Saturday, December 24, 2011

This is the Forest

This is the forest
that my kids made
using construction paper
on December 23rd
to set on the table 
in celebration on Christmas

These are the cookies
that my kids decorated
with colored frosting and sprinkles
on December 24th
to fill our tummies
in celebration of Christmas

Merry CHRISTmas to all !!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thankful Thursdays!

I am thankful for a daughter

who will be silly at restaurants with me

and go window shopping at the mall too.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cancer Sucks, But...

Recently I found this shirt on the internet:

I like it.  It voices my feelings in a clear concise way. 
 Cancer is brutal disease, and it seems like everyone has been touched (kicked, punched) by it.
But, if I were designing this t-shirt, I would have to change it up a bit.
My shirt would say, "Cancer Sucks!... But God is STILL good!"
Yes, after losing two babies, and watching my dad fight cancer,
I still know that to be true.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thankful Thursdays

Today I am thankful for the amazing marriage example that my parents have given me.  They have been married for 38 years, and they are still madly in love.  Today my dad will start chemo, and it will be my mom who takes him in, sits with him for three hours, drives him home, and takes care of him.  Not because she has to, but because she loves him.

Mom and Dad 12/2010

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Yeah, What She Said

After losing my first son, I have had a special affinity for Mary, and perhaps a better understanding of her grief.  Yesterday I read an amazing Blog post that touched on this.  Since there is no way that I could say things as eloquently as this woman already has, I will just share the link with you.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Duggars

I just had to give my 2 cents on this.  I don't watch or follow the Duggars, but yesterday I read on Yahoo that they had lost their baby at 19 weeks.  Anytime someone loses a baby it is a tragedy.  Having a lot of living children does not make losing one any less difficult to deal with.
What got my attention though were some of the comments left on the article.  Rarely had I seen such vile, mean-spirited words.  The basic sentiment was, "they are evil for having so many children, and they deserve this loss."  Really???  I am dumbfounded.  Beyond the fact that no one DESERVES to lose a child, why do people care so much how many children this family has?  How is it any concern of theirs?  Would I personally give birth to 19 children?  No.  I don't think I could give enough attention to my kids if I were either pregnant or tending to an infant all the time.  However, there are many choices that I would not make for my own family that others make for theirs.  I choose not to work outside the home.  I choose not to homeschool.  I have plenty of friends who have made the opposite choices for their families, and you know what, I have no problem with that.  They are not evil, I am not evil.  We are just different.  So, if the Duggars want to have 20 children, I say, "God bless them."  If they are able to take care of all those children, how is it any concern of mine?
The only evil I saw in the Yahoo article was from the people rejoicing over someone else's tragedy.  I hope none of those people ever joins the babyloss family.  Whether you have no children or 19 children, it is an awful place to be.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thankful Thursdays

Today I am so thankful for good friends who love me, pray for me, and hold me up when I feel down.  It's like having a glimpse of heaven here on earth.
What are you thankful for today?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Not Me Monday

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

Hubby teaches a life skills class for high school students with special needs.  Once a week, I go in and teach them basic food preparation skills.
Last week, I did not get twenty minutes down the road before realizing that I had forgotten all of the ingredients in a bag on the washing machine.  I would never let my hubby down like that.  And I certainly would never be so scattered and forgetful.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Josiah's Christmas Ornament

Every year when I hang up Josiah's ornament, I think not only of my precious son, but of my amazing little sister who gave it to me.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thankful Thursdays

Unless you have ever had trouble sleeping this might sound silly; but, today I am thankful that I got a good night's sleep last night.  For the past couple of weeks I have had trouble sleeping probably due to a combination of:  taking prednisone, worrying about my dad, and getting off schedule over the long weekend.  Last night I fell asleep quickly and didn't stir until 6:00.  Delightful!
What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Spelling Bee

Today the younger boys and I went to watch K in her school Spelling Bee.  I have to admit that I was probably as nervous as she was!  I hoped that she would at least get through the first round, but she ended up coming in 2nd place!  I can tell you that she did not get the good spelling gene from me.

Every time she got up to spell a word, she would bend her knees and swing her arms back and forth.

