Happy New Year

Happy New Year from our family to yours! 

Miscarriage: 18 Months Later


18 months. 548 days. Over 13,000 hours.

That's how long it's been since my heart was first broken.

June 29, 2011

I miscarried my baby, Grant David.

It was many months before the fog would lift and healing would begin. Of course, I couldn't have known then that it was only the beginning of a journey of pain and loss. 

February 23, 2012

I miscarried my baby, Hope. 

Brokenness. Pain. Loss. Death. Depression. 

October 17, 2012

I miscarry for the third time, losing my baby Isaac.  

I have to admit that out of the 13,000 hours, too many have been spent questioning. Too many have been spent depressed. Too many have been spent in self-pity. 

However, I also can see that some of those 13,000 hours were spent in ministry. Ministry of mercy towards others who are walking this path. 13,000 hours ago, I didn't know all that I would have in common with Merry, with Dee, with Moriah, with April, with Kimberly. The ministry I never wanted... but now I can minister to others because of what I've gone through, with Jesus at my side. 

I am a different person now than I was 18 months ago. I know Jesus at a different level than ever before. That is one way that God can use such pain and difficulties for good.

His grace is enough. I have no idea what my future holds. But His grace is sufficient for me. He and I will face it together. I can look back on the last 18 months and see those "footsteps in the sand" where I know He was with me and at times carrying me through it. He is enough.   

Our Family Christmas


Christmas Day. Our family had a very simple, stay-at-home day. The kids played with new toys. I made supper in the crockpot and enjoyed reading a book throughout the day. We looked through old photos and videos of Christmases past (which is always good for some laughs and memories).

My son received a set of Little Critter books by Mercer Mayer - some of his current favorites. 

 My daughter also received some new books, including this one about Secret Codes. 

I gave my husband a new razor.  

My husband gave me a new tablecloth and table pad for our dining room table. He let me open this last weekend, so I could use it when we hosted his extended family for Christmas. The tablecloth is a beautiful burgundy color and fits our table (we didn't have one big enough before).

It was a simple Christmas for us.  
Relatively few gifts. 
Reading the Biblical story of Jesus' birth. 
A few Christmas songs around the piano. 
A quiet day to reflect and enjoy family. 
A simple, beautiful Christmas.     

Family Christmas and Imperfect Gifts


Last weekend we hosted my husband's side of the family for Christmas

We enjoyed a great meal - potluck style, with each family bringing part of the meal. I'm thankful that we have space to host such a gathering. This year, we served the food in the dining room and ate in our sunroom (which we cleaned up for the occasion). Our sunroom is big enough for 2 large tables and seating for 16, so it worked out well. 

Oftentimes, the focus of Christmas gatherings can be all about the gifts. Who gets what. The follow-up question is usually "What did you get?" Seems selfish. Seems gift-driven, consumer-driven, and totally missing the point of Jesus' birthday.

I am thankful that this year my husband and I talked beforehand about how to keep the focus more on Christ and less on gifts. He stepped up before the gift opening commenced and shared from his heart. It was beautiful.  He shared about our desire to give gifts, but that the truth is that all gifts we give are imperfect. Everything we receive will eventually decay, rust, rot, die, break, wear out, etc. BUT... the Perfect Gift has already been given. Jesus. He is the Perfect Gift, the One that never grows old. When we focus on the Perfect Gift, we won't be disappointed.

My mother-in-law's love language, however, is gifts. She likes to give lots of gifts and even though we have requested over the years that she cut back, she continues to give extravagantly. So we have opportunities to exercise self-control and thanks-giving. 

Here are a few pictures from the Christmas gathering.

 Niece Hannah and her friend Dominic with some gifts.

My husband with a "creeper" that he received, which is a great gift for him as he does a lot of work on/under our vehicle. 

My son received some new Lego sets, which he was very excited about. 

My daughter received this colorful new jacket from Grandma R. 

A silly gift for my son from Aunt Karen - a lovely lollipop.  

My daughter was SUPER SURPRISED to receive a Beta fish from Aunt Sheila. She's been saving up her money for a fish, fish tank, fish food, etc. She was completely shocked! 

Those who are interested stuck around to chat or play games. Settlers of Catan is a new-to-us board game that we checked out from the library for Christmas break.

We celebrate Christmas all week long with at least 3 and sometimes 4 parties along the way. May your Christmas-ing continue as you cherish your time with family and friends and give thanks to God for the Perfect Gift!


Merry Christmas 2012


Merry Christmas! 

Joy to the world! Our Lord has come! 
Emmanuel - God with Us. He is with us, sharing our joys and struggles, walking with us through this life and the next. That is true joy for this hurting world! 

A Perfect Gift


It's Christmas Eve day. I received a wonderful surprise in the mail today

An old college friend Moriah mailed me a package. Moriah and her husband Ethan suffered a miscarriage this year, losing their precious little girl around 20 weeks. They named her Hope, because they found that name as fitting as we did when we lost our baby girl.

The card in the package read: Every baby should have a baby blanket. A friend recently made me one of these after the loss of our little girl. It was very special to me and I wanted to pass the gesture along. Praying that you know the peace that passes understanding. Love in Christ, Moriah

Inside the package were 3 tiny handmade baby blankets, one for each of our 3 babies in heaven. White with blue trim. White with yellow trim. White with green trim. Three little tags: Grant, Hope, Isaac. 

Perfect. Absolutely perfect. 

One of the difficulties for those who miscarry children is that there is nothing tangible to cling to. There is no tombstone to visit. There are no clothes that remind you of their scent. Their toys aren't around. There is no bedroom that was "theirs." There is nothing except maybe an ultrasound picture and often, not even that.

