weight of winter…

October 20, 2011


May 8, 2011

damn birthday…

February 18, 2011

there was a day when I sweetly dreamed of sharing a birthday with my soon to be baby boy…  now as my birthday looms like the dark of night, I am crushed beneath the weight of what should have been.  it is heavy upon my chest to the point of making it physically hard to draw breath.  I stand in an emptying parking lot, with the last of the wintry winds blowing around me… through me… I try to take a long deep breath of the cold damp air.  it doesn’t work.  I want to be blown away, or at least have what is left of the sorrow that seems to ever seep from my broken heart be gone with the wind or frozen out of me.

I don’t know what happened.  I was fine when I woke up.  somewhere along my very average, absolutely typical day,  an ache crept in.  I think it is because my birthday is just a few days away.  when I was first pregnant with luke, I counted out the days and figured I would have a little one about the end of february, close to my birthday.   knowing that I would have a scheduled cesarean, I figured that I could maybe  have it worked out to deliver on my birthday.  or I imagined myself as pregnant as can be, absolutely full of child, going on a birthday date with my true love.  these thoughts seem to have been deeply cemented into my brain.  I sincerely felt I was doing well, but the impending date seems to have brought me low once again.  now that the weight has landed, it seems immovable.  once again I am at a heightened state of awareness of everything baby, everything boy, everything pregnancy.  from the little board books on display that will soon be filling the easter baskets of someone else’s little man, someone else’s fourth born to the perfect hand prints left behind on the restaurant door that look to me to belong to a little person of about 2.  two perfect handprints, side by side where that child stood and pushed the revolving door… two handprints that I wish were gracing the glass doors of my home.

getting into the van, I turn on the radio, hoping for an uplifting song to chase away the reality of pain that is squeezing the air right out of my lungs.  something to help me glaze over and think of anything else but that beautiful, tiny boy that I held but for a moment.  no relieve.  the song playing is ‘if you want me to’ by ginny owens… a song from luke’s funeral.  my eyes burn.  once again it feels as if God is mean.  why?  why!?  I seem to be ever haunted by this loss.  I try to tell myself to pull it together, it’s time to get over this, and then I argue with myself saying that that thinking is absolutely ridiculous!  my baby died!  I carried him for what seemed like an eternity knowing that I had lost him before he was even free of my body and yet not being able to let go of the thought that maybe this was my turn for a miracle.  that wound is deep. … … deep.  I don’t know that it will ever be gone.  I may notice the blue fuzzy jammies on the end cap for the rest of my life and always have that pang of loss and sorrow.

interestingly providentially, the verse I read this morning was:

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? … This I know, God is for me. Psalm 56:8-9


I’m going to cling to that.  … He is for me … He knows all these tossings and tears … He knows more than I do and is more worried about my character, that ever needs refining, than my comfort, which will be but a mist anyway.  this wave of sorrow will pass, the healing will come, the space between the waves keeps getting longer.  I just need to get past this damn birthday.


January 4, 2011

I started seeing a therapist.  my regular MD has been recommending it for at least a year.  I finally went.  the whole baby luke in my BSF class, born in late december was the final straw… the last push.  I need a way to handle all these things that seem to follow me, taunt me.  the therapist agreed.  she too, confirms I have PTSD. (post traumatic stress disorder)  and then add PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) to it and a 13 year-old with CP (cerebral palsy) and I’m bound to have some pretty tough days.  still, this is who I am… this is my life… I have to be able to function.  I want to function well.

my first assignment from her was to keep a list of everything that is a trigger, things that send my mind to where I was 2 years ago.  startlingly enough, I all ready have quite a list.  so far, more visual things, like the mcdonalds drive thru and the baby row at target and the newborn at panera and the ‘luke’ that took our order at taco bell.  I’m realizing that there are an awful lot of audio triggers too, like anything about death, family size, snowflakes, references to how small something is…  with my brain trying to hold all of this info, trying to protect me from so many things that are being interpreted as potential ‘hurts’, rather than being able to understand that I am not in danger of being hurt by the pregnant lady, understanding that season has passed … there leaves little wonder that other functions like short-term memory are being dropped off.  hence, the overflowing kitchen sink, keys locked in the van and purse left at the grocery store… to name a few.

