Spring Pics

>> Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I have been doing a lot of talking lately.. well last week anyway. I thought I would even it out by sharing some spring pics. All these pics have been in the last week. But then again, spring is just barely making an appearance around here anyway.

I fortuitously won a free session with an amazing local photographer (Lunel Photography). I have only seen a few of the pictures so far, but they are just awesome! These are pictures that our family will treasure for years to come. I feel so, so blessed!!

A very cold "spring" picnic at Micah's tree on his birthday. Some of my wonderful friends joined me and we managed to brave the cold for an hour+. It was a great way to celebrate Micah and all the other blessings I have in my life.

My sweet niece Gracie wearing the little bunny hat I got for her on Easter.

My neice Emilee munching on Easter candy. Don't you just love her eyes! She is such a doll!!

Caden in the egg hunt in Grandma's basement.

Daddy and his boys on Easter Sunday

Another from our session with LunelPhotography- once I get the CD of all the images, I will share more. I just wanted to show off their cute Easter ties. :)

It did warm up a bit on Sunday. Enough for me to get in a long run and have some time to sit outside with the boys and play with bubbles. We were all grateful for a relaxing Easter and some nice time together as a family. We even grilled some steaks for our non-traditional Easter dinner.
Micah's tree- on the verge of bloom. I truly love spring!
(I just wish it were a bit warmer and drier this year!)

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>> Saturday, April 23, 2011

Go on up to the mountain of mercy,
To the crimson perpetual tide;
Kneel down on the shore,
Be thirsty no more,
Go under and be purified.
-Beautiful Scandalous Night

God, in His infinite wisdom, spared Abraham his son.
God, in His infinite wisdom, did not spare mine. Nor His own.

Through Christ on the cross, we see the very face of God.
And last night, as I knelt at the cross, I felt Him near. As near as seven years ago when I knelt in this very room to plead for mercy and healing. And while the healing did not come, His mercy still flows.

So here I am again, pleading for His mercy and healing. This time for my own soul. Lord, heal this wound as I touch the cross where you were wounded for me. Smooth the rough places in my soul, the places that cause me to not be the daughter/wife/mother/sister/friend that I know you require of me.

Infuse me with Your peace. Your mercy.
It is not an accident that today it has been seven years. Seven is significant.
I cannot do this alone. The healing, the mothering, the forgiveness.

Lord, guide my heart and thoughts and soul. As I kneel here again, I place my heart back in Your Hands. I have kept it hidden for long enough. Heal this ache and the broken places inside. Heal the ways I have broken other things because I could not let go of my own brokenness.

Through His pain, mine is healed. Through His love, my heart is restored. The power of the cross fixes my broken places.

For every disappointment
For every broken heart
For every one in darkness - a light

For every wounded person
For every tired mind
For hopeless situations - a hope

The cross still stands
The cross still towers
His blood still cleanses
Eternally the same

For everyone who's desperate
For everyone who's lost
For everyone who's fearful - a shelter

For every painful question
For everyone's regrets
For every cry of 'Why God?' - an answer

The cross still stands.

-Still (by David Hind)

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>> Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What a dreary day. This whole week actually has been nothing but gray skies and cold weather. It kinda sucks actually. What happened to spring?
In other news, today is Micah's birthday.

I stopped at the tree last Friday after having a conversation with some dear friends the night before. The emotions of all this have really snuck up on me this year. I felt totally unprepared to dive with my friends into what year seven looks like in this grieving journey and yet I didn't want to miss my chance to process it with the people who love me most. So at the tree last Friday and then again today, the emotions finally all caught up with me. Sometimes, what my soul needs is just to let go and cry a little. Or a lot. Holding the longing in just makes it worse.

I told a friend today that I don't miss my baby Micah anymore. I guess I have moved past the stage of grief where you continually re-live the tragedy and feel angry that there wasn't a different outcome. The ache I feel here in year 7 is just this unfixable longing for my family to be complete. I mean, I love my two boys with every fiber of my being. They bring me more joy than I ever thought imaginable. But if I am being totally honest, I seem to always feel a sense that something is not quite whole. Especially this week. This is the only week of the year that I want to get pregnant and have another baby. Like I think that will somehow make the feeling of lacking go away.
What I really want, I can never have. I want Lucas to have his older brother. Someone to hold his hand and help him navigate this life the way he does for Caden. Lucas is such a sensitive, intuitive kid. He has been telling people all day today that it is his brother Micah's birthday and that we are sad because he isn't here but that we will see him in heaven someday. His little face just looks at me with a knowing. A knowing he didn't get from living through it. He just knows. He gets the hurt and longing in ways I cannot even fathom or describe. But he cuddles up to me and takes my hand or just wants to be close, like he needs the comforting too. I sometimes feel so unequipped to help Lucas navigate his emotions- heck, I can barely navigate my own sometimes. And I can just see how having his older brother around would ease his little soul.

Truthfully, it breaks my heart into a million pieces that Lucas does not have Micah, that I don't have him. When I imagine having a seven year old running around my house, loving on his pup and his little brothers, I just know in my soul that THAT is what would make me feel whole. But it is THAT that I cannot have. So this longing, this deep ache in my soul, remains unfixable. I can't imagine that this stage of the grieving will ever go away. Maybe it will feel less something... well, just less.... in years 8 and 9 and 10 and ... But I don't expect to wake up one day and say "Wow, I'm glad to be over that." But yet, in year 1 I didn't think I would ever have children or be able to go on with life as usual. And yet, I have 2 amazing boys and a semi-"usual" life. So who knows.

