Sunday, July 31, 2011

credit: Firefighter's Fam

Another post "stolen" (with credit) from Firefighter's Fam titled "so is He there when hearts stop beating?"  it begins with a conversation with one of her kiddos.  I am thankful to be able to follow in her footsteps--a few feet back as I walk this path of joy amidst the grief...

Mom, can God see into our house?

(doubting Thomas Jacob Daniel)

Through curtains?


Through walls?

Deep thought, wrinkled forehead, trying to come up with a place God can't reach. . .

Through really, really gross, green, dark water?

And the privilege of reminding him that God sees in the uttermost parts of the sea is mine.

He sees.

He knows.

What does He see when our hearts break?

Two thousand years ago, Martha, grieving the sudden death of her brother, cries out to Jesus. . .

Why didn't You come?

You could have healed.

You are big enough to stop this.

You are God, we believe that!

We even know he'll rise again!

But why didn't You come?

And Mary, the one who chose the better part, seconds Martha's cries. . .

Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.

John says that Jesus was troubled and deeply moved in His spirit, standing in the middle of the street where the sisters had stopped Him. . .

He asks them where their brother is, and they lead an ever-present, all-seeing, all-knowing God to a cemetery.

And He weeps.

I wonder, like many others before me, why He wept.

Does He weep for mammas down through the ages who rail at the Heavens why weren't You there?

Did He weep because our earth is so needy and so hurting and because He knew the Road to our Redemption was full of pain and loss for Him?

Did He weep for brave Stephen who chose stones over survival and forgiveness over understandable vindication?

Did He weep for His mother, who would watch her Son die?

Did He weep because they didn't understand the complete irony of taking God to see a grave? 

Did He weep because they don't understand that He was there?

Does He still weep because I don't want to believe that He was there?

Tonight I tell my son precious words that I stored in my heart as a child:

Where can I go from Your Spirit?

Where can I flee from Your presence?

If I go up to the Heavens, You are there.

life is beautiful, You are there

If I make my bed in hell, You are there.

life has crushed me, and You are still there

If I take the wings of the morning

when my heart is strong

or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea

when I am sinking

even there Your Hand will guide me, Your right Hand will hold me fast.

But do I believe that He can see into my house?

I've cried too, Jesus, why weren't You there?

And isn't that actually so much easier to cry out than the alternative?

Because what if He did see that little bed, what if He did hear my little man's heart stop beating, what if He was there?

Then I am faced with believing exactly what I say I believe, that He is there.

And crying why weren't You there is really denying that He is God, and pretending that God is surprised and caught off guard by small white caskets ignores the reason He came.

My heart shrinks from thinking about these things.

It's deep, and it's hard, and it hurts.

But the longer my heart knows the pain of death, the more I rejoice that He came to free us from this aching loss.

The more it hurts, the deeper I see the need for redemption.

And then I have to say. . .

I am so grateful, Jesus, that You see me.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Soundtrack: Bring the Rain {MercyMe}

Bring the Rain

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain
So I pray

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Not only has this been the driest and the third warmest July on record, but this month now stands as one of the four hottest months in Indianapolis history. Right now it looks like we are on target to break the record of 19, consecutive 90-degree days.

(thank you for uplifting my spirits)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

silly balloon

our current working vehicle does not have adequate AC, so emma was in the backseat of john's car with the balloon she got on their date....

"Daddy, can we put the windows up because my balloon is FREAKING. OUT."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Soundtrack: Homesick {MercyMe}

yep, the whole song...

Mercy Me

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 goodbye
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
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow

I've never been more homesick than now

Sunday, July 24, 2011

who's who answers

I really feel like this would have been harder if the jackson pics weren't so obvious. I didn't really pick pictures that captured the "looks" he makes that definitely place him in our family. It really is amazing to me how similar (mannerisms, etc.) he and emma are at the age of almost nine months.

J.C. Ryle quote on suffering

Through affliction He teaches us many precious lessons
that otherwise we would never learn.  
By affliction He shows us our emptiness and weakness, 
draws us to the throne of grace, 
purifies our afections, 
weans us from the world, 
and makes us long for heaven.

