Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflect, Resolve, Rejoice, Receive

This year...Wow, it is just hours from being over.  Where, oh where does time go.  Sometimes I think we spend half of our lives wishing it away.  Waiting for tomorrow...hoping it brings better things. Longing for this day or that day to be over.  Waiting for the weekend or vacation or holidays. So much so that we sometimes miss time as it swoops in and flies right on by.
Well, I for one wish that this time machine we are traveling in at warp speed had a brake on it so that it would just slow down.  I do not know that I am ready for 2011 and all that it will hold.  It shatters my soul to think that I have not held my son in over ten months. It really does encourage me to think that as each day passes, I am one day closer to holding him again.
It is mind boggling to think that in five days I will be 37 years less than two months we will celebrate Eli's one year in a little over three months I will be holding a new baby...different six months my hubbie and I will celebrate 14 years of marriage and 15 years of knowing and loving (it was pretty much love at first sight!) just over eight months my oldest baby will be 10 years old.
As utterly crazy as it might sound,  2010 brought with it many, many blessings to couple with the heartaches.  I got to be a part of and hold a miracle. I will always look on Eli's birthday and home going with a particular fondness that is beyond comprehension.  I have been given a new and completely different outlook on life and others.  I got to know the generosity and kind spirit of people and made many new friends. My second child made a personal decision to accept Christ into his heart.  I learned a great many lessons this past year that I will carry with me in my life to come. 
But most and greatest of all I leaned more about mercy, grace, and love from a very patient God in this last year than in all of my 36 others combined.  I developed a comfortable enough relationship with God that I was able to go to him in my darkest of hours and brightest of hours.  I might not have been able to verbalize to him every time, but He knew my silence for what it was...a shattered heart.  I rejoice in the Lord and praise him for giving and taking away and folks...I have no idea how that is possible except through Him. 

2011, who knows what it will hold...We just have to trust that God will give us our just portions...whatever that may be.  I pray with all of my heart that He will allow me to deliver my fifth child health and keep my others healthy as well. He hears our prayers you know?  I do not make resolutions for the new year.  I think that is kind of pointless, truth be told.  I do reflect on the previous year and try to change things that are within my control, things that I know I can do better. I know I will be carrying a heaviness into 2011 with me that I think I will never be rid of.  You know what though,  I think we all will to a certain degree.  We all have our crosses to bear in a sense. 
Let me just be candid with you for a moment.  I do have one wish for 2011 that I wish for beyond any other.  I wish with all of my heart and soul for anyone who reads this blog that does not have a personal relationship with God to come to know Him.  When I get to Heaven, whether it be before the Lord comes to take us home or when He comes, I want to one day see ALL of your faces and embrace each and everyone of you as brothers and sisters in Christ. Salvation or acceptance of God is a gift He offers us.  It does not cost anything.  If our lives meant so much to God that He could allow His Son to suffer and die on a cross for us, then how could we deny Him our life and love? It is as simple as earnestly saying to God, "Lord, I want to be saved by Your grace and mercy and be a new person in you.  I want you to live in my heart and make me more like you. I open my heart and life for you to do as you please." That's it.  That's all it requires.  There is nothing else we can do to get to Heaven.  We just have to accept Him and when we do, He will do the rest. 
I can promise you this...If God had not been available to me this last year, I would be in despair.  I am not in despair. I have hope...My family has hope.  We do not grieve as those without hope.  My hope is in Jesus Christ.  Where is yours?
Make 2011 the best year yet and allow God to have His way in all that we do.  Pray without ceasing and please know that I love each and every one of you and wish you the best.
Happy New Year!

Much love,

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tragedy and Triumph

Christmas is a time when we remember Jesus who was born in a manger and died on the cross. It is a time when we come together as families and celebrate this special occasion. Today, I am feeling very reflective. The last week in this small town I live in has been filled with so much tragedy and triumph.

One week ago yesterday, a student whom I taught three years ago was tragically killed in an accident on the way to school. She along with her two cousins were traveling on icy roads and were involved in an accident. Two of the three were killed and it really has this town reeling. Brooke was the student I taught and she was such a delightful young lady, although, I'm not sure she would like me saying that. Brooke was a no nonsense kinda girl.  I thought she was great! She certainly did not take anything off of anyone and wouldn't allow people to mess with others either. She was just the kind of girl I would have wanted on my side when I was younger. She will be greatly missed. She is greatly missed.

Today, I found out that a student I taught last year has been very sick.  He had some sort of virus that attacked his heart and damaged it beyond repair. Can you guess what Spencer and his family were praying to receive for Christmas.  You got it, a heart.  Spencer got his heart today! He received a transplant that saved his life. It makes me sad to think that some one's family is dealing with a loss in order for Spencer to get his new heart, but I am so very glad Spencer got his heart. Spencer was in my sixth period last year and I really liked him.  He was quiet (for the most part) and just a good kid. I had no idea he had been sick until someone told me yesterday that a heart had been found for him. What a wonderful Christmas his family will have this year!!

It seems like so many are faced with challenges this Christmas. Sometimes I feel like going to sleep and waking up when it is all over and other times I feel hopeful that we will have a good Christmas. My emotions are so mixed up this year.  Last year, we had Eli, even though we knew he wouldn't be staying long. This year he is not here. It has been a very tough year and as it comes to a close, I am hesitant to see it end.  I know that is crazy.  It just feels like I am moving away from him each and every day. The end of the year brings a sense of finality with it.
As you hustle around this Christmas please remember to pray for Brooke's family and her cousin's family as well. Also please remember Spencer and his family.  Please pray that his recovery is easy and without problems.

It is my prayer that each of you have a Merry Christmas!
Much love,

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Favorite

If I had to choose a favorite part of the bible, it would most definitely be the birth of Jesus. The Christmas story is so beautiful but filled with drama and heartache. Mary, a mere child, was given the honor of carrying and giving birth to Jesus. Even at such a tender age, Mary knew what an honor and how much heartache this would be.  Mary praised God for giving her this gift. I would imagine that Mary quickly became an outcast in society, at least among those that thought "Yea, right immaculate conception..." Could you imagine a young teenage girl telling you that she was pregnant having never known a man? We would not be quick to believe something like that. I'll tell ya, Herod was sure scared of this little baby. He sent his "people" looking for Jesus.  It was his intention to kill this baby that came as the Messiah. Yep, he actually ordered all of the babies two and under in Bethlehem killed. What he didn't know is well...Joseph and Mary had God directing their path. An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph with a message to get Jesus to Egypt and stay there until Herod was dead. Joseph did as he was instructed and Jesus was kept safe. He was kept safe as a child, but as an adult He was crucified.  It was all part of the plan and Mary knew this. She knew her son was not meant to live on earth, physically that is, but for a short time. She knew He would suffer and die.  She was not bitter.  She embraced the honor bestowed upon her.
Quite frankly, Mary is my hero. There is so much to glean from this teenager turned mother, mother of Jesus that is. Grace, determination, endurance...these are just a few character traits that come to mind. I wish for just a fraction of Mary's grace.  She could have chosen to be bitter about her situation. She could have chosen to say, "Why did you choose me for this God?" She didn't and God knew she wouldn't. That is why He chose her. Mary was determined to protect Jesus as a child. She was determined to raise him just as God instructed her to. God knew she would.  That is why He chose her. God knew that Mary had the stamina to endure the hardships and ridicule she would face being the mother of Jesus.  He wouldn't have chosen her otherwise. I look forward to meeting this special lady one day. I do not know what I will say to her, but I know the words will come when I get to heaven.

