Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Looking...

...back, looking, and looking forward. (Randomly speaking)

There is a fine balance between looking back at the past, dwelling in the present and having hope and anticipation for the future. Many of us, at one given moment, may be stuck in one of these spaces in time. All of us has a past. Anyone reading this obviously has a present. And, most reading have a future. But none of us knows the number of our days. Literally. None of us. God is the only One who knows the number of our days. For all of us, this should be not only relieving, but very refreshing. For many, though, fear and anxiety set in at the thought of the unknown.

When I worked at the college, as a staff we took many personality, behavioral and strength analyses to see how we all fit together as a team. One particular "test" revealed "Past" as one of my strengths. I remember not really loving this "test" because of the top 5 strengths I had difficulty embracing that they were actually strengths and not weaknesses. I thought, "Oh great! Now my colleagues are going to think that I'm a backward thinker, that I dwell, or am stuck, in the past, or that I'm so old-fashioned." However, the more we worked with this particular analysis, the more I realized that "Past" meant that I revere and honor and am thankful for the past as a means by which to learn for today...for tomorrow...for what is to come. In plain terms, just because I went to college and am almost 38 does not make me smarter than my 92 year old Grandpa. To sit and hear his stories and learn from those who have gone before us, that is what “past” means to me.

Past is a part of who we are, whether profoundly beautiful or particularly painful. Our pasts are not meant to define us, but rather mold us and shape us into the people we are today and those we will be tomorrow. The past is necessary for the present and future. The point being, though, that there is a present and can be a future. How that plays out, though, necessitates trust…trust that the Beautiful, Good, Awesome, Creative God of the Universe knows what the heck He is doing and that even if we don’t understand it, no matter our circumstances, He has promised us hope and a future.

"Past" is necessary for the present. It also shapes the future. Past is not a place in which we were designed to dwell. Living in the past is an oxymoron and only hurts those around us. It causes stagnation and certain death to those who choose it. It is the fine balance on the teeter totter of learning and living, reflecting and having hope. Living can only happen in the present and hope is a part of that equation. Hope can happen today, but it insinuates a future. There is no living in the past.

As a new year approaches many of us think of the change that will occur on that day in January. "Next year I am going to:" you fill in the blank. New beginnings, fresh starts, new opportunities. Some people boycott January 1st because they don't want a calendar or silly tradition of man to dictate their lives. No matter what time of year it is, our lives, all of them, could benefit from some good old change.

In order to move forward, we must look back and reflect. In the book of Isaiah in the Bible, chapter 43, verses 18 and 19 is says:

“Forget the former things;
Do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.”

Many people in Christendom like to read the Bible as if they were in a candy shop. They like to pick and choose which Scriptures they’ll read and skim over the ones that don’t sound pleasant. If you read these particular verses in context and go back to why this is even a statement of provision and promise, you undeniably find that God reminds His people from where they had come. Slavery. Bondage. Loss and Suffering. Wandering. Discipline. All of it was a component of their past.

How can we be thankful or purposeful if we don’t know from where we have come?

As the New Year approaches, there are some things to keep in mind. One, life is circumstantial. Two, life is always changing. Three, the past is the past and is an ingredient in our present life recipe. Four, if we are surrounded by people, which unless we are hermits, we are…we still exist for a purpose! Five, “purpose” indicates hope and a future. Six, the past is important and not lost on us just because we presently live. Seven, moving forward today does not disrespect the past. It gives life to the past and honors it.

We must start living today!

Those are my random Tuesday morning thoughts.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gingerbread fun














Em, Jason's sister Tonja, our friend Gina and I made this gingerbread jewelry box last weekend. It was fun and took a lot less time than last year when we tackled Noah's Ark.
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Monday, December 14, 2009

Thanks for giving me my blog back. I promise from my heart I did not look at it while it was hi-jacked! I was a good little girl...And, I blogged in my head a bit, so I'll be here with some random thoughts shortly...stay tuned.

Giving Adrienne her blog back :)

The top secret post has been deleted so that Adrienne can have her blog back.
If you have any questions about what was posted last week please email me at ginamjohnson@gmail.com

Sunday, December 06, 2009

So much for that idea...

No, really. I don't know how some bloggers write Every. Single. Day. Sometimes even multiple times in one day.

When Noah was in the hospital I had plenty of down time to be able to sit and blog my heart and thoughts. I'm not sitting around at a hospital trying to save my kid's life. No. His life has been saved. Now I don't have time to sit unless it's intentional sitting...sitting that entails reading or listening or playing dolls or making crafts or baking cookies...But I do run. I don't run races and try not to run in circles, unless someones chasing me or I'm chasing my kid. I do lay around. Guilty as charged...but it's not eating bon bons and watching soaps. It's laying around that entails snuggling, tickling, story telling, prayers and lots of dreaming and listening.


I think of paid writers, journalists, who are expected to come up with a new piece of fresh work each and every day. Someone could pay me to come up with stuff every day but I'm not so sure it would be from the heart. I'm not saying others who write publicly every day aren't writing from the heart...I just know how I'm wired. It might be good, maybe even noteworthy, but I'm of the conviction that when I'm moved to write or speak publicly, that it be from the heart. No blowing sunshine. No fluff just to fill air time. So, that is why my experiment of writing every day for a month flopped. Failed. Tanked. Went down like the Titanic.

However, here are some EXTREMELY RANDOM thoughts that have come in and out of my head during the last month that I will share with you...and they are in no specific order:

  • There will never be a convenient time or season for a change in schedule, unexpected sickness, job loss, tragedy or general disappointment to strike. January is filled with new beginnings, starting new things. February is a time to focus on loved ones. March usually includes a Spring break. April brings Easter celebrations. May, Mother's day, Memorial Day, wrapping up school. June, Father's Day and the first days of summer. July reminds us of our Independence. August we are trying to fit everything into the summer that we didn't do the previous two months. September we have Labor Day and are back into the full swing of school again. October is Fall break and harvest time. November we practice Thankfulness. And, December ushers in all sorts of celebrations...and then we start all over again. So, what we do with change, how we react to it, and how we decide to move forward in it is up to us.

