fostering a grateful spirit

"If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams, and you will always look lovely." -Roald Dahl


Miscarriage: how to help (and how not to help)

My sweet husband and I recently suffered our second miscarriage. I was eleven and a half weeks pregnant when I miscarried. Even having miscarried before, I was not prepared for this. Everything was different this time. Our sweet baby, with fingers and a heartbeat and toes now had no heartbeat. He was gone, but still a part of me, and it was (and is) absolutely terrible.
Nothing I can say could ever prepare someone for a loss like that, so hopefully I can help your people love and care for you better if you do ever find yourself in this horrific situation.
We are so blessed to be surrounded by people who love us, pray for us and support us, but I feel like a lot of people didn’t have any idea what we needed, and to be totally honest, we had no idea what to ask for. The only thing we really wanted, no one could give us, so we just didn’t ask anyone for anything.
It is absolutely not my intention to make anyone feel guilty. It’s almost impossible to know how to handle such a terrible situation, and I know the people who love us have tried so hard to figure that out. We are so thankful. I just feel like if no one tells you what helps and what hurts, we might keep accidentally hurting the people we love, and I don’t think anyone wants that. I hope and pray no one ever needs this list, but I suspect that will not be the case, so I am praying that sharing this will help all of us love each other better and more.


Pray. A lot. I have experienced some pretty unexpected and significant losses, but the loss of this baby is, by far, the hardest thing I’ve ever lived through. Not everyone deals with a miscarriage or loss the same way, and many will keep it pretty quiet, but regardless of appearances, it is a physically, emotionally and spiritually trying time. It can’t hurt to pray for peace, strength and comfort for them.

Check in. Regularly. Even if they don’t respond. I know it’s hard to know what to say, so just say ‘I love you’ or ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘I’m here’ or ‘you have every right to feel that way.’ If they don’t respond, be patient. I have treasured the words of my loved ones over the last two weeks, but I’ve said very little back. We don’t know what to say either. There’s just not really words.

Do something. Whatever you would do if one of their parents, their spouse, or their sibling died, do that. Send flowers. Send a card. Drop off a meal or have one delivered. There is this really strange and hurtful feeling that a miscarriage is somehow less than other losses, that if your baby dies before he’s born instead of after that it hurts/matters/counts less. This is ridiculous, but often unintentionally compounded by the words, actions (or inaction) of the people around the grieving parents. Their child just died, and whether they were 5 weeks pregnant or 30, I promise you they had hopes and dreams and plans for that sweet baby starting the moment they saw that positive test, and they are grieving the loss of all of that. The best comparison I’ve been able if come up with is this: if a young woman lost her fiancée on her wedding day, she would not just be mourning the wedding day she’s dreamed of, but the loss of the one she loved and also the loss of the life they imagined and planned together. The same is true for parents who have lost their unborn child, there is so much to mourn.

Offer specific help. We had tons of sweet people offer help, pretty much all something like ‘If there’s anything I can do, just tell me.’ I really, really appreciate these sweet offers, but the truth is that we couldn’t possibly figure out what we needed. The only thing I actually wanted was my baby back, and no one can give me that, so everything else just seemed overwhelming to plan. For example, we had to eat, but I didn’t care enough about eating to try to coordinate meals, so we just didn’t ask anyone for anything. So if you are able, please offer something very specific. And if you’re very close, don’t even offer, just do. Bring a meal. Have one delivered. (<– In my opinion, in most cases, these two are the best. They need to eat, and they very likely don't feel much like eating and really don't feel like figuring out what to eat.) Pick up some staples at the grocery store and drop them off. If there's other kiddos, pick them up from school or take them for a few hours. Do dishes. Send books, movies, or trashy gossip magazines. Offer to return maternity or baby items if they want, or offer to put away baby things if they don't want them out. If the parents are family or very good friends, you may also want to offer to help notify friends and family of the loss so they don't have to keep sharing it over and over. The only thing I'd note here is that you should not plan on staying if you stop by. The physical part of a miscarriage is painful and scary and horrible, your sweet friends may be most comfortable dealing with all that without anyone else around.

Use the baby’s name. One of the fears of miscarrying is that no one will remember or honor the life of the baby that is gone. If they’ve chosen to name the baby and shared it with you, use it. It is hard but wonderful to hear someone call your sweet baby by name.

Go to the memorial. If your loved ones choose to honor their sweet babe with a service, please go if they ask you. If they tell you about it but don’t explicitly ask you to attend, maybe ask if they’d like you to attend. They may want to be alone, they may want people to honor the tiny life with them. Whatever they’re most comfortable with, do that.

