Thursday, January 31, 2008

Heavy-Hearted Today

Today and yesterday have been "business as usual" for the most part. I have been able to get through the day and take care of the family. I can deal with laundry, and dishes, and schooling, and everything. But it is all getting done with a very heavy heart, and with no inspiration. Everything is bare minimum. I haven't really done anything creative with the homeschooling, just worksheets and writing in composition books, etc. We did history projects a couple weeks ago, but nothing fun and intersting since then.

Yesterday I spent the day in a fog. My mind just couldn't concentrate on anything. It was like a disembodied type of feeling, if that makes any sense. When I woke up in the morning and got moving, I knew right then and there I wouldn't be going to church at night. I was still shell-shocked from going Sunday night. The thought of going out is abhorrant to me right now. Now, having a few choice people IN, that isn't a problem. But they have to be on my "safe" list. They have to be someone who won't mind if I just meltdown for no reason.

I realized this morning that this is the last day of January. I say good riddance, personally. I hate to admit it, but I am glad to see it go. It means that more time has passed. It means I can flip the page on the calendar and get farther away from December 25th, 2007.

My brain wasn't as foggy today as yesterday. I did get to bed a lot earlier than the previous night, so I think that helped quite a bit. I had a fairly productive morning going about our regular routine... laundry, breakfast, chores, Bible reading, school work, read aloud time. I even remembered to get the crock pot going in the a.m. for supper. I think I had planned too much for schoolwork. We just plain didn't get to a couple of "electives", so we'll try to do them tomorrow. Fridays are usually lighter in the work load for school. We also have a play date tomorrow with my friend Lori and her granddaughter.

All through the day today my heart was just so heavy with thought of Aaron. It sounds like we had a perfectly "normal" day today. In outward appearance, yes. But in my spirit, I am so unsettled, and everyday tasks feel so strange. I feel like a intruder in someone else's life. I have no concentration. If one child is talking to me and another intterupts (oh, I'm sure my children are the only ones to do this!) I lose both threads of conversation. Totally. It is so frustrating. I don't even know how to answer a simple question like "how are you?". How am I? I have no clue. By outward appearance I would say "fine". But on the inside I just feel like one big empty, lonely, and heartbroken being. Almost like I am getting numb again emotionally.

The good news is that my dh is going to be laid off. I know.. weird that I say that. But I have been hoping this would happen. It is only a temporary lay off, for about 4 weeks. I am hoping we can get away for a week or so during the time he has off. I also have a very long "Honey-do" list that has been in the making since last October when we thought he was going on lay off and then never did. We can survive that long without his regular income. If we can work it out we will be going to Maine and the beach. Oh, just to smell that wonderful salty air again! It has been a long time. I may bring some school work for the gremlins to do while we are gone. Not a lot, but a little bit. Kind of depends on how long we will be gone. My dh said something about a week or two. Really? Two weeks would be great. I think that getting away for a little bit would be good for the family.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Nothing Earth Shattering... Thank the Lord!

The fact that today was basically your run of the mill type of day says a lot about how things are going here. Another day where the time was passed in the humdrum type of tasks that make up what we call "everyday life". Nothing surprising, nothing life changing, nothing that would make the day remarkable. Thank the Lord! I need more of these days.

Today was a day of normal activities... making bread, cleaning the bathrooms, doing laundry, doing school, child training, washing dishes, etc. Just more little steps in helping to create a new normal for me. In all these activities, I still felt strange, but there is a certain comfort in routine things. Menial tasks that take just enough brain work to keep my mind busy but not overtaxing the ol' brain cells.

There is one downside to all this "normalcy" during the day. My mind demands it's time to grieve and to meander about in thought at night. I was having the "reeling" before, and though that has been absent over the last several nights, my mind now has gone the other way, like the swinging of a pendulum. It wanders all over, from thought to thought.. sometimes related, sometimes one totally unconnected from the next. I will go from what is for supper the next day to "I wonder what the theme will be for VBS this year", to brainstorming ideas for homeschooling. It goes on and on. Nothing traumatic, but just my brain working overtime I guess.

And yes, Aaron is still very heavy on my heart and mind. Always in the forefront of my mind. My heart is heavy, but I am crying less. No one warned me about this part.. where your heart is crying, but your eyes are dry. How does that happen? Why does that happen? Is my body just tired of producing so many tears? I almost feel like I am betraying his memory by not crying, but I know that is wrong. I know that Aaron wouldn't want me crying all the time. I know the Lord does everything for our good, and that He loves us, and that there is purpose in all this somewhere. I know that right now I just need to be content to take it all one step at a time, and allow healing and adapting to come at its own pace.

So tonight that is where I am. Thankful for more normal days, though I still feel like a woman without a nation, or disembodied or something. I will go through the motions the best I can, and do what I can, but also remember that very little time has passed and not to push. One little step at a time.


Job Description

This is hysterical. If it had been presented this way,

I don't believe any of us would have done it!!!!


Mom, Mommy, Mama, Ma

Dad, Daddy, Dada, Pa, Pop


Long term, team players needed, for challenging

permanent work in an

often chaotic environment.

Candidates must possess excellent communication

and organizational skills and be willing to work

variable hours, which will include: evenings and weekends

and frequent 24 hour shifts on call.

Some overnight travel required, including trips to

primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities!

Travel expenses not reimbursed.

Extensive courier duties also required.


The rest of your life.

Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily,

until someone needs $5.

Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly.

Also, must possess the physical stamina of a

pack mule

and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat

in case, this time, the screams from

the backyard are not someone just crying wolf.

Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges,

such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets

and stuck zippers.

Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and

coordinate production of multiple homework projects.

Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings

for clients of all ages and mental outlooks.

Must be willing to be indispensable one minute,

an embarrassment the next.

Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a

half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices.

Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.

Must assume final, complete accountability for

the quality of the end product.

Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and

janitorial work throughout the facility.



Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills,

so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you


None required unfortunately.

On- the -job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.


Get this! You pay them!

Offering frequent raises and bonuses.

A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because

of the assumption that college will help them

become financially independent.

When you die, you give them whatever is left.

The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that

you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.


While no health or dental insurance, no pension,

no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and

no stock options are offered;

this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth, unconditional love,

and free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right.



If you are fortunate enough you will become grandparents!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Another Little Step

Last night I finally went back to church. I debated over it for a while, then decided to just go. The church is right next door from us, so I went over a little late, hoping to miss the music part of the service. I was afraid the children would say something about me playing the piano, and frankly, I'm not ready for that yet.

I felt uneasy the whole time, but I have to say, the preaching was very good. I happen to be blessed to be sitting under the preaching of the best preacher I have ever known. Of course, I'm not biased at all!

Looking back, I should have stuck with my original plan. I was going to sneak out during the closing prayer. I wasn't really in the mood to hash over how I was doing, etc. However, I didn't bolt, but stuck around. Thankfully, Sunday nights there are very few of us so it wasn't too bad. But one man was talking to me me saying that the bathrooms need new towels, and we need to do an inventory in the kitchen and stock up paper plates and such, etc. etc. I kind of glazed over, thinking: "See, this is why I was reluctant to get back! Now everyone is going to think 'Oh, she is all better now!' ". I glazed over. But I realize that with this individual, it wasn't a pushy type of thing. It is his way of dealing with the situation, and in his own way he was trying to make everything seem normal as possible for me. In reality, this man and his wife would do anything in their power for us, and have been a huge blessing to us since the day we moved. I can't blame him. How would anyone know what to say? His wife kept saying how nice it was to see my smiling face again. Smiling? I didn't think my face was smiling. My heart certainly wasn't. But again, that was something she has always said to me... "nice to see your smiling face," or "good to hear your cheerful voice" or something like that. And again, I think it was more in effort to make things seem normal, not push me or make me uncomfortable.

So, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but not as good as I was hoping it would be. As far as Wednesday night goes... well, I'll worry about that when the time comes. (See mom, I AM listening!)

Today has been a normal, busy, Monday. Laundry, schooling, cooking, meal planning, preparing a grocery list, child training, etc. Everything was perfectly normal, but everything felt so strange. I am able to resume more of my normal home activities. Yay! But I can say, right now, I am at full capacity. The thought of taking anything else on right now is overwhelming, and I am thankful I am not in the position where I have to worry about it.

My quilting buddy Lori, stopped by after work and had a cup of tea with me and we chatted. She and her dh were at our church last night and she said she wanted to stop and see how I was doing. She could tell I was kind of like a deer in the headlights last night. She is one of those people you can just be yourself with. I am so comfortable talking with her. God has blessed me with a good friend!

I am guessing I will be able to get to bed earlier tonight. It has been a full day. In fact, after supper I just had to disappear and put my feet up for a bit. I was feeling quite low this morning, but not so bad now. Yes, my heart is still heavy over our loss, but I expect that. But overall, I would consider that between last night and today, another little step in our journey has been taken. Praise God for His goodness to us.

We Can Learn From This :)


I bought a bird feeder. I hung

It on my back porch and filled

It with seed. What a beauty of

A bird feeder it is, as I filled it

Lovingly with seed. Within a

Week we had hundreds of birds

Taking advantage of the

Continuous flow of free and

Easily accessible food.

