Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Giveaway!

What better way to end the week than with a giveaway? I've seen many of my blog friends doing giveaways on their blogs and I thought it was a neat idea.

So, in light of the fact that Spencer and I saw Chris Tomlin in concert last weekend, how about a free Chris Tomlin Hello Love CD?

Not only is Chris Tomlin a gifted musician, but he has an incredible passion for God and his lyrics will touch the depths of your heart. If you're not familiar with his music, you need to be!

I also wanted this giveaway to something more than people just leaving a comment in order to win. So, here's the deal. To enter, leave a comment. In your comment, let us know what God has been teaching you lately, or leave a verse to encourage us ("us" being Spencer and I, as well as other people who read this blog).

You have until Sunday evening at 6pm eastern time (because shortly after that the Superbowl starts!) to enter. A winner will be randomly selected and will be announced Monday morning!

Have fun, and good luck!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Day

We FINALLY got some measureable snow around here. As teachers, this is a glorious thing! Not only is it an unexpected day off (or on out case... now the SECOND day off!), but it is also so beautiful. Here are a few pictures I took around our neighborhood yesterday...

Here's our house...

A view of some other houses on our street...

As Spencer and I were talking to the pizza place in our neighborhood to have lunch, we saw all these kids trying to sled down the hill here. We obviously didn't get a lot of snow (evidenced by all the grass poking through), so the kids would sled about half way down and get stuck... and they try to scoot their way down the rest of the hill. It was pretty funny...

No, not enough snow to compare to anywhere else in the nation and the feet of snow some places have been getting, but enough snow and then ice to close schools for two days! What a gift... Spencer and I have both been pretty exhausted, and so it has been nice to have some unexpected time to catch up on rest, spend time with each other, and catch up on things we never quite seem to get around to doing (like putting away a box of Christmas gifts that is STILL sitting around!)

Monday, January 26, 2009

In Review...

I have been doing a lot of reading in the mast several months, and wanted to compile a list of some of the books I have read, along with a little "review" of each, in hopes that this will be helpful for others, particularly other moms and dads who are grieving the loss of a child. as well as friends and family of people who have lost a child.

Before I get to that, though, two quick updates...

1. This is the last week of the Thirty One fundraiser for Isaac's playground. They have a lot of really cute things... if you missed the announcement before, think Very Bradley (but the colors aren't quite as bright) meets Pottery Barn. Really cool stuff. Thank you, Tammy, for offering us this opportunity.

2. Baby Norrah-- lots of good news. Her eye exam went really well last Tuesday. The neurologist also reviewed all 3 of Norrah's EEGs and believes she is not having seizures. The current diagnosis is benign myoclonus... not Tay Sachs. This is huge! Thanks so much for praying for them.

And now... for the books...

When I Lay My Isaac Down
This book was written by the Christian author Carol Kent. I think for obvious reason, it jumped off the shelf at me while I was browsing in Barnes & Nobel. I mentioned this book in previous posts, but wanted to again highly recommend it here. It is one of my favorite books of all time.

The essence of the book is this: Carol and her husband's son is being tried for the murder of his wife's ex-husband. Her son is a graduate of the Naval Academy, and the fact that this was happening was of complete shock. The deep, deep love of Carol's heart of a mother becomes so strikingly clear, as does her grief, as she recounts the events surrounding the murder, her son's trial, and what happens afterwards (I don't want to give that part away). As she does, Carol loosely connects her story to the account of Abraham and Isaac, and delves into some deep issues of the heart surrounding the issue of loss. One of the ones that spoke to me the most was this: What do you do when God DOESN'T provide the ram in the thicket? At the end of each chapter there are some questions for reflection as you are walking through your own grief journey.

This is a book I want to read again on this side of Isaac's birth and death, particularly as I am still figuring out what you do when God doesn't provide the ram in the thicket... when he doesn't show up the way you had hoped and so earnestly prayed for Him to. He doesn't change; we know this... but it is something to work out nonetheless. I really can't say enough about it. I just love it. It is great for the grieving person; and my mom would tell you, as one who has also read it, that it is great for the person wanting to love and support the one in intense grief. And as my mom's daughter, I am glad she read it and thought to make me a big bag of sunshine containing all things yellow (which will make sense when you read the book).

