Monday, May 16, 2011

the potential for joy and sorrow (reposted)

In light of my recent news, I find it an appropriate time to re-post this entry. Today is a significant milestone for me: 11 weeks, 3 days along in my pregnancy - as far as I "made it" with Riley. Yet, the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is faithful.

In January of 2007, I lost a baby.

I'm not going to say I had a miscarriage, or refer to my little one as a fetus. These are facts, but they don't really convey what happened to me. What happened was, I lost a baby.

And it was hard. In fact, it was the hardest thing I'd ever been through. I grieved for my child, for the vanished dreams I'd entertained. For the chance to know...hold..mother my little one. It was a sudden and shocking loss, a betrayal of sorts. I was betrayed by my body. Also, I had to figure out where God fit into all of it.

The conclusion I arrived at was this: God loves my baby even more than I do. This kind of tragedy happens because there is sin in the world, not because God decided to punish me or my baby. I believe that God saw each tear that was cried for my little one, and that he mourned with me, even as he welcomed my child into heaven.

God doesn't always protect us from loss. In fact, it seems that all too often, He doesn't.

I know that this is hard to think about, but it's something that I've had to come to terms with, following my loss, and then during my pregnancy with Owen. And now here it comes again.

I struggled a lot with anxiety during my pregnancy with Owen. The first trimester was excruciating - not so much because I was feeling sick, but because I was haunted by the memory of my previous loss...and the potential that it might happen again. My pregnancy gave me no physical reason for concern - but neither had the one that ended so sadly. I had an especially hard time as I approached the 11 week mark, for that was when my body rejected the baby I'd imagined was still healthy...still present with me.

Those dark, quiet days - before it's possible to hear the baby's heartbeat, before I could feel the little one move - were so hard for me. I made Philippians 4:6-7 my personal verses, and posted them all over my home. I repeated them to myself in the shower, as I drove my car, as I prepared meals, and scrubbed sinks. I tried so hard to shed the anxiety, but it was difficult.

The reason it was so hard was this simple fact: I could have to say goodbye again.

There are no guarantees save one: God is faithful. He keeps his promises.

If he says that he "knit me together in my mother's womb," He did. (Psalm 139:13)
If he says that "all the days ordained for me were written in [his] book," they are. (Psalm 139:16)
If he says that his love endures forever, it does. (Psalm 100:5)
If he says that he is with me, and mighty to save, he is. (Zephaniah 3:17)
If he says that I should not be anxious, I should strive to shed anxiety. (Phil. 4:6-7)
If he says that there is nothing in all of creation which can separate me from his love, there isn't. (Romans 8:38-39)
If he says that he is with me, even in the valley of the shadow of death, he is. (Psalm 23:4)

I am not promised healthy pregnancies. I am not promised that I'll be blessed to see each my children become adults, or that I will grow old with my husband by my side. I am not promised a life without disease, sorrow, or loss. I hope and pray for all of this, of course I do. But I cannot be sure of these things.

What I am sure of, is God's goodness, his love - and that he will be with me, whatever life may bring.

I suppose, to some, this post may seem a bit bleak, as though I'm almost expecting tragedy to strike my life again. The truth is, I'm not. I'm rejoicing in this baby, and I'm making plans for him or her to join our family next year. I am expectant.

Regardless of what the next months bring, I have reason to hope...because my hope doesn't rest on any false promises of a life that is free of pain, but on the assurance that the Lord is my rock, my salvation, and my refuge. (Psalm 18:2)
1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. ~Romans 5:1-5 (emphasis added)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

who *are* you?

After dinnertime one evening, Kyle approached me with a question.

"Mom, does God like, not like, or really not like it when I put healthy food in the garbage?"

"Uh...why do you ask?" I responded, rather surprised.

"I just put my peas in the garbage," he answered.

"Well, honey, I don't really know how God feels about it. I don't think the Bible speaks to that. I know that it makes me sad when good food goes in the trash, but I really don't know how God feels about it."

That was the extent of our exchange, until about ten minutes later. It was then that I found him, anxious, reaching into the garbage can.

"Did you drop a spoon in, or something?"

He looked up at me. "No, I - I..." his voice trailed off, and then he suddenly burst into tears. "I didn't eat my peas and I think I should have!"

I wasn't surprised any longer; I was shocked. Sure, we encourage the consumption of vegetables in our house. We certainly don't allow dessert or anything along those lines, without finishing one's dinner. But this? This was definitely new.

He was standing in front of me, sobbing. I hugged him, questioning, "Where is this coming from?" He didn't answer.

I told him we had some peas left - in the serving bowl. Would he like me to serve him some? He nodded, his eyes full of tears. So I got him a little dish of peas, and he ended up eating his vegetables, after all.

I have no inspired moral to the story. I have no idea where this came from. All I know is this: it was bizarre.

Peas: generally healthy for your body, but as far as I know, not a moral issue. There's quite enough drama in life, people. Let's leave the vegetables out of it.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Elise and I have something to show you.

Did you see it? If not, keep watching...

Me at 10 weeks, 3 days

Little Bean at 9 weeks, 1 day

We're pleased and excited to announce that our family is expecting a new addition in December! I am 11 weeks along, today. Thank you for sharing our joy!

