Today marked both the first day of back to school for our girls, as well as the Peacocks have officially moved into the world of teens! Our sweet Hope turned 13 years old today! Wow!!! Where does the time go?!?! : )
God has certainly been so gracious to us! As we celebrated our beautiful Hope turning 13 years old today, we are reminded of God's precious gift of life. We are so thankful that our Hope is still here and that God's grace has poured over her and our family over the last 3 1/2 years of her recovery. We are all at a place of increased hope for what God will have in store for this next year. Hope is at a place of general wellness with the least pain she has had in a long time. Overall, she continues to improve, slowly and yet still improving years after her severe brain injury which is incredible, and we praise God knowing He is the One healing her! We are still seeing improvement in her gross motor skills, fine motor skills, cognitive processing speed, memory, and even her heart attitude towards rehab and the work and pain that it involves. Also some improvement in her engagement with her vision. . . she is still very much primarily vision impaired, but I will write a separate post to try to explain Hope's vision better for you at another time.
Hope still has many struggles and obstacles she faces daily, as well as continued rehab goals that she hopes for. But in spite of this, we are all very thankful! Especially today, as we celebrate her birthday! Last year, her birthday was greatly dimmed by the knowledge that the next day would mark yet another time of great pain, suffering, disappointment, and long recovery as she underwent the spinal and pelvic fusion surgery. . . one of her most scary and painful surgeries and recoveries. Instead of attending her first day of school last year, she went to the hospital and we all submitted to God's plan being different than what we had hoped and prayed for. It was very hard, especially with Hope being so aware and able to communicate her own hopes and fears. But our God is so faithful, and He saw us through it all . . . growing us, teaching us, stretching us, loving us, comforting us, challenging us, forgiving us, and without a doubt, often carrying us!
So as we celebrate our sweetie's 13th birthday, as she moves into the world of being a teenager, with I'm sure, many challenges yet to come . . . some related to her continued recovery from the brain injury, and some simply because she is a teenager and God is at work in her life, faithfully drawing out sin and molding her more into His likeness . . . we praise God and His amazing grace! We can't wait to see what God has in store!!!
To close this post, I thought I would finally give you a quick update on school. . . especially since it was Hope's and Gabi's first day of school today! Hope was certainly not too impressed that she had to start school on her birthday, but it turned out to be a hugely blessed day for her and Gabi both! This mama had her ears talked off when her two sweet girlies came home and downloaded all the excitement and discoveries of their first day back! And I LOVED every minute of it!!! Hope is going in Grade 8 and Gabi is going into Grade 6!!!
Last year was a challenging school year for Hope with it literally starting the first day of school with a huge surgery and then followed by a long painful recovery that was ongoing throughout the entire school year. We simply consider it a grace of God that Hope made it through Grade 7 with all that going on, but our God is not in the business of just skimping by. . . He is awesome and mighty!!! In spite of all the missed days of school, shortened days at school, and distracted days with pain, Hope actually excelled and even improved in her academics this past year! Wow, eh!!!
She completed all her work at a par level with her class mates (no modified assignments or tests). We all decided to drop Social and Language options from her time table due to all that was going on, so she could focus on the core building curriculum, as well as do more catch up in Math.
Due to Hope missing almost 2 years of school, and the effects of her brain injury early on with processing, memory, verbal recall, etc., as well as the huge obstacle of a vision impairment, Hope is about 2 years behind in her Math curriculum. The hope was to "catch her up" as quickly as possible over her jr high school years. She is continuing to improve in her Math concepts, and learning how to learn Math with a visual impairment now, and we are encouraged. But this would still be an area of prayer. Please pray for the school as they tackle an individualized math program for her to learn the necessary concepts in an accelerated way so that she can be on par by Grade 10, which is our goal!
