The part where I gave up.

Until 2014, I have prided myself in being “adaptive”.  5.5 years ago I had our first baby after what (at the time, before having lost a baby) I felt was the worst birth/labor ever., 14 months later we lost our Eisley-girl, 14 months after that the birth of our surprise/gift Shailo, 28 months later we had our sweet Everly!

Aside from having 4 BEAUTIFUL babies… we have moved 8 times, one of which was overseas (during my pregnancy with Everly) where I attended a counseling school. We have each had jobs simultaneously, or we have struggled along as Ted had worked his bum off. Add college for Ted for 3 of those years. Add unpredictable grief. Add all of life’s in betweens…

I felt I had (we had) taken the ebbs and flows of life pretty darn well …*pat pat pat*…

Until 2014… we entered 2014 having just moved back from Amsterdam to no home, nothing but a few boxes of memorabilia in storage. Our plans of moving to Alaska suddenly changed and we found ourselves living with family… again. (They are amazing thankfully, we were so blessed!) We had Everly just shy of 2 months into the new year, and that was INCREDIBLE. We added baby number 3 (4th baby, really. … will I ever be able to just be okay saying the number of kiddos that are with me? Probably not….) and Ted had to go back to work just a few days later. We also went through the process of finding and buying a home. Many  5 hour drives (round trip) to visit homes, and then finally at the end of May we moved and have since planted some roots.

We have a home…

And then it happened… the adaptive, roll-with-the-punches Jami snapped this fall. I have lost it.  I guess I had huge expectations that we would now have time to process the dark times of our life in a healthy way… FINALLY. And that we would have more time as a family period. But honestly, our life is so insanely busy right now, that we barely have had time to process everyday life let alone the really gnarly parts.

Also the whole “keeping the me in mommy…” I haven’t done but maybe 5 things for myself this fall, like blogging, it’s been way too long! Normally by the beginning of a new year I share a post with beautiful moments throughout our year and also a new word for our year. I’m really not in a place to do that right now. My positivity is really quenched. Maybe someday soon, or maybe this is as good as it is going to get this time around. And I’m okay with that…

This is just a season in our lives, one that I know I will look back on and be so grateful for A) making it out alive and B) I hope to make it out a stronger person … and as a stronger family. But I guess I’m kind of over the surviving and I really want to deal with the fact that we. have. lost our. child. Our Eisley-girl.. I want to STOP and just BE sometimes.

It’s ugly, it’s messy, it’s painful. I’m unbearably miserable to be around (Ted basically pushed me out the door to have time alone and to write).  I go to bed feeling guilty and I wake feeling overwhelmed…wondering how I can keep putting my family through this debilitating depression, anxiety and anger. I wish someone could shake me and scream “get ahold of yourself woman!” and I’d just simply snap out of it. But i know it’s not the simple.

I feel guilt and an ache inside when I look at my beautiful little girl as a smile brightens her face… this twinge of guilt knowing that if I continue down this path, I will look back someday, and even now, and realize what a precious time in her life that I just allowed myself to survive, instead of truly live, breathe and enjoy  these precious and fleeting moments, like I used to.

For the first time since I’ve been a mother, and particularly since we’ve lost Eisley, I have completely lost myself… even physically look in the mirror and I cannot believe my eyes. Not just the weight, but my actual eyes, seem different. You know that saying “Your eyes are the window to your soul” … it sounds dramatic but it’s almost like even my body has had enough of me trying to hold everything together over these years. It’s like screw being adaptive! Let’s face this! Every season of life we’ve entered, even when it felt impossible I always been this “I’ve got this” person and I just did it. I don’t even know how, i just thought “Well, I can’t give up” and I (we) made it.

I’ve shared briefly and vaguely on the blog about my struggle with depression. But never this transparent. Perhaps because of the stigma attached to mental illness. And even as I write that “mental illness”, I cringe. It’s like I feel I’m saying “I’m weak” but in reality I know just how strong I’ve had to be. Even when it doesn’t feel that way. I have seen MANY family and friends walk through depression and they are some of the strongest people I know.

I hide it because frankly I feel ashamed.. I feel like there is this Jami everyone thinks they know, but that’s a version of me I want people to see. But even that facade is beginning to crumble. I find myself less and less able to hide… especially in a community where you are around people all. of. the. time. I want to hide away in our home, but I actually can’t, like it’s not even a possibility due to our schedules. Which maybe is a blessing in disguise (no). But I want to just hide away from the world. I don’t want people to see me failing and falling apart. (Yet, here I am sharing! HA!)

This is a part of my journey and my process. It isn’t for attention or for people to feel sorry for me. This is just me. I want to write it out loud (and believe me this isn’t everything). I also want others who struggle with depression and anxiety and anger to know YOU ARE NOT ALONE. No one wants to share this part of themselves. We always want to share the parts we feel we have all together, or appear to have figured out. I have a deep respect for those who are humble and honest with where they are at. It is beautiful to come together in these difficult and dark valleys as well as the mountain top experiences as well.

I think we often fall trap to the lie that if we share these things people will run from us or worse, stay and say something christian cliche when all I want to do is scream Do you not know the same Jesus I do?! He walked through the messy, the gnarly. I know I feel weary of the runners and cliche words hence sharing very little until now. (Unfortunately I have been a runner or a cliche talking fool myself at times!)

