If you have visited here before, you can probably see that I have changed the name of the blog again. I started blogging at 4URuthie to tell the story of our journey to adopt our 1st daughter. I changed it to Mountains for Maggie when we were praying for God to move mountains on behalf of our 2nd daughter. Well now it is no longer just Ruthie’s or Maggie’s stories. It is now our family's story, and the stories of those we share life with, as we Conquer Mountains together. Both ConqueringMountains.net and 4URuthie.blogspot will lead here.

About Me

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I am a pastor's wife, mother of 4 kids (2 adopted and 3 with special needs), physical therapist, and photography junky. This is where it all comes together for me. Feel free to join along as I process life out loud.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

What a Year You Have Been Mr. 2009

Wow what a year. I have to say that this has been one of the most memorable years on record for me. I saw God move mountains and do incredible things on behalf of my family and I saw Him open up new ministry opportunities that I could have never seen coming. As I have said before, God tends to work in themes with me and the theme for this year has definitely been God's Faithfulness.

I saw His Faithfulness when:

1. He gave us a referral for Ruthie and made it clear to us that she was our child.

2. When he provided all of our needs to complete the adoption.

3. When He led us to Gilmore Elementary for Jack and then opened doors for ministry there. We have seen God all over this school transfer.

4. When He led us to Scottish Rite and the wonderful team of Drs and nurses there who could help Ruthie.

5. When our eyes were opened up to this amazing adoption community that ministered to us during our wait and have given us the opportunity to minister to them during their waits and struggles.

6. When he has moved at our church in countless ways as He has directed our path, provided for our needs, moved to show us that He really does rule over everything.

7. Finally, when he healed Ruthie just last week. She was a very sick little girl from Saturday to Monday night and went from lethargic to sitting up in bed smiling at nurses Tuesday morning. Later I heard stories of friends who were praying and even fasting for our girl. He heard your prayers and and once again did the miraculous for this child.

In the past, God has revealed Himself to me in the themes of comforter, friend, provider, father, master planner, and faithful. I don't know what 2010 holds. If I could make my request, I hope it is as the one who saves and revives. I have so many friends and family members that my heart aches for. I want them to know and love Jesus and not just as the one who they tip their hat to in the morning, but as the one who sticks closer than a brother. I can't wait to see what 2010 holds but with God and this crazy bunch of kids I have, I know it won't be boring.

Today's Sidenote:
Before we went to the hospital, Ruthie was able to have a tea party with her Bee and Mr. Bunny.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

God is Good

Forgive me if I have misspellings or ramblings. I am starting to think that sleep deprivation and intoxication must feel very similar based on how I feel right now and what I have heard.

About 24 hours ago I was apologizing to God for not spending more time in prayer for Ruthie during this time, but I was so wrapped up in caring for her and then getting a break when Trent came that I did a poor job at shifting my energy. I was telling my aunt about this and she said that these are the times when the prayers of others cover you and that it was ok.

So I sit here now still stunned at the incredible difference between Ruthie yesterday and Ruthie now and know that it had nothing to do with my prayers but the prayers of those who share life with me and those who don't even know us but gave of their time to lift her up. I am on facebook too and I have been amazed by friends and family members who have asked people to pray for Ruthie on their status updates and then the people I have never met who have commented that they were seeking God on her behalf.

I have a dear family member who doesn't believe in Jesus but believes that God is nature. How I wish that she could have spent the last 48 hours with me, because His hand has been so evident in this hospital room.

Thank you for your exercise of faith on behalf of my girl.

We Turned that Corner

Ruthie had a pretty good night. She hasn't had a fever spike since yesterday evening so we are encouraged. The Shingles is drying up and her lungs are sounding better too. Also they ruled out antibiotic resistant staph so any staph she may have is treatable. RSV is still what it is and they said she will struggle with that for weeks.

Another day of IV antibiotics and then if she doesn't have a fever spike, they are going to release us to drive home (we are 5 hours from home right now) and follow up with her pediatrician.

Looking good. Thanks for praying

Oh and a little nervous about driving home since she is still vomiting. That could be really memorable.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Positive, Cute, Relief, and Still Praying

Positive- Ruthie had about an hour today where she perked up and interacted with her daddy. This is good because it means when her symptoms are controlled that she is ok. Looking for more of this tomorrow.

Cute- My girl loves shoes. Twice today when her fever was high and she didn't feel well, she wanted to hold one of her shoes to comfort her- like it was a stuffed animal. I moved it when the nurse came in, because I didn't want to have to explain why my daughter had her arm around a shoe.

Relief- One of her lab values (alkaline phosphatase) is really high at 900 and we were told that this indicated possible bone cancer if all else couldn't be ruled out. I talked to her surgeon's office today and they said that this was normal with the surgery she had and not to be alarmed at all. This was a huge relief.

Still Praying- We are on day 3 of 105 degree temps. I am praying that we turn a corner real soon.

