Monday, January 31, 2011

project 365 - day 31

thankful for someone waiting

ok, i'll be the first to admit it, this post might be a little mushy. today ken was home from work sick (first time since i've known him that he's taken a sick day) and while kennedy took her nap i ran out to target and office depot.

just below our living room window is a bench. this bench was for echo to jump up and look out the window. one of my favorite things about her is that every time i would be pull up to the house she would be perched up on the bench looking out the window. as soon as she saw me in sight, she would get excited, jump down and meet me at the door. i've been a little down the last few days when i drove up and didn't see her in the window.

today when i came home, there my ken was waving to me from the window. and before you picture him perched up on the bench on his hind legs, don't. :) he was just standing there...waiting for me to come home.

today i am thankful for someone who was waiting for me at the window.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

project 365 - day 30

thankful for david

for about a year now we have been attending a small group through our church. our weekly meeting, right after the early service, blesses me each week. it's a community of people who love and care for me, and together we walk through life together striving to know Christ on a deeper level. it's a place i can go and feel safe and secure to express my opinions and emotions and not be judged.

today we concluded a study on david. i am struck by one final conclusion about david...God still loved him and chose to use him despite the mess he made. i can completely relate. :)

and the one reason i think God continued to bless david and use him: his willingness and devotion to God. david is know as a "man after God's own heart."

david inspires me to want to know God more. david makes me want to be willing. it's not an easy road...sometimes it's frightening to say yes to God. one of the hardest obstacles to overcome after a life full of screwing up, is to believe God can still use you. and newsflash, you're going to continue to screw up! when i remind myself of this, i can step back and take another breath.

i don't believe anyone can get so far away from God that He can't  forgive, redeem and bless you. if you're out there thinking you can't be used because of this and that, it's probably worth it to read about the life of david.

you might actually discover yourself somewhere in there.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

project 365 - day 29

thankful for deliverance

when i was near the end of college, there was a rumor going around with my high school friends and acquaintances that i had been sent to a drug rehabilitation center. i was pretty shocked to hear this because i had never even take any drugs at that point in my life, but then again the rumor mill there was pretty rampant.

in reality, i went to an eating disorder treatment facility. for almost 8 years i had struggled with exercise anorexia, anorexia and bulimia, and it all came to a head when i collapsed on the steps of the business school at texas tech university. it was at the end of spring semester and after 5 years of college, i was just about to graduate in the summer. instead, my dad came and picked up my 96-pound frame and all my stuff, and 2 weeks later i was in treatment. this year on june 1, i will celebrate 12 years of recovery from a stronghold on my life that i thought i would never overcome.

i just recently heard about 2 reality shows on eating disorders. the first one what's eating you is currently running in the e! network and the oprah  network plans on airing an 8-part series called inside rehab. i have not seen an episode of "what's eating you" but i think i will definitely try to catch the next one. my gut reaction is the content of a reality show for entertainment cannot be good. however, if done in a delicate way, it may actually help people. but truthfully, i'm a little skeptical.

i went to laureate and i think their approach in helping those with eating disorders is remarkable. the ed unit is completely separate than others there dealing with different addictions. i mean to me, it never made much sense to throw drug addicts and anorexics in the same room. after all, a drug addict, has to give up their drugs...they cannot be apart of their life whatsoever; an anorexic has to accept their drug (food) and learn how to manage it in a healthy manner. laureate's team tackles eating disorders head on. you need not stop your unhealthy behaviors before arriving.

when i went there in 1999, there were 14 women all at different stages of recovery. i checked into acute care and was still practicing my bulimia. i was constantly followed by a nurse or technician and i distinctly remember going to the bathroom and throwing up after dinner the second night. she watched me and asked me if i felt good afterwards. i can't recall my exact words but i'm sure it was pretty smart-alecky. 3 days after arriving and watching all the other ladies at various stages of their recovery, i gave it up and never looked back. one of my favorite aspects of their program was at the end when you go to transitional living where you live in a dorm-type setting with no one constantly looking over your shoulder. there you had to cook your own meals, go out to eat at a restaurant and even shop for new clothes and a bathing suit! not to say the road was easy, but after 8 weeks of treatment at their facility i had the tools in place to never relapse, and i didn't.

even though i had a christian counselor through the program, i chose to give myself the credit for my own recovery; not God. this sent me on a 3-year self-empowerment path of doing what felt good to me at the time. i was about as far away from God as i could be. it wasn't until several years later when i was back following Christ i started to realize the truths of psalm 139 and that it was God who had in fact delivered me, not myself! i am thankful to Him for bringing me through that ugly, horrible period of my life.

