Thursday, December 31, 2009

From Nashville to Asheville

Ethan and I had a great time with April and Dan in Nashville. They actually live right outside of Nashville in a city called Nolensville. I WANT TO LIVE THERE. Really....I absolutely LOVED it there. It just has this nice small town vibe and it's so beautiful there. A lot of rolling hills and green grass...even in the dead of winter. I'm already trying to convince my hubby to let us move there! :o) Besides, it would be so great to live near April, Dan, and little Cody who is on his way. God has us where He wants us for now...I like Conyers, I'm just not crazy about raising Ethan there. And I've missed the mountains so much since I left Dahlonega. Conyers isn't so bad, Nolensville is just better (but that's my personal opinion)!

I took April's maternity pictures. And like I said...she's absolutely gorgeous!

This next pose was Dan's idea....I laugh every time I see it...

I was sad to leave, but I will see April again at her shower in Macon in 2 weeks. We arrived in Asheville about 6:00. We are spending New Year's with all my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandfather on my Dad's side of the family. I haven't seen them since Noah's memorial service.

Is anyone else feeling sad to leave 2009 behind? Part of me can't wait to start 2010 and leave behind this difficult year, but part of me is sad that 2009 ...the year Noah lived and now over.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Road Trip!

Ethan and I are headed to Nashville, Tennessee to visit my best friend, April. David has to work, so he will be meeting me in Asheville, North Carolina on Thursday for our family Christmas get-together with my grandad, my dad's siblings and my cousins.

April and I went to high school together and she was my roommate in college. We have enjoyed some crazy fun times together. April is 31 weeks pregnant. That's right....31. That's how far along I was when I lost Noah. I'm excited to be taking pictures of her this week and to rejoice over this healthy boy she has growing inside her! April is so BEAUTIFUL! Don't you agree?.....

She is one of the most photogenic friends I have which is SUPER fun for a photographer! :o) I'm also excited to see where she lives and get to know more about her life now that we are so spread apart. I'll update with pics of her beautiful belly as soon as I can! :o)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

One Year Ago

A year ago today we found out that Noah existed. After 4 pregnancy tests, we finally felt certain that I was pregnant. We fell in love immediately, risking broken hearts. Just 24 days before finding out I was pregnant with Noah, I had miscarried. So we couldn't believe that we had gotten pregnant again so soon. We guarded our hearts until the 12th week, then we believed we were in the clear. Most pregnant women expect everything to be fine after the end of the first trimester. Who really expects something to go wrong after that point? Never would I have dreamed that I would lose my son at 31 weeks.

Christmas Day was difficult for us. I woke up ready to face the day and excited to see Ethan's eyes light up when he saw his new bike. He was more excited about seeing his Mamaw though! We caught it on video. He walked into the living room and ran right past the presents yelling, "Mamaw!!!!!!". He ran straight to my mom and gave her a huge hug before giving a thought to the display of gifts in the living room. I imagine our response to Jesus when we get to Heaven will be similar to that!

We went to Macon and spent time with family. On the way I read a book that our dear friends, Dewayne and Brandi had sent to us. If you have lost a child, please read this book!!! It's called, "Symphony in the Dark" by Barbara Rainey and Rebecca Rainey Mutz. Rebecca's daughter, Molly lived just 7 days after she was born in June of 2008. It was totally unexpected. The book is written by Rebecca, the mother, along with HER mother (Molly's grandmother). Rebecca also has a blog I sobbed the whole way down to Macon as I read the book. So many emotions, so many memories. She expresses a lot of the same feelings I had and still have. I looked at Rebecca's blog after reading the book and saw that she is now pregnant with twin girls. I also saw that she lost a son at 14 weeks this year. It's unbelievable to lose a child...but to lose more than one...agony.

