Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Expensive shoes

When I first decided to blog a couple years ago, I said something along the lines of "without children and/or an exciting life, a blog is just plain boring".  So here's a glimpse into my rather uneventful life recently: 

Several Hope Mommies, Tisha Shuffield and I have decided to run a half-marathon together in March.  Probably one of the craziest decisions I have ever decided on; but now I am stuck because I bought really expensive shoes. ;)  (If I pay more than $40 for tennis shoes, then they better get USED!)  I have also decided that I should do a detox program to kick start my 'new healthier self'.  Hopefully all the pain will pay off when I make it across that finish line in March...that is, if they don't kick me off the track first for taking so long.

I have only averaged a couple miles a day so far, but that is a couple miles that my body is not used to.  So it's big for me. :)  I have a long ways to go, but after each run I feel better.  

Today was a super busy day, but I still squeezed in a run.  I need to force myself to be consistent, since so far I still loathe running.  

I'm grateful a college student posted this on my Facebook wall today:

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10:38-42

Sometimes I just need a reminder to realize that "busy" isn't always important. 

OH! And did you know that it costs $100 to sign up for the half-marathon?!  Now I should be in that business...making people pay to suffer. ;)  That "goody bag" better include a spa day, some Advil and maybe a defibrillator.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

4 months, sweet son

Tisha loving Holden

Four months seems so long, yet so short.  Really, I am sure to the rest of the world, it is a long time to still be writing about.  But to me, it feels like yesterday.  

I have yet to go through a single thought without thinking of Holden.  Someone told me this past week that she didn't want to bring up his name, worried that it might remind me about him.  If only she knew that there is not a thing in the world that distracts me from thinking of him.  I still LOVE to hear Holden's name spoken.

Her words made me think of my Heavenly Father.  I haven't once stopped thinking about my son, and I know from talking to my friends who are mommies, that they too never stop thinking of their children.  Yet, His loves for us is far greater than our love for our children.  What an amazing peace it is to think that our Heavenly Father is ALWAYS thinking about us. He "obsesses" over us more than we obsess over our own children.  He knows our every thought, pain and joy.  I know if my child was hurting, I would do absolutely anything and everything to take away that hurt.  I know He knows we are hurting, and He is beautifully healing our hearts.  

This afternoon, I went by my office and took down my 2010 calendar to replace with a 2011 one.  I flipped through it and noticed all the doctor appointments, ultrasound dates, maternity photos date, shower date, my due date and the date I was going to be induced.  It really felt like it was just last week that I was giddy and excited writing, "Head to Lubbock" on August 31's square.  There was a big smiley face after those words.

I wonder if there is a time that I will not be missing my son, a time I will not be counting the months?  Sometimes the thought of not missing him scares me too.  I don't want to remember my son just on August 28th each year.  Or even worse, I don't want "things" to be my only reminder of our firstborn.  Thankfully, I am a long ways off from not missing him, so I suppose those questions are really invalid in my life.  

Chet is gone for work, so we spent today apart.  We were both able to thank the Lord for our son's life, even if we missed being together.  This morning I received a phone call from Dr. Patrick Mutano in Uganda.  It was an amazing thing to be able to transfer funds for the wells on Holden's 4th month birthday.  I had goosebumps the entire time I was at the bank.  Three weeks ago, I would not have believed I would be doing that today.  We thought it a lofty goal to have one well built by January 28th, his 5th month birthday.

I love you beautiful son, more and more each day.  

I am blessed. 

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:22

His love is astounding.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Paradigm

Our 2010 Christmas card designed by Jaci Johnson (Freely Me Designs)  

So many mixed emotions today.

I will start with our blessings.

I am once again reminded of how Jesus turns our ashes into beauty.  Our goal of nine wells in nine months is being completely fulfilled... and not in nine months either.  Because of some very precious friends, we have the FOURTH well funded, in the initial Holden Uganda project.  When God is for something, nothing can be against it.  He loves the Ugandan people so very much.  Instead of four wells by April 28th, we have four wells by Christmas.  After losing Holden, our most treasured gift, we really did not believe there would be any joy in the holidays.  We received our Christmas miracle, and have so much joy from this gift.  I am anticipating the excitement of getting to build four wells in January!

