Friday, June 28, 2013

ponderings and popsicle sticks

Dearest Lily,

It's 8:05 Friday night, and you and I are here at home alone with Hayden. Most of the kids are at the park playing tennis and baseball, Mackenzie and Tyler are out to dinner, and Daddy is at the coast working late. Hayden is sleeping contentedly in his swing beside us, while you snuggle on my lap as I type. You're still tiny enough to fit there nicely... as always you are sucking your thumb and staring at the screen earnestly as if reading the words I write. A cool summer breeze is blowing through the windows - finally - a perfect end to a hot Oregon day.

As I sit here quietly typing, you finger the sticky popsicle stick on the desk, leftover from my dessert. You murmur to me - mmmm - and slide off my lap happily, your prize in hand. And now, echoing from the living room, I can hear your pretty sing-song voice, proclaiming joy over your new found toy. You find so much pleasure in the simplest of things, and I can almost guarantee you will spend the next twenty minutes pondering that popsicle stick, holding it proudly in the air for imaginary friends to see. You'll make up a story for those spell-bound spectators, gesturing wildly with one hand while waving your treasure in the air with the other, each movement punctuated by the notes of your story-song.

"La la la la BWAH la la bah !" you sing earnestly to a host of invisible onlookers, and you smile at their response. Pausing to stare at a member of your captive audience, then bursting out in peals of laughter, you are a one man show, just you and your popsicle stick.

And my heart fills up, wondering what it is you see, what thoughts are filling your pretty little head as you entertain your friends, what it is that those nonsensical syllables mean to you. You're three and a half years old, and although new words are filling up your vocabulary daily at an astonishing rate, the old ones remain fixed in place - the ones I don't know the definitions to.

I wish so much I could peek into your mind and know the meanings to those words - because although they are foreign to me, they make up a language that seems instinctive and native to my Lilybird. You utter them with such sincerity, these babblings from heaven, that I know there must be angels listening in rapt attention. Countless times throughout the day you talk to me in this baby language, and try as I might I can't decipher one word. But you know, of that I am convinced.

So tonight, as the sun fades into the trees behind me, and you find your way back onto my lap, I am thinking of how very far we've come. Because there was a day when this mystery language might have scared me, this barrier between you and me. There was a time when all I thought about was how or when my little girl would talk to me, and all of those unanswered questions wreaked havoc with my mind.

But here we are, three and a half years into this journey called Down syndrome, and somehow - without even knowing how we got here - I'm okay.

I'm okay with the fact that speech took longer than I'd anticipated, is coming more slowly than it did for your brothers and sisters, and that we'll still be working on it for years to come. I'm okay with the fact that sometimes we have to work together to know what it is you need, and that often I'm just hoping I got it right. I can listen to other typical three year olds articulate their needs so clearly, watch others even younger than you string words together so perfectly, and not feel that heart-stabbing pain that used to accompany such comparisons.

Because you're just you, Lily. And I have so much love for you, so much pride and appreciation and gratitude, that milestones and words like "typical" and "average" just fall by the wayside in light of who you are. 

And that doesn't mean we won't keep striving for the very best for you, or that I'll ever just settle for second best when it comes to getting you all the help you need. I will always do my best to expect not accept, always pray and believe and hope and challenge you to be all that God made you to be.

But with all my heart I am so delighted with the uniqueness that is you. You are a gift I don't deserve, a little girl who has more charm in her little pinkie than any little three year old I've met, and every day you show me what life is really about. I am so blessed to be your mama, and I don't know why God chose to pour out such a blessing on me by giving me you, but I am so glad He did.

And some day when we get to Heaven I'm going to ask God to show me what was hidden in your heart, what beautiful words and stories and pictures you were sharing with the angels that summer day...with the popsicle stick in your hand and that shining little smile on your face...

Until then I remain forever grateful to be,

Your mama oxoxox


Just a quick note to say thank you so much to all who have donated to our Saving Penny giveaway. We'll draw a winner for the iPad on Monday- if you haven't had a chance to read the giveaway post, you still have two more days to enter ...spread the word !

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

what she's been up to...

For those who have been missing the Lilybird, here's what she's been up to...

And this...

And this....

Tomorrow we'll be back with an update about our iPad giveaway...stay tuned !!!

Monday, June 17, 2013


Dear Readers,

This will probably be the most random blog post I've ever written. I apologize ahead of time for that. My thoughts are pretty random right now, but I do want to write something nonetheless.

First of all - we're home. We spent 9 days in Arizona with our families there, and we are trying to get back to "normal" today. I'm not sure what that normal will look like, but we're figuring that out. One day at a time.

Just a few days after losing my dad, Sam's dad went into the hospital...we've known for two months now that things were not looking good. He was diagnosed with liver cancer two months ago and given about that much time to live. He and his wife spent the week before last with us - they came from Arizona to see our family and enjoy a week together before he went home to be put under hospice care. Our children didn't know anything about his diagnosis...he wanted it that way so that they could enjoy a happy week with him.

grandpa rice, sam, and hayden 

When the call came about my father, I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me. We were already getting ready to say goodbye to Sam's dad for the last time- I was totally unprepared for my father's death.

