Giving Thanks (inspired by)

Thanks be to God, Father, Son and Spirit, for the abundance of good things he pours on His children.
We are but few, but His blessings are many.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Home again!

Aggie made it through her 24hr EEG just fine and returned home her cheerful self!

It was a pretty uneventful night for Aggie, only one short seizure on record in those 24 hours. While this is a little frustrating (she had 5 the day before!) they say they can tell quite a bit just from her normal brain activity.

She did find small ways to make her stay more of a party. They were in a very small room with no bathroom, so they gave her a little commode which her daddy then had to take to the bathroom and empty. She thought this was HILARIOUS so she went to the bathroom as often as she could! (I am sure Josh loved this!)

Needless to say, Aggie is glad to be free of wires and able to tornado around home like she usually does! She is wild and crazy this morning! When she was gone that whole day I really realized how much she TALKS all day! I think I use about 60,000 words a day replying to her- and yesterday when she was gone I probably used only 20,000 with the other kids! And I wasn't out of breath all day like normal... it was a strange experience!

The Aggie shaped-hole in our house has been filled again, and as you can see, life here is pretty much back to our version of normal!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Aggie's big day!

Aggie bounced out of bed at 6am this morning and was off with daddy by 645! They plan to stop for an early breakfast before the big day. Of course the whole family got up before they left, so we all had a chance to pray together for her before they left. She was sent off with LOTS of love, from family and friends and church family.

I intended to post just one picture of Aggie but as I got looking at some of the old ones I couldn't resist adding a few more :)

What you don't see in this picture... several feet away our beautiful VW beetle is a ball of fire on the side of the express way. Yet this is my Aggie- no matter the situation, there is a way to make it in to a party!

Don't forget to pray for Josh today as he tries to contain this wild little ball of energy in a boring hospital room for 24 hours!

We who are staying at home today are also being cared for in different ways by loving friends- we are looking forward to a fun day of food and visitors!

We so appreciate the prayers and encouragement from everyone!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday is hard on a mother's heart (written in 2005)

Ash Wednesday is hard on a mother’s heart.
It is one thing to consider your own mortality. But I remember the first time the ashes were placed on my baby girl. Something inside me wanted to reach out and stop the pastor. My heart said No! That black stuff does not belong on my sweet little child. But the pastor put them there, and every time I looked at them I was surprised all over again.

Little Lorraine quickly forgot the ashes on her head, and had no understanding of why they were there in the first place. She smiled and flirted with me with her big brown eyes all during church, and I was struck by her cheerfulness in contrast to the portent of death on her forehead.
My children are mortal and I would rather not think about that. It is easier to pretend that life will keep going just as it is right now, to imagine that I will be here to comfort and love my babies forever. It is not hard to join the world’s denial of death. There are plenty of things to distract myself with, and when then thoughts come anyway, I can soothe myself by putting it so far in the future that it feels less threatening.

As adults, we know that the smooth skin on our babies will not stay perfect forever. We know that toddlers (and teenagers) are not invincible, even though they believe they are. Yet we are still shocked when they get the high fevers we cannot treat, when they do something dangerous (like eat glass!) and have to be rushed to the ER. We are shocked to be reminded that we live in the “valley of the shadow of death,” and that our children are vulnerable to this death just as much as we are.

God’s word intrudes into our comfortable little worlds to remind us of what we already know: this life is not going to last forever. It is easy to get caught up in training our children merely for life in this world. While it is a good thing to have a house that runs smoothly and children that are clean and relatively kind to each other, that is only a part of our vocation as parents.
This life is not going to last forever. We need to say this out loud to ourselves, and to our children. We must remember those ashes, and take to heart those ER trips. We must teach our children that they live in fragile bodies in a dangerous world, and remind them that their hope is in God alone. Every minute of this life is a complete gift from a Father who loves us more than we can imagine—a Father who plans to have us with Him in heaven forever. His grace frees us to live with joy in these mortal bodies. His love frees us to giggle like toddlers, even under the shadow of death.

Christ is Risen—He is Risen indeed.

