Tuesday, May 31, 2011

9 months and other things

What did we do this weekend?

Relax. :)

Yes, the sun was not out.  I was sunbathing in the shade.  It was 108 degrees, so I pretended I was getting a tan.

Chet and I spent our third anniversary early in Lubbock for the weekend.  It was a wonderful little break from the many things we have going on.  We even managed to not bring our laptop! 

We spent Holden's ninth month in heaven in Lubbock.  As always, time markers are bittersweet.  For our second anniversary, we talked about it being our last one as "just us".  It is still difficult for me to understand why the Lord made this our journey.  It can be very easy to get the in the mindset of, "We love kids so much and would make better parents than so-and-so..."  But I am quickly reminded that His plans are greater than our plans, a topic of discussion for us this weekend.  I am really working on being thankful for this journey.  Having joy restored and being thankful are two completely different things, I have learned.  Kelly's ministry is something I meditate on each day, "Because your love is better than life [even the life of our son on earth], my lips will glorify you." Psalm 63:3

Freedom is not free.  I was humbled to remember this yesterday.  As Chet and I woke up next to each other, late for a day off work, I was reminded of why we could do that.  I challenge anyone to google "fallen soldier".  Then google the images to go along with that.  I know that sounds morbid of me...but I believe we all need a [painful, stark and sadly real] reminder of what a BLESSING it is live in the United States of America.  A thank you is definitely not enough.  But it's a start.  Do something for a fellow soldier today; he or she may die for you tomorrow.

The upcoming Holden Uganda 5K Family Fun Run/Walk in Fayetteville, North Carolina is going to be amazing!!  Amy completely got me fired up about it, and I am SO glad we will have the registration page up on our website next week!!  After hearing the many stories Amy shared about how God is orchestrating every little detail, I couldn't help but smile the whole night thinking about it all.  I mean, there was a plan in Amy's life three years ago that was preparing her to lead this run!  Alpha and Omega and everything in between.

I haven't thanked our dear friends in a while.  I want to do that again and just tell you that love and support are priceless, and even more so when an earth shattering event happens.  You have walked alongside us, even when it is a really awful burden to carry most of the time.  We discussed the Church in Acts in our small group study this evening, and I kept thinking of you all.  Thank you.

Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and will deliver us again.  On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers.  Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.  2 Corinthians 1:9-11

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Wife

Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give 
all the wealth of one's house for love,
it would be utterly scorned.
Song of Solomon 8:7

I have had numerous reminders lately how much my husband does for us.  It can become so easy for me to wallow in grief enough that I forget I am a wife.  When Chet does not feel the same way as I do about something (especially really big decisions), I sadly leave him out of my little world.  Several wise ladies I know have reminded me of my duties as a wife, even through grief.  I am still a wife who is married to an amazing man.  I am grateful for their boldness and willingness to admonish me.

God has given me the hugely important title of Chet's wife.  I am not a "mother" right now, but I can be a wife.  Of all my life decisions, second to following Christ, I definitely could not have been blessed with a better one than Chet.  I'm really glad we said 'I do' three years ago.

We are heading to Lubbock Saturday and Sunday for an early anniversary, since my summer program starts at work on the 5th.  I'm pretty stoked to get to spend the weekend away with my favorite person on earth!
I just got a good laugh going through old pictures of us.  Wow.  We are SO not photogenic...and my awkward stage was definitely extended into my early twenties.  Ouch.  :)  I did manage to find this one of my good-looking stud from several years ago though (pre- jobs that require an absence of facial hair).

So much for ending this blog on the serious note it started out on.  I better go help (or watch) my man build our new fence.  I might even remind him of some of those lovely photos.

A cheerful heart is good medicine.  Proverbs 17:22a 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Same Time

Call me a little crazy, because frankly I am a little crazy.  I almost did not post this, because it can be read as coming from a depressed person.  But it's not, I promise.  :) 

Today has been 38 weeks and 5 days since Holden went to heaven.  That is the same amount of time we were given to carry and get to know our little guy.  (Yes, I apparently have more time on my hands than I thought.)

It got me to thinking about why God chose 9 months gestation for babies to be created.  It is the right amount of time, because He made it so.  Think about it...9 months gives us time to prepare our hearts, minds, homes and families.  9 months gives us enough time to fall in love with someone we have never met, but it's not so long that we can't stand the wait any longer.  It's perfect.

Our time with Holden was perfect.  But even more perfect will be the time we have with him for all of eternity.

38 weeks 5 days later:
1.  I am pre-pregnancy weight.  Finally.  I suppose I needed the same amount of time I took to gain it, to lose it.  Now, things have certainly shifted and moved around...but the scale says the same thing.  I take that shifting with a mostly happy heart; I am 're-shaped' because of my son. :)  (Oh, and let's be honest...I have to weigh myself in the morning for it to be the same...but my goal was 9 months, and so I feel as though I've met that goal.)
2.  Our home office is overrun with Holden Uganda stuff.  We look like a Santa's workshop on steroids.  It's pretty intense.  I don't usually get self-conscience about my mess until someone comes and sees it.  That moment happened on Tuesday night...it's time to spend a good weekend or two cleaning and re-organizing.
3.  I still have bad days and good days.  Grief is a mysterious thing.  People who have lost any loved ones (parent, grandparent, friend, sibling, child) ache to be with them for as long as they are on earth.  I still think of Holden every second of every day.  When I see a Mommy hugging or kissing her baby, I wonder what Holden would be like at that moment.  I miss those hugs and kisses.

God is good.

