Monday, February 26, 2007

Here's a picture of Noah and Em on our maiden voyage from the hospital home two days after he was born. I am glad that Em has a few "road trip" images in her head and memory of her and Noah hanging out in the back seat. She was really good about reaching over and touching him and singing him "Baby Face". Anyway...

The other day we were at my younger sister’s place having dinner and we were surrounded by family, all faces that were usually surrounding us in Noah’s room at the hospital. I had this weird feeling, one of those internal freak out moments when you think you can’t find your kid in public, and I thought, “Oh my gosh! Who’s watching Noah!?” As quickly as the thought and anxiety came, at the same time, God’s peace stilled my heart and I thought, “Oh, Jesus has him covered…he should be fine…” My new brother-in-law’s mentor, who lost his wife 6 years ago, described it to me so eloquently at their wedding on Saturday. He said, “Sometimes I feel like an amputee. I know my wife is gone, but sometimes I wake up in bed and feel like she is there. It feels very real, but I know she is missing.”

Today while Em and I were driving home from a lunch date with one of her friends, her sister and little brother and their great mommy, I reached back to hold her hand…
Me: “Em, I’m sorry that Noah had to go to heaven so soon, even though it’s a great place, because you didn’t get to spend very much time with him…”
Em: “Are you kidding? I got to spend a lot of time with him!”
Me: “You did? Okay. Well, it’s just that not every mommy, daddy, and little girl has to say ‘goodbye’ to their baby boy and little brother so soon in life.”
Em: “Well, I wish all kids could go to heaven while we’re kids so we could just play and laugh and have fun all the time. Growing old can’t be good. You get too busy and tired and can’t run and jump and play as well…How do you think they run through the clouds without falling through and landing on ‘pokey’ trees?”
Me: (I have nothing in response…as far as the trees part, perhaps reverse gravity?)

Friday, February 23, 2007

If you click on the pictures above you can see them a lot larger on your screen. Notice in the one with Jason and Noah that there are three that is brown with small blue polka dots with lime chenille on the back and one that is lime made from that yummy minky material that feels like "butta". The third is a pale blue chenille cable knit blankie that is in the bottom left corner of the picture. The first two I made for Noah. His room is blue, green and brown, with the retro dots and vintage lime chenille. The cable knit blankie was a gift from a dear friend. All three of those blankies are what we wrapped Noah in after we laid him before the Lord. They are also the blankies that he was cremated in...

The second picture has the famous sushi blankie that my friend Kim,, makes. We still have "sushi" with us. It will be a treasure to keep because of the memories it represents. We have a couple of others from Kim that have the retro polka dots and some fun stripes, all of which can be purchased for anywhere between $25-$40 dollars. The reason I listed the prices is because of something that has me quite fired up right now...

I was looking through a magazine last night that had a lot of things dedicated to the environment, organic purchasing, and natural living. One of the final pages was dedicated to 10 things that make their featured guest happy...Some of them were reasonable, as far as the environment is concerned and their realistic prices. However, one thing that makes this person happy is a pair of vegan shoes, that is animal-product free shoes made of raffia. The shoes were priced at $545.00 USD. How very animal friendly! I have some rubber flip flops from REEF that were $18, or, another option is that on clearance at the Gap, you can get rubber flip flops for $5, at Old Navy you can get two pairs of flip flops for $5. But, I also know a better way to save an animal from being made into shoes...let's's called Heifer International and for $500.00 USD, you can buy a whole stinking cow! This cow will go to a family that is in need and can use the cow (its udders) for milk and such. I know that's not vegan (drinking milk), but it does save the cow from being shoes or a belt or coat and it helps a family with real needs. You could also buy 4 sheep for a family that could shear the sheep for sweaters and blankets to sell or to keep themselves warm in their shanty for the winter. Heck, you could buy 21.8 of Kim's blankets at $25 a piece, all vegan (cotton or man-made materials) and donate them to a battered women's shelter if you have that kind of cash lying around or, better yet, if you feel God leading you to do that.

My point is, life here on earth is all about perspective...just because we can do something, doesn't mean we should. "Everything is permissible" - but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible" - but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.
I Cor. 10:23-24

Though it's admirable if some are vegetarians, it's also admirable that others eat meat since God said it was okay after Noah and his family came out of the ark. In the midst of the things on earth about which we are so passionate, are we able to have eternal perspective that is not only beneficial to ourselves but to others around us? I'm pretty sure that buying a pair of $545.00 vegan shoes mainly benefits the purchaser and the designer (and, I guess, anyone who thinks that $545.00 shoes is cool...). And yes, I know the designer has to buy food and clothes and pay for shelter, but, if she sells 100 pairs of these shoes, because hey, they were endorsed by a beautiful rich celebrity, she'd have $54,500.00 in her bank account which is more than a lot of people make in one year. With that, she could really save animals from being shoes by letting 109 of them live with caring families that will look after them...

