Saturday, May 28, 2011

Grief, 6 Year Old Style

Apparently the grieving process, in regards to poultry, is pretty short. At least when you're 6. Ezra started asking for a new chick within several hours of losing Lovely. I guess there's no appropriate waiting period...when you're 6...and we're talking about a chicken. So, of course, being the parents we are (which I sometimes wonder about), we started looking for another chick. On Thursday, Jared took Ezra into Council Bluffs so he could get his new chick.

Welcome to the family, Lovely 2.0!

Naturally, the company wouldn't allow Jared to buy just 1 chick. Even though we already had 2 more waiting at home. So, again, being the parents that we are (wondering, wondering)...

Welcome to the family, Tula!

That's right. We now have FOUR chickens. Four. Chickens. I actually can't help but chuckle about it. *sigh* This wonderful walk with Jared is certainly full of surprises. I'm thankful to have married a man that makes life more fun and adventurous. Emphasis on adventurous!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

In Memorium

The Stewart family has suffered its first casualty. It's really Ezra's loss, but we're all sad. Lovely got out of the coop somehow Tuesday night, and...well, things didn't go well for her after that. When Eli went to feed the chicks in the morning she was missing. He, Ezra, and I started searching for her, and 5 minutes later it was Ezra that found her. Poor, poor Little Man. I'm not sure why God allowed Ezra to find her. It would have been easier for him had it been me, or even Eli. But we've had several talks since then about Who God is and where He is when life is sad and unfair. I said that Lovely probably didn't feel any pain, and that when the animal got her it was "over" quickly. I guess I don't know that for sure, but that's what we're going Lydia's been thanking God over and over for protecting Lovely from the painness and the deathness. We did have to talk about the whole pets-in-Heaven scenario. Not easy, but Ezra has been handling the situation pretty well. So, in remembrance of Lovely...

Big, brown eyes
Lit up with glee.
His own little chick,
Ezra's Lovely.

Little black chick
Sweet as can be.
Soft and cuddly,
Ezra's Lovely.

Little Man hands
Protecting and loving,
Holding and caring;
Ezra's Lovely.

Little black chick
Sweet as can be.
Lost her way,
Ezra's Lovely.

Big, brown eyes,
Filled up with tears.

Tender heart broken...

His dear little chick,
Ezra's Lovely.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Droopy Jud-y Update

We took Judah to Children's this morning to be tested for Myesthenia Gravis. For anyone else it would be a simple procedure. Review the risk factors, answer all the medical history questions, get the injection, monitor for 60 minutes. Done. Not quite that simple for Judah. The drug that is injected into the muscle can cause a decrease in heart rate and/or nausea and vomiting. When your body doesn't produce cortisol (your body's answer to stress) risk factors - even relatively minor ones - take on new meaning. Judah needed to have a stress dose of his "stress" medication intravenously before he could receive the drug. It's just not fair. Nothing about his life seems fair. Usually I don't think about it that way; but when your baby is crying in pain while the nurse puts in the IV and you have to hold him down, and you're trying to talk soothingly and reassuringly in his ear and it's just taking forever and he's just hurting and doesn't understand why...well, the concept of "fair" comes to mind. Gah. It just really sucks sometimes. I'm thankful that it only took 1 stick this time. I'm thankful for caring nurses who don't like to hurt their adorable little patients. But, God... It's not fair that things for Judah have to be so complicated.

OK, I think I'm done whining. For now. I mean, I really do feel this way, but I think I'm over it...momentarily. Anyway, praise the Lord that Judah didn't experience any of the possible side effects of the drug, and the test actually came back negative!

So... It's great that Judah does NOT have this disease; however, his ophthalmologist strongly believes that he has some kind of neuro-muscular problem which is causing the droopy eyelids, as well as his inability to move his eyes to the right. We've had to re-add his neurologist to "the list", and will be seeing her in a couple of weeks. My prayer is that we can resolve this quickly - whether it's something in his brain or just the need for a surgical repair - because Judah's obstructed vision is really starting to get in his way. He's started bumping into things when he crawls. It's only cute and funny until he conks his head and hurts himself.

Cool thing that happened today...
I have met so many nurses that have kids with special needs, and today was no different. This nurse, though, has a son with similar challenges and even a couple of the same diagnoses as Judah! We were able to talk mom-to-mom about the same doctors and issues. We were even able to laugh about some things that "normal" people just don't laugh about. It was...refreshing. Thanks for that, Lord.