-J.C. Ryle

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Soundtrack: One Last Christmas {Matthew West}

One Last Christmas
Matthew West

It's the news that no one hopes for,
Every parent's 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 they're praying he can just hold on

For one last Christmas, one last time,
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.

Middle of September
Still seventy degrees
Daddy 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.

For one last Christmas, one last time,
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.

Twenty-seventh 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

For one last Christmas, one last time,
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

sneek peek

While I've been sick (feeling much better now after an 11-day head/chest cold), John has been hard at work on our latest house project.  Here's a sneek peek!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Soundtrack: come weary saints

Come Weary Saints (Sovereign Grace Ministries)

I would HIGHLY recommend this entire album.

A good friend sent this CD to us shortly after Malachi was born. Simply amazing. It quickly became kind of my "pump up" music that I listened to every day on my way to the hospital to best prepare myself and my mind for a day with my baby boy. Two of the songs I really clung to with all of this and then another song I held close after we said our goodbyes. I was unable to find a link to listen to the songs or any decent YouTube videos, so you just get the lyrics...
Actually, you might be able to use this link: (copy and paste in new browser)

Every Day

In Your grace, You know where I walk
You know when I fall
You know all my ways
In Your love, I know You allow
What I cannot grasp
To bring You 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)

As Long As You Are Glorified

Shall I take from Your hand Your blessings
Yet not welcome any pain
Shall I thank You for days of sunshine
Yet grumble in days of rain
Shall I love You in times of plenty
Then leave You in days of drought
Shall I trust when I reap a harvest
But when winter winds blow, then doubt

Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified

Are You good only when I prosper
And true only when I’m filled
Are You King only when I’m carefree
And God only when I’m well
You are good when I’m poor and needy
You are true when I’m parched and dry
You still reign in the deepest valley
You’re still God in the darkest night

It Is Not Death To Die
It is not death to die
To leave this weary road
And join the saints who dwell on high
Who’ve found their home with God
It is not death to close
The eyes long dimmed by tears
And wake in joy before Your throne
Delivered from our fears

Chorus O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has power to save
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die

It is not death to fling
Aside this earthly dust
And rise with strong and noble wing
To live among the just
It is not death to hear
The key unlock the door
That sets us free from mortal years
To praise You evermore

Monday, July 18, 2011

8 months

20 pounds
two teeth
crawling...legitimately crawling.  oh me oh my.
likes to get toys out of his little toy box
smiles like crazy
likes peek-a-boo (and peek-a-boo book)
eats anything you put in front of him
zooms around in his walker like a pro
knocking into the trash with said walker
beard tickles
likes john's feet--kinda weird
pulling on cords
give mama kisses on the cheek (big sloppy ones)
full of infectious smiles
loves chewing on his nasty car seat adjusting strap
will try to pull himself up on your leg
pushes himself up to sitting (super annoying at nap/bedtime)
gets super excited hearing daddy on speakerphone
still overall he's a pretty easygoing kid.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Malachi Soundtrack: All of Me {Matt Hammitt}

Matt is the lead singer of our favorite band Sanctus Real. He and his wife welcomed a baby boy--Bowen--into their family who was diagnosed in utero with heart disease.  Malachi and Bowen underwent the same initial open heart "repair" (which would need to be followed with future surgeries).  This song was written after they received Bowen's diagnosis and I find it more than fitting for our situation.  I have yet to be able to actually sit and listen through the entire thing--it still brings back pretty raw feelings, mostly of missing my baby.  The lyrics are posted below. 

All of Me {Matt Hammitt}
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

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

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

Put Your Dream to the Test {Review}

Put Your Dream to the Test
by John C. Maxwell

About the Book
Most people John Maxwell encounters have a dream. In fact, he’s asked thousands about their greatest aspirations. Some describe their dream with great enthusiasm and detail. Others are reluctant, almost embarrassed, to talk about it. Regardless of their zeal or fear, the same question drives every person with a dream: Can I achieve it?
Sadly, most people have no idea how viable their dream is. They hope to achieve it, yet hope is not a strategy. What people need is a way to test their dream.
In Put Your Dream to the Test, Maxwell brings the subject of a personal dream down to earth. He gives readers practical and powerful direction for their lives by leading them through ten questions that will help them create a clear and compelling pathway to their dream.

