Saturday, August 29, 2009

Wonderous Ways

For whatever reason I have been in a bit of a funk lately. I think it has something to do with the fact that last year I was very deep into the grieving process at this point and some of those feelings are coming back. Also, baby G. (my friend's baby) is 9 months old now and starting to be lots of fun. And, a good friend of mine from back when I was pregnant contacted me recently. She and I were due within a week of each other and spent our early pregnancies chatting about everything we were going through. It's been wonderful to talk to her after so long, but seeing the pictures of her little October baby makes me think about what Logan would be doing if things were different.

And just when I'm starting to feel really sorry for myself, God steps in and reminds me that this is His show, not mine.

You may not know much about butterflies, so give me a minute to explain this to you. That is a Monarch caterpillar. Monarch butterflies live in the northern states, even into Canada. Every fall they migrate south to Mexico. They're kinda like Snowbirds, or birds for that matter. They can't live in the freezing temperatures that Canada and northern states offer, so they migrate South for the winter and then back North in the spring. And that migration has brought the caterpillars to our house. We even spotted one butterfly!

These caterpillars will eat and eat at our garden, probably destroying the butterflyweed plants we have out there. Then, they'll start the process of metamorphisizing into butterflies. When they emerge as butterflies, they will leave us again and continue South. This is most likely the third generation of Monarchs, which means they will die approximately 2-6 weeks after becoming butterflies. But not before they mate and lay eggs for the fourth generation. It will be that generation of butterflies that hibernates in Mexico and then emerges next spring to begin the journey back North.

Hopefully we'll get to see the journey again in the spring, but even if we don't I'm so glad we got to see it now. Isn't it amazing how God makes this world work! Isn't it wild that a little tiny caterpillar can change into a beautiful butterfly! And what's even more amazing is that God gave us this world. He gave us it's beauty and yet we take it for granted every day, we get upset with him when things don't go our way, we feel like he's taking from us when we lose loved ones. I think we all need to try to remember to look at all we are being given, on a daily basis.

God didn't take away my son and neither did the devil. God GAVE my son eternal life and the best home possible. He gave my son everything and I feel blessed and humbled that He chose my son to have it, and that He is just waiting to give it to me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

3 Years Ago

3 years ago, I was nervous and excited.

3 years ago, I was so happy I cried.

3 years ago, I married the man of my dreams.

We didn't know then what our lives would be like now.

We didn't know we would move from the nasty trailer park to the beautiful new house in the brand new subdivision.

We didn't know we would have three dogs and a cat in addition to the reptiles.

We didn't know we would lose our first son.

We didn't know how many times we would be warned about the high statistics of divorce in couples who lose a child.

What we did know was that we loved each other. And that was all that mattered. We knew we would be happy, together, joined as one. And we knew that we were making a commitment until death do us part, in good times and in bad.

I had no idea that the bad times would be so bad.

I had no idea that I would watch my husband endure so much pain and heartbreak. Or that he would be so strong while I endured the same pain.

I love you, Doug, and I always will. Thanks for being such a wonderful husband, even when I'm not a wonderful wife. Thanks for supporting me in my dreams, even when I haven't dreamed them yet. Thanks for being a great father to our son, even though you can't hold him. Thanks for helping out in the million ways that you do, even when I don't notice what you've done. Thanks for making me laugh, even when it's the last thing I want to do. I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Christmas in August

I don't know about you, but I love a good book. I can sometimes read a full novel in a day, depending on how good the book really is and the amount of time I can devote to reading. And I read just about anything. Romance, suspense, thriller, self-help, Christian, anything. Because of the cost of books, I've learned to be creative in getting enough of them to fill my time. There is a store in Kentucky called Half-Price Books where you can buy, sell, and trade books. I have found many books there for $1-$3. It was there that my mom found out about an online website called I immediately signed up and started posting and ordering books. (If you've never heard of this and are interested, let me know and I'll fill you in.) And there's always the library. Right after Doug and I got married (before I had a bookshelf overflowing with books) I would go to the library and get 5 books every 1-2 weeks. And I've read and enjoyed all of these previously read books.

But last week I joined a book club and yesterday the first books I ordered came in the mail. I got six brand new books for less than the cost of one at a bookstore! Okay, to be honest, I only got 5 of them yesterday but the 6th is a preorder that was included in the price and is supposed to be shipped this month.

