Tuesday, November 30, 2010

THANK YOU

Thank you...Thank you...Thank you
When I got home tonight I had a package waiting for me on the table from my sweet friend Kami.  And I just wanted to say THANK YOU (to her) for the precious A and E ornaments!!!  I love them to pieces and already have them on the tree...front and center!

 



Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34

Deliver Us (Part 1 of 2)

God cradles us in His careful hands as He stitches our broken pieces back together again, forming a new and far more beautiful garment.

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.  2 Corinthians 1:8-11

Really nothing more needs to be said.  This scripture passage says it all.  It feels like Brian and I have received "the sentence of death."  But God is only teaching us to rely 100% on Him.  Because He wants us to know that He is who He says He is and He can do what He says he can do.  He has delivered us time and time again so I know He WILL deliver us from this peril too.  Yes, the waiting is hard.  Oh the waiting is hard but in His perfect timing I know He will deliver us.  And soon we will be singing His praises from the mountain top...(my constant prayer).  But we can only handle this with the combination of your prayers too.  So please do not stop...keep showering us with your prayers of love and encouragement...they are needed now more than ever.

Off to my first counseling session...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ouch

And the roller-coaster of grief AND infertility continues.  I wonder when it will end.  I wonder when I will feel happy again. I have said it before and I will say it again...this journey is emotionally exhausting and I really don't know how much more I can take.  It seems like I keep getting kicked.  One kick on top of another with no breaks in between.  And the kicks don't stop even though I am already on my knees praying for it to all end.

"This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover."  Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, "Remember, O Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes."  And Hezekiah wept bitterly....Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people, 'This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you....I will add 15 years to your life. 2 Kings 20:1b-6a

So this is my new prayer...

Hear your faithful servant calling out to you O Lord.  Hear my pleas.  See my tears.  Restore my smile.  And renew my life. AMEN!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

More to be Thankful for.

I just had to add a couple more things that I am thankful for.  Read here for my earlier Thanksgiving post.

5 more reasons to be specific...
Easton with Addi, Kylynn, Cambrey, and Cole
 sisterly love
 cousinly love
Me with my oldest niece who is so grown up!

And one other thing that I am very thankful for is my fertility office, my RE and all my IVF nurses!!!

Hope you all had a wonderful day celebrating with those you love.  Now I'm off to snuggle with the love of my life and watch a movie...

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine...
Ephesians 3:20

Happy Thanksgiving

Today I am thankful for many things.  And on the top of the list would be my Heavenly Father, my Savior, my Prince of Peace, my Alpha & Omega... 

I am so thankful that He has sustained me through these last 5 plus months.  Without Him I would have crumbled to pieces and would have given up on life all together.  Because the pain of losing a child is almost more than a simple human can bear.  But He has upheld me with His righteous right hand just as He promised in Isaiah 41:10, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

I am also thankful for my family.  Where would we be without the support of our family?  They have been there for us on our darkest days...when it seemed like the cloud would never lift.  My mom and sister have answered the phone many of times only to hear me bawling on the other end.  They have listened to me and they have cried with me.  I will never forget June 26.  It was a Saturday morning and the doctor and her posse came in (which I knew was not going to be a good thing) to tell me that my labs were getting much worse.  And that we needed to start thinking about inducing.  All I could do was cry and cry and cry...heartbreaking sobs as Brian and my mom held me.  Here I was fighting for my sweet baby and they were telling me she didn't have a chance.  I fought for 4 more days before they told me I no longer had a choice...my life was now in jeopardy.  And you know what I almost didn't care...that is how sad I was.  But here we are 5 months later still living life (the best we can) and praying for our Rainbow baby to happen in the good Lord's perfect timing.

I am thankful for my new and old friends.  To Kami, Erin, and Andrea I am blessed to be connected to the 3 of you through the loss of our angel babies.  One of the few good things to come out of such heartbreak.  You guys are the absolute BEST.  You have given me encouragement on my darkest days and you are walking this road with me...and I THANK YOU for that!  I am soooo excited for baby U to arrive next spring!!!  And praying everyday for baby A, baby P (and baby H)!!!

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up." Ecclesiastes 4:9-10.

To Karie, Lacey, Amy, and Krista I am blessed to call you my friends.  Thank you for the never ending emails, phone calls, and cards of encouragement, for the care packages, and meals.  You have listened to me on my best and worst days...you have sat there with me silently while I cried.  Today I am thanking God for each one of you. 

"A friend is one who strengthens you with prayers, blesses you with love and encourages you with hope."

To my coworker friends (who are way more than just coworkers)...Kara, Melissa, Jen K and Marne (my IVF buddies), Jen K (my cuz), Tammy, J Lo, Amy, Angela, Kate D, and Sarah thank you for always listening to me.  For wanting to hear my story and for the constant encouragement.  I heart you guys so much and I am so blessed to work with each and every one of you.  And to Gretchen my manager, and Liz and Jen my supervisors...I cannot thank you enough for constantly rearranging my work schedule around all my fertility appointments.  I am so thankful to have management that is so understanding and supportive and most importantly a team who prays for me!!!
 
I am thankful for my church family and my Pastor and his wonderful wife.  I am blessed to live in a community of believers.  I am blessed by the new friendships I have made at Sunrise.  I am blessed to have a pastor who calls to check in on us frequently.  I am blessed that Linda (pastor's wife) sends me encouraging cards and invites us over for dinner.  I am blessed to be part of the Young Ladies Beth Moore Bible Study.  Simply put Sunrise has enriched my life tremendously and for this I am very thankful.
 
