Thursday, April 30, 2009







Boy has the weather here in Oklahoma matched my mood over the last 2 days. It has rained pretty much all day the last 2 days. Isn't it comforting to know that the Lord collects our tears? That comforts me, even when the tears that fall are like the rain that floods the earth, he knows them all, he collects every single one, each one is seen by HIM.
My sweet husband came home from jury duty yesterday with a beautiful flower arrangement for me. I will have to take a picture of it to post later. He told me that when the florist asked what the flowers were for, he couldn't get it out to her, he was too emotional. My poor sweet husband, what a tender heart he has... and I am so blessed by that. Have I told you before that I am married to the best guy ever? He then needed to explain to our sweet house guest, the birth mother, why yesterday and today were going to be hard for us. She was very understanding. The kids are just falling in love with her. We are having lots of great discussions with her, she is very open with us. Please pray that God uses this time to really help her focus on Him and His plan for her life. Today she said she wrote a song about God's purpose for her. That just warmed my heart.
I don't know why, but I really felt a need to do something to celebrate Samuel's life yesterday and today. I never imagined anniversary type days to be really that much different than other days, but the truth is they are. Today I couldn't help but remember October 30th, the one and only day I got to hold and snuggle my sweet boy in my arms this side of Heaven. I couldn't help replay what happened that day, the emotions, our time as a family with him. It is so precious to me. I miss his wonderful, funny little toes. I miss his sweet newborn smell. I miss just pressing his face to mine... I just miss him, all of him, every stinking, precious piece of him.
I know Greg thought it was a little crazy, but for some reason I wanted to write some messages on balloons and send them up to Samuel. Now I know that He wasn't really going to get them... The kids understood that too. And for all of you environmentalists out there... sorry... but it felt like the right thing to do. The big boys wrote out their messages. The teacher in me wanted to correct thier spelling... but I let it go this time:) I copied what Jojo and Anna wanted to say to him on their balloons. Greg did his before he left for jury duty again, and I had my balloon too. The kids and I went outside and let them all go together. We watched them till we couldn't see them anymore. Then we held hands and prayed and thanked God for the sweet, precious, short, life of Samuel.
Today I had a great conversation with my sister-in-law. We were talking about the verse in James where it says to Consider it pure joy, when you face trials of many kinds. It dawned on me for the first time it says... Consider it pure joy. It doesn't say jump and and down for joy. Are we really supposed to be joyful when a loved one gets cancer, when we know how they will suffer? Are we really supposed to be joyful when our child dies? Are we really suppose to be joyful when someone gets killed by a drunk driver? I completely understand that when a believer dies they are immediately with Jesus in paradise... Heaven, just like the thief on the cross. That fact brings me great comfort. But I kind of feel that the joy part comes in knowing that God will sustain you through those trials. He will work good from those trials. The joy comes in knowing who God is and what He will do through the trial... not necessarily having joy, excited, jolly joy for the trial or cancer or death itself. It is more like reminding us to consider what will be the end result of the trial. We certainly know God does his greatest growing and changing of us in the challenges of this life. For that we can have joy. Now I am no theologian and who knows I may be completely off base on this... I will have to get my husbands opinion... :)
So today we thank God for our 5th child, our 4th son, our Samuel. We thank God for the wonderful 9 months we had with him celebrating that he was a part of our family. We are so thankful God chose us to be his family. And we thank God for sustaining us over the past 6 months.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Our precious, precious Samuel

