Friday, December 4, 2009

Rhys' Birth Story

6:00 am, Lewis and I arrive at the hospital. I have to say it was really surreal being there again. The last time I was there was when I left empty handed after Joy's birth. While we were waiting to check in I eyed the purple tear drops behind the desk sticking to a filing cabinet. This was a marker that was placed outside my room after Joy's birth to indicate that there was not a happy scene going on on the other side of the door. Then I heard the cry of a newborn baby. I could feel tears welling up in my eyes as the last time I was there that sounds was so heartbreaking to me because I never did get to hear that sweet sound from Joy. It was a reminder of what I was missing. Lewis had requested a specific room number like we were checking into a hotel, but they were so busy they were unable to accommodate his request. He apparently wanted the room we had when Joy was born because it was a rather large room. I personally did not want that room. Lots of feeling wrapped up in not wanting to be in that room and not sure I can express them, so I won't even try here.

I kept fighting the idea that it was a scheduled induction maybe because it was just scheduled the day before or that throughout my pregnancy my doctor kept saying that we cannot induce since I was going to be attempting a VBAC. Nevertheless, labor did not start on it's own and by the morning of Wednesday, November 4th I was two days overdue and very miserable and uncomfortable. I just simply wanted to get the show on the road, so to speak.

You have to know it was a pretty uneventful labor when the most painful and traumatic thing was when I first got there the nurse that was to go off shift in a hour was the one to try and start my IV. I have to say I never had anyone try and start my IV in a vein right near my wrist bone. OUCH! Did I say my threshold for pain is low? Okay, that poke did not work so she went on the the other wrist same spot. OUCH, again! No luck there either. She said two sticks were her limit and she called someone else in to start my IV. Success with a vein on the front of my left hand. Praise the Lord! Nothing really happened after that for some time. They wanted to start pitocin, but I questioned if we could just wait for the doc to break my water and see if I need it. So nothing was done until 7:45am when my doc arrived and broke my water and suggested the pitocin start since we were here to have a baby. I agree, but typically when my water has broke in the past my labor progressed pretty rapidly and I did not think I would need the pitocin, but I caved to my doc's advice. Contractions started not 10 minutes after that, progressing to a point over the next 30 minutes that became unbearable for me. Let's just say the anesthesiologist could not arrive quick enough to administer my epidural.

Now, normally I think of getting the epidural as the worst part of labor. Not this time. My contractions were so painful and so close together I kept asking him if he was finished. I'd let him know when I had a brief window of no contractions in hopes that he would hurry up and get the catheter in already. It seemed like it took forever. Remember, I have a low threshold for pain. Finally I got some relief. Typically in the past, my epidurals have been so remarkable in blocking pain and just about every other sensation from the waist down. This time I could wiggle my toes and feel when I was having a contraction, although there was no pain. I even felt pressure and the urge to push. Never had that feeling before while in labor. By 9:30 I was 8cm dilated and by 10:00 am I wanted to push. They kept making me wait saying that they wanted me to hold off as long as I could so that I could "labor down." Never heard that expression before. Plus, we had to wait for my doc to arrive. One whole hour later it was finally show time. I have to say that it was nice to know when to push and actually able to somewhat feel how effective my pushes were. In my labors with Elijah and Phoebe they had to tell me when to push because I could never feel a thing. A couple big pushes and a couple real tiny ones later Rhys was born. He was (and of course is still) beautiful!!

Leading up to Rhys' birth I kept thinking his birth would be so emotional for me I thought for sure I would cry this time. Out of all the births of my kids I only ever cried when Joy was born. I thought for sure I would this time out of pure happiness, but I really was just so happy and in awe that crying was not on my radar. It was pure JOY!

Needless to say, the VBAC was a success. The scar from my c-section from when Joy was born will remain in tact and forever mark where she lived inside me for 30 weeks and 1 day. A permanent, tangible reminder it a tatoo of sorts if you will. This is part of the reason I did not want to have to a repeat section, not to mention awful pain and recovery time.

Rhys is such an easy going baby. He rarely cries except for when he is hungry and the occasional times when he is gassy. He had his one month appointment yesterday and has gained weight like a champ. He weighed in a 9lbs 12 oz yesterday, up from 7lbs 4oz at birth.

