Sunday, February 27, 2011

Happy 6 Months

Dear Holden,

I had a difficult time typing "Happy" on today's blog title.  I thought I would just write "6 Months", since I have not exactly felt happy thinking about your 1/2 year mark in heaven this week.  But then I thought about you sweetheart.   You are happy, sweet son.  You have never been anything but happy.  So I am glad I can wish you a Happy 1/2 Year Birthday tomorrow! 

There has been so much good coming from your life in the last 1/2 year.  I remember the first time someone told me that good things were happening because of you, I was upset.  I wanted to tell that person that I would rather have you HERE with me than any good that they could perceive from you not being here.  But you know what?  Your daddy and I can sit here today and be thankful for the beauty that has come from the worst thing that has ever happened to us.  

Because of your little life, about 36,000 people are given the opportunity to live another healthy day because they can drink clean water.  

I love you.  I can't ever say that enough.  Happy 6 Months in heaven to the little boy we love more than words.  The little boy who has changed our lives.

~Daddy & Mommy

Holden's Auntie Charys made this beautiful card for us.

This week has been really tough for me.  I wish I could say the exact opposite; that I was strong enough to really enjoy the week.  But I just can't.  6 months is such a definitive marker; 1/2 year from when we held our son, and 1/2 a year away from that moment.

Thankfully, I have been given a lot of peace today.  Our God does not make sense, but He does give us the strength to make it through.

Let's see.  My mind is a little numb for the right words, so I'll just list some of the things that have happened over the past 6 months.

  • I love God more today than I did 6 months ago.  If you would have asked me on August 27th if I would love God if He were to take my son to heaven, I would likely have said no.  Maybe even heck no.  (That's just the cold, honest truth.)  Yet, He is so merciful to my heart...and has given me more peace, love and blessings than I can write.  He gives me HOPE daily...and renews my

  • Chet and I are a different couple.  I am humbled and grateful for it.

  • Thousands of people who weren't drinking clean water 6 months ago, are filling their bodies with life-sustaining water.  Really, I don't even know what to say about it all.  I still wake up with the feeling that it is so surreal that we get to be a small part of this giant plan.  It's a privilege I will never take for granted.  

  • I have had the amazing opportunity to meet other families who have dealt with the death of a baby, and witness the Lord restoring hope in their lives.   

  • I am running.  I know that really isn't big in the scheme of things, but to me it is.  I have NEVER been an athlete or in shape.  As I struggle through each mile, I think about a little chunky-cheeked boy who is really behind all of it.  I would have given up many times, if I did not believe that EVERY single person deserves to drink clean water.  

Tomorrow we are going to release balloons to celebrate.  Celebrate the GLORY that our son is experiencing.  Celebrate the GOOD that He is doing.

It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.  Philippians 2:13

Monday, February 21, 2011

Run for water

Hello friends and family,

I have such an exciting announcement.  Drum roll please! ~~~~~

Thanks to a dear friend of ours, Amy Marson, on August 27, 2011 there will be the first OFFICIAL Holden Uganda Run!!!   The run will be held in the beautiful city of Fayetteville, North Carolina.  (Check out this site to learn more about how cool it is!)

Of course I will be posting MORE information these next 6 months, but I just HAD to spread the amazing news.  I don't know if there is anyone from North Carolina (or surrounding states) who reads my blog, but I think it would be awesome to run with you, if so.

So let's hit the streets.  The trails.  The treadmills.  We've got water wells to build.

I can't think of a better way to celebrate our son's first year in heaven, than to run for clean water.  I really, really, really hope you join us.

Even Chet is running.

For reals.

:)  I have so much JOY tonight.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My Story

Community 40 or "C-40" was completely different than what I was expecting.  To be honest, I actually don't really know what I was expecting.  A weekend of sleepless nights?  A weekend of twelve teenage girls sharing a bathroom (yikes)?   Some worship and games?  I don't really know.

Turns out, this weekend was one of the greatest blessings in my life.  To see nearly 150 teens worship together, kneel before an alter in dedication to the Lord, have fun together and seek Him out was powerful.

