Journaling Through the Valley . . . and finding JOY in the morning!

Location: MICHIGAN, United States

Thank you for stopping by. It's my hope you find glimpses of my Savior interwoven thru my writings. I am the wife to one husband for over 25 years, a blessed mama to a dozen children, yes each born from me ~ two of which see Jesus face to face & ten at home, all of us yearning to see Jesus someday. We have been home educating for over 18 years with . . . well, another 15 years to go (the youngest is 3, the oldest 23!) I have walked through rejection, to continually learning I am CALLED, LOVED and forever KEPT by God - never, ever to be rejected by Jesus! (Jude 1:1) I've walked through deep sorrow to find that joy does come again, though the night may be long; I've witnessed God orchestrating miracles with my children still beyond my comprehension, & I am seeing new love forming as we begin a new road of older children finding life mates. My life has and is a journey, from the deepest, almost rock bottom pit, to stumbling through my faith and looking towards the ultimate climax of everlasting life in heaven. Will you be joining me here and there? ~ Loni

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Doctor's Appt. & Updates

I was able to see our family doctor this afternoon, and it went very well. Our doctor is a very caring man, and is not the type with his hand on the door as soon as he walks in. He said he is treating me like he would with high blood pressure or lupus, as the symptoms are the same. My BP was high in the office - the highest it's ever been for him, so he was concerned. He is starting me out on a Lasix - a water pill, to see if this reduces the swelling and pressure on my heart. Even when I laugh hard, I go into a coughing spell, which shows fluid build-up. In 3 weeks, I go back, and if this has helped, then continue with this longer. If not, he'd want to start me on a Lasix/Blood Pressure medication combination. I really hope & pray I can avoid the BP medication, as I know then it's hard to get off. The other thing too that I know, and he said is I need to loose weight. The other thing too that I know, and he said is I need to lose weight - I hate to verbalize it here, but maybe some prayers for this will keep me going on doing this (accountability thing??). We had been looking for awhile for a treadmill and were able to get one at a very low cost that is practically new from our neighbors, along with a stair stepper, and weight machine (for the boys). I've been discouraged how outwinded I get just after a few minutes, and the doc was so encouraging with trying just for 3-4 minutes a day or even every other day, and building up. So, new goals. Just wish that chocolate would melt away pounds rather than putting them on.

Thanks for the recent e-mails and several have asked how we are doing. It again is one day at a time. I would say "better" but there is still so many firsts. Stephen started a new job at an automotive repair place and likes it. He gets 45 minutes for lunch so we met him on Monday for lunch. It was a good time with him and neat seeing his maturity. When Matthew started working we would meet him one or two times a week or take him a shake or special coffee drink. These were special times with him last summer - which we are thankful for. It brought back the memories of that when we met with Stephen, and later as we were grocery shopping Norm especially got teary-eyed remembering. The ache - yet the thankfulness for the memories and new memories we are making.

We have another BIG hurdle to get through - the 4th of July. Every year we have a family reunion at one of Norm's aunts on a lake. The older kids usually go waterskiing or tubing. This was a big highlight of every year for Matthew. He was the one who just loved this. Last year with having his driver's license, he was pushing to go much earlier, taking his brothers. We have sweet memories of this, and pictures that we treasure from last year and many previous years. It will be hard this year. The kids do want to go, but it's the ache in these parent's heart. We've had a lot of encouragement from family to go, and they know how hard it will be, which helps.

Norm's job - puppy business and small engine repair has been slow. I think with the small engine repair (lawnmowers mostly) it's slow because of the hot, hot weather, and there's not as much lawn cutting - therefore less breakdowns. The automotive industry seems to be suffering still in Michigan with more major changes. This has been discouraging for him. But one day at a time. We are not behind in bills & are thankful for the time of healing together.

We know it's not only a grieving time, but a growing time for us as well. This refining as gold is hard. I was listening to Dr. David Jeremiah on "Turning Point" on a Christian Radio station yesterday, and one statement he made (in reference to difficult times, including deaths) was "This is not the best life - but there's a better one coming." I looked up Turning Point's webpage tonight, and found their devotional for today "just right" for today...

Not Sad! - June 29

If you loved Me, you would rejoice because . . .
"I am going to the Father."
John 14:28

. . . Death can't hold us in its grip when we know heaven awaits us. Jesus was speaking not only for himself but for His followers when He said that if we loved Him, we would be glad that He was going to His Father. We naturally want to hold our loved ones close to us for as long as possible, but the Bible says that going to be with Jesus is "far better" (Philippians 1:23). Even at death's door, we sorrow not as those who have no hope.

Prayer Request . . .

Our Michigan weather has been in the low 90's and very humid - so I don't know if what I am dealing with healthwise is the weather or a major lupus flare-up. I took my blood pressure today, and it was quite high for me, 162/119. I use to have such low blood pressure that I could not give blood, but lupus can affect BP also. Anyway, we are trying to make a decision here, and see if we can either see our family doctor or Norm wants to take me to ER. I've been having a hard time breathing for awhile, but especially so today, and each night my ankles & feet are quite swollen. I've needed almost daily naps and still feel exhausted throughout the day. We have airconditioning, and I've been staying in out of the humidity as much as possible.

There was a good article in our paper the other day, which I found on-line on lupus by a Dr. Paul Donohue, called Lupus Can Be Treated. If you want to know more about this, it's a simple one to read. But I have many of the symptoms, especially lately with the acky joints - wrists, ankles and feet mostly.
I don't want to sound "woe is me" but would appreciate prayers and that this is nothing major, especially with affecting my heart. If I only could read one thing a day on the internet, this is oneblog that it would be narrowed down to that always touches me. It is Holy Experience, and today's is about anxiety. Her words came at the right time - now to put it to practice.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

And now presenting, Katie Rose!

