13 weeks

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This is the size of my baby now and the one that I lost back in September.  I saw this picture on my Facebook news feed last week and I saved it to my phone because I couldn’t stop looking at it.

I kind of expected that I’d have a lot to share about reaching this point, but I’m also happy to say that I do not.  This pregnancy has not been full of worry or fear.  The worst part has just been the day-to-day battle with my low energy level and the nausea.

We’ve had one ultrasound, which was wonderful and highly disappointing, thanks to a terribly negative and doomsday doctor who tried to pressure us into genetic testing by sharing lots of statistics and horror stories.  Not a “Congratulations, everything is looking good” appointment, but more of a “There are so many things that could go wrong.”  Needless to say, I changed doctors.

I can’t attribute my calmness about this pregnancy to any current spiritual feats.  In fact, I’ve found it so difficult to spend focused time with the Lord during this pregnancy so far because of how I’ve been feeling.  However, I think the work for this was done in those difficult days following the miscarriage where I realized that the Lord was with me through it all and if it should ever happen again, he would surely be with me then too.  I made a decision back when I found out I was pregnant that I was not going to think about the same thing happening.  Also, having a busy, full-of-life toddler probably helps keep my mind off of tracking the days too.

I made my pregnancy public the day after I found out, just as I had done with my previous two pregnancies.  This was purposeful.  Partially because I just naturally wanted to share my excitement and happy news, but it was also a decision to celebrate this pregnancy the same as I had the others before any loss had occurred.  In a way, it was my statement to God saying: “I’m not going to fear.  I’m going to celebrate this life whether it last two weeks or seventy-two years because at this moment I am pregnant.”  For me this was a good decision and one I have not regretted.

I plan on meeting this baby in September, probably very close to one year from when I miscarried.  The thought of this is very Ecclesiastes-ish.  Something about everything being made beautiful in it’s time.  Here’s a great quote I saw the other day that seems appropriate for this,

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I Don’t Like You, First Trimester

I have yet to meet a first trimester that I liked.

But since this one is nearly over I’m starting to have a sense of hope about feeling better.

I’ve avoided writing blogs lately, mostly because I haven’t felt well enough to compose any kind of thoughts, but also because I’ve been fearful of sounding like a cynical, miserable person.  I’m extremely thankful for this pregnancy, but until my daily existence isn’t focused around keeping my nausea at bay or muddling enough energy to make another snack, it really is difficult to invest my energy into anything else.

In the midst of all this first trimester sickness there has been a lot that has happened in our lives since we arrived in Rio Vista nearly three months ago.  Our home is looking put together and nearly feels complete, Cameron has started chatting up a storm and Jon keeps coming home every day in dirty clothes and speaking more and more Spanish.  I decided that I want to have a garden this year so I bought an incredible book on gardening, read a few pages and then handed over the reigns to Jon to get it all started since I was feeling too sick to help out at all.  This is honestly how many of our home improvement projects go (even when I’m feeling well): I provide some inspirational idea and then when I can’t figure out how to put it into motion I ask Jon to finish it.  Teamwork baby.  So I watched a movie today and sipped apple juice to keep from puking while Jon spent the afternoon building us a planter box for our future little garden.

This is how it turned out:
photo (90)We planted four tomato plants, yellow bell peppers, zucchini, a spot for some sugar snap peas to go in and then some herbs in pots and a beautiful little lime tree just outside our back door.

Besides our list of home projects that seems to be growing instead of shrinking, we’ve been capitalizing on my better moments to get more acquainted with our new church and small group.  Church is located forty minutes away and we are getting used to longer drive times for just about everything including shopping, doctor visits and the kind of restaurants we’re accustomed to and like.

Maybe one of the most inconvenient things about our new small-town home is that there is a very limited variety of foods.  This is my first trimester self’s worst nightmare.  One grocery store, a couple Mexican eateries, pizza parlour, Subway, McDonalds, hotdog truck, burrito truck and some diners.  The health conscious person in me wants to run away screaming. The desperate to eat something this minute pregnant person has taken more than a few trips through the McD’s drive-thru to get a Value Menu fry and a Coke.  Then, when we got out of town, I try and get my fill of Pho, farm fresh and Starbucks while I can.

