Monday, December 1, 2014


Last month I joined a site that promised to send FREE products to test. Boy, did they deliver! I received a full size bottle of Children's Mucinex Multi-Symptom Cold Relief, Berry Flavor. It arrived at the perfect time as cold & flu season just hit our home. My daughter tried it right away, and hated the taste. She doesn't like berry flavored things, though. I loved that it worked quickly and relieved her symptoms. I can't wait to tell you about my next product!

Want to join Smiley360? Click HERE.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Lessons Learned

This project has been wonderful for me. I didn't succeed in posting every day, but there's a reason for that. As I was writing these blogs I realized what an emotional toll it was taking on me. I left each post feeling spent. I couldn't bring myself to feel that way everyday for a month. So here we are at the end, and I'm wrapping it up by backtracking.

Day 16: Retreat. I truly took this day to heart and retreated for a while. I took a break from blogging, reading, writing, everything and just rested. It was definitely needed, and it's something I need to be more intentional about doing regularly.

Day 17: Explore: Where are you on your journey? I've put a great deal of thought into this this month. As I've been praying and working through it, I can see where I've grown and where I could use some improvement. Where I am today: I'm coming to grips with Hope being our only one. I can see how our losses have changed her and shaped her into the sweet, caring girl she is. I also see where our families have a tendency to spoil her in an attempt to compensate for her lack of siblings. I don't think any of us do it intentionally, but we've all done it at one time or another. Personally I've spent this month praying for peace with where I am right now. I'm trying to be comfortable in our little bitty everyone knows everyone town, I'm trying to accept that God doesn't want us to have more kids right now, and I'm trying to enjoy working at my part time job away from home. It's not in my field, it doesn't pay well, and it's not what I want to do forever, but for now it pays the bills. It's hard work changing your heart. It takes plenty of prayer and practice.

Day 18: Gratitude: I read Ann Voskamp's book 1000 Gifts and LOVED it! I really want the journal to help me do a better job of tracking my gratitude. Every day I'm so incredibly grateful God has allowed me to raise Hope. Being her mom is the most wonderful gift. I'm thankful for Shaun and his support through this. I know I'm not an easy wife on a good day, and our marriage has had more bad than good. This in turn makes me all the more grateful for our good times. One thing Hope and I have done for the past two years is a blessings jar. As often as we can we write down little things we're grateful for. At the end of the year we dump them out and write each one down in a journal. It's my hope that one day we can look back and see how many blessings we could find, even in the hardest years.

Day 19: Give: Shaun always drops change in donation jars. He donates to absolutely every cause out there. This week I noticed the March of Dimes jars at one of our gas stations. Since Carolyn died I've taken a greater interest in March of Dimes. Losing William just increased that tenfold. For the first time ever, Shaun didn't automatically drop his change in the bucket, so I quickly told him to. Then I briefly explained our MOD affiliation with the attendant, who smiled.

Day 20: Breathe: Last week I took two days off housework. I noticed I was getting exhausted and run down, and Shaun asked me to slow down at home and take some time for myself. The first day I felt uncomfortable letting the mess sit, but the second I was more relaxed and better focused at work. Of course by the end of the week those two days were affecting everything else, so Shaun acknowledged the need for him & Hope to help me more. We're discussing chore charts and schedules that we can all work around. It'll take some time, but we'll adjust to me working outside the home.

Day 21: Relationships: Grief has impacted every single relationship I have. For better or worse, nothing is the same. I don't really feel like I have a relationship with William. In fact, the thought of having a relationship with him sounds foreign to me.

Day 22: Self-Care: I really struggle with this, especially now that I work outside the home. I feel incredibly selfish if I take any time for myself. I think I'll talk to Shaun about it and maybe we'll do something special this weekend.

Day 23: Inspiration: Have your children inspired you in your life? Maybe it is someone you found because of your children that has inspired you. Share about who or what you draw your inspiration from. Living an inspired life is one of the greatest things you could ever do. Waking up feeling excited about my day is something that I never imagined would happen after our son died, but it did. I know today’s subject will not resonate with some people as the thought of waking up feeling inspired to be alive is one of the last things you are feeling. So if you feel you cannot take part today, maybe just have a look at what others are saying. It is my hope that this post might inspire some feelings in your own heart to start searching for some inspiration for your own life. 

I'm going to check out the website for some inspiration. I have nothing to say today.

Day 24: Forgiveness: Losing William allowed me to forgive someone I'd hated for years. That's something I never dreamed would happen.

Day 25: Mother Earth: Not participating. We don't own our home, so I can't plant a tree. I may look into the online sites that will plant a tree for you. That we might be able to do.

Day 26: Healing Ritual: Shaun meditates. When he first told me years ago I expressed interest in learning. Life got in the way and he hasn't been able to show me yet. I'll ask him to this weekend. Hope isn't here, and after this journey I'll need it.

