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.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Psalm 34

Sunday in church, our worship pastor had us turn to the book of Psalms and read for a moment. This is the Psalm that my Bible fell open to. I thought it was very good for anyone going through a tough time or dealing with a disability. This is what I am meditating on this week.
Hope it blesses you.

Psalm 34

1
I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.

2 My soul will boast in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

3 Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.

4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.

5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.

6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.

7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.

8 Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

9 Fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing.

10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

11 Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

12 Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,

13 keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking lies.

14 Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their cry;

16 the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.

17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.

18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;

20 he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.

21 Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.

22 The LORD redeems his servants;
no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.


Ruthie went to work with Daddy on Monday and the girls got carried away. They emailed these to me. Thanks Malinda and Jaime. Trent's words- "she went from being Chinese to being Polynesian"





Sunday, September 27, 2009

No Excuses

I was walking up the stairs with Ruthie the other day and just had one of those powerful moments where I was in awe of her ability to do anything she puts her mind to. I teared up because I quickly thought of all the adults I know who are paralyzed in life because of either something that happened to them in their past or because of a diagnosis they have been given. The cool thing about Ruthie is that she doesn't see herself as limited. I ask her to do hard things all the time like put on her shoes or feed herself and not once has she held up her little hand to say "but mom don't you see I have limitations". She is a no excuses kinda girl and I love that about her.

I have been thinking on this for several days as I have pondered the next steps in raising both she and Jack and how do I raise them to be people who see their "disabilities" as part of their story and not as their identity. I really believe that is the difference in people who succeed beyond their experiences/limitations and those who are forever strapped by them. I believe one way I do this is to give them an eternal perspective. Paul says in 2 Cor 4:17
"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all"

Now you may be thinking, "but Ginny my experience (or diagnosis) is hardly light and momentary." Well, neither was Paul's from that standpoint. He was beaten, rejected, and imprisoned but still had this to say in light of eternity with Christ. Again, it is all in how you view it and I believe we must look at all of our experiences with an eternal perspective.

Finally, I think we can't be strapped by the world's definition of normal and the need to fit within that. Some of the most influential people in the world would qualify as abnormal by the world's standards, but it is what they did with that title that made them special. Where would Oprah be if it wasn't for her childhood experiences, Bill Gates if he wasn't borderline autistic, Jennifer Rothschild if she wasn't blind? It was the perspective that their abnormal life experiences or disability gave them that made them who they are.

One day Ruthie and Jack will be faced with the harsh reality that by the world's standards they are "different", but my hope is that they will take this as just part of their story and with an eternal perspective in their grasp, they will change the world.



Sam had his first soccer game Saturday. Here are a few pictures. He plays until the middle of November for anyone who wants to make a Saturday game.





Friday, September 25, 2009

I'm a Big Girl Now. Well Sorta...

Big Girl Step #1- We moved Ruthie into her toddler bed this week and took down the crib. We had not intended on using the crib at all, but since it was what she was used to from the orphanage, we put it up beside her toddler bed when she moved into her room. Well today we kissed the baby bed good bye and stored it away. Of course I had to take pictures of my precious girl in her big girl bed. See below...

Baby Girl Step #1- We finally found a stuffed animal that Ruthie likes. Since she got home, Ruthie has been terrified of all animals and of stuffed animals. It is really a strange thing and makes me wonder if she experienced something traumatic in China or if she just wasn't exposed to them at all. She even broke down the other day when a pigeon walked by our table at an outdoor restaurant. Anyway, I took her to Build A Bear to see if we could make a stuffed animal and help her get over her fear. She shook her head "no" at everyone I showed her until she set her eyes on a tiny pre-made stuffed white lamb. We bought that lamb for $5 and she loves it. She had to take it in the car with her today and cried "nammy" at bedtime because it wasn't in her bed. I am so glad my sweet girl has a lovie now. Now I need to go back to Build A Bear and buy more to put away for when she loses this one and then the next one...

For those of you who gave Ruthie a stuffed animal as a baby gift, don't worry, I am sure she will come around very soon.







Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Not What I Expected, but Good

Dallas was good even though it did not go like I had pictured. I guess the only part that did go like I expected was that we had a wonderful time hanging out with my aunt as just the girls.

Scottish Rite
The people at Scottish Rite were all very nice. I had hoped that they would order a series of tests that had been recommended by other providers to determine the cause of Ruthie's condition, but the Dr. there did not feel like they were necessary most likely because, regardless of the cause, the treatment is the same. So I will never know what exactly caused Ruthie's condition and that is hard for this mother who is just wired to need answers, but I certainly understand and can appreciate their rationale.

