Thursday, December 30, 2010

a confession.

Wow, I just realized a really strange contradiction in my mind.

One of the things I've been SO grateful for over the past three years of crazy trials, junk, difficulty, adversity (whatever you want to call it!) is the base of Christianity I was blessed to embrace as a kid. ... the key word in that is "embrace." Somehow by God's grace I embraced my relationship with God and made it personal at a young age. That foundation has kept me steady and grounded in the middle of this, and I'm so grateful for every service, message, moment spent in God's presence in the first 20-some years of my life.

In fact, I've purposely thought, I want people younger than me to have that same type of foundation built in their lives. I want them to have the foundation I had so that when difficulties come, they can face it. (P.S. I think a lot of that foundation comes from being in the presence of the Lord!!!)

Here's where the contradiction comes. More recently I've found myself looking at people younger than me who are all enthusiastic about Jesus and look totally sold out to Jesus worshiping Him and think, "Well, they wouldn't be quite like that if they've been through what I've been through. Just wait until they face crazy difficulty like I have...."

The contradiction probably seems obvious to you, but it took me a while... I have wished and wanted and prayed that people younger than me will take time to grow the base of a relationship with God that I did... and now I'm watching and wishing they were going through the same questions I am.

Totally wrong. And, yes, I'm being perfectly honest and blunt, so no judging. :)

I do pretty good at reminding myself that everyone has their own trials and no trial looks alike from person to person. These people I see and am perhaps jealous of might have already gone through worse than me. They might even still be in the middle of it. They may never go through something as traumatic.

Don't get me wrong. I don't wish that anyone will have to deal with the deaths that I've had to deal with. I know people won't. I also know that some people will... that's the nature of life. You and I will always find someone who has gone through something worse and something better than what we've gone through.

But I think the bigger thing is that I need to remember what Paul wrote in Romans 12:15. You and I need to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.

For me, I think the "rejoice with others" is really tough for me at times. I'm not sure why. Probably that big old "p" word... pride. My pride wants attention. I want the good things.

Yikes... it's dangerous to post something this blunt. Perhaps I'm not alone though. Pride is a deadly killer and comes in the most insidious ways.

Well, if I go back to a previous post of mine , every good thing that happens to other people is actually beneficial to me, especially when they are part of the body of Christ. As the body, we support each other and if another portion of the body gets stronger, in essence, I get stronger because I'm a part of the same structure.

Interesting how that works.

Lord, please forgive me for being jealous of others who haven't been through what I've been through. Help me to remember we all have our own share of adversity and it all looks different. And help me to remember to change my focus from earth to heaven... (that can be so tricky!) especially when I'm sad or frustrated.

Remind me and all of my family and friends that they are loved by You today.

In Jesus' name, Amen.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

writing news!

I hope you all had a nice Christmas and are getting ready to have a nice New Year's! This week between holidays is always kinda relaxed, isn't it? Or I suppose it may be crazy depending on what job you work. :-)

We had a nice Christmas with both of our families. Relaxing. Enjoyable. Played our second game of Quelf and yes, I got a rule that during the game I had to snort every time I laughed. And the global rule was that all of us had to end our sentences with "izzle." Glad I had my flip camera with me. Fun times... and if that all makes no sense to you, play the game Quelf with family or close friends and you'll find out!

So my big writing news is that I have been published again! YAY! I am a contributing author in the book Heavenly Humor for the Chocolate Lover's Soul (published by Barbour Books). Three original writings/devos of mine are in the book... and stories about my dad, mom, Erik, and his friend, Drew. Click here for the publisher's info sheet on it.

God has been so good to me in my writing adventures. He's been faithful to bring me writing opportunities I never dreamed I would have... I'm excited to see what He has in store for my future!

Friday, December 24, 2010

thoughts on the glory of Christmas

You know, the more I live, the more simplistic my prayers become as I realize I don't know how to interpret life correctly. I only can do my best to present what I know before God and trust that He will follow through as He knows best.

It's easy to think we know how prayers should be responded to, but if you look at the Christmas story, it was nothing like Israel expected. When they heard the Messiah was coming, they were expecting a king and a kingdom, not a baby and a manger. The answer Israel had been looking for came in a way they never expected.

In addition to that, Jesus came in the humblest circumstances possible. He was born in a stable and visited by the shepherds, some of the lowliest people at that time. Think about Mary's pregnancy... it had a cloud of shame over it as people all around watched an unwed mother go through pregnancy--intensely frowned upon at that time.

What people didn't know was that God was working a miracle in the middle of what they saw as shame.

I wonder how often God is answering prayers right before our eyes without us realizing it. Two thousand years later, we look at Christmas and we have the benefit of hindsight (hindsight is 20/20!). We can see the full truth. In fact, we even take the Christmas story for granted.

The fact of the matter is... Jesus has been, is, and always will be. He is eternal. He is God. Yet He came to earth in the form of a baby. It's incomprehensible that God came and became human to save us from eternal damnation.

I know, it might not sound as revelatory on paper (okay, the computer screen) to you as it is to me, but maybe it will spark a few new thoughts for you. :) Today,

I'm pondering the wonder and the glory of God that is revealed through that act of sending Jesus to earth. Jesus became human. Erik and I are reading a book right now that talks about Jesus and says that He is the glory of God, and I think, the Christmas story really is the embodiment of that phrase. Jesus' coming to earth really is the way that God has shown us His glory. True, the earth and creation declares the glory of God (Psalm 19:1), and really, God could have stopped there and only allowed His glory to be seen through that, but He didn't. He chose to show us His glory by giving us Himself, both in Jesus and in the eternal life we can have with Him when we accept Him into our lives.

All of these ponderings really make me grateful for my salvation. God didn't have to save me. He didn't have to send Jesus. He didn't even have to make me. But He did. He chose me. He chose to provide me with salvation. He didn't have to, but He did because He is pure love. He radiates love for you and me. He is love.

Plans don't always go as expected here on earth; the Christmas story really is a bunch of unexpected turns of events tied together to make the most beautiful story of all time.

God is the Master Planner, and even when we can't see His plan being revealed, even when hurt or shame surrounds us, He is there working. Try to imagine experiencing a God-given pregnancy before marriage, the lowliest of people (shepherds) having visions, Mary and Joseph experiencing death threats on their baby, the mass destruction of a generation (all babies under 2). Nothing of that sounds good. So many conditions of this story don't line up with what we call the picture of a good God... but it is again the most beautiful story tied together by the Master Planner and set in the middle of a world filled with evil.

Wow. I could ramble on and on about this, but instead I'll end with two things... First, I don't know who all reads my blog. I assume it's mostly my friends and family, but in case there's someone who reads this who doesn't yet know about God, you have one of the greatest opportunities ahead of you: the opportunity to accept God into your life. I could lay out what I believe here, but you can also call 1-888-NEED-HIM or visit www.needhim.org. I know they can help you get where you need to be.

Secondly, it's Christmas tomorrow and Christmas Eve today. Whatever you are doing, go ahead and take a moment to think through your idea of the awesomeness of God. What's your favorite puzzling moment of the Christmas story that just makes your head tilt and think, God really is amazing? I'll be thinking about that today too.

I didn't plan to go rambling on like this, but it's helped me a lot this morning as I head into a Christmas that Erik and I really hadn't prepared a lot for because of all that we've been through physically and emotionally. It will be a good weekend because we're celebrating our Lord.

I hope you have a wonderful time celebrating Christmas. :-)

Merry Christmas!!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

more about monday

Brody has the honor of being buried right near my brother. My great-great-grandfather purchased the plot over 100 years ago. Crazy that it's being helpful to us so many years later. When we had the service, since it was snowing, we couldn't see any of the grave markers. I was really happy when my dad uncovered Brian's grave marker during the service. I said, "There he is!" :) It made me happy walking up to the grave that my brother was going to be there.

The little casket had something very special on it: a heart that said "loved and cherished." I love that. Very special to me.