I'll leave you tonight with a few pictures. I decided to spend part of our homeschool days last week working on a project.  We made a block Nativity.  It was lots of fun and the kiddos really got excited about finishing their work so we could get busy working on it each day. I got the idea from The Pioneer Woman's homeschool blog. It was lots of fun for everyone. I'm also posting a picture of the Christmas stockings I made for my kiddos. I was really excited about how they turned out. Each of my five children have a stocking. I never thought that I would be hanging five stockings for my children and I certainly never thought I would not get to fill one...

Much love,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

For him...

I saw the cutest little boy Christmas outfits and wanted to buy one...
I wanted to make a blue minky dot blanket to wrap him in...
Would he be scared of sitting on Santa's knee...
What would we tell Santa he wanted from him...

Instead of buying a Christmas outfit, we bought ornaments.
Instead of making him a blanket, I made him a stocking to hang and remember him by.
Instead of sitting on Santa's knee, he gets to sit on the knee of Jesus... He's not at all scared.
Instead of Christmas goodies under the tree, he has his own tree and all of his goodies are memorial items.

Sometimes it's just not enough...
I miss him...

The name of the song in the slide show is "Hug Him Once for Me".  It was written and sung by the friend of a friend who also lost a son. The singers name is Erica McClure.

Merry Christmas to ALL!

Much love,

Monday, December 6, 2010

He's Able

Can God be removed from society?  This is a post that has been on my mind and heart for a while.  I taught in a public school setting for twelve years.  For the twelve years I was teaching, people would warn me...don't pray out loud...don't refer to God in your teaching...don't let them know you are a follower of Christ. Preachers stand in the pulpit and preach about how God is being taken out of this country. Older people lament about how it is so different than it was when they growing up and to tell you the truth, there are some differences.  There are people who would like to remove God from this life.  I am not foolish enough the think otherwise. I do, however, have a different perspective about this than others. I think there are a lot of people, preachers included, who do not realize what a omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God we serve. I think as long as there are followers of Christ who are willing to be a vessel, He will always be where He is needed.
This is where this blog post gets tough for me. I have been back and forth about writing this blog and how to write it. I had decide not to write it but here I am...

When storms arise in a believers life, who do they typically turn to?  Without hesitation, I answer God, their pastor, church, family, and friends. I fully believe that God uses others to help us when we are walking through these storms. Sometimes, He uses people you would least expect and chooses not to use those we most expect. If I have one source of bitterness through our journey with Eli, it would be with  the preacher at the church we attend.  I have attended this church since I was young and the pastor who was once there, never failed to shepherd his flock.  I feel like that is part of the calling of a minister to those in need. With a different pastor now it is not the same.  Like I said, this is my one and only sources of bitterness and I have allowed it to fester somewhat.  Let me just say that there is a distinct difference in a pastor and a church.  My church family is amazing.  The people in the church I attend are kind, giving, supportive, and so, so very the epitome of Christ likeness. The Lord has used my church family in an amazing way. Several of them came and just sat with Jamie and me at the hospital, came to our house, brought food, lent and ear or an encouraging word, offered advice, brought groceries...the list just goes on and on.  From the beginning, my "pastor"  was absent and unavailable for my family. Sure, he did his duty and left and cake on our front porch along with a phone message to let us know it was there. Then, he did attempt to visit with us at about 7:30 one evening, but I had my jammies on and stayed in my bedroom.  The visit lasted about 5 minutes. And folks....that's pretty much it.  The night Eli was born and died, he showed up at the hospital at around 9:00 or so and stayed (across the room) for about 15 very awkward and quiet minutes, said a literal three sentence and very insincere prayer, and left. The week after Eli died he and his family visited our house once again briefly to deliver food (which I am thankful for) and visit for another few minutes. I never once felt shepherded by this man and I'm pretty sure I can speak for Jamie that he did not either.

Here is where this post gets easier.  Despite the lack of "pastoring" my family received during this time God provided in other places and ways. My uncle David, who is a pastor in another town, ministered to us and was there.  He held Eli and loved him.  It did not matter that it was just the body of a baby who was gone. He guided us through a process we were unfamiliar and uncomfortable with. He traveled from well over and hour and a half away and was there for us. He is who we chose to deliver the sermon and lead Eli's service.  I am so thankful for him. My cousin Beverly...she has been there every step of the way. She did all of the music for Eli's service. She is still there... My family has been amazing, both on my side and Jamie's. There have just been so many people that God has used to minister to us.

Perhaps the most unusual group that God gave us was my work.  I have blogged before about the prayer warriors that I worked with. These people, this group of people are what gives me peace that God will never be removed from public school or any other public place where He wants to be. Folks, I worked at a public school, the one place where people say that God has been removed, and these people, this place, ministered to me more than my own pastor. God has the power to use ALL sorts of people and places to do His work.
All of these people were not fundamental, independent Baptist, like the church I attend. We are not all the same gender, race, or political party.  The common thread we share is that we are followers of Christ. God took that common thread and wove a fabric that was tightly knit. I think if we allow Him to do this in any situation He will. It is just a matter of trusting that He will.  I never once doubted that God would provide for our needs spiritually after Eli's diagnosis and death. When I think about the people that I worked with, it really does not surprise me that He chose to use them.  You know, not only did He use the people I was currently working with, He also used people I had taught with at my previous school.

God is huge! He can and will be where He wants to be. Trust and have faith that the God we serve is able!

Much love,

Friday, December 3, 2010

90 Percent Chance of a storm...

This week marks a year in the beginning of one of the darkest periods of my life. Tuesday was one year ago that we found out our son had Potter's Syndrome. This past week has been tough for us. Thursday marked a year from the date a doctor looked at us and said, "There is still time to terminate this pregnancy." I am so thankful that was never an option for Jamie and I. I am so thankful for the thirty-two weeks we were given with Eli. Yes, it was difficult carrying a baby that I knew was going to die, but in many ways it was the most special thing I have ever done. You know, Jamie and I never once thought about releasing Eli from the womb before God was ready for him to be. God had placed him there and that was good enough for us. I think back to that conversation with the specialist that suggested we terminate.  That was an immediate and automatic response for him after he performed our ultrasound. He told us that our son had a less than 10% chance of surviving outside of my womb. He looked at those odds and said, "There is a 90% chance that this baby will die anyway so why carry him?"  I looked at those odds and said, "God can and will if He chooses.  How could I deny Him the chance to show us a miracle?" Even if that doctor had told us that Eli had a zero percent chance of surviving, we would have chosen to carry him.  We were able to make memories with Eli that are priceless.  We were able to enjoy the little things that I took for granted in other pregnancies. Honestly, I think had we chosen to terminate, our grief would be much greater than it is. I do not know if we would ever have had the peace that we do now. The memories of those days after Eli was diagnosed is still so fresh.  For those of you have been following Eli's story, you know how special storms are to us and well...Tuesday, it stormed! It was so fitting. 

