Wednesday, December 28, 2011
It is with great joy and excitement to announce the arrival of baby Jacob at 8:22 this morning! He is weighing in at a healthy 7lbs 4oz and 20 inches long. He has a head full of dark hair, just like his big sister, Ellie! Everybody is doing well!
Pictures and more updates to come :)
Posted at 11:00 AM
Monday, December 19, 2011
I know for many,though, the holiday season can sting. Whether it's the recent loss of someone dearly loved, broken relationships that weigh on your heart, effects of this economy that have hit harder than you could have imagined, or guilt or shame over choices that have been made, the hurts of this life can often feel magnified around the holidays.
Yet even in the hard and hurting places, there is great hope.
I love this song by Sidewalk Prophets... it was part of our church's Christmas Pageant Sunday morning, and I am grateful for the promise of hope that is offered here: that on Christmas night, HOPE was born.
You can listen to the song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fok1h3p1sh8 (cut and paste link into your browser). Be sure to pause the music below first.
Tonight I can see a star shine
And its splendor fills up the sky
It's the samethat appeared
And the wisemen revered
When Hope was born this night
Out upon the snowy fields
There's a silent peace that heals
And it echoes the grace
Of our Savior's embrace
Because Hope was born this night
Glory to God in the highest
Peace on earth
Goodwill to men
Let all of the world
Sing the chorus of joy
Because Hope was born this night
I can hear the Christmas bells ringing
As softly a church choir sings
It's the song used to praise
The ancient of days
When Hope was born this night
There are angels in this place
And my heart resounds in the praise
Like a shepherd so scared
I'll rejoice and declare
That Hope was born this night
Glory to God in the highest
Peace on earth
Goodwill to men
Let all of the world
Sing the chorus of joy
Because Hope was born this night
Gloria (x 4) (repeat)
Glory to God in the highest
Peace on earth
Goodwill to men
Let all of the world
Sing the chorus of joy
Because Hope was born this night
I know hope was born this night
Because Christ was born this night
You see, because of Christ... there is great hope. There is no circumstance too desperate or too far gone that He can't bring redemption. There is no person who has fallen beyond the scope of His love and grace.
I pray that you might know the great hope that is in Christ this Christmas season.
Posted at 5:30 PM
Friday, December 2, 2011
We took a trip to the Baltimore Aquarium...
Eliana has been having some sleep issues for the past few months that we have been trying to help her with, but without much success. We are thankful that our appointment scheduled with the director of sleep medicine at Children's National Medical center has been moved up two weeks to December 8. We would appreciate your prayers for this appointment, that our concerns would be heard and understood, and as we try to help get her into a pattern of being better rested, particularly before Jacob is born.
Posted at 12:22 PM
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
The answer: YES.
Not in a stressful way, but in the sense that when they're older and they understand that Spencer and I actually got to choose their birthdays, I want there to be something meaningful, or a good story behind it.
When I was pregnant with Isaac, we decided on his birthday, October 7 by looking up all kinds of 10:7 verses in the Bible. None seemed to fit; but we came across Psalm 107 and in particular, loved verses 19-21...
"Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for man."
You see, we knew that apart from God's intervention, we knew the likely scenario. We knew that we'd be faced with the unthinkable task and heartache of burying our son. And in the midst of that, we clung to the hope found in these words... the fact that by His great grace... the grave would not be the end. We are still so grateful for that hope.
When I became pregnant with Eliana and knew that I would need a repeat c-section, we decided to continue the tradition of choosing our kids' birthdays based on verses in scripture. Her birthday, March 4, was picked based on 1 Peter 3:4...
"Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight..."
While I am not sure that I would currently characterize Eliana's spirit as quiet, she does have a gentleness about her that is simply precious. She comforts her baby dolls, is very tuned in to peoples' feelings, and even loves to give her little brother (aka, my stomach) kisses. It is so sweet.
Earlier this week I had a doctor's appointment, and tentatively scheduled my c-section with Jacob. (Did I even share his name with you all yet?!). We are hoping for a delivery date of December 28. There were a lot of 12:28 verses that jumped out to me, but our favorite is Hebrews 12:28...
"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe..."
There is so much truth wrapped up in that verse, and it is our desire that Jacob cling to all of the truth and the hope that is found in these words.
So there it is... how we deal with the pressure of selecting our kids' birthdays. I hope that as they grow up, Eliana and Jacob would cherish the intentionality with which their birthdays were chosen and view them as incredibly special!
Posted at 9:03 PM
Friday, October 14, 2011
-According to emedicine, the overall miscarriage rate is 15-20%. Some physicians believe this percentage may even be higher, as miscarriage can often occur before a woman even knows she is pregnant.
- Approximately 25,000 babies are stillborn each year in the United States, and according to the March of Dimes, about 19,000 babies die within the first month of life (called neonatal death).
- SIDS claims the lives of over 7000 babies each year nationally.
So, once again this year, I would like to do a few things tomorrow, on October 15th.
First, I would like to pray for you. If you are comfortable, please feel free to share as much of or as little of your story in a comment below. Also, I would like to invite those of you reading to pray for the people who have courageously shared their stories.
