Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thankful Thursday

 Oh, look at this sweet little boy!!
Thankful he'll be 6 months on Friday!
(He's 12 lbs 3 oz now)

I have to admit, I'm not feeling thankful today,
which means, I need to try to find those things.
When life seems as you can take no more
When your faith is tested
Not my religion, but my faith

I have this on going picture in my head of the devil,
discussing me with God.
The devil is saying, "Oh, yeah, well, give her this!"
and God says, "Fine, she is my good and faithful servant"
(I can only hope He is saying that)

But anyway...
I look at my sweet baby, the baby who
I now take out after staying in (for fear of RSV) for 5 months,
and I protect him,
when people come up to see "the baby"
I stop them, before they say something stupid, because they will, they have that look,
 and I say,
"He has a cleft lip and palate, and had surgery a month ago."

But sometimes, I can't protect him or the other children
from things people say.
One new friend of my daughters
said in the van on the way to our house,

"Ewwww Gross!"
Upon explaining (educating) her on why he looks this way,
she says it again.

"Oh, gross, I mean, it's just gross"

My oldest son says,
"Mom....Mom", with tears in his eyes.

I stay strong for the kids, I explain to her
it's the way God made him and it's not gross.
I also explain that that hurts our feelings,
because we don't think it's gross, we love him, we think he's beautiful.

And then
I cry while I feed him that night.

He's also had these clogged tear ducts since he's been born,
all 6 months except the 2 weeks after his surgery.
I've been begging God to take it away
(I know about warm washcloths and pressing, etc...etc...)
I ask and pray every time I wipe his eyes
Many, many times a day.
I pray again when I try to clean the dried lashes with joboba oil

and I ask God "why?" 
"Doesn't he have enough?"
I'm like a spoiled child.
Because there is so much to be Thankful for

My faith is tested.
I wonder where and how is this glorifying God?

I trust.
I know somehow it is.

I know deep in my heart,
it is not all in vain.

I pump breast milk and feed a baby that needs to be fed special
and Oh, how I love this baby.

How must the rest of our family suffer while we endure this year
and all future surgeries he will need?

Jedi wants to have a Ninjago tournament with his friends
Rosie wants to have a sleepover with her friends
They ask daily
"what are we going to do today?"

I want to and do yell
"I'm doing what I do every day!"
"Every day is the same!"

I am barely surviving here,
just getting through my day,
doing normal things
like laundry, potty training, cooking,
and cleaning.

Going from need to need.

Yesterday, I wanted so badly to kneel down
to beg God's mercy, alone,
but when I went upstairs to do so,
4 kids followed me, each needing something.

I laugh
I say "God doesn't really want me to pray."

He does
I know He does
but sometimes
my desperate prayers
are my vocation,
where I am in life right now.
My work, my struggles,
they are all prayers for our Heavenly Father.
They all glorify Him.

Even when I don't handle it very good.
Even when I figure it all out, right now, while I'm typing.

And so,
I will be Thankful
for my faith, my husband, my family


 Beautiful babies, with soft, kissable toesies--Oh, I could kiss and gobble up these toes all day.
(and I do)
 Thankful for butt sleepers, now isn't that adorable?
Thankful  for our new 6 year old, who poses in front of the Irises that always bloom on her birthday!
(June 1) 
 Thankful her "fish" birthday turned out great!
 Thankful Grandma and Grandpa gave her money and she had just enough to get this bike!!
 Thankful for ice cream cones and 2 year olds!
Thankful she is potty trained finally, but not poopie trained

 Thankful for cute little baby boy sun hats
 Thankful there is such a thing as a "sewing camp"
otherwise my daughters would never learn how to sew.
She just finished her camp today, and now has a new pair of shorts
and some bean bags and the excitement to keep sewing!
 Thankful that I am able to pump breastmilk for my baby,
that he is getting the best I can give him,
I am also Thankful I have 6 months down and only need to do it til his next surgery....
(next year sometime?)
 Thankful for beautiful blooming roses, and Thankful
for perennial flowers, because it's all I've got t his year!!
I just don't have the time to take care of any annuals!
 Thankful for teething babies!!
I took him to the doctor Monday, because he had a fever since Saturday night,
but he's just teething, Thankful for that!
(we call him "Little Red")
 Thankful I've always got kitchen helpers, as hard as it is for me to let go
and hand over some of the control and perfectionism I have,
I am Thankful for it!
 Thankful for my favorite First Holy Communion picture of Mary Hannah
Thankful for my husband, the father of my children,
Thankful for all the sacrifices he makes for us.

