Friday, June 29, 2012

Hard Job...Great Rewards!

Parenting is the hardest job I have ever had, that said, I wouldn't trade it for the world! I love my children and want so much for them! My husband and I seek to be the very best parents that we can be to our kids, and to love and protect them. We want to show them unconditional love and teach them what is right and why we do what we do.

It seems like lately we have had so many different conversations with our kids about how and why we do things differently than our parents did. I think it is natural for them to have some curiosity about how we grew up, but we are seeking to be really careful about the details we share with them at this point. It is really hard to find a balance at times between satisfying their curiosity and giving only age appropriate details.

There are many things we do differently than our parents did. Some of the biggest things include how we choose to discipline, allowing our children to respectfully ask us "why", the level of responsibility that they have around the house, and the concept that the parent is always right. We really feel like it is our job as parents to teach our children so many things, and if we expect our children to do something just because we said so that doesn't really teach them anything. Giving them the ability to ask why gives us the opportunity to explain why we said something or have a particular rule. And I think kids should be kids, so while they do have age appropriate chores (my 4 year old puts away the cutting boards and measuring cups from the dishwasher) they are allowed to be kids and not "miniature adults". One of the things that bugged me growing up was that I was told by those in authority over me that no matter what the parent is always right. I DO NOT believe this to be true! Tim and I have both had to go to our children multiple times to ask their forgiveness for something we said or did. I think this is a much better example because everyone messes up from time to time.

I'm not saying that we do everything perfectly (I know we don't!). Our prayer is that we can be the best possible parents to our children, and that we continue to learn and grow with them. We want our children to grow up to be strong people who know that they are loved unconditionally, love God, and can make good choices in life. We pray for our children regularly, and seek to help them in any way we can.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Opening Up...

Growing up I was always taught that even if your life wasn't perfect you had to pretend like it was. While this may not have been directly spoken, it was taught via the way that other concepts were taught...(If you are worrying you aren't trusting God; Show the joy of the Lord on your face at all times no matter what is going on you need to smile; If the world sees problems in your life it will keep them from trusting Christ; Stop calling others to talk about your problems you are being a burden; You're exaggerating it isn't really that bad; and so many others) It was these kind of things that really caused me to internalize issues that were going on in my life. I quickly learned that if tears were visible at home I would be given a reason to cry, and if they were visible at church I would be cornered and badgered (even as an adult).

Even today I struggle to share my burdens and feelings with others (except in a general sense) even though I know I have friends I can call when I'm having a rough day. I will sometimes think about calling, and think, "No I don't want to be a burden", or "I know how busy they are and I don't want to bother them", or "I just don't want to be known as that person who is always struggling with something". The truth is I have friends who call me when they are struggling, and those thoughts never cross my mind. If this is true, and I know that I have friends who love me just as much as I love them then in my mind I know it has to be true that they don't mind me calling when I'm struggling either. To be completely honest I had one person in my life that I would call and talk and cry with at the drop of the hat and that was my Grandma. She has now passed away and I miss her so very much! Even thinking about the talks we shared brings tears to my eyes.

The truth is even the Bible tells us to help bear each other's burdens (Galatians 6:2). I think a lot of being willing to open up and share comes back to knowing you are loved unconditionally and are not being judged by how you feel or what is going on in your life. I'm so thankful to have found friends that are loving and non-judgmental! I'm working on being willing to open up and share my heart with them because I know they truly care! I'm also thankful that I have a God that I can run to when my heart is feeling weak, and have the assurance that He is there and that He cares! (Another favorite song that goes with this idea).

Saturday, June 23, 2012


As I sat in the hospital last weekend with my little princess I had lots of time to sit and think. So many thoughts crossed my mind during that time. One thing that really hit me as I snuggled my baby girl was that I don't know how any mother chooses to reject her children.

My mother has consistently chosen her perverted, mean, child sex-offending husband over her children, and now grandchildren. At times her choices have made me feel rejected, and not valuable. To be honest in the past it has bothered me so much that she would make that choice that I have spent hours wondering what was wrong with me if a mother would choose that kind of man over her own child.