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I have a love/hate relationship with my town right now.  I love the character of this place: the draw bridges, the slow-sailing ships, the beautiful country side and back country roads full of sheep and tall white turbines.   The Sacramento River is beautiful and there’s a few river beaches close by with campgrounds providing some inexpensive fun.  I like that life here feels simple.  I like that we don’t live next door to a huge shopping mall center.  However, some days I can’t stand it here.  On the days when I wake up and realize I need to run an errand out of town I get discouraged about how much time and effort it’s going to take just to get an errand or two done.  I think if there could just be a decent coffee shop in town, maybe even with a river view, I could see myself really experiencing a new level of acceptance in my heart.  The only “coffee shop” here is the espresso machine in the back of the video rental store…

Downtown Rio Vista:
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Cameron is well and doing so great with the fact that I’m often not feeling well most of the time.  Many times when he finds me laying down he says, “Mom not feeling well?  Mom have baby?”  And that pretty much sums it up.  I am really, really hoping my second trimester brings more energetic days and maybe even some space of mind that can be put to good use.

 And this is how we change diapers when mom is queasy:
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A doctor’s mask and a drop of essential oil – saves the day!

Hello From The Other Side!

Helllloooooo from the other side!

This is my husband, who is now a college grad!

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He was in line beside the really tall guy, which made him easy to spot in the crowd of graduates.  Cameron managed to last about 45 minutes seated, which just barely got us through the keynote speaker, before he got squirmy and awkward glances started coming my way from other attenders.  So for the rest of the ceremony I chased Cameron up and down a large ramp and kept poking my head inside the door of the upstairs balcony to make sure that it wasn’t Jon’s turn yet.  

When he walked across the stage I swear it was like watching him walk across dry land through the Red Sea.  My husband did something that I don’t think many people could do.  Three years of holding down a stressful full-time job while going to school at a public school that’s often compared to the Ivy League ones and still managing to be a good husband to the mother of a newborn, turned adventurous toddler.  At times when I was having an especially hard day either physically or emotionally, Jon would skip a class to come home and help.  He would say, “I want you to know that you always come first.”  Then he would either trust that the Lord would help him make up what he missed in the class and/or he would stay up until 2 a.m. to finish the homework he could have completed earlier, but chose to have dinner and help put Cameron to bed instead.

During the last three years, our marriage has deepened a lot.  For me, the most significant thing I’ve experienced is a deep confidence that my husband will do anything for me and for our family (except cook meth, because we watched Breaking Bad so we know how that would turn out).  I wasn’t worried when I married him, but now I’ve seen in action that I do not ever need to doubt my husband’s commitment.  I’m sure during difficult times in our future where I’m crazy angry or in a season of dryness I will look back on this time and be reminded of my husband’s love and intention toward me.

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Something I’m really thankful for right now:  The fact that these two are finally going to have some quality time together!  And the timing is perfect because Cameron will turn two next week and he is in a stage where Jon can play with him and teach him how to do new things now.  Cameron is an observer and when he witnesses someone doing something, he immediately wants to try it himself.  I can already see him having a great work ethic as he grows up because when he’s trying to do something he is unwilling to stop until he’s succeeded.  This is a trait that he can thank Jon’s DNA for.

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Even though all this mushy stuff is very true, to be perfectly honest, our last week in San Luis Obispo was terrible.  Jon had bronchitis and barely slept in order to finish his final papers and cram for finals, I came down with the flu, the only piece of “furniture” left in our apartment was an air mattress (flu+air mattress=the worst combination ever), Cameron was fussy and hardly napping because all his toys were gone and our apartment felt chaotic since we were living out of suitcases, and on top of all this we were trying to clean our apartment, get the last bits of our random stuff shoved into our cars and then run to the store to grab another on-the-go meal when we realized none of us had eaten yet that day.  Plus there was a graduation party to be had – which would have been cancelled had two of my sweetest friends not taken over on the day of, done the shopping and basically made it all happen.

So the day before this lovely family photo was taken I had a 104 degree fever and each person in our family was pretty much falling apart.  We all basically crawled to the finish line.  Then the day we left San Luis Obispo I came down with Bronchitis and then spent my first two weeks in our new home on the couch and miserable.  It’s been a month now and I’m still coughing frequently.

BUT, THANK YOU LORD that somehow my sicknesses subsided during graduation day and the day after while we went to church for the last time in SLO and then had the long-awaited graduation party.

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Being on the other side is full of possibilities and also some unforeseen challenges.  Something I didn’t expect was the frustration that can happen when two people who have been living one way suddenly get thrown into a new environment.  We went from a lifestyle of constant pressure to one where we have three weeks just to hang out together before Jon began his new job.  So lately we’ve experienced a lot of extremes; times of great closeness and also moments of intense anger because in so many ways we are having to get to know each other all over again.  Change makes a Pitbull out of all of us.

