Thursday, March 31, 2011

surprise for daddy

while on the phone with John...

Em: Hey, Dad! we got you a surprise at the store.
J: Oh yeah? what is it?
Em: mama said you have to wait until you get home...
(getting permission from mama to tell)
Em: we got you a go butler shirt!
J: no way! thats so cool, emma!
Em: yeah, you can wear it when you watch the game.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Beauty rest

After finishing up bedtime story and prayers, mommy and daddy started just chatting with each other. Emma rolled over, sat up, and stated, "mommy and daddy, could you please leave the room and turn off the light so I can get to sleep?"

Saturday, March 26, 2011


She was walking alongside the stroller with her jacket so precisely draped over her forearm in front of her...

Mama, we need to take walks every day to help with our dry skin.


So for whatever reason, the 25th of this month has been harder than the 25th's of the last few months.  For the first time since Malachi was in the hospital, I've broken out into hives. HIVES, people! When I say my heart aches to be with Malachi, what I really mean is that my whole body longs to be with him in heaven.  I mean I could tell that I was getting stressed (the closer and closer we get to the 1-year mark and the more and more Jackson gets closer to the size/age Malachi was when he died) but I didn't think I would be here again. 

I really need to go back through and pull out all the blessings we received through Malachi's life so that I have a tangible list to reflect on and praise God for.  Right now, I'm struggling as I seem to only remember the bad experiences.  A fleeting thought went through my head today as I was scratching my hive-ridden forearms that this has been the worst year and a half of my life... the Holy Spirit quickly reminded me that was a lie.

It hasn't been the worst couple years of my life, just the hardest---and yes, there's a difference.

A few things helped throughout the day... I wore John's sweatshirt and found that comforting; we picked up some silk flowers and took them to Malachi's headstone--weird, but comforting; took a break from working on the house and just spent time together as a family--much needed; rocked a fussy baby to sleep, resulted in more hives but also thankfulness.

Overall... a weird day.

Friday, March 25, 2011


That's silly like a raincloud...

10 months...

We brought flowers to the gravesite today. He definitely has the coolest tombstone in the cemetery that's for sure. When we pulled up, Emma asked to verify that just malachis body was here, but that he's really in heaven. She then walked right up to his grave and started talking as if he were right in front of her. "I miss you little buddy...". It's true. Malachi is very missed.

Over the past ten months, some have tried to console us by saying that Malachi is now an angel or he has 'earned his wings'. I understand that it may just be a platitude, or something nice to stay, but it's not true. I will explain what I mean more in depth later, but I do find comfort in knowing from Gods Word that Malachi is safe and no longer hurting.

The day has brought a sense of uneasiness, headaches, stomachaches, and even some hives. Hoping it passes quickly. Trying to think on the good things and spending time with our family that remains.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Passive aggressive

To Jackson while he's on mama's lap: oh, pretty you want to play with sissy so mommy can get me my juice and strawberries?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Where I am...

So it's been a while...not for lack of topics or an unwillingness to post, I just haven't. Part of the reason was due to my visit to see family in Iowa (yep, survived the Indy to DES moines, Iowa drive just me and the kiddos). We've been busy working on house stuff. Laying new flooring in the main floor living areas (super exciting), kitchen cabinet stuff, general organization that's been sorely avoided for months. I mean piles. Papers stacked randomly and placed in different areas scattered throughout the house. I've got five baskets of laundry to fold and put away (at least they're clean, right!!?!?). There are about ten books I would love to just hide away for a day or two and read. I wish I was more disciplined in spiritual matters--prayer, bible study, evangelism. I'm so thankful I have a heaven-oriented mindset, but I really wish I didn't have to bury my son to get to that point. It's weird to see Jackson smiling in his sleep and instantly thinking of Malachi. It's weird that the cemetery will be a regular stop for Emma throughout her childhood. Lately she keeps saying that "our family is all here, but we're missing my brother and sister-Malachi and Jordan." I love that she knows that. What else? I'm kinda sad I havent really stuck it out with my workout program. Almost back to pre pregnancy weight, but still have about 10-15 I'd like to lose. Not to mention figure out what to do with belly skin stretched to no end with three term pregnancies in a matter of less than four years. Anyone still reading? I'm tired and rundown and heartbroken and seemingly back to taking it just one day at a time. I guess that's just where I need to be...for now.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Shattered Dreams

Shattered Dreams
Larry Crabb

So I’ve been working through my share of books related to grief, joy, ambition (or lack thereof) the last couple of years.  I’m only months away from marking the one-year anniversary of holding Malachi’s lifeless body in my arms.  Some days it seems like just yesterday and others like it’s been ages.  So weird. 

