Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wearing Layers.


I'm not talking about clothing. I'm talking about layers of grief. Very thin and thick layers.... one on top of the other. I can't seem to bear it right now... I feel suffocated by loss.

I keep thinking of my sister... and I'm so happy that she's in Heaven. That she's with Jesus. But I'm still here. And I still sin and struggle... and just wish at times that I could be on the other side of this and be with her... and see God face-to-face. My time has yet to come. Someday... until then there is a sadness that creeps onto me and won't let go. Sometimes it's in seeing something that reminds me of her... or hearing news about a friend of hers... or just realizing how quickly life is changing for others... and yet I can feel so stuck. Things haven't changed in regards to her. She's gone. And she's not coming back. I see people have problems and issues and they cry out to God and over time things seem to change... relationships are restored... the infertile bear children...that which was lost is now found.* But there is nothing that can "solve my problem". I won't see her again on earth.

I do take hope though in knowing I will see her again. Death has not won- Christ is the victor over death.

BUT there is still the waiting. Still the need to be patient as I grow and change and God-willing, be transformed more into His likeness.

I'm sad. I found out that it's now official... (and I'm allowed to share)... my dear, dear, dear friends the Williams are moving to Charlotte, N.C. It's tempting to say that I'm pretty devastated. It's not as if I'll never see them again... but they have been probably one of the biggest blessings in my life. The way in which they have loved and have cared for me and my family can not be expressed in words. I'll leave it at that for now. It's too painful to even post about right now.

And also my struggle lives on... the temptation to compare myself to others. To see where I lack and others aren't. To compare similar situations but very different circumstances. Oh to surrender these petty, petty issues to Jesus. I wish there was a magic button that would help me to change instantly. Some magic words to say... some thing that would make my heart change instantly and my attitude to realign itself with truth. Oh that I could revel in others joy and good news and not be shattered by it. To compare their life with mine, which sometime feels like a life of suffering. I know we all suffer. Our lives are not what we would want them to be. And yet in the midst the faithfulness of God... to lovingly, gently direct my gaze. To take it off of myself... off of my surroundings and to fix it upwards... towards Him. To stop looking horizontally and be redirected to the vertical. To see God and His goodness even in the worst of times. And I pray that He will help me to calm my spirit and to be content... to have a heart of gratitude... for I am lacking no good thing because I have HIM!




* I'm not saying people don't have unanswered prayer or that life is easy and trial free. I understand that everyone has struggles, trials, problems and pain. I'm just attempting to convey my feelings...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Our Big 3 year old.

part of the fan club
Sam W.- isn't he a cutie!

Jack W - aren't they good-looking kids!
opening his favorite gift
that we play with all the time.
dino-roars!
The party bag
the cupcakes- thank you FAF!
Libby- reminding us of her princess party... oh, only 10 times.
my favorite 4 & 3 year old.
Libby and Samuel!
The Birthday Boy!


My dear Samuel is 3. His birthday was on the 16th of this month. We went to Chick-fil-A and had a great time eating chicken, running around and munching cupcakes. It was a great little party.

I remember the day he was born... He was born at 7:07 in the morning and I was only able to give him a quick kiss before they whisked him away. I didn't see him again until after 7:30 that night. It was hard to be patient. My first boy.

Samuel you are such a joy. You were worth every minute pre-term labor, bed-rest, every hospitalization (all 10+ of them.)

I love seeing the little boy you're becoming. Your excitement over life. Your passion for cars, dinosaurs. Your compassion for those who are suffering. The way you hug me. The way you play with your sister. Your love of music and dancing. Your creative energy and you tender heart.

I love you more every day Samuel Augstine! Happy Birthday little love!

Love,
Mommy.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Blueberries gone wild.




My intelligent cutie.

I'm too smart for this mom!
A little like grandma.
very cool.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

You put the class in glass...

*


Update on Michael.

Well our littlest one is getting glasses. he will probably have them in by the end of this week. In addition his helmet is now made... we just have to make an appointment to pick it up and try it on him. So Michael is going to have a helmet and glasses probably at the same time. He'll look like a little intelligent rocket man.

Will post a picture soon.

*copyright of coolbabieswearglasses.org

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A good day.

I've been feeding Ian with one hand and typing e-mails (hen-pecking) with the other. I'm carrying a child on one hip while unloading the dishwasher. Baking muffins while writing a to-do list. Cleaning the bathroom while taking a shower. Having my quiet time while in the rest-room. Folding laundry while talking on the phone. Rocking a baby in their car-seat with one foot while reading a book. It's all about multi-tasking.

