Monday, March 31, 2008

Half of my heart is in Heaven...

I sit here today in utter disbelief at the events have unfolded in the past five weeks. All of this seems so unreal much of the time. I often have a tendency to throw myself into other things in an attempt to redirect my attention to a less painful place. Avoidance seems to be the coping mechanism of choice for my family and I find myself often times choosing psycho cleaning to be my method of choice. Today has been no exception. Then Luke says to me..."do we have to clean EVERYTHING EVERYDAY?" I am realizing that in many ways I am choosing to avoid the feelings I am having because they hurt too much.

It is just that EVERYTHING serves as a reminder these days that half of my heart resides in Heaven. Yesterday we did go to church and actually it was great. A few people did approach us and ask how we are doing and gave hugs and that was great. My biggest fear is the person who will inevitably come up to me not knowing the situation only knowing I had been pregnant and ask where the baby is. It happened with Isaac and it was the most awkward situation. I felt horrible for the person who asked because she had no idea and meant well with her question. Thankfully that did not happen yesterday. We belong to a wonderful church who has cared for and lifed us up in ways we never knew we needed. It was good to be there. It was right where we should have been.

When we got home I ran to the grocery store. As I walked through the store I couldn't help but think...none of these people have a clue that I had a baby a month ago, none of them know how much I hurt both physically and emotionally. I saw a mom with an infant in her cart and couldn't help but think that that should be me! It is almost like I want to wear a sign that says "Be nice to me, my baby died" I know it sounds absurd but things will strike me at the strangest moment. Like, when I go to take a sip of wine at dinner and I think wow, it is great to be able to have a good glass of wine after four years of not drinking because I was pregnant or nursing, but then thinking...I shouldn't be able to have a drink now either. People who look at us see a family of four and yet we ARE a family of six! Many days I feel like I am just going plain crazy.

It is tough now too as things return to "normal" I feel more and more alone. The phone calls have pretty much stopped, the cards and letters have pretty much stopped and everyone is pretty much back to treating us as normal and not even asking about Asher or how we are doing. I know that these are all things that have to happen, but I am just not ready. It has made life so much easier knowing that we were not grieving alone and now it seems that I am grieving alone. Howard is a man of few words and he doesn't talk about Asher or Isaac either. I mean if I start the conversation he will gladly always listen, but seldom contributes. It is just how he has always been. He doesn't really say much but when he does his words are usually profound. I have no doubt that he misses our sons as much as I do, he is a dad though and dads and moms grieve differently. I don't honestly know what I would do without Howard. He is my best friend and one of God's greatest gifts in my life. I pray each night that God will not allow our difference in grieving to divide us in anyway, but to pull us closer together as our marriage is the foundation of this family and is of UTMOST importance. I know God will provide as long as we keep him the focus of our marriage.

I know that God holds my every tear in the palm of his hand and that he grieves with me even when I feel alone. The truth is I am never alone, none of us are. I am thankful for that. I am thankful that even in the darkest of nights, Jesus is a light. I know as I have written before that feelings are NOT reality. My prayer for today is that God would allow me to FEEL His mighty presence. I know he is there yet I am feeling empty and alone. I am just not how you walk around here on earth in a "normal" way when half of you is in Heaven. I am not even really sure who I am anymore. I am still Kristy, but I will never be the same Kristy and I am still figuring out what that means.

I have been reminded that we cannot put off for tomorrow what we should be doing today. I want to spend all of my days here on earth doing God's work. I want to do what He set me here to do and I want to glorify Him by my actions. I have not always been good at this. I am a constant screw up. I desperately want to be the wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter that He wants me to be and yet I still ALWAYS fall short. It amazes me that God loves me anyway.

I guess my struggle today is that I have never quite figured out how to be who God wants me to be and do what God wants me to do here on earth and I am even more puzzled as to how to do it when half of my heart resides here on earth and the other half is already in Heaven. God help me, help me to be the best wife to Howard and the best Mom to Luke and Ben. Help me be a friend to those who have been such great friends to me and to those who haven't. Help me mend broken relationships and be authentic. Help me to learn to listen closer to You so that I can follow your lead! Please continue to bless our family of six!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

My heart is aching...

For some reason tonight is proving to be a very tough one for me. My heart is hurting so much. I for the first time actually went back tonight and read the first week of my blogging. It brought back so much. Many days I feel so weird it is like I am completely numb. Today that is not the case. Today it feels like a sword has pierced my heart and left me paralyzed and in agony. I have spent much time snuggling and loving my boys here on earth today. I am missing Isaac and Asher so much but am so thankful to be here with Luke and Ben. I know what it is like to grow up without a mom and I want my kids to have their mom. No other person can take the place of a mom or dad no matter how great they are or how hard they try. They need me much more than Isaac and Asher, they have Jesus.

Tomorrow is a church day. We've only been to church once since Asher died as we have either been sick or on vacation the other weeks. I love our church family and have been out and about but there is something about being outside of my home, my safe zone and headng to a place where we know so many people. Somehow that is harder and I cannot explain why. I know church is the place on this earth where we are the most loved. I cannot express with words the love we feel from our church family, and it is a BIG church. I guess it is fearing people won't know what to say to us...

So, if you are reading this and come into contact with us as we are out and about please don't be afraid to talk to us or ask how we are doing. Ask about our boys, all four of them. We are a family of six now. We will never again be five or four. In our hearts we are a family of six and we are always thinking of all of our children. Also, don't be afraid to cry in front of us. I have had several people apologize for this. In all honesty, your honesty and emotion makes me feel less alone. It makes me feel like many of you are carrying a small part of this for me. It lets me know that our boys are loved and thought of and that is so important.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

My four boys

It has dawned on me that I will NEVER this side of Heaven have a picture of all of my boys is a strange feeling. But here they are all separately! Maybe this is too much cuteness for ONE picture to handle!





How many people can we add to this picture??

This is last year's team Isaac. There are even a few people missing from the picture that walked. As of last year we were the biggest family team at Walk America...

If you haven't signed up yet and you can we would love to have you! We will be tailgating before the event in the parking lot of Rainbow Gardens. We will have team t shirts for everyone who signs up ahead of time. It will be a super fun day for a super good cause! Please join us!

Click on the March of Dimes link on the left of this page and register online today!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Talk is Cheap

Here is my thought for today...

Inspired by this verse: "If people say they have faith, but do nothing, their faith is worth nothing. Can faith like that save them." James 2:14

After reading this verse I got to thinking...we are taught that we are not saved by our works, but by our belief that Christ is our savior and died on a cross to save us from our own sin. We are saved by the cross. This is true. It is a fact and you cannot dispute it. God does not love us more or less because of what we do or don't do. That is a difficult reality for me to wrap my mind around. NO MATTER WHAT, there is NOTHING we could do to make Him ever love us less. I think the closest love to that, that we can understand is the love for our own children. We often tell Luke even when we are upset about something he has done that we could never love him any less and we love him despite the wrong things he does. Christ is the same. He is our Heavenly Father and he loves us even MORE than that which to me is unfathomable.

So it is true if we truly believe, our salvation is a done deal. I think though that often times we use that as a "cop-out" Since our salvation is locked up we don't have to DO anything else. James shows us however in this verse that this is NOT the case. We cannot be saved by our good works, but it seems to me that if we are TRULY saved, we should do good works because of our salvation. So much has already been done for us, we should want to use our lives to do great things for others. We don't earn grace for the good things we do, but we do good things BECAUSE of God's grace.

