Dear Tanner

Dear Tanner,

This week you turned five! Bittersweet for mommy. Each day I see you growing and blossoming into the man you will become. It is fascinating for me and I am beyond priveledged to witness this journey for you. Each day I also see you getting closer to your independence and I want to slow our walk. You have been holding my hand and cuddling me more often lately and I wonder if you sense the changes too. You have been quick to remind me of all the things you will be able to do when you are “five” and I enjoy watching your excitement. There are tears too though. Tonight I cried myself silly in the rocking chair. I was thinking about how fast the last five years have gone by. If I multiply that short span only two more times, you will already be a teenager. Tanner that nearly takes my breath away. I can’t say all this to you now but someday you will read this, when you are a daddy, and you will understand why I was so slow to acquiese to the changes in your life…and in mine.

Do you know how much I admire you? Even at 5 I look at you with wonder in my eyes. You are thoughtful and so eager to please. Your eyes shine when you know you did a “good job” and you give me this little look. This look that say’s “Yep – I am good” and then you use your fingers to fire off a little celebration shot to me with your attempt at a wink. It goes straight to my heart everytime. You are also very practical and methodical – just like your daddy. You have made it your job to keep me on task and you know when I am at risk (as in questioning my driving decisions LOL).

This week you were singing a Go Fish song in the back of the car. It was so incredible to hear you sing a song with such proclamation. Because I know you, I felt the words really were the echo of your little heart. The song was “Be That Way” and the chorus say’s:

“I want to be the way that you want me to be. I want to hear you say that your so proud of me. I want to do the things that you want me to do. Oh Lord I want to be just like you.”

I can’t tell you son what season of plenty was growing in my heart when I heard that melody escape from your lips. I didn’t dare look back at you for fear you would stop singing. Instead tears made their familiar trail down mama’s face.

Tanner there has been something deeply impressed upon my heart lately. Most mommy’s are very preoccupied with their kids having a “happy” life. Son – my prayer for you is not a happy life. My prayer is a happy eternity. I dream bigger than that for you. I want God to do whatever it takes in your life and in mine to make us people that are just like Jesus. I don’t know any way to avoid pain on that journey. If I would have had you at a younger age, I would have not have had the courage to pray this for you. My fear of pain would have robbed me of the courageous experience of laying you at His feet. Because I experienced much pain first – before the gift of you – God taught me about His goodness and how He prevails before, beside, between, beneath and behind the trials all the while creating a work of art. I know He can be trusted. I know He can be trusted with you.

When we pray at night, I make sure that I say this out loud. I am hoping that if you hear me surrender you to Jesus over and over that you will be less afraid of the outcomes. Tanner if you live a “happy” life without much trial you may never know His heart the way you would have otherwise. Everything in my flesh wants me to erase these words because my heart doesn’t want any suffering for you but son, if it is suffering that will produce Godly character and leads to hope, than I abandon all fleshly reason and submit to what I know – God is good. I want both of my children to see life with eternal eyes. I want you to understand that your purpose is to live true to your calling – children of a great and mighty King. Children born to glorify God above all else. This life is just a moment Tanner. It is short and fleeting. As I told you last week, God made you both flesh and spirit and he will reunite your spirit with a perfected body someday – a body that will be very “Tanner”. He is preparing a brand new earth for His kids (Rev 21 and 22) and He dreams big for all that He will gift us with. Can you imagine walking through the New Jerusalem and seeing pride in the Father’s eyes when He approaches you? In this moment son you have this precious time to make your life a living testimony. THAT is what matters. Every act of service done for HIS sake – for pure and true humble heart love FOR HIM – lasts for eternity. The bible say’s that your service for Him now, dictates your responsibility later. It isn’t the kind of responsibility that has a heavy burden attached. When we live with Jesus, He will have removed suffering and pain and we will be serving Him with passion that we can’t comprehend today. I want you to see pride in His eyes Tanner. No one can ever or will ever love you more than He does. Not ever. Your mama wants you to reciprocate great love because I want your relationship with Him to be intimate. I don’t want you to settle for less. I don’t want you to want only the “good life”. I want you to reach for the highest goal – intimacy with your God. I want the looks and expressions that are shared between you to be full of a lifetime of good memories. I want you to serve at all cost because that relationship will gain you all blessing.

