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.