Carol has written several other books, including one called A New Kind of Normal: Hope-Filled Choices When Life Turns Upside Down. It's on my list of books I still need to pick up and read.

A Grief Observed
This book, written by C.S. Lewis is awesome. This book recounts Lewis's heart-wrenching grief as he walks the journey of his wife's death due to cancer. One of the most profound statements in his book is this: "You never really know how much you believe anything until its truth of falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you." Wow. I had to put the book down that day and really spend some time thinking about what those truths were for me. It really got me wrestling with the issue of what happens to babies when the die? Of course, I would like to think that in God's goodness and graciousness that they are in heaven, but what does scripture say is true about this? That's a life and death issue... on an eternal scale. Thankfully, through meeting with our pastor, searching the scriptures, and reading some other books (to be mentioned in a minute) those questions were answered. And, I picked the book back up and finished it. Loved this one. Though not specific to infant loss, Lewis's grief is so deep, so pure, and so authentic... and I just felt a little less alone when reading it.

I'll Hold You In Heaven
Written by Jack Hayford, I'll Hold You In Heaven addresses and answers questions such as: What happened to my baby after he/she died? Will I ever see my baby again-and will I recognize him? Does God have a reason for letting my child die? Specific to miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss, this book addresses many of the lingering questions in the wake of a child's death, and provides biblical answers and hope. A fairly short read, and really gets to those questions about God that so many of us ask. And yes, as Hayford states in his book and backs up with scripture, you can be assured that the child you lost through miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death is in fact in heaven.

Safe in the Arms of God
John MacArthur is a well-respected Christian writer, and like Hayford's I'll Hold You in Heaven, this book also addresses many of the questions parents ask in the wake of their child's death. He tackles the issue of infant loss with detailed attention to Scriptures that hold the answers. He assures the reader that no death occurs apart from the purposes of God, just as no life occurs apart from the purposes of God. Just as Jack Hayford assured us, so too does John MacArthur assure us based on biblical truths that a child lost through miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death is in the presences of our Creator... safe in the arms of God Himself.

Grieving the Child I Never Knew
Kathe Wunnenberg has carefully penned this devotional in such an authentic way, as she herself has experienced three miscarriages and the death of her infant son. Also taking a biblical approach to the issues of miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death, this devotional is organized by topics that are central to these issues. Each devotion includes scripture passage and prayer, "Steps Toward Healing" questions, space for journaling, and readings for holidays and special occasions. This is a book you can work through all at once, or just a little at a time. I really liked it's sort of interactive style.

Holding On to Hope
Written by Nancy Gutherie, this book offers hope for those walking the path of suffering. Though not specific to infant loss, Nancy herself has carried two babies to term, knowing that because of their fatal condition called Zellweger Syndrome, their time on this earth would be short. Her experience with infant loss is intricately woven into this book. Gutherie offers her readers a fresh breath of hope as she guides them through their own grief journey and all of the feelings and emotions that encompasses, all the while revealing the very heart of God through her use of scripture. This book is great for anyone who has experienced a monumental loss, or who is walking alongside someone who has.

The One Year Book of Hope
Also penned by Nancy Gutherie, this is more of a devotion-style book of similar content. There is one year's worth of devotions strategically organized for the person finding themselves on the road of grief. The product description from said it best: Processing pain, she explains, is an ongoing daily endeavor, so she created 52 weeks' worth of daily devotions, organized around themes like brokenheartedness, faith, and questioning God. Guthrie never runs from hard questions, from the section on heaven (what are our loved ones doing up there? What will our bodies be like?) to a week on finding purpose in pain. (Here, Guthrie discusses how she has used her own experiences to minister to hurting people, and encourages others to do the same as they feel ready.) Where other devotionals offer tiny and undemanding snippets from Scripture, Guthrie's approach is meatier, and we see her genuinely wrestling with some of the more difficult passages of the Bible. Throughout, Guthrie's soul-searching honesty and personal anecdotes make her a perfect companion in times of deep sorrow.