But then the birds started

Building nests in the boards

Of the patio, above the table,

And next to the barbecue.

Then came the poop. It was

Everywhere: on the patio tile,

The chairs, the table ...


Then some of the birds

Turned mean. They would

Dive bomb me and try to

Peck me even though I had

Fed them out of my own


And others birds were

Boisterous and loud. They

Sat on the feeder and

Squawked and screamed at

All hours of the day and night

And demanded that I fill it

When it got low on food.

After a while, I couldn't even

Sit on my own back porch

Anymore. So I took down the

Bird feeder and in three days

The birds were gone. I cleaned

Up their mess and took down

The many nests they had built

All over the patio.

Soon, the back yard was like

It used to be ... Quiet, serene

And no one demanding their

Rights to a free meal.

Now let's see ....
Our government gives out

Free food, subsidized housing,

Free medical care, and free

Education and allows anyone

Born here to be an automatic


Then the illegals came by the

Tens of thousands. Suddenly

Our taxes went up to pay for

Free services; small apartments

Are housing 5 families; you

Have to wait 6 hours to be seen

By an emergency room doctor;

Your child's 2nd grade class is

Behind other schools because

Over half the class doesn't speak


Corn Flakes now come in a

Bilingual box; I have to

"press one" to hear my bank

Talk to me in English, and

People waving flags other

Than "Old Glory" are

Squawking and screaming

In the streets, demanding

More rights and free liberties.

Just my opinion, but maybe

it's time for the government

To take down the bird feeder.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saturday's Musings

We had quite a leisurely day today. After such an emotionally turbulent day yesterday, it was welcome. I didn't get to bed until 2am, but slept in until 9am, thanks to dh.

Then my oldest son made his famous pumpkin pancakes for breakfast, and Dale cooked them. My biggest accomplishment was doing the daily quota of laundry.. two loads. Later, before lunch, we all went over to the church to clean. It was Dale's idea for me to go over during a non church time to kind of break the ice without anyone there. The last time I was in the church was for Aaron's funeral. In my mind's eye I could still see his little casket in the front of the auditorium. I noticed that the flowers that were in the front on the communion table were made from the surviving flowers from different arrangments from the funeral. < sigh > I don't think they'll be there much longer. They are cut flowers, but apparently hearty ones. I know different varieties can sometimes last a very long time.

It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be in some ways. I wandered about, letting my mind wander while everyone else got cleaning. I didn't break down and cry. It wasn't because I was holding it back or anything, I just felt kind of empty of tears at the moment. I did cry earlier this morning before breakfast, so maybe I had gotten out of my system for the day already.

After lunch, during naptime, Dale and I snuggled and watched a movie on the laptop in our room. We were watching from the instant playback thing on Netflix. Okay, I had to chuckle at how the male mind works. While it was loading the playback, which was an estimated " 1 minute and 32 seconds" or something like that, Dale decided he'd just fast forward a couple minutes into the movie. Well, that messed up the playback a bit, and we ended up waiting about 6 or 7 minutes instead of the 1 and a half. Why he thought that was better I don't know, but figured it was on the same principle as why men will drive around the parking lot for 30 minutes trying to find a parking spot only 15 seconds closer to the store's entrance. Maybe I am strange, but I don't mind walking those 5 parking spaces further away. :)

Dale and my oldest son, the budding chef, made homemade pizza for supper. Husbands may come with quirks (see above paragraph), but who can fault a guy who will cut up onions to put on your half of the pizza when he can't stand them? And he brought me hot chocolate ealier because I was cold.

I have pretty much done nothing to validate my existance today, but that is okay. I needed this time. I was so tired this morning from yesterday. Everything seems much easier to cope with right now. I wish I could hang onto this feeling. I know I will have more hard days, but for now, this is good. This is an encouragement to me. It shows me that there are, and will be easier times, and that I will learn how to get used to a new normal.

I need to remember to not push things. I need to remember to take baby steps, and not expect too much of myself. I am my own worst enemy in this. Dale reminds me still almost everyday to go at my own pace, and don't feel guilty if I can't do all that I want or think I should do. I am easily frustrated in this.

Also in a way, I don't know myself. Something like this changes you, to be sure. There is a piece of me missing, and the rest feels so different. Frankly, I don't like who I am right now most of the time. Cranky. Impatient. Moody. Mournful. Emotionally volatile. Easily stressed out. One of my fears is that my children will remember me this way, and grow up bitter against me, or God or both. That makes me frustrated that I haven't adapted better. That makes me feel guilty. I feel guilty for not being the mother I want to be to my children. Then that starts what I am calling "reeling". Around and around the thoughts go... I feel guilty for not being what I want to be. But I have to grieve... I know what happens if I try to push it away or hold it in. But if I am grieving I don't think I am being the mother my living children should have. 'Round and round... and that is only one aspect of all this. There are so many conflicting emotions that need to reconciled to the situations. A balance obtained that seems unobtainable.

And then there are times like this afternoon when my mind feels peaceful, though still missing Aaron and my heart hurting, but I can stand it. My mind feels reconciled to the loss of my son, and I am patient in waiting out the grieving process, content to take it one moment at a time, and I am just resting in the Lord, in His everlasting arms. Praise God for those moments. From what I am told by others who have gone before me in this journey, those moments become more frequent, and the "crash" days become less intense, though I'll always have them. They won't be as often, or as hard.

I can still say, with full trust in God, that He does indeed doeth all things well.

Friday, January 25, 2008

One month ago today....

The last couple days have been pretty good for us here. I have been able to do homeschooling and taking care of the littles, and meals and basic housework without having a total meltdown. Dh has been working full days. Wednesday was a little rough around the edges, but I was able to hold down the fort until Dh got home from work. It was kind of like finishing a race by going over the finish line, sliding on your face. It wasn't pretty, but I did it. Yesterday was a much more graceful finish.

I have had two nights of decent sleep. What a boon that has been! Yesterday we celebrated Jerusha's bday (thank to her SC cousins for the ecard, btw!), and though it was very low keyed it went well. Being her mother's daughter, the fact that we had cake was enough to make her day. :)

Our new normal is still being formed, but we are getting there. After two weeks of being back to school, I am finally getting used to it. There are many times when it seems so overwhelming that I kind of freeze up, but those times will decrease. I try to focus on one subject at a time, and no fancy stuff. We did do some history projects last week and that was fun. Next week we are starting a new curriculum with the "9 and unders"... it is the home ec. course from Pearables. Looks simple enough, and everything is all planned out. That is what I need right now. Even though everything in the curriculum is stuff I can teach them on my own, it is nice to have the brain work all done, and all we have to do is read and do the projects. Less for me to try and figure out.

Today has already been somewhat trying. Last night while dh and I were praying together before bed he mentioned the missions conference. Now that didn't register with me until this morning. Missions conference? I had myself in almost a panic attack. I can't hardly do the basics here, never mind a missions conference! That means playing music.. I haven't even done a note of music since Aaron died. Hospitality.. that means meal planning, major house cleaning, organizing things for guests who we have never met before... oh, stress, stress, stress. I had myself quite worked up over it. It isn't that I don't want to help with the missions conference, it is just that it is way more than I can handle right now. Then the guilt of not being able to do what I think I should... Anyway, you can see how this thought process was going for me. Then I realized that I didn't even know WHEN the conference was. We usually have it later in March. I talked to dh during his morning break and he lovingly reminded me to take things one step at a time here, and that there was no need to worry about something at least two months from now. No he didn't have a date set yet. In fact, he hasn't even decided on WHO to have for the special speaker yet. Anyway, he put my mind at ease about the whole thing and made me realize I was stressing about something that didn't need to be stressed about. He said the only thing I had to take care of was just taking little steps at a time. How did I get such a wise husband?

I have been out of sorts quite a bit this morning. I wonder if every 25th of the month is going to be like this? I wonder what the first year anniversary will be like. Is Christmas going to be morbid and unpleasant? Maybe this year, but I expect that will get better as time goes. My midwife made a good point when I was talking with her the other day. She said that the nice thing about it being on Christmas is that we'll most likely have family around. I hadn't thought about that. I mean, even later, when the kids are grown, most likely we'll try to get together for the holidays (as per our family custom) and we can always remember Aaron together, and give thanks together.

My goal today is to just get through the day. As soon as dh gets home I am cocooning myself in my room with hot some hot chocolate (yeah, mom, that's right, I said HOT CHOCOLATE! heheheheh) and engaging in some escapism activity... reading or watching a movie on the laptop. At least I can make it until dh gets home from work now. That is an improvement!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Today is Jerusha's 3rd birthday. I started thinking about it last night. Of course, thinking about Jerusha's wonderful birth got me thinking about Aaron. Instead of rejoicing in my daughter I am mourning over my son. Now, at her age, she doesn't care. When we said happy birthday to her this morning, her biggest concern was getting back to playing. So, I am guessing my being downcast isn't going to scar her for life, KWIM? We will be doing cake and presents tomorrow night anyway.

