Family Pix

Family Pix

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Father's Day Tribute

A Father's love can not compare,
The amazing sacrifice for their families they bear.
They go to work and come home each day,
Knowing when they hit the door their kids will want to play.
They support, love and protect,
Knowing their family is safe is something they expect.
A Father's role is like no other,
His presence is needed to compliment the mother.
He teaches, he disciplines, he loves and he cares,
But he always has time to make a fort with the chairs.
He fears the Lord and has a heart of compassion,
A man of his word which speaks louder than action.
His heart is filled when his children accept the Lord,
He teaches them that the Bible is the Sword.
Unnoticed, devalued, unappreciated, portrayed to be weak,
Yet you are one of the most important assets that our world must seek.
Our children strive to be like daddy as many have confessed,
Many lives you have touched and for that we are blessed.
On this Father's Day I am reminded how thankful I am for the role of the father. I remember growing up and seeing a picture by my dad's desk that said "Any Man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a daddy."  As I have heard Addison over and over again call for her daddy it reminded just how special they are. Our society today makes men/father's seem like they aren't important by showing commercials that devalue men or make them seem weak.  I think this FAR from the truth. I have been blessed to be surrounded by amazing men who truly know how to be a daddy.
Ben is an amazing daddy. When we first were married we always wanted to have a boy to name him after Ben's dad but instead the Lord chose to bless us with our precious little miracle girl! I cry as I write this because the way Ben is with Addy just melts my heart. He loves her so much and from day one, he has had daddy/daughter date night (something my dad still does with me). He is her knight and shining armor, he is her protector, he is her hide and seek buddy, he is her disciplinarian, he is her fixer of broken toys, he is her bear hug when she gets hurt and mostly he is her daddy...or as she says "the man she will marry one day."
The Lord has blessed me with an amazing father who was/is a phenomenal daddy. Whether it was sports, education, church or school...he was apart of our lives every step of the way. I remember pictures of me on third base getting ready to run home and he was the coach waving me into home. He was my basketball coach when I was on the Pacers with our Salmon colored jersey...He at age 12 took me on a daddy/daughter trip to share with my the importance of waiting until I was married to be with my husband intimately..he gave me a beautiful ring to symbolize that vow I made to God and him. He drove "Dad's Limo"(also known as our minivan at that time) to pick Scott and I up on the last day of school which had root beer waiting for us. He was at high school graduation, college graduation and he walked me down the aisle on my wedding day. I remember looking at him that day and knowing I would miss waking up in my room and getting little kisses at bedtime but I knew he was walking me down the aisle to an amazing man who would also one day be a daddy. I truly could go on forever but thing I love most about my dad is his faith in Jesus. From a young age my dad put bible verses in my lunches, wrote me notes and even now to this day sends email/verses of encouragement. The impact my dad has placed on my life is irreplaceable. The memories we have shared and continue to share are such a blessing to me. There is something special about a girl and her daddy and I am so thankful the Lord gave me mine. I am blessed, I am blessed beyond words to have a dad that was there because I know not everyone has that. My dad has given time to his family and put the work in to make sure we live a life that seeks Christ with all our heart.
This year is a hard year for our family as it is the first Father's Day we will celebrate without my father in law....Tears come to my eyes as we all miss him so dearly...My heart aches for Ben, Katie, and Cathie. I am thankful that he left such an amazing godly legacy and that pieces of him live in Ben and Katie today. My father in law was special to me, he was my second dad. He always called me his daughter even it wasn't through blood. Some of my most impactful memories of him were in some of his last months of life even though I knew him for 16 years.  He was such a huge encourager and a source of wisdom. As he struggled with cancer and got very weak he still seemed to find the energy to come with me to my infertility appointments and surgery. What I went through was NOTHING in comparison to what he did and yet his sacrifice to support and physically be there with Ben and I was astounding. His life was just always like this. He was always there for his family...Words can't even explain how much he meant to me. He was a blessing to our family and continues to be through the lives of his two children and wife. No one can replace the impact he has made on many lives. I will love him forever, I am forever his Rose Bud...
I am blessed to be surrounded by many godly men in my family: my grandpa, my brothers: Scott and David, my uncles and cousins by marriage.
Each one of these men has made an impact on my life and for that I am forever grateful. So on this Father's Day...Thank you for being men who are courageous...who fear the Lord...who support their wives and children and who love the Lord first and Family Second.
Happy Father's Day 2014
He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge. Proverbs 14:26


