Whew, a new week is here! I know it will still be a tough week as I along with my family grieve the loss of my cousin Nathan, but after all the happenings of last week, a fresh start (even if its only in my mind) seems wonderful.

Here's an update to a few of the things I shared about last week and some ways you can be praying. Last week was simply too much for me and my friends and family to handle on our own, but I am fully confident that God can and will work in each of these situations.

Guy (my cousin who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer) - I have not heard if he was able to get into any experimental treatments yet. Please continue to pray for his physical healing and that his friends and family would be an encouragement to him as he faces this awful diagnosis.

Grant and Lois (the couple that lost their baby) - After some health complications, Lois and Grant were able to return home. Please pray for Lois' physical healing as well as both of their emotional healing as their come to terms with the loss of their precious son.

Our car - Praise God! The other driver accepted full liability and she has good insurance. We have not yet heard the extent of the needed repairs on our car, but its just a car. Either we will fix it or we will get a new one. After all that happened last week, a car doesn't seem like that big of a deal.

The loss of my cousin Nathan - Please continue to pray for my family - especially Nate's parents as we grieve this loss.

My own contentment - Surprisingly through all of this, contentment about my own situation has come a lot easier. Its hard to dwell on your own problems when you realize there is so much else going on around you. That doesn't down play what Matt and I went through, it just makes me realize that we are not the only ones who face suffering. I would love to honor Isaiah by sharing some of the love and comfort I received in the wake of his loss with those suffering around me.

Finally, I wanted to share a song that my sweet sister-in-law Laura reminded me of. She originally heard it at Isaiah's memorial service but it seems so fitting regarding the events of last week.

Unredeemed- by Selah

The cruelest world
The coldest heart
The deepest wound
The endless dark
The lonely ache
The burning tears
The bitter nights
The wasted years

Life breaks and falls apart
But we know these are
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But when anything that's shattered is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see
It will not be unredeemed

For every choice that led to shame
And all the love that never came
For every vow that someone broke
And every lie that gave up hope

We live in the shadow of the fall
But the cross says these are all
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But when anything that's shattered is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see
It will not be unredeemed


You will be missed!

Below is a sweet note that my grandmother wrote to my cousin Nathan. It breaks my heart to hear the pain and longing behind her words, but its wonderful to relive all of the fun memories from when we were kids.


I will always remember you as a beautiful towheaded baby, who grew into a wonderful little boy who enjoyed life very much.

My favorite memories are of all the Holiday's, Birthdays, Easter Eggs hunts, Christmas Parties, Vacations, all your growing up markers from the kindergarten graduation on.

Life was simple back when Tammy was babysitting all the Grandchildren and brings wonderful memories of you playing with Nick and your cousins in the backyard pool, where all the boy's added strength to their bodies as the wrestled, dunked each other in play!!

I especially remember that you and Kenny introduced all my family to the wonderful Lake at Bull Shoals!!!! I appreciate all the hours on the Bayliner as we watched the babies grow.

It was great fun, watching you learn to skim over the water in the tube, later the knee board (I'll never forget the day you learned to do the 360 and did it about a dozen times in a row) and water skis.

Later Erika became your water buddy as you had a friendly competition with water skills!! It was great time in their and all our lives.

It was always fun to remember all the Grandchildren playing at the dock, fishing, running Jumping in the Lake, Eating, feeding the fish. You loved it all. You especially loved fruit, peaches in particular and I always tried to have some sliced for you every year. You always appreciated it so. We had wonderful days, Watching the children take turns at the end of the rope as we spent countless hours on the Lake. Who could ever forget you climbing on the rocks, jumping from T Rex, all of us hanging in the water while all Grandchildren played with whatever was handy, water guns, water balls.

I remember the long rides to Bull Shoals, with you in the back of the van, helping you with your lessons, so you would not get behind in school. You were a lucky boy to have your parents spend so many hours nurturing you growing up.

I know you were a troubled teen, but I prefer not to dwell on those memories. What I remember is your sweetness with Dad and I, how you always seemed happy to see us where ever, how you grew to make such a strong young man, his blond hair turned curly, how he became a Grizzly Adams. look alike. So Handsome!!!

It seems, impossible that when you were on the cusp of growing up and getting it altogether that you are gone! It will be a hard week for everyone and I'm looking forward to you getting home, so we can all Hug you and share your loss!


Grandma Deana

We love you Nathan. You will be sorely missed, but we will always treasure the happy memories of you in our hearts.



What a week it has been!

Earlier this week, I found out that my cousin, Guy's cancer spread all over his body. He is just a month older than me. Our moms were pregnant with us at the same time. I still remember going to visit grandma or the cabin with him when we were kids. To think that he has to face this horrible diagnosis at such a young age is just a shock.

Then, I found out that a woman who used to attend our church - who had a pregnancy full of complications, but had made it to 29 weeks, developed pre-eclampsia and had to be delivered early. After two full days of labor, she lost her baby boy at the moment he was born. Though it didn't really make me relive our loss, it did make me think of how shattering those early days were. I remember thinking that no one should ever have to feel that way - and here they were facings these emotions.

On Thursday night, Matt and I were in a car accident. Thankfully both of us were ok, but our car was pretty damaged.

Then on Friday, my good friend from small group found out her husband lost his job. She is a stay-at-home mom, so he was the sole earner and they are facing some very large bills.