Missing my boy so much tonight...
Much love,

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Merry Christmas Sweet Baby Boy!

What do you get a baby for Christmas? What do you get a baby for Christmas when they are no longer here?
I LOVE shopping for Christmas gifts for my children! It is so much fun for Jamie and I to put our heads together and figure out what we are going to give them. Better still is taking them shopping for each other. It is really sweet to see the thought the boys put in to gifts for each other. Now, I must admit those little shopping trips are usually done at the last minute, but this year Cooper has already been perusing the toy isles at Wally World for Jay a present. I think he has a pretty good idea what he is getting Jay. We just have to go get it.
This year shopping is much more bittersweet than any other year. We still have enjoyed shopping for the kids. I just feel at a loss where Eli is concerned.  I want so badly to be buying for him too. I want so badly to take him for his first picture with Santa. I want to buy him a baby's first Christmas sleeper. Instead, I just dream...
Today, we went to the cemetary and put a Christmas tree by Eli's grave. We took the kiddos and helped them each pick out an ornament to put on the tree. Jamie and I picked out a special ornament also. Penny, who's story you can read by clicking on her name, shared this idea a couple of weeks ago. The boys had a wonderful time picking our their ornaments to give Eli.  Lucie Rose was so cute, she wanted to carry her ornament and had to write her own message to Eli on the back. We let each of them put their ornament on the tree.
We placed a bow on the top because Eli is our gift.
Jay chose a deer because he loves hunting and thought Eli would also.
Cooper chose a Santa ornament because it reminded him of ornaments on our tree at home.
Lucie Rose chose Buzz Lightyear because she just knows it would be Eli's favorite.
Jamie and I chose a Snoopy ornament because when Jamie was a small boy he had Snoopy ornaments.
We put Jamie's Snoopy ornaments on our tree every year.
We chose a baby blue tree simply because it just fits for our baby boy. It felt good to be able to do something for him. We have passed along to others that anyone can put an ornament on Eli's tree. I also plan on making all of my sweeties matching stockings this year.  I want Eli included in every way. I want him here, but I know that can't happen. I want things to be different than they are...but I know that is impossible. So...We are making the best of this Christmas season in the best way we know how.

Much love,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Spirit of Thanksgiving

One of my friends on Facebook began posting a thanksgiving journal as her status everyday for the month of November. I thought this was a really great idea and I jumped on board. Thus began my journal of thanksgiving. There is so much in life to give thanks for.  Some people have questioned me as to how I could give thanks to a God that allowed my son to die...a God that took my son from me. Well I guess I have a little different view on that. I know my son is not here...he died. I know that and it hurts...EVERYDAY! I also know that I got to be the mother of one of the most amazing little fighters ever. What if I had never gotten pregnant with him?  What if God had chosen not to give me that precious little boy? That thought is inconceivable to me. The truth is, life might be easier than it is now.  Then again who knows? I would not be the person I am now, that is for sure. I more than likely would not be carrying our precious rainbow in my belly. Eli a gift in every way. I am better for having given him life. I am a different person because of his life and death. He gave all that he had and I am thankful for all he gave. God certainly used him to show me that he still works miracles.
I am thankful for this life God has blessed me with. I am thankful that I am the wife of the most wonderful man. I am thankful that I am the mother of five. I am thankful for so much. God is good all the time!

Next Tuesday, November 30, will be a entire year since our lives changed. That day is so fresh in my mind. I look back and think that life changed for us on that day, but I had no idea how much it really would change in the months to come. I think back to this time last year and how ignorant I was of what was to come. I am determined to make this holiday season a happy time for my family. Yes, for me it is sad in many ways, but it is happy also. I think that Eli should be here right now...then I stop and think, No, he shouldn't.  It was never in God's plans for us to have him here for a long time. That is a hard pill to swallow, but it is what it is. Life is what it is. I refuse to be angry with God for that.  Instead, I choose to thank Him for what He has given us, because in all truth...He has blessed us beyond all measure...

Happy Thanksgiving to All! It is my prayer everyone has an abundance to thank Him for also!

Much love,

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What's in a name?

I have formed some wonderful bonds with some wonderful women since our journey with Eli began. Some of these women I have been friends with for a while, some I have become friends with since losing Eli, some I have only met once or twice, and some I want to meet but have not had the opportunity. These women know where I am and where I've been because we all walk this road together. It is not a pleasant road to travel. It is bumpy and full of twists and turns that seem to take us backward sometimes. We all strive to move forward on this road and when it seems that one or more of us is lost and can't, the others are there to give directions. Directions that we take without hesitation because we know these friends have been in that place before. We weep with each other...we rejoice with each other...we defend each other...we pray for each other...we encourage each other...we hurt for each other...WE ARE A FAMILY OF SORTS. None of us would choose this family if we could help it...because, you see, we have all lost babies. Who would choose that?
Well before we told anyone (family included) about our current pregnancy one of these precious mamas sent me the sweetest message. Melissa sent me an email one day and in her message she told me that every time she sees her baby girl's name, she thinks of Eli. Her daughter's name is Amelia. I had never noticed it before, but Eli's name is in Amelia's name. She also pointed out that his name is in her name too. I thought that was just the neatest thing and so sweet of her to share that with me. At this point Jamie and I knew we were expecting again but were not sure if we were having a boy or a girl. We were throwing around both boy and girl names and really could not come to a decision on girl names. For a boy, we both knew what we wanted. Hold your breath and don't leave me any ugly comments and I will tell you what the boy name was going to be. If this baby were a boy it was going to be...I mean it, no ugly comments...Obadiah. I truly digress...
While still trying to come up with girl names, Melissa sent me a picture of Amelia's name written in the sand.
Now, I have always loved the name Amelia. It is just a classy name that feels full of adventure to me. In fact, Jamie and I had thrown it around before. Jay was always going to be a Jr. but we thought about it with Cooper. He turned out to be a boy and then the boys named Lucie Rose. To be honest with you, this time we had a block where girl names were concerned. If Eli had been a girl, we would had chosen the name Chloe Grace, but we just did not want to use that name for a girl this time. Anyway, Jamie was totally convinced that this was another boy and his instinct is generally more accurate than mine.
Well October 18, we went to our OB for an appointment and had an ultrasound. Michelle, who is pretty good at what she does, told us that she felt about 60 % sure that this was a girl, but her legs were crossed. Well, we now felt pretty sure we had to come up with a girl name. When I got home that afternoon, I had gotten a message from my friend Melissa. The message contained this picture.
Melissa said in her message that it appeared to her that the letters in Eli's name stood out more than any other letters. She said she thought at first she just wanted to see it but that she asked her husband and he confirmed what she had thought. I definitely see it as well. I immediately called Jamie in and he agreed also. This is the night that Jamie and I decided that if this baby I am carrying is indeed a girl, her name would be Amelia. We thought that it would be a wonderful tribute to Eli and to his friend up in heaven, Amelia. You can read about Amelia's story here.  We also thought about how meaningful it would be for our Amelia to have such a special name. We both feel like this is the name that our gift is meant to have. It was an easy choice to make and one that we love. We can't wait to welcome our Amelia Claire into this world.