There will always be hard things in our lives to deal with, to struggle through,
but with God,
we have the grace
to be


  1. Jamie, first of all those fish cupcakes are gorgeous!

    Second, you know I can relate somewhat to what people say about Simeon. My nephew was born this week (I know you know this because I saw that you signed my sister's caring bridge website) and by societies standards, he's not "pretty". He has a big "bubble" coming out from his face. His eyes are spread far apart. His nostrils are split on each side of the bubble. Many people are going to say "gross!" about this baby. I showed Max a picture of Dominic and he started to cry. Not because he felt sorry for him but because of the way he looked; it scared him.

    I told him that God makes some people different to teach the rest of us how to love. It's not the baby with the cleft palate, or the baby with encephesele that has the impediment, it's the rest of the world that can't get past the strangeness or the difference of how someone else looks. It's not our babies that are disabled, it's everyone else. I truly believe that this why God allows people with deformities, to teach the rest of us how to love.

    Yes, Simeon is beautiful. Dominic is beautiful! The world is being educated on what true beauty is, starting with that one little girl and another little boy, and a cousin and a stranger and an old woman and so on...

    So I know that it hurts, but you know that God is doing something beautiful with these babies. They're beautiful in God's eyes and our eyes, and hopefully one by one, the scales will fall off the ones who are blinded by what is considered to be "normal." I think about Mother Theresa and how she worked with the lepers; each one was beautiful to her because she saw Jesus in them.

    1. Becky--You are SO right! All the things Simeon does are "normal" baby things, finding his feet, rolling, laughing, he's ticklish, he loves his mama!! He is a "normal" baby, he just looks different to the world. I forget about how he looks, til someone says something, yet, at the same time, I also wonder what he will look like after all these surgeries.

      Yes, Dominic is beautiful, I showed the kids and they think so too.

  2. Thanks so much for this honest post! Yes, Sometimes life is tough. It truly is and it is a challenge to see all of our blessings through our trials. You have a beautiful family, including your darling baby. Such a blessing! I love the cute fish cup cakes and the fact that you are teaching your daughters to sew. That is such a great skill to have. Have a great weekend. God bless you all.

    1. Jones Family--I am not teaching the girls to sew...a teacher is!! I do know how to sew straight lines, but am not good at hand sewing...this class taught her how to backstitch and some kind of over stitch too, plus sewing machine sewing.

      so often it is much easier to see the blessings of our trials AFTER the trial. It's funny how in the middle we (at least I) am like "Where's the blessing?"

      God bless you too!!

  3. Simeon is gorgeous. He has such a luminous beauty to go with his precious smile that I had to catch my breath when I saw his picture tonight. Some people wouldn't understand Jesus' scars and wounds either.

    I loved the birthday pics and cupcakes- so cute! You have such a happy, beautiful family. I always love seeing your pics.

    I am sending you lots of hugs and prayers. Everything is for a season, and one day you'll see this season has passed.

    Little Sim is going to do some great things with his life. What a blessing he is!

    1. Oh, Shelly--what you said about Simeon brought tears to my eyes! How beautiful.

      Sometimes these "seasons" are looooooong winter ones!! (haha--I hate winter-can you tell?)

      I believe he is going to do great things too. Thanks for the hugs and prayers, they are coming right back at you!

  4. I think I should pray for the little girl who said that he was gross. But I'll be honest, I'm annoyed that a child would even think, much less voice the words that a BABY is gross. He does not look gross. He is so sweet. My kids have seen his picture and see he is precious.

    Your sweet family is carrying a cross. They are all standing by you and suffering for Simeon. Of course you want to protect them from this, but indeed maybe Jesus is making Saints of each one of them. You are in my prayers tonight. Your post is incredibly touching to me. Take care.

    1. Oh, gosh Mama Bear--that's a great thing, I forgot to even do, pray for the little girl. I got so caught up in my kids feelings and my own, you are SO right. She is a "school" kid, just starting to homeschool this year. I think that has a lot to do with it.

      Thank you for you prayers!
      God bless you too!