However, something incredible we are both feeling is the freedom of possibilities opening up.  For three years now, we have had to talk about things in a “someday” fashion.  As in, “Someday we should talk more about that,” or “When you’re done with school we should…”  But now, all of a sudden there’s the exciting sense that if God asked us to do something today, we could start doing it tomorrow!  So new dreams are opening up and we finally get to make plans for the now.

And Jon really likes his new job.
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Cam loves having more room to play.
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Side note: The Rhyme Bible is such an awesome Bible for toddlers.  Cam and I have made a habit of waking up in the morning and pouring milk for him and making coffee for me.  Then we sit on the couch, each with our Bibles.  For the first bit of time I remind him it’s quiet reading time, so he flips through the pages and looks at the pictures.  Sometimes he will be done reading before I’m ready to move on so while I finish I’ll ask him to go get out his train set or blocks.  On days where I wake up to a rough start, sometimes I grab my Dr. Sears book on discipline (The Discipline Book) to get some quick practical advice and just pray for the Holy Spirit’s help.

Cameron and his Bible.  They are only about $10 with Amazon Prime.
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I’m sharing this because this is the only way I’ve discovered so far for me to carve out some focused time for the Lord in my day during this season.  I know this won’t work when I have school aged kids so I’ll have to find a different method then, but for right now it’s a great way for me to have some nice wake up time in the morning and a way to introduce Cameron to the importance of finding a way to begin the day abiding in God’s love and presence.

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One thing I’m excited about is our home and how it is beginning to feel like such a warm and welcoming place.  For the past few years we haven’t been able to host very many people at our place.  Our apartment was small and an awkward layout for guests, so we rarely wanted to have people over.  We still did occasionally, but once Jon was a few weeks into each quarter it became impossible to make plans in the evenings with friends.  He never knew ahead of time how much homework he would have on a certain evening so we had to protect our evenings for school work and for any bit of family time we could get.

But now, now I have a real dining table and a real kitchen that isn’t so overstuffed that items are constantly falling out of cupboards.  So one of my dreams for this year is to make it normal for us to invite people into our home and have new faces around our dinner table.  I also have a goal of making more meals from scratch.  I just discovered a PBS series online called Kitchen Vignettes.  They are 3-ish minute video montages of cooking/baking set to music.  Watch just one and you will be inspired to make something new.

At the moment we are visiting some churches as we pray for the Lord to direct us to a church family that we can call home.  We are eager to find a place where we can start building the kind of relationships with people that will help us grow and experience God more, but in the meantime it’s been great to experience how each church body in unique because of the unique people that comprise it.  Walking into a brand new place and instantly feeling connected to a hundred people that you’ve never met before is so sweet.  It’s incredible how knowing and loving the same person can instantly bond complete strangers.  (Since writing this post, we have actually found a church that felt like home as soon as we walked in.  I’m excited to share more about this sometime soon when I get the chance to write about it).

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In case you don’t know, my family just moved to Rio Vista, California.  It’s a lovely rural location, central to San Fransisco, Sacramento and a bunch of other cities like Vacaville, Davis, Antioch, Fairfield and more.  We are discovering more things we love about this area all the time.  It’s fairly close to the mountains, Yosemite and Tahoe.  Many drives take us through beautiful countryside or along the Sacramento river.

Tahoe is just a quick three hour drive away.
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In the countryside are wide open fields full of cattle and sheep grazing; many of them the same cattle and sheep that my husband will be overseeing.  Its a fifteen minute drive from our house to the closest Bart stop where we can hop on and it will take us straight into San Fransisco so we won’t have to deal with traffic or ridiculous parking prices.  We are also excited to venture into the mountains to try out some backpacking, fly fishing, hunting and boating on the river.

We were sad to trade in the beaches, but we are finding that there may actually be more opportunities for adventure here; for things we love to do or that we would love to try.  I don’t mean to make it sound like I’m bragging about where we live – I think anytime you move to a new place things feel exciting and fresh and you fall in love with the place, even if later on you end up hating everything about it.  Plus, I think I’m naturally someone who thrives on new environments.  It tends to bring out the best version of myself.

Here’s the spur of the moment late Christmas picture we took last week before we discarded our tree.  I get to be the creative director and set designer for these lovely family photos each year and Jon gets to be the production team and camera man.  This was the first family Christmas photo that didn’t involve someone crying or cussing, so we considered it a success.

