Saturday, July 31, 2010

You Are For Me

This song has become very dear to my heart. God has been teaching me a lot recently about fully trusting him and letting go of all that I'm desperately clinging to. I'm learning that I can't control everything and that worrying doesn't help any situation (that is really hard for this mother to accept who has had her worst fear realized...but I'm trying).

I know that God has a great plan for my life and that everything He has brought me through and is bringing me through will only serve to bring Him glory if I will allow it and not be overcome with bitterness. He is for me, not against me. He will not forsake me in my weakness.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's not the heat...


Every summer in Georgia it's the same thing....HOT. I don't know why everyone thinks that's going to change, yet year after year you hear people say, "this is the hottest summer I can remember!" Followed by, "it's not the heat it's the humidity!!!"


Welcome to Georgia.


I'm ok with the heat. Last year I was pregnant and swollen with high blood pressure and I was NOT ok with the heat. This year it really doesn't bother me. I remember thinking the winter would NEVER end. Now that it finally got warm I'm in no rush for it to leave again. However, I am not so happy with my electric bill going from $125 last month to $336 this month. That was really depressing since I only budgeted $200 for electricity. We've been using all kinds of energy-saving methods lately, but it didn't seem to help this month. Big bummer.


Moving on...


I really wish we could go on vacation. I know, I know...we just went to D.C. in April, but honestly, that was not a great vacation for Ethan. Walking around through museums all day is - believe it or not - NOT the trip of a lifetime for a 4 year old. I really would LOVE to take a trip to Disney this fall now that Ethan is old enough to really appreciate it, but the price of tickets is so ridiculous! Hotels are no problem for us. We get great discounts since David is a manager at a Hampton Inn. We can stay at any Hilton property for very cheap! I would really love to just take a little weekend trip down to the beach. During the summer if you look on your home page of facebook, you will see a ton of your friends talking about their beach vacations and posting pics of the beautiful ocean. I'm just jealous of friends like mine who are in....Hawaii!!!!!!! Um...I wanna go! Just sayin'.


For now I'll just enjoy beautiful, hot, humid Georgia and try to sell my right arm so I can go on vacation.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Infertility

I have come to really hate this word, infertility. I have never experienced infertility personally, but over the past 5 years I have come to know so many women who have struggled with it, many who have overcome it, and some who have realized that having a biological child is just not God's plan for their lives. How do you give hope to a person struggling with infertility? There's really no words that bring comfort. My heart breaks when these women try month after month after month...then year after year...and still they have no child. Some may finally have one child, but then go through secondary infertility. But then there are single teenage girls out there who have unprotected sex one time and have a child they cannot afford to raise on their own. It's so difficult to understand God's ways. I've met moms that finally became pregnant after years of trying only to lose the child by miscarriage or stillbirth. A dear friend of mine is having to come to terms with the fact that she will probably never have a child. It's gut-wrenching. I'm embarrassed to say that I have been one of those who has tried to bring comfort and encouragement to those struggling with infertility with "there's always next month" or "you could adopt". That's easy for someone with a child to say. I've heard many say, "just quit trying so hard and thinking about it so much...that's when you'll get pregnant" or "as soon as you adopt a child, you'll get pregnant" (as if this is a good reason to adopt a child). I can tell you that these are definitely not helpful words!!!

I asked my sister-in-law if she minded if I shared a link to her blog. If you or someone you know has experienced infertility (whether you have overcome it or not), would you please leave my sweet sister-in-law some encouraging words or just share your story with her? She could really use some people to rally around her, pray for her, and share with her. I know she would love to connect with people who truly understand the journey she is on. http://esandj.blogspot.com/



Growing up I always knew my brother would make a great dad! Kids are just drawn to him. I suppose he gets that from my mom. My brother is such a wonderful uncle to Ethan. Jason and Esther both really love Ethan like he is their own. And their love for Noah was the same. My heart breaks for them as month after month it doesn't happen for them. I don't understand God's ways, but I know His ways are higher than ours and he sees a future that we cannot see. He knows exactly what we need and His timing is so perfect. I've had to remind myself of this again and again as it seemed like the day that Max was born (Jason and Esther's other nephew) would have been the perfect day for them to find out they were expecting. That day came and went. Then Father's Day came and it seemed like God would certainly see to it that this was the perfect day where we would find out Jason would become a Father. But His ways are HIGHER than ours. One thing I know for sure is that if Jason and Esther overcome infertility, they will not forget. I know they will remember this struggle and will be able to encourage others who walk this path and will be able to share the things God taught them along the way.



In the meantime, we pray with hope...we pray with expectancy that God will give them a miracle of their own.


"Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." ~Mark 11:22-24

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Grief....A Year Later

If you had told me a year ago (and some of you did) that the grief wouldn't be as heavy as it was right after Noah left, I would have ignored you and thought you didn't know what you were talking about. I couldn't imagine at the time being able to make it through an entire day without breaking down. I can now say that even by just the first day after Noah's 1st Birthday, I felt like I could breathe for the first time. All of the blog moms who have lost babies told me it got better after the 1st birthday and I guess they were right. Making it through all the firsts, dealing with them head-on, I now feel like my life can move forward. It doesn't mean I won't grieve anymore...that I won't cry or scream or hold onto to Noah's blanket or his tiny onesie as tight as I can and just sob all night long. Those moments are still going to happen. I'm convinced they will happen for the rest of my life. It doesn't matter that it has been more than 50 years since my grandparents lost their 2nd daughter when she was 5 months old to a crib accident...time doesn't let you forget. I will always ache for Noah.

David and I have had some long talks lately about moving forward. Not only do we need to really try to move forward for us but we need to let Ethan move forward. We have always talked so openly about Noah in our home and Noah's room has still been called "Noah's room". Last week something happened that made us decide we need to make some changes at home in regards to how we talk about Noah. The principal at Ethan's school called David last week to let us know that Ethan had said something at daycare that concerned them. Ethan was talking with another child in his class and announced, "I will only be in daycare for 3 more days." The other child asked why, to which Ethan replied, "because I'm going to die in 3 days." The teacher calmly picked him up and set him in her lap and asked why he'd said that. He then said, "because I'm going to Heaven so I can go see my baby brother." I was very upset when David called to tell me, but we didn't want to make a big deal about it to Ethan as if he'd said something wrong. We did talk to him about it a little bit and he doesn't really even remember saying it. I think he is trying to make sense of everything and since we had a celebration for Noah's birthday, Ethan really just wanted to see Noah.

Ethan had asked many times the week of Noah's birthday, "When is Noah coming to blow out his birthday candles?" It's so hard to explain to a 4-year old that their brother is in Heaven, not coming back, but we will see him again one day - to which he then asks "well, when will we go see him Mommy?"

I don't want Ethan to worry about death and I hate it that he has had to experience this loss at such a young age. We just try to focus more on the hope of Heaven when talking to him about it.
We want Ethan to remember Noah, but while he is still so young we feel like it's important to only talk about Noah when Ethan brings him up (instead of us mentioning him when we pray with Ethan at night or talking about Noah in front of him, etc.). Because so many of Ethan's toys are in Noah's room right now, we've decided to start calling it "the play room". We think sometimes that maybe calling it "Noah's room" was confusing to Ethan...that maybe he thought Noah was still coming here at some point. We just have to find a healthy balance of allowing Ethan to talk about Noah and ask questions but without David or me bringing him up as much as we have. We want Ethan to know that while we are sad Noah isn't here, we are so happy that Ethan is here and we want to focus our time and energy on him. Hope that makes sense.

The blog will still be an outlet for me...a place to share how I'm feeling and to gain insight and encouragement from others who know what we are going through and to give hope to those who will walk just a few steps behind us in this journey. I also plan to "show off" Ethan a little more than I have been as he is so very precious to me. I love that little boy so much and we are so very blessed that God would give him to us. And to brag on him for a minute....His teachers and the administration at his daycare are always telling us how smart Ethan is. Since he was a year old every teacher has proclaimed, "I swear he's the smartest kid in the class...his speech is so developed for his age." Yesterday I picked him up from daycare and as I was leaving the lady at the front desk stopped me and said, "Janice (the owner) and I were just discussing Ethan. We are trying to determine which pre-K class we should put him in. We want to make sure he is with the best teacher...someone smart enough for Ethan."

And his Mommy grinned from ear to ear.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sugar & Spice Sweets

Do you like Cake? Cookies? Candy? Cupcakes? Chocolate? (funny they all start with a "C")...anyway, my dear friend Trista is in the business of all things sweet! We call her a "Cake Artist" because that is what she is! Her cakes are not only beautiful...they are DELICIOUS! Her chocolate-chocolate chip and her strawberry cakes are some of my favorites!!!!

If you live in Georgia and you need a cake or other sweet treat, hop on over to Trista's blog! You can look through all her cakes and can contact her with your order!


Here are just a few examples of her incredible artistry!
Click HERE or the button on the right side of my page
to see her website "Sugar & Spice Sweets!






Sunday, July 11, 2010

Celebrating Noah


I would first like to thank God for the beautiful day he gave us yesterday. With a 30% chance of rain yesterday (and Oh me of little faith!) I thought the day would be ruined. God blessed us with blue skies and white puffy clouds as we released the balloons in honor of Noah. I told David, "the weather man can't predict God". Thank you, Lord for this beautiful day that I will cherish the memory of for the rest of my life!