    2. Sorry--just moved my comment to the bottom where I meant to put it. :)

    3. Copy, paste, post, delete. :)

  5. I'm so sorry. I always feel so much for those who have to deal with rude and insensitive comments because of the way something looks. I know this isn't quite as serious as what Simeon is going through, but I feel for you because I have a port wine stain birthmark covering most of my right hand and I've had to deal with rude comments my whole life. It hurts, and I don't understand why people can't keep their mouth shut. God mad us this way, who cares? I'm sure they're not perfect either. There are times I cry, I still do over the things people say so insensitively. It doesn't stop hurting, but just know you're not alone, and it's okay to cry. It's okay to think it's hard to deal with. I know you're doing what you can for your kids, and they love you for that. Keep up the great work mommy! :)

    1. Allison, I've wanted to email you, but don't have your email....Simeon also has 2 toes that are webbed and I know you posted about that one time! It helped me for sure, because I might have worried more, but because I'd heard of it and knew it was not that big of a deal, well, he has them and we love them!

      It's funny how strangers think they have the "right" to say whatever they want, they seem to forget there is a person inside, there is a soul, created by God with feelings and thoughts.

      I'm so sorry you still get sad about things and that people still say things, even to a grown woman...I should do a post on "What NOT to say to strangers"!!

    2. Hey, you can always email me at


      Yeah, Annamarie has two webbed toes on each foot, although one foot has a third toe semi webbed to them. I'll say it doesn't matter! She's running all over the place now, it doesn't affect her at all.

  6. I stumbled upon your blog awhile back (homeschool searching!!) and have checked in on Simeon -- once I saw the little sweetie pie, random as it was, I needed to be sure his surgery went well!
    You know, as parents, when we are stuck in the depths of anything our kids are going through... be it sleepless nights... teething .. surgeries... it feels never ending--overwhelming--all consuming .... but then all of sudden that sleepless baby is learning to read... that child we prayed for as they were being taken in into surgery is riding a bike..... and suddenly we are overwhelmed by the thought of letting go a little... and we long for those sleepless nights when they were beautiful little lumps.... ya know (baby lumps) when you put them in one place and returned to them right where you left them..... when we truly could protect them.
    What I am trying to say is... this is going to pass--and while knowing that is not going to make you less overwhelmed .... just be sure to kiss those little toes A LOT before they start walking ... even if its tearful kisses ... in a state of exhaustion! :)

    And don't worry too much about being overly strong. Your kids learn compassion from you .... :) When we show them emotion it normalizes their own feelings for them ..... it's ok to be hurt or even cry a little... they feel it too... and it's helpful for them to see that it's normal when someone says something hurtful to .. well be hurt .... As moms we always want to protect our kids from everything painful .... but if we do that all the time.. they don't get a real chance to see how to process emotion and that even when things are hard.... as a family you are ok!

    I think you are doing a fabulous job!

    1. That your words--Glad you stumbled here! Thanks for checking on Simeon, I so appreciate it. I know this time will go fast (after the fact) but, I do catch myself wanting this year to be over...I've always wanted to keep my babies--babies. I love how you wrote about leaving the baby lumps, that they stay where you leave them right very true, so true!!!

      I have cried in front of the kiddos, but you know when I do, it makes them worry, I have a couple very sensitive kids. (although, when I cry in a movie, they laugh at me!)

      Thank you so much!

    2. Yes it always seems sooo long when we are in the middle of it and then all of sudden they are bigger and it seems it went so fast!

      Simeon will be just fine! He--and all your kids--have a wonderful support system.

  7. Oh Jamie, we have been praying for baby Simeon every night, but have forgotten to pray for you! I am so sorry! God is indeed making you a saint, but breaking you down to do so.

    1. Thank you so much Tracy....not sure about that saint thing....always a goal though, that's for sure.

  8. I wanted to cry when I read this and welled up thinking of you across the miles wherever you actually are. I've been thinking of you and Simeon nonstop lately it seems and meaning to write to you... now I know why. You have been such an inspiration to me. YOu make me so thankful of so many things in my own life and you need to know that your courage and perserverance and "real-ness" inspires and touches others. It touches me. Thank you. I'm "Thankful" for YOU. Will keep you and your beautiful family (which you are doing a wonderful wonderful job on) in my prayers. xoxoxo

    1. Oh, Marijanna--You are so sweet. I find it hard to think that my little life could inspire anyone in any way.

      I write about the hard things too, because I don't want anyone to think it's always hunky dory here and perfect, because no one's life is like that....even though some blogs make it seem that way.