Much love,

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Roy G. Biv

Before I get into my post, I would like to ask for prayer once again. I had the opportunity to visit an incomplete family today. It broke my heart because I know where these people are right now. Please pray for Angi and Jim Smith. They had to say goodbye to their baby girl Ella before they even said hello this Monday. Ella was born sleeping this Monday and her mommy and daddy are reeling and in shock. Please pray for this family.

Next, I would like to say thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the prayers that you said for us today and for the comments that were left on both my blog and facebook. God is good ALL of the time and sometimes he gives us balm for our broken hearts and spirits. He always carries us when we can't make it. He is just good ALL of the time!

Today was a rainy and drizzly day. It was cold and just one of those days in general. We were not looking forward to driving 2 1/2 hours in nasty weather. Jamie and I both have been restless, sleepless, and just in knots about the reason for our visit to Birmingham today. Well I have to say that in spite of all of the rain and drizzle, God sent us a rainbow today. We decided to give this rainbow a name. I bet you didn't know that rainbows could be a specific gender, much less have a name. Well our rainbow is a girl and her name is Amelia Claire Hill (her name is another blog later to come).

Jamie and I found out about 13 weeks ago that we were expecting another baby. This came as a complete and utter surprise to us. We were just not sure that we wanted anymore children. We both felt that we could never again go through another loss. Our hearts and souls were just too vulnerable. God had different plans for us, as He normally does when we make our minds up without Him. I will not lie and say that these weeks have been easy. They have been very difficult. We told no one of this and finally two weeks ago we told our families. This is my fifth child and well the waist line expands more and more quickly with each one. I will be 17 weeks this Friday. It had been extremely difficult to blog while keeping this information under wraps.

Our precious Amelia Claire will never, ever replace Eli. He will live in our hearts and be a part of our family forever. Amelia is another extension of our family. While we are more relieved than we have been in four months, we will only rest easy when our baby girl is here and in our arms. We are taking nothing for granted. While hopefully, Amelia will fill our arms and fill her place in our hearts, lives and family...she will never fill the hole left from the death of our precious son Eli. His spot in our hearts, lives, and family is sealed and impenetrable. It is his. While lamenting one night about how a new baby would ever fit in to our family and heart, Jamie told me this.
     "Each time we became pregnant after having Jay, we wondered how we could love another child as much as the other. Each time our heart has grown to find room. Our hearts did not shrink after Eli and it will grow again to find room for a new baby."

Well today we went for our level II ultrasound and the doctor looked at this baby from head to toe and declared her kidneys to be "a textbook picture" of what they should be. I had been waiting to exhale and in that moment I was able to. I am not naive enough to think that she is ours forever but she is with us now and healthy! All praise be to God!!!! This was actually our fourth ultrasound but it was the "one".

So once again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the prayers and comments. Please continue to pray for a smooth and boring pregnancy for our family. God bless you my friends!

If there is any question in your mind about whether or not God's ways are above ours, well know this. Amelia is due to arrive April 16, which is the same exact date that Eli was due (only one year later). I promise you, I would never have planned anything of the such.

BTW, If you were wondering (as was Jamie), Roy G. Biv is a mnemonic for the colors of a rainbow. (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.)

Much love,

Monday, November 1, 2010

Prayer Request

I know I have not been diligent about blogging lately. I promise it is not that I do not feel the need to come to my blog anymore.  It is quite the opposite. I have spent some time lately reading through my blog and reflecting on my feelings and state of mind at particular points during this last year. Eli's journey began August of last year and it will never end. Each day here lately has held some special memories of my precious little boy. I miss him terribly. No matter the circumstances, that will never change. It was this time last year when I first began feeling him move around in my belly. I simply loved to feel him move. This time last year, I was unaware of the turns our lives would take in the months to come. I have forever been changed because of those events. I do not see life through rose colored glasses anymore. I am living the heartache that life can sometimes be. The reality that just around the corner life could change...the reality that God gives and He takes away...the reality that sometimes in order to spend time with your children, you have to sit at a cold gravestone and talk to the air...all of these things I used to take for granted. No more.

I have a heavy and scared heart tonight. I would appreciate your prayers for Jamie and I on Wednesday. We have a very important appointment at 12:40, Wednesday. We have both found ourselves sleepless and restless in the last few days. I know this is a short post and hopefully later on this week I will post a longer blog.  I just needed to ask for prayer tonight.

Much love,

Friday, October 22, 2010

A collision course...or not.

I heard a song for the first time today on Melissa's blog that really spoke to me. The name of the song is Where Joy and Sorrow Meet. When I heard the song, I stopped and listened to it then went on about my business. Then this afternoon I just could not get that one phrase "where joy and sorrow meet" out of my head. I went to Playlist and listened to the song again and then went to Youtube and listened to it with the lyrics once more.

It got me thinking...Have I ever been to the place where joy and sorrow meet? Here is where my thoughts took me.

There have been many milestone moments in my 36 and 1/2 years. The day my brother drowned...lots and lots of sorrow there. There was joy in that he is in a place of perfect peace and rest with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I do not know if in those days and weeks that followed his death that I was able to find the joy. I was only fourteen when he went home and not really sure I could grasp that joy and sorrow could meet. I knew the grief of a sister that watched her parents in hopes that they would not fall and be unable to get up. I learned a lot about grieving with God during that period of my life. God was preparing me even then for the death of my child.

The day I graduated from high school...joyful for sure. I am not sure there was much sorrow on my part to be found... but a milestone nonetheless.

The day I got married...joyful beyond belief, but if I am truthful...There was sorrow there. The sorrow of leaving home...leaving my sister, who had been my sidekick for many years... the sorrow of missing my younger brother grow up from a birds eye view. Looking back, I would say that was a day where joy and sorrow met. The joy just seemed to overwhelm the sorrow and still does.

The day I found out that Jamie and I had conceived our first child only to learn that the pregnancy was not viable. Joy and sorrow collided that day. Sorrow seamed to overwhelm this time.

The second and third times that Jamie and I found out that we had conceived a precious child, to once again learn that these pregnancies were not viable either. Yet again there was a collision of joy and sorrow, where sorrow overshadowed the joy.