Chet and I were beyond blessed to get to host 8 beautiful girls in our home.  They are all such precious girls that I know the Lord is molding into His vessels.  They made me search my heart and reasons why I love Him deeper.  I have never sat in front of a small group of teens who skipped all "surface level" questions and just got down to the realness of who God is.  Wow.

Our group's college leader, Courtney, blew my mind away.  I think back to my college years and know I was nowhere near the leader she is.  She cared through and through for the young ladies, and I loved to listen to Him speaking through her.  Seriously, I can't believe we were so blessed to be in the presence of the 8 young ladies and Courtney all weekend.

The weekend's theme was our "Story"; the teens were challenged to live their "Stories" to serve Him, and leave a legacy that gives Him the glory.  I was probably just as challenged as the teens.  I was that awkward "host home old lady" sitting at the front with our group.  I couldn't help but to be amazed and thankful to see the beautiful work He was doing in the lives of the teens.  Philippians 1:6 being lived out.

Seventh Day Slumber led worship over the weekend; simply powerful.  I have listened to a lot of bands in my life, and many Christian bands live, but Seventh Day Slumber just made their way to the top of my selective list.  The lead singer, Joseph Rojas, shared his gripping testimony to the captivated audience.  His Story gives his Saviour glory.

Tonight, I am moved to live my Story as a reflection of the grace, mercy and love He pours out on me.  

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:2

From the Inside Out by Seventh Day Slumber

A thousand times I've failed

Still your mercy remains
And If I stumble again
I'm caught in our grace
Everlasting, Your light will shine
When all else fails
Neverending, your glory goes
Beyond all fame

My heart and my soul
I give You control
Consume me from the inside out Lord
Let justice and praise
Become my embrace
To love You from the inside out

Your will above all else
My purpose remains
The art of losing myself
In bringing You praise
Everlasting, Your light will shine
When all else fails
Never-ending, your glory goes
Beyond all fame

My heart and my soul
I give You control
Consume me from the inside out Lord
Let justice and praise
Become my embrace
To love You from the inside out

Everlasting, Your light will shine
When all else fails
Never-ending, Your glory goes
Beyond all fame
And the cry of my heart
Is to bring You praise
From the inside out
Lord my soul cries out

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Run for fun

Ha...I kid.  I don't really run for fun.  (And I use the term "run" liberally, as my pace betrays me.)

I believe that even the people "addicted to running", really don't actually think it's fun.  They just do it because they know they should. 

I still hate running, but now it's more of a love/hate relationship, and I can feel a little improvement in my breathing and muscles.  I am giving a lot of credit to our running trainer, Allison. I also thank my sweet running girlfriends, Vanessa, Kali and Kasey, who are my accountability partners.  I am running for two causes now, which makes it SO much more tolerable!!

Let me just tell you.  I should have someone photograph my "run face".  I was running with Erin and she asked me if I was okay.  I was running on the street in Snyder and had several people ask me the next day if I was okay when I was running.  I have to ask people to not comment on my face while I run.  It's bad; I just have a gnarly face when I run that expresses my feelings well. 

I am running the St. Patrick's Day 10K on March 12th for the Scott & White Children's Hospital and Children's Miracle Network.  We are on Team Landry's Legacy, so I cannot wait to run in honor of this precious boy.  Please help us as we raise money for the NICU.

I am also running the Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon in Dallas (YES, that is 13 miles) on March 27th.  (I ask myself why a lot.  Well, every single time I run actually.)  But now I am raising money for Holden Uganda, so it's a little better to think about.  A $1 per mile pledge would change a few lives.  How cool is it that $13 can share a lot of love?  Plus, it'll make me a lot more excited at 5pm after work each day, as I lace up my running shoes.  ;) 

Running is such an odd thing for me.  I wouldn't even be running if it weren't for Holden's life the way it is.  We did get a really cool running stroller (thanks to my shower hostesses), but I doubt I would be running like this with it. 

