Gracie's First Snow

Well, some snow came our way last night and today. Normally, I'm a big kid about the snow, and while I was very glad to see it, I had no interest in getting out in it.

However, this was Gracie's first snow, so I was looking forward to her reaction. I woke up several times last night - you know....checking to see how much snow had fallen...keeping track of what was happening with each passing hour. Each time I got up, I made sure to look out the window at Gracie to make sure she seemed warm enough. She usually sleeps in her dog house (that doesn't have a top because she ate it/decided it didn't belong so she has banished it from her pen). However, we gave her a blanket last night because of the cold and wet weather. So, most of the night, she slept on top of the blanket, on the ground, in the corner of her pen furthest away from the heat lamps (I don't begin to try to understand her). Anyway, at 3am, I looked out at her and she was mesmerized by the snow that was coming down. She kept watching it, trying to figure it all out. Then, she realized that if she pulled on the tarp beside her pen, snow would fall in on her, so she continued to do that until (I'm guessing) she had gotten wetter than she liked. She's a funny one.....

Of course, I grabbed the camera and made sure I got some video footage of her first experience with the white stuff. At first, she was really prissy about it....tip-toeing around, only walking where Jeremy had walked. Then, she got a little bolder when she realized she could run on it. Once she had her ball, she was one happy dog. Here is some video of Gracie enjoying herself (that's Tucker barking/whining in the background. He gets very jealous when Jeremy is outside with Gracie):

We didn't let her stay out long because it was really cold and when we let her out, the freezing rain had begun. Also, leaving that dog out unattended, without boundaries (on her chain) is a disaster waiting to happen. So, she has spent most of the day snuggled up in her pen underneath her heat lamps. Sounds a lot like what I did all day. I've spent the day in my PJs, in bed, catching up on LOST since the final season begins on Tuesday! I'm almost finished....gotta watch it all before Tuesday, though, so I'll be settling in for a marathon.

Snow is a beautiful wonder of God's creation. It never ceases to amaze me..... I'm glad we don't see it that often; makes it that much better each time we do. I would certainly take it for granted - like I take our 90-100 degree summer days for granted (which I could certainly do without!).

Stay safe out there...


Sunday's Update

I originally posted this on Saturday, but Blogger, for some reason, does not like to cooperate with uploading my videos, so I set it aside for later.

Today, we woke up to find that a little more frozen stuff had accumulated overnight. Gracie had a ball running around. The top layer was ice, so she didn't even make a dent in it. She just ran/glided along top.

School is cancelled for tomorrow, so my LOST marathon will continue for another day. Today was spent much like bed, in my PJs, watching LOST. I feel like such a slacker, but it's nice to be able to rest and relax....


Faith like that..

Daniel 3
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

Cliff and I meet each Saturday morning up at the church building. Cliff is Jill's husband for those of you who read Altered (Jill's blog). We talk a lot about how our situations are so different yet we find so much in common. He says he cannot imagine our loss of Ayden. I say I can't imagine watching your wife's body fail her...not knowing what is next, not knowing how to help, not knowing how you can continue to give and give yet knowing she needs you nearly every waking moment to be there for her. Jill is an amazing woman...and Cliff is an equally amazing man. He is the silent partner who stands faithfully by his wife's side.

This past week we talked and a couple of weeks before that (it all runs together), we talked about this very verse with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. For those who know the story of the fiery furnace, Nebuchudnezzar had the furnace turned up 7 times hotter than normal because he was so infuriated these 3 men would not bow to his gods. They are thrown into the furnace and yet when they look in on them, the 3 men are dancing around completely unharmed by the flames (and a 4th man is there with them...most likely Jesus in the Old Testament...mind blowing)

HERE IS THE AMAZING PART WE MISS: Look at their response. So often we pray for deliverance from a situation or circumstance. We pray for healing of sicknesses. We pray for a way out of our troubles. We say we know God will provide and he intends good for us. But they didn't miss the big question. What if you don't get your miracle? What if there is no deliverance from your circumstances? What if things only get worse? "EVEN IF HE DOES NOT..."