(p.s. This blog entry is not an open forum for discussing whether being a meat eater or vegetarian is your choice or which one is better. I don't really care. No offense. It's about being a wise steward. Just like the entry on forgiveness was not about spanking...instead, however, why not suggest a productive and life changing way to spend $545.00 USD and share that with the rest of us...Let's sharpen one another...)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

So, I'm pretty sure I've established that I am in love with Em and Noah. I literally would die for Em and I would have for Noah if it would have guaranteed him life this side of heaven, though I know now heaven's way better, so, prolonging the arrival of his residency there would have been selfish...

Anyway, my point is that I would do anything for my kids, which I would think it's safe to assume you would, as well, for your kids. I would prevent any heartache or pain, if at all possible. So, lately, I've been so sad because of some somewhat daily occurrences that Emily endures. You see, since she's 4.5 and quite active, sometimes like a puppy, her legs get going before her body and she trips. Sometimes it's over an object or her own shoe, but the point is, I can see in her face that it frustrates and embarrasses her. The other day, after a small stumble in public, she stood up and said, "Mom, why do I always trip? Why don't grown ups fall down?" I proceeded to tell her that when I was in high school and college, I would wager that a day did not go by that I did not take a tumble. I blew out my ankles in basketball, leaving little or no cartilage and really stretched out tendons. I would be walking on level ground with flat shoes on and fall flat on my face. If shrines were erected at every site where I took a spill on the campus of my Alma matter, there would be no place to walk, especially not on the stairs...I told her that when I was pregnant with her I tripped three times, down to the ground, sprawled out on the sidewalk, belly up. She felt sorry that I had such a history of falling. I told her it was okay, that even though some of my spills hurt really badly and I got bruises and bumps, that they went away and I always knew I could just get back up on my feet again. I told her she could do the same.

So, in an effort to do anything for my kid, if you see me in public sprawled out on the floor of the mall or on the sidewalk, or in the middle of a restaurant, twisted and tangled, don't feel sorry for me. I'm not embarrassed. Years ago it bothered me, but who really cares? As long as no one's physically hurt, it keeps me humble...I'm doing it for Emily so she doesn't get a complex. I don't want her to care what other people think. I don't want her to feel alone.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I think my husband is pretty amazing! I love him. He is not only a great husband but is a wonderful father. No, he is not perfect. Is anyone?! (I'll be the one who does not raise my hand to that will you honestly answer it?) But, one thing he does do is take seriously the role of human dad on earth. He models to his family behavior that is loving, humble, selfless, and in hot pursuit of Almighty God. He knows God is someone to love but also to fear with a holy reverence. Emily does not have to wonder if her daddy loves her as big as the universe. I don't have to question whether Jason thinks I'm the most wonderful wife on earth (for him, obviously, hopefully your husband thinks that of you...) He not only tells us he loves us but he shows it through his actions and words.

One thing that stands out in Jason's character is humility. When he has made a mistake or hurt us in any way, he is quick and willing to apologize. He is not afraid to say he is sorry, to me or Emily or any one else he wrongs. This is so powerful because it shows that he is not too proud, but a true man who, though it is painful, is open to God's refinement. Many parents have it in their heads that to apologize to their child shows weakness. Where the honk did they come up with that?! It is SO contrary to what Christ teaches...They think that to admit being wrong is a poor example since they are the "grown up". On the contrary, it shows a child two things. First, that their parent isn't perfect, which is good because when a parent lies and thinks they are "modeling" perfection, it sets a kid up for insecurity and people pleasing. Secondly, saying you are sorry for something and admitting that you are wrong as a person and parent shows that you have integrity and are willing to take responsibility for your own actions. Otherwise you end up being the parent who is "defending" your kid on the playground or at school from all the "bullies" when, perhaps in reality, your kid was the culprit? They never learned how to say they were sorry because it wasn't shown to them. They were told, "Say you are sorry", but they never witnessed it...Seriously, it really should be no wonder why there is war and hatred on earth...some parents have not modeled to their children how to say, "I am sorry", so, on and on and on, throughout the generations, no one takes responsibility for their own actions.

The picture that keeps coming into my mind is of "The Fonz", that is Arthur Fonzerelli from "Happy Days", who, whenever he would wrong someone, could never say he was sorry. He'd say, "I'm sorrrrrrrrrrrr. I'm sorrrrrrrrr. I'm...." Then, the person he hurt would dismiss his need for an apology because they knew what he was trying to say. Oh, how very macho. Let's all be quick to say we are sorry and model this to our children and to their children...

