Posted in Choking Game, Faith, Family, Grief, Matthew

Our Son, Matthew ~ 7 years gone, yet, No Less Days to Sing God’s Praise

“If you know someone who has lost a child, 
and you’re afraid to mention them 
because you think you might make them sad 
by reminding them that they died–
you’re not reminding them. 

They didn’t forget they died. 
What you’re reminding them of is that 
you remembered that they lived, 
and that is a great gift.”

~Elizabeth Edwards~

Blessed with a 16 year loan on earth with him
Now missing him for 7 years
Yet, 7 years closer to heaven

Matthew has “no less days to sing God’s praise,
than when he first began”
and someday we will join him ~ it’s the waiting that is hard . . .
he in heaven and our home here – a temporary separation.
We so miss him – miss his smile, miss his voice,
miss the dreams we had, just plain miss . . .

yet, thankful for Jesus –
thankful for precious memories
thankful for a scrapbook packed full of pictures

thankful for more joy than tears

thankful for hope, grace and new mercies every morning

Please Father ~ give him a hug for me today and
tell him his Mumsie misses him and ooohhh, so loves him.

“We wouldn’t long for Heaven if earth had only joy.”
Amish proverb

Posted in Family, Wednesdays Walk

Wednesday’s Walk: A Toy Garage Blessing


Stephen garageould you believe that God cares about a toy garage for a two year old  . . .  well, really, for a mom? Today my husband and I were watching our youngest son, age 2 1/2 playing Kids playroomwith his cars on my jewelry storage boxes.  He was inventing his own little garage, with all the noises and rumblings.  It caught that little heart jolt in both my husband and I as we watched him, remembering our oldest three playing cars together.  I am sure one of the reasons God sent our baby son to us is to help us remember those memorable busy days when our oldest three were toddlers.   It was decided in my mind, he needs a car garage.

A few hours later we had to go to a doctor’s appointment.  We don’t go to this section of town often, but it’s very close to a resale store.  I convinced my husband to go for a quick 15 minute visit.  I was praying that I’d find a play garage as we were driving in.  I was still whispering the prayer as I walked through the store.  And when I got to the toy section, I asked, “Okay, God, where is it?” as I glanced around.  Yup, there it was!  Baby GarageI was so thrilled!  My husband saw the glow on my face as I almost skipped back to him with my garage blessing. (Being only $2.99 helped too!) I called home to tell the kids, “I prayed for a garage for the baby . . . guess what I got?!?!”  My daughter laughed.  She knew.

And the baby loved it and played with it for hours.  Precious memories remembered – precious memories being made and savored – thankfulness and renewed awe to my Savior who even cares for little things . . . like a toy garage.

This post is in participation with the  Wednesday’s Walk meme.  Read other’s memories and join in!

Posted in Family, Jessica & her heart

Jessica’s Tuesday Update

Jessica had another good day of moving forward.  Last night was frustrating with a  roommate  down and depressed about life, wanted to die, and moaned and cried a good portion of the night.  Jessica did not need to hear any of this. I talked to a couple of nurses, and finally one nurse heard her and the woman was moved to a private room.  We now have a newborn baby in the room and so far have not heard a peep from him (probably will at 3 a.m. if he’s a typical baby).

Late morning Jessica got the final two chest tubes out and pacemaker wires.  She still has a medicine port in her one shoulder area, but other than that she is not hooked up to anything.  In the afternoon she went downstairs for a echo and EKG.  I thought I’d hear the results by now, but haven’t.

One of the main things that will hold her up in leaving is her blood thinning levels.  It’s very important to have it at a certain level – not too thin to cause bleeding risks and not too thick to cause it to stick to her mitral valve.  Today it was still too low.   The potential bedsore is slightly worse – just breaking through so please, please pray for her – comfort that she can lay to one side and the strength to walk more.  We just do not want this to get serious.

Another big move is I spoke to the orthopedic surgeon today who came  in late tonight. She was able to look at the x-rays & her neck/spine is worse than we knew.  Besides a hemi-vertebrae in C-7, she has what is called Klippel-Feil Syndrome and for her it means vertebreas 2,3, and 4 grew  and are fused together.  Along with this syndrome it’s very typical to have heart defects. The doc is also ordering a viewing of her kidneys as it can be typical for a missing kidney or an odd-shaped one.  It may not be anything that could cause problems, but we should be aware of it.  I am so praying this is not another problem.  This would be discouraging at this point. We are hoping that they can get her in for an MRI and additional x-rays on her neck/spine tomorrow.  Please pray this can be done, as it would be so much better to have a diagnosis before everything is in the Christmas mode through the whole weekend – and we would not get anywhere.

