Friday, December 17, 2010

talking back to the computer

computer: press a button.
emma: just a sec
------(30 seconds later)------
comp: press a button.
em: just a second.
------(30 seconds later)------
comp: press a button.
em: just a SECOND, i said.
------(30 seconds later)------
comp: press a button.
em: JUST A SECOND!
 ------(30 seconds later)------
comp: press a button.
em: mom, will you tell my computer i said 'just a second'?? 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Baby Jackson

 So we've officially hit the one-month mark with our newest addition, Jackson Nehemiah!  Overall, he has been a GREAT baby.  Although, it could just be that I've amplified in my mind all of Emma's crying and horrible nursing experience to the point that any baby would seem easy compared to her--well, except for Malachi (he was pretty complex!)... He really is just about the cutest little boy you'll ever see. He spends most of his days (and nights) SLEEPING!  The sight of a sleeping babe is truly precious--hence the first three pictures of this post!
At five days old, he was already up to his birthweight.  Now, at one month, he has gained THREE pounds.  Clearly, we've got breastfeeding (mostly) down with this munchkin'--a completely new experience for me.  I think God is using the nursing success as a means of answer the prayers of so many that I would have a deep, immediate attachment to this baby--a fear of mine as I am still almost daily grieving for the loss of our babe Malachi.  I really, really can't get enough of this kid!
 In the beginning, it was VERY difficult for me to allow anyone else to hold Jackson--including John.  It wasn't so much me just being selfish, but I wanted to take each and every opportunity I could to snuggle this baby.  Sometimes Malachi was so sick that we weren't even able to touch him--let alone HOLD him!  However, if I learned anything from our experience with Malachi it was that our children are not our own.  They are gifts from the Lord whom we have been given the privilege of stewarding.  So when I attend a Christmas get-together or spend time with extended family, I have to force myself to ask "Anybody want to hold the baby?" as soon as we walk in the door, or I know it's not gonna happen and I'll just hoard him all night long.  
 Just like with Emerson, Jackson was born looking just like my side of the family but is quickly turning into a baby-image of his father.  Emma continues to go back and forth between looking like me and looking like her daddy, so it will be interesting to see if Jackson follows suit.  I'm hoping he just looks more and more like his daddy!  I've been able to capture a few smiles (or at least smirks) on "film" and he's starting to realize that he can intentionally make noises--so that's always fun.  I mean seriously, how can you resist this charm!?!?  One thing he quickly grew out of though were his pig noises.  He would grunt EXACTLY like a little piglet when he was trying to forage for food.  I miss those piggy snorts.   

Happy one month Jackson, I've enjoyed getting to know you!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

quick pics

boxes and boxes... there were still more to come. at this point we hadnt emptied our stuff from johns parents...

a peek at  the new countertops...

pantry almost done...

sink preview...
mt favorite place in the new house.  board and batten throughout--my husband loves me dearly to put all this up.
we're taking a hiatus on working on the house during the holidays and enjoying time as a family when john gets home from work for the day.  we'll hit it hard again in 2011!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Potty mouth

While going to the bathroom:

If she has more than one poop she refers to it as a "whole FAMILY of
poopies!"

Or we've heard "I'm gonna build a tower of poopies up to the ceiling!"

And today, little miss got a square of to stuck in her booty to which
she exclaimed, "hey look! I have a tail!"

Saturday, December 11, 2010

songs

head over to chis blog at http://www.malachisharbaugh.blogspot.com/ to view/listen to some lyrics that have touched me/us lately.  (and i haven't even started listening to the Steven Curtis Chapman CD he wrote after losing his daughter)... the last three posts are all song related.

All of Me

John and I really enjoy listening to the music of Sanctus Real.  The lead singer of this group, Matt Hammitt, and his wife recently had a baby boy who was diagnosed in utero with a heart defect.  The first surgery that Bowen underwent was the very same open heart surgery that Malachi had at two weeks old.  Needless to say, we could relate to their story.

As a songwriter, Matt began working on lyrics.  Listen to his song "All of Me" which can be found halfway through their 9/15/2010 blog post at the following link: http://bowensheart.com/2010/09/15/the-morning-of-september-14th/  We have some very similar pictures of Malachi we posted here.

All of Me
Afraid to love something that could break
Could I move on if you were torn away?
I’m so close to what I can’t control
Can’t give you half my heart and pray He makes you whole

You’re gonna have all of me
You’re gonna have all of me
You’re worth every falling tear
You’re worth facing any fear

You’re gonna know all my love
Even if it’s not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts
But giving you all of me is where I’ll start

I won’t let sadness steal you from my arms
I won’t let pain keep you from my heart
I’ll trade the fear of all that I could lose
For every moment I’ll share with you

Heaven brought you to this moment
It’s too wonderful to speak
You’re worth all of me
You’re worth all of me

Let me recklessly love you
Even if I bleed
You’re worth all of me
You’re worth all of me

One Last Christmas

Matthew West, why must you continue to pull at my heartstrings... a couple songs off his latest album.  Lyrics are posted below the videos.  Underlined text denotes especially meaningful lyrics.

