Not Home Yet

So, I was driving to work listening to KLOVE when I heard the new song by Building 429. It's called "Where I Belong." The chorus says "All I know is I'm not home yet. This is not where I belong. Take this world and give me Jesus. This is not where I belong." And it got me thinking. You know how the drive home from a road trip can really suck sometimes? I mean, all the fun is over and you're stuck in the car for hours. The kids are screaming. There's road work every 10 miles. Then there's an accident and traffic sits still for hours. You're stuck eating at some greasy fast food restaurant. It just sucks. But then you get home. You get to sleep in your bed. Eat your own food. Watch TV. Put the kids down for a nap. You're home. And it doesn't suck anymore. In fact, it's pretty great. Life can be an awful lot like the trip home. It can really suck sometimes. And it's ok to admit that. No one has a completely un-sucky (sure, that's a word) life. In fact, the Bible promises us that we'll have some crappy times. John 16:33 says "In this world you WILL have trouble." Not, you might have trouble. Or you may possibly have a not so great day. You will have trouble. But, there's good news! The same verse says, "But take heart! I have overcome the world." How awesome is that?! What does any of this have to do with the song I mentioned at the top of this blog? I'll tell you. When I heard the words "All I know is I'm not home yet. This is not where I belong" it made me think of the car ride home. Sure, life might suck sometimes. But, this world, where all the crappy things happen, is not our home. When we get home, to our real home in Heaven with our Father, we'll be where we belong. And it will be awesome! Even better than sleeping in your own bed after you've been away for two weeks. It will be better than anything ever! So, take this world and give me Jesus! This is not where I belong!

P.S. - If you want to hear the song, you can go to and download it for free :-)

Our first official family vacation

Two posts in two days! Can you believe it? I wanted to post about our recent vacation to San Antonio. This was our very first family vacation that wasn't to see our family in Alabama. Not that you guys don't count, it's just that this was the first time just the four of us went somewhere for fun. Not that you guys aren't fun. Sheesh! Anyway...

Last December, at our church's annual Family Christmas service, our family (who had only been at the church for six months) was given an amazing gift. Well, two gifts actually. One was the Will Saunders Day at Wild River Country, which I posted about this summer. The other was an all-expense paid trip to San Antonio to go to Morgan's Wonderland. It is the world's first ultra-accessible family fun park - an "amusement park" for people with special needs and their families. Their sign reads "Morgan's Wonderland - Where Everyone Can Play." And it is true. We had the most incredible time over that four day trip. We never would have been able to afford it on our own and are so grateful for the generosity of our amazing church family.

We drove (10 hours, yuck!) down to San Antonio on Thursday. Friday we ate breakfast at Taco Taco Cafe, which was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and voted best taco in America by Bon Appetit magazine - it was amazing! Then we went to the zoo and ate at another local dive, Chris Madrid's, for lunch. Friday evening we went to the Riverwalk to explore and eat dinner. Saturday we spent six straight hours playing at Morgan's Wonderland. I'm pretty sure the kids could have made it another two hours (at which time the park would be closing and we would have been forced to leave), but Jeremiah and I are apparently getting old and were so stinkin' tired we couldn't see straight! Saturday night we went to dinner at La Hacienda de los Barrios, which was wonderful. They have a playground and some kids were ugly to Will. Cate came back to our table almost in tears and finally told us that some kids were ugly to her "brudder" and it made her sad :-( She is the best sister in the whole world! Anyway, after our delicious supper, we returned to the hotel for Jeremiah to watch the LSU/Bama game. I fell asleep only to wake up right at the end of the game to a very disappointed husband. We traveled back to North Little Rock on Sunday after a fun-filled weekend.

I know I've said it a million times, but thank you First Assembly NLR!!!!! You made a dream come true for our family. We feel so blessed to be a part of such a generous and mission-minded church family. We love you!

Now, for the best!


It has been quite a while since I last posted, and I apologize for that. I have, however, learned something during that time that I would like to share with you all...
I started a Bible study called "Grace for the Pace" by Beth Jones a few weeks ago with some of the girls from my Sunday school class. The study is to teach us how to live our busy, stressful lives with God's grace - how to have standing and serving grace. My first thought was I'm too busy to do that. Ironic, isn't it? Well, I decided to make time to do this, and I am so glad I have. We meet on Saturday mornings at 7:00, so it means I have to set my alarm and get up early every single day of the week, but it has been worth it so far.

