Thursday, October 17, 2013

It's a....

Profile of Baby Boy King
BOY! We found out several weeks ago...the perks of being "elderly" as a pregnant woman is lots of ultrasounds :) It was very obvious and 100% certain that he is a boy! No, we don't have a name yet, but we are taking suggestions! We tried finding names on the UA Senior Walk on the way to the ugly loss to South Carolina Saturday, but we found the majority are Williams and Johns...and a Buford. William and John are already taken in our family, so I guess for now it's Buford. Or Thomas 2. (Thomas is adamant we name his little brother "Thomas.")
Pumpkin Patch fun--notice Caroline's idea to make a heart over her baby brother. :)
Precious cousins!
 We are about to go to our Level II Ultrasound in about an hour from now. We have no reason to think there will be any problems, but I don't think anyone goes into an ultrasound expecting to hear about problems. God provided a great bible study for us to be working on during this "out of our control" time of our lives and I was reminded in it this morning that He will provide. Period. No matter what the outcome of today...or what tomorrow holds. He will provide.
Wouldn't you think I'd know that already? After all we've been through these past five years? A worst fear realized, and yet, He provided. And continues to do so.
My precious friend Kimberly and I have been known to talk quite a bit about how there isn't a "quota" on suffering this side of heaven. We've had awful, terrible things happen to us, and we know we aren't immune from other hard situations in the future. Anyone that knows me can vouch that I'm mostly a glass half-full person, so it even surprised me when I read in last week's bible study (Psalms of Ascent) something I should have already been focused on. I knew it was worded in the way it was, just for me: God's mercy knows no quota.
That's the flip side! And what a wonderful side it is!  He won't suddenly think I've gotten enough grace, it's endless! Thank the Lord! So whatever comes our way in the future will be covered with His hands. He will heal us again, He will provide again. and again.

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; 
 his mercies never come to an end;   
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

Update! The ultrasound went fabulous. God provided our sonographer to be a gentle, godly man who Tyler and I have known his family for years. Such a blessing. We could see our little guy squirming all over the place. (It was also the second time someone told us we will have a busy boy on our hands!) I didn't want to freak anyone out by crying through the whole thing, but that's what I felt like doing. Each time he'd move to another organ to check out, I would be so tense, barely breathing...thinking about a friend's baby I personally knew who had problems with whatever organ we were looking at and imagining how the parents must have feared hearing about the problem. He would tell us it looked good and instead of releasing the tears, I'd gear up for the next area we were looking at and it would start over the end I was exhausted. So thrilled, but wanting to cry, sleep and praise God. I did all three eventually, but not until after Tyler left town with work and I tended to our sweet 4 year old with croup and a fever. Life keeps going, no matter what else is going on in the world...
Sweet kiddos pretending to sleep while C reads to T.
It wasn't until later that I reflected on the reality of those precious parents, my friends, enduring their tough ultrasounds or nightmarish doctor's visits, but instead of picturing them there, I purposely pictured them in their day to day lives as I know them now. Yes, they still have fear and grief to deal with daily, but they are another testament to God's faithfulness. These parents are so much fun, full of joy from the Lord and some of my loudest encouragers! I am blessed by them. 
I have been told from more than a handful of people that they wouldn't have survived what I have been through (losing my husband while pregnant.) It's simply not true, I want everyone to know we can survive may hurt, a lot, but God's promises are true. We don't just survive, we will thrive! God turns our mourning into dancing in order to encourage others to stay on the path! Y'all we are just a blip on the timeline of humanity. We can do this. It takes God's family and His Word to get us there, but we can. No matter the arrows thrown our way, there is beauty to withhold and joy to be reclaimed.
His big brown eyes melt me. (He sure loves his chocolate milk by the way!)
 I am relishing my children. Caroline and Thomas are such joys in our lives that words really do fail me. It annoys me that I can't seem to capture what I want to about how much I love them and what gifts they are to us. I've noticed for at least for a few months now, every day, I can look at them as they are talking and take myself out of the moment and see them as if I was watching them on video in 15 years, and how I would long to have that exact moment back to re-live again because of how precious they sound and look and act. It's almost too much. So instead I zap myself back in the moment and really take it in. I look them in the eyes as they talk to me, making a memory imprint of how they sound, smell, feel, and act. The moments are all fleeting, the days run into weeks that run into months, before we even have time to turn around it seems. So I'm doing the best I can to savor. To enjoy. To love them.
And then our family will grow to five. More to love, more to do, more to embrace. Thank you God for the blessings of today and tomorrow. Thank you for the promise of a future all together forever. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

