Friday, December 14, 2012

Worth

A wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a confidant, a student, a worshipper of God, a daughter of the High King, a soon to be pastor's wife....

I've had a difficult time lately. Partly self imposed. Partly stemming from a comment/conversation with a friend. The words cut deep, magnifying a hidden insecurity I feel as a stay at home mom and wife. Who am I? And what worth do I have? Is my worth in keeping a clean and safe home for my husband and my daughter? Are my worth and my merit joined with my husband, the seminary student and soon to be pastor? Have I been made for my husband's benefit only? Is my calling to support my husband's calling and be used for his benefit as a pastor?

Deep questions stemming from a small conversation.

Right after the conversation I quickly reflected on the words spoken by my friend and I immediately expressed my hurt to Chris. I usually don't work this way. I usually think and think and think and analyze conversations and my feelings before coming to Chris to verbalize how I feel.
I guess I didn't need much time to think over how I felt about the words that questioned my worth, my calling. I was angry. And sad. Sad that this viewpoint is kept not only by my friend but by so many people in the world, Christian or not.


So, I decided to do something about it. I deactivated my Facebook page, and I even shut down my blog. Okay, so the blog thing didn't last very long, but I still very much need the break from Facebook.

I need some quiet time in my days, and using my small amount of down time to pursue Facebook just isn't cutting it. There are things that I love about Facebook- I love posting videos and pictures of Hannah so friends and family who are far away can enjoy her funny personality and so we won't feel so far away from each other. I love seeing glimpses into my friends lives all the way across the states. I love the funny videos and articles some of my friends post.
But I don't love the comparisons. I don't like it all. I'm not blaming anyone for this; I know it's my struggle.

Anyways, I wish I had some wise conclusion to this, but I don't. I just know...

Well, I do know that I am a lot of things. I am more than what I do or don't do in my home, deeper than the laundry pile on our bed, bigger than my to-do list, more complex than the recipe for homemade stew, I have more words inside me than 'no' and 'listen to mommy' (though it sometimes may not feel that way), and I know I am made for the same purpose as my husband. To love people and to serve God. It is a hard and rewarding job to be a stay at home mom and wife. It is a beautiful and deep job. It is my honor to love God, and to point to Jesus in this way.
And I know I am more than my title as a stay at home mom. I am beloved, I am me. The only one there is.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

a very very short story

“You think you would die if it happened to you. You hear stories and shake your head in an effort to knock the images out of your head. You click the news off, turning the channel to daytime tv, and pretend that these things only happen to other people. The horrible truth is… though everything collapsed around you, though your chest cracked open and your heart broke in two, you didn’t die. Somehow your lungs keep working and your heart continues beating. The horrible truth is that you are still alive… and they aren’t. And there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.” I can barely whisper as I finish. 
Tears pour furiously down my cheeks and I wonder if I’ve gone too far. I chance a look around the room, and see soft nodding in response. 
My eyes meet hers in that moment. One tear escapes down her cheek, and she quickly wipes it away. She smiles sadly at me, and I've never felt such affection for someone I've just met. I look down at my tightly clasped hands and strain to remember her name. Anne.  She said her name was Anne. When the circle waited for her to talk, she could only give his name and birthday in a whisper. She is old enough to be my mother, and I her child, I remember thinking. 
I look back up at the room and find her staring at me from across the circle. Her furrowed brow raised up in concern; her eyes searching my face. "I know." She whispers across the room, her eyes never leaving mine.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Happy 5th birthday, Owen!


Watching the balloons fly up and away yesterday. It was so special to see those little girls' faces as they watched the balloons soar up into the sky. It was pure joy for them. And so sweet for us to experience their joy with them. 



This week we have felt so loved. Last week, my friend here in STL asked me if we would want to celebrate Owen's birthday alone or with friends, because she would love to celebrate him with us. It was like a fresh cool breeze on a stifling day. I felt immediate relief about what this week might be like. And so a birthday party was planned. A balloon release, Mexican food (my favorite thing to eat when I was pregnant with Owen) and homemade cupcakes. Here is her blog on Owen's birthday celebration.
Another good friend wrote about Owen on her blog too, and brought tears to my eyes.


I think choosing to celebrate his birthday with our friends made the day much more peaceful and joyful than it could have been with the three of us. Sometimes we get stuck. And sometimes it takes others to pull you out of your stuck-ness.

It was also so special for Hannah Mae to have her friends with her, talking about her brother and celebrating him like the real person that he is. I know it's hard for her 2 year old mind to understand what has happened and why she has a brother she can't see. We're so thankful for how yesterday turned out to be a wild and crazy fun day. There were four little girls (not counting HM) celebrating Owen yesterday and as one of my friends said, "Owen would have had a lot of girlfriends!" That made me smile.

One of the little girls (who is turning five next month) who was celebrating with us asked her mom why babies sometimes died. And oh, with tears in both of our eyes... she said it made her so sad. And then she told her mom how many friends named Owen she had... one in the neighborhood, one at school and one in Heaven. It is so hard and sweet to see the kids think through some of these eternal things.

I went to bed last night exhausted. It has been a long, hard week. And a part of me feels such relief that it is over. There are so many memories, so many rememberings that just break my heart and I'm thankful we made it through the week. And that we were able to celebrate our son for the joy and the precious little guy that he is.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Gray grief and grace

This whole week has been gray. When I checked the weather channel this past weekend, they were predicting sunny skies for the week. But instead of blue skies and sun-shiny days, this week has been cloudy, gray and sunless. And it fits.

There's not much more I can say about this week, about Owen, about missing him that I haven't already said in four years of blogging here.

Well, to be honest... I can think of one part of grieving that I've never explored, and it's not easy to write. Nor is it very pretty.

If you're reading this and wondering how to love on our family right now, please know how grateful we are that you care. And that you've stuck with us these past five years. We haven't always been the easiest people to love, and I, especially, haven't been the easiest person to approach.

This next part is hard to write, but I feel I have to write it...