Day 27: Express: Something I wanted to see this month: The chance to write a letter to our children. What would you say to them today? What would you say to the sibling that's here? How do you picture their relationship in the future? (There's an article I shared on Facebook about sibling grief. It's on Still Standing Magazine if you want to read it.)

Day 28: Wisdom: Keep moving forward. Even if it feels like each day is only a babystep, keep going. You're one step closer than yesterday.

Day 29: Reflect: What is your relationship with your grief like right now? I don't have as much jealousy as I did before. I still hate holidays, though, because I should have more children to prepare. It's not fair that others have so many and I only have one. When I think about it, I still struggle with anger at God for withholding the blessing of children from us. So I try not to think about it. I pray for my heart to change. Some days I feel it has, then other days something will trigger a whole new wave of grief. I have to remind myself I still have a year and one month in my twenties, I could have two babies before I'm 30! I don't think I will, but I have to remind myself anything is possible. My motto has always been "Hope for the best and prepare for the worst". In this, it is so hard to prepare my heart for no more babies or more losses. Each month I hope and pray this will be it. I'm praying for God's will and PEACE with whatever that is. I'm trying so hard to find peace where I am, and it's not coming at all, and that hurts. Holidays and special days I physically hurt from trying to be peaceful.

Day 30: Intention: I intend to honor my children through praying for a child their age. I know plenty of them, and I know their moms wouldn't mind me praying for them.

Day 31: Sunset: Picture Coming Soon!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Project Heal Day 15: Community

Day 15: Community--A Wave of Light

Obviously October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. What many people don't realize is there is one day set aside in the month to highlight awareness. That day is today, October 15. All around the world at 7:00 pm families lit candles to represent their children in Heaven. Though we're missing two little ones, we only lit one candle tonight. It's one more than we've ever lit before. This year is the first time I remember hearing about the Wave of Light. This community has been so wonderful for me. For months I turned to the MEND publications for comfort. Since attending a meeting in June, I've been able to reach out to others through Facebook as well. Our amazing leader was kind enough to send me flowers today in memory of sweet William. One of my cats has a flower obsession and kept jumping on the table to sniff (or eat!) them. I yelled at her twice before moving them, and Shaun promised her I would throw her out if she touched them. It was quite funny, since she's more his cat than mine. When I moved them to the top of our tallest bookshelf she glanced from them to me and back again before deciding to give up. I'm thankful they're safe for now!

Anyhoo, without this community I would be so lost. It's nice to be able to check Facebook once in a while and see other moms miss their babies. It's nice to read articles from moms who buried their children many, many years ago. It's comforting to know I'm not alone, and while the pain may dull from time to time, it never fully goes away. So often we see others carrying on and feel pressured to be as 'normal' as possible. It's nice to have those friends who understand when you just can't be 'normal' anymore. It's nice to let your guard down without fear of judgement.

On the flip side, I spoke with a friend today who didn't know me before William. This poor lady met me with tears streaming down my face, and she wrapped me in her arms many, many times that first year. She's held me up in prayer this whole time, and continues to pray for me regularly. Her friendship is so special to me, because it's proof that I can do 'normal' things like build friendships after completely losing my mind. As we were talking today, she continued to refer to my 'strength'. I don't see myself as a strong person at all! In fact, more often than not I feel very, very weak. I'm so thankful for friends like her who aren't afraid to push me farther and help me find my strong characteristics.

Now I know many of you reading this have never experienced a loss like mine. I know many of you never will. Praise God!!! I'm so glad there are women who will never feel my pain. If you're one of the lucky ones, please take the time this month to reach out to one of your friends who has lost a baby. If you don't think you have any, post something about miscarriage and infant loss awareness month, and I'm sure you'll find them. One in four women loses a baby during pregnancy. For decades women didn't talk about it, and were encouraged to 'move on' quickly. Let these women know you care. If you know their child's name, SAY it! If you can afford to, send her a card or some flowers (any day this month, it's never too late). Just let her know you're thinking of her and you care.

Thank you so much for all your support and prayers.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Before I forget, here's the link to Project Heal. If you would like to join me on this journey, you're more than welcome. You don't have to post it publicly, and you can start today with day one. It's your journey.

Day 14: Dark/Light-- I've had periods of deep darkness over the past two years. My most recent one was about a month ago, when I wrote a blog that I was immediately unhappy with. My darkest moments are usually around my period, or when a slew of friends have babies at once. It's even worse when both happen together. During my periods of darkness I try to find songs to help me through. Unfortunately I find it very hard to read books then, so there's big gaps in my book logs.

The light has come when I crawl out of the darkness. Those days in between cycles, when everything feels possible and normal, that's when I'm in the light. In some ways those days are just as challenging, because I know the darkness is never far away. It's never gone completely. I long for the joys of Heaven where there's no darkness, no pain, and no tears. It's so strange to always miss a piece of your heart.

