Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Prayers in the Garden

Writing out my thoughts and feelings has been helpful.  Just wanted to share what I've been writing

Today I was working in the flowerbeds.  Pulling out weeds, cutting back bushes and flowers to get ready for winter.  I haven’t been out in my beds much this year.  This activity brought me back to the afternoon of May 21, I was outside planting flowers while the kids were napping.   I was also taking to the Lord.  It was in a way I have never spoken to him before.  Frantic.  Scared.  Panicked.  It was the day before we were to hear news of whether our unborn baby girl would live or die.   I was digging and pushing and pulling and moving dirty in a crazed sort of way.  Here were my words:
“Heal her.  Just heal her.  You can do it.  You can do anything.  You can do it.  Please just heal her.  Not Trisomy.  Please not Trisomy 18 OR 13.  Let it be fixable Lord.   Please let it be fixable.  You can do it.  You are the creator of all.   You can do anything.  Please. Please.”
Those were about my exact words.  I remember it so clearly.  I would have done just about anything for God to hear my prayers and answer it in the way I wanted.
But He didn’t.
The next day, the phone call confirmed our fears. Our Ella wasn’t going to live much past birth if she even made it that far.
Oh, the hurt.   I can hardly explain how it hurt.  It was sharp and blinding.  It was numbing. It's been over five months from that moment.  Almost four months out from saying hello and goodbye.  The hurt isn’t so sharp.  But for me, it’s still painful.  I suspect that I’ll always have moments of sadness for what “would have been.” But I have never thought back on that day and my prayers until today. 
I was doing a Bible study lesson this week, grateful to be back into routine and back into studying God’s word.  I cam across a part that made me want to throw the book across the room.  I’m going to try to explain it.   But before I do, I want to say, I know we all have pain and hard times in our life.  It’s all a bit relative.  Some have never lost a loved one.  Many have never experienced the loss of a child.  But hurt is hurt even if it not so drastic as that. So as I explain this, please know that this is where my heart is right now and I am not in any way trying to trivialize anyone’s heartache.
This study had us list 4 “pivotal moments in our lives”.   Then we were to recognize God at work during those times.  That was pretty easy for me.  My four were:
·      my move to Haiti
·      my decision to move back to the States and work at Huntington
·      meeting Shane
·      Ella
The author then talks about how God has clearly guided her steps.  She shared how it seems that she could see Him more during the painful times (agreed) Her example of this is a painful breakup in college.  She was so hurt and upset and depressed.  When she began to climb out of that pit, she met her now husband.  She goes on to say that now, she thanks God for unanswered prayers because if not,she would have not met her husband, and not been in ministry along side her spouse. 
(insert book throwing moment)
Here is why I was so upset/mad/ticked off.  Whatever you want to say.  First of all, I get it.  I get the whole “if/then” scenario.  I get that if she would have stayed with her college man then she would have never met her hubby.  I understand how God’s plans for us always are better than what we can imagine.   But it makes me mad.  That’s a good example, but how about the pain of death?  Let’s put it bluntly.  How about a dead baby?   Where is the good in that?  What good things will I “get” from this? I don’t think that I will ever say that I am grateful that she had Trisomy 13.  Or that I am thankful that she is not here.   I am not sure I will ever see His purposes for her death on this side of heaven.
After being mad for a bit and then calming myself down I began to see it differently.  My friend always tells me to “nail it to the cross”.  IT being whatever sorrow, anger, worry, etc, that I’m struggling with.  So I tried to look at it differently.  In this example, the author was given something.  She was given a Godly husband, a ministry with her spouse.  She went through a very tough time and the result was coming out on the other side seeing God’s great plan for her life.