Please know that grief changes a person, whether we like it or not. It peels back the layers of innocence much more quickly than time or age can. I've heard it said that you want to become a better person, not a bitter person because of what you go through in life. Well, I've been both. Mostly though, I've been bitter. I hid from friends who didn't seem to understand, and I felt anger and bitterness towards people who didn't seem to have any struggles. I carried the torch of unfairness high for all to see, and I intentionally shut people out of my life because they would not or could not grieve with me.

No matter how much I wanted NOT to feel what I was feeling, the truth is that I couldn't change my heart. I couldn't let go of the weight of how I felt my life was unfair... and not only that but I couldn't let go of the unfairness of people asking me to be someone I wasn't, and to feel things that I couldn't.

It was only the Holy Spirit who could change my heart, who could show me grace in the way I longed to experience. It was grace that changed my heart...
And grace that continues to add balm to my weary soul; my soul that feels misunderstood, judged and sometimes still struggles with bitterness.

Please know, especially if you've been around since the beginning, that the Lord has dealt gently with me. But that he has and continues to sanctify this broken girl. I couldn't change the bitterness deep in my heart, but he could. I couldn't make anyone understand exactly how I felt the day my son was born into this world already dead and gone, but thankfully God has been graciously giving me peace that even if I feel misunderstood until the day I die, that somehow it is okay. Somehow being understood doesn't equal love. And sometimes you can grieve differently but still love each other in our different journeys through this life.

If you've stuck around this long, please know how much that means to me. And if somewhere along the way, you've turned and walked away, please know how much you still mean to me. Because if Owen's death has taught me anything, it's that the brokenness of this world knows no boundaries and that grace still abounds all the more.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November 6

Today is not my favorite day (understatement). The anniversary of the day I went into my doctor's office for reassurance and instead found out our baby, our son was dead. 
No heartbeat; only the fuzzy scratchy sound of the doppler trying in vain to find his beating heart. To this day I hate the sound of the doppler. 

A few years ago when I wrote his story out in detail, this is what I wrote about this day. This terrible, horrible day.


Driving home, I spoke to him through tears. Sobs choking the words. "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I...your son. I am...our baby shouldn't be... shouldn't be the first person you lose."

We sat on the sofa all afternoon. Neither of us moving. For hours, we sat alone. Together. His arms around me, my arms around my huge stomach, our son dead. When people started arriving, I remember whispering to him, "I don't want his death to turn anyone away from God. I'm not angry. I'm not angry. I don't want anyone to be angry."

I wasn't lying. There was no anger in my heart. No anger in my words. Devastation slumped my shoulders, sorrow gripped my heart, pain poured down my face; I was in shock.
The anger would come later. And come it did.

Our pastor came that night to comfort us. To sit with us and cry and pray. I told him I didn't want Owen's death to turn our family and friends away from God. I was clinging to Him. Where else could we go? My strong father beat his head against the door frame in misery and pain. I felt so hopeless, so helpless. My belly, the little boy inside of me already gone in spirit, still protruding prominently in the midst of us...and all I could do was cry out to the Lord.

The next day, we packed to go to the hospital. To see our son, face to face. To cement the reality already tightening in my chest.
I collapsed on our bed, Owen's crib in arm's reach, and cried. My mom held me while our tears flowed freely. I was afraid of labor. Afraid of going to the hospital, of leaving the hospital without my son. I didn't want the after. I didn't want to think about coming home to our empty apartment. To our empty life, a life without our son.

There was nothing else to be done, but the inevitable. He needed to come. We needed to see him face to face.
We needed to hold his tiny body and say goodbye.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Stillbirth


As the days inch closer and closer to Owen's Heaven day (next Monday) and his 5th birthday (next Thursday), stillbirth is on my mind even more than usual. I feel such a weight of grief and sadness that is so palpable but so hard to verbalize. If you ask me how I'm doing, I very well may cry and have no words to offer. But that's just how it is sometimes (and please do still ask).

I wrote the words below about a year and a half ago. It was in response to a sermon I heard almost four years ago that hurt on a deep deep level. I couldn't hear what my pastor was saying because of the pain the word stillbirth causes me. But it was (is) an important message, and one that God was faithful to let sink in even if it did take six months to hear.


This post has been on my mind lately though it's been over a year and a half since I wrote it.

After sitting through (well, almost all the way through) the sermon, I still had no idea what our pastor was trying to say and when I wrote that post, my stomach was still in knots. The following fall, Chris led a small group and chose 1 Peter as the book we would delve into and discuss. Guess what is in this particular book?
Yes, birth. Again.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in Heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." 1 Peter 1: 3-5

I asked Chris what passage our pastor used for his sermon, and neither of us can remember, but it may very well be that he used this particular passage too. Chris said he turned 'off' just like I did when the word stillbirth came our of our pastor's mouth.

But I can say with great certainty that I now understand what our pastor was trying to say (and maybe everyone else in the church got the meaning right away, but for Chris and I, we had such a strong emotional and physical reaction to the symbolism that it was extremely hard to listen).

It clicked that Wednesday night at small group. I remember the feeling I had when I finally understood the infamous birth sermon. It was such sweet relief.

Chris asked us why it's so important to be born again and why that language is being used in 1 Peter. Now, I'm not usually a big talker during bible study discussions, believe it or not. I'm not a big talker in general, unless it's one on one or if I'm really comfortable with the group of people. But I couldn't not say anything. I don't remember the exact words I used, but I remember recounting how I felt when our pastor did the sermon on birth and stillbirth. Then the tears welled up in my eyes and I said (not verbatim) it's so important because though we don't see it or realize it, we're all stillborn. Spiritually speaking, we have been born into death and we need a re-birth, a live birth into life.

Stillbirth, in a spiritual sense, is just as heartbreaking (and greatly even more so because it is an eternal death) as the stillbirth we've experienced with our Owen. Birth into death is not how it's supposed to be. We were made to live, to be born living and breathing. Faith in Jesus gives us the spiritual re-birth that we all desperately need. And when we are born again, living and breathing, we have the great living hope of Jesus who was resurrected from the dead. God gives us salvation from this broken world through him.

We have such great hope.

And even stillbirth, a disgusting and vile abomination, can be used to point us to that great hope. Months and months later, I'm thankful to the Lord for the infamous sermon that caused so much hurt and sadness. I'm thankful for redemption.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October means...

