Now that things have slowed down a lot, after the wedding and the move, Rachel and I are having lots of time to be together at a slower pace. I’ve finally come to the understanding that even if Rachel never has more words for me, it will be ok. For some reason, not expecting or asking her to give me words for how she’s feeling and what she wants has helped me “hear” her better. I’m noticing more and more that Rachel does a lot of communicating with her face and body language. I was missing some of that before in trying so hard for words. Even the direction that she looks communicates things. Maybe it’s the slowing down or maybe it’s just me not trying so hard but being content with what is, that’s making the difference. In the process, I have a little companion that has a lot more joy. I’m not getting more words but I’m sure getting more smiles and laughter. As I study her and take the time to just be quiet and watch her, she “says” a lot more than I ever realized. I don’t miss her so much as I used to, because I now realize that she’s been there all along. She is just much quieter but she’s still Rachel in that little pensive body of hers. I’m also realizing all over again that busyness is our enemy. I have to have the time to be quiet and just “be” with her to hear her. I’m beyond grateful for a husband who provides for us so I can be home with Rachel and just take our time and find joyful things to do each day.
We are giving it one last try with the CPAP machine. If it’s just too much for her to get comfortable with, then we’ll be done. We’ll pack that little machine back in it’s bag, take it back to the doctor and be happy with what is. So for now as we play the M & M game and hold the mask again, the pressure is off if it works or not. We want to do all that we can to help Rachel be healthy and to become all God has created her to be, but as for us, we are completely content with who Rachel is right now.
Photos by Allison DePartee
This picture feels like about a month ago in some ways. Now that little squirmy, adventurous, happy boy is a grown, married man. Why doesn’t anyone give you advice on how to let go of sons well? I have been surprised by how hard it really is. I guess I’m one of those moms who holds on too long, and too tightly to her children. I’m so grateful God knows me so well and continues to whisper to my heart, reminders that make that letting go gradually easier….. He reminds me that this was His plan all along. Ellie and Jordan now have the permanent relationship that God designed Jordan to have. Our family was a temporary place to grow him and get him ready for this permanent one. Even Jordan and Ellie’s future children will be temporary. Jordan and Ellie are the permanent covenant that God designed marriage to be.
At times over the past few months I have seen Jordan stressed or worried about something, and just the entrance of Ellie to stand by his side brings him peace and rest. That is a gift from the Lord to Jordan, but also a gift to this mother’s heart. How much easier it is to release Jordan to a woman who so perfectly completes him and makes him better than he already is.
One sight I will always remember is standing near to Jordan at their wedding and hearing Jordan’s gasp as he first saw Ellie start to walk down the aisle on her father’s arm. His eyes filled with such joy and gratitude and love that it poured out of him.
I will always remember those moments of Jordan’s years of waiting and loving Ellie, culminating in the joy of her becoming his bride. To have my son so blessed and full of joy makes the “giving away” so much easier for me.
Then the Lord reminds me that Jordan was never really ours anyway. He was on loan to us for a time but now we release him, hoping we did our job well, and praying for God’s grace for their new journey together.
Photo by Tyler Gould
Rachel has been practicing her whole life to be in a wedding. Well she finally got her wish. She was a beautiful bride’s maid in Jordan and Ellie’s wedding. If you didn’t know her well, you might think she didn’t care very much. I knew it was one of the best days of her life. She was so happy and so proud. For the next three days she would not let go of her flowers from the wedding.
Often I found her gazing at her flowers and smiling the sweetest smile.
When it was time to go places, I was hoping we could leave them at home, but no way. She insisted on carrying them everywhere. They went to the store with us, out to dinner and even to the beach.
If I could make these flowers last forever, I would, because of all the joy they bring to Rachel. They remind her of one of her very best days!!
I love when Rachel is so happy that she just HAS to dance!
