11. small hopes and an update.

This post is getting out late today, but I am happy to just be posting.  Also, consider yourself warned that I may say something ridiculous.  I meant to have a couple of posts written before my surgery that would post automatically, but I only got Thursday’s done.  So today I am writing this as I’m recovering. 

Thank you so much to everyone for praying for me as I had surgery yesterday.  I had a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, and everything went well.  Yesterday, for the most part, is a blur to me, and tomorrow I will probably say the same about today.  I’m in a decent amount of pain, but it’s well-controlled.  And this morning I had oatmeal for breakfast, and for the first time in over a year didn’t feel nauseous afterwards.  I have been looking forward to being able to eat normally again for so long!  I’m hopeful that this keeps up!  


This is a bit of a stretch, but that’s really my only tie in to the theme of 31 days of hope – I’ve been hoping to feel better for such a long time.  Holding out hope that this surgery is a positive step in the right direction.  Thank you again for all of the support.  Much love! 

10. in every season.

“I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” 
Psalm 34:1

By the time this posts I will be at the hospital getting ready to have surgery to have my gall bladder removed.  Would you please pray for me this morning as I have this surgery?  I am very hopeful that it will help me to feel better!  Thank you for reading, thank you for loving us.



Joining the Nester for 31 days of writing in October.  To see all of my 31 days of hope posts click here.

9. show you remember.

October is SIDS, Pregnancy, and Infant Loss Awareness month.  I did not know that before this year, and now I will be celebrating alongside many others.  It is a time to remember our babies for those of us who have lost a child, and to remember and help your loved ones celebrate the life of their baby for those with a loved one who has lost a child.


How perfect that this lines up with my 31 Days of Hope series this October.  What could be more hopeful than remembering and celebrating the lives of babies who are in Heaven?  So this year I am asking for your help to remember, too.


On October 15th at 7 pm, in all time zones, people will be lighting candles in remembrance of their babies.  There will be flames burning for hours to celebrate.  Here is what the First Candle website states:


On October 15, at 7:00 pm in all time zones, families around the United States will light candles in memory all of the precious babies who have been lost during pregnancy or in infancy.  Too many families grieve in silence, sometimes never coming to terms with their loss.

If you or someone you know has suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss due to SIDS/SUID, prematurity or other cause, we hope you will join us in this national tribute to create awareness of these tragic infant deaths and provide support to those that are suffering. 

These words and more information can be found on their website here.

pregnancy and infant loss by Shana Smith

Will you help?  Wherever you are, will you light a candle at 7 pm on October 15th in celebration of our baby Gabriel?  And to celebrate and help everyone who has lost a baby – through miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death – remember their sweet little one.

We would love to see the celebration!  If you light a candle, will you take a picture and send it to us!  You can email it to me, tag me on facebook, tweet it, or instagram it, or post it here.  We would love to see people celebrating Gabriel with us all over the country!

Thank you so much!


Joining the Nester for 31 Days of writing in October.

Catch up on all of my 31 Days of Hope posts here.

8. waves part 2.

I wrote back here about waves of grief.  In response to my post, I got an email from a dear woman in my life.  She is a mentor to me, a precious friend, and someone who loves my family dearly, so you can imagine the love I have in my heart for her. 


Here are some of her words: 

“The wave imagery is one I’ve often thought of during hard times in my life, and might I add: it goes much easier if you surrender to the wave that smacks you in the back and slams you to the floor, rather than fight that wave. Surrendering means accepting what is happening and dealing with it in that moment. Fighting means pretending it isn’t really happening, or it isn’t as bad as it really is and therefore not processing it. Either way, you eventually end up back at the shore on solid(ish) ground. But when you fight the wave, you get there with a load of sand in your suit, and coughing up salt water. And when you surrender to the wave, sometimes—just sometimes—there is a momentary surprise during the rough ride: a moment when you are amazed at what you are able to survive with God, and that moment can empower you for the next wave.”