Empty Cradle, Broken Heart
Written by Deborah Davis, this book is pretty much the go-to book for those who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. Though not written from a Christian perspective, this book deals with some of the more practical aspects of these issues, such as the death of one or more babies from a multiple birth, the questioning of aggressive medical intervention, and subsequent pregnancy after a loss. There is also a special chapter for fathers. This is the first book I read when I came home from the hospital, and it really met me right where I was in the shock of it all. I haven't read the chapters on subsequent pregnancy because I am just not there yet, so I can't say much about that part of the book. But, I do plan to pick it back up and read that section once I am in that place. This book is great for the person experiencing the loss of a child, but is, in my opinion, also a great resource for doctors, nurses, and family and friends as well.

After the Darkest Hour The Sun Will Shine Again
Not specific to infant loss, this book deals with the loss of a child at any age. Written by Elizabeth Mehren, this book addresses many of the feelings and the journey of grief that a person encounters when their child dies. At the end of each chapter is an excerpt about other families who have experienced the loss of a child... some who are famous (such as Eric Clapton) and some who aren't as well known. One of the lines that grabbed my attention in this book was this: "The death of a child stands the world on its head..." It is so true. The death of your child feels so backwards from the way life "should" go... so against the "natural" order of things. Yet we know that nothing is beyond the realm of God's sovereignty.

I have just started reading Where Is God When It Hurts? by Philip Yancey. I am only a chapter in, so can't really comment too much on it yet. I will be sure to give a full review when I am through.

So... that's a lot of reading. If you were to ask me, I don't even think I could answer the question, "Well, which one or two should I pick up first?" I don't know. Everyone walks their journey of grief differently. Perhaps you're one who wants a book very specific to infant loss. If that's the case, then I would say that I'll Hold You in Heaven and Safe in the Arms of God are good places to start. Perhaps you want to really connect with someone on the issue of grieving... then When I Lay My Isaac Down is a great one.

Please know that no one has asked me to endorse these books at all... I just hope that by passing them along it is somehow helpful. The title of each book has been linked to so that if you wish to order yourself a copy, you can. Many of them aren't shelved in bookstores.

Thank you for continuing to read, continuing to pray, continuing to ask us how we're doing, continuing to mention Isaac's name... we are so thankful for you, our stretcher bearers. (Again, another When I Lay My Isaac Down reference... seriously... you need to read this book!)

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I have heard from a number of moms in the "I've lost a child club" that they sometimes dream about the child that they've lost. Until last night, I hadn't experienced that. I had dreams about the day I would deliver Isaac while I was still pregnant, but since October 7th, I hadn't dreamed about him... until last night.

You know how dreams are... sort of scattered. You're in one place, then suddenly you're in another. My dream started in the hospital delivering Isaac. Like it was predicted, he was born not breathing. But then, he did... almost like when someone has been under water for a while and they come up for a breath. In my dream, I just remember being so... shocked. And so, so thankful.

Then, we were suddenly at home. I remember waking up (in my dream) wondering, "Which is it? Is he here, or is he not?" And to my surprise, I could hear him crying across the hall in the nursery. I remember going in, picking him up, and rocking him as he fell back asleep.

Somehow, it was then about a year later in my dream because Isaac was walking... you know, that cute "I could topple over at any minute because I am unstable and haven't quite figured out how my legs work yet" walk. And he had the biggest grin on his face and was laughing. How appropriate. After all, "Isaac" does mean "he laughs."

The thing that's hard about having such a good dream is that you wake up... you wake up and find that your reality isn't what just unfolded during your good night's slumber. And sure, there are all kinds of studies about what dreams do, or don't, mean. All that aside, I think it just caught me off guard.

I suppose the bottom line is still just that I miss my son terribly. And although that dream may have been a glimpse of the joy that could be ahead should we be fortunate enough at some point to have a healthy child, it still won't be the joy that we'll ever be able to experience with Isaac on this side of Heaven. Thank goodness for the hope we can have in eternity... that the brokenness of this world isn't the end.

Monday, January 19, 2009


This morning I met with both my general practitioner for a physical, and the genetic counselor at the maternal fetal medicine group Spencer and I went to throughout my pregnancy. Neither were overly eventful... just a regular physical with my doctor, and then basically hearing again what we had already been told about Isaac's condition. It wasn't genetic (which we already knew from the CVS test I had done when I was 15 weeks pregnant), that an omphalocele is multi-factorial (meaning, "they" believe that there are several small little factors that contributed to the omphalocele... though what those factors are aren't known), that Isaac's case was sporadic, etc.

