Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Crash

Well it is all over. We have taken down our tree and put things away and are beginning to get back to "normal" if there ever was such a thing. Luke was very disappointed that we took the tree down, but we assured him that it will be up again next year. We had a great Christmas and everyone has recovered from the flu, though I am still trying to catch up on the laundry that backed up as a result of urgent flu related laundry needs.

I have been really struggling the last few days. I had previously been trying so hard to remember to just live in the moment and enjoy each and every second even if that meant leaving housework go a bit. (This is REALLY hard for me) I seem to be falling back into my old rut though the last few days. I can't quite tell just exactly what my problem is but I feel like I am slipping a bit in many areas. My patience has been gone both with the boys and with Howard and it seems as though I am feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. I know that much of what I feel is brought on completely by my own doing, but nevertheless I often feel so confused and angry.

Happy received a few gifts for Christmas, a little lamb from his Grandma and Grandpa Bolte, a soft snuggly little bear and a pack of awesome receiving blankets from my friend Lannea and a super soft and cuddly Project Linus blanket from my sister. These gifts meant a lot to me this year. I know that under normal circumstances I would be preparing the nursery and getting things ready for my new baby, but under my current circumstances I am so confused as to what to do. A few special people purchased gifts for Isaac such as snuggly little stuffed animals and blankets and they are some of my most prized posessions because they were his and he touched them and I am so thankful that Happy will have some of his own things no matter what.

Coming home from the hospital without Isaac was so hard and having to disassemble the nursery and pack away all of the baby stuff was really some of the hardest stuff we had to do. I want to believe that this little guy will come home with us just as we all pray, but if he cannot I just don't know if my heart can take coming home and seeing an empty nursery and having bins of things to pack away. Preparing for baby is one of my favorite things to do though and it is so painful to be so uncertain about things that I have done basically nothing. Maybe this is just another lesson I must day at a time. This is just so hard for me though...I am a planner and a doer!

I have also been feeling that my prayers are lacking a bit. They seem so redundant but the main things that I am thankful for and am asking for are the same and I don't know how to get myself closer to God at a time when I am kind of angry with him in the first place. I am excited that tomorrow at church we will be beginning a new series on the book of Habukkuk and it will be focusing on just that...when you are angry at God. I am praying that God speaks to me through these lessons so that I can continue on this journey as close to Him as possible. Without him I just know I can't do it at all, each day I grow even more weary.

The books say that Happy is probably approaching the 2 pound mark this week. I am 27 weeks pregnant. He is growing rapidly and I can tell by the strength of his kicks and nudges. I find myself having a difficult time sleeping most nights because night time is when he is active and I just don't want to miss one single movement. Please continue to pray for us to continue to have the strength and obedience to keep on this long and windy road and for God to be glorified in Happy's life. I have a doctor appointment in Erie next week and back to Pittsburgh on the 15th. We are praying that a new year brings good news!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Well this morning was eventful to say the least! Howard woke up in the middle of the night with the flu! He is the last to get it! So he and I were up way before the kids. We sat anxiously awaiting Luke's reaction to the living room with presents and filled stockings. Ben woke up around 7 and around 7:30 or so Howard went to be sick and Luke came running out in total shock. Howard missed it! My sister and Joe came over to watch the events and the boys opened their gifts first which were AWESOME! They each got a stuffed Snoopy ad Ben got a rocking horse and Luke got a Radio Flyer scooter. Then it was on to stockings and then gifts. We all opened gifts and when they were all opened Luke continued to look around. He had asked for ONE and only ONE gift and he had not gotten it and you could see how disappointed he was.

So he walked out to the kitchen to get his juice and play with the kitchen set my dad had brought for them yesterday and he saw a giant Christmas sack by the back door. In it, THE CRASH UP SPEEDWAY! the one and only gift he had asked for. He was so excited. He played with that for quite a while and I made breakfast for everyone and Howard went back to bed. We all relaxed and played with the boys and then Jill and Joe left and Luke and I made Jesus' birthday cake. At this point in time Howard is sleeping and the boys are in bed but definitely NOT sleeping and I am sitting here downloading to my new MP3 player my sister got me and reading the Deceptively Delicious cookbook Howard got me. So far we are hanging in there but what a horrible time for the stomach flu!

Happy has been very active today and it is my hope that next year he will be sitting on the floor buried in paper with his brothers! My sister got him the best blanket! It is a Project Linus blanket and looks just like the blue blanket Linus from Peanuts carried around. It is SO soft! I am sure he will LOVE it!

Each year Christmas just gets better and better for us and I look forward to all of the Christmases to come with our boys! Seeing the faith of a child is one of life's most amazing gifts!

I pray that each of you are having a great Christmas as well! Take the time to enjoy your family!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Taking it all in stride this Christmas Eve!

Well, we woke up this morning with great expectations. Our tradition is to spend Christmas Eve with my family and Luke especially was so excited to go to Papa White's and open gifts and have dinner! So this morning we got up and began the cleaning of the house. We had realized that with gifts coming in to a full home we needed to clear some things out so we began sifting through toys and cleaning out closets to make room for the gifts. Our friend Julie had called to check on the health of the family since the stomach flu and I reported we were doing great! (My mistake) about twenty minutes later I put Ben down for a nap and fifteen minutes after that he woke up SCREAMING. I went in and of course he was covered in puke. The flu struck again! So we were homebound for the day. My dad was kind enough to bring our gifts to us since Luke was so excited and brought us dinner.

