Update: Hills & Valleys

In this post: Loss, new life, website news, and other updates. Plus some encouraging vids.

Hello, Dear Ones! You’ve been on my mind. I hope I’ve been in your prayers too. I have been in a season of great grief but also of great joy. Maybe once I can catch my breath I can get back to normal programming. But first let me explain…

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Last month, I lost another grandparent, my Granny. She was my Sunshine. I lived with her or she lived with us throughout my childhood. She was my counselor many times and she had just stayed with us over the Summer. We were getting ready to travel for Granny’s 86th birthday when she fell and broke her hip. She came through surgery only to go septic and have her heart and kidneys fail.

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The family gathered for her viewing the day of her birthday and the funeral the next day. It was a devastating and surprising loss for us all. The one consolation we have is that Granny was ready to meet Jesus. She had told others of her longing for Heaven. So as awful as it was for us, Granny got her birthday present. She’s now in Heaven with Jesus, her two husbands, several siblings, her mom, and many others. After a lifetime of loss, she has found gain. It hurts for us left behind. We lost a Queen…a saint…someone who kept our family together.

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I drew and painted this picture of Granny as a young girl. It has our family tree sprouting from her. It was a birthday present and thankfully Granny got to see it on Mom’s cell phone before she had surgery. She liked it. Well, it was displayed at the funeral and now my mom owns the painting. I’ve never had such sadness at completing a painting and now I know why it gave me chills. I had no clue how the painting would eventually be displayed.

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The funeral was a beautiful celebration of such an amazing woman. I am truly happy for Granny. Please pray for my family and me, though. This fog of grief makes it hard to grasp reality. I see her in my dreams. When you start losing half your cheerleaders, it makes it hard to keep your head in the game.

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Secondly, my husband found out that he has a form of spina bifida and part of his spine has been freely floating for a while. It started pinching his nerves and causing great pain. This has affected our family greatly. Even Leeland cries when his Daddy is in pain. Michael has really stepped up to help around the house.

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Now this coming week, Chris will have back surgery. Please pray for him and all of us. He’s been working extra hard to save up the time to have off. Also, there are always risks with surgery. Surgery may not completely eliminate pain. Please pray for quick healing and of course, that Chris makes it through surgery without complications or dangers. I will be there with him.

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(PS: Enjoy this awesome song by Tauren Wells. It has truly encouraged me.)

So now I get to the great joy. We are PREGNANT! I have my first ultrasound a couple days after Chris’ surgery. Please pray the baby will be healthy and growing where it should. I’m trying not to worry. We have had so much loss and pain…it is hard for me to grasp actual good things happening.

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We just went through a very difficult time of having Leeland tested and our family is still trying to learn how to adjust to his sensory processing disorder and attention issues and other things. Every transition is a battle…getting out the door to go anywhere is a battle. And believe me…I know boys are boys and I know three and a half-year-olds are rambunctious. This IS different and I can say this with confidence because I live it and plus I happen to have A LOT of experience with young children.

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It always frustrates me when people dismiss my concerns about my own child as if I were born yesterday. I’ve been in and out of children’s ministry and working with kids for many years. Also, I’m raising two boys and one is blossoming into teenagehood. I’m not five. Our life is SUPER blessed but it IS difficult. We have Aspergers and PTSD and SPD and health issues and all kinds of crazy. I’ve cared for parents, buried one, and buried many close family members. I’m not saying this to be a victim or complain…I just want the world to know that yes…I have lived a bit and I am informed.

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As an Aspie, I have thorough research and experience backing every single belief I have. I even know why I celebrate each holiday I do. There are few if any things that I do just “because”. I may express myself poorly verbally and have a hard time with social cues, but there is definitely a great deal happening in my mind. I think this doesn’t come through because I hate conflict and usually I’d rather quietly bow out than argue. Anywho, Chris and I would not have put ourselves through the hell of testing for just an occasional tantrum or if a small milestone wasn’t met here or there.