This was my attempt at a sunrise pic this morning. The sun didn't cooperate and I never was able to get a good shot. Surprisingly you can see more color in the picture than in real life. I'm sure there's an allegory there...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Project Heal

I'm trying really hard this year to follow Carly Marie's Project Heal. To keep myself committed, I will be posting the updates on my blog daily for the rest of the month. I know I'm a little late, but better late than never, right? I'll list days 1-13 tonight, and do the rest (hopefully!) as I go. Prayers are appreciated during this time.

Day 1: Sunrise-- I haven't been able to take a photo of this yet. I'm setting my alarm tonight and praying the rain will stop long enough for me to snap a picture in the morning.

Day 2: Heart-- This is the heart picture I drew. Not my best, but I'm just learning to express myself through sketching. 

Who were you before your children died? I was a young, carefree mom. I tried to find a balance between protecting my daughter and letting her spread her wings. I felt anything was possible. What did you love about that person? I loved her zest for life and passion for God. She wouldn't let anyone or anything stand in her way of praising Him. Did you dislike anything? Who doesn't dislike things about themselves? Do you see your life as before and after or do you see yourself as always been changing? I see my life as pre-Jason and post-Jason. Jason's death (on my eighteenth birthday) was the end of my childhood. I was ushered into adulthood through grief, and though he was only a friend, I feel it prepared me for the grief to come. I'm still learning to grieve for all the friends and family who've gone before me. 

Day 4: Now-- I try very hard to stay behind the camera. This is a rare selfie after a fresh haircut and a little weight loss. Who are you now in this present moment? I'm a mom trying to figure out how to grieve my babies while raising the gift I have. I'm learning what it means to be a Biblical wife, and how to serve God in many ways. What are you feeling? Excitement for what lies ahead. I don't know what it is, but I'm confident positive changes are coming. Have you been irrevocably changed by the death of your children? Absolutely! I'm more aware that every second with our children is significant, in the womb and out. How are you different now? I notice family sizes. I notice age gaps in children. I'm trying not to be judgemental of families who have chosen a number of children to have. I'm learning who I am in Christ, and how to embrace being a child of the King. Do you love anything about the new you? I love my awareness of the world around me. People, places, animals, everything! What do you want to become? I want to be confident as a mom and wife. I want to be a good sister, daughter, daughter-in-law and sister-in-law. 

Day 5: Journal-- I'm working on a poem. I'll post it when I'm done. 

Day 6: Books-- Here are the links to the books that impacted me the most. Click on the title to see the Amazon listing. Not affiliate links.

Day 7: Do you have a special place that you visit to “be” with your children? A place that you feel connected to? Maybe it is their grave, or a beautiful garden, beach or forest. What does this place mean to you? Why that place? I don't have a special place, other than William's grave. I've considered setting up a nook in a spare room in our house, but I haven't been able to make it work yet. Whenever I'm on a trip (a rare occassion!) I try to find a quiet place to retreat in the morning. I wish I could find someplace local. I don't like going to his grave very much; it makes me feel guilty for not having a marker there. 

Day 8: Resource-- I had a sweet friend who drove the hour from our hometown to be with me in the hospital. Her husband talked and prayed with Shaun while she talked and prayed with me. She was there for me in the first eighteen months after like no one else. I will forever be thankful for her prayers and presence. There are many women who continue to lift me up in prayer and listen whenever I need an ear, and I'm thankful for them as well. We've reached out to March of Dimes and try to walk every year. I've also found great solace in the MEND publications. 

Day 9: A New Memory-- Hobby, activity, organization, something in memory of your child. While I've dabbled in a few things, I haven't found 'the one' thing yet to keep my memory of my children alive and keep me focused on the positive. I'm strongly considering journaling (if I can commit to it and find the inspiration. Ugh...) or coloring mandalas (if I could get the supplies). I haven't been able to stick with anything yet. I'm open to suggestions. I think I might do better if I had a partner, so if you'd like to start something together, let me know!

Day 10: Support-- I feel like I've touched on this so many times. One surprising source of support (to me) was my husband's family. Getting married is hard, and living far away from relatives makes building relationships more difficult. Shaun's family has been a great source of strength and comfort, and for that I'll be forever grateful. My family has also been supportive of all my endeavors. They've put up with my bad attitude more frequently than I would care to admit. One of my sisters even accompanied me to a support group. It doesn't get much more supportive than that!

Day 11: Altar-- The closest thing I have to an altar is my teddy bear (William) sitting on top of my makeshift dresser. He's sandwiched between two old American Girl dolls, so I don't really consider it an altar to him. I don't like the idea of an 'altar' per say, but I wouldn't mind a memorial garden or something in my backyard. I talked for a while about painting snus containers with words that have helped me since losing William, but I couldn't get the wrapping off them easily and I gave up. I would like to paint rocks or something similar to place in my yard. Maybe someday.