I am thankful for my Bible.  The freedom I have to read it whenever I choose.  I am thankful for the stories I read in the Bible that remind me that others have felt my pain (that we are not alone).  The latest story being from 2 Kings 4...
 
One day Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there. He said to his servant Gehazi, "Call the Shunammite." So he called her, and she stood before him. Elisha said to him, "Tell her, 'You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or commander of the army?'" She replied, "I have a home among my own people." "What can be done for her?" Elisha asked. Gehazi said, "Well, she has no son and her husband is old." Then Elisha said, "Call her." So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. "About this time next year," Elisha said, "you will hold a son in your arms." "No, my lord," she objected. "Don't mislead your servant, O man of God!" But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her. The child grew, and one day he went out to his father, who was with the reapers. "My head! My head!" he said to his father. His father told a servant, "Carry him to his mother." After the servant had lifted him up and carried him to his mother, the boy sat on her lap until noon, and then he died....When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, "Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me why." "Did I ask you for a son, my lord?" she said.  "Didn't I tell you, 'Don't raise my hopes'?"....Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got on the bed and stretched out upon him once more. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.  Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, "Call the Shunammite." And he did. When she came, he said, "Take your son." She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out.
 
Truly there is much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Day.  Our health. Our jobs. Our home. Our marriage.  The feast we are about to eat (thanks mom and dad)! And the list could go on and on.  But above all else I am thankful that my girls are celebrating their first Thanksgiving with Jesus.
 
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hanging On to Him

Hope Now
by Addison Road

If everything comes down to love
Then just what am I afraid of
When I call out Your name
Something inside awakes in my soul
How quickly I forget I'm Yours

I'm not my own
I've been carried by You
All my life

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free

When my life is like a storm
Rising waters all I want is the shore
You say I'll be ok
Make it through the rain
You are my shelter my from the storm

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free

I am not my own
I've been carried by you
all my life

You've become my hearts desire
I will sing Your praises higher
Cause Your love sets me free
Your love sets me free
Your love sets me free

I saw this song on someone else's blog and loved the words so I wanted to post it for you all to read.  He is my shelter in this storm and I hope He is yours too if your going through a tough time!

Today has been a good day.  Actually this week (thus far) has been a good week.  Sunday was church, lunch with the in-law's, and lots of relaxing (and we finished setting up the Christmas decorations).  Monday was a (good) doctor appointment and work and Tuesday was more work.  The only part that set me back a little was yesterday when we were admitting a 5 week old baby girl.  I came into the room to help and then something was said about her being a twin (and that the other twin was also a girl)...at that I just walked out of the room.  Everyone asked if I was okay and I was but it just made me sad.  Sad at all I have lost.  But then today I actually slept in until 8:45 (which is sleeping in for me) and made some breakfast for Brian and I (some simple cinnamon rolls).  Then we went to see the newest Harry Potter movie (soooo good) and ran some errands (not as much fun with last minute shoppers).  Now we're relaxing until we head to our Thanksgiving Eve church service and to some friend's house for a little get together.

My devotions from the past week have really made me think about our future.  And I have come to this conclusion.  I know that I will be a momma again and Brian a daddy.  I fully believe this.  I know longer worry about this.  But the waiting for it to happen is what is so hard.  Living in sadness is exhausting and I just want that ray of light to appear.  Because when I am pregnant again I know that the sun will start shining!

God deals with impossibilities.  It is never too late for Him to do so, as long as that which is impossible is brought to Him in complete faith by the person whose life and circumstances would be impacted if God is to be glorified...It has often been said, and truthfully so, that Christianity is the only religion that can deal with a person's past. God "will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten" (Joel 2:25), and He is trustworthy to do it unreservedly. He does so not because of what we are but because of who He is. God forgives and heals and restores, for He is "the God of all grace" (1 Peter 5:10). May we praise Him and trust Him.

Nothing is too hard for Jesus
No man can work like Him.

We have a God who delights in impossibilities and who asks, "Is anything too hard for me?" (Jer 32:27). (Streams in the Desert).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Few Quick Pictures...and Name Gallery #4

I love the happy feeling that Christmas brings (well is trying to bring this year) but I still cannot help but wish with all my heart that my sweet babies were enjoying this holiday season with Brian and I...as a happy family of 4!

Last year's fireplace. Wishing to fill all 4 stockings...

This year's fireplace.  Still wishing to fill all 4 stockings... 
 A close-up view of the girl's little tree!  (You can't tell from the picture but the ornaments all have either Alayna or Ella's names on them written in either marker or glittery stickers).

And more pictures to add to my name gallery.  Although after I post these pics I will be waiting to post any new pics...just so I can spread the love out! 
(Thanks Lace...you're the BEST!!!)

Every good and perfect gift is from above...
James 1:17a

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Better Day/Patience/Name Gallery #3

We sang two songs in church today that really reminded me to sing His praises...rain or shine.  Yes, I had a rough day yesterday but today is a better day.  (Thank you Jesus)!!!  But good day or bad day I will always sing His praises.  Because He is (and has always been) with me (us) through these crazy last 5 months.  And so today I am very thankful to be part of such a wonderful and caring community of believers.  A place where we can worship and sing His praises!

 Blessed Be Your Name
by Matt Redman

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

AND...