Then, there was the day that I discovered I was pregnant with Jay. Joy, joy, and more joy. That is until I began showing signs once again of miscarriage. I went to the doctor for and ultrasound and there was no heartbeat. Once again there was sorrow. I was scheduled for a follow up ultrasound and D&C the following week. There was unbelievable joy when we discovered that there was indeed life growing in my womb. There was a heartbeat... Then he was born...Joy beyond any sorrow imaginable.

The day I discovered my little Cooper was on the way...great joy. No sorrow to be found. Then Cooper was born. I may have thought twice about having an infant and 18 month old but I had no sorrow, only joy!

The same with finding out Lucie Rose was on the way and also the day she was born. Tremendous joyfulness filled my heart and house.

At this point in my life I remember thinking that I was blessed beyond all belief. Jamie and I even talked about the way God had blessed our lives. I thanked God everyday for ALL of His blessings in my life. Then we got pregnant with my sweet Eli. Wow, did I ever thank God for His blessings when we found out our family would grow by one more. We began making plans that included me being able to stay home with my children and guess what?  God was working it all out. There was no sorrow, only joy...until November 30. We found out news that would bring great sorrow to our family. Sorrow like I had NEVER experienced before. Sorrow like I hope I NEVER experience again! How could I possibly find a place in this storm where joy and sorrow would meet? Boy did I ever though. There is no greater blessing than feeling this baby kick and move and squirm around that would not live. Oh the blessings we found in bi-weekly ultrasounds and watching our baby grow. Then, then came Eli's birthday. I had no idea the joy and sorrow that I would experience this day until it was upon us. There is no greater joy than holding a baby and kissing him when he was not supposed to even be alive. There is NO greater sorrow than holding a baby as he draws his last breath. For me this is when joy and sorrow met. It is extremely difficult to feel both of these emotions at the same time because they are so different. It is completely overwhelming. Which is greater? The joy or the sorrow. I honestly can not answer that question.

I do know this, there is only one place that joy and sorrow can meet and that is at the throne of Jesus Christ. If I could not have gone to His throne for grace and mercy, if He had not been in my life to carry me, I would be permanently broken. I would have no hope. There would be no joy. Because of Him, I have that intermingles with sorrow. I am able to see the great blessing of Eli...God's will...His plan for our lives.

I also know this, there WILL be a day where Joy and sorrow meet and Joy will forever overcome the sorrow in this life. Our tears will be wiped away forever and redemption will take place.

Make sure to pause the playlist at the bottom of the screen before listening to this song.

Is there a time in you life where joy and sorrow have met?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Day For Remembering...

As if we do not remember everyday. He never leaves my mind, just like my other three children. However, yesterday was a special day set aside nationally, to remember all of the sweet little babies gone to heaven. It was a day for celebration. A day to celebrate that our babies are perfect, whole, and in perfect peace. Thank you to those who left comments with the names of your babies. I said a prayer for each of you, as I hope others that were reading did as well.
Yesterday afternoon, just before dusk, several families in our community came together to remember our little ones with a balloon release. It was a sweet time of remembrance. Some of the people present, I have know for a long time, some I have known for a short time, and others I had never met face to face before yesterday. There were people there who released balloons that I have known a really long time and never knew that the have babies in heaven. It was a sweet time! We came together, talked for a little while, prayed, and released our balloons in memory of so many babies. It meant so much to me to have every person there that came. Some even came to support the families of baby loss. That was certainly special! It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about the compassion that would lead someone to come just for support.
This is just as the balloons were first released.

The wind carried them pretty fast. This is not all of them, but the ones that I could get in my lense.

The children all tried to chase the balloons. It was really sweet!

Once they realized they couldn't catch them, they just stopped and watched.  
This is the last picture I got before they got too far away. They really moved fast because of the wind yesterday afternoon.

I think one of the sweetest things to see was the brothers and sisters of these babies releasing their balloons. The children were so excited to be a part of this. One little fella lost his twin brother and reading his card really touched me.  He wrote I miss you on the card. Makes me cry typing it!  My Cooper, well I guess you would have to know him to really understand why his card touched me the way it did. Cooper is a very withdrawn person when it comes to showing emotions and affection. On his card, he wrote "I love you, Eli". These losses have more affect of our children than we realize sometimes. I do think the children being a part of OUR celebration was very special. The whole event was just beautiful.

I want to end by saying that I so appreciate every single person who came to be a part of this time of remembrance. You all are very special people.

Much love,

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

That's A No-no!

Poor Lucie Rose, I think her first word was no. Why? Well, because she heard no-no so much, I think she thought that was her name. Conversations with her were something like this for a while. Lucie Rose, no-no, don't touch that. No-no, don't run in the house...No-no, don't put that in your mouth...No-no, don't go in there...No-no, don't mess with the plug...No-no, don't climb on that...No-no, don't open that...Well you get the picture. It is no wonder children learn to tell us no so quickly. It is a learned behavior. It is a learned behavior that they very quickly have to unlearn. Growing up can be so difficult sometimes.

Taboo is an action or behavior that is socially unacceptable. No-no is a synonym for taboo.

In years past, pregnancy and infant loss were considered a taboo subject. You know, even today it is still taboo in many ways. Here is a fact that is hard to fathom. Not so long ago, when women would give birth to a still baby or an infant that only lived a brief while, they were advised by their doctor to go home and forget about it. Move on with your life. I wonder if those same doctors offered any advise on how to go about this, because I can promise you, that is not at all likely to happen. As hard as that is for me to wrap my head around, I have heard stories (yes, stories plural) of women who never even got to see or hold their babies once they gave birth to them. It was thought by most that if these mothers did not see their babies, it would be easier for them to "get over the loss". I can not even begin to imagine the damage that one act would do to a mother who NEEDS to grieve her baby. There are certainly behaviors in our society that have to be unlearned. Society has made steps toward improvement, but there is more work that needs to be done. Pregnancy and infant loss is something that people in everyday life just do not think about. Really, who wants to think about it? It combines death and children. For most, those subjects just do not go together.
In 1988, then president, Ronald Reagan realized the need for awareness of pregnancy and infant loss. He proclaimed October 15, as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. What a wonderful step forward this was for such a taboo topic.

Did you know that approximately 1in 4 pregnancies will end in miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. Twenty-five percent of ALL pregnancies end in some type of loss. It seems that women are just expected to deal with this. Miscarriage is one of those losses that is just not talked about. Do you know that I actually had a doctor tell me once (while I was suffering a miscarriage) that I just needed to get this one ( the pregnancy) out of my system and start fertility medication. By the way, this conversation took place on the phone only because I insisted on talking to him. This was my second miscarriage and I had yet to see or talk to the doctor, only his nurse. This is NOT my current doctor. I actually found Doctor K. the day after that phone conversation. As long as I live I will never forget that conversation. I do not think that I could even look that man in the face today and it has almost been eleven years ago. I know that miscarriage is common, but that does not make it any less of a loss to the women who are in the midst of the grief caused by it.

Did you know that there is an entire community of us baby loss mamas out here? I had no idea until Eli. There is an incredible, wonderful group of women, who just like me, have lost one or some even more children and are blogging about it. These women are courageous and do such amazing things to honor our babies. They have been a source of strength for me these past few months. These women have all taken steps to make this type of loss a less taboo subject. Through blogging, many of us hope to accomplish raising awareness as well as helping someone else who might be going through this storm.