One Last Christmas

verse 1:
It’s the news that no one hopes for,
Every parents greatest fear
Finding out the child you love so much
Might not make it through the year
Now the thought of spending Christmas
Without him just feels wrong
They’ve been praying for a miracle,
Now there’s praying he can just hold on


chorus:
For one last Christmas one last night
One last season when the world is right
One more telling of the story
One more verse of Silent night
They’d give anything so he could have
One last Christmas


verse 2:
Middle of September
Still twenty degrees
mother climbs up in the attic, brings down candles
hangs the lights on all the trees
Then the neighbors started asking
And pretty soon word got around
First it was the neighborhood,
Before too long they lit up that whole town

Verse 3:
Twentyseventh of October, {{Malachi's Birthday}}
His time was wearing thin
Friends and family even strangers
That they didn’t know brought presents in
He was weak but He was smiling
Like there was nothing even wrong
They said he wouldn’t make it,
Looks like he got to see it after all


The Reason for the World


There are no words in times like these
When tears don't hide the tragedies
And all you want is a reason for the world

No comfort in the greeting card
Cause God is good, But life's still hard
and your heart just wants a reason for the world

Maybe the reason for the pain
Is so we would pray for strength
And maybe the reason for the strength
Is so that we would not lose hope
And maybe the reason for all hope
Is so that we could face the world
And the reason for the world
Is to make us long for home

For God so loved your broken heart
He sent his son to where you are
and he died
To give a reason for the world

So lift your sorrows to the one
Whose plan for you has just begun
And rests here in the hands that hold the world

Maybe the reason for the pain
Is so we would pray for strength
And maybe the reason for the strength
Is so that we would not lose hope
And maybe the reason for all hope
Is so that we could face the world
And the reason for the world
Is to make us long for home

Well I know your past the point of broken
Surrounded by your fear
I know your feet are tired and weary
from the road that you walked down here
But just keep your eyes on heaven
and know that you are not alone
remember the reason for the world

No ear has heard, No eye has seen
Not even in your wildest dreams
A beauty that awaits beyond this world
When you look into the eyes of grace
and hear the voice of mercy say
Child, welcome to the reason for the world

Friday, December 10, 2010

Book Recommendations

Experienced a great loss? Know someone who has?

Recently, I have read these books through tears and tissues and would highly recommend them to anyone who would like insight on what the past 2-1/2 years, but more specifically the last almost 7 months have been like for me.  I was able to very directly relate to these authors and their lives by what we have experienced in the last 2-1/2 years through miscarriage, hospital life, disability, burying our baby, and the ensuing grief.

Safe in the Arms of God  (John MacArthur)
Biblically based assurance that I will see my babies when I join them in heaven.

A Different Dream for My Child by Jolene Philo
Meditations for Parents of Critically or Chronically Ill Children

How to Help a Grieving Friend by Stephanie Grace Whitson
More info regarding this book HERE.

Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman
A fellow mom who experienced both miscarriage and the death of a child.

Holding on to Hope by Nancy Guthrie
Another mom's journey through grief after losing two children--each 6 months of age (like Chi).

cannibalism:just say no

mommy likes to pretend to take bites out of new baby brother. "Emma, he's so cute I could just eat him right up... yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum."

"Mommy, do NOT eat my brother.  I already told you I didn't like you doing that the other day."

A Year With God (Book Review)

A Year with God: Making His Thoughts Your Thoughts by R.P. Nettelhorst

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review by BookSneeze. They did not provide any other measure of compensation--only asking for an honest review in return. My review was not required to be positive.

Overall, I think it was a decent surface-type devotional. However it was not something that I would see at a bookstore and buy it off the shelf.  I actually prefer devotionals and studies with a little more "meat" to them. 
I do like that the scriptures used all came from the Old Testament--definitely not the case with most devotional type books and it was nice to see something different. I also liked that there were distinct topical sections within the book (Hope and Fear, Love and Hate, Perseverance and Quitting, Faith and Doubt, Loyalty and Betrayal, Companionship and Isolation, Mercy and Judgment, Forgiveness and Anger, Joy and Sadness, Peace and Conflict).   These topics can be related to by everyone--myself included.  I will keep this book within easy reach on my bookshelf even just for the quick reads in the arena of "Joy and Sadness".