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD's love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children's children-
Psalm 103:13-17

Sunday, February 22, 2009

To Aggie, my nap buddy

Aggie Sue, I love when you are my nap buddy. To see my little tornado relatively still and calm is a rare treat. I love the way you ask to hold my hand until you fall asleep.

Today you had a long seizure right before nap time that made you so tired you were asleep in my bed even before I laid the other kids down. I climbed in next to you anyway- I just wanted to be close to you. I held your little hand.

Like so many times before, I rested next to you and stroked your hair. My heart loved and ached, and my eyes were relieved to release a few tears that had been resting there all day. As I sighed over your raccoon eyes and I stroked your hair, I wondered where on that beautiful head they would cut should they have to do surgery. My spirit prayed fervently to the God who loves us both.

We laid there in the sunshine, you snored peacefully as I wrestled with my worries. The sun shone brightly even through the blinds, and soon I found myself relaxing into the quiet and warmth of the bed.

I thank God for that moment, when you and I lay there in the sun, wrapped in warm blankets and love, enjoying a green pasture before our journey through the valley.

We have darkness to go through yet, my dear child. I am sure we will often hold hands through the darkness as we are doing now. I suspect we will get separated for some of it. I know we will be carried through all of it by Him who loves us both, the One who has been there before.

But for this sweet moment, we rest on our pillows that smell like home.

I wonder, after the days of valleys and darkness, will we be given moments like this again? Will we rest together, hold hands, and enjoy the warmth of each others love on pillows that smell like Home? Will we give goodnight kisses, smile, say I love you for the millionth time, in that Other place? Perhaps then the shadows of the valley will be distant memories. Perhaps the sun will be the Light of Christ, the light that chased away our fears and pain, and our “I love yous” will finally be sweet and pure and simple.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentines Day Spaghetti Dinner

A Cook tradition- daddy made Valentines Day Spaghetti and garlic bread for his fancy girls last night! (yes a few days early but toddlers do not care about that!)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Big boy Seth

Seth is officially a big boy! Potty training began Feb 2, and after a bit of a rough start (7 accidents and 15 successes before noon!) the lightbulb went on and there's no looking back! He LOVES his “underoos,” especially the Lightning McQueen ones. He is so very proud of himself, and gave all of his diapers to Marcus “who is still just a little baby, not a big boy like me.” In fact, he refused to wear a diaper ever again, even at night! At first I sighed about this, but after he made it all the way through the night DRY I was silenced into agreement with my big boy.

Lorraine went to school monday and told her class about Seth's big potty training day. She came home with several pictures she and her friends made for him that say BIG BOY SETH, etc. They are now posted all over his room. (Good thing he is too young to be embarrassed by all of this!)

He already is trustworthy in anticipating #1 but #2 is going to take more work. In fact, I am considering ditching the sticker chart and just drawing one big pile of poop next to a present to remind him that ONE success in that area will earn him the reward. Who knew my skills as an artist would be so important as a mommy?

In other adventures, it has been quite a week for the Cook family. Josh is really sick with some sort of strange stomach? lung? heart? issue. He has been going for tests and trying to continue to work, but is mostly on the couch in pain when he comes home. Our best guess is a hiatal hernia- but he is unable to get into a gastro specialist until early March. Today he is able to keep food down, so that is progress, but he is still in a good deal of pain. Please pray for him when you think of it.

Aggie had a rough beginning of the week with her seizures, and I also started out the week quite discouraged and overwhelmed. But as Josh said in his sermon today, God is faithful even when we are exhausted, and He has carried us through a hundred trials this week. We continue to rely on Him for our daily bread, and He cares for us through the love and help of others, through His Word, and sometimes through a good book and a long nap!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

It feels like Michigan!

What a beautiful taste of winter we have had down here! I took this picture out of our front window. It feels like Michigan winter now!

Though I must say I do not EVER remember FOUR snow days in a row in Michigan! FOUR?!?! But we did not mind- the kids got LOTS of time to play outside. Our little hill in the back yard is the perfect size for toddlers!

This week we have had two two-hour delays as well. At this point I don't really mind the bad road conditions. Intensive potty training has begun with Seth. He's doing GREAT, but I am not quite ready to leave the house with my little big boy!