Another dress & hat made . . . Katie sat by me almost the whole time telling me to "go faster." She thinks I am "driving" the sewing machine, because of the peddle. LOL! :)

I fell in love with this material at Walmart, and it was only $2 a yard - which is more than I generally spend on material! I like looking through their big table of $1 a yard bargains, but this was just too cute. It's hard to see in the picture, but those green splotches are frogs. She loves her "froggie" dress and hat! It was a real simple pattern for the dress - only two pieces, and the hat is 12 of the same pieces - 6 for each side, so it can be reversible. It was fun to do. Now back to sewing. . . I also got some nice patriotic flag material for yes, $1 a yard! :)

Monday, June 27, 2005

Healing Rain by Michael W. Smith

Healing Rain by Michael W. Smith

Healing rain is coming down
It's coming nearer to this old town
Rich and poor, weak and strong
It's bringing mercy, it won't be long

Healing rain is coming down
It's coming closer to the lost and found
Tears of joy, and tears of shame
Are washed forever in Jesus' name

Healing rain, it comes with fire
So let it fall and take us higher
Healing rain, I'm not afraid
To be washed in Heaven's rain

Lift your heads, let us return
To the mercy seat where time began
And in your eyes, I see the pain
Come soak this cry heart with healing rain

And only You, the Son of man
Can take a leper and let him stand
So lift your hands, they can be held
By someone greater, the great I Am

Healing rain, it comes with fire
So let it fall and take us higher
Healing rain, I'm not afraid
To be washed in Heaven's rain

To be washed in Heaven's rain...

Healing rain is falling down
Healing rain is falling down
I'm not afraid
I'm not afraid...

Friday, June 24, 2005


What time do you usually wake up each day? If you could choose your wake-up time, when would it be?
Between 9 and 10 am. My husband has worked 2nd shift for many years, and with homeschooling, we have stayed on that schedule. I wish I could be more of an early bird, and wake up around 8 am, but I am such a night owl - we are rarely in bed before 2 am!

When was the last time you bought groceries? What store did you go to? Name 3 things you purchased. Today! We mainly shop at Meijers. I had to purchase some fruit for a bridal shower for tomorrow - so 3 things I purchased were mangoes, watermellon, and strawberries.

How many books have you read so far this year? Which was your favorite and why? I have probably read at least 10 books. My favorite was When I Lay My Isaac Down by Carol Ken This book was given to me after our son Matthew died. Though our stories are so different, it really gave me a perspective of letting go. We had dedicated Matthew to the Lord at a young age, and now we have "really" had to let go and know he is indeed safe with Jesus.

Main Course
What is something you consider to be very elegant? In particular, what about that item/place/person conjures up the feeling of elegance? I really don't think of "elegant" things much, as we have a large family, and try to do things more "simple". But my most elegant thing I can think of in the past, is a bitter sweet memory, when we had our own Thanksgiving, instead of going to family or friends. We got out the good china dishes and real silverware, the nice glass goblets and fancy serving dishes, along with a nice tablecloth. I don't think I had ever used the good dishes with the children. We told the kids they all had to dress nice. They kept asking "why" and "who is coming over". It was just our family. We took a picture of all the children at the table. Little did we realize, what a precious memory we made, and the last picture of our children together. It was elegant for us.

Who taught you how to drive? I took driver's ed in high school (but only drove in the school parking lot) but then never got my license until I was finished with my first year in college, around age 21. I lived with a family for the summer between the two years I was in college, and the dad of the family did ride with me some. But being I was over 18 I did not need to by law get a lot of time in (scary), and so I took the test - failed the first time because I did not yield enough at a yield sign, and then tried a week or so later, and passed.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


We are exhausted, and so ready for bed and our sleep should be much more peaceful tonight. Jessica had a very good cardiology appointment today, thought it was all very long. She had to first go to the hospital and have an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of her heart. It was a new technician that did the echo, and at first we were wondering if he'd get the information that was needed. Last time it was also a new person, and so they don't always get all the info the cardiologist needs. Both Norm & I saw his name tag that said "temp" so it made us a little leary. It was also the first time Jessica had a man do her echo (that she could remember - she had many when she was an infant). He called the cardiologist too, who usually comes up for part of the echo to see it. (Last time she could not). He spent almost an hour doing the echo (while Jessica watched a video). In the meantime the technician said that he was flown in from California to help out in pediatrics with the echos. He said he flies all over the country to hospitals that do NOT have a specific children's echo technician, since this is his specialty. He has been doing the flying to other states for over 5 years, so we were assured we had someone pretty good here. The cardiologist did come to view some of it, gave some directions of more to look for. When the echo was done, an EKG was also done. We had enough time to get a quick bite, and then meet with the cardiologist.

Jessica was also weighed and measured, and had gained a little over a pound since her last visit 6 months ago. Dr. Goble listened quite a bit to her heard, and talked with us. The technician did get real good pictures and measurements, but there was one thing he did not get, and she did want that to confirm that everything was looking good and the same with Jessica. So, we did have to go back to the hospital and have him spend about 15 minutes more with Jessica. So, we were at the hospital & clinic from 11 - 3 with over an hour drive each way. We also took two of the younger ones and one of the twins, so we were quite tired by the time we got home!

Dr. Goble did call in the early evening to say that she got the additional pictures and readings and everything looks the same and Jessica has stayed remarkably stable. We had been told she'd need another surgery 3-5 years after she had her last surgery and it's over 7 1/2 years! God is good! Dr. Goble said, "Just keep doing what you are doing". PRAYING and MANY PRAYING FOR HER! Thank you!!!