Grace is something I certainly need more of. I need it from Him, and I need to give it to others. When you think about grace, most people only think about God's saving grace, that He showed sinners underserved kindness and mercy by sending his son to save them. And that certainly is an extremely important type of grace, but it isn't the only grace God can give us if we let Him. God can give us grace for the pace. This is something I think every busy, stressed out, scheduled to the max, working full-time, taking care of your kids, husband, and house kind of girl needs to know. I could write a lot of stuff, but I think Beth Jones puts it best in her book, so I'm going to quote her words instead...

"Grace for the pace is when God Almighty gives us a supernatural deposit or endowment of inner strength, giftings, ability, know-how, understanding, knowledge, and favor which first leads us to salvation, and which helps us to stand in victory and serve God. God's grace helps us with the pace - the stressed and overloaded lives we often face. We need God's grace for the pace! Grace is His free gift to man. It's the most amazing thing, that God Almighty would impart his grace to us and that grace would supernaturally help us succeed in whatever we face! When we truly receive God's grace for the pace, we receive the ability to function at the pace required of us. Living in the grace is to receive, recognize and identify our God-given gifts and bents, and connect them with the God-given season and callings in our lives. Like a glove and hand, God's grace and our life work together in a supernatural rhythm. In practical terms, grace for the pace is when God graces us to be a Christian, a wife, a husband, a mom, a dad, a friend, a business person, an entrepreneur, an athlete, a builder, engineer, doctor, lawyer, homemaker, manager, chef, clerk, pastor, evangelist, coach, volunteer, banker, baker, candelstick maker, and the list goes on. If you have is like a well-greased machine. There's a flow. There's a supernatural ease. You know when to say yes and when to say no. Whatever you need to know, be or do - God wants to grace you in such a way that you have His supernatural ability in that area. Grace is huge! Can you see how wonderful God's grace is? 
The other side of the coin is this: without grace you will eventually burn out and resent the very things you once loved. Without grace, you'll do what you have to do, but eventually you'll start to feel like a "flat-liner" in life and you will experience a sense of detachment. Without grace you function, but there's no unction. You survive, but you do not thrive. You may be skilled but you are not fulfilled. You live and die but never know why. Get the picture? Without God's grace for the pace, in the end there will be sorrow and regret."

I have told you these things so that in me, you may have peace. In this world, you WILL have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.  - John 16:33

God tells us we will face stress and overload in our lives. But, He also promises that if we remain in Him, we will overcome. That is what His grace for the pace is all about.

I am still learning how to receive His grace, and how to show it to others. But, I feel like I'm getting better at it each day. I am learning when to say yes, and when to say no, which has been something that is very hard for me. I am learning to depend on Him and His grace to get through each day. That is all I can ask. We aren't even promised tomorrow, right?  So, live each day by His grace, and not only will you survive, you will succeed!

Just a few pictures from the summer. Enjoy my beautiful babies! (Sorry some are blurry. They are in constant motion!)

So what's new?

Life in the Saunders house has been crazy over the last six weeks, and that is why I have been a terrible blogger.

School started. Will is in first grade and Cate is in pre-k. Both kids are doing well. Will has the same teacher and therapists and several of the same classmates as last year. He loves school, and I love that! Cate started at Abundant Life School, a small private Christian school, and is doing wonderfully. She loves school and is learning so much. Not that I'm biased in the least, but she really is a smart girl. She is learning lots of book stuff but also, more importantly, she's learning the Word of God. She learns a Bible verse every week and tells me about Isaac, Adam and Eve, Noah, etc. I love it! When she thinks we're not listening, I hear her teaching her big brother about the Bible stories she is learning. So proud!

Jeremiah has been on the job hunt but hasn't found anything yet. He's in the process of applying to be a substitute teacher for North Little Rock schools. Hopefully it will work out and he can work at least some. Now that both kids are in school, we really need for him to be working. money is tight, and some breathing room sure would be nice.

My job is going great! I love what I do and for the most part, love everyone I work with. Taking care of kids with special needs is what I was made to do. I'm in the second year of my three year fellowship and am starting to have to think about what I'm going to do when I grow up. I really didn't think it would happen so soon, but it is. So, I am praying and trying to stay focused on God's will for my life, not my will. There is a lot tugging at us to keep us here in Arkansas. While I know that wouldn't thrill my family, I have to remind them that Arkansas is not nearly as far away as Papua New Guinea or China (where I have friends who are missionaries), so it could be much worse.

Will is doing okay medically. His seizures seem to be stable. His increasing lower extremity tone is probably still progressing, but if so, it is doing so slowly. His MRI showed that the syrinx on his spinal cord has only grown a tiny bit and is still too small to operate on. The test for neurotransmitter disorders he had came back normal, which didn't surprise me. It's good that it was normal but doesn't explain why his tone is getting worse. I'm going to do my best not to worry about it though. I can't change it. All I can do is love my boy and provide the most love and best care he can get. And after attending the funeral of a child from his class at church this week, I am reminded of how lucky we are and how much worse things could be.