I often look at this picture of our WHOLE family, one of the few that we have, and inspect everyones faces. Each person's expressions tells so much of what they were feeling that day and also how they were processing what had happened. My heart grieves looking at my older boys and Greg's expressions. They were trying so hard to smile, yet you see the sadness in their eyes. Then you see sweet Anna and Jojo, certainly not really grasping all that had happened. Then there is sweet Samuel's body right there in the middle of us all.
That right there is what pains me too. His body was there, but not his spirit. Did he ever feel the love that this family had for him and still has? Did he know that love? Could he feel any of that when he was in my womb? Could he feel the love and excitement of his brothers and sister when they painted my belly? I know I did my best to care for him while he was growing inside me... but the thought they he may not have known the love of all of us, our whole family just saddens me.
I am going to be up front... this is not a feel good kind of post. So if you are looking for that you might not want to keep reading. But you know this is my blog, and I am going to be honest about where I am at and how I am feeling. I know there are many other women who are unfortunately, walking the same path I am on and I know they understand. I guess part of why I put it out there is to help others who aren't on the same path of grief to understand it a little better.
Today is Wednesday the 29th and tomorrow is Thursday the 30th. For some reason that makes it worse for me this month. Usually the 29th hasn't fallen on a Wednesday like it does this week. I remember exactly 6 months ago at this time, I was probably vacuuming the house clueless as to what had happened to Samuel yet... I hadn't noticed his lack of movement. Praise God I have had a better last couple of weeks... but I could slowly feel that slipping away over the past couple of days. Greg and I have really been in prayer about it... but I think that is part of the grief journey. For the past couple of weeks I felt like I could really accept God's will in taking Samuel so early. I didn't like it, or how it felt, but I could accept it. I didn't really have any questions that were pressing on my heart and mind. The anger and bitterness had subsided. Praise God!
Starting yesterday, with more disappointing news that we received, I could feel the questions coming back again. I feel like a ping pong ball bouncing between all of the stages of grief.... heck, I don't even know them all... I can't think clearly these days... grief, denial, acceptance, anger, grief, denial, acceptance, anger. It is exhausting! It is amazing how just when you feel you have conquered one or passed that stage you can go back and revisit it. You know with each disappointment that comes my way... I just question what is God's plan or purpose in all this pain and hurt? Last week I didn't feel the need to understand God's plan at all, this week it is different. I just don't understand his purpose in taking Samuel so soon. I feel like I keep getting put in almost unbearable situations... for example, a room full of people, this person could choose ANYWHERE to sit with the newborn she is holding, but yet chooses the seat right in front of me. She knows my situation. So there I sat with that newborns face over her shoulder bouncing in my face, having to watch them adore every coo and sweet thing that baby did. I get is adorable. But when you just gave up your newborn it is not easy to watch, let alone have to watch so up close. I of course cried, almost got up and left, but the Lord gave me strength. Things like that, what is the purpose in that Lord?
One more example, this sweet birth mom who is living at our house, had a Dr.s appt. scheduled today at the same hospital we delivered Samuel at, on a Wednesday the 29th, at almost the exact same time we headed there to find out Samuel was already gone. I just knew I wouldn't be able to drive her to that place TODAY of all days. Does that make sense to anyone? Thankfully the appt. got cancelled. Now, I know it is no ones fault, but what are the chances of all of that coming together at the same time? Sometimes I wonder, what are you doing Lord, what is your purpose in all of this? You know there are times I wonder if I will ever see His good in all of this on this side of heaven. You hear of stillborns happening to others, rarely though, but why did it have to happen to us, to our family, to my children? Why not us, I guess?
I am weary today. I am tired of walking by the closet packed with diapers, (thanks to our generous congregation), wondering if the Lord will ever bless us with another child to use them on. I am tired of looking at the boxes of brand new, sweet, precious, baby clothes, and wondering if they will ever get used, I am tired of tired of snuggling up in sweet soft blankets and not snuggling up to my sweet soft baby boy. I am tired of my empty arms.
Mainly, today I am feeling brokenhearted again, my heart still aches everyday for Samuel, but today the intensity of it all is back. The kids talk every day about what he would be doing by now. I can't believe that he would be 6 months old already. Having had other children before Him, I FULLY know all that I am missing and that is hard. I know some may not want to hear all of this... but this the reality of what GRIEF looks like 6 months later, and it isn't really very pretty, nor does it feel pretty. So we would appreciate any prayers on our behalf. Greg and I both know the next couple of days will be rough. We are thankful that even during the brutal, really difficult times we know that the Lord is close to us.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, he saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Jojo and Papa at the sem. last year.

