Friday, December 31, 2010

Please Pray

Over the past several weeks I have gotten together with another mom who has found herself in the position of being given a fatal prenatal diagnosis for her son. This mom's precious baby has been diagnosed with triploidy, a lethal genetic condition. She bravely chose to carry her son to term, and is scheduled to deliver him on Tuesday, January 4th, 2011.

I am grateful for the opportunity to be walking with this dear mom on this most unthinkable path; I am grateful that she would allow me into her place of pain; and I am trusting that God is using our experience with Isaac to bring some level of comfort to this family.

I am asking that you would please pray for this family... for this mom, her husband, their two young daughter, and their precious son who is about to be born. Would you please pray for comfort, for peace. Would you please pray for the staff who will be caring for them (which includes my friend, nurse Kathy, that helped deliver both Isaac and Eliana). Would you pray that their time with their son would be precious, and that somehow a lifetime of love would be squeezed into such a finite time? Would you pray for a restful night's sleep the night before for this mother and her husband? Would you pray for wisdom for them as they continue to try to explain this to their two young daughters? Would you pray for a miracle?

One of the things I love about having a blog is being able to write posts like this, and confidently knowing that others will be praying. If you desire to do so, feel free to leave your prayers in the comments below and I will forward them along to this sweet family.

Thank you for joining me in lifting them in prayer...

Monday, December 27, 2010


Christmas day was a bit hectic with lots of running around a family to visit. Our day started like it has the past three Christmases... with a trip to the cemetery. It's a strange thing to begin Christmas there. I am not sure that I will ever get used to that; yet at the same time, it wouldn't feel right to NOT be there. We made the Baltimore "circuit" after that, with stops at my Mom's, my Dad's, and my aunt's house with all of my extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins...) on my Dad's side of the family. We were supposed to head up to Manhattan for a few days to visit Spencer's family, but decided against driving right into a blizzard and inches upon inches of snow. Enjoy taking a look at Eliana's first Christmas!!

Eliana checking out her new chair!
My Pal Violet!

Reading her new butterfly book...

With Grandma and Grandpa Jim!

Reading with Grandpa Jim


Hangin' out with Dad by the fire...

Checkin' out Auntie Kate's new bag...

Reading with Pop-Pop!
All smiles :)
The obligatory (and fun!) annual cousin photo!

I pray that your Christmas was filled with unspeakable joy as you celebrated the birth of Jesus, the One whose presence was the greatest gift of all!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Big News!!

No, I am not pregnant. Just to put it out there :)

I am incredibly excited to share that Isaac's playground is going to be built very soon!!! The construction of our new church building was delayed due to some permit issues. However, those were resolved, and we moved into our new building this fall.

Over the past few weeks, a committee from church has been meeting to discuss Isaac's playground, select equipment, and decide on colors. The distributor we decided to go with was even having a sale on equipment that allowed us to order a structure larger than we had anticipated, which is awesome!

Below is a rendition of what the playground will look like. We are going to order a customized sign as well, and are hoping to add a few benches and maybe a couple of those springy ride-on creatures.

I know it goes without saying that I would much rather have Isaac here than have a playground built in his memory. But... we are so grateful for the generosity of so many people, including many of you readers, to be able to make the construction happen. We are grateful for the opportunity to give something back to our church, and to see it bring joy to so many children, including our precious Eliana, in the years to come. God's provision in this project has been abundant, and we are so thankful!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

So Small

This past week on the way to work, I had one of those moments. You know the ones. Maybe you've had one yourself. Those times when a perfectly timed tune renders you clown-faced because your freshly applied mascara is now smeared down your face thanks to the many tears you suddenly started to shed. This time, I have Carrie Underwood to thank.

A few years ago, I first heard her song "So Small" and used it for a lesson with my 6th grade English students at the time. I thought I had come up with this great, creative, high-interest lesson that my students would totally love. After all, who didn't love Carrie Underwood? Apparently the 6th grade boys. And my lesson flopped :)

I hadn't heard the song in quite a while. When I heard it this past week, the lyrics themselves would have been enough to trigger my response. However, this time, snippets from parents whose children were battling, or had lost their battle with, cancer were superimposed as the song was playing. I quickly realized that this radio station was holding a fundraiser for St. Jude's. So as I listened to this song, which was somewhat consoling to me after I miscarried our first baby at 13 weeks back in late 2007, I was flooded with emotions... emotions of that time as I remembered going in for an ultrasound and being told my baby no longer had a heartbeat; emotions of our time with Isaac as I listened to these parents talk about how they were praying and pleading for their child's life. And the flood gates opened.

You may not be familiar with the lyrics, and if that's the case, you can find them here. While so much of this song has to do problems that feel huge, our perseverance through them, and looking on the bright side. I will be the first to say that I truly know that some of life's struggles really are huge... that it's not necessarily just a matter of a perspective shift, but that it's a deep, deep struggle. A struggle of grief; a struggle of making sense of it all; a struggle of reconciling tragic circumstance with a God who is truly good, but yet still allowed it to happen.

What struck me differently this time was the refrain, which talks about how when you figure out that love is all that matters after all, it makes everything else seem so small. And while this was never intended to be a Christmas song, this sentiment sure reminded me of it.

Because you see, many of us, myself included, face so much stress around the holidays. Stresses of overcommitment; stresses of family gatherings and the good, bad, and ugly that can sometimes come along with that; stresses of maybe not being able to "afford Christmas" this year because of the economy, but yet not wanting to disappoint. And yet, what really matters most, particularly during this Christmas season, is love.

To borrow some of my own words from last year, "Over 2000 years ago, God began his redemptive plan for humanity... for your soul and for mine. On this night, Love came down... leaving His heavenly throne, and made his way humbly into our world as tiny baby in a manger whose name is walk among us sharing a story of hope and redemption, and to ultimately give up his own life for the sake of ours. "

That is love... and that is the spirit of Christmas. When we understand this, it really alters our perspective and helps the stresses of the holiday season to not occupy the space in our minds and our hearts that they don't deserve. This love makes everything else seem so small in comparison, when we truly remember what Christmas is all about.

It is my hope and prayer for your family that this time of year would be filled with great joy and a sense of wonder as you are reminded anew of God's redemptive plan not only for all of humanity, but specifically for your heart and for mine. That your time with our family and friends would be rich, but that your time with your Savior would be richer.

I need to wrap this up (no pun intended!), but I would love to hear what your favorite Christmas tradition is with your family... whether it is something from your childhood and growing up, or something that you started once you got married or had your own children. I love getting this peek into your lives, and hearing your ideas! I thought this would be a fun thing to share, and that perhaps many of us could find new ways to celebrate this Christmas!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Better late then never, as the old saying goes, right?

This year, we packed ourselves up and headed to Atlanta to visit Spencer's sister and her family. Spencer's dad, brother, and other sister flew from Manhattan and met us there as well. It was great to introduce Eliana to her aunt and uncle, as well as her cousins that she had never met. I was able to meet up with a few friends while we were there as well, one of whom I have known since she was a freshman in high school and I was her Young Life leader.

While the weather didn't fully cooperate for a lot of outdoor activities, we spent some time playing board games, going to the aquarium, and just being together. Admittedly, I was a little nervous about flying with a baby for the first time. All in all, Ellie did a great job... and even getting through security at the airport during one of the busiest travel weekends of the year proved to be pretty easy!

Enjoy a few highlights from our trip...