July was Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Month.

As the month has gone on, and Grant got the "official" diagnosis,
 I've thought a lot about how our lives have changed since he started having JRA symptoms.

My normal laid-back self flinches at Grant rubbing his legs. 
When he looks more tired than usual, I start praying.  
and analyzing.  

Did he just go to bed too late? Or is the inflammation returning?
I glance at his knees when he's in shorts and find myself comparing for swollen-ness.
He's had more blood draws than a 4 year old should, 
and knows way too much about doctor's visits.
{she's going to wiggle my arms mommy! Then I'll walk down the hall really fast!}

However, all in all, the Lord has protected our sweet Grant over the past several months.
 my heart still cringes at what the diagnosis could have been.
Praising the Lord for a very manageable, very treatable disease!

And, after spending time at a very high-tech children's hospital,
I'm so much more aware of health issues in children now.

How if a kid is kinda cranky in Sunday School class,
they may not just be being difficult.
They may have awakened with swollen joints and 
pain beyond what a child should know.

How if a friend seems kind of flustered and overwhelmed,
her inside may be aching for her child.  
Even if the prognosis is good, 
seeing speciality doctors and super-tech hospitals is a lot to process.

Awareness that we all deal with our own difficulties.
That there's more to everyone than what we see.

And awareness leads to compassion.
Compassion for hurting kids.
Hurting mommas.

Awareness that we all, 
{4-year-olds with arthritis, 80-year-olds with heart disease}
need help, healing, and hope.
Hope for this life.
and eternity.

...I have put my hope in the Living God, who is the Savior of all men...
I Timothy 4:10

Happy Weekend

We started ours off with homemade guacamole, roasted veggies, and marinated flank steak.


Today I'm cleaning around the house, enjoying family time, 
and hoping a feverish Gracie gets better.

Hope your weekend started off well, too!

Our week.

Happy Friday!

Our week.
{in cell phone pictures!}

Loving LOFT's sale racks right now.
{taking photos for BFF approval}

And Pottery Barn Kids' sale racks!

{only lived 2 years with out a bed skirt on our Sweet Girl's bed.  
Who knew how much better it would look with one?}

How the Sweet Girl and I made it through a grocery trip.
{Yes, those are froot loops. The girl loves them. Seriously. loves a little too much}.

And, from the grocery trip.
"As is" should not appear on meat.

And Grant.

  Our sweet, enthusiastic, easy-going 4-year-old.


Who now officially has Systemic Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

After months of doctor appointment, blood work, x-rays,
and a whole lot of prayer,
it seemed a bit anti-climatic to get the official diagnosis from the doctor.

But, we know now how to pray better,
and are thankful that this diagnosis didn't include previously-said words like leukemia.
{oh, my!}

On a positive note, 
Grant has no more swelling in any of his joints!
Full mobility in wrists and ankles!
{for the first time since our original appointment in February!}

and a 50% chance of remission.

Yes. Please, Lord, remission.



Many of you have followed Grant's journey over the past several months. 
Praying with us for protection and healing from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

Today we have a routine appointment with the pediatric rheumatologist.
{Really, after months of hearing spinal tap and abnormal in medical conversations about Grant, 
nothing really feels truly routine for this momma!}

We're expecting good news, praying for good news.
But a part of my momma's heart always get a bit nervous walking into a 
super-super-high-tech children's hopsital.  
with MY child.  
seeing bald babies pulled in wagons, 
I hold Grant's hand a bit tighter, pray a bit harder, and walk to the doctor's office a bit faster.

We've really had a great two months with him.
The NSAID is working!
The fatigue is almost completely gone.
He's only complained of leg pain on a couple of occassions 
{when we've accidentally missed one of the three-times-daily doses, or when it's raining}
And there's been very little swelling in his knees.

As I tell the doctor all of this, I pray for good news.

And, as always, I pray for Grant's heart to be protected.
Physically. Emotionally.

Cow Love.

She's a sweet, sweet 2-year-old.
And a serious animal-lover.
{Last year at the fair, we had to *leave* the horse how because Grace was laughing so much that she was disrupting the contestants!}

So, her reaction to seeing these furry animals at the local county fair this year?