We were able to spend Christmas Eve and part of this morning with the Shuffields and Ballems in Brady.  This is our nephew Cohen's first Christmas (he was born February 8th), so it was wonderful to see him get excited over bows and wrapping paper (more so than his actual gifts).  It was a blessing to be around our family's love this weekend.  Kayson, Cohen, Garrett and Riley's smiles and hugs are always the best.  :)

On our drive home, I read a blog I've followed for a few years, Edie Wadsworth's blog, Life in Grace.  Her family lost their entire home and all earthly possessions in a tragic fire.  It made me even more grateful for the time we were able to spend with our loved ones this Christmas, rather than fussing about gifts.  One day, nothing we own on earth will matter.

Most of all, we are simply grateful for Jesus this Christmas.  We are unworthy of the grace and love given to us by our Heavenly Father.  He came as a baby 2000 years ago, not to be a cute figurine in our nativity sets, but to grow up on this earth, and take with Him to the cross all the sins of the world.  By that terrible death, He atoned us of our sins and blessed us with the hope of eternal life.

That brings me to the rest of our feelings this Christmas (Chet feels most of how I've felt all day too).  I have to admit that it is not easy to understand His ways.  I woke up, stared at the ceiling of the log cabin we stayed in, and again asked Him why.  I guess what I want is a note to fall from heaven telling me exactly what His plans are.

As these wells are built, we can see a glimpse of His restoration.  We can see the beauty from ashes.  But that doesn't mean we have a baby to love and spend his first Christmas with.  It doesn't mean our arms are full.

On our way back into town, we stopped at the cemetery.  As we drove up to Holden's spot, we noticed an elderly man crying over a grave with pretty light pink flowers.  I just stared at him through my own blurry eyes.  He was alone, sobbing and wiping his eyes and nose with kleenex.  He looked so hurt.  I wanted to run up and hug him, but I don't think my wrecked self would've been much of a comfort to anyone.  As Chet and I held each other, I kept looking over to him.  The cemetery is not where anyone wants to spend Christmas.  I hurt for him, because I know he had different plans for this day too.

Neither one of us could say anything or pray at Holden's spot.  I wanted to talk to the Lord and then tell Holden about the wells.  But all I did was cry.  I know He hears our hearts, so I suppose He told our son how much we love and miss him for us.

I have had a heavy heart today.  I knew we would.  Although everyone who has lost someone knows that they are missed every single moment, it's days like these that we envision such a different day.  

Dear Holden,

Merry Christmas beautiful baby.  Today is your first Christmas.  We have missed you so much.  Our arms ache to hold you, to love you and to care for you.  I know you would be really interested in the lights and colors at Christmas this year.  You would probably be sitting up and reaching for all the shiny ornaments.

We know you are with Jesus today.  He is the entire reason we celebrate this day.  Thinking of your chunky cheeks smiling with Jesus gives me joy today.  We know your Christmas celebration is better than any here on earth, but we still wish we were together.

You were our "Christmas gift" last year when we found out I was carrying you.  You are our Christmas gift and blessing this year as well.

We have a gift to share with you, Holden:  8000 people will have clean water very soon.  We have started a project in your honor to provide the Ugandan people with clean drinking water.  Because of you, 4 wells will be built already!  Your life is meaningful to not just us, your parents, but to people all around the world.  We are so proud of you!

We love you with all of our hearts.  Merry Christmas.

Daddy & Mommy

In Kelly's words today, "His promises are good".  Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hope Mommy

I am not an angel mommy.  I know that isn't exactly what you were expecting me to say tonight, but I have really struggled with the term "angel baby" and "angel mommy".

Ever since the  day Holden was born, I have tried not to use it.  I remember a few things standing out to me from the day I was sitting in the hospital bed, and one of them is being offended by someone calling my baby an angel.  (A well-meaning friend, of course!)  In fact, if you have read my blog before, you will notice that not until this past week or so did I finally cave in to the term.  I used "heaven babies" and "heaven mommies" because I just feel really uncomfortable with the term "angel baby".

Now I know in this angel mommy community, the term is almost necessary.  It is identifiable and links us.  But since this is my blog, I'd like to get on my soapbox a little.

