Friday, May 30, 2008

His eyes were brown...

It is a horrible thing to have to find out the color of your child's eyes through an autopsy report. Today the report arrived in the mail. I have been wondering for months what color Asher's eyes were. I never got to see him open them and look at me. I had guessed they were brown like Ben's as he had Ben's red hair. I was right. His eyes were brown.

Aside from finding out that the chromosome study was normal that is all I know right now. Our case has sparked interest in doctors and has been sent to The University of Virgina Health System for further review and consultation.

I had been allowing the what ifs to sneak in lately. Somehow when you are waiting for answers it seems that you imagination can run wild. Asher looked so perfect and so beautiful when he was born I kept thinking maybe they hadn't gotten the results back because nothing was wrong with him. I know the doctors knew there was and otherwise they would have taken greater measures to save him but I could not help but wonder what if.

I continually have to remind myself that with a sovereign God there are no what ifs. Yet as a parent sometimes my mind slips to those thoughts. This report did without a doubt remind me that there are no what ifs. We still don't have any concrete answers but the decision to not put Asher on life support was definitely a good one. His brain weighed only 19.1 grams. The average infant at his stage of development has a brain weighing, 217 grams. His microcephaly was severe. Severe enough that life support would not have changed the outcome in any way.

Now this information will go to our genetic doctor who will work on all of this with us to determine what we should do in the future as far as growing our family. The thing is I am not even sure what to do with the information they may or may not find. I certainly don't WANT to go down this road a third time, yet I do want another baby. I also believe that God is still the same today as he was three or four years ago before our lives were touched by microcephaly. He is in control and if he wants to bless us with more children I want us to remain open to that no matter what means he uses to get them to us. So I guess I will just remain in prayer about the growth of our family and see where God leads.

The important thing here is that my aching heart was yearning to know the color of my sweet boy's eyes that I so desperately wanted to see. They were brown. His beautiful perfect eyes were brown.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

More Good News!

I just got the March of Dimes newsletter in the mail. As far as individual totals go, my name is number five in Erie for the largest amount raised! That doesn't even include the 800.00 that Howard Raised! I can't wait to see our team total! Thank you to everyone who donated or walked or prayed it was such a success! I cannot wait to do it again next year!

Ben is still sleeping, my house is clean and I am showered and dressed! What started out to be a tough day has been pretty good. Luke is outside with his grandma watching a stump removal company remove a giant tree stump in their yard which means I have a few minutes to check email and read our book we are reading for small group, since it is tonight!

A few more things...

The little boy we sponsor from Kenya through Compassion International wrote us this week. He is in first grade and is doing well in school! He is ranked at the top of his class in EVERY subject! We are so proud of him! He is an amazing little guy who is teaching our family so much! His name is George and he is so on fire about God! We would love it if you would join us in prayer for him. He and his family continue to do well!

I am speaking at a women's retreat this Saturday about encouragement. As I have been trying to prepare what I am going to say I have come to realize that in the encouragement department, my cup runneth over! I have less than twenty minutes to speak and in twenty minutes there is no way I could even begin to describe the love we have felt from family, friends and even complete strangers! I am so thankful for all of the support we have received. I thank God for always bringing just the right people to us at just the right time. I thank all of you for being his hands and feet and helping us along this sometimes treacherous journey!

And finally, Monday is our seventh wedding anniversary! We have had a friend offer to watch our boys overnight this weekend so we could have a little alone time. I am so thankful to have such great friends! Thanks Tiffany and Ryan! So anyhow this is all kind of last minute and I need some ideas...first we need to find something inexpensive and fun to do and secondly I need gift ideas! We usually do the traditional gift for each anniversary and this year it is wool or copper! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH! So I welcome any ideas you might have! I have gone to World Vision and am thinking of buying a sheep for a family in a third world country, which I know Howard would LOVE! It is wool and he always says he doesn't need anything, which he doesn't. But I would like to give him just something little and special for him...so please flood me with your creative ideas!

Praise God!

Well, Ben is finally napping. He is sleeping peacefully thanks to a little Tylenol. I have been able to shower and am working on cleaning the house and getting ready for our small group tonight! Finally a moment to breathe! Thank you Lord!

A phone call...

Well it was a rough night last night. Benjamin's arm is terribly sore still so he ended up sleeping with Howard on the couch for the first half of the night and in bed with us the second half. He was extremely restless and you could tell it hurt when he rolled over onto his arm. Darn shots!

Today has been much of the same. He has been trying not to use his arm but I am trying desperately to get him to use it a little bit thinking that keeping it still will not help the soreness. So he is cranky and whiny but as time passes he seems to be perking up a bit. He is fighting with his brother as we speak. :-)

Minutes ago the phone rang...I looked at the caller ID and it said "Saint Vincent". My heart sank. I got this feeling in the pit of my stomach wondering what they were calling for. The lady from medical records was calling to let me know that Asher's autopsy report was in and she asked if I would like her to send it in the mail. She said she would get it out today. I said that would be great and thanked her. It was kind of her to keep an eye out for the report and call me as soon as she saw it. She didn't have to do that.

It seems funny to me that a week ago I was upset that the reports weren't ready when I wanted them but now I am not sure I am ready to read them. Reading an autopsy report is no easy read. It is graphic and tough. Yesterday when I was at the doctor's office with Luke and Ben, our pediatrician asked if we were planning on having more kids. I told him I wasn't sure. He said he would hate to see us go through all of this again, but joked that if the next baby followed the pattern all should be fine.

Our doctor in Pittsburgh is looking for similarities between the two babies. Trying to find a genetic link if there is one. They were also doing a chromosome study because Asher had many more "issues" than Isaac did. Many of Asher's symptoms mimic those of Trisomy 18. If that were the case then there is a good possibility that there may not be a genetic link.

Anyhow...thank you all for continuing to pray for our family. We covet your prayers and appreciate all of your encouraging words. Though this may be a difficult step in this grief process I am hoping it brings us one step closer to healing. We know God is in control no matter what the answers on that paper say.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Another tough day...

Today is proving to be another really hard day. This morning I had to take the boys to the doctor for routine immunizations we had missed due to being in the hospital with Asher and the aftermath that came with all of that. I have been putting it off because just going in to the doctor's office which is in the same building as my OB and across from the hospital brings back a lot of crazy feelings.

So, silly me, took both boys by myself to the doctor. Luke began screaming the moment we were in view of the building and we ended up waiting in the exam room forever for the nurse to come with the shots. The anticipation was horrible for Luke. He just sat there screaming the WHOLE time. Then the nurse came in and gave Ben his shots. He got three of them. He barely noticed the first one but after that he had to be physically restrained to get the other ones.

Luke of course freaked out at the beginning and had really lost it at this point so here I am trying to hold Ben down calm Luke down and calm Ben down. Then the nurse hadn't gotten Luke's shot yet so she had to leave again to get it. Ten more minutes of anticipation and screaming from both boys. Now it was Luke's turn and Ben was still screaming from his shots so I am trying to hold Ben and comfort him but then Luke becomes a flight risk. :-) Running around with his arms pulled into his sleeves so that no one can get to his arms. I had to physically run him down and restrain him long enough for the nurse to get the shot in his arm. Then he was astounded that it didn't even hurt! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

We went to McDonald's for lunch and that seemed to make things a bit better, but shortly after getting home the soreness in Ben's arm set in. He got a tetanus today and his poor little arm is so sore he screams whenever he moves it. So I have been holding him all afternoon. Which in some ways has been very nice, I just wish he wasn't in so much pain. We have never had a reaction like this before. I gave him some Motrin and am hoping the pain subsides so he can sleep tonight.