We were told that 1/300 babies is born with a birth defect of varying degrees of severity (though the literature on a giant omphalocele, Isaac's condition, said 1/10,000 live births), and that the recurrence risk is extremely low. Essentially, we were again told that we have just had "really, really bad luck" and that there's no reason to believe that it will happen again. I am hoping that we've been through our share of "bad luck" already as far as pregnancy is concerned... or as far as anything is concerned for that matter :) So no new information, but I do think it was good to talk about it now that my head is a little more clear.

In terms of other updates, both my neighbor and my close friend delivered healthy baby boys this weekend. Our neighbor delivered baby Grant on Friday, and my close friend delivered baby Charlie on Sunday.

I would also like to ask you to pray for my friend Lauren and her baby Norrah. Lauren and I "met" (through our blogs) early on in my pregnancy with Isaac. She has so faithfully prayed for us, had a gorgeous quilt made for Isaac, sent me a cute t-shirt (which I am wearing in my 26-week pregnancy picture), and has just been such a supportive friend, even though we have never met in real life. With her permission, I have copied a portion of an e-mail I received from her below:

Norrah and I went to see the Pediatric Neurologist today after 2 months of her having seizure-like episodes many times a day along with her delayed physical development. The neurologist already ran a few tests on Norrah that all came back normal (EEG, 24 hour EEG and MRI). He also had 6 home videos of her "seizures" that we had taken over the past few weeks which he reviewed. The videos coupled with her normal test results, and her physical exam/medical history have led him to 3 possible diagnosis. 2 are not so bad... and one is a death sentence in human terms.

1. Benign Myoclonus of Infancy - just a twitchy baby, no underlying issues

2. Benign Myoclonic Epilepsy of Infancy - not totally benign as the name would suggest but a form of epilepsy in infancy that goes away during the toddler years. Requires anti-convulsant drugs for treatment of seizures so that it gives the baby the best opportunity to grow and develop despite the brain "misfiring."

3. Tay-Sachs Disease - this is the scary one... a neuro-degenerative disease, genetic in origin, the baby does not possess the right enzymes within the body to break down certain proteins/fats and they end up basically dying a slow death (by age 4/5) - going blind, deaf and paralyzed. Starts around 3-6 months with twitches and slowed development and progresses. Currently there is no cure to this genetic disease.

We could really use your prayers at this time. First and foremost please pray that Our God would completely heal Norrah of these twitches/seizures and get her development on track. Please also pray that she would not have Tay Sachs disease. This disease has been in the back of my mind all of my child-bearing life (as it is a disease of primarily Jewish origin and I am 1/4 Jewish... as is Ken...). I have know about the disease but did not consider - realistically - that it could affect our children. Now, that this has become a real consideration for the doctors it is back on my radar and it is brewing fear... so please also pray that I would have peace and calm in God's promises that he has spoken over Norrah and her life.

On a positive note, the doctor - after examining Norrah in person - said he felt optimistic that we would be ruling Tay Sach's out soon. She will have an eye exam Tuesday that will help to reveal whether or not she has the disease. Babies with Tay Sachs have red spots on their retinas that can be seen during a dilated eye exam. If she does not have the spots then the doctor said that we have essentially ruled out the disease... since her physical exam went very well today.

Please pray that the doctors can figure out what is causing the seizure-like episodes and accurately diagnose the problem. Please also pray that it isn't Tay-Sachs.

And lastly, we really could continue to use your prayers for peace and for joy. Spencer is under a tremendous amount of stress with work, coaching, the mentor club he runs, and with two grad classes. It's very hard for me to see someone I love having such a difficult time. And we both are just missing our sweet Isaac a ton. Thanks for lifting us, as well as these other requests, up in prayer and for continuing to walk with us through this journey. We are so grateful...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Broken, Not Foresaken

So Spencer and I are going to the Chris Tomlin concert next Saturday in Baltimore. I am familiar with a lot of his older songs, and just recently have started listening to his "Hello Love" CD. I figured that would be a good idea since it is, after all, the Hello Love tour.

I am guessing you know by now that I have a thing for words, song lyrics included. I was listening to the Hello Love CD on my way to work this morning and for the first time heard the song "You Lifted Me Out." Honestly, my mind was in other places, like trying to remember all of the ingredients for this great baked brie dish that I wanted to make for small group tonight, and the music was just sort of droning on in the background... until I hear this:

Lost is where you found me
Shattered and frail
But You love me still
Trouble may surround me
My heart may fail
But You never will
You never will

Okay. Rewind.

