Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010: God's love

2 days after Sammy was born I received the first necklace in the mail...and over the next 8 weeks I would receive 5 more. All from different people on different difficult days. Each necklace is unique.
Starting on the left is the 2nd "Sammy" necklace I received from a bunch of my high school friends. The circle with 2 pearls reads "Samuel David" and was the first one I got, from my brother and sister in law. My first "Sammy" necklace with a cross is from my friend/roommate/landlord when I lived in Detroit, Amy. The beautiful butterfly is from my step-dad's family. The square, pearl/aquamarine necklace reads "Samuel David", is from the women in my church. The last necklace on the right is from my first grade teammate, Leigh, and reads "SDL" with tiny angel wings. She knows the woman who made the necklace and I received the sweetest card about how the maker and her son had prayed over the necklace for me and for Sammy.

I hadn't mentioned the plethora of necklaces because I didn't want people to stop sending them *smile* I felt so *loved* when I received one and knew I would treasure them forever.

Well, *sigh*, 2010 did it's best to knock me down. Monday night a new challenge was thrown at me and it left me wondering what is love? Shoot. Human love is sooo messed up. The word is thrown around so callously and carelessly. I found myself wondering how I could ever understand or comprehend God's perfect love.

Then I got an email from a friend who's daughter Lulu was born with anencephaly in the beginning of October. We've exchanged emails a few times in the last couple months. She was emailing to ask if I had any necklaces that I wore in honor of Sammy...she won a necklace in some kind of contest, thought of me immediately, and wanted to know if I wanted it.

Just when I thought I would never understand God's love, the love that I so wanted to get me through this, He opened my eyes to the purity and voracity of His love. 6 necklaces? Isn't that a little excessive? mmmmmm, just like my Savior's love. Totally excessive. And unique and coming at me from all ages and stages of my life...I am so excited to see the 7th necklace but even if it never comes, it was the impetus for me to understand a piece about God's love exactly when I needed to.

Yesterday I dug down into 1 Corinthians 13 a little bit deeper. It's really not the light and frilly chapter of the Bible that people make it out to be.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Oh boy. Remember this post - the one where i confuse myself? i think? Tip of the iceberg. Little did I know. Choose your own cliche and add it here.

I'm sorry to be vague right now but I must be. Maybe someday I can share a bit about what's going on. Basically I need to choose love right now. I need to cling to these verses and make sure that the love that I am giving is not some cheapened earthly version. ^ that up there is true love. I have seen a glimpse of God's love and feel humbled by the amount of misunderstanding that I still have but that ^ up there is what it's all about.

God's love is perfect. oh I am thankful for that today. I am thankful for the millions of details that He can coordinate to show me His love in just the way and in just the time that I need to see it.

And I am thankful in advance for a quiet 2011. It doesn't even need to be good, I'll settle for boring. Please 2011...

more crafty crafts

Neither my mom or I could find the perfect Sammy Christmas ornament so after our family's celebrations were over I threw out the idea of us making some ornaments. I am admittedly obsessed with felt so we went looking online for felt patterns and ideas that we could use to start my mom's grandchild Christmas tree ornament collection. I figure it'll be easiest for her to have a tree that kiddo's can touch and decorate...except for the tiny buttons these should be pretty child safe :-) Lucky first babies get all the love, Lord only knows what kind of craziness our next Christmas together will hold (we do every other year with my family so 2012 is our next time together).

My sis-in-law Linda made the owls. She decided they could represent Isabel on the Christmas tree since alligators and stars will be Sammy's rep.

"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart,
and you shall see that in truth
you are weeping for that which has been your delight." -Kahlil Gibran

Monday, December 27, 2010

the fam

We had some family pictures taken out in the snow.

from L to R: back row - Bro John, me, Dave, bro Paul
front row - future SIL Lisa, Step-dad Duane, Mom, SIL Linda, Isabel

Sunday, December 26, 2010

sugar and spice and everything nice...

...that's what isabel renee is made of...

look! i can hold a baby without exploding!
although a couple times her striped socks and polka dot pantsed bottom almost did the trick...

We just said good bye to my sister in law Linda and my sweet niece Isabel (more often referred to as punky or isabelly) so my hands should be a little more free to blog and such. It's been a good week full of memory making and not without a bunch of sad moments. I realized today that more than anything else Isabel was a distraction for me. We talked about Sammy a bit but I don't think anyone wanted to talk about how it could have been...

Most ironic moment of the week? Walking around Hobby Lobby with a sleeping infant. Made me feel like some kind of emotional progress must have been made (remember the infants stalking me at Michaels?). And then we went to Ikea today and every pregnant woman, every infant, and every family made me mad/sad. Even the grown children exasperatedly shopping with their parents made me mad. *shrug* just one of those days I guess.

Carolyn from MN totally got it, Mom and Duane made the most delicious lefse and finally convinced Dave and Linda, the out of towners, that it is a legitimate holiday treat. More pictures to come for those of you who are curious about this southern MN tradition.

