Cousins

December 12th, 2012

Once upon a time there were two cousins.  Emma and Bethany…they did everything together.

Until Bethany moved far away.  But in the fall of 2011 Emma came to visit and they had so much fun…

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They played at the park together!

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They went for walks together!

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Had a picnic!

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Played in the mud!

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Drank tea with licorice straws!

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Ate yummy jello!

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Tried to be serious…

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Smiled nicely…

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But loved being goofy!

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So many wonderful memories were made…

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We didn’t want you to feel sad when you saw these pictures…

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Wouldn’t it be great if Emma could come back for another visit?

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WELL YOU ARE!!  GUESS WHAT?  YOUR DAD AND MOM BOOKED THE TICKETS!! WE WILL SEE YOU IN JANUARY!  SURPRISE!!  :) :)

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WE CAN”T WAIT TO SEE YOU EMMA ( and auntie TRACEY) :)

Hope you have a big smile like this picture!!

The Sunshine State

November 19th, 2012

Summer Holidays…Part 1

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Oh boy…I’m running very behind on the blog posts.  But better late than never.

This year for our summer holidays we were blessed to be able to go to Florida!  It was all new territory for us and we had a blast!

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The sand and water was so clean and there was no one around!

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Owen finding Mole Crabs…they were also on the look out for jelly fish and beautiful shells.

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Kids spotting dolphins out in the water.

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Sea turtles nests!  I’ve watched documentaries on the life of the sea turtle…it all starts here. :)

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Riding the waves!

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Our Levi was such a good baby…it was so warm but with the nice ocean breeze it was perfect for long

naps in the stroller.  Especially with the sound of the waves constantly rolling in.

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So this is when I made a complete fool of myself.  Screaming SHARK!  When looking a little closer we saw Manatee’s.

Glad that wasn’t caught on video. ;)

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There are several of them. They came right into shore.

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One day we spent exploring St. Augustine.  This city was founded in 1565 by a Spanish explorer.

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I really love Palm trees!

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Our boys had so much fun finding lizards. They were everywhere!  If it was up to them they would have brought them all home!

But thankfully it wasn’t up to them…

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Most of our days were spent at the beach…but as you can see the kids were quite happy with this!

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Love how the Pelicans skim over the water.

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Look Mom!  A dolphin!

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Yep…came really close.  Right where we swim.

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Kids following the dolphin down the shore.

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When we weren’t swimming at the beach we swam in this Olympic size swimming pool.  Which we also had all to ourselves!

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We had a great time!  We felt refreshed and blessed to be able to go on this beautiful holiday!

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

October 10th, 2012

October is Down Syndrome Awareness month.  So I thought this would be a good opportunity to share with you what I’ve learned about Down Syndrome so far…

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Down Syndrome (DS) happens because of a difference in the number of chromosomes.  Most people with DS have 47 chromosomes instead of 46. Rather than having a pair of the 21st chromosome there is an extra one. That’s why Down Syndrome can also be called Trisomy  21.   I think because of that extra chromosome there is a lot of beauty to be discovered.

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Down Syndrome was named after John Langdon Down, a doctor in England who described the condition in 1866.

In 1959 a French doctor discovered its cause.  While we now know what DS is and it’s cause we also need to remember it is the Lord who is the creator of all life, and has added that extra chromosome Himself!

For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:13-14

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About half of babies born with DS have a problem with their heart.  Some of these troubles can be corrected with surgery  or with medicine.  Some correct themselves as the child grows older.  The medical field has come a long way in this area!  We thank the Lord for these advancements!

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People with DS have a single palmer crease.  If you look at the palm of your hand there are three lines. This single crease is one of the markers for DS. I love giving kisses in this chubby hand!  :)

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Brushfield spots.  Have you ever noticed how beautiful the eyes of a doll are?  They have sparkly spots in them.  Some people with DS have these Brushfield spots.  First discovered by Thomas Brushfield who described them in his 1924 M.D thesis. They are truly the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen!

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Children with DS usually have low muscle tone.  In the first years they have to work very hard to reach those first mile stones. There are many programs out there to help them.  Levi has a therapist who comes into our home once a week to work with him. Every week we see progress!  It’s hard work for him but he’s a trooper.  He also loves to cuddle.  He’s the squishiest snuggle bug I’ve had.  We all love our snuggles with him. :)

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So these are a few things I have learned so far.  We will take one mile stone at a time and rejoice when they are met!  Our family has been blessed by this precious gift from God.  He will forever change us and for the good!

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All these pictures were taken by my sister in law Natalia Reardon when she visited us in August.  If you are in the Vancouver area checkout her website…www.nataliareardon.com She is very talented and I thank her for taking these awesome pictures!!

