Friday, December 24, 2010

All I want for Christmas

I struggled this year to think of something that I want for Christmas.  In the past years there has always been something that I wanted.  This year I feel like I have everything I need. And then some.  My house is full of stuff, some of the stuff is precious to me but some needs to be thrown away.  I don't need anymore stuff.   What I want for Christmas is not something that can be bought at a store.  It cannot be ordered online.  I have so enjoyed seeing the JOY and excitement in the eyes of my children this year.  Glade and Addison get it.  They know who Santa is and what he does.  They are beyond excited.  Oh, I wish I could see them share that excitement with their little brother.  Oh how I would love for him to be here.  But I know he is celebrating with Jesus, what a celebration it must be...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Inspired and disappointed with myself...

First I have to say that the Selah concert was SO good.  I cried, like a baby!  Todd Smith shared his story of losing their daughter Audrey just after her birth.  He then had all of us in the audience who had lost a child to stand.  It's amazing to me how many women have lost a child that you didn't know.  I remember thinking last year how long will I be "Leah the one who's baby died."  Now, I long to have people remember my baby.  I constantly want to do things to show that Ethan was here if only inside me for a short 18 weeks.  I struggle with the fact that our loss was so much earlier in the pregnancy than most of the others I hear about.  Ethan was not full term.  We don't have pictures of a baby.  I have small memories of what his feet looked like and the shape of his head...but that's about it.   It's not that I want recognition...I want people to remember my baby, to know that he will ALWAYS be part of our family.   There are so many families who have been through the loss of a child that have done so much in honor of their child.  I think of the Smith's from Selah.  I found another blog last week and then had a friend email me the same blog today.  I am AMAZED at what they have done in their son's name.  Check it out here.   The Jacobs family has done some amazing things for others.  Reading things like this make me feel like a horrible mom to Ethan.  I have used this blog to vent MY frustration and put MY grief into words.  What have I done to honor Ethan? 
So here is my challenge to you...the few who are still reading...
Do something for someone else in honor of Ethan and make a comment to let me know what you have done.  I hope to be adding some things that I have done to honor my baby by blessing others.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Christian Works

It's that time of year again!  Tonight is the Auction for the organization where we went to counseling after losing Ethan.  You might remember we were part of their video last year.  This time of year brings back memories of a dark time in our lives.  I am so proud of how far we have come, but mostly how far I have come.  When I think back to those first days after our loss, I wasn't sure how I would be able to continue on.  But I did and I have and I know that I am a much better wife, mother and friend because of Ethan.  Lately I have been reading several blogs of other moms who have lost a baby.  It seems so easy for them to pinpoint God's blessings...and some of these mothers have some pretty awesome stories.  I sometimes get down and wish I could have a story like theirs.  I find myself wondering do I just not see it.  Am I missing something that God is calling me to do?   I am praying for God to show me a way to keep Ethan in our family and to give Ethan's life a greater that will touch others and show the glory of God.

Anyway, I say this because one of those blogs is Angie Smith.  Wife of Todd from Selah...who will be at the auction tonight!  I am so hoping that she will be there.  I really just want to give her a hug and thank her for the ministry of her blog.  They lost a daughter several years ago and the blog is her journey.  It's called Bring the Rain.  I have been inspired and learned so much from her.

I will post again if I get to meet her!  I will take my camera just in case.  I better go get ready.  The babysitter will be here in 30 minutes!  YIKES!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Defined By God- Proverbs 31 Ministries

Defined By God

15 Sep 2010
Shari Braendel

"The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord." Psalm 45:11 (NIV)

One word. Flabbergasted.

That was the emotion I had coursing through my body as I sat at the coffee shop discussing my weight issues with a friend.

I told her I had recently cut out certain foods from my diet, but was continuing to maintain my "happy weight," that number the scale just seems extremely happy to faithfully report whether I have eaten healthy and exercised that week or not. We had a good laugh as she described how sometimes she locks her scale away so she's not tempted to jump on it every day just to find out if she's still her same "happy" self.

As a result of this conversation I realized that if I am not careful I can easily al low the scale, or the mirror, to become a compass that shifts my focus and points me in the wrong direction. It seems illogical, yet at times I look to this digital device, or this earthly reflection to gauge my emotional status and essentially define me.