October means scarves and ears stinging with cold. October means pumpkins, orange and red leaves that crunch under boots. October means open windows and cool mornings snuggling under blankets.

But October also means sadness slowly creeping into my heart. Not the everyday sadness that we feel year round, but a special sadness that is reserved only for fall. It means being blindsided over and over again with the crashing reality that five years ago in October I was hugely, happily pregnant with my first child.

Five years ago, I was blissfully unaware of how I would meet my son, of how broken and sad this world could be. Of how birthdays are sometimes not the happy occasion you dream they will be.
October means planning a birthday party for a little boy who will never see it... making a cake that no one will eat. October means a heaviness on my heart as the days creep toward his days... the day he died, the day he was born, the day we buried him up on the mountain next to his great-granddad.
This year, October means hiding away in my room so my sobs don't scare my precious fourth child. It means intentionally carving away time to sit with the grief that threatens to consume me if I don't.

October is the month I both dread and love. It is the last full month we had with our Owen. It is the time I look back on with affection because I was so hopeful and happy and ready to have him in my arms. I didn't know what was coming those early November days, and I feel both thankful and regretful of that. But I loved him as best as I could those last October days. Those were our days... the ones where I could barely take my hands off my growing belly. The days when I ate for the both of us, wondering what would make him dance and bounce the most. The days that I had longed for when we found out we were pregnant. The happy days just weeks from his due date. And I remember them like they were yesterday.

October means more than it did before.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A short story (2)

"I'm glad you called." Her smile fades as she looks down. I can see her lip quivering but I can't speak. I can't seem to find any words to fill this silence.

Fumbling around in her large red bag, she pulls out her wallet offering me a tiny crumpled photograph with a shaking hand. Her fingernails are chipped and worn, the bright red just a small circle in the center of her unkept nails. I make myself look into her eyes as I take the sacred item from her. There is something etched into the lines surrounding her tear-filled eyes that scares me. I can barely breathe when her hand brushes mine. The impulse to run is pounding in my ears, along with my thundering heart which I fear might explode at any moment.

"It's all... this is..." she stammers, and the words hang in the air waiting to be finished. I gulp down air in an effort to swallow the fear, the bitter taste in my mouth. I can hear her breathing hard and loud as she finds the words to finish. "This is the only..." She starts again, her voice cracking. "This is my son."

I look down at the image, at what has haunted my waking and sleeping hours these last few months. My hand is shaking and I can hardly see through the tears streaming down my face. "Charlie." I whisper, the damn breaking and flowing free over the table here in the middle of a sunny Tuesday afternoon. I hang my head and let the tears rain down on my lap not bothering to wipe them away. When I finally look up, she is smiling the tears still wet on her cheeks. She stretches her hand over the distance between us and the fear subsides, washed away by our tears.

Friday, September 21, 2012

For you and for me

"...Death is at your doorstep, and it will steal your innocence but it will not steal your substance. You are not alone in this.... and you are not alone in this. As (sisters) we will stand and we'll hold your hand. Hold your hand." Mumford & Sons, Timshel


The thing I love about music with lyrics (or without lyrics too) is that we can all hear something so different, and interpret it for ourselves taking away something that encourages us or makes us think.

Mumford & Sons is one of those bands that has a richness in every word they choose. The lyrics of their songs are full of meaning and purpose. For someone who has a 'thing' for words, I love listening to their music. And I love the song Timshel. I can listen to it over and over and over again. Seriously.

When I listen to the words above, I hear a whole community singing to someone who is grieving the death of someone they love. Death has come and it has taken away the one they love. It has stolen so much from them- so much that they can no longer be innocent to the pain of this world... but the community responds with the truth that death can never take our substance, who we are. It cannot steal who we are. Not ever.

For me, that is beautiful. Death separates us for a time, but the ones we have lost here on Earth are still intact. They are still the people they were here. Owen is still Owen in Heaven. And we will have the tremendous joy of seeing our loved ones again and we will never be separated again.
Praise the Lord.


And then the community sings their love to the bereaved: you are not alone in this... you are not alone. We will stand and we'll hold your hand.

Thank you for holding my hand, friends. It is an honor to hold yours.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Snapshots

Feeling overwhelmed with something that I always thought would be a dream, not a reality.


Cinderella dresses and batman capes.


Coming up on Five... not as slowly as I would like.


Propped up in bed at nine o'clock in the morning with my coffee and my writing... the little baby (toddler I should say) still in bed too.


Mornings when the crickets and the birds go silent, and the rain comes lightly down.


Pajamas and red wine at eight thirty after the baby goes down.... an hour later, the both of us wanting to rush in and wake her up to play.

An impromptu middle of the night pajama party because she's only this little for so short a time.


Septembers spent with the windows wide open instead of the air conditioner cranked up on high.


Gluten free blueberry pancakes and scrambled eggs for dinner.


Knowing the presence of Jesus and thankful for His Spirit. Without my firstborn son, I don't know how I could have known the Father this way.

On quiet Fall nights, when everyone is asleep around me, my heart grieves and aches wondering and wishing it could have happened another way. I miss my son Owen.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A short story

"It is a strange feeling to miss someone you never knew." The little girl sat back on her heels and looked up at her mother.

"Hmmm...." her mother murmured quietly while she delicately threaded the tiny needle through the fabric on her lap.

"I mean, how can you miss someone when you don't know what their voice sounded like? Or what kind of cereal they liked to eat in the mornings?" She took a strand of hair from behind her ear and twirled it playfully with her long fingers. The little girl watched her mother carefully sewing a patch of fabric over the knee of her favorite pair of jeans, and felt even more questions bubble up inside her.

"Or what games they liked to play, or if they liked to run through the woods and get their knees dirty and scratched?" Her mother started to hum a quiet song as the little girl stood up and climbed into the rocking chair beside her. She liked how quickly her mother moved the needle in and out, in and out patching up a tear she had gotten while crawling through the bushes in front of the house.

"Or what books they liked to read, or if..." The little girl stopped and nuzzled her head against her mother's arm, rubbing her face against the warmth of her mother's cotton shirt. A single tear slipped down her face wetting the fabric underneath it.