Proud big brother & sister!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

He's Here!

Introducing.....Rhys Alexander!!!

Born on Wednesday, November 4th @ 11:11am. He weighed in at 7lbs 4oz and was 20 inches long.
Rhys (pronounced Reece, in case you were wondering) is truly a gift from God and a healing balm to my heart. We are doing well...just adjusting to life with a newborn again. Elijah and Phoebe have been sick so it's been a tad bit crazy around here trying to keep the germs at bay.
More info to come later, but in the mean time enjoy a couple pictures.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Anytime now

Just wanted to check in and let y'all know I'm still pregnant. 39+ weeks now and SOOO ready to give birth. I went to to the OB today and I am 3cm dilated. I don't put much stock in that to tell me when I might go into labor, but at least it's progress. Can't wait to meet this little guy and be able to move around without all the aches and pains. No joke... I've been pregnant for 16 out of the last 21 months!! Of course not all of it has been uncomfortable like this last month has been, but I'm ready to be done and just love on this little baby.

I think I'm nesting, but for some reason it doesn't feel like anything is getting accomplished besides a big mess in the process. Probably because I get too tired and winded to finish. I seriously don't remember being so uncomfortable during any of my previous pregnancies, but then again I'm not getting any younger. You know, I am advanced maternal age! Gosh, that makes me feel old.

Anyway, I'll keep y'all posted.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I had a very interesting experience earlier this week that I wanted to share. Now I know my blog is not very popular compared to many out there. I did get more hits back when I was more of a consistent blogger, but quite frankly...I'm not. I mean I probably have about 20-30 people that regularly visit my blog, or at least that is my best guess by my Feedjit application. I don't know who most of you are, but I see that you keep coming back. Probably faithfully checking to see if I've posted anything. Unfortunately, I've probably disappointed you more often than not with no new posts. Anyway, I say all that to say thank-you for being interested in my story, in Joy's story, in the story that God is writing through our lives.

You are probably wondering why I am even talking about this, which brings me back to that something interesting that happened. So I was at a local store looking for some fall/winter clothes for Phoebe and was waiting in line at the checkout. It was then my turn and as I approached the counter the lady asked me how much longer I had (obviously she saw my pregnant belly), I told her 6 weeks, she asked me if I knew what I was having and I told her "a boy." I was paying her the money for the clothes and she asked me if my last name was J_ _ _ _ ? I said yes, and she proceeded to tell me that she had been following my blog. I asked her how she heard of it and she said she saw the obituary in the paper. She apparently felt a connection to read based on something that happened within her family and had mentioned how she admired me for the decision I made and wished me well. Some of it was a bit of a blur just because I was so not expecting that. I was going over in my mind how she connected me to my blog, I mean I paid her in debit card, my name wasn't on anything. I just figure it must have been from pictures on my blog and perhaps the pregnant belly that she made the connection?

The thing that I took away from that encounter and what really touched me was that there are people out there that know who my daughter, Joy, is and know her story and have been impacted. I already know this to be true and I know a lot of you personally who read and have been impacted. But when this lady whom I had never met before said all this to me I saw things in a new perspective. I mean I know there are those of you out there that read and we don't know each other and some of you have commented or sent me emails. I appreciate those so much by the way. Having that real life connection where someone I don't know had been impacted by Joy's story brought it back home to me at a whole different level. It was kind of like God was reminding me that Joy's life mattered and still matters today. Truthfully, after finding out her diagnosis and learning that she would likely never live outside my womb,that was all I really wanted. For people to know her name, to be touched by her short life and ultimately be lead to the cross.

That brief encounter this week was a gift I was not anticipating and I wanted to say thank you to that lady, I'm sorry I forgot to ask your name, but you speaking up and saying something really meant a lot to me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pictures of Joy's Birthday Celebration

Lewis and I purchased these garden stakes that we let the kids put in Joy's garden at home.

We went to the grave site where Lewis and Elijah plant some perennials.

The finished product above. You can't see it, but we also planted a black-eyed susan bush behind the grave stone which no doubt will be able to be seen over the stone next spring/summer.
And for no other reason than to prove I was there, here is seriously poor photo of the kids and I.
Lewis and the kids.

