Sunday, March 29, 2009


Wow, my face was swollen that day. Here is a letter I wrote to Samuel just 2 weeks after his birth. Reading it now, I feel like I was almost handling it better at that point only 2 weeks after the fact. I think I was still in shock, not really feeling the full weight of all I had lost. It is a bit of a novel, but it will give you a picture into my heart and all I felt that day.

It seemed strange to write him a letter knowing he would never read it. But I always write a letter to my children after they are born, and I felt such a strong need to tell him of my love for him. I told him that day over and over again how much I loved him and I know he felt it in my womb, but for some reason I still felt the need to write it.

My Dear Son Samuel,
I feel kind of funny writing this letter to you knowing you are in Heaven with our Savior. I know you are at perfect peace and are perfectly healthy and happy. But there is so much that I want you to know since you are not here with us for me to tell you in person. Oh how we longed for you to be a part of our family. We prayed for you for months before you were ever conceived. Even the kids prayed for a baby every night. When we finally knew we were expecting you we all rejoiced. I had prayed for another child and God had answered that prayer. We were all so happy.

Samuel, we loved you from the minute we knew you were a part of our family. I loved carrying you. Your brothers, sister and papa loved talking to you, feeling you kick, wiggle and hiccup and we all loved singing to you every night... Oh my baby, Oh my baby, Oh my baby you’re precious to me. I love you, I love you, I love you, my family you’re precious to me. Having you inside of me was precious to all of us. Samuel, I loved feeling you grow inside of me, I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. It was a precious 9 months. I wasn’t too sick in the beginning and just loved being pregnant with you. You did so many things with us Samuel, nightly walks around the seminary community, packing and unpacking many boxes, moving to OK, trips to WI and TX, the kids painting your home ( my belly), taking runs with Mrs. Boggs and so much more. We loved having you be a part of all of our experiences and we so looked forward to experiencing life with you. We had so many plans for you. Your brothers and sister prayed for you every morning and just were almost beside themselves waiting for you to join us.

Your due date came and went and in fact on that Tuesday night of my due date, I felt you moving around so much. I remember laughing at how active you were. The next morning was when I realized I wasn’t sure if I had felt you move lately at all. I had gotten up, got the kids breakfast, vacuumed and then started to think about it. I didn’t want to over react so I took a shower and did Science with Louis and Caleb. Then I called your dad and asked him to come home. I was scared and drank some really cold OJ and laid down. Ruth the midwife had been in contact with me. Little did I know that you had probably been with your creator and God for a while by then. Even now, I just wish I could’ve done something to help you. I still feel a little guilty and very bad about that, we didn't have any clue that there was anything wrong. I know that this was God’s plan for your life, I just never thought that the time I carried you inside me was all I would have with you. Your dad came home and we headed to Dr. K's office. He thought he heard your heartbeat which was really mine beating very fast, but he sent us to the hospital for a Non Stress Test just to check on you. I thought it was strange that I still hadn’t felt you move.

We figured everything was fine so I sent your dad with Caleb and Jo to look for shoes at goodwill. When the nurse couldn’t find your heartbeat on the monitor and she was so vague and distant I knew something was wrong. Her coldness made me feel even worse. Eventually an hour or so later they had some ultrasound techs come in and they wouldn’t tell us anything. I knew you were gone and was pressing them for information as soon as they could give it to me. As a mom, I felt it was unfair and wrong that they wouldn't tell me, the person who was carrying you, what was going on. The nurse came in 15 minutes later saying there wasn’t any cardiac activity that they could see. Oh Samuel, I was just devastated to know you were gone. Your dad and I told the other kids and they all were so sad and cried a lot. They went to spend the night with the Tiews. Ruth the midwife came and so did Dr. K to discuss what we would do. Dr. K did another ultrasound and your body had moved from a head down position to a transverse position.I was then told that I would have to wait until you turned head down to deliver you. I was told I could wait up to 3 weeks. I knew that there was no way I could do that. I figured they would just do a C-section since you were already gone. They said that wasn't an option, that it was healthier for me to let labor happen naturally. I knew that full well, being a natural childbirth educator, I just figured these were different circumstances. I knew there was no way, knowing you were gone, that I could go home and just wait... we needed to have you now. The midwife said if we would have had to leave, she would have helped us find a way to come back. We could break my water and then they would have to deliver. Knowing that your 4 siblings knew you were already in heaven and I just knew emotionally for them and me I couldn’t do it. Praise God when Dr K. turned back on the ultrasound to try and turn you, you were back head down. That was a small miracle to us and they decided to induce me right away.