Secondly, as the http://www.october15th.com/ site has announced, you are invited to light a candle on October 15th at 7pm in your time zone to create a wave of light in remembrance of the child/children that you have lost, or in honor of someone else who has lost a child thought miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death.
So, I will start...
My name is Stacy. In the fall of 2007, we lost baby #1 to a miscarriage due to triploidy discovered at 13 weeks. On October 7, 2008, we met our precious son Isaac at 8:33 am. He passed away due to complications from a series of congenital birth defects 16 minutes later. He is deeply, deeply missed and so incredibly loved. In April of this year, we lost baby #4 to a very early miscarriage.
Posted at 12:04 PM
Monday, October 10, 2011
Posted at 1:27 PM
Friday, October 7, 2011
We miss you so much; but we know that you are in the most perfect of places. You have not been forgotten; your life and legacy continue to touch others... most especially your little sister. Please know that we think of you so often, and love you so much. I am so proud of you. Happy third birthday, sweet boy.
Posted at 7:42 AM
Sunday, September 25, 2011
It amazes me that she has grown and changed and learned so much in what is actually such little time.
Most of all, how has it been nearly three years since I met my sweet Isaac? Has it really been that long? Sometimes it feels like a few weeks ago that we were holding him; yet at the same time, in some ways it feels like another lifetime. In less than two weeks we will celebrate his 3rd birthday... which in many ways is unfathomable to me. 2008 sounds like a long time ago.
Posted at 7:10 AM
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Posted at 1:09 PM
Monday, September 5, 2011
I suppose this post should really be titled, "How We Made the Decision for Me to Stay Home." But that isn't nearly as fun as sharing about Eliana's latest fascination with ants. There's a connection... I promise. Hang with me.
A few weeks ago, I was out back talking to a neighbor who is also a teacher in the school system in which Spencer teaches (and in which I am currently on leave). She asked me, "How in the world are you able to make this work?" Clearly, she knows about how much Spencer makes since she works in the same school system. My honest answer to her was this: I really don't know.
You see, while we were able to prepare some financially for this year, the decision for me to take leave from teaching was less about the how, and more about the Who. And when that finally clicked (which, truthfully, was only a few months into LAST school year), the decision was totally easy... not because we have some hidden treasure in financial resources, but because we have a greater treasure than this world could offer... and that is a God who loves us and will provide for our every need. Not necessarily our wants... but definitely our needs.
We knew that foregoing my income meant that Spencer's salary wouldn't cover our minimum monthly expenses.
We knew that foregoing my income meant that we would no longer be able to save or accelerate mortgage payments.
We knew that foregoing my income meant that there wouldn't be a trip to Disney in our near future... or really any trip or vacation that didn't involve a free place to stay.
We knew that foregoing my income would be a huge sacrifice, that the numbers didn't totally add up, and that it was a huge leap of faith. We knew that it meant trusting in the promise of Matthew 6:25-33--
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
I also wanted to say that I recognize that there are some of you reading this who just may not be able to swing it financially to stay at home; I want you to know that you are no less of a mother because you are working outside of the home. I realize that for some, staying at home just isn't an option, and a recognize what a sensitive and divisive topic this can be. We just know that given all that unfolded in our lives over the last year, that this truly was God's desire for our family for this season.
So, as I sat and watched Ellie watching the ants, I marveled again at how those littlest creatures are cared for by our God; and how if even the ants are cared for and provided for, then how much more will we be, even if we didn't have it all figured out. He does.
I had to chuckle as I thought about how fortunate I am that I get to sit and marvel as I watch my daughter so engrossed by the ants... and learn to count... and sing the ABC's... and help me make pumpkin pancakes... and the list goes on...
Posted at 3:54 PM
Monday, August 29, 2011
Posted at 6:27 AM
Sunday, August 14, 2011
We are excited to share that at last Tuesday's ultrasound (at a little over 17 weeks), that our baby not only looks healthy, but that we will be welcoming another little BOY in December. We are excited for Isaac and Eliana to have a little brother, and for some trucks and trains to invade our house :) And since one of you readers was the one who put us on to the name Eliana, which we obviously fell in love with and chose for our daughter, I would love to hear some of your not-too-common but not-too-random boy names! Feel free to leave a comment below if you have a suggestion. Bonus points if it has a really great meaning :)
Did I also mention that I know a bazillion other gals who are pregnant and are due within a month or two of me? Well, not a bazillion, but several... four of whom are close friends or family. I just think it is really fun to be pregnant with friends!
Eliana just turned 17 months and is just absolutely amazing. She is a ball of serious energy, loves to laugh, has a great sense of humor, and a pretty strong will. We traveled to the beach twice this summer, and she had a blast playing in the sand, running into the ocean and splashing in the surf. Ellie apparently has a great affection for sand crabs (her mother does not!) but doesn't quite understand that you aren't supposed to squeeze them. Since we have been back from the beach, she talks about "ocean," "sand," "toes," and "shovel" constantly. She loves to sing songs (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Do You Know the Muffin Man are two of her favorites), and she is even learning to count! Ellie still loves her books... her lift-the-flap Bible and Oh Baby, Go Baby! are two that she loves. She talks up a storm, and I love that she is becoming more conceptual than just literal. Like right now... Paula Dean is on the Food Network, and she points to the screen and says "COOKING!" She is learning so much right now, and it is just amazing to watch.