You would have thought it was Christmas if you saw me opening that box. I was very particular, carefully cutting the packaging tape and lifting the lid. Then lifting each book out of the box with care. They were so new, the dust jackets didn't have creases, it was like they were falling off the books.

Oh and the smell! There's not much that compares to the fresh smell of a new book to me (not even new car smell).

And the pages were so crisp, no writing on the cover pages, no broken bindings. Just completely perfect, brand new, straight from the factory books.

Don't get me wrong, I still love my old, previously read books. And some of these may actually end up on after I finish with them. I'll always have second-hand copies of books, but it is SO nice to get BRAND NEW books every once in a while.

Maybe that's greedy or silly or materialistic. but at least I can admit to my faults :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Quotes from My Favorite People

After I posted, I thought of a couple more that I just have to share. First, when M. was visiting, a big yellow butterfly passed in between us (we were no more than 5 feet away from each other). She told me, "that's Logan's butterfly!". We have a butterfly garden in memory of Logan and we've told her that when she sees a butterfly she knows that Logan is saying hey, so she thinks every butterfly is Logan's. That night she told her mom all about "Logan's butterfly" and later she told her dad "it was yellow and big".

While we were making dinner we were goofing around (she was probably asking me questions and asking "why" after everything I said but I really don't remember) when she says "you want another piece of me?" The funniest part is that she's talking about a literal piece. You know that game where you pretend like you eat a child's fingers, toes or maybe even their nose? Well, when she asked me the question, she's holding out her fingers for me to take a bite! And after every bite comes the question "you want another piece of me?"

And last, M. is potty training right now so of course someone has to go with her when she has to go. She usually asks me to if I'm around. So the other day I take her to the bathroom and she says "I NEED you to go!". Apparently, she doesn't like doing #2 with someone in the room!

M. started her first day at preschool today and T. started his first day at kindergarten. I'm hoping they are having tons of fun and I'm sure school will result in more stories for me to tell.

Original Post:
One of my best friends lives across the street and has three children. A 5-year-old boy T., an almost 3-year-old girl M., and a 9-month-old boy G. They can get on my ever-last nervers sometimes but those kids are some of my favorite people in the world. And last night they stayed with us while their parents went to school orientation (both preschool and kindergarten). Here's just a few moments and quotes from the two oldest.

When M. and I went outside to let Levi go potty we heard police sirens and she says to me "Nana that's a police offiter" She calls me Nana because she had a hard time with words that started with vowels when she first started talking and even though she can say Anna fine now, Nana just stuck. When I told her that she was right, that it was a police officer she said "Police offiters help you".

Later, when Doug got home, he had to edit some video for work. The police officers had been escorting the Dixie Youth World Series winners home to Troy so his video included the police cars and their sirens. As soon as she heard it her ears perked up. She went over and sat beside Doug and watched him work. Then she kept asking, "where are you Doug", Doug told her that he was shooting the video and was behind the camera. She didn't understand so he says "You know how when somebody takes a picture of you, the person with the camera isn't in the picture?". She nods her head and then turns to me and says "Doug Doug says I'm in the picture".

Later, I was filling Levi's water bowl when she asked what I was doing. I said "I'm getting water for the dog". "What dog?" she asked, so I pointed to Levi. Then she says, completely innocently like I have no idea "He's name is Levi".

T. has recently developed a pretty bad fear of storms and while he was at our house he asked me how my phone told me when there was going to be a tornado. Herein lies the problem with not knowing what I child has been told. When I told him my phone didn't tell me, that a radio did, he was adamant that his mom told him that it was my phone. So, I explained to him that it's not on my phone, that it's a radio, that I have at my house, in my car, and at my work. (This is kind of a little white lie because at work I just have a weather program that warns me about severe weather, but sometimes I find it easiest to just simplify things.) Then I took him to our bedroom where this radio sits. I played the alarm sound for him that goes off when there is a storm. Next I asked him if he thought I could hear it in every room, and M. says "I can hear it".

Here's another moment with T. and his fear of storms that happened a few weeks ago. I went over to their house and the wind was blowing pretty good and the garage door was open. T. was standing in the doorway between the house and the garage with tears running down his face. Then he says "why do God and Jesus make the wind?" I told him that there was wind and rain to keep all the plants alive. Then he says, "but plants need sun".