This Friday is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. If you are one of those mothers or fathers who will be lighting a candle, or sending up a balloon, or just remembering your sweet little baby, leave a comment with your little one's name, date of birth, and date of passing. This will allow me and anyone else who is reading to pray for you on Friday.

I'll get it started.

Jamie and Jennifer Hill
miscarriage - 4/99, 11/99, 6/2000
Elijah Griffin Hill - born February 21, 2010 and lived for two short hours

Much love,

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fear and Faith

A couple of weeks ago, I sat through a message in church that I knew with every fiber of my being was wrong. I wanted to jump up and yell, scream, stomp out of church...something. I just sat there and did nothing but get more and more angry by the second. This time last year, I would not have thought as much about the message as now. This time last year my faith had not been tested to its limit. This time last year I was blissfully unaware that the baby growing in my womb had a fatal defect and would not live. This time last year I was as ignorant as my pastor on how fear and faith coexist.

Two weeks ago, the pastor of the church I attend preached a message on fear and faith. The basis of the message was that fear and faith are opposites. He said that if you have fear then it was impossible to have faith. He believes that someone who has total faith in God will possess no fear. At first, this made me question just how much faith I do have in God because I definitely possess fear. He preached from Exodus chapter 14, when Moses and the Children of Israel were release from Egyptian bondage and Pharaoh decided to follow them. The Lord led the Children of Israel toward the Red Sea and they were surrounded by impassable land and the sea. At this point in the bible it says that the people questioned Moses' motives. Why had be brought them this far to be killed. They had no faith that God would provide them a way out. In verse 13 of this chapter it says
And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
The pastor pulled specifically from this verse. He said that because the people feared they had no faith. I question his thinking on this. I really question his thinking on this. I do not think that fear had anything at ALL to do with the lack of faith those people exhibited. I do not think their fear was a result of their lack of faith. I think even people with the strongest of faith have fear. Just look at Job. No one was more tested than that man. Through the fire, Job never lost faith. He did however fear. Fear is threaded throughout the book of Job. The bible itself tells us to fear God. Well I think fear is fear and you can not separate fear of God from other fear.
I have been through the fire, am walking through the fire, and I have fears...very definite fears. I also have deep faith and trust in God that He will carry me through the fire. Just because he carries us does not mean we avoid the fire or trials. Those trials do cause fear. They even produce more fear sometimes. At least that has been my experience. You know, I think a certain amount of fear is even healthy.

I am curious how others feel about this. Leave me a comment and tell me your thoughts on this. It will not hurt my feelings if you tell me I am off base. I know there are differing opinions out there. I am curious what yours is.

Much love,

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sacred moments

Occasionally, I like to look back through my blog to see what I was feeling at a particular moment. In looking back, I found a common idea in several, if not the majority, of my blog posts.


I have said it before and I will say it again, I BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF PRAYER.

I want to share with you one of the most sacred moments of prayer I have ever experienced. On December 18, 2009 an amazing group of people came together to pray for my son. This was the last day of school before Christmas. This is one of those days that I will never forget. We had only known about my sweet Eli for a couple of weeks during this time. The wounds were still raw and open. We were trying to figure out how we would live without this little life I was growing in my belly. We had no idea what we were in for. We had no idea the bittersweet blessing that carrying to term would be. We determined to make the most out of every second with Eli. We were praying and hoping for a miracle healing. All the while, others determined to pray for us as well. There were so many praying. It is almost overwhelming to think about. There were a group of women that I worked with that decided to hold a weekly prayer time for Eli. They posted verses and updates on the prayer board in the copy room. They are more of a blessing to me than they will ever know. On December 18, we had the first of these special times of prayer. That time was almost indescribable. When I walked into that classroom, there were so many people there. Fellow teachers, my principals, office staff, lunchroom staff, support staff...they were all there. We gathered in a circle, with me in the center and they placed there hands on me. Those that could not placed their hands on someone else and we prayed. I lost my composure and sobbed. A public school was completely united in prayer. God was present in that classroom. So many took their turn to pray and each and everyone of those prayers means so much to much to me now as they did then. There was nothing in that room during those moments but God and ernest pleas from a wonderful group of people.  God's promise is,  20For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. That verse can be found in Matthew chapter 18. That day is just one of those days in a persons life that will be forever etched in my mind and heart. God was present that day because we gathered in His name.
You know, He did not answer our prayers exactly like we asked them, but He did answer them.

Oh what a sweet hour of prayer can do...

Much love,

Monday, September 20, 2010

Listen, listen

My sister, Rachel and her husband Josh came over Saturday night to watch a little college football with us. We were kind of reminiscing about being at home with my dad when we were younger.  It is so funny to think about those times. I remember when he would be watching television, his favorite phrase was "Listen, listen." He would say this, oh I don't know, maybe every five minutes. In fact he said listen so much,  that I am not sure he heard any of what he was watching because of his own talking. We were sort of a loud family. Well, maybe we still are...this reminiscence was brought on by Jamie getting frustrated over our talking. Anyhow...

Do you ever feel like God is telling you to listen? Are there ever times in your life where He is trying to speak to you and you miss it the first time and even the second time. I have had that experience today. I am going to tell you a story and it may take a bit, but just hang on.  I promise there is a point in here somewhere.

In our six o'clock, Sunday night bible study at church we are going through Isaiah. My dad is actually leading the study. He is doing a great job, but I will tell you that is a tough book of the bible. Well last night we were studying chapter 60 and for some reason, Isaiah 60:19 really stood out to me. I did not think much of it at the time. Here is what that verse says.
19The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.
This verse is prophecy of what will be in the millennial kingdom.
Like I said, I did not think much about why this stood out to me. We came home, ate dinner, got everyone settle for the night and went to bed. Then today we were working in our science book during our last lesson of the day and well, there it was again. We are studying the sun and the brightness of the sun. Our lesson went on to display this verse and another one I will share in a little bit. It explained that as bright as the sun is, the Son is even brighter and that there would be a day that we would rely on the Son for our light.
Now, this is where it gets really interesting. Our lesson also referenced Exodus 33-34. Here are portions of  that passage.
Chapter 33
18And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.
19And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.
20And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
21And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:
22And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and I'll cover thee with my hand while I pass by:
23And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.
Chapter 34
29And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.
30And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.
31And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them.
32And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him in mount Sinai.
33And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face.
34But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded.
35And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.
This passage takes place when Moses went up into the mount for God to give him the commandments. Can you imagine what Moses and other thought when his face was glowing from having seen God from behind? I asked my boys this question during our lesson today and they really could not imagine it.
Imagine my surprise when I was staring at these verses again after having heard them last night. I thought alright Lord, "What are you telling me?"
Then if that is not loud enough, I logged on to Cynthia's blog today and she was talking about when she found out her sweet Olivia had a fatal diagnosis and how several people commented to her and others that she still was able to be a bright light and shine. I immediately came back to what God had been showing me today.
Alrighty Lord, Whatcha got for me??? What are you trying to show me. Honestly, I still am not sure why in less than 24 hours God has shown me this same thing three times, but I know I have to listen.  I know He will make Himself known. I know without any doubt that He will fill in the blanks. I am not particularly good at being patient, but I know I need to be still and listen this time.   
Tomorrow is the seven month mark for my sweet Eli. Maybe somehow this message is timely in that manner.  I just do not know. I do know that seven months has both taken me further from my baby boy and brought me closer yet still. With each day that passes, I am one day closer to holding him again. I also know the the last few weeks here have been some very difficult weeks for us. God is working, of that I am sure. So, with that said, I will just rely on faith and allow God to show me His wonders in His time.
Much love,

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Where were you?

