Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Autism in real life.

Today is one of those hard days.

As I type this, my child is screaming and flailing around on the ground inflicting injury to herself.  She is frustrated at something or nothing at all and I cannot help her.  I am existing in a state of utter helplessness and as a mother, that is the last place one desires to exist.  Today autism got the best of me... it got the best of Bella too:(

We have started biomedical treatments and Bella is indeed experiencing (what we have read she could experience) regression.  Not just regression...aggression.  It's been said these treatments bring about hard times at first, then as the child continues treatments they (might) later experience amazing gains.  Or, she may just be naturally regressing, I don't know.  So, today I'm focusing on gains and not losses.  I'm praying the treatments succeed with all my heart..... but am not naive to the fact that they may not.

I am emotionally empty at this moment, yet being sustained by Christ's quiet and tender mercy.  My eyes are tired from crying.  My countenance fights for positivity.  If I was the maker or sustainer of life  I would take autism away.  I can't make my child speak or think in the capacity she should, only God can.  I talked to Kiki the other day and told her that I woke up and boldly asked God, "Is this really my life?" then I pleaded with Him, "If this is our journey in life (and it is), please fill me up with your strength because it's hard and I am literally helpless without you".  I realized today that I fail to give God glory in autism far too often.  To praise him for Bella's life (not just with my words but with my heart).  To thank him for choosing her for us.  Today someone wise told me that each day, God is working to heal his creation, to restore it to the full glory it was meant to experience.  This filled my heart to the brim.  To know that every second Bella breathes is a second closer to being fully renewed in Christ.  Will she be restored on earth?  I'd give ANYTHING to know, but she WILL most certainly be restored in heaven my friends.  

Just being real.  Most days in this household are full of joy and silliness.....and others are full prayer.... it's autism in real life and I am choosing today to be thankful for this journey God has given us...

Josh, I know if you were here I would be renewed through your earthly affections and tireless positivity.  But, you are not and I know God has a purpose for your absence.  It makes me stronger.  It makes me rely on Him more so I must be thankful.  

On another note, if there was a frozen yogurt kiosk in my bedroom, life might be 78% easier;) Yes, it would contain chocolate/peanut butter soft-serve with endless amounts of Reeses peanut butter toppings. Can you tell how thoroughly this has been pondered?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!


Bella and I wanted to wish you a Happy Father's Day!  It's hard to spend another Father's Day without you but we are so proud of the way you love us from afar.  We got your package and Bella LOVES your video.  This video is a testament to the fact that you are the perfect dad for our "special" child. Thank you for being so excited to teach her new words.  We don't deserve you:)

Annie & Bella

Friday, June 8, 2012

A story of God's mercy: Words from my sister, Candace Koole

I beg of you to take a moment to read my little sister’s testimony.  You will be inspired by her, I promise.  If you know me, you know my love for this girl.  We shared a bond called “the wild streak”.  We are just two sassy girls who by God’s grace were spared to live for Him. Being a part of Candace’s journey toward faith inspires me to pray and to trust that God, despite how long and hard we try to run from Him, wishes to have us for His ownJ The reason for this guest post by Candace is that she is now planning on doing missions in Cambodia and desperately needs support!  Please consider supporting her (the information is below).  Sit back, and enjoy…. 

From Candace:
So this is a story about a girl who was born on July 19, 1991…. by God’s grace.

In the beginning…
I was your typical "PK” (pastor’s kid) who loved to be the center of attention.  Naturally, I did anything I could to make my presence known. I was raised in the church and had always heard about Jesus as a kid.  To me He was just some funny guy with a beard and a bunch of friends who thought he was smart.  Around the age 8 I had accepted him to be my Savior, and got baptized just so I could be up in front of the church and experience it with my cousin who was also getting baptized.  I never really understood that Christianity was a lifestyle, or that I needed to actually live for the “guy” saving my life.  I guess some would say I was too occupied with my own will than His.  So, I kept living for myself and for the things of this world. Growing up I was always trying to be a “free spirit”.  I would push the envelope on many different occasions doing the most “radical” gestures and calling them heroic success.  I would do this just to prove to myself that nothing could hold me back.  Inevitably, that was the only thing holding me back…

Searching in the darkness…
Shortly after I turned 13, I began to discover “freedom” in a bottle and other various recreational drugs that my friends offered me.  The same freedom, that I would later realize put me in bondage.  From gutter punk boyfriends, to runaway buses that sent me across country, I continued my hunt for freedom.  Around the age 17 I decided that living on the streets would be the most beneficial adventure in the midst of my self-discovery.  Surfing from couch to couch, man to man, drug to drug, coffee shop to coffee shop… I knew there needed to be more.  There was never enough.  I started to notice my world getting a little grimmer after the age of 18.  I never really realized that it was grim before, but it was as if a light went on and showed me the depths of darkness within my soul. 