  • The left lane is for passing. The middle or right lane is for traveling. The right lane is for schlow moes. If we all just tap into our Driver's Education memories a bit, we'll all be in a better place. Also, texting while driving is sheer stupidity.

  • I've been reading first and second Peter a lot lately. Seriously, some good stuff there. When I get a chance I'll blog some thoughts on 1 Peter 4 and suffering in our bodies. Read it when you get a chance.

  • A friend of mine has been praying for patience for the last several months. We were chatting about it recently and I was profoundly struck by the irony of the fine line I walk balancing patience with hope and anticipation. Not anxiousness, mind you, but anticipation. However, upon thinking on it further, I wonder if anticipation is impatience...

  • Mothers of toddlers: LOAD YOUR SILVERWARE POINTING DOWN IN THE DISHWASHER! I learned this from my big sister and every time I load the dishwasher am grateful she took the time to teach me this trick because whenever Em would toddle up to "help" me with the dishes, I never worried that she'd stab herself with something.

  • Finally, here is a quote everyone should read: "In the practical use of our intellect, forgetting is as important a function as remembering. If we remembered everything, we should on most occasions be as ill off as if we remembered nothing." - William James, psychologist and philosopher

That's all I've got for now.

I've been asked by my friend if she can "hi-jack" my blog for one week. I honestly and truthfully don't have a clue what she's up to, but the truth is, I trust that she would never do anything to hurt Noah's blog (or I'd kick her arse...), and, let's face it, reality is, with the week I have ahead I'm not going to be able to be on here, anyway. Maybe I'll Tweet which shows up on the side of my blog...anyway, it'll be weird booting up my computer and not having the blog as my homepage. I guess I'll be over at Facebook or something...oh yeah, I'll also be disabling comments for a week because she asked me to, so if you would still like to email me you can reach me at adexoxox@gmail.com .

Hey, one last thing...head over to Sarah Markley's website where this week she'll be giving away a bebe&boo necklace to one lucky winner. Spend some time reading there, people, because she has not only a gift for writing, but a beautiful story of healing and forgiveness. She'll be our guest on The Well Radio Show on New Year's Eve.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My opinion...not yours...(raw guts post!)

Recently I was interviewed for our local newspaper. The reporter and I talked for probably an hour and a half. After 15 minutes, however, his recorder died...he was obviously a good listener, though, because he was able to deliver the gist of the story.

At some point during the interview I was sharing how generous people were to us...total strangers...offering things to us we could never afford ourselves, including a generous family from Aspen that offered their private jet to fly us wherever in the world we needed to get Noah a stem cell transplant. He asked me if we had done that...taken the offer, that is...I said no. He asked me, "Why not?" Not in a way that was like, "Why the hell not?" but more like a curiosity question. I said, "Because...when is enough finally enough? What if that procedure hadn't worked, then what?" It's a question I never even considered until further into Noah's hospital quandary.

Fast forward to tonight...I just got done watching "My Sister's Keeper". As a mom of a child that was hospitalized without diagnosis, without any sort of treatment other than the palliative treatment that incurs from a body that slowly shuts down...there is a sense of feeling that the only acceptable answer is a cure. The only acceptable and reasonable treatment is total and complete healing...a miracle...the hope that everything will just go away and be perfect.

And, in my opinion, what happens is that at some point, likely the moment our sweeties are born, the only acceptable action on our part as a parent is to do everything we possibly can to help our children, to save our children, to protect them from harm. The problem is, the junction at which total healing or a cure and knowing that a parent has done everything in their power to save their child is a horrible place. It's horrible because, in my opinion, if the only acceptable answer for a parent is that their child is healed and saved from death, a natural process, what happens to that parent's heart when there is no cure...when doctor's don't have answers...when every rock has been overturned and the outcome isn't pigtails and picket fences and peewee football? It's horrible because it leaves a parent wondering..."Did I do enough?" "What if...?" "If only...blah, blah, blah..."

I hated that we had to choose to put Noah on life support, which, in my opinion, was invented as a temporary breathing aid. We chose it because we absolutely were not convinced that doctors or ourselves, had turned over every rock...I didn't hate life support, itself, but the reality that we were faced with removing him from it at a later date. Some people can live coherent healthy, beautiful lives on life support...Noah's entire body had shut down. He died within a minute...his entire existence depended upon that freaking machine...

People have asked me if I'd do it again. In my opinion, if we were faced with Noah all over again, I would enjoy each day I had with him...at home, in my arms. Hindsight is 20/20, so regarding his specific situation, I'd know what to do now, and likely save him, but say I didn't know...I am at a place in my walk with the Lord that I accept that life includes suffering, and no thanks to Adam and Eve, it includes death. I no longer fear it.

Fighting for a good life is one thing. Living your life to the fullest, in my opinion, is another. Everyone who worked on Noah's case did do everything they were trained and knew to do. The reality, though, is that obviously wasn't enough because medicine is ever-changing and new discoveries are found everyday. Or, was it enough? If "enough" is only measured by the truth that Noah wasn't healed, then, no, it wasn't enough. But, it was enough, because it was their best...it was our best...it was enough because, in my opinion, even though it wasn't the outcome any of us sought, his time was intended here on earth to be short and sweet.

In my freaking opinion, if all of us don't stop to realize that we will die one day, regardless of how, and it may not be when we think it's convenient and it may not be quite like we dream...in our sleep when we're still healthy and early 90's...we'll miss out on the life we've been given with the beautiful people with whom we are surrounded...and we'll miss out on the mountains and oceans, flowers and sunrises, laughter and stars, the beauty with which we've been blessed.

In my opinionated opinion, if we don't embrace death, we'll never fully embrace life and if we don't embrace life, we'll never fully embrace death. We cannot have one without the other. And beauty lies with both...

