Here Comes Spring

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We spent most of last year in such a fog that I find myself feeling like I’m waking up to March with a bit of dejavu.  Wasn’t it just last spring?

I love the few wonderful spring days we’ve had recently.  Warming us up from cold, wet winter… giving us a gentle respite before the harsh, humid summer hits.

The first quarter of the year has about flown by, and it’s been sprinkled with the good gifts from the Giver of Good Gifts.

Family field trips…

Eating out in Houston - and FREE ice cream!

Eating out in Houston – and FREE ice cream!

To the Children’s Museum.

Jeff built this molecular structure he thought I would recognize: caffeine.

Jeff built this molecular structure he thought I would recognize: caffeine.

I finally got my hands on something I’ve wanted to try for a long time…

Just Fiddlin Around

Just Fiddlin Around

I’ve been playing around with a few simple recipes from a place we miss very much…
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The two of us got away for a date night in Houston!

Me and my Floating-Head-Friend

Me and my Floating-Head-Friend

We had the blessing of hearing David Platt speak and commission some workers being sent off to the harvest fields…
Comissioning DateIt was epic.

God is kind.  So grateful for a gentle start to this year.

 

My ‘Normal’ Day

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I have thought so much about blogging.  And then never could bring myself to do it.  Since the bulk of my writing last year was about Rebecca’s short life, it was hard to make the transition into writing about ‘normal’ things here again.  Like that would mean we had forgotten.  Grief is a process.

But things have been pretty normal lately… or our version of it.

We normally wake up to some form of the same routine every day, which has us finishing school and some of our chores by lunch time.  But today I decided we needed something different.  We had been cooped up in the house for days on end, with dreary weather outside.  My kids were starting to climb the walls.  No, really.

Hey, Hey we're the monkeys

Hey, Hey we’re the monkeys

 

People say we monkey around

People say we monkey around

monkey3Since the weather hasn’t really cooperated with outdoor time, the kids have spent a lot of free time jumping on the mini-trampoline, climbing the doorways, creating things…

You're never too old for playdoh

You’re never too old for playdoh

"Hula-Girl" by Maggie Hazleton

“Hula-Girl” by Maggie Hazleton

Corn Husk Dolls

Corn Husk Dolls

Can I tell you how my heart leaped when one of my daughters came up with the idea of making corn-husk dolls when it was her night to stay up late?  Well braid our hair and call us Laura Ingalls…

Oh, and reading.  Lots and LOTS of reading.
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So, yes, I really needed to get our crew out of the house.  So this morning I woke everyone with the announcement that we were going to Chick-fil-a for breakfast!  Olivia, who loves CFA, promptly began yelling no, stomped her feet, and threw herself to the floor.  Yeah, she’s almost three.

The others got their buddy-teams together and got ready in record time and we were out the door.  CFA was nearly empty – yay! We enjoyed our breakfast and after everyone was cleaned up I actually let them go in the play place! (I know, my BFFs are both picking their jaws up off the floor.)  They had the whole place to themselves and I enjoyed a cup of coffee while making a grocery list.

After they played a while, I yanked lovingly coaxed everyone out and we put on jackets.  We saw Mr. Mike, our friend who owns the local CFA and he gave hugs to all the kids and sent us off with a gallon of lemonade because he and Mrs. Becky are just the BEST! They are so generous.  I loaded everyone up and we mustered up our cheerful spirits and good attitudes (mine included) to go next door to Walmart.

If you’ve ever seen our crew in Walmart, you know we kind of take up the aisle and we move kind of slow.  Everyone was *mostly* behaving, and by the time the 4th person asked us “are they all your kids?”  I answered
“Yes!  You know, I’ve never been asked that before!”
“Really?”
“No, I’m just joking, you’re the 4th person today.”

He was a sweet man who took it with a grin.  The woman next to him, picking out carrots said, “well, more power to ya.  I tell you what, after two I figured out what causes that and I put a stop to it!”