Day 12: Music-- There were amazing songs that helped me through losing William. In the hospital we listened to "Blessings", "Long Way Home", and a Ginny Owens song that I can't place now. That's frustrating. In church we've sung so many songs about going deeper and wandering farther, trusting God to lead the way. The songs that mean the most to me are the ones that talk about God carrying us through the crisis, or helping us to endure the storms. There are so many I really can't name them all. Music has been a great solace. I love it so much. One non-Christian song that has helped is "Firework" by Katy Perry. Sometimes you just need to hear that you're amazing. Another random song is "Reflection" from the Disney movie Mulan. I love Disney movies anyway, and I've always found that song encouraging. 

Day 13: SEASON. What season to you associate with your children? Summer. Is it the season that they died in? Yes. Or maybe another reason like a beautiful time you spent together. What emotions arise in you when that season comes around? I get fearful as we approach William's birthday. It's also Shaun's grandma's birthday and Hope's is two days after, so I feel pressured to do everything right. This year I tried to have a normal day, and I don't think I'll ever do that again. You can't have a normal day on the day your child died, no matter how hard you try. What is it in that season that triggers memories and feelings for you? The holidays trigger most of my emotions. We found out we were pregnant around Easter, so as happy as the holiday is, for me there's a deep sadness as well. I spent the Fourth of July with friends knowing I would give birth to a dead baby in the next day or two. Surprisingly that holiday went well this year, but I think that's because Shaun was there and we celebrated it differently than we ever have before. We served with our church. Maybe I need to find a way to serve on William's birthday. It's a thought. Do you look forward to this season because you feel more connected to your children or do you dread it? I absolutely dread every single holiday, associated with William or not. It's a reminder how small my family is, how insignificant I am, and how everything could be better. I hate holidays (Note: Yes, I know these thoughts and opinions are irrational. I work very hard each day at not succumbing to my fears. Some days I'm better than others.). Have you ever wondered what you could do to ease the fear of what that season brings up for you? Sort of. Shaun and I have talked about it a bit. I think changing things up and not always seeing the same people on the same day helps. 

Wow. That caught me up completely. I'm a little afraid to put all this out there, but that's also why I started this blog. I want moms to know they're not alone. Grief is messy, and it's a long process. If I offended anyone in writing this, I'm truly sorry. Thanks for reading.

Oh my goodness, I almost forgot! I've been praying to see a real rainbow after every thunderstorm since William died. I've seen a few, but it's been well over a year since I saw the last one. On the way home tonight, we saw a full DOUBLE RAINBOW!!! What an amazing reminder that God keeps his promises! 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Celebrating William and Trusting God

Earlier this month we finally celebrated William's birthday as a family. Hope expressed interest in celebrating him again, so we set a date on the calendar and did it. We planned to watch a movie and eat Tropical Sno. A few days before, Shaun picked up a special cheesecake from the grocery store. The night before we raced around to multiple Redboxes looking for Heaven is for Real (my suggestion), God's Not Dead (Hope's suggestion), The Amazing Spider-Man (Shaun) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Shaun). We also grabbed Son of God to round off our movie weekend. We spent the better part of two days watching movies and celebrating. Shaun pulled out the cheesecake and placed two candles on it. We sang "Happy Birthday" and blew them out together. It was a wonderful, sweet time.

I'm still struggling with God. I don't understand why she can get pregnant, and she can, and she can have four babies she hates, and she can....and I can't. I'm completely terrified I've done something so horrible God will never bless us with another child. I made a new friend who also had two miscarriages (before having any children) and now has two daughters who are 20 years apart. Yes, TWENTY! In one breath I praise God for reminding me not to give up hope and beg him not to make me wait that long. When it comes to trusting God for another baby, I still can't do it. I'm still angry at him for taking William. I've seen him answer so many other prayers, but when it comes to giving us a family, I sincerely think my words bounce off the ceiling. Everything is changing right now. I know there are a million and one reasons why we shouldn't have a baby right now. I could also rattle off a dozen or more moms with more babies than they can handle, who also 'shouldn't' have had babies when they did. WHY DOES GOD TRUST THEM AND NOT ME??? What's wrong with me? Why does he make me wait? Doesn't he realize that every day, every month I wait I grow more and more impatient? I'm not growing closer to Him. I'm not learning to trust him. I'm lost and confused, and feel completely alone.

A few months ago on Pinterest I saw the quote "She's standing on a line between giving up and seeing how much more she can take." I feel like that's where I've been for the past two years. I've questioned my faith, my sanity, God's sovereignty, and every aspect of our lives. I've picked apart every detail, trying to figure out what God's thinking. I've prayed and 'given it up' time and time again, only to 'pick it back up' when my next period starts. This third year is already off to a bad start. One of these days it has to get better. There's sunshine somewhere, just not here.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Two Years?

It's been two years since William was born. I've been thinking and praying about this post all day, and I'm sure it won't be anything like I planned. I say that because I planned a conversation with Shaun today, and it didn't turn out how I wanted.

What did I do today? I tried to make it as normal a day as possible. That was a dumb idea. I wish I could go back a few weeks and PLAN something. I now know I need to keep my mind busy on July 7. I learned today is National Chocolate Day, so hopefully next year someone will send me chocolates (or I'll raid Casey's the night before...). I also learned it's Psych Day, since Psych premiered on this day. Maybe next year we'll have a Psych marathon. Hope loves the show now, so it's possible.