The Bible tells us that the God of the universe is enthralled with our beauty. Seriously? Yes, indeed! He thinks we are amazing and wonderful. Unfortunately, more often than not, we look in the mirror and only see our flaws; hair that's just a mite too frizzy; a tummy that's a bit too fluffy; and thighs that have a few too many dimples on them. My friend Renee likes to call her cellulite "the fingerprints of God." One time I shared that with a group of women, and one of them said, "Well then He must have REALLY big hands!"

So, what would life look like if we accepted God workmanship? Can you imagine how different we would feel about ourselves if we glanced in the mirror and told God "thank You for making me so wonderfu lly"? If you listen closely, I bet you would hear Him respond, "All beautiful, you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you" (Song of Solomon 4:7, NIV).

No matter your size or shape, the number on your clothes tag or your scale, you are beautiful! Let's embrace that we are fine just the way we are because if God says so, then it's true!

Dear God, thank You for making me the way I am. Please help me to have more confidence. I will practice defining myself through Your eyes and not my own. I am grateful, and humbled to be Your beautiful daughter, and I can feel Your approving gaze upon me. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Application Steps:

Make a list of five things you really like about your outer appearance.

When you find yourself in a funk, remember to define yourself through God's eyes.

Accept a compliment with a smile and a thank you.


When was the last time you gave yourself permission to treat yourself to something new? You are valuable to Him, and to those who love you. It is okay to take care of yourself too.

Does my scale define me?

Power Verses:

Psalm 139:14, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." (NIV)

Song of Solomon 4:1, "How beautiful, you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!" (NIV)

Ephesians 2:10, "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (NIV)

I so needed this lately.  I have been so down in the dumps about the numbers on my scale being bigger than any I have seen before.  Have I ever really thought that all the things I see as flaws, God sees as beautiful?  I love the power verses at the end.  Do I praise God because I am wonderfully made?  I praise him for making I praise Him for making my ovaries not work?  If I look at Ephesians 2:10, I am God's workmanship, created to do good works that God prepared in ADVANCE for me to do.   WOW!  Does that mean He prepared my infertility for me to do good works?  Did He prepare for me to do good works because of the loss of Ethan?  Oh, how I pray that I can make Him proud.   As hard as those two things have been, it is so comforting to know that I am God's workmanship and He calls me beautiful.  I hope that on days when I feel far from beautiful I can remember that God looks at me and sees beauty every day!

© 2010 by Shari Braendel. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 30, 2010

This is so hard

I sit here crying as I am sorting through all the baby clothes that I kept in hopes of using them again.  I kept everything!  I decided it was time to sell some of the things I was holding on to, because honestly...will I ever use them again?  And if we do have another baby will these clothes still be "in style"?  I got to the box that had the outfits the kids wore in our first Christmas card pictures and had to leave the room!  I am keeping those.  It just breaks my heart going through all this.  It is still my prayer that God will give us a miracle.  I really have to work on my faith though because even as I type that I think..."but I'm not holding my breath"  I just have to remember to "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." Psalm 27:14 (NLT)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Ethan

I have dreaded this day for a year now.  I can't believe it has been a year, but then again it seems like so much longer.  A year ago I wasn't sure how I would go on.  It hurt so bad.  It still hurts and I still ache to hold my precious baby.  To kiss his sweet baby head and smell that baby smell.  This last year I have cried a lot, prayed a lot and learned a lot.  My fear today is that as time goes on we will move on and Ethan will be just a distant memory, a little bump in our life.  I want him to be much more than that.  As I thought about what we could do to celebrate and remember our baby nothing seemed good enough.  I looked at what other's have done and got some good ideas: make a bear at Build-a-Bear, plant a tree, make cupcakes, release balloons, make a memorial garden...while all of  them would help us celebrate Ethan, I feel they just won't measure up.  This is a day I want us to remember forever.  Ethan's Day.  I know as the kids get older and life gets busy we might want to overlook it, but my prayer is that we can use this day to celebrate our family and celebrate a life that was not long enough.  Today I remember a precious a baby that was prayed for years ago.  I thank God for what He has taught me this year and what I still need to learn.  My heart is hurting today, but I am thankful.  Thankful for the opportunity to be Ethan's mom.  Thankful for wonderful friends and family who hurt with me today.  Thankful for sweet friends who know chocolate makes it a little better.  Thankful for a husband who understands my tears and holds me while I cry.
Today has been a good day.  Tim and I went to the hospital to visit the Memorial Garden where Ethan's ashes were spread.  We hadn't been there before and it was nice to go and see.  I was able to spend some time alone in the car with my ipod and some songs that have helped me through this year.  I went to the bookstore and got a book that I have been wanting for a while.  It is called I Will Carry You by Angie Smith.  You can read her blog here.  I find her story and faith so inspiring!  I also went and got some brown and blue balloons.  My good friend came over and took some pictures of our family with the balloons that we sent up to Ethan in heaven.  Glade and Addison don't quite understand who baby Ethan is, but they know he is in heaven and we sent him some balloons for his birthday.  I made a slideshow of the pictures.  Make sure you go to the bottom of the blog and turn off the music so you can hear the slideshow music.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

