Sunday, November 6, 2011

1,000 posts, 10,000 joys...

Cue the confetti! Drop the balloons! Crank up the party music-- it's our Crazy for Caroline 1,000th blog post!! woohoo!!

And as you can see from the results of our fun, little poll on the side of the screen, we had a tie between giving you guys a top 10 post and a heart-felt reflection. Sooooo.... we are going to take a stroll back through memory lane.... in a very heart-felt way, of course. :)

When I (Amy) began Crazy for Caroline the week or two after Caroline was born, it was originally a place where birthmommy Megan & our family could visit to see pictures of this sweet little baby that had been placed in our arms. I had no idea that it would gain followers-- people that don't even know us--- or that one day I'd be writing about subjects like gluten-free or alopecia!

What I really didn't realize was what an enjoyable outlet of creativity and expression it would be for me personally. You know, watching and documenting all the little things in my child's life-- from the momentous first steps and the sweet, open-mouth baby kisses to the amazing process of learnng language-- this journey has been beyond unbelievable to me. It's been the best years of my life and the worst years of my life, and I never want to forget a thing!

I've always been a journaler, too. You can be sure there are always thoughts, emotions, & ideas rummaging around in my heart and the only way they'll come out clearly is if I can write them out. Thank you all so much for being so encouraging to me as I've decided to take some of my journaling here to a public forum.

So for our Top 10, I thought, why not see which posts got the most responses/reactions from YOU guys?! We always appreciate y'all's comments and encouragements... and as I looked back to the posts on which posts YOU all respond to the most, it was evident that you guys are pretty stinkin' awesome. Here's what I mean:

10) So, it's probably no suprise that several of our Future Potential Career Path's received quite the responses from y'all. You guys are guaranteed to crack us up with your guesses each time! And for whatever reason, a few of them stood out to you as the most popular: This one, and this one, and the Christmas edition, and this one, and this one, this one, this one (take 2), or the ORIGINAL 1st ever Potential Career Paths. You guys obviously have an amazing, creative sense of humor. We love it. :)

9) Another post where you guys ralleyed behind us early on was in "Adoption Awkwardness," where I had an interesting run-in with a worker at Wendy's about open adoption & my Mama Bear claws came out. :)

8) When I had an idea of publishing the children's book we made for Caroline about her adoption, you guys were right there for us offering help and encouragement!

And then hairloss hit us.

7) In this post, "Where I Put My Trust," we didn't know exactly why Caroline's hair was falling out. I asked for prayer from you guys, and this post holds some of my initial responses to what was quickly unfolding before us. I couldn't help but cry as I re-read this post. I was comitting to live by faith and not by sight, trusting in the Lord's plan for us, knowing that even the numbers of our hair are numbered. (Luke 12.7)

6) Then, shortly after Caroline's hair began falling out, I was hit with a major spell of vertigo attacks so severe that I was unable to travel to Texas for Christmas. (when it rains, it pours!) As I shared my disappointment in this post, you guys were ever so consoling to us. Thank you.

5) Remember this video with the fastest rendition of The Lord's Prayer you've ever heard?? ha! With the last few hairs remaining upon her head, hearing my daughter sing these songs about Jesus to ME was so therapeutic. This video of Caroline singing "Come Thou Fount" also received numerous comments! It's so funny to look back and see the same expressions and the same, eh hem, bossy nature in her. :)

4) At many points during Caroline's months of hairloss, I became hurt and frustrated by people's reactions to us. In this post, "People Say the Funniest Things," I placed people's usual reactions to suffering into 7 categories and offered a Christian response at the end-- it seemed to resonate with many of you, and I appreciated your ever-supportive words.

And THEN, the real fun began...

3) As we continued trying to figure out what was happening to our daughter, the Lord brought us down another unexpected path. Following some bloodwork, our gastroenterologist gave us the option of trying a gluten free diet with Caroline. In this post, we enjoyed a Last Supper of pizza together before going gluten free the next morning. I can't begin to tell you how FRAZZLED and anxious I was at the prospect of beginning this diet!-- though I think this post I made on gluten-free, day 1 gives you the idea... (and to think, the Lord had us embark on this originally for Caroline, but it turned out it was actually MARC that needed the gluten free diet more than any of us! Praise be to God for how He sovereignly ordains even the details, and now cooking gluten free is second nature to me now!)

...and what was amazing to me was how you guys were cheering us on the whole way!, both on this blog and through email, phone calls, cards, etc.-- sending us recipes, money, bringing gifts and meals to our house, sitting with me & listening to me cry, and offering up a whole lot of prayer for us. In such a scary time, we felt so much support from the body of believers across the country. God's grace to us felt so tangible and near through the hands of His people. Thank you, thank you.

2) This post, "Accepting Alopecia," didn't receive lots of comments on the blog, but it seemed like after I posted it, everyone in my life was talking about the girls with alopecia in these 2 videos! The people in these videos, though I've never met them!, were both HIGHLY instrumental to beginning the acceptance process for me and helping me decide how to best handle this condition as Caroline's mom. I am still convinced that it is most important for Caroline to know deeply that there is NO SHAME and NO need to cover up to be accepted and deeply loved. (don't we all need to know that?)

1) The last post also makes me cry as I look over it again. Wow. It was the final ending to months and months of searching for a clear diagnosis. An end to months of crazy diets and nutritional therapy and doing everything imaginable that we could for our daughter to be healthy again. It was the moment when we got to STOP and just grieve. It was the moment when we were told that this is, indeed, alopecia totalis and we are probably looking at "A Life Without Hair."

It's crazy to look back at all the changes within 1,000 posts! Physical changes, different hairstyles, and a daughter who has changed so much in 3 1/2 years! It's also crazy to see how the Lord has changed us on the inside as well. We are certainly not the same people we were. Who knew this would be our story?! Makes me wonder what the next 1,000 posts will hold...

But with all the changes, some things remain constant through the entire story:

1) God is good.
2) He never promises us a life without suffering, but He promises to be with us through it. (Is 43)
3) I love my little family, as silly & dysfunctional as we are! :) And we are praying that our story will soon include the adoption of another baby to love oh-so-fiercely.

So here's to 1,000 posts!!

1,000 posts, but 10,000(+) joys...

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