Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Heaven Baby

We love you forever
We like you for always
As long as we're living
Our Baby you'll be. 

Live fully in the joy of Jesus presence sweet boy. 
One day we'll come Home to join you in the forever song to the Savior.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Included at Christmas

We struggled to think how we could include Jairus in our family traditions and celebrations at Christmas now that he celebrates in Heaven. Here's what we came up with...

We decorated his grave a couple weeks ago with a mini tree and some other decorations. 

At home, we were blessed by a dear woman at our church with this beautiful stocking made just for our boy. Its made from some receiving blankets we were given in a gift basket at the hospital when Jairus was born as well as some premie sized sleepers that Jairus would have gotten from his big brother Hazen. This is such a treasure to us and we are SO thankful to you, AmyLee!
 When we got the finished stocking and I showed it to the kids, Emma told me "Jairus doesn't need a stocking at our house, because died already and he lives up in Heaven...but maybe the stocking can float up to Heaven!!" I told her it was for us to remember him and fill with things that help us remember how much we love Jairus. Emma agreed that that was ok. :) I love how God speaks to me through that precious child!

We started an ornament collection for Jairus this year. It felt good to be able to look and buy something for him, though it was really hard knowing, as Emma reminded me, its not really for him, but for us. I was thinking a lot at the time about the story of Abraham from the book of Genesis in the Bible.

You can find the story of Abraham in Genesis chapters 12 - 25. Abraham is really old, but he and his wife never had any children. God comes to Abraham and promises him many amazing things, including that his descendants would outnumber the starts in the sky (Genesis 15:5) and one day the whole world would be blessed and saved through his family (Genesis 12:3) enter many years later...Jesus! The story of Abraham is amazing to me because God is so clearly pouring out His love on someone who is so clearly unworthy! But that's not the point of this post.

It struck me how Abraham (God's) children outnumber even the stars! To think if each of us were a star God called out by name. In thinking about that, I decided this year Jairus, being in the presence and glory of God, being one of God's "children of Abraham" would receive Christmas star ornaments to start his collection. Here's what we found...

I also had this ornament made for our family and both sets of grandparents to remember our baby in Heaven...the heart he is holding says "You may miss me but I'm spending Christmas with Jesus this year" Its been such a healing thought for me this Christmas season. Yes, I miss my son. Yes, I ache for him to fill the hole in our family, to see him grow and to know him now. But it is better for Jairus to be where he is. With Jesus.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

For God so loved the world...

Merry Christmas!

We just put the kids to bed and I just realized that while we got some video of today, I took zero pictures with my camera of the kids! Luckily, Oma and Opa (my parents) snapped quite a few so I'll get some up a different time. Mommy fail.

Our first Christmas without Jairus had its ups and downs. Through God's grace we had many laughs as well as tears and enjoyed our older children immensely as we celebrated the birth of our Savior.

Christmas Eve was the tougher day of the two for whatever reason. I woke up with a list of things I hoped to accomplish and the more I pushed to "do it right" and "be happy" the crabbier and sadder I got. Luckily my wonderful husband reminded me its ok to be sad, even at Christmas, and that I don't have to try to fake happiness for Emma and Hazen. Seems simple, but its hard to remember sometimes in the scramble to create memories for them while they are young. I spent some time alone at the cemetery which I find very peaceful. Its good to be by myself sometimes so I can stop running around doing 5 things at once and just be. Then Mark and I snuggled in for a movie and we spent the evening at church. Lots of tears, lots of memories of last year but also so much hope for the Truth in the manger.

Christmas Day has been a good day, we woke early and, once the coffee was brewing, tore through all the presents before breakfast (I don't think we could have stopped the kids if we'd tried!). Next we headed back to church and were greatly encouraged by the Good News of keeping the Main thing of Christmas, the Main thing. Then the cemetery to add jingle bells to Jairus's decorations. We spent the rest of the day just relaxing with my parents, playing with the kids, eating and napping. Its been a quiet Christmas compared to those in the past, but a good Christmas.

