Friday, November 28, 2008

Baby Steps...

Last Sunday we started at a new church called Cathedral of Praise. Because of its size I was certain that I was going to feel uncomfortable. But...I was wrong! When we walked into that church lobby we were suprised by the amount of people who greeted us, talked to us, showed us where in the nursery our children went and then where we could go to sit so we could be close to the baby(who was not happy to be left with strangers). We felt like we were home. When I say that I mean like we had found where God had wanted us. I always prayed that whenever we went to a new church that if that was where He wanted us that he wouls give kevin and I a peace that was undoubtedly from Him. Well, He did!

Anyway, the service was wonderful. And one of the points the pastor had made was about forgiving others no matter what. Easier said than done for me because I can only take so much before I feel like if I forgive you again then you hurt me, my family, etc again I cant or wont forgive that person. But I learned that its not really about me. Its about living by the Word of God. I cant begin to feel and see what He has for me and my family if I have grudges and unforgiven issues between me and God. So I have been doing a lot of thinking lately, especially with the holidays here. I have a yerning for God to show me what His love feels like and all along I have not known that I wasnt feeling all of what He has for me. How awesome is our God!

I guess in the past I have been like "God, if you could just heal Danielle, fix whats broken in my marriage, help my family , etc...then I will have a greater faith." Fact of the matter is, that is not how it works. He asks us to take step of faith. If I knew how to link the site of the sermon to this blog I would because I left that church on a misson. I have continued this week to take baby steps but I know I need to take big steps of faith. I guess I just need the reassurance of the faith that my baby steps build. I dont know. We plan to continue to attend this church. Our spirits were "fed well "as I have had several people tell me about this church. I cant wait to see what this week brings. I know this past week has been a week full of "God moments". Where I know He has been or is there in certain moments. He has shown me that He is there always teaching me!

Well I guess with all of that said I should give you all an update on the family!

The Kids: They are doing very well. We enjoy ,and so do they, our fmaily worship time! It is so heart warming to see my children with thier child-like faith. Danielle is doing well. Her therapist believes that she might be entering a manic phase so we are watching her very closely. But other than that she is awesome! Rylie is and has been very fussy and clingy but I think if she could sleep(take her naps and sleep at nite) she would be a much happier baby! But again she is doing good too!

The mommy and the Daddy: We are doing well also. Other than being a little sleep deprived from Rylie Having a reaction to the Flu shot, we are good. We have been spending a lot of time talking about what we want out of our church experiences and what our walk will look like outside of church. It has been a wonderful week of discovery to say the least! I hope that every week will be a little more exciting and inspire us to want more for our family! :)

Thanksgiving: Was wonderful! A lot of good conversation and food and of course fun too! We have a lot to be Thankful for!

Well I am off to start the clean up process...

Have a blessed day.

PS: I will post pictures later today!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks...

Well Thanksgiving day is only hours away now and soon we will all be eating and deep in conversation with our families and friends. I just wanted to write a post to everyone who has been praying for us and especially Danielle! Your prayers were answered and my sweet girl is doing soooo much better and is functioning a lot sooner then they said she would. Praise God, the Honor and glory is Yours!

While everyone is having thier Thanksgiving dinner I want to share that I will be praying for each of you! It is my way of saying thank you.



Saturday, November 22, 2008

Rest for the weary! Hallelujah!

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
--Matthew 11:28 NIV

This was the verse that the radio station we listen to talked about a few days ago and it sparked some interest for me. I have been incredibly tired as of late and have had zero motivation to do anything. The kids and I haven't done anything outside of this house (except going to Target & grocery shopping) in over a month and I felt like I was doing a diservice to my kids. I having been feeling kinda blue for about a week or so because of this but have zip motivation to fix the problem.

So like I said I heard the this verse on the radio and it struck something in me. So I did exactly what Jesus asked me to do. I came to Him in Prayer and I prayed. That night I fell asleep easily slept most of the (which means so did Rylie) and woke up completely refreshed (which doesnt happen frequently). I chalked it up to just being exhausted, of course we slept, our bodies had no other choice. But then last night the same thing happened. Rylie never sleeps through the night. That girl still gets up 2 times to nurse and let me tell you she puts up a fight if she doesnt get to. I will eventually give in so she doesnt wake the whole family up though. Well this morning I was thinking about what great sleep I have had and realized that certain things in our house are running smoother. That must be why I can rest peacefully. Not because Jesus put me into a deep sleep ( well maybe He did, I dont know) but becasue He helped resolve somethings around here.