New Creation

Can you believe this is our baby three weeks ago?! Amazing.
"Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it!" (2 Corinthians 5:17 MSG)

I wrote this post the day I found out about our sweet #3. I'll post another update soon since it's now 10 weeks later! We are due March 5th, so I'm about 14 weeks along. The outpouring of love and support is overwhelming and precious to us. I do not take any of it for granted. Almost five years ago I wasn't able to announce baby Thomas to the world, so this is super sweet and emotional for me.
Prayers are always appreciated!

Holy Cow. Oh Dear Lord. Are you kidding? Dear Lord.

All of those proclamations were uttered a lot and in differing orders this morning as my doctor delivered the news.

How fitting that this morning during the bible study we are working on (Gideon by Priscilla Shirer) was all about becoming a new creation. How we are not how we used to be now that we've encountered Jesus, so (as she says, and I agree) we shouldn't act or react like we used to...

And not only am I new creation because of my relationship with Jesus, He's blessed us with another creation from His hands. 

Dear Lord.

I've only received the news about two hours ago so please don't judge me. but, DEAR LORD! A third child? A sibling for Caroline and Thomas...Thomas will be a BIG brother?? What!?

I know what you are thinking, and just like I told the receptionist after she congratulated me then quickly asked if I was all right by the shell shocked look on my face...I know how this happens, I've had to kids already, but Oh My Lord!

And yes, Tyler and I prayed, fretted, decided against, prayed some more and finally rested in the decision to let God decide for us...we just didn't think it would be so flipping soon! Oh my.

So here we are. Tyler will get to experience morning (or all day) sickness, exhaustion, irrational crying, food cravings, not to mention what I'm going to go through :)
But in all seriousness, we are completely joyful and humbled. For me to know the highs and lows of pregnancy and be able to share that with Tyler and experience it with him is a true gift from God. One we do not deserve, but that God has provided and entrusted for us.
Tyler and I started our own relationship shocked at God's plan and how soon it all seemed, yet how right we knew it was by God's grace. And we've found ourselves again in the same place. Shocked at God's plan and the quick timing, yet we know it's right by God's grace.

We are no strangers to fear, loss, mourning and joy...we are not naive enough to think this next season of our lives won't hold the same experiences, but hallelujah we know that our God provides what we need for today, this moment, and that He will never let us go.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17 NIV

Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer's Fruit

Half way through an absolutely stunning summer. 

What's special about this summer, you ask?

This one is different.
First day of Kindergarten/Last day of Kindergarten

 I've had my first born back in my life all day and night! Although, Tyler and I keep the kids on an early bedtime schedule to keep me sane, and so he and I can have reconnect time (i.e. popcorn and Netflix) "Don't mind the sun, kids, just pull the covers over your heads!"

We have spent our days swimming, visiting friends and family, taking late afternoon naps, watering our blossoming tomato plants and just plain enjoying each others company. It has been marvelous. Seriously, it has been blissful.

I absolutely love how our bible study on Gideon started out with the verses in the bible all dealing with summer and how it relates to where we are in whatever "season" we are in right now in our lives.

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near." Mark 13:8

"He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame." Proverbs 10:5

In the past, I am not sure I really allowed myself to enjoy life. Yes, I do think I'm an optimist and I really try to take in moments, savoring them, but it was to the point of squeezing the life out of them!
 I was so worried I wouldn't soak it in "enough" 
I destroyed the actual peaceful, joy of the moment. 
 I also would fret during or soon after that I shouldn't be enjoying something since so-and-so is suffering right now and life's unfair. There is a place for empathy, but not to the detriment of our own lives.
Staci Coston Photography

I'm really taking to heart there are sowing times and reaping times for every single living human. And the sowing and reaping does not happen at the same time for everyone.

I'm soaking in the blissfulness of this reaping season.

It is just as important to God that we grab a hold of our summer fruits He's provided and drink in their flavors. When we do so, we are able to reach out to others from our abundance and have the energy to share and be the hands and feet for Jesus. We will also be full, ready, and rested for our own next season of sowing. 
"For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude;
for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer." 1 Tim 4:4-5 (NASB)

"And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God." Ecc 3:13

Much love to you all and I pray you can claim your fruits this summer!   - Bonnie

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Created to Create!

