Mommy Lessons · Uncategorized

Mommy Lesson 357: Square Hole, Round Dog

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According to the Humane Society website there are just over 78 million dogs as pets in the United States. 38 percent of American households own at least one dog. The two dogs that we have put us into the 28 percent that own two dogs. Kia, is an epileptic beagle, and Mya is snobby and chronically miserable, but they are just as important to us as any other member of the family.

I personally feel that pets are a terrific tool for teaching responsibility, gentleness, and can be a great motivating force. Sister helps to fill the dog bowls and feed the “puppies”. She enjoys walking Mya and asks frequently to take them. All in all, I would say, she “loves” her dogs. However, love can be a dangerous thing. On more than one occasion I have had to rescue one or both of the dogs from the shenanigans of Sister and today proved to no different.

Upon returning to the house from a leisurely walk with the dogs and two kids, I set about unloading the dishwasher. Sister grabbed a couple of plastic spoons and went off to “cook” dinner on her play kitchen in her room. I turned the dishwasher on and set about tidying up the living room. I took some toys to Sister’s room, grabbed a “bite” of dinner and almost broke my neck tripping over the dog passed out in the hallway. I rubbed my shin and glared at her, the thought that she had strategically placed herself in my path as payback for letting Sister drag her around by her leash, flitted through my brain.

I threw in a load of clothes and sat down in front of Brother’s bouncy seat for a little play time. In the midst of a full blown belly laugh I could hear a faint, but repetitive banging. I headed to the laundry room to check that the washer wasn’t out of balance and was surprised to find that wasn’t the source of the noise. I rounded corner to Sister’s room and noticed the dog had vacated the premises and the door was shut. The banging got louder as I got closer. I reached for the door handle and heard My daughter grunt and say, “If you’d just stop resisting….” (This is something I have said on numerous occasions to her and her brother in the midst of a diaper struggle or clothes tussle.)

I swung open the door and both my daughter and the dog froze in surprise. Chef Sister was attempting to cram 30 pounds of wiggling, flailing, beagle into a 6 centimeter square that made up her “oven”. She looked up at me with innocent eyes and grinned.

“Um, Peanut, why are you shoving Kia into the oven” Kia wagged her tail at the voice of her savior. Sister, still gripping the dogs hindquarters, sighed and responded in an exasperated tone, “I want hot dogs”.

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Upon those words Kia began to struggle again, possibly fearing for her life or more than likely the teeny tiny box encasing her head was running out of oxygen. I am not sure if the dog’s head became swollen while entrapped, if Sister used much more force than humanly possibly, or if the oven doubled as a Chinese dog trap, but all the epileptic beagle was able to do was drag the kitchen away from the wall.

The sudden and abrupt jerking of the kitchen propelled all of the items off and onto the floor causing an incredible crash, an angry shout of “my dinner” from The Chef and an increase in spastic thrashing from “dinner”. Fearing for all involved, I knelt over the dog trapping her between my knees, leaned into the kitchen, grasped the collar and jerked with all my might. The dog and I tumbled backwards pulling the plastic cookery down on top of us.

Now free, the “entree” bolted out of the room to seek refuge under the bed. I helped Abi clean up the room and explained to her that hot dogs were not really made from dogs, and that we don’t put our pets, friends and, just for good measure, brothers in the oven. She nodded in understanding and as we left her room said she was hungry. I saw Kia emerging from her hiding spot as I asked her what she wanted, “hot dogs” she replied. One glance towards Kia’s frantically retreating backside let me know that she was not in the mood for hotdogs.

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Mommy Lessons · Tutorial · Uncategorized

Operation Save the Dream Lite

Siri, please define Poop-tastrophy

This is a surprise event that typically occurs within the confines of your child’s crib, car seat, or whatever other location said child happens to be in at the moment of occurrence. This is most often associated with detailed fingerprinting murals with a substance that resembles chocolate, I assure you that this is not indeed chocolate, please refrain from testing my knowledge. Most often there is a gag inducing smell involved.