My Thoughts:
I liked the idea of this book.  So often, we skip ahead try to put steps in place to pursue a dream and putting a plan together to make it all come to fruition.  And I agree that in reality we need to take a step back and really dissect the dream and see if it's really even worth pursuing.  Is my dream realistic? In 10 chapters, Dr. Maxwell examines 10 questions:

1. The Ownership Question: Is my dream really my dream?
2. The Clarity Question: Do I clearly see my dream?
3. The Reality Question: Am I depending on factors within my control to achieve my dream?
4. The Passion Question: Does my dream compel me to follow it?
5. The Pathway Question: Do I have a strategy to reach my dream?
6. The People Question: Have I included the people I need to realize my dream?
7. The Cost Question: Am I willing to pay the price for my dream?
8. The Tenacity Question: Am I moving closer to my dream?
9. The Fulfillment Question: Does working toward my dream bring satisfaction?
10. The Significance Question: Does my dream benefit others?

For what it's worth, this book definitely was of interest to me solely because John and I have a VERY big dream.  I would have appreciated a more God-centered focus coming from a Christian leadership authority.  I would recommend the book Rescuing Ambition by Dave Harvey.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Preparing for college

Emma and I were sitting on the couch Saturday morning hanging out and watching cartoons when a Gerber Life commercial came on. IT was talking about even though the kids were maybe 2 years old the parents were starting to save for their college education already. After the commercial ended Emma turned to me with a serious look on her face and said, “Dad… I am not ready for college yet. I am still too little. So maybe when I am bigger.”

Friday, July 15, 2011

God Gave Us Two {Review}

God Gave Us Two
by Lisa T. Bergren

About the Book
Now that Mama polar bear has another baby in her tummy, Little Cub is bursting with curiosity. “Why do we need a new baby?” she asks. “If we don’t like the new baby, can we send it back?”
“Will you forget me when the new baby comes?”
Gently and lovingly, Mama and Papa assure their firstborn that the new baby is a gift from God they want very much, just as Little Cub was–and still is.
“God gave us you. Now he’s given us two!”
The winsome sequel to God Gave Us You, God Gave Us Two playfully affirms a child’s uniqueness and place in the family and helps little ones accept, appreciate, and love their new siblings.

My Thoughts
Definitely a cute story that was nice to be able to share with Emma--no stranger to the "new sibling" process.  The illustrations were well done and overall I enjoyed the read.  Spoiler alert, but one issue I did have with the book is that it's called God Gave Us Two--assuming one for the first sibling plus one for the soon to come sibling.  But really, it's twins.  So I guess the title still works in that God is giving the family two MORE.  I can just foresee some confusion with a little one who is only welcoming one new sibling into the family.  Otherwise, I was more than happy with the read.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

The who's who...

So I have been noticing a TON of similarities between my babies and my husband and I as babies.  These pics don't really do the similarities justice because it's obviously more apparent with certain "looks"... but from the archives... here's the best I can do.  Can you tell who's who??? (There is at least one of each of us--John, Marissa, Emma, Jackson).  Leave your guesses in the comments or on FB!

Someplace awesome

Em: hey, mama, you want to go someplace awesome with me?
Mama: sure, where are we going?
Em: half-price books...that's where I get my half-price books!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Uncompromising {review}

A Heart Claimed by a Radical Love
by Hanna Farver

About the Book
Ask any girl on the street what womanhood is about, and you’ll get a blank stare in return. No one knows. Young women are devoid of vision beyond popularity, material wealth, a cute boyfriend or a dream career. Even in Christian circles, significant questions are often left unanswered: What’s the point of purity? Modesty? Femininity? What’s biblical womanhood?  Most of all, girls wonder at the longing in their souls for something greater.

Uncompromising:  A Heart Claimed By a Radical Love cuts straight to the heart of young womanhood. Rather than setting up rules, it pulls at the desire in every woman’s heart to live a life of purpose, fully surrendered to His radical love.  Written in an edgy teen voice, Uncompromising is a collection of “field notes” from the author’s own search for answers…and the story of how she stumbled upon the one Cause worth dying for.  Contains study questions for group or individual use.

