Chasing Contentment

Wednesday, October 31

I keep meaning to read Gary Chapman's book on the languages of love, and I took this quiz today. Of course, my preferred language was just as I suspected, and of course, Mike's were completely different, again, as expected.

This is me...
I feel loved when...

The Five Love Languages

My Primary Love Language is Physical Touch

My Detailed Results:
Physical Touch: 9
Receiving Gifts: 8
Words of Affirmation: 6
Quality Time: 6
Acts of Service: 1

This is Mike...
I feel loved when...

The Five Love Languages

My Primary Love Language is Quality Time

My Detailed Results:
Quality Time: 12
Physical Touch: 9
Words of Affirmation: 5
Acts of Service: 3
Receiving Gifts: 1

[  posted by Chel on Wednesday, October 31, 2007  ]

Sunday, October 28

How does one go about finding a new church? We've been here for 16 months and still haven't found a church home. And we really need to be in a church, for a vast variety of reasons.

But we are, admittedly, at a complete loss as to how to find a church to attend. Mike and I both attended the Southern Baptist churches of our parents' selection when we were children.

And then, in college, I'm not even sure my roommate and I even visited any other churches... we just went to one. It had a large college group, and I was nurtured spiritually like I hadn't been before. Mike, on the other hand, was a confirmed church hopper in college. Now, he was somewhere every Sunday morning, but no where in particular.

When I moved to Louisiana, I selected my church there on less than thoughtful terms. The church I attended had a historic sanctuary full of huge, gorgeous stained glass windows. I was in a new state, alone for the first time ever, and sitting in those pews on Sunday mornings filled me with peace and contentment. The people were friendly, and I felt safe and secure there. And when Mike and I started dating, he started attending there.

We were married in that church and both of our children were dedicated there. Griff was baptized there, and Mike was ordained a deacon there. And it wasn't the perfect church by any means. There were plenty of things that we didn't agree with or prefer. But it was home.

And now we just have no clue about how to find a new home.

[  posted by Chel on Sunday, October 28, 2007  ]

Friday, October 26

We are all still tired from the week, but we're also still feeling some warm fuzzies from having Mandy, Josh, and Olivia with us, which is really nice.

I'll post more later, but I have a couple of cute photos from the visit to share tonight.

This is Olivia, Griff and Eliza wearing their Mickey ears.

Olivia's vocabulary is pretty much limitied to 'mama,' 'dada,' and 'mmmm,' but you could certainly read in her expression what she was thinking about Eliza at that moment.

It was such fun to watch the three of them playing together.

This is before we went trick or treating at Disney. Eliza's Dorothy and Griff is, as Josh described him, a rock & roll elf.

[  posted by Chel on Friday, October 26, 2007  ]

Wednesday, October 24

We had a really wonderful time with Mandy, Josh, and Olivia, but we're all still tired from the visit. We also had a really good appointment with the pediatric neurologist. He doesn't feel like Griff's got a neurological problem, which is super, but we still have some additional testing to do.

And now, I'm going to go rush everyone toward an early bedtime since I don't feel so swell today. And in the end, it's all about me. :)

[  posted by Chel on Wednesday, October 24, 2007  ]

Thursday, October 18

It's an exciting day here in our family. Mandy, Josh, and Olivia are flying out mid-morning to come spend several days with us, and we are all just beside ourselves with anticipation. (Griff's teacher emailed earlier this week to tell me that she was having trouble keeping him on task & I had to admit that it was pretty much a family-wide affliction this week.)

Griff and Mike are both off tomorrow, and we're keeping Griff out of school on Monday (partially for his doctor's appointment and partially because I think life's too short to have perfect attendance). I've taken off work, and this is the longest I've been off since I started this job. I feel just full of freedom!

Olivia, of course, had to scare us by getting sick, but she seems well enough to travel, so we're all praying for safe flights and a happy baby.

While I'm cleaning the house and doing laundry this morning, I'm praying, too, for my friend, LeeAnn, and her family. As it turns out, her son is being tested today for dysgraphia, the very condition that tipped Griff's teachers to the possibility of him having something greater. My prayer for them is that the day go easily and that they get helpful news that will make things easier for their sweet little boy.