The 3rd Annual Isaac Timothy Delisle Memorial Golf Tournament is THIS Friday! The details have been coming together, and we are excited to see what God is going to do through this event. We are grateful to be able to highlight and financially support Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, an organization that is extremely special to Spencer and me. We would appreciate your prayers this week as we work through a pretty extensive to-do list, that the details would come together, for good weather, and most of all that God would be glorified through this event.
I've started a (very) part-time job working from home. This job is not only an absolute blessing (I mean, who doesn't like being able to work in their pj's while sitting on their comfy couch??), but has been a really fun challenge. It has caused me to develop and utilize skills that are in some ways so much different from being a teacher, and I am really enjoying that change. The flexibility of my schedule is definitely an added bonus as well!
So that's the latest on us in a nutshell! It's been a busy month, including a trip to the beach, my laptop crashing, and all kinds of things, but we are grateful for some really exciting things coming up through the rest of 2011!
Posted at 6:50 AM
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Posted at 9:26 AM
Thursday, June 30, 2011
This past Father's Day was incredibly special for our family. After church, we had a dedication ceremony for the playground that was filled with much love, prayer, gratitude, laughter... and of course cake and punch. :)
I had thought for a while about what I would want to share on that day that would really communicate all that Isaac's Playground means to us... not just as a memorial of our son's life, but also as a testimony to who God is. Prior to church that morning, I was imagining all of the squeals of laughter that would be heard later that day as kids got to play on Isaac's Playground for the first time, and I was reminded of how several times in His word, God promises to restore joy, and to replace sorrow with gladness.
The end of Isaiah 35:10 reads, "Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away."
Jeremiah 31:13 contains a similar promise: "Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. "
It is our sincerest hope that as parents play with their kids on Isaac's Playground and hear them laugh with joy, that they would be reminded of this truth: God is so faithful to restore joy and gladness. We deeply desire that Isaac's Playground would be symbolic of that. Each one of us will at some point experience sorrow; every one of us will face loss. Yet God is faithful, even in the most unthinkable circumstances, to restore gladness and joy... simply because of who He is and what we have in Him.
I am so thankful for that promise.
And with that... here are a few pictures from the dedication ceremony!
Posted at 7:27 PM
Monday, June 13, 2011
Well, almost. We still need to install the safety fence, add some lovely shrubs, and plant some pretty flowers at the base of the memorial sign. But otherwise, Isaac's Playground is finished!
On the first Saturday this month, several men went out to the playground site and prepped the ground by digging lots of very deep holes. This past Saturday, over 25 people including family, friends, and folks from church came out in nearly 100 degree temperatures and worked tirelessly to install the playground. And it looks amazing!
We are so thankful for the kindness of numerous people who gave so generously of their time, talent, and treasure to make this happen. We are in awe of the fact that what started out as a vision nearly three years ago has finally taken shape. God's provision has been amazing. And while we would much rather have Isaac with here with us, we are grateful for the opportunity to remember him, to allow his life to continue to do good, and to glorify God in the process.
So to those of you who in some way helped this playground come to fruition... THANK YOU! Though, truly, those two simple words don't feel like nearly enough.
Enjoy the pictures...
Posted at 12:17 PM
Thursday, June 2, 2011
I don't really know if there are high fives in heaven... but part of me would like to think that maybe there are :)
Posted at 12:12 PM
Thursday, May 26, 2011
It's been a crazy few weeks in the Delisle house, and looks like we are in for a few more busy weeks before things start to settle down. I sort of feel like I am in autopilot at the moment, trying to just keep chugging along until the school year comes to an end (which is in 14 school days... not that I'm counting!).
So what's been happening?
Well, plans for this year's Isaac Timothy Delisle Memorial Golf Tournament are underway, and we couldn't be more excited. This year, part of the proceeds from the tournament will benefit Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, and we are grateful to be able to support such an incredible organization. We've been busy solidifying dates, holding organizational meetings, and starting to solidify hole sponsors, prizes, and giveaways. Things are really coming together already, even though the tournament isn't until August 19th. If you're interested in playing or helping in some way, please feel free to leave a comment or email me!
Also, Isaac's playground will be built at our church in the beginning of June! A week from Saturday, the groundwork will be completed, and on June 11th, we will be having a community build to assemble the structure and cement it into the ground. On Father's Day, our church will be holding a dedication ceremony as well... I thought it will be so special for Spencer to do that on Father's Day.
Needless to say, these to things alone have been keeping us busy, on top of wrapping up the school year, packing up my classroom, and chasing around a cute, busy, fast little toddler! She is just a riot these days, talking up a storm, running everywhere, and making her preferences known. Her hair has gone from straight to curly, and at her last doctor's appointment she finally broke the 18lb mark! At almost 15 months old. She's a peanut :)
Stay tuned for updates on the playground in the next few weeks!
Posted at 2:48 PM
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Thank you all so much for your advice on ways to save money! So many great ideas... from where to shop, how to make your own laundry detergent, and even how to grow plants upside down!
Blogger had quite a hiccup in its service at the end of last week, and several of your comments were deleted. Never a good thing in the middle of a giveaway. So, as promised, any comment labeled "duplicate," or that I recognized as a re-written comment if yours was deleted, was counted twice.
