Monday, December 31, 2012

Saying Goodbye...

I'm not a fan of goodbyes. In fact, I don't like saying that word at all. And yet here we are, New Year's Eve and it's time to bid adieu to 2012. This has been by far, my favorite year. God's hand has been so evident in every aspect of this year and I almost hate to see this year go. However, I can rest assured that He is faithful and His plans are far better than my own, so bring on 2013!

Have you met my husband? Or seen him lately? Probably not. You know why? Because he is the hardest working son-of-a-gun I know! Michael graduated from Medical School in May and was given a two week break until he began his residency at the beginning of June. And that was the last time I saw him. Okay, so I'm kidding...kind of. He continues to work looong days and even looonger nights, with many weeks resulting in 80+hours worked. And do you know what? He hasn't missed a moment of our family time. When Michael is home, he is our's. I am so thankful for this man who diligently works harder than anyone I know, without complaint and always, always makes time for his wife and family. I am honored to stand beside him and walk this journey together.

Thank you, Michael for your time. I know you don't have much it, yet you freely give all you have to the three who love you most waiting for your arrival each day! I fall more in love with you every day and you are such a blessing to me!

Of course, we said a big "hello" to the newest member of our family, Abel James, born on August 1. Abel's birth was a beautiful gift by the hand of God and I pray those moments never leave my memory.
It's quite possible that Abel is the most perfect, happiest baby on Earth. You may be tired of hearing me say that by now, but I promise you, he is an angel! He has fit so perfectly into our family that I just don't know how we got along without him! His larger than life grin warms my heart and his laugh brings me to tears. He is a blessing and I praise God for his life and the gift of a being a mother to a precious, perfect boy.

Now, if only time would stop and he could be my sweet, butter bean baby forever! :)
You didn't think I would forget the most life changing moment of my life, did you? April 3 will go down in my life history as the day I saw the true love of Jesus here on earth. Most of you know, my sister in law, Carrie selflessly gave Owen his new beginning, his new life, his new (slightly used) kidney. Carrie did what I had longed to do since Owen's birth. It is absoutely impossible to even remotely express my gratitude and thankfulness for her gift, her sacrifice, her act of love.
Because of her, my baby became a bouncing, busy, crazy toddler in what seems like overnight. Because of her, I can now order from the kids menu for a hungry boy, who has learned to eat by mouth. A simple act I had so longed for. :) Because of her, my house is an absolute wreck. And I absolutely love it. Because of her, I rarely sit down, due to chasing a very busy boy throughout the house. Because of her, I can sing, I can dance, I can pray, and I can play with a boy who loves every minute of every day.
Because of Carrie, Owen lives.
Carrie, I praise God for you everyday. Each bite Owen takes, each word he says and each step he takes, I praise Him for you. Thank you, Carrie, you have shown us a love unlike another and your sacrifice has given Owen a life that was impossible without your gift. I love you, Carrie.
We are so thankful for the love and support we have received throughout Owen's journey. Please know, your prayers are felt and so appreciated. Thank you for adding our family to prayer lists, sending encouraging messages and prayers and loving us from afar. I pray over Owen every night that his story is used for HIS ultimate glory. That Owen's life will be used for the glory of the Lord. Thank you, thank you for loving our son. We are so grateful for the outpouring of love we continue to receive. We pray that Owen's life blesses you as it has blessed our's!
So even though I hate saying goodbye, and I have loved everything this year has brought my family. I know that 2013 holds more blessings and adventures! It is my prayer that this blog will continue to encourage you, not through my words, but through the story of a boy who is only here by the grace of God. That through our story, you will see the faithfulness of a God who loves to bless His children. And that through the greatest struggles come the greatest blessings.
So here's to you, 2012, it's been a great year and we look forward to a new year full of new life and new blessings!
And just for fun...some of my favorite 2012 moments....in picture form!
 Owen stood for the first time, using his stander!