Their recommendation was a series of surgeries that would begin in January. These would correct the position of her wrists and elbows and allow for more active motion. I am researching their recommendations to make sure that this is the way we want to go. It is just not one of those areas where you can afford to have regrets.


Meeting Stephanie our Friend from China
One of the things we did while we were in Dallas was take Ruthie to meet a friend of ours who is here from China working for a family we know from Pine Cove. I wanted Ruthie to meet Stephanie so she would have that connection and so we could see how much Chinese Ruthie can speak. I thought it would be great to have video of Ruthie speaking Chinese that I could show her later in life. My mental motion picture was rolling where Ruthie and I would be sitting on the couch and watching the video when she was about 6 and she would be cracking up laughing at herself talking in Chinese to this friend. I guess I will have to file that one away with the other motion pictures created in my head that were never produced in real life. :)

Here is what we got instead. Again, different but not disappointing:

video

Sunday, September 20, 2009

BIG WEEK - I HOPE

I am leaving on Monday to take Ruthie to Dallas for a Tuesday appointment with Scottish Rite. I have a perfect scenario in mind. Those of you who know me well know that my mind works in motion pictures. Well this weeks perfect motion picture would be an initial appointment on Tuesday where they decided to run a series of tests (I know which ones I want) on Wednesday and then see me back on Thursday to establish a plan of care based on their findings.

I know it is a stretch to hope to get it all done in one week, but it is a non-profit hospital so they don't have to get all of the pre-approvals and things that usually slow the process down. If you think of us, pray that they are throrough, order whatever tests she needs to get a solid diagnosis, and that they come up with the best possible plan of care.


Now- A few pictures from Jack's birthday



Friday, September 18, 2009

Good Gifts and Great Lessons

Jack turned 7 this week and the coolest thing happened. For the first time in several years, I was actually able to get him what he wanted. You see, Jack is a very hard child to shop for. He rarely asks for anything and when he does, it is impossible to acquire. For 3 years all he wanted was an elevator then last year he finally figured out that wasn't happening and decided he would settle for a train that he could drive through the neighborhood and pick up his friends with. So all week I have been waiting for this year's big announcement. What was it going to be?

Wednesday he came down stairs and said, "I know what I want for my birthday. I want a stop sign"! A stop sign? Yes- a stop sign. Thank heavens he meant the kind you could hold in your hand, but even then I wasn't sure that those could be purchased anywhere. So after much searching on the internet and calling around, we went on the hunt for a stop sign today. I had looked online at Lakeshore Learning and they did not have them, but luckily I decided to stop by just in case. I hesitantly asked the lady and she walked us right over to them. You should have seen the look on Jack's face. He was so excited! The lady even laughed because Jack couldn't hold back his joy and it spilled over to my heart too. On our way out, Jack said "I love this store" (its a place where teachers shop for classroom supplies).

As soon as we got in the car, this verse came to mind

Matthew 7:11- If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

It so warmed my heart to be able to see Jack's glee when he received that stop sign and to see him now outside enjoying it as he plays crossing guard with the neighbors. I think I have a better understanding now of how God must feel when we rejoice over all the great things he has done for us. I will take more time to say thank you to Him from now on.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Little Medical Update

ON RUTHIE:
There is still a little uncertainty on exactly what the cause or diagnosis for Ruthie is. One of her Drs. thinks she has Arthrogryposis but her therapists think it is a brachial plexus injury from birth. The confusion is that she doesn't present just like a child with Arthrogryposis because she has more passive range than active range of motion. However, most kids with brachial plexus injuries are not identical on both sides.

We have an appointment at Scottish Rite in Dallas on 9/22 where they will hopefully run more tests to let me know what her muscle, bone, and nerve situations are exactly. I am really hoping for a good 2-5 year plan for her too so we know where we are headed. I have heard that this is the best place to go in Texas for her condition so I am hopeful.

ON JACK:
We have been a little more concerned about Jack lately because he is having more difficulty with walking and hitting his heels first. If I tell him "heel toe", he will correct himself but then later goes back to toe walking. I am not sure what the next step is for him. We have been doing a lot of stretching but I am not sure that is enough. The good news is that his limitations really don't affect him emotionally. I always tell him that we all have something wrong with us and that God cares more about our hearts. He asked me yesterday what is wrong with his daddy. So I told him well, daddy is losing his hair. Sam yelled out from the back seat- "I know he has that big hole on top". Jack seemed satisfied with that and we all laughed. Pray that God would grant us wisdom and healing as we live this out with him.