It isn't a "first" either, believe it or not. I was born on my mother's birthday, and that was four days after Aaron's.

I can't help but wonder if Jerusha's birthday, and remembering the wonderful expericence of her birth, in contrast with Aaron's, is triggering my mood today. I kept thinking about things last night, and didn't get to bed until 2am. this morning. Then I didn't drift off right away. When I did fall asleep, I did sleep very soundly.

This morning has not been going well. I just feel like giving up. I just don't have the energy to deal with children, and schoolwork, and trying to get through each long day. I don't have the energy to keep up with chores, child training, meals, etc. I just want to crawl up in a hole and just be left alone for a little while. I don't have the energy to try to explain anything more than once, and if you have children, you know many times you have to. I don't have the energy to make decisions, even simple ones.

I am supposed to "do the next thing" but I don't know what the "next thing" should be. And, you guessed it, I don't have the energy or ambition to figure it out.

So, there's today in a nutshell. Definately not going to be a record breaking day in the area of productivity.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

This Is My Kind of Dr.

The nice things about mothers is that you can cry on their shoulder, vent, hear wonderful words of wisdom, and they have great medical recommendations. Here is a dr. my mom reccomends: :)

Love this Doctor

Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... Don't
waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up
your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can
extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer?
Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and
corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than
an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need
grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green
leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended
daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?

A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine,
that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even
more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat your ratio is one to one.
If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular
exercise program?

A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?

A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!! .... Foods are fried these days in vegetable
oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more
vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You
should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy? HELLO Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It's the best
feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had
about food and diets.

And remember: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the
intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body,
but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in
the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming
"WOO HOO, What a Ride"


For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on
nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those
conflicting nutritional studies.

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart
attacks than Americans.

4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks
than Americans.

5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats
and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.


Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ups and Downs

We had a couple good days over the weekend. By "good" I mean "easier". Saturday afternoon we did some shopping as a family. Though that went pretty well, I had had enough by the time we got home. I'm a homebody anyway, I suspect that I am even more so now. My home is my safety zone, and anyone who has been through something like this knows what I mean.

Sunday I still didn't go to church, but was content. I knew this week would be just too much for me to handle as we had the monthly fellowship dinner after church. I thought about going in the evening but didn't feel up to it. Part of it is not wanting to be out of my safety zone right now. Also, another part of it is the quiet time I have when everyone else is at church. I hope that doesn't come across wrong. I love my family, and WANT them around, but the short times that they aren't are theraputic for me too. I definately wouldn't want them gone any more than they are. But sometimes I do need to be alone. I hope that makes sense. At any rate, Sunday was too bad, and I was thankful for that.

This morning was like ... BAM... again. I don't know why these days always catch me off guard. I think I expect that since I have had a couple of easier days, then I won't backtrack at all. Not so! I should know that by now. I must be a slow learner.

I have gone from being angry to frustrated, to just crying. Elizabeth joined me for a little while in the crying too. She said that she kept remembering Aaron's face. So I hugged on her, let her cry for a while, and I cried with her. After she started settling down she asked why Aaron's lips were so dark. I explained about how he never breathed after he was born, and about oxygenation, etc. We had explained it to the kids before, but I tried to make it as simple as possible. I wondered if she was frightened by his darkened skin, or if it was just missing him, or what. I asked Elizabeth about what she was feeling and she said that she missed Aaron. I told her I did too, and that was part of the reason why Mama was in such a bad mood today, and why I was crying so much, and why I wasn't in church lately, etc. I don't know if she understood it all (for that matter, I'm not sure if I understand it all!) but she seemed satisfied with the answer. We chatted for a few minutes about this and that, and then she got back to work.

Dale took a half day today and is home. I am so frustrated that I need him here. I just have no coping skills today. I feel totally immobilized. The breakfast dishes are still unwashed. I hadn't started school yet. I feel like a failure on every a mom, a wife, as a homeschooler, etc. I just can't seem to pull it together today for anything. Even just doing "one thing" is too much for me to think about. Today is definately a hard day. The way I am going to cope is to not to cope... I need to turn off my brain for a while. I usually do this "reeling" thing at night.. the going over and over in your head about what has happened. It is triggered by anxiety, or stress. or both.. good or bad.

My mind keeps going over the same thing.. I miss Aaron. Plain and simple. I also keep thinking about what a waste and failure this day has been. The crying. The yelling at the kids. Is this what they are going to remember when they grow up? Are they going to hate me when they are older because what a shrew I am now? My frustration at having to have Dale here. That is ever present. I knew I absolutely needed him here. But guilt is ever present with whatever I do or decide to do these days. Seems like there are no right answers. If I do it, I feel guilty. If I don't, then I feel guilty. I know that is a trick of satan. But right now it doesn't change how I am feeling. I don't feel like a very strong Christian or person. I am more like a piece of wet tissue paper.

So, the "reeling" goes on and on today, starting early this morning. Nothing got it off track yet. I tried writing in my journal... many pages later I finally gave up and banned myself from writing in the journal again today. When I am done here, I am done writing for the rest of the day. Usually the writing is very good for me, but it seems to be making things worse. Probably because I keep writing about what I am thinking. I'm sure you see the problem.

So, that is why I say I need to turn off my brain. I will try reading, and if that doesn't work then I am popping in a movie on this laptop and holing up in my room until I can act civilly towards my family. They deserve better than they are getting from me lately.

That is where I am today. I know this is just one more day in a long journey, and I trust those who have gone before me and know the road, and tell me it will get better as I go. I am just taking this one step at a time, trusting God to help me through it.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Oooh, I'm Rated "E" !

Thank you Kristine.. aka MamaArcher... for this award. Now I know I am supposed to pass this on to some other bloggers, but to tell you the truth I have NO idea how to make a link to anywhere. If you want to email me some directions for linking for dummies, that would be great.

Also want to give Kristine my prayers and condolences on the loss of her Grandmother. Grandmothers are precious, and never can be replaced. I'm glad you have such wonderful memories of yours! What a blessing. (( Hugs ))

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sunshine Blessed Sunshine!

I just have to praise the Lord for an easier day today. Yesterday's emotional upheaval was extremely difficult. I didn't get to bed until 1:30a.m. But when I did fall asleep I slept well. This morning things got off to a decent enough start, despite the fact most of us overslept a bit (except dh who was off and running as usual.).

My good friend Lori came over with her granddaughter and brought lunch with them. We had a wonderful visit, which is usual for us. After that I cracked the homeschooling whip and while naps were going on the scholars worked and I did some cross stitch, and caught up reading some snail mail and administered their spelling quizzes, and then after a while shoo'd them all out (except Jerusha who was still napping) to get some fresh air. The five that were outside had on snow suits, mittens, hats, snow boots... and were riding their bikes. The yard is part snow, part grass, and part mud.

My heart is still heavy over Aaron, but I found I could cope with everyday life today with much more grace and confidence than yesterday. I am sure I will have many many more hard days, but it is like a breath of fresh air to have days like today where the New Normal is starting to not feel so strange anymore.

Now.. I need to go check on my eldest as he didn't finish his schoolwork before supper....

Thursday, January 17, 2008

One Step Forward, 5 Steps Backward

If I am going to honestly post about the journey we are on, it will have to be the good, the bad and the ugly. Warning: what you are about to read falls under the "ugly" category.

Today was a whopper of a day for me emotionally. By 9am, I crying earnestly, and didn't stop until almost lunchtime. Dh ended up coming home early. I appreciated that more than I can say. There is nothing he can do or say, but just being here was huge to me. Yes, I tried to still handle school and such. Afterall, I'm supermom right? Afterall, I must be "getting better" by now? Right? Afterall, I am the pastor's wife so that means I am a super strong person and Christian and I can leap the trials of life in a single bound, right? After 3 whole weeks, I should realize that life goes on, and be back to normal,right?

Do me a favor, and don't answer that.

My emotions have been downright RAW yesterday and today. Today is way worse than yesterday. Excuse my sarcasm, and borderline blasphemy here. Like I said, today's entry is under "ugly". But I promised to be honest in my postings and I know what I am writing doesn't paint a pretty picture.

A friend of mine who lives in IN. called me during naptime. She had gotten our Christmas letter that I sent out earlier in December. However, she had not heard anything else about us or the baby. So,I had to go through the telling of Aaron's death again. She wept with me, and was very sweet. Then she told me the reason she called was because she had heard that a mutual friend of ours had her baby. Well now, that is intersting, because this mutual friend was supposed to call me when she had the baby! She was the same one that was going to help with Aaron's birth ( she had been to two of my previous ones ) and be my doulah. Well, I figured she must have had the baby this morning and was doing all the phone calls, trying to rest, etc. So I figured if I hadn't heard from her by Saturday I would call her. Anyway, ends up one of her older dd's called us a little before supper and gave us the good news. I am so happy for them! But after I hung up the phone I cried and cried and felt terrible for crying which made me cry more. I mean, here a dear friend has a healthy baby (boy I might add) and my response is to cry? What kind of selfish beast am I? I wouldn't never wish the experience we had on anyone, much less someone I consider close enough to be my sister!