So I ask today that you do something kind for someone today. Imagine if everyone who reads this blog just went out and did one kind thing for someone else. (Our counter shows an average of 700 - 800 people check in here each day.) Even something as simple as holding a door for a mom who is trying to get into a store with a stroller (one of the things that makes my day as a mom with a stroller). We are supposed to be the body of Christ. Let's get those hands helping and feet moving. Talk is cheap folks. The best way to share the love of Christ is to pour it out onto others. So think of this today when you are waiting in line at the store and it is taking forever. Give a kind smile to the cashier who is just might make their day! Isn't that what Jesus would want?

We have been given so much. Shouldn't we also give back as much as we can in return? Words are great but giving of our lives is much more valuable!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The need to DO something...

Well today has been a better day. The kids seem to be feeling a bit better, though I have now caught whatever they had! But I can deal with it myself...the kids have a tougher time. So praise God that they are feeling better and Ben slept through the night ALL night in his own bed!

I have really enjoyed the kids today. Many days I cannot say that. I get so wrapped up in my own agenda that I forget that my most important job is those boys, shepherding their hearts and enjoying them every moment is more important than laundry, clean floors, and clean dishes...though often times I am fooled into thinking otherwise. We have had a fun day and actually gotten a little cleaning done. They love to spray the windows, fold clothes and run the sweeper so we cleaned a bit together so I still feel like something got done and they have had my undivided attention all day.

Now it is naptime and Ben is sleeping and Luke is having quiet time (which though he is done with naps I still insist on even if he just looks at books or does puzzles.)

As I sit here thinking, I can totally understand why people who go through painful experiences try to medicate the pain away whether it is by drinking, using legal or illegal drugs, shopping, or cleaning. I often find myself trying to keep busy enough that I don't FEEL the pain. The truth is though, nothing works. Eventually it sneaks up on you and it must be felt and dealt with. My goal here is to deal with all of this in a healthy way. I feel the need to DO something just as many of you have expressed your need to do something for us. Here is what I am working on now...


For those of you who don't know we have a team for the "March For Babies" it was formerly Team Isaac and is now Team Isaac and Asher. The walk will be held in Erie on April 27 at the Peninsula. All money raised goes to helping babies. They help families with medical cost and it provides research funding. The March of Dimes does great work trying to eliminate prematurity and birth defects.

If you would like to help us in this endeavor there are a few ways you can can join our team and don't even have to be in our city. You can find the March of Dimes March near you and still walk for our team from your city. If you are interested in joining our team please go to or click on the link to the right of this page. We are working on team tshirts this year so please sign up soon so we can get your tshirt ordered.

If you cannot walk with us you can still donate by clicking the link at the side of this page. We would apprecaite any help any of you could give in supporting this worthy cause in our children's names. It is very healing for us to be able to do good in their honor as they have done so much for us!


My next project is working on getting a perinatal hospice program working in our area. Our state does not have a program like this and I am determined to make sure moms know that after poor prenatal diagnosis they do have options. Termination is not the only option! A perinatal hospice program would work with moms who have been given an unfavorable prenatal diagnosis giving them the resources they need to help them make the most of their time with their baby even if it is only during pregnancy. There were no resources like this for me and carrying a baby who is expected to die is very different than carrying a healthy baby. I want to help other families open their hearts to the gift of carrying these babies. I can only imagine how difficult it would have been if this had been my first pregnancy, and I had to sit through childbirth class with other happy moms expecting healthy babies. I want to make sure no mom has to do that.

I am just in the beginning of contacting the necessary people and have no idea how open they will be to this but many other cities around the country have programs like this, you can read about them at If you or anyone you know would like to help me get this going please let me know.

So today I ask that you pray for our work in these areas. Please pray that we can use our experience to help other families in similar situations, that God continues to use us as he sees fit. That is our main goal. Though a baby may not live long, they are still the gift God promises them to be. We just want everyone to realize that gift.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Trusting God

Today has been another difficult day in the Bolte household. Toward the end of our trip Luke began to come down with a cold and Benjamin now has it and Ben doesn't deal well with colds. They both have a horrible cough and this has prevented Benjamin from sleeping. I was up with him ALL night last night. He was so restless that neither of us slept. And then today was my first full day home alone with the boys since having Asher. I too am beginning to catch a cold and at the appointment yesterday the doctor said that it would be two more weeks before he would recommend my taking over my normal activity.

So I am exhausted, sore and not feeling well. I have been having a really difficult time emotionally as well, but I must say again that God certainly answers my prayers and puts the right people in my path at just the right time. We have been and continue to be fully taken care of. I didn't have to worry about dinner as I had a freezer meal in the freezer from one of the great MOPS moms from my MOPS group at the Federated Church. (Thank you to ALL who have provided meals, I am working on sorting out all of your dishes to be returned :-) ) I also got a package in the mail from a dear friend from my college days that had a great book I had been looking for in it and a worship CD. This truly lifted my spirits as well. It amazes me that this particular friend and I have been out of contact until just a couple of months before Asher was born and she seems to always know the right thing to send or say at the exact perfect doubt God brought her back into my life at this time for a reason! Thanks Lauren!

I also got a phone call today from someone I don't know terribly well but she seemed to have some of the exact words I needed to hear today. She reminded me that while circumstances change, our God never does. As I have shared with you all I am strugglng with what to do as far as growing our family and birth control. Long ago Howard and I decided that we would welcome with open arms ANY child God gave us in any way he chose. We always knew adoption or foster care was an area we were both pulled toward and still are. We are exploring that option, though it seems terribly daunting. We also decided long ago when it came to birth control it was not up to us or about what we wanted, but more about what God wanted. Sometimes we all get so caught up in the "right time" or what is "right for us" that we forget that we have NO idea what is best for us. God has a plan and this life is NOT about us, it is about what we can do for Him and for His Kingdom. We have submitted ourselves to be used in ANY way God sees fit and that has not changed.

Sure, right now we are broken and hurting. Some days hit me like a brick wall while other days I am able to rejoice in the fact that God has given us many gifts even though some have just been for a moment, their impact remains for eternity. We have known love in a way many will never experience. We have learned to love without reservation or limit. We have learned that there are so many things in this world that we allow to occupy our time that simply don't matter. We have learned to trust in God's sovereign plan even when we don't particularly like it, and we have learned that God does answer all prayers. Each of our four children have enriched our lives in a way we never imagined and I cannot imagine preventing God from doing that work in our lives ever again. So as for right now I am not ready to carry another child physically. ( I have carried four babies in four years) We will keep our eyes on Him and if and when he decides to bless us with another miracle we will rejoice no matter what the outcome.

All pregnancies come with uncertainty. There are no guarantees. Actually we are not even sure yet that the boys' issues are linked. It would seem that they are as they had many similarities but Asher had many signs of chromosome abnormalities also. Isaac's only "abnormality" was his brain, so we are waiting on those test results to find out a true diagnosis. Either way though I would not change having any of my children for anything and I know God will lead us in the right direction no matter what it is. So as for now we will rest and be still waiting for direction from our Creator. He and only He knows the answer to this question and in his perfect timing he will reveal the answer. We know he creates no accidents and His word says that ALL children are gifts, not just physically healthy ones. Carrying Asher was a gift. I was given the gift of time with him that no one else experienced the way I did.

When speaking witht the doctor yesterday about the future he informed me that should we decide to have more children we could have testing done at 11 weeks to determine if the fetus would have this disability or not and we could terminate the pregnancy early if it did. I told him that that wasn't even an option. You see either way I would be a mom losing a baby. Whether at 11 weeks or 33 Asher was my son. God gave him to me to love and protect and that is just what I tried to do. I would do it again in a minute. There is something incredibly sacred about carrying a child you don't expect to live. I learned to love in a way I never knew possible and still do not understand. I was able to appreciate the time I was given knowing that even if my pregnancy was the only time God gave me that I loved and protected him as fully as any mother could. So in the isn't up to us. It is up to God. I know many families who have taken birth control measures and still get pregnant. I think what we all need to remember that we must seek Him first and he will ALWAYS guide us on the right path.

