Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Help Families at Riley Children's Hospital

More and more as I see the evils of the world we live in and as I get older the pain seems more real.  And frankly, it is real.  It's easy when you're young to see the world through naive eyes, especially when you have parents who try to sugarcoat what's really happening and when you grow up not calling sin what it is--sin.  I have lots to write, but I need to form some clarity of thought before I try to do so.

Instead of rambling, I'd like to share a burden of mine. During Malachi's life we were consumed with the health (or lack thereof) of our son. Every day was an up or down, there were no "easy days". We are no longer faced with that day in and day out as God chose to take our son, but that is not the case for many families. Many families will spend the holidays hurting and worrying and hoping for their son or their daughter's physical well-being. We were blessed during our hospital days to have family and friends to pray for us, to encourage us, to support us in ways that we don't even fully comprehend. Unfortunately, many of the families we saw didn't have that kind of support. We could see hopelessness written all over the faces of those we passed in the hallways. Despair, multiplied during "the hap-, happiest season of all." 

John and I had high aspirations of coming alongside the Ronald McDonald House within Riley Hospital (an oasis for us during a very dry time) and preparing a large meal to encourage parents who are stuck at the hospital this Christmas. Our schedules, sickness, and pocketbooks have altered those plans. We need to do SOMETHING for these families. Even if it's not much, we plan to deliver as many goody bags as possible on Friday, December 21.

We would like to include items such as the following in the bags:
-$5 McDonald's gift cards (there is one located in the hospital)
-snacks (cookies/fudge)
-healthy snacks
-hard candy
-tea bags or hot chocolate packets
-single serving fruit/applesauce cups
small crossword puzzle/word search books
-hand lotion
-notepad with pen
-ponytail holder
-bobby pins
-small Christmas ornament
-face wipes
-anything else you'd like to pitch in!

 If you would like to help by donating something physical to place in these bags email us at marissasharbaugh@gmail.com. If you could donate financially, please use the chip-in widget below (to use debit/credit card or paypal).  Thank you for your consideration and help!


Saturday, December 15, 2012

buttering up

In reference to the paper snowflakes we cut last night...

Daddy:  Emma, but how are we going to hang them up?
Emma:  Uh, with Daddy's awesomeness!

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Jackson, do you want to go on a date with mama and daddy tonight?

No, grandma and papas. See cousins.

Monday, December 10, 2012


Emma, why are you crying?

You broke my feelings.

Operator error

Jackson got to pick out a sticker at the dentist this morning. I turned to schedule the next appointment and all of a sudden Jackson is screaming, "Sticker no work! Sticker no work!"

Yeah, he was trying to put it in his shirt with removing the backing!

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Today marked the first day of Jackson joining the 2s and 3s class at church. That means he is with John and I during the song portion of our morning worship service. John was giving Jackson a little talk of expectations and one of them was being quiet during announcements etc.

At one point Jackson looked up at me and whispered. I couldn't make out what he was saying so I whispered, "What?" Again I couldn't make out what he was saying so I replied "What?"

He exclaimed, "Quiet!"

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Emma: I think we should take all the money I've saved for my college and we can go to Disney.

(Good try, punkin')

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Grieving the holidays

Funny story. I was just about to publish a similar post two minutes ago and my app froze and I lost it all. More often than not i would just say forget it, but insomnia wins and im back At it. Here's to a fruitful second attempt. Now you just get the cliffs notes version.

Most of the time it feels like I'm more or less enduring the holidays than truly celebrating them. Overanalyzing and apathy and emotions all over the place make it difficult for me to be with large groups. Even if those groups are primarily family and friends. I prefer to be reclusive than perceive myself to be the drag of a party. It takes a lot of energy to hold back tears and pretend like everything is fine.

So Thanksgiving.
When we take time out of our normal routines to be reflective and thankful for that which we've been given, it's easy to remember and dwell on that which has been taken away.
And Christmas.
Also for those of us who have buried a child and are left with empty arms, it's hard to be festive during a holiday commemorating a birth (as miraculous and amazing as Christs birth is, it's difficult).

This year I choosing to be thankful for Psalm 34:18 and the promise that The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. He saves those who are crushed in spirit. That's me. God is close to me. If I will choose to draw near to Him (which is an act of grace from Him in itself then He will draw near to me (more grace).