There go the balloons! We wrote notes for Joy on them. There were 6 balloons, but someone let go of one earlier. We won't say who. ;)

That's a little convertible Beamer in the front of the garden that Elijah left for Joy.
Before we head home for birthday cake we all went out for dinner.
Okay, I admit I'm no birthday cake rock star like my mother. She can seriously decorate a cake. Honestly, I don't really try because normally she does this sort of thing, but she is on a European vacation currently so it was all me. Although I did have a little help from Betty...Croker, that is. It may not look spectacular, but it was yummy. What if I told you just as the kids blew out the candle Phoebe sneezed all over it. Yep, no joke!
Elijah told me as he was going to bed that he was sad baby Joy's birthday was over. I have to admit...I am, too.

Happy 1st Birthday Joy

How do I begin to put into words the flood of emotions I am having today and the days leading up to this day? I'm not sure I can do it. My heart has this whole year, but this day brings me right back to Sept. 15, 2008. You can read about that day here.

I think I've moved beyond the disbelief that I had for at least the first six months after Joy's birth/ death, although I'm feeling that today. Maybe it's just the disbelief that it's already been a year? What a crazy year.

Something that has truly helped me through this last year has been many of you. My family, dear friends, some of which I've never met face to face, some of which I haven't seen in years and those of you who have connected with me through a similar experience. Your love, support, prayers, and extension of God's love to me have helped ease some of the pain and grief. Despite all the pain, my life really does feel so much richer because of Joy, which is really difficult for me to put into words. It's just a depth that I feel in my bones. I still don't have all the answers to my "whys" and may never know this side of heaven, but I take comfort in the One who knows all, who gives me enough grace to face each new day, who provides me with the peace and comfort I need and loves me despite all my worldly imperfections...because trust me, there are many.

I'm hoping to post some pictures either later today or some time this week of some of the things we did today as a family to celebrate Joy's life and her 1st birthday. But in the mean time, let me leave you with this scripture from Isaiah that brings me comfort when I am going through things I just don't understand and I start to question God.

Isaiah 55:8-12 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater. So is my word that goes out from my mouth; It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be lead forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and the trees of the field will clap their hands.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Joy's Garden

I firgured it was way overdue to post some updated pictures of the garden we planted in memory of our sweet girl last September. The last pics I posted were when we first put it in. You can see those here. Big difference eh?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

30 weeks and one day

This was the exact time in my pregnancy with Joy where my water unexpectedly broke and I had to face the truth of what was about to unfold as I gave birth to my daughter who was never to breathe a breath of air on this earth. Today is 30 weeks and one day for this little babe all snug in my womb. (Actually, it was yesterday)

I'm not quite sure how to express the feelings that I have. Still nearly one year later the hurt is still so real. From the outside I probably look like I have healed and moved on with my life and in some respects I have, but not far below the surface is a heart that continues to hurt. This pain is always with me. Truthfully, I think most of the time I try to numb myself to it. There always seems to be an abundance of things to distract me from dealing with my thoughts and emotions. I often wonder if I will always feel so broken. That feeling is not ever present, but when I take time to reflect and meditate on it that is how I feel...broken.

Honestly, the day was not as bad as I was anticipating, but I had plenty of school work to distract myself. However, the reality is setting in that we are quickly approaching the one year anniversary. Today, with slightly cooler temperatures outside it reminded me of the season in which I was grieving after giving birth to Joy. I suppose I will always feel that way as summer seems to turn to fall. I'm starting to think about how my family and I are going to mark Sept.15. I'd much rather be planning a birthday party for a one year old baby girl. Instead I'm sure part of the day will be spent visiting Joy's grave.

***Life Update***

There are so many things going on in my life right now...I guess it's a good thing I'm not working because honestly, I think that would put me over the edge. I started back to school for the fall semester on Monday. I'm taking 3 classes and at this point I'm wondering if I have bitten off more than I can chew seeing as I will be giving birth half way through the semester. Elijah starts Kindergarten on Sept. 8 and Phoebe starts preschool the day after that. I suppose with Elijah in all day Kindergarten and Phoebe at preschool 3 mornings a week that will allow me some study time besides at night when they are in bed. That is until this babe arrives. Elijah will be starting up the hockey season again starting in Sept. and I really want to enroll Phoebe in some kind of dance class. My head is spinning thinking about it all. And did I mention one of my classes is Sat. from 9am until 2:30 pm. Yes, that's right...I'm crazy!!! What was I thinking?