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.  Romans 8:24-25

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Barber Shop

Rusty and Luke went to the Doggie Barber Shop this week.  They look totally ridiculous, but feel so much better in the 100+ temps (we think they do at least)!  Rusty is STILL super shy about cameras, so we had to bribe them with a bag of treats.  By photo attempt 600 (okay, maybe 60), Chet wasn't too thrilled to keep trying.  :)

My sister posted this today and I have to share:
What if you woke up tomorrow with ONLY the people and things you thanked God for today?

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Day After

Mother's Day was actually quite a normal day for me.  A normal day these days includes a few awkward moments, a few bouts of strong emotion and a few tears.  Other than that, I would actually say that thanks to the many caring, loving friends I have, I actually felt HAPPY yesterday.  I was blessed with cards, letters, gifts and even a flower pot of Gerber daisies.  :)  I went to Kara's 4 year-old son's birthday party and stayed busy all day.  I am so grateful that a day I was dreading could be filled with joy and love, and genuine laughter.

Thank you all for validating our son and allowing me to be his Mom. 

I tried to sit down and write earlier today, but I knew if I was going to be honest with myself, it would end up being a really dreary post.   I decided to wait a bit before bitterness took over my computer screen.  Yesterday's busy schedule seemed to have pushed Mother's Day to today.  It has been a bit of a 'post Mother's Day' bomb for me.  I can certainly say that I am even more thankful than usual to serve the One who is in control.  Today felt so out of control in every possible way, so to sit here and know He is in control has finally got my headache to ease up.  

I have a few friends who reminded me of His goodness today.  Thank you guys.  I feel incredibly selfish after all the LOVE I have received over the past few days to even be writing these words.

I have learned that it is easier to face emotions than to smother them though; they usually find their way out.  For any mom who is missing their child, Mother's Day, no matter how lovely and joyful in ways, still hurts.  Chet wrote me a letter yesterday about why he didn't want to wish me a "Happy Mother's Day" and I think it was beautiful and perfect.  He was mindful of the day and how joy can only be had because of our Savior.  Most probably feel the "Happy" in their Mother's Day comes from mothering their children.  To those of us without our children, happiness is a gift from God in a totally different way.  It almost takes a little work...

Overall, the Healer has made this past week beautiful for me.  I am blessed to call the most amazing mothers on earth my friends, and learn from them all daily.

I spent Friday with Tisha Shuffield, the person who became my "Mom" about 10 years ago.  I also spent the day with my sister and her family.  Charys is such an amazing Mommy, who I am simply overwhelmed to just watch interact with her two boys.  

My mailbox received some special deliveries this week:

The Hope Mommies painting took my breath away.  Erin, your heart reflects Him.  Thank you for such a priceless gift.  Every detail about this painting is perfect and I am so grateful to the very special friends who made it possible for me to receive one.  Read about what the painting represents here.  
 A friend I have never met in person, only through Baby Center, sent me a gift I will cherish forever. She spent countless hours getting to know my son {tears} through drawing him for me.  I stared at it for an hour and thought about how she captured the details I never want to forget.  Thank you Hannah P.  Beauty isn't even the word.

I sit here and think about the words of comfort so many friends have shared with me this week.  The Comforter used my sweet friends to show me how GREAT and MASSIVE His care is.  They proclaimed Philippians 2:1-4 to me.   

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  Philippians 2:1-4  

Friday, May 6, 2011

What is a mother without her baby?

My dear friend Kelly wrote the most perfect blog.  I didn't even know what to say about this upcoming Mother's Day.  After reading this, I knew I could not write something better than what Kelly wrote.  Please check it out:  What is a Mother Without a Child? 
Something Kelly forgot to write about though, is the fact that she is the "quiet behind-the-scenes" warrior for Holden Uganda and Hope Mommies.  Pretty much anything technology-related and much of our public relations is done by Kelly.

I am spending today with the Shuffields and my sister and her family.  I look forward to writing about the weekend soon.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Raising Dough


Nearly 28 year-olds should probably be warned about waiting tables.  I once again respect wait staff even more, since it's been quite some time since I was waiting tables in college.  Quite some time ago for these feet and back and legs and...

But I could be ten times more exhausted than this and still do it all over again, all night long, for the wonderful blessing Holden Uganda had at tonight's Pizza Inn Dough Raiser.

SO many friends (I would not dare name them by name, as I would hate to leave one out) came together to work their booties off tonight.  SO MANY MORE came out to eat pizza, support and share love from their hearts.  

For the past few days, Kara and I had a fun little bet going about who would raise the most tips waiting tables.  Lauren Collier decided to join in on the fun, so it was ON between the three of us!  Kelly was our online moderator and decided to join in on the fun too! :)  Kelly ensured many online donations for the evening as well!  What an amazing time with such generous hearts.  Thank you all! 

Oh yeah.  And I won. :D  

But the REAL winners are in Uganda.  "Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for Me." ~Jesus  

The total of funds raised was over $2,600.  Our God is an Awesome God!

Other notes:  
Chet and I have never been so behind on our part of Holden Uganda (receipts, thank yous, emails).  I just want you all to know I promise you are not forgotten.  We are going to spend the next few nights completely working on HUF this week.  There are so many people to thank and write.  My heart is filled to the brim.  We are learning how to juggle our jobs, normal life, etc. while running HUF.  Thank you for your kind patience in this!

The sweet people I have "met" through Baby Center have been unbelievable this week.  Thank you all for making me feel like a Mommy.   

Mother's Day is only a few days away.  I had looked forward to this Mother's Day so much last year.  My sister even sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers in 2010, making it my first Mother's Day gift.  I do not really even know what I am feeling this week about Mother's Day.  Sometimes it is so sad I block it out of my mind, but then sometimes I dwell on it so that I can dwell on God's goodness.  He is always good.

You know what?  Tonight was the first time I have enjoyed a game of pure fun to its fullness in 8 months.    

This year, Erin sent me a lovely and thoughtful Mother's Day gift: