Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
So we close this blog today. It is with a sore heart that I do this. One that has been worked out so much in the last year. This muscle though sore is strong. Strong enough to welcome the new journey....our journey. We welcome you to join us now HERE. www.annasforeverfamily.blogspot.com
This will be our blog now. It will follow the beginning of our family's call. The call of Anna's legacy. To unite special needs orphans all over the earth with their forever families. To assist financially with those adoptions and to follow each Christ ordained family after the adoption. We will follow them and when the medical expenses start coming in our foundation will assist with those too. So we welcome you to follow us....we pray that you will. We know God is working His plan in our lives and we are excited in what that plan holds. God bless you all!
Standing Strong but always In His Hands,
Jo, Tony & Gracie
II Corinthians 12:9-10
"But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
So Tony & I sat earlier tonight and expressed our hearts to one another better than we have in the last 12 months. The freedom of surviving the 1st year must allow walls to crumble, tears to fall and praises to be raised. My sweet husband who holds so much in showed me tears for the first time in almost a year. God bless him, he would tear up but to cry was a different thing. He finally let go....thank you God for letting him let go and trust me enough to witness it. He had just shared with me how Christ had convicted him this week and he found himself in the chair at the Red Cross in Nashville giving blood. See, Tony is a big, tough cop that does not like two things: snakes & needles. Especially big needles that take blood. Tony had never given blood before. I have been a blood donor for years and would try to get him to go along but he would not hear of it. Last year this time him & his sister tried to give since Anna was being given so many transfusions while on bypass(ECMO) but the facility was closed. This week while working a case in town he decided to head back to his office. He decided to drive a back way instead of getting back on the interstate to head south. This route he picked found him at a traffic light right at a Red Cross station with a sign that said, "Give blood here today!". So he did. He faced his fear and gave his blood while remembering how brave his sweet peach had been through all the heart testing, genetic testing and immunizations in our short time with her. He found himself sobbing after the experience. A cleansing cry....one with thanksgiving for God's mercy to our family, especially Anna.
So tonight as I sign off this post I will face my final fear of this year. I will go into my closet and take off my shelf what has has laid in there since August 27, 2008. The sweet, soft pair of pink pajama's(we call them jammers) that have little frogs all over them. Each frog is wearing a crown and sitting on a cloud. I just noticed that detail just the other day as I was holding them. They lost my Anna's smell long ago but on the bad days I would hold them to my chest and imagine they were filled with my sweet peach. I will finally face my fear of letting them go...letting go of my grief. I was forced to let go of Anna right from the beginning but I have held on to her through my grief. It is time to relinquish that. Not because someone said so but because I feel it. It is time. Time to start really living in the now & not trying to hold on to then. Life is too beautiful and our blessings too overwhelming to be chained down in sadness. No, I know I am allowed & there will still be tears. Till the day the Lord reunites this Momma & her precious child there will be tears at times. That is the pleasure of being one of God's children--I am allowed to cry and He wipes my tears. The Holy Spirit cradles me when I need it just like a Momma does her little one.
I thank those sweet 6 women who cradled me tonight 1 year ago. We as a family thank the countless others who have held us up in prayer and walked this journey of our fist year with us. Your love, support & prayers have been incredible and we see each and every one of you as Christ's hands here on earth. We welcome you to continue on our journey. A journey of discovery....the discovery of how the book continues. The book of our lives that was written by the ultimate Author. We trust in His version completely. We pray you see His signature & writing all over your lives too!
Psalm 63: 7-8
"Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me."
In His Hands,
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
That was back then. Today I find myself energized and renewed to the fact I am only inches away from conquering what is known as the "first year". This year has been the hardest year of my life. Like I have said before I have experienced other hard times in my life and the way I handled them--well, honestly I am not proud of how I handled them. Times that only the grace of my Heavenly Father can forgive. This year was different. I am different. My walk is the walk of the humbled servant who can only receive strength from her Lord & Savior. I am so humbled because He still loves me with all my flaws. He saw something in me that I did not even see in myself when He gave me the gift of Anna. He trusted me. He continues to trust me with one of His rare valuables....our Grace. I can see clearly every step He put into place for Tony & I to receive out sweet girls. How humbling. To think He has spent this much time on me? You know there is a lot of us down here? How does He do it? I do not know but I have full faith in everything He does or does not do. Sometimes His answer is "NO!", and no matter how hard that is for our human, weak flesh to hear, He is always right. A year ago I heard "no", to my Anna coming out of Vanderbilt well. Back then I shook my fist and wailed to Him about the unfairness. I did that off/on for a long time. All the while the constant cry out to Him, "God help me"!
