Wednesday, September 24, 2014

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

So many emotions overwhelm me as we pack up our house and say our last goodbyes here in St. George. I can't believe that just Phil and I and a giant U-haul (and a trailer and another smaller U-haul...) moved here 6 years ago. We celebrated our 3rd anniversary here and now we today we are celebrating our 9th. So much has changed.

As many of you know, I had mixed emotions about moving here, yet as time passed, as we made friends, settled into our house, had children... this became home. I was surprised by my reaction when Phil resigned and I didn't have this urge to pack up and move back to Salt Lake. I was perfectly fine with finding work here. This was our home.

But staying is not what we feel God would have for us. So here we are. I'm sitting surrounded by boxes and bare walls... (which is weird) contemplating our last 6 years.
Many great memories have been had here. 3 children born, (2 right here in this home), many great parties with friends and family near and far, plenty of fun in the sun and pool, and even a snowman out front. All this will be missed dearly.

Yet St. George has brought great, deep, loss. In some ways I'll be happy for a new start. Loosing our sweet Nate has rocked our world, changed us in so many ways. We are not the same.  The flip is that this is where almost every memory we had with our sweet boy is. Birthing him, rocking him, watching him learn to crawl, being surrounded by amazing support in his death. How can I leave that?

Since changing jobs almost 10 months ago we have be in a strange place. These times have not been easy. Trusting and waiting on direction, figuring out what our church and friend community would look like, and wondering if we would end up staying or going... So now, with my last few days here I look around and am doing my best to soak it all up.

Thank you to all who have blessed us these last 6 years.


So long St. George, It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. They will never be forgotten.








Monday, May 5, 2014

So, how many kids do you have?

     I HATE said question. I don't hate much. (my dad always said, 'hate is a strong word.')
It's so awkward. Most of the time I base my answer on the audience, Am I with my kids? Will I ever see this person again? Do I want to share why I just said I have 3 kids, but only have two with me? Do I want to feel the pity looks right now or be known right of the bat as the 'mom who lost her baby to SIDS'? etc...

Today I was sitting in nursery feeding Evan when a lady asked if he was my first. I said, 'No, I have a 4 year old too.' Then she said, 'oh that's nice spacing between your kids' and I wanted to cry. 'Um, no it sucks. I hate it. I should have a two year old running around with my 4 year old and both of them playing with attacking my 8 month old!' But I didn't. I just sat there. It was an innocent comment on her part. But it made me start to think and process what I want my children to hear me say, not what strangers think, feel or say. While I'm sure there will be times when my answer may be different, I sat there thinking about Evan. I want him to know his big brother as best as we can show him. I want to do my best to keep Ella's memories and love for him alive, am I helping that by taking the quiet and seemingly easy road and not even mentioning him? I want Nate to be talked about with ease in our family. I want my children to hear me talk about him, for them to take ownership of the fact that they have a brother, Nathaniel Henry Wiebe. He may not be here on earth with us anymore, but he was here with us for 8 short months and changed us forever.
I also hate the awkward, 'oh, I'm so sorry', followed by, 'I had a miscarriage' or I lost a grandparent...' While I would be lying if I said that there wont be times when our loss has and will continue to connect us to a select few that have endured a very similar loss. Generally speaking it will just be awkward and not fun. Seriously, who wants to be the kill joy every time they meet someone new and get asked the age old question?
But I guess, I have come to that point in dealing with this loss where I am processing how I answer this question a bit more.
I can only rely on the strength of God and His sovereign grace to make it through this simple question. I can also trust that He will guide my answer in a way that is life giving and positive for all my children and the legacy that Nate has left in our lives.

Now for most of you who thankfully have not had to live through a loss like this I'll offer some practical advice. Just about 100% of the time you will have had no idea that you just stepped into that minefield... but once you have instead of offering your own tragic but not the same story...  replies that have meant the most to me are ones where less pity is shared, but... ok... I sat and thought about this for quite a while and I don't have a very good answer for you. Each person is different. I do generally love to talk about Nate and what he was like and his personality and the things he did... But honestly I don't currently have a good answer.

