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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Year End Review

OK, this is a long one. You might want to grab a cup of coffee and settle in for a while...

Kelvin and I were talking last night about what a whirlwind of a year 2008 has been. I seriously can't believe it's already over, because it totally seems like we just began... In January, Marvin, Kelvin's dad and my precious father-in-law, went to MD Anderson Cancer Center to begin his second transplant to treat and hopefully put into remission his Multiple Myeloma. He would remain hospitalized because of a lung infection. He would flip flop back and forth, from a little better to a little worse. We spent many hours visiting him at the hospital and got very familiar with the MD Anderson campus and doctors. January would also begin the journey to find out why our youngest daughter, Emma quit progressing like she should and only had two words to her vocabulary. We started with a hearing test which confirmed she had fluid on her middle ear and needed tubes. Unfortunately for her that was not the cure all.

In February, Luke turned 4 years old. We had some friends and family over for dinner and a space monkey birthday party. The kids had a "blast"!!

March was Emma's 2nd birthday and the month of beginning therapy for her. Her party was fun as well. She loved her cake...

In March we had a great time at the beach house with our small group friends from church. We had an egg hunt for the kids, and the adults enjoyed smashing confetti eggs on each other's heads!

The end of March brought a rather cool Easter. The kids had a quick egg hunt in the front yard.

Unfortunately, April brought with it much sadness for our family. Marvin lost his battle with the lung infection and Multiple Myeloma and found his place at the feet of Jesus on April 3. It's still hard to believe Marvin is not with us. He was such an inspiration to so many and lived life to the fullest. We love and miss you Marvin, Dad, Pawtaw, friend, brother, husband...

Our family and friends stepped up to the plate and carried us through this trial. We are truly blessed.

April was also the month Emma saw the neurologists at Texas Children's Hospital for the first time. They began testing for what they thought was a chromosomal disorder or something under the Autism umbrella. Tests would later confirm otherwise.

To try and combat the high cost of gas, we bought the "egg," aka Toyota Prius in April. As soon as the kids saw the car they thought it looked like an egg, so the car had a nickname right off the bat.

In May we had plans to go to North Carolina with our very good friends from Colorado and their kiddos . We decided to make it a road trip and drove the Prius halfway across the country! What a ride! We made it though and had a wonderful week with our friends. Bald Head Island is beautiful, and the beachfront home we stayed in was perfect for our families!

June was spent mainly at the beach house. We had such a good time there. We named it "The Getaway" and it truly was. The kids always had a blast playing on the beach, and we loved spending time under the house letting them ride their bikes or just sitting in the porch swing. We ate a ton of good food and had a bunch of friends and family join us during the summer. It was such a treat!

June was also Carleigh's birthday. We had a fun time at the local spray park with her friends...

Emma inspired Kelvin to go back to school. He started back in July and has enjoyed being a student again. July brought more beach house trips. It also brought the biggest punch in the gut we've ever had. Emma's neurologist called July 23 to let us know that the genetic test results were in and confirmed Emma has Infantile Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis, or Batten Disease. Her disease is characterized by rapidly progressing symptoms, and unfortunately we have found this true in her case as well. We have learned to accept love from others in a way we never have before. God is good, even when situations aren't so good.

July also brought one of the biggest surprises of our lives. We found out we were pregnant with our 4th child! After a couple of months of tears and denial, we finally started wrapping our minds and hearts around the fact the God has a plan that is different than ours. Despite any efforts we may have taken to prevent another baby, God decided we needed another child. Of course there was a certain amount of fear tangled with the tears and denial because we knew that another baby would have a 25% chance of having Batten Disease just like Emma. God spared this new little one as the amnio results showed everything is perfectly normal! Baby Cora is due April 5.

In August, we were given a very special gift from some anonymous friends. Our friend and pastor called Kelvin one day and told us our family needed to book our all expense paid trip to Disney World! So, we did and had the time of our lives. Our plan had been to wait a couple of more years before our family went so that Emma would be a little older and the other two would still be young enough to enjoy the magic of Disney. After her diagnosis, we realized this past summer might be the last time Emma could enjoy a trip to Disney World. Kelvin briefly shared these thoughts with our friend in passing and that was all she wrote! AMAZING!!

August was the start of 1st grade at public school for Carleigh. Though homeschooling her had been our plan, I didn't feel I could devote the time and attention Carleigh would require as I was taking Emma to therapy twice and week and meeting her daily demands. Carleigh loves riding the bus more than anything. I couldn't pass up the big yellow limousine service that stops at my front curb!! Her teacher is a doll, and she loves her school.

Luke and Emma are still at Wee School. Luke has learned so much this year. I am constantly amazed at what they can do at such an early age. Emma has wonderful teachers who love her dearly. We are blessed with so many people who love and care for her. She has made a big impact on the lives of many we will never know.

September was the month of storms. We dodged one in August while we were at Disney World too. It was tough, but we stayed an extra day so we wouldn't get stuck at the airport to wait out Tropical Storm Faye, I think it was. We had a good time walking around in the rain at Downtown Disney and caught a 3D movie while we were there! Anyway, we made it through Gustav, and Eduard, but Ike had other plans for our little beach house.
(not the greatest picture, but you get the idea)

We boarded up and secured everything to prepare for the category 2 storm it was, but when we returned to view the damages a few weeks later, this is what we found...

We found our roof totally in tact on our backyard neighbor's slab! Most of our house was washed away in the 20 foot storm surge, but we found some of our belongings like Luke's rubber elephant and Carleigh's My Little Pony, a few knives and plates, a platter or two, and a few hundred yards away, the fire pit Kelvin's uncle had made for us just a couple of weeks before the hurricane hit! We couldn't believe the complete devastation to our little beach community. It will be many months or even years before the area is ready to rebuild.

We spent the night of the hurricane in Beaumont with Kelvin's family. What were we thinking? I'll never stay nearby a storm again. It was very scary. I thought at any minute the roof was going to blow off and the windows were going to crash in! The day after the storm Kelvin headed back home and my mother-in-law, Connie and I headed north to stay until one of us had power restored. Because of Emma's seizure medication, she cannot get overheated. Her body does not cool itself, so staying home with no A/C in the Gulf Coast September heat was not an option for her. It was a fun mini vacation. Connie was so helpful. After a week in a hotel, Connie's power was restored, so we headed to her house for several days. Two weeks away from home was hard. We had good company though.