I wanted to respond with “well too bad you said no to all your blessings.”

But I behaved.

Earlier, when the younger (than I), more fit (than I) Mom with one youngster in her buggy walked by and gawked as she said, “man, you have your hands full!” I looked down at my kids gathered around me (only slightly because they’re gaining on me!)  I looked at their faces all peering at me. They had just heard someone (for the thousandth time) say that they were a handful.  And I asked them, “Is that a good thing?  Yes it is; we are blessed.”

Then another woman who had walked by during the “hands-full” remark came back around the corner quietly after the younger mom had left, and said, “My mom had eight kids.  I love to see big families.”  I love when people make those kind of remarks.

By the end of our shopping trip, half of the kids were using every last breath to tell me they were dying of thirst!

We checked out, got to the parking lot, loaded up, and pulled into the gas station.  Now, I don’t really like pumping gas because admittedly I’m spoiled and have a husband who has mostly pumped all the gas since we’ve been married.  And also…

Let me take a moment to address all you people who stand there pumping your gas and think that the ground right by your feet is a decent place to spit: it’s not!  It’s gross and inconsiderate.

Okay, I’ll go back to behavin’ now.

We made it home before the rain started again, and all these hands-full of kids helped me carry in the groceries AND put them away.

And you know what?  Not one of those culprits who were *dying* of thirst stopped to get a sip of water before skipping off to do their own thing before lunch.  Hmph.  I’m onto them.

I promptly began heating up a very healthy lunch of frozen corn dogs, apple slices, and baby carrots, and sent one of the kids to grab a stack of paper plates from our bulk stash from Sam’s.  Because yes, we care about the environment, so we don’t buy styrofoam.  You’re all welcome.

Alas, my courrier informed me we are completely out of paper plates!  I really don’t know how we’re going to function around here before we make another run to Sam’s Club.  Thankfully, I also have a stash of random leftover holiday and birthday paper plates.  So everyone enjoyed their lunch on the beautiful fall-decorated plates I’d been hoarding saving.  They felt extra special.

After lunch and table duties were complete and the almost-three-year-old was put back in her naptime spot a total of 47 times while I was writing this blog post, she finally fell asleep.  Just in time for the FedEx guy to pound loudly on the door for me to sign for a package!  Oh well, maybe the power nap will get her through the evening.

But now it’s time to get ready to leave for Spanish!  I wonder how you say “normal” in Espanol?

Adios, Amigos!

 

 

 

 

 

Changing Seasons

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It’s our first real ‘winter’ day!  It was in the 30’s when Jeff left for work this morning, and our old house is hanging on to the chill in the air, signaling me to put away my indoor flip-flops and pull out my sueded loafers for scuffing around on the hard floors.  (I’ll keep my flip flops within reach, though, because this is southeast Texas.  We’re due for at least a handful more days in the mid-seventies before January hits.)  I’ve loved the few weeks we’ve had of Heavenly weather, and I even got a few projects done out in the beautiful sun (like finally doing something with our blank, white mailbox).

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But I’m not made for cold.  Today has me pulling out fuzzy sweaters and making plans to spend my birthday money on a stash of my favorite coffee. (Mountain Mama Roasters – go ahead and google; they are awesome and I’m so proud to be an in-real-life friend.)

 

Seven weeks have passed since I last held Rebecca and it seems like six months.  It feels like it was a dream that didn’t really happen.  The last three nights I have had different versions of the same dream I’ve been having for weeks: that I am trying to nurse or bottle-feed a newborn baby.  Sometimes it’s a baby I’ve birthed, sometimes a baby that was just placed in my arms.  Most times a boy, last night it was a girl.  It’s always a good dream, one I miss when I am awake.

I am trying to joyfully accept this season, enjoying my two and a half year old as perhaps the last baby we will raise.  I trust God’s sovereignty, and although I’ve prayed He will allow me to nurse and raise another baby, that might not be His plan.  So getting to nurse babies in my dreams seems like a sweet little present from Him.

