Thursday, February 26, 2009


there are certain things that i LOVE about being a mom. those times when the kids are sick (not that i want them to be sick!) and all they want is their mom to be by them. or when they all come home from school running to see who can get to the door first (i always think that they're just all trying to get to me 1st and tell me about their day - HA!!!:)) or when they say thank you for something without being coaxed. but there is no bigger privelege that i have being these children's mom than when i have the honor to pray for them. now mind you....i don't do it NEARLY as often as i should - i can always do better than what i do, but one of my favorite times to pray for them is when i check on them at night before i head off to bed. tonight was one of those nights and i needed to write it down before i forget....

greg is rounding this week and so he usually turns in earlier since he gets up earlier, but normally the sequence is that he checks on the boys downstairs and i go do the ones upstairs - on rounding weeks i get the job of doing all 7 of them (and i always finish up with our 8th one - seth - when i'm done. is that wrong i wonder? to pray for a child who really doesn't need my prayers anymore? i guess i do it more for me....i feel like his mom yet by doing those 'mom-things' that i would normally do for him if he were here.)

so i got to do MY rounding tonight and it turned out to be such a gift from God - i just needed to share. to be honest, since seth died i've had a hard time tucking in luke. if you've seen luke lately - he's looking SO MUCH like seth. (i think another gift for all of us), but it's very hard for me to see him sleeping....reminds me too much of seth in the hospital. and yet God is faithful. with time i have been able to start doing it again and instead of pain...i find peace.....and so i pray for luke. i pray that he is able to handle the issues that he has been given. i pray that he feels loved. i pray that he will be ok dealing with the loss of seth (i pray that for each of them). i pray for wisdom that we will know how to be the parents that he needs. i pray that someday he'll know how talented he is. i kiss him goodnite...."love you - to the moon and and to the stars, luke"

and then there is caleb....if i can even GET to caleb! he is such the typical teenage boy with a typical teenage boy room. clothes on the floor, ipod still in his ears, snoring up a storm! :) so after wading through his (probably) CLEAN clothes strewn over his floor i kneel by his bed and again enjoy the gift of praying over our oldest child. i thank God that he seems to be doing ok after what he's had to deal with in losing seth. i pray that the memories of that horrific day will one day be so blurry that it's hard to picture it anymore. i pray for the friends that he seems to want to be around more than his parents. i pray for the years of high school ahead of him and that he'll make wise choices. i pray that he will always have the desire to take time before sleeping and spend some time with his Father. i kiss him goodnite....."love you - to the moon and to the stars, caleb".

upstairs i come to andrew's room. step on a few (actually MORE than a few) legos....say a few choice words....and finally get to our rambunctious yet always wanting to help me out little one in andrew. i pray that he will sleep in (he's FOREVER getting up WAY too early). i pray that he'll figure out how to be a friend to someone so that he'll someday have a buddy to hang with all the time. i pray that he does his work in school and that someday realize how smart he really is. i pray for patience as it takes SO MUCH to deal with his little "andrew-isms" at times. i pray that i can be the mom that he didn't have in russia. i pray that he feels unconditional love from me.
i kiss him goodnite....."love you - to the moon and to the stars, andrew"

next is baby ben. sleeping with his little butt in the air, legs crossed at the ankles, and already snoring like his dad at the early age of 1. :) i look down at our sweet little baby and cry at the unbelievable surprise blessing he is to me. i thank God for granting us this miracle child and i smile realizing that God knew me so well that He knew a baby would help start heal my shattered heart. i pray that i will be able to watch ben grow up. i thank God for allowing me to have one more baby to love. i kiss him good nite..."love you the moon and to the stars"

the girls are slightly more difficult to pray OVER as they now sleep in a loft inches from the ceiling. after scaring the begeebers out of grace one night while i was checking on her, i've resolved to just sit in their separate spaces under the loft and pray for them there....

for abby .... i pray that the smile that lights up a room will never be lost. i pray that she won't "get lost in the middle" i pray that she will always know what a beautiful girl God has made her to be. i pray that her dreams of becoming a nurse will one day come to fruition - for she would make a WONDERFUL one. i pray that she will one day find a man just like her dad that will love her and cherish her for the prized person she is. i pray that she will know how truly special she is. i pray that she will one day experience the joy of being a mom. i throw her a kiss :)..."love you, the moon and to the stars"

and our gracefully beautiful grace. our strong, independent, lovely young lady. i pray that she will someday realize why God placed her in our family and that she'll know what a blessing she is. i pray the questions that she has about God's purpose in her life will someday be answered. i pray that someday she'll realize how beautiful she really is. i pray that she will always know how much we love her (even though we don't let her go to the mall with her friends by herself yet - we are SUCH lame parents!!:)) and i pray that the gift of writing that God has given her will one day come in form of a book as she has always dreamed about. i throw her a kiss...."love the moon and to the stars, gracie"

