Friday, July 31, 2009


This was when we were praying over the birth mom.

Can you see little Jojo leaning in? Could he be more precious?

Here is Caleb and the birth mom's grandma putting their roses by Joel's little casket.

We were so thrilled today when we got a call from our birth mom saying that they (herself, her mom, and her grandma) wanted to make sure they didn't miss Greg's ordination. I told them it was on Sunday and they were really excited that they will be able to come. The kids were absolutely thrilled when they heard this. Yeah! I asked Louis today if he felt like someone is always missing... He said, he felt like 3 people are missing... Samuel, baby Joel, and the birth mom. We knew she wouldn't stay with us forever... but we were anticipating her staying for a bit longer than she did. We really do miss her, but it sounds like she is really doing well, and we are so happy for her.
I thought I would post a few pictures from Joel's graveside service. I will try to post some from our Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep photographer that came the day Joel was born when we receive them. When I look back on all that has happened to us and our friends over the past year... honestly, I am weary. I know that God won't give us more than we can handle... but really, I feel close. I don't want to hear any more bad news. A friend and I were laughing that when people see my number on the caller ID, they may not want to answer for fear or more bad news. I can't wait for the Lord to turn the tables, and for us to be able to see some good come from it all. Or heck, turn the tables and work some amazing miracles in our midst. Wouldn't it be awesome to be witness to that greatness. Right now it kind of feels a little like, actually a lot like survival mode.
We will have a super busy weekend. Greg's parents, his sister, and her daughter arrived today. Praise God for wonderful Mother-in-laws that bring dinner with them:) What a treat to have them have it all ready for us tonight. My parents come tomorrow. And then we have other pastors, and friends coming in over the weekend. Greg's ordination will be on Sunday... Yeah, all of his hard work at the seminary and here for the last year... will finally be complete... he will be a pastor... The work will continue:) But the organized part of the learning will be done. Well that is until he starts up another class next month for his masters in Marriage and family ministry. This was a degree that he had worked on prior to going to the sem. He is excited to finish it, maybe next fall. Poor guy, I think when he is done with that degree, he will REALLY be done.
Much love to you all!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Praise God for His goodness in granting us safe travel up to St. Louis yesterday and home to Tulsa today. Wow, what a couple of days.

I will have you know I got my ticket dismissed. The DA was really kind and could tell from my pictures that there was NO WAY the police officer could have seen if I stopped or not. So I told Greg that I had saved him $211. He proceeded to tell me we could use that to get some football package for fall since we have pretty much the most basic cable package... I proceeded to tell him that I wanted to use part of it to go out:) My girlfriends from St. Louis said that we should put it towards our girlfriends getaway cruise next year:) ( I know we are kind of dreaming... but since we all now live all over the U.S., we are trying to throw together some sort of get together... we will see:)

So we arrived in St. Louis, and headed straight over to the sem. to see our friends. It was so nice 3 of my girlfriends were right out back of our old apartment at the playground on campus... It felt just like it used to be, seeing them out there. The weather was gorgeous and we just sat and visited for a couple of hours. It was so short... but so sweet. I can't tell you how much I treasure those friends. We sat on the bench and read my tear soup book together. In light, especially this week of our friends loss, and just over 3 weeks ago the loss of baby Joel, the emotions are fresh. These ladies had gotten to know our birth mom when we stayed in St. Louis for a four days back in June.

Baby Nate's funeral was really nice. Please continue to pray for Jerry, Gretchen and Noah, as they walk through this tough journey AGAIN. Gretchen said today that it really wasn't about that for her... walking it AGAIN...right now, it is just about Nate being gone and how difficult that is to bear... it isn't that they have lost 2 kids in the last 18 months. But who knows that may change from day to day the reality and what issues come to the forefront. After the service Greg and I found them. When Greg gave Jerry a hug, Jerry just let loose... so did Greg... so did Gretchen and myself. My heart was so grieved for them , to see those grown men crying together. Jerry just said, "Greg what is going on?"

There are so many tears. There are so many questions... that who knows if we will ever have any answers to. Gretchen invited us over to their home... we were so blessed to be able to go over there, have lunch, share our mommy necklaces with one another, and talk things over with them. We were able to see precious pictures of Nate... what a sweet, beautiful little guy. I just picture their 2 little boys Caleb and Nate up in Heaven with Samuel and Joel. There are lots of little boys running around praising our Lord.

All in all, I can clearly see the Lord sustaining them... but I also know the reality of grief and loss. It is so up and down and there are so many emotions and things that come up later, when the shock of the situation wears off. They are incredibly strong and are proclaiming God's glory through it all, even though in the same breath they will say how much the situation really STINKS. Oh, how we all wish things could be different, we could go back to last Thursday when things were as we think they should still be. In the blink of an eye... life is so different.

It is odd, but there really is a fellowship of the suffering. When another has been through a similar loss, there is just this incredible understanding there. As much as I would never wish any tragedy on anyone, I am so thankful to have others that have also been through and TRULY understand. You can relate to one another on a level that others can't seem to. There are those few that are willing to step into the grief zone with you whether or not they are comfortable with it or if they can relate to it or not (I am constantly thanking God for them as well).... and then there are those that head right in the other direction. I completely get it, but it doesn't make it any easier.

