on prayers in the mess and not being alone

DSC04796_2A month of Sundays has come and gone since I’ve written here.

Sunny, 90 degree days of shorts and sandals followed by pull the wool socks back out, chilly days we’ve had this May. Celebrations of graduation, a trip out west, visiting gardens and watching baseball along with school and work and the day to day business of living have filled our days.

I’ve stumble for words, for the right words to put here this month. Because in everything I do I want the “right.” But my life doesn’t often feel orderly and put together. Most of the time it feels messy and like I’m just barely keeping my head above water and,

oh Jesus, help!

I pray that a lot.

Oh Jesus, help!

I think its a good prayer. I also wish I remembered to pray it more. Like when I am so done with repeating myself for the fiftieth time to my boys. Or when I smell the warm air and am transported back to one year ago in the hospital with Naomi on my first Mother’s Day as a mother of three. Or when I am about to board a plane for Portland and leave my boys for a week for the first time since my daughter died. Or when I have so much to do and all I want to do is go to bed. Or when I hear about tornadoes and children dying and homes destroyed. Sometimes I pray. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I want to pray but can’t. But all the time Jesus is with me. And He knows. He knows the struggle and the mess and the joy and the sorrow.

In grief and in life I think sometimes all we need is to know we are not alone. And to know we are loved.

You are loved. I am loved. We’re all a mess. And Jesus is here in the midst of it with us.

This is what I know to be true.

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Closing out 2012

The last weeks of 2012 were full of a lot of emotions- joy, celebration, love, hope, sorrow, fear, confusion, to name a few. We spent time with our families, took a big road trip, saw some old friends, talked about a lot things, and ate a lot of good food. I was able to take two weeks off of work. I was so grateful to be able to spend a large chunk of time with my family out on the east coast during that time. And I was blessed by many prayers, thoughtful words, and sweet gestures of love from those around me remembering Naomi and knowing this first Christmas without her would be so hard. It was. But we made it. And the day itself was sweet.

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Three days before Christmas was the six month anniversary of Naomi’s Heaven Day. We went to the cemetery.

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Then we headed east to my parents’ house. So much precious little boy on the night before Christmas…with his new teddy, his heart bear from Mended Little Hearts in memory of his sister. We bought one for each boy and then gave two of these little bears to other children who are fighting CHDs.DSC00909

We light our candles and celebrate the Light who has come into our darkness.

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Christmas morning with all kinds of serious ninja action around the tree kept me smiling.DSC01071

And my parent’s new puppy kept the boys smiling and running!DSC01249 DSC01268

As the year came to a close we drove south to visit dear friends from our Wheaton College days who live now in North Carolina. Ah, the beauty of the mountains…a welcomed sight for these flatlanders!DSC01404

4314 feet above sea level!DSC01425 DSC01427 DSC01470 DSC01474 DSC01484 DSC01449In a new year we drove north and west again, home, full of questions about what the future would hold after a year of so much heartache and yet holding onto hope.

Getting Out of Dodge

Tomorrow we leave for a two-night getaway as a family to Lake Geneva, WI. Thanks to the ever fabulous Groupon, we’ll be staying here. Tomorrow is kind of a big day…the 22nd…one month into our new normal life, so its good that we have something fun as a family to do. Lake Geneva holds special memories for us as eight and a half years ago Adrin and I exchanged our vows to live the rest of our lives together, walking through the ups and downs together, as we certainly have done in recent days, in a little chapel across the street from the Lake Geneva Youth Camp. Adrin grew up spending his summers at LGYC and his dad, an architect by profession, designed many of the buildings at the camp as well as the Lake Geneva Bible Chapel, where we got married. We’ve spent a few anniversary celebrations in Lake Geneva, but this is the first time we’ll have a family trip up there. We look forward to the days when our boys are old enough to attend LGYC as campers…its a wonderful place with a great outreach to kids every summer.

We’re planning on doing some swimming at the resort pool, mini-golfing, maybe hiking and/or heading up to Old World Wisconsin (depending on the temperature) plus eating some good food. But the big event we’ve been talking about is going to see Ice Age 4: Continental Drift. See, we have this special jar, called the “Warm Fuzzy Jar”, which holds a couple dozen cotton balls. (Thanks goes to our friend Jess for the great idea!) When we catch the boys doing something kind or above and beyond what we normally expect of them, they earn a “warm fuzzy,” aka a cotton ball, that goes in the jar.

Once the jar is filled up we get to do something fun and special as a family. We’ve spent quite a bit of time re-establishing and working on boundaries and expectations these past few weeks, as to be expected after the crazy lifestyle we had for some time. The boys have been doing really well and are only three warm fuzzies away from having the jar filled! This time we’ve decided to go see Ice Age 4…the boys LOVE the Ice Age series. We have the first movie on DVD and they watch it All. The. Time. And honestly, I think its pretty funny too! I fully expect them to get the last three warm fuzzies before the end of the trip and that we’ll get to see Ice Age…I’ll let you know how it turns out! 🙂

As per usual, we are not packed…guess I better go get to that. I’ll leave you with a few pictures of me and the boys to enjoy!

Gabe having a “snack lunch” with his food in a mini muffin tray.