I have exciting news about an official HOLDEN UGANDA RUN in North Carolina coming very soon!! 
Notice the girl running sideways?  The one with the funky bangs?  Oh, and that outfit?  ;)

I'll leave you with that!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Arguably one of the most 'popular' verses, yet it cannot be stated enough.  It is the very core of who we are as believers, and who God is.  It is why we live.  It is grace and love undefined.  It is mercy that makes no sense.  It is why we will meet Holden again.  It also happens to be on the cover of a very special gift we received in the mail yesterday.  I read it several times and thought about what it really means to me, before I could even open the gift: a scrapbook of Holden's life. 

I take those precious words for granted all too often.  We have ETERNAL LIFE.  It is almost too much to even grasp.  We have eternal life because Jesus came sinless and willing to bear our wretched sin.  It is such a weighty and undeserved promise.  I was just grateful for that alone, and in fact started crying just reading that...  The contents could have been empty and I would have been moved. 

But they weren't.

Back story for a moment: my sister is a scrapbooking queen.  She teaches scrapbooking.  For reals.  We might not be related.  She puts me to shame in all things womanly - crafting, decorating, cooking, baking, card making, cooking for others, well...everything basically.  She stole that in the womb, you know; it's not all my fault.  ;)  I have longingly browsed through her closet full of scrapbooks, just wishing I was a good enough mom to make even one for my son.  (By the way, Charys made a scrapbook for Holden before he was born with a page for each month up until his first year birthday.  It's so precious to me, that it makes me too sad to even look at right now; the love Holden's auntie has always had for him is really astounding.  One day I will open it back up.)  Then, at the Hope Mommies retreat, many of the moms brought beautiful scrapbooks of their sweet Hope Babies.  I came back to Snyder saying that no matter what, I was going to create a scrapbook for our firstborn.  When you are only left with photos and memories, it makes a scrapbook an even greater treasure. 

So I opened the pages of this dear gift.

Photos are coming soon to convey what I cannot.

It is a labor of love like no other.  A friend I have never met and did not know anything about, spent hours (very costly hours, since she is a mom to 5 of her own children) creating these pages.  Tia, thank you from the very bottom of our hearts.  As Chet and I sat together tonight, going through the photos for each page, it was one of the sweetest memories I will ever have.

Tia you are a treasure to our family.  Thank you.  I look forward to meeting you to give you a giant hug...a hug that will mean more than anything I can type.  I love you.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The heaviest of weights is nothing at all

As a mommy who has had to ride home from the hospital without her baby, this amazing gift let me hold and cuddle 7lb. 5oz. today.

Call me crazy, but the second I picked up Holden Bear, I started rocking him.  It's contagious.  We are so very grateful for this gift.  Chet said, "He is really heavy!  Our son was a chunk!" 

PLEASE go to  Bridget is giving such an amazing gift to hundreds of Dads and Moms who cannot hold their babies and needs all the support she can get.

Happy Valentine's Day

I just thought I loved him more than ever then.
God has allowed our love to multiply each and every day.
I love you in a way that I did not know was possible, Chet.

Today's sunrise was gorgeous and I thought of how the Lord gave us that gift today, especially since some of us are missing our loved ones in heaven.  Everyone have a very wonderful Valentine's Day!

For this is the message that ye have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. I John 3:11

Sunday, February 13, 2011

thank you

Today, I am just really thankful for all of the precious friends we have, lifting us up.  Thank you.  I know I can never say that enough. 

Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  Galatians 6:2

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Back to the grind

Erin made us this beautiful subway art.

I'm just going to admit this.  Usually after I have been positively affected by something, I get excited and changed for a few days, and then slowly the fervor dies down; worse, it almost becomes depressing.  I was hoping that I would be okay coming back to the "real world", a world that I cannot discuss picking out your child's casket or having baby flab without the baby.

This week was a bit of a blur, as I seemed to be playing catch up all week.  I am still digesting all of the weekend and what the Lord blessed me with through it all.

