Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Moving Week…

Not to a new town or a new house...

"MOVING": ** caused by a change of residence or location.        
** producing a deep emotional reaction, especially sadness or compassion.

Corey and I are in the process of moving our bedroom upstairs. That might not sound like a huge deal for most people, but I’m finding many obstacles along our way…

First of all, the room we are moving in to hasn’t been used as a bedroom for several years, so it has somewhat been accumulating treasures (AKA Junk!). SO… trying to go through the stuff that has been stored in there is like finding pieces of our history that are just begging me to re-live. I’ve found belongings from Taylor’s pageant days as 2001 Miss Nebraska Petite-Princess and 2003 Miss Nebraska Princess, I’ve found objects from Justen’s boy-scout days, all the way up to him getting his Eagle Scout. I’ve found Taylor’s princess things, Justen’s Berenstein Bears books, Taylor’s Polly Pockets, Justen’s Hot Wheels cars, Taylor’s Winnie-the-Pooh, Tea Pot & Shamrock collections, Justen's Children's Encyclopedia Set, the rag doll my Grandma Phillips made me and several other prized possessions. And as I re-live each of these items it has been an honored piece of our past and it has also been a constant reminder how I will never have these memories with Calleigh Joy. I know I’m really hormonal right now, but I have been on the verge of tears since we started this course of action.

Second of all, we were planning on this move upstairs while I was pregnant with Calleigh. The other room upstairs is her bedroom - the bedroom that we still have set up, the bedroom that still has her few tiny diapers in it, the bedroom that still has her crib, changing table, pack-n-play, clothes & stuffed animals in it. The bedroom that we originally wanted to move upstairs to so we could be closer to her, to hear her cries, to get her in the middle of the night, to pick her up out of her crib in the mornings as the sun came streaking in the new windows that Daddy put in her room. Well, on January 18th, 2011 all of those plans of moving upstairs were put on hold as our precious daughter that was so anticipated and loved was born straight in the arms of Jesus. It has taken me over thirteen months to be ready to make this move.

So why are we even scheduling this move now? Well, the “procedure” didn’t work this time, but we still have hope that it will in the future. So even though our hopes of CJ staying in her room have been crushed, we are hopeful that CJ will have a baby brother or sister that will make great use out of her beautiful room and belongings. AND Justen will be home on leave in a couple weeks! This did pose a problem when he came home for a couple weeks last April – no where for him to sleep! Taylor took over his room (and painted over the Nebraska Red & White with her favorites – Orange & Green) shortly after he left for the U.S. Coast Guard, and with the other upstairs room being used as a “treasure/history-storage-place”, we ended up placing his old mattress on the floor for him. Well, we are bound and determined to offer something a bit more ‘homey & cozy’ for him this year. With our grief not quite as raw as it was last year (but still there, as I’m convinced that it will never ‘go away’), we decided to go ahead with our move upstairs and to turn our bedroom we are in now to an office/spare room. So… the clock is ticking!

As you can tell, this truly has been a moving (change of location) week as well as a moving (deep emotional reaction) week! Thank God this is NOT my home! :)

Peace and Love to All!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Plans. Your Plans. Whose Plans?

OK, I admit it again – I am NOT a patient person. (I think I made that quite clear in my last post.) And as I wait ‘not so patiently’ I also admit to making plans. Plans for future endeavors, plans for my family (and hopefully future family members), plans for what we will do when Justen comes home on leave for three weeks, plans for what needs to be done in the next two and a half weeks until he gets home, plans, plans, plans.

I am currently doing a Bible Study with a group of ladies on-line called “Dwelling in His Presence” by Cynthia Heald. I’m a couple days behind (oops, I seem to confess way too many of my short-comings on here) but the study I was doing today started off with the verse Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

I am quite familiar with this verse because when my brother and sister-in-law’s middle son was born they chose this as his life verse. Whenever I see or hear this verse I think about Ben. Until today. Well, I still thought about Ben, but I also thought about my situation right now, and what happened this morning, and what has been happening this past year and a half.

I realized a couple days ago that it has been a year and a half since I found out I was pregnant with Calleigh, and I thought about all of the plans we had for her life. Then I got to thinking about how all of our plans changed when she passed away. There would be no first smile, no first teeth, no food that she wouldn’t like, no first steps, no bruised and skinned knees… Then today when I read this verse it hit me – These were all MY plans, not GOD’S plans for her. God had a much greater plan for her, and it included taking her straight to eternity where she would not have to suffer for one second on this earth. Is this the way I planned her life? NO! Do I understand why God chose to take her? NO! But I do appreciate the knowledge that she will be in eternity with Him, that she did not have to chose between sin and God, and that now I know there is no possible way that she could have made the devastating choice to not accept His perfect plan of salvation for her. She is safe and secure in the arms of Jesus, and for that I am truly grateful!

