Sunday, December 23, 2007

Remembering the meaning....

It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day occurences in our lives and especially this time of year - - we rush to find just the right present or to meet all of the items on the list. Even those that made it very last minute. So many times I encounter people and I wonder if they truly remember what it is to celebrate Christmas. If they remember why it exists, why we give gifts. I can't speak for other people, but I can say with great clarity that Christmas is more than just a day to see the twinkle in my girl's eyes in the morning, the excitement when they do find that gift they wanted tucked under the tree, or the table filled with wonderful food and family.

It is a day that represents who I am called to be, the road I have chosen to follow. A gratitude that is immeasurable and a respect that is deserved above all others. The knowledge that on this day a baby was born. A defenseless child, whose life was predetermined. I think to Soph's birth. We worked so hard to ensure that she stayed with us, to make sure that we did not lose her after her birth. I prayed so hard that I would get to see her grow, to help her on her path - - I sat by her incubator just staring and dreaming of her future; school, baking cookies, dolls, her wedding, grandkids - all of it. I had great hopes even then. How painful it would have been for me, if I did all of those things knowing that her destiny was to die. To die early, to be ridiculed, tortured, and betrayed in the most intimate of ways. To know that she would die for people that were not deserving, for people who were not grateful - who would not remember or care to know what her purpose was. I would have been angry from day one. I would want to shout from the highest mountains, I would hold so much contempt for those in the world and yet - God still delivered this child, his son to us - to die for us - knowing that his son would die on a cross, would hang in pain and anguish - and that his people would forget, would not care. He delivered a savior that to this day some people have no respect for. And yet, he is not angry, he holds each of us in his palm, he welcomes us without question. How is it possible? It is too large a task for me to understand.

What I can understand is that on the one day each year that almost all people celebrate, there should be a moment reserved in the morning before opening packages to recognize why they are there, there should be an extra setting at the table, and without a doubt hearts should be open and grateful - we have been washed white because of that teeny babe in a manger. There is no question whose day it is - - - - -

Rejoice! Rejoice! For unto us a savior is born!
Happy Birthday Emmanuel!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Heart Disease and PE

Please read about the hightened risks of heart disease among Preeclampsia survivors! Not new news, but worth a reminder!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Praising in the Storm

I was sure by now
That You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
stepped in and saved the day
but once again, I say "Amen," and it's still raining

And as the thunder rolls
I barely hear you whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll Praise you in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will Praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry
You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't Find you

And as the thunder rolls
I barely hear you whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God that gives
And takes away

And I'll Praise you in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will Praise You in this storm

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The maker of Heaven and Earth

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The maker of Heaven and Earth

And I'll Praise you in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will Praise You in this storm

And though my heart is torn
I will Praise You in this storm

Monday, December 3, 2007

Sophie did it!

Today was a very chaotic day, just one in a mix of many, but something really small and simple took place during it that just made me stop and pay attention.

Bella and I were going over questions from one of her books in the living room. Sophie was climbing in and out of her chair and at one point, pulled her chair so that it was immediately next to the couch. As Bella and I talked, I could see Soph in the background, she climbed onto the side of her chair, reached for the arm of the couch, pulled herself up and over to leap onto the seat of the couch. Instantly, she threw her hands up and yelled "Sophie did it!". She was so mouth dropped. She has just begun saying her name, but not with any real emphasis, just simply "Sophie Gace" (as she says-too cute).

But today I could just see the look of pride on her face. She was so thrilled that she accomplished a great feat - what must have seemed to my tiny toddler, a mountain!

Bella and I just stood with grins on our faces, as Sophie dropped her hands and began clapping with sincere enthusiasm. We put down the books, directed our attention to her and asked for another show. She obliged with a fantastic energy and managed a second time with a daring roll to finish it off. My sweet Sophie Grace makes things look so easy; she sees something she wants to do and attacks it, no cares, trying over and over until she gets it right. No questioning how well it will go, how clean cut it is, whether it was done with all eyes watching, or to what extent she needed to think about it - she took a leap of Faith and believed without question in herself - she closed her eyes, smiled fiercly and attacked the challenge, head on - Sweet Sophie Grace did it!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Today the girls and I went with Gigi, my mother, and saw Enchanted. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised....great movie.....the plot was easy for them to follow, the characters charming, even McDreamy (who I've never been a huge fan of), the effects simple but nice, music, all of it - if not alone for the thought that romance and true love do exist - that there is that one person for everyone - something I've really begun to question. Overall, left with a great feeling of hope - something significant to hold onto!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Missing Dad