and then our newest little girl. our daughter that we prayed for for so long. little lydie. when i checked on lydia tonight i had this overwhelming need to just hold her, rock her, cuddle with her. so....i'm guilty.....i caved. holding her - wrapped in her ever so soft blanket - i picked her up with her squirming just a little. her eyes trying to open and when she was able to lift her eye lids just a mite - her eyes would roll back each time. i could tell she was trying so hard to figure out what was going on, but after sitting down and rocking her gently she quickly fell back to sleep. i was able to hold her like a mom should hold a child and i thought of the first 2 1/2 years of her life when she didn't have anyone to hold her....which made me cling to her all the more. i prayed that she could just FEEL the love pouring out of me and going into her. looking at her all snuggled up in my arms, sucking away on her thumb....i fell more in love with her than i had before - felt more like her mom than i ever felt before. rain was gently falling outside....her sweet lullaby music playing....her melting into my arms as much as my arms were melting into hers.....perfection. i pray that she will ALWAYS feel loved, that she will not only know the love of a mom and a dad, but that someday she will feel the love of a Heavenly Father who chose HER to come home to us. i kiss her goodnite....."love you the moon and to the stars"

and finally, to the one child who probably doesn't need his mom's prayers anymore, but who's mom NEEDS to keep praying for him. i pray that God actually DOES give him a hug and tell him we love him EVERY time i pray it. i pray that he thinks of how much his mom & dad still love him and miss seeing him. i pray that he is experiencing the kind of love that he's never experienced before but was sooooo deserved. i pray that i was a good enough mom to him for the short 5 years that we had him. i pray that his legacy will live on long after he's been gone. i pray for the day to come soon that i'll be able to hold him and hug him and tell him again to his face "love you, the moon and to the stars" and wishing i could give him one more kiss on his little face. rounding is done. :) my job is finished for the night (morning). and i go to bed with a heart so filled with joy from the blessings of these amazing children. i pray that tomorrow i can wake up and be a better mom than i was today.


our sweet lady-like little lydia is at times gone. at school yesterday she and her class were having cheese balls for their snack. now, let me put this in perspective here regarding lydia and cheese balls.....she doesn't just LIKE them she DEVOURS them!! NO ONE can stand in the way between lydia and cheese balls. whenever we don't think that she is eating much or gaining much weight - we get the cheese balls out! i think that she truly would inhale the ginormous costco sized container of cheese balls all by herself.

that said......yesterday - school - snack time- cheese balls - lydia - unaware teacher of lydia's love of the cheese flavored air balls. teacher was giving each of the students ONE cheese ball at a time. if the child wants more they have to give the teacher a ticket to request more (several of the students do not have language skills yet). well, our sweet lady-like little lydie was NOT receiving enough cheese balls in a timely matter in her opinion clear as a bell she turns around and YELLS to the teacher "MORE!!!"
her teachers dropped everything and just gasped at this little tyke of a girl scream out for more cheese balls!!

her teacher was so excited to tell me this when i picked her up! do you THINK that she has even WHISPERED a 'clear-as-a-bell word' to me yet? NOPE! well i think that a trip to costco is on my agenda for tomorrow!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


without going into too much detail...i'm asking for prayers from anyone that we may hear God very loud and clear this week. greg and i have been in the process of praying about a new project (no not another adoption!!! :):):)) that we feel we're being led to create and we need to know without a doubt that this is from God and not just from our hearts. it's a very exciting possibility and very scary all wrapped in one. we're to the point where we need to go the next step, but we want to be reassured that this is in fact where God is leading us. please pray that we receive God's guidance through this and that He alone is the one to receive the glory from it. i can't wait to share more specifics, but for now just know that it is something that will help keep seth alive in our hearts and hopefully help many more families in the process.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


my dear friend sent this to me today. it's EXACTLY what this grief journey is like. i couldn't have said it better.

Please Be Gentle
By Jill B. Englar

Please be gentle with me for I am grieving. The sea I swim in is a lonely one and the shore seems miles away. Waves of despair numb my soul as I struggle through each day. My heart is heavy with sorrow.I want to shout and scream and repeatedly ask 'why?' At times, my grief overwhelms me and I weep bitterly, so great is my loss. Please don’t turn away or tell me to move on with my life. I must embrace my pain before I can begin to heal. Companion me through tears and sit with me in loving silence. Honor where I am in my journey, not where you think I should be. Listen patiently to my story, I may need to tell it over and over again. It’s how I begin to grasp the enormity of my loss. Nurture me through the weeks and months ahead. Forgive me when I seem distant and inconsolable. A small flame still burns within my heart, and shared memories may trigger both laughter and tears. I need your support and understanding. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. I must find my own path. Please, will you walk beside me?

thank you to all who have walked beside me, behind me, and even before me anticipating the needs i may have. i've said many times before: God has asked us to walk this deep, dark valley of grief and death....but He's not asking us to walk it alone. i thank God for the gift of our family, friends, church, and school - i honestly can say that we have seen God through each one of you and for that we'll be eternally grateful. to God alone be all honor and glory both now and forever more.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


these last 2 1/2 days were NOT the way i thought they would be. i got sick. been sick. sick of being sick. i got strep throat and have been down for 2 1/2 days. boy, it knocked me down hard - in bed with fever/chills/migraine/and a throat that felt like cotton. with all that down time...and 1/2 of it tired of laying down - it gave me WAY too much time to think. it's been a rough few days.

