Wednesday, January 31, 2007

You know how in a movie when a guy cries, there's no stopping the tears? Well, the next most tender thing is the heart of a daddy melted by his love for his kids...I loved Jason before we had kids, but, boy do I love him so much more today. I'm grateful for our marriage. I'm blessed to have him not only as my extremely handsome husband but my very dearest friend. I'm sad that so many marriages are torn apart by "circumstance". I guess the divorce rate for marriages of families with ill children is the same as the national average...50%. The devil abhors marriage. That's a weak verb to describe it, really. He'll use any avenue to destroy them at any cost. He doesn't give a rip about love, and he most certainly doesn't give a rip about any of us. That is why it is so easy for him to try to wreak havoc on our lives...yours, mine and the guy next door. He hates marriage so much that it is his goal on this earth to break up the Great Marriage of Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom, to His eternal Bride, the Body of Christ, the Church on earth. He'll do anything to break up that glorious union. He's the crazy relative in the back of the church who, when the pastor says, "If there is anyone here who doesn't think these two shall be united in holy matrimony, speak now, or forever hold your peace", wants to literally stop the wedding, even though everyone else knows it's a perfect match.

The reality is this...we are all living in "circumstance". It's called earth. We weren't created to live outside of God's physical presence, but we do, and you can rack your brain trying to figure out why "bad things happen to good people" for the rest of your life, and yes, it's your prerogative to blame God if you want, but the truth is, this is a fallen world. We are aliens here. God does not delight in our suffering, but He can sure as heck turn it around for His glory by using it for discipline in our lives. He's the last One who wanted interaction with His creation to be like this. Remember how He walked and talked with Adam and Eve? Anyway, His word says that He disciplines those He loves. What we do through that discipline is another story. We know a really humble man who used to be a big time new ager. He was into some strange stuff. Well, his son was shot point blank by a gang member and died. Our friend made a bee line to the Lord. His wife quoted Job's wife eloquently and divorced him...I hope you don't have to wonder which one has been comforted, which one has been encouraged, which one, in the midst of pain, sadness and sorrow, has the hope that is set before him...and who is stewing in a vat of bitterness...
I've been chewing on Hebrews for a while now and want to read it a few more times. It's really rich and points to eternity, emphasizing faith as a perspective. A scripture that I memorized years ago is one I'll leave you with to chew on, as it's meat not milk...
"Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:10-11

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Such a great package came in the mail today...our pictures from the photographer that came to the hospital on the 12th to capture our most intimate moments with Noah. I'll share more as the days ahead.

The first one frustrates me! I was so paranoid during Noah's hospital stay that I not get him "sick" that I kept most of my kisses "confined" to his entire body, save his lips! If I could go back and do it all over again, I'd kiss his lips like there's no tomorrow...
The second one is how I picture myself quite often these days...nuggling the most tender precious litte bundle. Emily tonight really wished she could just nuggle him one more time, but "REALLY, REALLY TIGHT", she said. "I just want to SQUEEEEEEEEZE him, mom!"
On our flight home from Minneapolis on Sunday, Emily opened the window shade and said, "Let's say hi to Noah!" We waved out into the endless dark sky, realizing he wasn't paying attention at all, seeing as how he's got WAY more exciting things to do these days...I'm so glad that life on this earth is but a breath.

Monday, January 29, 2007

So, this is a picture of Emily and her Auntie Terra flying through the air at the Mall of America in Minnesota last week. Jason had to work in MN and in SD, so we went along for the ride. We have family and friends in each location, so we packed in a lot of short but sweet visits. The picture sums up not only our whirlwind week, but the state of my life right now. What's that? You were wondering what the audio on this particular picture might say...Well, funny that you would ask! In order to get this great action shot of Em and her Aunt thoroughly enjoying themselves, I was indeed flying through the air backwards! The audio is of my guts churning and the fluid in my ears splashing about uncontrollably as I experienced vertigo the remainder of the day! There really is no need for a reminder never to repeat such Tom Foolery!

Anyway, the reason the picture sums up life right now, no, actually ever since I decided years ago to truly follow the Lord, is that it shows what John the Baptist and Jesus were conveying in the following passages:

"I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire." Matthew 3:11-12

  • God showed me this scripture in college one night. I got stuck on the word "winnow" so in my study Bible there was a cross reference to the study note on Ruth 1:22. There it described the winnowing process, where during a certain time each day when there was a breeze, the winnower would take his huge fork and stab the wheat, throwing it in the air for the chaff to blow away, leaving only the pure grain at his feet. WOW is all I could think! A picture of God sifting my life of the things that aren't necessary, just wanting the wheat at His feet, me at His feet, pure and simple, organic for His use...well, it's rocked my world ever since. The idea of our lives being "thrown" into the air for purification is a control freaks nightmare! Believe me, I fought it for a long time, but what need does God have of a pile of chaff?