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Being Thankful in the Pain

I have been reading an amazing devotional by some women of the Proverbs 31 Ministries. It has brought a lot of hope and encouragement to me in the past few days as I have just struggled with thoughts of my infertility. Some days are good others not so good. With Mother's Day and a couple of appointments approaching it just sort of brought my brokenness to head. But when I read this devotional message called "Into Her Pain" it made me realize how blessed I have been that God has used others through my infertility to bring me back to him.

In this devotion by Samantha Evilzizer it talks about how to be a friend to someone who is grieving. One particular quote was..."I didn't want to disrespect my friend with a walk-by, stepping over her pain with thoughtless words. Words withheld are better than careless words. Clich├ęs offer no comfort...Be still. Listen. Administer Mercy."  When I read this quote it brought to mind some ladies who have really seen me through in this way...I will tell you about them in a minute.

The bummer about infertility is that is a sensitive topic. Certain events and words just hurt more...I know I have used these phrases to others before as well but I began to realize sometimes it is just not what we should say...The famous phrases of "God's Timing is Perfect", "His plans are best." Although, these thoughts/sayings are SO true...they aren't always an encouragement in the trenches. Sometimes the listening ear, or just saying "this really sucks" (sorry dad, I know you don't like that word :))

So I have singled out a few people who have gone above and beyond...that doesn't mean others haven't encouraged me or been a huge part of helping me through (especially my hubby and our parents) but these 3 ladies met some needs that this devotional talked about. Being still...listening and Administering Mercy.

Firstly, my wonderful SIL, Amanda. Over the past few years I don't know how many times she has called me just to listen to me be angry...or to be happy.  She is REAL...she says "this sucks" and sometimes just listens. I think I can remember conversations of 20 minutes or more where I just talked and  she just never once interrupted. Sweet messages, visits and a listening ear did more than she could ever imagine. The thing I love most about her is her mercy and her comforting spirit. Just yesterday she sent an email to me that just brought me to tears because she truly lives this and acts this way toward me..."Here's the Mother's Day "poem" our pastor read at church yesterday. And I really mean this part: To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is. Amanda has always been so good about not saying anything that would hurt me but build me up...on her part that takes work, it is the ability to just be still and listen. I know I don't say it enough but from the bottom of my heart I thank you for being you and caring for me in this way.

Secondly, Krista. Only just in October did I meet you at church retreat. Immediately, I felt a huge connection and friendship that I knew I would grow to love! On the retreat I discussed with her some things that were really getting me down...I shared about my infertility and other hardships and you were such a good listener. Your responses were honest and heartfelt. I could tell you were listening to me...Through my surgery in December and with the complications I experienced in February you were ever present. You brought over Dairy Queen and just listened as my heart broke when they told me I had a 1% chance to have kids again. You came over and prayed over me as I dealt with complications from the surgery. I don't know how many times I called, emailed, texted you and your response was never just an quick email would come over and spend time with me...."got me out of that reclining chair"(retreat).  The time and effort you have spent have meant the world to me. 

Thirdly, Jolene. Again, I just met you in October at the church retreat. You are as sweet as can be. We have both experienced loss this year of different sorts and have been able to go through it together.  After my surgery you brought dinner to us as I struggled to heal from complications. Weekly for a while your sweet words of encouragement through cards brought joy to my soul, each one of them is in my Bible. I love how you can just sit and listen and just be present without saying a word...Your calls to ask if you can do anything or just pray.  The thing I most admire is your you have grieved the loss of your dad you still show mercy to others that are suffering as well. You don't complain, you are present and always helping others. You have been a blessing to me more than you will ever know.