I have a terrible memory. Just pitiful. I attribute part of my memory problem to being a mother. Over half of my brain power at all times is being used to ensure my children are breathing, fed and not missing. A fourth of my brain power is diverted to living in intentional joy, not succumbing to the whirlpool of grief. That leaves a measly 25% of brain power to remember appointments, people's names, grocery lists, passwords to the multitude of internet sign on thingies. (See, I can't even remember the word for "log in.")
These percentages are based on full night's rest, mind you. Anything less than nine hours of sleep and all bets are off.

So it wasn't all that surprising to me when I finally buckled down and made myself finish an entire book assigned for our writing course, only to find out I read the WRONG flipping book.
How embarrassing! Unless no one knew I did it, right? Oh no, of course, I posted in our class's Facebook group asking why the author was a lunatic (I didn't use that word, because I assumed I was too uncultured or uneducated to see the point of the rambling book, but I tried to be polite in my question about the purpose of this man's philosophy.) When the teacher asked me what page number my question was in reference to, I began to panic and scrolled back to our syllabus which listed the author's name which I had NOT read. DOH!

Gratefully, she's the kind of teacher that will laugh with me and not at me, but I kept racking* my brain as to why that silly thing happened. Yes, I was in a hurry at our public library and happy to see a book listed on the syllabus that I wouldn't have to buy without checking the author's name...but for heaven's sake the title was the same and it did have to do with how to write...I vaguely remember having Thomas with me pulling books on shelves in the non-kid-friendly section, so I was distracted...remember my brain percentages problem??
So literally the moment I realized my mistake and saw that the book was SUPPOSED to be Madeline L'Engle's "Walking on Water," I ordered it via my phone (which has my stored password for book buying purposes=dangerous.)
I've only read one chapter and I can see myself buying it in bulk and handing copies out to anyone I happen to pass by.
I have never called myself creative. Never. This writing on my blog thing I've been doing for a few years, you ask?
Nope, not creative. Necessary.

Writing is necessary to my survival of grief and life.


And then this writing course happened. It's like God dared me to sign up. I feel dared to try and see myself in a new way...yes, maybe even creative. Also, I feel dared to apply myself to an elusive dream I did not know I even had.
Ugh. Apply. That means spending time. Working it out. Actually, putting fingers on the keyboard, not just thinking about it everyday.
Part of me thinks: Ain't nobody got time for that!
Unless, I accept it as a calling to do so. Unless, God is asking me to be obedient and do it. Don't ask why or where it's going. Just obey. I obeyed and signed up for a course that felt out of my league. I feel blessed by it and it's opened new ideas and created new friendships that I could not have imagined.
I've told people for months...or has it been years(!) that I hear Him telling me to obey and to write. So why is it so dang hard to just obey, right away?
In Chapter one, L'Engle likens obedience to the beckoning of creating. We can accept or refuse, however "because we are made in our Creator's image, we are created to create!"
 So here He is again. Whispering the same word I've been hearing for some time now...obey.

Fine. I'll try.

I usually don't ask questions at the end of my blog posts, but in this case I'm curious and I'll try do you (or did you) find the time, energy or courage to obey a calling or desire in your life?

*Wracking or Racking? Maybe it wouldn't be so hard to obey if I didn't spend so much time looking up stuff like this for one blog post!?

Thursday, May 16, 2013


So I was on fire to write a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't stop the passion I was feeling or all the themes and topics that was on my heart...but that's where they stayed. On my heart. Not on paper or a screen...well, I tried to capture a few of my musings on the iphone notepad. (That thing is awful! It eats my "notes" whenever if feels the desire and I don't know how to retrieve them...)

Then I spiraled into yuck. I can't keep up with the readings for the writing class, I can't keep up with my passion, I can't keep up with the laundry, etc etc.

During those couple of weeks, I knew that I should fall back on what I've learned through our multitude of bible studies, but instead I wallered in my yucky feelings for a couple of days. Add to that the sneaky grief monster that likes to show up around holidays, special occasions, or when it rains. Or when it's sunny. You get the idea.

So it's time to embrace grace again.

Grace to not have a grammatically perfect blog post. (I know my students who read this blog probably wish they could have a red pen to circle all of my mistakes!) I realize perfectionism is holding me back from even trying to post. Done with that...grace covers it.

Grace to leave the laundry unfolded, yet another day. It's so weird not having my job teaching right now...I can't use it as my excuse for the laundry.

