Friday, May 31, 2013

Righteous Indignation with Love

When Jesus called the Pharisees a "brood of vipers" was He speaking out of hate? Of course not! He still loved them, even when He spoke the hard words. There was always grace available! This is another error I'm afraid has gotten in the church: That we cannot speak in righteous indignation with love. We are to imitators of Christ! If Jesus did it, we must follow in His steps with the help of the Holy Spirit! ~ D. Papagerorgiou

If you will take the time to study your Bible, you will see Christians are not called to be ineffective doormats. We have a Scriptural right to rebuke sin. We have an example of taking a strong stand against sin in Christ. He was very radical and used sharp words against those who needed it while still offering love, forgiveness, and grace. 

1 Timothy 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. 

Luke 17:3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. 

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 

Titus 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;

Titus 2:15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. 

There are more...go read your Bible!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Really Handed Down!

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I bought those overalls in three sizes in 1992 for Brandon when he was a baby. All of my children have worn them. Brandon just turned 21 four days ago! Here's Miss Hannah with her curls and impatient grin taking her turn before she heads back outside to swing on the swing set.

James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Working on the Cars

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Clint is helping Brandon and Amanda work on and tune up their cars.
We believe the worst thing you can do for your children is to do everything for them.
While he will help them in any way needed, they have to do their own work.
If it is something they can't do, they have to be on hand to watch and learn while he's doing it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Music Video: Words by Hawk Nelson

If the embedded link is not work, click here.

.This has been my prayer since I started this blog:

I wanna speak Your love
Not just another noise
Oh, I wanna be Your light
I wanna be Your voice

Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I don't wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You

Monday, May 27, 2013

Garden Decoration Idea

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turtle shell (it has a head and front feet too)

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For Mother's Day, the children painted rocks for my flowerbeds.
Some of them painted more than one.
It gives my flowerbed color and shows off their artwork!
I clear-coated them to make them last longer.

"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." - Maya Angelou

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Love, Action, Fellowship with God

It's not enough to say you love someone. You have to show it. Obedience to what God tells us to do keeps us in fellowship with Him. If we are not obeying Him, we can not say we know Him or what He wants in an area. We can't claim we are doing God's will when we are walking in disobedience to what He tells us to do in His Word. The truth in these verses enable us to monitor our own walk with the Lord. If you feel like you can't go to God in prayer for something, check your life for sin and deal with that first.

I John 3:18-24  Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.  Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him. And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.

1 John 2:4 If someone claims, "I know God," but doesn't obey God's commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth.

I John 3:10 So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.

Go read the rest of this chapter and this chapter for more on how God wants us to live with one another. This is the NLT translation. I personally prefer the KJV because it is what I grew up with and is how I memorized all of the verses, but some of the visitors to the blog find the wording distracting from the message.

"There are many who preach Christ, but not many who live Christ. My great aim will be to LIVE Christ." R.C. Chapman

Saturday, May 25, 2013

He Did It Just to Make Her Laugh

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Joshua eating a dandelion to crack Emily up!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013


As hard as I try to keep my thoughts on God's promises and the many blessings all around me, there are moments when the grief slams into me. While I know I will see my stillborn boy full of life, health, and joy one day, I so miss feeling Isaac move inside of me. I miss talking to him, calling him by name, and praying for him by name. Despite the joy in this household, I still hurt and cry.

Sometimes I'd like to hide away from everyone or at least put life on pause and simply rest for a few weeks. I can't. My family needs me. I was off my feet for almost five months. My children need their summer clothes, and it is a big, time consuming job. A garden would bless our family health wise and financially. My husband needs my support to keep our place running smoothly, or it becomes a tremendous burden on him. I can't stop.

Besides the physical work, a mother sets the tone for her entire household. My attitude and my outlook directly affects theirs. When I hurt, they hurt. If I go around moping, it will affect them too. I battle the grief by reading His promises and singing praises to the God Who not only knows how I feel and loves me more than anyone else ever can, but has also Himself grieved. 