These ladies have probably heard me cry, be angry, complain, and share praises more than anyone (accept Ben)...So even though infertility is hard it has brought me amazing friendships I would never have had without it. When I see these ladies...I see compassion that has helped me restore my hope and faith in HIM. They didn't have to quote bible verses or tell me God's timing is perfect....they were just there to listen.

The truth is I know God's plan is best and I know he has amazing plans for our family...He has blessed us beyond words can even imagine....but when days are tough and I can't seem to get my grip; it sure is a blessing that He uses his servants to bring Glory to his name.

So today I am thankful for these amazing women who have gone above and beyond for me...who have helped me believe in God's goodness, to have hope and to trust in His plan without having to say a word.

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
 John 15:12-13

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Day I became a Mom--Mother's Day Tribute

Just a little over four years ago I got to experience in all senses a true miracle. Our precious miracle Addison Rose was born and she made me a mama! Not until recently after going through numerous fertility treatments and then being told we will never be able to have kids again did we truly know what a miracle she was. God has blessed us abundantly by allowing us to raise this amazing little girl.

As Mother's Day approaches it has brought a wave of emotions over me. One of the emotions that has been strong is heartache. Why something so natural and something so pure has been made so hard for us...not being able to have another child. Through this difficult time in our life I have learned to trust God in a whole different way...and let me tell you there are some days I just shout at him wondering why. But as my father-in-law always said even until his last breath...HIS WAYS ARE HIGHER!!! Sobering, isn't it. To trust in the almighty and rest in him that he has the best plan for us. Not so easy for a control freak :)  But, I have learned a lot through this process about loss, heartache, trust, hope and faith. It hasn't been easy and lately its really been tough. It comes in waves. As I was reading the other day in my devotions..."He withholds out of protection. With loving restraint, he withholds the big to protect the hidden workings of the small." God is always at work and wants us to draw close to him. So I will trust HE knows best even if its hard. He never said it would be easy...He said it would be worth it!!!

So on this Mother's Day I will be thankful for the many blessings I have.

My sweet Addison Rose, you made me a mama!! You challenge me, you love me, you help me and you always make me laugh. You are a true treasure in every sense of the word.

I have been blessed with an amazing mom!! Oh, my this year she has been a rock for me...I don't even begin to know how to describe how the Lord blessed me with such an amazing mom. Through the process of infertility and the loss of Ben's dad, my mom has been there every step of the way. She brought me to my surgery, she sat there with Ben for hours, she cared for me after surgery and the weeks to come. She made a jar full of pieces of paper with encouragement and bible verses on it with the front saying SHMILY (See How Much I Love You). Ever since I was little my mom has had the most caring heart and as I have become a mom I have seen it even more...She would give her life for any of her kids and grand kids. She sacrifices her time weekly to help us. On her days off, she spends it with her kids/grand kids. My mom has struggled with rheumatoid arthritis for 30 years which can be a crippling disease and yet she has not once let that stop her from being and doing things for her family. I admire my mom, she mirrors to me how Christ would care for people, she is one of my best friends. I pray/hope that I can be half the woman/mom that she is. She has been a true example of a mom to me. I am so blessed.

The Lord also blessed me with an wonderful mother-in-law. Cathie has been a true blessing. She has been through so much this year with the loss of her amazing husband and yet she still continues to stand strong. She works hard for her Sweetwater Revival ministry, which they have just released their new CD!! The thing I have always admired about her is her hard working mentality. Whatever she does she works at it with all her heart. She also loves her family more than anything. Whether it be her kids, grand kids, siblings, her mom....she is always there for them. Last but not least, she knows SO much about the Bible...she is always in the Word. I can ask her anything about the bible and she knows it...such a true example of seeking Him! The Lord really knew what he was doing when I married Ben because he really blessed me with amazing in-laws.