Chet and I decided to rest and enjoy each others company today.  I read parts of Traveling Light by Max Lucado for the second time this morning (thank you Sunday School/Coffee Girls), and was convicted a lot about resting.  I am so grateful for days like today, when Chet and I can push aside all the "to-dos" and just enjoy being together.  I remember a few months ago that Saturdays would hurt so much.  I would wake up and cry for a few hours before I could do anything, even shower.  Chet and I had a very difficult time enjoying Saturdays.  Now I wake up on Saturdays and think about what God is doing in our lives.  I still cry on occasion, feel numb a lot, and always wish I could go back in time, but the pain is not as raw.

I have continually been amazed at what a year can do in a life.  We discussed where we were as a couple [and future parents] last February.  I remember loving Psalm 139:13-14 when I was pregnant, so I read the whole chapter today.  I do not think it's just a coincidence that the context of the chapter is so amazing.

Psalm 139:11-18:
If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.  
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  
Holden's life is just as it should be.  Nothing more and nothing less.  His short life with us was ordained before the beginning of time.   
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!  How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand-when I awake I am still with you.  
His plans are precious.  When we awake from the darkness, He is still with us.

(I highly recommend you read the entire chapter, as it proclaims how much He cares for us!)

I still feel the hefty 'weight' of empty arms.  I still wake up at 3am thinking about my baby in heaven.  I still wonder what parenting is like.  I still roll over and listen to my husband sleeping, knowing how much he misses his son and wants to be a Daddy. 

Yet, I can wake up with joy.  A child in our arms does not give us everlasting joy.  Everlasting joy cannot be taken away.  Thank you Jesus for reminding us of your plans for our lives, each and every day.  Especially Saturdays.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Weird and Wonderful

First off, thank you for praying over the Hope Mommies retreat this weekend.  Prayers were answered in a powerful way. 

Last Friday, I nervously pulled into Sonic to order a Route 44 ice water (I know my choice in beverage is boring) for the road.  Anyways, I sat there a little shaky and clammy, thinking, "What if this is all just too insane?"  I had been answering texts and calls all morning from 9 other girls who were having travel delays, cancellations, illnesses etc. on their way to the Hope Mommies retreat in Brady, Texas.  Satan was at work to destroy something he had already lost.  I had a small freak out moment, realizing I would be driving to Brady in a couple minutes, followed by my sweet and funny friend Lauren Collier, who did not really even know the other girls.  What on earth was I thinking?! 

Good thing we took the long way to Brady (thank you ice and snow), because I had a few extra minutes to prepare myself.  Poor Lauren, following me, had to stop and swerve to the side of the road about 5 times as I thought every single ranch gate outside of Brady was Selah Springs.  Little did I know that the ranch gate would have an ENORMOUS Hope Mommies banner across it.  For some reason the banner made me super excited, but took my breath away at the same time.  "Tisha is crazy", is all I thought.  But a fabulous kind of crazy.  :)

Driving the 1.2 mile dirt road up to the log ranch house, we were surrounded by incredible Hill Country beauty and wild exotic game animals.  "Well this is it Sarah.  You are here!  Let's do this!"  Erin and the Shuffields were already at the ranch when Lauren and I arrived.  We were welcomed by such luxurious accommodations at Selah Springs Ranch
I decided to room with Erin for the weekend because I knew she thought it was all a little weird too...okay and mostly because I just love her to pieces!!  But just in case we needed to vent and say how weird it was as we hopped in bed, I knew I was safe with Erin being a roomie. ;)  (Btw---that was really unnecessary, as the weirdness was SO outweighed by the wonderfulness of what our Saviour had in store!)

God's plans were so evident in EVERY single detail, as each girl starting arriving, despite the Blizzard of '11 attempting to hinder that.  As I hugged each girl who arrived next, Sara, Holly, Kelly, Whitney, Melissa, Mary Beth and Chelsea I felt like I was hugging girls I already knew.  I met my real-life heroes.  I texted Chet at that point and said I couldn't believe I was sitting there amidst those ladies.

