Wednesday, July 25, 2007

One of a Gazillion Prayers

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

Lord, I pray that You will be glorified in my sharing Noah's story. I pray that Your words would be spoken and Your heart conveyed. Lord, please give me Your peace as I share and may the hearts of everyone who hears be encouraged to know of Your deeper love for them.

Lord, even though I wish I could share for other reasons, I am more than grateful to have been given Noah as our son. Thank You for the treasure of knowing him this side of Heaven. Thank You for the promise of living true abundant life with You on that side...

It gives me peace to know that my sweet Noah is safe in Your presence...Give him a squeeze for me, if You don't mind.

Thanks. Amen.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Friends are Good for the Heart

We had no sunsets in Dallas, but the 'physical' therapy was well worth it. We got to spend some quality time with old friends that lost their dad/husband just one month before Noah died. We hadn't gotten to be together, so hugging, crying and late night talks were on the agenda, along with good meals and time by the pool. We then headed down to Baylor to see old friends that had literally moved there from CA just 3 days prior. We met 12 years ago in Minneapolis where Dave and I worked together. There was a group of 5 of us couples that did life together, Bible study, fun meals, weekends away. Anyway, in one weekend (we flew in and out of Mpls) we were able to see 3 of those couples and their kids. *(One couple moved up to WI with their beautiful kids. We hear he's gone 'Grizzly Adams' with a full beard, flannel, building a log house, eating Muskies raw...JK) Anyway, Saturday the 21st we drove from Waco back up to Dallas, hopped on the plane, got into Mpls late, checked into our hotel, then ran over to St. Anthony Main to join Jason's sister and her husband and some friends for the greatest fireworks around! It was a long day but Em was a trooper and the fireworks and popcorn made for a good distraction.

We're back in SD as of the middle of last night and I'm looking forward to what kind of sunset God has on the horizon tonight. I'm going to be sharing some of my journey and Noah's story with the ladies this Thursday night, the 26th, at 7:00pm at Family Worship Center Foursquare Church in Watertown if anyone is interested. Please pray for me as I venture more into this avenue of sharing. Last night after we grabbed a bite of dinner on our way out of town, I shared with some complete strangers in the parking lot the story of Noah and our hope in the Lord. They had a sweet 8 month old boy with blond hair and big blue eyes that kept staring at me and smiling. Anyway, Jason asked me if sharing Noah's story was therapeutic for me. I said that it is because it is also an open door to share the gospel of Christ. I have found that a lot of different things have proven 'therapeutic' for me in healing the pain of missing Noah. Sitting with old friends for the last week and a half was definitely good for my soul...

Minneapolis, I love you...

Aquatennial fireworks in Mpls
My favorite sculpture of my favorite food
She did it again...
Part of a really cool sculpture in the Dallas Airport
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Friends Equal Healing

Dear friends, Heather and Rudy (actually, another Jason) in Mpls.
Ry and Amanda...she was my very first friend in Mpls!
Watching fireworks with Auntie Terra
Wrestling with Uncle Chris
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Isaac, Em and Brenna July '07
Isaac, Em and Brenna July '06
Lillian, Ainsley, Em, Kaija, and Eli
Dear friends, Cindy and Dave from Minneapolis, but are now in TX as of last week...Go Bears!
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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I Need a Shot!

No sunsets this week...of course there ARE sunsets this week, but Em and I decided to join Jason on a business trip in Dallas and where we are staying (my dear friend's house) I can't witness the sunsets. I'm not taking in sunsets this week, but I am spending the week with people I love who also are grieving...their husband/dad/grandpa/friend. We are making memories together and remembering. So, please stop and take the time to be in awe of God's artwork each night...Yes, He paints them for His own pleasure, but He lets the world in on each masterpiece, so sit back and enjoy.

Another thing I want to remember: While Em and I were visiting a friend of mine who is in college and recently moved into her own place, Em saw some of her sorority treasures. One was a shot glass from a sorority event and Em said, "Mom, look how cute this glass is. It's the perfect size. What is it for?"

Me: "Oh yeah, that's just the right size for a sip. It's just a cup for small tastes, like water, milk, wine, or beer. It's small so that people don't drink too much alcohol and become drunk, because God said not to get drunk."

Em: "May I have a drink of water?"

Me: "Of course. Here you go."

