Sunday, November 28, 2010

a new gratitude.

As with many folks,   we genuinely have many repeat  "I'm Thankful Fors..." year after year.

We gather around the table and offer our gratitude for many of the same blessings as years prior.    When I really think about it,  it is an amazing thing to do just that.     As an example -- for my parents to sit at this their 39th Thanksgiving table together and be grateful yet again for that same person --- awesome!

Some years are like that , some years are not.   For many,  the year that lives on between each Thanksgiving holiday brings about pain,  struggle,  disillusionment,  junk.

I am nearly positive that my personal  list of gratitude on Thanksgiving 2009 included our children,  Dan's job,  our amazing circle of family and friends.     Fast forward to 2010 and those are all abundantly true!

But,  I have a few more " I'm thankful fors"  to add.   Some things I never thought would cross my mind,  or my heart only one year ago.

I am thankful for human compassion.   We had never lost a baby before.  The pure love and kindnesses shown to us after April's death and delivery fill my heart with gratitude.  We could not have survived those early days without- people.

I am thankful for empathetic hearts.    One of the things I craved most this year, was knowing I wasn't alone in my experience.   People I knew and many I do not,  have shared with me their story and inspired me in knowing that God will restore.

i am thankful for freedom of expression.   I realize that all people find their own way to process loss and work through pain.   I am thankful that I live in this day and age.  For the most part, I wasn't discouraged from talking about our loss.   Blogs,  face to face conversations,  and many resources have helped me this year.   I have learned this freedom wasn't as available 20, 30 years or more ago.

I am thankful for God's word.   Where else would I to find His promises?  Where else would I find true hope? 
I am thankful for this guy.  
Ok, this one is for sure a repeat but,  surely in a new way.  Dan was called upon this year to see with his own two eyes an ultrasound of a still baby-- while I wailed.  He was called upon to stand by, feeling somewhat powerless, as I delivered her.  He was called upon to stay with me through it all and be the a source of strength-- all the while feeling his own pain of loss and experiencing something that is really difficult for a man to process.

He was required to do all of this while going back to work full time in a ridiculous economy and a work setting that allows NO time for grieving.    I cringe at the thought of how he must have had to take a deep breath when I would call... not knowing what he was about to get on the other side of the phone.   He must of wondered what environment would greet him when coming home from a long day at work.   It is not easy to see your wife in pain,  and not being able to stop it.     I say all of this not so you would feel sorry for him (or me)  but to just scratch at the surface of why I am thankful for Dan this year!  

Truly, a Happy Thanksgiving 2010.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thoughts on this Thanksgiving Eve

Taken directly from a devotional book, "Jesus Calling" that I received from a friend this year.

November 24
Thankfulness takes the sting out of adversity. That is why I have instructed you to give thanks in everything.   There is an element of mystery in this transaction: You give me thanks (regardless of your feelings), and I give you Joy (regardless of your circumstances).  This is a spiritual act of obedience--at times, blind obedience.  To people who don't know me intimately, it can seem irrational and even impossible to thank Me for  heartrending hardships.  Nonetheless, those who obey Me in this way are invariably blessed, even though difficulties remain.

Thankfulness opens your heart to My Presence and your mind to My thoughts.  You may still be in the same place, with the same set of circumstances, but it is as if a light has been switched on,  enabling you to see from My perspective.  It is this Light of my Presence that removes the sting from adversity.

Monday, November 22, 2010

For the love of Barney.

She does not look very excited,  but I sure was.   According to my calculations,  she was the only Barney for miles and miles that Halloween night.   I scored a steal of a deal for this costume on Ebay.  Imagine that?  Barney costumes were not going for top dollar!

Each one of our kids have been interested obsessed with certain fictional characters right around age 2.   Chase had Thomas the Tank Engine,  Drew loved SpiderMan,  Joy adored Care Bears.    Juliet is charmed by Barney.  Yes, the purple dinosaur from 1990.

Come on...go ahead and sing Barney's theme song with me...  "I Love You,  You Love Me,  We're a Happy Family"... 

I just had to record this pic for the family archives as I am certain this love for all things Barney will pass just as the Big Three have moved on from their 2 year old infatuations.    Perhaps, this time it's for the greater good of our family.  When I hear Dan humming Barney tunes in the shower and the thought of Chase at school accidentally singing a Barney jingle because he can't get it out of his head-- poor kid,  that might be a tad embarassing.  

The only two that unapologetically enjoy Barney's musical stylings are Drew and Juliet.   As evidenced by this photo I snapped during Barney's Greatest Hits.  Just a sweet moment from a seemingly never ending week with Dan out of state.  

I Love You,  You Love Me,  We're a Happy Family.  
With a Great Big Hug and a Kiss from Me to You, 
Won't you say You Love Me too?   
 It sounds idyllic, does it not?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

my new old chair

the best consignment store purchase of my life!!

this photo does not do it justice for she is a beaute!
not at all faded or worn as the photo may suggest-- and no left over geriatric essence if you know what I mean :)

I have deemed it my official upcoming nursing chair and I look
forward to many cozy days in it with the new babe.

 High expectations for a 20 dollar chair,  I'd say.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

honesty, honestly.

I was convinced that this baby would be a boy.    

Perhaps some thought I've desired a girl because April was a girl.  Since there remains a huge void for the daughter we hoped to hold and raise,  it seems natural that I would want this child to be a girl to fulfill that hope.

In some ways that is true,  in other ways it is not.    That empty space will always be there--for the baby we hoped to meet in September 2010,   for April.    Having another daughter does not fill that space,  just as giving birth to Juliet did not replace Joy.  They are two distinct lives.

So at some point in this pregnancy when I began to let go of some of the fear of another loss,  I convinced myself that we'd be meeting a boy come March 2011.

Why did I do that?   I've come to a few conclusions.

I was afraid that having another girl would negate the loss we suffered,  perhaps? in my heart, but maybe for others.   I wanted to keep April's status as our 5th child,  our third and last girl, because frankly I still long for her.    In my mind,  having a boy would, in large ways accomplish keeping April's status firm.

There were other things that I idealized about having this baby be a son.   The big kids had hoped for another brother,   Chase will be 11 years old at the time of the birth I could just picture he and a little bro years into the future.  

By now most of you are probably thinking--  "what a headcase!" or "it is what it is"  or "what an ingrate"   Believe me,  I have thought those things about myself at one point or another.

I am happy to say that most of the above feelings are past tense.     Each step along this journey I have forced myself to take an honest look at what is going on in my head and in my heart.   I am only human and many rational feelings and irrational thoughts weave their ways into my days and weeks.  Sorting them out, and even blogging about them has been immensely helpful.  An absolute constant that does not falter is our gratitude.     This little gal inside is desired and wanted just as much as April was.   I am down on my knees thankful for her life within.  God's promises of hope and restoration are budding!

Here are a few pix from the evening of our ultrasound.  We went out for pizza and let the kids open the envelope with the answer to our new baby's gender.
may I have the envelope, please?
reading the result
laughing at the revelation
tell me how you really feel?
Juliet , just happy to be the baby for awhile longer. :-)