In real life maybe its more like this more often than we want to imagine. God will never bring Ayden back to us here on this earth. Jill Hollis will not get out of her wheelchair tomorrow morning most likely and miraculously be able to walk. Nor the morning after, or the next or the next. Randy Alcorn has a book called "If God is Good". In it he says something to this effect. God may still be in the miracle-making business (For those at Christ's Church we saw that Sunday morning, finding out David Maki, who doctors had basically said no way we can stop this a report Thursday that his brain cancer is in remission.) But if God is all-powerful, that means the same God who can heal the disease or whatever it may be, could have prevented it all in the first place.

The question is this: In the best or worst of situations, will you have the same faith as these 3 men? Can you tell God, you know what, EVEN IF YOU DON'T HEAL ME, EVEN IF YOU DON'T SAVE ME HERE, I WILL TRUST YOU and I WILL PRAISE YOU because you are faithful. I want faith like those 3 men had.

Cliff always says one thing that really challenges me...What if God doesn't really care about the "thing"? (Sure He still loves us and He may be right there crying with us). What if what God is really concerned with is not the "thing" but our reaction to the "thing"?


5 months

I don't need to say a lot for you to know what today held for me. 5 months ago I kissed him, heard his voice, saw him smile, held his chubby little hand....for the last time.

I sat at work today, during my planning period, trying to push it from my mind, but I couldn't. I was doing exactly what I was doing when my whole world came crashing down. In that moment, I felt so lost. I'm lost without Ayden. I'm a mother without her child. I don't know how people expect me to act, but I do know that I go through every day feeling so foreign and disconnected. I don't belong here. I belong with him.

5 months doesn't seem like a long time, but it's more than an eternity.


I survived

I made it through the first day back at work....with students. It was such a nerve-wracking experience, but I don't think you would have known it from just seeing me or talking to me. My close friends knew how nervous I was and that I was near the breaking point, but I never let anyone else see it.

I think I'm going to have some good classes. I've taught a lot of them before. I had them as sophomores, so it was nice and comforting to see some familiar faces. I almost lost it in first period when I heard a comment a student made. I don't think she knew I heard her, but I said, "It's so nice to have you guys back in my classroom again." Very quietly, she said, "It's good to have you back."

Going back to work was such a frightening thought to me. I almost didn't go back. I wasn't sure I was ready, but I knew I couldn't just sit around the house and stay in bed for another semester. Not that I was doing those things out of depression. It helped me to be able to take my time and go at my own speed. Now, I'm at the mercy of someone else's time schedule, which is good, but of course it's stressful to me right now. It'll be good to get back into the routine though.

It was strange to walk down the halls this morning, mingling amongst the students, hearing, "Mrs. Jones is back! It's Mrs. Jones! Hey Mrs. Jones" I don't feel like anything special at all, but they seem to think I am. I hope I don't ever disappoint them.

Day two tomorrow....thank God for Friday.


Been awhile....

I know, shame on me. I haven't written in a while. Quite a few people have commented on my lack of blogging lately. I really just haven't had much to write about.....besides the obvious.

Today was my first real day back at work. Luckily it was a workday, and tomorrow is as well. Students come back on Thursday. I have no idea what to expect Thursday. I can see myself walking around in a fog all day.....not knowing how to act....not completely believing I'm really back at work....not ready to take it all on again. Another first day of school....I'm petrified, but can it really go as badly as my last first day? Nope. Nothing could ever be worse than that day. I'm just afraid of the deja vu of it all. I remember it all so clearly; I remember each moment with my students....I'll go through every step with my new students on Thursday. I'll be passing out bathroom passes....wondering....what tragedy is occuring right at this moment.

I can't let fear take over. I WON'T let fear overcome me.

I just hope my students will be gracious, kind, and behaved. It's going to be hard enough without having to deal with many discipline problems.