Contrary from what I was told by a Christian family member when I cried on the phone mere hours after I miscarried for the first time in1995, crying isn't self pityIt's being an honest human being with God given emotions. He gave us those emotions to allow us to experience life and Him more fully. They also allow us to connect with others on a deeper level. We need to show compassion, not judgement and callousness, to those who are hurting. (see Romans 12:15) God uses pain in this fallen world. It connects us and opens doors for us to share our faith. 

Here's the song I am singing today as I put one foot in front of the other:

Chris Tomlin

Where you go, I'll go

Where you stay, I'll stay

When you move, I'll move
I will follow

All your ways are good
All your ways are sure
I will trust in you alone

Higher than my side
High above my life
I will trust in you alone

Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow you

Who you love, I'll love
How you serve, I'll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
I will follow you

Light unto the world
Light unto my life
I will live for you alone

You're the one I seek
Knowing I will find
All I need in you alone
In you alone

Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow you

Who you love, I'll love
How you serve, I'll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
I will follow you

In you, there's life everlasting
In you, there's freedom for my soul
In you, there's joy, unending joy
And I will follow

Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow you

Who you love, I'll love
How you serve, I'll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow

Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow you

Who you love, I'll love
How you serve, I'll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
I will follow you
I will follow you
I will follow you

A special hello to the Christian church in Lagos, Nigeria and London, England who are using my experiences with difficult relationships to help others. May God bless you and grow your ministry!

Hardships and That Feeling of "Hey I Didn't Sign Up For This"

You know that feeling in life... the feeling of "hey I didn't sign up for this?"... well, what if some day we find out it was the most important class of all? -Jen Lane Cameron (a godly friend who has lost a son and also has a brain injured son from the same condition)

Bill Hybels' The Power of a Whisper (p.110-111)

"Don't ever buy into the idea that everything God prompts His followers to do will be uncomplicated or low-cost. Sometimes God asks His children to carry heavy loads, as He did with the apostle Paul. But even--and often especially--under those backbreaking burdens, God's purposes are fulfilled. When our (whispered) task is tough, the reward of knowing we've helped further His Kingdom and bettered our broken world is all the sweeter.

"If you ever find yourself with a difficult assignment, why not try giving God thanks for trusting you with something that needs your particular strength. He assigns tasks to the right person every time. He did it throughout history, and He still does it today. As you walk whatever potholed path He has asked you to walk, never forget the tough journey that Jesus Himself once made. ...Christ was asked to bear the most difficult assignment of all--to lay down His life as a redemptive sacrifice for humankind. He chose to obey. And because of His obedience, you and I enjoy our redemption today."

"Whomever the Lord has adopted and deemed worthy of His fellowship ought to prepare themselves for a hard, toilsome, and unquiet life, crammed with very many and various kinds of evil." John Calvin

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5-6

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"How precious a thing is the human family."

“There needs to be a homemaker exercising some measure of skill, imagination, creativity, desire to fulfill needs and give pleasure to others in the family. How precious a thing is the human family. Is it not worth some sacrifice in time, energy, safety, discomfort, work? Does anything come forth without work?”― Edith Schaeffer, (Nov 30, 1914 to March 30. 2013) from her book What Is a Family?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Door Closes, Others Open

I've been asked if I'd consider speaking about my child losses to groups of women. I don't feel strong enough emotionally to do that just yet, but am considering it for later. I believe it would be challenging, but also very rewarding.

Some of the things I have shared on my blog about my losses have been picked up and reprinted in other places. 

I've been asked if I'd consider radio interviews about my spiritual walk, difficult pregnancies, and child losses.

I have been told again and again to write a book about my walk with Christ and child loss. This is something Clint and I will most likely do together in the future because our children have requested it.

We are praying on all of it. 

We are asking God to help us prioritize and make the path ahead very clear.

Psalms 40:1-3 I waited patiently for God to help me; then He listened and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out from the bog and the mire, and set my feet on a hard, firm path and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, of praises to our God. Now many will hear of the glorious things He did for me, and stand in awe before the Lord, and put their trust in Him.