Be sensitive if you’re newly pregnant and announcing shortly after your friend’s loss. I promise you, your loved one loves you and your little and wants to be happy for you. Really. But unexpectedly seeing announcements all over social media right after a loss can be really, really hard. Announce and be excited, you deserve to be, but maybe give your grieving friend a head’s up so they can avoid the pictures and comments for a bit if they need to. Same if you’re announcing at an event they will be at, maybe give them a call and let them know beforehand so they can react in private instead of in front of a group of people. I hate so much that This hurt permeates so many relationships in my life and I have a lot of guilt about the fact that dear friends’ pregnancy announcements sometimes make me sad. The truth is that deep sadness and joy can exist in the same space, but that’s hard to explain to a group of really excited people who likely don’t understand what you’re going through.

Along those lines, DON’T:

Take it personally. The not answering texts, not wanting to talk or go out, the having a hard time with your pregnancy, none of it really has anything to do with you. Grief looks and feels very different for every person, so please give them space to do what they need when they need it. There is also often A LOT of internal guilt for the mama who loses her baby, there should not also be guilt for not being able to or not wanting to talk, how she feels, not wanting to go out, etc.

Say nothing. I know it’s really hard to know what to say, but please don’t say nothing when you do see your friend. Your friend or loved one may not want to talk about what’s happened, but it feels isolating and hurtful to have people you consider friends say literally nothing. Like I said, I know it’s really hard to know what to say, but for grieving parents who may be fighting to get out of bed in the morning, it just feels so stinking lonely. I know some people are concerned that checking in will remind the parents of their loss, but rest assured you saying something will not remind them of their loss…they remember. Every single day, they remember.

Say these things:

‘It was God’s will.’ I believe in a good God who loves me. I also don’t ever want to hear someone try to tell me that my sweet baby dying was God’s plan. That’s a cruel thing to say. Someday, in Heaven, I will see things how God does and I will snuggle my sweet babies, and until then being a mama with no babies in my arms is never going to feel right – and I think Jesus probably gets that.

‘There was a reason’/’Something must have been wrong’/’It wasn’t the right time.’ None of these things do anything to comfort anyone except the person saying them, and feel dismissive to the person grieving. Please just stop saying any of these things.

‘Maybe you should adopt.’ Two things about this one: 1. Adopting will not, cannot and should not replace a lost child. (Neither does having a biological child.) Adoption is a beautiful thing, but it doesn’t change what has been lost. 2. It’s not the same. It is so beautiful and I absolutely believe that adoptive families are just as “real” as biological families. But if your loved one is grieving the loss of a child and fearing they will not be able to have a biological child, let them process that without trying to find another solution for them. There is not a solution that makes that not hurt. If adoption is the best step for their family, they’ll decide that when they’re ready.

‘Better now than when you’re further along’/’At least it was early.’ Seriously? Just no. The only thing even remotely “better” about miscarrying now instead of later is that it may be slightly less physically painful. Maybe. Pretty much everything else about the process is equally painful and terrible no matter how long they’ve been carrying and loving their precious baby.

‘I understand how you feel.’ There is a time that it is comforting to have others who have been where you are share their stories. The first week is not that time. All loss is so different, and each person interacts differently with their grief, so your story is probably very different than theirs. YOUR STORY MATTERS. But for now, please let them share theirs. Even over and over if they need to.

‘You can try again.’ This is another might make you feel better but almost definitely won’t make the other person feel any better. They might be able to try again. They might have to wait. And no matter what happens no baby can replace the baby they just lost. In addition, it is very likely that if there is a next pregnancy, it will be scarier and far more stressful. A lost baby completely changes future pregnancies. It changes everything.

‘I know you’ll be a mom.’ Two things about this one, too: 1. A mama with a baby in Heaven is still a mom. A hurting mom, but a mom for sure. 2. I think what people mean by this is ‘don’t give up hope’ but the truth is that you don’t know the future and the mama who just lost her babe feels less sure of the future than ever, so this is of very little comfort.

Sweet friends, if you’ve experienced a loss like this, what would you add? What did you find the most helpful or comforting? What was said or done that hurt more than helped?

Let’s all try together to learn how to love each other better.

