Sunday, December 6, 2009
thanksgiving went well...over at mom and dad's in allendale then onto my brother's family's house that night. i'm so glad that they don't mind talking about seth. i've always loved talking about him. i do realize though how awkward some people feel....maybe that's what a part of starlight ministries is suppose to do - educate people about what grieving children and families need. one of those needs is to talk about the loved one who died....say their name.....bring them up in conversations.....tell us the memories they have of them....help us to keep them alive. i'm not sure....it's just another one of my thoughts.
last week we had our first prayer walk for starlight. what a night! i was incredibly nervous/excited about the night....and it was all i could have dreamt for.
we had 3 groups of people praying in each of the rooms that we'll be using at church. praying for the children, their families, the facilitators, the volunteers, greg and i....it was amazing to see this ministry be 'baptized' as greg put it. i'm so anxious to start in january! i can't even imagine the emotions that will be going through me that first night....all i know is that i want it everything that God wants it to be....that's my biggest prayer.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
i can't believe it's been 2 years already....it seems like last month. so many flashbacks....so many painful yet precious memories. family and friends coming together to support greg and i....to bring love around us. so many difficult decisions made...and yet God was everywhere. some have asked us in these last 2 years - where was God? i'm so glad to say - EVERYWHERE! He not only knew what was going to happen that day...but he was living that day with us...crying with us...He was EVERYWHERE.
the 3rd was harder for me...i had forgotten that last year it was the same. i think that the 3rd will probably turn into my deep grieving day - a day of 'what ifs'...a day of 'i wish'....a day of 'i miss'. the 3rd is turning into the day where my heart wound is scratched wide open and the bloody pain flows deeply. it's a day when i relive nov. 3, 2007. i hate flashbacks....i hate those terrible, horrible memories. but it is just one day...one day that i miss our son deeper than any other. i went with my dear, dear friend - charissa - to the cemetary. we sat next to seth's grave for nearly 2 hours...remembering, crying, laughing, wishing...it was such a precious time. it's times like those where you see God's faithfulness once again - this time through a friend.
the 4th, oddly enough...is turning into a celebrating day. i don't mean that to sound wrong, it's just....that's what it felt like - a day of celebrating that our seffers is in Heaven with his Heavenly Father and enjoying his life now. it's a day when i can honestly say brings me joy. to know that our #1 job as parents is met...to know that we had helped our child to Christ...pure joy. i can imagine him so very clearly in Heaven. Heaven is so very real to me now. we started the day by speaking to 700+ students at Unity Christian High School's chapel service. because of how seth died - in the midst of the unity community - we really wanted those students to know that no matter what circumstance God leads you to....He is going to lead you through. i kept hearing God tell me....'tell them to look for me...look for me in their troubles and trials because I am everywhere'....i hope that we were able to convey what God needed them to hear.
from there greg and i went out for breakfast and then visited the cemetary. still is a haunting and yet utterly beautiful place. to know that someday we will be raised from that very spot next to seth is just indescribable....His faithfulness once again. we picked the kids up from school and took them to the cemetary in which we watched them have fun running around and chasing the little ones. 'should we be having this much fun' one asked? 'oh yes, honey....seth is having fun-why shouldn't we?' 'this year is better than last year....last year everyone was so down' that's how i want it for them - to be joyful when thinking about where seth is at right now.
we then went home and had brupper (breakfast at supper) - one of seth's favorite meals - including a whole platter of sausages! the kids even milked it out of us to have coffee since 'seth loved coffee, mom!' after supper we put the little ones to bed and then greg and i and the 5 older kids sat in the living room and opened seth's trunk and went through it. it was one of those times when as a mom you look around the room and you try to memorize it because it is so very special. 'look what seth wrote in his journal!' 'i can't believe that tanner wrote that!' tears...laughter....quiet....smiles....peace. such peace. we went through his entire trunk and then had a ginormous mess to pick up - but it was ok...bring on the mess.
so the week is done...and i hope like 2 years ago....that God was glorified in what we did to remember our little seffers....to God be all the glory....amen and amen.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
i was singing to ben before putting him to bed. i was doing fine....until i started singing 'Jesus loves me'...oh did the memories come flooding back. this time me singing to a boy in a bed....with tubes coming out his nose...and him not singing back. tonight ben started singing with me....oh how i wish that seth would have just sat up in that bed and started singing with me...all i have now is the memory of me singing to myself...to a child who was already gone. oh how i ache for the day to be with him and hearing him sing back to me....come back Lord....please come soon....heal my broken heart.....but until then as i always say at the end of every one of my prayers now 'give seth a hug for us and tell him we love him'....until we can tell him ourselves again someday.
Friday, October 30, 2009
this place would be a bright spot in their dark times of grief and sadness.
last night my dream really started to come true. last night a group of 13 women were around 3 tables on the beginning of a journey that God had started sometimes years and years before. i was in awe when i was looking at these women...these selfless women who felt God calling them to 'let their lights shine like the heavens'. i just had to look at them. i can't explain it. it sounds absolutely absurd. but i just had to look at them and see how God had brought us all together. i stood in awe of God's work and that He is allowing me to be a part of it. i stand in awe of how he had taken 13 women from various backgrounds, various cities, various lives....but brought us together for one purpose alone. the purpose to bring honor and glory to God by helping the littlest ones of His. i just couldn't believe that i was sitting in this room watching my dream become a reality. it was so incredibly surreal. i can't explain it.
when God calls you to do something and you allow Him to work through you, it's one powerful moment. one that brings you closer to your Heavenly Father than never before. i pray that He still wants to use me in this way. i pray that starlight will NEVER be about greg and i or the facilitators or the volunteers or the board...i pray that starlight will ALWAYS be about bringing hope to children and teens. God's hope. i pray that we ALL will be 'shining like the stars in heaven'.
i have a dream......and i praise God that He's making my dream come true.
Monday, October 26, 2009
i just pray that they will not become hard-hearted because of seth's death.
we were in meijer's last week and one of the kids saw a little boy that reminded them of seth. they said it was nice seeing him. they admitted that when they hear seth's name that it's a happy/sad. happy that someone is remembering them, sad becuz he's not here. 'i want them to talk about him, but they're afraid to talk about him'. soooo normal. the kids at school are hurting too. they don't want them to hurt more. i guess the lesson is...talk about your loved ones that have died. bring them up in conversations. tell your memories of your loved one to others....help us keep him alive in our hearts.
during family meeting last night one of the kid's prayer request for the week was: 'be with us as seth's heaven birthday is coming up'. it's happening....another wave. to see our kids going through it so differently this year is so difficult. it's harder in some ways. the first year we expected the pain to come...this year it hit us without notice. it's not like i didn't think we'd hurt or not go through it, but it's so different this year and i don't know why.
some of the kids talk about him....some don't say a word about him. please pray for our kids. pray that they will get through this time in their lives and look back on it and see so many of the gifts God has granted us. pray that they don't become hard-hearted toward God. pray that they're going to be 'ok'. i just wish these next 2 weeks would be done....over.....finished. but i know that God has something that He wants to teach us in the midst of this. He is so faithful...i have to rely and remember that. we goes NOWHERE without Him....for He never leaves us. no matter what situations He asks us to go through...He never leaves us. He's not only walking us through difficult times....He CARRIES us through them. i do know that. i find comfort in that. i pray that the kids find comfort in that too.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
it's back.....that heaviness. not nearly as bad as last spring...but it's there. i can tell seth's 2nd Heaven birthday is coming up. i'm crying more. i see seth everywhere. just this morning i dropped luke off at school and watched him run in.....he ran EXACTLY the way i remember seth running. it surprises me that i'm feeling this all again. i don't know why it would surprise me. i expected it last year....it took me by surprise this year. my counselor said that it was a good thing that i gave up coffeebreak (my Bible study) and a few other commitments....it allows me more time to do my grief work. i don't want to do it.....i don't want that pain.....i don't want those memories. and yet they are constantly with me. lisa, my counselor, said that this pain IS always there and that i may have been 'damming' it all up and not allowing little bits of it through. she explained it that i may have been not letting just a little grief in at a time.....managable bits.....but have been 'storing' it all up and now it's come flooding out again. that made alot of sense to me. she encouraged me to allow just a little bit out each day and then i'd be able to handle a little at a time. her favorite question each session is 'what are you going to do for jolynn this time?'. i think that the next few weeks i'm going to start looking through the things that we've put in seth's trunk. i'm a little surprised that we haven't gone through it as a family more than we have....we really never go through it. it's just sitting there in the living room - great footstool - but that's about it. i think it may be time for me to allow those little bits of grief through and start going through his trunk......i think that's what i'm going to do for me this time.