Now I am getting ready to go to a funeral. I had mentioned before that my dad's friend had died last week and today is the memorial service. I am not completely sure I am ready to do this but we will see. I am exhausted and an emotional wreck right now. I feel like I need to be there especially for my dad so please pray for me and for our family this evening. Please also pray for Ben's little arm. Hopefully the soreness will subside by tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A lamp...

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. - Psalm 119:104-106

As I read this verse this weekend I got to thinking. God provides the light to guide is and lead us, but the verse specifically says, His word is a lamp unto our feet and a light for our paths. It is funny but sometimes I expect God to provide a crystal ball. Lighting my feet and the path they walk on isn't enough sometimes. I want to see the whole picture. I want to know what God wants me to do next. I want to know the plans He has for me and yet no matter how hard I search the plans are never revealed, at least not fully.

He lights our feet and the path upon which they walk, not the path ahead. We may as well just quit trying to get a glimpse of what is to come because he is lighting the here and now and if we are focused on what is ahead we will trip and stumble missing what is here and now.

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. - Isaiah 42:15-17

Now that said, I have had much time to think this weekend and I have been having a really tough time. Friday was an especially tough day. Much of my frustration comes from trying so desperately to find out what is coming next. Planning ahead. I guess though maybe that is not what God is looking for in me. Perhaps, he wants me just to physically and emotionally be in the here and now and not looking so far ahead. It hurts to be in the here and now and I often try to launch myself forward to skip over some of the pain, but he is repeatedly telling me that is not how it works.

He is lighting my feet and path now. I have to trudge through the muck and mire before I can see what is on the other side. There is no way over it and there is no short cut. Often times I feel like I just want to fast forward because the intensity of the pain is so real and so scary. It also seems to make others very uncomfortable. Many well meaning friends and family make futile attempts to "fix" me. Grief and pain like this make others so unsure of what to do to help. If only they would realize that there is nothing that anyone can do to fix it nor should they. I don't want to be fixed and I don't believe God wants that for me either. I have to go through the pain to get to the blessings on the other side. What God does want is for His people to come alongside those who are hurting and just be. It is encouraging just to know we are not alone on this journey. That is why this blog is so healing for me. Hundreds and sometimes thousands of people visit here each day. They may not always comment, but I know they were here. That means something. That means a lot. Those who do comment could never know what that means to me. Even when it is just a simple "I am praying for you". Like I said, I cannot be fixed. I am broken and my pieces will never fit back together the way they once were. That is okay.

For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief. - Ecclesiastes 1:17-18

I have said before that God will use that brokenness. I do believe he will. I guess I just need to stop looking so far ahead for what he is going to do and just be present in the now and what he IS doing at this moment. I cannot look farther than where the light of His lamp falls. That is tough to do, especially as a person who plans, but I am trying to just put my faith in Him and know that where ever he leads is where I need to be. (easier said than done) :-) Thank you all for your encouragement along the way. Every little gesture means so much!

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. - John 16:21-23

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Box of Blessings...

This weekend we are having our annual yard sale to get rid of the excess stuff in our home and make a little cash in the process. So this morning we did not go to church as we will be going tonight to Church in a Bar. So when we went outside we found a box full of groceries and some money. We are stunned. Stunned that someone anonymously wanted to help us in this way. Each of the items in the box will be put to good use. My kids were so excited about FUN cereal!

More than anything I cannot tell you what this did for our hearts today. Just the idea that someone out there has not forgotten. Someone out there still wants to help care for us when things are tough. Someone out there acknowledged the hardship we are going through and helped us know we are not alone.

We have had so very many people bless us in so many ways by offering blessings to us in so many forms and we are astounded. Thinking back about the ways we have been encouraged by so many we are completely humbled and our hearts are just a bit lighter for each of them. We want everyone to know that even though we have not had the opportunity to personally write a note to you to thank you for the blessing you are that doesn't mean it has gone unnoticed.

Today's blessings were especially uplifting. Life has been really tough since things have calmed down and everyone has gone back to normal. It has been quiet and though I know my boys are not forgotten sometimes I need a reminder that someone else remembers. So that box this morning was so much more than a box full of groceries and money, it was a box full of hope and encouragement. So to the people who sent today's blessing and the people who have sent blessings of all kinds whether gifts, prayers, cards or help, THANK YOU and may God bless each of you as he has blessed our family!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Another Prayer Request

Some days it seems like it never ends...

Please pray for my dad. He has lost so much in his lifetime. He has lost my mom, his first and only son, his dad, two grandsons, and several friends. He has lost several of his closest friends, and Isaac and Asher in just the past few years. Last night his best friend Russell died. He had been battling chronic illness for a while, but it is obviously still painful. My dad is a great guy and he has been so shaken that he isn't so sure about God anymore.

I worry about him sometimes. He tends to get very down, and he and Russell were close like brothers. I always called Russ my second dad jokingly because they were always together and he always addressed me as "daughter". It is so crazy to think I will never stop by to see my dad and hear Russell say "Hello, daughter" ever again. And I cannot imagine how hurt my dad must feel right now.

So anyhow, please pray for Russell's family and children, and for my dad and our family as we have all lost someone very dear to us.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Counseling

It seems that each time I post something containing my true feelings and being honest it is suggested that I seek counseling. I am not necessarily offended by that but you are assuming that I haven't already. You do not know that is the case. I very much appreciate everyone's wanting to look out for me and I promise I am being well cared for and have many people to talk to. I was just trying to share my thoughts. Counseling doesn't change reality. Yes it is healthy to talk to someone and counseling doesn't make you less of a Christian nor is it anything to be ashamed of, but despite having someone to talk to, these feelings still exist. I know that it is ok to feel like this. I have lost two children. One three years ago and one three short months ago. This is all still new and raw for me. I am dealing with things and giving them to God, I just have bad days sometimes.

I am taking care of myself and am being well cared for and looked after by friends and family. I just want you all to know that. I am so grateful that so many of you are so genuinely concerned for me and I want you to know that I am handling this in a healthy manner and there is no need to worry. It is possible to be in counseling and still have yucky feelings and sad days. I have many outlets for my anger, frustration, sadness and joy. This blog is just one. An amazing one, but it is still just a part. It is a place for me to freely be able to express things I have difficulty expressing verbally. That in and of itself is healing for me. Thank you all for continuing to follow my blog and for your honest and sincere concerns... I am so grateful so many of you love me enough to be concerned!! Thank you!

At My Wit's End

I just feel like I am falling apart at the seams lately. I am forgetful and typically I am so organized and on top of things. I am exhausted, I find it difficult to get up and face each new day not knowing what emotions will be brought to the surface that day let alone accomplish anything. I am irritable and cranky. I am more comfortable just staying home than I am facing people because I feel like I make everyone else uncomfortable. No one knows what to say to me or what not to say so there is always this awkwardness. Not to mention the agony of finding something to wear when my clothes still don't fit right. I am typically an on the go type of person and am becoming a home body.

I just don't know who I am anymore. I have NO clue who God wants me to be. I am trying hard to be still and let Him work in me but some days I question His presence. If I am being honest, though I truly believe that God exists and I undoubtedly believe every word of the Bible to be truth I wonder what on earth God is doing, so many things in life seem so unjust. God is supposed to be a just and loving God. I have experienced the love, but am unsure about what I think about God's justice. I know his plan is the only plan, but I really don't like his plan. I also know that my complaining isn't going to change a thing.

I mentioned yesterday that I had read the book of Exodus. It is funny how I was able to draw similarities to myself and the Israelites. God brought them out of Egypt, He parted the Red Sea and brought them victory. They were astounded and figured that the tough part was over so they would be on easy street for at least a while. That is until they were in the desert with no water to drink. I can only imagine the sound of the grumbling and complaining of ALL of those people who were thirsty and had only undrinkable water from a bitter pool to quench their thirst.