November 23 - 8 years! Can't believe how quickly it goes. When you lose someone you feel like your world has crashed around you and the physical pain you feel is enough to convince you that life will never continue and then you wake up one day and realize it's been 8 years! The day my Dad died was such a unique day, it was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and he was traveling to Fresno to meet with a client. I was working all day and had a ton of things on my plate. I was swamped and didn't know how I would get it all together. My husband and Bella surprised me for lunch, because he had the day off and although I didn't have the time, was a nice surprise and forced a much needed break. I had a meeting at 2pm that day, I was told it was mandatory and was working extra hard because I knew that the meeting would interupt much. I sat in my office and debated whether or not I should skip the meeting and face the consequences....I wasn't worried, just not one for "breaking the rules" - - after glancing at the clock at 1:56pm I decided it just wasn't possible. I had this feeling that I just needed to get as much as I could get done - done! On my way home that day I heard a song titled - "Can't live a day without you" by Avalon. I loved it! It spoke of Faith in God and a relationship that depended so souly on it that it was impossible to imagine life without it. It spoke a great deal to me I made a mental note of the name so that I could remember and look for the CD. Got home and life was normal, Mart had planned a quick dinner and because I was late in getting home, after dinner, he walked the dog and I got Bella ready for bath. I was washing Bella in the tub when my Mom called and asked Mart if she could talk with me really quickly - he asked if I could call her back because Bell was in the tub, but she explained that it was important and I said that it was fine. When I got on, I could sense panic in her voice and she told me that Dad wasn't home. I was surprised, I had forgotten that he was going to Fresno for the day - a 3 hour trip from us. She had tried his office and couldn't reach anyone. He had told her that he would be home in time for dinner and that was about 2 hours earlier. She mentioned that he was with one of his employees, Vince, training him on sales. Vince had a cell and Mom tried them on it and there was no answer. I told her to call Vince's wife and see if she knew anything and told her to call me right back. Martin heard the conversation and automatically anticipated getting Bella out of the tub and dressed. I helped when I got off the phone, but many things were running through my head. The phone rang. I answered immediately and Mom was crying, saying over and over, "I think they are dead, I think they are dead!" I asked her what they told her and she explained that Vince's brother answered and told her that the police had just left their house and were on their way to my Mom's. Mart heard, and ran to get the car, I told her that we were on our way and ran out to meet Mart.

The drive over was the longest 15 minutes of my life. Marty tried to console me and tell me that maybe he just couldn't get to a phone...I disagreed, my Dad was big on "always" calling...always, no matter. We got to my Mom's and there was an unmarked police car in the drive. I got out and walked to the door, there was a tall man standing there...I introduced myself and he just nodded and turned to my Mom who was standing in the foyer. I looked at her and all she said was "He's gone". Tears just started pouring, and I just said quietly, but outloud "NO!" - "How? I don't understand!". The gentleman that was there, who was the coroner for our town, went on to tell me that there had been a multiple car accident on highway 99; a semi who was traveling in the opposite direction was speeding, lost control, went through the oleander bushes and hit my Dad's truck head on, flipped over and hit several other cars. My Dad and Vince died instantly, in fact, according to the coroner's report the impact was so severe that when my Dad lunged forward the seatbelt left a mark and his aortic valve ripped immediately from his heart. As bad as it sounds, it means, he didn't know anything. The driver and passenger of the Semi died also, and another man was in a coma for more than a month and would have to relearn everything when he woke. He was my age at the time. The accident was so severe it backed up traffic for 3 hours, which is partly why it took so long for them to get to us, since the accident occurred at precisely 1:55pm.

After that the rest of the night is kind of a blur, I remember talking with my sisters, noticing that the stew my Mom made was still on the table, rocking by myself wrapped in my Dad's blanket in his chair. I remember sitting on his side of the bed and crying, touching all of the art that my Dad had created, including the clay he had worked on the night before to develope something - I could see his fingerprints in the clay, I would just fit my fingers in his. Many people came by the house that night - my Dad's colleagues and boss, friends - I had called a dear friend of mine whose father-in-law was our minister and he came by. Bella just wandered and enjoyed all the attention she was getting. She was only 21 months, and yet allowed me so much time to myself. My husband put a pot of coffee on, because he knew that is what my father would have done. I called my boss to tell him I wouldn't be in in the morning and talked a couple more times to my sisters who I know felt terrible because they weren't there.

I can't begin to explain how you just kind of move through the day. It was numbing. The next morning we had to go to the funeral home and make arrangements to have my Dad's body moved from Fresno to Salinas, and pick out a casket. We got there and my mom was having a really difficult time.....She had looked at one casket that she felt was the one, but I insisted on another, it was beautiful - solid wood, no satin, just plain, simple - like my father - I figured he spent so much of his spare time turning blocks of wood into fabulous works of art that he would truly appreciate the beauty of the wood on what would be his "final resting place". She agreed and that one decision down. Getting his body was a nightmare because of the holiday. The morgue in Fresno was horrible to deal with and we were on a time crunch, because we were having a service for him in California and another in his hometown in Pennsylvania, so I needed to finalize the arrangements for transferring his body by air to PA also.

I am so fortunate to be able to see that we were not required to identify my father. His face did not receive great damage, however, his co-worker Vince did and his son had to see him before arrangements could be made. The day of my father's funeral in Salinas was so unbearable. I stood in my closet just staring - what do you wear to you Father's funeral? The pretty black dress that was a favorite, the dress that he thought was pretty, something dark, something bright - what is right. I sat on the floor at one point, just crying with the words of a favorite song ringing over and over in my head. Finally I settled on one of my Dad's favorite skirts and a simple black sweater. When we got the funeral home, my sister's, who had flown from Kentucky were with my Mom outside. I was so nervous, how do you prepare to see your Father in this state. We let my Mom go first, my heart broke for her, watching her touch him, my sister and her husband were next, then my other sister, and finally me - Marty let me go ahead - I walked up and could see the make up, the marks from the glass in his face - noticed immediately the absence of his glasses (they had been broken in the accident) - his hand was wrapped and his fingers were swollen, but it was my Dad - my Dad!!! The tears just streamed from my eyes uncontrollably and I turned to be with my family.

We were given his "articles" by the diretor shortly after, the shirt he was wearing, which was still cold and damp from the blood, his key ring, his wedding ring and Penn State class ring - I grabbed his keys and played with them in my hand all morning, just rubbing my fingers back and forth over and over them.