We love these dear people, the Hays, please continue to pray for them if the Lord brings them to mind. We can feel the attack of the enemy very strongly... I want them to be able to remain steadfast in the ministry the Lord has called them to. I also know firsthand the stress that this can bring to a family and marriage. I can't help but wonder if the Lord has something in store for Greg and Jerry together. What are the chances that 2 out of maybe 10-12 of the men in their same program at the seminary would have 2 major losses in the last 18 months? They certainly will have personal insight into grief and loss like many pastors may not have. I have no idea, maybe the Lord just gave them to each other to support one another through all of this.

Thanks so much for your prayers and for hanging with us through this all.

Monday, July 27, 2009


I don't have a lot of time to post... just a quick one.

We are heading downtown to fight my ticket for failing to stop at the stop sign that I STOPPED at:) I know it is such a small thing, in light of what our friends are going through right now... but it is the principle of it for me.

From downtown we will head to St. Louis for the funeral of baby Nate. Please continue to pray for Jerry, Gretchen and Noah. I know Gretchen is struggling with some troubling questions. I know as a momma there are so many thoughts and images that can really torment you. They need miraculous peace to flood them just to get through these next weeks.

We had a special time with my dear friend Mary from Texas. We are actually going to stay with her and her parents in St. Louis tonight.

Last night, we had a wonderful dinner with my Aunt, Uncle, cousin and 3 of their friends last night. They came from Indiana to volunteer at the Voice of the Martyrs headquarters. After they left we went for a family walk in the neighborhood. Greg right away said, "That was so incredibly nice to have them here... it gave me peace and refreshed me." I felt the exact same way, to have family here, to be free to lay it all out there and be comforted. It was a treat, and they came at just the right time. I will post when I get back. Thanks for the prayers for our friends.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Friends, I am needing you to storm the gates of Heaven on behalf of our dear friends from St. Louis. Jerry and Greg were in the same program at the seminary. He is now a Pastor at a church in St. Louis. A year and a half ago I asked you to pray for them when they lost their 9 year old son in a tragic helicoptor accident while they were on vacation in Texas.

Seven months ago they made plans to adopt a baby that was to be born in March. He was born a couple of months early. Just an hour and a half ago my dear friend Becky called and said that this sweet precious baby boy, Nate, was found not breathing in his crib. They were on their way to the hospital with him. Immediately we were praying for a miracle for this family and for the Lord's sustaining power to rest on them. She called back a half hour later to tell me that he was gone.

Our hearts are absolutely broken for our friends. After everything that they have already been through... Really, I feel like I have very few words. I am completely in shock that this could even possibly happen... to them. I don't understand God's ways. I just don't get it... when is it just too much Lord? I know they will be proclaiming God's mighty ways through all of this. I also know the intense pain that they will be feeling over this new loss. I also know how this will make the loss of sweet Caleb fresh again.

Please, please pray for Jerry, Gretchen, and their 7 year old son Noah. They need a huge measure of the Lord's presence and peace right now. They need to feel the love of Christ from His people surrounding them. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Thanks for praying for my hubby. His shot went well yesterday and he does feel some relief already. Praise God for that. They said that it will take 7-10 days to really see if it will help.
The kids got these crazy matching tye dye shirts at an insurance function that was held at the children's museum last Saturday. They gave the kids all banks and explained how to share, save, and spend the money that they have. They did a short seminar for the parents, gave us all a pizza dinner and then the kids ran around the museum, climbed the rock roll, and just ran off a lot of energy for the rest of the night. It was so funny to see the competitive nature come out in Caleb when he realized that Anna had made it to the top of the rock wall before any of the rest of them. Once he took note of that, he wasn't far behind. I am so very thankful for each of these 4 little guys that the Lord has given us to raise here on Earth... They are each so precious. They keep me going each day. They all got a goody bag at the end and these fun shirts were in there.
I so appreciate your prayers for the birth mom that was staying with us. She left the CPO transitional home last week and has been at home since. I called her yesterday just to check in with her. I was so happy to find out that she had told her whole family about what had happened. They all know that she was pregnant and lost the baby. I am just so thankful that she was able to be honest with them all finally. Going through what she has at 15 is HUGE, but not being able to have anyone know what you experienced adds a whole new layer to things. I am so thankful that she will be able to grieve now more openly if she needs to. I am also so thankful that she won't have to continue lying to cover up all that has happened. The truth has set her free. I am very proud of her, I know it had to be an incredibly hard thing to do. She came with me and another friend from church to the MEND meeting tonight. I am sure it was a lot for her to take in but I am so glad she was able to come and she even talked that she might want to come again. It was really nice to see her. Louis even said he wanted to come with tonight. I know the reason was really to just see Faith... they all really miss having her around.
We are so excited to see our Texas friends who are coming to stay for a few days. YEAH! God is good to provide company when we could really use it:)

