Monday, December 31, 2012

2013...a year of hope

It's New Year's Eve, seven-fifteen p.m. I'm nursing a yucky head cold at home, complete with plugged ears, sore throat, cough, and no voice. My family is at church enjoying a potluck dinner, and Lily and I are keeping each other company. While I type, she is singing at the top of her lungs, in between bites of Rice Chex. Every now and then she murmurs in contentment at her dinner..."mmmmm" ...and then enthusiastically indulges in a few more bites before breaking out into song again.

 I love to hear the clanging of her tiny pink spoon against the ceramic green bowl - just another reminder of a milestone surpassed in 2012. Self-feeding is something she worked hard on the year before, but she has mastered it this year and moved on to bigger and better goals, like dressing herself and learning to jump in place.

 A few days ago we were relaxing at the beach house we always stay at in Depoe Bay (the backdrop for the new blog header - do you like it?) when Lily decided to demonstrate one of these new-found skills. The kids and I were eating breakfast downstairs, and we heard the tell-tale signs of the Lilybird's awakening...the soft thud of her feet as they hit the ground (letting herself down off the bed: another milestone this year) and the typical sing-song chatter of her fairy voice echoing down from the bedroom above.

 Caleb bounded upstairs to retrieve his sister... returning to the kitchen, he placed her on the floor and announced with a wide grin, "Guess what Lily has on??"

Little sister beamed up at me and placed her chubby hands on her hips, swaying them back and forth like a miniature hula dancer. There, carefully hiked up over her footsie pajamas, were her big sister's underwear - worn proudly, albeit crookedly, as if to say: I'm a big girl now.

She did this every morning of our vacation, with no prompting, and very matter-of-factly. I wonder what went through her little mind as she opened her eyes each morning ? Somehow she now knows that getting dressed for the day is a priority...because she had to deliberately dig through the suitcase to find a new pair of "chonies" as we call them at the Rice Ranch, and she insisted on wearing them throughout her breakfast. Something tells me potty-training is next on the list of milestones...

And speaking of milestones, I decided tonight to look back at my old blog headers for 2012. Lily was just beginning to walk at the beginning of this year, and her hair was long enough to do up in the looped ponytails I had done on both sisters before her. I remember sitting her on the deck of our old house and watching her grin back at me with that mischievous twinkle in her eye, and thinking- the terrible two's are surely about to begin...



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We definitely saw a stubborn streak emerge this year. But whether her calm nature can be chalked up to her extra chromosome, or just to the personality God gave her, I have yet to see a rebellious side that compares to any of her siblings before her. She has her moments of feisty-ness for sure, but for the most part my little imp remains a very easy-going little girl, and those rare moments of defiance are few and far between.

However... if you've ever heard that old poem about the little girl - the one with the curl, right in the middle of her forehead? I think someone penned that about Lily.

"And when she was good she was very, very good, but when she was bad she was HORRID."

Yeah, that one. Nailed it.

Moving on !!!


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This photo above makes my heart ache so much it hurts. I miss my old home. I miss the beautiful view from my back deck, the green grass and mountains in the distance, the clouds that rolled in from the coast every morning, the sheep and the sounds of the farm behind us, the stillness of the night and the stars. I miss my vaulted ceilings and big picture windows, the sound of my children running on the deck that surrounded our house on all sides, the smell of the pasture and the million memories we made there.

I miss the tiny baby that we lost last April, and the one who left us before Lily was born.
I miss it all.

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But time has a way of softening the ache of loss, and it's hard to grieve too long when I'm reminded daily of the grace of God on our lives. I have a husband who loves me and dotes on me, and I have a beautiful little girl with a crinkly-eyed smile who keeps me laughing every day. I have nine other amazing children, two wonderful daughter-in-loves, and a delicious grandbaby to enjoy each and every day, and above all things I am a blessed mama.

2012 was a year just like any other year- a year of loss and triumph, heartache and laughter, good and bad, a year of growing and learning and changing, and I can truly say - it is well with my soul.


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So what does 2013 hold for us?