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I really have not felt very inspired to write much these days. As you can clearly see it's been two months since my last post. In my defense, although you would never know it, I do tend to start blog entries and never seem to finish them. I won't bore you with excuses, but something I saw last week prompted me to start another blog entry. Yes, that was last week. I'm a little slow in getting things out there I guess. What was significant last week was that on the 15th was the 10 month anniversary that Joy was born and went on to heaven. The last few months I've noticed that it is not so much a difficult day, being the 15th, but it seems to last that whole week. What I mean, is that I just am more emotional. I'm pretty sure it's not just the pregnancy hormones.

Last Thursday I was flipping through the channels and came across the show "16 & Pregnant." This particular teenage couple was planning on giving their baby up for adoption. As I was watching I couldn't help but draw several parallels between what we went through with Joy and giving a child up for adoption. Please don't misconstrue what I am trying to say. I know it is not the same thing at all, but I never thought about the similarities before.

First I want to say how selfless an act adoption is. One of the biggest differences in my story is I never would have willingly given Joy up. I did not have a choice in the matter....I fought it every step of the way. Like a couple that is giving a child up for adoption, we were preparing to give our child up as God. We also were not preparing to be able to bring her home. We prayed for it, but never purchased any clothes, nor set anything up at home for the arrival of a baby. We too, had to give birth to our child and say goodbye.

Watching this episode brought up a lot of emotions for me. You want to know the strangest thing about it? They showed her going for an ultrasound and the lady performing it is our ultrasound tech....Lisa! I was like..."Hey, that's my doctor's office, too." She gave birth to her baby at the same hospital I gave birth to both Phoebe and Joy. She actually gave birth to her baby in the room that we were with Joy in after my c-section. We did not have the same doctor, she has a different doctor in the same practice as mine. How crazy is all of that??? Needless to say, I was crying through the whole thing.

Anyway, the only reason I bring it up is just to share the new insight or spin on the situation I now have. I never had thought about it this way before. Of course I thought about what the Bible says about adoption and the verse that immediately came to mind was Romans 8:15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"

This verse kinda makes me think about the times in my current pregnancy that I am fearful and I have to stop myself and offer this baby to God. I do this in an acknowledgment that this child, nor any of my others truly belong to me. They are gifts that God has entrusted me with. I do this as a way of gaining the peace that no matter what happens, God is in control. I probably did not explain this very well, but I know those of you who have been where I have been understand.

I'm probably way over due for an update as well. So here goes...
I'm now 25 weeks pregnant and everything is progressing as it should. At my 19 week ultra sound we found out that Elijah, Phoebe, and Joy are going to be having a baby brother. Baby boy looks to be developing perfectly. The quad screen came back completely "normal." All good news.

I have to admit that sometimes all of the "good news" starts to make me sad. Not sad that this baby is healthy...I'm thrilled about that, but sad that this was not the case with Joy. It has had me questioning the "whys" all over again. Things seem so easy during this pregnancy that it makes me mad I was not able to experience this with Joy. Seems like a strange paradox I suppose? So I don't feel like I'm battling fear so much, but sometimes a bit of anger. The only fear that I have is going into early labor. Obviously I did with Joy as she was born at 30 weeks, but there is no reason to think I would with this baby. I certainly did not with Elijah or Phoebe. Maybe I'm thinking like this because I will be closing in on the the 30 week mark in a few short weeks. I'm anticipating that will be a difficult time emotionally for me. I covet your prayers.

Lastly, as of this week I am officially unemployed. Can't say I did not see it coming, but they eliminated my position. I had about 3.5 weeks notice. I'm not terribly excited about this new development, but for the time being I'm just going to enjoy not working, spend more time and attention on my kids, continue studying for school, and prepare for this new little life growing inside of me. After my initial pitty party thinking God did not like me very much,(I know...lame, right?) I just set my sights on the fact that God must have something so much bigger and better in store for me! I can't wait!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Walk with Faith

Every now and then I find myself googling "limb-body wall complex" and various other related searches to see if I find any new info out there. In my search I came across a post on a message board by a lady named Jennifer, who is pregnant with her third child. That baby was diagnosed with limb-body wall complex back in Feb. My heart immediately broke for her. I was in her shoes this time last year and felt the need to reach out to her and let her know that she is not alone. I think that was back in March and I have been praying for her ever since. I had wondered if she ever saw my response to her. She had.

