This and that

A couple of changes on the sidebar of the blog:

>There is now a section on the right with links to every book lists I've posted.  I think that will make it easier for all of us to access them now.  The lists for girls start at age six and go right on up through eleven.  And there's a list for boys up there, too.  (I will keep adding lists as long as my kids continue to read, so keep checking back.)

>Every single year I read a passel of books but never keep track of them.  This year I am attempting to keep track of what I read through Goodreads.  In order to do so, I've joined their 2014 Reading Challenge.  There's a widget on my sidebar for that.  I really have no idea how many books I generally read in a year, so I picked a random number of 75 as my goal for the year and we'll see how I do.  If you click "view books" at the bottom of that widget, it will take you to a list of the books I have read.  (I'm also trying to review them as I go.)


Audra and Ella play so well together.  They rotate between playing dollhouse and playing babies together.  Lately, it's babies.  So I have two little mommies toting their babies around and acting out all these little story lines.  It's very sweet.  Usually one or both of them are pregnant, too- with pillows or blankets stuffed into their shirts and a dolly on their hip.

A few times over the past week, I found them bickering over the one doll quilt that we have- one I made for Ella years ago.  Audra wanted it for her baby but it belongs to Ella, so while Ella was very generous to share it, she wanted it sometimes, too.  So I offered to make a quilt for Audra's baby.  She looked through all my fabric and chose these two and told me she wanted "little squares" and this is what we ended up with:



A friend gave me a sourdough starter, and I am tentatively excited.  Tentative because I don't know what I'm doing and I don't want to screw it up.  Excited because I love bread- especially sourdough, and I think it would be amazing to have the ability to make some. 

So I have this little jar that I'm "feeding" daily and then I don't really know what to do after it's fully fed, but I'm researching it.  I'll let you know how it goes.  It's sort of my own little experiment.  


We finally started school again today.  After TWO full months off.  (The first month was planned, the second was not.)  We had influenza at the start of this month, then the miscarriage, and then we ended the month with a round of the stomach flu.  Serious.  I.cannot.wait.for.spring.  Even though we're smack in the middle of winter, we do see tulips poking their heads up in our flower garden and little buds on my hydrangea bushes.  So it's coming.  Really.


I'm memorizing some Psalms for the year.  I love the Psalms.  I casually decided I'd pick 3-5 of my favorites and memorize them, so I pulled out my Bible one evening to find my favorites, and I ended up with a list of seven.  So we'll see.  Maybe I'll end the year with only three memorized, and that will be fine.  Or maybe I'll be able to take on all seven and that would be great, too.  I've already memorized Psalm 1 (but then again it's only six verses, so it was an easy start.)  The ones I'm working on are: Psalm 1, 19, 27, 34, 71, 103, and 145.


The women's Bible study at my church just recently started studying the book of Colossians, so I've joined that and am working my way through each word of Colossians, and loving it.  If you've never done a Precept study, I recommend it.


Recently we watched North & South on Netflix, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.  And now we're watching Season 4 of Downton Abbey.   I always look forward to Parenthood, too.

It's quiet time at our house and I have already eaten some chocolate, but I have some reading to do in Ruth, some Colossians homework, and I'd love to journal if there's still time.

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Miscarriage (Part 3)

I've been writing lately about our loss. 

You can start at the beginning, when we first found out, by clicking here.  And to read about my heart in all of this, click here.  To read about how some of our kids are doing, click here.
And then the physical loss. 
To read Miscarriage (Part 1), click here.
To read Miscarriage (Part 2), click here.

Now, a final post:

* * *

And then I was in recovery.  It's so hazy, that time... waking up, hearing voices, people talking to me, and though I could hear them and was somehow conscious that they were talking to me, I was not fully coherent yet and certainly wasn't answering them.  It's all so strange.  I tried to pay attention to what what was going on around me but I was woozy from the anesthesia, drifting in and out, hearing snatches of conversation or hearing Michelle, my nurse- repeatedly say, "Stacy?  You're out of surgery.  I'm right here with you as you wake up.  Do you need anything?"  Until I was finally awake enough to answer her.