Tyler asked me last night after I lamented at being so flipping tired, "What did you do today?" I didn't know how to answer him.

It sounds all so simplified as a list, I helped out in Caroline's classroom, I sent a few emails, I worked out, I saw my precious sister for lunch, I went grocery shopping, I used sidewalk chalk with Thomas to outline his body, I read jokes to Caroline, I fixed dinner, I gave them baths, I cleaned up the kitchen (sort of ), went to church...and at the end of the day thought about all I did not accomplish that NEEDS my attention.

In between all of those physical motions I fretted over whether we are making the right decisions for our kids, our marriage, whether my God-sized dream of making a difference is stupid, because everyone else is already doing it or doing it way better than I can, why can I not cook meals without preservatives, why do I feel so tired when many of my friends do all that I listed PLUS work a full time job..I could go on and on...

Then I read this:

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. Lamentations 3:22-23

I have to remember this not just at Easter, on Sundays or occasionally. I need to remember it every day. Every morning. His grace covers it all. 

I lament awful memories, I lament over being tired or stressed, I lament over feeling happy because someone I know is in misery...and in the middle of lamentations, we are reminded that it doesn't matter what I feel or even think...

BECAUSE of the Lord's great love we are not consumed. 
Not because of anything I do or not do. 

Grace. Praying for the person reading this right now to lower your shoulders, breathe in and out slowly, and just rest in His peace. 

Love to you all.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Why I Blog

I feel God is calling me to do so.
I enjoy words.
I want there to be a record of why I think the way I do and what we did as a family for our children.
To not be annoying. (I'm crazily passionate, and I may explode/implode if I do not let out my words, thoughts, wild notions, somewhere. SO this is the "somewhere.")
To process my thoughts. (See previous statement.)
If someone is curious about how I'm doing, they can check here, and if I'm too annoying they can stop reading and I'll never know.
(Connected to above statement) To be a testimony that joy can return after mourning, but that doesn't mean grieving is ever over and there are still times when I'm not sure how to go on. (One step at a time...)
On the chance I might someday/somehow encourage, inspire, grieve with, enjoy life with, or just connect in any way with a reader. 

(This is a post in progress...)

Friday, April 19, 2013


I used to scoff when the "experts" said in parenting magazines and blogs that raising children only gets harder after the toddler years. I read those words going on maybe two hours of sleep, worrying about whether my child will ever stop (choose a word) or ever start (choose a word) worrying about SIDS and cancer as I've known it to terrorize the children of friends and acquaintances of mine.
Now as Caroline is 6, I'm starting to get it. The nuances of her gaining more information about our world from places other than myself, the way she's able to make choices without me there right next to her to give her limited options that will keep her safe/protected, and to have the tough conversations that come with just living.
I'm jumping into this next phase of parenting with both feet...just like at the pool, feet first, my eyes shut tight and  holding my nose as to try and keep from drowning. Some days I come up feeling refreshed and renewed, some days I'm left coughing and sputtering from the way I handled it.
God threw me multiple life preservers yesterday, an encouraging friend who can relate to this exact stage of parenting with her own advice, a group of ladies to laugh at my silliness and to encourage me, and Caroline asking at the end of a long day "How does God forget our sins when He knows everything?" He whispered in my spirit to tell her "He chooses. He loves us so much and is so almighty that He chooses to forget. We get  to remember to not choose the same path next time. But we have forgiveness so we can live free of shame and guilt." I try to remember those words apply to myself as well...
As she sleeps upstairs, a new day dawns, and news of fear spreads across Massachusetts and the U.S...I count and say a quick pray before...1, 2, 3...jump!

This was written as part of 5 Minute Friday, a blog prompt that whoever chooses can write for 5 minutes straight with no backtracking, revising etc. Join up or read more here!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cheating Myself

I cheated during my workout today. I know there are times that you have slow down because your old bones are aching or you can't catch enough breath, but no, this was not one of those times. I just didn't want to do what the instructor was asking us to do. I knew no one was watching me, so I just half-way...okay I should quit sinning...just one-third of the way, did the side shuffles--until the instructor came closer to me. That changed the game.
I knew she'd make me work harder.
I knew she'd push me to my limits.
I knew she knew my name and would call me out.
So I got to work, bent my knees deeper and finished the track...stronger than I would have been if left alone.