You Never Let Go
by Matt Redman

Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I'm caught in the
middle of the storms of this life
I won't turn back
I know you are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

And I can see a light that is coming for
the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
We'll live to know You here on the earth

Yes, I can see a light that is coming for
the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

I think part of the reason I went off the "deep end" yesterday was because I spent 12 long hours (on Friday) working besides a soon-to-be momma.  And Kate if you're reading this I love ya and don't take anything personally.  But she is due this coming week and is having lots of aches and pains.  So it was hard to work 12 hours with someone who is very pregnant, very uncomfortable, and who is being asked by everybody how she's feeling.  So when the doctor appointment didn't go as expected...my emotions got the best of me and I just lost it.  But like I said yesterday...such it is living with infertility (and grief)...you never know when the bomb is going to hit.

But once again Streams in the Desert came through.  God must have known that I would really need to be reminded this week to wait [patiently] on Him...

Wait in prayer.  Call upon God and plead your case before Him, telling Him of your difficulty and reminding Him of His promise to help.

Wait in faith.  Express your unwavering confidence in Him.  And believe that even if He keeps you waiting until midnight, He will come at the right time to fulfill His vision for you.

Wait in quiet patience.  Never complain about what you believe to be the cause of your problems, as the children of Israel did against Moses.  Accept your situation exactly as it is and then simply place it with your whole heart into the hand of your covenant God. And while removing any self-will, say to Him, "Lord, 'Not my will, but yours be done' (Luke 22:42). I do not know what to do, and I am in great need.  But I will wait until You divide the flood before me or drive back my enemies. I will wait even if you keep me here many days, for my heart is fixed on You alone, dear Lord...

God keeps telling us to wait.  So as patiently as I can...I will wait!

Well most of the decorations made it up last night (except the tree) so now it's time to rearrange the furniture to make the tree fit...pictures to come later!!!

But one last thing to share (sorry this post is a wee bit loooong)...more name pictures to add to my gallery.  As in the theme of patience (which I have very little of) I can never wait to post these "make me happy pictures" of my little beauties names!

And a big thanks to my sis-in-law Kristi for the sweet pictures!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Name Gallery #2

Crappy is the only word I can come up with that sums up my day (up to this point anyways).   I am having an angry day.  I am having an emotional day.  I am having a hormone induced tornado kinda day.  I.AM.SO.TIRED.OF.INFERTILITY.AND.GRIEF.  Trying and (praying) to stay positive but its just one of those emotionally exhausting type of days...they happen every so often.  I had another doctor appointment today and although I really did not receive any bad news...it was not the news I was expecting.  Such is fertility.  You never know what you are going to hear.

But something that is making me smile today...





Much thanks to Jackie and to her sweet neighbor Courtney!

And more words of wisdom (that I am clinging to today)...

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, YOU WILL RESTORE MY LIFE AGAIN. Psalm 71:20

God makes you "see troubles." Sometimes, as part of your education being carried out, you must "go down to the depths of the earth" (Psalm 63:9), travel subterranean passages, and lie buried among the dead.  But not for even one moment is the bond of fellowship and oneness between God and you strained to the point of breaking.  And ultimately, from the depths, He "will restore [your] life again."

Never doubt God! Never say that He has forsaken or forgotten you or think that He is unsympathetic.  He "will restore [your] life again."  No matter how many twists and turns the road may have, there is always one smooth, straight portion.  Even the longest day has a sunset, and the winter snow may stay quite some time, but it will finally melt.

Be steadfast, "because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Cor 15:58).  He will turn to you again and comfort you.  And when He does, your heart that has forgotten how to sing will break forth in thankful and jubilant song, just like the psalmist who sang, "My tongue will sing of your righteousness" (Psalm 51:14).  (Streams in the Desert).

Okay the hubby is threatening to not set up the Christmas decorations with me today if I don't get off the computer (and off the couch)...so more to come later :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

5 Months and Counting

It's been over 5 months and I still hate mornings.  I still wake up each and every morning wishing things had turned out differently.  I still lay in bed feeling bad for myself.  But after a few minutes of "pour me thoughts" I start praying for my happier tomorrows and dreaming of the morning I will wake up smiling.

And then I read this yesterday...

Listen to what the unjust judge says.  And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. (Luke 18:6-8). 

God's timing is not ours to command.  If we do not start the fire with the first strike of our match, we must try again.  God does hear our prayer, but He may not answer it at the precise time we have appointed in our own hands.  Instead, He will reveal Himself to our seeking hearts, though not necessarily when and where we may expect.  Therefore we have a need for perseverance and steadfast determination in our life of prayer.

In the old days of flint, steel, and brimstone matches, people had to strike the match again and again, perhaps even dozens of times, before they could get a spark to light their fire, and they were very thankful if they finally succeeded.  Should we not exercise the same kind of perseverance and hope regarding heavenly things? When it comes to faith, we have more certainty of success than we could ever have had with flint or steel, for we have God's promises as a foundation.

May we, therefore, never despair. God's time for mercy will come--in fact, it has already come, if our time for believing has arrived.  Ask in faith without wavering, but never cease to petition the King simply because He has delayed His reply.  Strike the match again and make the sparks fly. Yet be sure to have your tinder ready, for you will get a fire before long.