One Year...

One year ago today we learned of Ethan's death.  Tomorrow is Ethan's birthday.  I want to celebrate and remember.  I can't get my thoughts together so I am working on a post for tomorrow.  Please say some prayers for peace for me especially.  I have dreaded this date for weeks now and now that it's here I can't put into words what it means to me.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hold That Thought- Encouragement for today from Proverbs 31 Ministries

Hold That Thought!

9 Jun 2010
Luann Prater

"Another disciple said to him, 'Lord, first let me go and bury my father.'" Matthew 8:21 (NIV)

In the movie Bolt, a self-centered Hollywood agent constantly tells his child star, "We'll just stick a pin in that." He holds an imaginary push pin in the air and pretends to shove it into an invisible cork board as he says it. He's claiming he'll save that thought/question/request until later and revisit it. But what he really means is, "Get out of here with that request! Not happening!"

The disciple in today's key verse says basically the same thing to Jesus, "Uh, master, hold that thought. Love what you're doing here, want to be a part of it, really I do. Just need to step over here and handle this task first. You understand, right?" T he three telling words in this passage are "first let me..."

We are busy, aren't we? If I tell you how busy I am maybe you won't ask me to do something else. Maybe you will think I'm super spiritual because I have so much going on in my life. Don't.

When I am the busiest I really am the most self-absorbed. I'm just being honest here. When there is so much to do often the most important things get shoved to the side or don't make the list at all.

Have you ever said this, "Once I get _____ done, then my life will calm down"? You are not alone. It's an easy habit to develop, but a hard one to break!

Hi, my name is Luann and I'm addicted to activity. Embarrassed to admit it, but got to have a real moment with you. God makes a simple request in my life and yours: "Follow Me." But all too often those four words, "first let me _______," slip past my lips. You can fill in the blank with whatever you put before what Jesus is calling you to. Instead of Jesus telling you, 'let the dead bury their own dead,' maybe He's saying:

"Follow Me, and let the kids wait a minute."
"Follow Me, and let the phone ring."
"Follow Me, and let the dishes sit."
"Follow Me, and reschedule the appointment."
"Follow Me, and let the Facebook and Twitter friends wonder where you are."
"Follow Me, and put everything else on your to-do list after Me. Deal?"
It's time to stop putting God on hold. It's time to stop using everything in our life as an excuse not to do "first things first."

Hold that thought ...first let me drop to my knees and pray that God will give me a yearning to put Him first.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

God is calling

The last few weeks have been full of ups and downs for me.  I have felt God tugging at my heart in ways I think I have been ignoring for a while.  Since losing Ethan the desire of my heart has been to not give up and to pursue other ways of adding to our family.  I have been thinking of adoption a lot lately.  It is something Tim and I have talked a lot about, but have not really made any decisions.  I am struggling with what is best for our family.  There are so many questions to answer when you start thinking about adoption.  Our biggest hurdle is the financing.  Adoption is expensive.  I really think if there wasn't the money issue we would have already made the next step regarding adoption.  So, with all that said.  I really feel God telling me to let go.  As hard as that is and as much as I want to have another baby, I am beginning to see that maybe that is not what is best for our family.  I saw something on an infertility site that really struck me.  It said "focusing on what you don't have makes you forget everything that you do."  I must admit that I have at times focused on the fact that I can't get pregnant or that I don't have baby and have lost sight of the what I do have.  A wonderful husband and two beautiful children.   A circle of friends and family who love me and want to help in anyway they can. 
I am asking that you pray for me and finding peace with whatever God is calling me to do.  I would love for God to open some doors regarding adoption and the financing of it all.  I am just praying that I can be open to what God is trying to tell me and that I won't let my desires get in the way.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Five Question Friday

So, to make this blog not quite so depressing all the time I am joining the bandwagon...Thanks Kristina for getting me hooked on the questions from Mama M.  I will try hard to keep up with them every Friday!