I don't want to sound all preachy (I really dislike it when I do, sorry), but I have read the Bible, and have never once come across anything that says our babies turn into angels.  In fact, I have read about angels quite a bit.  Let me just tell you, Holden is not one of them.  Angels bring people to their knees in fear.  Angels fight spiritual battles.  Angels have swords.  (I don't think Holden is brandishing a sword at the moment.  Really.  Unless he's playing with his "hope friends" and they are using play swords...but I don't even think that is realistic.)

I referenced some passages on angels at  Let's take a look:

Genesis 19:1-2  The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning." (Emphasis mine.)  

Numbers 22:23  When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, it turned off the road into a field. (Even the donkey was fearful.)

Judges 13:20  For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. (Emphasis mine.)

1 Chronicles 21:16, 30  And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the LORD stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces. But David could not go before it to enquire of God: for he was afraid because of the sword of the angel of the LORD.

Psalm 78:49  He unleashed against them his hot anger, his wrath, indignation and hostility— a band of destroying angels. (Emphasis mine.)

Matthew 13:41  The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. (Not exactly sweet fluffy little things...)

Matthew 13:47-50  Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish.  When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away.  This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Again, not so sweet.)

Matthew 28:2  And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

1 Corinthians 6:3  Do you not know that we will judge angels?

(Those are just a few passages with the mention of angels.  I urge you to look up more of them.  It's an interesting study.  The entire book of Revelation mentions angels quite a bit.  None of them are sweet little chunky dears, with soft white wings and halos.)

Although I am doing something very unusual, and probably about to be unpopular, especially in this community, I am going to refer to myself as a Hope Mommy, and my son as a Hope Baby.  You know why?  Because I have the awesome, glorious, blessed hope of seeing him again one day.  It is what gets me up and going in the morning.  And it's scriptural.  And it's my blog. :)

Holden Newell, my little "Hope Baby", gives me hope.  I pray he gives others hope as well.

Titus 2:13 While we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


We happen to live in the famous town of Snyder.  Well, Snyder might not really be famous, but I do know that Snyder is world-reknown because of RED LETTER ROCK FEST!!  Each year, our little town hosts some of the biggest names in Christian rock.

I am positive that if you live anywhere near Snyder (or in the state of Texas for that matter), you and/or all teens you know, cannot welcome in the New Year a better way.

I'm excited for 2011 and know R.L.R.F. is going to be awesome!  Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Season's greetings

Somehow you never see a Christmas card depicting, "Tis the season for hurt, sadness or pain".  I have received quite a few Christmas cards, and all of them talk about joy, peace and love.  I was one of those people who never really thought about anyone hurting around the holidays.  Years ago I read that Christmas is the number one time for suicides, yet I never really gave it much thought; and I certainly did not do anything about it.

I never reached out to a random hurting stranger at Christmastime.  I did not think about all of the people who were truly in pain on Christmas.  I never thought about someone who isn't even able to drink clean water, an orphan dying from AIDs with no medical care, a neighbor down the street who would do anything to simply buy a few gifts for her kids.  

You know what I was primarily thinking about these last few Christmases??  I mostly thought about my tree, my decorations, Christmas cards, buying gifts, what to cook and bake.  About the fact that I have never hung Christmas lights on my house, and I wished Chet would hang them this year.    

I have looked at a blank blog screen for a couple days.  This whole Christmas/holiday season really hurts too much to even write about.  Anyone who has lost a loved one can tell you how Christmas without them simply sucks.  I know that isn't a nice way to put it, but it's the honest truth.  Tonight I read some fellow angel mommies' blogs.  They are all hurting.  Christmas doesn't quite seem like Christmas.  

I don't need to make this a really long blog about how much Christmas is nothing like what I want it to be.  I suppose that's obvious and I could not even muster all of what I want to say right now.  [If you happened to be a family member of Chet's this weekend, you know how much I was not into Christmas.  (Sorry if any of you Erwins read this...)  This whole season has simply left me in a funk.]

What I do still love about the season is this:  Our Savior loves all of us enough that He willingly came to earth as a baby, to fulfill the most sacred promise of all.  That promise included living as a human and eventually dying a terrible death to save mankind.  He did not have to do this.  He did not have to be born in that stable.  He did not have to be beaten beyond recognition and then hung to slowly die.  BUT HE DID.  