Friday, December 24, 2010

we're busy

Can anyone guess what we're getting ready to do here? MN residents will have an advantage...

this mess has led to some coming on that soon!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


i don't know where this pressure comes to feel "normal" or return to "normal". but there it is, fueling the swings between "i can do this!" and "oh. but i just want to hold my baby, why is that too much to ask?"

i've changed without really knowing it. i come through a situation i've faced before realizing i handled it much differently. some times it's for the best, sometimes not. i wish i could give you an example but my mind doesn't always work like that anymore.

i read that to find happiness it helps to have a hobby that requires 100% of your attention. Ha. my capacity to give 100% attention is limited to 1 topic. my baby boy. the rest of me seems to run on some kind of muscle memory. thankgoodness.

"i will forever because you'll forever be
my one true broken heart pieces inside of me
and you forever my baby"
Dave Matthews Band, Baby Blue

Saturday, December 11, 2010

crafty catch up

Someone requested a picture of Sammy's Christmas ornament and then I realized since the craft blitz of '10 (none of which got finished *smile*) I have not posted pictures so here's a little crafty catch up.

Sammy stars for the tree. Unfinished craft #1 - I need to get some ribbon hang them with. Saw these in a book. Funny story - went to look at the book for the second time in Barnes & Noble and caught 2 teens making out in the craft section. I walked right past them, stopped a few feet away from them and looked through some books. *smile* they moved out of my sight after it became obvious I was not leaving.

There's Sammy baby's handprint/footprint ornament, sitting on a calendar holder? Whatev's. The day I went in I also painted the little 'gator that is hanging from the hanger string thing (official terminology). To the left there is unfinished craft #2, the styrofoam, felt covered Christmas tree. It needs something on top. I think I saw something at Walmart that would be perfect but since I generally try to avoid Walmart it's not getting finished.

I just think our mantel is cute so I included this picture.

My friend Brooke said she was going for classic when she decorated her tree and I realized that was the exact word that I wanted to use to describe my tree too! Lots of felt, I have no idea if felt has ever been used on a Christmas tree and could be considered classic. I'm kind of obsessed. We didn't need to buy anything new for our tree this year since my mom made the little red, cream, and blue wreaths for us. Everything else was from last year. I need a few more dark cobalt blue items but I won't worry about picking those up until everything is on sale this year. We're also playing with what our favorite type of tree is. Last year we had a Douglas Fir and this year it's Frasier Fir.

So yeah, those are the crafts I started before I went back to work and have remained in their state of undoneness since then. I can't believe there is only 2 weeks until Christmas - although by the time the 25th rolls around our "Christmas festivities" will technically be done. I have not started Christmas shopping - opps. Gotta get rollin' with all that.

Oh! I wanted to mention that we got an Advent box from my family. It is very fun, we get to open a present every day until the 25th. So far we have opened some candles, candy, Sleepytime tea, a Starbucks gift card, a decorative S for our Sammy shelf, espresso making accessories (who knew they existed? Dave loves it), and a daily calendar full of The Office quotes which will lead me to my non-cohesive closing of this post. Does it help bring cohesivity if I admit we watched all the Christmas episodes of The Office while we decorated the tree? (we love the show a lot...) Here is, in my opinion, one of the top 10 Office quotes of all time:

"The greatest snowball isn't a snowball at all. It's fear."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

well we all survived...

yesterday was my first work break down.

after thinking about it for a bit I guess it was probably about being overwhelmed. I counted on some time to do some work in the middle of the day and it wasn't going to happen...all of the sudden I felt like I didn't know what to do and started crying in front of about 150 kids and 8 or so staff members. I totally knew what to do but in that moment couldn't think and couldn't stop myself from crying. I couldn't explain to anyone why I was crying...I was able to get away to my room for a minute and a couple people checked on me and tried to totally would have worked if my students hadn't already seen me crying and started wondering why "I looked hot or something" (splotchy face).

I'm sure I could have gotten someone to take the class but I just barreled through with a box of kleenex by my side. One little smarty asked "are you crying because your baby died?" and another admonished him "don't say that! we're not supposed to talk about!" while another student said "you still remember that?"

oh goodness. I answered yes to all their questions but I couldn't address anything they said without completely sobbing so I taught math instead. Number representations in case you're wondering. I was able to casually mention it a couple times today, I don't remember the context now, it's been a day-after-a-good-cry, fuzzy, kind of day.

Dave a had rough "Sammy" day too. (how I refer to days that are really ok except for that big gaping hole where our baby should be.)

he went to pick up Sammy's Christmas ornament. i kinda want to stare at his little handprint for two days straight. a-dorable. Tuesday was 2 months and today is 9 weeks since he was born. Sunday we got a video/slideshow of some taping (is it even called that anymore?) that our Pastor did that night. I recommend videoing to all parents. I didn't remember anything that happened in those short minutes. It makes me very grateful that we were able to plan for pictures and gives me even more respect for those parents who have to remember without pictures or video. I wish we had a camera rolling for all our hours with him.