Heather & Jessica doing a felt coloring project.
Heather & Jessica doing a felt coloring project.

Several have asked what my daughter Heather is doing here.  She has been such a big help and does so good just with being with Jessica and doing things.  Being Jessica is not hooked up anything, she can take her for walks. There is a game room and they played WII and have done some crafts.  She has helped fix her hair and they go on the computer together.  The hospital provides computers for the kids right in their beds.

A neat thing happen today that again showed God’s divine planning.  When Jessica had to be taken emergently for the surgery, another child had to be bumped.  It was just a matter of minutes before surgery was to be starting on this child.  Today while Jessica was in the game area, a man walked in with a Cornerstone University hoodie on.  I mentioned to him that my husband and I met there and we have friends who work/teach there.  He graduated in the mid-80’s and is now the golf coach there.  His last name is Eric Campbell.  I asked him why he was there and he said he has a three month old baby that had surgery on Monday.  He was suppose to have the surgery on Friday, but had to be bumped because of an emergency.  I told him that child was my daughter, and here she was sitting up ALIVE and I told him I had thought & prayed several times for the family that had to be bumped because I am sure it was so hard when you’re all prepared for it.  He was very excited to meet us and Jessica said  and was thrilled to see who took his child’s place., and hopes to have his wife who was with the baby come meet me.  Eric’s baby had surgery on Monday and he told me he’s doing well.  Isn’t God amazing?

Jessica with gifts she been blessed with from friends & the hospital.    THANK YOU!
Jessica with gifts she been blessed with from friends & the hospital. THANK YOU!

So for my Cornerstone & WCSG friends, please be praying for the Campbell family and their baby’s recovery.

Well, Jessica is settling down for the night as Heather is doing all our laundry and we hope to get to sleep soon.  I am thankful I was able to get a nap this afternoon (and started to dose off  on the bed by Jessica as she was getting her echo done today!).

Thank you for your continued prayers for Jessica and our family.

Posted in In Other Words

In Other Words ~ Come Join Us!

This post is going to stay second from the top
until the end of December.
Please read my recent posts below.


or the next two weeks, we are going to do something a little different, to give our hostesses a break, and yet still share some special quotes with you. I invite any of you who read the In Other Words memes and those who host, to share what your favorite quotes were or a specific post shared by a hostess that touched you, encouraged you, etc.

So, this gives all of you a chance to write on a quote you wish you would have, rewrite on a quote you wrote on but wish you shared it a different way, share about how another’s post blessed you, or anything you wish to write about. Just leave a little blurb on your blog, and then leave the link below in Mr. Linky. If you do not wish to write about it on your blog, but want to share something anyway, just leave a note in the comment section above.

Thank you!  

Posted in Family, In Other Words

In Other Words: Pressing Forward


 “Still, accepting God’s existence is one thing; honoring his command is another matter entirely, especially if we’re required to go back when we’d rather go forward.”

~Liz Curtis Higgs
from Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible~

The beauty of writing on these quotes each week is each woman’s interpretations, and we come from all different approaches.  I’ve not read the book, and do not know the specifics of what the author was writing about.  I am writing it from “my” viewpoint, because I know for me, it’s something God has been working on my heart with.

I’ve been required to go forward, not back as this author shared.  This what God wants “me” to do – and God may have something else for you.  Sometimes we do need to go back to work through it, and work it out for the future.  I’ve shared a lot about my son who passed away almost four years ago . . . and though we go back often to share and bring awareness, I don’t want to “stay” there.  I don’t want to grieve anymore.  I want that joy in the morning.  I know God wants that – and I know even my son who bathes in His glory would want that.  There’s another area I don’t share about too much, because I don’t know who all reads this.  God has removed the bitterness and anger and given hope and newness.

My adoptive mom and I did not click – or as it would be modernly said now, we did not bond.  It was a rough childhood and for many years beyond.  We never completely mended our hurts.  There was no reconciliation during her last year of life as she fought the cancer battle, though I know she read my cards and she knew I loved her.  She died seven months before my son.  The strange thing is I’ve not had one dream of my son since his death.  How I longed for it – to see his face, to hear him talk, to hold him in my dream, to tell him I loved him and forgave him.  But I know he knew that.  There really was not that need.  With my mom, it was all unresolved.  God blessed me with a dream of her.  We were sitting at a table, and though I don’t remember our conversation, there was healing ~ there was reconciliation.    We talked, we laughed, we looked in each others eyes, we touched . . .  She was healed.  I was healed.  Truth was so vividly revealed to me.  When I take my last breath here, and take the first one in heaven, and see her again, there will be no turning away from each other.  Our bodies are not just new, but our minds and emotions as well.  The “sorrys” will not have to be said.  It’s all gone. 