Tonight inches away from the pinnacle, I praise Him. I sing a song of thanksgiving in my soul for only my sweet Jesus. I am still alive. I have a beautiful life and He is teaching me daily how to embrace my life around my loss. He holds my future, He holds my present and He holds my past. The past that was good, bad, ugly, sad and Anna. I completely trust Him with each. I praise Him for each.....who has time to wallow in sadness when you have truth like that surrounding you? Like I love to say...."the proof is in the puddin'". Boy, He made my pudding sweet! Just like another song I love...."Just give me Jesus".
Forever In His Hands,
Sunday, August 23, 2009
This last weekend was a good weekend. Yes, bitter sweet but good. Saturday was my last day at HHLA/Labcorp and I was shocked to realize how much I was going to miss that group of people as I left. They signify the beginning of starting over in some respects. They are the first stop after I picked myself up, dusted myself off and started all over again. They got me a very decadent chocolate cake with "Good Luck" in pink. It was perfect and I appreciated it more than they could imagine. The rest of the weekend Tony, Grace & myself just spent together doing some really good stuff. I am not going to bore you with details but it was just nice spending the weekend together. Saturday night ended with Grace and I snuggling on Anna's bench at sunset. What a display of her colors God gave us that night. The hues of peach to pink to rose red. It was spellbinding and we could feel the cool of the evening and smell the sweetness of the rose bushes planted around the bench. I have attached new pictures of this dear place that our sweet neighborhood erected in Anna's memory. It shows the 3 white crape myrtle's and 3 rose bushes all signifying June, July and August 08' when Anna toddled around or strolled around the sidewalks of this neighborhood. She was like a superstar, winning the hearts of every person she met. Always leaving them with a hug or kiss that they did not even ask for. That was Anna.....sweet as those roses smell at her spot.
Today no matter how I tried my mind just zoomed to a year ago. No the date on the calendar was different but the 2nd to last Sunday in August will always hold the most precious & heart breaking memories. Back then I was fretting because I just could not focus on what to pack for our stay at the hospital. The catherization was the next day and Anna & I would be leaving before sunrise. I needed to be prepared. No matter how I tried I struggled. Looking back on it now Tony and I both agree we knew deep down inside that something was off. No, not wrong or going to happen just off. As I wondered the house sporadically packing, Tony was outside with both girls washing the cars. Yes, washing the cars....that is what men do when they have no idea what to do....right? He could not sit still...he was scared out of his mind. Looking back....we both were. It was a cool August day so similar to today. One thing differed. Where last year the day ended raining, today God in His mercy brought the sun out. My heart probably could not have taken the rain. So back then Tony came in at one point and said, "JoAnna come look at them....you have to see what they are doing." I hate to admit it but we have no pictures of this priceless moment except in our hearts. There in the driveway was my two girls shoulder high in a 10 gallon bucket of water stirring around leaves, sticks and rocks. They were giggling and smiling at one another and singing a tune I can not remember. The words Grace was singing was something like, "leaf stew for you...leaf stew for me". We stood together at our bedroom window and just watched for what seemed like a very long time. In my classic "old" Jo way I said, "they are going to catch a cold playing in that water as cool as it is." Tony looked at me and said, "stop fretting and just watch them." How my heart twists at the fact that I told him I did not have time. I said very accusingly that I had too much to prepare for. Oh, how tears come to the surface when I think about how I did not just embrace that moment with him longer.
I went to the movies with a good friend this afternoon for a much needed distraction. When I came home Tony was just blowing the grass off the driveway from mowing. Grace and Winston were out playing and boy, Winston was dirty. Dirty from being outside with his master all day. I can not handle dogie smell in my house so I quickly changed my clothes and got everything ready to give him a bath. Even though it was cool I did it outside. That is when I got that 10 gallon bucket to fill with warm water to rinse him down. The wave of heartache just hit me. I could see it as if it had just happened. Two sisters having the time of their lives. When I got done with Winston and he was drying on the towels Grace said she had a surprise. She had been busily doing something as I bathed the hound. On the table was this........