It has been weird being back. Everyone has been so gracious and nice. Not too eager to speak to me, but definitely not acting as if I'm not there. I think they're all trying to give me my space. I appreciate that. I'm not into much small talk, so most of the time, I can be found in my office working on something.....with a Judy Garland movie or Lucy episode playing in the background. (My close friends at work know that I'm in my "happy" place when they hear Judy or's my way of calming down) I'm re-learning how to be a part of society to be "normal" again....whatever that is. I don't think I'll ever be normal again. I'll never be the old Lindsay again. I feel like I'm forever jaded, tainted.....bruised.

People used to be amazed at how innocently I looked at the optimistic of a person I could be. Sadly, I'm not that way anymore. I still have optimism....more than many who have walked in my shoes, but it's not like it used to be.

I'm still a work in progress, but with God's help....I've come a long way since August. I found myself singing along to My Fair Lady tonight, and I'm laughing again...genuinely. I'm most myself around my parents, my sister, and Jeremy. I think they're seeing some of the old Lindsay again.

I want to trust God fully again. I trust Him. I trust Him a lot. But I'm not sure I fully, 100% trust Him again. It's hard when you let yourself fully rely on God....give it all to's easy to say, "Your will be done" when all is well. But, when your worst nightmare becomes your reality, you're left looking at God wondering why He betrayed you....why He would do this to you after you gave it all to Him. I know that's the wrong way to look at it. I should trust Him fully and even more completely because in His eyes, His will was done. But it wasn't MY will for this to lose my precious baby boy. I never wanted that, but I wanted God to know I trusted Him with what was most precious in my life. And He allowed him to be taken. That's hard to's hard to trust after that happens. So, I'm working on it, and I hope He's okay with that.

A good friend asked me recently, "So, how's life?" I'm not sure he knew what he was asking. And if I had been honest, I would have laughed and said, "Are you serious?" But I was glad he asked the way he did. He already knew the answer, but by asking that question, he caused me to think a lot about how I view life at the moment. When I answered him, I said, "Life is life. I'm living it one day at a time." That's all I can do right now, really. Just take on each day as it comes. I can't even begin to anticipate the following day because getting through the current day is a triumph. As I said, I'm working my way back to normal....back to being a part of society again. So, I'm living life as it comes.....and honestly praying every day that life here on earth will quickly pass. I'm not wishing it away because I know there are more memories to be made, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't hope for Christ's return every second of every day because sometimes, this life just gets to be too much. I'm more ready than I've ever been....

Well, I said I didn't have much to write about. I guess you ended up getting random thoughts that have been floating around my foggy brain. Sorry if it was hard to follow. I hope you're all having a good week. Continue to remember the people of Haiti. I wish I could be there helping right now.....

Take care.


A few pics from yesterday

I stole these from my friend, Lauren's, blog. Go on over and read her full post on yesterday's service.

She got a good shot of our "after" picture - when we turned our cardboard pieces over. As you can see....I was barely holding it together.
And if you look over Jeremy's right shoulder, you'll see the beautiful blonde lady who is in the wheelchair. I have mentioned her several times in my blog. She is one of my newest best friends - her name is Jill. Check out her blog and her story. She is at the top of my list of personal heroes, and I love her so very much. Jill has ALS, and it hurts to watch this disease continuing to take away from her, but as it takes away....Christ continues to replace what is taken by grace, hope, comfort, and perseverance. I have never been one to be in awe of many people because seriously....we're all pretty ordinary most of the time...but I am in awe of Jill and her husband, Cliff. They keep going....good or bad....they just keep going because they trust God and His promises. I know this disease will take Jill one day, and I will ache in her absence, but I will be so joyful knowing that she will finally be where she so longs to be!

Here is a group shot of everyone up on stage:

Hopefully, the video will be up soon so you guys can see the whole thing. I'll post it here once it's available.


An emotional day...

