Friday, July 22, 2016

JoJo's Jungle





I've been a little silent lately here on my blog.  Life has been different.  We are no longer running to and from the hospitals on a daily basis.  I'm not running a "private duty nursing" business anymore just to keep my son alive.  I'm not  his nurse administering iv drugs and nutrition anymore.  I'm no longer a pharmacist mixing all his iv drugs and nutrition to the proper measurements.  I'm no longer called upon from the doctors asking "what do we do now." I'm just a mama now.  Josiah's life put a lasting impression on our lives and many in our community.  He always had a contagious smile and brought Joy into every room he entered.  Before Josiah passed away, he was eligible for make a wish.  My little miracle boy went home to Jesus before his real make a wish was granted.  Josiah loved being with his siblings, playing right along side them.  We always tried to take him to the playground, but it never worked out so great for us.  Josiah had special needs.  He couldn't walk, talk, or sit up in a swing very well.  He was also known as a "stuffer."  He would literally try to stuff his mouth with as much as he could no matter what it was.  Taking him to the local playgrounds was a nightmare.  Rocks, pebbles, wood chips, sand, rubber shavings--all acceptable playground surfacing-but not for us.  It never failed, if he was near it, he would choke.  My husband and I decided and vowed to JoJo before he passed away that we would build his friends an all-inclusive playground in his honor so that they could play alongside their friends and family and feel boundless.  For the last year and a half; with the help of our friends and family; We have designed a 2.5 million dollar playground for our miracle boy's honor.  It was no small feat to comb through and decide on every piece going into JoJo's Jungle.  I assure you, every detail has a purpose for our goal and vision. The vision for this playground is everywhere in the design.  To accomplish this, JoJo's Jungle contains three distinct age-appropriate play areas.   Every part of the one-acre park is made to capture the attention of distinct age groups.
                                  
The main "Jungle" area, for ages 5-12 years old, is ramped up to eight feet high with activities from top to bottom.  An additional ramp and transfer point continues to a slide tower up to 18 feet!  Also in this area is the "cave and waterfall slide" play set.  A sensory-rich feature that lets the imagination run free. 
 
Children 2-5 years old have their own imaginative and activity-packed accessible playground in the upper section.  It is surrounded by independent and cooperative play elements like the Dragonfly (see-saw) and merry-go-round. 
 
Parents with toddlers 6-23 months old have their own play area completely shaded from the sun!  (This area is also strategically placed closest to the restrooms.)  Youngsters can learn to navigate simple stairs, ramps, and shallow slides without being trampled by older children.  Sensory panels, toddler pull-up bars, and a log-tunnel provide natural barriers to slow children from running out to other areas.
 
Both halves of the park will include their own picnic areas with excellent visibility to nearby activities.  This is especially important in the younger age group.  Parents can sit back in the shade and have a clear line of sight 360 degrees to all of the activities their 2-5 year olds may be at. 
 
Lastly, but not to be understated, will be a truly unique Splash pad packed full of cause-and-effect learning, a sand play table (with water!), and a five piece percussion musical area.
 
And, there is one more thing… we're looking forward to children and parents learning about the Monarch Butterfly at our certified waystation and butterfly garden.  This will be the centerpiece that joins the two halves of the playground together in beauty and harmony! 
 
As JoJo's parents we are thrilled to be apart of this one of a kind all -inclusive playground destination.  As JoJo's mama, I want to see this playground become a reality.  I know some may think, why is this so important to them? Isn't it a little materialistic to worry about raising $2.5 million for a playground? What about eternity? How does this playground play a role in that?
 
Let me tell you why this playground is so very important to us. At the beginning of the design phase, I wanted pieces in the park that Josiah would have loved. Those pieces will be there, but JoJo will not be.  It took a good 6 months or more to realize that my son, my boy won't be at this park to enjoy it and feel boundless.  In that very thought, I was reminded that JoJo doesn't need a park to feel boundless. He is in heaven with Jesus; dancing, singing, running, eating, and talking.  Josiah is at the best all-inclusive playground we could dream up.  My miracle boy is in heaven with Jesus.  That thought brings me great joy and peace. 
 
