Jul 31

I Don’t Understand…

It’s VBS week!  What this means, for those of you who aren’t familiar with Vacation Bible School, is that I, as a stay-at-home mom, have 3 hours to myself for 5 days in a row. Yay! (Even better, my kids are being taught Scripture and Biblical concepts and principles, while being socialized and supervised!) So, I have some extra time to work on my stuff.

Yesterday, when I took them to the church, to drop them off, God gave me a little gift.  With probably 50 other people standing there, I was the only one who saw this:

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So gorgeous!

What I really want to talk about, though, is what happened today.  When I was walking out, this morning, having dropped my boys at their “posts”, I ran into some friends.  There are a lot of ladies at our church that I am close to, as well as couples and families that we like to spend time with.  However, as young families, it’s not always easy to connect.  So I hadn’t had a chance to talk to these ladies for a while. Which led me to take a few minutes to stop and talk.

You can probably guess how that went; my “few minutes” ended up being a lot longer!  Sometimes, though, it’s a good thing to take the extra time.  I was able to share, with my one friend, some of the things that have been going on with us lately, since I hadn’t had a chance to talk to her.  And I was able to hear some of what’s been going on with her.

As I was sharing with her about what’s been going on with this ministry, we started talking about loss.  She had recently offered to surrogate for someone who has been battling infertility for years.  She filled me in on some mutual friends who lost a little boy a little over a year ago.  We ended up talking about some of the things we don’t understand.

There are a lot of things I don’t understand.  I don’t understand why some people go an entire lifetime without experiencing loss.  I don’t understand why, sometimes, once is not enough.  My parents have lost 5 grandbabies; my husband’s parents have lost 5 as well.  We have close friends who lost two of their own children and then buried 2 grandchildren.  I also know couples who get pregnant multiple times, in rapid succession, without even trying. And not always the most responsible couples.  I don’t understand how God decides what is for which family.  I don’t understand how the pain gets divided up.

What I do understand is miniscule, in contrast to what I don’t, but it means a lot more, and it makes what I don’t understand a lot more bearable.  I understand that God loves us.  I understand that His grace is sufficient.  I understand that He is good – even when I don’t understand.  I understand that there’s a lot more than what I see.  I understand that He knows what He’s doing, and that He doesn’t make mistakes.  I understand that I do make mistakes, and if the responsibility were mine, I would make mistakes in deciding who gets what.  Most of all, I understand that I am His, beloved and precious, and that my pain matters to Him. It doesn’t go unnoticed.

Even having these understandings, there are things I don’t understand that help, too.  I don’t understand why He loves me, but I’m glad that He does.  I don’t understand why He sacrificed His own life for mine.  I don’t understand why He chose to create and love a race that He knew would turn from and betray Him.  I don’t understand why He chose to allow beauty to remain in our cursed, fallen world.  I don’t understand why our lives are precious to Him.

Knowing does not always mean understanding.  There are so many things about our God that I “know”, but without understanding.  I am grateful that He doesn’t require that I get it.  He even has a word for it: faith.  Scripture says that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”.  I think, sometimes, that it’s really “the knowledge of things not understood.”  He doesn’t require us to understand, though.  That’s why it’s called “living by faith”, not “walking in understanding.”  It’s about believing that what He says is true – especially when we don’t understand.

My friend and I didn’t reach any conclusions today.  I don’t think, though, that it means our conversation wasn’t productive.  I think it just served to remind me that our world is fallen, but not forgotten.  Things really are falling apart on this planet – but it’s going to be okay, because there’s a God that’s bigger than this planet, and He’s holding things together.  He loves us and He has a plan.  For right now, knowing that is enough.  I might understand it someday. Even if I don’t, there’s comfort and peace in the knowing.

Jul 26

And in other news…

So, I hate trying to fit ministry updates into a post about something completely different. I just don’t like when things don’t go together! Which is why I’m adding a second post now. I have things to say!

I have, as you may know, been working, through the summer, on administrative stuff. I’m coming along on things! Right now, I’m in the process, prayerfully, of assembling some other folks to help keep me accountable. Which is both exciting and terrifying. Please pray with me!