i'm very sensitive and passionate about those who struggle with eating disorders and body image. even now, as i find myself weighing more than i want to after 2 pregnancies and the grief of losing a child, i struggle but not in the same way i used to. if you know someone who is tempted by anorexia or bulimia or fully practicing it, pray hard for them. and if you think it is appropriate have them contact me. it is a dangerous addiction and one i'm afraid that is taking hold of too many women, especially young teens,and threatening to destroy their lives. only in God will they realize the fullness of who there are meant to be.
Psalm 139:13-14
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Friday, January 28, 2011

project 365 - day 28

thankful for echo memories

today it is very hard to find something i am thankful for. i just miss my sweet dog. and no offense to anyone out there, but i have just about decided the month of january least for us.

i got up this morning and when i walked into the kitchen and echo's food and water bowls weren't there, i started crying. that dog really secured a special place in my heart. tonight after dinner i wondered who i would give my pizza crusts to because she wasn't here at my feet begging for them. and trust me tonight, she would have loved plate flipped off my lap and 2 pieces landed on the floor. she would have eaten them in 2 seconds flat.

before we went to bed last night i started crying telling ken i wished we had just brought her home to die and i thought we made a mistake by putting her down. i was emotional. i know it was better that she go in peace but i was just having a hard time letting go.

yesterday the vet told me she was sorry because she knew echo was like a child to us...yep, she was our first.

today i am thankful for the memories of sweet echo.

i leave you with a cute video of kennedy (6 mos) eating sweet potatoes for the first time and echo supervising.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

project 365 - day 27

thankful for sweet beagle girl echo

when i woke up today, i didn't realize that by mid-afternoon we'd be saying goodbye to our sweet beagle girl. my heart is broken.
in december 2005 we adopted echo when she was approximately 6 years old from austin hound rescue. just a year later, we packed her up and headed to greece. she loved it there because she chased all the stray kitties and goats in the neighborhood.

everyone loved echo...she was the sweetest, most atypical beagle in the world. meaning she didn't howl or dig. she did beg for food and never met a bag a chips she couldn't devour. we used to have pizza parties all the time and once she jumped on the table and ate an entire pizza! that night she laid on the cold tile floor and it seemed like her belly really hurt. two weeks later, she did the same thing, except this time, she only ate the toppings. guess she was going low carb. :)

she was nose to the ground on her walks but we grew to love it. when we got her her very own kitty in greece, morris, she was in love.

ken was more of her favorite until i got pregnant with matthew and then she was all about me.

when we lost matthew, she knew just how to comfort me. she would jump up on the couch and sit real close to me. i remember day after day when her affection would ease my tears.

when we moved back to annapolis last summer we found out that she had developed a significant heart murmur. she went on heart meds but we knew she wouldn't be with us for many more years.
i think echo was well aware of my pregnancy with kennedy even before we were. when we brought her home, she loved kennedy almost as much as we did.

lately kennedy got to where she was pulling up on echo trying to ride her like a horsey and pulling her ears but echo didn't mind. maybe it was because she knew she could sit at kennedy's feet when she was eating and have all the droppings she wanted to.

today ken went to take her on her morning walk and they got as far as the end of the driveway when she collapsed and kind of had a seizure. we took her to the vet and found out she was in heart failure and there wasn't really anything they could do to help her and that she was uncomfortable.

so we made a very hard decision and decided to say goodbye versus bringing her home to have another episode and die under distress. we were with her the whole time and it was very hard.

echo was probably the best dog that anyone could have asked for. she lived through a whole lot of life with us and brought us through lots of tears. i know everyone says that their dog is the best, but truly, she was amazing. we will miss her so much. rest in peace sweet beagle girl.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

project 365 - day 26

thankful for this smile

yesterday i had an opportunity to finally catch up with one of my best friends, andrea. she and her new husband, dilgesh just moved back to the states after doing mission work in cypress and we have been playing phone tag. andrea is such a beautiful person and has one of the most amazing hearts i know. today when talking to her, i could just see this smile on her face. and i have definitely been missing it. doesn't it just draw you in. with smiles like this, can you imagine how much joy their kids' smiles will bring to people??