It also is blares in my face the fact that many of us have stories of hurt so much deeper than we care to admit and many simple questions don't have simple answers.

So from here on out (which also means, I think most of the time... ) I will be strong and confident in my answer of how many children I have. 3, I have 3! I will also be graceful in remembering to love on those asking, because I know I have been the innocent 'questioner' before.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Ephesians 4:32

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Way back when life was 'normal'

Sometimes I'll put on some music or be doing something that reminds me of life before the loss of Nate. The innocent blissful world I lived in. Not that I wasn't aware of pain or loss or challenges, they just hadn't hit so close to home or been this big. The pain wasn't this raw. Sometimes it's so overwhelming. It's crazy to be able to feel so full and satisfied and fulfilled, yet so much pain with that hole in your heart that my sweet baby Nate left. I know it will not be filled until we meet again together worshiping at the feet of Jesus. So until then we learn to cope in the healthiest ways possible. Celebrate, cry, meet new people that didn't know Nate and have no idea what my past holds. Sharing our story. Watching our children reach new milestones. Like Evan crawling like a mad man and just the other day I taught Ella to read a book.

We are also in this holding place of uncertainty of what our near future will hold. With Phil changing jobs and starting school. We are in a place of making decisions as to what will be best for our family. This reminds me of a song by Sara Groves, Painting Pictures of Egypt:

I don't want to leave here, I don't want to stay, it feels like pinching to me either way.
The places I long for the most are the places where I've been. They are calling after me like a long lost friend. It's not about losing faith, it's not about trust, it's all about comfortable when you move so much. 

The place wasn't perfect but I had found a way to live. It wasn't milk or honey, but neither is this.
I've been painting pictures of Egypt leaving out what it lacked. The future feels so hard and I want to go back. But the places that used to fit me cannot hold the things i've learned, and those roads were closed off to me while my back was turned

The past is so tangible, I know it by heart, familiar things are never easy to discard. I was longing for some freedom, but now I hesitate  to go, I am caught between the promise and the things i know

If if comes to quick, i may not recognize it. Is that the reason behind all this time and sand. If it comes to quick, I may not appreciate it. Is that the reason behind all this time and sand.




This song has been on my heart recently, funny thing, it was my theme song when we moved to St George 5 years ago. I'm sure the Israelites felt like they were stuck between two worlds also. They knew that God had great plans for them, but leaving what they knew wasn't easy. Well, maybe at first is was exciting, a new freedom... but when the seas were closed back up and the dust had settled, weeks later and they were hot and tired, Egypt may have been looking pretty good.
Learning to trust God, and really 'live' in each moment. What does that look like? How can I honor God in the 'waiting room' if you will?

So what am I trying to say? The triggers that remind me of my old normal catch me off guard sometimes. This new normal is okay, as long as I'm resting in the peace that only God can give me and I'm trying my best to not "paint pictures of Egypt, leaving out what it lacks..."







Friday, April 11, 2014

discretion.

I remember when I was maybe 12 and my friend and I were swimming at a public pool. At some point we noticed that another girl our age was wearing a white swimsuit that was a little 'see through'. We decided that she needed to be aware of the situation. Now there are so many things that go into this. While you would want to know of 'said problem', hearing it at a public pool, from two girls your age when you are already wet, surrounded by your friends (who haven't said anything) ... Let's just say she wasn't thrilled or thankful to hear what we had to tell her.
Looking back on that event I see that while our intentions may have been good, our timing and delivery were not so good.

There are often situations in life that I need to decide if, how, and when to address the said 'issue' with others. That's when discretion comes into play.

Discretion:
1. the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offense or revealing private information
2. the freedom to decide what should be done in a particular situation.

The Bible also has insight in this:

When words are many sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. Proverbs 10:19
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat it's fruits.'Proverbs 18:21

This is not always easy. Add emotions. Enough said. But we are not called to just react with our emotions,

I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  -Ephesians 4:1-3


So as life comes at me I pray that I will use discretion and wisdom to handle each situation in a way that honors God.