If anyone read my post “Patience is a… Virtue?” you are quite aware that Corey and I are trying to get pregnant again. Eleven days ago we made the trek to Omaha for an IUI procedure that was suppose to help our chances significantly. I was given a pregnancy test to take home and the instruction when we left was to take the test on February 18th, then they told me what to do either way that the test came out. Well, since I already had a test at home I thought I would go ahead and test a few days early too, and against the better judgment and advice of my husband and a close friend that has ‘been there and done the research’ I decided that my first test would be on February 15th. So when we were going to bed last night I asked Corey to wake me up a few minutes before he would have to leave for work so I could take the test while he was still home. (First of all let me say that 5:55 a.m. is just way too early for sane people to be up.) So, I took the test – negative. Negative, I was absolutely sure that it would be positive. I felt at peace that it would be positive. I felt God’s presence in this decision, this procedure, this adventure. As a matter-of-fact I was searching on-line about being two to four weeks pregnant (yes, I was still making my plans) and I read that at 2-3 weeks the baby is the size of a poppy seed, so we already nicknamed our unknown pregnancy child “Poppy”. Negative. As I looked at Corey with tears in my eyes he gently reminded me that I was testing three days early and even if it did not work this time that we would give it another shot. (pun intended since he really did have fun in a twisted sort of way giving me shots for a week) But NEGATIVE – really Lord? This was NOT the way this plan was suppose to go! My plan was for the procedure to work the first time. Financially that would have been the best! My plan was to give birth very soon after my 42nd birthday. My doctors don’t think it’s wise to try for much longer than that. My plan, my plan, my plan.

Then today I read Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD.” Oh yes, God’s plan. I kinda forgot about that… GOD’S plans are for GOOD and NOT for DISASTER. GOD’S plans are for our FUTURE and our HOPE.
And then I heard that small still voice inside my head that said, “Will you give Me your plans?” “Will you trust Me for MY plans?’” “I have only your good in mind.” “My plans are always for the best.”

And then I had a peace, knowing that His plans will be for my best. Yes, it still hurts that my test this morning was negative, but I will choose to trust in the One who Made me and holds my future in His palm!

And I also choose to believe that this is why I am a few days late in my Study! God knew I would need this one today! :) (yep, that might be an excuse, but at least you thought about it!)

Peace and Love to All!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Patience is a . . . Virtue?

That’s how the saying goes – and quite frankly I agree with it, I just don’t seem to have any. Patience that is. Not that I haven’t been given ample opportunities in my life to display patience, and I surely have never “prayed” for patience. (We all know what happens when we do that, we are given more than enough circumstances to learn patience. Right?) But for me patience does not come easily. I tend to want things RIGHT NOW – whether it be; answers to life’s questions, test results, directions for our survival, a fixed computer, winning maid services for fifty years, having a personal chef… whatever, I just want it RIGHT NOW!

Since I have no patience I thought I’d look up ‘virtue’ to see if it was something I really wanted anyway, or if I could reason myself out of it once again… Well Nope. ‘Virtue’ is all good stuff. Stuff I want to be. Stuff I want for my life. Stuff I want for my family. Some of the words were: Asset, Good Quality, Good Feature, Desirable Quality, Good Value, Good Worth, High Merit & High Caliber. WOW! So now I’m convicted!

For the past little-over-a-week our computer at home has not been working very good. It will turn on, connect to internet, work fine for about 3-4 minutes, then completely freeze up or turn itself off. Then I have to hold in the button to shut it down, turn it back on, log it back in and then it works – for another 3-4 minutes! Not a very patience-inducing exercise. If I was in the middle of typing something it was then gone forever! It’s also so hard to figure out where you were when you have to keep starting over every couple minutes. I’m pretty sure I’ve said some non-virtuous things to the computer this past week. I’ve done scans, down-loads, system restores, defragmenting, you name it – I’ve tried it! (Except for my solution of throwing it up against the wall, which Corey quickly nips in the bud.)

Also a week and a day ago was the conclusion of Corey giving me shots. Even though I still have the bruises to show for them (one of them looks exactly like a heart and although it’s faded from it’s purple/blue shades to a yellowish/olive green color it is still very visible) we are now not-so-patiently waiting to see if they worked! Well, technically I guess the shots worked for what they were designed to do, but now we have to wait to see if in the big picture of things they worked. And I will admit, I’m not waiting too patiently for that either!