I faintly remember Dr. Mora, stopping in to say he was done, that things had gone well, that he hardly had to dilate my cervix at all because things were starting to happen on their own. 

I sipped some juice.  My mouth and throat felt numb and weird because of the tube they'd inserted during the procedure.  I talked to Michelle for a bit, she asked if I'd remembered Dr. Mora's conversation with me, and I repeated back what I'd heard him say.  I stayed for another half-hour or so, and then bid Michelle goodbye as Caitlin was there again to wheel my bed to another wing of the hospital.  Caitlin stopped in the waiting room doorway to beckon to Mark to come with us, and I saw my sweet husband and asked him what he'd eaten.  (Salad.  From the cafeteria.  With chicken and lots of toppings, and he drank water.  Good man.)  He'd also updated friends and family via text, and tried to call our Ella.

Then we were at our final location, with a sweet nurse also named Michelle, who offered me food (I said no), and took care of us  We spent maybe an hour in that wing... we mostly talked by ourselves, Mark and I, while Michelle did our paperwork at her desk across the way and down the hall.  She'd check in every ten minutes or so to see if I needed anything or check my vitals.  And she was our only nurse (with the exception of Sereta, who I mentioned in the last post) who acknowledged why we were there.  At one point she rested her hand on my arm and said how sorry she was for our loss, and spoke some words of comfort about how difficult it was.  I nodded and cried.

At around 6 o'clock I got up, went to the bathroom and changed back into my clothes, and then Mark went out to get the van and Michelle wheeled me to the exit.  We got into the van at 6:30.  What a long day.  We drove to the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions (our final nurse had called them in for us) and then we drove to pick up our kids.  I cried when they all climbed into the van.  They had been worried, of course, and had held in their emotions all day long, and all of it tumbled out when we got home.  Home.  Where so many hours before I had been in so much pain.  We had a nice evening, sitting on the couch, talking.  Mark lit a fire and made it all cozy, and we just comforted the kids and talked with them about their day and our day.

* * *

As I write this, is is Friday again.  Almost a whole week has passed since I began having contractions.  I feel very fragile, and cry often throughout the day.  Not big long sobbing sessions, but tears, here and there- when it comes up.  It usually comes up with one of the kids.  Or with Mark in the evenings.  Or when people stop by with a meal or call.  Basically, every time I talk about it, I cry.  I know the sorrow will ease, and I'm surprised the grief is as raw as it is.  I thought I had already grieved; and that now that we were on the other side of the physical part of this, I would be fine, and we could move on, so to speak.  And we are, I know.  Healing, moving forward.  Just gradually.

Two nights ago Audra sat near me and asked how I was feeling- was I hurting?  I said yes, and then said, "My tummy hurts, mostly, where the baby used to be." And then I cried, realizing all over again that the baby wasn't there anymore.  (And then of course she cried, because she is the most compassionate four-year-old, ever.)

I know it sounds crazy, but there was a sort of comfort these last few weeks, knowing the baby was still inside of me.  Even though I knew the baby was no longer alive, somehow I still had a connection to our little one.  Now I just feel empty.  This morning Ella climbed into bed with me and we talked for awhile and she chatted about another baby, someday, and I quietly and achingly said, "We'll see."  And then, I couldn't help myself:  "But I wanted to know this baby."  And then I cried at the sorrow of that and also the realization that there IS no longer "this baby".   This baby is no longer with us; no longer in me.

We are overwhelmed at the kindness and tenderness of Jesus, who shows up every time someone comes to our door to deliver a meal, or brings flowers or sends us a card in the mail, an email or a comment on a post.  Or just comes to sit and listen and cry with us.  Or calls to check in.  Or prays for us.  Or just acknowledges the fact that we're hurting.  I have felt His presence so keenly through the presence of His people, and I am so very grateful. 

He has ministered to me deeply through the love of my own children, who speak openly of it all and tell me how sad they are.  He has ministered to me through the children of others, too.  An acquaintance brought us a meal last week, and some of her children had made me cards.  After she left, I looked through that little pile of cards- from children I have never even met- and I was comforted by their sweet little pictures and wobbly lettering.  And when I read words like, "I hope you feel better, Stacy" and "I'm sorry your baby died", I cried again at the comfort and tenderness of my Jesus, expressing His love for me through this little stack of letters.