So yeah. Overall the return to work has been good...and grief, like an angry toddler, continues to demand my attention.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

So this is Christmas...

fur baby Mose lookin' like the grinch puppy last year

I have a regular list of Christmas songs that I listen to and it's funny how the events of this year have changed the favorites on the list. Some BLM's (baby loss mama's) want to avoid all things holiday. So far I am not in the that crew. While thinking about aspects of "what could have been" this Christmas make me really sad, it's one of the only times a year I get to see my family so I am still looking forward to it. I reserve the right to change my mind about this at any moment *smile*

#1 song that I was bitter about this year until I read the real story: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Turns out my meter for sensing sarcasm is right on. The original version of the song was apparently too real for some people so they changed the lyrics to the sickeningly sweet version that we all know. I'm trying to find an original version of that song...

#1 song I used to love love love and has made me really sad this season until today: O Holy Night. For some reason I would hear it and think of the night Sammy was born and I would get sad. Today I realized that for 2010ish years the Lord has been providing mama's with peaceful births in the most uncommon situations and I felt blessed.

#1 song I used to tolerate a couple times during the season but I think will be a favorite this year: Happy Xmas (War is over).

so this is Christmas what have you done?
Another year over, a new one just begun...
let's hope it's a good one, without any fear.

So here's my "hope for the holidays" playlist, I'd love to hear what ya'll listen to, I try to add a couple new songs a year. This is in no particular order...but these are my favorite versions of these songs and if there are multiple versions it means I couldn't decide.

You & Me - Dave Matthews Band
Christmas Time is Here - Diana Krall
The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole
O Come All Ye Faithful - Natalie Grant sweet and powerful all at once!
River - Rachael Yamagata
Wintersong Album - Sarah McLachlan
Baby It's Cold Outside - Jane Monheit & Steve Tyrell
This Christmas - Donny Hathaway
That's What I Want for Christmas - Nancy Wilson
Merry Christmas, Baby - Lou Rawls
O Holy Night - Shawn McDonald
Christmas Time is Here - Brad Mehldau
Christmas Song - Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds
*new in 2010*
If We Make It Through December - Holly Cole

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Rachel Alice

My friend Stacy welcomed her baby girl, Rachel Alice, into the world yesterday morning and said goodbye a short 43 minutes later. In the chaos of my first week back at school I didn't get a blog posted asking for prayer ahead of time, but I think thats ok.

Please take a moment and say a prayer for Stacy and her family. Visit her blog to read more of their story.

In a year where my faith has been tested, the story of Rachel's birthday is an encouragement and a strengthener. I don't know much, but I know the Lord is faithful to provide peace in seemingly impossible situations.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Good day, best husband EVER

Today went well! My kids were great and have made amazing progress...I found out yesterday that first grade has made the most progress in reading, *in our school*. Very exciting. It was good to be around the kids and while their sad stories break my heart even faster now, their desire to learn and wonder in learning made my heart really happy today.

Then I got a text saying "when will you be home, I'll try to have supper ready" - except he said dinner not supper, I am apparently one of the only people in the world that says supper. And when I got home I could smell the asparagus baking. Before I could get away to change into my slippers I saw the flowers and he presented me with a gift. This Sammy green sweater, with a hood, hoods are my favorite. (shout out to Isabel, the one week old, I just realized the sweater sleeper I got her is an identical knit, only cream and a full body suit, we'll be fraternal sweater twins)

I had expressed some concern last night (that's code for: cried and blubbered my way through an explanation of why I was crying at that particular time) about how I didn't like that I had forgotten about Sammy for a while at work. Dave listened, tried to make me feel better, and then today went searching for a sweater for me to keep at work that would remind me of Sammy. I love it. I love that he will get supper ready for me (amazing, left over turkey, asparagus, and some special 'tatoes). He even wanted to make me my favorite coffee drink but I refused for tonight, I need 'early to bed, early to rise' to work tomorrow and coffee at 8pm would not be conducive to such a goal.

I have the best husband ever. I was just extolling his character to a friend on the phone last night...I'm really blessed (try not to be jealous). Just sayin'.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Here we go...

L to R: Cami, Laura, Lawrence & Brandon
Dave's sister & family
the green reminded me of Sammy all day :-)

back row: Sharonne, Sam, Grandma Virginia
front row: My hair, Dave
seriously - how big is my hair? what is dave doing with his hand?

Whew. I don't know where to start. Michigan was good. We got to see family and friends. It was great to catch up with our church family on Sunday and personally thank all the people who have been praying with us and encouraging us over these last few months.

Tackled a couple firsts last week...really they tackled me...I don't remember a time where I felt so many conflicting emotions at the same time. I was so excited and happy for Isabel to make her appearance I didn't anticipate the sadness. I'm sure on some level I knew it would come.

It is impossible to look at pictures or hear stories about Isabel and not wonder how it could have been. On top of all that, I know I was planning this years double baby holidays before that May ultrasound so one bout of wondering led to another...and with a little lack of sleep it just made for a long week. Life with Isabel and without Sammy begins, 1st new baby in the family since Sammy.

The other first...well...two close friends announced their pregnancies this weekend. I knew both couples were "trying" and I am excited for them. And terrified for them. I don't understand how they could watch all THIS go down and happily plan a pregnancy. I'm angry that our innocence is gone. I'm sad. And somewhere deep down I'm hopeful.

