Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2014

I feel like I should ...

sit down and commemorate this year. I can't believe I didn't write about this Christmas. I thought a lot about what to write, but I felt like I've said it all before (more than once) so I just didn't open the laptop. For at least two weeks I left it sitting on the floor upstairs and thought about all of the redundant things I could write when I passed it on my way to bed at night. There was a fair amount of depression keeping me from writing this season as well. Depression has the ability to suck joy from every. single. thing you find joy in so I found myself avoiding writing, and dreading time with friends, and wishing I could be alone under the covers for two solid weeks. This year I discovered that you can pour all your energy into enjoying and loving the holidays, and still yell at your kids - a lot - because you don't feel as happy as you think you should. This much effort = this much joy is not a real equation, but I thought I could force it into being.

a little update

I am a terrible record keeper. When I see those calendars where you fill in a square for every day of your child's first year I feel a lot of shame, because I don't keep track of anything. I write a lot down here, but I definitely recorded more of Bennett's life than Ainsleigh's. (When she confronts me with that particular truth I'm going to tell her I was far too busy keeping her safe/putting her hearing aid back in to do much else.) I'm going to start posting regular kid and life updates here so I have a bit more of a record of how the kids are doing/what is going on in their lives. I am still planning on creating baby books, so I need to write down what I can remember from their babyhoods NOW (since it's so fresh and all - *sarcasm*) **************** This afternoon my physical therapist said, "you're well on your way to being one of those hunched over old ladies, but this exercise will help prevent that. And it will ensure you don't g

on yoga and deseeding pomegranates

Going to physical therapy twice a week makes me want to get back in shape. I've lost the baby weight - YEAH! - but now I need to get in fighting shape. In Hawaii I hiked a mountain with B on my back in the Ergo and I didn't feel a thing but lightness (and a fair amount of sweat). My goal is to get back to feeling that strong and able. All the chiropractors and physical therapists I see say the following, or a version of it: you're so tight, so tense, you carry so much in your shoulders, can you drop your shoulders, can you breathe a little more, can you feel how stiff you are? It's like grief moved into my bones, great wisps of it like fog settling over a valley and wending its way into every hidden crevice. My tendons and bones are all knotted up from years of tense living, of failing to have faith, of believing that all the good is just temporary and there's another shoe hovering just off the page where I can't quite see it and at any moment it will drop

advent with a three and one year old

This is our first year trying Advent with the kids. I'm so up and down this year, every time I feel happy I see Christmas lights and feel like crying. This year Charlotte would have been really into all things Christmas so there is another layer of grief to contend with that feels overwhelming and significant. I've always felt like I don't do holidays, or seasons, well. Like I'm not very good at decorating and merry making. It's just not my skill set. But then I was scrolling through Instagram and someone I was following had this reminder: Jesus is the prize. Yes. That's right. That's what Christmas is all about. Jesus. His birth. Because He was born I am saved. Wow, that's amazing! As I decorated a bit this week and thought about it some more I realized what I remember from my childhood Christmases is not decorations, but traditions. We had about a thousand of them, and I remember every single one, whereas all I remember about the decorations is

I turn to you again and again, but you're never where I expect you to be

The grief, the grief. It's different now, but I can feel it pressing in at the base of my neck, trying to find a way to my spine where it will wind itself tightly so I can't stand, so that it literally reduces me. It's all too much right now. Everything makes me sad. The thoughtless words at Thanksgiving. The place setting I didn't get to make. The name I didn't get to type. Realizing that a baby dies three pages into the book I just picked up. Really? Must babies die in books? Isn't it enough that they die in real life? Preparing our first Advent. Writing, "pick a gift for a toy drive in memory of Charlotte" as an Advent activity. Placing two tiny dairy free chocolates in every little box, tucked inside the daily verse. During this time of year I turn to her again and again, but she's never where I expect her to be. There is space next to the tree, there is space at the table, there is space in every Christmas card, and I waste

five months medication free!

I've been off all thyroid medication for five months!  No supplements. No tinctures. No traditional medication. My hormones and I battled it out and I won! For now. Last night J asked me, "Do you think diet plays into your ability to be off medication?" Um .... YES. Definitely. Our diets have changed a lot since we were college students, which is when I was first diagnosed. Some of that is thanks to Bennett, but some of it is choices we've made about where our food comes from and what we eat. Here's a short list of what (I think) worked for me: - Grass fed beef / butter / milk (we don't really drink milk from cows anymore, but for a while after Ainsleigh was born I did and we made sure it was from grass fed cows). There is a lot of toxicity in meat that has been exposed to chemicals and antibiotics. When we were young, poor, and lacking knowledge we ate cheap meat. Now we buy organic, grass fed, and - if possible - local meat. - More veg

ministry work and house problems

Life has been busy, busy, busy lately. We've had some house complications, Thanksgiving is coming up and there's a lot of planning involved in that, and the first Empty Arms Connections meeting took place last night. First, the house complications. If you live in Salem, have a drain problem, and need a plumber call me . I can tell you who to go to, and who to avoid, so that you don't receive - and nearly accept   - a crazy high bid. Plumber the first told us they couldn't clear out our pipe and we would need to pay thousands of dollars to put in a new one. Plumber the second cleared out the pipe . We had a good time hyperventilating over the cost for twenty-four hours. I tried to be cheerful and optimistic because I just started the She Reads Truth thanksgiving study and was all full of give thanks in all circumstances verses and truth, but I quickly reverted back to, "we'll never move now! I know we have the money in savings, but it's still a lot! Wah,