Interventions should include donning a hazourdous waste material suit. Proceed to remove said child from the event location and wash thoroughly. Feel free to vomit as needed, but remove hazmat mask first. After said child is scrubbed free of debris you may turn your attention to the event site. This is best dealt with by retrieving offended items with kitchen tongs (to be thrown away after) and placing them gently in a garbage bag never to be seen again.

Practices to prevent poop-tastrophy from reoccurring: NEVER put said child to bed in two piece Jammie’s again.

Scout didn't survive :-( NO amount of "gentle scrubbing by hand" was gonna save him...
Scout didn’t survive 😦 NO amount of “gentle scrubbing by hand” was gonna save him…

So after finding my sweet cherub cheeked nudist playing in his poo, I freaked out.  I had to scrub every inch of his crib, and inspect each and every toy that he may have included in his excrement excitement.  I will admit that several toys did go straight into the garbage can, including his favorite buddy Scout  (He was quickly replaced by one of his loving grandmas).

Scout was not the only participant in the poo party, little man had also included his second favorite toy, his Dream Light.  This is a lovely pillow type stuffed animal with an electronic battery operated light that glows in the middle of it.   There is also a little tag that says HAND WASH ONLY in menacing letters.  Great for bedtime snuggles, nightmare for mommy to clean.  Yet I was determined.  What’s a determined mommy to do when she has no idea how to do it?  Grab a screw driver a hammer and have at it!

Cue mission impossible music 

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You will need a screw driver, but you won’t need a hammer, unless you get frustrated……

Steps 1 and 2
Steps 1 and 2

1. Pop dream lite top off. Difficulty rating 1 out of 10, unless being helped by a know it all four year old
2. Unscrew screws, there are 8 of them. Place these in a secure location. Do not, I repeat, do NOT let four year old hold screws no matter how much she begs. Or you will spend the next 20 minutes on your hands and knees.

3. The top frame pops off the bottom frame.  Gently tug the two tabs inside to release it.  If gently tugging doesn’t work, feel free to take it pent up aggression and rip the sucker off.  I cant guarantee success if that route is chosen.  Once it’s free, flip him on over.

Step 4 and 5
Step 4 and 5

4. Unscrew screws, there are 6 of them.  The four year old has probably disappeared and been replaced by little brother.  Do not offer screws to him to hold or you will be waiting a loooong time for them to reappear.

5.  Pull light box out!  Pat yourself on the back, do a happy dance, eat a cookie or 6, however you want to celebrate the completion of a successful mission!

Follow the steps backwards after washing and drying to put him back together again? It is VERY important to make sure the fabric is caught between the top and bottom frame.  Here’s you a photo of the easiest way to do it.

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Recipes · Uncategorized

Pumpkin No Bake Cookies

The great things about seasons is that they bring about change. The weather cycles through cold to hot and back again. Sweaters and jeans are traded in for articles of clothing that contain much less fabric. Our favorite shows begin and end, the holidays come and go, the plants and animals even join in, in their own way. Walmart transforms its shelves to stay a holiday ahead throughout the year and our favorite treats appear and disappear.

For some the arrival of fall brings with it the joy of everything pumpkin. Pumpkin coffee, pumpkin candy, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cake; you name it, it can be pumpkin-fied. I personally hate pumpkin, don’t like the way it tastes or smells. I have tried, I really have! I’ve taken “no thank you portions” of delicious looking deserts, sips of pumpkin infused drinks, I have even baked with pumpkin and nothing, until these……

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My husband LOVES pumpkin, and being the amazing wife I am, I was looking through Pinterest for recipes that he might enjoy. And I found it, THE recipe; Pumpkin Spice No Bake Cookies. They are made from so much delicious good stuff that I actually didn’t mind the pumpkin. As a matter of fact, I liked it! I liked it soooo much that I made more, a lot more. Aside from the enormous amounts of butter and sugar, the secret that makes these so divine is Pumpkin Spice Pudding!