God has allowed me to move forward from much of my childhood.  Sadness still passes through at times, and missing the mom I wish I would have had in my life – but then God reminds me of the brieviety of this life and it won’t really matter in heaven.  Keep moving forward – look forward to heaven. 

“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Phil 3:12-14


I am thankful God has required me to move forward.     

This week, Miriam is hosting “In ‘Other’ Words” at her site, Miriam Pauline’s Monologue.  Be sure to visit her site and the links to the other women who have shared on this quote.  Then come back here on Friday, for next Tuesday’s new quote for In ‘Other’ Words.  Be

Posted in In Other Words

In Other Words: Pressing Close to God

For at least when we express our anger to God, our wrestling keeps our skin pressing into His. God is still present. When we honestly expose our inflammation, express our soreness, we are still staking our commitment to our relationship with Him.” 

Ann Voscamp from her blog post,
Even if He doesn’t:  Learn to Lament


s a new mom, the first time I heard one of my little boys tell me he did not like me or even “I hate you” and run away into another room was so heart wrenching.  So, I’d go seek them out, and we’d try to talk about why he was angry at me.  It would usually end in apologies and both of us in tears.  Even now, teen kids can kind of get into those moods, and it sure can get frustrating trying to figure out what is going on now, being gentle, and making things right.  As parents, we want to keep our kids hearts.  God is the same way, understanding many times before we do why we are angry, why we aren’t speaking to HIm, and why we even say things we really do not mean to.

When I first read Ann’s post which this quote came from, I so appreciated the personalness.  Though I have questioned God hundreds of times, I believe I can honestly say, I’ve not been angry at Him.  Situations, oh yes!  I have certainly poured out sorenesses, not at Him, but I know He understands rejection, pain and sorrow and though there are times I don’t know what more to pour out, He does not give up:

“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”  Romans 8:26, 27

This verse always given me chills – when times are so low – and we really do not know how to pray as we should, but instead have the quivering deep sighs, with long silence, tearful nights, and seemingly, loneliness.  We can keep pressing close to Him, listening for that still small voice, and know, He knows.  He really knows.

Despite the hard times of life, the sufferings we may go through, there is always hope.  He keeps pressing closer to us, never leaving or forsaking, I am thankful suffering is not forever, though the road can seem long at times.  One of my favorite verses is,

” . . . weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”  Psalm 30:5 

Here is such hope, that we don’t have to go through sadness and suffering for a lifetime, but God wants us to have JOY again and what a testimony it can be as we share with joy how we were brought through a long night.

How has God stamped His personal claim on you, showing you without a doubt He loves you?  How have you known God’s presence, His pressing close to you?  Please join us in today’s In Other Words.  Just share about the above quote on your blog, then share your link by clicking the Mr. Linky below and feel free to leave a comment as well.  Be sure to visit the others listed with Mr. Linky for their thoughts on this quote as well.

Posted in Family, In Other Words

In ‘Other’ Words: Tuesday’s New Quote



ina will be hosting next Tuesday, on her blog,

Mama’s Little Treasures

Think and ponder on the quote she has chosen below and share about it on your blog on Tuesday. Then, visit Nina’s blog and leave the link to your blog and visit the other gals who have also written on it.

Here’s the quote she has chosen:

“Dear Lord,
I do not ask that Thou shouldst give me
some high work of thine,
some noble calling
or some wondrous task. 
Give me a little hand to hold in mine.” 


Posted in Family, In Other Words

In Other Words: Reach out and touch someone

We can tend to get into such a routine, we do not notice those outside of our box.  Our box may be the same pew we sit in each week at church.  We  talk to the same people each week.   But we don’t notice the lonely widow who comes in each week, and leaves quietly, never talking to anyone.  She might be the one in your church in  outdated clothing, appearing to not care how she looks and seems unapproachable.    It’s easier to keep our distance, just observing, maybe even whispering “did you see what she was wearing this week?”.  Little do we know that how lonely she is.  She might glance at the little kids, and we think, she turns away from them, because she mustn’t like kids.  Instead, it’s because her heart aches for the grandchildren that live across the country.  Maybe she needs one of our children to just add some spark in her life, sing her a song, or bring her brownies.  I wonder if she’d come the following week, with a sparkle in her eye, lipstick on, and instead of rushing out the door, lingering for that five year old to come give her a hug again. 

How often do we ask someone how they are and get the usual “just fine” – but do we really know?  How often are we willing to be vulnerable and share a need, or dig a little deeper with someone and ask, “but how are you really?”  Our we teaching our children compassion, to the “least of these“.  

