Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Team Isaac and Asher

We are so honored to take part in an event that is working to make sure that one day ALL babies will be born healthy. We are excited that Isaac and Asher are inspiring all of us to do such great things for others!



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Our Isaac, Our Gift

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One of God's greatest gifts to this world

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Thinking of my boys in Heaven


Photos that take my breath away...

I should be up right now feeding you sweet boy, but instead in my own desperate attempt to parent you in some way I sit here staring at your photos trying so hard to remember what it felt like to hold you, and snuggle you. I miss you so much it makes it hard to breathe some days. Nighttime is always the worst because everyone else is in bed and I sit here longing to hear you cry just once so that I could run to feed you. We miss you son, but we know that where you are you will never have to feel this anguish and for that we are grateful! Give your big brother Isaac a kiss for us! We love you both and will be with you again someday!




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God, Please help me tonight, my heart is in pieces longing for my boys. I am so thankful for all you have blessed me with, but sometimes I wonder if you didn't trust all of this to the wrong person. I know you don't make mistakes though so please, I am asking for your grace. I am asking for your comfort and I am asking for your strength. I know the only way I can do any of this is with you! Please help me be the mommy you made me to be to all of my boys. I am not ready to be done with this. Help me raise Luke and Ben to have a heart for you and shine your light wherever they go. Help me give Isaac and Asher a voice and help others to see the gift that lies within each and every life. Help me to be the wife and helper Howard needs. I thank you for each of my blessings Lord, they are many.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Expelled

Last night I was really struggling. We went to see the movie Expelled, a documentary done by Ben Stein (Bueller, Bueller, Beuller and the Visine Guy). The movie uncovers the academic freedom that is being taken away in this country as the theory of Darwinism is accepted as the only truth and anyone who thinks otherwise is deemed crazy. Many scientists and professors have lost their jobs for suggesting that maybe Darwin did not get the whole picture and that maybe "Intelligent Design" is responsible for life on earth. It was an eye opening movie and I highly recommend it. Stein uses sarcasm and dry humor throughout and though it is a documentary it is entertaining. It exposes many of the holes in Darwin's theory.

During the movie Stein traveled to concentration camps and places where genocide took place during the time of Hitler. Hitler was an extreme Darwinist and thought that he was doing the human race a favor by slaughtering those who were not considered to be perfect. People of handicaps and mental illness were wiped out thinking that it would cause the human species to grow stronger if the weak were not allowed to procreate. During the movie while they were showing the places where these people were taken from their hospital rooms and lead to their death, I began to feel an emotion that was overwhelming for me. I sat there thinking that a person who truly believes Darwin's theory to the extreme like Hitler would certainly be a person who believes abortion of babies with "abnormalities" is good for society.

I could not help but think that if our family lived in Germany during Hitler's reign, Isaac and Asher would have been seen as a drain on society and had they not passed away on their own they would have been killed. In thinking about that I thought about the impact they have had on this world in their short time here on earth. I cannot imagine my life without them. The idea that the world would be a better place without anyone with a disability is such a scary thought. Because we know that God doesn't make mistakes and that EVERY life matters, the idea that we should ever have any say in who is perfect and who isn't is ludicrous. We ALL have disabilities, some are just more obvious than others.

I am not really sure what I am trying to get at here. I guess I am just very thankful that we live in a different time, but as I think about it, things like this ARE still going on in other parts of the world. We don't deal with it necessarily here in the US and quite frankly are uncomfortable knowing that it does exist in other countries so we tend to ignore it. I assure you friends that this type of killing is still happening. So I ask that you pray for people all over the world to realize the gift that every life brings.

Today is proving to be a difficult day for me. My heart is heavy. Though I am so thankful that God chose our family for Isaac and Asher, I ache for them. I had so many plans and dreams for them. I do know that God's plan is THE ONLY plan and that none of this is a surprise to him. I can say for sure that I have experienced His comfort and peace. I am more sure than ever that God does exist. He created the Heavens and the Earth and everything therein. I know that God creates NO accidents and that nothing in this life that happens is surprise to him. He knows. He also knows the pain I feel. Some days that pain is almost unbearable. I just want to throw myself on the floor and scream asking God how he could allow this. And I may. I know that he will comfort me. He always does. He always brings just the right people to me at the perfect time to bring me comfort and I have hope in knowing that all of this is part of his perfect plan.

I am thankful that God created my children in his image and perfect.

"Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth." Psalm 127:4

As I read scripture like this though, my heart soars with pride that my boys are my arrows. The ultimate goal for all of our children is that they are able to bring others closer to Jesus. Asher and Isaac have TRULY done that and continue to do so, so when I do feel that searing pain of loss I am also reminded that God has chosen our family for an important mission. We now must continue to give Asher and Isaac a voice and it is a responsibility we take very seriously. They deserve nothing but our best.

I want to end with a kind of funny story that unfolded last night at dinner. We sat down and we all held hands and began to thank God. We were trying to get Ben to say "Thank you, God" which he did say...followed by "great, great, great....knoooooooooooooowwwwwww." (which is part of a worship song he knows and whenever he hears the word God he sings it, which is funny in itself, but that isn't the story.) Then Luke said, "Thank you God for my brothers, all three of them, especially Ben because you let us keep him." Howard and I looked at each other and our jaws dropped. We looked at Luke and just nodded. He then proceeded, "I think Asher and Isaac were too cool. God just wanted to keep the cool ones for Himself, he couldn't let them go." Our eyes got wider. That is Luke's mentality right now. If he has two toys and has to share he keeps the cooler one for himself. So basically he was saying that he and Ben were the rejects. :-)

We explained to Luke that we are all born with a job to do and that Asher and Isaac already did theirs and we will continue to remember them and include them in our family. We told him that God makes all of us exactly how he wants us and that he thinks we are all the "coolest". God thinks Ben and Luke are just as "cool" as Isaac or Asher. He was so confused then as to why God took them and not he and Ben. We just explained that God has a plan and that we may not understand it but he has a good reason for everything He does and that whatever time He gives us on this earth we need to use loving others and sharing God's truth so that more people will get to go be with Him in Heaven.

That seemed to suffice for now...kids are so insightful. Ben and Luke are such amazing reminders that God is truly good and gives us amazing glimpses of true and pure innocence.

Monday, April 28, 2008

WSEE Story

Here is the link...

http://www.goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080427/WSEE01/503342269/-1/WSEE0101

or just read the story here:

March For Babies
Thousands took part in the annual march of dimes, walk for babies Sunday, in an effort to help fight premature birth. For some, it's a way to give back to the community. But for many participants, like Stephanie Moryc, the purpose behind the March for Babies hits close to home. Her four year old son Rylan was born 6 weeks premature. “I'm very lucky, he almost didn't make it the first night and um there are other babies that are in there for months, and he was only in there for a few weeks and it was the hardest thing I ever had to go through.” – Stephanie MorycEvery year Stephanie, Rylan, and her one year old son Wesley take part in the March for Babies. And every year they are accompanied by Stephanie’s mother. “This is my way of showing my appreciation. With out them he would not be here and I would not have my son.” –Stephanie Moryc

But for some like Kristy Bolte and the rest of team Isaac and Asher, they walk for a different reason. They walk in memory of the two sons Kristy lost to birth defects.“I think people take for granted the fact that not everybody gets pregnant and has a healthy baby. and the reality is there are many, many, many babies that are born with birth defects, born premature every single year and the March of Dimes is working to lower those numbers.”-Kristy Bolte

WICU Story

You can click this link... http://www.wicu.com/news/index.vnss?newsid=5356&type=News

or read this...

