Thursday, October 30, 2008

There Is Always Good

UPDATE: Sydne Isabelle died this morning about an hour after she was born. She was 5 pounds and 19 inches long and beautiful. My brother was able to baptize her before they cut the umbilical cord and we pray she has found her place in heaven.

The hardest part about not being where your family lives is not being able to share both the happy and sad times of life.

Our niece was born this morning. She was diagnosed in utero with Potter's Syndrome and although she is not expected to live for long, we are rejoicing in her birth.

I would love to get a chance to see her or hold her, but my place is at home with my boys and traveling could jeopardize my youngest's health, which we just can't do.

Still it is hard sitting here, 1000 miles away knowing nothing I can do or say will help as she dies. Not that anything would help if I was there either, but I hate the miles that separate us.

I know I cannot know what they are going through because I have not lost a child at birth and everyone's experience losing children is different, but I know losing the three babies I lost to miscarriage broke my heart.

When we lost our first baby, I was more than 3 months pregnant and it felt like one of the longest days of my life. I felt like my body was turning on me because no matter what, I couldn't stop the inevitable from happening.

I never knew something could truly hurt so deeply. I never knew I could love someone so much I hadn't even seen. Watching my brother and sister-in-law go through this brings back many memories of losing my own angels and I have been praying all day God is enveloping them in His arms.

I think losing them, however, gave me one of the greatest gifts I could ever have. I learned to not take my children for granted. Not take for granted that they would be born, or they would do anything. I know we never thought it would happen to us when we lost Samuel, but when I gave birth to my first alive son and he was fine and healthy, I treasured it so very much. I was very aware that both he and his brother are not mine. They belong to God and so for however long or short I get them, it is a gift of time.

I don't know how you face these type of situations without faith. My main comfort when I lost my babies is knowing I will see them one day in heaven and they are my little intercessors.

My brother and sister-in-law have a very deep faith and I know that and the prayers will bring them through this.

I am excited to know that she will not be alone when she gets to heaven. That Sammy, Annabella and Esperanza along with many other relatives will be waiting there to greet her.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Every Little Blessing

After only being in this area for a little more than a year, both my husband and I feel like we have been very blessed in friendships and communities here. This past year has been difficult just being new to the region and spending more time with doctors and at hospitals than playing in playgroups many months, but we have been blessed by the face that God placed a few really, really good people in our lives who have made it feel like we have been friends forever. When we are with them, we don't feel so homesick and we are able to enjoy life as it is now.

On top of that we have such a strong faith community across the country of people who we have been blessed in sharing our lives with.

That being said, there was a family on Oprah yesterday when they were talking about miracle children. They had a son who lived for 99 days because he was born with Trisomy 18 and had many problems at birth. I saw a video the dad had made on YouTube a few months ago and was excited to see the interview with the parents. They had such a beautiful attitude toward his life and then his death. They documented every day they had with him. His mom said,

"I would tell Matt a lot: 'I'll be sad later. I'm going to enjoy every second now.' So even though his diagnosis never changed, we just decided we were going to enjoy every second that we had."

How wonderful would it be if we all had that attitude? If we could truly find the joys of being in the moments whether it means enjoying what little time you have left with a loved one or enjoying a situation that takes you somewhere you never expected to be (like Pennsylvania:).

In my life and I'm sure in many others, a lot of those unexpected turns and struggles help us appreciate life more and make our lives fuller. We spend so much time looking at the future, that we often forget to live in the present.

As much as we wish we could move closer to family, we are blessed beyond belief by where God has brought us. When we focus on the present, we still miss our hometown but we enjoy where God has put us this day and that He has given us this day to serve Him.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fun Memories

So today is my husband's and my 6th anniversary. The fun thing about wedding anniversaries is you get to reminisce about where you've been and dream about where you are going.

My husband and I were talking about how when we were dating and near getting engaged we had a huge fight about "missing" one another. I had said I missed him after not seeing him most of the day and I did. I made him a late lunch and brought it to his work because he hadn't had time to stop and eat and so I could see him. He looked at me like I was absurd and said, "Well I didn't miss you." Needless to say that although he probably didn't mean it the way it came out, I was upset and we realized we had different meanings of the word "missed."

We created a new word that secretly meant we missed each other in the way that we both agreed on the meaning and all was good.