As far as I am concerned this day can't end quickly enough. This day has been very long, very hard, and I feel like I have been body slammed back to three weeks ago.

There is an old negro spiritual that says:
There is a balm in Gilead
That makes the wounded whole,
There is a balm in Gilead
That heals the sin- sick soul.

Indeed, He does heal the sin sick soul. But there is no balm for this wound. Nothing can make it go away. Sure thing that kind words, thoughtfulness, and encouragement from others can help soothe it a bit, but it's still there. From what I understand, this kind of hurt doesn't go away. This isn't a "get better" thing like an illness.

The Bible talks about the prayers of the saints being a sweet savor unto the Lord. But what about the tears from the broken heart of a mother who has buried her baby? What about the prayers she wants to pray but cannot utter the words? Jesus wept on earth, does He weep in Heaven when we weep here? Does He share our grief WITH us while we are apart?

The Bible also says that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. This yoke does not feel easy or light.

Please understand... I am not shaking my fist in the face of God, I am not railing against him.. I am crying out for Him. David bore his heart in the Psalms. I am doing the same. I don't understand why He took Aaron. I never wanted to be part of this journey. I could ask why, but what good would that do? To be honest the "why" of it all doesn't even matter to me.

One of my dd's says to me every night before she goes to bed "Good night Mama. I love you. I hope you feel better in the morning."

It is sweet, to be sure. But it got me thinking... this is not a "get well soon" situation. Like I said before, this is not an illness. I don't have an injury that needs to heal. I think my dad put it quite well when he said that it is like having a disability. You need to learn how to live with it, have a new normal. I have heard other ladies who have been on similiar journeys say that you become a different mommy than what you were before. I can believe it. I just hope who I am now isn't going to be permanent. I am cranky. Irritable. I am yelling at my children. I am angry. I am sad. I cry all the time. This is not who I want to be.

I was born with a hole in my heart. It closed up and healed when I was a baby, thankfully. But I feel like I buried a piece of me with Aaron, and now there is another hole. I am a new mommy, but I don't know who I am. I am on a new path, but I don't know how navigate it or if I am even going in the right direction at this point. I am supposed to find a new normal for our life, but I don't know how to adapt. I am supposed to have "joy in the Lord" but all I want to do is cry. I am supposed to be content to grieve at my own pace, but I am frustrated that I still feel as I do.

I hardly know how to answer simple questions. "How are you?". Ummm... then in my mind I am trying to figure out if they really want to hear how I really am, or are they looking for a quick, pat answer? Maybe I should just answer "read my blog", eh?

This post is so morose, and so ugly, I am seriously thinking about deleting this entry. But I promised to be honest, and there it is.

The rest of the story:
I cannot leave this with just the above rantings. The Lord has given me encouragement in my spirit, and physically. Yesterday we got that flower arrangement. We did get the GOOD news of my friend having had her baby. Despite my turbulent emotions, I still am happy for her! And there are people in my life that I can just cry with, pour out my heart to, etc. There is a release in that. The Lord has given me a husband who is with me all the way on this. He is willing to be there for me to cry on, rant to, etc. And I know the Lord is with us in this. I know He only does what is good for us, though right now I can't see the "good". He can. He knows. Will not the Judge of all the earth do right? Indeed He will. Lord, help Thou my unbelief!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Day Two of Flying Solo

This weeks has seemed busy, but long too. We started up school again on Monday, and Tuesday was my first day of flying solo here at home for the whole day. I had told dh Monday night that I would be fine if he wanted to just plan on working a full day Tuesday. Of course, if I did find myself needing him, he was only a phone call away and about a 20 minute drive.

We made it through the day okay. I was cranky all day though. Then after dh got home I just found I was mentally exhausted. I had been holding in most of my emotions all day, and also dh and I had a misunderstanding and though it was minor it really bothered me. I held out until after supper then went in our room and just laid on the bed and cried. After the kids were in bed we had a nice chat and everything was straightened out. Even though I was tired, I still couldn't fall asleep until after 1a.m.

This morning around 4:30 Jerusha was up. She woke up crying out, and I think she had a nightmare or something. Anyway it took about an hour to get her to go back to sleep. Dh's alarm goes off at 6a.m. I slept after that until about 7:30 or so.

Today has just been one of those days. Teary eyes, but not really crying, if that makes any sense. Homeschooling didn't go as smoothly as I would have hoped, but then again this is real life. My oldest son lost a workbook he needed. Looked for about 45 minutes and still couldn't find it. My ds in 2nd grade was rude at the lunch table and I ended up having him in his room until after his younger brother was done with his nap, so he ended up being behind on what he was supposed to do. Not good on a Wednesday night. The girls had to redo a bunch of their English because of failure to follow directions. Right before lunch I was delivering a lecture about using time wisely, etc, at a loud volume (aka: yelling) and was pausing to take a breath and someone knocked at the door.

Oh great.. whoever was at the door heard the whole tirade. I sent my oldest son to answer while I stepped into the living room to get my composure. Well, it was the florist, delivering flowers. Someone had sent me a nice arrangement of tulips and baby's breath! It was so pretty! The card said "Your two best friends miss you and hope to see you soon." That was it. No names.

I know it sounds silly, but that actually stressed me out a bit. Someone deserves to be thanked for such thoughtfulness... but who? What if who I thank aren't the ones who assume they are my "two best friends"? I didn't want to offend anyone. I was kind of scratching my head... my dh is who I would consider my best friend, but he sees me every day, so to say "hope to see you soon" wouldn't make any sense. Dh called during lunch and I told him about the flowers ( I need to take a pic and post it.. they are beautiful) . He said he would call the florists and find out.

Meanwhile we did lunch, and things settled down a bit. I had the scholars doing schoolwork, and I put in a nice relaxing CD I have with harp music on it and did some cross stitch.

The afternoon passed without any more than the typical activites of schoolwork and such. We had supper and then everyone went to church. I did the kitchen cleanup in QUIET!!!! No offense, but it was nice. LOL. I was feeling somewhat drained and still not ready to face the public yet so I stayed home. After dishes were over I swept and made some hot chocolate.

Now before you call the Hot Chocolate Gestapo, I just want to say that for the last few nights I haven't had any, hoping that would help my sleeping pattern to regulate better. Nope. Didn't make a bit of difference, so I am allowing myself to have a cup at night while blogging... comfort food, if you will. :)

That has been the last couple days in a nutshell.. times when we are getting back into a routine, and times when I cry out to God, times when tears overcome me and times when I can converse.

I do have two bits of advice for those who aren't on this side of things. One is, don't assume that because a grieving mother is doing more of the normal activities in life that it means that she is all better, or NOT grieving anymore. I can tell you, I still hurt, and hurt alot. I still cry, and cry alot. There is no "getting better", but that is another thread.

Secondly, if you ever send flowers to anyone, SIGN YOUR NAME! A grieving mom (or anyone else for that matter) doesn't need the added stress of guessing games for that sort of thing.

K.. there are my words of advice for this evening.

Wintertime Giggles

A friend of mine emailed this to me. Just had to laugh.



One winter morning a husband and wife in Pennsylvania were listening to
the radio during breakfast. They heard the announcer say, "We are
going to have 8 to 10 inches of snow today. You must park your car on
the even-numbered side of the street, so the snowplows can get
through." So the good wife went out and moved her car. A week later
while they are eating breakfast again, the radio announcer said "We are
expecting 10 to 12 inches of snow today. You must park your car on the
odd-numbered side of the street, so the snowplows can get through."
The good wife went out and moved her car again. The next week they are
again having breakfast, when the radio announcer says "We are expecting
12 to 14 inches of snow today. You must park.... Then the electric
power went out. The good wife was very upset, and with a worried look
on her face she said, "Honey, I don't know what to do. Which side of
the street do I need to park on so the snowplows can get through?"
With the love and understanding in his voice that all men who are
married to Blondes exhibit, the husband replied, "Why don't you just
leave it in the garage this time?"

The Answer to Tuesday's Riddle....

Sorry I didn't post this last night, but dh shut off the puter and made me promise to get to bed within a few minutes after he went to sleep last night. It was just as well, for it was 12:57a.m. by the time I got to bed as it was. Anyhoo... here is the answer.

What do these words have in common?


If you take the first letter and put it at the end, it spells the same word, only backwards.

Tadaaaa! Okay.. my dad sent that to me. Like Mel said.. too much time on his hands. :) I personally like word riddles. Those math ones give me headaches!

Have a great evening!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

This Was Funny!

I don't know her or her blog. My sil sent me this link. It was quite comical.. and yet, so true!

Here's a Riddle for You!

What do these words have in common?


I will post the answer by midnight EST. :)

School is in session!

Praise God, we made it through our first day back. I am not saying that facetiously either. I really had thoughts that today would be at best the bare minimum.. maybe two or three subjects, and at the worst... well, it didn't bring up any pretty images in my head.

We started off with one subject and it went smoothly, and the children seemed raring to go, so we jumped into the next. So far so good. Next subject we tackled with the greatest of ease, then the next. By the time we had lunch, we had about 4 subjects done. After lunch things got a little more scattered, but by the time we had supper all school work and chores were done, some free time activities partaken of, and even some piano practice for a couple of the children.

