Wednesday, October 20, 2010

These are the roughest days...

Most days I get so caught up in the hourly, sometimes minute by minute, challenge of managing Faith's diabetes that I really don't stop to dwell on the "what-if's".  That really is a blessing.  There are too many "what-if's" and none of them are good.

Today, however, there was no getting away from those scary thoughts that I try to keep pushed to the back of my mind.

First thing this morning, I heard that a Type 1 family lost their precious 13 year old daughter to this ugly disease.  It happened in a way that I believe to be the most terrifying to think about.  No, I don't know this family personally.  Before today I had never heard their names.  But, I know the nightmare they've lived with.  I know the sleepless nights.  I know the fears they must have had, that surely they believed would never happen to them.  I feel this overwhelming sadness for them today.  By all accounts this family did everything they could to manage their daughter's diabetes.  They were proactive, caring, diligent, on top of it. 

This fact makes the news an increasingly bitter pill to swallow.

It would be easier if I could find some fault.  Some fault to pull out of this story to make myself feel better.  You know, "Oh, well they weren't careful enough to (fill in the blank)."  Or, "I am more watchful about this or that."

The truth is this couldn't have been prevented and is a very real possibility for any of us living with trying to manage this monster.

But, it wasn't us this time.  It was Eilish's family.  My heart is breaking for this family.  For Eilish's little sister, Ella.

Oh, how I hope for a cure.

Y'all pray for the families mourning the loss of their little Type 1 angels.  Pray also for all the families that are filled with fear and unable to sleep tonight because of this sobering reminder of how fragile life is.  This reminder of how sneaky and unpredictable this monster called Diabetes can be.

It is more eloquently written about at Candy Hearts Blog and Beta Buddies.  Be sure to check out those touching posts.

So, today has been one of those rough days.  I've been fighting back tears all day.  Not wanting to face the reality of this.  Not wanting JC, Grace, and Eli to see me and start asking questions.  Trying to focus on the positives.  Thanking GOD that I still have my little Faith.  Thankful that her brothers and sister aren't mourning the way little Ella is.

Trying not to allow the devil to take this and fill me with fear.

God is still in control.

He is who He was yesterday... and He will be tomorrow.  No matter what tomorrow brings.

Love y'all.  Hug your babies extra tight tonight.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Not even close.

Are you the parent you want to be?

I'm not.

Not even close.

Do you have any idea what kind of parent you WANT to be?

I do.  I have all these ideals and dreams of what I want to be...what I feel I should be.  What I believe God is calling me to be.

But, I don't live up to a single one of them...heck, most of the time I'm not even in the ballpark.

I'm not patient, or encouraging, or wise, or loving, or diligent enough.  I know I'll never be perfect.  I don't even want to be.  But, the mark is somewhere North of where I am.

Most days I tell myself that if I'm concerned about being a good mom then I'm probably better than I realize...yeah, that's a lie.  JC made that clear tonight.

Don't you hate it when your kid says or does something that is like them holding up a mirror in front of you?  One that allows you to REALLY see yourself...and catch a glimpse of how they see you?

Today was one of those days that I just feel like I beat my kids up all day.  Of course, I don't mean I laid a single hand on them.  I beat them up in a way that leaves scars you can't see, and that don't heal nearly as quickly as the visible ones.  It was just one of those days...this child did this, that child broke that, if the other child doesn't stop doing xyz I'm going to scream!

You have those days, right?  It's not just me...right??

So, while I was cooking supper I sent all the kids outside to play.  When I had supper in the oven, I went outside so I could keep an eye on the little ones.  I don't remember now what prompted this, but at one point I yelled, "Ok, everyone's in bed early tonight...I can't take this another minute!"  They were already supposed to be going to bed early because of their behavior at bedtime the previous night, but I had just had enough of whatever they were doing at the time, so I felt the need to remind them..I guess.

JC pipes up and says, "We know, but why the little kids too?"