I love this picture of our family and Carlotta walking down the street after Springfest last year at the seminary.
I am not sure why I am posting pictures from last year... maybe I am feeling a little nostalgic, maybe I am missing happier, more carefree times... maybe I am missing our seminary life a bit...maybe I haven't taken any decent pictures lately... Who knows, probably a little bit of all of that.
I guess the reason for the post title... A Different Journey. Wow, we are so not on the journey I was anticipating. There was so much I thought I would be doing now that I am not. And so much that I am doing now that I NEVER thought I would be doing. First of all, I really thought I would be heading to the big boys soccer games with my baby in the sling. I really thought I would be putting the great new jogging stroller to use with my new baby... not my 4 and 6 year olds. I really thought I would just be moving that precious baby out of my room and into his crib (who knows I probably would have put it off for much longer:) I really thought I would have a baby, my son, in my arms to snuggle at night. So much is not as I thought it would be.
I never thought I would be trying to arrange all of the plants for a garden to memorialize my son. I never thought I would be walking by his ashes each day as I get my clothes out of my closet. I never thought my heart could hurt like it has... and still does. And I never thought that I would have a 15 year old birth mom living with us. Yep, that is right. She is just precious. The kids just love her and she is really a sweetheart. She is planning on placing her baby for adoption so she is interviewing other perspective adoptive parents. We knew if we agreed to have her live here, we had to do it fully with no selfish motives AT ALL. And we are good with that. We are so thankful that she was brave enough to choose life for her baby. So we hope to love on her for the next few months. Her baby is due in September... a little girl. Please pray that the Lord will use us in her life in a great way and that He will protect her and the little one she is carrying.
I remember last year when I would go with the pro-life group to Planned Parenthood feeling like I wanted to do more. I wanted to call out to those girls, " You have other options, you don't have to do this, I would love to care for your baby!" I would have meant it too. I have always thought that if we are going to value life... we need to help those who choose life and are in a rough spot. CPO, the adoption agency we are working with, really does that and it is inspiring to see. We went to their fundraising banquet last Friday. They do so much for these girls. And the whole place is run by volunteers who give selflessly of their time and energy. The director is just amazing. The night was really neat and helped us see so much more of the ministry they provide for these girls. It is awesome!
So we are definitely on a different journey than what WE had planned. We will see what the Lord has in store for us. We would appreciate your prayers as always:)

Friday, April 24, 2009


This was a present that was just sent to me from a sweet friend in Texas (Thanks Roxanne:) It is the softest ever little lamb with a tag especially made with Samuel's picture on it. I am one of those crazy grown women who still sleep with a stuffed animal. So this little guy has kept me company on a few difficult nights. When I touch the soft material I am just drawn back to feeling Samuel's sweet velvet soft skin... oh, so precious, and oh how much I miss touching it and feeling the weight of Samuel in my arms. It also came with some "sleep" bath gel and lotion. It was wonderful. But I loved the wonderful, kind words I received with the gift even more. I just thought the lamb was so precious I had to share.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Check out the miracle the Lord brought into the Bevins family's life this week. We are praising God with them over His wonderful, sweet little 8 lb 8 oz. blessing. Isn't it nice to be able to look back at the REALLY difficult times and see His provision. We are so happy for them.
See their new gift from God at

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Call day last year at the seminary

This is one of my favorite pictures of our whole family...

even little Samuel in the womb:)

So this Wednesday is Call Day at the Seminary. We have been praying for our dear friends that are there awaiting their vicarages or calls. It seems that we have a lot of friends that are in a similar spot to where we were last year. They will be getting vicarges that will most likely convert to calls after a year. Ahhhh, I remember the stress of that day. Honestly, I am not one to stress over things... but I was stressing that day. It is such a strange feeling to know that your future is in the hands of the seminary... well really God, but He uses the seminary to place you where you will go. So our hearts are with our friends there and our prayers are lifted up on their behalf as the Lords plans for their future will be revealed to them today. We decided not to go up for Call Day but Greg should be receiving his Call officially to Immanuel at that service as well. Wow, it would be such a treat to be hanging out with all of our special friends behind building four:) I really miss those days, God blessed us with such special times there.

So here are a few funny or interesting things that our kids have said lately...

Anna today asked if I thought Samuel would be a baby in Heaven or grown up? I told her in a way I hope he is a baby so I can hold him since I didn't get to do that much im while he was here. But then again he may be all grown up. He may just walk up to me and I will recognize that he is my son.

I tried to wake Jojo from his nap today and while he was still in the fog, he said, "I want to go by baby Samuel. He was dreaming about his little brother. After he woke up we talked about his dream. It was nothing really amazing, they were just playing together. I thought that was so cool. I wish I had dreams about him... maybe sometime I will.

Last month while we were up north, my parents had a big family meal, our family, my brother John's family and then 2 couples from around the lake that used to be our neighbors. After the meal my dad asked if anyone had anything that they wanted prayer for... well Caleb busts out with, "Pray that my momma gets pregnant." The neighbors thought that was pretty hilarious. Caleb's heart is so sweet, he had no idea that wasn't something you say infront of a whole mess of people. Of course he has no idea how a baby gets there to begin with. It was funny, he was just putting out there his prayer request.

