Monday, December 29, 2008

Recovery and A Hymne

Can you say "Pooped"?

Today I am recovering from all the late nights this past weekend. And also recovering from our daughter's recovery from all the late nights ;) So much fun & family, so many gifts, so many luscious, high-caloric desserts, so little sleep. Doesn't it make for a great holiday?

Soon I will post pics of our huge, fun and WHITE Christmas!

But today I also wanted to post the words to a beautiful song that truly raises Jesus UP! (and no, it's not just because it has my name in it ;P)...

Joyful, joyful we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow'rs before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee, Earth and heav'n reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee, Center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, Flowery meadow, flashing sea.
Chanting bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blest,
Wellspring of the joy of living, oceandepth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother - All who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals join the mighty chorus which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o'er us, brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife;
Joyful music leads us sunward in the triumph song of life.

I was feeling a little down last night about Amelia, and these words really encouraged me. It seems whenever I am sad, praising God and basking in His goodness, along with thanking Him for what He's given (and taken away), brings me back to where I'm supposed to be. Thank you, Jesus, for Your peace. In the valleys, and even on the mountain tops, we need Your grace.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

And yes, I've changed my blog to give it the mood of Christmas!

Winter pics

Merry CHRISTmas to all!

Jackie and I. What you can't see is that I'm wearing my RED sweats

that do NOT match the rest of my outfit. Long black coats are good for that.

This girl loves eating snow. Keep it white, girl :)

Having fun with our neighbors. B and Tommy are throwing snowballs!

Our front yard covered in record snow!

Brilla's Christmas performance at church.

* Her Christmas picture*

Brilla eating said sucker.

Snowflake Lane in Bellevue. There were soldiers on stilts, princesses, animal friends, and peppermint suckers (which are horrid if you have a toddler). The atmosphere and music were wonderful. I think we'll go again next year.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dashing through the Snow!

Let it SNOW!!!

There are tons of ice and snow on the ground! Finally we are going to have a white Christmas. Hopefully we can make it to the in-laws and outlaws' :) homes' safely. But I wouldn't change a thing about this wonderfully cold weather.

Today we hermits came out of our shell and shopped at Fred Meyer. Not only did I have to buy groceries for Christmas dinner, but I was also getting cabin fever. I'm not used to being cooped up like this! Yes, I enjoy being at home, but I'm not what you would call a "home body". So it felt like I was on cloud nine, simply walking through the grocery aisles. Brilla was also beside herself. I've haven't seen her quite so jumpety-uppety as of late than she was in the toy section. She was playing with the plastic swords, talking to Elmo, and yelling at the top of her lungs. Woohoo! Can't you tell we've been inside tooooo long? Ha.

Anyway, being snowed in has had its perks. I have cleaned my house, baked many goodies, and been creative about exercise. And we have a snow fort almost completed! M and I have taken some beautiful long walks, and sledded several times down the infamous, HUGE hill by our house. Snowball fights have been pretty fun, too! I've also had plenty of time to crochet, do my hair and actually put make-up on.

Hubby and I have also committed to getting in shape. It started today. Yes, I know Christmas is only 3 days away...but we really wanted to jump-start ourselves. M did a much better job than I. I ate at least 2 rice krispie treats and had a chai latte (at least with water). However, I did follow through with my work out and crunches regimine. But it's REALLY the eating I need to watch. I know it and and M knows it. I won't even discuss poundage and my goals right now. But let's just say I have a bit to go. I'm really motivated, though. Watching Biggest Loser motivates me every Tuesday. If they can do it, so can I :D

Tomorrow is baking day! I plan to get the rolls and cookies done. Perhaps I'll work on the cake, too.We shall see. I also need to wrap all the gifts and send out last-minute cards.

I recently checked out a super good book, good for all you moms! It's called the ADENTure of Christmas by Lisa Whelchel. Front says "Helping children find Jesus in our holiday traditions". It has several cool ideas that are incredibly meaningful.
Check it out. I want to incorporate some of the traditions and activities with B and our future kiddos.

As with the rest of my library reading..."My Grandfather's Son" by Clarence Thomas, is the only thing I have time to put my nose in. Awaiting me are some great organization and storage books. Can you tell I have some New Year Resolutions?

Perhaps tomorrow I can post more about our exciting adentures in The Snow. Maybe we'll have to rent a studded limo, like they were talking about on the news, to get to where we want to go. Wouldn't that be glamorous?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas is so busy and it's not even here yet!

I decided to write about the past few days...I've been so stinkin' busy and haven't had tons of time to write, but this morning, all has slowed with the snow and now I have time.

On Saturday morning, I headed to a Christian book store and bought the girls at Bible club some pretty Princess Bibles. They were on sale for only 12.50. That's half off! I didn't notice the pink and purple were different versions. So I was able to find another purple, but was still left with one pink. Oh well!

Next, Bri and I headed off to Violet and Aidon's 2nd birthday party! I kept pumping up B about it...."you'll have lots of fun, and you can draw pictures"...etc., ad nauseum. I think B was thinking, "maybe you should just go, Mom!" :D Truth is, she had a grand time, and wouldn't you know, I forgot my camera! Always happens. Thanks Susi and Desi for a great time at the Children's Museum. Our family will have to go again just by ourselves. Daddy would get a kick out of all the activity. Next, we headed to Ben and Susi's for food, gifts and talking! Susi made a mean homemade pizza along with yummy cupcakes. At the end, the oh-so-prepared hostesses gave the little guests goodie bags. And Brilla took home 4 balloons. How cool is that! All makes out for a tired mama and toddler. So afterward we headed home for naps.

And woke up just in time for an adult Christmas party! Yay...a night out for Mom and Dad. Matt and Tara hosted a great time. There were lots of decadent desserts and evil appetizers: peppermint rice krispies topped with chocolate, apple pie, lemon bars, Starbucks cranberry bliss bars, avocado & corn salsa (made by me, it actually turned out super good), cranberry/mandarin salsa, baked brie, and there are probably other things I haven't mentioned. It's a good thing I hadn't eaten dinner because all the yummies more than made up for it. Ode to food and friends!

After all the talking and eating, we sat down and sang Christmas carols, while mainly Tara accompanied on the piano. Earlier, Kari and I played a couple impromptu duets. That was so fun!
In fact, we were enjoying ourselves SO much, our sweet, sweet babysitter, Britta, had B until 11 PM! ACck! Obviously, she'll be rethinking the offer to babysit again ;P

Oh, and it SNOWED! Yes, snow in Washington. 'Twas a splendid surprise! Yes, we were extra careful, but very excited, too.

We went to church early the next morning since we teach high school Sunday School. There weren't a whole lot who braved the weather to come. And I don't blame them, really. Snuggle down in bed in warm jammies while snow is just outside, or get up early, dress up, do you hair and come to a freezing cold Sunday School classroom and learn about God? Hmm. Put that way, I guess I'm grateful we did come to church. There are those who would go to great lengths in other countries just to hear God's Word for themselves. But we were definitely desiring to sleep in! I also had nursery duty. And wouldn't you believe that more kiddos in normal were there! Don't the crazy parents know they're supposed to slack off and stay home? I say this tongue-in-cheek. I loved having all the little guys!

That night was also Brilla's Christmas program. It was short, but very cute. Many kids didn't show due to snow and busyness, but the ones who did come made for a precious program. Brilla sang Away in the Manger with the bigger kids, and was surprised she didn't fall over with all the rocking (swaying) she did with the singing. Unplanned choreography is always a nice touch :)
Then she sang a surprise "solo" (solo because she was the only one available) of Jesus Loves Me. She knew it well. Except at the part where I whispered the words to her...she whispered them back thinking she had to be quiet. Then, quit confident in her performance, she felt the need to show everyone her jumps. 1-2-3! Thank you, dear. Uncle Sean and Brian were there, along with Grandpa John. She loved that. Afterward, there were Christmas cookies to munch on.

Though the weekend left us sleepless and fatter (I speak for myself), we had a glorious time!

Monday, December 15, 2008

December 15, 2008

The day Amelia Goheen was predicted to join our family.