Hope's favorite subjects were Language Arts and Science. She also greatly enjoyed her Girls Bible class. Her teachers and educational assistants were so invested in her . . . encouraging and spurring her on, helping her through so many hard days of overwhelming pain, with their love, kindness, compassion, and their humor! Hope did amazing in these core subjects in spite of the difficult year, and by God's grace, pulled off some terrific marks! Bible = 93%, Science = 90%, LA = 93%, Health = 93%
Hope also thrived on the two options she picked up. . . Creative Writing and Chess! Yes, chess! Hope is learning to play chess blind! A wonderful teacher at BCS has a son who plays chess blindfolded competitively, and he has a huge heart to teach Hope this "game of the mind," as he calls it! And God has enabled her to rise to the challenge, with great starting stats for all the games she played this past several months with classmates and teachers, keeping in mind that everyone she plays is "seeing" the board, and Hope is playing her game in her mind! Incredible! Her Chess teacher plans to continue to teach her and have her play on the BCS Jr High Chess Team. Hope also continued to wow us with her writing skills in poetry and short stories, but also tackling the start of a novel! She is about 17,000 words into it, and on Chapter 4! She will dictate/write as often as there is someone to scribe for her! Hope adored her Creative Writing teacher who continued to nurture and develop a great love for writing in Hope. Hope is quite hopeful that she could be a published author someday! She just got her very own email and she chose. . . firstname.lastname@example.org! Oh yes, Hopey because Hope was already used! ; ) I'll see about sharing some of her creative writing work in another post. . . I'll ask the "author" for copy rights . . . hee hee! : )
Hope with her blind chess board that her awesome Chess teacher got for her. Although it is made for a blind person to feel the board, Hope's fine motor skills are not good enough to avoid knocking over the pieces, so she primarily plays the game in her mind, with an occasional reminder from someone who is moving the pieces to follow her game.
There are so many people that God has used this past school year to bless and help Hope excel academically in spite of all the obstacles. She made it through Grade 7 not just barely, but with excellence! So many amazing people played a part in this, and we are so thankful for each and every one!!! But there is one that stands out. . . one that truly was the God ordained key to it all, the string that held it all together. . . her dearest Mrs. Kornelson! Mrs. Kornelson has been Hope's Educational Assistant (one on one) since her return to BCS. They are truly best friends, and know each other so very well! I can't count the hours that our precious Mrs. K continues to pour into Hope. . . whether fiercely advocating for Hope on every level, completing various tasks in her evening hours at home (she even made her "ugly Christmas sweater" for Hope's church youth event this past year. . . it was so cool!), keeping Hope focused and helping her cope and be successful at the school, comforting and distracting her when the pain was too much at school, or even coming to do school with Hope at home when she was in too much pain to leave her bed! Mrs. K also keeps Trevor and I going, with her superb organization and communication, often reminding us and keeping us up to date, and enabling us to manage all the many facets of Hope's progress in academics. Mrs. K loves on our whole family, especially our Hope, with a selfless, spurring on, unconditional, and faithful Christ like love! We praise God for His amazing blessing and treasure in our lives, affectionately known as Mrs. K!!! : )
So it was a huge joy to have Mr. and Mrs. K come and join our birthday celebration tonight for Hope! I have a couple pictures here below to share with you!
|Supper with Mr. and Mrs. Kornelson|
|Hope chose her favorite menu: Glazed Meatballs over Rice, Green Bean Casserole, Candy Carrots, Pear Walnut Salad with Honey Maple Dijon Vinaigrette dressing! Thank you Hope. . . it was delicious!!! : )|
|Sweet Sister Hugs!!!|
We are starting this school year with a renewed hope for what God has in store for our Hopey! We are praising God for His goodness to us, and His sustaining grace through the hard times, as well as the blessing of a new season of hope ahead as she enters Grade 8, our new teenager! We are just getting started and already there are some exciting new things on the horizon, but with much to be figured out still, I will wait and give a more current update on the plan and current "goings on" in Hope's academic progress and recovery, as things get figured out! We treasure your continued prayers for her as always! It is such a blessing to share our lives and Hope's journey with you, dear ones! You are loved!!!
Happy 13th birthday Hopey!!! You are loved!!!