It was in her words a picture. A picture just for me. Yes, it was. It was a picture to complete the memory and lesson I will carry forever. The picture of my girls together happily playing. The lesson to try to remember to never take those sweet moments for granted again. I thanked Grace and hugged her. Tony & Grace left to go get a pizza for dinner and I started cleaning up. As I carried the bucket back into the garage I stopped in my tracks. There imprinted in the concrete of the garage where I sat the bucket was leaves. I had seen it before but it had never meant much. Just the fact that when they laid the garage leaves had falling on the concrete as it dried. It means more than that now.......just like those leaves imprinting our garage floor our Anna imprinted our lives. Her imprint will be on us until the day we see her again. We will carry her with us daily and with that imprint we will remember to thank God daily for all our blessings. Leaf stew.....we all have those moments, we just need to make sure we do not let them pass us by.
In His Hands,
Friday, August 21, 2009
So today I stand once again in a small cleft in a rock within this massive mountain and I try to find my lungs. They are so collapsed from the heaviness & pressure of my heart trying to maintain blood flow that I do believe I am dizzy. So I stop and rest. I look back and see the amount of ground I have covered since the beach and it is so small. I realize while looking back that even though it has been a small advancement the terrain has been treacherous. Caution & reflection have been the reason for my very slow ascent....one step at time with the stress of each footstep leaving me completely out of breath. When you are so short of breath it just exhausts you. So I cling to this rock. Jesus is my rock, my cornerstone which I am resting upon. I seem to be crying out to Him a lot in the last few days. Crying because of the pain. Asking for His help and trying so hard to praise Him through every tear. I praise Him because through Him I am going to make it to the summit. He takes the weak, uses them and makes them strong. From the marrow of my bones He will take me and rebuild me. For my faith alone He rewards me with blessing after blessing and the peace of His continuous presence. Blessings in the form of answered prayers. Prayers that I did not even verbalize but felt with every ounce of my being. Like the prayer of wanting a new job. Yes, He has given me the opportunity of another job I know He arranged from heaven. Since coming home from the beach the beginning of August I have been given the privilege of interviewing & being offered the position of assistant teacher at Mustard Seed Preschool. I resigned my position at Labcorp and will complete my 2 weeks of notice tomorrow morning. My last Saturday to work--for what I pray will be forever. I miss my family time way too much when I have to work on Saturdays. It is our only day in a very hectic week to just embrace one another. I never really knew that till it was taken away from me. So starting next week I will be the assistant teacher for one of the W-Th-F 4 year old classes. Mustard Seed is the preschool Grace attended from the time we moved here in
06' till kindergarten last year. It is the sweetest and most God present school I have ever been to. I am so thrilled & feel completely overwhelmed in how God once again this year showed me in "the little details" that this was His plan. He makes no mistakes! He is always right & His timing is always perfect! These unshakable truths are the guide light that will help me continue to navigate the small but extremely steep remainder of my climb.
The pinnacle. It is within eyesight and is not that far ahead but oh, to conquer it will cause such wear on my body. I pray for strength, courage and stamina. Please join me in praying for that over our family. We can do this, we have come so far but we need our Father to hear the prayers of many. We need His and your help. This is hard. The hardest thing we have ever experienced. Even though there are people all around us in their own race to the top of their own Everest we feel so isolated. The top is a lonely place. Pray for His continued presence & our continuous praise no matter the pain we experience. Glory to God in the Highest! We thank you all & love you so!