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Homesick

You're in a better place, I've heard a thousand times and at least a thousand times I've rejoiced for you. But the reason why I'm broken, the reason why I cry is how long must I wait to be with you. I close my eyes and I see your face. If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place. Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow; I've never been more homesick than now.

Help me Lord cause I don't understand your ways. The reason why I wonder if I'll ever know. But, even if you showed me, the hurt would be the same 'cause I'm still here so far away from home. I close my eyes and I see your face. If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place. Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow. I've never been more homesick than now.

In Christ, there are no goodbyes. And in Christ, there is no end. So I'll hold onto Jesus with all that I have to see you again. To see you again.

And I close my eyes and I see your face. If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place. Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow.

I've never been more homesick than now.

(Homesick by MercyMe)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Merry Christmas

Vintage Lace Snowflakes Christmas Card
Shop Shutterfly for elegant custom Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WINNER!!!


Congrats to Victoria Nelson (mom to CHARGEr Moriah--pretty sure her and Chi would have been a great couple ;) not that it ever crossed John and I's mind). 

Her guess for Baby Jackson was as follows...
im guessing Nov. 11th.
wt. 7 lbs 7 oz
ht. 19 1/2

Actual figures:  Nov 11...7lb 13oz...20.5 inches

Good work!  Your amazon gift card will be in your e-mail inbox in the next day or so. Enjoy!

jackson's first package

Last week Jackson received his first package... I just can't resist sharing this with you...


Of course, we needed to start this kid off right as a hawkeye fan (the sender thought likewise!).

And have you EVER seen these!?!? I laughed for a solid hour when I read the packaging. It's a Pee-Pee TeePee!  I'm assuming you can figure out what it's for ;)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Pie Night

The Wednesday night before Thanksgiving our church puts a hold on the usual Wednesday night church activities and has an annual pie night time of fellowship with one another as a church body.  I love listening to the stories of those in my church family and how God has worked through the good and bad to bring each one of us closer to Him.

The first pie night we were a part of we were still relatively new to the church and it was only a couple of months after I had miscarried with Jordan.  I felt led to get up and say something (which completely evades me at this point) even though most were unaware of what had happened.  Last year, we were in the hospital with Malachi during pie night.  Because I knew God would once again lead me to get up and share at least something of His goodness throughout the trials of the last year, I came prepared!

This year there was kind of an "order" for people to share.  There was a time of singing and then those over 30 were encouraged to share something.  When people in that age bracket were seemingly done, one of our pastors told us how he was encouraged by those of us in our church who suffered great loss of loved ones in the past year who clung to God during those times instead of turning our backs.  Tears immediately fill my eyes and I knew I would be unable to coherently give a testimony.

John stepped up and took my notes paired with what he had wanted to say and kind of just spoke for the both of us while I sat with tears streaming down my face.  Had I been composed, this is what I had planned to say...

I am thankful for God's peace.  In God's Word, He promises to "keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You: because he trusts in You" (Isaiah 26:3).  We had a 30 minute drive to and from the hospital each day to spend time with Malachi and meet with doctors and figure out what was best for our baby.  Many times I would spend that time listening to this CD.  It kind of became my "pump-up" music to keep me in the right mindset when our lives were filled with questions and uncertainty.  This song in particular very much kept our minds stayed on our great God who had ordained each and every one of Malachi's days.

EVERY DAY
In Your grace, You know where I walk
You know when I fail
You know all my ways
In Your love, I know You allow
What I cannot grasp
To bring Your praise

Thank You for the trials
For the fire, for the pain
Thank You for the strength
Knowing You have ordained
Every day

Your great power is shown when I’m weak
You help me to see
Your love in this place
Perfect peace is filling my mind
And drawing my heart
To praise You again

In my uncertainty, Your Word is all I need
To know You’re with me every day (repeat)

At their website they include the following little blurb regarding the CD...
But all our problems don’t end when we turn to Christ. We still get sick. Marriages end. Children die. Our plans, great or small, are disrupted. We grow weary in the battle.

Scripture assures us that God is sovereignly using our difficulties as tools to make us more like his Son. “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Ro 5:3–5) While we know these things are true, in the midst of our hardships we can lose perspective. Problems can loom large, and our hopes can grow dim.
Come Weary Saints is an invitation to redirect your focus to the God whose love has been forever demonstrated at the cross of Calvary. As you listen to these songs, may your faith and joy in the Savior be strengthened for the challenges you face, now or in the future.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

6 months

 I was thankful that the 25th of this month I was able to spend the entire day with my husband.  When the tears come, he understands.  A silent nod with a caring look and a loving embrace does a lot to encourage my soul during those times.  It's also just nice to know I'm not crazy for the pain that still remains from the gaping hole that was left when our son died. Malachi Stephen, you are missed immensely my baby boy.

