Sunday, July 27, 2008

Adios, Amigos!

We are headed to Mexico this morning! We fly into San Diego and then drive down to the town we'll be staying in (It's called Chorrero? I think!? It doesn't show up on the map!!!! That's hard for this geography lover! Anyway...) which is about 4 hours south of Ensenada. I am excited to see what God has in store for us as a family, a team, and for the people we get to meet. I love Mexico, cha cha cha , whether it be for escape or ministry, I love the people I meet there each trip. I love the language, tambien! I am really excited on this trip, however, to watch Em's eyes and heart be opened to God's love of people outside our bubble. So, por favor, your prayers for our time this week.

As I was telling people the date of our return, it just kept sticking in my head. We come home on August 2nd. August 2nd?! Why was that significant? Was it someones birthday? I just couldn't figure out why August 2nd kept staying with me...yes, it's my paternal grandfather's birthday, but he passed away in 1987, so I haven't really thought about it as such in a while...and then it slapped me upside the head the other day...and every emotion, every detail of the event, and each one was the day we took Noah to the hospital for the rest of his life. And here we are, two years later, without him physically, building a house in his memory. His memory! #$%^&* I added my 'cuss' line there because I really do wish that he could be there with us, eating dirt, playing with other kids in the orphanage, sweating and taking naps in my arms, playing with his big sis. And as fun as that sounds, I know he's doing that to the umpteenth degree in Heaven, and time is different, and it's only my heart that longs for him...but it doesn't change the fact that my heart always wanted to take ALL my kids on mission trips...PHYSICALLY! August 2nd changed my life forever, period. 2 years later, I hope it will change other's lives, as well...

Boobie business: We have a dinner winner! Marcie Seery from Arizona is officially the 1st new member of Noah for Knockers! I am so excited to meet her and walk with her for a cure! She's even trying to recruit one of her friends in Brooklyn! And, I have a couple potential walkers, trying to figure out if they can swing it...Hopefully Marcy will post soon (hint...) about why she's walking this year!

Keep the list coming! Friday Dana and I did a half-marathon walk. It took us 3.5 hours. It was a long morning. Some hot spots on my feet, feeling at 36 what I should probably feel at 92 in my body, was so sleepy could have slept for hours when I got home, but, BUT, it was such a great time to walk and talk with my sis, to brainstorm, and to pray.

I'm not sure how much access I'll have to the Internet in Mexico, but I'll be praying down there, too. Please keep the list growing...and thank you for the names thus far. And, I'm sorry to all of you, whose names represent people you have lost. I am so sorry.

Please pray for a couple fellow bloggers and friends. Jennifer McKinney. McKMama. And for Jody Ferlaak and her family...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Contest #2 and a favor from you guys...

Okay, good job on the 'Sixteen Candles', Molly Ringwald deal. My best friend, Stacey, growing up, we used to watch that movie endlessly. We even had it memorized from the beginning..."Ginny, Mike, Sarah, Sam! Everybody up! We have relatives invading this afternoon!" Looking back, there's no way my kid's watching it, but man, it was funny...

Okay, so, here's contest number two...the first person to join "Noah for Knockers", and truly stay on the team, not just sign up for the prize and quit, gets dinner on me in NYC.

Right now I have two girls, one from Seattle and another from Arizona, thinking about joining. Oh, and one potential NYer. So, pray about it. If you desire to do this, God will help iron out the details. I know the personal requirement of raising $1800.00 is daunting, but it's not impossible. I've had to raise more than that for missions trips. And, if it's the distance that is intimidating, you can do a half marathon on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday. Bloggers for Boobies!

And as far as my favor from you guys...I want a list of names. I want to pray for men and women and families affected by breast cancer. I want to pray for them, for you, for healing, for hope, for grace, for joy, like Christ had when He endured the cross for the joy set before Him. I want names because I will be walking with thousands of faces, all people with stories, walking for themselves and for others. I desire to have a really long list of people to pray for, so will you please share names with me? Satan can't keep me from praying! And believe me, when I do my long training walks, I've got nothing but time, time, time! And, quite frankly, I am walking for all cancers, in my heart at least, so bring on the names...I'd like to put a big list on my Avon page, and here if I can figure out how, so that continued awareness is raised. It's not just a list for me, it's God's people, all with personal stories, and the people in their lives affected by the disease. I personally hate cancer, and all disease, especially those unknown, but I also have known some amazing people that have lived, and died, through it graciously. I say that because even if death was the result of their disease, they found true life in the midst of it...because even if a cure is found to every disease on earth, we all still must die. So, it's for the other side of the battle that I walk. For His glory...

Bring on the names...I'll get it started:
  • Cathrin Osterhus
  • In memory of Ashley's mom (brain)
  • In memory of Elizabeth's family, the Munns' (melanoma)
  • In memory of Paige, childhood cancer
  • In honor of Heidi Jo
  • In honor of Tricia, CF Husband's wife
  • Marcie, melanoma survivor
  • Kristy, currently fighting, on her last chemo treatment
  • Kim's friend from college
  • Kim V from Kentucky, survivor, double mastectomy
  • Britta's mom in MN, 10 year survivor
  • Estreitta in TX, survivor
  • ...add name here...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Contest and open invitation!

"Look, Fred, she's gotten her boobies!"


"Oh, and they are so perky!"

The first person to tell me the name of the movie, including the main actress, from the quote above wins a very special prize! This isn't any old prize because it is my very own Avon Breast Cancer Marathon t-shirt, signed and redesigned, sent to me for the upcoming walk in NYC, October 4th and 5th, 2008.

You see, everyone has breasts. Men do. Women do, as well. Kids, too. They come in all shapes and sizes and point in every which way. Some people name theirs. Others don't pay them much attention. Some wish theirs were: bigger, smaller, perkier, rounder, flatter, equally distributed. Others wish theirs looked like someone else's. Some are physically supported by wires and spandex while others hang freely (to their waists, hee hee). Some resemble pancakes...others mosquito bites...while still others, softballs or in some cases, basketballs!

Some have small scars from incisions. Others have scars from where they have been removed entirely. Reminders of biopsies. Reminders of the unknown. Reminders of dark times, but at the same time, reminders of hope, healing, and finding a cure. Some people's reminders are only memories because the person they loved is no longer breathing the air we breathe here on the earth. Reminders that, at that time, there was no cure...

No matter the scenario, we all have breasts. No matter if you don't have breast cancer, there are millions of people who do. There are millions of people that have thousands of diseases. We could all walk for one cause or another to help find cures to different diseases. I do not have breast cancer and Noah did not die of breast cancer. No one knows why he died, so I cannot walk for his cure...But I do have legs...and presently, I have breasts. I am grateful that I have legs that work, so on October 4th and 5th, in New York City, my sister, Dana, who is the "Walking Queen", and I will walk a marathon and a half (yes, for all you mathematicians, if you just did the math, that is 26.2 miles + 13.1 miles = 39.3 miles) to raise support and awareness for further breast cancer research and study. Our team is currently called: "Noah for Knockers: Saving them 2 by 2" but if ANYONE else would like to join our team, and you are a bereaved parent, as well, we would consider changing our name to something else catchy! (God save the Breasts; Heavenly Breasts; Babies love Boobies; etc.) We would LOVE for some bloggers, or whoever, out there to join us on this adventure, either through going to our team site and financially contributing, praying for us as we train and pray for people (when I walk I have been praying specifically for a missionary named Cathrin Osterhus in Austria who has just been diagnosed), OR joining our team, physically, no matter where you live, and walking with us through the streets of New York City! We could name our team: "Bloggers for Boobies!" You may think I am joking, but I am totally serious!

Also, if you are interested in joining our team, please email me and I will give you specific details and our password in order to get started.