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Friends, I know I said I’d post more. I meant it.
I thought things were starting get back to normal. Or, more accurately, that we were settling into our new normal, which was just a little bit more painful and hard than normal was before. 
And then February hit, and something changed. I’ve been trying to figure out what, exactly, and the best I can figure it’s this: there is a time in the middle of a pregnancy (I imagine) where being pregnant is just part of life. The beginning is scary and fun and exciting, and you’re announcing and experiencing all the firsts of having a tiny human growing inside you. And then you’re not sick every single day and you have more energy, and everyone already knows, and you’re just living life. And then the third trimester hits and you’re having showers and painting nurseries and packing a hospital bag.
And I am desperately missing those things. I would give almost anything to be huge and uncomfortable and scared and excited. But instead I’m just sad.
I knew the due date and the days surrounding it would be hard, but I didn’t expect it to be this hard for so long. I didn’t expect it to hurt this much.
I can be fine one minute and crying the next. I feel crazy. Now, in a logical moment, crying over a baby you lost is not crazy. It’s a horrific experience. But when you’re chopping veggies and start crying for “no” reason, it’s a little difficult to convince yourself that it’s okay to feel how you do.
And since I’m sharing my crazy with you all, If I’m being honest, I think that I’m still angry with myself (and with my body) that my sweet baby didn’t live. I know (logically) that it’s not my fault and that there was a reason that this baby did not survive. I know that there is nothing I could do. But I want to hold her and I can’t, and I can’t figure out anyone else to be angry at.
My would-have-been due date is my sweet hubby’s birthday. I love my husband and am super thankful that he was born, and even though his birthday is going to be hard, I also really want it to be special for him. So we’re going to Seattle. We’re making memories that are happy. We’re getting away. I am excited to have tons of new experiences to blog about when we get back.

Even in this very difficult season, there are things to be thankful for, such as:


Ceramics and pieces that actually turn out (at least sort of) like I intended.  Much like arranging flowers and gardening, having your hands in the dirt (or clay) is, I’m convinced, good for the soul. 


Sleepovers with one of my very favorite little people and morning cartoon snuggles in the fort. This amazing kid has a huge heart, and I am lucky to be loved by him.





Sweet Harlow, the dance marathon, and a circle of people in my life who support the people and causes I care about. I am honored and challenged by Harlow, Ben and Jamie’s strength and courage, and feeling especially thankful that amazing little Harlow had her second to last chemo treatment this week.

Cooking club. One night a month that I get to share the table with women that I love. Good food and conversations with “my people” are so good for my heart. Also family dinner for all the same reasons.

And last, but certainly not least, I am so thankful for the hints of spring we’ve had this past week. I wore flip flops, opened the windows, bought fresh flowers, and went on a nice long walk with my hubby.

(Sorry about the edit… I was switching between my phone and computer and somehow didn’t get my last changes saved…oops.)

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Things I Love

Just for fun, and to help us get to know each other a little better, let me tell you some things that I love:

Everything about fall- the colors, the weather, cool evenings, bonfires, football, apple cider donuts. everything.
People who let themselves be known and who try to know me
My family (both my tiny little family, and our extended families)
Boats and water
Reading, just about anything I can get my hands on
Chai tea
Decorating our house
Our pup
Giving gifts that make people feel known, especially giving gifts for “no reason”
Being creative/crafty
Floral arrangement
Heated seats in the winter
Pumpkin anything
Cozy blankets and big comfy pillows (especially in our fort)
Bare feet
edit: I forgot Pinterest! I love Pinterest!! (I may or may not have 12,000 pins…)

What are some things that you love?

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Best and Worst Parts (2013 in review)

First of all, sorry for my long hiatus. Life has been a little crazy, but I’ve missed my little blog. So if you’re still reading, thanks for your patience. It’s my goal to continue this blog on a much more regular basis again.

One of the things that I love about my marriage is that I feel like Drew and I are good at talking. We talk about tons of things. There are still conversations that are hard to have and that get put off longer than they should be, but every night as we lay in bed falling asleep, we ask each other our best and worst parts (meaning the best and worst part of our days). This has been really great for us, because it causes us to think about what makes us happy, as well as what makes the other happy, and what makes us feel bad, frustrated, or hurt. I also love that regularly our best parts have to do with snuggling. 🙂
So with that in mind, I thought I’d give you some of my best and worst parts of 2013. It may not be as exciting as People magazine’s lists, but do you really need another list that mentions Miley Cyrus (I promise, that will be my only reference to her…probably ever.)



Christmas. Partially because I am secretly five and love to get and give gifts (It is truly a struggle to hold on to any gift until Christmas because I love giving people things that will make them smile), but mostly because, this year especially, I needed the Advent season. I needed to be reminded that I was created for a world much more perfect than this one, and that the deep sorrow I feel about the broken things of this world is from God Himself, and that He promised to return.
Also, this year I had gifts that I was SUPER excited about for almost every person on my list, mostly because we decided to try to make our Christmas gifts count more this year, by giving experiences and buying gifts that support (or making donations to) causes that we and the people receiving the gifts love.
Some highlights (for me):
My dad loves to cook. It is his preferred way to care for the people he loves, and we all love to be cared for in that way because he makes delicious food. We were very excited to find a family in need who we were able to gift with a pantry stocking load of food as well as some fun Christmas gifts. As part of my dad’s Christmas gift, we will be having groceries delivered to their house several times throughout the year.
My mom is a talented photographer, and dreams of doing photography as a job, but hasn’t really had the chance to learn how to use things like photo editing software. We bought her some photography and editing lessons with our favorite photographer. So fun to be able to help dreams come true.
Other favorites: donations to Worldreader, Food For The Hungry, and Geeks Without Bounds (because we know and love a lot of geeks). 🙂
I also built Drew (with the needed help of my awesome Mama) the tent pictured above. We LOVE our new reading nook/tent/fort/portable biscuit. Most days since Christmas have included family snuggles in the fort, which is almost always my best part.