Well now!

Dh did come home around lunchtime and he was a great help. He was like SuperHomeschoolDad as he made his way around the table helping with Elizabeth's math, Josiah's English, and putting a bandaid on Caleb's booboo. He also changed an ewwwie diaper that would have made a lesser man don a hazmat suit and gas mask.

Something else I did today: I did a little cross stitch. Okay, I know that doesn't seem like a big deal, and you may be saying "So what?" but for me it was something that I had been wanting to do but hadn't yet. In fact, I hadn't touched this project I am working on (a Paula Vaughan pattern) since... ummm.. was it June? It had been a while to say the least.

I also had a pleasant chat via IM with my mom, you know the Hot Chocolate Gestapo. I give her a lot of ribbing (and believe me she can give it back!) but I love her to pieces.

What is the point of all this? Though my heart still aches, and I still cry, I am finding more of the "new normal" for us, little by little.

So, tomorrow, we try for a full day of flying solo. < gulp >

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Please Pass the Tissues....

That is how things are going for me today. It is funny at how quickly things change emotionally for me.

At first the morning seemed to be going pretty well. I had breakfast with the family, then helped everyone get ready for church. I stayed home again, not feeling up to running the gauntlet yet. I had a cup of coffee and talked with my mom online. It was all fine, no problems, no emotional upheavals.

Then I went into the kitchen. I washed the breakfast dishes, wiped down the counters, put a pitcher in the fridge, that sort of thing. I suddenly noticed something on a picture one of my dd's drew about a week before Christmas. She had done a family portrait, so to speak. It in, she has me holding the baby, even though at that time, I was still pregnant with him, and we didn't know gender or names or anything. In fact, I remember her asking what color outfit to put on the baby since we didn't know if it was a boy or a girl. I told her yellow or green would be fine. She chose yellow. It has been hanging on our fridge since then. It didn't bother me. I thought it was a nice picture. But this morning I noticed something different about it. I don't know when, but she added some writing by the baby. It took me a minute fo figure out what it said. In red crayon, she wrote:

"Aaron. Dead."

I tore it down off the fridge, crumpled it up, and threw it away, then dissolved into tears. Just like that.. BAM! It all comes rushing back, ripping my heart to pieces, and makes me sob like it just happened all over again. I know she didn't mean anything malicious by it. To her, it is just the fact of our life right now. Kind of like recording some family history. But I couldn't leave it there, or keep it. I couldn't. Now when she asks where her picture went, I don't know what to tell her. I think I will suggest she draw a new one. Maybe she won't put Aaron in it.

So, just like that... my day has gone from "okay" to Boohooville. Ugh. Please pass the tissues.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

An Ounce of Prevention

Despite the spring-like weather we have been having recently, I am often reminded that it is cold and flu season.

"Johnny has a terrible snotty nose."
"Susie's been throwing up all morning."
"My husband's throat has been aching for two days."
"My fever is making my joints ache."

I'm sure most everyone knows someone by now who has a cold or flu. So, what can we do to protect our family? Personally, I think the simplest solution would be just to stay inside our own plastic bubbles from December to March. But since that isn't possible, there are some other things we can do.

I am totally paranoid about germs this time of year. We buy Purell by the gallon jug this time of year. We keep a bottle in each vehicle. In my purse. In the diaper bag. I have even considered putting a small dispenser in each pew in church. If we go to the store, the children's hands get smeared with a thick coat of the stuff the second we get to the vehicle. Have you ever noticed that a child's propensity for putting their fingers in their mouth is directly proportional to how bad of a cold/flu season it is? Perhaps a recorded message, booming from our Ipod, hooked up to my purse... "Keep your fingers out of your mouth." "Don't touch anything on the floor." "keep your fingers out of your mouth." "No you may not use the public restroom." "Keep your fingers out of your mouth." "Don't drink from the water fountain." "keep your fingers out of your mouth. " "Don't touch your eyes."

Another tactic is vitamin and herbal supplements. Echinacea is a favorite of ours. But the problem is, you have to REMEMBER to dole out the pills. Now for my younger ones that can't swallow pills, there are drops. We have long since run out of drops, and I haven't ordered more, so in a fit of creativity, I decided to take apart one of the pills, and dump the powdered echinacea into their juice. The faces they made rivaled the days of when they were babies and eating squash for the first time. My three year old gave me a look that said "How could you desecrate perfectly good juice this way?" I think she would have tried to say it, but her mouth was in an involuntary pucker that I feared was permanent.

Okayy... let's try putting it in their oatmeal. So I did... and, they kind of looked at me like "What in the world did you do to the oatmeal???" but ate it. Very slowly.

I decided I need to order some drops.

Then there are the multivitamins. Here again, the problem is REMEMBERING to take them. My multivitamins are on the window sill by the kitchen sink. I see them when I am getting my coffee mug out of the cupboard in the morning. However, trying to hock down a horse choker before I am fully caffinated in the morning is just WRONG. I always figure I will just take them with breakfast, when I can use some juice to wash them down. However, the table is way over on the other side of the room and I forget, and there the bottle sits, shaking its head at me in disdain.

Inevitably, no matter what precautions we take, at some point, we will get sick. Now, for the stomach bug, all we do is make a bucket brigade, and wait it out. But for colds, dh and I each have our own way of dealing with it. I go through an elaborate regimen of herbal teas and tinctures, and try to get through the "7 days coming, 7 days here, 7 days leaving" with as much feminine grace as I can. My dh, on the other hand, grabs the bottle of Nyquil, and drinks it directly from the jug in a manly fashion.

So far, this season, we haven't had so much as a sniffle, but winter is young yet, so for now I will keep cramming the family full of echinacea and multivitamins, and smearing Purell over everyone every time we stick our noses out the door.

Or maybe a plastic bubble will be easier?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Another Day... another... ummm... day..

Today was a little more emotional than yesterday for me, but not as hard as some other days as I have been. I felt a real lack of ambition and direction for the most part today, except in the morning when my friend that was here yesterday came over with her granddaughter for our customary Friday "playdate". We had left it yesterday that I would call her this morning if I was feeling up to having them come over. So I hemmed and hawed a bit this morning trying to decide if it was a good idea to have them come over or not and finally decided "why not?". Her visit yesterday had quite a positive impact on the day and my outlook. Even dh noticed it, and mentioned it to me. To make this long story short, it was a nice morning, and I didn't regret my decision.

After dh got home (he took another half day today) I laid down for a while during naptime and actually fell asleep! Usually I just read for a while and rest and call it good enough. Also, along those lines, I am finding I am sleeping better at night. My sleeping pattern has gone from about 4 or 5 hours to 6 or 7 hours of unbroken rest. This is a huge improvement. I am still up late, or what is normally late for me, but that is okay. I think I can start scaling that back soon to my regular hours. I am not normally a night owl, but you wouldn't know that by my present schedule.

After nap I puttered around on the puter a bit, and kind of meandered my way through the rest of the day. Now all the children are in bed, and it is quiet. And yes, I made some hot chocolate (shhh... don't tell my mom! ). I did refrain from getting my pj's on until almost 9:30pm. That has to count for something doesn't it?

I want to address something that was on my heart earlier today. It is something dh had talked alot about shortly after Aaron's birth. One of the many wonderful ladies I am aquainted with online sent me a PM. She had just been reading my blog and said that she could see from my posts how the enemy would love to destroy me and my family from this loss. She said that she was praying for God to put a hedge of protection around us to deliver us from the enemy.

Oh how I appreciate that! That has been one of my concerns, that dh and I would have marital troubles, or that our family would be torn down, or that I would just crumble as a Christian under the weight of this and lose faith in God. Maybe that is why I have been having these unrealistic expectations. If I can get through this quickly as possible, maybe dh and I won't have any marital problems, or our family won't suffer any casualties, or I won't fail as a testimony to those around us. If I am going to be honest in my blogging about this journey, I have to say that those are some of my fears.

As I already said, dh and I talked about this quite a bit after Aaron's birth. We have to keep the lines of communication open AND available to each other. We know of a couple that went through a very similiar circumstance and it ripped their marriage apart. They basically turned on each other and blamed each other. How awful that must have been.

I don't want that for us. I don't know what I would do without my dh. We did say that we would get through this together. It is like a little commitment renewal. We are on the front lines together in this. We know there are difficult times ahead, but we are committed to getting through it together, and with the Lord's grace. There are times when I wonder what dh is thinking and feeling. He isn't one to show a lot of emotion. I wonder if he thinks I'm not improving enough, or quickly enough, or if he is getting tired of a wife who cries at nothing sometimes, who can't help but think of Aaron a lot of the time, etc. But I believe that is a tactic of the enemy. I think that is a fear that he is putting in me, just to cause me more trouble. My dh has been nothing but supportive, caring, gentle, loving, and he has been the one to point out my expectations are unrealistic, and to take my time, etc. Satan is sneaky, underhanded, and strikes low blows.