For a few weeks now I've been looking forward to, and dreading, today all at the same time. Today marks the 10th anniversay of the church we attend. 10 years! As our pastor said today, many churches are celebrating their 50th, 75th, 100th anniversary, but here we are celebrating 10 years! It's definitely exciting!

Jeremy and I were connected to our church, Christ's Church, when we were in college. The campus ministry we were involved in (Campus Christian Fellowship) was supported by Christ's Church, so we were invited to attend many times. However, since school was so close to home (and I worked at home on weekends at a Christian bookstore) we went home every weekend and went to our home churches.

When we got married, we moved to the mountains for a year. Just a chance to try things out on our own. While we were living in the mountains, we came home one weekend to visit, and we went to Christ's Church while we were home. I left the service that morning feeling such a pull. I could feel God telling me that we belonged there. While living in the mountains, we never found a church we completely meshed with. There was always something that was taught that we didn't quite agree with. Too political, too much doctrine.....always something. As the year started coming to a close, we were waiting for things to fall into place so that our path would be made clear. I got into grad. school at ECU (where we both got out undergrad. degrees), so back to Greenville it was with us. And we were so excited because we knew we had a church family waiting for us. In 2006, we began attending Christ's Church regularly, and shortly after, we became members. At first, it was difficult to find a group to fit in with. We had people there that we knew from college, but we wanted to branch out. With such a large congregation, though, that was tough at first. It took a good 2 years for us to get to know people outside of our circle. Now, 4 years later, we know without a doubt that we are worshipping with the church family we are meant to be with. Christ's Church is just that - Christ's Church. We are one big family, following Christ, living by His word, and acknowledging that we are real people, all sinners, with faults and struggles, but we all just want to live for HIM.

Our church family has been our biggest support through the loss of Ayden. I can honestly say that each and every person was touched by what happened, and they continue to be touched. It's incredibly humbling to know that you are a part of a group of people who make it clear how much you are loved, thought of, prayed for, and cared for.

Back to today. Since today was our 10th anniversary, of course a special service was planned. Today, January 10, 2010, at 10:10 am, we began service. It was so awesome to see the sactuary packed out and to know that overflow was having to be used. Our pastor spoke on the history of our church and how all of this came to be. It was so neat to hear all about how it first started. Then came the tough part (for me - and I'm sure many others who were involved). A few weeks ago, Jeremy came to me and told me that they wanted to do cardboard testimonies. Look it up on YouTube or GodTube. They're awesome. He showed me what they wanted to do, and I knew immediately why they had asked us. They wanted us to share our testimony from the loss of Ayden. I shut down for a few weeks after that because I didn't want to think about it. It seemed like the loss was too fresh for me to even think about the good that could have come of it. I also knew that it required thought and reflection, and I just didn't want to do that. I forced myself to think about it over this past week since I knew it was coming this Sunday. I couldn't think about what we would write about what actually happened. I let Jeremy handle that piece of cardboard. However, I could think about where I was in the months after what happened and where I have come since then. Those words came quickly - broken, abandoned, hopeless, angry, lost, isolated, beaten, crushed, etc. Then came the hard part. Had I really progressed? Had my feelings evolved into more hopeful ones? I couldn't honestly say that I had taken a 180. I am still broken. I am still hurting. I am less angry, but I still have moments. So, how was I supposed to word this? I knew that no one expected me to "be over it all" or to have gone through a transformation of any kind. It's too soon, and I honestly don't know if the 180 will ever happen. Maybe it'll always be a progressive thing. I was finally able to pin down what my board would say. On the front side, I put, "Broken/Abandoned/Hopeless" - for the flip side...the changed(changing - still a process) I put, "Hope and Trust being restored." That's all I could muster, but I think it's a lot. Jeremy's was the more bold one. His front side said, "Death of our 4 month old son, Ayden" and his flip side said, "Promised we will hold Ayden again."