Last night I was pondering the phrase from Psalm 23 "the valley of the shadow of death." I used to think that meant death wouldn't come to Christians because it was only a shadow. After thinking through some things (including Brody's passing and Brian's passing), I wonder if that means that death will come and affect you as a Christian and a child in God's care, but it's only a shadow of what death really feels like.

Think about what a shadow is: it's an outline of something, but it has no harm attached to it. That "thing" it is a shadow of is there, but the shadow is harmless (except if you are a photographer and it is blocking your sunlight!). Shadows don't hurt. They have no sting. (See 1 Corinthians 15:55.)

For Christians, death hurts because its presence means the absence of something else, but thanks to God, death is only a shadow of what it could be because Jesus defeated it on the cross when He made way for us to have eternal life with God. Death does bring hurt, but as David explained in Psalm 23, even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we don't have to fear evil because God is with us. His rod and his staff (shepherd's tools) will comfort us.

 I like that a lot. 


I'm sure musings from Monday will continue to come, but for now, I'll head on to other things... one reason I love my family is because they surround you with fun at just the right time. On Monday after Brody's service, we had food and shared stories and a ton of laughs and then made Danish pastry in the kitchen, thanks to my mother-in-law and her recipe. It was delish and definitely not lo-cal. Yay for good food!

We also had fun doing ballet and clogging and singing... oh the things you do with family (and I don't think I'm supposed to share that on a blog that can be seen by anyone!!! Heh heh...). Oh and the guys were there, but we didn't get their picture while they watched the Vikings not do well. Erik did help make the Danish pastry, although we didn't take his picture. He's an amazing husband who thoroughly enjoys helping bake and cook. He actually did most of the work of rolling out the pastry dough - thank you, honey!

On another fun note, my sis-in-law, JoLynn, stayed in town for the next couple days and we headed to the dollar theater to see Megamind on Tuesday. I'd maybe rate it a 2 out of 4 stars. It was rather predictable and reminded me of The Incredibles and other such movies quite often. It had an original twist to the movie, of course, which is why it was made. I have some random thoughts on that movie, which I think I'll post another time.

Hugs to you and may God bless your day and this Christmas week.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

happy one month in heaven

Hmmm I wrote a wonderful blog yesterday about Brody's graveside service, but I don't think it saved or posted!!! Too weird! I'm bummed because my carefully typed words from yesterday have evaporated into the technological space of nothingness where lost documents go... oh well. (Who knows, maybe it will randomly appear somewhere...)I'll try to recap it for my own sake...

Erik's status update yesterday was well stated. "One month ago today we met our little Man for a brief few moments! Today we say a temporary goodbye!..."

Our little Brody man was born November 20, 2010. Yesterday was December 20, 2010, and we had a small graveside service with my parents and Erik's immediate family. It provided closure for me that I didn't realize I needed. It was our time to honor his life and the imprint he's left in ours. His life, although short here on earth, was a gift of life from God and now he's blessed with the gift of eternal life in heaven.

By the way, Brody has been a month in heaven according to earth time. I wonder how long that time looks like in heaven!

Yes, it snowed, and driving to and from the grave site was really bad weather. But at least it was an adventure... of some sort. :) There was something oddly special about the falling snow during the service. We all had umbrellas to block the snow (thanks to my dad!). It was short, but very personal and perfect to remember Brody by. It was a reminder that Erik and I entered a new season of life, one unexpected. I suppose it's like a snowstorm in the middle of July--you don't expect it at all. As we journey through this new season, it's important to let the positive and the painful memories be worked through mentally and emotionally.

Psalm 23 is the verse that has provided stability for me, all through the week at the hospital and yesterday as I was picking out my clothes and thinking, No one should ever have to pick out clothes for their son's funeral. And it was cool because our pastor friend who did the service used that verse without realizing that has been one of my lifeline verses.

I don't remember what else I was going to say... so I'll write again another day. Until then... here's Psalm 23 from the KJV.

-----
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Friday, December 17, 2010

my recovery continues

My physical recovery is continuing to go well. The doctors said it will take six weeks for my body to go back to pre-pregnancy state and I'm almost four weeks through. Yay!

My strength is gradually coming back. I still need to be careful and drink lots of water and take iron pills... I'm not quite there yet, but I'm feeling more like myself and love being able to do stuff again.

And the reason for the post is because I was finally able to make dinner again - and not just help Erik fry up fish or put lettuce in a bowl for a salad. I made some soup for Erik to have in his lunches and I want to recommend the recipe. :-)

Here's the link to it: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Vegetable-Beef-Soup/Detail.aspx

Erik and I both really liked the broth and the veggie mix seems very flexible - read some reviews for opinions and thoughts on what can be altered. Also, I followed one review's recommendation to double the liquid, Worcestershire, and dry mustard, and that gave it enough liquid.

So if you need a good recipe to add to your collection, this is an easy one for which you may just be able to use food already in your pantry and freezer. (Oh and that was the whole point... I was trying to find a soup I could make with stuff in the house and this worked!) Oh and I didn't have parsley, so that wasn't in our soup.

Super glad the weekend is here! Yay!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

my favorite Christmas carol... in a funny way

My favorite Christmas carol is Carol of the Bells. (My other favorite, especially for singing, is Joy to the World.) There's this one version of Carol of the Bells that is a family favorite. I can picture my parents and Brian and I watching this many times growing up.

Mom and Dad... this one's for you! :-)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

where strength comes from

Stumbled across this video. I've seen it before, but thought I'd share it today. I know God didn't "take" Brody or "take" Brian as some people might say if they were in a similar situation (and I think the songs says too), but both things did happen... so I need strength to deal with them. 





Some verses I've been drawing strength from:

Eph. 6:10 (Amp.) "In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides]."

Phil. 4:13 (Amp.) "I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]."

Monday, December 13, 2010

molecules, waterslides, and the body of Christ

 Life can be so hard sometimes. It's funny; I remember sitting in church services growing up and hearing the preacher (even being the preacher) who says, "I know some of you are going through a difficult time right now and frustrated with God"... and I remember wondering what that would be like.

Well, I understand a lot better now. I'm not frustrated with God, but I am frustrated with my limited mind. I guess that's the best way to put it. God is an infinite God who is perfect in all He does. That part I get. What I don't get is sometimes how to connect all the dots of what He says in Scripture.

Yes, I know the Holy Spirit can help us, but when natural things overwhelm you (as they have been for me recently), it's hard to recognize what the Holy Spirit is saying. And, yes, you could burst in here and say, "You need to stop and listen for Him." True, but it isn't always that easy. It's like when you are sliding down a waterslide, water is spraying in your face, and someone is yelling at you at the end of the slide saying, "Look at me, look at me!" Or someone is throwing water balloons at your face, and another person is trying to get you to smile for a picture. You know someone is trying to get your attention and you will look at that person as soon as you get a chance, but you can't do it at exactly that moment.

This is where I think the body of Christ comes in. The picture I had in mind this morning looks something like what I posted here. This here is some type of molecular structure. All of the circles and lines are holding each other up. That reminds me of my support system. When I am weak, I have people surrounding me who are holding me up.

What would happen to this particular structure if any part of it were removed? It would be weakened or fall apart. And really, if I remember my oh-so-long-ago science classes, if you remove any part of a molecule or even an atom, it changes what it is completely.

I think this is a good representation of how the body of Christ works. We support each other when we're being blindsided by difficulty. When I was moaning to my friend yesterday about how its hard for me to be the one receiving from everyone, she reminded me that in the middle of others supporting me, somehow I'm supporting them too. It's a mutual thing, and really, when the body of Christ is working together, it works well because that's how God structured his body to work: all together as one.

All that to say, our human minds are extremely limited when it comes to difficulty and reconciling it with a loving God and the promises we see in Scripture. Everyone can make a case for their view of adversity. The interesting thing is God brings us the views and input we need to hear when we need to hear it. He knows what we need.