I also am learning that there is a perspective I've been given that not all have received at christmastime. Mary knew the role Jesus would have. How many times did she hold Him and rock Him as a baby praying for another way--just as I had day after day with Malachi in the hospital. Or maybe she didn't know. Maybe there was hope until the end when all other options were exhausted, when there was no other way. It was no surprise to God when Jesus was hanging lifeless on the cross. He ordained it from before the beginning of creation. Just as He ordained the death of my son just before reaching seven months, when the last door of worldly hope was slammed shut. Ordained by God.

I'm not really sure what my intent for this post is. These are just a few of the thoughts I can piece together as I lay here unable to sleep. The rest are spinning too fast for me to grasp and put into words. My heart is heavy as I know I am not alone in this battle; that this grief is shared by many mothers and fathers. I feel like most people are afraid to speak of Malachi or Jordan for fear that it will be hard for me. Yes there may be tears, but its harder for me to believe that he has been forgotten. And that I am expected to be silent about the issue because its hard and awkward and sad for others. Just another reminder to the world that Heaven awaits.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Unintentional blasphemy

So it's that time of year again.  The Christmas tree is about to be set up and decorated, the stockings will be hung, and the kids' nativity set will be brought out to be played with once again.  I'm bracing myself for where I might find our Baby Jesus and what kind of trouble the wisemen might be up to.  We haven't gotten there quite yet, but there is one phrase I've heard a lot the last week or so...

Emma keeps describing Jesus as our "sented Savior"...

but I keep hearing "scented Savior" and my mind automatically jumps to my favorite candle aromas!

But seriously, what did it smell like at the manger scene?  It definitely wasn't pumpkin spice or vanilla caramel latte scented.  It's easy to read the pages of Scripture and to trace the words of Jesus' birth without really putting ourselves there.  Jesus, the creator of all things, was born as a baby.  And not only was He born, but there were no sterile instruments, clean floors, or flat-screen TVs (thanks IU-West!).  It was a stable.  It was dirty and stinky and no televised distractions for Mary.  The closest comparison I can come up with in my mind is a petting zoo.  I can't even begin to fathom leaving (willingly!) the glories of Heaven to take is first breath on earth in a stable.  There are no other kings who would be willing to do this for an undeserving people.

Thank you, Jesus.  Thank you for being a redeeming God--one who can take a phrase like the "scented Savior" and give it an entirely new meaning, a meaning that points to You and Your glory.  Help John and I as we seek to honor and glorify You this season especially as we feebly attempt to point our children to You in all the materialism our world calls christmas.

peter, peter, pumpkin eater...

Two new gentlemen with interesting similarities have recently entered the Sharbaugh household...

Meet Peter the Observer {FRINGE}

and Peter, our Elf on the Shelf (a different kind of observer)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


So I came across this old notebook while looking for some paper. I'm thinking it was during a brainstorming session I had early 2007--shortly after we were married. For those of you who don't know us that well, by 2012 we have owned two homes, become debt free, and birthed FOUR children. Oh the naïveté of my 20-yr-old self.


Mommy, can you call daddy and tell him when he's on his way to the teens tonight that he could maybe stop by cubbies and tell them "Emma can't be here tonight because her tooth is really hurting her..." Yeah, that way maybe they won't miss me so much.

Monday, November 26, 2012

"Playing" nap

About twenty minutes after telling John he was just "playing nap", we found Jackson in the loft no longer just playing!

Monday, November 19, 2012


Jackson, is that yummy in your tummy?

No, yummy on tongue.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

When it comes out of nowhere

Most days are good days now. The grief isn't quite so consuming. However, I feel this makes the pain almost worse. It's like the first year following Malachi's death was a dull ache--always near, consistent, and reassuring me that he was really gone (well a dull ache combined with the horrific pangs of sorrow and the exhaustion of life with a newborn). But that dull ache became like an ever-present companion. It was my new normal.

But then life seems to get busy and God brings you out and gives you new life once again. And the dull ache isn't so constant. So then when the pain comes its like a tidal wave. You've gotten used to not kicking your legs every moment to stay afloat and now you're about to go under. I am thankful the I have a husband who is quick to be a lifesaver, throwing me a rope of faith, reminding me Who is in the creating and sustaining of the storm.