So here they are:
1. If you could, would you go back to high school?
2. If a genie appeared and granted you two wishes, what would they be? (And, no saying "more wishes".)
3. What kids show do you secretly like?
4. What is your beverage of choice?
5. What is something that you would change about yourself (or are working to change in yourself)?

1.  No, I would not go back to highschool.  Too much drama and bad choices that carried on for several probably guessed right.  It was a stupid boy!  I don't want to go back and change it because I am who I am today because of it, but I really don't want to have to go through it all again!

2.  Oh, genie.  How much time do you have?  My first wish would be for me and all my infertile friends to become fertile.  I would wish for all of us to be able to have precious babies normally without spending a fortune!
My second wish would be for financial peace and security.  It seems those worries never go away no matter how hard we work at it.  So my wish would be that we could have a fully funded emergency fund...thank you Dave Ramsey, and that we would be completely out of mortgage, school loans, NOTHING!

3.  I can definitely tell you what kids show I am sick and tired of watching!  I have seen enough Calliou and Berenstein Bears for quite a while now!  I guess I don't mind any of the disney movies and I'm really looking forward to Toy Story 3 this summer.  As far as TV shows though, there's not one that just grabs me.  Maybe when the kids get older and watch something other than Sprout I will find something I like!

4.  I wish I could tell you I choose water because it is healthy and I want to make sure I am getting my eight glasses a day, but that wouldn't be the truth.  I am completely and utterly addicted to Coke.  I have really been trying hard to cut back and think I have done pretty good and I am drinking Diet Coke some too, which I know is just as bad, but at least it doesn't have all the sugar and calories of the real stuff!

5. Wow, to sit down and think of one thing is hard!  I truly want to change my eating habits.  I am as noted in question 4 a coke-aholic!  I really want to make some better choices with nutrition for me and my family.  I need to lose weight.  But I can't seem to be motivated enough to do it.  So I am working on changing that part of me and I am struggling.  Food is just too good to pass up!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Feeling Blah

I hate that most of what I post here is me feeling sorry for myself, but I guess that is why I do it. So I can get my feelings out and work through them.  Today I am sad, and I really don't know what started it.  There have been lots of little things lately that remind me this time last year I was pregnant.  The day we got the blood test back.  The first sonogram when we found out we had one baby.  The fact that I didn't have summer clothes because most of last summer I was in maternity clothes. Which also reminds me of how much weight I have gained since losing Ethan.  When I start feeling sad and feeling sorry for myself because I want something I can't have, I go to Sonic.  There is something about a large Coke from Sonic that makes things better.  But, it also adds inches to my waist.  I think I am just frustrated at my lack of motivation to make a change.  I have really been trying to get to the gym 3 times a week.  I have only been once this week.  I want to get up early and get stuff done before the kids wake up, but instead I push the snooze button and wake up when they wake up.  I would love for my house to stay picked up and look presentable, but I just can't seem to keep up with it.  I will be the first to admit that I am lazy.  I choose to do other watch a movie when the kids are napping instead of getting the laundry or cleaning done.  All the clutter and mess in our house makes me feel out of control.  I am a bit overwhelmed with it all because I am trying to balance being a good mom and playing with the kids and getting the things I need to do done during the day on top of being a preschool teacher and having stuff to do for that as well.
I'm sure this is something that all mom's deal with, but I sure wish I could get it under control.  
The devotional email I got today was titled When God Hurts Your Feelings.  This was the scripture that went with it..."I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)
Why is it so hard to just be content?  Why do I have to keep asking God why?  Why did Ethan have to die?  Why can't I get pregnant again?  Why does it seem everyone else can?  All the whys that flood my mind and cause me pain.  In the email the author says instead of asking why ask "Now that is my reality what am I supposed to do with it?"   I guess I am still trying to figure out what to do with this reality.  I am not ready to give up on having more kids.  But we don't have the money to do more fertility treatments or adopt.  I think I need to learn how to handle the clutter and junk in my life before I will find the answer.  I just wish I knew how to do that.