So, I guess through all of this rambling I am just saying that I have been reminded today (thank you Corrine) that if we truly trust God, decisions should not be this tough. When the time comes we will seek Him first and we cannot go wrong. Please pray that in His time God will reveal this plan to us clearly and that we are able to follow Him and not our own plans or wants. Because afterall...It is not about us!

Easter Fun

New Easter PJ's were a hit! We had two batmen running around the house! We also had fun finding eggs outside!

A day at the beach

Some of our Disney Pictures

Can you tell how thrilled Howard is to wear 3 D glasses???

Monday, March 24, 2008

Postpartum Appointment

Well, today has been an extremely tough day for me. It was my 4 week postpartum appointment. I told Howard to stay home with the boys since they weren't feeling well and figured it wasn't a big deal. I was wrong. Once I got into the waiting room filled with joyous pregnant moms and moms with their new babies my heart sank. I SHOULD be sitting here with my one month old baby! It also brought back all of the memories of all of my appointments while I was pregnant.

I was taken to the exam room and after what seemed like forever but was probably 10 minutes my doctor came in. He hugged me and sat down to chat. He asked how I was and what we had been up to. We talked and he checked my physical healing. He reminded me that if at any point I felt that I needed to talk to someone or get medication to help me sleep or deal with things I should let him know immediately. I told him I am doing fine and didn't want to medicate myself at this point as I feel it is still normal to feel a bit depressed.

Then it came...the moment I had been dreading. He asked "What about birth control?" A long time ago Howard and I had decided against birth control. We want a big family and feel that God knows better than we do. It is our opinion that it should not be up to us when and if we have children. I am also not terribly comfortable with messing with my hormones. this point I am confused...Howard and I STILL want that big family, we still believe God should be in control of all of this and it should not be up to us. I hesitated however because though I want another child more than anything ad though I love being pregnant, I am not sure I can do this again. Don't get me wrong, Isaac and Asher have both been amazing blessings to our family but it has been a tough road and I cannot imagine my heart being any more broken. The test results are not back yet but doctors believe I will probably have a 1 in 4 chance of having a baby with microcephaly ever time I get pregnant. I am just not sure what to do with that information.

He gave me a bag full of birth control samples and told me to take my time but he wanted me to have them if I wanted them. So I drove home alone in the car with a bag of birth control pills I truly don't want but am so confused as to what to do. I know many think it is too early to think about this but it is a fact of life...if we don't think about it we will likely end up pregnant again. It has always happened so easy for us. So today I am struggling to sift through this confusion...I desperately want another baby, but am unsure I can handle losing another one and it is a 25% chance it will happen again. But if I trust that God is in control is this something I need to think about. They say he won't give us more than we can handle...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Thoughts on suffering...

Often times I find myself wondering how a God of love, a God of peace, a just God could allow such suffering in this world. I have wondered why God would take my children from ME, a follower of Him. I have wondered how a God who loves me so deeply could allow such heartache in my life. I look at those around me who have endured losses, sickness, and suffering of their own and wonder why God doesn't save us from all of this pain. If he loved us wouldn't he save us from pain and suffering? It is easy to think about all of this with our limited view of things and think that God must be turning away from us.

If we look to the Bible for answers to this however we will find that God is a God of love, a God of peace and a just God. He keeps his promises. The thing is that He never inteded for us to live in the world that we live in today. He never promised that bad things would not happen or that we would not suffer, but he did promise to always be there with us offering grace and comfort that only he can provide. Sometimes it is hard to look past ourselves and see that. We are a society of instant gratification. We think it should go like this...problem, prayer, answered prayer exactly as we have asked for it to be anwered...This however is not reality. It is difficult sometimes not to feel singled out or targeted, but if we again look to the Bible we will find that often times the ones who suffered the most were those God trusted.

Being that today is Easter I am reminded of the suffering that Jesus endured. God allowed his own son to endure a suffering unlike anything we could possibly imagine. Imagine what life would be like had he spared the suffering of His son. God promises us that he will be with us through suffering and that if allowed He will use it to bless us more than we can imagine. I have to believe that this is 100% truth. I know that because of God though things may seem unjust, unfair and unbearable, great things are yet to come. I know that because of Jesus' suffering I do not have to worry about where Isaac and Asher are now. I know that they have been made whole and are happier than any of us could possibly imagine. I know that though Howard and I suffer here without them, good things will come from our suffering. It is only through God that suffering can become blessing. Today I will rejoice because of these truths, because God chose us to bear this load and will use us for mighty things.

"Dear friends do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, but rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ." 1 Peter 4:12-13

"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service." 1 Timothy 1:12

Thank you God for not allowing our suffering to be in vain and thank you Lord for giving your son so that we may have eternal life!

Thinking of my boys on Easter...

Today has been a tough day for me. I had a lot of time to think in the car and I did A LOT of thinking. I thought about the fact that today was my little sister's birthday and it would be Asher's one month birthday...I thought of how on February 22 we experienced an amazing gift, though physically just for a moment, in our hearts he will dwell forever.

It is difficult to think that my due date has not even come and gone yet, and as I have stated before the anticipation of how I will feel that day is heavy on my heart. As I looked at the family picture we had taken at Disney I realized that never in this lifetime will I EVER have a complete family picture. I love pictures and I LOVE having family pictures done, but after having Isaac it became tougher and tougher knowing there would always be someone there are two.

As Howard and I went shopping tonight we had fun picking out cute outfits for the boys for church tomorrow and a few fun things for their Easter basket (though they do not NEED another thing). And it is fun to do these things and yet it stings to know these are things I will never get to do for Asher or Isaac.

A month has passed and in some ways it seems like just yesterday I held our precious boy in my arms. I sit here tonight longing to hold him just one more time. I sit here angry that there are people in this world who mistreat children, sad that there ar children at this very moment starving and going without a warm place to sleep. My heart hurts that today a woman somewhere got a poor prenatal diagnosis and chose to end the pregnancy unaware that though that child may not be perfect, the love and gift of that child is perfect. I am not sure what to do with all of this!

Howard and I listened to an audio book, actually two on our trip, Steven Colbert's I am America and So Can You I have to say was great, but didn't prove to be as thought provoking as Brian McLaren's Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crisis and a Revolution of Hope. I highly recommend them both, but if Colbert isn't your thing, definitely McLaren's book! Howard and I have been really kind of overwhelmed and depressed about the state of this world and this book gave some great ideas and points to ponder. The world is so incredibly full of suffering! As a culture we have a tendancy to turn away from the needs of those around us and as Christians we have a tendancy to preach and push toward salvation which is great, but there are many people in the world living through Hell on Earth and could not care less about an afterlife. We first need to show love and compassion by helping the less fortunate in this life. God never intended for some people to have it all and others to have literally nothing. We are called to help the poor and suffering and yet it makes us uncomfortable so we look away. If only we all did what we could do to help the world could be a different place. Christians often say that the world is getting worse because that is what the Bible says it will do and yet McLaren argues that this is a self fulfilling prophecy in a way...a cop out. God doesn't just want us to throw up our hands and give up...he wants us to reach out and help those in need.

We happen to sponsor a child through Compassion named George. George is from Kenya and lives life in a way that is difficult for us to understand. We adopted George after Isaac died in his memory and it has been an AWESOME learning experience for Luke thus far. He looks at the picture of George in the frame in our living room with all his other brothers and he knows that that is our friend George in Africa, George writes him letters and colors him pictures. Luke is learning that life is more about what we give than what we receive, the world we live in is much bigger than what we see. He is learning it is not all about him. This is just one small thing we are doing to help make a difference and we want to do so much more. It is our hope someday to travel to Africa and serve the people there.