"Did you know that you and your brother have the same dimple in your chins?" She peeked down at her daughter's face, and smiled gently. "The very same."

"We do?" asked the little girl. She smiled widely at her mother and jumped down out of the chair. "I bet he would of liked playing in the woods and getting dirty, and he probably would have gotten holes in his knees too." The little girl laughed at the thought.

"Yes, my sweet little girl. I'm sure he would have." The little girl's mother finished the patch, made a knot in the thread and snipped the loose ends away. The little girl squealed with delight as her mother handed her back her favorite pair of jeans. She ran quickly back to her room to change while her mother quietly picked up the scraps of fabric around her. A single tear slipped down her cheek but with no one there to see it, she does not dare wipe it away.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Snapshots

"I'm a real boy!" is one of Hannah's new favorite sayings. She loves Gocchi (Pinocchio) a lot.


Fall is right around the corner. We've had our windows open for the past three days. The fresh air makes me feel so happy and makes our apartment feel so clean too.


I made homemade granola for the first time last week, and it was a big hit. It tastes like a healthy cinnamon toast crunch and bonus- it made our whole apartment smell wonderful.


Driving in the rain to get french fries and ice cream at eight pm on a Friday night will in fact prove to be one of the best things we did all week.


I have vacuumed more this week than I have in the last couple of months. Fact.


Fact: These videos are the funniest things I've watched in a looooooooooong time.




I may have written a children's book this week. No, seriously.


Who would have thought that I would have to take away my little girl's Batman and Captain America toys as a consequence for disobeying mommy. Our little girly girl loves her superheroes.


Tuesday mornings are my 'Me Party.' I never would have guessed that I would need a morning a week to myself, but I do and I'm enjoying it.


Hannah Mae is starting to get a little attitude with me, and really, it is disrespectful but every time she huffs "okaaaaaaaay" at me in her little 2 year old voice, I have to work hard to contain my laughter. She's just so cute and sassy, and always has been.


We start Mommy & Me classes tomorrow. I am so excited about it and I think Hannah Mae will really enjoy it too.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ode to Summer

The last day of summer,
a rainy melody of drums
lifts my spirits and walks us into fall.

Sticky sweet ice cream on a sweet baby girl,
pickles in a breakfast bowl,
guys, superheroes and gray capes.

New music written by my husband,
exploring a new city and 
discovering a new home.

Three calls but not ours yet,
prayers and intercession,
waiting and hoping.

Bandaids with pretend boo boos,
Do-Re-Mi,
and singing Joy at church.

Beet juice and Tinkerbell,
French fries with mayo and ketchup,
coffee with my papa.

A little girl's first movie,
a fun trip to the ocean
and a belly full of ice cream.

Splashing, swimming, jumping,
3,261 miles on the road
and priceless reconnecting with my love.

So long, farewell, 
auf weidersehen, goodbye
long sweet summertime days.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Broken

This post was started back in May, the day after Mother's day...


We drove past the cemetery yesterday after church. There were so many cars parked alongside the grass. So many bent knees and heads, so many flowers in hand.



I will be 30 soon. This fact actually has nothing to do with what I want to write about except that with the passage of time I am reminded of the brokenness of this world.


All our bodies are riddled with brokenness. We are broken people. Some of us (more than others) are reminded of our brokenness from the moment our eyes open in the morning. Our bodies ache, our hearts grieve and the undeniable not-rightness of this world screams for attention.

But some of us can ignore our brokenness- content to go days, weeks, months or years without thinking much about our broken state. We can exercise, eat healthy food, and convince ourselves that this is enough. We can deny the hurt in our hearts, and keep busy with work, school and play. We can maybe even fool ourselves into believing that we have our 'stuff' together, that things aren't so bad.

But the fact remains... we are broken and dying. Our bodies need more than healthy food and exercise. Denying the hurt and needs of our hearts will only suffice for a time.

Our bodies, our souls need regeneration. And this broken world, the one where babies are stillborn and people die and marriages end and people knowingly and willingly hurt each other, this world needs regeneration. And that is why the Good News of the Gospel is so freaking good.

Jesus has promised to come back. And when he does, he will set all things right. He will mend our broken bodies, heal our broken hearts and separation will be no more. This world will be remade and it will not be broken.

We don't have to ignore the brokenness in the world or in our own lives. Sugar-coating the hurt in our lives and putting on a positive attitude will not heal hearts. Only Jesus and his promises can fix what is broken.

When we pretend that the hurt does not run deep, we are denying ourselves the comfort of the Gospel. Jesus did not smile and pretend that things aren't bad here. He wept. He overturned tables and was angry. He died because things really are that bad.


There are a lot of hurting people in this world, and we are part of the broken masses. We need Jesus, and that's a good thing because He is real and He is bigger than we can even imagine.

I am not a pessimist. I don't sit around and hand out Debbie downer comments left and right. But I am a sober realist. Ignoring reality will not give us an accurate picture of what an awesome Savior, and Father God we have; but embracing the depth of our brokenness will lead to such joy and hope in Lord, I promise. Much more importantly, Jesus promises this.


We are in the already/not yet. We are free from sin, though we will still struggle with sin until Jesus comes back. There is no remedy we can trust that will keep us safe from the effects of the fall. We are safe with Him, though the effects of this broken world still hurt and grieve us.

The Gospel is sweet, good news to us, the broken people of this broken world. Jesus came to save, and we are saved when we put our trust in Him.

We wait with eagerness and joy because He will return to make all things new.


"I lift up my eyes to the hills
from where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord
who made heaven and earth."
Psalm 121:1-2

"For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in Heaven, making peace by the blood of cross." Colossians 1:19-20


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Deep Thoughts....

.... by Jack Handy.


I painted my fingernails bright neon orange last weekend. They are probably a love it or hate it color, but I'm loving them.

Summer is wrapping up and we will soon be on our way home ready to tackle our last year in seminary. We have made some big decisions this summer. And we are excited.

I am so so ready for some good quality friend time next month in Georgia. I get all antsy and excited when I think about it.

Hannah Mae has finally gotten over her fear of hair ties. The last few days she has let me put her hair in a ponytail and pig-tails. I have to admit that I get all weepy when I see those bouncy little girl curls in a ponytail. Oh, have I dreamed for this moment!