October was pretty normal, if there is such a thing. We enjoyed all things fall. We even had some fall weather to go with it. The pumpkin patch is always a favorite...

Carleigh, Kelvin and I got to enjoy our niece's Debutante Ball. It was fun, especially for Carleigh, to get all dolled up and spend the evening eating and dancing. The girls looked beautiful in their gowns, and Carleigh was a little princess.

November ramped us up for the holidays. We enjoyed good food, family and fellowship at Thanksgiving. Here's a pic of my side of the fam...

Kelvin enjoyed spending time with his uncles on a new hill country deer lease. He got a good 8 point buck this season!

December was full of fun. I had a birthday. Kelvin and I got to spend a night away by ourselves to celebrate...the best birthday ever! We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at an excellent restaurant, enjoyed a little shopping and spent the night at a great hotel. A long, uninterrupted soak in the tub was greatly appreciated! We also celebrated my sweet mother-in-law's birthday, decorated the house, looked at pretty Christmas lights and went caroling, had a good time at some Christmas parties, went to a couple of Christmas concerts, enjoyed Luke's school Christmas program, had a blast at a friend's church's outdoor Christmas Festival complete with snow hills and all, visited with Santa, and watched Carleigh and Luke perform in the children's choir program at church.

The biggest surprise in December was the first ever (that I know of) partial snow day for school. It snowed around 3 or 4 inches, and the kids enjoyed building snow men, making snow angels, pelting me with snowballs, and hot chocolate afterward.

They weren't terribly thrilled about their feet burning from the cold though. (click on the highlighted words to take you to the entry with the video.)

We are also excited about our new non-profit organization, Emma's Hugs. We have already received some donations, have meetings scheduled with Texas Children's Hospital in January, have plans in the making to help with different programs at MD Anderson, are excited about the benefit scheduled for March 21, and are awaiting news from the IRS as to when our application is approved.

A special thank you to all of you, our family and friends, old and new, who have prayed and lifted up our family this year. It has been a tough one, but by the grace of God, we are still standing. "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 (New King James Version) We love you all and hope you have a very blessed 2009. Keep stopping by the blog to keep up with the happenings around our place.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Better Day

Thanks for praying for Emma. She had a bit of a better day yesterday. Crying all the time has to be tiring for her...I know it is for me. Every time I get down though, I read someone's blog who seems to have it a little worse. If you would lift up baby Stellan (Not Me Monday inventor's little baby) I would appreciate it. He has RSV and is struggling badly right now. They have the intubation stuff at the ready. He was diagnosed with some kind of heart failure in the womb which the doctors fully expected would lead to his certain death, but God provided a miracle for him. He was born totally normal! Praise God! So, God is still in the miracle business. I pray for one for Emma daily. It's just hard to understand sometimes why some miracles are on this side of Heaven and some are not.

I'll be thinking and preparing an entry for tomorrow about our lives in 2008. If you remember something that surely should be included, drop me a line and let me know. You don't want to miss this one. We'll have the quote of the year from Luke, almost guaranteed to make you at least smile.

Is anyone besides me struggling with the fact that we'll begin yet another year in two days? Time is flying by at incredible speeds. It seems that it was only a few days ago we were celebrating 2008! I remember Kelvin commenting that we would have to celebrate this new year's eve at the beach house. Well, Ike had other plans. It was fun while it lasted.

I just feel like I can't get it all done...spending time with the kids like I desire, nurturing their curiosity and relationship with God, getting things organized around the house in real life the way they are in my head, working on my relationship with Jesus (although I'm learning through our trials with Emma to lean on Him and breath Him in more every day. I wish I could learn such lessons without such a trial.), getting paperwork completed and services lined up for Emma, etc., etc.

We're working on the website for Emma's Hugs. I'll let you know when we're up and running. It's exciting to see how things are developing for this endeavor. Stay tuned!!

Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I'm so proud

I'm overflowing with pride at the accomplishments and talents of my older two children. As I was getting some things ready for dinner tonight, my adorable oldest daughter came in the kitchen to inform me that she can indeed do arm farts to the entire "ABCs" song. Not long afterward, Luke followed excitedly to show me that he can do leg farts! I know, I know, try not to be envious. Without much effort at all, your children can exude the same glorious talent as mine. The video below shows Luke demonstrating the leg and arm fart, and we get a bonus whistle included! The second video shows how Carleigh has mastered the art of "arm farting." She is pretty darn good at it if I do say so myself! Enjoy! (Don't forget to pause the music at the bottom of the blog)

On a more serious note, if you could say an extra prayer for Emma, we would appreciate it. She has been increasingly fussy the past couple of days, crying as an infant would. We're back to trying to figure out what is wrong by process of elimination. A lot of the time, she still cries even after we've done everything. I guess we're getting a head start on newborn preparation! We've been doing a lot of holding and snuggling in the recliner. Thanks for the prayers.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Memories

We were at my parents' house last night for our family Christmas. It's always fun to get together with my parents and brother and sister and remember how Christmases were when we were younger and at home. One of my favorite memories was when my dad would read the Christmas story from the Bible and we would all sing Christmas carols. I also loved going to our church's candlelight Christmas eve service. It was always fun to see all the families come together who had sons or daughters off at college or grown and moved away but had come back home for Christmas. Once our Christmas eve service was over, we always went home for yummy food and one gift to open before heading off to bed. We had a two-story house and had strict instructions not to leave our rooms during Christmas eve night. On Christmas morning, Mom and Dad would come up the stairs waking us up singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," and we all barreled down the stairs, anxious to see what treasures were ours. Christmases were always special. As a lot of moms and dads do, ours were up late on Christmas eve getting things ready for the next morning. One year, they were up really late and realized we would wake up within a couple of hours. They thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and wake us up in the middle of the night to do "Christmas" so we would all go back to bed and sleep past five or six in the morning. Well, their plan pretty much backfired, as we had just gotten to sleep good when they came up the stairs singing and expecting our normal excitement. When we could hardly hold our eyes open or our heads up, they were disappointed, to say the least, at our lack of enthusiasm! They kept trying to encourage us to show excitement, and we mustered all we could with unfavorable results. We remembered that story last night and shared a few laughs. It's so funny now to see our own children and how much they remind us of ourselves when we were their age. We're starting our own traditions now. The candlelight service is still a favorite, and we have continued the tradition of eating yummy food after the service. I remember that some of our gifts were wrapped and some just sat out, like our "Santa" gifts. That's how we did our kids' gifts this morning...Santa gifts were unwrapped, and Mommy and Daddy gifts were wrapped. It's so much fun to see the excitement on our kids' faces when they walk in the room and see their treasures! It thrilled me most today to hear Luke sing "Happy Birthday, Jesus" to Kelvin's family.