I know this post is kind of scattered tonight, but my heart is aching and I am trying to remember that this life is not all about me and my suffering, there are many out there suffering needlessly. There really isn't much anyone can do to help me but there are so many out there we CAN help. Tonight please pray for George and all of the other children out there needing so much. If God prompts you, check out the compassion website or World Vision website and see how you might be able to help even if it is simply by praying.

We appreciate your continued thoughts and prayers for our family and please keep them our experience with Isaac it was about a month after he died, when everything settled down that things got tougher. People quit calling and asking us about Isaac and that was more difficult than the first month when we felt so supported. It was like we had a month and we should be over it and on with life. We know this isn't how it happens. This blog and all of your comments and prayers have meant so much to my healing. Thank you all for supporting us!

We are home!

We got home around 7 pm today. We stayed last night in North Carolina and got up and drove after breakfast. It is so tough to come home after vacation! We pulled in and the tree that was down in the driveway from the ice storm was still there, the laundry still needs to be put away and there is MORE laundry to be done! AAHH! We then got the boys settled and Howard's parents came over and watched them while we ran out to do a little Easter shopping...we thought about just letting it go since they DID get to do Disney this year, but I just couldn't bear the thought of them not having baskets to find when they wake up.

Thank you for all of your prayers...we do feel like we have had a bit of time to recover as much as is possible at this point, our travel was good and PRAISE GOD we got the hold taken off of our credit card after an email to the Hilton Hotel main office. Funny how it took NO time at all once that happened. They are also looking into what they can do to "compensate us for the inconvenience."

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ocean Therapy

Well, today was a great day (despite the fact that I am still arguing with a Hotel chain who refuses to compensate us in any way for our inconvenience) Yesterday we drove to a little town outside of Savannah Georgia called Tybee Island. We were craving some ocean time and it was perfect. It is a quaint town not over commercialized yet and is very peaceful. We stayed at an ocean front hotel at a very reasonable price. Last night we walked out on the beach and onto a fishing pier and the boys got to see a guy catch a HUGE stingray! They thought it was great! Then this morning I got up before everyone else and sat out on our balcony just listening to the waves and spending time with was AWESOME!

We spent the morning and part of the afternoon on the beach which the boys LOVED! We built sandcastles with lakes and moats, collected seashells, and even found two live sand dollars that we rescued from other kids and set free in the sea! I cannot wait to post pictures they are great! I could not believe the boys loved the beach so much...we are already planning our next vacation, hopefully renting a little cottage or beach house or something on the shoreline closer to home, maybe Jersey or something.

We are now in North Carolina we found yet another hotel with a pool and the boys are in Heaven! Luke insists that we quit living at home and just "hotel hop" :-) We are seriously considering it! My only concern now is Easter. At this point we are planning on being back home tomorrow night and in the craziness of everything I never got Easter outfits or Easter basket goodies for the boys! Luke keeps talking about the Easter present and Easter basket the Bunny always hides for him on Easter morning and I am somehow going to have to come up with that... I am sure we will think of something!

I am constantly amazed at how God has provided all of the right things at the right times for us and I know he will continue to do so. I am stil somewhat in shock from all that has happened in the last few months. Today is exactly four weeks since Asher's birthday and in some ways it feels like it was a year ago and in others it seems like just yesterday. I miss him so much but know that I am so blessed and though I hurt because he is no longer with us, my heart is also so filled with a joy that I would never have known otherwise. I guess that is love...tough to explain but such an amazing gift from our God! The healing is far from over, but this trip has been a great has helped me to remember that God's grace is TRULY sufficient!

Please continue to pray for safe and easy travel for all of us, especially since the boys seem to be coming down with colds...I am sure it has NOTHING to do with the germ infested things they touched at Disney! (For those who don't know me...I am a germ o phob, Every time they touched anything at the parks I cringed) :-) We should be home tomorrow evening unless we change our minds and never return :-) Please also continue to pray for Baby Eva. Her mom has listed some more specific requests on her blog and would appreciate continued prayer...God is certainly present in that situation and is working beautifully! Happy Good Friday!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

You take the good, you take the bad...

You take them both, and there you have...The Facts of Life!

Well last night I had a dream about Asher. This doesn't happen for me often as I usually don't remember my dreams but this was one of those, wake up in the morning feeling like you lived the dream kind of dreams. That threw me for a loop today. All I could think about was holding him just one more time and having him here with us.

When I went to bed last night I was agitated...I didn't mention this lovely tidbit of info from our vacation as I was trying to stay positive. In the past few days we have tried using our credit card and it was declined each time...I knew it had to be a mistake so once we got here I checked and the hotel we are staying in charged our room to our hotel multiple times...we are staying in a Hilton Garden Inn which isn't cheap but we had difficulty finding a hotel in Florida during spring break on short notice so here we was for four nights so we will just say several hundred dollars. This of course put us over the limit and I have been trying to get it fixed each day. This has caused us to really rethink our finances as we have to have enough cash to also get home on. It has been incredibly stressful and the hotel has not been very helpful at all and it is THEIR mistake! They have not offered to do ANYTHING about it...they even wanted ME to call the bank myself. I can be very tolerant of a mistake but four days later and I still cannot use my credit card and I am TICKED! (ok that was my vent and hopefully poor publicity for this establishment)

Anyhow...we went to the Magic Kingdom today. We didn't get there until later in the afternoon as we knew the kids would not last all day. We were parked in the Happy section of the parking lot which we saw as no coincidence! We got there just in time for the parade which I have to say was a hit with the boys! They were so excited, just watching them actually made me cry. I cried because I knew how much they were caught up in the magic of it all and because those priceless memories are ones I will NEVER have with my other boys. It was bittersweet. (I don't think I ever knew the true meaning of bittersweet until recently)

The boys were so much fun! We were able to see many things and the boys had a blast! The biggest hits of the day were...Buzz Lightyear's Space ride thing, Peter Pan's flight ride, the parades of course, and the biggest hit was that we were chosen to start the race at the Tomorrowland Speedway, which for anyone who knows Luke would think he would have flipped, but Howard ended up waving the flag as Luke got shy. We were then escorted to the front of the line of the ride and the boys got to drive cars in the next race! It was so great! I will post pictures soon!

They were both terribly afraid of the fireworks which threw us since they had never been afraid before.

We got back to the hotel around one thirty and we are now about to drop! I got online to check our credit card which is STILL being held! And to check Eva's blog and Chrissy has posted updates so if you get a moment please check her blog and pray for her specific prayer requests. Eva is three days old now but is coming upon some big challenges. Her blog is listed at the right of this page.

Also we will be beginning our trek home tomorrow...we are going to drive north tomorrow and stay somewhere on the ocean for a night or two before returning home for Easter so please pray for safe travel and that this crazy hotel gets our credit card figured out so we can get a room tomorrow night!

I will leave you with this wisdom from Luke:

As we sat down to dinner tonight we were talking and Luke responded to something with his typical "I KNOW" and I said " is here anything you don't know?" and he said, "Well, actually there is something I don't know... I can't explain love." Apparently he has given this some thought. He asked us to explain it and we were at a loss...any suggestions? :-)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Day Two: Vacation or Exhaustion...

Well, it has been a long day. We went to Animal Kingdom today and the boys had a great time. Their favorite things were the Finding Nemo show, the Lion King show, the Safari ride, and the parade. I took Luke into the Bugs Life 3D show but terror doesn't even begin to describe the emotion that came over him after a mere 30 seconds in the theatre. So 20 minutes waiting in line for nothing...we made a quick exit once he began to tremble.

