, "I think you are important enough for me to spend time on you.  I value you and want you to know that you are important."  I know I could go buy cookies at the store and they would enjoy them, but I want the people I server to know that I think they are important enough for me to spend time making them cookies.  So yes, I think a cookie really can be a ministry.  I think anything God places in our life, and we do it with a heart of serving others, can be a ministry, and that we have to use it as an opportunity to tell others about the love of Christ.  
Jesus gives us an example of this in Matthew:
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me"
...."Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?.....
......"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sister of mine, you did for me" Matt 25:31-46

While I was reading Oswald Chambers a couple of weeks ago he talked about being spiritually exhausted.  Jesus tells us to "Feed his sheep" meaning to serve others and pour ourselves into serving others for Christ.  God will take care of renewing and rekindling us, but it is our job to "Feed his sheep" and pour ourselves out for one another.  So, I am off to make more cookies and I thank God for "cookie ministries" and all the other ways He can use us.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Team Annika Grace

Well, this is what I have been waiting to tell you all more about.  If you already follow this blog you are already very familiar with our extra special Annika Grace.  May 3-7 is Cri du Chat awareness week and we are asking our friends and family if they would like to participate with us.  There is a Virtual 5k for 5p-  and you can click on the picture for more information.

It is only $5 to register for the race and you can select Team Annika Grace if you would like to or register on your own.  Totally up to you.

In order to register, please use the link in order to register:

As part of our mission to raise awareness, Whitney and Beau have created an amazing shirt for Team Annika Grace so you can show your support.  Here are the shirt choices:

Shirts are $25, which includes shipping.  Please send your order to Whitney at
Make sure to include the type of shirt (Men's, Women's, or Kids) and the size you would like.  You can send your payment to Whitney (just email one of us and we will send you her address) or you can pay through PayPal at

LOCAL RACERS - Keep checking here and on Facebook for updates.  I would like to have all those who are interested in getting together for a 5k meet at a location in Bloomfield on Sunday May 3rd to participate together.  I will let you know what is decided.

Thank you for your love, prayers, and support.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Stay tuned for more news...

Got you reading didn't I!  Well, there is an exciting opportunity to support 5p- (the genetic disorder Annika has) if you are interested.  We are working on some of our own details before we put it out there, but I just wanted to put a buzz in your ear.
Check out the link for more information:

It is a virtual 5K to support a great cause.  If you want to sign up you can join Team Annika Grace.  We are working to design a shirt for her team - the proceeds will go to 5p- - and getting a local group together who might want to do their 5K as a group.

We don't have everything set up yet, so please don't register yet, but we will soon.  So, as I said, stay tuned for more information!!!


Sometimes I really can't believe that I am 35 years old.  I really don't feel all that different than I did when I was 25 years old...
                   OK, well let me think about that one for a moment, at 25 years old:
I was at least 10-15 lbs lighter
I had only been married for 2 years 
I had only taught for 4
No kids
Full night of sleep most nights
Exercised everyday
Probably walked 20+ miles a week
Had just started coaching - and still worked out with my athletes
Money wasn't really that tight
We were still learning how to be married to each other
Well, I guess things have changed a bit in the last 10 years, but really when someone asks me my age I am almost surprised when I have to say 35!

If I admit to myself that things have changed, then I realize that I probably have more stress in my life than I want to admit.  What does stress do to the body?  According to WebMD, stress can lead to physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping. Research suggests that stress also can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases.  Of course there's also weight gain, skin conditions and the list continues.  

I would say we probably have a little more stress in our lives at this time (and we would just by adding another child to the mix).  I don't really think of myself as stressed, but I am seeing the effects of stress on my body - things are just not working like they used to.  So age and stress are already taking a toll.  

So, what can I do about this?  Well, I have been trying to work out (let me just tell you a little story about what that looks like:
Doing a video at the house the other day.  Madelynn starts to work out with me, gets bored and stops.  She goes to get a notebook and pencil and proceeds to walk around me as I am working out - taking notes.  Then she tells me, "Mom, the next time you lunge you need your knee to go lower. "  Gee, thanks honey.  Then she says, "When the siren comes on you need to go as hard as you can."  Yes, d-e-a-r, thank you.  She shows me the notebook at the end and says, "This is how many you did this time.  Apparently, that is better than the last time."  Honestly, I don't know where she gets this stuff from.)
But, I am trying to workout more.  I am working on getting to bed earlier and we are trying to eat healthier.  We try to take advantage of time alone the best we can.  Sorry, one more caveat:
I truly believe that parents need to take time for themselves.  I know it is difficult and time and money don't always help with this, but it is so important.  So, if you are the parent of a special needs kid I think you need to multiply that importance by about 100!  There is just an extra level of stress there that others don't have and can't understand.  If you are reading this and you have a friend who is a special needs parent (no, you don't all need to call me to help me babysit) but please think about a way you might be able to help give them some time alone.  We are very blessed and so have a great network of people - you guys - who help us.  And I am not shy to ask.  I know it is good for me, my husband, and my kids.  Just one of my opinions.  I am working to teach my friend who has a special needs child how important this is.
Needless to say, I can't take all of the stress out of my life, so now what.  Where do I go to for my strength and stress relief?  
"I lift up my eyes to the mountains - 
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, 
the maker of heaven and earth.
He will not yet your foot slip - 
He who watches over you will not slumber."
Psalm 121:1-3

"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens" Psalm 68:19

He doesn't bear my burdens the first time I pray for them and then forgets.  He doesn't have a punch card and if I have already prayed about that burden 10 times then I am at my limit.  NO, he bears them DAILY, he will not forget about them, he will continue to work on them if we continue to trust him.  When I am feeling the stress and burdens that lie ahead of us - the unknowns, possible surgeries, development, health, care....the list goes on - I need to physically turn my eyes to the hills knowing that He's got this.  He created heaven and earth, this is not a problem for him.  And guess what, he can handle me coming to Him and saying, "Lord, I am stressed, please take my burden."  He is probably thinking, "I didn't ask you to hold it on your own in the first place."  In fact He tells us, 
 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in hear, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light"  Matthew 11:28-29
He walks along side us and takes that stress, but we have to come to him.  So, how has my life changed now that I am 35 years old?
I am a bit heavier
I have a beautiful 4 year old that keeps my on my toes daily and brightens my day
I have an amazing 1 year old who never ceases to amaze me and has changed our family in ways I couldn't have imagined
I miss my dad daily, but know right where he is
I sleep less and exercise less
I hug longer and smile more
I am quicker to turn to the Lord for my concerns, stresses, and praises
I know that MY plan for life and happiness is not the same as God's
and His is much better
I love my husband even more today than I did 10 years ago
and I love the way he loves our little girls
I know life is very short and I must make the most of every moment
I know that tomorrow is a new day and I can start fresh
Here's to all the blessings, stress, tears, laughter, love and excitement in the next 10 years