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Ok, this is going to be kind of a random post. Greg got back from the youth mission trip yesterday. Yeah!!! It is so nice to have him home. Please pray for him if you think of it, he is getting an epidural shot in his back tomorrow for a bulging disk. He has been in a lot of pain for the last 2 months. We are praying that this helps him.
So my dad used to always say that my mom could stretch a buck to 2 bucks... but that I could stretch a buck to 5. I always took that as a compliment. Ever since we had Louis, I knew that I wanted to be home with him and I would do anything possible to make that happen. With Greg being a church worker, I have always tried to be frugal and be a good steward of the resources God has blessed us with. My brother-in-law has always said I should somehow make a living off my "cheap living" ways. I kind of thought that was funny. But really I have always thought of it as a kind of fun challenge, living with in our means. I have never thought of it as being a bad or tough thing... as wierd as it may sound, I kind of enjoy it:)
Well, I have never really been a coupon cutter. But I have a bad... or good feeling that is going to change. The picture above is from my first REAL shopping with coupons adventure. I got all of the above, (11 boxes of cereal, 5 cake mixes, 10 weight watcher meals, 2 boxes of veggie burgers, 3 lbs. of strawberries, 4 yogurts, 1 skillet meal, 4 cartons of icecream, and 2 boxes of pop-tarts... that was the treat for the kids after all the craziness with the coupons:) for $32. I thought that was a pretty good deal. Prior to using my coupons the bill was $104. Is that crazy or what? I NEVER would have paid $104 for all of that.
It was really quited educational for the kids. They were all so excited to see the money coming off of the bill. Actually, I rarely buy any convenience foods, I am really a cook from scratch kind of gal. I really try to cook healthy for the kids. I usually put out a plate of fruit and veggies in the morning for the kids to snack on through out the day. If we ever have "sweet cereal" we make the kids mix it with a cereal that isn't sweet. I am a bit of a stickler normally.
I really need to get back to my once a month cooking because most days I have a hard time getting motivated to make something good for us. Ever since Samuel died I have struggled with that. So right now my freezer is full, but not with anything that I could just throw in the oven and have ready. So I am actually thankful for some of the convenience foods that I picked up.
I will keep you posted on my next coupon excusions:) Thanks for the prayers for my honey:)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I am lonely.... my wonderful hubby is away with the youth kids from church. They actually are up in St. Louis. He called last night from a Walmart, on my most dearest friend's phone. Here in all of St. Louis they bump into each other at the same Walmart... now this woman has 6 little kids, and doesn't even get to Walmart often with out them all. When he told me who was standing next to him, I yelled in the phone, "I am so jealous:)" It was such a treat to talk to her for a few minutes. I miss you Becky:)

Have I told you lately what an amazing man I am married to?

These are the beautiful flowers he brought home the other night... just because.

Just because... he is such a gem to hang in here with me over the last 8+ mos.
Really I do know how incredibly blessed I am to have him. I don't at all take it for granted, that I have him in my life. When you face CANCER early on in relationship, it kind of changes your perspective on things, and the people you share your life with. I will write a post all about that soon... when I post about our latest family Ebenezer.

Anyone who has ever spent any time getting to know me knows the following things about me... I love kids. I love pregnancy and childbirth(yeah, I know a lot of women dread that part of it... I am one of the strange ones who actually looks so forward to it, and enjoys the whole experience of it... I know it is kind of crazy... and yes, I did have 2 of my babies with out any medication... and yes, I would tell you it was a wonderful experience:) I love all things babies. Heck, I even made my part time job being a natural childbirth teacher and doula. Babies and children are and always have been my passion.

When our dear friends from the seminary came down for Samuel's memorial service. One of them had come all the way from Ohio. When I saw her, one of the first things she said when I thanked her for coming was, "Sara, that is one of the first things I learned about you the first time we met, was that you would have loved to have another child." I thought that was amazing that she would remember that about me.

What I have learned since being in a new town... is that very few people here ever got to know me well enough before Samuel died to know that major part of me. I think for most who maybe just have a couple of kids... they see our 4 and think... Wooh, that is a large family... they may think... Why would they want more? Everyone is different, and trust me I know the way I feel about things isn't always the norm:) But it is me, it is the way God created me.

I remember when I was in High School my parents started to care for foster babies. They were most times fresh out of the hospital. When my mom wasn't feeling well, I loved to get up in the middle of the night to feed them. I would much rather have stayed home and babysit those little ones instead of going out with friends on a Friday night. Really I think caring for those precious little babies was when my heart for adoption began to grow.

The reason I share all of this is to give you a closer look into my heart, who I am, who I believe God created me to be, who Greg and I are as a couple, what makes us tick, and why we have done some of the things we have done in the last year. I think many don't have a real clear picture of why we are pursuing adoption... and yes we will pursue it again.

We know many may think we are crazy for opening the door to adoption again. But we have seen the Lord sustain us... We know he placed that sweet 15 year old girl into our home for a reason. We know He will bring us through whatever He has for us in the future.