I was very disappointed not to get to be with my family for Christmas but I have to say it was a pretty nice day! We got the house cleaned, Ben slept a lot and we just spent time together. We opened my family's gifts when Ben woke up and he seems fine now. (we are praying Howard isn't next)

The night has been SO fun! Luke can bearly contain his excitement and we opened our new Christmas PJs and got baths. Then we watched a movie and made some reindeer food (oats and glitter) we put Ben to bed and Luke, Howard and I went out and sprinkled the reindeer food all over the lawn so that the reindeer would be drawn by the glitter and get energy from the oats. We then came in and got Santa's cookies ready, Luke insisted on water instead of milk and Luke wrote him a note that said "Merry Christmas Santa, Enjoy the Ride! Love, Luke" Which we got a kick out of! We then read The Night before Christmas and the story of the First Christmas to him. While we were reading, Howard's parents jingled bells outside Luke's windows and he about peed his pants! He flew to bed like never before! He is in bed right now and he randomly screams out "I am so excited!" I have to say I am so excited for tomorrow! We will probably just be staying home unless Ben is feeling 100% otherwise we will be going to Howard's parents for dinner. Luke commented that Santa must really love Jesus to bring everyone presents for His birthday! We agreed!

Tonight my heart is just overflowing! It was a trying day with the puking of a one year old and all but such a blessing to slow down and stay home and just enjoy eachother! I hope and pray that next year Happy can be a part of all of this! I can't wait until morning we are going to make jesus a birthday cake and open presents!

I hope you all have a joyous Christmas. Take the time to be still and be filled with God's love and enjoy your family! Every moment is such a precious gift!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Eve Eve

Well, we just got home after church services and dinner with some great friends and it was a great day! I am so filled with hope and peace right now. I cannot even describe it. I know the journey ahead may be very difficult for us but I know that everything is going to be fine. We are always astounded at the way God's love shows through his servants to those who need it and man has it been shining for us in the last few weeks! We have received so many cards and phone calls and messages of people praying for us and telling us how Happy is already reaching people and it is amazing. Happy hasn't even been born yet and is bringing so many people closer to God and we are so proud of him!

The other day in the mail came a beautiful Willow Tree figurine of an angel holding a baby bird called "angel of miracles" and a wonderful note from some dear friends of ours! It provided me so much hope for the day and today at church I went to get our name tags from our mailbox and there was an envelope from our "church family" and in it were several gas cards and the message simply said that we were loved. I am overwhelmed. It is so strange how at a time which would seem so devastating, my heart can be so overflowing!

Church service tonight was great. Luke had to stay with us as there was no child care tonight for children over 3 and it was such a blessing. It is always refreshing to see him "worship" in his own way! This year Christmas is so different for me. It is so much clearer. It is so not about lights or decorations or silly songs or presents. It is about the most amazing gift! The gift of Jesus. The light of the world. Such a bright light even in the midst of total darkness. I know that the road that lies ahead may be a much more difficult journey than I would like, but I know that our God is a sovereign god and that his plan is far greater than any plan I could ever imagine so while things may not be going as I had planned they are going EXACTLY as they were meant to and I just need to be obedient and open to listening to what God has to teach me next.

I am so looking forward to Christmas. The boys are so excited, especially Luke and I am sure it is going to be a very memorable time for all of us! I have been so blessed to have such a great husband and each and EVERY one of my children has been an amazing addition to my life from whom I have learned more than I ever thought possible. We are also very blessed to have such amazing "stretcher bearers" in times of need. That is what life is all about. Carrying others to Jesus when they are too weary to get there and Loving them as Jesus would and we are already being lifted up and loved more than ever! I am so thankful for all of life's blessings! Thank you all! We love you so much and are filled with your love and hope for us! Merry Christmas or as Luke would say "Mary Christmas!"

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Birthday Howard!

Today is Howard's Birthday! And already it has been memorable! Last night we had some great friends offer to keep the kids for a few hours and we went to dinner with some of our friends from our small group from church. We had a great time with everyone and it was good to get out for a little bit as we have been completely smothering our children lately and I think everyone was ready for a break! The kids had a great time at the White's house (thanks guys!) and we had a great time at dinner so we all came home feeling great and almost human again! The kids went right to bed when we got home and we watched a little of a movie and fell asleep. A perfect evening...

OR NOT! Then Luke woke up at 12:45 screaming his head off and Howard went to check on him. He was covered in puke! He threw up over and over again and this is only the second time he has EVER been sick like this so he was totally freaked out. Howard got him in the tub and stripped his bed and I went downstairs to begin the laundry. So, poor Howard stayed up most of the night with him. I think he came back to bed around 4 and Luke slept on the couch. This morning Luke seems better. He hasn't really eaten anything besides popsicles but he is in good spirits and is resting. And thankfully no one else seems to be affected yet. So today I am praying that no one else gets sick. I don't think it would be beneficial to Happy for me to get sick right now! So today I am cloroxing EVERYTHING and doing insane amounts of laundry. Hopefully by the time Howard returns all is calm and all is clean! He is such a great dad and did so great with Luke tonight.

