May 20, 2009

  • Life, As We Know It

    Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
    James 1:2-4

    The last several months have probably been the most difficult of my whole life.  My relationship with God has been tested, as well as my relationship with others.  We lost our second baby, the loss prompted testing and some medical issues to come up with me, then my husband lost his job – our only real source of income and the source of our health insurance.  It was obvious God was stripping us down to our bare bones, making us trust Him and only Him, but would we, in the midst of these and other trials that I won’t even mention, seek to become perfect and complete or angry and bitter?

    I’ll be the first to admit that anger and bitterness were there, especially on my part.  But God has been working on my heart.  Now, five months since the miscarriage and four months since my husband’s lay off I am beginning to feel more like myself again.  I can look back and see God’s hand in all of it.  I don’t have to understand or even like what God has done, but I can see that God is in control and that NONE of this was or has been a surprise to Him.

    I see how God gave me a job in November of last year, a job working PR at my daughter’s Christian School.  The job was supposed to be strictly PR and only about 8 hours a week, but it has expanded to so much more and to many more hours, hours I am more than happy to work right now.  And I am enjoying it… a lot.  God has also allowed me to substitute teach at both the Christian School and at the public schools in town, adding even more money to our coffers.  I am also still writing news articles.  So, to say my plate is full is an understatement.  It has been a relief to be extra busy.  It has helped me keep my mind focused on what is… and not what could have been.

    My husband has been working hard to find a job, but nothing has been happening on that front.  There are just so many people out there in the same position… there’s a lot of competition for every job.  I know he has been frustrated and discouraged as our e-mail account just gets flooded with “thanks, but no thanks” e-mail responses from would-be employers.  Thankfully, Josh’s dad, who owns a construction company, has had some work for Josh to do.  His dad laid off all of his full-time employees a few months ago, so now he just has Josh doing some odd jobs for him.  It’s not a full-time job, but it’s something.  And we are thankful for what God has been providing.

    Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to them that love Him.
    James 1:12

    Some days are still difficult.  Some days are definitely harder than others.   I am under a month away from what would have been my due date, and as it approaches I know things will be even more difficult.  After our first lost, I was already pregnant again and even knew that Lorelei was fine and was a girl by the time the due date came along.  This time that certainly isn’t the case.  Please pray for me in the next few weeks.   And then there are other days when I feel completely at peace – knowing that God is sovereign in all.  I pray that I will have more and more of those days in the weeks and months ahead.

    Pray that Josh and I will persevere in this trial.  Pray that God will supply Josh with the perfect job and that we will be patient in our waiting.  Pray that we will be a good testimony even during this extremely difficult time for us.  Pray that God will continue to teach us and mold us and that we will be open to learning whatever He has for us.

March 18, 2009

  • Dear Ainsley, as you turn 5

     Dear Ainsley on the occasion of your 5th birthday,

    My dear firstborn I can not believe you are now 5 years old.  Everyone told me it would fly by, but I had no idea just how fast it would go.  You are everything and nothing I thought you would be when I first looked into your eyes five years ago. 

    I am beyond thankful that God gave you to me.  I couldn’t imagine having any other little girl as my firstborn child.  There have been times when I wondered if God knew what He was doing by giving you to me, but I know God makes no mistakes and you are the perfect complement to our family. 

    I love your love of life.  You find joy in everything from the mundane every day stuff of life to the things you find most enjoyable.  You teach me much every day.  You teach me how to still have fun, you teach me how to relax and let go of the little things, you teach me how to love others with complete abandon. 

    This year you have started school for the first time.  Even though you are only gone three half-days a week, I still miss you.  I can not believe you are old enough to go to school and have part of your life be something I am not a part of.  I have been so proud of you and all you have learned this year.  I know you are looking forward to going to kindergarten next year. You have become an excellent helper and I love seeing you play with your sister. This year you also played soccer for the first time and went to your first day camp this summer.  You taught yourself how to “pump your legs” on the swing and you could spend hours in the backyard playing and exploring.  You continue to swim well and loved riding any ride you were tall enough for at Six Flags.  You have no fear and love to try new things.