This afternoon and tonight I have been kind of in a "No Zone"... not really anywhere, not really doing anything. No ambition to change it either. So be it. The day is over. The days seem long right now, that is for sure. And until I get tired enough to fall asleep, the nights are long too.

This Pastor Had Guts

It seems prayer still upsets some people. Please read.....

When Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate,

everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is

what they heard;

"Heavenly Father,We come before you today To ask your forgiveness andTo seek your direction and guidance.

We know Your Word says,'Woe to those who call evil good 'but that is exactly what we have done.

We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.

We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.

We have killed our unborn and called it choice.

We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.

We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem.

We have abused power and called it politics.

We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it Freedom of speech and _expression.

We have ridiculed the time honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, Oh, God,
And know our hearts today;
Cleanse us from every sin
And set us free. Amen!'"

The response was immediate. A number of legislators walked Out during the prayer in
protest. In 6 short weeks, Central Christian Church, where Rev. Wright is pastor, logged more than 5,000 phone calls with only 47 Of those calls responding negatively. The church is now receiving international requests for copies of this prayer from India , Africa and Korea Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on his radio Program, 'The Rest of the Story,' and received a larger response to this program than any other he has ever aired.

With the Lord's help, may this prayer sweep over our Nation and wholeheartedly become our desire so that we again can be called 'one nation under God.'

Remember the old saying:"If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

He Leadeth Me Beside the Still Waters

Peace. What is peace? "Peace and quiet"? Does that mean that nothing is going on, life is a smooth path, and circumstances are rosey?

I'm finding the answer is No. Peace... that would be a quiet confidence in God's presence and love despite the cirucumstances. That would be knowing and TRUSTING in God's control over every aspect of our lives, even when our own emotions are turbulent and troubled and life seems to be spinning out of control. That would be clinging to the Almighty and His promises when the fog of what we wish wasn't real surrounds us.

That is peace.

The still waters in Psalm 23 speak to me of peace. Our journey over the last couple weeks has been full of emotion, to be sure. I don't need to go over all that. But God's perfect peace has also been prevalent.

We did more cleaning yesterday. The children helped stack some wood. Today I had a nice visit from a good friend of mine, also a quilting buddy. She and I met for the first time two years ago, and from the first time we met, our hearts were knitted together, to use her words. I know it seems somewhat hypocritical, but while I don't feel like being out in public, being around her doesn't bother me. I feel like I can just be myself... quirky humor to raw emotion and tears, and I don't have worry about it. I can just be ME. Not "the pastor's wife" or anything like that. At any rate, we had coffee, and chatted about many things, from how I am coping to her cruise vacation with her husband.

I need to find some sort of goal for tomorrow. I find I do better with something definate to accomplish right now. The house is quite clean.. the best it has looked in several months. The ironing done. Maybe I'll do some baking. I have been toying with getting out a neglected cross stitch project. It is a Paula Vaughan pattern. Maybe my goal tomorrow will be to reaquaint myself with that. It has been a good 6 months since I picked it up.

Dh will be taking another half day tomorrow. He and the older 4 went to the library this afternoon while the younger two and I took a nap. He got some books for me to read to help fill my mind. Mostly fluff reading.. nothing that takes too much brainwork at this point.

I still haven't started school back up yet, but decided to do so Monday. I will be taking time over the weekend to get the second semester's schedule worked out. Shouldn't be too hard, right? I need to get an idea of who is doing what again, as far as electives go.

I have to say today has been the best day for me so far since Aaron's death. There were still teary eyed times, but overall, there was more normalcy to the day, I think. Things seemed to go smoother, overall. It was like a shaft of light coming through the fog.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hunting Dust Bunnies

Dh went back to work this morning and had his interview as planned. He said it went well, and we'll find out in about a week if he got the permanent position. The funny thing is, if he doesn't, then he will be training the guy that did, to be his boss, and tell dh how to do his job. Could that be a little more confusing?

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, we were cleaning. I mean, hoe out, throw out, organize, declutter, type of cleaning. We hunted down and slaughtered I don't know how many dust bunnies. Some of them were quite impressive too, and should have been hung on the wall, but we decided to forgo that genre of decor.

Some things we did:
- cleaned out from under all the kids beds
- cleaned out from under all dressers
- cleaned out from under all bookcases
- sorted, organized bathroom closet
- sorted, organized bathroom shelves
- scrubbed down the bathroom
- cleaned and organized entranceway closet and bookcase
- organized shelf in my room
- decluttered and organized bookcases in living room
- laundry
- folding
- dusted all rooms
- vacuumed all carpets

I also cooked for the first time in almost three weeks. ( whew... didn't know if I would remember how).

The weather was very spring like so after a short nap in the afternoon I went for a short walk before supper.

What I forgot was to mop the kitchen and bathroom floors. I had tentative plans to start school up again today, but it wasn't happening. Maybe tomorrow... maybe not. Whatever works.

There was more normalcy to today's schedule, but intermixed with the busyness was still the heavyheartedness in grieving. But I have to say, that today was much better than yesterday. Dh did come home at lunch hour. Maybe we can make it a full day tomorrow. We'll see.

I got the recipe for a good postpartum tea that helps with the baby blues. I will have to get the herbs for it, or have dh pick them up in town. I think that will help a bit with the hormones that seem to be totally unbalanced and all over the place.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Not for the faint of Heart

This is yet another post about coping with Aaron's death. As I said before, I am baring my heart in these. I know I am not the first person to suffer such a loss, nor will I be the last. My prayer is that by being honest in these posts that someone who is or will be going through the same valley will be encouraged that they aren't alone.

Today has been an unqualified emotional disaster for me. Dale went back into work this morning. I started crying the moment he left. This went on for a couple hours. I finally called him at work and we chatted for a bit. Finally we decided that he would come home. I should have been honest with him last night when we were talking. The thought of trying to handle everyone at home by myself, but add that into the mix that anyone might come to the door or call ... I was just overwhelmed. I'm not exactly good company these days. I don't feel like chatting with every Tom, Dick, and Harry that calls or stops by. I just didn't want to deal with it. Plus, I had been looking at some of the pics we have of Aaron to send to an artist who is doing his portrait. Oh, boy.. that brought it all back, and hard. I thought that sleeping on it overnight would lessen the hurt, but it made it worse. The dreams I had were vivid, and I remembered them when I woke up.

Add that to the deer-in-the-headlights feel with Dale going back to work and it yields a day that was a catastrophe before I had coffee.

Oh, something else that set me off that happened last night and was in my memory all night and this morning was something Jerusha did. At almost three years old, the whole situation we are in now kind of escapes her understanding. Last night she was in the bedroom with me and found one of those individually wrapped sample diapers you get in the mail. She asked me if I made it (lately, she thinks that Mama made everything.. ). My throat just constricted and my mind went back to the day after Aaron was born. She had come into my room in the morning to see me and looked at the spot on the bed where we had Aaron before we handed him over to the funeral director. Very innocently, with eyes full of question and concern, she asked, "Where's baby?". That happened many times over the first couple days that Aaron left us. How do you explain to a almost 3 year old that her baby brother is dead? That he will never live with us? That he will never occupy the crib she watched me set up and excitedly chatter on about the "new baby" Mama was going to have? How do you explain that the baby that was inside Mama's tummy that she felt moving just a few days ago is gone? How do you do that without traumatizing her? I remember I had just tried to simply explain that Aaron was with Jesus. I'm sure that didn't make much sense to her.

Anyway, I was afraid of hearing that sweet, innocent, "Where's baby?" again, her big blue eyes full of questions and concern. I was afraid that little diaper would jog the memory of the baby Mama was supposed to be taking care of, but wasn't. I just didn't think I could go through the whole routine again. So I told her she could have the diaper for her doll, and to go put it on her. That totally derailed Jerusha's line of thought.

But not mine. Over and and over I still now hear her question: "Where's baby?" And this morning I could hear it in my imaginations as sure as I heard her those few days after Aaron's birth. That, with the seeing the pictures again, and Dale being at work and me feeling totally unprepared to deal with life... let's just say it wasn't pretty.

Then after he came home I felt guilty for being the cause of him having to come home. I mean, I am an adult after all. Shouldn't I be handling this better? It is like taking one step forward and three backward. I am also feeling guilty about not being able to fully take care of the children. Elizabeth asked Dale today: "Will mama ever be able to take care of us by herself again?"

There are times when I just can't make a decision. When Dale asked if I wanted him to come home from work, I honestly didn't know what to tell him. Yes, I wanted him to come home, but was it the right thing to do? Should I just suck it up and just get through the day? Does he need to be at work, to get a break from being here? Then, this evening, I looked out the window to watch the older children playing outside. I saw they were running back and forth through a huge mud puddle that used to be the end of our driveway. They were covered, head to toe... black mud. Clothes, boots, coats... ruined.

I just stood there, numb. Not laughing, not crying, not yelling. I didn't know how to react. I called Dale to the window, and he didn't really react either. We finally decided to just have them come in for baths. I will soak their clothes and coats. Their boots... not sure what to do about them.