At times like these I am reminded of just how truly blessed I am to have such great friends who offered to watch our kids and they even got us a gift card for dinner at the restaurant we were headed to (how thoughtful) and such an amazing husband who cared enough to let me rest and is such a great father that he took wonderful care of Luke! As well as the great friends we met for dinner. So eventhough the night may not have ended as we may have liked, all in all it was a good day and thank you to everyone who contributed! We love you all and feel so blessed to have you in our lives!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What an active baby!

I had been worried about this baby in the beginning because he did not seem quite as active as the other boys had been, but he is making up for that now! My placenta is on the front of my uterus so it kind of acts as a pillow cushioning his kicks and man I can't imagine those kicks without that pillow! On the 15th Howard was finally able to feel him moving and that was a great milestone! I had been praying that Howard would have the opportunity to feel him. Yesterday Luke got to feel him! It was so funny! I had showed him the pictures from the last ultrasound and told him that it was his baby brother's face. Luke informed me that this is not a brother but a sister. Couldn't I tell from the picture? He then proceeded to hug and kiss my belly and talk to his "sister". I guess anything is possible!

I am such an impatient person and I have to say that this whole thing is teaching me a lot already. I typically would already have the nursery ready and be ready to bring him home tomorrow and I am learning to just take it day by day! I hope and pray that we do need to get his room ready for him and since we have had all boys, we have all of the stuff here we need. One of the most painful things we had to do after losing Isaac was come home and pack the nursery away. I am blessed that it is already set up because Ben is still in there and when Happy comes home he will be in the bassinet in our room for a while so I just pray we have to go downstairs and get the bassinet and the newborn clothes. I am learning that there is NOTHING I can do on my own. I have no choice but to lean on God and trust in Him through all of this.

It is also so amazing to know how many amazing people are praying for us! When we went to Pittsburgh on Tuesday we could actually feel it! It is so amazing!

Tomorrow is Howard's birthday! So if you see him tomorrow wish him a happy day!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

So many thoughts going through my head!

Well we put the boys to bed a little early last night and had some time to rest and that was nice. It was an exhausting day yesterday and this morning I am reflecting on everything that happened. So many prayers answered yet so many things left unknown. I know that God just wants us to rely on Him and that is what I am trying to do.

Our prayer for better doctors was answered the sonogram doctor took quite a bit of time with us and told us that he "didn't see anything different from last time" and asked if we had any questions about anything. I asked about the clubfoot and he looked puzzled. He said he didn't see any indication but he would look again and he did. He said the feet look perfectly normal and he could not say for sure about the heart because Happy was moving so much he could not get a clear picture so we will have an echocardiogram in four weeks to check the status of that. I asked if he could give us a few of the pictures and he printed us three 3D ones they are kind of crazy! He looks like a little old man! They needed to get a good picture of his face to try and rule out some chromosome abnormalities that are often seen in facial features. They think his jaw is a bit underdeveloped. He was patient and kind and didn't seem all doom and gloom. He then sent us to Genetics where we met another Doctor.

He was very kind. He asked us to explain our understanding of what was going on and said we had a good grasp on things. He then began to ask questions about Isaac. He said that he finds it unlikely that anyone could be "unlucky" enough to have two similar completely unrelated experiences so he is quite sure the two are linked. He said that though Isaac's autopsy report showed infection that they cannot be sure that that is what caused everything. So he wants to look into it further so we can be prepared for what is to come. Our next appointment will be in four weeks and we will meet wih him again. He has asked for Isaac's autopsy reports and pictures of Isaac so he can compare the boy's faces. It is so crazy to think that we could be going through the same thing again. I wouldn't consider us "unlucky"though Isaac was a miracle. Our next appointment will likely be our last Pittsburgh appointment unless they think there is something they can do to help the baby at birth in which case he will be born in Pittsburgh. This doctor said we will just have to wait and see. No one can determine the outcome at this point but they are very concerned.

I know I am jumping way ahead of myself but I am very concerned about the genetic thing. If this is genetic it could mean that Howard and I have a 25% chance of having this happen with each baby. We have ALWAYS wanted a large family and I LOVE being pregnant! I know I don't need to think about this now but I cannot help it. I really want lots of babies! But, I am so thankful for the ones I have and that Luke and Ben are healthy!

The doctor predicted that the pregnancy should be just as uneventful as my others as far as my health and we will just keep an eye on Happy. I believe that several of our prayers were answered yesterday and I am going to continue to pray for God to heal Happy. Who knows, at the next appointment they may see great growth! So to all of you out there, please keep praying! God is good and he is taking care of us!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Today's Appointment

We are exhausted and so this will be brief. We went to Magee again today and we did have much better doctors so that prayer was answered. They took quite a bit of time with us. They found NO evidence of clubfoot and are not completely sure about the hole in his heart. His head is measuring small still however by about 3 weeks.