Ever since I began college eons ago...okay well, remember when we partied like it was 1999, because it WAS 1999? That long ago, I have been learning to be a life-long learner. I'm almost sick of the phrase. Not because it isn't a worthy and important aspiration, it's just one of those phrases that gets thrown around in every education course, text book, classroom and portfolio I come across until we can all talk knowledgeably about what it means, but are we really living it out? Are we showing by example to our students that we don't know it all, but we are striving to learn more? To apply it better? To keep reaching? I think many educators are doing so, but I had kept closed a part of my heart. For many reasons which I'm sure I'll be pouring out in a later post, but the number one reason being fear. I was afraid to admit how much I enjoy writing.

The Time Has Come.

So here it is:
Hey everyone, 
    Guess what? I love to write! I love to feel inspired all through the day by common and not-so-common occurrences and write fifteen incomplete posts in my head until I've come up with three different words for the word epiphany and then forget what inspired me and move on to the next thing and possibly write a poem about it--oh no, wait-that's not me, how could I do that? and then get inspired again by that thing the wal-mart checker outer said to me or that cloud up in the sky or the way Caroline says "Blow down my window" instead of "Roll" and then I need to make dinner and then love on my kids and then spend time with Tyler and, oh yeah, I forgot the towels in the washer, again...and then...zzzzzz.....
And it's a new day dawning, and what? I haven't written anything down except for a grocery list in two weeks?


So on a whim and a loving nudge from my husband Tyler, I signed up for an online writing course.
The class starts Monday. Life-long learning just got real up in here, y'all.

I've learned so much about myself in the last couple of years. I had NO CLUE I could ever join a gym or actually enjoy -gasp!- working out! Yet, it happened. With the help of knowledgeable instructors and Nike dry-fit clothing.
I know myself well enough now to know it is time to have some accountability in this area of my life. Just like our awesome Body Attack instructor motivates us, pushes us through the pain and eventually into a new body, our writing instructor Elora will be pushing and encouraging us to fine tune our writing muscles. I have no clue where this path is taking me, but I know it is God-driven and it gives me extra energy just thinking about it. (And, boy can I think and think and I have to start typing?!)

It's such a magical experience to pursue a passion you didn't even know was in you, or perhaps for me it was ignoring that it was there.
I've been creating syllabi for my college students for ten semesters now. It's time for me to face a syllabus again as a student. All I know right now is that I have a LOT to learn.

ps There's a badge for Story 101 on my blog if anyone wants to be a life-long learner as well. : )

Friday, March 22, 2013


We walked into our home last night after a week long vacation to Texas. It smelled brand new again, fresh paint and wood. I couldn’t decide why my heart skipped a beat until a few minutes later. It’s because I remember what it was like coming home from vacations in our last house. Walking in to the home and having its homemade smell hit us as a greeting. We’d say “It smells like when we first moved it” and we’d smile and remember how exciting that was for us, since it was our dream home. Now time marched on, we are expectantly waiting to greet our loved ones in heaven when that day will come. We are in our new house, with our new family, with new dreams. Both places were filled with God and love. It’s just different in the remembering part. My faith has brought me to a place where I know God is with us, He won’t ever leave, and He will carry us through the remembering and into our futures, whatever they may be. Two weeks ago today we closed on that other dream home. It now belongs to a new family with their own hopes and dreams. May they return from vacations full of excitement of what their future holds as well.

I wrote this as part of “Five Minute Friday” hosted by Lisa Jo Baker. It’s my first time joining it. Thanks for stopping by : )

Thursday, March 7, 2013

He Gives and Takes Away

We've started a new book study in our Girls Fellowship Night group, Grace for the Good Girl. I'm only a third of the way through and it's challenged my beliefs. In a good way, in a quit-trying-so-hard to do this following Jesus thing perfectly. I realize now, it won't happen.
I never thought of myself as a perfectionist (way too many dirty baseboards and thank you notes not written) but I am. I'm a perfectionist in my faith. God has done so much for me that I feel like I need to be perfect for Him, to please Him. How tiring is that? It's a goal that can NEVER be obtained. I didn't even realize I was doing that until I read this book and felt a bit of a "release" of my try-hardness. It's a relief. It's also a journey that I'm on to release it and really be able to lean into the peace that accompanies the grace part of Jesus. It's also that balance thing again: to strive toward Him, but accept the grace when I fail and not beat myself up for not doing it "right."
So it's been two months since my last post.
Since then Caroline turned 6 (Whoa,) Thomas decided to ditch diapers (Woo!) and Caroline has two loose teeth (What?!)