Mexico. I LOVE to travel, so this year, Drew surprised me with a trip to Riviera Maya to celebrate my 30th birthday. It was a needed getaway, and five solid days of just us, no phones, lots and lots of sunshine, sand between our toes, cold tropical drinks, and laughter. My sweet hubby wasn’t even that frustrated that I ruined the surprise because I was begging to go to Bonnaroo to see Mumford and Glen Hansard.


Handmade for Harlow. As with most things, Handmade for Harlow was born out of two very sad things. It had only been a few weeks since I found out about my miscarriage and sweet Harlow was (and is) still fighting her second battle with cancer, and I was desperate to find something to keep me busy and keep my mind off our baby. I made my first scarf one day while I was at my parents’ with Drew watching the Bears, and I was instantly hooked. I didn’t like how the first one turned out, so I adjusted till I loved it, and then I made a ton (22 in 2 days, but who is counting?). After my husband oh so sweetly asked me what I was going to do with ALL those scarves, I decided to start selling them to help raise money for the Page’s expenses (as if cancer doesn’t suck enough, it’s also unbelievably expensive!). Now, just 2.5 months after I started selling them, we’ve done 2 craft shows, opened an etsy shop, have scarves in a darling boutique, and have sold over 100 scarves and 2 blankets, raised over $500 for Harlow and her family, and found something to give me some purpose when I could not control the things I desperately wanted to control. Also, my sweet hubs has been CRAZY supportive, which has been such a blessing.


Dream job. For several months this year, I got to spend my days creating beautiful floral arrangements with some very sweet and talented ladies. I didn’t know this was my dream job, but it was, and I’m thankful that I got the chance to do it because people believed in me, shared their knowledge and talent generously, and sacrificed to give me the opportunity. It also created some desperately needed down time in my schedule, something I haven’t had in at least a decade and probably longer. I didn’t know what was coming and how much I would need time to heal, but The Lord did, and He gave it to me.
I also took some ceramics classes. I am bad, but it was fun. Creative outlets feed my soul.


Perhaps best of all, Drew and I have found new ways to love each other well and to continue to make our marriage better. We got a giving tree-pod to remind us to think of each other even when there is no “reason.” I got the idea from my friends at Today’s Letters who have been married longer than us and have found creative ways to work on their marriage. ( Also, just to be clear, by our friends I mostly mean I stalk her blog because I really want to be her friend.) We also have committed to be better about being unplugged when we’re together (mostly necessary because of my unhealthy addiction to Candy Crush) and to cook more together. And as I said before, he has been crazy supportive of all the changes and struggles this past year, and I know that most of my bests would not have been possible if he didn’t believe in me and every crazy idea that I have. We. Are. Blessed.






Other bests:
Mumford with my hubs.
Hanging out with two of my favorite little people, Riley and Harlow.
Lots and lots of snuggles.


Most of the worst things have been mentioned because, and this is so important for me to remember, most of the best things came from crazy hard things.

By far the hardest thing for me this year was losing our sweet baby. It is the hardest thing I have ever experienced, and it still takes my breath away when I get hit, out of the blue, by the grief and loss. I do, however, honestly believe that The Lord has a plan for Drew and I, for our family, and even for the precious baby that I won’t get to hold until Heaven. I still don’t understand His plan in this area, and I’d be willing to wager that I never will understand or like this part of our journey, I am thankful that He is holding us and our precious baby through it all.

Harlow’s second cancer diagnosis in April, just weeks after her fifth birthday. My uncle’s death in November. Other precious loved ones’ fighting scary health battles.

This was a very hard year. But it was also a very blessed year.

When you look back on 2013, what were your best and worst parts?
Since we know the worst parts will come, it is my hope that our best parts come from the way we’re loved, supported, and encouraged during our worst parts so that we can get just a glimpse of the redemption that is coming, when all things will be made new.

Happy 2014, brave friends!

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october, finally



Today I am feeling grateful. I am grateful for the sleeping dog lying next to me, barking and wiggling his nose. I am grateful that I live in a world where dogs get to have dreams.


And, as the above photo states, I am grateful that I live in a world with Octobers. I love fall. October is my favorite month of the year, and now even more so since our wedding anniversary is in October. 