All that to say I wasn’t so sure what to expect when I started thumbing through the pages of this book.  Honestly, I don’t really know one way or another if it merits a recommendation or not—the subject of suffering is hard to grasp.  There were a few things I definitely would like to point out though.  Dr. Crabb approaches this topic from the following pretenses: (1) God wants to bless you, (2) The deepest pleasure we’re capable of experiencing is a direct encounter with God, (3) He uses the pain of shattered dreams to help us discover our desire for God.  At this point, I was still unsure of how he would move forward.  He begins with some illustrations that I didn’t really have the time for (like I said, I’ve read my share of grief books) and I just wanted him to get into the thick of it (maybe it’s the academic part of me).  I’m glad I kept reading.  I didn’t discover any life-altering truths or new ways of dealing with or handling the pain, but I liked his take on things and he wasn’t afraid of addressing the hard facts like God’s ability to prevent our suffering.

I also appreciated his comparisons of Buddhism and Christianity.  Unfortunately, I see a lot of the tenets of Buddhism played out in American “Christianity”.  Crabb states, “We Christians are often practicing Buddhists.  We kill desire in an effort to escape pain, then wonder why we don’t enjoy God” (p. 60). This comparison was something I hadn’t yet considered, yet I see it play out in our churches so often. Sad, really.

One last thing I appreciated in the book Shattered Dreams was Crabb’s thoughts regarding the story of Naomi.  Many times I have worked through the book of Ruth and been negative toward Naomi and her actions and her attitude without putting too much thought into the fact that she had watched her entire family die—her husband and both her sons.   I suppose I should reread that story now that I have eyes that see things quite differently. 

All in all, it was a good read about a very, very hard topic.

Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

the wrong what?

(takes drink... choking... sputtering...composing herself)

ugh.. that went down the wrong PIE!

if daddy was here... he would take all my chokes away!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

have you tried to imagine?

because I couldn't have said it better if i tried...

When we say to grieving people, “Oh, I can’t imagine” we might be saying “I don’t want to imagine.”

I say that because, if we took a few minutes and put ourselves inside that person’s situation, we would (in part) imagine.

And I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that anything less than that is not love or care.

Now, there might be people who say, “But I’m not a mom…” or “I’ve never lost a baby…”
“…when someone loses their baby, I really can’t imagine, because I’ve never been there.”
(I’m using my example, a stillbirth, as the example here. You really could fill-in-the-blank with any tragedy or heartbreak you’re seeing someone through.)

And while that’s valid on some level, it really isn’t the whole story. I have dear friends who aren’t married, have never been pregnant, and yet are extremely sensitive and caring about things they haven’t experienced. It just means that they’ve taken the time to enter into someone else’s heartbreak.

And no, you won’t imagine it perfectly, because it is what it is–an imagining…an image. You will probably never understand what it’s like to labor for hours with a dead baby. You’ll probably never understand how it feels to have terrors in the night, horrified that you forgot the baby somewhere or awakening to imaginary baby cries.

And I’m not trying to be overly dramatic here. These are real things that really happen.

I think another reason we shy away from imagining is that it’s not going to be pretty or comfortable. It’s often horrific and terrifying and depressing. But it’s your friend’s reality.

Real love gets into the trenches of grief and suffering. It imagines. It lets it’s mind’s eye linger. Real love will not avert its eyes. It won’t say, “Your disaster is too much for me.”

As I’ve watched friends walk through tragedies like mine in the past few years, or some others walk through tragedies very different from mine, I’m trying to be really mindful to not say, “I can’t imagine.” Because in some cases, it’s all I have. It’s the only window I have, with my puny little brain, into prayer, into continued love and care for that person–imagining their pain, imagining their grief or loss, imagining their ongoing need and brokenness.

Imagination is what will take you closer, even when you feel very distant from the situation. 

I think we underestimate imagination. We shut it down too quickly, afraid we’ll either presume too much understanding or that it’ll just hurt too much.

You might be wondering
What do I say in that uncomfortable moment, when all I want to say is ‘I can’t imagine?’ What are some alternatives?
I think it would be okay to say, in the most heartfelt and heartbroken way, “I can only imagine.” And then go on from there, telling them some things that you’ve been thinking and feeling on their behalf, how it’s led you to pray, whatever. This communicates a love, a presence in their pain–even if from a distance.