Sweetheart, I love you. Thank you that humility is a trait of God that you model in our home, to me and to Emily. You also modeled it to Noah and to everyone else who walked through the doors of his many hospital rooms. I respect you and am grateful that you are not a proud man in the false sense of the word. Thank you for modeling integrity. I don't have to lose sleep at night wondering if our kids will grow up to be tyrants. You are the kind of dad, beautifully imperfect, that models love unconditionally. It is no wonder Emily wants to marry a man just like you! (Hopefully Christ will come back before that (smiley face), but if He tarries, then I know God will honor that for her.) I love you as big as the universe. Me xoxox

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Below is a conversation Em and I had at the grocery store the other day while in the baking aisle where they have cheap baking utensils...

Em: Hey, Mom, look! Three spankin' spoons at the grocery store! Why would you need 3 spankin' spoons? (3 wooden spoons in a bag for sale)
Me: In case I broke the other 2 over your buns...
(We just laughed...)

Later, at home in the kitchen...
Me: Em, do you think there might be any other use for a spankin' spoon?
Em: No.
Me (while making a stirring motion with the handcarved wooden spoon Jason's great grandpa made): So, you don't think there might be other uses for spankin' spoons? Like, perhaps, stirring food?
Em: Well, sure, but it's still a spankin' spoon...

Oh man, kids crack me up! We talked more about punishment and disobedience later in life. She was wondering when she's old enough to have priviledges taken away and when she'll be old enough to be grounded. Then she wanted to know why older kids get grounded and I told her that at some point she'll be too old for spankin's. She said, "That's weird, you can't ever be too old for spankin's!" Thus, my following blog entry...

My feelings have been hurt to the core recently. My heart has been broken but it is healing and I will not die from it. (No, this has nothing to do with blog comments...) Forgiveness has already been given freely, seven times seventy...but as I look at the verses that precede Peter's question to Christ about forgiving, it doesn't just say forgive and forget...let me explain.

"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault,
just between the two of you. If he listens to you,
you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen,
take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established
by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'
If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses
to listen even to the church,
treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector."
Matthew 18:15-17
Jesus does say that if the situation is rectified between the two of you and sincere repentance occurs, you can move forward together. That's pretty powerful. I say that because there have been times in my life when someone has sinned against me and I've wanted to tell the world, even though forgiveness was given and heart change occured, just so I wouldn't feel so alone. I realize now that was was gossip on my part.
BUT, Jesus clearly states that if the person who sinned against you does not listen to you, when you, in love, rebuke them, you are to pull one or two others into the situation. You see, the first option is so full of grace. It allows private healing for the person who now knows there is no such thing as a secret. (God knows EVERYTHING, so when we embrace sin in our lives and think it's a secret, we are only fooling ourselves because God will bring it to Light for our own good and the healing of others....) The second option is also full of grace because you wouldn't pull one or two strangers into the scenario, you'd seek out a close friend, a family member, or a mentor, probably. Hopefully we all remedy our ways somewhere in the first two scenes. But, the reality is, many do not, that is why there is the third situation where if the person who sinned against you still does not listen, you are to tell the church. PEOPLE, there is still grace in even this picture, even though the sin is more public by then. The reason I say there is still grace is because HOPEFULLY, if the Church is functioning the way she is supposed to, then restoration can still take place HERE, even at this point! HOWEVER, the second part of verse 17 says if the person who sinned against you refuses to listen to the church, we are to treat them as a pagan or tax collector...Modern day translation: treat them as someone who is ignorant, hard hearted, and Godless. It does not mean they aren't forgiven on your part, but there isn't anything you can do to change their heart if they have not listened. Now, unfortunately for them, they have to face God, who abhors sin, outside of the grace-filled situations that He designed above. Yes, God is love, but let's not kid ourselves that He allows sin to stay in our lives. He refines us for our own good and for the benefit of those around us, so we will walk in humility.
As far as the forgive and forget part that I mentioned earlier, if healing has occured between you and the one who you sinned against or that sinned against you, sometimes the memories of the hurt are still is as strong as the day it all came out. That is where I have found that I need to employ, and realize the person I hurt has the need to do the same, the scripture about forgiving seven times seventy times. If we are both moving forward in our healing, as thoughts arise that cause me to be frustrated once again with the whole situation, I have to choose to forgive, again. It doesn't necessarily mean the person repeats the same sin seven times seventy, though it may, and it doesn't mean we allow them to walk all over us, nor should we expect them to let us walk all over their hearts if we choose not to get our act together.
The point is, our choices as individuals are not truly individualistic in nature. Our choices are not made in a vacuum. They affect everyone around us and it can be a horrible web we weave through bad choices or a beautiful tapestry. I am so grateful that God is gracious to reveal sin in my life so that I won't be the same person I was yesterday! I have to say, though it's painful, I'm glad I'll never be too old for a spankin'.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Through another blog, I found out about a family in Michigan, actually Grand Rapids where I lived for one year in high school. Jason and Em and I have been praying for them ever since we learned of their story. Like I said before, there are so many needs, so keep doing what you are doing, but make the time to read the link below. I'll sum up their story, but you can read the rest...and hey, if you're a Michigan reader and don't have a home church, go check it out!