It is my opinion, though it may not be yours, that I did, along with my husband, everything we could to save Noah...and for us, that included the heart wrenching decision to remove him from life support. I have literally made the most difficult decision I will ever face on earth. I know we are not the only ones who have had to make such a decision and that we won't be the last...but, in my opinion, even that decision was still everything we could do for him.

It was in that moment, in my opinion, when the junction occurred between giving him to God and trusting that total healing happens in God's presence, outside of limited humanity, that I knew in my heart we had done everything...even though there were rocks unturned.

(*Disclaimer: This is my opinion. I am not judging other people who have loved ones on life support. I am also not offering my suggestions to others regarding this decision. I am simply sharing my opinion and my story...my heartache and my hope...and my peace.)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Unsolicited Holiday Advice...

...well, not really. I mean, many people have asked me these particular questions, but *you* haven't, necessarily.

With the holidays approaching, I'd like to offer my findings of what is helpful and encouraging to families, having been a hospital mom for 5.5 months, all of which extended over the holidays.

Q: What was the most helpful thing others did for you while Noah was in the hospital?

A: The answer to this is manifold. We had a beautiful support group of family, friends, our church and other churches, our great neighbors, and the amazing nursing staff that not only cared for our sweet guy, but also looked out for us. One thing, however, that I was quickly in tune to was the reality that this was not necessarily the case for all the sweeties in every room lining the hall. Here is a list of things that blessed us and helped us keep our sanity:
  • People weren't afraid to visit, even though they knew they couldn't do anything for us. When you are in a situation like ours where the doctors are seeking out a needle in a haystack, it can often be scary and overwhelming. This isn't rocket science, it's the obvious response. Visitors like family, friends and people from our church were very encouraging...just having them sit there with us once in a while, or truly, to even be able to talk to someone about something other than medical procedures can be refreshing.
  • And for those who could not visit physically, calls and emails were just as encouraging. One thing to understand, though, is as a caller, texter, or emailer, never EXPECT a return message. Go back to the old rule (which I personally live by...) that a phone and computer are for our own convenience...besides, giving things like time or encouragement for something in return isn't truly a gift...
  • One thing that gave our hearts much peace was how our parents and sister came from AZ,, RI, and SD to help care for Em and Noah, which obviously was caring for us. Jason and I were able to rest either at home or at the hospital knowing that both Noah and Em were in loving care with responsible family members. Obviously at the hospital Noah was in the care of nurses and doctors, but there was no way in hell, and I'm not kidding, that I would have ever left him 'alone' with someone other than family or a very dear friend. I'm not trying to instill fear in a parent who does have to leave their child in the hospital, because obviously God is bigger and when He calls us home, no matter the age, it's our time...for me I had just seen too many "oops" situations and political crap that there was just no way I ever felt like I could leave him w/o a personally invested person represented.
Q: At the holidays, what was something that was helpful to you guys that people brought to the hospital?

A: The holidays can be either a great time of year or a depressing time, whether you or someone you know is in the hospital. Add the reality that you have no release date from the hospital, and it's like getting a lump of coal in your stocking! But, maybe it's because I'm a middle kid and peacemaker that I try to make the most of any situation. Believe me, I'm not boasting, because having a dying kid in the hospital isn't a stellar situation...it's many things other than stellar...but I was determined that whatever amount of time we did have with our sweet guy was going to be the best, regardless of wires, tubes, and all the unknowns and negatives. (We are all going to die one day, whether we are healthy until we're 90 and then we croak or only make it to 7 months...this fact, alone, should make us all want to be good stewards of every day and not live in fear... (another post...)).

But, I will say that people come out of the woodwork to give around the holidays. The hospital can be a quiet sleepy place most of the year, but come November and December, everyone and their dog shows up...literally. Their dogs do literally show up for pet therapy, which the older kids love. Anyway, if you are looking to do something for the holidays for hospitalized kids, visits are still great! There were American Idol contestants, professional athletes, guys from the FBI, firemen, cheerleaders, carolers, musicians. If you have a gift/talent, share that with others. It's not intended just for you...it never was...

And, since we're talking about kids here, let's be honest...all kids love toys and stuffed animals. Now, I say this with hesitation because I AM NOT EXAGGERATING WHEN I SAY THAT EMILY HAS APPROXIMATELY 50-60 STUFFED ANIMALS FROM SIMPLY BEING NOAH'S BIG SISTER, THE RECIPIENT OF HER OWN GIFTS FROM PEOPLE AND NOAH LEFT THEM TO HER IN HIS WILL...but, the sweet guy wasn't thinking whether his mom and dad would want all those creatures taking over the house (smiley face)...but he knew Em would adore them. So, there are ways to give clean, new with tags, stuffed animals to the local children's hospitals. Call the local volunteer office and find out how you can contribute. You can't just walk in and give them to a random kid.

When Noah was in Children's there was a program before Christmas where we were invited to a conference room that was organized with tables covered in toys and stuffed animals, all sorted by age level. We were given the opportunity to receive one item per table if it was age appropriate and then there was gift wrapping, as well, which we skipped on, since Noah wasn't big on tearing boxes open. (smiley face...) If your local hospital has such an event, it's a great cause and helps the parents who have been stuck in the hospital without a lot of holiday shopping time to feel like they've had the opportunity to give their sweetie something special.

Q: What is another tangible, measurable way people can contribute around the holidays?

A: Honestly, just like I knew early on that we weren't the only ones at the hospital, I also realized that we may be among the few with such a fantastic support system. Yes, there are usually restaurants around hospitals, as well as cafeterias located within the facility which are touch and go, but that all takes money. During the holiday season one family, who remained anonymous, gave out meal tickets for the cafeteria to all the families who were long termers. Another family gave out gift certificates to restaurants that were in close proximity to the hospital so parents could 'get off campus' but not feel too far away. Our friends and church coordinated 5 months worth of meals for us. So, I guess what I'm trying to say here: meals are a big help to families stuck at the hospital.

