Thursday, October 30, 2008

On Turning Thirty

Ok, I admit it, I turn THIRTY this weekend. ACK! My impending birthday has caused much personal reflection and I am not sure what I am feeling about all of this. I think of the fact that I will be thirty in just a couple of days and, can I be that old already :-) (I know that made many of you cringe...I am sorry) I mean, am I really an official adult now? In many ways I surely don't feel like it. Then I think wow, ONLY thirty. I mean in thirty years I have been through some really tough things and have been forced to mature very quickly. In some ways I feel younger and in some ways I feel older if that makes any sense.

Every girl thinks about what life will be like when she reaches thirty and I have to say as I look around at the portrait of my life, I would not have predicted any of it. I can remember being in college and thinking about where I would be in ten years. I imagined living far from home (I live oh, less than five miles from my childhood home), I imagined teaching in a middle school and coaching cheerleading, (um...I change diapers and have seen Bring it On), I imagined being married (check!), I imagined having several children, having completed my family, living in the house with the picket fence and a dog. (As it turns out I have had four children, said goodbye to two of them before I was able to bring them home, I do love my home built by my husband's amazing hands, a picket fence would look ridiculous, and as it turns out, I am NOT a fan of pets so the dog thing...not so much) I envisioned what I thought to be the perfect life. I would be the woman who had it all, balanced it all, and was exceedingly happy. I would work full time, be a great mom who makes cupcakes and homemade cookies, I would be in grad school, I would ALWAYS make dinner from scratch, wearing an apron like June Cleaver.

I was naieve. As the third decade of my life comes to a close I look at my life and while many of those things just make me chuckle, I know I am blessed. I have lost much, I have gained much. I get to be the wife to the most amazing middle school teacher on the planet (I know, HE TOOK MY JOB!) I get to be the mom two four of the greatest little boys ever and I get to serve a God who has been the one and only constant in the stormy times, who lavishes his grace upon me even when I feel He has abandoned me.

As I turn thirty, I look forward to the decades to come. I look forward to the months to come. I look at what God has done in the past thirty years and look forward to the next thirty!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Life Set Apart

In the Priscilla Shirer study I am doing, we have been talking a great deal about what it means to live a life "set apart". I have found myself examining my own life and really finding so many areas that need work. By nature I am a people pleaser. I just want others to like me and think I am a responsible person they can count on. God has really been dealing with me in this area of my life. He reminds me that there is only ONE opinion that matters, and that is His. As long as I align myself with Him and His desires for my life I cannot go wrong.

The thing is I thought I was aligning myself pretty well and I am learning quickly that I have much work to do.

You see, the Bible tells us that we are to spiritually die to our sins. DIE! That got me thinking...I mean, I make a pretty good effort to do things the way I think God would want me to, but am I dying to myself and my sins? He desires my FULL obedience and I have to admit most times my obedience is half hearted at best. As I have done this study I am becoming convicted to be better, to do better, for the God I serve.

He offers us freedom and a new life in Him but we have not fully accepted that if we have not died to our previous lifestyle, whether that means, addiction, sexual immorality, lying, gossip, gluttony...and the list goes on. We are to take off all of those things and put on the full armor of God and if we leave even one of those sins, it takes up residence where an important piece of His armor should rest.

In order to fully follow where the Lord is leading we must willingly give things up and leave that old life behind. This is hard, but when we sin, we are creating our own bondage, and Christ offers freedom. I constantly feel this gap between myself and my God and I think this is the issue. I have some old baggage that I have not gotten rid of. Some bad habits and sin that follows me around preventing my growth. We don't get to pick and choose which sins we want to surrender, you know just the big ones maybe, we must surrender ALL. When we repent, we must turn from sin, not just say, Hey God, I know this is really wrong and I am sorry, is hard, or I can't just yet, or I will when the timing is right. If we repent we must turn from sin, all sin NOW. That is not to say we won't stumble. We all do, but to repeatedly go back to the same sin over and over only creates a barrier between ourselves and the protection of our Heavenly Father.