On the way home from Macon I cried so hard. My arms ached to hold Noah. To remember his sweet smell. To share Christmas with him. Even though I cry often in front of David, I rarely try to explain the emotions going on inside me while I'm that upset. I could barely get out the words, but I told David that I didn't want to be angry on Christmas...but I was. I told him how I was so frustrated that the anguish I am feeling has no relief. There is absolutely nothing I can do to make the hurt go away. Holding Noah is the only way to "cure" it...and that is impossible. This knocks the breath out of me. I pulled the scarf around my neck up to my face and just screamed and screamed. David said there are times like these that he wishes he could just sob with me for a while. He doesn't cry fact, it's very rare. He hurts just as badly as I hurt...but releasing it doesn't come so easy.

Rebecca and her mother quoted a man named Larry Crabb in the book:

"The suffering caused by shattered dreams must not be thought of as something to relieve if we can or endure if we must. It's an opportunity to be embraced, a chance to discover our desire for the highest blessing God wants to give us, an encounter with Himself!"

God, I want to embrace the suffering and encounter you. You are my hope and comfort. I only find rest in you.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


To start this post, I want to show you the very first photo taken of our family with Noah.

Though we didn't know it yet at the time, I was already pregnant with Noah. He was alive. He was part of our family.

Here is the other family picture we have with Noah...

Because we chose not to let Ethan see Noah after he was born, we don't have a real family picture of the 4 of us together. And that makes me terribly sad. I've often had second thoughts about whether or not we should have let Ethan see Noah. But what is done is done...there is no going back now.

Yesterday was a day that didn't start well. My van was broken into a few weeks ago and my purse was stolen while I was doing a photo shoot of the Williams Family. So yesterday I had the dreaded task of going to the DMV to get a new license. I'm not sure if every DMV is like this, but every DMV in Georgia I have gone to has been employed with RUDE people. I left upset and mad after being treated horribly. I'll admit...I was having a hard time spreading the love of Jesus yesterday!!!!

I had a bunch of errands to run before our Christmas party with the Discover Point staff, the wives (and husband) of the staff, and my brother and sis-in-law. At 7:00 we went to Brad & Sandra Williams' house for the Christmas Party...(Brad and Sandra live in our neighborhood and their house was built by the same builder, so it looks almost identical to case you get confused by the pics!) Peachtree Academy was having a "Parent's Night Out" and watched all the kids while we all went to the party. We ate finger foods, played the game "Catch Phrase" ......

...and then it was time for the gifts.

Each person (or couple) brought a gift (some kind of Christmas decoration) and we decided to play the "Dirty Santa" or "White Elephant" game. Sandra told us how we were going to play the game. There are several different ways to play, but Sandra decided we would play the game where no present was opened until the very end. You could steal gifts from each other, but you had to just "judge the book by it's cover" so to speak. Trista got #1 so she got to choose first. She chose the gift I had been eyeing all night....something that looked like a picture frame.

David and I were #7, so when it came our turn, I stole the gift from Trista....I mean of me. I was drawn to it because of a tiny pair of angel's wings attached to the package.

I handed it to David....

At the end of the game #1 (Trista) got to choose any gift she wanted. I was so excited when she didn't choose to steal our gift back. Then it was time to open. Sandra said it would be more fun if we opened the gifts one at a time. So everyone went around the room opening their gifts. When it was our turn, I sat down on the couch next to David and gently took the pair of angel's wings off the package.

Then we tore into the paper....

The look on my face says it all. I was in total shock and I felt my whole body go limp.

Our family picture

The game had been rigged. And I fell right into their plan...the angel's wings were a perfect way to get me eyeing that gift.

Right after we lost Noah, my brother and sister-in-law had this drawing of Noah done for us...

So Sandra talked with Jason after that and had the idea of getting the same artist to draw a picture of all of us...our first and only family picture.

The amazing artist, by the way, is Dana at

I cannot say thank you enough for this beautiful gift. You know, there are days when I wonder if people have forgotten. Sometimes we feel alone in our grief and we wonder if anyone remembers that just a little over 5 months ago, we lost the most precious baby. This very special gift has shown us that others have not forgotten. They grieve with us. They love Noah too.