I am reading and memorizing some Psalms, and His words have brought me comfort and I am still resting in them, and in Him

I am learning, too, through the example of others- what it looks like to care well for people in their grief.  (Now that I look back, I don't think I was very good at this... and I feel like I'm a student, taking mental notes; learning.) 

God is good.  He is gracious.  He is sovereign.  He is near to the brokenhearted. 

Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to you who have cared for us or prayed for us from afar.  He is using you to reveal His deep love for us.  (((Thank you.)))

Miscarriage (Part 2)

To read Miscarriage (Part 1) click here.

* * *

Let's see... Mark had just gotten off the phone with our midwife, and she encouraged us to get to the ER.  We made a quick phone call to Mark's sister to see if she could take the kids for the day (she could and was there within ten minutes to pick them up.)  I started getting myself dressed- and in those ten minutes after deciding to go to the hospital, my bleeding increased significantly.  Suddenly I was gushing blood.  So then I was worried.  I didn't let on to Mark how much I was bleeding at that point, but just told him we needed to go, and NOW.

On the way to the ER, I was still having contractions and wondering how I was going to manage that (and the blood and all the trips I'd need to take to the bathroom) in the ER waiting room.  I sort of envisioned myself on all fours, on the ground, breathing through my contractions as I crawled to the bathroom.  So I prayed aloud that God would please get us in quickly.  When we got there, Mark checked us in and I headed straight to the bathroom.  I passed one person seated in the waiting room.  And he didn't look hurt.  Other than that one person, it was empty.  I don't know if there's ever been fewer people in that waiting room.  It's always packed.  I was so incredibly grateful.

At that point I was thankful to be at the hospital, in capable hands.  And I knew it would make Mark less worried overall.

We saw one nurse initially who took my vitals and asked all sorts of questions, and then they wheeled us to an ER room, where we met our nurse, Kate.  She called me darling and began cleaning me up.  The ER doctor checked in- a Dr. Nicholson, and then was back in a bit later to give me a pelvic exam.  He said there was an awful lot of blood and clots, and my cervix was closed.  He instructed Kate to get me on an IV right away and then told me he'd get someone from OB up, but he thought they would want to proceed with the D&C.  That was no surprise to me.  He also said he could definitely make me more comfortable with some pain medication.  I was tearfully grateful.

We did a lot of waiting... Mark and I, there in the room, talking quietly, with occasional interruptions from Kate to change out my bedding or check my vitals.  We listened to the events happening around the ER.  (Our favorite was a man who came into a room near us.  When the doctor asked him his name, he said "Leonardo DaVinci."  Without missing a beat, the doctor said, "Why, I've never met a famous artist before!")  Kate gave me some medicine and I felt woozy and relaxed for the first time in several hours.  I didn't sleep; but just rested and the pain of the contractions dulled considerably.

OB needed to get a pregnancy test before they'd see me as a patient, apparently, [Kate had a few words to say about that ridiculousness] and then they were willing to do an ultrasound.  Nancy wheeled my bed to the ultrasound wing.  That trip was perhaps the most difficult of our time at the hospital.  I kept watching all the signs as we made our way through the hallways, and I was all choked up at how surreal it was: I had labored all night, I was bleeding and sore and having a contraction right at that moment, and we were heading toward the Childbirth Center, where I'd delivered all of my babies after similar labor.  Mercifully we turned off into a hallway just before we reached the Childbirth Center. 

The ultrasound was much like our last one, weeks before.  There was the baby, in the same place, and still.  After the ultrasound was done- which she took to "find out what is left in there", I was wheeled back to the ER.

After the ultrasound they were in communication with the OR, and Dr. Mora, the OB doctor at the hospital that day, came in to inform us that they'd be proceeding with the D&C and to tell us a little about that.  I signed a consent.  Another nurse, Brenda, came in to ask about medications and allergies.  Caitlin from OR was waiting to transfer me.  I thanked Kate for taking such good care of us and she saluted me and we were off. 