It is a day that I am not likely to ever forget as long as I live. September 11, 2001, Jay was just three weeks old then and not sleeping much at night, so we slept in that morning.  I even turned the phone ringer off so he would not be woken up. Jamie had quietly gotten ready for work that morning and allowed us to remain asleep. I kept thinking I heard the phone in the kitchen ringing but was not sure. Finally, I decided to turn the ringer on the phone in the bedroom.  It occurred to me that something might be wrong with someone. Maybe a few seconds after turning the ringer on, Jamie, called to tell me that I had to get up and turn the television on. Of course, I asked why, and he just said, "Turn the TV on."  I was not prepared for what I was about to see. I turned the television on just in time to see the first tower collapse. I held my three week old baby close the rest of that day and stared at the horrifying pictures of utter devastation.
The days following were days filled with disbelief, numbness of a country, prayer like I have rarely seen, and patriotism displayed like never before. I love this country that we live in. I was proud to be an American in those days and weeks following that day. I am always proud to be an American, just more proud those days.
History Channel has been running all day coverage of that horrific event. I have had it on most of the day and Jamie finally asked me, "Why are you watching this?" My answer was simple. I think we need to remember. As a country we have become complacent in our everyday lives. We need to be reminded of the tragedy of that day. The loved ones of those lost have daily reminders of that event. They will never "get over it". They live without every second of every day because hate exists.
This year, I realize as much as I miss my baby boy, there were parents nine years ago today that received the most devastating news of their lives. There were spouses, children, siblings, friends...all that had their hearts ripped out.  There were firemen and policemen that will forever be haunted by those events. There were onlookers that saw others take their own lives to avoid being burned alive.
I will always remember that day.

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Much love,

Thursday, September 9, 2010

If I were a writer...

I'd say I had writers block, but I'm not, so I guess I don't. I'm just a girl (don't say it) who loves to come here and pour her feelings, mind, and heart out on paperless paper. It has been good for me to get it out this way. I do not want to be "that" person who every time you ask how they are, they go into a long spiel about whatever. So, when people ask, I say fine.  Then, I come here and pour it all out.
There has been so much going on around here and we are just trying to adjust to the new schedule. We are also trying to do some much needed work around the house. I say we, really Jamie is doing the work and I am running interference with the kiddos while he works. He is doing a great job with all of these projects and I am trying really hard to be patient with the upheaval in the house. Just ask him, I have not complained one bit...well hardly any...alright maybe a little, but not much.  I promise!
Homeschooling is still going great. We did a couple of end of chapter activities last week. In science, we made and an edible solar system. That was tons of fun. We used rice crispy treats to make the planets and sun, along with mini M&Ms and Twizzlers. Poor Cooper gave himself a stomach ache. We most definitely satisfied our sweet tooth last Thursday. Never have my kiddos has a more nutritious lunch! Then we had a Monk's meal for dinner last Thursday night. We were studying about when the monks first came to Britain and Saint Augustine.  For dinner, we had split pea and ham soup with cheese, bread and pears. The boys helped me make the soup and we ate from wooden bowls. It was fun and quite tasty! Jamie even got to participate in this project. He enjoyed some of our edible solar system as well.
All the while, with everything going on, I constantly wonder where Eli would have fit in to this picture. What other adjustments would we be making if he were here. I can't seem to keep those nagging thoughts at bay. I know there is no point in thinking them, but they are there. I have also been battling some very intense fatigue the last week or so. So much so that it concerns me a bit.
That all being said, it has just been difficult to sit and wrap my mind around putting a blog post together. I love blogging and it has been wonderfully healing for me to have this outlet. I plan to continue blogging as long as I have a story to tell. I have just had a type of writer's block this last week or so that goes along with the insane tiredness I have been feeling. I am not kidding y'all.  It has been kicking my hiney! I will leave you with a couple of pictures of our crazy fun school days and go to bed now.

Much love,

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The promise of release

The last few days here have been filled with promise.
Isn't everyday, really? Each and everyday is new. A new day brings with it the promise of a fresh start, the promise of one more moment to love, the promise of seeing that smile...hearing that laugh...a kiss...a hug...missing someone with more intensity that you could ever imagine...wishing you could kiss him...hug him...
So tomorrow when I wake up, will I have a fresh one more moment...see that smile and hear that laugh...get or give a kiss or hug?  Will I miss him to pieces? Will I wish I could kiss and hug him?
The promise of all of those things is there. Nothing is guaranteed, but there is a reason to hope for or expect these things, which in turn means that tomorrow has promise.
I live in the heart of the south. That means we enjoy HOT summer days and steamy summer nights. 105 in the shade with stifling humidity is the standard by which we have come to live. Most days it is just unbearable. I do not make the boys or even allow the boys to spend too much time outside without a rest and water break frequently.  For those who work outside, summer here can be downright deadly if you do not heed a little common sense. Spring gives way to summer all too quick and those beautiful blooms that signify spring wilt and die under the intense heat. I truly love spring with its newness of life. The beautiful colors and crisp skies renew our spirits after a long, dreary winter. But Fall...Fall is my very favorite time of year. The promise of Fall is in the air and has been the last few days. The skies are not quite as hazy, there is a slight breeze, the temperatures have not been quite as oppressive, and the humidity has been down ever so slightly. The high temperature today was 90 and it was a relief. Fall offers the delightful promise of release from the oppression of summer. Just when I think I can not take it for one more day, the heat subsides ever so gently and in there lies the promise. The promise of release that I so long for by this time every year is a gradual process. Each day from here on out will bring something new...a gradual ease into cooler temperatures and lower humidity. There will be days that will seem to take us back to summer, when the humidity will be up and the temperature will creep back into the uncomfortable zone.  Those days however, will be surrounded by that promise that seem to make them more bearable.
God does not promise us that life will be like spring and fall.  He does not promise us that we will never have dreary winters and unbearable summer heat. He knows our threshhold and just when we cannot take it one more day, He ushers in fall and it's promise of release...
And college football.
Much love,