We were talking about that tonight and how over time, we have grown to miss each other more and more when we are apart. We have grown so much closer together because of moving all across the US together, going through two grad programs, losing babies and having our little boys and everything else in between. When we got married, we never could have imagined what life had in store for us, but we are blessed to share it together and blessed God has given us each other to walk hand in hand.

My hubby said, "You know when I am at work, I just can't wait to get home because I truly miss you and the boys." Then we looked at each other and laughed about it. It's nice to be missed and it's nice to have that history with someone... the history where you don't have to give the whole background story, you just say, "remember the time..." and they know exactly which one you are talking about.

I am so blessed to have married my best friend and blessed that through all of the struggles and trials, we grow closer together by leaning on each other and asking God to guide us.

And I'm grateful for being missed:).

Beer Bob

While reminiscing, we came across pictures of one of the most colorful characters we may ever meet in our live - he went by the name Beer Bob.

Beer Bob lived in Barra de Navidad, Mexico, where we spent our honeymoon. He was an expatriate who was dying of liver cancer and spent his days riding the waves in the small fishing village.

He ran an unofficial library out of his house whenever he felt like opening his doors and you just had to bring a book to take a book. If you had time, you could hang out and grab a beer from the cooler and drink awhile (he was definitely on Mexican time).

We spent a few hours of our honeymoon with Beer Bob and he even gave us a piece of pottery from his collection he had begun some 20 years back.

I imagine he's probably gone now, but if we head back down to Barra, who knows? We may run into him again. Regardless, I doubt we will ever forget him. Here is a sign from his "library" and a picture of him waving goodbye.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Angels Watching Over Me

I am a strong believer in angels of all types. I think God's angels were working overtime this week for us. I had a fabulous birthday on Wednesday and was on a high from the love and all the special things my friends and family did to show they cared for me. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect birthday. Truthfully, I went to a conference a few weeks ago and ever since then I have been in a really good place spiritually and was feeling stronger and stronger so my birthday just topped it off.

Then Thursday, I was heading 25 miles away for an appointment for my son to see another specialist for his breathing problems when my car literally died in the middle of an eight-lane highway going 60 mphs while I was in the center lane. As I was pushing the gas pedal as much as I could and only hitting 10 mph the traffic suddenly came to a stop and I was able to quickly make my way from the fast lanes to the side of the road and get off at the next exit. I prayed the whole time my car would make it and it did, literally until the end of the ramp where it died and never started again. I couldn't move it an inch after that, but God got us to a safe place to await a tow truck and my husband.

Then Friday, I was making dinner when my youngest started choking on apples. I had cut them up pretty small but he tried eating several pieces at once. I tried unsuccessfully to dislodge them and then called 911. He began turning blue and gray and by the grace of God I remembered the class we just had to take on infant CPR and choking when he was in the NICU a few months ago. I got four pieces out just as the first EMT ran up to our door. He apparently was off work, but lived around the corner and heard the call over the radio. He helped me get the rest out and as the ambulance and cops arrived, we just had to listen to him and get him calmed down.

I truly believe God gives you the peace of mind to clearly think though those situations when you have to and He gives us the people to help us as well. The EMT who lived nearby took over as he ran in the door and left as soon as the rest of the guys got here. What a blessing for him to be off work and listening to his radio at the time.

Throughout the last few days a part of a verse from one of my favorite Amy Grant songs kept running through my head:

God only knows the times my life was threatened just today.
A reckless car ran out of gas before it ran my way.
Near misses all around me, accidents unknown,
Though I never see with human eyes the hands that lead me home.

When everyone left, I felt the gravity of what had just happened and thankful for what didn't. The EMT told me what I did saved his life, but I honestly believe it was God and all those angels he sends to guide us- if I had had to rely on my own resources, I would have been a nervous wreck.

I've been asked by skeptical friends how I see God in our lives and why I believe in angels, this is why. I truly don't think things happen because you're lucky. I have had so many close encounters with God and angels in my life and honestly don't know how I could believe any other way.

About Me

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I'm a mommy, wife and educated woman with an inquisitive mind. I am always looking in ways to challenge and grow in my faith. Many wise people I have known have reminded me if I am not growing, I am going in the wrong direction.