I'm not sure that I have a grandiose ending to these ramblings, so I'll just leave it at that and add more another day as I continue to process what I'm walking through in this life. :-)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

God's greatest promise to us

Last night Erik and I went with a friend to see Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I was super excited to see this movie because I grew up watching the BBC versions of these movies and loved them. I love stories and I especially love stories that have Christian angles/analogies to them.

I was much happier with this movie than the second Chronicles movie. From what I've read and after watching all three movies, I've gathered that the producers (or whoever in the production team) pulled back from the subtle Christian analogies in Prince Caspian (the second Chronicles movie). They were there, but not as much. Well, that movie "tanked" according to their standards (pulling in $450 million worldwide doesn't sound like such a bad job to me!) and they put back in these Christian analogies in the third movie.

That brings me to the reason I'm writing. I almost pulled out my cell phone in the middle of the movie to write down some quotes from the movie. The thing that has stuck with me from the movie and in a sense "confirmed" what I've been hearing and thinking over the past few weeks is that God's greatest promise to us through this world is the fact that He will always be with us.

God says in the last part of Hebrews 13:5, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."(That's from the good old King James Version.)

The Amplified says, "I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]"

In the Chronicles movies, Aslan isn't always by the side of the kids in Narnia or in the real world. In fact, they never see Aslan in the real world, but as Aslan states in the movie, "In that world, I go by a different name." (I love that!) Those kids face all sorts of dangers, wars, difficulties, and evils in both worlds, and I think it's no different from what happens to us in the real world. We're facing difficulties because the Devil has been handed the keys to this world (think Adam, sin, disobedience to God). This is, in a sense, his realm. Another quote (okay, it's not exact, but close!) from the movie is "Evil has been given the upper hand for a time." And although God truly has the upper hand in this universe and through all time, in this natural world, evil exists and is rampant.

Of course, that doesn't mean we are helpless against evil. God empowers us with the strength to face it and defeat it. And when we're tempted beyond what we can handle or evil almost gets the best of us, God can step in and remind us of who He is and who He's created us to be. (Again, reference to when Aslan shows up in the movies at exactly the right time... literally not a moment too soon or a moment too late.)

I'm laughing to myself now because this little "soapbox" has come from a movie... again, I absolutely love stories that have Christian analogies to them!!

I'll end with this thought... before I go downstairs to eat some lunch. Hebrews 13:5 in the Message Bible says: "Since God assured us, 'I'll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,' we can boldly quote, God is there, ready to help; I'm fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?"

God is with us in this world. He helps exactly when we need it and even when we can't see it, He is carrying us. Over the past few weeks, that's exactly what I've felt. I didn't necessarily even pray that I'd be held by God (I bet a lot of you, my support team, has), but I was. I was held by Him and He is bringing me through this adversity, no matter how long it takes me to heal. He is good.




Friday, December 10, 2010

back to reality?

It's starting to sink in that reality is returning, and I'm not sure that I like it. I remember going through this after Brian passed. It's so hard to get back into a regular routine and see life happen as normal all around you when you've just had a big tragedy happen. You want to stop and scream, "Something horrible happened in my life!"

I'm grateful that I'm not alone in this feeling. I know it's completely normal to think like this, and right now I don't have those feelings quite as intense as they were with Brian. I think it's because I know life will return to normal, but it's a new normal. Something has changed in Erik and I and Brody's life will always be a part of us. In fact, one of our desires is to have Brody's life keep speaking here on earth, even though he is in heaven.

The only way to really deal with these feelings of "Ack! Reality!" is by taking it slow, one day at a time. I still have an official three more weeks before my body gets back to pre-pregnancy, so I do need to be aware of that. I also need to know that even though reality is returning, I can still heal. It's okay to cry and have moments of processing my grief. I just can't wallow in it!

I'm reminded of something that happened to me years ago after I had gone through a bit of difficulty and was having a bunch of bad days in a row. I was taking the bus to my internship at the time and I looked around at all the people who were in the bus with me. I thought, "How many of these people are going through something traumatic right now and no one knows because they have to get back into reality?"

How many times have I criticized how someone was acting not realizing that their mom just died or they just finalized a divorce or something tragic just happened? Obviously, you can't justify sin because of someone's grief, but you can give them grace for a bad attitude or an imperfect response to your question. Everyone is facing difficulties. Even though our difficulty is the most obvious one to us, always remember to give people a lot of grace for they might be going through something difficult too.

By the way, I know that there aren't any good words to say about what just happened to Erik and me, and that's okay. If you want to ask how I'm doing next time I see you, that's okay. If you want to ask about Brody, that's okay too. If you don't want to say anything at all, that's okay. Here's a link to that blog I mentioned in another post where she talked about how to help a grieving friend. I haven't read all of it, but the parts I did read helped a lot. Maybe it will help you too - not just for this situation, but for any situation where one of your friends is grieving.
http://mollypiper.com/2008/03/how-to-help-your-grieving-friend/

God is with me and God is with you, even in our grief. Hugs.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Brody's name

I just looked at my past blogs and realized that I never posted about our 19-week ultrasound, so I want to backtrack a little. Erik and I REALLY wanted a boy. We both had good experiences with older brothers -- he loved being the older brother and protecting his sister and I loved having an older brother. I ALWAYS wanted to have a boy first because of Brian.

Within the first few moments of the ultrasound, the technician asked if we wanted to know the gender. We immediately said yes. Well, within a few moments, we saw clearly that it was a boy. It was super funny because the moment came and went so quickly that I had to blink and blink again then look at Erik a few minutes later and mouth, "We're having a boy! Ack!"

I was SO excited. I think one of my favorite parts was the fact that my brother, Brian, would have a little boy who could be named after him. It just seemed right to have his name carried on somehow. We had been thinking about names for a few months. We had debated a few different options because we wanted a unique name, but I did like the idea of honoring Brian somehow.

I knew I couldn't name my baby, Brian, for a first name because that would be too weird to have a Brian in my house. When we came across the name Brody, Erik and I didn't immediately throw out the name. Something about it stuck, and we kept going back to it. We considered some middle names to put with it, and when we paired it with my dad's name, it seemed perfect. Brody Mark Wegener. The reason it was perfect is because my brother's name was Brian Mark Baker. Brody Mark seemed like the perfect way to honor my brother because the name was similar to his, but unique, and it honored my dad at the same time, who played a huge part in Brian's life, especially as Brian walked through the last few years here on earth.

I looked up what Brody meant and found out it meant muddy waters or something funny like that, but then in one specific language it meant brothers, which again just made me think of Brian. 

Oh and on a fun note, the initials of Brody Mark Wegener are BMW. :-) Both Erik and Brian LOVE cars and BMWs and fast cars and cool cars. I figured we'd nickname him Beamer. Heh heh... Uncle Brian is probably calling him Beamer up in heaven or something!!!

Anyway, after we made all the phone calls to family that we were having a boy, we looked at each other and decided Brody Mark Wegener would be the perfect name for him. So glad we decided that. I love the name and it's perfect for our little boy.

Hugs to you, Brody. I miss you and love you! Tell Uncle Brian I said hi and love him and that he needs to take good care of you! Also, tell Jesus that I love Him. So glad you are with Him. He'll take the best care of you.

Friday, December 3, 2010

processing my grief

My lovely friend, April, passed on to me a blog she thought I might enjoy. The mom has a bunch of kids on earth and one daughter in heaven. www.mollypiper.com

She posted this after posting a happy picture of her and her husband when she was 36 weeks along with her baby girl a few years ago.

Today, memories like this [picture] make me cry—hard. We had no idea that we were a few weeks away from one of the worst tragedies we’ll ever face.
So if you’re a mom like me, living without one (or more) of your children, take heart that this is indeed one of the hardest things you will ever live through. But that also means that you lived.
The lines around your eyes will deepen. But that also means you’ve seen. You’ve seen the chaos of pain. Your eyes have and will shed tears for people in their pain that you could’ve never understood before. This is a blessed gift.
Hold on with me. We’re gonna make it. We might not be the happy-go-lucky gals we used to be, but our lives here will tell stories of indescribable loss and the love of a God who made us to be exactly who we are—every line, every gray hair. None of it is wasted.

