Nora – 44 Days Old

I can no longer regard Nora’s trisomy diagnosis as the great tragedy that I once did. Back in January and for months after, I didn’t understand how something like this could happen to US. I now see very clearly that God knew exactly what He was doing! I’ve been given the opportunity to stand back and see glimpses of the Big Picture, and WOW is it ever gorgeous! This isn’t something that just happened to William and I, it happened to thousands and thousands of people. My faith and spirituality have grown immeasurably these past four months, but it’s not just me. There are almost 2000 comments I can look back on that would suggest Nora has had a profound effect on MANY. What if the difficulties and tragedies we are dealt in this life aren’t meant for just us personally, but are designed and authored to impact, inspire, and cultivate others? To look at it that way certainly changes my self-centered perspective, and diminishes any self-pity I might have had. The “Why would God do this to me?” question suddenly becomes null and void. In a state of vulnerability and desperation I allowed God to use me as His instrument really because I just. didn’t. know. what. else. to. do. It would have been really nice to see how beautifully everything would unfold back then, but I couldn’t have had a clue. I felt I had no other options but to take the blind leap and give it all to God. Blind leaps of faith can be scary as all hell (speaking from experience), but the splash will be huge and the ripples just might carry to the ends of the earth, impacting and inspiring thousands. Can you trust Him? YES. God can list me as a reference on His resume any day!

But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:13 NIV)

Here are pictures of Nora from today. Greta was so proud of herself that she can hold Nora while standing up! She’s such an awesome big sister and such a help to Mommy!

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Nora has an appointment with the pulmonologist on Tuesday! Please pray that we get some answers and some solutions! Thank you and God bless!

Nora – SIX WEEKS OLD!!

Nora’s pediatrician appointment went very well this morning but for the torrential rain outside! She’s below the 5th percentile on the growth curve, but she’s moving right along at the right growth rate. Nora weighed in today at {drum roll} 5 lbs. 15 oz!!!!! (wild applause)

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She has been overloaded with kisses today, just as she is every day.

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. (Galatians 3:26 NIV)

Harrison – Heaven’s Newest Angel

My heart is heavy for the Mummert family who have suffered the loss of their little Harrison yesterday, several weeks before he was due. Like Nora, Harrison was diagnosed with trisomy 18 while he was still in utero. Like William and I, Harrison’s Mommy & Daddy promised him, “I Will Carry You.” And they did. They carried him for exactly the time that God had mapped out for Harrison. James and Emily will continue to carry their precious son, but now it is in their hearts, until they meet again.

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We’re so very sorry for your loss, James & Emily. Please know that you have been and will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. May God bless you and bestow extra helpings of the familiar peace that surpasses all understanding.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7 NIV)

Nora – 41 Days Old

I greatly rejoice in this little girl!!

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In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV)

Nora – 40 Days Old

I heard a great analogy the other day between our lives and a painting. Just as in a painting, our lives, if you look at them closely you can see each brush stroke. In some instances you can even see the foundation sketch from beneath the paint. Up close it doesn’t seem to make much sense. It’s messy, chaotic, and clashing. But the further you step back, the more beautiful everything is. You start to see how each brush stroke (each life situation) works together to form a big picture. Were you to remove some of those brush strokes that seemed ugly close up, you would alter the image, changing it from its intended beauty. (Thanks for that neat analogy, Chris!)

God continues to place people in our lives to help us along on our journey. They too make up some of the brush strokes helping to form the great picture. I had mentioned a few days ago that I had spoken with a woman who has an adorable little girl who is now 4 years old with trisomy 18. I didn’t want to mention her by name without first asking her permission. I had the pleasure and honor of speaking with Karen Santorum over the phone, now a couple of times. My Mom shared the blog on her FB page. A few days later I was so excited to hear that she was interested in talking with me!! She has been a wealth of information, sharing her knowledge as it pertains to Bella’s care, and potentially Nora’s as well. I am so very grateful that she would take the time from her busy life to offer me much needed advice and to listen to my concerns. After my initial astonishment that I was actually on the phone with Karen Santorum, it was like I was just simply talking with a good friend! Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Karen! I look so forward to talking with you more!

Here are some pictures from today.

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“MILKIES!!!!!!!!!”

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Nora had another outing today to Nana & Papa’s house to wish Papa a Happy belated Birthday! She did very well on the way over and back and seemed to enjoy the love and attention from everyone. She is such a beautiful gift to all of us. God is good.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5 NIV)

Nora – 39 Days Old

Rewind to May 1997. Just home from work and ready to take on the weekend, my life was suddenly and forever changed. My sister Sarah sat on the back porch gazing lovingly into a box labeled as fax machine paper — obviously not at fax paper. Sarah had a reputation for bringing home orphaned or needy pets. When I peeked inside I saw a tiny bright yellow beak peeking out from a bundled blue towel. Its eyes weren’t even opened yet. To make a very long and beautiful story short, I took over the care of that helpless naked baby bird with the intention of releasing her once she was able to fly and eat on her own. However, she had a deformity on one of her feet which caused her rear toe to point forward. Her life span out in the wild would potentially be shortened because of this condition. As her feathers gradually appeared we determined that “it” was a “lowly” little house sparrow. A female that I ended up naming Ava.

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I was informed that there are no protection ordinances for house sparrows because they are not native to the United States. Legally I could keep her as a pet. She went everywhere with me, especially in her early years when I had to feed her with a syringe every 20 minutes for 16 hours a day. (Fortunately birds sleep at night!)  Working for a small family owned business I was able to bring Ava to work with me every day. I know people thought I was crazy and wondered why the heck I was even bothering. In the beginning I too wondered if my efforts were futile. She was such a fragile little thing! But I persevered and so did she. As she grew older she continued to come to work with me every day. She went on vacations with me as far as 10 hours away by car. The only time she spent in her cage was when she was traveling, at work with me or if I had to step out for awhile. Otherwise she had free reign of my bedroom when I still lived at home, and then free reign of my apartment when I moved out. At night she slept in a little blue fleece tent on a hook next to my bed.

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When she was tired, she knew to fly in there and she expected me to be quiet after she had done so. It was always a source of amusement to who ever I was on the phone with when I had to apologize on behalf of my sparrow “yelling” at me in the background. I could go on and on and on about all of Ava’s endearing little quirks, her “nests” that she’d build, her sun “comas”, her bird baths, her “clicking” at us, her bird songs. This bird had so much personality! For nine incredible years Ava lived with me and then “us” after William and I got married in 2001. She was our first “baby” together and he loved her just as much as I did.

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As Gavin and Greta were born into our family they thought it was completely normal to have a sparrow flying around their house sharing breakfast with them. She was just another family member. She passed away in early January of 2007 leaving behind a huge impression on our hearts and maybe an invitation for God to recognize that we’d be the perfect family for another special little “bird”.

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Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. (Luke 12:6 NIV)