They gathered at rainbow gardens, danced, laughed and shared their stories about babies. The 37th annual March of Dimes "March for Babies" started at Rainbow Gardens in Waldemeer Park and continued for 6.2miles through Presque Isle.
The March of Dimes is celebrating their 70th year and have saved millions of lives including the daughter of this year's ambassador family, Isabella Wood. "Our daughter Isabella was born 2 weeks early and weighted only 3lbs. Without an organization like the March of Dimes Isabella wouldn't be here and be so healthy as she is today," said Carlee Wood, Isabella's Mom.
"We're here to March because of the research that the March of Dimes does to help give premature babies, like Isabella, a fighting chance," stated Perry Wood, Isabella's father.
But not all babies are as fortunate as Isabella, "the rate of prematurity is on the rise with 1 in 8 babies being born premature, that's a very real and scary statistic," stated Laura King, the Event Coordinator. But an even with the rise of prematurity, birth defects are the number one cause of death during a child's first year of life.
Howard and Kristy Bolte know how devastating birth defects can be for a family. They were walking for their sons Issac and Asher. "In 2005 we had a son who was born with a condition called microcephaly and we were only able to have him for 6 days and he passed away. And in February of this year we had another son born with the same defect and he was only with us for thirty-five minutes," said Kristy. Howard stood by holding their son Benjamin while Kristy spoke, they showed the strength and dedication to a cause they hope one day can be prevent birth defects, "we started walking in 2005 when we had our son Isaac and we walk so that the March of Dimes can raise money to prevent defects like this from happening," continued Kristy.
Over the past seventy years the March of Dimes has supported countless families and have helped save millions of babies. But the fight continues with the hope that "one day, all babies will be born healthy."
Kelsie Smith

Sunday, April 27, 2008

TV Interviews...

If you are interested you can see one of our TV interviews here:

http://www.wsee.tv/video.php Just click on the March of Dimes story link...

Reflections on today...

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."

Today I felt more comfort than I have felt since Asher's memorial service. Today was an incredible high for me. I know there is great importance in being still, but today was a very powerful day full of activity. I had been preparing for today all week and in a small way it gave me such peace to be able to do something to "parent" Isaac and Asher. It may sound silly but the actual doing gave me a tremendous amount of joy.

We were greeted by several of March of Dimes workers who had been following our story and some who had just heard of us. Everyone was so overwhelmingly compassionate and kind. It seemed strange though that they all kept thanking us for what we were doing for the March of Dimes. In all of this I guess I feel that this has helped me more than anyone. I am so happy to be able to do something good in memory of my amazing boys. We were approached and interviewed by two television stations who had also heard of our stories. It was healing to share our sons with the world and also be giving to an organization who does so much to help babies to be born healthy.

When we left this morning I cannot deny the disappointment that we felt that though our team had grown to immense numbers our family was not very active in the event. We had a handful, both of our sisters, a couple of cousins and a couple of aunts, but not our parents. I guess because we will not celebrate birthday or holidays with our boys who are in Heaven we expected our family to take this opportunity to celebrate with us. These pictures from today are my way of continuing a baby book for the boys. I take pictures of all the things we do in their honor so that their legacy lives on.

Though we were disappointed, once we arrived in the parking lot and friends and family began to arrive our hearts were just overflowing knowing that all of these people WANTED to walk and support us and the March of Dimes in memory of our boys. When we got team pictures taken we were told we were the BIGGEST team they had photographed so far! We barely fit where they needed us to stand! We had a great time hanging out and snacking before the event and we had a PERFECT day for walking. We walked 6.2 miles around the Presque Isle State Park in Erie, PA. It was great to be outside on such a beautiful day, (though despite a sun hat (that he wouldn't leave on) and sunscreen our little redhead still ended up with sunburn). :-(

I am so thankful to the few people today who came to me and reminded me what blessings we have been trusted with and that Isaac and Asher would be so proud to know what was going on in their honor. It made my heart soar to know that thousands of dollars were raised to help give other babies a better chance because of our sweet babies.

I continue to be amazed at the amount of love and the number of precious friends the Lord has blessed us with. I know He has brought all of the right people to us at just the right moment in our lives. Today we have been lifted to new heights yet again and I am so grateful. It has been a day that I will cherish forever and I hope and pray that we are able to continue doing this each and every year! Thank you to all of you who supported us in this...we hope you will consider supporting us again next year you are all part of the legacy of our sons, we cherish your love and prayers!

Praise God!

Highlights from today...

A beauitiful day for walking...
Thanks to Ginger (our creative friend) we won the T-Shirt contest! We were voted the best T-Shirts at the event this year!

Tailgating FUN!






We were interviewed by TWO TV stations...This is channel 12, we were also on channel 35

It was a GREAT day! Thank you to all who donated and to all who participated and to all who prayed! There was also a team who walked yesterday in honor of Isaac and Asher called Team Happy Babies near Philadelphia...Thank you to Team Happy Babies as well!

Thank you to all who Marched for Babies in Memory of Isaac and Asher

Well, we are home from the March and I have to say this day has been the highlight of the past couple of months for me. I don't think people "get" why this is so important to us. You see, we will never celebrate birthdays, kindergarten graduations, high school or college graduations. This is our way of celebrating our boys once a year and we feel so blessed that so many people were willing to walk with us this year! We had 94 people on our team! That is amazing! So to all of you who walked...you will never know how much this mean to us and we are so thankful that you wanted to celebrate our boys with us in this way! We hope you will walk again next year! It was a perfect day!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

PLEASE read this!

Today I was browsing other people's blogs and came upon one that said exactly all of the things I have been trying to say but haven't yet. I can't say it as well as she does so here is the link to read her posts...they are all so true and so honest and will help you know how to help someone who is grieving.

http://thepipers.wordpress.com/2008/03/25/how-to-help-your-grieving-friend/

Last Chance!


Tomorrow is The March For Babies!

Team Isaac and Asher has grown immensely this year! We are so very excited as this is one event that allows us to do something great in memory of our amazing boys! There is still time to join the fun!

We will be meeting tomorrow in the parking lot of Rainbow Gardens.

Tailgating will begin at 11 as does registration. Please just look for our F150 with blue and yellow balloons. We have team tshirts and will be hanging out there until the walk. There are many fun activities in Rainbow Gardens for the kids as well.

Our team picture is at 12:45 and it would really mean a lot to us to have you there! Please try your best to be there by then. The pictures are taken at the entrance to Rainbow Gardens.

The walk begins at 1:00. It is 6.2 miles around the Peninsula. The weather is supposed to be nice but a little chilly so bring a sweatshirt.

If you cannot walk but would like to donate please just go to www.marchforbabies.org/boltefamily



Please pray for our walk and for the weather to cooperate it is supposed to!

I Will Carry You

This morning I read a post on Angie Smith's blog for her daughter Audrey Caroline and she has co-written a song and has it posted on her page with a slideshow of pictures of her BEAUTIFUL daughter! Her husband is the singer of the group Selah and they are walking this same road I am on. This morning this song spoke to me and ministered to me in a much needed way! Here are the lyrics. If you go to http://audreycaroline.blogspot.com/ you will be able to see the slideshow.

I Will Carry You

There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?
People say that I am brave but I'm not
Truth is I'm barely hanging on
But there's a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this

So I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry youAll my life
And I will praise the One whose chosen me
To carry you

Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice
And He says...I've shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?


I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All your life
And I will praise the One whose chosen Me
To carry you
Posted by Angie Smith

Friday, April 25, 2008

Missing these days...