Holden did not have to die.  But he did.  I have been asked many times what I think about a God who had the power to save Holden, but did not.  Just as I do not understand the depth of the love our God has for us, by coming to earth on that terrible tax night...I do not understand this.  I don't think I need to understand it all to know He has a bigger plan.  

I am thankful for a lesson I have learned this Christmas.  There is a bigger world out there than me.  I am hoping that every Christmas, for the rest of my life, I realize how unimportant my stockings are, and how important people are.  There is a really big world out there and I want to share some of the blessings He has given us.  It took this year for me to truly understand that I have never celebrated Christmas.  I have celebrated the holidays, yes, but I have not celebrated Christ-mas.  

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Phoenix pics

Our Santa Fe pics are a bit late, but we have been doing other stuff lately! :)

The first two are the only ones my husband had time to edit and look at himself.  So they are posted first.  Don't tell him I posted all the others, okay? :)

The Bohnett clan, minus only a few members.
 Mikey, Nat & Grace during the hike
 Cohen just chillaxin' at the BBQ on Friday
 Kayson enjoying some of the yummy food
 Sky and Sadie (a few oranges were actual ripe enough to eat, so we enjoyed)
 Sadie ;)  (I simply love this picture)
 Ellie and Kayson playing ball (I think they didn't correspond about which sport they were playing though)
 Pretty Ellie
 Kayson loved the tree!
 Pretty sisters
 Hostess of the weekend, our sweet and beautiful cousin Paula
 Nothing like baby sugars, my adorable nephew and me
 He watched the big kids play, so I guess he wanted to as well
 I don't know what we were looking at, but boy oh boy, all that excitement in our faces... ;) ha
 Gramps and Ned, the two BBQ Masters
 Charys and her littlest cuddling
 It was also Heidi's birthday
 Hike Saturday morning
 The crew who took the hike
 Now Chet took this picture resting while some of the brave ones ascended that thing.  I did and actually lived to tell about it.
 Chet's view of us at the top
 Aunt Nikki and me descending
 Natalie is fearless and such a hiker.  Although I think she was running to get some water! :)
 View of Phoenix
 At the train park.  Kayson loved it!
 Meems and I after the mountain climb
 Cousins Mikey and Cohen
 Yellowy picture of Grandpa and his grand-daughters and great grand-daughters                                                 
 Charys and Ellie opening presents
 What Bohnett reunion would be complete without a little political drama?  Grace opened this book given by relatives who wish to remain anonymous.
 On the drive home (LONG drive home), we stopped at the Meteor Crater in Winslow, AZ.  Proved to be an interesting hole in the ground, but an even better rest stop. :)
 My handsome man with the peaks near Tuscon framed in the background

Thursday, December 16, 2010

No words

...are adequate for the blessings we are given.  We are not even worthy to be a part of this project, Holden Uganda.

For three and a half months I have been gripped by overwhelming emotions, due to the humbling love that has been poured out on us.   We have been continually prayed for, loved, hugged and blessed by all of you.

For three and a half months, we have cried, been confused and been brought to our knees over and over.

Today we have JOY.

Tonight we are again at a loss for words.

We were in Lubbock all afternoon, and when we got home, we realized Holden Uganda already received several donations!  We were completely OVERJOYED that people have jumped in to CHANGE LIVES!!

One of the donations was large enough for us to start a well this month.  THIS month!  That is beyond our wildest imaginations.  I have goosebumps and tears streaming down my face.

We thought we would meet our goal by January 28th.  God knew we would meet our monthly goal this month.  He is bigger than our goals.  He met our goal by December 15th.  His plans are always so much mightier than ours', huh?

Tonight I see a glimpse of Holden's purpose.  I miss him more than ever, but I know his life is meaningful.

Our God is amazing.  We stand in awe of his might, power, love, compassion and majesty.  He loves those Ugandans so very, very much.  They are BEAUTIFUL in His sight.

I can't stop crying.  I am crying because I miss the son I did not get to rock to sleep tonight.  But I am crying because I am blessed to know that people believe in spreading the love of Christ so unselfishly, because of God using our son's life in this way.

I am meeting with Ramon and Kara tomorrow, and we will get this well STARTED!