I didn’t make a huge list of goals this year, like last year and the years before. I actually have made very few (and that was only with the encouragement of my girl Britt!)

This fall I started believing that I just can’t do this anymore and to be honest, ALL of the members of my family have felt that. Jami – the me, the wife, the friend, the momma, the homemaker, etc…. she’s given up.

But I can’t stay here… I want to start believing that I can again even when it feels like I can’t.

Yet, I also want to be real and honest with where I am at and work through the things I need to as they come and even the moments that have past and are the darkest.

And I want to be gentle with myself along the way (I’m the hardest on myself…)

I also want to do more of the things that are me and that I love and miss.

This is a declaration…

And I’m saying it with faith because I truly don’t know how to get back up from here… but I WILL.

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For my wounded/confused/amazing husband, for my beautiful (probably traumatized) kiddos… for me.

Here’s to a year of BREAKTHROUGH …  here’s to 2015.

Christmas Eve 2014

Christmas has become my favorite holiday since we’ve had kiddos.

It just seems so much more magical and joyous seeing Christmas through their eyes.

I also have loved creating traditions as a new and growing family and even carrying on traditions from our own upbringings.

This December I decided to lay aside a few traditions and we did the traditions that felt effortless and fun, but not an ounce overwhelming. In years past, I found myself to caught up and overwhelmed by too many activities. My deciding factor was the moment I found myself upset, even annoyed, with my kids because of an activity advent calendar we set up that wasn’t going as “planned”. And if we didn’t do one days’ activity, I felt like I was failing.

It was ridiculous. I may pick it back up as they grow older, or maybe not.

More than anything, I want the holidays to be filled with joyous memories, not memories of momma flippin’ out (I already do enough of that :))

One of those we did keep this year was our Christmas Eve tradition of new jammies, a new book and a new game. We get dressed, drive around to see christmas lights, and then come back home for our new story, game and hot cocoa! Here are photos from that evening:

Christmas2014Collage_2 What made this Christmas especially exciting was the pink jammy’d girly pictured. Ever’s first Christmas!
Christmas2014Collage_Christmas2014Collage_3Reality struck as quickly as the camera clicks. :) christmasjammiescollage

Looking back over the years… I am in awe of Chase’s lankiness now and how quickly Shailo’s baby-boy look turned big-boy.

And my oh my, please note how {adored} Ev is by her brothers!

Shailo’s Bug Birthday!

I cannot believe this beautiful blue eyed boy is THREE.ShailosBirthday_2

ShailosBirthday_4 Our Shai is a bug-lovin’ boy! So we planned a bug party for this amazing little guy!

There weren’t a lot of DIYs for this party, it was the EASIEST party to plan and do and also one of the funnest!

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I used a cloud bed sheet as a backdrop and added pictures and shared some stats from his actual birth day.

untitled-228Basically I went really simple:

-Dollar Tree bugs (like ten packs so each kiddo could take some home and some for decor!)

-I used faux grass (also Dollar Tree) in mason jars with faux bugs

-I used little planters (pictured above) with green silverware as “grass”

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- I saved a bunch of glass jars and we were SUPER lucky because we have SO many grasshoppers in our backyard. The kiddos spent an hour (at least) collecting them! It was a blast. Even the dads had fun with that hahaha :)ShailoBirthdayCollage_1

ShailoBirthdayCollage_2-We put a little bit of dirt and bugs in the kiddos pool so they could “dig for bugs”ShailosBirthday_3

ShailoBirthdayCollage_3ShailoBirthdayCollage_4We did a “worm” cake but of course! I think he liked it ;)

It was a dirty, messy, super fun birthday that I recommend to any momma with a boy or girl who loves bugs!
ShailosBirthday_5LOVE THIS AMAZING LITTLE WILD AND CRAZY BOY!

Here’s to many more bug catchin’ years with you, Shai!

This beautiful mess.

IMG_8597.JPGI have to write. Even before the internet, blogs, or Instagram…it’s just the way I’m wired. And for years now, I’ve even written publicly, yes. I know that our journey and my personal walk with grief, posted publicly, has touched other momma’s/families who’ve lost a baby.

I filter out what I feel is too much. But share the rest for you, for them…And call me selfish, but sometimes, just for me. To know I’m not alone, to be heard and mostly I write to share her.

My daughter, our precious Eisley-girl.

My mom recently said something that touched me so deeply. She said since I carried Eisley and knew her more than anyone, that when she read what I’ve written and what I’ve shared about Eisley. She feels like she knew her too. She feels like she knows what she was like and who she was and would have been.

That my sharing had given Eisley a personality for her.

I love that.

I want people to know our Eisley-girl. I still struggle with her being forgotten, and to hear my Madre speak this, felt comforting to my heart.

She’s known. She’s remembered. She’s longed for. She’s missed.

4 years since her death and in 3 days, 4 years since her birth… Where am I at now?

Today I was reflecting on … Well, a lot. For one, I realized how thankful I am that God gave us Chaseyboy first. Before Eisley.

What felt utterly impossible after losing Eisley, became possible when I saw this smile and the life in his eyes in the days, and now years, that have followed Eisley’s death.

Chaseyboy has walked alongside us in our ups and downs in our grief. Learning how to live life after loss has been the most difficult journey Ted and I have had to walk.

I struggle with feeling like loss has changed me as a mother, a wife, and a person, for the worst… I feel more emotional, more sensitive… I already felt like a “sensitive soul” but since we lost Eisley I feel like I feel TOO much. I sometimes wish I could just shut it all off, bury my grief and just move along as if I’m the same as who I was before. But again, even today, I look at this face…

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And I’m moved to want to choose life amidst grief. It seems like such a gnarly contradiction… And in some ways it is, but I’ve realized today, 4 years later, that it’s a mess but a beautiful mess.

It’s our life, our loss, our reality.
Our journey. We face it every day.
And I want to embrace this beautiful mess.

There were seasons where I felt like it was all just messy. And finding the ‘beautiful’ parts were difficult.

I don’t think I have to choose between the two, but instead I need to embrace both the beautiful and the messy.

And that’s exactly what I aim to do from here on out. I don’t wanna beat myself up anymore for it not being more ‘beautiful’ or thinking it’s too ‘messy’ like it often feels.

4 years later and I’m finally saying, beautiful mess, I accept you.

Sharing Eisley (on sharing child loss)

This week Chase asked me about Eisley… again. His curious mind, wondering and trying to process things he either vaguely remembers, or things he’s heard and seen. Pictures, memorabilia, even the breakdowns I’ve had (that I can’t say I’m overly proud of).

I remember before I had her as the fear of losing her became greater and greater, I struggled with wondering, do I tell my almost 14-month-old anything? I mean he wouldn’t even remember, right? I knew he wouldn’t understand but would he feel things?

While I was in labor with Eisley, I was given a nurse who had two stillborn babies,her first baby and her third. She had children between and after her losses and she shared with me that she and her husband had decided to tell her other children. They were a part of their family, and they would celebrate them each year.

But what would we do? And if I don’t share now while he was little, then when? Do I ever?

Then I had Eisley, and to be honest, I didn’t really have time to think things through… clearly, anyways. It was all kind of a blur, a fog…a nightmare.

I think I knew deep down, not sharing about her wasn’t really an option. I felt so close with her, and now I felt like a part of me was missing. How could I not share her?

And even the moments, like this week and and the weeks to come – where the haunting anniversaries arrive, memories resurface, pain feels raw all over again,… I don’t ever regret sharing her…

and I especially don’t regret sharing Eisley with Chase, and now Shailo and some day, Everly.

There is truly an Eisley-shaped hole in our family that not only are Ted and I learning to live with. But also our children. They don’t feel the magnitude of what we felt and feel, but they feel something. Chase remembers some things from that time, though he was little.

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And more than that, they too, are processing the questions that arise in them that their minds can’t wrap around. It’s funny, in a childlike way, he has had some of the same thoughts/questions I’ve had for my Heavenly Father.

Like this last week when he said to me, “I know Eisley is with Jesus… But I wish she could come here and stay in our new home with us.”

Oh my heart.

I found myself wanting to say something comforting like, “but she is in heaven with Jesus and I bet she has a super cool room!”

But I just couldn’t. Validation, Jami, it’s what helped you when you needed it most, “yeah, me too, buddy.”

“Well, we can pretend she’s here!” He said and pulled Everly’s little rocker into the hallway.

I didn’t really know what to do or to say. So I didn’t. I didn’t move the chair for hours. But when the house was quiet as all 3 kiddos napped and I spotted the sun shining perfectly on the little rocker. It just broke me. I fell to my knees, put my head down and wept on to the empty rocker.

Even in these painful moments and memories, I still don’t… And can’t… Regret sharing her with her siblings.

Or sharing her with you along the way.

I had this fear she’d be forgotten, like she’d never existed, when we first lost her.

I wanted people to know of the beautiful little girl we held for 45 minutes. I wanted people to know of who we felt she was and to remember how she impacted us and also those who prayed for her.

To not share who she was, who she is and how she impacted our lives, felt like an injustice. For her, and honestly, for myself too. I always desire authenticity, even here on my
Blog. It has helped my grieving immensely, to write about her life and my struggles since she passed, and how we are moving forward as life is speeding by.

I realized, almost four years later, the ache is still ever-present and though it seems different, it isn’t any easier to process. We are still learning how to live with this ache, with the questions that arise in ourselves and in our kids/

This week I have felt so thankful that we decided to share her life with our other kiddos. And that we don’t hide behind close doors with our grief (though at time, we do). That even though the sudden questions may take us aback, we address them.

I haven’t been proud of many moments in my grief these past four years, but this is an area I am very thankful we allowed.

That we accept this as a part of our lives and say it’s okay to grieve and to talk about her. To ask the questions that linger.

We are learning what it means to share her life, to grieve and rejoice, together. Though each grieves so very differently, it is together as a family. And for that, I am beyond thankful.

I wanted to close the doors on my emotions this year, for some reason that I can’t quite pinpoint. But Chaseyboy’s questions and that moment in the hallway broke me.

I’m thankful. So thankful, as we are less than two weeks away from anniversaries.

