Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Fives.

Five things I'm thankful for...
1. for healthy children.
2. for a faithful, loving husband.
3. for a friend who tells me what I need to hear, even when I don't want to hear it
4. for God's provisions, ie. a good job, a warm house, and food to eat.
5. fot the opportunity to serve in my sons' classroom.

Five things I'm praying for...
1. for the children/babies in the blogging community: Harper, Abby, Kayleigh, Tuesday, Cora.
2. for twin girls in Cambodia that I want to bring home.
3. for my husband's and my parenting skills to improve and synchronize harmoniously.
4. for my brother to come to know Christ as his savior.
5. for my n54 board friends with cancer: Gina, Janis, Lenore.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Weightlessness of Forgiveness.

I'll try to keep this short, but I make no promises. God did a wonderful thing in my life last week, and I'm still in awe.

Four and a half years ago, something bad happened that drove a wedge between my oldest brother and myself. Four and a half years ago my 12 year old daughter wasn't quite 8, my 10 year old sons were not 6, my 3 year old was a 18 day old embryo that had implanted in my womb mere days before, and my 19 month old wasn't even a possibility in our minds. Four and a half years is a long time. In the last four and a half years I have spent countless sleepless nights trying to figure out how to fix the wrongs between my brother and me. Oh the things I could tell him to make him see how wrong he was/is about me. If I could just explain it to him with just the right words than surely he would see the error of his ways and ask me to forgive him, and I, in my most noble, loving, Christ-filled heart, would instantly oblige him.

{insert the grating screech of a phonograph needle scratching across the grooves of a vinyl record}

Nice imagination, but ain't never gonna happen that way, and I know it well. Which is why in four and a half years I have never even gotten one word out. It was hopeless. I can't change him and therefore have to live in the misery he created for me. Then God spoke up. Well, it's possible He's been speaking to me about it for a long time, but I was just too deaf to listen. So, he got out the two-by-four, you know, the one He smacks me over the head with when I'm being thick headed.

The last few weeks have gone something like this...

God said, "Forgiveness."

I said, "I can't HEAR you!"

God said, "Forgiveness."

I said, "I hear you, but I ain't LISTENING!"

God said, "Forgiveness, or I can't forgive you."

I said, "I can't forgive him. He's wrong and he's behavin' like a juvenile idiot. And he needs to come to his senses and make it right."

God said, "Call Penny about Mason's funeral."

"Oh, THAT I can do!"

So, God's been talking to me and I've been telling Him how it is. And I call Penny. If you know God, then you've probably had Him script a conversation or two for you, you know, where the words the other person is saying may as well have come out of the mouth of the Almighty Himself because the point being made couldn't possibly have come from any other source. (If you don't know God, may you meet Him in just such a way!)

Penny and I talked about the funeral and then the conversation turns to my brother. Suddenly, Penny is talking about forgiveness. (me to God, "You don't play fair!") I tried to explain it to her, "I just want him to know the person he thinks I am is not an accurate image of who I really am." She's not persuaded. In fact, the opposite, she's telling me how my unforgiveness is pride. My unforgiveness is power to me, in place of God's power in my life. "No, no. I just want him to see that he's wrong about me." Patient Penny, still not persuaded. My unforgiveness is self-righteousness. (me to God, "Neither one of you is going to back down on this, are you? You did this on purpose!")

WATCH OUT!! Here comes the two-by-four! Penny and I had been going round and round the mulberry bush for about half an hour or longer. Then she tells me that my unforgiveness is just like gossip. (me to God, "Now hold on a cotton-pickin' minute! You know that I DON'T GOSSIP!!)She tells me I keep those wrongs like little nuggets of gossip in a bag, and I pull them out whenever I get the opportunity to talk to anyone who will listen, and I use those nuggets as power to make myself look righteous and him to look wrong.

BAM! {two-by-four applied up side my head!}

The wax drained out of my ears and the scales fell off my eyes, and I'm looking in the mirror and hearing the sweet, gentle, loving voice of my God, "Karina, your unforgiveness is sin. I want to take that away from you." I see it clearly now, because I can replay conversation after conversation in my mind when I pulled those little nuggets out starting from the very first day four and a half years ago until now, even that very day!