We were referred to a genetic doctor because they feel quite certain that this baby's issues are linked to Isaacs. The two cases are too similar to be unrelated and so they want to investigate that possibility further. We will have one last appointment in Pittsburgh in four weeks to assess the situation and prepare for birth.

So, again and still we do not know for sure. I guess God just really wants us to rely on Him! There is a possibility that this could be the same thing that happened to Isaac and there is a possibility that even if it is it won't be as severe. We are still certain that God will take care of Happy. The clubfoot issue has been removed so who is to say He won't remove this issue also? So please keep us in your prayers. It was an amazing feeling knowing how many people were praying for us today! We are so thankful for you all! Please keep up the prayers...they ARE working! God hears and he will respond!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mary Christmas had baby Jesus in a staple!

We finished our Christmas cards last night. As I was ordering the boy's picture card online we were trying to think of something we could add since Luke is so into the Christmas story this year and has had some great question that we cannot answer! He is convinced that Jesus' mom is Mary Christmas and that Jesus was born in a staple! So we added that to our cards. We struggled with what to do this year for our card. Last year we did a March of Dimes card to include Isaac in our greetings but when I went to order them this year it just didn't make sense to me to spend 150 dollars on cards and only 20% goes to the March of dimes when I could spend 20 dollars on picture cards at Walmart and donate 130 to the March of Dimes. So that is what we did.

Tomorrow is the BIG appointment to determine whether Happy's brain is growing or if it has stopped alltogether. I am praying every moment that there is growth. I am dreading the trip for many reasons. I really don't want all of the "specialists" telling me about all of the things they expect to be wrong and the horrible outcomes. I know that this baby is a gift and no matter what we love him so deeply. I just wish that the doctors spoke of him as the gift he is and not the misfit medical case they have to deal with. God put him right where he is and created him just how he is for very specific reasons. Not to say that I don't have a hard time with all of this because I struggle each day. It is beyond belief for me that some women just get pregnant and have a healthy baby nine months later no questions asked. I wish they could know how blessed they are. It frustrates me immensely when women take this blessing for granted. I have tried to eat the right things and do the right things and still I have this cloud hanging over me.

So anyhow...if you could ALL pray tomorrow we would so appreciate it! We know that God is hearing our cry and we are hoping he responds. We know that great things are yet to come!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Upcoming appointment...

Our next appointment is on Tuesdaay, December 18th at 12:30. This is a date and time I must say I am dreading. Our previous experience in Pittsburgh was not so great and I have been living the past month with HOPE! I know that God is the ultimate physician and He and only He can determine the outcome of this situation. I know that whatever that outcome is, He will guide us through it. Part of me wants to just give up on the doctor thing alltogether. It doesn't really make anything any better and it doesn't change the outcome just by seeing a doctor. They insist on monitoring the baby though for my health. They fear he may not make it to birth. I do not share in their fear! I can feel him and know that he is very much alive! He is already impacting this Earth and I am so blessed to be his mom. Many people are emailing or calling and talking about how Happy is bringing them closer to God. I am always amazed!

So, friends, as we head to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, we are praying that we get great news! We are praying that he has already been healed and is growing! We know that he is perfect no matter what! We are praying for a miracle, whatever that means. Please continue to pray for us. Pray for healing for Happy so he will be able to join our family at home. His brothers cannot wait to wrestle him! Please also pray that we will have the wisdom to lean on the Lord throughout the rest of this pregnancy, leaning on him and NOT entirely on doctors. Please pray that God will give us clear answers as we are asked to make decisions and that no matter what we are obedient enough to allow God to use us as HE sees fit. Our desire is to bring glory to God ! Happy is such a gift! I cannot lie though, deep down I am truly praying for amazing news on Tuesday, it would make such an incredible Christmas gift to know that our little man will be healthy! We love him so much!

Depending on weather we will be leaving around 9:30 or 10:00. We have a few options for childcare and are debating right now what is best for everyone so please pray for us in that area as well as for travel. It is always difficult leaving Luke and Ben behind!

Friday, December 14, 2007

The "Son" is shining!

Each and every day I am astounded by the love we are shown by others! We are so blessed to have an amazing church family and circle of friends who not only love us but also love God! It is this group of people who honestly give me the hope and encouragement to keep on truckin'! We have received many thinking of you cards and offers for babysitters! This week I have been especially touched by two acts of kindess...One, a friend had lent me some maternity clothing since I am now pregnant at a time when I have never needed maternity clothing before. Mine are all summer. And as I was going through the bag there was a small gift bag inside and in it was a little daily inspirational book with just a short devotion and message of hope for each day. I was so surprised! I have the book sitting in my kids bathroom and have been reading it each day at bathtime because by then I usually need a pick me up! So, Thanks Lannea! And the second happened today as I went to the mailbox to grab our daily handful of bills and the occasional Christmas card. When I got in the house I opened what I assumed was a Christmas card and found a beautiful thinking of you card from a very special group of ladies I have gotten to know through my wonderful MOPS group at the Federated Church. Inside the card was a gas card for us to use for our appointment on Tuesday! How thoughtful! At this time of year that was an amazing gift to us! So thank you ladies so much! I love you all!

