Monday, December 16, 2013

Hold Them Close. Hold Him Closer.

So much has happened since I last posted.  I will give you the short version and say that Ethan's pneumonia worsened and we had to admit him to the hospital this past Thursday.  We are going on Night 5 of hospital living.

I won't go into all the details of the last several days.  I will just say that he has been on IV antibiotics since Thursday.  His breathing worsened yesterday and a second x ray yesterday morning showed he had an effusion which is fluid around the lungs.  This is not good but not uncommon with pneumonia.  Since then the doctors have added a second antibiotic and he seems to be responding well.  The only thing holding us back from going home is his fluid intake.  The docs want him to be drinking 30 oz of fluid on his own and right now he's only taking in about 5-6 oz a day.  Ugh.  So I will be praying for my little man to wake up with an unquenchable thirst tomorrow.  :)

Here are some pictures of my little man over the last several days.  They do not all show his normal, happy self.  When looking back this will remind me to never take that beautiful smile for granted again!

ER socks did not come in his size.  I don't think he was too happy about it.  :)

Cuddling with the stuffed dinosaur my sweet friend brought him

E took up reading while in the hospital.  

Peek-a-Boo!  There's that smile!

Standing AND eating... huge accomplishment! 
 Cuddle time with Mama
 Cuddle time with Daddy
I'm not at all trying to make light of our situation.  Okay, maybe I am a little, simply because comic relief is sometimes the only relief.  But the last two weeks have been really, really hard watching my little guy suffer and grow weaker with each day.

When we checked into the ER on Thursday there was a lot of commotion in the ER and the tension was thick.  The nurses said there was a critical patient (child) in the ER and that most of the medical staff was focusing on that child so the wait would be long.  I later learned that child died.  I believe he was a toddler.  Just yesterday I learned that my friend lost her infant nephew.  So much sadness around us.  So much pain.  So much innocence leaving this world far too soon.

There are a lot of people I would lay my life down for.  But as a mother there would be absolutely no hesitation that I would trade my life for my boys' without a second thought.  I know it is no coincidence that we, as parents, have that connection to our children.  I think so many of us recognize that connection but we completely miss the REASON for that connection.  God is trying to show us through our earthly relationships how much He loves us.  It is hard for us to imagine Him dying on a cross for His children (each and every one of us).  But it's not hard for us to imagine giving our life for our child's.  Why is that?!

Since I became a mother 8 years ago God has shown and is showing me what it means to love.  He is showing me what it means to sacrifice for others.  He is showing me what it means to put someone else above yourself.  And most importantly He is showing me that His love for me is even stronger than my love for Garrison or Ethan.  This was unfathomable at first.  But after experiences like this one (looking at my weak, sick baby in a hospital bed) I know that I have to hold my baby close.  I have to comfort him.  But I have to hold my Jesus even closer.  I have to let Him comfort me.  As much as I want to trade places with Ethan right now I can't.  It's impossible.  God ALREADY traded places with us when He died on the cross.  THAT is true love!  

These children are not mine.  They are God's.  He is trusting me to care for them while I have the honor and privilege of raising them.  But most importantly He wants me to understand His love.  I used to think that nothing compared to the love of a mother.  But I now understand that nothing compares to the love of our Saviour.  Nothing.

"We love because He first loved us."  ~1 John 4:19


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Finding Blessings Among the Chaos

To say I have had a rough week is probably an understatement.  Ethan, our youngest, developed a low grade fever last Tuesday.  I wasn't surprised with all these weather changes we have had lately.  He was still pretty chipper that night. 
Peek - a Boo... I see you! 

Wednesday he was diagnosed with RSV.  That is basically a respiratory virus that can quickly take a turn for the worse in kiddos under the age of 2.  Friday night he threw up twice and we really started getting concerned with his breathing and high temperature.  Major ice hit Dallas on Thursday night so the roads were horrible.  We still decided to take him to the ER Friday night.  Thank goodness my parents were able to keep Garrison so we didn't have to keep him awake all night.  E's temperature was 104.6 when we got to the ER and this was only about an hour after his Motrin wore off.  To say we were worried is putting it mildly.  They told us he had developed a tummy bug on top of the RSV.  Ugh. 