    This year was also the first time you really experience true heartbreak.  The first time was when you had to say goodbye to your very first friend.  Your friend Abigail, with whom you had been friends since birth, moved away and you had to deal with that sadness and loneliness.   You were also truly heartbroken to learn you were not going to be a big sister again.  As your mom I wanted so badly to take away your pain in both situations, but I know that it is just the beginning of you learning how to deal with sadness and heartbreak and I am so proud of how well you handled them.

    Your heart has been pricked this year by the Word of God and you have had many questions about salvation and other spiritual matters.  I have loved answering them and hearing how God is working on your heart.  I pray every day that you will accept God’s gift of salvation, that you will learn to love the Lord with all your heart and that you will desire to serve Him.

    I love you, my Ainsley, and I can’t wait to see what you’re going accomplish this year.

    Your Mommy

February 11, 2009

  • Have Fun Storming the Castle!

    If you’ve ever seen The Princess Bride you’ll get that reference.  It’s actually a silly family joke in my husband’s family to stand in the driveway and wave to departing family members while saying that line.

    While I originally thought I would just shut down my blog, after thinking some more, praying and talking to a few friends, I decided to not shut it down, but just take a break for awhile.  It may be a few months, it may be a few weeks, but I’ll be back. 

    I thank you all so much for going on this journey with me over the past two months.  I have received so  many notes of encouragement and thanks for all that I’ve shared.  Many of you have left comments or private messages thanking me talking for about my grief.  Many said they understood better what others have gone or are going through, others thanked me for putting into words the pain they at one time had felt or are feeling now.  I’ve even had several complete strangers find my blog and thank me for sharing so honestly about my feelings and how God is bringing us through our trials.  So, for that I am deeply grateful.  I am thankful I was led to share and I am thankful God allowed it to be used in the lives of others.  Your encouragement of me has meant so much on those very difficult days.

    But for now, I feel it is best to take a break.  I am going to enjoy all this time I have with my husband home.  That is one huge benefit of a layoff.  We are enjoying all the family time.  The girls love having their daddy home all the time.  And I love watching them play… their favorite game right now is any variation of “daddy chase the kids around the house.”  I am also going to take this time to grow and change and see what God has for me during these trials.

    If you think of me during my time away, please bring our family before the Lord in prayer.  Of course, my husband does need employment, and we need to find suitable and affordable health insurance until he does.  We are trying to get on the state insurance and hoping it goes into effect very quickly.  Here’s why and another prayer request:  One of my tests came back positive.  It was the first round of blood tests I had to discover what had caused me to miscarry twice for no known cause.  The test showed a high amount of antinuclear antibody in my blood.  The best way to describe it is that my cells are attacking one another.  It causes all kinds of possible health issues… regardless of whether I can possibly get pregnant and carry a child to term again.  I will have an appointment with a specialist on Monday.  So, obviously, health insurance is a major concern for us.

    But as I share these burdens, I do want to share some praises…

    • My husband’s car which broke down the day he got laid off was able to repaired.  Josh was able to repair it himself for under $100.  We originally thought it was going to be in the thousands.  So far, it is holding up.  Also, we have no great need for a second car right now anyway, but it is good to have when we need it.
    • We made a few calls and were able to lower our homeowners and car insurance by $800 a year!  We are very grateful that.
    • God is giving us a very nice tax rebate check to help us through the unemployment time.

    So have fun storming the castle and I’ll be back… some day.

February 7, 2009

  • Goodbye

    I will be shutting down my blog as of Saturday, February 14.

    For many reasons I believe this is the right thing for me to do at this time.

    I will leave it up for a week so anyone interested can message me their e-mail information.  If you are on facebook, you can also message me your “real name” so we can be friends on there as well.

    Thank you for your friendships.  I have met some wonderful Christian ladies through this.  Maybe in the future I will return.  I especially appreciate all of you who have been so kind and understanding through my grief.  I hope I can still keep in touch with many of you.


February 6, 2009

  • Facing the Truth

    It has been a rough week for me.  I think the reality of everything that has happened in the last nearly two months finally really hit me.  The miscarriage, the physical issues that have gone along with that, Josh losing his job, his car breaking down, etc…  It just feels like we keep getting kicked while we are down.

