Friday, January 18, 2008

Chickybabe sings like a bird!

Well, the long awaited first recital has finally come and gone. We are so amazed by the gift God has given our kiddo. She is amazing!

Chickybabe had her very first voice recital on the 14th. She was a little nervous about singing in front of so many people for the first time. (She only looked like she might faint at the very beginning of her solo while the accompanist that how you spell that?... was revving up on the intro ) Her solo was a song called "Contentment" that was written by someone else to accompany a piece by Mozart. The tune is lovely and Chickybabe did such a great job that we had to video her and put it on here so you could see it too.

Her voice teacher is so impressed by her that she asked if we would mind letting Chicky join us adults in our church choir! (a real treat as she has a standard minimum age requirement of 15 for anyone else who would like to join) Now there are 3 singing Millers in the choir. It has become a family affair! Brielle has been chomping at the bit to turn 15 so she can join too!!

Well, have a listen to this and let us know what you think of our little bird... she is already hard at work on a few songs from the Sound of Music for the Broadway Recital in a few months. I can't wait.
love ya.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Thank you, Lord, for sadness...

I have found myself thinking about my childhood often lately. Memories sometimes flood my mind from my growing up days and I drift away from my daily life and relive something that happened years ago that made me who I am today. Some good and some...well, not so good. When it passes a deep sadness settles on me. I miss my mom and my brother.

January 6th marked the 1 year anniversary of my mother's death. My sister, who lived with her, said goodnite to her the night before and woke up to find she had passed away in her sleep.

My mom and I had a very good relationship until I got saved when I was 16. Since then, it was pretty rocky at times. After many years of prayer and struggle, she finally accepted Jesus at Chickybabe's dedication ceremony. Big Daddy's father got to baptize her in Whitefish Lake the summer of that same year. I was so thankful, but our relationship troubles didn't end there. We still had ups and downs...ins and outs with each other.

She and I even went through a spell for 5 years where we didn't talk to each other even though we lived in the same town. After even more prayers and some humility, we made peace with each other and had begun to repair our relationship just the year before she passed. I will always be grateful for that time and my children are the better for being able to have known her for so short a period of their lives. (I wish I could give them back those missing 5 years)

As for my brother, he was a long-haul truck driver (the ones who transport new cars to different dealers) and he loved his work.

On February 16th, 2006 he was working his way home to Billings, Montana to see his wife and child after a long time on the road. He parked for the night at a truck stop in Missoula and met a buddy for a couple beers at the bar across the highway. At around 1 am, they decided to call it a day and headed back across the highway on foot to the truck stop and their respective vehicles. It is still unclear exactly how it happened, but my brother, Mike, was struck head first by a minivan going approximately 45 mph. He was severely injured and suffered a traumatic brain injury called "shearing of the brain". The two hemispheres of your brain are connected by a complex and intricate network of neurons. In his case, the force of the impact with the car and subsequent impact with the ground caused the two hemispheres of his brain to be shaken to badly that many of those connective neurons were broken. (Imagine slicing through the peel only of an orange and then twisting it in half. It would look shredded inside...)

Mike was in a coma for almost a month when he miraculously 'woke up'. He was moved to a hospital in Billings where the staff was not as well trained in dealing with head injuries like his and he suffered at least two near overdoses of medication.

He has been moved to several different facilities and is now a resident in a nursing home in Lewistown, Montana about 125 miles away from his family. He is able to walk and talk and feed himself, etc., but he often doesn't remember family members or gets them confused with other people. He can read, but sometimes this ability is lost temporarily as his brain tries to re-establish the neuron connections that were broken. He has an anger problem and is easily pushed to volatility with other people. Most of the time, he is convinced he is in some kind of prison because they won't let him leave the building. (He spent 8 years in prison for possession of a stolen vehicle. He went in when he was 18 and had only been out for 2 years when this happened.) His brain can't seem to understand what happened to him. He doesn't understand that he needs to heal. All he wants to do is go home. It makes me so sad. I feel like he was robbed of a good life. It's hard to call and talk to him because he doesn't remember who I am lots of the time. Sometimes he thinks I am our mom. He has been told about her passing, but the information doesn't stick. He mourns and the next time you call and he asks about her it is like he doesn't know it happened. We have decided not to keep telling him. We just say she is doing better now....then I cry when I hang up the phone.

Why am I thankful?.............I guess it's because I know that Jesus has experienced this kind of sadness too. He sends me Holy Spirit to comfort me and give me hope for Mike, helps me build a better relationship with my little sister, reminds me with my memories what my mom was like and all the things she taught me................ and saves my tears when all I can do is cry. Thank You, God.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of sympathy (pity and mercy) and the God [Who is the source] of every comfort (consolation and encouragement)..." 2 Corinthians 1:3 (Amplified Bible)

"God blesses those who mourn for they will be comforted." Matthew 5:4 (NLT)

"Write down my poem of sadness. List my tears on your scroll. Aren't you making a record of them?" -Psalm 56:8 (NIrV)

" He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." 2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT)

"Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who loved us and gave us everlasting consolation and encouragement and well-founded hope through [His] grace (unmerited favor), comfort and encourage your hearts and strengthen them [make them steadfast and keep them unswerving] in every good work and word." 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (Amplified Bible)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Best Way to Spend New Years Day...

Well, here it is. Another year fades and a new one begins bringing the promise of new beginnings. We didn't make it to the snow in 2007, so we decided to ring in the new year with a SNOW DAY! Try as we might, we just couldn't get anyone to go with us but we had a blast anyway!
We drove up to Hoodoo and thought about going tubing, but after December being a slow month for wheel repair and having just finished Christmas our bank account just couldn't handle the drain. We opted for making our own sled run instead and had just as much fun.


We got off to a lazy start and didn't get up the mountain until about 2:30pm and we stayed until the sun went down. We stripped off our snow gear, took turns changing out of our wet clothes into warm pjs in the truck and snuggled into the down blankets we brought. We ate our sandwiches as we sipped piping hot apple cider and hot cocoa (thanks to the wonderful pump-pots we scored at Value Village last summer which can keep boiling water piping hot even after travelling in the back of a pickup up the side of a mountain in freezing temperatures and sitting out in the cold truck bed for nearly 6 hours!!! Fantastic!)
On our way home, we took a 7 mile detour to check out another sledding site someone recommended for next time. We also were able to help some people who had lost control of their truck while passing another vehicle and ended up flipping into the ditch. Thankfully, no one was hurt...only understandably shook up. Adam and a few others who stopped to help were able to safely muscle the truck upright from where it was resting on the passenger's side door and almost had the whole thing out of the ditch until the front of the truck got high centered on the snow burm. In the end, they called a tow truck and we had a great example for the kids to illustrate the importance of safe winter driving.
Yesterday, Adam found a wonderful deal on some Eagle Mountain (like Sorels) boots for me (65% off!!!) at Joe's so we went back and got a pair for him as well. Now we are getting ready for our next snow day.....TOMORROW! :) I think we will be checking out a rumor about being able to sled on the same hill as the tube run (without having to pay because it's technically not part of the tube run or something like that) on Willamette Pass. I'm sure it will be fun no matter where we go.