I don't know what my normal is these days. I struggle with the ups and downs of life as a wife, a mom of littles, and the grief of my two babes no longer here. There are days of good, days that are easy even. And there are hard days. There are days like today where I'm all of a sudden hit with a blog or Facebook post that tries to shake my faith. I will not let myself become bitter about what I don't have. I will do my best to rejoice with families who have reason to rejoice over their littles.

Malachi was diagnosed with what is referred to as CHARGE syndrome--he had all kinds of internal physical deformities that came along with that. The first five months of his life were a fight to fix nose, heart, lung, and esophagus issues to ensure survival. He fought hard. He was making progress. He was later also diagnosed with DiGeorge syndrome--our baby didn't have an immune system. The only way to possibly rectify this issue was a thymus transplant. There is one little boy who had gone before Malachi with both charge and DiGeorge that I had been aware of. There is only one place where and one doctor who performs this experimental surgery. This little boy received a thymus transplant and is doing better than anyone could have hoped or expected. His mom posted a message she received from this doctor with good results they received from his latest t-cell tests. His counts are in the top quarter of all her patients at this time! What a miracle!

Unfortunately, my first inclination wasn't rejoicing with this family. It was bitterness because this same doctor denied us the chance for this operation. How despicable I am! Because this doctor is performing this procedure in such a pioneer fashion, really the first of its kind, she only will move forward with it on patients who are most likely to survive. Malachi was still requiring a ventilator for respiratory support and would also require another open heart surgery in the months to follow. God closed the door.

And because it is God who ordains the every days, I will trust Him. I will fight my battle with Satan who wants me to doubt God, to doubt His goodness, to doubt His truths--the very bedrocks that helped me persevere through Malachi's life in the hospital. I will not give up that fight. I will pray for strength to rejoice in the little (and big) victories that I see these kiddos and families take part.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Chicago bears

Emma: Hey look! The C's are playing!

some quotes from this a.m.

Emma:  Jackson, get your dirty hands off Sissy!

I had just ordered some play money that was semi-realistic so that we could use it for school.  Today we were counting with pennies...
Emma:  okay...but when do we get to use the CASH!

...and it's only 9:30a.m.

Friday, November 9, 2012

thankful for music

I'm sorry my mind is all over the place.  Without writing I find it difficult to keep my mind focused.  Thoughts just keep spinning and spinning, but I can't make sense of much of it.  It's awful really.  I like feeling mentally sharp and it seems like that's the first thing to go when I'm all of a sudden overtaken with grief. Because of this, I am also thankful for music.  I'm thankful that others can put into words what my soul is trying to proclaim--and it helps that they do it much more eloquently than I would.  I think I have over 100 songs on my Malachi playlist, the following are chunks of lyrics from the most recent three...

One of the verses my friend Jenny encouraged me with in the beginning of Malachi's life was Isaiah 26:3 "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You."  This song brings to mind this very real encouragement--this promise--that I saw God remain faithful throughout Malachi's life and death...
Sometimes it's hard to keep believing in what you can't see. That everything happens for a reason, even the worst life brings.  If you're reaching for an answer and you don't know what to pray, just open up the pages.  Let His word be your strength and hold on to the promises. Hold on to the promises. Jesus is alive so hold tight, hold on to the promises  (Sanctus Real--Promises)

I wish I could say all my questions have been answered.  But I know they won't be.  I hate that we live in this sin-cursed world, though I'm thankful that it's temporary.  Some people tell me that all of our questions will be answered when we get to heaven.  However, I don't know if I agree with that.  I don't really think my questions will matter when I get to Heaven.  I think that the reason I have questions now is because I doubt God's goodness.  It's like I "need" to know these answers because when all is stripped away I doubt God's goodness.  However, I know God's Word to be true.  I know that He is good.  When the curse of sin has been lifted, I think my questions will be gone because my doubts will be gone.  I don't know if I'll have the understanding that I long for now, but I don't know if that longing will persist.  There's my two cents, for what it's worth.  I also know that I'm still here.  There are still many good works for me to accomplish in my time before the curse of death removes me from this world...
"Why?" The question that is never far away. The healing doesn't come from the explained.  Jesus please don't let this go in vain.  You're all I have, all that remains.  So here I am-what's left of me-where glory meets my suffering...
I'm alive, even though a part of me has died. You take my heart and breathe it back to life...Breathe. Sometimes I feel it's all that I can do. Pain so deep that I can hardly move.  Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You. Lord take hold and pull me through...
When mercy takes its rightful place and all these questions fade away.
When out of the weakness we must bow and hear You say "It's over now"...
Jesus come and break my fear, awake my heart and take my tears. Find Your glory even here when the hurt and the healer collide.  (MercyMe--The Hurt and the Healer)