    It seems everywhere I turn there’s a pregnant woman, a newborn, something to stab that pain of loss in my heart again. A friend had her baby boy this week. So many of my friends both here and all over are pregnant.  Status lines on Facebook read “six more weeks ’til baby comes”  or “we’re having a girl!”  It all makes me just want to crawl in a hole and not come out.  Tonight there will be a ladies game night for ladies of our church at the home of a pregnant woman.  There will be at least one other pregnant woman there and you know what happens when you get a few pregnant women together, all the talk will be of pregnancy and babies.  I can’t do that right now… not this week…

    My husband saw that I was having a tough time and decided to give me some peace and quiet this morning.  He took the girls out.  I needed a friend, but no one was home when I called.  Then I thought, why aren’t I talking to God???

    I picked up my devotional book about grieving the loss of a child and opened to the next chapter, this is what I found in the first paragraph:

    “Have you ever ignored the truth about your loss because reality was too painful to face?  I have.  For a season after my baby’s death, coping with people and situtations involving babies was challenging for me.  I avoided certain activities, friends, restaurants, family and even church becauase I was afraid of how I would react.  Making excuses worked for awhile, but I realized I couldn’t run from every situation and would have to find a way to survive.”

    Right after I read that I knew that God wanted me to read this on this day of all days.  The devotional continued and went on to say that those feelings were normal and gave scripture verses and helps to cope in certain situations.  I am thankful that God knows just what we need when we need it.  Oh, and He allowed my friend to call me back, too.

    Please do keep us in your prayers, especially about Josh’s job.  He has been sending out applications and resumes, but so far, he hasn’t even received a call back.  We know it really hasn’t been that long, but it’s still hard to wait.  The job pool is huge right now with so many people out of work and battling for very few jobs.  Pray that we will have patience as we wait on the Lord.

February 1, 2009

  • Butterflies, Flowers and Princesses… Oh My!

    The girls’ room before:


    These were taken before Lorelei was born, so they’re a few years old and before we put the bunk beds in the room last summer.


    I bought these wall stickies from Target that are just adorable.  They came with an alphabet set, so I put their names on the dormers.  (Ignore the wall color difference, it’s not that way in real life.)

    On this wall is a magnetic calendar and responsibility chart.  They’re both made by Melissa and Doug and are great.  The girls love earning their “circles” and remind us each night to fill it out.  It’s helped a lot with whining, sharing, making beds, setting the table and other tasks around the house.

    I found these little pink and purple cloth organizer boxes for under their bed.  I had a hard time finding ones that would be short enough to fit under there.  In these are panties, socks, undershirts, pajamas and tights.  That way little hands can find all of these necessities by themselves.

    My big girl sleeps up here now!

    Princess Lorelei is dancing on her new rug in this picture.  For you New Englanders:  the pictures, underbed organizers and little toy box in this picture all came from The Christmas Tree Shop.  I paid $1.40 for each box, $4.99 for each picture and $12.50 for the toy box.   I’m still looking for the perfect curtains.

    The aforementioned rug…  I wanted one with flowers and butterflies, they picked this one.  I gave in. $15 at Burlington Coat Factory.
    The big pink butterfly is actually a sticky chalkboard.  It came with all the other wall stickies.  I’m debating whether allowing them to draw with chalk on the wall is a very good idea.

    My cute little princesses.

January 29, 2009

  • A Week of Change

    For 5 years a crib sat in a green room in our house.  The room was decorated with Winnie the Pooh.  For five years that crib has either been occupied or there has been a baby in my womb growing snugly until she was ready to take her place in that crib.

    The crib is gone now.  It’s empty.  There’s no baby coming to fill it. 

    I knew when we found out I had miscarried nearly two months ago that soon we would have no use for that crib.  But Lorelei was still happily sleeping there.  She hadn’t yet tried to climb out… that is, until this past weekend.

    Lorelei decided to take the plunge out of the crib, and I decided we needed to take the plunge and dismantle the crib.  I had a hard time when I first realized I was really going to move her to the bed and there would be no use for the crib in their room any more.  But I am trying now to focus on all the milestones my “big girls” are hitting.  And how thankful I am that I have them.