People began to come in for the viewing before the of the gentleman the I will never forget was the man that saw my father last. He was a client who had known my father a long time, and went to lunch with him that day. He kept apologizing to the point that my sisters and I noticed something wasn't right....he blamed himself. He said "if I hadn't kept him quite as long, didn't talk so much, or pushed him to stay longer - anything - I am so so sorry" - - My sisters and I all immediately told him how wrong he was, it wasn't his fault - we would never think that - - my Dad always said that when it's your time it's your time - - - we reiterated it to him, but he was so tearful - and there was nothing we could say or do. We all just hugged him and tried to lighten it a bit by asking questions. I sincerely hope he found peace over the years. My thoughts go to him often and to the young man involved in the accident, he had children and a wife, how is he? Where is he? That day is as clear to me today as it was then - just feels like a lifetime ago.

On the anniversary of his death I was driving to St. Louis, just outside of the city I was slowed by traffic. We had the misfortunate of driving by an accident that had occurred earlier. You could see that it was severe and by the tarps over one of the vehicles I was led to believe that someone didn't make it home that day. When I woke the following morning, the St. Louis paper would prove me right. Two sisters, 18 and 13 had been driving home from their father's and stepmother's when they were hit by a car that lost control, crossed the divide and hit them, causing them to spin out and flip multiple times. They died instantly. My heart goes out to that family - my thoughts went immediately to my two girls - I couldn't imagine losing two daughters - it's beyond words.

One of the realties of things like this is that you are not safe from everything. Anything can happen at anytime, and there is a great possibility that it will. There is a possibility that this could happen in my family again, nothing is certain. Nothing except that I know I see my Dad again one day, that he is resting, that I see God's hand in it all, that I can grab one of the workshop shirts of my father's and hold it close, close my eyes and imagine him with me. I know he is with me, I am confident that he knows my girls - I do miss him fiercly - but I celebrate him also - to do anything short of that would not do justice to such a wonderful man.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Giving up....

When do you reach the point that you really know you must? And with regards to what? There are just so many questions about it all. How am I to explain to my girls giving up - we encourage our children to persevere, to always get back up and try again - We talk a great game about always doing what's right, not hurting others, believe in love, etc...etc....

So how is it you come to a point in your life that you realize, at 36 years, that you just don't have the answers. That you've practiced all that you've said and what you have to show for it is so merky. It's frustrating. Don't get me wrong...I am still very Faith focused, in this process I have never asked once "Why me?" - or been angry with God not "giving me" what I want. I know that some things he just can't do much with and that is the situation I am in. It really stinks when you've made choices because of your beliefs, because of the amount of love you have felt or compassion, or what have you and those most important in your life seem to be able to make decisions that nulifies all that you've done, that reflects nothing you believe in, nothing you've felt, nothing you thought truly existed and just make you feel like you have meant nothing.

Honestly, it just leads to this great frustration that builds up and at the end of the day, begs alot of questions? Wonder what new questions will arise tomorrow?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bella Boo

My girls have been so amazing through this whole thing. I can't say that enough. This week, though, has been difficult for Bella, so I just want to leave a note for her:

Bella - I know you are struggling - - I can't begin to imagine what you are going through and I won't pretend that I do have any idea. I have my concerns for you and for "where" you are right now and I know there are moments that you feel so alone and no amount of wishing that things were different or my holding on to you is going to change that, but please Bella, with all that is in you know that I am here, that I will not go anywhere and that I love you beyond expression, you deserve so much and there is a plan. I know it is so hard to see, but this period of yuck right now, is so temporary and there will come a day when you will look back with divine Grace and see that it was necessary.

I love you so much Bell - you are such a treasure. You hold such a light in your spirit that I just want you know how you exude it. Anyone who has met you is so fortunate to have had the opportunity to walk with you. There is reason for you and there is purpose to it greatest prayer for you is that you remember that, that you know YOU and that you know God - - don't forget who you are.........just don't forget!!!!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


I met a woman, today, who was so distraught over the path her life has taken. She spoke a great deal, with tears the whole time of how horrible she felt. The words she chose to use most often were "I am lost". As I listened to her recount all that has occurred for her over her life, she is younger than I, I realized something - I am so incredibly lucky. Life sucks sometimes, no doubt - I can go on and on about how I am not with the one I love most, that I feel frustrated, hurt in a way that is so deep it hurts. I could account for the many difficulties; health, emotional, marital, financial, all of it - - but I don't want to, outside of to share so that someone somewhere knows they are not alone, so that maybe someone can learn something from what I've gone through. The greatest gift of going through it all is to come out of it with the awareness that you are not lost. I know that God is taking great care of me - as the word says "He holds every tear" - I don't have what I want, and am certainly not where I would prefer to be, but I know I'll have what I need.

I feel for this woman - I can't imagine feeling so lost, feeling so alone. I really am the lucky one!

Thursday, November 8, 2007


They are there and hard for me to accept. I don't like wasting time, so it's hard when I am in a place that is hard to get past. Thank goodness for motherhood, seeing how amazingly kids adapt and enjoy even the simplist of things helps in abundant ways. Yesterday was a big fat blip. Just a really yucky, emotional day. But at the end of the day, I had a roof over my head, a cuddly, healthy two year old next to me, and a nine year old that is so full of life it's nearly absurb. At the end of the day, I may not be "where" I want to be, but I know there is a plan and I know how truly fortunate I am.

Monday, October 29, 2007

We are in!