So, what are your Christmas memories and traditions? Our family wishes all of you a very blessed Christmas, and hope you know the reason we celebrate...Jesus. He is the ultimate gift and brings us peace, hope and love still today. Happy birthday, Jesus!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Eve

In a few short minutes it will be Christmas eve, and I still have a tad bit of shopping to do. Crazy, huh? If my pregnant brain didn't cause me to forgot absolutely everything unless I write it down, I might not have to make so many trips to the store. Oh well, makes life more interesting.

Tonight we visited with some of our very good friends. One of them is a flight attendant and just happened to be working on flight 1404 from Denver to Houston Saturday night that crashed on the runway! She is our new hero! I have only heard good reports of what an outstanding job the crew did that evening. She was giving us some of her account of the incident, and I thought about how incredibly short life is and how we are not promised the next breath. Thankfully, no one perished in the accident. Our friend's ankle is pretty messed up but not broken.

Events such as these make me reevaluate what is important. So, what's on your Christmas list? Here are a few things on mine...although I would love a new slim line counter top stereo, a pedicure, and a permanent live-in nanny/housekeeper, there are other things which are far more important. I would love to see people spend less on frivolous things and more on things which will make an eternal impact like sponsoring children in underprivileged countries, or providing meals or clothes or pay an electric bill for those of our own country who are struggling financially, or giving to the missionaries who are telling people about the love of God in places I've never even heard of, or giving to pregnancy centers and soup kitchens and orphanages. I mean really, do we need to get our kids so many new toys? Wouldn't a couple do? I wish I would've spent more time this Christmas season explaining to my kids that there are children in our own town who might not get anything for Christmas and then working together as a family to figure out ways we could make a difference. I have to confess, my kids are probably getting too much again this year. I'll probably end up cleaning out their rooms half way through the new year and bagging even the new toys up to give away or throw away. I pray in 2009 our hearts will see a change and we won't be so consumed with "things." Our family has begun to sponsor our first child in El Salvador. I pray that this little guy will come to understand how much Jesus loves him and if he hasn't already given his life to Jesus, he will. I pray my own children will personally give their lives to Jesus as well. Isn't that the greatest gift of all? And it's totally free. All we have to do is accept it!

What are you wishing for this year? I hope you have a very merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Where does the time go?

Yikes, I haven't posted in for-ev-er! Sooo sorry. I'm running out of time before Christmas arrives! I haven't finished our shopping, don't even have ideas for some very important people, have gone to school parties and other ones too, caroled around the neighborhood while looking at the pretty lights, and all kinds of other fun stuff. It's been a vapor of a month. It's been a lovely Christmas season though. Sometimes I wish I could freeze time! The kids have done and said some of the funniest things...

Carleigh: I want a DS for Christmas.
Me: I don't think we're going to do that this year.
Carleigh: I'll just ask Santa for it then.
Me: Santa knows not to get things for children their parents don't want them to have.

Luke: I want a Toy Story set.
Grammy: Where have you seen that?
Luke: Grammy, Santa can make anything.

No pressure Santa!

Luke: Carleigh, you better be good, Santa is watching.

Today Luke and Carleigh were playing in the garage and Luke had a "sword"...

Luke: I'll be the knight and you be the mean princess, Carleigh.
Carleigh: No, I want to be the nice princess.
Luke: No, you're the mean princess. You're mean to me.

We had the most wonderful surprise around our parts, and got snow last week! It's still the talk of the town! You all from up north where it snows all the time have a hard time understanding what all the hoop-la is about, I'm sure. But you see, around here, it only snows once in a blue moon (if that much!) We had enough to stick on the ground through the night, and the next morning the kids got to play in it. Below you'll find pictures and video of the grand event, but let me give you some insight on the video. For the past forever several days Luke has been asking when it will snow and if it will snow on Christmas. I have explained at least 100 times that we live in a coastal region where it just doesn't get cold enough to have snow (it's been 80 degrees the past couple of days.) I told him that every once in a while it snows but we shouldn't count on it happening. He asked where it does snow. I told him it snows in the northern states of our country and places like Colorado where our friends live. He said, "I want to move to Colorado." So, that's the background for the video. Let me also preface the video by saying we do live in a coastal climate and don't sport snow shoes or appropriate clothing to play in the snow. Keds and canvas shoes are probably not the best choice for kiddos to play in the snow...

They did have a good time though...

Kelvin's first ever snow angel!

Nothing like a cup of hot cocoa to warm things up!

Emma update...
She has had quite a rough week. She has been unusually fussy, and even crying, which is not normal for her. She tires easily and wants to be held most of the time. We've been doing a lot of snuggling in the recliner, which is fine for me and my expanding waist line! She's also not been able to walk much and has been spitting up more. She did have a good day with Dee Dee, her vision teacher yesterday though. She liked the lights and did some good reaching and touching.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Emma's Hugs

Here is a little bit about Emma's Hugs, Inc....

Emma’s Hugs is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Our mission is to support families and caregivers of those in hospital settings so that they can better focus on their loved one’s recovery. It is not our goal to pay off huge medical bills, but instead simply pay their parking bill, a hug of sorts.

Emma, the inspiration for Emma’s Hugs and this blog, is our third child. She was diagnosed summer of 2008 with a neurodegenerative disease, known as Infantile Batten Disease. The disease causes a loss of motor and cognitive function, blindness, and ultimately death, usually before the child's first decade. There was a special time in Emma’s life, around 18-20 months, where she gave hugs and kisses. She even met her dad at the door a few times and said “Dada” and gave him a hug. Those times are gone, but we want to somehow memorialize that sweet time in Emma's life. Through Emma’s Hugs we will share the spirit of a simple hug from a small child; sincere, innocent, without obligation and without being asked for!