I’m happy to be in this place.  I think this is where I need to be… this is where the healing begins.  kind of sad it has taken this long for me to get here…  always pride in the way… thinking I can handle it all on my own, I’ll deal with it,  I’ll be fine, I can figure it out, telling my self, ‘rub some dirt on it.  walk it off.’  I feel better saying… I can’t do this, I need help, I’m tired.  here I am, weak and wounded… show me the way, lead me by the hand.  no more triggers…  only sweet reminders.

if only…

December 29, 2010

we went to see the movie tangled last night.  it was wonderful.  of course I cried, but that isn’t really any big news.   I see many parallels with my life,, which I’m sure, other people relate it to their lives as well.  here’s how I felt it fit me… start with this happy couple who has their beautiful baby stolen away in the night.  every year on her birthday they release lanterns to remember her.  there was a scene towards the end where the king and queen are getting ready to send up the lantern for what should be their daughters 18th birthday.  the queen is straightening the king’s pendant and when she looks up at him, he has a tear about to come rolling down his cheek… he misses his baby and wants her back.  he is heartbroken… utterly heartbroken.  that was probably the hardest part for me.  I clearly remember a very similar situation between brian and I.  seeing him hurt and broken is more painful than being hurtand broken myself.  I really wish he didn’t know this kind of pain.

anyway, back to the movie… near the end, ryder is willing to give up his life for rapunzel’s, even as she is trying to sing her magical song over him and  give up her freedom so that he may live.  and even though she can’t save him with her magical hair, a tear of ‘true love’ falls on to his cheek and that is enough to restore him.  joyfully he comes back to life and they fall into each other’s arms and live happily ever after.  if only it were as easy as a tear of true love, or simply singing a magical incantation of your heart’s desire, if only…

‘flower gleam and glow, let your power shine, make the clock reverse, bring back what once was mine,

 heal what has been hurt, change the fate’s design, save what has been lost, bring back what once was mine, what once was mine….’

at a loss…

December 22, 2010

so you know my BSF group is a challenge, just because of the pregnant women and then the addition of a woman due with a little boy at the end of december.  well… she had the baby.  his name is luke.

I’m not saying in any way that she shouldn’t name her baby whatever she wants.  obviously I love that name too and think it is wonderful for a baby boy.  the part that leaves me speechless is just that this whole thing is happening.  I mean statistically speaking… what are the odds?!?!  in all of the twin cities, all the bible studies, all the different discussion groups in each bible study… I’m in the one with the woman who has a little boy and names him luke just as we near what should be my luke’s 2nd birthday.

again with the in your face, all the time, taunting…  it makes me very weary. (not that I wasn’t weary before)  I’m to tired to even think about it.  I’m at a loss…


December 16, 2010

as I pull my winter jammies out and put on the striped pair from gap, I remember that I was wearing these jammies as brian and I toured the NICU and looked at the other little one pound babies and got all the info on where we would be moved to when we finally delivered…

as I soak in the tub, I remember how I used to sit in the tub for some very long stretches just staring at all the miscellaneous bottles of soap, shampoo, lotion, cleanser and such paying especially close detail to the net ounces of each product and debating about whether luke weighed more or less than these multi=colored bottles scattered around my tub…

as I stare out the window and watch the pretty little snowflakes fall, I remember how it seemed like it was snowing every time I would leave yet another ultrasound or test or dr appointment for luke…

as I buy a size 14 shirt for dawson at gap kids and think about how next year I’ll be shopping adult sizes for this kid, I remember how many years I spent cruising the sale rack at baby gap and how I had just bought the cutest ‘little monkey’ shirt for luke just two years ago…

as I hang various snowflake ornaments all about our christmas tree and house… … … I remember.

my taunting foe…

November 22, 2010

another dilemma has recently surfaced in my fairytale  soap-opera life.  after coming to grips with the woman in my discussion group at BSF who has the 2 year-old little boy named luke and the 2 others who are pregnant, one of which has been in for a level 2 ultrasound just last week and ‘isn’t even going to think about those things that the dr said.’ there was yet one more woman to be added.  it seems impossible to even imagine that she would be assigned to our group, but she was.  she happens to be due in december with a little boy. …(stunned silence)… and the worst part is that now that babies are allowed, I know that she will be back after break… sitting there nursing her brand new little boy… that smells so sweet… and makes all those extraordinary newborn sounds.  I’m thinking… you have got to be kidding me.  you have got to be @%&# kidding me!!  could I have one place where i can let my guard down, where I can refill my cup, where I can enjoy the fellowship of other women believers as they discover and study their way through Isaiah too? apparently not.