I find I don't have the frenzied excited feeling I have in past Christmases, in its place is something deeper, quieter, a hopeful joy for the long awaited Savior and His eventual return. At the end of the day, no matter the day, He's all that matters. He came for us, to save us, to bring us home. He brought my son already, someday I'll get to go too. And then I too will get to live in the perfection of Life with Jesus. All because of what happened on Christmas.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that who ever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life! 
~John 3:16

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Joy and Grief at Christmas

I'm a muddle of emotions and planning and baking and crying right now. And  I just want to share this post from my dear friend Molly's blog this morning.

Molly gives me much comfort and hope for our future, and how to move forward in our grief. But this year, its very raw and we are struggling at times. Last year was a different kind of Christmas...

Last year at this time we were 34 weeks pregnant. 

I had my last ultrasound with Baby 3 at 34 1/2 weeks pregnant. 
Everything looked perfect.

It was the last time I saw my sweet baby alive. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas is on its Way

In trying to include Jairus in our holidays this year, we're starting some new traditions.

On thanksgiving we made a "Thankful Tree" in which we (the four of us and my parents) each wrote, shared and hung up a few things we are thankful for this year. We then brought our Thankful tree to the cemetery and left it at Jairus's graveside.

The kids decorated a mini-Christms tree for Jairus and brought it to his grave this weekend. 

We're baking like always, though mostly just us, rather than surrounded by friends and noise. Just trying to keep it more simple and quiet this year. The kids are of course loving it all!

 This weekend we went out and picked a Christmas tree. And though I cried a little in the store and had a sick feeling in my stomach the whole time we picked through the selection, its a beautiful tree and we had a good time decorating it as a family and reading the Grinch Stole Christmas with Mark's parents!

We even had our first indoor fire in the fireplace. It was very nostalgic. Until we realized the basement had filled with smoke.

We're starting an ornament collection for Jairus, just as we have done with Emma and Hazen since they were born. He will have a stocking hung in his honor over the fireplace mantle. But I'm not ready to get our stockings out yet. I just can't seem to hang them up. One of these days I will. And I'll cry for my baby's first Christmas and remember gladly that he's celebrating Christmas with Jesus this year.

3 days after Christmas we will have to face the day we dread the most. December 28th will mark 1 year since Jairus died and was born. I don't know what to do for that day. Can't begin to figure out how to celebrate the little life of my beloved son. I want him to be celebrated, to thank God for bringing Jairus into Heaven where he is filled with joy and peace and love beyond measure. I want to thank God for His mercy and comfort to my family this past year, for showing us bits of His plans for us and His work through Jairus's life and death. But I'm not quite ready to go there yet. So I'll linger here, preparing for Christmas.

December has so far been a mixture of joy and pain, of smiles and tears, of fear and hope.
We will celebrate the coming of our King and the promise of the manger.
May God be glorified through this December too.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I keep catching myself filling my time, mind and life with distractions. Problem is, once the excitement of something new wears off, I need a new distraction. Lately my distractions have come specifically in the forms of online shopping, baking, cleaning, shopping in stores, preparing for upcoming Holidays, wine, foodie movies and spending time with people. NONE of those things are bad in and of themselves. For "all things are permissible" but when I am running to those things to put a band-aid on my heart, that IS a problem.

Its much easier to bake bread than be still and seek the Lord for HIS healing. I get a rush from finding a great deal on Etsy and again when the package comes in the mail, but now I'm done with Christmas shopping and the urge to buy is a dangerous one for our budget, trouble with 'things' is you will always want more, more, more!

I am busy filling my time with busyness because I feel a stress ball building up within me. And its too hard to stop my day and deal with it by taking it to the Lord. That's too painful. Too inconvenient. So I take up my burdens myself and labor under them by ignoring them.

Please pray that I would be able to drop that baggage at Jesus' feet.

Jairus turned 11 months on Monday. In 24 days it will be Christmas. In 27 days we will mark 1 year since we labored and delivered our still baby. I'm so tempted to rush through this month and put on a smile and ignore the memories that have been flooding my mind in a fresh, painful way.