    We put her in the bed for the first time Tuesday night.  I had to go to a story, which I think was good for me.  I didn’t have time to dwell on the thought…

    My husband got to listen to them giggle as they settled in to their new sleeping arrangements.  With Lorelei moving out of the crib and into the bunk beds, that means Ainsley is moving up to the top bunk!

    He also got to handle the first time she realized she could get out of bed and leave the room.  He got to hear her sweet little voice from the top of the stairs.  He got to put her back in that big bed and give her a warning not to get up again.  (It worked.)

    Yesterday, it was snowing all day and we worked at redecorating and rearranging the girls’ room now that it is painted a very girlie lavender and all traces of Winnie the Pooh are gone.  I told Josh to dismantle the crib.  It’s no longer being used.  It’s a big girl room now.  And that’s ok.  That’s what God has for us right now.

    So here are a few funny things and milestones from our house recently….

    Ainsley can sound out one vowel words.
    Ainsley told a fellow student, “My dad is bigger than your dad.”  Yeah, he probably is.
    My husband just shaved off his beard.  Lorelei has never seen her dad clean shaven, Ainsley has only seen him that way once or twice.  Ainsley said that she hopes her husband never shaves off his beard.  We told her her husband might not have a beard.  She told us that all husbands should HAVE to have a beard.  Ok….

    Lorelei is now a climbing fiend.  She’s gotten the hang of it and has apparently lost all of her timidity.
    Lorelei can identify almost all of her uppercase letters.
    Lorelei was wearing her her purple pajamas and Josh told her she matched her newly painted walls.  She said, “No dad, I’m white, my pajamas are purple.”  Yes, she really said that.  She’s two.  How did she know she was white???? 
    Lorelei’s favorite thing to say right now is “Why mommy?”  I don’t think Ainsley started asking why until she was over three.  She says “Why mommy?”  about every 5 seconds.

    Now to go play those big girls of mine.
    Pictures of their newly redecorated room will be in the next post, I think.  It’s really cute.

January 23, 2009

  • Trusting Jesus, that is all

    Just as we begin to start pulling ourselves up after our last trial, God is sending us another one.  My husband is definitely getting laid off on Monday.  That’s pretty scary for a family who relies almost solely on one person’s income.  We are resting and trusting in God’s promises.  We know that He’s promised to provide for us and we know that He only wants the best for us.  We have to believe that God has something better for Josh out there.  We will find out on Monday how much severance he will get.  It will be anywhere between 4 and 9 weeks.  I am unsure how much of that time we will have health insurance. 

    There have been two other times in our married life that Josh has been out of a job, but both of those times I was working and we had did not have children.  Both times God opened doors for better jobs for Josh, we are praying that will happen once more.  Josh has spent most of this week at home since he knew the lay off was coming.  He had personal days to use or he would lose them.  It has been nice having him home, but he’s thrown off our daily schedule!  It’s strange for both me and the girls to have him home during the day.  And he’s antsy.  He’s one who always has to have something to do.  Right now, he’s painting the girls’ room.

    Thankfully, I have worked at the school a lot this week.  I still don’t work enough or make enough to even slightly support us, but it’s something, and in this economy every little bit helps.  Josh has already updated his resume and even applied for a few jobs online.  A friend who works at ESPN has put in a good word for Josh (remember we both used to work in TV news) and other friends are looking around for us.  We know many people are in the same boat we are.  It’s a scary boat to be in, but we are “trusting Jesus, that is all.”

    Simply trusting every day,
    Trusting through a stormy way;
    Even when my faith is small,
    Trusting Jesus, that is all.

    Trusting as the moments fly,
    Trusting as the days go by;
    Trusting Him whate’er befall,
    Trusting Jesus, that is all.
    ~Edgar P. Stites

January 18, 2009

  • In EVERYTHING give thanks

    Our little family was sitting around the dinner table the other night having family devotions.  That night’s devotion was entitled “In everything give thanks.”  It talked about giving thanks not just for the good things, but even for the bad and hard things.  Ouch.  Josh and I looked at each as we read this devotional written on the level of a 4-year-old.  We try to drill such things into Ainsley’s head all the time; to be thankful, be grateful, for everything even if it’s something she doesn’t like for dinner, etc.  But what about me?  I certainly haven’t been very thankful lately.

