Friday, October 28, 2011

i know

there are days that i'm with brooke and know that she "gets it." her body languge, her laughter, smiles, even tears, and yes, her behavior at times can speak volumes to us as her family.

then there are the rare moments where she says a simple phrase, or just a word. we all stop in our tracks hoping for more of where that came from.

yesterday was one of those moments:
i went to see brooke yesterday afternoon...she met me at the door and instantly i knew something was up. you know the moments when you are just about to cry but you hold it in with every ounce of you? (i could tell that this was one of those times..and that brooke was on the verge of tears). we walked outside and she tried to get in my van and a car before i redirected her to the swing set in the back yard. she was verbally not interested. moments later she went back in the group home and into her room...plopping on her bed with covers over her head. without prompting, she kept saying the same thing, "..___..._____...momma," but i couldn't make it out. her words were jumbled together and the only thing that i really got was "mommie." i moved from the end of her bed to see her face underneath the covers...when i got there, she removed the covers and just stared at me. i told her i had to leave to go back to work and she responded with "ok." i told her i loved her. then as i do most every time i see her, i looked at her in the face and said, "brooke, Jesus has got you." without blinking an eye her response was precious, priceless, and quite frankly shocking. looking at me in the eyes she said, "i know."

if you know brooke, then you know this never happens...but in the moment she got it! needless to say, i got it too. her ruthless trust in Jesus, as she verbally stated, allowed me to rejoice in the midst of such emotion. i was so shocked by her response all i could do was stand up, lean in, kiss her forehead, and leave the room. obviously, as stated in the book of Matthew, there is someone Greater here for her than me. Jesus does have her...and fully convinced of this i say with confidence with brooke, "I know."

"i know whom i have believed and am persuaded that He is able."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

photo albums

oct. 13, 2011, marked 3 years of residential living for brooke at the Learning Tree in our area.

during her time there we have encountered various trials and victories...some i have posted about and you have read...others never to be spoken or read.

on thursday, oct 13...i went to brooke's group home like i do everyday...but today did seem a bit different. it was as if she knew it had been 3 years. i stood beside her bed to hear just a "chatter" from her of any kind...i got nothing. within minutes, and without any gestures from me, brooke got up, went to her night stand where animals and photo albums remain, and she grabbed 3 of her photo albums i had made for her. with books in hand she quickly jumped on her bed and reading from right to left she looked thru the pictures as if she remembered each one and the day it was captured. over and over again, going from album to album, page to page, she pointed to grandparents, ethan's face, josiah's hands, she glanced over her cousins and self-portraits. she smiled at some. looked away at others. i wondered what she thought. i wondered how she felt.
one thing i do know is she remembered. this was the first time i've seen her look thru her pictures in at least a year. for some reason, on that day in front of me, she wanted to see them and it made me smile.

sometimes i forget that not only we miss her greatly..but she misses us. it was a beautiful picture to me...
one that i wanted to capture and put in her photo album.

it's not a surprise we miss brooke and want her in a place of stability so that she can come back home and live with us. we desire that and there are days i pray more than i breath for her return.
i know it will happen.
i know there will be a jubilee. (lev. 25)

Sunday, August 28, 2011


when brooke was around 5 i started noticing seizure activity when she woke up from naps/morning. soon after she was diagnosed with Rett's syndrome (autism) and started on some medication for the seizures. since then her seizures have been pretty stable and contained. a couple weeks ago, one of her staff noticed a pretty significant seizure after a nap. she was taken to the ER for blood test and further evaluation. we are now considering another type of medication to help her get them contained. the seizures, from our understanding, are not causing any damage to her neurologically; however, they do need to be treated.

on a lighter note....

there are moments in brooke's life that cannot be penned in, typed out, or even spoken...they are just felt or seen. i have had many of those moments and that are now hemmed in my mind. i consider each moment a moment of hope...and a blessing in the most broken places.