Each one of those events needs its own post, but I'm giving myself grace in that area of my life. Not enough time to document those events because I'm busy LIVING them. (I'm sure when I'm 90 I'll wish I did though...Oh well...)

The roller coaster of life moves on from those family milestones into the last two weeks of my extended "family." I've wanted to write about them so much, but it's also terrifying because I know I can't do them justice. When it rains it pours...
Our dear friend, Kim, has had a long tough pregnancy. We prayed and hoped for a different outcome, but at 25 weeks along two Saturdays ago her sweet baby was born into heaven. To have the honor of watching my dear friend hear doctor after doctor tell her to terminate, that there was no hope, and yet she held on to Jesus' hand the entire time, with grace and glory to God, it has been incredible. Seeing God carry Kim and this sweet baby day after day bringing her peace that can only come from Him was awe-inspiring. Her baby Brynlee brought so much joy and God's story to our lives that her purpose on earth was accomplished in 25 too short weeks. Tears. Blessed be His name, He gives and takes away...
(link to Kim and Brynlee's story)
My precious friend, partner in grief, Kimberly has had a God sized dream of adopting for some time now. Every door seemed to shut tightly. Until her daughter Hannah's would have been 8th birthday. She gets the call that there may be an adoption happening for them. Up and down on her own rollercoaster as paper work and logistics makes it seem it won't happen. Until last Wednesday when she gets the call, you can come get your babies. (Yes, babIES!) On Friday. In two days! Ahhhhhh!
James, Kimberly and big 4 year old brother go to pick up the new additions to their family. Twin toddler boys! Tears.
He gives and takes away, blessed be His name. (Link to Kimberly's blog)

Why do I tell you these things? For you to be strengthened by God's faithfulness. Every single one of you, and every person you see, goes through trials. Be encouraged, grab a hold of Jesus and His promises. He's the ONLY thing that can be relied on. The ONLY person that will not let you down.
Kim's and Kimberly's hearts chose to say blessed be His name. It's not the easy choice, but it's the choice that returns joy to their hearts. It's the choice that we each make every morning when we wake up. He is faithful.
I listened to the song below constantly with Caroline before the accident and it was too painful to hear again for quite a while. After a year or so I could listen again as He returned joy to my life as I handed my grief over to Him little by little. Then some time after that, meeting Tyler and seeing His plan unfold, it took on new meaning. As it has for Kimberly, and in time for Kim. We want to be understood that in no way can our loved ones ever be replaced, there will always be a hole that we fill with God in order to go on and be joyful, but increasing love around us brings peace and hope for the future. And, prayerfully, encouragement for others in their own trials.
 "Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name
You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name" Matt Redman

And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21

Ps I'm linking up with a post celebrating women that have encouraged us along our path with Jesus. There's SO many of you who fit in that category of my life. I thought I'd start with Kim and Kimberly today :) 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Four Years

How has the 5th of January arrived again? Time moves so fast and yet so slow...It's been four years since he kissed me goodbye.