I received several e-mails regarding what Jessica's heart problems consist of - if she has holes in her heart. It's quite a bit more than that - she has quite a list! Someone also mentioned some of the link's on Jessica's webpage don't work regarding this, so here is some info regarding her heart, and are described on this webpage: Double Outlet Right Ventricle (DORV); Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), Atrioventricular Septal Defect (AV Canal) and Pulmonary Stenosis. To put it in very simple, non-medical terminology, Jessica was born without the walls in her heart - it was one open chamber. She had several holes in her heart. Her aortic valve was on the wrong side and she had several leaking valves. When they rebuilt her heart, gortex (what firefighter's coats are made of) was used to make the walls. They made the walls "crooked" so that the aortic valve was not moved but now on the correct side of the wall. She has a pig valve and a man-made mechanical mitral valve. This mitral valve is rarely replaced in young children unless absolutely needed, and it indeed saved her life. She is on coumadin, a blood thinner, but has little problems with this. Both the valves are what eventually will need to be replaced. The "pig valve" is what we were told would need to be replaced first as it does not grow with the child, and will disinegrate - which for the most part has, but her heart has remarkably adapted to it. The mitral valve should last up to 10 years - which we were told would need to be replaced as she outgrows it. There is some leaking around it, but again, it does not seem to change from year to year and her body has adapted to it. This is what we hear "ticking". If you put your head on her chest, you can hear the click of this valve opening and shutting.

When we were originally that one valve would last 3-5 years, and the other 10 years, I had prayed God would allow her to go the full 10 years without any surgery so that both could be replaced at the same time, for one less surgery to be done. Oh "me" of little faith! I did not expect it to happen! But we are indeed close to that mark! God certainly can allow this little girl who has lots of faith to keep her heart going good and strong without MAN'S interventions! :) Again, thanks for praying (don't stop either - and lots of praise and thankfulness too!) \o/

My flesh and my heart faileth,
but God is the strength of my heart,
and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:26

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Busy Week . . .

It's been a busy couple of days. Yesterday was Norm's birthday, which was a pretty good day. The "blues" of the previous day had subsided, and we had a calm, normal day. The kids had fun waking him up, and bringing him breakfast in bed. We spent the evening with another family who has a daughter who also has a birthday on the same day.

Stephen, our oldest (18) went to out to drop off his resumes again. On Friday he got in the mail that he passed the state certification test for engine repair - so now he has this certification and brake certification! (Both these tests only taken one time each, which is unusual we have been told). He updated his resume and went back to many of the places he had already applied at. When he came home he handed Norm a gift card for a coffee shoppe we like to go to, and said he got a job! He was beaming! (Dad, I told him to call you, that you should not read it here first - but you know how kids are!). His first day was today. It is at a place that does a lot of various car repairs, tune-ups, oil changes and also does some small engine repair. He did a lot with oil changes, did most of a brake repair (and his boss said he did a good job, but should oil more other places) and also helped with a small engine repair of a garden tiller. He said his boss is very particular in keeping things very neat, and when any repairs or oil changes are done, the windows must be washed very well, with absolutely no bug smears! :) The guys he works with told him how he always has to be busy, even if there are no repairs - clean something! Norm said he'd go check out the place maybe tomorrow, and get an oil change!

Jessica has a cardiology appointment on Thursday, and we'd appreciate your prayers for her. This is something we have to do every six months. The last appointment she had was two days before Matthew died. Her cardiologist is a wonderful Christian woman doctor, who takes a lot of time with us, explains things well, wants the parents and child's input in how "we" feel Jessica is doing. She will be having an echocardiogram (ultrasound of heart) at the hospital, and the cardiologist comes to do most of it. Then she goes back to the clinic for the rest of her exam, including an EKG and a lot of listening to her heart. She has an artificial mitral valve and when standing very close to her in a quiet room, you can hear her heart ticking. When she is falling asleep, she hears her own heart tick! Because she has this artificial mechanical valve, she also has to take coumadin, a blood thinner. This can make her more prone to bleeding, but thankfully in the 7 years she has been on this, we have had little problems. We test her blood thinning levels at home with a monitor that is similiar to what diabetics use. Overall Jessica has done remarkably very well. She had her first surgeries when she was 13 months old, and spent 10 weeks in ICU, which included another open heart surgery. After these surgeries, we were told she'd have to have surgery every 3-5 years, and we are now over 8 years postop! She is very petite, and does not put weight on very well, so this has been the main concern with her last couple of visits.

The waves continue. Norm had his tough day on Father's Day. There weren't really tears for me. Tonight Stephen brought me Matthew's leather jacket and said it was too big for him, and he decided he did not want to keep it. (Shortly after he died, he had asked for it). Both Stephen & Matthew had each bought them at a garage sale. They were brand new, and of course, Matthew got a red one. These are more like "motorcycle" jackets. Stephen did wear it on Matthew's birthday when we put his gravestone down. But today he just decided he did not want it. Norm did not think it was just because it did not fit, but probably bothered him some. Later, it just broke me down, holding that heavy leather weight, remembering the boyish part of him, so excited to get the jacket. I put it on, feeling the weight, and . . . well . . . the sobs just came. It's strange how different things hit. Now the decision is what to do with this jacket. Does it hurt too much to keep? It's a "material" thing that holds no eternal value . . . so, it's one of these things to make a decision with.

The tears are over, and the rest of the night gone well. I've got some $1 a yard material to make the girls some matching outfits. It's been awhile since I've done some sewing, and so we are taking over the kitchen table (picnics outside for a few days) and the girls and I will try to get these done in the next week. It's so hard to find modest clothing, so, this helps to be able to make it.

