Thursday, January 29, 2009


Anna and Jojo caught again holding hands.....PRECIOUS

The big boys being pulled on the sled

The end result.... a wipe out and Caleb laughing being pulled by the car.

It really was a whole lot safer than it looks. I could hear the kids laughing from the other side of the neighborhood. That was good for my soul:) Yesterday was Snow Day #2. Today is Day #3. I know for all of my Wisconsin friends, it is hard to believe. When I was growing up we needed a good foot of snow to shut things down.
Yesterday we had a Dr.'s appt. down town that we had to get to. We took it slow and the roads were actually a lot better than we anticipated. On the way home we had to drive right by where our good friends the Tiews live. Now this is where the "How you grew up" factor comes into play. The kids were begging us to stop. I thought, how fun to surprise them all the way in town on a day when most people are held up at home. (This coming from the girl whose father drove all the way across town in a snowstorm that shut down a Wisconsin city, in his long underwear, to meet my college boyfriend... Yes it was Greg... and yes he still married me:) You gotta love my dad, he is the best) Greg who grew up in maybe not quite such a crazy home, but still such a great home, thought... we should just get home, the roads aren't the greatest. At times I call Greg the safety patrol man. I mean that with the best of intentions in my heart, he is a great protector:) (I love you honey:)... So we did end of stopping and hit their local High School sledding hill. I never knew that card board boxes could fly down a hill like that. We had 7 of us piled on the big box. It was fun for everyone. Our friends are so great, they even invited their uninvited guests to stay for lunch.
We talked about how 1 year ago we were at the seminary with them discussing where we could all possibly be living the next year. We had an idea it would either be Oklahoma or Wisconsin for us, they thought maybe Texas or California. God clearly had His hand in putting both of us here Tulsa. I don't know what we would have done with out them here when Samuel was born. They had the kids that day when we went to the Dr. when Samuel had stopped moving. They rejoiced with us when we thought we had heard a strong heartbeat. They then kept the kids all night, ready to wake them all up at any time when Samuel was born to come and be with their little brother, while Greg and I waited all night at the hospital to deliver our son whom we knew was already in His Heavenly Fathers arms. To me that is one of God's small miracles in this whole Samuel thing. He knew Samuel wouldn't stay on earth with us, that did not take God by surprise. But He also knew that we would need people who knew the kids well and could comfort them when we couldn't and He knew we would need people who have known us for more than 10 years when we now were in a brand new city. God was faithful to provide so much of what we needed that day through them.
It was 3 months ago today that we knew Samuel had already entered his eternal home. Praise God I have had a much better last 2 days. There is still sorrow and many tears but my heart hasn't literally felt the heaviness that has just made itself at home there for the last 3 months. I know many don't like to hear it, and wish that I would just feel better already. To them I just say, they maybe have never had a loss like I have. I am not trying to dwell on my loss, but I know I have said it before, I want to face the grief head on and deal with it now, not in 5 years because I stuffed it. That is why this is my blog. I am just telling it like it truly is for me and my family on this road that we never would have dreamed we would have to walk. Not much is held back here.
I laughed with a friend the other day because I said, I always feel a deep sense of sorrow. I just wake up feeling that way and even as I go through my day, the sorrow is never far away. But I was thankful for that... just the sorrow, and that it wasn't the deep hopeless despair that I have also felt at times. Sorrow, I can deal with that... so funny how just persistent sorrow can be a GOOD thing compared to the despair. Oh how my perspective has changed. And I mean that whole heartedly that I am thankful for days when I just feel sorrow and can still function and attend to my other kids and home.
But the last 2 days have been different, even better. Praise God for His comfort and peace. Could it be that Greg has been home with us so much more this week than normal because of the weather? Who knows, but whatever it is, I will take it! Funny what an up and down road grief is... Yeah, I am on the up:) I know the downs will come again, but I am thankful for the ups when I have them.
Thank you Lord for walking this road with me. Thank you for being there with me, even when I don't feel you at all, I know you are still there and see my pain. And I know you see me now and rejoice in the peace that you send that is comforting my weary heart:)

