Monday, January 31, 2011

So far, So good!

I did it!  I did a complete month of Project 365!  I'm kind of proud that I took a photo a day for an entire month!  If you want to check out my 365 blog, click here!

Also, another one of my goals for the New Year was to read the Bible in 90 days.  So far, I'm doing good and am a day ahead!  I'm really loving the feeling I get from reading everyday.  I sure hope I can keep it up!  Just 60 days to go...1/3 done!

Don't forget to check this blog once a day for the next 14 days as 14 amazing women share what love really means to them!  I'm so excited to read all the posts!!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hope - The Anticipation of God

Last Sunday, my pastor started a new series called "Hope - The Anticipation of God."

If you haven't caught on by my first post of the year.  Hope is my one word for this year.  It is also the middle name we want to give our little girl.  It amazes me all the God winks we have been getting about the adoption process, South Korea and HOPE.

I wanted to share some of the notes from church last Sunday and hopefully the next 5 Sundays as well.

(Photo Credit)

What is Hope?

Hope - desire accompanied by expectation.  An anticipation of fullfillment.  NOT wishful thinking.

A CHOSEN DESIRE.  {She is chosen.}

Hope is an anticipation for good in God.  Hope is not about striving, but resting and allowing His grace and His strength to take us through a "door of hope".

Hope is a perspective of an abundant life.

Hope must go from a concept, to a specific powerful virtue in your life.

Hope redefines our past.

(Photo Credit)

Hope is a lifestyle. It's where you grow to the place where you daily focus on "answers of hope, solutions of hope".

With hope- we see more with our eyes closed than we do with our eyes open.

Hope is an anticipation and belief in good from God, now and in the future.

Psalm 27:13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Hope gives us the ability to look out a very long way.

And my favorite...

Hope can become part of your fiber when the unseen world becomes more real than the seen.

How many times have I said that Heaven is so real now.  The unseen world (Heaven) and the seen world (Earth) are just separated by a thin veil when you have held the babies I have held and have been talking to Jesus as he ushered them into the presence of the Father.  Heaven is so real. 

Lamentations 3:22-24 says, "Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

Tomorrow morning, we will learn more about HOPE.  This sermon couldn't have come at a better time for me.  God truely knows what we need and when we need it!

A belated Thank You!

I just have been overwhelmed with the love I have recieved over the past couple of weeks.   You all are awesom, I just wanted to let you know that! 
I have been blown away to be nominated for three blog awards!
The beautiful *M* at A Miracle 4 Us gave me for the I <3 This Blog Award!

And KK's Mom gave me the Cherry on Top award!

And then Amanda and Jamie nominated me for the Stylish Blogger Award!

If I missed anything and you have nominated me as well, a big Thank You to you too!

The conditions of these awards are pretty similar...I am suppposed to share a few things about myself then pass along the awards to a certain number of bloggers I have recently discovered.  In all honesty, I have a hard time keeping up with everyone I "follow" now so I have been trying not to add too many new blogs right now.  Between working, keeping up with the house, the adoption and my Project 365, my plate is pretty full!

So instead of nominating newly discovered bloggers, I'm going to cheat...but first, let me share some random facts about myself...

*I am a Stampin' Up! Independent Demonstrator and signed up with them to make cards, but over the past 5 years I have really turned more to scrapbooking and have a terrible time getting cards of any kind out in a timely manner.

*I hate might remember why...

*My favorite cake is red velvet.

*I don't know how to really swim and I wont get in the lake with out a life jacket on and I wont go into the deep side of a pool.  I know.  Lame, right?  Ethan is a much better swimmer than I.

*My hubby and I love Dave Ramse.y and striving for Financial Peace.

*I am a licensed social worker.

*I started working when I was sixteen and have only had about three months in my life since when I did not have a job.  I've worked as everything from a pharmacy tech, to a jewelry sales associate, to a personal trainer, to a theatre assistant tech director, to a house keeper, to the site-supervisor of an afterschool program.  Plus a few more thrown in there.

*I would love more than almost anything to stay at home with the kids for a couple of years when we bring our daughter home from Korea to homeschool and be a SAHM or even a WAHM.