I wish I'd had time to say goodbye.

So now we are facing losing Sam's dad...he was discharged from the hospital two days ago and is not doing well. Hospice is managing his pain, and we are all praying this is as easy as possible for him.

My kids are facing losing their grandpa, and they are still processing losing their papa. Sam and I are so thankful for the many, many emails, texts, phone calls, and prayers sent our way. We are so grateful for the network of friendship that has held us up.

lily and kenz, show low, arizona

In the midst of heartache God has done an amazing miracle for our family- a bright spot in the middle of our loss.

The day my father passed away I received a phone call from Naomi - Baby K's birth mom had decided to relinquish her rights. The next day in court his case plan was changed to adoption. As if that wasn't enough of a MIRACLE, the bio dad called the case worker after court. Unexpectedly- we have not heard from him since January - he told DHS that Jason and Naomi were the perfect family for Baby K and he wanted to relinquish his rights as well.

I cannot tell you what a miracle this is. I cannot express to you what joy that news brought us in the midst of grief unspeakable.


So today we are moving forward. Today I'm hugging my children harder, trying to tell the people I love how very much I love them, today I am trying to live more intentionally than ever. Today I am purposing not to let one moment of this one wild and precious life pass me by.

We had a guest preacher last night at church... he told this illustration, and it just really hit me what a gift we are given every day. I'm going to share it here, in hopes that you'll be impacted like I was.

Imagine there is a bank account that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day.

Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course?

Each of us has such a bank. It's name is TIME.

Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds.

Every night it writes off as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to a good purpose.

It carries over no balance. It allows no over draft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day.

If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours. There is no drawing against "tomorrow."

You must live in the present on today's deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness and success!

The clock is running!! Make the most of today.

To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade.

To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.

To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.

To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who just missed a train.

To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask someone who just avoided an accident.

To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person who won a silver medal at the Olympics.

Treasure every moment that you have! And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time with. And remember time waits for no one.

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why its called the present.

my dad with my nieces

I wish I had one more moment with my dad.

I wish I had just a few minutes to hug him and tell him how very much I loved him. Yesterday on Father's Day, I wished I could pick up the phone and hear his familiar voice answer and say, "Hello, Pa-tree-sha."

I wish I had just one more minute to say goodbye.

So I'm asking Lily's readers to treasure this time that you have. Don't take one blessed moment for granted - seize the day.

I'm also asking you to consider the frailty of ask yourself some hard questions about what we all face once this life is over.

Because this life is the blink of an eye, you know? We only get one shot, and then it's over. And not one of us knows when that moment will be. We might be like my husband's father - knowing that the end is near and having the time to say goodbye. Or we might be like my father- here one moment and in eternity in the next.

I had a conversation with my dad before the election that I'll never forget. It was a conversation that gives me hope of seeing my beloved dad again one day. We were talking about politics and what the results of the election would be. "You know, Patti," my dad said, "The older I get, the more I realize...nothing in this life really matters - not even politics or who is going to be elected - the ONLY thing that matters is where we're going to spend eternity."  

So I'm asking you to consider today...where will you spend eternity ? Because the end of this life isn't the end- it's just the beginning. One day each one of us will face death... each one of us will meet God face to face. Are you ready to meet Him ? I am. Not because of who I am - every one of us is flawed, human, sinful.  There is none righteous, no not one. Romans 3:10  

The Bible says there is a price for that sin.. and there is a way to avoid paying that price.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. Romans 6:23

I'm ready - because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ, because I'm trusting in God's forgiveness based on what Jesus did for me on the cross. I'm not trusting in my own works, my own "goodness". My faith is not in what I can do for God, but what God did for me.
But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8

Heaven is a perfect place- the Bible says there is no weeping there, no sin, no death, no grief. It's a place of perfection, and the only way the imperfect can be there- you and me - is through faith in a perfect Savior. I know I can go there, not because of what church I go to, or because I live perfectly, not because of a religion, but because of my faith in Jesus...

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is be confessing with your mouth, that you are saved. Romans 10: 9-10

It's that simple. You can know today where you will spend eternity, just by asking God for forgiveness and trusting in Jesus.

Life is but a's here one moment and gone the next. We're all just a heartbeat away from stepping into eternity. I know where I'm going. Do you ?

Lots of love,


Saturday, June 8, 2013

In loving memory

My amazing dad passed away very unexpectedly on Thursday. I wish I had words to describe what kind of emptiness my heart feels knowing I won't see him again on this side of Heaven. ..or hear his voice or smell his familiar dad smell when we hug. 

He and my mom have been married almost half a century...something pretty rare these days. 

He loved sailing, camping, golfing, and geocaching. He was a police officer, a fireman, a security director and a private investigator. He served on the Arizona Foster Care Review board for six years..he fought forest fires and criminals, rescued babies from burning buildings ... he was a hero. 

He is survived by my sweet mama Faith, my sister Hope, my brother Chris and his wife Lori, Sam and myself, and 20 grandchildren and one great grandson. 

We love you and miss you so much already, Papa. 

Stephen Charles Kopp 
July 31, 1940 - June 6, 2013