In only 10 days these two will be husband and wife! We are so happily counting the days. They are both amazingly calm and joyful with no conflict that I have seen. They are wisely focusing on the marriage and not just the event of the wedding. I couldn’t be prouder of both of them or more blessed by the relationship they are building.
This was one of Ellie’s showers. I loved how Rach and Ellie matched and we didn’t even try!
This is Julie, Ellie’s lovely mother, and my dear sisters and some of my beautiful nieces. Such a joy to celebrate Ellie and Jordan together with family and friends. Ellie shared their love story and blessed everyone in the room.
This is Rachel’s bridesmaid dress. She is very excited to be in the wedding. I have no words to prove that, but I often see her talking to her imaginary friends about it and practicing the bridesmaid walk. We hope the next ten days fly by!!!
This is the reason I haven’t blogged for so long. We saw this house right before Christmas, and have since, put our house up for sale after cleaning and painting like crazy people, sold our house and moved into this one. This is my dream house. It is spacious and light with no yard work (that’s Dave’s dream) with a green space behind with trees and a creek and plenty of birds to watch. I come down the stairs in the morning and go from smiling and singing to crying with gratitude that God would give us such a gift. It still doesn’t feel real.
This is Rachel’s new room. She seems entirely happy now. For a few weeks I got really worried because she was showing stress and the return of some of her old OCD behavior. I couldn’t explain it enough to help her understand that we were moving to a place she would love and that she really would be comfortable there. The days of moving were hard for her but we made sure to set her room up first and put all her favorite, familiar things in her room. Now I can tell she really is comfortable and happy here. That is a huge answer to prayer!
We celebrated Rachel’s 21st birthday on our first day of living in our new house. It’s so hard to believe God has given us 21 years with this sweet little person. I am a very blessed mother.
Rachel is still very quiet and only “connects” with us a few times a week, but once in awhile I get a glimpse into what she is thinking. A few days ago she was practicing holding a pretend bouquet and walking slowly for the wedding. She doesn’t show it but I know she must be very excited for Jordan and Ellie’s wedding.
The mask is still a distant “friend” that she is getting comfortable with but I haven’t had the courage to try it at night again. Still working on that one!
One big change is that we had to paint her room white. That took three very heavy coats of paint to cover all that purple! We have accepted an offer on our home , and depending on if all goes well with inspections, etc. we may be moving to a new house one month before the wedding. We are praying and trying to do all we can to help Rachel not be too disturbed by this big change. Sometimes life just seems to rush so fast that all we can do is hang on and pray hard! Knowing Whose hands we are in, brings peace in the midst of the chaos!
We’re still working on getting Rach comfortable with the CPAP mask again. She has been really quiet and withdrawn. I was thinking that she might not want to open her presents at Christmas this year, when I passed her room and saw this. Maybe she is more excited for Christmas than it seems!!
The horses were all inside today when we got to the barn, because of the weather. They all popped their heads out to greet Rachel. Since it was raining, Shannon had Rachel walk around the arena with Hershey. She stepped back to just watch what would happen. It was so sweet. Rachel was much more comfortable and just walked along, sometimes leading Hershey and sometimes following his lead.
Hershey can be a little bossy, but he seemed to feel comfortable just walking by Rachel, listening to her talk to her imaginary friends and trying to anticipate what she wanted him to do. It’s amazing to see how an animal can be intuitive and really sense what’s going on with a person. With just the two of them, they were quite a peaceful little pair. Afterwards, Rachel was much more comfortable getting close to Hershey to brush him.
After our mask disaster, we have taken a break from trying to get used to the CPAP machine. We’re going to start again with a new, smaller mask called a nose pillow. It only goes into her nose, so it won’t help her as much, but I think we need to try something less scary. Right now she doesn’t want to even get close to the machine, so we will start all over with even more baby steps. So M & M game here we come again.