I fell on my face before God and told Him all that He already knew, how ugly my sin was, how prideful my heart, how self-righteous I'd been. And forgiveness began to rain down on me and fill me. I can now, have now forgiven my brother. What other choice could I make when I received such forgiveness from God?

I'll be honest. Penny told me that night that forgiveness would be complete, that it wouldn't be work, I wouldn't have to remind myself that I'd forgiven him. And I didn't believe her. How could four and a half years of anger and hurt just go away? But it did. It just melted away in the rain. And it took the burden I carried these years right along with it. I feel a song coming on!....

"My sin, Oh the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sin, not in part, but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I BEAR IT NO MORE!
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, Oh, my soul!"

{visions of blue-haired ladies running around waving hankies, shouting, "Glory!"} You night have to be a Nazarene to understand that one!

OK, well, I told you I made no promises on keeping it short. But, I'm light-hearted tonight and wanted to share. And I thank God for a friend who was willing to speak the Truth to me in love, and be a vessel cracked enough to let the Holy Spirit pour out and change me. Next time maybe I'll listen to God more quickly, so He doesn't have to use that two-by-four! Probably not, but I do have a good imagination, don't I?!

Wordless Wednesday - The Reason Bath Seats Don't Help Mom Take a Shower in Peace.

Monday, January 26, 2009

"Not Me!" Monday.

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I totally do NOT examine everything that happens in my life these days to see how it could possibly fit into a "Not Me!" Monday post. And I do not store them up all week in my head in anticipation. And I would never consider writing a draft and keep adding to it throughout the week. Because I am NOT obsessed with this blog carnival! Nope, not me!

Ok, so I have PCOS, and there's no denying that fact because there's a blinkie on my right hand sidebar that says as much. But PCOS totally doesn't cause me to have embarrassing, black, ugly, facial hair. I wouldn't be self-conscious about even if I did have facial hair. And I never, ever shave my upper lip. And I wouldn't use my "Venus" razor made especially for legs to shave my face. This week I SO did not work so hard to get close to my nose with the large head of my Venus razor that I actually cut myself on the edge of my nostril. That was SO not me! You did NOT just read this, because I would never share about it on my blog!

I am not a bloggy stalker. I so did NOT go to the Selah concert more excited about the possibility of meeting Angie Smith of Bring the Rain than I was about hearing her husband Todd sing! I did not cry from the moment that he mentioned their daughter and continue to cry the rest of the evening. I was not wildly excited when he introduced his wife and asked if there were "Sundays" in the audience. I did not practically RUN to the stage when the "Sundays" were invited up. Understand this: when we were compelled to sing with Selah, I so did not try my very very best to sound awesome knowing that my choir director was sitting in the 3rd row because I had secret hopes that if I sounded good he might someday ask me to sing on the praise team at church. It totally didn't calm my nerves and still my beating heart when I started to sing and get into the music. Uh uh, not me!

I'm a very conscientious mom who has never let her children under the age of 3 eat a)chips, b)nuts or c)hard candy because they are choking hazards (that part is actually true!) So, when I took my baby to get his first haircut and after 5 minutes he started screaming and trying to climb off the dinosaur stool at the kiddie haircut place and the salonist offered to give him a lollipop, I so did not break all my rules and cave in so that he would sit quietly sucking his lollipop for the duration of the haircut. Oh no, that must have been someone else because it certainly was NOT ME!!!

And this...
is NOT my 3 year old who is in as much need of a haircut as the baby, but whom I am not refusing to give a haircut to because I want to grow his hair out to about chin length. I so did not get the idea to do this from Mck Mama's son's (BigMac) previous hairstyle. Nope, not me! Didn't I tell you that I am not a bloggy stalker!?!

Thus concludes this week's edition of "Not Me!" Monday. I hope you had as much fun as I did and I hope you'll post a comment here and join in the fun yourself!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Two Completely Unrelated Subjects.

I had the pleasure of going to a Selah
concert last night. I know a little of their music, but mostly I "know" Angie, the wife of lead singer Todd Smith. Angie writes the fabulous blog Bring the Rain. Her blog was recommended to me by friends when we first found out about Mason's T18. I know I spent that whole first day laying in bed with my laptop reading Angie's blog start to finish that first day, weeping, laughing, rejoicing and grieving, knowing that my dear niece would experience something similar and hoping that God would walk as closely to her and give her as bountiful a measure of grace and peace in the journey.