The girls and I are in the new house. We have been for a few days. They have adapted in an unbelievable way and are doing really are Mart and I. Tough spot to be in, but I couldn't have asked for a better outcome. The boxes are slowly disappearing and we are becoming acclamated to Louisville. It's really nice to be near family. We are looking forward to making friends and finding a home church, as well as, settling into school in January. Mart will be here for a visit sometime in the next week, on his way to his new job (transfer) in St. Louis. His company is so terrific, that when the VP and his boss heard of our plans, they offered him the same job at one of their hotels in St. Louis. They felt his needs would be best met near family. It is only a four hour drive and allows him more opportunity to see the girls. So much good is at work here, while it's the toughest spot I've ever been in - it's nice to know we are being taken care of in amazing ways.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Neon signs

Do you ever find yourself in a situation that you never imagined? I mean truly? We live life and know that unexpected things or plans will take place, but often do we really give them a second thought, or really think out of our lines of expectations. Well I find myself in that place.

I have been married for just over 13 years. I have two beautiful girls who are magnificent gifts. Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for his Grace with them, with us. I've lived a blessed life, certainly had my share of problems or concerns, but overall believed with my heart that all would be well with the world. Over the past few months my husband and I have agreed to separate, for good. It has happened before. There are many things that we have been plagued with, many mountains just too difficult to overcome. Through all of those I never quite saw myself without him. Not "Mrs. Pittman". I have loved my husband unquestionably and I have believed with my whole heart that standing beside him and showing him love, even when he may have not deserved it, has been the place I belonged, regardless of circumstance or what he had done. I have dealt with much criticisim over the years, regarding my decision to stay many times and in many ways, but I never doubted. Until now. The difference is, when I agreed to this, I really felt in my soul it was the right thing. Don't mistake my sadness of wishing a different outcome for knowing that this is the plan. See, one of the biggest challenges I have faced over the years is what God thinks of divorce. It's "man made", it is not of God. And there are many interpretations, bibilically speaking, about it. But none that have spoken to the questions over the years that I have. I have never been critical of others that have chosen the route....just never felt moved in understanding to accept that it was MY route. That said, I know my place in this world and it couldn't be anymore clear to me that I am in my Father's Hands. He is holding me, and with me, He is beside me as I type, with me when I wake, and even when I cry. He is there. While I have always known this, He opened the eyes of my heart recently and allowed me to clearly see his direction. You know how some people say that we can not understand why God does things. They compare it to a developing piece of needlework. From the underside all you see is thread, strewn in every direction, every color, notted in spots and crossed in others, no real direction or image of it's purpose, but when you flip it over, there is a masterpiece - a breathtaking, priceless work of art. God has allowed me a glimpse of my masterpiece and I am so proud to be with Him on this journey.

I have hesitated writing of this epiphinay. I have wanted to make sure it gets the appropriate care and attention to detail it deserves, but I don't want to take too long. I want to share my experience so others can see all is not hopeless, regardless of what you are going through or how you feel - there are constant touches of miracles, we must just take the time to see them.

~A year ago, my husband and I seperated. We were struggling significantly in our marriage and I did not know what the next step would be. The entire time we were apart I prayed, read scripture, looking for some indication on what to do. EVERY time I was compelled to seek reconcilliation, whether it was in leading through scripture, messages I would listen too, prayer, or even kids shows (yes I said "kid's shows). I had always teased that I am the type of person that needed neon signs or billboards from God saying "Do this or that". Last year, I didn't get it. Just the hint that I needed to "go home". And I did. And to this day, even where we are now, I do not regret that decision. I have no doubt I did the right thing. Within months of our return together, my husband received a promotion and we moved to New Orleans. We knew it was the right job and company, and were lead here in every way. I wasn't sure that I would like New Orleans, but within a week or two came to realize the true spirit of this city. Our move went well and we unloaded box after box, flattened them and put them on the curb for pick up. We thought we would be here awhile, so only kept a few of them. Thankfully, someone took all of them. I was happy to see they were going to be used. Over the months, we found a terrific church, fantastic neighbors, and incredible sites. We weren't clear on a school choice and literally fell in the lap of some church members that homeschool. One of the families lives on our street, we talked and I prayed about it and began homeschooling. The "true" school option here, just didn't reveal itself to us and I have enjoyed the extra time with my 9 year old.