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Proclaiming Good News

Today has been a busy day. I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed my children today. I played with them and snuggled them, listened to them and spoke with them. We played camping and t-ball, golf and read stories. As the day began to wind down I began to reflect a bit and I got this knot in my stomach when I thought about the fact that I would never have to chase a t-ball a million and one times for Asher. I will never explain why the sky is blue or grass is green to Isaac. As I began to think of these things I began to feel physically ill in addition to being sad. I sat down to read a bit and immediately as my backside hit the couch, Luke asked for a cup of milk. Not just any milk, but strawberry milk. In the grouchiest of voices I whined, "Yes, of course I will get your stinkin milk." I got the milk and handed it to Luke. He looked at me inquisitively and put the cup in the tent. He replied, "Mom, then I will put the milk in the tent so you don't have to smell it." (I did say stinkin') Sarcasm is not something preschoolers do well with and I often am guilty of using sarcasm way too often. So, Luke continues, "So, Mom why do you think my strawberry milk stinks? Is it because it comes from a bunny?" Ok, now I was curious...so I asked why he thought strawberry milk came from a bunny...of course his answer was that the bottle the strawberry stuff comes out of is shaped like a bunny therefore obviously must be bunny milk! Aha the Nesquik bunny lactates! :-) My son is a genius, I am convinced.

These are memories I will NEVER have with Isaac or Asher. I never saw their little eyes look at me with trust the way a newborn looks at his mommy, and I never heard their voices making it known that they are hungry. I think back at the unfolding of the last few months and still find it all difficult to believe. It seems like a story or a Lifetime movie or something, not my life. It is at these times that my grief consumes me. I feel paralyzed with loss. I cannot believe that in my 29 years on this earth not once but twice I have held my newborn infant, my dreams for them dying along with them. It seems cruel and it seems unfair.

I sat down to try to find something uplifting to bring me out of my funk and this was the verse I came to first...

"After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God." Mark 1:14

John was certainly a righteous man. A prophet. He was put into prison. This was NOT good. He was no longer able to preach God's word to the people who needed it so desperately. This was horrible!

This verse says that after this horrible thing happened, Jesus continued on to Galilee "proclaiming the good news of God". He didn't mumble and groan and feel crummy. He continued praising God and sharing the good news of God. God had allowed this righteous man to suffer and be thrown in to jail. Even a great prophet was not exempt from suffering and Jesus knew that whatever God allowed to happen, he would also use for his glory. God allowed Jesus to suffer on the cross. His own son was not exempt from immense pain and suffering. In fact it is that suffering that saves us all. God certainly used that. He will use my suffering too. I just have to constantly remind myself that it is an honor to serve God in this way and not to give in to wanting to crawl into bed and hide. God is bigger than all of this. He is caring for my boys in a way only He can and I rejoice that they will NEVER have to know this kind of suffering. I pray that God continues to work in me and help me understand and use all of this for his glory. I often feel so sad and alone but in reality I am NEVER alone and though at times I grow weary He will carry me.

It is my job just like Jesus to continue to proclaim the good news of my Heavenly Father even though I have endured intense pain and suffering. I know that without God it would not even be possible to pull myself out of bed in the morning. He has answered many of our prayers and will continue to do so. I ache for my boys who are not with me but I can rest in knowing they are held in Mighty Arms and were given to me for a brief time for a great reason. God has blessed our family!

No matter the circumstance, God is the same...He never changes. There is no circumstance we cannot overcome with God on our team! No one is exempt from suffering. We all experience it. Suffering and grief are universal. We can however endure anything if we accept God's good plan and submit to his will!

Join Team Isaac and Asher this weekend!

We are so excited for this year's March for Babies! Our team has grown and we have been able to raise quite a bit of money for the March of Dimes to help save babies from prematurity and birth defects. If you can, please join us or donate to our team by clicking on the link at the side of the page for the March for Babies. If you can't walk or donate we would really appreciate your prayers for our walk and our team! We are in Erie PA so weather here is always a gamble especially since we are walking along the lake.

Remember if you are walking with us...Tailgating will begin at 11 in the parking lot of Rainbow Gardens, so bring a snack to share and come join the fun, we will pass out t-shirts then. (if you are worried about missing church you are welcome to join us at the Saturday evening service at our church. 6 pm McLane Church Edinboro, PA) Look for our maroon truck with blue and yellow balloons. We should be easy to see. We do understand many people have Sunday obligations and commitments. We ask that you please try to be there by 12:40. We have a team picture scheduled for 12:45 at the entrance to Rainbow Gardens and we would like everyone to be there as this is an important picture for our boys' baby books. The walk begins at 1:00 and it is 6.2 miles! Hope you have been training! When you return to Rainbow Gardens there will be lunch ready and waiting!

Here are a couple of pictures of those amazing boys we are walking in honor of! It is our greatest joy to try to give to others as we have been given so much as these pictures clearly show! We are two proud parents that is for sure!
Isaac Matthew Bolte
July 14-July 20, 2005





Asher Joseph Bolte

February 22, 2008

WOW! You surely can tell they are brothers!

We SURVIVED!

Well the power is back on and it has actually been a fun day! We got up and got ready and got the generator going. Then we went to church and popped in on MOPS and passed out a few Team Isaac and Asher T-shirts at church and ran a few other errands. Then we went through the drive through at McDonalds (I know not the healthiest option) and had a picnic on our front lawn. I filled the generator with gas and we went in for naptime. Ben went to bed and Luke and I pretended to camp in the living room in the tent. It was a hoot! He has such an imagination. The power is now back on and we are still hanging out in the tent. Maybe we should go without power one day out of every week! (Then again, maybe not)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Please Pray for Power Outage Tomorrow...

Ok we got the call and the power will be out tomorrow from 9 to 3! YIKES! I will be manning the generator myself for the first time to keep the basement dry. Please pray that I am able to do this and that I will be able to entertain the kids and hopefully take them to lunch successfully! It will be an exhausting day for sure but I want to get it over with. I was all ready for it to be today and my dad was going to do the generator thing. But he is back to work now and can't come tomorrow so here goes nothing!

Essential Training for God's Divine Ministry of Comfort

I was reading a book I found at Ollie's (if you have not been to one and enjoy books, you should go...they have a great book selection at very reasonable prices) it is called Streams in the Desert Hope for Hurting Hearts. It is much the same as my daily devotional called Streams in the Desert and they are both written by L.B Cowman.

Here was what I read today...

It gave me so much hope in knowing God will use our family!

"Comfort, comfort my people, says your God." Isaiah 40:1

Store up comfort. This was the Prophet Isaiah's mission. The world is full of hurting and comfortless hearts. But before you will b competant for this lofty ministry, you must be trained. And your training is extremely costly for to make it complete, you too must endure the same afflictions that are wringing coutless hearts of tears and blood. Consequently, your own life becomes the hospital ward where you are taught the divine art of comfort. You will be wounded so that in the binding up of your wounds by the Great Physician, you may learn how to render first aid to the wounded everywhere.

Do you wonder why you are having to experience some great sorrow? Over the next ten years you will find many others afflicted in the same way. You will tell them how you suffered and were comforted. As the story unfolds, God will apply the anesthetic He once used on you to them. Then in the eager look followed by the gleam of hope that chases the shadow of despair from your soul, you will know why you were afflicted. And you will bless God for the discipline that filled your life with such a treasure of experience and helpfulness.

God comforts us not to make us comfortable but to make us COMFORTERS!

Written by : John Henry Jowett

WOW! I pray that I remain obedient and allow God to use me to comfort others who are enduring intense suffering. Being used in this way is such a privelage and I do not feel worthy of the task, but will give it everything I have!

Power outage rescheduled

Well, it is looking like the power outage that was scheduled for today will likely be tomorrow as it is raining today!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy 2 month Birthday Asher!


I tried to write a letter to Asher today but I had to stop...it was still just too hard. Though I find it no coincidence that today when I took the boys outside the FIRST dandelion of the season had popped up in our yard...the boys were so excited! I am astounded that they left it alone and didn't pick it!
Please pray for us tomorrow. We are having a scheduled power outage tomorrow. An entire day without being able to flush or open the fridge will drive Luke insane! We also have issues with our basement flooding so we will have to run a generator just for the sump pump. Please pray for a dry basement and sanity for all! (well as much as possible!)

