Thursday, December 31, 2015

One Word: 2016

As 2015 has only a few short hours until it comes to a crashing close, it's time to reflect on the year that's passed, and dream about the year that starts so very soon.  A new chapter in your book.  365 blank pages to fill in any way you can imagine!  Part of my ritual for the past few years  as the New Year rolls around is to spend some time finding one word to focus on.  One word that will be the theme for my year.  What my goals and dreams are anchored on.  I really enjoy the process of finding my word.  I think about what's happened the past year and what I want to see happen in the next.  I think about areas where I need guidance and focus.  And I earnestly pray for God to lead me to my word.  The one word He wants me to meditate on for the next year.  The word God has just for me to stretch me and test me throughout the year.

For 2014, my word was Brave.  I had just ventured out in a new business and I had to learn to talk to people in a way that made them believe in me.  That was a stretch.  In 2015, my word was Joyful.  I felt led to find the JOY in every minute, and to not sweat the small stuff so much.  I had found myself frustrated and stressed by being a parent and the messiness of it all, instead of loving the fleeting moments that all too soon will leave my house spotless, quiet, and EMPTY.  The verse I focused on last year to accompany this new attitude for me was Romans 12:12 "Be joyful in hope."  I wasn't perfect by any means, but when I asked my husband and kids if I had been more joyful this year, they all agreed I had been.  I feel like I succeeded in focusing on  that one concept and improving my daily outlook.

 
 
That brings us to today.  One the Eve of a new year - 2016.  I have been thinking about my word for a few weeks.  Usually it's just a few days.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, the winds of change are blowing HARD at the Weavers house this year, and I wanted to be intentional with my word.  I wanted it to be something I could not only focus on, but lean in to.  Learn, stretch, GROW.  And even lead, teach and inspire!  So, after much prayer, talk with my husband and friends, and thinking long and hard about what this word means to me, I am ready to dive in to 2016 with my focus on being GREATER.
 



I'm not 100% sure what exactly is going to be GREATER.  I know some things in my life will increase.  That's greater.  I want to work hard at being a greater wife, a greater mom, and a greater follower of Christ.  I want my faith to increase.  I am confident 2016 as a year will be greater than 2015.  Our family is on an upward trajectory over the past 4 years and I don't see that slowing down.  But, God's plan for my year might be completely different than mine.  What he wants me to be Greater at may be vastly opposed to what I want to be greater at.  My verse for this year is John 3:30 "He must become greater; I must become less."  I am putting my faith in God for this year.  I can't wait to see what He unfolds before me and my family.

 

If you would like to find your One Word for 2016, I would love to help you!  I can tell you more about how I come to mine each year, I can pray with you, or I can throw words at you until one of them sticks!  LOL  Or, the best way is to just reflect and pray and let God lead you to it.  There is a You Version Bible reading plan designed to help you find your One Word as well.  I have included a link to it here.  Just click, and get started on your journey for 2016.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Treat Every Day Like Chirstmas

It's Christmas time.  And right after that the New Year.  That means its time for reflection, new horizons, goals and dreams.  At the Weaver house, the winds of change are blowing pretty hard this season.  And we're looking forward to a NEW 2016 and all the change that it brings.  But today, I am reflecting on days gone by.  Memories of the people and places and things that made me who I am today and remind me of what Christmas means to me.

Take a look at this Christmas Card picture from our family in 2011.


What do you see?  Christmas greetings.  Adorable kids.  Fun photography.  A tiny baby fighting for life. Cute owl graphics.  Snow, ornaments, family names. A sweet card sent out with love and care to share with family and loved ones the blessings of the season.

Do you know what I see?  Something missing.  Each image shows me a memory, and a piece that's missing.  My sweet friend Gabi made this card for us.  She used those same owls on a sign that hung in our home, and then in my temporary hospital home that year to help keep me focused on a healthy baby.  She used them on a website that helped raise funds for our tremendous medical bills.  And she used them here to convey the hope and future of our family.  Lives get busy, and I don't see her as much as I used to.  I miss that... That bottom picture of the feet is missing somethings, too.  Our talented friend Beth took that picture on a HOT July day in Oklahoma just after we discovered we were having our fourth baby, and this was our Big Reveal image to share with everyone.  This was in the days shortly after we had lost my big brother.  (FYI - standing like that and getting that shot was INCREDIBLY difficult and sweaty - Jake was 4 and the girls were 9: wiggly). Beth has moved on to Texas and is raising her own family now.  We miss her.  This image shows the hope we had for the pregnancy - which was dramatically cut short.  I miss the expectation we had for a more normal gestation and infancy. (Don't get me wrong, so blessed by what we got instead, but I mourn the loss of a dream.) I miss being a family of 5.  It was different; Finn changed everything. For the better, of course, but a definite divergence from where we were going. And my brother Brian.  He wasn't here all the fun.  4th niece/nephew. NICU days. All the holidays, birthdays, milestones and moments from the last 4 years and 9 months.  He missed it all.  And I miss him. He should have been here for that picture, and all that came after it.