And yet, there is God's whisper within me, urging me so gently and lovingly toward Himself, toward the manger, toward the Hope and Joy of what Christmas is holding for all of us, even me. So though I am tempted to be busy constantly, I hope to stop and worship this Christmas season. To dwell in the presence of my Good God. To hope for His peace, comfort, perfect healing and joy.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hands Full of Good Things

A friend reminded me of this article I saw this summer and it is definitely worth passing on! Things have been busy here and I hope to blog more soon, until then, be encouraged that the call of parenthood is from the Lord! HIS plans and purposes are  beyond our own, and HE sees children as a treasure to cherish and a pleasure to raise!


Motherhood Is a Calling (And Where Your Children Rank)

A few years ago, when I just had four children and when the oldest was still three, I loaded them all up to go on a walk. After the final sippy cup had found a place and we were ready to go, my two-year-old turned to me and said, “Wow! You have your hands full!”
She could have just as well said, “Don’t you know what causes that?” or “Are they all yours?!”
Everywhere you go, people want to talk about your children. Why you shouldn’t have had them, how you could have prevented them, and why they would never do what you have done. They want to make sure you know that you won’t be smiling anymore when they are teenagers. All this at the grocery store, in line, while your children listen.

A Rock-Bottom Job?

The truth is that years ago, before this generation of mothers was even born, our society decided where children rank in the list of important things. When abortion was legalized, we wrote it into law.
Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get. In fact, children rate below your desire to sit around and pick your toes, if that is what you want to do. Below everything. Children are the last thing you should ever spend your time doing.
If you grew up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood, to think like a free Christian woman about your life, your children. How much have we listened to partial truths and half lies? Do we believe that we want children because there is some biological urge, or the phantom “baby itch”? Are we really in this because of cute little clothes and photo opportunities? Is motherhood a rock-bottom job for those who can’t do more, or those who are satisfied with drudgery? If so, what were we thinking?

It's Not a Hobby

Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.
Christian mothers carry their children in hostile territory. When you are in public with them, you are standing with, and defending, the objects of cultural dislike. You are publicly testifying that you value what God values, and that you refuse to value what the world values. You stand with the defenseless and in front of the needy. You represent everything that our culture hates, because you represent laying down your life for another—and laying down your life for another represents the gospel.
Our culture is simply afraid of death. Laying down your own life, in any way, is terrifying. Strangely, it is that fear that drives the abortion industry: fear that your dreams will die, that your future will die, that your freedom will die—and trying to escape that death by running into the arms of death.

Run to the Cross

But a Christian should have a different paradigm. We should run to to the cross. To death. So lay down your hopes. Lay down your future. Lay down your petty annoyances. Lay down your desire to be recognized. Lay down your fussiness at your children. Lay down your perfectly clean house. Lay down your grievances about the life you are living. Lay down the imaginary life you could have had by yourself. Let it go.
Death to yourself is not the end of the story. We, of all people, ought to know what follows death. The Christian life is resurrection life, life that cannot be contained by death, the kind of life that is only possible when you have been to the cross and back.
The Bible is clear about the value of children. Jesus loved them, and we are commanded to love them, to bring them up in the nurture of the Lord. We are to imitate God and take pleasure in our children.

The Question Is How

The question here is not whether you are representing the gospel, it is how you are representing it. Have you given your life to your children resentfully? Do you tally every thing you do for them like a loan shark tallies debts? Or do you give them life the way God gave it to us—freely?
It isn’t enough to pretend. You might fool a few people. That person in line at the store might believe you when you plaster on a fake smile, but your children won’t. They know exactly where they stand with you. They know the things that you rate above them. They know everything you resent and hold against them. They know that you faked a cheerful answer to that lady, only to whisper threats or bark at them in the car.
Children know the difference between a mother who is saving face to a stranger and a mother who defends their life and their worth with her smile, her love, and her absolute loyalty.