Well #1 will be in honor of the beautiful daughter of Erin & Blair Cushman, Gwendolyn Hope.  Gwendolyn means "blessed".  I would definitely say that her life is a blessed hope!  Gwenny's well will save 1000 people this year, from a water-related death.  Gwendolyn's 2nd month birthday is on the 18th. I know a well does not take away the hurt, or bring precious Gwenny back; it will provide hope for 2000 people though.

I can't say that anything I will ever do in all my life will save even 1 or 2 people.

'Thank you' is terribly inadequate, but THANK YOU.  Thank you for your prayers.  Thank you for your donations. Thank you for encouraging us and supporting us.  Thank you for spreading the word.  You have loved your "neighbors" as yourself:

Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these.  Mark 12:31

We love you!

Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.  Psalms 103:4

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holden Uganda Video

You may want to "pause" my playlist at the bottom of the blog.  That way you can hear this.

God is SO good.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I have Holden Uganda updates to share! :)  Please visit

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dangerous Surrender

When I reflect over 2010 in our lives (I do this nearly every single day lately), I am just filled with so many emotions and thoughts, it makes me get writer's block.  It's like a crammed roadway in Austin, where you just can't seem to see your correct exit (speaking from personal experience).  My brain is on overload.

2010 was a blessed year.
A beautiful year.
The hardest year in my 27.
The most life-changing year.

2010 is a year that makes me cry every time I think about.  Not all of the tears are sad tears though.

Usually around this time in December I am journaling about what growth, or lack of growth, the year has held for me.  I don't know if I can even truly journal all of my thoughts about this year.

My boss mentioned yesterday, that we can never plan our lives out, and that nobody has, or can.  I have started to journal on  paper (very personal) about the road the Lord allowed us to travel this year.  I think that I would gladly have traded our road for a non-moving lane in Austin most days.  But if I were to trade what the Lord has given me, to take the easy detour, then I would certainly be missing His amazing blessings in store.  So I decide (well, I suppose I am forced to) keep going straight on this road.

Now I don't believe that our journey is any more difficult than another persons.  It is just difficult for us.  It is not what I was journaling about last year at this time.  I reflected on December 31st of 2009.  We had known about our baby for one day.  At that time I had journaled and prayed about asking the Lord to help us become the best parents possible, to keep our baby safe, to dedicate our child to Him and serve Him more with our lives.  But I did not know the depth of those prayers.  I did not realize how painful it might be to live in His answer, an answer I was not expecting at all.

What I do know is this.  It took me 12 months to see that when we dangerously surrender our lives to Him, He will return more glory to them than we can even imagine.  I am ready for the glory of 2011.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holden Uganda

It is with EXTREME humility and joy that I get to announce an amazing project some dear friends and us are working on. 

HOLDEN UGANDA is a project to honor our sweet son and make a difference in the lives of thousands of Ugandans.

I will have more information in the next couple of days, but this is something I couldn't go another minute without announcing.  Please be in prayer for this project.  We are asking the Lord for it to be something that will honor Him, and share His unmatchable love with others.

More coming soon!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, 
springs from their heartfelt advice.

Proverbs 27:9

I hope I never take for granted the loving friends I have.  What started out as a tough week has turned much sweeter, thanks to all the friends I have... who I could never repay in kindness.  I did not realize that the holidays would get to me as much as this.  I really feel a bit fake, when I force a smile at times I don't want to smile.  But I really don't want to be someone who is depressed, ungrateful and awful to be around.  Being honest with myself is what I find most healing and really all God wants from me, but I have always disliked being around the Negative Nelly types.  It's a strange line I feel like I am walking.  

I had lunch with a close friend, Audra (Holden's Aunt Pretty), who said something like this: God seems to call up to heaven the very best of people, instead of the bad ones.  He is giving them the biggest blessing of all, eternal joy.  (Okay, so her words were a lot better...but you get the idea.)  We talked about all the amazing people we have known, who are waiting for us in heaven.

That gave me peace.

Then tonight I talked to another dear friend, Kelly, who mentioned that we had both prayed for our sons to be taken care of by the Lord.  We may not have wanted this kind of answer to our prayers, but our sons are in the absolute best care.  There is no better.