Dinner was intriguing, as we learned the more "trivial facts" of each others lives, like what we do for work and what kind of houses we live in.  Getting to know each other from the inside out is something I have never done with people.  We've read each others blogs, emails and called each other on the phone with the deepest journeys in our hearts, but really did not know much about the daily lives we live.  I am NOT great with small talk, so I was worried about this part a lot.  In my mind, it compared to a first date or going to a party where you do not know anyone; I was nervous that it would be completely awkward.  We jumped in to conversation like we had been BFFs for our whole lives.  Whew, another worry crossed off.  :)

After dinner on Friday, we were blessed to worship with music by the very talented Lost Creek.  Their voices and hearts gave me goosebumps.  As I looked around the room at each girl sitting next to me, all praising the One who made it all possible that evening, I realized again how much He cares for us.  Again, I can only say surreal.  We stayed up until way past our bedtimes, like we were high school kids, laughing and crying as we got to know each other. 

Saturday morning we meandered down to a couple pots of coffee (thanks to the baristas of the weekend, Kelly, Erin and Melissa) and a lovely day starting.  We prayed and listened to Linsey Woodard as she encouraged us with a precious speech.  I believe Linsey is anointed to speak and touched us all deeply.  The Word was alive through her words.

That afternoon, several of us donned running gear and took our runs/walks.  Erin and I started out running, and ran 4 miles together.  We share such a special bond in the way that we both lost our first and only children.  I think if there were marriages in heaven (which there are not), I would be downright blessed to have Gwenny marry Holden.  They would have cute chunky babies.  Okay...enough unscriptural dreaming.  Sorry.  Anyways...back to the run...I quit at four miles in.  Erin kept going (yay her!), but I decided to walk a mile with Mary Beth and Whitney (who had already run 5 miles)...and then meet up with Kelly and Holly to walk even longer.  I'm really glad I was able to walk with them and spend the time getting to know each other more on the breathtaking land.  Mary Beth and Whitney both ran/are running half-marathons in their sweet little girls' legacy.  What a tribute to their children.  Running is very difficult, but yet they are still pushing through.  I think running long distances is such a picture of this feels impossible, yet it is not.   

Back at the house, Tisha and JJ were already photographing the girls.  They are all so beautiful!  I was not thrilled about this part for my own personal photos, but I am so glad the Shuffields captured my friends' beauty!!  I forgot my camera this weekend, so I am REALLY glad we had the very best photogs in Texas there.  I didn't forget it on purpose (I promise Tisha!), but that means you will have to go check out the other girls' blogs, as well as Shuffield Photography, the official photographers of the weekend.  We got together to wear our Hope Mommies t-shirts (thank you Erin!) for a photo.  The 9 women I stood next to in that picture represent His grace and mercy in a such an amazing way.  I get teary thinking of how we don't even know how exactly we all met each other.  But we did.  We did because the Lord in His unfailing mercy placed our lives together.   

After running and photographs, we had another delicious dinner and made s'mores on the porch.  We came in and enjoyed a glass of wine while Tisha passed out gifts of love from women of faith all over the place.  Tisha had organized prayer warriors to pray over each of us and write us letters.  I also know many of my friends were praying over this weekend as well.  A dear saint made each of us a beautiful handmade security blanket.  How sweet, huh?!  Saturday ended up being another late evening filled with sharing stories, albums and scrapbooks.  It was bittersweet.

Sunday morning, we said our goodbyes to Mary Beth, since she needed to fly back to the West Coast for work.  :(  It was really tough, as I wanted to spend more time with her!  Tisha's close friend Tina Young came to speak to us over breakfast in pajamas (I stayed in my pj's until about 2 or 3 I think).  Tina's honest and real heart captivated me, as she spoke about how the Lord can turn tragedy into glory.  What a blessing. 

Lauren left Sunday afternoon.  Lauren is further away from when her baby was born into heaven, so she brought all of us hope this weekend.  She also made us laugh so hard our stomachs hurt.  I think I need more Lauren in my life...maybe my midsection would be flatter.  ;)  It was so sad to say goodbye to her too. 