For those who don't think I should even discuss shot glasses with my daughter...well, they are real and one day she won't be attached to my hip, so as opportunity arises, if I don't teach her as they come and as she asks, she'll learn it from peers, and the last time I looked, peers don't teach that shot glasses are just for sips!

Friday, July 13, 2007

A Mouthful

A quote I want to remember...

After seeing the size of the envelope holding Emily's birthday card from her auntie, I said, "Wow Em, what do you think about the size of that card?!" Em said plainly, "She must have a lot to say."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Conversations with a 5 year old

July 11th
If Emily looks older in the above picture than she did yesterday, it's because she's 5...but it's also because she learned about Noah today...

I did not intend for it to happen this way, but on the way home from dinner it was just the two of us in the car. (Jason had to leave this afternoon for Chicago.) Anyway, we passed a cemetery and here's what followed:

Em: Mom, what did they do with Grampa Steve's body? (She knows her grampa was buried...)

Me: Well, when our spirits leave our body, we die. There is nothing left to tell our heart to pump so our bodies stop working.

Em: Yeah, like when a car runs out of gas and the person has to leave the car and go look for gas. (Said very matter-of-fact)

Me: (In my head: Uh, yeah, you're so stinking smart!)

Me: That's right, Em! The car just has to sit there on the side of the road. Anyway, when we know the Lord and our spirit goes to Heaven, our bodies are left here on Earth. Some people bury the person that they loved in a coffin. It's a long wooden box with fancy pillows in it and they dress the person nicely and put some preservatives in their body because our bodies decompose when our hearts don't pump our blood. Then they close the box and dig a hole in the ground and cover it up with dirt, grass, flowers and a pretty head stone that says their name and how much they were loved...

Em: (Listening intently...)

Me: And then, well, know how God picked up a handful of dirt and blew life into it and made Adam?

Em: Yeah.

Me: Well, sometimes when people die and their spirits go to Heaven if they loved the Lord, their bodies are put into a big metal box and someone turns a switch that makes it extremely hot and they turn into dust or ash, like Adam. It's called cremation. There's a scripture that talks about how we came from dust and to dust we will return. But even when a person is buried they eventually turn to dust, too.

Em: Do you bury the dust?

Me: Well, some people do, but the ashes or dust are put into a bag and then given to the family of the person who died and they decide what to do with them. They can put those ashes in a pretty jar or bury them or spread them on the beach or a garden or in the ocean. Mommy has a dear friend whose husband wanted his ashes to be put into the ocean because that was his favorite place to be. Then, when the waves move throughout the Earth, it's like his body gets to be a part of it. They are all ways to remember that person.

Em: What did you do with Noah?

Me: (gulp) Well, your daddy and I decided to have Noah's body cremated.

Em: Even his guts and stomach? You can't keep those parts in a box...

Me: Even those parts...all of his body, but it all turns to dust. You see, when a person dies, even though we love them soo soo much, we can't keep part of their body with us, except a lock of hair which I have of Noah's. So that is why people bury the body of the person they loved or have them cremated. Then they can either go visit where they are buried or have it at their house in a pretty jar or spread their ashes in the ocean, for example, to remember that person...

Em: Where are Noah's ashes?

Me: Do you remember the day we left for South Dakota when daddy needed to run an errand by himself?

Em: Yes.

Me: Well, your daddy was picking up Noah's ashes. I know it took a long time, but we were too sad to do it until then. They are in a bag in a sweet wooden box that has his name on it and a teddy bear...

Em: Wow! I can't believe his ashes fit in a small little box! I want to see it...

Me: It's at home in Noah's room. I'll show you when we get home, sweetie.

Em: I want to keep Noah's dust with us. I don't want to throw him in the ocean or sprinkle him in different places.

Me: Okay. (Now going with the flow, different from original plan...) We'll keep his ashes altogether with us...

Me: Em, what do you think about all this?

Em: It's okay. I think we should just leave it like you did it...

Me: (Yeah...pretty much have to since these things are irreversible!)

So, I talked to Jason tonight and told him about our conversation. He felt badly that I had to do it alone, but I told him it seemed to turn out okay, better than the day we got home from the hospital and he started to tell her about a big oven! Em had asked Jason what they did with his body at the hospital. She said, "Did they throw his body in the trash can?" We told her 'No', but then Jason started to tell her about a big oven. I gave him a serious elbow in the ribs and whispered in his ear that you put cookies in an oven, not a little brother! She lost interest and went and played with her aunts and uncles...