I do not believe there is such a thing in the history of God's eternal kingdom as a right prayer, offered in the right spirit, that remains forever unanswered. (Streams in the Desert)

So I will strike the match again and again and again and I will not stop striking the match until my fire is ablazing!!!  Because I do believe that I will be a mother again.  And that Brian will be a daddy.  We are so ready for our dream to become a reality...but until our fire is ablazing we patiently wait.

Had a good doctor appointment this morning so that always lifts the spirit (for awhile).  Now I'm off to meet my friend Lacey for lunch (at none other than Panera Bread)!!!  And then it's off to work for a nice short 4 hour shift.  And I'll be ending the night at a Silpada Party hosted by some wonderful coworkers.  Happy Thursday my friends!

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart...Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37 (verses 4 and 7) 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Name Gallery #1

On November 15th the hubby was smiling about one thing and while I was smiling too, it was NOT because it was opening day of gun hunting but because a sweet friend sent me these...

Thanks Jackie (and Connor)!

Katie from Katie's Keepers started the name Gallery after the loss of her precious daughter Reese.  See some examples here.  And Jackie from The Howard Bunch did the same after the loss of her precious little Cole.  See some more examples here.  And so if you want to help me get started...please send me a picture(s) with Alayna and Ella's names to lindseyvugteveen@gmail.com.

...strengthing the diciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith.  "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God." Acts 14:22

Monday, November 15, 2010

Showin' a Little Love on Monday

Today I'm linking up with Lindsi from http://alanandlindsi.blogspot.com/...

1. What are your middle names?
 Joy and Dale

2. How long have you been together?
Together for 3 years, 2 months. Married for 1 year, 11 months.

3. How long did you know each other before you started dating?
About 10 or 11 years...

4. Who asked who out?
Brian asked me out.

5. How old are each of you?
I'm 27. Brian's 35.

6. Did you go to the same school?
We went to the same high school but we graduated 8 years apart. For college, I went to Hope College and Brian went to Davenport University.

7. Are you from the same home town?
Yes

8. Who is the smartest?
I am going to go with Lindi's exact answer on this one...  "Well, isn't this a loaded question? I'm probably more "book" smart, while he is more "street" smart. I think he would agree with that statement."

9. Who majored in what?
Brian majored in Finance and I majored in Nursing. Brian works for Steelcase, and I'm employed at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.

10. Who is the most sensitive?
This is an easy one...ME.

11. Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
For our honeymoon, we flew to Riviera Maya.

12. Who has the worst temper?
Pry me...but it's hormone induced.  To be honest we're both very even tempered.

13. How many children do you want?
I use to say 3 or 4 but now I know that the better answer is however many the Lord blesses us with.  Ohhh and the hubby (in the past) would have answered 2. 

14. Who does the cooking?
Me (when I am feeling up to it).  But the hubby handles all the grilling.

15. Who is more social?
Me...hands down.  Although I am a little less so since losing the girls.  I guess you can say that I am a changed person.

16. Who is the neat freak?
ME.

17. Who is the most stubborn?
Hmmm...depends on what is at stake :) 

18. Who wakes up earlier?
Brian at 5:15am...wait a second that is when his alarm first goes off.  He actually gets up around 5:45am...

19. Where was your first date?
We ate dinner at Smoky Bones, then we went mini-golfing at Craig's Cruisers and finished with dessert at Coldstone.  And at that point it was still only 10pm so I went out on a limb and asked him if he wanted to come inside.  Good thing I did cause the hubby says if I didn't that there wouldn't have been a second date.  He would have figured that I wasn't interested.  Guess it's a good thing I did then folks!!!

20. Who has the bigger family?
Me...I am the baby of 4 and Brian is the one and only.  But if we did extended families...I would say were pretty even.

22. How do you spend the holidays?
Since I work holidays (I'm on a rotating schedule) things change from year to year.  But we are very fortunate that my family and Brian's parents all live within 10 minutes of each other (except my sis and her fam who live a whopping 25 mins away).
  
23. Who is more jealous?
 I would have to say me on this one too.  Although can I blame the hormones on this?!?!

24. How long did it take to get serious?
First date: September 21
First kiss: September 25 (2nd date)
First I Love You: December 4 (He said it first)
Ring Shopping: The week between Christmas and New Years
Engaged: January 10
So as you can see...not long at all!

25. Who eats more?
The hubby for sure. Since the girls (sorry I am a changed person so lots of "since the girls") there are days I could go without eating.  Back in the old days all I thought about was eating.  Breakfast was my favorite meal and now I can barely eat before 10am.  However I can always eat chocolate morning, noon, or night!  And the only good thing about all the stress in my life is that I can eat all the chocolate I want and not gain a pound. 

26. What do you do for a living?
I'm a Nurse and Brian is a Product Data Analyst.  Don't ask me what that means.  Just know that he is really computer smart!!!

27. Who does the laundry?
Me...I use to be really picky but now I just throw everything in together.  However, I do hang all my panties and pants to dry...(you're not that weird Lindsi)!

28. Who's better with the computer?
Brian hands down.  But to my credit he works with them all day long.

29. Who drives when you are together?
Brian (all the time)...he doesn't like my driving.  Or to be more specific he doesn't like female drivers.