In His Hands,
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Yesterday is a day I got on my knees and asked for help over & over. I got home from work and went upstairs to straighten Grace's room & make her bed. The mornings Tony & Grace get ready on their own leaves little time to get these kind of things done. As I went by the fish tank I realized Dory was swimming yet again upside down. For a lot of you, you know the story of our now almost 2.5 year old goldfish Dory. Dory came home to us in Jan. of 07'. She was a fantail goldfish bought with some of Grace's Christmas money. Nana & Pop had gotten Grace a tank for her Sept. birthday & followed it with some mad money to buy a fish after Christmas. Your usual $5 fish. Well, Dory was a great fish. She had personality plus. Really, I am not lying...she was a neat fish. Last year, right after Anna died Dory started acting more bizarre than usual. She would do this sideways swim then float upside down to the top of the bowl. We figured the end was near. We were wrong. Dory kept as strong as she could until yesterday. Doing her usual dead man float she did not respond when I tapped the tank. You see, back during spring break one night when Tony & Grace took a Poppa/Daughter trip to Chattanooga over night Dory had done the same thing. I went as far as dropping her into the toilet when to my surprise Dory was ALIVE! Let me just say I jumped & about wet my pants I was so surprised to see that crazy fish swimming in Grace's potty. We figure the cold water shocked her heart to move again. So yesterday we took that long life-less walk but Dory never flinched. Dory had finally grown too tired. I know you are thinking it is just a fish. No, to us in this family every member(even the fish) are adored & cherished. So I hit my knees and thanked God that Dory's body was at peace at last but asked him to please help me deal with yet another goodbye. Grace handled the news rather well....since one of her best buddies was coming to stay the night I think it helped. She wants another fish but I think we will wait till school starts so no one has to tend to the fish for us when we travel. I did notice the sad look in her eyes went she went upstairs last night. She looked at me and said, " Momma, now I am really alone up here. Even Dory has gone to heaven." Oh, the pain to see those sad brown eyes looking at me that way.
I called Tony on his cell to share the news & he felt the same as me. Grateful but it made our already sore hearts bleed once again. That is when he shared the glorious news. The IRS has finally determined that Anna's Forever Families is to be a 501c3 non-profit corporation. We got a verbal thumbs up & now we can start the fundraising. We will be getting the official paperwork in the mail within the month. See roller coaster down then roller coaster up. So I have been thinking with this news & the 1st year anniversary of Anna's death approaching I will be shutting down this blog. I want to start a new blog Anna's Forever Family. Yes that is what our title is here but I want the blog address to also reflect the name. That is who we are now. Anna needs no more prayers. She was the sparkling answer to ours. She now resides with the Highest of High. So I will be working the next two months to start a new blog. One that continues my little angels legacy but also tells who we are & where we are & how far we have come. A blog that will follow the roller coaster of our lives but will bring only glory to our King & our angel. So for now I continue to ask for your prayers of strength and endurance. Prayers for my sweet Grace who has lost another loved one.
In His Embrace,
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
June 16, 2009........
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my Power is made perfect in weakness." "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses , so that Christ's power may rest on me." "That is why for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I felt like today would just be too hard. This 27th of May hit me right when the alarm clock went
off. The memories of Anna leaving. You know you would think the fact that she is with Jesus & just fine that I would not grieve so hard. Oh, if I could stop the hurt. Being a human really, really stinks at times. So the alarm clock went off and it was 5:30 & time to go to work. My body did not want to begin this day but my brain knew I needed the distraction. The whole way to work my eyes were welling up. I sat in my car and prayed for God to strengthen me to go in and do my 6-6.5 hours today(since it was a holiday Monday we were backed up-- I got a little overtime in).
Sitting down with my trainer I found myself going to August 27, 2008.....holding Anna for the last time. I kept trying to focus my attention on what she was showing me. Finally, I got going on my own & the morning flew by. At break time this sweet co-worker who is training me said something I will never forget. "Jo, I was thinking about you loosing your sweet baby....9 months ago today,right? Well, driving in I was trying to put myself in your shoes. Would I be strong enough? I imagine it feels like the day after Christmas over & over for you."
I was stunned. The day after Christmas. I had never thought of it that way but man, she nailed it in a new way. Tony & I just LOVE Christmas. We were married in December for that very reason. That is just how I feel the day after. A sadness you can not quite pinpoint. You know next year Christmas will come & you know you will carry the spirit of the season in your heart during it's absence, but you feel sad.
That is how I felt today......melancholy. Sad because I had a little piece of heaven(just like Christmas) for 10 weeks and now she is gone. Just like Christmas I will see her again, just like Christmas I will embrace her again but unlike Christmas I will have to wait until I am called home to do it.
Until then I hold on to one thought......this world was never meant for one as beautiful as my Anna. Thank you all for your prayers today. We felt them! Keep them coming, they help more than you can ever imagine!