This summer has been a challenge for me, but God has been so very gracious to us in this season of transitory living.

I know we'll look back on this summer and remember the smell of wet grass as Hannah splashes in the blue kiddie pool, the sweet sticky feel of our hands after sharing a huge tub of frozen yogurt piled high with raspberries, and the endless exclamations of 'walk!! my toes' from the backseat as we pull up to our destination.



Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Snapshots

I can't believe it's been a month since I've written anything. I won't lie... being in a new city with a two-year-old.... well, sometimes the days are long. But looking back, I can't believe how fast time has gone by.

When Hannah wants to walk by herself (i.e. get out of the stroller or be put down), she exclaims, "Walk! My toes!!!"

She has started making up her own songs about what she sees or how she feels. My favorite song is the one she sings the most: "Daddy, my daddy helps! Mommy, my daddy helps! Daddy, my mommy helps!" It is the cutest little song. And then there's this little ditty: "Happppppyyyy, goooooo! Mommy happy! AnnaMae happppppy! Happpppppyyyyyy, goooooo!"

There are a few things that I'm really really looking forward to sharing with the whole wide world, but I will have to wait still a little longer.

Lately, one of my favorite verses has been resonating in my head when I'm feeling overwhelmed.
"I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1-2

HM and I recently went to the beach with my family. We had such a good time. She absolutely looooooooooooooooved the ocean. The waves knocked her all about, even making her fall head first into the water, but she got up laughing and running back into the water. She was fearless, and could have stayed there in the water all day. As for me, the ocean always has a calming effect on me, and this year was no different.

Parenting a two-year-old is hard. Not for the faint of heart. But I know there is something harder, and that thought weighs heavy on my mind in the difficult moments throughout the day when HM is screaming about another tortilla chip or how she wants mommy to help (change her diaper, wash her hands, get her a cup, etc). I think about all the moments, hours, days, weeks and YEARS I desperately wanted to have a hard day parenting my child, because that meant that I had my child with me. Now that I do have a child here, and I am finally not separated from one of my babies, I realize that we all have moments when we want to hide in the bathroom or pretend we don't hear them screaming and rolling around on the floor. And in those moments, I wish I could say that I don't have guilt or anger or sadness for how I respond.
The truth is, I do. I put a lot of pressure on myself not to have those normal feelings of motherhood. Because I waited so long to have a child in my arms. Because I have three babies that I can't hold. Because I know how quickly things could have gone the other way at her birth. Because I see heartbreak and sorrow and separation all around me, and don't we know how good we have it?????
But sometimes I hide in the bathroom for just one minute more. Sometimes I look away when she's rolling around on the floor for the fifth time in an hour instead of intentionally parenting her through the tantrum. Sometimes I sneak away to the bedroom when daddy gets home from work so I can recharge for the evening routine.
And I feel so guilty about it.

Parenting a living child is hard. But I wouldn't have it any other way.





Thursday, June 7, 2012

Four years ago...

Four years ago, I had a journal. It looks innocuous enough, but it is filled the brokenhearted rants of a newly bereaved mom. Tear stained pages are bound by a soft cover. You wouldn't know by looking at it what it really holds.
This particular entry was written 7 months after Owen's death and weeks after chipmunk's. Everything was so raw and debilitating.



That awful moment when they told us you were gone,
he stared back unblinking.
"Is that it? Is there nothing you can do?!"
His eyes searching for an answer.

You were gone in the blink of an eye.
A flash of lightning hit me when I wasn't looking.

The home stretch turned to a dirge,
a slow crawl to the graveyard.
Born asleep, and laid to rest
next to your great granddaddy.


Lord, I need you. I know I have been extremely disrespectful and so angry with you. I have yelled, cursed and told others how angry I am at you. I was wrong. Wrong to speak against you.

I have no right to demand anything of you.
I want answers... to know why you thought it was good for Owen's life to be 36 weeks in my womb. For Chipmunk, to die or be killed?...

I want to understand and... and... believe that you know best. That you are in control of everything and that Owen did not die because of a mistake my doctors made, or an oversight, or because of something I did wrong.

I want to believe that you are a good and loving God. That nothing escapes your sight, and you knew exactly what you were doing when Owen's heart stopped beating- it wasn't a mistake, but a plan- part of a plan for amazing things- and Owen's life was important- a very essential part of your good plan for your children.

Please. Please will you help me trust you?

I can't do it without you. I am weak and unbelieving. I am a coward.

Will you soften my heart to you and your ways? I guess I don't have to understand, but I would like to have peace in my life... in the life you've given me to live.

Dear Lord, will you help me? I am in deep trouble. Stuck in sin and depravity- unable to save myself.

Will you pull me out?
Will you forgive me? I repent.
I know that I will keep sinning because I am human, but I want to live as your child... I want to know you better. I love you, Lord. Please have mercy.




These were the words of a broken woman. A woman who looked broken- from the shadows under her eyes to the way her mouth went unsmiling for months. As I type these words today four years later, I still sit a broken woman. We live in a broken world, but we have a faithful Father. One who loves us and has a plan for us. He never leaves us or forsakes us. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

I pulled out my journal today to write a new entry, another chapter in our story. One that echoes with God's faithfulness. There is still so much brokenness, so much sadness and hurt, but praise the Lord there is peace and hope and beauty too. 
Thank you, Father.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Reasons why I'm glad I failed my raw food diet

1. As someone who struggled with anorexia during college and who now abstains from all things with gluten (basically all traditional bread, cookies, crackers, cake), I learned that I did not need to restrict cooked food from my diet. Physically, I felt fine. But emotionally and mentally, restricting my diet took me to a bad place. I felt my stomach roll with hunger and instead of looking towards the foods I could eat, I thought of all the foods I not could not eat and felt all those old, familiar negative feelings towards food.


2. I eat a well balanced diet without restricting cooked food. We have been on major diet overhaul lately. Since late last summer, I have been learning so much about how society's view of food has been radically changed these past few decades. We now see food in the grocery stores as the prepackaged stuff in bright colorful wrappings and forgo the food that God has made by his loving hands.