Hands Full of Good Things

When my little girl told me, “Your hands are full!” I was so thankful that she already knew what my answer would be. It was the same one that I always gave: “Yes they are—full of good things!”
Live the gospel in the things that no one sees. Sacrifice for your children in places that only they will know about. Put their value ahead of yours. Grow them up in the clean air of gospel living. Your testimony to the gospel in the little details of your life is more valuable to them than you can imagine. If you tell them the gospel, but live to yourself, they will never believe it. Give your life for theirs every day, joyfully. Lay down pettiness. Lay down fussiness. Lay down resentment about the dishes, about the laundry, about how no one knows how hard you work.
Stop clinging to yourself and cling to the cross. There is more joy and more life and more laughter on the other side of death than you can possibly carry alone.
Rachel Jankovic is a wife, homemaker, and mother. She is the author of "Loving the Little Years" and blogs at Femina. Her husband is Luke, and they have five children: Evangeline (5), Daphne (4), Chloe (2), Titus (2), and Blaire (5 months).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Preparations

Today I'm getting ready for my first Thanksgiving in my own home.

Mark and I have decided to spend all the holidays at home this year. We want to keep things low key, and be able to include a visit to the cemetery in our plans. As I was cooking and cleaning today, I kept thinking about Jairus. How he'd be crawling around my feet this year if he were here, getting his first tastes of lots of yummy food prepared by doting grandparents, aunts and uncles. Maybe he'd cry when I was trying to get food into the oven and bonk his head when I was trying to sit down for 5 minutes rest. I'd get much less done, which I'd prefer. There are so many blessed things I am missing this Thanksgiving with my baby gone. But the Lord continues to remind me of the innumerable ways HE has blessed my family this year, and for all of these and more, I am Thankful....

I am thankful for my husband, who is my best friend and confidant. He continues to bless me with his love and understanding, with his patience and steadfastness. His care and gentleness for our family is immeasurable.
I am thankful for my sweet Emma, who is growing into such a precious girl. Everyday I get to see her learn and lead and immerse us all in a wonderful world of pretend.
I am thankful for my precious Hazen, who gives me all the hugs and cuddles I could ask for. He keeps me on my toes with his adventure and it is an honor to see him starting to become the little man God is molding him into.
I am thankful for my Heaven Baby, Jairus. My life is so much more rich for his having been in it. I have had the blessing to know God more deeply and see HIS grace more clearly as a result of Jairus. Though much pain has been caused by his going to Heaven so soon, I would not trade his place in my family for anything.
I am thankful for our extended family, whose support and love and encouragement has seen us through many dark days this year, and who rejoice with us at all the mini-miracles surrounding us.
I am thankful for my dear friends who walk daily with me in my journey of being a wife, mother, daughter and friend. I don't know where (or who) I'd be without you.
I am thankful for my church family, who support us, challenge us and love on us faithfully as Christ's representatives to this world.
I am thankful for my home, our health, Mark's job, my children's school, the list goes on....

Most of all, I am thankful this year for Jesus' love, grace, and comfort. HE is good. I know it with the depths of my soul. All good things are from above, all thanks goes to Him as the giver. We are just the joyful recipients, He's the glorious giver! His mercies sustain me. His joy is rooted deep within me. He has been my comfort and my peace. This day of Thanksgiving is for Him.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen." 
Revelation 7:9-12

May your Thanksgiving be a day of praise to Jesus, who is worthy of all our thanks.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day of Birth

I found this picture from November 16, 1984...

Kind of a wrinkly little cutie, aren't I?! :)

Then I went back into pictures of my own 3 babes from the days of their birth...

The day we enter the world should be a day of so much joy and hope. Its not always the case. But as a mother who spends much of her own birthday looking back to the days of birth that I have been a part of, I know that each of those days is a day I will never forget.

Through their lives, whether long or short, my own children teach me more about who God is, who I am and what is possible through love, than I could have otherwise known. And today, I am thankful for the days of their birth.

How Old Am I?!

The question has seriously baffled my mind at times. Getting older doesn't bother me, but I find it funny how I can't seem to get a grasp on how old I feel. Just how old am I?!

