Ezra,  Family,  Hope: One Word for 2015,  Little Brother,  Messy Faith,  Miscellaneous,  Personal and Spiritual Ramblings,  Special Needs Parenting

A thrill of hope {my #oneword365 recap, end of the year highlights, and top posts of 2015}

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In contrast to years 2013 and 2014, I didn’t write at all about my one word for 2015 – hope. Partially because I sort of forgot. Partially because I was blogging less. Partially because I was busy.

I thought about just leaving it in the archives and letting it die.

But yesterday, I was driving Ezra to occupational therapy and Celine Dion came on the radio.

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices…

There is no doubt that most days I am quite weary. Weary of driving. Weary of fighting Ezra’s behavior and managing Russell’s anxiety. Weary of nursing and rocking and changing diapers. Weary of fighting the darkness of a difficult faith.

But this weary heart has reached a place of newness. A place of healing. A place of redemption.

A thrill of hope.

This is what I wrote about hope at the beginning of 2015:

As I walk into 2015, I have hope. I want to continue to look for hope – even on days when things feel hopeless. I want to share hope – in the midst of sorrow, hatred, confusion, mess, spiritual wrestling, and doubt – with all of you.

And so, let me walk you through my 2015. The highlights. The hope.

I started off announcing my pregnancy with our second child on New Years Eve:

big brother 12

A thrill of hope. Yet I struggled.

Struggled with really seeing my son struggle with his special needs:

My son is so much more than the four letters ADHD on his treatment plan. He can and will overcome and succeed. I know it and believe it. But some days will be clear and calm, and other days will be really foggy. That’s just how it’s going to be for a while.

~“It’s so foggy” {a day in the life of ADHD}

I struggled with faith:

I don’t know how to separate obedience, progressive sanctification, and holiness from legalism. I don’t know how to serve, grow, or try to be a better person without it being motivated by fear, guilt, and shame.

It’s a hump that feels insurmountable. Impossible even. As though I’ll be in this state of limbo forever.

~Broken faith: more of my testimony and what God has done (and is doing) for me

But still we celebrated life:

08 Weeks G

In February, we survived a lot of sleepless nights, early mornings, and snow days:

snow days

And in the midst of the weariness, I focused on the love of God:

And so that night I laid in bed listening to music that reminded me that God loves me. Just letting the music pour over me. Letting go of the questions and the doubts and the pain because it’s just all too much for this weary mind and heart to handle.

I’ve been trying for a long time to start over, but just couldn’t seem to sort through the mess and confusion to find a starting place. Now I have it.

~Love songs for the girl who needs to remember that God loves her

I dealt with fear about parenting a second child:

I don’t know how I’m going to do this. How will I parent an infant when all of my energy is spent parenting an infant-like high needs 4-year-old? How can I deal with more sleep deprivation when waking up with this child once or twice a night for a few weeks has literally wrecked me? What was I thinking getting pregnant again?

~Fear {on parenting a high needs child when planning for the next one}

14 Weeks D blog

We celebrated seven years of marriage:

Our marriage hasn’t always been amazing. I haven’t always liked being with my husband. In fact, there have been moments where I wondered if I could go on in this marriage. In seven years of marriage, we have gone through miscarriage, two year-long combat deployments, a severe anxiety disorder, two cross-country moves, four different living spaces, several medication trials, dealing with a child with ADHD, three job changes, 2 months of unemployment, and so much more.

Call it tenacity, call it faith, call it the grace of God, call it whatever you want. We just simply haven’t given up. Not on each other, and not on us.

~How we’ve made it through seven years of marriage

seven years of marriage

We got ready for Ezra to graduate from inpatient therapy:

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t overwhelmed and a little freaked. We’ve known he couldn’t stay inpatient forever, but now that we are here, I don’t feel ready.

We’ve made so much progress. And I say we because it’s not just Ezra who has changed. It’s me. It’s Russ. It’s our marriage. It’s the way we parent and communicate with not just him, but with each other.

~Believing in my son {an update}

I sat with our qualified professional and social worker again last week, and we talked about this some more. This point when you have to take the ADHD glasses off and see him as a kid who is capable, strong, smart, and talented. To take him out of the box and push him to be more.

There’s a point where we have to move beyond the ADHD diagnosis…the label.

It’s a fine balance, and one that I know we will probably never perfect. It’s going to be a lifelong process, for both him and for us as his parents.