*I have the bedroom suite that my Grandmother bought when my granparents got married 61 years ago.  She got a job at a dry cleaners and save for a long time to purchase the 3 peice set and it cost her $200.

OK, so here's the part I'm cheating on.  If any of you haven't recieved one of these rewards and are following some great blogs that need some encouragement, send and email to the address on the sidebar and I will come back and edit this post to nominate you for the award you request so you can send it on to another blogger!

Thanks again you sweet ladies!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What Love Really Means

Something has been heavy on my heart lately.


Love for our children.
Love for our spouses.
Love for God.
God's love for us.


So many of us feel to insufficient or unworthy when it comes to this area of our lives.  We feel we don't show our kids love enough, especially the ones who aren't here with us.  It's unnatural, therefore we always feel failing.  We may feel like we are a bad wife or partner, feeling unworthy of the love they share with us.  Or feel like they are unworthy of our love due to past hurts.  Some may feel like their faith, their love for God, is imperfect or lacking.  I'm pretty sure at some point in time everyone wonders why God would care so much to send his son to die for us.  I know I do at times. 

So, eventhough it may sound a little cliche, some other bloggers and I have gotten together and are going to be posting about all about love in February.

All kinds of love.

Everyday I will post here on where to visit that day.  Our hopes are as you hop around our blogs you feel more loved and are encourage to love more deeply.

I know not everyone who reads this blog is married, has kids, or even a Christian...and that's OK!  There are going to be all kinds of LOVEly posts from some very LOVEly women!  I hope you will join us as we all walk together and talk about What Love Really Means! 

I can't wait to read some of these ladies posts!

In addition, I will be having several giveaways between February 1st and 14th!  If you are planning on hosting a giveaway in this time frame, let me know and I will direct people to your blog as well.  I have been so blessed by these blogging community and I think it's time we Spread the Love!!!  If you are interested in being part of this Lovefest, just leave me a comment telling me so with your email address!

Much love to you all!!!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Our Adoption Timeline

In Progress!

December 2010- Review information on different local home study and child placing agencies as well as differences between domestic and international adoption as well as different countries open to international adoption as provided by agencies.

January 1, 2011 - Make the announcement to friends and family.  Declaring this the year of HOPE.

January 5, 2011 - Heard a scripture at church in a new way confirming to me what God was speaking to my heart. 
"Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west."  Isaiah 43:5

January 14, 2011 - Met with a homestudy agency and decided to go with them and decided on placing agency.  Paid application fee.  We are applying to adopt from South Korea!!!

January 24, 2011 - First homestudy meeting with social worker at her home.   

January 25, 2011 - Medical Exams.

February 7, 2011 - 2nd homestudy meeting, this time at our home.

Homestudy Meeting #1

Monday night we met with the social worker that will be writing our homestudy report.  As soon as we walked in the door of her home, we saw her beautiful children.  Meredith has adopted two (I just can't emphasiza how beautiful) children from Ethiopia.  We brought Ethan with us and after a few minutes of warming up to everyone he was off playing with her kids and we sat and talked with her in her home office.  She answered all the questions I could think of and we talked about her adoption journey.  She completely put us as ease and made us feel like this process, although very thorough and kind of complicated, will go smoothly.

Ben and I really enjoyed meeting her and her family and appreciate so much she opened her home and story to us.  We had an honest conversation with some of the comments she has heard about being a multicultural family and we appreciate her unique insight to help us prepare our minds (our comebacks) and our spirits from negative attitudes of some that may still hold prejudices and ignorant thoughts.  We also have wondered how to prepare Ethan.  Then it hit me.  While we were in Meredith's home, after only a few minutes, Ethan referred to Meredith as the children's Mom.  He never once questioned if she was their mom or not because they physically look different.  He could just tell...she IS their mom.  I wish I could say this is because of our excellent parenting and guidance, but who are we kidding...I know that this is something not taught.  If only all of our eyes and hearts were so pure!  Instead of analyzing any family structure or system, we could just appreciate the beauty of it and simply answer, "Yes."  She is there mom.  They are her kids.  Period.  I wish we all could see through the eyes of children for a day.  I imagine they see things a lot like God.

Monday, January 24, 2011

{2 Months} Establishing Laughter

Today it has been two months since I held my littlest of boys.