30. What is your song?
We really don't have one.  Can't even remember what our first dance was...sad I know.

Man these last few days have been a blur.  I worked the whole weekend (working weekends always fly by).  And then today I filled my day up so that it would pass by quickly too.  I met my bestie for brunch at 10 at the best restaurant ever created (Panera Bread) and then headed over to my mom's house for awhile.  She was baby-sitting the Tibbe kids so I got to chat with my sis for awhile when she came to pick them up.  Then it was off to the mall to browse for Christmas ideas for the in-law's to give to me (and Brian).  Got home just in time to grab something to eat before heading to work for a meeting from 5-8.  And the rest of the evening was spent blogging and watching a movie.  Off to work in the morning with another meeting in the evening.  I have myself a busy week but I like busy weeks because then we are one week further into this journey towards a happier tomorrow.

Two little reminders that God is in control...

God knows that you can withstand your trial, or else He would not have given it to you.  His trust in you explains the trials of your life, no matter how severe they may be.  God knows your strength, and He measures it to the last inch.  Remember, no trial has ever been given to anyone that was greater than that person's strength, through God, to endure it. (Streams in the Desert).

Difficulties and obstacles are God's challenges to our faith.  When we are confronted with hindrances that block our path of service, we are to recognize them as vessels for faith and then to fill them with the fullness and complete sufficiency of Jesus.  As we move forward in faith, simply and fully trusting Him, we may be tested.  Sometimes we may have to wait and realize that "perseverance must finish its work" (James 1:4).  But ultimately we will surely find "the stone rolled away" (Luke 24:2) and the Lord Himself waiting to bestow a double blessing on us for our time of testing. (Streams in the Desert)

I will hold tight to these promises and I will stay strong (through Him).  But to be very honest I cannot wait for the stone to be rolled away...

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Heb. 10:23

Friday, November 12, 2010

Rough Day

So today was one of those days.  The kind of day when the tears wouldn't stop.  Everywhere I went they came...all day long.  So I will be very honest when I say that I am so very happy that it's almost a new day (even though I am off to work in the morn). 

There are some things I don't type on here (for privacy) but let me just say that Brian and I have been back on the fertility ride for awhile now and it has been a rough ride this go around.  So earlier this week I finally reached my breaking point and told Brian that I needed to talk to someone.  That I couldn't do this on my own anymore.  Now don't get me wrong I talk all the time to a few close people about what I am feeling but I needed something more.  So today I met with my pastor for a couple of hours and came out feeling more refreshed than I have for awhile.  And on Monday morning I will be calling my fertility office and making an appointment with the counselor there.  She specializes in fertility (of course) but also loss...so she is right up my alley. 

The one thing that I want to share from my time with my pastor is a story.  It is the story of one woman's desire to be a mother.  The story is told in I Samuel 1.  Brian and I actually just finished reading this chapter a couple of weeks ago and although I had highlighted some verses it didn't hit me how much Hannah and I were alike until today. 

Starting at verse 4...Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters.  But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb.  And because the Lord had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her.  This went on year after year.  Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her til she wept and would not eat.  Elkanah her husband would say to her, "Hannah, why are you weeping?  Why don't you eat?  Why are you downhearted?  Don't I mean more to you than ten sons?"  Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up.  Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the Lord's temple.  In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord...As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth.  Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard.  Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, "How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get ride of you wine."  "Not so, my lord,"  Hannah replied, "I am a woman who is deeply troubled.  I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord.  Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief."  Eli answered, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him."  She said, "May your servant find favor in your eyes."  Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast...So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son.  She named him Samuel, saying, "Because I asked the Lord for him."

Hannah's one desire was to be a mother.  And like Hannah, my one desire is to be a mother too (or should I say again).  Hannah was bitter.  I am bitter (at times).  Hannah cried.  I cry (all the time).  Hannah was deeply troubled.  At times I feel deeply troubled.  Hannah poured out her heart to the Lord.  I pour out my heart to the Lord every day.  Hannah was grieving what she did not have.  I grieve for all I have lost and for all I desire and yet do not have.  But Hannah found favor in the eyes of the Lord and had a son and named him Samuel (and she went on to have many other children too).  And hopefully my story ends like Hannah's but unfortunately I am not there yet.

I never really thought about infertility being an issue in the Bible (until today).  Yet Hannah's story is just one of many...there is also the story of Sarah (and Abraham) to name another.  It is strange to think that infertility was an issue back then just like it is now.  So tonight I ask that you please say a prayer for all those who struggle with infertility because it is a struggle (obviously) very close to my heart.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Had to Share

So this little lady is very thankful that the last two days have flown by (because work has been crazy busy).  And that it is now almost Friday!!!  But on the flip side I have to work the weekend so it being the weekend is not that exciting.  But work is a wonderful distraction...so I just need to remind myself that it's all good. 

So anyways the hubby emailed me this link today and I wanted to share it with you all!  The photographer that they interviewed in the clip is the photographer who took Alayna and Ella's pictures.  Brought sweet tears to my eyes.  What a gift these photographers are giving to families (Brian and I included)...and all for FREE.