So to Brad, Sandra, Jason, Esther, Jeff, Philip, Angela, Trista, Jeremy, Brien and Hannah.

THANK YOU. You will never know what this means to us.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

To Santa or Not to Santa?

Ethan's wish list for Santa...

1. Thomas
2. Mario
3. Puzzles
4. Cup/Spoons (this one made me laugh!)
5. Crayons (David had to tell me what this looks like URQHONS)

Ethan & Santa....Ethan complimented him on his glasses several

Santa or No Santa????

This is a question that seems to come up every year since we had Ethan. It hasn't really been an issue since he has been too young to really understand. But now that he is 3, he's really at the age where we needed to make a decision about this issue of Santa or no Santa.

Growing up my parents told us that Santa was coming. They wrote "To: Lisa From: Santa" on all of my gifts. But I think I always knew it was just a cute game we played. I don't ever remember really believing that Santa was real (just like I didn't believe Big Bird was real) .....correct me if I'm wrong, Mom!

My parents were able to achieve what I really hope I am able to achieve: BALANCE.

I absolutely 100% understood the reason we celebrated Christmas. At my grandmother's house there was a nativity scene set up and Christmas morning we would place baby Jesus in the manger. We would have a birthday cake for Jesus and we had all the Christmas songs about Jesus' birth memorized. As a kindergartner I memorized most of Luke Chapter 2. We would read it every Christmas. We would participate in our church's Christmas cantata and I even played the part of Mary on several occasions. This was the focus of Christmas. My parents put great emphasis on Jesus as the real reason we celebrate Christmas. They also taught us a lot about giving. My mother is one of the most giving people you will ever meet. Something that has stayed with me for most of my life (and hopefully mom won't mind me sharing this!) is what my mom did when I was about 12 years old. My mom got a $500 Christmas bonus from her boss. That particular Christmas there was a family at our church that was having a difficult time financially. My mom sat me down and told me that there was a family that wasn't going to have Christmas gifts. She said it was time to go shopping. We went all over the place buying gifts for the entire family. Clothes, toys, and other fun things for every member of the family. All I could think about was how excited I was to see their faces when they opened all of their gifts! We took them home and spent the afternoon wrapping all of their gifts. But my mom had a different plan than what I was expecting. She wasn't doing this for her own glory. She was doing it for the Lord....for His glory. We took all the gifts to the Associate Pastor and asked them to drop them by the people's house on Christmas Day. Mom made him promise not to tell them who they were from.....and she made me promise too. To this day they have no idea that the Lord used my mom to bless them. I will NEVER forget it.

I grew up enjoying the excitement of Santa and his reindeer, stories of Rudolph, and lots of Christmas presents. But what I remember most is the story of a Savior who was born to save the world. I remember the importance of giving to those in need. I remember great times with my family that I will cherish forever. These are the things I want to share with Ethan. I think we all need to learn balance.

This is a great article I read online about Santa and Christianity if you can take a moment to read it...

To Santa or Not to Santa...

There you are...the Christmas Spirit is in the air, you are shopping, you are getting ready to bake Christmas cookies with your little one, and you bask in the glow of the beautifully lit Christmas tree. The doorbell rings, and there are your friends, your religious friends, with their golden-haired offspring, ready for the playdate. You can tell something is wrong, and once the kids are occupied, your friends, your religious friends, sit you down for a talk. In no time flat, a Bible is produced and you are shown that you are putting your child in danger of the fires of hell, and you yourself are perilously close to having an appointment for a weenie-roast with the anti-Christ yourself. Santa Claus and the other trappings of Christmas, you are told, are pure evil, Pagan lore, and a sly ploy to lure the innocents away from God.