If you've been following me for a while, you know I like to see the meaning in things. Especially names. Jakin's name means "God will establish Laughter".

So to remember Jakin, and to remember God's promise that he would establish laughter in our lives, I've decided to post something that makes me or my family laugh on the 24th of every month!

Today, sinceValentine's Day is just a couple weeks away, I wanted to post this song by the HILARIOUS Tim Haw.kins!  I hope you get at least a little giggle and I pray that God is establishing laughter in your lives everyday!

By the way, if you find something funny...a video, a joke, a photo that makes you laugh...send it to me!!!  I would love to spread a little laughter throughout the blogging community!!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I've seen posts where women share all their meds that they have to take while trying to get pregnant or while pregnant in the case of IVF or embryo adoption.  If you are not new to the infertility/loss/ttc blogs, I'm sure you have too.

This is not one of those posts.

This is about the left-overs.

I usually don't write about this stuff.  And I don't advise any one to ever post that they are taking any kinds of meds that can be abused due to bad people that might want to take advantage of you.  But none of this is worth stealing...unless you have a bunch of clotting disorders, high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat among other things.
Anyway, I was doing some house cleaning I started gathering all the meds I had to take during my pregnancy with Jakin.  (Just another note: don't keep meds in the medicine is the first place addicts...or experimenting teens...will look if they want to steal from you)

When all was said and done this is what I had...

What in the world am I supposed to do with all this?

Yuck.  I hate meds.  Especially meds that are meant to save your baby's life-but don't.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Before Christmas we went to Northern Kentucky to visit some close family friends for Christmas and one of our Godchildren's birthdays.  While we were there we went back to the Creation Museum.  This time to see the live nativity.  We got there early to fight the crowds and walked through the museum.  I saw the large dragonfly fossil that I remembered seeing from our first trip there.  But, when we got down to the lower level, I saw something I didn't remember.  Two dragonflies.  Two of them fossilized forever and together in this display.

Isn't it just facinating?  One day these two were just flying around and then they are frozen in time for us to see.  Dragonflies have a very short lifespan when they get their wings, but these two (like my two) have forever left an imprint.

Fossils just amaze me.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Back to Work

As I was typing the title of this post, the computer remembered it already.

As the title suggests, I'm headed back to the office tomorrow.  I could use some prayers. 

I like my job.  I love the school I work at.  It's just being back there...again...for the second time after losing one of my babies.  I know the day will go back fine and everyone is very understanding.  I just can't explain the emotions. 

Overall, I'm doing well and grief is doing it's work, but so is God and he is healing our hearts.

Friday, January 14, 2011

It's Official!

Today was our first "official" day of the adoption process!

But I think I should back up and talk about some things that have happened over the past couple of weeks.

The first couple days of the year, Ben and I really prayed and focused on this.  On the first Wednesday of the year we joined together with our church for communion and prayer.  Earlier this day I had met with a wonderful woman I know locally who is in the process of international adoption and we talked for a long time...specifically about South Korea.  I started to get this feeling, like nervousness and excitement mixed together.  While we were at church, our pastor spoke this scripture and I heard it in a way I never had before:

"Do not be afraid, for I am with you;

I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.'
Isaiah 43:5

I squeezed Ben's hand and we both looked at each other. 

After church we went to Sub.way and ate dinner, talking about if we were on the right track here.  Almost not believing all of it at the same time.  Then, on the radio came this song I have never heard before.  I generally don't listen to anything but contemporary christian radio, so I was not familiar with the song, but I remembered the lyrics (because they touched my heart so) and looked up the song later.  It's called "Haven't Met You Yet" by Michael Bubl.e.  I know it's not a song about adoption...but I just really liked it.  Here are some of the lyrics...