A few examples:
1. Kevins job was giving him so much hassle about having to take time off for Danielle's appointments and having to come home if she was raging. Big stressor! Well they have an understanding now and been very supportive about whatever he needs to do to help Danielle.
Praise be to God!
2. Danielle, as you all know had a terrible medication reaction which landed her in the hospital and caused us a huge amount of stress and tears. Now her medication is working. No side effects(except weight gain). No fighting with her to take the medication(which most kids do). No rages!
Praise be to God!
3. I have and still do hate giving Danielle her medication because it has caused me a lot of anxiety. That anxiety has come from my own thinking that I some how failed her as a parent. That I couldnt make her better with just a kiss on the boo-boo. I have also been wondering what God thinks about my parenting and the decsions that we have made regaurding her care. We have seeked Him through it all to lead us to what He wants us to do but we always look back and say "Is that what God wanted us to do or what we wanted to do?" I am sure more often then not we have done what is comfortable for us weather He wanted it or not. Thank goodness that our Father is a forgiving father.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."--Philippians 4:6 NIV
I have been repeating this verse to myself whenever I am feeling anxiety about the medication and that maybe she is just having another side effect. Every little thing that happens to her, every sniffle, cough and sneeze. Every tummy ache and headache. I am always thinking that it has got to be the medicine. I now have a peace this morning that all of these things are NOT the medication!
Praise be to God!
4. Rylie, like I said already, has been sleeping mostly through the night. She has never done that. We believe that since the raging and loud unpredictable behavior from Danielle is ceasing that now Rylie has a peace that allows her to sleep restfully. We know where that peace comes from! Now we have to work on getting her out of our bed! :0)
Praise be to God!

Here are the few that I can think of right off the top of my head. I know after my rest that I can and will be able to serve the Lord today and everyday that I seek Him.

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Family Time!

My, my we are lagging on keeping this blog up! It just seems as if we are so busy all of the time! I wonder if we will ever sit down as a family and have dinner again...

Well once again we have had another wonderful week with Danielle! She is doing better in a lot of areas! The biggest one for us is the raging. It is awful to hear her talk the way she does when she is raging. It's like the evil one is posessing her. Is that possible?? Anyway, now that we are on week 4 of the medication that I dread giving her, she is much better. We have found that we have had a lot more fun in the evening (minus daddy because he is at work). The girls and I have started dancing around the house to the Christian radio station for about 20 minutes every night. It is so amazing to me that Danielle at age 5 knows the words to the songs and for the most part understands what they mean. Rylie has been just wild! She does more running and a little bit of turning around in a circle! She contributes to our laughter and that whats counts!

The other thing we started is talking more about Jesus in a way that is simple for the girls to understand. I love that Danielle attended JICC Preschool because just those 3 precious years have built a foundation for her that I think no diagnosis will shake! I praise God for that! Danielle recently gave Rylie her preschool Bible and told her "Rylie, You have to listen to this book. Its really good!" I laughed. I smiled. Danielle still has a really hard time with sharing anything but because Ms. Shandy did such a wonderful job teaching her the stories from this book she thought Rylie needed to have it so she could learn from it too. That is excellent progress.

Now on to Thanksgiving. It is going to be here before we know it! We are hosting it this year and I couldnt be more excited! I have made invitations and the menu(pretty much) and just being able to spend the holidays with the family is a blessing. The kids have been really excited too! They are going to help as much as they can, which isnt a lot, but its enough for them to learn a lesson about being helpful! I love being a mommy! I cant imagine my life without my kids. I find myself considering going back to work as a nurse because of finances, but after I hear that "mama" from the baby moniter or Danielle telling me that she loves when I come to her school, I cant imagine any job more rewarding! After all, God entrusted these children to me and it is my job as a mommy to raise them up in the Word. No amount of money in the world is worth more than that!

