Friday, May 29, 2009


i finally found some time to share what we did for memorial day.... i think i'll do a picture diary of a day in the life..... we started the day with the jenison parade. it was THE MOST relaxing parade that greg & i have had EVER! you ask why?....well....only watching after 2 little ones who were completely restrained the entire time, the older 5 taking part in other floats of the parade,
no 'back up guys!' or 'move down guys so you're not in front of everyone' or my all time favorite 'would you all just SHARE your candy?!?!?!' (yea, like THAT's ever going to happen!!). all of that combined, greg and i had a delightful morning! caleb and grace were on the ridgewood vbs float....grace in all her glory with her bff, and caleb on the actual float pelting everyone he knew with candy! abby, luke, and andrew on the school 'float'....luke and abby did a great job handing out things. the only way we allowed andrew to go was if he was actually IN the bus and not riding next to it!!! he had fun anyway.

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!!!

so....true to our cream for all! (after it took only 6 more hours of work! it's amazing how deceiving the size of the stone pile was!)

....some are just too cool to smile! :)

after ice cream we went to the cemetary to bring seth's planter to his stone. WOW! i didn't realize how busy the cemetary could get.....i was truly amazed.

...the kids made me proud...they had to clean seth's stone off! something is
rubbing off on them!!! :) all in was a GREAT Memorial Day!

Friday, May 22, 2009


i made it through....that wave was a tough one. it felt the exact same as the 'big one' before seth's first 'Heaven birthday'. i struggle at times to see that it is actually a grief wave. having so many other responsibilities with the kids and the house i didn't see this one coming...i think that's why it was especially tough. mother's day was horrible. we were camping at the same place we camped at before seth died. in fact, that was the first time i was there since the accident. i so remember the last time we were there: it was actually only a few weeks before he died. it was THE BEST weekend with greg's family and our kids. the weather was perfect, the kids got along, it just seemed like a great weekend. i treasure that weekend. so being there on mother's day was difficult. i saw seth all over the place. i struggle at times with seeing my glass half empty rather than half full in regards to my grief. so many times i ache to hold seth again and at the same time i am so blessed with the 7 that are still with us. God has been faithful, though. throughout this last wave i truly have felt like he was just carrying me through. i felt a little bit like being on a raft in the water and just going up and down, but never going under. it was like God's arms were my raft and He wasn't letting me go through this rough water alone. it amazes me - His faithfulness.

one of the things that keeps me going is Starlight Ministries, Inc. we are official and we're heading toward some really neat things happening. we're going to be ordering the seth bears soon. the Seth Bear Project is part of SLM in that we are providing teddy bears to the area funeral homes to hand out to any child who is starting out on their grief journey. These bears will have a little medallion around it's neck with seth's picture and then the SLM logo on the other side. a letter about Starlight Ministries will be provided to the parents inviting them and their children to our groups. i LOVE this part of the ministry. to know that seth's memory is living on and that hopefully it will comfort children at the same time just warms my heart.

i wanted to share our logo. hopefully it portrays that even through grief there is still hope.
we are ordering our stationary, business cards, and the medallions next week. it all seems so unreal! i'm planning on going to st. joe to lory's place (which is a center that does grief support for children - just not Christian based) and receive the facilitator training. i'll be able to bring all the supplies home to then turn around and train our facilitators. if anyone is interested or becoming involved with our vision for Starlight Ministries....we would LOVE the help!

God is good....all the time. He really does bring beauty from ashes.....i'm experiencing that first hand.

Monday, May 11, 2009


i'm not myself.....haven't been for a few weeks....and it just seems to be getting worse as the days go on. i'm just so overwhelmingly sad...all the time. my heart is just so heavy that i can't imagine it getting any worse and then another day comes and it's heavier still. i have no patience - zero. i'm so short tempered with the kids and with greg. at one point i just got up and left the dinner table after listening to the kids bicker through the entire meal. i got up.....screamed that i couldn't take it any longer....and went to our room. that's not me....i'm just not me anymore. and even in this 'funk' there is laughter. after i left the table that night greg said that abby quietly got up, went around to him and whispered in his ear 'hormones'! God does bring glimpses of light in this darkness that has clouded me lately. i cry at a drop of a hat. i am so tired....always so very tired. i feel absolutely unlovable and selfish....which then spirals me farther down. i just want me back. my heart broke into smaller pieces still when grace came to me and said that she felt like i haven't been happy since seth died and that she thought they weren't enough for me anymore. add lousy mom to the mix. i tried to reassure her that i HAVE been happy since seth died, it's just that lately i miss him more than usual. i tried to convey to her that she and the other kids mean even more to me than before becuz i now understand how short life is. i don't think she understood. all she sees is a mom who is not there right now. i'm just not me.....i just want me back.

i apologize for such a 'raw' seems to help a little to get things down.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


i had to share what an amazing writing assignment my neice handed in. she was given the assignment to write about one moment in moment that changed moment that will be forever in her mind. what she wrote truly captured my heart. thanks court.....i LOVE that you did's heading right for seth's trunk now! :)


We walked into the funeral home not knowing what was coming up. Not knowing how everyone would respond with what we would see. The moment it opened everyone froze. Awe filled our faces; the room was silent and awkward as we looked into the casket. The person we all knew and loved laying there lifeless with no more meaning. A broken body unbelievable small, so childlike; it hurt to look, to see someone so helpless and not being able to help him. You could feel the anguish filling the room as we stared. Little kids asking questions; they didn't understand. The tears started to fall as we finally comprehended what our eyes couldn't believe. The little blonde boy with blue eyes, so fragile, with glasses too. he had on a sweater and cords but even with clothes on you could see the broken parts on him. Make-up covers nothing. The look of his face made you feel pain as you looked at the scratches and bruises. No words can explain how our family was feeling, and what emotions were rolling across our faces. Madness, sadness, grief, questioning, plus many more feelings were there. Even with a family so big it is hard to imagine life with one less, we only had him for a little while which was enough, but wanted him longer. Even though siblings and family members get annoying, never take them for granted. Because when there time is up you'd wish it had just begun. And when there time does come to be with their heavenly father, you need to look to the future when you get to see them again in heaven. Without all the horrible pain you used to see in their face without all their suffering. And knowing their in a better place doesn't make it easy, just easier. At that moment of realization, a strange comfort filled the room. It was him, with God next to him.

Written by courtney, in loving memory of my cousin, Seth Van Wienen

Sunday, May 3, 2009


what a GORGEOUS weekend we've had! yesterday we spent most of the day outside putting out stone and cutting the grass. today was just too beautiful with the sun and the flowering trees that i couldn't resist the photo opportunity....bring on a bunch of 'awwwww moooommmmms' which i with it! :)........they'll thank me later - i'm sure of it!