And this year I’ve been looking forward to fall even more than usual. As many of you have read, this summer was the most difficult season of our lives. A change of seasons is refreshing. Fall is particularly refreshing for me– cooler weather, waking up to cold air through open windows, apple orchards and pumpkin farms, and a much needed reminder that some things are more beautiful in their season of death than even in life. It is a precious hope I cling to, that, though we still ache and long for our sweet baby, she is truly in the arms of Jesus, beautiful and pain free, in constant and perfect relationship with her Creator. 

And I’m grateful for this blog post that showed up on my facebook news feed today (though the article is from March) and put words to something I’ve been wanting to address, especially over the last several weeks. I have had many well-meaning people (both Christian and not) respond to the difficulty of this season with old sayings and Christian platitudes that are meant to offer some comfort, the most frustrating of which has been”God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” Though there are many sayings that we throw around (both as Christians and not) to “comfort” those suffering and in pain, many of which do the opposite, but would you please allow me to address this particular one?

First, can I just say (though I know the people that have said this mean to be helpful) it’s not a super kind thing to say to someone who is in pain. I understand that the intended message is “you’ll get through this” but, at least for me, it makes me feel like even more of a failure. God thought I could handle this, but I certainly don’t feel like I can. Am I not as strong as He thinks? Am I not depending on Him? I think maybe the most painful part of this saying is that it’s often used as a response to someone who has questions that are too big to answer. It serves as a way to quiet the questions that we’ve worked up the courage to ask God during these difficult seasons, the questions we know we will probably never get the answers to, but we ask anyways because we are struggling to reconcile what we know about who God is with the crap we are wading through. “It will get better.” “But what if it doesn’t?” This, and other questions like it, are not the questions of the weak and tired, but the questions of the courageous, those who know that life may always feel hard and choose to seek God in the midst of the crap. These are the questions of the weary, who feel beat down, but haven’t given up. These are the questions of those faithful enough to believe that God is listening, even when He seems to be silent.

I had a dear friend and discipleship group leader in college who had just suffered her 4th late term miscarriage in just over a year when I met her (though I had heard her speak several times). I had just had my 4th surgery to have tumors removed in about the same amount of time. Although now, having lost a child I wouldn’t say the pain is comparable, at the time we were both going through some of the most difficult things we had experienced. We both felt alone in the desert. And at our most honest, we were both so hurt by God that we weren’t even sure that we wanted Him to draw us near. He didn’t feel safe. We were hurt and angry. But I will never forget that, when I was asking God big questions for the first time, really, she encouraged me, reminding me that God wants a relationship with us, not blind followers. And if any other person in our lives hurt us, or could have stopped pain in our lives and chose not to, we would question them. There is something beautiful about the relationship between someone who is suffering and the God that the desperately want to see act, who isn’t acting in a way that makes sense to us. It isn’t difficult to see God from the mountaintop, but to continue to seek Him when you’re in the valley and know (or fear) that may be where you spend the rest of your days is brave. Please don’t be afraid to question God, friends. Even Jesus, who was God in a human body, asked, in His final moments “Father, why have You forsaken me?” If He can question God’s presence and plan in the painful moments, surely we are free to do the same. And please don’t diminish the validity of other’s questions by trying to quiet them with platitudes because the questions are too big to answer and scary to address. As Nate beautifully states “Limp, anemic sentiments will not stand in the face of a world that is not as it should be.”

Secondly, and much more importantly, it isn’t true. The verse that is referenced by this saying is 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except that which is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”  Not only does it not say anything about trials (but specifically about temptation), it also does not say God gives it. I think these are both critical points to understand. From what I understand about this verse, the implication is that God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what your faith can handle. This does not mean you won’t be tempted, or that you won’t succumb to temptation, or that you won’t feel like the temptation is overwhelming and more than you can handle, but rather that the Lord will provide a way out of temptation, should we choose to take it. We live in a fallen world (though I think, if we’re honest, none of us need to be told that. We can feel it deep within ourselves constantly). We will be tempted. We will fail to beat temptation. But God will not allow Satan to tempt us beyond what we can handle to maintain our faith. Not what we can handle to feel great, to feel untested, for life to be easy, but just for our faith to remain. God will allow us to be tempted. God will not allow us to be tempted to the point that our faith is unable to be recovered.

The other thing that is painfully wrong about “God not giving us more than we can handle” is that it implies that God gives us trials. God, who is love and goodness and sent Jesus so that we could have life abundant, does not give us trials to make us stronger or more compassionate or to grow us, nor does He tempt us. (James 1:13 “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone.”) However, we live in a fallen world and we do experience the pain of separation from God. But God, who loves us and desires good for us, does not cause pain in our lives. He, instead, uses the trials we endure to draw us to Himself, to make us more compassionate, to remind us of what and who we were created to be and who we were created for. In His compassion, even when our trials are a direct result of our own sin, He allows us to grow as people as well as in relationship with Him, if we choose. 

