Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Tradition

Yesterday marked the end to our planned Christmas celebrations as we celebrated with Jason's parents and siblings.  This Christmas was a little "different" for all of us.  We celebrated two weeks early with my family instead of our tradtional Christmas Eve get-together.  So, Jason and the boys went to Christmas Eve service and then to Jason's grandparents house.  And, after a morning of fun and tradition at our house on Christmas Day the guys headed over to Jason's parent's house. 

During these times, Lydia and I hung out at home.  And, while my heart was missing our traditional festivities, I was also moved many times gazing at Lydia ... I am in awe of God's mercy and grace ... I am in awe that He would choose us to raise this little peanut.  And, my thoughts often turned to that stable and manger as I wonder how Mary must have felt as she gazed into that precious little face of Jesus.  We know that she "treasured up all of these things in her heart" ~ what a wonderful thing and also what I am trying to do as I adjust to things being "different" this year. 

And, although yesterday we had our last planned Christmas celebration, how blessed are we to know in our hearts that our celebration of Jesus' birth and all that He has given us is to be celebrated year-round.  May you also celebrate the Gift of Christmas in your hearts year-round.


Merry Christmas, year-round, from our family to yours.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Introducing ...

We are blessed (and a little bit shocked) to announce the arrival of Lydia Collett:


Born December 18th, 2009 at 12:37 p.m.
7 Pounds, 0 Ounces
21 Inches
And, absolutely perfect!

Our love,
Jason, Heather, Jack, Samuel & Lydia


"From the fullness of His grace we have received one blessing after another."  John 1:16

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Final Countdown

Nearly nine months ago we couldn't even imagine getting to this point where "it could be any day now."  Nearly nine months ago we were filled with apprehension, and we still are, the fear of leaving the hospital empty, on so many fronts, is still real.  But, as I've said before, we have a renewed sense of hope and peace.  As we are now less than one week from our due date, so many emotions are flooding us ~ nervous excitement, some anxiety, disbelief that it's already time, sweet anticipation ... we are beside ourselves knowing that any day now this little one could enter this world and we will be able to hold him / her in our arms.

This past Sunday we were at the cemetery.  It was harder than we imagined it to be, wondering if this would be our last visit to the cemetery before baby is born.  We wonder how we will feel entering the hospital ... we wonder how we will feel being in the labor and delivery unit ... we pray that we will leave the hospital with this baby in our arms ... as so many things have been these past two years, we are sure that the coming days will be bittersweet as we welcome this little one.  We are sure that there will be tears of joy and also tears of grief as we still long to have Owen here with us.   

As I mentioned in a previous post, we know our God is sovereign and through Him we have hope.  It is with sweet anticipation that we await the arrival of this little one. 

"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope."  Psalms 130:5

Monday, December 7, 2009

Five

Five.  How did that happen? 

It seems like just yesterday that we were enjoying this little blondie. 


Now we are trying to keep up with this guy.

Samuel has changed and has grown up so much in this past year and especially in the last three months.  His independence has increased, a bit bittersweet to see that this little guy doesn't need us like he used to.  Like his big brother, Samuel is quite entertaining and says so many things that make us laugh and make our hearts smile.  Case in point, a conversation with the boys a couple of weeks ago:

Jack:  "Does Santa know if the baby is a boy or girl?"
Me:  "No, only God knows for sure."
Pause ...
Samuel:  "It's another boy."
Jack and I:  "How do you know?"
Samuel:  "God told me in my mind."

Oh, how we love this boy!

Samuel has a fondness for elephants and armadillos (odd, we know) and for his blankie.  He has a loving demeanor, he's goofy.  He is affectionate towards others, he has a passion for school.  And, his smile, oh his smile, it's contagious.  We thank God every day for these precious boys he's entrusted us with.

Happy Birthday, Samuel.  We love you!