 Match Day, Daddy got his #1, Tampa!
 Owen's BIG announcement! :)
 The best day of Owen's life.
 Daddy became DR. Daddy!
Owen's first trip to the beach. :)
Owen met his biggest prayer warrior, his Great, Great Aunt Katie. Who passed away shortly after our visit. We are daily blessed by the legacy of  Aunt Katie's life.
 Sweet Baby Abel made his debut!
 Owen kissed Abel, a rare occurrence!
 Our first ever group picture of ALL the cousins!
 Owen learned to eat by mouth and hasn't slowed down since!
We are so blessed by my parents, who continue to go above and beyond in showing their love for us. I just don't know what I would do without them!
Psalm 138:13
"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; before the "gods" I will sing Your praise. I will bow down toward Your holy temple and will praise Your name for Your love and faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your name and Your word. When I called, You answered me; You made me bold and stouthearted."

1 Thessalonians 5:16-17
"Always be joyful. Never stop praying."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Progress is Progress :)

Big things have been happening around here! Owen is about 7 months post transplant and is just now beginning to show interest in eating by mouth. I'll say, I've had some discouraging days as I had hoped this portion of his development would pick up quickly. However, progress is progress after all and he's doing much better than he was even just a few weeks ago!

It was as if one day it all just "clicked" for him and he realized food really is good! Thank you for those that have been praying for this part of Owen's development. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't pray over Owen, asking God to implant in him the desire to eat.

He has been enjoying a little Chick Fil a (who wouldn't eat that?!), sweet potato fries, cinnamon toast, Pb&J, Honey Buns, Cheese Pretzels, Pizza, Buttered Rolls, Steamed Carrots and is starting to enjoy drinking milk. I am literally beaming with pride as I type this! Oh, and please don't judge all the organic healthy foods I'm serving....I would let him eat chocolate all day if it would advance his munching skills! ;)

First PB&J with Milk
Buttery Roll :)
Chicken Nuggets and Fries

It is amazing to see Owen changing daily and learning and growing. In fact, at our last check up Owen's measurements showed that he has grown 1/2 an inch in just one month! To say that Owen is a busy bee would be a complete understatement. He is a tornado. And never.stops.moving. But I love it! He is crawling, cruising and climbing on everything!



Abel is doing wonderful as well. Although I could be slightly biased, he may just be the best baby on Earth. Not joking. He rarely cries. And not only he does he not cry, he just smiles all the time. He is the most laid back, easy going baby I've ever seen! He loves watching Owen play, and it's possible he might be a TV watcher like big brother as well. :) He most definitely enjoys eating and would rather stay "topped off" on full than get too close to empty! He is just growing by the minute, I so wish I could stop time for a bit, these baby days pass far too quickly!

Thanks for keeping up with our little family! We apprecaite each prayer said on behalf of Owen and our famliy and we are blessed each day in seeing the faithfulness of God's hand at work in Owen's development. We cheerish each of you! Owen has some big testing coming up December which will result in big decisions by our doctors. Testing will be done to check the reflux of Owen's left (naitive) kidney and a decision will be made as to deciding if removing the kidney is necessary. If the kidney is poisng a risk, of course we want it removed. However, sending your sweet baby back for surgery never, ever gets easier and I just don't think I'm ready to do it again. Please be in prayer for our doctors, as they make their decision and that the Lord will prepare and guide my heart to know that He is leading us on the journey and He has been, and will always be, faithful.

Psalm 119:89-90
"Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; You established the earth, and it endures."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

6 Months-What a Journey!

Just a little over 6 months ago we were blessed beyond measure, by the most selfless act of love by my sister in law, Carrie.

Carrie, through her love for Owen, courageous spirit and kindness gave Owen the gift of new life. She demonstrated, here on Earth the love of Jesus and willingly endured a long, painful surgery and even longer recovery so my son could live. To this day, and I am sure as long as I live, am brought to tears of joy and thankfulness for the gift she graciously gave Owen. I'm still at a loss for words and nothing I could ever say or do could even come close to showing my gratitude for Carrie.