Monday, May 9, 2011

just a few tidbits

~ Owen is now completely toilet trained! And there was much rejoicing. Especially from his mama.

~ I had a great Mother's Day, except that Ben developed a fever in the late afternoon. But Jeff was here, and he and the kids made it a really special day for me. I am richly blessed!

~ We went out for lunch on Mother's Day, and I nearly ate my body weight in onion rings. Just sayin'.

~ Although I called my mom on Mother's Day, I neglected to call her on her birthday (the day after Mother's Day). I officially stink.

~ I never get tired of watching my toddler-girl toddle.

~ Kyle has been super-sweet with me lately.

~ Elise is now weaned, a fact which alternately makes me wildly happy, and quite bereft. We had such a lovely time together...

~ Elise is now completely weaned, a fact which alternately makes me wildly happy, and feeling quite bereft. We had such a lovely time together...

~ Jeff and the boys planted four blueberry bushes yesterday. They are going to be such a blessing for our family! I can't wait.

~ Owen? Is a crack-up. He makes me laugh every single day.

~ Ben is a huuuuuuuge help to me with the little ones. What a gift!

~ I could truly cuddle with my little girl all day long. She's so nice to snuggle!

~ I made awesome chocolate ice cream this afternoon. (1/3 c. cocoa to 3 c. cream is a great ratio!) Truly great stuff. But next time, I must remember to add peanut butter as well. Because chocolate peanut butter ice cream? Rocks my socks off.

That's all.

Elise walking!

Alright, this video was taken a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn't seem to get it loaded. But now, for your viewing pleasure...

Elise, on her own two feet!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

my mama

(photo courtesy of my sister-in-law, Trish)

My mama is a sweet lady. Her smile is inclusive and warm. She is kind and funny, sensitive and personable. I love being with my mama.

My mama worked. She is a hard worker, diligent and thorough. Even though she doesn't need to, she often "takes her work home with her" in the sense that she thinks about it after hours. My mama is dependable.

My mama can cook. In my childhood memories, she made casseroles, country cheese potatoes, and cookies (just to name a few). Every year, we made Christmas cookies - often with frosting, sometimes with sprinkles. She made whoopie pies and peanut brittle, Yum-Yums and brownies. Finger-licking delicious.

My mama taught me about Jesus. She took me to church from the time I was very young. She taught me to keep "quiet time" quiet. She told me that being a follower of Jesus doesn't depend on how you feel; it is based on commitment and knowing what's true. Come to think about it, she told me that about marriage, too.

My mama is still married to my dad, after 36 years. She listens to him, respects him. She has been an example of commitment in marriage. I am blessed that my parents are still into each other.

My mama is a devoted mother to my brother and myself, yet she also gives us our space. She shows her love for her children (and grandchildren) by a thousand thoughtful acts. Her gentle words and sweet spirit are a blessing to all who know her.

I love you, Mama. Thank you so much for giving me life. Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Quotes from Kyle

1) Kyle, at the dinner table: "Mom, who are you pretending to be? Are you pretending to be Queen Amidala?"

Me: "Why...yes. I am pretending to be Queen Amidala. How did you guess?"

Kyle: "It was your hair."

2) Kyle, running into the room where I am sitting, " Mom, I did it! I made the science experiment work! I am a genius!"

3) Kyle, in the public restroom with one of those green, water-saving toilets "Mom, do I flush it up, or down? I peed and pooped..."

4) Kyle: "Mom, I think I finally decided what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be an Egyp- ... an Egypto-.."

Me: "An Egyptologist?"

Kyle: "Yes! An Egyptologist."

5) Kyle: "I hope I don't fall into a snake pit when I'm an Egyptologist...."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A book review: "40 Weeks"

Recently I had a chance to read an astounding new novel. "40 Weeks" was written by Paige Beselt, who happens to be a friend of mine. But I'm not writing this review simply because of that fact; I really want to tell you about this book.

"40 Weeks" tells the story of Anna, a young wife who has recently lost her first baby in a miscarriage. As she copes with this loss, she turns to her journal. Through this process, her thoughts disentangle themselves onto the page, and the heart of this childless mother is revealed.

Written out of her own experiences of loss (this author has seven children in her home, and two in heaven), the words ring with honesty. I found myself relating to so much in this slim volume.

Woven throughout this story is a theme: life has value. We see how fragile and fleeting it can be, yet how unspeakably precious. This book also challenges the reader to consider other aspects of this issue - age, health, mental ability. What is important? Who is valuable? Written in a wry, loving tone, this is an honest look at a subject that is vitally important - one which needs to be examined again and again.

"40 Weeks" explores life in its fullness, though Anna's tiny, precious baby is gone too soon. It teaches the truth of 1 Corinthians 1:27 ; that God can and does use those who are tiny, or weak, those with no voice of their own. He does this through his work in our hearts, and through writers like Paige Beselt, who passionately and tirelessly speaks on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.

This story moved me to tears - and laughter - over and over again. It is a beautiful and heartrending look at the things that really matter.

If you'd like to order yourself a copy of this important book, click HERE. Or check it out through Amazon. It's very affordable, and I feel confident in saying that you won't regret it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

an anniversary

It's our Promiversary. Nineteen years. Amazing.