Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Eleven Homeschooling Tips (& Update On Max & Makeya)

"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."
Deuteronomy 6:6-7

#11 In the Titus 2 Series

After struggling through 12 1/2 years of infertility anguish,
Kevin and I are SO abundantly blessed and eternally grateful to be parents.
We could never, in a million years, give God anywhere near enough praise
for the amazing, immeasurable gift...of Zachary.
We thank the dear Lord every, single day for him
and for allowing us to be his Mama and Daddy.

Homeschooling Zachary is, without a doubt, hands-down, one of my favorite parts of life.
I have no shadow of a doubt that this is what God has called me to do.
It is one of the most precious and dear callings of my life, 
and I am ever so grateful to be living in this season.
It was never even a choice for Kevin and me.
We just knew...from day one...that this is the path God wanted us to follow.
Zachary is absolutely worth whatever it takes to do this.

I think my most cherished part is just having that one-on-one time with him each day.
I actually look forward to the school year starting.
Even though, it is sad that another summer is nearly behind us,
and I am struck once again with the reality of how quickly he is growing up,
I am still happy to welcome a new season and a new school year.

We always wait until after Labor Day to start our school year.
We don't take as many breaks throughout the year,
and we try to be finished before or around the first week of June.
This way, he gets a full three month summer break,
like Kevin and I used to enjoy way back when we were in school.  
That seems like a long time ago!

I think they make it so hard on kids these days....just my opinion...
and we just prefer to do it this way.
It's just how we roll around here.

So, as we are still enjoying our last few weeks of summer break,
I wanted to share a few, little tips I have learned during our eight years of homeschooling so far.

#1.  Start each day with prayer.
I know this should be a no-brainer,
but this is one we've learned the hard way.
We absolutely have a smoother day,
and we start off in the right spirit and frame of mind,
when we enlist Heaven's resources by unlocking the door through asking for God's help...first.
He is always near and always faithful to see us through.
On days we do not seek God's assistance, we struggle unnecessarily.

#2.  Add Scripture to each school day.
We are blessed to use the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum.
I cannot say enough good about it.
Of course, it is not without critics, and there are those who find it flawed,
(and, yes, we have found errors in score keys...SO frustrating!),
but, as a whole, we are very satisfied with it.
The thing I love most about it is that it is chock-full of God's Word.
They break it down into 12 packets (called P.A.C.E.s) in each of the 6 subjects each school year,
(Math, Social Studies, Science, Word Building, English, & Literature),
and in each packet, Zachary is required to memorize a Bible verse.
That is 72 Bible verses he is memorizing per school year!
He is absolutely hiding God's Word in his heart...
Words that he will be able to call back throughout life as he needs them.
This is invaluable to Kevin and me...and will be to him, too.

#3.  Carve your own path.
Don't worry about what everyone else is doing.
You can become dizzy trying to keep up with other homeschoolers,
their curriculum choices, 
their individualized schedules,
and their methods of teaching.
Do what works for you...and for your child(ren).
Every child is different, and so is every parent.
Be unique and unapologetic for being that way.
No one knows your child(ren) like you do.
Seek God's guidance for what will work best, follow His lead, and go for it.

#4.  Stick to curriculum that makes you comfortable.  
I am not one who likes to dabble in combining a mish-mash of curricula.
I'm not saying this is everyone else's preference.
I am just saying it is mine.
 To me, it is confusing to mix curriculum.
I know others who are perfectly capable of doing this, and it works great for them.
I say, more power to them.  :)
Again, stick to what makes you comfortable.
If you are at ease combining 2 or 3 or 4 or more formats, then, by all means, 
do what works for you and your household, without feeling the need 
to adhere to anyone else's standards or personal preferences.
The path is difficult enough.
Simplify it when possible.
We started out with A.C.E. in Kindergarten, because I attended several A.C.E. schools
while growing up, and I was familiar with the format and liked it.
We decided to try it with Zachary, and he ended up loving it,
so we stuck with it all these years.
Not saying I won't and don't supplement with books and other resources 
that are complimentary to and supportive of what he is already learning.
But, as for our basic curriculum, we are both comfortable with this, so we stick with it.
I don't even delve into researching other avenues for two reasons....
1.  My philosophy is, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
2.  I become confused and stressed out when I am given too many choices....
what can I say....it is just a hang-up of mine, 
so I avoid putting myself in that position by not attending curriculum fairs 
and over-researching other choices.
We are content and thankful.
Try to reach your own place of contentment, whatever that may be, then stay there, 
regardless of what everyone else is doing or who advises you to follow their lead.

