Who am I?

Who am I? 

I'm mean I know I am a mom and a wife and a Christian. I know I clean houses to make some extra money to get us out of debt. I know I work for the church. I know I love Jesus. And I know that I want to spread the love of Jesus to the world. But who am I? Me? As a person, not as the roles that defined me. What defines me if I took away all those roles who would I be? I know that I am a child of the king. And I know that I am a sinner. But what else is there, who am "I"? 

Every day I go through the roles, the motions, all day and then the day is done. What else is there here on earth to define me, I mean really define me? Working for the church behind the scenes to spread the word, the Gospel, the love of Jesus gives me purpose. But what about the rest? Raising my special needs children (one with Down syndrome and one who is highly gifted with ADHD and ODD) and trying to do my best, but I always end up yelling at them.  Always rushing them and being rushed to get to the next thing, the next obligation. The boys each need their own extracurricular activity. Friday is family night but I'm so tired by Friday evening that I can't even bring myself to make our homemade pizzas. My house is a disaster. I keep cleaning it and then it keeps getting messy. So all I can figure is that I am a mom, a teacher, a referee,  a wife,  A maid, a chauffeur and way too busy.  As a part time employee of the church (which I actually enjoy) I suppose I am Helping to spread the love of Jesus.  But what happens when you take all that away? 

Who am I.

Maybe I am just simply a child of the king who wants to spread the love of Jesus. And A mom, a wife, a maid, a teacher, a referee, and a chauffeur. Maybe the roles I play actually define me as me. 

When I am Ready

When I am ready, I will smile.
You'll have to wait a little while.
Its one of the first things I learn to do,
I want it to be just right for you.

When I am ready, I'll sleep through.
There may be small things you can do,
To help me do it, but you'll soon see,
That in the end, it's down to me.

When I am ready, I will crawl.
And then you'll have no peace at all.
Into everything I'll be,
No time for your nice cup of tea!

When I am ready I will walk.
And when I'm ready, I will talk.
Then that's it, big milestones done.
Though you will still cherish ones to come.

And when you're old and up I've grown,
And maybe perhaps children of my own,
You'll look at them and you will sigh -
How fast the time has passed you by!

Was I really as small as that,
Helpless and tiny, in booties and hat?
And much as you tried to enjoy each part,
There was that wish inside your heart.

Will you ever get there? You used to say
As you wished my babyhood away.
The others are doing it, why aren't you?
Because it's not my time - if only you knew

That all the worry was a waste of time,
The decision of when, was always mine.
I did it all in the end, nice and steady.
I told you I'd do it when I was ready!.

Author Unknown 

Consider It All Joy

I am a Christian, a wife and a mother. I was also chosen to bear a huge responsibility by the Heavenly Father, I have a child with Down syndrome. It all started when I was a young woman who decided it was time to become a mom. I was married, 23 years old and pregnant with my first child, a boy who we had already decided would be named Montgomery Detrick Watts.

I had no idea that my baby would be born with Down syndrome. I did not have any testing done prior to birth due to a scheduling mishap. I had missed the time period for the Alpha-Fetoprotein test, and decided that there was no way that something could be wrong with my baby. And even if there was something wrong it wouldn't change a thing. So we got ready for our new baby to come into our family just like any other expectant parents. We read all the books, went to Lamaze classes, and prepared the house for a bundle of joy to enter our lives.

The day that Monte was born was very eventful. The labor was complicated, as soon as i got the epidural the baby's heart rate dropped dangerously low and I had to have an emergency C-Section. Things got a little messy in the operating room. My breathing was compromised due to the epidural going up too high into my chest and I almost stopped breathing completely. The doctor accidentally cut Monte's head when she cut me open. We didn't really get to see the baby right away because there were so many complications, so we waited for the pediatrician to come in and tell us everything was fine... but everything wasn't fine. After a while, he came in to talk to us. I was expecting him to tell me that my newborn baby needed stitches from being cut during the C-Section, or something. Instead he gently told us that he was testing the baby for Down syndrome and had a pediatric cardiologist on the way to look at the baby's heart. My heart sank for a brief moment. Down syndrome? How could this happen to me? I was so young and healthy! After about 30 seconds of not breathing I gasped for a breath and then asked the doctor bluntly, what was actually wrong with the baby. I got it right away. I didn't understand it, but I got it. I wasn't upset, I didn't mourn for a healthy child, I had a beautiful baby boy to hold in my arms and that was all that mattered. We were so very lucky that our little Monte did not have any heart problems, as 50% of the babies born with Down syndrome have a heart defect (a hole in the heart that requires immediate surgery and usually several surgeries within the first few years of life). As far as I was concerned I had a healthy, beautiful baby boy!