goodbyes are so difficult....and yet they also mean a new chapter.....a new journey.......a new calling perhaps. goodbyes allow me to see where God wants me to go from here. that's my challenge now.....see what God wants me to do from here. i know that starlight is a major piece of this new journey....and i am so very excited to see what God does with it. lisa asks me what do i do for me....starlight 'does it' for me. i LOVE working towards this goal that God has led Greg and i. i feel purpose.....i feel excited......i feel scared......and yet i feel exactly where God wants me to be.....and that is the only place i want to be. so saying goodbye to my wonderful Bible study this morning was one of the harder things i've done recently.....and yet i believe that God has exciting plans in store for me......and i can't wait to truly dedicate my time and energy to where He leads.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
i'm having so many flashbacks lately. i can tell his Heaven birthday is coming up.....and these feelings surprise me. i expected it last year....this year it's back. i didn't expect it to come back. why is that? it's not as if anything has changed in a sense.....seth is still gone, i'm still here with a huge hole in my heart. but then i think....there are MANY things that have changed. so much hope this year where i didn't feel last year. purpose again....that feels good.....to feel like i have purpose again. God has been working so greatly in our lives in this past year. how can i feel this way when He has been with me the entire way? it sounds like i'm being ungrateful....i hate that. sometimes i feel like a little kid who didn't get what they wanted for christmas and then sulks about it for days. what is up with that? i wish my faith were stronger so i wouldn't feel/sound so ungrateful. i guess i'm just a work in progress.
days like today.....i need to see the beauty in God's creation and see it as His faithfulness instead of seeing what i DON'T have. seth is SO much better off right now. i need to see the temporary separation for what it is......temporary. we will see him again. God is good....i can say that with complete confidence....even through this sorrow....He is good. He's proven that so many times in this past year. i need to cling onto that....to hold onto that....to realize that the same arms that are carrying me through today are the same ones that are carrying our boy.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
greg is still busy as ever at the office/hospital. this summer he was on the search committee for our church to find a new youth pastor. THAT was a busy committment!! so between work, committee work, and around the house projects he ......is my superman!
and myself. where ever do i begin? i've started seeing a counselor. wow....that's hard to admit. 'supermom' mentality and all. i guess it was just mom's turn to take care of herself. it has helped .........alot. to know that i'm NOT crazy.....priceless! she keeps asking me what i'm doing for myself to which i usually reply with the typical 'when another couple hours are added onto a day....THEN i'll do something for myself'. she doesn't usually like that answer so i had to start wondering what i COULD do for myself......and i realized - i like writing (blogging to be more specific). it helps getting all those thoughts that are tangled up in my head down onto a screen.......makes them look so much less overwhelming. so here i am.....trying to get back into it and trying not to think about ALL the other things i should be doing instead. this is good......this is good for me.....so here i sit and type.