About the Same

No real change here. She is still spiking really high fevers in the 105 range. She is having trouble breathing. Rash looks about the same although it did look better in the middle of the night for a little while. Still waiting to see what the blood culture actually grows as they are just saying clusters of something right now. The personnel here are really nice but the facilities could use some work. I wouldnt mind a transfer to a higher level hospital. I will update when I know something. Thanks for praying

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pray for Ruthie

Please pray for my girl. We are in the hospital in Texarkana. She has RSV, possible Staph, and possible Shingles with dehydration and one mysteriously high lab value. We need clarity, direction, and healing. They have her on 2 IV antibiotics and 1 oral antiviral so they are attacking it hard. Thanks for praying


Friday, December 25, 2009

Pure Faithful Joy

Christmas is a sign of God's faithfulness, that He is who He says He is, and that He desires to be in a personal relationship with us where we experience his faithfulness daily. I was reminded of that last night at our Christmas Eve service when I watched Ruthie in her pretty red dress dancing and twirling to Joy To The World. I couldn't help but ponder the irony that I was observing pure joy while singing about joy. And then God reminded me that last June, Trent and I chose a word to pray over each member of our family for a year and Ruthie's word was "JOY". Oh He is so faithful.

Today's Side Note:

Last year we started a tradition of going to the Aquarium on Christmas Eve for breakfast with Santa. This is the boys last year. Crazy to think that we were 2 weeks away from our referral call for Ruthie in this picture and had no idea.

This year's picture with our little physical sign of God's faithfulness. Ruthie kept saying, "wata, santa, feesh"

Each child got gifts that were true to there personality.

Ruthie the Empress got clothes and shoes. She is a great nature nurture study because she loves dressing "pwetty". This is not something she learned from me but had to be genetic.

Sam the nut got a bike and a power wing. He was just running laps around the couch and kitchen. That kid never slows down.

Jack the thinker got a sign with stop on both sides so he could boss the neighbor kids around more, a bookshelf to organize the library he has set up in his room, and legos to build the disney buildings around the stops of the monorail he constructed out of his train tracks

Sunday, December 20, 2009

He Speaks in Themes

I don't know about you, but God tends to speak to me in themes. It is actually one of the ways that I know it is Him speaking and not just my ideas. Well last night I picked my The Beloved Disciple book back up (it is going to take me to 2011 to finish that thing) and this is what it said,

"We will never be of great use to God if we do not allow Him to crucify us to ourselves and the call of the world. Our consolations are exceedingly great, however! We trade in the pitifully small and potentially disastrous for the wildest ride mortal creatures could ever know. We don't just die to self to accept nothingness. We lay down our lives and the call of the world to receive something far more intense. The call of God!"

Good stuff and especially in light of what God was teaching me earlier this week (in the previous post). I hope this is relevent to what some of you are experiencing with Him too.

Today's Side Note:

The previously damaged and grey tooth came out last night with the assistance of one kick from a big brother and the corner of the neighbor's coffee table. It was truly traumatic for about 30 minutes, but now I think it is really cute.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fly Your Child to Work Day

This week God gave us a ministry opportunity that I could have never fathomed. When Trent first told me about the situation, I gave him the "you are kidding me right" look because all I could see was my inadequacy in the midst of what was being asked of us. What is crazy though is that just the day before, God had prepared me for that moment by giving me a time of reflection on all the big things He has allowed me to be a part of- things that I never could have done on my own, but I now look back on and see God's hand all over and know that He blessed me with the opportunity to be a part of something beyond myself.

So minutes after pondering my in inadequacy I began to see things from what might be if I trust God and walk into this not by my own knowledge (because I had none) but by His Spirit. Can I tell you that I really think God did some good work and I sit here tonight in awe that He would trust me enough to allow me to be a part of His plan. I smile because it feels a little like God took me to the office with Him and then allowed me to push some of the buttons at his desk. I know that sounds ridiculous but that is the best analogy that I can think of for how small I feel in this situation and for how blessed I am to be included.

Opportunities like that always leave me hungry for more. More chances to not just serve in the comfortable and familiar but to step into the terrifying. I went skydiving when I was in college so if you don't mind, I will use that to expand my analogy. When I jumped off that airplane wing, I had to trust that my parachute would open. I think following God into the unknown and personally inadequate is a little like that. You can either stay on the plane and ride it safely back down or you can trust Him, step onto the wing, and jump for the flight of your life then finally soar as He guides you to the end so you can join Him at work. I don't know about you but that is the life for me.

You can pray for this ministry opportunity because it will not be over for a long time and my inadequacies run deep. Pray God would use us to accomplish only His purposes.

And I will pray for you that God will pack your parachute and call you to something great and terrifying so you can see Him at work in His office too. :)

Today's Side Note:
These are overdue pictures from our Thanksgiving travels to see lots of family

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Home from Disney- darn

The trip was great. For Ruthie the highlight was Minnie Mouse, for Jack it was the monorail and trains, and for Sam it was confetti. Yes- confetti. Magic Kingdom has Mickey Mouse confetti all randomly on the ground around the park and Sam decided to pick up every piece that he saw. It came to the point that I had to view the loss of time like a 30 minute wait in line for a ride. Essentially losing 30 minutes of the day for Sam to pick up confetti was going to have to be viewed like waiting in line for Ruthie to see Minnie Mouse. It is the price you pay for the experience and memories that are unique to each child.