[  posted by Chel on Thursday, October 18, 2007  ]

Tuesday, October 16

Tomorrow is one of my favorite shopping days of the year. It's the annual Shoes on Sale at QVC. FFANY (Fashion Footwear Association of New York) donates these fabulous shoes to QVC which then sells them for half-price. All of the proceeds go to breast cancer research. It's shopping for a cause.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow night and buy a pair.

[  posted by Chel on Tuesday, October 16, 2007  ]

Sunday, October 14

As a quick follow-up to yesterday's post about Griff...

I really do believe that one of the reasons God put us here in Florida is to give us access to the kind of healthcare that Griff may need. The pediatric neurologist we'll be seeing is in Tampa, which is about 45 minutes away from us. If we had still been in Louisiana, we would have most likely had to take him to New Orleans, which is four hours away.

I've always said that - even as I was deep into hating my job - I believed that God had specific reasons for putting us here, even if I didn't know what they were. I think that part of faith is trusting that God will reveal His intentions in time if we will just keep plodding along the path He lays out for us.

And while I have no idea what His end purpose for us is, I do feel a sense of calm and reassurance thanks to this little signpost from Him that we're on the right path. Even if it feels like a rocky and jagged path at times. As long as I believe that we're on His path, I'd rather be here with it all jagged and difficult than on my own path, easier though it might have felt at the time.

[  posted by Chel on Sunday, October 14, 2007  ]

Saturday, October 13

There are times when I don't post something here until we're comfortable with it in our daily life. Sometimes I have to live with something in my head and heart before I talk about it here. Lately, we've had one big something going on like that, and now I think I finally feel comfortable enough with the possibilities to share here.

Mike and I have each told our brothers about what is going on and we've told some close friends, but we are waiting until we have more specific information to tell our extended families.

Several weeks ago, when Griff began his gifted classes, his teacher contacted me to tell me that she'd seen some things in him that made her think that he might have some physical problems going on which were contributing to his slow work pace and his bad handwriting (nearly illegible).

She pointed out several things that she had noticed in him that she felt like were symptoms of something greater. These were all things that we already knew about Griff but just assumed were quirks... just a characteristic of him. And they are. But it seems that they may add up to something else as well.

Initially, she suggested he might have dysgraphia, and as we read the descriptions of it, it did, indeed, sound as if they were describing Griff. Mike pointed out that it sounded like him as a child, as well.

As we began to work with his teachers to consider this, his gifted teacher suggested we meet with the county's school occupational therapist as it was possible there was something greater. She suggested things like juvenile multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy.

All of these are frightening possibilities. Because Mike's mom had MS and we know those symptoms, we feel reasonably sure it isn't that. And most children with cerebral palsy are diagnosed much earlier than nine. But the muscular dsytrophy sounded like a possibility, unfortunately.

I met with his teachers and the occupational therapist, convinced she would tell me that Griff's gifted teacher was overreacting and that he might have the dysgraphia but nothing else. When presented with Griff's file, however, she saw a great gap between his IQ/intellectual potential and his actual work product. She recommended we take him to see his pediatrician.

So we went to see the pediatrician, completely convinced he would say they were both overreacting. But he didn't. Instead, he recommended that we see a specialist. So we have an appointment to see a pediatric neurologist in Tampa who specializes in neuromuscular diseases. Our appointment is on the 22nd, so we don't have to wait too long, which is nice. The doctor got his degree at Tulane and did his internship and residency in pediatrics at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, so we like him already.

Mike was doing some research online and found some information about a type of muscular dystrophy that really does sound very much like Griff (an, again, like Mike in a lot of ways). The doctor we will see is quoted in the article and appears to be very much an expert in this field. And that is comforting.

We have reached the point where we are comfortable with this possibility. If this is what God has in store for us, then He will also prepare us to deal with it. Our main concern right now is to find out what is going on with Griff's body so that we can help him to do the best he can in school... and in other things.

And so for now, we wait. And we pray.

[  posted by Chel on Saturday, October 13, 2007  ]

Thursday, October 11

I have all of these things that I'd like to write about, but I've been busy fixing jewelry this week, and I had planned on making a new mother's bracelet for a girl at work tonight. But it doesn't seem as if I'll do much of anything tonight other than homework.