i have had such amazing devotions lately. each time i think......i should get that on my blog. so i'll just share a recent one. this devotion was about not understanding God's ways. it reads:
perhaps there is something in your life causing you to question God. do you find yourself saying, "i d not understand why God allowed my loved one to be taken. i do not understand why affliction has been permitted to strike me. i do not understand why the Lord has led me down these twisting paths. i do not understand why my own plans, which seemed so good, have been so disappointing. i do not understnand why the blessings i so desperately need are so long in coming". Dear friend, you do not have to understand all God's ways of dealing with you. He does not expect you to understand them. you do not expect your children to understand everything you do - you simply want them to trust you. and someday you too will see the glory of God in the things you do not understand. J.H.M.
this makes so much sense to me.....the part about my kids not having to understand everything. how many times haven't i said to them 'because i said so'. i always HATED my mom saying that, but in light of this devotion - it just makes sense. i AM glad that God has allowed me to see Him everywhere. some people have asked us 'where do you think God went when seth died?" and i can honestly tell them...."no where....He never left". i am so thankful that we don't have a bitter heart, that we ARE able to see that God is working in our lives even in death, and that He is using us in so many different ways that were never possible if seth hadn't died. i'm so glad that i can honestly say 'thank you, God.....not for taking seth from us for a while, but for letting us see some positive things come from it.' i never thought i could get on this side of a loss this big and be able to say that...........ONLY by the grace of God.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
first day of school brings so many emotions in kids. i miss the fact that abby won't have seth with her as she starts her first day of middle school. i think it's affecting her more than she even realizes herself. she's so tired again lately....her cue that she's going through a grief burst. how could she not? thinking to herself i'm sure that 'i bet seth would be loving having his own locker too'. if you think about her, could you say a little prayer for her. i'm even dreading that first day of school somewhat. i would always get them on the bus and then follow them to school and watch them get off the bus. (my mom would laugh at me so much for that!!) i would take pictures of them next to their friends and leave them to start their day. last year was horrible. one less picture to take. i hope that this year is a little easier.....
Monday, August 24, 2009
we are planning on training our facilitators in november with a start date of january. the first 2 deliveries of seth bears have been done and we were given a list (from mike matthyse) of all the area funeral homes that are interested in participating in the seth bear project. is this really happening?!?!?!? at times it seems like just a dream! i just can't believe that it's all coming together.....it's unbelievable to watch God work it all together.....it's the most amazing feeling to be able to see God at work and then be a little part of His plan. praise God from whom ALL blessings flow!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
i had 13 amazing women come over to assemble our first batch of seth bears. kath made a beautiful cake with our logo on it!! what a great surprise! thank you so much kath....i LOVED it!
we needed to cut the tags, string the tags/stars, and tie them onto the seth bears. we also had some folding the family letter and stuffing envelopes. these will accompany the seth bear and is for the parents -explaining what the bear is about and telling them about SLM. it took only 45 minutes to get it all done! it was just unbelievable as i watched everyone helping us make our dream a reality. a HUGE shout out 'thank you' to all you who came! so the first set of bears are done and will be delivered sometime next week....is this all a dream?!?!?! all i can say is that God is such a BIG God. never in my wildest dreams would i have ever thought this could all happen - and it has...and i stand in awe.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
1st few days....NO SWEAT!....she 'just decided' on her own that she was going to do this. WOW! i thought I was GOOD! trained in just 3 days?!?!?! hand over that 'greatest mom on earth' award! (NOT!!!!) then i fell FAR from my throne....and screwed up potty training for the rest of this adventure.
lydie had the peeing part down....dry for hours.....dry for nap time....what a great girl! then it happened....the smallest, hardest, roundest little turd......right in her pants. OK, no problem, no fear...just a little speed bump. take her to the bathroom and clean it up. lydia is on the pot to finish her duty and i take her little 'deposit' from her pants and dump it in the toilet while she was on it. World War III broke out! she went THROUGH THE ROOF! i basically had to PEEL her off the ceiling! it took the next 25 minutes to calm her down. stupid move 'greatest mom' (NOT!!!)
fastforward 1 1/2 weeks....she refuses to go.....ANYTHING! she thinks that if she even has to pee that she will have to poop too! so she holds it.....and holds it....and literally HOLDS it in! usually we find her on the floor.....legs crossed and doing the little 'potty dance'. 'do you have to go potty, honey?' NO!!!!!