That is one example, but serving God isn’t about what we get. It’s not about physical things like houses, cars, jobs, or even husbands (or wives).  We may never see prosperity, wealth, good health, or physical healings from our walk with God.  We could receive those things.  But we may not.   God calls us to serve Him and walk with Him not because we are going to get things.   It’s not about us.  It’s about Him and praising Him.  It’s about his plan for us that is so much bigger than we know. 
So I had to take a bit and see things from a different angle.  My daughter was the gift from God.  Having her will be a pivotal moment in my life.  This time will be one where I can say with confidence that the Lord is with me.  A result of Ella’s life will not give me anything physical but I am praying that I will be able to praise Him in the storm and also that HE will be exalted and glorified.
Another friend sent me this text yesterday.  Such good words.
           Had a thought for you… God has not taken Ella from you.  He has already GIVEN you eternity WITH her.  He is just watching over her for you till you get there.  So for now you’re CHOOSING JOY because He CHOSE the cross.
Maybe I have this all wrong.  Maybe someday I’ll look back on this and thank God for the unanswered prayers from my garden on that spring day.  Maybe not.  But it doesn’t change things for me in that I am still a child of the great Creator.  The one who gives and takes away.  I am still going to praise His name and give him all the glory for ALL good things in my life.  And my daughter’s life, no matter how short WAS a good thing.

And I'll nail my anger at the unfairness of this to the cross.  I'll choose to be happy today, no matter how hard.  Some days it's very easy, some days that cloud of sadness seems to linger long.  But I will. I'll be happy on this beautiful day because He chose the cross.  He has taken my sadness and anger nailed there and replaced it with a promise.  Amen!

Monday, October 29, 2012


 We made a trip to Michigan a few weeks ago.  The guys went to a CMU vs.  BSU football game.  Well, Grahamers stayed with the ladies.  Soon, he can join the guys!  We went to Anderson and Girl's Orchard.  It's a great place for kids.  

 They have this neat goat area.  You can feed them and they have bridges and things for the goats.  Cute!

 Grace LOVES Hannah.  I know it gets tiresome for Hannah to have Grace tag along all.the.time, but she does so well and is a good example for her.
Aunt Michelle
 It's partially blurry on Hannah, but a nice pic of Mom and Daughter!
 Sisters.  We look more alike with my hair dark.  :)
 Aaron and my great Aunt Dorothy.  It's funny to think about.  Will I someday be having breakfast with Hannah's grandkids?  That's what it's like for Aunt Dorothy!
 The Birthday Boy Uncle Adam!
 Grandpa and Graham. 

I am blessed to have a loving family and to be able to spend time with them!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Flashback Friday

 October 2008
 October 2009
 October 2010
( a view from Camp Moneto)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

21 Days to a More Disciplined Life

One of my favorite blogs is Money Saving Mom.  I love her posts about saving money, recipes, planning, and all around encouragement.  This past summer she did a series of how to lead a more disciplined life.  I started off doing it, but it was just weeks after we had Ella and looking back, I was still in a fog then and definitely not ready to organize anything.

Crystal from MSM has taken her posts and added more content and made an Ebook called 21 Days To A More Disciplined Life.  Here is part of her description:
..." as I’ve learned over the past two years, allowing my emotions to dictate outcomes in my life, instead of making clear, purposeful decisions, is a recipe for chaos and disorder. Once I started carving away at my bad choices and replacing them with productive habits and self-discipline, I slowly started to gain victory where before there was only discouragement.
The bottom line is: I wasn’t born disciplined. I have had to learn — and then implement (and that’s the important part!) — simple strategies to gradually change."
 I have great news!  Today through Oct. 25th 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life is on sale for $.99! After that the cost goes up to $4.99. This can be bought for a kindle through Amazon or a PDF for your computer.  I am going to get it today and try to to through the entire 21 days.  I'll let you know how it goes!  

 Go here to purchase this book (and let me know if you decide to!)

Monday, October 22, 2012

So many choices

There are too many pictures for me to post.  I can't decide which ones.  But since this is my blog to document my family I'll pick all of em and then they'll be there for our memories!
The Dumbo ride was a favorite.
And more so when it got going!
There is a little splash pad zoo thingy that Grace loved.  She doesn't usually like stuff like this so we let her go crazy.  It looks like Graham was having fun too but I'm pretty sure he ran back to us right after this.
Another friend.  This little "Merida" was beside us for the light parade.