We were making so many baby steps forward. Slowly Rachel was able to watch a show on TV wearing the mask with the air on and straps in place! I thought we were finally ready to try wearing the mask at night. Last night I put the mask on her even though she fought it a bit. I turned on the air and then laid by her on her bed to try to calm her. I patted her back and prayed, hoping she would relax enough to fall asleep. About an hour later, she got so anxious that before I could get the mask off, she threw up into the mask. Now she hates the machine and mask again. So I guess we step back, take a break and start over again in baby steps.
Last week I kept plugging in the CPAP machine to get Rachel used to the sound of it. Then I attached the hose and put the air on and put the hose closer and closer to her. She hated it! Having the air blowing on her frustrated her like crazy. It’s even on the very lowest setting that it can go. At the end of last week I was positive we would never get Rachel comfortable with using this machine. A couple of days ago I just went for it and attached the mask and sat next to her with it up to my face. I asked her if she could at least put it on her face for a few seconds, long enough for me to take a picture. She actually didn’t freak out! I was shocked. Now I am full of hope again and looking forward to the day when we can actually get her to sleep with it on! Phew! I’m so grateful for people’s prayers that have much more faith than I do. I dream of having our old Rachel back with us!!!
My son Jordan has loved a beautiful young woman named Ellie Courson since he was 15 years old. He even has a journal to prove it. All through the pages of this journal, he poured out his heart to God over and over again about how the dream of his heart was to marry Ellie one day. Well this weekend, he asked her to be his wife and she said yes! We could not be happier!
When Jordan was 15 and Ellie was 13 they went to a camp together. Jordan came home with stories of how amazing Ellie is. He told about how she stood up for herself when someone was being unkind and did it in such a grace-filled but strong way. He has never been the same since then. Ellie has captivated his heart for over seven years. I have watched him grow in perseverance and trust in God as he has waited and surrendered and prayed for God to bring about His will no matter what that would be, all the time hoping God’s will meant that he and Ellie would be together.
We are incredibly blessed to soon have Ellie as part of our family. We all love her! She is strong and kind, funny and wise and she loves the Lord with her whole heart. We are crazy about her family so we feel like we have just won the lottery, only better.
Ellie wants Rachel to be a bridesmaid. That in itself tells you what kind of a woman Ellie is. We are so blessed!
Look what we just brought home……the long awaited CPAP machine! It’s much smaller than I had imagined. I went to get it on a day when Dave could be home with Rachel so I didn’t have to take her to that office. She really hates it there. I didn’t want her to have a connection in her mind between this machine and that office. When I went into the office I met with the guy who hands out the machines and trains you how to use it. Apparently he was there on the day that the doctor brought the mask into her office to show Rachel and Rach took one look at the mask, flew out of the door while having an accident in her pants out of fear. All this time we had been waiting for this machine, this kind young man had been waiting for one that was extra nice and new so we wouldn’t have to change it out if it works. He told me he didn’t want to frighten her anymore by introducing a new machine. We can just keep this one if she can get used to it. He also ordered her a pink hose cover, hoping that she would like the color pink and feel more drawn to the machine. As I left the office, he said to me, “You can call me ANY time. I’m really good at pep talks!” I was so struck at how this young man who has never met Rachel, but only watched her for a few seconds months ago, ministered to us in such a kind way. He must see his job as a calling. He blessed us in a way no pastor or missionary could have. He was right there, doing his job well and took the time to notice Rachel and take some extra time and energy to help us even though he doesn’t know us. I felt so encouraged leaving that office! So here we go! On with the adventure of getting Rachel to wear this mask at night. I know where to call if I need a pep talk!
A little impromptu concert. I love when she imagines out loud.
We weren’t able to get Rachel to be bossy enough with Magnus to tell him what she wanted him to do. She always panicked and ran from him. Now with Hershey, Rachel is getting a little braver and learning to tell Hershey what she wants. At first he insisted on eating grass, but eventually Rachel got him to follow her for a walk. Shannon is so great at gently leading Rachel and teaching her how to do things in small steps.
After all that hard work we had to stop at the Berry Farm for some fresh pressed apple cider!
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