Just stopping in to say this day has been so good for us - a day to mourn, remember, pray and rejoice. We stopped by Amelia's grave this morning and placed a dozen white roses by her spot. The snow made it prettier than normal.

Though I know my daughter's in heaven with God, I couldn't help but remember the day we were so excited we were having another girl, only to find out nearly 7 months later, September 22, 2008, that she had left us. Such disappointment. Her death is a reminder that the earth is not our home. In the meantime, we are not despairing, but joying when we can, crying when we must. And always, always, remembering Amelia. On this day, I thought I would be in major depression. But thank God, that's not the case. I'm able to hold up my head because God holds the future, He gives me hope and He is faithful. I'm doubly child is safe and secure in heav'n and I will get to see her again! Today, I'm giving my beautiful 2 year old, Brilla extra kisses and love. I can't tell you how I grow more thankful for her every day.

A few verses from His Word:

The Finality of Death

For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root wax old in the earth, the stump dies in the ground; Yet through the scent water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.

But man dies and wastes away: yea, man gives up the ghost, and where is he? As the waters disappear from the sea, and flood decays and dries up; So man lies down, and rises not: until the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. Job 14:7-12


For I know my Redeemer lives, and that HE shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; Job 19:25-27


Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ. 2 Cor. 1:3-5

Saturday, December 13, 2008


My daughter's delivery date was to be December 15, 2o08. This is in tribute to our beautiful Amelia Goheen...

For quite some time we walked around
In fogs of darkest grey,
Wanting you to snuggle close
Inside our arms to stay.

Your departure was abrupt,
A rug pulled from our feet.
All the dreams we had for you
Were gone in death's defeat.

Instead of coming home to us,
You were born in Jesus' arms,
Free from old sin nature's tug,
Safe from mischief's harm.

Though we'd like to kiss your cheeks
And put you down for bed,
You are resting in God's heav'n,
Feasting on His Bread.

See, life with us seems better than
What you're experiencing now.
We wanted you to thrill and thrive...
Yet, God will teach you how.

While we battle sickness, pain and grief,
You've conquered in the fight.
And though you'll miss our earthly joy,
Naught compares with God's delight.

We will miss you, precious gem;
Amelia, Driven One.
But your days ahead aren't sad;
They're soaking up the Son.

As our transient path leads on
We'll treasure what's above.
Disappointment in this life
Can't keep us from His love.

We hope you know that Mom and Dad
Are oh, so proud of you.
Dancing, bowing, praising God,
A perfect girl, 'tis true.

We haven't seen or heard quite yet
Of what He has in store.
But one day it will include
Joining you on Glory's shore.

Until then we'll thank the Lord
For a fresh day to breathe air.
A chance to share the light of Truth,
To laugh, to give, to care.

Thank you, Amelia, for your life
Left us not the same.
We still question why you left,
But because you came...

You've brought us closer to His heart.
You bring us to our knees.
God's promises our dearer still;
His grace has met our needs.

Better to love deeply and lose
Then to not have loved at all.
Your place behind our heart remains;
Engraved upon its wall.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

In This World

I have blogged a lot lately. Maybe 'tis the season. There is so much going on, yet I'm not as out and about these days. (That is a good thing for this shopaholic, staying home is the cure for spending money!) But there are many activities to attend and prepare for. Amidst it all, we can lose our time with God. The times of quietness alone with Him. Or we can bury ourselves further and deeper into Himself. The choice is ours.

Anyway, doesn't it seem the needs of this world are so overwhelming? There is so much death, sickness, so many hurting marriages, hurting hearts and depravity. I guess as long as we are in this world, there will be tribulation. But God says not to fear because He has overcome the world. But just because He has overcome doesn't make it any easier. Still, we can boldly come before His throne of grace and receive help in our time of need. The one spot of solace amidst our world's craziness.

Continue to intercede for our brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as those still don't know Him or have not surrendered to Him. Don't grow weary in your prayers. Just wanted to let you know I'm pleading, thanking and interceding right along with you. And if you have any needs, please post them in a comment and I will pray for you.

My requests:
  • Peace during this time regarding the loss of our 28-week unborn baby, Amelia. Her due date was Dec. 15th. We are remembering her and sad moments come upon us.
  • Continued work for our construction company, Verity Contracting.
  • The girls in Bible Club would receive Christ as Savior. And those who have, would grow spiritually.
  • My Grandma Louise's spinal nerve has narrowed and is causing her pain. She receives shots tomorrow. Please pray that God would restore her and she wouldn't have to have surgery. Also, that God gives the doctors wisdom.

Thank you!

God is Good

Just posting to say that God has answered our prayers about getting more work. He is so good.

I also wanted to say that I am sad because a friend's brother-in-law just passed away last night. He was only in his 30s and died of cancer. His young wife is going to have a hard Christmas this year. My prayers and tears are with them this day.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas decoration and the best gifts

I've finally about got my whole house decorated :) I like to talk about my Christmas decorations because they weren't bought in a mass of several hours, but rather, over several years.

First, our nativity scenes. They are all miniature. Just this last year I was SO tempted to buy the nativity water globe at Costco. But wouldn't you know, I found it at a garage sale for 5 bucks instead! It's my favorite. A friend from church made a nativity out of mini flower pots, with wooden heads on top. They are too cute. Next, I have a wooden scene, beautifully made with 3 separate figures: Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. I also have a small glassy one that I usually put on the coffee table because the pieces are not easily broken. Lastly is a tea light holder. It's a single base with Mary, Joseph and Jesus all melded into one. The base is widest on the bottom, where you can place a tea light in the back. Very perty.

My Christmas tree lamp is special. A little girl from ballet lessons gave it to me. So sweet.

I also have a tree, um, blanket? What do you all those? Anyway, I purchased this one from CAMA services. Women from Kosovo make several crafts by hand and sell them to receive an income. This is one of their fine works.

My dear friend Sarah gave me a tea light holder/fragrance lamp. The heat from the tea light heats up the dish, which then releases the liquid fragrance. When lit, it cheerfully gives off a design of reindeer.

The kissing bears. My students and other kids always love these! "OOOh, they're kissing!"

I also have a neat Christmas photo album with Scripture inside that I found at Ross. I keep pictures from Christmas' past in there. Also I have the Advent devotional "Let Every Heart" sitting up by the tea light lamp.

A couple holidy trays sit up in the corner. They are vintage and I love them. Usually coupled with some silver beads and other stuff, they look homey and rustic all at once.

I have some lighted candy canes to place in the lawn. Those will be wondrous once I actually find them. Another thing I place in front of the house are holiday sacks that light up. They look like small paper bags with candles inside. But they're actually electrical and thick plastic.

I have two little banners on the window. One reads "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and the other is a nativity scene. Also by the window is a lighted angel.

I have several other bittys here and there, but not grand enough to mention, or bore you with. You should be grateful I'm not showtelling each of my ornaments :D

Last night at Bible club we talked about the wisemen and the gifts they gave to Jesus. We talked about what Jesus gave us. He gave His very life so that our sins could be washed away. A couple of the girls did not like the fact that the innocent Lamb of God had to be slain. I explained that He was not murdered, but He gave His life willingly. That didn't help, they were still upset. So I backed up and explained to them about the Old Testament sacrifices, then how Christ took our place on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice. "He shouldn't have had to do that!", one of the girls cried. And she's right. It's such a grievous thing that Jesus had to die for our sin. How He died was awful. Sinless Jesus carried the dirt and filth of the entire world on His shoulders. And we should be sorry for our sin.

The girls' eyes lit up with understanding. "He died so we wouldn't have to", the oldest piped up. Yes, isn't that the most amazing love? While we were still yucky with sin, He died for us. Yes, their had to be a shedding of blood for forgiveness of sins. But the good news is, Jesus didn't stay dead. He rose again. And that is why we can go to heaven when we die. Because though our shells give way, our souls live with Him forever. "Only good people go to heaven and bad people to down there", one of them said signaling with her thumb. "Only those who believe that Jesus died for their sins go to heaven," I corrected her. Even our good-looking actions don't get us to heaven. Jesus is the only way. But I know what she's getting at. This little 9 year old girl is bitter at her dad. He is in prison because he's a bad person. Someone God couldn't forgive. Truth is, he's someone only God can forgive. An issue to ,unfortunately, be discussed another night.