 Josiah was a very unqiue little boy.  He was very special to us.  He opened my eyes to see the beauty in children with different needs.  Some of us get uncomfortable around other special needs children.  We don't know what to say or do.  It's uncomfortable to see someone different than "normal."  I was very guilty of this "awkwardness" before I was Josiah's mother.  The stares, the pointing, the whispers as one would walk past.  For one, I would like to say; it's ok to feel awkward, 2. It's ok to ask questions, please do, we always love to answer them and 3. these children are children that just want to be accepted and loved like the rest of them.  At the deepest most basic level this is what I see JoJo's Jungle becoming.  A place where everyone can feel welcome, accepted, loved, and have opportunities to learn about all sorts of different abilities that our kids have.  Some are simple, some are complex, some are normal, and some are not. When we were going through the hardest parts of Josiah's life; the last months of his life, I wrote these posts, here, and here describing what we went through. Surrendering my son's life over to my Great God was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Living the "special needs" life was and is not easy.  While other moms are planning meals, scheduling playdates, planning family vacations, and enjoying friendships. We couldn't and didn't, Other families like us, don't get to either.  Families with special needs children do not have this privilege.  Not only do these children want to feel accepted and feel like they belong; so do the parents.  I may not have my JoJo anymore, but that doesn't make me any less of a special needs mama.  Our lives are different than most.  We have needs as well.  I pray JoJo's Jungle will be that place where families could come together and feel safe, feel accepted, and feel loved by our community.  A place where families can learn about other's needs, learn to care about what you don't know or understand, and as a community learn how we can serve one another and build each other up in all aspects of children and family.  Whether you are a mama with typical developing children and you just need a breather or a mama with a critically ill child who desperately needs fellowship; JoJo's Jungle will be the place for you. 
 
My husband and I  have come to realize that this playground is no small feat.  We know we cannot build this playground without support from the community.  With our goal being $2.5 million, we still have $1.5 million dollars to raise in Just 9-10 months to make our ground breaking goal of May 21, 2017. This would have been JoJo's 5th birthday.  If we miss it and are still fundraising, we will  continue to stay the course until we have enough to make JoJo's Jungle a real destination here in Wausau, WI.  Please consider sharing our story all over to make JoJo's Jungle a reality in our community.  A destination that is needed here for all.  An all-inclusive playground that will bring families of all abilities together in one place to foster friendships, overcome fears, and for the children to feel boundless!!!

Friday, December 11, 2015

"Consider it Pure Joy"

James 1:12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.


I feel like I have not been standing the test with my life this year. So much has happened.  I feel like I'm living in a whirlwind of problems, disappointments, and let downs.  It all started with the passing of my precious son, Josiah.  I miss that boy so very much. After we lost him, I just wanted to get our lives back on track.  To get organized, finish the house, start homeschooling, and enjoy our family together.  A whole "wish list" of family activities and adventures. Then two weeks later, I had a positive pregnancy test!! First time ever, bawling my eyes out, crying out to God; why now!!! My pregnancies are usually painful, long-suffering, and require lots of patience; not to mention that it takes 9 months to get through!  I cried for many weeks. Maybe months. It wasn't that I didn't want another baby, it is multi-layered.  1. I wanted to get "my life" back in order-pregnancy was like a big bolder being put right in my path with no way around it! 2. I didn't want everyone to think this new baby is a replacement of Josiah.  3. If I had to be pregnant it needed to be a girl, please Lord, I begged.  As we all know, we do not serve a God that grants laundry lists of requests.  We serve a God that loves us, will never leave us, nor forsake us... Duet 31:8 "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” I wanted it all my way.  "I can't handle life this way, please make it that way, Lord," I cried. You see, God gives us more than we can handle. I know that firsthand.  But He goes before us and ever leaves us that way!! The cliche statement, God doesn't give more than we can handle is completely and utterly incorrect.  God has taught me to fully lean on him or I will crumble to pieces.  I know that truth, but forget it often.  If God didn't give us more than we can handle, we would not lean on him to get us through.  I cannot do anything right, I've been trying to live my way for way too long.  I have escalating anger, impatience, I've been un-compassionate towards others, and I've been spiraling down the path of depression.  I need my Lord more than ever and can't handle this life on my own. Our family has gone through more  in 3 years than most families do in their entirety. No human is meant to face these hardships alone. God promised us he will be with us. His strength gets us through. Philippians 4:13 " I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." You see, God gives us more than we can handle so that we depend on HIM. God receives more Glorfy from leaning on him and allowing him to work in us rather than granting my laundry list of requests. I don't need to feel like I'm alone, I'm not. God is here and will carry me through, if I let him. If I was just handed a gift basket full of my "desires and must haves" I would not grow in Christ and glorify him. Instead of fully trusting Christ these past 10 months, I've  been relying on my own strength, fighting God's will, and seeking my own desires.  It's easy to convince oneself that my list of desires is not wrong, but really needed for my life; but that lie from Satan just isn't true. We need trials to mold us and make us like Christ. Part of me hates typing that truth. James 1:2-4 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." Having an organized house, family, and schedule is not a Sin nor is it not achievable; it's the attitude of the heart that is the sin problem. I cannot request a list of desires and expect them to all to be granted as if Christ is a magic genie in a bottle.  Christ will give our family the strength to pull through and some day I will not be living in survival mode. To get there; I may need to give up some of my wishes for my life and my children's lives. Raising the children my way won't get them to heaven only Christ does that. John 14:6 " Jesus answered and said " I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the father except through me."

