memorial day 2014.

I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day yesterday!  We are very thankful for everyone who has served our country and is serving our country, protecting us and our freedom.

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This year I’ve been thinking about it a little more as Tommy’s sister’s husband is now serving in the Air Force.  They are newlyweds and have been separated since February.  Thankful for him and her and what all families go through with spouses in the armed forces.  We also got to spend some time yesterday with my Grandfather, who served in the Air Force.  His generation has served our country so well, and I know I definitely take it for granted.  Thankful for a day yesterday to remember these things and not to take it for granted — freedom doesn’t come cheap.

 

I’m a day late on this post, but I was too busy celebrating my birthday yesterday to post 🙂

 

 

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happy mother’s day.

Happy Mother’s Day, dear moms.  I hope you feel loved and celebrated today.  I hope you are appreciated and are able to appreciate your blessings as a mom.

 

Yesterday I shared some words of wisdom from a dear friend.  Today I have a post I want to share written by one of the most precious women in my life.  God has used Kelly in my life in so many ways.  We met Kelly and her husband during a very formative time for us — our college years.  As a dating and then engaged couple we really learned a lot about marriage from Kelly and Adam.  I loved babysitting their awesome kids and seeing how they parented.  Many years ago Tommy and I heard Adam talk about how we are stewards of everything and how even his kids didn’t belong to him, he was just stewarding them.  That has always stuck in mine and Tommy’s minds.  That was before they lost 2 of their sons.  And before we lost Gabriel.  Tommy and I also believe that the example of how these two walked through that paved the way for how we would walk through losing our child.  God has used them in big ways in our lives, and we are so thankful to know them.

Kelly is a wonderful mama, and I look up to her so much.  I want to do pretty much everything like her — I want her to come help me decorate my house, teach me new recipes, and more importantly pay attention to my kid’s heart.

 

I hope you will read these words that she has written.  I was incredibly moved by them.  As I read her post I realized that I have been off track.  I have been more focused on my performance as a mom and Jack’s performance as a kid.  I’ve been focused on perfection and not on his heart or mine.  His heart is the most important thing to me, and I am so thankful for the reminder of that and the awesome privilege it is to be his mama.

 

from Kelly…

 

Over the past 12 years of stewarding little stories I have realized the importance of parenting with a pupil’s heart. Moment by moment as they change, I am offered the priceless invitation to grow right alongside them. So, before I launch into what being a mommy means to me… I feel led to begin with what I know it is not. Being a mommy is NOT about being an expert or getting it perfect. Instead, it’s ignoring the reoccurring voice of fear… choosing to be a constant learner and daily embracing the greatest gift of all… grace.  

In our crazy, wild home, being a mommy means knowing my 4 Smalls have just as much if not more to teach me… than I have to teach them. It means… apologizing often … laughing at myself, dancing crazily as people watch, nursing ailments and personal “chefing” for little bellies with special dietary needs. It means advocating health on ALL levels (spiritual, emotional, physical and mental). It means super- raggedy homeschooling. It means equipping and celebrating successes in the midst of giant failures. It means modeling out respect and honor beginning with my relationship with their daddy. It means publicly grieving over pain filled losses as well as publicly belly laughing as I play. And, in my less than glamorous world, it means… being transparent enough to admit… most days I don’t really know what I am doing. I too, am just a little person in need of MUCH GUIDANCE as I walk out this God-given assignment. And, not only do I deeply desire the grace-gift they carry, I desperately need it.  

To be completely honest, I have received more education in these past 12 years of being a mom than I could’ve ever obtained at any prestigious university. And yet somehow I feel like I know less than ever before. So, at the end of everyday… I always come back to this one thing… GRACE. Being a mommy means an abundance of grace-exchanges. At some point on my journey I hope to receive a “Masters” in this subject. But, today, I am just thankful to have the opportunity to sit under some of the most powerful, little teachers my heart has ever known. So thankful.  

 

Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your words and wisdom!

 

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Happy Mother’s Day to my mom!  She has been a rock for me my whole life.  She works hard and is so respected and loved by all of us.  Mom, you take such good care of all of us — still — and I’m so very thankful to have you as my mother.  I love you!

Happy Mother’s Day to my mother-in-law also — to the woman who raised the love of my life.  You raised a wonderful man, and I’m so thankful for that.  We love you!

 

If you know anyone who has lost a child or could use a pick me up today, share my letter for mama’s with them.

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On this day, I’m acutely aware of how hard it can be.  Last year was awful.  It was 1 week after Gabriel was born and died, and I can’t believe I even got out of bed that day.  But I did, and I don’t remember a lot of it.  But it was a very hard day.  I know there are many reasons for people to be sad today.  The cemetery is pack on Mother’s Day — mostly with people visiting the graves of their mom’s, but for some like me, it is to visit the graves of our children.  Whether today is hard because of death of a mother or a child, infertility, dreams that haven’t happened, just know that you aren’t alone.