Tonight Louis asked me if we had teen singing stars when I was little. I think secretly he wants to be one:) I couldn't recall any... except for the Brady Bunch kids in an episode on that show:) Boy have times changed.

By the way Stellan's surgery seems to have gone well. He is recovering in Boston. Praise God! We are thanking God for His care and provision for Stellan.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


This morning we are praying for a sweet baby boy named Stellan. This little guy has a special place in our hearts. He was diagnosed prenatally with a heart condition that they thought would be fatal. Praise God he was born healthy. I remember waking up the morning of October 29th knowing that his mama, aka Mckmamma, was going in for a C-section. I woke up and checked her blog to see how he was...he was born healthy and strong... no signs of his heart problem. Later that morning I noticed Samuel hadn't moved and that was the start of our new changed life. So this little guy now almost 6 months old has a special place in our hearts. On that same day we were praising God for his safe protection of Stellan and also asking Why what is your purpose in allowing this to happen to our sweet boy?
Anyways... fast forward to today. Little Stellan was flown from the Frozen Tundra....of MN. to Boston for an ablation, a risky heart surgery for someone so young. His SVT had returned and he had been hospitalized for the last month. So please join us in praying for this little guy. We are praying that the Lord, the GREAT physician, would guide the hands of those Doctors working on Stellan. Go check out his mom's blog Mckmamma is so witty, a great Christian woman and one who encourages me greatly.

Sunday, April 19, 2009




Yes, these are 2 of the 5 people that keep me going each day... Anna and Jojo. Jojo is one of those kids that continually cracks you up by his goofy antics. He likes to run around not fully clothed. The other day when I looked outside to see what all the laughing was about, the first thing I saw was Jojo naked jumping on the trampoline. Now how could I help but laugh and tell him to put some clothes back on:) He makes me smile.
God has been gracious this week. I have always had a relationship with my Lord, but that has been taken to a whole new level over the last 6 months. I feel like I used to think I really knew Him, now I feel like as much as we think we know Him... He is SOOOOOO beyond our understanding. And certainly what he allows or ordains is way beyond our understanding as well. You know when things are going well, it is easy to understand and appreciate His ways. We have learned first hand it doesn't always go the way we think it will or hope it will. But the less I understand Him and His ways the more I am resting in Him. I am trusting that His ways are good. I feel like it is a constant surrendering for me. My life is not what I had planned at all. I never expected to have to say goodbye to a child before I ever really had a chance to say hello. I am surrendering to his ways... it isn't easy, but I am doing it day by day, sometimes moment by moment.
I have never relied on my Lord more than I have as of late. Mornings are definitely the hardest for me. That hasn't always been the case, right after Samuel died, nights were by far the hardest... Lots of nightmares, not much sleep, lots of soaking my pillow with tears, and lots of despair. For me everything has always appeared worse after midnight, and that certainly was the case in my grief. Now, almost 6 months later, I would have to say that mornings are the hardest. This is the crazy thing about grief, it changes you. I am normally a very positive, optimistic person all of the time. But for some reason... the obvious reason, I wake up each day feeling a great sadness surround me. I don't even have to think about it, it is just there. I don't think that it is something I can control at all. Before, being the positive person I am, I would've thought that one could control that. Now I know if it isn't something I have experienced personally I can not EVER say how someone should feel or react. Obviously we hope to react to grief or loss in a way that would glorify God. But I think He gets it. He heard the prayers that were raised for over 2 years for that sweet little boy. He knows how much we all loved Samuel from the minute he was conceived. He is love. He must understand the sadness of losing one we love so dearly. He lost His only son.
Ok, back to my mornings. Usually I lay there and pray for a while before I can get the gumption to get out of bed. I think that is the start of my surrender and reliance on the Lord... from the minute I open my eyes I am struck with the truth that I can not make it through the day with out Him. I start the day asking him to walk it with me minute by minute. I am continually asking for His peace, comfort, and sustaining power, to rest on me as I move through the day. It really is complete reliance on HIM.
I used to be able to handle the tasks of my day with ease... homeschool the 3 older kids, keep Jojo busy, cook the meals, keep the house somewhat presentable etc. Since October that has changed. You know I could do it before... not that I was always doing it well. But it really feels so much better to know I can't do it on my own. It is kind of freeing, it takes the pressure off somehow. I know HE IS ABLE. So I will just rest in Him to do it through me.
So here is where the patience comes in... what will He do in us and through us as a couple and family. I feel like God has great things in store for us ministry wise relating to the loss of Samuel. I just have no idea what it is. And maybe it isn't any particular thing, maybe it is just how God will use us to minister and offer comfort to others who have a loss in the future. My eyes have been opened in a new way to hurting people around me. We will continue to surrender and rest in Him as we see His plans unfold.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have HOPE, because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed, for his mercies never fail, they are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness. I say to myself the Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for Him. Lamentations 3:21-24