Outside fun

Benjamin the SUPER SLUGGER!

Luke excavating

Jeep fun!

Today the boys had a BLAST outside! They especially loved riding the Jeep that was given to us last year! It entertained them until the battery went dead!
So much fun!

A fun game they created...a mixture of t-ball and off roading :-)

Big Brother Luke showing him the ropes...






This is Benjamin realizing he can make the the thing go!



Such a blessing...



My sweet friend Chrissy sent these to me today and I cannot tell you what it meant that she was thinking of Asher on his two month birthday! They are perfect and have lifted my spirits tremendously today! They were taken at Eva's gravesite. Thanks Chrissy for knowing just what I needed and at just the right time! I love you!


Chasing my tail!

Yes, this is a tent and yes it is in the living room!

Do you ever have a day where you feel like you are running in circles frantically chasing your tail. For me today is proving to be one of those days. I woke up this morning and had that Asher's second month birthday cloud hanging over so I decided I was going to get outside and work in my flower beds because I found a rosebush at Heirloom Roses that I want to order for Asher (it is called Happy Child), but I need to get a spot ready for it so I figured since it is a beautiful day I would get out and do that.
I fed the children breakfast and got them dressed (which is one of Ben's least favorite things to do these days) and I sent them to the back yard while I threw in a load of laundry and got dressed myself. (I did this yesterday too so I figured it was a good idea) When I walked out the back door my heart sunk when I saw my boys soaked in rusty water and mud. I had just thrown in my last load of laundry and taken 20 minutes to dress them!
AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH! Apparently last night Howard moved the basement drainage pipe and now instead of draining way back at the edge of the yard, it is draining right next to the sandbox! The water that comes from that pipe is yucky and orange! So now I had two wet muddy boys and a load of rusty laundry.


I took a deep breath and let them splash for another minute since the damage was done and then brought them in, stripped them down and now we are watching Sesame Street and eating Cheez Its. Plan B! I have given up on outside just for the moment, we have a tent in the living room right now...I suppose that is close enough! We will try again after lunch and a nap! I should have taken a picture but I had no sense of humor at the time! :-)


Monday, April 21, 2008

Preschool Open House

Well, tonight we took Luke to Preschool Open House. Yes, he IS going to be five this summer and could be going to Kindergarten and Yes, I do believe he is about as smart as they come and could academically handle kindergarten, but after being a teacher myself I have learned that sometimes the younger kids in a class tend to struggle down the road. So we see no harm in just waiting a year and enjoying him one more year here at home. Kindergarten is a full day program here now and I am just not ready to do that yet. So, we are sending him to preschool this coming year and he will go to Kindergarten the following year.

Anyhow, he was so excited ALL day long! Actually he had been talking about it for days. The program is run by a local church here and is just a couple of miles up the road. He walked in and fell in LOVE! There was a calendar and cubbies and a snack table and all the toys a kid could play with. He had a great time exploring and playing. While he and his dad played I filled out the paperwork.

As I sat there filling out the form, I could not help but think, that this was something I would never get to do with Isaac or Asher. The papers I signed for the funeral homes were the only papers I would ever fill out as Isaac's mom or Asher's mom. That is a tough reality. I will never hear them talk non stop about going to school or getting a new backpack (which is Luke's primary concern...not that he will really be needing one) I will never get to sit back and watch them explore a new environment and interact with other children and their new teacher.

This has been kind of a rough weekend. Friday as I said marked eight weeks since we were graced with our Asher for a brief period of time. Sunday marked 2 years and 9 months since Isaac left the arms of his Daddy and entered the arms of his Heavenly Father. And tomorrow April 22 is the date that marks two months since we held Asher in our arms. All of these dates and sometimes I wonder if I will ever have a Friday that doesn't seem overcast with loss I mean Isaac died on a Wednesday and I still think of that on Wednesdays though I no longer count the weeks. Or will I ever have a 20th or 22nd that don't sting with sorrow? Do I even want to?

The crazy thing is that I also rejoice. I rejoice because I grieve EVERY day of my life. I live with a pain that is unimaginable, a deep aching in my heart that never subsides. The only way for me to get through this life is just one breath at a time thanking God for each and every breath, life is a gift. I rejoice in knowing that through my grief God will change hearts. He will allow me to reach others who I never would have been able to reach otherwise and I rejoice because each breath brings me one breath closer to reuniting with my boys. I can grieve with Hope! This is not a sad thing. The sad thing is those who grieve without hope. This hope and joy is something that is free to EVERYONE who will accept it. God is waiting with an outstretched hand. He desperately wants us to choose Him! It amazes me that in this relationship with God, I bring basically nothing to the relationship but he loves me like crazy anyhow and is choosing to use my ordinary family to do extraordinary things! I have been so blessed! I am truly humbled and thankful that God is has chosen the Bolte family to be blessed with such rich treasures! I have a story I want to share soon about how God has used our boys but I am just not quite ready yet. Just know that he is doing AMAZING things!

The Plan of the Master Weaver

This is a poem we used on a bookmark we made in memory of Isaac. It is a great reminder that this life is not about our plans, but His!
The Plan of the Master Weaver
Author Unknown

Our lives are but fine weavings
That God and we prepare,
Each life becomes a fabric planned
And fashioned in His care.
We may not always see just how
The weavings intertwine,
But we must trust the Master's hand
And follow His design,
For He can view the pattern Upon the upper side,
While we must look from underneath
And trust in Him to guide......

Sometimes a strand of sorrow
Is added to His plan,
And though it's difficult for us,
We still must understand
That it's He who fills the shuttle,
It's He who knows what's best,S
o we must weave in patience
And leave to Him the rest.....

Not till the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why--
The dark threads are as needed
In the Weaver's skillfull hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Can it be Eight Weeks Already?

Well Yesterday marked eight weeks since Asher was born and went Home. I feared that it would be a tough day and I will say I thought of him most of the day. The weather here has been gorgeous so we took the boys to the lake for a picnic and played at the playground and threw rocks in the water. I have come to learn that if you have a boy and you are out of things to do with him, give him a pile of rocks and even a puddle and they will be entertained for hours. It was great though. I am kicking myself for not bringing my camera along though.

Then we came home and the boys got haircuts! I will post pictures later! Then we did some outside work and came in to get showered and ready for a DATE! Yes, ladies and gentlemen Howard and I got to go on a date. My friend Lisa came and stayed with the boys so they could be at home and in bed so we did not have to hurry back. Thank you LISA!

We went to Presque Isle and walked along the beach and Howard tried to teach me to skip rocks (again with the boys with rocks and water) I was not a very good student despite my effort. We watched the sunset and just got to talk. We then went to dinner. Dinner where we didn't have to cut up someone else's food or try to entertain anyone until the food came. It was SOOOOOO nice. Then we went to a movie! I will say it was a perfect evening except that again I forgot my camera and the sunset was beautiful!

I love my children more than words can say but it was so nice to have an evening to reconnect with my husband. We really need to do that more often. We had a lot of fun.

I was supposed to return to work today...I am a teacher for Educate Online and teach students online. I love the job. It allows me to still stay home, use my teaching degree and bring in extra money for my family. I just have not been up to it lately. We have been financially really needing me to go back, but right now my days are so up and down and in the evenings it helps so much to just do family things I decided to take just a little while longer off especially with Tuesday being the 22nd and the anniversary date. The staff at Educate Online has been SO amazing through all of this and so understanding and willing to meet my needs in any way they can! Thank you!