so after leaving BSF upset and talking with friends about how upset I am and then requesting that this new girl might be moved because I am upset.  my answer comes back … these groups are prayed about and it doesn’t appear to be an accident… I mean, we are  studying the sovereignty of God and all. … maybe this is a oppurtunity for you (me) to be victorious in Christ. … … …

after crying and feeling ssoo frustrated and tired of what seems like an endless piling on of little things to haunt me and telling brian, “I’m sick of hearing about ‘victory in Christ’… give me a break!”, I went to bed.  it seems very much to me that God likes to pick on me… just trying to see how far this little bruised and battered reed can bend. 

sunday morning, we go to church, through the ice and freezing rain.  I don’t participate like I usually would.  I’m kind of pouting I guess.  I lay my weary little noggin on brian’s shoulder and fall asleep during the sermon.  I decide to sit up and be awake for the remaining part of the service, but I flip through my bible on my own, still not paying attention.  my little rebellion.  I only look for a moment until I stumble across psalm 42, which is all ready full of little notes and underlines.  it speaks directly to me… deep calls to deep… my soul is downcast… these things I remember… ‘why have You forgotten me?’ … as the deer pants for water… my tears have been my food… ‘where is your God?’… as my foes taunt me…  wait a minute, what was the part?  as my foes taunt me…  as my foes taunt me…  hmmm…  I wonder…  could that really be?  am I being ‘taunted’? … by my enemy?

now, I’ve studied suffering.  I’ve studied evil.  I’ve studied what is ‘allowed’.  I’ve studied Heaven and Hell.  somehow, my focus is always more on what God is doing, allowing.  so of course it seems like God is picking on me.  this small verse from psalm 42:10 changed that.  it changed my perspective.  what if all these little things are from my taunting foe?  then it dawns on me for the first time… that is where/why I could have victory.  I feel a little silly even saying that, because it sounds so… … … christianese. 

having said all that, it isn’t like I just feel better now.  it still hurts.  I still don’t want to sit in that group.  I plan to seek counseling to help deal with this post traumatic stress that I deal with.  it’s just that now… my heart feels a little better, I feel a little encouraged, back on the path.  I have identified my taunting foe and I have no plans of succumbing to his wiles.

Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.  Psalm 42:11

if you want me to…

September 30, 2010

bible study has started.  I’m excited about studying Isaiah this year with good friends, in a new location.  I’ve got a close friend by my side in my discussion group that, sadly, and yet, thankfully, knows my pain.  I feel like I’ve made a few steps forward in this grieving process that is taking way  longer than I want it to.  and somehow, I still almost ended up throwing my hands up and walking out, planning  to never return.  let me tell you about the ‘somehow’.

after a pleasant morning of being thankful for being in this study, thankful to see a flood of new women coming to bible study, thankful for the men who volunteer to get all these women into the parking lot in an orderly fashion, (no really… I am super thankful for them), thankful for the friendly greeter, thankful for the amazing sound of these many voices lifted together in praise, thankful for the tried and true friend who smiles as I walk in to sit by her…  I feel like I get a couple swift upper cuts as I sit down, not guarding myself in any way.  the first of which is the new pregnant lady who sits to my left, which stung a little , but not as bad as before.  the second blow was the one that really took my breath away and caused me to stumble.  the one that caused my body temp to rise and all that queasiness to stir and the desire to run kick in.  the new girl across from me, who looked vaguely familiar, was the same women who happened to be in my house last summer for a bible study.  the one who threw me for a loop at that time as well.  all because she has a little 2-year-old boy named luke. 

… … …

and I guess the thing that upsets me isn’t so much about losing luke as it is about the hurt and betrayal I feel from God himself.  I mean really.  come on.  here I am, trying to draw near, making an effort to study His word, spending my time being thankful and this is what I get?!  a slap in the face?!…  (that’s what it feels like anyway)

well, I stayed in the class.  I couldn’t focus very well for the first half, but I recovered more quickly than usual.  I stumbled, but I didn’t fall.  I caught my footing and was able to move along.  I was still wondering why though…….   still feeling a little hurt…  there has to be a reason….  but what on earth could it possibly be….

after all of that, I got in my van and headed for home, still wondering, but not as upset and remembering that God loves me and that I’ve got a long way to go and that even though this refining is a terribly painful process, the alternative  is much worse.  I trust that the path that He has me on is the one that will bring me home and bring Him the most glory in the process.  I throw out a quick pray to, ‘please help me here’, as I turn on the radio …. …. and when I do, the song from luke’s funeral was on. … …  … and the way I took it was… … …  ‘I haven’t forgotten.  I’m on your side.’ … … … and I really listened to the  lyrics again… for the first time in a long time… .. and I fully agreed with every word.  and I was able to say wholeheartedly, ‘I will walk through the valley, if you want me to.’


