Friday, December 19, 2014

Two years minus two days


Kept Forever in My Heart

There are two of these little figurines sitting on our dresser--two little reminders of our heart's greatest treasures.  It's almost two years since we said goodbye to our eldest child-- a child we never had the privilege of meeting, a child we barely got to know, a child we didn't even know how much we loved until he was gone.  I wanted a reminder of this baby, something I could look at and see regularly.  We chose this figurine.

Then, when we said goodbye to our second child, I wanted another figurine in honor of her, but wasn't sure if I wanted to go with the same style or not, but then my friend answered that question for me when she sent me an exact replica of the first Willow Tree and I knew it was right and it is.  Two little figurines sitting one either side of our unity candle on our dresser.  Fitting, I think.  Our two little babies are a part of our family-- they have driven us together.  In sickness and in health, in grief and in joy, our love has grown stronger.  We will always miss our little ones, but I can truly say that we have been made better, stronger, fuller, more sympathetic of those going through similar losses.

And yesterday, when dear little Mya came to our house, I was able to hold her in my arms and hug her and give her a little kiss and I didn't fall apart.  It felt right. It felt good. Yes, I thought about what it would be like to have had two little girls playing on the floor together and fighting or staring or whatever it is 7 month old little girls would do to each other, but I could rejoice in the gift of life. I could find joy in the big eyes that looked up at me and slowly blinked in her own little game. I'll have to be honest, that was a first for me, I think, to be able to enter into the life of another little girl and enjoy it without wanting to just walk away.

And as I look back two years, I miss our first born as well, but God is good and He is faithful and I have no choice but to trust Him.  Healing takes time; it doesn't all happen at once, nor do I think it happens in one continuous line.  It's more like a spiral--a little progress and then coming around the corner where you battle the same losses and the same tears and the same fears, but you get a little higher each time.  There will always be parts of my heart that will belong to my two little angels in heaven, but I think those parts of my heart are enabling the rest of my heart to love in a deeper, fuller and richer way those who are left below.

The thing that pulls the hardest is knowing how to answer the question: Do you have children?  Yes, we have children, but how do you explain that in a 30 second sound byte without the conversation getting awkward? If I say no, I feel terribly guilty for not acknowledging Nicole and if I say we had a stillborn, then I feel guilty for not acknowledging our firstborn, but how do you do all that?  And when, Lord willing, I hold me newborn baby in my arms, what will I tell people?  That she's our oldest?  But she's not.  It's so confusing!!!!!!!! And while for the sake of conversation and awkwardness I make a difference between miscarriage and stillborn, in my mind and in God's sight there is no difference.  They are both children, loved by God and, I like to think, playing at His feet.

So this Christmas season, in the midst of all the busyness, treasure the gift of Life that was made possible by Jesus coming to earth.  There will always be joy overshadowed by sorrow, life in the midst of death, but as the Christmas carol puts it: "Sorrow and grief are lulled by thy light; thou hope of each mortal in death's lonely night."

And someday, by the grace of God, our whole family will be together forever and the struggle to describe our family will be over. What a day that will be!!!!!!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

What would you do?

This post would be much better with pictures, but I didn't think of taking any.  Maybe I'll see what I can snag off the world wide web to better portray my story

A package comes in the mail or better interpreted an overgrown envelope:

2014 Prepaid Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelopes

At first it's exciting like you might be getting a small gift from someone:

Happy Face Clipart

But then you look closer and you see words that don't inspire a happy face at all.  Instead, they might inspire more of this:

grumpy girl clip art

Because you see words like this on the package:

Household Television Survey.

You debate throwing the envelope away without even opening it, but for some reason you open it.  Then you are going to trash it, but wait something catches your eye:

Nini d'Amour

You reach into the envelope and remove five brand-new crisp one dollar bills:
Nini d'AmourNini d'AmourNini d'Amour

Nini d'AmourNini d'Amour

You smile now:

Big smile pictures

But wait: the company is paying you in advance for doing their survey.  Now what?  A pause, a moment to think and then into the

... Trash Cans 23 Gal. Automatic Stainless Steel Touchless Trash Can® NX

goes the envelope and into the
Small Partner Desk
goes the cash and you wonder to yourself: Is that money really real?  You will find out you guess when you try to cash it in for some

girl drinking McCafe | McDonald’s McCafe White Chocolate Mocha ...