I did lots of crying that night. I just didn’t see how I could deliver you knowing that you weren’t alive anymore. Ruth just kept telling me that God would give me the grace to handle it bit by bit and each little step at a time. That was so true. Your dad was so supportive; he laid in bed with me and just snuggled with me. I felt so alone and just needed to feel him by me. They had the pitocin cranked as high as it could go all night, it wasn't hard to handle and it wasn’t doing a whole lot. At 7:00 am I had 2 new nurses come in to see me, Marilyn and Andi. Your dad had just stepped out to go to the bathroom and when they introduced themselves I completely lost it. I was just overcome with grief and despair. I was making noises I have never heard myself make and Marilyn just laid her hands on me and prayed for me. It brought me such comfort and peace.

Shortly after that my water broke and then things started to move. At around 7:30 I was still 2-3 cm. By 8:30 I was 6-7 cm. Dr. K came in and broke the fore bag of water at around 9:15 and said he would come back in 10 minutes. When he came back I was complete and could push. I started crying, just knowing I wasn’t ready to meet you and not have you be alive and healthy. I wanted to spend a full life with you, not have it already be over. I asked your dad to pray for me that I needed strength and courage. I couldn’t have done it without the Lord’s help. You were what I was waiting for for so long and it wasn’t at all happening like I had planned or wanted. I only pushed three times and at 9:40 out you came, all 9 lb. 2 oz. of you. You were big and beautiful... just not breathing. The Dr. said right away that the cord was tight around your neck. I was praying for a miracle and just asking God to breathe life into you. That wasn’t his plan.

The crazy thing is when you were born everyone else cried, Greg, Ruth, Dr. K, the nurses, and I didn’t. I was so happy to see you. When they put you on my chest I just looked at you and held you. You were absolutely perfect. God made you perfect and I loved every bit of you. I was amazed by how beautiful you were created by Him. Your dad and I held you and looked over every inch of you. You were just a treasure. Your brothers Louis, Caleb, and Elijah and your sister Anna, and Mrs. Tiews came in right away to see you and hold you as well. Oh they cried when they saw you and just loved holding you. Everyone wanted to keep holding you. You had perfect rosy red lips. You looked a lot like Anna as a baby; you had the Neumann nose and definitely your father’s toes. You were just precious. It was amazing to see Anna’s little mommy heart already there; she just kept asking to hold you and would kiss you on the lips. All the kids loved you dearly. We had a photographer come in to take pictures of us all together. Even though you would never live here on earth outside of my womb you were and are our child, loved and prayed for by so many. We will cherish those photos of our whole family together. You will always be missing from our future family photos. I am so thankful for the beautiful photos that we have of you. We held you, snuggled you, and loved on you for about 4 ½ hours and then it was getting to the point that if we didn’t say goodbye to you soon, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it at all. We handed your precious body to the nurse and she wrapped you up and put you in the bassinet.

Oh Samuel, my heart aches for you like nothing I have ever felt before. I am forever changed by losing you here on earth. I feel so empty and alone at times. I miss you kicking and wiggling around inside of me and yet my arms ache with an emptiness I never knew existed. I would do anything just to hold you again and to have you here with us. I just wish I had the opportunity to tell you over and over again how much I love you. This is the hardest thing I have ever been through and sometimes the pain is so intense I wonder how I will survive. I just plain miss you my son. I know that you are safe in the arms of Jesus, but in my own humanness I want you in my arms. Truthfully I know you are much better off where you are, but it is still so hard. Two weeks have passed, but the pain is still just as strong. I know that God will grow us all through this and will work good out of your life. I have seen it and heard from others already how your short precious life was used. My faith has always been strong, but right now it takes all of me just to proclaim that I still believe and I do. I will continue to trust in the one that created you and blessed us with your precious short life. You will forever be remembered, thought of, talked about and treasured. We will keep your precious memory alive with us through pictures and stories about how much we loved you Samuel. I thank God for your life son; I will look forward to our reunion in Heaven one day. Oh how I long to be there with you Samuel in God’s presence. I am still in shock that one of my own is there worshipping our creator right now. Samuel please know how much I loved being your mommy, loved carrying you, talking to you, feeling you move and grow inside of me, how much I love you my precious, sweet son. My heart just continues to burst with love for you. You were and will always be so very special to all of us.

