Saturday, March 27, 2010

Teacher's Pet



I'm not gonna lie.  When Ashlyn's teacher sent me an email with "today" as the subject, I got a little nauseous.  My first thought was that she smuggled a pomegranate into school and wailed on an unsuspecting classmate like she did to her sister earlier this week.

But I was pleasantly surprised...  And got a little misty-eyed myself after reading these precious words from her sweet Teacher Angela, who we absolutely adore.  She and Ashlyn share the same birthday.


"Hi Jessica and Dave,

I didn't get an opportunity to say a proper goodbye or tell you about Ashlyn's day.  It was so exciting and now makes me a little misty-eyed when I reflect on it.  Ashlyn loved connecting these bunnies at our table activity.  She played peek-a-boo several times with them.  She has been affectionate a little more lately with me and often runs up behind me giving me a hug.  I view that as a sign that she loves school and what we all represent here.  During circle time, she told us where the child was by saying "Sam a home" which was her way of saying "Sam at home" or "Mylon a speech Nikki" which means "Mylon at speech Nikki."  She knew who had what prop and would say the name of the child or would immediately cue in when it was her time to act.  For example, we counted green animals, then each child got an animal.  When I asked for an animal, she said the name of the child who had that animal or raised her animal to be dropped in the box.  Snack time was precious.  Today she ran through all the words and sentence structures she knows.  Today, she said/signed together: 1-Angela, I want more round crackers; 2-I want yellow water (I gave her the response of "Oh, Ashlyn  you want water in a yellow cup, alright"); and 3-Angela, I want more water in cup yellow.  We played outside and when it was time to come in she ran to the rings and walked back to the classroom (no more negotiating or playing her game).  During story time, she participated in Brown Bear, Brown Bear and when her animal was read in the book, she placed it on the board.  It's so cool to see her so excited about learning and using what she knows and has learned.  You guys are doing a great job of supporting her language, listening, and speech development.

Enjoy your weekend and see you on Monday,

Angela"

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Learning to Hold Loosely

A good friend gave me some very sound advice recently:

"To survive in ministry, you need to learn to hold people loosely, Jess.  They are God's people, NOT yours..."

Ouch.  Not an easy task for me.  I am definitely an all-or-nothing type and I struggle with keeping people at a distance.  I invest fully, quickly and am unguarded (to a fault, most times) in my friendships.  But I am beginning to see the great wisdom in her statement.

When Dave resigned from First Baptist, we knew it would be at great personal cost.  We were leaving a comfortable place; an extended family of dear friends and venturing into the unknown...  For as long as I could remember my Sunday church experience had been exactly the same.  I sat in the same place in the same wooden pew in a large sanctuary staring at a huge, beautiful cross.  I was now sitting on my grandmother's couch staring at a ghastly family photo of me in junior high wearing pink and white skorts.  This was my new church and it was just, well...  different.

A small handful of people left FBC when we did.  Some came with us and are still with us.  Others chose to attend local, established churches.  Some started with us, decided it wasn't for them and moved on.  Church Planting statistics say that approximately 30% of the starting core will leave at some point during the first year.  There are days that I have to remind myself of this, hourly.  It is hard for me and I find myself questioning EVERYTHING.  Is it us?  Do they not think God is at work here?  IS God at work here?  What changed?  Who will leave next?  Are they sick of my skorts, too??

Satan plagues me with doubt.  I HATE it primarily and especially because I know how much he LOVES it.  Little things that normally wouldn't bother me have a tremendous negative impact and hurt worse than they should.  But God, in ALL His goodness, has always kept Grandmums living room full and has brought many new faces, especially in the last few weeks.  He brings encouraging phone calls and emails at exactly the right time. Every person God has called to be a part of this church is of His choosing, not mine.  And the opposite is also true of those that are not there.  That is part of God's plan, too.  I need to find my peace in that.  I DO have peace in that.

Because they are His people, not mine.

Hurling

Ashlyn likes to throw things.  This morning as I was getting the girls ready for school, she chose to exhibit this new found skill by hurling EVERY single thing she could find.  Mornings are always a little hectic in our house, anyway.  This latest hobby is not helping things.

Kayla: "Mama!  I can't find my sweaterrrr!!"

(pomegranate flies across living room)

Kayla: "Ashlyn is trying to hit me with a pomppelgranate!"

(Dora sippy cup flies across living room)

Kayla: "Ashlyn is going to kill Dora!"

(sweater Kayla could not find flies across living room)

Kayla: "Ashlyn has my sweater!"

(ENTIRE Noah's ark play set - complete w/ animals in the ark - flies across living room)

All the while Dave is sick and LITERALLY hurling in the bathroom.