 

happy mother’s day!

a mother’s perspective.

It’s the eve of Mother’s Day.  For some of us that means we are spending the day with our moms.  For others it might mean doing a little last minute shopping or card buying or Pinterest searching and trying.  This weekend I am thinking a lot about motherhood.  Reflecting much on my mom and all she has done for me.  Reflecting on motherhood with my boys.  Doing a lot of heart reflection.

 

Today I wanted to share some wisdom from a woman I admire so much.  Sweet Maureen watched Jack for us while we lived in Maryland, and she has been impacting my life for over 4 years now.  She is an awesome mama.  I asked her about what it’s like to be a mom and this is the wisdom she shared with me:

 

Raising a family is like conducting an orchestra. To make all the instruments work together in harmony, you have to understand and appreciate each instrument individually. There’s no sense in trying to make a drum sound like a flute. Each instrument must be guided in its own technique in its own time, while also learning the character skills needed to perform with others. Being a mother means learning each instrument, respecting its unique design and style, and developing its repertoire so its music can soar to the heavens.  

 

 

Thank you for the wisdom, Maureen.  Happy Mother’s Day eve mamas!

for the mom who’s lost her child.

you are amazing.adventures

 

 

Dear mom who has more children than anyone can see with you,

 

[Deep breath]

Hi, sweet mama.  How are you feeling this Mother’s Day?  It’s nice to be celebrated as a mom, but it can be so painful when it just brings reminders that part of us is no longer here.  That we are forever changed because a chunk of our heart has passed away.  That our very life as we know it, will never be as we had imagined or thought.

 

I know this day is hard and that it can bring so many emotions with it.  I know we all remember and celebrate in different ways.  I also know that ignoring this day, ignoring the memories and the celebrations of our children — of our motherhood, is so much worse than embracing it in all its forms.  While remembering and talking about the hard parts of our motherhood can be painful, pretending it didn’t happen is just excruciating.  Our children are precious and each of them should be celebrated.  You are a mother — whether you were pregnant for 8 weeks or have children who have children of their own.

 

Be strong today.  Stand tall and remember that you have strength and support from those around you and those who walk this road with you.  Be proud today.  Be proud of your amazing children both here on earth and those who are already in Heaven.  Share their stories and take the opportunity of this day celebrating moms to do what moms do best — brag on their kids.  Be real.  Tell people how you are doing today.  It’s okay if today seems impossibly hard.  It’s okay if today isn’t really that hard.  Share with people who don’t understand what all comes with losing a child.  Tell them how you wouldn’t trade motherhood for anything in the world.  Be brave.  Even though this day isn’t the same for us mamas who know the loss of a child, it doesn’t mean we need to hide out around this time.  Be kind to yourself.  So much of motherhood is demanding.  Do what you need to do today.  Want some quiet time?  Ask for it.  Need some help?  Ask for it.  Want to do something adventurous?  Go for it.  Want to spend the day in your PJs?  Call me, cause I’m in!

This is my prayer for you today — that you will be all of these things.  That you will feel loved.  That you will celebrate the special blessings in your life, even if they were here for way too short a time.  

 

And know that you are not alone.  Ever.  At all.  You may not be surrounded by children, or you may but are still missing the one who isn’t here.  But that doesn’t mean you are alone.  Because even if you have no one beside you, you have all of us mamas who know the ache you know.  Who hurt deeply on this day where we celebrate moms.  Who don’t get to hug and kiss those precious faces that we see each time we close our eyes.  Who take a deep breath before walking into a room of moms and kids, knowing we are “that mom” — the one who lost a child.  Who feel torn between living in a world that is our reality and wondering so often what could have been.  You are not alone.  And you are loved.  So very loved.

 

Mama, you are amazing.  Happy Mother’s Day.  

happy Easter.

Easter has felt very different to me last year and this year.  It is more personal and I’m so much more thankful for what it means now more than ever before.  Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection not only have saved us from our sin, for which I am so in need and so grateful, but it also means that Christ defeated death.  And because of that, this isn’t where it ends with our baby.

 

Gabriels grave Easter 2014

 

Because of God’s love for us, because of Christ’s victory over the grave, we will see our son again.  Grieving parents, or anyone in this world, could not ask for more hope than that!

 

 

Happy Easter!  I pray you know how loved you are by God’s deep love for us and by Jesus’ death on the cross for us.  He is not dead, but He is risen!

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happy valentine’s day.

Happy Valentine’s Day dear friends!  I hope today is full of joy and love for you and your loved ones.  We were supposed to have a fun little party over here this morning so the kids could have some V-day fun.  But I am not feeling well, so we had to cancel.  I hate that we aren’t having fun decorating cookies and making fun cards now but am super thankful for precious friends.  When I texted to cancel this morning, I had so many friends offer to bring me something to help me feel better.  We are so blessed!