The precious confetti. He also had to regularly count how many he had.

After riding Splash Mountain.

My girl with her favorite girl.

The Minnie Mouse costume got a little hot for Ruthie so of course I had to stop in and buy her this dress to change into.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

These Kids Are Too Smart for Me

Jack has decided that he wants the toy version of the monorail system that they sell here for too much money. I asked around and the word on the street is that it is also not good quality so I explained that to Jack. Well today we were standing in line for Santa and Jack told me that he was going to ask Santa for the monorail set. When I reminded him that it falls apart, he told me "But Santa's elves will make this set and everything Santa makes is great quality."

When we got up to Santa, Sam took one look at him and announced to everyone that he is not the real Santa because Sam saw "The Santa Clause" and Santa did not look like that. What could I say, he was right. The Santa at Epcot did not look anything like Tim Allen.

Pics from the day:

My kids at the front of the Epcot line waving to the characters

Ruthie checking out the show with some help from daddy

Ruthie climbed behind a flower bed to look into the restaurant window

Sam playing around in Mexico


Friday, December 11, 2009

Having a Great Time

We are having a great time in Disney World. I think the best parts have been those times when I have caught Jack and Sam just amazed by something. Today we went to Disney Studios where Sam was able to watch Star Wars and Indiana Jones shows. His life's goal is to be a Jedi or a stunt man so it was so neat to watch him watch those shows.

Jack is my thinker and moments of complete joy in life are rare because he is always trying to figure things out instead of just sit back and enjoy it. I have loved watching him kick back and enjoy this trip. There have been multiple times when I have looked over at him and seen this beautiful smile just resting on his face. Most of his smiles have come on trains and monorails. He is just that kid.

Ruthie seems to be having a great time. She is good with characters she is familiar with like Mickey, but not so pleased with those she has not seen on TV first. I think she is mainly enjoying just all being together.

Here are some pics from the last 24 hours:

We ran into another China adoptive family while watching the parade. Beautiful girls.

I thought this captured Ruthie's opinion of Jo Jo the clown

Ruthie and Jack making silly faces. They play so well together.

Complete authentic joy! I love it

Thursday, December 10, 2009

More Disney

We are still having a great time here at Disney World.

Ruthie was terrified of the Illuminations fireworks and laser show at Epcot last night. I took some cool pictures though and you can just imagine how good they might have looked if I hadn't had a screaming toddler in my left arm. We go to the Magic Kingdom fireworks tonight so we will see how it goes.

Because we only have 2 umbrella strollers with us, occasionally Ruthie has to sit in someone's lap. I was laughing at Sam because he kept telling Ruthie, "Let me know Ruthie if you need to poo poo or tee tee" as though she were just going to wet his leg or something. Well, sure enough we were walking along and Sam yelled "Ruthie is pottying". We kept telling him that it was just her wet pants from the rain, but when she stood up we realized that she had so leaked outside of her pull up. Sorry Sam.

Here are some pictures from last night and this morning

The Illuminations fireworks

I was so proud of this picture with Sam's new light saber.

My little Norwegian??

Completely out after a long night at Epcot

Ruthie's 1st up close and personal with a Disney character

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hello Disney!

We are here and already having a blast. We are also already worn out. Here are a few pics of our adventures thus far.

Ruthie was wild on the first flight and by the 2nd flight she just conked out.

While waiting on our bags, we played on the beach and in the spray park.

Jack and Ruthie sitting on the beach checking out Cinderella's castle as it changes colors

The electric boat parade

Soaking wet by 9:30- just in time for our bags to arrive

Sam this morning at Epcot with Bruce the Shark from Finding Nemo

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Parable of Whack A Mole

When Jack was little (and life was simpler) we used to go to Chuck E Cheese almost weekly. One of my favorite games was called Whack A Mole. The idea is to hit the mole heads back down when they pop up and score as many tickets as you can to buy a reward before you leave.

I figured out that Whack A Mole is best played 1 of 2 ways. You either have to get someone else to stand beside you and whack an assigned 2 moles when they pop up or you have to release a few moles and just focus on a set few. I could actually whack more moles in 3 minutes if I just focused on 4 than if I focused on all 6.

Here is my point. I feel like my life lately looks like a game of Whack A Mole where I am desperately trying to keep everything down in its place and it is just not working. So taking lessons from simpler times, I am applying both strategies. Yesterday I resigned all of my committee chairmanships at the church (giving those moles up completely) and I am getting someone to help me clean and organize my house (help for a mole).
I feel like their is light at the end of the tunnel. Trent put it well when he said there are 350 other people who can chair those committees but only one person who can be his wife and the mother of his children. AMEN!

So now you will never see Whack A Mole the same again. :) Hope this encourages you as you try and earn more tickets for the rewards of life.

Today's Side Note:

My 3 playing outside on the playground. I love it when they all play together.

Bath time. The shaving cream was pretend. It is a bath toy and Sam had a blast.

Ruthie's rats nest when she woke up yesterday. I was afraid we might need Crisco to get rid of that one. :)

All better now

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