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I just wanted to share a bit of our sweet Samuel with you.
I don't think that I have posted these pictures before...
maybe similar ones, but not these exact ones.
I am so thankful that our photographer took the time to get pictures of all of the details of our sweet boy... his ears, cheeks, hairline, hands, feet etc. I love that she got him from all angles so we could see his different looks. I am one of those crazy moms who loves to just gaze at my newborns taking them all in. I love taking in all of those details of how God created them...Samuel certainly is one of God's precious creations.
As I was driving home today...crying... I was struck with how thankful I am that God chose me to be this little boys mommy. My time with him was too short, but so treasured. I am so thankful I got to take care of that sweet little guy, feed him, sing to him, grow him for those 9 months.
Man I miss that sweetie.
I just wanted to share...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009



So we are settling back into the homeschooling week. The kids have worked so hard despite all the struggles of this year and I am really proud of them. We usually hit it really hard in the beginning of the year, so things are already easing up a bit. They are loving the extra bit of play time, this is a gorgeous time of year here in OK. I am actually debating doing some of our school over the summer. I have never done that before, but living here where it is so hot in the summer, I am tossing the idea around. I figure if we hit History and Science hard over summer during those hours when it is almost too hot to be outside, it would lighten the load during the rest of the year. Do any of you homeschoolers out there do school over summer? I'd love any thoughts and advice on that. It is just an idea, so we will have to see what happens.
So the other night Louis came out quite a while after he had gone to bed. He asked right away, "Is God mad at you when you are mad at Him?" It is so interesting to me to see how each child in our family has grieved differently and at different levels. You can see the maturity of Louis, that he is experiencing the loss of Samuel in a much different way than the others. So we talked a lot about anger. We talked about God creating us with emotions and that it is important to not sin in our anger. I admitted to him, there are many times that I am still angry about what happened to Samuel. We talked about the stages of grief. I am glad he came out to talk, I hate to think of him in his room unable to sleep and stewing about things. I know how things seem so much worse at night, I have been there. The darkness and the mind are a powerful combination at times. So I was thankful that we could talk about it. Death brings about a lot of tough questions.
I am praising God that I have felt better this week. It is amazing all of the different levels of sorrow one can experience. I even set up an appt. to talk with the counselor in a month. She could see a difference in me as well. It is funny, I was a little freaked out to just say I was done and not have a time set up on the calendar... so putting it out a month felt good. I am so thankful for her and how she has helped me. Sometimes I think, it must be hard for her to counsel someone who has lost a child... because of her own loss, she knows the pain all too well. But God is using her in a way that most others can't be used. I am so thankful that she is willing to be used by him, in such a difficult way.
Someone mentioned to me, that they felt guilty when they felt good and had a good day, that they were in some way not still grieving their loss. I am thankful that at this point I don't feel that. I know I may down the road, I hope not though. I know the depth of my own pain most days so when the Lord gives me a break from the intensity of grief, I am relieved. I will praise Him for the reprieve. I know that it is an up and down journey so the valleys will return I am sure.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the Heavenly Lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1 : 17
I am thankful for all of the gifts that God has given us. But especially today I am thankful that...
I am feeling better.
that... He doesn't change... He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
that... My husband has hung in there with me these past months... what a blessing and gift he is to me.
that.... The Lord keeps doors of communications open in our family to talk and heal in a healthy way.
that... the kids got a new pet... a pregnant rabbit who should have babies in about 3 weeks.

that... God has given us some beautiful sunny days, ahhh, that certainly helps to lift my spirits.
There is much to thank God for these days. He is Faithful to provide!

