Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Bedtime Story to My Chillies/Children/Swanlings :-)


Once upon a time there were five young swans.  They lived together with their parents in a land far from the rest of their family.  This was sad for them because they had a lot of cousins, aunts, uncles, and grand parents that loved them so very much.  These little cygnets, that is the official name of young swans, even had a great-great grandmother.  You see, swans live together in forever families that never separate or move away.  Yet, this family was special.  Their father flew in the royal swan force and that is why they moved so very far away, and this made their father and the entire family very proud to serve the others of their land.

During their time in Okla-nest-a the five little swans grew in stature, wisdom, and grace as they were given many trials that most swans did not experience even once throughout their entire life, and yet these five small swans were living through tremendous trial after tremendous trial.  They also always new that there was another trial waiting just beyond the rivers bend.

To give you an idea these sweet birds went through a nest fire where they lost everything even their first feather print.  They also were in a flying accident.  You see these Geese were not paying attention and crashed right into their behinds!  Then two out of three of their grandmothers died.  And if that wasn't enough there were many more struggles that they had to navigate through in just a few short months.

However, the greatest of these storms was watching their oldest sister and second to oldest sibling struggle through a condition that made her body do things that she did not have any control over.  Sometimes she would just stop and stare, sometimes she would shake, and other times she would just be too tired to leave the nest for lessons or play.  Mama swan stayed with her during the others lessons so that she could learn as much as possible, but everyone hoped that a miracle would happen so that biggest sister would be able to do what everyone else can do without having to work so hard to accomplish it.

If you asked biggest sister what the biggest challenge would she would say that there was not enough time in the day to give everyone enough love.  You see, she did not see her challenge as troublesome or sad.  She saw it as a reason to work harder, dream bigger, and show love to everyone that she met.

One day biggest sister had to have a surgery.  Mama took her to the hospital to meet the avian veterinarian.  It was there that they made a plan to try to fix some of biggest sisters challenges.  When biggest sister came home from the hospital she seemed to be the same brave girl, but there were nurses with her.  They talked to the family and made a plan to include nurses in the care of biggest sister.  They also shared somethings that were scary to big brother and the littles.  They said that biggest sister might fly to heaven before the next Christmas.  Everyone was silent for a few minutes.  Then middle cygnet and second girl of the family said, "Christmas is because of Jesus and only Jesus can say when someone fly's to heaven."  A big sigh of relief filled the room as all took in the power of what such a young swan said.  "You are absolutely correct" said mama.

One would think that this would be enough of a challenge to handle.  But those cygnets were tried, tested, stretched, and bent.  And through it all they knew that it was not by accident that so many "accidents" and catastrophe's were happening.  Nope, they were happening so that the Seven Swans could grow in faith and stick even closer together than ever before!  The 7 swans would always be known as 7.  Uniquely individual and yet together as one.  No matter what life threw at them and no matter who went to heaven first... because they would all meet there someday, and God put them together for a mighty reason.  Even if the reasons were yet unknown to them, There is no accident in life.  Only divine lessons meant to fulfill our creators purpose in us.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Trying ...

A Car is an investment.  It takes you where you need to go.  It protects you on your journey.  It houses years of memories, of both places been and songs sung.  Babies facing rear, and children now without a car seat.  Moving across country, and traveling back to visit.  Carrying a baby home for the very first time and trusting that this precious bundle will be safe.  Driving to doctors all over the country to bring hope, healing, or just some help to one special unique and wonderfully made (now) 10 year old.

A Car is money flushed down the toilet.  Our insurance claims that our fully paid off investment is worth not even half of the selling price of the same make, model, year, mileage on the market.  Our insurance of course does not cover what we have spent on said car like they would a house and it does not even cover the amount of insurance we have paid over the lifetime of our car!

And yet, we are in a rental van that does not even fit our family, I do not think anything other than a Toyota Sienna would, but perhaps I am bias and there are others out there that would fit four full sized car seats and a wheelchair?  And the rental has expired.  We need to somehow buy a new vehicle before our insurance has even settled on a price that they will pay us.  But still we must press on and either A. Go in to debt which we firmly believe we should not do or B. start paying for the rental out of pocket until the insurance settles.

Fortunately, we have decided to get a lawyer involved and she is very kind, working very hard for us, and also went above and beyond to help us look for a vehicle.

We have an appointment in the morning to look at a used Honda Odyssey that is an o6 I believe, and I am thankful for her kindness and hard work.  It is so difficult to find a vehicle that has 8 full seats and has room for a wheelchair.  So many vehicles have 'jump seats' or about 2 inches of leg room for the back row.  And not enough trunk space for a folded down wheelchair, oxygen, and groceries when we have to go grocery shopping when Brendan is at work or deployed and all five kids are with me.  *You should see my packing skills!  But you will also know why I am (as much as possible) an Amazon grocery shopper :-)

You know, with the house fire, we at least know that our home will be put back together in a similar fashion.  But our van is gone.  Our first car that we owned together.  The first vehicle for most of my babies.  The first new car that we ever owned (and likely the last unless we can pay for one in cash someday).  And I am so sad.  Some may think that it is so silly but we were Toyota Strong!  We loved our van.  The "SS Sterling" was his name and he took us on a wonderful journey for nearly a decade. I cannot believe how much I miss a hunk of metal with wheels, but I do.  Toyota, you did our family good, if only insurance would see the value in someones car when someone else carelessly destroys it.  And just in case you missed my last post.  I am extremely beyond words thankful for the safety that GOD and this van provided for us.  I know that it was God alone.  Yet I also believe and know that God lead us to that van and that company and I am very thankful for the workmanship that went into our van to keep us safe!
Our "S.S. Sterling" :-/

Here you can see that the door could not even open because the back had been pushed out to permanently stop the exit of Avagrace.  Thank GOD that she did not seize and her special car seat (that I actually did not appreciate enough) did its job better than I ever could have expected!