Many thanks for all the nice e-mails and comments for our anniversary and Norm's birthday. It meant so much. :)

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Father's Day 2005

I wanted to write a separate post for Father's day as I put my thoughts together tonight. I am thankful for what a wonderful daddy Norm has been to our children. He has such a heart for them, to be "there" for them, to teach and train them according to God's guidance. He has sacrificed a lot especially in the last two years to work hard being at home and here for us. As I look back, I know without a doubt how God has allowed so much to fall into place and memories made, with all the time Norm has been here. Some of the pictures I treasure the most is Norm holding a sleeping baby or holding a child on his lap.
Norm has also been a good example to me, of our Heavenly Father's unconditional love and compassion for His children. It took me many years to realize Norm did love me for me, he was not just going to walk out of my life or make it miserable, but we would work through things. How blessed I've been.
If you have a chance, look at this wonderful tribute a pastor's wife made of her husband. It's quite touching.
I have "four dads". I was adopted, so I have my adoptive dad. He has a beautiful singing voice, and loved to hear him sing at church for special music. One of my precious memories of him, was when he went away for a convention over Valentine's Day to go to Israel, and sent me a card. There was a cartoon woman on the front saying "I am a person of very few words" and then you open it up and it said "I love you" all over both sides of the page. Now that might sound very strange that meaning so much, but there's been an estrangement for over 20 years with my dad. We talk occassionally, but it's strained. I pray for full reconciliation, and Norm and I have been so available to make this happen. If you think of this, pray for my dad's heart to be melted and touched. He's missing out on so much with his grandchildren. He had met Matthew, which I am very thankful for. If for some reason my dad sees this - you know I love you daddy and pray for you.
I also have my biological dad, though I don't even know if he is still alive. Norm and I met my birth parents when our oldest was just a baby, so it's probably been close to 18 years. Things did not "click" with differences in backgrounds, but am so thankful that I was able to thank my birth parents for life. It was neat for me to meet them, and I look more like my dad than mom. My dad is mostly Greek, so it was neat to find out some of my heritage.
I have been blessed with a wonderful father-in-law, I can call "dad" and is a part of our lives and our children's lives. He has concern for us and our children, and Norm's parents have been available to us through many ups and downs. They have been there shortly after each of our children's births, held, cried and prayed over our stillborn daughter, golfed with our boys, and dad even picks out personal little gifts at times for the children and/or newborn baby (so mom does not get all the fun). Norm & his dad look so much a like and both have gentle spirits.
And last, but certainly not least, my Heavenly Father, who saved me, who gives me hope to continue, who gives me promises and eternal life to look forward to and gives me assurance that He will never leave me nor forsake me. Life might not be perfect, friends and even dads may fail us, but God never will. What hope we have.

20 Years of Blessings - Our Anniversary

Besides Father's Day today, it's our 20th anniversary. It's hard to believe - yet it seems like we've always been together too, and cannot imagine it without each other. Tomorrow is also Norm's birthday. It's kind of a meloncoly day. Norm had a rough time last night, just thinking of church, the recognition of dads, knowing how blessed we are, yet, that ache. He had tears last night. I had in my mind to call the pastor to make sure he did not make special recognition of him, being the father with the most children. He told me, he just could not face that this year. But this morning we woke up and he was just so broken hearted. I just cannot remember him ever being this sad, this long (thankfully). He said he could not make it to church. I understand, as we did not go on Mother's Day either. I went out and told the children daddy was having a rough morning & we would not be going to church. The girls first went in and hugged him. He was just quiet. Then Benjamin went in an snuggled with him, and they both started crying. Benjamin said too how much he misses Matthew. Norm told Benjamin and several of the kids how much he loves each of them, and does not love Matthew more. It's just an ache that doesn't completly ever leave. The kids were more quiet, and when Norm finally came out to the kitchen, he was about to start coffee, but the girls gave them their present - some new coffee samplers and coffee syrup. He enjoyed that.

So, we've just had a quiet, relaxing day, and Norm is doing better. We're just getting through another first.

It might not be a "happy" 20th anniversary, but as Norm said, we have each other, and our children, his parents, and extended family and friends, and have so much to be thankful for. We have gone through these past 20 years, up the mountains, and through the valleys, together, with God, and we know we will make it through this valley right now. We have been very blessed for 20 years, and do look forward to another 20 years of blessings.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Sharing . . .

It was a busy day. We went on the LifeWalk, raising money for our local pregnancy center, Alpha Women's Center, which we shared about a few days ago. Our group which consisted of several area churches, raised over $12,000. There were 99 walkers. Our family raised almost $700 which our children mainly did themselves. It was neat to see them involved and be excited to do this. We had a little scare though. Melody (5) got at the beginning of the group and sat with a friend in a wagon. We were at the end, and could not find her. Several of our children ran to the front of the line, and could not find her. Norm and the twins went back to the church where we started from & could not find her. Then, just nonchalantly, Katie says "Oh! Melody is with Ashley in the wagon." (Grrrrrr!) I think Stephen got the 3 miles in with running back and forth before most were halfway done! :) And more gray hairs for me.

Tomorrow is our 20th anniversary. Norm's parents took us out for a nice dinner last night. We had a very pleasant visit with them. They have been very encouraging to us and concerned now especially for Norm as they can too see his sad coutenance. I am sure Norm's mom has a heart like mine, seeing her son hurt, just as we see our children hurt, and we can't take it all away. They gave us a nice gift to be able to do something special for our anniversary, which we were not necessarily planning on but now will. :)

Our funeral home sends us a booklet (The Continuing Care Series, by Doug Manning) every few months that has been very helpful. It was interesting to find one comment so similar to our situation, that we could relate to. Norm read it too, and we agreed:
"Everyone has detatched days. Days when we just can't seem to care about anything. That is normal, but if we have those for many days in a row, that is a red flag that says we are depressed.
A classic example of this type of depression was a young mother whose son had accidentally hanged himself. When she and her husband met with me she kept saying, "I just don't want to go on. "

When someone says that to me, I react immediately, so I asked her if she was thinking of suicide. She said, "Oh, no! I could never do that to my family. I am saying I don't want to go on, not that I want to die."