I'm not surprised, not everything lasts
I've broken my heart so many times, I stopped keeping track
Talk myself in, I talk myself out
I get all worked up, then I let myself down

I tried so very hard not to lose it
I came up with a million excuses
I thought, I thought of every possibility

And I know someday that it'll all turn out
You'll make me work, so we can work to work it out
And I promise you, kid, that I give so much more than I get

I just haven't met you yet
I might have to wait, I'll never give up
I guess it's half timing, and the other half's luck
Wherever you are, whenever it's right
You'll come out of nowhere and into my life

And I know that we can be so amazing
And, baby, your love is gonna change me
And now I can see every possibility

And somehow I know that it'll all turn out
You'll make me work, so we can work to work it out
And I promise you, kid, I give so much more than I get
I just haven't met you yet

They say all's fair
In love and war
But I won't need to fight it
We'll get it right and we'll be united

And I know that we can be so amazing
And being in your life is gonna change me
And now I can see every single possibility

So, yeah, I was fighting tears in the middle of Sub.way. This was happening.  We are going to do it. 

I called the agency I learned about and they sent us an info packet.  I quickly reviewed the info and filled out the application...just in case we liked them after we interviewed them...and we scheduled a meeting for today.
In preparation for today's meeting, I waded through some of the tons of info on the internet yesterday and by the end of the day I was kind of discouraged.  I couldn't sleep well last night and after a while of tossing and turning decided to read some blogs of successful adoption until I thought I could sleep.  After a while I was feeling a little better and prayed a little and finally went to sleep.

I was more hopeful this morning and prayed that if we were going in the right direction with the adoption plans that God would give us a sign.  I asked that sometime between our home and the agency (about an hour and a half away) we would hear something about adoption on the radio.  I know I really shouldn't ask for signs...but I did...AND He delivered!  About half way through our trip there was a news story about adoption!  My faith was being renewed...again!

We arrived at the agency early and started to look over some things and talk more.  We actually almost didn't go in.  But, I am SO glad we did.  We went in with the intentions of just talking and learning more about the specific services this agency has to offer as a home study agency and left with pretty much ALL of our questions answered and ended up talking in the vehicle for about ten minutes then walking our application and fee back up the steps to officially begin the process!  She emailed me the home study checklist and told me to be expecting a call from the worker who will be doing our home study in the next couple of days!

She told us that based on current wait times and our preferences, she would estimate that we would be bringing our baby girl home from South Korea in approximately 12 months!!!  If we get started on our paperwork ASAP, they are estimating a referral in as short as 6 months. 

I've already started some fundraising and we are now on our way.  I hope you don't mind me sharing our family story here.  Honestly, I just don't know if I have the energy to separate all the pieces of my life into different blogs.  So if you found me because of my loss, I will still be writing about our grief and grief journey, but I will also be documenting our adoption journey.  If baby talk is too hard, I understand if you chose to no longer follow me, or comment less, but I encourage you to hang around and walk this path with us!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sea Glass Angels

Through Tina's wonderful 25 Days of Giveaways, I found a blog (but I can't remember which one) that introduced me to this lovely esty shop that makes beautiful angels and other things from sea glass.  As soon as I saw these I knew I had to have them:

I remembered reading a post by Once a Mother about sea glass and the fact that these came in a set just moved me so much.  One pink.  One blue.  The pink one just a tad bigger than the blue and the blue looks like it has a special heart.  They are so perfect! 

Sea glass gets is smooth shape by riding the waves and getting beaten against the rocks and waves.  Over time, they loose their sharp, painful edges and corners and resemble a jewel instead of broken glass.  The glass is not destroyed by the pressure and pain of the crashing waves and jagged rocks, it's perfected by them. 

What a beautiful reminder of the grief journey and of my angel babies.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Missin' You

I was just listening to songs on my i.Pod on shuffle and came across a Chris Rice song I don't remember called "Missin' You" and wanted to share.  It is such a beautiful song...if you have a minute, try to locate it somewhere to listen to it...

Missin' You
By Chris Rice
I heard about the day You went away

You said You had to go prepare a place
And even though I’ve never seen Your face
I’m missin’ You

I lie awake tonight and I watch the sky
And I wish it didn’t have to be so high
‘Cause I’m belonging on the other side
And I’m missin’ You

‘Cause somewhere behind those stars
Is Someone who belongs to me
And I know in my deepest heart
There’s a place for You until I find the place You've made for me
But still I’m missin’ You
I dream about Your promise to return
And I wake up hangin’ on Your every word
But for now my feet are planted here on earth
So I’m missin’ You