I think many people think that we are pursuing adoption because we are desperate to have another baby. That really couldn't be further from the truth. Sure we have
had desperate, despairing moments in the last 8 months, but not because we are desperate for a baby... we just long for and miss Samuel... and now what might have been with baby Joel. Would we love to have a baby in our home?... absolutely. But we are not desperate for a baby.

We have talked about adoption for years. We really seriously started talking about it the last 4 years. When we were at the Seminary, we did lots of research into international adoption. It is funny because when we pictured our family including adopted children, we never pictured them looking like us. We looked seriously into China, Ethiopia, and Liberia. Seeing as how neither one of us had a full time job while we were there, it didn't look like it would be possible. I did even look into what we could do to get someone to back us up on the financial side of things, we had $ from the sale of our house, but no real income coming in. I tell you all this, so that you understand, adoption has been on our hearts for years.

I remember talking our last year at the Seminary about adopting, and we pretty much agreed that we would try to start the process when we got to our placement at a church. Then we conceived our Samuel last February. We put the adoption thoughts on hold. I remember shortly after we moved here, Greg and I going out on a date. While we were eating we were talking about adopting. We decided to have the baby I was carrying and then revisit it. Adoption was something we would have pursued if Samuel had lived. Maybe not this soon... but we would have pursued it at some point.

This may sound odd to some, but we really feel God has laid adoption on our hearts. We have been blessed to walk the adoption road closely with our sweet friends the Boggs our last year at Seminary. We learned so much just from watching them go through their adoption of Asher, our sweet little godson. We have always felt like we have lots of love to give to a child who needs a home. We don't just see it as a way of growing our family, but more as giving a child who needs one a loving home.

So when Samuel died, we really felt God leading us to take the next step towards adoption. That was when we discovered CPO, Crisis Pregnancy Outreach. They really see adoption as a ministry. It is a ministry to the moms in a crisis pregnancy, the babies, and even the families. We felt that we needed to do our part to be obedient to what we felt the Lord was calling us to do. We figured we would open the door and see what God does. We are trusting that He will close or open any door He sees fit. We will follow until we feel Him leading us in a different way.

We don't at all claim to know what His plan for our family is, but we do know when the Lord leads you to do something... you should do it:) We also know the desires He has placed in our hearts.

I am reminded of the following scripture...

Isaiah 55:8
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

I am trusting that His ways and plans are much better than my ways or plans:)

Sorry for getting long winded... but I kind of felt like I had some things that might need a little explaining :)

Blessings on your Wednesday!

Monday, July 13, 2009


My sweet friend Mary forwarded me this video. I think it is one of the sweetest, most precious things. It is a video of a couple that has been married for 62 years. The gentlemen turned 90 this spring. They played an impromptu piano duet at Mayo.

I was wondering why they didn't just sit down to play... you will see why. It make me and the kids get a good smile and laugh. They are so cute. I hope Greg and I can have that much spunk and vigor at 90. We certainly won't be playing the piano like that... Don't forget to pause the music on the side. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


How can our first born be 12? We prayed for a longggg time for that little man and we are so blessed that the Lord saw fit to give us Louis.

Honestly, I am not sure I could have made it through the last 8 mos. without him. When Greg is at work, Louis is the man of the house. He has one of the most compassionate hearts I have ever seen. He is so observant and tenderhearted... really I am amazed at it sometimes. He is a joy to have around and is such a big helper with the other kids. I know some woman will be so happy to be on the receiving end of that sweetness someday.

He is maturing more and more each day. It is a little sad to see it, but it is so special to see how God is molding our young man into a wonderful warrior for HIM.

I love to see his faith growing as he grows, that warms my heart more than anything, to see that he loves his Lord. What could be more important than that? Lately I have seen that more and more in the decisions that he makes and why he makes them. He is more and more concious of what God would want him to do in a situation. I am so proud of him for that.

This post was written on July 2nd, but after everything happened with baby Joel, I figured I would wait a bit to post it.

Thank you so much for your prayers for Louis over the last week or so. He seems to be getting over a hump. There is still sadness, but not as many tears, and more joy.

We are praising God today for the precious gift of Louis in our lives!