In His Love,
Sunday, May 24, 2009
that dream I am dreaming.
But there's a voice inside my head saying"You'll never reach it".
Every step I'm taking,
Every move I make feels lost with no direction.
My faith is shaking.
But I gotta keep trying.
Gotta keep my head held high.
There's always gonna be another mountain.
I'm always gonna wanna make it move.
Always gonna be an uphill battle.
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose.
Ain't about how fast I get there.
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side.
It's the climb!
The struggles I'm facing.
The chances I'm taking.
Sometimes might knock me down.
But no, I'm not breaking.
I may not know it.
But these are the moments that I'm gonna remember most, yeah.
Just gotta keep going.
And I, I got to be strong.....
Just keep pushing on.
'Cause there's always gonna be another mountain.
I am always gonna want to make it move.
Always going to be an uphill battle.
Someones going to have to lose.
Ain't about how fast I get there.
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb, yeah!
Keep on moving, keep climbing....
Keep the faith, baby......
It's all about, it's all about, the climb!
Keep the faith, keep your faith, whoa!
O.K., before anyone writes me. Yes, this is a Miley Cyrus song. No, I am not a fan. However,this song should be on my forehead. I just heard this song this last week and it brought me to tears. No, I know that is not hard to do these days but it did make me stop and cry. This is life right now. This is life 9 months later.....9 months ago tomorrow was the catherization. When time stopped for me. When I saw my old life flash in front of me. Three days later I would start a new life. A life without my Anna. Would we do it again? If we knew then what we do now. Would we have signed that application for a special needs-heart disorder specific child? Yes ma'am, Yes sir! In a heart beat(irony at its best). I would not trade my journey to, with or even after Anna. We may be a small family. We are a strong family. Strong in our walk with the Lord. So to "pick up my cross daily- to die daily" so that I can bear His fruit! I/we would do it all again.
So I started my new job. Hard & interesting is a good description. It has been the first two weeks and my mind and body are tired. I realize this is going to take some getting use to. Getting up 4 days a week at 5:30 am is tough for this old housewife of 5.5 years. No, I am not whining. Just stating a fact. It is going to take some getting use to. I turn 39 in 6 days and the ole' body is not what she used to be. The mind is willing but oh, the body likes her sleep! I like the job, it is tough on the eyes but it will do for now. No, I do not think it is a lifetime career move but it is an answered prayer. 5 hours, four days a week I get lost in work. No memories replaying, no sadness and no tears. Just work. This is good!
Grace's last day of kindergarten was last Thursday. Where did the year go? She is a big, bad first grader to be. To celebrate we went to get our toes & fingernails done. Yes, my tough tomboy wanted to go with Momma to spend her Mother's Day gift. What a kick it was to watch that little(even though she is so tall) thing get in that big pedicure chair. We had a blast! I attached two pics because this had to be recorded. Yes, there are flowers on 4 of her nails. Her idea after it was suggested by the nail tech. She was very proud of herself when only 1 nail was smeared. Hey, I think it was good only smearing one after an exciting day of party food at school & just being pooped. We came home after a little side trip to the "Dollar Tree", one of our favorite stores to take a cat nap. I can not remember the last time I curled up with my baby and just took a nap. Her sweet little body warm next to mine and the peaceful rhythm of her snoring. What a sweet time. I love my Grace so much. I love that I was off the last day of school so we could have so much fun together. Sweet and simple fun.
See, 9 months after the loss of my baby I am starting to let myself live again. Last month(April) was the first month I did not wake up on the 27th and realize it was the day Anna died. I was so focused on life....getting Grace signed up for day camp, taking my drug test for the new job and enjoying a gorgeous sunny day here in TN. My dear Cindy called to check on me & that is when it hit me. At first I felt a wave of guilt & then I cried with praise. Praise to my Maker for answering my prayers. Prayers to let me feel like living again & to let me enjoy my beautiful life again. Since then I have started work & realized with in the first week that it was hard to go back to work. Part of my brain still thought I should have a sweet little toddler at home and I should be at home with her. So this last week I have grieved my time with Anna. I have asked God to show me how to make this new place I am in feel right. Driving home one day from work this is what popped into my thoughts..."You have gone through this. Now what are you going to do with it? Be a victim? Show the world what it means to be hurt? Or will you show the world what it means to be Mine? To walk through the valley in the shadow of death and still be strong. To die as yourself & reflect Me! To pick your cross up daily, to die daily and live for and show only Me." This I knew was God once again answering my prayer, giving me direction and showing me the way to strive.