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(Before I share this recipe with you, I need you to know that it may be difficult to find the key ingredient as a woman fitting my description has been seen purchasing multiple boxes of said pudding mix. I will neither confirm nor deny that it was myself)

You can get the full ingredient list and directions for these cookies at Once A Month Meals. Im gonna just break it down, real simple for you here. You take sugar, brown sugar, butter and milk and turn it into soup. If you can refrain from grabbing a ladle and lapping it up, let it boil. Stir in pudding mix, pumpkin spice (the spice) vanilla and quick oats. Spoon blobs onto wax paper and allow to cool. This step may be difficult as you already have a spoon in your hand, you may be tempted to place scoops directly into your mouth instead of on the wax paper. Once cooled enjoy, and share if you wish, or don’t, I won’t judge.

Until you can get there and partake of this gooey goodness yourself here are a few photos to hold you over. Please refrain from licking the computer screen, as it may lead to an awkward conversation between you and those around you.

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Mommy Lessons · Uncategorized

Mommy Lesson 313: Say Ahhhhhh

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I am a nurse. I have no doubt that children who’s parents work in the medical field are different than children who’s parents do not. I even found proof in an articles that list 21 signs you were raised by a nurse; my children meet the majority of the criteria. They have toys like stethoscopes, empty syringes (with no needles), face masks, gloves, tongue depressors, and other nurse paraphernalia. My children have been taught appropriate terminology for specific body parts (I’m sorry in advance if they share this information with your child). My daughter uses terms and phrases such as, “I’ve been injured”, “should we amputate”, and “I think I’ll survive”.

As a mom who is also a nurse, I have an adequately stocked medicine cabinet. It is clearly labeled with a bin specifically for children and a bin for adults. I have a drawer for medicine administration complete with syringes and medicine cups. Need a pill crusher? I’ve got one of those too. I have a lovely little canvas organizer labeled “emergencies” complete with rubbing alcohol, gauze, bandages, antibiotic ointment and the like. On the top shelf is a set of sheets for the kids bed and an ice bucket which traveled home with us from a hotel room the weekend my husband and I went away for our anniversary and he spent most of it puking his guts up. It is labeled, emesis.

 

My daughter takes after her mother, she loves go take care of things. She can often be found with a menagerie of stuffed animals making them feel better. She can perform a full head to toe assessment in ten seconds flat and can diagnose and prescribe treatment within the next minute. When she grows tired of the stuffed animals, or feels the need for a challenge she will frequently turn her attention to the dog. If she is satisfied that all of her toys and pets have been adequately cared for and still has a hankerin’ to provide some medical attention, she will approach myself or her daddy.

Today provided her with with a relatively low patient census, so she offered me her services and medical expertise. I sat in the living room folding matching socks when she approached with a concerned look on her face.

“Oh mommy, you don’t look so good, I think you need a checkup”.

“Oh, wow, thanks honey, that was sweet” I said with a slight sarcastic undertone. I sat patiently while she listened to my heart beat, checked my eyes and ears. She felt my forehead with the back of her hand and then cheek to rule out a raging fever.

“Say Ahhhhhhh” she demanded, I complied, and she peered inside with a furrowed brow. “I’m going to have to take your temperature” before I could refuse she expertly crammed a purple painted Popsicle stick into my mouth.

She yanked the soggy stick out and glanced at it. She dismissively waved her hand at me, “You’re fine mommy”, I was clear to proceed about my business. She gathered her supplies and spied the dog. I turned my attention back to the socks only half listening to her chatter. The dog had already had multiple assessment throughout the day, and although she appeared to be pouting, she sat patiently, waiting for her clean bill of health.

I glanced up when I heard a disgruntled snort escape from the snobby shitzu and found Dr. A with a very familiar purple Popsicle stick pressed against the cranky canines butt. I stared at her with a combination of shock and horror flitting through my brain.

“Ummm, peanut, whatchya doin?” I squeaked. “Im checking Mya’s temperature, but don’t worry, I’m only putting it on her butt, not in it like you have to do with brother.”

