Sunday, October 19, 2014

Clutter, Be Gone! {Cross-stitched Bookmarks}

While going through some of my mom's sewing stuff recently (since her move to the nursing home, she won't be needing sewing things anymore--not that she had been able to use them for a long time before that), my dad unearthed these and gave them to me.
 They are counted cross-stitch bookmarks that my brother David and I made at some point during our childhood.  It looks like we finished all the stitching, but never accomplished making it into a bookmark.
When my kids saw them, they declared that no offense, but they liked Uncle David's better than mine.  :)  No offense taken.  :)
Since my initials are no longer DGH, I decided to take a picture, post it on my blog, then throw the bookmark away.  I emailed my brother about his, and he declared that he had plenty of bookmarks and I could toss his in the trash as well.  Done!

Clutter, be gone!  :)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

When Internet Friends Become Real

I'm not sure when Rebekah and I first started reading each other's blogs, but it was definitely during the days of my old blog.

So, YEARS ago.  :)

But regardless of when we first "met" online, I know very well when we first met in real life.

Yesterday.  :)

She and her husband Daniel were vacationing with his family in Virginia and kindly made time in their schedule to drive here from Williamsburg, just so they could visit us.  I was thrilled to meet them in person, after years of reading Rebekah's thoughts, praying for her challenges, and being inspired by her lofty goals.  I've seen her grow up--from a single woman to a wife--and I'm especially excited because Rebekah is expecting their first child, and I'm eager to watch her transition into the role of a new mother.  Such special times!  :)

When my boys learn that guests are coming, one of their biggest hopes is that those guests will play a game with them.  :)  Sure enough, Rebekah and Daniel were good sports and allowed themselves to be dragged into a (very!) long game of Uno after our supper yesterday.  As a matter of fact, nobody actually won the game, since it had to be halted due to the lateness of the hour...but Tobin was quick to tell me that he had the least amount of cards in his hand when they stopped.  ;-)

 I loved how Moriah climbed up into David's chair and made room for herself there.  :)
 Meanwhile, Jeff was entertaining Shav in the living room by making funny faces, bringing forth peals of laughter from Shav.  :)

 Moriah decided Daniel's lap was a pretty good place to hang out, too.
 Daniel had just a few cards at this point in the game.  ;-)
 Shav was particularly excited about Daniel being here because Shav's middle name is Daniel, and he jumped at the opportunity to have a "The Daniels" picture, after watching his big brother David have a special picture taken with Uncle David every time we get together.  Moriah barged right into some of the photos though.  :)

 We added a third Daniel: the one in the painting done by my extremely talented father-in-law.  :)
 I wish I had thought to get a group picture when Jeff was home, too; but unfortunately he had already left for work when we took this.
 I'm so very glad that Rebekah and I got the chance to meet.
Now when I read her blog, I'll be able to hear her voice in my head!  :)

Thanks, Rebekah and Daniel, for making us part of your Virginia vacation.  Come again anytime!!  :)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

From Morning til Evening...

...Moriah wants to be with our new dog.  I can't even count how many times she kissed and hugged and petted Willow today!  And Willow is as gentle as can be with Moriah.  It warms my heart.  :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Secret in My Bathroom Closet

Something's been hiding in my bathroom closet for a couple of months.

That whole closet needs reorganized, and it's time to bring out what's been hidden and time to throw it away...but before I do, it's time to tell the story of what I've been hiding.

It's this...
I don't even know if you can see that double line in the pictures.  They were never very dark, those lines that confirmed that the hormones of pregnancy were beginning to wash through my body.  But they were there.

They weren't enough, however, to keep the right mix of hormones in the right amounts at the right times, and a miscarriage happened.  It was an early one--one of those that, if it weren't for the wonder of modern medical technology in home pregnancy tests, you would never know for sure that it had happened.  Five weeks of pregnancy isn't very far along, not far enough for the baby to be making blood, blood that might mix with the mother's blood and require her to get a Rhogam shot.  And so, since it was so early, since things were progressing along without any strange complications, I didn't even go to visit the midwives and have the miscarriage confirmed.  I've been through this two other times, after all; so I--sadly--knew what to expect.

You might wonder if I was devastated, and I'll tell you that I wasn't.  Disappointed, yes...but devastated, no.  My heart is so full of gratitude for how God has blessed me with children that, although I was eager to have another, I wasn't crushed when it didn't work out that time.

But here's what was hard.

The miscarriage happened on August 19, during what felt to me like a season of loss.  The biggest loss, of course, was my mother moving into a nursing home because of the progression of her Alzheimer's Disease; the sting of that loss still remains, despite my thankfulness that she's in a safe, caring, attractive place.  Another loss of sorts was the trip Jeff, Josiah, and David took to California for a week at the end of August/beginning of September.  Although I was thrilled that they could go and have so much fun and build so many memories together while visiting our family and friends there, I felt a huge emptiness without them here.  When we planned the trip, we had no idea that my mom would be moving into the nursing home the day after Jeff and the boys left for California; neither did we know that I would have a miscarriage that month.  Even if we had known those things, I would still have wanted them to make the trip; that's how strongly I felt about them seizing that opportunity for their adventure.  But as I watched them go through the security checkpoint at the airport and then disappear out of sight, my deepest emotion was LOSS.  (But happily, when they returned safely a week later, my heart rejoiced at my GAIN!)   :)

Besides that trio of losses--a baby, my mom, and Jeff & my oldest two sons--I also felt surrounded by other disappointments, which admittedly were much smaller, but still played into my sense of being in a distinct season of loss.  For example, when Josiah broke his arm, my vision of how the last month of our summer would go suddenly went up in smoke--or more accurately, was wrapped up in a cast, unable to move!  Since our scheduled extracurriculars were over for the summer, I envisioned trips to Riven Rock Park to play in the mountain stream, time spent practicing violin in preparation for lessons to begin again in the fall, piano lessons that I would give Josiah to compensate for my dreadful lack of discipline as his piano teacher, and fun in the swimming pool--none of which could happen with his broken arm.  I felt adrift, my dreams for what I thought would be a laid-back yet productive month of August having vanished in the light of reality.