Last week was my 6-week appointment with my OBGYN.  I was prepared for it to be an emotional afternoon, as I anticipated being around radiant pregnant mamas, full of promise… or mamas toting around their newborns.  I brought a book to keep myself occupied while I waited. But I wasn’t prepared for the emotions I felt at realizing this may be the last time I sit in this waiting room for a visit related to pregnancy.  I never opened my book.  I decided to take it all in – if this was going to be the last time, I was going to experience it to it’s fullest, painful or not.  I stared for a while at the artwork on the walls, and watched mamas shift uncomfortably in their chairs, their hands resting on full bellies.  I took in the smell of the office, and the sounds of muffled conversations and feet shuffling and nurses calling patients to come to the back.  I smiled at the nurse while she took my blood pressure (and rejoiced that it was back to normal).  And after I’d received a full ‘bill of health’ from my doctor,  I  walked slowly to the checkout station and waited for the clerk to enter my information into the computer.

“Okay, do you need to come back, or all you all done?”  she asked, ready to schedule a future appointment for me if I needed one.

I paused for a second before answering, “I’m all done.”

She smiled.  “Then have a nice day.”

And just like that, it was over.  My final doctor’s appointment related to Rebecca was over.  I walked out of the office but wasn’t quite ready to walk onto the elevator that would whisk me down to the first floor and dump me out into reality again.

I didn’t want this chapter to be closed just yet.  I didn’t want Rebecca’s story to be done.  I walked over and sat down on some chairs by the window, away from the elevator doors and just took in the moment a little longer, looking out over the rooftop of the building next to us, and at the adjacent parking garage.

Too bad this poetic moment doesn’t have a better view.  I wiped a tear and took a deep breath.  I let the elevator escort me on to normal life again.

Normal life is in full swing at our house.  Our form of messy, chaotic normal.  We celebrated Jeff’s birthday last night with homemade sloppy joes straight from Pioneer Woman’s cookbook.  You know you’ve struck gold when you’re friend’s pre-teen boy is asking his mom to get the recipe from you.  Score.

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My Love

We stayed up a little too late letting the kids (all 13 with our two families combined) watch a movie while the grownups did grownup things… like hoot and holler while playing several rounds of Dutch Blitz.

In two days we’ll celebrate Lena’s birthday.  And we’ll have our first nine-year-old in the house.  Nine.  That means in only a year and a half I’ll have three 10-year-olds in the house.  Maybe this is a good season to embrace after all.

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Thanksgiving is coming, and we have so much for which to be thankful.  I just want these days to slow down enough for me to soak it in and scratch some of it on paper and spend the time properly thanking God for the blessings.

I’ve been asked to write out our story for a friend’s blog, and it’s one of my greatest desires to use Rebecca’s story, her life, to point to God and to open eyes to choose LIFE for their baby – no matter how specially and uniquely designed their baby may be.

So I think it’s time.  Time to sit down and pour it all out and then put my feeble scroll into the Shepherd’s strong hand.  He’ll know what to do.

So excuse me, please, while I pour another cup of “Costa Rica Tarrazu” from my thermos and crack my knuckles over the keyboard.

Cheers.

 

Remembering

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I am thinking of Rebecca a lot today.  I carried my coffee cup upstairs this morning to make my bed and set the mug down on my desk and couldn’t help but look at her photo there.

 

Desk Photo

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Papa and Nai Nai (my parents) made this and sent it to us not long after we received Rebecca’s diagnosis.

I find myself today just wanting another peek at all her little features.  Sweet long fingers and perfect feet… long legs, and the tiniest of lips…  Sugar and spice and everything nice.

For being only 12 3/4" long, she had the long legs and big feet.

For being only 12 3/4″ long, she had the long legs and big feet.

I am so.very.thankful for two sweet friends who dropped everything and brought their cameras and captured the brief moments of her life here on earth.  I will never be able to thank them enough for that treasure.