Saturday, August 06, 2011


I KNOW....

i bet you are taking a double-take right now because it's really me. after-all it's been 3 months since i've posted anything on the blog. believe it or not i only have 2 really good explanations.

first, i do not own a computer. second, i'm a houseparent at a children's home and summer started (and ended).

let's see if i can update you in short form. :)

brooke moved into a new group home with The Learning Tree. She just moved a few miles down the road. She is making the transition ok, although at first, it was pretty intense. since January, brooke's behaviors have intensified and we are looking into seeing why. I am working with TLT to find out what happens before these behaviors actually start so we can work on getting her in a more stable setting. needless to say, we are still working on this. i'm confident we will come to a conclusion very soon.

during the summer, brooke has been coming to the children's home for visits once or twice a week while we are on duty. during her visits we eat all together, swing outside, laugh, sing, and laugh more. during her visits she does not typically exhibit any behaviors. the days that she does not come to the home, i usually run by the home to see her in the afternoon. as you know, we work twelve days and off four, and during our 4 days it is more like our family of 5. she spends the night, we take her to school and do what is more typical for any family. it has been nice to be so close to her when in years past she has been at least 2 hours away. the Lord has blessed us in that way. i am grateful!

just this past week i went to the school to visit with brooke and to talk with her staff. i peeped my head in trying not to bother her from her "work." i popped my head over a little wall and watched patiently how she was pointing at different parts of a book while watching a short film. every time she got it right, she was offered an edible of some sort as to encourage her to do it again. on that day, she was happy and responded well to demands placed. at one point she looked over towards me as if someone were staring at her. when she did she gave a double-take. you know, that slight look away and then a quick look back at me....and with the biggest smile she continued her work. i quickly left the room..hoping to give her the idea that i'm there...always watching, concerned, loving her, patiently waiting for a glance. i won't forget that moment. it was rare and it was good.

i wonder how many times our Savior patiently waits for us...watching, concerned, loving us, and yearning for a glance from us. i'm sure i'd say more than we think. He deserves more than our "double-take"....that's for sure.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

i am the child

tonight..i'm hurting for Brooke, for many reasons. i ran across this...i've posted this before, but tonight i needed to repost.
brooke, i love you! you are so precious to me and i'm so grateful to have you as my teacher.

"I am the child who cannot talk. You often pity me, I see it in your eyes. You wonder how much I am aware of. I see that as well. I am aware of much...whether you are happy or sad or fearful, patient or impatient, full of love and desire, or if you are just doing your duty by me. I marvel at your frustration, knowing mine to be far greater, for I cannot express myself or my needs as you do.
You cannot conceive my isolation, so complete it is at times. I do not gift you with clever conversation, cute remarks to be laughed over and repeated. I do not give you answers to your everyday questions, responses over my well being, sharing my needs, or comments about the world about me. I do not give you rewards as defined by the world's standards...great strides in development that you can credit yourself; I do not give you understanding as you know it.
What I give you is so much more valuable...I give you instead opportunities. Opportunities to discover the depth of your character, not mine; the depth of your love, your commitment, your patience, your abilities; the opportunity to explore your spirit more deeply than you imagined possible. I drive you further than you would ever go on your own, working harder, seeking answers to your many questions with no answers. I am the child who cannot talk.
The world seems to pass me by. There is much you take for granted. Sometimes people appear not to notice me; I always notice them. I feel not so much envy as desire. I give you awareness.
I am the child who is mentally impaired. I don't learn easily, if you judge me by the world's measuring stick, what I do know is infinite joy in simple things. I am not burdened as you are with the strife and conflicts of a more complicated life. My gift to you is to grant you the freedom to enjoy things as a child, to teach you how much your arms around me mean, to give you love. I give you the gift of simplicity.
I am the disabled child. I am your teacher. If you allow me, I will teach you what is really important in life. I will give you and teach you unconditional love. I gift you with my innocent trust, my dependency upon you. I teach you about how precious this life is and about not taking things for granted. I teach you about forgetting your own needs and desires and dreams. I teach you giving. Most of all I teach you hope and faith."