#5.  Approach homeschooling gratefully.
I know this is not the easiest choice you could make.
Tackling the responsibility of your child(ren)'s education is a daunting task.
It looms up before me sometimes like an insurmountable feat, 
and one for which I feel extremely inadequate and incapable.
I lean hard upon GOD and His wisdom and strength....every, single day.
When you feel overwhelmed, don't give up.
Remind yourself how precious it is to be granted the gift of this privilege.
Praise God for each moment you are blessed to sit by their side(s)
and be in complete control of what is being embedded into their pure minds.
Do you realize how valuable this is?
To know that you are the filter God is using to keep out the trash and deceptions?
Thank Him that He chose you....to be their guardian, to direct their thought patterns,
to instill His love, mercy, and grace.
How very blessed we are!
And, you will find that if you are grateful, they will be, too.
More lessons are caught than taught.

#6.  Expect hard times.
Let's face it.
It's not all peaches and cream.
There are moments of extreme frustration,
overwhelming anxiety,
and overflowing tears.
Last year in 7th grade, Zach and I both struggled so much with math.
Honestly, I remember sitting there one morning at 2:00 am,
still trying to figure out what I was doing wrong.
Come to find out, there was an error in the test key!
But, I didn't find out until the next day.
I cried...hard...feeling completely unequal to the task and like such a complete failure.
There will be moments like these...I can assure you.
Those of you who are veterans are screaming, "Amen!".
I can almost hear you!
If you brace yourself ahead of time and acknowledge the reality of hiccups,
you will have a much more peaceful day...and school year.
Be prepared for opposition.
You will not always be applauded for your decision to homeschool.
There are many naysayers, skeptics, and critics.
There are the liberal-minded who believe we are all a bunch of fruit cakes.
Do you care?
Does it matter?
At the end of the day, who is truly accountable for what is allowed and not allowed into your child's realm?
This may not be the most popular path,
it may not be the path of least resistance,
but, if God has called you to it, it is the path for you,
and you will never walk alone.
And truly, do we really need anyone else's approval?
Who are we really trying to please and serve anyway?

#7.  Know when to take a break.
There have been moments I have been in tears, Zach has been in tears,
and God has whispered to me that it was approaching the boiling point,
and we needed to give it a rest.
Just walk away from it all.
To continue to sit there and torture yourselves is just too much.
Let it go....for a time.
It will be there waiting for you when you get back.
Go do something fun...either together or apart...but leave the school setting....
even for 15 minutes.
Take deep breaths.
Seek God's help.
Come back refreshed and renewed and ready to tackle the challenge again.
  No one is holding you to a strict schedule.
Thank God for that.
Do what you need to do to make it through each school day....
no matter how long it takes or who does or does not approve of your methods.
Who is raising this kid anyway?

#8.  Insert laughter into each day.
Make it a point to laugh...and to make your child laugh.
Lighten up...on yourself...and on them.
Making it fun gets the job done.
Be silly...and goofy...and comical.
Lighten the moment and lighten the load.
I can't tell you how many times Zach and I have burst into uncontrollable laughter,
after particularly trying moments in which our strength and determination were sorely put to the test.
Go easy on yourself.
Don't sweat the small stuff.

#9.  Be flexible.
Don't be so dead-set on keeping to your schedule or routine.
Use a pencil, instead of a pen, when making lesson plans.
I know it is important to stay focused and on track,
but, don't be opposed to shaking things up a bit.
There is more than one way to learn.
Instead of sitting inside doing Science, why not take it outside for the day?
Sit and listen to the birds you are studying about.
Lie down in the grass and watch the cumulus cloud formations, instead of just reading about them.
Grab a bubble wand and a jar of bubbles and head outside to watch the wind scatter them.
Take a safe walk with your child(ren) to complete your physical ed. requirement.
Enlist their help and make hanging laundry on the line a family home economics and living green project.
Turn on the garden hose and give the dog a bath together, putting those animal science lessons to use.

