Friday, April 28, 2017

Psalm 118:24

41 weeks today. Not sure what this day holds, but I know this is true:

This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

For Today

From my Bible reading this morning...the words of Jesus:

John 14:1-3 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also."

Friday, April 21, 2017

Easter (and David's due date)

Today is David's due date, but he doesn't seem interested in making his arrival yet. We'll keep you posted...

Here are some pictures from our Easter celebrations. First, our Sunday School class Easter egg hunt:

The Easter Bunny comes to our house Saturday morning so we can focus on the real meaning of Easter on Sunday. The kids got a book they needed for school next year (which thankfully they were really excited about), some candy, and an art set.

All of us on Easter Sunday! We went to church together and then to lunch at my parents'.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

We Bought the "Farm"

The Gent has had this dream of owning some land and building a house and having lots of room for the kids to run around and explore, and someday come back to when they are grown with grandkids in tow and still have space for everyone. I was on board but didn't want to have to drive more than 15 minutes to all the things the kids and I do. We currently live in the city and we love our old, historic house and being in the middle of everything. But outside space is limited and our inside space has become limited as our family has grown. We use every square inch of our home every day. So when this 5 acre lot popped up for sale and it was 15 minutes from all the places we usually go, we knew it was the land for us. Now we own the house in the city and the land in the "country." It will be a slow process to move out to our new place (which needs a name! suggestions?). We plan to renovate the kitchen in our current house this summer. Everything else in the house has been redone and I want to finish it, plus it will help it sell faster. Then when we are ready we will put the house on the market, move to a rental house when it sells, and then start building the new house. Adventures await!

pictures of Mama, Daddy, and David on closing day
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Friday, April 14, 2017

More Honesty

People keep telling me they appreciate the honesty of my posts, so I suppose I’ll keep on in that same vein. I get the sense that everyone thinks I should be angry with God, judging by how many people have told me it’s okay to be angry. And I totally agree with that—God can certainly handle all of our emotions—yours and mine. He gave them to us and He sent His own Son to be fully human and have all of our same human emotions and struggles. But I’m really not angry. I have struggled with why God seems to have chosen not to heal our son, when I know He has the power to. While I do believe miracles still happen, I’ve never seen one as dramatic as it would be for David’s head to suddenly be made whole. I’ve been studying the Gospel of John this year through Bible Study Fellowship, and the earlier lessons on miracles were difficult for me. Why did Jesus heal some but not others? Why did Jesus send His disciples into the storm on the Sea of Galilee? When we studied the resurrection of Lazarus, and everyone talked about how Jesus wept, even though He knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead, I wanted to cry that no one is going to raise my baby from the dead! We will weep and mourn and death will sting.

As always, wiser Christians than me have dealt with these issues. The truth that Jesus is more concerned for our eternal life than our temporal life has hit home with me. The promises of healing that we try to apply to these earthly lives ring hollow—but our eternal healing is promised through the blood of Jesus. Is it hard to understand? Yes. But it is what I believe to be true…even if it is not the way I feel.

On Palm Sunday, the crowd rejoiced because their King was coming. But as it turns out, He wasn’t the King they wanted. They wanted the victor, the champion, the warrior king who would rescue them from oppression and provide for all their earthly needs.

Jesus didn’t give them what they wanted, because He knew what we really needed. I’ve often heard that phrase, “Jesus doesn’t give us what we want; He gives us what we need.” I’ve never really liked it much. I’d rather have what I want, wouldn’t you? But if Jesus had given in to the crowd and given them what they wanted, we would never have been able to come home to our Father and escape our rebellion. So instead of what we wanted, He gave us what we needed: the Suffering Servant. Who at the end of time will return as the Victor, riding a white horse, the Lamb who was slain.

P.S. I read this essay by Michael Gerson last night:
The Hope of Pardon and Peace
I found the closing paragraphs especially poignant: "For believers, the complete story of Good Friday and Easter legitimizes both despair and faith. Nearly every life features less-than-good Fridays. We grow tired of our own company and travel a descending path of depression. We experience lonely pain, unearned suffering or stinging injustice. We are rejected or betrayed by a friend. And then there are the unspeakable things — the death of a child, the diagnosis of an aggressive cancer, the steady advance of a disease that will take our minds and dignity. We look into the abyss of self-murder. And given the example of Christ, we are permitted to feel God-forsaken.