You are polite and you don't show your friends, your religious friends, the door. You offer cookies, but at the withering looks your reindeer cookies earn, you sit down quickly. In the pit of your stomach there is some doubt beginning to gnaw, after all, Christmas is Jesus' birthday, and there was no gastricly challenged man in a red suit anywhere near that manger. Additionally, you feel funny about convincing your kids about Santa anyways, because you realize that the lengths to which you must go to continue this belief become more elaborate by the year. At the same time, you remember your in-laws who rented the Santa costume already, and you know that grandpa is ready to play Santa for the kid when you come over.

With your friends, your religious friends, disapprovingly looking at you, and with the Bible on the coffee table all but accusingly pointing at you, and with your child, whom you love more than life itself, in the next room, you are questioning everything you hold dear, and the Christmas Spirit is threatening to disappear. What is the Christian parent to do?

I am glad you asked. First of all, thank your friends, your religious friends, for their advice. Offer them some non-offensive cookies, make it through the afternoon, and then angelically wave good-bye as they and their golden-haired offspring depart at the end of the playdate. Next, bake some cookies with your child, have some fun, write some Christmas cards, and once your young one is tucked into bed, get out your Bible and let's take a look at what it really says:

Santa Claus equals Satan Claus

Your religious friends may have made this point. They are not alone! Dial-the-Truth Ministries states in an article by Terry Watkins: "You ever noticed how easy it is to transform "Satan" from "Santa"? Just move the "n" to the end.

Continuing in this vein, the author quotes Psalm 99:3 in support for the supposition that: "Our English words "saint, sanctify, et al" comes from "santa". Sounds like Satan's "I will be like the most High" plan is at it again."

So, does your affection for Santa Claus cookies transform you into a spawn of Satan? No. Let's get real: anagrams are a lot of fun (and a great way to keep the kids occupied in the back of the car while traveling), but when seeking to rest your faith and theology on anagrams, you will find yourself on shifting sand (not rock). And we all know that the wise man built his house on the rock. Still not convinced? Ok, at the risk of sounding blasphemous to your religious friends, what is the anagram of "God"? See? Not a good thing to base theology on.

Lying to your Children about Santa will make them question the Veracity of God

This is a big one. No Christian parent wants to be a stumbling block to their child's budding faith. On the other hand, will theSanta Claus story truly prejudice a child to disbelieve in God? The answer is a resounding "maybe." Not what you were hoping for, but truth be told, it is quite possible that a child will learn to distrust a parent when s/he realizes that a story mom or dad staunchly held to be the truth, suddenly turns out to be a lie. Additionally, it is quite possible that a child may be angered by this deceit and by being led on. On the other hand, when children view the average television fare these days, they see the folks dressing up asSanta Claus, and somewhere along the way the kids are able to make the connection pretty early on.

Santa Claus is an Example of the Paganization of the Holiday

Bad news for your religious friends here: Christmas is a holiday born of Pagan lore. Sometime around 10-4 BC, probably on the evening of the Feast of Tabernacles (October), in a stable where Passover lambs were raised in the city of the shepherd David, a boy was born to a virgin who was descended from said shepherd. At an angel's command, the boy was named Jesus. It is fairly well established that Jesus was not actually born on December 25, but that this date coincides with the old Roman Calendar's feast of Dies Natalis Invicti Solis -- the Day of the Birth of the Unconquered Sun (Saturn), which incidentally coincides with the Winter Solstice. The Roman church chose to celebrate the birthday of Christ on 12/25, thus mixing the age old pagan traditions with the relatively new Christianity as a way of 'converting' souls to Christ, and making the celebration more palatable to the pagans. As you can see, Christmas was never a purely Christian holiday to begin with.

Seeing Red?

By now you are probably wringing your hands. Whoever claimed parenting was easy? Here are some suggestions:

1.Only you know your child; I don't, and neither do your religious friends. God gave you the privilege and obligation to raise your child. It is your duty to train your child in the way s/he should go, so that when s/he is old, s/he will not depart from it. It is up to you to impress God's commands on your child and to talk to your offspring about God at home, on the way to the grocery store, while waiting at the doctor's office... (Deuteronomy 6:5-7). Ask yourself, would telling your child thatSanta Claus is real jive with these Scriptures? Would it cause problems for your child, in keeping with the warning of Matthew 18:6?

