Thursday, February 09, 2012

A Good Read

Hop on over to read this wonderful post by my friend, Nicole, at You HEARD Me. It will be worth your time. I'm sure you'll find yourself nodding your head and a saying a few silent (or not so silent) "amens!"

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Bradley's Journey

I wanted to share with you a remarkable story of God's power and mercy. Bradley Thomas was born February 7, 2011 at just 23 weeks and 4 days. Weighing only 1 pound 9 oz and 12 1/2 inches long, he has fought for his life. Little Bradley faced months of infections, tests, procedures, therapy, and setbacks. More importantly, by the grace of God, Bradley achieved milestones.

Bradley's arm with his parents' wedding rings. 3 days old.

Bradley Thomas. 13 days old. 1 lb. 14 oz.

Bradley's mom, Corinne, is a childhood friend of mine. I have been blessed to get to know her on a deeper level through Facebook the past few years. At just 23 weeks into her pregnancy, Corinne started having contractions which could not be stopped. The doctors gave her the choice to deliver her baby via c-section, which would most likely prevent her from having any future pregnancies, or to deliver naturally. The risks involved with delivering naturally were the baby could come out feet first, its head could get stuck if it came out feet first, or its umbilical cord could be wrapped around his neck and possibly losing the baby. Corinne writes about that moment, saying: "I asked if I could pray and think about it and while doing do I realized that God already had His plan for Bradley and that if it was in God’s will for Bradley to survive then Bradley was going to survive any way that he was delivered. Against the doctor wishes I delivered Bradley naturally and guess what… he came out feet first, his head did get stuck and the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck twice. I knew that if God’s plan was for us to lose our baby (at this time we still didn’t know if he was a boy or girl), that our baby was going to be in Heaven with Him. I didn’t want to try to go against God’s will and have a c-section because it’s “safer” and hope that the baby would survived."

5 weeks old. 2 lbs.

Following this family through their journey with Bradley has been inspiring to me. Corinne and her husband, Robert, have shown tremendous trust in the Lord with their son's life. They know Bradley is a beautiful gift from God with his own testimony to share. In all of her updates on Bradley, Corinne gives the glory to God for each of Bradley's accomplishments and seeks for God's will when he is struggling. It is especially touching to me to hear experiences of nurses or other parents asking Corinne and Robert how they can stay so positive when dealing with everything going on with Bradley. They are quick to answer that it's by the grace of God and they just trust in Him.

Bradley with his momma and big sister, Libby. 4 months old.

Almost 4 months old.

In one of her updates about Bradley, Corinne wrote:

"In the past 6 months I have had several people ask me, “How do you do it?” or “I couldn’t do it if I were you.” My answer has been “It’s just my life, so I just do it.” The truth is that I do it with the help of God. Bradley Thomas is God’s child and He has blessed me with him. God has trusted me to take care of his children and in this situation; God has trusted me to take care of his sick child. Having Bradley has done nothing but brought me closer to God. I may miss a few church services because I’m visit with Bradley but while I’m at the hospital I am able to read my Bible, talk to people about God, and lift up His Holy Name. This whole situation has also brought some strain to the rest of my family but we are able to pray and talk things out and just take it day-by-day and week by week.

People have also asked me “Why does Bradley keep getting sick if you believe in God so much and if everyone has been praying for him so much?” I don’t fully know the answer to this but I believe that it is so that we can learn to lean even more on God and trust that He is a just God and has a plan. I have faith that this is all in God’s plan and that this is not a punishment for something that we did wrong in the past but it is a gift to help heighten our faith in him for the future."

Bradley stayed in the NICU for several months before being transferred to a trasitional unit. Today, Bradley and his family will celebrate his 1st birthday by bringing him home to his parents, big sister, and big brother. The first year of little Bradley's life has been full of trials, joys, and growth. Bradley still has a long road ahead of him. We know that it is of the Lord's mercies we are not consumed. We have confidence that the Lord who has worked miracles in the first year of Bradley's life has the power to continue working in his life in a mighty way. Be praying for this sweet family as they transition to caring for Bradley at home. Pray for them as they have months and years of decisions, treatments, and therapies. Pray for the Bradley to continue to grow stronger and healthier with each new day. Pray for strength and grace for his parents. Pray for his sister and brother as they face the transition of having their baby brother home. Pray for the Lord to continue to be magnified through the life of this precious gift!

Bradley Thomas. 11 months, 23 days.

Bradley at home in his bed on his 1st birthday!

2Corinthians 12:9-"My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

Monday, February 06, 2012

Baking Adventures

Sister Danielle and Miss Ruth came over today for a little baking fun. I wanted to make some biscuits and cinnamon rolls to put up in the freezer for when we have company during the Florida Fellowship Meeting. I'm figuring out the more than can be done ahead of time, the better!