I know this hasn't been the inspirational or encouraging post I often try to write, but I just don't feel very inspirational right now. I'm praying for strength, peace, and provision for my family. I'm praying for physical health and healing for my son, my niece and nephew, my friend from work and many others. I'm praying for wisdom and guidance regarding the decision I'll have to make about work. And I'm praying for rest and renewal, for my mind, body, and spirit. I hope everyone reading this is doing well, and I hope to have an uplifting post for you to read soon. Until then...

Will Update

It has been about a month since I posted any sort of update on what's going on with Will to the blog, so here goes...
August has been a busy month full of tests, procedures, and doctors appointments. Will had an MRI of his entire spine under general anesthesia on August 11th. While he was under sedation, a lumbar puncture was done to test for neurotransmitter disorders. The actual procedures went well, and he came out of anesthesia fine. Unfortunately, Will had a lot of pain from the lumbar puncture. For the first 36 hours after the test, he wouldn't stand or walk. It was about 4 days after the test that he stopped crying all the time and not until a week after the lumbar puncture that he would lay flat on his back.
We saw the neurosurgeon on August 16th for results of the MRI. He said the syrinx (kind of like a cyst) on Will's spine had grown minimally and was still too small to operate on. He said it may or may not be the cause of what's going on with Will. If it is the cause, we have to wait for it to grow (and him get worse) before they can do anything about it. He wants to see us back in 6 months with another MRI to monitor the syrinx. We have appointments scheduled for February.
Will is currently in the hospital for a long-term video EEG. We were hoping to capture at least one of his seizures on it so we can better evaluate what's going on and give a more targeted medicine, but so far no luck. I guess it's a good thing that he's not having seizures, but it kind of defeats the purpose of the admission. We will go home tomorrow. I'm not sure what will happen if he doesn't have any on EEG. They may go on and add a second medicine, or they may wait and see if he starts to have more seizures again first.
We should get the results of the neurotransmitter test in another 2 weeks. We are also going to have blood drawn for mitochondrial disorders but haven't been able to get that done yet.
Will had his well child check on Thursday, and everything looked good. He hasn't gained much weight this year, but he's still at the 50%, so we're not too concerned. He is at the 75% for height. His doctor is helping us get him a new car seat and special needs stroller and filled out paper work for his new handicapped parking placard and Medicaid waiver application. It was a very successful trip.
We have ophthalmology and dental clinic visits in the next few months. Hopefully those will just be routine check ups. Thanks for all the prayers and support during this time. We love and appreciate each of you!

Daily Bread

We're doing a series on prayer at church right now. Pastor Rod is using the Lord's Prayer from Matthew to give us a pattern to pray. This week was the third week of the series, and he focused on the part of the passage that says, "Give us this day our daily bread." You would think there isn't much to say about that. Seems pretty self-explanatory. Boy, are you wrong! I learned more about that one sentence yesterday than I have in my 29 years of life (yes, I'm getting old!). And, I learned something I never really paid attention to before. Pastor Rod broke it down into even shorter parts, teaching about what each word or two meant and how it was useful in praying. But the part that really spoke to me was daily bread. He used the illustration of fresh-baked bread. If you've ever had it, you know that the day it is baked it is delicious. However, if you wait a day to eat it, it is hard and stale, nothing like it was the day before. God does not promise us tomorrow. However, He does promise us that He will meet our needs today. That is the whole point of daily bread. For God to meet our needs just for today. To give us enough strength, peace, hope, food, money, or whatever to make it through today. God knows what our day will hold, and if we can actually rely on Him, He will give us what we need to get through it. I'm sure most of you have heard the scripture that says to let tomorrow worry about itself. That's what we have to do...pray for enough for today, and then tomorrow do the same thing. It's day by day.
This lesson came at the perfect time. Our little family is in probably the roughest financial time of our lives together. I'm being very open and honest because I feel that some of you are right there with me (or have been) and need to hear this. When you have to tell people you can't do things (on a daily basis) because you don't have the money, it gets old. When you have to tell your child they have to wait to have something very simple until pay day, it makes you sad. But, God does not promise us that He will give us enough to go out to eat with our friends every week or to buy things for our children. What He promises is to meet our NEEDS. I have spent a great deal of time over these last weeks really focusing on what my needs are and what my wants are. I'm praying for God to meet our needs - food for today, gas for today, a roof over our heads for today. Do you see a pattern? I'm not praying for tomorrow. I need to focus on today. 
Give us this day our daily bread.....