Many people have asked us about the shots and some people have guessed. Yes, they were hormone shots. We were encouraged by our OB doctor in Lincoln to at least give a fertility specialist in Omaha a try. He said because of our "age" we should procrastinate no longer! We have been trying to have a baby since last April, and I haven’t been very patient with myself about that either. Well, after working with our OB, then doing all of the testing for our new Omaha doctors we were finally ready to give this a shot (pun intended!). So last Friday evening Corey and I headed up to Omaha with the forecast of 12-14 inches of snow predicted for overnight Friday and all day Saturday. We arrived while it was still raining and wondered what we would wake up to the next morning. The meteorologists finally got one right as we awoke to several inches of the white stuff blanketing the ground, streets, vehicles, sidewalks… We were thankful that we had made the decision to go up the night before. Corey’s appointment was at 7:40 a.m. and mine was at 9:00 a.m. Under normal circumstances it would take 2 minutes to get to the office from the Comfort Inn that we were staying at, but of course with the current conditions Corey left in plenty of time for his appointment. When he got back we went down to the lobby for breakfast (I love those waffle machines! Fill up the cup, pour it in, close the handle and flip it over, presto!) then we decided to leave in plenty of time for my appointment. At 8:40 a.m. Corey went to pull the truck around to the front door to pick me up and as I was getting in he said “did my truck just die?” Sure enough, it did. Corey has never had a single problem with his truck before. We were NOT going to panic. (Easier said than done!) How awesome was it that God put a couple guys at our hotel that were there for an auto auction? One of them had jumper cables and flipped things and checked things (obviously I know a lot about vehicles) and found a problem and fixed it! So, we were on our way. I had already called the office to let them know the situation and inform them we’d be a few minutes late and my doctor said she would drive to the motel and pick me up! Also, the lady at the front desk said she’d send the maintenance man to come get us. How cool that everything worked out!

I went in for the “procedure” and everything went as clock-work. The shots worked so well, I had at least 4 follicles that were mature, all test looked great, everything seemed to be at the optimal levels, BUT (here’s a BIG but) there are no guarantees. Of course I know this. I do. I really, really do. But here is my current struggle – I’m having a hard time being PATIENT waiting to find out if it worked. So, I wait. And pray. And learn whatever it is that God wants me to learn from this. And I mark off the days on my calendar. And then I wait some more. I’m suppose to ‘test’ the 18th, but I’ve already decided that I have two tests so I’ll test a couple days before that too. (Hey, I already admitted to NOT being patient!)

Why did I just spell that out? Hmmm. Well probably because I've said from the very beginning that my life is an open book and God can use our lives to help whomever He sees fit. Also because we could use all the prayers we can get! I already said there are no guarantees and IF it works I also have a much higher risk of miscarriage, so with all that in to consideration I would love to know people are praying for us.

We are NOT trying to replace Calleigh - I don't want people to think that. I would give anything to have her back here with us. I guess it's not something I can really put in to words how to describe why I want a baby. But I can assure everyone that our prayer from the very beginning has been "Lord, fulfill our desire or take our desire away". The desire to have a baby is stronger than ever, so we move forward in obedience and trust God with our every step. Through lots of prayer and (hopefully) learning some patience, we will be able to share this journey with our friends and family.

Romans 5:3-5 ~ Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Oh yeah, and the good news is - We still aren't as old as Abraham and Sarah! :)

Peace and Love!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Board Stuff – Not Bored Stuff

When Calleigh passed away we had her precious little body cremated. This decision was not made lightly and probably the most influential part of this conclusion was the fact that Justen was floating around in the Pacific Ocean somewhere around Central America at the time she died. We knew it would be a hardship for him and his ship-mates if he were to be air-lifted off the cutter and transported back to Nebraska in time for her memorial service so we opted to have her cremated and then have a burial of ashes service when he was able to take leave in April, 2011. With that thought we went through the process of picking out and purchasing a plot in our local cemetery in March. We called and met the couple from the cemetery board that gets together with families and walks around to help them make the purchase of the plots. I remember thinking “This is NOT something that a parent should have to do – pick out a cemetery plot for their child!”

Shortly after we made that purchase and had her burial on April 17th (Palm Sunday), I saw a flyer hanging on a bulletin board in the bank. The flyer was advertising the need for numerous individuals for several committees in our village. Then what should my wandering eyes read, TWO POSITIONS OPEN FOR THE CEMETERY BOARD! I knew right a way that this was something Corey and I should do. I knew that we would be spending quite a bit of time at the cemetery anyway, and who better to look after it and assure that it is well-kept than someone with a personal stake in its sacred ground? I mentioned it to Corey and he knew how important it would be for us to get involved in this, so he told me to make it happen. After a couple calls, a few forms to fill out, and a town board meeting where our acceptance had to get voted on – Corey and I became official members of the Rosewood Cemetery Board in Palmyra, NE.