Monday, November 22, 2010

it's arrived

The monument place FINALLY finished and placed Chi's gravemarker.  It just so happened to be the very same day we welcomed his little brother into the world.  Kind of weird.  However, we were very pleased with how it turned out!
Front View

Back View

Saturday, November 20, 2010

updates

So, I realize for those of you who don't keep up with us on Facebook I kinda left you hangin' with the whole "my fluid levels are low and we're inducing labor.... today" post.  I promise--all is well!!!







Here's the quick version:
Went to the hospital late Tuesday night with contractions coming every five minutes for almost two hours.  Once they got me hooked up to the monitors and all that to see how things were going, baby's heart rate had an episode of deceleration which required me to be on oxygen support to help baby.  Through the night, I puked and from that point, contractions slowly came to an end.  Had it not been for that deceleration episode they would have sent me home, but they wanted to keep me overnight for observation.  My doctor came in the next morning and ordered an ultrasound (biophysical profile) to be done on baby just to check things out before sending us home.  The fluid levels were measured REALLY low... twice.  by two different techs.  It was low enough that my doctor (with John and myself) decided to induce.  Pitocin was begun, contractions started back up, and eventually my doc broke my water.  Shortly thereafter, anesthesia came in to administer my epidural (he did a great job) and I slept the next six hours.  I was so very thankful for this sleep as I had stayed awake all of the previous night (due to frustration of ending contractions) and was in dire need of decent rest.  At about 12:30 am, I was completely dilated.  The room was set up, my doc came in, and baby arrived a push later (yeah, that part of my deliveries goes pretty quickly).  It was love at first sight and we've been snuggling and loving on him as much as possible ever since!

Overall, he has a pretty laid-back demeanor (so far, at least).  Nursing--which was the most horrible experience with Emerson--has gone wonderfully!  I had already come to terms with the fact that Jackson would also prove to be a difficult eater and that we just wouldn't connect when it comes to breastfeeding.  I was quick to remind myself that I only lasted 5 or 6 weeks with Emma and she's turned out fine up to this point.  If nursing wasn't going to work out, I would just make the switch to formula and not look back.  Praise the Lord (yes, this is something I and some close friends had been praying about), Jackson is a GREAT eater.  It was funny, one morning the new nurse came in while I was feeding him and she said, "Wow, you can really tell which moms are experienced breastfeeders..." I literally laughed out loud.  ME?!?! experienced!?!? HA!  The lactation consultant even used us as an example for proper technique! Needless to say, things are going much better than expected!  The past few nights, he has eaten at midnight or so (which I'm already up for), then again at 330 or so, and then not til like 8 or 830--all the while going right back to sleep after he's finished eating!  All that to say, God is good--so very, very good!  (oh, and he was back up to birth weight as his 5-day doc appt.  I told you he was a good eater!)

I was so worried that I wouldn't be immediately in love with this baby and that my grief from Malachi's death would still be too much to allow for room for Jackson.  I knew, however, that God answers prayers that are asked according to His will.  Obviously, it would be God's will for me to LOVE my son, so even though I couldn't fathom it I was able to trust that God would answer that prayer for our family.  Sure enough, as soon as I laid eyes on this baby I was smitten.  Completely infatuated. Unashamedly in love. 

It is interesting to John and I just how much  more appreciative we are of the little (big) things that come with a healthy baby.  For instance, knowing our baby can hear us and that he can see us is a blessing we most definitely took for granted with Emerson.  Not only that, but we were thankful for things like the ability for him to breathe on his own without the use of a ventilator, let alone the ability to breathe through his nose! Jackson was perfectly knit by God within my very being.  Amazing!

Lastly...
As you've noticed, we landed on the name Jackson Nehemiah.  Not only do we really like how the name Jackson sounds, but Jack (for whatever reason) is a nickname for John and obviously this baby is John's son.  So to that end, he is somewhat named after my husband without just blatantly calling him John Jr.  The name Nehemiah means God will comfort.  What an appropriate promise for our family to cling to now and always.  A perfect name for our perfect gift from above. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Free Shutterfly for Christmas

Hey bloggers, right now Shutterfly.com is really pushing their holiday card promotion and not only do I want to take part in the 50 FREE PHOTOCARDS, but I thought some of you might like to as well!  Did I mention FREE!?!?  Just visit http://blog.shutterfly.com/5358/holiday2010-blog-submission-form/ for details.

I've had great experiences with Shutterfly in the past with both photobooks and Christmas cards.