In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.  -Titus 2:7-8


This doesn't mean that I shouldn't ever address conflict or challenge others to do or not do something. But it says to be smart about it. Think it through. Don't react with pure emotion. Take a 'time out' to seek God's wisdom. Stand back and get the whole picture. Do it with love and grace.

Let your conversation be filled with grace, seasoned with salt, so you may know how to answer everyone.   -Colossians 4:6

Whether it's a swimsuit 'malfunction' with a stranger, a disagreement in social media, or a conversation with a friend, I can only pray that I'll continue to seek God's face and treat others in a way that honors His name. It's not always easy or the most favored road, but this discretion road is one I'm learning to walk better every day.



Thursday, February 27, 2014

i don't know....


I should have a two year old. I don't.
I wish I could be throwing a little party for him, sing Happy Birthday.
One of the most frustrating things for me is I don't know how to handle it. I want to celebrate his life in some special way, but I don't know how. I didn't have enough time with him to know what he would like, I'm left to guess, imagine. Some moments I just want to be alone. Others moments I want to have a huge party. I have a lifetime more to figure this out. I don't want it. But that doesn't change it. I want what I can't have.
Keep the prayers coming guys, cause I'm a mess.
Happy 2nd birthday my sweet Nate. 8 months wasn't enough.



Monday, December 16, 2013

crying

Every so often a picture/quote along the lines of this shows up on my news feed...







 I'd be lying if I said it didn't sometimes cut at my heart. I'd also be lying if I said I wouldn't change anything or do anything different the 8 short months we had sweet Nate in our lives. If I knew I'd only have him for such a short time, sure I would've held and kissed and cuddled him even more.

Many of you know that we practice a parent lead schedule in our family. Sleep train from a fairly early age and don't co-sleep. I bring this up because sometimes there is crying involved. Not neglectful, emotionless (on the parent's part) hours of crying. More like intentional minutes here and there. Needless to say the quote stated above does bring Nate's sweet face to mind and a pain of guilt.

But when I really sit down and think about why we choose to parent the way we do, and if there are things we should change ( there are always things that we adjust and tweak as we parent each very different child and age), I also think about the fact that our family was pretty well rested most of Nate's life, which means when I'm rested I have better control of my emotions and feel as though I can function as a mom better and have more energy to play. I think about the very sweet relationship that Ella and Nate had sharing a room. She loves her brother so much. He was a very good listener to all that she had to say as they fell asleep together. Their relationship was so special and she was such a great big sister to Nate. Watching a video of Nate has brought her to tears recently. Their bond was deep and special. I also know that Phil and I having our room and bed to ourselves is one facet, of many, that keeps our marriage strong, our communication open and healthy.

I have not done extensive research or gone to school. But I can tell you. I have not seen any of my kids 'shut down emotionally', nor have I seen any of my friend's babies and children do the same. I know that focusing on caring and loving for them during awake and play time bonds our relationship. I also know that teaching them to self sooth, does not hurt our relationship. *

I bring all this up to say, sure hearing your baby cry is in no way fun. Yet I wouldn't change the fact that I am proud of the mom I was and am to my kids and thankful for the refreshing sleep I had, I wouldn't change anything about the sweet and special bond Ella and Nate had, that, I believe, sharing a room helped create. I also know that the fact that Phil and I work hard to keep our relationship strong and healthy, helped us draw even closer during this last year, instead of tear us apart, which could have been so easy to do. I wouldn't change any of that.

Phil and I know that we aren't even close to being 'perfect parents' we mess up. We try things that don't work, we sometimes disagree on how something should be handled and have to work through many things, but we also truly seek God. We ask Him for wisdom to parent our kids, we watch other families, with young kids and grown ones, and talk to them about what they are doing or have done.
This parenting journey will continue to take on different shapes, we will mess up. a lot. But as I look back, I really don't have regrets. We were working on raising Nate to know that he is loved so dearly by us, to be a lover of Jesus, to have a special place in our family, and hopefully one day an adult that would contribute so society.  We just didn't know that it would only be such a short stay. I cherish each and every memory that I have.