Normally this sort of thing doesn't faze me... its just part of being a mom, right? Kids like to run and play and get dirty. But today, it just made my brain freeze up and fuzz over.

I feel like a failure. I think I should be better than this. More able to cope than this. I think what I need is to be reminded that I can grieve at my own pace, and its OKAY. I have these expectations of myself, which are obviously unrealistic. This isn't something you "get over", like a sickness. You never get over it. But, you do learn to adapt. Reset your life with a new normal. But it is a process, a journey without end. I have to learn to adjust, accept, and live with it.

Tomorrow will be a long arduous day for me. Dale has an interview at work for a full time position there. I already told him that I would be fine if he wants to go in at his regular time. The interview is from 10am to noon. No way I want him to miss that interview. He said he would call me on lunch hour to see how I was doing and to let me know how the interview went. I pray tomorrow will be an easier day. It can't be easy for the children to see me crying like I did today. I never realized that your eye sockets can hurt from crying so much. However, I think that storm is over, and now I can regroup a bit. Something else I know now too. In the midst of that heart-rending, deep hurt crying, God was there. I can still say with my whole heart: He doeth all things well.

Telemarketers, Hot Chocolate, and my Mom

Sunday night Dale and the children had left for church, sucking all the noise from the house as they went out the door.

Quiet... ahhhhhh.

I was just contemplating my next move (Is 6:25pm too early for jammies?) and eyeballing the hot chocolate packets in anticipation, when the phone rang. I checked the caller ID (I LOVE that feature!) and found it was a solicitor. Not just any solicitor.. THE solicitor. The same toll free number that has been calling two or three times a day for the last three weeks. Not only are they persistant, but it is one of those automated kind that say "please stay on the line until a representative is available to speak with you."

Yeah, right.

As if they have an armada of reps busily taking calls at shiney cherry wood desks, ringing phones, fancy computers and wearing expensive italian suits. In reality, they were probably all sitting around in holey jeans (and I don't mean the sanctified kind) and sweatshirts, drinking coffee or soda and smoking, and a two room shack somewhere and making bets on who the first materialist american will be to answer the phone.

So you ever wonder where they are? Most of them have some sort of foriegn accent. This one that keeps calling us had an indian accent. My husband once "stayed on the line" and told the rep that answered not to call our number again. That was over a week ago. Are they illegal immigrants? Are they part of a large group tryint to scam unwary customers? Are they in the USA, and legit? It doesn't seem to make sense that they would be overseas since that would seem to set them up for bancruptcy. The cost of an 800 number, plus the fees for international calls, would seem to be prohibitively expensive. It doesn't seem like that there would be enough foolish people to actually fall for whatever con job they are attempting to make the effort worthwhile. Then again, Bill Clinton did get elected not once, but twice in a row....

Anyway, back to the ringing phone.

I let the answering machine pick it up, but of course no message was left. I find that irritating. They want me to respond to their machine, but they won't respond to mine. Isn't that bad answering service etiquette or something?

Not two minutes later the phone rings again. Okay, now I'm really annoyed. I'm ready to pick up the phone and rem out this telemarketer when I notice the number on the caller ID.

My mother. Guess I'd better not ream her out. I have some very vivid memories of the "Magic Hand" when we were growing up. It seemed almost like a superpower, along with the usual other Mommy powers such as the ability to see from the back of her head, how to read my mind with alarming accuracy, and the strength to leap piles of Legos and laundry in a single bound.

"Hi, Mom!"
"Hi honey. How are you tonight?"
"Ummm... fine..." I am getting distracted by the thought of hot chocolate.
"What's wrong?" Uhoh.. she is getting suspicious... only after 5 seconds of conversations. Her MommyPowers are apparetnly still sharp.
"Nothing, Mom" and I get a mug from the cupboard, trying not to clatter it.
"It's so quiet there! Everyone must be over at church."
"Yeah." I shut the door very quietly and make my way to the sink.
"So what are you up to this evening with the house to yourself?" I can practically hear her listening to every move I am making. Must be quiet.. must be careful...
I turn the water on to a mere drizzle and fill my mug.
"Oh, you know, just hanging out. Reading email, taking it easy, that sort of thing."


I grimmace. Ooooh, that microwave door!

"What was that?" My mom is suddenly extremely alert.
"Uh, what was what?"
"That 'clunk' sound?"
"Ummmmm...." I am trying to hedge my way around this.
"Was that the microwave door?" Ack.. busted.
"Yes," I sigh.
"Are you drinking hot chocolate AGAIN?" I wonder why she is even asking.
"Honey, how many times have I told you that stuff will give you zits if you drink too much of it. Not to mention constipation..."
I am laughing at her now.
"Next thing you know I'll have to put you in a 12 step program..."
By now we are both laughing. We go on to some serious chatting about how I am coping, how our days were, how the kids are, and she even listens to me vent about a comment someone made, how I feel guilty about my heart being so heavy I can't function. She says comforting words that I need to hear. We laugh. We cry. We chat.

Aren't moms great?

I hang up and get my pj's on. It is 7:30, and surely that is late enough for jammies! Then I curl up and enjoy my hot chocolate.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Calendar fun!

If you want to print up a wonderful calendar, go to:

If their last year's calendar is any indication, this year's will be wonderufl too. Each month it has a recipe, or an educational type activity masguerading as play time (why does the world think they have to be seperate??? Can't learning be FUN???), or health idea. They have January and February on their webite, free download and print. I used my color printer, but you can do it in black and white.


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Up and Down day

This morning I was fine until at breakfast dh mentioned about going out for a while this afternoon. All of us, as a family. Normally I would jump at that but I just about wilted. Before he left for a business meeting at church we were talking and he said we could go to Barnes and Nobles (one of my favorite places) or eat lunch out or window shop or whatever. Well, I just cried. I am not ready for that. I don't want to be out and about. He said that was fine, and he didn't want to pressure me into anything I wasn't ready for yet and let me cry on his shoulder. We finally decided we would just go for a drive after lunch with the kids. He thought that getting out and getting some fresh air would do me go, albeit from the van.

So we did. I spent half the time fighting back tears. We drove by some of the public parks and waterfalls overlook in our area. Kind of scoped them out for spring time ventures. But even just driving around was hard. That doesn't make much sense, but it was. In a way it was a reminder... I "should" be home with a newborn.

Later, after we got home I was reading on the couch and we had a delivery of a huge basket of african violets. They are beautiful! They were sent by the ladies in CMOMB. Now if I can just remember to water them! Green thumb... I don't have one of those.

The rest of the afternoon was spent in emotional turmoil. Will the raw emotional reactions ever stop? So many thoughts and doubts go through my head. How long does it take to adjust to not having the baby you carried for a full nine plus months?

A little before supper we had a visitor. She dropped off some pork steak. She was joking about maybe the Lord would provide the rest of the meal. Then, no kidding, there was a knock at the door. It was a couple from a farm down the road from us dropping off some more food. It's not that our cupboards are bare.. indeed they are far from it. It's was just God saying "Fear not... I'm still in control here".

I don't feel strong enough to handle this situation, especially today. My heart is rebelliously asking "Why? Why can't I have my baby? What happened? Why weren't there any warnings? After the wonderful births we have experienced, why this? I can't do this!"

But He can. He IS strong enough. He loves us. And even though I have had and will continue to have some hard days, He will still be there with me through it. I doubt we will ever understand Aaron's death, but he was a very special gift to us. God is showing us a whole new depth in our walk with Him, individually, and together as man and wife.

Speaking of that aspect, I cannot say enough what a support and blessing my dh has been. In spite of his dealing with his own grief, he has been everything to me during this. He has been my emotional balast. I could not get through this without him. Physically he has been running the show without much help from me, I am afraid. I just kind of phase out from time to time. I just get overcome by the littlest things. Like, children fussing. Or more than one talking to me at a time... I just freeze up and my brain turns off. Too much confusion really bothers me right now whereas before chaos didn't even make me blink. My tolerance is down. I find myself more "snappy" at the children than I was. I am trying to quit that.

So, that is where I am today. I can still say, honestly, that even though there are still many tears, that He doeth all things well.

Friday, January 4, 2008

I have to be honest

( I just realized this is the third time I am posting today... whew... is there a limit to this? Like one post a day? What is proper blog etiquette? )

I wasn't going to write this, but if I am going to be honest about how I am feeling, I think I should post about my concerns today.

I was totally overwhelmed this morning thinking about what people expected me to do right now. I what I thought people expect from me. I am the sole church pianist. Also a pastor's wife. In the public eye alot, for sure. Now we have a small, very small, congregation of wonderful people who are all older than us for the most part. They are and have been very loving towards us since we moved here and took on this ministry a little over two years ago. I tell others that they didn't hire my husband, they adopted our family. They really do spoil us rotten. :) I wanted to make that perfectly clear, before I went on here.

This morning I was just overwhelmed by the thought of getting back into the swing of things at church. I just can't do it yet. I have no music in me to share right now. I don't want to face running the gauntlet so to speak, yet. I know I will have to sometime, but I am just not up to it yet. Aaron died less than two weeks ago for crying out loud... I haven't even adapted yet to that. Can't a person grieve longer than that? That was my thinking.