Each day brings new amazement for me. Just when I feel that I am being consumed by life, the Lord sends me just the right people to breathe hope back into me! So I am thankful to the Lord and to those who shine His light so beautifully!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

This is the day that the Lord has made...

I WILL be glad and rejoice in it. This is the constant decision I am trying to make each and every day. This whole situation has only made me realize even more how much a moment means. So many times during the day I tell my little guys, "just a moment" I have been reflecting on that today though...a moment is all it takes to change everything! So we need to be careful in chosing what we do with what moments we have. None of us really knows what tomorrow brings. So we are to just rejoice in today. This is easier said than done I have to admit. It is comforting to me to know that in the midst of the chaos, God does have a plan and it is a great one if only we get on board and go with his plan rather than our own, another easier said than done. I know that this child we are welcoming was chosen specifically for us by God. We have been amazingly blessed and this baby is just as much a blessing as any. This morning we watched the Veggie Tales movie of Rack Shack and Benny and am reminded of how they had an amazing faith and they would not waver despite the threat of being thrown into the furnace! And though they were thrown into the fire, they were not burned. God protected him and he will protect us through the fires of life!

I also have been thinking of Isaac a lot lately. When we were going through that season of our life the story of Abraham was so personal for us. Abraham had such an amazing faith! When others asked how to pray for us we asked for people to pray that no matter what we would have the faith of Abraham and remain unshaken. Abraham not only offered his own son Isaac to God, but what I have found just as remarkable is that God promised Abraham a son eventhough he was like 75 years old and his wife was barren and Abraham believed...he continued to believe that God would bless him with a son. It wasn't until 25 years later that Isaac was born! That is amazing faith...we are so wrapped up in our need for instant gratification sometimes that we forget that God's timing is the perfect timing. How many of us would have continued to believe for 25 years!? Not many, we would likely talk ourselves out of the fact that God promised us anything at all or that he even exists.

I was hoping for some answers from my own doctor on Monday but I believe there is a reason that those results were not sent at that time. I continue to have hope. I am terrified of going to Pittsburgh because I am so afraid they will squash the hope I have left. The doctor we saw there was so cold and hopeless when speaking of our son. I dread going back. But I am realizing that they cannot squash it if I don't let them. There is NEVER a situation without hope. Regardless of what God's plan is in this situation, I am praying that my heart will remain hopeful and that I will remain steadfast in my faith. Though God does not always answer our prayers immediately, he hears and is working a plan for our good.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My struggles for today...

I had a really tough day yesterday. Benjamin was up all night, we think he is getting more teeth and I was just exhausted al day and on top of that Ben was just so cranky all day! After Howard got home we went to Erie and got some Christmas shopping done for the boy we adopted through church. It was nice. We got quite a bit done. I am having a hard time with shopping though because normally I would be already preparing for this baby and since the outcome is uncertain I haven't done a thing. I so badly want to be getting bottles and diapers for Happy but I have this fear that he won't make it home. Deep in my heart I really feel that he will be fine, with Isaac I always had just a little nagging feeling that something was wrong but I was always told that things looked perfect. I have not even the slightest inkling that something is going on with this little guy. He is very active and his heartbeat is strong. Howard firmly believes with all of his heart that he is going to be just fine...He insists that until someone tells him with certainty that something is wrong he refuses to believe it.

Our appointment in Pittsburgh for a follow up is next Tuesday the 18th at 12:30. I am so dreading that day. Right now we are living with hope. I am afraid that the doctors are going to rob me of that. I have a tendancy to try and prepare myself for the worst and all I can think about is how I will react if they tell us that there has been no development in happy's brain. It would be so amazing though if they saw development and gave us hope. With Christmas coming the miracles of Christmas are very inspiring to me and I am praying for a miracle for our family. We so badly want this little guy to join our clan! Luke talks about him and prays for him each and every day. (Although he is certain that there is a possibility he could still get a sister!) I guess it isn't impossible.

So, I guess what we need prayers for now is for Tuesday. It is going to be a difficult day for all of us. We really didn't like the way we were treated down there as some misfit medical case. this is our family! The kids have a really hard time being with someone else for an entire day and it makes the entire next week difficult because we have clingy kids. Howard also has to take off from work which is hard because he still has to do all the work he just has one less day to do it. And most of all we need prayer for Happy's brain. The other abnormalities they "think" they found are definitely treatable. His brain is what will determine his outcome and we are praying as hard as we have ever prayed for his brain. We know God has the power to intervene and he can change this entire situation and bless our family with a healthy baby. Please pray for me, that I am able to stay positive and focused on God. We know that no matter what the outcome a miracle is happening. I am praising God today that I have today and it is teaching us that no one knows for sure that tomorrow will even come for any of us so we MUST make the most of today!

Monday, December 10, 2007


So today we met with my doctor and he was supposed to go over the test results from Magee with us...Guess what???? They never sent them. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHH.... we talked to him for a while about what we were told and what his thoughts were. He said it is hard to say and there is nothing we can do but wait. He went over the sonogram results he had from his office and said on that report the only finding was that the cerebellum was on the small side but he wasn't sure if it was anything to worry about yet...just something we need to watch and make sure it keeps growing. So, who knows!? He was optimistic but he had nothing from Magee to go on and they were the ones who basically gave us no hope. I am so frustrated witht hat hospital! It has been three weeks and we were told that my doctors would have the reports by the middle of LAST week!