We went back to the beach yesterday and had tons of fun.





Monday, September 14, 2009

Social Security and A Minute at the Beach

We had to go to Galveston today to file for Ruthie's social security number. The office just happened to be on the beach. So I took my camera along and captured Ruthie's first moments seeing the ocean and feeling the sand in her toes. She was real interested in the sand and wasn't sure what to think about it so most of the pictures are of her looking at her feet. If you ask me, they are some pretty cute feet.





Friday, September 11, 2009

Situational Contentment

A few days ago I shared what I think God is teaching me about possessional discontentment and now I would like to process out loud what I think he is teaching me about situational discontentment. You see, I think this form of discontentment is where most of us land. We have figured out by now that our stuff isn't going to make us happy, but we aren't ready to lay down our personal plans or fairy tales for what God has for our lives.

I think there are several forms of situational discontentment from where you live, your marriage, your kids, the status of your adoption, your job, your health, etc. Our discontent statements may sound like, "what went wrong" or "this is just not right". I know that I have dealt with most of these situations somewhere along the way and have learned a lot in the process. Mainly, THAT WHEN THINGS SEEM WRONG, YOU HAVE TO TURN TO WHAT IS RIGHT. Let me explain...

Two years and 7 months ago (but who is counting) Trent moved us from Waco to Houston because he felt like God was calling him to pastor a church here. I followed his leadership, but needless to say I left most of my comfort and contentment back in Waco. It was a hard first year and I would love to say that I got through it by listening closely to God, but truthfully I wasted a lot of time viewing things through my own eyes. Finally, I did some tough talking to myself and decided that one day I was going to leave this traffic nightmare and no doubt there would be things I would miss. I could either live out this time complaining about what I didn't like or I could focus on what God is doing and make the most of it and then walk away one day with happy memories. I probably would have adjusted my attitude earlier and seen God's hand moving if I had spent less time on the front end complaining. Don't tell my husband, but now the place is actually starting to grow on me. Hmm.

A year after moving here, Jack began showing signs of progressive leg weakness. We found out a few months later that he has a genetic degenerative nerve and muscle disease that he got from me (I did not know I had it). I have grieved for this child and the struggles he will face in life. I don't know why God has allowed this to happen. I know that Jack had a 50% chance of inheriting this disorder and God saw fit to allow it to happen. Have I been discontent in this situation? Absolutely. But this time, I have had to look at things differently. I can't talk myself into Jack's situation being OK. It is not OK, but what I know is that God is still sovereign. When I turn my focus from what is wrong to what is right, I see a God who has a perfect plan and my perspective changes dramatically. My eyes are opened to what matters in life and I can appreciate that Jack's character is far more valuable than his ability to walk and that God has a plan for his life to prosper him and not harm, to give him a hope and a future.

Last example I promise. The best picture of turning to what is right when all seems wrong is displayed in the life of my Aunt Mary. Right before we moved to Houston, my cousin died tragically and left behind a wonderful wife and 2 young daughters. My Aunt Mary grieved like any mother who had lost her child too soon and I am certain she told God on several occasions that this was not how it was supposed to happen. A mother is not supposed to out live her child. I would call my Aunt Mary frequently to check on her and every time I called, she would share a scripture with me or a lesson that God was teaching her in the midst of her grief. My Aunt Mary's faith was so rooted in Christ that when things went wrong, she had no where to turn then to what she knew was a right and that was to Jesus.

You see, what God is teaching me is that like contentment with our possessions is not found in more stuff, situational discontentment is not solved through fixing our problem. True contentment, possessional or situational, can only be found in a right relationship with Jesus Christ. We have to take our situations to the one who is sovereign and trust in his perfect plan.


A Picture of Situational Contentment: The picture on the left is Ruthie the day after we got her and the one on the right is her 8 weeks later. Oh what a difference 8 weeks makes

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Contentment Part 2

Several people either emailed me or commented on my facebook thread on the earlier topic of contentment and they had some great points that are worth sharing. Most people's emails or comments fell into one of 2 categories- 1. Discontentment with your situation in life- children, marriage, work, etc. 2. Discontentment with possessions.

I want to touch on #1 later but for today point out an interesting insight on #2 and of course get your thoughts if you don't mind sharing.