Life experiences have shown us the important role caregiver’s play in their loved one's recovery. We feel strongly about our mission to support them, and we are excited to invite you to join us in spreading these random acts of kindness.

Please check out for more information. You can also find updates on Facebook and Twitter!

Laughs from Luke

Yesterday evening was Luke's preschool Christmas program. Picture several hundred 5 and under kiddos dressed in their Christmas best with a crowd full of parents, grandparents, and screaming babies in the audience, and that's where we were last night. :) It was great, really!

Here was our conversation while getting dressed (in the dark I might add, since the power went off as we were getting ready to go)...

Me: Luke, let's get dressed for your Christmas program. (I'm holding his clothes up on the hanger.)

Luke: I wanted to wear my Easter jacket. (light colored linen jacket)

Me: Oh, but Mommy bought these especially for you to wear tonight. (Thanks goodness he was easily convinced. Sometimes it's a 30 minute battle, which he wins on occasion.)

Luke: (after we have his clothes on) Mommy, I think I will be the most handsome boy there tonight.

Me: I agree. You look very nice in your fancy clothes.

A little bit later in the car on the way...

Luke: Mommy, I think I look like a president.

Me: Yes, you do look very nice in your new clothes.

Luke: I don't mean my clothes. I mean my hair!

You gotta love him!

He really was happy to be there. The boy has a very serious streak.

Notice how helpful Luke is being to Emma by holding her head up for the picture. Sweet little Dunnam babies!

Over the weekend Carleigh's little dance class performed at a Christmas festival. Here are some pictures of our little dancing queen for your viewing pleasure...

Isn't she adorable? The very best dancer, of course!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Christmas Pageant

This could so be our family! Merry Christmas!


My husband and I had been happily married (most of the time) for five years but hadn't been blessed with a baby. I decided to do some serious praying and promised God that if he would give us a child, I would be a perfect mother, love it with all my heart and raise it with His word as my guide.

God answered my prayers and blessed us with a son. The next year God blessed us with another son. The following year, He blessed us with yet another son. The year after that we were blessed with a daughter. My husband thought we'd been blessed right into poverty. We now had four children, and the oldest was only four years old. I learned never to ask God for anything unless I meant it. As a minister once told me, "If you pray for rain, make sure you carry an umbrella."

I began reading a few verses of the Bible to the children each day as they lay in their cribs. I was off to a good start. God had entrusted me with four children and I didn't want to disappoint Him.

I tried to be patient the day the children smashed two dozen eggs on the kitchen floor searching for baby chicks. I tried to be understanding when they started a hotel for homeless frogs in the spare bedroom, although it took me nearly two hours to catch all twenty-three frogs. When my daughter poured ketchup all over herself and rolled up in a blanket to see how it felt to be a hot dog, I tried to see the humor rather than the mess.

In spite of changing over twenty-five thousand diapers, never eating a hot meal and never sleeping for more than thirty minutes at a time, I still thank God daily for my children.

While I couldn't keep my promise to be a perfect mother - I didn't even come close -I did keep my promise to raise them in the Word of God.

I knew I was missing the mark just a little when I told my daughter we were going to church to worship God, and she wanted to bring a bar of soap along to "wash up" Jesus, too. Something was lost in the translation when I explained that God gave us everlasting life, and my son thought it was generous of God to give us his "last wife."

My proudest moment came during the children's Christmas pageant. My daughter was playing Mary, two of my sons were shepherds and my youngest son was a wise man. This was their moment to shine. My five-year-old shepherd had practiced his line, "We found the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes." But he was nervous and said, "The baby was wrapped in wrinkled clothes." My four-year-old "Mary" said, "That's not 'wrinkled clothes,' silly. That's dirty, rotten clothes." A wrestling match broke out between Mary and the shepherd and was stopped by an angel, who bent her halo and lost her left wing. I slouched a little lower in my seat when Mary dropped the doll representing Baby Jesus, and it bounced down the aisle crying, "Mama-mama."

Mary grabbed the doll, wrapped it back up and held it tightly as the wise men arrived. My other son stepped forward wearing a bathrobe and a paper crown, knelt at the manger and announced, "We are the three wise men, and we are bringing gifts of gold, common sense and fur."

The congregation dissolved into laughter, and the pageant got a standing ovation. "I've never enjoyed a Christmas program as much as this one," laughed the pastor, wiping tears from his eyes "For the rest of my life, I'll never hear the Christmas story without thinking of gold, common sense and fur."

"My children are my pride and my joy and my greatest blessing," I said as I dug through my purse for an aspirin.

Aren't you glad God has such a sense of humor?!

Monday, December 8, 2008

No Not Me! today

He y'all! So glad you could stop by and catch up on what's going on around our little neck of the woods. Today should be Not Me! Monday, but my pregnant brain just can't get all of my thoughts together to amuse you today. Not that my crew and I haven't had some belly laughs this week, I just can't remember well enough to relay them to you.

We've enjoyed getting in the Christmas groove around here. It's such a special time of year. The kids went to our church's children's advent service and made an advent chain. We enjoy taking a link off and reading what it suggests to do each day. I look forward to reading the Bible stories related to Christmas, singing Christmas songs, and doing all things Christmas to help us remember the sacrifice and realize how Jesus humbled himself to come to this world as fully human and fully God to provide a way for us to spend eternity with Him! It's all so amazing and overwhelming to think about! I hope you will spend some time this season reflecting on how very much He loves you and what a beautiful time of year this is. Not only beautiful because of the sights, scents and sounds of the season, but because Jesus provided a purpose for your life. He wants us to live, not just a ho-hum, drab existence, but an abundant life. By abundant life He doesn't mean for us to cram as much as we can into our schedules. He means He wants to be the center of our lives, to help us through each moment, to be the connected to everything we are, think, feel and do.