Zachary's lizard-on-a-string-leash project...
(Yes, he is very careful not to harm them and to turn them loose when he is done...
I'm sure they are never quite the same, though!)

And when (not if) interruptions occur, believe me, they will....
unexpected visitors who are truly clueless about the 180 school day per year requirement,
aging parents who need immediate attention,
friends who call on you for help, etc....
just relax, and remember, God's thoughts are far above ours,
and He always knows what is best.
The work will get done, and you will survive.
Don't allow your plans to interrupt God's purpose.

#10.  Seize the moments.
Children grow up way too fast.
One day, these homeschooling days will be memories.
Talk to some Moms who wish they were still in your shoes.
One day, you will miss this...
so don't miss it now.
Give it your full attention.
Be in the moment.
Live in now.
Turn off the phone.
That includes cell phones.
Leave your laptop in the other room...unplugged.
Look your child(ren) in the eye.
Thoroughly convince them that they are absolutely the most important thing in the world to you....
that nothing on earth is more precious or dear than sitting there giving them your full,
undivided attention, spending those moments...with them.
Nothing speaks "I love you" louder than that.
Don't ever, ever allow them to believe that homeschooling them is a drudgery to you.
Don't forget how precious one moment with them truly is.
Thank God that you are the one who is blessed to hear them call you "mama".
Thank Him that they are here...with you...being taught from a heart full of love,
instead of by a stranger in a crowded classroom.
Use this close, one-on-one time to really connect with them.
Let them talk to you.
Listen with all your heart.
Don't interrupt.
Let them finish emptying their hearts.
Love them unconditionally....no matter what they do or tell you.
Recognize that you are molding their future by the way you handle things now.
Take advantage of every moment to love them,
to teach them, to instill God and His Word into them, 
to shape them into the person He wants them to be.

#11.  Be fearless.
God hasn't give you the spirit of fear, 
but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
(2 Timothy 1:7)
Don't approach homeschooling fearfully.
Don't worry about messing up.
You will.
It is a fact of life.
Accept it.
It's okay.
Don't try to fit into anyone else's mold.
Make your own niche, and stay in it.
Blaze your own trail.
Be courageous.
You can do this.
What you are doing is a sweet-smelling offering to Almighty God.
This is what He has called you to do.
And you are doing it well, my friend.
Don't focus on yesterday's mess.
Apologize if you need to.
Children are people.
They have feelings.
They deserve apologies, too.
Can I just tell you how many times I have had to tell Zach I am sorry?
I once told Kevin that I think Zachary is the most apologized-to child on earth!
By me, that is.
Kevin has to say, "I'm sorry", a lot less frequently than I do.
Learn from it, clean it up, and walk on.
Be the person you want your child to become.
If you want them to learn manners, treat them mannerly.
If you want them to show respect, respect them and their space, privacy, and feelings.
If you want them to understand God's amazing, covering grace...shower them lavishly with it.
If you want them to say I'm sorry when wrong, acknowledge your own wrongs to them.
If you want them to be grateful, show appreciation for all they do.
If you want them to forgive others, quickly forgive their wrongdoings.
Don't be afraid to be human with your child.
They need to see that and to know that it is okay to feel.
Cry when you need to.
I'm not saying we should burden them with adult-sized problems
or tell them all that is in our hearts.
I am saying that they need to see that Mama cries, 
but she picks herself up by the bootstraps,
smiles through her tears, 
keeps the faith,
and carries on....
not allowing fear to hinder her from her goal.
If you plow through this with courage, so will they.

Enjoy the journey, my friend.
It will be over all too soon.

May God bless us all with a happy, healthy 2014-15 school year!