This was my view in the ER - a heartbreaking one at that.

We took him to the doctor Monday where we found out he also had developed a double ear infection.  The doctor wanted to do another chest x ray to make sure pneumonia had not developed.  Thank goodness because wouldn't ya' know it?!  Our baby boy had pneumonia.  They gave him a strong antibiotic shot and an oral antibiotic.  You won't hear this mama complain about my little one taking antibiotics after seeing him completely miserable for six days! 

His fevers have come way down (without Motrin) but he still does not have an appetite.  I'm prayerful and hopeful that he will drastically improve over the next couple of days.

After being "stuck at home" with a high energy 8 year old and a sick little one (thanks to what us locals are calling Icemageddon) I could write out a list of complaints.  I was thrown up on, awake at all hours, had cabin fever like crazy and am now coming down with sickness myself... 

But I choose not to.  I am choosing to find the blessings in all of this crazy chaos.  We had power when 200,000 people in our area did not.  This allowed us to continue E's breathing treatments, keep him warm, and have our much needed coffee!  I have a husband who was there to support me and give me breaks through all of this.  He even got out in the ice to pick up some "essentials". 

I can look past the fact that his essentials include saltine crackers, Heineken and Redbox DVDs including Hangover 3. 

My oldest son is one of the most patient, understanding, compassionate big brothers I have ever seen.  He rarely complained about having to entertain himself for the majority of the weekend.  We have awesome parents, family and friends who have continuously called and texted asking what they can do to help. 

My husband and I were sitting on the couch a couple nights ago cuddling with E and I had the sudden realization of how blessed we are.  Not that the last 6 days haven't been trying and scary at times.  But we have two beautiful HEALTHY boys.  I felt a sudden stab of pain and overwhelming compassion for parents who have terminally ill children.  I can't even begin to imagine seeing my son like that 24/7.  I know he will be better in a few days.  I know that he will be back to his normal, stubborn, feisty self.  I now, more than EVER, am grateful for that little temper of his and I can't wait to see it again!  I will gladly welcome the "NO"'s and tantrum throwing (for a little while at least). 

I love this picture of Garrison.
While watching the news for school closings Sunday night this popped up on the screen.  Garrett and I had to get a picture.  Who knew there was a "Three Way ISD"? 
My incredible mom came to the house yesterday to help me put up Christmas decorations.  What a welcome break!  I think it lifted all of our spirits to have our Christmas decorations up.  
What a perfect time for a reminder of what this season is about.  Thank you Jesus for helping us to find the blessings among the crazy chaos. 
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  ~Isaiah 9:6


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Help Me Find It

Do you ever feel stagnant?  Like you are just kind of going through the motions of life and on auto pilot?  Like you have lost passion or a zest for life?  I have been there so many times.  I love this song, "Help Me Find It" from Sidewalk Prophets.  And this version is really cool because it's the unplugged version.

I often have to remind myself that I want need to stay in tune with God's will for my life.  That means coming to Him and asking Him what He wants from me.  It could be something one off He wants from me that day: to speak truth into a friend's life, to be a listening ear to someone, to smile at a stranger who needs encouragement, to spend extra time with one of my kids or to support my husband.  It could be a long term action He wants me to take and I need to spend time with Him so He can plant seeds for that in my heart. 

It was almost exactly three years ago that I started having thoughts about adoption.  Everywhere I turned it seemed like someone was adopting or fostering and telling me about their experiences.  And I remember sitting in Pocket Sandwich Theater, getting ready to watch a Christmas play and nervously bringing the idea of adoption up to my husband before the play started.  And I remember being shocked by his response that he had a dream we adopted a baby boy.  It wasn't until a year later that our dream became a reality but God had been working on us long before Ethan came into our lives.
If we just take time out of our day to be still and spend some time with God, through prayer, quiet time, worship, reading our bible, it is amazing how He will reveal His plans for our life.  I know it can be hard to just sit down and read the bible.  If you feel like you would do better starting on a devotional I recommend Jesus Calling.  You can get it for around $8 on Amazon.  Psst, they also have an awesome one for kids (recommended age is 8 - 12).

