A view into the life of a family who encountered a different future than expected, but has become all the richer for it.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

What A Wonderful Life!

As I sit at my computer tonight, I still cannot believe I am now 39! Thirty-nine years have flown by. If I were to be honest, I've actually reflected over those years today in an act of counting my blessings. Here is a little bit of the recount I've had of my years.

I was born on March 13th, 1972. I weighed 6lbs 1oz and was 19 inches long. My parents gave me the name Heather Christine.

I grew up in a wonderful family. My mom and dad were both very musical. My mom sang and played the piano for our church for 30 years. My dad sang and played guitar and harmonica. My mom MADE me, my sister and brother sing three-part harmony when we were very young kids. We hated all of that practice, but now we look back and are so thankful that our mom invested that time in us. I remember that our family would get together with several other families in our church and we would have "singings" for several hours on a weekend night. Those were fun memories.
I attended the same Missionary Baptist church for all of my young life (up until graduating college). I was very active in all of the choirs and ensembles there. I also taught youth and college classes when I WAS a youth and college aged person! And, I made some of the best friends growing up in that church.

It was in high school that I started singing in show choirs. That was a wonderfully, fun experience! I wanted nothing more than to be just like my high school chorus teacher. I loved high school and was voted class favorite every year (which amazed me because I was so quiet back then).

I look back now and laugh at a high school photo of me and my brother from my senior Sweetheart Dance (I was voted queen). I guess whoever took the photo didn't realize that I took my brother to the dance with me. The quote under our photo was, "For Heather and her date, it was a night filled with romance!"

It was in my high school years that I invited Jesus Christ into my life. I knew that I wanted a personal relationship with the God who had created my life and all of the blessings that went along with it. I wanted Him to walk with me through the rest of my life and all that it held for me. That was the best decision I've ever made.

After high school, I took a year off to earn some money working at a Chiropractor's office. I started college in 1991. I LOVED college! I was in several college pageants, always winning second runner up and most of the time winning the talent portion of the competition. I sang in a scholarship group that traveled on the weekends for several years of my college career. I began having opportunities to do vocal studio work. I made wonderful friends in college that I keep up with even now. I even met my future husband, Mark, there (although we wouldn't marry for many years down the road). College was a wonderful experience for me. I obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Performance and a minor in English. I had the 5-year college plan and graduated in 1996.

After college, I took the summer off. Then, I auditioned for a full-time singing group called Wings of Morning. I traveled with that full-time group as a soprano singer and also as the groups musical director for about 5 or 6 months. I went back home after my short "road" experience to begin teaching voice lessons. I also acquired a job at Integrity Music. I taught voice and worked at Integrity for 9 1/2 years.

God began working in my heart regarding a solo ministry in music. On top of my two "jobs," God began opening doors for me to provide music for lots of women's events, youth events and church services. I recorded my first solo album called Wonder. All of the songs were original.

Mark and I reunited after 7 years of being apart. We married in May of 2002. We had our first little girl in July of 2005 ... our second little girl in January of 2007 and our third little girl in March of 2008. I had three little baby girls in a period of less than 3 years! Were we crazy or what? We have been blessed to have our wonderful little girls. Each of them is unique in their own way and we wouldn't trade any of them for the world. When we had our third little girl, our lives totally changed. We started walking a journey we didn't expect. We were now parents of a special needs child. But, God has walked with us every step of the way and we feel so blessed.

God has opened many doors for me to sing and speak at women's events again. I have found such peace and comfort in this renewed ministry in my life. I feel so blessed to be invited to speak into the lives of other women and encourage them on their own journeys. I recorded my second album recently called, Meet Us Here. About half of the songs on the album are original songs.

God has also given me lots of opportunities the past several years to do vocal studio work again, which I love!

And on top of that, I get to teach as an adjunct professor at a local college as a Commercial Voice Instructor. There is nothing better than being able to pour what you have learned over the years through experience and education into the next generation. It is very rewarding.
My husband and I have served at a wonderful church together for almost 9 years now. We have been so blessed by our church family through the years. We couldn't have asked for a better group of people to labor with for God's Kingdom.

Mark and I are getting ready to celebrate 9 years of marriage in May. We always say that we have gone through a lot in 9 years, but I wouldn't have wanted to experience those things with any other man on the planet! Mark is a wonderful husband, father and provider! He has always taken care of our family and I'm so thankful for him!

To conclude this brief little life history lesson, I can look back over the last 39 years and say ... "I have loved my life!" God has truly blessed me abundantly with wonderful friends and family and opportunities to use my gifts for Him. I see God's hand over and over again as a recount all of the blessings of the life He has given me. He has always been so faithful not only to me, but to my entire family.

I pray that whatever years God chooses to bless me with in the future ... that I serve Him with those years as best as I can!

Happy 39th Birthday to me! Thank you Lord, for a wonderful life!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Victoria Turns 3!

Happy Birthday to our little blessing, Victoria Jayne! She is officially 3-years-old on March 10th.

Victoria is doing so many things now. She definitely is not limited physically when it comes to her gross motor skills. She is everywhere, doing everything! The only thing that limits her with her fine motor skills is her impatience with sitting still to do a task for more than 5 minutes at a time. But, we believe that will improve as she gets older.

Victoria's heart repair is still doing wonderfully, as reported by her cardiologist at her recent checkup at his office. We feel so thankful that he believes that she will never have to undergo any other open-heart surgeries EVER!

Victoria is really beginning to "communicate" so much now. Though she speaks "gibberish" most of the time, I can understand a few words she speaks from time to time. She takes after her mother in that she likes to "talk" with her hands! Sometimes, she speaks "gibberish" and moves her hands all over the place. I know she is trying to tell me something really important and I sure wish I knew what it was! I'm just glad that she is "trying" to communicate now.

Victoria will discontinue receiving therapy services from Early Intervention on March 10th and the public school system will take that over. Her new therapists will begin seeing her at the Mom's Day Out program that she is enrolled in. We decided to wait to start her in 3K until the fall, although she could go immediately when she turns 3. Victoria is so small yet and we want her to have a little more time to mature before starting school.

There are so many other things our little girl is accomplishing and we just feel thankful to witness little miracles every day! There is no doubt in our minds that we have, as a family, been given a gift. Living life with a special needs child is, indeed, very special. As a friend recently told me, "Anyone can have a 'normal' baby any day. But, we won the lottery! We were given a special child!"

For some reason God chose our family to receive this special gift and we live in wonder of His faithfulness to us!