2nd place trophy.  I'm so proud of my girl!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Letting Christmas Out of the Box

Growing up, the Christmas ornaments were always kept in a big box in the garage until it was time to put them up (usually right after Thanksgiving).  This became know as "letting Christmas out of the box."   As per tradition, today we turned on some Christmas music and let Christmas out of the box.  The Christmas season has now officially begun!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Thursdays - Thanksgiving Edition

Some days it's harder to remember to be thankful than others.  This week has been a tough one with my dad's cancer progressing and his surgery keeping us apart on Thanksgiving.  But, I am working to be mindful of the things that I have to be thankful for, and there are many.  So, on this thanksgiving I am thankful:
1.  That I have family to be with today
2.  That I have a wonderful dad in my life.  So many have dads who are absent, indifferent, abusive; but I have an amazing, loving, Godly dad.  So, for everyday that he is in my life, I will be thankful.
3.  That heaven is a real place.
What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Things My 5 Year Old Has Said Today

"Do we have a sneeze doctor?"

"Are we having grape pie for Thanksgiving?"

"After tomorrow it will never be tomorrow again."

"There is only one of every day, but there are lots of them"

"God hears you everywhere. even when he is way in heaven far away from you, He still hears 


Friday, November 18, 2011

What If I Had Known?

Sometimes I wish I could look into the future.  I would like to see 20 years from now. Where will I be?  What will life be like?  What will I be doing with all of my kids grown?
Twenty years ago today, I was on the eve of my 18th birthday.  The day before "adulthood."  I wonder what would I have said if someone had given me a glimpse of the next 20 years?  What if someone had told me that by the time I was 38 I would have lost two babies, my grandfather and father-in-law would both be dead, and my dad would have inoperable cancer?  I'm pretty sure that I would have responded, "No, I can not bear all that.  I will not survive it." Yet, here I am.  A few holes in my heart.  a few scars here and there. But here, living, loving, laughing, enjoying all that life has to offer.  It's definitely not all sunshine and roses.  There have been a lot of tears, a lot of anxiety.  I still struggle with both sometimes.  But if I had to do it all over knowing the outcome, I would do it.
I am sure that another 20 years will bring more holes, more scars, more sorrow, more worry.  But I also believe it will bring more joy, more love, more laughter. I probably don't want to know what the journey will be.  I'm sure it would scare me.  I might wonder if I could survive it.  So, I'll just take it each day as it comes, praying for strength along the way.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Thursdays

Today I am thankful for my church.  I am thankful that my pastor loves Jesus and teaches from the Bible.  I am thankful that when we get together as a church it is like getting together with family.  I am thankful for the amazing women there who are not catty or cliquey but love and accept everyone.  I LOVE my church!  What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What brings you joy?

I was asked this this question recently, and told I had to think of something other than God, family, friends. Hmmmm, for awhile I was completely blank.  Jokingly, I said, "food."  Then, after pondering, I realized that was true.  I enjoy finding interesting ingredients, searching for new recipes, cooking for others, and seeing people enjoy a meal that I prepared.  So, when my M requested apple butter, I decided to make some rather than buy it.  After all, what better way to celebrate fall then by smelling cooking apples all day.
As I usually do when I want to make something, I went on Google to search out some recipes.  Then I merged a couple together, threw in my own touches, and went to work.  According to my taste testers; K, M, C, and N; it was delicious.  It was also very easy, and made the house smell wonderful.
Here is the recipe, for anyone else who wants to give it a whirl.  Enjoy!

8 apples (I used Granny Smith  but if you use a sweeter apple, you may just want to add a squeeze of lemon juice) cored and chopped (I left the peel on)
1 cup sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t salt
1/2 t vanilla

Throw everything into a pot.  Add water to just cover the apples.  Cook on low for about  6 hours.  Check periodically.  If the water gets too low add a bit more to prevent the apples from scorching.  When the apples turn nice and brown, it's done.  Use an immersion blend to blend it up nice and smooth.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Not Me Monday

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

This week when my 2 year old was stuck on the plastic duck at the park, I did not stop to take his picture  BEFORE getting him down.

Not me.  I would never torture my children that way.