And yet . . . eventually . . . or so we trust . . . or so we try to trust: God is forever on the side of those who suffer. God is forever on the side of life. God is forever on the side of hope.

If the resurrection is real, death’s hold is broken. There is a truth and human existence that cannot be contained in a tomb. It is possible to live lightly, even in the face of death — not by becoming hard and strong, but through a confident perseverance. Because cynicism is the failure of patience. Because Good Friday does not have the final word."

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Last Day of School 2016-2017

We wrapped up our school year last Friday. We took very, very few breaks this year (2 days at Thanksgiving, 2 weeks at Christmas) because I wanted to finish before David's birth. And we made it! Kindergarten was a fun year. Annie and Jacob have come a long way in their reading, math skills, and handwriting. We started learning piano and did lots of art projects and science "experiments." We went on lots of field trips throughout the year, and made many trips to the zoo, science center, botanical gardens, and our favorite parks. Our first grade books came in the mail on our last day of kindergarten, and they wanted to start them right away! Mama isn't quite ready for first grade to begin yet, but I'm glad they're still excited and not burned out on school!

Annie, completed kindergarten
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Jacob, completed kindergarten
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Sophie, completed three-year-old preschool
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Nora, completed toddler playtime
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Friday, April 7, 2017

What Helps

We’ve had so many kind and thoughtful responses to David’s story. And thankfully, very, very few hurtful ones. While each situation is different, I thought I’d share a few things that have helped the most.

When we first announced our pregnancy and David’s diagnosis, one of my neighbors responded perfectly. He gave me a huge hug and said very few words: “This is a hug of congratulations and condolence. I’m happy for you all, and I’m so sorry.” Acknowledging the joy and the sorrow simultaneously felt exactly right.

Sweet friends and family have helped us celebrate the joyful moments—finding out David was a boy, throwing a prayer party, oohing and aahing over ultrasound pictures, making a beautiful quilt with each family member’s prayers and wishes for David sewn into it. Hardly a day goes by that we don't receive an encouraging card, text, phone call, or email.

And you have covered us in prayer when we don’t know how to pray ourselves, and reminded us over and over again of God’s promises and His faithfulness. God is our rock and our ever present help in times of trouble. Jesus Himself weeps with us. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us in prayer. This broken, sorrow-filled life is not what God intended for us. And He sent His only Son to make a way for us to be unified to Him. And in the fullness of time, Jesus will return in triumph and banish death forever and wipe away all our tears. Just last week, I was reminded that David’s death is only a slipping behind the veil into glory. We live in the shadows, but he will be in the light of the glory of God. And someday we will slip behind the veil ourselves, and see fully the beautiful nature of our Lord.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Nick: A Good Dog

Nick died last week. His cancer progressed very quickly, as we had expected it would. His last month was full of extra love and snuggles and treats. His pain medicine did its job and he was happy and pain-free to the end. We miss our fur baby very much. Nick was a perfect blend of goofball and guard dog. He made us laugh--a lot--and we always felt safe with him around. He was the dog who always knew just what we needed, whether we knew it or not.

My favorite Nick story is from the morning of my first ultrasound with tiny baby Annie. After our miscarriage, we were of course very, very nervous about this ultrasound and whether or not we would see a heartbeat. Nick chose that morning to escape from the dog park in our neighborhood. The Gent went traipsing through the woods after him. I had to go to the doctor's office by myself and I was now anxious about Nick instead of the baby. The Gent called me while I was in the waiting room and said "I found Nick and we're on our way." The Gent walked into the doctor's office in mismatched work boots (samples from his Dad's work) and dirty jeans and I was just so glad he was there. Our ultrasound showed us one tiny, growing baby with a strong heartbeat! We walked out to the parking deck where that rascal of a Nick had been hanging out in the cab of the pickup truck, covered in burrs (see pictures below), tongue hanging out, and happy as he could be!

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