Josh and Shelly Buck are parents of 3 kids, one of which went to heaven when she was only 3 months old. On their blog it refers to it as an "accident" so I don't know why their sweet girl went home to be with Jesus at such a young age. Josh is one of the pastors of a church plant, much like our own here in Denver, that recently started in East Grand Rapids. Shelly is pregnant with their 4th child and is due soon, I believe. She and Josh were on vacation in January in Mexico when Josh had a swimming accident and broke a vertebrae in his neck, causing paralysis from the neck down and a temporary inability to breathe on his own. The link below has many ways in which we can help, but one I'd like to highlight because, well, I'm a sucker and a sap for the sincere facial expressions on the show, is nominating them for an Extreme Home Makeover. The non-profit I started with my friends is a micro-mini version of this, so to know that a tangible difference can be made in their lives, like ramps, wide hallways, showers and countertops, etc., it gets me excited. Anyway, here's the link:

Please pray for Josh and Shelly and their kids. Their trust and hope in the Lord is encouraging to anyone who reads their story...

My grief, my reality...

(Maybe it was the "cha, cha, cha"?)
Geez is right, Debbie. But, I'm not offended because it's my life, it's my reality, it's my grief and my blog and there are 6 billion people on earth that don't know the depths of my heartache, but that's okay! Jason and I were even talking about how, though we shared the same beautiful son, we both have different heartache and different ways that we will heal through it. I'm not saying people don't understand other people's sadness, since we are not the only ones to have had to take our son off of life support. I'm just saying that if no two finger prints are alike, than how can two people's grief be the same?

I have no idea what it is like to lose my parent to a tragic death, to back over my child with my own car, to lose my spouse, to witness a murder or even commit one. I can't imagine the feelings that speed through a soldier's mind, spirit and body when they are ordered to shoot the enemy. I don't know what it is like to have 3 miscarriages, give birth to a stillborn, to not be able to have children at all. I don't know the pain or numbness that a doctor has in their heart when they perform an abortion or can't save a child at a Children's Hospital. I can't pretend to have all the answers, nor will I. But as I said, this is my blog, this is my story of grief and healing, this is the legacy Noah is leaving on this earth and I know we will all learn from it.

I'm not offended about the "Wow" (cha cha cha) comment because I have a feeling it's from the same person that wrote a comment on January 9th that I chose to delete. It said that they wouldn't be so "upbeat" about giving their son up to God...As I have said before, facial expression, tone and so much more is lost in writing. That's just the way it is. I could just delete everyone's comments from today and start from scratch, but it's all part of the process and, though at times, it can get ugly, I think it's healthy for everyone to be real with their emotions, just remember that in our anger, God says not to sin. That is why this blog exists...

I've said it from the beginning, I will not "blow sunshine" at everyone about God, grief, our reality (for those of you that don't know me, I mean I'm going to be real about it and not try to "defend" God and make life here all fluffly). Therefore, allow me let you into my mind, whether I'm "vacationing" or sitting at home reading my Bible, or laying in bed, never really falling asleep...

Sometimes I picture Noah alive, as he was at home. Other times, the image in my head is of him alive at the hospital with tubes every which way. Many times it is of his lifeless body in my arms, disconnected from the ventilator. Sometimes I picture him as a heap of ashes, still sitting there at the funeral home because I have yet to pick "him" up! The pictures above are in sepia because the color shots showed the blood pooling in his cheeks and his pale lips after his spirit was with the Risen Christ. I "see" him cold, pale, wrapped in blankets, in Jason's arms as he carried him out of the hospital. There are 7 months of images that come in and out of my mind. I am not trying to be crude in sharing these things, but anyone who has lost someone they love has images that run through their minds. I'm telling all of you to educate everyone on grief. I don't have the corner on the market for how to grieve properly, nor is it the way everyone should grieve. It's my way, and thankfully I have not yet walked it alone, but with my Savior that has already felt all of my pain.

There are NO words that anyone can say to take away the reality of another person's loss...that is why it's important to just say, "I'm sorry. There are no words." The reality is that most people are uncomfortable with other peoples loss, sadness, emotions or grief. Why do you think in the 1950's and probably still today, many parents told their kids to stop crying when they were sad? Where do you think the saying, "Get over it" comes from? Have you ever wondered why your friendship circles change after tragedy? The ones that last are the ones that run deep and don't ever expect the "grievers" to "get over it..."

Anyway, when I said vacation, it's part of the grieving's called escapism, and it only lasts a week, but it helps put things into perspective so I can face my daily without my son.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Rocky, you wanted a picture of me and one of Cristine...well, this is as close as you'll get to one of me. I had to "document" the journey through the woods, not to "grandmother's", but in search of an actual run! As far as a photo of our dear friend, Cristine...well, that just wouldn't be nice. You see, it would be of the back of her head in the toilet because Cristine could not join us, she caught the flu the night before and insisted we go on without her! We missed her, but, we're still holding out that a bunch of us can get a house in Mexico and warm up in the sun for a few days...cha, cha, cha!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

(This post is from Valentine's Day, but because I drafted it last night, it says yesterday's date. I'm not that computer savvy, so will figure out how to have my dates and posts line up...Have a great Valentine's Day. Did you know that it's okay to love everybody everyday? Yay for that!)
I need a vacation from my vacation...Not really, but boy were we feeling OLD and creaky after only a few runs of skiing! Well, I know I can speak for myself, anyway. I didn't ski last season because I was pregnant with Noah, so I was creaky just putting my boots on and trying to walk to the lift. That set the tone for the remainder of the day...walking. We put the kids in ski school and headed up the mountain. The mountain we went to has a lot of "cat walks" so, instead of downhill skiing, a lot of cross-country skiing was actually taking place! After I took a wrong turn, leading the guys into the woods and hitting two boulders dead on, I decided to take off my skis and hike down a bit until I found an actual trail. We really did have a fun time being together, but utter exhaustion is supposed to be the state for which you take a vacation...

Anyway, as the days move forward, I try to reflect, not living in the past, but really trying to wrap my brain around all that has transpired and how one little, beautiful baby boy could change my life and outlook on it in such a radical way. I am so humbled by stories people, some that I know but mostly those that I don't, send me about the role Noah's story has had in their lives. There are days and minutes that I want him back so badly that it aches, but I can honestly say that at the same time, the peace of God is so sweet, knowing Noah is complete in the Lord's presence, that I wouldn't trade having him here if it meant that the changes that have occurred, not only in my life, but in so many others, were to be reversed right back to where we all started. How tragic!? I say that because I have such hope. Yes, it made Jason sad to know he'd never take Noah skiing. (Plus, skiing in Heaven is probably way better! If you fall, it's into a cloud, maybe...and, if you get stuck on a catwalk, God probably gives you a boost? JK) I'm sure as milestones pass, there will always be a sense of loss, but it's not debilitating because of our hope. Our hope that God's not a liar but that His word is true.

The song by Sixpence, "Trust in the Lord", taken from Proverbs 3:5-6, keeps playing in my head, though I haven't listened to it in years, probably 8 or 9. It says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." This scripture says a lot about the kind of trust we are to put in God. It does not say it won't be the most difficult thing on earth. The wording does not read, "Sometimes, if you feel like it, you can trust in the Lord, but you don't have to do it with your whole heart, just a little, since you probably know better than the Creator of the entire Universe. Then, with the 10% of your brain that God has revealed to man, figure out why you are walking through this valley or resting on that mountain, and how it fits into the bigger picture of Life. If you don't understand His bigger picture, well, then, just don't acknowledge that He may have a greater plan, because, hey, He doesn't know what He's doing anyway! Actually, why don't you just do it all on your own, since that's working for you..."

I say all this because, for some reason, we as humans tend to think that life on earth should be easy, that it should be fluffly, that any time bad things happen to good people, God's messing with us and we really do have a better idea of the scope of how our lives here should pan out. I told my friend the other day that it would have been cool if, when we died, those that had intimacy with Christ would physically just get "beamed" up so that it was a little easier which choice to make here on earth. He said that would be nice but it takes away the need to live by faith...and that takes away the pursuit of a deeper life...It doesn't mean death, sickness, horror, sadness, etc do not occur and don't hurt like hell, literally, but I'll be the first to admit that, if I'm only using 10% (if I'm lucky) of the brain God designed, God most certainly does not fit into a box, and I'll trust that one day, if He is so gracious to do so, I'll get to see the Super God "IMAX" version of how your story and ours were necessary for the Big Picture...Now the scripture is so clear. I know I can use ALL of my heart, for that is something I can choose, but trying to wrap my 10% brain around the 100% universe, well, God put that scripture there to save us from a lot of headaches!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Emily has had quite the social calendar already this month. She's had a slumber party with her buddy "Luker Jones". That's our affectionate name for him, like from the Counting Crows song, "Mister Jones". Anyway, it was so cute. Actually, it was a family slumber party but Em and Lukers shared the air mattress, the parents all had our own beds. Em loves snuggling, so when I went to check on them before I fell asleep, Em was over on Luke's pillow, spooning him...little does she know that in a few years co-ed slumber parties will be obsolete.