~Moving beyond the ADHD diagnosis

Ezra graduated from therapy, and that same day we found out that Baby was Little Brother:

graduation 2

graduation gender reveal

Ezra started special needs preschool, and I filled my days with working on the baby nursery and listening to birth podcasts. He made a lot of improvements in his fine motor skills, and I did a lot of walking:

fine motor miracles

I celebrated Mother’s Day with my beautiful children:

05.10 34 Mothers Day

I battled a lot of pregnancy discouragement, and I grew very weary yet again of the challenges we face:

Because while there’s been therapy and more therapy and medication management and amazing social workers and hours spent in research and so many changes to make the life we live more manageable…and while we have seen so much improvement…our hard is still hard. The day in, day out, bone-tired weariness and wondering if it will ever get easier is still there.

~The carousel never stops turning and our hard is still our hard


hiking at 26 weeks

Ezra finished the (PreK3) school year:

I look back on this long, hard year and I can’t help but see the progress and the changes and all the ways in which things have gotten better.

But I also live this day-in and day-out. Today was no harder than any other morning–not really. It was just another normal day when I drop him off and walk away wearily wondering if this will ever get easier.

~When the last day of school feels too much like the first {thoughts on surviving a very long year}

And then the blog was quieter for a while:

Silence doesn’t always mean apathy. It doesn’t always mean privilege. It doesn’t always mean you are part of the problem.

Sometimes silence means that people are fighting their own big-to-them battles that might seem petty in the face of the bigger issues of the day.

Sometimes silence means that people have more questions than answers and would rather not talk about things they know they don’t really have a clue about.

~On Silence (a letter to my readers)

We took a really-hard-but-somehow-still-good trip to the beach:

31 Weeks M blog

We took some awesome family / maternity photos:


Then we hunkered down to wait for Little Brother:

waiting on baby

He didn’t come on time, so life went on and Ezra started back at school:

ezra preK

We gave Little Brother an eviction notice, and finally…after a lot of walking, a 31 hour labor, and another c-section, he came into this world beautiful and healthy!!!

beautiful little brother

And wow… talk about a thrill of hope…

His birth was healing and redemptive. It strengthened my struggling faith.

But those moments, where I heard his cries, kissed his little nose, and rubbed his back while he rested on me in surgery – those are even more beautiful. Not what I visualized. But so perfect in their “imperfection.”

Those moments made me a believer again.

God could have found a way to keep me from the pain of another cesarean birth. But He didn’t. And I’m so glad that He didn’t.

I walked away from Little Brother’s birth scarred once again in body, but whole in spirit.

~No Matter What, I Believe: On Broken Faith and Healing Birth

Little Brother’s personality is surprisingly easy-going (so far). He’s been sleeping through the night since he was six weeks old. He self-soothes. He loves independent playtime. He is already rolling both directions and has strong fine motor and gross motor skills.

strong baby motor skills

He is the best Little Brother a boy could ask for.

best little brother

He is my sweet spot. My calm place. He is my thrill of hope.

blue eyed wonder

In the midst of all things baby…my other beautiful baby had to go and turn FIVE!

5th birthday

And, after a year of deliberating and trying everything else, we started him on ADHD medication, one of the best parenting decisions we’ve ever made.

Which brings me to now.

…life is pretty darn good. I’m more content and settled than I have been in pretty much the last ten years.

…this year has been one of new beginnings.

…our day-in-day-out is still a struggle but now all of the supports are in place and it’s just a matter of accessing all of the help and making it work for us.

So maybe I can’t adult, but at least I can breathe.

~All. The. Routines., Mount Adultmore, and finally being able to breathe


This morning I fit into pre-pregnancy (albeit stretchy elastic waist) JEANS.

This past weekend, the ladies from our new church threw me a SURPRISE baby shower, and today one of them came over and helped me CLEAN MY HOUSE.

I’ll be dead honest. I have a lot of bad days. I get very overwhelmed from SPINNING ALL THE PLATES and taking care of my family. I get weary of anxiety disorders, ADHD, therapies, counseling sessions, managing finances, driving the family EVERYWHERE, blogging, housework, and trying to find time for that elusive thing known as SELF CARE.

I lose my patience. I lose my temper. I yell on occasion.

Sunday night I had a breakdown because my anticipatory/secondary anxiety was so high that I had trouble enjoying a day of Christmas festivities with my family.


They all did fine at the parade and the drive-thru lights (all in one day), but I was holding my breath waiting for the meltdowns. When they didn’t come, it was me who fell to pieces.

I am weak, yet I am strong.


I am falling apart, yet I am holding it altogether.

I am broken, yet I am healing.

I am weary. Yet I am rejoicing.

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A thrill of hope…the weary world rejoices, indeed.

thrill of hope

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