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Last year we took our photo right at sunset, on big wet rocks at the ocean…

155813_10100618980235713_1319873864_n  The sun was setting quickly, everyone was cold and I kept telling Jon, “You better get this picture right because there is no way we are getting ready and coming out here again to do this!”  On the walk back to the car we were saying to each other how taking a Christmas photo sure hadn’t been a very merry experience.  Yet we do it every year…

We were all actually happy when we took this photo last week after visiting the Sacramento Zoo so I will end on a good note.

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The Prosperity Gospel

I am so glad that someone finally shared something about this which makes sense.  For years now, every time someone has recommended that I read a book by Joel Osteen or Joyce Meyer I have politely smiled, but not known what to say.

During my senior year of high school I had Viral Menengitis.  I was sick for about eight months, two of which I spent in a dark basement because I was too sensitive to light and sound to be upstairs.  Once I was able to tolerate small amounts of light and sound, early in the morning I would turn on some Christian TV channel to hear sermons.  One of the preachers I listened to during this time was Joel Osteen.

I’ll admit that during this season of life I enjoyed turning on the TV to hear his sermons.  Really, I just enjoyed any form of human contact or something that made me feel connected to the outside world.  I liked hearing a positive message.  He seemed very friendly.  But even then, I knew that this guy’s preaching was not legit.  Every message was the same and every message was so surfacey that he might as well just call himself a Motivational Speaker, not a pastor.

Anyway, I share this story because this morning I read something and saw a video that explained some things about Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer (among others) that finally made sense.  This was not some kind of whiny article or anything meant to bash or attack them.  The truth is, what they teach is a lot easier to stomach than much of what is in the Bible, except that it’s not true.

This topic of the prosperity gospel has been something I have mowed over time and time again in my own personal experience.  Why is it that respected Christian theologians from the past few hundred years talk of a Christianity that is so different than much of the Christianity that is preached in the pulpits today?  This has always confused me.  The perspective on money and suffering seems to have changed so much just recently…

I remember hearing somewhere that if you can’t preach the same message to someone who is dirt poor in India as you do here in America, then it is not the gospel that you are preaching.  

The gospel is for everyone.  All peoples.  Period.

I’m certain I’m getting in a bit over my head, trying to share about this topic.  I am not a theologian by any means.  I struggle just to be a Bible reader at times.

But I felt this was important to share as best I could.  Really, you should just read the article that I read for yourself, since the writers are more credible than me and since most American Christians are affected by the prosperity gospel in one way or another.  And made sure to watch the John Piper video that is included too.

 

Snapshots

If I started talking about how the world is spinning fast and everything is changing, you would stop reading.  Everyone has that story.  Everyone feels like their current life season is a bit crazier than their neighbor’s.

So instead I’ll give you some snapshots.  Since the world is in fact spinning fast, snapshots are really the most time effective way to go anyway.

We move in less than thirty days to a town that is about the size of a Target.  That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it seems like a fitting description anyway.  I never imagined myself living in a small town.  I perceive there to be charming things about it and also many things that make me raise my eyebrows in bewilderment.  “What do you mean there’s no Starbucks…?”  This has already happened.

Speaking of Starbucks, I’ve been drinking a lot of very strong coffee lately.  When life gets strong, my coffee gets stronger.

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I’ve been working.  Two days a week or so.  Doing sales on campus at Cal Poly.  I work with my friends and it’s a dream job.  Three months ago, Jon and I had no clue how we would be able to afford these final transition months of him not working and the move.  Then, SHAZAM!  And thank you Jesus.  God provides.  He’s so legit.

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photo (36)Our box & pillow maze.  

I finished packing last week.  Everything that could be packed is packed away into our storage unit, ready to be loaded into the moving truck this weekend.  I actually really enjoyed packing.  Going through boxes and drawers and corners of the closets is my specialty.  There’s plenty that I’m not very good at, but just let me say that I am darn good at tackling a messy space.  Like a lawn mower, once I get started I won’t stop until the whole place is mowed down.

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We got a hamster.  As if there isn’t enough going on right now…we were bored one Friday night and made a spur of the moment decision to run over to the pet store just before they closed.  His name is Mattress because that is how Cameron pronounces hamster.

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I joined a gym.  It’s amazing.  Going to classes with loud music and an upbeat person who tells me what to do so that I don’t have to use my brain at all for an hour is one of the best things for me right now.  And after only a few classes I could already feel my bum firming up, in case you wanted to know.