      I am thankful for you too...I am praying for you and both your babies--one inside and the one outside!

  9. ... I want to also say that I think it's so ironic that his name is "Simeon" and this was the prophet who was able to see the Christ hidden under the appearance of a little baby... overlooked by so many others. Simeon is teaching everyone else to look past appearances and see God hidden within. Your family is learning such a valuable lesson to love the person... the whole person and not stop at appearance alone.

    ...and I think he's beautiful. BEAUTIFUL! I want to kiss his sweet face right through this computer screen. Would you do it for me?

    1. OH, my gosh!! I never even thought of Simeon's name in that way. Amazing! OH, this made me tear up and just see God through you!

  10. Jamie Jo, you're really rockin' on the reply thingy!! I was thinking just what you wrote... that indeed your work is your prayer. Your folding clothes and pumping milk, and making dinner, and wiping up spills, and going grocery shopping, and tucking babies in at night, and saying their nite time prayers with them, and wiping Little Red's eyes, and hugging your husband -- those are all beautiful prayers flying up to Jesus on a cloud of love and sacrifice and motherhood. Isn't it truly beautiful after all! You bet that God tells the evil one that you are God's precious faithful servant. You bet He does. and then He gives that evil one is kick back down to h-e-double L. :) sending hugs your way. annuals are too much work anyway. I say, rely on the pretty (reliable) perrenials !! God bless you.

    1. Gardenia--yeah, perennials with lots of weeds this year!! hahah! Your H-e-double L made me laugh out loud!) I have been really thinking about one big thing you wrote..."hugging your husband"...he's the first to I guess lose my attention and it shouldn't be that way, but it is....I need to give him lots of hugs, lots more than I have been, that's for sure.

      Thanks for the hugs, God bless you too!

  11. I'm thankful that even with all of your busy, you still take the time to use your camera. These pictures are great! Yes, butt-sleepers are SOOOO cute! I've always loved that pose. Mary Hannah's picture is beautiful. And the last picture of your husband and kids is the whole reason for it all! How pleased Heavenly Father must be of you, his beloved daughter, who is devoting her whole life to teaching, guiding, and loving his precious children.

    I know your worries of how Simeon's needs will affect the rest of your family. I'm back in the hospital with Spencer this weekend. Nothing serious, just an infection that needs some extra help, but it ripped me apart to have to take my sobbing daughter to my mom's house and tell her I'd see her in a few days. I don't want this! But I know that there is a higher reason for our trials and it humbles me to think that God thought I was up to the task.

    Sending big hugs and love your way tonight! Thank you for sharing your feelings and especially for sharing your beautiful Simeon with us.

    1. I'm so sorry Felt family--You will be in my prayers. It is so hard on everyone else--I ached for you when you explained about leaving your daughter. Even though you know she is well taken care of, it's still hard, it's still not the way you want it to be.

      I remind myself many times, that quote, about how God never told us it would be easy, just that it would be worth it. ANd it will.

      Prayers and hugs coming your way too.

  12. Oh ouch, children can be so cruel, even unintentionally. Usually with a little explanation, all is well, but I guess that little girl was just not open to seeing Simeon for who he really is. Sigh.

    I know it's no fun to constantly have to "explain about the baby", but I hope that somewhere down the line another mommy won't have to because YOU have, and so people walk away a bit more educated on cleft lip.

    I wish I could give you a hug!

    1. It was not intentional, and that's what I had to take a deep breath and pray to myself as I answered her. By the time she left, I think she was ok with it all. Who knows why it happened that way, maybe for my kids to see how to explain things, or maybe someday that little girl will have a baby with problems or maybe she will work with children--oh, if we could see what God sees!!

      (((hugs)))through the screen! and our prayers for eachother!

  13. Jamie -

    I needed this morning. I was being self-absorbed and feeling self-important. Between your struggles and learning to "kill self" over at Testosterhome, it's not about me and never has been.

    Don't forget, as I try to plant into my 7th grade CCD kids, that even a quick, "Lord, help me!" is a prayer. My mom has always believed that our guardian angel is always there to help us offer it up, even when we can't do it for ourselves.

    Or another perspective, is that your struggles are helping release souls from Purgatory to move on to the beauty of heaven.

    God Bless You and hold you in his arms to offer you his strength and comfort.