Let’s gather the grieving in our imaginings. You might find it to be a powerful point of connecting, doing what you can to understand.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

To remember

I just spent the last two hours in the nursery--at home--rocking my baby boy while being reminded in the book of Jeremiah that God will stay true to His Word...always faithful.

I just didnt want to forget that moment.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Asking for Forgiveness

I cheated.  Will you forgive me?  All those pictures in the last post....  They were Emerson.  It seems like lately all the pics I've been putting up were Jackson (because seriously, does it get any cuter?!!?).  Now that I'm writing this, I think it's because he just looks like one of us.  He belongs to this Sharbaugh family.  Him, Malachi, Jordan, and Emma--they are ours. 

Correction.  They are God's.  We've been blessed to be their providers and protectors, to grow and to nurture them.  All the while praying we don't screw it up, but more importantly that they will see Christ in myself and John and desire to have that as well.  Two of my kids are safely home.  How much more will I have to pray and work in my role as mama to see to it that Em and J will get there too.

Some of you who follow this blog are good friends.  Some family.  Some acquaintances.  Quite frankly, some complete strangers.  My goal is two-fold.  1. Show others the reality of Jesus in our life--the good and the hard.  and 2. Make known to all that we Sharbaugh's make ADORABLE children ;) 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Still attached

emerson bonked her head on the windowsill while reaching in her toy box.
She rubbed it saying "ow! I'm okay! It's still there!"
I said "what's still there?"
"My head" she replied, "yeah, that's good".

Emma or Jackson?

Can you tell the difference? In the comments below, leave your guesses for each number whether it's Emerson or Jackson.  Answers to be revealed on Friday... GOOD LUCK!

OH! And all those who correctly guess the correct child in each picture gets their name placed in a hat and one name will be randomly chosen for a $5 Amazon gift card.  Again, GOOD LUCK!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Part of my story

Reinhold and Hulda (Krueger) Eisenbeis -- my great-grandparents!

He was born on October 27, 1897 in Bessarabia, South Russia and died around Thanksgiving in 1985.  She  was born on February 20, 1903 in North Dakota and died on October 31, 1979.

I would so love to delve into my ancestry and learn the ins and outs of past relatives.  What did these people do for a living? How did they raise their kids? What did they do for fun?  What brought my great-grandfather to America from South Russia??  How old was he? What was the trip like?  Were they Christians?

Oh, and did you catch his birthdate? 10-27, same as Malachi.

(thanks Aunt Kim for the pic and Great Aunt Karen for the info!)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

while they're young

John is determined that our children will learn the important Marvel superheroes.

How many 3-yr old GIRLS can pick the Hulk, Captain America, and Wolverine out of a lineup?? Oh and we can't forget Spiderman, Spidergirl, Storm, Cyclops, the Thing, Thor, and Iron Man...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Worth Checking Out

Click on books for more info and to purchase! I do not have a link for "Revival Sermons That Preach", but feel free to contact me and I can get you the info.


it's the little things...

I found this pink trach tie (rubber band) "randomly" the other day on our hallway floor.  Just little reminders.

nurse Emerson

Emma just got done taking johns blood pressure and checking his heartbeat. She walked away saying "the doctor will be in shortly".

Gifts #1-26

My goal is to keep adding to this list and reach #1,000. Praying God uses this in my life to cultivate an "attitude of gratitude".

1. My husband John. My strength when life seems unbearable.
2. Living children:
         Emerson Grace. (Gift of a firstborn daughter. John's princess.)
         Jackson Nehemiah. (Gift of life after death.)
3. Jordan-miscarried at 13 weeks. This opened the door to many relationships within my church family and started preparing me for Malachi.
4. Malachi Stephen. A lesson on God's goodness, faithfulness, and truth.
5. Free gift of salvation. My eternal destination has been sealed. Rewards to come.
6. A warm house (woke up to 0* this morning).
7. A baby's giggles.
8. A break from the frigid air... a welcomed 65*.
9. My new iPad.
10. A bigger than expected tax return.
11. Dates set to visit family in Florida.
12. Assurance that I WILL hold Malachi--although probably not as a baby.
13. That blogging will help me to remember these foggy days.
14. That my children have parents who love them.
15. That my children have parents who truly love one another.
16. That joy comes in the morning, no matter how long the night lasts.
17. That my God knows exactly what it's like to watch your son die.
18. That I am not alone in this battle.
19. That God has bigger plans for me than I can dream on my own.
20. That I can be thankful while nursing a sick husband, toddler, and baby back to health that this is temporary for them. This is cold season; this is not a combination of fatal complications.
21. A smile on Jackson's face even after coughing up a lung.
22. That spring is coming. Chi's gravesite isn't cold and dead.
23. That Jackson would rather play with my hands than any toy I put before him.
24. That I feel safe in johns arms.
25. That I long for heaven. I ache to see a perfect Malachi.
26. For Gods written word.