i'm just laying there these last 2 days and all i could do is replay pictures in my mind from the hospital (seth laying in that bed looking HORRIBLY tiny, him not opening his eyes no matter how hard i was wishing it to happen, kissing his sweet dirty grimy little hands, smelling his sweet smell, having people coming and going, trying to lay down for some rest and my brother craig sneaking in next to me in the recliner...him snoring, me just laying and thinking :), the doctors coming and telling us time after time that there was no hope, singing to seth, watching everyone say goodbye, and then the final time i had to kiss him goodbye...horrible, horrible memories) i wish i could lose those pictures in my head. then it would shift to now and me just crying my eyes out becuz lydia and ben don't even know him. i long for a time when i would have been able to watch him with them....playing with lydia, wrestling with ben. that's a BIG heartache for me. there are times when my mind goes there that my chest literally hurts from my heart breaking all again. those were my last 2 days.

to be totally honest, part of my heartbreak in all of this since seth died is that my devotional time with God has truly tanked. i don't have the ambition/desire/time (although that's just an excuse). i feel horribly, horribly guilty about it. and at the same time i don't DO anything about it. i did get up this morning and do devotions though,and this is what i read...."turn to me and be gracious to me, for i am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish" Psalm 25:16-17. then in the devotional it said this: "remember, God's classroom is in session all day, every day of the year. and if we skip class, God comes looking for us. it's all part of his grace." WOW! He comes after ME! blew me away this morning. all i kept thinking is that i need to look beyond these waves of grief ..... not beneath or between them - just beyond them. not to NOT go through the waves, but just to keep my eyes beyond them and focused on HIM becuz He is truly THE ONLY way to get through these waves, not with time or by myself - only if He carries me through them. (i always HATED water!!) it was a time that God gave me this morning that has gotten me through today.

so's ben's bday and i can honestly say that i have had a great day celebrating it with him so far. (his first ride on the penny pony at meijers - oh i wish you could have seen his face and heard his giggles!!!!) happy birthday have been SUCH a blessing to me.

Lesson of the day: keep my eyes focused on my Father and He will carry me through every hill and every valley. wonderful reminder!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

THIS TIME LAST YEAR....'s superbowl sunday and it brings back memories of last year at this time.
during the game i got up to go to the bathroom and all of the sudden my water broke! (or as andrew told all his friends the next day 'my mom's pipes broke last night!)
it brings back both such great memories and extremely difficult memories. i remember that i kept thinking that nothing could happen to ben (yes, we knew that he was a boy). i remember that it was only 3 short months prior to that that we went into a hospital for an entirely different reason - seth's accident. i remember that when we were in labor greg and i kept thinking it was 'playing out' the same way as seth's hospital stay. we went in one day, and left the next day. we went in on the 3rd and left on the 4th. we went into the hospital 3 months prior and left empty handed and broken hearted. last year at this time we left the hospital with ben in our arms and joyful....but still brokenhearted. i remember when the nurse was getting us ready to leave for home with ben that i just completely lost it. i should have been happier than i had been in the last 3 months and yet here i was just trying to get through the moment of seeing us leaving the hospital with no seth. how can such an amazing, beautiful, and life changing event be so heart breaking?

fast forward to today....and all i can do is weep for our son that isn't home with us here. all i can do is feel my heart breaking all over again. it's strange how you can just 'feel' it coming on. tears just under the surface. crying over nothing at all. why can't i just praise God for what He HAS given us - a beautiful son in ben? why do i look at ben and think that he'll never hear seth's voice, or play with his older brother, have seth teach him his basketball tricks, or even argue with him? how can i keep seth alive to ben and lydia? how can i keep seth alive for me and greg and the other kids. that's what i struggle with now....just how am i suppose to live in the present and yet still keep the past alive?

the other day i was so weepy because i kept thinking that we don't talk about him anymore. seth's name doesn't come up in conversation nearly as much as before. i just want to hear his name - hear the kids talk about him. remember the fun or annoying or silly things that he did. how do i know that the kids are doing ok? are they just moving on and grieving ok? is it healthy not to talk about him as much? it feels almost like seth dies again just a little bit each day when we don't talk about him. i was really down about that when the next morning luke and andrew were arguing whether or not the mittens that andrew was wearing were actually his. then i hear luke say 'no they're not, they're seth's not yours!' i heard his name!!!! i heard the boys say his name! my heart soared. such a gift from my Father - one that he just knew my mom's breaking heart needed at that moment. what amazingly beautiful gift.'s almost the 4th - ben's first bday and 15 months since we had to say goodbye to seth. i think that our doctor who delivered ben said it in the most beautiful way. after ben had been born and as he was handing ben to me he said '3 months ago today you had to say goodbye to one son. today you get to say hello to another'. another goodbye where seth is concerned - another hello for ben. i love both of them dearly...more than i could ever put into words. and maybe, just maybe the birth of one will heal my heart from the death of the other. thank you Lord for both ben and seth - thank you for blessing my life with each and everyone of our children.