  "The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."  Zephaniah 3:17 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Toothless Grin

Check out this precious, toothless grin!!!!  Another first - Samuel's first lost tooth (and only days before his 5th birthday!).  Oh, this little boy is growing up too fast!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

So Blessed

Have you ever felt so blessed that it brought tears to your eyes?  Here are just a few of the countless blessings we are thanking God for these days:

for engergetic, loving boys ...
for a marriage centered in Christ's love ...
for the upcoming newest addition to our family ...
for a cozy home that will soon be bursting at the seams ...
for amazing family and friendships ...
for a crazy pup (per Jack) ...
for chicken (per Samuel) ...
for God's unbelievable mercy and grace ...

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Deck the Halls ...

In case you couldn't tell, I'm big on tradition.  One of my favorite weekends, filled with tradition, is the weekend before Thanksgiving.  Jason heads up north for the "big hunt," and the boys and I spend the weekend hanging out.   We bust out the Christmas music (okay, I admit it, our Casting Crowns Peace on Earth CD has already been out for weeks), we make some hot cider or cocoa and usually a few other goodies, we decorate the house for Christmas, we work on our Christmas ornaments, and somewhere in the weekend we watch a Christmas movie or two.  The weekend also typically entails a lunch date with mom (always the boys' choice which typically means we end up at Subway which was the case this weekend).

And, the grand finale of the weekend, welcoming Jason home to the holiday sites, smells and sounds of our home.



Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hope and Peace

With less than seven weeks to go before baby enters this world, we have gotten to a place of renewed hope and peace.  It has not been easy, and we know that there are still uncertainties.  Although all signs indicate that this will be a full-term, healthy baby, we cannot be certain of the outcome.  Only God, our Father, knows the outcome.  Does He know what we want?  Does He hear us?  Does He know that we yearn for a baby to hold in our arms, a baby full of life, a baby to bring home from the hospital?  Yes, He knows.  Yes, He hears us.  Does that mean that is what He will give us?  No, that part is still uncertain.  But, we have faith and we have hope and we have peace in knowing that His decision, His direction, and His plan are what we are here for.

Getting to this point has been challenging, we have often been reminded of our pregnancy with Owen.  We never got to the point of putting up the crib.  We never got to the point of picking out an outfit to bring him home from the hospital in, instead, we were picking out an outfit to bury him in.  We never went to Target to stock up on diapers and other essentials.  There are so many things with Owen that we never got to.  And, our hearts still yearn to have Owen here.  But, that was not to be.

Only now, in the past few weeks have we found ourselves moving forward, really planning for this baby ... purchasing a new stroller and car seat, painting Samuel and the baby's room, picking up some supplies, and you know what?  It's scary, but it feels great.  It feels exciting.  We have a renewed sense of hope and peace.

Throughout this pregnancy we have heard others remark about this being our third, about what a sense of relief we must feel to be expecting again.  This is not our third.  We have three little boys.  And, this baby will never replace Owen or the love we have for him.  Our love for all of our children is deep and profound, but very separate.  Just as our love for "China Girl" is distinct and separate (yes, the boys are still referring lovingly to their one day sister as "China Girl").  A little girl that may only be a thought right now, our love for her was real when we made the decision to fill out the adoption application. 

Yes, we are moving forward.  Yes, it is still hard to understand the unfolding of events that got us to this place.  But, above all, we know that our God is sovereign and that through Him we have hope.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Until the Whole World Hears

What do you suppose Jack is doing here? How about here?

Does this help?

Give up? Jack is absorbing a night of worship. He's rockin'. He's belting out lyrics. He's taking it all in at the Matt Redman and Casting Crowns concert last night - part of his birthday present. It was an amazing night of worship, of praise and of music. It was also a night of reflection on our inadequacies, on our sinful tendencies ... but, it was also a reminder of the eternal hope we have in our Savior.