The next logical step is to show her all the reasons she had for going on. The urge to explain things overcomes us all. I said, "You have other children and a husband who loves you. Can you go on for them?"

With some exasperation she said, "That is the point I am trying to make. I have all of these reasons to go on and I am going to go on. The problem is I don't want to. I want to want to."

Then it became clear. Her depression had left her cold and detached and she thought her lack of desire to love and take care of her family meant there was something wrong with her. The "Why don't I want to?" was almost overwhelming to her.

We talked about the detachment and the fact that depression can do that to us. I told her the feelings would come back, but they would come back much sooner if she did not fight herself because they weren't there. Until they returned she must just put one foot in front of the other whether she felt like it or not, and it was all right not to feel"

From the Continuing Care Series, Book 3, The Dimensions of Grief by Doug Manning (page 17).

Thankfully, I can say I think we are getting past the "detached" part - at least right now. But this "grief thing" is unpredictable. I am praying again, for JOY.

This Christian Fellowship Devotional, The Joy of the Lord is My Strength was encouraging to me.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

12 year old w/cancer remains in state custody . . .

On 6-12-05 we shared with you about a 12 year old girl (Katie) with cancer who was taken from her family because the parents had decided at that time not to proceed with radiation after chemo. One of my friends forwarded an article from FOX NEWS that the parents once again were denied custody of her. You can also watch her blog, Pray for Katie (not updated when I posted this).

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

When I Say I Am A Christian . . .

When I say... "I am a Christian"

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin"
I'm whispering "I was lost"
Now I'm found and forgiven.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
And need CHRIST to be my guide.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
And need HIS strength to carry on.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
And need God to clean up my mess.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
But, God believes I am worth it.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I still feel the sting of pain,
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not holier then thou,
I'm just a simple sinner
Who recieved God's good grace, somehow.

author unknown
(if you know, let me know)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Ooops! The comments are gone!

I tried something new with the comments - little did I know I'd wipe them all away! So if you left one, and I did not comment back, I was not ignoring you! :(

I've Been TAGGED - AGAIN! (Childhood Memories)

First, I am to name five things I miss from childhood.

1. I miss my grandpa - the man that all my friends called "grandpa". I miss hearing him say, when he couldn't hear, "Your what hurts you?". I miss going in his room, seeing his Bible on his lap. I miss going on errand runs with him on Fridays to a "Mr H's" Hamburger place while my mom cleaned the house.

2. I miss the "simple" summers - which was mainly swimming in our backyard swimming pool, sitting under a tree and reading or lying on my back and watching the clouds to find various shapes.

3. I miss some of the special "home" holidays, especially remember my Aunt Violet who made wonderful desserts. Ever hear of Shaum Torte? It's a German dessert - a hard shell-meringue great with ice cream. She also made beautiful cut out cookies - little gingerbread cookies that look to cute to eat!

4. I miss my mom & dad - for what could have been, never was and what was.

5. I miss special friendships that will never be forgotten, even with distance and time - Cindy Anderson, Laurie Sommers, Leslie Knauf, John Lochemes, Heidi Sawall, Denise Pingry, etc. These people still come back to mind, and remember their special part in my life through my childhood even through some very lonely times.

And, I need to add, what I miss the most of all times, is my son, Matthew. There is no ache more than this type of missing.

The rules:

Remove the first person from the following list, bump everyone up one spot and put your name in the number 5 spot. Please link all of the blogs as they are linked now or risk future blog-shunning.

Subliminal Koolaid
Lady Mac
Shades of Pink
Mommy Brain
Journaling Through The Valley

(I don't read all of these blogs, so I can't vouch for the content. Please don't leave me any comments scolding me for what you find there!)

Now, select four unsuspecting souls and add them to the list...

Threefold Cord
Walking Circumspectly
My Three Pennies Worth

I've Been "BOOK" Tagged

Jeanie from Sharing Life (and lives in Germany) "tagged" me, which means, I have to answer these questions and then ask five others to answer the same ones! So, here it goes!

Q. The most books you’ve ever owned?
We probably own 500+ books. With homeschooling, we have lots - from many shelves in our family room, living room and numerous bedrooms. Can you ever have enough books?

Q. The last book I bought...
Woman's High Calling - I bought this book for our ladies Bible study at church. This has been very convicting to me, regarding my attitude towards my husband. I've read lots of other books, but I borrow mostly from the library.

Q. The five books that meant the most to me...
1. The Bible
2. Hope Again by Chuck Swindoll This book helped me tremendously when our daughter Jessica was diagnosed with serious heart complications. I have recently glanced through it and read things I marked and plan on reading it again soon.
3. Mommy Please Don't Cry - This book was given to me as a gift after our baby was stillborn. It is just such a comforting yet very simple book, that even my children have enjoyed reading with me, and dreaming of what heaven is like, and all the things that are better in heaven and now, our two children will not have to face on earth. I have given it many times as a gift now.
4. When I Lay My Isaac Down by Carol Ken This book was given to me after our son Matthew died. Though our stories are so different, it really gave me a perspective of letting go. We had dedicated Matthew to the Lord at a young age, and now we have "really" had to let go and know he is indeed safe with Jesus.
5. Stepping Heavenward - One Woman's Journey to Godliness by Mrs. E. Prentiss - A great diary type book, written in the 1830's follow the journey of a young woman "from sweet 16 to her grown up years. As she learns that true happiness is found in giving onself to others, you, too, will be immesurably encouraged to step heavenward - to live with greater godliness, humility, tranquillity, and hope." (from back cover of book).