Thank you for reading my emo blog post. I guess I just want to be sure I keep sharing. That I don’t close the door to the blog world, too. I know this blog has touched so many grieving mommas. I want to say to you that it’s okay to grieve, it’s okay to share and to be heard and feel validated. Your child’s life happened, your loss happened. Speak it, cry it out, scream it out if needed. Be heard by at least one. I’m not saying you must write a blog in order to validate their life and your loss, but I just want to speak it out for you mommas, especially those who feel weak… don’t shut the doors to your grief, don’t fret that you will mess up your other kiddos if you cry in front of them.  It is okay to share, it might even help those around you too.

Sharing has helped in my healing. Sharing has helped in our family’s healing. It’s still painful, but it does helps.

Love,
J

 

Super 5! (A Super Hero Birthday Party)

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Chase’s ‘Calling All Superheroes’ birthday party was a blast! We asked his friends to dress up as some kind of hero and we had everything from Mr. Incredible to Ninja Turtles, Bat Girls, Super Men, Etc..

Each year I plan the party based upon what the birthday kiddo is interested in (with the exception of their first birthday). Two years ago when I asked Chase what kind of birthday party he would like, he chose Disney-Pixar’s Cars. I remember being momentarily tempted to sway him towards Superheroes so I could throw him a Super Hero birthday party. I’m so thankful I didn’t because this happened naturally this year and it made it that much more fun (because in case you haven’t noticed, he’s REALLY into superheroes and heroes in general.) Normally we are on a limited budget for parties, this time was actually even more tight than ever before so I had to be especially thrifty. I’ll put little notes with pictures for those interested in doing a superhero party in the future :) Here are some pictures from the day.

SuperHeroBirthdayCollage_2 Confession of a party-planning-lovin’ momma: When it comes to parties – I LOVE THEM. I love planning them, picking out games, colour schemes, etc. I just have a lot of fun putting parties together, However, a little secret, when it comes to the food part – I really don’t like any part of it. I get SUPER lazy. I get overwhelmed thinking about baking the day before or of the party. So I don’t. I usually either ask my friend Chey to bake and decorate a cake for me, OR I go to the grocery and pick up pre-made cupcakes (remember the Jake party last year) or pre-made cake and add my own decorations. SuperHeroBirthdayCollage_3SuperHeroBirthdayCollage_1

You can find TONS of super hero style printables online! I just went on pinterest and picked out those that matched our Comic style Super Hero party. I saved boxes over the past couple months and covered them with $4 black wrapping paper. I cut out little “windows” from yellow construction paper and taped them on.
SuperHeroBirthdayCollage_20(iphone pics – thank you Teri for capturing the one of Everly … and for holding her!)

I found this awesome polkadot tissue paper at walmart for almost $2 and used that to decorate as well. I also found superheroes, like Thor here, online here. SuperHeroBirthdayCollage_4

(Chase requested I dress like Wonder Woman. So I did. Even though the juniors shirt arrived and was WAY too tight. LOVE YA KIDDO! hehe)

One of the funnest parts of parties are the games. We made a superhero obstacle course that if the kiddos completed, they earned a certificate and a medal (free printable I found online and I got the medals in a pack from the Dollar Tree!)

SuperHeroBirthdayCollage_6“Hulk Smash” station – I went to purchase Hulk hands online and I just couldn’t handle the $20 price rag. I was SO thankful when I found inflatable Hulk hands at The Dollar Tree!! I spend $2 instead of $20+. Hooray! (They also have A LOT of superhero themed things at The Dollar Tree. I really could have gone out of control. Check it out if you have little Superheroes running around)
SuperHeroBirthdayCollage_8The “bricks” are also boxes we had that i wrapped in $4 red wrapping paper and drew on with a sharpie marker. You could use tissue paper but I think the wrapping paper is more sturdy for the little Hulks that plow through the boxes. SuperHeroBirthdayCollage_16 SuperHeroBirthdayCollage_9SuperHeroBirthdayCollage_19

The kiddos then had to run to The Superman Speed Practice and put on a cap and mask as fast as they could (I think this ended up being difficult for most of the kids so they just had them spin around 3 times with the mask on :))
SuperHeroBirthdayCollage_5The kids would then enter a tunnel on the Gotham side …SuperHeroBirthdayCollage_11and come out the other on the “Spiderman” side. SuperHeroBirthdayCollage_22They would then grab this “Spider Web” spray (also from the Dollar Tree and with a free printable from pinterest) and spray toy villains we had lined up for them. SuperHeroBirthdayCollage_18

Finally, the kids had to complete a “Flash Dash” where they ran as fast as they could through cones we had set up.
SuperHeroBirthdayCollage_7Once they finished they received their Official Superhero certificate and medal :)SuperHeroBirthdayCollage_10We also played a game where the kids had to free the superheroes from ice. I froze 4 figures just the night before (in tupperware) and pulled them out just before the game. (I ran them under hot water to free the ice cube from the tupperware)SuperHeroBirthdayCollage_12SuperHeroBirthdayCollage_21(above: iphone pics)

 I filled spray bottles with hot/warm water and let the kids “save them”. It was a hit!SuperHeroBirthdayCollage_14Batman Chaseyboy opening gifts. SuperHeroBirthdayCollage_15Cannot believe my boy is 5! SuperHeroBirthday-0001-3

Are we missing the point?