In the OR I met Michelle, the nurse who signed us in and would be there when I woke up.  We chatted about her upcoming birthday trip to AZ, how tall I was (compared to how short she was), and then she asked about my "partner" (that would be Mark, sitting right next to me).  I said he was my husband and he was a keeper.  She asked how long we'd been married and when I told her sixteen years, she said "Good job!  And you still like him, even." I said he was amazing and I loved him.  And then she talked of little else.  She kept introducing us to the other nurses, and referring to us as "sweet" and "married sixteen years" and commenting on the fact that we still liked each other.

Then we met Connie, who would be my OR nurse.  She was very soft-spoken and kind.  The first thing she did after introducing herself was to find my hand, squeeze it, and ask if I was cold.  I was.  So her first task was to get this papery sheet out and on top of me- which I was doubtful would do much in the way of warmth- until she plugged a tube into a hole at one end, turned a machine on and warm air flooded into the sheet/blanket thing, filling it up and warming me up.  Mark promptly checked the brand: Bair Hugger- and said we needed one of those at home. 

Caitlin left, Michelle left- telling me she'd see me on the other side, Connie did some paperwork and said the anesthesiologist was on his way and then she left.  It was almost 4:30.  Tony came and introduced himself as my anesthesiologist and talked me through his part of the procedure and asked me about allergies and nausea.  I always get nauseous coming out of anesthesia- (in four previous surgeries on my ear).  He told me that if you're a white, non-smoking caucasian female, you are the highest risk for nausea from anesthesia.  (Who knew?)

Another OR nurse stopped in- Sereta.  She had recognized us- she and her husband are good friends with Mark's brother- and I didn't even know she worked there, but she said "I saw you here and wanted to say I'm sorry and that we'll be praying for you guys."  That was all, but her compassion and kindness made me weep.

Connie came to wheel me to the OR, showing Mark where to wait, and I made him promise to eat something during his wait: he hadn't eaten or had a drink all day long.  Poor, sweet, hungry, tired man.  He's so strong and I am ever thankful for his steady presence.

Connie took me to the chilly OR room, and there I met her assistant, Jenny, whose job it was to get me talking while the anesthesiologist got started near my IV.  Jenny asked me for my full name and birthdate and what I was there in the OR for.  And I don't remember anything else until I woke up in recovery.

[Part 3 to come...]

Miscarriage (Part 1)

If you've been reading here the past couple of weeks you'll already know this, but if you're just arriving, here is a little history before I launch into what happened recently: we found out we'd lost the baby during an ultrasound at the beginning of January.  And then we waited, because I wanted to allow my body time to miscarry naturally.  My midwife had said she didn't want me to go longer than 4 weeks, and we were just beyond the 3-week mark and nothing at all was happening.  My midwife suggested I take an herbal tincture that can aid in uterine contractions- which would help get things started.  I took it for three days and did start bleeding on the third night.  I was feeling slightly menstrual- a bit crampy and achy, but no severe cramping or noticeable sign of things progressing.
On Friday night I spoke with my midwife, who indicated that she thought my body was being "stubborn."  Indeed.  She was a bit concerned at the blood I was losing, and said that if nothing happened over the weekend, we'd proceed to other options.

I really wanted to miscarry at home.  Honestly, I looked at any other options with a fair bit of dread.  The D&C seemed too invasive for me, and the description of it is unsettling.

Friday night we went to bed late-- I had been really sad that evening, and Mark and I stayed up late, talking.  And I cried.  A lot. 

I woke up at 2:30 in the morning to go to the bathroom and realized I was in a good deal of pain.  Half-hour later I woke Mark up because I was having regular contractions, one on top of the other.  For a period of time I was counting them out- I would count up to 16 or 18, sometimes 20- the contraction peaking at 8 or 10, and then I'd try to take deep breaths and was only able to get 8 in before another contraction would hit.  Those type of contractions went on for hours.  I'd lie in bed for awhile, on my side- clutching my heated rice bag over my cramping uterus, get up after 20 minutes or so and go to the bathroom, change my pad, peer into the toilet to try to measure blood loss and look for clots and any sign of the baby.  Sometimes I'd run the bathwater, sit in the tub and hold a hot, wet washcloth to my stomach.