My ideal life plays out this way...I'm married to a wonderful husband who does no wrong; selflessly lays his life down for me and the kids.  He works just enough hours to adequately provide for the family.  He takes time with all members of the family individually.  We go on dates weekly to enrich our marriage. He seeks Christ daily, reading together God's word and praying continuously. My children are little adults that obey our every command and they do everything selflessly. I didn't lose Josiah in February, he was completely healed from his disorder and stayed here with us. Isaiah isn't struggling emotionally and behaviorally since he never lost his brother in the first place. And an added plus, he is allergy free. Jasmine is perfect in every way. Micah doesn't have childhood apraxia of speech, low muscle tone, and secondary sensory processing disorder. And my newest, Elijah, is healthy, growing exponentially, nursing strong, and worries no one.  His home birth was picture perfect, just like him. What a perfect little life that gains us nothing but False happiness. What's wrong with this picture? It's a perfect scenario, perfect life.  Gaining no perseverance, learning no patience under trial, and God receives no glory. There's no room for God in my perfect ideal life. John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I've been struggling these last ten months. I had to do the unthinkable.  How many mothers have had to hold their baby and watch him die before her eyes? It was agonizing. Being so helpless and not being able to fix him tore me apart.  Losing him has changed me. I hope for the better. My heart hurts in more ways that I thought was possible. I fought so hard to get him home and call him my son.  22 months later, he was gone, just. Like. That.  In a moments time, he was taken.  In an earthly human sense, that's what happened.  But it was much much more than that. God used Josiah's little life to reach hearts across the globe for His glory. Josiah belongs to God, he is HIS child.  I was just given a few years to care for him, protect him, and allow God to work through him. He is my son, but has always belonged to God.  God did heal Josiah and Josiah now lives in paradise.  "Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds." One day we will meet again but until then I must allow God to finish His work in me, here on earth.  A part of me died with Josiah, but I must live on for Christ! "Consider it pure Joy when you face trials of many kinds." The Lord never said we would get one trial than live a perfect life.  I should be full of Joy! Why do I believe such lies. It's true, Isaiah is emotionally scared from the lose of his brother and I know Christ will see him through. He is starting counseling on Tuesday.  Please be in prayer for him.  His behavior has been increasingly worse since Elijah 's birth.  Since I brought it up, let's talk about Elijah's birth. My first hospital birth.  My midwife retired and we could not afford the newer midwife in town to have a home birth. Reluctantly, I decided to have a hospital birth. I worked with Dr. bell at Aspirus hospital. Throughout the whole pregnancy, Dr. Bell kept reassuring me that my "birth plan" wasn't crazy or wierd. I wanted to keep my baby in my room at all times, and give no drugs or vaccines to baby until 2 months of age. This is our 5th child and this is how we have done things with our newborns (aside from JoJos birth-he was adopted). No big deal he said. In August I was positive for GBS. A bacteria found in the gut of most people at different times in their life. Mostly harmless to adults but can cause serious life threatening issues to a newborn if found in birth canal. In August I was treated for it. At 35 weeks I was negative twice for GBS. Out of precaution, I was still going to be treated for it through IV in labor. They need 4-8 hours for it to be effective. My labor lasted about 3 hrs. I was at the hospital 1 hr before he was born. Therefore, we denied the IV knowing there wasn't enough time. Dr. Bell was a great OB and I have nothing bad to say about him. For the first time in his career he delivered a baby on a squatting stool.  My doula and a close friend along with my wonderful husband were also present- it was wonderful. Mr. Elijah River Was born on November 9, weighing 8 lbs 1.7 oz and 21 inches long. The family practitioner that Evaluated him said he was "healthy as a horse." We were going to stay 48 hours to watch Elijah for symptoms of GBS, just to be sure, because of the positive test in August.  (Two negatives, 3 weeks before he was born). Elijah's first evening, 12ish hours old- he started gagging and spitting up clear stuff.  