We went to Universal's City Walk for dinner and ate at NBA City. Howard LOVES basketball and so it was a perfect fit. All in all it has been a great day though when you do things Bolte style it means taking twice as long to complete any task...we miss turns, misread maps and fail to follow directions, but as Howard said today, "That is how we roll." So now we are ready to collapse into bed! YEA!

I also have to say that today has also been emotionally I walk around the parks I realize there are NO moms with tiny babies around...this reminds me that that is because no mom who just gave birth goes walking around ginormous theme parks. Which then reminds me also that if Asher were still here we would not be here, we would be home caring for him. That is a tough reality to deal with. Life is so different from what we had anticipated. We are having a very good time but would give anything to just be at home caring for Asher. I also have a tough time spending money on seems crazy and frivolous when there are bills to be paid, but Howard assures me that though we cannot go crazy spending everywhere, a little splurge here and there is good for a person. So let's hope he is right!

Monday, March 17, 2008

First day in Florida

Well, since we didn't get in until late last night, we slept in a bit this morning. (As much as one can sleep in with two boys under 4 who wake when they see the sun) We had breakfast here at our hotel and then headed out. We decided to take it easy today. We went to Downtown Disney and walked around a bit. Luke LOVED the Lego Store and Ben didn't really love anything except the ginormous lollipop we got him to bribe him into the stroller. :-) We had lunch at the Rainforest Cafe which everyone enjoyed and then we just shopped a little more before heading back to the hotel.

This is where the highlight of Luke's trip comes see, our son just LOVES hotels. He doesn't care a thing about the rest of the trip, just the hotel. The entire way down here that was all he asked about and since we have been here he doesn't want to go ANYWHERE else. We tried explaining Disney to him and he could care less, the hotel has a big cozy bed, a pool, and a tv and he is content! I guess we could learn a little from him. So Howard took the boys swimming (yes for my friends in Pennsylvania, swimming, in an outdoor pool in March!) I cannot swim yet as my incision is still healing so I got to relax for a few minutes in the room before going down to watch their swimming tricks.

Then we went to dinner at the IHOP outside of our hotel and came back. Now the boys are both asleep and we are relaxing with some wine! I would say it has been a good day! I am missing Isaac and Asher just as much, but somehow the sunshine makes it a little easier to cope, I know they would have enjoyed the day as well.

Tomorrow we are planning on heading out to Animal Kingdom. It is a smaller (smaller than the Magic Kingdom anyhow) park and the boys just love animals so we can't wait! Luke just wants to swim! So, we will see how that goes. :-) We are such mean parents!

Well, I am off to relax with my husband! Thank you all for your continued prayer!

Also, as for the prayer requests from before:

Please continue to pray for Joshua's family as they begin healing. The world can seem so cruel when your children head to Heaven before you do. Pray that they too get the time to grieve and spend time with their daughter who is also having a tough time of things.


Eva was born this morning at 8:47. Her mom asks that we pray for her health and especially for her breathing. Please pray that they are able to show her all the love they have for as long as God allows.

We have safely arrived in Florida!

Well, it is 2:17 in the morning and we are here in our hotel in Orlando! Since they slept in the car the boys are going crazy and jumping on the beds and going wild!
:-) We left Satruday morning and stayed overnight about half way. The boys did well in the car and we are having a good time. We were able to stop and see a good friend of mine from my IUP days in North Carolina and that was really great because I don't get to see her very often!

It is strange being here. Since Isaac died, often times especially when I am getting the kids in the car I feel as though someone is missing. That feeling is multiplied times two now. We are on a family trip but our whole family isn't here. I brought pictues of the boys who can't be here with us and in some small way it is my way of making sure they ARE here with us.

Thank you to everyone who has helped make this possible for us! Howard and I finally really had a chance to chat in the car and for that I am so thankful already!

Please continue to pray for baby Eva as she will be born in just a few short hours. Her family is so excited to meet her!

The weather here is awesome! I am not sure what we are up to for tomorrow but I will keep you posted! I love you all!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Prayer Request a couple of other families...

Through this journey I have been blessed to get to know other families on journeys similar yet very different from my own. Many of those familys I only "know" because they too have shared their journey via blog. A few of those families are in need of additional prayer and you all have been so supportive and have been such prayer warriors I thought I would ask you all to pray for these families:

Please pray for:
Baby Eva and her family. Eva has trisomy 18 and is due to be born on Monday. Please pray for her and for her family as they prepare to meet their baby girl!

Also pray for the family of Joshua Matthew Sams. This family is living on the other side of the world in New Zealand and they are such an amazing family with incredible hearts for God. Joshua was born with a severe neural tube defect and lived for 9 weeks and 4 days but was called home to Heaven on March 15. My heart is aching for this family as they experience the bittersweet nature of having a child go to Heaven. They are rejoicing for he is in heaven and is whole, but are sad because they miss him terribly.

Destination Holland

HA! No we are not that crazy we are certainly not skipping the country! I tricked ya didn't I!??

Anyhow... someone sent this to me a while ago. It was written about being the parent of a special needs child and it is just so incredibly true and appropriate!

Celebrating Holland - I'm Home

I have been in Holland for a while now. It has become home. I have had time to catch my breath, to settle in and adjust, and to accept this different trip than I'd planned.

I reflect back on those years when I first landed in Holland and remember clearly my shock, my fear, my anger. In those first few years, I tried to get back to Italy as planned, but Holland was where I was to stay. Today, I can say how far I have come on this unexpected journey, how much I have learned about Holland. But it has been a journey of time.

I worked hard. I bought new guidebooks. I learned a new language, and I slowly found my way around in Holland. I met others whose plans had changed like mine and who could share my experience. Some of these fellow travelers had been in Holland longer than I and were seasoned guides, assisting me along the way. Many have encouraged me and have taught me to open my eyes to the wonder and gifts to behold in this new land. We supported one another, some have become very special friends, and I have discovered a community of caring. Holland isn't so bad.

I think that Holland is used to wayward travelers like me and has become a land of hospitality, reaching out to welcome, assist, and support newcomers. Over the years, I've wondered what life would have been like if I'd landed in Italy as planned. Would life have been easier? Would it have been as rewarding? Would I have learned the important lessons I benefit from today?

Sure, this journey has been challenging and at times I would (and still do) stomp my feet and cry out in frustration and protest. And, yes, Holland is slower paced and less flashy than Italy, but this, too, has been an unexpected gift. I have learned to slow down and look closer at things, with a new appreciation for the remarkable beauty of Holland. I have discovered that it doesn't matter where you land. What's more important is what you make of your journey and how you see and enjoy the very special things that Holland has to offer. I have come to love Holland and call it home.

Yes, I landed in a place I hadn't planned. Yet I am thankful, for this destination has been richer than I could have imagined!

Thank you all for being an important part of my journey!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Well I think it is to go...

After much thought and prayer I believe we have decided to go...

It seems that the obstacles that were causing us to hesitate have been removed. Thank you all for your prayers and advice! We are not sure exactly what we are going to do once we get there but we are going to head to Florida I think...
Then we will just go from there...depending on how I am feeling. I actually am feeling great physically and the doctor has simply said to listen to my body so we will see. Thank you all so much for your love, prayers and concern! I will give you the details as they become available! We are very excited and feeling CRAZY!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

To go or not to go...

Well this may sound really silly but we do need prayer right now...

We are thinking of taking a vacation beginning Saturday with the boys. We are feeling that we really need to get away for a while. Our original plan was to do something small but being that it is so cold up here we are thinking of going to Florida and taking the kids to Disney. We know it sounds nuts and they are still young but it is supposed to be in the 80's down there as opposed to the 20's up here and we feel like we could use the sunshine and magic of it all! Luke we think will be so excited he may pee his pants! :-)

So here comes the prayer part...we are researching our options and costs. We have a little money set aside that we probably should use to pay things off but are debating. We have a tendancy to do things impulsively and sometimes regret them later so we could really use the prayer that God helps us make a wise decision that will also allow us to have some family fun. We just don't want to be frivolous!