I've called grief a roller coaster, well last week (still a little) it's the tilt-a-whirl. I hardly stopped spinning from one thing and we were off to spinning again. Can you imagine feeling happy for someone else, sad for yourself, and a little mad (at God! The audacity, I know, but it's true) all at the same time? Tilt-a-whirl.

I'm not sitting still much these days, full of nervous energy and emotions that don't want to be sorted or set to the side. I start back at school with students tomorrow. I went in today to get acquainted with things and spent the first 10 minutes crying in my room and then cried when the first person I saw asked how I was doing. Hopefully that's kind of out of my system and tomorrow I can function a little bit better.

I'm excited to see the kids and get back to work but really sad at the same time. It was jarring to realize that my mind was consumed by something other than Sammy and sadness this afternoon. It feels like I'm "moving on" from that period of time when I got to focus on Sammy 100% of the time. When memories are all I have it feels like a betrayal to not remember...and moments when I lose my eternal perspective are the worst...

Please excuse the randomness of this post, it's been a while and my mind is whirring at 100 mph. I've made 2 kinds of cookies in the last couple days and started 3 crafts (not finished). Returned items to four stores on Sunday and cooked a turkey. AND another lizard made its way into the house tonight...Stella chased it in between my feet and I let out the best Hollywood scream ever. It is still on the loose. I wasn't joking about not sitting still.

These verses have been lingering on my heart and Pastor preached from them on Sunday.

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

I need to get to bed, off to work tomorrow!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

What we've been up to:

Lumberjack breakfast at my nephew's school - it was a special day...

Usually his eyes are more open...proof Brandon was there too.

This kept my hands busy while we waited for Isabel on Tuesday :-) And this picture box is a gift from Dave's sisters family...gorgeous, it will probably hold Sammy's clothes and hats.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

She's here :-)

Isabel Renee arrived this afternoon around 2pm (8lbs 14ozs, 20.5 inches long). After a brief scare this evening with Mama, everybody is doing well but quite sleep deprived.

Thanks for the prayers!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Good morning!

I found out who the mystery gifts were from :-) Thank you ladies of Alden, I'll post the frame again when it gets a picture and a final spot in the house.

I really popped in to ask for prayers of endurance for my bro Paul, SIL Linda, and soon to be born niece Isabel. Linda started laboring last night and went to the hospital early early this morning. It's been over 12 hours of labor now with contractions every 3-4 minutes since at least 1:30am. It still amazes me how much work it is to just manage the pain of contractions.

I'll write more soon, we're in Michigan with Dave's family and so far it's been great. Not too cold! We got to stay with friends on Saturday night and visit our old church on Sunday...I made my first pie last night for us to take on a visit with family I used to nanny for. Catching up is great and the pie didn't hurt anyone's feelings either. *smile*

Friday, November 19, 2010

Speak now...

or forever be a mystery :-) We have received 2 gifts in the last couple weeks with no card or mention of who they were from. I love love love them and yesterday's necklace was wonderfully timed. I had my 6 week postpartum doctor visit yesterday on Sammy's 6 week Thursday. In case you're wondering, over the course of a day you can, in fact, cry off waterproof mascara. But of course I received a couple of encouragement emails and then another wonderful necklace to help lighten my burden.

I have kept pretty busy cramming everything I needed to do in the previous 5 weeks into this one week *smile*. My eyes, teeth, and lady parts are all checked out and healthy. Dave is jealous as his tooth ordeal from this summer just got resolved yesterday and he has had glasses since his elementary school days. I am still pleasantly surprised when I get through an exam and they say "everything looks good". Really? It's still 2010, ya'll don't have to start with good news for like 42 more days. And yet, I think I deserve good news, 1 defective baby is enough drama for one year. Just sayin'.

I took Sammy's foot/hand print Christmas tree ornament in to the pottery painting place to get glazed and fired yesterday. Lord bless that lady's heart. I walked in sobbing but I wanted to get it done before Christmas and before I go back to school. Yesterday I was the unapologetically sad and crazy lady. Thank goodness she kind of understood and no one else was there.

I had about 50 blog thoughts yesterday. I think I will start a list of suggestions for families walking this path...I wish we had made more than 1 ornament! It was a miracle they got one of Sammy's handprints (his fists were clenched) but I wish I could give my mom at least a footprint ornament for Christmas. The pottery place I went to sells the balls so I'm assuming most pottery places sell them. This is not one of the details I cared about at all until yesterday...too late...

Ok. Off to bake something and pack for Michigan!

Monday, November 15, 2010

lamentations and hope

"I don't even know what I would have wanted someone to say.
Not: It will be better.
Not: You don't think you'll live through this but you will.
Maybe: Tomorrow you will spontaneously combust. Tomorrow, finally, your misery will turn to wax and heat and you will burn and melt till nothing is left in your chair but a greasy, childless, smudge. That might have comforted me."

I read a great book this weekend. I have seen it quoted on a few blogs and decided that I needed to buy it and read it. The title alone practically sucked me in "An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination". It's a memoir about a woman who's first baby was stillborn. She does a great job of articulating the feelings and thoughts that seem impossible to express.

Imagine my surprise when my devotions this morning found a similar sense of drama and desperation, this time in the Bible, in the aptly named book of Lamentations.