I had high hopes of my cute Ellie drawing a name from a basket. However, today included quite the nap-standoff. So.... I went with random.org instead. As I counted down the comments, each re-written comment was counted as two consecutive numbers. Random.org kindly generated for me the following random number when it picked something between 1 and 48...
True Random Number Generator Min: 1 Max: 48 Result: 39
I have no idea how to do a screen shot and then import it into Blogger, or I would have. :)
Anyhow, congratulations, Jenni! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can ship the Laura Story "Blessings" CD to you. Make sure you write "Laura Story CD winner" or something like that in the memo line in case your email goes to my spam folder. I want to make sure I don't delete it.
Thank you all again for your great ideas. They are so helpful!
Posted at 7:14 PM
Friday, May 13, 2011
Blogger has been having some technical issues the past few days, and somehow, many of your comments have been deleted :( I had been up to 53 (and read every one!) but now it is only showing 16.
So, if you have the time and are willing and able, please go back and check if yours is there. If not, and you could repost your lovely ideas, I would appreciate it so much!!
And, for your hard extra work, if you re-post a comment that was deleted, I will count that comment twice in your chances for the Laura Story CD giveaway. Just be sure to note (duplicate) in your comment.
Posted at 1:18 PM
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
This post is going to be fun... at least I think so! A solicitation for tips and advice, and a giveaway wrapped into one!
Since I will stop working at the end of this school year and we will be going down to one income, I would LOVE to hear your practical money saving tips.
We have been on a tight budget before... early in our marriage, we made it a priority to get rid of our debt. School loans, credit cards, car payments... we paid off everything but our mortgage (though there is a plan in place for that, too!). So being thrifty isn't a new thing. But, pinching pennies seems to be a lot harder when you have kids! :) And when you've been used to living on two incomes and are cutting that in half.
I am particularly interested about:
- How you are able to reduce your grocery budget while still eating healthy (and for me, this includes buying the organic versions of the "dirty dozen" fruits and veggies.) I already shop sales, plan my menus around them, make a list and only buy what's on it (usually :) ), and buy generic versions whenever possible. It's also important to me to use environmentally friendly cleaning products, and those tend to be more expensive. Except for vinegar... but I have a serious, serious aversion to the smell of vinegar and just wouldn't be able to clean with it. :(
- What things do you do with your kiddos that are fun, memorable, educational, and creative without spending a fortune? (Even the little petting zoo near us is $12 admission!!)
So here's how this will work. Feel free to leave any tips and pieces of advice in the comment section. For every comment you leave, you'll be entered into the giveaway. (So, if you'd rather leave 5 tips as 5 separate comments, go for it!).
And what will you win?
None other than one of my favorite CDs... "Blessings" by Laura Story!
UPDATED-- Several of you have mentioned planting my own vegetable garden. Great idea! We live in a townhouse with a hardscaped patio out back and not really any room to plant veggies. Our townhome is an interior unit, and with the way it is set up, our kitchen counters don't face the window. So... if you have any tips on planting a veggie garden given these restrictions, I would love to hear them! :)
Comments will close on Saturday, May 14th at 5pm EST. The winner will be announced on Sunday, May 15th, so be sure to check back!
Posted at 9:36 AM
Sunday, May 8, 2011
I want to preface this post by saying that I absolutely believe in the spirit of Mother's Day... in a day to acknowledge mothers, those who are like a mother, and most of all God's divine design of motherhood. In some ways, hearing or reading the words "Happy Mother's Day" feels so good to me; and at the same time, it is hard ... because there is a little boy who I will never get to hear whisper those words to me. There is someone missing; the little boy who made me a mother first isn't here. And while three Mother's Days have passed since having Isaac, this particular day is not one that has gotten easier.
This morning in church we were encouraged to wish the moms out there a happy Mother's Day during the greeting... something I think is a truly wonderful thing. Yet at the same time, I thought about people who were likely to be in that room who were probably having a really hard time this morning. About the man or woman who recently lost their mother; about the husband whose wife recently passed away... the mother of his children; about the parents who just lost a child that they long for and love so dearly; about the couple who longs to have children and yet after months or years of trying to get pregnant just... haven't; and about the couple who has pursued parenthood through the beauty of adoption, only to have that adoption fall through.
For many, Mother's Day is an incredibly happy day; but for others, it can be a day that is also full of sorrow. And for them, that sorrow can so easily go unacknowledged.
So, I would encourage you... if you know someone who may go unacknowledged this Mother's Day because their situation is outside the scope of a card that Hallmark creates, acknowledge them anyway.
Acknowledge their hurt or sorrow; acknowledge that this day may be one that is difficult. Let them know that you remember them, too.
And what would a Mother's Day post be without pictures of my sweet kiddos...
I am so proud of both of you and am so thankful to be your Mom. You are both incredible. I love you!
Posted at 9:24 PM
Saturday, April 30, 2011
I know I still need to get caught up on an Easter post, too :)
But for today, this is the pregnancy post I hadn't planned on writing. No, I am not pregnant... at least not anymore. I debated whether or not to even blog about this, but felt that it was important to do so, mostly so that it might potentially somehow help someone else.
Earlier this month, I miscarried. Again.