Personalized photobooks are always a hit for gifts to grandparents and kiddos alike.  I made this ABC book for Emerson a while ago.  I waited for a promotion and received it with shipping for under $10! It's hardcover and the pics are great quality!




I also received these free Christmas cards last year:


Or, maybe you have the need for birth announcements ;)

Taking a quick peek at the website, there are over 188 templates to choose from . Right now, I'm leaning toward this classic black and white option. 


Now, I'll just have to make sure I get a good pic of Miss Emerson and Mr. Jackson. 

Introducing...

Quick note

Malachi,

Mama misses you.  I wish your brother could meet you.  When I found out we were pregnant, I knew it would be hard, but I was really looking forward to how he would push you developmentally.  I figured he would quickly pass you, but would also be one of your greatest advocates and friends. It would have been a lot of work raising all three of you, but your daddy and I were up for the challenge.  Thankfully, I know you are safe and in the best environment any of us could possibly be.

There were plenty of emotions coursing through my being as I met your little brother.  I am thankful for the little similarities which he shares with you.  Minor ear imperfections will always hold a special place in my heart because of you.  Jackson also has long fingers and toes that instantly reminded me of you. 

You are loved and missed, my baby.
Mama

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Baby time!

So turns out it was actually a good thing they kept me overnight.
Yesterday at my doc appt my fluid levels were normal range 16.8. (I
wanted them to check due to polyhydramnios with Chi-excess of amniotic
fluid). Doc explained over 10 was good. Under 10 was cause for close
watch. Under 5 was too low and baby needed out.

Due to a decelerated fetal heart rate episode last night, they kept me
for observation. Doc ordered a BPP (biophysical profile) to double
check everything before going home. Baby himself looked good, but
fluid level was 6. The discrepancy from yesterday to today was
great--16.8 to 6. Doc wanted a recheck before discharge to home to
verify. Next scan showed 4.4.

So iv was placed, labs have been drawn, pit has been started and-by
golly-we are having a baby! A little sooner than anticipated, but
please pray with us for a smooth rest of the delivery and all the
crazy emotions that are sure to follow.

For now I'm going to get some "rest" and enjoy toy story 3 with my
husband ;).

Frustrating

They might as well send me home. My nice contractions that had made
their way to 2.5 min apart seem to have dissipated after I lost my
dinner. Not the direction I thought we were headed. I'm gonna feel
pretty stupid if they send me home without baby.

37-week visit

Major news of the visit:
Dilated to 3. Still 50%
ultrasound showed baby at 8+ lbs!

Oh and we are at the hospital tonight currently with contractions 3
min apart or so. Please pray. Crazy days are sure to follow.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

potty training favorites

after she hears her pee hit the water she gets really excited and says, "mama, are you SO PROUD of me??"

we're still have her wear a diaper at night (she keeps it dry from 8p to 9a, but still it's worth the 10 cents to not have a mess to clean up in the morning just in case), so she gets really excited when she gets to put panties on after going in the potty.  she started singing me a song, "panty time, panty time.  who doesn't love panty time?"

the other day she was in the bathroom while I was using the loo and she exclaimed, "mama, i'm so proud of you!" I replied, "Why sweetie?"  "Because you kept your panties dry!"

say what??

so emma and i only kiss on the cheek  and she was REALLY trying to kiss my lips the other day. she was climbing all over me and forcing my head toward hers.  she was all giggly and then got really serious and said "this is gonna get weird".  I BUSTED UP LAUGHING!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

house updates...

cutting in purple in emmas room...

nursery primed...

master bedroom primed...

some color in the master...

nursery sneak peek...

emma room sneak peek...

helping mommy paint baseboards for master...

dark gray loft...

so, so, so, SO much cleaning (and painting and woodwork and flooring and moving and unpacking) yet to do... it's progress though!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fall Things...

our little artist...

so proud...

finished punkin' by our punkin'

zoo boo... stopped to take a pic for daddy who was working at the house. (cheese face)  when she had her princess gown on she insisted calling me "my majesty".

when we stopped at the house on the way home to bring daddy dinner, we noticed trick-or-treaters.  a mice unexpected end to our evening.  daddy and his princess...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Helpful hints for your guesses.

I realized I could probably include some further helps. If you've left
your guess already feel free to keep it OR if you'd like, place a new
one (which will simply then void the first prediction)...

--original due date thought to be 11/27.
--32wk ultrasound measured baby at 5lb and a few ounces.
--34wk belly was measuring 38cm
--36wk belly was back to 36cm with baby dropped and head down.
--I'm dilated to 1.5cm and at 50%

Emerson was 8lb 8oz at 39 weeks.
Malachi was sick and he was still 7lb 8oz at 39 weeks.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

36 weeks

Taking guesses...NOW!  leave a comment with your email address and your best guess for delivery date and  weight.  The person who comes the closest will receive a $5 gift card to amazon.com.  Also, include your guess for length--if there is a tie, we will use the length guess as a tie-breaker!  Let the games begin...