July 31, 2010

so you know when people who have lost someone say, ‘I think of them everyday.’?  I used to think that was probably a bit of an exaggeration… now I know that it is not.  I do actually think of luke everyday.  absolutely everyday.  sometimes it seems like I think of him all day long.  I think of him when I do a head count of kids in the van.  I think of him when I see pregnant women, little babies and toddlers.  there are a whole bunch of words that trip me up… like the name luke, anything about pregnancy, anything about death, anything about suffering.  I think of him when I hear songs on the radio, songs about Heaven, songs about loss, songs about suffering.  I think of him whenever we have to drive by my OBs office.

even though I still think about luke everyday,  it has gotten easier.  I don’t necessarily cry when I hear his name.  I can mention him and his life and feel pride and joy instead of just anguish.  I am proud to be the mother of 4.  I do almost always cry when I hear songs on the radio… but that was true before.

I’m not sure why I am mentioning this… maybe just to let you know that people who have lost a dear sweet someone probably do think of them everyday.  if you see someone and wonder how they are, or where they are in their grief… go ahead and ask.  tell them that you still remember that person too.  tell them you remember them at certain times or when you hear certain songs.  I’m guessing they would be happy to hear they aren’t the only one that still remembers or thinks of that certain special someone.

one and a half…

July 1, 2010

well… luke would be one and a half.  we would be having a little half birthday party for him just like we do for all the kids.

but we’re not.  instead, I just went to  bed and cried about it.  I want my baby.  here I am with empty arms… just as much today as back in december when he died.  the reminders are always right there.  yesterday, I found this dump truck and monster truck in a crock while brian and I were cleaning and sorting.  they were dawson’s.  I had been saving them… now what do I do with them?

this all started about 3 days ago when dawson asked me how we would have luke’s half birthday when there is no june 31.  I’ve been thinking about it ever since.  I wonder how often dawson thinks of him…

the kids were gone for 3 days.  they stayed with a very dear friend who helps us so much.  she is the only one who has ever voluntarily taken all 3 of them for an extended amount of time… being overnight.  having them gone is nice because brian and I are able to get so much more done, but having them gone also leaves a lot of quiet.  there aren’t any distractions.  and honestly, I think I survive by the distraction right now.  the reality of my life is very heavy.  the road looks very long, very hard … … …

anyway.  I suppose it is good to have to stop and face it.  to look around at how it is, how it is going to be.  to slow down and miss my baby…  to cry over his loss… to realize how much work a disabled child is… to cry over the death of all the dreams I had for him…

… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …

brian and I had a great time together.  we got a lot of work done around here.  cleaning, weeding, planting… different gardens around the house filled with bleeding hearts, bittersweet, baby’s breath, coleus and forget me nots…  and although I am physically tired from the manual labor of the last few days and my eyes are red and puffy from crying, I feel okay.  I lean on Christ to be my comforter and strength.  I will not go about as those who do not have hope.  I will hold unswervingly to the hope I profess, for he who has promised eternal life is faithful.  I will fix my eyes on Christ and remember that he is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  I will do my best to consider these trials pure joy, knowing that the testing of my faith will produce perseverance and perseverance must finish its work so that I may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. I will remember that this life of mine is but a mist.

Blessed is the man who preservers under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love  him.  …   James 1:12 

well with my soul…

June 7, 2010

another changing of the bandages at church this sunday.  it happened while we were singing.  I often cry while we are singing anyway.  others’ hands go up and my tears start to drop… big solid drops falling directly from my eyes and leaving little splats on my sweater or bible.

this time we happened to be singing ‘it is well with my soul’.  just as we get to ‘whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say…’  I happen to look down from the screen where the lyrics are and notice that 2 rows in front of me there are a pair of big blue eyes staring at me over the top of their daddy’s shoulder.  a completely innocent little face of around 1-year-old.  he’s got a mess of blonde hair, sucking his 2 middle fingers of one hand while the other is hanging over his daddy’s other shoulder all balled up in a pudgy little fist.  now his eyes are just locked with mine and he isn’t looking away. … … …