Today I encourage you to make time for him.  Today I am reminding myself to make time for Him.  He has done SO much for us, all of us, and I don't think He's asking too much of us to make Him a priority.  You will truly be amazed at how He will work in your life when you let Him.

"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." ~Matthew 6:33

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." ~Psalm 119:105


Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013 ~ GTD Style

It was so nice to have 4 1/2 days off work.  It was even nicer to spend it with some of my favorite people.  My sister and her family were able to come in town Wednesday night and stayed until Sunday.  Hence the title post "GTD" (Gerber Thomas DePue).  I loved having them here for so long and not trying to cram everything into a short weekend.  I am still getting used to not having a smart phone (which will be changing this week) and of course I forgot my camera every day.  Thanks to my sister for always capturing the moment.

I have been wanting to check out the new Total Wine in Plano for a while now.  It's really close to my parents' house so my sister, brother-in-law and I went to check it out Wednesday night.  I was not disappointed.  While trying to browse through the ridiculously huge selection of wine my sister told me I should get this one, solely for the name.  Isn't that how everyone picks out wine?

My sister got some great shots of the cousins throughout the weekend, too!

Will's wink and point crack me up!  And check out the sticker on E's forehead.

Tough guys and pretty girl!  It was rare to get E to stand still long enough for a picture.

One of my mom's many gifts is hosting.  She set up three beautiful tables for Thanksgiving lunch.  It was so nice to spend the day with family and enjoy some oh so yummy food!  I wish we would have gotten pictures of the tables. 

My mom found this edible turkey idea online and the kids LOVED it!  I think they all did a great job!

E and Aunt KiKi enjoying their time together!

My sister, BIL and I hit some stores late on Thanksgiving day.  I normally am not a Black Friday shopper but it was so fun to be able to get out and do some kid free Christmas shopping with my sister.  Garrett left Friday to go hunting.  So naturally we did a little more shopping on Friday morning.  :)  Friday night we had a family get together at my uncle's house and got a good visit in. 

My mom had planned a trip to Yesterland Farm in Canton on Saturday.  What a cool place!  After picking up GiGi we headed to the tree farm.  My parents bought a beautiful tree and the kiddos enjoyed themselves so much!  A hay ride, petting zoo, big slide, roller coaster, roasted corn and kettle corn later we were back in the car heading home.  Here are lots of pictures my sister captured from the day.  I know I'm partial but we have some pretty stinkin' cute kiddos if I do say so myself!  ;) 

Saturday night the kiddos FINALLY got to have their s'mores they had been waiting on.  Will said he thought it would be fun to "play tag with the sparks" from the fire and Ethan was like a magnet to the flames.  I'm thinking we might have some future pyros on our hands.  Ha! 

My family was nice enough to get up at 7 am to watch my kids on Sunday while I headed to church to rehearse/sing for all three services.  I'm sad my sis and fam couldn't stay for lunch but we still had fun with my cousin and her boyfriend.  By the way, for those who live in the Sachse area you HAVE to try out Frankie's Mexican Cuisine.  We have been wanting to try it for a long time and I was not disappointed.  It's a tiny hole in the wall but some of the most delicious Mexican food I have ever had.  My parents, who missed their calling of being Mexican food critics, both loved it too so you know it's gotta' be good! :)

The boys and I were so happy to see Daddy last night and spend some quality time at home together.  Now back to the normal routine of our crazy, sometimes organized, sometimes chaotic, wouldn't trade for anything LiFe!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What Women Want

Yesterday I was sitting at my desk and blew my nose.  I felt a massive booger fly out the instant relief of pressure but when I looked at the Kleenex (everyone does that, right?) there was nothing there.  Uh oh.  I spent about 5 minutes searching my face, hair, shirt and desk for the proof of said pressure relief only to come up with nothing.  I am still hoping it does not show up on a random document in the office. 