An amazing drawing Thomas' student did for us
Four years later, the kids are healthy, happy and hilarious. Tyler and I are enjoying our marriage more each day and all four of us have the support of an earthly army among families (Culps, Kings, Bruces) and our church, along with a multitude of friends. We are blessed. That doesn't mean we don't have hard times or sad days, it just reaffirms what God has provided for us to make it through today. We cannot know what tomorrow may bring, but we have right now together.
Christmas snow in Batesville!
 After the last couple of weeks I've had, I'm able to focus more on rejoicing today than the sadness. I've mentioned in a post before about Post Traumatic Stress and how for me doctors/sickness/hospitals trigger my most severe reactions. We've been watching baby T's tonsils for a while since one of them was much larger than the other. The last appointment I thought would be like the others where the doc says we will keep watching, so I hadn't requested prayers, hadn't steeled myself for any "news etc. So when the doctor looked in his throat and abruptly said it's time for surgery, I didn't handle it well. I know it is a "routine" surgery. I know most of the time it turns out fine, but this is Thomas...Our baby, the one we prayed so hard for when he was just 6 weeks old in my tummy when his dad went to heaven. And of course they have to say, it's probably okay but we need to send his tonsil off to rule out a tumor. The room spun a little and then they said we will be back after you watch a video. Seriously?
I'm sure people with a normal stress level would be concerned, but I'm not normal. I cried through the whole 1983 produced video while the mom told her kid in his Jordache shirt, you'll feel so much better, it will be fine.
All I could think about is how sometimes is isn't "fine." Thoughts rushed back to Jan 5 2009 when people tried to tell me, I'm sure he will be fine...
And when Kimberly's daughter went in to ACH, it will be fine....
It really is hard to hear those words when you know personally that no one knows "it will be fine."
As the dumb movie ended, Thomas patted my face and said "Be happy mommy." Okay, I'll try.
So after I calmed down, I was able to call some friends that reminded me of what we've learned. One way or another God will make it fine. Life has some very rough spots, but we get through them together. Prayer works. I felt the peace that transcends all understanding. Hallelujah. Prayerfulness=Peacefulness, try it, I promise it works.
I love how this pic shows his special birthdate he shares with his dad.
We made it through surgery day and the peace that helped me make it through can only be attributed to God. Then a week of "recovery." Holy cow that was rough. I don't want to rehash it, but it was like taking care of a sick newborn who has to take medicine every three hours round the clock and not knowing when he would be back to himself. Then yesterday (Jan 4) our checkup with the ENT. He said Thomas was recovering well and see you in six months. Before he stood up I asked if the path labs had come back and so he took about a minute pulling them up on the computer. Tyler, Thomas and I were silent and I didn't breathe. Finally, "Nothing worrisome. That's a relief." Um, HECK YEAH, that's a relief.  And it was like a thousand pounds I didn't realize I was carrying was lifted. I wanted to cry and collapse from weariness and elation.
I have been pretty hard on myself how I handled this whole situation. I feel like with all I've been through and all I've learned, I should be more "together", I should be stronger, I should fill-in-the-blank.
First smile 5 days after surgery.
I arrived home to put T down for a quick nap and I wanted to sleep as well, but I had to let prayer warriors know how the appointment turned out. Just as I had a minute to rest before picking up Caroline, my phone dinged and it was a caringbridge update for a friend of a friend, Sarah Henry recovering from a stroke. A mom of three little ones, she has been making great improvements, but what the author of the update included was aimed right at my heart. It's from one of my favorite daily devotionals Streams by the Desert by L.B. Cowman that someone gave to me when Thomas died. This was an email update from God to my heart telling me that I'm right where I SHOULD be. Not to expect to be in a different place of coping or to be discouraged by my progress or lack thereof.

I [will] move along slowly at the pace of the droves before me and that of the children. (Genesis 33:14)

What a beautiful picture of Jacob's thoughtfulness for the cattle and the children! He would not allow them to be driven too hard for even one day. He would not lead them at a pace equal to what a strong man like Esau could keep or expected them to keep, but only one as fast as they were able to endure. He knew exactly how far they could go in a day, and he made that his only consideration in planning their travel. He had taken the same wilderness journey years before and knew from personal experience its roughness, heat, and distance. And so he said, "I [will] move along slowly." "Since you have never been this way before" (Josh 3:4).

We "have never been this way before," but the Lord Jesus has. It is all untraveled and unknown ground to us, but He knows it all through personal experience. He knows the steep places that take our breath away, the rocky paths that make our feet ache, the hot and shadeless stretches that bring us to exhaustion, and the rushing rivers that we have to cross—Jesus has gone through it all before us. As John 4:6 shows,"Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down." He was battered by every possible torrent, but all the floodwaters coming against Him never quenched His love. Jesus was made a perfect leader by the things He suffered."He knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust" (Ps 103:14). Think of that when you are tempted to question the gentleness of His leading. He remembers all the time and will never make you take even one step beyond what your feet are able to endure. Never mind if you think you are unable to take another step, for either He will strengthen you to make you able, or He will call a sudden halt, and you will not have to take it at all. -Frances Ridley Havergal

In "pastures green"? Not always; sometimes He
Who knowest best, in kindness leadeth me
In weary ways, where heavy shadows be.
So, whether on the hilltops high and fair
I dwell, or in the sunless valleys, where
The shadows lie, what matter? He is there!

So I feel like I have to keep learning this lesson over and over, but that's right where I SHOULD be. Right here, where I am. God provides when we ask for help.
To my friends, family and acquaintances through this blog and Har Ber High: Thank you for praying for us we are experiencing peace and happiness because of your prayers releasing God's will for us. Love you all. Bonnie
"You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." James 4:14