Jason was out of town all week, so we did things like ate breakfast for dinner, redecorated our bedroom with the quilt that we laid Noah on before the Lord, gutted closets, and went out to eat. The second picture is of our "date night". Em said, "Mom, I have an about I take you out on a date?" (Who's buying?) We went to a new Mexican restaurant up in Stapleton called La Sandia, which means, "Watermelon". My unofficial review is that it was GREAT!

The last two pictures I'm not sure are legal to post...should a 4.5 year old be up on the roof of the house shoveling ice chunks? Is that safe? Is it sane? Either way, it was fun for her to have daddy time, feeling like a big girl doing important maintenance.

Even though I enjoyed being kept on my toes all week, 24/7 (literally, she slept with me and socked me in the face numerous times, plus, one reason we never started the co-sleeping thing is, she's so beautiful, I just lay there and stare at her and pray over her. Though that's great and all, it does nothing for my accumulating exhaustion...) it is nice to have an adult back in the house. We missed Jason a lot and he missed us, as well. It was a full week for all of us, so we are headed to the mountains for a couple of days with some friends for a little down time (if you can call skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding down time...)

We really haven't stopped since we got home from the hospital almost a month ago. Not only physically, but mentally, either. My brain is awake most of the night. I'm not trying to be too busy. The reality is, life continues in the green light mode, and unfortunately, time and earth do not stand still to relish the life of the one that is gone. Someone called me the day after Noah went to heaven, a single guy I know who has no social skills (Dave, this is NOT you!!!). Anyway, he said, "I'm sorry about Noah. Well, life goes on." Wow! Well, yes it does, YOU BIG BO-HUNK. You have a firm grasp on the obvious, but get a freaking clue and don't ever say that again to someone who just lost somebody they love! I didn't say that previous sentence because I didn't want to waste my time or energy on someone who is, and has always been, so self-absorbed, but seriously, who says that?! Word to the reader: just leave the sentence at, "I'm sorry about so and so..."

Friday, February 09, 2007

My mom's friend had a dream either right before Noah went to heaven or shortly after, but it was my mom's friend hovering over the earth. She could see these little baby footprints quickly taking long strides around the earth, stepping deeply onto each continent. I don't know all of the details because it wasn't my dream, but the message in it is beautiful and powerful. No matter how old we are, if we allow our lives to be lived fully for the purpose of Christ, we will make a deep impact.

I heard or read the other day a saying that brings a smile to my face and even though it may not sound spiritual, it helps me view God more outside of the box that we as humans try so hard to put Him went like this...God takes babies and children to heaven because He doesn't want to be surrounded by a bunch of old people. Now, I know it's not scripture, but heck, God likes variety in every other area of His creation, so why not heaven? This reminds me of a story. Em and I were at the mall a few years back and were waiting in line for a snack. The man behind us was very dark skinned, perhaps from Africa or an island in the Caribbean. Em said out loud, "Mom, why does that man have such dark skin?" The man graciously looked at me, waiting for my reply, of which I was not ashamed. I said, "Em, God loves variety. He thought it would be boring if everyone looked the same and had the same color skin, so He made some people yellow, some brown, some black, some pink, some orange. He just really likes variety." The man loved the answer and Em was taught that day that God values every one of His creation.

I bring this up because I have been extremely overwhelmed lately thinking about the awesome responsibility before us to ready ourselves for the Lord's return. I was reading 1 & 2 Peter and I came across the scripture that talks about "looking forward to the day of God and speed its coming." Have you ever read it like that? Have you ever seen the responsibility part about "speed its coming?" It's in 2 Peter 3 regarding the day of the Lord. As I pray and think about all that transpires on the earth on a daily basis, I am overwhelmed. I know from our experience with Noah that there are millions of other people who live daily with worse turmoil. I sometimes let my mind go there and want to puke, quite frankly. I know that every minute around the world there are murders, rapes, kidnappings, tragedies, car bombs, accidents, new diseases, stillborns, miscarriages, starvation, etc. etc. etc. Then there are the aimless, those looking for themselves in the mirror, unable to recognize the person they have become. There are so many who are sad and lonely, depressed, living in relationships that are abusive. So many insecurities, looking for man's approval...All of this to say, I know I can't pray for it all, but I am moved to challenge all of us and everyone we know who will pray, to start praying outside of our own circles. Is there a country, a city, a people group, a family member, an enemy, single moms, whatever, for whom you could be praying? I know I can't solve all the world's problems and I know you can't either. But, if you ever feel overwhelmed about these things like I do, if we spread out the prayer responsibility, we won't be consumed with the burden. Maybe there's a missionary you've always thought about supporting? Maybe you've always thought it would be cool to "adopt" a child from overseas for whom you receive monthly updates. I'm asking the Lord to lay specific things on my heart to pray for and to listen to His voice as those things change. Anyway, just in writing this, I feel a bit of a burden lifted, but the needs are still there. I want to be used on this earth to make an eternal difference in people's lives. I'll keep you posted as the Lord leads us as to what to do as a family. (Sorry this one's so random...)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