While, we grew to love life here in New Orleans, I began to realize it just wasn't going to work. I don't want to and won't go into detail of my relationship with my husband, that is not what this is about. The lesson is there and I found it. I will say, to this day, I love Marty with everything that is in me, this isn't what I want, but understand it is necessary. Shortly, after telling our daughters I began to prepare emotionally and physically for the move. With help from my mother in Kentucky and my sisters, we found a house for the girls and I and movers and set a date of November 1st. We told some of our friends, including those at church, and began to reconcile to the idea of leaving a place, in all our years, we have truly loved. I noticed I began to get angry, as did my oldest daughter, Bella. Why would God lead us to a place we love, with people who are so loving and supportive, only to make us leave so quickly? It just didn't make sense. I began to question all of my decisions...every one, going back years. The anger and rage of it all just took over and my emotions were out of control on a daily basis. I soon knew and felt that I had to leave early, the pain of being with my husband, knowing the outcome and of living longer in a city I didn't want to leave was so raw I couldn't face it anymore. With consent from the movers I moved the date up to October 22nd, I had two weeks to prepare for the move. This is the first move in 12 years that I am packing everything myself. One of the luxuries of a corporate move, is that you don't pay for it and the movers pack it all for you. I was beginning to feel so overwhelmed with the enormous task that lay at my feet. I decided to have a Garage sale to shed some pounds in the move. Friday morning, the 12th was the first day of the sale. It went slowly. I was stressed. My sister called and we were talking. I was sharing my great concern about not having enough boxes. I knew that I didn't and was frustrated that we put all the boxes out on the curb in our move here. She listened and offered suggestions, we spoke of the neon sign we always teased about and went on with our day. By 2pm I was spent. Bella and I decided to close shop early and as we were putting everything away in the garage a woman was driving by and stopped in her car, yelled from the window, "garage sale, ya moving?" - I said yes and that it would be on again tomorrow, but offered that she look anyway. She got out and came up. Immediately, she said "So why are ya movin'? Ya just got here!" - okay I had been hearing this all day...I really wanted to scream, "I don't want to go, I love it here, I hate what is happening" - but I didn't - I just said something like "Change in plans!". she looked at me and asked very sharply, "Ya sure that's it?". Stun took over, I couldn't believe she could be so bold. What was she thinking? Before I could respond, she continued. She began to tell me about a message she heard on a Christian radio station the day before. It was a man preaching about divorce. He talked about when a woman "has no choice", for whatever reason. As I listened to her talk, the tears streamed down my face. What she was sharing spoke to alot of the personal concerns I have had. When she stopped, she told me that she did not know my circumstance, but that she believes she was inspired by the message and heard it to share it with me. That it was MY message. Again, tears. I thanked her for sharing the message and didn't know what else to say. She went on, "know how I remembered that you just moved in?" - I answered that I didn't. She began to tell me about the day that we put alot of boxes on the curb. She took them. She said that she hated to see such good boxes thrown out and it took her five trips to get them all home (some of them were not broken down), but she did. She took every last one that day. I just told her how glad I was that she was able to use them and thanked her for sharing. She just cocked her head and looked at me as if to say, you still don't get it. She grabbed my arm and said "Come 'mere" - we walked to her van and she opened the back. Boxes, there were boxes. MY boxes. She pulled some out and lay them in front of me. They were mine. Our names were on them, my daughters' names, our move info, everything, they were ours. She told me that she moved a couple of weeks ago and didn't use them. She remembered that morning that they were in storage and felt compelled to go get them. She said that "God would lead her with what to do with them". She just happened to be driving down our street and saw the signs, literally.

I wept all over again. I had this beautiful woman in my driveway sharing an experience that was transparently God driven. I asked her how it felt to be an "instrument" and she just smiled and pointed up. She grabbed my Bella's face in her hands and told her to remember "this day" October 12th as the day, that Ms. Shirley told her we would be alright. Told her to help "Mama and her sister" and that she would be well led and blessed. That God would not leave her.

Shirley came by the next day with more boxes and even bought items from my sale and today, she stopped by because she saw something in a store that she thought my girls would like.

See, the moral to the story is, HE is always there. He does listen and yes there are billions of people in this world, but he knows each of us personally, he knows the hair on our heads, he knows whats in our hearts, he knows what we need; even when it's as simple as boxes.

Thank you God for leading me to New Orleans, for the people here who have been instrumental to my girls and I through this, for allowing me to know you, for my husband, and my marriage, for the unending patience you have had with me, for the knowledge that you have a great plan for me, for angels in the form of native New Orleaneans named Shirley. And even for Neon signs when we aren't looking.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bring the Rain

Something happened on Friday - - something that was so clearly God in my life. Almost physically in my such a way, I was brought to tears. Many times in my life I have seen Him and felt Him.....but Friday - - what a day. I won't go in to detail just yet, I want to take the time to put it in the words and praise it deserves. But no worries....I am being taken care of and I have my struggles, but ultimately know God is good and my life is in his hands!!! Right now there is a song I listen to over and over again that could be speaking about my life, almost word for word......I want to share it. So, "If that's what it takes to praise you, Jesus bring the rain!"

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray
Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain
I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain
So I pray
Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Joy and Sorrow

I am a person that has always been satisfied easily...honestly it doesn't take much. My understanding of life is based entirely on my relationship with God. That said, life's choices aren't always easy and the road and path still have bumps and hills and, well, at the moment, mountains.

Marty has been in my life for almost 16 years. I have loved him with my whole heart and believed in him the same way, so it is with great sadness that I admit defeat. I am wise enough to recognize when enough is enough.

A few weeks ago, we sat on Bella's bedroom floor and told our girls that our family would be seperating. I can't begin to express how gut wrenching it was for all of us. I will say there was no scene of loud or boisterous emotion, no uncontrollable sobbing or whailing, no yelling. While Sophie played around us, Mart and I watched Bella who showed incredible Grace as the tears slowly filled her eyes and rolled down her cheeks. There were times she would look at the two of us as if to ask, is this real? Am I dreaming? But at the same time, she was filled with such confidence that she could verbalize her love for both of us and her willingness to help in anyway.

How is it that a marriage that has certainly had it's moments in 13 years and produced two beautiful, inside and out, children, that I have held so much love for ending? Good question....I am not entirely sure of the answer.

But it seems as surely as our marriage began in way of a simple ceremony in a small church in upstate New York it is ending as simply in the incredible city of New Orleans. An excerp from my favorite book, The Prophet, regarding marriage was read by a dear friend at that wedding, so my thoughts immediately go to the same book to find resolution in the healing.

Then a woman said, "Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow."

And he answered:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from
which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how
else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more
joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup
that was burned in the potter's oven?

And is not the lute that soothes
your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are
joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has
given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look
again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that
which has been your delight.

Some of you say, "Joy is greater than
sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."