I realize that some are offended that I would walk for an event sponsored by Avon since they financially support organizations that I, or you, do not endorse, but I must say a few things to that...If I boycotted every group that sponsored or endorsed an organization with which I did not share their beliefs, I would no longer be able to shop at any major grocery store, department store, or T*arget or W*almart, or natural grocer. Also, if I were ever diagnosed with a disease like breast cancer, I would want to know that research had been done on my behalf for my potential cure, and to call upon their resources. And finally, I can't make everyone happy. It's not my job. It's not my job to discriminate against people, it's my choice to love. Breasts are donned on every kind of human. Mean, nice, kind, selfish, loving, hateful, angry, prideful, hopeful, generous...All I know is, I'm enjoying the training process and discipline because it gives me time to pray for my heart to be changed and my eyes to be fixed on my eternal prize of Heaven.

I really hope you will join me somehow!

(Yes, FYI, I just learned how to 'add a link' if you couldn't tell...)

Friday, July 18, 2008

The end and the beginning...

If you've ever been sick of yourself, over your selfish ways, disgusted with your inconsistencies, your mediocrity, your "youness", YOU ARE NOT ALONE! It's how I wake up most mornings...knowing God's grace, but wishing, somehow I could repay Him for something I don't rightly deserve. I am only one of 6 billion imperfect humans that God loves, in spite of myself, and to ponder it, I am in awe, because I know I don't deserve it, yet it's reality...God loves my guts! And that love extends literally, LITERALLY, to every other human He, I wanted to share this song, and an experiment, to encourage you on your journey to grow deeper, get over yourself, accept that you are crusty sometimes, but oh so lovely and worth loving. It's the getting over ourselves part that gets us every time...because it's not about us.
  • Push "pause" on Noah's play list.
  • Lay on floor on your face, without distraction.
  • Push "play" on the first song I added today.
  • Listen to the words (also written below).
  • Be in awe of God.
  • Let Him do the rest...the end of ourselves, the beginning of something beautiful.

Oh the Glory of it All
By: David Crowder Band

At the start, He was there, He was there
In the end, He’ll be there, He’ll be there
After all, our hands have wrought, He forgives

Oh the glory of it all, is He came here
For the rescue of us all, that we may live
For the glory of it all, for the glory of it all

All is lost, find Him there, find Him there
After night, dawn is there, dawn is there
After all, falls apart, He repairs, He repairs

Oh the glory of it all, is he came here
For the rescue of us all, that we may live
For the glory of it all, oh He is here
Redemption from the fall, that we may live
For the glory it all, oh the glory of it all
The glory of it all, oh the glory of it all

After night, comes a light, dawn is here, dawn is here
It’s a new day, it’s a new day

Everything will change
Things will never be the same
We will never be the same
We will never be the same
We will never be the same
We will never be the same

Oh the glory of it all, is You came here
For the rescue of us all, that we may live
For the glory of it all, oh You are here
With redemption for us all, that we may live
For the glory of it all, oh the glory of it all
The glory of it all, oh the glory it all

Everything will change
Things will never be the same
We will never be the same
We will never be the same
We will never be the same
We will never be the same
We will never be the same
We will never be the same…

Monday, July 14, 2008

So many things...

Birthday one...
...three... (actually Daddy's cake, but on 7/11, her birthday)
Picture of the last day Emily was 5.

Did I mention we were on vacation?
Em's got one more birthday with a couple of her little friends here in CO, but the kid has already had 3 and tries to milk every opportunity saying, "I'm 6...It was my birthday." I told her my birthday was this year, too, (January) so I should have privileges, too. Anyway, Jason's birthday is next weekend, so it's his turn to milk the privileges.