I was told this is normal newborn stuff.  This happened with Micah so I was ok with that answer. He had an episode of strange breathing that my 3-11 nurse evaluated, had a second nurse evaluate and we determined he was fine, normal newborn stuff. 11 night nurse came on shift. Elijah's ID band fell off, I requested a new one. They said he didn't  need it, the security band has one on him. He spit up milk a few times, which concerned me. They said he was fine. The night nurse wanted to weigh him before his next feeding. I called her in around 2 am. He gagged and spit up clear stuff. Sounded like more was deeper so I allowed her to deep suction him. As she was doing deep suction, he retracted. He fully recovered once I was holding him. No worries. Nurse said it was normal newborn stuff. I was back in my room, holding him, and was going to feed him.  The hospital staff decided he was going to be transferred to NiCU, given IV antibiotics and dextrose, against my will with no symptoms.  They took him from me and said get out of the way.  My biggest fear had just come true.  I couldn't get in touch with Patrick and they took my baby away. They started treatment for GBS. I told them I was negative.  "If there is a problem with him I'm concerned about him spitting up milk not GBS. You could be treating the wrong thing"  Elijah was asymptotic and was given an IV, two kinds of antibiotics, and dextrose without my approval and without Identification on him! When they transferred him, they removed the security band before leaving birth unit.  We stayed in NICU for two days.  Elijah seemed fine and healthy. Test came back negative for GBS. The same Doctor that stated "he's healthy as a horse" called me on the phone and stated " you should have had your baby at a different hospital, it was a can of worms!" I couldn't believe my ears! "Consider it pure Joy to face trials of many kinds."
At Elijah's  two week check up he wasn't back to birth weight; 7 lbs 12 oz. (3.7 oz to low). Dr started getting concerned. Super daddy and I were concerned about the spitting up and chocking on it. When lying on his back, Elijah would spit up and chock on it. We all decided to focus on nursing more and see if he recovers on his own from the chocking behaviors. So we did that.  He gained enough over the weekend and wasn't chocking anymore so we thought we were going up hill from here. At 3 weeks old he reached birth weight. At 4 weeks, he lost 6 grams. This was yesterday. I was devastated. He isn't growing. "Consider it pure Joy when you face trials of many kinds." We started supplementing with more breastmilk. He has gained 56 grams overnight! Praise the Lord!  Please be in prayer for him.  He still seems to be "off". He has a recessed chin that may be contributing to his low weight gain. He tires easily while feeding. Please pray that I trust the Lord with the outcome of Elijah's concerns.  In spite of his low weight gain and concerns; he is an adorable, loving, and a cuddable little bundle of Joy. I need to lean on Christ for his strength to pull us through this hurdle.
Micah was diagnosed with Childhood apraxia of speech, low muscle tone, and secondary sensory processing disorder recently. Another blow to be perfect world. Another trial for my good and God's glory. "Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds." Micah will not be able to speak without intensive speech therapy. Insurance is denying his therapy. We started sign language with him and a communication device on his iPad. He falls a lot. He has always fallen a lot, therefore, hits his head a lot. This is caused by the low muscle tone and motor planning issues (secondary diagnosis to the apraxia). He is getting foot braces to stabilize his ankles and a helmet to protect his head. In spite of this diagnosis, he is a charming, loveable, and compassionate little guy. We love him to pieces. His diagnosis shows us God's goodness. We are learning to adapt and appreciate the small stuff once again. Josiah taught us a great deal about what's truly important in this world.  Micah's apraxia shows us a glimpse of what we once had.
Jasmine is an almost 6 year old little girl that loves being a big sister ( 4 times over now) she's still praying for a baby sister.  Oh boy, please Lord, can we have some time gap between them. She is in kindergarten at home. She was doing specatulnar before Elijah's birth. Nearly finishing her entire year in 12 weeks on her own accord. Now I can barely get her to anything. I need patience with her and perseverance to continue with homeschooling. "Consider it pure Joy when you face trials of many kinds." In spite of all the trauma in her life,  she is still full of Joy and wonder!