And even while they say that I’m a fool
I know you see me waiting here for You
Oh, and prayin’ that somehow You’ll get here soon
‘Cause I’m missin’ You
‘Cause somewhere behind those stars
Is Someone who belongs to me
And I know in my deepest heart
There’s a place for You until I find the place You made for me
But still I’m missin’ You
Oh, I’m missin’ You
Lord, I’m missin’ You

21 Reasons Bad Things Happen to Good People Book Review

I recently finished reading this book by Dave Earley and I really liked it.  I wanted to review the book, so, I took notes while I read.  Now I have about 12 pages of notes...and if you are going to read 12 pages of notes, you might as well read the whole book!  It's not a very big read, but lots of good points are made in it.  So, instead of giving you ALL my notes, I thought I would just give you some quotes that stood out to me the most.

21 Reasons Bad Things Happen to Good People

The author begins the book with several important truths.  For example, God is under no obligation to give us an explanation for suffering and God can do more than one good thing through the bad things that happen to us.  He lists others and then begins with reason number one "The Reason No One Wants to Hear".    Basically, God created a good, pure world and people choose evil.  Bad things happen.  Period.  We live in a broken world.  This, to me is a comfort and not a comfort at all.  On one hand this could mean that bad things just happen with no reason and I was not being punished for some unknown sin.  On the other hand, its a little worrysome to think bad things, extrememly bad things can happen to any one and any time, but they can.

" You are not alone on the road of suffering.  Although often very lonely, it is heavily traveled and have been since the earliest days of history."  It does bring some comfort knowing others know and have known the pain you are going through  AND that they survived or even better turned it to glory for God!

An interesting fact I learned in this book that I had never really paid any attention to before is that after Chapter 2 in the book of Job, Satan is never mentioned.  He started this whole thing and he is the one who brought such suffering to such a Godly man, but after Job refused to "curse God and die" (as his wife urged him to do) Satan shut-up and is not mentioned for the other 40 chapters of Job.  Job then got double of everything he lost back (except his children...all ten of his children died when Satan attacked and he had ten more when blessings started abounding...the reason was explained later in the book).

Reason number 3 might be To Expand Our Perspective of God.  In the book of Job, there are 38 chapters of Job petitioning God for an answer for all his pain and tragedy and 38 chapters of silence from God.  Early points out that "More significantly than recieving an explanation of our pain is embracing a bigger view of God through our pain".  He also quotes A.W. Tozer saying, "The [one] who comes to a right belief about God is relieved of ten thousand temporal problems, for he sees at once that these have to do with matters which at the most cannot concern him for very long."  This meaning when we see what matters (God) things that we thought mattered (having the nicest house and car or going through a trivial issue) simply don't anymore.  (Please note I am not saying the loss of a child is a trivial issue.  I'm looking at this book from a perspective of life in general and thinking of some of the "bad things" that anyone might face.  Not just the loss of a child.)

"It is only through setbacks, suffering, and sorrows that we really understand who we are, who we aren't and even more important, who He is."

"God is magnetically drawn to the brokenhearted."

Reason number 6 in the book was To Prepare Us for Greater Blessing.  For Job it was literal and physical.  After his loss and agony, Job then gained back twice the number of livestock, money, and went on to have 10 more children.  For us, the gain we have in Heaven will be much more than we can imagine.  For me and Ben, we look at it like this...if our babies lives have touched anyone eternally (meaning they accept Christ into their hearts) then our babies have blessed them (and their children...and whomever they witness to and bring to Heaven with them) their lives have not been meaningless.  We may not see these blessings on Earth, but in Heaven.  Also, the author explains why Job would have gained 2x the amount of everything except the children.  His answer touched me.  The loss of Job's 10 children was only temporary.  He saw them again in Heaven.  And even if he had then had 20 children...they would not have simply replaced the ten that died.  He had ten children before disaster struck, they went to Heaven, then when abundance blessed Job's life, he had ten more children.  One day, all of them will be together in Heaven and he will have all 20 of his children together!

"Without the process of pain, we are unprepared for prosperity."

"When we experience the immenent threat of great pain and total loss, we always face a choice: We can run to God and trust Him or we can turn from Him and run away."

Reason number 9 in the book is To Increase the Testimony of God.  Daniel was thrown into a pit of lions and not harmed because God was with him.  Many people saw and believed because of Daniel's trial.