I have added to/updated a lot of the pages here on my site, which you may or may not have noticed. I have started a book list (under resources), if you’re interested. I still have a lot of things that I want to add/update, but I can only do so many things at once! Keep checking back…there’s lots going on!

In reference to the health concerns that I mentioned last week, there’s not much to say. As of right now, all of the tests I’ve had have been negative, so not much has changed. It’s good to know that it isn’t this or that, but it would be nice to have something that could be taken care of. Treating symptoms helps, but I always think it’s better to take care of the underlying cause, myself. I appreciate your continued prayers on the matter.

Things are moving forward, but there’s not a whole lot of details that I can give, right now. Most of what’s going on is the behind the scenes stuff that doesn’t mean much (to most people) until it starts coming together. It’s getting there, but it’s going to take a little more time. While we’re working on it, I’ll keep you posted, as best I can; I appreciate your patience! And we ALL appreciate your prayers! Thank you!

Jul 26

Intelligent Design…

I’ve mentioned the abundance of flora, relative to my home, in some of my previous posts. I’ve even posted some pictures of some of the things that grow in our yard. This week, our rose of sharon is blooming, as well as our black-eyed susans and our hosta.

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I am always surprised by the breathtaking splendor of God’s Creation!

Usually, though, as the mother of two small boys, my fauna generally frightens off most of the other fauna, so my photographs tend to be limited to flora and skyscapes. The last few days, though, the Lord has been blessing me with some opportunities to share some of the other things we see around our house. There were butterflies playing in our driveway, yesterday, that I was able to get quite close to, and our son found a little “playmate” this evening.

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I know a lot of people don’t like bugs and critters, but I have two little boys – they’re part of life, for me!  Fortunately, I’ve never been overly bothered by most of them. Probably because I’m a perpetual kid, when it comes to the wonder of Creation. I’m so amazed by the details and fascinated by the intricacies of design…I just can’t get enough! And some of my favorite things are creepy-crawlies. After all, butterflies are technically insects. I think fireflies might be my favorite, though. I always feel sorry for city people, when I look out over a field of hay, early summer, just past sunset, and see them – by the thousands, sometimes – flickering off and on. It’s so beautiful. And it’s pretty cool, too.

I can’t imagine how anyone could look at the things I see, sometimes every day, and not believe in intelligent design. I’m amazed, on a continual basis, by the wonder of the world around us. There are just too many specific details for it to be a series of accidents. Things all fit together too neatly.

I suppose that has a lot to do with why I’m so passionate about reaching out to families facing prenatal diagnosis and pregnancy/infant loss. I am convinced that there is a Creator God who has a plan for EVERY DETAIL of His Creation and I believe that He doesn’t let things happen by accident. I don’t believe that He causes babies to die, but I don’t believe that it happens in vain, either. I believe that He has a plan for every SECOND of their lives, making every moment valuable in ways we may never understand.

For those of you out there, tonight, wondering “Why?”, I can’t answer that for you. The fallen state of this world we live in is a devastating thing. Scripture tells us that Creation groans with its longing for restoration. I do know, though, that every minute is worth it. Losing my Zoe-girl was the most agonizing thing I have ever experienced. But those moments that I had with her…her life had a purpose. If nothing else, I’m better for knowing her. And I know there are others who would say the same. I don’t think I could have made any choice that would have lessened the pain; maybe changed it, but not diminished it. Instead, I could have robbed myself, and others, of the chance to know her and be changed. What’s worth more than that?

Jul 19

Yum!

Today, I took my boys and ran some errands.  Nothing too unusual about that.  When we got home, though, we were greeted by the most amazing smell!

Those of you who know me may or may not know that I’m not much of a foodie.  I am, however, a cook.  Domesticity has never really come naturally for me, but there’s something about blending flavors to make something that’s both pleasing and sustaining.  It’s a place where creativity and domesticity can naturally come together and work to make something that’s good for everyone.  I love to cook.

Before we left to run our errands this morning, I put a roast in the slow cooker.  Along with a few other things, of course.  And it smelled good.  That was before it started cooking.  I have never smelled a slow cooker roast that didn’t smell good, a few hours in.  By the time we got home today, though, our house smelled fabulous.

Today, I am thankful!  I’ve been walking around my house, particularly my kitchen, thanking God.  I wanted to share it with you.  So, here are some of my thoughts.