My Thoughts
I very much agree with the author that it is CRUCIAL from a young age for girls to know their purpose--what they were made for--their greater Cause.  Women are meant to be passionate, express and create beauty, and live with purpose.  I think Ms. Farver definitely points girls in the right direction.  As I was reading through the book, I kept thinking what a great format and language it is as a tool for the girls in our youth group.  Wow, they need to hear this.  I wish I could show them that...  I was thankful to see the study guide in the back to further involve the reader in the text and the very real possibility for this to be used as a small group study or one-one-one discipleship tool.

She can definitely relate to the age group that this book is intended for (teens), but that is mostly due to the fact that she was that age VERY recently.  By no means do I think that age disqualifies an author or teacher, but it is important that the speaker is very cautious of the possible lack of life experience to back up what he or she is saying.  Obviously, I cannot comment on that end of things as I haven't taken the time to read through any of the archives on her site or anything like that.

Overall, I think it's a great read and would get the minds of young teen girls thinking when it comes to what they want out of life and as Christians what they are capable of in the hands of a mighty mighty God.

About the Author
Hannah Farver is a college student, writer, website blogger, speech and debate coach, and has been interviewed on ABC.  She also embarked on a national conference tour for young women.  Like most people her age, she doesn't know exactly what the future holds, but for now is planning on a career in media--and more writing of course.  She lives outside Dallas, Texas.

I received this book free from Moody Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.


we made it home.  a ten hour trip took twenty hours, but we made it home.  friends sacrificed their time, energy, and holiday plans to come rescue us, but we made it home. 

we really thought it was transmission related and braced ourselves for a super costly repair.  thankfully, it was the catalytic converter (MUCH less expensive in comparison!) and we had the car back by wednesday. 

currently, i'm finishing up packing for our SMITE trip.  jackson and i leave for the weekend to minister to the teens from our youth group as they minister to a church in Ohio for the week.  good times ahead!

Monday, July 4, 2011

middle of nowhere

As I sit here typing this it is 2:51 in the morning. I am seated at an extremely worn restaurant booth with minimal padding for my hind end. My iPad is tilted up onto an open novel on the table in front of me. Jackson is sprawled on the seat next to me belly-side down. Emma had woken up, but as hard as she tried was unable to get comfortable on my lap seated upright facing me next to jackson. Right outside my window, John is in our vehicle trying to get any decent sleep as his body is fighting off a cold of sorts and the booth seats just weren't cutting it. The lights are dim in this area of the gas station as the dining side has closed many hours ago. However, the noise of the ice machine and a clingy/vibrating noise rattle on incessantly behind me. Over five hours have passed now since our car had deemed itself unfit for interstate driving. Not being able to accelerate while driving uphill and toward the end maxing out at 30 mph just doesn't cut it while driving from Georgia back to Indiana. Our ride is on the way.

As I have battled over the last year with grief and all that which stems from burying your child (or any loved one, I'm sure), there are a grew things that the Lord has been teaching me. One extremely important lesson He has been teaching me is that of intentional thankfulness. I am learning that I must be mindful and intentional. I must choose joy. Joy in Him is rooted in thankfulness--for who He is, for what He has done, and what He has promised to do.

Here is my list of thankfulness for tonight (at least as best as I can recall):
We are all here together as a family.
A level-headed husband.
We made it off the interstate.
We made it to a substantial gas station.
The gas station has an area where the kids can sleep.
The gas station has wi-fi.
The gas station has air conditioning.
Enough quiet that I can enjoy a book.
Selfless friends willing to drive 5 hours to come pick us up and tow our vehicle.
A husband who legitimately helps with the kids.
That we were able to make a trip to Georgia as a healthy family.
We were not left stranded in the mountains somewhere.
Singing bible verses have memorized with Emma (deut 7:9; deut 10:12-13; psalm 86:5-7; John 1:12-13)

I'm sure there were more little things, but those are what come to mind as best as i can recall at now 3:15.

With love