Please please PLEASE don’t answer the next question with yes, I thought to myself. “Oh, well, okay, uuuhhh, this is the first time you have checked her temperature right? I mean you didn’t check it before you checked mommy’s temperature?”

“Well yea, she had a fever earlier when I checked it, so I wanted to recheck it. I also had to use it to look in her mouth.” She stared at me, gauging my reaction.

“Uhoh, mommy, do you need the emesis bucket?” She came over to pat my shoulder.

“No honey, mommy is just going go brush her teeth…..for an hour…..or six…possibly with bleach…”

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Mommy Lessons · Uncategorized

Mommy Lesson 600: Peetunias

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The typical infant can use up to 2,500 diapers in one year. That number will continue to decrease as baby grows into a toddler. Not soon enough for some of us. While potty training can be stressful for both parent and child, it brings with it a sense of pride, success and a variety of messy and embarrassing experiences. I have learned to take a “poop happens” approach, which means; poop will probably happen on the floor, in the car or the neighbors yard. There isn’t much you can do about it, except walk around following your potty training toddler with puppy pads, or a bucket, and then blog about mishaps later….

After an extended car ride to visit a friend in the hospital, Peanut was complaining about needing to go potty. We pulled into the parking lot and I assured her that once we got inside the building she could go potty. I proceeded to gather up brother, all necessary items and cram them into the stroller. This took much longer than usual, since Peanut was doing the peepee dance in the parking lot and I had to stop and pull up her pants and panties twice, explaining that we don’t just drop trow wherever we please.

With both kids fully clothed and in the stroller I rushed to the building. Daughter immediately jumped from the stroller and pointed at the big potted plant in the corner of the foyer and asked what that was. I hastily and distractedly whispered the answer to her and turned to the receptionist to ask for directions. Before she could complete the instructions she gasped and looked down to my left side. Thinking there might be a serious situation I turned immediately ready to assist where needed. I was alarmed to see my daughter with Minnie Mouse panties down around her sandals sitting in the potted plant relieving herself.

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The thoughts rushed through my head. How exactly do I handle this? If I get her out of the floral arrangement she will undoubtedly peepee on the floor. But, I can’t really leave her there can I? Oh, my, gosh! What if she’s doing more than number 1? Is her face turning red, I can’t tell if she is smiling or pooping!

I rushed over, hoping to safe the lovely soiled flowers, and scooped her out of the “pottied” plant. I dusted her itty bitty butt off , thinking about what I was supposed to do and glancing frantically for a bucket to scoop the peepeed potting soil into. I adjusted her shorts and opened my mouth. (Let me explain to you, I’m not super great in situations like this. More often than not, what comes out of my mouth is just as much of a surprise to me as those whom I’m saying it too. Often when faced with with uncomfortable situation, I attempt to find the silver lining.)

“I am so very sorry, I ummm, well, ummm, hey, you know at least you don’t have to water it now” I babbled. The grim set line on the now less than helpful lady’s face was all I needed to know that she was less than thrilled with our plant care procedures. She hastily waved me away when I offered to help clean up, probably fearful that my daughter might get the urge to find another “pot”. As we quickly walked down the hall, Abi looked up at me, unconcerned and said, “Hey mommy, those flowers smelled really good, we should put some on our potty.”

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Down syndrome · Uncategorized

Down syndrome isn’t….

 

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We all have our favorite time of year. Some of us even have our favorite months! While there are a few months that I’m pretty fond of, my favorite month just happens to be October. The leaves are usually turning colors and pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING begins to appear. There are fall festivals, pumpkin patches and of course those little pumpkin candies that I’m capable of eating my weight in. BUT all that pales in comparison to the fact that October is DOWN SYNDROME awareness month!

Something that you should know, is that October didn’t used to be my favorite month. I always used to be quite partial to June, because someone I know has a birthday that month (and she’s pretty awesome, if I do say so myself). It wasn’t until 2012 that I learned how amazing October could be! Our son Gabe was born in August and was not quite 2 months old when October rolled around that year and my family was transitioning from having one child at home to having two.