But I say unto
you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone
with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your
joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Yesterday we went to the Italian Festival. As usual the food was terrific and the music was wonderful. The girls had a blast. Bella got her face painted and they got balloon animals and enjoyed looking at the Turkey's that were there and the crafts. Bella was so thrilled to be there. She talks almost daily about her heritage and thinks it's so "cool" that she has so much Italian. I love how proud she is.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Today we went to the Kenner Planetarium for a laser light show. We had never been to the area and it is so adorable. It's in a place called rivertown, just a stone's throw, more or less, from the Mississippi. Older buildings, cute shops, small museums, a fountain - really cute.

We chose to see the light show entitled - "Fright Night" - - it's Halloween themed. We walked in, payed for our tickets and were guided to the theater. The girls were so impressed with the dome shaped ceiling/theater. I was thrilled that we had the whole place to ourselves. The entire show it was just us. We sat in the middle, not good for the eyes (I'm getting old) and each of us had our own seat. That is until, the music and thunder started. Soph and Red were in my lap quick as a blink. She was a little nervous, but did so well...even laughed at the "Purple People Eater" and "Giant Hamsters". The pictures didn't come out the best, I couldn't see what I was taking and without the flash there was a huge delay. But it was still nice to see a few shots. Alot of fun. Definitely something we will do again.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The steps

Sophie has a new fascination with the steps. She has always found great pleasure in going up and down stairs. But her new fascination is in walking up the stairs and stopping on almost every step to examine it or play. No amount of pressure on her will work to get her little toosh up. Each trip upstairs results in some sort of fit, be it mine or of us ends up irritated. Toddlers......their real purpose in life is to test the patience of those around them. Hands down, they win!!! ;-)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

When do you call?

Bella is a child that always feels odd in some way. We have attributed alot of her complaints of discomfort to growing pains over the years, although there certainly has been her fair share of "real" issues. Over the past two weeks, she has been complaining of joint pain. It has gone from her ankles to her arms and more specifically an elbow. Today she was so bothered that she stopped playing and grabbed some ice to put on her arm. The elbow that is bothering her is the same elbow she had surgery on almost 6 years ago to pin and correct a break that went through the growth plate. Immediately I raised an eyebrow when she told me that it is really uncomfortable to straighten it.

After surgery, her then surgeon told us we would need to have xrays done off and on for at least 15 years. He indicated that it was possible, because of the kind of break, that the bone could develop a growth which is referred to as a fishtail pattern. This could inhibit the use of muscle in the arm and, by the time she is near forty(40,)the use of two of her fingers on that hand. I remember looking at my husband so many years ago and asking, "what the heck?". It couldn't have just been a normal break. Those that know Bella personally over the years, know that she has had her "not so graceful" moments and that if there is a needle in a haystack, she'll definitely be the child to sit on it. Fixing obvious ailments is relatively simple; hear the pain, see the blood, fix the cut, etc...etc...

But what about those aches that you can't see? When do you know you need to push for tests or xrays or specialists? When is it okay to assume they are fine and it's just a fluke or nothing? In nine (9) years Bella has had to endure many tests, long and painful tests in many environments from doctor's offices and emergency rooms, to specialists and hospital labs. She has dealt with territory that would be unfamiliar to most kids her age, including a diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and to date an undetermined cause of painful ongoing Urinary Tract Complications. Each of those discoveries were made after months and years of my poking and prodding physicians to do something "different". To insist that it wasn't normal.

Both of my children spent some time in the NICU after premature birth. Fortunately, Bella's was very short, five days in fact. But one thing that I learned then and especially through a second mandatory lesson in NICU 101, is that I can not risk taking anything for granted. These children start out different in the world. They have a lot less "going for them" from the gate and at such a young age they have to learn to battle. For many of these kids thing don't change when they get home. Most people out there assume that all is fine when they are released from the hospital. That like all other children, they will have their bumps and bruises and infections and viruses. But no one else really knows how painful it is to see, in some fashion, daily reminders of their "early start". Whether it's an inability to "feel" as most children do, an impossibility of understanding sleep and eat or simply the small white marks that forever lace their skin. There is always a reminder to us Moms that at some point in such a short time, our children's lives hung in the balance.

Other parent's who haven't experienced first hand this introduction to life (which has become a way of life) simply can not understand. It is so easy for them to label us as the "overprotective" parent, or for the nurses to refer to us as "that mother that won't let go". But just as you wish wellness and peace for your children, we do too! Our daily want to ensure some normalcy for our children is no different then the parent who has watched their child suffer through a long illness or recover from a horrific accident. The pain is the same. The reminder of a helpless feeling. Knowing that you planned on protecting your child, but the ever present reminder that you are incapable of truly doing so. Not wanting to see your children suffer. Be it little or big, there is no difference between you and I, the normal parent and the preemie parent.

ALL of our "issues" may not be related to prematurity, but our drive to ensure that our children get the best care, the best step up, and the best chance in life IS!

Children aren't able to insist, to distinguish. That is a parent's responsibility. So when is it okay to call? To push? To assume? I don't think there is a definitive answer. But as for me.........I'm calling tomorrow!

Thursday, August 9, 2007


To some people Faith is just a word. Something you hear on occasion, but not something that too much weight is put into. It can be used as a name or it can be used to express a hope, a foundation, a relationship with God. For many, belief in something bigger than themselves.

Sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in life and all that it brings you. Good, bad or ugly, we have a tendency to let the daily happenings dictate what we do or say. We kind of use the "fly by the seat of our pants" approach to basic, as well as, major decisions. We start and end our days no different.

