Because He Knew…

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I don’t think I’ve shared this story before, but it’s really been on my heart lately, so I guess I’ll start at the beginning…

With both of my children, one hymn became “their song”, and I would sing that song frequently when I was pregnant with them. Tater’s song was Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus. I still sing it to her, and it’s still the first song she requests when I put her to bed.

When I was pregnant with Junior, our family was going through some really tough things. I was on bedrest, my mother-in-law passed away suddenly, and my grampa was diagnosed with cancer. One day, the old hymn Blessed Assurance popped into my head. It soon became “Junior’s song.” I sang it frequently to the little one in my tummy, hoping that his life story would be one of blessings from God.

Once Junior was born, I stopped singing. He couldn’t hear me anyway, so we would both sit in complete silence as I held him and rocked him. My heart broken that he couldn’t hear my voice. That those months of singing blessings on him in my womb had fallen literally upon deaf ears.

This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior, all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior, all the day long.

I just couldn’t understand why God had put that song into my heart and upon my lips if Junior wasn’t going to hear it. Why even bother giving me a song? Didn’t he know that Junior was going to be deaf? It felt like a cruel joke.

Fast forward about a year. Junior’s cochlear implants had been activated recently, and he was on the road to hearing. We opted to get genetic testing done to determine the cause of his deafness. There was nothing definite or conclusive, but we did find out that he has a “variant of unknown significance” on a gene that causes progressive blindness. (Three years later and we are still in a wait-and-see mode about that.)

About a year after that, 2 year old Junior was hearing pretty well and was starting to say words. He enjoyed listening to our voices, and one day when he was dozing off in my arms, Blessed Assurance popped back into my head. His ears were still on, so I sang it to him. I sang that hymn for the first time in a very long time.

I reached the second verse, the melody having put him to sleep, and it clicked. The words made sense. I finally understood why God gave this song to Junior.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels, descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Visions of Rapture. Echoes of mercy. Whispers of love.

God knew that we would be worried about Junior’s vision. He knew that our little boy’s ears wouldn’t function the way they should. He knew this path we were going to walk, because he gave me this song before our son was even born. He knew that eventually Junior would be able to hear sounds, whispers, and voices.

Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Junior can hear my whispers. Sometimes I whisper across the room, “I love you”, and he whispers back, “I love you too, momma.” That song was a foreshadow. A reminder. A promise.

God knows your journey. He has always known the path you were going to walk. The ups, the downs, the valleys, and the peaks. The road you are traveling was not a random, luck of the draw event. He knew. He knows where you’re going, where you’ve been, and He just wants you to rest in the promise of His whispers of love.

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Our Wild Natural Disaster Adventure…Part 2

If you read part one of our story, which included mudslides, flooding, and fires, you were probably wondering what kind of troubles we hit next. Well, let’s just say that we watched an enthused park ranger jump for joy telling everyone the “HUGE news” caused by the weather.

Okay, so we left off at the fires. The rest of that day was pretty calm…we took an amazing drive to Tuolumne Meadows, and spent some time at Tenaya Lake which was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

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The next day, we knew it was going to rain, but we didn’t know how much it was going to rain. Yosemite Falls was dry (a rarity), so we hiked up the rocks. The kids had a blast climbing the rocks. I’m pretty sure they were made for it.IMG_8644

God obviously had our backs, because no more than 5 minutes after finishing our hike on the dry falls, the rain started. And I don’t mean it was raining. It was RAINING. I have never been so wet in my life. We had to walk about a half mile back to the visitor’s center in the rain, and it was too wet to see. Two days later, my clothes were still soaked.

But, that torrential downpour did elicit some clamor from the park rangers. About a half hour later, Yosemite Falls started back up again!!
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Okay, so we’re soaked, cold, and relishing in the beauty of the Falls. That’s enough excitement for one weekend, right? We thought so…until we saw this sign in the road…

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A rockslide?! Now why didn’t I think of that???

Luckily, the rockslide wasn’t too bad, and we survived the rest of our time in Yosemite. It is an absolutely incredible place, and I wish we had more than a long weekend to explore, but we definitely want to return soon.

Sunday morning, I talked my husband into taking a (2.5 hour, God bless him) detour to Walnut Creek. The town we lived in when we were first married. We have a lot of great memories there, and we like returning when we can. (Last year, we spent my 30th birthday up there.)

Since it was just a couple weeks before my birthday, my husband counted it as an early birthday gift and we enjoyed sundaes at one of our favorite places…The San Francisco Ice Creamery. Bliss.

 

 

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Oh, and I should mention that the day after we left the Bay Area, some 200 small earthquakes jolted the region. Needless to say it was an unforgettable trip, but I think we’re good on weekend getaways for a while =)

Our Wild Natural Disaster Adventure

We just returned from a long weekend trip to Yosemite National Park. It was beautiful…well, once we got there. We experienced so much wild weather and natural disasters to the point that it was almost comical. Definitely a trip to remember!

In fact, the Weather Channel contacted me for my experience, since we were in active mudslide AND flooding areas!

