Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween and 30 D.B.C...Day 21

Last night was a bit bittersweet (again).  Unfortunately for us...our life is all about bittersweet moments.  Sweet because I love being with my family but bitter because it was suppose to be the girls first big family function.  I had plans of dressing them in little pumpkin onsies but I guess they got to be angels instead.  But right before we left for my parent's house we did our devotions for the day and the words were just what I needed to hear...

There is another kind of patience that I believe is harder to obtain--the patience that runs.  Lying down during a time of grief, or being quiet after a financial setback, certainly implies great strength, but I know of something that suggests even greater strength--the power to continue working after a setback, the power to still run with a heavy heart, and the power to perform your daily tasks with deep sorrow in your spirit.  This is a Christlike thing!

Many of us could tearlessly deal with our grief if only we were allowed to do so in private.  Yet what is so difficult is that most of us are called to exercise our patience not in bed but in the open street, for all to see.  We are called upon to bury our sorrows not in restful inactivity but in active service--in our workplace, while shopping, and during social events--contributing to other people's joy.  No other way of burying our sorrow is as difficult as this, for it is truly what is meant by running "with patience." (Streams in the Desert)

Patience that runs is definitely a work in progress for me.  But for the most part I feel like I am doing fairly well.  I know what I can and what I cannot handle.  And everyday it seems to me that I can handle just a little bit more.

Here are a couple of cute Halloween pics...

the kitty and a princess
cute lil dutch boy
Aunt Courtney with another princess
Papa and the skunk

Day 21: Picture of Yourself
or two or three...

Taken within the first few days of life

3 year old portrait

Elementary days (with my puppy dog Webber)

Junior year prom

The Grand Canyon October 2007

Shootin like a pro...Labor Day 2008

Wedding Day...December 2008

15 weeks pregos...May 2010!
(and can't wait to be there again)

And to end with a verse..a very special verse.  And this verse just so happened to be a part of my devotional reading from today.  But this verse was the first verse our Pastor shared with us on the eve of June 15th.  When words were few His Word said it best...

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.
Romans 8:26-27

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ella and 30 Day Blog Challenge...Day 20

Exactly 4 months ago from today (at exactly this time) my second daughter made her debut into this world and into her waiting momma's arms.  Her heart beat for an hour and 15 minutes.  What a gift.  At the time I didn't realize what a gift it was but because Ella (and Alayna) were born alive I have birth certificates that prove they lived.  Most of the girl's belongings are in piles (in what should have been their room) but their birth certificates are in our fireproof safe...where they will always stay.  Mommy and daddy love you lil Ella girl!  You truly were a gift from God.

Day 20: Nicknames

Top 3

1. Linney/Linny/Linnie...I accept any spelling.

2. Vugt(y)...taken from my maiden name. 
Highschool friends called me Vugty and college friends shortened it by calling me Vugt.

3. Linds

Oh and the hubby calls me babe!

Nothing too crazy as you can see...

Friday, October 29, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge...Days 18-19

Day 18: Something You Regret

This is a tough one and right now I cannot think of anything that I truly regret.  I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and each and every event in my life has brought me to where I am today.  Yes, I wish that some things had turned out differently but there is no changing God's perfect plan.  So I will continue to trust in His perfect plan...through all the ups and downs.

Make it your business to learn to be peaceful and safe in God through every situation (Streams in the Desert).

Day 19: Something You Miss

My daughters...
Alayna Joy
and
Ella Adrianna
and
the way I use to SMILE so easily.

Don't be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time. Matthew 6:34

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge...Days 16-17

So yesterday was another one of those days.  The kind of day where you get asked how your babies are.  A patient's mother (that I care for often) asked me (and it just so happens that the last time I cared for them I was 20 weeks pregnant).  I explained what happened and she gave me a BIG hug.  She did say the top two things you should NEVER say to someone who has lost a child.  1) You will get pregnant again and 2) everything happens for a reason.  Yes I WILL get pregnant again (like my positive attitude) but I wanted Alayna and Ella and they will never be replaced.  And saying that everything happens for a reason does NOT make me feel better.  But she also said some really nice things too so for that I am thankful.  Just had to rant a little...onto the 30 Blog Challenge...

Day 16: Dream house

Yes, there are things I would change about my current home but it is the home that Brian and I built together and so its the home I LOVE!  The home we pray we get to raise our future children in (at least for awhile)!!!


But someday it would be fun to build on a little land (Brian's dream) with a pool (my dream) in the backyard!