Mom, Dad, Louis, Caleb, Anna, and JoJo

Friday, March 27, 2009



When it looks like this on the ground it is usually snow:)


The kids are really enjoying the trampoline that they received this year as a present for birthdays and Christmas this year. All of the static electricity just cracks me up. I love hearing their laughter from inside of the house. It does my soul good.
Yesterday Louis got his braces on, he was a real trooper. This morning he is sore...poor guy even has a headache. He is hanging in there though. How can a son of mine be old enough to have braces. It seems impossible. He has such a sweet, tender heart. He continues to be such a comforter... and I will say he and Anna are still by far having the hardest time with the loss of their brother. There are so many questions, that I just don't have the answers to. That hurts me. We just continue pointing to Jesus and the plan that He has for us, even when it hurts and we don't understand it. I know how going through a fire like the death of a son, or brother can rock your faith. That has been the biggest concern for me as a mother. Jojo... has that true childlike faith. He can accept that Samuel is in Heaven with very few questions. Louis knows and feels the impact of that loss in such a different way. That breaks my heart for him. He sheds tears... but then continues to plug away as the great big brother that he is. I am so proud of him.
Yesterday we were hit with our first REAL Oklahoma hailstorm. At the end of it, it looked like it had snowed and I am sad to say... the strawberry plants in the garden were pummeled. There is snow predicted for tomorrow, so we will enjoy that, and we are just glad that we didn't plant more in the garden yet. We will see how this garden thing pans out for us:)

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church, and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, now and forever. Amen!
Ephesians 3:20-21

I have been asking and pleading on some days for so many different things. But wow, that He can do IMMEASURABLY MORE than I can ask or imagine, that is amazing and awesome... Now that brings comfort to my heart.
Continually resting in HIM<><

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Most of the deaths that I have experienced in life haven't necessarily taken me by surprise. They usually were ones that either we were expecting due to an illness or it seemed somewhat natural in the sense that it was an older person passing away. Last year while we were at the Seminary fellow students of ours tragically lost their 9 year old son over Christmas break while they were on vacation in Texas. We just happened to also be spending our vacation in Texas. We were all shocked. It seemed so unnatural for someone to have bury a child. You just never expect that as a parent. How do you comfort a mother and father who just lost their son... what do you say? We ended our vacation a day early to attend the funeral of Caleb in Dallas on our way back to St. Louis. Greg and I both felt like we wanted them to have a piece of St. Louis present there, someone who knew what the funeral was like and would be willing to talk about it back in St. Louis after they returned home. We weren't particularly close to this family before Caleb's death... but definitely became closer through it. I loved hearing his parents talk about him and it was inspiring to watch them cope with the loss of their child with such a steady faith and trust in God. Who would have thought we would be in a similar situation less than a year later. Their words to us shortly after losing Samuel were such a comfort and encouragement.

Now having lost a child of my own, I have seen first hand how hard it is for people to deal with a grieving person... friend or just acquaintance. I completely understand people's uncomfortableness with death and people who are grieving, but how they react can sometimes make the grief even harder to bear. I know that may not make sense to someone who hasn't been through a loss personally.

I think most people think that someone else is reaching out to the grieving person and that is certainly easier than doing the reaching out yourself when it is intimidating. I had lunch with a woman from church this past Sunday. It was such a breath of fresh air. I had told her that I just headed up north last minute because I just needed to be with people, have the physical presence of someone with me... This dear woman on Sunday said she wanted to talk with me about Samuel and cry with me. Wow, that touched my heart. I never would have imagined the intense need and desire for me to have my son's life validated. When it comes to him I am almost like a mama bear as far as protecting his honor. His life counted even if it was only in the womb. Each day of his life was treasured and celebrated in this home. When people are too afraid to talk about him... it just doesn't feel like they think his life counted. Does that make sense? I have heard many say that they are afraid to bring it up for fear that it might make me cry. Actually to release the tears that are already on the inside would feel so good. I don't know why but I do lots of crying on my own... it is kind of nice to cry with someone sometimes. Most others are able to show off their little ones proudly... all we have is pictures and memories of sweet Samuel's life. And his life is just as precious as any of our other children.

So I have been ministered to greatly by other women who have lost children themselves. I wanted to post about 2 women that have posted on their blogs about How to help a grieving friend. I am not at all saying that people have or haven't done these things. I just know that when I read both of their posts.... I was amazed that for the most part, people who are grieving the loss of a child feel so many of the same things and desire a lot of the same things from those ministering to them in their loss. I would have to agree with almost everything that they said. I know my situation might be somewhat unique in the sense that we had only lived here 3 months before Samuel died... that didn't give us a lot of time to have a support system in place. And after the family left... it was difficult to say the least. We did have one family that was in the thick of it with us, having taken the kids and the mother even having held my sweet boy... but besides that there was a lot of talking and discussing and healing just within our immediate family.

