As usual this past year brought a few changes for our family with this next year scheduled to bring even more. In the spring Liam had another surgery to remove the metal hardware left on his legs following the double hip surgery he'd had the year before. I would not call the original surgery a complete success due to a new problem Liam now has but I am thankful the plates have been removed and he won't be getting surgery with that doctor again, if I can help it!
Over the summer Aidan traveled back to Belarus, alone, to help run camp for children and adults with special needs. She enjoys the friendships she has made with the teens over there and stays in touch with them throughout the year. I can usually find her in her room skyping and speaking Russian frequently with her friends. Aidan has always wanted to stay in Belarus for much longer than our mission trips entail and it looks like this summer she will be able to spend many weeks there working along side the local pastor and teaching ESL to the church. This coming summer will be the 5th consecutive year one of us has traveled to the border of Russia and will be my third time to go (Aidan's fourth!). It seems the baton of leading has been passed to me and I'm excited to travel back and share the love of Jesus with our special needs community.
Aidan, 16, started school this past semester at the community college and when she graduates high school she will have her two year college degree at the same time. She still isn't sure exactly what she wants to do but she is enjoying her college classes and reveling in not having mom teach her anymore. :)
After two years at college Ian, 19, decided the Coast Guard would be a really great fit for him and his future career. He's excited to be heading off to boot camp January 23rd with his best friend Josh. They've been friends since they were eight and to see them head off together is such an awesome thing. We are praying they get to finish boot camp together too! I have to get pics of those boys together in uniform!
Rylie, 22, finished her last semester of seated classes in college and will be interning at the police department in her town. She is very excited to start working there and is looking at a possible career with them after her internship. She really loves the involvement within the community that the department has and it would be a natural fit for her. She has also looked at the Capitol Police in DC as well and we will see what direction God decides to take her. Either way, she's excited to be starting a job in her career field.
After being told for years that we should apply for a Make-A-Wish for Liam, 10, and continually thinking he would not qualify, we finally took the plunge and applied. And Liam was accepted. It's such a bizarre feeling. On one hand you are excited to be able to grant a wish to your child that you never would be able to do on your own. And yet, realizing your child is sick enough, fragile enough, or terminal in order to be offered a wish is distinctly sobering. Yes, my son is fragile enough that he qualifies for a wish. It's a slap in the face for sure. But at the same time, we are excited to be able to take Liam somewhere and do something with him we would never do with out the benefit of the wish granters at the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Liam and his entire family will be going to Disney World, Universal, and Sea World for a week in January, the week before Ian leaves for boot camp! It will be a bittersweet trip for sure knowing things will change once we get back home. But we are so so grateful to have this opportunity as a family!
Shawn continues to travel frequently for work, criss-crossing back and forth over the US each year. This year he took the title Aidan and I had possessed for five years now- the family member who has traveled the farthest across the globe- when he went to Bahrain! He said it was an experience for sure and he doesn't need to go back. But he sure is proud to hold the title of the farthest traveled McIntosh!
I set out to finish in 2017 what God led me to start in 2012. Something that became near and dear to my heart. When Liam came along and it was clear he didn't fit any mold I had ever seen, I craved a study that would walk me through my experiences and how my new broken journey was going to look long term. Where did I fit in? Where did Liam fit in? And what does God think about all the disabilities we see? What does it mean to be made in the image of God? And where is God's providence in it all? I couldn't really find anything that answered all my questions in one book that took me deep enough for the knowledge I craved. So I started writing 5 years ago. I never finished it. I picked it up again in January and by May I had contacted a publisher to see if they'd be interested in it. A division of Zondervan, WestBow Press helped me put this study for special needs parents/families/caregivers/supporters together and Beautifully Broken was born and listed on Amazon! My prayer is that whomever reads it finds encouragement no matter where God takes them on their own journey because we are all broken, all in need of hope, and yet fearfully and wonderfully made.
This next year, I hope you will continue to seek God, see God, and enjoy the beautiful journey He has taken you on. He gives us the beautiful gift of Himself and I hope that this Christmas season you are able to take time to enjoy the greatest
gift of all.
Merry Christmas 2017!