Category Archives: Baby

Here I Raise My Ebenezer

Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I’m come…

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After more than six months with no blog post, I think it’s time for a little update from i have no greater joy.  Although this is quite a long post, I have not included all of the details of my absence or of my story here, but I do want thank all of you who have held my hand.  I want to make known His deeds and sing praises to the Lord who has done gloriously.  He is  with me.

 And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.  Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.  Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.   Isaiah  12:4-6

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As you, my sweet readers know, our family was so excited to be expecting our fifth baby due in December of 2014!  I posted an update or two on the blog along the way in my pregnancy.  If you missed those, you can find them here.

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For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him. 1 Samuel 1:27

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We sent out Christmas cards, announcing to our friends and family that Baby #5 would be arriving any day!

Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things!   Psalms 98:1

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I went into labor at 39 weeks,  just 2 days before my scheduled c-section.   Daddy and I grabbed the diaper bag, the hospital bag, and the car seat.  We kissed the big brothers and sisters goodbye and told them we were finally going to get hold their new baby brother!

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.  Psalms 128:3

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It still hurts so badly to think of that day even now.  Recalling the details is so very painful. I will not include them all here, but when we arrived at the hospital, our sweet baby boy had no heartbeat.  The precious sound I had heard at my last appointment only a few days before was replaced with silence.  An ultrasound confirmed that he was still, lifeless, gone. My baby, that had been kicking and hiccuping and living and growing inside me for nine months, was gone- in the blink of an eye.  The doctor patted my leg, whispered “I’m sorry,” and there I lay.

O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!  Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah  Psalm 39:4-5

Our baby was delivered by c section having complications with his cord.  The thing that gave him life is that which caused his death.  The only cries in the operating room that day were our own.  I can still picture Charles in the OR holding our son, who was wrapped in soft newborn blankets.  He was looking down on him in his arms, weeping oh so loudly.  Tears streaked our faces.  “He’s beautiful.  He’s so beautiful,” Charles said.  He brought him close to me, and we cried and kissed him and cried more as the doctors completed my surgery.

The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.  Job 1:21

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.   Isaiah 55:8-9

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We were moved to a recovery room where family joined us.  As we held our beautiful, lifeless son that day, our George, our Baby Georgie as his brothers and sisters called him, we continued to weep and cry and pray.  We held him and loved him and felt so very broken and crushed.

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.  Psalms 63:1

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer;  from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I   Psalms 61:1-2

Our sweet little George was with his Faithful Savior Jesus Christ.

From my mother’s womb you have been my God.  Psalm 22:10

Even through that confusion, shock, deep pain, and grief, Charles and I felt peace.  We knew that God, the Author and Creator of every thing and every moment, was holding us and our son.  We knew and know that He has the whole world in His hands and numbers every hair on our heads.  We know He loves us and will work this and all things for our salvation and His glory.

This God- His way is perfect.  Psalms 18:30

Charles left the hospital to tell the other children that their baby brother would never be coming home with us.  The children still recall how very excited they were to see Daddy coming home that day.  They had been anxiously awaiting the news of their little brother’s birth.  They were met with tears and sorrow instead of joy.

My face is red with weeping, and on my eyelids is deep darkness.  Job 16:16

I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.  2 Samuel 12:23

Family and very dear friends surrounded us that night and cried with us and loved us and prayed over us.  It was not the hospital visit I had imagined and anticipated so many times the previous nine months.  Oh, how I missed my baby.  I wanted to feel him wrap his tiny hand around my finger.  I wanted to stroke his hair.  I wanted to smell him and kiss him and cuddle him and be his mommy.  I’ve never been in a hospital room that felt so big or lonely.  Charles and I woke each other many times that night with our weeping.

I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.  Psalm 6:6

Surely he has borne out griefs and carried our sorrows. Isaiah 53:?

But we do not grieve as those without hope.  What comfort we had knowing this was not the end, this was not the final chapter in the story.

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13

“Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”  1 Corinthians 15:54-55

God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. Acts 2:24

For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.  1 Corinthians 15:21-22

Those days that followed were opportunity for us to live out our faith.

Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him.  Job 13:15

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Georgie’s funeral was just a few days before Christmas.  A dear friend and pastor presided over the service, and we read Psalm 116 together.   I love the LORD, because He has heard my pleas for mercy… Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful… What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?  I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord…  Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.  My sweet friends and their children surrounded us and prayed with us.  As the crowd walked away, Charles and I held our other children tightly, gathered around our Georgie, and  the six of us sang Psalm 34 together…

 In EVERY time, I’ll always bless the Lord.  His praise will EVER be within my mouth.  We will praise Him in every time.  The Lord is near to every broken heart, and those who crushed in spirit are he saves.  Psalm 34

And He has.  He has been near to us.  He has comforted us.  He has sustained us.  And He has used you in our lives…

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, … For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.  2 Corinthians 1:3-5

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I was greeted at the mailbox everyday with cards of sympathy.   Gifts were given to Christian charities and churches in memory of George.  Friends sent us flowers and brought us meals.  I opened packages from people all over the country who were thinking of us.  Thank you, thank you dear friends.  I knew you were weeping with us and praying for us, and that was a great comfort to me.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.  Romans 12:15

Thank you to the special mothers who wrote letters to me and called me, those mothers who have been in this place.  Your stories and comfort have been a true encouragement.  My phone still lights up daily with texts from friends who want me to know that they are thinking of me.  My blog friends whom I’ve never even met, surrounded me with prayer and love.  Friends from right here in Arkansas as well as Texas, Colorado, Tennessee, Virginia, Missouri, California, South Dakota, Idaho, and friends as far as Hawaii have prayed for us and encouraged us.  Women have woken in the night to pray for me.  The Lord has so graciously and mercifully used each of you to carry and comfort me.  I love you all.

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… because George is not in your arms, but always in your heart.

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the burning bush and the fire that does not consume

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and throughout the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; and the flame shall not consume you.  Isaiah 43:2

I have indeed been comforted and carried.  My Good Shepherd has led me and sustained me through this valley…

Hither by Thy help I’m come…

Some days, all I wanted to do was stay in bed and cry, but He helped me get up.  Pain from my surgery seemed so great and milk came in with no baby to nurse, but He gave me strength to keep going.   My heart was so heavy and my smile was gone, but He gave “distractions” to help me.

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On especially hard days, I saw little messages of hope.

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My empty nursery would bring me to tears, but He would send a laughing child running my way.  Pregnant friends all around me had perfectly healthy babies and others announced new pregnancies.  All I wanted to do was run and cry.

Oh, that I had wings like a dove!  I would fly away and be at rest; yes, I would wander far away!  Psalm 55:6

 Inside I wanted to run and cry, but He helped me rejoice with those mommies.  I dreaded seeing those babies, but those were the moments I felt His love most.  When days seemed dark, He faithfully showed me His goodness and light.

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When I feared everyone might forget what happened or forget our boy, I saw my sweet daughter playing with her own Georgie and his blue stroller.

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He gave me a church family to bear my burdens with me, and He gave me a special friend to be my Aaron and hold up my hands when I grow weary.

It’s been almost five months now.

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During this process, Charles and I were blessed to meet some new friends.  The Lord saw fit for our path to cross with a family who has not only encouraged us but also cried with us.  They taught me about an Ebenezer

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the LORD has helped us.”  1 Samuel 7:12

Ebenezer (Eben-haezer) ( אֶבֶן  הָעֶזֶר )  comes from the Hebrew ‘eben  ( אֶבֶן )  meaning stone and  ha-`ezer   ( הָעֶזֶר ) meaning the help.  Stone of THE help.   The Ebenezer was a stone,  a monument, a memorial  commemorating the help of the Lord.

They read Psalm 40 to me…

I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. 
Psalm 40:1-3

The Lord is slowly but surely drawing me up from the pit and putting a new song in my mouth.  I pray that this blog post will be my own little Ebenezer, my own stone of the help, my own memorial, my own way of making His goodness and mercy and faithfulness known.