This is probably my favorite part.  About the pearl.  The author quotes Chuck Swindoll in telling how a pearl is formed:

For an unknown reason, the shell of the oyster gets cracked and an alien substance - a grain of sand - slips inside.  On the entry of that foriegn irritant, all the resources within the tiny, sensative oyster rush to the spot and begin to release healing fluids that otherwise would have remained dormant.  By and by the irritant is covered and the wound is healed - by a pearl.

Had there been no pain, there would have been no pearl. 

This next two quotes reminds me of all these beautiful ladies I have met online and our relationship.

"Think of me as a fellow-patient in the same hospital who, having been admitted a little earlier, could give you some advice."

The author quotes a mother who lost their child to SIDS as saying, "It's as though people who have lost someone precious speak a different language.  I don't have to explain things.  There is a clear understanding that is so comforting."

"In pain, we learn to live God's word."

"The best style of prayer is that which cannot be called anything but a cry."

The author quotes Virginia Womach, a woman whose husband was severly burned and deformed by fire in a plane crash as saying:

"Although it sounds strange, I feel it is an honor that God chose us.  God had a purpose in all our suffering, and I believe it is to share the strength we have gained from it with others who have suffered or who will suffer tragedy in their lives."

Her husband is quoted as saying, "God has tested us through the fire.  And out of the suffering He was making something beautiful in our lives."

This book was hard to read at times.  To say that bad things happen for this reason or that.  But, remember, this is just some reasons a bad thing might have happened, not that they are the reason that it did happen.  Also, if you chose to read this book, it is good to remember that bad things happen because we live in an imperfect world.  Since sin first entered this world, bad things happen. 

I really liked this book.  It opened my eyes to unseen things and encouraged me to press forward in reaching out to others.  I hope you like it too!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Many, Many, Many Thanks!

It has been about six weeks since Jakin went to Heaven and I am so behind on saying thank you to everyone for all their kind thoughts, prayers and gifts.  We feel so loved and thankful to have so many beautiful people in our lives!

In addition to the advent basket left by some friends, we also recieved a huge envelope from some other friends of mine from college that included a CD, a toy for Ethan, a home spa kit for me, and two books for the grief library.  A very kind lady that works with the March of Dimes office sent us a book about Angels and an ornament, and so many other people sent us cards and donations for the library.  I can't wait to get started on it!

A big huge thank you to Holly, MJ, Mandy, Jessica, Heather J, Wendy W, Jill, Bree, Melissa T, Katy, Lori, and Heather M for the wonderful care package from Hearts of Hope!

Another thanks needs to be said to Jill, who was my Grieve Out Loud secret Santa and sent me this lovely pewter necklace and the beautiful pewter angels. 

I also want to thank Julie for this cross that will soon be hanging on our wall.

Also, a very kind and generous lady named Debbie that works at the hospital I delivered all my children at visited me while I was in labor and brought me some very thoughtful gifts.

The inside of the willow.tree box says this:

Sandra, one of my buddies sent me this lovely willow.tree.  It's called "Angel's Embrace".

Also, a very kind, thoughtful lady who we met doing a marriage Bible study over two years ago sent me a reunion heart and a CD with songs she picked just for me.  She is one of the most thoughtful women I know.  She has sent many cards and "thinking of you" things over the past 16 months and is a true Proverbs 31 woman!

Deborah from For Your Tears sent me this lovely as well.  I was surprised because I only recently had gotten one in memory of Shyla and she sent it to me when she heard what had happened.

God has truely blessed us with an amazing support system, both online and in real life and I never want to forget how kind people I have never met in person have been to me.  It really does make a difference.  Everyday I would check the mail and would get giddy if there was a card or package from one of my bloggy friends.  You all made so many days brighter!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Love, Joy, Laugh 365

OK, I did it for 7 days straight, so I guess I can make the announcement that I am attempting to do Project 365 and take one photo everyday for a year!  I love photography and I used to be a such a photo bug, but over the past couple of years I have gotten really bad for not touching my camera for weeks and then taking a bunch of pics on one day. 