As I listened again, I was just so struck; as you can imagine, it was another one of those moments where something just speaks deeply to your heart. It's just so how I feel right now... and the promise that God will find us in the midst of our brokenness, and that He will never fail... what a promise. What hope.

The Psalms are full of promises like this...

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
~ Psalm 34:18

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
~ Psalm 147:3

God meets us in our brokenness; and slowly, He is showing me that even though our prayers for a miracle for Isaac weren't answered in the way we had hoped, He still meets us. He loves us. He carries us. He will never fail.

I recently stumbled across the blog of Molly Piper, daughter-in-law of the highly-esteemed author, John Piper. You may know him for having penned Desiring God. Molly and Abraham lost their daughter, Felicity, in 2007. She was stillborn at 39 weeks due to what they believe was a cord accident. In his blog (found here), John Piper writes this:

This seems so preventable. By God and by man. Yes. So easy. But neither man nor God prevented this. Man, because he did not know it was happening. God, because he has his wise and loving reasons that we wait to learn with tears and trust.

Though I don't believe, at least according to the numerous reports we have received from doctors, that Isaac's condition was preventable by man, I do believe that it was preventable by God, because He is sovereign. And like Piper said, we know that God is wise and loving. He won't fail. And so we do wait to learn those reasons... the answers to all the "why" questions.. through many, many tears, and with trust.

As I continue on the journey of grief and in dealing with some anger with God, I am learning a whole new level of what it means to trust Him. I am learning that in the past I have been such a Thomas... needing to see to really believe. Seeing God working... and then I will trust Him. Now, I am learning that deep, true trust means what Jeremy Camp has written in one of his songs, "Even when I don't see, I still believe." Believing that God is who He says He is, regardless of my circumstances.

Oh, the growing pains with this lesson. The countless times I have surrendered my need to know over to God, only to snatch it right back. It is nothing other then my frailty and brokenness over my son that causes me to do that. But God is ever-patient, never-failing... his love and grace unconditionally meeting me right where I am.

So this post is a bit all over the place, but I felt compelled to share what has been on my mind and in my heart. First, so that you can continue to pray for us. And secondly, as an encouragement to other hurting moms out there whose sweet children have left this Earth far too soon... whose hearts are breaking and arms are aching. God will not fail you, even though it may feel like He has. He will meet you in your brokenness...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Few Prayer Requests

This morning there are a few things for which I would like to ask you to join me in prayer.

The first is for a friend of mine who I met at the infant loss support group I attend at the hospital where I delivered Isaac. On Saturday, she and her husband will be reaching the one year mark of her sweet son, Will's, birth... and a few days later, will reach the one year mark of his death. I know that this is an exceptionally difficult time for them, so I would ask that you would please pray for them during this time.

During the Christmas season, I attended a party with the folks from the school where I previously taught. There is a teacher there who, about twenty years ago, list a baby. I appreciated so much that she asked how I was doing, and then proceeded to tell me, with tears in her eyes, that even twenty years later, it is still hard to talk about her son without crying. I can only imagine, then, what this one-year mark is like for my friend from the support group.

The second is for Spencer. He just has a ton on his plate right now with coaching basketball, running the mentor club at his school, taking three graduate classes this spring, and then of course, his "real" job. That is a busy schedule for anyone to handle, but I think it is exceptionally more wearing on someone who is navigating a journey of intense grief.

Third, two friends of ours are expecting baby boys any day now. One, in fact, is due today; the other is actually a few days overdue. Please pray for healthy deliveries for each of these baby boys.

Lastly, please continue to pray for Spencer and I as we navigate this grief journey. It's a hard and crazy road, and the quick and drastic change of emotions can be really exhausting. Earlier this week I just found myself so agitated over silly things and feeling extremely restless. I looked at my planner and realized, "It's Tuesday." Isaac was born on a Tuesday, and Tuesdays just seem to be like that. I also know that the birth of the above mentioned baby boys is going to be a hard thing emotionally for us... seeing healthy little baby boys who would be just a few weeks younger than our sweet Isaac, and having a constant reminder of what Isaac would also be doing if he were here is going to be really difficult I think. Please pray for protection for our hearts with this... that we would be guarded against anything that would drive a wedge between us and God, and between us and our friends. And most of all, that God would continue to just hold us tight, grant us his peace, and restore our joy and our hope as we still just miss Isaac so much.