It is interesting because that is kind of how I felt after Isaac went Home. I remember thinking to myself with my pregnancy with Ben, "well God has brought us through this and he loves us so he certainly would not cause us that kind of pain again. " I was at ease figuring I had paid my dues. We had Ben without a hitch and I honestly expected nothing less with Asher. The thing is He did allow us that pain again. He allowed it a second time! We are good parents, a good family who is trying our best to raise our children to have a heart for the Lord and for serving others, far from perfect, but trying hard to live a life that honors God, yet he chose US to bear this cross, AGAIN. It just doesn't seem fair. (I know...my dad's favorite line is "Kristy, life's not fair." he must have told me that a trillion times in my teenage years) But it just seems so out of order. So like the Israelites here I am complaining and grumbling. The thing that changed their situation was Moses praying and listening to God and taking the wood and throwing it into the water. It wasn't the wood itself or the complaining, but God's power through Moses' obedience.

I am trying so hard to be obedient and to humbly accept what has been dealt to me, but it is such a hard road. Some days I feel like I am able to find meaning in all of this and I am able to smile and even laugh and other days the tears flow constantly. Lately the tears are of abundance. I can barely hold it together long enough to go to the grocery store. So, today I am on my knees asking God to show me what comes next. Where do we go from here. The rest of the world is able to move on without a hitch and I am still left behind with a crushed and broken heart. What am I to do with that brokenness?

In my devotional today I read this:
"They were a their wit's end. Then the cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress." Psalm 107:27-28

Are you standing at "Wits' End Corner."
Christian, with troubled brow?
Are you thinking of what is before you,
And all you are bearing now?

Does all the world seem against you,
And you in the battle alone?
Remember - at "Wits' end Corner"
Is just where God's power is shown.

Are you standing at "Wits' End Corner",
Blinded with wearying pain,
Feeling you cannot endure it,
You cannot bear the strain,
Bruised through the constant suffering,
Dizzy and Dazed and Numb?
Remember - at "Wits' End Corner,,"
Is where Jesus loves to come.

Are you standing at "Wits' End Corner"?
Your work before you spread,
All lying begun, unfinished,
And pressing on heart and head,
Longing for strength to do it,
Stretching out trembling hands?
Remember - at "Wits' End Corner"
The Burden - Bearer stands.

Are you standing at "Wits' End Corner"?
Then you're just in the very spot
To learn the wondrous resources
Of Him who fails you not;
No doubt to a brighter pathway
Your footsteps will soon be moved,
But only at "Wits' End Corner"
Is the God who is able proved.

- Antoinette Wilson

So I guess here I stand, at the end of my rope. At "Wits' End Corner". I am waiting for God to reveal the beauty he will bring from these ashes, the joy from this pain. I have no doubt he will lift me up, but I pray it is soon as I am growing so weary.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

3 months

How can three months seem like just yesterday and at the same time like an eternity ago. What I wouldn't do for just one more moment on February 22, 2008.


Words cannot even begin to do justice to how I feel tonight...

Thinking of Asher on his 3 month birthday




It is the 22nd again...


Prayers for Faith Webb

Please pray for the family of sweet Faith Webb today. They are scheduled to be induced and deliver her today. She has Trisomy 18 but we all know God is capable of anything. Please pray for the entire family as they meet her and love on her today! Her page is http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/faithwebb you can check there later today for updates! Thank you all for praying!

Prayer Request

Just found this on Angie Smith's site...please pray

http://audreycaroline.blogspot.com/2008/05/urgent-prayer-request.html

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bitterness

See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12:15


The Biblical Greek word for bitterness is the word PIKRIA it refers to intensity of suffering of mind and body, something that is difficult to bear, something that causes animosity and reaction, something that is brought about by hatred or antagonism.

Interestingly enough this word "bitterness" keeps coming to the surface of my heart today. My heart has been so heavy lately and so many things in life seem so difficult sometimes. I often times get so frustrated with myself for feeling this bitterness in my soul because while I have certainly endured hardships in this lifetime it is also true that I have been incredibly blessed. I know that. I know that I have much to be thankful for. Yet, this bitterness remains a part of my soul.

I feel so ill equipped for this journey sometimes. You see, I know I cannot allow this bitterness to take up residence in my soul. I feel such loss and yet I am not sure where to go from here. Some days I feel as though God is sitting on the sofa next to me and other days it seems He is a million miles away. I am not necessarily so interested in WHY God chose us for this journey as I am about what on earth He wants us to do next. I am just not sure where to go with all of this. I have my own ideas but I want to be sure they are coming from God and that they are not about me and my wants, but His. I want to glorify God in every area of my life.

I would love to be able to sit at this computer and tell you all that I am completely at peace with all of what has unfolded in the past couple of years but that would be an outright lie. It is so confusing sometimes. I want my babies with me. I want to hold my sons, I want to kiss each of them goodnight and kiss each of them good morning. I DO accept God's plan for my life and I do submit to be used by him for whatever purposes he deems necessary but this is so hard. I ache so deeply. My tears flow like rain most days and my heart is so broken. I fully know God will use this brokenness, but what on earth does he want me to do next? I want to be obedient but sometimes I feel that I must be drowning out His voice with the sound of my weeping.

I recently read the book of Exodus and found this scripture to be very interesting to me...

It comes from chapter 15 after the Red Sea had been parted and the Israelites had escaped...

22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah. [e] ) 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, "What are we to drink?"
25 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the LORD made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them. 26 He said, "If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you."
27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water
.

I feel like this period in my life is one of life's deserts that has only bitter water. I am desperately searching for my piece of wood. I want to pay attention to His commands. Perhaps he is still telling me to "Be Still"

Isaiah 38:17, "Behold, bitterness became deliverance to me. In Your love You have delivered my soul out of the pit of destruction; for You have cast all my sins behind my back."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Daddy's Prayer (Re-Post)

I just really wanted to repost this today because I think that though sometimes I wonder what is going on in Howard's head that he is grieving the loss of his son too, he just shows it very differently. This prayer that he wrote reminds me of that.



Father God,
I thank you for tears.
I’ve come to understand that they too are a gift.
Though at first it appears they come from pain and fear,
You have shown me the real source is love and care.
They truly are an outpouring of Your love.
I am blessed to have friends and familywilling to cry and show their love with tears.
I am no longer saddened,but comforted to have known love in this way.
Love that certainly comes from You,
but also comes through those You have placed in my life.
For that I am grateful, amazed and HAPPY.
May You bless each individual who has shared their tears,
and may they feel as cared for and loved in their time of need as I have.
Amen.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Reflections...

Well, I sit here tonight, the house again silent. Everyone sleeping but me. In preparing for tomorrow I have been looking back over old entries in this blog and kind of reliving some of those moments while carrying Asher. I would do anything to go back and hit the pause button. I so desperately loved pregnancy with each of my boys and truly hope I am blessed to do it again someday.

I have been frustrated with our pediatrician's office lately but my visit today with him confirmed why he is the doctor we stay with despite how busy and chaotic his office sometimes is. He really is great with the boys, he is super funny and is one of the best doctors in the area. He is a neonatologist at the hospital and so it is more difficult to see him some days but he really is worth it. He took his time with us today he joked with Luke ( who insisted upon wearing his aviator sunglasses through the exam), asked about Ben and about Asher. He asked how we were doing and said he had seen us at the March for Babies. We are blessed to have compassionate and overly competent doctors in our area that is for sure.

I am preparing to go tomorrow and speak at my MOPS group here at the Federated Church in Springfield. I am usually a pretty good public speaker (or so I have been told) and actually seldom get nervous. This time is different. This time I am speaking to many people who have known me for years. Who knew me when Luke was my only child. Who knew me in High School. People who read this blog and pray for me daily. What could I possibly have to offer?