If you are creatively inclined, neo-natal units can use sweet petite hats for preemies, as well as blankies to give to families. Besides the toys and stuffed animals, I lean towards a more practical side of giving, so these types of things are useful to the patient and their families.

Another thing would be a sample bag for a mom or dad with shower gel, shampoo/conditioner and maybe a razor and chap stick. One of Noah's nurses was head nurse on a particular day, so, that meant he didn't have his own patients to care for. He walked in the room and found me in the same outfit I had had on for 4 days...he saw my greasy hair and instead of saying, "Lady, you wreak and need to take a shower!" He said, "Adrienne, I don't have anything to do right now. How about you let me sit in the chair and snuggle with Noah while you go grab a shower." See, the presentation was nice, but I got the picture...I was a stinky hospital mom. The two boys sat and read and snuggled while this mom got clean.

This is going to be a two part series...I have to go clean my house and get ready for a local Castle Rock event and Jason is being very patient with me since I told him I'd be on the computer for about 10 minutes...one hour ago!

I hope this helps if anyone out there in blog world is wondering how to help people with hospitalized kids during the holidays.

Have a great Saturday! I'll be back (smiley face...)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Take two...

It's not even that I haven't been inspired to write...it's that I have a lot on my plate right now so I haven't had time to sit and look at my computer a ton.

One thing I did get to do that I haven't done in months was hang out with two of my girlfriends on Tuesday morning. I love my friends but it seems we are all in a busy time of life and then, we were talking about how each of us goes through 'funks', but they aren't in sync but instead staggered. We decided we need to 'sync' our 'funks' so that the rest of the year we can just enjoy each other.

I'm not in a funk right now, but I do feel like I'm soaring through life at rocket speed and although everything around me is beautiful and good and exciting to be a part of, I'm not able to enjoy it to the fullest. I do hope I learn all that He intends for me during this season...

God, I need a speeding ticket! Not in the car, por favor, but in life! I'm guilty of trying to do too much at once and thinking I need to be more than You have called me to be in other people's lives. I know I am not 'all that and a bag of chips.' Lord, I am so grateful for the people in my life, my family, my friends, my neighbors, my church, cyber friends, my jobs, my community...but at this rate, I know if I don't slow down I'll miss out on the simple things, the pure and simple beauty that is found in everyday. I don't want to do that.

Lord, can you press slow motion so we can all just stop and smell the roses for a few minutes???

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Join us here in Denver on Thursday!

For almost a year now it has been a dream of mine to see how many people could rally together and raise support to aid in digging water wells for people in third world countries. Spending the amount of time we did with Noah in the hospital opened my eyes to so many things, but especially basic human rights and needs like clean water and sanitation. As a result of casting this vision, several people have stepped up to the challenge.

We are excited to announce that "The Well" Women's Ministry of Red Rocks Church and "The Well" Radio Show on Castle Rock Radio are hosting a benefit to support the people of Haiti.



Please join us for an inspiring night out, including live music, light hors d'oeuvres, wine tasting, a fantastic silent auction including a bebe&boo piece and free advertising on "The Well Radio Show", fun door prizes, wonderful art and more. Mingle with artists and chat with friends while helping us raise money for our well-digging project in Haiti. 100% of proceeds/donations from the event's ticket price and silent auction will go towards our goal of $18,000 to build a well for a school or hospital in Haiti.

Advance Tickets or at the door: $30 individual; $55 per couple


Since 1991 Living Water International has been an implementer of participatory, community-based water solutions in developing nations. We have chosen to raise funds for Haiti because an estimated 3.8 million Haitians (46% of Haiti's population) do not have access to an improved water source, and 5.8 million do not have adequate sanitation. LWI Haiti has successfully completed over 130 water projects in the country, to date. Through the education of children, a nation's future can be changed from one of warfare to one of peace, stability and security. For more information about LWI, please visit www.water.cc.

We hope you will join us for this great cause and exhilarating night out in Denver. There are only 250 tickets available! Pre-paid tickets will be held at the door.

Please make checks payable to: Living Water International, a 501©(3) non-profit organization

I am excited to be a part of this evening to raise awareness for the basic need for water. If you live in the Denver area and are looking for a great night out, remember, Thursday is the new Friday, so come on out to Jaz'B'Studio at 8th and Santa Fe from 6pm to 9pm on Thursday, November 19th. Parking is available in the lot diagonal from the studio, as well as on the street. We'd love to see you there!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I'm not a slacker...

...I've been up in the mountains since Friday at noon, so technically, yes, I could have posted prior to leaving, but I was a bit busy. So, what was going to be an overnight retreat for about a dozen ladies turned into me and two other girls staying an extra night which has turned into the three of us staying a third night. We didn't plan this, but God went ahead and sent a sizable snow storm and icy roads...apparently a sign that we aren't rested enough (smiley face). We'll head home first thing in the morning once the DOT can get the roads cleared. The house we are stuck at has no cable or Internet, so we ventured to town to an Internet cafe and, so, here I sit. We probably could drive back down to Denver today but once we get on the road we'll meet up with all the ski traffic and that just doesn't sound appealing.

Meanwhile, the three of us are enjoying each others company, the beautiful surroundings, great conversation, chocolate,coffee, movies, cards and naps. Two of us are moms so are feeling a bit responsible for not being at home, but since we have fantastic husbands, we know the kids will be just fine. Our other friend just has a fantastic husband, so we know he'll be fine, too.

Our time this weekend has been refreshing. Sometimes we need to steal away from our day to day to get new vision and fervor to keep on doing what it is we do everyday. I'm grateful for this time. I'll post again on my daily routine as soon as I get back to civilization. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the simplicity.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Pause...and listen..."

"Pause...and listen" That was the advice we were given today on our radio show. We were talking with Maureen Yockey, Executive Director of Alternatives Pregnancy Center here in Denver, an organization that helps women facing unplanned pregnancy. Maureen, who incidentally is my friend's mother, shared her own story of how her life was affected by abortion when her best friend's younger sister committed suicide after having an abortion. Deeply concerned for her grieving friend, Maureen decided to get involved in the pro-life movement on a more intimate level.