Friday, July 10, 2009





Tuesday Greg's parents came for a visit on their way to Indiana. It has been such a blessing to have them here. Greg's mom was a huge help with food and dishes... some days I just don't have the motivation like I used to. It has been such a treat to have help with that. Today we went to the aquarium together... we were blessed with a membership from some friends. Wow, there is so much to see. I can't wait to be able to take the kids back during the school year. His parents will leave tomorrow... bummer, but they will be back in a few weeks for Greg's ordination.
Having company this summer has been such a HUGE blessing for us. We have really needed the fellowship of loved ones and people who have known us before everything happened with Samuel. We are so looking forward to our dear Texas friends who will be here in a couple of weeks and then just after that a week or two lots of family for the ordination on the 2nd of August. It will be so nice. I do have to say, that all of the dates hold significance to our birth mom's due date. At ordination time, it would have been about 7 weeks to go. Oh how quickly things can change.
So I mentioned before that I am doing the Beth Moore Esther study on Wednesday nights at church. I have to confess that I was really looking forward to it, but kind of thought, I have read Esther so many times, how much can we really get from Esther? Wow, I was so wrong. Each week, I have felt she was writing it, or speaking it directly to me. It has been crazy... but crazy great. I have been blessed to be able to lead one of the small groups after we watch the video. I just love hearing what these ladies have to say, and having the opportunity to pray for them. It has a been a blessing for me to get to know them.
Beth was talking all about waiting. Oh waiting, so very hard for me. Is it this hard for everyone? Ever since Samuel died, I have felt like I have been waiting. Really waiting for the Lord to do something. I really felt like, if the Lord allowed Samuel to be taken, that He would do something big and quick. Almost 9 months have passed, and yet we are still waiting. We thought maybe He was doing something with the young birth mom living with us. Now it turns out, He certainly was doing something, but definitely not what I was hoping for.
I have had many people speculate why the Lord has allowed our last year to be what it has for us. I would love to list them all out for you... but I won't... too exhausting for me. And quite honestly I AM DONE SPECULATING! The more I wait, the more I realize there is so little I understand... and no amount of trying to figure it out will really get me any closer to figuring it out. We can not begin to comprehend the mind of God or why or how He does things. It is so beyond our understanding. So right now I am content to say that GOD IS GOD, AND I AM NOT. His ways are not our ways, nor his thoughts our thoughts. His ways and plans are so much bigger than we can understand.
So this brings me back to Beth's study. She was mentioning how exhausting it can be to wait. That it is just draining. I couldn't agree more.
She referenced Isaiah 40:31...
But those who wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength. They shall soar on wings like eagles. They shall run and not grow weary they shall walk and not grow faint.
I have heard that verse a million times... but it has taken on new meaning for me. Her point was that waiting can be so tiring... but when we wait on the Lord, He will RENEW our strength. When we wait on the event... the new job, the new house, the new baby, the new car, etc. we will never be strengthened. We need to wait on the Lord, He will renew us and strengthen us as we wait. Not that we are to no longer desire certain things or pray for them... but it is where our focus is... is it on the event or thing? Or is it on the Lord?
Wow, I was convicted and refocused. Praise God. This may all seem so elementary. And it is something I have known for as long as I can remember... but I heard it with new ears tonight... the ears of a mother who longs for her son... the ears of a mother who has been waiting... the ears of a daughter of the Most High God.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Wow, what a day. This morning when I was hitting the road jogging with Louis seems like days ago.

We had the graveside service today for baby Joel. Obviously, it was hard, but really it was good. Our birth mom seemed a little fragile yet seemed to being doing pretty well. She herself would say that she isn't an emotional person at all. But yet, praise God, I think she is really dealing with what has happened and grieving her loss. I am so thankful for that, given that when she goes back home even her siblings will have no idea what she has just gone through. Yesterday she and I were talking on the phone about how she was looking so forward to being able to come over after she had the baby to visit. She was really looking forward to seeing Joel grow and change. We will both miss that tremendously. She looked beautiful and handled the situation so beautifully. I still can't get over what this 15 year old has gone through.

When we first got to the funeral home, they ushered us into a little room where Joel's casket was. I am so glad that Greg's parents came into town last night, and that they were able to meet this sweet young lady, her mom, and her grandma. There were probably 5-6 ladies there too from Crisis Pregnancy Outreach. They have been so supportive of this young girl. After we had been in the room for about 5 minutes Louis just whispered in my ear, "Is that little box where baby Joel is?" It hadn't really dawned on me that they wouldn't know that. When I said yes, he just started crying... bless his heart. It is gut wrenching to see that tiny little box and know that inside was the child you were hoping to raise in your home. He had a difficult time through the whole time. What a precious sensitive young man. The rest of the kids were sad, but praise God seem to be handling it as well as can be expected.

Greg led the short little service. My poor husband, he usually holds it together amazingly well in situations where I am surprised he can remain so composed. Today was different. There were a few spots in the service where he just lost it. This is going to sound bad... but I am so happy to see him visibly grieving. I want him to be able to release what he is really feeling, not just shove it aside because his job or the situation warrants it. I know men and women grieve differently, but he has consistently been so strong. I have wondered many times if he really has even dealt with the loss of Samuel. He did a great job, I have an amazing husband... who no matter what the circumstances, cancer, job loss, death of a child, he is ALWAYS steadfast in His faith. I have NEVER met anyone who was more solid in their faith. He is unwavering.

When he was done we were all able to surround the birth mom and pray for her. I am praying that the Lord will draw her closer to Himself through this whole experience. Greg's mom said that the birth mom's grandma had told her that never in her life did she think she would ever see the 2 cultures come together like we have. They really have become like family in a lot of ways. We are really hoping to maintain contact with them. I told her Grandma today that I am holding her to her promise of coming over to make greens and gumbo:) They are very special to all of us.

Thank you so much for the prayers. Actually, tonight I can really feel an indescribable peace. I am praising God for that. Between yesterday and today I have really been able to see God at work. I will try to share some pictures of Joel or the service at some point.