That gave me peace.

Yesterday I read an email from a dear long-distance friend, Amy, who wrote about how precious it is that children in Uganda are experiencing joy this Christmas, because they have fresh, clean water to drink from Holden's well.

That gave me peace.

Since I must've been Debbie Downer yesterday, I had several phone calls and texts today from quite a few friends.  What a blessing people are, when they just send a simple text to check on you and brighten your day.  Thank you.  

I am afraid I get so absorbed in my own little bubble, that I ignore all the hurt in so many others' lives; I dwell on me.  Tonight, I have asked the Lord to help me be the kind of friend my friends are.  The kind who will lift others up constantly, regardless of my busy/stressful/bad/good/whatever kind of day.  

There are many instances in the Bible that talk about how fellowship with friends refreshes the soul.  These are a few:

...whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25b

so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed. Romans 15:32

For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition. 1 Corinthians 16:18

I am refreshed.

Other goings on in my life, since I am refreshed and out of my self pity: 

My littlest nephew, Cohen, turned 10 months today.  He has been someone who has given me joy, even on the darkest of days.  When he was born, I stared at his beautiful face and thought of how much I loved him.  I was a couple months pregnant at the time, and thought about how Cohen and Baby Erwin would be so close and get to spend their firsts of everything together.  First Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first birthdays.  Although they'll wait awhile to spend Christmases together, I don't think there could've been two better cousins to be born in the same year.  Cohen is the type of baby who smiles all the time.  He smiles running a 105 degree temperature.  He smiles after falling down, or pulling a book on top of his head.  He smiles when his mom and I are crying.  The Lord really gave us this happy baby to bring us joy every day.  He now has 7 teeth to smile with!  I just love his toothy grin! :)  Now if I could only make time slow down a little.  He is growing before our eyes.  Happy 10 months Christopher Cohen!

I have officially unpacked, stocked groceries in our fridge and caught up on laundry.  This was no small feat.  Truly.  Somehow for just two people, we create a lot of work.  I wonder about us some days... 

I was getting bogged down with these tasks, and my sweet husband and I [at the same time] exclaimed that if it weren't for us being so blessed with clothes and food, we wouldn't have these "chores".  So there.  I can't complain.  I am blessed.  

ANDDDDD for some very exciting news: Several very special "angel mommies" and I are all going to meet up in the heart of Texas in February.  I am excited beyond words to meet these women who have changed my life.  Plans are in the works, but I am just praying that our time together will be meaningful and encouraging.  (As I KNOW it will be!)  There is a team putting all of this together for us, and I am extraordinarily grateful for them.

Much love to all of you.  I pray for your lives to be as blessed as you make mine.  

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you. Romans 1:8a

and the pleasantness of a friend 

Monday, December 6, 2010


It is impossible to adequately memorialize your child on a little rectangle of granite.
I am glad his stone is finally installed though.  It has been a long day, but I was able to just sit at his plot for a few minutes during my lunch break and pray.    

Beauty from ashes.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas in Heaven

Oh my goodness! I have so much to say, so much to catch up on. We are driving back to Texas from Phoenix right now. We have been gone more than home this past month, so I will hopefully get a chance to catch up. I've been journaling solely on paper lately, since Internet times are sporadic lately. But I will have many pictures to upload and share soon. Well, hopefully soon.
We will arrive home very late tonight, but first we are stopping in Lubbock on the way back. A very close family friend had a stroke, but his health and life is yet another testament to the Lord's faithfulness, as he has more in store on this earth.

I want to leave you with a gift that was sent to me by my precious friend Nikki.

Christmas in Heaven
I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below,
with tiny lights like heaven's stars reflecting on the snow.

The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away that tear
for I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear,
but the sounds of music can't compare with the Christmas choir up here.

I have no words to tell you the joy their voices bring,
for it is beyond description to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me, I see the pain inside your heart,
for I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I can't tell you of the splendor or the peace here in this place.
Can you just imagine Christmas with our Savior face to face?

I'll ask Him to lift your spirit as I tell Him of your love,
so then pray for one another as you lift your eyes above.

Please let your hearts be joyful and let your spirit sing,
for I am spending Christmas in heaven and I'm walking with the King.

Wanda Bencke