I don't even know if they still make Calgon (or what it even is, actually) but I think I need it to take me awayyyy

Friday, March 19, 2010

Replaceable


We have this exact same conversation about once a quarter.  It happened again just a few minutes ago.

Kayla:  "Mama, after Kobi dies can we get cats?"

Me:  "No, Kayla.  Mommy is allergic to cats..."

Slight Pause

Kayla:  "So... after you die can we get cats?"

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ashy and her Ears


How many popsicles does a TWO year old with a DOUBLE ear infection get?  You guessed it!

Her two ears have taken us on quite a journey...  At birth, Ashlyn passed the newborn hearing screening with flying colors and seemed to respond normally to sounds as an infant.  By age 2 she was not saying much.  "Mama" and "Momo" (Elmo) were her only two words.  We chalked it up to a chatty older sister who took care of everything before she even asked and assumed she was just a late bloomer.

At her 2 year well-baby check-up, her pediatrician recommended speech therapy.  The process started with a routine hearing exam.  To our surprise, she failed the same test she passed at birth and was diagnosed with a severe loss on her right side and moderate/severe loss on her left.  Further testing revealed that she has Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome (EVAS for short, thank goodness).  Basically, the tubes that transmit sound from her ears to her brain are slightly larger than they should be.  This causes a progressive hearing loss (which is why she heard normally at birth) and there is no known cure, surgical or otherwise.  We are unsure exactly when she developed her hearing loss or how bad it will get.

The silver linings to this cloud are many.  Technology is advancing so rapidly that it's hard to keep up and we live 20 miles away from where much of it is happening.  Digital hearing aids are the best they've ever been and she is responding wonderfully to hers (and they are pink and her ear molds are sparkly and SUPER cute).  Also, her hearing loss seems to have leveled off for now.  She was screened again last November and it was the same as when she was originally diagnosed and we have another one scheduled for the end of the month.

We also have the option of cochlear implants if her hearing declines any further.  The downside to cochlear implant surgery is that it destroys all residual hearing so we are praying that she maintains what hearing she has left and that she continues to do well with the amplification that her hearing aids provide.

She is in a total communication program learning speech and sign language two days/week and has individual therapy twice a week.  "Signing Time with Alex and Leah" has become a family anthem of sorts.  Ashlyn LOVES Leah and I think Dave has a secret crush on Rachel but that's a blog post for another day... ;)

Less than a year ago she said only a handful of words and now she has quite a vocabulary (both speech and sign).  She is still pretty difficult to understand for anyone outside of our immediate family but is steadily improving.  We are so proud of her and the progress she has made and we are trying to be patient as she is learning.

She is only two, after all...

"In this world you will have trouble, but take heart for I (Jesus) have overcome the world..."  ~John 16:33

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Toothless Wonder


Not quite sure which is more awesome.  The fact that we no longer have a snaggletooth in the house (it’s been hanging by a thread for over a week now) or the message KK left for her grandpa:  “Pops…  It’s Kayla.  I lost my first tooth.  It was hanging by a “fred” and now it is gone and the tooth fairy is coming tonight to bring me a grand prize.  Amen.”

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Crazy Girl


It's 44 degrees and sunny.  
"Of COURSE it's time for a beach party..."

HOPE Church, San Mateo

So when I say Dave is without a job...  I should clarify.  Dave is without a paid job.  He resigned from his position as youth director at the church we grew up in last October to pursue a calling to start and pastor a new church in the downtown San Mateo area.  We are currently meeting in a home church/bible study format on Sunday nights and plan to move to a larger venue in the fall to begin meeting on Sunday mornings.  Overwhelmed and humbled at the opportunity to serve God in this way, we are encouraged with the way things seem to be coming together.  We've already experienced God's faithfulness on so many levels and it will be exciting to look back on this time and remember all that He did as we strive to serve and honor Him in this process.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.  Proverbs 19:21

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Stay @ Home Daddy



This has been a season of change for us.  For the first time in 19 years, Dave is without a job.  And I, for the first time since before Kayla was born, have gone back full-time.  He has an interview scheduled this Friday which makes me realize that this season may soon be coming to a close.   As I was looking at this sweet picture he sent while I was at work yesterday,  I was reminded that this time has been a blessing.  Not the easiest time, but a very rich time for a father and his daughters and for that I am thankful.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Day Late and a Couple Dollars Short...

The Johnson family has hopped on the blog train...  I have also been introduced to gravatars, widgets and geotagging (all of which did not exist in my world an hour ago) but for the life of me cannot figure out how to change our blog name from all caps.  I can tell this is going to be a fun (yet slightly frustrating) ride... 

Such is life.