"What happens when we believe Jesus died for our sins, but we still make mistakes?" Very good question. Those girls don't know what a spiritual exercise they give me every Monday night.
I explained that since we are human, we will make mistakes even when we try not to. Jesus says if we confess our sins, He will make us clean again. Every day. Not just once a year like the Israelites. And this should make us so humble because without Jesus, we could never be looked on by God with all of our sin. But now when God looks on us, He doesn't see us in our sin, He sees Jesus Christ's righteousness.

For the craft, we each cut out a heart. "What did the wise men give Jesus?", I reviewed. They tried to recite the funny words of gold, frankincense and myhhr (sp?). "What can we give Jesus?" "Our hearts!" Jesus wants us to follow Him. That's all He wants. He doesn't need money or fancy cars. He wants us to walk in His ways and obey His commands. This Christmas, there will be 3 little girls who are giving their hearts to Jesus, wanting to follow Him. Isn't that wonderful?

We will be putting our hearts under the tree for Him, too. It's a wonderful lesson of the true meaning of Christmas and the best gifts of all.

Monday, December 8, 2008


If you or your children are interested in learning to play the piano, this is the place! At Joyful Sound Piano, I teach music from a traditional approach, which includes piano theory and technique. Each lesson is tailored to your child! Your child can begin lessons when he or she knows his alphabet, can count, and has a good feeling of rhythm. Usually, that age is 5 or 6. But I also teach adults! It is never too late to learn!
Lessons are $15/half-hour lesson. We have recitals in Spring to show everyone how the students have met their goals. I am located in the Federal Way/Kent area. Let me know if you are interested at Or even just comment on this website with your contact information. Hope to hear from you soon!

VERITY CONTRACTING - New home construction, Remodeling, Decks, Siding

Mike, and the rest of the guys who work with Verity Contracting, are incredibly skilled and have solid integrity. They are the top of the line. That is a blessing in the economy because while builders and homeowners want to a great result, they also don't know who is reliable and who will do a good job. I want to give the shout out that if you have a project you want done, check out our website at Mike's cell is 253-312-7873. New homes, remodels, decks, siding, Verity Contracting is available. This team does stellar work, keeps their word, and brings satisfaction with the finished product.
It is Monday again! Yay...time for paying bills and cleaning my house.

I'm also supposed to work out. Heh. We'll see if that happens. I guess if I want to get any skinnier, it's going to have to happen. One day at a time. If it weren't for the wonderful tv screens that are viewed from the treadmill and ellipticals at my gym, I probably would be bored out of my wits. And this is coming from a girl who has played soccer and volleyball competitively her whole life, who actually has enjoyed fitness and running. I guess I am just so burnt out lately on the whole getting-in-shape scene. I need motivation. So I have decided to get with a personal trainer, or at least a work out plan, and track my calories again. That is the only way it has worked after I've had a baby. I have to be aggresive about it...or all my good intentions fly away in the wind!

I rest in the thought that in heaven our bodies will be perfect.

Which reminds me. I was at a ladies tea on Saturday morning. It was beautiful, with each table decorated differently. The chamber choir (made up of young people) came in to sing at the beginning. They're voices blended perfectly; they sounded like angels. One girl in particular caught my attention because she looked like, in my mind's eye, what Amelia might look like in heaven. Worshipping God. Tears immediately sprang up and had to step out to the restroom. It's little moments like this that take me off guard. It's hard, but it's sweet to know Amelia's "right behind my heart" at all times. Especially these days, with her -what was to be due date- looming one week away. December 15. That will be a hard day. Please pray for me.

Yesterday, Sunday, we stopped by Amelia's grave. We surprisingly hadn't come by in a long while. We didn't bring flowers; we're saving that for next week. Oh, I wept. I hadn't had a good cry in a long time and just wept. Michael held me and let me cry in his arms. I know you read this over and over again...but I miss my daughter SO MUCH. I cannot stop missing her. She is apart of me and forever will be. The ache always subsides eventually with the busyness of life. But her existence was a fact and I'm glad we are different because of it. I'm stronger for it, but also more sensitive and compassionate. My Brilla was so sweet while I was crying. She said quietly, "Mama lose the baby?" I said yes, then held her tight and loved on her. It will be neat when Brilla's old enough to tell her about the beautiful baby sister that she has in heaven. When Amelia was inside of me, Brilla used to feel my stomach and called her "Baby Tummy". Sweet memories...

On Saturday night (I know I'm going back and forth here), we went to listen to and watch Handel's Messiah, sung by a local Korean choir. It was wonderful! The soloists were incredibly talented. The Messiah always inspires me because it is one of the few oratorios written soley for the glory of God. Brilla did amazingly well through most of the whole thing. We had to leave early because of bed time.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Casting out fear and other afternoon chat

My Wednesday started out and ended pretty unexciting.The middle part - that was the best.

This afternoon I able to chat with other women from my Bible Study group. We gathered around with our lunches and coffee and talked about...what else is better?...God! We shared answered prayer. Our God is so mighty! He answers in ways that blow our "options" for Him to answer our prayers. His ways are so much higher and wiser. So outside the box.

We also cried together. I honestly do not consider myself a woman of strength, but another gal thanked me for my strength amidst my trial, that is has encouraged her a lot lately. When she thinks of me, she said she sheds tears. I can't tell you what a balm that was to my heart. I'm just feebly peddling along day after day, trying to do what I believe God has for me to do...even though deep in the background, the loss of my daughter is still pretty fresh. Truth is, I am NOT a strong woman, but I serve a STRONG GOD!! Amen and Amen. Truly when we are weak, He is strong. I shared that the reason I love studying God's Word is because during the last couple months in my life, I've only wanted to be with God. I didn't want to listen to my usual cd selection, didn't want tv, no shopping, no hanging out with friends. Just God, my journal and a hymn cd by Chris Rice someone gave me at Amelia's memorial service. And in hindsight, that is where I have needed to be. At God's feet, reading His Words, daily needing His strength, longing and begging for His peace, crying tears, surrendering and continuing the cycle over and over.

I was graced today by these 4 ladies. We all have kids and all have struggles as parents. We continue to pray for each other in matters of discipline, heartache and keeping a home in this economy. Especially when you're husband is in construction! ;) We talked about trusting God and not fearing. Not making decisions based on fear. One woman was afraid to take her child out of private school to put him in public school. But another woman pointed out that God is in public school, too. Lesson being - God is in control. We just have to meet with Him and ask Him for wisdom, which will continually drive out our fear. I mentioned that lately I have struggled with fear. I'm not a big worrier. I don't usually take unnecessary burdens on my shoulders. But since Amelia's death, I have been pulled toward worrying about my husband's and daughter's safety. I've just had to give that to God and ask, "God, please take away me fear and give my heart peace. You are in control." Satan can use fear in our lives to place a wedge between us and God. We think we're doing the right thing, but really, the right thing is to let go, surrender to His will and bathe the situation in prayer. Even if things hit rock bottom, maybe that is what God has planned.

Anyway, I am such a blessed girl to meet with these women every Wednesday!

Can I also say I am super thankful that my mom watched Bri basically all morning/afternoon so I could meet with this group! Thank you, Mom. Your kindness goes noticed.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The weekend

Is anyone else completely exhausted after the Thanksgiving weekend, or is it just me? 'Cause I am pooped! I officially have an awful cold to boot. It's not a runny nose thing, but went straight from sore throat to lung and cough yuckiness. I lost my voice, too!