This brings me to my very favorite part of the whole weekend; sitting on the rocks in the river praying together.  The Spirit surrounded that place and healed our hearts.  It is a moment I will never forget.

Erin and Chelsea had to leave Sunday evening, before we headed to Fredericksburg for dinner.  Once again I realized how much more time I would like to spend with these girls.  ((sigh))  Tisha drove us to Fredericksburg where we walked around and enjoyed laughing together over good Mexican food.  Scratch that...great Mexican food.  (Mamacita's)  I really did not know if there would be laughter this weekend, and my prayer was that we could have JOY this weekend.  We certainly did.  :)  Sunday night we were blessed to hang out more.  Kelly shared her heart in a precious way.  I love that girl!

Monday morning I woke up really amazed that I would be sad about our weekend coming to a close.  I'm a homebody, and usually by day two of any vacation I am ready to be home.  Kelly, Whitney and Melissa loaded up in the car to head to the airport.  Holly and I had a little time before we headed out. 

All these girls have changed my life in such a profound way.  Each girl has a beautiful heart, and I look forward to being lifelong friends.  We are together because of something we wish we never had to be a part of.  But because we are, we can share in each others joys and trials in a way that no one else can.  Chelsea put it in words, "We can talk about our Hope Babies to each other without ever thinking we have talked about them too much." 

Erin has been given an amazing opportunity to use Gwendolyn's life for His kingdom, as she pursues starting the Hope Mommies organization.  PLEASE be in prayer for her (and all involved), as Hope Mommies will be used to bless hundreds of women in the near future. (Expect a blog post about it all soon!)  Babies going to heaven before their parents is something my human mind and heart cannot fathom, but I know that His will and plans are bigger than my human plans.  I just know I would not be here today without the HOPE I have through eternal life.  Hope Mommies can spread this hope. 

Driving home was so much different than my drive there.  I thanked the Lord for His perfect love towards us the entire time.

My mind was processing way too much to sleep on Sunday night.  I thought about the little boy who was born on August 28, 2010 who was the reason I was even laying in that bed.  I would trade all of the above for just one day with my son on earth, yet I cherish the fact that He is bringing light to darkness.  I love you, Holden Newell.


Check these out:
Shuffield Photography has posted photos of the Hope Mommies weekend. =)  They are amazing.  Just like the weekend was. 

Tisha and JJ, you have used your God-given talents above and beyond once more.  Thank you!

Just don't mind the photo that shows my fabulous style as I layered every item of clothing in my suitcase while roasting marshmallows. ha.
Oh, and the fact that I had just run 4 miles without showering before my photo.  Yuck.  Good thing the Shuffields love me enough to force me into it. 


Cohen, about 1 month old

February 8, 2010 changed my life, as I became an auntie for the second time.  I like this photo because I was a couple months pregnant at the time, and I just knew how deep my love was for Cohen (and his brother Kayson), and how much I could not wait for them to have their little cousin to play with.

Cohen, almost 1 year

Cohen is the "happiest go lucky" baby I have ever known.  He reaches out to anyone and leaps in their arms.  He has always just stared at and loved his Uncle Chet, which I think is super adorable of course.  Charys and I have discussed how much we believe Cohen is more than just a perfect child.  He is a gift from God, exactly at the right time in 2010.  I will never, ever think of 2010 as only a painful year, because it was the year we were given Cohen's life.  

Happy 1st Birthday Christopher "Cohen" Ballem!  I love you so very, very much.

~Auntie Sarah

Monday, February 7, 2011


Nine of us sat on granite in the middle of the San Saba river, the sun peaking through the clouds and warming our backs. We thanked Him for making us mothers. For giving us the desire to be mothers.  For taking our children to live with Him. For His unfailing mercy and for His unrelentless pursuing of our hearts. 

As women we have a desire to be mothers. What a gift.  