Sorry, no pic.  I don't THINK i'm any bigger than before, so you can refer to the 34-week post below ;)

The quick stats:
BP: 116/68
weight: 188 (total gain of 33/up 3 from 34-week visit)
*can't believe I'm keeping track of this in a public arena!*
abdomen: 36 cm--back on appropriate pace and baby has dropped!
baby position: head down.
dilation: 1.5 cm
effaced: 50%

baby will be here before you know it!

Monday, November 1, 2010

They're back!

Emma:  Mom, MOM!! God got them back!  God got them back for you!
Me: God got what back Emma?
Emma:  Your leg whiskers! Hooray!

A message

Hey, mama... I wrote a message.  Let me read it to you. 

(runs across the room to pick up a receipt with a bunch of scribbles on the back to bring it back to show me)

It says...

Dear Daddy,
I love you.  And I love my mommy.
Love,
Emma

(that's a lotta lovin'!)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

One Year...

One year ago today Malachi Stephen Sharbaugh was born into our world. Many of you know his story. I would be sadly mistaken if I thought I could sum up what this past year has been like in a brief blog post. I wish I could tell you that our family is doing really well. I wish I could tell you that life has basically returned to normal in this Sharbaugh household. I wish I could actually put into words how utterly lost we feel sometimes thinking about the what's and the why's of these past months. I wish I could explain to you how I feel when I hear someone ask how he is doing not really aware of what has happened. I wish I could say something to a wife who is still grieving that would make her feel better. I wish I could have counted how many tears were shed for one small child. I wish I could understand what my God was really thinking and doing when he allowed my son to live in so much pain for 7 months and survive so many surgeries and hardships and let his parents get so attached to him just to take him from us. I wish I could understand it all myself. I can't... 

But I also wish I could fully describe to you the impact Malachi has made in this past year. I wish I could list off one by one the people who have been touched and lives that have been impacted. I wish I could list off the amount of prayers that people prayed possible for the first time because of this small like child. I wish i knew the amount of people that decided to open up the Word of God and see what was written that maybe hadn't touched it for quite some time. I wish I could explain the joy I hear when my little girl corrects someone when they say she is going to be a big sister, and she explains that she already is one. She informs them she has a little brother name Malachi in Heaven. I wish I could relay the jealousy I have for my son Malachi. My son, who will never know any more pain, sadness, hate, disappointment, sickness, or loneliness ever again has seen the face of my Savior. He in his brand new perfect body has had the opportunity to walk and talk with those who we named him after. He has been able to do things and understand things that we wont ever be able while here on earth. Any sorrow I have is for me and my family NOT HIM. My son has seen what we all should live for. I am not talking about Heaven. I am talking about Christ. Why hope? Why hope that somehow I will ever be good enough to be where my son is now. Why think that the same fool who sins every day would ever do enough to merit the love, grace, and mercy of a perfect God. My hope is in CHRIST! I don't long for heaven or being able to see my son again someday. I long for Christ. Don't get me wrong I miss my son. It still hurts at times. Many times actually. All those things I wrote about earlier are true. I don't really get all that has happened this past year. I might never know. I don't really even know if I will when I get to heaven. I want to see my son but that shouldn't be what drives me. I should be striving always for the only good and perfect goal, Christ! I am sure that this may not make sense to some of you. But I ask you... why do you even get out of bed in the morning if all you have to look forward to is this world? Look at what this world has to offer you. I would plead with you but it isn't my place to change those of you who haven't trusted Christ. I do pray for you. Thinking about Chi is probably harder on you than it is for my family and me. So many questions would haunt me ever waking moment if I hadn't been saved from my wretched filthy sin and given eternal life to spend with my Savior. I still wonder about them. But God is so good. I wish I could explain to you how good He is but I don't fully know myself. Glimpses I see sustain me until I get to be with Him and see my hope and joy face to face.


One year ago my son was born into this place broken and 5 months and 2 days ago he woke up in a different place Perfect. I can say without any doubt that I learned more from him that I could have ever taught him if I had been allowed to see him grow up. I thank God for the time we had and for privileging my wife and I had as stewards over that precious little one while he was in our hands here on Earth. I praise the Lord that he is taking care of both him and us even now.  I wish I could explain why everything that has happened over the last year happened. I can't... But I know the Author and finisher of my faith. In Him is my hope. I know I will see my son again someday. I will probably run up to him and hug him but not before I have run up and flung myself into the loving and wonderful arms of my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Monday, October 25, 2010

5 months ago...