Of course, Thanksgiving dinner was AMAZING. The menu:
  • Turkey with baked squash and potato coins
  • Ham (with pineapple sauce)
  • 3 pans of homemade stuffing!
  • Praline sweet potatoes
  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • Green bean casserole
  • Homemade rolls
  • Cranberry sauce (Costco makes the best!)
  • Salad
  • Apple pie
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Caramel apple pie
  • Pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting
  • Chocolate Cheesecake (cheesecake factory)
  • Regular chocolate cake

Don't think we had enough food! You have to understand, there were 22 of us at my sister-in-law's. That included lots of kids. So basically, there was nothing left to take home, which I greatly appreciated. Don't need all those calories tempting me. Before eating our feast, a bunch of us played soccer. It was a blast! Complete with many, many laughs because of all our goof-ups. Makes me miss the good 'ole soccer days.

After eating, Mom, Rosa, Michelle and I scanned the sale ads. Don't know why. We weren't buying half of what was on our lists since money is tight. And even if we get there early, only about the first 10 people will get the cool stuff!

The next day, I was busy prepping for a financial meeting in the afternoon. Yes, exactly the thing you want to do on T-giving weekend. But really, it is worth it in the long run...hopefully I can post about that before Christmas comes. Anyway, I was done with the mtg around 12.

All the sales were over.

But I headed to Old Navy since I was in the South Hill area anyway. Thank the Lord for Old Navy! That have bunches of cute, inexpensive gifts! And they weren't even door busters. Skip Penneys...nothing there. Target didn't have anything either. We skipped Bri's nap. Only way this Mama could ever get any shopping done, especially with Daddy gone at work. Anyway, after my daughter had an emotional break down at Target, I braved the time and headed to Michael's and Ross.

Lots and lots of yarn on sale at Michael's! I also bought a huge frame collage for Amelia's photos when they arrive. It was half off. I should have gone to Ross in the first place...they had the best prices and nothing was even on sale! It was good I had gone to other stores first because I was able to compare numbers. The same gloves at Penney's for $25 were only 6.99 at Ross. And they were genuine leather. In the end, we were both happy, for I got all my Christmas shopping done and B got an ICEE and cookie.

I forgot to mention that I bought the most beautiful little ornament in memory of Amelia. It is two golden lacy ballet slippers, reminding us that she is walking on streets of gold. Such a precious addition to our collection. Oh, I will miss our baby girl like nothing this Christmas.

On Saturday, we went to Mt. Ranier with our dear friends...the Watsons, John Anderson, Edie, Caribelle, Matt & Tara, Eric & Rachel, Mike & Jana and all the kids in those families. Mike went down into the valley to get the tree (I really wanted to!), but I had to watch Bri. He got a perfect one. The ladies chatted by the bonfire (thanks guys!) and ate yummies, because we didn't have enough on T-giving already :) Though fun, we were all tired by the end. Mike was soaked and dirty, so we headed back home. That night, we also went to Mike's parents' house for some after holiday fun, and to visit with Uncle Don one last time. We also watched the awesome, and I mean awesome, movie "Planet Earth", which included scenes of snow-capped mountains, leopards, elephants under water, wild dogs, impalas, pumas, and many other wild animals and wild life.

Sunday morning, I stayed home with Bri, since our colds were in full force. I was supposed to play a piano special, but I'm sure everyone is thankful I didn't spread our germs. It was a nice day to rest up.

In other news, my brothers will be coming home Dec. 13th. We are all looking forward to it, especially Brilla. She hasn't forgotten her uncles. And they haven't forgotten us. Last night, we received a sweet Thanksgiving card from them, included was a senior photo from Brian, in his tux. Can it be he's already 21? I have this policy that any girls interested have to get through me first ;P Goes for Sean, too. Anyway, when they guys get home, we will be having lots of laughs and mochas, I am sure. I'll prolly help decorate their house, too, seeing my mother says she doesn't have a decorating bone in her body...and it's a little weird for the guys to be doing it all. We'll Christmas carol until we're hoarse, playing piano and violin until our fingers are sore (I know mine will be sore, haven't played violin in forever since mine's in repair), and staying up so late, we'll be exhausted and get another bad cold.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Thanksgiving This Year

For so long, I just wanted my daughter with me. I knew she was with Jesus, but I wanted her down here...where I could hold her and take care of her. Sad thoughts just tumbled over and over again inside my mind and my heart was so heavy with the burden. I have been doing well lately. I have found that I am at peace with Amelia's death and am filled more and more with thankfulness and content at what God has given me. But I still have those very sad moments.

Like tonight.

I can't help but wish she would be in my tummy, kicking around like a good little girl should do at less than three weeks until her birth. I wish that I would be holding my husband's hand tomorrow at the Thanksgiving feast and telling our families that we are looking forward to our daughter's birth. Though I'd be huge, and complaining about my aches and pains, I would have Amelia.

What struck this painful chord? I was baking tonight, when my husband called me to the tv. On the news (some of you may have watched it), a little girl was born premature at 26 weeks. She is currently in the neonatal care unit. She cannot leave until her due date in February.

And her name is Amelia.

Immediately, I was wishing we had our baby girl alive and in that unit, even if she was premature; wishing we had caught whatever was wrong with her before it was too late; wishing we could care for her, have her hear our voice. But it will not be. I am sure it is hard for this couple to have their precious Amelia in the neonatal unit. Even though she's alive; it is hard to see such a tiny person with tubes attached. And life is not guaranteed for one born so small. But there is a good chance and I will be praying that come February, she will get that chance. That couple will be walking from the hospital with their beautiful daughter in their arms. Oh, Lord, let it be so.

You know, it is hard for a parent to watch their teenager or adult child rebel, turn against them - or worse, turn against God. It causes heartache for many years, especially if they are still on the wrong path when the parent dies. The uncertainty of their son or daughter's eternity.

We will never have that uncertainty with Amelia. We will never have to experience the pain of rebellion from her, or the matter of where she'll go when she dies. We don't have to be scared if she'll get run over by a car, or kidnapped. Or worried she'll get bad grades. She is automatically with Jesus. He is her guardian now; better than even us, her parents. His love is greater than ours. Someday soon we will join her and be experiencing that same love.

Now, that is something I will be able to share at the dinner table tomorrow evening!

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Day

Busy, busy, busy! That describes my day.

I woke up with an awful stuffy nose because I kept groping for my thick blanket that kept inching away from me all night. And as irritating as my nose was, my dear toddler was extra curious today, getting into all kinds of things. It was just one of those mornings where I wish parenting was on cruise control. Welcome to reality - guess who is the only one available to train? As luck would have it, I had to change some pee-pee soaked sheets, too. Then as I checked my drawers, I realized I need to wash some clothes to work out in!

As my laundry washed and dried, I tried to get the bills paid. My daughter was hungry for "beckfast" so I got some hot cereal whipped up. It was nice to sip hot tea and eat spoonfuls of wondrous hot cereal...for about 5 minutes. I soon got a call from hubby saying I had a phone appt at 11 regarding business. So I head over to the gym where I have a blissful hour of working up a sweat, while B is in the kids area. Then I drive home for the phone appt.

After trying to feed my daughter, hubby and me a healthy, yummy lunch (thank the Lord for leftovers!), I sit down and check my email. Then it's time to put the kiddo down for naptime. I love nap time! I immediately pounce on all the paperwork I have to get done and bills to pay. After that is finished, I scurry around and clean my home just in time for my dear students to arrive.

Lesson time was wonderful today. I enjoy teaching and learn so much from it myself. All students have different learning languages and speeds. After the last student, I try to prep dinner so it doesn't take as long later in the evening. Meanwhile, my husband is prepping for Bible club. I end up missing story and craft time because my "easy snack" took so long! Then dinner came late, but it was good. For dessert we had the leftovers from the kids' snack...yellow cake cupcakes with delicious chocolate frosting.

Now I sit here with a sigh of relief that the day is at its end. Most of all, I'm thankful that before I faced my crazy day, I gave it to the Lord and spent time with Him. Even though my list of things to do haunted me, I'm glad I put God first. It's always worth it. I always remind myself that it's like going without a meal when I starve myself spiritually. Which reminds me...I need to thank Him for another beautiful, busy day before I go to bed.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Perfect Peace

I cannot describe how perfect and full God's peace is. Some days felt completely hopeless and were never-ending with tears. I needed Christ alone, His comfort, His Words only. He has answered my prayers and given me the peace and comfort I have longed for.