Sunday, April 12, 2009





The house is quiet and I miss my family. We had so much fun with them here. The kids loved their cousin time. We showed them all there is exciting in our neck of the much as there is here that is somewhat exciting. We walked down to the Arkansas river, hit the antique shop in downtown, went running, played with a lot of water balloons, spent a lot of time on the trampoline, and hung out a lot at home.
I can't tell you how many times this weekend, we made the comment that it seemed that someone was missing, that there weren't enough kids here. Their oldest daughter is at college so we missed her, but we also commented knowing that Samuel was missing too. It felt wierd. He has left a hole in our family, one that could never be replaced. Even if we go on to have more children or to adopt more children, that hole will still be there. No child could replace him. Obviously there would be more love and joy added to the family, but I don't think it will ever take away the hole, the missing piece.
We especially treasure company and being with family who are willing to hear the truth of life right now. They may not always like what they hear, but they are willing to talk about it, and share their insight. It is a learning experience for all of us. Anyone who knows my family, knows that we are a communicating family. My mom can be quite quiet, but my dad always made sure we hashed things out. Things generally didn't get swept under the rug ever in my house. So now being almost 6 months out after losing a child I can see their concern as I share with them where I am at... but most of all I am thankful they are willing to listen and share back. We also had some good laughs and that felt good. So it was nice to just be together.
We had a busy Easter Week. Greg was super busy with services, and that is something we are pretty used to from past churches. But what we aren't used to is our major missing of him when he isn't around. Of course we always wished he was home with us, but since Samuel there is a new found dependance on each other which is so nice. I know I have said it before, but I was very independant, probably to a fault. Now there is such a closeness there, that is really missed when he isn't home with us, and we aren't spending time together. It is a good thing:) We treasure each other so much more. We are all looking forward to seeing Greg again, we can't wait to enjoy some daddy, husband time tomorrow since that is his day off. YEAH!!!
As I celebrated Christ's resurrection today I couldn't help but think of my son. Wow, I am so thankful for what Christ did for us so that we can have that assurance of where Samuel is right now, and where we will spend eternity. I have to be honest though, thinking of Samuel in Heaven with our Lord doesn't always bring me comfort. I don't ever want to cheapen what Christ did for us. But right now I still really want him in MY arms. Obviously, I am thankful for where he is, and that he is safe, perfect and whole, but I still miss him terribly... it still doesn't feel right at all. I am sure there will come a day that I really will be able to rejoice for where he is. I know Samuel being there is the best thing for Samuel, he has been spared much pain and sorrow that he would've have endured in this life. But for the rest of us here, it is hard. We sang a song in church today, one that we had picked for Samuel's memorial. That of course just takes you right back to that day, that time, those feelings and memories, still so fresh. That was hard. I was glad to have family with me, sitting next to me.
So tonight I am thankful for all that my Savior did for me, for my family, for my son in Heaven worshipping him, for you. I will never forget when I saw The Passion of the Christ. I don't think I had ever really envisioned the brutality to the fullest degree that Christ endured going to the cross for us until I saw that movie. And to think He went through that for us, to save us. That is amazing love. I keep reminding myself of God's great love for me and my family and that His love for us doesn't change depending on our circumstances, joys or trials. His great love remains the same... regardless of how I feel. I will continue to proclaim His power and faithfulness to sustain and strengthen us each day.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009







These were some more pictures from the fun in Texas. I love the bluebonnets. Looking at them along the drive really made the 8+ hours pass more quickly to me.

We are really enjoying our company. The kids are having a blast with their cousins and me with my "sista" -in-law. She is certainly just like a sister to me. Today we toured the Blue Bell Creamery... yummy. We all learned a lot and really learning about ice cream is right up my alley. I am a northern girl from the dairy state you know:)
The crazy thing was, here we are in the country store after eating our ice cream. And in walks the next group of people for their tour. Now, I think God is trying to tell me something, I have no idea what... the next group was about 40 pregnant or parenting girls from a school in the area. What are the chances that we would be there at the same time as all of these pregnant teens. My heart just ached for them knowing the road that they will be walking. Really though, they didn't seem to mind, they were chattering away just like other girls their age. It was just strange to me, I have never been in the presence of THAT many pregnant young girls. Who knows why the Lord had me there at the same time as them, but I did get to talk with some of their teachers about if most of them were planning on parenting or plan on making an adoption plan. Being around pregnant women is difficult, but wow, 40 girls in unplanned pregnancies when you have had to "work" hard for each of your own pregnancies, it was wild.
It just goes to show me again, how little I know about the mind of God and how He works. That is one BIG thing I have learned through this experience. Even being a Christian for my whole life, it is so obvious that we are not at all in control of things and we really will never get near to truly understanding God and all that He does. We just need to accept what He does and keep trusting HIM. His sovereignty and power is beyond our comprehension as humans. We can certainly get to know Him more by reading His word, but really understanding HIM... I just don't think so. I have had many questions since Samuel died, Why? What is His purpose in this? Was he in pain when he died, did he feel anything? But actually today I am ok with not having any answers and just taking it for what it is at this point... I don't always feel that way, but for today I do:) And that feels good... just to rest and trust!