And finally, there's this song.  Every time it comes on the radio, I really feel like the writer was reading my innermost thoughts three years ago.  Isaiah 26:3 challenged me keep my mind stayed on God, therefore I needed something about God to fix my mind on.  God was gracious to me and the Holy Spirit continually played in my mind the following attributes of God:  He is good, He is faithful, and He is true.  I want to be remembered as one of God's faithful ones who rested in the promises of God and praised Him even when my children die and even if my healing never comes. 

Sometimes all we have to hold on to is what we know is true of who You are. So when the heartache hits like a hurricane, that could never change who You are. And we trust in who You are, even if the healing doesn't come and life falls apart and dreams are still undone. You are God, You are good, forever faithful One--even if the healing doesn't come...
Lord we know your ways are not our ways, so we set our faith in who You are.  Even though You reign high above us, You tenderly love us.  We know Your heart and we rest in who You are...
You are God and we will bless You as the Good and Faithful One even if the healing doesn't come.  (Kutless--Even If)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A crinkling wrapper

Jackson: Who wants candy? I do!

You would have been three...


 It's me.  Your mama.  I miss you.  I go through spurts where I see God truly changing me and making me strong in my faith, and in those moments I am thankful.  I am thankful for the tangible moments of seeing God work in and through your life as well as seeing Him work in and through me in your death.  I wish I could say right now is one of those times.  Right now, I hurt.  I ache.  I long to hold you and take care of you and just love on you because you're my son.  

 Your daddy is pretty awesome.  I'm sure you know that.  I know he hurts.  I know he would have done anything possible to take your pain, even if that meant suffering himself.  He does a great job protecting and providing for his family.  I should thank him more than I do.  He's so strong for me when I'm weak.  He doesn't judge my grief and he goes above and beyond picking up the slack I leave behind during times like this.  

 I was pretty heart broken during the entire month of October.  Sometimes I wish your birthday was at the beginning of the month so that I didn't have the 27th looming over my head all month long.  See, three years ago my life was completely turned on its head.  We were so excited to meet you.  Did you know that we were going to name you Jackson David?  But before you were born, that name just didn't feel right.  Malachi is one of your daddy's favorite old testament prophets and Stephen is daddy's favorite new testament character apart from Jesus.  I am thankful for that gift of grace, even just in settling on your name which means "crowned messenger of God."  

 Sorry, little man.  I think I need to end on that note.  I'm trying to remain faithful and I'm trying to keep it together, but I really miss you.  I hate that you're not a part of our "home family".  Your sister does a great job reminding others about you.  Even though you are not considered a member of her "home family", you are a part of our "whole family."  Your brother recognizes you now.  Even just today he was playing with a card that one of your nurses "helped you make" for Emma's second birthday.  There is a picture of you inside.  He brought it to me and said, "Baby Chi, sleeping."  I'm sorry that you spent most of your days in an awful hospital bed.  What is life like for you now?  I wish I could see.  I'm trying to learn about Heaven, but it's hard for me to wrap my feeble mind around.  I'm starting to get an idea of what our future home on the New Earth will be like, but what is it like where you are NOW?

 Please know you are loved.  You are missed dearly.  Tell your sister, Jordan, hello and that we love her and wish she was here as well.  

 Love, Mama

Friday, November 2, 2012

August Pics

It was really hard to give Belle back after almost a week with our old pup!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

July pics

 Better late than never??? I may or may not go in and fill in the blanks.  For now, here are some pictures at least!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Brutal honesty

During papas presentation a slide came up with two men (papa being one of them), papa said "now these are two of the smartest people on earth." Emma confused said,"but it looks like you. "

Thursday, October 4, 2012


We were listening to Hannity recapping the debates this afternoon while driving to volleyball...

Radio (paraphrase):  Mitt Romney showed that he was confident and articulate...
Emma:  HEY! I know what 'reticulate' means!  It means to speak clearly and people can understand what you're saying.
Mama:  Yes, Emma.  That is what articulate means.  Good job!
Emma:  [Nods]... yeah, WordGirl  (show on pbs kids).
Mama:  Wow, she really helps us with our vocabulary doesn't she.
Emma:  Yep! AND she teaches us new words and tells us what they mean!


