Thursday, September 11, 2014

Labor Day Weekend

Earlier this year we had gone to a special event for Help a Heart.  At this event they had a silent auction  - and it was there that we bid and won a Kansas City package - complete with Zoo passes and Royals tickets!  It just so happened that the dates that were available for the Royals game and the dates free on our calender was Labor Day weekend!  So Friday we picked up the kids from school and headed to Kansas City.  We ran into some pretty good rain almost all the way down -so it wasn't any too early when we arrived.

Saturday morning after breakfast in the hotel we headed to the Zoo.  I was pretty impressed with it!  There wasn't an animal exhibit we didn't see an animal - and it was a HOT day!  They had what they called "animal chat" - where there would be a zoo employee telling you more about that particular animal.  We just happen to be at a couple of those (not on purpose) - the leopard and the rhino - that made it a little more interesting.  We spent most of the day there and then headed back to the hotel to swim for awhile.  We ate supper out - on the Kansas side which the boys thought was pretty cool (not sure they realized how close we really were to the boarder)!

Sunday was the day for the baseball game.  It had originally been scheduled for 1:00, but with a couple weeks before we left it was moved to 7:00 so it could be aired on TV.  So we were trying to find something to do with the kids - which there is PLENTY to do - just didn't want to wear them out before the game.  We had a few ideas - but decided to just head to the mall (too long of a story to explain now).  Jon needed some new shoes and Anthony was really needing new clothes - he's almost out of all of what TJ wore.  After a little shopping and lunch - we let the kids swim back at the hotel a little bit before the game.  It was a fairly uneventful game until about the ninth inning when the Royals hit a home run - tying the game!  We decided to stick it out even though we knew bad weather was on it's way.  They finished the top of the 10th inning and then that's when a HUGE gust of wind came - picking up every piece of trash in the stadium -swirling it around before landing on the field.  Will instantly panicked and wanted to leave - he just knew it was a tornado.  We hung out there for a little while the rest of the stadium was clearing out.  The rain quickly followed so we decided to hang out in the concourse of the stadium.  We stayed dry and missed the huge rush of people leaving!  It was quite interesting to watch - from the stadium side with all the lights it almost looked like it was snowing.  Then if you looked outside - just a bunch of red taillights and mass craziness!  We waited it out maybe an hour?  And then saw that the rain was letting up so we decided to leave.  Such a crazy night.  I'm glad we left when we did because more came later!

Monday we had breakfast, packed up and headed for home.  We had a nice trip.  I always enjoy it when we can get away - have a little fun and just be family!

The biggest brightest rainbow I think I have ever seen!

I have a few more pictures of the zoo - but the rest I let the boys take turns taking pictures - I won't post all of those!

Swimming in the pool!  It worked out that usually the boys were the only ones in the pool!

At the Royals game!  Unfortunately my nice camera didn't work so I had to use my phone camera.

Play ball!  This was obviously before the rain came!

Game off - RAIN!  They had to use gators to hold the tarp down.  At one point it almost got away from the grounds crew!

Friday, September 5, 2014

13 Years

I guess I've been avoiding this post for awhile and thought I should try to tackle it now.... TJ's 13th birthday.  I can hardly believe that I would have a teenager - there are days I feel like I'm still a teenager!  I had debated over and over what to do for his 13th birthday.  Do we celebrate just the five of us?  Invite the whole family?  Just our parents?  What do we do that is different?  And then it all became clear.  I saw that the Newsboys and Matthew West were going to be at the Iowa State Fair - just four days after TJ's birthday.  So we decided to invite the whole family to go (most of the family was able to go).  We thought it was the perfect way to honor TJ's 13th birthday with something he loved so much - music and Christ!  We all met at our campers before the concert for walking tacos and cookie cakes!  We had such an enjoyable evening.  We were even able to share TJ's story with the lady who sat in front of us!

TJ's birthday cookies

It's a little hard to see - the gang that joined us all standing!

Matthew West 


I know had TJ been here he would have had a fabulous night!  I often think of what he would look like right now.  I'm pretty sure he would be taller than me!  He probably would have been begging for a cell phone for his birthday gift!  I wonder if he would be sassy and all "teenager like" or would he still have his goofy, "I don't care what others think of me" attitude.  Would he still want to be the center of attention?  Would he still be kind and caring to his younger brothers?  Would he still want to be seen with me?  There are so many things I think about.  I miss that kid EVERY day!  I can't believe this is the third birthday we've celebrated without him.  And I still can't believe we are on this path - and that this is all God's plan.  It's something I struggle with, but have to trust that He knows best - even when I don't understand.  Maybe someday (and not necessarily this side of Heaven) it will all become clear.  Happy 13th Birthday Thomas Jon!  We love you and miss you like crazy!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Very Good Point

So, I have a few blogs that I like to read - some are friend's blogs, or people I know and then there are those blogs people have shared with me to encourage me along this road of grief.  Well the other day I was going thru some of them and this one struck me deep.  She spoke such truth - truth that I need to remember DAILY (sometimes even hourly)!  I've shared it with a few others, but thought it was very worthy of sharing it on here.  Instead of copying a link - I decided to copy and paste it right here for you all to read!