It was also not me who, on Sunday, had a pie smashed in my face in front of all of the Sunday School kids in order to raise money for Operation Christmas Child.

I am an extremely dignified person, and I would never allow myself to be humiliated in such a public fashion.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembrance and Thankfulness

Today is a day for remembrance and thankfulness.
As a nation we remember those who have served our country in the military.  We think of the sacrifice they have made, or are currently making; being separated from loved ones and being willing to die for our freedom.  We are thankful for their willingness and courage.
On a personal level, it is a day to remember the tiny soul that slipped silently from my womb into the arms of Jesus three years ago today.  I think about that baby that I never got to know, and yes it makes me sad.  But I am also thankful; thankful that God picked me to carry that baby, even if only for a short time; thankful that I will hold that baby in heaven; and thankful for the child that was born after the loss.
So today, I will reflect.  I will remember.  And I will be thankful.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful Thursdays

Today I am thankful that God speaks to His people: comforting, guiding, offering forgiveness.  What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

DeLITEful Chocolate Cake

M decided he wanted a chocolate cake for his birthday yesterday.  I got a good deal on a box mix at the big box store and then found a recipe on-line which called for a boxed mix and a can of pumpkin.  The recipe got great reviews from most people, but others said it was too dense, like brownies instead of cake.  To combat this, I decided to add some water and corn starch.
The cake turned out amazing!  It was super moist and we couldn't even taste the pumpkin in it.

Here is the recipe I used:
1 chocolate box cake mix
3/4 cup water
1 small can pumpkin
1 TBS corn starch
Mix together and cook according to the directions on the cake box.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Child of Promise

Very soon after losing Josiah, my dad told me I needed to choose another boy's name as a promise of the son that I would one day have.

That night I chose a name.

2 1/2 years later I found out I was pregnant.

And on November 7th, 2003, I gave birth to this boy.

Happy 8th Birthday, to my child of promise!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


On September 12th, Josiah would have been 11 years old.  I woke up to a drizzly, cloudy day, as if the heavens were weeping with me.  As I got into my car, a song came on the radio.  It was a song that I had heard a number of times, but I had never before paid attention to the lyrics.  I truly had no idea what it was about.  But on this day, something prompted me to really listen to the song.  Here is what I heard:

(Held by Natalie Grant)
Two months is too little
They let him go
They had no sudden healing
To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling
Who told us we'd be rescued
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares
We're asking why this happens to us
Who have died to live, it's unfair
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held
This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows
The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held
If hope if born of suffering
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait, for one hour
Watching for our Savior
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held

Amazing!  That God would  reach down to remind me that He knows my sorrow, that he weeps with me, and that He holds me still in the palm of His hands.

Thankful Thursdays

Although I would much prefer NOT to have termites, I am thankful that it is going to cost several hundred dollars less to get rid of them than I thought it would.
What are you thankful for today?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

It Was Paradise

Today our church had it's fall party.

We had a potluck meal.

Some of the kids wore costumes.  M was an army man.

The kids did pumpkin bowling, and played in the bounce house.

Then we roasted marshmallows around a bonfire.

And ate some s'mores.

On the way home, the kids were all talking about their day. 
M declared, "it was paradise!"

Saturday, October 29, 2011

On Finding Joy

I have been trying to find a way to express what I want to say in this post for awhile, but have been struggling with how to put it together.  Recently I was reading a book and came across a passage that says it better than I could.  

"Since avoiding pain entirely is impossible, take heart in knowing that we belong to One who offers to use our pain in miraculous ways for our good.  God takes our sorrow and transforms it into something beautiful.  When we turn from the pain and focus on God, we find strength and power to endure.  But that's not all.  When we've made it to the other side of a trial, we will receive the joy of knowing that we are - thank God-still here!  We have made it through our dark night, and we will be stronger and wiser for it.  
And then something astounding will occur:  our lives will emit God's radiance.  Our lives will glow in confirmation-His faithfulness has now been tested and proven.  We will then be filled with His light, a light that can illuminate the road of other travelers.  We will have found a purpose we never knew existed-something beneficial and good, something that has great worth-and when we fulfill it, we will be rewarded with immense joy."
(Autism's Hidden Blessings: Discovering God's Promises for Autistic Children & Their Families  by: Kelly Langston)

Thank you Mrs.  Langston for saying what I wanted to say better than I could think to say it.  
If you are struggling with grief right now, read this passage several times, and let it sink into your heart.  Then let God heal you, strengthen you, and give you His joy.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Souper Easy Taco Soup

This recipe is based on one given to me by a friend years ago.  It is very easy, tasty, and versatile.