He Wants All of You

"What does it mean to have a heavy heart? It means you are allowing your heart and all of those emotions that want to attack you from all sides to get the best of you and your faith in God. God wants to take a heavy heart and turn it into a light-hearted heart that does not have a care in the world. Wouldn't it be nice to not have a simply say I do not care and trust God when things are not going as planned? I am encountering one of those heavy hearts right now and it's really a struggle to give it over to God and let Him take care of the results. Your faith walk with God is the hardest things any human being will ever experience because God requires you to take all of your burdens and place it on Him even when they are tied up on your back and weighing you down like a sack of rocks. God is either a big God and in total control or He is a weak God and totally disinterested. I choose a big God! How bout you?" -Jon Cash

"Give me all of you!!! I don’t want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work. I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU!! I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman, but to KILL IT! No half measures will do. I don’t want to only prune a branch here and a branch there; rather I want the whole tree out! Hand it over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them ALL over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self---in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart." -C.S. Lewis

"Whomever the Lord has adopted and deemed worthy of His fellowship ought to prepare themselves for a hard, toilsome, and unquiet life, crammed with very many and various kinds of evil." -John Calvin

Monday, May 20, 2013


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On the day we buried, Isaac and Mary, we also had another scheduled graduation party for Brandon and Amanda. 

Life has been happy and sad, good and bad, joyful and sorrowful, beautiful and ugly, celebratory and solemn....all mixed together at the same time. It's been a time of great loss and great gain. I don't think we've ever seen such a time of stark contrasts before. Without one of the aforementioned attributes, a person can not fully understand or appreciate the other.

Trying to keep the sad from affecting our adult children's accomplishments has been both a curse and a blessing. It's been good for us to have a reason to rejoice, but also hard at times too.

Bad things happen to everybody. We are not measured by what happens to us, but by how we respond to them. We can choose to sit immobilized by pain and focused on our grief, or we can choose to get up, embrace the gift of life that is still ours, do good, and treasure the blessings we are given.

Matthew 5:45b "... for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."

Jeremiah 17:7-8 "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. "For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit"

Psalm 29:11 The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

My Favorite Sympathy Bouquet & My Young Men

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When my sweet younger children saw the bouquets of flowers in the house, they wanted to get me some too. These are my most treasured flowers out of all we have been given since we lost Isaac.

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Isaac was born still at 2:46 a.m. Clint and I left the hospital just after 4 a.m.
We came home and slept a little. When we woke up, our three sons had made us breakfast in bed-delicious homemade pancakes! Don't worry about Caleb...he is 11 and doesn't like to smile for pictures. :-)
    I will turn their mourning into joy and will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow. 
    Jeremiah 31:13

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Some of Our Mail

We are sharing a few words from friends for three reasons: 1.) to show God is using this painful loss and will use the painful things in your life too...if you let Him, 2.) to show how kindness touches a heart, and 3.) to encourage people who are shy to reach out to others. 

We only shared a few of what we have received. Please don't be offended if your comment is not here. We were deeply touched by each note and have printed every one out to put in our memory box. Each reminder that God is working through this has been a balm to our hearts. Your love has poured into our home through so many different ways. Thank you for reaching out to us while we were hurting. 

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 
Matthew 12:34b-35

Clint, the example you have set for your sons, in particular, in how you take care of your family....well, let's just say, there will be some lucky ladies down the road.

This quote by Joni Eareckson Tada fits this so well: "Whether a godly attitude shines from a brain-injured college student or from a lonely man relegated to a back bedroom, the response of patience and perseverance counts. God points to the peaceful attitude of suffering people to teach others about Himself. He not only teaches those we rub shoulders with every day, but He instructs the countless millions of angels and demons. The hosts in heaven stand amazed when they observe God sustain hurting people with His peace. You were made for one purpose, and that is to make God real to those around you." I love you all and am praying for you.

Thank you for sharing so openly about your miscarriage. I read through all of the stories and cried with you. I am so sorry. Thank you for giving me a new perspective and helping me find peace after losing my own child to SIDS.