For almost half my life now I have had a prime focus. That is to do what I felt was the best decision, God's Will, whether it was what I personally wanted or not. I've done my best to yield to my relationship with the Lord. To try to listen and direct my steps in a path that He led me. I never expected that the path was going to be free of bumps, barriers or mountains. I certainly hoped that it would be easier than not, but all I really was concerned with was the clarity with which I saw the road ahead. The amount of light that was shown to me.

I know that at times, I have ventured off this path. I've chosen to "rest" in places that certainly weren't designed for it and I've questioned "why this way and not that?". But some time ago I came to the realization that I don't tick appropriately without divine guidance. The times in my life that God has chosen to distance Himself from me a bit, have felt a great deal like what a fish out of water must feel. Just constantly grasping for something that's just out of reach. I know as in everyone's life God must pull back at times. It's no different than in trying to raise our own children. When one technique to insight positive change doesn't work, we try another, and when that doesn't work we keep trying.

I can't imagine the pain that he must feel when we forget to thank him or raise our hands up to him. You know that old saying, "I brought you into this world, I can take you out", well, in reality that only applys to the man himself. Yet he is so graceful that he is willing to invite us in even when we have been so ill-focused.

Certainly I have made decisions or chosen ideals that others may disagree with or may believe make me seem weak. But I don't live my days to carry concern about how man thinks of me. I know that there is purpose in my life. I know that some reason exists that I am here. I believe in my holy Father and streets of gold. I believe that there is a room in his house for me and I want to earn the privelage to reside there. God hasn't granted me the easiest life. I have had a great share of difficulties and challenges and times of frustration. But when I come out of those moments of despair I always see light. I can hear him saying, "It's all going to be okay, I love you and I am here." Those emotions put me right back to the times I scraped a knee and my parents were showering me with love and tenderness. Something as simple as a bandaid and kiss made it all better. And you know with Faith, life as an adult does not have to be any different.

The truth is; that with all of us, he is waiting. Peacefully hoping that we will come to Him. He wants each of us to know His love, to know Him personally. To walk in His garden. All we have to do is turn off the noise in our lives, the commotion and control that we think makes us and listen. He is there. The one guarantee. The one thing that will never fail. There is promise in Him. There is assurance that all things will work out.

Faith to me is a gift. I have been so blessed to know it personally. To fully understand His love. Recently I found a small statue, a frog. To be more precise the frog Prince. I fell in love with it immediately. But me being me I didn't want to spend the money. A week or so later I had to go back to that store for something else and it was still there. I stared at it. Wondering what the draw for me was. Suddenly it was transparently clear. FROG - Fully Relying On God. And a memory of a line from a song I sang to myself over and over while dressing for my father's funeral almost 8 years ago. "You have been my King of Glory, Won't you be my Prince of Peace?" - I bought my frog. He stands proudly on my mantle with his hands together and his eyes fervently watching. He is a daily reminder of how gracious God has been to me. A reminder that in times of pleasure and sorrow I must seek and glorify Him and Him only.

My Faith is ever present. I have my highs and lows, but I hold a love song for a Savior in my heart. And it sings so loudly in my spirit every day. I have a lot of work to do and so much to learn, but I pray that I know the Peace that only the Good Lord can bring. I sincerely hope that when I pass, my loved ones know, without question, that I am not lost, I was found, and I clearly see. I will dance in the presence of the Lord. I will see the crystal sea and I will sing with the voice that is in me.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Sophie's Homecoming

Today, the 5th of July is Sophia's homecoming anniversary, 2 years! I look at her and can't believe that she is the same child that I brought home. She was so teeny and although I have an older daughter, I felt like I was starting over with Sophie. Not only are she and Bella slightly more than 7 years apart, but there were a host of new lessons to be learned with Soph. As much as she has grown and changed in these two years, it seems like so much time has passed and yet I can remember the months surrounding her birth and homecoming with such clarity it can be overwhelming.

Shortly after I had Soph we found out that we would be moving to another city, so just days before she was expected to come home we had to drive a couple hours and overnight to house hunt and look for schools. Not to mention we were celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary. I know that my husband and oldest daughter were excited about going away for a day or two. Bella especially, literally from the moment she stepped off the school bus on her last day of school in May a portion of every day had been spent in hospitals, between visiting me and her sister. As much as I was looking forward to planning our new life in another city I wasn't entirely ready to leave what I was experiencing at that moment. I had never spent a night in another city away from my new baby. I know how fortunate I was to be only about 4 miles from her NICU, but every night I said Good night to her and kissed her. Every night I had sung the same "good night" song to her in person. This would be the first night that I wasn't with her. I know that normally every Mom spends the occasional night away from their baby. But it felt like there was so much at stake to me.

From conception Soph was obviously always "with me". She with me and I with her. Pregnancy allows you to experience a closeness to your child that only mother can know. I knew when she had the hiccups, when she was playful or restful. It felt so good to "see" her grow and know that our second daughter would be in my arms soon. We had waited for her for a long time. I took every precaution I could to ensure that my pregnancy went well. I continued to take stairs and walks to ensure I would stay fit. I ate well and got plenty of rest. I read as much as I could and kept open dialogue with my OB's. I tried. I really tried. But I had failed. I failed to carry her to term. I failed to stay healthy. I failed at having a body that was "friendly" for babies. This teeny baby that I was going to be miles and hours away from had come into the world in such raw circumstances. And now, I wasn't even going to be "down the road" from her.

