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.