Thanks for indulging my crazy prayer request!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Random thoughts for today...

Last night we went to a support group meeting for parents who have lost a child. We have been a part of this organization since Isaac died and it is an amazing group of people. It is great to go and share with others who truly understand. Some are walking ahead of us and some behind and yet it is amazing to have perspectives from the entire journey of grief.

We had not intended to go last night but found out that they were going to talk about the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep organization. This is the organization of amazing photographers who donate their time to take pictures for families enduring infant loss. We are the first family in our area to use the organization and wanted to be able to share the impact our photographer had on our hearts.

One of my greatest regrets with Isaac was that I only had 7 pictures of him. I was praying not to have to walk that road again, but if that was the path God chose I wanted to have more tangible memories of our son. Memories fade and pictures are such a great way to bring back images of an important event and our children's births certainly qualify! I am a huge picture person and so having the pictures Kenny took for us has been such a comfort at a time when not much comforts me. He was so caring and flexible and really captured the day on film in a way I hadn't even dreamed of.

So, we wanted to share that experience with others hoping that if we get the word out about this organization families will no longer have to cling to a few or even no pictures of their child. And we went. I wasn't sure I was ready to do that just yet but figured if anyone would understand it would be this fine group of people. I was right. But I have to say I am still somewhat surprised at how well I did. I am not sure if I am still in shock or just numb, but I was not the basket case I had imagined myself to be. I spoke of Asher and shared his story and how NILMDTS had touched our lives and hearts and of course got teary but never lost it. I was able to smile and talk of the love Asher brought to us and how thankful I am that God chose us to be his parents.

I am sure it will sound silly but as we drove home I felt guilty that I hadn't cried more...I mean a mom who just lost her son two weeks ago should probably be a wreck, so did this mean I wasn't grieving him or that my heart was healed, or that I didn't care? Obviously not, but I still felt guilty. I mean I think the toughest thing for me about being around other people right now is wondering what their expectations for me are.

As I am around others and they see me smile and laugh, will they think I have forgotten or that I am in a crazy state of denial? If I cry will they feel uncomfortable because they feel I may just fall completely to pieces at any moment? I know I should not be so concerned about what others are thinking. I know how deep my love for all of my boys is and how much I miss Isaac and Asher. I also know that though I miss them, I will see them again and they are in a far better place and will never know the pain and misery of this world.

I wonder about the many friends and family who don't it because they think we went off the deep end? or is it simply that they don't know what to say or do? I am assuming it is the latter of the two and I want to say this...If you are thinking of calling, CALL! If I don't feel like talking, I won't answer the phone, and that does happen sometimes, but I have caller ID and it is good to know you called anyhow. Please know you don't have to have any magic words for me. If you have questions about Asher or how we are doing please just be open with us and ask. I have found that it makes me feel so much better and willing to talk when the person I am talking with is just open and honest and not feeling uncomfortable. If you ask something I am not comfortable with I will tell you. (though I cannot even think of what that might be, as I am an open book most of the time!)

So, please continue to pray for us as we continue on the healing journey. Right now we are contemplating taking a vacation this coming week as Howard has off and we feel that it would be good for us to get away from the distractions of home and just get to be together as a family, yet aren't sure that that is a wise decision especially financially. So please pray that we make a decision that will help us to heal and enjoy each other whether it is at home or somewhere else.

Words are never enough, but thank you all for praying, sending beautiful cards and thoughts our way and especially for the dinners! You are all amazing and I thank you so much for loving us and lifting us up each and every day. Pray for God to continue working in and through us, using Isaac and Asher's amazing lives to help others see the power of God.

My verse for today is this:

"Teacher," his disciples asked him, "Why was this man born blind?" "Was it a result of his own sins or those of his parents?" "It was not because of his sins or his parents sins", Jesus answered. "He was born blind so the power of God could be seen in him." John 9:2-3

I am finding each and every day that though I still miss my boys in a way that is unimaginable to most, I am at peace. I find that the weaker I am the harder I am forced to lean on our big and mighty God. The harder I lean on Him the more I learn about his incredible strength and I am sure it will sustain me even in my weakest moment so long as I continue to lean on Him. I am learning more about the fact that not all struggles are brought to a person out of punishment, but rather as God chosing to use that person for his awesome purpose and I am more and more excited each day that God is using my family!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The deceit of feelings...

"When I cannot FEEL the faith of assurance, I live by the Fact of God's faithfulness." - Matthew Henry

It happens every day...
People ask..."So how are you feeling?"

My response... "OK."

REALITY: I am not alright!

What I have come to learn is this...feelings are relative. Often times I wake up in the morning and I just want to pull he covers over my head and stay there all day. I feel like I have been punched in the gut and had the wind knocked right out of me most of the time. Many nights I sit on the couch crying because I feel so desperately alone. It is strange because at the beginning of this journey I thought of these feelings as a sign of a lack of faith. I have come to truly understand that this is not true. Faith and feelings are two completely different things. Feelings are something we feel yet are not necessarily reality. I often times "feel" deserted or alone but I do in fact know that that is not the truth. I know that I serve a God that is ALWAYS here even when I don't "feel" Him. The fact that I KNOW this is faith. Faith is knowing despite how I feel that God is here even though I may not see or feel him I still know and believe with all my heart that He is here. I know that the only thing that never changes in this ever changing fast paced life is our God. He is the same God that Abraham served and the same God Joseph served. It is true that God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

I feel as though I truly am walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death however I know my God is with me. I feel as though I am in the dark but I know that the light is there. It is truly like being in a shadow. We may dwell in a shadow for a period of time but the sun always returns lighting the darkness. Just because you stand under a tree in the shadows does not mean that the sun is not still there.

My days now are filled with extreme ups and downs and if I am being honest I have more downs than ups. My arms still physically ache to hold Asher in them and my heart aches knowing that will never happen this side of Heaven. It is frustrating to know that I want to hold Luke and Ben with my aching arms but due to physical limitations due to my surgery I am still not fully able to do that. I also feel as though I need to sob. Just weep. Also due to the incision I have yet to actually do this. I have cried...I cry a lot...many times a day really, but I have not actually let it all out and that will have to wait until the physical healing can take place. I desperately want time with my husband so we can talk and grieve together but he is back at work. These are just some of my shadowy areas.

All of that said I also see the light. I see that light in Luke and in Ben. I am so thankful to have them. They make me smile which is no easy feat these days. I am thankful for the light of my amazing husband who has put aside his own needs completely to care for our children and me. He truly is a Godly man who I am so blessed to have. We have been lifted up and so loved by our amazing church family and all of our dear friends and new Internet friends :-) The love and light of Christ shines beautifully through everything around us and it daily reminds me that despite my feelings, God is there. He was there yesterday and he will be there tomorrow. Not only is he there but he knows our hurts and has cared for our every need, placing just the right people in our path along the journey. I am more certain than ever that God is ever present. My lousy feelings in no way reflect my faith. They are two entirely separate entities.

I am learning that it is OK to have these feelings as long as my trust in God remains steadfast. I will chose to trust God's Word as opposed to my own feelings. SO, though I am struggling and longing to be with my sons in Heaven I am so thankful for all of the glimpses of light God brings to me in the midst of my darkness.

Thank you all for bringing me glimpses of light!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Our dandelion...