… … …

and in my heart… … …

I was able to say, to know… that it actually is well with my soul.

oh how it hurt to say it, to think it.  and at the same time, I felt better comforted.  the tears fell, my voice left me.  the little boy looked at me a bit longer and then laid his head down on his daddy’s big strong shoulder and went to sleep.

some sweet day,  I’ll hold my little pudgy fisted boy and sing praises over him as he drifts to sleep… or lean my head against brian’s strong shoulder and rub luke’s little back as he sinks into the soft and safe arms of his daddy.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul


as mother’s day fast approaches, I know I should be happy about my kids… I want  to be happy about my kids, but instead of being thankful for the 3 that are here I am consumed by the thoughts and terribly short memories of the one who isn’t here.  the one whose picture is usually the last thing I see at night… the tiny perfect hands and feet of my fourth born.  the one who was born all warm and pink and wiggling and resembling his father as much as  the other 2 boys.  the one who was held by so few.  the one that very few friends have the courage to speak of and the one that many seem to think not mentioning his name or existence is the best way to handle it.

I also know that I should be happy for others as they are blessed with babies and healthy pregnancies… I want to be happy for them. … … … … … … I am not.  I suppose at some point that will change.  I hope it changes.  right now  I just can’t seem to find happiness for them.  the hurt and anguish and blackest parts of my heart fight to get a hold of my thoughts.  they want to say horrible things like, ‘well isn’t that nice for you… let’s pretend your baby dies now and see how you feel.’  or how about, ‘isn’t that so beautiful… your big round belly.  let’s just pull that little baby out of there and see if it will make it.  let’s see if his lungs are ready.’  and then of course I’d have to add-on, ‘I know it’s awful to say or pretend that… and even doing so you still would have no idea of the actual suffering that something like that causes. … I do.’ 

for now… I turn my head.  I don’t look.  I try to avoid the pregnant women and little babies… and little boys about 1-1 1/2.  I try to pray.  quickly.  Lord, help me take these thoughts captive.  take them away.  purge this darkness in my heart.  give me strength.  steady my mind and my shaky hands.  calm the storm or at least get right here in this little boat with me.  stop this quivering lip. … … … you’ve promised strength for the weary, comfort for the broken-hearted, peace that transcends all understanding…  I’m waiting on you, Lord.  could you honor your promise now?  for your own name’s sake… can you bind this broken heart?  give me beauty instead of ashes, gladness instead of mourning, praise instead of despair? (Isaiah 61:3)

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  2 Corinthians 10:5

Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope.  Psalm 119:49

…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles;they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.   Isaiah 40:31

He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.  Psalm 147:3

And the peace that transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7




April 7, 2010

“When God sends forth a little soul
To learn the ways of earth
A mothers love is waiting there
We call this miracle birth
When God call back a tiny soul
And stills a fleeting breath
A fathers love is waiting there
This too is birth, not death.”


An Angel with the book of life wrote down my baby’s birth, and whispered as she closed the book, “too beautiful for earth”


“A Thousand Words Can’t Bring You Back,
I Know Because I Tried
And Neither Can a Million Tears
I Know Because I Cried”


I thought of you and closed my eyes,
And prayed to God today.
I asked what makes a Mother,
And I know I heard him say:
A mother has a baby,
This we know is true.
But, God, can you be a mother,
When your baby’s not with you?
Yes, you can he replied,
With confidence in his voice.
I give many women babies,
When they leave is not thier choice.
Some I send for a lifetime,
And others for a day.
And some I send to feel your womb,
But theres no need to stay.
I just don’t understand this God,
I want my baby here.
He took a breath and cleared his throat,
And then I saw a tear.
I wish that I could show you,
What your child is doing today,
If you could see your child smile,
With other children who say:
We go to earth and learn our lessons,
Of love and life and fear.
My mommy loved me oh so much,
I got to come straight here.
I feel so lucky to have a mom,
Who had so much love for me.
I learned my lessons very quickly,
My mommy set me free.
I miss my mommy oh so much,
But I visit her each day.
When she goes to sleep,
On her pillow’s where I lay.
I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek,
And whisper in her ear.
“Mommy don’t be sad today, I’m your baby and I’m here.”
So you see my dear sweet one,
Your children are Ok.
Your babies are here in My home,
They’ll be at heavens gate for you.
So now you see what makes a mother.
It’s the feeling in your heart.
It’s the love you had so much of,
Right from the very start.
Though some on earth may not realize you are a mother,
until their time is done.
They’ll be up here with Me one day,
And you’ll know that you’re the best one!


just some poesm I came across.  maybe they’ll comfort others in some way.  I know sometimes they are kind of corny, but there always seems to be one line that gets me.  this time it was

I just don’t understand this God,

 I want my baby here. 