Being only 20 when I married the man of my dreams, I was instantly pulled into the world of grownups. I like it here. Now I hear stories of 20 year olds getting married and think, "Ohh no, you can't be married, you're just a baby! Ohh wait..."
At 22 I had my first baby, yanking me ahead another few years into Mommy-dom. I began to hear stories of single friends and think, "I'm so much older than that. But I'm not, but I am." And so I grew more used to being perpetually (and happily) ahead of many of my peers.
When I was 26 my child died. Now, how old does that make me?! I can't figure it out. I know it feels like something I shouldn't have to calculate yet, or ever. It also surprises me that only a year has gone by since I turned 26. I don't remember much of my birthday last year, but I know I was blissfully ignorant of the limited number of days I had with the baby I carried within me. I know we went to dinner, and the waitress commented how busy our life was about to be when Baby 3 made his/her appearance. I know life looked happy and simple and the way I had pictured in my head.
At 27 I feel, well, not like 27. Older.

Birthdays have different feelings these days, looking back/imagining the joy of the day people were born, placed into their mother and father's arms for the first time. All the excitement and anticipation and nerves that go with the day of our birth. Those thoughts are shadowed for me, I know now that not all birthdays are joyful. But I also know that each day of birth is a great miracle.

There is so much hope and joy and sorrow in life these days. Deep rooted emotions replace happy-go-lucky ones. There is much to miss and even more to be thankful for. What do I want for my birthday? Well, in all honesty I just want a day with my family all together, the 5 of us. But that is not to be. So instead, I'll spend the day holding those who are with me closer than before. I don't know what this year has in store for me, none of us does. But I know God is good. And I know that His plans include things I don't understand. And I know that HE has given me this day. The day of my birth.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hintz House Halloween

Halloween has never been a personal favorite on my list of "Holidays."

I don't like the history of today and I especially have a hard time with the celebration of death. Because I don't feel like death should be celebrated, it's an enemy of mine and I hate death, so there you have it.

I do however, enjoy Trick or Treating with my kids. I think they are so adorable all dressed up and walking from house to house, bravely ringing doorbells and receiving their reward of sugary sweets. I also really appreciate the excuse to see all my neighbors. What other day of the year do you get to check in with everyone at once? Mark and I see Halloween as a great chance to befriend our neighborhood, to be involved and familiar with those living near us and to meet other kids we often see running around.

Someday we'll have to go more in depth with Emma and Hazen as to what "Halloween" means. And at that point, we hope to be honest and practical. I'm not worried about that day. Its good for our children to know that not everyone is like us, that we believe different things than many other people do, but we still love on those people. We want them to understand the culture they are being raised in, and to have a full understanding of the differences between what they see and what Jesus says, so that they can make informed and wise decisions about their own perspectives.

And until that day comes, I'm going to continue to enjoy seeing a certain little Green Fairy and a seriously strong Space Hero running around with those giant smiles on their faces!

Friday, October 28, 2011

10 Months

I don't know what to write today, except that I am heartsick.

When Emma was 10 months old, we became pregnant with Hazen. Which is not going to be the case, 10 months after losing Jairus. Medical concerns have yet to be resolved (again, posts for another time) and we are in a waiting game. But it makes Jairus seem old to think about that, how his sister was on her way to becoming an older sibling at this age. 10 months. Wow.

Its a beautiful, chilly fall day. Probably the last 28th of the month without snow covering the ground until spring. Which means soon, going to the cemetery will be reminiscent of the day we placed his body in the ground. And that will be another hurdle for my heart to adjust to as well.

I've started Christmas shopping online, trying to get it over with before I get too upset about my baby not being a part of Christmas morning this year. But its not helping much, I feel choked up and tightness in my chest just looking at toys, much less deciding which ornaments we'll add to the kids' collections this year. We'll be starting a new collection, but not one we'd hoped for. But holidays will be discussions for other days, I am sure.