In thinking about her so much and missing her today I haven’t cried, but I don’t count that as necessarily a victory.  The crying can be as good as the not-crying.

It’s just a sweet day of remembering.

She was loved.  She is loved still.

Even If…

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I mentioned something in my last post – that I wouldn’t change any of this experience with Rebecca.  The time we had with her was the blink of an eye and it was joyful and bittersweet, and losing her was sorrowful.  And I wouldn’t change any of that.  I hadn’t really solidified that in my heart until I let the thought escape through my fingers on the keyboard.  But once it was there in front of me, in black and white, I knew it was true.

 

Do I still wish Rebecca was healthy and with us?  Of course.  My daughter’s earthly, broken body is laying in a simple box in the ground, and I would rather have her healthy and nursing in my arms – no mother would say otherwise.

 

Even on the way to visit Rebecca’s grave yesterday, Carson said, “Mama, if God wanted to He could still fix Baby Becca and make her all better and send her back down to us.”

 

And, he’s right.  Of course God can do anything.

 

But you and I – and even my 4-year-old son – know that He’s not going to do that.  Yes, Jesus called Lazarus from the grave days after he died.  Yes, he raised the dead, more than once.

 

But this was not His plan for us.  And I wouldn’t change that.

 

Because I don’t want to change His plan.

 

Once, the disciples came across a blind man and asked Jesus, “hey, who’s sin caused this man to be blind?  Was it him?  Or was it his parents?” (John 9)

The Lord’s answer?  Neither.  “But that the works of God might be displayed in him.”  This man was born blind because God planned it that way.  God wanted – God made this man be born blind – yes, God caused the suffering.  Because He had a good plan.

This man was born blind, not because of sin, but so God’s work could be seen!

We like the story because the man ends up with a great blessing – being touched by the hand of God and receiving his sight.

But sometimes we forget that Jesus didn’t say, “he was born blind so that he could receive the great blessing one day of being part of the story of the Son of God and receiving his sight by a miracle.”  Nope.  God’s purpose wasn’t about the blind man at all.  It was about God.

It was about us seeing the hand – the power – of God.  It wasn’t about the man’s eyes being opened as much as it was about the people’s eyes being opened to God.

That day in July, when we had received the news that our baby had developed no brain, and probably had trisomy 13, and would not live after birth… I was devastated at God’s plan.  It seemed like a terrible suffering I could not endure.  It felt like swallowing poison mixed with gravel.

All I wanted was my baby.

But I will never forget the moment I had, heaving sobs in the bathroom stall, trying to gain control so I could face the faces that would be staring at me in the waiting room of the Dr.’s office… that moment in the bathroom stall, when I was only able to mouth the prayer, “God, this is not what I want… but I will walk this road if you want me to.”

Don’t get the wrong impression.  Those were not the words of a righteous, Godly, submissive, strong Christian woman.  No.  Those words came from a broken, sin-scarred girl who’s been through the cold, rocky valley before with her Shepherd and has uttered, “whom have I but You, Lord?”  I was only able to whisper that prayer in earnest because I know He’s all I’ve got.  And He is good.

But that doesn’t mean I will always be on the receiving end of a miracle.

My heart was stirred a few days ago when we were reading through the masterpiece of C.S. Lewis:  The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.

There’s this one exchange that is my favorite – maybe in the entire Chronicles of Narnia.

Susan, upon being told that Aslan is not a man, but the great lion – the most dangerous and noble of all the creatures-   is unsure how she feels about this news.

“Ooh,” said Susan.  “I’d thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe?  I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver.  “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe.  But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Aslan_narnia_by_tralala1984Photo Credit

I knew that day when I told God I’d walk this road, this valley path, that it wasn’t going to be a safe one.  I knew that the dream I had for myself would likely die.  And it has.  My daughter died.  Jesus did not rescue any of us from that end.