I really want to get to know my camera better and I thought this would be a great way to do that AND chronicle our year.  If you are interested in seeing the photos and getting a daily glimpse into our lives you can do so my heading over to Love, Joy, Laugh 365.

I may not upload everyday...but I will take a photo everyday and upload a couple times a week.

Also, if you or someone you know is doing their own Project 365, pretty please leave a comment so I can link to their project! 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas Celebrations

I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
Ephesians 1:16

We opened gifts at our house Christmas Eve morning and we read through the random acts of kindness done in memory of Shyla and Jakin.  I will share those soon.  Here is Ethan with their stockings (and yes, there is not one single bow on any of the gifts under the tree...I decided to simplify this year!)

As I mentioned in my last post, they sat Jakin's stone on Christmas Eve, so we went to see it.  We went to the inlaws house Christmas Eve afternoon and then to my mom's house that night to see my brother, sis-in-law, and neice who had just gotten in from Oklahoma and my other brother who cam in from about 1 1/2 hours away.  While we were at my Mom's house it started snowing and icing and the roads got very, very slick, but after all the snow, we did get to have a white Christmas!

On Christmas morning, we waited to go anywhere until the roads had a chance to start to get a little safer.  But our road never gets cleaned off, so we just decided to brave it.  We went to my Mom's house to open gifts and see my family.  My dad got there shortly after us.  He comes every year and spends time with us at my Mom's house.  Some people may think thats odd, but it's just how we have done it pretty much since they got divorced when I was 5.

But before we could get there, we stopped at the cemetary.  There are two times I think that place has the potential to be is the week after Memorial day when almost all the stones have new, beautiful flowers, and the other is after a big snow.

I was having a quiet time, just looking at the snow and the stones and thinking about what I thought this Christmas was going to be like.  Then, these two started throwing snowballs...

(Yes, we are all in our jammies.  It's a Christmas tradition.  My mom always gets us jammies and we open them Christmas Eve and wear them that night and Christmas morning.)

They both helped me try to focus on that day and the blessings I have.

Lastly, I wanted to share the ornament we gave as a gift to our siblings and parents.
It is a glass heart with dried flowers in it from Jakin's service.  Last year we got everyone dragonfly ornaments in memory of Shyla, so this year we gave them this one in memory of Jakin.  I love it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Lion and the Lamb

We got the call on Christmas Eve that Jakin's stone had been set.  We had ordered his stone just 5 days after he was born, the day after his service because we really wanted it up by Christmas and I'm so glad we did.  I remember sitting in that small building looking through all the possible designs and nothing really "feeling" right.  Then I remembered what I have said to other mothers when this feeling of indesiciveness creeps in over things involving their babies.  None of this will feel right.  It's not natural to be picking out designs for a headstone when you should be picking out nursery decor.  I said a prayer and told myself that nothing will feel "perfect" and we just needed to pick something and get out of there.  That little building was getting all too familiar.  So we picked a lion and a lamb for the front.

Later, when I was thinking about it. It's as close to perfect as we were gonna get.  He was so tiny and gentle, just like a lamb but he was so brave and his heart was so strong to beat so fast for so long.  He was our little lion heart. 

On the back, we put the scripture that we used at his funeral. 

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  Psalm 73:26

Above the scripture we chose to put an image of a heart within a heart.  I love the E.E. Cummings poem that ends with, "I carry your heart with me.  I carry it in my heart."  And now I carry his heart with me.  And his heart was so special.  So I do love the heart within a heart.

We decided to put little hand prints on the footstone.  Everytime we had an ultrasound (except for the first) we saw his little hands.  His hands were so perfect.  I wanted to remember that.

He is buried next to his sister.

I'm so glad we took these on Christmas Eve because when we went Christmas morning, this is what we saw...

The Rest of the Advent Basket!

So, as Christmas got closer, I got really behind posting the advent gifts...but since I started it, I might as well finish it, right?  Here goes...