Do I sound like a broken record? I feel like one. Just turn me off if you have heard this song too many times. I'll play a new song soon, most likely.

Oh, and I am getting a tattoo. Yep.

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Things I Learned in CR

>> Sunday, April 10, 2011

Given a certain level of humidity, even I can have curly hair.
I could live just fine on beans and rice, fresh mango and fresh pineapple. I would be perfectly full and content. Oh, and some fried plantain. And maybe some guacamole (which is the most delicious I have ever had!).
BUT... I do NOT like fresh papaya. It tastes a little like vomit in my mouth. I DO, however, like a papaya/mango/banana daiquiri. Now that is livin'!
Always pack more than plenty of essential things, like batteries and sunscreen, when coming on a tropical vacation. I didn't have to replenish, but if I did, it would have cost me $41 for a small bottle of sunscreen. Yikes.
Sleeping in, while a nice treat and necessary now-and-then, is not the only means of refreshing one's soul. In fact, getting up early while on the beach without your kids is just as soul-feeding as sleeping past 7.
After years of being a sun worshipper, you'd think that I would remember to coat the tops of my feet with sunscreen. But no. Doh!
When you have been married for almost 12years, taking a vacation together without the kids is such a necessary thing. Having conversations that are not at all about the kids is also a necessary thing.
Also, taking a vacation with your spouse after 12years of marriage does NOT mean you have to spend every moment with your spouse. It is not your honeymoon, even though the romantic re-connection is really fabulous. The time alone is just as meaningful and refreshing as the time together.
My desire for adventure and to make the most out of every opportunity can (and did) override my deepest of fears. I was pretty convinced a snake was going to drop out of the trees if I went zip-lining. But when the tour guide told me it was VERY unlikely I would see a snake (but NOT impossible), I still had to put my fear aside so as not to miss out and regret not doing it.
Adding Vodka to Fanta orange soda makes a delicious cocktail that really just tastes like Fanta orange soda except it brings a warm, fuzzy feeling. How do I know this? Well, let's just say that the hotel rooms in CostaRica come very well stocked with a fridge full of a variety of sodas and about 4different types of liquor, all included in your vacation price.
You can learn all kinds of things about yourself and and your husband and your husband's co-workers when you go away to paradise for a week with your husband and his co-workers. Very interesting things.

There is so much more.... some very deep things. But I will save those for another time. I will say, though, that I read two very interesting books while lounging at the pool last week. One was an emotional read that made me see some key relationships in a new light. The other was a book I was hesistant to read because it was such a phenomenon but it was actually really good and has my mind (and soul) pondering some deep thoughts. Hmmm.... Curious? Me too. I'll share more soon. :)

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I'm On Vacation!!

>> Friday, April 1, 2011

We stepped on the plane in 40-something degree temps . Granted it was like 6:00 in the morning, but still. We had to say goodbye to the boys the night before since we were leaving before they would wake up. I admit that was pretty emotional for me. I am not a morbid person, but the thought of leaving the country and all that could happen did kinda freak me out. So this mama cried as I kissed them and tucked them in but also quickly reminded myself that they were in the best of hands (God’s and my parents) and that I was about to have one of the best vacations of my life.

The 4 ½ hour plane ride was actually pretty nice. A little sleeping, a little reading. But mostly it was the not having to be responsible to feed or entertain anyone. Flying sans-kiddos is surprisingly cathartic. I had forgotten about that.

Once in Costa Rica, we had a 35-40min bus ride from the airport to our hotel. Even though it is their dry season, the landscape is still so, so beautiful. On the drive, I was especially struck by this big beautiful beachside resort we were traveling to contrasted with these modest and even poverty-line homes we drove past on the way. But once we got to the hotel, it was pretty hard not to be in awe. This place is A.MA.ZING!!! It truly does feel like paradise. The pool is killer, the beach is unbelievable, the weather is perfect. Mid 90’s with a breeze. Does it get much better than that? The sand on the beach is soft but very dark. But I can let that slide. I won’t be a beach snob (even though my white sand FL Gulf beaches top any other beaches I’ve seen in the world-ahem…). It is all still pretty fabulous, and this is only day one.

I miss my two little men back home so much. And I admit that I want to talk to them and squeeze them very, very badly. But, I am already having an awesome time. This is my idea of the perfect vacation: warmth, beach, pool, unlimited margaritas. And eating GF is going to be easier than I thought here. For lunch I had some amazing fresh fish with rice and beans and this delish balsamic corn and greens salad. Oh, and some fried plantain for desert. Are you drooling yet?

We are headed out to a reception-of-sorts with Hubby’s co-workers. Did I mention we are here with his radio station, WIND AM 560? (Ha! A quick shout-out to the folks that made this all possible for me!) After some drinks with people I don’t know well, on to dinner and I think there is some sort of evening entertainment. If not, then I am perfectly content to sit out on my balcony that overlooks the pool and the ocean and read my book or enjoy the silence. And say a prayer for my parents and boys back home, that God would keep us all safe and happy until I get to hug them again in a week.

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