But even if it wasn’t what I wanted –  I have tasted a tiny bit of the sweet fellowship with Jesus, that I believe only comes through suffering.   And I trust that God’s plan for Rebecca’s life and death goes beyond our family and our hurting hearts – that it’s about Him and turning other’s hearts toward Him.

Even if He doesn’t answer our prayer like we wanted to, we still praise Him.  Because He’s good.  He’s the King, I tell you.

On the Shore

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How we’re doing, and other un-important matters.

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Here we are, one month after our daughter’s birth and death.  Sweet and miraculous and sorrowful.  I wouldn’t change any of that.

One month after the storm whipped us up and landed us on the shore.  And really, it’s kind of like I’ve been on an island, just wandering around these past four weeks.

Rather aimlessly, I must admit.

We’ve been through actual storms before, and the aftermath of all of that, where you pilfer through your soaked or molded belongings and save what you can, let go of the rest.  That time after the winds cease, when you look around and quickly figure out what – or rather who – is really important in life.

Stuff isn’t, really.

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When your head stops whirling and you find your feet under you again but you’re not really sure where you’re walking to – or if you should walk any direction at all.  Or maybe we should just be still a while.  Just sit here and brush off the sand and salt.

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So really, that’s what we’ve done.

A month has flown by and the sun is shining.  I’m still choosing joy.  Most days, anyway.

There were – and still are – times of deep sadness and loss.  The waves of grief that come over you quite suddenly, out of nowhere.  Walking through the store and looking up to see that I’m passing by the baby section – and then running my hand over the big box of newborn diapers, feeling the stinging sensation in my nose before the moisture hits my eyes – because I know I won’t be needing diapers.

Realizing that in a few months a very dear friend of mine will give birth to her sweet baby… and wanting with all my heart to hold her baby, while simultaneously wanting with all my heart to NOT hold her baby.  Because the last baby I held was my own one-and-a-half pound treasure.  And the moment I hold another baby, Rebecca will NOT be the last baby I held, and somehow in my mind that puts more distance between us.

Because when you’re wandering around aimlessly on an island, logic somehow gets fuzzy.

In the weeks that followed Rebecca’s funeral I was still waist deep in the physical healing process, recovering not only from surgery, but from the effects of toxemia.  I was working so hard on physical healing that emotional healing was kind of an afterthought.  But I would find myself over and over again standing in a room without a clue as to why I had entered that room… or walking across the kitchen only to forget what I was doing.  Or looking at the clock and being shocked that it was almost supper time – and then being grateful so many people had brought food because I hadn’t even once thought about dinner preparation that day.

I’ve sat down many times to write about this journey, really wanting to not forget so many details – how I felt the moment Rebecca was born… the look of sheer joy on my kids’ faces when they met her… the dozens of ways people loved on us in those first few weeks.  The small glimpses of the kindness of God.  But every time I’ve opened my journal or my laptop to write, I’ve found myself just staring out the window. Just being still.

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Now four weeks have passed and I’m finding myself coming out of the fog a bit and fumbling around for my compass.  I’m not sure I’m ready to go anywhere, but I want to at least know where I’m heading.

And when it’s time to tell the story, I want to come out of the quiet.

Because telling about God’s goodness is worth leaving your own private island.

 

Happy Birthday Baby Girl

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It’s Monday night.  I can’t believe tomorrow is Tuesday, and marks one week ago that the brunt of the storm came upon us.  One day I will sit down and write out the whole birth story.  Maybe I’ll share it.  Maybe I’ll just keep it to ponder in my own heart.  Even now it seems like it was just a dream.  Being wheeled from my OB appointment straight over to the hospital.  That long, long walk. The sweet nurse pushing me in silence through corridor after corridor as the temperature steadily got colder in each each new section we entered.

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Rebecca Faith Hosanna was born on Tuesday evening, September 23, 2014, and never made a sound, but stayed with us about an hour.  I was so sorry I couldn’t keep her safe in my womb any longer, as toxemia had set in and time was critical.