You and Clint just seem to roll with the punches life throws your way.Your marriage is strong, and your children are incredible! Where many let challenges tear them apart, you let it pull you closer together. I don't get that kind of faith, but I am encouraged by yours.

I admire the two of you so much. You have raised a beautiful healthy family, have a strong marriage and faith, which you openly share, and have conquered challenges along the way with grace and resilience.... are prpviding giving an amazing example of what husbands and fathers should be.  You are always putting God first, trying to do the right thing, and looking after your family. What an encouraging example in these dark days when men are abandoning their wives and children. Real men step up and get the job done!  

It is clear to any Christian soldier watching you that God has a plan and is working through your life. You two were put together for a purpose. Part of God's plan for your life is to show others how to live life with humbleness and handle with grace the upsets that come along the way. At least, you've done that for me. Thank you for your testimony. 

This year, my marriage has fell apart and my oldest son has taken up with a bad crowd. He is using drugs and alcohol...... I am impressed with how your beliefs has made you stronger through challenging times because as I have learned that doesn't always happen.

Thank you for the ways you have ministered to me through my own dark time by sharing about your own pain and hardship. I thought I was cursed for my sins and God was hateful. I see now even the nicest of people go through bad times.

When my daughter was killed, I had no idea how I'd get going again. Your openess about your loss and sharing it has helped me tremendously. I am going back to church this week because I can't do this on my own. Thank you. I am praying for you.

You are an amazing woman, Wendy, and a true inspiration to those of us who sometimes tend to wallow in self pity. I'm so sorry for your loss, but agree that you have a beautiful family and so much to be thankful for. In fact, we all, regardless of circumstance, have much to be thankful for.

I've been watching the blog posts and can see how your loss has touched so many hearts and lives. Most people are too proud to share their lives so openly. You aren't afraid to give us the whole picture good and bad. People are being reached because of this.

You are such a miracle.  I know none of us is perfect, but you are the best example of a Godly woman I have ever known and so perfectly matched with Clint. 

I know it is hard, but God is speaking through your life to others in amazing ways.

I just wanted to thank you for lifting me up - your messages of positivity and love are wonderful and remind me if my blessings daily- thx for that.

My nurse as I left: "Hey, can I talk to you for just a minute? While I wish the circumstances that brought us together were different, I am glad I met you. You are such a strong woman and your family is so close. I've never seen what happened here today before. You have given me a new way of seeing things. I have a new perspective. Thank you for letting me be a part of this. Something special, not to minimize your loss, but something special happened here today, in my heart, at least. Can I hug you?"

And from our new friend Diana who wrote:

"Spiritual maturity like this blows me away. May I some day attain fully to that level of awareness, gratitude, and trust." (See her blog: The Whining Puker)

Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Romans 12:15

Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel. Proverbs 27:9

Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow... Ecclesiastes 4:10a

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17

Friday, May 17, 2013

Questions We Ask When We Hurt the Most

When you go through something difficult in life, it's not only normal, but healthy to ask questions. That's how we learn. Because I have been through child loss before, most of the hard questions are already settled in my heart. I know there is a young woman out there somewhere hurting, wondering why her arms are empty, asking why, so I am telling you I've been there. And, I am sharing what I believe and what gives comfort to me:

There are moral consequences when we sin. If someone steals a car and is caught, they know they will end up facing some form of punishment. If someone dies from an overdose of illegal substances, we accept they did something foolish which caused their death. If we mistreat someone, the person's hurt, anger, and reaction are part of the consequences we reap. Generally, we don't have to ask why when we face moral consequences.

There are consequences of people doing evil to us. If someone stabs us, we suffer pain and might die. We understand that the suffering is caused by the hands of someone full of evil and hatred. 

Even if we don't like someone, we should not take joy in their suffering. (Job 31:29, Obadiah 1:12, Proverbs 17:5, Proverbs 24:7, Ezekiel 25:6)

There are natural consequences to the sin of this world. The earth was altered from the way God meant it to be when we, as a human race, chose to go our own way. Death and disease and untold suffering entered this earth. It's why Alzheimer's patients suffer. It's why there are natural disasters and car accidents. It's why people suffer and die from cancer. It's why our bodies fail us. It's why babies die in the womb or shortly after birth. 