You see, when the younger sister, a pregnant college student hiding her secret, had gone to her older sister to ask her what her thoughts were on abortion, her sister spoke very true words, like that it was "killing, murder, sin, wrong, etc". Her approach, however, left much to be desired. Two weeks later the younger sister was found in her running car in the garage.

It's not that the older sister should not have shared the truth. Abortion is indeed killing. Maureen's point is that, unfortunately since the government has legalized this type of killing, telling people not to do it simply causes them to become defensive...because it's their right. What the government is doing deciding what is moral or not is another issue...Anyway, Maureen's approach is not to project shame, EVER, but to first pause and then listen to the person's story, knowing she can't make them do anything. Hear their heart. Then educate them on the alternatives to abortion...or counsel them after...because abortion hurts women.

She shared the story of one high school star athlete who got pregnant. Her family was a 'church-going' family. Her mom told her she needed to get an abortion. Her track coach ponied up the money for the abortion. The girl started searching the web and found APC. She headed in for an appointment where she learned about the alternatives to abortion. The girl made her own decision, not through influence or pressure from APC, that is not their style or approach, but from simply being given the opportunity to learn. She decided to have the baby.

As you might imagine, our U-Stream chat was pretty active during this particular show due to the topic. There were comments such as:

  • People who have abortions should have a 3 strike rule: 3 abortions and you are out...then there should be required sterilization.
  • Homicide is murder but I don't think I'd sit and listen to why a person was considering it.
  • Suicide is murder, just like homicide and abortion. It's all sin.
  • The church needs to do a better job educating people before unplanned pregnancies occur, but also be a safe place for healing when women have gone through abortion.
There were more but I don't remember them all. I wish everyone listening today could have joined Gina Johnson, my co-host, and I during the commercial break. Gina was saying how it was neat that even though the star athlete was being pressured and told by her mother and coach, two obviously influential adults in her life, to terminate her pregnancy, the girl took ownership of her pregnancy and her choice. No matter the decision, she took ownership.

I think that is a key element when talking about sin of any kind. We can pressure others, or feel pressured by others, to do things we don't necessarily want to do. But, ultimately, our choices are between us and God. We each have to live with our choices. We each need to take responsibility for our actions and not blame the next guy. I understand many of the 'loopholes' when it comes to sex. There are horrible situations like rape and abuse. There are victims in those scenarios. But when two people have consensual sex, the one must stop blaming the other. There are a lot of moms and dads out there that blame the boyfriend who knocked up there daughter...we all need to own our choices and at the same time know that God is bigger. He does forgive us. He loves us and offers us healing from sin.

He does. He forgives us of our sins. God says that if we confess our sins He is faithful and forgives us. He's not a liar. God does not lie. He really does offer us healing and forgiveness through His Son, Jesus Christ. That was the whole point of His death on the cross. That's another post for another day. Anyway, the 'church', and by 'church' I don't mean every person who calls themselves a Christian, but the institution, has not done a good job of offering hope, healing and safety to women who have had abortions or those with unplanned pregnancies. We have been quick to point out the obvious...getting pregnant outside of marriage isn't God's plan...and not quick to pause and listen. Not quick to stop and pray. Quick to not point fingers but to realize we are all fallen people in a fallen world and our God is GIGANTIC and He truly is capable and willing to love us in spite of us.

Our time with Maureen was encouraging and inspiring. We managed to stay in a healthy place during our interview, not allowing fiery opinions or judgmental statements on either side of the spectrum dominate the conversation, but instead hearing one woman's perspective of how "pausing and listening" has been a tool for healing in the lives of many women. I hope you'll tune into our archived show to hear how it went. Chances are, we will all know someone who has either gone through the difficult decision of abortion or will one day consider it. How will we respond? If we study the life of Jesus Christ and the way He lived while here on earth, we will gain a great picture of how we are expected to respond...in love.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This here entry ain't spiritual...

...but it's funny...


INSTALLING A HUSBAND

Dear Tech Support,

Last year I upgraded from
Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed a distinct slow down in overall system performance, particularly in the flower and jewelry applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.

In addition,
Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as
Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5, and then installed undesirable programs such as:
NBA 5.0, NFL 3.0 and Golf Clubs 4.1

Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and Housecleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system.

Please note that I have tried running
Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail.

What can I do?

Signed,
Desperate.



DEAR DESPERATE,

First, keep in mind,
Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package, while Husband 1.0 is an operating system.

Please enter command:
ithoughtyoulovedme.html and try to download Tears 6.2 and do not forget to install the Guilt 3.0 update.
If that application works as designed, Husband 1.0 should then automatically run the applications Jewelry 2.0 and Flowers 3.5.

However, remember that overuse of the above application can cause
Husband 1.0 to default to Grumpy Silence 2.5, Happy Hour 7.0 or Beer 6.1
Please note that Beer 6.1 is a very bad program that will download the Snoring Loudly Beta.

Whatever you do,
DO NOT under any circumstances install Mother-In-Law 1.0 (it runs a virus in the background that will eventually seize control of all your system resources.)

In addition, please do not attempt to reinstall the
Boyfriend 5.0. These are unsupported applications and will crash Husband 1.0.

In summary,
Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly. You might consider buying additional software to improve memory and performance. We recommend:
Cooking 3.0 and Hot Lingerie 7.7

Good Luck Babe!

Tech Support


(This was a forwarded email from my aunt...not sure of the source)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A love letter

Dear Em,

I know you hear Mommy tell you, "I love you", every day, throughout the day, but the truth is, those three words that we humans use to express our deepest feelings are an expression of the Divine. When I tell you how much I love you, I mean it with all my guts. I can't even begin to explain my love for you.