Monday, April 6, 2009





Sorry, I know that some people don't like looking at feet... But there was no real way of getting around that. Now does this give me a reason to ask for a pedicure:)


We are back in town after a super busy, but really nice weekend in Houston. We arrived really late Thursday night and arrived home really late last night. One of the reasons we went down was for Meaghan, our god daughter's confirmation service. She is growing into such a beautiful young woman. The kids loved their time with Meaghan and Maddie her sister. They always do a lot of laughing together:)

The other main reason we went down was because my hubby has been wanting a truck for years. Really, he has wanted one since I have known him. His very generous parents are going down to one vehicle, so we are the very blessed new owners of their truck. Greg spent most of the day on the truck, getting license plates, waxing it... hilarious. I am really happy for him.

We also crammed in a visit to our dear friends the Stocktons. We spent most weekends with them when we lived in Houston... so it is always just like old times. We just pick up right where we left off. They have been so supportive these last months. The kids have a blast together and we even got to make it to their son, my godson's, birthday party while we were there. By the way Mary, your crazy ear drops did the trick. Wow, they are like magic:) It is so much better... thank you.

Greg's grandma just moved from her home to an assisted living center. She was so gracious and is handling it so well. I was really impressed. I could tell it was hard for her, but she was very positive about everything at her new home. What a sweet lady she is. This past Friday was 5 years since she had lost her husband of over 60 years. I can see that she still misses him greatly. Every stage of life has it's difficulties, but Granny is handling those with such grace.

We also got to spend some time with Ryane, one of Jojo's god mothers. It was a treat as usual. I feel kind of bad...:) Ryane and I started to become close when she was going through some difficult times. I had struggled with some of the same things she was going through, so we would chat about it. That was probably 8 years ago. I never dreamed that such a beautiful friendship would grow from those times. She has been amazing since we lost Samuel, really there for me, and encouraging me to keep trusting in God's plan for us. I just never thought that someone I kind of mentored would be the one helping me so much. She is a real blessing.

So this is why I feel bad... Am I a bad influence?? :) She and I have talked in the past about getting tattoos. So we finally did it. Neither of our husbands thought we would go through with it. I love that I have a piece of Samuel, his sweet little footprint as a part of me forever. I actually love the permanence of it, does that sound crazy. I feel like that little guy stamped his little footprint, his existence as a member of our family, all over my heart and life. And now I have it stamped on my foot. I put the reference to the Bible verse Psalm 139:13-14 next to it.

For you created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

That is exactly how I feel. God created that little guy exactly as He wanted him. He knit him together perfectly. He created his inmost being, heart and soul. When I think of Samuel I do know God's works are wonderful. But boy do I miss His work in that little boy who I wish I could be holding in my arms right now.

I even think about when I am old and gray and wrinkled:) that I will be able to tell my grandchildren about their uncle and the wonderful God given gift that he was to us. Hopefully it may open doors to share my faith and what God has done in our lives through this whole experience.

So now we are gearing up for company.... I love it. My brother Mark, his wife Jane and 4 of their 5 daughter will be coming tomorrow until Easter. Yeah!!! I will try to post other pictures from Texas in the next few days. The bluebonnets were in bloom and were beautiful.