My husband and I were adjusting to feeding, clothing and keeping both children alive while our two year old was grudgingly accepting the the little thing her parents brought home was indeed staying, for good. Introducing baby number two into the family didn’t seem much different than welcoming baby number one, accept that this time around we actually felt like we knew what we were doing. The biggest difference was that Gabe brought with him and entire community. A community that I found, was celebrating during the entire month of October. The Down syndrome community celebrated anything and everything related to Down syndrome and worked hard at bringing awareness during the entire month.

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Awareness is the knowledge or perception of a situation or fact. All across the globe, people are working hard this month to bring awareness to those around them by sharing facts and information related to Down syndrome. Some post blogs, some transform their Facebook sites, and some participate in events; the options endless. Each person and their unique abilities, allow them to share about Down syndrome in their own way and all of it combined paint a picture of this incredible community and the individuals that make it up.

I want to start by sharing what Down syndrome isn’t.

Down syndrome isn’t a disease, it’s not contagious, it isn’t an illness and its not something to be afraid of. Individuals with Down syndrome do not have to institutionalized, placed in separate classrooms, ignored, excluded or treated differently. Down syndrome doesn’t destroy families, marriages, it isn’t a burden, or something that someone is suffering from. It’s a single extra chromosome in every cell. Ultimately, what that means, is that everyone person with Down syndrome is the same as everyone else, they just happen to have something extra inside of them.

Today is only the first of October, that means that there are 30 more days that I get to share all about Down syndrome. 30 more days to celebrate all of the amazing things that the little extra chromosomes contains! Be sure to check back for tomorrow’s post….

 

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Down syndrome · Uncategorized

I Didn’t Want Him

The great thing about thoughts, is that no ones knows you’re having them. The fact that no one knows your thoughts can also leave you in a frightening and lonely place. Especially the thoughts that may shock those around you, the thoughts that leave you feeling guilty, the thoughts that you immediately feel shamed for thinking. Sometimes a situation arises and no matter how hard you try, you can’t prevent these thoughts from flitting through your brain faster than lightening. I’d like to share with you my scary secret thought, that to this day still haunts me.

It was March 21, 2012. It was rainy and dreary outside, I was alone in my car, pregnant with my second child. I had just found out that we were having a baby boy and I didn’t want him. Please, before you judge me, let me explain….

On February 14th, my husband, and I excitedly waited in a dimly lit room. We were expecting our second child and were eager to see him or her for the first time. A quick swipe of the ultrasound wand revealed a very small black and white wiggling baby. Various measurements were taken, pictures were printed, the technician quietly left the room and the doctor came in. He informed us that there had been some abnormal findings on the ultrasound; he explained that our baby had swelling everywhere. He went on to tell us that the chances of the pregnancy continuing another three weeks was slim, chances were very high that we would lose our baby. Utterly devastated, I clutched the photos and sobbed. We went home to wait.

God knew my heart and He knew my needs before I ever did. He placed a man in my life that did not have Thomas like faith; my husband. Josh’s faith swelled; he wrote out numerous healing scriptures for me to speak over the baby, fasted until our follow up ultrasound twenty one days later. We surrounded ourselves with Godly people and stood on faith that God would see us through. Our follow up appointment proved the power of prayer. Our baby was growing and thriving, showing no evidence of prior anomalies. We chose to move forward with an amniocentesis to confirm that there were no issues.

On March 21, 2012 I received a call from our doctor to call him back when I left work. Feeling confident that our prayers had been answered, I alerted josh that our results were in. I was confident that I could handle the good news on my own and quickly disconnected. I cheerfully answered and listed to what the perinatologist had to say; “The fetus has a chromosomal abnormality”. I couldn’t breathe, my heart pounded in my ears and my smile vanished. Sobs and tears consumed me, the word “abnormal” echoed through my head attempting to drown out everything else he was saying. “There is a third copy of the 21st chromosome, the fetus has Down syndrome. You will need to come in ASAP to make plans.” I murmured my goodbyes and hung up.