We've got to study for a spelling test... read social studies... do vocabulary words... and complete a map of Florida, with all of the counties, airports and railroads drawn and labeled. I think that's a bit excessive. I'm sure by the time we're finished, I'll think it's even more so.

[  posted by Chel on Thursday, October 11, 2007  ]

Sunday, October 7

Happy Birthday, Eliza!!

For those of you new to our Eliza...
here's her first birthday and my letter to her on the first anniversary of the day I met her... her second birthday ... and her third birthday.

My dearest Eliza,
Some day, you'll be able to read these letters to you, and I hope that they don't tell you a single thing that you didn't already know. I hope that your daddy and Griffin and I are able to surround you in such love that you are constantly aware of the feeling of being loved and of being safe and of being cherished.

I hope that we are able to instill in you the knowledge that your Heavenly Father loves each of us even more than we love one another in this precious little family of ours. I think that is going to be an important knowledge in your young life... knowing that God loves each of us as a parent.

Your daddy and I were talking the other night and he called me his little cynic because I was explaining to him that I no longer believe in hope. I believe in faith and trust and generosity and kindness and goodness and love and gentleness and commitment and contentment, but not in hope. Hope feels to me right now like wishing on a star... not so much grounded in reality.

But maybe that's what hope is about, Eliza. Maybe hope, like faith, isn't about reality at all. Maybe it's about trust and belief instead. And if that's the case, I'll certainly take another stab at hope. For you... for all of us.

Our lives this last year or so haven't been what any of us had expected. And God keeps throwing us more and more unexpectedness. But through it all, I am confident that He will provide for each of us what we need to endure, to be what He desires us to be.

You are beyond precious to me. I honestly have no words. Your little life - and mine to go along with it - are the embodiment of God at work. God bless my ob-gyn. If anything ever happens to me, make sure your daddy (or Mandy) still sends him a chocolate cake on your birthday with a thank-you card. He saved us both.

You are this little light in our lives that drives us batty and yet draws us closer all the time. We are yours, and you know it. Griff adores you, and you know it. But you clearly feel the same about him, which is a blessing unto itself.

You're four now, and it's a little amazing that you're that old. You're sassy and independent and tender-hearted. You ran to me this morning in tears because a character on "Veggie Tales" was sad. You're stubborn and not easily swayed from your intent. You're funny and girly. You insist on taking one of your many stuffed animals or babies with you whenever you leave the house, and you pile so many of them into the bed with you at night that sometimes you have trouble deciding where you will sleep.

You are what God knew our family needed. And we are grateful.
much love,

[  posted by Chel on Sunday, October 07, 2007  ]

Saturday, October 6

Four years ago this morning, I woke up in a hospital bed. I had spent the prior day and evening with horrible stomach pain, and my doctor put me in for observation. Mike went home to be with Griff (relieving Mandy and Josh, who, as always, were there when we needed them), and the nurses gave me something lovely to help me sleep.

That morning, they drew blood for some additional bloodwork and sent me home. My mom decided to come check on us and drove down from Arkansas. And we spent an enjoyable (if swollen) day together. Our last day before Eliza.

This morning has been way better than that. Griff and Eliza played while Mike and I slept in (like old people, we thought 8 am was pretty late), and we've got family coming to visit today for birthday fun. I love birthdays... anyone's birthday.

Earlier, I was helping Eliza get dressed, and as I held her I told her I loved my three-year-old girl and that I would love her tomorrow when she was four and that I would love her forever.

She replied with, "And I'm gonna love my daddy forever!"

Yep. I've got Daddy kids.

[  posted by Chel on Saturday, October 06, 2007  ]

Wednesday, October 3

It's frog season in Florida. I hate frog season. Monday night, we found one sitting on the floor of the bathroom. Last night, there were several on the outside of my bathroom window. This morning, four on the outside of the front window. Bleh.

Poor Mike's having to do a periodic frog check in the bathroom. He's been very kind about it. Of course, he's pretty much very kind about everything.

I missed blogging about his birthday. It was last Friday, and we had a lovely birthday weekend. I made his favorite dinner (Chel's Chicken Nachos) and his favorite dessert (Oreo Obsession), and we spent all weekend hanging out. Other than him being impossibly hard to buy for, I love his birthday as much as mine.

Happy, happy.

[  posted by Chel on Wednesday, October 03, 2007  ]