Now as I look at this whole situation I can look at it through a different viewpoint. It really isn't a problem with me. It isn't something that I did wrong or said wrong or whatever that caused that rejection. It was something that she simply chose to do. I have found comfort in the truth that God loves me and has accepted me. (Romans 1:7; Ephesians 2:4; Colossians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:4.) I'm also so grateful for the family and friends that have shown me unconditional love!

With these things in mind I chose not to dwell in the sting of rejection, but to dwell on the fact that I am loved and accepted. Rather than wishing I was loved by those who have chosen to reject me I choose to put my energy into loving those around me, and seeking to love and accept them just where they are in life.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Open Eyes

I heard this song recently and it really challenged me. At first I really thought of all the people that I know that needed to hear this song and think about what it was teaching...Then God opened my eyes, and showed me that there are areas that I need to apply this song to my life too. It took several times of listening to it before I felt like I could fully understand all it was saying. I hope you enjoy this song and are challenged by it as much as I am.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Post-Surgery Update

Surgery was this past Friday morning and everything went really well! The surgery itself only took about an hour and a half! This was best case scenario! She went straight from surgery to the Pediatric ICU. Overall, she has done amazingly well! She did have issues with narcotic pain killers dropping her oxygen levels really low, so we have had to just be on Tylenol and Advil around the clock. Once the narcotics were out of her system her oxygen levels stabilized and she was able to come home!  She did so well they allowed her to come home early on Father's Day! What a great present for my hubby!

Since home she has been doing well. Part of the problem with her is that she is so tough she thinks she can do everything already, and we are having a hard time keeping her down already! This morning I turned my back for a minute and she decided to jump off a counter and then cried for about 10 minutes because her head hurt so bad from it. The next several weeks will be challenging as we try to keep her calm!

We are already starting to see some benefits coming from the surgery!!! She has only had one coughing/vomiting episode since surgery! This is amazing because for the last several months this was happening multiple times a day.  We are going to visit her pulmonologist in a couple of weeks to start the process of weaning her off some of her daily meds! I'm excited and hopeful that this surgery will help her to be able to thrive!

We know that there is still a long road of recovery in front of us, but we are so thankful for how far God has brought our little girl so far! I just know that God must have amazing things for this little girl's life!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Surgery update

This is Laurie just doing a quick update for everyone from Tina.

Aria's surgery went well! Everything was exactly as the surgeon had hoped for and Aria is sleeping. Tim and Tina are well, relieved and thankful for your prayers. Please continue in prayer that Aria will have a fast and smooth recovery. God bless that sweet little girl!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Even the Little Things...

Tomorrow is the big day. Today I'm so thankful that God cares about each aspect of our lives. Last night we got a phone call and it seemed as though financial issues might postpone the surgery. (The hospital was wanting us to pay more up front than our insurance company said we would end up owing) Needless to say we were frustrated. Today after many phone calls we were able to get everything worked out. I'm so thankful I was able to talk to just the right people! I firmly believe that God has His hand on our family and that He is going to protect our little girl as she goes through this surgery in the morning! I'm grateful that God cares even about the "little things" in our lives!

I will be taking a few days off of blogging as I'm in the hospital with my little girl, but will try to update soon after she gets home. Thanks for all of your prayers! We appreciate it more than I can express!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


As we approach Friday's surgery I can feel the tension in the house rising. Tim and I are really at peace, but the two older kids are scared for their baby sister (who isn't scared at all), and I think the thought of this surgery is causing fear in their little hearts.

The other day our son hugged his little sister and asked her if she was scared about the surgery. He is really more concerned than she is... She told me she plans on asking for a popsicle and juice box when she wakes up from surgery. I think she thinks it is going to be just like the other ones she has had.