Here's what I thought would happen: I would sleep in a little (check), take a shower (check), blast some music while catching up on dishes (check), head to the library (check) listen to some Sherlock Holmes (check) and hopefully finish a book before Shaun came home (nope). Then Shaun and I would go out to William's grave, maybe say a prayer or a few words, get some Tropical Sno and come home and cuddle.

I did not anticipate crying like a baby all morning, passing out to an episode of Enterprise, and arguing with Shaun. Emotions ran high today, and I apparently do not have the self-control I thought I possessed. I wish I could take away my desire for more children. I wish I knew how to wait for things that aren't tangible. I wish I had more patience. I desperately wish one of my friends called me today. I wish someone sent flowers, or a card, or even a text message to say they were thinking of me. I received a phone call from one family member last night, and one from one of her friends this morning. That's it. I can't really blame my friends, Shaun practically forgot last night. Still, it would've been nice to hear something...

I still feel so alone. It's completely my fault. I cry and cry and cry until I push away everyone who wants to help. I'm still stuck in a puddle of tears because I have no clue where God wants me to go or what I'm supposed to do. Since William died I've lost a job, gained a position in the church nursery, watched my husband grow leaps and bounds as a spiritual leader, and learned to wait and trust God. Well, I'm still working on the last two. I thought the first year was the worst, I didn't know how I would survive (I give all the credit to God & Shaun). The second year was worse in some ways, because everyone expected me to be 'over' it and was less willing to listen to me. Standing over his grave last year, I felt a total peace and was confident we wouldn't get pregnant again this year. I was completely okay with that. When my hormones would try to lead, Shaun and I would talk and my thoughts about not getting pregnant were confirmed. I didn't have that today. All I've felt today is a sense of urgency, and a fear that if I don't get pregnant this year, I never will. I know there's no truth in that. So instead of believing the lies, I'm going to spend each day working on one of the goals we've set before we try for a baby. There are six, and several I can work on by myself. I know we will have the right children at the right time. If all our names are used by family before we have the chance, oh well. We're so stubborn we'll probably use them anyway. If we only have one more and end up raising two 'only' children, oh well. Only children are resourceful and independent. If Hope is our only one, that's fine. We're doing the best we can with her. I have to remember 'not now' doesn't mean 'not ever'. Prayers appreciated this year.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


I can't sleep again, so I've been scrolling through Facebook. One of my friends posted a picture of her stillborn daughter, and I paused, thinking it was an image from a friend who's daughter should be celebrating a birthday. No, this image is new. The grief is fresh. The friend is different. I know of at least four stillbirths in the last 20 years, and countless, countless miscarriages. I commend the brave women who post pictures of their precious babies, I can't bring myself to post any of mine. Maybe it's because William was so young, so tiny. To some he would barely look human, and I fear the criticism. Maybe it's because I've seen so many pictures of developing babies, and from his I don't think he looks 'normal', which would bring out other critics. Maybe I just don't want to relive the grief, or cause others more pain. Whatever my reason, I applaud the women who choose to post pictures. Thank you for doing what I can't.

Earlier this month I attended my first M.E.N.D. meeting. I hope to attend more through the years, and I'm looking for something closer to home to join. This group won't start a chapter in a town with fewer than 3 major hospitals, but I know there have to be other groups out there. I just have to find them. Talking about my experiences in a safe environment brought so much peace, even almost two years later. Hearing from women who are ten and twenty years out was incredibly encouraging. I wish I could start a group around here. Even though we're a small town, there's a large number of miscarriages and stillbirths.

I wish I could wrap my arms around each of the grieving moms I know. Some only carried their babies for a few weeks, others were allowed years to raise them. It doesn't matter how brief the life was, each of these children has made an impact. Each one is precious. If you know an expectant mom, take time to pray for & encourage her today. Let her know she's important. Let her & the dad know they are parents, even if their only child hasn't taken a breath yet. This Father's Day, take time to recognize all the important men in your life, not just the fathers. Miscarriage and stillbirth were taboo for many years, so chances are you know more men who've experienced it than you think.

If you buried a child without telling anyone, I want you to know YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Your child matters. Your grief matters. Your peace with their life matters. The next time you hear of a woman suffering like you, please tell her about your experience. She will find comfort in knowing you've survived so many years later.

Take heart, grieving mom, you are not alone.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Big Changes Over a LONG Time

I went to my women's Bible study tonight, and was blown away by how much my life has changed in the two years since I started going. I joined the group in January 2012, and I was a quiet, shy mom hoping for another baby. Tonight I left a little more outspoken (not necessarily a good thing) and CONTENT with the princess I have the pleasure of raising, and the two precious ones waiting for me in Heaven. I'm finally, FINALLY at a place of total peace. I don't feel the need to grow my family. I'm making peace with the scale, and I've made changes in my eating habits and exercise. It's been almost two years since I was pregnant, and it doesn't look like I'll have another baby anytime soon, and I'm completely okay with that. 