Day 17: Something you're looking forward to

Being a mommy again and hoping to be pregnant with my sister AT THE SAME TIME!  When Brian and I found out we were having twins we thought two would be enough for awhile so I gave up my dream of being pregnant with my sister.  Now I'm hoping that dream will come true.  And here's to praying that my angel mommy friends Kami and Andrea will be pregnant with me too (and glad that Erin already is)!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge...Days 13-15

I mentioned yesterday how I was so cranky this past weekend. Part of the reason I was so cranky was because my whole family got together for dinner on Sunday EXCEPT ME. If you know me, you know I don't like to be left out of family things but I realize that I work every third Sunday and that this happens sometimes. Normally it doesn't upset me so much but this weekend it did. On Sunday I totally could have stayed home on an LOS (meaning we have few patients and extra staff so I could use my PTO to cover the 12 hours that I wouldn't work). But because of all the unknowns with fertility and the random time off that I know I'll need, I don't want to waste any PTO. So this meant I had to work on Sunday. But then my thought pattern goes to the fact that I should be on maternity leave taking care of my girls and not worrying about PTO and just enjoying Sunday dinner with the family. So I go to the only place that calms me.

This was from our devotional reading on Sunday (it once again encouraged me) and it once again served to remind me that God rewards those who are faithful to Him.  We need to suffer to gain.  And we need to be totally dependant on Him so we can fully grasp His infinite LOVE for us.

I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp. (Isaiah 41:15)

Around the turn of the twentieth century, a bar of steel was worth about $5.  Yet when forged into horseshoes, it was worth $10; when made into needles, its value was $350; when used to make small pocketknife blades, its worth was $32,000; when made into springs for watches, its value increased to $250,000. What a pounding the steel bar had to endure to be worth this much! But the more it was shaped, hammered, put through fire, beaten, pounded, and polished, the greater its value.

May we use this analogy as a reminder to be still, silent, and long-suffering, for it is those who suffer the most who yield the most. And it is through pain that God gets the most out of us, for His glory and for the blessings of others. (Streams in the Desert)

And back to the 30 Day Blog Challenge...

Day 13: Goals

To read the Bible in its entirety...
(in progress)!

To start exercising...
(at least 3 times/week).

To make dinners...
(at least 3 times/week).

To mow the lawn...
(sorry hubby this is a long term goal).

To strengthen my relationship with Christ.
and to wait patiently on my Father.

Day 14: A picture(s) you love

I am limited to the photos currently on my computer because I am too lazy to download others...

Me and my niece Kylynn (summer '09)


My and my niece Cambrey (fall '10)

Me and my niece Addisyn (spring '09)

Me and my nephews Cole and Easton (fall'10)

Our last family (of six) picture

self-explanatory!!!

I am officially an RN

My FOREVER Love

We DO...12/6/08

AND OF COURSE THESE LITTLE GIRLS...

 my Alayna girl (above) and Ella girl (below)

Day 15: A Bible Verse

My favorite Bible verse is one I have clung to for a very long time.  It has been a favorite since high school and it has helped me through all the unknowns of this life.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

This verse really helped me when all my friends were either married or getting engaged.  There were days when I never thought I would meet my Prince Charming but I knew (and trusted amongst many tears) that God had a plan.  And he most certainly did.  He met my wish beyond all my imaginable dreams.  He always knows what He is doing.  And that is why I still cling to His promise to prosper me and not to harm me.  To give me hope and a future (and to be HAPPY and I mean REALLY happy again)!

And 2 more that I wanted to share...

"The LORD will work out His plans for my life--for Your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don't abandon me, for You made me ."Psalm 138:8
and
"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day." Habakkuk 2:3

See a pattern between the 3?  It's all according to God's perfect...plan!

Monday, October 25, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge...Days 10-12

I had to work ALL weekend and for some reason I felt the need to be cranky...it all started Saturday when I got home from work.  I was fine Friday night and then Saturday I just "felt" like being mad at something or someone...and the hubby was my target.  And then I read this Saturday night... 

If only we had the faith not to rush into things but to "be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him" (Ps 37:7)--waiting for His full explanation that will not be revealed until Jesus Christ comes again! When has God ever taken anything from a person without restoring it many times over?  Yet what are we to think if He does not immediately restore what has been taken? Is today His only day to work? Does He have any concerns beyond this little world of ours? Can He still work beyond our death, or does the door of the grave open on nothing but infinite darkness and eternal silence?