I said, "Because I need a break today!  I've had enough!"

...and this is the moment that the mirror went up...

JC says, "yeah, that sounds about right.  It's always that.  You always need a break...or a minute of quiet.  You have to get out of the house for a minute, or go to the grocery store alone.  Mom, it's like you don't even want to be around us..."

Well, I'd like to say that I immediately felt convicted and asked forgiveness, but that's not what happened.  Not exactly, anyway.  I immediately felt it, but that's now what I immediately reacted out of.  My first thought, (and what came out of my mouth...or some semblance there of...) was more like.... "grr, let's recap, shall we?  I am home with yall 24/7.  I don't have a hobby, don't go out on the weekends, don't have date night with your daddy.  I don't work, your little brother and sister aren't in daycare, you're not even in public school for crying out loud!  If I didn't want to be with you I would be working, someone else would keep your little brother and sister, and you and Grace wouldn't be homeschooling!  I am here because I want to be, but I've had enough of the disobedience and disrespect today and you're going to bed early!"

He mumbled something else about them only not being in daycare because it was probably too expensive, but by this time I was seeing red and licking emotional wounds.  So, I went inside to check on supper.

While I wouldn't usually allow him to talk back like that, I knew he was right...and I couldn't stop thinking about what he said.

"It's like you don't WANT to be around us."

I KNOW I want to be where I am.  It has always been my dream to have a house full of stay at homeschool.  BUT, what do my actions say to my children?

Does my temper...or my cutting remarks...or my heavy sighs at having to break up the same fights a hundred times...or my irritated glances at being asked the same question a hundred times....or my raising my voice constantly communicate to them that they are my biggest blessings?  That I feel so grateful that they have a daddy that works his butt off so I can stay home with I don't have to put them in daycare?  That I desire above all else to be the one that gets to speak into their lives, nurture them, and witness all their milestones and achievements?


Not even close.

Ugh.  I'm so disappointed in myself.

Some might tell me I just need to relax...that I'm too uptight about this.  (Actually, I could name a few that will.)  But, I need to get this right.  There is little else I will do in my life that is more important than raising my children.  There is a right and a wrong way to do this parenting stuff, and what I'm doing now just isn't cutting it.

God has called us as parents to do more than just get them to 18, graduated, and out of the house.

I know that...and believe why can't I DO that??


Ugh, yall pray for me, I'm so disgusted with myself tonight...

P.S. The rest of the DAD story is coming, I promise...just had to get all of this out of my head tonight.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Diabetic Alert Dogs...what a blessing!!