Mark stayed awake with me most of the time- breathing along with me, rubbing my back, putting pressure on my lower back during contractions, even getting up with me for my bathroom trips, reheating my rice bag.  He was mostly quiet.  There were times I thought he'd fallen asleep but when I asked him he'd say, "No.  I'm just praying for you."  He was great.  So tired and so sad for me, but he was amazing.

Towards morning- 5 or 6 o'clock, I can't remember-- the contractions really increased in intensity.  They were much more painful, but not as close together.  I cried through every single one of them, and was in the "I can't do this anymore. How much longer will this go on?" stage.  I was having a hard time relaxing and taking deep breaths in between each contraction- even though I had more time between them.  During those contractions, my bathroom trips showed heavier bleeding and clots.  Still no baby.

At around 7 o'clock-- 4 1/2 hours from the time they'd started-- God gave us a reprieve.  There was about an hour, maybe an hour and 20 minutes where we were lying in bed, facing each other, waiting for the next one to come... and it didn't.  I think I only had one contraction in that hour.  Mark slept.  I dozed.  I woke to Audra climbing into our bed, chattering, and I was confused.  Were we done?  I knew I hadn't seen the baby come out yet.  What did that mean?  More labor? And- if so-- was I going to be able to keep at this?

I got up to go to the bathroom- Mark still slept- and within 20 minutes the contractions were back, painful and frequent.  We just picked up right where we'd left off, except now the kids were waking up.  Mark tried to settle the kids with a movie and then breakfast and then herded them downstairs to play--- trying to be quick with each thing and get back to me, because I needed himI labored for another hour or so, and Mark was getting increasingly worried about me, and I was beginning to feel weepy and desperate.  I asked him to have the kids come up and pray for me, and he did.  When they walked into the room, I started sobbing.  I was so comforted by their presence and their sweet prayers for me.  Then I asked him to text others, and he texted our moms and some close friends and asked them all to pray and gave them a brief update.  Then I encouraged him to call Winni, our midwife, to update her on what was going on.  (I was hoping that his conversation with her would reassure him and make him feel less worried.)  They chatted for a bit- Mark asking me in between contractions for clarification on times/loss of blood.  Loss of blood was her primary concern.  Mark got off the phone and said, "Winni is worried about you."

OH.  So much for my plan for Winni to reassure Mark.

Winni said that most of her moms will start cramping and the baby will come within three hours.  And after that point, things taper off from there. THREE hours.  Here I was, going on six hours, and I'd been bleeding since Wednesday (remember, it's now Saturday morning).  She recommended that we go to the ER.

So now Mark is REALLY worried, and I immediately accepted the fact that this is not happening at home anymore, and that we'll be going to the hospital.

[For Part 2, click here.]

Tonight, at bedtime...

I was lying on Ella's bed with her tonight as we tucked the girls in.  She had such a concerned look on her face. 

[me]  "Are you okay, honey?"
[Ella]  "I'll tell you later- because of Adelia and Audra."
[me, scooting closer to her]  "You can whisper in my ear."
[Ella, whispering and teary]  "I'm just sad that the baby is really dead."
[me]  "We told you the baby had died, honey...."
[Ella]  "I know.  But I prayed that God would bring the baby back to life."

...and then just minutes later, while tucking Audra (4), in:

[Audra] "I'll pray for you to have another baby, mommy..."
[me, bending to kiss her] "Thank you, sweet girl."
[Audra] " that doesn't die."


We are still waiting for my body to physically miscarry this tiny one.... it's been just over 3 weeks and my midwife says my body seems to be "stubborn".  When I repeated that to Mark, he said "that's because your body just wants to take care of this baby."  True.

Thank you for your continued prayers, friends.  This has been a difficult few weeks.

Bible Reading Plan, 2014 {a chapter a day}

As promised, here is the Bible Reading Plan our family will be going through this year.  (My apologies for being late on this this year!)  I'm hoping I've figured out how to embed it here on the blog so that you can print it from here, but if that doesn't work, feel free to email me and I'll send you the PDF.