I am still fumbling and stumbling on this long and sometimes treacherous road. I am able to praise God but I have to admit most days it is through gritted teeth and clenched fists. I am unable to make sense of much of anything lately. I am exhausted, sad and easily irritated. I know God's plan is perfect, I just wish I could see it from above to have a better understanding of how this is what is best for me. I am continually told that God won't give me more than I can handle and yet He does. I guess my belief these days is that God won't give me more than HE can handle. Because none of this has anything to do with me or my strength, I have none. This week will mark three months since Asher blessed us here on earth with his presence and I am still in such pain.

Tonight I am exhausted. I ran all morning and then had the Tupperware party, got the kids to bed and now am preparing for tomorrow when I speak and then also return to work. For some reason the fact that the autopsy report was not in is REALLY bugging me. I think with Isaac the autopsy report was something I wasn't really interested in and yet after getting it got an answer that I never anticipated. You see I never saw Isaac's eyes. It had always torn at my heart that I never knew what color my son's eyes were and the blessing that came in that autopsy report was the answer to that question. His eyes were blue. Just like Luke's.

I never saw Asher's eyes either. A mom longs to look into her infant's eyes. There is a connection there. A bond as if they can see into your soul like no one else can. They see you for who you really are and love you anyway. They see the love and the fear in your eyes and yet they know you love them so deeply and will always protect them. They trust in a way many of us cannot even comprehend. They rely on us for every single need. I never had that privilege with Isaac or Asher and more than anything I want to know what color Asher's eyes were. It may seem like a silly thing to yearn for but I do. I hate that I need an autopsy report to tell me but I need to know. Were they blue like Luke and Isaac or brown like Ben's?

Check this out!

Check out this YouTube Video it is pretty cool...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_e4zgJXPpI4


Thanks to whoever sent it to me!

No Scarlet Fever!

Well, the verdict is in...we saw our pediatrician today and he thought it was kind of crazy that a doctor said Luke had Scarlet Fever. He said it is definitely NOT Scarlet Fever and he was glad we didn't start the antibiotics. Luke has Pityriasis Rosea which is a harmless non contageous rash that will go away on its own. No worries. Our doctor also apologized that his staff did not return my messages last week.

I also went to the hospital today to try to get the results from the testing done on Asher and frustratingly enough, the final reports are STILL NOT in. So we just have to wait. They told me to call once a week until they are in. What a pain! Just what I want to do! Oh well, I suppose I just need to be still.

Well that is the update for now...I need to go at least try to shower and vacuum while Ben is sleeping as my Tuppeware party is tonight! Thanks again for all of your prayers!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A couple of prayer requests...

It has been a really crazy weekend and I have a few prayer requests for those of you who pray for us so faithfully.

1. Please pray for our friends Ginger and Greg, they just welcomed their amazing son Fionn into the world on Friday night. He has had a few struggles as he was born a couple of weeks early. You can read their story and leave them comments at www.thepittsburghhites.blogspot.com I know they would covet your prayers for their little boy.

2. Please pray for Luke, we took him to an UrgiCare center today because the rash seemed to be getting worse and we still have not gotten a call back from his doctor (which is incredibly frustrating.) They seem to think he has Scarlet Fever. I cannot say that I agree, but I guess I am not a doctor. I have dealt with Scarlet Fever before and this seems nothing like it to me but I am going to take him to his doctor tomorrow to confirm before deciding what to do next. He has NO other symptoms other than a rash. The rash is just on his trunk area. Not on his face or extremities. I kind of thought it might be the fact that we switched laundry soaps so I am rewashing all of his clothes as we speak...(Just what I wanted to do :-)) Please pray that Ben doesn't come down with any of this!

3. Please pray as I meet this week with someone to try and figure out our finances and as I return to work. We know God will take care of our every need. Please just pray that we make wise decisions.

4. Please pray for my dad who hurt his back at work. He works on a road crew. An injured back prevents him from working and he cannot afford that. He is very down in the dumps and could really use your prayers.

5. Please also pray for me as I am dealing with an incredibly awful sinus infection or something. I have been in bed most of the weekend. If I am not better by morning I will be heading to the doctor also.


Thank you all for continuing to lift us up on this unpredictable journey. Sometimes it seems so tough to juggle all of the typical life stuff as well as the grief. I am feeling very easily overwhelmed lately and just knowing that others are praying for my heart and loving us from afar really does make a difference. May God bless you all!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Scared of the pain

Job 17:7My eyes have grown dim with grief; my whole frame is but a shadow.


Well I thought we were going to go and watch a movie, but Howard was watching a Celtic's game and so we finished that and then went to watch the movie. But a half hour in he was asleep. I have no idea why something so dumb has sparked such raw emotion in me (he never makes it through a movie and this one was a girly one nonetheless) but when I heard him begin to snore I began to cry and shut the TV off. I came out to the living room so I could cry without bothering him but of course he gave me a couple of minutes and then he followed. He wanted me to talk to him and I just don't even know what to say. There are absolutely NO words for what I am feeling in this moment.


Psalm 31:9Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.

I am exhausted from the day both physically and emotionally and yet I cannot rest. As I sit here sobbing I just want to scream. I want to run outside and scream at the top of my lungs. The thought honestly crossed my mind but I am sure the neighbors would worry. Sometimes the pain of all of this is so intense that it scares me so I try my best to shove it back down in to the deepest pit of my soul. It always finds it's way back up though usually at the strangest and most inopportune time. For almost three months I have continually been trying to run from the pain of all of this and it always catches up with me. Usually when I am all alone with my thoughts and they ALWAYS turn to my boys.

My arms are so painfully empty tonight. I do have two amazing boys sleeping soundly in their rooms for which I am so grateful, but I want to be up and crying out of sheer exhaustion from caring for all four of my boys while I nurse Asher. Our home is silent as my fingers click on this keyboard and I long for the sound of an infant's cry. This pain sometimes is more than I can bear and I try oh so hard to keep it together and remind myself of my blessings. Yet this deep empty hole has been carved out of my heart and it will NEVER be filled this side of Heaven.

I keep thinking that I am almost three months into this recent journey and that I should be on the road to recovery and yet I continually find myself backsliding, or was I ever REALLY moving forward to begin with? I thought I was ready to have life return to normal and yet I am seeing so clearly that I was painfully wrong. My heart is still shattered and the pain sneaks up when I least expect it. Who am I kidding? This is still all so new. So fresh and so painful.

I have no wisdom to share tonight, I cannot even adequately describe the agony I find myself in. I have no idea where God is leading me and I cannot understand why this pain is necessary. I am a good mom. I want my sons with me. I want a baby to hold and nurse and love on. Life sometimes seems unbearably unjust and unfair. I want to haul all four of my kids to the grocery store. All under five years old and have people look at me like I am nuts. :-) As much as I protested the minivan, I would give anything to NEED one. So much in life seems so trite these days. I find my self in conversations with other moms biting my tongue or just trying to refrain from shaking someone and reminding them how lucky they are to have each of their kids with them. I know motherhood is hard and we all get frustrated and need to vent, but I would do ANYTHING to have four kids to wear me out each day. Instead I am completely worn out from my grief and am still trying to hold it all together to give my boys who are here with me every ounce of energy I can muster. They deserve it. They are so precious. They are my life's greatest work. Motherhood is no easy task that is for sure, but I cannot think of a higher calling. I love all four of my boys so fiercely it tears me to pieces each night when I only get to tuck two of them in.

Lamentations 3:33For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.