Doctor appointment today...

This afternoon I have a doctor's appointment with my doctor in Erie. I haven't talked to him since this rollercoaster ride began. He will go over the results from Magee with us. I am looking forward to seeing him in some ways...I know he will be more supportive, but I also dread doctor appointments now. I feel like everyone just looks at me and feels sorry for us. Doctors are trained to be scientists and so they are likely to give you the worst outcome and little hope. I just can't have anyone stealing my hope right now. So I am anxious today. I hope it goes well and he is optimistic. I want to be realistic about the situation but at the same time I do not believe that there is EVER a situation without hope! I will let you all know how it goes!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Lessons from Job

It has been interesting to me how many people have sent me Bible verses from the book of Job. Now if we want to talk about suffering, Job went through it all! Thankfully I cannot even begin to compare the two. God took EVERYTHING from Job and Job was faithful. It has been in reading this book however that I have learned that though Job was faithful he struggled. He was human and often times what he was feeling in his heart did not match up with what was going on in his head. He got angry with god and felt very targeted. This passage is especially powerful in showing Job's heart ache in his struggles. He also felt great injustice. It reminded me tha when I am feeling these things I need to take them up with God himself. It is okay to yell at God ad get upset. He wants to know what is in our hearts.

1 "My soul loathes my life; I will give free course to my complaint, I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. 2 I will say to God, 'Do not condemn me; Show me why You contend with me. 3 Does it seem good to You that You should oppress, That You should despise the work of Your hands, And smile on the counsel of the wicked?Job 10:1-3 (NKJV)

I also know that when I was at my worst after losing Isaac it was my friends and family who pulled me to Jesus when I was to weary to get there myself. I have spoken of the story of the lame man and how his friends carried him to Jesus when he couldn't get there himself. So many people have said that they don't know what to say to me or how to help and I think anytime we have a loved one who is suffering through a rough patch in life we should all refer to this passage in Job:11

Now when Job's three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place--Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. 12 And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. 13 So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.Job 2:11-13 (NKJV)

When Job's friends heard of his troubles and struggles they just scheduled time to be with him. I find it interesting we also bought a new Rob Bell DVD the other day entitled Matthew. It is a story of grief and mourning and in the DVD Rob Bell speaks of the tradition in those days to just sit with a person in silence. Friends would just go sit with friend who was struggling and physically BE. They waited and let the person experiencing the grief take the lead. If they wanted to talk that was fine but if not they just sat in silence and the person knew they were loved.

The reality of the situation is that there is no quick fix. There is nothing anyone can say that will make it better. Job's friends sat with him in silence for 7 days! I don't think I could handle that. Everyone struggles with what to say to a friend who is hurting but often the best thing we can do is say nothing. We can quote Bible verses or share what we feel might be similar experience but often that can make a person feel worse. You see, in my case, my head already knows all of these things. My heart is struggling immensely. I know that God says not to worry and to put my faith in him, I know he works all things out for good, I know that no struggling happens without reason. My heart cannot help but feel broken and wonder as to why I need to learn another lesson!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Paradox of Blessedness

I suppose it is absolutely no coincidence that I am carrying this baby during the Christmas season and he is due at Easter. Two times of the year when we are reminded of God's most amazing miracles. Happy is such a miracle. No matter what happens he will be one of my life's most amazing miracles. All children are! The Bible says that children are a blessing, a gift from God.

A few days ago I had picked up a book written by William Barclay, it is a daily study Bible on the book of Luke. There is a section on the Paradox of Blessedness that is focused around Mary's prayer the Magnificat. As I contemplate the Christmas story I am so reminded that being chosen by God for a task is often a "crown of joy" as well as a "cross of sorrow", as Barclay puts it. For Mary she was granted the blessedness of being the mother of Jesus! What an amazing blessing! But at the same time being the mother of the son of God would also mean watching him suffer and then hang on the cross. Barclay says in his book that "The piercing truth is that God does not choose a person for ease and comfort and selfish joy but for a task that will take all that the head and hard and hand can bring to it, God chooses us in order to use us." God is chosing to use our family. When I look at the grand scheme of things and look beyond my life here on this earth I can see that these sufferings and difficult times are actually my blessings. All things that are suffered are for God. Happy is already an amazing blessing. We are living life more for each day than we had been, we are searching the Bible for answers more than before and we are TRULY understanding Christmas in a way I never thought possible. Suffering is never in vain unless we allow that and I REFUSE! Happy is a miracle and I am going to be sure that I help to accomplish whatever it is that God is looking to accomplish through our family. As I said before, I am praying for a great report and for God to intervene at our next appointment on the 18th but I am also asking God to use us for his Glory. I know that greatness is bound to come from this situation no matter what!

Barclay also quotes a great preacher who once said "Jesus Christ came not to make life easy but to make men great" This quote gives me hope! Those who sail through life with little pain cannot live life with the same passion and intensity and I am going to try my hardest to be thankful for everything God gives no matter how hard it seems.