The Bible is pretty clear that there will be suffering on this earth, and tells us we should not be surprised by it. No one is immune from it. Suffering shows us our desperate need for God and doing things HIS way. Suffering shows us the results of doing it our way. I believe that once we get to Heaven and realize the full scope of suffering sin has caused, that we who are His, will never have any desire to be outside His will again. 

After my first miscarriage, instead of "Why me?" I asked myself "Why not me? This entire world is hurting, why am I surprised when hurt comes to me?" And, "Who would I wish this on? No one. I would not want to see anyone hurting this deeply." 

With my first loss, I tried blaming myself by coming up with all of these creative ways my normal day to day actions caused the miscarriage. Then, I saw a picture taken by Kevin Carter in 1994 (graphic image) that showed a small, starving child struggling to make it to a relief camp while a hungry vulture looked on waiting for him to die. "What did that child do to deserve that? Nothing. Then why do I try find a way to blame myself for my child's death?" 

A while later, I saw an image of a mother struggling to breastfeed two emaciated children from shriveled breasts. She was starving herself, clearly had little to no milk, but was giving all she had for her children. "My suffering is very light compared to the suffering around the world. My child died, but will never know that kind of hunger or struggle. He (or she) will never know disease or suffering. I will not have to watch them go through hardship. In some ways, I can count myself and my child blessed."

I have a friend who just lost her ONLY child. I still have my seven living children. Do I believe God loves her less than me? that I am somehow more favored? that she sinned and deserved the suffering she is going through? NO, NO, NO, NO!!! I have several friends who unmarried, an in law who suffered several late term losses, several friends who are infertile, and several who are terminally ill. Do I automatically assume they did something wrong? NO! Then why do we punish ourselves with those horrible assumptions that run through our head? Pain can get so big that it momentarily blocks out the Truth. 

I asked myself once: "What in the world did I do? God must really hate me to keep doing this to me." I felt the Holy Spirit ask "What makes you think it is about you? It's about ME. You gave me your life, and I am using it to point people to Me.

It's not about me. It's about not being in control of my life but surrendering to His will. Those prayers I prayed asking God to use me, to use my life to bring others to know Him, to not let my life be a waste...are being answered. Joni Eareckson Tada said "You were made for one purpose, and that is to make God real to those around you." Now, I'd rather be rich and giving my testimony over duck calls and cheesy story lines on "reality TV," but I am not on Duck Dynasty. I am a simple woman who loves her God. 

There are a lot of people who believe the closer you are to Christ, the more you speak out on your faith, the more persecution you will see. I am still searching Scripture on this, but I do see a correlation between those who are really trying to live for the Lord and a greater extent of suffering. Reading about the lives of great missionaries, evangelists, preachers, and martyrs lends support to this. My point is, if you are following Christ, you will see suffering.

Suffering grows us spiritually. (James 1:2-4, Romans 5:3-5) It makes us stronger and more mature as Christians. The sweetest and humblest Christians you know are the ones who have been through the most suffering. For this reason, we are to count it for joy when we suffer because God's love is poured directly into our hearts through the Holy Spirit so we can not only know and understand Him better, but also point others to Him. 

Charles Stanley said "Nothing attracts an unbeliever like a saint suffering successfully." Sharing the things that hurt draws other people's attention to us like no other time in our lives. Not too many people can relate to my successes as a homeschooling mother, but every compassionate human on this planet can relate to pain, suffering, and disappointment. It is through my sufferings and overcoming them with my faith that I can best show others the God I believe in and serve. 

Even though my heart is very broken over Isaac and Mary and all of my miscarried babies before them, my faith in God still stands strong. He has given me enough of a glimpse to understand a little of His plan to give me strength and comfort. My "lost" children aren't lost. They're in the presence of the Lord. I will see them, know them, and love on them. Also in that day, any who took joy in our suffering will be put to silence and shame. God's plan is incredible, and He is very worthy to be praised!