I pray tonight that God would bring peace and healing to my heart in his time. I know that pain is not without purpose and so I am trying hard to allow myself to be present in the pain and not run from it. I have been running and probably still am. I pray for God to heal Luke's rash as it is a concern for me. I pray for God to bless this family and if it be his will that in His time that he will bless us with more children. Luke and Ben so desperately want another sibling in this house, though none could replace Asher or Isaac, we hope to add to our clan sometime farther down the road. I also pray for my dad who hurt his back at work yesterday and is in great physical pain tonight I pray for healing for his body and for his heart. I also pray for our sweet friends Ginger and Greg who welcomed their son Fionn (pronounced fin) into the world this evening.

Psalm 88:9my eyes are dim with grief. I call to you, O LORD, every day; I spread out my hands to you.
John 16:22So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

Completely RANDOM...

Tonight I got to go grocery shopping alone for an entire hour. I had to get Luke some Benadryl and calamine lotion. (If his rash isn't better at least a little by tomorrow we are heading in to urgicare)

Anyhow, I am a huge SUCKER for gimmicky foods so when I saw the mysterious black Dorito QUEST bag I was completely intrigued. (We LOVED last year's cheeseburger Dorito mystery flavor) I brought them home and Howard and I tried them. The smell of lime overwhelmed me when I opened the bag and as we tasted them we were quite confident the flavor was margarita. They are very citrusy and salty yet strangely quite good. I got online to figure out the flavor and guess what???? MOUNTAIN DEW! Mountain Dew flavored Doritos! Crazy!

Ok, that was my pointless musing for the day...Howard and I are going to go watch a movie together...Have a great night!

Random Pictures of Today

I have been kind of crazy with the camera lately, trying to document every fun moment of our day. Here are a few from today!
Our "thug" Ben has a particular fondness for this stocking cap. He refused to take it off at all in the last twenty four hours!
"Thug" Ben and Band-Aid Boy Luke. Luke insists upon a band-aid for mosquito bites which is what that circle band-aid is covering. He claims it keeps him from scratching...he is probably right. I just wish I would have taken a picture of the one he put on last night all by himself. During small group he went and helped himself to a regular sized band-aid which he not so carefully put across his bite and into his hair. It is amazing he isn't bald on that side of his head!

Brothers chillaxin' on the Elmo sofa watching cartoons

Again, WHY can't they do this when I need a Christmas Photo??!

Monkey See Monkey Do! Here we are pretending to "walk on the ceiling."

A perfect spring bouquet of lilacs I picked from the yard yesterday. There is nothing better than waking up to the scent of lilacs!





This is Ben growling like the shark on his pj shirt!

There is a bluebird going in our bluebird house! YEA!



Searching for answers

Well, I am having a frustrating day today. I have been trying to get a hold of our pediatrician ALL week to get Luke checked out (rash), to get Ben's immunizations that are late because of Asher's arrival, and to get the results from the chromosome study and autopsy done on Asher. I have left THREE messages and have yet to get a response for any of my issues. It has been almost three months since Asher's death and for some reason this time I REALLY want those reports. I want answers even if the report says there are no answers, that is better than the limbo I am feeling now. We cannot meet with the doctor at Magee until we know what happened. They assume it was related to Isaac but no one can be sure without the test results. I am praying for patience, but am also thinking of switching doctors. I love our pediatricians but if you can't get a hold of them they don't do you much good. So, I am feeling frustrated and defeated today. My mind is racing and that is usually not a good thing.

I know the answers these tests can bring won't change anything but I just need to know what they say. Why on earth is it taking so long!? With Isaac we got a report shortly after his death, the preliminary report and then a month or so later we got the phone call with the official results. It is driving me nuts. I feel very unsettled and my imagination is going wild with reasons they must not have reports yet. I mean who keeps a family waiting like this without a reason?

So, please pray for Luke and for this crazy rash he has and for our family as we attempt to remain patient and wait for the answers from these tests.

Some days I wonder how I will live the rest of my life with such intense pain in my heart. I know God is the only answer for that.

Words Better Left Unspoken

Check out this post written by a very special mommy...

http://sweetlittlelamb.blogspot.com/2008/05/words-better-left-unspoken.html

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Empty Bowls



Ok, so I told you I would let you know what Howard is up to tonight. Here goes...

Howard teaches World Geography to seventh graders at Linesville High School. He has a group of kids that are working on awareness of social issues and global poverty. (forgive me I forget the name of the group.) Anyhow, they have partnered with Edinboro University pottery student and created this program called Empty Bowls.

What it is is this...Edinboro students have donated their pottery bowls, which are REALLY cool and the group from Linesville is selling them for 10 dollars each. Five dollars will go to the Linesville food pantry and five dollars will go to a world hunger organization.

Tonight they are having a soup dinner where you can buy a bowl at the school and I believe they are doing a presentation to educate people on the issue of global poverty and hunger. That is at 5:00 tonight.

I am excited for Howard because this is why he got into teaching. He desperately wants to make a difference and most of the time just feels like he is treading water. ( I think he makes more of a difference than what he sees). So this program has been great for him and is doing great things for others.

I will post pictures of some of the bowls later...he took the camera with him to take pictures tonight since I cannot be there. Please pray for this program and that it would reach and help many.

Better days are ahead...

Well, first I must say thank you all for your kind words and prayers. I do so appreciate each and every one. Some days I just feel so bogged down by everything. Yesterday was just a really yucky day for me. I am easily overwhelmed when I have a lot on my plate and this coming week I have a lot on my plate. I should probably have given more thought to my schedule and probably should have been more gentle with myself but things just got away from me.

Tonight we have small group and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed about that as Howard won't be here. So I am on my own with getting things ready and caring for the kids at the same time. I am spoiled to have such a great husband so when I am on my own it throws me for a loop. I will share with you about what he is up to in another post.

Anyhow, then this weekend I am going to teach in the early childhood ministry in our church an lead worship for the first time since having Asher. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE doing this. It is one of my very favorite things to do, but I am out of practice and have A LOT to memorize for the lesson.

Monday I am having a Tupperware party, which I am also looking forward to. I actually wasn't even sure Tupperware existed anymore but my friend Tiffany started selling it so I am excited to see what is new with Tupperware and to get some free stuff while helping her out.

Tuesday is the biggie. Tuesday I am speaking at the Federated Church MOPS group. I really love doing this kind of thing and have done several since having Isaac, just basically sharing our story and how God has worked amazing things through all of it. It is just hard to do. To stand in front of a group of people and share your heart. I do it here but I get to sit behind a computer. I am not face to face with anyone. Tuesday I also go back to working. I will be working Tuesday from 7 - 11 pm. I am anxious to get back to work because we need the income but everything seems like it is happening all at once!

So I guess I am asking for your prayers. Life is beginning to get back to normal and I am not quite sure I am ready so please pray for God to bring peace to my heart in knowing that none of this means I am forgetting or leaving this part of my life behind. Pray for God to bring beauty from these ashes.

It is funny how this grief thing seems to be more like a crazy roller coaster ride than anything else. Some days I feel great and am so full of joy and peace and other days I come crashing down and am weary and sad. It makes me feel nuts sometimes. :-) I will have several great days only to be followed by some really yucky ones. Just when I think I am coming out of this, I sink back down.

Psalm 88:9my eyes are dim with grief. I call to you, O LORD, every day; I spread out my hands to you.

Psalm 31:9Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Anxiety...

I am reminding myself of this every moment today:

1 Peter 5:7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.


Today for many reasons I feel a bit overcome with anxiety. I try so hard to keep up with housework and yet most days I feel as though I take two steps forward and three steps back. I finish cleaning windows and move on to vacuuming and the boys put their cute little faces up to the windows and what I had just done is now undone. The days usually go that way but I continually remind myself of how precious these days are and how they will only be little for a short time so then we scrap everything and go out and play. :-) Still, the housework doesn't get done and I am one of those people who literally gets anxious and sick from looking around an unkempt house. I have a to do list a million miles long for house work and yard work and I never seem to make a dent.