SuperDaddy is an amazing husband, certainly isn't perfect but truly wonderful.  I'm not fit most days to be his wife. He has been doing a lot of the chores and household duties around here to keep us floating. He also needs a break and a good nights rest. I need to give him grace when he stumbles. "Consider it pure Joy when you face trials of many kinds." I pray I can show him how much I appreciate him in a way that makes him feel loved and appreciated. Lord, thank you for my husband who loves me and you.
All these burdens combined with a series of other problems, this mama was feeling burnt out. I needed some good Jesus Time to regroup and give these burdens to Christ. Lord, please help me give these burdens and concerns to you. I trust you will see us through and protect and nurture my family. Thank you for giving me a husband that wants to serve in any way possible to help me and our family. Thank you for giving him multiple interests to keep things fun and interesting. I pray for peace in our home, patience for us and the kids, and I pray we can have a new routine established soon. Please help me stay focused on you rather than on what I think an Ideal life is or should be.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

IT'S BEEN...








A Child Of Mine (by Edgar Albert Guest)

I will lend you, for a little time,
A child of mine, He said.
For you to love the while he lives,
And mourn for when he's dead.
It may be six or seven years,
Or twenty-two or three.
But will you, till I call him back,
Take care of him for Me?
He'll bring his charms to gladden you,
And should his stay be brief.
You'll have his lovely memories,
As solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay,
Since all from earth return.
But there are lessons taught down there,
I want this child to learn.
I've looked the wide world over,
In search for teachers true.
And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes,
I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love,
Nor think the labour vain.
Nor hate me when I come
To take him home again?
I fancied that I heard them say,
'Dear Lord, Thy will be done!'
For all the joys Thy child shall bring,
The risk of grief we'll run.
We'll shelter him with tenderness,
We'll love him while we may,
And for the happiness we've known,
Forever grateful stay.
But should the angels call for him,
Much sooner than we've planned.
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes,
And try to understand.


IT'S BEEN...

 3 months since I held him. 3 months since I felt his precious face. 3 months since I felt his breath. 3 months since he was with us. Tomorrow marks 3 months.  How am I doing you ask? Well, I'm glad you asked. Grab a chair and possibly a snack and a few kleenex.  This post may become a bit long...

IT'S BEEN...