I have been blessed so much by the amazing women in my life. I have amazing grandmas who have continued to pray and love me unconditionally. They have been there every step of the way; every basketball game, wedding, baby, family get together. They are present and always caring. I prayed the Lord would have me marry a man with a sister and little did I know I would have 2 sisters :) Amanda and Katie are amazing. They are great sources of encouragement. They bless me with their friendships daily. Its such an honor to raise our kids together...

If I had to list all the women that have made an impact on the mom I am it could go on forever...But you know who you amazing cousins, aunts,  friends and amazing church ladies.

So on this Mother's Day...Thank You, for making an impact on my life and helping me to be the mom and woman that I am.

 Last but not least thanks to my hubby for being an amazing dad and parent right alongside of me. Without you, I don't know where I would be. Our year has been down right tough but if I had to go through it, I am glad it was with you. You are a rock...I get strength from you...You truly know how to always make me laugh even when the situation is just not fun...Through this infertility you have been a huge comfort...never made me feel inadequate because I can't have another child. Thank you for being a blessing to me.

Enjoy the pictures below of my first day as a mama with the amazing moms, grandmas and sisters that I have!

But those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Letter From Your Mama

Dearest Addison Rose,

WOW! I can't believe it has been four years since your daddy and I held you for the first time. That was one of the best days of my life, next to marrying your daddy. You were a stubborn little girl that day and didn't want to come out. But eventually through an emergency C-section, (your daddy was video taping) you were born on St. Patrick's Day. My favorite part of that night was you being placed in your daddy's arms first and him carrying you over to me. I didn't get to hold you because it was a surgical room but getting to see your daddy's face holding his little girl was one of the best moments of my life. I was a mama, your mama. A moment I will never forget. We were blessed to have some special people to visit you the night you were born: Grandpa and Grandma , Nana, Great Grandpa Ken and Great Grandma Betty and my cousin Emily. Papa was also there via phone communicating through Grandpa what we should do since you weren't coming out. :) Such a blessing it was to have those people there that night.

Addison, you are such a special girl. I don't know if you know this but you are God's example of a miracle to your daddy and I. Despite all odds and many issues, God blessed us with you. From the moment were born until now you have blessed our world. I think back to your first few months of life and they were tough. But I wouldn't trade a day of staying up all night. I remember reading scripture with you while you were awake at many times of the night. God was such a comfort. I also remember driving you around at 2am in the rain listening to rap music (Yes, don't judge (lol) this is the only thing she feel asleep to...haha).

Each day, you have been such a joy to us. This year more than ever I have seen God work through you to be an example of His goodness and faithfulness. This has been a tough year for your mama and daddy. Firstly, as you know your wonderful Papa went to be with Jesus. We miss him so dearly and I know you miss him too. Just the other day you said to me in the car..."Did Papa die?" I said yes. You proceeded to say, "That is so sad,(she started to just ball her eyes out) I was hoping when I get to Nana's that I would see him again, he is my best buddy." Broke your mama's heart to hear this but I know you had a special bond with him and I am so glad that you love so much. He will always be apart of you. Your daddy is a walking example of him each day. We will always talk about him with you because of the example he was to us.

Your mama and daddy also went through a hard time of trying to conceive a brother or sister for you. It was a trying few years of doctors appointments, treatments and surgeries. However, God has different plans for us. Through this experience we have been told by numerous doctors that you are a true MIRACLE. Yes, you little Addy Paddy are our miracle. God has showed me, He is control and His ways are good and best. Your mama and daddy might not be able to give you a sibling but God has given us the best gift of all...which is you. We continue to trust God has the best plan for our family. And you, do sort of have a brother that you adore...your Wrigley.