So today I am blah, I NEED to clean up the clutter and junk-literally and the junk in my head that keeps coming back to make me question- but I just lack the motivation. 

I am praying to find some motivation to be a better manager of my house and my life.  I want to have control of the clutter and mess because if I don't it controls me and I don't like how that is working.  I am praying to make better choices with what I eat so that I can lose this weight and feel better about myself.  It is an ongoing struggle and would love your prayers too!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Prayers for Judy

As many of you know I teach a Pre-K class at our church preschool.  I have a little girl in my class who's mother is fighting her fourth round of cancer.  She is very discouraged and has lost all hope in God.  Please join me in praying for Judy and her family.  While I am praying for her healing, I am praying more for her relationship with God and the impact that the lack of one will have on her daughter.

You can visit her carepage here.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tired of Waiting on God

Tired of Waiting on God

24 Mar 2010
Tracie Miles

"Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them." Genesis 25:26a (NIV)
Do you ever get tired of waiting on God to answer your prayers? Recently, I began to feel a sense of frustration with the wait, and also a little bit tired.
Tired of saying the same old prayer day after day, month after month, year after year. Tired of telling God about the same old problems that were still going on. Tired of hearing myself pray about the same old problems, leading me to wonder if God was as tired of hearing my prayer requests as I was of praying them.
So I bowed my head and admitted to God that I was simply tired of the wait.
In a heavy state of emotional tiredness, I turned to the crisp, white pages of my Bible. I was hoping God would il luminate a few verses that would jump out of the book and straight into my heart.
I began reading about when Isaac's wife Rebekah gave birth to twin sons. One particular sentence caught my eye and I went back to read it again and again. My heart leapt as I realized God was using this one little sentence to speak hope into my spirit. He used His spiritual highlighter just as I had wanted.
Genesis 25:26 tells us that Isaac was sixty years old when his twins were born; a simple Bible fact, yet profoundly meaningful to me on this specific day. You see, Isaac had been patient for the Lord to provide the perfect wife; he was forty years old when he married Rebekah. If you do the math you realize Isaac waited twenty years for Rebekah to bear him children! He could have chosen a concubine to bear him a son. But he was a man of great patience who waited on God. Eventually his patient faith was rewarded.
Isaac never gave up hope that his Lord could make the impossible, poss ible. He had learned that his Lord would provide. So he continued to pray the same desperate prayer for a son, day after day, month after month, year after year. In fact, we learn in Genesis 25:21 that "Isaac pleaded with the Lord" (NLT), meaning he earnestly and strongly prayed about his problem. He did not half-heartedly ask God for a son, he pleaded! He begged. He poured his heart out.
I can envision Isaac passionately pleading to God throughout those twenty years, with out-stretched arms and a tear-stained face pressed against the hot, dirty soil, begging God to answer his prayer.
Isaac was surely tired of the wait, but he never stopped praying or believing that his dreams could come true. And in God's perfect timing, they did.
If you are tired of the wait, you may be pleading to God just like Isaac. It may take twenty years for God to answer our prayers, or it may only take twenty minutes. But today, let us find comfort in remembering Isaac's patient faith an d take hope in believing that God is not tired of hearing our prayers. Instead, He is simply waiting for the perfect time to answer.

I have been struggling with what to pray.  Feeling selfish for wanting more children when I have good friends who don't have any.  There is an emptiness in me that I am longing to fill.  Sometimes I feel so guilty for wanting another child.  Why am I not just satisfied with the two that God gave me?  Truth is, I am satisfied and I will be the best mom I can be to my two children.  I am still grieving for the child that I lost.  I am grieving that I can't hold him, feed him and rock him.  He was taken away and I am not okay with that and wonder if I ever will be.
The devotional for today came at a perfect time.  Not just for me but hopefully for others who are praying the same desperate prayers that Isaac prayed.  I feel better knowing that I can still pray my fervent prayer for more children and confident that God will give me an answer one day.  Granted it may not be the answer I was hoping for, but I know that if God's answer is no He will give me peace and comfort to understand and cope.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Retreat with Jesus

Here is today's devotional.  I thought it really touched what I have been convicted with lately.  I know I need to spend time with Jesus daily, but I let the  stuff around the house come first.  I am really making a valiant effort to read from the Bible each day and spend some quality time in prayer. 