So, will you join me in an effort to not let this season slip by with busyness and forget the whole reason we celebrate? Take a moment each day to reflect on our beautiful Savior who came to this earth as a helpless child at Christmas time. Let this season be a time where we drink in His love, take His yoke upon us (learn from Him), and breath.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ups and Downs

Well, it's been up and down for Emma lately. She has good days where her muscles seem strong and she's able to walk with more ease, and then there are days like the last few where she is extremely fussy and frustrated! She was pretty tired and irritated at therapy on Tuesday. Could be attributed to the fact that she was getting up between 2 and 3 a.m. and not going back to sleep for several hours afterward! We'll have to call the doc and ask about her meds being changed again.

Can you believe Santa was at preschool yesterday for pictures? Guess who was sporting a shiner on her right eye? You guessed it...Emma! What is it with pictures, black eyes and Emma? Poor little thing. I just hope this time she was a little happier for the picture taking than she was for the last school picture.

For an update on last week's happenings around the Dunnam Den...we had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Hope your food and fellowship was as great as ours. The best part for me though, if I'm going to be totally honest, is that our parents helped out with our kiddos, and Kelvin and I got to spend the night away from home and hoodlums precious angels! We had such a great time! How could spending time with my knight in shining armor not be great?

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around our place...slowly but surely!

It's my very favorite time of year. The local Christian radio station here begins playing Christmas music on Thanksgiving day and doesn't stop until the day after Christmas. I never seem to get tired of it. It's wonderful! Have a very merry day!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Check out this great opportunity

OK, friends, this is a good one! The lady who brought us Not Me! Monday is providing a fabulous opportunity to buy your chance at winning a Canon Rebel XSI Camera package! It's a great deal, and all of the proceeds will be donated to three beautiful organizations. The information and details follow below, so take a few minutes to read, and then hop on over to MckMama's blog and enter to win! You can click on the highlighted words here, or on the camera icon in my sidebar. Happy playing!

Many chances to win here, peeps. Just choose the ways you'd like to be involved:

1. Buy Raffle-Way tickets for the suggested donation of $10/ticket to be entered to win the MckRebel Prize Package.

2. Add the Rebel Without For A Cause button to your own blog and link over here to be entered to win a name charm necklace.

3. Win big by blessing other families through three great organizations!!

The driving force behind this Raffle-Way is that many worthy families will be helped in the process through String of Pearls, Elison Project, and No Hands but Ours. This Raffle-Way will reach out and touch so many families who need help and support. And before you know it, one of you will be taking kick-bottom photographs with your majorly pimped out new camera!! Can you say win-win? Again?

The Rebel Without For A Cause Raffle-Way starts now and ends at 11:59 pm, Central Standard Time on December 14, 2008. The MckRebel Prize Package will be in the winner's hands by Christmas.

As I mentioned, the suggested donation is $10 per Raffle-Way ticket, but you can donate any amount you choose. Enter as many times as you wish. Each $10 donation buys you one ticket. (You can donate more than once and get one ticket each time, or in one lump. If you donate, say, $30, we will know you want three tickets.) The more tickets you buy, the more times we'll enter your name in the drawing and the more chances you'll have to win the MckRebel Prize Package!!!

Donating is secure and will be accepted through the ChipIn icon at the top of my (her) blog. When you donate via ChipIn, you are automatically entered in the Raffle-Way to win the MckRebel Prize Package. Soon after you donate, we will send a reply email to the address on your PayPal account, letting you know what your Raffle-Way ticket number(s) are. Then you wait until the Raffle-Way is over on December 14 and see if you won!

All proceeds of this Raffle-Way will be donated. Proceeds will go to String of Pearls, a beautiful ministry that offers a nurturing and safe place for families as they navigate the path following a fatal prenatal diagnosis that will result in the death of their baby prior to, or shortly after birth. String of Pearls provides guidance, compassion and practical suggestions as plans to honor the life of pre-born babies are crafted.

Proceeds will also go to benefit No Hands But Ours. No Hands But Ours is a China adoption resource site, specific to special needs adoption. It was created to provide information, encouragement and support for families of the children who wait and for those who wait no more. It is their hope that God would use this organization to encourage and equip ordinary people to do an extraordinary thing in the life of a special needs orphan, to give the gift every child needs and deserves...a family.

The Elison Project helps to provide grants to families adopting special needs children from China, and collaborates with No Hands But Ours. Proceeds of this Raffle-Way will allow families to make an incredible difference in the life of a child. Your donation will help to bring His children home.

If you'd like to be a part of our Rebel Without For A Cause Raffle-Way, jump on in. The winners will be randomly drawn (Wait for it...we're even thinking of videotaping the process to prove it was fair and random.) and will be announced within a day or two after the Raffle-Way ends on December 14, 2008. Go win yourself a Rebel! And a whole heckofalotta other goodies! For a cause!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Great Therapy Day

Emma had a great day at therapy yesterday! She was showing them how she's been walking around lately. The physical therapist was impressed at how she was balancing while standing still. Emma even caught herself one time as she was beginning to fall backward, and remained standing! She's such a tough little cookie! The occupational therapist said she wasn't chewing well, but that she was still chewing, and her jaw felt a little stronger than the week before last. When I asked the OT a week or so ago what the deal was with Emma spitting up lately, she wasn't sure. Yesterday she told me she researched a little bit and found it was part of Emma's disease. I'm hoping it's just related to foods that don't completely agree with her tummy. The PT also commented that Emma's movements didn't seem so erratic. So, little steps of improvement or lack of regression is a very good thing! We will definitely be thankful for the small things! What a blessing!

Count Your Blessings

Count your blessings Name them one by one.
Count your blessings See what God hath done.
Count your blessings Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings See what God hath done.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Good Napkins

Just to clarify, the following story is not actually about me personally, but it totally sounds like something that would happen around my house now. :) Be careful. This one is so funny, you might pee your pants!

The joys of having girls...

My mother taught me to read when I was four years old (her first mistake).

One day, I was in the bathroom and noticed one of the cabinet doors was ajar. I read the box in the cabinet. I then asked my mother why she was keeping "napkins" in the bathroom. Didn't they belong in the kitchen?

Not wanting to burden me with unnecessary facts, she told me that those were for 'special occasions' (her second mistake).

Now fast forward a few months...
It's Thanksgiving Day, and my folks are leaving to pick up my uncle and his wife for dinner.