We did a run-through this morning. That was what I was dreading most. I knew I would NOT be able to stay composed. As public as this whole thing has been, it's still hard to expose yourself in any setting, especially in front of a family of believers. However, I knew that if anyone would understand - they would. So, I cried through our part of it.....lip quivering, tears streaming, and I remember looking at the faces of those in the front few rows. Stoic.....saddened....sympathetic....expressions. They all knew how hard this was for us, and they all seemed to understand how hard it continues to be. Ironically, as we walked off stage, everywere I looked I saw a parent holding an infant. Normally, that would have brought sting after sting to my heart. This morning, I saw me holding Ayden....holding him again....holding him for eternity. That's our promise. It's an awesome promise, and I can't wait until it's my reality again. I will hold our future children, and I hope I hold them for a long time, but it just won't be the same. Even when they are full again, my arms will never feel completely full.

Our church will be posting a video of the Cardboard Testimonies from this morning. Once they're up, I'll be sure to post it. I didn't get to see any of it, so I'm excited to see it. I felt how powerful it was while being up there. I can't wait to actually see the power behind it all. We have an awesome body of believers at our many with amazing testimonies. We know we are where we belong.


Forgive my ranting for a moment....

I am sick of the following things:

- Senseless acts of aggression, violence, stupidity

- Lack of consideration for the safety of others

- No respect for others and their personal property


-IDIOTS with nothing better to do than make the rest of hard-working, tax-paying citizens pay for their stupidity.

Where is this coming from, you ask? Tonight, Jeremy and I treated ourselves to a dinner out together and then went to rent a movie. Minding our own business......enjoying some time together. On our way home, we here a loud POP. Something had hit our car - not another had thrown/shot something at our car.

If this was the first time this had happened, I would be mildly perturbed. But this is the THIRD time. 2 years ago, I was on my way home from a school event. As I turned onto our road to go into our neighborhood, a rock was thrown at my car, barely missing my windshield. 6 months later, Jeremy was on his way from home, and as he drove underneath an overpass, a large rock was dropped and hit and busted his windshield. And now this.

I am a very patient person, and many would tell you that I am way too nice. I'm first to want to give someone another chance or try to find the good in the worst of people. My hope and faith in people is quickly growing thin. I just don't understand why people feel like it's okay to just break into another person's home or car...take what they want....and just walk away. They don't consider the person they're doing this to - they're just in it for the fun of it or just to get something out of it without having to pay for it. Yet, here we are....having to pay to fix their damage whether it be a door kicked in, a busted window, or a huge dent in your car.

Whatever they threw or shot could have hit the window....what if there was a child in the car? What if the glass had shattered and had fallen all over the child sitting innocently in the back seat? I just don't get it.

I'm sick of people. I'm sick of people with no regard for other people and their property and their right to safety. I'm sick of people getting away with this kind of thing all the time. It's absolutely ridiculous. And I'm most sick of the helpless feeling that comes over me after something like this happens because who am I? What can I do?

Ok, I'm done now.

Lord, forgive me for the negative thoughts I have had about people tonight. Give me patience and forgiving heart.....



Here is one of the videos I promised so long ago. This is when Ayden had first started smiling on purpose. And if you're wondering who he often smiled at the most - me and Jeremy :) His expression in this one is so if he's thinking, "I love that lady who keeps talking to me." Boy does that lady love him, too....

And one more because it's too adorable not to post. This is how he was from the day he was born - just happy....all the time. And in turn, he made us the happiest parents in the world because we were able to enjoy him and his exhuberant personality. I miss his beautiful face and sweet, joyful spirit.


I almost made it through....

I almost made it through worship this morning without crying. Getting emotional isn't a bad thing. I've gotten used to it and have accepted it as part of who I am now as a result of our loss. I've written before about how the songs affect us. Every word penetrates us sometimes....stings. The weight of the words is hard to fight sometimes, and we've found ourselves hesitant to sing them because speaking them means believing them.