Please continue to pray for this young girl. We really appreciate that.

I better hit the hay because I am dozing off here at the computer.


Sunday, July 5, 2009


Just a quick update about our birth mom. Thank you so much for praying for her. She was released from the hospital yesterday. She sounded so much better. I spoke with her and her mother, she was on her way to the transitional home that CPO has. She will stay there for the next week or so to recover and heal before she heads home. Please remember her in prayer as she goes back to her life. Remember she hid this pregnancy from all except her mom and grandma. That is a BIG secret to keep and especially now with how it all ended for her. That is a lot of trauma to not be able to deal with openly. Please pray she can grieve in a healthy way. She was so sweet, she wanted to make sure I told the whole family that she loved them and missed them. I think the kids and I will try to make it out there and visit her this next week sometime. Greg and I need to meet with the funeral home director tomorrow afternoon about baby Joel's graveside service. We are hoping to be able to maybe have it Wednesday.

Yesterday I was talking with my little sister and I mentioned to her that I really feel like sorrow and suffering have just made a home in my heart. (I don't mean to sound like a pessimist at all, but it is really just a reality for me. I actually don't mean it in a bad way, it feels familiar, like sorrow and suffering just have a place there... I know it sounds weird, but it is starting to feel comfortable at times.)

My sister right away asked if I had read the book Hinds Feet on High Places. I told her that I had made it through half of the book. She suggested I start it again. It is an allegory about the main character, Much afraid, she is on a journey to the High Places. Her constant companions on her journey are sorrow and suffering.

While at the seminary I had given an extra copy to my sweet friend Becky. Shortly after Samuel died she called me saying that she had picked up the book to start reading it and he wanted to read something to me. This is what she read to me from the introduction to the book:

We feel we would give anything if only we could, in actual experience, live on the High Places of love and victory here on this earth and during this life... able always to react to evil, tribulations, sorrow, pain, and every worthy thing in such a way that they would be overcome and transformed into something to the praise and glory of God forever.

When she read that to me back last November I just cried. That was and still is my hearts desire, that I would react to the trials we have experienced in a way that would give God praise and would glorify Him. When she read that to me I went right to the book after that conversation and reread what she had read to me... this is what it said next....

As Christians we know, in theory at least, that in the life of a child of God there are no second causes, that even the most unjust and cruel things, as well as all seemingly pointless and undeserved sufferings, have been permitted by God as a glorious opportunity for us to react to them in such a way that our Lord and Savior is able to produce in us, little by little, his own lovely character.

It was such a good reminder for me, that all of these experiences, losing Samuel, and now baby Joel, were all filtered through God's loving hands. God is sovereign and He permitted it all. I know I need to work on my attitude about it at times. I can feel him working in me, and it hurts. I know he is refining me and hopefully producing in me little by little more of his character. But I know I don't see it as a glorious opportunity. I want to, but I am just not there yet. I can feel it happening, and I want it to happen but I think it may take a while before I can say it is a "glorious opportunity"

At times... and there are lots of times I just have to keep reminding myself that God loves me, He loves me, He loves my family and my husband. Quite frankly, there are a lot of times, it doesn't at all feel like love I am receiving. I think the devil is working overtime in that department. So I just have to keep repeating to myself the truths that I know. God does love me. God is good, regardless of my circumstances. He will work good for us. He is the healer and comforter. It is so easy to let my feelings and fear come into play. I am continually asking questions, will he really work good for us, because I really thought that He was doing good for us with blessing us with this birth mom in our home, and her choosing us to be the adoptive parents of her baby... but look how that ended up. Some times it feels like I am living some cruel joke . So literally, I have to just repeat the truths I know over and over to myself when those doubts and thoughts creep in. I am trying to take those thoughts captive, but let me tell you it is a struggle.

More from the introduction of Hinds Feet:

The only way to reach the High Places is by learning to accept, day by day, the actual conditions and tests permitted by God, by a continually repeated laying down of our own will and acceptance of his as it is presented to us in the form of the people with whom we have to live and work, and in the things that happen to us. Every acceptance of his will becomes an altar of sacrifice, and every such surrender and abandonment of ourselves to his will is a means of furthering us on the way to the High Places.

The lessons of accepting and triumphing over evil, of becoming acquainted with grief, and pain, and ultimately, of finding them transformed into something incomparably precious; of learning through constant glad surrender to know the Lord of Love himself in a new way and to experience unbroken union with him. These are the lessons in Hinds Feet on High Places.

Woooh, constant GLAD surrender, I have a longggg way to go on that and the acceptance of His will. Some days that is so much easier than others. And to see my grief and pain transformed into something INCOMPARABLY PRECIOUS. Wow, wouldn't that be beautiful. I am praying for that. I long for the Lord to make all things new and to use this situation however He sees fit. May He use it to bring glory to His name.

Needless to say, I will start the book over and finish it this time:)


Friday, July 3, 2009


Thank you so much for all of your comments and for your prayers.