"He shot his arrows deep into my heart.
The thought of my suffering and hopelessness is bitter beyond words.
I will never forge this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.
Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:
the unfailing love of the Lord never ends!
By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction."

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
Lamentations 3: 13, 19-24

This writer, whew, he was going through some stuff. Read Lamentations 3 and try not to feel better. Dudes talkin' about how the Lord crushed his teeth with gravel and trampled him in the ground! I don't know if this is the first time the author of Lamentations felt this way or if he been through it before, I guess it doesn't matter.

The Lord is my portion, my inheritance, therefore I will hope. Ya'll today, that is the glimmer of light that invades my darkness. Hope. I have seen the Lord's faithfulness in the past; providing so many things for myself, my family, and my friends in so many different situations. Today (this week, this year) I need hope for the future.

I hope this gaping wound called grief will soon begin to heal. I hope it heals beautifully and the scar that remains will be a testimony to others and proof that God is real. I hope to survive this. I hope this sadness can produce something great...I hope for good things to happen in my life.

So I will hope as I remember and I will hope as I read of His faithfulness, goodness and love. And I will wait.

i spy...

auuugh - I did it. I bought the ceramic chicken.

Dave wants me to tell you to ignore the basket of mail. I say, this is mantel's organization is a vast improvement over the previous 20 months. From left to right: Sammy on a wire frame from Anthropologie (LOVE!), tall candle holder waiting for the perfect purple candle, el pollo, Sammy's star registry, fun frame with picture from our wedding night hotel room over looking the Detroit River, empty frame that Dave consistently asks about, fun clearance clock, and a bright blue vase sans flowers. This is our kitchen mantel so the chicken totally makes sense.

I promise I walked away from the chicken once. I took the picture and thought "ha, I would never". Then I returned to that row in Marshalls for some reason and picked it up quickly as I made my way to the register. I also promise it only cost $5. And I really don't intend to purchase *any more* chickens. But this one made me giggle and had a certain charm.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

5 weeks out

alternate title: 5 weeks out, a lifetime to go

alternate title: the one with excessive quotes

alternate title: numb

It has been a numb week. When I am tempted to say "I had a good week" and judge the week by the amount of tears and sadness, I feel reminded that it's because of the numb, not any emotional growth or anything that puts me in a "good" place.

And where the numb works for getting through it fails in the memories. I look at pictures and can hardly believe that is me holding my baby. Did it happen? Was I really pregnant for 9 months? Was I really sick for 5 of those months? Did I really feel kicks at all hours of the day and night? Did I really get to kiss those cheeks, squeeze those thighs, pat that bottom?

Reason #1593920 I feel crazy this week? I *hate* that grief is not a linear process so I find myself pretending it is, wishing the weeks away so I will get to "feeling better". And at the same time the tears I shed are because life is getting "back to normal".

Reason #1593921 - There is no going back and that "normal" no longer exists.


"You may notice an inability to make decisions, accomplish even normal things, and even a difficulty in getting out of bed. Your priorities may change and you might not know how to deal with this. Keep in mind that this is a temporary 'you'. It is what happens to many people during grief. Don't fight it to hard and recognize that is normal."
Empty Arms - Sherokee Isle

Amelia's mama emailed this week and brought to my attention this inability to make decisions. I am not very good at making decisions these days. Most glaring example - crying at the restaurant because I don't know what to order...and then crying again 5 minutes later when Dave asked me what I wanna do after we eat.

I make myself do "normal" things - like this week, my goal every day was to have the dishes done by the time Dave got home. It strikes me as funny because "normally" I would not have this goal, but it seems like a "normal" thing to do so it has been the goal this week. Basically it was the only goal this week. I like to keep things simple.

My real favorite part of that quote is bolded and it encourages me today. This is only a temporary me and this is a temporary "normal" (not the dishes part, the rest of it).

*deep inhale*

*deep exhale*


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

miscarriage in the news?

Read this article from the New York Times.

1. I'm glad the reporter went there...

2. I have a book that comes highly recommended in the baby loss community and it starts off stating facts like this article. I stopped reading the book before I finished the first chapter and I guess I'm not ready to start it back up again. I HATE the clinical, sterilized statements...even if they are true.


3. I don't generally read the New York Times :-) I saw this article on some media feed Dave has on his phone. I also don't watch Matt Laeur interviews or most anything where a US President is involved but I am tempted to find it and at least watch part of it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

on prayer or maybe grace?

Yesterday I found myself dealing with a problem that is partially my fault and I was hoping mostly someone else's fault. It involves the hospital and the insurance company so I was ready to dig in for some long and confusing phone calls. I thought back to my experience fighting for financial aid every semester, visiting the financial aid office each week for 4-5 weeks until someone who knew what they were talking about happened to be at the desk. *sigh*

Turned into quite the day. I thought it was over when I had to take lady #2's phone number to call her back because I couldn't talk through the tears (really sobs). It started out as laughter over the absurdity of the situation and then when I had to explain why the laughter was turning to sobs, lady #1 transferred me to lady #2. An hour or so later when I was good and calm I looked at my phone and noticed I had missed a call from the hospital. To my surprise, it was lady #2 calling me back to tell me she had looked into the situation (that I never had a chance to describe to her) and had been in touch with the insurance company who saw that it was their mistake. Everything is on hold now while the hospital audits the charges and the insurance company figures out why and how they are going to fix their mistake.