I (Marissa) climbed back into bed to snuggle with Emma for a bit after my shower. She scooted over to the end of her pillow and gently patted the empty spot on the pillow for me to lay my head. She began whispering softly, "The dentist is going to be awesome!"

Sneaky boy

Jackson is learning to be sneaky...

He put the rest of his cereal on a different plate and brought the bowl to me saying "gone" .... so that I would get him a snack.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Me: Should we make something yummy tonight after dinner?
Jackson: yes!
M: what should we make?
J: cake!
M: what kind of cake?
J: yummy.

A slow morning

Emma was asked to clean up the play area about five minutes prior to this exchange...

Mama: Emma keep going, there's still lots to clean up.

Emma: Ha you can't tell me to 'keep' going when I haven't started yet!

Maybe mamas not so brave...

Emma: Mom, if daddy is gone and a monster comes into our house then you can just hide and me and Jackson can handle it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Afternoon snack

In reference to the size of the nutter butter I handed her...

Whoa! That's a beast!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


At the BCS homecoming soccer game the crowd was chanting B-C-S... Once the student section faded out, we hear Emma shouting U-S-A...U-S-A!

Our little patriot!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Tadpole in training

Jackson was just hopping around like a frog chasing a fly shouting, "Ribbit!!"

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I want to stay up and play all night. Oh, wait. Then I would be nocturnal. Hmm... Yeah, maybe I shouldn't because I would be too loud in my family's house during the night.

Watch out

I had just taken out a fly with our flyswatter.

Emma: That's what happens when you mess with mama!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Daddy: Jackson you can't wear that headband. You're a boy.

Jackson: No. Baby.


Jackson said no when I had asked him to do something.

Mama: careful, buddy. You don't say no to mama.

Jackson: aw, man!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

September 10-ish on 10

Some morning puppy training exercises....

Some morning toddler exercises...


Thinking about throwing a fit, decided a pretend snooze was more appropriate...

poop... really, kid?? hands do NOT go down the diaper!

Haircut for baby...

Working on my practice plan for volleyball...

Flowers from John in memory of Jordan Hope (2nd child, miscarried 13 weeks)...

John sentenced me to the couch with my feet up while he cooked dinner, turkey sandwiches and homeade Rally's fries...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I told them they could have a cookie if they ate their whole plate. They took it literally.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Emma, what'd you do to your elbow?

"I biffed it on the sidewalk!"

Saturday, August 18, 2012

April 2012 pics

I send these pages of pictures to my grandma and grandpa who live halfway across the country from us.  It's a way for them to "see" their grandbabies grow up!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

the greatest reconciliation

...if your entire life is best characterized by James 4:1-4—no God, God is not in your thoughts or in your heart.  You go day to day, decision to decision, and somehow God’s not in the equation, then what this passage is telling you is that you are the enemy of God.  You are resisting His plan and He is resisting yours.  But Jesus Christ—listen—made peace through the blood of His cross.  It’s called reconciling enemies... I love this text.  This is so important.  Here’s what Jesus did.  Here’s what Jesus still does.  In Colossians 1:19…  For in Him—that’s Jesus—all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.  And through Him to reconcile to Himself all things whether on earth or in heaven making peace by the blood of His cross.  And you who once were alienated and hostile in mind doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven and of which I, Paul, became a minister.  The gospel, the good news, what Jesus came to do in this world is to die for our sins, to die, to make right what has been made wrong. 

Everything bad in the world is a result of sin.  Everything.  I mean you talk about tsunamis or floods or tornados, that’s what we call natural catastrophes--sin.  I mean you talk about cancer, death.  You want to talk about divorce.  You want to talk about wars in homes and in churches.  Listen to me, everything bad in the world is a result of sin.  But, listen.  The worst thing that sin caused is alienation of God’s creation from Him the Creator.  Alienated in our minds and in our hearts because of our evil deeds and Jesus came to make that right by dying on the cross in our place.  So that if James 4:1-4 is what best kind of characterizes your life, you need to come to the cross of Jesus Christ and trust what He did and ask Him to make right what sin has made wrong.  

taken from a sermon dated 5/13/2012 by Pastor Jeff Tague at Calvary Baptist Church, Plainfield, IN

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sign of the times

We put in an older Disney movie this morning. During the previews they announced, "Coming soon to video and DVD...". Shortly thereafter Emma asks, "Mama, what's a video?"

