Donkeys, Reflux and Love

The sun is shining in Paignton. We’ve had a lovely time on the church weekend away so far, and today is our last day. It’s also been a bit stressful. Both Emelia and Asa were unsettled on Friday night – Emelia was awake until about 11.45pm. Asa was being a monkey and rolling over in his travel cot every five minutes. I was confined to the hotel room in the dark, with no wi-fi or phone signal. I suppose being somewhere new, and everything being different, most children would be the same.

With that behind us and a fresh start the next day, we were able to enjoy some of the teaching from Simeon Baker, our guest speaker. We had a free afternoon yesterday, so we headed to a lovely restaurant for lunch as a family. The venue had beautiful views from its elevated position overlooking the pavilion and the beach. After lunch, Emelia joined the other children from church in the park while we tried to rock Asa to sleep in the pram! Donkey rides were also available – and as you can see, Emelia seemed to enjoy it!

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Emelia’s friends, Shanisha and Evie, also enjoying a donkey ride!

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I’m going to take a moment to be open and honest with you, friends. Last night, Asa’s reflux was really bad. Vomiting everywhere. I couldn’t escape the smell of sick as it was on my scarf, t-shirt and trousers, not to mention on his bib and sleepsuit. I was teary and snappy with Jon and I wish with all my heart I didn’t take my frustration and hurt out on him. I’m not proud of how I react sometimes, and I more aware than anyone of how impatient I am, and how quick I am to get angry. Sometimes when I’m super-stressed, particularly lately, I’ve sadly been questioning God and why He chooses sometimes not to answer our prayers, especially ‘good’ prayers for healing for a loved one. I say ‘sadly’ because my faith has usually, nearly always, been strong…

At times when the reflux is bad, I cry out in prayer to God for him to heal Asa. Literally, cry. But for some reason, He doesn’t… This isn’t a prayer for material things, for more wealth or power, or personal gain, but for my precious little boy. I know it’s not ‘a big deal’ in the grand scheme of things related to Down’s syndrome, but it affects me, stresses me and upsets me, not to mention Asa. I wish I was stronger, more resilient, more trusting. Friends, at times, I feel so alone, even abandoned by God – and it upsets me that I would even have these feelings. As a youth leader in the church, I often remind the young people that we cannot trust our feelings. They fluctuate and are not always accurate reflections of how things really are. Sometimes, my heart and my head are in opposition, but I plod on anyway, rebuking the negative thoughts that occur in my questioning. Therefore, I have to keep reminding myself that God IS good. That I am NEVER abandoned by Him. That He sees our family is hurting, feels our pain. That He walks with us through the good times… AND the bad times, the disappointment and mire of our troubles.

This leads me on to Simeon speaking in communion this morning. He spoke for only five minutes, but it was as if God was speaking directly to me through him. He spoke on two verses. Yes – Ephesians 5v1-2:

“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

The key part of the message that my heart thirsted after was this phrase, dearly beloved children”. It struck me so powerfully that I began to silently cry as I listened intently. God was clearly showing up for me, reminding me – and everyone there – that He does love us. He calls me ‘dearly loved’ and that is so amazing, that the God of the heavens and the earth loves me, despite my many flaws and sometimes wavering faith. What’s more amazing though is that He calls me ‘child’. I am His, and He is mine. My perfect, wonderful, awesome Father in Heaven calls me His.

I am so grateful for Simeon bringing these truths out this morning. It was exactly what I needed. Don’t we all just need that reminder sometimes? That we are loved, precious and worthy. You, reading this, are loved by God as a dearly loved child. Take a moment to absorb that fact, and praise Him.

Emelia is Three!

Happy birthday dear Emelia, you are so precious. We love you xx

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Today is Emelia’s birthday. Our beautiful little girl is three years old. I can hardly believe that she is so grown up now, and is soon to be starting nursery (in September). I actually feel a little emotional today. I feel as though we only just had her, an 8lb 6oz little chubby, hairy bundle of love, joy and colic(!) – and then I blinked and all of a sudden, here we are three years later. So much has changed since those early days. She developed her own unique way of crawling – firstly on her back, then shuffling her head and pushing or jumping with her feet; then progressing on to all fours, doing a kind-of bunny hopping. She is now walking and talking amazingly well. She is incredibly social and loving. There are also toddler tantrums and foot-stamping independence. In the past year, we have moved house and added to our family with little Asa. A lot of changes in three years – but my, how blessed we are! We give God all the credit and glory for Emelia and for Asa.

We have had a busy week! On Wednesday, Emelia had her party with her friends – a picnic style tea party with some games. And bubbles – all children seem to love bubbles, especially young ones! Last night we had family around. Thanks to everyone who made these two evenings so special, and for the presents. She has lots of new toys so doesn’t really know what to play with!

Two parties done and dusted, the house has been restored to some kind of order, our bags are packed and now we are off to our annual church’s weekend away in Paignton!

20130416_221226My mum and I made Emelia’s Peppa Pig birthday cake.
Above is the final touches, below is the finished cake.

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20130417_161056Emelia at her party on Wednesday :-)

20130418_210914Cousins! Above, Liam.
Below, Jade.
20130418_21063220130419_102250Emelia opening her presents this morning. Her favourite?
Her nurse outfit from Nanny and Pops!

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At The Farm: Happy Birthday Grandma!

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Emelia with Pops; My brother, Mike, and niece, Cerys. We’re in the sheep barn watching the sheep with their newborn lambs. Spring is here!
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My Grandma introduces us to the newest member of the ‘family, born the previous day!

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How adorable are these owl solar lights?  Friends and family reading this will know I love owls, and you will understand that I need these in my garden!20130407_185039 20130407_211105
Back home, and it seems fitting that Asa wanted his tractor sleepsuit for bed!

Tonight I am thankful for my family, for freedom, for the signs of spring, for newborn frolicking lambs and a car to be able to drive to Usk. Happy birthday Grandma xxx