I am missing my boys this weekend and though the ache is deep I take comfort in knowing that God is not done yet. This is far from over!

"O love that wilt not let me go. I rest my weary soul in Thee; I give Thee back the life I owe, that in thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be." - George Matheson

Friday, April 18, 2008

Just one more clarification...

Ok, I know I said I was done with this but I am feeling bad that now some of you are afraid to comment, only ONE comment seemed out of line. PLEASE say what is on your mind. I actually have come to see that each comment has been a blessing in it's own way! My feelings are not hurt and you do not have to have been where I am to earn the right to comment. I cherish all of your thoughts and know they are all said with the best of intentions. So, just please continue to comment...if I feel something is going to cause drama I will just delete it and that doesn't even necessarily mean that I don't agree or am hurt! I am NOT offended by those of you who suggested post partum depression and there are MANY comments and emails I received on that topic. I know you are looking out for me and I know it is a reality. Just not mine, not yet anyhow. I am not afraid to ask for help if I feel I need it. I grew up with a depressed mother...I know what that is like. I just wanted you to know that that is not where I am right now. PLEASE PLEASE don't stop commenting or feel like you have to edit your words for me...maybe they are just what God needs for me to hear. I just ask that no one be purposely hurtful or cause drama. I love you all! I covet your prayers and your comments! I love hearing from all of you and am touched at your willingness to share yourselves with me.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dynamite!

"That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10

I had read this verse in the Streams in The Desert earlier this week and thought "Wow talk about oxymorons!"

If this verse is translated literally it is even more clearly stated... "Therefore I take pleasure in being without strength, being insulted, experiencing emergencies, and being chased and forced into a corner for Christ's sake; for when I am without strength, I am DYNAMITE."

I find it especially interesting that when I was at my lowest point thus far and wrote my innermost thoughts and feelings as ugly and weak as they were, this was when I received comments that were not so uplifting. I have been unsure as to how to take all of this. I began to doubt myself and whether or not this blog should continue as I do not have the strength or energy to respond to such comments or try to defend myself to those who could not possibly understand.

I was talking about all of this with Howard and he reminded me of something so important. None of this is about us. It is about God and glorifying him and where God is being glorified Satan will sneak in in the most subtle way. I am certainly not saying that "Anonymous" is Satan or represents such, but by those comments being posted, it was an opening for Satan to creep in and cause confusion and doubt in my mind. I have been feeling so weak. I guess I should actually be thankful for each and every comment that has been posted because though some were frustrating they caused me to search deep and bounce back like dynamite!

This passage reminded me that there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with finding yourself so deep in the valley that you no longer have the strength to go on. I am learning that when I come to the complete and total end of myself, that is where I find God. He is waiting there for me to finally stop struggling and fighting him. He is waiting with open arms to embrace my weary, worn out self. Sometimes we are so strong-willed that I think we are kind of like Whack-a Mole (sorry for the bad analogies...I am not very deep) We just keep popping back up and He keeps whacking us back down and we pop up again without another thought, and it isn't until we wear ourselves out and just lay down for a bit that we truly see that the suffering we endure is necessary for the blessings that are to come. ( I hope that makes some sense, it did in my head) And then and only then once we have taken the time to rest and be still and truly listen to God (we all know he tends to whisper rather than yell) are we able to pop back up victoriously like DYNAMITE!

I also read in Streams in the Desert this quote from George Matheson, a blind preacher of Scotland..."My dear God, I have never thanked you for my thorns. I have thanked you a thousand times for my roses, but not once for my thorns. I have always looked forward to the place where I will be rewarded for my cross, but I have never thought of my cross as a present glory itself. Teach me O, Lord to glory in my cross. Teach me the value of my thorns. Show me how I have climbed to you through the path of pain. Show me it is through my tears I have seen my rainbows."

Hi God...It's me again! I want to thank you for my thorns and for my cross, they are true gifts. I have come to realize that though I am a character in this story I am NOT the author. I have come to the end of myself and am yearning to know You better. I want your will for my life. I want to be used by you. I submit fully to your plan. I realize that ups and downs are going to be necessary on this journey. I am beginning to learn that oxymorons are actually a beautiful thing. It is only though you that weakness can be strength, and ending can be a beginning. You are the author of this story and I cannot wait to see what the next chapter brings. I am truly blessed!

Drama...

Ok, I do fully understand that by allowing open commenting I am subjecting myself to what ANYONE wants to say, but this is still MY blog and I will not tolerate drama. I have to admit that I am astounded that drama has showed up HERE. I never anticipated this issue at all, but I guess I should know that where God is working there will be attacks even if they are subtle. If I feel a comment is not in line with the intent of this blog I will be deleting them no questions asked. This is a place where I come to vent and share my journey. I have been amazed at how God has used this blog to reach many people and help to heal my heart. That is what it is about. I am thankful for everyone who is concerned about me and I ask that if you have something to say to me that you think I need to hear but it may cause drama here that you email me so I can respond to you personally. Sometimes it is just that, as great as writing is it is difficult to determine the intent of a person's words and they need clarification. So from this moment on any comment that is offensive in any way or is hurtful will be deleted immediately.

Thank you all for your prayers and I sincerely apologize for all of this. I believe just deleting negative or disrespectful comments will take care of the issue better than trying to respond to those who just cannot understand.

Clarification

Thank you all for your support and for rallying around me in my time of need. I just want to be clear that I am not in any way angry at anyone for anything they posted and I want your comments to be just as authentic as what I am writing and it is ok that we have differing opinions on some things. I just wanted to be sure that I made clear that I am doing OK. I am just grieving a tremendous loss. I have some days that are good and some that are bad and I know as time rolls on I will have many more good than bad. I am actually grateful that so many of you are so concerned for me. The thing is for many of you all you know is what I write. So if I write a post when I am really down you don't see me to know that was just a down moment. So I guess the purpose of my last post was just to let you all know that most of the time I am doing ok I really am. I am loving on and caring for my boys as only I can. I love you all for loving me enough to be concerned. I just may not always agree! Please continue to read and pray.

On a lighter note, I am going to get my hair done today!!!!!!!! This is always something I look very forward to. My mother in law is coming over to watch the boys through naptime and I get to go sit and let someone else take care of me while I read a book! Yea! (the book I am reading is "Searching for God Knows What" by Donald Miller) We supposed to have two chapters read by tonight's small group so I better get on it! I don't get too much time to read things aside from Chicka Chicka Boom Boom! :-) And many days my Bible reading comes from the Beginners Bible. Well I better get going so I can get the boys settled in and lunch cleaned up before I go!

Again thank you all for continuing to lift me up! I will write more tonight, as I am feeling better and better and seeing God more clearly at times.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I need to order that "Be nice to me...." T Shirt!

Ok, so I have had a few days of being really down. Actually the first REALLY down time since all of this happened. I debated all weekend about posting my true feelings and finally last night decided that if I am being authentic here and if I believe that at times when I cannot bring myself to pray for myself my dear friends here could help carry me, that I should be honest and allow those who choose to pray to pray specifically. I will say that just getting it out helped immensely.

Now I am sure that no one posted a comment with the intent of hurting or offending me but I have to say I am frustrated with some of the comments. I posted what I posted to be lifted up and to share with you the intense pain I am feeling. Pain that I am entitled to! Unless someone out there has gone through my exact journey I do not feel that you can judge how I should or should not be feeling and healing. I thank you all for your concern, but I am not depressed. I do not need to "seek professional help" unless you are referring to God or be medicated, at least not at this point. My baby died seven short weeks ago. My world has been rocked to it's core and I have every right to be confused and hurt. NO ONE expects to bury their children. Yes, this is the cross I have to bear and I do believe my boys were gifts and blessings...I have explained all of that! I am thankful that God chose me! For those who TRULY know me, know I am still functioning. I get up each morning and take great care of my boys who are here on earth. We go to dinner, go to the grocery store and rake leaves, all of the normal things families do. I am just doing all of those things with a heavy heart which is completely normal! Heck, I was able to get on stage in front of over one thousand people this weekend and teach that Jesus loves everyone and worship the God who is walking with me each and every step of the way.