Because maybe hope isn’t about not having any big waves knock you down, but instead, is about surrendering to the big waves, trusting that God will use it for His glory.  Trusting that He has us in his hands.  Having faith that what we hope for will one day come to be.  And sitting securely in His embrace while the water washes over us.  Hope isn’t about not getting beat up by the waves.  We all have big waves that come in our lives – be it broken families, broken dreams, unwanted pregnancies, lost friendships, lost jobs, financial problems, loved ones dying, children dying.  And we’re all going to get knocked down, beat up, and even feel stuck underwater thinking we can’t possibly survive this.  But we do.  And as my incredibly wise friend says, if we just surrender to the big waves and trust that God has us, we just might come out having seen something beautiful and learned more about ourselves than we ever could have. 




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*Thank you sweet, friend, for your words of wisdom and letting me share them here today. 



Joining with the Nester for 31 days of writing in October. 

7. hope in life.

At first after Gabriel was born I was afraid of moving on.  I didn’t want life to move on without him.  I didn’t want anyone to forget him.  I couldn’t stand the thought of everyone’s lives going back to normal and Gabriel not being thought of anymore.  I realized that life does move on.  It just does.  And it’s easier if you move on with it.  But thanks to some pretty great family and friends, I know that not everyone is forgetting our Gabriel.  And I am so thankful for those who remind me often that they love and miss our son. 


Part of life moving on means having good times, too.  Because there is hope in knowing that even in the roughest parts of life, joy will be there.  So while we had many moments of joy shortly after Gabriel’s death, we find ourselves having not just joy, but fun again.  This weekend we had some good times — some special fall fun, the Tennessee game was really exciting and fun again [hoping for a win next week!], and a nice family Sunday. 


Then we topped it off with some fun before bedtime… 


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Joining the Nester for 31 days. 

6. sunday hope.

I read these verses this morning while I was drying my hair.  May the words permeate you on this October Sunday. 


“We wait for the Lord; He is our help and shield. 
For our hearts rejoice in Him, because we trust in
His holy name.  May Your faithful love rest on us,
Lord, for we put our hope in You.” 

Psalm 33:20-21 






Joining the Nester for 31 Days of blogging. 

5. the fifth fifth.

Today is our fifth fifth.  It is the fifth time that we have marked another month passing since Gabriel’s birth.  Gabriel was born on May 5th.  He was gorgeous and big and perfectly ours.  We remember him daily.  We miss him daily.  We love him daily.  Today in this month of hope we take comfort in remembering that we will see him again!  He is with our Father in Heaven, and one day we will get to love on him there, too.







Joining with the Nester for 31 Days.

4. celebrity talks hope.

It’s Friday, y’all.  And we are already 4 days into October.  I didn’t even have my calendar on my fridge turned until last night.  Before we know it, it will be dark at 6 o’clock and we’ll be wearing jackets everywhere.  Today it’s 84 though, so feeling a little like summer still.  But anyway, on to today’s 31 Days of Hope.



Being a person who is now more aware of hope, I start to notice it in places I didn’t before.  Like the sunshine, like in a conversation in the car with my 2 year old, like in a grave marker, and when I hear others talk about it.  A couple of days ago Jennifer Garner was on the Today Show, talking about several things, but in that segment there were about 10 seconds that really caught my attention.  Please check out the video of it below.


And for the purpose of this post you do not have to watch the whole video.  You can start at the 2:50 mark and just watch about 10 seconds.





In case you are like me and hate watching videos embedded in blogs or just can’t see it, here’s what she said talking about her work with Save the Children:

“You know what I love about this job that I have is that I see so much hope.  I see that you just need to give kids a little bit of love and you just need to give their moms a little bit of encouragement.  And the difference you can make in the rest of their lives is so huge.  And you can see it happen right in front of your eyes.”



So on this beautiful October Friday [save for our Colorado friends getting snow] I am reminded that we can give hope to others in very tangible ways.  Investing in a child who needs it, taking cookies to an elderly neighbor, listening to someone who has no one who just listens.  There are a gazillion ways to give hope to someone else, and those 10 seconds of that interview reminded me that hope isn’t just about me and my hope.  We can be an encouragement to others around us and show them where true hope is found.



Happy weekend y’all!

3. sun come out.