A Levi Update

August 8th, 2012

Levi is now three and a half months old.  He is the joy of our lives!  We have started occupational therapy with a program in New Jersey called Early Intervention.  A therapist comes into our home once a week so far and works with him to strengthen his muscle tone.  He is doing really good and we’ve already noticed progress.  It takes a lot of energy for him to lift his head, he usually does it in spurts and has a little grunt with it.(it’s adorable!)  He does exercises on an exercise ball and also a boppy pillow.  Everyday we work with him and to be honest I think his siblings are his best therapy!

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He is becoming very vocal and loves to talk with us.  He has already learned to keep up with the noise level of this large family and he fits right in with all the noise he can make!  :)   But he also loves to watch all the action in the house too.

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Did you notice those amazing blue eyes?  I have to say this is one VERY good baby.  He’s been to the shore for the day and New York City and was perfect both times.  Oh and just to brag a little more…he’s been sleeping through the night since THREE weeks old!!

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We thank the Lord daily for Levi!  A beautiful gift from God!

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“The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.

His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth forever.

He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.”

Psalm 111:2-4


Count Your Blessings

July 12th, 2012

Remember his marvellous works that he hath done.”    Psalm 105:5

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This verse could be paraphrased, ” Count your blessings.” But over what area shall I look?  I came across an old title this week in my musings called, The Botany of a Railway Station. It was a book of no consequence, but the title caught my eye.  Flipping through it, Professor Miall pointed out beautiful flowers in the midst of soot and grime.  In a place no one would ever look for beauty.   It reminded me of this verse.  That I need to search in every corner of my life.  In doing so, I found Forget-me-nots on many a dusty road; I found wild roses behind a barricade of thorns; I have found the Lily of the Valley in the darkest corner.  I have found the Rose of Sharon in the dessert places.

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Remember his marvellous works that he hath done”, in your birth, by giving you to a Christian home.  In your youth, by sparing you through many dangers.  In your middle years of preservation and help; in your advanced years of health and strength.  And above all, in the gospel that has been preached in your ears; undeserved as it is.  To the calls to come to the Rose and Lily; Jesus Christ the Righteous.  Remember even this day.

Dear one, count your blessings.  Look even in the dark places of your life.  Among your disappointments and defeats, your sins and failures; your sadness and heartache.  Even there, if you are looking, you will find tokens of the Lord’s presence; some flowers of His planting.

Count your blessings.

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By Pastor  J. Lewis

A Grateful Daughter

June 16th, 2012

He’s always been there for me.  As long as I can remember.  He has shown me so much unconditional love.  His words of encouragement through the years have been so helpful, probably more than he’ll ever know.  I am a grateful daughter.

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I think the bond a Father has with his daughter is vital.  If there is love, encouragement and security,  there is no need for a young girl to go looking for that kind of affection in another male.  Her dad is all she should need until she meets Mr. Right.  I am thankful to say that I have that kind of Dad!  I think the reason I was secure as a young girl is the love I had at home.  I didn’t feel the need to have a boyfriend even though all my friends did.  I wanted one boyfriend and he would be the man I would marry.  Again…thankful to say that is what happened!

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On this Father’s Day I want to tell you I love you Dad! The Lord has been so gracious to give me you as my Dad.  You have also shown me a beautiful picture.  If your love to me is so great…how much greater is my Heavenly Father’s love!

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“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.”

1 John 3:1

Much love from your grateful daughter.  xxoo

Fearfully And Wonderfully Made

June 14th, 2012

The other day my older son Jacob and I were enjoying our little Levi as he was sleeping.  Watching how peaceful and content he looked.

My son said something to me that I will never forget…

“I can’t believe people choose to abort their own baby just because they have Down Syndrome.”

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Did you know that 90-94% of women who receive a prenatal diagnosis

of Down Syndrome choose to have an abortion?

Levi is one of the 6-10% that has survived.

This is an incredibly sad statistic.

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So many fears have vanished into gratitude and joy for this precious gift.

I already can’t imagine life without my little Levi!

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This statistic has GOT to change!

The Lord is the giver of life.  He also takes it away.  We do not get to make that decision.

These are souls that will never die.

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I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Psalm 139:14a

School Picnic

June 4th, 2012

Friday was our kids annual school picnic.  This is such a fun day for the whole school.  What I love about this day is the team spirit!  All the grades are divided into teams.  An eighth grader is the leader and usually a seventh grader is the helper.  And it goes all the way down to kindergarten.  It’s all about working together as a team and cheering each other on!  To start the morning off the eighth grade class challenged the teachers to a game of soft ball.

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While some of the younger grades watch on.

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Owen and his buddy Luke.

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Mady up to bat.  (she’s my adopted daughter)  Love her. :)

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Meghan just thrilled to play soft ball.  (not)  But she did great!