As a culmination of this awful week, I received a call from my aunt on Saturday afternoon and she informed me that my cousin Nathan was found dead. Nathan is a few years younger than me and after the news of my other cousin's cancer this was just too much.

In the early days of my own loss, I kept reminding myself that life is just not fair, but this seemed ridiculous. Really God? Why so much in just one week? There is just so much sadness and heartache in this world. Why would God allow all of this?

I wish I could say that I had an easy answer to all of these questions, but alas I do not. The only comfort I have found is to realize that this is not how God intended things to be. In this fallen world, I know we will encounter sickness and disease and heartache and death and so much more. But one glorious day, God will come back and restore creation to the way it should be. On that day,

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." - Revelation 21:4



Matt and I went out to visit the "property" after church today. We were lamenting on how surreal this whole situation feels and how this loss seems to have thrown us into this bizarre time warp. Honestly many days, I still feel like I am just trying to survive - to get through the day without crying and try to find some bit of joy. Days crawl by and seem to fly by in a blurr at the same time. We can't believe that it has nearly been 6 months since we kissed our precious son hello and goodbye. It still feels like it was just yesterday and decades ago at the same time. Our whole lives seem like they have been split in two: B.I. and A.I. (before Isaiah and after Isaiah).

In the midst of our time warp, God continues to show His faithfulness so clearly. Though many days I still kick and scream and cry out to him about why my life is what it is, He still won't let me go. He just keeps tangibly showing me signs of His love and goodness. Man, there are some days I just hate that. I want to be mad at God and blame him for everything. To all of my rage, He responds with unfathomable love and gentleness. I don't deserve the grace He gives me, yet I am eternally grateful!

I feel like I hear God clearer lately too. Its amazing how loss, how stripping away earthly joy makes me just lean into God. I love that even in the midst of this valley, He keeps showing me more of Himself, and teaching me how to draw closer to Him.

Over the last week or so, God has pressed a word on my heart.


This thought has really stemmed from a verse I stumbled across in Philippians:

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." - Philippians 4: 11b-13

According to the intro to Philippians in my Bible, "In a life dedicated to serving Christ, Paul had faced excruciating poverty, abundant wealth and everything in between. He even wrote this joyful letter from prison. Whatever the circumstances, Paul had learned to be content, finding real joy as he focused all of his attention and energy on knowing Christ and obeying him."

Wow, I want that. Honestly, my life has been plagued by a lot of sadness, fear and jealousy lately. Sadness, that I will never see my boy this side of eternity, fear that I will never get pregnant again and give birth to a live child, and jealousy of those that do. I have to admit that is not a fun place to be. I keep trying to fight these feelings on my own, but I am learning that I can't. I need Jesus to fight this fight for me!

I desperately want Him to be my All in All. No matter the circumstances that come into my life He will still be God. He is still good and I want to trust in His goodness. I trust that He has a plan for my life and it is for my good and His glory. I may not understand how or why it unfolds as it does, but I trust that it is good. The more I think of that, the more that my fears go away. I pray that one day I will give birth to a healthy child, but even if I don't, God is still God and His plan for my life is still good.

I say this all but I have to admit that it is not with unwavering certainty. This is a day by day thing. Every day, I have to wake up, hand God my bundle of grief and sin and insecurities and ask Him to show me His goodness and His glory and ask Him to help me to trust in Him more. Daily I have to invite him to be my All in All.

You are my strength when I am weak
You are the treasure that I seek
You are my All in All
Seeking you as a precious jewel,
Lord to give up, I'd be a fool.
You are my All in All

Jesus, Lamb of God,
Worthy is your name.
Jesus, Holy Lamb of God,
Worthy is your name!

Taking my sin, my cross, my shame,
Rising again, I bless your name.
You are my All in All.
When I fall down you pick me up
When I am dry you fill my cup.
You are my all in all

©1991 Shepherd's Heart Music, Inc.
Words and Music by Dennis Jernigan


Think about such things

To borrow a phrase from a blog I recently stumbled across, this blog is getting moldy. I haven't had the motivation or inspiration to update it lately.

Honestly, I have been in quite the funk for the last couple of weeks. I was warned by many women who have gone through a similar tragedy that grief can come and go in waves, but I never expected that it would still hit me like this 5 months later.

I am learning that there is no timetable for grief. Each of our experiences are unique and therefore how we learn to cope with our grief will be different. I am really wishing there was a road map at this point though so I would know what to expect, but alas there is not, and I need to come up with a game plan to help me through these difficult seasons.

I know I need to face this grief head-on. To try deny an emotion and bury it is to risk an emotional explosion later. But I also, am coming to realize that I have control of how I respond to these emotions and what I do with them. I can wallow in them until they affect my sleep, my health, and my attitude....which is what I have done lately, and trust me, I don't even like to be around myself then! Or I can express what I am feeling in a healthy way - praying, journaling, and talking to good biblical counselors and friends, and choose to not let these feelings consume me. I can either choose to focus on the negatives, the sadness, the loss or choose to focus on the beautiful blessing Isaiah was and is to me and the many other blessings in my life. I am going to go with option B because that puts me in a much better place.

So in an effort, to focus on the blessings in my life, I am going to start a blessings journal. I want to use this to record all of the blessings of my day - be they big or small, so when I am having a tough day, I can flip through and remember that even in the tough days of life, I am still abundantly blessed.

Its amazing how what we choose to think of can dramatically affect our attitude and perspectives on life.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. - Philippians 4:8