In the 3 extra years

Life, when it is going smoothly, is often a quiet thing. Illness slipped in quietly, too - insidious, 3 years ago. One day, Amelia was just Amelia. Slowly over the course of two weeks, she slept more and more each day, until she was never awake, and we were plunged into a hospital environment talking about a coma and a brain infection and a 50/50 chance that she would ever wake up again (see "Amelia's Illness" on the top menu above for more info on all Amelia has conquered to be here thriving today).

Life with Amelia today is anything but quiet. From her husky voice that is often at shouting pitch to her body always in motion, she is bundle of energy that never shuts off. Her body is loud and bold and intrepid. She never does anything in the expected fashion. So too was her 6th birthday. She wanted to go to a water park, where she conquered all the "big kid" slides. She wanted her annual "Celebration of Life" instead of a birthday party. Usually that means a sing-along by the campfire, but this year it was bone dry, chill-you-to-the-core cold, and blustering windy.

And so, instead of quiet around the crackling fire in the dark, we had 15 people filling our house to the brim with laughter and sing-alongs, dancing, a magic show thanks to Katy, parlor tricks, mountains of gift wrap, and two giant French Silk pies - the only dessert our sugar-phobic newly minted 6 year old will eat.

We had horned beasts and hugs.

Tears and lots of stories told from those awful memories of such a different October in 2009.

We had a houseful of yellow and owls everywhere.

We had grandparents reading cards, a 6 year old sucking her Nuksy, and an almost nephew filling his mama's lap inside her womb.

We had family of all kinds.

Our cup runneth over with the love of it all.

That she can balance on a skateboard.

That she can teach her little brother and has learned - again - how to share with him.

It was truly a Celebration of Life. Three unexpected years that we've kept this treasure here on earth. We never knew how to celebrate a milestone until Amelia was regaining lost ones. We never knew how to celebrate a life until it was given back to us. We never knew how to roll with the punches until we were punched and punched again. We never understood the depths of the unconditional love you have for these little people until it was stretched thin by the demands of illness and it's lingering effects. We never knew how to switch ourselves from survival mode into thriver mode. We never knew how to appreciate the million little "goods" that are sandwiched between the bad, however big and all-encompassing the bad may seem. It is true that no trial goes unwasted, no opportunity is lost. That He grows us faster and stronger in the rainstorms of life than in the ease of the dry summer warmth. 

We may long for the easy path, but it is in the hills and valleys of life's forests that we find the beauty of the path Christ trod laid out before us.
The heart at peace gives life to the body. (Proverbs 14:30)

Part of Fried Okra and Joy in This Journey's Monday blog hop on Parenting 

**I apologize for my long silence on the blog. The end of September and beginning of October, I am literally lecturing or teaching EVERY class meeting of my 3 team-taught courses, so I am working, eating, and sleeping Powerpoints, grading, and prepping assignments. Sometimes I have 4 separate lectures to prepare for in one single day. Overwhelming? Yes! BUT, this teaching thing has turned my inner light on. God made me for this. I love it. Hands down, I KNOW He designed me to do this. Pray that my contract gets extended another year this spring!!! And give me two weeks, and I'll be back to blogging as normal (I hope!!)