Most likely most of us will encounter loss of some sort of have friends who have a loss personally. So I post these links just to help you in the future to know how you can minister to those who are grieving. My eyes have certainly been opened through losing Samuel. Things I would never have expected to need, I have needed. Things I would have imagined I would need, I maybe haven't needed. The first blog is Stacy lost her son Isaac just a few weeks before Samuel died. Stacy just wrote a post yesterday that just had me saying... yes, yes the whole time. The other is Molly Piper, daughter in law of John Piper, the author. Her blog is She lost her daughter Felicity 18 months ago. She also wrote a post a few weeks back entitled Grief at 17 months that opened my eyes to what a lifelong journey this really is. You will need to look on the right under top posts under How to Help a Grieving Friend. Both of these gals share with such wisdom and honestly. No pressure to read them both but I assure you, you will probably learn something new. I really wish I would have known some of these things last year when our friends lost their son. I pray that by reading them, you will be inspired in the future to be able to reach out and minister to those around you who are grieving.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


*I used to be very organized... now you would be afraid to see the bags of paper work that I need to get to...
*I used to return calls... much more quickly... sorry if I haven't gotten back to you yet...
*I used to be a night owl who could get by on little sleep... now the exhaustion has set in... I can sleep 9 hours now and still be yawning ...(maybe it is the fact that 9 hours of fitful rest and bad dreams just doesn't always cut it.)
*I used to love any and all babies... now it is just too difficult to get too close...
*I used to have a good memory and was pretty on top of things... now I think I am functioning with about 1/2 of my brain working. (The other day I literally pulled into a parking lot, put the van in park and got out... Greg had to call me back in to turn the car off...Scary... I can't remember what I am going to say mid sentence... so if I am telling you something for the 3rd time... please be patient I can tell all the synapses aren't firing up there...
*I used to love Orange Juice... not any more... that is what I was told to drink to try to get Samuel moving when I didn't feel him that October morning...
*I used to love to get out, not excessively, but now I am much more of a home body...
*I used to LOVE writing letters and thank you notes... now I find it VERY hard to get motivated (Sorry Heather I am still meaning to write back to you after you sent that wonderful letter a few weeks back... it touched my heart...)
*I haven't been able to sit on my new blue couch since that day in October when I was sitting there doing Science with the kids and the panic started to set in...
There are so many things that have changed about me since October 29th when I knew that my son was already with his Savior before he had a chance to breathe a breath of air on this earth. I do miss the carefree person that I was. I am praying that the Lord will restore me in His time. I mention these things not to give excuses for myself but to help others understand that a loss doesn't just affect the emotions of a person. There is so much more that is affected. And there is no set time table for grief... people grieve in different ways and for different amounts of time. If you know someone who is grieving, don't rush them... be patient and accept where they are at.
But praise God there are some ways that I am the same. I still trust God and God alone for my is so out of my control. I am still putting my HOPE in Him. I am still so grateful for the precious gift of all 5 of my children and my dear husband.
There are some good changes that have come to me because of losing Samuel. I have never relied more on the Lord from one moment to the next of each day. I am constantly crying out for Him to comfort, rescue, give me strength to put one foot in front of the other day by day. Sounds sad that I am still at that point almost 5 months later, but it is the case some days. Greg and I communicate so much better than we did, our relationship is totally different because of sweet Samuel. The trivial things that used to seem so important in life, just don't anymore. I am majoring on the majors:) I have had friends stick by me that have been so faithful to call across the miles of many states to check on me, these friends know that if they pick up the phone and just hear whimpering or crying it is probably me, honestly I know coping would have been so difficult with out them these last months. I am so blessed by them and I cherish those friendships so much more than I did before.
And even amidst all of the changes that have taken place in me these last months, I am so thankful that God doesn't change. I will be the first to admit, I am not real happy with certain things that have happened. I know God could have intervened last October and for some reason He didn't. That can be hard to accept at times. But He is still the Sovereign One, the same yesterday, today and forever. I know I can't rely on my feelings. I know I need to rely on HIM and all of the truths I know about Him from His word.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009






We have had a very busy week... but it has been nice. Normally I don't like being busy, but for some reason it has felt good and exhausting at the same time. With Spring arriving... there is so much new life budding out... honestly I just don't feel ready for it. I normally love to be out in the beautiful weather, but a part of me just isn't there. With all of the new life and excitement... my heart is still aching, it just doesn't seem to mesh well together. Don't get me wrong, I am not sulking and moping around. I try to put on a happy face and attend to all of the daily tasks of life... but deep down there is still such a great sadness. I think the kids see it all, mom being positive, yet there are still many tears that flow from me and them at times too. In fact I just got back from the Dr. I have an ear infection... honestly, I think from all of the crying. I have been saying since October that I am surprised that I am not dehydrated and that I haven't done permanent damage to my tear ducts. Well now my ears are on board. I have felt like I have been in a tunnel for a week, not much pain though thankfully.