The question is begging to be asked.  How many of you have thrown out white boring survey envelopes in the last month without first opening and checking inside?  I would like to be able to get all those one dollar bills too.  I will look more closely from now on.

PS: There was a small amount of guilt experienced at not doing the survey, but beings we don't even have a TV, it would have been a very boring survey result anyway, so guilt was mostly assuaged.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas

A huge shout out of thanks to Hannah for doing all the hard work.  If you need something fun to do, make those hanging cinnamon ornaments. Not the greatest pics but for better views come visit me.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Well, that was a long day wasn't it?

I don't think I really promised to absolutely every day post something I was thankful for, did I?  If I did, I'm truly sorry, but here in is the beauty.  It's my blog and I reserve the right to make any and all changes to the content that I wish and that includes how frequently I post.

It really is a little pathetic. I quit posting on the day we had a sermon on thankfulness.  How ironic, huh?  To add further to the irony is the fact that I was more than a little crabby and moody the rest of that day as well.  But it's been better since.  I'm starting to go a little stir-crazy and realizing that ten weeks is a really, really, REALLY, REALLY long time, but by God's grace I will make it for as long as I need to.

Am I bored yet?  Getting there, but I still have things I can do.  I have only half met my goal for today on my online transcription job, but truth-be-told, I was getting a little tired of transcribing a focus group for undergarments.  Now, I know my work is to be kept confidential and everything and really I have no intention of squealing about the hours of pointless work I did this afternoon, but really?  People have meetings to discuss undergarments?  I had no idea.  It's a whole other world out there that I know nothing about.

Black Friday?  Black Friday just ain't the same when done sitting in a chair.  I struggled to get enthused, but I do have a few parcels coming even if they are as boring as black ink cartridges. The exciting thing about the black ink cartridges?  I am hoping to put together two cookbooks from my two favorite food bloggers.  Thanks so much Jo for introducing me to both of them.  I'm also getting myself lots of work in the parcels that are coming.  If I can't go shopping for the munchkin, I will sew for the little tyke instead.  Poor D is quite concerned that our baby will be dressed in complete homemade clothes, but I have attempted to reassure him that I am only looking to make blankets, burp clothes, washcloths, changing pads, etc.  I'm not sure I even have it in me to attempt sleepers and onesies when you can buy onesies for a couple of buck on clearance or at a second-hand store. But, the purchasing ability is a little more limited when you can't actually go to said stores and buy the things you need, but I have solicited a little help in that department and of course, there's always the internet, if I can make enough money transcribing about undergarments to pay for it, I guess.  OH BOY!!!

It's actually kind of exciting to be getting excited about this baby.  It's been awhile in coming and I keep waffling between expecting a 9+ pound baby at my due date or expecting it any moment and then spending weeks in a NICU.  Either way, I am realizing that I should start making some provision for the child lest it be born without a mother who even thought to provide it the very basic essentials.  Speaking of essentials, what does one consider essential when raising a baby?  I would like some very honest input.  There are all kinds of ideas out there in cyberspace, but I would like to know what you, my friends and acquaintances think is needful.  Please respond.

Pray the Scriptures When Life Hurts

Product Details

By Kevin Johnson

This book was given me by Bethany House for the purpose of reading and writing a review about it.

I liked this book.  It's a very different style of writing, but I think it works.  Kevin has 10 chapters dealing with anything from loneliness to questions to peace to surrender and ending with hope.  He talks a little about his own journey and places a person can find themselves in, but mostly he takes a Scripture, divides it out into 4 or more sections and has you pray it.  He offers a verse and then gives some open-ended sentences to allow you to tell God what you are really feeling.

For example: II Corinthians 12:8- "Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away."  His open-ended sentences that follow are: "You've said no to....." and "When you say no to my pleading,I feel...."  This allows you to really analyze how you are feeling and talk to God about it.

And there were some positives too, like "I confidently expect..." after reading Psalm 27: 13, 14

Kevin also wrote a Pray the Scriptures Bible.  I would like to take a look at that sometime and see how he put all that together.  Obviously, he didn't write the Bible portion, but he talks about the prayers he wrote for it and the healing it brought him on his own journey out of depression.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Today, I'm Thankful For....


I mean, really. What's nicer than a day where you can kick back, relax and be lazy without a trace of guilt?  You can go to church and worship God, come home and gorge yourself on a "way too big" Sunday lunch and then veg all afternoon while complaining about you much you stuffed yourself at lunch.  

