Monday, April 28, 2008

Hi Loved Ones!

The ABC Action News segment on Jillian aired Saturday night and has just been uploaded to the ABC website. It was so fun for me to see Jillian, Andrea, John and Izzy, but I was also able to see a super-fast shot of Jillian and Rhyan's surgeon, Dr. Orobello. And there were a few glimpses of the girl's audiologists, Shelly and Sybil, who are like family to us. Pretty neat. :)

If you've never met Rhyan, you can meet her now! She's on for a few seconds from the day we met Jillian and her family at the park. I'm a little bit sad that Rhyan's Hope wasn't mentioned, because I know that Annie and John mentioned it several times. But, when things like that happen, I feel like it's God's way of saying that He doesn't need news coverage or publicity to fulfill His plan. Jillian will get her second ear because God's God, and for no other reason. And we'll continue to trust that. That said, I thought the segment was beautifully done. And it brought back so many memories!!

Just a quick Rhyan's Hope update, I received an email this morning from the Philippines. The daddy of a two year old has asked us for help. It was the first time I felt an urgency to raise money. Once Jillian receives her implant, we have a young girl from Colorado who is deaf and going blind, and now a little girl in a different country. We need your prayers more than ever.

I hope you enjoy the news segment. After you click on the link below, it will take you to the site where you'll see a short commercial and then the segment will start right up. So, just click the link below and that should do it!!

Lots of love, Courtney

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

I desperately want to give my daughters the kind of childhood that they can look back on and just smile. I want to enjoy every moment with them, never complain, be kind and gentle and loving. I want to be everything a mommy should be so that one day they will be the best mommies they can be. I want their time in childhood to be perfect. I want to be perfect.

Unfortunately, I'm just not. I often catch myself using a tone that's too harsh, or reacting without thinking. Sometimes I yell to get my point across or I impatiently rush them along in the hustle of the day. And every time they cry because I've hurt their feelings, or I lose something precious in hurriedness of life, I fall in my failure. Or, so the devil would love for me to believe.

The truth is that most of us have our moments where we feel like we fail. Moments where we look back and we cringe in the shame of the moment or we cry in the tears that we caused. What I've learned is to keep learning. Every failure is simply a stepping stone to success. If I use a tone that is too harsh, I remember that my daughter's ears are priceless and every word that she hears is a God-given gift. And the way she hears is a blessing.

So, when my tone is rough, I'll repeat myself in a loving way. If I make my babies cry because of my actions or reactions, then I will apologize and ask for forgiveness. My failures can become life lessons that humbleness and forgiveness are things we must all learn to achieve.

And, I can pray. God made time, and He can make it into what He desires. So, I pray that He makes the time that my children spend in childhood glorious. I pray that He helps them to remember how much they were cherished and how much fun we had. And when they do, I pray that they are smiling from ear to amazing ear.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

On the movie, 'Sweet Nothings in My Ear', they stated that the majority of deaf people read at a 4th grade level by the time they finish high school. My thoughts immediately went back to just the night before. Matt and I were on a date to the bookstore and I was so excited to buy Rhy her first devotional.

The book is called 'God's Little Princess' devotional Bible by Sheila Walsh, and it is the most precious thing I've ever seen. I looked over the devotionals in the children's section and when I spotted this one, I actually put my coffee down so I wouldn't have to let go of the book. On the cover is a princess crown, complete with diamonds and glitter. My girl.

When we picked the girls up from Grammy and PaPa's, I gave them their books and it was like Rhyan had received the only thing she ever asked for in the whole world. I've never seen a child more taken with books. She did not let go of the book that night and slept with it under her pillow. We read from it Sunday night and I listened to that sweet voice as she said the words of praise to her Jesus. It was more than I could have hoped for 6 years ago when we were told she may never learn to read. It was yet another miracle that she can voice.

On Monday, I brought her book with me when I picked her up from school. She climbed into the car and buckled herself in. So grown up. I handed her the book and she yelled, 'Thank you, Mommy!!' with the same enthusiasm of the night she received it. Then she said, "You know I sleep with my hand on this, so that I'll dream about Jesus."