To say that God would reprimand me for focusing so much on myself and my boys in Heaven rather than the boys he gave me here I believe is completely unfair. I do not take any moment in this life for granted and probably have a better understanding of what is TRULY important than many. I am not living in the land of the dead nor am I focusing ALL of my attention on Asher and Isaac, but they ARE my sons and they deserve my attention! So I WILL NOT quit looking at the dandelions. Dandelions are a gift just as my boys are a gift. They are given by God and by looking at them I AM looking toward Heaven. I have done this once before...there WILL come a day when all of this balances out. God is working in and through our family and we will continue to be used by him in any way he sees fit.

I apologize for feeling that I need to defend myself but I guess I just want you all to know I AM OK! I am just hurting! My boys here are still well cared for and loved, they have been the best medicine for me. We do lots of fun things (aside from today, Ben has had a 103 degree fever) Nothing makes me smile the way they do. They ARE my reason for getting up each morning. I decided to be vulnerable and expose some of my inner thoughts and perhaps that was a mistake, but then again I got many more amazing and uplifting responses than frustrating ones! Today has been a better day and ups and downs are to be expected. I thank all of you for being there for me in the ups and in the downs. I never claimed to be perfect or even anywhere close to it. I am human and I know that Isaac and Asher are being well cared for, but I AM still a MOM and I still hurt and God says "blessed are those who mourn" that is what I am doing. These are God's instructions. Mourning is not a neat and tidy process. Sometimes it is ugly and messy. The thing is that because I know God is in control and will bring me through this and use all of my pain for His good, I can grieve with HOPE!

As you pray for me tonight I also ask that you pray for my dear friend Melanie and her family who I have shared with you before. They just had baby Rachel yesterday, she has spina bifida and had surgery last night. Mom and baby are doing well, but it is tough for Melanie to be in a different hospital than Rachel who is at a Children's hospital. Please pray for Rachel to remain infection free and for Melanie to heal and rest so that she can be with Rachel very soon! They have a website and I am sure would love your prayers...the site is.. http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/rachelmischler leave them a message if you can! Rachel is going to amaze everyone and we are sure God has magnificent plans for her!

Thank you all for continuing to pray for us and lift us up! You are such an important part of Isaac and Asher's stories! We love you!

What to say when there are no words...

This is very new to me. I am usually never at a loss for words and yet I haven't really been able to post because I cannot find words to describe my grief right now. I am at a complete loss. I sit here it is after one in the morning and the house is silent. All I can do is cry. I am so overwhelmed and my heart feels physically heavy. I ache for my boys, yet I feel guilty because I have two amazing little men here with me. (I just realized that when I say little men it seems like I am talking about two of the munchkins from OZ or something). I hurt for so many reasons. All day all I can think about is that gee, if I had all of my boys with me, I would be so busy with them I would likely no longer care about a clean house...I would have a 4 year old, a 2 year old a one year old and an infant! What an amazing kind of busy that would be.

I am feeling a tremendous amount of guilt lately. Guilty that I am sad so much, guilty for the feelings I have and guilty for not being the wife I want to be. Mostly guilty for being so much about myself. I just can't seem to get past the searing pain. I feel guilty that as I am surrounded in pregnant friends and friends who have given birth in this past week, I feel a twinge of jealousy and find it hard to be around them. (if you are one of those friends, please know this is my issue and I love you and am happy for you and the worst thing you can do is avoid me. So don't read into this just let me deal with these feelings, I WANT to be here for you and I will!) I feel guilty that I am even writing this, but am trying to be honest mostly with myself so that I can get through this deep valley I have found myself plunged into.

Howard is constantly apologizing for my being sad all of the time and it hurts me that it hurts him to see me like this (not sure if that made sense). He feels like something is wrong with him as he has yet to actually cry. I am so confused. I don't want to feel like this forever yet I don't want to get past it. I WANT my heart to be forever broken. I want there always to be that place where Isaac and Asher reside, a raw place where I am completely exposed. I don't want to be "fixed." Yet I cannot bear the pain. I am overwhelmed by everything, household duties, relationships with family, the feeling that someone is always missing and it never goes away(every time we get in the car, I feel that awful feeling in the pit of my stomach that I have forgotten something/someone and I turn around to make sure everyone is there and sadly they never will be) , and finances. It seems unrealistic that I have all of these household duties as life goes on meanwhile I am stuck, yet at the same time the household duties make my life seem somewhat normal. EVERYTHING contradicts itself lately and I am so confused.

I am so irritable lately and I am ashamed of that. I am easily hurt by everyone and find myself getting angry. (I still think the Be Nice to Me, My Baby Died T shirt is a good idea) I knew that after going through this once that friendships and relationships change through things like this. I am happy to report that my marriage remains solid and untroubled, but many of my other relationships are suffering. I feel like no one gets it. I feel like those who are closest to us and should be helping us carry this burden have completely backed away. Especially family. It seems we are forming close and authentic relationships with many people, even strangers while others are drifting away. That is such a hard thing to try and fathom. Even our family members never mention our sweet boys.

I guess I am just surprised that the majority of the people who have done all they can to carry us and have given so much of themselves are people we have met in the last two years or so. I am sure God brought them to us at just the right time and I know they continue to lift us up in prayer and check on our every need. I have never been more thankful for good friends and Church Family, actually even "blog family".

It is strange to say but I am still having conversations with God but mostly on other people's behalf. I have an easy time praying for others right now but am at a loss when it comes to praying for myself. I am still feeling burdened but can say that I do feel uplifted by all of your comments and willingness to help carry some of my burden for me. I am SO grateful to know that so many of you think of my boys often especially with dandelion season upon us. I know that I will get out of this valley but I also know it is uphill from here. I may just need a push every now and then and right now is one of those times. I am sure when I get out of the valley and at the top of the hill I will see amazing beauty below. Right now however I am stuck in the muck at the bottom. I will lift my eyes into the hills knowing that my help comes from the Lord!

I am hesitating to post this as it is pretty honest. I did do a little editing, but it is true to how I feel. My intention is not to get pity or make people upset or think that I am doubting for one moment that this is exactly where I am SUPPOSED to be right now. I know that God is working on me. He will use my brokenness, he will bring me through this victorious. Right now it is all just becoming more real as things settle down and everyone goes back to normal except me. I am still searching for who I am and who God is shaping me to be. I am thankful that he has chosen me yet I hurt. I guess what I am saying right now is please pray for me...I am just one giant confusing OXYMORON! :-)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Still struggling

I wish I could say today has been a better day, it hasn't really. I still feel the same only today I decided to tackle all of the "piles of paper junk" that have been cluttering my house since we got a shut off notice from National Fuel. It seems in the chaos I just forgot to pay it. My organization has been lacking so I distracted myself today with that.

I thank you all for your kind words and prayers as I continue on this journey. I certainly am not feeling worthy of them at this time but covet them anyway. I just am so frustrated and overwhelmed. I will share more when the time is right. Thanks for praying in the meantime.

Power Zone Weekend

As I explained before, PowerZone is the name of the children's ministry at our church. One weekend each year the kids get to take over the "big church" and show how they learn about God and worship Him. It was so much fun! We learned that "Jesus loves EVERYONE."



Luke is looking at a girl who we are sure is going to be the next Hannah Montana! How cute is she!? Here theyare singing "God, You are GREAT."
Luke telling the World!