Recently one of our sons stopped at a neighbor’s house for a garage sale.  He introduced himself to them, as they had just moved in several months previously.  Though we live in the country, there are numerous houses on our street.  They told him he was the first neighbor they met, that everyone just seems to be to themselves.  I need to stop procrastinating on making a couple loaves of bread to take to them, and introducing myself as well. 

 What are those around us hungry for?  Does someone need a phone call, a card, a lunch date out, help with house cleaning, or just a simple hug.  As Believers, how are others to see Jesus in us, if we do not care or show Him, in what we do or say in our daily living?

Do They See Jesus in Me?
Do they see Jesus in me?
Do they recognize Your face?
Do I communicate Your love and Your grace?
Do I reflect who You are in the way I choose to be?
Do they see Jesus, Jesus in me?

This week, Amy is hosting “In ‘Other’ Words” at her site, “In Pursuit of Proverbs 31“. Be sure to visit her site and the links to the other women who have shared on this quote.  Then come back here on Friday, for next Tuesday’s new quote for In ‘Other’ Words.  Be blessed.


Posted in Family, In Other Words

In Other Words: Sharing Paths

Quote by Henry T. Blackaby & Richard Blackaby
from their devotional book,
Experiencing God

The one word question “WHY?” has escaped my thoughts more than I can count.  Many of the why’s will not be answered until I reach heaven – and then, I doubt it will really matter.  But some why’s seem a little more fulfilled, when we see how we can use our pain, to help others.  A few weeks ago, it happened again, as we gasped out loud to read in the paper, that friends of ours, who are grandparents, lost their first and only grandchild.  The grandfather is also our dentist.  We saw the ultrasound pictures in his office, and the newborn pictures after his grandson was born.  I would often run into his wife at the store or Good Will and was shown the newest item for her little grandson and see the delight in her face as she spoke of a smiling happy baby.  How we wished the death notice we read was not their grandson, but tragically it was.  He was only 12 weeks old and died of SIDS.  Though we did not know the grandparent’s son and daughter-in-law, we could relate in many ways.  We understood the pain the grandparents were going through, trying to reach out to their son and daughter-in-law, and yet not able to “fix” their pain.  We know the pain of losing a son and a baby.   When we wrote them a card, our words were “we rejoiced when Timothy was born, now we weep with you as you say good-bye”.  Men don’t always know how to show expression, but my husband has hugged and wept with this grandfather and I’ve had the priviledge of sharing with the grandmother and remembering her grandson with a bracelet for both grandma’s and the mom.  We visited with them on Father’s Day, knowing that this first-time daddy, was not having a “happy” day.  Though wounds were reopened, it was healing, being able to share and weep with them, to be available, to walk beside them, yesterday, today, and for the many months and years ahead.   

You see, in time, this family’s road may be difficult and lonely ~ when the cards stop coming, and the sympathies seem to stop and others are hesitant in saying his name.  Yet, little Timothy’s birthday in March is forever etched on their hearts, as is his deathdate each June.  Selfishly, I wish I did not have to share their pain, that we never had buried children, or to know the path they will walk.  Yet . . .

 “God uses people. God uses people to perform His work.
He does not send angels. Angels weep over it,
but God does not use angels to accomplish His purposes.
He uses burdened broken-hearted weeping men and women.”

David Wilkerson

What have you gone through that God can use to walk beside another broken soul?  Maybe it’s cancer, the death of a spouse, divorce, or the loss of a home or job.  Maybe you have dealt with alcohol or drugs and know the struggles of being released from claims of it on your life.  Is God tapping you on your heart’s door to share with a friend or neighbor or to send a card to someone you might not even know, but know they are walking the same path you did?  How can you use your pain for His gain? 

This week, Bonnie is hosting “In ‘Other’ Words” at her site, “Ink It Blog“. Be sure to visit her site and the links to the other women who have shared on this quote.  Then come back here on Friday, for next Tuesday’s new quote for In ‘Other’ Words.
Be blessed.

Posted in Faith, Family, In Other Words

In Other Words: Pieces of my Life


“Throughout the history of God’s people as given to us in the Bible, we see that life is a test. We have before us the option to trust God “no matter what,” or to walk away from Him. To walk away from God is to leave the fragments of our dreams in pieces on the floor, but to trust Him is to let God pick up the pieces and make us whole again. When we choose to let Him make us whole again, He will make our lives more beautiful than before
~What I Learned from God While Quilting~ 
by Ruth McHaney Danner & Cristine Bolley~


his is being posted late on Tuesday, because I was cleaning my sewing/craft room today. (I did not even know what the quote was about until a short while ago.) I had too many piles and with now starting the Etsy store, I need to be more organized.  I have been quilting since I was pregnant with my twin girls, over 16 years ago.  I don’t do the fancy, elaborate type of quilting.  I’ve done little hand quilting.  I love to piece together, and get my sewing machine singing away.  I might not always have perfect corners.  But I love making quilts.  They tell stories or are made during a certain period of time.  Since my twins, I’ve made baby quilts for each of my little ones.  I also made twin sized quilts for my older sons and quilts for baby gifts.  I have a hard time thowing away cotton and flannel scraps because those scraps can be made into something.  That was one thing I had to clean up today.  All my scraps. 