I still miss my daughter, but my contentment and thankfulness win out over the longing for her to be here. I can't begin to describe the gratitude I have toward God for the tangible and intangible gifts in my life. He's also made me realize that He has amazing plans for me. The painful past can only serve to aide the future that is waiting. I just sit with my husband as of late and think about all of God's goodness to us.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The song "Come to Jesus" by Chris Rice is one of my very favorites. It prompts tears every time I hear it...thinking of my precious daughter laughing on Glory's side.

You know, when you lose a child, you never get over it. You learn to accept it, take it as your lot, but you never get over it. I'm sure the pain lessens and heals with time when accepted with a heart of faith, but it leaves a scar. Even Jesus had Thomas touch his nail-scarred hands; in Revelation, John describes the Lamb "as if it had been slain". Death no longer has victory, but it leaves its mark. By the end of my life I am bound to have many more scars. I used to think there would be no tears in heaven. God's Word says He will wipe away the there has to be tears to begin with. It's hard to believe, but Jesus shines through us more beautifully when we are broken and full of holes. It shows we've had to lean on Him for strength, Him lifting us up with His strong right arm. Only then are we completely empty of ourselves and become full of His grace, mercy, love and strength. He is our Healer as well. He gives time of laughter and joy so bountiful it makes our hearts burst with pleasure...times when we wonder how we could ever experience pain. It's all so blended fully in this journey we call life.

These days I am learning to be more thankful, to contemplate on what God has given. There are so many blessings I take for husband, my daughter, family and friends. But also things. Because the economy is down and my husband is not as busy with work as usual, we are simplifying our life and subtracting from the list of expenses. It is a refreshing and hard thing to do. It is the birth of creativity, too! --Saving on groceries, homemade cards, checking out books from the library vs buying them, eating at home, and spending time with friends vs shopping. I have learned that we can get by without nearly as much output! All in all, God is our Provider and we don't need things to make us happy and we should always be content with what we have.

I cannot put into a capsule all that I'm feeling these days. But I do know this, all is well with my soul. Though my heart hurts sometimes, God is the same and I worship Him. He makes no mistakes and is good all. the. time.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


As I read God's Word, there is so MUCH I don't yet understand and so MUCH I learn new every day.

For you will light my candle: the Lord God will enlighten my darkness...For who is God save the Lord? Or who is a rock save our God? It is God that girds me with strength, and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like hinds' feet and sets me upon my high places. Psalm 18

I will bless the LORD, who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore, my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices: my flesh also shall rest in hope. Psalm 16

Monday, November 17, 2008

Books and more

I have some recent good reads that I must pass on...

Last year, I discovered Karen Kingsbury. She writes Christian fiction, but not your $1 romance type. She is captivating and inspiring at the same time. I just finished Even Now. It is a deep story about love, mistakes and forgiveness. You should definitely check it out.

Safe in the Arms of God by John MacArthur (don't know if I spelled that right) is a comforting and encouraging book about where the unborn, babies and small children go after they die. It makes you cry, but gives hope at the same time.

I am currently delving into My Grandfather's Son by Supreme Ct Justice Clarence Thomas, Between Sundays by Kingsbury, and Jesus: The One and Only by Beth Moore. I know, I have high ambitions for myself to get through three books so close to the holidays. We'll see what I finish!

Brilla and I have really enjoyed browsing our local library. It has recently been completely remodelled/rebuilt, so it's pretty cool. It's also a fun, free thing we can do when it's rainy outside. In the mornings, it is not crowded and there's a better selection. Brilla loves to get some board books and snuggle with stuffed animals in the one of the window seats. I, on the other hand, glean my way through the dvds and vhs' searching for a movie we haven't seen yet. Yes, I eventually get to the books...I would take them all home with me if I could. Whoever invented libraries was a genius. I don't know what I'd do without them. Did you know you can even check out cookbooks? Even the large edition of Better Homes and Gardens one? Ahh, I'm in heaven.

Favorite things

Fall is my favorite season of the year. I decided to list the many things I like about it!

  • Coffee...pumpkin spice lattes, spiced cider, peppermint mochas
  • Spiced chai tea (powder is the best!)
  • Eggnog
  • Making baked goodies and getting the first bite straight from the oven!....fruit crisp, blueberry muffins, any kind of cookie, brownies.
  • Sweaters, long-sleeved shirts, cords, thick stockings, boots, velour sweats, scarves, hats.
  • Sipping early grey tea while listening to a cds or reading Karen Kingsbury
  • Fires
  • Snuggling under blankets while watching an old movie (currently watching Errol Flynn)
  • Decorating my house with fall stuff
  • Pumpkin picking, then eating roasted corn and kettle corn afterward!
  • Looking forward to Thanksgiving
  • Mike & I celebrate our birthdays in Oct
  • Walking through the malls for exercise since it's too rainy outside :)
  • Fall holiday bazaar at church
  • Soups and stews
  • Pumpkin pie

No wonder I walk into the New Year with so many extra calories!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lanes of memory

I can't seem to stop blogging today! My hubby and daughter are napping, the reason for all this spare time on my hands.

These past two days, my mind has caught me off guard and taken me d0wn forgotten lanes of memory, while Amelia was still alive. Happy memories then, but now sad because she is gone. Like the time I went to play volleyball with friends. Another woman was pregnant, about as far along as I was and she also had a toddler girl. What a coincidence! We talked about anticipation of the future, with pregnancy complaints mixed in. Another gal mentioned,"You grew fast at first, but then have seemed to stop!" I remember taking this as a compliment. ;) When pregnant, you take them when you can! Anyway, on our drive today, I was telling Michael how these memories keep plaguing me. They are like a drumbeat to sorrow that I can't seem to stop. Last night I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep. Sometimes I wonder when they will end. Don't get me wrong, I want to remember. I don't want to forget Amelia and all our special times together. But all this sadness leaves me exhausted. God rejuvinates my heart eventually, but I feel as lovely as a prune afterward.

I am so glad God is God. I am glad we have His hope because without it, there is no sense in "cheering up". How can the "hopeless" man really live? This world full of death gives no comfort in itself. Really, happy living to its fullest without Jesus never gives lasting comfort either. In fact, even in the most sorrowful times ever, we can still be at great peace with God compared to the man who is smoothly sailing on his own merits. Aren't you glad God is God, and He loves us so much that while we were still sinners, He died for us? And as His children, He's cloaked us in His beautiful righteousness? I am brought to praise because of His grace and mercy toward me. There is nothing I have done to earn it. Quite the opposite.

"Why art Thou cast down, O my soul?
and why art thou disquieted within me?
hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him,
who is the health of my countenance (salvation), and my God."
Psalm 42:11

"His name shall endure for ever:
His name shall be continued as long as the sun:
and men shall be blessed in Him:
all nations shall call Him blessed.
Blessed be His glorious Name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with His glory; Amen, and Amen."
Psalm 72:17-19

At Home With Him

I wrote this for another family who experienced a loss about six years ago. It's from the perspective of the loved one gone Home.

At Home With Him

My Father called my name one day
To dwell at home with Him.
It seemed that life upon this earth
Grew strangely, quickly dim.

And on my journey homeward,
He led me all the way;
He never ceased to hold my hand
Nor ceased to hear me pray.

I thought it would be sad to leave
My loved ones all behind,
But Jesus whispered in my ear,
"Dear child, they too are mine."

There were times doubt gripped my heart;
I longed to wipe your tears,
To soothe the aching pain of loss
And calm your endless fears.

It seemed the sand of numbered days
Was slipping from my grasp,
And those I loved so preciously
Were no longer in my clasp.

Dear Love, and friends so dear to me,
I hope you understand
That death as well as joyous life
Comes from the Father's hand.