So friends, when you encounter someone in the middle of a great trial, please choose the words you say carefully. Please make sure that they are Truth and even more importantly that they are full of grace and abundant in love. Please make sure that they encourage true relationship with Jesus and don’t discourage someone from asking the brave, hard questions of God. That dear friend who is walking through the valley or the desert, they could turn away from God because they can’t see or feel Him, but instead they’ve chosen to turn to Him, to seek His heart in the midst of pain, and that is a beautiful, courageous, and honorable venture.

I am grateful for a God who knows and understands my hard questions, who seeks me even in the valley, and who encourages my spirit with just enough when human words fail and the day feels too long and hard to get through.

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“this is what it is to be held
how it feels when the sacred is torn from your life and you survive.
this is what it is to be loved and to know that the promise was
when everything fell, you’d be held

First, please let me say that Drew and I are humbled and amazed by and grateful for your prayers, words of encouragement, text messages, emails, snacks, visits and phone calls in response to my last post. I cried often as I read your words of encouragement, prayers, scripture, and deeply personal stories of your own pregnancies and loss. Losing a child, no matter at what stage, has to be one of this world’s most painful experiences. I hope and pray that none of us have to have that experience again. Statistically, though, I know that is unlikely, so if one of us must, I pray that you are encouraged and understood well.

We are still early in our grieving and processing, but I am so grateful that we have occasional days now that feel almost normal. I don’t forget- I think about our sweet baby every single day. If she had lived and been healthy, we’d be safely into out second trimester now, telling the world, celebrating and planning. Instead, we try to laugh and be silly, not to lose hope, and to continue to be kind to ourselves and each other when a day is harder on us than it “should” be. On the days that hurt the most I try to cling to God’s promises, cry, and try to do something that relaxes me. I joke (but it’s sort of true) that I’m drowning my sorrows in scarves because I’ve made more than 40 (no joke) in the 12 days since I learned how. It sounds ridiculous, but keeping my hands busy with something other than the internet or obsessively playing dots or temple run has been good for my soul. Sweet friends continue to send me songs, Scripture and words of encouragement that remind me that there is hope and point me towards Jesus.

I am still struggling to understand this season in our life (and, in truth, likely never will understand), but I am beginning to feel “held.” I know that every text at the perfect moment, song that speaks to my heart, and verse that gives a glimmer of hope are just a part of the way that God has been and continues to hold us close. It hurts. I can’t and won’t pretend like the being held makes me thankful for the pain. I am not. I want to hold my precious baby. But just as I know that holding my baby would not protect her from the pain of living in a fallen and sometimes cruel world, I realize that my expectation to be protected from this kind of pain isn’t realistic. I still pray from the depths of my heart that Drew and I will never have to experience this pain again, I also know that I wasn’t promised a rescue from the pain of this world (quite the opposite, actually). I deeply long for my baby, but I know that the biggest reason I so long for her is because I was created in the image of God- who is full life and joy and love. Truly, this world feels far from Home in this stormy season.

As I said, we are very much still processing and still, I’m sure, have much to learn about ourselves and God. Please continue to pray for us as we grieve and slowly heal.
Thank you, again, for your support and love. Thank you for helping us to know and feel that we are truly being held during this painful time. We are blessed to be surrounded by such amazing people.




I am going to start this post out with two disclaimers:
1. What I need to write about tonight is a pretty difficult topic and deals with some very personal things going on in my life. If you don’t want to know about the deep and difficult things we’re dealing with, that’s totally fine (truly, I understand), but then this blog post is not for you.
2. There are many people that we love dearly that we have not shared this news with. PLEASE, if you are someone important to us that is finding out this news from this post, please be gracious and know that we love you and desire to share our lives with you. You are not, by any means, in the minority by not knowing what’s been going on. I was not planning on blogging about this, as it is difficult and deeply personal, but have, for various reasons, felt like I am supposed to. Even though I am writing about this news, it is still extremely difficult for us to actually say out loud, and besides the initial discussion with Drew, I’ve only actually said this news out loud once. I am sorry that you’re finding out this way, but its the best we can do right now, so please love us anyway.

A few weeks ago Drew and I found out that I had a miscarriage. I didn’t even know for sure that I was pregnant until I had miscarried, and though, in theory, that should make this easier, it doesn’t actually do much to ease the pain. I have been feeling very sad, angry, lonely and ashamed.
I was not planning on blogging about this. I actually have told very few people. I think, besides it being an extremely painful topic, the other reason that I haven’t talked about it much is because I felt ashamed–partly because of my tendency to determine my own value in my identity as a woman, and partly because no one talks about miscarriages. The statistics on miscarriages are widely varied, but (on the conservative side) 10-30% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage (and that is not counting fertilized eggs that implant incorrectly and are never viable, which skyrockets the percentage to 50-75%). If any other single thing was taking the lives of 10-30% of our children, there is no chance that people would be so quiet about it. Why are we not talking about this? If I had lost my baby at any point after birth, my grief, hurt, and anger would all be completely understandable. Why then, when a woman loses her unborn baby, does she feel alone and ashamed? It isn’t right, and that is why I’m writing this difficult (to write, and probably to read) post.