I knew (from her blog) that Angie had come to Colorado for an interview with Focus on the Family, so I figured she would be at the concert, and I hoped to have the opportunity to meet her and tell her how much her writing has helped us through these last months. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that Todd would call the "Sundays" to join him on the stage, nor that we would SING with Selah!!! It was SO fun. I love to sing and though there was some comic relief to the song, it was a blast!

During intermission, I got to meet Angie and take a few pictures. After the concert I had a few minutes to talk to her to tell her how much her blog has touched our lives. SO COOL!!!! Thanks Angie! That was a night to remember.

Secondly, and totally unrelated....

My baby got his very first, much needed, but happened WAY TO SOON haircut!
Six months ago this boy had no hair to speak of. The last month I have had countless strangers ask about my little 'girl'. {rolling eyes} I fail to see why they think he looks like a girl when he's wearing a plaid shirt and overalls with little hiking boots. Um, hello?
Yes, I've been putting off the inevitable. He's my baby. My last baby. I don't want
him to grow up so fast. He's my baby! Now he looks like a little man. Bit by bit my little surprise miracle baby is slipping away and becoming more and more of a little boy. I refuse to even think beyond toddlerhood.

Izaak started out well. He thought the dinosaur was cool. He was a little disturbed about having cold water sprayed on his head, but he got through it, no problem. After about 5 minutes of combing and clipping he was DONE. He stood up on the footrests of the dinosaur and started screaming. Izaak doesn't just cry, he screeches. We did get him calmed down, but that's another post
(*hint* tomorrow is Monday!) So, we got done. I have a few little locks for his baby book and my album. And now he looks like a little boy and less like a baby.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Letting Go of 116 Hours, 5 Days.

116 Balloons for the hours of his life, 5 blue for 5 days, the rest white.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Of Miracles and Angels.

There are so many things surrounding Mason's life that we could call miracles, some seem like mere coincidence and others are like God's hand reaching down into our lives to orchestrate the extraordinary. This story is one of the latter.

There were several blankets made for Mason by family and friends. One in particular was a simple, baby blue afghan crocheted by a family friend. Mason spent many hours wrapped in the love of those stitches, and when they sent his tiny body to be cremated he was wrapped in that blanket. The blanket was supposed to come back, but was mistakenly cremated with him.

The friend who made the blanket was desparate to make another for Amber to keep. She spoke to a co-worker about a pattern, explaining the story of Mason and the blanket. The co-worker began to cry. For weeks she had been working on a blanket that she felt strongly she must complete, but did not know why she felt so urgent about it, nor for whom she was making it. When she heard Mason's story, she knew. The angel blanket she had made was for Amber, who had just sent her baby to walk among the angels.

God is good, all the time. I always find such joy in seeing how He prepares the way to comfort us in difficult times. Not only does He know that we must face hardship and pain, but He loves us enough to work out all the details, so as we walk into our future we can see the things he set in motion in our past to comfort us in our present. And that is what miracles are all about!

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Celebration of Life.

Precious one so small and sweeet,
You touched our hearts with angel feet.

We celebrated Mason's life today, and said goodbye. The service was beautiful. The pastor talked about seeing a shooting star as a child, how it lit up the sky, burning brighter than anything around, how it's brilliance blazed through the night and then was quickly gone, and how the memories of that shooting star stayed with him forever. It was a beautiful analogy of Mason's life. He came blazing brilliantly through our lives for five star studded days and then he was gone. We will remember him forever.

A foot, no matter how small, leaves an impression on the world.

"Not Me!" Monday.

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Well, it's Sunday and Mck Mama is sure to host the funnest blog carnival of bloggy world tomorrow. I however, will be attending baby Mason's Life Celebration (aka: funeral), but I had some really good "Not Me!"s to share, so I'm pre-posting my Monday. If you want to join in, click the button above.

This week, I did not put off going to the grocery store and have to send my dear husband out early one morning for milk in order to feed the family breakfast. When I did go to the grocery store a few days later, I did totally not skip the milk aisle, thinking erroniously that he had gotten enough milk for the week (7 gallons), even though I knew he only got 3 gallons. Nope, not me!