I am saddened by the change in many of my relationships lately. It seems many of the close relationships I once had have distanced and new and deep friendships are blooming. I am so thankful for the new but I am saddened by the change in friendships that have fallen to the wayside.

I am anxious because of finances. We have been thrown into many situations since we have been married that have caused us great expenses and they are overwhelming moving, college, medical bills, funeral bills, cemetery bills, etc. As I stated before when Asher died, the family who owns a local funeral home completely took care of the expenses on their end and that has been more of a blessing than they could know. With Isaac we were fully taken advantage of in that area and are still dealing with that. I KNOW God will provide, I just want to know what I need to do to get us on the right track. We have so much debt. Howard has begged and begged for me to reserve a portion of our economic stimulus check for a summer vacation and not spend it ALL on bills but I am not so sure that was the right decision to make. Then again I think about the fact that he has yet to cry or deal with any of this and maybe this is just what he NEEDS. He works so hard and is such an amazing husband and father. He deserves a relaxing beach retreat. Disney was lots of fun and I think it was great for us to do fun family stuff but he needs to just be. Not run around and do fun stuff, just be.

As I sit here preparing all of the paperwork and numbers to meet with someone to help get us figured out I am terrified. I am scared that the only answer to this is for me to go to work and though I love teaching, I am adamant about staying home with my boys. I teach online and that had been cutting it but I took three months off. I return to work this week and I am looking forward to it. I enjoy the job and I need the income. Hopefully we can somehow make up for those three lost months though teaching hours in the summer are few.

I am anxious because Luke has come down with some weird rash. It isn't chicken pox, it isn't measles. It isn't itchy and he isn't sick. I called the doctor's office and they are not concerned, they said to bring him in if it gets worse, bothers him or he gets sick, but otherwise there is likely nothing that can be done. I guess kids get rashes, but I tend to overreact when it comes to the health and well being of my boys.

I am anxious because Benjamin is scheduled for outpatient surgery on June 30th. The thought of him being put under is terrifying to me. He was born with a minor defect and has had one surgery to correct and will need one more. The surgeon is amazing and I know God sent her to us, I just need to trust Him. As I said I just get anxious when it comes to the health of the kids.


Matthew 6:27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?

So I guess what I am saying is please pray for me and for my family. We have a lot of stressful stuff hanging over us and we want to make wise and godly decisions. Please pray as we move forward into our new normal. Pray for what that means for us and pray for God's guidance in our each and every step. I am feeling this cloud looming over me today (it could partly be the yucky weather) my heart feels heavy and anxious. I am praying for God to lift that heaviness. I know he has ALL of this under control and none of it is any surprise to him. He will bring us through each of these troubles. I just need to remain steadfast and cast my cares on Him. He will sustain us.

Matthew 6:34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Gifts

Last post tonight I promise!

This is the frame I asked for and it obviously needs to be filled with our boy's pictures.






This is the one Howard made, Isn't it the most awesome thing a husband could do!?



I know this is blog overload, but...

I still need to share the rest of my Mother's day.

So after thinking about my mom, reading my devotional and praying I layed back down for a bit. Curious of what Howard and the boys had in store for me. Just then the phone rang. It was our friend Julie who was wanting to come and put a flashing red light on her Jeep and make a Starbucks run for me knowing it was a tough day for me. I told her it was unnecessary but she arrived a bit later frappuccino in hand. (Truth be known frappuccinos do brighten a day even if it is just the caffeine and sugar rush) She stopped and she hugged me, we chatted for a few moments and then she went to be with her own amazing kids this mother's day.

Back track to when I was allowed out of my room. Both boys were hiding under a lightning McQueen sleeping bag on the living room floor and jumped out and said "SURPRISE!" They were delighted to see me and I was so delighted to see their smiling faces. They then proceeded to surprise me with gifts. I will post pictures later. They handed me a stack of bright pink gifts as Luke believes ALL girls LOVE pink. On top was a pack of Dove dark chocolate promises (which on a tough day will substitute for Starbucks if Starbucks is out of reach.) and Grapefruit tic tacs. (when I was pregnant with the boys I craved fruity tic tacs.) I opened the first gift as Howard watched my face for approval. I am a tough person to buy for or so he says. But, it was perfect. It was a digital picture frame. He wanted to get it so we could have Asher and Isaac's pictures running all the time. PERFECT! Then the next present was a photoframe I had picked out that has the words Faith, Hope, Love, and Family and four little openings for the boys' pictures.

The third gift literally took my breath away. It is the one I will be certain to post pictures of. It is also a picture frame. There are eight openings. In four of the openings he wrote the word LOVE using flowers he had pressed from our yard. A bleeding heart plant, a tulip (my favorite flower until the dandelion), leaves and blossoms off of a tree we planted on our first anniversary and of course dandelions.

In the other four holes are pictures of each of our boys with this verse written under each picture...Love is patient, kind, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, but if I have not love, I am nothing.

Yes, he pressed the flowers and created the whole thing himself. I could not have a more amazing husband!

The rest of the day was much like any other. We had pizza, the power went out and we visited family and went to church in a bar. (again a story for another day but yes, it is church and it is in a bar.)

Now Luke is sleeping over at my grandma's and Ben and Howard are soundly sleeping. As I reflect over this day my heart is overflowing with how much I have to be thankful for so I will make a quick list of a few of those things.

I am thankful for:

Friends who just stop by and take my kids because they want to give me a little time to myself but also because they love my kids...

Friends who call to say they care even when they don't know what to say...

Friends who run Starbucks to my house and then run over my son's yellow chair in the driveway because they are on a mission and wish they had a flashing light on top of their Jeep :-)

Friends who have sent the most amazing and encouraging notes and special gifts of love.

A husband who utterly amazes me on a daily basis. Who makes me want to be a better wife and mother because he himself reflects God's love so beautifully.

Four boys who have taught me more about love and life in the past four years than I had in the previous 25. Who love me unconditionally and continue to show me glimpses of what it means to have faith like a child.

Family who loves us and cares for us eventhough they often don't know how to say it or show it.

A church family who has provided for our every need from the great to the small. Who loves us and shows us how to be the hands and feet of Jesus.


I have so very much to be thankful for. So this day has been one full of emotion full of tears and full of joy, but I would have it no other way because I know God is molding me the way He needs me to be to be able to fully use me for His purpose and I am honored and forever grateful to serve a God who knows my every hurt, holds my every tear in the palm of His mighty hand and holds me up when I can no longer stand.

Thank you so much for all of your prayers today! I could literally feel them all day long. I truly felt that Jesus was providing me with a peace today that surpasses all understanding! I am truly grateful!

"Be strong, He has not failed you
In all the past,
And will He go and leave you
to sink at last?
NO, He said He will hide you
beneath His wing;
And sweetly there in safety
You then may sing." - From Streams in the Desert

I am certainly singing tonight as I praise Him for all He is and has done.

Thoughts of my own mother on Mother's Day...

Ok, so after last night I was at a loss for what this day would bring for me. It stirs up a lot of yucky feelings about my own childhood without a mom and feelings of loss for the boys who are not with me but also brings great joy for the ones who are.

I woke up this morning with that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. Anticipating a day full of crazy emotions and tears. I was told by my husband to remain in bed until he told me otherwise. We weren't going to church this morning, we were going to a multi site of our church tonite called Church in a Bar, yes it is in a bar but that is for another day. So anyhow I sat in bed and picked up my Streams in the Desert book.

I had not had a chance to read yesterday's pages so I began there. This is what I read:

"I would have despaired unless I had believed I would see the goodness of the Lord...Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage." Psalm 27 13-14

Do not despair!

