My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:15,16

Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"
John 11:40
See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands… Isaiah 49:16a

Monday, October 17, 2011

Remembrance Walk

October 15th is designated Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness day. Here is Moose Jaw and in many other places as well people come together to do a walk of remembrance. We do it for the little ones who were part of our lives for what felt like much too short of a time. Then at 7 p.m. around the world, people light a candle for them.

This year was a little different for me than last year. Last year it was so hard to even write Zoe's name on the memorial card because it was yet another reminder that she was gone. This year, it was more of a celebration of her being part of our lives, as short a time as it was. Don't get me wrong, my heart still hurts that she is not here, but I find joy in closing my eyes and remembering holding her little hands, wrapping her tiny fingers over mine. The night she was born was not only filled with pain. There was a sense of awe and wonder at this amazing little creature. Just like with all my other kids, we did all the things mommies do, marveling at the uniqueness and intricacies that a newborn baby is. Tears did fall yesterday, but they were not tears of desperation and agony. They were tears of understanding for all the other parents gathered there, who hurt over their babies too. There was even a lady there who, 55 years ago to the day, she had a still born son. She came to honor him. This year Jaron was our audio tour guide as he read all of the posters to us as we walked the path. It was easy to see he felt honored to be able to do that for us. We blew some bubbles and took some time to reflect. Greg was asked to share my blog entry and the poem in it at the service. Jaron kept reaching over to squeeze my hand or rub my leg whenever he noticed a tear. Kyler gave me hugs and Jinaea smiled a smile at me through her own tears. This year Della chose the hummingbird as our symbol instead of the butterfly. She chose it because of the beauty and wonder that these tiny creatures bring to our world. Unfortunately I did not get a picture of all the hummingbirds before parents came to collect them. There were many more...

At the walk here in Moose Jaw, we do a ceremonial bird release every year as well. A beautiful white dove flutters up into the air, flying beyond the trees and circles back over top of us and then flies home. If you close your eyes and just listen to the sound of it's wings beating, it is almost like your spirit soars too.

At 7p.m. I lit 5 candles in honor of Asa, April, Kane, Zoe and Ellie. I love the candle holders I bought. I found them just before Christmas last year and knew I had to have them. They speak perfectly to the atmosphere that God brought in the middle of the storm. Love, Joy, Cherish, Peace and Hope.

We could not have asked for a more beautiful day at the park for the walk. Even the fountain was still flowing. There was a slight breeze and lots of sun. The leaves rustled ever so gently as we walked. What a beautiful day it was indeed. This scripture verse holds very true:
Psalm 30:11-12
11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
         You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
 12 To the end that my soul shall sing praise unto You and not be silent.
         O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Now for those of you who are curious as to how things are going with baby #9, we are doing well. So far everything seems great. I am thanking God every day and praying over this beautiful little love that God has blessed us with. I have an ultrasound on the 31st and then a Dr appt on the 14th of Nov. The ultrasound will tell us "for sure" how far along we are. Please keep your prayers coming. I am forever thankful for every single one of them!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

When doubt speaks, do I listen?

I would like to say that I am always strong. I would like to say I never doubt or even for a moment have a fearful thought about this pregnancy. I cannot say that. I was having a really hard time lately with the emotions of this pregnancy. I love this baby already. From the bottom of my heart. One thing I learned from being pregnant with Zoe and Ellie was that I didn't want to waste even a moment of time not appreciating the gift that they are. Still, I find myself thinking I should not to get too excited about this pregnancy just yet. My heart doesn't listen. I want to love this baby FULLY with no doubt that I will hold it in my arms and bring it home with me. I want to TRUST....completely. Don't get me wrong, I still believe and know that God IS faithful, He WILL be my peace and strength, He BLESSES me all the time, He LOVES me beyond what I could ever imagine and He does all these things NO MATTER WHAT. I just have these thoughts and "what if's" running through my head. I know exactly where they come from too. So why is it so hard to disregard them?

Sometimes all it takes is a little refocusing. Some time spent with God, some praying, some listening and the encouragement comes. Sometimes it is a good friend pointing out what God's truth is, what His promises in the Bible are. Sometimes it may take a whack upside the head to say get it together. Today as I was praying for strength and peace, God spoke some scripture verses to me. They spoke straight to the doubt and fear and started to minister peace to me.