Those who know me well know that I love writing poems. Journaling and poetry are my two main outlets of expressing myself. But I haven't been able to write a poem about Amelia. Just little bits here and there, nothing connected. The words simply have not flowed. When I sit down and try hard to think of something, I am stumped. I think my fear is that I cannot string all the memories, dashed hopes and dreams, peace from God, and anticipation of seeing her into one blunt poem. It is like containing the ocean. And then it hit me - I don't have to just write one poem, I can write several. And they may be revised/edited in the future. So here are a few raw bits and pieces from the last couple months:

I've never felt an ache so deep
It rocked my very soul,
Until I lost you, Baby Girl,
The one I long to hold.

Those many months I loved you much
Feeling all your kicks.
The flutters in my womb mid-dawn,
Oft' at 4 and even 6.

When I first heard the awful news
My tears fell free and fast
All my special days with you
Existed in the past.

I'm not ashamed to say it hurt
To let go of your hand
Whisper farewell to my babe;
I still can't understand.

Only your joy up in heaven
Is a balm to my chafed heart;
To know that Jesus holds you close-
Never far to part.
There are a couple others I can't find at the moment.
Here are a few, written some years back, but still offer encouragement now...

Hope in Jesus
When you turn to find that helper
Or you strain to hold a hand,
When you long for love that's constant-
For someone to understand.

When it seems that life's unfaithful
And your song hits minor tones,
When endurance renders absent
And your spirit soars alone...

You must embrace those feelings
That would drown your faith in God,
Place them in His pierced hands
For 'tis the path He trod.

Though you only see tomorrow
As a vision fading fast;
Remember that His Word long stands
Unlike the with'ring grass.

Oh, you cannot cling to people
Or the fears which dwell within,
For disciples never stay down long;
They get up and try again...and again.

God's grace is always stronger,
The "I Am" will never cease.
So give Him all those longings dear;
He'll replace them with His peace.

Do not reach downward to clasp
That sorrow you once carried.
But Rise again to sing His hymne
For hope has not been buried.
He's Already There

I love the Lord with all my heart;
His love for me shall never part.

Even when I feel adrift,
To His throne my hands I'll lift.

For there are no waves ever higher
To which His strength does not aspire.

And no valley ever deeper
Where His peace is never steeper.

But when upon the edge I cling
To His glory will I sing?

For though I reach to hold His hand,
Already in His grace I stand.

When eternity has met me
And earth's strings no longer cling,
My Savior's arms will greet me
And with the angels I will sing.

Not a song heralded proudly,
Nor a tune sweet to the ear,
But in worship chorus sounding
I will praise His Name so dear!

Oh, He's promised me a mansion-
A bright home in glory land.
But you know that I'd dwell cheaply
Just to clasp my Savior's hand.

The saints of God will be there,
And His martyrs with Him reign.
All the dear ones I though were lost
Shall meet my eyes again.

I hope to see Ms. Frivold
Who would lift my needs in prayer.
Who did long to be with Jesus,
And could not the cancer bear.

Then I too will see Ms. Korli
Who I came to see a last time,
But found out she'd gone to glory
Leaving me behind.

There are others that I hope to see
But are not within the fold,
Oh, how I long to see my grandparents
In the heavenly household!

Since I have not yet passed the test,
And still have years to live,
May I each day study heartily
And myself to others give.

I hope to be found faithful
Giving duty's call much heed.
Living life for Jesus' Christ,
Proclaiming love in every deed.

For when the trumpets sound above
We'll meet Him in a wink.
There will be no time for rush,
No minutes left to think.

My friend, be ready for His call
And when life seems dull with pain,
Ne'er give in, stay strong in faith -
Bring glory to His name!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

lunch, membership refund and brilla-isms

Bri and I went out to lunch this afternoon with Brilla's Mamang (filipino for grandma) and Grandpa John. It was a small recognition for Dad, a veteran. We always love getting a chance to hang out with them. Unfortunately, the teriyaki was terrible! Bri and I went to my mom's afterward and had pumpkin bars, talked, and scanned the catalog of a local Christian store chain. Fun, fun! These last few years I've refused to get out in the craziness of after-Thanksgiving shopping, but that might be just one store I actually hit.

Yesterday I went to the gym and requested a refund for last month's dues because of my sudden absence due to our stillbirth. They gave me the pat answer of "no, we only freeze membership ahead of time". I then requested a credit, to which she answered,"we don't usually do that, but I can let you know in the next 24 hrs". Tonight I got a call from the accounting head and she said they needed a doctor's note. This was all kind of a morbid process, but I went ahead and took them the death certificate. Hopefully I will get a credit. I was hesitant to go back and ask in the first place, since I worked out regularly up until our loss. It's hard to be pregnant to everyone's eyes, then suddenly not be. I'm not a woman who likes to demand like a jerk (especially in this situation), so if they don't give me one, that's fine. Business is business, though I would be surprised if they don't.

On the way home, I was casually glancing at Amelia's death certificate and noticed it's called a fetal death certificate. They also have a box for the name of the fetus. I never noticed that before. I'm sure it's entitled "fetal" because the definition of when life begins has its legal parameters, yada, yada, yada. But it just got my mind thinking. It reminded me that an unborn baby is not just a fetus. He or she is a human being. And an unborn baby's death is a human death. Amelia had a soul, just as any other unborn child. There are a host of these special ones the world has never seen before, but that only God, their Creator, has. We will see them in heaven again, all those precious children that were only hoped for, never held. Or held, but never raised. I've wondered at what Amelia looks like right now. I have this thought she won't be running around in heaven as small as she left us. Who knows? All we know is that she's big enough to worship and love her God. I can't wait until our reunion. What a blessed day that will be!

Reminds of me of our daughter that we do have and hold. That girl is a singer! Every chance she gets, she wants to sing for people. Or sometimes I hear her chirping away as she plays with her toys. Her favorites are Great is Thy Faithfulness, Jesus Loves Me, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Deep and Wide, God is So Good, and oh, I've probably forgotten a slough of others. Yes, they are mostly songs about Jesus. I'm sure God smiles when He hears it.

Some recent Brilla-isms...

~when asked if she was cold she said, "No, I'm crazy." Then I said,"You're not crazy, you're smart." Daddy asked,"Are you smart, Brilla?" "I'm not smart, I'm cute." (!)

~I was reiterating her Bible lesson, God takes care of His people. I asked her to say that. She says,"God takes care--of me---you, and---folks." Don't know where she got that (prolly her teacher), but she nailed it!

~Big girl politeness of the day was when she asked in a complete sentence,"Could you hold my bag?" and when offered something, answered,"Yes please." Our little girl's gettin' all fancy :)

Btw, for pronunciation purposes, Brilla is Bree-uh. Small editor's note :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

day's happenings

Spaghetti. The ultimate easy dinner for your busy evening.

That is what we had tonight, because as always, my Monday nights are busy. I have a students in the afternoon, then Bible club from 5-6pm.

We had one lone soul come to Bible Study tonight. Her name is Patience. But she loves Bible club, even if she has to come by herself! We like having her, too. We simply shortened up the time because it doesn't take an hour to teach a lesson for one person. She is the baby in her family at 6 years, and because of this, she gets away with a lot, doesn't know how/want to sit still, and thinks that my daughter, age 2, is her contemporary. Quite hilarious at times, but not so much when you're trying to teach a Bible lesson. I think I learned a lot more than she did, as she was busy asking continually throughout the story if she could please draw on the easel, play the piano, even complained that B wasn't sharing her stuffed kitty! So we did it, we actually learned a new song (I Have Decided), read about Jonah, and memorized a Bible verse, all finalized with a snack and prize.

Earlier today, B and I headed to the gym for the first time in just over 6 weeks. Whew. This is going to be a long road getting back to where I was before pregnancy. I was sweaty just "speed-walking" at 3.8. Meanwhile, B was back visiting with her buddies in Kids Klub. She loves that place. She asked me several times during the last month and a half if she could go to "LA Fee-tus" (LA Fitness). Today she didn't want to leave, so I had to help her off the play set.

Back at home, it was a day of paying bills and getting the house clean. I finally tracked and organized the receipts for this month and last, as well as gently put away all the cards from family and friends after losing Amelia. It felt good to get done a few projects I had set aside for a rainy day. I have so much yet to organize in B's room/the office, it's not even funny. We are in the process of moving B to her new room. So far it is painted and vacuumed. Now we just need to set up her bed, nail the chair railing, place furniture and decorate. That's all :) It will be daunting, yet fun at the same time. Interior decorating is one of my loves.