(To read #1 in this series, entitled "Eleven Ways To Bless Your Husband", click here.
To read #2 in this series, entitled, "Eleven De-Cluttering & Organizing Tips", click here.
To read #3 in this series, entitled "Eleven Steps To A Stronger, Happier Marriage", click here.
To read #4 in this series, entitled, "Eleven Things To Remember During Infertility", click here.
To read #5 in this series, entitled, "Eleven Ways To Make Your Home More Peaceful", click here.
To read #6 in this series, entitled, "Eleven Ways To Be More Frugal, click here.
To read #7 in this series, entitled, "Eleven Steps To Inner Peace", click here.
To read #8 in this series, entitled, "Eleven Times To Be Quiet", click here.
To read #9 in this series, entitled, "Eleven Reasons I Am A Stay-At-Home Homeschooling Mom", click here.
To read #10 in this series, entitled, "Eleven Ways To Reduce Cleaning Stress", click here.) 
Please keep praying for the Brown family...
especially 2 yr. old Max.
He has been battling an infection and fever, possibly caused by the breathing tube,
 and had to be put in isolation.
Thank God, the fever is down, and he is now off isolation.
He is opening his eyes and communicating by shaking and nodding his head.
Makeya continues to progress and was able to be
taken outside for a ride around the park by Steven & Shyla
and even got to go shopping in the gift shop!!
God is hearing...please keep praying!!!

If  anyone would like to send the Brown family a card of encouragement,
please contact me, and I will provide the mailing address to you, individually.

If anyone would like to make a monetary donation to this family,
there are two ways to donate.
1.  An account has been set up for this purpose at a local bank.

Please mail donations to:

Citizen's Deposit Bank & Trust
P. O. Box 9
Vanceburg, KY  41179
Please write "For Brown Family" on the memo line of check.
2.  You may donate online by clicking HERE.

Most of all, please continue to lift them to our Heavenly Father in prayer.

(To read previous posts about the Brown Family,
 and 3RD UPDATE,
and 8TH UPDATE.)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

UPDATES - Baby Obed & Max Brown - 8-21-2014

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you:
not as the world giveth, give I unto you.
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
John 14:27

A couple of updates I wanted to pass along to all of you faithful, compassionate prayer warriors....

I heard from Baby Obed's Daddy, Travis today.

Here is a recent picture of the little cutie-pie.

Again, I was brought to tears and thanksgiving by his words.

"We just got back from the Cardiologist appointment and she prescribed him two medications (one is a diuretic to remove fluid building up in his lungs and the other to help minimize potassium loss) as she said he has some retraction in his chest and neck when breathing.  She said this is all normal for his condition and without these symptoms, she would be very concerned as that would mean he has a SERIOUS lung problem.  “So these signs are GOOD signs!” she kept saying. J

She still feels that the surgery won’t be necessary for another couple of months as long as he’s still gaining weight.
Thank you again for your prayers and concern."

While I was thankful to hear this news, I was even more blessed by what he said next...

"I just wanted to let you and the others know that we have had nearly 20 ultrasounds throughout this process. All of them except one was performed during the pregnancy.  It wasn’t until after birth that they mentioned “Malposition” versus “Transposition”.   With each ultrasound, I would pray “LORD, this is just another one added to the total of ultrasounds, and if it’s Your will for him to be healed, this would be irrefutable evidence that ONLY a miracle has taken place…”

Our family truly covets your prayers and those of everyone following Obed’s story.   God is working miraculously through Obed’s life.  My wife and I quickly learned how limited we are in this and can only sit and be amazed at what God has done, is doing, and will continue to do through Obed and our entire family’s life."

I didn't realize how irrefutable the evidence really is!
God allowed all of those ultrasounds to happen to fully establish that Baby Obed's vessels were truly transposed in utero.
God absolutely corrected this while he was in the womb,
allowing His glory to be revealed through this little guy!

While I was slightly disappointed that the doctor found ANY symptoms at all,
my faith is not diminished.
I fully believe, with all my heart, that He will completely heal anything that is malfunctioning,
and this child's miracle will continue to expand and touch hearts all across the world.
Even though the surgery to correct vessels that are malposed versus them being transposed
is less extensive, I am still asking God to heal him without the need for any surgery at all,
if it is His will.

Please continue to pray for God to completely heal this precious baby.

(To read previous posts about Baby Obed, please click HERE, and HERE, and HERE.)

I wish I could say that the news from little Max Brown's direction was as encouraging as Baby Obed's.