One of my friends wrote, "Every time we find ourselves drifting along with culture we just have to allow the Holy Spirit to bring us back by reminding us of what's really important. For our kids, we need to focus on what's important with them consistently. Like the carpet and their clothes are all temporary, but they, on the other hand, are forever. As much as possible, just keep the proper perspective when dealing with them and their "accidents" and it wll do wonders in helping them understand what's important and what's not."

So I want to run with that.

This picture is of a dear friend's son one night when we were at dinner. He had this beautiful Ralph Lauren shirt on that he covered in spaghetti and "paint your dessert" dye. I kept thinking "Oh no Bec will never get that out of that shirt" and Bec kept telling me that it was no big deal. I worried about that shirt for days but Bec was able to focus on the bigger picture of a great evening with friends.

Could it be that our lack of contentment stems from the fact that we hold onto our possessions too tightly and place too much importance on the things that are temporal instead of what is eternal? Trent often says that we break the sins of greed and materialism through giving. I think it is fair to argue that lack of contentment (in our possessions) runs hand in hand with greed and materialism and that what we probably need to do is hold our earthly possessions a little more loosely.

If that is the case, then maybe one way we can help foster contentment in our children is by placing our possessions in their proper position and by teaching our children to give sacrificially. I am sure there are a lot of ways to do this. One family we knew in Waco used to gather their kids together once a year, pray over all the requests they had received for money, and then as a family decide how their financial donations where going to be distributed. No doubt this produced great fruit in the lives of their kids.

Obviously there is a balance between holding our possessions more loosely and being good stewards of what God has given us. The concluding difference lies in the state of our heart which funny enough brings us full circle to where we started. Our true contentment is found in a proper relationship with Christ which of course will overflow into how we relate to our possessions and model that for our children.

Hebrews 13:5
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

Funny thing- my friend, Bec (Rebecca), who was so relaxed about the ruined Polo shirt, her nickname "Bec" means "Satisfied". Go figure.


TOTALLY UNRELATED PICTURE OF THE DAY: First day of Mother's Day Out today

Monday, September 7, 2009

Contentment? Learned? All things?

I have been thinking on the topic of contentment lately as I can say that right now I am at a very content place in life. No doubt much of this is driven by the joy I am finding in having Ruthie, the fact that I love Jack's school situation, work is good, marriage is good, Sam makes me laugh everyday- Life is just good. But I don't think that when God talks about us being content in the Bible, that He means our contentment should be defined by our circumstances, like mine seems to be right now, but rather by a state of mind or a condition of your heart.

I am not a Biblical scholar so know that I may be wrong here, but this is what I see in God's word

Proverbs 19:23
The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests
content, untouched by trouble.
- The source of contentment here is not stuff or financial security, but a right relationship with Christ

Phillipians 4:11-13
11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
-This is the verse I think of most when I think of contentment. I believe a key word here is learned. It is indeed a process and if contentment was found in our circumstances then there would be nothing to learn we would either just have it or not.

1 Timothy 6:6-7
6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
-Again here we see contentment linked to Godliness and not possessions

Hebrews 13:5
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
-Contentment found in the security of our relationship with Christ not in our finances

So today my boys both have a cold and they weren't able to go the beach with the neighbors. Jack spent most of the morning complaining about how boring our house is and that there is nothing to do. The child has his own bedroom and 2 playrooms full of toys but he is not content. He is never going to find contentment in his stuff and I will never be able to entertain that child enough. So how do I train my child in the way he should go? Here are some ideas I am coming up with and I would love to hear your insight too.

1. Model it for him.
I know my life is not going to stay this blissful for long and that the next challenge is just around the corner. My job is to model contentment during that time too and the only way to do that is to go to the biblical source of contentment which is Christ. If my contentment is truly found in Him, then my circumstances should not matter. I know it has to start with me. No doubt discontented adults raise discontented children.

2. Teach it to him
If contentment is learned as Paul says, then shouldn't you be able to teach it? Do you teach contentment by teaching your children about Christ? I don't think it can be that easy because there are a lot of discontented Christians out there. Any ideas?

3. Ok I am out of ideas.

For the record, I don't think contentment gives us license to be complacent. I don't think that is what scripture is saying here. I think it refers to our understanding of who God is and our right relationship to Him when it comes to our possessions and at times our God ordained situation.
Would love your input here.


Because it would be a crime to post without a picture of Ruthie, here is my girl puckering up to kiss us goodnight.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sometimes You Just Get Lucky

And it doesn't hurt to have a great subject too.

Our friends Steve and Cindy gave Ruthie a beautiful pink dress and I just had to take her picture in it. I had no idea that they would turn out this great. Feel free to ooh and aah with mama.
















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