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 I’ve always said that holding my babies gave me a whole new perspective of Christianity.  The love I have felt for each of those precious little ones has helped me to understand so much more deeply just what it was that the Father gave me when He gave His Son.  It would be one thing for the Father to come to earth and take on flesh and die for us.  It is an entirely different, much more difficult thing to give a Son.   I think new parents can understand this in a way they have never been able to before because we love our children so deeply, much more than we love ourselves.  Giving our children would be the greater sacrifice.  I know my Father loves me and also knows my  grief as He has helped me through the loss of my own.

As we celebrated Easter and the Resurrection of dear Lord Jesus Christ, I was reminded of His own loud cries on the cross…

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

He forsook His own perfect, dear Son that hour so that He would never leave me nor forsake me.

For He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Hebrews 13:5, Joshua 1:5

He has been with me every moment.

Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I’m come!

I have said that I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth.  I now have a child walking WITH the Truth.  That is great joy.

Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

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You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.  

O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

Psalm 30

Holy Sonnets: Death, be not proud

BY JOHN DONNE

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
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Makes Me Merry Monday #3

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30 Down, 10 to Go!

Happy Monday, friends!

Today, I’m merry because we have only 10 weeks until Baby arrives!  Woo hoo! (which also means we only have about 10 weeks until Christmas)

I have fuzzy, child-taken pictures of me at 30 weeks!

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I’ve laughed a lot lately because we’ve done NOTHING to prepare for Baby #5!  At this point with the other children, we had sweet nurseries, clean and neatly folded clothes in the drawers, and all the gear a parent could need!  Oh yeah, we had names picked out, too!

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This pic doesn’t really show the “baby belly” very well! 😦

Poor Baby 5.  We love you so much, but we are much more laid back parents now.  😉

In the dentist’s office the other day, I picked up a Parents magazine.  I saw the funniest list called Raising Your First Child vs. Your Second Child.  (And where does that leave “fifth child”?) Here is a little snippet…

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Food
First Kid: All homemade in special baby-food processor. Quinoa! Spinach! Sweet potatoes!
Second Kid: Crackers.

Toys
First Kid: All handmade out of wood. Mostly Swedish.
Second Kid: The boxes his brother’s toys came in.

Bathing
First Kid: Every night in a special bathtub that’s just the right size. Hand-washed with a soft cloth or silky sponge.
Second Kid: Twice a week. Swimming pools count.

🙂

{You can click the link above or the shoe pic to read the entire list.}

If you missed the big announcement about Baby 5, you can click this picture to read more…

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30 down and 10 to go makes me merry!

Merry Monday to you!

Goodbye Summer…

goodbye summer

Oh, Summer, where did you go?

Things I’ll remember…

Red-faced, sweaty kids.  Mosquitoes.  Fun trips.  Loving our beautiful yard.  Watching the kids ride bikes around and around and around our driveway.  Hearing our baby’s heartbeat.  Being thankful for this family and the blessing of staying home with these precious kiddos.  

Realizing that these days probably make up the best years of my life.

lots and lots of bike rides

lots and lots of bike rides

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One twin can read to the other :)

One twin can read to the other 🙂

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a weekend trip to Nashville… delicious Southern breakfast… fried green tomato pimento cheese biscuit

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A visit to the Parthenon in Nashville was a perfect complement to our Ancient Greece studies!

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These kids are always having fun together! This was a special “mom party” they threw for me!

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a Fourth of July trip to a family cemetery

Leven tombstonemy Leven sees another “Levin”

I spent time this summer doing an amazing study of Proverbs 31 through the folks at Doorposts.

I spent time this summer doing an amazing study of Proverbs 31 through the folks at Doorposts.

I kept reminders in my kitchen all summer.

I kept reminders in my kitchen all summer.

We waited and waited and waited some more for rain.  Here is Catherine singing the doxology when we finally felt drops!

We waited and waited and waited some more for rain. Here is Catherine singing the doxology when we finally felt drops!

Praise the LORD!

Praise the LORD!

a stop at the space center on our way to the beach

a stop at the space center on our way to the beach

I'll always remember that this is the summer that little sister surpassed big brother in height.  He's taken really well.