We read from the devotional together tonight, and our time together learning about our God is truly priceless. She read about Elizabeth giving birth to John in her old age and said, 'He's also called John the Baptist.'

Yes, she's reading. But even better, she's learning. Sweet dreams, Baby.


Monday, April 21, 2008

First American Idol and now a CBS Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie. Really, what is this blog becoming!!

I have so much to say that I just know already, I'm going to miss something. I actually took notes while I was watching the movie last night, so a little insight into my geekiness.

I hope you were all able to watch it, but if not, 'Sweet Nothings in My Ear' is a movie about a deaf mom and a hearing dad who are conflicted over whether or not to implant their deaf son. I think I started crying when I heard the intro music. (yes, a little over-emotional) It was a beautiful intro with the hands signing, speaking without words. I knew I was in trouble.

Almost immediately there was a birthday party for the son, and they were signing 'Happy Birthday'. My memories literally flew back to Rhyan's first birthday party. We had found out only a few weeks before that she was deaf, so we all learned 'Happy Birthday' in sign language. I watch the video now and just sob. She was mesmerized by our hands in motion and started moving her hands along with us. I guess that's why I have so much to say about this movie. The memories it envoked were painfully strong.

Of course I have my opinion on why the Cochlear Implant worked so well for our family, but I am so grateful for this movie because it gave me insight into the deaf community. When the mom said that if there was something wrong with her son, there was something wrong with her, I felt that pain and better understood why so many deaf people are opposed to the implant.

But, how I feel is simple. There isn't a single thing wrong with Rhyan. I've said it before, God made her perfectly. She is exactly how He designed her and she is perfect. And I have no doubts that without the implant she wouldn't have grown up to be extremely successful in anything she desired. But, that doesn't stop us, as her parents, from wanting to make things easier for her. And the dad said that, too. It isn't admitting she's not right, it's helping bust down obstacles.

The ending to me couldn't have been better. There were no decisions made. They agreed that the best thing for their son was to have his family together. And it ending showing them as a united front. That, to me, spoke volumes to the hearing and deaf community alike---the Cochlear Implant is an individual family decision. That's it.

So, to the cast and the producers of the film, who will never, ever read my blog and probably wouldn't give a hoot about my opinion, well done. Well done.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

In writing this entry, I am forced to admit that I’m an American Idol watcher. I love nothing more than watching people succeed. And I am one that cheers on the underdog, while still wanting the best contestant to win. So, being an Idol cheerleader, I had to watch "Idol Gives Back". Maybe I felt like a good cry, because I certainly knew THAT was going to happen!

We were able to fast forward through some of the performances, but what I wanted to see were the stories. It’s the stories that change my heart and ultimately my life.

Neil Bortz made an interesting observation about last night's "Idol Gives Back". As he said, giving "back" insinuates you have been given something and are returning it, as opposed to earning what you have and then giving to those in need.

That struck a cord with me. I wanted to take this opportunity to once again thank everyone who has given to Rhyan’s Hope in the last few months and those who are considering donating in the future to know how much we appreciate each and every hard earned dollar given.

Last night while I was trying to sleep (in my comfortable bed in a house that protects me, with my children fed and sleeping peacefully in the next rooms), the faces of those hungry, poor, orphaned children kept surfacing. I talked to Jesus about it and I told Him all the things I want. And this is it.

I want to be the kind of person that any child can look at and know by my eyes that I love them dearly just because they are.

I want to have a heart that breaks when I see others hurting.

I want to hug easily.

I want to do something about the pain and injustice that I see.

I want to hold every child that I saw last night in my heart, in my mind and in my prayers.

I want to love unconditionally, with a pristine heart.

I want to make sure that I never judge others, even when others around me do.

I want to wake up every morning and choose to enjoy every second God grants me with my children.

I want to turn my back on what the world says is important and look full in the face of Jesus to discover what truly matters.

I want to be grateful for every single blessing in my life.

I want to talk to people and resist saying ‘I’, ‘me’ or ‘my’.

I want to know that pride is a sin, but so is low self-esteem.

I want to be brave when I fail and humble when I don’t.

I want to be courageous in Christ.

I want all that I do and say to glorify my Lord.

And in all of it, and above all else, I want to be His servant.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

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