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The past week has been a blur of activity in trying to get my health stable, planning our daughter’s funeral, and riding each wave of emotion, but God has been a steady rock and shelter in this storm and His peace has perfectly covered us, never once wavering.

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This wasn’t what we wanted, of course. Even so, God is good and loving and kind.  And we praise Him.

**Thankyou to Simone Trahan, who took these photos to document our time with Rebecca, and to Becky Book who also took some beautiful photos of our girl – something we will always treasure.

Just a Cloudy Wednesday

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August 20, 2014

It’s 4:44 in the afternoon and I’m sipping coffee from my pretty new mug that was an anniversary gift from Jeffrey.  We just celebrated 11 years on Saturday.  So much can happen in 11 years.

I came upstairs to scratch out some thoughts on my laptop and sat on my bed to hear a crinkling noise.  My 4-year-old boy has left me a surprise under my pillow.  Drawings of buildings and super-heroes in action, leaping from high places.

Amazing.  I love him.  Lots of amazing things have happened in 11 years.  I choose joy.  Rebecca is kicking and I just commented to someone a few minutes ago that our girls’ bedroom is full, but I hope to get to squeeze Rebecca in there one day.  Knowing that only a miracle from The Giver will make this possible.

Some have remarked about how strong I am.  How inspirational.

But that’s just it.  In the amazing stories, it’s generally the weak and ordinary ones who get to play a lead role.  The ones who wouldn’t have chosen to be in this story at all. Would I have?  Just months ago, the thought of losing a child would cause my breath to stall, my knees to shake.  Lord, please don’t ever ask that of me.

But here I am.  I am not strong; He is.
I am not full of faith; He is faithful.

I am not an inspiration; He is altogether Lovely and Loving and inspiring and weaving something beautiful from the ashes.

Didn’t I just say that in an email to one of my best friends?  God’s story never ends in ashes.  I’ve had that written to me by at least three people on three separate occasions in the past week.  I guess it’s sinking in.

 

Anchored

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Choose Joy

 

 “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man
who takes refuge in Him.”  Psalm 34:8

August 18, 2014

I haven’t sat down to write in a while.  The days are running together and flying by on the calendar.  And surprisingly, most of our days are filled with peace.  With joy.

It amazes me that I make it through each day feeling generally peaceful.  That we can accept a smiling “congratulations” from a check-out clerk at the store, while she beams at my belly, and I can genuinely be happy and say “thank you,” and mean it.  Because of that I know that we are utterly covered in prayer.

I have my moments of bittersweet when Carson kisses my belly and talks to baby Rebecca, or Liv peeks into the folded up pack and play and asks “baby Becca in dere?”

But I enjoy every movement and kick.  I smile when a smartly-aimed little foot or elbow is able to slightly ‘bump’ a book or coffee mug that is nestled up to my belly.

I am genuinely happy to be carrying this bright girl.  My heart aches to think of not getting to bring her home.  To wonder if we will get to meet her while she still has breath.  To know that my milk will come and she may never partake of it. But I am still happy to have her as long as she is loaned to us.  Be that years or moments, it will be miraculous.

When we first heard the news I was devastated.  The kids weren’t with us and I couldn’t even contain my crying, so I couldn’t see how I could possibly carry on a normal routine and meet the needs of my children day in and day out.  The first day is still a blur that God surely carried me through.

How does anyone go through this without the CREATOR carrying them through?

But it didn’t take long for me to realize, after crying out to God and spending a lot of time in Psalms – that I can choose joy.  I can wallow in pity and wonder why this is happening to us and think about how unfair it is that – without a miracle – we will leave the hospital without our baby.

Or I can look around me and realize how much God has blessed me.

I have beautiful, smart, healthy, funny kids.  They bring so much life and joy to our world.  And I have many friends who have lost babies and children.  Women all over the world go through this every single day.