The following verse was on a plaque that I got for Greg's parents when Greg was being treated for his cancer 17 years ago. It is amazing how God's words apply to so many seasons of life. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever!
I waited patiently for the Lord (I am still working on this:)
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in HIM.
Psalm 40:1-3
A picture of our 2nd Ebenezer stone coming soon!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


We are covered in ice here in Oklahoma. We have a Doctor's appt. tomorrow morning, we will see if we can brave the roads. Greg will be off of work for the second day. We love having him home with us. We have always loved having him with us, but so much more so in the last 3 months. We laugh about this that his once very low maintenance wife has stepped it up quite a bit and is now quite HIGH maintenance. I need him so much more now than ever before:) He is loved that is for sure.
Our poor kids, the beauty of homeschooling is that because you are at home you can go on with or with out the ice:) We did lighten the load a bit today so the kids had plenty of time to play outside. We rented a movie off the TV and all hunkered down and snuggled up to watch it. We also had our neighbors over to eat. We have been meaning to do this for some time, and since nobody was going anywhere it was the perfect night. We are neighbor knowing people. It is so sad to see people live next to each other and not know one another or reach out to one another. It was great to visit and get to know them a bit... they of course got to know us and the 4 kids who couldn't stop chattering. We hope it wasn't too much for them who are just expecting their first child.
I had a nice visit on the phone with my older brother tonight. I was encouraged when he prayed with me and shared the following verse. It is one of my favorites that I committed to memory years ago. It was a great reminder that even though there may be moments or days I feel like outwardly I am wasting away or falling apart, God can and will inwardly renew me in His time. Oh it is hard to be patient and wait for his timing. I fail miserably at this. At times I just want to yell out BRING IT GOD, BRING IT NOW. Today on the treadmill I had to remind myself that those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. Greg keeps telling me that I need to give God the time to work and bring good from this. Hmmmm... maybe the Lord is teaching me something:)
2 Corinthians 4:14-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Yesterday we received such a special letter in the mail. It was from a dear friend of mine who is in China doing mission work with her husband and children. (You know who you are:) the way could you email me your email address, thanks:) Wow, as I poured over her letter I cried, she too has had such loss in the last few years. But I was so encouraged by her precious words.
She also sent a beautiful wall hanging that has Jeremiah 29:11 written on it in Chinese, in the shape of a cross. It is so special. It is hanging right by our front door so we can be reminded that God does have a plan to prosper us and not harm us, to give us a HOPE and a future. Beautiful words... Beautiful reminder. The kids were so thrilled too, they couldn't believe we received a gift from the other side of the world. Thank you so much dear friends.

We have been so blessed by so many people, meals, gifts, ornaments in memory of Samuel, cards, CD's, books, magazines, and prayers. Many cards have been read and reread in the tough moments when I just need to be reminded of God's love for us. When you are wondering why He, the God of the Universe, the God you have always trusted, who is capable of anything, allowed your son to die sometimes you just need to remember that He does still love you regardless of how you feel. His word says He does... so He does. His word is TRUTH, not my feelings. I know I have said that before but I myself need the constant reminder. I am going to plaster His truths around my house just so I see that reminder everywhere I turn. I know it sounds pretty pathetic, you would think that when these truths have always been your cornerstone you wouldn't need the constant visual. But you know, the devil attacks, and I have felt it a great deal over the last couple of months. Nothing better to combat Him with than the word of God.