andrea is the kind of friend who just shows up, makes you feel special, and she can seriously make you belly laugh like no other. i am thankful kennedy took an hour-long nap (woo-hooo!) so i had the opportunity to talk to her. i love you my friend! can't wait to see you again and meet this fabulous husband of yours!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

project 365 - day 25

thankful for my aunt

today is my aunt debbie's birthday and i am so thankful to her. she is my mom's only sister and really more like a second mom to me. she is also kennedy's "aunt granny deb" and she loves her so.

happy birthday aunt granny deb! we love you!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

project 365 - day 24

thankful for hearing

well, i have to let you in on a little secret...i might be the world's worst mom.

last night my husband woke up with my daughter coughing 8 times and i woke up with her 3. i thought she only woke up 3 times the whole night until my husband told me he was "up with her all night." what??

i did not hear my child the 8 other times. truly i wasn't faking it so he'd get up...i just didn't hear!

so today i am thankful for a husband who can hear, because obviously i cannot.

i'm praying my nighttime hearing gets restored tonight because i am usually johnny-on-the-spot with hearing her and getting right up. for goodness sakes, the monitor is right next to my head! in my defense i had 2 glasses of alamos malbec wine before i went to bed and i was having some crazy, crazy dreams. apparently they were too good to let go of.

p.s. this is the second time that i've had crazy dreams after having a glass or two of alamos malbec. anyone else?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

project 365 - day 23

thankful for nighttime doctors

the nighttime pediatric clinic here in annapolis is great...and fast. a few hours after we got home from north carolina, kennedy came down with an awful cough and fever. they got us right in and turns out she has mild croup. going to the doctor and picking up a prescription took less than 1 hour.

it got me thinking how i am so thankful for such reliable, fast, and comprehensive medical care. there are so many people in the world that do not have it and it makes me sad. i have experienced another country's medical care, and without going into too much detail, let me just say how thankful i am for the doctors i have access to here in the states and their commitment to and passion for their profession. praying my sweet little babe gets to feeling better soon!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

project 365 - day 22

thankful for this sweet little man and these wonderful friends

there's nothing better than best friends gathering, kids laughing, newborns grunting, fires burning, tunes playing, and conversation flowing. (did i mention ken's yummy pizza and bill's marvelous fondue?)

what a perfect weekend! as perfect as sweet little liam. welcome to the world little man. we love you!

Friday, January 21, 2011

project 365 - day 21

road trip!

today i am thankful to be going on a road trip with my husband and daughter! i love road trips! we're going to cary, north cakalacki, (outside of raleigh) to meet our best friends' newborn son liam. i can't wait to meet this little man.

but first, rooooaaaadddddddddddddddddd trrrriiiiiipppppppppppppppppppppppp! whooo-hoooo!!!

i love road trips because you can listen to music, sing as loud as you want, and have oodles of time to talk (definitely the latter is my husband's favorite road trip activity. he just comes alive and i can't get him to shut up! haha!) and when our children are older, we'll have all the road trip games you can stand like i-spy and scavenger hunts! yep, i'm a road trip junkie. well, i used to be. kennedy has been pretty good so far; let's hope she likes the 5-hour day drive today!

do you like to road trip? what is your favorite place to go? my goal before i die is to drive in each state (not just fly through). so far i have driven through/stayed in 42 states. still left on my list: alaska, oregon, washington, idaho, montana, utah, ohio, and maine. eventually i'll get them all checked off...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

project 365 - day 20

thankful for sleep and coffee

today kennedy slept until 8:37 (well actually it was 8:42 but they didn't have a graphic for that on google images!) and i got to sleep in. she goes to bed between 6:30-7pm and usually wakes between 6:45-7:30am so this was unusual for her. i actually woke up a few minutes before she did, grabbed my phone to check the time, and sort of freaked out that it said 8:42. i jumped out of bed, grabbed my glasses and the video monitor while i starting walking towards her room. i saw she was just starting to stir and my heart slowed down to a normal pace. i went into her room greeting her with our normal morning routine which is comprised of mommy singing out of tune beautifully "good morning, good morning baby..." (not one you know; i made it up). truly, no child should be subjected to such bad singing but mine has no choice. :) she can tell her counselor all about it later in life.

since i usually rely on her to be my alarm clock, we were late to our coffee date with the annapolis navy wives.
sleep and coffee, sleep and coffee. well, grande nonfat caramel brulee lattee, no whip to be exact. while i was thankful to sleep in after going to bed at midnight, i have to say i felt more tired than i usually do. i definitely needed the coffee to get through the day. and for extra measure, i threw in a coca-cola at lunch. today was a fairly easy-going day filled with 3 of my favorite girl, extra sleep and coffee. :) hope you had a blessed day too!