Sadly, his lung has collapsed again.
Contrary to what I posted earlier, they have been unable to do the tracheotomy.

Shyla posted this...
"Tom. is the decision day.
We meet with the surgeon team and all the doctors and a bunch of other people to talk about putting the trach in.  They are also going to put a feeding tube in his belly.
Tom. is the day we have to make the decision if we want it done or not.
But as of right now, it is our only option to get him to rehab and home."

I can't begin to imagine the fear in the hearts of these parents right now.
Every time it seems he is heading in the right direction,
something happens to impede his progress,
and now they are reaching the point of these types of decisions needing to be made.

We serve the God of miracles, Who is not hindered by our limited scope of vision.
He inhabits eternity, and, from His viewpoint, He can see all things.
No matter what happens in this situation, we know without a doubt that 
He is absolutely holding sweet Max in His nail-scarred hands.
He is always in control, and He always has a perfect plan for each life.

As I cried tears for two separate reasons today....
tears of joy when I read Travis' email,
and tears of sorrow when I read about Max,
it hit me how much comfort the Brown family can draw from Baby Obed's miracle right now.
Because actually seeing what God CAN do fills the heart with hope.
Watching His power be revealed increases faith in His ability to do the impossible.

The lives of these two little boys have somehow, by the orchestration of God's Almighty plan,
been intertwined and woven together....
within the confines of these posts.
I don't know exactly how God does what He does or how else these two separate lives 
could or would have otherwise been intersected.
For some reason, God chose this to be the location...of their mingling.

I can't help but believe that there is a Divine purpose at work here.
God uses all circumstances to bring glory to Himself...even the bad ones.
Sometimes, it is hard for us to see that...at first.
Other times, He opens our eyes and allows us to see the purpose.

Click HERE if video doesn't load.

Please pray for Shyla, Steven, & the grandparents as they face the uncertainty of tomorrow.
Pray for wisdom for the medical staff and these precious parents.
Pray that healing will take place, and God will send peace.
Please continue to pray for healing for 6 year old Makeya, too.
Thankfully, she continues to do well and to adjust to her rehab surroundings.
Pray that God will heal the paralysis and enable her to walk again.

If  anyone would like to send the Brown family a card of encouragement,
please contact me, and I will provide the mailing address to you, individually.

If anyone would like to make a monetary donation to this family,
there are two ways to donate.
1.  An account has been set up for this purpose at a local bank.

Please mail donations to:

Citizen's Deposit Bank & Trust
P. O. Box 9
Vanceburg, KY  41179
Please write "For Brown Family" on the memo line of check.
2.  You may donate online by clicking HERE.

Most of all, please continue to lift them to our Heavenly Father in prayer.

(To read previous posts about the Brown Family,
 and 3RD UPDATE,
and 7TH UPDATE.)

Many thanks go out to each one of you who are helping to pray for Baby Obed and for the Brown Family.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

PLEASE Pray for MAX BROWN!! - 8-19-2014

"The Lord is my Rock, and my Fortress, and my Deliverer; 
my God, my Strength, in Whom I will trust..."
Psalm 18:2

(For those of you who are not familiar with or have not been following this story,
please click HERE to read the original prayer request.
You may also click the many links on the right sidebar to read updates.)

My heart is so heavy to have to share more bad news.

I come to you, faithful readers and prayer warriors,
to ask once again that everyone please stop when they read this 
and say a prayer for little 2 year old Max Brown.

He is not doing well.
His left lung has collapsed, and they had to put him back on the ventilator.

UPDATE at 6:28 am...
Max's lung has opened back up, (praise God!),
but he is still having trouble taking deep breaths.
They are going to do a tracheostomy.

This is definitely not what we were all hoping for,
but hopefully, it is just a small glitch, and things will even out for him.

God has done SO much for this precious family.
We know He can do all things and move any mountain.
We have to have faith and keep praying,
and, at the same time, keep our hearts and minds open to His will.
We know God does all things well, and He absolutely knows what is best.

There was some good news yesterday about Makeya, 
that I also wanted to pass along.

