The Week I Thought Would Never Come

Well, I’ve dreaded writing this post. And it’s probably going to take me several days to write it.
The question of why keeps coming to my mind. I don’t understand God’s plans for my life…for our life. I don’t know why I have two angel babies instead of 5 living children. I don’t know why I get angry at my children when I’m really just sad. I don’t know a lot of things right now.
What I do know is that I miss our baby and our Christian. I do know that I don’t know how to talk to people about either of our babies (unless they’re good friends). I do know that I wish death was something we could talk about openly, even though it’s sad, instead of it feeling like it’s a no no. I do know that not a day has gone by that I haven’t longed to have more time with both of our babies.
I can’t imagine what my life would look like right now if I were still pregnant. I try and imagine it, but it’s so hard. I wouldn’t be able to help out in Dillion’s classroom like I have; I wouldn’t be helping out at preschool like I do; I wouldn’t be teaching Sunday school; I wouldn’t be getting rid of baby clothes and bath tubs and bumbo seats. And everything I’ve been able to do because I’m not pregnant has been a joy (except the baby clothes part), but it pales in comparison to even just more time with Christian and our other son.
I also know the truth. God is faithful to what He has called me to do and to be. He has called me to be a mother to all 5 of my children. He’s called me to be a wife to Ben, a good church member, a pastor’s wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend. And He’s called me to bear the burden of the death of my children. As I work through all of that, I know that He gives me everything I need. I know that He is so much more able than I am. And I know that this is now my story. I also continue to know the love of Christ like I’ve never known before through His body…whether they go to church with us or not. And I know that Christian’s death has already moved people to love Christ more and to want to be more like Him. I love that. But, I miss my baby. I miss my babies. I long to hold them, to rock them to sleep, and to make things for them. I long for other people to know them. I long to see what their personalities could have been.
BUT, the fact of the matter is that they are never going to encounter sin. They never have to know evil. They will only know heaven, and not earth. That’s such a joy to know that my children are protected from the woes of this world. Do I miss them? Of course. Do I wish they were here? More than ever. But, I will continue to rejoice in The Lord, because He has give me good things. He has given me gifts. He has made me who I am because I get the privilege of parenting Dillon, Isaac, and Sammy, and the privilege of having two other children. I praise God for the body of Christ. I praise Him because He loves me, because He cares for me, and because I trust in Him more than anything else in life. I’ll close with the verses that are on Christian’s headstone. I cling to these and truly believe them with all my heart.

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. (Habakkuk 3:17-19 ESV)

Thank you, Lord for my five children. I praise you because they are all fearfully and wonderfully made.

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Repost :: thankful

I posted this last thanksgiving, but thought someone might want to do the thankful tree as well. I have a lot of work to so today ;)

this past week was thanksgiving. it has been a full, busy week. my husband works for a magazine in memphis, and they were in their busy time, but my family was in from out of town, so it kinda made everything better and easier. the cousins got to play together and everyone knows that my mom’s cookin is the best! 

last thanksgiving, we began the tradition of the thankful tree. about 2 weeks before halloween, my oldest started asking about the thankful tree and if we were going to do it again. that made me so happy and i hope to do this every year. usually we write down whatever it is the boys say, which makes it pretty fun to read through, because you have things like “hawks” and “the elmo basket” and “medicine”. ha! all i did was find some sticks that looked good together, cut out leaves and punched holes in them (from scrapbook paper), and gathered lots of little pumpkins for my vase. then, each night, we all took a turn saying what we were thankful for. i think daddy won the prize of people being thankful for him the most. i know i am!!

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i also got to help out at the boys school with their thanksgiving party. this party is so cute because they sing a few songs and dress up like pilgrims and indians. i was in charge of pumpkins, the thankful tree, and a take home treat. i ended up making these cornucopias for all the kids (tutorial coming up next!). then, i found some printables that said “gobble till you wobble” which i thought was hilarious.  Image

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the table scape for the party. we had popcorn, pilgrim’s hats with apples in them, chex mix, pumpkin muffins, donut hole acorns, cheese cubes, and cute little orange water that looked like pumpkins.Image

one mom made this paper bag turkey that was so fun, then we used our thankful tree and various pumpkins.Image

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2012 has definitely had it’s moments, but i couldn’t be more thankful for these three amazing kids and their amazing husband. life is good.

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What I wore

Ok. I have taken some time to think about this new segment. I still have mixed emotions about it, but I’m going to roll with it for now. One of my favorite blogs is jones design co. Emily has done this same idea, and come to find out, it came from another blog and about 300 other women have done this, too. Well, I might just be another one on the list, but my reasons for doing this are simple. One, I want accountability to blog. Also, I want accountability to not wear my toms everyday, or a button down shirt everyday. Also, I want to look cute, but also know I’m a mom who has to be on the go. Is this vain? Maybe. Do I care? Not right now. Will I later? Probably, but for now, we’re going with it. So, without further adieu, here is what I wore.

