Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Today she is 6!

This past Sunday night Mariah sang for the children's Christmas program at church.

Today is a day to celebrate. Even though we do not know Mariah's exact date of birth, this is the day that was chosen by her orphanage as her birthday. We will celebrate. Actually, every day is a celebration in her world. She truly is one of the happiest kids I've ever known. She lives life to the fullest. 

I have frequently shared her funny sayings. She is hilarious!! She keeps us on our toes, for sure.

I wish I had her zeal for life. 

Mariah is an amazing child. She makes friends literally everywhere she goes: in doctor's office waiting rooms, ball games, Sunday School, choir concerts, the grocery store........anywhere! 

Here are a few photos from this past year and a brief explanation. 

She didn't make it to the end of the Hometown Christmas at the Smoot. She anticipated the fake snow waiting near a fan all night. Then she fell asleep before 'White Christmas' and missed the snow. Until the "snow man" realized what happened and he sprinkled her! Thank you Mr. Snow Man!!! You made her day!
Today we will celebrate the life that the Lord entrusted to us 4 1/2 years ago. She needs us. She desperately loves us. And boy does everyone love her back. She is more than a spark. More like a blaze! I cannot wait to see what God has planned for her life. It has to be big! She knows nothing less!

In September we went to Disney as her wish with Make-A-Wish. This trip gave her many of her wishes and gave Jeremy and I an entire week with our kids, uninterrupted with doctor appointments and financial concern. The heat was hard on her. I am thankful for an unassuming stranger among a sea of people who made us aware that she was in trouble. God sent us that man and I don't believe he even knew it.

Here she was after we were able to wake her and quickly give her the medicine she needed. You can see it in her eyes.
She loved "It's a Small World"

I'm pretty sure nothing compares to Frozen!

She loves Belle!

She made a new friend in the play area.
She and daddy......and Hello Kitty photo bomber.

She was so thrilled to ride a horse!
We saw great light shows and fireworks!
Who doesn't love Minnie!

She lost several teeth this year too. Most recently, both front teeth!

She played her second season of soccer and scored her first goal!

She started kindergarten! Photo is from first day of school, outside!
Went to a friend's house (thanks Nita) and held some peeps.
Cousins are some of the best kind of friends(Joshua)!
More cousins (Hannah)!
More cousins......Elizabeth (in college)!
And more cousins! Several were still missing.
She loves her friends!
She is mostly patient (pun intended!)
Then we ran into Santa and Mrs. Claus at Target after the doctor appointment.
More "friends". Just another example of her sense of humor!
More being funny with Daddy!
A natural beauty! Just woke up.
Nervous for her lab work. This time she did not cry.
I love when she falls asleep in the car!
Daddy's car!
No words!
And finally, the grandparents wore her out!

All of our older five kids are in the teen group at church. So once a month we have a free evening with Mariah. She loves the time with us.
We have been thoroughly enjoying the Christmas season this year. We started a little earlier and I am thrilled we did. We have been watching Christmas movies, decorating, and our baking is next week! We have had countless choir concerts with church and Smoot, Christmas parade, window shopping, and other things planned (gingerbread house display and Christmas tree display).
Tonight, before I put her to bed I asked her for one more photo of my favorite five-year-old who is turning six. She just giggled and jumped out of bed in agreement. Here was that photo. Nothing fancy, my hair is a mess but I sure do love this girl. I gave up the glamor years ago. Can you see her joy as she gives me bunny ears? 
Happy sixth birthday sweet girl! We love you to the moon and back! And as Courtney says......"God danced the day you were born"!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

It's Been a Long Time

When I first began blogging I was pretty faithful. 

As life got harder, I slacked. 

For many reasons. 

I struggle with the delicate balance of honestly and privacy. It has been more than a year. The above photo was taken just a few weeks ago. I could not do life this gracefully without Jeremy. And in all sincerity, I am not graceful. Jeremy far exceeds me in that category. He offers such great stability. 

Jeremy has a way of offering peace. His prayers are absolutely beautiful and raw. I love him and his example to our children.

It is always crazy here with so many kids with the typical and not-so-typical medical needs. We took our first vacation as a family of 8!
We painted the entire exterior of our house. It took about 5 weeks.
 We even put the kids to work.
 Over the years several boards have warped and pulled up.
Sweet friends came to visit.....twice!
A new school year.
New Christmas traditions.
Mariah's first Christmas play at church, and Ben's last.
Jeremy's trip to Israel.
Mariah's dislocated elbow.
Yes, she dislocated it again. The hospital knows us well.
Micah's broken finger (thanks to some football).
Three minor surgeries for ingrown toenails.
One hospitalization for a terrible uti.
One sinus surgery.
Several adrenal crisis.
Daily vision therapy.
An adorable haircut!
Another haircut!
 ......and another!
A hailstorm like we have never seen before.
Soccer season with Jeremy coaching and all of our kids participating.
First and second lost tooth!
Third lost tooth!
Fourth lost tooth! This was just last night.
Oral surgery to attempt to bring down an terribly awkwardly impacted tooth.
Flood clean-up in southern WV.
Uncle Jeff and Aunt Wendy's gorgeous wedding!
Everyone had a part in the wedding.
Kids joined the Smoot Choirs.
Boys' and Girls' Ensembles.
Delayed reaction to a bee sting......which was headed toward and adrenal crisis. Again this was just yesterday and the reaction this morning.
 It all leaves just a little time for this!
And through it all a couple of friends gathered together to have prayer for my family. Better yet, they texted me to let me know.
For us! 
Can you even imagine? 
I am humbled.
I am blessed to have prayer warrior friends when it gets tough. And it gets tough a lot around here. During one extremely difficult medical situation Jodi and Rene sent me this photo. (I hope you girls don't mind!)
Their lives were put on hold that day as Jeremy and I sat in a waiting room for 10 hours......waiting and being told, "One more hour." four times.
They did what they could.......they prayed together.
I know my life seems busy. And honestly, it is. 
I am tired.
Homeschooling is hard!
Medical appointments for us seem to never go as planned.
There are days I struggle just getting out of bed. I give medicine twice each night to Mariah at 12am and 3:45am.
But we try to use each moment to help our kids understand that life is never easy. We are not promised easy. In fact, we know we are doing God's will because Satan tries to attack us when we are weak and vulnerable.

In this season of my life I lean heavily on several verses in Scripture.

This one I love:

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

One day these words I type will be distant memories. 
I pray that I am serving Him in all I do and say. After all, that really is all that matters.