I didn't start this blog until I was pregnant with Isaac and we had received news of his prognosis; but prior to conceiving him, I had a missed miscarriage with our first baby at 13 weeks. I remember that time so clearly... being pregnant for the first time and blissfully unaware that anything bad could happen. I do, though, remember asking my OB at a prenatal visit I had around 10-11 weeks what my risks were of miscarrying at that point, and he shared that since the baby's heartbeat had been detected on the doppler, the risk at that point was small.
Yet we found the narrow odds... and I was devastated.
I remember sitting in small group one night as we were watching and discussing the NOOMA video entitled "Rain." I just broke down and and started sobbing. Around the same time, my mother-in-law had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer (and she has been in remission for some time now! Praise God...). Things felt so hard and I was so ready for the rainy storms to pass. I wanted sunshine and rainbows again.
Little did I know what was a few months around the corner, and that Spencer and I would walk through what has unarguably been the most difficult circumstance of our life: losing Isaac.
Difficult trials and circumstances that we have walked through in the past certainly don't preclude us from experiencing them in the present or future; Job would certainly attest to that. And I know some of you would, too.
So earlier this month, I experienced another miscarriage. It was very early, and truthfully, I am okay. I suppose that for me, while there is some disappointment and frustration, I guess it all feels sort of relative to what we've experienced in the past. For us, having lost Isaac has caused this to not sting so badly; but I recognize that for some, an early miscarriage even at 4-5 weeks would be devastating... and I want you to know that it is okay to feel that way.
I hope that for those of you who have lost a child and desire to have more children, this post serves as some encouragement for you that you will be okay even in the midst of more hardship. God is so faithful in meeting us where we are, providing enough grace and peace for each moment, and I know He will do the same for you, too. It is in times like this that I look back on God's past faithfulness and am reminded that He will continue to be faithful in the present and the future.
Psalm 57:10 says "For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies."
I pray that truth would encourage your heart today.
Posted at 6:14 AM
Friday, April 15, 2011
I've been trying to write this post in my head for almost two weeks, and to be honest, it just really hasn't come together! As I shared previously, I was fortunate to attend a women's retreat sponsored by my friend Erica's church the first weekend in April. Nancy Guthrie shared some poignant and challenging thoughts on the topic of hope in the hard places, and used the book of Job as the cornerstone of her series. When I came back from the retreat, Spencer asked me about what I learned and what stuck out to me. Truthfully, I had a hard time answering... not because I didn't know, but because I was still processing so much of what Nancy shared. And even still, I find myself challenged by what she shared as we looked deeply into the life of Job. While I was pregnant with Isaac, I found myself reading through Job quite frequently. I felt so drawn to his story, and even more so to the way in which he responded to his sorrow and suffering. I was particularly comforted by the fact that this righteous man grieved so deeply and so openly. He didn't just grieve inwardly and give an appearance of having it all together on the outside; he grieved outwardly, too... fully revealing the depth of his sorrow (Job 1:20). Nancy shared with us that, "Real faith doesn't minimize how much loss hurts, but magnifies how sufficient God is." And I would add that He is the only thing that is sufficient enough to carry you through deep sorrow. What I found particularly challenging was this: after Job openly revealed the depth of his sorrow... he worshipped God. Job 1:20-21 says: "At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” I remember how hard it was for me to want to worship God. I remember not being able to sing songs in church, and I remember how the upbeat, cheery songs would almost make my stomach turn because I was aching so, so deeply. I think, though, that my view of what it means to worship when I first considered Job's response was a bit too narrow. Because truly, I believe that worship isn't just singing on Sundays. It isn't just singing along to Christian music in the car. True worship stems from remembering who we are in light of who God is, and we respond to Him in that proper place. And so those times when I cried myself to sleep, begging God to just be near? That's worship. The times when all I could do was open my Bible and read, yearning to find words of comfort and hope there? Countless times when even though I couldn't sing one word to one song in church because I was sobbing too hard to get any words out, but I stood up with the rest of the congregation anyway? That's worship. Nancy shared with us that as Christians, we worship because God is worthy, not because we feel like it... and in that, we find that God often then changes our feelings. I know that has been true for me. A few other great nuggets from Nancy as she walked us through the book of Job: - Genuine faith is revealed when we hold on to what is true about God, even when we suffer. - Goodness and godliness are no guarantee that we will not have to suffer. - The same circumstances that Satan uses to get us to reject God are often the same things that God uses to draw us closer to Himself. - God's love is an active commitment to our ultimate good and eternal happiness. - (In some cases), rather than providing healing, God will provide Himself. - Suffering provides us the opportunity to move from knowing about God, to knowing God in an intimate way. And she left us with this question: Has the suffering in your life allowed your faith to be proved genuine? It is my hope to be able to answer with an honest "yes."