T. has really matured a lot lately and when Levi had an accident he was the first to tell me. Then he asked how to clean it up. So I handed him a paper towel, the nature's miracle (great stuff by the way) and he went to cleaning. Then after dinner he took his plate to the sink and also took M.'s. But he was still very upset when his mom got home because he didn't get to have a sleepover. In the Spring of 08 we invited him over one night and pitched a tent in the backyard and had a sleepover and ever since then, he wants to sleep at our house all the time.

Hope you enjoyed these little moments. If not, I guess you had to be there!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Strength in a Storm

Well, I've been slacking for a while in my goal of writing at least once weekly but I'm hoping to be able to commit the time again now. Just a few updates:

-You probably noticed the facelift. Let me know what you think. I personally think it looks WAY better than the green blogger template I had before but that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement.

-We got a new puppy last Saturday. His name is Levi and he's a Yellow Labrador Retriever. He's only 6 weeks old and Doug and I are still getting used to having a baby in the house again. We did it before with Callie, but we ended up giving in and letting her sleep with us, if not in the bed, at least in our room where she could see us. We are determined not to let this one become dependent on sleeping with us because when he gets a little bigger he will be staying outside so we don't want him crying all night and keeping the whole neighborhood up. In the meantime, we are sacrificing a lot of our sleep.

Now on to what I really want to talk about today.

On July 14 we donated about 10 of the bears to the hospital. We didn't want to give them too many at a time because their storage space is limited. We left the rest of the bears at my parents house so that if needed they could be taken to the hospital quickly. I never dreamed that I would need so many of those bears myself.

First, my best friend knew someone who was told her child would not live and we sent a bear to her. Then a friend of that woman lost her child and contacted us to see if she could get one for her friend.

Then, last week, tragedy again struck our own extended family. One of Doug's cousins and her husband lost their 2-year-old twins. Our thoughts and prayers have been focused on them and I felt the need to be there for them in any and all ways possible. We picked out two bears to give them and my mom brought them down so that we could take them with us to the funeral. I was completely prepared to comfort this family. I was not prepared however, for them to comfort me.

You see, one of the first things that each member of the family said to us was an apology. They told us over and over how sorry they were that we were having to go through this. Of course, the anniversary of losing Logan was just two weeks prior to their loss and hearing of it did bring back the pain of those first few days but I couldn't imagine how they could be worried about what we were going through while they were dealing with such a horrible tragedy.

Then I remembered myself, apologizing to my aunt, who had lost her own 11-year-old son many years ago. Before the funeral, I told her I was sorry because I knew it was probably hard on her and brought back so many bad memories. Now I know what she was going through.

It is hard to attend a funeral, especially the funeral of a child after losing a child of your own. It's hard because you do have memories of your own child's funeral and the pain you were feeling at the time. However, the memories aren't the hardest part. The hardest part is watching these people that you know and love, and understanding to the utmost degree how they are feeling. Understanding exactly what they are going through. Recognizing your actions in theirs. Knowing what is coming in the moments, hours, days, weeks, months and years ahead.

This particular family is very strong. They have already begun to look at the ways the death of their twins is glorifying God. And honestly, that's pretty amazing. We had time to prepare for the fact that Logan could die. For the 12 days I was in the hospital and the 17 days Logan was in the hospital we were faced with the very real possibility that Logan could die. And we recognized God in our situation and prayed that he would send us a miracle and allow Logan's life to glorify God. I can't speak for Doug, but I never once asked myself how Logan's death could glorify God. Not until after he had died. Not until I started reading other people's stories. Not until I got past the beginning stages of my grief journey. Not until I accused God of not saving my son.

But the truth is that He did save my son. He took Logan away from pain, sorrow, and even death and gave him eternal life. And though I have no tangible evidence to give you, I know Logan's birth and death glorified God. It made me dig deeper in my faith, made me see God in my every day, helped Doug and I bring God into our relationship more than ever before. And the fact that this couple, who just days ago lost their children so unexpectedly, without any warning, is already seeing God and his glory in their situation makes me feel humbled and ashamed. I wish I had been as strong in my faith one year ago as I am now. I wish I could have really seen God, and his presence in my life then, when I most needed it. But after all, I am only human and I sin. I am not perfect, and I never will be, but my goal in life is to work to continue to be more like Jesus every day. I WILL struggle, I WILL fall, but if I continue to get back up and try again, I know God will be in my life and will reunite me with my son once again.