I do not know the employees in our Sam's Club by name, definitely not George, who started out many years ago in the cafe, then moved to demos, then to the bakery and is now back out on the floor doing demos. I do not know George's medical history. My children do not think of George as an extra grandpa. George did not ask me that day if I had enough milk, and I certainly did not reply that I did. Uh-uh, not me!

The next day I did not use the last of the milk and have to make a second trip to Sam's specifically for more milk. After buying the usual 7 gallons of milk, I did not proceed to the van, take the little boys out of the cart, buckle them into their car seats, get in and buckle myself. When I put the van in reverse I did NOT assume that the rear sensing alert was beeping at me because I parked too close the cart corral. I was not confused that the beeps got faster as I slowly continued to back out. It did not finally dawn on me the moment I hit the cart that it was the cart with the milk still in it behind my van! Wouldn't that be totally pathetic? I am SO glad that was NOT ME!!!

Feel free to leave a comment and jump on over to Mck Mama's blog to be brutally honest about what you have not done.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Choice.

It finally hit me. I was talking to someone last night and I understood something that I had not thought of before. The Choice.

In August when my niece's doctors discovered that Mason had Trisomy 18 they encouraged her to terminate the pregnancy. I'm very "pro-life", so Amber's choice to continue her pregnancy made total sense to me, but I would also have understood had she made the choice to terminate. Many people did not understand her choice to continue the pregnancy. Some were downright rude about it. Some voiced there opinions to others, but not directly to Amber. They just didn't see why "she would put herself through that". Either way the outcome is the same, isn't it? Or is it?

Here's the thing I got: Had Amber chosen to end the pregnancy, she would have experienced the sadness of losing her baby. She would also have experienced guilt for ending a life. And she would have always wondered what the outcome would have been had she not chosen to terminate.

But, what's incredible to me is that she chose LIFE! She chose to carry a baby she knew would die. But she had four and a half months of feeling him move and kick. And when he was finally born, against all odds HE LIVED! He lived for four (nearly five) miraculous days! She got to do things she was told she'd never have the chance to do. To hold him alive, to kiss him, to feed him, to clothe him, to bathe him, to hold both her sons together and read them a bedtime story.

One of my brothers was one who didn't understand her decision. He thought she should have terminated the pregnancy, get through it, get on with life, and don't prolong the anguish. He held Mason shortly after he was born and returned to the waiting room crying. He said he was wrong, he hadn't understood, now he knew why she chose to keep the baby.

Are the outcomes the same. NO WAY! One choice would only have given her pain and sorrow. One choice gave her time, joy, wonder, love, fulfillment, blessing, and a miracle to ease the pain and sorrow that she also feels. Why make any other choice?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Two Simple Requests.

I'm not sure this is the right time to do this. I'm not sure it's not. But I have been mulling the idea over in my head since I last posted. And I've decided to go for it.

There are two things:

The first is this, Amber and Brian feel that Mason was here for a reason. Part of that reason was to change them. But, I have heard them say many times that they know their son was here to make a difference in this world. I'm sure that they would love to know that their son's life was significant. In that regard, I would like to host a "Card Shower" for them.
If this baby and the story of the miracle of his short life touched your life, would you send them a card to tell them about it. Please, e-mail me for the address. (Please be very sensitive in what you say, keeping your comments to how Mason touched your life)

Secondly, there were two organizations that have helped in a MONUMENTAL way. Amber, Brian and the whole family would be so blessed if part of Mason's legacy was to help others through similar circumstances.

String of Pearls - provided and continues to provide unimaginable support. They have helped with anticipatory grief counseling, provided a keepsake box and Mommy care kit, helped insure that medical/hospital staff were informed about Amber and Brian's situation, helped formulate a birth plan and baby care plan, and organized details for NILMDTS photographers and the funeral home, and they will continue to follow-up with Amber and the family for the next two years. More than that, they offered love, understanding and friendship. Really, we can't say enough about their care.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep - this is an organization of professional photographers who give selflessly of their time and services to provide families with fatal diagnoses of fetal and infant loss with precious, priceless portraits of their babies. Our particular photographer gave studio time to Amber so that she would have maternity portraits as well as spending hours and HOURS at the hospital at the time of Mason's birth to make sure that we would have more than enough pictures of our sweet baby Mason.

If you'd like to continue Mason's legacy by donating in his name to one or both of these incredible organizations it would mean so much to the family, but also to the families that String of Pearls and NILMDTS will help walk this road in the future.

