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.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Praying For Maggie

I have some amazing, God fearing, encouraging, selfless friends.  They bless me far more than I am able to bless them in return.  One in particular sent me the most touching prayer that I have ever read for Maggie.  I shared it with Trent and we were both moved to tears.  I want to share it with you in case you are praying for my girl as we count down the last few days before her procedure.

 If you are praying for Maggie this week, you can pray this way:

"I have decided to pray, starting on the 1st, for a decade of Maggie's life per day. That will cover 90 years. That's what I'm going to be asking;). 9 decades.

I will pray the first decade that she will meet Him and know how adored she is.

On the 2nd I will pray that in her teenage years she will be the ONE kid who thinks that this teenager thing is easier than being a kid. That she will have time to reflect on the challenges of her first decade and root herself in His provision over her life.

The 3rd my prayer will be that she find love in so many ways that it is impossible for her to ever remember the scars of being orphaned and the loneliness that was. That His love be so overwhelming and that she know the love of many people, perhaps even the one she will spend the rest of her life with.

The 4th will bring prayers for her 30s (4th decade) and I will pray that her life be a blessing to all she interacts with. That they will see and know how big her God is and he miracles he performed in her life.

On the 5th I will pray that her children (God willing) and those she is ministering to will be open to and soaking up all the wisdom she will have to share. That her reach because of Him will have no boundaries.

On the 6th I will be praying for a sweet time of reflection over the life she has led so far. That Miss Maggie, in her 50s, will be able to have seen and been a part of so many miracles that the amazing miracles granted in her youth are just a small part of her story.

On the 7th I will pray for comfort as Maggie grows in her ministry and age. That she be reminded of the spirit of power that has been granted her and instead of slowing down, she will just be getting started.

The 8th will bring prayers for a fearless Maggie who is now in her 70s. That her grandchildren, children, and spiritual children will all rise up and call her blessed and that she will get the privilege of seeing that and knowing she did His work and they will continue it long after she is gone.

The 9th. The day. I will cover Maggie in prayer. For safety. For 9 decades of life. But on the 9th I will also be praying for her homecoming. We all want for her to be an old lady when she enters heaven, and I will pray on that day for the moment she sees the eyes of Jesus and hears "well done".

I am asking for each decade of her life I pray over to be 10 years. A decade as we know it. If it is or is not, my prayers are the same. If she enters heaven early and this decades were not even a year each or if she goes home as a 90 year old woman, I want you to know I'm covering each interval of her life in prayer.

Love you so. Praying peace peace peace for you, Trent, and the other wild ones;)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Always Pursuing. Always Restoring

I have several personality flaws.  I know, great opening for a blog.  :)  But God is reminding me of something through one of them right now that I want to share with you.  Confession time - I have a crazy-unhealthy ability to completely emotionally separate from people whom I perceive don't like me.  In other words, if I believe that you don't want to be around me or don't approve of me, I can emotionally detach from you darn near immediately.  I am confident that a counselor somewhere would say that it came from experiences in my childhood, but that is not where I am going with this.  

I have found, and I bet you have too, that we expect God to relate to us like we relate to others.  For years, I have harbored this secret fear that if I strayed away from God, He will wash his hands of me and be done with me too.  But I have been reminded over the last 24 hours that He is not like that at all.  

He is a God who is in constant pursuit of us and when we stray from Him, He pursues us even harder.  I seriously have zero frame of reference for that, so it blows my mind to think about.  

Yesterday, my Facebook home page blew up with friends sharing Kathie Lee Gifford's tribute to her late husband, Frank Gifford.  If you haven't seen it, you should watch it HERE.  In it Kathie says, "He strayed from his faith on occasion but his faith never left him."   I loved that.  She didn't cover up that Frank was, at times, a flawed man but she instead pointed to a God who was continually drawing Frank back to Himself with complete grace and forgiveness.  

Then today, I opened my She Reads Truth email. Of course the topic was how God pursued the people of Babylon.  The writer says it perfectly with, "Jeremiah revealed the promise of the God who pursues, engages and rescues— the God who doesn’t simply replace what sin and its consequences burn away, but who restores the very heart of the sinner. As the people of Israel sat weeping by the waters of Babylon as they remembered their homeland (Psalm 137:1), they were not forgotten by their God.  They were called back and gathered up."
You can read the entire post HERE.

Friends, I want to encourage you with the same truth that I have been encouraged with this week.  We don't have a flawed relationship with a God who is capable of walking away at any moment.  No.  We serve a God who is continually pursuing us.  That, my friends, is blow-your-mind amazing.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

How is She, How are We, and What is Next

I haven't posted an update on Maggie's condition in a while and with surgery around the corner, I thought this might be a good time to let you know where we are.
(pictures courtesy of our trip to the nail salon today)

How is She?
Maggie's speech has come a long way over the last 3 months.  She is talking in sentences and doing a great job at expressing herself.  It is just one more way her little personality bursts through.
She still has weakness in her left arm and leg.  Some days she does better than others but we really see it when she is tired.  I think there is a good chance we will resume therapy after her surgery.

After several follow up tests, they have determined that she has moderate hearing loss in her left ear.  Basically she can only hear voices on the left that are louder, like a yell.  They said this could improve or it could get worse.  It seems reasonable to me to expect it to improve as her brain grows and remapping occurs.  We love her ENT and she recommends not doing anything about it until she is school age. I am good with that.

Maggie still suffers from a single ventricle heart, a high risk for strokes, and low oxygen saturations because of the mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood that occurs in her heart.  She did not qualify for the bi-ventricular repair that we were hoping she would be a candidate for.

