Friday, September 25, 2009

pennsylvania peeps

last weekend we drove about 2 hours north to visit our friends the bowsers in pennisylvania. they are really good friends of ours and such an awesome christian family. we were stationed with them in port hueneme, CA from 2003-2005. it's been 4 long years since we have seen them. their first-born, sarah was only 2 mos old when she came to our wedding and we left when she was 5 mos old. since then, they've had two more children, benjamin and rebekah who we met on this trip.

we had a great time hanging around their house, going out for ice cream, visiting their church and eating all the yummy food laura made for us. we can't wait to go back and visit!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

stay at home ___?___

you meet someone new and they say, "what do you do?"

obviously you don't have kids hanging off of you saying, "mommy, mommy, i want to go. can we please go and get ice cream?" so of course you have a career or a job or something, right?

i stay at home. we just moved here because my husband is in the navy.

"do you have children?"

well yes, but our son matthew phillip is in heaven now.

"oh gosh, i'm so sorry."

an awkward silence ensues and you have never seen someone so uncomfortable in their life.

my experience has not been this way for most people i have met here but there have been a few. thankfully the people at church and in the navy have been very supportive.

but these few encounters have had me thinking a lot lately...

the thing is that i'm not doing anything, because i should be doing something else.

i should be being a mommy.

i should be waking up very early because i can't wait to see my son again. i missed him while i slept. then it's time to feed and play, and eventually a little nap. we might go out and explore new places around town or just cuddle at home. after an afternoon nap, we would play some more and then start making dinner for when daddy gets home. as a family we would cuddle, kiss, hug, and play until matthew needed to go to sleep. then tomorrow, i should be waking up and doing it all over again. what a life! what a blessing!!

don't get me wrong. i do not sit around feeling sorry for myself all day doing nothing. i run errands, spend time with friends, go to bible study, shop and get lost at a book store. but there are some days, i would give anything to be doing all the mommy things.

have you ever had a time in your life where you were doing something but you felt like you really should be doing something else? like you were born to do something but instead you were sitting in an office crunching numbers and hating it.

every day i wish i could do what i was meant to do. there is not a day that goes by that i don't wake up and wish my job for the day was to be matthew's mommy. and maybe that causes me to snooze 4 times instead of 2, but eventually i always wake up and get out of bed. i grab my bible and ask the Lord to help me be brave enough to face the day, productive enough to accomplish something worthwhile, and gracious to those mommies i may encounter who i desperately want to be.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

happy birthday big Matthew

today would have been the 34th birthday of our son's namesake, Matthew Seth Shubzda. since 2003, every time the calendar rolls around to september 17th, ken and i get very sad because matt's not here anymore for us to wish him a happy birthday and help him celebrate. we miss our dear friend so much. when we found out our first-born would be a boy, we called matt's parents and asked if we could name him after big matt. we wanted to honor our friend in this way.

for some of my new friends out there; i should really explain how big matt fits into both of our lives. matt and i were best friends who grew up together. when i first moved to texas in the fourth grade he was one of my first friends. he was the kind of friend every girl would want. through all the trials of elementary, middle and high school, matt was a consistent, loving, and inspiring friend anyone would be lucky to have in their life. i was always grateful to have a friend who encouraged me and stood by me. i went off to texas tech and matt went off to the naval academy so he could pursue his dream of flying jets.

matt's roommate and eventually one of his best friends at the naval academy was ken. whenever i would talk to matt i would hear about how wonderful ken was and matt endorsed him as a "good catch." i told matt that was nice but i was nowhere near interested in dating someone who would have a military career ahead of him.

fast forward to june 29, 2002 for matt and kim's wedding in dallas. i was in the process of moving from chicago to new york city but i made sure i was there. i did meet ken and matt was right. he was adorable, kind, and gentle. i could tell after only meeting him a few hours before, he was some kind of wonderful. he was living in south carolina but would be moving to california in october. we exchanged numbers at the end of the night because i thought i might go down and visit my friend angie who had just moved to south carolina.

ken called me in early august and i told him i wouldn't be able to come down to south carolina to see my friend. i didn't have a job in nyc yet and i thought it would be irresponsible of me to spend money to go. he sounded a little disappointed and we didn't talk much longer. i would later find out that ken thought i was kind of being short with him so he ended the conversation. i expected that he might call again but he didn't.

i left matt a message on his birthday, sept 17, 2002 and even told him that i had a nice conversation with ken but he hadn't called again. i said this in my message thinking maybe matt might knudge ken a little. :) a few weeks later, ken made plans to stay with matt and kim for a couple of nights in california on his way down to port hueneme.