Large Group Leaders Miss Christy and Mr. Dave trying to "spy" who Jesus loves.

Miss Kristy (yep, that is me) and Miss Julie playing a Ring Toss game for small group reinforcing that Jesus Loves EVERYONE!

Is there anything better than lots of kids praising God, singing Jesus Loves Me?

Evie's Birthday Party

Saturday we went to our friend Evie's 5th Birthday Party at Super Suppers. We had lots of fun! Thanks for inviting us Evie! The kids decorated chef hats, cupcakes, and made braided pepperoni bread. It was great!
You can see Ben always makes his own fun!

Luke making YUMMY Pepperoni Bread




Leave it to Luke to become SUPER CHEF! The only boy at the party...he made his apron into a super hero cape!


This is the Birthday Girl! Happy 5th Birthday Evie






Such a cute little chef!









Monday, April 14, 2008

Please Pray

I am having a very difficult time today. I can't even put into words right now how I feel, but let's just say I am overwhelmed in many ways with grief, anxiety, frustration, saddness, lonliness, etc. Please pray for this fog to lift as I cannot even see clearly right now.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Thank you God for rainbows!

Today has been a weird day for me. Almost like I have a cloud hanging over me. I have been having a bit of trouble sleeping at night as my mind races the moment I have a free moment and since shower time and bedtime are basically my only alone time, bedtime has become frustrating for me. I want to sleep but I also need time to reflect and remember Isaac and Asher. I need time to talk to God and pray. Our power went out this afternoon for like the millionth time this month (and that was actually one of the bills I remembered to pay last month). We had to go out to get dinner as it as pretty dark in the house and we didn't want to keep opening the refrigerator as we didn't know how long the power would remain out. So we ran to get dinner and then I dropped Howard and Ben off at home so Luke and I could get to rehearsal for this weekend's church service. My whole day seemed like one big hurried fog. I am not sure I had a clear thought all day.

Tonight as I drove to church for PowerZone rehearsal it was storming like crazy. The rain was beating down and lightning flashed in the sky. I have always been afraid of storms. In 1985 we had a horrible tornado hit our area and I remember that day in May so vividly. Thankfully our family came out of it untouched but seeing the destruction all around is something I will never forget. Since that day storms make me very uneasy. So, as I drove I began to get this uneasy feeling. Luke was sleeping peacefully in the backseat and I had music playing and was trying to connect with God.

As I drove, my mind raced. I try every day to relive the days that Isaac and Asher were born so as not to forget even a tiny detail. I began thinking of the glorious day that God gave Asher to us. Though it was only for a short time it was the most amazing day of my life. A day filled with peace and love. A deeper love than I had ever known and peace like a warm fuzzy blanket. I prayed for God to help me to feel that peace again at that moment. Just then as I looked across the town of Edinboro and a rainbow appeared. I am not talking like a little piece of a rainbow, I saw a full arch in vibrant colors. And peace washed over me.

I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. - Genesis 9:13

What an amazing gift a rainbow is. It is such a sign of hope and peace. It amazes me that there are people who can deny that God exists after seeing the beauty of something like a rainbow. It is so much more than a spectrum of light. It is a promise. The day we left the hospital after Isaac died we were so comforted when God put a rainbow in the sky. I am confident he does this JUST for me. :-) I am just so thankful that my God knows what I need at the exact moment I need it and he ALWAYS provides. I see Isaac and Asher that way, as rainbows. The beauty in the midst of the rain. God brings rain into our lives at times but the rainbows shine so brightly they almost make you forget about the rain. We have certainly had some rain lately but I cannot imagine more radiant rainbows than our little boys! Thank you God for rainbows! Thank you for your promise!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Chosen

Today has been a long day for me already and it is only 3:00 pm. I had to get up extra early this morning so I could shower and be presentable before the boys got up so we could be out of the house by 8:30. Today I spoke to the MOPS group at my church about my experiences and then I had to run through things for PowerZone weekend this weekend (details in previous post). Now the boys are resting and I have had a bit of time to reflect on my day.

I guess today was the first time I had actually verbally gone through my story with anyone and I am not even sure I got out the things I wanted to say as I kept getting choked up and losing my train of thought. As I spoke though I knew I had limited time and for those who know me know I could probably talk forever. So it forced me to think about the most important points I wanted to make in all of this.

I wanted to tell my story and explain the struggles and fears of the past few months but I wanted to convey how even though this has been the hardest and most painful thing I have ever had to endure, I also feel very blessed that God chose us for this. I have come to learn that God uses the broken.

"Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline" Revelation 3:19

God trusted me, He trusted Howard with these gifts. It seems strange, but he often hand picks those he trusts most to remain faithful and shine the light of His Son to endure trials and suffering so that others may see God's goodness in them. I had thought of this before and thought "gee if that is what it means to have God love and trust me, I would rather He didn't" and if I am being honest, I still am so amazed that he would choose a crazy screw up like myself to carry such an important burden. The fact remains however that God doesn't make mistakes. So that means he truly chose us for this journey and we will not disappoint him!

It is a weird feeling but though I miss Isaac and Asher with every fiber of my being I am also so proud of them. I am so humbled that God would chose Howard and myself to care for such precious gifts. I am so determined not to waste all of this. I am on fire to make sure that everyone knows our God did answer our prayers and he is the same today as he was five years ago or five hundred years ago. I know that this is far from over. We still have so much to give as we have been given so much.

The other point to our story that I feel is crucial is the way we have been lifted up and carried by more people than we could count. Too many to even be able to thank personally. So if you are reading this and have been one of the people who has prayed for us, left us encouraging phone messages, text messages, emails, cards, or notes, or if you are a person who has brought us a meal, gift card, money to help cover expenses, signed up to walk with us in the March for Babies or donated to the cause, one of my new amazing "internet" friends who is also walking a similar journey, or if you are a person who has sent us a gift we thank you. We have been so encouraged and more certain than ever that there is a God and that he is an amazing God. He has brought each of you into our lives at exactly the right time and my heart has been brought to overflowing.

Today as I went to check the mail I reached in the box, the cards and notes have mostly stopped so I was expecting a bunch of bills (some that I have totally forgotten to pay in the craziness of life) and there was a small package. I brought it in and opened it and found the most perfect little gift on a day that I really needed just a little boost to get through the rest of my day. It is a small wooden block similar to the alphabet blocks children play with. This one had the letter A on one side, in loving memory on one side, Asher Joseph Bolte on one side, all of his statistics, weight height etc on one side, entered into Heaven February 22, 2008 on one side and the name of the family who sent it on the other. It is so perfect. (Thank you Kim and Wes) It came at the perfect time and I just love it, it is a perfect gentle reminder of our sweet son!

My heart is truly so full, broken yet full which is a strange feeling. I truly wish I could thank each of you individually for all you have done and for being such an important part of our story, and I am trying but please know that no well wish, prayer or gift has gone unnoticed. Please continue to lift us up in prayer as we continue on this journey. God is at work and is doing GREAT things! I have truly come to know a love I would never have known without my boys. A love for them, a love for my God, and a love for all of you. We are also astounded at the outpouring of love from all of you! Words seem so inadequate, but thank you! We love you!

It's PowerZone Weekend!

This weekend is a very special weekend at our church. It is a weekend where the kids take over the "big church". It is such a fun weekend and is usually very well attended. We teach a kid's lesson and show how the PowerZone (our children's ministry) works. The kids lead worship and it is such a great experience. Luke gets to sing on stage this year and I am so excited to see him! I am also teaching the small group portion of the lesson and am very much looking forward to showing everyone what we do in children's ministry. Children's ministry is a passion of mine. I am so overwhelmed when I see little kids worshipping our God with their entire beings. They have no reservations. If you are in the area and have some time this weekend, I encourage you to check it out! If for nothing else to see Luke play "air guitar"!