Not so cool thing that happened today, but something to add to Judah's Mess-capades:
Judah's IV was buried under a mound of tape while his hand was placed on a "board" and then had this special sticky stuff wound around it about a hundred times. Pretty secure. Unless your Judah and have a determined spirit and an insatiable desire to chew. Little Champ just pulled that IV right out, leaving all of the tape and "board" securely in place, and went right to his mouth with it. Ew. I caught him just before it got there. Phew.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Strengths

I just took the "Strengths Finder 2.0" test. Jared had taken the test shortly after we moved here. It was a YFC thing. I took it, because there's a couple here that is going to go over our strengths with us, and teach us how to best utilize our strengths within our marriage. I'm really excited about it! I've always known that Jared and I make a great team, but this will help us fine tune some things, and also learn more about each other and what makes us tick from the inside out. Our communication might improve, how we relate to each other, how we meet each other's needs. So, anyway, I took the test yesterday. I'm not really sure what I was expecting; but when I got my results I was actually disappointed. None of my strengths are particularly special. Nothing especially attractive or fun or anything that would really draw people. Nothing the least bit sparkly or charismatic. I even feel like my top 5 strengths are such that a person really has to get to know me before they can recognize any of these things and be positively effected by them.

My top 5 strengths are:

Belief - I have certain core values that are unchanging. Out of these values emerges a defined purpose for my life.

Intellection - I am characterized by my intellectual activity. (Really?) I am introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.

Input - I have a craving to know more. I like to collect and archive all kinds of information.

Responsibility - I take psychological ownership of what I say I will do. I am committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.

Restorative - I am adept at dealing with problems. I am good at figuring our what is wrong and resolving it.

There are several paragraphs under each strength about what might make me stand out from others who have the same theme in their top 5. Then there are several ideas for application for each strength. And, finally, statements from several people that have the same theme in their top 5 and what that looks like for them.

The statements helped, because I could really relate to what several of the people said. At first, though, I just felt like I was a stuffy introvert who likes big words and has a penchant to fix things. That's way simplifying it, but there it is. Jared said that tells him that I'm a deep thinker (shocker) and these strengths make me a great writer. Good point. The "light bulb"
that made the biggest difference for me, though, was this: These God-given strengths make me a uniquely qualified, great mom for Judah.

My core values effect how I view Judah as a person; an image-bearer. I have a "deep and abiding concern for others." I devote myself to helping him. My intellect allows me to file away information that may be useful at a later time. Because of my good memory, I'm able to process what I've read now or at a later time. I can "continually absorb, integrate, or catalog new information with ease." My desire to know more and ability to archive means that I intuitively gather facts or artifacts, and can determine what is useful. I can also simplify complicated details. My strong sense of responsibility means that I am driven to do what I say I will do. I enjoy helping others. I do what it takes to get something done. My adeptness at dealing with problems allows me to analyze my mistakes and figure out "what knowledge I need to acquire and skills I need to sharpen." I "generally let the pressures of each day determine what I need to revise, correct, repair, remodel, upgrade, revamp, or rework." I always kinda thought that I do what I do for Judah, I remember what I do, I keep together what I do, because I'm his mom and any mom would. But I realize now that God has specifically gifted me to be the exact mom that Judah needs. His OT confirmed to me today that the strengths and abilities I've displayed to her & his other therapists over the last couple years are not "the norm". I think that's so cool! I have totally been downplaying God's design all this time, and I didn't even know it. Of course these strengths make me a good mom for all my kids; but given Judah's many unique needs, I can see how God masterfully designed him and me to fit together. When I look at Jared's strengths I see the same thing. A compilation of gifts that God purposefully designed, and then amalgamated* with mine to create a beautiful masterpiece of teamwork, soul-sharing, and family.

Like I said before, I'm excited to see how I can purposefully utilize these strengths in my relationship with Jared, and also in my roles as Kingdom Laborer, mom, and friend.

*I couldn't resist. Intellection says: "Chances are good that you may select unusual words to describe your ideas or feelings. Perhaps your extensive vocabulary allows you to capture people's interest." And Input says: "It's very likely that you may add theoretical, intricate, technical, or difficult-to-understand words to your vocabulary." It's just kinda funny, because when I'm writing if I can't find just the right word, or it's on the tip of my tongue, I go right to my online thesaurus. I love it!

[All of the above information comes from Tom Rath's "Strengths Finder 2.0" and Gallup, Inc.]