Friday, May 06, 2011

just the facts

last month i had surgery to remove a disc in my neck. ouch. it went fine...but recovery has been another story. during my "recovery" time, i wasn't able to interact w/brooke all that much. i still got to see her daily in her group home, but from a distance. it was hard sitting across the room from her and not being able to sit close or hug her as i wanted. i reaffirmed her that i loved her in those moments..but still hard as a mom. i hope she understood.

brooke spent the night Easter weekend. it was a special weekend for us. on Easter sunday i could hear her in the other room chattering away like the early birds singing a new tune. i'm sure she was singing her little heart out because she knew she served a "living God." she didn't do so well in church but we did manage to worship in the car driving around our city. :)

we are looking forward to our next break to have her w/us. the boys don't get to see her everyday as i get we are needing some family moments.

i miss her so badly...and i get to see her everyday.
one day we will all be together. one day.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


brooke's birthday was good. she ate one of her favorite meals...then we made a trip to "chill," a yogurt place in our neck of the woods. it was good stuff. she spent the evening with us...and half of the next day. we picked her up again after school the following day and couldn't get enough of laughter, smiles, sweet glances, and the special encounters she has with the boys.

however, there always seems to have a "however" in a story, right?

the last day we had her she got very upset. she had tears in her eyes which is rare for brooke. her behaviors started to escalate...and they became very intense. bill had gone out to get her medication from the group home and it was just me and the boys...and brooke. soon she started biting herself, hitting walls, tv's, screaming words i couldn't understand, tears were rolling, josiah and ethan were concern for brooke, and i was going thru all my questions to self.

is she hungry? what did she eat last? does she need to use the restroom? does she want to be here? is she thirsty? is she hurting? if she is hurting..then where, how does it hurt? the questions were endless. while i'm running down my list in my head...the chaos in the house continues. josiah grabs my phone to call for "backup", bill. i told ethan to go into the other room and pray. brooke was now hurting herself so badly i had to intervene. the boys got more upset. i was holding back the tears. after time...brooke finally calmed down and the chaos ended. i did find out the nature of her hurt and helped her as much as i could. she rested well that night.

the boys and i had a conversation later that night about what they saw and what there little minds were exposed to. i expressed to them what it means for brooke when she is hurting and can't express it, she doesn't point to her head, her arm...her ear and say..."this hurts." I told ethan, remember when you called me from school the other day and told me that your ear was hurting. i got you from school, took you to the doctor, and got you some medication for an ear infection that we didn't know you had. i then told ethan...brooke cannot do that. she cannot express to us what we long to hear. josiah and ethan understood. both of them have a heart of gold...and when it comes to their sister...they would do anything in this world for her.

we all are helpless, we cry out, we scream, we hit things, angry builds....because we hurt. we've all hurt within our lives...if you haven't...well, friend, it's coming. but then...there's that word...


He knows! period. we don't have to run down the list to figure it out. we don't have to call a friend or throw ourselves against a wall. He knows. He is aware of every pain, every heartache..and to be a bit more precise...HE even knows the very detail of it all before we do. can you imagine not being able to tell someone that you are hurting...physically or emotionally? can you imagine how it would feel if no one understood you as you cried? i can't. although i see it when i'm with brooke at times, i can't imagine how she could possibly feel.

Jesus does. He is aware.
Bill, my husband, just said something the other day that was encouraging to me."i don't need all the answers in order to trust that He has all the answers."

so...i trust, we trust.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

happy birthday brooke!

14 years ago brooke came into our life...

it's funny, for years people would tell me, "brooke is such a blessing." i looked at them bewildered asking myself..."how in the world is THIS a blessing." i wasn't talking about brooke per say, but her disability.

today...i am more than eating those words, because everyday she is a blessing to me...more than a blessing...she is life and brings me breaths of fresh air everyday.