Retreat with Jesus

3 Mar 2010
Amy Carroll
"Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things." Psalm 107:8-9 (NIV)
When a new neighbor moved in next door, Caroline rallied the troops in her neighborhood to prepare a warm greeting. She and her friend planned a feast to take over to welcome the newcomer to their community. Caroline called her new neighbor and was surprised when her hospitality was met with suspicion.
"Why did you say that you wanted to bring me dinner?" the new neighbor questioned. Caroline explained that it was a tradition in their area and that they'd like to deliver dinner to welcome her personally. The neighbor responded, "I tell you what. I'll give you a call when I'm h ungry." Click.
Caroline reflected on how many times we treat God the same way that her new neighbor treated her. Each day God lays out a feast and invites every believer to come eat our fill. I had to ask myself an important question: How many days do I rush by God's table and throw an "I'll come when I'm hungry!" back over my shoulder?
I think I'm full, but God knows that I'm simply ignoring my hunger. I need to sit down daily to eat and be filled from God's table. Luke 1:53 says, "He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty" (NIV).
I long to have a heart to approach Him daily just as I am—poor and hungry. He invites me to come to Him so that I can leave rich and full. What a glorious exchange! What a divine pleasure!
Daily time enjoying God is essential, but sometimes God gives us an invitation to a private, extended feast. I am envious of one of my pastors. He takes a week each year for a spiritual retreat to a monastery . He goes where it's quiet and simple and spends a week with Jesus. Maybe someday when my children are older and I'm caught up on laundry I'll be able to do that, but recently God led me to do something equally wonderful on a smaller scale. I took a spiritual retreat during the school day in a room at my church.
As I walked up the stairs to the empty room, I felt nervous. I had spent hours in prayer with others, but I had never spent this long alone with God. Would I have enough to say to Him? Would He speak to me in the silence? Would the minutes drag by? Would I walk out unchanged or disappointed?
At the end of the day, my questions were answered. God met me there. We filled our time together with prayer, Bible reading and worship. God spoke words of direction to me in the silence. I came in knowing that I was hungry, and He was faithful to fill me.
Having mini-retreats with Jesus is something that I plan to do now at least twice a year. In the midst of a fu ll life, it's necessary to intentionally set extended time aside to seek His face and worship Him. I'll still look forward to a week in an abbey, but in the meantime I'll bask in a school day retreat as I renew my relationship with God and feast on His goodness

I was inspired over the weekend to reflect on the life of my Grandmother and what a servant she was.  I also had the chance to listen to a beautiful memorial for a sweet young mother.  She went to ACU at the same time as I did.  I was inspired to focus on my life as a child of God and not to focus on what I don't have or what God has told me no to.
You can listen to the memorial for Jenny Bizaillion here.

Matthew 5:6, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled."

Monday, March 1, 2010

Redneck Country

This past weekend we traveled to Southeast Texas, for my Grandmother's funeral. It's always so much fun to come back and remember all the good times we had living there. My sister and I laugh at how "redneck" everything is. Here are some of the observations we had this weekend...
  • Only here would you see a blue/purple lincoln town car with a long horn skull hood ornament. No kidding, we saw it, I just didn't have the camera.
  • I think the last "old time" Walmart is in Vidor Texas. Seriously who knew that Walmart wasn't open 24 hours and wasn't a SuperCenter?
  • I'm sure if we went to certain areas of the big city we would find someone with a big, nut and bolt in their ear, but we saw it at Walmart of all places, again I wish I had my camera, that one for sure would have made it on the people of walmart website.
  • It's only in a small town when you check into a hotel and bring your little brown sack with your open can of beer at 4 in the afternoon!
  • Apparently McDonald's is the only place to go in Vidor on a Saturday afternoon for lunch. My sister and I saw it all while letting the kids play and release some energy. We heard a lady on her cell phone say she almost punched another lady in the face...that's the nice version...we got the ear full. She then had to carry her screaming child out of the play area so she could have a smoke. Then there was the other screaming child who was carried out screaming at the top of his lungs "I don't want to go to wal-mart!" My sister and I could not hold in the laughter. So, to the mother of that child, we are so sorry for laughing. After that incident, another local said "You gotta love this town." We laughed even harder! It gets worse. There was the couple with two kids who came in fighting. Yes, they were arguing in words I hadn't heard in a while. The male of the couple proceeded to mumble more words while playing the video games. The female of the pair was getting the food out for the kids. The younger child, while bigger than Glade and Addison was sitting in a highchair. She grabbed a french fry at which point the male stopped playing the video came over took the french fry and told the little girl to say grace. The little girl folded her hands mumbled a few words and then ate the french fry. The male then left to have a smoke.
Denise and I decided that the town doesn't need a movie theater, you can see it all at McDonald's! And to think we used to live there. It was different that long ago though...I just know it!