I didn't realize how much it was all stressing me out until there was some resolve. I was shocked and happy that the ladies I talked with on the phone didn't just dismiss me and my problem. I was shocked and happy that it was indeed a mistake on the part of someone other than myself. After I noticed the immediate mood change I thought 'what a great answer to prayer'. And then I realized that I had never really prayed about the whole problem in the first place and changed it to 'thanks for lookin' out Lord'.

It's the second time in a week that I realized my thoughts about prayer are in limbo. I know what I know (scripture) and I know what I've experienced but they don't seem to match up.

Matthew 7:7-8, 11
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened...If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!"

I can pray earnestly for other people the prayers that I have seen the Lord answer for me. I trust that the Lord knows best how to answer all prayers and understand that my preferred answers do not always align with his.

Isaiah 55:8-9
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts."

I guess that's where I struggle right now, accepting that his thoughts are not my thoughts and his ways are not my ways. That's not so much a limbo as it is hard-headedness. Today I will be thankful for the grace and mercy of the Lord as I work through this. And I am reminded to lean on and be comforted by this:

Romans 8:1, 26-28
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus...In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Monday, November 8, 2010


is what i mean when i say "grief makes me feel crazy"

blog is like
reading some great articulation of my heart

is possibly my favorite blog post of all time

Sunday, November 7, 2010

checkin' in

It has been a busy weekend!

We went out for supper with some friends Friday evening for the first time since Sammy was born. I didn't even realize until today that it was the first time in about 10 months that I sat and watched everyone else eat appetizers while I waited for an entree. Seriously, for months I walked into a restaurant knowing the beverage and appetizer I was going to order and dared any waiter to look me in the eye without taking my order. Funny what changes when you are no longer growing a human inside you.

Saturday I attempted to make eggs benedict for Lindsay's pre-bday shopping extravaganza. After an initial poached egg FAIL we were able to successfully poach some eggs...but whew - that's about all that worked. I swear I was successful at eggs benedict last time. As stated, the rest of the day was spent shopping where I spent $0 and Lindsay found almost everything that she had on her list...including some sweet dance moves courtesy of Hillari, myself, and an impromptu Express back room dance party. So to recap: eggs benedict 1, Lindsay 1, Express dominated by melissa & hillari.

Tis' the season for b-days tomorrow. HBD Isaac & Lindsay! We grilled for Isaac today and hung out. Tomorrow is Lindsay's official bday rock-n-bowl celebration. I wish I could accurately describe the wonder that is New Orleans Rock-n-Bowl...should be a great night!

In all my spare time this weekend I have been contemplating happiness vs joy vs contentment. You know, nothing much. Because I'm not working or looking at calendars I hadn't put together that today was the 7th, one month since Sammy was born. A few other people were on top of this and reminded me. I've been busy but honestly at this point I'm still counting Thursdays...I guess time will probably necessitate the eventual transition to counting months instead of weeks. *sigh*

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Starry Night

It's taken two bitter drafts to get to this's hoping that's all worked out.

Thanks to everyone who left encouragement here yesterday or emailed, facebooked, or texted me some...SMH, typing that last sentence is when I realized just how much encouragement I did receive yesterday. I've recognized the Lord's faithfulness to provide a husband and friends to drag me out of my sadness. After a short poutfest with Lindsay this morning, we were able to remember many of the positive things that Sammy accomplished in his short life and that helps me. Yes, I count his 10 months of womb time as life. I don't feel bad about being sad or pouting, I know it's part of the process, I just don't like it. I'm serious, we're 3 for 3 on days I didn't want to get out of bed but someone called and wanted to do something I would generally enjoy so I made myself do it (food/shopping, pedicure, a visit). It just took this 3rd try at this post to make me see all the other ways He's provided for me this week. Thanks for powering through my grief Lord...

I want to share the story of how we picked out Sammy's urn (hence 2 bitter versions of this post). But I don't think it's going to work out today so I will share a picture of it instead.

This is in the corner of our living room right now. Turns out there are about 100 reasons why choosing this moon shaped urn was the best decision for us. #1 being the rest of them sucked. LOL - I have avoided that word on my blog for *so long* because my mom drilled it into my head as a teenager that it is a horrible word. But it's just the word I want to use when I describe the entire event that is "the urn". So there it is, and there it will probably remain as the only time it appears out of a literal context on this blog. LOL

I decided to try and write for the 3rd time today because I was reminded of a song I heard on the radio a couple weeks ago. I only had this to go on when I googled to figure out what the whole song was: "moon reflects the sun lyrics". Riiiiight. Mad props to google for working that out amidst all the science jargon I was not interested in. The melody of the song annoys me so much that I'm tempted to get a guitar, teach myself to play it (again), and record my own unplugged version...then I realize I'm too lazy for all that and I can't sing anyway. But I love the lyrics because they remind me of Sammy (he has a star and his moon) and my hopes for all this mess (that we somehow reflect the Son).

found his acoustic version on youtube! click on the title to listen to it

From the Birds that Sing, In the Tallest Trees.
To the Human Life, of you and me.
From the Desert Sands, to the place we stand.
He is God of All, He is Everything.