ok....i veto that answer every time and put her on the pot. so she still is doing the little 'potty dance' on the pot until she can't hold it any longer and then it comes....the flood of the hoover dam. (truth be told, i am a little concerned about UTI's coming down the road for her!)
as far as her doing number 2? well....how long CAN a 24# little girl NOT poop? it's just downright FUNNY watching her try to 'push that little poop back on in'!! so tonight it's time....i'm just going to MAKE her poop (1st wrong turn!) lydia on the toilet....me on the floor. me turning the light on and off and trying to have her say the words....lydia looking at me like 'WHAT are you trying to do to me here?!?!?'....me doing the 'this little piggy goes to market' rhyme (i'm trying to get her mind off that fact that she's on the toilet and then just let gravity take its course....yea right!)....lydia still doing her little dance and REFUSING to just let it fall!....me going back to my cheerleading years 'push it out! push it out! WAAAYYY out!!!! (ok....i'm getting desperate i KNOW!)...lydia at this point starting to pass the worse gas and yet refusing to let it go. i have nothing else....nothing....i'm outta tricks.....outta ideas.....a little girl miserable...i give...she wins....no forcing NOTHING out tonight....diaper on....child in bed....
i go and check on her in 2 hours and am met at the door with a WALL of aroma coming from her pants....this is the great adventure (NOT!)....tomorrow is a new day. :)
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
I HAVE A STORY
i have a story....not one i ever wanted.....but one i feel God wants me to tell. This part of my story begins 18 months ago....on a sunday afternoon....when we had to say good-bye to seth for the last time this side of Heaven. for those who don't know....on nov. 4, 2007 our 10 year old son died after he was hit by a car while crossing 44th street. he spent his last few hours with 2 of his brothers and our wonderful babysitter, keri. she had taken the 3 of them to her brother's soccer championship game. after the game they were going back to her car when the boys ran on ahead through the first road on 44th. keri called to him to stay in the median and wait for her. seth continued running through the first lane of the 2nd road and then paused in the middle of the road. after waiting for a split second he took off again....running faster than ever. it was at that point when the car hit him and he died the next day. everyone at the accident saw it that way....greg and i choose to believe it happened another. we believe with every ounce that seth didn't just decide to finish crossing that street. we KNOW that at that point is when he saw his Savior for the first time....face to face....calling him home. what parent could be more proud of a child....than to know that the last act on this earth was one of obedience....for when seth was called Home....he didn't walk......he ran......right into the arms of God.
since that day we have been comforted in so many different ways. many.....MANY..... of those ways were from all of you. the outpouring of love and support from our Ridgewood family was more than we could ever have dreamt. in so many ways we were comforted by you:
......the hundreds of cards,
.....the 6 months worth of meals brought to us,
.....the 2 months of school lunches made for our other kids so that i wouldn't be reminded every day i was making one less,
.....the friends that came alongside us during that week and kept the house going when we were living in a state of shock,
.....the hugs given - when there weren't any words to be said,
.....the pats on our backs or hankies given to us during a service when we were brought to tears once again.
each and every way we were comforted. for that we will be eternally grateful to you. we've said before that God has asked us to walk a very deep and dark valley.....but we were never asked to do it alone....for you all were right beside us comforting us along the way.
the week following seth's death is a blur to me, but there are some very vivid memories that God has gifted to me. one was on the day of seth's funeral, that night greg and i fell into bed and were finally able to talk over what had happened that day. at the end of that conversation i remember saying to greg that i felt as if God was working in my heart for some reaon...that He was stirring something. greg said that he felt the same way. we chucked it up to grief and just tried to press on. the following months we were still feeling that sense of working....a sense of calling. we knew that He was at work becuz it was the same feeling he gave to us just before asking us to adopt....we're NOT adopting again...at least not now! but we knew that He was preparing us for something else.
in the last 6 months, He has made His calling very clear. greg and i have begun the process of starting a non-profit ministry to comfort grieving children who have experienced a death of someone in their lives.