This week was a roller coaster of emotions. July 6th was the most difficult day for me. I broke down at work a few times and just felt so low. That was the day last year that we found out Noah was gone. That was the nightmare day for me. On that night I could barely comprehend that my son was gone and there was no way I was going to let them take him from me that night. July 7th was the day Noah was born. Honestly, I felt pretty numb on his birthday. I only cried once when Ethan announced that his wish when he blew out the candle would be "for Noah to be here." On Friday I was just so happy. I had such a joy in my heart and couldn't wait for Saturday to come. I didn't dread celebrating Noah's birthday. Of course I wish things were different. I wish he was here with cake all over his hands and face. I would have had a million pictures up on facebook by the next morning of his sweet face covered in chocolate-chocolate chip cake. But I was still so excited to "show off" my son. To "show off" my savior. To let everyone know how God is being glorified even through Noah's death. My heart was truly filled with joy!

Saturday morning I woke up a nervous wreck. Nervous over the details. Would there be enough food for everyone? Would people remember to bring balloons? Would people think this was a crazy idea? Would they think we should just move on and stop talking so much about the child we lost? People started showing up at the church at 1:30. My friends brought trays of food and drinks...more than enough for everyone. Trista made a beautiful (and HUGE) cake for us. Everything went so smoothly. Friends drove from out of state to be there and celebrate with us.

I use the word "celebrate" because that is really what we did. Of course there were heavy moments and while we are sad that Noah isn't here with us on earth, we rejoice that God created his soul and that we will get to be with him and with Jesus for eternity!

FUNNY STORY:

Trista worked SO hard on this cake. I found a cake online that had butterflies flying up, but since it was for a balloon release, I asked her if she could add balloons to the cake. The cake was just perfect! I thought it was beautiful and really thought she did a great job making the butterflies and the balloons, but then a few people started noticing that the balloons looked like something else. I will leave it to your own imagination, but I will tell you that people are now referring to it as the "fertility cake"....



David spent most of Friday night writing a letter to our friends and family that he read at the celebration. It was so beautifully written (and you can read it at the bottom of the page). We showed the video (see previous post) and there were a lot of tears, but still joy.

My dear friends Lori and April gave me a beautiful gift - a Pandora bracelet with 2 beautiful charms...one of them is Noah's Ark. Girls, thank you so much for this beautiful gift that I will cherish forever!!!

We are still amazed at the outpouring of love from so many people. We received over 100 facebook messages this week with thoughts and prayers, pictures of Noah's name, and friends that couldn't make it to the balloon release even took the time to release balloons from wherever they were. God has surrounded us with people who love us. We are so very blessed!

I updated Noah's name gallery! Click HERE to view it. Hope I didn't miss anyone's picture...if I did, let me know!

And now....pictures from this beautiful day. I made a quick slide show (no music). Make sure you look below for the video of the balloon release and for David's letter.

Thank you everyone for making this day so special!!!


video


Balloon Release...

video


David's Letter that he read at Noah's celebration:

Thank you all for being here today and supporting our family. One year ago we had no idea that we would celebrate Noah’s first birthday in this way today. We had no idea that his life would be lost here on earth and found with Jesus. We had no idea that all our dreams for what life was going to be, could be crushed within a few short minutes.

On December 27, 2008 two little pink lines told us that Noah existed and we loved him from that very moment. We were told his due date would be September 9th, 2009....that was 9-9-09. We wondered if he would have been right on time like Ethan who came right on his due date or if he would have been a little early and born on Lisa’s birthday. But the fact is, there really are no "would have been's". God knew the exact number of days that Noah would live on this earth, tucked away in Lisa's womb...even if we didn't

Last year we had such a pouring out of love, prayers, and support when Noah passed. We received prayer and support from our church. We had friends drop everything in their personal lives to be with us. That really meant the world to us. Some drove hours and some flew in from vacations and that was amazing to know that people cared about what we were going through. I think even more than caring about us we cherished the friends and family that were going through the loss with us. They missed Noah too. They had dreams for Noah that were lost. They felt the pain of this temporary life. That means a lot to us.

Over the next months after Noah passed, life was really hard. Lisa was having to deal with losing a child, and having had major surgery. I am not the most in touch with my emotions so I probably was not exactly what she needed all the time. I know she felt lonely, and anger and so many emotions. Many of you helped her through and kept us both sane. We struggled with how to share with others that we are a 3 seated family of 4. Do we say we have 2 kids and share Noah’s story….Do we say just 1 kid but that doesn’t feel right either. We also struggled with Why….If Noah was never to be born alive then why create him at all? We struggled with selfishness and depression and nightmares, and what ifs? We still struggle with some of that.