Please, don't feel obligated to do anything. But, if you do decide to participate, I thank you in advance.

Monday, January 12, 2009


After 116 hours of beautiful life, Mason flew to the arms of Jesus today.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

"Not Me!" Monday.

Mck Mama is hosting "Not Me!" Monday so we'll join her. You can read all about this fabulously fun blog carnival by clicking the "Not Me!" button above. Follow along and have some fun.

It's been a pretty serious week, but my Daddy taught me that laughter is the best medicine in hard times. So, I'm going to try to pull something out of this past week.

When I got the call that Wednesday would be the day, I did not call my husband in a panic about watching the kids and ask him to take off work. Then I did not think I should instead have called my BFF then proceed to arrange to have her come up to watch my little boys. I was not afraid to ask my friend to come a half an hour earlier because it would make life easier for everyone, and instead make some elaborate plans with my husband, to which my BFF asked if it would be easier if she came a half an hour earlier. Um yeah, that was not me!

I did not forget that my 18 month old had a well visit on Wednesday, and after telling my husband that he could go ahead and work since BFF was coming, I did not ask him to take off work to take the baby to the doctor. I'm not scatter-brained. That just was not me!

I did not make all these arrangements thinking that babies come quickly and I would be needed at the hospital in the morning hours only to be waiting until evening for the call and ending up being home with my husband and my BFF and making it to the doctor's appointment. Nope that was not me!

And I am not so addicted to my computer, blogs and online communities that I carried my laptop with me the whole day. I did not sit in the Chick-fil-A parking lot for 15 minutes using an unsecured network from a nearby hotel to update my facebook. I did not take it to the hospital and stay up late into the night on the hospital's wi-fi to update everyone. I did not take it with me the next night, just in case. And I most certainly did not take my laptop to church with me on Sunday morning to show off pictures of baby Mason that I hadn't had time to print. Is that sacrilegious? No matter because, it was definitely NOT ME!

Oh, and one more thing, as I was rereading and adding italics it did not strike me that I called my laptop an "it" instead of referring to "her" because I have not named my laptop Tabitha. She is not like a friend to me. I did not buy her just because she is pink. She did not get a pretty pink and black&white striped carrying case for Christmas. She doesn't sport her name on a label above her screen, and I did not get asked yesterday morning at church if Tabitha was the name of my computer. Utter silliness, and totally NOT ME!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Four Days and Forty-two Years Old!

Today Mason celebrated four days! My brother, Mason's grandpa, celebrated 42 years! Can I tell you how glad I am that my brother got to hold his living grandson on his birthday? Each moment is so precious, but today maybe moreso. I can't imagine how my brother must be feeling through all this. His little girl, so young, living through the hardest thing she has ever had to face, perhaps the hardest thing she ever will face. How it must tear at his daddy-heart. But what a blessing that today wasn't the day to say goodbye, but to hold life dear and to cherish these moments in each life.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Another Day Older.

When life is broken down into hours, it seems bigger and fuller somehow. That is, if you are celebrating. On the 20 of each hour, I think of Mason and wish him a "Happy Birthday" in my heart. I'm sure if you ask his parents they can tell you just how many hours they have held him.

And today Mason's family celebrated his 3rd day! I got to bring my boys over to the house to meet Mason. Iz didn't really know what to think of a baby. He looked a little shell-shocked. Kevin was quiet, which is a definite first for him! The older boys were glad to finally meet Mason, though I really think they would have liked to hold him.

The mood today was decidedly joyful. At least more joyful than sad since they are home with a baby they never expected to bring home. Amber is getting to feed and change her baby, to have her firstborn experience time with his brother, to read to both of her boys at the some time. Things she has been told for the last four and a half months that she would never be able to do. And she is revelling in the joy of it!

All I have to say (besides what I've just said) is PRAISE GOD!

You can't tell it now, but these two boys were exactly the same size at birth!

Had to throw in this picture of this Mommie enjoying this baby!

PS. Just in case you're wondering, Letha was at a birthday party during our Mason "appointment" today. (yes, we have to make appointments so Amber and Brian don't get overwhelmed, good idea huh?) Anyway, she got to hold Mason at the hospital, and the NILMDTS photographer got a picture of her, I was holding the light, so I didn't get it with my camera.