I'm giving my life to the only one who makes the Moon reflect the sun.
Every Starry Night, that was His design.
I'm giving my life to the only son, who was and is and yet to come
Let the praises ring, 'cause he is everything
'Cause he is everything

From the Autumn Leaves, that will ride the breeze
To the Faith it takes, to pray and sing
From the Painted sky, to my plank filled eye
He is God of all, He is everything

I'm giving my life to the only one who makes the Moon reflect the sun.
Every Starry Night, that was His design.
I'm giving my life to the only son, who was and is and yet to come
Let the praises ring, 'cause he is everything.

Hallelujah (Hallelujah)
I believe
Hallelujah (Hallelujah)
I believe

I'm giving my life to the only one who makes the Moon reflect the sun
On that Starry Night, He changed my life.
I'm giving it all to the only son who gave me hope when I had none.
So let the praises ring,
Ohhhh Let the Praises Ring

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

fast forward

In our own separate ways Dave and I have both mentioned wanting to hit the fast forward button in life. Dave is ready to set up a Christmas tree! I feel deeply unsatisfied in life and want to move to the next step. There must be a next step! It must be coming soon!

Looking back over the recent days I can think of a couple times where I told myself to slow down. I put some pictures together in a frame and was in such a rush that I messed it up a bit...rushed because?? Last night I substituted yogurt for sour cream in a baking recipe without looking up if one can even do that legitimately. *shrug* The bread tastes great, so I got away with it, but it's just not really like me to be in such a rush.

And everybody today is blogging about living in the moment. Ya'll, I don't want to live in *this moment*. People who don't have any frame of reference say time will heal, people who know say you'll just get better at dealing with the pain and loss. Either way, I want to be there, not here.

What do you do in the here, waiting for the there? How do I live in this moment without dwelling in it?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

chicken bingeing and other random points of interest

:-) I made my most favorite Creamy Chicken taquito's for lunch today. And last night Dave grilled some yummy bbq chicken. If I didn't know better I would say that I am bingeing on chicken these days.

Right now my main goal in life is to not nap. With a snoring husband across the room, football on tv, a chill in the air, and 2 sacked out pups it's a struggle. I think the quality of my night time sleeping is evening out now I just need adjust the timing. 1am is not the most convenient bedtime. Last night I was all wrapped up in a book that took about 200 pages to get interesting and then BAM! I was sucked in.

Most of our Sammy stuff is all sitting in one spot. I have casually looked for a box or little decorative like trunk to store everything in permanently but right now it's just out. On the corner of that table was sitting a beautiful colorful frame that my friend Jenny made and I finally got a picture of Sammy put in it.

Every time I walked from the front of the house to the back I walked by the table and would glance down at his picture. A couple times last week as I looked up into the mirror I was startled to see my baby boy's chin. I like that. I mentioned it to Dave and he said that every now and then he see's it too when he's looking at me. *smile*

My mom is taking this Nana thing very seriously. She called to tell me that when she went to her hair cut appointment she took some pictures of Sammy to show the hair stylist. *smile* I'm not sure which picture she saw but apparently the hair stylist said, "Oh, curly red hair!" In her *professional* opinion Sammy's hair was not only red, but also curly...what a fun thing to imagine.

*this was after his bath*

I got to share my Sammy book of pictures with one of the neighbors yesterday. I was outside planting flowers and he came out. Somehow Sammy came up and Jose asked if we got to spend any time with him. Shoot - yes, we did, wanna see pictures? He commented on how romantic our pregnancy photo's are from City Park, how Sammy just looked like he was sleeping and of course how big Sammy was. And then after handing the book back he started walking back to his house and said, while tapping his chest, "It just hurts my heart a little bit".

yeah. me too.

Friday, October 29, 2010

light and momentary?

I have been known at times to be *a bit dramatic*.

I can hear the laughter ringing all the way from Minnesota. Let's just say it's hereditary.

Once again I am in a place where I'll never know the real cause of the intense emotions. But after a good morning of walking with a friend, her daughter, and my pup pups there I was. By the time Dave got home I was just resigned to the fact that some times there is just an infinite feeling sadness and no way to avoid it or overcome it. I saw a quote on my new friend Brooke's blog that she found on Courtney's blog (baby Ella has not made her appearance yet!).

"They say that time in heaven is compared to 'the blink of an eye' for us on this earth. Sometimes it helps me to think of my child running ahead of me through a beautiful field of wildflowers and butterflies; so happy and completely caught up in what he is doing that when he looks behind him, i'll already be there."
~Author Unknown (I edited to make it he's instead of she's)

It made me sad but with a side of hope and comfort. Hope that all this missing Sammy for the rest of my life will feel short and comfort in the fact that he's ok. As I continued with my afternoon and tried to not dwell in my sadness too much (FAIL - unless sitting and listening to sad music while staring into space for a couple hours = moving on), the phrase "light and momentary afflictions" popped into my head.

yyyyeeeaaahhhhhh. I knew that was scripture but I swear I scoffed out loud at all this being called "light" or "momentary". <---imagine big over exaggerated air quotes dripping with sarcasm here. And being in the shower at the time, the situation was not real conducive to Googling that phrase so I just started thinking about eternity. And wondered about the context of that scripture, thinking Paul probably wrote it while he was in jail or something crazy like that.

