July 03, 2016

Courageous Joy

Today marks the 10h anniversary of Chloe's accident, a life changing experience for our girl and for our entire family.  I cannot believe it's been that long, so much has happened since then.  It's funny because Chloe just stumbled upon this blog and I shared with her why I continue to write on here every July 3rd.  This is for her.  My prayer is that Chloe will be able to read through all the posts about her and see how God's hands has rested powerfully on her from birth.  

It's been good for me as well, in the beginning it was more about having a place to pour out my heart in those first agonizing days after her accident.  In the last few years, it has developed into a yearly testimony to all the amazing things that God has and is doing in and through this amazing young girl! 

I love to tell her story in pictures...

We have been through so much as a family.  God has been the glue and we stand today together, the bond of love stronger than ever.  All the glory goes to God!

Family Love

Camp No Limits continues to be a HUGE part of our lives!  As Chloe grows as a young lady, we are excited to see how her role changes from camper to mentor.  She and Emma have a super strong bond through some tough shared expeiences.

Camp No Limits, CT ~ Attended camp by herself for the 1st time!

We are always amazed by the things Chloe is able to do, there are truly NO LIMITS!!

Camp No Limits, Maine

So thrilling to see the advances in prosthetics!  This was such a fun time shared with good friends.

Camp No Limits, MD ~ Tried a running foot for the 1st time!

Chloe not only sets and achieves physical goals but she does the same with academic goals.  She finished 7th grade with all A's!  She works hard at everything she does.

1st Day of School ~ 7th Grade for Chloe and 9th for Alex

She was very excited for her very first middle school dance at school!  
What a special girl she is, truly her father's joy!

1st School Dance

We love to see her in sports!  Chloe loves being active and playing on her school teams.

Played soccer for her school

She is a beauty inside and out!

Havre de Grace, MD
She had the opportunity to attend four different Camp No Limits in the past year ~ 
Camp No Limits, FL ~ Gator fun!

Camp No Limits, FL ~ Dominating the Ropes Course

Camp No Limits, FL ~ Amp Buddies
For the most part, this year has been incredible for Chloe physically with one exception.  In December, she injured her leg and ruptured an area of bursitis she's had for awhile.  Her leg swelled to double the size and she was out of her leg for weeks.  So hard to see her like that, but she's a champ!  We were able to get her a wheelchair and we just carried on as normal.  Chloe never complains and has a smile on her face no matter the obstacle.  
It is evidence of God's mercy and grace!
Longwood Gardens with the girls ~ Always smiling even when in pain and in a wheelchair

This girl loves the beach like her mama!  We enjoyed a little family getaway to VA Beach.
Beach Lover

Chloe loves playing softball and had an awesome year!  No one except another amputee understands how much harder Chloe has to work  to do the same things others do in sports.  We are so proud of her, she works twice as hard as anyone on her team!  She never complains, never whines, never feels sorry for herself, never asks for extra slack, never asks to be treated special.  I'm pretty sure most of the girls and their parents on her team this year did not realize that she has a prosthetic leg!  :)
Softball girl

She is FULL of laughter and joy!  What a sweet blessing this girl is to our family.  How lost and lonely we would be without her.  We give all thanks to God for saving her life 10 years ago.
Silly Girl

She was thrilled to be in her first school play and to be one of her favorite characters from Anne of Green Gables!  I do believe she has a natural talent for drama!! LOL :)
1st School Play ~ Chloe was Diana and Alex was Gilbert in Anne of Green Gables

We were so excited that Chloe's good friend, Emma, was able to attend the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Camp that Chloe went to in CA last summer.  These guys are our heroes and they just give the kids inspiration and confidence that is extraordinary!  This year they were close enough for us to go down and watch the final big game.  It was awesome!!  Chloe loved seeing her friends again and was honored to be the bat girl for them.  She had a smile from ear to ear and talked about it all the way home!
Super pumped to be the Bat Girl for her friends from the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team!

Good catch!

Our sweet girl, such a precious gift from God on loan to us for a little while...
Courage, Strength, Faith, Laughter, Faith, Love
This girl...what can I say?  The older she gets, the more open she is and talks quite often about her accident and how it has changed her life.  After the WWAST game on the way home, Chloe told me that she was grateful to have the life she has.  She is grateful that she had her accident because she never would have met the people she has met, made the friends she has, been able to do all the amazing things she has done.  Let me tell you, it was one of those conversations that I will remember for the rest of my life.  Talk about emotional, this mama was a hot mess!  All I could think of was the goodness of God.  To see my daughter's faith grow, to see the beauty from ashes that God has orchestrated...it's unbelievable!  I will always struggle with some of the whys and the wanting to trade places with her, I would in a heartbeat.  And yes, whenever she has hard days or pain, I ache and I mourn for what was "normal life"...I can't help it, I'm her mama.  But the majority of time, I just revel in how far God has brought her and how He knew from the begining of time that this was Chloe's journey.  The day that rocked our world was not an accident in God's perspective...He was with us every moment.  He's been with us every step, every day and every year since then.  Her heavenly Father created her and gave her everything she needs to meet every obstacle head on, conquer it and move on to the next one with a perseverance and tenacity that is mind blowing.  God's hand rests powerfully on our daughter, whose name means Vibrant and her Father's Joy.  These words could not describe our girl more accurately!   