While we ate spaghetti tonight, we watched Meet the Robinsons. I can't believe we haven't seen it yet. I ended up really enjoying it, despite all the twists and turns. Mike and I have been no fun for B tonight; I have a stiff neck and M is very tired. So looks like we are all turning in early!

Friday, November 7, 2008

From my journal entry today...

I would be about 34 weeks pregnant with Amelia right now. I know, I am torturing myself. Many women who were due later than me are now close to full term. This in no way diminishes my happiness for them, but it does make me miss my baby girl that much more. I will always miss her. I may have another boy, or even girl some day, but I will never stop missing my Amelia amidst the future bundles of joy. I just asked God to say 'hi' to her this morning. To let her know I especially love and miss her this week for some reason. I am an emotional wreck. It subsides when Brilla and Michael are around me, but this week has been awful. This doesn't mean I'm floundering spiritually or in the depths of despair...quite the opposite. Scripture has been the only balm for my soul. I look forward to my devotional time every morning and night. Why? Because God's Word always stays the same. Nothing about it changes. Though my emotions flux up and down, Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Being online, reading a good book, or watching the news or a movie can be distracting, even fun, but they can't soothe my heart, and certainly aren't things I can put my faith in.

I have just wept, prayed and cried out to God this morning. It was a struggle, it always is when those feelings overwhelm me. But when I bare my heart to Him, the result is always the same...He gives me His peace, His contentment. The ability to accept what He has for me. I can't conjure that up on my own. Maybe temporarily, but not lasting like He gives.

Thank you, Jesus, for slowly healing my wounded heart and hearing my often tearful, broken praise. But praise nonetheless for you are a Mighty, Awesome God. One Who is Justice, Love and Compassion all at once.

I have been learning that the Lord is my Jehovah-Ropheka, the Lord Who heals me. Psalm 147:3, "He heals the broken in heart and binds up their wounds (sorrow)." Amen. God is letting me turn to Him with my hurt. We are stronger for our trial. God can never use as infants. There has been this big bitter disappointment in our life (Marah) as the bitter water where the Israelites drank in the desert, but God can turn it sweet. There are also Elims (oasis) after every Marah experience, abounding with streams of His mercy and cool shade, times of refreshment.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


It's easy to set down God's Word and not read it as much when the times are going good. But I am continually reminded of the comparison of reading Scripture to eating meals. Would I just eat one big feast on Wednesday, then say," Okay, that was delicious, I'll have to do that again next week!"? Of course not, seeing that I am one who loves food :) Seriously, though, God's Word is food for my soul. And it will continue on even when my body dies. I am starving myself spiritually when I don't eat of the Bread of Life daily. I only have one toddler nowadays, so I haven't had to go "fast food"style on a regular basis...catching tidbits of His Word here and there due to a hectic schedule. But sometimes those days come anyway and a little is better than nothing.

Today was an average day. I had a wonderful time at Bible study, as usual. Brilla and I went straight home afterward. We split a ham sandwich and finished Cheaper by the Dozen 2. It takes us like 3 days to finish one movie! But it's probably a good thing that tv isn't top priority in this family because we love movies. "Michael Daddy" (as B calls him) came home early from work due to sickness. We were happy he was home, but sad that he's feeling under the weather. After both Daddy and B laid down for their naps, I went out and got some necessities and not-so-necessities at Target, my second home. I got some shampoo, conditioner, tp, paper towels, cereal and some clothing for myself. I got a cute jean skirt to go with chunky tights as well as a black dress that can be coordinated with different sweaters to make more than just one outfit. Also, 4 long sleeve shirts in light brown, grey, black and white to go underneath sweaters and things to stretch out my wardrobe. So, nothing super exciting, but at least I won't look blah now. It was nice to get out by myself without the kiddo. Aren't you proud I didn't buy a mocha while I was out? Instead, I ate a few cookies tonight after dinner ;P Oatmeal chocolate chip are hard to pass up. Especially homemade.

Later we watched an episode of All Creatures, one of our most absolute favorite shows. We've watched the espisode before, but it's always fun just the same. Then I rubbed my hubby's feet because it always helps when one is sick.

Now I must go to bed. I was so disappointed about yesterday's election, but I know that God is the one who appoints kings and brings them down. He is in control. I said to myself, "Well, we survived President Clinton." But as my husband aptly put it, "Only thousands of unborn children did not." That is what concerns me most about this current president-elect, especially since the issue of unborn children is so dear to my heart.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Birthday party

I forgot to talk about my 27th birthday party! How could I forget about that? We went to Olive Garden for dinner. My brother and I used to go there every year for our birthdays. We share one, though we're 6 years apart. But now he's at college so we've had to celebrate separately these past 4 years. was great, we even got our own "room". My parents, Mike's parents, Michelle, Tim and Grandma Mabel were all there. Yep, just the fam. It was cozy and we talked and laughed...heard all about Michelle and Steve's 10th anniversary cruise to the Bahamas. I ordered the Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo, which was delicous, delicious, delicious! I could've eaten the whole thing were it not for the hope of sweets later. Afterward we went to my parents' home for dessert and gifts. It was nice to have that time at my "old home". One thing better would have been to scope out my old room, but it is now taken over by boxes and storage :( We were all stuffed, but managed to shove some pieces of delectable oatmeal cake, rhubarb cake and pumpkin pie into our tummies. Everyone's cards and gifts were incredibly kind and it was fun to just relax and chat.

Btw, did I mention my hubby gave me not only roses, but also a seafood cookbook and McCormick and Schmick's gift card? He was too sweet. But I look forward to a hot date at M & S with him!


Mondays are often letdowns. Mike goes back to work, the house is messy from the weekend, and there are bills to pay. However, it's also nice to be back into the routine...regular naptime, mealtimes, teaching piano and kids Bible club.

Today was my 6 week post-partum checkup with Nancy, my midwife. I had brought her a couple of stargazer lilies as a thank you for everything she did for us during Amelia's stillbirth. Nancy is an amazing woman, what she does is truly life-giving. We don't know what we'd do without her. God has gifted her, not every woman can sacrifice as she does. Back to my appointment. After giving her the lilies, I was overwhelmed with the memories of that place, and the tears unexpectedly surfaced. I apologized. I hadn't meant to cry and was slightly embarassed. Nancy said,"It's always just behind your heart, isn't it?" and handed me some tissue. Thankfully I didn't start sobbing, but regained composure and the rest of the appointment went smoothly. (As smooth as a pap smear can go, that is ;)) I've healed well, so that is good news. Afterward, I picked up Brilla from my sister-in-law's and we chatted for a while. Then we headed home for lunch and naptime...and cleaning up my house. But on the way, I stopped by the cemetary and prayed at Amelia's spot. Yes, I cried, but I was also happy to see the mini-roses still blooming. I'm glad she is buried close to home.

After watching a little of Cheaper By the Dozen 2 and eating leftover Italian food, I put Bri down for her nap. Then tidied up my home. Then I taught piano. Later this evening we had Bible club. The kids showed! We talked about the tongue. Very powerful lesson. Then we did a puppet craft, which they loved and actually finished by the end. We sang a new song and reviewed a few older ones. Their favorite part is singing. Out of the mouths of babes! Finally they had oatmeal cake for snack and we sent them on home. Yet another wonderful night of learning about Jesus. Mike and I learn right along with them. Finally we sat down for dinner. Gotta love leftovers! We had homemade chicken tacos. Then we talked election, watched a few more annoying political commericals and heard some history of the candidates. Part of me is anxious to be done with the election due to all the ads, but then part of me is nervous at the outcome, then still the other part of me is praying that God will have mercy on our nation. His will be done.

