Tuesday, March 25, 2014

All things...for good

Today I watched this sweet video about a precious baby who lived for 10 days. The parents found out at 20wks that their baby had trisomy 18 and, although the doctors told them his condition was "incompatable with life" they chose to continue the pregnancy and celebrate his short life. (warning: do not watch without a full box of tissues)

It made me thankful our Ben has trisomy 21 and not a different trisomy. When we first found out Ben would have Down syndrome our doctors gave us a copy of his karyotype, a picture of his chromosomes. They explained that Down syndrome occurs when a baby has three copies (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome. It looked similar to this image (although these chromosomes are from a girl - hence the two "x's." A boy would have an "x" and a "y.")

What's so amazing about Down syndrome is the 21st chromosome is the smallest DNA pair. That means that, although Ben has an extra chromosome in every cell of his body, it's the smallest possible amount of "extra." Babies with more significant trisomies are often miscarried or face significant birth defects. Only 8% of babies with trisomy 18 will see their first birthday.

Because of my experience with Ben I just want to encourage parents, or those hoping to be parents, to be prepared with your answer before you're halfway through your pregnancy sitting across the desk from your doctor hearing him tell you your baby has Down syndrome, another trisomy, or other serious birth defect. They will offer you options. They may tell you things about your child's potential quality of life or physical suffering. If you are a Christian, then you must be prepared with a solid confidence in the sanctity of life: that God creates all life for His glory, and that life begins at conception, and there are no stray molecules in the universe. God is sovereign.

What your doctors can't tell you (unless you have a really cool doctor), is that "for those who love God, all things work together for good." (Romans 8:28) I often hear Christians disparage this oft quoted verse as not really being comforting to those who are hurting. I guess I can't expect a single verse to turn someone's true sorrow to joy. But I know if you truly believe this promise it will help: if you truly believe "all things" means "all things" and if you allow the whole counsel of God to shape your definition of "good."

Yet, not every providence of God is as obviously "good" as this one:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Update on Grandma Bobbi

Never in a million years would I have thought I'd be writing this post. I'm sure most of my blog readers know what's been going on with my dear mom, but I know there are some readers who don't so thought it'd be a good idea to update y'all.

It's been almost two years since mom was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. Craziness. Brain cancer? She had a benign lung tumor that required the removal of one of her lungs when she was in her late 30's? And I've always assumed all us white folk from So Cal will get melanoma, but brain cancer? Didn't see that one coming.

The Dr.'s gave her 6 months to live at diagnosis. We opted to try chemo/radiation and it seemed to really work. But it also weakened her. Dad has been such an awesome trooper with all this. He shouldered the role of primary care-giver with grace, love and such tenderness. But it's been a tiring two years for him.

Mom has really declined since the holidays. She was hospitalized for dehydration a couple weeks ago and the decision was made to bring her home on hospice. Her health has deteriorated quickly, and, although none of us knows the future, it seems the end of her earthly life is quickly approaching.

I am confident of mom's salvation. She has pursued Christ in true love and knowledge of Him for all the years I've know her. This is a great comfort. Yet the loss is immense.

A visit with G'ma in 2011

We covet your prayers to our good, sovereign God that Mom would be comforted with the great love of our great Savior in her last days before glory. That Dad would be strengthened in body and soul and given the peace that passes all understanding. That all of us who love Mom and love Christ would cling to His cross as the lump rises in our throat and we behold our own mortality and need of such grace.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Day in the Life

What is it like raising 6 children ages 17 (almost) to 15 months?

I thought it might be fun to give a run down of a typical day. Mostly for myself, so I can look back on this time years from now and remember what it's like. Also for my family who may wonder why I never have time to call. And to encourage anyone else in the trenches: you're not alone.

5:15am: Baby wakes up. Already was up to feed him at 2am, but since I went to bed at 9pm the night before I really got plenty of sleep. Somehow though, the sleep between 5am and 6am is particularly restful for me. Missing that today.

6:00am: Husband plays with baby while I make coffee and check my email for the first time. We drink coffee, talk, I do some dishes and get the day started.

7:45am: Take the big kids to school. I load up all the kids in the van, a couple of them are eating toast while we drive. The biggest kid says he forgot to wash his basketball jersey for his game tonight. I suggest that wearing a stinky jersey that's just going to get stinky again is no big deal, but he's not convinced. I'll wash it for him but not tell him that until I pick him up this afternoon. We listen to John MacArthur on the way home.

8:30am I feed the baby his breakfast (applesauce and baby oatmeal) and put him down for a morning nap since he's been up since 5:15! Get the homeschool kids started on some work.

We all work to pick up the house a little since we have Ruth's piano teacher and our homeschool teacher coming over today. The kids need snacks.

10:00am Ruth has her piano lesson with her wonderful teacher. Ruth is really loving learning the piano. Eventually Ben wakes up from his nap and nurses. We finish school work and I finish grading their work from the last month to be ready to show their CT (Credentialed Teacher). The kids eat lunch. Teacher calls and says she'll be here early. Oh goody.