And now, I am tagging:

Laurel (read response here)

Of course - no tag-backs, huh? :)

Monday, June 13, 2005

Pray for 12 year old girl with cancer

My husband first read about this girl, Katie, on World Net Daily. She has cancer, and after finishing the first round of chemo, the doctors wanted her to continue with radiation. The parents wanted to check into alternatives, and believed the radiation would do more harm than good. On Wednesday, June 1st, CPS showed up at her home, and wanted to take Katie into custody with an ORDER FOR PROTECTION OF A CHILD IN AN EMERGENCY AND NOTICE OF HEARING, but she was not home. Instead, CPS took their 3 other boys. After an Amber Alert was sent out,oOn Saturday June 4th, CPS (Child Protective Services), took Katie into custody and the mother, Michele Wernecke, was arrested on charges of interfering with child custody and was released Monday after posting $50,000 bond (remortaging her home). After several home inspections, on Thurday, June 9th, the boys were returned, but the mom had to sign some papers allowing unannounced visits to the home and submitt to other intrusions of privacy. Katie is STILL IN CPS CUSTODY. There was medical tests done, and a possiblity the cancer had returned.

Katie's mom has a blog, called Pray for Katie. This family certainly does need prayer. It's something we may want to watch, as it shows how easily our rights has parents can be so quickly taken away.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Quote from Ruth Bell Graham

Lord, when my soul is weary
and my heart is tired and sore,
and I have that failing feeling
that I can’t take any more;
then let me know the freshening
found in simple, childlike prayer,
when the kneeling soul knows surely
that my listening Lord is there.

by Ruth Bell Graham

Saturday, June 11, 2005

6 Months

The 11th – a Saturday – 26 weeks - exactly 6 months ago today began the most horrible day of our lives. Some days we can breath easier, and think, things will be ok. And then another day will hit like a storm, and send us twirling through the funnel cloud. Norm and I had a long talk about what we have been through, last night. We don’t often have these heart to heart talks, but we did. Yesterday was another one of those hard days. We went to a graduation party for a girl I used to babysit for before Jessica was born. They are neighbors also. I babysat for their 3 children for about 3 years – and our boys golf with their boy. We’ve watched our kids grow up. Their kids had a very hard time when Matthew died. I will never forget just holding the two girls who just shook so hard, and crying with them. They remembered playing school together and probably annoying each other like brothers and sisters do. Yesterday was one of the first times I saw the girls since the funeral. Looking at all the pictures of the one who was graduating grow up, remembering her the age she was when we babysat her and remembering the times they spent with both especially Stephen and Matthew. It made my heart ache – for another thing that will never happen. No graduation – no graduation party – no more planning for the future for Matthew. He’s gone.

I’ve really tried to get myself involved in other things, different focuses, more Bible studies, more music, etc., I don’t want my mind just thinking of this pain, the “what if’s” the reality of death. It’s “only” been 6 months – which in some ways seems SO long ago – and someway seems just like yesterday. “Most” have been good about understanding our pain, but we can sense the “getting on with life” with others, more avoidance, and probably because “we” have changed, it may appear to us others have changed, or at least our relationships have changed. I guess we are at the point of “how” do we go on? I don’t mean this in a despairing way, but, how do we get beyond the great grief, the continual missing him, the thoughts that come into our minds, the thoughts of “wanting” to do things without him. Norm has mentioned about doing a short vacation to get away with the whole family, yet, it just won’t be the same. We “have” to do it for the other kids, yet, we know how much Matthew would love something like this, and there’s just this new difference of trying to get use to. When will we get “use” to this? When will a song not seem sad, or when will the joy come back into our hearts?

We had a stillborn daughter 71/2 years ago. It was really hard & we do not minimize whatsoever of the difficulty of losing a baby or child at any age. But this has been a lot deeper. With Angela, it was dreams that were never made that were broken. We did not have years of memories in the house to go through. Sometimes that actually hurt, because of the lack of memories. Norm & the kids could not relate as much as I did as I had more of a bond with Angela than they did. And though no child or baby can be replaced, empty arms were filled a little over a year later which certainly helped. But with Matthew, it’s a pain I never experienced – and just cannot explain. Of course, a lot has to do with the way he died, and still going through that idea of his plain foolishness, and his being yet a normal person who sins and makes dumb mistakes. Yet, it can still anger us but most of all give that sharp pain in our hearts. To see the pain in my children, and now moreso my husband, and just this “time” seems long, and hard. I said to Norm, I wish I could “get over” this pain, and I understand it will come, but just want normalcy again. It’s been very rough in so many ways.

Why do I share this? We certainly need prayer, and for healing, and for the joy that comes in the morning. I get panic stricken when I can’t find one of the kids, or just the jolt of thinking something can happen to one of them. Norm reminds me of thinking on things which are pure, lovely, truthful, and not being enslaved to thoughts of despair. But, yes, it can be overpowering. When Norm and I were first married, and I’d think of the return of Jesus and the rapture, I really prayed God give us time, to have children and grow old together. Now, I pray it’s soon, to prevent our children from going through hard times and to save their hearts from this world of sin and chaos. “Even so come Lord Jesus!”

Pray for more peace – for us to remember the pleasure of LIFE with our children, to have the child-like faith of our young children who will say “why do you cry mommy – Matthew is in heaven – he doesn’t hurt. He’s with Jesus.” Pray for us looking forward to the new day, rather than just “making it” through this day. Pray for Norm & I to have joy again. We want our children to see our faith in God and know without a doubt God makes no mistakes.