And another quick thing I wanted to share before I head to my most favorite place (that place being my bed) are the lyric's to In My Love by Phil Wickham

In My Love
by Phil Wickham

I have looked you in the eyes
I have seen the tears you cried
I have heard you question why you are here

There is a reason, there’s a plan
There is a God Who understands
He’s got your life inside His hands
Have no fear
Cuz He says

In all your hurt and in all your pain
I’ll never leave, I won’t forsake
You’re my child and I’m your God
Come and rest in my love

I know this road is deep
And I know you’re tired and weak
But the God of perfect peace is right here

He is the shelter from the storm
He is the rock forth and secure
He is hope forever more
Have no fear
Cuz He says

In all your hurt and in all your pain
I’ll never leave, I won’t forsake
You’re my child and I’m your God
Come and rest in my love
When everything seems out of control
I’m holding on, I won’t let go
You’re my child and I’m your God
Come and rest in my love

There is hope tonight
There is everlasting life
Dry away your tears
Coz tomorrow is on the rise
Love will never fail
He will never fail
He says

In all your hurt and in all your pain
I’ll never leave, I won’t forsake
You’re my child and I’m your God
Come and rest in my love
When everything seems out of control
I’m holding on, I won’t let go
You’re my child and I’m your God
Come and rest in my love
In my love
In my love

After my rough last few days...it was just the encouragement that I needed.  So thank you very much to my sweet friend Lacey-jae!  The words spoke right to my heart and reminded me that even though I am weary and hurting and oh so very sad...I am still His Child and He is still my God!  And He is holding on to me and He ain't ever letting go!!!

And with that I am saying goodnight...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Blessed Words From My Favorite Book

Brian and I decided back in August to read the Bible from front to back.  And every day we have kept this promise to each other.  In our readings I have come across some different passages that mean more to me now than ever before.  The first passage that I want to share with you is from the book of John. 

When I first read this passage the one thing that initially caught my eye was, "A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world."  And my thought goes to hmmm wouldn't that be something...to forget the pain because of PURE JOY.  When I was in labor for Ella all I could think about was that I would never forget what labor felt like.  And I haven't.  All I could think about was how uncomfortable I was at that time and that in a short while (which ended up being 24 hours later) that my pain would become even more unbearable.  Those moments after her birth are a blur but her delivery lives in my mind forever.  As does my sweet Alayna's.  I remembering pushing and sobbing at the same time.  Never once did I think that my first child's birth would include heart wrenching sobs.  But then I read John 16 again and realized that once again He is reminding me that my sorrow will turn to JOY.  So tonight and every night I am asking God to bless Brian and I with a healthy (full term) child.  And I ask that you too (please) pray this same prayer with me because until I have my own child in my arms my joy will not be complete.  God knows the desires of my heart and He wants me to be happy again.  This I know.  And now here is John 16: 20-24...

Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. 

And the second passage that hit home was 2 Samuel 12:15-23...

After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.

On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.” David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.” Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped.

Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!” He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”

Through this passage I was reminded that even King David lost a child.  And he said it right when he said "I will go to him, but he will not return to me."  Praise be to God that I will return to Alayna and Ella.  Praise be to God indeed.  Because (like I have said a million times before)...it is the one thing that keeps me going...the joyous reunion (that I will have someday) with my beautiful baby girls!

And another excerpt from Mary Beth Chapman's book Choosing to SEE...

I wonder what it was like for Mary after her son's death.  I know she saw Him resurrected and was certain of the fact that she would see Him again, but she was still His mom.  Mary found favor with God; therefore, she was chosen to be Jesus' mom.  But because God favored Mary, she was also chosen to sufferNot just at the crucifixion, but her whole life.  She was chosen to carry a baby in her womb, be persecuted, and give birth in a dirty stable...She was human, she had a baby, and she raised that baby with the heaviness that she was to see Him suffer and thus she too would suffer.  I think when Mary was hiding things in her heart, it was a lot more than the reality of who she carried in her womb.  I am certain that she was hiding away the memories of first smiles and steps, as well as the first tears and tumbles.  Knowing what was to come, did Mary have the opportunity to live differently as a mom to her little boy?  I believe she did.  I am sure that she watched Him differently, taught Him differently, and prayed differently.  I can only imagine the discussions that she and Joseph would have when their son wasn't listening, how they probably begged God to let the cup pass from them, but in the end yielding up the prayer we all hesitate to pray when it comes to our children.  Your will be done... (Mary Beth Chapman)

After reading this I thought what would it be like to know from the very beginning that your child WOULD suffer tremendously and WOULD die painfully.  What would it be like to live with that knowledge every single day?  But Mary was chosen...just like I was chosen.  We were both chosen to carry a very special burden.  And most importantly, we were chosen by God.  And I know He never leaves His Beloved.  So I will continue to walk this weary path because I know I am one of His Beloved which means He will NEVER leave me.

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. Eph 3:20

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy B-Day to My Sis and Day 30 of the B.C.

First of all if any of you know my sis...make sure to wish her a very happy birthday today.  And to my sis...enjoy the last year of your 20's cause next year is the BIG 3-0!!!  Thanks for not only being my sister but my best friend.  Don't know what I would have done without you these last 4 plus months.  God places very special people in our lives...and you are surely very special in mine!  I hope you have a great day celebrating how very wonderful you are!

And today is the last day of the 30 Day Blog Challenge... So do enjoy this last picture that I am leaving you with...

Day 30: A Picture

Brian, Me, Brandon (my bro), and Kristi (sis-in-law)

This picture was taken Labor Day weekend 2007.  It was the weekend that I fell in LOVE with my hubby and he with ME!  Therefore, where our story all began.  (And the only picture that I have of the two of us from that weekend).

My lover is mine, and I am his.
Song of Solomon 2:16

And on another note I have had a rough few days and once again I want to thank my sweet friend Andrea for this little pick me up she emailed to me.  It gave me so much encouragement and was just what I needed to hear today!

My princess...

I will heal your heart. Don't get discouraged, my beloved; pain is a part of life. But I promise you I will turn every tear you've cried into joy, and I will use your deep pain for a divine purpose. Don't try to hide your hurts from me. I know everything about you. You are mine. My beloved!