"Simon, Simon, satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." Luke 22:31-32

  • This scripture is from the last supper, and it's in red font, so, you know what that friend, Phyllis, in SD, shared this one yesterday at church. I love it because, unlike Job's situation, Jesus outright tells Simon, who is Peter, that satan has asked to sift him. He forewarns him, though Peter is so bent on convincing Jesus (hello, it's if He didn't know...) he's actually going to be faithful. Then, obviously, satan had to ask. He is subject to God's sovereignty. Period. Then, Jesus tells Simon that He has already prayed for him, that his faith would not fail. Jesus is interceding for us all the time! Then, Jesus tells Simon that He knows he'll turn back to Him, and once he does, to encourage everyone around him from his own experience. Let me just reiterate what the scripture does not say...Simon, Simon, satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But, I told him "No" because that's not nice...or "No" because life on earth is supposed to be peachy...or "No" because that just might rock his faith...

I don't know about you, but it seems as if satan might be part of the great sifting that is going on in the church. The sifting that is Jesus trying to find the pure wheat that will be finally left at His feet for His use. For His glory. And I can tell you first hand, though purification is definitely what I am experiencing and desiring, I still feel like I'm up in the air, flying backwards on a suspended chain link swing in the middle of the Mall of America!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Friday, January 26, 2007

This picture was taken a few days before Christmas. I love it because I imagine that the look on Noah's face is one that expresses the following sentiment...

Ooooh, mom, that's the best kiss! I love you so much! Oh, yep, I like smooches there and there and there and all over my entire face! How did you know?! You're the best mom! Thanks for all the loving! Oh man, I love you! Ahhhhh!
(I liken it to finding the funny scratch spot on a dogs' hip that if you keep scratching it, their leg goes crazy...) Anyway, you get what I mean!
I just think his face shows that he really "got" that I was in love with him!

So, I want to share a few quotes that I learned the other day, and thankfully they are by "unknown" because I'm not good at remembering who said it, unless it's God. (Also, these are the general thoughts of the quotes, so they probably aren't exactly as they were written...)

"If you are modeling something other than what you are teaching, you are teaching something entirely different."
  • Powerful words that should make us all look deeply into the mirror.

"The tragedy isn't that ones' life ends so young, it is that some people wait too long to start living."

  • Though I have heard this before, it is now filtered through a new perspective of what "living" truly is and what it most certainly is not...

"You have never truly lived until you give something to someone for which they can never repay you."

  • So selfless. This quote sums up Jason's and my life for the last 7+months! Not that we have truly lived by giving, but that we have been so very humbled by the giving of love from you all in many ways, and we know we aren't able to even begin to repay...we know saying "thank you" will never be enough, nor will it ever sum up our hearts' sentiment, yet we will continue to say it...Thank you!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

These pictures are a bit blurry because it's difficult to focus through tears flowing. These were on January 12th at about 1:30pm and we laid Noah before the Lord at around 1:45 or 1:50. I wasn't watching the clock, obviously...

I've had a friend or family member die almost every year of my life since 3rd grade. I actually feared death for YEARS! I feared it even though I knew Christ and knew Heaven was this great place. However, in the last 9 years, God's been showing me a lot about His return, Heaven, and death. I love that in His word, you can read the same passage time and again and have new insight that wasn't the lesson for you the last time you read it. So, take into account the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden. God showed me that we live in a place for which we were not created. We live outside of the Garden. We are physically seperated from the physical presence of God. We are on earth, where pain, sadness, sickness and disease are realities. That is where the alien scripture comes into play from 1 Peter 2:11, "Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul." That verse could have been in Genesis! Now, Noah, and many of my friends and family, and from your comments, many of your loved ones, too, are "in the Garden". They are in the place for which they were created, the physical presence of God, glorifying His name for eternity. I'm the one "out of the Garden". We're the ones "left over" right now until it's our time, of which only God knows. There are many Christians that would try to take scriptures and talk about our abundant life here on earth. Yes, that is something God offers us, BUT the perspective of eternity and through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit is the filter through which we need to interpret such scriptures. We are spiritual beings. Even Emily wanted to know where Noah's body was when we told her he went to be with Jesus. She asked us a 4 year old question, "Did they throw him in the trash can?" I know it sounds pretty harsh, but the reality is, even my 4.5 year old knew that Noah's spirit was no longer in his body. This isn't something Jason and I had completely explained to her at that point. She just knew...

Until we become uncomfortable in our own skin, the pursuit of the cross, worshipping God, denying ourselves will never EVER lead us into abundant life in Christ! Abundant life in Christ is not making life on this earth AWESOME and AMAZING, in terms of the world. Jesus said that he came that we would have life and have it to the full, but that the thief comes to kill, steal and destroy. What things in our lives kill our joy, steal our attention and destroy our intimacy with Christ? We are ALIENS!