32 oz.  vegetable broth
small jar salsa
2 cans black beans (not drained)
1 can corn (drained)

Toss everything in a pot and cook until heated through.  Top with diced avocado, fried tortilla strips, and a squeeze of lime.
Seriously, that's it!  Try it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In Which I Am Brutally Honest

I am not going to lie.  Even though it has been eleven years, and I have an amazing, full life, grief still sometimes sneaks up on me and takes my breath away.
Hubby and I are leading a small group for in our church.  It is a video based series that we have been through twice before.  Last Friday the video discussed science, and God's amazing creation.  One of the topics was the amazing mechanism of blood clotting.
I'm sure the rest of the group was either thinking, "wow that is fascinating" or "geez this is boring."  The only thing I could think of was my dead baby, and the blood clots that killed him.
Yep, that is grief.

Friday, October 21, 2011

What were you born to tell the world?

I am currently going through a book called Praying for Purpose for Women.  Each day the book asks a question, and then has you pray about the question.  A couple weeks ago the question was, "what were you born to tell the world?"
It is an interesting and thought provoking question, one I hadn't given much thought to previously.  The answer, once I reflected on it, came quite quickly and was one of the reasons for starting this blog. I was born to tell the world that joy can come after weeping.
So what were you born to tell the world?  Were you born to tell the world about the joys of adoption, the fulfillment found in living childfree?  Were you born to tell the world that God can free you from addiction, forgive you for abortion, heal you from sexual abuse?
You were born to tell the world something.  What is it?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thankful Thursdays

Several years ago, a speaker at a women's Bible study offered some types on prayer.  One suggestion was two have a different prayer topic for each day of the week.  For example, pray for different ministries on Monday, government on Tuesday etc.  For me, Thursdays are set aside for giving thanks.
With that theme, I have decided to make Thursdays "Thankful Thursdays" on the blog.  Obviously, I am extremely thankful every day for me family, friends, and Savior, but I want to find other, less obvious things to be thankful for too.
So today I am thankful for pumpkins.

Without pumpkins there would be no pumpkin patches, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread, or pumpkin spices lattes!
What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sam's Story

My pregnancy with Sam is what is technically called a "chemical pregnancy."  Man I hate that term! It sounds as if it wasn't a real pregnancy, just some weird chemical reaction.  It actually simply means a pregnancy that was not confirmed by ultrasound.  Of course it used to be that no pregnancies were confirmed by ultrasound.
I found out I was pregnant on October 30th, I believe.  We had been trying for seven months, and were very excited.  This was to be our final baby.  The one to complete our family.
A few days later, I started spotting.  I knew this could be normal, had experienced it before.  But, after a few days of it not stopping, I became concerned.  I tried to be positive.  I thought that it would be okay, after all, I'd already paid my dues.  Of course that is not a logical thought.  One tragedy does not preclude another.
On November 10th, I called the OB.  They reminded me spotting was normal, and told me that they could do nothing for me, but they scheduled me for an appointment the following afternoon just to make me feel better.
The next day I woke up, and I just knew.  Even before I got up.  Even before I saw the blood.  I knew it was over.  I woke my husband, sobbing.  We went to the ER, not because I thought they could do anything, but because I felt so sick and was so shaky that I thought something was terribly wrong with me.  It turns out that I was fine, just no longer pregnant.
I felt like this baby deserved a name just like all our other children, so we chose Sam because it could stand for either Samantha or Samuel.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Believe in Miracles