Thank you for reading through this rambling – most of all thank you for praying.

Friday, June 10, 2005


Don't tell God how big your storms are,
tell the storms how big your God is."



Name one thing that made you sad this week.

Just missing our son.

What was the last object (not person) you took a picture of?

Pictures of puppies for our puppy busines - and pics for ebay

Who do you talk to when you need help in making a decision?

My husband

Main Course
If you were a weather event, what would you be, and why?

A rainbow - a reminder of God's promises that He indeed keeps

Suggest a website that you think your readers would enjoy visiting

Homemade Gifts

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Going on . . .

It's been a busy past week and a half and very hot here. I think we skipped our Michigan spring and practically went from winter to summer - with now, low 90 degree, humid weather. The kids have been running threw the sprinkler and having fun water fights! :)

We had several puppies in and out quickly with our puppy business, which was a blessing - but now we need more puppies, so pray someone calls us with a nice big, young litter! :) We had several graduations to go to this past Saturday. It was another bittersweet day, seeing people we had not seen in sometime. Most avoid mentioning anything about Matthew, which makes it hard. I think it hit Norm more, where other Christians just do not care more that for the superficial stuff. Here he lost his son - and there's no mention. I guess women talk better about emtional things, and several did say things to me. One person who had not seen Norm since well before Matthew died mentioned how he has aged. I did not really notice it until we got some pictures back from Katie's birthday on the 27th. I saw the sadness in his face. It makes my heart ache for my dear husband - and I know his pain, yet, it hurts even more to see him hurting. I think it's hit him more lately than it did at the beginning, and our doctor even told us it would be this way. I've seen more tears escape his eyes lately - just listening to a song, or rocking a little one. Pray for joy to begin to be restored in our home. During these times of being down, it's easy to let the non-important things seem important and let it become an issue.

I've also been struggling with lupus symptoms again. I was first diagnosed with lupus after our baby girl was stillborn 7 years ago. I often wonder if it was from the 3 blood transfussions I had to have to save my life because of the placenta abruption that took hers. Lupus is a hard disease to diagnose, as are most auto-immune diseases. It is something that somewhat goes in and out of remission. It has "flare-ups" and I am at that point again, which is common with this disease, when there is major stress. I guess I'd qualify for that. For me, at this point, the type of lupus I have is NOT life-threatening, which I am very thankful for. We'd appreciate your prayers for the flare-ups to subside and my energy and health to return.

Norm has a job interview tomorrow. A personnel service called - not sure where they found his resume, but we have sent so many out in the last several years. We have such mixed feelings about it. God is allowing us to make end meet with Norm home. He is not a lazy man, and keeps very busy from gardening to repairing lawnmowers to working on our remodeling, and pups seems to come along just when needed and the buyers come too. Something "seems" to come along at the right time for bills to be paid and needs being met (and wants too). Norm has such a burden to be a part of the children's lives, and knows we can make ends meet without working 40+ hours out of the home. Ideally it would be great if he could find a close part-time job, that would be "steady" income. But, he is going to check out this job tomorrow. We know if God wants him to take it, it will all fall into place. It is first shift which is a "requirement" after the many, many years of 2nd shift (and long nights for me).

Stephen also has a job interview on Friday at an automotive repair place. We are trying to encourage him to towards something part-time, as he has all his life to work many hours, and we want him to be able to study too for his automotive and welding classes in the fall.

So, there is always something going on here, decisions to make, and just the continual reminders of sadnesses, and still finding that "new normal". So, we take in a deep breath, continue, and are so thankful we know without a doubt, God has NOT left us or forsaken us!

"A PRAYER FOR CHILDREN" (The child next door?)

We pray for children
Who give us sticky kisses,
Who hop on rocks and chase butterflies,
Who stomp in puddles and ruin their math workbooks,
Who can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those
Who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
Who've never squeaked across the floor in new sneakers,
Who've never "counted potatoes,"
Who are born in places we wouldn't be caught dead,
Who never go to the circus,
Who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children
Who bring us fistfuls of dandelions and sing off key
Who have goldfish funerals, build card-table forts
Who slurp their cereal on purpose
Who put gum in their hair, put sugar in their milk
Who spit toothpaste all over the sink
Who hug us for no reason, who bless us each night.

And we pray for those
Who never get dessert,
Who watch their parents watch them die,
Who have no safe blanket to drag behind,
Who can't find any bread to steal,
Who don't have any rooms to clean up,
Whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser,
Whose monsters are real.

We pray for those
Who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
Who throw tantrums in the grocery store
And pick at their food,
Who like ghost stories,
Who shove dirty clothes under the bed
And never rinse out the tub,
Who get quarters from the tooth fairy
Who don't like to be kissed in front of the carpool,
Who squirm in church and scream on the phone,
Whose tears we sometimes laugh at
And whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those
Whose nightmares come in the daytime,
Who will eat anything,
Who have never seen a dentist,
Who aren't spoiled by anybody,
Who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
Who live and move, but have no being.

We pray for children
Who want to be carried,
And for those who must.
For those we never give up on,
And for those who don't have a chance.
For those we smother,
And for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough
to offer.

By Ina J. Hughs
From Mike's Blog - with permission

"SORROW" by Abraham Lincoln

In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all,
and it often comes with bitter agony.
Perfect relief is not possible,
except with time.
You cannot now believe that you will ever feel better.
But this is not true.
You are sure to be happy again.
Knowing this,
truly believing it,
will make you less miserable now.
I have had enough experience to make this statement.