Yes, I miss Noah. I miss squeezing him. I miss going to the hospital everyday, which may sound strange, but that is my reality now...I miss smelling him and holding him, spooning him, and kissing the bridge of his nose that was perfectly created to fit my lips, like a lock and key. But, in the same vein, I have peace that is indescribable just being able to imagine him being at home with God. I said it long ago in a post that I have the realization that "my" kids are not, in fact, "mine" but they are God's alone and we as parents are the stewards, the mentors, merely the ones on earth to whom they have been entrusted. It's quite an honor to be a parent, really. That is the humbling part in all of this. I don't think that we were "special", more special than anyone else, but for some miraculous reason, Jason, Em and I were chosen to be Noah's family. That is the awe that fills my thoughts quite frequently throughout the day. I have that same awe fill my heart when I stare at Emily. I pray that you get that awe deep in your own heart for the lives that God has brought across your path. We all know "life" on this earth is too short. Even my grandmother who is 91 and wants to live until she's 104 (WHY?!) thinks that life is too short! But for which location are we living these lives? It's all about PERSPECTIVE! What if life on this earth, even one hour, 12 days, 7 months, or 91 years is actually TOO LONG?! Think about how ticked off the devil would be if all of a sudden, millions of people on earth STOPPED fearing death and started living with eternal perspective...Now THAT is AWESOME!

And in God's faithfulness, He of course covers this topic in His word, as He does EVERYTHING else..."Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." Hebrews 2:14-15. (emphasis mine) We don't die spiritually when Jesus is the One on the throne of our hearts. But people, our bodies, our temples, do physically wear out. They pass away. It's the fear of death that holds people in slavery to this life on earth...

That's what Noah's life has been teaching me today...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

When I think about the story of Job, there are obviously many major themes that stand out to me...
  • God and satan having a conversation about one of God's faithful
  • Satan launching an all out attack on Job and his family
  • Job's friends trying to offer "help" by trying to put God in a box
  • God showing up and setting things straight about Who He is and Who He is not
  • Job reaping bountiful blessings after satan's attempt to jade his heart

*(FYI: Since I don't like the devil so very much, I don't believe he deserves a capital letter at the beginning of his name!)

But another theme that shines through when we are blessed with the entire story from beginning to end is God's faithfulness to use Job's story as a forewarning to us, readers years later, warning us that satan is real and he desires to destroy our lives with havoc here on earth...You see, before I even got pregnant with Noah, Jason and I knew that the upcoming year would have major changes for us. I even spoke with my friend from our old church about it because even though I didn't know what those changes were, I knew I would need to step down from my responsibilities on the women's council. Jason and I had talked about moving, travels, possible job change. When I found out I was pregnant, I knew that would bring change but I knew it wasn't the specific change God was talking of. When Jason accepted a new job, we knew that was only part of it. Even when Noah was born and sleep was obsolete, it wasn't the change God had warned us of. Just like in Job's story, God knew that satan would try his darndest to destroy Job's love and passion for Him. We had Grace. We were given God's word, through Job's experience, to see that we live in a fallen world and that the devil will try anything to discourage us. No, that's stating it lightly...he'll do anything so that hell isn't an empty place with him sitting there all alone. So, back to our story, God graciously provided for us for the season passed and for whatever lies ahead. He blessed me with a healthy pregnancy. He blessed Jason with a new job working from home. Throughout the entire time we were in the hospital with Noah, God kept bringing to mind scripture after scripture to encourage us and lift our hearts. One in particular was that anything that is hidden will be brought to light. He is faithful. He exposes darkness. The Lord exposes the schemes of the enemy so that what he thinks is done in secret is really not a secret at all. There is no such thing as a secret if God is all-knowing, now is there? If we aren't living with our eyes and ears focused on Him, when a storm or tempest approaches or "comes out of nowhere" then we are not going to be able to experience first hand the Grace that is sufficient for us.

So, at this point, some may think that the tragedy is that Noah is no longer with us physically. And though I miss him in the deepest most tender part of my heart, I'd beg to differ that, once again, the tragedy is that the devil continues to attempt at coaxing God's children from intimacy with Him, and, unfortunately for him, he continues to get his head bashed in and reminded of his final destination and his choice to disobey God. Misery loves company, but it's not getting mine!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Here are two pictures of the dove release. We could not have had a more perfect ending to a ceremony for our son, Noah, whose name means Peace. The real question I want to know is how do the doves know to return to their homes? It's like they are living boomerangs or something! Think about it...even Noah's dove brought the branch back to him. It could have stayed on the tree from which the branch was plucked but it returned to Noah so that he knew the waters were residing.