p.s. i am also thankful for the technology of skype video calls. today we got my aunt (kennedy's aunt granny deb) hooked up for the first time. she got to see kennedy eat her pureed butternut squash turkey dinner, giggle outloud and give her sweet kisses. we also had time to skype juju (my mom) and give her kisses goodnight. yesterday, juju was the first to witness (along with me) kennedy taking 3 crawling steps. she's only taken 1 before and then flops down on her belly. this crawling thing is just around the corner! yikes...i don't think i'm ready! i just LOVE skype video helps to "see" family when we miss them so much!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

project 365 - day 19

thankful for...hmmm...american idol??
ok, ok. i know what you're thinking! seriously, american idol? season 10 premiered tonight and i'll be honest, i was super excited and thankful! but give me a chance to explain...

see, i had never watched this show until 2 years ago. we lost our sweet matthew on sunday, jan 11th and i could not function. there was nothing to make me smile, or laugh, or feel anything but sad. i was in shock and in ultra-grief mode. crying every hour, on the hour, sometimes 30 times in the hour. i was having a pretty unbelievably difficult time. we were in the midst of deciding where to bury matthew, planning a funeral, and working with the navy on the logistics of transporting his body back to the states. decisions a parent should not have to think about, let alone actually make. people were coming to the house bringing food and i didn't want to talk to anyone. i just wanted to lay in bed all day long and eventually stop feeling anything at all.

three days later on the 14th the armed forces network debuted season 8 of american idol for us in greece (one day after the states). i got out of bed that day mid-afternoon, barely fed myself, cried until my eyes were as puffy as cotton candy, and walked the 25 steps to the couch. i slumped down on the sofa and turned on the tv for the first time since the day matthew was born. see, on january 6, matthew's birthday, i didn't feel well so i called in sick and laid around watching tv thinking i was having braxton hicks contractions. 8 days later i didn't want to lay on the same couch and watch the same tv where i thought i should have called the doctor sooner and things would be different.

i flipped channels and came to american idol. i decided to watch for a little while because so many people had talked about it for years. that night something happened. the outlandish contestants who couldn't sing a note and sung anyway for their 15 minutes of fame had me smiling. then the smiles turned to chuckles and the chuckles turned to full-on deep belly laughs complete with happy tears rolling down my face. i laughed so hard i couldn't breathe. i mean contestants like tatiana, with all of her drama and antics had me saying, is this for real??? and through a tv show, i started to realize something. i realized, eventually, i would laugh again. and 2-3 times per week until may, i practiced laughing while watching this show. for 2 hours i was able to escape my unspeakable pain and sadness and immerse myself into a silly tv show. for 2 hours a few times a week, i felt a little bit normal. sometimes i even cried because i was so moved by the contestants' singing or their stories. but it was a good cry, nothing simliar to what the rest of the day's cries' looked like for me.

in the midst of unbearable grief, God gives us unexpected hope and joy. yes, sometimes i turned to my bible and read of His promises to restore us and to bring peace that surpasses understanding. i read of His promise of heaven and was comforted that my son was there. but i had really hard moments with God during this time where i felt like He had abandoned me. i was so angry at Him and at times, i could not bring myself to even open my bible.

but wednesday and thursday nights would roll around and the laughter would come courtesy of american idol. and i think it was some of the best medicine i could have experienced. am i saying american idol was better than the truths of my bible or my prayer time with God? absolutely not! but, for me, my anger was so intense during that time that i wasn't always open to the truths of God's word to comfort me. do i think God gave me american idol to remind me i would laugh again? well, actually, yes i do. i believe God meets us where we are. even if that's using a tv show to restore laughter, hope and joy.  

Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

project 365 - day 18

thankful for the margins

today i am thankful for the reminder that living life is about what is written in the margins. i was reminded about this today from my friend susie davis' life in the margin blog entry she wrote about her mother-in-law who just passed away. please go read it. what beautiful words! God has given us this wonderful roadmap in His Word and what matters at the end of this life is what we learn from it and how we let it transform our lives. thank you susie for your beautiful words today. i am thankful for you!

friends, if you want to read a blog that is wonderful, uplifting, insightful and helpful, check out susie davis ~ the good news girl! you'll love her books too! you can always link to her blog from "my fav bloggers" on the right-hand side of my blog.