Oh, I've wanted to write this blog for several weeks.  It's going to be long, but there's SO much to catch you up on!
We have been experiencing a time of INCREDIBLE blessings!  Gosh, I don't know where to how 'bout the beginning?
One day I was at a friends house and we were all sitting around the table chatting over coffee while our kids (we have 11 collectively...) played outside.  On the table laid a Focus On The Family Clubhouse Jr. magazine.  I absentmindedly picked it up and started flipping through it.  Why?  WHY was I looking through a children's magazine when I was sitting there enjoying the first grown up conversation I'd had in weeks??  (I now know it's because God put it in front of me.)  A picture of a German Shepherd dog caught my eye so I read a bit to see what it was about...only to discover that it was a diabetic alert dog!  I exclaimed, "WHAT!!??" to my friends.  (Who thought I'd lost my mind...or had tourette's or I read on to find out that this dog alerted his boy to high or low blood sugar and even woke his mom up during the night to let her know the boy was low.
I HAD to find out more about this!
What a blessing this could be to Faith and I!
As soon as I got home, I got online and started researching and reading everything I could get my hands on.  I didn't even know if it would be possible to train a dog to alert for a child as little as Faith, but I was determined to find out!  I started telling everyone I talked to about it and posting links about alert dogs on my facebook page.  Some people thought I was crazy, others were supportive.
The first day I posted something online about it a friend of mine called me and said, "Sarah, I've been praying for you all morning.  Praying that God would send you some kind of help in taking care of Faith!  Something to help shoulder the load...and I got on Facebook and saw your post about the diabetic alert dog (or DAD).  Sarah, I feel it in my spirit that this is how God is answering that prayer!"  She said, "Research it and pray about it and let me know if I can help you get a DAD for Faith." I prayed (ALOT) about it and sent out emails to every email address I could find online telling them our story and asking them if they could point me in the right direction to find more information.  I got some pretty crazy responses and some very helpful ones.  One (unscrupulous) place responded with "I have a labradoodle for $15,000.  Call me."  That was it!  No questions about Faith's condition, our lifestyle, personality, NOTHING.  I immediately hit DELETE on that one!
Over the next few weeks I kept praying and kept researching and just felt God leading me to a kennel in Mississippi called Wildrose Kennels.  What I didn't know is that the dog that I had found in my first few days of research that I had been so impressed with was a Wildrose dog...
and one of the sites that I had found that had been very helpful was created by a Wildrose trainer...
and a sweet lady that I spoke to online about DADs was a trainer for Wildrose!
When all these pieces came into focus I knew that God was leading me to Wildrose.  There are many places training DADs (some better than others) and out of all those places I just kept coming back (unbeknownst to me) to Wildrose.  Chuck and I decided we'd pray about it one more day and if we still felt God leading us there then we would apply for a dog from Wildrose.
The next morning I sent in the application.  A short while later I got word from the trainer at Wildrose that they would be going through the applications the next day and selecting people that they would train a DAD for.  I immediately sent out a prayer request asking my friends to join me in praying that Faith's story would stand out.  That those reading it would be touched by it and wouldn't be able to get away from it.  A few hours later I got an email from the trainer at Wildrose saying that she was re-reading Faith's story and reliving her own daughter's diagnosis with every word!  I felt like this was just a little bit of confirmation from the Lord that we were on the right track!
Later that night I got another email from her...the one I'd been praying and waiting for! She said that WR was willing to train a dog for Faith, but that it would be a long process because we had to find just the right dog with just the right temperament.  One with the ability to focus on and listen to me as it's handler and focus on Faith as it's girl.  She painted this bleak picture so I would understand and be prepared for the LOOOOONG wait ahead of us.  She warned me that if there wasn't the right dog in the next batch of puppies then we would have to wait even longer.  There are families that have been waiting YEARS for the right DAD.  She wasn't being negative, just realistic.  I believed fully that God had a dog for Faith at this point so I wasn't discouraged a bit...only hopeful.
It was late so I sent emails to my two friends that had offered to head up fundraisers letting them know that we were accepted and that we officially needed to be FUND-raising!  We needed to come up with a deposit asap.  Then we had the rest of the year (at least) to come up with the remaining roughly $10K we thought it would take to purchase the dog and allow us to travel for Mississippi for a week for training when the dog was ready!  I couldn't imagine how, but I just knew God was going to provide the money.  I went to bed that night OVERJOYED!
The next morning by 9am I had heard from one of my friends that we had $100 in our fundraising account!  I was thrilled! Wow!, I thought, just a couple hours into the day and we're already at $100!!  That afternoon I got all the kiddos down for a nap and curled up in bed to catch a nap myself.  I don't get much sleep during the night from checking Faith's bg at least every 2 hours so I try to nap when the kids do as much as possible.  I fell asleep praying.  I was just talking to God about how every aspect of Faith's diabetes had stretched me out of my comfort zone and how I knew I could trust him and I knew his timing was perfect..but I really felt like I needed help NOW...but that I wanted his perfect will so I was trusting that his timing would be perfect.  I fell asleep praying that and was woke up by the phone ringing and it was the trainer from Wildrose. She said she needed to talk to me and asked if I had a minute...of course I did.
Ok, this is getting long, so I'll type more soon....To be continued...
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