Chris and I have stopped buying pre-cooked/preserved foods and eat almost all whole foods or homemade foods. I won't lie (partly because you wouldn't believe me!) and say that we never eat packaged foods or enjoy a Five Guys burger every now and then. But for the majority of our diet (not a restrictive regimen to lose weight but our way of life) is the food that God made for us to eat. We have fallen in love with beets, quinoa, kale and herbs (oh, the joy of fresh herbs!! Did you know you can buy a bunch of herbs for $2 at the grocery store? And I mean a BUNCH!).


3. I have been struggling with some health issues for the past year, and to my shame I had become desperate to the point where raw food was my savior. I believed that raw food could keep away what I fear.

But friends, while the types of food we eat and exercise and taking care of ourselves is vital... if we are doing these things out of fear of sickness or death, then we have sadly lost sight of our Father's love for us.

Unfortunately, that's where I found myself Tuesday afternoon. After one, yes ONE, day on our raw food diet. I walked into the kitchen craving leftover rice pasta with tomatoes, capers and parsley and I just felt so defeated.
Questions bubbled up inside of me and I asked Chris-
What if raw food doesn't work? What if I struggle with the things I fear even on a raw food diet? Why am I cutting out foods that aren't bad for me? I have already completely changed my way of life by removing gluten and now I have to cut out everything cooked???.... why?
Why am I really doing this?

Fear was the answer that I didn't want to hear.
I don't want to live in fear. I don't want to do things because I am afraid. Fear shouldn't rule me.
Love should.

Love should guide me to look at the way I am treating my body. Love should tell me that I am hurting myself with high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors and flavors. Love should whisper that we are dust, but oh, how God cares for us. When we are mothers and fathers, we care for our children and though we know that one day they will die, we still desire that they care for themselves, and we lovingly care for them, for their bodies. We mend their boo boos and pray for health during illness. I would not allow my children to run headfirst into the wall or jump from the roof though I know that they are dust.
We are God's precious children. He is our Heavenly Father and oh, how he loves us.

When Jesus tells us in Matthew not to be anxious about our lives- what we will eat or drink or wear, he is lovingly whispering how he loves us. God knows what we need, and he will provide. These were not days where genetically modified food or artificial colors lurked quietly in food. These were days where famine and starvation lay at each families doorstep.
We need to remember that our bodies are temples of God, and they are important to Him. God dwells within us by His Holy Spirit. He cares about our bodies and what we do with them. 


I hesitate to publish this because I know that these things are hard; that it is not easy to hear that we need to change. I do not sit in judgement or condemnation of anyone. Please hear me saying these things in love.
But I know that it is not easy to be confronted with something that is so different than what we've done our whole lives. The way we view food is so entrenched in tradition and nostalgia, and changing is hard. I have missed the familiar, comforting feeling of popping open a can of ice cold cherry coke, but I do not miss the sugary haze and nausea that it brings once the glass is empty.

I have been brought to my knees by the knowledge the Lord has provided this past year. We have been changed. But it is not fear that drives us in these changes. It is love. God's love.

These past few months have been hard. But I am even more convinced that I have a powerful, merciful Savior.. and it is not food. His name is Jesus. 




Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children's children,
to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
The LORD has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless the LORD, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the LORD, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the LORD, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
Psalm 103:1-22


Matthew 6:25-34

1 Corinthians 6:12-20


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Brokenness II

The wind blows in gently. The birds playfully sing outside the open window. And my heart swells with love for God's green Earth. 

We have had our windows opened wide since the first inkling of Spring. I love the sweet smell of blooming trees. I love the cool breeze that wanders in, so welcome. I love the feeling of bringing the outside in. Maybe that's why I have upwards of twenty indoor plants living among us. 

The air is growing warmer though, and soon our windows will be shut tight for the duration of Summer. The summer months were always my favorite as a child. Now they are the months I try to endure as I wait impatiently for Fall and cooler weather and open windows.


I have been struggling fiercely for the past couple of weeks. Doubt, fear, anxiety, and a reckless mind have plagued my waking hours. Deep, unsettling questions have left me exhausted and fighting for rest. 

What are we to do with all this brokenness? 




I have read countless blogs retelling the stories of babies born too soon, so silent and still, children dying from cancer, accidents and illness. In doctor's waiting rooms, I have overheard angry words of 'why?' and silent screams of sadness and frustration.

I have read the words of mothers who have brokenness etched into their hearts. Words that will break your heart wide open. My heart feels the heaviness of their brokenness today. It is my brokenness too.

What are we supposed to do with all this brokenness?
I can't sweep it under a rug. If brokenness was a shameful book, I couldn't hide it behind the other books and pretend that it's not there. It's too big and loud. Some days, it screams at me. I won't lie to myself or to the broken woman crying in the hospital... it is real. And it sucks.

What are we supposed to do with all this brokenness?

About three years ago, I heard a sermon about joy. In the introduction, our pastor asked if we were joyful people. I remember laughing bitterly to myself and scoffing, "No. No, I am not a joyful person. How could I be with all the death, the sickness, the brokenness around me?" I'm so thankful that grace pulled me out of my own thoughts and into the sermon that day. I answered his question very differently at the end of his sermon.

His point was not to condemn us into happiness. Contrary to popular belief, joy is not a feeling.

One of the major points in his sermon was that joyful people are people who understand that there is bigger picture; and an Artist who paints with colors we've never seen before, with brushstrokes so perfectly and carefully applied that if we could see it, we would weep with joy.

The bigger picture of a God who loves us. A God who weeps with us and who cares so much that He is coming again to set everything right... to make it the way it should be, the way it was made to be.

To a quote a good friend, "I guess all I'm trying to say is that you are not alone.  It's scary (and HARD) as crap, but you are not alone.  And the one who if He had not died for us never would have died is there for us too."

There is a bigger picture, a bigger story. There is an ending more grand than we could ever dream. And it does not end with brokenness. 

For now, the brokenness is here and it will not be ignored. We must keep waiting, knowing that our stories... that the bigger story does not end with brokenness. And lo, there is joy.