UPDATED: I don't think my fancy little embedding is going to help you access this file unless you happen to have a Google account.  If you do, you can click here which will take you to the file, but you'll have to sign into your Google account in order to access/print it.  Hopefully that will help some of you.  If not, email me and we'll do this the old-fashioned way.  *grin*

This year we'll be reading these books of the Bible:

1 Samuel
2 Samuel
Song of Solomon
1 Timothy
2 Timothy
1 Peter
2 Peter

I'm going to cut this sheet in half and paste it onto some cute scrapbook paper and then tuck it into my Bible, checking off the chapters as I go along.  Here is mine from last year, all ready to be filled in:

Blessings to you and yours, ~Stacy

My heart

Thank you, friends, for your kind words of comfort after my last post.  Your comments, emails and Facebook messages have made me tearful with gratitude.  Thank you so much for your prayers and for your encouraging words.  Each of you has ministered to me and I thank you.

I have the sweetest readers.  (((hugs)))

There are so many thoughts and emotions swirling around in my head and heart and the way I process it all is to write.  I've been filling up pages in my journal (and then filling Mark in on all I've written) and I want to share some of it with you, too.  I hardly know where to begin so I'll just start and hope it's not too rambly.

On Christmas Eve I got sick (influenza), and have been very sick ever since.  As I write this it is January 9th, and I'm still sick.  Fever, chills, achy, and upper respiratory stuff.  I have coughed enough in the last two weeks that I'm certain I could win some sort of award if there was such a one, and I have slept very little because of it.  The kids got sick the weekend after Christmas- high fevers for days and everyone lethargic and needy.  (And my amazing [and healthy!] Mark- taking care of us all, should win his very own award.)

It is in this state of weariness and feeling so beaten down already, physically-- that we found out about the miscarriage.

So I have been feeling pretty low, and asking God~ Okay, what is it You want to teach me through all of this?  I have prayed that my eyes, mind and heart would be receive whatever lessons He wants to reveal to me through this trial; that I wouldn't miss it.  And He has been faithful to show me something.

I can feel very sad if I ponder this: Why would You give us this precious gift only to take it away?... Or when I doubt God's goodness: I should have known it was too good to be true... Or when I feel sorry for myself: But it takes us so long to even GET pregnant.  Years.  Or if I think of all that I will miss: how my belly was going to grow and the baby move within me, how I was going to get to see Mark holding a baby of ours again,.... just- all the many thoughts down that road.

I know that God does not mind my questions or my grief, but I have felt a check in my spirit when I have those kind of thoughts.  Very soon after we realized we'd lost the baby, I began to have thoughts of "It was too good to be true, I should have known it wouldn't really happen", etc.  And right away I recognized it as a lie from the enemy.  God is good.  Period.  He is a kind, loving Father, who loves to give good gifts to His children.  And this does not change that.  That's the truth.  I believe it.  I know Him, I know His character, and I trust Him.

I am learning so much by watching my kids.  I saw them grieve, hard- that first day.  Audra's heart-wrenching sobs, Ella's silent grief, Isaac's questions, Isaias' stunned silence....  But just hours later they were back to their play, their laughter, their imaginative creativity.  They live in the moment.  This one; the one right before them.  And they embrace it and delight in it and take joy in it.  They aren't concerned about tomorrow, or about what happened yesterday.  They were so quick to accept this new reality and move on.   I admire that in them.  They simply do not have the capacity to dwell on sadness.  It's just not in them. They are content, they feel secure, and they trust that all will be well.


So I see them and I am reminded to be the same way.  When I befriend my sorrows and sort of camp out with the sad thoughts of all that would or could have been, I feel very melancholy.  But when I remember God's goodness, when I rest in His word and His promises, when I remind myself of His character and His faithfulness, I am heartened.  When I choose not to not dwell on the past and not to worry about tomorrow, but live this moment, and trust Him, I am content.  So I am practicing this, purposing not to "go there" in my thoughts and arriving at a place of quiet acceptance.