A beautiful new baby for one thing. I go for my level II ultrasound this Friday, and in all honesty I can say I am not afraid. I will be 45 when I deliver this little one, and my odds for having a baby with Down syndrome are about 1 in 30.

I have a little confession to make here....

I'm almost a little worried my baby won't have Down syndrome.

If you would have told me that three years ago I would have said you were crazy.

But there you have it.

I'm enjoying Lily so much, I am so used to being able to savor every milestone, to soak up every moment of her babyhood without it rushing past me, I am so in awe of every little thing she does, that I'm worried I won't love a "typical" baby as much.

Isn't that ludicrous?

But I'm going to trust that God is giving me exactly who He wants me to have, "magical" extra chromosome or not, and I'm going to enjoy every moment of this last baby and not let any fear rob me of what lies ahead.

And even if this baby presents us with challenges we've never faced before...I have hope.


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Which brings me to my final thoughts on New Year's Eve, in these closing minutes of the year 2012.

We have many uncertainties facing us in the months ahead. So many uncertainties.

With the passing of a new law in Russia, orphans with Down syndrome face a life of institutionalization, unless an amendment is passed to exempt children with special needs. My heart is breaking for the families who are in the process of adopting these children - and for the children whose lives are hanging in the balance. Olga and Albina and Artem and Celine and Kacey and Nanette and Kamdyn - please pray for these families and children, as they need an incredible miracle in the upcoming weeks.

My oldest children are facing losing the baby they have raised for the past 18 months. He's never known anyone but them as Mama and Daddy, and he is just as much a part of our family as any baby could be. I will never forget the day they brought him home from the hospital, and I held him for the first time. I thought I could never love a baby as much as my own, but Baby K showed me otherwise. I honestly don't know what we'll all do if we lose him. Please pray for a miracle for our children, and pray for God to move on the hearts of those involved.

Times are changing in America. The days before Christmas left our nation broken and vulnerable, and I think we all held our children a little closer, knowing that life is so very fragile. These are frightening times to be raising families, and I've found myself crying out to God for safety and protection more than I ever have in my life.

But if I could choose a word- one word - to define 2013, the word I would choose is....




Hope.


“There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow.”
- Orison Swett Marden

 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast. Hebrews 6:19



What about you??

If you could pick one word for next year, what would it be ?



Here's to hope in 2013....Happy New Year !

19 comments:

Leah said...

We must be thinking alike that's my word too! Trust & Hope! Congrats on the pregnancy & praying for you. Happy New year my friend :)! I could never imagine Reeces Rainbow without my #1 partner in awesomeness!

tarynddavidson said...

Oh I loved it. The whole thing. The part I loved most, was hoping your new baby had DS. Isn't it crazy?! I get a sad feeling when people I know have children and they don't have DS... Because they will never know the true joy of raising a child with this magical chromosome.
My word is "intention"... Live life "on purpose".

Naomi Rice said...

Love that last photo. It is perfect. My word is expecting. Expecting God to move, part the Red Sea and also expecting a little blessing of a newborn baby Rice. xoxo

Kim said...

I really enjoyed your post, and it encouraged me. Hope has definitely been a theme around here lately, too! God bless you bunches!

cathy said...

HOPE has ALWAYS been my word, dear friend & always will be...

feel better & the card was spectacular

xoxo
cathy

Deanna said...

Such a perfectly balanced post between beautiful writing and important information. Thank you as always for sharing your heart with us. Hope is a good word for the new year. I couldn't have said it any better myself.

Deanna said...

oh, and I absolutely love your new sunroom. Does that take away some of the "missing" of the old house's views?

Leah said...

Beautiful.

Crystal said...

2013 will be a year of change for us. A new baby (#3, a move (we're military) away from a station that I absolutely love, a 4-month absence for training and a change in jobs within the military for my husband.

Lori said...

Hope is oxygen for the Spirit....love Hope! Sorry to hear you are sick....I am ready for everyone to be well again...

cara said...

Oh Patti- this melts my heart. I am SO sorry you are sick! That is so hard, especially when pregnant. I will pray for fast healing for your whole body.