 He took a breath and cleared his throat,

And then I saw a tear.


the work of mourning…

April 6, 2010

this really is work.  just when I feel I’m getting a little ahead, a little more balanced… getting my feet under me.  I get brought back down.

I want to just reach a point when I’m okay.  like, ‘whew~ glad that’s over.  time to move on.’  I guess I’m realizing that isn’t going to happen.  even when things get better, they will never be the same… they will never be like they were ‘before luke’.  I will never not have this wound, this scar.  my heart will never go back to what it was before… just like the stretch marks on my belly will never disappear.  they fade… but they are never gone.

whatever it is that has brought me down this time, has really brought me low.  the grief is like the ebb and flow of the sea… I get carried in, towards the land… I start to get my feet under me…  I start to feel like I’m going to be able to walk right out of these dark waters and then the ebb comes.  it pulls me back, it pulls me down.  I still try to walk forward in the shifting sand, but the water gets deeper and darker and I can’t fight against it…  then my legs are swept out from under me and I get pulled down.

this is work.  the rise and fall of the waters never stop.  I’m always either being pushed toward shore or pulled back to the sea.

I do believe that there will be a day when the lows aren’t so low.  all the space of this sorrow will be able to hold joy.  I’m just tired of waiting for that day. … … …  I want to make it come to me.  I want to do it myself.  I want to decide that this is enough and I’m going to be fine now.  it isn’t working out that way.

it’s such a complicated grief to lose a child… a new-baby… a long waited for, hoped for, prayed about baby.  it is so wrong.  just so … … not the natural order of things.

I think I’m going back to the beginning.  I’m regressing whether I want to or not… it is where the ebb is taking me right now.  I think I need to read some books on infant loss.  I need to hear others stories from other people and hear how they are coping, how they handle it when the pregnant lady is in line in front of them… what do they do when the person in the exam room next to them is listening to their babies’ heart beat with the doppler thing that goes woosh, woosh, woosh…  I layed in that hospital for days with a 24-hour monitor on making that same sound… always in my face these things… always in my face.

tonight I’m just thankful for the few friends who dare stay close to me through this.  there is a line from a book that I think says it best…

grandy found that most people can tolerate only a cup of someone else’s tear soup.  the giant bowl, where grandy could repeatedly share her sadness in great detail, was left for a few willing friends.

so true…  thank you dear friends.  thanks for sticking it out with me, for allowing me time to be sad when the waters pull back down.  you are a great blessing in my life.


this book that I love is called “Tear Soup” by Pat Schwiebert & Chuck DeKlyen.  I would highly recommend it to anyone dealing with loss… all different kinds of loss.

it still sucks…

April 5, 2010

it still sucks,         I’ll tell you why.

I always wince when babies cry.

to say it doesn’t,         cut as deep,

would be an outright, bold faced lie.

I also seem,         to always stand,

behind the pregnant lady.

I want to scream,         “you just don’t know!”

“I’ve held  that unborn baby!”

I sit in church,         and big fat tears,

fall steady from my eyes.

The pastor’s speaking,          but in my head

I’m only asking, “WHY?!”

just last night,         on the news,

I saw more than just 1 piece

of parents doing,         hideous things,

their own  child means the least.

yet here we sit,         on our couch,

with empty, aching arms.

we actually want,          a child to love,

and keep safe from all harms.

so here I am,         at the end,

of another damn hard day.

my head is splitting.         I am so tired.

I’d like to run away.

help me Lord!         I’m broken here!

don’t You understand?

I need Your help,         I can’t go on,

I’m sinking in the sand…

one of one thousand…

March 5, 2010

our pastor often says that God is doing a thousand things in every one thing.  I’ve just recently found out one of the things He has been doing in and through the brief life and death of my sweet baby boy.  here’s the story…

Hey Jenifer,

I just wanted to let you know about the wide ripples that Luke has inspired in the world. 