To know that people are praying for us is a gift to my soul. I know that is the only reason we made it through the first few weeks...knowing many were pounding on God's door on our behalf. So thank you everyone for all you have done for us, we are blessed! We continue to appreciate the prayers, there are still many ups and downs each day. But Praise God there are times the weight of our grief seems lighter.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I am so not myself these days. My parents were here visiting for the last 4 days and I failed to take any pictures again. I am usually a photograph fanatic and just always have the camera handy. Bummer! We had a really nice visit. The morning after they got here they declared that they wanted it to be a vacation for all of us... the mom of the house included, so they'd be taking us out to eat. It was a treat since we don't eat out often. The kids especially loved the morning trips to the donut shop. I loved having family here with me ( it was such a blessing, Wisconsin is just too far away:(. I loved showing them all of the pictures we had taken of Samuel and our family. I loved just having the freedom to talk about him and not have anyone be uncomfortable with that. They enjoy hearing about their 18th grandchild. I miss them already. I think we may need to plan a road trip in the somewhat near future.

Greg and I went to the MEND support Group tonight. MEND is a national group that supports moms and dads who have lost children through miscarraige, stillbirth, or a child under 1 year. The meetings are held in a beautiful, cozy log home here outside of Tulsa. It was interesting because Greg asked why I thought people who had suffered a loss maybe 2-3 years ago were still coming to the group? (It is so interesting to me how differently men and women who have suffered the same loss of a child can grieve.) I am not saying anything bad about my wonderful husband, it is just different. Shoot, I wouldn't be standing today if it weren't for his support:) He has been amazing, 100% supportive of me during this time. But, I only had to think about it for about ahhhh... 1 second. For me there is a comfort in being with others who have also suffered the loss of a child, some of them more than one child. I know that they completely understand what I am going through. It is the one place where I can be like everyone there. I actually feel like a normal person with the other people there. As crazy as that may sound, when you go through something like losing a child, you are never the same person again. I am forever changed and that isn't all bad. But to fit back into life as you knew it or everyone else knows it just doesn't feel right. You don't fit in. When you can sense and feel others uncomfortableness around you, you know it is different. I am not faulting people, I understand the discomfort, but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with. So to go into a room of people and to know that they are completely at ease with your loss and grief is actually like a gift to me. I can be me, who I am right now, wherever that may be in the grief process.

This Thursday is Sanctity of Life Day. Tonight we were talking about how our other kids are dealing with their loss. Praise God that kids are resilient. I am so thankful that my children enjoyed having Samuel as a part of our life. He was a constant topic of conversation all through my pregnancy. He was always making himself known to them by his kicks. To look now at the pictures of them with their little brother, their love for him is so evident. They valued their time with him alive in the womb. They were so careful with him as they held him, even after he had passed away. They know every life is to be celebrated. They know every life that God creates is precious whether is is 9 days, just 9 months in the womb, or 90 years.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


My whole life changed forever.
My heart broke, yet swelled with love for my new son.
I said hello and goodbye to my baby all in one day.
I nuzzled his sweet skin next to my face.
I kissed the bridge of his perfectly formed nose.
I smelled in his scent trying to cement it into my memory knowing I wouldn't be able to ever smell it physically again.
I stroked that sweet little peach fuzz hair, that part in front of a babies ear on their face. (That is one of my favorite parts of my babies... so precious.)
I ran my fingers over his soft skin.
I kissed his sweet rosy red lips.
I Eskimo kissed his little Neumann nose.
I held his tiny hand in mine.
I gazed at his sweet little feet that would never take their first steps here on earth.
I admired how plump and full my son had grown inside of me.
I snuggled his whole body close to mine just wanting to feel him close to me while I had the chance.
I begged God, "Please Lord breathe life into my son."
I heard my husband say," Right now I wish I had the power to heal."
I saw my children's world change forever, they now had lost a brother.
I heard questions from my children that I will never have an answer for.
I saw my children's hearts shatter as they realized Samuel would never come home with us.
I inspected every inch of his perfectly formed body.
I thanked God for His power to create life.
I handed my son over to the nurse for the last time.
I saw her carefully wrap his body up and take him from the room.
I felt a piece of my heart go with him.
I rejoiced that my son was safe in Jesus arms.
I mourned that my son would never again, this side of Heaven, be in MY arms.
11 weeks ago today I wondered why would God allow this to happen to our family.
11 weeks ago today I said I still believe you are Christ, son of the Living God.
11 weeks ago I said I will still follow you God, good or bad, happy or sad, heartbroken or filled with joy, with or with out my son here with me.