Even if we confine our thinking to this life, it is true that God never touches the heart with a trial without intending to bestow a greater gift or compassionate blessing. The person who knows how to wait has grown to an exceptional degree in God's grace. (Streams in the Desert)

Since the loss of Alayna and Ella I always say that the first thing I want to ask Jesus when I get to Heaven is WHY?  Why our precious babies WHO WERE SOOOO WANTED.  We went through SO much to have them and we were SO excited and beyond thankful that we were being blessed by God to raise two children for Him.  And then I sat back and thought this isn't the end for us.  He has big things in store and I need to sit back and just believe that He will restore blessings to us many times over.  My friend gave me a beautiful card the other day and in it she wrote something that touched my heart tremendously.  "God rewards those who are faithful to Him."  And praise be to God that we have not lost our faith.  We have only grown closer to Him these last few months.  God never said He was going to give us a free ride.  We will (and have) encountered numerous bumps in this life but in the end He is and always will be RIGHT THERE FOR US!  Our salvation comes through Him and we must wait patiently on Him to receive His incredible blessings and gracious gifts.

And now on to the 30 Day Blog Challenge...  

Day 10: Something You're Afraid Of

I am afraid that I will never be a mother again.

I am afraid of losing the ones I love the most.

I am afraid of losing another child.

I am afraid of sadness.

And on different note...

I am afraid of small creatures (spiders, snakes, rats, etc).

I am afraid of scary movies and haunted houses.

I am now afraid of doctor appointments.

and

I am afraid of heights.

Day 11: Favorite TV Shows

Thankfully a thing called DVR was invented.  Without it I wouldn't watch much television.  But in no particular order I enjoy the following shows...
Grey's Anatomy

Survivor

Big Bang Theory

Two and A Half Men

CSI (Las Vegas, New York, and Miami)

Desperate Housewives

Man Woman vs Wild

and thinking I need to get into Glee and Modern Family!!!

and a fave from way back...

90210

Day 12: What You Believe

I believe that I am Child of God.
and that He has the most perfect plan in store for my life.
I believe (and in contradiction to what I am afraid of)...
that I will be a mother again someday.
I believe Aquaphor is chapstick and
that its okay to apply it a million times a day.
I believe in shopping.
I believe that I am addicted to blogging.
I believe in a good book.
I believe in sunny days and summer nights.
I believe in fall and football season.
I believe in Christmas (the birth of our Savior)!
I believe in friendships.
I believe that my girls are resting safely in my Heavenly Father's arms.
I believe in marriage.
I believe in good ole Country Music.
I believe in flowers.
I believe in sisters and moms.
I believe that my nieces and nephews are great medicine.
I believe in the Bible
I believe that I have the BEST husband in THE WORLD.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge...Days 7-9

And I cannot forget to mention my sweet Alayna Joy's 4 month angelversary in Heaven.  Still not a day goes by that I don't think of you my sweet little bug.

Day 7: Favorite Movies

Hmmm where do I even begin!  Brian owned over 250 DVD's when we got married and I owned another 30 or so.  We have since sold quite a few but some we just can't part with.  We also LOVE netflix which means we watch at least 2 movies a week.  But some of my faves (in random order) include:

1. Father of The Bride I and II
2. Sweet Home Alabama
3. How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days
4. The Holiday
5. Harry Potter Movies
6. The Bourne Movies
7. Twilight Movies
8. Wild Hogs
9. The Princess Bride
10. Letters To Juliet
11. Walk The Line
12. Pearl Harbor
13. Failure To Launch
14. Ocean's Eleven (and Twelve andThirteen)
15. Guess Who

(just to name a few...)!

Day 8: A Place You've Traveled To

I have traveled a decent amount but nothing comapres to the beautiful country of Italy.  I went to Europe for 5 weeks the summer before my Senior year.  Amazing only begins to describe...
 
With my traveling companions in Venice
(Karie, Me, Amy, Lindsey, and Rachel)

The five of us took part in Hope College's Vienna Summer School Program.  We decided to be adventurous and head to Europe a week early to travel around Italy (with NO set plans).  We visited Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, and Rome.  I could write a novel about this trip and all the memories that were made...soooo glad we videotaped the WHOLE week.  The memories really will last a lifetime!

Day 9: A Picture Of Your Friends

High school friends
(Noell, Me, Lori, Kristin, Lindsey, and Kortney)

College friends
(Beth, Ange, Me, Amy, Kate, and Dana)
College friends
(Betsy, Jess, Liz, Lindsey, Me, Rach, and Courtney)

Senior year roomies and nursing pals
(Karie, Lindsey, Amy, and Me)

My BFF's (from college)
(Me, Ame, and Kare)

Cousins
(Courtney, Me, Rachelle, and Melissa)

A true friend
(Me and Lacey)

Crazy friends
(Rachel, Krista, Janna, and Me)

Love these girls...
(top: Me, Gretchen, and Rachel
bottom: Kare, Krista, Janna, and Melissa)

and the men in our lives!
(the Helmholdt's, Nyenhuis', Roedvoet's (missing Rudy),
Scholten's, Bulus', Good's, and Knoper's)

With Brian's (best) buddy and his better half
(Me, Brian, Steve, and Laura)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge...Days 4-6

4: My Parent's

I have always had close relationships with both my parents.  I love them so much and I thank God every night for the wonderful and Godly parents He gave me.  I seriously don't know what I would do if something happened to either of them.  Hope I don't have to deal with that for a looooong time. 