Anyway, I'm not a "counter" but to state the obvious, it's been a week. I miss my boy like crazy! I can't smell him and that really bothers me! I want so badly to speed over to the hospital and jump up in his crib with him and spoon him all night long, hold his hands and smooch the heck out of him! That has been the hardest part all week...not being at home, but the NOT being at the hospital. I want to go visit everyone there soon, but it may take a little while...

Today Em and I were playing with blocks in the family room...
Em: "Let's build Noah's castle in Heaven!"
Me: "Okay, what does it look like?"
Em: "There are clouds everywhere on the ground and gold columns by the door and then a big huge tower."
(Sounds nice. I wonder how many kids get glimpses of Heaven and we pass it off as "just dreams"?)

Meanwhile, we're helping our church plant a new site downtown this Sunday on the 16th Street Mall at the Pavillions Theatre at 10:00 am. Come if you don't already have a church...we don't want to "church steal" even though the Church has no walls.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It's difficult to know where to begin...actually, this will be my first official post from my own home, and quite frankly, my juices aren't flowing! Maybe I'll have to go to the hospital everyday in order to post!?!? Anyway,
Jason and I were very pleased with the way the service went on Monday. Thank you, everyone, for praying for us, and thanks to all the many representatives that were there physically for everyone else who was there in spirit. We were very humbled at the faces that walked through the doors to support us and to honor our little man of God. One of the first people in the door was an old (she's not OLD) college friend who completely surprised me from Seattle! There was also a student, Lauren, from the college where I used to work in MN who came with her daughter...I had forgotten she was from Colorado. Anyway, you get the idea, and that was just the beginning. We were surrounded by family and friends from coast to coast, old and new...Jason and I both shared our hearts, we had an open microphone for a bit, a slideshow set to "40", "Yahweh", and "Beautiful Day", Noah's song, then our pastor shared his heart about how Noah's life had changed his own, and then we had an awesome time of praise and worship, giving honor to where honor is due! Then, we had two friends praying for warm enough weather for a surprise of which we told no one. We had everyone dismissed outside for a few minutes while Jason and Emily and I released 8 beautiful white doves, 7 for the 7 months of Noah's life, and then Em got to release the single dove as a symbol of the Holy Spirit and God's presence in our lives, as well as releasing her brother. It was a perfect way to end the celebration! (The temperature had to be above 18F so that the doves' lungs would not freeze! That would have really put a damper on everything!) As everyone was dismissed for the dove release, we handed out CD's that have a picture of Noah printed on them and a compilation of songs that remind us of Noah and our personal journey and devotion to the Lord. Then we headed in for Peet's coffee and cookies from Zaidy's where we were able to reconnect with many people. My goal is to somehow make a link available to view Noah's slideshow so you can all enjoy it on your own time. I'll see what I can do...

Tonight is the first night in over 7 months that Jason and Emily and I have been at home alone. The part that bothers me is that it is "normal" to not have Noah at home. He had been at TCH Denver for 5+ months and only at home for 7 1/2 weeks, 8 of those days in South Dakota...Perhaps it is part of the grace? To not sit around the house and have reminders of Noah doing this here or that there, but instead to truly picture him in the home that is his eternal home, I definitely see it as grace!

Last night we had dinner with our dear friends, Rock and Kim from South Dakota. Kim put into words so eloquently what my mind has thought of but been unable to convey. She said something to the effect of God not seeing death as a punishment to us because His ways are not our ways since His perspective on death is worlds apart from our own. For Him, death of a child of His is a beautiful thing, a true re-entry into the "world" for which we were created, the world of the physical presence of God.

I told her how it frustrates me that some in Christendom would say that the devil got the victory in Noah's death, because Jason and I don't believe that with one ounce of our being. We give all glory to God alone! We literally had faith to move mountains. We physically did everything, talking to "experts" around the world. We pulled all-nighters doing research, and yes, if you made me do a biology exam tomorrow to define the parts of the cell, I could name every component! We even went back to the mortuary yesterday, after five days to give Noah one last chance to come home with us, but God spoke very boldly that Noah was exactly where he was supposed to be. He also made it quite clear that He is coming again soon, just as He said many years ago. Noah didn't die because the devil is bigger than God! Noah was a gift to God, from a dad and mom that loved him as big as the ocean, all the salt in the sea and every grain of sand...There really is no other explanation. It was his time and God gave us His peace to discern that truth. She also told us that in the world she grew up in, sickness and death was due to a person's sin or God's displeasure with them. (Are Job's friend's sentiments ringing in your ears?!?!) That it was His punishment and if they didn't have enough faith, it was their own fault they were sick or that someone might die. No stinking wonder that people shy away from Christianity! The message, NO, The Message has been misrepresented! Just give me Jesus! Plain and simple, true, pure and beautiful! Come meet me at the well, Lord, I'll be there drawing water when it's not too crowded with all the "holy" people.