    1. Traci--believe me, there's lots of silent and not silent "Jesus help me"'s going on here!! haha!

      I usually try to offer up my pains for my kiddos...but used to pray a ton for the poor souls, I need to again, thanks for the reminder.

      Thank you.

  14. So many have replied so I will be brief. First, that top picture of Simeon... He is sooo happy, I love it! You have a beautiful family - inside and out.

    Two, I wanted to say thank you for posting these thank you notes, reminding us all everything is for the greater glory of God, even the everyday, I'm ready to cry/scream moments - that they are learning moments. I've actually had some rough spots post-baby - one of the many reasons I've been a little quieter - and this is something I need to keep reminding myself of.

    1. Oh, Nicole, I'm so sorry you've been going through rough/hard times too, prayers for you too. and (((((hugs)))) too!

  15. You brought tears to my eyes. I have been feeling drug down too and you have reminded me to get off my duff and be thankful. I guess I really need a good spiritual kick in the butt!
    So many prayers and love sent your way. remember when you don't have time to get away and pray that someone, somewhere is praying for you! God bless.

    1. We all need that kick in the butt!!

      Thank you Amy, that's a nice thought. Another thing so very good about this world wide web we use so often, bringing us all so much closer.

  16. Jamie girl you hit one out of the park on this one. Loved it all from start to finish. Your kiddos are as adorable as always and those cupcakes are works of art. Happy Friday my friend.

    1. Thanks Odie--Hugs right back at you!!
      Have a great weekend!

  17. Jamie, I really loved your post. You're so real! Because of your post, I did have a thankful thursday: I thanked the good God for mothers like you, for souls like yours who will love Him even in the midst of pain, of tiredness, of tears. God bless you and help you, sister in Christ!
    And I thing your family is just so beautiful.... I have no words!
    Love from a reader from Brazil,
    in Christ,
    Patricia Medina

    1. Patricia--
      Brazil? Wow! I would love to hear your accent! Amazing to see how God brings us all together, all over the whole world, I can just picture little lights for Christ. God bless you and thank you for reading.

  18. Little Red! I LOVE that!! :)

    Oh, Jamie, my heart aches for you. You are so inspiring to me and this list of Thankfulness goes above and beyond. Thank you for that.
    Please know that we *still* pray for you and Little Red, every day. Not just me, but my kids do too. How I wish I were there to give you a real hug. God love you.

    1. Oh, Kelly--Thank you so much for your prayers, and your children's prayers, they are precious, and so very powerful!!

      Cyber hugs ((((hugs)))) will do for now!

      As Sim's hair is starting to come in, I catch myself hoping it does not change color, we love calling him "little Red"!

  19. I love coming back here and reading your replies!! your comments sections is one big conversation between mommas, building each other up for our family and our goal of living for Our Lord(because you are building all of us up too!)

    1. See? I love this "reply" button...some of the changes in Blogger have been good!!

  20. Btw, I forgot to mention that the first photo of Simeon makes me instantly smile and gives me warm tingles. He doesn't just smile. He erupts joy; beaming out of his sweet face. It's beautiful.

    1. Oh, Kelly--all babies do, right? :)

      Thank you!!

  21. I have no words of wisdom for you right now, but please know my heartfelt prayers are being entrusted to Our Blessed Mother as I type. God loves you, your family, and your dedication and perseverance.

    1. Thank you Meredith, God bless you!

  22. Jamie,

    How are you doing? You are such a wonderful, selfless, and devoted Mama to your six children! If I could have children, I'd want to be a Mama just like you! Love you, love your kids! It has been such a blessing to know you through your blog all these years! I admire your faith and dedication to your family! Love the pictures of little Simeon! I think he is the sweetest little baby! Praying for him, for you, and the family! Much love and hugs to you! I will remember you and your family in my prayers!

    Maria N. In Mass

    1. Maria--I'm good. I'm surviving...that's what this post is about, I think....I hope everyone gets that I'm ok, really, I"m doing good. (that doesn't mean things are easy or the way I want them to be)

      Thank you so much for your kind words and comments, God bless you and hugs and prayers right back at you!

  23. Simeon looks awesome, happy, and LOVED!! You hit the nail right on the head, these busy times for us mom's of little ones are just a season and our work is our prayer right now. I'm so glad you were able to instruct that little girl and it will turn out to be a great life lesson for her and your handling of it will be a lesson for your kids. The comments do hurt and as mom's we become defensive, but the hurt of the comments does diminish with time. When my boys were babies the constant rehashing of their mirror image quirks was almost too much to take at times. Now we smile at them. My boys have some feet issues and "tricky thumbs" as they now refer to them. They don't care and it really makes them more endearing. Hang in there, you are doing a great job!!