181448_10151739062970192_1706711623_nMy friends Jen & Brian when they met their daughter, Eliana, for the first time.  Read about their story: Part I, Part II, Part III

We’ve been thinking about adoption.  Beginning a week after my miscarriage, my husband and I both felt wildly open to the idea of adoption and more open to God’s plan for our family than ever before.  Neither of us have ever been people who have seriously considered adoption before.  Of course we like the idea of children finding homes, as everyone does, but lately something has been different in our heart’s gaze on the need.  I started talking to a few friends who have adopted or fostered children.  I wanted to learn more.  I still desire to have more children of my own, but once we move, our plan is to find a local agency to begin the process and see where it goes.  We don’t really know where it will ultimately go, but for now we are going to follow the Lord’s leading that we’ve received and just trust Him.  Oh yeah, and then on Sunday at church there was an announcement that in two weeks from now there will be a luncheon for anyone who wants to learn more about foster care and adoption.  What?!  I’ve been a part of this church for over five years and all of a sudden for the first time ever there’s a luncheon about this.  Again, God is so legit.  So please pray with us.  If that all pans out I’ll probably put together some kind of campaign to raise money.  I hear adoption can cost about $20,000.  But here’s a crazy stat:  There are approximately 400,000 Christian churches in the U.S.  If one family from every church adopted, there would be no more kids without families in our country.  Seriously.
This is one of the adoption stories that has impacted me the most.

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Cameron is two months from turning two.  I personally think he’s already turned two, if you know what I mean.  I’ve been meeting more of my angry side lately as the stage of tantrums and the like have set in.  So during one of my prayer times last week this is what I decided – it was either this or get on a boat by myself and sail away for a year.  This is the “Year of Discipline.”  Sounds a bit intense, but really it’s not.

“Discipline your children while you still have the chance; indulging them destroys them.” -Proverbs 19:18.

I decided that I’m going to view this next year of Cameron’s life as it should be viewed: as the most influential year of his life so far.  More than any other year`, this year I have the opportunity to shape him and teach him how to handle all the crazy feelings and emotions that he will experience for all his days.  This also means that this is my year of modeling good and healthy responses since that is the most powerful way he will learn.  It means that for a year I am going to get up off the couch to go help him put something down instead of yelling across the room, “Cameron, don’t throw the iPad!”  I am going to help him see how his actions affect others and I am going to give him grace because nobody has the self control to act right all the time.  I am going to put a choke hold on my anger and propensity to yell.  I wish that weren’t the case, but when you grow up in a home with yelling, it isn’t something you can just change overnight.  It’s something that you will work on every day for a year just to see three steps of improvement.  Grace, grace, grace.  This year will be full of grace and the cross of Christ beckoning me to trade in my old broken ways, for a better way.
I read a great blog for moms/women on anger and yelling the other day.  It’s worth the read.  I’m also reading The Discipline Book by Dr. Sears which is amazing!  If you have the idea that discipline and punishment are the same thing, then you should definitely check out this book because it will change the way you view your child and the task of disciplining them.

This weekend, like I mentioned, we are packing up the truck and moving everything besides a couch, an air mattress and Cameron’s crib into our new place.  Then we will be back in San Luis Obispo for two more weeks before it’s time to leave for good.

Snapshots of our new home soon to come.

We Planted A Tree

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Today after church, we drove out to my friend Hannah’s family ranch.  We ate lunch at the picnic table beside the pond and we talked with her dad, who always has a few new projects underway at the ranch.  The family ranch is used for retreats for troubled teens among other purposes.  The kids come to learn how to grow, prepare and cook food, shoot BB guns, practice archery and fish.  It’s a beautiful landscape full of tall trees, including her grandfather’s Redwood grove, an apple and pear orchard and lots of crispy fall leaves that crinkle under your feet as you walk.

A few weeks ago when we lost the baby, Hannah’s parents offered to let us come out to the ranch and plant a Redwood tree in remembrance of our daughter.  It seemed like the perfect thing to do.

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Since society doesn’t really have a traditional way to honor the life of an unborn baby, we weren’t exactly sure how to go about it.  We knew we wanted to do something special, but couldn’t necessarily decide on what that something should be.  So when Hannah told us about her parent’s offer, we thought it sounded beautiful and gratefully accepted.

Her dad chose a spot among other Redwoods, right next to the pond and our friend Kyle hand-crafted a name plate.

