I think this is the longest I've gone without writing.....it's been impossible to do so in many ways. There's so much to say, but I never feel I have the right words. Sometimes silence is best. But I love to look back and see where we were....what I was learning...what God was doing in our lives. The last time I wrote things were so hopeful....we had seemingly turned a corner. That's not to say we're hopeless now, but yes there have been days of feeling so. I could never express how thankful I am that my hope is not found in the circumstances of my life, or my current feeling. There are days when the despair weighs heavy, but it does not remain. God is so faithful and His promises never fail. Many verses have come to mind throughout these past months....some shared by encouraging friends and family, others as I've searched God's word for hope, and others return to my mind that I memorized long ago reminding me how important it is to hide His word in our hearts. Even now as I type, I hear the words of Psalm 30 echo in my mind......"weeping may stay for the night, but JOY comes with the morning!"
Speaking of joy 😊..........
Yesterday was such a gift. For the first few hours of the day, I honestly couldn't stop my eyes from filling up every few moments. I could just sense that God was giving us this amazing gift....a glimmer of hope, a reminder of His good gifts to us, rest, joy, precious memories being made. I was finally able to get some pictures of all the kids in their Christmas outfits.....and it may have been the most fun we've had taking pictures...challenging as always, but so much fun. And somehow I was able to have a few moments to go through them and it inspired me to record some of our recent memories as we prepare for Christmas......
And at this point, I'll never get cards made and out in time....thank you so much to those who have thought of us, we love to receive your cards and updates.....for this year, again.....this is the best I can do.......Merry Christmas from the Cruse Family!
* * *
The day after Thanksgiving is always a busy one here as we make Christmas crafts to decorate rooms, and then begin the adventure of decorating the house. The kids are always giddy, and I am just as excited to watch them enjoy everything!
|It was serious business!|
|Kyleigh joined in the fun this year!|
|And of course turned her snowman into a bracelet :) She's obsessed!|
|Levi and his final products|
Caleb worked hard too, but he just wanted to get to the decorating! One of his favorites is hanging lights in his room and finding places for his creations to make his room festive and fun! Oh, and decorating the tree of course.....and putting the train together...and....okay just about everything! He talked about this day for the entire week prior :)
|And so it began....|
|Kyleigh putting her first ornament on......|
|Then dropping it.....|
|and putting it on again.....x 3, she was too funny!|
We let them each pick a new ornament each year so they were excited to show them off and find a special place on the tree for them. Well....the boys were....Kyleigh was about done with the day at this point!
Caleb was quite opposed to putting any of Keira's ornaments on the tree without her, so when she came home for a few hours one day, we made sure to enjoy some more decorating with her!
And of course the watching of Christmas movies began.....
The past couple of years we've tried to visit the people at a local nursing home around the holidays. Last year we brought them homemade ornaments and it was such a blessing to walk around and visit with them....to hear some of their stories, and to bring a smile to their faces. We weren't quite sure what to make this year, so we're working on a variety of different crafts. Here's Caleb hard at work during school time, making flowers. It was quite a challenge, but he worked hard! I think he'll agree it was worth it when he sees how happy it will make someone.
This little lady is 18 months old now.....she's loving all the Christmas fun, and I'm continuing to love dressing her in all these cute things! She's truly like a little doll!
Though their meme so nicely bakes cookies with the kids each year, Caleb wanted a second round....
* * *
And, back to our sweet day yesterday....and these sweet faces that I love so much!
I thought I'd never get her to stand still, but she went right over, before anyone else and posed! Weirdest thing. It didn't last of course and before I knew it she was walking towards me and then backwards to the tree over and over in a fit of giggles.
She brings so much joy to our lives......with just as much energy as the others and keeps up with them for sure! Though she doesn't say much with her words yet, her personality says it all. And when you have your siblings wrapped around your finger, all it takes is a loud shriek to get what you want!