We had a great time sharing old memories of our days living there.  We all have so many good memories of being with Granny and Grandaddy.  The resounding one that we all thought of was Sunday lunch at Granny and Grandaddy's house.  We would always have roast, rice and gravy, green beans and corn.  So in honor of Granny we will be having just that this Sunday after church.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Faith vs. reality (or what I know as reality)

I know I have mentioned before that I don't want to do another IVF cycle, but I have really been struggling with the desire to be pregnant.  This week I have been hopeful...let me explain.  I haven't been feeling great, last week I had some ususual spotting that was too early to be a period, so that got me to thinking.  Maybe, just maybe I could get pregnant on my own.  There is one part of me that says "Don't hold your breath Leah."  Then there's another part of me who thinks back to something someone told me when we first found out the last cycle was unsuccessful.  A very good friend of mine said God is bigger than my uterus. 
So with all the things I have been feeling lately...I started to wonder.  So I bought a pregnancy test today and of course it was negative.  Tim really stresses that I need to think positive, but it's so hard to even comprehend that I could get pregnant without the help of a Dr. and lots of medication.  I know God could do it, I'm just having a hard time thinking that He will.  So I guess, how do you balance the two?  How do  I hold on to hope and have faith that God could make it happen but also keep my sanity when month after month it doesn't happen?  I think it would just be easier to know that it will never happen as opposed to always wondering, even just a little if maybe, just maybe this was the month.
So I find myself thinking about talking to the dr.  What if there was something we could try.  What if we tried chlomid for a few months?  What if there was some new drug that just might work if we only tried it?  But then I remember I just need to sit and wait.  God has big things in store, I just pray hard daily that He will bless us with more children.
So, I ask you to pray some specific things for me.
1.  Pray that God will give me peace and an understanding to know what to do...wait, pursue adoption, or see the doctor again and try some less expensive methods of conceiving.
2.  Pray that I can lose some weight, seems I have been slowly putting on the pounds since we lost Ethan.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What I needed to hear today

This is the devotional I got today. It is just what I needed to hear. Since doing my last post I have been in a funk, really wanting something that Lord is not ready to give me. Another child. So here I am in mess of emotions and I get a devotional about a mess. Thank you God for knowing what I need. Just to sit and wait.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness..." Romans 8:26 (NIV)
Have you ever been in a situation that seemed like such a mess you simply couldn't make sense of it? Like trying to straighten out a tangled necklace, you wonder how in heavens' name did all these knots get kinked and twisted and pulled so tight. And in the midst of trying to untangle a knot on one side you inadvertently form another on the other end.It's frustrating when this happens with a piece of jewelry. And it's even more frustrating when it happens in relationships.The other day I sat down to pray about a messy relationship and the knots were so consuming I couldn't even begin to make sense of it all. I didn't even know what to pray. I kept trying to think of wise words to offer up to the Lord that would surely unlock pieces and parts of this mess. But I was completely without a drop of insight. All I could see was a mess.So, that's all I prayed, "Lord, this is a mess."And then I just sat quietly and waited.And waited.And waited.All that waiting time makes a doing girl like me feel like my nerves are going to bust out of my skin and start yanking my limbs into action. So, with all my might, I made myself sit and say nothing at all except, "Lord, this is a mess." And you know what? It was really hard to sit there with no answers. No wise words to pray. My usually very verbal self couldn't express anything but, "Lord, this is a mess."I believe it's situations like this for which Romans 8:26-28 was written:In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (NIV).In our weakness we can't objectively search our mind and spirit. And often in our weakness we can't untangle our knots according to God's will. We are too intertwined in emotion and assumption. That's why sometimes it's best if we just simply sit quietly and let the Spirit do some groaning, untangling and working on our behalf.Like verse 28 says, there is good to come out of this. God is working and will work good out of this mess. Sometimes I think the only thing standing between our mess and His good work from it is our need to sit quietly. In the quiet beautiful things happen:• We calm down.• We create some white space between our harsh reaction and the way we'd want to react if we really thought things through first.• We can ask God to intervene with real wisdom instead of our assumptions.• God can show us where we need to change. We can't control the other person and parking our efforts toward trying will exhaust us. But we can let God help us change, which will create positive progress. (For more great things that can happen in the quiet, visit Lysa's blog linked below.)I can't help but notice that the first four letters of Messiah spell mess. We need Him. Only the Messiah can take our mess and turn it into a untangled message of hope, forgiveness, and ultimately love.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Things I've lost