Having seen Casting Crowns perform last year, I found myself not only drawn into their message, but I was also enjoying Jack's reaction. It was also moving as we remembered Owen. As I've mentioned before "Praise You in This Storm" resonates in our hearts and to hear Matt Redman start it out and then Casting Crowns take it over was amazing … emotional and amazing. "Blessed be your name" is another song of worship that we sang at Owen's Celebration of Life service - He gives and takes away. To hear Matt Redman sing this live was also moving.

One of Jack's favorite moments was Casting Crowns getting everyone on their feet for "What if His People Prayed."
Here's to you Jack, our little Casting Crowns groupie!

Please remember to pause the music at the bottom.
We will not stop singing His praises … we will not stop praising Him … we will not stop worshiping Him … we will not stop ... until the whole world hears!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

We Blinked ...

And, this is what we found ~ a baby boy who has quickly, too quickly grown into a big boy, on his way to being quite the young man. Our little pumpkin turns eight today. Jack has grown into quite the little guy ~ independent (too much at times), sensitive, creative, tender, persistent, insistent, loving, enthusiastic and so much more.
Eight ...
... Halfway to being able to drive (oh boy)
... No more booster seat required
... Closer to double digits
... So much significance
And, so much for a parent to absorb, to embrace, to treasure as we blink our eyes and find that our baby boy is not such a baby anymore.
Happy Birthday, Little Man!

We love you!

"This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Remembering Owen ... Remembering Others

Today is the National Day of Miscarriage and Infant Loss. Having had a miscarriage nearly 9 years ago and after losing Owen last year, this is a day where we stop and reflect and remember ... we remember Owen, as we do each and every day and today we also remember and pray for all of the others who have lost babies. We remember and pray for the family of Elizabeth, for the family of Caleb, for the family of Audrey, for the family of Abby, for the family of Sarah, we pray for those we do not know, we pray for families who have lost babies in early pregnancy, we pray for families that are hurting ... today we pray and we remember and we continue to ask for strength from our Father and we continue to cling to the hope that having a relationship with Him brings.

"For you created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb." Psalm 139: 13-14

There is no foot too small ...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Race Day

Another Fall Tradition - the big mountain bike race!! So proud of my guys and how my little guys have a heart for biking and racing, just like their Daddy!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fall Traditions

I love Fall, absolutely love it, and I love all of the traditions and the things that come with this season - the apple orchard, the pumpkin farm, Autumn hues, birthday parties galore, the crisp air, the smell of falling leaves, hot apple cider ... everything, I love it all.

One of our annual Fall traditions that we all love is a work weekend at Lake Lundgren Bible Camp in Pembine. We stay for the weekend and spend Saturday getting the camp ready for winter. This typically entails cleaning, painting, building, moving items, etc. Jason's whole family and their families typically go up for the weekend to help at camp and to enjoy God's creation (it is absolutely beautiful up there this time of year!). Often the Lilyquist family outnumbers all of the others there!

Well, this year we had to somewhat break tradition. With training Maizey and considering she's not quite 12 weeks old, we didn't feel comfortable boarding her yet (and, I'm not so comfortable painting, dipping my hands in heavy duty cleaners, etc. while carrying this little one). So, I stayed back for the weekend. And, little Samuel decided he would stay back with me. So, I spent the weekend making memories with these two characters!!!
And, Jason and Jack? They were busy workers this weekend, that's for sure. Jason worked on building a porch on one of the cabins, and Jack waxed the boats, picked up sticks, hauled firewood, and delivered snacks. The camp truly is a beautiful place where God's creation abounds. This weekend is meant to not only get the camp ready for winter but to also give God the glory for what He has so graciously given us.
This is our family at camp last year.
This is the group of Lilyquist's there this year, about half its normal size.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Only 90 Shopping Days Left

Okay, that actually sounds like quite a bit. But, we've already established that I am a planner. That said, this year is certainly going to challenge me. I'm going to try to stay laid back when I think of all that I normally try to do this time of year and during the Christmas season (okay, to all of my real-life friends out there - stop laughing, I know you're wondering if it's really possible for me to be laid back ... I'm wondering too). I'm trying to convince myself that with Jack's upcoming birthday, then Thanksgiving, and then Samuel's birthday, not to mention all of the fun Autumn and Holiday festivities in between, that I do not have to go overboard this year with preparations. I'm trying to convince myself that I do not have to make an assortment of Christmas cookies, that the boys and I do not have to top last year's Christmas ornaments, that my gifts do not have to be wrapped with real ribbon (I nearly choked typing that one!).