Thank you for continuing to support us and uplift us, as well as the other folks mentioned here who could use your prayers. We appreciate it so, so much.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Never Let Go

This song, "Never Let Go" by the David Crowder Band, seems to be popping up everywhere lately, and it has touched my heart in a new way.

When clouds veil sun
And disaster comes
Oh, my soul
Oh, my soul

When waters rise
And hope takes flight

Oh, my soul
Oh, my soul
Oh, my soul

Ever faithful
Ever true
You I know
You never let go

You never let go
You never let go
You never let go (repeat)

When clouds brought rain
And disaster came
Oh, my soul
Oh, my soul

When waters rose
And hope had flown
Oh, my soul
Oh, my soul
Oh, my soul

Ever faithful
Ever true
You I know
You never let go

You never let go
You never let go
You never let go (repeat)

Oh, my soul
Oh, what love, oh, what love
Oh, my soul
Fills with hope
Perfect love that never lets go

You never let go
You never let go
You never let go (repeat)

Oh, what love, oh, what love
Oh, what love, oh, what love (repeat)

In joy and pain
In sun and rain
You're the same
Oh, You never let go (repeat)

When this song first started showing up all around me, I thought about how it so deeply spoke to the tension that is my life right now... the conflict of living in both grief and hope, and the inevitable roller coaster of emotions that yields. The deep, soul-crushing grief that envelopes you when you lose a child, yet the hope that this isn't the end... that the grave doesn't get the final say; but instead, that I will be reunited with Isaac one day and until that time, he his safe and secure in the arms of our Father.

I then started thinking about the whole concept of the refrain of the song... "You never let go." Though I would have never chosen these circumstances and the fact that God has allowed them is still a really hard thing to swallow, His provision in the midst of them is so evident to me. He has surrounded us with so many people who have not let us go... and neither has He.

Our family... who calls us, e-mails us... who isn't afraid to speak Isaac's name. A few weeks ago, my sister called, and in a teary conversation, was telling me how much she missed Isaac... and how she could only imagine how much more I missed him as his mom. My mother-in-law who has a framed picture of Isaac on her shelf right next to her two other grandsons. I could go on... they have supported us in every way they know how, and then some.

Our small group friends... who have prayed fervently for us and who haven't been afraid to meet us in our pain. In a culture where people often seem to be extremely uncomfortable with grief, they have mourned with us, helped to carry our burdens (even the most practical ones like cleaning our house), and have given us the space to be sad, confused and angry. They have vistied Isaac's grace and brought flowers on the 7th of the month. They have asked us the hard and real questions and by doing so, have invited us to walk this journey authentically.

Our other friends, some of whom we don't see as often... who have written, sent cards, have offered to get together, and who continue to check in with us even though for some people, this all might be "old news."

And even complete strangers... or at least people I have never met in real life...people who read this blog and e-mail me to tell me that your heart, too, is breaking for us... and that you are praying.

It is so clear to me that God is meeting us right where we are, be it at the foot of the mountain we still know we need to climb, or back down in the bottom of the valley of despair where I often find myself landing. He is using His people and His word to hold us and to not let us go... even when clouds veil sun and disaster comes...or when waters rise and hope takes flight. He has given us so many people who live out Romans 12:15 in our lives... "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." He has so faithully surrounded us fith family and friends who are there... in joy and pain, sun and rain. He never lets us go, even when our grip isn't too strong.

And lastly, I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I do know to be certain. Obviously, losing a child turns the world on its head, and causes you to consider that fact that certain things in life that you thought were a "given" suddenly are not. In fact, I am learning that not many things are... but two things that I know are true, are that God is ever faithful, and ever true. He doesn't change, even when our circumstances are unthinkable. And He is ever faithful. He certainly didn't answer our prayer for a miracle in the way in which we had hoped, earnestly prayed, and longed for; but in light of eternity, He is faithful. Issac is healed and whole... and we will get to see him again one day in Heaven.