Sorry for my random thoughts, but that's where I am at today. I feel tired and sad and busy and scattered and joyful and weary. All mixed up together within me. Its not such a different day than others. Each day has its hurts, its trials. But it also has its joys, its own 'echos of Eden' its times of laughter and silliness and hope. That's where we're resting somewhere in the middle of all that this life has for us today. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I find myself continually blessed to be surrounded by people who love and know me well enough to still speak to me and ask me about Jairus. I know it is not the experience many people have when they are in grief.

We have also experienced the opposite...people find out about our stillborn son and it equals the end of a conversation. Or people know us but don't know how to bring him up or ask about the impact of Jairus's journey to heaven on our family, so it is never mentioned. I completely understand this, it's hard to talk about the hard things in life. And I know that the more time that passes, the more Jairus's death becomes a part of what is going on in our life, rather than the sole thing we are dealing with on a daily basis.

I guess I just wanted to take a moment to thank those of you who allow me to speak about my heaven baby. And also welcome those of you who have questions to share them, I'd love to get some feedback and ideas for blogging. Whether its about grief in general, faith, stillbirth, suffering, parenting or marriage during grief or specifically about my own experience...anything. Just know that I am willing to talk and answer questions to the best of my limited ability.

Sometimes we just don't have a place where we are allowed to question things, or fear that we'll come across as insensitive or stupid. But its not always so. Without being in honest communication about the harder things in life, we can't grow in understanding of the unknown. Feel free to drop me a line, I'd be really hnonored.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tending the Earth

This summer was my second summer gardening. I started it to save some money and have fresh produce on hand. What I didn't expect was how much work God would do in my heart as I worked in the dirt this year. It became a garden of healing for me.

I struggled a lot in the spring with the fact that I hadn't planned on having a garden at all this year, because I was planning on having a new baby. But I planned and prepped. Working in the dirt was scary and reminded me of Jairus's burial. But I got down on my hands and knees and planted, sowing the seeds with my (literal) tears, praying for healing and sense to come, praying for faith to keep going. Praying for faith that God would grow beauty from ashes.

I tended my small plot in the front yard of our home (the only space that gets enough sunlight without having to tear out a tree) and grew a small variety of veggies from seed: spinach, peapods, tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, basil, dill and oregano as well as some flowers and perrenial plants. I've been able to can pickles and tomatoes, freeze carrots, dry seasonings and have lots of fresh salads and snacks throughout the season. And I love it, I loved watching the plants come in, tending them daily, seeing the fruit ripen and enjoying the delicious fruit of our labor.

When I garden, I meditate on what God's up to in my life, a pray, I get dirty, I focus on the project at hand. I think about God being a gardener, (In the creation of man, God Himself got down in the dirt and formed His treasured creation with His own hands. What an intimate and loving way to create people!) I cry, I teach the kids a new skill and about caring for creation, I practice faith in a real time experiment. After adding each crop I worried that it wouldn't really come up or that I would find a way to ruin it. But the Lord designed those seeds to do their thing, and He delights in showing that faith works. And up came the seeds and out grew the plants and them one day we had veggies galore!

Nothing in this life is really in our control, though we try so hard to convince ourselves it is. God is orchestrating His beautiful love story through history. He has designed His Goodness to penetrate creation, to produce Fruit for the good of His children. I couldn't do anything to make those seeds grow. I could tend the garden, make preparations and do my part to help them, but only God could make them change into the great plants they were designed to be. I can't take the mess of my own life and do anything with it, but if I can give it to God and trust Him with it, He will turn my mess and my pain into something beautiful, healing, fruitful. And I am counting on Him to do just that.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I sat down to blog while the kids watch TV, but being that they are watching a video that is all in rhyme, everything I write seems more like a Dr Seuss book than anything constructive. On the other hand...they ARE watching one of my favorite Veggie Tales stories.... A Snoodle's Tales (we stream it from Netflix)

Love it. Speaks so well of how what others say to us and about us changes the way we see ourselves. But we are ultimately not who they say we are, only who our Creator has made us to be. And with that understanding, of HIS great love for us demonstrated in His Son Jesus dying on the cross to bring us into the family of God, nothing else really matters. 