Em, Mommy used to be very, very selfish. I'm not saying I'm not selfish anymore, but my selfishness is definitely different than it was. You see, I never really knew if I'd be a good mommy or not. I didn't really know if I wanted to be one at all, but I thought I would at least give it a try. I know that may sound funny, but for Mommy, I'm a very visual person, so just because other people were parents and made it look beautiful didn't mean that I would know what to do once I was a parent. It was a scary thought...being responsible for another human being is kind of a big deal. So, even while I was pregnant with you, the thought of being a mommy was surreal. Literally, not until the moment I met you at 11:33 am on July 11, 2002, did I know that I was capable of loving another person so much. Now, don't get me wrong...I love your Daddy so much! He and I are very much in love. But he and I would both admit that being your Daddy and Mommy has taught us a love we didn't know existed within us.

The moment I saw you, I knew I would have done anything to protect you, while at the same time, I knew I would have died for you. It was the moment you were born that I finally realized the love my parents had always had for me.

Hugs, squeezes, kisses, snuggles, holding your hand, staring at you, watching you sleep, tickling your toes, looking into your eyes, hearing you laugh, watching you smile...and of course, telling you not only how much I love you but how great I think you are, how smart you are, how beautiful your heart is...being proud of you...these are the limited ways in which I know how to show you how much I care.

I know you may not 'get' this until you are older...or, more likely, you 'get it' better than anybody, but when I say, "I love you, Em", what those three words entail the whole world cannot even contain it. I tell you, "I love you bigger than the Universe", and even then, that amount of space isn't even sufficient for me to truly express how I feel about you...

But Em, even knowing that Mommy loves you that much, what is even more amazing than that is God loves you even more...I know. It's really difficult to grasp, isn't it? A God we cannot even see, but that we know is real, really and truly loves us...every single person on Earth.

I knew God loved me before you were born. I knew that even though horrible things happen on Earth, that He was good. But the moment I met you, I understood His love a little more. If I was willing to do anything to protect you from harm, or even die for you, and I'm just your mom, it's not rocket science that God would do the same for the whole Universe. That He would, and did, do EVERYTHING to protect you from what the Enemy of our hearts intended...that He would literally die for you, and the rest of the world.

Sweet girl, my love letter to you will never end. God's love letter to the world won't ever end either. As crazy and impossible as it sounds, He literally loves us more than we love each other...and guess what?! That's got to be a lot of love because I love you bigger than the Universe...to the moon and back...to infinity and beyond...

Love,
Mommy
xoxox

Monday, November 09, 2009

Cutting it close...

Oh man, it's quarter to midnight! Good thing I'm not in the next time zone, or I would have skipped a day.

So, on the way to church yesterday Emily, out of the blue, said, "I think it's weird that I don't remember living in Heaven before I came to Earth."

Jason and I just smiled and didn't try to correct her theology, because, well, I don't really remember if I lived there before I came here either...

I told her that if that is how it works, God probably doesn't let us remember because we would be so sad that we were on Earth apart from Him instead of in Heaven in His presence and so we wouldn't live to the fullest on Earth the way God intends us to live.

I mean, I don't really know, but science has told me I only use 10% of my brain, so, it's quite possible that the other 90% is shut down for Earth living...I'm not saying that's the case, I'm just saying, I don't know.

Either way, how sweet and pure is it that a thought like that would pop into my sweet girl's head?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sooo.....

...I got nothin'.

This is harder than I thought! I really do feel that besides funny things my kid does, my blog entries should be profound and thought-provoking. It's self-inflicted. Some personality test I took once had me pegged as a "Responsibility" person. I guess if people stop by here, I want it to be worth their time. I know it's not my deal, but it's just how I'm wired. I mean, does anyone really care to know that today I filed my nails and made homemade croutons? Or, that 8 weeks ago I was given a free sample of Latisse and since then I've been growing some astounding eyelashes? Actually, you should see them...they are so stinking long! Anyway...

This season has been interesting for me. And by 'this season' I mean the state of constant change and uncertainty in which I currently reside. And by 'currently' I mean the last year probably. And by 'the last year' I probably could narrow it down to really the last 6 months, but not really more specific than that. Let's just say, it's not where I dreamed I would be as a 30-something...

I've been pondering a lot. I've been pondering life...and by 'life' more specifically I mean all the plans, dreams, ideas, aspirations, and whatnot that I once thought my life would be. The truth is, I'm not living the life I thought I would live one day. I'm not entirely disappointed. Sure, obviously some of it has sucked, but just because it's not everything I've dreamed doesn't mean it has all sucked.

I mean, getting married was in my life plan. And so I am...and that's good. And by 'good' I mean, I am married to my best friend and I am totally in love with him...that kind of 'good'. On the other hand, I was never one of those girls that was super duper excited about being a mommy. For me it was, back in the day, a take it or leave it idea. When my mom told me about sex I was thoroughly disgusted that she had done that 3 times (I have 2 sisters) and when she told me how babies entered the world, I recall vividly at whatever young age that was an involuntary defense mechanism take place between my knees at the thought of the pain and discomfort childbearing would entail. I thought, "Adoption...like, TOTALLY!"

Then, one day, early on in our marriage, a light went on in my heart and I saw what an amazing dad Jason would be. Shortly thereafter I declared, "We could probably have 2-4 kids and let's do that after about 3-5 years of marriage." 6 years into our marriage I had a miscarriage and 9 years into our marriage is when Emily came into our lives. I had thought I was going to be a doctor and drive a fancy car. Do I lament over the first miscarriage? No. If that pregnancy had been successful I might have stopped having kids after Emily and then I never would have met my Noah. At some point I must trust that God sees a bigger picture...and that it's good...

I personally think that there is a reason for everything under the sun. I mean, there was a reason I failed chemistry...(his name was Steve...he was really cute)...no, but seriously...if I hadn't failed chemistry I would not have pursued a different course of study, which is where my true love for people really came alive. Do I wish I was a doctor? No. I have no regrets in this area. At some point I must trust that God sees a bigger picture...and that it's good...