If you get a chance any time soon, take a look at Galatians 4. God showed it to my mom yesterday and some of the wording could have been written by Noah instead of Paul. It could have been written by many of the children in heaven that have been represented by their parents posting on this blog.

Finally, Jason said to me last night before bed that he felt lazy. I told him I understood what he meant. At least at the hospital we had people coming in left and right that we could share God's love with, whether visitors, staff, or parents of other kids, at home I'm hunting 5 month old sized dust creatures out from behind the dryer! It's all surreal, as if the last 16+ months never really happened! Man, do we ever have a lot to process!?

Monday, January 15, 2007

The most glorious "mistake"...
The hospital made a great mistake that, in their eyes needed to be reconciled, but in my eyes was beautiful and quite redeeming for all the unknowns for the last 5+ see, on Noah's death certificate they put: Date of Death: January 12, 2007 For the Date of Birth: January 12, 2007 (just 7 months off...) They told me they were sorry and that they would fix it, but I told them it was exactly what happened, Noah was born again on January 12, 2007 into the Kingdom of Heaven, so it really wasn't a mistake at all...

Tomorrow is the service for Noah. When I get a chance to slow down a bit, I'll post exerpts from it, along with happenings over the weekend. All I know is this is just the beginning of something quite beautiful and breathtaking, really...all the love and affection I thought I offered him, he gave me so much more. So much more!

Friday, January 12, 2007

"Crowned in Peace"

Truly "Crowned in Peace" is Noah Steven Graves.
There is "Nothing Missing, Nothing Broken", not in Noah, anyway...
He is missing from my arms and my heart is broken but not destroyed. I have not met a more perfect little person.
Today Emily said after our photography session, "Mom, don't let him go." I said, "I won't but if Jesus wants him, I'm not going to disobey because do you remember how mad he got when the disciples tried to discourage the little children from coming to him?"
She understood...
You see, when Jesus directed us to have faith like a child, it was quite simple, really.
Think about it...when we tell a child that there's this God that we can't see with our eyes or feel with our hands who created the whole universe, that loves us unconditionally,
He lives in Heaven and there are castles there,
no crying, no sadness, sickness or hurt...usually the response is, "I love God. I want to go there!"
Then, we "grow up" and take theology classes and try to figure God out with our minds and we really screw things up...There is a reason that Jesus was so in love with children and why He still is today-they are not tainted with "higher education" or lofty thinking. They are pure, they are simple. There are no complications, no denominations, no classes, no reasons NOT to believe. It's pure faith. Faith like a child.
I believe Noah had that kind of faith. Or, at least he taught me to have it by living his life out loud in front of me.
We will post more pictures from our photo session with Em and Noah prior to laying him before the Lord.
We thank you for your overwhelming response of support, love and prayers. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We covet them as we know our lives will continue on this road of radical transformation...We have a peace that surpasses all natural understanding, and, of course, at the same time I want Noah back more than anything else in the entire world. I'd give my life for him if there was a guarantee that he'd wake up and be with his dad and sister!
He touched the deepest, most tender part of my heart.
I guess he had the same effect on the Father heart of God, he got to go there, to His arms, and delight His heart. For that we are grateful.
Please know we will continue this blog because we know it is just the beginning of a legacy from Noah's service to God that beyond our own imagination...
Also, we wanted all of you to be able to have a cyber-wake, as weird as that sounds. We know that you have fallen in love, so we wanted you to be able to see his angelic face as he sleeps peacefully in the arms of his loving Savior.
(*pinch me, please, because it is surreal that I am posting this...)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Waiting is the hardest part...having such a peace in my heart for something so wonderful as us releasing our son into the arms of the Creator of the entire Universe, makes waiting the hardest part. I want to spend every second with him, I don't want to close my eyes and sleep, but the peace that we know, that deep stillness that is in the natural, unfathomable, also makes me wonder why we have to wait to offer our gift without blemish...It's like when you find a gift for someone and it brings joy to your heart knowing it's perfect for that person, you can't wait to give it to them...We are grateful for the week, but the hope is overwhelming! I am the richest woman in the entire world! It may be boastful, but, seriously, to be given the opportunity in modern day to literally and legally lay our child at the feet of God, that is the MIRACLE! Noah's beautiful 7 month life here on this earth IS the miracle. My heart transformation, Jason's, maybe yours...No matter what, no matter where, God gets ALL the glory! You see, what may bother some that the doctors never have diagnosed Noah, it adds to my peace...NO ONE CAN LABEL OUR SON! We are so very grateful that the ONLY reason for death is that Noah was given as a gift to the Most High God! Science wants to wrap its brain around a specific diagnosis, but when one lives up to one's name, "Noah-Peace-Shalom-Nothing Missing, Nothing Broken", then no test can define him, no category can label him, he is called by his name. The death certificate can't say something specific. Unless you want to get technical, then fill in the blanks with "Earth sucks. He got a glimpse of Perfection so Noah went home to be with Jesus." So sorry, devil (fyi, he's unworthy of upper case emphasis!), but obviously you are quite dense because you try this daily all over the world. You try to cause hearts to harden toward God, try to distract and discourage. You messed with the wrong family...We'll only shout it louder, love harder, tell even more people about the amazing unconditional love of God, the saving grace of Jesus Christ and the Peace that passes all understanding. Noah is God's alone and the devil does not get one bit of the glory. God knew our hearts, just as He knew Job's...Friday will be a glorious day!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

We just wanted to give everyone some details for the next few days.