Next came telling our friends and family that our baby had Down syndrome. This was very difficult and our family members didn't all take it so well. Some were mad, some were sad, some didn't know how to feel and others were accepting immediately, but everyone cried. At first, it felt like a funeral instead of a birth. Everyone told us how sorry they were for us. Then they brought our baby in and the sad tears turned into happy tears. Some took a while to accept the fact that Monte had Down syndrome, it was questioned and until the test results came back there was always a doubt that maybe just maybe he is normal. Regardless everyone loved him from the moment they held him in their arms. Eventually the desire to have a 'normal' baby faded away and our friends and family began to develop relationships with Montgomery that could not be replaced by 'normalcy'.

I knew nothing about being a mother, and even less about being a mother to a child with Down syndrome. All I really knew about Down syndrome was that there would be intellectual disabilities, and we had a rough road ahead. Early Intervention got involved right away, sending someone out to the house when Monte was about 2 months old to begin to work with the baby and to teach me how to work with the baby. I read a couple books that they gave me from the local Down Syndrome Association, and began to try to understand this chromosomal anomaly. Everything that I read told me that this was simply an anomaly and there was no explanation, but I always had a feeling deep down in my heart that I had done something wrong or didn't do something I could have done to prevent it. I knew that it had to be my fault! Eventually I got some one on one time with a genetic counselor that explained everything much better than the books in a way that I could understand. They explained to me that this was not my fault, that there was no humanly way to possibly cause or prevent my child from being born with Down syndrome. I finally felt relief. No more guilt or commendation, I was finally free to be a mommy that didn't do anything wrong.

I worked with Monte making him do things that he didn't really care to do, teaching him how to do the simple things that typical babies usually know how to do or learn on their own. Teaching my baby how to grasp toys, lift up his arms, move his hands together, keep his tongue in his mouth, forcing him to get up on his legs to learn to move himself, and even teaching him how to eat are just a few examples of what its like to be a mommy to a baby with Down syndrome. Everything that most new parents take for granted, everything that most new babies learn to do on their own or with little prompting came very hard for Monte. He didn't learn to walk until he was 2 years and 2 months old. Slow and steady was our motto and we had to take each milestone at Monte's pace. None of the books or guidelines for milestones were helpful for us. Everything had to be tailored to Monte. It was impossible to compare our baby with other babies, which is a very common practice for most new mommies. There were times when I felt like we didn't belong somewhere or felt out of place.

There have been many medical issues that we have overcome or outgrew and still more to face. Everyday we have struggles and deal with difficulties. Monte has behavioral issues and acts out in school as well as at home. Spending time with friends, going to church, making it to appointments and even running everyday errands can be difficult with Monte. Just because something is difficult doesn't mean that its bad. Monte is a blessing, not a burden. He teaches us about unconditional love and he has a deeper understanding of the Heavenly Father than most adults including myself. Monte is a great big brother, a good helper around the house, an example at church, he gives the best hugs, casts no judgment and is teaching me more about patience and compassion than I thought I needed to know. I am a better person because he is in my life. My heart is softening more and more every day, and I am being molded into the me that God wants me to be. Without Monte in my life I do not know who I would be today.

I have no idea what the future holds for Monte. My goals for him are no different than any parents goals for their child: to be a functioning member of society and to live a healthy happy life. I am quite certain that God doesn't make mistakes and has a good and perfect plan for Monte. I am confident that Monte will embrace life and soften the hearts of many. Monte does not just have special needs, he also has a special touch. I consider it all joy!

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience."
James 1:2-3

Welcome to Holland

Welcome to Holland

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this…

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, the Michelangelo David, the gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!" you say. "What do you mean, Holland?" I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy.