I typically do start Christmas shopping early, but this year I am trying to be especially diligent in planning and shopping for gifts since we do not know exactly when this little one might make his / her entrance into this world. I'm trying to accept that I will need to change my routine this year to accommodate my growing belly.

I love shopping for fun, unique gifts for others. Of course I am still guilty of picking up gift cards. But to find that something special for someone makes my heart sing. I have a feeling that this year I will be doing more internet shopping, one place that I will do a little shopping is on etsy - specifically on my friend Elizabeth's site (Sew What Designs). Elizabeth is so creative. I just adore these tea towels that she makes (family and friends that I typically shop for, don't be surprised if any of these show up in your gifts this year). And, wouldn't these make the cutest teacher gifts? Have you been to etsy? Oh, it's a dangerous place to browse! I happened to stumble upon monogrammed bloomers one of the last times I was out there ~ oh, we're in so much trouble if this is a girl!!! Okay, I digress.

Here is a set of tea towels that I have that Elizabeth made.



Yes, this Autumn and Christmas I am going to have to let go of my Martha tendencies (another near choking incident just to type that). In the end though, a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby will, of course, be one of our greatest blessings. And, we must remember why it is that we celebrate Christmas in the first place ...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Praise You in the Storm

Do you ever feel that God is calling you to do something, something that maybe you do not want to do or are not comfortable with? But, no matter how hard you try to avoid it, you know it's what He wants? Over the summer we were asked to share our story (really Owen's story and His story) at a Sunday evening service. Before we knew it the day was here (this past Sunday). We are not public speakers by any means so to go before a crowd and let our honest emotions out was a bit nerve racking, but we knew that God has been calling us to do this. And, this was not to be about us, this was to be about how He has been working in our lives. It was a time to admit that we had times when we felt bitter, times when we questioned why and still do. A time to also reflect that despite our loss, we have gained so much, so much to be grateful for and humbled by.

It seems when life moves on as normal, we get into a comfortable relationship with Christ, but when life throws you a curve ball like this we have two choices, we can run to God or run from God. During our experience and in our sorrow, we ran to Him and our relationship with Him grew. We had and have hope, we could cry out to Him and know that He has a purpose in this, we don’t know what that purpose is and we may not ever understand, but we can cling to the hope that we have in Him. Through it all, we know that we have a God who saves, we have hope and we will continue to praise Him, He who gives and takes away. We will praise Him, even in the storms of life.

video

(Please remember to pause the music at the bottom of this page)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Because We're Crazy ...

And, what's a little more chaos? And, another mouth to feed?

Meet the newest addition to our family ~ little miss Maizey. Isn't she sweet? Aren't we crazy?

As if we weren't outgrowing our house fast enough already ...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New Beginnings

Another new beginning today as Samuel set out on his first day of Junior Kindergarten. Again, easier on the boy than on his mama!
Samuel on His 1st Day of JK
Samuel's sweet teacher sent home a card today with the following:

I gave you a little wink and a smile
As you entered my room today.
I know how hard it is to leave
And simply walk away.
You've been together for several years.
You've been a loving guide.
But now the time has finally come,
To leave your child by my side.
Just know that as you drive away
And tears may start to flow,
I'll love your child as I would my own
And help your little one to grow.

So much truth (and yes, the tears did flow as we drove away) ... we know that Samuel will be safe, he will be loved and he will grow and learn.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Back to School

How quickly time goes by … wasn't I just writing about Jack's last day of 1st grade? Now, here it is already the first day of 2nd grade. Why is it that these new beginnings are so very bittersweet for us, and yet so exciting for the children? God fully intended these little ones to keep growing and to keep learning, but oh it tears at our heartstrings that this means greater independence for our children and less dependence on us. We may not be comfortable with all of this transition, but we know it's right, it's for good.