Tanner my hearts prayer is that I can model “life is ministry” in such a way that you understand the outcomes and you desire Jesus above all else.

Lately I have been afraid because my calling to ministry feels like it “costs” you something. God called mommy and daddy to a small church where we must serve and not be served. That means that we don’t have all the programs and studies and curriculums available for you that we would have liked. Mommy has been crying to Jesus over this and asking Him how I can give to you while giving to others. I am afraid of “the price” in your life. I am also realizing though that throwing every resource available under the sun your direction does nothing to change your heart. It is my role to lead and guide and train and model. I am equipped for that because Papa and Sweetie did that for me. This is what “Life is Ministry” means Tanner. It means sacrifice and service. I am choosing to place my faith in Christ to cover you. He knows exactly what you need and I am only guessing. When you told Sweetie last week that you were going to be a Christian someday, God used that moment to confirm His sovereignty to my heart. In that moment, I knew He was working. I knew He was covering. I knew He was leading your little heart and speaking in your ear with a voice that you could hear. I asked Him to do this. I beg Him to do this. He is faithful. Why ever am I afraid?

I can’t write in words what a gift God gave me in you. I try to tell you but the magnitude of it can’t be expressed. When I see you though I see love. God’s love for me. On the day of your birth I know God was excited to see my expression. He wanted me to admire you. You are His craftsmanship. You don’t belong to me – you belong to Him but everyday, your eyes remind me of how much He loves me. All good gifts come from Him and you daily personify that.

I believe with all my heart that you will have a good life Tanner. Not because it is necessarily “happy” though…because I believe that you are going to know Him and know Him well. Where your heart is there will your treasure lie. I promise you son that I will continue pleading on your behalf for the rest of my life. I know that God will chase you always and I will be relentless in pleading before His feet for you. I will ask Him to give you the gift of passion. Passion for Him. If you have that son, you will live under His wing. What better home could I wish for you?

Happy Birthday precious son.

Love beyond measure for you Tanner….


Rom 5:1-5 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

How Sweet

My name is…
You know, I just absolutely love when kids say the cutest things. For example, last week I was over at my friend’s house and Zandi and Zane were playing with her two little girls. Zandi proceeded to tell them that she was Zane’s sister and that her name was Zimmer Zandi. It was so adorable and yet it made me realize how fast she is growing up. After explaining to Zandi that her first name is Zandi and her last name is Zimmermann, we started working on trying to say her name correctly. Now we at least have the correct order down, but Zimmermann is now Cinammon! It sounds so sweet, I am not sure I want to correct her!!!!!!!

Jesus take the…
Zandi loves to sing and lately I have noticed that she has been repeating a lot of the songs she hears on the radio. Today she started singing out of the blue while we were eating dinner and my ears perked up to hear what song she was singing. I recognized it right away. She was singing Jesus Take the Weeds (AKA Jesus Take the Wheel by Carrie Underwood)! A smile broke out on my face at how sweet she was singing this song, but I couldn’t help but laugh as she kept on singing Jesus take the Weeds!!!!!!!!!!
So Jesus, from the heart of a two-year-old and her mommy, please take the wheel, take the weeds and everything else!


Doggie Dryer

Yesterday afternoon I noticed our little pug/terrier named Brindi was missing. I tucked the thought away in the back of my mind because I figured she was probably hiding in my closet to get a break from the kids!

On a side note- Zandi and Zane absolutely adore Brindi and she is the most incredible dog I have ever seen with children. She takes everything in stride including Zandi picking her up and grabbing her by the tail, yet has never even made a growl or attempted to bite either of the kids. Brindi has also demonstrated an exceptional amount of patience with Zandi lately. Recently Zandi has insisted on having a leash on Brindi all day long so she can control Brindi’s every move! (I know, we have some control issues to work on!!!!!)