2. If you do decide to tell your child that Santa Claus is real, don't go the n-th degree to keep this belief alive. A child should be able to overcome a little disappointment relatively unscathed if they find out that this is a game that adults play, but if the lie is kept going with more and more elaborate schemes and protestations, there will possibly be a backlash.

3. So you have told your child Santa was real but s/he is beginning to question the story and now you want to "fess up" ... but you are biting your nails and dreading the talk. Don't; instead, simply tell junior that when s/he was little, s/he loved to play "pretend" and "dress up." Explain that when s/he was little, s/he enjoyed pretending thatSanta Claus was real, and that adults love to play "pretend" and "dress up" for the Christmas holidays. Tell your little one that s/he already knows that Christmas is really a celebration of Jesus' birthday, and that folks everywhere have invented fun ways of celebrating this wonderful day. So yes,Santa Claus is not actually a real person, but he represents the things that are good and worthy, such as kindness, generosity, and fun...just like God.

4. Instead of saying that Santa is real, just tell your child that adults like to play "dress up" during Christmas, and like to play "pretend" with kids. Explain that Santa is not real, but just a fun game we play during the holidays. You can still have pictures taken with Santa (it's ok for junior to know that it's just someone playing the part), bake Santa cookies, and have Santa Christmas cards. I can tell you from personal experience that children love to be included in the grown-up game of "Santa" and will love to "pretend" to believe Santa is real.

Still wondering what to do? Easy! Read your Bible and pray. Understand the full impact of Deuteronomy 6 and Matthew 18, and then decide for yourself how to best parent your child with respect to theSanta Claus persona. Personally, I choose door number four.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

In Need of Peace

Tonight is one of those nights. I'm about to be too honest for some of you to handle....please don't take offense.....I'm just a mother missing her son. It's a night where all I can do is try to come up for air....I feel like I'm drowning in grief. All I can think about is the sadness, the frustration, my heart that is so broken and how I just want my son back. God give me peace tonight. Give me a heart that is not envious but is able to rejoice with others. I'm trying so hard to be happy for my friends. Can I just be honest? It's so hard!!! It's all over facebook and blogger. Joy over the arrival of new babies, joy over babies that will soon be here. "I'm pregnant!", "It's a Boy!", "It's a Girl", "It's Twins!".................

My son is gone. There is no more excitement...only pain. Only tears.

I do rejoice with my friends. I truly am overjoyed when a new baby arrives safely....healthy. I think I would lose my mind if I had to watch a friend of mine go through what we are going through. I just wish my son was here....I hope that I'm understood on this. I don't want anyone who is pregnant or who has a newborn to misunderstand this....

I'm just sad for US.

It's so difficult to go from total bliss....complete devastation. My child stripped from my womb. I ache to feel him again. The days pass by and I still feel like I'm in a fog and life just goes on. I understand that the world can't stop because Noah died, but my world has come to an abrupt halt and I can't just go on like nothing has happened.

I got sick to my stomach tonight when I went to Wolf Camera to pick up some pictures I had ordered. They handed me 2 boxes of pictures. One had pictures of Ethan from the time he was a baby until now. I wanted them to put on a photo board I bought to hang in my office at work. Then I opened the other box. It was an old order of mine from October that I hadn't picked up yet. Pictures of Noah's grave marker. I felt myself feeling sick and angry and sad all at the same time.

I think any woman who is pregnant or has had a child can understand that from the moment you find out you are pregnant, you begin to dream about what the child will be like and look like. You dream about their future, what school they will go to, what they will be when they grow up and who they will marry. I don't think it ever crosses a pregnant woman's mind (unless she's had a previous loss) that a grave marker could be in her child's near future. It's not something you prepare your heart for.

Forgive me.

I have a Savior who's shoulder I need to cry on tonight.