So, this will be a random post, but what's new, right? I wanted to do a little housekeeping and then share a letter Jason sent out to our family and friends.
  • Jason's foot is doing great! No surgery necessary. He's healing like a champ.
  • Noah's records still haven't been received by Dr. Infectious Disease, so I am going to physically go get them myself. I could use a trip to the hospital anyway...
  • Em's doing great and enjoying lots of time with all her grandparents this summer, as well as cousins and aunts and uncles. She's really into Laura Ingalls Wilder's story and the history of that time. We took her to De Smet for her 6th birthday, the homestead of Pa and Ma and she dressed as a prairie girl. I'll share pictures of that adventure later. She also loves Sacajawea and Native American Indian history. My friend gave her an "American Girl" doll magazine so Em's been talking about buying one for two months now. I told her that was a very expensive toy and that if she wanted it she would have to earn it and buy the doll herself. So, she has been saving for 'Kaya' the Native American doll. Her story is about 100 years before Laura, but Em is really interested in their culture and, quite frankly, just thinks Sacajawea from 'Night at the Museum' is beautiful. So...anyway.
  • And me, well, I have a constant feeling of wanting to puke, but not being physically nauseous. It's emotional. I miss Noah a lot and continue to live grief one day at a time. There's a fine balance of shouldering grief...if I allow it to consume me, I lose my balance. As with anything, I suppose. Yes, there are days that are just fine, but it's more of my struggle with living on earth when more and more, every day, as I think about how God is SO much bigger and awesome and amazing than my mind can comprehend, I want to live this life with an impact, leave a lasting impression, not for myself, but for the glory of God, for eternal purposes. I do life here and I enjoy family and friends and meeting new people, but I realize each day that more of my heart longs for a place I can't see. I guess I am just understanding on a small scale what Jesus' friends must have felt, like Paul writes about, when they walked with him and then he left for real living. I'll write more on this later.

Anyway, Jason and Em and I are headed on another adventure. Below are some details...

Hello Graves friends and family,

Adrienne, Emily and I have the opportunity to do something that has been on our hearts for a very long time – go on a missions trip as a family and share God's love with the needy in a foreign country. We are leading a trip for our church to Mexico from July 27th – Aug 2nd. Since 'Extreme Home Makeover' is Emily's favorite TV show, she is very excited for the opportunity to go and build a house for a Mexican family in need. We will be dedicating it in memory of Noah and hope to call it "Noah's House" – or "Peace House" - this may be the start of something much bigger – who knows?

We have almost 30 people going, and as the group is busy raising funds to cover their travel expenses, I have challenged myself to raise the funds necessary for the actual house build. The cost of the house is $4000, and God put it on my heart that we have enough friends who would want to support this project.

Please pray for our safety. Pray that our group gains the support that we require. Pray that God prepares the hearts of those to whom we will minister. Pray that God strengthens us and fills our hearts with compassion and love, humility and selflessness. We want the Holy Spirit to lead us all on this trip as a family, team, and as individuals.

If you choose to support this project financially and are able to donate toward the materials to build a needy family a home, we would be very grateful as every little bit helps. While the trip is still several weeks out, we need donations to be completed by July 20th so we can buy the materials in advance. You can donate online at and click online giving in the top right hand corner – please enter "Mexico House Build" in the special considerations box on the first screen.

Adrienne will definitely be posting pictures and updates on her blog at

Thanks for all the support, in every area of our lives!
Love always,
Jason, Adrienne and Emily

I'll be sharing our adventures from Mexico here on the blog. I hope you'll all join us in praying for everyone involved, namely that God's will would be done in spite of our human efforts. Later.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Wow! Wow, is all I can say...

I was sent an email the other day entitled "Something for your family". I opened it and followed the directions that sent me to I was instructed to type in "For Noah's Family". Here is what I found, and what else could I do but share it with you...

Emily and I sat and watched this video, repeatedly. She sat on my lap and leaned back on my chest. She would look from the computer to my face, and then proceed to wipe the tears off her arms that were flowing from my eyes. Immediately she said, "We need to email them right now and thank them." Later that night, as I tucked Em into bed, you can bet that "The Adventures of Emily and Noah" included Scarlet, River, and their sweet little brother, Christian...and some kangaroos.

There are many things I enjoy having in common with other people...the death of a child is not one of them. I wish we were the only people on earth to have lost a child, but we aren't. We weren't the first ones and we won't be the last. I hate that anyone has this in common with us, but it is because of this reality that we'll continue to share, I will keep on writing, and we will never stop offering God's love and hope with anyone that will listen.

Thank you, Carly!