Today was a difficult day. Our phone rang around 6:30 am and it was the birth mothers grandma saying that she was getting close to delivery. I was so thankful that it would not be a long drawl out delivery for her. They called back at 8:30 to say that the baby had just been born... but to every one's surprise the baby was not a little girl, but a boy. So my thoughts of Samuel in heaven welcoming a little sister were a little off, he welcomed a little brother home.

The kids and I left the house to go up to the hospital. Greg met us up there, he had stopped to get some flowers for the birth mom. When we entered the hospital I asked Greg if that was the way we had come in last fall when we had Samuel. He said yes, honestly, the place barely looks vaguely familiar. I think that was a blessing. We stopped in the lobby and I asked Greg if he had a boys name picked out at all, if they hadn't named the baby. We had a girls name, that the birth mother liked too, but we had never talked about a boys name. Greg thought Joel was a nice name, and I thought that was fine.

We wanted to see the baby before the kids to see if it was ok for them to see him. They all wanted to. When we got up there Greg and I went to see the little baby boy.
He was sooooo tiny, only about 12 oz. They figured by how he looked and his size that he had probably passed away up to a month ago. But now that I am thinking back, her last Dr.s appt had been about 2 1/2 weeks ago and they had heard the heartbeat at that time. They had a little hat on him, and he was wrapped in a blanket. The photographer was really only able to get pictures of his hands and feet. Greg and I were both able to hold him and get some pictures with him. He was so very little and just felt so light in our arms. It just dawned on me tonight that little baby Joel is the first baby I have held since Samuel. It was actually ok, but far from the experience of holding a living baby. It is all still so hard to believe.

Right now I am just shocked as we once again realize how life can just change in an instant. All of our thoughts and plans of yesterday are changed today. At times it doesn't feel real. I can't understand it at all.

When I saw the baby's grandma I asked her if they had named him and she said yes, that they had decided on Joel. Can you believe that? We NEVER talked about boys names and we both came up with that name. Joel has never even been a name that has come up before in our house. But it is perfect for that sweet little boy. Having us both pick out that name just gave me peace that he was meant to be named Joel. Later tonight the birth mom called and asked if we wanted the baby to have a middle name. The kids were a little sad that we hadn't really had one at the hospital so she and I decided to let the kids pick out a middle name. They decided on David.

The assistant director that was up at the hospital with the birth mom was Stephanie who I asked you to pray for before. She had her daughter Tatum just 4 1/2 mos. ago. And Tatum was a full term still birth, very similar to Samuel. It was a big comfort for me to have her there. And the birth mom's doula was Marlita a girl that I have gotten to know a bit from MEND, the infant loss support group. I was so grateful to know those 2 ladies and to have their support today. That was HUGE for me. So here I was walking down the hall with these two other ladies. All 3 of us having lost babies. That made me feel like I wasn't alone. I looked down the hall and thought, I think that hall is where I had Samuel. Right after I had that thought, I mentioned something about Samuel and they both said, "Did you realize that the room the birth mom had Joel in was the exact same room you delivered Samuel in?" Greg had told them both that, I missed that entire conversation somehow. He said he remembered it, that he could never forget which room it was. I was shocked, actually it made me feel sick to my stomach that I was standing in there looking at this young girl in the bed... the same bed I had labored and delivered Samuel in. How could we have 2 baby boys that were meant to come home with us, be born still in the exact same room. I can hardly believe it. It was all too much.

Please please pray for this sweet young girl. Please pray that she is given the best support to grieve this loss and to work through all that she has experienced in the best, most healthy way possible. We are worried about her and our hearts are just so sad that she had to experience this. We were able to bring the kids in to see her. They did not see the baby. Everyone else had left and we just stayed and sat with her a while. The kids already miss having her not living with us.

Her family wanted us to plan and for Greg to do the short little graveside service we will have next week sometime at a cemetery in town.

Please pray for my Louis, he is so sensitive and such a thinker. Tonight he asked if we could make sure we put up a picture of Joel's hands or feet in our home. I asked if he wanted us to, and he was crying and said yes. I can also see that he is struggling a bit with what place little Joel has in our family. He wants to make sure he can call him his brother. He is so tenderhearted. We all agreed that this was a baby we had already really called our own. He deserves a family... and although he is a part of the birth mothers family... we still feel like he is a part of ours... little sweet Joel David.

There were a lot of tears shed today... lots of questions and not a whole lot of understanding. I could feel the Lord's presence with us today at the hospital and I was so thankful for that. But I know the enemy will be working hard to plant more irrational or doubtful thoughts in my mind. Please pray against that.

So tonight we are thanking God for the life of Joel David. As we gazed at that tiny baby boy with all 10 fingers and 10 toes perfectly formed we are again amazed at God's amazing ability to create life. We are thankful to have had the experience of having this young girl in our home and for her to have chosen us to be Joel's parents. We are thankful to have met her mom and grandma... dear, dear, ladies. And we are so thankful as we have seen death again firsthand today, that we can rest in the assurance of eternity. Little Joel is in Heaven walking the streets of gold... maybe walking hand in hand with Samuel who knows?? I am so thankful for the HOPE of eternity. But boy I am HOMESICK for my eternal home... not this earthly home with all of it's sin, sadness, and suffering.