We were so blessed this week by members of our church. The "egg lady's" (as the kids call her, she is Jojo's Sunday School teacher, but she also gives us fresh farm eggs, the kids do really know her REAL name:) husband came over and dug up our yard for our garden. The kids are so excited... they have no idea the work that is coming their way shortly:) They are all revved up and giving all of their ideas as to what we should plant. So far we have raspberry, blackberry, and blueberry bushes, asparagus, strawberry, onion, broccoli plants, and tons of kohlrabi, corn, cucumber, tomato, squash(all kinds:), pumpkins, cantaloupe, watermelon, pepper, green bean and pea seeds. It is a really big area. I hope we are not biting off more than we can chew...literally. We are starting some seeds inside today so we will see how that goes. We also added some peach and another cherry tree to our "orchard" out back. The kids all picked out fruit trees last fall. I am sure it will be a while before we really get anything from them, but we will see.
Yesterday we spent the whole day in Oklahoma city at the Capitol and the History Museum. The only other homeschooling mom at our church invited us to go along with their Coop. It was lots of fun for the kids and me too. We knew NOTHING about Oklahoma history so now we have a start on that and finally understand what a Sooner is. It was a blessing to be able to sit and visit and get to know this other mom better.
I can't wait to get my hands dirty in Samuel's garden. We have an area all set aside for us to be able to sit and rest in the blessing that he was to our family. We planted lots of plants that were given to us when he died and lots of bulbs that were sent from my sister's friend who also has lost a baby. I will post some pictures when we get it all done. I think there will something healing for me with getting down and dirty during this season. I want Samuel's life to count for something besides just what it meant to our family. I am praying that the Lord is weaving together a tremendous story that can do nothing but bring Him glory. Please don't waste this pain Lord.
When I ponder what we have lost, and being in the season of lent, I am continually amazed at how God WILLINGLY gave His son for us. Do you want to hear something crazy... sad? Here come true confessions... Sara Hintz, warts and all. Greg sat down for dinner right around Ash Wednesday, in the beginning of Lent. He announced that he had decided to give up coffee and soda for Lent. He asked the rest of us what we wanted to give up for Lent. We all sat and thought about it... and after a couple of minutes, actually it was probably a few seconds... I blurted out, "You know I think I have given up enough already this year." Greg kind of laughed and said, "That was last year." I said, "Sorry I am going by a 12 month period." Here my husband was trying to be the spiritual leader and have some spiritual discussion with the family... and I hate to even admit it, but I put the Kabosh on that one real quick. The poor guy, he has been so patient with me.
The crazy thing is when we lost Samuel, our son, I didn't do it willingly, I had no choice in the matter. But God did do it willingly, for you and me. To save me, the lousy, sinner I am. Wow, I know how much I love my children, and for the Lord to let Him die for others who are so unworthy, it is sometimes too much for me to take in. I also think of Mary, Jesus' mother and all that she went through. She knew that her son would die to be the Savior. I wonder what she thought when she looked at him as a baby... knowing and wondering all that the future would hold. I can't imagine the pain she must have felt at times.
So there is much to be thankful for this Spring amidst the difficulties. Because of what Jesus did there is HOPE for the future... eternity. Some days eternity seems soooo FAR away. But I remember reading the book The Purpose Driven Life years ago, and I clearly remember how Rick Warren mentioned this life on earth as one little dot on an entire line... that entire line is eternity. This life is so short. When you are in the throws of it, it doesn't seem that way at all. But because of what Jesus did I can have that HOPE that I will spend all of eternity with my precious son. Oh I can't wait for the day:) And I want to take as many people with me... I know I can't take them with me... but maybe the Lord will use this vessel to plant seeds or be used by Him however He sees fit. When we lived in Texas 10 years ago, our church there had the best mission statement. I still remember it today, To build a bigger Heaven tomorrow, by sharing Jesus on earth today. That encompasses it all, I love it!

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Every since Samuel died I have been wanting a necklace to represent him. I just want something hanging close to my heart that makes me feel close to him in some way... probably sounds strange to some. It is funny the things that make me feel close to him. Greg and I have our "Samuel" blanket that our seminary friends sent to us, laying on our bed. Every night I snuggle up to Greg, under that blanket and it makes me somehow feel wrapped up in the love that I have for Samuel as his mother... it makes me feel close to him.

So I considered a necklace with his footprint on it, that the funeral home offered us. I thought about a birthstone necklace and other things... and then I found the perfect thing for me. Greg had said that whatever I found could be my Christmas present... I just needed to pick it out. I love taking pictures of my kids so I decided to have a necklace made by Shawna at Her prices were so good, compared to other photo jewelry sites that I have seen, that I decided to have a bracelet made also. She did a beautiful job and I absolutely love both pieces. All of the photos and charms are doubled sided. They are exactly what I wanted, and I love that I can have a little bit of Samuel close to me.