A couple meetings later and it was election of officers night. Since we were the “new kids on the block” (literally and figuratively!) we had just been sitting back taking it all in… when all of a sudden I heard my name called to be the new secretary. Wait, what?

“Are there any other nominations. No. Ok, let’s vote. All in favor. Aye. Opposed. None.”
That was it. No discussions. I went from not even thinking about cemeteries, to buying a plot in the cemetery, to burying my daughter’s ashes in a cemetery, to getting on a cemetery board, to becoming the secretary of the cemetery board – all in a matter of a couple months!

When I became the new secretary I was given a HUGE book that had a bunch of “secretary stuff” in it. There was also quite a bit that had nothing to do with being the secretary, I just think it needed a home so they thought the huge secretary’s book would be the perfect habitat for all of the odds and ends. OK, so that brings me to last night… The president called and she was looking for a document that she knew she had someplace and thought it might be in my huge secretary’s book. (To be quite honest I hadn’t even looked at all of the papers in there except the few in the front that actually had to do with the couple of meetings we had since I took over the job.) She told me what she was looking for and I quickly leafed through the huge three ring binder. When I didn’t locate it right a way I promised her I’d look more carefully for it and get back to her. After all, my fajitas were in the skillet burning!

After supper my thoughts did not go back to my huge secretary’s book until I was ready to collapse in to my bed for the night. When I saw it sitting there I promised myself I would take the time to look through it as soon as I could the next day.

So Today… Wow, what a treasure is in that book! I had such a good time looking through the old papers, newspaper clippings, hand-written meeting notes. I enjoyed seeing the former members of the board (many who are deceased now) and reading about when the Palmyra’s Rosewood Cemetery was established:

The year was 1878. The new rail-road had been laid and the village of Palmyra moved so it could be right by the new railroad. (YES! They moved the whole town!) The former cemetery (known as Pioneers Cemetery) could now be found a couple miles south and one mile east of the new location of the village… So they did the logical thing - They made a new cemetery. Two different places were suggested and it was decided to go with the 10 acres that could be bought for $10 an acre on May 18th, 1878. The people that helped make this happen were given their pick of the “premium lots” and everyone was allowed to move their deceased relatives from the old cemetery to the new one if they chose to.

Mrs. Rebecca Eads was quoted when Rosewood Cemetery commenced (it’s unclear if she just said this or it’s actually printed at the cemetery):

“As you are now, so once was I,
Remember me as you pass by;
As I am now so you shall be,
Prepare for death and follow me.”

According to the records:

  • Anna Blanche Moore – 3 year old daughter of John O. & Mary Moore – was the first to be moved from the old cemetery to the new one.
  • Joseph Francis – 1 1/2 year old son of William & Luana Francis – was the first new burial in Rosewood Cemetery on July 6th, 1879.

That really got me thinking… mothers have endured the heartbreak of losing a child for centuries. Why, then, do people NOT talk about it? Why do people feel uncomfortable “bringing it up”? It’s not like this is new and uncharted territory. I long to hear Calleigh’s name spoken to me. I adore seeing it in writing. I love when people “bring it up”. I may have tears in my eyes while we talk about it, but I will love you forever! So many people do NOT bring it up fearing that they will stir up some suppressed feelings. Well, guess what? My feelings for my daughter are not suppressed, they are at the forefront of my thoughts all the time. Just as, I’m sure, all of your and my live children are. As a matter of fact when people that are suppose to be close to me don’t bring it up, I feel like I must not matter to them since someone so dear to me apparently doesn’t matter to them. (It is a vicious cycle – but completely normal for my ‘new normal’ I’ve been told!)

Later on in my Huge Secretary’s book it mentioned that several years later Rosewood Cemetery went in to a state of disrepair. Some of the plot owners took care of their own sites, but others did not and no one took care of the unassigned, empty plots. Mrs. Ramona Ogram took this matter in to her own hands and started a group of mothers that acted as the cemetery care-givers on April 17th, 1914.

She was quoted as saying, “It has well been said that a mother hears the call of her child long years after the little life may have ceased.”

What powerful words. I would venture to say that she probably has a little one buried in Palmyra’s Rosewood Cemetery, too. I can tell you, I certainly feel a special kin-ship with these women today, and I can definitely sympathize with their heartaches. And in the spring I plan on looking for Anna Moore and Joseph Francis’ stones at Palmyra’s Rosewood Cemetery!

Peace and Love to All!