I Done Went There

I Done Went There

I have thought and thought how to tell you this…and this title kept coming to mind.

I know it is grammatically incorrect.

I know the title is painful to read…but it just makes me laugh and smile and see the brighter side of things…now that I am on this side of things.  Let me explain where I went recently.

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(Ha!  It wasn’t anywhere like this.)

Almost two weeks ago my middle daughter began complaining of neck pain.  I felt of her neck after more complaints than normal and felt that her lymph nodes were swollen behind one ear.  Dustin wasn’t available that night, so I googled swollen lymph nodes and was relieved to understand that this was a good sign…a sign of the body fighting off some sickness.

So I put on my game face and started giving more fluids than normal and other natural remedies for sicknesses.

Her neck pain got worse so I took her to see my ex-roommate, now Physician’s Assistant, friend. (God bless her especially after all the text message exchanges we had last week!)   She administered a strep test (which was negative) and said the lymph nodes were doing their job and we just needed to give it time.

Oh, time…I love you so much.

By Thursday night, these nodes were still super swollen (and painful) and a low grade fever began.  I am typically not “that parent” who runs to the pediatricians office, but this was day four of my daughter being in constant pain and now she had a fever, I honestly thought maybe we had a negative on the strep test and we could get an antibiotic and all would be well in the world.

Hallelujah and Amen.

And Dustin even offered to take her to the Pediatrician’s office…so bless his heart, he went and sat among all the sick people and all their germs and their germs’ germs.

And he held our little gal’s hand while she had another strep test and a blood test for mono.  He gives the girls strength in situations that involve needles.  I just tend to be extremely quiet and sweaty which does not yield any assistance from Mommy when needles are around.  I just can’t.

I am sweating now just thinking of the needles.

Anyway, all tests were negative and again we were told there are SO MANY viruses that look like mono and act like it…give it a few more days.

So long story short…we ended up having 72+ hours of me administering ibuprofen or tylenol every three hours around the clock to keep her temperature between 101 and 102 (with medicine).  She could not eat ANYTHING for almost that entire time because of her swollen throat (you almost could not see her hangy down thing in the back of her throat…the uvula?).

And one steroid shot on Wednesday afternoon, made the world a better place.  By Thursday morning, we had no fever and our appetite began to come back.
And today when she requested Bojangles for lunch, I did not think twice about its fat or grease content.  If she wanted to eat it, I would oblige.

But here’s where I went.  Until we had this steroid shot, I would look at her suffering, unable to turn her neck, crying from the pain in her throat, trying to sleep but burning with fever and think, “Oh God, please don’t take another child from me!  I cannot lose another child.  I just can’t.”

That’s where I went.

I remembered those feelings of handing my deceased child to the doctors.  Of never seeing a chest rise and fall again.   Of coming home empty-handed and staring out the window in stunned thoughtlessness.

And I let fear take me over.

And I was scared.  Scared for her life and scared for mine without her.

I realize that I was tired and I had never experienced such sickness for myself or any of our children before this.  And I know that some people pull out the “OVERREACTING” card on me.

But to me, it is real.  Loss is a real thing.  And I can relive it very easily even ten years later.

It happens when I hear of someone else losing a baby or a child.  I am so overwhelmed with sadness and brokenhearted that I can hardly function.

And evidently it happens when I am faced with extreme sickness in my own family.  Sigh.

Just for the record, I have learned that when I recognize myself “going there”with my thoughts, I try to take them captive.  Using Philippians 4:8, I can ask myself, “What is true?”  (In this case, my daughter was sick, doctors were not concerned and she would more than likely make a full recovery – even google told me so!)  “What is right?”  And so forth and so on.  ( This is wonderful advice I got from Elizabeth George’s book, Loving God with All Your Mind.)  

Then I try to find verses to cling to in the current situation.

I hope by sharing this, you too, will realize when your mind starts taking you “there.”  Be careful of “What if” thinking and to focus on what is true…and trust the One who is carrying you each step of the way.  And praise Him even in life’s storms.

” Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

“Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
    Be their shepherd and carry them forever.” Psalm 28:9

 

You Can Donate Books!!!

You Can Donate Books!!!