A few weeks after losing Josiah, I lay awake late one night.  I felt empty and sad.  My arms literally ached with the emptiness.  Then I felt something.  I felt a hug from my son.  I actually felt the weight of his arms around me.
For a week I didn't tell anyone about this, lest they think I was losing my mind.  Finally, I confided in my dad.  With goose bumps on his arms he told me, "A week ago, I was laying in bed late at night praying for you, and I prayed that you would feel a hug."
So yes, I do believe in miracles.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Josiah's Story

Whenever I visit a new blog, I always want to now the back-story.  Since there may be one or two other nosy people out there, I have decided to share Josiah’s story.
 In March 2000, after 10 months of trying, I was finally pregnant.  I was so shocked when I saw the positive on the stick, that I took about a dozen more tests. 
I had a miscarriage scare at about 6 weeks, and all day sickness until 18 weeks, but other than that it was a very normal, easy pregnancy.  At the 18 week scan, we found out we were having a boy and named him Josiah.
At my 32 week OB appointment (with a nurse practitioner), I expressed some concern about my lack of weight gain and my small belly.  The nurse assured me that because I was heavy (about 30 pounds overweight) this was normal.  Just to reassure me, she did a quick scan and told me that everything looked great.  This was on Tuesday.
On Friday, I felt three strong rolling movements from Josiah.  On Saturday and Sunday I felt very little movement.  I didn’t want to freak out and make a big deal out of things.  I figured it was just normal and that I shouldn’t worry.
Monday morning I decided to call Labor and Delivery.  I was told to drink some juice, lie on my side and count kicks for one hour.  Nothing.  At that point I was told to come in.  I called my husband to let him know I was going in, but told him that I was sure everything was fine.  He decided to come with me anyway.  Thank God.
When I arrived at about noon, several people tried to find his heartbeat.  Then they brought in the ultra-sound machine.  Two doctors looked at it. 
It still had not occurred to me that my baby could be dead.  Sick, yes, In distress, yes.  Emergency C-Section, yes.  Dead, no.
Finally the doctor pointed out the heart, and said the words that will forever be etched in my mind, “here is the heart, but it is not beating.  I’m sorry.”
Simultaneously, I had two thoughts, “We will get this baby out, move on, and everything will be fine,” and “Nothing will ever be fine again.”  As it turns out, I was wrong on both counts.
Before beginning the induction, the hospital gave me a book, “When Saying Hello Means Goodbye.”  I am so thankful for this book.  It talked about things that had never occurred to me:  naming the baby, holding the baby, taking pictures of the baby. 
At about 6:00 PM, the induction was started.  I was told that it would take one day if I were lucky, 3 if I wasn’t.  At 1:00AM, much to the doctor’s surprise, Josiah entered the world.  Silent, still, and beautiful.  He looked just like his daddy, with my nose.  He weighed 2lbs, 3oz, the size of a 26 week old.  My concerns had been right.
He was cleaned up, dressed, and then brought to me.  We held him, kissed him, took pictures with him, told him we loved him, and said goodbye.  How I wish I had taken more pictures, spent more time, but I know that it would never be enough. His ashes were scattered beyond the Golden Gate Bridge.   His spirit went to heaven, where I will meet him again some day.
After an autopsy and lots of blood work, the cause of death was found.  I had blood clots in my placenta which caused him to have severe IUGR, cut off his nutrients, and caused him to die.
I have so many if onlys, and what ifs.  If only I had done kick counts every day.  What if I had seen a doctor instead of a nurse practitioner?  What if I had gone to the hospital on Saturday instead of waiting until Monday?  But I have learned not to live in the if onlys, and what ifs – at least most of the time.  I have found that there is to much in the now, and I don't want to miss it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Why a Blog?

I guess the simple answer is, it sounds fun!  I enjoy writing, teaching, and talking to people, so a blog is right up my alley.  It also seems incredibly vain.  I don't believe that my thoughts, or day to day life, are so interesting as to garner a huge following of readers.  But lately, I have been prompted to think that I may indeed have something to share.
Since losing my son 11 years ago, I have had a passion to help others grieving the loss, or impending loss, of a baby.  Recently a couple of friends have told me that my story helped them in dealing with their own difficult pregnancies.  So, I am here, in hopes that I can reach others who are hurting:  to tell them that there can indeed before joy after the weeping.