He wants our obedience, it isn't easy, but the Bible clearly states how we are to live our lives and He makes no mistakes about it. Several year ago before Howard and I were married, shortly after I accepted Christ, we got engaged. After this we moved in together. I found myself constantly defending myself to others, as this was seen as a sin. You see I didn't get it. I knew what the Bible said, but I figured that one maybe didn't apply to me. I mean we were GOING to get married. We weren't just living together indefinitely. We searched the Bible for the truth and we just didn't feel it was wrong.

As I said I was young in my faith and I did not see then what I see now. I came up with every excuse in the book...finances being the biggest of those. I mean why should we both pay rent if we could just split it. I was in college and he was working construction. I see now that part of the reason, is that we are to live "set apart". What Howard and I did, was not living "set apart" it was what EVERYONE was doing, it was what was easy. We had become so integrated into the world that it didn't seem wrong. We had our priorities messed up. Our sin kept us from God's blessings at the time.

I can tell you that that sin that we committed then has reared its ugly head in our marriage. There is certainly a reason that God made an order for things. We have been able to repent and move past this sin, but there are others that I have been clinging to. Sometimes sin seems the easier route. I mean eventhough God is calling me to spend time with Him, I often want to just tune out and tune in to the TV. I put TV before God! Sometimes, I have a friend who has done something to hurt me, and instead of confronting the friend and mending the relationship, I grow bitter and cold toward the person. Sometimes, I am in a room where people are gossipping or saying things that belittle a person, and I chime in instead of refusing to allow my words to be used as weapons.

I can tell you friends, I have come far, but I have far to go, and I have made a commitment to stop living a lukewarm life toward God, only choosing to obey the rules that suit me. God is not concerned with my comfort. Sometimes I find myself on the fence between what God wants and what I want. I am taking a leap of obedience to His side of the fence. He is the only one I can count on. He deserves my whole self, not my half hearted self. I am ready to live a life "set apart" I am okay with it if people think I am NUTS! Many thought that of Jesus. How about you?

Pleading for Your Prayers

I came here this morning hoping to write about some of the thoughts I have had recently, but at the moment my mind is on only one thing and it is not myself or my family. I have been praying for another family who's little girl Ashley is very sick. It seems she is getting worse and I sit here weeping for her momma, who is faithfully sitting by her little girl's side watching her struggle and suffer. I have known just a little of that pain and cannot imagine enduring the way she has. It is difficult to believe that God is anywhere near when things like this happen and I know she could use all of our prayers. I can only imagine that she is so weary and broken that we need to pick up her mat and carry her to Him. Please pray for sweet Ashley, and please pray for her family. Mommy who is helping care for her and the rest of the family who is back at home missing mommy and Ashley. This is such a hard situation and my heart is fully broken for them all today. Please visit their blog and let them know of your prayers.

Thank you all so much!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Watch Oprah!

Ok, so I normally would not probably be asking you all to tune in to Oprah tomorrow but, really you won't want to miss this!

They are doing a piece on sweet Eliot Mooney you can read his story at

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

8 Months Ago

It has been eight months today since I held my youngest son. Eight months since I kissed his sweet forehead. I wish I could stand here and tell you that eight months out, the pain has diminished. I cannot. It is there. It is always there. I miss that sweet boy so much. In so many ways it seems like eight years ago that we held him and yet it seems just like yesterday. We live on as does his memory and the memory of his big brother Isaac. We speak their names each day. They are very real members of our family though they are unseen. They do show up though.