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 Everything about the day was lovely and my heart felt full as we drove home.

It’s special to know people who aren’t afraid to come into your grief.  People who stand beside you in your healing and who join in on the joy when it’s time to celebrate.

I miss my baby girl.  I really do.  Even though I never got to meet her, I feel like I knew her.  Whenever I see a pregnant woman in the grocery store or a baby girl being pushed down the street in a stroller or even on TV, my heart does this little twisting thing where for a split second I feel a longing so deep that it goes through the floorboards.

I hope someday to have a baby girl of my own.  Following the miscarriage I told God, partially kidding and partially not, that if I end up with three boys now that I am going to be really pissed.  Like not pissed forever, just pissed for a little while.

Until Jesus comes back I will just have to dream about how beautiful you are sweet Ava Annalise.  xoxoxo, Mom

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11 Bible Verses For Someone Who Has Had A Miscarriage

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A week or so after the miscarriage, a cute package arrived.  It was from my sister-in-law, Renee.  Inside were some yummy fall treats and a bundle of small purple card-stock rectangles wrapped in a pretty purple ribbon.  I carefully untied the bow to see what was written on the cards.  What I found were eleven hand-written Bible verses.

After reading through them, I placed the cards in various locations around my home.  A few went on my vanity, two on my bedside table, more randomly placed in the kitchen, the bathroom, etc.

I’ve shared this with some people in my life, but not on my blog yet:  The crazy thing about going through the miscarriage was that never, ever, ever in my life have I experienced the kind of closeness with the Holy Spirit that I experienced in the two weeks leading up to the miscarriage and the week following it.  Here’s a short synopsis of what was happening in my life during this time:

-A friend came over to chat.  We talked about how another person we both know claimed that the Holy Spirit was her best friend.  I later pondered this thinking, “How?  I don’t feel like that ever been true for me.”  This conversation kept coming to mind in the days following.

-Pregnancy fatigue got worse.  My mom-in-law stayed with us for a week and then I decided to go back to Colorado with her for another week.  Because of the before mentioned conversation, I decided (not sure where this decision even came from) that while I was in Colorado I was going to become best friends with the Holy Spirit.

-While in Colorado I was too tired and sick to ever read the Bible, but I did have an ongoing dialogue with the Holy Spirit more than ever before.  When I’d lay in bed at night, without my husband to talk to, I poured out my heart to the Holy Spirit and I found that it felt wonderful to do so.  I drew near to Him and in return I felt that He was drawing near to me.

-When I returned home, this closeness remained; enough so that my husband even commented on how he’d been encouraged by my attitude lately and that my faith was inspiring him.  (When your husband says that, know something legit is going on.)

-A week later I started bleeding.  Despite my symptoms, I felt secure.  I felt sure that everything would be okay.  I felt close to God.

-The night of the miscarriage Jon, Cam and I drove to San Fransisco.  Most of the car ride was spent praying and talking.  The last hour of the drive I experienced painful cramping.

-When we got to the hotel, Jon went inside to check in.  While he was inside, my water broke.  There was a problem with our credit card so it took him about fifteen minutes to get the issue resolved.  When he finally returned, we parked and I used one of Cameron’s diapers to keep me from bleeding through my pants on the walk up to the hotel room.

-As soon as I got to the hotel room I went and sat on the toilet.  Almost instantly blood started pouring out.

-The rest of the story you can read here.

-Once we returned home I went through a week of grieving.  But not the despair kind of grieving.  It was more of a deep, peaceful sadness than an angry grief.

Like I’ve mentioned before, I don’t understand why the miscarriage happened.  But all I know is that strangely enough it seemed to me like God prepared me for it.  There have been countless situations in my life where I’ve responded terribly to difficult circumstances.  A miscarriage has the potential to wreck a person.  Yet somehow, promptings from the Holy Spirit lead me to draw near.  I didn’t do anything flashy or religious.  In fact, during this time I mostly laid on the couch because that was all I could manage to do.  I felt weak in every respect, yet the Holy Spirit was truly becoming my best friend.

I saw a quote the other day that said, “You never realize that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have.”  This was very true for me during this time.

So all that being said, there is a God whose love is strong enough to go into even the darkest of situations and who sits with us in our tragedy and offers us hope and healing.  I think the Bible verses from my sister-in-law are all great reminders of the kind of sweet relationship we can have with God in the midst of incredible pain.