(This post was written in August 2014 and posted today, January 2015.)

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Ted basically pushed me out the door just a bit ago, telling me to go to a coffee shop to spend some time alone. To blog or read or whatever I need tonight. (He’s a keeper!)

Is there such a thing as separation anxiety for mommas? Well, if so, I have it. I trust Ted and while I totally know he is capable of taking care of our kids, I may or may not have driven to the nearest McDonalds just 3 min from our house. I’m sitting outside in the parking lot, in our little station wagon. I bought a soda just so I didn’t feel like I was “stealing” their wifi and here I am. :)

While I want to write out some thoughts, I also feel apprehensive as I hop on my little wordpress app tonight. I always hope that the words the spill from my mind to my fingers to this blog will always encourage, inspire and uplift. I never want someone to leave feeling judged, wounded or condemned. With all of that at being said, please, heart my heart and understand that this all always falls back to me as well. I view my blog as a sort of online journal, so I feel everything I write pertains to me first and foremost and then to my readers if he/she so chooses.

I hop on Facebook here and there throughout the week, popping on to check in on friends and family from afar. While I am thankful for the creation of Facebook, and social media in general, as a tool to stay connected, etc… I also have my own inner struggles with it. For me I try to avoid the things I most dislike about social media but sometimes my eyes fall upon words shared publicly and I’m just taken aback.

I tend to brush them off until I read public condemnation, judgements and even hatred strewn from the mouths, well I guess in this case the fingers, of Christians.

While I try to keep short accounts, I too struggle with judgement. I struggle with anger. I struggle with bitterness. I have even struggled with hatred.

Even today as I scrolled through Social media and could almost feel the anger and hatred of others pouring through the screen of my phone (dramatic, but in some cases, seriously!) I find myself struggling with judging those judging others.

How ironic.

How truly sad.

Then I thought, why the heck is this bothering me so much? And it hit me (in the shower before I left, where I have a few seconds to process life without a kiddos tugging on me :)

Are we missing the point? I wonder if Jesus watches with a grieving heart as His children battle EACH OTHER.

What triggered this inner struggle within me today was an article being thrown around Facebook for all to judge. An article a Christian wrote about things that singer/songwriter Michael Gungor has written on his personal blog – which he uses, much like mine, as an online journal. A lot of his honest thoughts, processing and struggles are written there, for all to see, and yes unfortunately, judge.

He doesn’t claim to be a theologian. He shared his thoughts. Then came the attacks. (“Yes, but he has a bigger platform on which he stands!” Does that give us more of a “right” to judge and attack?)

Why didn’t we see his most recent post, about his sweet daughter Lucie and how when she was born they were surprised to see that she has Down syndrome? Why didn’t we read and feel the grief and joy he/they simultaneously feel , as they are in the middle of trying to figure out how to best love and take care of their daughter. Why did we overlook this? Why do we feel we were given a right to overlook this but attack another area of his life?

A part of me grows defensive for the Gungors, and anyone who has been attacked in such dark times in their lives. My own pain in my own life surfaces when I think of what they are going through now, on top of grief/suffering. We had an incident where, in the time of our greatest loss – our Eisley-girl – we had a couple approach us about an issue they felt to address. They overlooked our suffering, and the season we were in, and decided that was the time to address an area they felt we needed to work in. The pain was incredible, and while we have had healing and Jesus himself has spoken to our hearts since then, iit still isn’t right … Why do we do this? I never wish this on anyone.

I can’t help but wonder what Jesus feels when He sees his Beloved tear apart another son or daughter. When he sees us miss the pint of His death and resurrection. When we misinterpret what it means to be the “kingdom of God on earth”.

I think I am more afraid of what it is doing to the world when we proclaim Christ while we turn and judge, or even hate, our brother. I am much more worried about that outcome than when we proclaim to be Christians and share our personal thoughts about scriptures (as Gungor did).

I am not saying that what was shared on his blog was 100% correct. I have my own personal opinions of it myself. But those opinions should never ever turn my Christ-proclaiming-self to turn against another. Tearing them apart.

And for what?

I’ve heard the argument that “we cannot turn a blind eye to sin” and while I can agree, to an extent (and to be honest, here I feel that’s out of context), I feel it is again, missing the heart of Christ. The sad thing about an argument like that is that I haven’t heard of those attacking, in this case Gungor, is a question I want to ask… You won’t “turn a blind eye to sin” but you’ll turn a blind eye to their suffering? To their pain and questions? You can attack an area that threatens you and you condemn and tear apart a brother, but you cannot put aside this judgement and see their struggle, their pain, their heavy burdens?

No. So instead…we alienate them. Turn them away. Share on the platforms we have…how far they’ve turned from Christ and how much we despise them and their “sin”. How fallen they are. Etc.

I wonder what would happen if we truly loved as Jesus did. Who are the people He hung around? Who are those whom He was with most of the time? The broken, the ones brave enough to ask the tough questions, and yes, the sinners (please note I’m not calling Gungor a sinner… )

I just truly feel like we are missing the point of what He came to accomplish. What does it say about who WE are and Who we follow when we decide to tear apart another… And another believer nonetheless.

And what about unbelievers? I often wonder what they think when they see Christians attacking each other? Oh my word. And how is that a testimony of who He is?!

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other
Let us be known by our LOVE for one another.” John 13:34-35 MSG

You don’t have to overlook the “sin”. But for the love, can we please also not overlook the suffering also?! And especially before the attacks. I actually believe that would limit the attacks. I believe that if we truly walked in love, we wouldn’t feel threatened by such things as this, we would reach out and BE CHRIST – walk among “them”, listen, hear their heart, their hurts, their suffering…

1If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
2If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end. 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 MSG

If we have not LOVE we have NOTHING.

Jesus, let us be known by our love for one another!

//

I saw and heard what “everyone” had to say about this topic and is this my take on it. I couldn’t be silent this time around… Suffering upon suffering is NOT uplifting and I do not wish this on anyone.

A letter to 5-year-old Chaseyboy.

10389079_10152282702636989_4637574268146977703_nChaseyboy, our firstborn, it is hard to believe but you are FIVE! I could write and write about the cutest things you’ve said in the past 5 years, one of my most favourite ones was when you were asked what your first and last name and you said “Chasey Boy.” Or the most recent adorable quote where you thought your tball coach was telling you to literally run home and you packed up your hat and glove and headed my way. :) :) :) I could go on and on.

You are a true gift to our family. I am so thankful for who you are. Here is a bit about you currently. 10458081_10152314854131989_5099868355570851270_nYou have a love for learning. And though you can be hesitant to try new things, when you do try them, you give it your all and excel! You also enjoy teaching your brother things, even deep things about life, about God, about the way things work, etc. 10347472_10152293026266989_4506189929693023940_n

You adore your sister, your heart to protect her is already so moving (though at this stage in life you mostly try to protect her from your less-than-gentle little brother Shai) I pray your heart to protect others – not with physical force but with words, will carry far into your adult years.

1507750_10152094207216989_3037894511505048651_nIt’s adorable, but for the past couple of years you’ve said “When I grow up to be a daddy I’ll…” and share the things YOU will do when YOU are a daddy, Like being a daddy is the greatest thing in the world (which you have the best dad, so of course you think that!) I adore it and hope you always feel that way :)10525844_10152262681506989_6889496046084937090_nYou love the outdoors (unless it’s thundering because unfortunately momma has put an unhealthy fear of lightening in you), most moments of your day you’d prefer to spend swinging or playing around the yard, (Above: Here they are “cooking”)

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You are amazing at using your imagination to the fullest and exploring the world with creativity. If momma is doing a project, you want to participate in any way possible! You just LOVE to create.

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5 years in and you still need solitude at some point throughout the day. You enjoy “quiet times” where you usually play or create in your room or Everly’s while brother naps. (You also REALLY love puzzles and legos right now)

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You so desire things to be done “the right way” and when they aren’t, it upset your greatly. While that’s sometimes quite difficult, it’s also amazing to see how much you desire right from wrong and are so willing to pursue the right path (most of the time :))

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Oh how I wanna keep you little, My Chaseyboy. All of you – from your blonde little faux hawk and cute little squinty-eye smile, to the innocent look I see in your eyes, Or the way your giggle when you’re so excited, The way you call “Mom, what super hero am I?” from down the hallway each night.

I know I can’t keep you little, and that you are growing far faster than I had imagined…

My prayer for you is that as you grow you’ll know that you are loved always, that grace abounds and you are forgiven when needed, that you know how to truly loves others and let go of all the rest (hatred, bitterness, anger, etc), that you learn what you are passionate about and pursue that with all of your heart. I pray that you’ll come to understand who you are in Christ, what He’s placed within you and how you can live the fullest, love selflessly, and impact the word greatly.

 

My Chaseyboy. I already see incredible things within you, shining through more and more as you grow. I can’t wait to see the Man you’re becoming! (Well, actually, I’m okay with you slowly down JUST A TAD PLEASE!)

My-heart-all-over-the-place…(an update of sorts)

(This post was written and edited a month ago, just now found the time … or maybe the courage… and decided to publish it.)

To write or to sleep.

We’ve all heard the saying “Sleep while they’re sleeping.” While most nights I wrestle between journaling or sleeping (it’s not even a fair wrestling match anymore; sleep is like BAM and it’s over)… tonight I’m not even torn between the two. I know my heart and mind are full and I’ve got to pour it out.

I know I also want to post this one publicly.

So here I am… a bit of an update but more than anything my raw heart. Our hearts. Where we are at… the really REAL stuff – like I like it. :) You know me… TMI and “OMG did she really just post that for the whole world to read!” Yep, this is me. Here I go again.

Tonight, on the drive home from dropping Ted’s mom off at the airport… we had it out with our almost 5-year-old which led to hurtful words spat and tears to fall from Ted and I. PARENTING IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART, let me tell ya.1540466_10154127599490727_1274122521_o

As we ended the argument conversation with Chase, I watched his red and teary face in the rear view mirror, I felt this all-too-familiar feeling and literally grasped “at my heart”. I remembered the tragic loss a fellow blogging momma had, just a few weeks back. Her bright and bubbly 3-year-old son’s life was suddenly, and tragically taken when we was struck by a passing vehicle. Tonight, as we finished arguing, I remembered their story. And I felt oh so challenged,,, even though these moments of arguing, quite frankly, suck… I want them.

