Last week, I went back to doing one of my favorite things in the world which is teaching children with special needs. Each day I work with these amazing children is a reminder of how much can be accomplished and the hurdles that can be overcome with just a little bit of faith and encouragement. I have learned from my school kids that nothing should be taken for granted, and how blessed I am for the healthy children I have. Some of the kids that I work with or have worked with have major life threatening health conditions and severe learning difficulties that make simple everyday tasks a major feat to accomplish. Their attitudes towards these challenges are inspirational. As I went back to work on Monday morning, though, a bit of the sweetness that I savor with my job had a hint of bitterness. Oh, the sweet little 21 month that I left at home with my amazing mother was on my mind heavily. Thankfully I had such a busy day that it was hard to dwell on what I was missing at home. By the end of the week, I began to heavily reminisce and mourn the experiences I have had in the last 2 months. I could almost smell the burnt air in Africa that might make some people nauseous, but brings a smile to my face. I missed seeing smiling kids running through the streets, beautiful trees and bright colored flowers. I even missed the crazy car rides we took where it seemed we would inevitably hit someone, something, or be hit ourselves. I missed taking my daughter for a walk around the block in her stroller, hearing her bellow out momma, late morning bubble baths, seeing her face light up when I would walk in the room when I was only absent for a few moments. I had it bad and still do. I am thankful that God has given me the best two months of my life filled with glorious and rich memories. Today I cling to those memories but press towards the future as I know that God still has some of my best memories before me yet to be experienced!
A couple of weeks before we traveled to Ethiopia, we were asked to be interviewed by church staff. The subject was Wednesday Night Prayer, and we were asked on camera how it has affected our lives. If I were asked one on one how prayer has changed me, I think I could go on and on, and the listener would have a hard time getting me to stop. But on this occasion, I froze and seemed like the most uncool Christian and JRA member around as I had a hard time formulating my thoughts into words. I was able to utter out that I thought Wednesday Nights had an awesome impact on my kids (this is literally all I said). This little blurb I made, made the final cut for theannouncement the church made to encourage more people to go to church on Wednesday evenings. As I was sitting in church this morning and it was playing on the jumbo screen for all to see I felt a little embarrassed to see myself uttering those simple words, and it didn't help that Andy was pointing at us and whispering to those around us that we were on the screen!!! In the midst of this, I couldn't help but make the connection during the clip that God has answered so many prayers concerning my kids. At the time when we did the interview, I was thinking of the awesome Wells and Rankin families (children's pastors) and the incredible team they have. The creativity that God has blessed them with is really quite unbelievable and the impact it has had on my kids is eternal. Beyond all of that, though, God revealed to me that when I said "kids"at the time I was only thinking of Hally and Brady. But now that we have Rae and have experienced so many answered prayers concerning her, I couldn't deny the affect prayer has had on all our kids. When I think of all the prayer cards we filled out, the requests our children made in Sunday School, our morning petitions to God, the times my kids raised their hands for prayer requests during kid's church, and the countless friends and family members who I know have been praying, it made me realize that God had listened to our prayers. There couldn't be a child more perfect for our family than Rae, and she doesn't seem to mind us too much either. Now I can see that little phrase I made that prayer has had an amazing impact on our kids, though small in content, spoke volumes of the goodness of the Lord and the faithfulness He will display if we would simply call on Him.
Well, it was a super shower and so many people came! Thanks so much for stopping by (this is Jamie Jo blogging again, but I know that Kelly would be saying the same). Here are some darling pics of Rae and Kelly for you to enjoy!!!
Kevin went out one day to exchange money while we were in Addis. While out he was taking photos of the city as he was wanting to capture everyday life in Ethiopia. A man having his shoe shined caught his eye, and he decided to take a shot. The fellow, to Kevin's surprise, hollers out as he was taking the picture, "Where are you from?" in perfect English. Kevin, a little taken back, tells him he is from Missouri. The guy bellows back that he is from Texas. It really is a small world!!!
There are a few topics that I have been wanting to write about in reflection of our trip. One topic is Kevin. I cannot get over how my husband never ceases to amaze me. The day we met Rae for the first time, I found myself staring at him. At the time I was surprised that he didn't ask me why I was looking at him so much, but as I reflect I can see that he wasn't paying attention to me. This is exactly what caused me to stare. He was totally enthralled and wrapped up in captivating our daughter's attention and affection. I knew that becoming Rae's mother would be very easy for me as I thought this was a "mother trait", but I didn't realize how instinctual it would be for Kevin as well. Watching and observing Kevin that first day was magical and priceless. He had that mysterious and wonderful glow that was infectious and magnetic. I will never forget it.
Even as wonderful as that day was, what I experienced with Kevin there after was beyond a magical moment. It was unconditional patient loyalty. As soon as we left the transition home, Rae did not show interest or tolerate anyone's affection but her mothers. As much as Kevin was wanting to love and hold her, he accepted her rejection of him without any impatience or being hurt. He only made comment that he was glad that it was him she was rejecting and not me. This is my Kevin though. Always ready for the long haul, moving steady, and remaining on course. This has always been Kevin throughout any situation we have been in, and once again God has been faithful to my husband. Within a week of being home, Rae was accepting Kevin's affection and love. She is now happily a daddy's girl!!! She squeals and runs to the door when he comes home from work and delights in any attention her daddy gives her. Kevin is definitely one of my heroes and I am so glad to be doing life with him.