It's been a bit overwhelming and crazy. So much has happened since February 7.  So much confusion in my brain.  So much overwhelm-ness that I'm swimming through. I've tried to sort it all out and it keeps getting all tangled up again.  So I decided to off load my brain here and see if it helps me sort out things a bit.  It's worth a try, isn't it? A few weeks ago our Pastor spoke about caring more about what God thinks and not others.  I've heard that said many times, but this time it rang ever more true! You see, since february 7, I feel like I lost myself. I went from trusting God to trusting man's opinions.  When Josiah was dying, I needed Jesus with skin. People flooding our home to help wherever possible, shoulders to cry on and hugs given a plenty. God knew that is what we needed.  As time went on after his death,  I started putting others opinions above seeking what God's opinions were.  All intentions good on all parties.  But what I have realized is that God's word is perfect not man's opinions, nor book/bible studies, nor religious traditions.  God's Word. Period. God's word is reliable and trustworthy, not man!  What a revelation! For some reason, I held a belief that I couldn't just read God's word alone, I needed to pair it with a bible study in order to grasp what the point is.  "What does Jesus think about the opinion of man when laid next to the word of God?"  One of the profound statements said by our pastor that morning, has been life-changing for me.   Instead of taking what an author says, or a very kindhearted friend; and living by it, I would rather place the opinion or statement next to the word of God and live my life based on HIS HOLY WORD not on the opinion of man.  Like I said previously. I think I lost myself when I lost Josiah.  I was allowing others to think for me and I just went with it.  I'm so thankful that I haven't stayed in this state for very long.  God is so very good, isn't he?!?  From this day forward I have decided that I am going to think for myself and seek Christ with all my heart instead of jumping on the nearest ship for others to think for me.  I have no idea why I landed on such a boat after Feb 7, maybe it was my way of coping with the grief.  But I want Jesus and HIS ways not man's opinions!! God gave me peace when I went through the hardest thing I have ever had to do and I pray it stays the hardest thing I ever have to do.  I allowed the World and the opinion of man to rob me of that peace after his death.  I have learned that as soon as you hit your knees and cry out to God, He is there.  He never leaves. EVER! "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6  Think about that for a moment.  Isn't that incredible.  What an incredible promise from our Lord and Savior!! NEVER WILL HE LEAVE US NOR FORSAKE US!  It is not just a verse, not just words but a promise upheld by our God!!!  I rest in this promise today.  


IT'S BEEN...



It's been good. It's been freeing. It's been hard. Last night was a turning point for me through this process of grief.  I cried more than I thought was possible, louder than I have ever before.  I thought the moment I handed his little body over to the funeral home, that I was going to lose myself in my tears and the agony of pain.  Last night that feeling was tenfold.  But last night, I emotionally handed "him" over to my Lord. Logically I understand and know that Josiah is in heaven. Never to return to this earth again.   I will meet him again someday when it is my turn to go to paradise. David put it this way in 2 Samuel. "He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’  But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” 2 Samuel 12:22-23.  I believe this, I know this, and I trust this.  Josiah is with my Lord and I will go to him.  However, this is not where my subconscious has been.  Let me rewind a smidgen and explain what SuperDaddy and I have been doing.  A week before Josiah died, We made a  promise to him. A promise that we would make it our life goal to build a special needs all inclusive playground in honor of him.  SuperDaddy and I have not let that promise rest. We have taken that promise seriously and we are building a playground called JoJo's Jungle at Brokmeyer park in Wausau, WI.  We have the city's support and now we are rallying the community and people behind us for support and fundraising to make this happen.  We have been in the designing phase of this project.  SuperDaddy and I have specialists on our team to make the best playground for all abilities.  I have some "must-haves" on the list because JoJo would love them!!  I wanted to build a park that he could go to and feel boundless.  I saw the zip-krooz and instantly fell in love when I saw the special needs swing attached to it.  How cool would it be to see Josiah fly through the air and feel the wind through his hair!!! I wanted it.  I wanted it for him.  Then a friend showed me this swing, the expression swing, and it hit me; like a ton of bricks.  Josiah won't be at this playground.  He will not be at this park.  He will never play at JoJo's jungle. For one he doesn't need to, but for some reason, subconsciously I believed he would. As if, when the playground was done, he could try it out.  I wrote this on my facebook page that day..."Designing a park in honor of my little boy that I never get to hold again here, or at this park, never get to take him to a park nor ever try a swing he would have loved. This is heart-wrenching. Missing him so very much these days but God reminds me of how awesome heaven is. Paradise where JoJo doesn't need "special needs" equipment to play at a park. He is finally free from the boundaries his body gave him. I love you my baby so much. I would give the world to hug you today but I believe you are in a better place and I will see you again!!!" This realization is a turning point for me in my grief.  I can now recognize that Josiah will not be coming back to play at his park; but, his friends will come to this park.  It is painful, emotional, and hard to design a playground knowing he is never coming back; but, I want to do this, not just in honor of him, but for our community and the many children who will love this park and experience life in a new way because of it! One of his closet special needs friends was Lauren.  I told her all about JoJo's Jungle and she is very excited.  Her Daddy says she is a daredevil and will love the Zip Krooz! More special needs families have told us this as well.  JoJo may never get to use this park but JoJo's Jungle will bring so many smiles and new adventures to many children of all abilities to experience life in a new way.  Such healing for me as JoJo's mom to see many children feel boundless because JoJo already gets to be boundless in paradise with Jesus!! I hope I'm making sense to you.  So much emotion floating in my head and trying to untangle the mess in my brain is hard work but it must get done to move forward in healing!! So I am so excited to announce that we are building JoJo's Jungle and our goal for ground breaking is one year from now!! Stay-tuned for more information as our plans unravel and we get our timeline in place and funding in order.  We plan to do many different types of fundraisers and grants to fund this Park.  If you want to know more or would like to get involved please email play@jojosjungle.com 