My body feels weird. Empty. Like something is missing. I feel it pretty close to all the time. I can’t get away from my own body, as much as I’d like to. So I have spent a good portion of the last few weeks dealing with feelings of anxiety, grief, anger, frustration and fear. Though I know logically that at only 4 weeks and 3 days old, there is nothing I could have done to save our sweet baby. I know that it wasn’t something I ate or drank or medicine I took. Apart from heavy drug or alcohol abuse, there is pretty much nothing you could possibly do that would cause you to lose a pregnancy that early. I’ve read tons of articles. I know it is not my fault. It would have happened no matter what I had done or not done. But I still feel responsible. I still wish, with every fiber of my being, that I could have known that I was pregnant so I could have done everything imaginable under the sun to keep that sweet baby safe. I know it wouldn’t have worked, but I still wish. On top of all of that, I also feel like a failure as a woman, wife and mom. Our bodies were created to nourish and protect our babies, and for whatever reason, mine did not. As I said, I know that there is nothing I could have done, but it is still a very real daily struggle to convince myself that I am not worth any less because my baby did not survive.

I am scared that I will not be able to carry a baby to term, although 80% of women who experience an early (in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy) miscarriage go on to have completely healthy babies. I am afraid that this will keep happening, and that even if I have a healthy pregnancy, I will be so terrified that the baby will not live that I won’t be able to enjoy the miracle and beauty of pregnancy. I am worried that though, as my mom said, I was “born to be a mom” I will never get to have that experience. It’s discouraging and frustrating and sad. What if this is just the beginning of a very hard journey that still ends with me not having the kids I’ve always wanted and prayed for? The what-ifs are enough to make even the most sane person crazy.

I am also just so sad. A few days after we found out I was having a particularly rough day and started sobbing while cutting potatoes. I was alone in the kitchen, cutting potatoes, sobbing. I felt (and sort of still feel) like a crazy person. How in the world could I possibly miss someone that I didn’t even know existed until she* was gone? It doesn’t make sense. But I do. I miss our sweet baby every single day. I am heartbroken that I will forever be a mother to a baby that I will never get to hold in my arms (on this side of Heaven). I had a baby growing inside of me- our sweet baby– and now my arms and my body are empty. It feels absolutely cruel.

And God, God and I are not in the best of places. Because I have been through difficult times before, in this situation I haven’t even really asked “why?” I am not, by any means, okay with what has happened, but I will not know the answers in this life (and even if I did, there is no answer that could be good enough for this mama who just wants to hold her baby). In all honesty, even if God Himself told me the reason that our sweet baby couldn’t keep living, it likely wouldn’t feel like a good enough reason for me. I am human and my mind cannot comprehend all that He knows and sees. I want what seems good from my perspective, and from down here, a growing, healthy baby seems pretty damn good. All that said, I know and believe that God is good. Even in my worst moments, there is something in me (the Holy Spirit, I believe) that absolutely refuses to stop knowing and believing that truth. When I am the most sad and lonely and angry, I still can’t help but believe that, somehow, God is still good. He is still in control, and He still loves me dearly. He knew and created my sweet baby, He knit her together in my womb, and about the only shred of comfort I’ve been able to find is the knowledge that I know the One who is holding our sweet baby, although we desperately wish it were us holding her. Some days I cling tightly to Him, to the Word, to the promise of life with Him and our baby. Some days I feel too hurt and angry, and I keep Him at a distance. I don’t want Him to go away, but I also don’t really want Him to come near. Thankfully, He is a gracious and loving God, who knows my heart and understands my pain, so He patiently waits until I’m ready to let Him get close again.

This is a process- a very painful one- and we are certainly still in the midst of it. I don’t have amazing insight or answers that will fix everything (or anything). But I couldn’t let this chance pass to tell you, if you stand where I do now, you are not alone. Certainly I believe that God is with you, but also the number of women who have been where you are is staggering. It doesn’t take away the sting, and it shouldn’t. “It happens to a lot of other women” is not meant as a platitude like “well, you’re not even close to the only one.” It is meant as a comfort that you are not alone. You don’t have to walk through this alone.