Monday, January 17, 2011

project 365 - day 17

thankful for bloom book club

i am thankful for a book club that i just joined online. i have been familiar with angie smith's online bloom book club but have never joined. but today i decided to do it! bloom has now transfered to the (in)courage website and they have chosen a wonderful new book, one thousand gifts by first-time author ann voskamp. i have read some of ann's blog and agree she is a very talented writer so i'm super-excited to read her book. sometimes you just know a book is going to change your life...and i think this one will!

want to join me? get more info here, order your book at dayspring (cheapest option right now because it's on sale for $10 this week only), and start reading. the first discussion is not until feb. 6. also, if you would like, you can provide a book(s) for those who cannot afford it for the special price of $10 this week only. when you buy a yourself a book and another one for someone else in need, you get free shipping!

i would be remiss if i didn't give my husband a shout-out and tell him thanks for letting me take a nap today (i know...ANOTHER one...two days in a row!!), even when he had the early shift (actually we both did because i woke up at the same time...i just had to go to a bible study leader's meeting.) i know you were tired and could have enjoyed your own nap, but thanks for letting me fall asleep on the couch and experience a nice long snooze while you took kennedy for a walk. you are the best, honey! have i told you lately how much i love you? because I DO!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

project 365 - day 16

thankful for some zzzzz's

sometimes it's just the simple things. this morning was my turn to get up with kennedy. on the weekend, we split it so one of us gets to sleep in. today she decided to get up an hour earlier than normal...naturally because it was momma's turn. :) so most of the day i was dragging, even after the assistance of 2 cups of coffee and a coke. after our small group i was excited to watch the football playoff games because well, as you know, i love football. (i much prefer college football but i'll take what i can get.) with only 3 more weeks of football to go, i'm trying to take in every moment before the 7-month absence of the only sport that matters (at least to me!), so i figured even if i tried to fall asleep while watching the game i wouldn't be able to.

but i was so tired. so when kennedy went down for a nap, i was comfortable with the 3 touchdown lead the bears had and i closed my eyes for just a moment. 55 minutes later i woke up refreshed (and to a baby crying who wanted OUT of her crib!) but today, i took pleasure in something simple ~ a chance to take a much needed nap. for quite awhile now, the few chances i've had to take a nap, i haven't been able to fall asleep. so to actually sleep today and wake up feeling rested was amazing. i'm thankful for those zzzzzz's!

and i have to say, i was a little bit thankful that tom brady didn't advance tonight. there's no love lost between us. even though i'll only cheer for the jets this week, it was nice to see rex ryan and his team get the win. sorry jets fans, but after the cowboys blew their season, i decided i wanted to adopt a secondary (winning) team for just this season. so my friend laura's husband steven, a HUGE steelers fan accepted my application and i became a steelers fan. :) GO STEELERS! even if it means beating the cheeseheads...i guess :(

Saturday, January 15, 2011

project 365 - day 15

thankful for clean

today was house cleaning day. and it wasn't just my skimming once-over weekly cleaning. it was the kind of deep cleaning i do 3-4 times a year. and the best thing hubby offered to help me do it! we got into all of the nooks and crannies and sent the dust bunnies to live in a landfill somewhere in maryland. i'm not sure they'll like their new home, but i'm certainly going to enjoy them not living in my house!

i love the smell of outdoor fresh scented pledge, mr. clean, and chlorox clean-up. i could smell these smells all day and just smile. i know; i am just a weird clean person. for the most part things always appear to be clean and in order if you visit our home. but my weekly cleanings don't allow me to achieve a really deep clean and it's these cleanings that i love. it took us just about 5 hours but my house is now super-clean. i even washed the doors...who knew doors could get so dirty? i don't even have toddlers with dirty hands touching them yet.

i'm thankful for a clean house but as i was cleaning i started thinking about how unclean my heart was. i asked God to examine me and show me where i needed to come clean. he brought a few things to mind and i confessed them right then and there. one of which was the lack of quality time i've given to God over the last week or so. i have found myself skimming over a verse, thinking about it for a few minutes and moving on with my day. on a few of these days, i didn't even make time to open my bible. if you looked at my life on the outside, everything probably appeared to be clean. but i knew there were a bunch of cobwebs hanging around. so for almost 5 hours today i just talked to God. i told Him about some areas i have been struggling with and find myself anxious, and i confessed sometimes (ok, a lot) i just take on a situation expecting to control the outcome as i see fit.

it felt good to clean my house today. but a deep cleaning of my heart made me realize what clean is really supposed to feel like. is there anything today in your heart that needs a deep cleaning?