Today we went out to a members farm... they were sharing some of their recently slaughtered cow with us...they shared tons with us. We were just going to stop by and pick it up but we ended up staying for hours and had dinner with them. She is an amazing cook. They live out further in the country and have tons of chickens, cows, and bunnies. The kids were begging for a bunny. We will have to see on that one. Anna and Jo just sat and held them forever. It was pretty precious. They are going to set us up with eggs and an incubator to hatch chickens. The kids are so excited about that. It felt so good to be there. It was refreshing for me... I love that kind of life. The kids were kept so busy with the animals and the land... the fun and freedom of the country. It just seems slower paced to me and I love that.

Friday, March 13, 2009



Oh our precious Jojo is 4. It seems impossible to me. To be honest it is quite bittersweet for me. Jojo is the youngest in the house and it shouldn't be that way... it doesn't feel right at all. He is not the youngest of our children but the youngest still living here with us. He seems so big and feels so old to me... it makes me sad. He is growing up so fast... Life is so fragile and fleeting. We never know if we will have tomorrow with the ones we love and that is all too real for us everyday.

I was taking a run with my sister-in-law while we were up north. We were talking about truly enjoying all the moments that each day holds. When I started talking about the longing I have for my heavenly home I think it freaked her out a bit...(Sorry sista:) I went on to explain to her that I do treasure each day with the kids. I treasure each child, they are just precious. I know I am so blessed to have the 4 with me each day. At the same time I have a great sadness in my heart and spirit. It seems weird that you can feel gratefulness, blessed beyond measure, yet at the same time feel such sorrow. I didn't know that the two could co-exist at the same time... but they do.
So today Jojo, Eli, Elijah T, Jo, Joey, E... got to be king of the day. (Greg keeps telling me we need to stop with the nicknames, that he won't know his real name... I just can't, at least not yet:) He picked pancakes for breakfast. The other kids were trying to convince him to pick ice cream sundaes. He was set on pancakes. We had a family from church over for lunch and it was so nice to have them here. The kids had a blast... and I really enjoyed having someone to talk to. I am thankful God brought them my way today.
Then tonight we had our good friends the Tiews over for dinner. We have celebrated every birthday with them over the last 3 years, here in OK and back in St. Louis at the sem. They took the kids when we were at the hospital having Samuel, their kids comforted our children when they spent that night trying to grasp that their baby brother was gone. Lula was the only one who saw Samuel besides our family and the Dr. and nurses. She knows exactly what we went through that day. She knows what it felt like to hold our son... not alive, not breathing... she held him. Looking back I wish other people could have seen him. Sometimes I feel like people just can't begin to grasp all that day entailed because they didn't experience any of it themselves nor did they see us in the situation. I know people think it had to be such a hard day... it was so much more than that. It was the death of so many things... Samuel of course, but the death of so many dreams for him and our family. My kids heard of another baby born this week and all 3 of the older kids just cried. They just don't understand why their brother didn't get to live like most babies. I don't really have an answer for them... I wonder the same thing. I keep trying to reassure them of God's love for us and His good plan for our family... but it is hard to see the good plan when it hurts so bad. We continue to wait to see that plan revealed in His timing. Oh, in reality, that is so hard to do.
Obviously I get to rambling, my point is... it is so nice to be with them. It is such a comfort to be with someone who was there, really experienced the loss with us. They are treasured friends. So we had dinner, talked and ate Jo's birthday dessert... Schaum torte. I thought it was pretty funny that out of all the desserts he could pick, he picked that.
So to our sweet Jo, we are so very, very, grateful that the Lord blessed us with you 4 years ago. I remember the day you were born... you surprised us, we figured you were a girl. And you were 2 lbs bigger than all of the others at 9 lbs. 6 oz. ( except your little brother Samuel, he was pretty close to you at 9.2 lbs) You have grown to be such a joy to us all. You make us all laugh and smile. You are so easy to raise, so good natured. You have such a sweet spirit, there are very few times that I get frustrated with you because you are just that easy going. You are so smart and say the funniest things. We love to watch you play by yourself, you entertain yourself with anything, but you especially love your trains and cars. You are just plain fun, we love living life with you little man. We can't wait to experience life with you and to see what the Lord has planned for you in the future. You are a treasure!