There is a lovely quilt store in my town.  I love visiting it.  When my husband goes to the bank, I like to browse in it, getting too many ideas.  There’s everything from beautiful hand quilted king sized quilts to little quilted pillowcases.  Yet, the most interesting quilts are when visiting in a home.  There are stories with quilts.  A mama may put together a quilt from scraps of all the dresses she’s made for her daughters or a quilt is put together from grandfather’s wool suits.  What stories can be told from these quilts. I am still working on making one from special clothes we saved of our son’s clothes. 

Just like in my home, many quilters have boxes of scraps, pieces to put together to share a story.  When I was cleaning my sewing room today, I threw some material away, which was hard to do!  But, I have to declutter and I know some of it was too small, or I really did not like it and really would never use it!  It would not be a part of the picture of a quilt I’d want to make.  God pieces our lives together in the same away.  There are parts of our lives we do need to discard, and leave the old life behind.  As we follow Him, He puts the pieces of our lives together, fixing the frayed pieces, and as we allow Him, making us more and more in His image.  

I am doing a Bible study with the ladies at my church on the life of Abraham.  I can imagine the quilt his wife would make to pass down in their family, from the different lands they lived in, Sara’s “maternity” robe she never expected to wear and a piece from their son’s first blanket.  There surely would be pieces of material she’d want to throw away – maybe the gown pieces she was wearing shen Abraham wanted her to pretend she was his sister.  Or what about scrap pieces from the robe their son was wearing as he was taken to the alter to be offered.  Yet, as an old Sarah would share with her grandchildren a large quilt of her life, imagine the stories she could tell – imagine how she could share God’s leading and caring for her and Abraham, even amongst dark, frayed squares she’d rather forget.  She could show us where God pieced her life and Abraham’s lives back together.

What would a quilt of your life tell?  Aren’t you thankful it’s not finished yet?  God can take those pieces of our lives that were so dark, and show us how He was cutting away at our lives, to make beautiful, whole pieces of it – where seams won’t show, only His beauty being glorified through it.  Someday we will see His finished project!  We don’t have to throw away the scraps of our lives, but allow God to renew and make it like new. 

This week, Nina is hosting “In ‘Other’ Words” at her site, Mama’s Little Treasures  Be sure to visit her site and the links to the other women who have shared on this quote.
Be blessed.
Posted in Books, Faith, Family, REVIEW

Book Review: Mosaic By Amy Grant (& one copy to giveaway!)

Ultimate Blog Party 2008
This post is in participation with The Ultimate Blog Party.

Ihave read this book, Mosaic, and had some of the same feelings before reading and after reading it as the blog reviewer below.  When I read her review, I could not have put it in any better words.  Kelly Kelpfer has granted me permission to reprint her review here.  Thank you Kelly, and thank you for sharing so eloquently and from your heart.

I was offered the opportunity to read and review Amy Grant’s new biography, Mosaic. Had it been in the bookstore, I might have picked it up, glanced through it and come away with a very different impression than I’ve developed from reading it cover to cover.

I haven’t been a rabid Amy fan. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen her in concert once and that was because I went to see Mercy Me and Amy opened for them. I purchased her Christmas CD at a garage sale. This information is not a slam in any way. I’m just sharing where I am coming from where Amy is concerned.

Driven to curiosity by the talk before, during and after her divorce from Gary Chapman I purchased Amy’s Behind the Eyes CD. The lyrics from several songs haunted me. As a survivor of a rotten marriage gone good, I felt compelled to write to Amy. Crazy as that sounds…who does that? But I did. I don’t remember what I wrote, other than to tell her it didn’t have to end in divorce. I wondered like much of the rest of the world why she thought God wanted her to be happy at the expense of her children’s pain.

I almost turned down Mosaic because of my thoughts and feelings. What if she showed no remorse, no awareness of the sanctity of marriage? What if she lightly dismissed the damage done to her children? How could I recommend this book? Then my daughter reminded me that I don’t like to sit in judgment of others and I love people who screw up daily, and that I have to look into the mirror and see behind my own eyes. I needed to give Amy’s book a fair reading.

