I'm guessing since you clicked on this page, you might be wondering just who I am.
Well, it all started back in 1969, in the tiny town of Nacogdoches, Texas.
Oh, I kid. I'm not really going to tell you my story from birth to present day.
But I'll tell you this....
For about 14 years, I was a preacher's wife...
...and a mom to two girls, Ryley:
My life was moving along pretty smoothly, just the way I like it.
Then the unexpected happened.
I found out I was pregnant.
Ryley and Reagan were 13 and 10. I was way past diapers, cribs, pacifiers.... I was starting to see the light at the end of the child raising tunnel and Ryan and I were planning to spend our empty nest days traveling.
After recovering from the surprise, we decided this child would just have to fit into our lifestyle and not the other way around. We wouldn't be "held back" by a baby. She would be a world traveler, a frequent visitor to her big sisters' college dorm rooms, and my steady companion on numerous trips to Target.
But God had other plans for us.
And on September 21, 2006, Lily Rush entered the world with a bang and nothing's been the same since.
For some reason no one can now recall, a friend started calling her Lily Bird and it stuck. Thus the name of this blog, Along Came the Bird.
Born with a host of medical issues involving her heart, kidneys, esophagus, and stomach, it soon became apparent that our lives may not turn out just as we had planned. Click here to listen to the story of the Bird.
After numerous frightening moments, we celebrated Lily's first birthday at a big party for our whole church. It was a huge milestone and one that at times during that first year of her life, we weren't sure we would reach.
Getting to that first birthday felt like we had turned a corner. Lily was healthy and she was on the fast road to recovering from her physical issues.
Then at 18 months of age, our precious Bird began slipping away from us, losing skills and regressing.
We were heartbroken yet again.
We immediately began early intervention, seeking out speech therapy, physical therapy, hearing and vision evaluations, and occupational therapy.
At the age of 3, Lily received a diagnosis of autism.
Our precious Bird will be 5 years old on the 21st of September.
While she has made leaps and bounds from where she was at the ages of 2 and 3, we still have a ways to go. She is considered nonverbal because she no longer has words yet she is perfectly able to clearly communicate without them! She is incredibly active and smart as a whip.
She's very affectionate and loves giving kisses.
She is also stubborn as all get out and daily tests the boundaries.
Lily Bird is currently in four types of therapy: behavioral, speech, occupational, and music.
While we may never travel the world with Lily, she has shown us a world of love like no other. Love that is fierce and protective. Tearful and joyful. And utterly unconditional.
Every day with the Bird is an adventure - some good, some not so good.
But God gives us the strength to keep going when we think we can't. To run a marathon when we thought we couldn't take one more step. To stretch our hearts just a little further than we thought we could. And to dream big dreams for one small Bird.
Ps. 126:3,5-6 (emphasis mine)
"The Lord will do great things for me, and I will be filled with joy. I will sow in tears, then I will reap with songs of joy. If I go out weeping, Lord, carrying seed to sow, I will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with me."