Back to the story…about an hour after I noticed that I had not seen Brindi in awhile, I remembered I had some clothes in the dryer to fold. When I opened the door, I jumped back and screamed in fear as this little black animal jumped out of the dryer! At first it scared me to death, but when I realized it was Brindi, I started laughing hysterically! Zandi had put our poor little doggie in the dryer (with her leash still on) and shut the door completely. I think she was in there for about an hour!
The good news is the dryer was never on, Brindi did not go potty on the clothes and she turned out to be absolutely fine. Now if I can just figure out how I missed Zandi putting her in there in the first place…
Sorry Brindi!


The Good The Bad And The Ugly

Alright…to be fair there really isn’t any “ugly” in today’s tale but this title was better than “Mother Going Postal” or “Woman Under Fire” or “The No Good Very Bad Terrible Horrible Alexander Day”. At least the above title keeps some perspective. And there was something GOOD that happened. Actually there were many GOOD things that happened.

Both boys journals are being written together today – we are going to need the balance in detailing my day yesterday.

Let’s be sweet about this and start out with the GOOD:

The morning started out great! Both my angels (they were still angels then) slept in until 9:30 AM! In fact, I actually had to wake Ty up. Ty hasn’t been feeling well this week. He had a fever for two days and then he has a strange congestive cough. Not croup and not typical cold. It sounds to Sweetie and I like he might have aspirated something and he is trying to cough it up. We may have to go get this checked out. I am not ruling out another ear infection as well. Anyhow, he has been really tired and his little eyes look awful. So tired and shadowed and even getting puffy underneath. When he woke up he kept with Ty tradition and said “Games? Crash Up F?” (Apparently the Burn Out X Box game says’s that according to Tanner – Crash Up FM I think….heck I don’t know). He is just amazingly OCD about this. He only played video games once last week for a short while with Tanner yet he asks for it MANY times daily. So much so that I get a little worried about how OCD he is about it. Wondering if those games fill a sensory need for him. (It is not uncommon for children with neuro issues to have varying degrees of autism which is a spectrum disorder. His OT brought this up to me and warned me to not let Ty get into too much ritual and routine without forcing breaks in his habits. Thankfully, Ty is incredibly social so even if he shows tiny sign of autistic like behavior it is extremely mild considering the grand scope).

Also, as I have mentioned before, when Ty is tired or not feeling well he just can’t hold his visual alignment. When his eyes aren’t focusing right, his balance gets worse. Tired children also tend to get cranky and then they do more of what they shouldn’t. Add orneriness, poor focus, and terrible balance and you have set the stage for problems. And this is where the first “bad” comes in.


So I sat Ty and Tanner down at the kitchen table for breakfast. Ty has been wanting to sit at the table and not his high chair so I decided to let him. Our new kitchen table though is the new “in vogue” high table with high chairs. Quite the safety issue for Ty. He and Tanner were sitting quieting as could be eating and against my better judgement, I walked for a moment in to my bedroom. In that short span, Ty decided to stand on the chair (of course). He was not physically able to perform his circus act and lost his balance and hit the tile floor. It was a long fall. I run into the kitchen, his lips are turning blue, I am trying to talk calmly to him to get him breathing…same ole same ole. If this child didn’t have brain hemorrhages before….

So I sit down in the rocker with him to comfort him and check him and within minutes he falls asleep on my chest. I panic! Naturally my first thought is concussion. In emergency situations I always call my mom (duh) so Sweetie was on the phone and told me WAKE HIM UP and then she wanted to talk to him. I did that and he started talking to her and answering her questions but he kept his head on my chest and his eyes closed. When he did try to open them he could only squint and his eyes were just way off. About 10 minutes later he says’s “Get Down Ty” (he always says’s let me down backwards 🙂 ). I let him walk around to watch him. He was walking ESPECIALLY unbalanced and had trouble standing still without falling. So now the question…was this because he was sick or did he give himself a concussion?

Well you all know me well enough to know that I don’t shake off these incidents with this kid well. Makes for a paranoid mama day where I am watching every little thing he does all day and I start getting wound up tighter than a kite inside. Not the way to start the morning.