Summer is in full-swing in our household.
Lots of playdates, parks, water, bike-riding, sand...
loving every minute of it.

Although I love to cook,
{seriously, love it!}
summertime is just made for easy meals, isn't it? 
That we can be playing outside and come in and eat quickly?

So, pancakes it was for dinner last night.
{It's kind of our favorite-four-year-old's favorite.}

And the two year old?  She just loves to eat whatever anyone else is eating.
{See how she's not in her chair? Other people's food is always better, apparently}

When we were first married, I couldn't make pancakes.
{Well, honestly, I couldn't make a lot of things!  On our honeymoon I took an hour and a half to make breakfast for us once. It may have been the first time ever I fried bacon}.

I learned a lot of cooking quickly, but pancakes, well, I almost always burned them.

Almost 10 years and one four-year-old pancake-lover later,
 I have a killer pancake recipe.  
{ya know, if I do say so myself!}.

I'll post the recipe for you tomorrow
{after I, the momma of a crazed-teething-2-year-old, sleep!}.

For now, here's one of my favorite pictures of late.  
{even with Gracie in all of her straggly, end-of-the-day-hair-in-eye glory}.

Grace climbed up onto Grant's chair to eat with him, and Grant started to give her a zerbert.
{where he blows on her cheek really fast and makes a weird noise}
Grace was completely cracking up,
and then she picked up one of Grant's pancakes to try to do the same to it.

They seriously were cracking up, and thankfully I had my camera close.
{and the battery charged. which like, never happens.}

Love these 2!

{see how Gracie's right eye is all crinkled up?  She's smiling behind that pancake!}

It's 2 o'clock Tuesday afternoon...

And I am tired.
We've been busy errand-ing and cleaning and playing and 
in general doing life with small kids this morning.

I love it all.
and wouldn't change it for the world.
but I really am tired today. 

 So since this girl is down for a nap...

 and I'm off to play legos and SuperStructs! with Grant, 

M&M's. Diet Coke. Seriously a good combo.

...were oh-so-worth the 105 calories this afternoon.

{wake up, Anna!}



When I was in Africa last winter, I was so incredibly overwhelmed at the need.  
So many orphans.  So much poverty.  So much injustice. 

What could I do?  What difference could one person make?

Well, I came to the conclusion after just 2 weeks in Africa: a lot.

To the one little boy that had been dropped off at the orphanage by his father that couldn't care for him, I could make a big difference. 
I could hold him, and tell him that I loved him and that Jesus did too.
I could show him, for the first time in his life, the love of a mother, if even for just a few days.
I could rub his cheek and dry his tears, and sing and play and clap.

To the precious 11 year old boy that had been strangled by his step-mom, I could talk with him, show him how to mold things with play-doh for the first time ever, build with legos.
I could tell him that his life is valuable.

To the 15-year-old girl dying of AIDS, I could hang out with her for the day, doing teenage-girly stuff like painting nails and doing hair and fixing her sewing machine.
Helping her feel like a typical teenage girl for just a day.

I couldn't make a difference for millions, but I could make a difference for one.
Although the need is still overwhelming, I've decided that not acting because of the need being so great decreases the value of an individual life.  

Sure, I probably can't make a difference for millions of orphans, but
I CAN make a difference for ONE.  

Whether it's an orphaned child in Sub-Saharan Africa or the elderly woman at church who could use loaf of banana bread and an afternoon visit, ONE person can be reached.
One life at a time, I can help.

WE can  help.


My Heart. 
Walking around on 4 cute little legs.

grant owen. {4 1/2}       grace abigail. {2}

First Roller Coaster

It's a fabulous word.
We're staying low-key this "vacation" week -
while enjoying some sweet family time
and fun things in the our own hometown city.
{all the while letting everyone sleep in their own beds at night,
including the just-turned-2-year-old who absolutely will.not.sleep. elsewhere}

Here's Grant
(4 1/2)
and his first roller coaster.