Monday, January 12, 2009


The Lord was gracious in the days leading up to Samuel's birth to allow circumstances to bring Greg and I to a place of closeness. We had been really busy with things and Greg had been gone A LOT. The day before Samuel went to be with the Lord Greg decided to fore go the church softball playoffs to stay home on the evening of my due date. That was the last night we felt our sweet son move around inside of me. That night I felt so cared for by Greg knowing that He could have been out, he chose to stay home and spend some time with his family. Little did I know how much more cared for I would feel in the next days as Greg was so strong for our whole family.
I will never forget him having to tell Louis, Caleb, Anna, and Jojo that their baby brother wasn't going to be alive with us on earth. I could never have done it... but Greg did. Greg prayed in the delivery room before I started pushing. I just thought there was no way I could start to push, knowing that the outcome of our sweet baby would be so different than what we were planning and hoping for. There would be no cry from this little one once he emerged from my womb. I was encouraged and strengthened by Greg's prayer. I was strengthened by God to push out our big 9 lb 2 oz Samuel Mark at 9:41 that morning on October 30th 2008. Later that afternoon after we all left the hospital Greg was so strong to go and explain to all of the neighbors what had happened to spare me the discomfort of running into all of them days or weeks later and then having to explain that we didn't have our baby at home with us. He has been a rock to me.
Yes, we have been through the fire in the last 2 1/2 months and it hasn't been easy. But PRAISE GOD our marriage is stronger than ever. The reason I mention all of this is 2 fold. One, I can be a fiercely independent person, sometimes to a fault. In the last months since Samuel's passing I have learned to really rely on my husband. He may not be grieving in the same way I am. But he has been there for me 100%. Now we laugh at the fact that I am way more high maintenance than I ever have been in the past. We both have enjoyed the closeness we have shared recently... I just wish it wouldn't have been a result of losing our child.
The second reason I mention it is because last week Greg and I went to see a Christian counselor. She was awesome. One of the things she mentioned to us was that 75% of marriages where the couple loses a child, end in divorce. WOOH! That hit me hard. I know you all can do the math... but that is only 1 out of 4 marriages making it through the death of child. Yikes... not good odds. We are determined to not let this tear us apart but to bring us closer together. It is no fun going through the fire, but I am praying the Lord is refining us both, making us, as a couple, more into the couple He wants us to be.
A couple of other things about the counselor. It is amazing how God provides. I was referred to her by MEND, a support group for families that have lost children by miscarriage, still birth, or in the first year of life. This counselor herself lost a baby by stillbirth a few years ago. His name was also Samuel. Her living son who has been born since... his name is Caleb. I thought that was pretty special. She was a blessing to us both.