I’d been a photographer with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep for a year when I was called to meet your family on what had to be the most precious and painful night–New Years Eve when Luke came into the world for a tiny spell and went right back up to Heaven.

Your session was the first I had ever photographed with siblings and your three older children just broke my heart.  Punkin kept asking questions like, “Will he have a birthday cake in Heaven? Will he stay small or will be grow up? Will Jesus be at his birthday party?” Dawson was crying huge tears and Cole was doing great at posing according to all my instructions…

I saw all the people in the room and realized how much everyone was waiting to welcome this new little life, how much your kids were looking forward to a little brother… and I recognized the look in your eyes.

My heart was breaking because: as much as the families that I photograph are grateful for the images I make, I only get called when a child has passed or is going to pass away immediately…

I hated that I couldn’t save anyone from this pain.  One day I saw the website for charity:water.  The website stopped me with the statement:

Every day 4,500 children die from diseases related to dirty water.

This is a totally preventable death. The website went on to explain that $20 gives one person clean water for 20 years!  Is there anything that you can buy for $20 that would do more good? 

Also clean water just hit me… I’m in Minnesota where we have clean frozen water on the ground outside, in our taps, in my shower… I use clean water all day and don’t think a thing about it.  I imagined what life, health care, food would all look life if the water wasn’t safe to drink.  How could you keep a baby clean and healthy?

I decided to build a well. I couldn’t save Luke or the other aprox. 20 babies I’d met through nilmdts, but I could save potentially hundreds more by giving them clean water.

I asked my friends and family to help me- and in September 2009, three months ahead of schedule, I’d finished fund-raising. 

My parents live next door to Jon Acuff, a popular blogger of www.stuffchristianslike.net He’s a good friend of mine and what we like to call “Internet Famous” 🙂  He said, “If Wendy can build a well, I can build a school!”  He contacted Samaritan’s Purse and found a project in Vietnam.  A kindergarten.  His daughter L.E. had been working on his heart and he had begun to imagine what it’s like for L.E.- aged kids around the world who don’t have schools… (I think when something’s God-inspired, it comes at you from all directions…)

The well was $5,000 the school was $30,000.  It took me nine months.  Jon raised the money for the school in 18 HOURS.  It was so successful that he decided to do a second school.  Two weeks later $60,000 was raised for two kindergartens in Vietnam.

So now a village will have clean water, two hundred kindergartners will have a school with teachers, books and love….

My friends and Jon’s readers weren’t uncaring people, it’s just that normal folks need to be inspired to act. 

God touched me through your family to do something about children dying.

I know it’s cold comfort, and nothing is worth not having Luke in your arms now on Earth, but look what a tiny life did!  I hope when you think of all the smiles that two schools and a clean water well will bring…. In a few years these projects will literally touch a thousand lives, that’s a lot of change for good all because of one tiny little guy in Minnesota.

I think of you and your family so often, I was in despair over the deaths of infants, but meeting your family inspired me to act. Jenifer, I has an enormous amount of love for your family in my heart.  People have asked me why I chose to build a well… I tell them about Luke who couldn’t be saved and the numerous children who could all because we chose to care.

I think that caring for a person’s basic needs is exactly what God’s love is all about uncomplicated and immediate.

With gratitude and love,


this is healing balm to my broken heart.  maybe one day in Heaven, luke and I will meet a brother or sister in Christ from vietnam or china and be told the story of how hearing the gospel changed their lives and saved their soul… all because of a well or a school.  thanks so much for sharing this story wendy. 

please be encouraged that God is at work in every part of your life… doing a thousand things.  pass this along so that others may be encouraged as well.

much love to you~

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  Proverbs 3:5

I wish I was nursing…

March 4, 2010

I watched the office tonight.  that was probably a mistake.  it was the whole ‘nursing ‘ thing that got me tonight.  I wish I was nursing.  I was a good nursing mama.  I could nurse here or there or anywhere.  not in a showy way, I just mean that I could nurse without all the blankets and fuss and embarrassment and on and on.  of course, I guess you could say that I also had good nursing babies.  oh how often I heard, ‘oh.  I didn’t know you were nursing.’ or ‘are you nursing?’. 