Now, on to my topic of what women want.  I think it's so easy for women to get on the topic of man bashing.  But let's be honest.  We aren't exactly perfect either.  I have learned that what I say I want from my husband and the reality of what I want are often complete opposites.  I think a lot of women are like that.  And I can only imagine how frustrating it is for a guy to try and make his woman happy when her wants are constantly changing.

*The top line is what I might say I want but the bottom line is the reality.*

I want my husband to be sensitive.  I want him to watch romantic comedies and then talk about the movie afterward with me.
If my husband did this more than a couple times a year I might start to question his sexuality.

I prefer that my husband does not aim his ass at me on the couch when he is preparing to fart.
Go right ahead because that just gives me justification for farting in your presence later.

I want my husband to tell me the truth about my new hairstyle or outfit.
Unless he doesn't like it.

I want my husband to be a tough guy who hunts and would protect me if our house was broken into.
I don't want to hear the story about the animal that died.  And if our house was broken into I wouldn't take the time to wake my husband up.  I would get the gun and take care of it myself.

I want my husband to be really involved in the care taking of our children.
I would be looking over his shoulder biting my tongue so I don't tell him all the things he is doing wrong.

I want my husband to hold me accountable when I tell him I am on a diet or starting to exercise more.
If he so much as uttered a word about what I was eating or the fact that I did not work out that day he would get a "Go to hell" stare down.

I want my husband to be home every weekend during hunting season.
Orrr... every other weekend. 

I want my husband to buy me flowers.
Since we share money I would honestly be pretty upset if he spent a lot of money on something that would die in a few days.

I want my husband to ask me what he can do to make my day easier.
I want him to leave me the hell alone and let me get through my list of stuff to do for the day.

I want my husband to find me desirable.
Unless I'm tired.  Then I want my husband to understand that sweat pants, a ripped up sweatshirt, mismatched fuzzy socks and hairy legs is a clear sign that he's not getting any. 

It's funny because it's true!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Money, Money, Money ~ How Much is Enough?

My dad sent me a devotional email a while back that discussed money.  The main question was, "How Much is Enough?".  What a great question.  Money has continuously been on my mind lately.  In discussions with friends and family, in social media posts, in blog readings and in devotional readings.  Money is a blessing.  Money is a curse.  Money is life changing.  Money is life ending. 

My husband and I are not the best savers.  When we decided to adopt Ethan one of the big hurdles was finances.  But that didn't stop God from coming through for us.  I am not at all ashamed to admit that we used my entire 401K for the adoption.  Do I find it coincidental that we had EXACTLY enough for the adoption expenses?  Not at all.  Some people may say what we did was fiscally irresponsible.  I say it was God's way of giving us exactly what we needed to fulfill His purpose for our life and Ethan's life.
A few years ago I was making very good money as a full time Executive Assistant.  I knew that was not where God wanted me after we adopted our youngest son two years ago and I was blessed enough to be given the opportunity to work part time.  The pay is still great considering what I do and the fact that I only have to work 30 hours a week but I know I could be working full time again and making more.  So why don't I?  The answer is simple.  I know it's not what God wants for me right now. 

It's not my money anyways.  It's His.  And He has shown me time and time again that I need to rely on him (not my job or our financial situation).  Now, I'm not saying we are perfect and always do with our money what God wants us to.  I don't think God blessed me with a good job a few years back so we could travel to some of our favorite destinations like Dominican Republic and Isla Mujeres.  But it sure was fun!  And those trips gave my husband and I some much needed alone time.  Those trips allowed us to focus on our relationship and have deep, uninterrupted discussions about our future and our family.
Please don't misunderstand me.  Being financially responsible is important and I could use more discipline in that area.  My point in this post is only to say that I have come to learn that there is no use worrying about or focusing on money.  Instead I choose to focus on the One who gave me this life and what He wants from me in that life.  In the end He is the only one we have to answer to.