Our oldest daughter came in to snuggle with me this morning and we were talking. She thinks that it isn't fair that her baby sister is getting so much attention. She told me it isn't fair that her sister gets more treats than she does (we sometimes resort to incentives to get meds down). So the oldest daughter and I had a long conversation this morning where I again tried to explain why we do what we do. I also tried to remind her of the times recently that I have taken her out by herself and tried to spend time with just her. I think she is scared and doesn't quite know how to express it.

These are the times in life that it is hard to be a mom. I'm just sad that I don't know how to best help my kids get through their fear, and help them to feel like I'm being fair to all of them. I'm thankful that God promises wisdom if we ask for it, so that is what I have been doing. I'm just praying that God will bring a peace into their little minds and help them to know that their baby sister is going to be ok. Nothing I say to them seems to help at this point, so I'm just trusting that God will comfort them and bring peace to their minds as I try to give them as much love and confidence as I can...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Musical Mondays ~ Trusting...

As we as a family approach our youngest daughter's surgery this coming Friday it seems to be becoming more and more real in a way. I would have to say that most moments I'm doing well, and I'm excited at the potential hope we see from this surgery, but there are also moments where I'm a mess. I haven't really cried about all of this since we first found out until last night. Last night I had a few moments of "melt down" so to speak as I was begging God to be with my baby girl and protect her.

As I have spent more time thinking about all of this I'm finding that I think a lot of my issues boil down to trust. Because my trust has been violated so many times in my life by those who should be the ones protecting me I tend to struggle in this area. I'm finding that trusting is a choice. I know this is what we need to do to help her, and that we have the best possible doctor, and that God promises to protect her, so I'm choosing to trust God, and her doctors during this process.

I heard this song last night as I was seeking God, and it hit me again in a good way, so I thought that I would share it with you.

Some of the lyrics that stand out to me right now are:

Give me eyes to see
More of who You are
May what I behold
Still my anxious heart
Take what I have known
And break it all apart
You my God are greater still

No sky contains
No doubt restrains
All You are
The greatness of our God
I spend my life to know
And I'm far from home
To all You are
The greatness of our God

Give me grace to see
Beyond this moment here
To believe that there
Is nothing left to fear
That You alone are high above it all
You my God are greater still

The whole song is really good, and I hope you find it as encouraging as I do! We as a family appreciate your prayers this week as we walk this road, and try to keep our attitudes up beat and our focus where it needs to be!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Changing the Way I Think - Part 2

As I look back over the notes there are just a few more things that stand out to me (see Part 1 here). I have found that changing the way I think can change my whole view on life, and therefore make me a much happier person! Here are a few more things that I have found helpful when seeking to apply Philippians 4:8 to my life.

~ Junk-proof your mind...
     ~ A healthy mind is one that works for you instead of against you.
     ~ You are always affirming something in your life because you are always thinking...
          ~ Choose to affirm the good.
          ~ Memorize Scripture to help keep your mind filled with the good.
~ If you are going to be serious about having a positive mindset you have to limit your exposure to negativity.
~ Living with Gratitude is a great way to defend your joy!
     ~ Gratitude is the cornerstone of an unstoppable attitude.
     ~ Gratitude is a conviction, a practice, and a discipline
     ~ Gratitude is a choice. (I Thessalonians 5:18 says to give thanks in ALL circumstances)

These are some of the things that I'm really choosing to focus on in my life right now. I'm choosing to be thankful that we have finally found out what is wrong with our youngest daughter, and that she can be helped rather than worrying about the surgery. I'm choosing to dwell on what is good and right. That doesn't mean that there aren't times negative thoughts don't creep in, it just means I choose not to dwell there. I choose to focus on the goodness of my God and be thankful for the many blessings I have in my life.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Changing the Way I Think

The very first series that we heard when we started attending our new church was one titled "Think four:eight". This series was so well timed in my life and revolutionized the way that I thought. The whole series revolved on how to apply Philippians 4:8 to your life.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.