And up to the top 2 images.  So much missing.  How hard for those 3 little faces to have to deal with a family torn apart by 70 miles, illness, surgeries, stress and separation for a total of 5 months start to finish.  They were SO BLESSED by all kinds of surrogates to stand in our stead as I fought for 2 lives, Britt tried to be in two places and once and all things to several people, and then as Finn started his journey into this world.  But Emma, Lara and Jake were missing things, too.  Normalcy.  Mommy. Daddy. A brother they were only allowed to see through glass and touch with one finger for the longest time. A baby that didn't get to come home for Christmas. They weathered that storm so well.  Built resilience.  Taught them many tough life lessons.  They are stronger for it.  I miss those tiny faces and those effortless smiles.

And my sweet, sweet tiny miracle baby boy Finn.  He brought joy to our world.  And pain, and stress, and lessons, and LOVE.  So much love. From every corner of our universe.  So many people were touched by his presence, prayed for his life, and loved him without even knowing him.  He spent that Christmas in the NICU.  Santa came to see him there.  We had a Christmas lunch in the car consisting of Lunchables and Capri Sun after we had opened presents at home just so we could see him and hold him that day.  He was missing in our home that morning.  And for the entire 3 months he spent in the hospital.  He was missing from that sunny day picture at the top of the card.  And his siblings are missing from this picture of him.  So much separation!  But so much to be thankful for!  

2011 - NICU
2015 - Santa's Workshop


Little Dream Weavers - 2015
Emma (13), Jake (8), Finn (4), Lara (13)


As we get older and the kids get busier, we realize that the pictures of all 4 kids in one place at one time are going to get fewer and further between.  But we always have the memories.  The blessings. The lessons that made us who we are.  Somethings may be missing, but nothing is missed.  Every detail to our story has been written by the best Storyteller there ever was.  We celebrate His birth and what he did for our world this Christmas season, and EVERY Christmas season.  Thank you God, for sending your son, Jesus, to be our Savior.  And thank you for being a better Writer of my story than I could ever imagine.

Merry Christmas






Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Year in Review: 2015 Six Dream Weavers

Merry Christmas and Happy New year from our home to yours!  2015 found the Weavers with seasons of growth and challenge, as well as adventure and celebration!  We watched tweens become teenagers, a little boy become at tween, and a toddler turn into a little boy.  We moved, found new passions, and bought a new (to us) car.  There is never a dull moment with a house as full as ours, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!  We look forward to wrapping up these last few days of 2015 as a family, and diving into new escapades in 2016.  

THE GIRLS

Emma and Lara turned 13 and started the 8th grade in 2015.  They also saw their biological dad remarry (again) and move closer to them that he has been in the last 12 years since our divorce.  All of that brought many changes, adjustments, and fine tuning along the way!   Through all of this, Emma has emerged with a new found love: horses!  She has always been my animal girl – especially puppies and dogs – but her step-mom is a horse girl and introduced Emma to their care and nurture, and also to rodeo.  Emma participated in several JRRA (Junior ranch Rodeo Association) rodeos throughout the year and finished her first season last month at the Finals in Pawhuska.  Along with her regular classes, an advanced Algebra class and an advanced history class, she is also in her first year of Agricultural Education classes and FFA membership at school, and all of this experience and knowledge is helping her learn more about her hoped career path of becoming a veterinarian.  Lara, on the other hand, is our “inside” girl!  She is still dancing every chance she gets.  5 hours of classes on 2 nights each week at Encore! keeps her busy!  She is taking a pointe class, as well as classical ballet, lyrical ballet, and a jazz class.  To accompany her regular class load and her advanced English class, she went out on a limb and tried new things this semester to be more involved at her school.  She tried out for winter guard (competition color guard) in November and was thrilled to be chosen to join the Cadet team!  She is very excited about this new adventure and all the new things she is going to learn about spinning and competition teams.  