As I remain focused in the Bible and studying those who suffered in the Bible I am constantly seeing that they were not "targeted" they were chosen! Some of the greatest people in Biblical times suffered a great deal. I have been looking at Christmas as I had never seen it before from the perspective of Mary and Joseph. I am reminded that no one suffered the way Jesus did. And the book of Job is another book I am studying intensely right now. I am working on a journal post with my thoughts on Job but it isn't done yet. Job suffered and he got angry with God. He struggled a great deal with getting his heart and his head in line and the book of Job also tells us so much about how we should deal with a friend or loved one who is suffering.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Thankful for a new day and butter!

Yesterday was a tough day for me. I haven't been sleeping much and I was just tired and cranky. I had stayed up for hours the night before because Happy was really active and I went out on the couch so I could feel him rumbling around. I am so thankful that I get to experience him in this way. I wish that Howard could experience it too. It is tough to feel him on the outside yet.

So back to yesterday, I was intending on going to MOPS at the Federated Church but I had forgotten to tell Howard that I needed the car so when I got up the car was gone and I had no way to get there. It was really frustrating because I haven't been getting out much with the weather and all. But I figured as soon as Howard got home maybe we could go get something to eat and get a few groceries, but then he called at 4 and had gotten himself stuck in a ditch on the way home from work. I called my dad and he went to get him but by the time Howard got home we had no time to go eat or get groceries because I had to work at 8. It certainly wasn't Howard's fault but I was so tired of being cooped up especially since tonight, Wednesday, Howard goes to youth group and so I am pretty much on my own all day and night on Wednesdays. So I know I was tough to live with yesterday.

Sometimes I get so frustrated because I feel like there is no possible way that Howard could understand what I am going through and I am not very good at expressing it sometimes. I just want him to just know when I am having a hard time and I want him to just understand. I know I frustrate him though. He wants to help and be supportive but he isn't mind reader as he often reminds me. I get confused because often he seems so unaffected by all of this. I know he loves Happy just as much as I do, he is the best dad any kids could ever ask for and he really is an amazing husband who puts up with a lot from his crazy wife. He just takes that stand that we have no definitive answers and so there is no reason to get all worked up right now. He has an amazing faith in God and he is so strong. He is definitely the perfect balance for me but he is so positive it is frustrating sometimes because I feel guilty for feeling the way I feel. It is different for me because this baby is growing inside of my body. I am the one who feels when he is active, I am the one with constant heartburn and an aching back. I am the one who is excessively exhausted all of the time. Don't get me wrong I LOVE pregnancy but at the same time each and every symptom is a reminder of what is going on inside of me and all of the questions I have about Happy's future. There is not a moment that goes by that I am not thinking of this baby.

Another thing that bothers me is when I think back to the experience I had with Isaac, though I know what a blessing he was and am so thankful for him, we went through a lot of pain at that time. We all had emotional pain but I was the one going through the physical pain that goes with having a c-section, recovering from childbirth and then the joys of the after effects of pregnancy. All of these things seem so worth it, but when you have lost a baby they are just constant reminders of what was lost. I guess what I am saying is that I know that I can do this and no matter what I know that God's mighty arm will pull us through victoriously. I KNOW that! I just want permission to be human and though I know that I need to stay positive, this is still MY body that is going through extreme changes and I feel like sometimes that is forgotten in the midst of it all. I am tired not only emotionally but also physically.

On a positive note, we have a book we are doing with Luke and it is called Keeping Christ in Christmas for Kids and it has an activity for each day and Monday's activity was to make a Blessing Box and talk about all of God's blessings in our life. I had to work but Howard and Luke did an awesome job making a beautiful blessing box out of a wet wipe container! We all wrote down our blessings. I realized how blessed I have been. Howard and I wrote things like family and our home. Luke, wrote butter! We were getting ready to have popcorn for a snack and he was thankful for butter. Simple and it seemed a bit silly, but maybe we all need to be thankful for butter! It is awesome to see things through a child's eyes. They are not only thankful for the BIG things in life but also the butter!

Today is a new day and as I see the kids getting excited about the snow and Christmas I am reminded that our life is so full of blessings. We have so much to praise God for! Sometimes it is like my heart and my head are trying to get on the same page and it is a tough battle. My head knows that I need to praise god and have blind faith but my heart is aching for my new son.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Thank you ALL!

I just want to thank you all for all of your thoughts and prayers for our family. You have no idea how much it helps to know we are being lifted up by each of you and to know we are loved. So, thank you! I feel less alone each and every day!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Breath of Heaven

This is a song that was used to end the service today. The worship team did an amazing job and like I said before though I know I am certainly no Mary this song had significant meaning for me this day. This is my prayer for today:

Breath Of Heaven
Lyrics by Amy Grant

I have traveled many moonless nights,
Cold and weary with a babe inside,
And I wonder what I’ve done.
Holy father you have come,
And chosen me now to carry your son.
I am waiting in a silent prayer.
I am frightened by the load I bear.
In a world as cold as stone,
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now.
Be with me now.
Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
Breath of heaven.
Do you wonder as you watch my face,
If a wiser one should have had my place,
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of your plan.
Help me be strong.
Help me be.
Help me.
Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven.