I’m sorry, Amy.

Amy’s divorce is as much a symptom of America’s brand of diluted Christianity as it is a picture of our pathetic human weaknesses. Why should she, though in the public eye and ministering to thousands through her music, be held to a higher standard of holiness? A standard that a full half of professing Christian married couples can’t meet? I, myself, am still married only because God held me in place. Everything in me wanted to be divorced and free of the pain that my husband and I inflicted on each other.

Mosaic starts like a feel-good anecdotal “Chicken Soup” style of book full of sweet stories inspiring song lyrics which end each chapter. A section of names and events details Amy’s relationships with celebrities and treasured encounters with them.

Had the book been just this feel good celebrity stuff, I wouldn’t recommend it. But as the book progresses Amy begins to dig deep. The promotional quotes from Mosaic have been light and chatty, friendly and homey. What dug under my skin and into my heart was the poetic poignancy with which Amy described the events and people that have shaped her through much pain and loss. Those are the entries that contain the lyrics from some of the songs that haunted me from Behind the Eyes. Amy shares her thoughts on depression, faithquakes and the death of innocence. She left me feeling like I hadn’t been reading the words of a spoiled celebrity, but instead, hearing the confessions of a hurting friend.

Fame doesn’t save us. A good spouse, wonderful children, great friends, history, and money can’t save us. If we could each grasp how much we are loved by the Creator of the universe, maybe we wouldn’t be so quick to run away from Him to find our own way. We all grab for worthless bandages. Most of us don’t have the burden of the spotlight of fame to complicate our paths.

And now, I have one copy of  Mosaic to give away!  Tomorrow (Friday) I will be announcing the names drawn for each of the books that were reviewed this week, including this book, so you only have a short time to get your name in the comment section below!  As with the other books,  $2.50  towards shipping of this hard-covered book (within continental USA) and full amount needed for outside USA, it would be greatly appreciated.

This post and review are a part of the The Ultimate Blog Party, so come back again tomorrow for an update on the winners and the prizes “I” am hoping to win!

Posted in Books, Faith, Family, REVIEW

Book Review Revisited: Harsh Grief Gentle Hope

Ultimate Blog Party 2008
This post is in participation with The Ultimate Blog Party.

This book I read after the death of our son, just over three years ago, and it was probably the main book I could say, “yes, you understand what we age going through”.  Harsh Grief, Gentle Hope is by Mary A. White, whose adult, married son was murdered while driving a taxi.  Though the circumstances of our children’s deaths were quite different, it was a book I could relate to quite well, and shared it with several for them to understand our grief.  You can read my full review here from October, 2005.  A couple of things come back to me as I paged through this book:

Trust the Recovery Process:  It takes nearly two years following a death to gain equilibrium and stabilization in physical and emotional health.  The time frame may run as high as three years following a homicide or suicide. 

For us, it definitely was a good two years – but probably closer to two and a half years.  God’s timing in blessing us with our youngest son just over 26 months after our son’s death, helped bring new joy and life in our home. 

There is not a word in the English language to describe the loss of a child.  Widow describes the loss of a spouse; orphan defines loss of mother and father; but when bereaved parents need to tell of their suffering, no single word carries the painful message. 

Harsh Grief, Gentle Hope is not a book  I could read over and over, because it brings back the memories of that deep grief of three years ago.  I don’t need to relive that, though we still miss Matthew, and will continue to share about him and remember him.  Joy does come again. 

I hope someone will leave a comment that may be going through a recent loss, or know of someone who has lost a child that this can bless and encourage, to know you are not alone in your emotions, and to see the hope in Jesus that this author and I share.  I have two of these books I would like to give away.  One has an author’s note and signature in it, and the other has a couple of markings in it.  On Friday, I will have the names of those drawn listed, and then just e-mail me back with your mailing address.  If you can contribute $2 towards shipping of this book (within continental USA) and full amount needed for outside USA, it would be greatly appreciated.

I am aiming to review a book and give one away each day this week for The Ultimate Blog Party, so come back again tomorrow!

Posted in Books, Contest, Family, REVIEW

Book Review & Giveaway: The Comfort of Home for Alzheimer’s Disease

Ultimate Blog Party 2008
This post is in participation with The Ultimate Blog Party.