Check out how black the sky is…forgive the glare from the window…I was reading a wonderful cookbook :)

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So, then we hit the rain just north of Los Angeles. It. Was. Pouring. By the time we hit the Grapevine, the stretch of I-5 north connecting Southern California with Central California and running through the mountains, we could barely see outside because the rain was so heavy. Just as we were about to hit Central California, we saw a truck blocking the middle of the road just a few cars ahead of us, and were forced to stop.

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Ummm. That would be mud. Lots and lots of mud. A quick look at the mountainside next to us, and we knew we were in trouble. Mud was flowing into the road, hitting cars. After a few moments, the California Highway Patrol shut down the freeway and began diverting all traffic back the way we came. Interstate 5 would remain closed nearly 36 hours.

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So, now we’re heading South, back towards Los Angeles, and looking for another road that would get us up to Yosemite. We finally found that we could take highway 58, a small highway going through the Mojave desert. We had no choice, so we backtracked until we hit the route that would eventually take us to highway 58.

Things were not much better on the 58, but at least the road was not closed (yet). Rain continued to pour until the roadside was flooded. Thank the Lord we hit Bakersfield (central California) before things got out of hand. Hundreds of cars were stranded on highway 58, and the road was closed for several days as they sought to rescue people caught in the storm.

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You can see that the road was starting to flood, and just a couple of hours after making it past, they shut the roads for a few days.

So, a 6 hour drive turned into 10 and we didn’t get to our rented cabin until well after 9pm, but we were just happy to be there after a long day of mudslides, torrential rain, and flooding.

The next morning we drove into the park, but were stopped by smoke. Uhhh, wait, there’s a FIRE here. Yep. It started out as a controlled burn for “healthy fire ecology”, but there were a few problem spots that needed to be extinguished.

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So, What’s Next??

To Be Continued…

10 Reasons Why Having a Child With Cochlear Implants is Awesome

10 Reasons Having a Child with Cochlear Implants is Awesome

10. They are the envy of all other children who do not have the ability to stick things to their heads.

“Why yes, I do have a magnetic personality.”

 

9. You don’t have to worry about vacuuming while they sleep.

Or, you’ve ever accidentally woken up someone else’s sleeping child because you forgot they can hear. Oops.

 

8. You have your own secret language.

To some, an Audi is a car. To us, they have magical sound powers. Both cost about the same.

 

7. If there’s ever bad language in a movie, you can pull his ears off.

Uh oh. He can lipread…

 

 

6. Every other cochlear implant family is an instant friend.

They just “get it”.

 

 

5. You have a reason to smile every single day. 

“Mommy” is the most beautiful word you’ll ever hear.

 

 

4. They can take their ears off whenever they want.

Husbands have been begging for this technology for centuries.

 

 

3. You’ve gotten really good at responding to dumb strange questions.

“Why yes, our toddler has her own Bluetooth for all her business calls.”

 

 

2. You have to laugh at some of the things that come out of your mouth.

“Don’t you dare throw your ears out the window!”
“Your ear is stuck to the refrigerator.”
“Please get me a pair of tongs. Someone threw their ears behind the bed.”
“Why are you beeping?”

 

 

1. Your deaf child can HEAR!

It hasn’t been easy, but they’ve come so far, and so have you. From diagnosis day until now, they have worked hard, overcome, and become an inspiration. They’re your super hero.

Start with Junior’s Story, Read about Diagnosis Day,  and see my list of “You Know You’re a CI Parent If…”

 

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Home From Vacation: My 5 Favorite Things

We just returned from a week and a half vacation at the beach. It was so glorious. We swam, tanned (luckily didn’t burn too much), hiked, collected shells, celebrated our anniversary, celebrated Tater’s 7th birthday and most importantly, just spent time together. Here are some of the highlights from our trip.

Note: You won’t see “sleep” on this list…Junior does not like to sleep in any bed other than his own and made it very clear every 4 hours or so, that he was not happy with his surroundings.

1. The Beach

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There is something so peaceful about the waves and the sand (as long as it’s not tracked into my house, in which case sand and I become mortal enemies) that just refreshes me. There were 10 foot waves from a storm so we didn’t spend too much time in the water, but just smelling the salt spray and listening to the crash of the waves was enough.

2. Nature
We hiked a lot, and found some areas in stark contrast to the ocean. Everything from pine trees to palm trees to cactus. All within the same hike! The kids didn’t love walking, but they did love the mud puddles we found!
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3. 10 Years
I cannot believe it has been 10 years since our Wedding Day. We celebrated our 10th anniversary while on vacation. I made my husband a photo book of moments from our decade together.
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4. Junior’s Listening
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Junior LOVED listening to the birds and the waves at the ocean. He wore his cochlear implants into the pool a few times, but with all the background noise, it was hard for him to hear too well. He was very vocal in telling us he wanted to go to the beach (“beeeh”) and refused to wear outfits that weren’t his swimsuit.

 

5. Time Together
I am so thankful for how hard my husband works for us, even though he works a lot. But this makes the time we spend together even more valuable, and I am grateful for these last 10 days to celebrate our anniversary and Tater’s birthday.
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I’m still not back into the swing of things here at home…it will probably take me weeks to fully unpack and reorganize my life. But, the lifelong memories were worth it, even with the sleepless nights…and the screaming in the airplane…and the whining for food…traveling after kids is definitely a different ballgame than traveling before kids, but I sure do love having them around :)