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)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

So,  most of you may be surprised to hear that I'm really not that good at planning parties, starting traditions and doing all those fun extras for all the little holidays. Don't get me wrong. I love having friends over, I love decorating. But I'm not very motivated to to either for a 'special' occasion. I can rise to the occasion, but I prefer not to. It may be because I'm a procrastinator. I generally know about birthday parties, holidays, and weddings in advance... but most often I'll be getting the present the day of, on the way... or arrive and think, 'SHOOT!! I forgot a card!!' But.... this Father's Day was different. For some odd reason I planned ahead. Bought and made presents, taught Ella how to write 'dad' for the card and planned a special meal. All that to say. We had a wonderful day and I thought I'd share some of it with you. It probably wont be like that next year. :)


'Mad Libs' card from Ella

Fun little 'I love you to pieces' craft


I made this with Ella's hand print. Copies of ones from when Nate died, and left a spot for this new little baby's feet prints


Yes!! He 'feels like a real dad getting tools!'

kisses all around



Books from my mom

 Now Ella takes a few pictures





After presents, lunch, ice cream, playing, resting, hanging shelves (with the new drill), Sweet Potato Burgers for dinner. YUM!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

It is well with my soul....

Today's sermon was good. The title was 'Wisdom vs. Lies'. There were a few things that were said that hit close to home. Things that Phil and I have talked about as we've gone through this journey of having our faith and trust in God challenged more then any other time in our life. Why we do the things we do. Why we make choices not to do other things. Standards we have set in our life. It has been something that has been challenging to me my whole life. I've been excluded from plenty. At times it hurt, other times I didn't care. But back to the sermon.....

Our pastor talked about the peace and happiness that only God can give and how it is manifested in people's lives. Jesus is that source, and it's different that what the world can offer. It reaches much deeper and fills much fuller. Now that doesn't mean life wont have troubles. That there wont be great pain. He shared a story I've known for quite some time. A story about Horatio Spafford, the guy who wrote the song, It Is Well With My Soul. (if you don't know the story look here and here). It is a story of great loss, yet great strength and trust in God. Now, we as believers have many crossroads. Like we were reminded today, satan wants to steal away the peace and happiness and plant lies in our hearts. He tries to offer us things that the world says will make us happy. Here's where wisdom comes in to play. If we as followers of Christ are seeking His face, by reading the Bible, and searching out the wisdom that it has to offer we will be less likely swayed by satan's lies. The problem is (quoted from the sermon notes) that all too often we view God's commands (especially against sin) as a burden and as something that ruins our fun. While the solution is, seeing wisdom as our best friend - knowing that God's commands are all about his glory and our thriving.

Proverbs 3:13-18 Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold...her ways are pleasant ways and her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her, those who lay hold of her will be blessed.

Now here's the thing. I see this as so true in my life. Our circumstances suck. People have said we are handling it well. We have our moments. We're human. But in general, our trust in God has not wavered  Phil and I are closer than ever. Even while grieving differently. We cry. We laugh. We get out of bed in the morning. I don't feel we have turned to anything unwise as a crutch during this time. It doesn't mean that we need to let our guard down, that it's smooth sailing ahead. But what I do see it meaning is, that all the wisdom that we have brought into our life, choices that we make, things we decide, straight from the Bible have in a sense, have 'paid off'. In a time where more turmoil  and trouble could easily come, we have a solid foundation/rock, that we are standing on.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed. Perplexed, but not in despair. Persecuted, but not abandoned. Struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Choosing to follow God's wisdom isn't always easy, and it isn't often the most popular. Saying 'no' is hard. But the foundation that it builds far outweighs those things.


That being said. I have to keep another area in my life in check. Pride. It can be quite the pitfall also. And that, is being very honest.