Saturday, August 21, 2010

He Cried

I remember the day that we met with the funeral home director to plan Eli's funeral. He asked us that day if we wanted an audio recording of the service. We both thought that was an odd request and declined the offer. Why would we want to go back and listen to one of the most gut wrenching services of our lives? Now, I totally regret not allowing them to audio record the service. His service was one of the sweetest worship services I have ever been a part of. Jamie and I wanted it to be as close to a regular worship service as possible. We wanted congregational singing, special music and preaching. My cousin Beverly coordinated the music, played the piano, and sang the specials for us. Our pastor lead the congregational music and my uncle David spoke. We sang Amazing Grace and What a Friend We Have in Jesus as an entire congregation and it was amazing. Be Still My Soul, Great is Thy Faithfulness, and I Will Carry You were the special songs that were either sang by Beverly or played. The music was wonderful and it ministered to my family so tremendously.
The one thing that I regret not being able to go back and listen to is the message that David presented at Eli's service. God gave David the words to speak that day. He knew the words that we would need to comfort us for some time to come. I am just so sorry that I can not go back and listen to these words from time to time, as I need a reminder. It seems that I remember bits and pieces of the message from time to time.
One part of the message that has been heavily on my mind of late is when David shared from John 11 about Jesus, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
When John 11 begins Jesus' friend, whom he loved dearly, was sick. He was deathly sick. Martha and Mary, whom Jesus also loved dearly, sent word to him that Lazarus was sick. They knew that Jesus could heal Lazarus. They knew that if Jesus made it in time, before Lazarus died, that they would not lose their brother. That is why they sent word to Jesus. But the bible tells us that even two days after Jesus received word of Lazerus' illness, he tarried where he was. After two days, he gathered his disciples and went to Bethany, where Lazarus, Martha, and Mary were. By the time that Jesus got to them, Lazarus was dead. Jesus knew he was not living. He knew he would be dead when he arrived. Martha was the first to meet Jesus when he arrived and she told Jesus that had he been there Lazarus would not have died. I do not feel that was a sign of weakness from Martha, but a sign of faith. She knew that Jesus could have spared Lazerus' life. I can not help but feel that she and Mary both were hurt that Jesus did not come right away to spare them from this heartache. In fact Martha is the only one to meet Jesus when he does come. Mary stayed home. She was too distraught to leave her home at first. I know these women never lost their faith in Jesus, but I wonder if they questioned Jesus' reasoning for not coming to Lazarus quickly. I feel like they did. Once Jesus met Martha and told her that Lazarus would live (now remember he is already dead), Martha went in secret to go get Mary. Mary went immediately to where Jesus was and the first thing she did was fall at his feet crying. She also told Jesus that had he been there Lazarus would still be living. She was broken at Jesus' feet. The bible tells us that when Jesus saw this, he groaned in the spirit for his grieving friends. It says in John 11:35 "Jesus wept". Jesus was not weeping for Lazarus.  He was weeping for his friends who were hurting. He knew that he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. He knew that Lazarus would live again. Yet, he still wept. He wept for the people that he loved. The chapter goes on to tell about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead and how this caused those around to believe on Him, that he is the Son of God. It also goes on to tell how this caused the chief priests and the Pharisees to take council against Jesus.
Well today it has been six months since we said goodbye to our Eli and these are the thoughts I woke up with in my head this morning. I thought about Martha and Mary, and how they must have been so hopeful when they sent that message to Jesus, that he would come immediately and heal Lazarus. I once had hopes of a healing. I once pleaded with God to heal my Eli. Just like He did not heal Lazarus, He did not heal Eli. Like Martha and Mary, I fall at His feet and say, "where were you Lord?"  Like with Martha and Mary, I believe that Jesus weeps with me. I believe He does not want us to hurt, to be broken. He loves us and groans in the spirit when we weep. There will be a day when He will wipe my tears from my eyes. There will be a day when I will put my arms around my son and and redemption will take place. No one knows when that day will be, just that IT WILL BE. I wouldn't miss it for anything.   
Much Love,

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Part of the "new normal"

I remember the day I left Jay to go back to work for the first time. I cried if you looked at me wrong, heck I cried if you didn't. I just cried and he went to my mama's. I have been very blessed to have my mom fill in for me, while I spent my days at work, with all of my children. Then I remember the day I left my Cooper and went back to work.  Yet again, I was a basket case. I worked in Montgomery at that time and was driving an hour both ways. The hardest thing to do is leave a child to go to work. In many ways, I felt like I was neglecting them or being a bad mother somehow. I am not saying I was just that I felt that way. I longed for my summers home with them and then pined for them when summer was over. When Lucie Rose came, I took the standard six weeks off from work and returned to a classroom where a long term substitute had begun the year. So it literally was the first day of school that year for me. Now, I must say the substitute was the same one I had when I was out after having Eli and she is GREAT! It was just a new year for me and of course if someone looked at me wrong, I cried. Heck, I cried even if they didn't look at me wrong. And I cried, and cried, and cried, and even cried some more. I was depressed because I had to leave my baby girl (Mind you she was with my mother.) to go back to work. I told Jamie after I left her that if we were ever going to have more children, I would not leave them and go back to work. If we wanted more we had to make a way for me to quit and be a stay at home mom.
Then we got pregnant with Eli. As soon as we found out we were pregnant we started preparing financially for me to stay at home. My Jamie was making it work. We put the wheels in motion and I was looking forward to staying home with my new baby and I would even get to home school my other children. Life was good. I had a bun in the oven and three steaks on the grill. What more could a girl want?
Tossed salad...Yeah, my salad got tossed in a big way. Once we found out that my sweet little Eli would not live long after he was born, we started reevaluating our plans. Would I quit work? Would I still stay home and home school our other children? We were just unsure about everything. If Eli was to make his less than 10 % chance of survival, he would be in the hospital for up to eight or nine months we were told. We learned very quick like that no matter how much you plan, you cannot plan for everything.
Well Eli was born and did not beat the odds. So yet again we were faced with decisions to be made about future plans. Ultimately, we decided to stay the original course and home school.
Well, yesterday was the first day of home school around our house. Wow, is all I can say. It is wonderful to be able to teach my own children. I just love it! We do have a set schedule. School begins at 8:00 am. So far so good on tardies. I was able to hand pick our curriculum and could not be more pleased. I am able to sit down and provide the one on one instruction that teachers long to be able to do with all of their students. The boys seem to be really enjoying everything. This is my dream come true.  Well, except  for the fact that a part of the puzzle is missing.
Here are a few pictures of our first day of home school.
This is a before picture of our classroom aka my dining room.
Doing Singapore Math and really loving it!
This is Cooper looking quite dazed and confused. I promise we combed our hair before school. It is just really long and needs to be cut!
Jay is looking through his Apologia science book. Love it!
Cooper doing Wordly Wise using!
Word power!!!
This is Abigail Angel. She was given to me by Mrs. Rice, the school Librarian where I worked the the last four years. She gave me Abigail when we found out about Eli.
Abigail in now a part of our new classroom.

This is all part of our "new normal". Learning to adjust one day at a time to the plans that God has made for us.

Much Love,