I’ll always remember that this is the summer that little sister surpassed big brother in height. He’s taken it really well.

another stop in Chattanooga… We rode the incline railway to the top of Lookout Mountain.  Yes, I shed tears.  :(

another stop in Chattanooga… We rode the incline railway to the top of Lookout Mountain. Yes, I shed tears. 😦

 

at the top!

at the top!

Legoland

Legoland

Seriously??!!

Seriously??!!

THE BEACH!!!!

THE BEACH!!!!

We had ocean kayaks during our beach trip.  Leven had a blast!

We had ocean kayaks during our beach trip. Leven had a blast!

The kids played and laughed and played and laughed all day!

The kids played and laughed and played and laughed all day!

in the water

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We serve an awesome God!

our driveway

As much asI HATED to leave the beach, I do so love coming home and driving up this driveway.

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My Catherine is just 8, but it sure doesn’t seem like it. She’s been making us cookies this summer all by herself. Her specialty is peanut butter!

 

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Look at all these twins. Charles’ and I are truly blessed! 🙂 We have the most precious god-children, and were so thankful to see them grow and be a part of their lives over the past year! This is their first birthday!

I got to see THE SWEETEST face ever.

I got to see THE SWEETEST face ever.

It was a great summer, and I’m looking forward to a fabulous fall!

Here’s to lots of memories!

Happy First Day of Fall!  

Olive Shoots, a Mother’s Day Gift, Blessed

Things have been quiet around the blog lately, but it’s been as loud and as busy as ever around our house!   Here’s a snapshot of our latest celebration…

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That’s right!  Little olive shoot # 5 is on the way!  We are so very thankful, so blessed.

“Blessed the man that fears Jehovah and that walketh in His ways; he shall eat of thy hands’ labor and be prospered all thy days.  Like a vine with fruit abounding in thy house thy wife is found, and like olive plants thy children compassing thy table round.”       (from Psalm 128, my favorite psalm to sing ~ You can read all about it here.)

My husband and I had known about our newest blessing since early April… for a whole month before we told our other children. It was hard to keep such joyous news a secret for so long!  However, we wanted to wait and share our excitement with all of the grandparents on Mother’s Day, and we knew the other kiddos would “spill the beans” to everyone they saw if they found out!  Meanwhile, they continued to pray for another baby each and every day.  🙂

A couple of days before Mother’s Day, we decided to finally share the big secret with the kids.  We all sat around the table eating dinner as usual when Dad showed them a picture from the first ultrasound.

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That’s when I received the best Mother’s Day gift ever…  It was better than flowers, jewelry, sleeping late, having a day off.  It was one that I will ‘treasure up- pondering it in my heart’.  My sweet kiddos jumped up from their seats and shouted and laughed and hugged each other.  I heard #1 say, “This is the best day of my life!”   They danced around and jumped and were filled with joy– and so was I.  They forgot all about dinner!  I heard “Thank you, Father!”  and even “Woo hoo!”  It was a par-tay!  Then I heard the soft, sweet voice of my teeny, youngest daughter trying to be heard over the shouts.  “Come on guys!  Let’s go play!”   “Yeah!”  The four bounded into the den.

What?!  I don’t think so.  My mama-brain clicked into high gear.  We aren’t going skip dinner!

I walked into the den and found my kids kneeling, not playing but PRAYING.

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My little one had suggested that they pray, not play.  My heart melted.  They wanted to thank the One from Whom all blessings flow.  They knew that this tiny miracle was knit together by the Lord and their hearts wanted to praise Him and thank Him!  Seeing my children kneeling and praying that day was the best Mother’s Day gift I’ve ever received.  “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”  No.  Greater.  Joy.

Later that night, after all of the excitement and laughter and answers to questions and imagining what our baby will look like or when Baby’s birthday will be or what we will name our baby, I found my thoughtful, sweet, five-year-old son working to write something at the kitchen table.  He was copying from the Psalter.

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“It’s for you.  It’s your favorite, Mom.”

Blessed.  Blessed indeed.

“For Jehovah out of Zion will to thee His blessing send!”    Psalm 128:5