Proverbs 28:13
Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

Friday, January 14, 2011

project 365 - day 14

today i am thankful it's friday. it's the end of a week and we have a long holiday weekend ahead of us for fun, quality, family time. but before the weekend gets into full swing, we will have our traditional friday night pizza night. do i love pizza? well, i like it. maybe i don't love it as much as my husband, but i do like it. but what i love about pizza night is that i don't have to cook! every friday i don't have to worry about what's for dinner. because papa john's is bringing dinner. today i am thankful for the easy button and pizza on the way!

i have to many more people have pizza on friday nights??

Thursday, January 13, 2011

project 365 - day 13

thankful for the unexpected

today i had no plans at all. i was feeling a little tired so when kennedy took her morning nap i laid down. when i got up i thought it would be a pajamas kind of day. but i got an unexpected surprise when my friend candace called and asked if she could bring me lunch. she's just the kind of friend that everybody wants. the one that just knows when to show up. she was the very one who i called on matthew's angel day this week, even though i didn't really want to be around anyone because i was scared i would fall apart. she came with her super glue so we could put the the pitcher back together and gave me a long hug when i needed to cry.

we've been housebound for the last 2 days because of the snow and i was itching to get out. so i told candace i would meet her at pf changs. i am grateful for the surprise of my friend treating me to lunch (thank you sweet Candace!), and i'm even more thankful for the wonderful friend God brought into my life only 6 months ago. she's beautiful, thoughtful, kind, and generous. and as an added bonus, she's from texas! this means she gets my "crazy" more than a non-texan, which almost makes me feel normal. :)

candace and her precious family

love you sweet friend! thanks for being there for me this week!

p.s. on a completely unrelated note, i have a weird eye-twitching thing going on right now and it won't stop. when trying to diagnose myself on the internet this is what i came up with for possible causes:
•Stress •Tiredness •Eyestrain •Caffeine •Alcohol •Dry eyes •Nutritional imbalances •Allergies

anyone else have any ideas? pray my eye stops twitching by tomorrow morning...or i might just pry it out!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

project 365 - day 12

thankful for snow angels!

today we had about 2.5-3 inches of snow on the ground from last night's storm. not exactly the 5-8 inches they were predicting but it was just enough to make everything beautiful. when kennedy woke up i took her over to the window and she stared at it in amazement. later in the day, we went out to make snow angels. at first she didn't know what to think but after i put her on my stomach and made silly faces, i think she liked it! does it get any better than this? i don't think so. after a day like yesterday, i'm thankful for snow angels...especially this cutie potootie one. :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

project 365 - day 11...jan 11, 2011 matthew's angel day

thankful for the broken pitcher

how does a broken heart shattered into a million pieces get put back together? today, this second anniversary of our son's death, his heavenly angel birthday, i struggle to find something, just one thing to be thankful for. if anyone who has ever lost someone special can take a sad day out of the year to just grieve, to mourn, and be nothing but sad, then the day when you lost that person is certainly appropriate.

january 11th is that day for might always be. we've tried hard to make matthew's birthday, just 5 short days before, a day of celebration, a day of joy, and a day to reflect on the the miracle of his life. but i can't make january 11 a day of joy. the truth is i'm not trying to. i'm not focused on this being matthew's heavenly birthday because if i was, i might be less sad. getting to heaven is a joyous occasion and i will be thrilled when i make the trip and can see him again. however, the memory of a day, when a momma was left on this earth with empty aching arms for her son, is anything but joy. i don't have eternal perspective to understand that january 11 is the joyous day when my son met his Maker. my earthy mind and longing heart just can't quite get my head around it.

but what i cling to is the true promise of heaven and the knowledge that one day these aching arms will be filled by the weight of my son. with these broken fragments scattered about, i know Jesus is putting them back together one piece at a time.
my pitcher will always have the cracks in it here on earth. but i hope through our story and the broken pieces scattered about, you will see the love we have for Jesus pouring out of our lives. He remains the only real hope we have been able to cling to. He's the One who is bringing the calm after the storm.
kennedy playing with matthew's bear. an identical one is in his casket.