But I love the days where I just let myself free flow. It's the days that are more like my writing style... random, loose, and definitely unstructured. I've never been a formal writer. Definitely casual. And the days where I'm casual I find that I can let the dishes pile in the sink. I can sit with Libby and stamp cards with her for an hour. I leave the blocks on the floor and instead snuggle my son while watching a Veggie Tales movie. I don't wipe down the high chair instead I check my e-mail. Hug a child. Or write some letters.

I love days like that.

Valentine's Day was the BEST one ever. I have had very bad luck, so to speak, when I attempt romance. Let me put it this way, my attempts almost always blow up in my face. But this particular Valentine's Day was wonderful. The day before Valentine's I came home with the kids to find a beautiful arrangement of flowers fixed in a red bowl on the counter along with a Valentine. He had picked the flowers himself from a garden and then arranged them. The next morning I fixed heart waffles for my family and served my beloved breakfast in bed. I then got to go have breakfast with a very dear friend (her treat) at Baker's Crust! We had a great conversation and enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast of eggs, cinnamon toast, maple sausage, and home-style potatoes. Did I mention the mocha... mmmm.

I then went to Target to pick up Michael's thrush medication. We discovered he had Thrush on Friday. I saw my favorite pharmacist Kristin and she was having a rough day so I went and picked up her favorite drink from the Starbucks cafe and brought it back to her. I then headed to Dollar Tree where I picked up balloons and a treat for each of the kids. I came home and Mike took Libby out on a special date. I made heart cupcakes in the meantime and went upstairs to fix up the bedroom.

My aunt stopped by with a Valentine gift of pop-corn containers (the red and white striped plastic kind) and some new stationary. I then brought all the boys and met up with Mike at our friends the Williams. We had a lunch of stramboli and chocolate, chocolate cake. We were celebrating Alexis and Samuel's birthday early (they're both on the 16th). My mom then took the kids to her house while Mike and I went out on a date. First to Starbucks and then to Michaels Arts and Crafts and then on to our favorite date night treat- the thrift store. I found a trench coat for Samuel for two bucks, a pair of gap jeans for Libby for $3. A cream and sugar dish (from Crate & Barrel) for $2.50. a shirt and capris for Libby. And a new pair of purple high-heels... super fun.

We went home and enjoyed some Chinese take-out. We then went and picked up the twins from my parents and came home and watched a movie and had a romantic and relaxing evening. I couldn't have planned the day better myself. What was so fun was how little I expected from the day and then how fun it was when things just kept falling into place. We didn't spend hardly any money but had a great day of being together and loving our kids. It was a blast.

Our previous Valentine's Days have been spent sick, with throwing up kids, burnt arm (second degree burns), and other poorly attempted tries at romance. So it was nice to have a change. And this is to also remind you that we do end up having good days now and again :)

So what a blessing to be reminded that there are days that are not only okay, but good. And times where things do seem to go right. I'm so blessed to have a husband and children. Food and shelter. Friendship and laughter. Rainbows in the midst of storms. God's kindness never ceasing. His mercy always overshadowing my deepest needs.

Monday, February 09, 2009

On Rats, Starbucks & help wanted.


My husband is amazing. Do you know that he can kill rats?! He can. He had an epic battle recently that I'm not going to relay in full detail but you just need to know... he's pretty awesome... and can kill rats. We've had too much exposure recently to the "rat race" so to speak. They've made themselves too much at home here in our home. I've dealt with mice before but rats are taking me to a whole new level. I keep having visions of Lady and the Tramp... you know the rat about to attack the baby in the crib. Not rattatouille... which is a cute Disney movie. But you tell me how cute it is when a rat runs across your living room floor in the midst of therapists being at the house.... gulp. Thankfully I haven't seen many... this was just the second time... and hopefully the last.

For those of you who know me you probably know I love coffee. Yes, it's true. Mostly espresso based beverages like mochas, lattes, and the occasional blended beverages. I have a particular affinity for Starbucks and a love for "Bean There" a local coffee shop that has the most amazing cinnamon buns ever! I was at coffee with my friend Mindi today and I was helping her learn how to knit. Well, I had brought my own tea and water but when I was getting ready to leave I decided I was going to actually purchase a beverage while also picking up some coffee for my beloved.

Needless to say, I was excited. I had decided upon a nice iced vanilla latte. I got to the car with the twins in tow and proceeded to put the twins in the van. And knocked my perfect, not-even-sipped latte to the ground... where the cup split open and the drink disappeared all over my shoes and under the stroller. Sad. I was so sad. I then decided that this was not the end. I drove to a drive-thru Starbucks and shared with them my sad plight. Well, guess what? They not only gave me another drink for free... but they upgraded my size. Wasn't that sweet?! Yes, Starbucks can help broken hearts. I say that jokingly but I mean it literally too.