I'm reposting that because it helps me right now. I'm having a rough morning missing Brody and missing the what ifs and the could have beens and memories that we were going to make with him on earth.

Here's another post where I put my name in where appropriate: 

I want to assure you that I feel really held by the Lord. I feel safe. ... So there’s got to be something for me in this. There has to be. ... I want to see the beauty of what God has for me here. It means that some days are really hard. It means that I’m going to places in my soul that I didn’t know existed before this. It means that I’m a different person. But I’m getting more comfortable with the [Laura]  who’s been asked to bear this grief. I’m relaxing into the transformation a little more now.
I wish every day that [in the future] I would get to hear [Brody's] new words, listen to [his] post-nap singing, change [his] stinky diapers. Yet I know that losing [him] has changed me more than getting to raise [him]would have. That’s a hard reality, but it’s the reality I live with.
Lord, make it something beautiful.

I'm reading through her blog backwards (recent posts first) so I still have plenty of posts I can read that will surely help me as I walk through missing Brody.

I just wrote to someone, I feel guilty for being happy that he's safe with Jesus, but I feel selfish for wanting him here. It's an odd paradox that I'm just not sure what to do with. This author who I quoted has had almost 3 years I think to process her loss, and I'm going on a few weeks, so I know I have a long way to go, but I remind myself of a few things.

1. One of our good friends told us in the hospital on Tuesday morning (the day after my water broke) that God believes in us. He believes we can make it through this journey. He believes we can make it through without falling away from Him or become a worse-off person than before. That phrase "God believes in me" has stuck with me.

2. God will never give us more than we can handle - 1 Corinthians 10:13. Yes, I sometimes feel like screaming out, Are you kidding me? I can't handle this! But God obviously thinks more of me than I think of myself. (Again, see point #1.)

3. One of my pastor's favorite verses in James 1:2-4. It tells us to consider it joy when you fall into various temptations/tests/trials because the testing of your faith worketh patience. I get that. We can be happy when we grow in our faith, even if it means going through a difficult time. Beyond that though is verse 5. I've never really made the connection between verses 2-4 and verse 5, which says that God gives wisdom to those who ask. The time of a trial in your life is exactly when you need wisdom, because any time you go through something difficult, you will hit those times of "I don't know what I'm supposed to do now." That's when you can ask God for wisdom.

My mom is here now to make lunch. I think we'll watch something on Food Network too. All for now~

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

in case you want to know...

One reason I'm a tired girl right now and get tired very easily is because I did go through labor with Brody. Because he was born early, parts of it actually were worse than normal for me physically. One of the effects I'm dealing with right now is that my hemoglobin is low. It was low enough that they could actually have done a blood transfer, but it wasn't dangerously low where they would have to do a blood transfer (thank you, Lord!). In order to get my blood back to normal, I opted to take iron pills and do my best to eat iron filled greens and meats and other foods. One of the effects though of the low hemoglobin is tiredness. It's pretty crazy because I can do stuff around the house for a half hour or hour and I'm wiped and ready for a nap! So my challenge over the next few weeks will be to figure out how to get enough sleep, take care of my body,  and not overdo it.

All for now... working today, but highly contemplating a nap!!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

one tired mommy

I am a very tired mommy right now. Yes, I am a mommy, but no, I don't look like the mommy every one pictures when they think of a mommy. I'm a mommy whose child made it to heaven before she did. I'm a mommy who got to spend a few precious moments with my baby before passing him on to Jesus.

I don't think my head has wrapped around what exactly has happened or what I'm missing out on. Some of it has sunk it, but not all of it. I do know that the Lord gave us a precious gift: the gift of life in our firstborn son. He also gave us another precious gift: eternal life. The thought that He gave that directly to our son is pretty overwhelming. As much as I wish he was on earth, it is comforting to know he's in a much better place with Jesus.

Yeah, I don't have all the answers and don't know exactly what to think or feel, and from what everyone says, I don't need to know. But I do know that I am very grateful for everyone's support and prayers. It's incredible to be surrounded by such an outpouring of love and know that love and God's grace is what supports you through the most difficult of circumstances.

I know that God has to be doing something in me to be able to look back on the past two weeks and find good in it. I was talking with my sister-in-law and she said the same thing. It's odd because it's a tragedy that we lost our son early and our vision and hope for our immediate future had drastically changed... but somehow God shines on the good in the middle of that.

Thank you so much for your support. It's amazing and I'm truly grateful for the imprint each one of you have left in my family's lives.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Brody Mark Wegener, our firstborn son

Brody Mark Wegener was born Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 3:15 p.m. He spent an hour with his parents before going home to Uncle Brian, Grandpa Pulaski, other family, and Jesus. He will be missed greatly and left a wonderful imprint on our lives. We will always remember our firstborn son.

Thoughts, processing, and journaling will come later. 

Thanks for all your prayers during this time. It has been felt and we wouldn't make it through without your support.

P.S. Just so you know, we're taking it really slow on visitors and phone calls right now. Thanks and much love.

Friday, November 19, 2010

life can change in a second

Hi everyone!

Apparently I've been really quiet on my blog for a while, but I have a feeling I'll be blogging a lot more, because I am almost 21 weeks pregnant and now on bedrest. The short story is that last Monday morning, I woke up to go to the bathroom as normal, and my water broke. Erik quickly called 911 and the police and ambulance were at my quiet little neighborhood making a ruckus in just a few minutes. On a side note, Tucker was so excited to see the flashing lights and have the men come into our house, and he was VERY disappointed when the men on a mission kinda shoved him away. :-)

We had our first ambulance ride, Erik in the front and me in the back. And, yes, both of us were slightly disappointed that they didn't turn on the lights and go full speed for the hospital. They stopped at stoplights and everything! Given my situation, they wanted to keep me stable and steady as opposed to jerking through traffic. I suppose if my arm was hanging halfway off my shoulder and blood was gushing everywhere, they might have used the lights!

That day at the hospital was really rough. An ultrasound showed that the baby had no amniotic fluid (it had leaked out), the baby's heartbeat was stressed, I had a small infection and/or fever (don't really remember!), and I was having small contractions. I think everyone at the hospital assumed I would go into labor.

The good news is I didn't. Brody's heartbeat calmed down and the infection/fever went away. On day 4, I was able to go home to my parents so my mom ("Nurse Martha") can take care of me. Erik is here too. It's much more relaxing at here than the hospital!!

We have a long road ahead... so if you'd like to join us in prayer, please agree with us that my body is filled with the health and life of God and Brody's has miraculous healthy development and he can stay in me a long time. Specifically, no infection in my body or Brody's, that my body would not go into labor yet, that Brody could be surrounded by extra amniotic fluid and that the fluid would stay in me.

Thank you so much for every prayer, message, phone call, etc. It helps so very much.

Love you all!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

in the world but not of it

So my mind is churning again with questions surrounding the idea that we, as Christians, are supposed to be "in the world, but not of it."

Jesus said in John 17:15-16 as He prayed to His Father for his disciples, "I do not ask that You will take them out of the world, but that You will keep and protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world (worldly, belonging to the world), [just] as I am not of the world."

He continues in verses 17-19, "Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth. Just as You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And so for their sake and on their behalf I sanctify (dedicate, consecrate) Myself, that they also may be sanctified (dedicated, consecrated, made holy) in the Truth."

We've been sent into the world, but not without Jesus taking in the time to sanctify us and dedicate us and consecrate us to Him. We've been set apart to God.

I wonder what that should look like. Erik and I have been reading about David in the Old Testament, and it sticks out to me that he is very, very human. (just read through the psalms and see all the times he asks God to crush his enemies!) Yet, he is one of the most honored Christians. God considered him a man after His own heart.

Then I was thinking about the New Testament and the stories we have as examples to live by, and we don't have a ton (especially compared to the Old Testament). What we do have is the book of Acts--which shows us the power available to believers because of the cross. We also have the Gospels and the life of Jesus, our main example.