Mom had assignments for all of us while they were gone. Mine was to set the table.

When they returned, my uncle came in first and immediately burst into laughter. Next came his wife who gasped, then began giggling.

Next came my father, who roared with laughter. Then came Mom, who almost died of embarrassment when she saw each place setting on the table with a 'special occasion' Kotex napkin at each plate, with the fork carefully arranged on top. I had even tucked the little tail in so they didn't hang off the edge!!

My mother asked me why I used these and, of course, my response sent the other adults into further fits of laughter. 'But, Mom, you said they were for special occasions!!!'

Life is too short for drama and petty things, so kiss slowly, laugh insanely, love truly and forgive quickly....and for heavens sake, use the good napkins whenever you can!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Not Me! Monday

Ugh! It's Monday. I woke up this morning at 4 o' clock to Emma's little bear grunting with a headache...hate it when that happens. Anyway, it's time for Not Me!, so I'll rack my pregnant brain to try and recall everything that didn't happen this week...

I didn't hear my son make up the cutest song about wanting a "baby boy brother" but loved all of his sisters anyway. He didn't come to me after his song was over and ask when he would get a baby brother, and I didn't tell him "never, you're the one and only boy!" He is just too cute sometimes! I didn't think about making the appointment for Kelvin at that very moment.

Carleigh did not make a mean face at me and growl the other day. She is much too sweet to do something like that when she doesn't hear what she wants to hear or doesn't get her way. She is only six, and six year old little girls don't do that kind of thing, right? What in the tarnation (is that how the word is spelled?) will she not do when she is in junior high!?

Emma didn't walk around the den and kitchen (kinda) all week long! She hasn't been strong enough for that lately, so it must have been some other cutie pie little darling!

I am not already in "nesting" mode around the house trying to get everything cleaned out and organized. I'm only 21 weeks along. That's not over half way there!

I was not almost totally out of breath the other day, (and the day after that and every other time I climb the stairs) when I was trying to carry on a conversation with my friend on the phone! I'm not that out of shape for crying out loud!

When our good friend who happens to cut and style hair for a living came by very generously after work the other night to cut Luke's hair, our conversation did not sound anything like...

Me: Luke do you like your hair cut?

Luke: NO!

Me: Why not?

Luke: Because!

Me: Because why?

Luke: Because all my hair is gone!

If that would have happened I would have been totally embarrassed!

Luke did not come to me later asking if he looked like the same boy and if his hair would grow back. He was not completely consumed with is hair for the next several days...he's a boy for goodness sake!

Kelvin did not blame Emma twice this week when he was the one stinking up the room! He wouldn't blame such a sweet little doll for something so foul!

We didn't get a call from the genetic counselor with the most wonderful news about baby Cora being totally fine and all her tests coming back normal! That didn't make my day, week, weekend, month! (Oh, yes we did! Thank you Jesus!)
OK, it's your turn. I hope you'll join in the fun. Follow the link for instructions, and if you don't have a blog, at least comment so we can see what you didn't do! Have fun! Check out the blog that has the rules (click on the picture in my sidebar) and original Not Me! Monday post. (Click on the highlighted words.)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

To God be the glory, great things He hath done!

We are thrilled to let you know the genetic counselor called this morning with good news of great joy! For unto us will be born a healthy, normal (for a Dunnam anyway) baby girl around April 5, 2009!!! All the enzyme tests which they use to test for Batten Disease came back normal. We are so elated with this news. What a load off our backs! God is good, no matter the circumstance. He would have been just as good had the results not been normal, but I sure am glad they are!

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He has done.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Pretty in pink with piggy tails! Gotta love it!

I just couldn't stand it any longer yesterday, so I called the genetic counselor to see if she had received any news regarding Cora's results. She called Seattle and let me know we should know something on Friday. Please continue to pray. I'll let you know as soon as we do about the results.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Not Me! Monday

I can't believe it's Monday again! I thought about things I should have written down all week long to share with you on my Not Me! therapy session, and of course I didn't, so this might be short. If you've never read or participated in a Not Me! Monday, the directions will be at the bottom of this post. The precious and hilarious lady who invented this inviting blog therapy is truly blessed with an adorable family and a awesome miracle in her newest baby, Stellan. You can check out her blog for more details.

So anyway, here goes what I can remember for Not Me! Monday...

I have not threatened my oldest daughter with withdrawing her from school for her prissy pants attitude three or four times now to try to get her attention and change her attitude. That would be crazy psychology! I did not ask several friends and family members for recommendations for a boarding school to send her to for the next several years. Nope, not me! She's only six, so how bad could it be?

After losing his room privilege for over a week (I shut and locked the door), my son and I did not spend over an hour cleaning his room and making it walkable and playable only to have him dump on the floor every toy basket in his room two days later! I was not in tears after he did the dumping. Why would I waste my tears on something so trivial? Wasn't me!

I did not laugh hysterically again on Saturday when my knight in shining armor was giving our son a "talking to" and threatening the status of his bottom, when Luke decided to keep eye contact like he was listening, and then crack the slightest of smiles and start doing a little jig in the middle of the scolding! It was not me hiding my head in my husband's chest with my body trembling from laughter and tears rolling down my face!

I almost's not me who has a terrible gnat investation in our kitchen! (ARGGG!) After reading that gnats don't like bay leaves, I did not get totally giddy after going to the backyard and breaking off some branches, then placing them in water all over the kitchen. When they seemed to have disappeared after only a couple of minutes, I didn't call my husband from shear excitement to tell him the good news only to have the gnats come back 100 fold within the hour! Nope, not me!

It's not me who is anxiously awaiting a phone call from our genetic counselor with good news regarding baby Cora. I'm not a nervous wreck and emotional basket case. Not me!

It's not me who would covet and appreciate any and every prayer lifted up for our adorable daughter, Emma and our baby-the-way, Cora for healing and good health...oh, wait, that would totally be me!

Thanks for praying. And as you pray, could you also say one for Carleigh and Luke and Kelvin and me too?