*I am fully aware that not everyone agrees with me.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Here comes baby number THREE!!

*This is a little late, seeing that baby was born in August and I'm posting in December... but I wanted to go in chronological order with my thoughts...

Ella had me convinced. Since the moment that we told Ella that she was going to be a big sister again she was confidant that it would be a girl. Sara. end of story. We like to wait until baby arrives to find out the gender. The first two times it was so much fun. We told Ella that we didn't know. It COULD be a brother, but we also didn't push the subject one way or another. She talked about 'Sara' so much that near the end I would catch myself referring to baby as, her, or even 'Sara'.

People would ask what I thought, or which gender I would prefer. I had a girl, have had a boy.... I had feelings about either, but mostly said, 'I'm so glad I don't get to pick.'

You see, having a girl seemed a lot easier. Ella really wanted a sister. They would have so much fun together. I felt like it would be a 'fresh start'. I was looking forward to having a baby in the house again, but it would look different than before if it was a girl, different clothes. Good memories with all Ella's baby clothes. It would give time to heal such deep wounds. Then we could have a boy. Phil, even though he said he was ok with either, really, had a fear that he wouldn't have a son again... We both had so many emotions and had no idea what it would be like the day baby came.






We had lots of fun enjoying our last weeks. Crazy to think we would be a family of four again. Ella did so good being a big sister and adjusting the first time around. I just kept praying it would be the same.
We planned for our 2nd home birth. Had everything in place. I joked that I'd like an afternoon baby: start labor after a good nights sleep and be done around 2pm. My due date came and went, like I had expected. But as I stared nearing the 2 weeks over mark I started having flashbacks to Ella's birth... 19 days over and ending up getting induced.
Monday the 12th (12 days over) I went to Zumba with some friends
I had a few contractions. But I had been having them for weeks. I went to bed, got a good nights sleep and woke up around 5:30 am knowing that I was in labor!! Mom took Ella out of the house and we got the tub set up. Today was the day!
6:05pm. (a little later that I had 'hoped' ;) )
BABY IS HERE!!
The first picture is just after baby is born. We don't know gender yet

IT'S A BOY!!!


So many emotions were going through my head. I was a little shocked. I think deep down I had really thought it would be a girl. 'A boy, again. Will this feel like I'm reliving Nate? Ella, what will Ella think? She so wanted a sister...'


Meeting her brother. 
She was so excited. I could hear her behind the door. Squealing. My heart was breaking. "I should've pushed more that there was just as much of a chance that this could be a brother." No going back now. She came in so excited. She wasn't very thrilled to find out it was a brother. Her whole happy attitude changed. She was disinterested. That was so hard to watch. She loved being a big sister to Nate. I just hoped that she would come around and love being a big sister to Evan.






Oh, we loved on Evan. But there were so many things that were so hard. Nursing was hard. He was fussier than the last. And really. Even though Nate was such an easy baby in reality, poor Evan just wasn't. I hated that. It was a rough first few weeks. It took me so much longer to bond. So many tears. So many thoughts in my head trying to process this new life I wanted to love. So many prayers. 
I took every opportunity to snuggle and love on him. To build our bond. He would look at me and seem to say, " Do you love me for me, Evan, Not Nate, not with fear of losing me or comparing me?" That was hard. I am so thankful for wise counsel and a loving God. I learned a lot about myself in those first weeks.


Ella, she wasn't so sure of her brother at first. But after some time, some questions being answered, like, "when is Evan leaving?" (in reference to Nate going to heaven) These are stinking hard questions to answer.
Her love for him just keeps growing. It melts my heart. I love seeing her love on him.



It's a boy. I thank Jesus for every day we have breath. Some days are so full of joy. Some have much more sorrow. Some days feel like I'm going to be living these next 8 months with a bit of deja vu. Above all else. The good days and and bad. I trust that Jesus loves me. He has 'fearfully and wonderfully made each of our kids' (Psalms 139:14)