I read through Mark chapter 11 today and one thought came to my head about Jesus: He was a bit odd (speaking purely from a human standpoint). Within this one chapter, He tells His followers to go take a colt from someone's house without asking anyone for permission, He talks to a tree and tells it to stop bearing fruit (and it listened!), and he answers someone's question with a question of his own, instead of an answer.

Jesus isn't the typical human, and I don't think that I would consider Him the typical super-spiritual person that some might think Christians should be today. He was, though, purposeful. Everything He did had a purpose, even if was the atypical way of doing things. The other thing that stuck out to me was that he was purposeful to spend time alone, praying, with His Father.

Purpose. Jesus' life was filled with it. I'd like mine to be filled with it too. Perhaps that's just one glimpse of what it means to live in the world, but not of it.

On another note, baby is doing well. We're almost a week away from finding out if the baby is a he or a she! Yahoo! We're super excited. God is good! :-)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The passing of a milestone

Hi there.

I'm working, but I have so many thoughts running through my head, I thought I'd take a moment to write them out.

Overall, last week was a rough week. It went really well given the circumstances, but I can tell from the stress my body had throughout the week that it wasn't easy as we remembered Brian's passing last Tuesday. Erik and I visited his grave on Wednesday and were very blessed to see how gorgeous the cemetery is with the fall leaves and how beautiful Brian's marker is. It was a really special moment to be there.

Of course, having the story-oriented mind that I do, I knew we were racing against the clock due to heavy traffic on our way over there. The cemetery closed at 7 p.m. My mind was imagining all the funny (and not-so-funny) stories that would come if we got locked in the cemetery overnight! Okay, sounds funny and slightly morbid, but it brought me a smile in a sad time.

It was really special when we got there because after Erik encouraged me to talk to Brian a bit, Erik said, "Well, aren't you going to tell him?" It took me a minute. Then I realized that I needed to tell him he was going to be an uncle! I knew he already knew, but it was a special moment to tell him in person. I really wish my kids could have met Brian, but we have lots of good stories to tell about him and how wonderful he was, and I know our kids will have lots of people surrounding them who will tell stories too.

When I think about being sad that Brian's not here for my kids, I'm simply grateful he was here to meet Erik and see me get married. Personally, I don't think he would have left if he didn't know for sure I was taken care of. Of course, I wish Erik could have known him better and when he wasn't as sick, but I'm grateful they met and spent some time together.

Making it through last week has definitely lessened my stress levels/emotions... which is good because I have a baby in me to take care of!

On a lighter topic, I bought bedding for our nursery recently! I absolutely love it. And no, it's not blue or pink. We'll find out what we're having in a few weeks. It's pale green and yellow with hints of pinks/purples/blues/oranges and a jungle theme. A shout out to my mom-in-law and sis-in-law who accidentally got our baby similar looking pale yellow giraffes (stuffed animals)... that started the whole jungle theme idea! Excited to put it up, but until it's a little closer, my wonderful mother has it stashed away in my old bedroom (the grandkids room).

Odd... my brain is racing between making time for God, planning dinners and lunches, baby showers, daily schedules, a baby coming, and Christmas lists! Yikes! :-)

Thank you for all the love you've poured out on me and my family throughout this past week. It was overwhelming and very helpful and supportive. I appreciate you, my support system, more than you may know!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

the start of the second trimester

Happy Sunday, Everyone!

All is well today in the Wegener household. I'm resting at home while contemplating cleaning and making something homemade; Erik's out in the "wild" duck hunting - and he got 2 this morning. Yahoo!!! So excited for him. Tic Tac (that's our baby's name, thanks to my aunt - I forget if I already mentioned that!) is 14 weeks along, and has most of his/her organs developed, even though he/she is only the size of a lemon! Crazy! God made our bodies to be so cool! Tucker is hanging out somewhere, well into his 3rd or 4th nap of today.

Oh and the pic is me right now. Yep, there's a little belly pooch... another pair of regular pants "bit the dust" today. Maternity waistbands are wonderful!!! 

I love the colors fall brings and the crisp air from the breeze. Tucker was pretty mystified by the frost this morning; I smiled thinking about what he'll do when he sees snow again! (And no, I didn't necessarily smile at the thought of snow coming... I just know it will come!)

These pics are from the apple orchard my friends and I went to yesterday. Love it!

I'm thinking I'll go out and enjoy the weather right now and take Tucker on a walk.

This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it! Yay, God! :-)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kurt Warner, Carrie Underwood, and Christianity

Before I start my workday today, I wanted to post a blog that I was actually going to post a few days ago.

When I was in high school, I remember considering myself the "word police." If someone ever said that they weren't feeling well, I'd come back at them with "Don't say that! By the stripes of Jesus, you are healed." I didn't want them to have the "wrong confession."

I must have been really annoying.

Thankfully, the Lord pulled my pride down a LOT of notches within a few years after that and I started to realize that my convictions aren't necessarily the same as someone else, and I haven't been called to push my convictions on someone else.

Every Christian will have a different conviction than each other. Granted, there are baseline convictions - the ten commandments for example - that can't be broken. If you feel God has convicted you to murder someone, there's a problem with your theology. But on less obvious matters - for me, it's always been which movie(s) should Christians really watch - I will absolutely have different convictions than someone else. And there are reasons for that. I realize that images stay in my head a LONG time. If I watch a bloody, gory movie or some type of sexual scene, those images will replay in my head WAY longer than I'd ever want them to. I remember talking to a friend, and she said, "Oh I never remember things from movies like that." I was like, really???

People have different personalities and different ways they respond to and remember things. People also have different calls on their life and their convictions will be lived out differently.

What does that have to do with Kurt Warner and Carrie Underwood?

I admire these two people a lot. Kurt Warner is an outspoken Christian, and from I can tell, Carrie Underwood is a Christian as well. They are living Christian lives in the public eye (a very difficult place to be), and I guarantee that their lives will be lived differently than mine simply based on the place God has chosen to place them as Christians.

I went to a Carrie Underwood concert for my birthday and loved it. I went because I love her voice and I appreciate the way she sings her songs. She has some solid, good, even godly songs, even amidst the "Before He Cheats" and other not so Christian-themed songs. But when she sings the songs that talk about breaking up with a boyfriend, I can tell she doesn't have a vendetta against those people. She knows she is playing a character because of the platform she has been given. And she simply has fun singing those songs.

In the middle of her concert, she stated, Now I'm going to sing the song that truly represents my life and my career, "Jesus, Take the Wheel." You could tell that she truly gives Jesus the wheel in her life as best as she knows how. Halfway through, she broke into a rendition of "How Great Thou Art." I worshiped and felt God in that place that was probably filled with many people who didn't know Him. I saw Carrie worship God too. How cool that in the middle of all the publicity, she makes a statement for who her life follows.

I admire her.

Kurt Warner is a retired pro football player. He recently joined the cast of Dancing with the Stars and I admire him for doing so. I can see that God had called him to be a light right in the middle of darkness. I know he will stand out as a person who isn't raunchy in the middle of raunchiness. I kinda hope he wins just because God is with him!!! :-)

I really admire him for taking a leap of faith and living out his Christianity in a unique way in front of America. And when I watched the first show (yes, I watched the first show), I could see a peace and graciousness on his face that I know wasn't on others' faces. He has a different aura about him (and his family) and God will be with him during this crazy yet wonderful opportunity in his life.

He twittered this link recently: http://filesocial.com/exopq9o If you go there, you can download a document that is a letter from him explaining why he placed himself as a Christian in the middle of dancing with another beautiful woman when he has a wife and a family at home. I read through it and thinks he states it very well: We're called to be in the world, but not of it. This is his God-given opportunity to be right in the middle of the world, and take the high road and not be "of the world."

I'm excited to watch how God uses him - although I'm sure a lot of it will be behind the scenes that we can't see as the American public.

I'm bummed he's gotten criticism from Christians, but I know where they are coming from because I've been there. It's easy to think my Christianity and convictions are the right way of living and assume everyone has to agree with you, but that's not true. We all have glimpses of the truth; we're all on the same journey, growing in our relationship with God and trying to figure out God in the middle of life on earth!