If anyone is wanting to come see us at the hospital, we are asking that they do it on Thursday before 8:00pm. We are asking for no visitors on Friday, please.

Noah's memorial service will be at 1:00 pm on Monday, January 15th at Red Rocks Church ( - located in the northwest corner of Heritage Square in Golden. Dessert reception to follow. Childcare will be provided.

In lieu of flowers, please consider sending a contribution to a non-profit of your choice in honor of Noah - maybe something that is dedicated to helping children.

I had a good birthday on Monday with family and friends. Emily picked out Dora hats for the girls and Sponge Bob hats for the boys. Not a huge fan of Dora since she is like, what? 6 years old walking through the woods with her monkey with no parental supervision...Anyway...I am 35. I feel like I'm a "mature" woman finally. Maybe I've aged significantly in the last 5+ months, but every gray has been worth the trial, every wrinkle one to cherish since I know why it showed up...

The reason I celebrate this birthday like none other is that I am filled with great pride and humility from the gift I have been given from my sweetest little boy, Noah Steven Graves. You see, one of my life goals is to set foot on every continent. I have touched four. My son, on the other hand, has "touched" ALL 7! On the blog counter that Jason set up, there is a country flag counter that alerts us to the top 30 countries that have logged on. Six continents were represented until the other night when I found out from my friend Cindy, that there's a guy named Josh in Antarctica who is praying for Noah, too! And, obviously that is not only 7 people, but did you know that just shy of 25,000 individual hits have been made on Noah's blog? Perhaps every state is represented? That the counter does not indicate...Anyway, we are in awe of the way that word has spread around the world about our little mighty man of God. Thank you, Noah, for making me proud and beating me to every continent...Jason and I will have Noah cremated after the service on Monday and wherever God leads us as a family on this beautiful earth, we will leave a little bit of Noah there...

Monday, January 08, 2007

The next night’s conversation…
Me: Em, do you think it’s possible to be happy and sad at the same time?
Em: Yes, because I’ll be sad that Noah’s not with me, but happy because he’s with Jesus.
Me: What do you think it will be like when Noah’s in heaven?
Em: Well, it’ll probably go back to the way it was…
Me: No, Emily, it’ll never be the same. Our lives will never be the same, do you know why?
Em: Yes, because Noah came into our lives…

Letter from Noah’s parents

We want to thank you all for the things that you have done. All the visits, meals, calls, letters, gifts and thoughts, but mostly, thank you for all the prayers. Without all the prayers, we don’t know that we would have been able to follow through on what we feel God wants us to do.

We feel that God has performed a true miracle in our lives. He has given us the peace and strength to make the decision to take Noah off life support on Friday afternoon, January 12th. We do not feel as though we are giving up, but rather we have been given the opportunity to give our son as a living sacrifice to God. To place Noah fully at God’s feet. No strings attached, no expectations, but a sweet gift in which we undoubtedly know God will delight.

And we suspect, many of you feel that God has performed a miracle in your life as well. Maybe you have followed our journey, pulled for Noah and maybe you have prayed for the first time in your life. Why have you prayed? To Whom have you prayed? Has our journey given you perspective that you never had before? Please hold onto this and never let it go. Noah has changed our lives in very deep ways. Please let his life change you as well, for today and eternity.

We don’t pretend to comprehend God’s massiveness. We only have faith in Him. We only have faith in what He asks us to do. To love Him and obey Him. And with that, we have come to a place of surrender. Lord, we surrender Noah’s life to you. His life is in Your hands. Noah has come into our lives and we will never be the same…

Unless God reaches down and heals our son, we are planning a funeral service for Monday afternoon at RRC (see link on left), with a possible wake on Saturday or Monday AM. As we have lived our lives, these events will be no different. Everything will be open to anyone who wants join us. More details to come.