Posted at 12:56 PM
Monday, April 4, 2011
This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a women's retreat through my friend's church and was privileged to hear Nancy Guthrie speak and Laura Story perform. Admittedly, I haven't had time in a while... in a long while... to really sit and think and evaluate where I am at this point in my journey of a mom of two, one of whom is in heaven. I've been so caught up in the momentum of being a working mom and trying to juggle all that comes with that, that I haven't had a chance to sit and really ask myself, "How is your heart with all of this, Stacy?" This weekend allowed me that opportunity. And I realized, that while I can still rarely share about Isaac without tears (which I know is perfectly okay), that over the past year, God has really worked so much in my heart. I remember a while ago blogging about how I had so much trouble singing certain songs in church... songs like "Blessed Be Your Name" and "Mighty to Save" (both of which we sung this weekend, and the ladder being written by Laura Story herself). Even though both of those songs still evoke floods of tears, I find myself in a place where I can finally sing those words with a heart that is fully postured in a position of belief. One of the things Nancy talked about this weekend as she walked us through the book of Job and addressed what it means to have hope in the hard places, was the truth at the end of Job 1. Verse 20 reads: At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship... She talked about that even though Job was stricken with grief, and maybe didn't feel like it, he still worshipped God. Can you relate to that? I know I can. I know that there have been so many times that the best I could, do that my greatest act of worship in that moment, was to simply be able to stand up with the rest of our church congregation as they sang, and instead of singing myself, shed rivers of tears. Gradually, I was able to eek out words here or there during our time of singing. After Laura performed for us on Saturday evening, I had a chance to share with her about Isaac and how much her song "Mighty to Save" meant to me during my pregnancy and in the weeks and months that followed. I shared with her how during my pregnancy, I sang those words with such conviction, knowing that God was capable of healing and saving my son. I also shared with her how for a long time, I really wasn't able to sing that song, and would flip it off when it came on the radio because I felt so hurt that God's answer to our prayers for healing on this side of heaven was "no." And I shared with her how the words to that song played such an instrumental role in allowing me to view Isaac's life in light of eternity; the fact that God did save Isaac, that in Jesus's finishing work on the cross, He did conquer the grave and save Isaac for all eternity. Laura's newest album was just released this year, and on it is a song called "Blessings." You can watch the video for it here. (Be sure to pause the music at the bottom of this page before viewing it). It is worth the 5 minutes of your time it takes to watch it. I am just now getting to a place where I can say, "Yes... I get it. I understand what you mean" when I hear these lyrics. I hope this song touches your heart the way that it did mine, and for those of you who may be struggling in a hard place right now, that it would comfort your heart.
Posted at 9:48 AM
Monday, March 21, 2011
My friend Taylor treated us to a photo shoot to get some updated pictures of Eliana (and of the three of us). I hesitate to use the phrase "family photos" because I know that we are only able to visually capture three of the four of us. Despite Eliana not having taken an afternoon nap (and instead, just sitting in her crib talking and playing for a while!), Taylor did a great job getting all sorts of neat shots. Here's a sneak peak... Enjoy!
Posted at 10:48 AM
Friday, March 18, 2011
One of my deepest desires in my relationships, be it my marriage, friendships, or relationships with family, is to know others and be known. Deeply. Authentically. And really, I believe all of us deeply desire for someone to really know us... to really understand. We know that is possible through a relationship with God; in fact, scripture tells us in Luke 12:6-7 "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows" (emphasis mine). Psalm 139 is filled with a beautiful picture of how deeply the Lord knows us... each of us, who He has uniquely created. Yet I know that it is the heart of so many, particularly many women, who deeply desire to be in relationship with others here on Earth in a way in which we are also deeply known.
Being "known" in our immediate family has had some really interesting, and heart-warming developments. I've shared before about how it is our desire that Eliana always understand that Isaac is her brother... that from the start, he is part of her schema of who are family is. Lately, when Ellie gets up from her naps, she'll point to the picture of Isaac on the shelf in her room and squeal with delight. As we walk downstairs to the playroom, we'll often stop to look at all of the framed photos that we have hung on the wall. We point to Mommy, to Daddy, Auntie Kate, and to others. When we ask her, "Ellie... where is the picture of your brother Isaac?" She points to him. Immediately. She knows.
Most touching, though, is how Eliana will walk over to the bookshelf in the living room and pull Isaac's photo album out and bring it over to us. I'll sit her in my lap, and look through the pictures with her, carefully narrating each one. This past week, she started to lean over and interact with the pictures. Whether it is pointing to something in the picture and asking " This?" (her way of asking "What is this?"), putting her cheek against Isaac's picture and saying "Awwww.....", or bending over and giving his picture a kiss, it is clear that she now only knows who Isaac is, but that she knows that he is someone worthy of her affection. He is known.
My heart swells. With joy, with sadness that Ellie won't get to meet Isaac on this side of Heaven, and with gratitude for God's faithfulness in allowing Isaac's life to continue to hold a prominent place in the tapestry of our family as Eliana continues to grow and learn. I am so grateful that our sweet little one year old understands who Isaac is, even if it's in the most simplest of ways.
Posted at 1:10 PM
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
As I'm sure you can imagine, this few weeks preparing for, hosting, and cleaning up after Eliana's birthday party have been nothing short of busy. It was such a joy to be able to plan and prepare for her birthday party... to have a house stuffed to the gills with family and friends... to watch her shove cake in her tiny little mouth and fling it all over the place... to catch up with out of town family... and to celebrate our little girl who is growing up much faster than I would like. Regretably, I don't have a ton of pictures of my own from our sweet girl's party, but am waiting on pictures that others have taken. I'll get a few of those up when I receive them.