I almost forgot... Pastor Mac recently addressed this in a video when someone asked about convictions (I'll post the link later if I remember!). He said, you don't need to judge by convictions. Look at the fruit. What fruit is appearing in their lives?

For Kurt and Carrie, I see fruit that is different from the society around them, even though they are right in the middle of perhaps you could say a "bad orchard." And yes, that is my thoughts - your thoughts might be completely different, and that's okay.

Kurt, Carrie, thanks for living out your Christianity in a godly way. Blessings and grace to you as God continues to help you in your journey.

Friday, September 17, 2010

mommy- and daddy-to-be

Yep, it's true. I'm a mommy-to-be and Erik's a daddy-to-be. And yes, it's also true that I can't quite wrap my head around it! I've started to think of what it will be like to have a little baby around the house when I'm working, and it's pretty exciting to think about, but for the past 16 1/2 years, I've been giving the babies back to the parents and going on with life! Now everyone who holds my baby will be giving him/her back to me at the end of the day (or whenever they cry!).

Crazy!

But Erik and I are super excited. I read somewhere recently on a blog what mothers would tell themselves before motherhood if they could go back to when they were pregnant. One was "trust your instincts." Another one was "You're going to love this." And I'm taking that motto with me. I know Erik and I are going to love being parents. I also know that all those crazy details that are flying through my head (or will soon fly through my head) are all going to be taken care of. I think of Philippians chapter 4 where it says that we don't have to worry about anything, but instead we can pray about it and then let God handle the situation. Or as Proverbs 3:5 says, "Trust God from the bottom of your heart."

Yep, as a mother-to-be and as a mother, that's what I'm going to do: look to God for the peace that passes any understanding I can have ever have and know that He'll remind of and show me all I need to know right when I need to know it.

Such a wonderful thing.

P.S. Thanks for all the wonderful wishes to me and Erik on the pregnancy! :)


----
12 weeks
current due date: 4-2-11
----

Thursday, September 9, 2010

God first. Life second.

I feel like I'm finally settling down into a new rhythm of life. Part of that comes from the fact that Cristina has settled down with a new husband. Another part comes from the fact that I'm starting to renew my relationship with God.

Don't get me wrong. My relationship with God has always been there, but the time and desire I put into it has slowly been coming back, really as God has been healing my heart. I know I'm not all there yet; a lot has gone on over the past few years. It's okay to take time to heal. But I am getting there, and it's refreshing to know that.

I think in the ever-changing, ever-busy society we live in, we always have to keep rethinking how we come to God--not for His sake, but for our sake. I'm talking from a practical perspective--reading your Bible, praying, listening to podcasts. We have to strive to continually keep our personal relationship with God fresh. What can you do that will help you connect with Him throughout the day?


Here's what I mean... When I was single, talking to God and worshiping in the card was my favorite. When I started to work from home, I didn't have as much alone time in the car, and that was especially true after I got married. That means I needed to find a new time to pray and think. When Erik and I got Tucker, walking the dog suddenly became the perfect opportunity to pray and sort out my thoughts.


I think it's important for us not to miss the ever-changing nature of life.

And, no, I'm not telling you to fit God into your crazy, busy life. It's more like "how you can fit more of God into your life?" As your life changes, your answer to that will change.

Funny. Since I'm a writer, I thought a blog would be a great place to write... when it's turning out more to be a place for me to ramble. :)


And oh yeah... the look of my blog has changed because the focus of my life has changed. The storm of my brother's death has waned and I'm looking ahead to the future.

Monday, August 16, 2010

dead sea scrolls

Erik and I just visited the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the Science Museum that was pretty cool to see. In addition to lots of history and information about the people and places surrounding the scrolls, we saw five portions of the scrolls themselves. Pretty sweet! Oh and a virtual tour of the temple.

It makes me think about Scripture and how amazing it is that the Bible came to be the 66 books it is today. Multiple other books exist that were written around that same time, yet God led people to group together a specific few. Pretty cool.

God's Scriptures are amazing. They've been speaking to people for generations and will continue to speak for generations to come. They speak truth. They speak light. They speak intrigue and mysteries. They solve mysteries. The beauty of the Word is that we can't fully understand it, but God sheds light into our hearts the meaning behind the words every time we read it and open our heart to Him.


By the way, if you haven't yet seen the exhibit, here's a link to a coupon. You go through the exhibit at your own pace. I'd suggest estimating two hours at least. http://www.smm.org/scrolls/offers/

Enjoy discovering God's Word. :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

a chapter closed

Well, it's taken a while to write, and I plead mixed emotions and an uncertainty of what to say.... I know, it's funny a writer should have that problem!

Good things have happened though... Cristina got married! YAY! I'm so excited for her to have that stability and love in her life. Such a blessing, especially since her family of three girls is a busy one! She married someone she has known for a long time; he's actually an acquaintance of our family as well. (I went to school with him!) Josh Harty is his name, and he's a stand-up guy. Solid in the Lord, great with the girls, loves Cristina.

What a great equation, huh?

My family and I are truly happy for her. I've had the thought a lot of times... it could have been a much more difficult scenario where she met someone we didn't know and then both her family and my family would have had a "learning curve" as we got to know him. This has been a blessing because as soon as  I saw Josh and Cristina together, I was at peace. He was a good fit to help take care of Brian's wife and Brian's girls. He won't try to take over his place, but he'll do his part as a new person in that role while helping them remember Brian.

It will be good. It IS good.

All that being said, the past few months have been emotional for my family. We've definitely been excited for her, but nervous to close that chapter of life. Now, a week after the wedding, I think we all are breathing a sigh of relief that we can now move on and Cristina is safely taken care of.

I hope that makes sense. To many people, a marriage so fast after a passing of a spouse can seem crazy, especially when you don't know the new spouse. But don't worry. It is a good thing.

So a new chapter opens in our lives and in Cristina's. She and the girls will be living in northern Florida with Josh. The two of them are down there getting settled. My parents and Cristina's parents are taking care of the girls for another week, mainly because my mom's side of the family is having a big reunion next week and she'd like the girls to be there. A few days after that (actually on Erik's 30th birthday!), my mom will take the girls down to Florida.

It stinks that they'll be extra far away now, but Cristina will do her best to keep us in touch with the girls--which is definitely a huge blessing.

I think that's enough of an update for now. Please agree with me for Erik's continued healing and divine health in his body. We still haven't gotten the "breakthrough" we need for him to be completely free from this sickness that is plaguing him. I think we're close, but strength is definitely needed as we keep going until he gets completely better!


All for now!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

a psalm for today

psalm: "a sacred song or hymn"
hymn: "a song or ode in praise or honor of God..." 

a psalm for today

early in the morning
    I will praise You.
I will let my heart remember 
how good You've been to me. 
As I get breakfast and walk the dog, 
I will remind myself of Your love, 
sing myself into Your presence, and
start to think of You taking all my worries
and making everything okay.


No matter what I see on this earth, You remain good.
Your love always finds a way to showcase itself. 


Be big today, God.
Show us the miracle of Your power.
Let us see Your majesty. Let us feast on Your love continually, 
and continue to be in awe of Your goodness. 


No matter how much darkness appears to overwhelm me, 
it will not win.

Monday, June 21, 2010

the making of an outdoorswoman

My 90-year-old grandpa told me yesterday that I should write a book about my outdoor adventures with Erik, partially because he is amazed by the fact that Laura Baker, a prim and proper young lady, has become Laura Wegener, a still prim and proper young lady, who occasionally catches a ten-pound catfish when fishing with her husband.

Yes, yes, it's true. I caught the biggest fish this past Saturday when I was casually (and I mean casually) casting into the river we were on and my fishing pole suddenly bent in half.