I’m thankful that we live in a place where we have all kinds of herbs, spices, and ingredients readily accessible to us.  Some of them aren’t cheap, and I use them sparingly, but I can get them.  I can’t imagine not being able to get cinnamon or apples or allspice berries whenever I want them, but I know there are a lot of places where I wouldn’t be able to.  And it’s a relatively recent development that I can get them all here.  But I can!  Praise God!

I’m thankful that we have access to resources that have helped me learn to use these things.  Recipes, cooking shows, internet access, family…I could go on and on…have all helped me learn what works well together, so that I can throw some things together and be confident that the result will be delicious and delectable, rather than disastrous.  My adventurous spirit, in the  kitchen, is a direct result of the guidance I’ve received from SO many sources, and I’m grateful for all of them!

I’m thankful, most of all, for God’s awesome gifts to us.  I’m thankful for our senses – to see, taste, touch, and SMELL all of the amazing things we have access to.  I’m thankful that, beyond just making them accessible, He gave us all of these things to begin with!  Just think how different the world would be without cinnamon…garlic…rosemary…peppermint…basil…chocolate… YUM!  And we’d never even know what we were missing!  He loves us so much!

Anyway…I know all of this is directly related to food, and that food is a physical thing, but that’s where I am right now.  Mostly because it just smells SO GOOD!  I just wanted to share my gratitude with you.  Because God is glorified a lot more LOUDLY when we actually praise Him out LOUD. 🙂

So, tonight, while you are eating your dinner, I will be eating my delectable pork roast, drowned in the most amazing blend of herbs, spices, fruits, juices, and flavors.  (My amazingly supportive husband, who loves food, has always encouraged me to experiment in the kitchen.  Sometimes, I think, he’s sorry; I think he’ll be happy tonight.)  I will be praising God through every mouth-watering bite.  I hope that, whatever you’re having, it gives you a reason to be thankful.  Remember: sometimes what seems really good in the beginning gets a lot better, over time, when it’s been heated thoroughly and cooked through.  (Life lesson alert!)

Hoping you have a great dinner!  I’ll be thinking of you all, as I’m eating mine. And praying that you’re being blessed.  Until next time!  By His grace and for His glory!

Jul 17

More Life

So…Life doesn’t always fit in one post.  My last couple of weeks have had a thousand things that I’ve wanted to post about, and they just don’t all fit at once.  I’m going to try to post again later this week, but there were a few other things that I wanted to get in, just in case.

One of the best things I was able to do, over these past weeks, was to celebrate life!  I went to a baby shower on Sunday, for a family member, and got to celebrate the life of her coming baby boy.  My boys are so excited to meet him!  Baby showers have a lot of baggage, for me, but celebrating life is SO important!  It was hard to see them unwrap one of the things that we had gotten specifically for Zoe.  But it was a good day.  By the grace of God, I can celebrate life.

I also got to spend some time with an old friend.  She is a fellow BLM (miscarriage and infertility) with two little boys and one more on the way.  Her rainbows were able to play with my boy-os and we had a great time.  I’m excited to meet her new little one.  God’s timing is always a surprise!

I’ve been working on ministry stuff, as much as possible, over the last few weeks.  There have been a lot of distractions.  The enemy is never happy when we try to glorify our Lord and Savior.  He’s been working really hard to keep me from the things that need done.  God is gracious, though!  “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.”  Distractions aren’t always enough!

I’ve been reading – a LOT!  I finally finished Deborah Davis’s book, “Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby”, as well as a TON of children’s books about death, grief, and loss.  Additionally, I had a chance to read “Honoring A Child Born To Heaven: Finding Hope After Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss”, an e-book available through Amazon.  I’m hoping to start adding some info and reviews to my “Resource” page in the next few days, but I strongly urge you NOT to hold your breath (just in case!).

I actually hit a pretty big milestone, this past Saturday, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.  But I can’t just yet!  I’m super excited, though, so keep your eyes open!  I’m working on the admin stuff and hoping to be able to make my official presentation before the end of the summer.  I’ll keep you posted!