I'm the only one who can handle your heart and restore you to health and wholeness again. I, too, have felt great pain. But we can go through every trial together. Hand in hand I will lead you back to my place of peace and joy after the storm. The sun will shine on you again, and your heart will be healed. I promise you, my princess, that when you go through deep waters of great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through the waters of difficulty you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression you will not be burned.

Love,
Your King and your Healer

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thoughts, 30 D.B.C...Day 29, and Trip Recap

So I mentioned here about the book I just finished reading.  A book written by Mary Beth Chapman.  A book about loss and grief but also about hope and faith.  I wanted to share with you all some more of her precious words.  Words (that as I read) felt like my very own.  Words that could have (and maybe have) come out of my own mouth a time or two.  ***(Instead of Maria or her/she...think Alayna and Ella or they/them or if you have lost a child...put your own child's name in there)***

"It feels like we are walking into hurricane-force winds, but maybe, just maybe if we hold tight to each other, and then tie ourselves to the Creator of the hurricane in the first place, we will survive the storm that we are surely in! I'm only prepared to say survive...not yet able to see the calm sunshine and beauty that comes after such devastation, but I'm willing to hold on, which in the end is the true meaning of faith and trust."

"I've heard things like, She wasn't mine to begin with...She belongs to God.  He gave her to me so that I could be her mommy.  But I still want to be her mommy...I wasn't prepared to give her back to the One who gave her to me."

"I'm sad. I'm really, really, catastrophically sad.  I'm not sure when it will get better. I guess I will get through this but not ever will I get over it! So I will journey on, knowing that this isn't my home, and that when I reach my journey's end, I will be with Maria longer than I will have been without her."

"Part of me couldn't help but want to go right along with the balloons...to be gathered up by the wind and be swept to heaven to be with Maria."

"But again, until I die or Jesus comes back, we will do hard.  And even when we feel our God is being silent in the pain...that is where the truest sense of faith must come into play.  But again, I have hope in how the story ends."

And a couple of quotes she quoted in her book...

Even the saddest things can become, once we have made peace with them, a source of wisdom and strength for the journey that still lies ahead. (Frederick Buechner)

Shattered dreams are never random.  They are always a piece in a larger puzzle, a chapter in a larger story.  The Holy Spirit uses the pain of shattered dreams to help us discover our desire for our God, to help us begin dreaming the highest dream.  They are ordained opportunities for the Spirit to awaken, then to satisfy our highest dream. (Larry Crabb)

Christianity doesn't deny the reality of suffering and evil.  Our hope...is not based on the idea that we are going to be free of pain and suffering. Rather, it is based on the conviction that we will triumph over suffering. (Brennan Manning)

May this be your experience; may you feel that the Hand which inflicts the wound supplies the balm, and that He who has emptied your heart has filled the void with Himself. (James Hudson Taylor).

We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be. (C.S.Lewis)

And onto (the second to last day of) the 30 Day Blog Challenge...

Day 29: Three Wishes

1. To get pregnant (again).

2. To take my (healthy) baby HOME with me.

3. To win a trip...

to an all-inclusive resort
or Hawaii
or Alaska
or Europe

Really I'm not that picky...I just want to have it for FREE!

So like I said yesterday, Brian and I decided to get away for a few days around the girl's due date.  We left on Thursday (their actual DD) and arrived back home yesterday.  Our first stop was Chicago and the first thing on our agenda was lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.  It was as delicious as ever!!!  Next stop was to H&M...I absolutely LOVE this store.  Spent a good 2 hours here (much to the hubby's disapproval).  He said that he enjoyed the time at H&M as much as I would enjoy hunting in subzero degree weather.  Love his humor.  Then we walked Navy Pier (it was so cold we didn't last too long).  And finally headed out of the city to hit up the Cabela's in Schaumburg, IL.  And ended the night in a hotel...where we tried to watch Avatar but guess who fell asleep.  You guessed it...ME!
Me on Navy Pier (it was freezing)

Me, Brian, and Chicago

We woke up Friday morning and headed for Milwaukee.  Milwaukee County Zoo to be exact.  My hubby really loves Zoo's.  This past July (right after we lost the girl's) we went to another zoo that was new to us...Potterville Zoo and this zoo doesn't even begin to compare with the Milwaukee County Zoo.  We saw lions, tigers, cheetahs, jaguars, zebras, giraffes, hippos, rhinos, elephants, alligators, brown bears, black bears, grizzly bears, polar bears, camels, and so much more.  And even though it was another chilly day we stilled enjoyed ourselves...because we were TOGETHER!
At the Zoo
 isn't that something...
Brian and his friend Brownie 
My fave animals at the Zoo

After the zoo we drove around Milwaukee and found a place to eat.  Then hit up some outlets outside of Milwaukee.  And arrived at Brian's cousin Kevin's house late afternoon.  We hung out with the Flegner family Friday night.  Kevin's wife Cyndie and I really hit it off (we had only met once before at my wedding) and we also enjoyed spending time with their 3 adorable little girls Kaylee, Jenna, and Brooke.  The youngest was a replica (in personality) to my niece Cambrey.  She was a hoot and has more energy that you can even begin to imagine.  She also loves make-up and candy...can we say Cambrey!  We spent most of the night talking, but we did go out for dinner, and watch some DVR'd Criminal Minds. 