Well I am off to the house work! And hopefully my Bible study for today! Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers!
Have an awesome day,

Sunday, November 16, 2008


My family, as most of you know, is my life. Everything I do is for them. With Thanksgiving coming up I have been doing a lot of studying in the Bible about what family looks like in God Eyes. Since I never grew up in a "Christian Family", I stumbled upon faith by accident. Well, I am sure it was no accident. God had a plan for me, this much I do know. However, Kevin was raised in his faith and knew all along about what Gods Plan for family was. Lately we have been talking alot about what he knows about it and what we want to know about it. We have discovered that there is a lot about family that we dont know. We wanted to go to the Family Driven Faith confrence in September but we were all sick. We felt like this would have answered a lot of our questions and helped us realize what Gods Will is for our family. Since we werent able to attend we decided that we are going to rewatch the visionary parenting and redo all of the worksheets that accompany the DVDs. We hope to find what we are looking for.

Part of me thinks that we are missing out on a lot that God has planned for us and the other part of me wonders why when I pray for a peace and an understanding of what is happening in my family He hasnt fully answered my prayers. I know He has been giving us the strength that we need to get through what we are going through, but what about that understanding. Maybe the best is yet to come...if I always knew what ws to come life would not be fun! So for now I will continue to read and study Deuteronomy 6. This has answered a lot of questions that I have. My girls seem to love it too. Danielle has asked me to find it in her Childrens Bible so we can read it at bedtime. It makes me smile inside to know my children already know about a book that I knew nothing about and like to hear the stories inside of it.

5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 NIV

These are my favorite verses from that reading. I think that He is trying to show me one part of being a parent. Showing them unconditional love as He shows us. I dont know though.

Well here is the family update: We are all doing pretty well. Danielle has had some bad days this week with anxiety. Rylie has been wheezing a lot lately. We think that her behavior is a result of that. And so does her pediatrician. So thats about the only bad news I have to report. Good news is that I am doing better and so is Kevin. His job is allowing overtime right now so he is working his day off to earn some extra money for the hoildays. Then hopefully we will be going to get our Christmas pics taken today! (appt pending)

I wanted to post some pics of the kids. They are getting so big! So enjoy....

She has learned how to climb on the oven door....totally not safe. We love hanging out on the hammock in the back yard while Kevin is grilling our dinner!

Ther's my girl Danielle! Cute as can be!

So off to love on my children....

Thursday, November 13, 2008 home recovering...

good evening,

Just wanted to let everyone know that I am home and recovering. They gave me more medication in the injection this time and it caused some yucky side effects. I am feeling better from those but I am really sore! Hopefully I will be better soon.

Danielle update: She is having some huge anxiety issues this week. I hope its not a medication side effect but we shall see. She hasnt been to school in 3 days because of this. So please continue to pray for her. Thank you!

Well I am off to bed now. Good night!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A short & sweet update!!!

Good morning,
I thought that I would share with you all that today I am going to have steriod shots put in my shoulders today. It is definitely not pleasent but it helps over a period of time. I will be relying heavily on prayers and my husband to help me with everyday tasks. One thing I doubt he will do is update our blog...which is fine with me, it just means that it might be 3 days before I can lift my arms enough to type. So I will give you all a little update.....

Kevin and I are getting good reports from the therapist and family members about us having a peace about us and our kids. That is definitely what we are trying to accomplish. Ms. E. is also very proud of Danielle for her very controlled bouts of anger. That means that she still gets angry but she is able to better control herself. We see that as progress. Praise God!

Danielle and Rylie are playing a lot better together. They are sharing toys and books and mommy too. It is a much happier home these days and that makes me very happy! We are hoping for a stablized mood by the new year!

Well we have to start the day now! Have a blessed day!

Much love,

Monday, November 10, 2008

Guess what!!??


YES! WE actually went thru an entire weekend without a rage! I think that the medication might be working. There is a downside (the weight gain), but I think we will be able to control this with exercise and diet(I hope). Danielle is really proud of herself and so are we. We would like to thank everyone who has continued to pray for us too, because we know that God has answered these prayers!

On a yucky note: Rylie had a fever last night of 103.7 and she was taken to the ER at Summerville Medical. After 3 hours of waiting we found out that she has Hand, Foot and Mouth disease. The doctor said this is a viral illness and that it is really going around right now. He suggessted that we avoid shopping carts even if we use the covers ( unless I washed it after every use, which I dont. I wash it weekly with my laundry). He said a better bet would be to use our stroller as much as possible. She is feeling a lot better today and her fever is much lower but it was a scary night to say the least. We once again used the power of prayer last night and we believe that our prayers were answered. Her fever broke even when the doctors said it would probably take 2-3 days of being that high. Well it broke before we left and now its like 100.2 ish and has been all day! Praise God!

"Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven."
James 5:14-15 NLT

By the way, we love our new camera! We will post some new pics soon! We have just been so busy! That seems to be the story of our life these days!

Have a blessed day!
Much love,
Jacki & Kevin Smith

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Christmas in November???

Is it just me or is it looking like Chirstmas in November??? When I was at the mall today picking up my new camera(replacement for old one that darling 5 year old broke, thank goodness for protection plans!) there was Christmas stuff everywhere! The stores all had Christmas music playing already. They had that playing 2 days before Halloween. I mean people we havent even celebrated Thanksgiving yet! I, for one, like to enjoy the fall and Thanksgiving before I enjoy Christmas! I guess it's not such a bad thing, its just I feel like the stores are just pushing the holidays and there meanings to the way side. I have a lot to be thankful for and I dont want to be side tracked by all of the Christmas stuff. I enjoy Christmas too, but I want to enjoy Thanksgiving as well. Alright, enough of that.

Here's an update on the princess:
Well we made it through another week.Things are getting easier and I think Danielle is adjusting to her meds at a lower dose a lot better. We havent had a meltdown since tuesday afternoon and she attended school 3 days this week. That is a huge accomplishment for her. I cant wait until she will be attending 4 and 5 days all day! She needed to get picked up an hour early on Thursday and Friday but thats okay. She is trying!

Rylie update: I am convienced that Rylie should have been my boy! She is so silly! She is always in to everything! We have had to call poisen control at least 6 times since she turned 1 and that was only 4 months ago! She is starting to talk a lot! She learned her name and Danielle's this week and I think she might be saying "mine" in some funny way! She is still climbing on everything and the whole arching her back when she doesnt get her way thing isnt getting any better either. Dr Stadalsky says its totally normal but man it is scary when she smacks her head on the wood or tile floor! She is getting really tall too. I think they say she is in the 80% for height. She certainly doesnt get that from me! Over all though, she is doing awesome! Doing just what a 16 month old should be!

Kevin and Jacki: We are doing good too! We wish we had a little more alone time to spend with each other and with God but we are grateful for the little time that we do have! Our babies wont be little forever and we realize that we are lucky to have been choosen to parent them. We still have not found a church to attend yet which is making it hard to meet new people in the Summerville area but we feel like right now we should be spending this time with the kids and stablizing Danielle!

Well off to start dinner. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. We know that they have been working! Have a blessed weekend!

Much love,
Jacki & Kevin

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Medication issues...

Well my friends, Danielle has had a rough 2 days. Yesterday she was rushed to the ER around noon time for what they called a "Dystonic medication reaction". Yep. I am sure you are all wondering what that means. It basically means that her adverse reaction caused stiff muscles and a loss of consciousness. She was down for about 12 mins and then when she came too she had no idea what was going on. Her heart rate was in the 180's and she had some shallow breathing. They gave her some O2 and then we got into the ambulance where they hooked her up to everything else. When we got to the hospital they gave her some IV fluids and drew some blood and did a CT and an EKG all of which came back normal ( thank goodness ) They sent us home with the adverse reaction diagnosis and told us to follow up in the morning with her psychiatrist. We did and he feels like she would benefit from restarting the medication at a lower dose. When you consider the alternative to the medication, which is basically hell on earth, the benefits definitely outweigh the risks.

So tonight, against my wishes and better judgement I will restart the dreaded medication and pray that the Lord will keep her safe and that he will show us what the right thing is to do. I wish that I could approach this situation with hope and knowledge that whatever happens is Gods Will for her and for us. But for some reason that is not how I approach it. And it plain out sucks! I hate this for Danielle. I hate this for my marriage. I hate that Rylie can not do normal baby things because of the beatings that she has taken from Danielle. I hate that we cant even make to church for fear that Danielle will not want to be left with people that she doesnt know and that when we get home she will melt. I hate that my life revolves around Dr. appointments and therapy sessions, previewing and fighting with my family. I hate all of this. I really just want it all to go away!

I know that God must be giving me the strength to get through this because, maybe at the end of this struggle He will be Glorified. And after all isnt that what we are all supposed to do through the good times and bad???

So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen.2 Timothy 2:10 NLT

Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen 2 Timothy 4:18 NLT

So after a very emotional day I am back to the trenches of my so called life. We do however what to thank everybody for their prayers and support. Keep them coming! If it weren't for those we probably would have no strength to handle any of this. We will keep everybody updated on the situation and of course all of the joyous things as well as they happen!