And, I wasn't trying to get pregnant when I had my miscarriage. But having one made me wonder about whether I was up for being a mom or not. Then we had Em and the moment we met her not only was I more in love than words can convey, but I knew I wanted more than just one. I was so in love with her I didn't think, though, that I was capable of loving another child as much. Then I met Noah...you know the story there...I fell in love all over again. At some point I must trust that God sees a bigger picture...and that it's good...

We make choices. We make mistakes. We hurt ourselves and we hurt others. We openly and willingly at times say 'No' to God. We have an idea of how we think life should 'go' and we do everything in our power to point our lives that particular way. We try to exercise what we think are our rights or our independence, but the truth that I have found in all of it is God is bigger. I'm grateful that He is bigger and I'm also grateful that He has a sense of humor. If He didn't, we'd all be squished by now!

Sometimes we think we 'stumble upon' things. Other times we believe the mistakes we have made are just too big. God is bigger. Life isn't just something that happens. There is a purpose. You have a purpose. Changes are happening all around us on any given day and they aren't just haphazard. Some may be our doing, others directed by God. But the truth is, God is bigger...and He sees a bigger picture...and that picture is good...even if we can't see it clearly this side of eternity.

So, in my current situation, I may not be the picture of what I had dreamed one day...but guess what? He's not done with me!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Blog Experiment...take one

So, it's been a month. I have never chucked my blog this long since its inception in 2006. I have been busy, that is true, but I also haven't been consistently inspired to write anything on here that is worth cyberspace.

And, in my own defense, what you are not aware of is all the blog entries I do write in my head in the middle of the night that are profound, moving, and even life altering. No, seriously! I have been awake in the middle of the night quite a bit over the last month. I used to get so freaking frustrated when I'd lie awake, thinking of all the sleep I was missing, but I made a conscious decision to quit that route. Being frustrated is exhausting and since I'm already awake, missing sleep, obviously exhausted, why add to it, right? So, I pray for everyone and their dog that I can think of, I design jewelry in my head, talk to God about how cool He is, think about all the ways in which I've been blessed, dream about the moment I can walk into Em's room and look at her in the morning, try to quiet the fact that I can hear my heart beat in my ears and head...and blog in my head. Anyway, people have asked me why I don't just hop out of bed and head to the computer to write down the blog entries that pop into my head. Two words: warm bed. And, the truth is, every morning when I'd wake up after a profound brain blog entry had occurred, the profound thoughts, or at least the deep heartfelt emotion of them had disappeared...POOF! They probably went to the mysterious place in my head where all the emails, texts and phone messages that I send in my head are waiting for replies...

So, here's my experiment...actually I'm a little freaked to type it out here because then I'll be accountable and have to carry through...okay, here goes. For one month, I am going to blog every day. The three people still left reading here didn't even just do a back flip, that's how exciting this news is...

No, but really, I haven't written because I am not inspired to write, but maybe the act of sitting down face to face with my blog will actually inspire me and I'll get my mojo back. Maybe?

Honestly, I've been having too much fun making jewelry and hanging out on Facebook...catching up, posting pictures, cracking one liners, the whole shebang. My kid even started a blog and was more consistent posting than I have been in a while. She's got some good material, I tell ya. And...even though she dictates to me as I type, I don't tell her what she can and cannot say.

So, when I initially sat down to type this I had a blog in my head that was a love letter to Emily...it went back deep down into my heart and now, instead of typing it here, I'd rather just go play with her outside, watch her toothless smile as she laughs and explores, and hold her hand while we sit on the front porch. Maybe it will come back to me tomorrow morning? I mean...I wouldn't want to use all my material at once...I have a whole month to fill! I hope you get a chance to sit and enjoy those you love.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

This is what I've been up to lately...


...making jewelry. I've made it since 7th grade as a hobby. I love making things with my hands and jewelry and sewing come easily to me. I don't follow patterns, however. I've never been one to fit in a box. I make things up in my head or see something at a store and go home and try to recreate it. Well, as the economy has tanked and Jason and I are working to be good stewards, him wanting me to work from home so I can be available to Emily and active in her school, I've been searching the Internet and looking into at-home jobs. Finally, a dear friend called me on the rug and said, "Ade, why are you trying to re-create yourself?! God has given you many gifts! Why don't you do what you already do, but stop giving it away?!"

And so, with others cheering me on as well, my mom and I recently launched "bebe&boo", a design and jewelry outreach where a portion of our proceeds go toward sponsoring "The Well Radio Show" and Bevy, my non-profit organization that helps women and their families in need and other non-profits that help women in need. We've already made some great sales in less than a week in addition to some commissioned pieces...and, November 1st when a local salon and boutique, "Panache" opens their doors to the customers, "bebe&boo" will be featured there.

My mom is an amazing seamstress...she made my sister's their prom dresses and has worked with interior designers making some really fabulous works. (I was always to 'flow/fly by the seat of my pants' to have my mom make me a dress in advance so I just had really ugly poofy 80's dresses...). She also makes jewelry too, but together we'll be turning out some fun pieces inspired by my Grandma's closet and jewelry box, recycled pieces and nature, and eventually, the cute little European kids you see at big parks running around in outfits that don't match at all, but somehow they look fantastic! We're excited for what is in store!

Making things with my hands has always been therapeutic, but to make things since losing Noah brings me a lot of joy. I can't even begin to explain how fun it is to sit and design things that women will enjoy wearing. As I sit there, creating pieces I think are beautiful to look at, I am reminded of all the beautiful women I have met or see out and about, their hearts designed by God, their smiles or frowns reflections of how beautiful or ugly they believe themselves to be. And so I pray as I make these pieces. I pray for whoever purchases them that they would know that true beauty is an internal display regardless of what society may tell us and it can only be measured by the heart.

So, then, why do I make jewelry if beauty is a reflection of the heart? Because jewelry is fun, it's pretty, and I know where my beauty lies, so when we wear it ladies, it's just icing on the cake!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Smarter than her mom...