The Magnificat Prayer of Mary

For those of you unfamiliar, this is Mary's prayer after visiting Elizabeth and realizing how blessed she truly is...

The Magnificat
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,my spirit rejoices in God my Saviorfor he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:the Almighty has done great things for me,and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he remembered his promise of mercy,the promise he made to our fathers,to Abraham and his children for ever.

Christmas = Hope!

I am feeling a bit better today. It has been very interesting to me how God's word seems to find you even when you feel so far from him. I woke up this morning and I really didn't feel like going to church. We ALWAYS go to church and I am tired and just wanted to relax. I knew however that that was likely not the answer to my sadness. Church is a place where we are to go to get renewed for the week and this morning that is exactly what I got.

I haven't reall been into Christmas lately. I find myself depressed with how commercialized the holiday has become and how it is pushed upon us as soon as Halloween has passed in each and every store completely shoving out Thanksgiving. It is hard to remain unexcited about Christmas though with two little boys in the house. The sermons at our church during this series are all on the Prayers of Christmas and last week it was interesting how much the message lined up with exactly what I needed to hear. It helped me to know that it was okay to pray for a miracle but also that I need to be open to God so that he can use me as he sees fit.

This week was on another prayer of Mary's (the magnificat). In her prayer Mary praises God for being who he is in spite of the fact that he has totally rocked her world. She is a lowly unwed teen who finds herself pregnant. This cannot be easy for Mary but she rejoices because she knows that God has a "mighty arm" and that despite what her circumstances look like she knows that God will be glorified and that she has been blessed and chosen to carry this special child. she knows his mighty arm will bring good out of the worst of circumstances. The prayer is from the book of Luke and though I must say that while I really cannot identify with Mary I have been able to find comfort in her story. I know that the baby I am carrying is not Jesus and I don't claim to be anything like Mary but I do belive that the child I am carrying has been placed just where he is for a very special purpose. I know that God has blessed me with this child no matter what the outcome. All children are a blessing from the Lord. I have been finding it tough these days to praise God. I have been angry with Him. But, I am trying very hard to change my mindset. I have read many stories in the Bible about righteous people who loved God and still suffered many tragedies in life. Justice may not happen on this Earth, but as was taught today, in the end God is a just God and he will be faithful to his promises if we patiently endure whatever life brings our way and have faith.

This is not to say that I still do not hurt tremendously for this baby. I am still praying each and every day that when we go for the second set of testing on December 18th we get our Christmas miracle. I know God can do it! But I guess either way, God is performing a miracle. I hope with all of my heart that the plan of God is to heal my baby boy and use him to further his kingdom, but if that is not the case I would never consider Happy to be anything but a miracle because I KNOW that good will be done in and through him despite our earthly circumstances.

Brian's message today gave me hope. I feel a little less targeted knowing that even people in Biblical times, even the mother of Jesus suffered a tremendous amount, but it was always brought to good. They never suffered without reason and purpose. Today I am thankful that the God we serve is a loving, compassionate and most of all a forgiving God. Maybe instead of feeling so down and victimized I should consider myself blessed that God gave me this baby at all. After all, we do not know what the end result will be. I AM learning to cherish each moment and that in and of itself is a gift. I know in the end justice will prevail.

So tonight we put up our Christmas tree and I am filled with a new hope. I know that this is just the beginning of a miracle and God has great things in store for this family if only we surrender ourselves to his plan. We surrender....we surrender to a mighty God who is so capable of bringing us out of this circumstance we find ourselves in, a God with a "mighty arm" who no matter what will bring it all around to good! The meaning and hope of Christmas this year is so much clearer to me than it has ever been! I am so thankful to Happy for that! He is a miracle!

Saturday, December 1, 2007


Last night Howard took us to dinner when he got home and we had a really nice dinner at the Olive Garden which the boys LOVE! It was good to get out of the house and it did make me feel a bit better. It is tough though to go out because I am obviously pregnant by now and of course people always gush over the pregannt lady asking when I am due and such. It is great to have people excited for us but at the same time I am troubled about what is happening. I pray that God delivers us from this situation and when we go to our next ultrasound on December 18th they give us some hope!

I am super angry this morning. Life is so unjust that sometimes it is difficult to see how a loving God can allow those who love him and live according to his rule suffer so much. We took the boys to see Santa this morning at a club my dad belongs to. They had a great time and were so excited to get a gift! I haven't really been in the holiday spirit lately and this was good for us. I may even get the tree up tomorrow. As we were leaving the club though there were some women standing outside the door smoking. The one girl was standing there talking about how she is due to have her baby in January but they are worried that the baby may come early because she is already having contractions and went in to the hospital last night. She says this as she puffs her cigarette. My blood began to boil. Today I am asking God to help me to understand why some of us who try to make every right decision for our unborn child, who give up their own body for nine months and live healthier than ever before for the benefit of our babies can be allowed to suffer loss and worry of babies riddled with health issues while some mothers just could care less and they smoke, do drugs and abuse their bodies have completely worry free pregnancies and will never know this kind of loss. The injustice of that is beyond my comprehension today.