Friday, December 23, 2016

At the End of 2016...

Dear Family and Friends,

It's Linda. I have lots to share with you. I wish I can share more these daily and sacred moments but sometimes in the busy-ness of life, I would forget or had already moved onto the next task. It is literally God who is reminding me to blog right now. And to DO IT NOW.

God is wanting me to write because we need to update you all, but honestly, it's more for me to remember how far we have come this year (these years) and to just stop and relish. I am so thankful.

The girls have been blooming, thriving, growing, running, and I am amazed.

2016 marks a dramatic upturn in Alicia's vocal skills. I am overcome at Alicia's speech development. The daily repeating the same phrases have finally kicked in and she is talking more and more. She is still learning and sometimes her words sounds so mumbled and jumbled together that it takes the Holy Spirit to translate for me. But her speech is improving every day. As I reflect more, I found it's more me that God is working on... to teach me to slow down and to truly listen to her. She has a lot to say.

A few months ago, her speech therapist said to my dad who in turn shared with me that he was working with Alicia to speak 3 words in a row. The therapist said she still wasn't good at saying 3 words at a time. But I think I have heard her say more than just 3 words before. Then one day soon after that report, Alicia came home and pointed to the mess that Kaitlyn had left behind, and said "Meimei, 亂七八糟" (what a mess!)... I think I just counted her saying 6 words in a row!! I rejoiced!

Currently, Alicia is attending a special education class in a public kindergarten. Her teachers are wonderful blessings to us. We appreciate their perspective and attitude of teaching Alicia. And under their care, she goes to school with the biggest smile. That just brings such joy to my mama's heart. What a gift this school has been to us!

The biggest goal we are working with her right now is to prepare her to attend 1st grade next year. Right now, we have a few options of where to place her. Two main ones. One, is to keep her in the special education class where it is more isolated from mainstream students. She will be with two special ed teachers. Another option, is for her attend mainstream class and for specific subjects, a specialized teacher will pull her out for more one-on-one or smaller class setting to work with her. Right now, I am applying her to be in the second option. I am not going to sugar-coat it. It's a steep climb. She has to prepare to be even more independent. She has to work on her physical endurance and strength. She has to improve on speaking up even more and expressing herself and her needs.

In my meeting with her current teachers, they asked me what is the goal her father and I have for Alicia. I said for her to thrive well and be independent. For her to be the blessing she is, to the full potential that God has given her~ whatever that looks like. Alicia is normal. Her normal and her story isn't like what everyone else's but that is still normal. I don't want her to be isolated. I want her to see more of the world and I want the world to see her. Because her growth and potential will only increase if she walks out of her comfort zone and we all will be so blessed because of knowing her. But I have to be honest, there are so many times, I just want to hold her and protect her from whatever harm I may fear is out there in the world. Then God reminds me that He is holding her. I cannot and do not need to watch her 24 hrs a day. She is thriving and growing well.

Campbell often wisely reminds me that what I am doing for Alicia, I need to do for Kaitlyn. I will be honest; it's easier to look over KK only because it seems like it just comes so effortlessly for her. She's speaking more words every HOUR. She's curious, observant and brilliant. She loves going out. She still gets shy with people she doesn't know well but she has such an amazing memory. She would be talking to me about things that happened or places she has gone when she was a baby and couldn't talk yet. It is so incredible to me. Right now, she is learning how to play with Alicia. Her version of playing with her sister is to just take Alicia's things... which doesn't go well with Alicia. But they are making improvements; at least KK doesn't bite anymore... We are learning. KK also loves "cooking" and making me eat what she cooks. She likes to steal my makeup and lotions and which she would then stand in front of the mirror and put them on her face like she sees me doing.  Kaitlyn is a feeler. Her laugh is contagious and the spirit of JOY is over her. I love hearing her laugh with Alicia and Alicia loves KK. She thinks KK is so funny. I quote my mom, "Kaitlyn 不會吃虧". Kaitlyn will not be denied. She goes for it. She gets want she wants. She says what she feels. So we are encouraging her strengths and teaching how to use her giftings well.

But Campbell is right. I have been praying a lot for these two girls. I ask God for wisdom to know how to pursue these girls' hearts. God told me that for the most part this past season has been so much about their physical needs. To make sure they eat, they sleep, they are clean... but now I sense there is a new season taking place in their lives... Now, it's more than just physical. It's about their mental, spiritual, emotional, social development. And I want to madly pursue their hearts and make sure they know how much they are loved as we are instructing and parenting them. This is so crucial. For Campbell and I, it's not just about raising them to do what is right. It's not about correcting their behaviors. It's about who they are. Do they know who they are? Do they know what is true? Do they know how to think for themselves? And all of that starts now. That knowing of who they are, what is true starts with knowing they are unconditionally, completely, wholly, loved.

So this is my 2016 lesson. Everything in my life that is worthy of my time takes my whole heart's intention. I am not going to figure out how to love well, parent well, manage my health, family, finances and future just by winging it. I need to be intentional. I commit myself to God. I ask Him for wisdom. Then I move into action. I seek and ask for wisdom. I ask questions and go find answers. I don't understand a lot so I need to find solutions.

Please keep praying with us:
1. For Campbell and I to fully walk and run with the Holy Spirit as this new season starts. Our hearts are to position ourselves ready for whatever He calls us into.
2. For Alicia to gain confidence in herself, in her skills. For her to continue to accelerate even more and faster. For her to encounter God in her sleep, during the day.
3. For Kaitlyn to grow and prosper as a 2 year old, for her to know her Heavenly Father's heart.

There are more but as I write, I am losing track already! SO I am going to end this post for now and continue as the Lord leads.

LOVE and PEACE! Merry Christmas!!!

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