Monday, November 23, 2015

Nails...

When I stop and think what we've been up to since my last post 2 weeks ago, the first thing that comes to mind is potty training.  Yes, that's right...  potty training!  We are so proud of Grace for how well she's doing with potty training (the fact that she just recently turned three and is potty training is a huge praise in my book), but it sure is harder than I remember it being with the big kids.  I think that's in large part due to the fact that Grace is the third child, so trying to potty train when you're on the go a lot, like out at the soccer field for practice and games, it makes it a little hard.  Add to that the fact that she LOVES to go in public potties... as many times as possible, makes potty training a little exhausting.  She is only having 1-2 accidents a day and she's only really been potty training for a week or two now, so despite my exhaustion, we are so proud of her and praising the Lord for such a big milestone.
Last weekend we participated in the Houston Buddy Walk.  It is for the Down Syndrome Association of Houston and always a treat to see and talk to so many kids and adults with designer genes and their families.  They had all sorts of fun attractions for the big kids, check it out...















We went to The Rise School (Grace's school = a little slice of heaven) fundraiser this week and had a blast!  What fun it is to talk to teachers, administrators, and other parents outside of our normal everyday routine (dressed up, not wrangling any little people, running off to get to work, etc). 

Grace saw us take a picture and wanted to get in on the action too...

How cool is this, Grace's picture was on all of the invitations...  

...and in the swag bags that they gave away at the amazing silent auction fundraiser?


Two reminders of how resilient and amazing kids are and how I need to be more like them came this week when we had a "teachable moment" with Abigail.  First, a heartwarming and heartbreaking event occurred when the whole family was in the car and Abigail was crying pretty hard and Grace became very upset and sad to see her "sissy" sad (Grace seriously embodies the verse "rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn" as she gets extremely concerned when she sees anyone that is upset, let alone one of her peeps... her sissy).  Grace started to call her name and say "breathe with me sissy," as she has her arms crossed (doing what they call the pretzel at school) and taking slow deep breaths, as Abigail continued to be upset Grace took her arms out of her car seat so that she could lean over and rub Abigail's leg and say "awe sissy" and proceeded to insist that Abigail breathe with her, this time with her arms over her head (they call it the balloon at school) and she continued until she got Abigail to do it with her and wouldn't you know... it worked!  Grace was able to calm her big sister down when she was sad, it was a beautiful moment.  As usual, as the night went on I began worrying that I might have been too hard on Abigail and was praying a prayer that I find myself praying anytime I get upset with the kids, "Lord any holes that I have made in the kid's hearts or spirit please fill them in with your grace..."  I think about one of the most compelling analogies I've ever heard, its a story called Nails in the Fence.  In case you haven't read it, here it is (don't scroll past it because I promise it's good :-)

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence. 

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. 

Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. 

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there." 

The little boy then understood how powerful his words were. He looked up at his father and said "I hope you can forgive me father for the holes I put in you." 

"Of course I can," said the father. 

Before putting Abigail to bed that night she said that she left something on my pillow, but asked us not to read it until after I put her down.  After snuggling and praying with her I hurried off to see what she had left on my pillow, what I found was a card she had made for David and I where she thanked us for caring about her so much, promised that she understood the lesson we were trying to teach her that evening, shared that she knew in God's strength that she could do better, told us she loved us, and then said the words the make me cry again just typing it "you are great parents."  The humility, repentance, understanding, forgiveness, and genuine love that she displayed through that card did so much more than just bless my heart (and make me want to squeeze her with all my strength and smother her in kisses), but it was a tangible example of the childlike faith that God calls us to have.  I can't help but ask myself, is that how I respond when I'm corrected?  It's also a reminder of how big God is, that even when we mess things up, He can make it right if we have humble hearts and a contrite spirit.  I love how He uses the "weak" (a child) to teach the "strong" (adults)!  

Lastly, watching Andrew serve (choosing to stay with Grace in the little kids area at the gym instead of going to play with the big kids, feeding her first even if that means he has to wait to eat or doesn't get much to eat, and so much more) and teach Grace (he loves to read to her, teach her about animals, how to build a fort, etc) is just precious... although, he is also great at helping them get into mischief together too.  These two pictures that I happened to capture at the soccer field are a glimpse of their priceless bond.  


We are beyond excited for Thanksgiving this year because we have SO very much to be thankful for, especially this boy who turns 7 years old on Thanksgiving day!!!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING VILLAGE!  We are thankful for YOU!

1 comment:

Julie Wigle said...

Happy Thanksgiving to your sweet family! Thanks for sharing that story....such a great reminder of how our words can really hurt!