I can see how God used William. William drew his daddy back to the church. William forced me to grieve over my cousins who died years before. Losing William led me to some dark places, where God found me and led me out. It allowed me to open myself up to new friendships, to pour my heart out to women I'd barely spoken to before. Losing William gave me a reason to stand up for the unborn, both those who are aborted and those who die of natural causes. We're participating in the March of Dimes again this year (please click the link and donate to our little team! Or join us in the walk!), I'm going to a miscarriage support group, and I plan on once again participating in our local pro-life walk later this year. Nothing major, just a bunch of little places where I can see God working. 

As I'm writing, little thoughts of doubt keep running through my head. Easter is close, and that's when we found out I was pregnant. Will I be an emotional mess again this year? Will I still trust when I don't see the physical changes I want in my body, whether they're working towards a fitness goal or working towards a pregnancy? My answer: I am controlled by the Holy Spirit, not my emotions. I can trust that my Father has a greater plan for me, and he can use me even in my doubts. 

This song is one of several we listened to while in the hospital waiting for William to be born. In 2008, Steven Curtis Chapman's adopted daughter was hit by a vehicle driven by one of his sons. She was killed instantly. About two weeks later my cousin's six-year-old son went to bed and never woke up. He was perfectly healthy and his death has been classified as SUDC. I probably would've followed Steven's family's journey through grief anyway, but I know I paid close attention after Evan died. I heard this song while I was carrying William, and cried singing it for what seemed forever. When we were in the hospital, I had to share it with my family there. I'm sure you've heard it before, but close your eyes and listen again. Keep on, we're gonna make it. It's just a long way home.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Next Chapter

     Wow, it's been a long time since I've posted! There are reasons for that, but they're too personal to go into here. I do have a couple of updates I can share, though.
     Shortly after burying William I began searching for miscarriage support online. I have several friends who were incredibly supportive in the days and weeks immediately following, but no one really knew how to help me beyond that. They prayed for months (some of them are still praying!), but they didn't really know what else to do. Their journey through grief was different from mine in so many ways. So like millions, I turned to the internet. I found M.E.N.D. at just the right time. Their bi-monthly newsletters were encouraging and just what I needed. Last month I received a letter telling me about a group starting "near" me in Schaumburg, Illinois. I live about six hours south of Schaumburg, but I have family who's lived there for decades and my sister is going to school there. I waited, prayed and talked to my husband before finally emailing the director. She graciously put me in touch with the head of the Schaumburg chapter. I emailed her at my first chance, but haven't heard back yet. I hope I can attend their first meeting and offer support and encouragement.

     I feel blessed to finally be at a place of peace. I don't know if Hope will be our only child, and I'm okay with that. I'm exercising and eating less, trying to lose all my depression weight, but for once I'm doing it because I want to be healthy, not because I think it'll get me pregnant. I still follow several adoption blogs, and pray that if that's where God wants us he will open the doors. I don't know what God has planned, but I know it is perfect.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Looking to God

As I was praying and catching up on My Utmost for His Highest today, a specific memory came back to me. Here's the story:

Shaun and I were married in October 2010. I still had two months left of school, but figured I would surely finish, being so close. Less than a month after our wedding we both lost our jobs. The business we were working in closed. "For richer or poorer", we reminded each other. By Christmas Shaun was working at Casey's. Then he asked me to start looking for a job.

I was concerned, because I knew I was supposed to start working at a local preschool within the year. Who would hire me for only a few months? I didn't want to return to fast food, but I filled out all the applications. While watching Jon & Kate Plus Eight one night, I realized I could be a nanny. I began looking in the area we grew up, and within a few weeks I had a job caring for a three-month-old boy. They were preparing to move, so the job was never meant to last. As I grew to know the family, I began talking to the mom about my frustrations with not conceiving. It turns out she and her husband had to resort to fertility treatments, so she understood my concerns better than some. I remember the frustration mingled with the hope I had while holding their little boy. Day in and day out I watched him grow, and prayed God would bless us with one soon.

Looking back, it seems eons ago. I wish I could go back and tell myself "You don't know the meaning of the word 'wait'. Just hold your horses, you'll be shocked at what's to come." I realize that I've cried, begged and pleaded with God for three full years to bless us with a child. Three years. I've wanted to give up so many times. I've thrown away bottle after bottle of vitamins; I've watched fertility tests expire because I couldn't figure out how to use them; I've made baby registries only to have to shut them down. I've sent painful emails asking magazines and formula companies to stop sending their merchandise. I've waited, and I've prayed. I've thought "surely now" and "how much longer?" so many times. What I wouldn't give to have children three, five or seven years apart.... No, mine will be at least nine years apart. Looking back, I'm amazed at what God pulled me through. There is no other way I would've survived. I still can't believe I'm here.