The other week I got an email from Jennifer. She is just about 32 weeks pregnant with her sweet baby. She has just started a blog "Walk with Faith." Jennifer, her husband Jamie, their two boys, and this precious unborn baby need our prayers.

Please join me in lifting this family up in prayer. Visit her blog.....offer words of encouragement, prayer, and support. As far as I know...God is still in the business of performing miracles, and that is just what I'll be praying for! Will you join me?

Friday, May 15, 2009

8 Months....and Hopeful

Today is the 8 month anniversary of Joy's birth. 8 months ago she went home to be with the Lord. Not a day goes by that I don't think of her and miss her presence in our lives. I thought today would be a good day to share some good news.....Joy is going to be a big sister! I'm pretty sure she is thrilled about that and wouldn't mind me sharing some happy news on this day.

Probably part of the reason I haven't updated in a while is because I didn't want to feel like I was keeping something from you all. We found out on March 1. I am now 15 weeks along and due around Nov.2.

I have to be honest here...being pregnant again after Joy has a lot of mixed emotions attached to it. I'm not quite sure how to put it into words and sometimes I fear that if I try it will be misunderstood. I will give it a try though.

Before I get into that I do want to share that we had an ultra sound at 12 weeks and, praise the Lord, everything is as it should be. No limb-body wall, no fluid where it should not be. I have certainly had a sense of relief since the ultra sound, but I still know that nothing is guaranteed and I don't take that for granted. However, I have hope. Hope feels good, and strange at the same time. It feels strange to be pregnant and be hopeful that I will be able to bring this baby home. Part of me grieves the fact that I am broken and my whole way of viewing what is supposed to be a joyful time is warped. Obviously I am changed, I mean you can't go through planning to lose your unborn child for months and then it happening and remain the same. I know this.

I don't want to give the impression that being pregnant again is not joyful, but it's tempered with trepidation. I can't explain it all, but it still occasionally bothers me to be around pregnant ladies...really just those that don't know my story. I think I'm jealous of their carefree excitement and anticipation. There is nothing wrong with that and every pregnant woman should feel that way. I won't ever have that again....I'm jealous. It's that simple.

Lewis and I have agreed that this baby will be our last. I really want to be able to enjoy this pregnancy, but I feel myself holding back. I suppose that is normal? Whatever that is! It's not that I am fearful that something terrible will happen, but I'm certainly not naive to all the possibilities. You know...ignorance is bliss! I know they also say...knowledge is power. In this case, my knowledge doesn't feel feels binding, constricting, and makes the air heavy to breathe.

Honestly, I really don't meditate on those thoughts much, but every so often they creep in. I know God's hand is over this little life, just as it was with Joy, and only He can bring the peace I need. I really just try to rest in that and give it to God.

So there you have it...part of the reason I have been so quiet lately. Other reasons? Oh, you know We would still appreciate your prayers on this leg of our journey and for the health and safety of this little baby.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Seven Months

Seven months...
Sometimes I think I'm the only one who remembers every month on the 15th marks another month since Joy went to be with Jesus. Fewer and fewer people mention her name.
I guess the truth is that for me Sept. 15th doesn't mark the saddest day. There were many before then. Really, May of 2008 was full of bad days. I hate that Elijah's 5th birthday, coming up on May 2, will mark one year since we got our devastating news that something was seriously wrong with our baby. May 5th when it was confirmed by the "specialists" and May 20th when we got the official diagnosis...limb-body wall complex...."incompatible with life." Funny thing is... that little life that was so "incompatible with life" is having the most abundant life right now in heaven.

Joy wasn't designed for life here on earth. For the pain and sorrow that this life brings. She was designed to bypass all this. I love the scripture in Psalm 139 when it says "He knit me together in my mother's womb." When carrying Joy I often thought "why couldn't He have knit her little body together properly so it could work the way it is supposed to." I'm only just now figuring out that He knit her together exactly according to His plan. That thought doesn't take all the grief away and doesn't always make it easier, because in my human selfishness I want her here with me. To all of us it seems like such a travesty, but I'm pretty sure if we could ask Joy if she would rather be living here on earth I bet her answer would be "no way!" It's hard to stay sad for long when I know how happy she has got to be in heaven.