Thursday, April 2, 2009





So we are heading out to Houston later this afternoon. Our niece Meaghan is being confirmed Sunday morning, we are so happy it worked out for us to be there for that. Boy, I can't tell you how nice it is to get away. We are all looking forward to it. It will be short but we will be able to see lots of family and friends and we can't wait. I even have a slightly rebellious activity planned with my sweet friend, Greg's cousin Ryane. Are we really going to do it RyRy? The kids want to come with. I am such a bad influence on you:) Do I have the rest of you curious? If we go through with it, there will be pictures to follow at a later date. Anyone who knows me knows I am not the rebellious sort...never have been... so it really isn't that big of a deal, but none the less, big for me:)
Well, I actually made it back to church this week. Not that I haven't been in church, just not my church. My husband has been a gem. Church is supposed to be your sanctuary... honestly, it hasn't been that for me. It has been the hardest part of most weeks. Too many hard things to see, too many hard things to hear, too much, too difficult, sometimes things can set me off and for the sake of my family I have needed to take a break. They deserve better than me in my despairing moments:) The regular sorrow is bad enough.
It was so interesting, I had a sweet, dear lady Shiela who has really reached out to me. She told me she would sit with me and the kids. She is a hospice nurse so I think she gets it completely. She ministers to those who are dying and their families. She came over Sunday and looked at all of the pictures we have of Samuel...color and all. For anyone who has seen color photos of one who has died it is different than the black and white. I have only shared a few, maybe I will share more in the future. She wasn't freaked out, she gets that it can still be a beautiful time to be with someone even if they have already passed away. I loved sharing my son with her. I wish she would have seen him in person.
I didn't even bring it up, but she said sitting with me in church, she heard things in a whole new way. All of the references to death, dying, pregnancy related things, babies. She got it. Now I know most other people don't even blink at it. I know things like that are completely normal to most. I am the one who isn't in a normal situation. But among others who are grieving it is normal, I have talked with them. But when you just delivered a stillborn child who will never take a breath on this earth, and you walk past his ashes everyday in your home, you hear things so differently. Sometimes it is ok, sometimes it stings like nothing you could imagine. That is why I have stayed away. One small step at a time. Having someone sit with me helped.
I also had dinner with two sweet ladies from church this week. It was nice. We even got to play matchmaker for our waiter. Well, not really, but it was funny. He totally wanted our opinion on some other young girl he was waiting on and how to try to get her phone number. Unfortunately it crashed and burned, but it was cute, sweet, and made me laugh. I really enjoyed talking with them over dinner and after. It is so funny how you can tell when someone really wants to know "how you are doing" when they ask or when they are just asking to ask. Does that make sense? I was able to spill it out there and it felt good. Someone told me a story needs a thousand tellings when you are grieving. I think that might be true.
The people at church have really started to reach out. I am not sure where the change has come from, and I don't fault them at all, I understand the uncomfortableness, but let me just say it has been sooooo nice. I can't tell you how many times Greg has said, "did that blond gal come and talk to you after church or the tall man.? (No one specifically, just generic terms here:) I had to keep responding,no. And he would say that they asked about me and he told them they should talk to me... but they didn't. I get it, it is easier to talk with Greg, he certainly is grieving differently than me. That is for a whole other post, but I think I will get to that sometime because I am really curious from other people who have lost a child how their husband took it. Don't get me wrong, I know he misses his son deeply. Greg has been my rock and support.
Ok, enough rambling, I don't want people to think that I am teetering on the edge. I am just being real about the daily struggles of life after losing a child. I told someone recently that there are so many different levels of grief... sadness, deep sorrow, despair, hopelessness, hopefulness, a brighter view of the future. It all ebbs and flows for me anyways. But the sadness is ALWAYS there. And I think I am totally ok with that. I know that may sound strange, but I think that sorrow has made it's home here with me and I am fine with it. It is part of the new me, part of the process of God molding me and making me more of who He wants me to be, through this whole situation. That doesn't mean I can't enjoy all of the other blessings of each day and my family I can. I have had some, throw your head back good laughter, over things my other kids have done. But at the same time, there is sadness that my boy isn't with me, with us to enjoy it all too.
I even had a thought the other day, a really neat, good one, I know it was from the Lord, (Sorry, that wasn't a very Lutheran thing to say:) it was just a glimpse of the future... then of course it left me and I was left feeling pretty sad for where I am at right now. But I knew that on the other side of the intense pain and sorrow (I know it will always be there to some degree) that I would look back with a deep richness in my heart for all I have learned from my sweet Samuel and his short time with me. I know I will look back and know that God will have worked good. It is weird, my heart is so broken, yet so full. I don't think that I was a shallow person before, I have always wanted to know people, truly know them. But now there is such a sensitivity in my heart for others and what they are going through. I feel like my life is already richer, how can it not be? I had that sweet boy as a part of my life for 9 months.
This was going to be a quick we are headed out of town post... One more thing, I was invited by a lady at church to a bible study with some women from our church. I am really looking forward to it and to getting to know them. Ahhhh, another answer to prayer. That is so nice to see, I know He answers... but it isn't always the answer I am looking for and that always takes a little getting used to.
Now I am off to do a bit of school with the kids, feed them, and clean the house. Did I tell you what great kids I have... the bathrooms are cleaned and the car is mostly packed. I am blessed indeed.
I have refined you but not in the way silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering. Isaiah 48:10
I am normally not one to read the message, but for some reason I loved the way this was worded...
Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat-- I am Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Luke 9:23-24