I needed to clean because Jim was having work buddies over for lunch the following day (today now) and I didn’t have time to sit around staring at Ty all day. Tanner offers to help. Next thing I know, Tanner has picked up the front two rooms, his playroom, and his bedroom. The playroom was a wreck and there were 6 boxes of toys unloaded. When he invited me in for inspection, all the toys were organized back in their boxes and the boxes were stacked in the middle of the room for me to put back in the closet. WOW!!!! (Side note: the lunch got cancelled and considering my day – that was also a good).


A couple hours goes by. Ty is better but still not his normal self. Eyes are still funny, balance is still worse than normal. (He is walking like a drunk and kept veering towards walls – again not uncommon just worse than usual).

I clean my bedroom and sit down to type a reply email to a friend. She was having a no good day as well – her story was way worse than mine in fact. While I am typing (and Ty is IN the room with me)…I hear a catastrophic bang. I swing around in my swivel chair and Ty has knocked over my 5 drawer dresser and he is underneath! I run all of 10 feet to get to him and for about 45 seconds I live in one of my nightmares. Something is crushing my child and I am not strong enough to get him out. There were two parts to this problem. One – Ty – as usual is holding his breath so I am trying to speak calmly and blow in his face to help him start breathing – his lips are starting to turn colors again. I am also using one arm to try and hold onto him and pull him out. The other arm I use to try to lift a 5 drawer dresser off my child. I can’t pick it up with one arm. I am shaking and begging God for help. I am sure his legs are broken at best. His entire body except head was stuck underneath. I am worrying about lungs and chest and spine….figuring I shouldn’t be moving him but I have to get him out. I slowly inch him out more by pulling than lifting because that was my only option (well maybe not but it was all that made sense in my panic) and I got everything out but his left leg. A heavy drawer was pinned firmly on his left foot. I am trying with all my might to lift it and get his foot out. Now I am really convinced something is broken because I can’t get it off him and he is now breathing but screaming. It wasn’t as simple as lifting one drawer because they were all jumbled on top of each other with the dresser frame adding weight on the top of the pile. I was essentially having to lift everything to get it off him. Finally, God has mercy and I get his foot out.


The doorbell rings. Of course it does. This is the second time the doorbell rang when I was in crisis. God doesn’t leave me on my own for long. I pick up Ty (I probably shouldn’t have) and carry him to the front door. I am shaking and ready to start crying my eyes out. It was Papa and Sweetie. They were coming to pick up Tanner and take him birthday shopping (Tanner’s 5th birthday is May 22nd). Together, we check Ty out and the kid didn’t have a scratch on him. Further, he was so distracted with his Papa and Sweetie that he was happier than he had been all day. I was not in such fine shape. Believe me. My nerves were shot. I wanted to go break something! I wanted to cry! I wanted to go back to bed! (The only thing that did happen in this list was I did cry – surprised LOL?)

Matthew 18:10 has become one of my favorite verses post parenting my littlest one!

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven”.

Isn’t it awesome that Ty’s angels always see the Father? Oh and boy howdy do they need to because these faithful guardians are on 24×7 crisis alert with all Ty’s antics. Tanner never climbed a thing so I am really not used to this. Mix a climber with poor motor planning, short attention, and poor balance and you have a recipe for disaster. But does he care? No. Will he do it again? Definitely and that is what gets me so agitated! I know he doesn’t really “learn his lesson” with these things.

So be the end of the night, I was one tired mom. I went in to check on Ty and he again looked like my angel baby. Don’t you think? (P.S. What dummy positioned the crib right by the light switch. Now he will NOT sleep in the dark. Makes for easier pictures though LOL).

P.S. Yes I bought a booster seat for Ty today that has a security strap both to the chair and to the kid and yes Jim will be bolting things to the wall soon!

Now let’s move past yesterday….I am so ready to move past yesterday! Thanking Jesus that His mercies are new every morning!


House Stuff

Our house progress is slow but sure. I have not been posting pictures of unfinished rooms but I will give you a couple of mini tours.

Picture 1 – This is our living/dining room. The frame around our flatscreen had to be sent back 6 times and it is still not quite the dimensions we ordered but we are giving up on returning it:). I LOVE IT though. Jim’s oil painting (which he hasn’t had time to start yet) will eventually go in it’s place over the couch and the TV and frame will go on the opposite will centered over our electric fireplace which we haven’t bought yet. Jim is going to sink the TV into the wall and hide the chords in the wall so it will look so good when we are finished I think. I have about 300 pictures rotating through it now in 15 second intervals. Has become a family hit!