By Abraham Lincoln
Gleaned from Mike's Blog (with permission)

"Roses in Heaven" - Poem

Beautiful red, pink, yellow and white roses,
They all say "I Love You"
The thorns on the bush remind us
That mistakes need forgiveness too.

Red roses tell of God's beauty,
That often thrills my soul.
The yellow, whispers of His Love,
Chasing away sadness, and making us whole.

The pink is for the blush in my cheeks,
When laughter chases the blues away.
The white tells of His forgiveness,
We'll share together each day.

If Roses grow in heaven,
Lord, please pick a bunch for me.
Place them in my loved one's arms
and tell them, they're from me.

Tell them that I love and miss
them, and when they turn to smile,
place a kiss upon their cheek
and hold them for a while.

Because remembering them is easy,
I do it every day.
But there's an ache within my heart,
that will never go away.

By Becca
(from Mike's Blog - a father whose young daughter died 17 years ago,
reprinted with permission)

"I TRUST" - poem

O God, thank you
That Your promises are valid
As long as the world lasts.
They do not suddenly dissolve
When my faith is feeble
And my courage fails.
When You have given a promise
You will perform it—
Sight or no sight
Feeling or no felling.

You may take me
Through the darkest night
The deepest waters.
The very worst may happen
But out of it
You will bring the very best
For Your Word remains secure.

Lord, keep me faithful in my trust.
When I can articulate no other prayer
May my waiting heart
Continually avow:
I trust!
I trust!

(by a father whose little girl died 17 years ago,
reprinted with permission)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

"Life Walk" - for Crisis Pregnancy Center

For the second year in a row, our family is participating in a "Life Walk" to raise money for Alpha Women's Center, which is a non-profit, pro-life, Christian organization providing support for women who find themselves with an unexpected pregnancy. We will be walking 2-3 miles on June 18th to raise funds for this. Our children have been very excited about this, and once again have been riding their bikes many miles asking for support. It's been neat (even with a few negative comments they received) that they really want to do this. If you would like to support us, you can too! You do NOT pay us, but let us know what total gift amount you would like to support us with and then after we have walked, Alpha Women's Center will send you a letter, telling you we have indeed completed this walk, and you can send a check directly to them. We don't mean for this to be a high pressured post here (and any amount is helpful - the kids have gotten numerous $5 support donations to a couple $50 donations), but if you'd like to, e-mail us with the amount, and your name/address, and we will add you to our list. THANK YOU!

Free Book from The Voice of Marytrs

I have a new blog listed under one of my favorites, Persecution Blog. The gal who writes for it, is working in coordinatin with the magazine, Voice of the Marytrs. I have read this magazine for several years now, and our children have read it some too, realizing how good we have it here as we read about the persecution so many Christians go through all over the world. Voice of the Marytrs has just put out a 30th anniversary edition of, Tortured for Christ and you and two friends can receive this book for FREE, along with a FREE subscription to their monthly newsletter. Just click this Tortured for Christ link and be sure to pass this on to your friends!

Stacy from the Persecution Blog states about this book "I’ve read this book and I’m not kidding you when I say it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read on the subject of Christian persecution. It’s inspiring, convicting, amazing and powerful."

I look forward to getting this book too and to see if it would possibly be good for some of our older children to read for a school assignment!

Friday, June 03, 2005

YIKES! The baby did it!

Grrrrrrr! I was updating and did not notice before I hit republish, that the baby had backspaced and deleted a lot of my personalized info on the side bar. It's all gone - vanished! Oh well . . . there are more important things in life! I know some are links we agreed to have on, so please be patient! We will figure it out, again!


This is from a blogger who encourages sharing, called Friday's Feast. Here's this weeks . . .

What comes to mind when you hear the word bizarre?
Sadly, how our son died, and learning the dangerous game of "breath play" kids are playing in various ways, walking the line of death.

Using just a few words, describe your childhood.
Painful & rebellious, yet, I found the Lord at a young age.

Name one thing you do each day that you feel improves your appearance.
Combing my hair!

Main Course
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how would you rate your self-confidence?

Where did you last find a bargain?
Meijer - our local chain store

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Levi's Will - Book Review for Mind & Media

God's timing again! I like to read, and signed up with Mind & Media some time ago, to do a book review on my blog. I've never done this before. Today, I got my first book called Levi's Will and just thought it was neat, after going through a major first with Matthew's first birthday in heaven, I have a distraction now with reading this book. I also have an interest in the Amish, as we are close to a community of Amish people, and I have a close friend who is a midwife and deliveries many of their babies.

This is the description of the book that is given on the back cover.

"Dusk. A barn lot on an Amish farm in Ohio. Will’s father doesn’t recognize him at first—it’s been eight years—so he holds a match up to Will’s face to see him better. “I thought you were dead,” Levi Mullet says flatly, then blows out the match and walks away. No hug. No party. This is not how it’s supposed to be. Where’s the fatted calf, the celebration?

Living in the Deep South, Will has raised a family of his own. But the heart of a prodigal is never far from home. For years he’s worked—the only ethic Will understands—to overcome the unrelenting judgmentalism, the ban, of his father and the Old Order Amish, while a festering resentment takes its toll on his wife and children. Only when the life of Will’s youngest son hangs in the balance does he begin to understand the truth—that love is the proof of God, and forgiveness is the proof of love.

Levi’s Will is the haunting story of a fallen man seeking to reconcile the best of the old world with the lessons of the new, in the process building a bridge across three generations."

The author of this book is Mr. W. Dale Cramer, and I also read some of his webpage, and learned that his father was a "runaway Amishman". He personally sounds like a very intersting man - looking to do God's will.

I look forward to sharing this book with you!