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


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{held}

“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.


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prayers {day 358}

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grateful for ice cream from my sweet hubs

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and reminders of who Jesus is and who I am on a day that I just felt overwhelmed and sad. I am blessed to be surrounded by people who love me, pray for and with me, and who feed my spirit (and my Ollie’s cravings).


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young life camp at castaway {days 346-353}

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I am sorry for my absence (which I, again, forgot to warn you about…oops), but I was at Young Life camp with my sweet high school friends having an amazing time and not spending time on my phone (and therefore, not updating the blog…)

A week at young life camp is chock-full of things to be grateful for, so I’ll give you some highlights.
Just some of the things I am grateful for:
getting to know a cabin of high school girls I didn’t know very well,
lots and lots and lots of laughter,
tears of joy,
sweet friends realizing how precious they are,
Jesus changing hearts and lives,
incredible sunsets,
hugs,
friends being real about hard things,
beachfront & parasailing,
and being reminded of who I was created to be.

Castaway is my favorite Young Life camp and I love the way God seems to use that specific place to meet my high school friends (and me). I feel so blessed to be a part of such an amazing ministry.


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kid run club {day 259}

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tonight was our last regular young life club of the year. it has become tradition for the last club of the year to be “kid-run,” meaning the leaders help prepare kids to take charge of every aspect of club. there are two things that I love about this club, and this year was no exception- 1. I love to hear my high school friends pray for their friends. it is the sweetest thing. 2. one of the seniors gives the talk, or shares the story of their journey with Jesus. I loved hearing my friend amanda tell her peers about how Jesus has walked with her this year through some pretty hard places.


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Boston {day 249}

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Today tragedy struck again as Boston Marathon runners prepared to cross the finish line and spectators cheered on their loved ones. Once again innocent people were hurt and killed at the hands of hatred and anger. I am sad and angry.
I must admit, in the midst of tragedy and hatred and hurt, my first thoughts are usually along the lines of this: “Lord, come quickly. This world is too much for me.”
But as I was challenged and reminded by my friend Ian today, we are not called to run from messiness. We are called to run towards it, to help the hurting and broken and messy. We are called to be Jesus’s hands and feet, and while Jesus’s heart is grieved by the despicable acts of today, Jesus willingly went into the brokenness. And we are called to do the same.
In the middle of the pictures of chaos and pain, there are also pictures, acts of kindness and words that remind us that all is not lost. Video of the explosions show huge crowds of people (very understandably) running away from the blasts. But they also reveal brave runners, staff and spectators running towards the blasts, with less regard for their own well being than those injured. Several thousand people posted contact information on a google doc offering rides, food, bedrooms and encouragement for runners and families needing shelter. There are reports that, after crossing the finish line, some runners continued running to a nearby hospital to donate blood.
Lord, both literally and figuratively, give me (and us, the Church) the courage and compassion to run towards the hurt and the messiness, to be Your hands and feet to the suffering. Though it is clear that this is not where we were created to be, that this broken world is far less than what God created us for, help me to remember that I am here at this time for a reason. Please make me like them, Running towards the messy and broken. Thank you for the helpers today, who remind us that there are reasons to hope.

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alright, I’m listening {day 244}

these last few weeks have felt long. I am weary and whatever it is that God is doing, and I truly believe He is always moving, I don’t see the good or the potential good in it.
this morning, though, I woke up to thunder shaking the house, heavy rain, and hail. so as I lay awake in bed, listening to (and feeling) the storm raging, I opened up my Bible app to see the verse for today.
It was this:

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alright God, I hear you. thanks for reminding me that You’re moving when I’m too focused on the storm to see it.


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weary {day 243}

Today was tough. I am weary and heavy-hearted. There are a lot if people I care deeply for who are sick, scared or hurting.

I am grateful for ceramics class tonight. It’s cheaper than therapy and my clay covered hands are soothing for my soul. Even when my first pinch pot cracks…

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I am so grateful to come home to a thoughtful and precious journal entry from my sweet hubby (who also gives great hugs, so needed by the time I got home) and for a puppy snuggled up while I read it.

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And for encouraging words from sweet friends that point me towards Jesus.

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Even in the midst of darkness and hurt, I know Jesus is near. For that, I could never fully express my gratitude.

Please continue to pray for my sweet friend Harlow. She received her first chemo treatment tonight following a very rough 24 hours.

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