we spent the day finally starting to put the pitcher back together we broke at a beach in Greece on my first mother's day 4 months after we lost Matthew. my sweet friend Candace came over and she let me cry on her shoulder and we worked on the pitcher for awhile. after Candace left i knew i needed to have a good cry out and when kennedy went down for a nap i put in the movie Beaches. it's a sure thing tearjerker for me. i cried several times but the cleansing cry i was looking for didn't come. just when i was getting to the end where hillary collapses, kennedy woke up joyful and ready to play. i went to get her thinking i definitely needed to hug my child. we went into the living room and i decided to go ahead and let the movie play, which is pretty unusual for me. when kennedy's in the room and the t.v. is on we're watching "my baby can read", "baby einstein", or texas tech football.

and then it came. the scene where hillary is at the hospital and she tells cici she wants to go home. the tears just started flowing and i couldn't catch my breath. my sobs turned into a raging river that couldn't be calmed. kennedy was playing on the floor facing away from me and staring in fascination at echo who was sitting on her bench looking out the window at the snow beginning to fall.

niagra falls was happening on my face and soon the sounds of a hyena filled the room. at this point in the movie, we're full into "wind beneath my wings" and the scene changes to cici standing in front of the grave. i flashed back to seeing that tiny little casket and not believing my son was in it. i felt like an emotional breakdown was coming on so i shut my eyes and imagined matthew in heaven with Jesus. my breath came back, the hyena left the room and a sense of calmness came over me. i opened my eyes and when i looked down through my tears, i could see a blurry image smiling at me. when i smiled back she started laughing. i'm not sure why her smiles turned to laughter. maybe she thought my hyena cries were me laughing. i don't know. but i leaned down, scooped her into my arms and hugged her longer than she wanted to be hugged. and when she tried to squirm loose i squeezed her tighter. she thought this was funny and kept laughing. finally i joined in with her and the laughter felt good. the kind of cleansing cry i had was very much needed. it's been months, if not almost a year, that i've had a cry like that. but as much as i needed that cry, i needed the laughter too.

ken came home from work and i went to get a much needed and relaxing massage. when i left the spa, it started snowing like crazy. i picked up our take out and drove home while masses of large snowflakes hit the windshield. i got home and decided i wanted to stand out in the snow for awhile. i looked up into the sky and let the snow cleanse my tear-stained face. i felt like the snow fell directly from Jesus' hands. my husband grabbed the camera (probably because i looked like i had gone nuts) and snapped this picture of me.
i stood out in the snow until i started laughing again. when i came in, we had yummy take out and worked on the pitcher (we're still not quite done; there are a lot of small pieces!)

i took a break to read emails, texts and facebook messages and felt overwhelmed and grateful by all of the support we received on this day. we went to bed feeling we got everything out of this day we wanted to and rested peacefully in the hope that there will be a day...

There Will Be A Day by Jeremy Camp

I try to hold on to this world with everything I have
But I feel the weight of what it brings, and the hurt that trys to grab
The many trials that seem to never end, His word declares this truth,
that we will enter in this rest with wonders anew

But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings
That there will be a place with no more suffering

There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place, will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face
But until that day, we’ll hold on to you always

I know the journey seems so long
You feel your walking on your own
But there has never been a step
Where you’ve walked out all alone

Troubled soul don’t lose your heart
Cause joy and peace he brings
And the beauty that’s in store
Outweighs the hurt of life’s sting

I can’t wait until that day where the very one I’ve lived for always will wipe away the sorrow that I’ve faced
To touch the scars that rescued me from a life of shame and misery this is why this is why I sing….

There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place, will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face

There will be a day, He’ll wipe away the stains, He’ll wipe away the tears, He’ll wipe away the tears…..there will be a day.

Monday, January 10, 2011

project 365 - day 10

thankful for liam david!

today i am thankful for the miracle of a new life. our best friends bill and joni gave birth to their second son, liam david, this morning. we will try to stop calling him leroy jenkins at some point, i promise! this was the nickname ken and i gave him while he was growing in his momma because they wouldn't share the name with anyone. if i have to explain where we got leroy jenkins from, it would not be funny. just go with it. :)

congratulations sweet friends! we can't wait to meet this handsome little man. here's one of his first precious. he's a little guy, born 4 weeks early and weighing in at 5lbs 10oz.

liam, you have just been born to two amazing parents who love you very much. you have a strong group of family and friends who can't wait to support and love you all the days of your life! and your awesome big brother, jack is so excited his best friend has arrived! each life is a miracle and yours is nothing short of one. may God bless you all the days of your life. much love!! xoxo 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

project 365 - day 9

thankful for grandma minnie

today i am thankful for grandma minnie schmidt! today is her birthday and she is 80+ (not sure she wants me to tell exactly how old she is!) doesn't she look fabulous? she is pictured here with ken's brother tony who is holding 2-month-old kennedy.