And with that, it is with anticipation and excitement that we look forward to seeing Jack grow this year.

Jack had a great day today and is already enamored by his teacher!
It is going to be a great year!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Boy Vs. Scooter

Helmet: Check!
Knee Pads: Check!
Elbow Pads: Check!
Mouth Guard: Ummmm ... nope!

Jack with his "broken" smile (check out his "missing" front tooth)
The Scooter Won
(What a blessing to have a wonderful dentist to "fix" this little mishap!)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

It's All in a Name ...

Analysis paralysis? Been there? That's where we seem to be at with names. Oh, we have a fairly solid list of girls names ready. Who wouldn't after having not been able to use one ... ever? But, boys names? That's a different story. We thought we were all set with a perfect boy name for our family, if in fact this is another boy (sorry Rita, I know you're insistent that this is a girl and we need to just stop worrying about this ... but worry, yep, that's me - remember the Martha post? I'm still a work in progress). Anyhow, back to names, we have been having second thoughts on our boy name.

The boy name we thought we were set on - Matthew Jon. We still love this name, but when you put all of our boys’ names in the line-up – Jack, Samuel, Owen, Matthew – Matthew gets tacked onto Owen and considering that is Owen’s middle name, we’re rethinking our decision. I know, too much analysis!!! It is important to us that our children have names that are strong, and we have a tradition of using middle names which are after strong figures in our lives - family or friends. Jack's middle name is Franklin, which was my grandfather's name. Samuel's middle name is Charles which is Jason's grandpa's name (and also a family name on my side). Owen's middle name is Matthew which is my uncle's name. So, we are 100% sure that if this is another little boy, his middle name will be Jon after Jason's brother and after a friend who we would also consider a brother to Jason, both wonderful men that we are encouraged by and that we love dearly.

So, back to first names. Our other name out there – William Jon (and we’d call him Will), so – Jack, Sam(uel), Owen, Will(iam). Two things with this name, the first, which we are not as concerned about is that our cousin's husband is Jon William (now Jon, don't be getting all proud here!). The second concern is that Jason's sister is also expecting and is due only a couple of weeks after us. She found out that she is having a precious little boy. And, we found out, one of her boys names on the docket is Will. Hence our challenge with a boys name.

I had an appointment this week and my doctor told me that the ultrasound technician took a picture of the baby’s bottom “just in case” we change our minds and want to know the gender of this little one. Oh, so tempting. But, there really are too few surprises in life and this is one that we will continue to anticipate and wait on and agonize over a name on should this, in fact, be another little boy. I bet God is just shaking his head saying "Heather, Heather! You are worried and only one thing is needed ..." So, like anything else, both significant and seemingly insignificant we will turn this over to God and trust that all will work out as He has so purposefully planned. And, we'll hold tight to knowing that we will in fact one day get to use one of our girls names, if not this December, then for our daughter from China (as the boys still affectionately refer to as China Girl).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Breast Cancer 3-Day

60 miles ... 3 days ... torrential downpours and storms resulting in tent evacuations ... hazardous heat levels ... sore muscles ... two blisters ... tears of exhaustion ... tears of gratitude ... Breast Cancer awareness raised ... research dollars raised ... lives changed ... LIVES SAVED ... these are some of the incredible memories I have from the two years that I did the Breast Cancer 3-Day walk in Chicago (2006 & 2007). Walking the Breast Cancer 3-Day was physically and emotionally exhausting, but so, so moving ... so incredible. I walked with Team Pedicure founded by my dear friend Elizabeth. This past weekend was Elizabeth's 6th consecutive year walking in the Chicago Breast Cancer 3-Day to raise awareness and raise funds for Breast Cancer research. Elizabeth and I were trying to figure out how much she alone has raised for Breast Cancer research and awareness over these past six years ~ we couldn't get the exact number, but we do know it is well over $20,000. Isn't this girl amazing?
This past weekend again brought rain and a nearly unbearable heat index, but Elizabeth did it! You go girl! I'm proud of you, and I cannot wait to rejoin Team Pedicure!!!!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Whose Plan?