Big decisions are being made in our house... most notably, Spencer and I have prarefully considered my work situation for next school year, and have decided that it would be best for me to take a leave of absence. So... June 17th has a whole new meaning, knowing that I will be packing up my classroom and will be getting to stay home next year with my sweet girl. Our hope is to max out the number of years of leave for which I am eligible, yet we are taking it one year at a time.
This was a big decision for us in a number of ways... and as you can imagine, reducing your household income by 50% can be a scary thing. As I was reflecting back on how I have made decisions in the past, I have always felt the need to look three, four, five, or even ten steps ahead so I could be sure of how everything would likely play out before making big decisions. And while I believe that it is wise to be prudent, I also believe that I have been more of a "Thomas" than I would like to admit...
Jesus Appears to Thomas (John 20)
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
There are a lot of unknowns as we move forward... whether or not Spencer will get promoted to an Assistant Principal position for next year, how we will financially be able to swing this. And yet, we are trusting that because we believe this is God's desire for our family, that He will faithfully provide and allow it to work. We don't know what that will look like or how that will play out; but we are trusting God's words of Matthew 6...
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
And to say I am excited is an understatment. I am so excited to be with Ellie... I am excited to see God's hand of faithfulness. I am excited to take a break from the working world (as far as a career is concerned), to be able to spend more delving into my role as a wife and a mother, and to spend time further developing the Isaac Delisle Foundation.
So we ask for your prayers as we make this exciting transition :)
Pictures from Ellie's birthday to come...
Posted at 9:14 AM
Monday, February 21, 2011
Posted at 9:12 AM
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Last fall I entered us into a contest to win a photography session with the awesome photographer, Crissie Traugott, who did my maternity pictures and newborn pictures with Eliana. She is awesome!
The bad news: we didn't win.
The good news: she's holding another contest and we are entered!!!
Could you please vote and help us win?
To help, please visit Crissie's Facebook site and "like" her page.
Then, please lave a comment on our photo! Simply "liking" the photo won't count.
For every 5 comments, we get 1 entry into the drawing.
Thanks for helping us!
Posted at 5:30 AM
Monday, February 14, 2011
Posted at 7:30 AM
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Sitting here listening to Pandora, and on came one of my David Crowder Favorites... Never Let Go.
I love that line, the one that says, "In joy and pain, in sun and rain, You're the same, You never let go."
It is the constancy of God's character that causes me to still hope... to know that we can trust Him, not because of His activity, but because of His constant character.
These past few months continue to be filled with such joy as we continue to watch Eliana grow up. I am in constant awe of the miracle that she is... her amazing personality, how much she is learning, the way she laughs. How she is developing preferences for certain things, like sweet over savory (just like her Mama!) and like cats over dogs... for particular books over others. She is becoming a fairly proficient walker (video to follow in an upcoming post!), knows how to point to Mommy's nose, says several words (like purple, Isaac, and cheese). She is absolutely amazing.
It's incredible to me that a person has the capacity to envelope such joy, while the missing can simultaneously still linger. I often wonder what Eliana and Isaac would do if they had been given the chance to play together. I wonder if he would be as enamored by his little sister as we are.
I am just really grateful for the fact that God just meets us in that, and that the constancy of His character allows me to be able to trust Him, even though I don't always understand what He may be up to.
Posted at 9:54 AM
Thursday, January 27, 2011
It's a gorgeous snowy day here in Maryland. Although, if you were one stuck on any of our local highways yesterday evening, you may not agree. As a household of teachers, though, we love a good snowfall... especially when it actually comes to fruition!
Other than playing with Eliana and baking, my other favorite snowy day activity is reading. A few weeks ago, Angie Smith mentioned a book on her blog entitled One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It turns out, this is also the new book Angie and Jessica Turner are using for the Bloom Book Club at (in)Courage. The tag line for the book is, "a dare to live fully right where you are."
Who doesn't want to do that?
Working full time this year has been hard, and I the subject of the book piqued my interested; so I ordered it. And between yesterday's snow day and being home again today, I am already half way through. I can't put it down. It is truly one of the best books I have read in a long time.
Ann is an incredibly artistic and gifted writer, sharing authentically about her desire to live a full life... a life of gratitude. She incorporates everyday experiences, a thoughtful analysis of scripture, and personal tragedy as she shares what it means to life fully in each moment.
You'll want to order this book. A hard copy... not the electronic version... because you'll want to mark it up. There is so much good stuff in there. So much so, that once I finish it the first time, I think I will need to go back and reread it to be sure I didn't miss anything.
A few nuggets so far...
With an expiration of less than twelve hours, what does Jesus count as all most important? 'And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them...' (Luke 22:19 NIV)... In the original language 'he gave thanks' reads 'eucharisteo...' The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning 'grace...' but it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning 'joy.' (p.31-32).
As long as thanks as possible, then joy is always possible. (p.33)
Referring to Matthew 11, Ann writes, And then what does Jesus do, in the face of apparent failure, when no one responded to His teaching and things didn't work out at all? He lives out eucharisteo. (p.36)
We only enter into the full life if our faith gives thanks. (p.39)
A question that many of us have probably asked at one point, or several...