This is the direct post from the grandmother...
(from yesterday)
"Makeya is now in rehab.
They have had her up in a wheel chair.
They measured her today for her chair, and she already has it.
They let her get used to her new room, but tomorrow she will have a long day, 
'cause they told her that it will be therapy all day.
Shyla was able to hold Max today.
He is waking up more, but he is still weak.
They still have him on BiPap.
His oxygen level keeps going up and down.
Please continue to pray for my babies."

Today, after the above post was written, Max's lung collapsed, and they had to re-insert the ventilator.

Please pray for comfort for little Makeya, also,
as she has started to wonder where Quinton is.

I received this heart-wrenching post written by the grandmother the other night.
With her permission, I am sharing it here...

"Just wanted to share something with everybody...I cannot sleep without thinking about it....something that touched my heart so much and I mean SO MUCH...today while I was visiting Makeya...well before I even got there Shyla told me that Makeya wanted to know where Quinton was....so Shyla had to tell her that GOD wanted him to come and live with him and that Quinton has wings now.....well when we got there ...we were there for a little while when she told us that Quinton was in heaven and that he had his wings...she even told her sister about it...when the nurse came in to put medicine in Makeya's IV it hurt...well I explain to her that when she started hurting like that to pray to GOD and that he would help her with that and I also told her that Quinton would always be with her , setting right there on that shoulder of hers when ever she needed him....well to get to the part that touch my heart so much....Shyla called about a hour ago and said mom do you know what Makeya just said out of the blue and this is what this little 6 year old girl said "I just felt God checking in on me"....my GOD is real and I am so glad that my MAKEYA can feel him..."

This is beyond heart-breaking.

It is circumstances like these that are near-unbearable...
that are painful, to the point of being unendurable, and completely overwhelming.
It is times like these we need a place to run and hide.

When I read updates like these, all I can think of is Psalm 61:2.

"From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, 
when my heart is overwhelmed:
lead me to the Rock that is higher than I."

Oh, how blessed we are to know that there is a Rock higher than us!
Higher than the medical professionals.
Higher than the mountains of our hurt.
Higher than the height of our pain.
Higher than the waves in our oceans of tears.
There is a Rock.
The sweet, ever-faithful, always-consistent, eternally-strong Rock of Ages!

He bids us come to Him....
for refuge, for shelter, for comfort, for rest.

"Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28

He is there.
Like a rock.

Where would we turn in times like these, if we had no Savior?
If there were no Rock to lean on, to draw strength from, to stand upon?
In life's shifting, changeable, undependable sand.
On life's tossing, turbulent, unreliable sea.
We need an anchor.
Something steady to hold to.
To cling to.
When everything else around us crumbles.

Every person reading this carries a cross of their very own.
Whether it be heartbreak, grief, abandonment,
disease, addiction, divorce, sick loved one(s),
financial distress, persecution, wayward child(ren),
loneliness, rejection, betrayal, disappointment, embarrassment,
guilt, shame, fear, bitterness, bondage, confusion, or a million other possibilities.

Crosses become heavy to bear the longer they are carried.
We all need a Savior...a Redeemer...a Friend who will walk beside us and help bear our load.

There is a Friend Who loves you more than anyone else ever has.
A Friend Who carried a cross of His very own...
and Who also had to have help in bearing its weight.
A Friend Who waits, patiently and gentlemanly, on the sidelines of your life.
All it takes to get Jesus' help is for you to cry out to Him.

Click HERE if video doesn't load.

Tell Him your problems.
Explain your situation.
Call on Him.

He is there.
He is listening.
He loves you with an everlasting love.
No matter who you are.
Regardless of what you've done.
In spite of how many times you've refused His help.
However far you've strayed.

Cry out to Him, my friend.
Invite Him into your circumstances.

In times like these, truly He is our only hope.

If  anyone would like to send the Brown family a card of encouragement,
please contact me, and I will provide the mailing address to you, individually.

If anyone would like to make a monetary donation to this family,
there are two ways to donate.
1.  An account has been set up for this purpose at a local bank.

Please mail donations to:

Citizen's Deposit Bank & Trust
P. O. Box 9
Vanceburg, KY  41179
Please write "For Brown Family" on the memo line of check.
2.  You may donate online by clicking HERE.