Until then, we never let go... never let go of the memories we have of Isaac from the day he was born... of his soft fuzzy hair, the way he smelled, or he soft, sweet face... or, the love we have for Isaac that is uniquely his. Even though time marches on (which is a really difficult thing, and a whole other topic for a whole other day), it just isn't possible to let go... You just can't. He'll always be our son.

Oh my soul, overflows, oh what love, you never let go...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Three Months

Today marks three months since Isaac was born.

Here in Maryland, it is a dreary 33-degree day. The branches of the trees are coated in ice, the sky is dark and heavy, and the rains are pouring down. In some ways, it seems fitting... as if the weather is somehow a visual of me today... a heavy heart and tears that just want to pour out.

I miss my son so much. Spencer and I were talking last night about how sometimes all of this just doesn't even seem real and we find ourselves asking the question, "Did this really happen?" Our too-quiet house, among other things, is evidence that it did. And three months later, it still really, really hurts... like a "deep in my soul" sort of hurt.

I have yet to be at work on an "anniversary" day of Isaac's... and if my morning is any indication of the rest of the day, I am anticipating that it will be quite hard. Really, I would just rather be home... home to be able to sit and look at pictures, to watch the slideshow that our photographer made for us, and from 8:33 until 8:49 just sit and remember back to that day.... what it was like to see Isaac for the first time, how he smelled, kissing his sweet little nose, feeling his soft fuzzy hair...

Please pray for us today, that God would meet us in the midst of our sorrow and wrap us in His peace...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Jamaica Recap

I have a lot I have been thinking about that I want to share on here, but don't want to post too much too soon, because I really want each post to be seen. But, I know that some of you may be awaiting a Jamaica recap and photos, so I thought I would start there.

Overall, we had a nice time. New Year's was really, really hard, as I said in an earlier post. But it was nice to be out in the sunshine, to spend some good time with Spencer, as well as my mom and stepdad (Jim), and to try to relax a little. I think the relaxation part may have been better than I realized when we were there, because these past two days at work I can barely keep my eyes open!

So, here you go... a Jamaica recap in pictures...

The bumper sticker on the bus that transferred us from the airport to our hotel. I loved it! There are a LOT of churches in Jamaica.

A view from our resort during the day

Our resort at night

The beach chess game we spent a lot of time playing. I must have played a dozen times, and only won three times...

Spence and I in the lobby waiting for our dinner reservation the second night there

Spencer on New Year's Eve

All of us at New Year's Eve dinner

Spence and I at dinner at the resort's Japanese-style restaurant

My mom and Jim at dinner, same restaurant

Spence looking happy...

Spence and I by the pool, with the Caribbean in the background

My mom and I by the pool, same shot

Spence and I on the beach with our resort in the background

The resort was great, the workers were really friendly, and it was nice to spend some time away. But I still missed Isaac a ton. Seeing other families there with toddlers running around, and with babies a few months old in their strollers was hard... those are things I would have loved to have done with Isaac, but won't have the chance too. It's all just very bittersweet I guess... a definite blessing that we were able to get away, but still another reminder that we could go away because Isaac isn't here. There's just been this tug-of-war on my heart lately... time and circumstances seeming to pull me forward, and then me not necessarily wanting to because it somehow feels further away from Isaac. God has been gracious, though, that He has allowed those moments of peace and the ability to look a little further down the road and begin, even if just a little, to hope again.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Another Generous Offer

I was contacted by Tammy a few weeks ago with another generous offer to host a fundraiser to continue to raise money for Isaac's playground. I am so humbled by the generosity of so many people offering to do this for us.

Tammy works for a company called Thirty-One. I had never heard of it before, but let me tell you... they have the cutest things!! It's a Christian-based company that sells all kinds of bags and other personalized items (think sort of Vera Bradley-ish, but a little different) through home and on-line shows. Anyhow, I printed their catalog and am quite impressed! Looks like I know where I'll be spending a little bit of my Christmas money!

Anyhow, the fundraiser will run from today through the end of January. Tammy will donate 25% of her sales in January to support Isaac's playground. You do not need to mention Isaac or this blog when you order.

To order, go here to view the catalog and, if you wish, place an order!

Thank you, Tammy, for your generosity and support. And thank you, blog friends, for continuing to support us in more ways than we could have imagined...

PS- A Jamaica re-cap complete with pictures will be up in a few days.