In preparing for Asher's services last week we did some research on flowers. Knowing that all flowers have a "meaning" we wanted to find out what flower meant happy or happiness. What did we come up with?? THE DANDELION! We were actually delighted with the findings as dandelions to us are happiness! As we are working on designing Asher's grave stone for the cemetery it got me thinking a little more about the dandelion and how appropriate that flower is for this.

A dandelion to many is seen as a weed. Many people do everything they can to eliminate them from their lawn. In a need for what we all consider to be the perfect lawn we discard the "wildflower". The dandelion is not so easily eradicated however, the taproot of a dandelion makes the flower very difficult to uproot. The flower may break off but the root remains. If allowed to flourish the dandelion flowers into a beautiful happy little yellow flower which soon turns to a fun, fluffy puff of seeds to be blown into the wind.

When I see dandelions in a yard it makes me smile. They are often the first sign of spring and I find them beautiful! I also love the joy they bring to kids. Luke loves to go pick dandelions for me. He comes in ever so proud of himself and his bright and beautiful bouquet. And to see his eyes light up as we walk outside through a patch of the puffball dandelions as he scatters the seeds everywhere brings joy to my heart.

I am so glad that the dandelion means happiness because I see Asher much like the dandelion. His roots will forever be planted in my heart though the physical beauty of his presence can no longer be enjoyed on earth. Though many may have chosen to terminate a pregnancy where the baby was not expected to make it, we found the beauty in his precious God given life. The days have been difficult without my dear son but looking at his amazing face even if just in pictures makes my heart soar. Had we chosen to take matters into our own hands and end the life God created we would never have known the beauty and love of the gift God had given us. Often times in our culture we are taught that beauty is made up of certain "perfect" things and are often reluctant to think outside of that box. What we ALL need to realize is that God makes no mistakes and EVERY life he creates is a miracle in and of itself and if we allow God to work in and through us even through painful circumstances there will always be beauty in the end!

I know that where we live we are buried under FEET of snow but as March is here and spring approaches I look forward to seeing the dandelions poking up in our yard especially this year because forever from this moment on I will think of my amazing son every time I see one and what a wonderful reminder of our perfect gift!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

When it rains it pours...

Well we could really use your additional prayers this week as we are dreading Howard's return to work Monday (tomorrow) This it hitting me so hard. It just makes it seem as though we should be healed by now and going back to "normal" and in reality that couldn't be farther from the truth. We have not even begun the healing process. Howard is also dreading going back and I feel very bad that he has to go back already especially when he doesn't feel ready to face the world again.

His absence from our home this week means we have to have someone here to "babysit" me and make sure I don't lift the boys. I have to admit that it is just so much easier when that babysitter is Howard! Though I really appreciate the help I will be getting.

I have been dealing with the stomach flu the last two days and I just don't know what I would have done without Howard here. He is honestly the most amazing dad and husband EVER! I am feeling a bit better this morning but still not 100% so we are skipping church this morning.

It just seems that things keep happening one right after the other not allowing us any time to breathe and be still! I am praying that next week when Howard is off for Easter we will get that chance. Howard has been so strong and awesome through all of this and he hasn't had a break from Mr. Mom duty in two weeks and has also cared for me and the house. He amazes me but I know he needs to have some time to relax as well.

So please continue to pray for us as we travel this road. Pray for our healing and that God continues to use us as He sees fit.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Thank you for your prayers

I just want to take a minute and thank each of you for continuing to pray for our family! We truly feel the prayer and are so thankful to have so many people loving us and carrying us to Jesus when we are to weary to carry ourselves. Today Howard is on basement clean up duty. I have some family here helping with the boys. Hopefully we can get it done today and rest a bit this weekend. I know howard is looking forward to the Duke/NC game!

I also must say that though I am feeling a bit discouraged I do know that God is here and that he will carry us through all of this. It is just tough to understand sometimes. Today I am thankful for electricity and for our dear family and friends! I am always amazed at how at the lowest points God always puts the right person in our path to help be His hands and feet! I thank all of you who are so willing to be used as such! We love you!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

What is Normal??

This was sent to me this week and I found it to be so true I just wanted to share...Not all of these resonate with me completely but many of them ring completely true!

Normal is having tears waiting behind every smile when you realize someone important is missing from all the important events in your family's life.

Normal for me is trying to decide what to take to the cemetery for Birthdays Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, Valentine's Day, July 4th and Easter.

Normal is feeling like you know how to act and are more comfortable with a funeral than a wedding or birthday party...yet feeling a stab of pain in your heart when you smell the flowers and see the casket.

Normal is feeling like you can't sit another minute without getting up and screaming, because you just don't like to sit through anything.

Normal is not sleeping very well because a thousand what if's & why didn't I's go through your head constantly.

Normal is reliving that day continuously through your eyes and mind, holding your head to make it go away.

Normal is having the TV on the minute I walk into the house to have noise, because the silence is deafening.

Normal is staring at every baby who looks like she is my baby's age. And then thinking of the age she would be now and not being able to imagine it. Then wondering why it is even important to imagine it, because it will never happen.

Normal is every happy event in my life always being backed up with sadness lurking close behind, because of the hole in my heart.

Normal is telling the story of your child's death as if it were an everyday, commonplace activity, and then seeing the horror in someone's eyes at how awful it sounds. And yet realizing it has become a part of my "normal".

Normal is each year coming up with the difficult task of how to honor your child's memory and her birthday and survive these days. And trying to find the balloon or flag that fit's the occasion. Happy Birthday? Not really.

Normal is my heart warming and yet sinking at the sight of something special my baby loved. Thinking how she would love it, but how she is not here to enjoy it.

Normal is having some people afraid to mention my baby.

Normal is making sure that others remember her.

Normal is after the funeral is over everyone else goes on with their lives, but we continue to grieve our loss forever.

Normal is weeks, months, and years after the initial shock, the grieving gets worse sometimes, not better.

Normal is not listening to people compare anything in their life to this loss, unless they too have lost a child. NOTHING. Even if your child is in the remotest part of the earth away from you - it doesn't compare. Losing a parent is horrible, but having to bury your own child is unnatural.

Normal is taking pills, and trying not to cry all day, because I know my mental health depends on it.

Normal is realizing I do cry everyday.

Normal is disliking jokes about death or funerals, bodies being referred to as cadavers, when you know they were once someone's loved one.

Normal is being impatient with everything and everyone, but someone stricken with grief over the loss of your child.

Normal is sitting at the computer crying, sharing how you feel with chat buddies who have also lost a child.

Normal is feeling a common bond with friends on the computer in England, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and all over the USA, but yet never having met any of them face to face.

Normal is a new friendship with another grieving mother, talking and crying together over our children and our new lives.

Normal is not listening to people make excuses for God. "God may have done this because..." I love God, I know that my baby is in heaven, but hearing people trying to think up excuses as to why healthy babies were taken from this earth is not appreciated and makes absolutely no sense to this grieving mother.

Normal is being too tired to care if you paid the bills, cleaned the house, did laundry or if there is any food.

Normal is wondering this time whether you are going to say you have three children or two, because you will never see this person again and it is not worth explaining that my baby is in heaven. And yet when you say you have two children to avoid that problem, you feel horrible as if you have betrayed your baby.

Normal is avoiding McDonald's and Burger King playgrounds because of small, happy children that break your heart when you see them.

Normal is asking God why he took your child's life instead of yours and asking if there even is a God.

Normal is knowing I will never get over this loss, in a day or a million years.

And last of all, Normal is hiding all the things that have become "normal" for you to feel, so that everyone around you will think that you are "normal".

Incredibly discouraged....

Well the last few days have been quite awful here at the Bolte house. I have been struggling immensely after burying Asher on Monday. My emotions are ALL over the place. I was hoping we could use this last week while Howard is off work to do some fun things as a family and just rest and try to process the events of the past two weeks.