Because I have not had anyone real close to me have Alzheimer’s, I can only imagine the pain and confusion it brings about for the whole family and friends who do not understand this disease.   This book, The Comfort of Home for Alzheimer’s Disease: A Guide for Caregivers, is an excellent resource.  What I like about this book, is it is not overwhelming, but easy to read, and a one-word term for it would be “handbook”.  It’s not a book you have to read cover to cover, but you can page through, look at chapter headings and read what concerns you or what you have questions about.  Throughout the book, topics are highlighted as “NOTES” and “TIPS” to easily find later.  The book includes checklists, documents to copy and free and low-cost resources.  Here are is the table of contents:

Part One Getting Ready

  1. Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease
  2. Preparing the Home
  3. Hiring and Paying for Care
  4. Financial, Legal, and Medical Planning
  5. Health Care for the Person with Alzheimer’s Disease

Part Two Day- by-Day Living with Alzheimer’s Disease

  1. Setting Up a Plan for Day-to-Day Activities
  2. How to Avoid Caregiver Burnout
  3. Understanding and Improving Communication
  4. Activities of Daily Living
  5. Understanding Behavior in Alzheimer’s Disease
  6. Moving, Transfers, and Falls
  7. Special Occasions and Challenges

Part Three Additional Resources Caregiver Organizations Glossary Index

This is 272-paged softcover book, just printed in August 2007,  I would hang on to if I had someone close to me with Alzheimer’s but, thankfully I don’t.  So I am offering my new copy to one of my readers.  If you have someone close to you, or know of a family you can give it to, please leave your name below in the comments.  On Friday I will be picking one person for this book, so come back here to check to see whose name has been drawn.  Also, if you are the person drawn for this book, it would be greatly appreciated if you could contribute $2.50 through PayPal for postage for within the USA and will be required for outside the USA.  Thank you!

I am aiming to review a book and give one away each day this week for The Ultimate Blog Party, so come back again tomorrow!

Posted in Family

From Diapers to First Day of College

It seems funny and would never have imagined, to have one child in diapers, 7 children in between at different stages, and then our oldest off to college! Stephen (18) started his first class at our local community college yesterday, taking an automotive suspension class. He was very talkitive about it when he got home last tonight. Norm has met the teacher, who owns a local car repair place. Stephen found out today that the teacher is the top person in Michigan with ASE certification in automechanics. He seems to really like teaching and has a lot to pass on to the students. It’s only 10 students in the class, several quite older because of the big layoff/closing of Electrolux here, and wanting to start a new career. I am sure Stephen will learn a lot and it’s kind of exciting seeing this new phase in his and our lives.

Again, we are still trying to find that “new normal” and now getting back into another school year. We started after Labor Day. It seems good to be getting this schedule going again. It was so hard the months after Matthew died, and we did not have our whole hearts into it. Even the children seem to like the schedule more and am thankful to see them being more helpful and encouraging with each other. I am often asked, “how do you do it all?” I don’t! The older ones help out with the younger ones; the children exchange certain subjects to have each other correct. The younger ones need a lot more one-on-one from me. We have also started AWANA which the kids like and give them time out and really are motived to memorize the Scripture verses.
I’ve had so many e-mails asking how we are doing, and it’s still taking a day at a time. Some days seem so much better. Norm just said the other day how we definitely laugh more. There was not much of that the first few months. But the tears still come and the firsts are still arriving. Norm just in the last week also rearranged his whole workshop/garage area that he does his small engine repair work in. He moved everything around and is even in the process of painting the floor. There were so many reminders of Matthew working with him, and still coming across his things, and it finally came down for him to make these changes.
We are still so slowly working on “our bedroom”. The girls are still all tightly squeezed in one room, but with the busyness of our two home businesses, and wanting to be outdoors more and doing gardening and canning, not much has gotten done for the remodeling. It still needs to be done, but I think too, Norm needed a break from it, as it was very overwhelming at times. I know we both wish it could just get immediately done, and have this overwith, but this too takes time. We still come across things of Matthew’s and wonder what to hold on to, and what to part with. Some of it just hurts too much to keep and other things we can tuck away for awhile. The kids seem to be doing well for the most part, but then, all of a sudden, something will hit one of them. Today, Melody (5) came in with one of Matthew’s red sweatshirts wrapped around her, asking why it was outside. She recognized it as his, which surprised me. Jayson actually has been wearing some of his sweatshirts to his job at a horse stable. Melody had it around her for quite a few hours today. At times we think things don’t hit the younger ones as much, but then something like this surprises us.
I am still having problems with my bloodpressure, and even spent 5 hours in ER Monday night because of the pressure I was feeling on my chest. I had checked my blood pressure several times throughout the day, and at one point it was 198/88 which is way too high. So we went into our local ER and they did put us in a room right away because of how high it was. Thankfully, all the tests they did (EKG, x-rays, bloodwork) showed my heart strong and no signs of a heart attack or pending one. I did have to give in to starting on blood pressure medication. Today I saw our family doctor for follow-up and because I am having dizziness from BP medication, he’s cut the dose in half, and take it at night. It definitely has lowered my BP, but hopefully the 1/2 dose will do as well.
So, we continue on this road of healing. It’s not been easy and many ups and downs. But, some days we find ourselves breathing easier, and able to get on and some things seem more “normal”. There’s been long nights . . .and we know there still will be, but we are seeing glimpses of joy in the morning. The sunrise is coming but know there’s still the varied storms to deal with and many firsts to get through yet.
This was a devotional sent to me that was an encouragement to me, from Back to the Bible: Joy in the Morning.
This song was also sent to me. I believe Selah has sung it in the past:
Trading My Sorrows
2 Corinthians 4:6-9