If your husband (or significant other) is anything like my sweet husband, he will try really, really hard to comfort you and to understand and to do whatever he can to make things better. He will tell you over and over that it’s not your fault, that it is okay you’re crying a river into your potatoes, that he’s not going anywhere. But his experience and grief will still be vastly different than yours, and that’s normal and okay. But please don’t believe that no one knows how you feel. Your experience is unique to you, your significant other and your sweet little loved one, but I promise you that you are not alone in the grief you’re experiencing. It is a tragic loss whether it is your first pregnancy that ends in a miscarriage, or you have had several, or you have several healthy children before you lose your baby. It is unbelievably painful and horrific whether your sweet baby is 4 weeks and the news of the pregnancy hadn’t sunk in yet, 10 weeks and only you and your significant other knew, or 16 weeks and you’d told everyone under the sun because things were going so well. I’m so sorry for your loss, and there is nothing I (or anyone else can say) that will make it right. It isn’t right, it’s tragic. But please don’t believe the lie that you don’t have the right to grieve or that your feelings aren’t valid just because your baby was not yet born. I wish it hurt less because of that, I really do. But it doesn’t because that sweet baby was part of you, and now that part is gone.

To close this very long post, I wanted to share with you just a few of the things that have made me feel understood, given me a moment of comfort, or even a moment of hope. Every person’s process is different, but I share some of mine in hopes that it may help someone, someday, with theirs. Thanks so much for bearing with me through this post, and thank you for letting me share such an important and personal part of my story.

ImageI found this on Pinterest (and cried) but love the Truth and grace of this quote. My sweet baby, who I love and miss, opened her eyes and saw the face of Jesus. The first, and only experience, she will have is perfect fellowship with her Creator. I long for her, I wish I could hold her, but I am thankful that she will never have to experience the painful parts of life or the sting of the effects of living in a fallen world. Jesus, hold her close for me please.

This song has been meaningful to me in my grief. I especially like this line: “I want to know a song can rise from the ashes of a broken life and all that’s dead inside can be reborn.”

This song is older, but helps me put words to some of my feelings, and also reminds me that, though this pain is unimaginable, I am still being held by my Creator as well. Sometimes I think “peace that passes all understanding” looks like God supplying you with just enough (peace, energy, encouragement, faith, hope) to get through a day you never wanted to have to live through.

I also found the following quote “How terrible it is to love something that death can touch,” which I have drawn up with our sweet baby’s details and framed in our room. This was therapeutic for me (I think it was the first thing I did that made me feel like I was actually doing something) and was the thing that really helped make the loss real for Drew.

*I find myself referring to our sweet baby as “her.” Clearly at such a young age, we have no confirmation of the gender of our baby, but we believe that our sweet baby would have been a girl and it’s simpler to just refer to her as such, instead of a constant “her (or him)” every time she is mentioned.

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It has been nearly 3 weeks since I finished my year of (nearly) daily blogging, and I think I can safely say that this year of learning to be grateful, even in the midst of some difficult circumstances, was preparation for the past two weeks, which have been the most difficult and painful that I’ve ever experienced. There have been days that, honestly, all I feel thankful for is that the day is over and I get to crawl, totally exhausted, into the biscuit with mojo and my sweet hubs. Some days are just that tough. But we have also had people reach out to us, pray for us, laugh and cry with us, and send encouraging words at the right moment without even knowing how desperately we needed them. I’m grateful for verses of the day that are what my heart needs, for friends who point me towards Jesus even when I feel hurt, and for those who aren’t afraid to walk into the mess to come beside us instead of offering platitudes from a safe distance. We are blessed to be so well loved. I am also extremely grateful for this weekend, which was restful and completely lacking in busy-ness. I am thankful for moments with my dear husband that felt like we were back to our normal, goofy selves, even if the moments were fleeting.




I am also so grateful for Harlow’s big milestone today-her first day of Kindergarten!

In March, when Harlow was diagnosed again, this day seemed only a vague possibility, as we knew Harlow would likely still be in treatment. While that is still true (she’s about halfway done with both her chemo and her 5 weeks of daily radiation), she is well enough to start school with the rest of her class and attend school for half days (at least). She is so strong. Happy first day of Kindergarten, sweet girl!

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happy birthday, little blog! {day 365}

Today is day 365…holy cow, little bloggy is a year old! We celebrated with a candle in a scoop of ice cream-yum! I am grateful for my hubby who celebrates my accomplishments-even if its something random and silly like blogging every day for a year. He also planned a sweet fondue date night tonight, which was wonderful. I am so blessed.
What are you grateful for today, sweet friends?



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sweet little buster {day 364}

Today this sweet baby boy turns 4 years old. I am, I think, still in denial. How could this possibly be true?
I am grateful for Riley, for his crazy silly little self that makes me laugh until I cry, and for his sweet and tender spirit that loves to snuggle and “writes letters” to his friend Harlow and tells his auntie that he misses her and wants to sleep over.
Happy birthday, little buster (even though you’re not that little anymore)! Auntie Beana and Uncle Drew love you tons!!