how to save a life

I've spent the last few days asking J, "what do I do?" I've asked his opinion, I've asked what he would do, and I've asked him if I am putting our children at risk by blogging about our lives. He said, "I think the benefits outweigh the risks." He said, "You're pretty careful." He said, "It's up to you." Before switching back to a public blog setting I knew I had to do at least one thing: delete Charlotte's pictures. Every time I thought about what to do and how to proceed one concern kept rising to the top of the pile: what if someone takes Charlotte's image - or identity - and uses it to promote their agenda, or suggest she is their child? This evening I combed through four years of blog posts and I deleted nearly every picture of Charlotte. I still don't feel completely comfortable with how many pictures of my kids are on here, and therefore in the Google Image search database, but I'm not r

on privacy, boundaries, and my kids

This evening I received a private message on the facebook page for this blog: Hey, there is a scam facebook page about child abuse in New Zealand and they're using a picture of your kid. SAY WHAT?! I opened the computer, went to the page, and stared at a picture of B after a fall with the words "NOT OK!" written across them. After breathing deeply a few times I began searching how to remove the picture. I did a whole lot of things - including asking friends to report the page - and then I deleted the blog post itself from this site so that it would disappear from Google images. Then the picture disappeared. I hope it's still gone. I've been blocked from the page. Maybe because I kept reporting it. I've felt a little sick to my stomach all evening. I've thought a lot about my kids, social media, how strange our society is now, and how you can live your whole life in front of the world without anyone really knowing who you are. I hope there aren

one!! // a first birthday bash

This is going to be a picture heavy post, but first I want to say this: I prayed (and I was prayed for) and this birthday was easier than any other. I felt so much peace. I didn't yell at my family for three days prior to the party. I didn't cry the night before the party. I didn't stress about getting things done, or cleaning every inch of the house. I felt grateful for every decoration, and all the small moments of prep, and for J who took a day off to make a wonderful cake. And, most of all, I felt thankful for Ainsleigh's life and fierce spirit. Sometimes we don't get what we want, and sometimes the force of the one who is missing knocks us sideways, but there are rare moments when everything feels okay even though the picture we imagined isn't the one we hold before us. Ainsleigh received a lot of presents, but she was enamored with the baby doll. J made the dairy free, gluten free, vegan cake with a ma

happy birthday, ainsleigh hope!

We celebrated Ainsleigh all day today. This year has zipped by! It is a blessing to be mama to a girl who is so full of life and energy. I've been feeling really down, but this morning we spent time with Ainsleigh's almost birthday friend, and another good friend, and it lifted my spirits so much. Maybe because we all brought treats ... We gave the little girls pedicures and I felt better emotionally than I have in DAYS. We need our friends, sisters!  Darling, darling Ainsleigh girl, You are one!! What a fun year it's been! You like to sit in mama or daddy's lap while you play. You love your brother because he makes you laugh. You can walk a little bit, but you prefer crawling. You love food - oranges and grapes are your favorite. You talk and sing all the time. You are VERY, VERY loud. You love music - you clap and bounce when your brother turns it on. You like to put things on your head. You're developing a sense of humor. You call your people mama,

on building a wall

I read through the book of Nehemiah yesterday with the She Reads Truth devotion as my guide. It was so encouraging, and so applicable to where I am in my life right now, I can't stop thanking the Lord for pointing me to it. Nehemiah is a short book about the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem, but it is far from simple. Nehemiah's faith and trust in God is evident over and over throughout the book. He doesn't make a move without talking to God first. (2:4, 4:9, 6:9). I am in the middle of following God's call to build a ministry for parents who have lost babies at our church. It's a mess, friends. It's hard work. It's discouraging. It's frustrating. It's way harder than I thought it would be. But Nehemiah's work is a reminder to stay faithful, to be obedient to what God is asking me to do, and to take every step with faith and prayer. (4:9) Chapter three of the book of Nehemiah lists who worked on each section of the wall. The devotio

on birthday grief

Celebrating birthdays with my living children is one of my biggest triggers.   It's the one time I hide my sadness from them because I don't want them to feel the weight of my sorrow on their special day. I want them to feel the sheer joy and heartfelt relief we experienced when they were born and we heard them cry for the first time. After a nearly silent birth - or a completely silent birth - hearing a cry as you labor to bring a baby into the world is like birthing with a symphony in the background. That one cry lights up every nerve ending in your body and makes you so glad you held on through the trauma and fear that accompany pregnancy after loss. It feels a little unfair that I am so overwhelmed and emotional about birthdays. Unfair to the kids that is.  I asked a friend to make a tutu for Ainsleigh to wear on her first birthday.  I asked for a pink tutu even though I remember the one that hugged Charlotte's cold feet for a photograph. I have to find a