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Many of you have contacted me and said that while you don’t need a copy of this book, you would love to help get these books into the hands of grieving families who have experienced an infant or baby loss.

And I am excited to say that we can do that!

The way to donate books is:  You can purchase a book through me (use my PayPal link and in the comments box, let me know where you would like the books to be sent and how you would like the dedication to be made on the inside bookplate).

Here is the book plate I put in the front of the books that went to WMIT, 106.9 The Light Radio Station:

img_1849Books have also been donated to the Wilkes Regional Medical Center.  Here are the book plates I used for them:

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These bookplates are a simple way to let the receiver of this book know that this book does not hold the opinions of the hospital staff and that they are not trying to force any religion on anyone.  The books is simply a gift to a grieving family.

This is a great opportunity for many reasons.  Since my books are “potentially offensive,” it is a great opportunity for us to put a Christian resource in the hands of grieving parents at an important crossroads in their lives.  I would never force my Christian beliefs on anyone, but I do pray that through my life and my words others will be drawn to the Lord and will understand how much He loves them.

So after much prayer and encouragement from different people (thank you guys for spurring me on…I can get a little too content in my bubble), I have gotten permission to donate these books to the following locations:

WMIT, 106.9 The Light (A local Christian radio station that houses certain books to be mailed to listeners who call in with prayer requests.  I Have a Brother books can be available to listeners who have had an infant/baby loss and are calling in with a prayer request after such.)

Brenner’s Children’s Hospital, Winston-Salem, NC – This is the hospital where Daniel was for two days and where he died.  I cannot say enough good things about this hospital and I am so thankful that we can minister there.  (Hopefully these books will be mailed later this week!)

Wilkes Regional Medical Center – This is a local hospital where I have a contact in the birthing center.  They have received a few books already.

If you would like to donate your books to another location, please let me know where (if you have a contact there, that would be fabulous), and I will be more than happy to work that out!  Just send me a message.  (I have a contact at Levine Children’s Hospital and hope to work that out soon.)

Thank you to everyone who has already donated books – I am so grateful for your support and pray that God will use this book to draw grieving families closer to Himself.

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith…Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for he who promised is faithful.”  Hebrews 10:22a,23

Pictured Above:  (L to R)  Troy Norton and Tricia Kelly of the Morning Show, Carol Davis, afternoon host, Director of Programming and Promotions and Jon Wood, afternoon host/Music Director showing the books they received to be given to a grieving family.

Thank you to Carol Davis for getting this picture for me!

October 15th

October 15th

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in the United States.  It is a day for parents to remember the child/children who they hoped would be here on earth, but whose home is heaven.

This month is also recognized as “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness” month.  As such, I have gotten a new opportunity to share at the local library.  In doing some research for my class and for this month, I have found the following memes.  While I cannot say that I agree with everything the groups who have posted these stand for, I found these memes to touch a special place in my heart.

 

Then I came across this poem that touched my heart:

“Some would say I didn’t even know you, but I carried you, felt you grow, longed for the day we’d meet, dreamed of your future.  Not only did I know you, I fell in love with you.” (From Mommies with Angel Babies)

So on this October 15th, I want to encourage you, that if you have had a loss, you are not alone.  And I know that it hurts and that the pain never goes away.  But I hope you find comfort in the assurance that your baby is in heaven.  And I pray that you know that you will one day see him/her/them again.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  Psalm 34:10

 

Allergic to Cold

Allergic to Cold

Our first Christmas together, Dustin wrote me a poem.  He has a real gift for writing.  (Yes, that was a hint that he could write me more poems…)  I was touched by his expression of love in the poetic form.  

I have looked and looked and much to my dismay I cannot find the original poem he sent to me.  (See how much the poem meant to me!?  Truly, I am sick that I cannot find it!)  However, I remember (kinda) how the last stanza went:

“I look forward to with her growing old

This brown eyed girl allergic to cold”

Romantic…I know.   

I had never before thought of my aversion to cold as an allergy, but alas, it was true.  Just as I was allergic to the pollen, I was allergic to the cold.  

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In my efforts to keep from chilling, I had a game plan.  I wore long underwear and wool socks.  I slept with extra blankets and heated rice bags.  I always kept an extra layer or two in the car in case I ever was caught off guard by a chill in the air.  