Psalm 139:13-16
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Back Home

Boy, I really am bad at keeping you all updated. I'm way overdue to update on Elijah. He is doing much better. He ended up staying 2 nights in the hospital. They pretty much determined that he had a febrile seizure and his chest x-ray showed the beginning stages of pneumonia. He is just about finished his antibiotics and seems to be back to normal. I seem to have contracted his nasty bug and am hoping to be feeling better by the week's end. It's been rough.

If you ask Elijah he thought it was pretty cool staying in the hospital. He liked to order his meals and watch movies. In fact he said it was like a vacation? Wow, what does that say about our regular life if he thinks that was a vacation???

Monday, March 30, 2009

Prayer Request for Elijah

Dear Freinds,

I know it's been too long since my last post. I have an update in the works, but that will have to wait for now. Yesterday Elijah was taken to the hospital by way of ambulance. Just before noon on Sun. as he had fallen asleep on the couch he started to have a seizure. He was not feeling well and did seem warm to me that morning. He has never had a seizure before and admittedly it was quite scary at the time. It seemed to last for about a minute to a minute and a half. It seems the best guess is that it was a febrile seizure brought on by a quick spike in temp, although his temp when he got to the hospital was only 101. That's high, but certainly not alarming.

They put him through a battery of tests trying to rule various things out. Poor boy has been through a cat scan, chest x-ray, a lumbar puncture, and the dreaded IV. I say dreaded IV because that seems to be his biggest issue with all this. He just really hates being attached the that thing and constantly asks why he has to have it.

The plan was to let him go home today, but unfotunately he is going to have to spend another night. His temp went back up this morning despite the antibiotics they have been pumping through him. I think right now they are just trying to let some of his cultures grow to determine what virus he has and get his fever down. Please pray for a speedy recovery for Elijah. We very much appreciate your prayers.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Husband

This is a post I originally wrote on 12/8/08, but it seems to have remained only as a draft. I thought with today being Valentine's Day it would be an appropriate time to share it.


It's a strange thing ...grieving a child. I know that no two people grieve the same way, which brings me to my husband...Lewis. I picked him up from the airport the other day and the next day we went to church. During the worship service he looked over at me with tears in his eyes and said "I really miss her." Of course I knew exactly who he was talking about. I grabbed his hand and said "me too." He drove us to Joy's grave site after church and again became emotional.

Of course I know Lewis loves and misses Joy, but I don't always see that side of him. I think sometimes I'm too consumed by my own grief to think about his or I assume he is at a different place of acceptance in dealing with his grief. I guess we are both trying to find our own way through it. Sometimes it's difficult and other times we get by, whatever that means.

Lewis asked me today if I have ever had someone ask me how many kids I have since Joy was born. I knew exactly what he was asking me before he even got all the words out. It has been something I've been thinking about lately. The truth is I have not had anyone ask me this yet. I guess I don't get out enough or come in contact with new people who don't already know about what has happened. Of course the answer is ...I have 3 kids. While Lewis was on travel last week for work he said he was asked this many times. I asked him what he said. He said "I told them I have 3 kids." I asked him if he explained any further and he said not always and that sometimes there were questions that required further explanation old are your kids?

It's funny the simple things that can bring a person joy. My husband, for as much as we butt heads sometimes, he brings me joy. He has so many facets to him. If the truth be known, I must confess he is really more sensitive than I and he sometimes surprises me. He is often very loud and boisterous, but then there are those times he gets so sentimental and wells up with tears when talking about the love he has for our kids and I. He'll really hate me saying this but I've even caught him crying during one of the proposals on "The Bachelor" reality show. I never let him forget it either. I also like to embarrass him with this small detail. I think it's kinda sweet.

I love that he doesn't over think things the way I do. He is just himself. Many times I'm too concerned with what others think, probably because I'm my biggest critic and think other people must be thinking the same things as me. Not the case.