I've come a long way in worship service. I can mouth the words, and I've even begun to sing along....aloud...recently.

Today, though, one of the songs got me.

Into marvelous light I'm running

Out of darkness and out of pain

By the cross, you are the truth

you are the life, you are the way.

My dead heart now is beating

My deepest stains now clean

Your breath fills up my lungs

Now Im free, Now I'm free

Lift my hands and spin around

See the light that I have found

Oh the marvelous light,

marvelous light

Lift my hands and spin,

See the light within....

You know what I envisioned? I saw Ayden, surrounded by marvelous light, and I could hear him saying, "See Mommy? See the light? It's so marvelous! I'm surrounded by HIS marvelous light! I'm out of darkness; I won't ever know pain. I'm free!" I could see him smiling and so full of happiness. And while that is such a beautiful and precious image, it still hurt to feel his absence.

I waver all the time between how I feel about all of this. Part of me is at peace in knowing that Ayden is in Heaven and that I WILL see him again. I find comfort in that. However, I'm also saddened by the fact that he was taken so soon.....I'm sad for myself, for us, for our family, for our future children because we're going to miss out on so much with him here. But I have a hope for the restoration of those missed moments - I will get them back; I'll just have to wait a while. My human mind can't go there all the time, though. Of course I selfishly wish for him to be here. I still ask God to just give him back to me, although I know it isn't possible. I still tell God that I don't understand, and I still ask why? Why such a precious, beautiful baby? Why a baby who was healthy, happy, and had such a future ahead of him? I'll never understand, but one day I'll get my answer.

After we sang Marvelous Light, a perfect song followed. A song I needed to sing from my heart. I may not have been able to get the words out of my mouth, but I meant them.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

Your perfect love is casting out fear

And even when I'm caught in the middle of the storms of this life

I won't turn back

I know you are near

And I will fear no evil

For my God is with me

And if my God is with me

Whom then shall I fear?

Whom then shall I fear?

Oh, no. You never let go

Through the calm and through the storm

Oh, no. You never let go

In every high and every low.

Oh, no. You never let go.

Lord, you never let go of me.

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on

A glorious light beyond all compare

And there will be an end to these troubles

But until that day comes

We'll live to know you here on the earth

Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on

And there will be an end to these troubles

but until that day comes

Still I will praise you, still I will praise you

I remember singing this today and speaking to God, "My heart is holding on, Lord. I will continue to praise....through the good and bad....just as I always have. There will be an end to this heartache and to this corrupt world....but until that day comes, I'll never let go because I know you'll never let go of me." I hope He knows that I mean those words. They're hard to speak at times, and sometimes I wonder if I truly believe them, but I know I do. I know that deep down, I am founded on His promises, and I trust Him more than anything. It's not the easiest thing to do all the time, but I do the best I can.

Lately, the bad days are turning into bad moments. I've had a series of good days lately. The bad moments come - I embrace them....let them take over - and then I let them fade. I've stepped into a state of acceptance. I'm finally accepting that I can't change this. I can't bring Ayden much as I wish I could, I know there is no way I could humanly do that. I'm accepting that God has a purpose for this - a purpose I will one day see. God allowed this to happen for a reason, and while that isn't so comforting to me most of the time, I have to accept it because I really don't have any other choice. Well, I do, but the other option pulls me away from God, and I would be a mess without Him. I can't imagine how people without faith go through something like this. I'm hesitant to say this is the worst thing anyone could ever experience because I don't want to overshadow or negate other tragic experiences, but I can tell you that I never, ever, ever want to feel this pain again. Once is more than enough....more than I can handle sometimes.

Anyway, those are my thoughts for today. And a quick to message to those of you who responded to my last blog - please don't think you've offended me by saying that you couldn't imagine experiencing this. I doesn't offend me at all, and I'm sorry if I made you feel that way. I completely understand that it's probably one of the only things you could think of to say. If it were the other way around, I'd probably say the same thing.

Have a good week, everyone.