I am cracking up about the "little girl with the curl on her forehead." My mom use to say that to me ALL of the time. That was me for sure!!

Our therapists would always tell me that kids with down syndrome are stubborn. But I have to tell you that we feel the same way about Benji as you do with Lily. He has been stubborn and can be. But for the most part, he is really easy going and happy. And we also have had some other kiddos that have been WAY more stubborn at this age keeping us on our toes having to be consistently working on this.

I am gearing up to have our next baby now. I had a dream last night that he came out. Jon delivered him, ha! I thought he had down syndrome at first. But then we realized he didn't. I kept looking at him and saying he definitely did not have down syndrome. Then I kept looking at Benji and how cute he was. I have so many mixed emotions. I know that this precious baby is a gift from God and will be the exact baby God wants us to have. I DO wish everyone got to experience a child with down syndrome. Oh, the love we have for Benji is just indescribable!!!! He melts us every minute.

All of Lily's milestones are WONDERFUL!! We are still working on Benji feeding himself. He can feed himself finger foods now. But he still has a hard time with a spoon. However, he is very motivated now. I know it is coming. ADORABLE how Lily is putting on the underwear. What a big girl she is.

The pictures are priceless as usual. I do love the new header!!!

SO sad for the kiddos in Russia. Oh Patti, I have been praying and praying for God to intervene!! My heart is aching. But I know that the Lord is truly in control.

And we are ALL praying for Baby K to be able to remain with Jason and Naomi. Praying and praying for a miracle; for God to intervene. I know how much all of you all love him so. I cannot even imagine having to turn him over now. I just cannot imagine. We will continue to pray.

Happy New Year to all of you. Much, much love. xoxo

cara said...

Oh, and my word for this year would be; well I have two. Grace and Mercy. I want to extend more out and freely receive God's amazing grace and mercy. I also LOVE hope!! And I love Naomi's of expecting!!!!

Erin Beaudette said...

I have two words for the new year...FAITH and PEACE. I have faith that God will provide the blessings and challenges that will help me grow and peace that I will be able to handle all that comes my way!

nicole said...

Of course the new header is adorable! You can't go wrong with Lily in the picture. My word for 2013 is "trust". I want to trust Him more than ever because to trust is to love.

amy said...

happy new year, friend!

Mariah said...

Hi Patti!

My word for this year is 'joy.' Two years ago I started choosing a word as my "theme" for each year. I started with 'focus,' last year was 'purpose,' (as in living with purpose and intention) and this year is 'joy.' I've prayed and asked God what would please Him this year and I keep coming back to 'joy'. So...'joy' it is! The joy of the Lord is my strength! :-) Sorry to hear you are sick...hope you feel better soon. Will you be at conference next week? I remember meeting you years and years ago but I'd love to renew our acquaintance if we get the chance!

Krista said...

I only read this today but if you saw my post from yesterday, you know I would agree. Hope. It is what keep us strong when faith is weary. We always have hope. I wish you a year full of blessing! Much love, Krista

Danielle said...

I want my word for the year to be MIRACLES - but maybe in all honesty it should be TRUST. I want miracles for Naomi & Jason. I want baby K so much it hurts to even type these words... and I want a baby for them by the time my baby comes (8 weeks- that would be a MIRACLE). I want all these miracles for them.... soooo badly. My heart aches for baby K. It aches and aches and aches. Which makes me pray all the more and God is def. working on me in the area of trust. I need to trust K with Him no matter how much it hurts. But the thing is, no matter how much it hurts me, it hurts me even more thinking about how much it hurts them (J&N).

I ask God, I beg God, to please not let this be a hurt they have to go through. They've gone through enough (IMO) and need a MIRACLE now. I know i'm just ranting. Feels good I guess. I just want K to be with us forever and ever. He's Brock's twin cousin. It just won't be the same w/o him ):

Ok. I'm done w/ that now.

Love the header. and Love little miss Lils. Can't wait to meet the future Rice babe and I can't wait to get to know him/her.

Love you guys all so much!!!
love,
danielle

tahir sumar said...
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