I love this one.  Two of my loves and the castle of dreams in the background.
waving to the princesses

All of the parades were great. The characters were so much fun. 
This is how they both looked at the end of the night!

The light parade was fantastic.  Someone said that it would be the same as the day parade but with lights.  It was nothing like the day parade. Both were very unique.  I'm glad we stayed for it! 
We didn't plan on staying so close to the castle for the fireworks but it was too hard to get out.  I'm so glad we were that close though.  It was so beautiful

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Disney Princesses

Our second day was at the Magic Kingdom. (random side note: see the person behind us? Ever wonder how many pictures of your backside are on other people's blogs?! Ha!)

 I know that some of you are not interested in princesses, or letting your daughter dress up like one, or watching the movies, etc.  We, however, are not that family.  We are full of pink, princesses, and the such.  I surprised Gracie by packing one of her dresses so she could dress up.  She was so so excited.
 She also loved making friends.  Praise the Lord for other "princesses" who had to wait in line too.  It kept her occupied.  Don't you love her pose by the way?!
 Snow White joined Sleeping Beauty.  They had a lot to catch up on.   I was so so proud of Gracie.  She would see a little girl and then say "mom, I want to talk to her".  She'd go up to the girl and ask her name.  She'd tell her that she was Grace then ask if they could be friends.  Most of the time the little girl would say yes and then they would play for a bit.  I've heard people talk about watching their kids grow up and their hearts cracking a bit as they do.  This was one of those moments for me.   My heart couldn't get much fuller.  A few times the little girl would say no and them my sweet girl would just come back and say "she didn't want to be friends" then find something else to do.  Again, I am so proud of that girl. 
 Rapunzel was our first princess to meet.  Only I couldn't remember her name, I just kept thinking "Tangled" ha!
 Then we saw Belle.  Can you see Graham looking over to the right?  He's staring at his girlfriend, Cinderella.  He only had eyes for her!
 Look at this face! She was so so excited!
 Shane and I both said that if our daughter grows up to be like the princesses she met- full of hospitality, grace, kindness, and love, we will be thrilled.  So let her be a "princess" :)
 And let him marry one.
(can you see her lipstick on his cheek?  he was so cute!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Disney Part 1

We have some dear friends who gifted us a week at a condo.  We decided to use it as a family trip and headed to Orlando.  Our original plan was to go down and spend one day at the Magic Kingdom and then just hang out the rest of the time.  We also threw around the idea of Sea World.  

Wellllll, we got there, and started looking at tickets and decided to do two days at Disney.  And if we were doing two, then we should get the three day deal, and the fourth day is SO cheap if you buy three and then if you buy four you get the fifth for free.  Before we knew it we were doing the WHOLE disney deal!  

 And it was fantastic.  We had a great time. The kids loved seeing the characters.  We didn't do everything and we didn't rush, but we had lots of laughs, smiles, and great memories.

 We started at Epcot.  The characters were amazing.  I loved it. Grace was enthralled.
 Shane was excited, Graham? A little nervous. Ha!  Look at that face.  He really did like them though.  Especially Goofy.  Pluto made him a bit nervous.  :)
 But check this out.  We saw Chip and Dale and he went right up to Dale and gave him a hug, and then just stayed there! 
 Chip "told" us to be quiet and that Grahamers was sleeping.  Ha!  It was so cute.
 We went on the Nemo ride (twice in a row!) and saw the fish and dolphins and manatees.  

 And.... a whole week of swimming will give you this.  Grace is swimming!  She did so good and loved it.  She kept wanting to swim without her puddle jumper.  I almost cried watching her do so well. (ok, there were a few tears!)  I am so proud of her when she learns something new and tries new things.  It's not in her nature. She's like her mama and likes things safe and the same.  I love seeing her grow and change.

And I wouldn't forget Graham!  He's so daring and brave ALL the time.  He loved jumping in the pool!

Stay tuned for Part II and THE PRINCESSES! :)