I want all of the moments, not just the fun and easy ones, but the ones that make me struggle as a parent. The ones where my sensitive soul takes over and I cry over the hurtful words that my kid speaks (yes, sometimes I do). I want all of these moments, I was struck tonight at how horrible our drive home felt, we felt defeated and yet as I looked from my seat to his and saw his eyes, I couldn’t help but to be thankful. Reminded that even these moments that feel so ugly and heart wrenching: they are life.

PRECIOUS LIFE.

Remembering the couple’s story causes me to revisit my own grief. Time is so fleeting and oh so precious. LIFE is. It takes me back to the hospital room, 7 months pregnant, where I was told our Eisley-girl had passed away within me. I feel this ache in my chest and hot tears in my eyes even now as I type this. It’s grief and it takes me back, again and again and again – to the reminder of how PRECIOUS our time and our life is. And that we need to cherish it and live NOW. Live for the now, not for the “laters” in life.

We have lists – written or imagined – of the “somedays” and the “laters” in our lives…

On our drive home (and after said Family Feud) The Sweetest Name by the United Pursuit Band burst loudly through our speakers.

I will sing of

how you draw me

out of darkness

into Glory

Quite emotional after a) dropping my Mother-In-Law off at the airport and b) the seriously difficult “brawl” with Chaseyboy on the way home… I just felt like sobbing when this part of the song rang through our van.

And I just felt totally rocked with YES, THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE WANT FOR OUR LIVES.

After the draining conversation with Chase, we just hit a rock bottom of sorts. Sudden moments like tonight where we’re caused to push aside the “busyness” of our lives and address difficult and painful things. Where suddenly we were forced to FEEL.

When we remember what we value and what we long for. When we remember what we know we are to be doing.

Which leads me to our NOW and what we are doing in the next years to follow…

We’ve been doubting our move and next season in life pretty much since it became real and since we’ve stepped our feet into our home. OUR HOME (still so surreal!). It’s set in stone, it’s happened. We are here and here to stay for a while. Roots, people. The Davis Family has actually landed. I can just hear the gasps :)

But after a night like tonight, where we’ve been forced to set aside our busy life and face emotions (which obviously led to multiple emotions felt, ha!) we feel as though our Maker took this time to remind us of what He’s called us to and to breath a sort of peace into our lives again. We can embark on this new season, new journey, with confidence.

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So where?,…you might ask…

Ready for this… after an almost 5 year hiatus, we are jumping back into YWAM (Youth With A Mission)! After A LOT of thought, time, energy and multiple visits to the base (oh, and even a little bit of prayer ;))… we’ve decided to step back into YWAM at the Colorado Springs base in Colorado.

What happened to “We are moving to Thailand fall 2014!!!!!!!!!”

     Simply put (and oh my, this is humbling) we are not prepared. It is currently not practical for us to fly overseas and settle in Thailand- even though it is our ultimate goal. We do not have anything nailed down for our vision yet. We have also decided it is the absolute best thing for our family to stay in one place for at least 3-5 years (maybe more) We would like to spend the next years focusing on getting our family prepared for Thailand. YWAM Colorado Springs is equipped for this very thing.

We actually feel like God’s saying, “Hey, I put this dream and passion into you guys… but let’s spend some more time developing and growing the vision… and honestly, first, take the time to focus on your family. Your ministry and dreams will follow.” 

After a lot of thought and prayer, we feel YWAM Colorado Springs is where we will take the steps necessary to prepare us for our future. (Another cool thing about the base: Thailand is one of their focus nations!)

While in Amsterdam, we felt our eyes were opened to some vision in us in regards to family and a big eye opener was Chaseyboy, who really struggled and has struggled with every move. I know a part of that is age, but we also feel that a large factor is the constant change and inconsistencies. It’s time to plant some roots for the kiddos and to figure out some things in our personal lives (hi, vague!) and to beginning nailing down plans IN Thailand from afar.

Ted will be working mainly in the YWAM Colorado Springs communication department and also still work as a wedding photography with American Wedding Group and his own personal work.

I will still be at home with the kiddos, but will now have my hand in the homeschool co-op they run at YWAM Colorado Springs. I’m taking this summer and fall to decide if there is anything more I feel I should be a part of at the base – there is SO much opportunity there! Right now, I feel like my main “ministry” is my kids and learning how to navigate the parenting waters. So that’s what I’m focusing on currently.

We will be living on 50% our own income and 50% support. .

We feel so very hopeful for this season we’ve now entered. We haven’t shared “HEEEEY, WE’RE GOING BACK TO YWAM” probably due to fear of man. But we are now sharing… because it’s really happening … and you’ll find out soon anyways if you haven’t already … ;)

No really, tonight we are sharing because we are confident. We want to walk forward in confidence on the spirit He’s placed in us to decide THIS IS BEST for our family right now.

There has been an incredible doubt and fear in this step we’ve taken, leaving behind Ted’s very good paying job at the bank to join YWAM again. In some ways, the enemy has tempted us to view this as a step backwards – which it is NOT. I’m declaring it and sharing it :)

Anyways… a wordy blog to share an update and that life is PRECIOUS and time is fleeting.