 

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happy valentines 2014 Happy Valentine’s from our little family of 4!

 

 

Last year we were celebrating Valentines with our sweet little baby G around.

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hearts

 

Last years post is here.

christmas 2013.

For Christmas this year we had a sick kid.  We thought he had RSV because he was exposed to it, but his test for it was negative.  So he had another bad virus.  It made me nervous because it did cause him to have a harder time breathing.  But steroids helped, and he healed up.  He wasn’t his usual happy self for Christmas – by any means – but we still had a good day.

 

We went to Christmas Eve service on Tuesday.  Mom was kind enough to keep Jack so that Tommy and I could go.  After the service we went back to mom and dads to eat our traditional Christmas Eve meal.

 

On Christmas morning we hit the ground running, starting at Tommy’s parents’.  After that we went to my parents’ house and had Christmas dinner there.  It was a sweet time.

 

From our time with T’s family…

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Tommy’s sister, Molly, and her fiance, Drew, are getting married very soon!

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It’s Christmas!

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From our time with my family…

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And a couple from home…

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A sick kid snuggling up with his daddy.

 

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And when he felt better, he was my awesome helper.

 

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

i wish Christmas was over.

So here’s this crazy thing:  I wish Christmas was over. 

 

There, I said it.  Call me crazy.  Write it off.  Label me emotional.  Or… maybe, just maybe you feel the same way? 

 

You see, never in my life have I felt this way before.  Ever.  I love Christmas.  Love it up and down.  Love celebrating Jesus’ birth.  Love the joy that comes with Christmas.  Love the hope.  Love all aspects of Christmas and the holiday season.  I love the trees, the lights, the shopping, the wrapping, the movies, the baking, the cooking, the sweets, the salty, the cards – oh the cards, probably my favorite part of “Christmas things”.  I love the picking out of the perfect card.  I love getting them in from others.  I love waiting for mine to arrive.  I love addressing them and praying for each family, each person I send them to.  To me, it’s worth the work.  I display the cards I get all over my living room.  I leave them up through January, at least. 

But I noticed something was wrong this week.  I have spent over a week working on my cards.  It’s been ok, but it really stressed me out this year.  And I found myself feeling differently than before towards it all.  So yesterday morning I texted this to my friend, Julie, who’s baby died in August: 

Moment of truth:  can Christmas be over yet? 

 

I thought I’d be ostracized from society for thinking such things.  Thought I’d be banned from the church.  That it might mean I don’t appreciate Jesus and His love for me.  But then I realized those things were crazy.  And let’s just be honest.  It’s just hard this year.  And it’s not just hard for me.  I know it’s hard for a lot of you, too.  I know it’s hard for Julie and her family.  I know it’s hard for my Grandfather who is spending his first Christmas without his wife after 63 years of Christmases with her.  I know it’s hard for the 3 different families I saw at the cemetery today burying loved ones.  I know it’s hard for my friend who has struggled with infertility for years.  I know it’s hard for the families who have nothing.  I know it’s hard for the families who have everything but feel empty.  I know it’s hard for the family estranged from loved ones.  I know it’s hard for people who lost a loved one a year ago or twenty years ago. 

 

This year I learned that Christmas isn’t always merry.  And in years past I judged and labeled people as grinches or as missing the true meaning of Christmas.  I get, and so appreciate and need, the true meaning of Christmas, but that doesn’t mean this one isn’t hard.  And the beautiful thing about that is that God knows that.  He knows how this time of year can be extra hard, and I believe He’s extra tender. 

 

So in all of this, I want to share that I get it now.  I get how it can be hard.  And I’m thankful my heart is more sensitive to it now.  I also wanted to share how I feel because after talking with several people who also told me they felt this way, I suspect that many of you might, too.  And I want you to know that you aren’t alone.  So know this Christmas, even if it’s hard for you, especially if it’s hard for you, that you aren’t alone.  And we’ll get through it. 

 

 

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when the holidays are hard.

Yesterday I had the privilege of sharing about when the holidays are hard over on the Knoxville Moms Blog. 

 

The Holiday season is in full swing, and I’m having mixed feelings.  Part of me is excited, like I usually am this time of year.  But a larger part of me is a little resistant to the coming of this big season.

This is my first Holiday season since our deep loss.  This time last year we were expecting our second child, and I had great visions of what this Christmas would look like with two little ones.  But in May, our second son died, and now we have to learn how to celebrate this special time of year while our hearts are still broken

 

grief and the holidays

 

 

Check out the rest of the post over on the Knoxville Moms Blog site. 

 

Thanks for the love, friends!