I was feeling pressure to just jump right back in. From where? I have no clue. Certainly not dh who has been a huge comfort to me. No one has breathed a word about me "coming back". Everyone has been supportive, and giving us some space, and dropping off food, etc.

I think I just have high expectations of myself. In a previous church, before my dh was pastor here, the expectations for new molthers to get back into church was very high. When I had Jerusha, I stayed out for about 8 weeks. Some of that was for me, but some was for her. She was born in the middle of flu season. And, because the idea was "you don't call in sick, you crawl in sick" people went to church when they were sick. Dh and I secretly called the "hand shaking" time "germ sharing time". I actually kept Purell in my purse to smear on the kids after the hand shaking time. When I say someone came sick, I am not talking about sniffles. I have heard "Oh yeah, I was barfing this morning, but I'm okay now" more times than you want to know. Anyway, I didn't want to expose a newborn to that.

Now, without a newborn.. I feel guilty I am not jumping right back in. But grieving is a rollercoaster. Right now I still feel like I could break down crying for any reason. I don't really need to do that in public, do I? Can't I let some of the rawness abate before facing everyone?

Don't get me wrong, I am not walking around with tears in my eyes all day. Well, at least not today. ;) I think everyday we adapt more to the reality of the situation, and that is fine. The point is, that I'm not ready... I still can't even take care of the family the way I should. I can't put on a fake smile and pretend I am some superchristian who can handle all this after only a week and a half of mourning. I just need more time.

Again, no one has said anything bad to me. These are just MY expectations that I realize are unreasonable. Like I said at the beginning.. I have to be honest. This is where my walk was today. I am thankful God gave me a dh who I could spill all this out to and made me realize that it is okay... to take as much time as I need.

Freebie opportunity

Hear ye hear ye!

MamaArcher is having a free giveaway opportunity thingie on her blog. Go to to check it out. Thank you Kristine for the fun. :)

Out of the mouth of babes

You never know what they are going to say. Sometimes it is funny, sometimes it is nonsensical, sometimes it is what we would deem "inappropriate" and we want to crawl under a rock (like pointing at Grandpa and saying "you have a BIG tummy!), sometimes it is sweet.

My dh was talking with the kids about movies that humanize animals. You know, they talk, they have cognetive reasoning, they interact with humans in speech.. that sort of thing. And he was saying how these movies give a false impression of animals being equal with us, and how we need to remember that it isn't real, etc. One of my daughters looked at Daddy and said:

"But Eve talked with the serpent. Wasn't he real?"

Okay, I have to admit that I chuckled at the look on my dh's face. I think that was about the last thing he expected her to say. I didn't catch what he said to her because I was snickering in the corner.

This was from Esther, the same daughter who a while back outsmarted me in a game. We were playing a game to see who could be quietest the longest. No laughing, snorting, whispering, etc. I was sitting out a round, and I used my big bad Mama voice and asked if she made her bed that morning. She nodded her head. I said "Now Esther, you know the rules. You have to answer me .. 'Yes Ma'am, or No ma'am' . Esther was trying hard not to giggle. I look at her sternly as I can and say, still in my big bad Mama voice "Esther, answer me, or I'll have to discipline you". So, this sweetie with the big blue eyes looks at me with a sparkle and in ASL says "yes mama". Isn't she clever?

Just had to do a quickie post

I wasn't going to do a post right now, but after reading the new comments since the last time I checked I had to say what an encouragement you all have been. I can't get tired of saying it... I very much appreciate the hugs and prayers, albeit from a distance.

Melissa, I am such a dork with tecno-anything that I don't know what a RSS is. Still figuring out the blogging thing as I go. I also appreciated what you said about grief coming in waves. I grew up loving the beach and can appreciate the analogy you made.

Today was a better day than yesterday. I had one major boohoo session, and a couple of teary eyed times, but I was able to get up, get dressed, and I even cleaned our room up quite a bit. Hey mom, aren't you proud? I tackled that HUGE pile of laundry that needed to be folded!

I also got the dresser emptied out of the baby's things, and dh will take the little dresser down to the cellar, where we can put it to good use storing games, or linens, or something. Oddly enough, seeing the dresser doesn't bother me, whereas the portacrib he had to take down almost immediately.

It was good also to get online and chat with my mom and sis in law (Hi Mel!) and just chat and joke around a bit. It is nice to know that not every conversation has to be hushed and reverent and about sorrow.

There was more... normalcy? Stability? not sure what to call it. Adjustment. I think that is the word.

I am again amazed at the wide base of support we have and how blessed we are with our friends and family. How can I help but be thankful? The Lord is so good.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The journey continues....

Well, as an annonymous commenter said.. there will be good days and there will be bad days. I have also found there will be days that are both. Today has been a rollercoaster of emotions for me.

I had coffee before I had my first meltdown... Yay! That is improvement. Then my mom left to drive home to MA, and that was hard. She has been on the front lines in all this with us, and it was hard to let her go, but she has work to do, and life does go on.

Then I had some dizzyness, inner ear ache, sore throat type symptoms. Well, fine. After what I have been through in the last week, a head cold is nothing. The rest of the day was off and on with the tears. Dh went down to the funeral home to pick up some catalogs with locket selections and to pay off the rest of what we owed for the funeral. He got back and I couldn't even LOOK at the catalog yet. Ugh. Then he got the mail and we got huge pile of cards and a couple of packages. One was from the MHONP group, and one from Erin. Both were very much appreciated though I bawled at them and the cards. But it was a good thing, very cleansing.

I feel I need to say "Thank you" again to all you ladies! It seems there are no words to tell you how much I have appreciated your prayers, and supports, and words of love and encouragement. My request is that you keep on praying! I am still trying to accept the reality of Aaron's death. Every day I can wrap my mind around it more. It has been a nightmare. I dream of him. Of holding him, and nursing him, and kissing his cheeks... pink and warm. Of hearing his first cry after birth, that in reality was never made.

Whenever we sit down to eat a meal I am waiting to hear a newborn cry, for we mothers know that a hot meal on the table is a baby's cue to fuss to be nursed, sure as the smell of a clean shirt makes them nauseous.

I have to wonder if I will ever feel "normal" again.. or a new normal. Will I be able to have a conversation without tearing up? Yesterday one of my daughters, Elizabeth, asked me what my favorite holiday was. Well, two weeks ago the answer was simple and immediate. Christmas. I just kind of looked at her with my throat constricting. I had to tell her "I don't know". I don't want Christmas for our children to be a morbid time. But forever in our family history is a memory on that day that will never be forgotten. It is a bittersweet day for us forever now. How do I balance grieving for Aaron and not taking the joy away from them?

It is not my intention to be so sad in these posts. My prayer is that if I am honest in my journey through this valley, then maybe the Lord can use it for good, to help someone else.

Tomorrow is another day to grieve... to grow, and trust in my Lord. For I can say with full assurance, He doeth all things well.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Day by Day

I love the hymn that Erin posted in the comments section. "Day by Day"... it is one of my favorite hymns. Thank you Erin for reminding me of the timeless truths embedded in that beautiful melody.

Day by day... that is how I live now. Well, maybe more like moment by moment. Today was a somewhat harder day for me. No real reason, nothing significant to set off the tears, but just remembering, coping, adapting. I seem to take a couple steps forward, then a couple back. My dh has to remind me that not alot of time has passed yet, and not to expect to be feeling up to everything now. I feel like much more time than a week has passed. Of course, on top of grieving is the postpartum hormones, which are usually balanced out by nursing which I can't do now, which makes me very aware of our loss again.. not a pleasant cycle.

I don't know what constitutes as clinical insomnia, but sleeping is a joke for me. Four hours tops. I can't sleep at naptime, but I have to say that just laying down helps. Despite that, my physical healing is going well. I have to remember not to push though. This morning I decided to change the sheets on the bed and try to catch up on the mountain of folding that has been growing in the corner of our room. Well, before I even got the bed remade my legs started getting all shakey. Dh took over and told me to sit down. Time is still warped for me. I think that it has been a couple weeks, and that I should be able to do more. Thankfully, I have a wise dh to keep an eye on me. :)

Today is the first day of a new year. Many make New Year's resolutions, or New Year's Delussions, as my dh calls them. Mine was to get up this morning, get a shower, and actually get dressed. Pathetic, isn't it? Both those "resolutions" were kept, and seemed to help the children know that Mama was okay, and not to worry, even though they saw me cry several times during the day today. Anyway, instead of starting the year with worthless resolutions, I always like to start with prayer. You know what I found when praying? I was truly thankful. Thankful for His being with us through this hard time after Aaron's death. Thankful for my dh, who has been my support. Thankful for my children who keep "normalcy" and "reality" present in our daily lives. Thankful for our friends, congregation, and family who have gathered around us, prayed for us, and been here to weep and rejoice with us. Thankful that God has provided our needs, that He has been very present in our time of sorrow, and that He loves us enough to help us to grow closer to Him. Despite the tears, the heartache, the wishing things had been different... I can still look up to my Savior and say "Thank you", and mean it.