Having something like these blankets, something tangible, makes my heart glad. It is a simple reminder that my babies aren't forgotten. Their little lives had meaning and purpose... and they continue to, in the eternal life that awaits us. 

Every baby should have a baby blanket. So simple. So fitting on this Christmas Eve. Christmas makes us think of babies. 

I remember many years ago at a family Christmas gathering, each person present was asked what gift they would bring the Christ Child if they could go back in time to that first Christmas. All I could think of was a blanket. He was probably cold. He needed a blanket. Every baby should have a baby blanket. 

Thank you, Moriah, for the perfect Christmas gift and reminder!

Miscarriage: 2 Months Later


It was October 17th that I miscarried my last baby. 

It's now been 2 months

How am I doing? Surprisingly well, I'd say. 

I vividly recall one year ago.I was not in a thankful mood at Thanksgiving last year nor was I in a festive mood at Christmas last year. I had miscarried for the first time in June 2011. By the end of the year, the pain was still very deep and I was depressed. I went through the Christmas motions but my heart was not in a "joyful and triumphant" place. 

However, it was just after Christmas that the Lord did a work in my heart and brought healing. The fog finally lifted and hope returned. Praise Him!

And although I've miscarried two more times in 2012, the fog has never settled as heavy and hope has never completely left, as it did the first time.

The depressing truth is that each time is easier. Grief is not as intense, since I've covered much of this ground before... just with a different child. Knowing, from recent experience, that there is life after grief helps too. I know that this too will pass. Life will go on and we will move forward. 

Someone asked about my kids recently and how they've handled the miscarriage news. My daughter responded with gut-wrenching wails at the news the first time around. The second time, there may have been tears but I don't recall. The third time, sadly, such news was old hat. She heard me but felt no emotion at all. Her heart has become numb to the pain. 

I hate seeing that happen in her. Yet, I know it's happening in me too. One cannot go through extreme pain over and over again and come out on the other side without some callouses. Naturally, we guard our hearts to pain. We love a little less the next time around because we don't want to be hurt. It's natural... but I hate it. 

I wouldn't want my baby Isaac to not be loved to the same measure as my baby Hope or my baby Grant... in the same way that I don't love one of my living children more than the other. But then I give myself grace, because I am an imperfect mom. I'm only human. I am here in a natural body... eagerly awaiting my supernatural heavenly body and my life in heaven with the rest of my family.

One final thought on the topic of "how am I doing." I am on medication. With all 5 of my pregnancies, I've suffered with post-partum depression. Sometimes I've just let it run its course with no intervention. Other times, like now, I've requested meds to help with the emotions. 

I REALLY hate taking meds. I'm a "natural" girl who doesn't like to take anything for a headache, doesn't use drugs during childbirth and generally doesn't want medical intervention unless truly necessary. Again, though, I need grace. As much as my theory is held in my head, I know that my emotions get out of control and the medication does help keep them in line. While on meds, I get less angry. I shed fewer tears. I feel more in control of my out-of-control life. Still, I hate it and wish I could just be better without the meds. 

So, again I find myself at the place of longing for perfection, longing for heaven and for the complete redemption of all things - including these emotions and this body of mine. 

My hope in heaven is vibrant. My faith in Jesus Christ is a solid foundation for my life. With ever increasing passion, I say "Come, Lord Jesus! Come and make all things right!" 

Family Photo Friday

Friday is here again. The weeks are rushing by, bringing us ever closer to the end of another year. Since it's Friday, here are a few photos from our week. 

My daughter recently learned how to finger-knit. Some friends came up with this great idea - sell finger-knitted garlands for folks to put on their Christmas trees and donate 100% of the proceeds to charity. My daughter and I helped knit a few garlands, as our friends were overwhelmed with orders. How neat to see young people with a heart for the underprivileged... and choosing to do what they can to help! They will be blessed for their efforts... and Blankets for Orphans will receive a nice financial gift. 

At our friend Regan's house last week, the kids all enjoyed decorating gingerbread men.

Creativity on display - our nativity characters, firetruck style. Angel in the bucket. Three wise men on the ladder. Mary and Joseph in the cab. Baby Jesus hiding inside the back flap of the truck.

Good morning, sunshine! 
Smiley face oatmeal is a great way to start the day.

Happy Friday, y'all!  

My Son's Birthday Week


My son turned 5 last week. 
Here are a few photos of our different celebrations

His gifts from us were totally free this year! 
Our church recently held a Pay-It-Forward event (like a free garage sale) where I found the firetruck. My son LOVES it! 

Another friend knew that we were looking for Legos. An acquaintance of hers was getting rid of this play table, which works well with Legos. She offered it to my friend, who in turn offered it to me. Here's my son and our neighbor Sarah, both getting a lot of use out of it!

 This was our extended family celebration with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. My son set the menu for the day - pizza, pigs-in-a-blanket, black olives, and pumpkin pie for dessert.

And my boy posing with a few of his gifts. He is really into Legos as well as big trucks - cement mixers, dump trucks, etc. - so these gifts were big hits!

 Again I say, Happy Birthday, Son! 
I'm so very thankful to be your mommy and watch you grow as the years go by! 

Memory Lane with My Son


Celebrating my son's birthday this week makes this a prime time for memories. As I walked through memory lane, I found a few few photos that show him as he has grown through the years. How fun to see him move from one stage to another. 

As a newborn, sleeping in the cradle Daddy made

First laughs with Daddy

First family portrait as a family of 4

Me and my baby boy 

3-month portraits

With big sister 

6 month portraits

dressed up for Easter 

scribbling (ie. doing school like big sister) 

2 years old 

big boy going down the big slide 

3 years old

old enough to play golf 

4 years old

cheesing it up for the camera 

 smiles abound

Looking forward to what the next 5 years will hold for this special boy!