 Joshua 1:9 NIV
"Be strong and courageous...for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

Isaiah 43:1-4 MSG
Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you. I've called your name. You're mine. When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you. When you're in rough waters, you will not go down. When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end.--because I am God....I paid a huge price for you.... That's how much you mean to me! That's how much I love you!

Psalm 30:5 MSG
....The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter.

James 1:4 AMP
Let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be...perfectly and fully developed...

Hebrews 12:2 AMP
Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith...and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]...

I am imperfect, but what matters here is that I fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12).
God said in Jeremiah 29:11 that He knows the plans He has for me, that He wants to give me hope. I do have hope and normally a stubborn faith that has gotten me through many things. I going to find those socks again, pull them on, I'm in for the ride.

I Hold, I Am Held

This is a testimony/sermon that my dad wrote about me when I was little. As I was reading it today, I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to post it on my blog. I don't know who I was to do this for, but if it is for you, please leave me a comment and let me know how it encouraged you.

There I was driving down the highway, crying out to God with spoken words, crying out to God, it seemed from the very basement of my soul; "Please give my little girl back to me."
In a world where confusion and turmoil are the daily course from which little if any reprieve is often found, we are moved to ask the question: "Does God Really Care?" However, because this confusion and turmoil is often continents away from us living in North America, we find this to be at best, a passing though.

Does God care?

Every religion in the world at one point has to answer the question of pain. What sets Christianity apart from Buddhism, Hinduism, Muslimism, and Secular Humanism or other religions of the world? Is there something about the Christian faith that can make a difference when other religions can't? This is the challenge we have as Christians when we face the pain or share the pain of others in the Body of Christ.
Dorothy Sayers writes: "For whatever reason God chose to make man as He is-limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death - He had the honesty and courage to take His own medicine. Whatever plan He has with His creation, He has kept His own rules and played fair. He can exact nothing from man that He has not exacted from Himself. He has Himself gone through the whole of human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair, and death. When He was a man, He played the man. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace and thought it well worthwhile."
Knowing this doesn't provide a pat answer or automatic relief when we find ourselves in the midst of personal turmoil, but it does provide the perspective that God the Father did not play the part of an idle observer as we go through our pain. I get excited when I think of Jesus and how He dealt with the pain He was confronted with. Jesus wept when His friend, Lazarus, died. He identities with the pain and suffering of our lives and we should never be of the opinion that He enjoys seeing His children suffer.  
I think of the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus faced His suffering and He reacted much like any of us would. At first He cried out to His Father, "If there be another way let this cup pass from Me." Yet, knowing there was no other way, Jesus experienced -- perhaps for the first time -- that most human sense of abandonment evidenced by His cry from the cross, "My God, My God why have you forsaken Me?
The writer of Hebrews states in chapter 4 verse 15, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin."

On the edge of death

My little girl had been very sick and in the hospital for some days. We lived about 35 miles away from our community hospital and our jobs didn't allow us to be there for hours on end, everyday. When we did get in to visit, she looked absolutely terrible. She had been unable to hold anything in, as fluids and foods just seemed to pass straight through without stopping. We would try and hold her, and she was so restless that she would writhe and fuss. Through the day, she settled and began to hold some small amounts of nourishment.
The time came for us to leave and she seemed settled so we left for home. When we walked in the house, the phone was ringing. It was the physician from the hospital. He told us that our daughter had taken a turn for the worse and he was sending her by ambulance to a larger center -- Regina - to be cared for by a specialist.
I so wanted to turn around and go back as fast as I could, so I would be with her in the ambulance but the doctor said, "Just get in your car and head to Regina as fast as you can." These were not comforting words to say the least. In the car we got, mom and dad whose faith was being stretched by this turmoil, and a small boy who was oblivious to the whole matter.
I was praying with my words and with words of the Holy Spirit that seemed very guttural. These words came from so deep inside that I could not recognize the depth from which they came. My wife was in the passenger seat of the car praying and my boy was in the back, sleeping. I looked at my watch and it was around 10 pm. All of a sudden, I was enveloped in some kind of warmth and I heard a voice in my spirit or mind's ear say, "Why are you asking me for your daughter in bodily form? Do you not know that the body without the spirit is dead? Ask me for her spirit and I will return her to you."
My mind went back in time to Lazarus, Jesus' friend who had been dead for some days, to the point that his sister told Jesus, "He stinks." Yet, Jesus cried out: "Lazarus, come forth" and it wasn't long until others were crying, "He's alive, he's alive."
So, in obedience to the voice of the Lord, I asked for the spirit of my daughter. It seemed an eternity had passed before we reached Regina and the hospital. When we finally arrived, I was probably as amazed as the people standing around the grave of Lazarus when Jesus said: "Loose him and let him go." My daughter looked so well that if the specialist had told me I could take her home that night, I would have. It was a total transformation from just hours before.
When we find ourselves appalled at the overwhelming things happening in our lives we cannot always determine the source. It may be the world, it may be consequences of the choices we made, it may be opposition from our spiritual enemy, or it may be the very forces of nature in some disaster. We can wrestle over the probable or possible, as we seek to answer the heart wrenching, "Why?" Yet we cannot understand God nor can we always determine the answer to the "why?" even though we desperately want to. The only hope we have in times of pain and agonizing grief is the knowledge that God does care and He will help us through.