At Asher's memorial service we handed out seed packets for people to take home and plant in memory of our son. The packets contained zinnia seeds. We planted ours. For quite some time I figured they were not going to come up and it broke my heart. Then just about a month ago....I walked out the front door and saw about eight brilliant orange zinnias (the color of Asher's hair) standing about a foot and a half tall along our walkway. It brought me to my knees. My mother in law also planted hers. She got some really neat colors, reds, yellows, pinks, all kinds of colors. Not me. Nope. I got orange. Now for those who know me you know that orange is by far my favorite color. my packet of seeds...assorted seeds...thousands of seeds...I got orange. Just orange. (I will add a picture later.) This somehow amazes me because we made the seed packets so ALL of the seeds came from the same box. I was blessed with a packet of just orange seeds. They were amazing and I am so thankful for those beautiful orange flowers, a beautiful reminder of a beautiful blessing.

It has been eight months. Our hearts are far from healed, but we are so much better off because Asher lived. I am so grateful for the 35 minutes we were given. Children are such a gift. I have been richly blessed.

Happy Birthday Sweet Asher! You are so loved and missed!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Finding Freedom

I know I have been a blog slacker lately. I just have been in a weird place, not a bad place, just different I guess. I think for a while now I have been throwing myself into everything I could just to keep busy and after much prayerful consideration, I have backed off a bit. I was finding myself exhausted, frustrated and my spiritual tank was running on well below a quarter of a tank. It has been said to me time and time again that if you don't pause and allow God to fill you, you will run out of steam quickly and I think I was on that path. I have really had nothing to say.

I am happy to say I have been taking time lately to engage in some of my awesome friendships the Lord has blessed me with, I have taken time to simply enjoy the family he has blessed me with and the Bible Study I started is doing exactly what I hoped it would. I am feeling like my tank is filling again. I am breathing in the truth and I cannot tell you what it has done for me personally. As most of you know I started the "He speaks to Me" study by Priscilla Shirer. I have been blessed with a small group of women to walk with me on this journey and I believe God is blessing each of us through this group. It is so much easier for me to take my quiet time and really get into the Bible when I have some structure and direction and this study is AWESOME! Priscilla is surely an anointed teacher and I have been so incredibly touched by her.

SO, I am taking some time to just reflect to think about myself and where I am and where God wants me. I am learning much about what the Bible says about humility, sacrifice, obedience, and grace and I am learning I have much work to do. :-) And I am excited to start excavating the yucky stuff out of me and filling myself with the truth.

I am ready to let go and just follow Him in humble obedience, to a much fuller extent than ever before. I am ready to let go of the sins that are holding me back from having the relationship I desire. I have learned that I have been a prisoner to my own sin and if I believe in God I must trust him completely and turn from all sin and repent. This is the only way to be free. I can't hold on to anything but Him and though it is hard I must trust and obey, He will take care of the rest. I have to say I like the me He is molding me into.

I have had a relationship with God for a while now and I am so glad to see myself moving forward instead of being stuck in a rut. I know I will make mistakes and I know He has enough grace to cover me.

Each night as I pray with Luke and ask him if there is anything he wants to tell God he is sorry for, I think about my own life and for a while I really couldn't think of anything myself, that I was sorry for on some days. I knew I wasn't perfect, but I hadn't really done anything bad, but I am now learning that sometimes it isn't the big stuff, it is the stuff we tend to overlook like pride that we need to examine and repent. Sure, I got through the day without, stealing, killing, worshipping false idols or coveting my neighbor's wife, :-) but surely there are sinful things in my nature that need to be excavated. I am learning I need to love others, especially when they may not deserve it in my eyes, I mean do we really deserve the love God gives? Of course not! But He lavishes us with it anyway and that is what he wants us to do for each other!

So I am moving forward, not on, but forward. I am still chillin' in the wilderness, and right now I think it is the best place for me to be right now. I am learning so much and growing so much closer to the God who understands my heart exactly. For so long I fought to breathe, and struggled, and I am still just as broken as before, but am forcing myself to inhale and exhale and finding freedom in the truth of His Word. This is just where I need to be! So, friends, no worries, I am doing fine. God is working overtime!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Memorial Service Update

I thank you all for your prayers. The service went pretty well. Everyone's readings were very powerful and the message delivered was amazing and obviously God led. I can say that God was in that chapel last night, though I must admit that I wish he would have intervened on behalf of the cd player, :-) We had a minor technical difficulty which frustrated me a bit, but all in all I think it was a service that was peaceful and honoring to God and the babies we were remembering.