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mothers day

awful day. so much so that it's taking me over a month to process and feel okay about sharing it publicly. it's hard to embrace a day to honor mothers when i feel like half my flock is missing. (lie: my two babies in heaven are far more cared for and loved on than the two living under our roof)

i woke up and all i wanted to do was hold malachi in my arms, not just hold on to the memory of his last earthly breath taken while he was still, so coldly still cradled in my arms. Quick sidenote: malachi's death so often brings me to remembrance of the daughter who "died in mommy's belly" as Emma likes to tell people. I am thankful for that. In an odd way, Malachi's death seemingly gives more worth to Jordan's existence as my child. I am thankful that Emma refers to both our house family (those living under one roof) and our whole family, extended to include Malachi and Jordan.

we arrived at church. at this point, i was still at least outwardly mostly holding it together. mostly. After Sunday School, we grabbed Jackson out of the nursery as we were going to be a part of the Parent Dedication during the service. This part of the service is a way for John and I to publicly come before the church before God and our church family to admit we need help in this crazy world of parenting and that we ask for accountability to bring our children up in a God-honoring way. This does not resemble infant baptism in any way--which is what I was familiar with growing up. According to the Bible, salvation always precedes baptism, baptism does not save a person or "regenerate them from their sin" as taught in Luther's catechism.

Anyway... They played a video set to music of a montage type thing showing babies from fertilization to early childhood. The song playing was all about "holding" our babies. Awesome. It felt like a perfect reminder of exactly what I am not currently able to do with TWO of my babies. My inward self was crumbling, but I knew we would be standing in front of everyone soon, so I prayed for strength or something to not be an embarrassing mess.

After the video, our pastor got up and from what he told John, he realized that it may have been better for our situation had they done the video AFTER the dedication. He did a quick overview of the congregation, spotted me, and saw that all was seemingly well, so no last minute changes to the order of events would need to be made. He had us come forward.

So we're up there with another family and Jackson would not for the life of me be quiet or still. Looking back, I can see this was a blessing. As annoyed as I was at the time, it most definitely took my focus off of self and allowed me to make it through. I noticed as I was holding Jackson close that he felt slightly warm. Warm enough to keep him out of the nursery during the service. I decided to just sit with him in the unused portion of the nursery and listen to the sermon through the speaker system. It was really only a matter of minutes before I began sobbing. Complete body shaking sobs. A good friend of mine was working in the nursery that morning, so she had sympathy on me and knew right away that I needed my husband.

John gently led me and Jackson to the car, headed back to get Emma from her class, and drove us to the cemetery. When we got there. I just sat. Internally, I praised God for healing my son, but I was also brutally honest with how hard it is to not have him here. I don't recall being mad or bitter, just hurting. An ache that burrows in so deeply, that it's truly a miracle when the pain subsides.

By the time we got home, I was so exhausted--physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I was spent. John put Jackson and I both down for a nap, and we slept for almost three hours. I was a weepy, emotional wreck the rest of the day. I felt heart-broken and was so focused on what I've "lost" (temporarily), that I was unable to see the blessings that I have been so abundantly given. I lost a day with my daughter, but God once again showed me that He is big enough to renew my hope, restore my soul, and keep my heart alive. He's just that good. He's just that faithful. He's just that true.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Emma: Hey, Prince (Jackson)! Hey, Prince! Do you want to go on a date?

Jackson: No.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Emerson's Surprise


We were so blessed to be able to have Icing Smiles make a hard day a little easier (or at least sweeter!)... Our daughter, Emerson, was 22 months old when our son Malachi was born.  Malachi was in the hospital for over three months before he was placed in a unit where his sister was even able to come visit him.  My husband John and I were very torn between what we referred to as our house family and our hospital family.  Emma's needs unfortunately were placed secondary to the very urgent daily concerns surrounding her brother's fragile life.  We just recently celebrated Malachi's second homegoing anniversary and we were honored to have Mica from  Confectioneiress Cupcakes & Sweets design and honor our family while giving some special love to our sweet daughter.  Emma is quick to point out to friends, family, and strangers alike that she has two brothers and one sister.  Mica designed a cake for us to include a separate level for each of my babies... "reminding the world that heaven awaits..."Not only did it look better than I had imagined, but it tasted even more DELICIOUS.