2 Corinthians 4:17 - For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

By itself that verse was hardly it the selfishness of immediate gratification but I would rather have my baby now than "eternal glory" later, whatever that means anyway. With it's two immediate neighbor verses it came together for me, providing me with enough comfort to not climb into the dark hole that was attempting to swallow me.

2 Corinthians 4: 16-18 - Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

It helped me to be affirmed in the "outward wasting away", that's a nice way of putting how I felt yesterday and am tempted to feel every day. And yet I was being renewed even as I was feeling affirmed in the wasting away.

It's been a struggle to complete some of the tasks I was all fired up to do a couple days ago. It started with the zucchini bread being a bust, I didn't bake it long enough (I blame my oven, bake times are way longer than recipes call for lately). Then the rest of the recipes that I wanted to try were taunting me so I made myself complete them last night. There were some flowers that needed to get planted in front of our house and I finally made myself do it today. I'm glad I did it all. In the midst of these tasks it felt good and even better when they were done. I just lack motivation some days.

I tell myself it is ok. It is ok to be infinitely sad for a little bit. It is ok to lack motivation for anything but staring into space. Some days will have those moments. Maybe that's my tendency to lean toward the dramatic but I know those moments won't last forever. I know that lately when I can't find comfort, comfort seems to find me.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

lizards and a couple websites that might change your life

Confession time. I don't sleep very well these days without the aid of a little white pill. I did take one fantastic nap this week but it was my response to some adverse stimuli. (I don't want to talk about it). Every now and then I think about weaning myself off the little white pill but can always think of a reason not too. Well, last night I decided to try sleeping without it. FAIL.

The best I can figure my body has a perfect "I'm-a-new-mama-with-a-newborn-that-needs-nourishment-every-couple-hours" sleep pattern but since I'm *not* that it just equals bad sleep. Up every couple hours, crazy dreams that annoyingly don't stop. So I'm laying in bed this morning, minding my own business, after a night of shoddy sleep, listening to the rain, seeing that there is no sun shining and contemplating what in life could make me possibly get out of bed. And it's Thursday. All signs were point to a Melissa-shaped hole in the mattress.

And then I saw it. It looked like a paint drip at first, illuminated there in the sliver of light that had escaped the curtain. As I stared, I thought about how I didn't remember there being a paint drip there before...and then I saw them. The eyes and legs. Paint drips don't have eyes and legs.

I got out of bed, real sneaky like so as to not disturb the lizard. !! Lizard! In my bedroom! Thank goodness Dave was still home and could be enlisted to catch it. I believe I threatened to move out TODAY if he didn't get rid of it. Ya'll have no idea what kind of paralyzing power a tiny lizard has on me. As I think back, I have a lizard story for every year that we have been in New Orleans. I just don't like them but they seem to love me. *shiver* Dave caught the lizard and put it outside.

Whew. Anyway, I'm up. I spent yesterday running errands. I am doing great so far at keeping myself busy with stuff that I've wanted to get done for a while. Exciting things like getting a sealable container for the dogs' food, a new toilet brush, and those little fabric bins so that Dave can have his pj's and t-shirts sufficiently organized in the closet. Really though, I am revisiting my old pre-preg self too.

Like baking this Chocolate Zucchini Bread from one of my favorite recipe blogs. Only one recipe has done me wrong there, and I'm sure it was my fault. Don't be afraid of zucchini bread, especially chocolate with mini chocolate chips zucchini bread with a sugary crust on top. It will probably change your life a little bit. It's almost like I'm reverse nesting...except really I used to do stuff like this all the time. Before food made me ill and all, I loved to try out new recipes.

I read this blog this morning and it also has potential to change your life, or at least make you think for a minute. It also strikes me as slightly ironic that it's a little bit about being succinct and I feel like the opposite of that most of the time. Ignoring the Soundtrack - check it out.

Basically if pregnant Melissa = bump on a log, not pregnant Melissa = baker/cook/creator. I'm sure my creative energies would have been funneled into a nursery, actually I have a whole word document of girl/boy possibilities for nursery decor/bedding and the like. It's basically what I did instead of starting a registry before we had the anatomy ultrasound. And after the ultrasound, well, the document wasn't needed so I believe it got tucked safely away on our external hard drive somewhere.

Now that creative energy is creeping back in with the creation of the little brag books for the family and need to declutter and reorganize everything. And it takes a lot of creative energy because our home has very little storage, especially in the kitchen which is the room I am most often starring into from my place on the couch :-)

In summary, it's been 10 months since all these activities appealed to me and it seems I've missed them, even though I didn't (I swear that makes sense in my head). I really like reading blogs and sharing them with people. And lizards should really leave me alone.