Saturday, January 10, 2009



This week we were so fortunate to have Greg's cousin, one of Jojo's Godmothers here for the week. She is a fellow runner and is training for a marathon. So she made me a part of her training. Yikes! She was whipping my rear back into shape with her morning and nightly runs. Actually, I loved having someone to run and talk with, it makes the exercise time pass so much more quickly. I miss it already... come back Ryane:)
We would talk and run. Have you ever been running while crying? Let me tell you, it isn't easy, nor a pretty sight. But in the end it felt kind of good. Last night she played Hope Now, an Addison Road song for me . I sat at the edge of the bed just listening, and crying. Ryane sat with her head on my shoulder, her arms around me. Wow, great song, it just spoke to me where I am at and what I am going through right now.
I know I have said it before, but being in one of the valleys of my life, I have found having Hope for my future to be difficult at times. I don't know that people can completely relate to what I am feeling unless they have gone through grief. For me there is always a sense of sorrow to each day. Sometimes it is just a kind of numbness that is just there. Sometimes it is sense of sorrow that is there even amidst the good moments of laughing with my kids or Greg. And sometimes it is a deep, raw, sorrow full of despair. That is SOOOO unlike me... I can't believe I am even saying it... But it is real and it is the truth of how I feel at times.
I just want to feel JOY again, to feel HOPE again. I know that the Lord can and will restore that in His time. For now I want to grieve well, face it head on. I don't want it to come back to bite me months or years down the road because I didn't do something I should have now. I know I will probably cry when I think of Samuel many, many years down the road. But I can't wait until the time when I can think of him and can remember holding him, kissing him, feeling his body in my arms, snuggling his precious face to mine, and feel joy in remembering all of that and not just pain. That time will come.
I KNOW that I am so blessed to have my wonderful husband and my four children that are still here with me. So to hear that song ministered to me and and I want to claim that HOPE that I can have in the future that God has planned for me and my family, a future so unlike what I had planned.
If everything comes down to love,
Then just what am I afraid of?
When I call out Your name,
Something inside awakes in my soul.
How quickly I forget I'm Yours.
I'm not my own.
I've been carried by You,
All my life.
Everything rides on hope now,
Everything rides on faith somehow.
When the world has broken me down,
Your love sets me free.
When my life is like a storm,
Rising waters all I want is the shore,
You say I'll be ok and,
Make it through the rain.
You are my shelter from the storm.
Everything rides on hope now,
Everything rides on faith somehow.
When the world has broken me down,
Your love sets me free.
You've become my hearts desire.
I will sing Your praises higher,
Cause Your love sets me free
Your love sets me free
Your love sets me free.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Oh how I miss my sweet little boy. I can not believe that it is the New Year already. I think that I completely lost the whole month of November and most of December. It is kind of a blur looking back. As hard as October 30th was for me, I would go back in a second just to hold and snuggle Samuel again. My arms feel so empty without him here. We knew God was going to add to our family in 08, we just never imagined we wouldn't take that child with us into the next year. So saying goodbye to 2008 is bittersweet, it will always be Samuel's year. The year we spent loving him growing inside of me and saying goodbye to him all too soon. Oh how I long for Christ's return and heaven so much more than I ever did before. Come Lord Jesus, Come.
My sweet sister had sent me a devotional that she photocopied from a book called The Heartbeat of God. It was called one who hears.
Incline Thine ear, O Lord, and answer me; for I am afflicted and needy. Psalm 86:1
O God, you are the One Who Hears. Be gracious to me O Lord... my soul is greatly dismayed, but You O Lord---how long? Return, O Lord, rescue my soul; save me because of Your loving kindness... You know my frame; You are mindful that I am only dust. Dear Abba, today, I am weary; today; I am weak; today, I am wandering. Sweet Savior , strengthen my faith, I pray. Please God Hear my cry; give heed to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to You, when my heart is faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I ... lift me up, I pray and renew a steadfast spirit within me... Revive me, O Lord, according to Your Word. I need You; for You are my hope, my only living hope. Yes, I do know You will run to me, and I do know You will rescue me. So then, I will wait for You, my soul does wait, and in Your word do I hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than the watchmen for the morning; indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning. Yes I know my Lord will come.
Psalm 6:2-4, Psalm 103:14, Psalm 61:1-3, Psalm 51:10, Psalm 119:107, Psalm 130:5-6
Obviously, I love all of the verses and they are some I repeat to myself out loud just to remind of God's faithfulness. The neat thing was my sister had gotten me one of those little name cards that have your name and the meaning on it. Well, she went back to get one with Samuel's name on it to send to me along with the devotional. When she picked it up she then read what Samuel means... God Has Heard.
So I need to keep reminding myself when I think of my sweet Samuel and am grieving our loss, that God has heard all of my cries in this past year and He will continue to hear them in the next year. He is faithful and His mercies are new every morning. Kind of like the manna he sent for the Israelites, only enough for that day. His mercies will be good for that day... and then the next day we will get a fresh supply. Praise God, because I need it!
I am excited to see what God will do in 2009. (Did I just write that I am actually excited about something???) I am praying that the intensity of the pain will be lessened as we continue to move ahead. I am praying that at some point I will be able to look back and remember Samuel with Joy and not soooooo much sadness. I am praying for God's will to be done in our lives. And I am praying that He will fill us with HOPE for the future He has planned for us.