In all my troubles, in all my waiting, I've learned to look to God. There are days when I don't think I can wait another minute, much less days or years. During those times I close my eyes and pray. I keep trusting that His plan is great. I know one day I'll understand. I hope someday I can look back and say it was worth the wait.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Finding Blessings

Snow days are still one of my favorite things. The magical look on my daughter's face when she gets the news is priceless. Plus I only have one kid, so I try to treasure each moment (and it's easier to send her to her room on rough days). Maybe I'm still a big kid at heart. I love snow days. Thank goodness for Snowmageddeon (or whatever they're calling it).

My little princess slept in until 9 this morning. She's usually up around 7, even on weekends, so I checked on her twice before I finally woke her. We originally planned a Lord of the Rings mini-marathon, but she quit early. When we made the plans for today, I felt a rush of excitement and relief. Excitement to share one of my passions with my child, and relief that I only have one child. Occasionally it's nice to know you can plan a movie marathon, or reading session, or anything else and not have to worry about anyone else. It's just the two of us, so we can do whatever our hearts desire. Makeovers before bed? Sure, as long as you wash your face after. Surprise cinnamon rolls for breakfast? Might as well. Life is short, and I'm doing my best to enjoy it and teach her to do the same.

I've re-written this next paragraph at least three times tonight. Everything I type comes out wrong. I'm very thankful for the "backspace" button. There isn't a backspace in real life, and maybe that's a good thing. Looking back on 2013, there are many moments I would delete if I could. Even more in 2012, though not the moments you'd expect. I wouldn't change losing William. I wouldn't be where I am today if he were here. I still struggle with waiting. I know it's what God wants from me right now, but I feel so impatient. There are still days when I feel like I'm talking to the ceiling. "Can you hear me now? Because I don't think you heard the first 10,000 times I asked. When can we have a baby?" So I wait. And I look for the blessings. Spending time with my princess, writing love letters to my husband, cuddling my cats, living life. So many days I wonder if it's enough. I know I'm not patient enough. I wonder why God puts up with my rants. I wonder why anyone reads my blog, since I have nothing "new" to report. There's no baby, no vacations, no fancy home renovations. It's just a mom learning to wait on God. I'm thankful for everyone who takes the time to read, and I hope I'm helping someone other than just me. For months now I've felt led to share more about William on my blog. Friends and family know almost everything that happened, but I've been elusive in my writing. Maybe during our millionth snow day tomorrow I'll write about it. Until next time, keep waiting on Him.

This song is my prayer tonight. Build your kingdom here Lord, in our little home . Set our hearts on fire for you.

Friday, January 31, 2014

When Getting Through is Enough

It's been a while since I've written. I know my last post was pretty depressing, so part of me was waiting for something really positive or inspirational to happen before I wrote again. My original intent in writing was to show a picture of what life is like when you're waiting on God, so not writing because I haven't heard anything is self-defeating.

So, what's it like to wait on God? Right now it's incredibly isolating. We've passed a few bugs around our house this year, and I have yet to go a full week disease-free. This has caused me to miss all my time in the church nursery, and miss my daily Bible study. I haven't been able to develop the workout routine I wanted, and my eating habits are just as horrible as last year (who WANTS to cook when they're sick?) I'm hopeful February will bring health and wealth, but I'm not holding my breath.

I know that I'm not the first woman to struggle with carrying a second baby to term, and I know I won't be the last. But right now all I really want is someone to wrap their arms around me and tell me it will be okay. I want a shoulder to cry on. I know I've needed that a lot these last few years, but waiting and continually not having answers is exhausting. Watching these friends arrange outings, those friends pop out baby after baby, and others disappear for their annual vacation while you're sitting at home cleaning house and attempting to make ends meet is frustrating. I've tried taking the occasional hiatus from social media, but that results in my missing out on important announcements. We don't know why I haven't carried a second baby to term. Yes, William had a chromosome disorder, but that didn't necessarily cause the miscarriage. Even if it did, by all estimates I should have conceived again by now. I know God is teaching me something right now, I just wish I knew what it was.

So until then I continue on. I keep going about the daily routine, putting a smile on as often as I can, and reminding myself THIS IS NOT THE END. She knows how her story will end, and she has her happy ending, but those ladies waited just like I am. Now, for today's mission: If you've experienced something that changed you; a miscarriage, the death of a parent. divorce; anything that left you staring at the ceiling asking "Why, God?" find a woman in your circle to share it with. Don't assume everyone knows, someone may not. Find someone who is walking a road eerily similar to yours, and pray with her and for her. Remind her that her story isn't finished. Send her a card or take her out for coffee once in a while. I know I'm not the only woman in the world who feels alone. Shed a ray of hope into someone else's storm. God bless and good night.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Choosing Faith Over Fear

Some days I wonder how I've made it this far. Some nights I go to bed worrying so much about the next day, I'm terrified to fall asleep because I don't want to wake up. Every day I have a choice to make: Fear or Faith? Each presents its own challenges. I would love to tell you I choose faith more often, but would that be honest?