...we said goodbye to our baby boy. Selfishly, I still want him back. Malachi never made things easy for this mama, but most goodbyes are rarely easy.  It's hard for me to see that I'm a completely different person than I was one year ago--mostly, because change has come on little by little with each passing day.  I have been challenged and I most certainly have been stretched. I can only imagine that I'm different now. 

I am thankful that I can look back on the last year without regret.  Okay, obviously there are things I wish I could change about what I said or did or decisions that had to be made, but I am definitely at peace and thankful that I am not currently plagued with guilt when it comes to anything surrounding Malachi. 

I have found it much more difficult in the months following Malachi's passing than I did when we were struggling alongside him at the hospital.  At the hospital, I could literally feel the prayers of other believers being lifted up and God answering those prayers with strength and clarity of thought for John and myself. It seems that the "real" testing of my faith has come in the last five months. Since our goodbyes, God's presence just hasn't felt so apparent. I say that my faith has been tested because I am forced to trust in God's Word and His promises.  No matter how "alone" I feel, I know that my God is very real, very alive, and an ever-present help in times of trouble (Ps 46:1).

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Matthew 5:4

My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
Psalm 119:50

May Your unfailing love be my comfort...
Psalm 119:76

So please, if you are a believer, pray for us this week especially. Our heartache is great and we are weak in and of ourselves. The pain is still very real and a part of our family is missing.  Thank you.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What In The World Is Going On? (Dr. David Jeremiah)

Dr. David Jeremiah is the senior pastor at a church in California.  This book has come as a result of a study he preached through regarding end times (eschatology) as they are described in the Bible.  Laid out in an easy-to-read format, Dr. Jeremiah spells out ten scriptural prophecies concerning this topic and how current events truly fit into these descriptions as they were told many, many years ago.

I found this book to be much more interesting than I had originally anticipated.  In fact, the book sat on my bedside table for over two months before I got around to reading it.  However, when I dug in, I found that it was actually very intriguing and made my way through it in a matter of just a few days. He made me think, and I was challenged to take a more in-depth look at how where we are as a society, as a nation, fits into the grand scheme of things. For anyone looking for a reader-friendly, lay-person knowledge of the Biblical prophecies regarding the end-times, this is the book for you.

To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I need to mention that Booksneeze has provided mewith a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

34 weeks...

 The quick stats:
BP: 118/70
weight: 185 (total gain of 30/up 2 from 32-week visit)
abdomen: 38 cm (yep, now measuring FOUR WEEKS ahead)
baby HR: 150
baby activity: TONS of consistent movement. daily bouts of hiccups.



*easy way to avoid the double-chin look: place the camera in front of your ENTIRE face when taking a pic of yourself in the mirror ;)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

dreaming

there was a commercial on for lindor truffles and they asked "do you dream in chocolate?"  emma replied, "no, i dream in bed."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

How to Help a Grieving Friend

Book recommendation for those of you who follow this blog and have other friends who are hurting due to the loss of a loved one.  Know that the pain never really goes away. 

More info regarding the book is included in a post with the same name on our family site: http://marissakayesharbaugh.blogspot.com/. 

How to Help a Grieving Friend

I recently checked out "How to Help a Grieving Friend" by Stephanie Grace Whitson from the library.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants an inside look--at least a glimpse--into the life of someone grieving a great loss.  As I made my way through it, I sobbed.  She puts into words some of the thoughts that have swirled around my head for the last several months...I'm gonna go through and try to highlight a few of these things (it might get lengthy, you've been forewarned!)... The following are excerpts straight from the book.

Intro: "This book is my attempt to use what I have learned 'in the valley of the shadow of death' to help others avoid being well-meaning but clueless...Quick and easy to read, this little book will give you important insight into how it feels to experience a profound loss and then will offer you specific ideas on how to help."

"You will undoubtedly think that some of the more emotional entries are misplaced.  This can't be right...She should have been past this stage.  Guess what? Grief doesn't happen in neat little stages.  Please remember this when you help your friend.  Just when we think we are making progress, grief has a way of rising up and slashing us right through the heart all over again."

"If you become aware of a mistake you've made, apologize.  This is important: Don't stay away.  Don't stop trying."

At times, this has been true...
How It Feels
If one more person quotes Romans 8:28 to me--or some other comfort cliche--I am going to SCREAM.  I know Romans 8:28 by heart.  I can read it in Greek. And French.  It doesn't help.  All I want is someone to listen to my pain. And maybe give me a hug.  I haven't had a hug in a long, long time.