So let me tell you the story of how I came to be!  My parents were done having kids.  They had two boys and a little girl so they thought that their family was complete.  Little did they know that God had a very different plan in store for them.  My mom had to use progesterone and estrogen supplements to have my brothers and she was on clomid for my sister.  Since (in 11 years) they had never gotten pregnant on their own nothing was done to prevent anything (or anyone) from happening.  About a month after my sister's 1st birthday my mom told my dad that she was late.  A short time later a blood test shouted BFP!!!  My dad was shocked and said that I couldn't be his (this is a joke for those of you who don't really know me...my dad knew I was his but said it anyways).  To this day we laugh because there is NO DENYING that I am his daughter.  I am a replica of his mom (my grandma Vugteveen).  So let me rewind a minute and tell you that my mom almost died when my sister was 6 weeks old.  I'm not going to go into too many details but my mom (they found out) has a very weak heart from a childhood illness (rheumatic fever).  She was told not to have any more kids.  My parents said no problem (they didn't want anymore anyways).  And then came the BFP.  My mom met with her doctor and he recommended a therapeutic abortion to save her life.  My parents said under no circumstances would they abort their unborn child.  Her doctor then said if any issues should arise they would occur at 7 months or at delivery.  But my mom had a perfect pregnancy and I arrived on July 29, 1983 with NO problems at all.  

I was a daddy's girl growing up and I am proud to admit that I had him wrapped around my finger growing up!  Didn't hurt that I could be a girly girl and a tomboy in the same day.  I played 3 sports in high school and I can count on one hand how many times my dad missed a game.  He is the most giving guy I know.

And then there is my mom.  I am proud to consider her not only my mom but one of my closest friends too.  A constant in my life and someone who has always been there for me.  I will always treasure the walks we took behind our house during my college years.  It was during those walks that I poured my heart out to my mom (and wondered when) my future mate would ever appear.  Through my tears my mom kept saying...you pry already know him Linney.  Little did I know...

But never have I loved my mom more than now.  She has been a ROCK for me throughout  infertility, IVF, and the loss of my girls.  She called me every day during IVF and was at the hospital every day during my bedrest.  After I lost the girls she was always checking in on me.  And she is still the one telling me to not lose hope and to keep trusting in Jesus because He will never fail me.

5: My Siblings



I am the youngest of 4.  I come from the "perfect family" (two boys then two girls)!!!  My oldest brother is Jason and he is married to my sis-in-law Kristi.  They have 3 beautiful children...Kylynn Joy (4yr), Addisyn Joy (2.5yr), and Easton Marc (3 months).  Next comes my big bro Brandon.  He recently got married this past June to my now sis-in-law Jana.  No kiddos yet.  Then my sister Courtney.  She is married to my bro-in-law Jason (whom I refer to as Tibbe (their last name) since there is already a Jason in the Vugteveen bunch).  They have 2 adorable children...Cambrey Annette (3yr) and Cole Richard (16 months).  All I can say is that I have the best sister in the WORLD. And I feel privileged to call her my sister. No one else is as lucky as me to be able to say that. We may have fought a bit growing up (being only 20 months) apart but she is another constant in my life. And another person I am forever grateful that God has placed in my life. As my hubby likes to say if it isn't Tweedle Dee calling then its Tweedle Dumb (Dee being my mom and Dumb being my sis)!  And last but not least came ME.  And I am married to the wonderful Brian Helmholdt!!! 

I am so fortunate that all my family lives within 10 minutes of me except my sis who lives 25 minutes away (which really is nothing).  I love my family and I love spending time with them too.  They have been HUGE for me through the loss of Alayna and Ella.  Every Fourth of July we go camping to Holland State Park and every Labor Day we spend the long weekend at our family cabin in the UP.  We enjoy Sunday dinners together, celebrating birthday parties, sharing the holidays, and summer boating at my parent's house.

The fam as of 12/6/08 (missing sis-in-law Jana and the unborn nephews)
Sisters...6/4/10
The beautiful and adorable nieces and nephews!
  
6: A Picture Of Something That Makes Me Happy