At our last couseling session I was given an assignment. That assignment was to list all of the things that I feel I have lost. I have been thinking about this for a long time. Our session was at the end of December. I would find myself thinking during the day about things and make a mental note to put that on my list. I have been feeling so good the last few weeks that I just couldn't bring myself to actually sit down and write it out. Today at preschool we had the ministers come for our community helper. They taught a lesson on prayer and how sometimes God will just say no to a prayer we pray. That got me to thinking of all the prayers I have prayed the last few months and how God's answer was no. So I felt today was a good day to make the list and share it, or just write it out for my benefit.

I lost my son.

I lost an embryo...well 3 really but one had a good chance of making it.

I lost the chance to be pregnant ever again. Which is something that I am still trying to accept. i want to feel that again, I want to feel my baby growing inside me, but unless God works a miracle or we win the lottery I know it will not happen.

I lost the chance to see Glade and Addison interact with their little brother. I see them around other babies and how sweet they are with them and it makes my heart hurt.

I lost part of me. I will never be the same and sometimes it makes me angry.

I lost the ability to look at a newborn baby and not feel sad and think of Ethan.

I lost the ability to attend a baby shower. At least for the moment. I never got to have one for the twins and was looking forward to having one for Ethan.

I lost the ability to be excited when someone gets pregnant. I feel that I will always be sad and wish it was me. I am hoping that gets better with time.

I lost my faith in God. Maybe that isn't the right way to say it, but I am disappointed in Him. I prayed and asked God to fix it, to make it right, to give me a baby. His making it right was not what I expected. I am hoping to see some blessings beyond this time of my life. I know that God will do more than I can imagine, but I can't imagine losing my baby to be better than a whole lot. (if that makes sense...)

I lost time with my kids. I haven't been the best mom to them through all this and I feel horrible. All the times I could have picked them up but said no. All the times they wanted to play and I couldn't because I was too upset.

The counselor said that after I write the list I need to give it to God and let Him take it. So here you go God, it's all yours.

On another note...please pray for our family as we explore the possiblity of adopting. We can't actively pursue anything right now because it is too expensive, but we are praying for God to open some doors and help us add to our family.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


I have lots of questions lately. It's funny to me how confident I can be sometimes and then just a few minutes later be filled with doubt. I am struggling to understand all that has happened in the last 6 months. I know that I may never have a full undertstanding. I know that God can do more than I could ever dream or imagine, but why couldn't that be to have a healthy pregnancy? Why did this not work for us? Why is God allowing so many others to have more children? I may never have any answers, but it sure would be nice for God to give me a little of His reasoning.
When I start feeling this way I can feel the panic rise and the urge to fix it comes. If I had my way I would be filling out adoption paperwork to get started with the adoption process. Unfortunately we don't have the money for adoption right now. We have to pay the bills for the fertility treatments we did this year.
I am praying that God will help us quickly pay off the debt so we can start saving and begin the process of adoption. I am praying that God will allow us to be a family for a sweet baby in need. I am praying that I can wait on God and listen for His direction.
My sister gave me a bible study about starting a Grand New Day. It is a study of Joy. I think it will really help me. The first lesson was all about listening for your wake up call from God. I think He has given me serveral wake up calls and I just pressed the snooze button. I liked how things were going. Well, I am awake now! Ready to see what Grand New Day God has in store...