This got me hooked. Despair was certainly what I was allowing myself to feel. I felt defeated and depressed. Looking at what was lost. I longed to be going out of my room that morning to kiss four little faces and receive four little hand made cards (with Howard's help). I once again had felt I had come to the end of myself and wasn't sure how much fight I had left in me. This is one of the toughest days for me of the whole year. Not only because of the loss of my children, but because of a childhood without a mom. I have harbored many negative feelings toward my mom since her death. I don't remember much about her aside from the fact that she always strived to be the perfect mother and anything short of perfect left her defeated and depressed. She was often easily agitated. I remember vividly the night she died. She had held me a nine year old girl in a rocking chair and she rocked me as she cried. My sister was already asleep. I remember being scared. Thinking about how upset she was and not knowing why. My dad was not home and it was just us. I am not sure if she called the neighbor or if the neighbor offered, but our neighbor came over and took us so my mom could have some time alone. We camped out on her living room floor watching movies. I had this sinking feeling. A couple hours later my grandpa and a neighbor went to check on my mom.

Minutes later I heard an ambulance and my dad burst through the door hugging us and crying saying "she's gone, she's gone." We had no idea what he was saying. (I am shaking as I type this. I am not sure I have ever really played that entire day and the emotions back in my mind so please bear with me) My dad had lost it. He could not control his tears and he could barely speak. I remember opening the door to run across the street to find her and I ran into my grandma (my mom's mom) her arms open wide. She explained that my mom had died.

We went to stay with my other grandma and I still remember thinking this was all a joke and that my mom would bounce through the door at any moment. It never happend. I asked my dad how she died and he simply told me that she was "sick". I found that hard to believe. I remember going back to school and having all of the kids treat me so different. The teacher had told them all that my mom (who was a well loved room mom) had died. One of my closest friends told me that she had heard that my mom had shot herself. I told her no way.

I remember going back to my grandma's house and wondering. I am not sure how much time passed but eventually my curiosity got the best of me and I looked in the metal safe where my dad kept all of the important paper. There I found my mother's death certificate. I will never forget reading the words on that page. I know my dad thought he was protecting me by telling me she was sick and nothing more. But reading a death certificate is a rather graphic retelling of a story. I am certain I would have been better off hearing from my dad. It was true. What my friend said was true. My mom had shot herself.

I won't go into detail, but I can say ever sense instead of being filled with sadness, I tend to resort to anger. I am certain that she had been suffering from depression for several years and failed to ever seek help. I am certain that this event blindsided everyone. But what I know as a daughter and now as a mother is that a life without a mom is a tough road. I have always felt that by committing suicide she took the easy way out. It all seems so selfish. Sure she now was gone and she ended her pain but what about the rest of us left behind? What about her girls?

Before you all begin commenting please know that I in my heart do know that my mother was suffering from a deep depression and was likely not in her right mind when she did this. I know that she loved us. It doesn't make the pain any less. I find it hard to remember her fondly and strive to be nothing like her. I am mad that she never experienced any of the important events in my life and that my kids will never have their Grandma. I am angry when people say that my mom is likely in Heaven holding my boys. I am angry because I don't think she earned that right and I also am not sure I believe Heaven is where she resides. That is between her and God and I am just not sure.

This post may have been hard to read and I am sorry for that. The emotion is kind of raw and has been for twenty years. So I guess before when many of you asked about post partum depression I may have taken it a little hard because of my past. Because I strive not to be like my mom. I am keenly aware of the symptoms of depression and my doctor and I are on the lookout to be sure I don't end up in that same place. Depression runs in my family. My mom lost a son before she had me and many say she was never the same after that. My grandmother also suffered from clinical depression. This is why my dad is always so worried about me.

The thing is God says, Do not despair!

I believe in God and I believe in his word. I know that when I come to the end of my own rope, that is when I lean on him the most and that is when great things tend to happen. When I have given up my last bit of fight and can do nothing but be still and know He is God, a peace overcomes me and I am able to grieve with hope. Knowing he will use me and my family for great things. Knowing that there is so much more to life than what we know. So much more than the life we live here on this earth. I never really got to know my mom, and am actually considering deleting this, but this blog thing has been really healing for me so I doubt I will. this is probably something I should have gotten off my chest a long time ago.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phillipians 4:13

Sorry, I guess I lied a bit in m last post...

I have no idea where to even begin tonight so I guess I will just begin with last night and work my way forward. I had posted yesterday promising a thoughtful post last night as I had so many raw emotions running through me. Howard was out with a few guy friends watching a basketball game and I hung out with Luke and Ben. My intent was to blog after getting them to bed. However, that didn't happen. Shortly after putting Luke to bed I heard him crying. I went in and sat on his bed. His eyes were full of tears and his body was shaking from sobbing so hard. Just the sight brought tears to my eyes which only made his crying worse.

I asked him what was wrong and he couldn't even speak. So, I just sat and held him for a while. Finally he decided to share his heart with me. (get a kleenex, this is deep for a four year old)

Mommy: Luke, what is wrong buddy, you can talk to me about anything.

Luke: It is just that I miss my brothers.

Mommy: I know. I do too.

Luke: When are they going to die again?

Mommy: What do you mean Luke? We only die once.

Luke: Well, they died here on earth and they went to Heaven, so when they die again they get to come back to us.

Mommy: Oh, Luke, I am sorry but that isn't how it works. When we die we go to Heaven if we believe Jesus is our Forever Friend (children's ministry term). So one day when we die we will be with them but they won't come back.

Luke: The sobbing returns.

Mommy: Luke, I promise you that Heaven is a wonderful place and Isaac and Asher are so very happy there. We will all be so happy together when we are there with Jesus.

Luke: But didn't God know we have enough beds in this house for all these kids?

Mommy: I am sure he knows we would have loved to have them home with us.

Luke: We have bunk beds a crib and my old bed, that is plenty for all of us. Isaac could share my room and Asher could share Ben's. So God should send them back.

Mommy: Oh Luke, they can't come back. And we would not want them to. They are with Jesus. That is the best place to be. We still have work to do here on earth so we will be here until we finish our jobs and then we will get to be in Heaven with them.

Luke: They must have gotten their work done too early.

Mommy: I guess they did.

Luke: Do you think God makes them baby flash cards like you have for Ben?

Mommy: Maybe

Luke: I think he does, and I think they are just different pictures for them to learn.

Mommy: You might be right.

Luke: Do you think God will give us more babies that we get to bring home. I really wanted Isaac and asher to come home.

Mommy: I don't know Luke, I hope so.

Luke: Well, be sure to let God know we have enough beds.

Mommy: He already knows that but we can certainly remind him.

Luke: Well I guess I will just have to snuggle with Asher's lamb until I can hug him again.

Mommy: I am sure he would like that.

Luke: I sure do miss them, but I am glad they are happy even if we aren't.

Mommy: Me too. Remember we can talk about them whenever you want and that will keep them in our hearts.

Luke: Yeah I guess that was what I needed. I know they are in my heart.

(Keep in mind I am crying through this whole conversation astounded at how thoughtful Luke was. SO this is why I did not post last night. I could not see through the tears. Tears of sorrow and tears of gratitude.)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day Projects

These are some Mother's Day projects headed up by my amazing husband! Aren't they precious. All of the kid's pictures are Mod Podged (not sure if that is a word) into the flowers.


The picture below has NOTHING to do with the projects, but when the boys saw me get the camera out to take pictures of the projects they kept posing and saying cheese, so I couldn't resist. I recall how frustrating it was to get a picture with them both looking at the camera for Christmas cards ( there is one on the sidebar and if I were to print them all and put them in a flip book you would actually see the boys wrestling) . Apparently all I needed to do was get the camera out and pretend I wasn't interested in photographing them.

No, Luke is not the project despite the fact that he has more paint on him than the project.