I couldn't sleep last night, as I processed the past three days of the first Hope Mommies retreat.  I knew I would be overwhelmed with it all, but I was overwhelmed beyond words.  As mothers, God designed us to desire meaningful friendships, encouragement, love and understanding.  He made us with the desire to share the gift of our children's lives with others.  The peace and solace found at Selah Springs Ranch this weekend was just the place for that.  

The Lord was in our midst from the worship led by Jennifer and Brendan of Lost Creek, to amazing Bible studies and testimonies from Linsey Woodard and Tina Young.  

The entire drive back to Snyder I was enamored with our Jesus' love for us.  He orchestrated every little detail so perfectly, we cannot but praise Him.  He provided a beautiful place of rest and allowed all 10 women to arrive from Canada, Germany, Michigan, Washington and all over Texas safely despite weather concerns and illnesses.  He brilliantly displayed his mercy to us in every imaginable way.  

My heart is SO grateful to Tisha and Jimmy Jim, along with many other wonderful friends who worked together to provide such a perfect weekend.  

Shuffield Photography captured the weekend and I can't wait to post photos soon and write much more, but right now I need to snuggle with my husband who I missed.  

 Firm through the fiercest trial and storms, as Owl City sings.  Nothing can pluck us from His hands.

I am renewed. 

My days have passed, my plans are shattered.  Yet the desires of my heart turn night into day.  
Job 17:11-12

Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

Thursday, February 3, 2011


This little person just said, "Auntie Sarah!" to me over the phone.  My life is perfect. 
This little person just also so happens to be having a birthday in 6 days.


noun, verb, hoped, hop·ing.

–noun Informal .
noun, adjective, verb, idiom, mothered

I the terms "hope" and "mom/mother" and realized there would be a lot to copy and paste.  There are 19 examples for 'mother'.  (Look it up)  I won't do that to you, but it's interesting to read through all of them.

The terms "Hope Mom" and "Hope Baby" do not have online definitions, yet, but I believe they will catch on soon.  An informal definition of them:
Hope Mom:  A mother who is also a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, and one who has given her child up to heaven due to an earthly death.  She has the hope and promise of being reunited with her child, because of the hope given to her when Jesus Christ died on the cross and gave us all the opportunity to have eternal life through salvation in Him.

Hope Babies:  Babies who are born of hope, prayed for in hope and taken to Christ in hope.  (Thank you Erin for the term and definition)

Hope, even amidst death.

I have started about 15 blog posts and journals in the past couple of weeks, but haven't finished any of them.  I don't really know what constitutes a "finish" to a blog entry, but since I do not have the energy or time to make them make any sense, I better not post.  Let's just say we have been homebound more than usual due to sickness and snow, so I had a lot of time for some serious talks with the Lord, and lots of time to write and think. 

What I have been super excited to say is this:
Tomorrow I will get to meet up with 9 other Hope Mommies at a ranch near Brady; Selah Springs Ranch.  Chelsea, Erin, Holly, Kelly, Mary Beth, Lauren, Sara, Whitney and Melissa are some of the most beautiful women inside and out, that I have ever known.  (We will miss several Hope Mommies who are unable to attend this year, but look forward to all of us reuniting again in 2012!) 

We will spend Friday-Monday at the ranch, in what I am positive will be one of the most life-changing weekends ever.  These women bless me more than I can ever say, so I guess I am just out of words.  Pictures might have to suffice for words come Monday night.  (Thankfully, the other women are talented writers, so there will probably be plenty of amazing blog posts to come.  I will just have to direct you to their blogs!) ;) 

Tisha Shuffield, the Mom I have been blessed to have since I was 19 (she should be listed among the definitions of 'mom'), has worked so hard to coordinate this weekend.  Gratefulness does not begin to describe what I feel towards her for planning to get these Hope Moms together.

Please be in prayer for this weekend to be an uplifting weekend of growth, love and friendship.  Maybe it is just me, but I am beginning to get a little nervous about it all.  My mind and heart already feel a little overloaded, so I am praying that I will calm down a little.  And maybe pack. =)

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. While we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, Titus 2:11, 13