The wind carries in the sweetness of Spring, and a red bird calls my name beckoning me to listen. He loves us.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Grief Olympics

So often since Owen died, I've felt like I entered into the grief olympics with people almost daily. Not willingly, mind you. I actually have a story that re-breaks my heart just thinking about it. Let me start at the beginning.

When Owen died, I had some very close friends who stood beside me. They came to his funeral. They made brownies and thai food runs. They cried with me, listened to my struggles and questions, and all the while they never said anything that made me feel like I had to move on or change.
Until...
Until one day, they weren't there anymore. The phone calls stopped. No emails, no visits. It all just stopped. They disappeared.

It was a month before Owen's first birthday when I got the first inclination that I had tapped these friends dry. I had used the grief card too many times and they were fresh out of grace for me. At least, that's what I thought. For three years.

For the past three years, I just assumed that they had gotten tired of my grief, of me. I assumed that I wasn't making enough progress and that they had expected me to be further on once a year hit. I wasn't handling my grief the way they thought I should and so we grew apart. But it felt more like another death. Abrupt and unwanted.

These friends were some of the ones I just knew would always be there. I grieved the loss of their friendships. I felt like such a failure. Failing in grief and in friendship.

I found out through (I guess, gossip) a mutual friend that these friends stepped away because they thought that I put my grief above theirs. You see, the reason they knew how to love me (in the beginning at least) was because they also knew loss and grief.
I sobbed that night. I cried and cried imagining how and why they felt this way. I never said words even close to 'my grief is worse'.

I can only guess that the ways in which I coped that first year indicated to them that I thought that what I was going through was worse. The way I refused to joke about my loss. The way I cried every day. The way I stayed in my PJs most days and quit my job so I could grieve. They way I wanted to talk about him all the time.

After hearing the reason for the end of the friendship, I felt betrayed and judged. I thought that these friends would have been honest with their feelings. I had expected maturity and help from two friends that had walked grief's long road before me. I had assumed that their experiences would help them love and care for me in that fragile first year. I was disappointed and hurt all over again. And angry.

Per my husband's advice, I wrote them a letter. A letter that I never intended to send to them or even see the light of day. It helped, some.


I've had a few months to think and process all my feelings over this situation. And I just feel sad now. Sad that my friends didn't feel free to tell me how they were feeling. Sad that we couldn't have real conversations with each other, validating and comforting one another because though our tragedies are different, we all have deep hurt and grief to carry for the rest of our lives. I'm sad that our friendships are long gone now. I'm sad that so many friendships end this way; that so many friendships don't stand a chance because of the damn grief olympics.

Grief isn't a game and there is no first place. (Who would want that anyways?) I have had many women tell me their heartbreaking stories of babies lost to miscarriage. And my heart breaks with you, especially as you downplay your grief, telling me that you don't have it as bad as me. Yes, yes you do. You are separated from your child and though the means of loss is different, you have still lost something, someone and no one can reconcile your separation, save Jesus.

Now that I have this adorable, mischievous little girl running around my house, I see how the olympics aren't just for grief. We all play the game, and we all alienate and abandon and discourage with each turn at the bat. 

Ultimately, I don't care if you work outside the home or homeschool or cloth diaper or eat at McDonald's or pose on the cover of Time magazine breastfeeding your three-year-old. And if you have five kids who cause daily destruction in your house- you don't win a gold medal while the woman with one kid at home gets ninth place. (And please, please don't tell the exhausted mother of a newborn to 'just wait until they are a toddler or a preschooler or a teenager or until you have three more at home.' Who does this help? And why make an already stressed out and vulnerable person feel worse??)

When we look at our neighbor and examine the differences, compare our struggles, and compete for first place (first place in hardships or best parenting or the 'who has it worst' game), no one is going to be a winner. We're all going to be losers. Alienating, abandoning and discouraging ourselves into loneliness.


Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Thank you that you will make all things new, and we will have reconciled relationships exactly as they were meant to be. Please give us grace, grace, grace for each day until that blessed day.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Snapshots

*Hannah Mae sitting in time-out very quietly. Too quietly. Discovered she was playing in her poop. Little toddler feet ran after me into the kitchen as I try not to freak out, leaving a poop trail behind her. She then proceeded to put her hands in her mouth- crying after she realized that doing that was not a good idea. I love that she looked at me like it was all my fault as she wailed with her hands held out in disgust.
The baby I keep during the week crawled right into said poop trail. Both baby girls had a bath and a good talking to about never ever playing in poop.

*All cuddled up in her hooded towel after a bath, she looks just like the newborn I brought home from the hospital.

*Nursing a toddler. Challenging; we are busy busy busy. It would be easier not to nurse her, but my days wouldn't be as sweet. Taking the time to stop the busyness of toddlerhood, and sit and cuddle my girl is such a priceless gift.

*Mornings watching Sesame Street snuggling on the couch, warm cinnamon coffee in hand.

*Staying up late into the night; the house sits quiet, toys put away, a clean kitchen and an important project that cannot wait.

*Learning anew each day what a Savior I have.

*A busy end to a busy semester of school, work and studying. We have made it. Two years down, one to go.

*Looking forward to a restful and fun summer. A new adventure awaits!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Thoughts on 2

Celebrating two!


Birthday week started with a chilly trip to the zoo! 


Elmo party! (psst... gluten free vanilla cupcakes... seriously goooood)


Our teeny tiny apartment decked out and ready for fun.



She was completely obsessed with her cupcake, particularly the frosting. She had never had frosting before and she loved it! I made the biggest mommy mistake by taking it from her so we could open presents, but promising to give it back afterwards. She would have none of that and had a huge meltdown. Precious little 2 year old meltdown. 



Games! We had three little stations of games. So fun!


Little friends... hard to capture a picture of all the kiddos, but finally got one!
I would have invited about 20 more people, but our little apartment was filled to capacity. 


Look at all those little girl hands helping to unwrap! (Anyone notice the cupcake I'm holding? Yep, that was my compromise. Ha!)


Post party fun!



It's hard to believe that Hannah Mae turned two years old last week.