Picture 2 – This is the kitchen table that Jim and I stained and Ty fell off yesterday (the chair – not the table).

Picture 3 – This is our kitchen. We still have to put the track light over the island, put up cabinet accent lights, and eventually hang some art behind the kitchen table.

Picture 4 – This is the toy room closet. This is why my sons don’t need more toys! LOL. Posted for Heidi and Melissa:)

Tanner’s Birthday

We are celebrating Tanner’s birthday on Sunday after church. While technically it is a “Lego” party – we have kind of abandoned a theme party. Many reasons but mostly the cousins have so much fun on their own it becomes overkill to organize them too much. I decided to set up the slip and slide and little play tool and just let them enjoy the day. While I love the Lego cakes, I finally decided against making one. Instead I’ll use pound cakes cut into blocks and let the little ones make their own “lego” creations with cake and frosting and sprinkles. I am making a spring jello cake for the adults!

Preparing for Tanner’s birthday is not always a fun endeavor. If you want to be bored out of your skull go shopping with Tanner. The kid takes FOREVER to make choices. It’s insane! He is exactly the kind of person I REFUSE to shop with. I got a good laugh when he insisted on taking his dinosaur notebook with him while shopping with Papa and Sweetie in case he needed to write stuff down! LOL! I let Papa and Sweetie know they were in for it!!!!

When we went shopping with him last night my idea was to walk around and get a feel for what he wanted and then daddy and I separate while one came back to pick up favorite items with a cart. We had to abandon this plan because Tanner was so darn particular down to the most specific details that we just had to put stuff in the cart as we went or we would never remember all his fine points. Craziness! He did offer to help me wrap all his presents today. Wonder if he really thought I would go for that act of humble servitude on his part?


Speaking of Ty….

Ty is starting to hold both ends of a conversation. He speaks his part and then he starts mine. For example, he will say “Chockit Milk In There!” so I will give him more chocolate milk and then as I am handing it to him he says’s “Here you go Ty” before I can even get that phrase out of my mouth.

Or yesterday when we were leaving he starts running for the door yelling “Come On Ty!”. I was impressed earlier in the week when he brought me a toy and said “Mommy fix this”.

His sentences are usually 3 words long now sometimes four. Realizing that he just turned 2 (corrected) this month, I think that is pretty good!

My charmer is also learning to negotiate. One day he wanted “Games” and I said “No”. His reply? “I be nice! I be nice!” LOL! I stood their dumbstruck that he thought to bargain with me AND that he even knew that phrase. I am soooooooo in for it!

Earlier I referenced Ty’s desire for ritual and routine and I have been talking about his bed time routine as well. I got a giggle last week because we went through all the necessary steps and as I was leaving his room he said “Bugs! Bugs!”. What? What in the world is he talking about? Then it hit me. I had failed to say “Nigh Night Sleep Tight Don’t Let The Bed Bugs Bite!” I didn’t even realize that I said this often enough to be included in the ritual. Now he reminds me with “Bugs Bite” each night if I forget to say it. Reminds me of something from my childhood. My grandfather (Dad’s Dad) would always sing this song to me:

One morning when I woke up, I looked upon the wall. The bed bugs and the cooties were playing a game of ball. The score was 6 to nothing and the cooties were ahead. The bed bugs scored a home-run and knocked me out of bed!

Loved it.

Tanner Communication

I seriously need help here. Tanner really struggles with complex communication. His grammar at almost 5 is still incorrect a lot and he has a super tough time relaying a complex thought. He is so smart he just doesn’t know how to articulate what he is thinking. Here are two examples:

This week I was laughing about something and he said “What mommy? What makes you funny?” (I thought THAT was funny 🙂 )!