We are healing. One day at a time. One life change or event at a time. We have hope, we carry faith & we are striving to reflect only the love of our Savior. We are starting to live again and actually starting to enjoy it. Who knows what is over the next mountain? The beautiful thing is Tony, Grace & myself are climbing them together. Climbing upward and looking at the horizon. Looking to God for our direction and having the "littlest" of angels as our safety rope. Who would of thought someone so small could have had such an impact?
"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose."
Love & Hugs,
Friday, May 8, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
So back to August 30, 2008.....as very special people left the house that day I gave them one of the many plants we had received. I knew there was no way I could keep them all alive and the panic of having something else die anytime soon was overwhelming. I look back on it and I was really in a state of panic-not quite right. I also wanted these people to have something of my Anna. I know even typing it, it sounds strange but I consider anything that was in anyway connected to my Anna to be special. I am her Momma, what else would I think? So people graciously left with peace lilies, basket gardens, cut arrangements, etc. Late that night I sat at the kitchen table having a glass of wine(my nerves were shot & I am not a drinker-so one did me in) and felt good about the plants that were left. I was feeling very confident that I could keep them alive. In the following days I bought beautiful pots & containers so I could transplant the huge basket gardens & have the individual plants breath with new space. They did for several months. Out of about 20 plants I now have only 3 still with me. The weak nature of so many of them was their downfall and then some got over or under watered, etc. I am proud to have kept the three I still have alive. It was with a very sad heart that the others were eventually discarded. I tried so hard.
One of these three still living is an African violet. Well, lets just say that ole' Jo has never, I mean never had any luck with African violets. This particular one was in a garden basket sent by Anna's pediatrician(Dr. Smeltzer). I love Dr. Smeltzer. I think he is the kindest most wonderful doctor & fellow adoptive parent I could be blessed to know. When I transplanted the violet it was a deep, dark purple still in bloom. Within days the blooms perished but the plant still looked good. By Christmas it was going down hill. I could tell where I had placed it in the house was just not a good place. I was going to loose it too. I hope those of you reading this see the underlining meaning to my need to keep things alive. I had lost my Anna and that was God's will but I wanted to will her plants through my care to live. As I took down Christmas decorations the first of the year I picked up Celeste(yes, that is the violet's name) & I told her I was going to try to find a place for her to be happy. I decided to place her in my master bathroom. The sunken tub sits between two glass bricked windows. I figured the filtered light & humidity of the bath & shower may keep her going. The tiled ledge to the tub was the perfect size for her to sit. I prayed for God to please let her live & please let Anna know how hard I was trying.....even with her plants. Momma was trying so hard to stay strong.
Celeste continued to live week after week. I was happy the plant was still alive but told Grace one night while bathing her in my tub that I had never had any luck having a violet bloom after the initial blossoms died. Grace just looked over at the plant & said, "well Momma at least you have not killed it yet." Classic Grace. This is what I love about my kiddo. Dry, to the point & usually a riot without meaning to be. Last Sunday, May 3rd I notice two little balls forming at the base of Celeste. Now honestly I hoped but did not expect or even get too excited with the idea she would bloom. The above picture is my Celeste today. Now remember she was a deep dark purple initially.....
In the short time I was blessed with my Anna it became very clear to us that her favorite color was pink. She would pick out pink dresses or outfits to wear everyday. If I choose something of another color she would show me her displeasure. So when we had to decide on a casket & flowers for Anna my first & obvious choice was a pink & white gingham plaid liner, ribbon for the flowers & pink baby tea roses with white mini daisies. That was my Anna. Sweet, pink, white, delicate & happy. Anytime Grace & I sit on her bench here in the evenings we watch the colors of the sunset. The rose & pink hues tell us Jesus & Anna are in His heaven & all is well.
So I know without a doubt my Anna sent me a gift from heaven this year. With the help of my Heavenly Father a once deep purple violet was made pink & white. Yes, to some I am just a momma trying to find anything to keep my daughter close. Who cares.....call me what you see me. I see that I helped & continue to keep something alive. I do that with love. God given and taught love. So to all you Mother's I wish you a wonderful Mother's Day this year. I pray that yours is filled with as much love as I feel every time I look at my Anna's violet.