I love our morning routine...minus trying to put on socks and shoes, but other than that, Jason and I usually tag team jumping in bed with Em for a few minutes and nuggling, as we call it, as we convince her it's time to leave the comfort of her warm bed to get up and get going for school. Then, I head downstairs to start breakfast and the packing of her lunch while Jason patiently puts the pressure on for her to get dressed and brush her teeth. He comes down a little before her usually and helps tag team the rest of the food preparations. Then, her royal hiney, her majesty Em, Princess of Graves-ovia, bellies up to the counter next to her daddy, looks at him and points incessantly at "The Picture Bible" and says, "Read, Read, Read!". Then, Jason commences to read chapters on end because every time he stops he hears, "More, More, More!" (Her favorite story is God's faithfulness to the Israelites, beginning with Joseph and his brothers, his time of slavery and then favor in Egypt, and then on into the story of Moses and God leading His people to the promised land)

And, because the three of us have never been known for our speed, one of us drives her to school since our morning bus attendance record is approximately 1:100...it's alright. We have other strengths! Besides, we use the car time to finish getting "dressed".


Notice my sweet girl lost one of her top teeth!

So, on this particular morning...

...as Em sat down to breakfast, she looked at her cup of orange juice...the cup that I stirred Nordic Naturals Children's DHA Natural Triglyceride Form Omega-3 Supplement Made From 100% Arctic Cod Livers *Supporting memory, learning, and visual development with a "Great Strawberry Taste!" into.

Em: Why is there oil floating all over the top of my orange juice?
Me: (Innocently...) Huh? What?!
Em: Did you really think you could just slip that greasy fish oil into my orange juice without me noticing, Mom?
Jason: (Smiling at me, trying not to crack up altogether...) Don't knock it until you try it.
Me: Em, will you please just drink it? Let's not waste this cup, but if you don't like it hidden in your "Magic Orange Juice" (calcium enriched) then you can go back to taking it directly from a spoon...
Em: Oh, alright, I'll try it!

And miraculously she got it down without any complaints. We'll be switching to tablets once this bottle is gone. Apparently I'm not as savvy as Seinfeld's wife...and neither is the "Great Strawberry Taste!"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Smarter than the Government...

Are you smarter than a 2nd grader?



Emily, my 7 year old, is not only smarter than those that pass laws in our country, but her wisdom runs even deeper. Today on the way to school I told her that across the nation, at schools everywhere, students, teachers and parents were gathering to pray at their flagpoles.

Me: A long time ago, Em, the Bible used to be a text book in school and teachers and students prayed together to start each day. But, there are many people that hate God and the Bible so they worked hard to pass laws that took those two things out of the classroom.

Em: That's ridiculous, mom! God lives in my heart. HE comes to school with me everyday. No one can take HIM or HIS WORD out of my heart. That law doesn't even make sense.

(I heard about SYATP on the way to school on the radio, so by the time Em and I got there, we missed it. instead, she and I stopped for a minute with her little best friend's dad and the three of us thanked God that no matter how hard others try, NO ONE CAN TAKE GOD'S LOVE FROM OUR HEARTS!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

For new readers

So, for a few years I've needed to do this. I get around to things when I have time. Today I had a little...I have wanted to do a quick summary post for people who have never read Noah's story so they can be up to speed. Here it is...



Whenever I meet new people they ask me if I have children. My answer is usually dependent upon the vibe I feel from that person, and, quite frankly, how much time I have to answer. But, let’s pretend you and I have just met, or maybe we have known each other for years but are just reconnecting and that we have a substantial amount of time to get to know one another’s stories. I’ll go first, since you asked, and then I’d love to hear your story, because we all have one and yours is important to tell.

You asked if I had any children. I do. I could stare at my daughter, Emily, for the rest of time and never tire of the beauty and life she brings to the world. I am in awe that my husband, Jason and I have been entrusted with her life here on earth. We also have a son named Noah, but he passed away. It’s a long story, but the short of it is Noah was born healthy and beautiful but quickly showed signs of illness at about four weeks. He was breast fed but had chronic diarrhea, was increasingly weak, had a rash and had something called hypotonia, or floppiness. We took him to the doctor who said he just had a virus but that we needed to get his eyes checked by a neurologist at some point because they noticed he had nystagmus, a condition where your eyes ‘click’ or get stuck in the corners of your eyes. On August 2nd, 2006, just 7 and a half weeks after Noah was born, we took him to an outpatient neurology appointment. A lot happened during the next 5.5 months, which is the content of this blog from August 2006 to January 2007. You can click here to read from the beginning. We didn’t leave the hospital again until January 13th, 2007, the day after we took Noah off life support.

This blog started as a place to update family and friends about Noah’s medical status from his stay at Children’s Hospital. Since then it has served many other purposes, including my place to grieve, scream, shout, and learn to live and laugh again. I had said that if Noah ever died, I would surely die. That cold day in January I did, indeed, die. But I died to a way of living that was completely self-serving and me-focused. The impact my life had made on the world in 35 years paled in comparison to the one Noah had made in his short 7 months. I died, but I was also born that day to live a life here on earth worth living.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of Noah. I wear a bracelet with his beautiful face on it every day and each night our daughter asks for a story that always begins, “Once upon a time, Emily and Noah went on a great adventure…” Just because I am able to share my story, wear a smile on my face and keep pressing forward does not mean I am ‘over it’ or that it has been easy. I’m not going to candy coat that the loss of a child absolutely sucks. There are no words to describe the daily reality of milestones he’ll never reach. January 12th, 2007 was the last time I tucked Noah into bed. I will never straighten his tie for the prom. I will never know what it is like to hear him say my name. These are heart wrenching realities for anyone who has lost a child, but the heartache pales in comparison to all that Noah’s short life continues to teach me and the many others who have fallen in love with him.

I have found hope that in sharing our story we can encourage others, knowing we aren’t the only ones on this earth to suffer loss, heartache or disappointment…especially in the way we think God is supposed to work. Even though our son died, I have hope and assurance that God is good and can see a bigger picture, one more beautiful than I can comprehend…and I have found peace. How about you? What is your story?