Friday, August 29, 2014

summer is over, and other stuff

September is happening, like really soon. YIKES! How did that happen? I love summer the most...but I am looking forward to cooler days and all the fun that comes along with fall. Before I bore you with back to school pictures of my children I have three tiny updates. 

1. Nothing notable to update about Justin. I do not think that really falls in the praise category, as he still sleeps 75% of the time because he is so miserable...BUT he isn't in the hospital. So, I am putting that in the praise department for today. 
2. I have some really exciting news about Vault:Fostering Community! We are just a few tiny steps away from becoming a real deal 501c3. We have raised the money to file our paperwork and now just need to push forward with raising the funds for our operating budget (which is only about 10k a year...just in case you were wondering). In case you are also wondering what Vault actually is, we basically exist to make foster parents life a little easier. Making the choice to support orphan care can look very different from one family to the next. A small way to support local foster families is to provide resources when placements are made. We take donations throughout the year of gently used items such as cribs, toddler beds, mattresses and car seats to and keep them in our storage AKA The Vault. It is a really simple concept actually and we LOVE the fact that we have been able to help over 25 families in the past few months. We want to love on all these families, plus provide community and other various resources. We have a lot of REALLY exciting things in the works and can't wait to tell you all about it. A couple ways to get involved now are to spread the word about our family night (info below) and BE OUR VILLAGE BY BUYING A TEE!  (click here to see the awesome tee!)

3. And last but certainly not least is Clays for Cara. This is an event that Justin and I have supported for the past 4 years. We are humbled to be included in this years event as a beneficiary family. As you all know, God has continued to cover us financially in the midst of Justin's medical storm. We are honored to be included in what we believe to be a very prestigious event. We sit in awe at how The Lord works to bring us peace and comfort when it can't be found anywhere else. There is even a possible surgery available to reduce some of Justin's symptoms that is not covered by insurance. How great is it that our God prepares each step before we walk it? Please make plans to attend this event! The fall calendar fills quickly, so mark your calendar and register ASAP. 
You can also help by sponsorship or donating an item for the silent auction. I am grateful for each of you who have rallied around us over the past 3 years. Some other VERY amazing and deserving families will be supported by this do not miss out. Visit for more info. 

In other news...Back to school is a very exciting time! New clothes, new teachers, new adventures. Our biggest change this year is Brody starting kindergarten. He is at the same school as big brother Bryce now and we are thrilled to say (at the end of day 5) that he is thriving in his mainstream class. When Brody arrived in our family we had to shift gears on such a healthy way. We prayed that he would be able to be in a mainstream class, but we also are praising the fact that our school has an incredible program for him to roll into if/when that need arises. We want what is best for Brody...and that is not always the easiest thing for us. Lots of life lessons ahead as we enter the public school world with this guy. Lots of opportunities to NOT wear our feelings on our sleeves and to realize that the rest of the world does not have a reason to know all about downs syndrome. It's also a time for us (Bryce is included in the us) to extend grace and compassion when others don't know what to say and may not always say the "right" thing. Brody LOVES it, LOVES his teacher, LOVES his lunchbox, LOVES walking to the corner with Bryce, LOVES getting to go to big boy school and Braxton has to stay home, and still doesn't really love waking up in the mornings :)
If you made it down here to see these pics, then chances are we are related. So, thanks. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