    I Thessalonians 5:18
    In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

    I don’t think God expects me to be thankful that I miscarried for a second time.  But I do believe He expects me to be thankful for other things surrounding it.  I started thinking about ways God has worked even through this last month.  One thing that came quickly to my mind was that with both the babies I lost God engineered a way to have my husband there with me when I heard the news.  Both times I could have easily been alone, but God took care of seemingly little details to protect me from being alone or having to drive home after hearing such awful news.  Since we found out, I have been anxious about being in certain situations or seeing certain people, and each time God has taken care of the situation so that I had no need to worry.  God gave me a good friend to lean on who knows my pain and can tell me that I will be ok.  Even though it was difficult to have all this happen over the holidays, I think it might have been good to have the distraction, the trip, and my husband home quite a bit.

    Even as I have been trying to find more things to be thankful for, Satan seems determined to rob me of that.  Josh will likely be laid off by the end of the month.  It is pretty much a sure thing, the pink slip just hasn’t been placed in his hand yet.  We are praying some kind of miracle happens, and we ask that you lift us up in prayer, too, but we know that God will provide.  Will I be thankful even when my husband doesn’t have a job?  I hope so.

    My gratitude attitude has helped as I dealt with the children the rest of the week.  I have been so short-tempered with them lately.  I had such a good time with them on Friday.  It was frigid and our car was in the shop, so we were definitely staying inside. My aunt gave Ainsley a book of all kinds of fairy crafts to make and a children’s cookbook for Christmas.  We spent hours Friday morning making fairy crowns and magic wands.  It was so much fun to just spend the day with them and do girlie things.  We also made a chocolate cake from scratch from the children’s cookbook. 

    And since they’ve been absent from my blog lately, here’s my precious miracles, my girls with their fairy crowns and magic wands.  They are always pretending they are ponies right now (go figure) and ponies would have to carry their magic wands in their mouths, of course, hence the wands in their mouths.

    Now those two are something to be thankful for.

January 14, 2009

  • It was a girl… And still more questions

    Yes, our baby who now lives in heaven was/is a girl.  It is nice to assign a gender to her, to refer to her with the correct pronoun, to grieve for something I can actually picture, a girl.  Anyone who has ever lost a baby can understand how much just knowing this fact can add to the closure.  The not knowing can be torture.

    But there are many more questions now.  I found out that piece of information today when the doctor called to tell me that the baby died for no apparent cause.  I won’t go into detail about how I was told one thing last week, and another this week, it’s convoluted.  I’ll just say that they now have the official report, and the baby did not have aneuploidy, or any other chromosomal problems.

    This opens up more wounds for me, as I begin again to wonder, what happened, did I do something wrong?  It’s so frustrating, as I felt I was beginning to come to terms with everything.  I feel as though every time I start digging myself out, Satan starts pulling me back in.

    The doctor wants me to go for some testing now.  Please pray for Josh and me.  We have so many things to think about.  The testing could show something as simple as a progesterone issue, or something worse.  It could, of course, show nothing at all.  We are struggling with resting in God’s sovereignty and at least trusting in some of man’s science. 

    I know that no conception is out of God’s hands.  I know that my baby girl’s conception and her early death were ordered by God at the beginning of time, as was the conception and death of the other baby I lost. I know that if God wants us to have another baby, He will give us one.  I know that God only wants good for us, and even this is for His honor and glory.

    This week I have been concentrating on being thankful, for the little and big things.  God has given me the ability to have children.  I do not have trouble getting pregnant.  I know so many women who would love to be pregnant, just once, I’ve had the blessing four times now.  I am thankful for my husband who has been an absolute rock through all of this.  I am thankful that God still desires to bring me closer, even when I sometimes push Him away.

    I know that I have not handled all of this in the most godly of manners.  I wish I could be handling it better.  I am dealing with all that, believe me.  God is working in me.  I just still have a lot more to go.