The rest of the story

So now, in closing, I want to tell you as Paul Harvey says: "The rest of the story." Some weeks later, I was speaking with the nurse that attended my daughter in the ambulance to Regina. She advised that around 10 pm, the intravenous that was putting fluid into my daughter to re-hydrate her had come out.
Because, my daughter was so de-hydrated, she was having difficulty finding a vein to get the IV re-started and felt my daughter was going to die, if she couldn't get the IV going. She had just about given up, when suddenly, and blindly, she found a vein, evidence by what is called flashback (blood showing in the IV initiation tubing). The IV started to run and over the next 45 minutes she was surprised at how my daughter seemed to improve when earlier, even with the IV, she wasn't doing so.
Is it coincidence that at the same time the IV came out, the Lord impressed me to begin to pray for the return of the spirit of my daughter to her body? Well, you can think what you will! All I know is that night Jesus cried out in the heavens: "loose her and let her go" and I received back into my arms a daughter -- just like Mary and Martha received their brother.
I never have understood all the twists and turns of my path as I journey toward heaven, but I know the One who has been my anchor through the storms of life and He longs to be your anchor also if you will allow it. He doesn't promise our lives will be free of trouble, yet He does promise to hold us close through it all. This was one of those times for me when I felt too weak to hang on any longer and then He reached out and held me.
I hold, until I am too weak to do so and then I am held by Him. This has been my experience time and time again and I wanted you to know it is as real as real can be. Never doubt God's love and care, or that He hurts when you hurt, reach out to Him because He is reaching out to you.

Written by Merv Tippe   April 12, 2007

Monday, October 10, 2011


What does thankful look like to you? People use the word for such a huge range of things. Being truly thankful everyday is something I am working on. I remind myself everyday, even through the difficult moments of child rearing, being a wife, and even just being me.
Our thanksgiving could easily have looked MUCH different this year.  If it had, would I still have been able to say I am thankful for this day? I would hope that I could. I would hope that my choice would have been to say, just as my blog name does, even still. God, even still I choose to be thankful. Thankfulness is a choice....