12:30pm We meet with our CT and go over Ruth and Paul's school work. This year I'm trying a public charter homeschool. It has many pros and cons, but basically allows me to use state $ for curriculum and extra curricular activities. The CT verifies that the kids are actually learning. While meeting with the CT I feed Ben lunch.

2:30pm Nurse Ben and load up to pick up the kids from school. Sarah and Phillip have piano lessons after school today. I play with the little ones in Mrs. Ward's den while listening to make sure the big kids have been practicing well enough and see if there's anything I need to remind them of this week. They have their Christmas recital on Saturday. Ben crawls forward about 2 feet to get to his puff snacks. He loves those things.

4:30pm Sarah gets started on her homework. I get dinner started. Tonight it's spaghetti. Russell will be home in just enough time to take Phillip and the big girls to the basketball game. Ben is fussy b/c he hasn't napped since 11am. He gets dinner too (a smashed-up version of spaghetti). After the group leaves for the game I let Paul and Mary watch some TV while I nurse Ben and get him down for the night.

6:45pm Baby is asleep. I tackle the mountain of laundry that needs to be folded on my bed. Paul and Mary ask for hot chocolate. I do dishes while they drink. We read some books, pray and sing a hymn and they're in bed by 8:30.

Now it's 9:15. They're back from the basketball game. Phillip says the game was bad because they lost. Russell says it was a good game. They were down by 20 but rallied to come back within reach. I need to get to bed myself, though, because I have a feeling I'll be hearing from someone around 2am.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Year Ago Today

One year ago today our Ben got yanked from his cozy, warm, quiet nest and tossed into this crazy, bright, loud, gravity-bound world.

He's fit right in and his siblings just adore him, as do Mom and Dad.

As the local weather begins to transition from summer to fall I'm often drawn to memories from last year. All the hours spent in my glider attached to the breast pump making sure I had enough milk for Ben when he finally got the hang of breastfeeding. Helping Sarah with her homework as she adjusted from homeschool to Cornerstone Christian School. A dear friend who helped watch the kids a few mornings each week after Russell went back to work. Sweet memories.

Paul and Mary are especially drawn to Ben.

Paul reading to Mary and Ben

Mary helping Ben with his crawling skills

My overarching reality for Ben's first year of life is how "normal" he is. Not that "normal" is some goal or anything, but His extra chromosome has presented very few issues for us thus far. Ben is definitely small (even by Lowery baby standards), and delayed (not crawling or babbling much yet), but those things don't bother me the slightest. In fact, I'm happy he's giving us a little longer to get the house ready a mobile baby again! I know Ben will learn to talk, walk, eat real food, drink from a cup (INSTEAD OF MOMMY!) read, sing (hopefully IN TUNE), swim, play sports, and WHO KNOWS WHAT ELSE! I'm not at all concerned that he's a little behind his peers. He's got an extra chromosome people!

Life now hums along at a fairly steady clip. My days are still busy but not as desperate as they were in those first few weeks after Ben's arrival! School is in full swing with me teaching Ruth (2nd grade) and Paul (Kindergarten) at home. Phillip (11th) and Sarah (5th) at Cornerstone. We're busy with soccer and piano and co-op class and church and trips to the library and family outings and who has time to do dishes or fold laundry! Not me :-)

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Garage Room Project

Our cozy home has a good sized one-car garage. The deep back end has been a complete black hole - a wonderful home to all types of spiders and transient rodents, but not a useful space for us humans. I've long had the idea of reclaiming this space somehow, particularly for storage since my home has a major deficit of closet space compared to the size of our family. I also saw a need for quiet space for the homeschoolers and the kids needing to do homework. Enter Ron Craig!


in process

drywall up

carpet comes on Monday!

still room to park my van!

I can't say enough great things about Ron's work! He really knows his stuff, enjoys his work, and far exceeded our expectations for this project. Can't wait to get the room set up and start school (although I still might have to convince a couple kids this will NOT be a bedroom option)! :-)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ben 9 month check-up

This precious boy is happy, healthy, and growing!

Holding steady in the 25th % and weighing in at 14lbs 10oz. Ben's favorite activities these days are practicing sitting up (he's so close to sitting unassisted), playing with toys that make noise or shake, and pulling his sisters' hair. Oh and making a raspberry/spitting noise with  his lips -- a charming accompaniment to corporate worship services at church :-)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Free eBooks from R.C. Sproul!

This is such a good deal I thought it needed its own blog post. Ligonier is making this set of eBooks free forever! How cool is that?!?!

Titles include: "Can I Trust the Bible?" "Does God Control Everything?" "What Does It Mean to be Born Again?" "What Is the Trinity?" "Can I Be Sure I'm Saved?"

R.C. calls these "Crucial Questions" and I couldn't agree more. Moms, these would be great resources for you because if your kids haven't asked you these questions yet, it's a good bet they will someday!

Thanks for considering my theological appeal. Your reward is a video of Ben practicing his rolling and foot-eating skills. Yes, that is a hair band around his leg. Sisters. 'Nuf said.