Happy Valentine's Day Lewis! I love you! Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Beauty for Ashes

I have to apologize for being a bad blogger these days. I guess I'm at a point where I'm not really sure what to write about that hasn't been said and I'm not sure of the direction I want to take with the blog. I am still grieving over the loss of my youngest daughter and it hurts terribly, but I don't really want to write over and over again how sad and distraught I am. I know you all get that. I mean after all the name of my blog is "Choose Joy." That's really what I want to inspire.

I am hit daily by the grief and it can show up in the strangest places and at the strangest, most unexpected times. I daily make the choice to either choose joy or not to choose joy. Can I be honest with you? I don't always make the right choice, but joy wins most days.

There is a scripture that has been impressed upon my heart lately and to be honest here I did not even know the whole scripture all I knew was this part, "His beauty for my ashes." I really did not even know what the scripture was about but it really just seemed to keep coming to mind lately. One of the pastors quoted it in church yesterday during a baptismal service. I thought ah I know where to find it...Isaiah. Really, after I heard the part "beauty for my ashes" the rest was a blur because I was so exited to hear it that I missed the rest and did not even catch where in Isaiah it was. What a dork!

Sure I could have looked this up sooner, but to be honest every time I thought about it I was no where near my computer. You know I am the google queen, but like I've said short-term memory leaves much to be desired these days so as soon as I would think about it and realize I was unequipped to get the rest of the scripture I would forget about it. Until today that is...I knew that my grandmother O'Brien's sister wrote a book in the early 90's called "His Beauty for my Ashes" and I knew we had it on our book shelf. I haven't read the book, maybe I will now, it actually belongs to my mother as I saw the note Mabel had wrote to her in it. Anyway, to make a short story even longer...I found the scripture verse from that book. Pretty resourceful eh? And to think I did all that whilst writing this blog entry. So I literally just found the verse.

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.—Isaiah 61:3.

I liked that version of it, because it uses the word "joy." However, my bible puts it this way...Provide for those who grieve in Zion, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and the garment of praise instead of despair. They will be called oaks of riteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

Okay, it's all coming back to me now. You know, one of those scriptures I had long tucked away in my brain. In fact, I remember singing a song in church years ago with words from this scripture. Thank you for being patient in this blog post of discovery. LOL I know it seems kind of random and disjointed, but that scripture is really speaking to me. I needed that and I'm going to take some time to digest it. God was nudging me with it and I was being lazy.

Just to make this post even more random....I'll add a "Happy Ground Hog Day." Does anyone know if he saw his shadow?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Princess Phoebe turns 2

Okay, I am a little late with this...Phoebe's birthday was Sat. Jan. 24. After my last, somewhat disgusting, post I thought I should redeem myself by putting up a much more flattering picture of the princess, also known in these parts as Phoebs. You'll be happy to hear that no cake found it's way up her nose.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gross Me Out

Look who was shoving macaroni & cheese up her nose at lunch the other day. I could not resist to take a picture.
What really makes this gross is that Phoebe has been really snotty the last couple days. As she pulled the noodle out out her nose a trail of snot followed behind it.
Can you guess what she did next?
Yep, she ate it! She thought she was pretty darn funny too.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Four Months

11:58am marked four months since Joy's quick arrival and departure from this world. I still can't believe it really happened. I know I say that a lot, but I really think that often. Maybe because I can't believe I'm still standing after everything that has happened...some days more firm than others. What a testament to God's grace. I don't deserve it, but he gives it anyway...and I'm so grateful he does.

It's amazing how much I have been changed by this baby girl that I never got to know outside my womb. She has impacted my life in ways I cannot fully express nor fully understand yet. I'm still a HUGE, I mean HUGE...did I say HUGE?.... work in progress, but for some reason I have a little more clarity. Clarity of who I am, whats important, how I see myself, my family, my God, and how my God sees me. I'm so glad he isn't finished with me yet.

Something I read on another blog that rings so true is this ...God allowed something in his wisdom that he could have prevented in his power. I just have to trust his wisdom, because man o man I wish he would have prevented my little girl from having so many physical abnormalities that they would not allow her little 2 pound body to function apart from mine. He did not prevent it, he allowed it. He did not allow it to teach me a lesson, he did not allow it because of something I did or did not do. It just wasn't all about me. It's about him! He has purpose for all of it far beyond what my eyes can see, far beyond my pain and tears.