Please pray hard for Max.
And please continue to pray for Makeya, also,
along with Shyla, Steven, the grandparents, and all others who are walking this difficult path.

God bless you for your faithfulness to pray and reach out.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

UPDATE - Max & Makeya - 8-17-2014

"For Thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress,
a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, 
when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall."
Isaiah 25:4

Left to Right:  Quinton, Neveya, Shyla, Steven, Max, and Makeya

How many of you readers believe our God is an awesome God??

If video doesn't load, click HERE.

How many of you have SEEN His hand at work...in your individual lives?

I have SO enjoyed the overwhelming influx of emails and comments you have been sending to me and posting here at Homespun Devotions.
All I can say is, WOW!
And Praise GOD!
Because you have been wonderful,
and because HE is awesome.

Please keep the conversation going and the testimonies coming.
I love hearing what God has done and is doing in your lives.
You have encouraged and blessed me more than you will ever know.

Last night and tonight, there was more great news from the Brown family.
Things are progressing for Max & Makeya
and God is SO worthy of all praise, honor, and glory!
I can't wait for you to read these....so without further ado, here they are.

From Shyla last night...
"First off, I just want to thank everyone for the prayers.
Keya is out of ICU, and is now able to eat mechanical soft food.
She is happy.
Max, hopefully, will be getting the vent out tom.
Plz continue to pray for my babies.
They're working."

From Makeya and Max's grandmother today...

"We went to see them today.  Neveya got to see Makeya. 
It was really heart breaking to see Makeya reach up, take Neveya by the hand & tell her that she loves her.
When we walked in to Makeya's room she was eating. 
She had mac and cheese, pizza sticks, and I believe the only reason she was eating this is because she had a chocolate cupcake waiting to be ate, but she had to eat some of the other food first.
She also painted me a red rooster to bring home with me.
Max is now off the breathing tube...they put him on BiPAP. 
They will take him off this when get gets stronger.
He did open his eyes a couple of times, but they still want him to sleep until he gets stronger.
Please continue to pray for these babies.
 They have a long way to go."

Then later tonight, this update from Shyla...
"Max got his tube out today.
And as soon as a room is available, Makeya will go to rehab.
Plz continue to pray for my babies."

Who would have thought a week ago that they would have made this much progress?
While I know they still have such a long, overwhelming journey ahead of them,
it is SO encouraging to see how far God has already brought them on this journey.

I think often of Shyla...sitting there day after dreary day,
watching the rise and fall of the breaths of her babies...
thanking God they are still with her, yet wishing with all her might that they were all home again...
that life would somehow revert back to normal....
longing to hold Quinton just one more time....
fighting off the debilitating fatigue that accompanies this intensity of stress.

Having spent so much time sitting by ICU bedsides of loved ones,
I honestly cannot think of too many places that have a more oppressive atmosphere.
The gloom that enshrouds those dreaded rooms is downright smothering.

 One thing I have learned...God doesn't check out when times are hard.
He doesn't walk away when the heart is overwhelmed.
He is a Refuge that never wavers.

"The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed,
a refuge in times of trouble."
Psalm 9:9

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
Psalm 46:1

I pray He wraps this precious family in His strong, loving arms and holds them ever close.

How about you, my friend?
Are you facing difficult circumstances?
Is your heart broken?
Does it seem the night will never end?
Do you wonder how you will face one more day?
Are you oppressed?

Remember this.
There is a Refuge for the oppressed.
God is there.
Right by your side.
Even when it doesn't feel like it.
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
He will love you and care for you...always.
Call out to Him.
Don't turn away from Him.
He will never turn away from you.
He is there.
I promise.

If  anyone would like to send the Brown family a card of encouragement,
please contact me, and I will provide the mailing address to you, individually.

If anyone would like to make a monetary donation to this family,
there are two ways to donate.

1.  An account has been set up for this purpose at a local bank.
Please mail donations to:

Citizen's Deposit Bank & Trust
P. O. Box 9
Vanceburg, KY  41179
Please write "For Brown Family" on the memo line of check.
2.  You may donate online by clicking HERE.