Ten years ago, if you would have asked me to forsee where Chloe would be, where we would be as a family, I never in a million years would have guessed!  Isn't that God?  He is able to do much more than anything we could ever think or imagine!  And so, by faith today I look another ten years down the road to when Chloe is 23 years old...I see amazing things, I see the sky is the limit, I see the ripple effect of God's grace extend outward to so many others through Chloe, I see her setting goals and demolishing them, I see her growing in grace and love, I see her continuing to be a living testimony to the goodness of God.  Friends, so many of you have walked with us these past ten years...continue to believe with me. Believe and have faith for yourselves, for your families...have Hope!  God never disappoints us and He will never let us down!

July 03, 2015

Life to the Fullest

One of my favorite things to do on this date, is to pause and take time to look back over the past year to see what God has done in Chloe's life and how far He has brought her.  It is such a faith builder for me personally and I pray that it will be for Chloe too one day.  Physically, Chloe has had a phenomenal year with no issues with pain or problems with her prosthesis.  Emotionally, she has also had a phenomenal year with incredible growth, maturity and her increasing ability to OWN who she is, to shine brightly and to THRIVE in her world!  This amazing girl is such an example to all those around her, especially her family.  Chloe is the last one to complain, the last one to look for sympathy, and the last one to make excuses.  She is full of compassion, love, gentleness and joy!  She excels in everything she does with such passion, commitment and tenacity to grow and improve every day.  Every year I am blown away by the opportunities that God opens up to her, many of which are possible because of the "accident" that happened 9 years ago today.  

How is it possible that 9 years have passed since the day that rocked our world and shook us to the very core?  You know the saying, time heals all wounds.  In many ways I would agree with this - most of the time I go throughout my days never thinking about that terrible season.  I am able to talk about it freely and I am able to share with others Chloe's story of how God spared her life and redirected her path in such a way that is more incredible than I ever could've imagined.  Chloe has gone through very difficult and dark days but I know without a shadow of a doubt that God never left her and that He is actively at work bringing incredible beauty from those ashes.  These days I don't struggle with a longing to change her path, to make it better, to fix it or trade places with her - not that I don't struggle ever.  That's just called being a mama :).  But as Chloe grows and matures, my faith grows and matures as I watch God gently unfold all these amazing things He's doing in her and through her.  And honestly, I stand amazed and in awe of the beauty that flows from this girl that God has gifted to us for a time.  As the years pass, I am painfully aware that time with Chloe at home with us grows shorter.  And so we jump in with both feet to everything we can join her in and together we are able to enjoy the ride that God has us on as a family.  Our future, Chloe's future is very bright because God is the one that hold it in His hands.  

I say the same thing every July 3rd and I will continue to say it every day, that God is good all the time…and all the time God is good.  

The past year for Chloe in pictures, most recent ones first...It's been such an incredible year!  

Chloe and Alex enjoy a trip to Toronto with the family this summer.

Chloe begins summer softball league for 2015.

Chloe was chosen with 19 other amputee kids to fly out to spend a week in California at theWounded Warrior Amputee Softball Kids Camp.  It was one of the most incredible weeks she's ever had!  The inspiration given by these amazing Vets was awesome!  The connection they had with the kids was magical, I cannot even describe it in words.  

The Big Game - WWAST kids camp.  Lightning vs Thunder :)

For the first time, Chloe met and made friends with girls her age who were also amputees.  Every other camp, Chloe has always made friends with siblings of amputee kids.  So this was a first, an incredible first!! 

The guys were so awesome, spending time working with, teaching, encouraging and inspiring our kids to grow, succeed, improve and excel!  Their motto: Life Without Limbs is Limitless. How true!!

Chloe got to take a weekend trip to NYC with her 6th grade class this May.  What a fun time!! 

Soooo thrilled to go with her!!!

Chloe "aka" Smash - continues to love playing softball!!  

For the first time in 9 years, Chloe decided to do an open design with her leg.  She went with a zebra design which I think is the coolest thing ever!!!  We are SO proud of our girl and the beautiful amazing young lady she is becoming! 

First concert with her BFF

Much to celebrate at Christmas! 

Chloe had a part in her school Christmas play.

Tackling the bungee trampoline at Camp No Limits in Maine.  

Working on her PT and biking skills at CNL.  

Rocking our CNL shirts at the showing of Dolphin Tale 2!

First day of 6th grade at her new school (joining Alex).

Conquering the giant swing at Camp No limits in Maryland. 

Zip line fun!

Wet zip line, goes right into the water!! Talk about facing your fear! 