OK, it's your turn. I hope you'll join in the fun. Follow the link for instructions, and if you don't have a blog or don't want to play along, at least comment so we can see what you didn't do! Have fun! Check out the blog that has the rules (click on the picture in my sidebar) and original Not Me! Monday post. (Click on the highlighted words.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ultrasound & Saturday stuff

The kids went to our check-up for the baby yesterday. They thought it was pretty neat to see the baby on the screen. We saw her kicking around and even yawn! Such a little miracle! Our midwife let Carleigh find the heartbeat with the doppler wand. She got a big thrill out of that! It seemed that even Emma was interested in what was going on in that new place. Our midwife said the measurements from the ultrasound looked perfect and was impressed at how little weight I had gained! (hee-hee) Of course, I'm feeling like my belly is growing at mach speed recently.

We had a great Saturday of cleaning and cooking. Our small group came over for an early Thanksgiving dinner...YUMMY! I think my favorite meal is turkey and dressing with all the sides. Chef Kel put it on the top shelf with his incredible turkey cooking skills. It was the best ever! I must say my dressing, his Nanny D's recipe, was pretty darn good too. As always, I ate too much and my stomach feels like it is about to pop! Here's a picture of the post dinner nap...

Emma's had a pretty good day. She made several steps today, and Kelvin was successful in getting some sweet giggles after blowing on her belly.

The weather is downright cold tonight, and I'm wanting to light the fireplace and drink hot chocolate or tea...or put on my pjs and go to bed early. It's only 8 o'clock, but the bed sure sounds inviting! What a party girl I've become!

Weekend blessings to you!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I hate Batten Disease

Can I just tell you I hate Batten Disease?! Last night as I was watching Emma struggle, and looking at the pictures around the house of her before her world was turned upside down, I realized Batten Disease and Alzheimer's are very similar...they are Satan's sicknesses! They totally strip people of their mind and body and who they are. Just last year Emma was laughing and clapping, dancing and climbing, and trying to keep up with her brother and sister. Today she can't feed herself, walk, tell you what she needs, or anything else a precious 2 1/2 year old should be able to do. I went to a meeting today to talk about transitioning her to school from the ECI program once she turns three in March. When questions are asked about what Emma can do, I hate saying "no" as most of the responses. I want my daughter back!! She is so sweet and so precious, and I hate watching her struggle and get so frustrated. I hate it that a lot of the time she looks like her school picture taken a few weeks ago with bumps and bruises and a sad face...

...and not like the sweetie pie I know she is and remember in pictures past...

So, I guess I will cling to the promise God has given that He will carry us through this. I'm glad He is strong and has big arms, because I don't feel like I'm handling very much of the load right now. I know He doesn't waste any of our hurts and trials. We have met so many wonderful helpful people since Emma has been diagnosed. I know He is using this ugly trial for His good. I hope people are drawn to Him who don't know Him because of what they see in our family. I know He knows each tear, and He loves us deeply. I look forward to the time when "There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears/There will be a day when the burdens of this place, will be no more, we'll see Jesus face to face/But until that day, we'll hold on to You always"...
Jeremy Camp, "There Will be a Day"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veteran's Day

Don't forget to wish a veteran Happy Veteran's Day today. What a blessing these men and women are to our great country! We love and miss you Marvin aka Pawtaw!

Veterans Day

Monday, November 10, 2008

Not Me! Monday

It was not me in the Hobby Lobby parking lot who scratched the car next to me while pulling in the parking place. I’m a wonderful driver, so I don’t know who you saw!

Carleigh did not look pitiful in her leotard and tights at ballet class with her arm in her sling. And she does not have a yucky looking knot on her collar bone that makes me want to gag, because it would be crazy to think she broke her collar bone!

My oldest daughter did not wake me up at 6 o'clock this morning to see if it would be possible to reschedule her follow-up appointment for her collar bone fracture for this afternoon so she wouldn't have to miss school! We haven't talked about that subject 10 or so times before, so she wouldn't know the answer to the question is NO! And I did not tell her I would pop her precious bottom if she mentioned it to me again, especially when I'm trying to sleep! That couldn't have happened. I was probably dreaming!

I did not almost throw up all over the men in my church small group last night when they kept talking about gross things like Vienna sausages and gross men stuff. My not pregnant stomach is stronger than that!

I did not almost pinch off the head of my sweet son last night after I cleaned the kitchen and was vaccuuming the den, when my daughter informed me that my darling son took a tea bag and busted it all over the kitchen cabinet and floor! He wouldn't do such a crazy thing as that! And I would not have explained to him (in the calmest of voices of course, if he would have done such a thing) that he was about to drive me right off a cliff with all the crazy messy boy things he has NOT been doing (refer to last Not Me! Monday)!!! At which point he did not smile and shake his head "yes" that he understood me, with all his bouncy blonde curls going everywhere!

Emma did not stay awake most of the day yesterday, skipping her nap, and cry most of the afternoon. She's too sweet to do such a thing. She didn't snuggle up and fall asleep on her daddy's chest at bedtime last night and look plum adorable either!

I did not challenge all who read my blog to do the 7X7 prayers for our kids as Angie suggested on her blog and then get too flustered yesterday morning to put it off until another day! Nope, not me! I never get flustered or frustrated or irritated! That's some other crazy woman living in my house. I'm as calm and cool as a cucumber!

Ok, it's your turn. I hope you'll join in the fun. Follow the link for instructions, and if you don't have a blog or don't want to play along, at least comment so we can see what you didn't do! Have fun! Check out the blog that has the rules (click on the picture in my sidebar) and original Not Me! Monday post. (Click on the highlighted words.)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Fall Festival

Today was the fall festival at Carleigh's elementary school. It's the school's only fundraiser for the year...thank goodness! The kids had a good time playing all the games and eating the fall fest food. We'll have to detox for a week after all the cotton candy, ice cream, cookies, etc., etc.!! Even Emma had pizza and ice cream. Emma was such a trooper in her stroller for almost the entire time. I even saw her sweet, little grin a couple of times. We started out pretty early with the fun run which kicked off at 9 this morning. Kelvin ran around the track with Luke, while Carleigh darted out in front of them. When Luke was a bit disappointed he didn't get the 1st, 2nd or 3rd place medal "necklace", I reminded him how fast he was, because after all, he was running with kids two years older than he is! I think it made him feel a little bit better. Carleigh's class sponsored the raffle booth. There were tons of good prizes from which to choose to buy tickets, and Carleigh won one of them! She was so thrilled! She won the cutest duffle bag with her school name and mascot embroidered on it. We played and ate and helped out at the raffle booth until we couldn't do anymore, and now we're resting.