I Peter 1:6b-9 ...for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

I Peter 5:9b-10 know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I Had a Dream about Isaac

It was a short dream, but very beautiful and comforting to me.

It was the day of or the day after I gave birth to him. I had fell asleep after crying. I had been thinking since he was born still: "I am so, so, so sorry you didn't get to live, Isaac. I wanted you so much. I love you, son." 

In the dream, I felt arms around me and found myself embraced in Isaac's arms. He wasn't a tiny, underdeveloped baby. He was a full grown man, and there was strength in his arms. I was surprised because he was taller than me. He hugged me, and I put my head into his neck and cried. He said "It's OK, Mom. It's OK. I know. I KNOW. We will be together soon." I told him "I love you, son. It will seem like such a short time for you, but such a long one for me." Then, he was gone.

I have no explanation for why I would imagine my son, who was so very tiny and helpless as a strong and full grown man. I do not know if that was God giving me a moment with my child or an image to comfort me. Isaac seemed so real. His solid, strong arms, the warmth of his body, the soft, sincere words he spoke, the sense of loss when he left...all seemed so very real.  

The greatest comfort in this life is a close relationship with God. -David McKay

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

2 Samuel 12:23b "...I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."

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  Our family buried Isaac and Mary with our other deceased children last night. Our entire family circled the special spot in our flowerbed. There, we thanked God for Isaac's and Mary's existence, for making them known to us, and for the promise of Heaven. We placed pots of tea roses on top of the large stone that covers their graves. White roses for their innocence and red roses for our love for them.

2 Samuel 12:23b "...I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."

Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart. 
-Winnie the Pooh

19 Hard Weeks

19 weeks of suffering with hyperemesis gravidarum, of lying flat on my back, Mallory Weiss Tears, labor and stillbirth, and this is all we get back...

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for now.

Even knowing the outcome and the intense pain it is causing our hearts, I'd go through it again. Our hearts are broken and our arms ache horribly, but we take comfort in knowing there is more going on than we can see. There is a promise of Heaven and eternity to be fulfilled. We will know Isaac. If you know the Lord, then you will see us celebrating with 15 children one day. We just have to wait a little while. Then, there's eternity.

Disappointed by life? Read this exciting verse:

“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised, they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth…they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11: 13-16

I Corinthians 4:17-18 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Around Here (Part 2)

Me: My body is still weak from the pregnancy and HG. I can get up and do light activity for 10-12 minutes at at a time, but then I have to sit down and rest because I get very shaky. I have been pushing myself to do more each day because activity helps me cope emotionally, but that backfired on me. 

Yesterday, my body cried out for a rest, and I was unable to do much at all. My muscles are sore and ache because I went from complete bed-rest to doing as much as I can. Joshua said HG had me at 1 mph, but I am up to 10-15 mph now. There is improvement, but I am very impatient for more. I know from previous rounds with HG that it can take me up to a year to get back to 100% of my activity and strength level. I am determined I'll do it though.

Any time there is a sudden end to a pregnancy, it increases the risk of postpartum depression. Even if you take away all of the emotional and physical wear and tear, the hormonal upheaval can be challenging to manage. 

My family has been through enough, so I am doing all I can to minimize the risks: eating nutrient dense meals, eating on time, sleeping on a normal schedule, getting plenty of rest, taking vitamins and herbal supplements, getting outside for some sunlight daily, trying to exercise, talking through my feelings with trusted people, etc. If you are going through a loss, I know, how very well I know with 8 child losses, that you don't always want to and you don't always have the energy to do those things, but you have to make yourself. It does not help me or my family, or honor my deceased children, or speak well of my faith, if I don't take care of myself. I have to do the hard thing of getting up and going forward to keep from going through something harder, which would be PPD. 

On Mother's Day, I can think of no one more deserving than a mother that had to give one back. -Erma Bombeck

Monday, May 13, 2013

Instead of Flowers...