In the eyes of a "normal" parent, I know that is nothing. I mean I can honestly "hear" the eyes rolling when I say that. To go through an experience like this, is something that brings you so close to life, so close to reality, so much awareness of the world around you. There are times when you can feel yourself outside of your body as if you are in the middle of some near death experience. And that feeling doesn't subside very easily. It's a real life movie. And the camera's are rolling and following your every moment. It's a clear reminder that you are not in control. Not to take one minute, one hour, one day for granted. Things may seem very normal one day and the next they can change without notice. In such a short time I had already experienced that. Twice Sophie encountered circumstances that nearly took her from me. I wasn't comfortable with the thought of not being able to run to her side. Again I knew that I wasn't in control, but to be able to hold her, touch her, sing to her, kiss her. To let her know that I was there and that I was sorry. So sorry that I had failed her. That was what my life was about at the time.

I know that there is nothing I could have done differently. I know that I'm just built in a way that predisposes me to Preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome. But I am the vessel with which she came into this world. As a mother you experience guilt daily, in large and little ways. To begin a relationship with my youngest child with the feeling that I already failed her and that I wanted to make it up to her was and is a driving force. That nagging "what if", was not something I was ready to contend with. I knew, though, that I had no choice. I knew I needed to hope, to have faith, to believe....I needed to go. I must have called the nurses station at least 12 times in the 36 hours we were gone. And I still sang our song to her that night....just not in person. And when we returned the following day I immediately went to see her and she was fine. She was still there. All ten fingers, ten toes, and that perfectly shaped head.

I couldn't wait to get her home. And a few days later I walked into that NICU with her carseat knowing that I wouldn't leave without her. The nurses all gathered around to say good-bye, to wish us well. I put my tiny child in her seat, bundled her up.....and turned around. After 37 days, 7 hours and 40 minutes, and with my husband's arms around me the three of us walked out of that NICU and into our life. When the large steel doors clicked behind us the grasp on my heart loosened a bit. I looked down at this beautiful gift and walked down that hall without a second thought. I had my baby. I had failed her on delivery. But there was something at that moment that made me know everything was going to be alright.

It's not easy being the mother of children who came early. The concerns that arise, the "weight" and see game, the germs, the extra shots, the colds, the battles about eating. They are all there....all the time, to no avail. But then so am I and I am NOT failing.

Today I can say that I am thankful. Preeclampsia and prematurity have given me an awareness that I otherwise wouldn't have. A great appreciation for my purpose, for my children, for my husband. An opportunity to learn and to grow. To encourage change. So while I look forward to the day that Preeclampsia will only exist in history books, today I live with the thought that maybe, just maybe I know it personally for a reason. Maybe because I am strong enough and good enough....and maybe, maybe I can do something about it!!!

~~~~~"Good night sweet Sophie, it's time to sleep. Good night sweet Sophie, time to dream.
I'll see you soon, when the morning comes, good night Sweet Soph - Good night."~~~~~~~

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Today Soph was diagnosed with Tonsillitis! Yuck! She is miserable, but none the less, quite a trooper. This was the first visit to our new doctor since we have moved, which was nice. While we were going over Soph's history she was really surprised to hear that Sophie has had very few ailments in her two years! She asked if we had some heavenly help!! Can't say enough how much Grace we've seen! What a blessing!
Turns out - 2 days later (the 5th), after another trip to the doctor, that it is actually something called.....Pharyngoconjunctival fever - - an Adenovirus that is responsible for all sorts of things such as bronchitis, meningitis, croup, pertusiss, tonsillitis and several more! Lovely Strain!
And she looks beautiful too I might, watery, swollen eyes, dripping nose and mouth, red red throat, and she lost a pound. Poor thing!
Kids....walking petri dishes!!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Gratitude ~ Sophie's Second Birthday

Today I can't stop recounting all that I am grateful for. There are the standards; roof over my head, food in my belly, working ears, eyes and limbs......but there are the know those. The ones that resinate in every breath, thought, & heartbeat. Like, Dr. P, who disagreed with the majority in my OB practice. It was his decision to keep me longer. Nurse Susan, who insisted on additional bloodwork and literally ran over two remote computers while running me to the OR. Dr. L who wouldn't stop resuscitating Soph, certain she would come around. Nurse Lauren who spoke so softly to me while explaining Sophie's bleeds and sat with me a great deal that afternoon. Dr. H who performed Sophie's heart surgery and held my hand while showing real pictures of her heart and explained genteely that she was on her way to failure. His huge hands were incredible instruments. A few of my best friends C, B & W, who without, my world would be a dimmer place. Their prayers and encouragement supported me in ways they will never know.

You see all of these people live their lives daily. Probably in the same monotonous form as you and I. They have no idea that they live in me every day. That I pray for and think of them every day. Sophie is here with me because these people were put in place in my path and I am indebted to them. It is not for me to know, understand, or even TRY to figure out, but I am certain of their roles.

Today we will celebrate Soph's second birthday. And as I continue to watch her grow, I am eternally grateful for her. I realize that I have been entrusted with her life, not only by the Good Guy Upstairs, but by all of these people. I am privilaged that I get to hear her pacifier clacking in the night as she runs down the hall to my bedside, and proud when she boasts all day about her new favorite word "SHOOO". This role with my Sophia Grace is one that I have not found proper words to express my gratitude in the grace I have received.

I truly understand that she is a gift. She is not mine. I will not treat her as an idol and I will not hold her so close that she forgets how to live seperately. I will let go when I need to and let her fall when I should. I know I will have my days, as will she, but I am truly honored that she is in my world. And in the midst of it all, the entire road, I get to watch her dance. And it is breathtaking.

"....Happy Birthday sweet Sophia Grace
Just know you hold a special place
In my heart and Daddy's too
'Cause God sure made a wonderful you!"