Complex Thought
He fell off the bed and skinned his knee on my hope chest. Later Jim asked him what happened. It took him an hour and half to even come close to relaying this. Jim and I were so frustrated! He just kept saying “It’s too hard!” In his mind he knew but he didn’t know how to relay the sequence of events. If he is not on the spot, he has a better chance but if you ask him to repeat a direction, say something, or explaining a multi thought situation…he gets terrified. I don’t understand this and I don’t know how to help. Last week Papa told him a story about the goats knocking the horse over. Tanner tried telling the story to me later (it was his thought to tell it and not mine so that made it easier for him)…anyhow, the story was so broken up and jumbled in the retelling I couldn’t figure out what he was talking about. Later dad told me the story and Tanner actually had told it fairly accurately but the way he pieces a story together makes it difficult to follow. Jim and I are just at a complete loss over this right now.

    And the story I have been saving for the end….

This week our family was watching the TV series “Lost”. We were at the part were the islanders were burying Ana Lucia and Libby. Following is a two part conversation:

T: Mommy why are they putting them in the ground?
D: Because they died.
T: I don’t want that to happen to Ty. I don’t want Jesus to do that to him.

(Hmmmm….interesting that he even gave Jesus power over life and death in his mind I thought).

D: Tanner – let’s talk about this at bedtime and I’ll explain it better to you.

Bedtime – we are kneeling at Ty’s crib

D: Tanner remember how God made Adam? What did he do? He made him out of dirt and than he breathed life and spirit into him right? Human beings are not just one part – they are two parts. Part body and part spirit – just like God made Adam. When our bodies die, they return to the dirt but our spirits don’t die. And the best part is that everybody that loves and trust Jesus goes to live with him when their bodies die. First their spirit goes to heaven and then later Jesus will give them their body back but he will make it perfect first. People are supposed to have bodies – that’s how God made them so bodies won’t stay in the ground forever, only until Jesus makes them perfect. But you know what Tanner? This is super important. Only people that believe in Jesus will get to go to heaven and be with him. Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven. When you put your faith in Jesus and believe in Him you are called a Christian. Only Christians get to live in heaven. People that don’t believe in Jesus won’t get to live there. (I chose not to introduce the hell topic in this conversation).

Tanner just looked at me and didn’t say anything. I figured it was over his head and I would rather wait for the serious conversations until he can understand better. Each night when I pray with the boys though, I pray that they will grow up and love Jesus more than they love anything else so they hear my desire for them every day.

My mom calls me last night after her shopping trip and says’s:

“Doni! I forget to tell you the most important thing that happened today! Tanner told us that he lived in Phoenix and then he said…’and I am going to be a Christian someday.’

So he DID hear me!!!! Praise Jesus! The seeds were planted and the little buds are starting to sprout!!!!! Nothing could have moved my heart more than that…the most perfect ending to a day! King Jesus is calling my son. Tanner heard. I am crying again…good tears.

Pray for Shayla’s Baby!


As you know, I don’t post prayer requests very often for non family members but there are times when someone’s need stirs my heart and I feel really compelled to help rally prayer support.

When Ty was in the NICU, one of his NICU buddies was a darling little preemie named Kourtney. You might remember praying for Kourtney along with Landen. Shayla, who you may recognize from her comments on this site, is Kourtney’s mama. Kourtney was baby number five for Shayla.

I was so excited for Shayla when she announced a couple of months ago via one of my posting comments, that she is expecting baby number six!

Shayla had an ultrasound last week that led Doctors to question the development of her precious little one. For obvious reasons, Shayla and her family are very anxious about this. While there is certainely reason to hope, no mom ever wants to hear “something isn’t right”.

Would you please join with me in praying for Shayla, her family and her baby? Shayla is at the beginning of her 2nd trimester now and will have many weeks before the full story is revealed. That is going to make the waiting very difficult. Please pray that God will just flood her and her family with His peace. Peace that calms her heart and reminds her He is in control of all things. While we acknowledge that God’s plan for baby will be perfect, there is no reason that we can’t approach Him with our pleading. I for one will plead on behalf of this baby. I know that Shayla and her family will submit to what God’s ultimate choice is and they will cherish this child despite any hardship that COULD occur but until God’s choice is clear, I am going to ask that He will intervene for this little one and bring the babies development up to speed as it should be.

Thank you for praying with me!