We started with the cinnamon roll dough. It was quite a sticky, yeasty adventure!

While the dough had to rise, we worked on the biscuits. This was Sis. Danielle's first time making biscuits.

Miss Ruth was a good girl while we were busy in the kitchen. She had fun playing with Wesley!

When it was time to roll out our cinnamon rolls, we thought we had ruined them. The dough sort of exploded in the bowl!

We were able to add some flour and get them to the right consistency. Add a little (or a lot) of butter, sugar, and cinnamon and roll away!

We had read about the floss method for cutting the cinnamon rolls and were a bit skeptical. The directions were to use unflavored dental floss, but I only had mint flavored in my stockpile. I figured a little mint couldn't hurt too much! Let me tell you, this was the smartest thing in the world! It was amazing how easy it was to cut the roll into individual pieces. I think I'm going to try using the floss method on cookie dough.

Of course, we had to test out a a few cinnamon rolls to make sure they were suitable to feed to guests! They got the stamp of approval!

It was a fun day of laughter, baking, and talking. Sis. Danielle even helped me get some laundry done and my kitchen was cleaned up at the end of the afternoon!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Craft Room Closeups

As I was planning my craft room, I wanted to do something cute, practical, and cheap. With the hopes that it will eventually be turned into a nursery, I didn't want to spend a lot of money fixing it all up for my crafting. I feel like I accomplished this goal pretty well. Of course, I always spend more money than I was planning!

I already posted about the embroidery hoop wall. Above my sewing area, I wanted to do something that would provide storage along with being visually appealing. I bought unfinished wood boxes at Michael's and picked out paint colors to match the fabric in the embroidery hoops. I used scrapbook paper on the bottom of the boxes and covered it with a few good coats of Mod Podge. I was thankful for Chris' help with hanging the boxes. I LOVE how they turned out! They're great to hold some of my sewing and crafting supplies.

I also needed an area by my desk to hold my countless lists and notes. I found a cork board on sale at Micheal's for about $3 and painted the trim on it to match the boxes. I also bought a small pizza pan at Dollar Tree and spray painted it for a magnet board. I had put together a dry erase board using a picture frame, but it broke in the process of hanging it up. So, I just stuck with the magnet and cork boards.

I've seen this idea floating around Pinterest using a picture frame and wire to display pictures. I love the shabby chic look so this was right up my alley! I was super excited to find a picture from in the clearance/damaged section at Michael's. It didn't have the glass in it (which I didn't need anyway), so it was marked down from $40 to $10. I spray painted it the same color as the magnet board, fastened some wire to the back, and displayed some pictures with adorable clothespins I found in the dollar bin at Michael's.

One other touch of my room that I love is this wall hanging. It was given to me as a gift at the end of my first (and only) year teaching in Illinois. A parent of one of my students made it for me. I absolutely love it!

The poem reads:

The Choice

"You could have chose to teach, where the grades are A-B-C's.
Instead your students make their marks in measured IEP's.

You could be simply standing in front of your classroom all day long,
Instead you're bending, stretching, lifting, while trying to stay strong.

You could have conversations with your students, deep in thought,
Instead you praise the effort of one tiny little grunt.

You may not think I noticed, that you could have had much more,
That you could have chose a different path, a different classroom door.

But you chose to be with us, picked the hardest job to do,
To make a difference in the lives of kids who cannot choose.

Words cannot come out to tell you how much that means to me,
My eyes try to convey the thoughts of how it feels to see.

How I wish that I was able to come to you and say,
How hard it will be to leave you, to grow up, and be on my way.

If only you could hear the gratitude spoken by my own voice...
Instead, just know how much I love you for making this choice."

By Sherry Schultz

I love it because it perfectly describes the wonderful, life-changing year I had teaching students with severe disabilities. It's a great reminder and inspiration to me!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Craft Room

The craft room is mostly put together and ready to be used! I am really liking the way it turned out. It's cute, inspirational, functional, and didn't cost a fortune to decorate! There are still a few small things that need to be done, but those will happen with time.

Looking into the room from the door.

Extra twin bed and hutch for fabric storage.

Closer look at sewing area...I will do a post about the boxes on the wall soon.

Inside of hutch with fabric storage. I need to organize this a little better and find a better storage solution for all the ribbon on the top shelf.

Book shelf on the wall coming into the room (you can see the door on the right side of the picture). I need to find some fabric to put in the window.

Stay tuned for more detailed posts about the projects I did around the room and my favorite touches!

Now I'm off to do some sewing!