Mark read me portions of Lamentations last night- this is one of his favorite passages in the whole Bible.  In chapter 3, Jeremiah is struggling with some seriously dark thoughts, talking about his great affliction and feeling like God's hand is turned against him.  He says things like "He has weighed me down with chains.  Even when I call out or cry out for help, he shuts out my prayer." Or, "Like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in waiting, he dragged me from the path and mangled me and left me without help."  He goes on and on like this, for eighteen verses.  And then, this:
I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."
I cannot identify with Jeremiah's dark thoughts- not to that extent.  But my heart lifts when he gets to the part of "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope...." and goes on to tell of God's love and compassion and faithfulness.

YES.  That is what I am calling to mind, too.  I am resting in the truths of who He is.  The LORD is my portion; my all, and He is enough.


Over the last several weeks I have carried this precious piece of news: God had created a new life within me.  I carried this little one with gladness and such a sense of wonder for what God was doing: forming a new little person for our family.  Mark and I, we told the kids at the beginning of December and they were overjoyed.  Ella has long prayed for this, daily asking God to put a baby in mommy's tummy.  And so we have celebrated this tiny miracle, dreaming of who this one will be, of how our lives will be different with a baby in July.

Mark and I went together for my 11-week midwife appointment.   First, elation as we viewed our baby through the ultrasound: There!  Our sweet baby.  Tiny and perfectly formed.  Then, pause: But the baby seems so still. Is it just because the technician keeps freezing the screen and taking measurements, or...?  Then, a sudden, rushing knowledge: The baby IS too still.  There's no movement.  And there is no heartbeat.  At some point the previous week the baby had stopped growing.

We were stunned.  There were tears on Mark's face.  I felt a numbness that was only broken by the thought that we had to go now and tell the kids; these dear children who have longed for and prayed for and talked about little else but the joy of a new sibling.

There were conversations to have, a paper to sign, and a short walk out of the office and back to our van.  There, finally alone with Mark, I wept.  We sat together there for a few moments.  Mark reached for my hand and he prayed.  And then we headed for home.

We gathered the kids:  Mark sat on the couch with Ella on one side of him and the boys on the other side.  Audra faced me with her arms wrapped around my neck and her legs around my waist.  Adelia sat beside me.  I told them about the ultrasound, and that the baby had died inside mommy's tummy.

What I will remember about that moment is the sound of Audra's grief: she wept with great, heaving, noisy sobs- sounds I've never heard her make.  I remember wishing Ella was next to me, instead of across the way on the other couch.  I wanted to hold her and comfort her in her sorrow.   She cried silently next to Mark, who held her and cried, too.  The boys were silent and troubled.  I kept searching their faces for a sign of their emotion.  I knew they were sad, but they were so quiet.  Adelia peppered us with questions.  Audra's sobs finally quieted and she fell asleep in my arms.  We sat there for awhile, crying and talking through their questions, and then we prayed together. 

I think back to a journal entry I made weeks ago, as I battled my fears:

I trust You, Lord.  I know You are good and Your ways are good.  Even if this pregnancy were to end in miscarriage.  I love You.  I trust You.  You will sustain us. 

He is sustaining us. 

2014 Bible Reading Plan (a chapter a day)

Three years ago I read through the entire Bible in a year.  It was the first time I'd done that.  I felt such a sense of accomplishment at the end of that year.  I know that it doesn't matter.  It's not like Jesus loves me more because I was able to read the whole Bible in one year.  But it was a good discipline for me.  And, since I like to check things off a list?-- I really enjoyed having a box to check each day.

Two years ago I came up with my own Bible reading checklist: read a chapter a day.*  That way I was still making my way through the Bible, but at a slower pace, (for me: allowing time for other Bible study, prayer and journalling).  And a chapter a day was a goal that was reachable even for some of my kids. 

For 2013 we continued reading a chapter a day*, each day of the year.

And now it's 2014, and time to come up with this years plan.  So I'm working on it, and hope to have it available to you soon!  However, we've all been hit with influenza so my progress has been slow.  I know some of you have been doing this, too- and if you're waiting for your copy, I do apologize.  I'll get it done as soon as I can.  (Just start reading Leviticus, one chapter a day.  It's the first book we'll read through.)

Blessings to you and yours,