Side note I'm just messing around with the blog design so bear with me as it continues to change :) Thanks!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Organizing my Chaos

As anyone who knows me well will tell you, I am NOT a naturally tidy person. Actually, I really like organizing things and setting them up, but keep-up is not my friend. Which means my closet is more likely to be clean than my kitchen floor.

Last winter this became a serious issue and we started drowning in a mess of dishes, dirty laundry and melted snow. I was in such a terrible fog of grief that I could hardly remember to feed my children, much less think of what needed to be done on the housework side of my life. So I didn't do anything. God, on the other hand, sent innumerable blessings by two main roads...

My Momma delivered me God's grace in the first days following Jairus's death. She (and my sister) took care of all the cooking and cleaning and childcare that was needed. About 2 weeks later, the time came for her to go back home. I was terrified. She was confident and encouraging. And she told me all I had to do, was start by giving Hazen and Emma each 15 minutes of my undivided attention everyday. And find one chore to complete, everyday. So what if I couldn't keep up, I couldn't think straight. But I could sweep, or wash laundry, or shovel snow. And tomorrow I could try something else. Just do one thing, everyday. And I did. I knew she would ask (and she did, which I was thankful for) what one thing I had done on a day we spoke on the phone or saw each other. And that was enough to get me started again. To help me begin to focus.

Secondly, God brought women from my church. They organized cleaning teams, and every other weekend for 5 months I had Saturday mornings that included childcare for Emma and Hazen, free time for Mark and I to be together, and a team of women who cleaned our home top to bottom. I can not express in words my deep gratitude toward those beautiful women of God. What they gave my family was a HUGE weight off my shoulders and a fresh, relaxing home to enjoy (until about a week later when I again fell behind...)

Over the summer it was becoming apparent that I was in over my head. To this day I have a hard time focusing on what needs to be done on any given day, I get dates mixed up and double book myself and forget appointments way more often than I care to admit. And I was feeling overwhelmed trying to keep up with running the house, not remember what I had or had not gotten around to was frustrating and usually meant I just redid some chores and totally ignored others until they were nasty sick dirty.

So, just like I do for my kids so they know what school / lessons are going on each day, I started making myself lists and charts and calendars to get organized. My household duties are now all assigned to specific days of the week and month, I have a monthly calendar for all of us as well as weekly calendars for my stuff and the kids, shopping lists are easy to see and add to and recipes are separated from coupons so I actually use both. I also stockpile dry erase markers and sharpies when they're on sale ;) If none of this sounds like you, I understand, its not my natural way either. But it really does help me out.

Not a great photo, but an example of my monthly housework chart
A work in progress...
but you can see my weekly calendar, shopping list, character quality list
 and an entire  boat load of paperwork and pictures!
As is my natural tendency, I still do fall behind occasionally and do over schedule my days when I'm not thinking ahead. But it's much better than it was before. Better even than before we lost our son. So I am learning, slowly, to think ahead, to plan, and to make small accomplishments on a daily basis, instead of waiting until I'm in so far over my head I need to call for back up. And I'm learning to let myself off the hook too. After all, there are only so many hours in everyday.

Monday, October 3, 2011

9 months past

Last Wednesday, Jairus would have turned 9 months old.

The 28th of September was quite different than the 28th of every other month this year, mostly because, I forgot about it. I didn't even realize the 28th had come until it was already gone. I had never done that before...never not worried about another month passing, never had a good day on the 28th of the month in all of 2011. This time, I never even noticed. And once I did remember, the afternoon of the next day, I felt strangely unemotional about it. Some people tell me its good, a sign of healing; others express sadness that its so normal for him to be gone. I guess I think its both.

9 months sounds like such a long time for anything. I feel simultaneously surprised that its been 3/4 of a year since Jairus died, and also like he has been gone far longer than that, this year has felt so much longer than years past.