Let’s push aside the unnecessary busy of our lives and focus on LIVING this precious life to the fullest – whatever that means to you or yours personally.!

Thank you for taking the time to read this novel.

Much love,

-J

 

 

 

 

The birth story of Everly Selah Davis.

The birth story of Everly Selah Davis.

Though this was my 4th birth, 3rd C-section and 2nd planned C-section… my nerves were still undone just a few hours before the scheduled birth of our precious little girl!

Saying goodbye to my kids, though obviously temporary, is still difficult and very bittersweet. I kissed my little guys and Ted and I headed out. “Next time you see momma, your baby sister will be here!”
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I have to mentally prepare myself as best I can before heading into the hospital: the sites, the smells, even some of the same nurses, etc. It is the hospital that I’ve had my best and my worst moments of my life in. The birth of our firstborn son July 18, 2009 and then the death and 3 day labor then birth of our first daughter September 17, 2010. Some have asked why we don’t switch hospitals and find different doctors. But the truth is… I trust our doctor and he’s been through the most difficult pregnancy and birth with us, I couldn’t ask for anyone else to help me deliver my babies.

This time around, I had a lot more peace than I did when I arrived to have Shailo, just 14 months after the loss of Eisley. I felt ready to have Everly. I felt ready to meet our little girl.

I checked in 2 hours prior to my surgery (as required) and soon began the poking and prodding. I was priding myself in the difference between 22-year-old me getting an IV put in when in labor with Chase and how well I was taking it a few years and a few babies later …”taking it like a champ”. However, before I could pat myself on the back too much, the nurse dug and dug around and I almost passed out. My world went gray and cloudy, noises sounded funny and I felt like I could literally hear each beat of my heart. They waved a strong scent in front of my nose and my eye popped open. I could hear my nurses LAUGHING… “That was the LOWEST I’ve ever seen anyone’s blood pressure fall without them passing out!”

Oh, gee, glad I could make you LAUGH. Haha! I came back around, somewhat glad for a temporary distraction to keep me from watching the hand tick on the clock in my hospital room. Has it been 2 hours yet? Ugh, 45 minutes (or so) to go. I haven’t been able to eat OR drink anything since 10pm the night before and I’m thirsty… so they feed me ice chips. Mmm. And then just when I think my throat couldn’t possibly get any more dry… they offer me a shot of the nastiest gunk… ironically to help ease the feelings of nausea that could come with meds and anitheisia they would soon give me.

Everly-0002Dr. Hill and the anesthesiologist gave Ted permission to photograph the birth! And this time they gave him even more free reign!
Everly-0003Everly-0004(when Ted showed me pics of the birth I saw this pic and it made me cry!)Everly-0005Preparing to stick a big ol’ needle in my spine. Everly-0006Everly-0007(THIS is Dr. Hill. He looks intense and has a super dry sense of humor, but let me tell ya, this man rocks. It kind of took me until we walked through pregnancy and bed rest with Eisley to see his heart, but I couldn’t ask for a better guy to deliver our babies!) Everly-0008The room is freezing, though at this point that is the last thing on my mind. Fear GRIPS me as I lay on the table waiting with baited breath, to hear her cry.
Everly-0009I look calm, but inside I’m anything but. Though it’s not painful, I can still feel them pushing and pulling. I literally feel like someone is sitting on my chest, I can’t breath which by now (remember, 3rd c-section!) I know this means Everly is on her way out!Everly-0011And then it happens. I hear her scream.

(I love these moments Ted captured.)

And then I breath and I cry with relief.

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Dr. Hill pops her head and body over the blue curtain that separates us, and I get my first peek at the beautiful life I’ve waited to see for months.

Welcome to the world, Sweet Ever!

Everly-0013Ignore the needle (Or perhaps I just pointed it out to you)… take in my face. OH MY HEART. Everly-0014Everly-0015Everly-0017Smaller than her brothers.
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They allow skin to skin in the operating room now (awesome, right?!) Although, and I’m still not sure why, I wasn’t able to do that. They sewed me up and I wasn’t able to hold her until I was in the recovery room. I was shaking and falling asleep (due to the meds) so it was probably for the best. When I did get to hold her, she nursed right away and did amazing! I didn’t want her to leave my arms. Everly-0020Proud daddy. Everly-0021We were so thankful they allowed my Mother-in-law Anisa to be in the room. She wasn’t allowed with Shailo and that was a bit devastating for her.
Everly-0022Everly-0023First official bath. The nurses kept commenting on how perfect her colouring was! Pink little lady!Everly-0024Meeting my dad, Grandpa Matt, who is head over heels for her.Everly-0026Meeting her brothers.Everly-0025

Proud brothers! Chase’s told Shailo, “I wish you could have a sister, Brother!” as he held her. Umm, buddy, you’ll be sharing her :)

Everly Selah’s birth day was one filled with excitement, joy and peace.

Words can’t express how thankful I am that our Father allowed another beautiful girl to be apart of the Davis clan. While she doesn’t replace Eisley in any way – they both hold such a special, unique place in this momma-heart of mine – He has already used Ever to help heal areas in my life that I didn’t think possible. We are so grateful for this precious little bundle!

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Now we’ve blinked and our sweet girl is 4 months old!