Either way we are at peace.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Em wanted to hold Noah tonight for a long time. I sat next to them and told them about the adventures of Em and Noah...FYI, they went to Australia and got into kangaroo pouches and had races! Anything is possible on Em and Noah's great adventures.
This is a tender moment of smooches being passed on and on and on. That's Auntie Tonja, one beautiful woman with the most generous and tender heart...our kids are blessed beyond words with the family that surrounds them.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Last night's conversation...
Me: Em, what would you think if Noah went to see Jesus before we get to?
Em: I would be very sad.
Me: I know. Me too. I would miss him so much.
Em: He'll get to live in a castle.
Me: You're right! How did you know that?
Em: I just knew...I just knew.
Me: Did you know because Jesus is the King of Kings and Noah's His child, so he's a prince?
Em: Yes. I want to go, too!
Me: I do, too, Em, more than anything, but if Jesus wants you and daddy and me to keep doing some more work for Him here for a while, we'll have to wait. We'll get to go, too, one day...

The above conversation took place the day after I told Em about Mother Teresa. She was so intrigued. I told her about Mother Teresa's daily activities and how she loved the "unlovely", those disposed of by society (who the HECK is society?) Anyway, I told her that she died and went to go see Jesus. I told her that when she arrived God said, "Well done, my good and faithful servant!" She asked me how I knew what God said to MT. I told her that God's word says that if we obey Him and love people the way He does, those will be the words we hear...she said, "I want Him to say that to me, too!"

So, the other day I was praying in Noah's room at home. I laid everything that the Lord has ever told me about Noah at God's feet. I wanted it all out there so that if it was me, it would be at His feet, and if it was Him, it would still be at His feet. Anyway, I then sat and listened...(in case you talk the whole time you pray, might I make a suggestion that you just zip it and listen? It really is revolutionary...) and asked the Lord to give us direction, to speak to my heart and give me peace in the midst of this storm. Well, like every other time I have pursued His direction during the last 5 months on this journey, He talked once again about the Bride of Christ. He elaborates on it each time. This was pretty cool...but, He just reiterated that Jesus wants to return...Here's the picture He showed me:

(FYI: This will step on toes...)
Just like most grooms, not all, but most, and that's okay, Jesus pretty much just wants to get the wedding done with and have His bride. Seriously, He said He is waiting for His Father's timing, His direction of when He will return. The groom waits for the minister to tell him when to go to the front of the church...Meanwhile, the Bride, or the Church, has become consumed with the actual ceremony and reception, so much so that what in America takes anywhere from 6 months to a year to plan has taken over 2000 years thus far. She's gotten caught up on whether the ribbon in the bouquets matches the coating on the mints that matches the font on the napkins that matches the bridesmaids' shoes! In translation, the Church has gotten caught up on details on earth and delighting in life here, even good messages whatever the "soapbox", that we have lost focus, and I would even venture to say, the great anticipation of Christ's return. There are books left and right on how to be a better person. There are believers in Christ who think they must memorize a certain amount of Scriptures or have a minimum amount of years under their belt, or even a theology degree, before they can share the love of Christ. There are people who actually think they have to "get" perfect before He returns. The disciples didn't have any "qualifications" to first of all follow Christ, and secondly, they didn't have "longevity" in their walk with Him. They didn't need convincing that Jesus was someone to follow hard after. There has been ample focus on abundant life here on earth, and to an extent, that is okay, but NOT when we are looking AROUND and not UP! God wants us to have a good life on earth, but that is not exclusive! God is in love with EVERYONE yet not everyone knows that. Did you know that there are people that don't want to have anything to do with God because the American Christian church has given Him such a bad name?! Back to the wedding analogy, the bride has now become bridezilla and is freaking out because this detail and that isn't perfect, all the while, the groom, seriously, just wants to have his beautiful bride on his arm, to show everyone and puff his chest out just a little more...

I was "guilty" of the details of my 1993 puffy dress/big hair wedding in a mauve store front church. I've been guilty of the details of how to be a "good" christian. I am grateful for it, don't get me wrong, but if I saw Jason on the street today and we knew we were meant for eachother, we would have hopped on a plane to Mexico and gotten married the next day! You get the idea! At least I hope you do...Jesus wants to come for His Bride. He wants to reunite God's created with the Creator Himself. I tell you is as close to hell as I ever want to be...I am over this place, I am so VERY much OKAY with heading Home just as soon as He calls. Jesus said to preach the good news of the gospel, to heal the sick and raise the dead...There are wonderful things to "do" on earth, but if He comes calling, will I say, "Lord, I'm doing this nice thing, can you hang on a second?" Literally, what would Jesus Christ be doing today, who would He be hanging out with, how would He be loving people if He were walking in the land of the living? I want to do life like that! Please hold me accountable!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