Whether I know the date or not, not a day oes by we do not miss his presence in our family, There is a gap. A lack of giggles, crawling and cheer. Emma and Hazen don't get to play and watch and love on Jairus. We have so much joy in our lives, so much to be thankful for. And in the midst of it, we remember our son, who's honor it is to live with Jesus forever, and whose absence is a deep wound in our hearts. A wound healing by Christ's love and promises. A wound with purpose, and love, and joy.

I'm beginning to read the book of Jeremiah now, and it opens with a promise of God to Jeremiah that has warmed my heart and brought me so much hope for my little boy in Heaven. A promise of God's purposefulness and plan for my son, who has shared Jesus with people through his life's story, through his Home-going and through the family left behind him.

Jeremiah 1:4-5
Now the Word of the Lord came to me saying, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. And before you were born, I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

New Heaven and New Earth

God tells us the Bible is His Word to us, where He speaks and directs and leads His children into His love for them and reveals His character to them. I have been ministered to by Scripture innumerable times in the last few months. And God has proven over and over that He brings healing through His Word. 

It is in the Bible I hear from God directly, there He lays out His plans and purposes. He tells me of His children's past and of His plans for the future. It's true that God does not tell us everything we want to know. But He does tells us everything we need know know, and withholds enough to give room for faith. 

All summer I've been reading the book of Isaiah in the Bible. It's so, so beautiful and hard and hopeful and honest, all mixed into one. It holds so many promises for us. Many were fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ, many have not yet been fulfilled. We are still waiting. I often get impatient, wanting things to go the way I think they should go NOW. But the story in Scripture is not primarily about us, it's about God. So I have to trust in His timing, not my own. 

When I remember that this life is all about God weaving His glorious story of love, I have hope for the future. A future that may not come to fruition in this lifetime, but will certainly come none the less. A more perfect and beautiful future. Where tears are wiped away and justice is done and everything is made right. Oh, how my soul aches for that day! Come, Jesus, come, in all your Glory and Grace!!

"For behold, I create new heavens
and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered 
or come into mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever  
in that which I create;

for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,  
 and her people to be a gladness. 
I will rejoice in Jerusalem
  and be glad in my people; 

no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping
   and the cry of distress.
No more shall there be in it  
an infant who lives but a few days,   
or an old man who does not fill out his days,

for the young man shall die a hundred years old,   
and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. 
They shall build houses and inhabit them;   
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 
They shall not build and another inhabit;   
they shall not plant and another eat; 
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,   
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

They shall not labor in vain    
or bear children for calamity,
for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD,   
and their descendants with them.
Before they call I will answer;   
while they are yet speaking I will hear.

The wolf and the lamb shall graze together;   
the lion shall eat straw like the ox,   
and dust shall be the serpent’s food.
They shall not hurt or destroy   
in all my holy mountain,"         
says the LORD.

Isaiah 65:17-25 (emphasis mine)

Friday, September 23, 2011

In HIS Arms

Every now and then I get a picture stuck in my head. A vision, if you will. I know I've written about it in the past, Sunday I had the blessing of another one.

I was having all these memories of December 28th flashing back into my mind while at church. The ultrasound, our pastor coming to pray with us, delivering my child knowing it was already too late...

In my mind's eye I see myself in the hospital bed, Mark at my right side helping me get ready to push. On the other side of my bed stands Jesus. In his arms, he is holding Jairus, all snuggled up and perfectly content and peaceful and beautifully alive. Jesus seems at once grateful for the beautiful baby in His arms, and broken, he is watching Mark and I and He has tears streaming down His cheeks.

We were so confused, so broken, so scared. Hope for our child was dashed and we couldn't even comprehend what we were experiencing. I was about to deliver. But not my child. Only his earthly body. My son was already in the arms of his Savior. His perfect, eternal, glorious life with Jesus had already begun. And we were being watched, cared for and comforted by the One who knows the depths of suffering and the joy of Resurrection. Jesus is our fellow mourner. He is also our comfort and our hope. He holds our child because we cannot. His love is deep and pure and healing. And for it I am eternally grateful.