I was reading a favorite blog today, and the writer challenged everyone to get serious about praying for their kids. I hope you will join me in the challenge.

Have a lovely weekend! I hope the weather is as beautiful in your neck of the woods as it is here.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


The past few days, if you looked up "fussy" in the dictionary, there would be a picture of Emma for the definition. The poor little thing doesn't know what she wants. She has cried more the last week than in her whole life! She isn't napping well, and I think that has something to do with it. She hasn't been drinking a lot either, which might have her a little on the cloggy side. We're going to buy some prune juice tomorrow, if you get my drift.

Please keep praying for good reports from Seattle Children's Hospital on the genetic results for baby Cora. I'm getting kind of ansy.

I am pretty darn tired (kind of an understatement, really), so even though it's only 8:30, I think I'm going to bed!

Nighty, Night!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voted? & A little bit of Emma

Just a reminder to go exercise your American duty and privilege to vote! If you don't vote, you can't gripe, so go vote. The polls are open until 7 p.m. FYI: An election judge called in to the radio station I was listening to yesterday and said that if you have moved, you don't have to go back to your old precinct. All you have to do is take proof of your new address, like an electric bill, and your i.d., and sign an affidavit. She said sometimes the voting people don't like to go through all the trouble but that it can be done. You just can't vote in both precincts.

Emma had speech therapy today. Michelle said she actually made some new vocalizations! Yay! Michelle also said Emma made some new sounds with the animal sounds cd and made noise when Michelle did the Indian tap thing on her lips. After she had worked for awhile, Michelle said she made her little bear grunting noise and laid her head down. She was done, thank you very much! She lets you know when she needs a break. She just lies down. She worked hard at physical therapy too, playing in the ball pit, going down the slide, and getting a foot massage (ok, maybe that wasn't such hard work), and took a little rest on the mats after she'd had enough.

She did really well last week walking around the den, but she's struggling this week. We're hanging in there.

Happy Voting!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Not Me! Monday & one down, one to go

Here's my second attempt at Not Me! Monday. I will learn to start writing stuff down during the week so that my feeble pregnant brain will remember all the crazy things that happened to me. Here's what I remember...

When my friends came by Thursday to clean my house (holy cow, what a blessing they are) it wasn't me who wouldn't let them but instead made them sit down on the couch and listen to me rant about how my children were driving me crazy! I wouldn't pass up the opportunity at a clean house, so that could not have been me.

I did not want to pinch my sweet son's head off this week for drawing on his door, stamping his walls, cracking confetti eggs all over his floor and dumping a perfectly good basket of clean, folded clothes on the floor. My sweet little boy who thanks Jesus for dying on the cross for our sins (seriously he prays this at bedtime) couldn't participate in such behavior, so nope, it wasn't me wanting to do some pinching!

You did not hear me yelling at my kids this weekend while my mighty deer slaying husband was out trying to fill our freezer. My children get along perfectly and never tattle or say ugly things to each other, so I would never have any reason to tell them to stop talking or looking at one another. If you would have been at our house this morning before church, you would not have heard me telling our eldest that she is not the mother, or the grown up, and may not boss her brother around. You would not have heard me explaining to her that if her attitude didn't change dramatically I would pull her little bottom out of school and teach her myself. I didn't say those things...nope, not me!

My hormones are completely normal, so there would absolutely be no reason for me to cry at the drop of a hat. So, you didn't see me doing that while taking the kids to school, reading a blog, getting Emma's medicine ready or any other time this week. It couldn't have been me. Nor would you see me eating a hamburger from the local greasy spoon. I really care about what I put into my not expanding body, so it wasn't me. At small group tonight, I did not eat the most delicious homemade lasagna and chocolate cake in the world. After eating pizza for lunch, I wouldn't have had room for such a big dinner, so it wasn't me!

Ok, it's your turn. I hope you'll join in the fun. Follow the link for instructions, and if you don't have a blog or don't want to play along, at least comment so we can see what you didn't do! Have fun! Check out the blog that has the rules (click on the picture in my sidebar) and original Not Me! Monday post. (Click on the highlighted words.)
Here's some good news for your Monday! Our genetic counselor called today and said all the chromosome tests came back Downs Syndrome! That's one good report down, and one to go. She said they would send off the cultured cells from the amnio mid week, and hopefully we'll hear wonderful news later in the week next week about the genetic test results for Batten Disease. Thanks for the prayers. Please keep them coming.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Fall Y'all!

We had a fun night full of festivities! Carleigh dressed up as a cheerleader. We pretended the broken collar bone was a cheer injury. ;) Luke was Woody from Toy Story. He looked so cute in his get up! Emma was a cutie pie pumpkin. We started out the evening at Carleigh's classmate's birthday party before heading to our very good friends' annual party. The kids had a blast playing with all the other kiddos and especially loved the trick or treating hayride.

After a few days of being very fussy and tired, I think Emma had a fun night. She's probably getting really tired of having a runny nose. The whole not being able to breath thing has to be frustrating and tiresome. Hopefully the allergy air will clear up soon along with her nose. We're looking forward to a better weekend. You have yourself a good one too!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Scars of Life

Some years ago, on a hot summer day in south Florida , a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore.

His father, working in the yard, saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, he ran toward the water, yelling to his son as loudly as he could. Hearing his voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his father. It was too late. Just as he reached his father, the alligator reached him.

From the dock, the father grabbed his little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the father, but the father was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard his screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator.

Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal and, on his arms, were deep scratches where his father's fingernails dug into his flesh in an effort to hang onto the son he loved.

The newspaper reporter, who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs, and with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, "But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my Dad wouldn't let go."

You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too, not from an alligator but of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret. But some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let you go. In the midst of your struggle, He's been there holding on to you.

The Scripture teaches that God loves you. You are a child of God. He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way. But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations, not knowing what lies ahead. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril - and we forget that the enemy is waiting to attack. That's when the tug-of-war begins - and if you have the scars of His love on your arms, be very, very grateful. He did not and will not ever let you go.
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