This is the most horrifying picture to me.  My sweet little girls (ages 6 and 7 at the time of the accident were sitting here.  Less than one hand length away from their sweet heads was the trunk and a very sharp metal casing that kept the frame of the door and window in place.  They were covered in glass but saved from what could have been so much worse.  

Saturday, June 7, 2014

One Might Think...

One might think that a child on Hospice is enough to deal with, one might think that a house fire is more than enough for that same family to deal with, but it doesn't stop there.  Yes, we lost our birds in the fire, and yes we saved our dogs only to loose our beloved Felicity to breast cancer a few weeks later.  Then after living in a wonderful hotel for a little over two months we moved into our rental house.  The following day Brendan was driving me to the airport so that I could fly home to be with my family for a few days and restock some of the items we lost.  (After all we are a military family half a country away from everyone).  But that trip was not meant to be that day because in the middle of rush hour traffic we were brought to a rather sudden stop safely with a car and a half length in front of us only to be hit from behind by a 19 year old who was on her cell phone and not paying attention to the road.  It was a terrible learning experience for her and a traumatic event that still causes our kids to cry in the car, have nightmares, fear sleep, and have headaches and other aches and pains that they did not have prior to their concussions, whiplash, bruises, contusions, and scrapes.

However, our entire back window was smashed into hundreds if not thousands of pieces and our two littlest girls were covered with glass and yet they did not have any scratches from the glass.  Also, the back of the van was bent in so far that it was less than one of my hand lengths from the back of their necks, and they are still alive!

Gods mercies are new each day!!

And yet we are now faced with yet another crisis.  Not only did we go through that very traumatic experience but we have also lost our completely paid off van that fit everyone in our family perfectly and safely and although it was not a wheelchair van, Avagrace's wheelchair fit when it was folded up in the trunk of the van.

So what is this insurance offering?  Some ridiculously low value.  Even when looking on Carmax at vehicles that had the same mileage and status of our car meaning "good/average/new etc" the cars are priced at least 3-5k above what the insurance is offering us.

It is evident with the many misdiagnosis and botched medical events that we are not a family that believes in suing, however, the need for a lawyer to at lest speak legalize and be in our corner as we navigate this very traumatic accident.

It was my hope that my children would never experience an accident in their life.  And this was not just a simple fender bender.  I praise God for his mercies and his love that surrounded us then and surrounds us now and I pray that his provisions will come through because debt is not something that we believe in either.  I know that sometimes (especially with medical bills there is no choice) and to have a working and safe vehicle to transport our family also is something we cannot live without, but please pray along with us that God will show up in a big way and we can manage this in a way that is pleasing and honoring to him!

Thank you for your love and prayers, my torn AC muscle (in my shoulder), Violets concussion headaches, and the swelling in Aidan's neck are the three most pressing accident related prayer requests.  (And that insurance will get their act together and replace Avagrace's special needs carseat. :-)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Why we were away.

My birthday is March 25th.  This year, my birthday brought a change that we never expected.  We had a house fire that took everything.  Baby pictures and blankets, photos from WW1 and 2.  Toys from my childhood, and my beloved library that I have been so proud of for my children.  I loved our books, and how they had messages written in the covers from whom they came from and when and to whom they were intended for.  My wedding dress, our wedding rings.  While we were able to save some things like costume jewelry, Big Baby for Violet (she has been Violets favorite toy since she was not quite two).  We were able to find a few sweet pieces of furniture, like the doll bed my grandfather made for me when I was in elementary school, and the rocking chair that has been in our family for longer than I know.  But everything else, all of our clothes, all of our memories, even doors and walls are gone.  The shell of our home is in great hands though.  We have fabulous contractors and we know that it will be perfect when it is fixed.

Since March 25th we have been living in a hotel.  In the fire we lost our birds and just after Easter we lost our dachshunds who were taken care of so lovingly by one of our best friends.  Unfortunately Felicity had cancer and because the hotel had a limit of one dog, before we learned the fait of felicity we had given Louie to a new home.  However, we firmly believe that God has everything in control and that everything, good or bad, happens for a reason.  And to be quite honest we find more peace in this fact than the security we felt in our stuff.

We were ever so grateful for our neighbors that came out to hug us, give us water, snacks, chairs to sit in.  Our friends that protected our children from the scene of the fire.  And again, our neighbors who tried to protect our remaining belongings  from the looters that thought they could come into our home and take whatever they wanted inside or outside.

We have learned a most valuable lesson that I would like to share with every single person whom has medical equipment in their home.  PLEASE increase your personal property insurance to cover the cost of the equipment that you own or rent and multiply that total by 2.  We did not do that and so all of Gracies's thousands and thousands of dollars of equipment from her helmets to her sleep safe bed, all need to be replaced out of our personal property insurance, not medical or any other insurance.  So, that being said, we have had many many people praying, sending gift cards, and doing whatever they can to help us feel the support and love from home as we live so many states away.  We have also had love and support from some of our friends here as well.  We have so many things to be grateful for.