    1. Mary Beth--I love what you wrote about your boys and their "mirror image quirks"--good memory now, right?

      Thank you so much, God bless you!

  24. I got tears in my eyes when I read your post. I think God gave you this baby because you have so so much love to give him. As a mom I am praying for you and all your family. I know that sometimes it is hard to be thankful in our struggles but you do a wonderful job (and gracefully I might add) What a beautiful family you have. And the baby gets to grow up in so much love with all those great siblings. Time is a hard thing. Especially God's time. I love your blog. All the best to you.

    1. Samantha--Yes, Simeon is so very blessed to have such (so many) siblings to love on him all the time!! Thank you for all your prayers, God bless you!

  25. Sorry about that kid who thought your baby looked gross. She is just a kid and I hope you DID educate her especially on how that would be really impolite to say.
    I have "adults" who do not tolerate my Jonah very well and say mean things. Our world is a tough place to live.
    again, I am sorry..especially for Jedi and his sweet heart.

    I can hear through your bloggy that your are struggling. Know that our family struggles also.

    I am now wondering if I made a huge mistake by not signing my kids up for stuff.

    At least you had bible camp and sewing camp. That is something! We are doing that "nothing" everyday also.

    My kids always have a hard time when their routine goes out the window.

    I told my kiddos that if they cannot figure out what to do with all their "free time" I will find something...and it will be work.

    Kids these days!!??

    I remember playing and playing and playing a ton outside with my cousins. Never bothering the adults. I never went to one bible camp or any camp of any kind.

    Hang in there and I love all the pictures. Smell those baby toes for me. I still touch and smell Ava's toes.

    God bless and ((((hugs)))).

    1. Christine--Remember it's always hard at the "change" of something, til everyone gets used to it. Not signing up for things, can be a really good thing!! The only one who got signed for things is K. (except VBS) We are not running all over the place...but in a fast paced world, where they see everyone else run run running all over doing things, they expect things every day. I think back to my childhood where my mom would lock us out and that was it. We had to play outside, we had to find things to do.

      (I'm not saying lock your kiddos out, I don't do that) But it was a simpler time.

      So sorry about the mean grown ups that say things about your Jonah. Do you explain things to them? Sometimes when things are explained, then people's that way with ADHD and ADD kids, if people know, they tend to understand better and be more understanding, than if they don't know and expect so much more out of those kids.

      I"ve got jobs if you run out of jobs for your kids.

      Sweetie Pie has the softest tiniest feet, I still love to rub her toes....don't always kiss them because she goes barefoot!! (except after her bath!)

      ((((hugs)))) back!

  26. Hugs to you, my friend! Have you heard that song by the Christian group Selah called "He'll Hold You?" It's one of my favorites when I'm feeling lonely and have the Mama blues. It came to mind when I was reading your post because it's so true that God does hold us, even when the tempest rages around us, even when we don't feel Him there. Check it out. I love how your post unfolded, so real, so full of grace. Now I'm off to read all of the comments...Wow, 52!?

    1. Tiffany--Just listened to that song, beautiful, thanks for telling me about it!

      There's not really that many comments, it counts my "replies" as comments too!!

      Hugs back at you!!