And yes, I will confess here before God and everyone, that it was me who would occasionally turn the thermostat up one to ten degrees depending on the severity of the cold in our home.

Because the bottom line is this:  I DO NOT WANT TO BE COLD.

You know what I else I don’t want to be?  Sad.  I don’t want to be sad because sad means something has gone wrong, someone is hurting, a heart has been broken.  

But Is it possible to keep myself from being sad?  From having disappointments?  

The answer is simple:  I can’t.  And I am sorry to break this to you, but, you can’t either.  

You could try to keep yourself from experiencing events that make you sad, but, , your order may arrive damaged,  and your expectations may not go exactly how you planned.

I had to decide two things in my life.  

  1. It was okay to get cold.  As much as I disliked it, I could not prevent it.  
  2. It is okay to be sad.  

My job is to live my life to the fullest realizing that there will be hurt and pain and sadness and disappointments along the way.  It is my responsibility in these good times and bad to keep my eyes focused on the Lord.  I should never fear what I cannot control, but trust the God who loves me and will work all things for His glory…whether in cold weather or in warmth.  

And just a side note:  Now that I am older and have birthed several children, I am not as cold natured as I used to be…but I still dislike the cold.  But now I also dislike the extreme warmth…basically,I would like to have a personal thermostat to program so that I do not get over or under heated.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”  Numbers 6:24-26

“Steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.  Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”  Psalm 32: 10-11

“Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.”Psalm 119:165

Devotion: Alligators in My Bed

Devotion: Alligators in My Bed

I had all the normal childhood fears.  I was afraid of the dark.  I was afraid of the monsters in my closet and under my bed.  And, of course, I was afraid of the alligators sleeping in my bed.  

You read that correctly.  I feared the presence of alligators between my fitted and flat sheets.  This was an easy fear to overcome.  I simply had my mom pull the top sheet and covers to the very end of my bed each night so that I could confirm no alligators.  

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My alligator fear was so real that when I wanted to get into my parent’s bed in the middle of the night, I asked them to get out of bed, turn on the lights, and pull their covers all the way back so that I could confirm they had no alligators in their bed as well.

Here is where I will confess to you a few things about my childhood that I have realized since becoming a mother myself:


1.  I was a high maintenance child.  (There.  I said it so you would not have to.)

2.    We never lived within five hours of an alligator habitat.  There was zero chance of alligators in our yard much less my upstairs bedroom!  

3.  I was a very high maintenance child.  

I had always thought I was the easy child, but I have learned that I was definitely more difficult than my sister.  This was because once I became convinced of something, I could not drop it.  Just like the idea of an alligator in my bed…no one could reason with me otherwise.

The alligators became a fearful presence in my life , because I was convinced they were a real possibility.  

A few months after Daniel died, I read a scripture about being convinced.  I had read this passage before.  It has always reassured me of God’s presence no matter what.  

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  
Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers,
nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  
Romans 8:35, 38-39

It was true, and  I had known this before Daniel died. But after his death, this verse seemed to ring truer than before.  

Neither Daniel’s death nor my life here on earth could separate me from the love of God.  Nothing – not my grief, not my fears for the future, not anything that had happened or could happen, could separate me from the love of God.  

I want to encourage you not to let anything separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus.  Seek Him and you will find Him.  Know that His loving arms are just waiting to hold you, hug you, and carry you forever.  

“Where shall I go from your Spirit?  Or where shall I flee from your presence?  
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!  If I made my bed in Sheol, you are there!  
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me, your right hand shall hold me.”
Psalm 139:7-10

“The Lord is the strength of his people;
he is the saving refuge of his anointed.  
Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!  
Be their shepherd and carry them forever.”  
Psalm 28:8-9

Blog Readers:  Remember, I would love your honest feedback about these devotions.  You can leave a public comment or send me a message privately.  Thanks in advance!  