Here it is:

Does God Give Us More Than We Can Handle?

I grew up using the phrase, "God doesn't give us more than we can handle," and it works great as an encouragement for us when times get rough. It helps us to believe that whatever is thrown our way we were made to handle. But what if that is all wrong? I mean, I thought this was scriptural, but when I looked it up in 1 Corinthians 10:3 it stated, "No temptation has overtaken you except that which is common to man, but God is faithful, he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able."  I don't know about you, but I believe that this verse is talking about temptations or sins in our lives, not to circumstances in life. In fact I'm going to be as bold as to say I think that phrase is wrong and we should stop using it. Because I believe God does give us more than we can handle because He doesn't want us to get through it ourselves, but to lean on Him.

2 Corinthians 1:8-9 "I was crushed... so much so that I despaired even of life, but that was to make me rely not on myself, but on the God who raises the dead."

I believe I am living proof of this. Eight weeks ago Tim and I found out that after 21 months of trying, I was pregnant! We went in to do the blood work and my numbers looked great. We went in for the 6 week ultrasound to hear the heartbeat on July 7th. We had been in the ultrasound room a short while before we knew something was wrong. The ultrasound tech said, "It looks like the pregnancy is in your Fallopian tubes, but I'll get the Dr." The doctor came in and told me that because of my numbers, I was too far along and would have to go into emergency surgery to remove the ectopic pregnancy. So on a day we were trusting and looking forward to, everything changed in an instant. And as I lay in bed the next week and recovered from the surgery I thought, "This is too much!" I have gone from a miscarriage, to a child that died, to infertility, and now this ectopic pregnancy and surgery two weeks before the anniversary of Quinn's death. When is enough, enough?! I have been given more than I can handle!

I listened to a sermon on disappointment that week online and it really spoke to me. It talked about 4 stakes we need to secure our tent (or the dwelling place where we meet God) for when the storms of disappointment come and the 1st one hit me like a ton of bricks. YOU ARE NOT GOD.  It seems so simple, but if we really reflect on that, we are all living our lives claiming God is #1 but acting as if we are God or like we could do a better job. We live in a society where I can build my own house, I can post pictures of how great I am and people write me praises, I can sit in front of a TV and push a button and it turns on. We are the gods of our own lives and when that is threatened (we don't get the job we thought was perfect, we don't meet the man of our dreams right away, we don't have children when we want to, etc.) that is the root of our disappointment and really most of our "whys". If there is a supreme being, that we call GOD, who sees the whole universe, our past, our surroundings, our future, our heart, who is all knowing, who IS love, then why do I secretly believe I (who am selfish, and have only been to this continent, and have only lived for 31 years, and have probably met 5,000 people in my life, and AM HUMAN)  would have the 1st clue on how life should be?

Isaiah 29:16 "You turn things upside down as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, 'You did not make me'? Can the pot say to the potter, 'You know nothing'?"

Jeremiah 18:3-4 "So I went down to the potter's house and saw him working at the potter's wheel. He was using his hands to make a pot from clay, but something went wrong with it. So he used that clay to make another pot the way he wanted it to be."

And this is why God gives us more than we can handle: 1. Because He is God and He can- He knows what he is doing and how our story is going to pan out and 2. Because He is God and we can trust Him and His ways. We don't have to "handle" it, that's God's job.
I don't necessarily think that something was wrong in my life, but I do think that God is the potter and He is making me, his clay, into something new. Right after Quinn died, Tim and I mourned for many things, but one was that we will never be the same. That a part of us died with Quinn. And even now I still believe that to be true, but I don't think any of us are meant to stay the same. This life brings us joys and struggles that continually evolve and change us. Some are more subtle, some more drastic. And with that change is pain, but also rebirth.

Revelation 21:5 "Behold, I am making everything new."

Run in the Sun

The Run in the Sun has become one of those 5K's that is near and dear to my heart.  All the proceeds go to the Serenity House in Oskaloosa (where TJ and Don spent time at).  This year with other things going on I didn't get preregistered and just showed up the day of the event.  I was able to convince my good friend Kelly (whose grandfather-in-law spent time at the Serenity House too) to join me.  Kelly runs all the time, so I had told her I hadn't had time to train and would probably need to walk most of it and asked her if we should just do the one mile instead.  Her response - nah, let's do the 5K - it gives us more time to talk!!  So that was what we did!  We talked, walked and gave back to something that is so special to us!

Running to the finish line!