meeting dora

i love living this close to indianapolis... if i'm correct, we've got the largest children's museum in the country. on this very special day, emma got to meet... DORA!

dinosaur exhibit from above... pretty cool.

Jackson thrilled sleeping.

Pirate Piggy Ship  
(Joy, do you think she looks like Edan here?)

What's a Dora exhibit without a map?!?

Diego and Baby Jaguar

Of all things, Emma wanted to go to the reading corner.  
The books weren't even Dora-related.
Once again, Jackson sleeping.

Driving the spaceship.

Exploring Purple Planet

Pretty cute astronaut, eh?

The tree sucked up the acorns... or something.

Daddy showed her a cool trick of how to more effectively transport the acorns.

A girl after her Mama's heart.  
Instead of walking the runway, she was crazily more eager to get behind the camera.

They currently have a Barbie exhibit now, too.

And we ended our trip with Jackson.... still sleeping.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I'm a liar. and you probably are too.

So many times I don't stop and think before I speak.  How flippant am I when it comes to the words that pour from my mouth?! Whether they be encouraging or insulting, I don't take much time to stop and think before speaking. 

I've been catching up on my Revive Our Hearts podcasts while I work on my current house project (yay, for getting closer to having kitchen cabinet doors again!).  So many of her recent topics have hit home with losing Chi in the last year which I will probably write about at a later date.  Then came this series: "The Power of Words." Nothing like a message on the tongue to humble yourself.  The host went on to explain ten different ways of deceiving others with our words.  I'm ashamed to admit that I'm guilty of each and every one.  However, I am thankful that the Holy Spirit is usually quick to show me when I've been in the wrong in this area.  That's one step toward spiritual maturity, but not acting on it and not necessarily admitting my fault and correcting my actions just goes to show how far I am from "arriving" in this area. 

I am including a quick overview of her list.  Click here for a more detailed list including bible references to support each point.  Check yourself.  Are you guilty in any of these areas?

1. Exaggeration.
• Am I overstating the truth by using words like “always” and “never?”
• Do I make sweeping generalizations about people or situations?
• Do I embellish details to make a story more humorous or interesting?

2. Flattery.
• Do I give insincere praise?
• Do I compliment another to enhance my own reputation in his or her eyes?

3. Lying.
• Am I slandering someone—spreading false reports with the intent to inflict hurt?
• Am I answering direct questions with untruths in order to protect my reputation?

4. Misleading.
• Do I leave a false impression (even though my spoken words may be true)?
• Do I communicate facts selectively to influence others for my own purposes?

5. Inaccuracy.
• Do I fail to verify the facts before repeating a story?
• Am I careless with regard to factual details of stories?

6. Deception.
• Am I allowing people to say things that are untrue about another person while
implying consent by my silence?
• Do I give the impression that I am more spiritually mature and committed than is
actually true?

7. Hypocrisy.
• Do I speak kindly to another while harboring hatred or bitterness in my heart?
• Do I praise another to his face while criticizing him behind his back?

8. Inconsistency.
• Am I flip-flopping on issues, depending on my “audience?”
• Do I put a different spin on matters, depending on who I am talking to?

9. Guile.
• Am I maintaining hidden agendas and ulterior motives when dealing with people?
• Do I look for loopholes in a contract, rather than honoring the intent and spirit of
the agreement?

10. Broken Promises.
• Do I promise to pray for someone and then neglect to do so?
• Do I agree to be somewhere at a certain time or to meet a need, but fail to do

Man, now that I've gone back through and looked at that list in writing, I'm even more aware of how easy it is to dishonor God with the careless, flippant use of my tongue. Thankfully, Christ has paid the price for each and every time I have sinned in this area and the Holy Spirit is diligently working within me to show me my faults and give me the strength to pursue godliness and truth.  Needless to say, the Holy Spirit definitely has a lot of work to do with me.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


i don't remember the exact conversation, but i repeated what i thought i heard her say and said "is that what you said?"

She replied, yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about!"