Those were the events and that was my outlook in the days and weeks that surrounded my miscarriage.  Not exactly the most cheerful of times, eh?

Out of that cloudy time came a strong light, however; and that was the unshakable trust I had in the will of God for the future size of my family.  It was a gift from Him to be able to say--and believe with all my heart--"If He blesses us with another child, I will be DELIGHTED!  But if He sees the path ahead and knows that I have all I can handle already, it is still OK.  His plan is good, and I rest in that."

Today, on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, I hear tales of pain much deeper than what I've experienced during my three miscarriages, and I wonder why I've, in a sense, had it so easy.  Each time I've lost a pregnancy, something--or lots of somethings--have happened to diminish the pain and increase my awareness of the blessings that still surround me.  Most dramatically, my first miscarriage occurred two days after we endured an armed robbery and home invasion.  In light of that, losing a pregnancy at seven and a half weeks didn't seem as awful as I had thought it might.  After all, I was still alive, and my husband and two sons were still alive, and our neighbor who was held hostage by the intruder was still alive, and his family was still alive, and life was AWESOME.

My second miscarriage happened in the summer of 2011 (the story is told in four parts: here, here, here, and here); but because the first pregnancy tests were vague in their results, my heart was prepared from the beginning for the possibility of a miscarriage.  Since my hopes weren't raised too high, it didn't hurt as much when they were dashed.  Even more significantly, I happened to get pregnant with Moriah in the month following the miscarriage.  It wasn't really supposed to happen that way, according to man's wisdom; but clearly in the wisdom of God, it was the very best thing that could have happened that month.  :)  That (strong!) positive pregnancy test coming so quickly on the heels of the miscarriage definitely diminished the sense of loss, to be sure!

And now here we are in 2014.  Like the 2011 miscarriage, the first pregnancy tests I took this time were negative, and then finally I got a faintly positive one, and then later, another faintly positive one.  It was all so reminiscent, however, of the 2011 miscarriage that if I were a betting person, I would have put money on the possibility that I was having a miscarriage, long before it actually began.  I did try to tell myself that, despite the fact that the pregnancy tests hadn't given a quick, strong positive, I still might manage to hang on and there still might be a healthy baby growing inside me; but I'm enough of a realist that I never got too far with that line of thinking.

When the miscarriage began, there was no surprise, but oh, there was that sense of loss.  If you could have listened in on my prayers during those days, you might have heard something like this:  "Really, God?!?!  After trying for eight months, I finally get pregnant here in the month of August--the same month my mom moves to a nursing home--and I can't help but feel that it's so significant that just when one of the most precious relationships of my life is being, in a sense, taken away, You give me a brand new precious relationship.  BUT THEN I MISCARRY?  What's up with the timing of THAT?  Did You really have to arrange things that way???"

I'm a paragon of faith and trust, can't you tell?  ;-)

But God loved me even while I whined, and He covered me with His blanket of peace, and my soul was at rest.

It still is.

Not knowing the future...still feeling the nudge of desire for another baby...realizing that it's not a given that we'll have another one...I walk through these days knowing that when my plans fail, His never do.

Even when that means positive pregnancy tests that brought great joy turn into reminders of dreams that didn't come true.

Wordless Wednesday {Willow Takes a Bath}

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Because We Needed More Excitement around Here... ;-) {Meet Willow}

Ever since our dog Molly died* four months ago, Jeff has been keeping his eye out for another dog to be a companion for our collie Jed, so when he saw a posting on Facebook recently about a 9-month-old Australian Shepherd/Great Dane mix that needed a new home and was free, it didn't take him long to contact the owner and tell her we were interested.

* Brief history of Molly: Jeff surprised us by bringing her home from the barbershop one day in January of 2006 when she was just two months old.  She was the cutest little thing.  :)  She lived longer than we thought she would, considering some of the health problems she had; but back in June, she died.  It happened to be during the time we were away from home at a homeschool convention, so our wonderful neighbors took care of burying her for us.  That's certainly not how we would have planned it, but I'm sure the fact that we didn't see her dead body made the grief less for my kids.  And so, the circle of life continues...

We held our breaths for a little bit, wondering if we would be the ones chosen as the new home for this dog; and indeed we were!  And so, today, a new female joined the Fisher family (although the girls are still way outnumbered around here).  ;-)  Her previous owner called her Willa, but we decided to change it a little bit, so now she is Willow.  And I might add that it is sweetness to the max to hear Moriah call out in her little voice, "WILLLLL-OOOOOOW!"  ;-)

Here she is!  :)

 Can you tell in the picture below that her eyes are different colors?  :)

Welcome to the Fisher family, sweet Willow!  We're so glad you're here!