To say that Owen's life has changed since transplant would be a complete understatement. Before transplant Owen could sit. And sit, and sit. Not move or crawl, but sit. And he was happy with that. Owen was in the hospital for 11 days after transplant. On day 7 we got him out of the bed and the physical therapist came in to evaluate him. He immediately pulled himself into the crawling position on his own. Then, just 2 short days after returning home from the hospital, this little man was on the move!
Since April, Owen has become a master crawler. Literally, he is so super fast sometimes I can't believe it. His physical therapist said she has yet to see a baby crawl at the speed he can! He has also become a master climber. Climbing on tables, chairs, slides, and yes, even windowsills!

It was amazing to see the transformation occurring before our very eyes as Owen's body learned to accept his kidney. He (almost) immediately felt better. His eyes were so much brighter, and full of life, even his laughter was a little sweeter! The gift of life that Carrie so graciously gave Owen was literally a new life. A new life free of pain, of constant nausea and vomiting, free of 12 hour daily dialysis, twice weekly shots. It is a new life full of hope, determination and a new "normal".

Owen has changed, in what seems like overnight. When I look back on pictures from weeks before transplant, I see such a baby. A very rolley, chunky baby!

It seems as if we were thrown straight into toddler hood, and it feels oh so good! Yes, even the tantrums are welcomed in knowing that Owen is growing and developing at such a fast pace! He is so, so close to walking on his own and is one of the busiest boys I've ever seen. He keeps me on my toes and blesses me daily with his love for life and drive to reach new milestones.

Thank you, thank you for those who have prayed for us and with us. Who have sent encouraging messages and who have shared Owen's story. My prayer is that God will continue to use Owen's life for His glory. That Owen's story will bring hope to those who are weary. That his story will show the ultimate blessing of faithfulness through struggles and valleys. That his story will reveal the promises of God to be true and always, no matter the timing or outcome, perfect.

So, please, rejoice with us in the healing we have seen! Praise God for His faithfulness to our family and His plan that has been so much bigger and better than I could even have imagined.

The following passage blessed me beyond words. Waiting for Owen to arrive, and his first year and a half of life were no doubt difficult. I can so clearly remember the somber looks on the doctors' faces when they delivered the news of Owen's grim condition to us. If I could see them again, if I could tell them one thing, I think I would share this passage with them. The difficulty we endured far surpasses the mark Owen's story is leaving on this Earth. The blessing born out of this difficult situation was so worth enduring the storm.

" Difficulty is actually the atmosphere surrounding a miracle, or a miracle in it's initial stage. Yet if it is to be a great miracle, the surrounding condition will not simply be a difficulty, but an utter impossibility. And it is the clinging hand of His child that makes a desperate situation a delight to God."

 And just so you know, Owen is finally taking up his role as big brother around here. :)

 Psalm 30:11-12
" You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A New View

We're still here! Apparently, life with two children is quite busy and blogging time (or time for showering for that matter!) is few and far between. It's okay, I think these cuties are worth it and more! :)

The Boys (I love saying that, by the way!) are doing wonderful. I ventured out alone, with both boys for the first time yesterday for their well check up appointments.

Mr. Owen's stats are quite different now that we have a working kidney! Before transplant Owen was "off the charts" for his weight (as in c-h-u-b-b-y!) and barely on the chart for his height (clearly his Mom and Dad aren't giants to begin with!) Well, my now oh-so-healthy two year old is weighing in at 29lbs (51%tile) and 34in (31%). Holy cow! What a difference! So, he's still on the short side, but hey- he's growing like crazy! And slimming down, too....unfortunately I've had to say goodbye to the rolls that made him the cutest "Michelin Man" baby around. :) Owen is doing so many new things lately, I've *almost* had a few breakdowns when coming to the realization that this big brother....really is getting big. He has overcome some huge fears, sensory wise and met some big milestones, all in the few weeks that Abel has been here.