Now she knows...she seemed to be at peace with it all. I guess I didn't know when we'd have to explain cremation, but knowing her, I knew it would be sooner than later.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Em's 4 years 364 days

Our family tradition is to take a picture of Em the night before her birthday so we can say it's offically the last picture of her at that age. The one above is the last picture taken of her as a 4 year old! Tomorrow my peanut turns 5, though she's been celebrating all month in style! On July 11th at 11:33 am, Em came into this world at 5 lbs, 14 oz, 21 inches long, and took my breath away...she still has that effect on me. Yeah, the guy in the picture still takes my breath away, too!

Monday, July 09, 2007

July 4th

July 5th

July 6th

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This one was my favorite thus far. The sun was a gigantic orange ball and the sky had gorgeous purple and orange layers lined with silver and gold. Nice work, Lord!

We went to see 'Evan Almighty' the other night. I enjoyed it and must say we'll end up buying it since I'm a sucker for all things 'Noah', now. Anyway, there was a scene where God was sitting out front of Steve Carell's house and Steve asks, "Do I know you?" God (Morgan Freeman) says, "Not as well as I'd like you to..."

Great line, and one I'm sure God, not Morgan Freeman, but the Real One, aka Creator of the Universe, utters on a second by second basis around the world to all His creation.

God: Hey, want to get to know each other?

Human: Well, I'm kind of busy and things are good right now, so, I'll call You if I need or want anything...

God: Well, it's not like I'm asking because I don't know you, it's that you don't know Me the way I desire to be known...

Human: Well, since that entails knowing You outside the little box of where I like to keep You, let's just keep it on the surface. Really getting to know You freaks me out too much.

God: Maybe because you have preconceived ideas or you've believed lies and rumors that aren't true. Why don't you get to know Me for Who I AM and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised...

Human: We'll see how well you fit into my agenda.

God: I'll be waiting.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

My kid couldn't be happier...we finally arrived at Nana's.

July 3rd sunset at the lake

July 4th sunset
I have been too many places where I got too busy and forget to watch the sunset. Not this month! SD has wonderful sunsets, so every night, I'm going to capture it and post it. Life's too short to miss God's artwork in the sky. In Denver where we live, we can't see the sunsets, so this is a treat where pictures really will speak for themselves.

We took a totally different route so there were no familiar landmarks except Gramps' farm, which we took Em to 2 years ago. It's a 100+ old farm.

Anyway, we enjoyed family time yesterday and are looking forward to lots more of it, and friend time, too. When we pulled into town, Em asked when we were leaving for England (Jason and I may go for his work, but not confirmed as of yet...). I told her I didn't know if we were going. She said she wants us to go so she can be with Nana all by herself. Just call me, "Chopped Liver", it's okay!

Fiji update: My folks are loving their time there, meeting contacts and spending time with the nationals. They will be celebrating their 40th year anniversary in August, so they renewed their vows while they were there! They'll be hitting the YWAM base in HI on their way back to the States.
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Modern day car games...goal: to catch a passing car in the driver's window

I'd say I'm pretty good at it...

It's harder than it looks...
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Our side trip to Grandpa's farm

The farmhouse in the background finally was boarded up recently

Self-portrait from the hood of the car
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Off the beaten path in Nebraska

I love this state.

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Leaving Colorado

Husker country

Ahh, you know it's summer when there's road work...

This has always been one of my favorite scenes
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Monday, July 02, 2007

Today we are leaving for South Dakota for the month. Last year at this time the four of us hopped in the car and caravanned with some friends up through the Black Hills and then east to the town where Jason's mom lives. We try to go every 4th of July because it's a gorgeous time of year to enjoy the sunsets over the lake, but also because we love our family and friends there.

Jason works from home, so last year as we drove back from our week there, we both said, "Let's take the kids to South Dakota for a month next summer..."

The other day I woke up with memories of last year's drive flashing through my mind...driving through Wyoming and the Black Hills with Noah and Emily in tow, stopping every 3 hours to feed Noah and change his buns, let Em stretch, 'water' our friend's puppies that were all nestled in the back of their car...

This year, we're headed east through Omaha to see friends and then north to SD...the memories were too fresh in my heart and mind, for some reason, to drive the other way...I've been working through a lot of anger in missing Noah, so seeing familiar land marks that remind me of him throughout our drive will only cause me to drive too fast or have road rage...

Anyway, we're looking forward to making new memories, while at the same time remembering...