Have a wonderful day! Until next time,
much love jacki

Monday, November 3, 2008

Not so quick family update...

Good evening friends and family,

Just a quick family update: We are doing better and better as the weeks go by. It's getting easier to swallow reality. I was just telling Kevin that I need to look up the stages of grief because I think that i might be in the angry part...i dont know though. I have these days where I am finding myself asking God why HE did this to my family. And why, especially when He knows the other health issues that we deal with daily, would He not heal one of us to make it easier for us to handle this awful diagnosis! I mean, I know that He didn't bless us with this evil disorder but because I am so alone in this battle with little or no armour I always feel vulnerable. And when I have no answers and I don't understand what in the world He is trying to teach me through all of this its just easier I guess to blame the ones you are closest to. And unfortunately for God its Him right now...I often wonder if my old job at the hospital was preparation for this time of my life. I met a lot of families who go through this type of loneliness daily, who often didn't visit(but would call) because they needed a break from the day-to-day, and the medical knowledge that I gained was tremendous. Well one day when I have time to think about my life and not always the ins and outs of Danielle's then I might just figure it out!

On a much lighter note we only had 2 meltdowns this week and that is awesome! Danielle has learned from therapy to recognize her angry feelings and do her 3min cool-down techniques when she feels like she is about to loose control. Since she has shown us a lot of effort in that area we decided to reward her with a movie nite! We all went to High School Musical 3 and it was awesome! Then we came home, had dinner together and read books before bedtime together. We rarely get to do that all as a family! For these days I am Thankful!

Also, Danielle has found a new baby to play with...her sister! Yep! She has been pushing Rylie around in her baby stroller and Rylie loves it! Now whenever Rylie sees the stroller she wants in. It is hilarious to watch! Rylie has a few new words now toothat we would like to share with you all...uh-oh, sissy, daddy-do, mine, kitty and doggy. I am going to post a video of her saying all of these things soon. It is just so cute!

Well anyway so much for quick update! I am off to put away the Laundry and then go to bed! Goodnight,


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Wow it's already November!

Happy November! I cant believe that it is already November. That means that Thanksgiving is only 27 days away and Chirstmas is only 55 days away! Wow! It will be 2009 before we know it!

Family update: Well because we have had 2 bad weeks now, we have had to start the dreaded medication. It is an anti-psychotic. It has awful side affects including producing swollen breasts and lactation. We are just praying that she doesn't get that side affect. That is ridiculous! But because it is the one that has the most research done on it and it is approved by the FDA for use in children with aggression caused by conduct disorders we feel like it is a reasonable drug to use. So I feel a little better about this medication trial. However we dont think we will use the other medication, Lithium. I have seen the side affect of this medication working in Behavioral med at st. francis hospital. Basically we want Danielle to be happy and live the most normal life that she can and if that means a little medication then we will do what we need to do. So far she has tolerated the medication well. As for the rest of us we are all very tired. We are busy with all of her appointments and then of course life in itself is busy. The positive is that we have our family worship time in the car on the way to all of these appointments. We have had some awesome conversations in the car! Even Rylie is trying put in her 2 cents about what we are talking about with a shaking of her head. It is so cute. And when we have worship music on in the car, especially the kids mixs she will sing along(in baby talk, of course). It is cute to watch how much she look up to Danielle. If Danielle is raising her hands in praise then Rylie will do it too! I just love watching that interaction between them.

Other than all of that heavy stuff we have been doing good! We haven't been sick in 2 weeks and that is a wonderful blessing considering the stress we have been under this week! Praise God for our health! We have recently done some painting in our master bedroom...well it's finished being painted. The furniture, however is not finished. So we are still in the process of sanding down the previous finish and applying the new one. I will post some pics when it's complete!

As for Halloween: We went to a freinds house in Goose Creek and hung out there. I dressed the kids up as Minnie Mouse and A ladybug! They were adorable! We got some candy from a little bit of trick or treating but becasue it was way too cold to be out we just went to like 10 or so houses. It was fun but I am glad it is over. I am ready for Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for!

I also want to thank all of those who have been praying for our family! We know that the prayers are helping. I cant explain the strength that we have had to deal with all of this and we know it comes from Him. So please keep them coming! :)

Have a great weekend,