30 days later

It is not a secret that Justin and I have walked a difficult road together. Much of it has been out of our control while some decisions we made surely not realizing how much of our lives would be impacted.  An example of this is our children. Justin and I did not plan to have 2 of our 3 beautiful kids. In fact, most of you realize that Bryce was an extremely unplanned pregnancy...the premarital kind. Yikes! I remember feeling so ashamed and scared and also very excited to be a mom. I remember feeling judged for being 20 and unmarried and pregnant. There is much to this story and such beautiful things that God showed me specifically about life, obedience and redemption. But for now, the point is that while Bryce was a very specific blessing to this family (and earth in my opinion)...he was not "planned by me." When Bryce was 2, Justin and I finally felt mature enough to marry each other and make that commitment as a family. Three months after we were married I was itching for another baby. It was the "perfect" time because Bryce would be three when the baby came and he would be potty trained and everything would be perfect. We "planned" our second pregnancy and I was pregnant with Brody within two weeks and all was good in the world. Fast forward to when Brody was 6 months old and in and out of the hospital, my mom had just passed away and we were living out in the middle of NOWHERE....pregnant. Here comes Braxton. Not "planned."
Here is where I am going with all of this.
Brody was the only child we sat down and discussed having. This has been heavy on my heart lately because I am able to see how special Brody has been since before he was conceived. Bryce and Braxton are incredible boys and we love all of our kids deeply and equally. They each teach us so much and bring tons to the table. But, what Brody's life has brought to the table has been very different. I am not going to go into the whole everything because I have written about it all before, but Brody was born four weeks early, out of town, in a hurricane evacuation. He has Downs syndrome which was a surprise to us 12 hours after he was born. He had a rough start in his first 6 months, but if you know Brody then you know JOY. If you know Brody then you have seen a FIGHTER. You have witnessed what happens when God whispers to a 7 year old little girl that she will one day be the mommy to a beautiful child with Downs syndrome. You have witnessed what can come to fruition when GOD'S plan is so mighty that he will NOT let anything get in its way.
Exactly one month ago today marks the very worst day of my life.
While at a pool party, I left Brody amongst friends, away from the pool, eating lunch, wrapped up in his towel to take Braxton to the bathroom. Just moments later when I returned, Brody was not where I left him. As I searched for him, I felt God pressing me to stop in one spot. While in that spot I looked all around....until I finally looked right in front of me into the bottom of the pool to find my sweet boy. I jumped in screaming and pulled him from the bottom of the deepest spot of the pool. Brody was blue and not breathing and not responsive. I handed him off to our dear of two dads trained in CPR who just "happened" to be at the party that day. I felt this overwhelming force push me to my knees to pray. I couldn't even look at Brody...which seems so strange to me after the fact, but these moments were beyond my control. I cried out to Jesus as others around me scrambled to call 911, comfort my kids, me and all the other kids at the pool that day. I felt like I could see it all from above where it was happening, I could see myself on a puddle on the ground and I could see life literally being breathed into my precious son. I could see the fear on Bryce's face. I wanted him to be whisked away so he didn't have to be a part of this. Another scary thing. Another big scary thing in his little life. But, God said no. God asked me to bring him over and show him that when we are enveloped in fear and death is creeping in that GOD is the only place for refuge. Time was non existent. It felt like an hour but it also felt like just seconds. Brody begin to breathe and he opened his eyes. For no explainable reason I felt peace. We were far from out of the woods, but in that moment I felt secure in the hands of our Savior and confident in the LIFE of Brody. The EMS arrived and we were sent for observation in the Methodist PICU. I have processed these 24 hours more than 100 times. I have thought of every detail, every word that doctors spoke to us, every person that was in place that day. It is just unreal to consider who was where and what all transpired. I know that satan has been after this family for a long time. I KNOW that God has been after us harder.
Habakkuk 2:3 tells us that the vision for our lives WILL NOT deceive or disappoint. This is hard to remember when we are stuck here in this temporary life. God has been using Brody for His glory for a LONG time.
Psalm 27:14 reminds us to WAIT on the Lord and let our hearts find courage in HIM.
I gotta tell you, I am often pretty tired of what is waiting for us. The pain that comes along with a life following Jesus and not the world is sometimes unbearable. But, the joy in knowing what is to come is NOT comparable. The Macs have spent a lot of days sitting in expectant hope and watching the glory of our Father unfold. It is hard work, but it is His work and we wouldn't trade it for the world.