So, we did it...we marked our bodies to remind ourselves to pray for Noah. I had thought of waiting until Emily was 10 to get her ears pierced since that's how old I was, but I copied my friend who had her daughter's ears pierced to always remember her little sister Pearl who resides in heaven. Today was Noah's 5 month marker for being here and I wanted to commemorate it. Em, her Nana, her Auntie T and I went to the mall and all invested in some new earrings. Tonja bought some "diamonds" to match Em's, but the rest of us girls got pierced. Kaija was bold and went first, at the direction of Em. I'm sure her friends in Watertown are freaking out about now. She was very brave and looks quite beautiful with the new addition..Then Emily appointed me, but I hadn't decided where, whether it was going to be a conservative choice on my part, meaning a second hole in my right ear to match the left after 16 years (split the cost my freshman year with my friend Stephanie b/c we were poor...), or through the cartilage on my upper left ear...I chose the left. Everyone said how much the cartilage hurts, but since it's for Noah, I know it's nothing compared to the pokes and owwies he's had... Then it was Em's turn. She decided against it, though need I remind you she bravely sat through staples in her head? Also keep in mind she hasn't stopped talking about it since I shared the crazy idea with her a week ago. Then she decided for it. Anyway, the girl marked her ears with the marker and had another girl come help so they did it simultaneously. Great in theory...By the time we got in the car and then home and had a really good look, Em's left earring was way off in Egypt, NOWHERE NEAR THE MARKER POLKA DOT, while the right was front and center. Jason called the shop and they said remove it right away and come back after 24 hrs for another go around. Removal was a HUGE ordeal! Em was bawling because she thought it would hurt. She wanted me to do it, then she wanted dad, then she wanted to leave it one point, Jason came up from the basement with pliers in hand for the removal, like a scene from a sci-fi thriller! Finally, wedged between the two of us on the very stairs where staples came into the picture, Jason got the earring out, with his hands and all was calm...I wanted this to be a positive experience for my peanut, I even had offered and applied and removed lidocaine courtesy of TCH Denver, but she didn't want it. Well, now my kid's going in for a second piercing. Emily is excited because every time she twists her earrings, she's going to pray for Noah. Though a botched job, it still accomplished what we think about Noah.

So, speaking of which, some small milestones have been made recently, like yesterday and today, by Noah... He has been stooling more and more on his own. This is a huge accomplishment. Then, he has regained his gag reflex which was gone for over a month and a half...WHY? Ask God! Give Him the Glory! He also continues facial grimaces which some of the nurses had never seen. And, my favorite...the tickles I told you about already...well, they continue and it's just about as cute as can be! Tomorrow we're starting Noah on a rice based food supplement that helps support digestion and decrease inflammation in the body. We had to wait a week to get this ball rolling because conventional Western medicine/dietitians don't use this product and are unfamiliar with it...gee, that's because for the most part, NOT ALL, they follow the FDA food guidelines and pyramid for direction on how to eat. If you look at the back of most vitamins or supplements at a health food store, it may not be "approved" by the FDA, but the entire natural medicine world has existed on these for years! Hello...if the food pyramid is so great, why is America in such a morbid state of health? Don't get me started...Thankfully this month's resident is a vegetarian from Berkley, so he's all over getting Noah on healthy supplements that aren't man made.

Okay, so this is extremely long...but I was praying through a lot of the prayer concerns from the fall and want to throw that out there again. I'd like to dedicate a lot of time of prayer in the next few days for whoever wants/needs it, so PLEASE email us so we can be in prayer for all of you as a family. Also, if you happen to read the comment of the person ahead of you, will you please pray for them as well?

Note to self for later post: peanuts and diamonds...

Monday, January 01, 2007

Em took this picture of Noah the end of July. I just found it on her digital. This was one week before Noah got checked into the hospital, 5 months ago tomorrow. Jason and I were talking last night about how crazy it is that it's been almost a half a year since we checked in...My life has become richer and much poorer during that time. It's become deeper and emptier. I feel like a living oxymoron.

Today I came over to the hospital, had the nurse help get Noah into my arms, put a sign on the door that said, "Do not disturb until 5pm" and snuggled my guy for 3 hours interruptions. No doctors telling me nothing, no drugs to administer, no RT treatments...just me, Noah and God, and we had words...The nurse graciously cleaned up my missed tissue three point shots that fell short all over the floor. She said that's what gloves are for...she told me life is like a marathon, none of us are wrong, we are all at different places, some out front, some in the middle, some walking here and there. I told her I'd rather hand out water to the people in the race, since I'm not a big runner...the problem with this marathon we are running is that there is no goal in our future, not for how we care for or treat Noah. I think this marathon stinks! I know the life marathon goal is to tell the world of the Lord's glorious return, of that, I have no qualms or confusion, but I said, I'd rather pass out water and cheer on the runners by.

I'm not sure why we were chosen to have the most precious little boy we could have ever imagined, but I'm grateful we were and I wouldn't change him coming into our lives for the world. I'd change his state of health, obviously, but if I got pregnant tomorrow and we had Noah all over again, same scene...bring it on...we'll remain faithful and we most certainly won't shut up!
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