Perhaps too often I find myself wondering if I'm following my plan or God's plan. I could write about this at more length and throw out example after example, but that is not my intent here. When it does become obvious what God's plan is, we may find ourselves questioning why and why not our plan? I question this. It's human tendency, and that's okay. We find ourselves still asking this question a year and a half after Owen's diagnosis, a little over a year after losing my friend Becca who was tragically killed by a drunk driver, and now only a couple of days after another young life was lost. We have questioned why life has been taken, in each of these circumstances, so grossly out of order.

Please join us in praying for the friends and family of Katie Immel (please read Katie's story here), Katie, a young, courageous woman who passed away Friday evening. Katie had been running the race of her life these past eight months. In December she was diagnosed with acute leukemia. And, now, only weeks after turning 25, she won the ultimate race, victory into the arms of our loving Savior. Katie leaves behind so many who loved her and who were praying for a different outcome, praying for a different plan. But, it was not to be. God's plan is not always our plan.

This then leads to the question of the purpose in this. Just like we may not ever fully understand God's purpose in losing Owen, Katie's family and friends may question God's purpose in losing Katie, a young woman with so much life in her. God's plan, although sometimes so very painful, does have a purpose which we are growing to learn may be greater than we can ever imagine.

Please join us in uplifting Katie's family and friends in prayer ...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Family Tradition

Family: A group of persons of common ancestry
Tradition: The handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction


Every family has its traditions, some quirky, some sentimental, some silly and some just plain 'ole fun ... and a bit competitive. Common summer traditions may include annual family get-togethers such as family cookouts, family reunions, or family vacations. A family tradition on the Lilyquist side is the Annual Family Olympics which has been hosted now for decades. This is one tradition in our family that will never need written instruction, and it is sure to continue for decades to come.

The Family Olympics typically take place on a Saturday afternoon in summer and consist of food, fellowship, and friendly competition. The competitors are the young and old alike (with the most fierce competition at the adult ranks). So, what kind of games are common at the Family Olympics? Well, the competitors enjoy a variety of "sports." The men may enjoy golf (with marshmallows), the children may participate in donut eating (off of strings hanging from a clothesline), and the tweens and teens might do a science project (explosions of Mentos in Diet Coke). This is just a sampling of what this year's Annual Olympics brought. There have been other years of messier and sillier games enjoyed by all.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Perfect Architecture

I have a tendency to strive for perfection, to try to do it all, to go above and beyond, to be an overachiever, it's all part of my Martha tendencies (see Being Martha below). I usually don't get excited over being "normal" ... but today, today when we heard "all is normal" I was grateful, I shed tears of relief, tears of gratitude.

He is THE Architect and we are so blessed by His perfect architecture.


"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." Psalm 139:13-16

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Being Martha

I am a total Martha. There is no denying it. My family used to call me Martha Stewart due to my reputation for baked goods, homemade cards, and a few other things. But I am not referring to Martha Stewart, I am referring to Martha of Bethany. If you have not read this story, I encourage you to do so. Luke 10:38-42 resonates in my heart. I could easily replace "Martha, Martha" with "Heather, Heather."

This past week I had a doctor appointment. I am longing to feel this baby move regularly, I am longing for that physical reminder that "everything is okay" right now. At my appointment it took a little bit to find this little one's heartbeat. I worry about losing this little one. I am selfishly praying and yearning for a healthy, full-term pregnancy and baby ~ a little one that we get to keep here with us.