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A beautiful day with no humidity!

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Jacob with a swing and a miss. This guy had the ball flying out of the park!

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The eighth graders won against the teachers!  Good job guys.  :)

Here are grades 4 to 8 lining up to form teams for more soft ball.

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Mady and Meghan watch on the rocks.  Two peas in a pod. :)

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Lydia with a big smile cause Jacob is told he’s not allowed to bug her!  Don’t let that sweet face

of his deceive you …he’s a stinker!

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Lunch time for the younger grades.  Hot dogs and hamburgers.

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In the afternoon stations are made all around the park as each team rotates to see who can get the most points.

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There’s even snack stations set up too.  No points there…just a nice snack and break!

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Daniel and his buddy Bradley!

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Bethany and her friends cheering on their team.

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This game was confusing…as you can see on Owen’s face. lol

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Tug a war!  Look at the determination on Meghan’s face.

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What did little Levi do all day?  This…

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Jacob sure was a good leader that day.  :)

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They all had a great day!

Memorial Day

May 30th, 2012

Monday was Memorial Day here in the States.  This was the third time my husband and I have been to the Memorial Day Parade in Pompton Plains, New Jersey.  The first year, we were visiting as he was doing pulpit supply for the congregation.  Never did we think two years later we would be at that exact parade with all our kids and living just down the road.  And never did we realize a year after that we would be at this parade again with our own little American baby!  Wow!  The Lord is so good and has blessed us so much!

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Every year a group of friends sit in the same spot so we can all enjoy the parade together.

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Pompton Plains…it really is such a cute little town.  I just love it!

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Jonathan…looking very patriotic if you ask me.

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Our little American…who has a social security number before his mommy!

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Levi hanging out with big brother Jacob.

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Look at the influence Jacob has on him already!  Kidding…love you Jacob. ;)

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In the afternoon we were invited to our friends house for swimming and a cookout!

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Micah showing me his dive!

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A wonderful day spent with family and friends, enjoying the freedom we have because

so many have sacrificed so much.

May we never take for granted what they have done and continue to do for us!

The Mountain Top

May 23rd, 2012

It is in the valley that we grow.  This is where the trial is.  Where the Lord takes you through the refiners fire and molds you.  You see your sin like never before, it hurts, it’s uncomfortable.  Where the believer is brought low.  Where there is no where else to go but to your knees in prayer.  Casting those burdens unto Him.  Seeking comfort through His Word.  Clinging to those promises which are there for the taking.  He knows what He is doing.  We question…why does this have to happen?  It’s hard.  When will this trial be over?  But the Lord does not leave us in this state.  Eventually in His perfect timing we are brought out of the valley and we start to ascend upward to the mountain top.  On the other side of the trial.  We can look back down the mountain and see all the Lord had to teach us.  We needed to go through it.  It was good…there were lessons to learn.

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I was often upset that I had the prenatal test done at 13 weeks.  So much of my pregnancy was filled with fear and a battle raging inside.  Every day I needed His Word to calm my anxious soul.  Where was my trust in Him?  Oh ye of little faith!  I knew that the Lord was in complete control,  but it was like I would wake up in the morning and press the restart button. Full of anxiety.    Again and again He answered prayer.  He sustained me.  So much love and so much mercy. The Lord didn’t get frustrated and give up on me.

For in His word it says, “A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench.”  Isaiah 42:3

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Matthew Henry says, “Those that are as a reed, oppressed with doubts and fears, as a bruised reed, as smoking flax, as the wick of a candle newly lighted, which is ready to go out again, He will not despise.  He will not break the bruised reed but will strengthen it. He will not quench the smoking flax but blow it up into a flame.”

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Oh the mercies of the Lord.  “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.”

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New every morning!  Truly amazing. So now I am on that mountain top and looking back down to the valley I see what my loving Heavenly Father needed to teach me.  And there is still so much more to learn.  I will be going back down to that valley very soon.  Cause this sinful girl has so much more to be taught.  But right now I am enjoying the view!

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So I wanted to share what my mountain top view looks like.  A sweet baby boy who is now ONE month old.  He is beautiful.  He is healthy. He has Downs Syndrome. He is a precious gift to our family and adopted by our whole congregation here in  New Jersey!

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My view is a husband who is so in love with his new son.

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Eight children who can’t get enough of their sweet little brother.

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Eyes that melt your heart!

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And precious times like going for a walk to the park with a baby again!

He is just SO sweet!!

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A wonderful book I would recommend is, “The Bruised Reed” by Richard Sibbes.  It’s a Puritan Paperback!

Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones says of this book, “it was balm to my soul at a period in my life when I was overworked and badly overtired.  The Bruised Reed..quietened, soothed, comforted, encouraged and healed me.”

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