McLane Church
Edinboro PA

Saturday 6 pm
Sunday 9 am and 11 am

for more info go to www.mclanechurch.org

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Gap by Michael Crelinsten

I came across this piece in a pile of stuff I was given after Isaac died. I think it is so insightful.
The Gap
The gap between those who have lost children and those who have not is profoundly difficult to bridge.
No one, whose children are well and intact can be expected to understand what parents who have lost children have absorbed and what they bear.
Our children come to us through every blade of grass, every crack in the sidewalk, every bowl of breakfast cereal.
We seek contact with their atoms, their hairbrush, their toothbrush, their clothing.
We reach for what was integrally woven into the fabric of our lives, now torn and shredded.
A black hole has been blown through our souls and, indeed, it often does not allow the light to escape. It is a difficult place.
For us to enter there is to be cut deeply, and torn anew, each time we go there, by the jagged edges of our loss. Yet we return, again and again, for that is where our children now reside.
This will be so for years to come and it will change us profoundly.
At some point in the distant future, the edges of that hole will have tempered and softened but the empty space will remain - a life sentence.
Our friends will change through this. There is no avoiding it.
We grieve for our children, in part, through talking about them and our feelings for having lost them. Some go there with us, others cannot and through their denial add a further measure, however unwittingly, to an already heavy burden.
Assuming that we may be feeling "better" six months later is simply "to not get it." The excruciating and isolating reality that bereaved parents feel is hermetically sealed from the nature of any other human experience.
Thus it is a trap - those whose compassion and insight we most need are those for whom we abhor the experience that would allow them that sensitivity and capacity.
And yet, somehow there are those, each in their own fashion, who have found a way to reach us and stay, to our comfort.
They have understood, again each in their own way, that our children remain our children through our memory of them.
Their memory is sustained through speaking about them and our feelings about their death. Deny this and you deny their life.
Deny their life and you no longer have a place in ours.
We recognize that we have moved to an emotional place where it is often very difficult to reach us.
Our attempts to be normal are painful and the day to day carries a silent, screaming anguish that accompanies us, sometimes from moment to moment.
Were we to give it its own voice we fear we would become truly unreachable, and so we remain "strong" for a host of reasons even as the strength saps our energy and drains our will.
Were we to act out our true feelings we would be impossible to be with.
We resent having to act normal, yet we dare not do otherwise.
People who understand this dynamic are our gold standard.
Working our way through this over the years will change us as does every experience - and extreme experience changes one extremely.
We know we will have recovered when, as we have read, it is no longer so painful to be normal. We do not know who we will be at that point or who will still be with us.
We have read that the gap is so difficult that, often, bereaved parents must attempt to reach out to friends and relatives or risk losing them. This is our attempt. For those untarnished by such events, who wish to know in some way what they, thankfully, do not know, read this. It may provide a window that is helpful for both sides of the gap.
It was written by Michael Crelinsten, Father of Alexis, who left for Heaven at the tender age of nine. It seems that these words only make more sense to me with each day that passes.

Trying not to be deceived...

Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him. - Job 13:15
Because I know who I believed. - 2 Timothy 1:12


As I have written, I have been having a tough time of things lately. I know God is in control and I am trying desperately to be obedient and bring Him glory. I know these things and yet I still often times do not FEEL God comforting me. It is crazy because sometimes it hits me for no good reason. I will be having a pretty good day and then all of a sudden BAM it is like getting punched in the gut and getting the air knocked out of you. I try so hard to put on a brave face and I think for the most part on the outside I probably look like I am doing better than I feel on the inside. Looks can certainly be deceiving.

Lately I feel like I have been fighting a battle. I have found myself getting caught up in lies...lies that are certainly not from God in fact I think they are coming from the opposite. I find myself thinking..."if God loved me, He would protect me from this" or maybe we should have put him on life support. Maybe we didn't give God the chance to perform His miracle. I think, I wish I would have held him tighter or kissed him more. I wonder why God is not revealing himself to me in a bigger way.

Then I am reminded that God is not just in the big stuff sometimes he reveals himself in such subtle ways that we miss them if we are not paying attention or are too wrapped up in ourselves. He is in EVERYTHING. There are no accidents in this life. It was no accident that we were chosen to be Isaac's parents and Asher's parents. We were just as chosen for them as we were for Luke and Ben. I need to remember that. My eyes will remain fixed on God. He has given me a heavy cross to bear, but it is mine nonetheless. This was NO accident God CHOSE us for this. All of the second guessing in the world will not bring my boys back. Their days were numbered before they were born. My circumstances are ever changing but God is the same. These thoughts are not coming from Him. They are sneaking in ever so slowly to try and turn me away from my God and I REFUSE to let them. God has carried me this far and he will certainly not turn from me now. The trick is to be still and listen for him. I am still not very good at that. But I am trying. I expect God to show up in a burning bush or something obvious, I mean he did it for others :-) could he be a little less subtle with me. But then I think...maybe I am just not paying attention. So my prayer for today is that I will keep alert and quiet waiting for God's prompting. I really am feeling that GREAT things are coming our way if we remain humble and obedient.

Tonight I went to the monthly Empty Arms meeting here in our area. It is a support group for families who have lost babies. It is a really wonderful group of people and it is always a comfort to get to chat with others who understand. It is kind of like a club. A club that no one wants to belong to but once you are in, there is no going back. It is strange how a group of complete strangers can talk about such personal events and feelings so openly. At every meeting we laugh and we cry, we run the gamut of emotion. I look around the room and see a group of wonderful moms and dads who have also been chosen by God to be the parents of children who die too soon. They are all wonderful caring parents who want their babies and are truly brokenhearted without them.

I have been so blessed by each person in that group. They all have taught me different things. I am especially thankful tonight that God brought me to this place. Tonight I was able to meet for the FIRST time another mom who had a baby with microcephaly. Her little girl was so beautiful. She shared pictures with us and they were gorgeous. Asher died just days before her little girl. She spoke of her little girl with such love, an amazing mom for sure. I also was blessed to be able to sit with Suzie, a friend from high school who lost her little guy Cooper three months ago. Her circumstance is different in that her baby was completely healthy until a stressful birth situation. Her husband is stationed in Iraq and she is being forced to walk this journey without him by her side. My hope is that I will be able to be there for her in some small way. I also got to catch up with a couple of other amazing ladies who have lost babies and are continuing to grow their families through birth and through adoption. I can truly see God working in and through all of these women and I am so proud to know each of them.

Just being able to chat with other people tonight who truly understand the heartache was very healing for me. They are never afraid to mention my boys or ask questions. They never try to come up with magic words to comfort me as they know there are none and a hug speaks volumes. Tonight I FELT God. I felt him through the people he brought into my life tonight. He knew I needed that. He always knows. Though I have been chosen to bear an unbelievably heavy burden, I will continue to HOPE in Him. I am feeling very excited tonight as I can feel his arms around me and I have this feeling He has BIG plans for the Bolte family and I am so up for the challenge! Please continue to pray for us as we see what God has in store for us. Please pray that we are able to be still and wait for God to prompt us and pray that we are able to stand strong in Him and cast out the negative thoughts trying to discourage us.

Thank you so much to those of you who have commented and sent me emails. This week has been my lowest and I have to say today I have been lifted to new heights because of your encouragements and prayers. I am honored that many of you have opened up to share YOUR story with me. I am learning so much from all of you. I am just so humbled by your messages and so proud that my boys are having an impact on many people's walks with God. It truly puts things into perspective for me. I am one proud mama!

God, thank you for choosing our family! We will put our hope and trust in you. We know all our help comes from you and we will continue to praise you for the immense blessings you have bestowed upon this family. We are humbled and honored!