Loving her open design leg at Mrytle Beach!  Less hassle for swimming and less questions asked!! 

Our family - such a blessed gift from God!  

July 03, 2014

Life is a Precious Gift

This year totally snuck up on me, which is unusual but an awesome thing!!  Normally, I kinda dread this day to be honest.  In the past, I would see it coming up on the calendar and cringe inside.  The anniversary doesn't mean anything to anyone but us.  We don't talk about it with Chloe because she's doing AWESOME and is rockin' life one day at a time.  But for Joel and I...we remember, reflect and give thanks.  It's cathartic for us. That's why I write on here every year, I hope to print these out for Chloe one day as a type of journal, an encouragement to see how FAR God has brought her and all the amazing things He has done in and through her!!  So much more to come too! :)  I truly love looking back at the year and seeing all the wonderful things that have happened and even the challenging things too.  Pictures are my favorite way to do that...

This is Chloe at our FAV place, Camp No Limits in Maine!!
She learned how to paddle board for the first time and 
looked like a pro out there :)

Rock Climbing (with a flower in her hair) 
Made it to the top and rang that bell!!! :)

Camp No Limits, Maryland 
It is my all time fav time to spend with Chloe, watching her challenge herself and grow and be with the people who "get it" and are just like family to us!!

This past fall, Chloe tried Soccer and had a blast!!
It wasn't the easiest on her leg but that didn't stop her :)

She loves her animals!!

This spring, she fell in love with Softball!!
Wow, she's a powerhouse - they call her Slugger :)

They love having a Dad who loves to play sports with them!! :)

Chloe's last concert at elementary school, 
playing Violin and singing in the Chorus!

Spring 2014 school picture - time is flying too fast!!

Chloe's 5th Grade Graduation
We are oozing with pride over the precious girl God has allowed us to call ours!
She is our Sunshine and brings so much joy and laughter to our lives!!

It's been 8 years since -- our lives changed, our family faced the most heart wrenching of circumstances, our darkest day, we wondered how we would survive and what her life would be like, we cried and we worried every day...

It's been 8 years since  --  we saw God spare our daughter's life, we had a legion of people surround us with care, love and prayer support, we saw Chloe leap over every hurdle in front of her, we looked into those sparkly eyes steely with determination and knew everything would be ok, we celebrated her walking again, we forgave and received forgiveness, we loved abundantly and received love abundantly...

We call it an "accident" but we believe in a God who lovingly orders all our steps.  Did He cause Chloe to get hurt? No.  Did He allow Chloe to get hurt? Yes.  Do I still wonder why some days and wish things were different? Yes.  I am human - I am a Mother.  However, I have seen amazing things in and through my daughter because of this journey, I have seen her experience amazing things because of this journey, I have been blown away by the things that God has allowed to come into our lives because of this journey.  

In the past year, Chloe has been to 2 Camp No Limits - (learned to paddle board, beat the rock wall, rode a mechanical bull, faced down the super sized swing, challenged herself to the ropes course, went tubing) had an awesome time at Pirate Camp in FL - (learned how to sail, paddle boarded, caught a sea urchin).  She played soccer for the first time, had an awesome first CNL fundraiser and was given a Kingsville firemen's helmet and a chance to say Thank You in person, made a group of school friends who truly accepted her for who she is, played softball for the first time, got a newly designed prosthesis, finished her Patriot program and enjoyed a field trip as an award, got excellent grades, graduated from 5th grade, is looking forward to another awesome summer and transferring to a new school in the fall!!!  :)

What can I say in response to all this?  God is good.  All the time, God is good.  And I believe that with all my heart, it gives me joy on the good days and hope on the difficult days.  I have come to see that all things come through my heavenly Father's hands and that they are good, intended for my very best.  That is true also for Chloe-girl, who belongs to God as well!  I will continue to claim that truth for her until the day she is able to claim that for herself. 

So today, I'm going to be JOYFUL and THANKFUL because I have so many reasons to do so...

~ A Tribute ~

This year we grieved the loss of a dear friend, the Orthopedic Dr. that operated on Chloe after her accident. Dr. Arabella Leet was a precious woman who loved Chloe from the minute she met her and Chloe loved her - we all did!  I don't know if I could have received the words, "we couldn't save her foot" from anyone other than this sweet lady.  We knew without a doubt that she had tried everything she could and we could be at peace with her decision to amputate.  Dr. Leet walked with us through many difficulties, trials, surgeries, procedures and healing.  She championed and cheered Chloe every step of the way, often calling Chloe "her hero".  But Dr. Leet was our hero, one that is truly and deeply missed.  It broke our hearts to hear of her too soon passing.  A large piece of Chloe's history went with her, no one else knows the details surrounding this date.  The world was better with her in it, we are better because we knew her and loved her and called her friend.  With all our hearts we want to honor her life by living our lives to the fullest, loving and encouraging those around us!  I know it would make her so happy to see Chloe thriving and living with zest, spirit and determination...we love you, Dr. Leet xoxo

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