Thursday, March 12, 2009






So we arrived safe and sound back to the papa of the house... it was so nice to see him. The 12 hour road trip was pretty uneventful except for...
---the 35 minute detour down the Illinois toll road due to a wrong turn... Yikes!
---one sweet little girl hanging her head over a plastic bag due to a little bit of carsickness... poor Anna.
---no dinner till we arrived home at 8:30 due to a mother that didn't realize the turnpike started so soon... there aren't many exits with food once you are on that thing. Poor kids, they were good sports.
We had a great ride, we did have to pull out the old "QUIET GAME" just to save everyone's sanity for a bit. Jojo is always very serious about this game, especially when there is a treat at the end of it. He would bust out minutes after everyone else started up talking, "I won... see mama, I be the quietest." Man, he is so precious. We all get such a kick out of him.
We thank God for safe travel and for a great get-away time spent with sweet family and dear friends.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Today was a rough day for me. There are so many layers of grief... so many things that can set me back... so many feelings that are still so fresh and raw. I looked at my 6 year old niece today and it struck me a new. I will never know what Samuel would look like at six. I will never know what he would have acted like at 6. I wonder what he would look like now at four months. You know if I had to pick one age that I like best, I couldn't. I love them all. Newborns... so fresh, sweet, special, soft, so quickly passing. 6 months... so much fun, they are doing so many new things. 2 year old... a lot of people say terrible, I say terrific, their personalities just come to life, I love guiding and training them as they experience the world around them. So you get the picture... I love it all and I miss it all as far as Samuel is concerned. So much will never be and I mourn that. He had so many characteristics that resembled Anna at birth... but yet he had pieces of all of the kids. The other 4 look so different from one another, but I love that he seemed to be a combination of them all.

Today, my heart is aching for a new friend. We met Kim through MEND (the infant loss support group we attend). She and her husband have 4 children, 2 living with them and 2 living with our Lord. Can you imagine losing 2 children? She is an amazing woman of such strength. She has been a great encouragement to me. She and her husband were getting ready to welcome their next child into their home through adoption. They did get to bring their baby girl home... but a few hours later their birth mother changed her mind. It was a complete surprise to them. Please pray for them. Their hearts are broken but they are steadfast in their faith. Their blog is feel free to stop by and leave them a note of encouragement if you feel led. Thanks prayer warriors.

Today I am seeing the brokenness of this fallen world again... Today I am on my knees...Today I am clinging to the fact that God is the same today as He was yesterday and will be in the future. He is still Good even when life is so hard...

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10





So we are still up north enjoying time with family. It has been wonderful. We had a gorgeous snowstorm yesterday. The flakes were literally like an inch in diameter. They looked like cotton balls falling from the sky. It was beautiful, I am so glad we were able to be up here for at least a little bit of snow. This northern girl misses Winter. I know some may think that is crazy but when you grow up snowmobiling, snow skiing and just plain enjoying the snow... you miss it when you don't get the chance to play in it. One of my favorite winter quotes that is on a wall display at a army surplus store up here is ..."The is no such thing as bad weather... just inappropriate clothing." I love it... so true.
So the kids are enjoying time with their grandparents and cousins. And I am enjoying time with my parents and siblings... and wives. Tonight we had dinner with old neighbors from around the lake, lots of smiles. Both of these couples are a part of the small group bible study that we used to go to when we lived here. Today I went to the Y with my sister-in-law Jane to work out. I was blessed to see an old friend from our old church there. I literally saw her down in the gym from upstairs on the track. I ran her was so nice to see her... so nice to get a warm hug from her (Hi Connie:) she took the time a couple of months back to write me a beautiful letter that really encouraged me. I had to apologize that I never wrote back. I have been meaning to. The old Sara loved to write to people... I still want to love it. I actually enjoy writing Thank you notes or notes of encouragement to people. That is one thing that I am so sad to say has changed since Samuel died. I just can't seem to get motivated to sit down and do it like I used to. So much about me has changed. Sometimes I don't even recognize myself. I know I am forever different because of Samuel and my immense love for that sweet boy... but will parts of me return to be like I used to be? I know it sounds strange, but it is just another weird reality of life after a loss.
So we think we will be leaving Wednesday... that is still up for debate. The kids want to stay longer... part of me would too. The 12 hour drive back won't be bad, the kids are great travelers. Seeing Greg will be great. Being 12 hours away from family... now that will be rough I am sure. I don't even like thinking about that... so for now I won't. I keep encouraging visitors... I am still trying to find some really fun things to do near us... any ideas anyone? I am not trying to slam OK... but it just doesn't seem to be the destination vacation spot for most people. I would love any ideas:)

Thursday, March 5, 2009


The cousins taking a break from hunting for sheds(deer antlers) in the woods.

The kids with the Boggs Bunch

Our sweet Godson Asher...could he be any cuter or have longer eyelashes?

We are completely enjoying our time up here in Wisconsin. But boy do I miss my hubby back home. I don't think we have talked as much in the past 15 years of marriage combined as we have in the last 4 months. No, that is probably not true, but I really miss just hanging out at night on the couch, after the kids are in bed, watching an episode of the office, and talking about everything that is going on in our crazy life.