I don’t know if we have handled the whole situation the best way, but we are becoming stronger Christians through this. Nothing has made my faith in Jesus more real than the idea that my Son is with Him. When I pray, study, or lead worship I am reminded that I am praising the God who is taking care of my Noah. Ethan and I ask Jesus to take care of baby Noah almost every night. And there is not a sermon, song, or situation that comes up that doesn’t remind us of who Noah is with. Lisa reminded me that if Noah had never been conceived then he would not exist at all. But because God created his soul we get to be together for eternity. He is already enjoying the presence of God Almighty. I really don’t know where our life or marriage would be without that Comfort and Truth.

I recently ran across a Bible verse that speaks to me…. Romans 9. 20 But, my friend, I ask, “Who do you think you are to question God? Does the clay have the right to ask the potter why he shaped it the way he did? 21 Doesn’t a potter have the right to make a fancy bowl and a plain bowl out of the same lump of clay?”……God’s ways are not our ways….they are higher, and greater…..That’s my prayer for Noah. That God’s purpose for Noah is higher and greater than anything I can think or imagine. I have questioned God about these circumstances and I have told Him some things that I am not going to repeat here today….but I still believe that He is the potter and He molds Life here. He also Molds life in Heaven. That’s an amazing thought to me. Noah lived a short 7 months with Lisa here on earth, and will Live forever because he was a life.

That brings us to today and I want to thank you all again for being here for us today. I know you moms can understand the feelings Lisa has gone through in this past year. The thought of losing your child is unbearable, and so you can understand how that affects your life. One of the things that I can’t get out of my mind as a Dad is the need to protect my family. I wish I had been able to protect Noah and I know as we look toward trying to have another baby we will be paranoid and over reactive about every little thing. I think that’s expected and completely okay. So as we release balloons in honor of Noah today thank you for being here with us to remember him. Even though we didn’t get the chance to know his personality, and Collinsworth charm…..you have loved him with us….and that means more to our family than you will ever know.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Balloon Release & Birthday Video

I have a ton of pictures and videos to post, but for now I will just share with you all the video I worked on for the last 2 months. We showed this video today before the balloon release.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday, my sweet Noah.

I love you, baby boy. I miss you so much. Your big brother blew out your candle tonight and made just one wish, "I wish for baby Noah to be here".

We all miss you, but we know you are home with the Lord.














Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Why have a party?

I know that some of you may be wondering why we have decided to celebrate Noah's 1st Birthday with a party/balloon release and I just wanted to hopefully give some insight into why we are doing this. First of all, we can't just let his birthday slip by without doing ANYTHING. We feel like it's a great day to remember Noah and all that he meant to us and all that he meant to so many others. Last year we held a private burial for Noah. We had a memorial service that many people came to, but we kept the burial private and only invited a few close friends and family. By having this balloon release for his first birthday, it will give the rest of our friends an opportunity to see Noah's grave. I know that for me I want so much for people to understand that he was real...he was here. I'm sure that only makes sense to some of you and that's ok.

There were also many friends who were unable to be at his memorial service that have made comments over this last year how much they hated that they missed it. I feel like this gives them another opportunity to remember Noah with us. Ethan is also very excited that we are having a party for Noah and he says he can't wait to send his little brother balloons. We know that Noah will not literally get the balloons up in Heaven, but we do believe it gives us a chance to pour our hearts out to the Lord and to say how much Noah means to us.

Noah's celebration is on Saturday. I have no idea how the day will go. This is not something we have ever done before...having a (remembrance) party for a deceased child, but we are excited to see friends and family and we are excited to "show off" our son and how beautiful he was. We also hope to "show off" our Savior and how He has carried us through. We have not lost faith because we lost Noah....I believe it has only increased our trust and faith in God. He gives and takes away. He is in control. He holds our son in His hands and we long for Heaven all the more.

Today our hearts are heavy. There's no denying that we hurt. On this day one year ago I was desperately trying to get Noah to move in my belly. We went to the hospital around 6:30 that night and saw what no parents want to see....a heart that is no longer beating. But we knew that the moment his heart stopped beating here, he was with the Lord. No pain, no suffering, no tears...only love.

Tomorrow is Noah's 1st Birthday. I will ask the same of you as I've asked of my friends and family today...say a prayer for the mothers and fathers who will find out today that their child is no longer here. It happens every day, but there are so many who don't know the hope that we have in Christ. I don't know how I would have ever made it through this year without that hope.

We will see Noah again.

I can't wait for that day!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Imaginations At Play

Today Ethan and I met up with a friend of mine and her two daughters at this great place called "Imaginations at Play". There are a lot of fun things for kids to do there and it costs just $8 per child (free to adults).

Ethan and Emery...so cute!






Ethan really loved playing with this huge train table they had there.











Thanks for a great time, Kelly! Ethan had a great time with the girls!

He fell asleep just in less than 5 minutes after we left...