…and finding the Light.
Well, right around Thanksgiving of 2009, I was probably at the point of continuous intoxication.  The fact that I would pass out in the middle of the mundane, everyday activities wasn’t a shock to anyone who knew me.   In the middle of putting on make-up one day, I hit the floor.  Totally passed out from substance abuse.  Around that same time I had lived through many near death experiences. I  knew I was fighting something, never asking for help or acknowledging my problem.  Something started to change inside me, it seemed the further I ran the clearer the Lord’s voice became to me. I thought I was going insane!  This God that I hated for so long…. the one that I was angry with… the one I would scoff at with the sound of his name…. the God people were afraid to talk to me about because they knew I would hate them if they even brought up the Bible, or church…this God.  Yes, this God was talking to me.  I didn’t know what to do; all I knew was that it wasn’t normal.  So I decided to check myself into a mental institution for more answers to life’s questions and my personal issues.  I couldn’t possibly hear God. That was out of the question. I’d rather label myself crazy.

Captivated by the most wonderful extreme out there…. God.
After checking myself in, they ushered me to my room.  Where yes, indeed, the lover and Creator of the universe decided to chat with me once again. I took one look in the mirror and that’s when I broke. I started to cry out to him in anguish and in fear.  Then, in the stillness of my sorrow I heard him say, “I love you, you were made for so much more”... a peace had all of a sudden transcended over me and renewed me with a strength I had never experienced before.  Later, after facing my addiction and God, I checked myself out of the chicken coop and it was New Year’s Eve.  I had been very hesitant to making Jesus Lord of my life, because I didn’t know what it meant for me. All I knew was that he must love me enough to save me that many times from death and then personally encounter me while I was all by myself!  That night something changed.  A pull that I’ve never felt before had moved me to such extremes of begging my mother (Carolyn Koole) and sister (Annie Earls) to concur that what I was hearing was the indeed the Lord. So there on the floor on brink of 2010 my sister, Annie grabbed my hand and showed me what it looked like to allow Jesus to come into my life and be Lord of everything I do, to be my Savior.  I had to get to the end of myself to understand that I can’t do anything on my own.  These dreams inside me weren't to fulfill my own will, but for the will of and glory of my Father!

What God is doing in my life today…
In the last two years, I have had many exciting adventures with God.  They’ve led me here, to Tacoma, Washington; A community that I came to visit after seeing what the Lord had deposited into a friend of mine while they were here.  I’ve been living here for about 4 months now, going to a church called “City Central” and they’ve been grabbing my hand while I go through a season of prayer and restoration, in order to bring it to the rest of the world!  I’ve gained so much freedom in who I am in Christ here! I am now confident to say that I am free from my past and any other lie that I had believed before. I am becoming a new creation! I am learning about who He is, who I am in Him, and what more I can do for the furtherance of the gospel.   Really, I’m just a nobody, trying to tell everybody that there’s Someone who can save anyone. I can have confidence when I say that I will be a missionary for the rest of my life!  I cannot wait to watch people who were in the same place that I was before the Lord was in my life, come to full restoration.

Here’s where you come in…
So, if you wish to walk along side of me in my quest for Jesus! I can help you be a part of my bigger picture!  This summer I’m doing training through my church here called Catalyst Training School.  I’ll be in training for about six weeks learning all about prayer, restoration, and missions and at the end of our lecture phase we will be headed out to Cambodia for a month long adventure of bringing food, medicine, prayer, and evangelism to the people! We pray God’s restoration in Cambodia! I can’t wait!  But I need to raise money for it through support! Please pray about it, because you won’t find a 20 year old more in love with Jesus than this girl (at least in my opinion)!  The best way to help me get to Cambodia is to donate to an online banking account, which would mean it would go straight into my fundraising! Here's a link to it:


Write out a check to “City Central Church” indicating that it’s for my account (Candace Koole) and mail it to:

2522 N. Proctor St #1
Tacoma, WA 98406

I also am in DIRE NEED of prayer!  Please pray I receive clarity for this summer, so I can receive as much as I can!  If you wish to know more about my story or would love to chat, just e-mail me , I would love to hear your feedback or questions! I could talk about this for days!

Hi, it's Annie again... she's going to kill me but this is Candace at Bella's 2nd birthday party dressed as Tinkerbell (because it's Bella's favorite).  I love this picture because it's sassy and sweet, just like Candace!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

On missing you...


We see each other's faces from time to time and hear each other's voices but, I miss YOU.  I want you to know that your absence is felt constantly in this home. Sometimes I spray your cologne around the house and sleep in your t-shirts just to remember what it's like to "have you around" ;)  Bella puts on your shoes and walks around in them.... and I have to be careful when I use the word "daddy" because she'll be inclined to run to the door to see if you were coming home.  We pray for you every night when we go to bed, Bella and I.  We pray for your safety, then we pray for Bella's development  She knows the prayer and sometimes says "amen".  

If Bella could tell you the same, she would.  Until then, be strengthened with the knowledge that two girls in the USA wish you were home.  Thank you for giving us a home to sleep in and providing for us daily through your sacrificial love.

That's all.

Such is life deployed.

All our love,

Annie & Bella