when she walks into a room you know it.
she can make you smile...just like that.
her laughter can ignite a downward soul.
her words are few but real.
her eyes can read you like a book.
her tears will drive you to seek answers.
she can make you dream, dare, discern the truth.
if you'll watch carefully she can allure you to her Maker.
and if you listen...she'll tell you things only God Himself would whisper in your ear.
she craves for dependence on her God...You can see His protection...hear the angel wings whisk by her side.
if you risk getting to know her...just for a moment...she'll allow you to see things in yourself you would dare to change...and in turn, you'll be blessed.
i know...i'm one...and i'm more than blessed to be her mom.

happy birthday baby! i love you...
Jesus has got you.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

did you hear that?

a few weeks ago we had brooke over for a few days enjoying precious family time at our "relief" house. if you could see within our home it would look alittle like this...
i was at the end of the couch, brooke was at the other. ethan would either be in brooke's lap or playing the wii in his room. josiah would be in the chair playing his ds or watching tv. bill would be in the kitchen eating or making something...ha!

what you would hear would be another story...some moments were quiet, other times laughter, many times questions, and other times...the sound of the tv (cooking shows).

one moment...ethan was sitting in brooke's lap talking with her...out of the blue brooke blurted out something....we all heard it, but didn't listen close enough to understand what she said. in a heartbeat...ethan looked at brooke and asked, "what did you say, Brooke?" brooke looking into his eyes didn't respond with what she had previously said....she just glared into his eyes.

i wondered what it was, was she hungry, upset at something, needed to go to the toilet, was hot, cold...i wondered what she had said. were we too busy to listen to her? were we listening to something else when we should have been paying closer attention? i wondered. even moreso...i wondered what she said. for words...come far inbetween.

as you know, i'm a big thinker...and this one (a month later) has not escaped me. i thought about my relationship not only with my kids when they say something to me and i didn't listen/hear them....but my relationship to my God. my relationship with my God has been richer than its ever been in my 20+ years of knowing Him...but this made me consider..and make me ask these questions to myself.

does He tell me things and i'm too busy to hear?
Am i listening to other things/people instead of hearing from Him?
Do i hear Him, but forget what promises/truths He says to me?

brooke, always seems to show me something in regard my Lord...and she draws me closer to Him.

today...i'm listening. i don't wanta miss what Jesus says.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


i love visiting brooke everyday after school.

yesterday with my "time" with her...she was lying in her bed apparently "upset" over something unknown. i went in...her hands coupled together laying on her chest, her head on her pillow and headboard, and her covers crumbled up around her. i knew she had been upset...over what...we don't know.
with a risk of getting hit i layed down beside her and started singing "Jesus loves me." Without getting too much into the song her eyes start filling up with a tearful glaze. I don't know if it was my singing that made her want to cry....but i'd like to think that it was the song in itself. need to hear that Jesus loves you.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

it's a miracle

tuesday, josiah, ethan and i took brooke back to her group home after spending the night with us while we were on break. i pulled up in the driveway, walked around the car, opened brooke's door and unbuckled her seat belt. standing back so she could get out of the van she sat there. i said to her, "Brooke, let's go in please." Brooke looked at me pulling the seatbelt and fastened it and said in response, "stay, i want ay." then she moved her legs away from the door, bowed and turned her head away from me. ethan, our youngest son, saw and heard this and shouted out, "ITS A MIRACLE!" i couldn't respond i was so amazed! i got into the van with brooke, got behind her, and almost forced her out of the van. she went inside the home (not happy)...and laid in her bed.

when i left, i told her i loved her...and she said "momma." my heart sank.

for those who are not familiar with brooke....this was a moment to thank the Lord for! Brooke will respond with things, either by her behaviors or some choice words she already knows. i've never heard brooke say "stay" voluntarily. it was, as ethan said, a miracle. over the past couple months she seems to be "waking" up....and responding so naturally. it's been a treasure. i'm not sure how long this will last...if this is a phase....or if she is just getting older and things are happening. in moments as this....bitter sweet...oh yes! but like i said previously the sweet overpowers the bitter.

so grateful for those that work with brooke at The Learning Tree. I'm thankful for their faithfulness to children such as brooke.

God is up to something...
He always has been up to something...
i'm seeing this is our year. our year of jubilee!