I was shattered; I clung to the steering wheel and sobbed uncontrollably. I thought back through the conversation; I knew that there had been a mistake. He had called the wrong patient, or had the wrong labs. Somehow, I managed to ask him if I was having a boy or a girl, “I believe it’s a male” was the detached response. It, fetus, abnormal, Down syndrome, I couldn’t understand how this was happening. We had prayed, fasted, believed; we had bigger than a mustard seed faith! I could barely bring myself to call Josh, I felt I failed him and my family. Guilt and anger overwhelmed me. In that moment, in the car by myself, I didn’t love the baby that was growing inside my belly, fighting so hard to be in our lives.

I slammed the car in reverse and backed out. I glared through my windshield, looking up into the grey sky, I imagined God looking back at me. “I cannot believe that you would do this to us. You have NO idea what you’re doing! You tell us to trust you, to have faith, and then you go and do something like this, you missed your chance God, how could you?” The blame wasn’t mine, this was Gods fault, and I was furious with Him. I’d love to say that the scripture “your sorrows may last for a night, but your joy comes in the morning”, was true for me, but it wasn’t. I was barely able look at Josh or our daughter the next day, feeling like somehow I hadn’t given them the son or brother I thought they needed. I broke down every time I felt the baby stretch reminding me that every single cell of his was “abnormal”. Every kick brought with it the fear of the unknown and guilt over the detachment I felt.

(Concluded in “I Couldn’t Fathom Losing Him”)

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Down syndrome · Uncategorized

I Couldn’t Fathom Losing Him

Continued from: I Didn’t Want Him

We shared the news with family and began moving forward; however my anger at God had not dissipated and I reminded Him often. Just over six month pregnant, I was taking a moment to mentally glare and grumble at God. I was suddenly so overwhelmed with such a fierce love, a severe longing and desire to have my baby that it brought me to my knees, sobbing. I wasn’t frightened by his movement anymore; I was terrified of never feeling it again. I wasn’t overwhelmed at the possibility of difficulties in the future but overcome with the absolute want and need to have a future with this baby. For Abi to hold her brother, for josh to meet his son, to hold him in his arms and tuck my nose into his neck and breathe in the scent that would be so uniquely Gabe. I WANTED my baby. I knelt begging for forgiveness and praying for my son. I was no longer angry, but I still wanted to understand why? The answer that I FELT was clear, Lazarus. I found a bible and began to read.

Lazarus and his two sisters; Mary and Martha were beloved friends of Jesus and he often stayed with the family when his travels brought him through Bethany. Martha often served as hostess and Mary spent time listening and learning from Jesus. Mary even acted with extravagant abandon and devotion, when she used perfume, costing a year’s worth of wages, to wash Jesus’ feet, unknowingly anointing and preparing him for his upcoming burial.

In John chapter 11 we discover that Lazarus has fallen ill, his condition is so concerning that the sisters send word, imploring Jesus to return and heal their brother. Despite the fact that Jesus loved the family very much, he remained where he was for two additional days stating in verse 4 that “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death, no, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this”.

When Jesus decided the time was right for him to return to Bethany, the disciples attempted to dissuade him, expressing their concern over the risk that he was taking traveling through the area where so many were scheming for his destruction. Jesus was unmoved and shared with them in verse 11 “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up” seeing the disciples confusion he continued “Lazarus is dead. And for your sakes I am glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come let’s go see him.” When Jesus arrived in Bethany he was told that Lazarus had been in the grave for four days; by all appearances he was too late.

I stopped and reread; Jesus loved this family, but didn’t go to them, he let Lazarus die. I didn’t understand, Jesus had SAID that his sickness wouldn’t end in death. I could understand why leaving the work God had given him might not have been possible, but I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t have healed Lazarus anyway. In Matthew chapter 8 a centurion came to Jesus requesting he heal his servant, who was in bed at home. He knew that Jesus had the authority to just speak and it would be done. If Jesus did it for the centurion’s servant why didn’t He do it for Lazarus?