I can't remember how many times I would go and sit at Starbucks after my sister died and just think and ponder and try to assess. I can't tell you how many free drinks I was given as I sat with my tissues and tears streaming down my face and my laptop or notebook as I spilled out my feelings on paper. So yes, Starbucks is therapy for me. Thankfully though I haven't been spending money there. I have been really good to not buy anything unless I have a gift card... which I did- thank you friend for the card! It's been a blessing! Normally I bring my own tea or chai packet and ask for hot water. Hey, I know I look cheap but I'm okay with that :)

I also want to put something out there to you all- I really am in need of help. Whether it be help with laundry, watching kids during appointments, dishes, organizing, helping plan or make phone calls, etc. Or just fellowship, talking and hanging out while maybe folding some clothes. I am realizing that I can't do it all and with all that I have going I could really use some extra hands and some extra hugs. I know everyone's busy and has very full plates... I don't want to assume or suppose.... but even if it meant once a month you coming by for an hour or two... I'd be most appreciative. I need a mental break too... a chance to get fresh air and walk around the block for a half an hour. Recently, I'm trying to work on getting the house more "manageable" and making it more conducive and efficient to our lifestyle. I could use some help with organizing. Things have been very intense and challenging lately. So anyway, I just thought I'd let my need be known. Feel free to call or e-mail me if you're interested. Or just send me an e-mail or card saying you love me and care... I could use it during this time. I'm dreading the next month but I know that God is with me and walking with me through it all, step by step, moment by moment.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Blah!




So Mike and I are both sick, exhausted and miserable. Nothing like having two parents down for the count when you have 4 kids. I'm feeling grumpy and unstable and an emotional wreck. The calm I had been feeling is gone down the drain. But that's the good thing about not trusting in your feelings. Feelings are fickle. Thankfully truth stays the same. It doesn't change. It doesn't waiver. And that's my hope.. it's in the Lord- in His unfailing love, grace, and mercy. And that He will keep me mindful of His truth even on the days I don't "feel it".

Michael's surgery has been scheduled for March 12th and we're trying to figure out if we should reschedule it or not... it was the day my sister was buried. I'm not really feeling up for it on that day... but we'll see. We're also working through some concerns regarding hearing, seeing and movement. The temptation is to become fearful and think the worst but we'll see. Even if it is "the worst" being anxious is not going to help. So right now I'm looking to the moment... sometimes the minute... if I look further beyond that I'm prone to despair. I just need to focus on what I need to do right now. So I took some vitamin C & some Nyquil, ate one too many cookies and am preparing to cry myself to sleep. I'm agitated and frustrated. I'm hoping a good night's sleep will set me straight.

Off to hook-up Michael's monitor and feeds.

Jesus- help me. you know what I mean. Thank you that I don't even have to explain it to you. Help this broken heart. In your Precious Name I pray, Amen.

Friday, February 06, 2009

The kind of mom...

What kind of a mom am I?

The kind that has cheerios on her shirts, socks, and occasionally in undergarments.
The kind that has to give medication several times a day to several different children.
The kind that doesn't get good sleep.
The kind that does Pilates while being attacked by dinosaurs and training while trying to hold abdominal stretches.
The kind whose phone hasn't worked properly for 3 months....
The kind who hadn't showered in 6 days.
The kind that makes heart waffles at least twice a week.
The kind that alternately loves and hates K-love. Can John and Sherry really be that cheerful in real life?
The kind that just recently has lost a total of 6 pounds after 5 weeks...
The kind that has 30+ appointments this month (therapist/specialist/doctor)
The kind that cries at least once a day.
The kind that lets her kids color/draw/paint a minimum of five times a week.
The kind that has to take her kids to the pulmanologist ,GI, cardiologist, neurologist, behavioral audiologist, ophthalmologist, geneticist, endocrinologist, pediatric surgeon, cranial specialist, dentist, and interacts with early intervention as well as special schools for children with delays... and did I mention outpatient speech therapists & OT's?
The kind that creates as therapy.
The kind that loves burning candles.
The kind that drinks a lot of water.
The kind that realizes she's weak, helpless, and unable without Jesus Christ.