She won't leave her crib without her binky, babies and bunny blanket.....and they often tag along wherever else we go! She's also still a mommy's girl....and though there are those rare occasions when I wish she would be okay with my leaving her with someone else for a few minutes, I truly love it.....and I'm cherishing these moments because they are gone so quickly.
Thankfully this beautiful girl still lets me take her picture without giving me a hard time! She woke up this morning to one of her favorite things....snow! It brings her back....to good memories....and to being young....she was SO excited! She had a Russian lesson first thing in the morning, another huge blessing, and then began helping me get everyone ready for pictures. She's one of those people who can see a need and fill it without having to be asked....pretty rare if you ask me!
The past few months have been a roller coaster. As I look at these two precious daughters of mine, one of the things I wish the most is that I could have met the needs of one as I am meeting them for the other. The affects of that not happening are just devastating....and while I wish that a couple of years full of love and constant reaffirming would take them away, it's just not that easy.
The trauma endured is too much for anyone to bear, never mind a child, and one at such a vulnerable, difficult age. We are trying to take it one day at a time....and a day like today was such a blessing and gift...to watch her enjoy herself, to feel loved....and peace. I think she treasured it as much as I did.
Yes, this pretty much sums up Caleb. Before we could take any "real" pictures, he requested that he take some super hero pictures. I love the way his personality comes through in his pictures!
The past couple of months I have noticed so much maturing from this boy. Just in the witty comments he's made, or his attention span in school....and of course the physical growth spurt that seems to happen each year at this time. Lately he's been so much more serious about God in his life as well....it's so sweet to have spiritual conversations with him and see him understanding more and more. Though with growth comes more independence as well as the ability to reason and challenge boundaries, I still see the same sweet heart in this boy that he's always had. The tears that come when a sibling gets hurt as he sympathizes with them.....using his awana money to buy things for everyone in the family, or giving something to a friend because they didn't have one. Those are the things that make me most proud as a mom!
Levi also had his own ideas about what picture time should look like. And from the moment I mentioned it, he made sure to remind me repeatedly that Fudge Pup needed to be included. I love that he loves this dog so much, it is truly a special bond they share!!
This boy is truly one of a kind! I'm so thankful for him, for all that God has shown me through him, and for the joy he brings. He continues to face so many challenges, yet this sweet smile remains. School is proving to be increasingly difficult....it wasn't just the transition to something new...it's so much more....and though we are doing our best to find the right answers for him and his teachers are working so hard to advocate for him, my heart breaks for him as he struggles. And then at our regular checkup for his feet we get the news that he will once again need casting....weekly....followed by surgery again. And I just want to say ENOUGH! But as with everything else, he will just go with the flow....taking whatever comes....blessing the doctors, nurses, patients waiting with his smiles, hellos, silliness....and teaching me as always.....
They humored me for long enough and were more than ready to change again for the snow!
They had a blast! Levi spent a great deal of his time shoveling the backyard :) Forever a worker that boy! Keira wanted to spend time with Kyleigh...I told her that I would take her but she told me that she wanted to experience it with her. So sweet. Caleb had a blast with his friends!
When they'd had enough and the little ones were napping, Keira and Caleb gathered art supplies and worked on some Christmas surprises together. I loved their excitement as they whispered and planned, thinking it was the greatest thing ever that I couldn't know what they were doing. We all had dinner together and went to a Christmas show at night.....I truly couldn't have asked for a better day at a better time!
* * *
And though the seemingly perfect weekend ended on quite a different note....I am reminding myself that my understanding of these circumstances is so very limited. I see one small piece of the puzzle and God sees the finished product. So I am trying to be thankful....even in this....in what seems like the worst case scenario. Because so far....no matter what I've experienced in life....God's ways have always, ALWAYS been for my good.....always been best. Not easy, but for our good. Isn't that what we try to tell our children.....we're doing this for your own good....we have your best interest at heart! They surely don't see it that way in the moment....I'm trying to choose it in the moment!
Please keep us in your prayers....especially these four sweet faces......
"Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow." James 1:17