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to some horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy a new guidebook. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around, and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips, Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

The pain of that will never, ever, go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

Written by Emily Perl Kingsley

me and my big mouth

I was scrolling through my facebook newsfeed this morning and happened upon a post about the universe being a rather big place for us to be all alone.  After hearing Louis Giglio speak on this matter, i have some new thoughts about just why the universe might be so big.  Here is the post i ran across:

‎"I'll tell you one thing about the universe, though. The universe is a pretty big place. It's bigger than anything anyone has ever dreamed of before. So if it's just us... seems like an awful waste of space. Right?" ~Ellie Arroway, character in the movie 'Contact'

So I commented: "Maybe  the universe is so big because its there to show God's glory in all His splendor, and to that i say its just the right size." 

this is the response i got:

"Because, Amber, I don't believe that God, in all of Her infinite wisdom, would make this big, beautiful universe and leave us all alone in it. I don't fancy myself that wise a being to be so arrogant as to think we're the only intelligent life out here. It's too vast."

WOW! I was not expecting to get this kind of response.  Now this is someone who is a Christian.  So why shouldn't i be able to post my comment?  Apparently i have offended her.  Obviously I have offended her!  I would assume that all Christians believe that God is a he.  I would also assume that all Christians would be believers of The Word.  And this is what happens when i assume things, i offend others and look like an idiot.  I feel awful that i have stirred up so much emotion in my friend.  I would never even think that my comment about the universe being so big to show Gods glory and splendor would offend a Christian.  So now i sit here wondering where i went wrong?  How do i know when its okay to give my opinion and how can i do that without offending others and opposing their beliefs?  If i had an idea that this fellow Christian felt so passionately about the fact that God is a her, or the fact that she believes very strongly in aliens with intelligent life exist in the universe, then i never would have said what i said!  Once again i hear God telling me to be careful about my mouth.  To listen more and speak less.  Is this just another lesson to keep my mouth shut, or am i supposed to open my mouth sometimes to get others thinking?  Even if they are upset with me, does that really matter if God is trying to use me to speak to them?   

Now i am not suggesting that i know whether or not there is intelligent life in the universe. I am saying that Louis gave me some food for thought and a very possible explanation as to why, if there is not intelligent life out there, it is so big. 
"and i want to grow up and be an astronaut and i want to be big like daddy and i need a helmet and a phone to call you on!" Isaac

My Cousin, My Inspiration, My Friend

I have this cousin, her name is Emily Maxwell.  She is so very amazing and I am truly blessed to have her in my life!  She inspires me to be a better mom, wife, friend and Christian!  She makes me laugh, cry and grow.  I am forever thankful to my Heavenly Father for putting her in my life.  [wipes tears from eyes]  Emily is the homeschooling mother of four very wonderful children, the wife to a very lucky man, the daughter (and daughter in law) to some very proud parents and my cousin!  I like to think that when The Heavenly Father looks down on her He must think, that is my daughter and I am pleased. I am honored to call her my cousin and am blessed to have her as a friend on this journey of life.  You should follow her blog, its great! :)


All Things New

its up on You Tube :) Yeah!!

All Things New
Like the sun Your mercy shines
A brand new day a brighter life
Jesus Your grace restores our life

At the cross the a great exchange
Your righteousness for all our shame
Jesus Your grace restores our lives

You can make all things new
only Your power can raise us
You can make all things new
only Your love can save us
all hope is not lost
cause You make all things new

All our words and broken dreams
We lay them down at Calvary
Savior Your grace restores our lives
When we're weak you make us strong
You lift us up You lead us on
Savior Your grace restores our lives

You can make all things new
Only Your power can raise us
You can make all things new
Only Your love can save us
All hope is not lost
cause You make all things new

You give beauty for our ashes
in a hope that everlasting
The past has been redeemed
Now forever we will sing
You give beauty for our ashes
in a hope that's everlasting
The past has been redeemed
Now forever we will sing

You can make all things new
Only Your power can raise us
You can make all things new
Only Your love can save us
All hope is not lost
all hope is not lost
all hope is not lost
Cause you make all things new

by Brett Younker