How to Help
Don't apologize for not knowing what to say:
Chances are, there isn't anything you can say that will really help.  Your hand on my shoulder, your hug, and your presence mean a lot.

Delete comfort cliches:
I know every cloud has a silver lining.  Remind me another time.  Hurt with me now.

Let Me Be Angry:
It may not make any sense at all, but some days I'm just mad--at people who still have what I've lost, at people who are too nice, at God.  Just let me vent.

Don't Expect a "Thank You" Card:
I just don't have the energy to observe social graces right now.  I am grateful.  Just know it. [this is something i've felt very guilty of at times]

Accept my New Quirks:
If I'm reluctant, don't push it.  Grief changes people--permanently.  I may never be "my old self" again.  But I just might be a better self if you give me some time.

How It Feels
I cannot listen to the sermon today.  I do not care about parsing verbs or premillennialism.  I know my hope is in the future.  My life is on autopilot while I wait for and anticipate reunion and eternity.  Certainly I am glad to know that someday God will wipe away all tears, for I have cried enough.  I should be content with "the everlasting arms"--but I am not.  If I say, "Not my will but thine be done" often enough, will I eventually stop wanting him back and accept his departure as God's will and therefore as ultimate good?  My heart is broken, my world has been destroyed...and the lesson today is on prophecy.  I don't know how I am going to get through the next five minutes.  I don't care about what will happen during the seven-year Tribulation.

How to Help
Accept No for an Answer:
It's exhausting pretending to be happy in a group so I don't depress everyone around me.  If I say no, it doesn't mean I don't want your friendship.  It just means I'm too tired to hang out right now.

Say the Name:
Nothing hurts worse than thinking everyone else has forgotten him or her.  It's comforting to know that someone remembers, even if it makes me cry.

Remember the Dates:
Valentine's Day, my birthday, his or her birthday, are going to be awful this year.  And then there is the new one: Death Day.  You can't change the awfulness, but knowing that you remember makes me feel less alone.

Send Flowers--Later:
It takes a while for the permanency of my loss to sink in.  I will probably need signs of your caring even more later.

Be Specific:
'Call me anytime' has no meaning.  'I can run errands for you from 10AM to noon on Saturday' means you mean it.

How It Feels
Not Being There is what I did last year.  I was not There because my Here felt too overwhelming for me to contemplate anything else...I was Here for him...I was not There for my friends...It was my year of Not Being There for my friends, but I was Here for my [child]...Could I relive that year, I would still choose Being Here for my [child] and Not Being There for a stressed friend.  I have wanted to scream the reality of what I went through to those who just don't seem to get it.  I have wanted to yell about catheters and skeletal bodies, about feeding nightmares and listening all night to labored breathing.  Maybe it would help them understand the way of my Not Being There.  But I don't want to reduce my beloved's valiant struggle to a contest of Who Had It Worse.  He deserves better.  So do I. I wasn't There.  My job was Here.  Please try to understand.

How to Help
Don't Ask If Things Are "Back To Normal":
Normal just isn't a word that describes any aspect of my life right now.  My reference point for normal has been ripped away.  In time, I'll get a new definition.  But right now, I don't know what normal means.

Be Suspicious of My Smiles:
I learned very quickly to hide my misery so I won't drag other people down.  Don't always believe my mask.

Accept My Tears:
Don't be embarrassed when I cry.  Tears are healing.  They must be shed.  Crying alone hurts worse.

Remember:
Two months, six months, a year after my loss, I am still facing new hurts.  A note or an e-mail that tells me you know means a lot.

Celebrate Life:
If you appreciate life more because of my loss, tell me.  It helps me to know that something good is coming from all this hurt.

Then she includes a whole list of times to pray for me, while all of them apply, here are a couple:
...because the second year is turning out to be harder than the first.
...when it's been long enough that you think I should be all right by now.


To find out more about the author, visit http://www.stephaniewhitson.com/.
Also, none of the above is any new idea or anything on my end.  All credit belongs to the author and this great resource for those who want to know how to help those who hurt.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

let the priming begin

It's only just begun....

We were actually able to knock out a lot of the first-coat of primer this evening thank to the help of some friends!  Can't wait to see the difference two coats will make!
(front room)

(living room)

(one of the walls in the kitchen)

(priming subfloor of upstairs--cover and seal any grossness before new carpet)

(quick shot of floors finished)

Today was also spent cleaning window sills (they were NASTY) and removing all the shelving from closets.  The master bedroom/bath seems to always be the last room we get to when doing tasks that need to be done throughout the entire house--either we run out of steam or run out of time (which both were the case this morning while Teri was helping with the windows!)  There is still much to clean and tons of renovating to do, but at least it LOOKS like we're making progress!