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Isaac's gift from someone kind 

We have a lot of people asking for our address so they can send flowers. Instead of flowers, we ask that you do this instead. It's only $6 per gift and will bless another family who is going through the same thing. Something similar was done for us, and we were thankful our son had something handmade to wear and be wrapped in by someone who cared. For "In Who's Name," please put Isaac Coleman Asbell and/or Mary Grace Asbell (his "vanishing" twin). Flowers wilt, but kindness touches a heart forever.

Around Here

Clint and I have been dreading today. Today is the first time we are without the other since we lost Isaac. He had to go back to work, and I have to resume my duties as a wife, mother, and critter caretaker. 

So, today is the day we try to reach for some sort of normalcy and routine. In an effort to get there, I will give an update on the family. This was written before the stillbirth of Isaac, but afterwards, I set it back to draft so I could make some necessary changes.

Clint has been making car repairs and working to finish the upstairs bathroom. The bathroom was delayed when the hyperemesis gravidarum arrived with my pregnancy. He is still working on his college course work, but it is slow going with all of the responsibility he has on his shoulders. I try to encourage him to keep at it. He has been a constant presence and comfort to me since I lost the baby. 

Brandon (20) completed his coursework early because his last class was an online program that was self paced. He graduated with a 4.0 GPA!  He also has some of his certifications, but plans to get more. He tested for a well known corporation and tested very high in their math and reading abilities. 

Amanda (18) completed her hair and nail design school on Wednesday of last week at our encouragement. We can't limit all of the ways the stillbirth has affected our children, but have tried to minimize it. She knows cutting hair isn't what she wants to do full time, but is something she enjoys that will help her pay for college. She has also gained another life skill she can bless herself and others with for the rest of her life. It is hard to believe she is 18 and has a high school diploma and certificate. 

Brandon and Amanda started a part time business venture. In their first two weeks, they made $4,000. They tithed by giving $500 to a man who has terminal cancer and is trying to reach others for Christ through his ministry before he dies. Clint and I are very proud of their work ethic and their generosity.

Clint and I prescheduled a vacation for them as a graduation gift. With both of them continuing their education and working, life is going to drastically change for them. We wanted to give them some fun memories to carry in their hearts. They are having a BLAST! The trip is going so well, they decided to stay another day. Brandon took a quick computer repair job while there and earned $60 in about fifteen minutes. 

Joshua (13) has been immersed in learning about computers. Brandon has been a tremendous help in passing along what he knows. He has also been a tremendous help to me while I was on bed rest and now that I am recovering from the stillbirth. He has given me my meds and cooked meals. He's done laundry, fed all of the animals, watched little ones, cleaned house, etc. I am very impressed with his maturity and diligence. 

If all goes according to plan, Joshua starts high school next September. It is up to him, but he could graduate as early as 15 to 16 years old. Whenever Clint works on cars, equipment, plumbing, or electricity, he takes Joshua and Caleb along and teaches them while he works. 

In addition to homeschool coursework, Caleb (11) has been building, building, building, and more building. He has fixed cabinets, repaired broken drawers, put up shelves, fixed toys, hung pictures, and quite a bit more. Most of the household repairs, he will do without asking. He has made many changes in his and Joshua's room that has made the room more organized. I was buying him children's building kits, but he has surpassed all I can find. Now, I am trying to scrounge up wood for his use and hope to buy him a scroll saw to develop skills there. He has also been trying his hand at cooking and takes turns making meals. 

Bethany (9) has been helping Emily and Hannah with their school which has helped her mature in three ways. One, she has learned communication skills, specifically about how to give clear instructions of what needs to be accomplished. Two, she has learned about leadership and asserting authority. Three, she has gained confidence in herself. She is a cheerful helper in whatever I ask her to do and has been asking for more and more responsibility. Specifically, she wants more complex cooking lessons from me, and she wants Amanda to teach her about hair and nails. She has also been learning a few computer skills from Brandon. 

Emily (5) and Hannah (4) are more help in keeping their toys picked up. They are learning in homeschool and are at their grade levels. They are in love with their two new kittens and two new puppies. Then, there is Baby and Maggie, our two little dogs, who follow them faithfully and patiently put up with the doll clothes and hair brushing.

I will share about me tomorrow.