Every day my Jack reminds me that the sun comes out.  At some point earlier in this rainy year we had a sunny day after a lot of rain.  So I opened his curtains and told him that the sun had come out.  You know how 2 years old are.  Ever since then he tells me every day that the “sun come out”.



But the funny thing is that he doesn’t just tell me in the morning or at a time where we are talking about the weather.  He says it at very random times.  And there are some days where he says it at just the perfect time, and it’s a reminder to me.  Without fail, every day the sun comes out.  We have no control over it, but it keeps happening.  And sometimes when things are really dark, and it seems like it’s hard to keep going Jack’s statement that the “sun come out” reminds me that the darkness will fade and it will get brighter.



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If you are walking in a dark time or if life is just hard right now, remember that the sun comes out.  That’s what this little face tells me every day.



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31 days of hope with the Nester.

Click here to see previous posts.

2. hope endures.

Earlier this year I realized that I was believing a lie about suffering.  Before Gabriel was born I would think about how we would have him and either lose him or have a likely short span of time of life with our baby, a highly special needs baby.  And that would have been awesome and that was what we hoped for and what we prayed for.  That didn’t happen.  But in my mind, the way I would think about it was that we would lose him sooner or later and then we move on and grieve and our suffering would be over.


Lessons I’ve learned:

  • Grieving is suffering.
  • And that my view on having had our big suffering and not having to suffer anymore was wrong.


One day I was talking to Tommy about it, and he gave me a great picture of what I was doing.  He said that we tend to treat suffering like an insurance policy.  We get to a point that we think is “catastrophic” and we don’t have to suffer any more.  Just like 2 years ago when Jack was born and in the NICU, and we got to the catastrophic level on our health insurance and didn’t have to pay any more.  Just like this year when we met and exceeded our insurance deductible on January 8th and then before too long maxed out on what we were paying.


I was thinking of suffering in a similar fashion.  I figured that our son dying for sure counted as catastrophic, so after that happened we would be suffering free.  The rest of our life should be smooth sailing since we were getting our big-ticket event now.


But it doesn’t work that way.  You could probably see right off the bat why that thinking was wrong.  But the thing is that it took me awhile to figure out that I was way off base.  It took some more suffering and me asking questions like “how can more happen to us?” and “when will life just be slow and normal?”  for me to realize that’s not the deal.  Apparently I was operating under the impression that life is mostly smooth and easy with a few bumps in the road and occasionally some of us have horrible things happen.  We weren’t called to that and we were never promised that.  In fact, there are a lot of places in the Bible that talk about suffering.  There are many people who suffered greatly.  Jesus himself suffered tremendously.  So looking back on it now, I wonder why I thought I wouldn’t suffer.



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After losing our second son, I thought I would have a summer to recover.  A summer of some normalcy after the year of uncertainty and chaos we had dealt with.  That was what I wanted.  But what I got was a summer of deep grief and poor health.  I struggled with what was going on with my body.  I sought answers which didn’t come until very recently.  My family and I walked through the deepest valleys of grief.  My husband worked a lot.  At a time where rest was desperately needed, he was stretched thin, pushed to the max, and spent a lot of time at work.  I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and on top of that learned that I will need surgery soon to remove my gallbladder.  None of it made sense to me.  I couldn’t understand why those things were happening after the hardest thing we’d ever been through.



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And I still don’t understand it.  But what I can say is that we got through the summer.  Just like we got through January to May with Gabriel.  Now it’s fall, which will bring its own set of struggles and challenges.  But sometimes hope isn’t about feeling better or life getting easier.  It’s not about expectations being met or life being fair.  It isn’t about my ideas and mindsets.  It isn’t about what would make the most sense to me and Tommy.  Sometimes hope is just clinging on when you are certain you can’t anymore.  Sometimes it is trusting that this season will pass.  Maybe not quickly and maybe not without knocking you down really hard in the process.  But having the hope that God is here always and he loves us beyond anything.  We aren’t in it alone.


If you feel overwhelmed by the challenges, the suffering in your life, may you know that there is hope.  It will not last forever.  And you are not alone.  He is love.