The awesome thing about God is that He doesn't pick and choose who He blesses.  If we, first and foremost, remain faithful to Him He will bless us.  Again and again He will bless us.

The funny thing is we are probably the tightest on money we have ever been and I couldn't feel more blessed. 

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 5:3


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Superior (and oh so easy) Meatloaf and Boyscout Potatoes

I now understand what women mean when they use the term "hunting widow".  My husband has gotten really into hunting this year and I predict this addiction will continue, if not grow, in the coming years.  You won't hear me complain though.  I would much rather have a husband who is gone hunting every other weekend than playing video games constantly (yes, that used to be him) or out at the strip clubs (thank God that didn't used to be him).  He killed a doe a couple weeks ago and when we went to Coleman this past weekend we were able to pick it up from the processor.  I have been searching Pinterest for venison recipes so be on the lookout for successful ones on the blog in the coming weeks.  Until then...

Superior Meatloaf and Boyscout Potatoes

If I'm being honest the word meatloaf makes me want to throw up a little.  But not THIS meatloaf.  It is made with Lipton's onion soup mix so it has much more flavor than a traditional meatloaf.

I am giving you the half recipe version; however, I am still using a full packet of the Lipton Onion Soup mix because I love lots of flavor.  I love making meatloaf because it takes about 5 minutes to prep and then you can wait on it to bake.  If you are going to make the boyscout potatoes with the meatloaf and don't have a double oven you can do what I did last night.  Make the potatoes first (stop at the step where you add the cheese), then bake the meatloaf, then put the potatoes back in to melt the cheese while the meatloaf is cooling.

  • 1 packet Lipton Onion Soup Mix (or any brand onion gravy)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 piece of regular bread torn into chunks
  • 1 egg
  • HALF of 3/4 cup water
  • HALF of 1/3 cup ketchup
*I will compliment myself on cooking but you will never hear me compliment myself on my mad math skills, hence the reason for the above measurement descriptions.*

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Who needs a spoon?  Don't be skerd to get your hands dirty.
  3. Shape meat mixture into a loaf in an ungreased pan.  You can use an 8x8 or 13x9 dish.
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes.  I bake mine until the top edges become slightly crispy.

The boyscout potatoes are out of this world delicious!  And we can pretend they are healthy, too.  I will just link you to my recipe here since I posted this a while back.  I will say I'm not sure why I previously told y'all to bake these at 425 degrees.  I typically bake them at 375 now (for about 40 minutes) so they don't overcook.

Happy Cooking!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Little of This, A Little of That

I would like to apologize in advance for this post being all over the place.  But as I have said before, I didn't call this blog "Random Thoughts by Jewels" for nothing.

My Attempt at Fashion
First off, let me just say today is the first day I have tried this whole socks above the boots look.  I'm really digging it!  For those who are completely confused here is a picture of what I'm talking about.

By the way, you can get some really cute boot socks at Target for cheap.  These are the ones I bought.  I think it's odd that they are $4 online and I got them for $2.50 in the store.  Se la vie!

The Goodness and the Beauty
I wanted to share a post with y'all from a blog I follow.  This blog is written by the pastor of my sister's church in Houston.  He is an incredible writer and this post was such a great reminder of how we can and why we should see the beauty in every day things.  You can check it out here.

Sweet Boy
My husband and I were just talking last night about how our oldest son, Garrison, is ridiculously sweet.  I really thought as he got older he might lose some of those sweet and sensitive qualities that we love about him but  so far (fingers crossed) he has not.  Yesterday after school we were driving home and he showed me a picture he drew.  I know all parents say this but he really is a talented artist.  I said, "Wow, Garrison!  That is really great!  I wish I was creative like that."  I said it without even thinking I was insulting myself.  He sat there for a minute and then he said, "Mommy, don't say that.  You are VERY creative!  I mean, you..." and this is where I smiled to myself because I couldn't imagine what he could possibly say that would prove my creativity "...made my room look so nice and you bought that really cool lamp and made all the colors look so good together.  And you create my chore chart every week."  I had to soak that in for a moment.  My son didn't gloat in the praise and compliments I just gave him for his creativity.  Instead he heard that I pointed out a flaw in myself and he felt it more important to build me up and encourage me.  What a gift he is!