And of course, there is no right or wrong way to go through a miscarriage.  We all do the best we can do.  If you’re someone who felt alone and hopeless after your miscarriage, that is understandable and that is okay.  There’s no shame or guilt for feeling angry at God or upset at what’s happened.  Sometimes it takes us a while to find peace in our hearts and to be open to healing.  But it’s possible.

Whether you’ve experienced a miscarriage or some other kind of trauma or tragedy, I hope these verses point you towards the one who cares for you the most.

  1. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  -Romans 15:13

  2. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  – 2 Corinthians 12:9

  3. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love O Lord, endures forever.  – Psalm 138:8

  4. Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truths and teach me, for you are God my Savior and my hope is in you all day long.  – Psalm 25:4-5

  5. Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  – Lamentations 3:22-23

  6. The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.  – Psalm 145:13

  7. …pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord.  – Lamentations 2:19

  8. Blesses is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.  – Luke 1:45

  9. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.  – John 16:33

  10. You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.  – Psalm 10:17

  11. For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear; I will help you!”  – Isaiah 41:13

5 Rules To Go By When Someone You Know Has A Miscarriage

miscarriage-sculpture

The first week was hard.  I spent a lot of time on the phone.  I took naps when I needed to and I pretty much only thought about the miscarriage.  It consumed me.

The next week was about trying to get back into my normal routine.  I took Cameron to the park by the beach and I did my best to put on make up.  It was strange to feel okay about starting to move on.

The third week I was back in my normal routine.  I went grocery shopping and prepared some dinners.  This made my husband happy, even though he was fine with my soup-in-a-can dinners and sushi take-out for the past couple weeks anyway.

It’s been three weeks since the miscarriage.  The world is still spinning.  People are still driving to work.  This is both comforting and disturbing.  My heart is healing, but having a miscarriage changed me.  In what way, I’m not completely sure.  I just know that it did.

I’ve been fortunate though because people in my life have been truly supportive.  The best kind of support in times of tragedy looks like kindness from warm people and not like solutions, because there are no good solutions.

Since people often have no idea what to do or say to someone who has just experienced a miscarriage, here are 5 helpful rules to go by (in my opinion, of course)…

5 Rules To Go By:

1) Don’t compare the situation to any other.  

Wrong response: “I know what you mean, when my grandma died…” or “My brother’s wife had a few miscarriages…”  It’s not the appropriate time to share.  Each situation is unique and deserves to be treated as so.  Plus, this takes the focus off the person who experienced a loss and creates a situation where the person now feels obligated to offer condolences to you.

Correct response: “I’m so sorry you’re going through this,” or “I can’t imagine how difficult this must befor you.”  It’s okay to relate to the person if you want by saying, “I had two miscarriages myself.  If you ever want to talk to somebody, I’d love to listen.”  If the person wants to know more about your experiences, they will ask.

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2) Don’t feel the need to explain the ‘why.’

Wrong response: “I’m sure it’s for the better.”  There is no explanation sufficient for explaining why tragedies happen.  Plus, it’s unlikely that you know the reason anyway.

Correct response: “Let me know if you need anything.”  “Can I bring you dinner?”  Or bring flowers or a card.  Just don’t try to explain the why.

k

3) Don’t tell someone that their pain is common.

Wrong response: “Lots of people deal with this.”  Even though millions of people may have experienced the same situation, this may be the first time that THIS particular person has had to go through this kind of pain (even if it’s their third miscarriage, it’s still the first time this person has experienced their third miscarriage and each loss is a singular event.  Each time, they lost a different child; a unique member of their family).

Correct response: “I wish you could have been spared this pain,” or “I’ll be praying for you.”

k

4) Don’t pretend that nothing has happened

Of course, no person is the same in how they deal with death.  I found myself wanting to talk about it a lot.  For others, it’s the opposite.  I think this is why people feel awkward about saying anything at all when things like this happen.  Nobody wants to be the one to make a difficult situation even worse.  But acting like nothing happened (if you are close to the person) makes the situation more awkward and uncomfortable than it already is.

Correct response: Simply ask the person how they are doing.  If they mention the miscarriage or that things have been hard, it is a sign that they are open to talking about the experience.  If they respond by talking about the weather, their latest activities, etc. then they probably don’t want to bring it up, so you can just let it go too.

Of course, how you respond also depends on your personal relationship with the person and what you already know about them and how they tend to deal with things.  If you’re simply acquaintances, then saying, “I’m so sorry for your loss,” and possibly offering a hug will probably do.