She had a blast on her birthday. We played all morning, went to Target to pick out a present from great-grandmama, ate lunch at a mexican restaurant, and had a party! Her favorite little guy is Elmo, so we Elmo-ed it up at her party. I made an Elmo face out of fruit (I stole this idea from a friend), and had three stations of Elmo games. The cupcakes were a hit, and the Elmo face was gone in 20 minutes! She's been talking about her berfday ever since!


Two years ago today, we were just home from the hospital with our little baby girl in our arms. I clearly remember all the intense emotions of those early days. But the ones that stand out most in my mind are joy and disbelief.
Joy that our baby girl was finally in our arms, joy that we all came home together safe and sound. I expected this joy. I daydreamed about this joy during those long scary pregnant days. This joy was welcome.
What I didn't expect is how disbelief would numb the joy that radiated those sweet newborn days. Disbelief that she was born alive and healthy, disbelief that she came home from hospital in my arms, disbelief that pregnancy ends in living babies that cry and coo and grow up.

Two years later joy and disbelief still linger in my heart, but the disbelief has evolved into more wonder than disbelief. Wonder that we have her in our arms, wonder that our life is nothing like it was when our only children were the ones we couldn't hold in our arms. Some days, I can't believe that I have a little girl who calls me mommy and follows me around copying my every move. It is wonder that magnifies the joy.

Monday morning, we had a mommy-daughter date to run errands. It was one of the most fun mornings we've had. Now that she's two, we have her forward facing in her car-seat. She loves to talk to us and hand us things from the back seat. I glanced back at her in the mirror and couldn't believe my eyes. Here is this precious little two-year-old wearing pink sunglasses, eating a waffle and talking to me about our errands and her 'eyes' (sunglasses). She's ours and she's here with us.

*sigh*


Two years later, I still thank God for bringing us all safely through pregnancy and for His gracious care in helping us navigate those early newborn days, for mercy that is new every morning for this pair of imperfect and needy parents.


This joy and disbelief reminds me of the even greater joy and disbelief that come from an even greater Love.

I have been a Christian for almost 10 years. And I clearly remember those early days of immense joy and disbelief. Joy that I have a Father who loves and pursues me, who cares so deeply for me. Disbelief that it could really be true- this wonderful, incredible, awesome grace that has been bought for me. Disbelief that there is nothing that I can do to gain His favor because I already have it. Joy and wonder... wonder magnifying and highlighting the joy in my heart.

I pray we don't lose this joy and wonder. We have a Father who loves us, more than we can imagine. And his grace and mercy are abundant and priceless.

And on her second birthday and every day she's here with us, we pray that our precious Hannah Mae grows to know this Father in Heaven.

Our Father who art in Heaven
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done
on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil
For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
Amen.


Friday, April 20, 2012

What is Hannah Mae doing these days IV?

Exactly one week before her second (!) birthday, I think it's time to write a special post on our most precious fourth child.

At 23 months, Hannah Mae is an amazing, curious, stubborn, tender-hearted mommy's girl. She's kind and so sweet. She loves to give hugs and kisses to her friends, even if they don't want a kiss or a hug. Her favorite friend is three year old SK, who (most of the time) loves to hug her back.
She's also very much a (almost) 2 year old. She has a hard time sharing and often will take toys from her friends and yell 'mine!' I keep a 7 month old during the week, and conversations about sharing happen often throughout the day.

She's talking so much these days though sometimes we don't understand what she's saying. She makes up her own words for things she can't pronounce. We love those sweet made-up words. I don't correct her at all. : ) She has her own word for 'milk' that she's been saying for over 6 months, but just last week she learned how to say milk and it's now one of her favorite words. She is still nursing (gasp! I know!). This is such a personal decision and something that Hannah and I (and Chris too) are happy and comfortable with. I don't talk about it much, but I don't hide it either.

She is such an adventurous eater, which is hilarious because neither Chris or I were as kids. Her favorite foods are baked kale, quinoa, apples (she will eat an apple through the core if we let her), capers, tomato dip, cheese and yogurt, seaweed snacks, snap pea crisps, raw carrots (but won't always eat cooked carrots), all kinds of beans, and soups/chili.

She sleeps 12-13 hours each night. If you have followed my blog since she was born then you know that we NEVER thought that she'd sleep that long ever. She naps once during the afternoon and loves to cuddle with all her stuffed animals. I haven't counted, but I think there are at least 15 of her friends in her bed with her. She still sleeps in her crib and we don't anticipate moving her into a toddler bed for another year or so. She's so short that I can't imagine she'll be climbing out anytime soon, and I have no desire to rush her out of her crib.

Our days are full of playing, cuddling, watching Elmo (her all time favorite) together, reading, making pretend food and having tea parties, running around outside with her friends, learning how to slide like a big girl and taking walks to find birds, bunnies and squirrels. She loves birds, and will point and yell 'fly!!' at them.


Can you spot the baby? 


A rare 'treat' on our road trip to Indy.


After the Easter egg hunt.


Mommy's girl.


Playing with 'her baby'.




This time two years ago, I could not imagine what life would be like if she was born alive and healthy. I am not exaggerating. I simply could not picture life with a living child. It seemed like too big a dream.


But here we are!
And her sweet presence is all around us. Her toys scattered on the floor, the crumbs from her snack crunch under our feet, her clean clothes lay at the foot of our bed waiting to be folded, her little feet run up behind me and she clings to my legs as cook in the kitchen....

I never imagined having all this. I am so thankful.

All glory to God the Father for helping us breathe and live after Owen's death. We have survived... but not past tense at all, we still survive each day without our babies in Heaven, and we thrive. Something I also never imagined. Praise be to God.

In the year after Owen's death when we miscarried our second and third babies, I didn't know that I hadn't felt the sunshine on my face or the wind blow my hair. I was breathing and walking and talking, but I was numb to everything except my grief.

The day I felt the wind rush through my fingers was the first day life broke through the grief. I am so thankful. Painful though it was to feel and live in a world without my babies, I am thankful to have moved forward with my grief. Not move on. Not at all. To the bereaved, there is no moving on.
Moving forward is different. There are days and sometimes whole weeks when I feel like I'm back at the beginning of my grief, but that's not true. The Holy Spirit continually points me back to the Father and his great love, and I know that this day is one day closer to all things being made right. 




"And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." Colossians 1:17