Well Hello There Again Proverbial Cliff

I can not believe that in less than two weeks we will be heading into our second cleft lip revision. Even more hard to believe is how anxious I feel. 

I should be an expert at this by now, right? I mean I have had three cleft surgeries of my own and watched one as a Momma. I *know* it's all in the Lord's hands and that all will be okay. However, that knowledge doesn't seem to be doing much for the knot in my stomach. Perhaps it is because I know all too well the pain that comes with this procedure.  More likely it is because I feel guilty Clay has no idea it's coming.  We have told him that he will be going to the doctor soon.  We have not told him why.  How do you explain to a two year old that the doctor is going to slice his face open and possibly pull his tooth all while he takes a nap? "But don't worry wee one, it's all for your own good."

While most children are downing costumes and eating ridiculous amounts of crap next week Clay and I will be meeting his surgeon for the low down on what to expect for the following week. His doctor is precious and I hope that his answers to my many questions will assuage my anxieties. No matter the doctor's answers or the outcome of the surgery I will hold my sweet baby boy extra tight while I rest in my Savior's lap.  

*You can read our entire journey with Clay's cleft by following this link.

A Yearly Review

It's the Clay Bunny!

Last week our Clay Man had his yearly check up at the Craniofacial Center in Atlanta. Can you believe that it has already been two years (or very close to it) since we headed to the children's hospital for his very first surgery? 

Waiting room at CHOA, such a sweet boy!

We were pretty sure that our doctor would not be pleased with how Clay's repair is looking.  It is still very bulky.  Our doctor is a perfectionist.  We were right.  He said that Clay should have much better results at this age and he would like to go ahead and do the next revision as soon as six months from now.  We agreed.  In this next procedure they will not only make his actual scar smaller but also shape his lips and significantly reduce the thickness in his upper lip. The procedure will be outpatient but we can anticipate a longer recovery time.  I think Clay Man will manage just fine with his entourage watching movies with him on the couch, coloring with him, and bringing him frozen treats.   

Cowboy in the back, Clay in the front.

On the dentistry side of things we learned that I am not crazy.  (Was there ever any doubt? On second thought don't answer that.) He does in fact have a tooth that is appearing and disappearing.  There is a cyst of the top of it so it isn't breaking through all the way.  It has been doing this little magic trick for 9ish months now.  The dentist said that since his teeth look very healthy they would not ordinarily do anything about that at this point.  However, since he is going to be put under anesthesia anyway for the revision they will go ahead and do x-rays at that time and see what can be done for him.  All in all it was a great appointment and I am excited to have a plan.  I sure do love his smile and face just as it is but I am equally looking forward to seeing his new and permanent smile by Christmas this year!

I just love his smile!

Praise is Our Weapon!

In July of last year I posted about a family that was enduring the seemingly impossible.  Fighting cancer for the SECOND time with their little girl.  Today that fight is not looking good from a worldly perspective folks.  Not good at all.  (Please pray for Rona & Leah!) My mother, from His Herbal Way, wrote the following devotional on Leah's Caring Bridge site this morning,

"As I was praying yesterday morning, I just kept hearing "worship Me" ... "praise Me". I confess that in the seriousness of the medical reports, my prayers had become pleas and petitions, practically begging God. In His gentle, loving way, Father God reminded me that no matter what happens here on earth and no matter what we hear or see, HE is still sovereign. He is worthy of all my worship and He has given us praise of Him as our strength. "The JOY of the Lord is our strength."
When I fail to rejoice and instead only complain or even rant at God, I am weakened. Then the emotions take over and we all know that when we are ruled by our emotions we become unstable. Begging and complaining are evidence of doubt. Consider James 1:2-7:
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do."
So, in light of my revelation (maybe it is only for me, but I doubt it because God is so economical He never gives anything just for one), I want to encourage you to PRAISE AND WORSHIP OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST today as you fast and intercede for our girls. He is worthy. He is sovereign. He is love. He has this."

I am re-posting here because I need to process and writing is often how I do that.   This devotional is timely in many ways.  Obviously in the way that the writer intended but also on a much lesser level as I am at home with my sick children this morning.  I haven't slept well in days because they haven't slept well in days.  I am tired and I feel myself weakening and showing symptoms of the illness they have generously shared with one another all week.  Between five sick children at least one but often two or three are all crying at the same time.  My laundry is piled up, my dishes are overtaking the counter, and my bathrooms need major attention.  Please don't even think about finding a spot to sit in the living room.  Nothing is going according to plan these last few weeks.  I was beyond tempted to play the martyr this morning.  Not only for my circumstances but also because no one will feel sorry for me because I "brought this on myself", right?  I had to snap out of it fast or the day was going to go down hill fast.  I begged God for a megadose of His grace.  He is so faithful and Nehemiah 8:10 has become my anthem today.  (Thank you Mrs. Duggar.)

"...the JOY of the Lord is my strength, the joy of the lord is my strength...."

***UPDATE:  On January 10th Leah went to be with our Lord in Heaven.***

New Season on The Path

It seems like every blogger and person under the son is busy making New Year's Resolutions.  Or proclaiming why they are not making them.  While this new direction of The Straightened Path has little to do with the New Year (2013? Already? Wow!) it has a lot to do with resolutions.

Resolution by definition means the act of analyzing a complex notion into smaller actions, or the act of determining. That definition fits well here.  You see my entire purpose in this life is to bring God glory through my life.  I generally fail miserably but I will never. stop. trying. God has called me to bring him glory by being Brandon's wife and respecting him. (1 Peter 3, Ephesians 5:33)  He has called me to serve Him by laying down my life for my children and teaching them diligently.  (John 15:13, Deut. 6:7) I see no other proficient way to prioritize those things besides being a keeper at home.  (Titus 2)  These things have been my day in and day out way of living for at least three years now.  And in many ways years before that even.  However, it has become obvious in the last few months that I can no longer live fully by those things and do this blog justice while in my current stage of life. 

There are many wonderful Titus 2 women around the blog-o-sphere that have twice as many children and blog following that I do and seemingly sacrifice nothing to run a beautiful ministry on their sites.  My conclusion is that God has called them to it in addition to their stay-at-home ministries.  While I enjoy blogging and do not feel the Lord takes issue with my sharing with others all that He is teaching me, I do not feel that The Straightened Path is my calling.  So henceforth I will be blogging intermittently.  I have some commitments to other blogs that I will happily fulfill and I will maintain this venue to express matters I feel of the utmost importance as well as updates on my son's cleft.  But I will not be maintaining the Facebook page nor posting here regularly.

I want to thank all of you for your support the last couple of years and for challenging me to become a stronger follower of Christ!  I think of individuals I have met due to this blog, friends I have made, and comments that have been left and I pray for you.  I hope that you will do the same for me as I embrace all that God has for me in this season of my life!  What joy to uniquely serve Him!