Unless you live at our house, then you're lucky to get a good Sunday lunch.  It's more likely to be leftovers or some other simple food stuff.  Today, for instance, we are having Chicken Barley Soup.  It's a new recipe and because I'm lazy, I tweaked it and threw it all in the crockpot and am hoping for the best.  Because, I will just say it on here and be done with it--I really hate waiting for my lunch when I get home from church.  One test of a good Sunday lunch is that it must be ready to be put on the table in 15 minutes or less from the time one arrives home.  Along, with the soup, we may have some yummy Miller's Potato Salad and maybe some cheese curds too.  

But, I digress....  Back to the gratefulness aspect.  Other good things about Sunday: D is home from work for the whole day.  We can just hang out and not feel like we should be doing household chores or cleaning up the garage or whatever else is needing attention at the moment.  

We can have company for lunch if we like or we can not have company for lunch if we like.  I'm not very good at the company thing--I resolve that someday I will get better at it, but right now I have a pretty good excuse.  At least one, I'm going to milk for all it's worth anyway. 

I already mentioned the going to church and worshiping, but it's also a time to catch up with friends and do some socializing, unless you come from my family tree and then you can find the after church banter a little hard to follow sometimes.  I'm not sure what happened to my family, but I think, at least 4 out of the 5 of us siblings, would way rather leave church pretty much pronto after the service is over rather than stand around making small talk.  Now, I won't deny it; sometimes I can do a great job of it, but other times it feels stale and stilted.  And what did we do?  We married somebody just the opposite.  Once, not that long ago, D went to church by himself.  His comment?  "I could stay and visit as long as I wanted to."  "I'm sorry dear.  I try to be patient, I really do."  And please, don't think you can't talk to me after church.  I don't mind at all carrying a conversation or listening to a conversation; I just can be at a complete loss sometimes for how to start a conversation.  Anyway, enough about that.  

What are you grateful for on this Sunday?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Hunting Days

Now, this could very controversial in the realm of gratefulness and there are varying ways of looking at it.  One could be grateful that there is only one week of gun season; or one could be grateful that they get one week of gun season.

I'm not sure where I come out at on the whole hunting thing: I really don't mind that D goes hunting. When we lived in the central part of the state, hunting meant I would likely see D less, but he had a really cool tree stand that you could heat and so Thanksgiving day became a traditional "wife-goes-hunting-with-man-hunter" day. I would go with him, struggle up the tree stand, get cold, talk too loud, not creep around quietly enough and sometimes wonder why in the world I came with. I would bring a book or try to find good Black Friday deals, etc.

This year? This year is different.  He didn't go racing out the door in the blackest of the night, nor did he do a sleep over in his tree stand like last year.  He left with his jug of hot spiced apple cider, multiple layers of clothing and went to sit in an open tree stand that friends from church graciously offered to him.  I expect to see him back mid-morning to lunch sometime and then I'm guessing he will go out again tonight.  He might go hunting in his old stomping grounds come Thanksgiving, but this year? This year, I will likely stay home-- no tromping in the woods for me this year.  (I just realized that the last three Thanksgivings, I have been pregnant--wait this is supposed to be a grateful post)

If he gets a deer, the big question is always, what are we going to do with it.  I am intent on trying to empty our freezer and get rid of meat that has been sitting in there for way too long.  But I do like to make jerky and beef sticks with venison if he gets one.  And I sure don't want to help butcher a deer this year.  I'm pretty positive that would come under things you can't do on limited activity.  I think our conclusion might be that we would like a couple of pounds of  meat to do beef sticks and jerky with and the rest we would give away.

You can only hunt bucks up here this year, so D likes to lie in wait for the big ones, so unless some staggering 10 or 12 point impressive buck shows up, I'm not too worried I will have to deal with venison issues this year.  Now, that might be something to be grateful for :) :)

Two big differences between this year and other years: 1. I think if he goes hunting this year, I will actually see more of him than I do when he is working.  Other years, I would say I saw less of him, especially on Saturdays.  2. He doesn't have a lovely warm hunting shack to hunt from this year.

I try not to worry about the whole hunting thing and especially if they do drives, etc.  I try to remember that he is capable of looking out for himself and God is with him in the open stand as much as he was with him in the heated shack.  But I still tell him to text a little so I know he's okay.  I still need to work on the holding my loved ones with an open hand and not hanging on too tightly.

So to conclude this: is hunting season something you are grateful for or something you dread?  What are your thoughts on all of this?  And do you eat venison or turn up your nose at the very idea?