I kept reading; understandably Mary and Martha were devastated. Not only had they lost their brother, but I imagine that they may have felt a loss of hope. If they believed that their brother would not perish due to the awesome authority of Jesus, it must have come as an even bigger shock when he did succumb to his illness. Mary, Martha, their family and the community were grieving the loss of their loved one when Jesus arrived. Martha and Mary, each in turn, went to him saying “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died”. To them, the chance for a miracle had passed away when their brother breathed his last breath. It must have been so difficult for them to understand, why a man who had performed countless miracles and had the authority to make the lame walk, give sight to the blind and a voice to the mute, let someone he loved perish.

Jesus knew Mary and Martha’s hearts; he knew that they believed the time had passed to heal Lazarus. Mary, Martha and the entire community stood wailing and grieving over the loss of their loved one. As Jesus stood witnessing this overwhelming grief, he was deeply moved and became very troubled in his spirit. John 11:33 describes his feelings as “a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled”. I couldn’t understand why Jesus could be angry with Mary and Martha, he was the one who let Lazarus die. I am sure that he felt some frustration over the disbelief that he was witnessing in Mary and Martha, but maybe His feelings weren’t directed only towards those that were present. I believe that it was toward death itself; the pain and sorrow that had to be caused to ultimately bring glory to God.

Jesus was so troubled within his spirit over the situation that Verse 35 says that He wept. Jesus wasn’t weeping over the death of Lazarus, he KNEW that Lazarus had to die and be raised from the dead. He was weeping with and for those that he loved. Understanding the way Jesus felt standing outside Lazarus’s tomb, I was able to understand the grief that He must have felt when we received Gabe’s diagnosis; the sorrow that he had to have had over my devastation and anger when my prayer hadn’t been answered. How wrong I had been that day when I turned my eyes towards Heaven imagining a heartless and detached God, His heart had to be aching as much or more than mine at my sorrow and despair. It didn’t bring God any joy to not send the answer we were expecting.

Verse 39 finds Jesus going to the tomb and demanding that the stone be rolled away. His request met resistance from a concerned Martha, who still didn’t understand what was about to occur. She responded “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible”. Jesus must have been further troubled knowing Martha was almost unknowingly refusing a miracle because she was concerned about the smell. Jesus could only respond to Martha by saying “didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believed”. In verse 41 Jesus turned his face towards heaven and said “Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” Verse 43 then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out”.

Lazarus was dead; his heart had stopped pumping blood to his organs causing them to shut down and stop working all together, the blood pooled in his body becoming thick and stagnant. He was not breathing; no oxygen was being shuttled to and from the lungs. Lazarus had been taken and prepared according to Jewish customs. His body cold and firm, wrapped from head to toe in burial cloth, laid inside a cave, covered with a large rock and left to decay for four days. Jesus called out to him, called him to draw breath and life back into body, for his heart to beat again; Lazarus stood and exited the tomb.

I don’t know why Gabe has Down syndrome; I don’t know why God chose this path for my family. I don’t know why bad things happen or why sometimes God doesn’t heed our call for help or rapidly answer our prayers. But I do that know Lazarus died. Jesus didn’t heal him from his illness; he grieved with and for those he loved. I also know that Jesus made an opportunity by not healing Lazarus; He had an opportunity to bring Glory to God.

Gabe is perfect; he is smart, strong and so sweet. He is joyous, inquisitive and gentle. He was born without complication and has had none of the medical issues and conditions that are so common for individuals with Down syndrome. He is growing and meeting his milestones. God didn’t miss an opportunity, he made one. When I look at Gabe I am reminded of Lazarus, I am reminded each day that of the opportunity that God has given us; one that has strengthened our faith, taught us unconditional love, and has brought Him Glory.

…I don’t know what your thoughts are, that’s a blessing and a curse. Maybe you’re in a similar situation, maybe you’re facing a prenatal or birth diagnosis of Down syndrome, or any situation that you just can’t seem to understand. You may not be the only one thinking the things your thinking, no matter how bad they may sound in your head. You know my thoughts now, and I hope you know that you’re not alone…

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