Another quick funny story about Garrison.  I am taking canned goods to Garrison's school this afternoon for a food drive they are having.  I will be bringing the cans in the last few minutes of class so I don't have to fight the sea of children running for their freedom at 2:30.  This morning on the way to school I asked him if he was going to be embarrassed if I came in his class this afternoon.  He said, "No, why would I be embarrassed?!"  I told him I was going to bust out some dance moves as I was dropping off the cans and that I had been practicing which ones I was going to do.  That's when he got serious.  "Mommy, I WILL be embarrassed if you dance in front of my class.  Can't you just dance at home?"   Bahahahaha!

I want to share with y'all an incredible video that gives a great perspective on who Jesus was/is.  It is really awesome and I encourage you to take three minutes out of your day to watch it.  Click on the below link.  I apologize I wasn't able to embed the video.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Let My Life Be the Proof

Have you heard the song "The Proof of Your Love" by King and Country?  I have heard it a couple of times but for some reason when I heard it this morning on the way to work it really resonated with me.  I was surprised to watch the video.  I guess I was expecting a simple video that showed the band playing and vocalists singing.  But instead I was drawn into what appeared to be a military like video that I couldn't stop watching.  To say this is a powerful video is an understatement.  Watch it below.

Someone I love deeply is going through a hard time right now.  This is one of those times in my life where I wish I could control a situation.  I wish I could make this person believe that they are truly worthy of God's love.  I wish I could erase all of their painful memories from their childhood.  I wish I could make this person understand what an impact they already have on others' lives.  I wish this person could understand the power of Jesus and not be afraid to give it all up to Him without fear of being let down or rejected.

But what God showed me this morning, yet again, is that the most powerful way we can reach people is by letting our lives be the proof of God's love.

The brothers in this band, For King and Country, wrote this song based on Corinthians 13. 

"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing."

I can try to reason with this person by speaking logic into their life.  I can try to build them up so they have a greater sense of self confidence.  I can pray for them.  And maybe I should do all of those things when the moment calls for it.  But the most important thing I can do for them is love them.  Love them like God loves me.  Nothing compares to His love for us. 

I find myself humbly asking God once again to let my life be the proof, the proof of your love

 God is love.  He didn't need us.  But He wanted us.  And that is the most amazing thing.  ~Rick Warren

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Love of a Child

I was reading a friend's blog today and she posted such an eye opening video.  It was a clip from the Today Show where women where asked to describe themselves as mothers.  All of their descriptions were negative and focused on their failures.  The mothers were called back a few days later and asked to watch videos of their kids who were asked the same thing - to describe their moms.  You MUST watch it by clicking the below link.

That is powerful stuff right here.  I am a mom of an almost 2 year old and 8 year old.  There are times where I feel completely confident as a mom and know I am giving them everything they need.  Then there are other times where I feel guilty for not giving my kids enough attention or feel like I have failed them in some way.  It is so easy to get caught up in our "failures" and let the guilt consume us.  But what I have to remember is that my boys, thank goodness, love me no matter what.

Kids love us even when we discipline them.  Remember that when you feel guilty about giving them consequences for bad choices.  They love us even after we tell them they cannot have any more candy.  They love us even when we lose our patience and snap at them. 

This doesn't mean I should be a lazy parent or stop working on my patience.  It means that my boys have the ability to offer me forgiveness and grace.  And yet again I can't help but see the likeness between a child's love for a parent and God's love for His children (all of us).  God has these ways of showing me what His love is like through every day relationships.  I once again find myself feeling so undeserving and yet so humbled by love.  Both from my children and from my God.