Yes, I Bought Myself Flowers

Yes, I Bought Myself Flowers

 

 

I have decided to have  a little blogging schedule if you will.  I like schedules…sometimes a little too much!  I know that I have freedom to deviate from this schedule and there will be days I cannot pull off a blogpost, but I thought it might help you, as the reader, to know how I am going about this blogging thing and me, as the writer, to have a starting point!  
As I have mentioned before, I am working on a devotion book for grieving mothers.  I think I have 15+ devotions written and my goal is 30 devotions.  So on Mondays, I am going to post one of these devotions.  And because I love alliteration and plays on words, I am calling it “Monday Mournings.”  These devotions are intended to help grieving mothers relate to the heartache they feel and see God in the midst of their grief.  
I am also going to do my best to post on Wednesdays and Fridays.  So my alliteration for Wednesday is “Wonderful Wednesdays.”  It might be a giveaway or something that has just filled me with wonder that week…we will see.
Friday is for family, so (drum roll please) I am calling it “Family Fridays.”    I will share something about what is going on with our family…
And there is my lengthy explanation to my blogging strategy…thanks for reading along.  So now for today’s “Monday Mourning.”  Enjoy!

Fresh Flowers

I am a realist.  I don’t dream, I analyze.  

I am practical.  I buy useful gifts for birthdays and Christmas.

I do not like small talk.  I can see what the weather is just as well as the next person.  No need to talk about it.  

I sound like a whole lot of fun, don’t I!?!?

You can just imagine how much fun I was after Daniel died.  

My realistic self said, “My son is dead.  My heart and body ache.  What am I supposed to do with myself now?”   Read more

Everyone Has Good Hair, But Me!!!

Everyone Has Good Hair, But Me!!!

While scrambling eggs one morning, I overheard the following proclamations coming from the bathroom.

“Daddy has good hair.  Ruthie has good hair.  Julee has good hair.  Izzie Lou has good hair.  Molly Beagle has good hair.  Mommy has good hair.  Everyone has good hair but me!”

(Izzie Lou and Molly Beagle were two dogs we had at the time.)  

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Then the tears began to fall on my three-year old’s face.

She thought that her hair was not good.  

At the age of three.  

I stood there thinking….”Why does she even care?  I have tried so hard to not emphasize beauty on the outside.  I’ve been lenient about looks.  I let the girls wear mismatched clothes out in public.  And plastic high heel shoes to the local bagelry for breakfast.  I’ve even been known to take a tiara or two out to lunch.  Why does she care about beauty?”  

LeeAnne saw in the mirror that morning what she was not.  She could not see that she had the most beautiful big blue eyes and was the only one in our family with blond, curly hair.

LeeAnne could only see what she wasn’t instead of what she is.  

I can’t get upset with her – I have the same problem.  

After Daniel died, I remember thinking about how much I wanted to hold him in my arms.  I wanted to his sister to be able to love on him.  I wanted two car seats in my back seat.  I wanted diapers to fill my shopping cart.  

But that was not to be.  At least not at that time in my life.  

Daniel was not meant to live in my house or to be loved on by us here on earth.  Years later, the Lord gave me two other daughters for whom I am most grateful.  I had to buy pull-ups and diapers at the same time!  I had to have three car seats in my car at one time.  And I never complained about it!  It was wonderful to have life in my home after such a tremendous loss.  


But when I was walking the days and weeks after Daniel’s death, I could not see the future.  I could not know for certain that I would ever have another healthy child.  I saw other families having healthy babies.  I saw families full of life and joy and I seemed to have none.  I had allowed my joy to be taken from me by the loss I was enduring.  

I am by no means saying you need to be full of joy and that you need to be happy with whatever God gives to you.  Sometimes that is humanly impossible – we cannot do it in our own strength.  

What I am saying is that when you find yourself uncertain of your circumstances and not thankful for what is going on in your life, take those concerns and frustrations to the Lord.  Ask Him to take those burdens from you.  Ask Him to show you how He is working.  


Sometimes you may need to beg the Lord to show you how He is going to use your circumstances for good, but I promise you that He will never leave you and you can cling to Him during your difficult seasons of life.  

And He will show you that your blond curly hair is beautiful – even if it is different from the others in your life.  He will use all things for His glory if we trust in Him.  

 

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

“Cast your burdens on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”  Psalm 55:22

“The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and bounding in steadfast love.  The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.”  Psalm 145:8-9