So, the future, obviously, is so uncertain. Emily wants me to "grow another baby in my belly." She's ready for another brother, she said. It's not that I am fearful, but during the 5+ months we were in the hospital, as a result of my own research on the outside, we uncovered some strange things in my blood, and Noah's. We haven't even checked Jason's yet...In Noah's blood, one lab found antigens (markers on blood cells) for Borellia burgdorferi (Bb), the spirocete or bacteria, for Lyme's disease. So why didn't we treat him for that? Well, because another blood test did not reveal him having the antibodies for Bb, so his body was not recognizing it as foreign. So, another lab found that Noah's immunoglobulin (Ig) was elevated against his myelin. That lab wanted my blood sample to see if it was really my Ig showing up in his blood work. Well, in my sample there were over 8 spirocetes. A spirocete is a spiral shaped bacteria that morphes between worm/active phase and cyst/dormant stage. There are docs and researchers that have been doing a lot of work on stealth organisms, spirocetes, and have named them the great mimickers. They mimic many of the diseases we know in traditional medicine, but they can't be traced through regular tests because they appear like that disease process, but aren't really it. I'm not sure if this is making sense...Researchers have found these spirocetes in more than just ticks. They've been found in spiders, biting flies, and mosquitoes. They have also been found in every, and I mean every bodily fluid. There are many details from my mom research that I can't really go into here for a lack of cyberspace, but all of this to say, I don't want to try to get pregnant again until I don't have those buggers in my blood. The only problem is, I'm not sure I can get rid of them...that is what I'm currently working on. And, just like I didn't think I could love a second kid as much as the first, which I found out is absolutely possible, I wonder, however, if I had another son, or daughter for that matter, if I were to stare at him and wish it were Noah and not kid number 3...would I resent that kid? I know that sounds awful but that is what I'm currently processing...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

My own blog intervention...
I'm going to leave both comments that are "controversial" on yesterday's post because I'm not easily offended, and because I understand the intent of both posts. (Plus, when I read the one, I just KNEW Tonja would be commenting shortly thereafter) Anyway, one thing that has to be addressed is that in cyberworld, in books, in writing of any kind, sometimes the tone and always the facial expression of the author is lost and often the true intent, especially when someone does not know the author (whether the "blogger" or the "poster"). Heck, I'm not even offended that a few months ago someone posted, who must have not actually READ my blog, and asked me if I knew Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior?! Hello?! So, all that to say, when I'm talking of purging, it's not in regard to getting rid of anything and everything that reminds me of Noah. I am going to save a few treasures. Jason uses the Bible we bought for Noah. I stamped Noah's footprints and handprints in my Bible, in some books, I have locks of his hair, I've purchased beautiful frames to plaster pictures of our family all over the walls...I'm making a box for Emily of some of Noah's things so she can have them for herself or her little boy. On the contrary, purging is a part of grieving. It brings perspective. But, the reality is, there are children TODAY that need clothes, diapers, and toys, and I'll be darned if I hoard Noah's stuff while a battered mom escapes her violent husband with her two kids and only the clothes on their backs...