I am having a difficult time understanding God's lack of intervening in the small stuff. I am trying very hard to grieve the loss of another son whom I love so deeply and God has continually told me to "Be Still." I am really trying to be still so I can process and so that I can heal physically.

Tuesday night our area was struck with a pretty bad ice storm. We lost power before bed but figured it would come back on soon. It did not. We have had problems in the past with our basement flooding and it did just that yet again when the battery back up pump quit because the battery went dead. We JUST got power back about a half an hour ago and it is 2:30 on Thursday. That means we have had no heat, no water and no lights since Tuesday. Our basement is soaked along with everything in it and we had to go purchase a new pump because the regular one went early this morning while running on a generator. All of the food in our refrigerator had to be removed and is now outside.

So for the last 36 hours or so I am having a hard time understanding why God would allow this to happen ON TOP of what we are already dealing with. Since Howard has been so preoccupied with all of that that has put me in primary care of the kids many times. I am now in much more pain than I had been because I have overdone it. Now we have to worry about moving everything in the basement and bleaching everything before it molds. It will take all weekend and is not really anything anyone can help us with. I am so overwhelmed. I just feel like this weekend should have been reserved for grieving and now we have to recover from the last two days without power.

So please pray for us this weekend as we try to put our home back together and clean up the disaster outside from tree limbs. I know it probably seems like I am whining again, but I am just so discouraged right now. I know God will provide and He always does, I guess I just expected that I would feel protected and "held" right now and I really feel anything but that.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Searching for our new normal...

We had a few errands to run today and so we left the house to get a few things done. As I have said before it is strange to leave the comfort of our home. I had a few things to return to Target and Ben had fallen asleep in the car so Howard stayed in the car with Ben while Luke and I went into Target. We had a few things to pick up like diapers for Ben so we went to the baby section. Luke spotted a bouncey seat that he thought would be great for Asher. He had forgotten that Asher was no longer in my belly. He said "Mom, Happy Baby will love this when he comes out and comes home." I explained again that Happy Baby would not be coming home to our house. He had gone to Heaven and we would never see him again until we reach Heaven. Luke thought for a minute and asked if God would ever give us another baby that we could bring home to our house. I was floored. I began to cry in Target.

The truth is I had no idea what to say to Luke and it is a question I pondered myself. We have always wanted a big family but now with 50% of our children in Heaven, I am not sure what to think. I love pregnancy and everything that comes with it and comes after it. I desperately want to get pregnant again someday and have another baby we can bring home. I am not sure however that my heart can handle this again and there would likely be that risk. We are still waiting for test results, but it is likely that we carry a recessive gene for microcephaly. That would mean about a 1 in 5 chance of having another baby with microcephaly. We have discussed adoption many times but it will be a long while before we can financially make that happen. So I am not sure what the future will bring.

So all I could say to Luke was, "well buddy, we will see. We will have to pray to God and see what happens." He seemed unsure of my answer. He said he really wanted to have another baby at home (though I must admit most of the time I think he would sell Benjamin to the lowest bidder!).

My heart is so heavy these days. I know that my mind cannot even begin to fathom God's plan, but it just seems so unjust that a family who so desperately wants a baby to love would have not one but two little ones taken from them while there are so many women out there choosing to abort unwanted healthy babies. We would have loved Asher even if he would have had special needs. Studies show that when an abnormality is found on a sonogram about 80 to 90 percent of women choose to "terminate the pregnancy". We are not just talking defects that would be "incompatible with life". We are talking about minor defects that can be fixed also!

I know I am whining and I know that we will not see justice this side of Heaven. I know that the God we serve is in fact a just God, a loving God, a compassionate God. Today though, the mommy part of me is hurting. Hurting because I want my boys with me. ALL of my boys. I never imagined having to purchase two cemetery plots instead of two college educations.

I am struggling to find out who I am these days. I am still the same person yet dramatically changed. I can already see relationships in my life changing. Some seem to die off while others are blossoming. It is scary to me yet I know these things happen. Many of the things I once thought were so important are now completely meaningless. I am amazed daily at the phone calls, cards, gifts and meals we receive. The hands and feet of Jesus are at work and it is awesome to witness so many people sharing the love and compassion that our Heavenly Father so freely gives to us. Some day soon I will share my thoughts on the events of Sunday and Monday. Right now I am still processing. I can say that I believe we celebrated Asher's life in a way that would be pleasing to him and that I am astounded at the willingness of our entire church family to pitch in and make it happen.

I thank each and every one of you who is still praying for us. We are adjusting but will need your continued prayer. We truly love all of you!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Tough Day

It has been a long couple of days so this is going to be short...we are exhausted. Things went wonderfully yesterday. I believe the service was a beautiful tribute to Asher and his impact on this Earth. Today has been particularly rough for me so I am just going to FINALLY share more of our they are! I will write more later once I have begun to process everything...for now I will let these pictures say it all!

Just click on the link to the right to view the slideshow...

Saturday, March 1, 2008


It is my experience that the anticipation of an event is always worse than the event itself. Last week as I lay in a hospital bed anticipating the arrival of our precious Asher, all of the what ifs and how will I deal questions ran through my mind and in the end though the day was perfect. It was a difficult day but it is evident that God was in control and when I gave up trying to anticipate and try to gain some control things went beautifully.

Walking into the hospital last Thursday I was angry with God, as we walked across the street from the doctor's office, I remember saying to Howard, "I sure do wish God would just lay off a little bit and just let one thing go OUR way!" I was not ready to have my pregnancy be over. I wanted to do it Monday, that was the day WE chose and that was the day I would be "ready". I was impatient and frustrated all night at the hospital with the monitors and the tests. I was scared. I called all of the people who vowed to be there for us, Jeanne, Carol, and Kenny along with family so they were ready to be there as soon as the doctors decided to make a move. Everyone was awesome and willing to do whatever to make things even a little easier for us. I was not only surrounded by family and friends but wonderful doctors and nurses who had nothing but compassion.

In the end the day played out in the most beautiful way. I was able to rest in knowing that not one thing that day had been OUR decision or OUR plan. I do not have to second guess myself or decisions we made because not one decision was our own. I cannot imagine a day more filled with love and faith. I was at ease knowing that Jeanne was going to be there and care for Asher, and Carol would do whatever necessary to make me more comfortable. It was also awesome to have Kenny there taking pictures. As I look through them it is like he was a fly on the wall and he captured the beauty of the day and our son perfectly. The love from our friends and family was just incredible and I feel very silly for anticipating this day to be anything other than the amazing gift it was.

As I write this you would think I would have learned something...but I sit here anticipating tomorrow...Asher's Celebration of Life Service. My first appearance back at church. I have gone out into the world away from my safe zone at home but not yet to a place where I am so known and loved. It is strange, but somehow here at home I know who I am. A person very much the same yet forever changed. When it comes to "out there" I am still not sure. I constantly wonder what others are thinking...Do they feel sorry for me? Do they expect me to talk about it? Do they wish I wouldn't talk about it? Are they unsure of what to say? Do they think I may break down? Can they see my broken heart from the outside? So many questions.

Tomorrow is the service and Monday is the burial. These things make things seem so much more real and permanent. I still sometimes feel as though I am watching my life from the outside as it plays in fast forward. Things have moved so fast I sometimes have to pinch myself to reassure myself that this is all real. I am not sure how to still be myself. I am not really sure who that is anymore. This likely doesn't make any sense at all to most of you and I apologize, but nothing really makes sense to me anymore :-)

I have to admit it still amazes me that many of you are still reading...I thank you all for your love, support and prayers. Please continue to pray for our family as we find our "new normal".