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Seeing our kid once a week or once a year doesn’t qualify anyone to truly know them or what our lives are like. I’d love to see some people try to teach my kid preschool or even to brush his teeth. It would just be nice to have true understanding and not constantly be dismissed. I’m realizing that validation just isn’t happening. Parents aren’t respected in society anymore. The government, the neighbors, and every Tom, Dick, and Harry think they can parent people’s kids better than they can. I’m glad God affirms my calling as a Mom. I’m thankful that I have my own Mom, my husband, and Michael to understand this journey…the good and the bad. It’s not all bad. It’s just what it is.

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So the journey has changed a lot with pregnancy. Leeland is very excited and he thinks HE is pregnant. It’s cute. I have to remind him not to hit my belly or push me over or run head first into my belly. He’s very sensory seeking, so often he hurts himself or those he lives with.

Thankfully I haven’t seen him hurt other kids that often. Usually, it was always an accident. I don’t think he means to hurt any of us or understands he is hurting us. He has emotional empathy, not cognitive, so he may hurt us and think that he is the one that’s hurt and not realize it was his own actions. This is actually interesting to observe when he is watching a movie and he freaks out because what happened to the character “happened” to him. Charlie Brown lost his kite…nope, Leeland lost HIS kite. He interprets everything happening to him.

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He gets confused when he’s disciplined for doing something to someone else. Most won’t pick up on this in a casual 5-minute conversation with Leeland. You have to watch him daily. If another kid is crying, Leeland will usually cry. He really has such a sweet spirit. His understanding is just different and behind for his age. I see this the most in his gym class with kids a year younger than him. He struggles to have half the attention two and half-year-olds have and he struggles to have the understanding. Yet, sometimes he talks like an old man and his imagination is off the chart. He knows the names and story of all the superheroes. That’s the world he lives in.

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Well, I’m going off on a tangent and venting. I feel misunderstood and unreached in this area. So I’ll talk where I am heard.

I am very happy to be pregnant…it just doesn’t feel real. I haven’t had morning sickness (woohoo!) and I’m used to being sick as a dog at the very beginning of pregnancy. I definitely don’t want to be sick. I just feel barely pregnant and I’m really praying to see a baby on the ultrasound. I’m exhausted, hungry & thirsty all the time, grumpy, and I’ve gained weight…but that’s it. Maybe we’re having a girl, that’s why it’s weird? I hope so…I hope amazing things are coming. I don’t want to wait for another loss. I’m asking God for more faith and to keep my chin up. I’m just tired and a bit worn.

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There are many blessings and opportunities that God has given me. I’ve been able to share my artwork with more people. I’m doing NaNoWriMo now and because I don’t have morning sickness I’ve been able to go to write-ins. Michael and I have a concert coming up at the nursing home. I’m thankful for the ability to play music and dance. I’m thankful for good grades in college and though I have to take school slow (because of no financial aid now), I’m happy to be enrolled at Liberty. I got accepted into the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. I hope to take a course or two this Spring before the baby is born. Oh, the baby is due July 4th (Independence Day for America!).

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I want to keep blogging and so far God hasn’t told me to stop. I still have plenty of catching up to do. There are just a few roadblocks that I need y’all to pray about. I host all my pics on Flickr since I can’t afford to host them all on my actual blog. So I embed Flickr links. Well, Flickr just changed its policy and soon I will have to pay to keep my photos there and to keep uploading. If not…my photo links will be deleted one by one until my blog is a mess of broken links. I have over 700 posts. It takes hours of work to make or fix just one post.

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I’m a busy person like everyone and I don’t make an income from this blog (or anywhere of my own). So I can’t hire someone to fix my posts. I put in all the work and the reward is the hope of ministering to people. It’s hard to tell what kind of impact my blog makes. I have followers but not that many comments. I don’t know who’s actually reading. I love sharing faith, creativity, and adventure though…even if only one person reads. So it may seem crazy to keep doing this, but the whole blog experience has been a positive outlet and a great way for an Aspie to minister.

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So I’m praying and asking God what I should do. Should I pay money to Flicker? Should I start moving my pictures somewhere else? Should I try to find a way to divide my blog into free blogs that have different topics? I really don’t know what to do. I have asked several times if God wanted me to just quit blogging and He never tells me to quit. I’d hate to see seven years of hard work disappear. How else would I reach out in my own unique way? The blog has brought together all these different elements of my life where I minister. I feel like time and money are things I have less and less of. I’m sure that is a common sentiment.