I have a safe haven to call home, while many live on the street, or live in terror and threat to their lives because of their faith or their race or their caste.

I have a loving husband, grounded solidly in God’s Word.  And he loves us.  And he never complains.

I looked around.  and the more I began to thank God, and proclaim – to myself – His utter goodness, the more I wondered how I could possibly complain about this momentary suffering.

Sure, I can complain.  Or I can choose to see how good God is.

I can choose joy.

So in a moment of clarity and thankfulness early one quiet morning, I grabbed my notecards and my pretty sharpie and jotted out at least half a dozen little signs with a simple message:

Choose joy.

Because I knew I’d need reminding.  I would fall back into self-pity again and I would need to see that message to my soul again.  From the truck dash.  From the kitchen counter.  The coffee table.  The bathroom sink.  The night stand…

I would need to be reminded again and again to decide to really see His goodness all around me.

And in that, be anchored in the storm.

 

Break in the Clouds

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Celebrating Rebecca

“Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together!”
Psalm 34:3

On July 22, during a 20-week ultrasound, we learned something was terribly wrong with our baby.  A week later, a specialist told us our baby has zero chance of survival after birth.  We are still waiting on bloodwork to show if we are looking at Trisomy or something else.  There are abnormalities with our baby’s heart and other organs, and the head is full of fluid, where little or no brain has developed. We believe God isn’t finished with this story yet, and we will praise Him no matter the outcome.

August 7, 2014

I got the phone call yesterday morning.

Maria, my doctor’s nurse was on the other end of the line and I knew she was calling to give me the results of the panorama blood work we’d had done almost two weeks earlier.

“Okay, I’m ready,” I said, leaning on the kitchen counter, picking at crumbs.

“I wanted him to be wrong,” she started…

The results showed “high risk for Trisomy 13” and the blow wasn’t so bad.  I told her it was okay, I understood, and she let me know that she would always be thinking of me and that at every appointment I could call her as soon as I was in the parking garage and she would get a room ready for me and let me come straight to the back without having to sign in or wait in the usual area.

Before I hung up, I asked, “What about the gender?”

“Female!” she said.

I was stunned.  Really stunned.  I had been so sure – 100% sure – I was having a boy.  I had told all the kids weeks earlier that if I was right, Daddy was going to buy me a sno-cone, and if I was wrong, I would buy them all ice cream cones.

Here we are having a GIRL.  This little one continues to surprise us.

The tears came a moment after I hung up the phone.  Happy tears for my little girl… sad tears for a “diagnosis”…

I stepped outside the laundry room and sat in the sun on the back steps and texted Jeff, “I owe all the kids ice cream cones!!! :0”

A few minutes later I dried my tears and went back inside and told the kids the news.  The girls cheered and Christopher offered a half-smile.

And four-year-old Carson wailed.

He’s already started praying that God would send us a baby brother.  Bless him.

Yesterday evening we took the kids to Dairy Queen to pay my debt – and to celebrate.  Some wise friends have encouraged us to really celebrate this little one’s life while she is with us, for however long she is with us– and make some good memories.

After all the kids were in bed, Jeff and I sat and talked about the names we had been thinking and praying about.  And we named our daughter.

Rebecca Faith Hosanna Hazleton

 (Yes, we are those people who give their kids long names… that’s a story for another time.)

Rebecca has a few meanings…. one is “captivating”.  This was special to me because t13 babies are often born with facial abnormalities.  But God has made her beautiful.

Rebecca also means “a cord tied tightly”…. Interestingly, my childhood friend Becca messaged me yesterday and said she was praying that “our rope would be tied as tightly as possible to the One who is the strongest.”

The middle name Faith is pretty obvious.

Hosanna, in Hebrew means “rescue/deliver us”… in the New Testament it is used as an expression meaning “praise God!”

So, if you string that all together, the meaning of our daughter’s name is “tied tightly in faith to the One who rescues, and we will praise Him”

I think her name is pretty fitting, don’t you?