So yeah. Sometimes life is really hard. Frustrating. Difficult. Challenging. Spending my days crying out to Jesus and others for help. Desperately trying to organize life. Trying to figure out when my kids are teething or when they have double-ear infections. Trying to get records transferred from specialists and hospitals to other specialists and hospitals and pediatricians. Broken. Sad. Hurting. Happy. Low. Smiling. Laughing. Crying. Snuggling. Sloppy. Clean. Dirty. Busy. Exhausted.

Pendulum swings. Jesus remains. Steady. Available. Real. Always Faithful, Loving, True. My hope. My joy. My All in all.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Thirst.

I have recently put my copy of Streams in the Desert on the bathroom window ledge. I have found that it has been a great source of encouragement. So when I get a minute, (somehow I find it in every day), I go to the bathroom. And when I do I take the time to read the day's devotion. I have found the past two days most encouraging. Especially as I've struggled with grief lately. And also being reminded God is in control of my circumstances and He cares about them.

"Grieve not for things you have seemed to miss.." This might be the most applicable for me. I have struggled with sadness over the things I feel I have missed. Not having the most easy of pregnancies (being on bed-rest for months at a time). Not having money to do or buy certain things for my children or home. Not having healthy children. Moving 5 1/2 times in 5 years. Not ever being able to be with my sister again, here on earth. Not parenting the way I wanted. ETC. But when I stop to realize that these are things appointed for me,that God purposely withheld certain things... and for my good... well, it changes things.

I hope you find encouragement too. Read on:




My child, I have a message for you today; let me whisper it in your ear, that it may gild with glory any storm clouds which may arise, and smooth the rough places upon which you may have tread. It is short, only five words, but let them sink into your innermost soul; use them as a pillow upon which to rest your weary head. This thing is from ME.

Have you ever thought of it, that all that concerns you concerns Me too? For, "he that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of mine eye" (Zech 2:8) You are very precious in my sight (Isaiah 43:4) Therefore, it is My special delight to educate you.

I would have you learn when temptations assail you, and the "enemy comes in like a flood," that this thing is from Me, that your weakness needs My might, and your safety lies in letting Me fight for you.

Are you in difficult circumstances, surrounded by people who do not understand you, who never consult your taste, who put you in the background? This thing is from Me. I am the God of circumstances.

Thou camest not to thy place by accident, it is the very place God meant for thee.

Have you not asked to be made humble? See then, I have placed you in the very school where this lesson is taught; your surroundings and companions are working only My will.

Are you in money difficulties? Is it hard to make both ends meet? This thing is from Me, for I am your purse bearer and would have you draw from and depend upon Me. My supplies are limitless (Phil. 4:19). I would have you prove my promises. Let it not be said of you, "In this thing ye did not believe the Lord your God (Deut. 1:32).

Are you passing through a night of sorrow? This thing is from Me. I am the Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief. I have let earthly comforters fail you, that by turning to Me you may obtain everlasting consolations (2 Thess. 2:16-17) Have you longed to do some great work for Me and instead have been laid aside on a bed of pain and weakness? This thing is from Me. I could not get your attention in your busy days and I want to teach you so me of My deepest lessons. "They also serve who only stand and wait." Some of my greatest workers are those shut from active service, that they may learn to wield the weapon of all- prayer.

This day I place in your hand this pot of holy oil. Make use of it free, My child. Let every circumstance that arises, every word that pains you, every interruption that would make you impatient, every revelation of your weakness be anointed with it. The sting will go as you learn to see Me in all things. LAURA A. BARTER SNOW

"This is from Me," the Saviour said,
As bending low He kissed my brow,
"For One who loves you thus has led.
Just rest in me, be patient now,
Your Father knows you have need of this,
Tho', why perchance you cannot see-
Grieve not for things you have seemed to miss.
The thing I send is best for Thee...

Streams in the Desert - February 1st.






In the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft: in his quiver hath he hid me (Isaiah 49:2)

"In the shadow." We must all go there sometimes. The glare of the daylight is too brilliant; our eyes become injured, and unable to discern the delicate shades of color, or appreciate neutral tints- the shadowed chamber of sickness, the shadowed house of mourning, the shadowed life from which the sunlight has gone.

But fear not! It is the shadow of God's hand. He is leading thee. There are lessons that can be learned only there.


The photograph of his face can only be fixed in the dark chamber. But do not suppose that He has cast Thee aside. Thou art still in His quiver, He has not flung thee away as a worthless thing.

He is only keeping thee close till the moment comes when He can send thee most swiftly and surely on some errand in which He will be glorified. Oh, shadowed, solitary ones, remember how closely the quiver is bound to the warrior, within the easy reach of the hand and guarded jealously.

FROM CHRIST IN ISAIAH- BY MEYER Streams in the Desert-Feb. 2nd