My parents live on a big plot of land with my 2 brothers and one other family. Before we moved to the seminary we lived less than a mile away just on the other side of this little lake called Pretty Lake.... Yep, that is really the name, and it really is Pretty. So it has been so nice to be back in our old neighborhood.

The big boys are having their 3rd sleepover of the week with their cousins. Tonight after I told them they could have yet another sleepover Louis bust out with, "This is the best week of my life!" They are having a ball. Anna actually had her first little sleepover with her cousin and best little buddy Sophia. They were so excited to be a part of what the big kids do.

So tonight we went and had dinner at my brother's church. It is sort of a fellowship dinner that they do each week that my sister-in-law helped organize. Afterwards my brother leads a bit of worship before a time of prayer. I wasn't sure if I was going to stay for that, but it turns out I did. I think the Lord just nudged my heart. With Greg being in ministry I am always interested to see different things that different churches do and how they do it. It was a beautiful time of worship, praise and prayer. My brother requested prayer for me regarding healing from the loss of Samuel. It was amazing to be surrounded by mostly complete strangers, who just laid their hands on me and prayed for healing for me, the rest of my family, strength for my marriage, and unity in our whole extended family. Wow, the Lord knew I needed that. It was so neat to see the body of Christ at work, reaching out and approaching the throne of God on behalf of a sister in Christ, someone they didn't even know. They weren't afraid to minister to me in my grief. Ahhhh, it was a comfort. It blessed me greatly.

All of that just makes me realize more and more the pain that people experience in this life. I don't want all that we are going through and all that we are learning through this experience to be wasted. I know that this side of Heaven I may never see why the Lord took Samuel so soon, but I do want to be able to see some purpose in it. I have seen how when people minister to me how it can encourage and refresh me in those heavy, clouded times. I want to use this for God's glory... to really be able to minister to others who are suffering. I don't want people to feel alone or to feel that people don't care about them when they are suffering. We are all so busy nowadays, so concerned with what is going on in our day to day lives, that it is so easy just to look inward and not be looking outward at what our neighbor or maybe even a complete stranger might need. I was on the receiving end tonight and wow, to see the body of Christ at work was so neat. So, I really have no idea how God is going to use this suffering in our lives... but I know I want to be completely open to his leading. I pray He will reveal it to us in time if it is in a certain type of ministry for Greg and I or it may be bit by bit, day by day, as we minister or help those He brings across our path in this life.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


We pulled in later Sunday night after spending 2 nights with the Boggs crew...(pictures to come:) They were so gracious to let us hunker down with them. It was really a blessing to be able to see some of our friends there at the seminary. I loved hanging out and visiting with my friends. I even got to stop by the resell it shop and campus food bank. We volunteered there at least once a week, the kids still talk about how fun that was for them. Boy do we miss those places. The kids immediately were out running around with all of their old buddies. It was so fun to see that. We will never live in a community like that again. I remember kind of dreading moving there, it is sad to even admit that. I really felt like we were really moving there for Greg's education alone. Wow, God knocked my socks off with that one. He blessed us beyond our wildest dreams with our time there, the friends he gave us, the community of like-minded people to live with, it still amazes me. It was so neat to have great, wonderful people in the exact same boat you were in right outside your door, ready and available at any minute. It was awesome. So it was a treat to be in that community again.

Then we were able to see my friend Rebecca and her family. I have known her for as long as I can remember. I have pictures of her in my photo album from my birthday parties when I was probably 5. We grew up in the same church. We have been friends ever since. What a treat to sit and eat the traditional Sunday night dinner of popcorn and fruit. We laughed... all these years we never knew that she and I both grew up doing that and have carried it over to our families. I would encourage all you ladies out there to do it. It is one free night of cooking... throw some peanut butter or cheese out there and you are good to go.

Yesterday my sweet college roommate Samantha and my brother John and his wife Katy came and hung out with us. The kids had a sleepover with cousins and are already begging to stay as long as we can. Right now they are out feeding the goats, cats, and chickens. They are having a ball. I just can't say how wonderful it is to be home and feel the love of family and long time friends. My heart has needed this so badly.

Thank you Lord for the comfort of those close to me. Thank you for the healing and peace that it brings to my heart. Thank you Lord for taking care of my sweet son Samuel for the last 4 months. Thank you for holding him in you arms. I can't wait till I can join him and scoop that precious boy up in my arms and hold him myself. Will it even matter then Lord? Will he even be small enough to hold? Lord I just can't wait to be in his presence again and more importantly be in your presence for eternity. Come Lord Jesus Come!