our worlds were turned upside down on october 18, 2002, not even 4 months after matt's wedding.

ken was taking his boat out for the last time in south carolina when he got a call from one of our high school friends. matt's superhornet F/A-18 was involved in a mid-air collision with another F/A-18 in a training exercise off the coast of california. the coast guard was searching but there was no sign of the four missing pilots.

that evening i got a call from my mom and i knew immediately something was wrong. i was standing outside my apartment waiting for my friend to pick me up in the cab for a concert. when my mom told me, i broke down. i had never lost anyone so suddenly. those family members who had passed were older and sick, and it was expected. this was my best friend growing up. and now he was suddenly gone.

ken and i both made it to dallas a few days before the funeral. afterwards at the shubzda's house we started talking and we recognized how painful this was going to be for both of us. we decided we would need to be there for one another to get through this, so we made plans to keep in touch. we started talking on the phone from nyc to california 3-4 nights a week at first which quickly became almost every night. even though i thought ken was wonderful i didn't think anything but friendship would develop. we had so many things working against us: the military, the long distance, my dream job.

eventually a relationship started blossoming and we had our first date weekend december 6-8 when ken came to nyc and took me to the army-navy game at giants stadium. this was just the beginning. from that point on, we racked up the frequent flyer miles seeing each other almost every other weekend. in august of 2003, the distance got to be too much and i moved to california. 13 months later we got married.

so that's the story of our friend matt and how he introduced us. of course he never knew about our relationship on this earth, but as we were reminded by his parents, we have the most special guardian angel friend looking over us. and when our son joined him in heaven, we know he was immediately cradled, kissed, and hugged by matt. matt himself loved children and didn't have a chance to be a father before he went to be with Jesus.

i borrowed this picture from our friend john's facebook. john is standing with the threesome on the left. matt is standing on the far right. (ken is sitting down next to matt.)

happy birthday dear friend. we miss you very much. our lives were forever changed because you were such a caring, loyal, and supportive friend to both of us. we couldn't think of a better way to honor you than to name our first-born son after you. we are comforted by the fact that matthew phillip has matthew seth to love and watch over him in heaven.

love, ken-dog and bo

Monday, September 7, 2009

miracles walking around

i was sitting with a friend and we were discussing what a miracle life is.

she was going through a difficult time in her pregnancy and i was just "being" there. hopefully helping, by just being there.

we were talking about how difficult pregnancy is and how difficult it can be to have a healthy, living child.

after all, i certainly know the sting of the latter.

she said, "does everyone walking around here know that THEY ARE FREAKIN' MIRACLES??"

i couldn't have said it better.

it seems to me that before having and losing matthew, i didn't think about pregnancy not resulting in a living baby. i was not exposed to anyone who had lost a baby, except through miscarriage, and it was very early on before the pregnancy was even announced.

if i saw someone's pregnant belly, i thought:

"she's carrying low; must be a boy."
"she looks like a tough girl; probably going to try it natural."
"she looks like she'll be a great mom."

i imagine when people looked at me and my big belly they also thought:

"she's carrying big and low, must be a boy."
"she doesn't look like the tough kind; probably should get an epidural."
"she looks like she'll be a great mom."

now when i see a pregnant woman, i have all kinds of thoughts:

"wow, she is a part of a miracle right now. does she realize that?"
"Lord, bless her and her family with an easy pregnancy and a healthy child."
"i want that to be me, too."

all of us walking around are miracles. all of the babies born today, tomorrow, and the next day are miracles.


i was able to experience being a mom to a miracle on this earth for five short days. to some mothers who didn't get five days, i was sure blessed to have that long. but to me it wasn't long enough. it never will be.

i have to cherish that miracle and those memories while here on this earth. we know our miracle little boy will be waiting for us in heaven. until then, we hope and pray that the Lord will bestow other little miracles on us. miracles we get to keep on this earth for awhile...

Psalms 37:4
"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart."

Saturday, September 5, 2009

happy 5 years!

today marks 5 years that i have been married to my wonderful husband ken!

we celebrated by watching a very good navy @ ohio state game (dang, navy almost won!!), took a nap, made a yummy steak dinner and then the city of edgewater put on a fantastic fireworks show for us that lasted almost 30 minutes!!

happy anniversary sweetheart. every day with you makes my life so much more richer. sign me up for 50 more!

i love you!