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My hubby has this huge hard drive thing (I don’t know what it is…a part to R2D2? Lol) and he mentioned hosting our own website. I’m not sure either of us knows how to do that or the work it’d require. Plus, it would all depend on just us and nothing ever happening to that hardware. I just feel overwhelmed. Life has really been this roller coaster of hills and valleys.

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So in closing, we have some joyful news but we’re still grieving and preparing for big changes too. Please pray for us. We need wisdom and a ton of courage. I need those things. I want to honor God, no matter what happens in my life. I want to focus on the beautiful and then be thankful I can still feel the pain of sorrow…that I’m not numb.

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Hey, Dear Ones, please feel free to ask for prayer too. I know I’m not the only one going through things. I’d love to pray for you and offer encouragement. I end with the lyrics to the music video I posted above.

God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover

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Hills & Valleys by Tauren Wells

“I’ve walked among the shadows
You wiped my tears away
And I’ve felt the pain of heartbreak
And I’ve seen the brighter days
And I’ve prayed prayers to heaven from my lowest place
And I have held the blessings
God, you give and take away

No matter what I have, Your grace is enough
No matter where I am, I’m standing in Your love
On the mountains, I will bow my life
To the one who set me there
In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there
When I’m standing on the mountain aft, didn’t get there on my own
When I’m walking through the valley end, no I am not alone!
You’re God of the hills and valleys!
Hills and Valleys!
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone!
I’ve watched my dreams get broken
In you I hope again!
No matter what I know
Know I’m safe inside Your hand
On the mountains, I will bow my life
To the one who set me there
In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there
When I’m standing on the mountain aft, didn’t get there on my own
When I’m walking through the valley end, no I am not alone!
You’re God of the hills and valleys!
Hills and Valleys!
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone!
Father, you give and take away
Every joy and every pain
Through it all you will remain
Over it all!
Father, you give and take away
Every joy and every pain
Through it all you will remain
Over it all!
On the mountains, I will bow my life
To the one who set me there (to the one who set me there)
In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there
When I’m standing on the mountain aft, didn’t get there on my own
When I’m walking through the valley end, no I am not alone!
You’re God of the hills and valleys!
Hills and Valleys!
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone!
You’re God of the hills and valleys!
Hills and Valleys!
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone!
And I will choose to say “Blessed be Your name, yeah, yeah”
And I am not alone”
Songwriters: Chuck Butler / Jonathan Lindley Smith / Tauren Wells

One comment on “Update: Hills & Valleys

  1. Dear Amber,
    First of all I’d like to offer a huge congratulations on your pregnancy! I know I don’t know you but it is just such happy news. My sister has recently announced that they are pregnant after 10 years of trying, and when I read that you were expecting I felt happy all over again. What an amazing God we serve! The things He does for us!!

    I just wanted to leave a comment to let you know how much I have appreciated and enjoyed reading your blog. I relate to much of what you write about and I have been especially inspired by the parties you throw. We like to celebrate as much as possible, too! That’s actually how I came across your blog on Pinterest a few years ago. We also homeschool but we school 5 kids, so my house is crazy 🙂
    I’d like to let you know that I have also learned quite a bit reading your prophecy updates. I have struggled to understand the book of Revelations all my life. I still don’t fully understand everything the way I would like to but I do read and study. A lot of what you write has made my studying a little easier. So thanks for that 🙂 My mom and I discuss this book often lately.

    And lastly, I am truly sorry for the loss your family is experiencing. My heart breaks when anyone hurts,whether I know them or not. I am putting your family on my prayer list. You definitely have a full plate,but thankfully we have a loving Heavenly Father that leads and helps us balance and manage everything according to His will. I find myself singing ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’ a LOT because I often get overwhelmed!
    Your writing has been an encouragement to me and many others I’m sure. I hope and pray that things calm and settle for your family soon.
    Sincerely~ Angela

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