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From left to right, top to bottom, you have
Monday: gray jeans – gap, chambray shirt – target, scarf – target, black flats – target
Tuesday – jeggings – target, pink polka dotted button down – old navy, scarf – old navy, shoes – toms
Wednesday – skinny jeans – mossimo, heart sweater – target, boots – rocket dog
Friday- boot cut jeans – mossimo, gray turtleneck – gap, boots – rocket dog
Saturday – skinny jean – mossimo, flannel shirt – target, shoes – toms

So, fail on the button down shirts, but a win for only wearing toms two days!! We’ll see how I do next week.

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First Day of School

So. My baby starts kindergarten tomorrow. KINDERGARTEN. You might remember this post. So, the day is here. I thought I’d embrace it and set my mind to think I’m going to love this year.
Part of loving the year is loving Dillon’s teacher. I decided to put together a little care package for her for the first day of school.
It simply includes a pencil cup, pens, pencils, and post-it notes, along with some nail polish for her, and an apple, of course. We just wrote a little note that says “I’m so glad you’re my teacher!” Love, Dillon. Simple, but means a lot…hopefully.

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thoughts on :: school days

So, my oldest starts kindergarten, in like 10 days…but who’s counting?! This momma is for sure! I think I’ve been dreaming about this day from the day Ben and I started talking about having kids. And here we are, 8 years later, with our first going to kindergarten. Be still my heart.
Ok, so enough of the sappy ;) I have had many conversations with people about where my kids will actually go to school. When all the common core stuff came out for the state of Tennessee, Ben and I kinda freaked out a little. We didn’t know what it was or if our boys would be so digitalized that they wouldn’t know how to carry on a conversation. However, we stopped. Prayed. Thought about what we really felt like God had laid on our hearts. And remembered…

Our heart is to reach out to our community
We want our kids to be multicultural
We want to be a part of other people’s lives that we wouldn’t normally associate with because of church, neighborhood, or life
We were raised in the public school system and we turned out great (seriously, this one is number 1)

Then, we calmed down a little and called my mom, who is a part of Union University’s teacher education program. She has recently told me that she thinks the common core is one of the best things our education program could do for the state. More confidence is building.
We also looked at homeschooling. My super awesome sister (read hero in every way) home schools not one, but 4 kids, and another one of my mentors/BFF has homeschooled about 6 kids at one time. So,I have it all around me. I talked to them about how and why they decided to homeschool. And they both said “we just knew it was what our family needed.” And I thought “well, why can’t you decide what’s best for my family?” Not really, but kinda. Anyway, we decided to start off by just checking into the public school that we are zoned for. It actually is the same elementary school I went to. We had also checked out one private school here in town, and liked it, so we had a little comparison. When we went, we didn’t see anything different in the public school from the private school we looked at. All of the kindergarten teachers had great classroom management. They had very hands on station type things. The kids were all well behaved. And we went right to the office and were welcomed.
So, we said, “let’s remember why we wanted to do public school in the first place and why we moved where we did (to be zoned for this school), and just go for it.” And so we are.
I have a special Ed degree and had the amazing opportunity to teach for several years prior to having kids. And I hope to teach again someday, but I hope more so to instill in my kids why I am called to be a teacher. To love on the unlovable, to teach the unteachable, and to share the love of Christ with everyone I know.
My prayer for Dillon is just that. That he would be teachable. That he would want to love and be loved. That he would remember everything we have taught him about Christ. And that he would share Christ’s love with everyone he comes in contact with. Not because I think he’s a rock star (even though he is) and I want to throw him to the wolves, but because I believe…we believe…this is the path God has for us at this moment. It may change, and it may not. But we continue to live just like we always have. We live for today because we’re not promised tomorrow.
Here’s to you, Dilly Bar!!!

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a wreath

so, my front door has been bare since Christmas. really, since i took my Christmas wreath down, which is really just a grapevine wreath with a big gold bow made from some ribbon i found at my granny’s house while we were cleaning it out. so it’s sentimental, but can last for a long time! so, it’s been bare since about march. don’t judge.

as you know, we lost our 5th baby, christian elias, a month ago today. there are several things i’ve wanted to do to remember him, and a wreath on the front door was one of them. a friend of mine who went through a similar experience 2 1/2 years ago has since had 2 babies, and for each baby, she puts a wreath on the door with their name, stats, and birthday. well, i love her wreaths, and since we lost our 4th baby, i had wanted to do a wreath for our 5th, which in turn happened to be christian. so, i made a wreath in honor of christian this weekend.

i didn’t really plan this, but after looking at my wreath, it really stands for our 5 kids. it’s very simple to make this wreath, as well. i took a pool noodle and taped the ends together. then wrapped it in some fabric that i had, hot glueing it as i needed. then i did the same with the wooden “w” (bought at hobby lobby). the cross just kinda came together unexpected, but it’s wrapped in the middle with wire. the “w” and cross are secured on the wreath with wire, then the pendant is just burlap and twine, tied on the wreath. simple. easy

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Imagethe cross for christian, and the “w” for our 4th babyImagethe pendant at the top for dillon, isaac and sammyImage

and the side view.

i really love it. new fave for sure.