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5) If you feel compelled to carry out an act of kindness, do it.  

After going through this myself, I can say that the small gestures from people mean so much and can be so comforting.

-Two days in a row, a neighbor brought me a plate of fresh, sliced fruit because she said it would be good for my body
-Another neighbor brought me flowers in a cute mason jar, donuts and a card
-A friend from church brought me flowers
-A family member sent me a care package
-Another family member sent me the booties she had been crocheting for the baby (after asking me if those were something that I would like to have).
-A friend sent me a small stuffed animal and a card
-A friend from church brought us dinner
-A few friends offered to watch Cameron so that I could have some time to myself the week following the miscarriage
-A handful of people wrote me kind Facebook messages sharing that they were available to me to be a listening ear if I wanted

Of course, none of these things are required or expected, but each of these things really touched my heart and made me feel so loved.  So if you feel compelled to do something kind, then just do it.

I guarantee it will be appreciated and probably needed.

k

We’re Moving

SLO2

Five and a half years ago I bought a one way ticket to San Luis Obispo, California.  Seriously, it’s beautiful here.  And this view is only ten minutes from my house…

San-Luis-Obispo2

I felt like God was leading me to come here.

So I did.

The day after I arrived, I met my husband.

I fell in love him, the California Coast and the sunny weather.

My life became more full of good friends, community and Jesus than I had ever experienced before.

Jon and I got married on a beautiful hillside, surrounded by great people.

A year later we found out that Cameron existed.

Honestly, the last five years have been the most wonderful whirlwind, full of ups and downs of course, but shimmering in the light of God’s lavish grace.

And now,

We feel that God is leading us somewhere new.  Northern California, to be more specific.

After Jon has spent the last three years running the gauntlet of working full time and going to school full time, the Lord has provided him with his dream job.  Amen 🙂

He’s going to wear cowboy boots to work and drive a pick-up truck.  He’s going to come home smelling like sheep and cattle.  Jon has always been oddly passionate about sheep and red meat, so the fact that he is transitioning into the Agricultural Industry feels like we got sprinkled with a bit of magic destiny dust.

So our hearts are sad to leave behind a place that we love and people who are dear to our hearts, but we also go with the expectation that letting the Lord lead our lives is always the best, and really the only, option.  So we make the move in December.  We will live in either Davis, Dixon, Rio Vista or Vacaville (all just outside of Sacramento), but we still have a lot of details to figure out.

So goodbye beaches – I will truly miss you! – and hello country swag.

Funny Boy

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I showed Cameron the little stuffed monkey I received in the mail yesterday. I said, “Cameron, this is a monkey.  Her name is Baby Sister.  What do you think about that?” He looked up at me, looked back at the monkey, got a big smile on his face and said, “Ewwwwww!” Then he grabbed the monkey out of my hands and threw it off the bed and onto the floor.

I love him.

It made me laugh, picturing him meeting a real baby sister in the hospital and responding with, “Ewwww!”

I’m grateful that somehow my twenty-month-old son is able to infuse this situation with some humor.  He doesn’t know what’s happened.  He just knows that our normal routine has been replaced by him getting to spend many mornings at a some friend’s houses, which he loves.

Right now, Cameron brings me hope.  He truly is the perfect addition to our family.  He came at a time that was unexpected, yet perfect.  My heart aches because I want so badly for him to have a sibling to play with.  Even if I got pregnant tomorrow, it would be a year and a half until his sibling would be mobile and any fun to him.  These are the things that are hard to think on.

But through all of this, my trust in the Lord has only deepened.  I’m quite a long way off from being a modern day Job, but the day after the miscarriage I remember thinking of Job and then saying to myself, “It’s gonna take a whole hell of a lot more than this to make me turn on my God.”

It seems that everyone goes through tragedy.  Some go through it with shallow sentiments of, “Everything will be okay,” and “Time heals all wounds,” and others, like myself, get to go through it will the unchanging, everlasting Word of God and the fierce love and comfort of the Holy Spirit.  Truly, I am not a victim, I am blessed.

Grieving is such a strange process.  It seems that each day I am unaware of what lies ahead.  Sometimes I feel normal and happy.  Other times, for no apparent reason I feel drained and immobile.  I’m just trying to take it all as it comes.

The Bible says that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love him.  I believe this with all my heart and I feel it in my bones that this situation is an opportunity to see God live up to this in a big way.

And again, I’m grateful for Cameron who gets funnier and weirder and more Kidwell-ish each day.

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