  27. I may need to go to confession for what I want to say to that child in your van, but I'll refrain. Jamie...God Bless you. So many things are going through my head right now. I understand, a little bit, of what you are feeling. Stress wise. Our son, David, was diagnosed with autism less than a year after Sonja (#5) was born. I have issues with breastfeeding, so I had to feed her through a tube attached to my breast with supplement (formula) in order to keep her from getting nipple confusion. David was having major, MAJOR, behavior issues (mainly because we didn't have the diagnosis yet, and had not made all the dietary and supplemental changes we have now), and I pretty much spent my days nursing through a tube, staying home (because it was very cumbersome trying to breastfeed with a tube attached to you and the supplement hanging from your neck), trying to home school (I actually ended up sending them to public school for the last half of the year. They actually had a blast and it was a great experience), trying to meet with David's therapists, work with his diet, all with all the normal, everyday things of feeding, shopping, laundry, driving, etc. I was so overwhelmed and cried so much. Then we found out Sonja had kidney disease and landed in the hospital. Before that we found out our third child was allergic to nuts (after having a scary, life threatening reaction to eating mixed nuts). My point is, I remember that. And you ARE praying. You don't have to do formal prayer in order to pray. You can speak to Him, interiorly, all day. "Lord, you love this child more than me. Lord, I love you. Help me now." Little things like that. One thing I have done in order to do my prayer time is get up early. Now, I know you have SO much on your plate, but if you are up pumping at a certain time when it's quiet (I think, as busy moms, that silence is so important. It's like a balm to our soul), maybe you can listen to the Morning Prayers for the Divine Office online (I use my iPhone sometimes if David has gotten up early. Kids with autism sometimes have trouble sleeping, so a lot of times he is up at 5am, when I try to get up and pray. So I have to improvise). It's online, and all you have to do is push play. Or listen to a great meditation online (there are so many!). Anyway, just something to give you that extra Jesus time to nourish that interior life within you, to give you the strength you need. I also now tell my older kids, "Mommy is going upstairs to pray. Do not come and get me for anything unless it's important". I'm a secular OCDS, so I'm required to have 30 minutes of silence and prayer. My oldest is in charge, she is 11. David is home for the summer so she watches him, and I pray while Sonja (age 2), is napping. This does not happen everyday, by any means, but it's the effort that the Lord sees..and loves. God loves you so much,and He knows your heart better than anyone. He knows your struggles, your motherly heart, your fears, worries, heartbreaks, etc. Keep going to Him. He will love you more than you could ever hope for.

    1. Jen!! I don't think I know about the kidney disease thing....gosh, prayers coming your way....Sometimes I just wish God didn't trust us with so much....didn't Mother Teresa say something like that? I totally feel it.

      I do pray while pumping, the times when I'm not feeding Sims. I usually prop him up on the bed, in a boppy and feed him. I really try to make the morning pumping to be the praying one. I need to pray though, during the 4 hours between pumpings, those desperate times!!! Sometimes, I just pray with the kiddos and that helps too. It's just that sometimes, there are days where it just doesn't happen. Those days where there is not a moment to think.

      OH, God bless you Jen, I wish, SO wish we lived closer.

  28. And, as I was thinking more....Sometimes these times in our life are things that force us to cling to God. In nothing but faith and abandonment. So often, we want to love Him and serve Him. When those times come up, they are often the way of the Cross. It's like being suspended...there is literally, nothing practical to cling to. Except Him, in faith. You are probably earning more graces than you know, and more than likely helping other souls in your daily offering of yourself. Just a thought. Love you :-)

    1. I always hope those graces fill my's an offering for them...even if I'm not so graceful about it.

      God will turn it all into good in the end, but you know, we want it NOW. AT least I do.

  29. You have a beautiful family and a beautiful life. You are serving your vocation very well. I'm keeping you all in my prayers. You know, that new friend is learning something . .. I hope that she will turn that over in her mind over and over until her heart turns as well.

    I watched a show this week on National Geographic and there was a man who was suffering from "bubbles" all over his skin. He was concerned, because two of his children were also afflicted w/ the condition (although much less so than him). It is not pretty, but he's a human being - they all are! People forget that a person's dignity comes from God and being human, not from their looks/flaws/abilities etc.. I'm so glad I saw that show, because . . . I witnessed such a skin condition on someone at the mall the other day . . . instead of a shocked look (I'm sure I would have been, it's natural to be taken aback by such things, not necessarily disgusted - there's a difference) I smiled and wished her "good day" . . . I UNDERSTOOD her condition (the Dignity that God gave her, first; and her medical condition as well). So, teaching others about conditions is important . . . if you're compassionate (and I know you are!), the education is just that much better.

    Love to you, dear girl.

    1. Sarah, thank you so very much.

      You know, I'm that way with really obese people. (because of those kind of shows on tv and gaining weight with each baby!)

      yes, it gives us compassion. I know I really had to take a deep breath and silently pray "Jesus, help me to answer her nicely" The little girl was a perfect example though, of the world, and how people view him, I'm sure. She's a child.

      Loveyou too.