I held it together pretty well for the most part. I can say that the only time I got teared up was during the candlelighting. We have been blessed on this journey with many new friends and two of those friends went with us last night. (He is the pastor that delivered the message.) Anyhow, after Howard and I lit our candles and spoke our babies names, this couple went up and lit their candle and also spoke our babies names. I cannot tell you how that gave me comfort...knowing that they were there not just to give a message, not just on business, but because they genuinely care for us and remember our children. It meant the world to me and I am so very grateful for these new friends. I cannot even put it into words right now. I am blessed.

Thank you to all of my friends, old and new! It is your encouragement and prayer that lifts me up on days when I feel I cannot go on! I love you all!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tonight's Service

Seriously in the past few weeks I feel like my brain is just on overload and I can't really ever accomplish anything to it's finish. If I do, I am scrambling to get things together at the last minute. I am typically a Type A detail oriented, organized person but not lately. Lately, I am as scatterbrained as they come.

For the past week I have been working on the memorial service for tonight, trying to line up readers, sciptures, music poetry, etc. Finally yesterday I HAD to make myself get the rest of the details ironed out. (yes, I know, a day before the service). So I sat down and worked on things for a while during the day, made the appropriate phone calls, lined up a babysitter, and by the time Howard got home I was feeling pretty good. Once we got the boys settled in with popcorn and a Hermie video, I sat down to finish the program.

I had asked Howard to find a couple of verses he would like to read, and I figured, it would take him maybe a half an hour. All I needed were his verses and then I could type them in and get to bed. I was completely exhausted. Well, a half an hour later he was watching Monday night Football with his dad. He saw I was frustrated and bless his heart he gave me a verse to type in. I asked for one more and he came over to see my work and sat in front of my computer for what seemed like forever asking about the order of things and didn't I think, this should be before this and maybe I should rearrange that...AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! NOW he wanted to help.

I went to the bedroom and said to God, "OK, God now he wants to help. NOW!" (He (God) has been working on me a lot lately, asking me just to keep my mouth shut and honor Howard for the amazing husband he is, so I needed His consult before I lost my patience with Howard) I took a deep breath and remembered that he is also grieving and needs this. So I let him redo my work, touch things up and pick a new Bible verse and music. I am happy with the final program and service line up and know it will be a blessed night.

Please pray for the details to fall into place and for all of the families there grieving and those who are offering comfort and encouragement to these families. This is what it is all about, coming together as one body and giving thanks for the blessings God has given. I pray that it is a prayerful, worshipful, God filled evening.

The service is tonight at 7:30 (eastern standard time) for those of you who love to pray at the specific time! :-)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dying and Yet We Live On!

1As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. 2For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you."I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation. 3We put no stumbling block in any one's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. 2 Corinthians 6:1-10

A few days ago the beginning of my devotional had the highlighted verse at the top of the page. I read it and just those six words spoke volumes to my aching heart. Dying and yet we live says so much in so few words. It reminds me that God is not circumstantial. He is. That is it. He is. In the good, in the bad and all of the in between. My heart aches daily but knowing God is always near brings peace to my soul. We are all dying, our bodies are dying but in Christ we will live on and that is the most amazing hope. The hope of eternal life! Now is the time of God's favor, NOW is the time of salvation! NOW! Even in all of this. Even in our deepest hurt, even as we sit in the wilderness waiting for a bush to catch fire. The time is NOW! He is here and he is working! I guess the question is : Are we paying attention? That is what we are learning in the He Speaks to Me Study, to position ourselves to hear from God and see Him each day. I am SO excited about this study. The daily homework has been so good for me. It is amazing what immersing yourself in the Truth will do!

This was how the devotion ended

Measure your life by loss and not by gain,
Not by the wine drunk but by the wine poured forth.
For love's strength is found in love's sacrifice,
And he who suffers most has most to give.