I'm clinging to the word God gave me during some of my darkest, most unjoyful (is that a word?), hours this summer from John 15:11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. I know my sweet Joy is complete and made whole in heaven worshipping the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. What a vision that is...literally takes my breath away. But like I said, even though I know it's not all about me, I know he is not finished with me yet. I know he is gradually restoring my joy, but better than that...I know he will be faithful to make my joy complete!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Back to School...Again

Well, I survived my first day of classes yesterday. Saying I survived is probably a tad bit on the dramatic side being as I will only be in class two days a week with a total of only 6 hours in class. So not a demanding schedule to say the least, but it's still a crazy feeling to be back in school since the last time I was in class was 1997. I'm taking anatomy and physiology as well as a math course. Ugh....I know! I have quite a limited background in these areas so it should be interesting.

I was so concerned that I was going to be the oldest person there....okay, totally not the case! Of course there were students much younger than me and probably a couple that were at least 15-20 years my senior. I suppose you could say I fit somewhere in the middle. Here's an example that makes me chuckle...while waiting for Lewis to pick me up from class I spotted a student with a Hello Kitty backpack??? Ummm I think they would have been made fun of in high school with something like that never mind college. (hope I did not offend anyone that likes Hello Kitty) An older gentlemen who I would say was probably about 60 years old told me that he was checking out where all his classes were before he started them this week so he doesn't get lost.....I guess he is taking a pre-algebra course starting tomorrow. Kudos to him....seriously!

It will be interesting embarking on this new adventure to say the least. I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't nervous. Anxious is probably the better word to use here. I'm sure in no time I'll be adjusted and bee bopping right along. Could you say a little prayer for me when it comes to school. Not just regarding the actual academics (although I do NEED to get really high grades to get into the LPN program), but also the juggling of everything know kids, husband, work, and the numerous things that go along with those. I'm notorious for either having lots on my plate or nothing at all. I guess it's obvious what this is?

Friday, January 9, 2009

But We're Not Toys...

My heart is so heavy tonight...getting tossed around by these waves. Every once in a while I feel snapped back to my reality. Nothing in particular usually sets it off, but I guess tonight it was seeing Elijah and Phoebe get up on the chair in the living room to kiss a framed photo of Joy. It really is cute to see and I love that they love her so much even in her absence. Shortly after of course I start thinking....did this really all happen? Yes, I know it did, but it seems I go through life with so many distractions that it's hard to find time to just sit and be and feel the moment.

This is something I've been thinking a lot about in the moment and really feeling all that moment has to offer. I think my recent post "learning to dance in the rain" somewhat alluded to this idea. If you are anything like me spend a lot of time looking back at the past and probably even more time thinking and dreaming about the future. What about today? Well, not to disappoint you, but I don't have anything really insightful on the topic tonight just to say that it's been on my mind a lot lately. I'm purposely trying to live in the moment and be thankful for what each day brings. It's a pretty simple concept, but much harder in least for me. Certainly I cannot be the only one?

So on that note of enjoying the moment...I was spending some time with Elijah in his bed tonight talking... he wanted me to lay down in his bed and cuddle with him. As I was laying there with him stroking his hair, the conversation went something like this...

Me: You are such a precious gift.

Elijah: What? (with a confused facial expression)

Me: You are such a precious gift from God.

Elijah: I am?

Me: Yes. You, Phoebe, and Joy are precious gifts to Mama & Papa from God.

Elijah: We are gifts?

Me: Yes.

Elijah: Mama, but we're not toys. *giggle*

Me: No. Much better than toys. Jesus makes and gives the best gifts.

Elijah: Jesus made me.

Me: Absolutely!

Two of my most precious gifts here on earth!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I Won Something!

Just wanted to share the way cool painting I won from Gitzen Girl's blog around Christmas. I got it in the mail yesterday. I stumbled across her site as I was blog hopping and saw a blog button that said "Choose Joy." Needless to say I was automatically drawn to her blog. If you check it out you'll see why.

Okay, back to the painting...Gitz was having a contest that week to win a canvas of the day and when I saw the painting this one particular day was "Choose Joy" I had to enter. Low and behold.....I won! How ironic is that? Thought I would share it with y'all. Thanks Sara!