Let me talk about what God showed me regarding grieving last week and one reason WHY we need to grieve and why it should be HARD and PAINFUL, but that it should not CONSUME us because of the peace of Christ...He took me back to the garden. We need to grieve that there even IS a death of our bodies. We need to grieve the choice that Adam and Eve made, the sin of disobedience, disloyalty, and distrust, even though "in Christ all will be made alive." We need to grieve that physical death exists because, as I've said before, it hurts for the "left overs". But, at the same time, we have hope because of the grace of God in Christ. 1 Corinthians 15 is a great chapter that discusses this in detail. Why rewrite it all when Paul stated it so eloquently? Especially verses 54-58. All of this to say, I've had ample time in my life to learn about grieving because since 3rd grade I've lost someone I've loved, either a friend or relative, (and I'm half of 70) it's just that with Noah, I finally get it, and though it hurts more than some may ever know or experience on this earth, and though I miss him daily, hourly, every minute, it will not swallow me...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Warning: this one's a doozer...
So, I've been ruined worse than ever. You see, my husband thinks the blog is great for me because I'm so opinionated that it's a great outlet. I can vent and verbalize whether anyone ever reads it or not. I agree. The problem is, this whole experience of being sifted, refined, and my heart ripped wide open has not made me any quieter and certainly no less least not for the things for which I am truly passionate! Before Jason had said that my views on things can make people feel a little uncomfortable or that I can come across harshly. Well, as much as I appreciate that, I have to say that I will speak the truth in love, but at the same time, I'm not interested in anyone's opinion of me. If I didn't have one friend on earth, I'd still have the Lord...anyway, all of this to say, I have so much stress right now that I am internalizing because of the trivial, yet the necessary, and it makes me sick! No, literally, the glands behind my right ear are swollen and tender all the way down my neck! The source of my stress is myself, whom I cannot escape, obviously. I am wrestling with wanting to purge my entire household of, well, pretty much everything. I'm not sold on the "American Dream" or any other nation's for that matter...I want to sell the house and then build a small one somewhere remote and start over. I don't want to start over collecting stuff and filling closets and drawers. I don't want more storage space. That is what I want to escape. I am doing it. I am purging our home and our lives of the things that so easily entangle because I know how great I feel when I take loads of stuff to charities and shelters, but the process is sickening to my spirit. Does any of this make sense? In order to simplify, I'm in the midst of complication...I don't think it's a sin to have a house or to make it pretty, or to enjoy nice things, but when the house is so full that people are tripping over one another and all that comes of it is extra dusting, well in my opinionated opinion, it's too darn much. I really just need to have someone come over and throw everything away while I'm not looking, because if it's something I'll miss, then I liked it too much...actually, there were a few times while in the hospital that I hoped our house would burn down, except for my family and Bible and a disc of our favorite pictures...I don't like being an alien, but I don't want to feel like a resident, either. The truth is, I know we need to have food, clothing and shelter, so why does life on earth have to feel so much like an oxymoron? (Rhetorical...go to "Garden Story" in Genesis if this isn't rhetorical to you...) I mentioned a long time ago a book that has become a staple in my gift giving. It's called, One Minute of Margin, by Richard A. Swenson. (This doctor/author actually took the time to write me when I sent him an email about Noah long ago.) Anyway, it's revolutionized my life in a great way. I really am grateful for the role the book has played in my thinking. It's that admitting that my life has become so complicated that minimizing in order to reduce stress actually produces stress, well, again, it's an oxymoron. If Noah were home right now, then I wouldn't be downsizing or purging. I'd be rolling around on the floor cleaning up barf and playing with my kids. But, somehow, now coming home without him, I'm in this mode of rearranging the whole house. Jason's out of town this week and probably fearful that upon his return, there will be a bed in the middle of the family room and a box of underwear. Nothing else. Just me and Em doing Nacho Libre moves on the mattress. I don't want to give a rip about this...I want to make Noah's room my office, my old office space a prayer niche, I want to move the TV to the basement so it's just for movie watching, and then rearrange the family room for a home Bible study. I can't make his room into my office until I can find the floor through the numerous boxes that are covering it from whatever it is that we collected at the hospital. It's all a snowball effect and you all get the picture. So, what I'm trying to rectify is the attitude of my heart with living here on earth. I know Mary chose the best thing, but if Martha wasn't in there making dinner, Jesus and everyone else's stomachs would have been growling about now...If I'm supposed to be of the 5 virgins with oil in her lamp and not just one of the 10 virgins, what does that truly look like? I have a gut feeling it's really radical...How do I fill my lamp and live here on earth with purpose?

Friday, February 02, 2007

I don't know if you can make out the detail of my bracelet in the picture, but it is Noah's Ark in the middle and each link is a set of animals marching two by two. I received it on January 9th from a friend of ours on his birthday, the day after mine, the day before Noah's 7 month birthday. Our friend, David, had gone on a solo retreat 3 years ago at a monastery up near Snowmass and had wandered into the gift shop. There he saw this Noah's Ark bracelet and bought it for no one in particular. (He's a single guy, so buying a piece of jewelry with animals on it wasn't necessarily his idea of a relic to "win" a girl's heart...) He put it in his bedside table and thought that one day he'd know who should receive it. He said that he had forgotten about the bracelet until his birthday this year when he opened the drawer to read a list or note that he and his father had written together on their birthdays last year (his dad's birthday was the 10th). That is when he saw the bracelet again, and when he realized for whom he had purchased it three years prior. Just days later, Noah got to meet David's father face to face...

*I just wanted to tell you guys that Jason and I are, in fact, going to write a book about our journey with Noah. Many of you have suggested it and I didn't want to ignore your encouraging comments regarding this. We have actually been thinking about it during our whole journey, but God has potentially opened some doors, so, we are praying for direction and His favor regarding this pursuit. We don't want to write one just to write one. If God wants it to happen, it will, and we'll do it openly, with raw and real emotion, just as we have with the blog. Heck, you've gotten to know us by now to know that it won't be a book about "blowing sunshine" but about reality here on earth...we'll keep you posted.