I’m trading my sorrows
I’m trading my shame
I’m laying them down for the joy of the LordI’m trading my sickness
I’m trading my pain
I’m laying it down for the joy of the LordCHORUS

We say yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord Amen

I’m pressed but not crushed- persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I am blessed beyond the curse for His promise will endure
That His joy’s gonna be my strength
Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning.
“Weeping may endure for a night
But joy comes in the morning.”
Psalm 30:5b

Posted in Family

Stephen is 18 – Our Busy Birthday Weekend!

It’s been a busy couple of days! Our oldest child/son turned 18 yesterday, April 8th. It’s hard to believe that I am a mom of an “adult” 18 year old “child”. (Make sense?!?!?) Thursday night we went to Norm’s parents (Noni & Papa) and had a wonderful home cooked dinner. Norm’s mom always goes the extra mile when she makes a dinner – with lots of side dishes and several desserts to pick from.

Stephen opening present at grandparents.

The little ones had fun outside in Noni & Papa’s playhouse and running all around and finding Noni’s candy treats! 🙂 It was a special time with them, but then again, we got that lump in our throats – Matthew would have had so much fun and would have LOVED all the food. Norm’s parents have a small pool table and other games in their basement and Matthew always loved being competitive with his brothers with that. The kids mentioned that on the way home, how they had fun, but it was “different”. But, we keep moving forward, making new memories.

Friday was Stephen’s birthday. He still had to work at the horse stable in the morning. The little ones were SO excited for Stephen to get home. Melody (5) was carrying her stack of cards she made for him, and in tears at one point cuz she set them down “somewhere” and couldn’t find them. After being located, she walked around again, and when Stephen got home she followed him outside and in the house until he would finally would look at it. He was a good brother and made a very big deal out of it! It worked out neat that our church had a “movie night” and we went to that in the evening.

This evening, Saturday, several of the kids from our church gave Stephen and his best friend, Ryan, who is 2 days younger, a surprise birthday party. (They have been friends since little babies & have grown up together). It was actually kept quiet even by our kids and they were totally surprised. Many times we get together with Ryan’s family for the boy’s birthdays, so this was not out of the norm, and we met at a restaurant, where there was quite a group and afterwards went bowling. The neat thing with the kids that our kids are with at church, is that even though they may call it a “youth group” it’s the families and parents very involved in it. We went bowling with them, and the kids did not act at all like we were in the way, and really enjoyed themselves, having a good time. There was cake and little presents and the bowling alley even gave Stephen & Ryan a bowling pin with their names and birthday on it, and a gift certificate for some free bowling.

Stephen (forefront) & Ryan as 9 month old babies & Stephen (left) & Ryan at 18!

So, it’s been a busy few days, little reminders of things being different, yet, still moving forward. I got Stephen’s scrapbook photo album all updated and there’s so many pictures of him and Matthew together. That’s when that pang comes back a little harder for awhile.

We are very thankful for the 18 years God has blessed Stephen with and even more thankful that he spared him death in the accident in January. Yesterday there was another accident at that same exact intersection and 2 out of 3 people involved were killed. Stephen seems to be making good choices, involvd several Bible studies, has been a good testimony to kids in his automotive class, and keeps himself busy with some project (mainly cars & trucks). He’s got good Christian friends and desires to be a godly man. Oh, he still gets some rebuking at times, but we have a LOT to be thankful for. He adores his little sisters especially and gives them a lot of attention.

So on to another week – another week of several dentist and ortho appointments. Jayson is still having major problems with his jaw since the accident, locking up for hours at a time. Some decisions further decisions will probably have to be made regarding this. Above all we would like to avoid jaw surgery. However the next step may be braces, and it will be a matter of convincing the automotive insurance that this is for his jaw and not a cosmetic “want”.

And I cannot forget another highlight of the day! Jessica, Benjamin & Heather went fishing down the street from us at a stream. They love to do this. Benjamin caught 15 fish and Jessica caught her first one! She was pretty delighted!