Day 13
Isaiah 65:24

Day 14
Proverbs 31:25-31

Day 15
Job 24:10

Day 16
Ephesians 5:1-2

Day 17
Ecclesiastes 8:15

Day 18
Matthew 25:21

Day 19
Revelation 21:5

Day 20
1 Peter 5:4

Day 21
1 Peter 1:24-25

Day 22
2 Corinthians 3:4-5

Day 23
Ezekial 24:36

Day 24
1 Corinthians 13:13

Day 25
Jeremiah 29:11-13

This last gift contained a card and revealed the identity of the gift-giver.   (I kinda already knew who it was...I know her handwriting!)  She said these gifts were special to her because I had given them to her during a transition time in her life and she wanted to give them back to me.  I love this girl and her family.  She has to be one of the sweetest women I know and I want to be like her.  If you are reading this, sweet woman of God, you are like a sister to me and I am so blessed to have you in my life!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

16 Months...He is close...

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
-Psalms 34:18

It has now been 16 months since my dear girl was in my arms.

It's harder now to count the months and truely discribe them accurately.  Yes, it has been 16 months since I held Shyla, but since Jakin joined her in Heaven, its harder to discern new grief from old there is any difference at all.

I have described grief as coming in waves (as have many other bereaved parents).  And that holds true still.  One wave may be grief of not having my only daughter to hold and make girly things for.  Then another will hit about not still being pregnant with my rainbow and not experiencing a miracle the way I wanted.  Then yet another wave will hit...just wanting my babies back.  Wanting ALL my babies together.  This is the wave I feel most often.

But I do just have to take comfort in knowing that someday I will. 

I have always wanted to write about the grief I am experiencing in time frames.  One month, two months...but now...this grief is not alone.  I can't just separate the grief of loosing her from the grief of loosing him.  They are separate...but they are not.  If that makes any sense at all.  So, while I still may write every 2nd of the month and think of her and every 24th and think of him...they are together in this grief as much as they would be together as part of my earthly joy if they were here together.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Year of Hope

"I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.  Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:  The faithful love of the Lord never ends!  His mercies never cease.  Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.  I say to myself, "The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!"  The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him."

Lamentations 3:20-25

2011 is a year of hope. 
Hope like I've never known. 
2009 was Shyla's year.  It was the year of blessings and my first year of true grief and Creative Joy. 
2010 was Jakin's year.  The year of our rainbow.  It was our year of new beginnings and then new grief. 
2011 is our year of hope.  I'm standing in faith and believing that.  God is going to show me things this year like I have never seen before. 
My hope is in him.

There is something God laid on my heart a long time ago.  I shared it with Ben before we were married.  We have talked about it off and on through out our marriage, but we really became serious about it this summer and agreed we would move forward after Jakin was born in the spring.  Well, Jakin wasn't born in the spring, but made his journey to his Heavenly home much sooner.  I've been praying when the time was right, Ben and I would both be on the same page about what had been on our hearts...and I think we are. 

Ben gave me these for Christmas...

(Let me first clarify that the first one he says is mostly for him...he didn't want me to think he was calling me a name!)

We are hoping to adopt!  We had requested some info from an agency in our state and have began sorting through the information.  Right now, we are still praying and seeking God on what path to take, but as we were talking about it tonight and discussing when to share the news, we decided to go ahead and have people praying for us and with us every step of the way!  Also, it's not like I don't share pretty much everything anyway...I used to be such a private person!   

We are going to meet with the agency in a few weeks and get some of our major questions answered and ware still praying for God's direction and leading.  We understand we are about to be bombarded with questions, so let me just say one huge...

"We don't know"

We don't know exactly how we are going to completely pay for this yet...BUT God knows.
We don't know if God is preparing our baby through domestic or international adoption (although we are feeling pulled in one particular direction at the moment)...BUT God knows.
We don't know how long the process will take...BUT God knows.
We don't know...BUT God knows
He is forming our child in the secret places that are truely secret to us.  And that is AMAZING! 

We DO know...

How God feels about adoption.  He adopted us.  And it pleased him.

"God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.  This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him much pleasure."

Ephesians 1: 5

So now, won't you join us in praying about all the things we don't know?  God will be holding our hand through every step.  We know it.  He has never left our sides in any other joy or grief we have ever experienced (but I can say He has been awfully quiet at times...or maybe I was just too loud to hear him...hmmmm).  I can almost see him in Heaven now cradling our babies and preparing the heart of another little one to be a part of our forever family!

(One more thing!  Happy New Year!  I pray much hope, peace, joy, and laughter fill your hearts and homes this year!)