WOW! Right?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Taking a Breath

Today I woke up and did my devotional and made it my goal just to breathe today. Just to enjoy and be thankful. I am so very blessed. I was overwhelmed as I watched Luke and Ben as they cooperated in doing a puzzle (cooperation is rare between them). I thought about the fact that Ben has a bit of a cold and is slightly on the miserable side. Then, I thought about the fact that I get to be here for all of that. I see and moderate the fights, the cooperation and the crankiness. I know what the boys have had for each meal and snack. I get to be with them each day, I know more about my boys than anyone else on earth and I am so thankful. We understand eachother and the love I feel for my children and my husband overwhelms me. I am amazed that my Jesus loves me even MORE than that!

Today I am overwhelmed with gratitude and thanks. I am so thankful that though finances are beyond tough, my husband is willing to do whatever is necessary to make it possible for me to be able to stay at home caring for our children and home. It is what is right for our family and we are both convicted of it. It is a priority to him and to me and I am blessed. I am thankful that God has given me so much. Amazing children, the best husband on the planet, and he always provides for our needs.

I am just so thankful!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Memorial Service

A few months ago I was asked to organize this month's Memorial Service at a local hospital for all families who have lost babies in the area. I was so beyond honored to be asked I jumped at the chance! I still am very excited that I get the honor and privelage to do this, but I have to admit that I am struggling.

This morning I have been digging for Scripture verses and poetry to be read at the service and I swear the tears have been flowing since I woke up. I am not saying that it is a bad thing because I really think it is helping me to work through some of my own issues, but it is a huge task and I want to be sure to keep the focus on God and the incredible gifts he has given. These children have touched so many lives and have done God's work on a level that amazes me daily. How on earth do you put any of that into words!?

As I continue to put the pieces together I ask that you would pray for me, and for all the parents, siblings, and grandparents who will be doing readings and the pastor who will deliver the message. This is an important job and I know everyone involved is so honored to be a part of something so great! I know it is going to be one of those "Holy Ground" moments! Where though there is immense sadness, there is also the intense feeling that there is something so much bigger going on. Something bigger than the hurt, the anger, the loss. God is working out his plan and we get to be a part of that!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Please Pray

I do have a couple of prayer requests today. I would be honored if you would join me in praying.

1. Another sweet family has met their son and kissed him as he entered his Heavenly Father's arms. His name is Isaac and I know his mom and dad would covet your prayers. Please check out their blog and let them know you are thinking of them!

2. My much anticipated Bible Study starts tomorrow! There have been many hurdles and something I thought would be simple has turned out to be not so simple, but I think we have things figured out. If you could pray for all of those details to fall into place tomorrow morning and that the women involved are blessed as they journey closer to their Father, I would really appreciate it!

Thank you!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My Heart Overflows

Thank you all for continuing to check on me! I am doing ok. I have spent the last week trying hard to find a part time job to supplement our income. I do teach online, but am needing a bit more in the way of hours to meet our monthly budget. I have had no luck thus far but am confident that God will provide. He always does! :-)

I don't really have anything profound to say tonight, but Ben really caught me off guard tonight in the car on the way home from the grocery store, usually it is Luke, this time it was my little Ben. This child, this two year old red headed bundle of energy who made getting groceries a workout, sat in his carseat while his dad was pumping gas and he said, "Mom, I miss Asher." My heart stopped. I turned around and asked him to repeat himself, which he kindly did. I had heard him correctly. He said it plain as day. I told him I did too, and Luke piped up that he did also. Then Ben said, "but, mama, he gone...I not hold him anymore." I said, " I know baby. It is sad, but we can still love him." Ben then replied "yea, mama, we wuv (love) him and Jesus wuv him too." Yes He sure does, Ben, I replied through tears. He then went back to singing at the top of his lungs to the music.