Our first big accomplishment was crawling in the grass. Owen has never, ever, ever been okay with grass touching him. He didn't mind to pick it up with his hands, but was not one to sit, stand or crawl in it. Well, the times of sitting on the patio, knowing Owen will stay right beside us are long gone. He's off and ready to find some dirt and rocks to play with!

Bath time at the Daugherty House has been nothing short of agonizing for at least 6 months. Owen seemed to not only be terrified of the tub, but the bathroom in general. We aren't really sure why, as he was a fish in the water at the pool all summer! But recently, with lots of help from Daddy sitting in the tub with him, Owen has decided that baths just aren't so bad after all! :) (The faucet makes a great thirst quencher, as well!)
And, of course Owen is movin' and groovin' like crazy! I'm not sure how far he is from walking alone, as his upper body strength is still quite weak and he likes a little something to hold on to...but, MAN! For a boy who literally couldn't move in April....he is developing like crazy! He is climbing, pulling up, cruising and taking steps with assistance. It is amazing what God is doing in this little boy's body! We continue to pray for muscle strength and development, as his little body just can't keep up with all the exploring calling his name! :)

Little Brother Abel is growing like wildfire as well!At his 1 month appointment he has jumped up to 11lbs (70%tile) and 22.5in (70%tile). Maybe he's going to fill my need for lovin on those baby rolls! :) Abel is the most easy going, relaxed boy, just like big brother was. I've been given the "okay" to nurse only on demand now, rather than wake him through the night. Most nights, he goes 3-4 hour stretches, eating at 11pm, 2am and 6am. Did I mention he's a great baby?! He' still working on charming big brother to really like him, but I'm sure once Owen realizes we aren't sending him back, he'll come around! :)

So, to tie in the purpose for titling this blog "A New View" (I'm sure you were wondering where I was going with that by now...) I'd like to share a little of what God has been revealing to me during my quiet time with Him. (I had to start with pictures of the boys....I know why you really read!) :)

One of my most favorite verses when waiting for Owen to arrive was 1 Samuel 1:27 "For this child I have prayed, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him." I had always longed to be a mother and had prayed for a fruitful womb long before even being married. However, had I read on, and really studied the whole verse, I would have found much more meaning and wisdom for my parenting than I had realized.

If I had read on, I could have learned about the story of Hannah. She prayed for a son. And when the Lord granted her the desires of her heart, she prayed the above verse, in thankfulness to the Lord. However, she didn't stop there. "Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord." (v.28)

I'm still learning how to "lend" my sons to the Lord. As often as I call these sweet boys "mine" they are not. They are His. His precious children, whom He loves immeasurably more than I am capable of doing. They are blessings given to me, to raise in the name of Jesus, worshipping and honoring Him through my parenting. The hands that carefully knit these babies together in my womb are still working in their lives, still growing them, and always, always protecting them.

I am learning to daily lays my boys at the feet of Jesus. To give Him complete control over their lives. My interceding only limits the great things God has planned for them. I cannot parent them alone, without God. This becomes easier when I read this promise: "For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone." Psalm 91:11-12

I can admit, I'm a control freak. Especially with all that we have gone through with sweet Owen, I like knowing what's coming, knowing what to expect, and being in control. But I'm not. I don't have control over their lives. The big dreams and desires I have for their lives, must match with the ones created for them by their Creator. This sinful world scares me beyond words. I hate to think of the things children are exposed to at such early ages, losing their innocence so young. I can do what I can in my own house, but leasing them out into the world is a whole different story. It's then when my faith will yet be tested again, in chossing to believe the promises the Lord has said, that He loves His children and will keep them from harm. Wow, this parenting thing isn't easy!

No matter how much of a "helicopter mom" I am, this "mama bear" can't always protect my babies from the wickedness of this world. But, knowing that they are always safe in the arms of Jesus brings a peace in knowing that He's got their backs. I just have to let go a little, and let The One who loves beyond what I can do what He has predestined long before I even prayed for them.

"Hide (them) under the shadow of your wings, from the wicked who oppress (them), from (their) deadly enemies who surround them." Psalm 17:8-9