  30. Hi Jamie - sorry I didn't read this sooner! I think this post was absolutely beautiful!!! Oh my goodness, what an inspiration you are to so many and Simeon is so precious. I have a special affinity for him as he and my little Elizabeth are just a few days apart. Also, this post resonated with me because I need, I repeat NEED to remember to be more thankful. I got laid off from my job last week and I was our sole income provider as my husband is not working currently either. Huge shock to me! But at the same time, there have blessings that have come about from it - the severance package is actually quite nice, I will get to spend more time with my dear little Elizabeth while I am inbetween jobs.

    And maybe with my newfound free time, we could get together for a play date or something, I think we don't live that far away from each other. Just a thought. God Bless your beautiful family!

    1. Joy beyond Cross--Oh, your baby is such a sweetie pie!!! I'm so sorry about your job....You've had a hard year, that's for sure. ANd with all the changes having a baby brings to live too.

      So happy you can see the blessings too.
      I'll be praying for you...Yes, I'd love to get together with you sometime, if you want to be around 6 loud kiddos!!!

      Pictures on the blog don't show the noise level in our home, that's for sure!! hahha!!

      God bless you too!

  31. You are an inspiration and I luved reading this and seeing your faith thru it all. Thank you for sharing it ALL and helping us all to grow to be more like you.

    1. Oh, my gosh, Allison, grow to be more like me is not the goal here....seriously, I have so far, so very far to go on that one!!!

  32. Simeon is gorgeous. I think I need to go to confession bc I want to punch that kid! Seriously Jamie call me anytime.

    1. Thanks Beth(not for the punching kid part) Thanks, I will call sometime, it's just that there's never, NEVER a quiet time to call around here, unless it's after 9:30 pm!!

  33. Oh I hear you sister!! Having a toddler tantrum at God phase.... I hear the confessional calling :). Our vocation of love is a sacrifice in every way... may God continue to strengthen you and give you this amazing insight into your frailty so that His grace can be enough :)
    ps. by the way... WE ARE COMING TO ST CLOUD!!! xxx

    1. Pulchadoctina--can't wait to meet you!!

  34. Beautiful post Jamie, I can relate. I get all sorts of mixed responses to Dominic, including horrified and disgusted looks, people truly are afraid of Dominic because it looks like he has two faces. I was going to post about this, but just know that God has specifically planned each encounter that you and your children have with people with your son. He is your little missionary!:) Some encounters may be for their benefit, some may be for our own purification, but it truly does glorify God and you have been chosen as a special faithful servant that He entrusts you with such a special child and special mission. Your journey has helped me tremendously as I have watched you go through everything, it hasn't been for nought, I have leaned on your story and gained strength from it, thank you for sharing every part of it so honestly, it is so good to not feel alone in this :) I will pray for you!

  35. Everyone else have said it! Thank you for the honest post. Your son is so beautiful. Heaven is where true beauty is seen and they see your red head as such perfect. I am sorry that your heart hurts at times. I think you are an amazing mom with a wonderful family. I am honored to know you (in the blog world). We pray for your family and your precious red head all the time. I am sure the medical struggles are hard. Pumping would kill me, the month that I did it was more than I could bare. Now they get me or a bottle and Ihave stopped pumping to keep up the milk. I am selfish that way. I do admire you and will continue to pray. THANK YOU for reminding me that I am not alone at not being perfect. Remember that your life is a prayer!

  36. Wow--so many comments already, but I just wanted to say that I'll be praying for you and encourage you to just keep loving your children as well as you can and not worry about what the rest of the world says/thinks. My only sibling has cerebral palsy, and it was HARD growing up with other kids asking me, "why isn't your sister normal, is something wrong with you, too, etc." But my (non-Christian!) parents loved us both so well, sacrificed so much for her (still do!), and lived as though their "normal" was just the same as everyone else's. It's so wonderful that your children all have each other, as I think the hardest part for me was that I felt fairly alone sometimes, but no one in your home likely does/will. God be with you all!

  37. And commenter #73, I think, says this:

    You are handling all that is on your shoulders with grace. Even in the midst of doubt, pain, tiredness... grace doesn't just get up a leave. It multiplies.

    One day soon when, your life is quieter, and you're in a place of reflection, you may cry in joy. Looking back and SEEING the beauty and grace grown from this time of struggles.

    God bless you Ms. Jamie dear! And hang tight, you are engulfed in prayers, girl! :0)

  38. This post just touches my heart. With tears in my eyes, I hope I can be as good of a mom as you. God bless you and your beautiful family. I see He already has!


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