We have been so blessed this last week. God has been gracious in sending us family and friends to help ease our burden. Regrettably I hadn't really gotten the camera out much lately (which is very unlike me:( so I didn't get any pictures of Mom and Dad Hintz when they came up for a long weekend after Christmas. The kids were so excited to see them and it was great to have someone else in the house besides just us. They were great in helping with meals and watching the kids while I stayed in bed a lot longer than normal in the mornings. It is so nice to live closer so the visits can happen more often. Yeah!

They left Monday and we had our upstairs neighbors, the Hayters, from the seminary come down for a few days. They left Friday morning and that afternoon the Stinettes, other friends from the Seminary came and stayed 2 nights on their way through Oklahoma. I have to say, that the Lord must have knew I was going to need friends in my home. I had just felt completely in a funk for a good week+, more like in the pit, unable to drag myself out. Honestly, I am learning a lot about the process of grief and myself through all of this. Having people here was the perfect kick in the shorts, or change of scenery to help me. I think I have figured out that if I get to feeling that BAD again for that long of a time I may just need to pack the kids up and head up north for a week or two. That is part of the beauty of homeschooling:)

Anyways, I was so blessed by getting to talk with my girlfriends, have them pray for me, listen to me talk about Samuel, and again cry with me. I know I have said it before but living in a new city and losing a child has had its share of challenges. Honestly, it completely stinks. I have wondered...ok Lord, why now, why here, what is your purpose in this?My friends and family get me and get that. It was such a treasure to just be able to be me, and know that as real friends they aren't afraid or uncomfortable with me or my grief. They love me and are with me in the grief, no matter what that looks like. And in those times I am cared for, ministered to, and I think I heal a little bit more. I don't know if that makes sense. Anyways, I miss them all already... but thankfully more visitors are on the way. Tomorrow one of Jojo's godmothers is coming to town. Yeah! Ryane, is Greg's cousin, but I claim her as a dear friend:) Then after Ryane leaves my parents may come down for a few days.

My sister asked if it was a good thing to have all of the company. I immediately said yes. It has broken up the monotony of my sadness. It has been a blessing to have friends and family who lighten the load just by being here. Last week prior to the visits I went to church to talk with the retired Pastor, he too has lost a child. I was talking to him about the despair I had been feeling over the loss of Samuel and he was saying that when you are at that low, low point, at the bottom of the valley that God's love is deeper still underlying that valley, basically still supporting you in that valley. He actually drew it out and it was a good visual for me. When the pain feels so deep, his presence is deeper still. When I feel alone and abandoned, his presence is deeper still. I keep praying that in those moments as I am begging for His help, comfort and peace that he will make Himself known to me. That I will feel his presence.

I have heard people say in the past that when you don't feel that God is close it isn't God who has moved, it is you. I have REALLY wondered about that in the last couple of weeks. When it is dark in the morning my mind has a tendency to wander and be consumed with not so great thoughts. I have had Greg pray over me, I myself pray, begging God to take away the thoughts and fill me with His peace. I have demanded that Satan leave me alone, and have no way with my thoughts. Honestly, there have been times there has been no relief. It is then that I wonder Ok Lord, I am not asking for my circumstances to be different, I am not asking for my sons life back, nothing like that, just peace and relief from the despair. I am just wanting to feel Him present with me in the despair. I don't know maybe someone can shed some light on that for me. I know He is there regardless of how I feel, but why not allow me to feel that closeness. I will keep calling out. I know He hears my cries.

So this week He sent dear friends and family to my home to comfort me and support me. I am so thankful for that tonight. I needed it:) Thank you God!