"Uh Erik, uhh help????" I dug the rod into my stomach and tried reeling it in, but the fish was swimming away with the hook! Erik gave me pointers on how to pull it in, but after a minute or two, I knew I couldn't do it on my own. I passed it to Erik who worked for another 2-3 minutes pulling it in, all the while trying to figure out what I had caught. It was fun to watch! And yes, I did a few happy dances while watching Erik and our friend John bring in my ten-pound fish!


If you had asked most people who knew me when I was younger, most of them wouldn't have pegged me for a fisherwoman who is generally okay with taking fish off the hook and putting bait back on. Little did everyone know, I have always had a hidden desire for adventure, an appreciation for the outdoors, and a desire to do (or at least try to do!) the things people would least expect me to do. :)

I have grown to love fishing and camping, two big hobbies of my husband, and I don't love them because he loves them. I love them because I love them. There's something so wonderful and relaxing about being outdoors, right in the middle of everything God made. Plus I love having meat in the freezer from Erik's various hunting and fishing endeavors, and thankfully, I enjoy eating it all too.

Oh, there's so much more I could say, but I'll save it for another time. Blessings on your day!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pictures :)

So Erik and I got a new camera last Christmas and have had fun playing with it. Here are a few favorites!


Here's Tucker!


The place where E and I got married!

One of the many alligators we saw at the Everglades earlier this year

 Me helping the world be more modest

Just a glimpse of the flowers from the Bachman's flower show; we loved it this year!

Fishing (what the boys did) and reading (what the girls did) on the lake yesterday

a tree on the island we explored yesterday

Last, but best of all, my hubby!!!! :-)





Friday, May 21, 2010

Update on Erik

Hello, hello!

Super happy for Friday this week... it was rough. :( Erik had some bad nights of sleep in the middle of the week that just wore him out. I hate when that happens! From what we can tell everything from the surgery is improving - his heart is healing fine, but there are still other things in his body that he hasn't "kicked" out of his body yet. SOON! That's what I'm hoping and believing for. He needs multiple nights in a row of good sleep so his body can recoup and I think he needs to get off the medicine that is helping his body while his heart heals. He officially needs to be on it a few more months, but maybe he'll go off early if the doctor thinks it is okay. I think some of what he's dealing with is side effects to the medicine or at least amplified by it. After he's off the medicine, he'll be able to take fish oil and some other nutrients that will really help his body mend naturally. (He can't take them now because he's on cumidin and he can't take them together.)

That's a basic update. We both have our good days and bad days emotionally; it's been a rough road, but I thoroughly believe we're on the right road and the light is coming. We're coming quickly out of the storm we've been in!

I love being outside and enjoying the weather. Isn't it gorgeous?

All for now! Happy weekend to you!

Monday, May 17, 2010

who leads who

I think I blogged about his last fall... maybe not... but when I'm walking my dog, I like to use a "gentle leader" that basically muzzles him slightly so he doesn't pull as hard. When we first put it on him last fall, let me tell you, it revolutionized my life! I was so taken back by the transformation that I literally felt like one of the witnesses from an infomercial: "I used to hate walking my dog, but with the gentle leader, walks are fun again!"

All that to say, Tucker has gotten used to the tugs he gets on the gentle leader, so he still pulls slightly when he wears it. Today I took him out without it, and when he began pulling on it to get to another dog, I pretty much let him lead and ran after him! I must have looked pretty silly!

One time walking Tucker I had the thought: who leads who? In my relationship with God, am I pulling God around or is He leading me where He wants me?

As Tucker's owner, I know what way is safe for him to go. Tucker would bound out into the street without supervision - especially when a leaf blows away from him or he spies a rock in the middle of the road. He doesn't know what is safe and what isn't - he has no concept of it. I have a feeling that me, as a Christian and human and non-God, I have no idea what is safe and not safe when I'm not letting God lead me.

It's funny, when I take Tuck to the dog park and he doesn't have the leader on, he pulls and pulls and pulls and strains as hard as he can to get to the park faster -- and in the process he can't hardly breathe! We always tell him, Tuck, if you just slow down and walk with me, you'll get there soon enough and not lose your breath! And yeah, he's usually too overcome with emotion to listen, but that's okay, he is a dog. :)

Just random ramblings before going down to clean the kitchen. Erik will be coming home soon. Fish tonight. I like that my husband goes and has fun for a day and brings home dinner!!! :)

All for now. Have a blessed week!

Monday, May 10, 2010

change

Tim Berners-Lee. Ever heard of him? How about Paul Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield?

Still drawing a blank? Okay, Noah. Thomas Edison. Adam and Eve. Paul. What about them?

Every one of these people changed the world. I could go on with a list of hundreds more who have made this world what it is today.

I think all of us have a drive to be this type of person. We want to make something of ourselves. We want to do something that makes a difference in other people's lives.

It's odd that many people don't realize they are already in a position to do so. Every choice that we make affects other people.

For example, I'm finishing up a story this week about my dad and trail mix. He loves his trail mix. Growing up, we were not allowed to pick and choose what we wanted from the trail mix. Trail mix was made to be eaten together: peanuts, M&Ms, raisins, and whatever else you like in your mix.

Despite dad's desires, I still have many memories of trying to fish out the M&Ms from the trail mix without it making a difference in the overall scheme of the bag. But no matter how hard I tried, this fact remains: if I eat all of the chocolate candy out of the trail mix, I will alter the next person's experience of an authentic handful of trail mix.

That's a simple example of how our choices affect others, yet true. My job is another, more relevant example. I write for a living. I have deadlines for my writing. If someone needs my writing to complete a project and I miss my deadline, I'm adding stress to their workload because their time line for completing their project will be crunched if they don't receive my writing on time.

One last story my husband shared with me. A man was driving on a curving road and decided his engine needed fixing. He pulled over, but didn't quite get his car all the way over to the side of the road. Half of his car stuck out in the 2-lane highway. Plus, he decided to leave his car door open while he looked into the hood of his car. Another car with two parents in the front and a child in the back was coming up and saw that their lane was blocked by this car. They swerved into oncoming traffic to miss hitting the car and the car door. A car was coming from the other direction and both parents died in a head-on collision.

What if that man who was fixing his car had decided to shut his car door or have his car completely in the shoulder of the road? That mom and dad would still be alive. Wow.

Everything we do affects people around us because we are an interdependent society. We need each other.
That's where the Holy Spirit comes in. He helps us be better than ourselves.

Of course, the person who changed the world the most is Jesus Christ. As fully God and fully man, He changed the world in a radical way and proves the point that with God, you and I can become the individuals that next change the world.


By the way... in case you're curious, Tim Berners-Lee started the World Wide Web we now know as the Internet. Paul Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield created magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). (info from forbes.com)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Six months (or so) later...

I MISS BRIAN!!!! All of us miss him a LOT and wish we didn't need to wait until heaven to see him again. That goes for me, my parents, Cristina, our grandparents, Cristina's family. Cristina's had some hard days missing him - I can't even imagine!!!

I've had some good hard cries recently about it. It's starting to sink in that he's gone for life on earth and our life continues. Our family life is adjusting as we try to figure out this new dynamic. It stinks. :( I'm glad I do have a wonderful family though through it all.

I laughed at the thoughts going through my head during one of my recent cries.... I was at church and Keve came up for the offering song and as I heard the first notes I thought, Oh no, is this the song [that was played at Brian's funeral]? And I was desperately hoping it wasn't!!! I was tempted to leave the room so I didn't have to hear it. It just fits Brian's scenario so well that all I do is think of him when it is played. And sure enough as the chorus came around I started bawling feeling like I was crying slightly against my will!!! Erik was out of town, so thankfully my good high school friend was sitting next to me and she looked at me and knew what was going on. She let me sit there and hold her and cry it out! But the thought that made me laugh is I was considering asking Pastor Tim to never play that song again  or at least let me know so I could skip church if they sang it again! I know crying is good, but I just laughed because I slightly blamed them for making me cry!:-)

They say that we have to make sure we grieve Brian well. Okay, that's well and good to say, but how do we grieve well??? "It's different for every person" is most likely the cliche that follows, so I figure for me, I remember. I talk about him. I'm glad for all of you who have listened and talked to him about me. I cry when I need to, and gradually I think that will be the grieving process for me. Oh and I ask questions and deal with those faith questions as best as I can when they come. I'll put aside what I can't answer and trust, but face those questions without burying them (as much as possible!).