How in the world, for the sake of my joy, do I learn to use eucharisteo to overcome my one ugly and self-destructive habit of ingratitude... with the saving habit of gratitude-- that would lead me back to deep God-communion. (p.44)
On the next page, Ann accepts a challenge from a friend...
Could I write a list of a thousand things I love? (p.45)
But in this counting of gifts, to one thousand, more, I discover that slapping a sloppy brush of thanksgiving over everything in my life leaves me deeply thankful for very few things in my life...life-changing gratitude does not fasten to a life unless nailed through with one very specific nail at a time. (p.57)
And so begins Ann's process, a challenge to all of us read this book really, to become people who live a live full of gratitude in all things... for all things.
I'll wrap this up by saying that in no way am I receiving any sort of compensation for mentioning Ann's book here. I simply was made aware of it, became interested, ordered it, and am now engrossed in it ant deeply challenged by it.
It's well worth a read. Several reads, really.
Posted at 8:27 AM
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
I can't thank you enough for praying for Sarah, Henry, and the rest of her family. I was able to visit Sarah at the hospital last Thursday and meet her precious son. He was beautiful. I was just captivated by his tiny features... including a cute little chin and perfect little nose... and was so grateful that he had some sweet fuzzy hair. Sarah really wanted to be able to get some locks of hair, and I am thankful that the Lord provided that opportunity for her. Please continue to pray for this family as they hold Henry's funeral this Saturday. I know she has seen the prayers that have been offered on her behalf, and I know she is incredibly grateful for that.
So what else is new?
Not much :)
Eliana turned 10 months old last week, and I can't believe that I am already starting to think about her first birthday party. People aren't kidding when they say, "they grow up so fast!" Ellie is still a little peanut... rocking her 6-9 month clothes (and even some 3-6 month clothes still!), swimming in most 12 month clothes... but her huge personality is in no way deterred by her petite stature. She has developed, quite randomly, a strong affection for Elmo, and for whatever reason, excitedly growls his name whenever she says it. She loves her stuffed Elmo, pop-up book with Elmo, puppet book with Elmo, diapers with Elmo... you name it. It is quite hilarious, actually. She's as curious as can be, loves playing with Grandma's kitty cats and our neighbors and friends dogs, and is so intrigued by the simplest things, like long games of peek-a-boo. She's finally cutting her third tooth (the first two came in right at 5 months), cruising around like crazy, and I have a hunch she'll be taking her first step quite soon. She is so incredible and brings us so much joy... and many, many good laughs!
She loves watching the snow (even though she doesn't love playing in it...)
She loves rooting for the Jets with Daddy! I'm sure this will be the scene this coming Sunday!Such a big (little) girl at 10 months old! Walking with Mommy...
... and cuddling with Mommy, too! Sort of. This may be the moment where she decided she wanted get down and keep walking!
This weekend I will be flying to Atlanta for the wedding of my dear friend, Kim. Kim and I met when she was in high school, and I was her Young Life leader. We have so many great memories together... from Bible study and breakfast before school, to trips to Ocean City, NJ. I love this girl's heart, and her fiance, Andrew, is one very lucky guy! I am so excited to celebrate with her this weekend. At the same time, I am incredibly nervous to hop on a plane and leave Eliana. She will do great, I know, at home with Spencer. I would appreciate prayers, though, for safe, quick, and uneventful flights. I am normally not scared to fly; this time, well... I'm slightly nervous.
Things with Isaac's playground are still moving along. The equipment has been ordered, and I am so excited for the community install that is going to take place this spring. More on that as details roll in.
I wish we were more exciting... this is such a boring, and random, update for the most part! So maybe it's better to ask... what do YOU want to know? Anything you're wondering about? Something I've blogged about previously you're curious to hear an update on that maybe I forgot about? I hope that 2011 is off to a great year for each of you. I know we are looking forward to what this year holds in store!
Posted at 8:39 PM
Thursday, January 6, 2011
I received a text from Sarah that Henry passed away at 8:00 this morning. My heart is so heavy.
Please continue to pray for them, particularly now as the grief of losing their son really begins to set in.
I am planning to visit Sarah this afternoon. Please be praying for that time. Please pray that God would equip me with the words, or the lack of words, that would be of the greatest comfort to Sarah. Please pray that my ministering to them would draw them to Christ. That is my deepest desire... that they would find the peace and comfort that comes from knowing Him. I cannot imagine going through this without my faith in God.
When Steven Curtis Chapman lost his daughter, he said, "The only thing scarier than going through this with my faith, is going through it alone, cursing God." That resonates with me so deeply.
Thank you for continuing to pray for this precious family, especially now...
Posted at 8:32 AM
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Thank you all so much for praying for my friend, Sarah. With her permission, I am posting the update that I received in an email from her this morning...
Henry was born yesterday at 8:38am, weighed 2.4 pounds and is almost 15 inches. He has made it through his first night and has been doing so well. He's been eating formula by dropper, talking to us, and even opened his eyes the tiniest little bit. Everyone is surprised by what a fighter our little guy has been. I'm loving every moment, bittersweet that it may be.
I am so thankful for the time this family has had together. I am so thankful that God graciously has provided time for their family member to meet Henry while he is still alive.
Please continue to pray for this family. I know that they are grateful for your prayers.
Posted at 10:57 AM