THE BOYS

Jake turned 8 at the first of the year, and is currently 5’1” and weighs about 112 pounds.  He is a giant among his peers, but he is our sweet, kind hearted little boy.  He is a sports and video game fanatic!  He played on a competitive baseball team in the spring and summer (Stampede:  first base, third base, pitcher), his first tackle football team this fall (Cowboys: D-line, O-line, Dedicated deep snapper), and is currently honing his basketball skills with his teammates (Haymakers: big guy inside).  If he’s not playing, practicing, or conditioning, he’s watching sports on TV or playing video versions on his game system.  He spouts off stats like they are spelling words and has big dreams.  He is in the 3rd grade and is an excellent reader, a spelling champ, and a math wiz.  He loves lunch, recess, and science (in that order).  His teachers rely on him to be their helper, and we couldn’t be more proud of the friend he is to others.  And then there is our Finicky, Feisty, Fighter boy, Finn!  He too has had quite the year!  Still attending pre-school at the Methodist church and giving everyone a run for their money.  As usual, he has spent a lot of time in doctors’ offices this year.  We have graduated from Hearts for Hearing (he finally passed all his hearing screenings!), and only have to see his pulmonologist as needed instead of routinely.  Plus, his pediatric ophthalmologist doesn’t want to see him till he’s 6!  The ENT has cleared him as well unless he has issues.  But with the highs come some challenges as well.  Early in the year, we were diagnosed by his endocrinologist with Idiopathic (no specific cause) Short Stature (ISS).  He was born with the diagnosis of “Small for Gestational Age” (SGA), then coupling that with the ISS, we were tested for deficiencies and then started Growth Hormone Therapy.  He has been on nightly injections for about 6 months now and we are happy to report approximately 5 inches in growth!  So ecstatic for him!  Not only has he grown taller, but his overall health is better, he is hitting more milestones on time, and his overall outlook and demeanor are better.  His HAIR grew back in from all the bald spots from his twirling habit, and he needs new (bigger ) clothes.  We are still battling eating and weight gain issues, but go back in February to work on those some more with his gastroenterologist.  Apart from his medical things, Finn spent the summer taking private swimming lessons to get over his fear of water.  We came a long way!  We hope it lasts till next summer.  He was also honored to be chosen as a featured preemie on the Mercy NICU wall of Hope and enjoyed being in the spotlight a little it for that fun unveiling event.  We love that his face and story can bring hope and a light to others traveling through their NICU journey.

THE PARENTS

Britt and I are both still working at Oklahoma State University.   He celebrated his 10th year with University Health Services this past fall, and I just marked my 2 year anniversary with University Dining Services.  Being on a thriving and diverse college campus keeps us young and in the know, and we really like it.  We are also enjoying watching our AdvoCare business grow!  He has lost 95 pounds, I have lost 45, and we have grown a thriving business along the way.  It is truly a blessing to help others be healthier, as well as show them how to have freedom from financial debt and time burdens.  We have great visions for 2016 and what it can do for those around us!  We want everyone to have the health and freedoms we are enjoying!  We are loving raising our family, keeping busy, and growing and changing every day.  Our latest BIG change is the used car we recently purchased.  Shortly after we got married (9 years and 11 months ago), we bought our minivan.  It was a year old at the time, a 2005 white Chevrolet Uplander that we affectionately named “Derek” – as in Derek Zoolander (after the Ben Stiller movie of the same name).  At some point in our young marriage, we bought a blue 1996 VW Cabrio from my brother, and named it “Otto” – a nice German name for a nice German Auto (don’tcha think?).  When Finn came along, Otto was sold and we bought a much BIGGER vehicle.  A blue 1997 Ford Expedition that our then 5 year old aptly named “Rip” due to a small tear in the headliner that he noticed as we drive it home.  We just recently traded the van for a timberline green 2009 Nissan Armada.  Naming this behemoth (seating for 8!) has been a challenge, and his name has changed a few times these past weeks.  We have officially branded it “Hiro.”  As in Hiro Armada.  After our favorite animated character from 2015 Hiro Hamada (and Baymax) from the blockbuster movie Big Hero 6!  Fitting, I would say!

Hiro Armada


So, here comes 2016!  We hope to start it with a BANG and never look back.  We have big hopes and even bigger dreams for the coming year.  It is a good time to be one of the Six Dream Weavers, and we can’t wait to see what God has in store for us!