grandma minnie is ken's maternal grandmother and his only living grandparent. we thought grandma minnie had a heart attack about a month ago. it turned out she had a decreased heart rate and had to have a pacemaker put in. we were all so thankful that she was ok. so today i am thankful for grandma minnie's life and the strong foundation she is in our family. she is very active and joyful, and family is a very important aspect of her life.

back in november we dedicated kennedy at our church. we were so honored that she was the most recent grandchild (out of 20-something) who was able to wear this special baptismal gown. it was made from grandma minnie's wedding dress. while grandma wasn't able to make the trip here, we know she was with us in spirit. we stood before God and our family and friends and committed ourselves to raising our daughter to know Jesus. it was so special to us that we were able to do this while kennedy wore this dress because of the important role faith is in grandma minnie's life. we will always cherish this memory.

happy birthday grandma minnie! we love you so much!!

please pray for grayson brown

hello prayer warriors,
would you please join me in praying for a 11-month-old little boy named grayson brown? he has been diagnosed with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (jmml). grayson has had a bone marrow transplant from his brother and is having several issues he still has to overcome. this little baby boy needs our prayers and a miracle from the Lord. please commit yourself to pray for him and if you would, please ask 1 other person you know to also be praying for him.

you can keep up to date with sweet grayson's condition via his blog at

thanks prayer warrior friends. i knew i could count on you to pray!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

project 365 - day 8

thankful for family time and laughter

today we had one of those great, mostly lazy days (minus my 3 hour excursion to the grocery store and target). i got up with kennedy at 6:30 and while taking her bottle she fell back asleep, which she sometimes does if she wakes before 7:30. she was fast asleep by 7am and i was too by 7:10. it was great to go back to sleep since i was tired from watching the texas a&m vs. lsu cotton bowl game from the night before. when kennedy woke at 8:30 ken got up with her while i tried to go back to sleep. i couldn't so i got up and i joined ken and kennedy playing in the game room. i love our game room because it's bright and cheery and this particular saturday morning it was snowing.

it took me a minute to realize but ken's choice of wardrobe for kennedy was hilarious. he had her in a nice turtleneck that normally goes under a fancy gymboree dress she was given. instead, over the turtleneck he put striped, unmatching white, yellow and green pants on her that stopped at her calves. i thought i had put away all of her 6 month or under clothes but i didn't. ken put these 0-3 month pants on her and they looked like capris. since she has a skinny little waste (unlike her momma) she was able to fit into them, nevermind that they were 6 inches too short. all of this topped off by these awesome pink and white plaid socks. this outfit, and just thinking about my husband trying hard to come up with matching clothes to dress our daughter makes me laugh, HARD! see below ~ evidence of the rockin' threads! :)

ken then made us swedish pancakes and we had the yummy raspberry sauce and choke cherry syrup his mom sent us from north dakota. we also had eggs over easy and bacon. don't you think everything is better with bacon? well, i do! kennedy had a good long morning nap and we all stayed in our pj's until noon.

i am thankful on this cold, snowy day i was able to spend the morning with my wonderful family. and this just doesn't get any better!

**  having trouble uploading the video...will try again later.

Friday, January 7, 2011

project 365 - day 7

thankful for acknowledgement

today i am thankful for all of the text messages, facebook messages, emails and phone calls we received yesterday in recognition of our son's birthday. we have such sweet wonderful friends and family. you will never know how much it means to us for matthew's birthday (and his angel day) to be recognized. acknowledgement is the greatest gift you could give us because it means you care, you still think about him, and most of confirms what we already know ~ his sweet, short life mattered. his life had weight in this world. thank you so much for the gift of acknowledgement. we love you all!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

matthew's 2nd birthday celebration in pictures

ken came home early from work today and we went to seabee park and released balloons for matthew's 2nd birthday. it was freezing outside but kennedy was a trooper. the naval academy and chesapeake bay are in the background of the pictures. afterwards we went to pick up take out texas bbq brisket and i made some rudy's corn (if you don't know what this is, you are missing out!) the texas meal made me feel like i was in texas, which is where i wish i was today. i wish i had had the opportunity to visit matthew's grave but i'm so thankful for my friend diane who went there for us. after dinner we had some of matthew's ice cream cake and it was yummy! happy 2nd birthday sweet son!! we love you so much. love, mommy, daddy, and your little sister.