Please keep praying for Max and Makeya,
and also say a special prayer for Shyla, Steven, and other family members.
Their load is heavier than anyone can imagine.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Update - MAKEYA & MAX BROWN - 8-14-2014

"The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble;
and He knoweth them that trust in Him."
Nahum 1:7

On my last post, I asked that everyone pray for these specific requests...

"Please pray that Makeya's move tomorrow will be smooth, 
void of complications, injuries, or negative repercussions.
Please pray that Max's surgery will go GREAT, with the result of complete success and healing.
Pray for God to guide the surgeon's hands.
Pray that His Divine presence will be strongly felt in that operating room.
Pray for God to wrap Steven and Shyla and all who grieve in His arms of love
and hold them extra-close."

We owe God a LOT of praise!
Once again, your many prayers were answered!

Little 6 year old Makeya Brown has been safely transported 
from the WV hospital to the OH hospital.
She was even able to peek through the window and see her little brother, Max.

What an amazing gift!

Max came through his surgery just fine, 
and Shyla wrote that the surgery didn't require as much as they thought it would.
She said he will have to wear a brace on his neck and back.

No report yet on the paralysis or long-term prognosis of either child, 
other than Shyla said Makeya will not need to be in ICU for very much longer.

Praise our dear and wonderful Lord,
Shyla's babies are finally together in one place,
and Max's surgery is now behind him.

God is SO good!  

I often wonder what I would do if I didn't have Him to turn to.
So many times throughout the course of one day,
I find myself calling upon Him.
There is SO much to pray about,
so many burdens,
so many heartaches.
There are times that I find it hard to determine where one prayer ends
and the next one begins.
Honestly, I think I could pray 24/7 and still not cover it all.

I have personally tried and proven today's verse...more times than I can count...or even remember.

"The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble;
and He knoweth them that trust in Him."
Nahum 1:7

He is my strong hold.
He is the One I turn to before I turn to anyone else.
Because, truly, there is only so much others can do when our hearts are broken.

With all of the advances in the field of medicine,
there is still no medical cure for a broken heart.
It cannot be diagnosed by a CT Scan, X-ray, or MRI.
It cannot be seen by the human eye.
Only God can see that far into a human core and see the shattered pieces
of what used to be a heart that was whole.

I cannot imagine how Steven and Shyla must feel right now.
The aftermath of all that has happened must be truly starting to sink in.
The loss of little Quinton must be starting to feel more real.
And as life goes on, and reality begins to fully register,
the only One Who can really relieve their pain is the One Who bore more pain than any of us ever will.
One of the main reasons Jesus came to earth was to
"bind up the brokenhearted".
Isaiah 61:1

"Bind up" in Hebrew means to bandage or to wrap firmly.
When I think of this,
I can just see Jesus' nail-scarred hands tenderly wrapping the hearts of those who grieve
and drawing them close to His Own loving heart.

Since He is the only One Who can see a broken heart,
He is the only One Who can mend it.

If video doesn't load, click HERE.

How blessed we are to have such a loving Savior!
One Who is on our side and Who will never leave nor forsake us.
One Whose arms are strong enough to carry us, along with the heaviest of our burdens.

What a comfort that He is holding the Brown family...and all of the rest of us...in His arms!

Jesus has a special place in His heart for little children.
If it breaks our hearts to think of the condition of little Max and Makeya,
I can only imagine how much this is breaking His.

If anyone would like to share their condolences by signing the funeral home's online guest book for Quinton,
please click HERE.

If  anyone would like to send the family a card of encouragement,
please contact me, and I will provide the mailing address to you, individually.

If anyone would like to make a monetary donation to this family,
there are two ways to donate.

1.  An account has been set up for this purpose at a local bank.
Please mail donations to:
Citizen's Deposit Bank & Trust
P. O. Box 9
Vanceburg, KY  41179
Please write "For Brown Family" on the memo line of check.
2.  You may donate online by clicking HERE.

Most of all, please keep praying and believing God for even bigger miracles in the lives of this dear family!

God bless all who have reached out and shown the love of Jesus.
It is appreciated more than you will ever know.

And if you have a request that you would like us to pray about, 
always feel free to contact us.
We would be grateful to add your name to our prayer list so we and others can pray.