Rewind to Friday. Greg took the kids to swimming lessons so that I could stay home and pack up to go to my mom's. We were to be heading out at 4:30 and I did not want to have to rush. Kyler has started swimming lessons this year. He has always wanted to go to "fwimming lessons" but I have always had to say, you are not big enough yet." When I told him he was in lessons this year he said, "I am finally big enough? EEEEEE I am so escited!!!" He is loving it!!
Greg phoned me on the way home from swimming lessons (on speaker phone of course ;o) ), with tears in his voice and said, "We could have lost him today." After swimming lessons the kids are done, the children usually have about 15 minutes of free time. For the preschool group (about ages three and four) this usually means they can go on the little slide, play with the rings that sink or sometimes the teacher takes them to the hot tub. Generally they have to stay sitting on the steps of the hot tub, just into the water and the lifeguard stays very close. On Friday, she did not. The kids were sitting on the steps of the hot tub and she was across the pool. Greg was watching from the area where parents are allowed to view the lessons and saw Kyler stand up. Kyler took a step or two forward and stepped right off the ledge/bench into the deeper part of the hot tub. The teacher did not see, or if she did, she did not go to him. Maybe she thought he was playing, I don't know. Greg said he started to walk towards the hot tub which is quite a distance from the viewing area and all he could see was Kyler's hands just above the water splashing. His head or face could not be seen. He started running because the life guard still was not making her way to him. Greg was almost all the way to the hot tub when one of the older boys from our homeschool group reached down into the water and pulled Kyler out. I don't know exactly how many seconds he was under, but long enough that the outcome may not have been good. I thank God for guardian angels that watch over my children. Even a few seconds longer and, well I don't even want to go there. The lifeguard came and apologized saying she just thought he was playing, she didn't realize he was in danger.
I have spent this weekend watching him and my other children play, listening to their laughter as they ride bikes down the driveway and soaking it all in. I love them so very much!! Friday's incident has reminded me once again, to appreciate every moment. Sometimes we get frustrated, sometimes we make mistakes as parents, sometimes we forget that these little souls have been entrusted to us, to bless us. I am guilty.
I am guilty of not being patient, of grumbling, of speaking words that I regret, of wasting precious moments, of not taking time out of my "busy" day to read a story or go see the exciting discovery they just made. I am not perfect, but I am learning.
I don't want to look back on my life and regret the choices I made through the years my children were little. I want to discover butterflies, go on nature hikes, pet fuzzy caterpillars (okay, I will encourage them to do the petting as I don't REALLY want to touch them ;o) ) make glitter from shiny rocks, look for earthworms in the dirt, read stories, hug wiggly boys, dance around the living room with no inhibitions because my kids need a partner, and spend precious time with a girl who is growing up so fast. I want them to remember above all, that their dreams and ambitions,  loves and hopes, wants and needs were important to their mommy. No matter how small a thing, that I believe in them, that I am thankful for them even on the days where it is hard to remain a calm, patient mommy. I want them to know of God's unconditional love for them and that comes through us as parent's. It is our job to tell them and be a good example to them of how He cherishes them.
My list could go on and on, but here is a small list of things I am thankful for (in no particular order):

1. I am thankful for Kyler's warm breath as it left his lips when I kissed him goodnight. For the rise and fall of his chest and every beat of his heart when I tuck the blankets around his chin.
2. I am thankful for Jinaea's smile today as she curled up in my lap, for the way she blushes and wiggles when we tell her how beautiful she is.
3. I am thankful for Jaron's bright blue eyes that twinkle when he smiles and for the songs he sings throughout the day.
4. I am thankful for my husband who loves me unconditionally, who takes his marriage vows very seriously. He stands by my side through good times and bad, through sickness and health, and I believe he will until death do us part.
5. I am so very thankful for every single second we got to hold Zoe. For each of her tiny fingers and toes, for the kicks she delivered while in my tummy.
6. I am thankful for all my angel babies and the things they have taught me, for the changes their presence in my life has produced.
7. I am thankful for new friends and old.
8. I am thankful for opportunities to step out and show love to a hurting world around me.
9. I am thankful for the chance be a post partum doula and to share in people's lives as they learn the new dance of parenthood with these precious little ones.
10. I am thankful for God's saving grace on my life, for His mercy, peace,  hope and love.
11. I am thankful that right now there is new life growing in my womb once again. Yes that is right, in case you didn't catch my last blog entry (or didn't understand what we meant), we are pregnant again.
12. I am thankful that God always provides our needs, always.
13. I am thankful for my warm cozy bed to curl up in at night.
14. I am thankful for the pain and difficulties in my life. Yes, you read that right. I am thankful even for those. Without them, I would not be the person/wife/mother that I am today.
15. I am thankful for praying parents.
16. I am thankful for baby smiles and snuggles that I got this weekend.
17. I am thankful that I know where I will spend eternity.
18. I am thankful for the spiritual wisdom and insights of others, shared with me through blogs, books, conversations and prayers.
19. I am thankful that each and every day is a new day. A day to start over. A day to walk in grace.
20. I am thankful for Kiara. We have been through so much and God gives me love for her over and over. She will be making us grandparents in November, a new and exciting part of life begins.
21. I am thankful for guardian angels.

There is so much more, but it is 12:38 a.m. and I need some sleep. Good night to all, sweet dreams.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Walking with Him Wednesday

Woohoo!!! Pregnancy 9 here we go!!!
We would like to announce we are launching a competition with the Duggers. So far, it is not looking good for us as they are VERY much in the lead. We know that with your prayers, we can do this. God is in the miracle business! we have some catching up to do, but we are now one baby closer!!!!!!
This was our super cute (at least I think it was) announcement on facebook.  I am so very thankful for this blessing and I am determined to enjoy every minute of this. I will write more another day as it is so late, but I wanted to let those out in blog land know our exciting news.