I am so thankful for the children God has blessed me with. Each and every one! Such sweet hearts they have. My heart overflows.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


"It was good for me to be afflicted" Psalm 119:71

This was a verse in one of my devotionals today. I must have read it fifty times over trying to understand. Good to be afflicted? Really?, not so much.

I have had a lot of ups and downs lately. I have had a lot of fun with my family, and I know how incredibly blessed I am to have the family I have. I have been kind of at a loss for words, hence the lack in blogging. There are just no words to describe how I feel. I feel so broken and so sad, yet so grateful. I have so much, and I have lost much. It is a strange paradox a constant tug of war with my soul.

I haven't been feeling so great physically lately and yesterday my amazing husband took the day off to completely take care of me and the boys. He let me, actually forced me to stay in bed most all day! He played with the boys and they had a wonderful time with their daddy. I sat in bed just thanking God for that man. He is more than I could ever have dreamed of! Praise God!

I sit and watch Luke and Ben each day as they grow and I am constantly amazed at the wonderful little boys they are. They are definitely the hand picked perfect boys for our family. I am so grateful to be able to raise them, to watch them grow and to help develop their character. Though I do not get to raise Isaac or Asher, I still know they were perfect also and hand picked for our family. It hurts that they aren't here, but I know that this is exactly where God had intended for us to be at this moment in time.

I have been isolating myself a bit lately. I wanted to take the time to be in this moment. This moment God has chosen for me. I am sharing with him my extreme disappointment, sadness and anger, and also my gratefulness, hope and joy. I am not there yet. I am not able to say whole-heartedly that it was good to be afflicted, but there has been good in the affliction.

I have received much encouragement lately. Many people sharing with me what my boys have meant to their lives, and just knowing that Isaac and Asher are changing the way people are living their lives, bringing them closer to their Heavenly Father, my heart is so very broken by the distance between us and yet so very joyful at the incredible purpose their short lives are serving. I am so proud of all of my boys! I am seeing that God is using all of this. I am grateful and humbled that he has chosen our family for such important things. Praise God!

"His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain." 1Corinthians 15:10

I have been struggling with feeling so very unworthy of this immense task at hand. Continuing to praise God and fight the good fight when my heart is hurting and longing for my boys. I have screamed at the top of my lungs demanding God tell me why on earth he thought I could handle this! The truth is I can't. I can't handle any of it, but He can, and he continues to provide enough grace to get me through each day.

The feelings of unworthiness have really brought me down, like God must have made a huge mistake to trust me with this. In the past few weeks, I have prayed about all of this and God has spoken to my heart. He has expressed to me that by not fully believing the grace he has provided me with is meant for me I am not trusting Him. I am believing lies! It is a sin to not accept what he has offered, and I have been having a hard time with that acceptance. If I believe and have faith, and I do, I must also believe that God doesn't make mistakes, he has trusted this cross for me to bear for a reason. A reason that is greater than I can imagine. He continues to give me the grace to pull through each day and he will continue to do so. None of us are truly worthy, but Jesus died to wipe all of that away and it doesn't do justice to Him when we don't fully accept it. I guess in some ways I thought I was just being humble, but that is not humble in God's eyes.

Humbleness is saying "yes God, I am worthy because YOU have chosen me" no matter what the circumstance. He chooses all of us for different tasks.

Today we had some new and dear friends over to play for a while and it was good to break the isolation! We had a fun time and a full house and as our friends left, my oldest boy was singing as he cleaned up toys "This is the day, This is the day, that the Lord has made..." His sweet spirit and these new friendships have reminded me that no matter what happens in a day, it is a day that the Lord has made and we are to be glad and rejoice in it. I am trying to do that now.

Life can change dramatically in a day's time, yet even those days are days the Lord has made. We are drawing near to the day that changed our lives one year ago, a day that our hopes and dreams for Asher changed forever. Even that day is a day that the Lord had made. We all have days that change the course of the future we thought we had planned. Maybe the key is to quit planning and just give it all to Him!? Easier said than done! But I will surely give it all I have!