Oh and if you knew Brian and you ever think of him for whatever reason, can you call/email/text/facebook me and let me know? That will make me very happy. April did that for me recently and it made my day. I think it helps knowing other people think of him too.

And just so you know, black and white words on a screen can't convey feeling, and although I'm ranting a little, I feel like I'm doing okay overall. It's insane how much I miss him some days, but those feelings come and go. Still a lot to learn.

One of my friend's grandmas passed away and she actually is singing the same song I Will Rise at the funeral today. I was happy to be able to post a little bit of what I've learned on her facebook wall. Good will come out of this in little ways like that.

I'll post about Erik soon. If you think of him, please pray for encouragement and hope, and then his continued healing.

Thanks for your love and prayers. I appreciate it more than you know.

Friday, April 2, 2010

post surgery update

So a lot of you may have followed the general facebook updates about Erik's surgery. If so, you know he's doing okay. :) The day of the surgery was pretty up and down because the surgery itself went as well as can be expected but Erik went into an irregular heartbeat later in the day and that really bummed him out. That's what the surgery is supposed to fix, but since his heart just got burned, it's susceptible to going irregular in the first few months.

If you don't really understand it all, that's okay!! It's a complicated thing. It was funny because the doctor said he'd sometimes rather be doing angioplasties so he could simply come out after a surgery and said, Yep, we opened the clogged artery, end of story. The electrical map of the heart gets more complicated and harder to explain.

Anyhoo, all that to say, we're on the road to recovery. :) Emotional ups and downs, but we will make it through. It's made me once again realize how important it is to have friends surrounding you. A lot of times Wednesday, I felt like I was just existing, and the only thing I could do was rely on people around me. So if you ever know someone going through a rough patch, offer to make them dinner, bring them flowers, write them a note, let them know you care... I know it helps!!!!

Right now I'm listening to a friend of ours give us a preview of his band's original songs and I like the songs a lot! We're getting the acoustic version (Erik and I at our house - yay!); the actual song is with electric guitar, drums, and all that. The band is called Catylyst. Our buddy is Danny Ebling and their website is http://www.facebook.com/catylyst. They just started recently but looks like things are coming along nicely for them, which is awesome to hear! They are heading into the studio tomorrow to record two songs (the ones we just heard).

Easter weekend. Yay! What a special celebration. :) I love the hope we celebrate. Such wonder! Thank you, Lord, for your beauty and grace and the redeeming power You gave to us to many years ago! It's wonderful to be with family and celebrate. We're hoping to head over to see Erik's family, but it will be dependent on how he feels tomorrow. (Our plan today has been rest, rest, rest!)

Have a wonderful Easter with your family!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

one day left

My life will change completely tomorrow.

Wow.

Tomorrow Erik goes in for heart surgery, and it's a surgery that will completely change our lives. Again... wow. I'm SO excited to see how Erik's body responds to having his heart fixed. I believe he'll actually be able to sleep for 7-8 hours straight again. He'll be able to walk up stairs as a normal person without taking a break to catch his breath. He'll be able to run with Tucker outside without his heart going into an irregular beat!

His family is coming over tonight for dinner so I need to figure out a filling recipe for our homemade ravioli (it's delicious!). I need to pack my things so I have everything I'll need for tomorrow/Thursday morning. I'm a little nervous about the unknown, and I think Erik is as well, but more than anything, we just want to walk this out!

I'm looking forward to the day when I can change my blog title. I started this when Brian was in his last days on earth. I stayed in the middle of the storm as I grieved for Brian and then watched the symptoms in Erik's body get worse. I believe God will use this surgery to completely revamp Erik's body! He and I will soon be out from the middle of the storm!!

Lord, You've been with me and my family throughout this past year. Please hold me and Erik over these next few days and help our trust in You to be deepened as we see You manifest in our lives.

It helps to write out prayers for me some times. :-) Anyhoo, I'll try to post something soon after the surgery. I will have updates on facebook as well (or at least that's the plan). It will go supernaturally well.

Okay, off to finish out my day!

Friday, March 19, 2010

me in a movie?

So I had a super interesting day yesterday. I decided to take my office mobile and go to the set of a movie filming in Minneapolis (near the MOA) and be a movie extra! I've always been interested in the "behind-the-scenes" aspect of pretty much anything related to movies, music, TV, theater... not sure why, I simply find it fascinating.

I heard about a movie that was filming with some relatively well-known actors and that they were looking for extras. I figured, hey! I've always wanted to see what a movie set looks like, so why not go? And it was a loooooooong day, but I was super glad I did it and had a bunch of fun being there. :) They prepared us for a long day of "hurry up and wait" and it was exactly that, but it was worth it to be able to go to "hair and make-up" and go to "wardrobe" (they didn't start from scratch, just improved what you already had!) and watch the production assistants run around dealing with the changes that were constantly coming from the movie set.

We (the extras) got to peek in on one scene while we were eating (it was filming down the hall from where we were) and then I was a part of the banquet scene. They warn you that you probably won't make it on camera and if you do, it may eventually get cut, so don't plan on it happening. I was probably off camera and won't be in the scene, but it was a blast to be a part of it. :)

Oh and I don't know much about the movie; it's about a guy hunting for a rare violin or something like that. The part I was in was in a hotel. Since I'm pretty careful about the movies I see, I may not even go see it when it does come out! But if I do see it, I'll be able to say, "I talked to that girl" or "I remember her!" or "He sat at my table!"

On a completely different note, Erik is going in for surgery on March 31st. It's a low-risk heart surgery called an ablation where they will go in an burn the ends of some of the veins that are going into the top of his heart. That will cause the electrical currents to stop coming through them and tripping his heart into an irregular heartbeat. It will be a morning surgery, he'll be in the hospital overnight, and recovery will happen over the next few days. It will take a couple months for his heart to fully feel the effects of the surgery, but his body will recover quickly. He'll be back to work that Monday. (the surgery is on a Wed)

Ideally, this will completely stop the irregular heartbeats he sometimes get and it will stop his stress that he'll go into an irregular heartbeat... and who knows what else it will solve! I'd appreciate prayers for Erik and I to have peace as we walk through this and hope that this will be the solution to the variety of health problems he's been facing. And if it doesn't quite naturally solve everything, that it will bite off a good chunk of them and bring Erik the hope of "a light at the end of the tunnel." It's going to be a good thing. Oh and he said I'll be posting facebook updates throughout the day on his facebook so you'll probably be hearing from me throughout the day. Especially since I'll get to wait for four plus hours as the surgery gets done... I'll have some time to do something. My parents will be there and Erik's family as well.

I "discovered" a few interesting things recently: first of all, I don't want to ever use Brian as a crutch for how I live my life-particularly as time goes on. For example, three years down the road, I don't want to be saying, "Well, I can't do that because my brother died" or "You should feel sorry for me because my brother died." I'm glad I realized that now because I can make a point to keep healing and working through the various thoughts I have regarding that.

My second thought I discovered: the biggest healing right now for me (and maybe other people in my family? I'm not sure) is learning how to trust prayer again. I know the right answer of course, but after seeing so much prayer go up for Brian and not seeing them get answered like we thought they should, it's hard to understand. I don't have the answer and I know no one does. All I can do is ask for God's help in restoring my mental trust in the whole process of prayer. I'm pretty sure my heart trust is there, but my mind is speaking pretty loudly about it. It will come, I know, but that's a hurdle right now.

For some reason, it helps to "confess" that or simply write about it. It's really a God-thing that right now the song "Healer" is playing in the background.... :-) Heh heh just a reminder that God is amazing.

Well, dinner's on the grill, Erik's figuring out stuff for the first wedding he's performing (yay!!), and Tuck is getting some shut-eye. Love and hugs~ thanks for your support. :-)