1 Peter 5:10-11
"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen."
In His Hands,
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Tony & I both experienced such a day of high hopes when the realization that our dream of giving a sibling to Grace to share this life with did not die with Anna. Infertility you see makes our decision a little different than most. Not to downplay the loss of a biological child-any loss of a child is tragic. Our loss does not give you the option of healing then becoming pregnant again. It is like loosing your dreams two times over. It is a vicious circle you feel somewhat trapped in-at least for me it does. So through this vicious, mind numbing cycle of loss God made His intentions to us very clear by what simply was one of His miracles. Not a huge miracle that makes world headlines on the evening news. A miracle none the less that some would call a "coincidence". To steal Beth Moore's wisdom yet again, " coincidents are miracles when Jesus means to remain anonymous." Amen sister Moore! In this beautiful case I want to sing His praises publicly. During my recent "rough" patch I have suffered with insomnia more than once. This period especially just kept going on & on. So in my study at the time it was suggested that sometimes God does not allow us to sleep because He wants our attention & has a message to give. So like Job and others much wiser than me I stood one night on my front porch in the wee hours, looked up to the heavens and said, " O.K., you know you have my attention. What do want to say or want me to know? Not to be too demanding but while you let me know what is on your mind could you please give me some direction? Direction for any aspect of my life. I am a little lost right now on so many levels and could really use a focused direction." There was no shooting star or booming voice as a reply. As I turned to go into the house I was just covered in a rain shower of peace. His peace. Peace of the Holy Spirit that can not be ignored. I sat quietly for a few minutes before going to bed to catch my breath from the experience and just kept thinking, "as long as you have me I AM your direction." Wow! Message delivered. I slept like a baby that night and really have slept pretty good ever since. Only recently have I felt the anxiety of things changing in our lives & me allowing that anxiety to keep me up(like 1am-right now). Two days later I was sitting at the computer looking through my new emails seeing a ton of emails from Rainbow Kids. Each message was titled "child of interest". I took my cursor to delete each one like every day for the last 8 months believing that once again I had taken care of that little issue. Do not ask me why I have not unsubscribed because I can not answer that. So I clicked on what I thought was a career builders email since I have been searching for the ideal part time job. Well, instead it was a Rainbow Kids mailing on a specific little boy. Now due to the sensitivity of this type of waiting child publication I am not going to give a ton of details on the posting. But moments later I & some unseen Force were dialing the phone to the listing agency to inquire about this little 18 month old. This child was from the Philippines & I am going to leave out his need for privacy reasons. One aspect I can not skip was his first name......Jomarie. Yes, Jomarie for a boy(remember the Philippines is a very Catholic influenced nation-no doubt a saint or two was the root). Who could even imagine such a "coincidence"- I mean this is too good for me to make up. My name & Anna's combined. So long story short after consulting with our family pediatrician(also an adoptive Dad with China) we realized with his agreement that the potential for another huge heartbreak was probable with this little guy. This all took a good month & 1/2 to realize after additional updated medical info. was provided to us. So we informed the agency we would have to release the file. We do not feel this was a waste of time at all for anyone involved since the updated medical information will really help any inquiring family know what the future may hold.
Tony & I walked away sadly but with Hope. New hope from above.....we had talked like a hopeful couple willing to start over on our dream. A couple who had prayed together for this sweet angel(Jomarie) & God to show us His plan. A couple that now knew they were strong enough to take the leap of faith once more. A couple that knows that unless in the next few months God reveals something else to us we will be applying to adopt once more. We will adopt from the Philippines this time & right now we see doing a healthy child adoption. God in His plan knows our future & His will be done. We as a family have the comfort of knowing our limitations along with His plan. We do not have the strength to go head long, eyes wide open into another potential heart break. Take Tony & I out of the equation and you have Grace. Grace needs to have the comfort of a sibling. A sibling that will be able to walk hand in hand with her through this amazing life, God willing, long after her Father & I are called Home. So I end tonight(this morning) with TO BE CONTINUED......Continued with Living Hope!
1 Peter 1:6-9
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
In His Hands,