I do have one other prayer request to share.  One of the distractions that the Enemy has been hitting me pretty hard with is my health.  I’m really not too concerned, understanding the way that spiritual warfare works, but my doctor has a few concerns.  I’m seeing a couple of specialists and having some tests, over the next few weeks, and I would greatly appreciate your prayers.  I really don’t think they’re going to find much, but God is sovereign, so even if they do, I’m not worried.  My only concern is for how it’s going to affect the amount of time I can spend on the things that are important right now.

Anyway, on that note, I think I’ll go ahead and wrap this up.  I’ve left you with plenty of info, some things to watch for, some things to think about, and some prayer requests, as well as an update on how things are going…I think that’s enough!  I’ve been very encouraged to hear that people are starting to follow me, and I have some promising things in the works, so things are looking up!  Praise the Lord!  He is SO GOOD!  By His grace and for His glory, bye for now!

Jul 16

Life…And Other News

Whew!  My life has been moving about twice the speed of ME, for the last couple of weeks, but I’m finally starting to catch up to it (I think!).  For those of you who follow, I apologize!  For the rest of you…Phbbt! 😛

I mentioned, in my last post, that I’ve been having some exciting things going on – things that I wanted to share with some photos!  Are you ready?

First of all: I got to go up to Lake Erie, to Cleveland Harbor, and watch the Parade of Tall Ships!  On July 3, I ended up, through some less than great circumstances, in possession of a ticket for a lunch cruise on the Nautica Queen, to watch the parade come in.  It was SO cool!  I had the best time, and I can’t wait until my boy-os get just a little bit older, so I can take them!  Here are a few of the pictures.

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It was a beautiful day to be out on the Lake…warm, but not too sunny or hot.  There was a fantastic breeze; the water was moving, but not rough…Have I ever mentioned that I love the water?  I really needed the day.  After attending a funeral, the day before (I could see my Zoe’s headstone from the gravesite), I knew I needed a day off.  I didn’t realize, though, how much, until we got out into the harbor.  When I can feel the water, I can breathe.  I never realize, until I get there, that I can’t breathe the rest of the time.  It just feels like going home.

When we were out on the boat, I was talking to my dad (I was there with my parents) about being on the ark.  I’m sure, at times, that the time on that particular boat was a nightmare ride.  But I genuinely believe that there were other days when it wasn’t all bad.  I think, near the end, especially, that God gave Noah and his family some dream days on the water.  After all, the whole point behind the ark was to save the things about God’s Creation that were good and brought Him joy.  Noah was righteous; God wouldn’t have preserved him out of spite – there was real love for Noah.  Surely, relying on our knowledge of God, we can infer that there was blessing.  There were good days on the Ark.  Even when everything around them was dying, God blessed His people!

Another of the amazing treasures God gave me, during the last few weeks, was a sunrise.  Those of you who know me know that I am NOT a morning person.  To call me an early riser is beyond laughable.  I’ve often heard photographers talk about “early morning light” with that look in their eye, but I always just wrote it off as some morning person’s delusion.  Never again!  I have found, as I’ve grown acquainted with grief, that part of my response to it is disturbances in sleep cycle.  When Grandpa Joel died, I stayed up all night.  At about 5:30, I realized the sky was starting to get light and I went to get my camera.  I can now say that I get all that stuff about “early morning light”.  Wow!  If you’re not a morning person, I strongly encourage you to get up and watch the show at least once.  It is SO worth it!

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There is NO better or more appropriate backdrop for God’s beautiful Creation than His daily masterpiece. Enough said.

I’m going to end here, for now, because I had a slight technical difficulty and lost half of my post.  I’m going to chalk it up to divine providence and call it done.  I’ll post again later tonight or tomorrow, Lord willing.  Until then, by His grace and for His glory!

PS – I updated some of the older posts with pictures, so check them out!

Jul 06

Break time…

Once again, I’ve let too many days pass between posts. This time, it’s mostly just because I’ve been busy. If you follow, you noticed, on Thursday/ Friday of last week, that I mentioned it was Grandpa Joel’s Forever Day. We’ve been dealing with a lot of family stuff this past week. We’ve had some other stuff going on, too, but mostly family stuff.

There’s been some really great things going on this past week, too, though. I’m excited to post some pictures for you! Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to get them uploaded yet, so they’ll have to wait. Lord willing, I’ll get a chance to post tomorrow. Lots to share!