And then Saturday we got to chat some more before heading over to Randolph to celebrate Brian's grandma's 90th birthday.  I really hadn't met much of the Holwerda family so it was nice putting faces to names.  We had a great time and it truly meant a lot to his grandma to have most of her family all together in one place.  
All the grandkids and great grandkids at the party.
(only missing 4 grandkids and 5 great grandkids)

Then it was back to the Flegner's for one last night before heading home.  It was a great time away but once again...its back to reality.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. Romans 8:28

Sunday, November 7, 2010

And we're back (and 30 D.B.C...Days 25-28)

So Brian and I just got back from our 4 day get away.  A get away that was very much so needed.  I was pretty distracted the whole weekend which in my mind was a good thing.  We went to Chicago, Milwaukee, Fort Atkinson, WI (where Brian's cousin, his wife, and kids live), and we made a day trip to Randolph, WI where we celebrated Brian's grandma's 90th birthday.  I will post a couple of pictures tomorrow but I am whipped right now so off to take a nap...

But (one last thing before I go) I just cannot say THANK YOU enough to everyone for your encouraging words these past few days...November 4 will always be a very special day.  A day that we will never forget.  These last few months have been very hard...almost unbearable at times...sorry but no sugar-coating here.  I would never wish this heartache on anyone.  I have shed more tears in these last 4 months than I thought possible...more than I ever shed in my "previous life."  As we were leaving Michigan on Thursday it was pouring rain.  It felt like my girls were reminding me that it was okay to cry.  And although I held the tears in on Thursday, they seem to be flowing freely today.  And that's the thing with grieving, it hits hard at the most random of times.  But the one thing that truly keeps me going is that one day I will be reunited with the two most beautiful little girls...my precious daughters.  And every day lived means I am one day closer to holding them again! 

And smart me had these last 4 days pre-blogged so here are days 25-28... 

Day 25: Put Your iPod On Shuffle (first 10 songs).

When I was on bed rest my sweet hubby downloaded songs to give me encouragement.  Encouragement to keep fighting for our daughters.  The songs were mostly how nothing is TOO big for the God we serve.  Every single night I fell asleep listening to my iPod knowing I served a faithful God who could move any and all mountains from our paths.  So after we came home brokenhearted the hubby added some more songs.  Songs to remind me that our girls were with Him.  That they were complete and whole and WOULD NEVER KNOW hurt or pain.  What more could a mother want?  I don't know why God didn't "move this particular mountain" but I have chosen to continue to believe, to continue to trust, and to continue to believe in His most perfect plan.  So when I pressed play on my iPod this morning these were the first 10 songs.  Funny how most of them were the post-girls songs.  God must have known I needed a little reminder that they are still safe in His arms!   

1. How Great is Our God
2. Healing Begins
3. Who You'd Be Today
4. Precious Child
5. Blessed Be Your Name
6. Your Hands
7. Glory Baby
8. God of This City
9. Streets Of Heaven
10. Borrowed Angels

Day 26: Picture of Your Family

This is the whole family at my brother Brandon's wedding. And I mean the WHOLE family because my sweet Alayna and Ella were in my little 'ole belly for this very special occasion!


Dad and Mom with Cambrey and Kylynn,
Kristi with Easton in her belly, Jason with Addisyn,
The Groom and his beautiful Bride (Brandon and Jana),
Courtney, Tibbe with Cole,
Me with Alayna and Ella in my belly, and Brian.

Day 27: Pets

This is an easy one.  I have only had two pets in my entire 27 years.  The first was a gray little bunny named Floppy and the second was a big chocolate lab named Webber. 

Floppy came to us from one of my mom's cousins...already named and already old.  We loved her and had so much fun letting her hop around in the backyard.  The part that was not so much fun was de-freezing her water every morning in the winter (yes she lived outside) which happened to be a job that my sis and I shared.  My brother Brandon was the lucky one who cleaned the cage (like once a month).  My other brother Jason wanted no part.  I don't remember the year we got her and I don't remember the year she died but I do remember that it was my sister who found her flat on her back one morning.  She came screaming up the stairs saying Floppy was dead.  We all ran down to her cage and there Floppy was staring at us from her cage...saying whats the deal.  But a few short hours later it was the real deal.

And then there was Webber.  We begged and begged my mom to let us get a puppy.  Finally (and I cannot stress finally enough here) she said yes.  But full responsibility (and cost) lied within us 4 kids.  And the one rule was that the puppy was NOT allowed inside the house.  Everyone fell head over heals for this little fur ball of love.  And wouldn't you know from that very first winter (we got her in the summer) we couldn't bear to watch her...with her sad eyes asking why as she sat in the freezing cold and we by the warmth of the fireplace.  So yes we snuck her in every single night.  And no we did not tell my mom that she pooped and peed all over her carpet that first year!  She was a naughty puppy but became the best dog ever.  Even my mom fell in love with her and Webber became an inside dog...just not allowed upstairs.  I could go on and on with so many stories that would make you laugh and smile but I will leave it at this...Webber died in March of 2006 with the Best Doggie Award ever.

Day 28: Something That Stresses You Out

This one is easy MY BODY.  Ever since pregnancy and fertility I am constantly stressed that my body is not functioning properly.  I feel a pain for a split second and I wonder what it is.  My back aches and I wonder what that means.  And it could go on and on.  But it's stressing me out now just thinking about it so I'm just going to put a period down and be done with it.