We've been "not preventing" pregnancy for close to a year and a half, and we're no closer than we were a year ago. I don't cry everyday of my monthly anymore, but there are still days when my heart just breaks. I made a list of the pregnant moms I know and started praying for them. I can't believe I've been doing that for almost a year now! I'm happy to pray for them, and it has helped me to take the focus off getting pregnant, but there are some announcements that cause me to look at the ceiling and say "Really God? Really?" My list is a mixture of happy families, broken marriages, women who never wanted kids and women who have struggled to have "just one more". I love each of these young women, and I've enjoyed praying for each of them. I'll be honest, when I started praying daily part of me hoped I would conceive shortly afterwards. God had other plans.

I want to be "better". I want to be "normal" again. I haven't tracked periods, cervical fluid or any other conception topics in forever. I've prayed again and again that God would have control of my pregnancies. If I'm not going to have another baby, that's fine. I just want PEACE with that decision. I don't have peace. I'm not pregnant. What am I missing? I've tried so hard to rid my life of my many sins, and each time I ask forgiveness for one, God shows me another. As soon as I'm comfortable with a current situation, at work or at home, at church or in my relationships with non-believers, God shakes it up.

Today I continue to trust that God has a plan. His plans are bigger than my dreams. I have faith THIS IS NOT THE END. Someday, God will give me peace with my princess here and two blessings in Heaven, or He will grow our family in the way He sees fit.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

When You Feel Like Quitting...

There are days when I wonder, is it worth it? What am I waiting for? We could start the adoption process in many countries right now, and have a newborn before our daughter turns ten. How fantastic would that be? It wouldn't, because that's not God's plan for us. He's calling us (me specifically) to wait and to trust His timing. 

A sweet friend gave me a new devotional for my birthday in November. I wasn't reading it everyday, but I've been fairy consistent this year. It's called 365 Pocket Prayers for Women, and you can buy it here. Today's entry was about quitting, and I was reminded of a few things. 

1) I need endurance. Parenting has been compared to a marathon, and is not for the faint of heart. It will take all the skills I have, and many I don't realize I have, to care for another newborn. This time of waiting is teaching me to hold on, and press forward even when I don't see the finish line. 

2) If I give up now, I will miss the joy of reaching my goal, and the blessing of serving Him in the meantime. I don't know how many people read or care about my blog or anything I do on Facebook. At the end of the day all that matters is did I point people to Him? If not, then it was all in vain. My goal is still to bring home a healthy baby from the hospital. There is no reason why my husband & I shouldn't be able to do that. I firmly believe that is God's will for us, and right now we just have to wait. Oh it sounds so easy when I see it in print, but surviving the day to day can be so difficult. 

3) We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair... We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you... That is why we never give up. 
2 Corinthians 4:8, 14, 16

Your challenge is different than mine. I don't have any answers for how to deal with yours. I don't even have any answers for how to deal with mine, I'm just telling you what I'm trying. Some days I think it's working, then other days I doubt it because the tears won't stop flowing. No matter what I feel, I know in my heart God loves me and He has a plan for me. He feels the same way about you. Will you trust him today? 

This song was on my heart as I began writing today. Enjoy. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Encourage One Another

As Christians we are called to do many things. Uplift each other in prayer, bless those who persecute us, be slow to anger, among countless other teachings. I started this blog hoping to encourage others who are struggling with "planning" their families. Now, I'm asking for your help.

Each month I wait the tears are fewer and the pain lessens a bit. I know God is calling me to be still and wait right now, two things I'm horrible at. As I look over my calendar for 2014 and how quickly it's filling up, my heart breaks a little because I don't know how long I have to wait. Today is one of those "take it one day at a time" days. Sometimes it's still minute by minute. I've been snowbound and alone for most of the last two days, and I've had plenty of time to fear the future. Here's the thing: I know I don't need to fear the future. I know God is already there, and He's got great plans for my family. But it still hurts now. I decided to sort through a box of paperwork and found a mountain of sympathy cards from William. My heart still breaks, because it doesn't feel like we've come any further in building our family. We love each other, and we trust God's will, but we don't have any assurance that things will change.

Here's how you can help: Most of our country was blanketed with snow over the weekend. Many moms are pulling their hair out as they eagerly wait to return their children to school. Many elderly are alone and afraid to ask for help. If you can safely leave your house and help someone, please do today. Watch the little ones so mom can take a nap (or just play Candy Crush!). Take a loaf of bread to your elderly neighbor, and ask if there's anything else you can do. If you can't leave your home or are blessed to be away from this mess, send someone you've seen struggling a Facebook message or text. Better yet, mail a card of encouragement. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, Dollar General sells cute ones for less than a buck. Take some time and let someone know you're thinking of them.

If you have any stories of how God blessed someone you know after a LONG period of waiting, I would love to hear them! If you would like me to share their story on this blog, tell me. I can change any names or identifying information. If you don't expressly ask me to share it, I won't.

Remember this year: Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11