I also worry that I have a little Martha following in my footsteps. Jack asked again, at my appointment, if this baby is going to live. He then asked when we will know for sure that the baby does not have anencephaly. And yes, he specifically uses that term in every day conversation ~ it is so much for a seven year old, but a precious friend recently reminded me that Jack is going to keep growing with a sensitive, tender heart.

I am prone to worry. As we enter this new week and as we count down the couple of days until our scheduled "routine / normal" ultrasound which was neither routine nor normal back in January 2008, I worry. But, I am also trusting. I am trusting in our God Who saves, our God Who gives us strength, our God Who understands how much we can handle, our God Who carried the burden for our sin, our God Who understands our worry and understands our questions and understands our skepticism, but loves us without hesitation despite it all.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

P.S. If you are also a Martha, I would recommend 'Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World' by Joanna Weaver. I am finding myself deep in self reflection as I absorb the truths found in this book.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

All Because of Owen ...

All because of our precious little boy, Jason, Jack, Samuel and I spent last week in Tennessee. We started out the week by driving the approximate 10 hours to Nashville where we visited Wendy's Place, a house for expecting and new moms (part of the Hope Clinic). There, we were able to see and to touch "Owen's tile" as well as tour the house, meet a mom and her precious baby living there, and deliver our donation. These moms, against odds, have chosen life for these babies, these remarkable God created gifts. This is a house where you can feel the warmth and love of our living God. It was a moving and profound experience to be there, to feel that sense of peace and God's grace in such an amazing place.

From there, we ventured East to Pigeon Forge where we spent the week at the Inn at Christmas Place. A little Christmas in July anyone? We were a little apprehensive about our choice in accommodations, fearing that the Inn may be a little "cheesy" but when we pulled in, we knew we were in for a real treat. Our experiences at the Inn could certainly pull us back to Tennessee sometime in the future. In addition to enjoying the Inn, we spent the week making other memories ~ swimming, visiting an aquarium, hiking up the side of a mountain to see a waterfall (okay, the boys were not thrilled about this), riding the rides at Dollywood, go-carting, mini-golfing on the side of a mountain, playing (my being defeated at) Skip-Bo, watching Christmas movies every night before bed, laughing, enjoying silliness ... it was a wonderful week! And, the boys fared well in the car on the way down there and did even better on the way back. I think it's normal for a four year old to wonder if we are in Wisconsin yet even though we just left the hotel in Tennessee, right?

We praise our God for His endless gifts, the time we were able to spend together and the gifts we were able to bring to Tennessee. Of course, our hearts yearn to have our little boy here, and we don't understand, but we are blessed ...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tennessee or Bust!


T-minus 7 hours before we hit the road on our way to The Hope Clinic in Nashville with our tote of goodies for the mommies and their precious babies in memory of Owen and in celebration of his 1st birthday (see this post for more information).

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sundays with Owen

On a warm, sunny day in May 2008, Jason, the boys and I walked through the cemetery on a quest to find the "perfect" resting spot for our little Owen. No mother should ever have to be on this quest as her child wiggles inside of her, so full of life. But, this was the reality of our situation.
We wanted to find a spot that we would all be comfortable visiting, that we would find peace in. Oh, we know that Owen is not really there. We are confident that he is safe in the arms of our Heavenly Father, but it still brings us comfort and peace to spend time, as a family, hanging out at the cemetery.
Visiting Owen Through the Seasons
Summer 2008 - We played baseball, football and soccer in the beautiful green space by Owen

Summer 2008 - Lounging and relaxing on a blanket under the tree by Owen

Autumn 2008 - Our Favorite Season

Celebrating Autumn

Winter 2008 - Building a Snowman & a Fort

Spring 2009 - The Flowering Crab in Full Bloom

May 30, 2009 - Celebrating Owen's Birthday
Summer 2009 - Traditional Sunday Picnic

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Priceless

Mailing Envelope ... $2.29
UPS Ground Shipping to Virginia ... $8.43
Completed Dossier on Its Way to Our Adoption Agency to be Sent to China ... PRICELESS