I miss that… 

I didn’t start out so great, back 13  years ago!  I remember not being able to nurse in front of anyone at first.  not even my dad.  and once, when we were out and about, I tried to nurse cole in a bathroom stall.  (which didn’t work well at all!)  by the time gabrielle came around I would nurse out in the front yard, without a blanket or anything while the kids were playing.

another sad thing is that you never know when it’s going to be the last one.  the last time you are going to nurse that baby.  …  well, maybe you would know.  I was never that planned, scheduled, organized… whatever you want to call it.  it is such an incredible bond.  such an indescribable experience.  I know that there are times when you just want to be done.  when you want your own body back.  I felt that too.  but then, it is still such a sweet and fleeting time…  how you can hear every little swallowing sound, how those little milk bubbles form in the corner of their mouths, how they hold on to the collar of mama’s shirt, how they are absolutely passed out after a full nursing with their little arm laying limp above their little head and they are still making that sucking motion with their  little mouths even though they aren’t latched on anymore…

I wish I was nursing.

change my bandages…

March 1, 2010

I have a new perspective on going to church.  I am going to start thinking of it as going in to change my bandages.  something that I don’t really want to do, but something that will be benefit me in the long run.  I start dragging my feet and looking for excuses not to go saturday evening.  I know it will hurt to have my wounds exposed once again.  there’s going to be that moment when the bandage has to be ripped off… when the wound must be cleaned…  like when the really pregnant lady sits in front of me or when the newborn behind me starts to make those brand new, tiny baby sounds.  I’m probably going to cry…  then there is the whole face to face, heart to heart with the Head Physician who was there from the begining.  He knew when I was pregnant, He knew when things started to not look so good, He was there when luke drew in those few breaths… and He was right there when they came back to tell me that luke hadn’t made it… he was just to little.  I wanted this Great Physician to heal luke.  I wanted Him to fix it all.

  He didn’t.

  and yet I still turn to Him to help me with the continued healing from this trauma.  I go to Him to apply the healing balm of his grace and put new bandages on my heart to help carry me through the next week or so.  somewhere in the worship and teaching, He covers my wounds anew.  it isn’t near as noticeable when the salve and new bandages are being put on as when they get taken off, but now, a day later, I feel okay again.  I’m happy to have fresh coverings for the deep wounds in my life.  I pray that one  of these days the bandages will need changed less often.

He knows all about wounds. He has suffered the greatest wounds of all.  and it is only because of His wounds that I am able to seek comfort from God Almighty.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.   Isaiah  53:5


February 21, 2010

today is my birthday.  I was hoping to share this day as a birthday with luke.  I think because of that it is just going to be tough.  I tried to get going in a good way this morning.   everybody up and clean and dressed and ready for church.  I even wore a new skirt and wore makeup.  we got there, got the kids checked in and then I ran into a friend holding some roses.  I asked what they were for and she said it was baby dedication sunday. … … … damn it!!  that was all that went through my head.  she quickly hugged me and said a prayer.  I started crying and went to tell my parents, who were all ready seated, that I would be out in the hall until the sermon started.  all the anxiety and pain I had been feeling leading up until this day finally broke through.  I stood in the hallway staring at the books at the bookstore until a dear friend, I’m sure because if God’s timing, came into view.  I fell into her and just clung to her knowing that she knew exactly what and exactly why.  after a few minutes of leaving tears all over her shoulder and getting mascara all over my eyes, I pulled back.  I gathered myself.  took a couple breaths…  I was okay… 

church has been hard ever since we lost luke.  I try to avoid it if I can think of any excuse that seems justifiable in my mind.  it doesn’t help that we go to a church where 3 is a small number of kids, there are lots  of pregnant women and we welcome at least 1 new baby every. single. week.  I think that coupled with the anxiousness of my birthday brought together a perfect storm of sorts. 

 after that breakdown the day went better.  we went to champs, like usual, and when we got there our table was ready with balloons and an ice tea with extra lemons.  we had bday mozzarella sticks and mile high ice cream pie courtesy of champs.  I got 2 new blue shirts and a smoothie maker.  (just what I wanted.  really.)  we took the kids ice skating at the park and that was really nice.  I’ve gotten other nice gifts and cards from family and friends.  it’s been nice.  I really, really appreciate the thoughtfulness of so many. 

so…  a new year.  new blessings.  let me lean heavily on my All-in-All, let me reflect the Son all the more, let me be a wonderful lover, mama, friend and follower.  let me not worry about me and help me keep what is truly important out in front.

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. …  Acts 20:24 

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. … Philippians 3:8