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:: our boy ::

over the past 2 weeks, i have had a range of emotion come over me. emotion that I don’t understand, that i can’t put my finger on, and emotion that i can’t explain. see a trend? i’ll try and explain some of my thoughts here.

first of all, christian elias was delivered on june 7, friday, at 10:10 pm. he was so precious. he always will be precious. that’s the only way i know to explain him. from the second ben and i found out about christian, that we didn’t have much time left with him, and that this was going to be the hardest thing we’ve ever gone through, we have relied so heavily on our community, our families, and our friends, but more so we’ve relied on each other and on the Lord. i’ve shared this with many of you that read this blog, but our family has never felt the love of Christ the way that we have over the past 2 weeks. i understand now why Christ created His bride, His body, the Church…it’s to be a body when you need an actual person to minister to you. this happens all the time, and on a regular basis in our lives, but i never fully understood what that meant. from our pastor praying and crying with us in his office, to my mom, dad, mother in law, and sister being with us all through labor and delivery, to meals being brought to us, and a circle of women surrounding me at church the following sunday, crying with me, and the same said women bringing food for the meal after Christian’s service on monday. y’all, it’s overwhelming. and it’s so refreshing. and it hurts. and i don’t understand it. and even with all of the wonderful things, ben and i miss our little boy. we want to see him grow up with his brothers, and we’ll never have that opportunity for him. i want to see what color hair he has, and i won’t see that here on earth. i miss him.

i know this is not the most uplifting post ever, but i pray that it will lift someone up. that it will be encouraging to that first time mom that is going through the same thing we’ve been through twice now. all i can say is that the Lord is faithful. He hasn’t left us once, and ben and i both feel incredibly close to him. i’m so thankful for His body, for our marriage, and for the family that God has chosen to give us. i don’t know what the future holds for us, but i know the only thing i can do is trust in Him, the One who gives me every good and perfect thing, and the One who truly knows what i am bearing now, since He bore it on the cross. 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Praise Him all creatures here below.

Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts.

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Amen.

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Miscarriage and loss

I don’t always think a blog is the best way to tell people really upsetting news. However, I think a Facebook status is worse, so here goes. I’m actually just going to post the letter we wrote to our church family. It has the essential info in it. As I process, I hope to write more.

Brothers and sisters,
Ben and I went to the doctor this morning expecting to have great news to share with you…a boy or a girl. Well, about 2 minutes into the ultrasound, the tech went to get our doctor. He came in and my heart sank. That’s never good news. The tech scanned over my belly and I saw the trunk of our sweet baby and there was no heartbeat. Immediately, I said “there’s not a heartbeat. Why is there not a heartbeat?!” Ben and I wept together in the doctor’s office as we found out the baby actually died about 3 weeks ago. My body hasn’t responded to the baby’s death yet, and we don’t know if it will. I thought I was 17 1/2 weeks along, which is far enough along that I will have to deliver the baby. We aren’t sure yet when this will happen, but it will probably be this weekend or before. We covet your prayers. We covet your friendships. We covet your love and support. We covet compassion and grace to us. And we definitely won’t turn anyone away that drops by or calls. We love you all and are thankful you guys bear our burdens with us. Love to everyone.
Peace of Christ,
Ben, Janie, Dillon, Isaac, and Sammy

::thoughts:: duck dynasty

so, if you haven’t heard, duck dynasty is a pretty popular show right now. my husband and i have only watched a few minutes of it together, however, i watched a marathon with some friends one night while ben was out of town.

i’m still kind of trying to wrap my brain around what is duck dynasty. being raised in the south, and only leaving for one year of my adult life, hearing about guys huntin is second nature to me. my family wasn’t necessarily an “outdoorsy” family. we played sports, did girl scouts and boy scouts, my brother went huntin with friends or my uncle, and we did have one family vacation to fall creek falls. that was an adventure, actually. so, a bunch of guys sitting out in a field talking to their dogs and making fun of each other, just seems like status quo.

as i sat and watched duck dynasty, i thought, “man, this is really hitting close to home!” my mom makes the best rolls in the world, and my sisters and i try and learn from her. all of us have pretty modest houses. we hang out for big family dinners on sunday afternoons for a big lunch after church. we watch football, basketball, baseball, hockey, basically whatever sport is on. and i’m getting more and more southern the older i get.

i say all of this because i think duck dynasty has finally captured what southern life is. i don’t feel like it makes fun of southerners. i think that every man, woman, and child who has ever been huntin, had a sibling who goes huntin, or is the child of a hunter can relate to the duckmen and all the women in their life. there are always going to be things that any family can make fun of. every family has that crazy family member like si. and every family has one sibling who seems to be a little more successful or smart, and one that has a better personality that is a little more social.

although i don’t watch duck dynasty anymore, i can say that i thought it was funny simply because it made me thankful for my family and for the family i’m raising. what if my kids grow up and go huntin with their friends or uncles, and they start a family business, or take over their dad’s business? i would be the proudest mother in the world, as i’m sure miss kay is of her family. so, here’s to wholesome, sometimes funny tv, and one that i sure would be proud of if it were my family.

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Something exciting

We have some exciting news to share!!

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I’m due in early November, and are beyond excited.

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