We also grabbed a couple cupcakes when we went to pick up our cake.  The turtle cupcake was delicious and Emma and Jackson loved the cotton candy one that they picked out!

Again, from the bottom of my heart, 
Thank you!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Family pitch-in

While walking past John, "Oh what is that deliciousness you're holding?"

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Saturday, May 19, 2012

daddy... i mean, mommy.

mama: sweetie, do you want to bring your candy along?
emma:OH! YES, DAD!
mama: who?
emma: haha... I straight up called you dad!

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Truth About Forgiveness {Book Review}

The Truth About Forgiveness
John MacArthur

Book Description

A focused, powerful message about forgiveness and its necessity in living a joy-filled Christian life.

The greatest measuring rod of love in the life of a Christian may be forgiveness, because God showed His love to us in terms of forgiveness.” —John MacArthur

Does anyone really want to forgive? Or admit that we need forgiveness? Whether we’re giving or receiving, forgiveness is hard. It seems unfair. It feels unnatural. And as best-selling author and pastor John MacArthur demonstrates, forgiveness apart from Christ is unnatural. It is only as we understand our need, Christ’s power and example, and what it really means to love that we can embrace two of the most liberating acts of love: forgiving and being forgiven.

My Thoughts
A quick read, only seven chapters long.  MacArthur definitely has a straightforward approach when dealing with the topic of sin.  From the git-go, he is very straightforward about how our culture's mindset regarding responsibility and sin has strayed so very far from the standard set forth in God's Word.  This book can be read as a general overview of the topic forgiveness (why man needs it and how God provides for it) and it can be worked through as a small group study.  This is just one book in the "The Truth About ________" series. Other topics include grace and the lordship of Christ.

BookSneeze® has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

When the Hurt Runs Deep {Book Review}

Publisher's Description
Where Can You Turn for Hope When the Hurt Runs Deep?
At some point in life, every one of us will face the dark pain of heartache and despair, a hurt that pierces so deep we’re left gasping with questions:
 Why me? Why now?  What have I done to deserve this?  Will the pain ever go away?  How can God just stand by and let this happen?  What do I have left to hope for?

Writing from insights she has gained, not only through her own valleys of deep hurt but also from years of study and counseling others through their pain, Kay Arthur points the way toward genuine healing. With candor, grace, and vulnerability, she invites you to join her on a journey toward wholeness as you exchange your fears and frustrations, hurts and disappointments for a hope that will never disappoint.

My Thoughts
There was definitely some helpful information found throughout this book.  Primarily a straightforward list of things to remember when the hurt runs deep as well as an appendix full of practical helps that I found helpful both in my life as well as future counsel for those who are hurting whom God places in my path. Unfortunately, I didn't necessarily enjoy the author's writing style and if the topic weren't so completely relevant to the last few years of my life, I would have simply tossed it aside and moved on to something else.  However, the information proves to be valuable.  I have yet to decide if I will take the time to work through the study guide included at the end of the book, but I'm thankful that it's there if I choose to do so!

You can read the first chapter of this book online here.

WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group provided this book to me for free in exchange for this honest review as part of their Blogging for Books program.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I Couldn't Love You More {Book Review}

I Couldn't Love You More
by Jason Ingram & Matt Hammitt

For those of you who see my updates on your Facebook feed, you are aware that I am a huge fan of Matt Hammitt--lead singer of one of our favorite bands.  When his wife was pregnant with their third child, they became aware via ultrasound of that their son Bowen's had a heart defect.  His chances of survival weren't stellar.  At the time Bowen was born, we had already said our goodbyes to our Malachi.  Bowen was to have the same open heart procedure that our little boy endured.  God has blessed our lives greatly by the album Matt Hammitt wrote through this journey--Every Falling Tear.

One of the songs from that album is "I Couldn't Love You More."  I love when John sings this song to our babies.  Not only does it remind them of their parents' love, but it also points them to the love of our God and Savior.  The hand-painted illustrations are a definite perk, too!

Catch a sneak peek of the book here.

Watch Matt Hammitt talk about the book here:


Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review.

Friday, May 11, 2012