Yes, Ben had to taste it. I suppose if you KNOW Ben this is no shocker.








I do have a more thoughtful post for later, I will wait until I get the boys in bed. Howard is having a guys basketball night tonight with a few friends at Buffalo Wild Wings so I am on my own. We are about to have a PJ party with pj's and popcorn and a movie then I will be putting them to bed. Then I may have time to post my more thougthful post....so stay tuned :-)

Roses

I have gotten a few emails now asking where these unique roses came from so I thought I would share that with all of you. If you know of someone who has gone through something similar I guarantee you will find the perfect rose here. They may not have specific names but they have ones like "Happy Child" and "Amazing Grace" they would also be a great gift for a birth or any occasion. (No I am not paid by this company, but maybe I should be:-) )

http://www.heirloomroses.com/

A perfect gift of love!


I have stated before that I have a difficult time with Mother's Day, I always have for as long as I can remember. Last year on Mother's Day I received a package from UPS. When I opened it there was a card that simply said, Happy Mother's Day! Inside was a tiny rosebush. When I looked closer I noticed it was called "Isaac Rose". I fell apart. It was the most perfect gift, but I had no idea who sent it. Later I found out that it was our friends Dave and Christy. I am so thankful for that little bush. These are gifts that really mean a lot. I have a tree in our front yard that was given to us when Isaac died and a little ornamental grass we got with a greenhouse gift card given by other friends on Isaac's birthday. These gifts are such awesome reminders of Isaac and each year on his birthday and at the time they are blooming I take pictures of these plants to put in Isaac's scrapbook.

This year is proving to be an especially difficult year and mother's day is a day when I wish I could just go to the moon or something. I LOVE being a mom but growing up it was a tough day. Each year in elementary school when everyone else made mother's day gifts I had a special project to do. I am thankful that the teachers were considerate of me but I just remember those feelings and dreading the week we would make gifts because I would be singled out and reminded of what was lost. I grew up without a mom and that is something I am not sure I will ever get over. I am certainly a different person than I might have been. I did have a wonderful Grandmother who did a great job at trying to fill that role, but as we all know there is no one like a mom. There is no way to make up for such a loss. I never had a mom to help me get ready for prom or come to my choir concerts or plays, she was never sitting in the bleachers watching me cheer like the other moms. I did not have anyone to help me prepare for my wedding and marriage and I did not have her to give me unwanted advice when I had my first baby. So many things lost.

Yesterday the UPS guy came to the door with a strange looking package. Inside was a card that simply said "Happy Mother's Day!" and in the package was a rosebush. A tiny little bush called "Happy Child". As I opened it I cried yet again. Not because I was sad. Because some days I just feel so incredibly loved. I am overwhelmed at the generosity of friends who have done everything they can to lighten my burden in any way possible. The smallest gesture means so much. So while I mourn the loss of my mom and my two precious sons, I am so very thankful this Mother's Day for my family and my amazing friends. I have no doubt that God made sure we were completely surrounded by people who would just jump in and do whatever they could to soothe our hurt and I stand in awe. Thank you friends! Thank you for not asking "what do you need?" but just doing whatever comes to mind. I love you!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Check this out!


Hey guys! I know I have mentioned this great band "The Gathering Band" before. I had provided a link so you could listen to their song Be Still as it is a song that helped me through the past few months.

Some of the members of this band played at Asher's memorial service. They are so amazing, they are talented and great friends to us so please check them out! They Rock!

They have even downloaded some new music.

www.myspace.com/thegatheringbandministry


If you like them, they will be plaing on May 23th at 7 pm at McLane Church for "The Worship Thing" there will be a few local worship bands there and it promises to be a night of fellowship and great worship. Come join us!

That is my shameless plug for the day!

A decision?

There never was any decision.
Does this look like a "decision" to you? Of course not. He is our son! A precious gift from God!

I have had a lot of people lately commend our "decision" not to terminate our pregnancy with Asher. I have also had a few people say that they don't understand why we would do that to ourselves. It is all very interesting to me that people view these circumstances so differently. It always makes me feel really weird either way. I guess it is because from the beginning this was our baby. We never really saw a decision to be made. God created Asher just as much as he created any of us. We truly believe that. We also truly believe that God doesn't make accidents. Asher was knitted together in the image of God in my womb. He was created with great purpose in mind. Who are we to mess with that?

Psalm 127 says that "children are a gift from the Lord, a true blessing." Just because we see a child as imperfect as the world sees him doesn't make him any less perfect than you or me or any less of a gift or blessing. We loved Asher before we even knew we were pregnant with him. That is our job. We loved and protected our son just as any parent does and is called to do. It was nothing spectacular that we did. What is spectacular is what God is doing through Asher. Asher was one of God's greatest gifts to this family and we are grateful to Him. I can tell you that Asher has saved other lives of babies like him. What an incredible gift! How many of us can say that!?

That is not to say that I would EVER have chosen this path for myself. I am a human and a mom and I want ALL of my boys with me. But I do trust that God's plan is better than my own. I have no right to mess with that. God would not have given us a child if he didn't mean for us to have him. We have said from day one of our marriage that we would openly and lovingly accept any child God blessed us with whether it be one or twenty. The reality of our circumstances do hurt immensely. I do not believe terminating my pregnancy with Asher would have lessened that pain in any way. In fact it would likely have made it worse. Either way you lose a child. I guess in a selfish way I wanted to be sure that I was not to blame for our son's death in anyway. If he died it was going to be on God, not me. We would cherish and protect him for all the days God would allow and we DID! I can honestly say that. As much as this is painful it is also humbling and joyful. I am seeing such great things come from Asher and Isaac's short lives. It is so evident to me that God's plan though painful is AWESOME. I know many people think I am a total nut job but if God chooses us to walk this path yet a third time I would still obediently follow Him. This life is not about us and our comfort. I trust God with my life and the lives of my children as does my husband.

So a decision? There never really was one. I cannot imagine my life without ever having held Isaac or Asher. God gave them to us as a gift and we would never look a gift horse in the mouth. :-)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

HELP!

Ok, this is kind of off the topic of the blog, but we have decided for our summer vacation this year we will be sharing a beach house on the Jersey or Delaware shore with two other couples. We are very excited as this will be an inexpensive, relaxing and much needed vacation. (Howard assures me this is the patriotic thing to do with our tax rebate as paying off bills will not stimulate the economy)

As I have stated before I am somewhat worried about Howard as he has yet to really cry or come to terms with the events that have unfolded in the past few months. He talks about it a bit but says he still feels like life is going in such fast forward that we just cannot seem to breathe. He thinks that the Disney vacation was great because it allowed us to have lots of FUN as a family but we need to do some relaxing and reflecting. So we are going to do it on a warm sunny beach among great friends and stimulate the economy with our rebate check. :-)

Anyhow, we have never done this before. I have been searching and searching and searching and searching and searching (you get the idea) for houses. We need to keep it affordable and we think the most important thing is probably proximity to the beach. I think I have it narrowed to two houses. One is in Bethany Beach Delaware it has a pool, hot tub, pool table and is very affordable as we are going in mid June before "peak season", the rate practically doubles the next week. But, it doesn't have GREAT views from the balcony and it is across a main road and about 2 blocks from the beach.

The second house is in North Wildwood NJ. It is RIGHT on the beach. It is a little smaller, no pool, hot tub or fancy stuff like that, but the views are BREATHTAKING (at least in the pictures) and it is steps from the beach.

We have taken a vote among the six adults going and the men all vote for the pool table and pool and the women for the views and closeness to the beach knowing what it is like to tote little ones to the beach.

I guess what I am asking is that if you have vacationed in one of these places, would you recommend them and do you have advice? We are so excited but want to be sure we make the right decision.