...we want to provide a safe, Christian place for children who are on their own grief road.
...we want to provide a place where they will feel comfortable expressing their grief.
...we want to provide a place where they will be with other children who are also grieving - to know that the feelings they are feeling are 'normal' for their situation.
...we want to provide a place to comfort these children in the same way we were comforted by all of you.
we are calling it starlight ministries....star in memory of our seth - for whenever i told him i love you to the moon he would always reply 'and to the stahs'. and light....for we tell our kids that we don't get why God had them lose their brother....but one day they will be lights to someone else.
part of this ministry includes a partnership with the area funeral homes. we will be supplying them with what we are calling 'seth bears'. our hope is that each child who is beginning their own grief road will be given one of these bears. it's a way to begin that healing by providing just a little comfort in form of a teddy bear. along with the seth bear will be a letter explaining what starlight ministries is about and inviting them to join. this if just one way that we feel God has called us to minister to these hurting and grieving children.
i wanted to tell you my story today for several reasons. the first was to publicly say thank you to all of you for being by our side and helping us to press on in the midst of our grief.
another reason is to let you know how God has been working in our lives in regards to starlight ministries and to invite you to become involved if you feel called. that may be helping jayne in the kitchen, maybe delivering our seth bears, or perhaps becoming a facilitator. we ask for your prayers....we are truly very much out of our comfort zone.....but right in the middle of His hands. the same hands that received our son 18 months ago is leading us still today.
finally i wanted to tell you my story so that i could say on this side of a loss that big.....to God ALONE be all the glory and honor and praise.
Friday, May 29, 2009
after the parade we told the kids that we were going to have SO MUCH FUN.....working outside finishing up with the stones! you can imagine the van full of moans and groans to which we replied (as any parent says in response to this reaction from their kids)......'come on guys, it's not gonna take long if we all pitch in together' ....followed by the ultimate bribe.........'AND if you do good and don't argue - we'll take you all out for ice cream!' that bribe used to work so much better when they were younger! so we moved stone......and more stone.......and more stone!!!!
the job was FINALLY finished!!!
...the kids made me proud...they had to clean seth's stone off! something is
Friday, May 22, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
i apologize for such a 'raw' posting.....it seems to help a little to get things down.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
this mom really has no problem strapping them down somehow....attempting to cut the first hair from their head. i always figure that i'm doing ok if I'M the one doing the first cutting rather than the child or one of their beloved siblings performing the tradition to their brother. so the day had arrived...........and i was prepared.
off we go.....first attempt. screaming bloody murder (from ben, not me!) and cowering away from the scissors. cooing and coaxing from mom, more screaming and cowering. ok, no problem...try another way. put on the always soothing, zone inducing, parent loving baby einstein video.
2nd attempt. first cut...no blood - progress made. able to make a few more snips before he figures out what's happening. no screaming...just MUCH cowering and now he trying to wipe away the pieces of hair from his face. hands just a flailing and .....shoot....screaming starts again. ok...getting just a little flustered, but the tradition must be finished - can't have him walking around with one side of his head heavier than the other!
3rd attempt. ok, getting a little desperate....give him cooking utensils that he's never been allowed to play with but always trying to get at. rules are going out the window quicker than the hair coming off his head!
few more clips...getting closer. almost there....bugger - utensils flying through the air, screaming reaching new decible levels, hands all over the face. mom is getting almost to the end of her tricks...but wait - one last resort. one that will work for any living, breathing male - the remote control!!!!
4th attempt. i'm getting quicker at my clipping and getting closer to the finish! almost done and ben wanting me to get out of his way so that he can see his tv work it's magic from the push of the buttons. 'get outta my way, woman!' i can almost hear him say. one last cut and.... we're .....DONE!!
so...i've just experienced my last first haircut with our children. he's still in the highchair with the remote in hand, hair all over the high chair, utensils on the floor, and MY hair still intact! SUCCESS!!!! :):):):):)