IT'S BEEN....

It's been confusing, tiring, and exciting. I know my post is all over the place but I am trying to logically offload my brain of the mess inside, so bear with me here. LOL.  I have been through the ups and downs with losing Josiah.  SuperDaddy and I have fought about senseless things, family disputes, and I have been lost in the whirlwind of chaotic emotion.  But nonetheless, my Lord has not left me nor forsaken me!!!!  "he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6  I marvel at that promise and hold it close to my heart these days. The Lord prepares me for certain "big" life-changing events in ways I cannot describe.  Almost like he whispers in my heart, "it's going to be ok, just trust me." In March I found out I was pregnant.  Yes, pregnant, with baby #5.  Josiah will always be #3 and Micah #4.  I have never cried seeing two pink lines on that test before.  I couldn't utter the words to SuperDaddy, I just pointed to the bathroom and he saw it.  Of Course he was excited!!  Who wouldn't be, right?!? In my heart, I felt I was replacing Josiah if I was going to have another baby so soon after losing him.  Makes no sense at all but that is where I was at.  I cried and I cried.  I blamed SuperDaddy for getting me pregnant when I didn't want it.  I want this baby, don't get me wrong, I just didn't feel ready.  I had plans. Plans to organize the house, get the other kids back on a routine, start homeschooling again and start healing.  I HAD PLANS!! But so did God.  We serve a wonderful God!! I have the type of personality that takes the reigns back from God if life is "easy" enough.  I wanted to get my life back in order. I wanted it my way.  I'm so glad God does things His way, not mine. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 Like I said before, Last night,  was a turning point for me.  I truly feel like it's time to move on.  Continue to heal from losing Josiah and rest in the promise that he will not return to me but, I, to him!  Baby #5 is independent from Josiah, not a replacement for him, but, an addition to our family!!!  I'm getting excited little by little and finally feel like I can officially announce it to you! 


Please be in prayer for this pregnancy as we grieve the loss of Josiah, rejoice in new life, and continue to move forward trusting our Lord with our life and decisions we face.  Not much after I found out that I was pregnant; our local midwife announced her retirement.  There is not another midwife closer than an hour and half.  SuperDaddy and I have to decide if we will continue to have a home-birth with a midwife coming from so far away or go to the local hospital.  For those of you who know me, this is a big decision.  We will be asking for professional opinions on the matter and seeking our Lord for wisdom before making any concrete decisions on where the baby will be born. As always, we value your prayers and support.  

IT'S BEEN....

It's been good writing this...Wow, do I feel completely different after offloading so much out of my brain.  Thank you for listening and may God bless you today.  I love my Lord with all my heart and pray that my blog writings will bring Him honor and glory.  I do not write these for my own sake but for His.  Thank you for reading and I pray you have a blessed day.