I found myself going over the notes from this old series today. I have done this occasionally in the last 2 years when I need a reminder of how to change my thought processes. Over the next couple of days I'll share a couple of the things that still stand out to me when I read over the notes.

~ Your thoughts are powerful...
~ It's your choice what you choose to dwell on.
     ~ In life there will always be some junk and some greatness
     ~ Your future is not determined by your past
     ~ Where do you dwell? (on the good or bad)
~ There are Three Laws that can guard our minds and change our hearts....and give us emotional strength
     ~ The Law of Attention - Whatever you emphasize increasingly becomes what you are
     ~ The Law of Exchange - you can do away with a negative thought only when you replace it with a positive
     ~ The Law of Reversibility - act like you are.

Our Pastor challenged us with something during that series that I needed to be challenged with again today... "Beginning today, commit to increase your potential for starving worry, fear and doubt and other negative thoughts and commit to nourishing your mind, attention and conversation by imitating Christ's."

My goal is to think on whatever is true, right, pure, holy, etc... especially as we as a family prepare for our youngest daughter's surgery next week.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Our Youngest Daughter's Surgery

This post is from both my husband and myself...We are working on it together.

We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, support, and prayers we have received since Tina's last post. Tina was simply sharing how God worked in her heart once again and we have been blessed by the notes and comments we have received.

To answer some questions... Our youngest daughter has Chairi Malformation Type 1. The link gives good info, but in a nut shell her cerebellum (the bottom part of her brain) is pushing into her spinal chord. This is a birth defect, and it has only recently (last couple of months) been discovered. Chairi can be somewhat difficult to diagnose at times, but with an MRI it can often be clearly seen. Chairi is definitively diagnosed when the cerebellar tonsils (read brain) extend down 3-5 mm (some sources say "normal" is -1). Our daughter's extends down 9-10 mm. (the Dr interpreting the MRI said 9 and the surgeon said 10).

She has had health problems from the beginning and has had multiple hospitalizations and surgeries. She takes lots of different medication on a daily basis to keep her breathing, digesting food properly, etc. She has also struggled all of her life with frequent infections, headaches, and sleep apnea. Her team of doctors believe that this surgery will really do a lot to help her, and we have faith that God will use it to bring her great relief!

There are obviously risks involved with this surgery, but really the greatest one for her with her history is infection. We would appreciate your prayers that God would just have His hand on the surgeon, and on our daughter's little body, and that He would work a miracle in her little body through this surgery!

Tim and Tina Anderson

Sunday, June 3, 2012

He's Been Faithful Before, He'll Be Faithful Again!

While we were worshiping at church this morning God really spoke to me. We were singing this song and God used it to remind me of His goodness. The chorus says:

I call your name 
Lord you reply 

You bring your kingdom 

To stand by my side 

Giver of life 
All that I need 

Father you're everything that is precious to me 

There is no one like you Lord in all the earth

We are once again walking a tough road as a family. Our baby girl who is now 4 will be going in for brain surgery in the near future (we are waiting on insurance approval). I'm fully confident that God will use this to bring great healing to her little body! God used the chorus of this song to remind me that in the past He has been so faithful! I really felt like during the week of trial He did bring His kingdom to stand by my side. I'm resting in the knowledge that He will do that again! I'm so thankful that I serve a God who loves us and is all I need!

Looking in the past I can see His faithfulness, and I'm trusting his faithfulness will help our family walk this next tough road!

Friday, June 1, 2012

The changing power of Thankfulness

I sometimes find it so easy to get caught up in the craziness that is life that I get so overwhelmed with what is going wrong around me. When this happens I tend to get discouraged and even moody...(not something I like to admit ~ just being real here). One thing that I found can "snap me out" of this kind of funk so to speak is writing down what I'm thankful for. When I stop to think about all of the blessings that I have it really changes my perspective! I love this song by Josh Groban ~ Thankful ~ it is such a good reminder to me that there is so much to be thankful for. When we stop to think about all of the things we have to be thankful for it somehow seems to change our perspective on life.