Good night and remember to vote tomorrow!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Rainy days

Lately we've had beautiful, dry Fall weather and finally the rain showed up. Last night was rainy. Today is rainy. This was a special rainy weekend, though. Yesterday, Matt & Julie stopped by to say hello! They are not a couple, but bro and sis. Dear friends we've had for years. Anyway, they were on their way down to Portland and took time to say "hi" to little ol' us :) They stayed overnight and just left this morning. Perfect timing for my birthday! What a treat to talk with dear friends and catch up on their lives. We headed to Costco for dinner. Pizza's always fun on October 31st! Then we left to make it for the last part of our church's Harvest Hoe Down. Brilla was a ladybug and looked so cute as a roly-poly insect! Mike and I dressed as Seahawk fans ;P We hung out, got lots of candy, Brilla played games, and Matt and Jules talked with people they remembered from church. Then we got home and talked and laughed ourselves late into the night (or is it morning?). Seems like whenever we get together, it's just like old times. This morning we had a small breakfast, then took a walk along Redondo Beach despite the morning's slight dreariness. It truly was amazing. The view is gorgeous no matter the weather. We chatted up and down the pier, which was hard to do sometimes with little Brilla breaking our thoughts now and then. She always spices things up. Afterward, we treated ourselves to a little espresso. Seattle's Best! I got a decaf mocha and sprinkled nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. It was delish. Next, we got home and we once again conversed to our hearts' content. Doesn't take much for close friends to have a good time. Just a cup of coffee and news.

For a birthday treat to myself ;P, I went to watch Fireproof...with Brilla. Yes, I am a brave woman to bring my toddler to a looong matinee right through her nap. But she did great! I think all the popcorn and soda helped. The movie was so challenging and well done. I even cried a few times. Fireproof is highly recommended! Especially if you are married.
I miss Amelia today. I cried tears when reminded of her absence. I just miss my baby so much. Sometimes I still wonder why she had to go and leave us. Earthy life has not been the same without her.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


These lyrics so closely parallel how I feel:

O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee; I trace the rainbow through the rain, And feel the promise is not vain, That morn shall tearless be.

God, the wonder of your hand in my life still amazes me. I'm thankful for...

Your steadfast love.
My beautiful Brilla.
My dearest husband Michael.
My stillborn daughter, Amelia, who is dancing in heaven.
The precious Lamb of God who took away my sin.
Jesus' resurrection that I can have eternal life and see my daughter someday.
My house.
Food to eat.
Money to buy what we need and want.
Dear friends.
Close family.
Good dreams.
Your creation...including Fall leaves.

I am sure there are many more things I have not mentioned, but thank you, God for all of these. You have given me so much. I know your mercies are new every morning, great is Thy faithfulness.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Piano and funny kid story

Tuesday nights are my favorite because that means I'm done teaching for the week (mostly, I still have an hour of teaching on Friday afternoon). Not that I don't enjoy it, but just like any other job, it's fun when you're done! And I got a special surprise today - Angela gave me the cutest piano pen/pencil combo. She didn't even know my birthday was this Friday. Little gifts like that mean so much. It seems the older I get, the more the little things are what stick with me. Teaching takes so much out of me. It's like I am fusing part of my brain to my students', passing on all that I know about theory, technique, etc (with the help of a wonderful music dictionary when I don't know the answers ;P). And I always feel like I am learning right along with them, whether it's finding a new way approach to concepts or motivating students to practice. I am sure teachers of all kinds feel the same way.

I have a funny kid story...about Brilla.

Grandpa gave her a cute chair for the summer. It looks like a mini director's chair that says "Cutter" on it. (Don't know who Cutter is or is supposed to be, but I digress). It has seen better days, with the black almost completely faded. So Mike and I made the decision to throw it out. How did Brilla agree to this? She didn't, we threw it away in the recyle bin when she wasn't looking. I know, bad parents. But anything for extra room. Later that day, I went into the garage trying to find something. Our recycle bin is right inside the garage. I had forgotton about the chair, which was completely in view though inside the bin. Brilla was in the door peering around at different things, saying "Bike", "Box", "Paper", etc. All of a sudden she says, "My chair." I whirl around to see her looking straight at her chair in the trash. I kind of nod and say "yes, chair" with a sort of half awe/half sinking feeling starting at my toes. Then she says with a laugh, "Chair hiding in the traush" (she says her a's like a British person) you know, like "Silly chair, what are you doing in there?" Then she spoke the inevitable,"I waunt my chair in the traush." Interpretation: "I want my chair out of the trash, unfolded so I can sit in it. Though I haven't seen it all day, I suddenly want it. Now." So, defeated, I unwillingly rescued the chair. And it was sat for like 5 minutes until the next more fun thing captured her attention.

Anyway, it was pretty funny. Our daughter unknowingly outsmarted us.

Until this morning, when I once again placed it in the trash and it was later hauled away. It strangely has not been missed :)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Double date

I'm so excited...tonight we have a double date with another couple, Josh and Sarah. It's actually a birthday double date because all four of us have birthdays in October. Whee! Funny thing, we don't know where we're going yet. We'll have a blast wherever we end up though. Talking and laughing, catching up with each other. We might even head over to hour house afterward and play a game or two. This would be the selection: Monopoly, Dutch Blitz, Yahtzee, Scattergories, Risk, Apples to Apples, or Mad Gab. Not the most awesome list, but hey, with friends anything can turn crazy. I personally would pick Scattergories or Dutch Blitz.

Yesterday I finished painting Brilla's new room. I was initially hesitant to do it. It was the last major project Amelia and I did together. There were even still a few smudges where my big tummy had smeared the paint. Good memories, but sad ones, too. So though this is Brilla's room, I'm doing this remodeling project really for my daughter, Amelia. A tribute to one of the last times we spent bonded. A tribute to the little steps we can take when we don't let fear run our lives, but let God's strength uphold us.

After painting, I made a scrumptous dinner of oven-fried chicken, corn-on-the-cob and brown rice. The itch for dessert wouldn't leave, so I baked up some snickerdoodles. Why did my husband have to go on a dessert fast during the fall season? This is when I crave sitting by the fire, sipping hot tea, and dunking some kind of yummy. Oh well, we had cookies anyway.
Little Brilla was in a good mood today. She didn't throw any tantrums all day. A first in a while. Can I just say she's in that 2 year old stage where she wears her feelings on her sleeve? It's like she has a bundeload of emotions she doesn't know what to do with. But we love her just the same, cute toes and all. Note to all mothers of infants: kiss those toes while you can because into toddlerhood they get kinda stinky :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

One month

It has been one month (4 weeks) since we delivered our Amelia stillborn. Since it was already dusk by the time Mike got home from work, we will be placing fresh flowers on her grave tomorrow evening. We usually do this every week on Wednesday, but tomorrow will be an extra special day remembering her. We love you, sweet girl.
I cried today. It was unexpected and I tried not to, but the tears just came. I was trying to share with 3 other women what God's been teaching me lately, and the sorrow and hard times just overwhelmed me. It's been so hard accepting Amelia's death. I've gone through cycles. Cycles of guilt, wondering what I could have done to cause her to go away, or wondering if it wasn't me, could I have kept better track of her movement and noticed the change sooner. And then I go through peaceful times where I know she's in God's heaven, where we'll see her some day. But then that's hard, because homecoming is so far away. It seems like forever. I want her now, here with me. As I've written in my journal, how can I say good-bye when I never said hello to my daughter?

Then the other day someone said something hurtful to me. Something you should never say to someone who has lost someone dear to them. For some reason (probably the Lord), I was able to let it go and forgive, but boy did I want to yell at them at the time. There are times I've said hurtful things, but to be at the receiving end is a different story.

Sometimes I feel like curling into a ball with thick soft blankets, journaling and letting the tears fall as I write. Then pray, read the Psalms and cry some more. But thank goodness I can't do that whenever I feel like it. I have a toddler to take care of and a husband who needs me, for I'm sure he's struggling, too. In fact, most of the time, I try to keep myself busy, not having too much down time. Or else my thoughts just wander to our loss and relive the painful emotions. Not that I want to forget. I can never forget. But I want to be able to accept God's peace and healing, when it comes, not deny it for clinging to sadness.

Don't know if any of this makes sense. It's all just bits of rambling as I make my way through the fog of my new future without my daughter.