What is Next?
Children with Maggie's condition usually have a procedure in the first few days of life, followed by a 2nd procedure at age 1,  and a third one a few years later.  Maggie has not had any of those procedures which is most likely why she suffered her strokes last summer.  While it is rare for a child not to have had her single ventricle addressed and still be alive, Maggie's cardiologist said he has seen this a few other times when the heart went undiagnosed and the child eventually suffered a life ending stroke.  His recommendation is that in order to lower her risk for another stroke, her heart needs to "repaired".

This is hard for us because she looks really good, so taking a stable child into a major heart surgery feels crazy, but leaving her at a risk for a potential life ending stroke feels wrong too.  Trent and I have decided to follow the advice of her surgeon but do not move forward easily.  On September 9th, Maggie will have the staged procedure all at once.  It called the Fontan and we know of other children who have had it and are doing well.  You can read about the procedure HERE.

I find myself reading about every case I can find online.  Some leave me really encouraged and others leave me terrified.  It appears the survival rate for the first five years is around 70%.  The kids who don't do well either suffer complication right after surgery or eventually acquire something called Protein Losing Enteropathy.  I tell you this so you will know how to pray for Maggie and what to pray against.

We have about 3 1/2 weeks until Maggie's surgery.  This week I will start working less so I can spend as much time as possible with her.  You can pray that time is sweet.

How are We?
We are thankful for a healthy summer that was loaded with good family memories.  My goal was to write over the memories of last summer with new memories of togetherness and I feel like we did that.

We are anxious about what September holds and we are also ready to get her to a place where we can move forward and enjoy life together.

Please pray for Maggie that God would prepare the surgeons and her for what is to come.  Pray for peace for all of us and pray for healing.  The last several nights I have asked God for 50 more years with her.  Please feel free to ask for the same.  And if you want to pray for our family as a whole, you can pray that we cherish these next 3 weeks.  Pray we slow down to have tea parties and paint toe nails.  Pray we don't rush through the bedtime routine but instead cherish every moment, because they are not guaranteed to us tomorrow.

Monday, August 10, 2015

My New Favorite Room

I am at a stage of life where my my mini van is cool, most of my shopping is mail ordered, and my favorite room in my house is my laundry room.

For 8 years, this has been my laundry closet (with a washer and dryer of course).  I had to do my laundry with the door closed because if it were open, I could not access the dryer.  Also, if anyone happened to walk in from the garage, they would hit me with the door, and that happened frequently.  I recognize people work with less, so I hesitate to complain, but I want you to see why this was not ideal for a family of 6.

So one day, Trent and I decided that we needed more laundry space more than we needed the extended piece of our garage that stored our Christmas decorations.  My ironing board was a permanent piece of furniture in my bedroom, the kids clean clothes lived in piles on the stairs, the drying rack was in the middle of my closet with wet clothes dripping on my carpet, and shoes... Don't even get me started on my kids shoes.  They were everywhere. 

I spent weeks researching laundry rooms and now I want to share my conversion with you in case you are feeling the same pain and could benefit from some of the jewels of my new favorite space. 

I started with this cool antique door from Adkins Antiques in Houston.  Funny story-  It was between this door and one other.  The deciding factor was that this door was from Argentina and the other was from a crematorium in Chicago.  #Notaharddecision

We stripped and re-stained it, had a piece of shatter proof glass put in, put this decal on it from Upper Case Living, and then spray textured it.  Originally I was going to peel the letter off to make it see through but changed my mind after it was textured.   The materials for the rollers were purchased from vendors in Houston but can be purchased at Lowes.  The sliding door now made the laundry room full accessible.

The next thing we did was to convert the washer and dryer space to cubbies for the kids. Trent constructed this space because he is awesome like that.  I placed a box for each kids individual socks under their cubby.  Moving their socks downstairs was a must.

I stacked my washer and dryer to maximize space and have loved it.  I was probably most concerned about this step because I am a shorty, but I have had no regrets.  I added these floating shelves for laundry soap and unfolded socks.  I chose to do this instead of standard shelves because I wanted an open feel there. 

Stacking my washer and dryer allowed me to add a farm sink.  I purchased the sink and base at Ikea. You can't see it here but there is a matching Ikea cabinet above for cleaning items that I don't want my little ones to reach.  Ikea was by far the most affordable way for me to get a farm sink.  I chose an extendable faucet from Home Depot for washing the dog.

Across from the washer and sink is my folding and drying area.  My husband constructed this for me taking into account my sewing machine and the height of my laundry baskets.  The rolling baskets and drying racks were also purchased at Ikea.  The bottom of my shelving unit is actually a sleeping and eating area for the dog.  This was intentional to get the dog out of our guest bathroom.  The green crates hold craft supplies, PT supplies, and extra drinks that don't fit in my pantry.  It is all labeled with chalk ribbon and mini chalk boards purchased at Michaels.  

I had a hard time deciding on my flooring and probably researched that the most.  We were unable to match the other tile in our home and I didn't want to put down yet another square tile.  I was concerned about wood getting wet and then I found brick.  You can see several pictures of brick laundry room floors on Houzz.com.  It was a look that I fell in love with.  Actual bricks were out of my price range, but I found these brick tiles in downtown Houston that look and feel like brick.  I love this floor and could not be happier with how it turned out.

 Finally I chose to add some black and white lifestyle pictures of my family to cheer up the room and carry my decorating style into my new favorite place.

If you are as frustrated as I was, I hope this has helped you reconsider your space.  I am happy to answer any questions you have.

A few more details:
Contractor- Alan Ganley Construction-  I highly recommend his team.  They showed up on time, did excellent work, and completed their part in under 2 weeks.
Wall color- Denim by Sherwin Williams

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