I am exhausted, it has been such a long and draining day. Thank you for all of your prayers and support. We will keep you updated. Blessings<><

Thursday, July 2, 2009


My heart is so sad and my mind is just whirling around with so many different thoughts right now.

Today we went for a level 2 ultrasound with our birth mom that has been living with us. Greg even took off to get a glimpse of the little girl we hoped to bring home in September. I am so sad to tell you all that the little baby girl no longer had a heartbeat. I could see it on the monitor even though the tech wouldn't tell us anything... I knew. It was all too familiar for me. She sent us over to the Drs. office where he gave us all the news. The birth mom's mother and grandma were there too. I think they were all in shock. Mind you all of this took place right next to the hospital where I gave birth to Samuel last fall. The Dr. was so gracious, kind and compassionate. The birth mom was terrified to be around when we told the kids what had happened. She even apologized to Greg and I saying, "I'm sorry, now this has happened to you twice." The Dr. left and we all surrounded our birth mom and prayed for her and the whole situation. We have come to really love them over the last 9 weeks.

My heart is so sad, for our loss of this new daughter we had hoped to bring home, but my heart grieves for this birth mom. I know exactly what she will go through in the next few days, and the next months. Only her mom and grandma knew of the pregnancy, so I pray that she will be able to grieve this loss in a healthy way. Not even her siblings knew she was pregnant. I just keep thinking, can a 15 year old even process this all? I went through it at 37 and woooh, it can still be too much at times. This is such a HUGE life experience to have to deal with at 15. And my heart is so sad that she will NEVER experience a blissful, carefree pregnancy... at 15 her baby died inside of her. Please, please pray for this precious girl.

She and her grandma and mother are at the hospital. They will induce her tonight and hopefully the baby will come with in the next 2 days. They are going to call and keep me updated as things progress. Greg and I will head up to the hospital to see the baby after she is born. I am thankful that I can be home for her labor. I was struggling... but I think it would have been too much for me to be there and watch her experience it all. She will deliver at the same hospital Samuel was born at. My heart breaks knowing that on her hospital door there will be the little leaf with a teardrop on it, to forewarn all who enter the room of the loss of that baby. So so sad, so so fresh in my mind.

Honestly, I don't even know what to think of all of this. Really, I don't "get it" at all. I don't understand God's purpose in all of this. Babies don't die inside of their moms all of the time. How could this have happened to us twice now? Of course in my heart I know that obviously this is not the baby that God had planned for us to raise to be an adult, in our home. Yet I do feel like this was our baby. Even though I just mentioned on the blog a couple of weeks ago that she had chosen us, it has been almost 2 months that we have known. The birth mom chose us, she wanted us to have this baby. She wasn't growing attached to the baby, we were, more and more with each passing day. As much as I tried to guard my heart, I was slipping as far as that goes. Just one hour before the ultrasound I bought all sorts of baby girl things on sale at Gymboree. This baby deserves the love of a family, people who were anticipating her arrival with such joy. This baby deserves a name. This baby girl deserves a place in a family. All of it, she deserves that. We want to give her that. She was to be our daughter... handpicked for us. This baby was created by our Almighty God. He knew the number of her days.

It is easy to just say that God has a plan in all of this... I know all of the appropriate Christian answers. But really, I don't want to hear those right now. I sat on the couch just telling Greg how much it STINKS! (I had a much less classy word used there but I figured I would spare you the loss of my self control) But that is really how I feel about death and this whole situation... it stinks. I had just asked Greg on the way to the ultrasound, about the verse where is says, "Oh death where is is thy sting?" I asked him what the meaning of that verse is. I realize that knowing what Christ did on the cross for us, we can have eternal life, so as far as eternity goes, the sting is gone. There is more than just this life. But in the here and now, death hurts, death has a REAL sting. How crazy is it that Greg and I were talking about that on the way to the ultrasound.

Last night at my Beth Moore Esther study we were talking about the destiny God has for you. Esther was chosen "for such a time as this" It makes me wonder, why would God place this young girl in our home... He knew this was going to happen to the baby. Why did she pick us to parent this little baby girl, she could have picked anyone... God knows what we just experienced 8 months ago. Does the Lord need me here to minister to this girl and her family in such a time as this. By all means I am not AT ALL comparing myself to Esther. Please pray that the Lord will give me the strength to handle all that the next few days will hold. Please pray that Greg and I can be all that we need to be for this birth mom, her mom, and grandma. Please pray for the Lord's presence to be REAL for all of us. Please pray for us and our children... they are grieving again, and have some real questions.

As we are hit with tragedy again... we will continue to trust HIM for our future... once again it is not what we had hoped for. But we know that the Lord will sustain us as he always has.

Does my sweet Samuel in heaven, know this sweet precious little black baby girl that would have been his sister here on earth? Did he welcome her to her eternal home? That actually brings me comfort...

I will keep you posted...once again we are so thankful for your prayers and support.