Although times have been tough this year, God is faithful and He is always working to bring Glory to His name. God showed me numerous times through you just how good. One night after having one of my surgeries as I put you to bed, you laid your hands over me and prayed to heal me. I was in such amazement that my little 3 year old knew just what to do. Daddy and I are so proud you are learning to know who Jesus is and know his Word. One more example of a time Jesus really spoke to me through you: We were driving to my doctor appointment and I was dropping you off at Grandma's. I was very nervous about this appointment. We were listening to "Let it Go" in the car when all of the sudden you said to me, "Mom, Jesus is sitting next to you." Astonished, I said what? You continued, "He is next to you, so you don't have to be afraid, he will always protect you." (I am telling you people, this girl makes me cry in amazement all the time). It was exactly what I needed to hear and just at the right time.

We are so proud of the little girl you have become and are growing into. You are full of joy, passion, energy, and you are always up for a good game of tag, or knocking daddy over. But the thing I love most about you is your heart of compassion for others and your love/knowledge of Jesus. As you said to me after BSF on Wednesday, "Mom, I don't pretend to love Jesus like the Sadducee's, I really love him." The love you have is just so amazing. One of my favorite things that you do is that no matter where you or I are in the house, you shout "I love you" to me through out the day. Each day you get so excited for your daddy to come home and you ask numerous times is he here yet. As of late you say, I miss him constantly :)

Addison, I could go on with stories of how you have blessed your daddy and my life but it would take all day.

Addy Paddy, we don't care how good you are at sports (of course if you play basketball, I'm sure your daddy would be happy), we don't care if you are the top of your class in academics. The most important thing to us is that you accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior. What a joyous day that will be. 3 John 1:4 I  have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

As your Papa and Nana have always said "Only one life will soon be past...Only what's done for Christ will last."

A verse that Grandpa and Grandma taught me as a young kid that I impress on you and something I strive to do each day is Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."

So on your 4th Birthday my greatest desire for you is to let your treasure always be Christ. Your grandparents have laid down an amazing foundation for our family. Your daddy and I will do our best to guide you and lead you to HIM!!!!

Addison Rose, you are a blessing, our miracle, you are a treasure that God has entrusted to your daddy and I. We love you more than anything.

Happy Birthday Sweet Addy Paddy! I love you beyond words!

Your Mama

Monday, January 6, 2014

Surgery: A Blessing in Disguise

As many of you know, last Monday I had surgery. At the beginning of December when my infertility doctor called to tell me they didn't want to proceed with anymore treatment, he mentioned me seeing another OB/surgeon. He told me that if I were his daughter that is what he would have me do. So mid December I met with this new doctor. After doing an ultrasound they found out that I not only had endometriosis but also polycystic ovarian syndrome. He told me in his 30 years of being a surgeon he had never seen such a bad case. So he said he wanted to do surgery right away.

Well, I hesitated to ask him but I said (while laughing) so can you do it by the end of the year because we can't afford to have to pay our deductible right away in January. He said, I will make it happen. So we proceeded to go meet with the hospital scheduling and they said there is no way this can happen but they will check with he surgery unit. He had to use a specific type of machine called the Davinci (a robot) to help assist in the surgery. Apparently that equipment/surgical room books 2 months out. The scheduling lady called the hospital and they said, we just had an open at 730am December 30th. All of us looked at each other in shock. Needless to say, I had surgery. Such a blessing it was financially to be able to squeeze it in before the end of the year.

So last week I had surgery, it ended up being 3 hours long which was much longer than expected. They ended up reattaching my ovaries to the correct position in my body. My tubes were behind my pelvis and they also reattached and cleaned them. Then he also removed ALL cysts from my body. They also used a anesthetic that they injected into my 4 incisions that has caused some unpleasant side effects. But overall, the surgery was a success and I am slowly but surely recovering.

My post is really not so much to focus on the surgery itself but all that has happened surrounding it. I have noticed and learned in the past week some things I take for granted. So I just want to share them with you because despite the horrible recovery I had during the beginning last week; there have been so many blessings or things I have taken for granted that I now really appreciate.

I took for granted the power of God. The healing hand that he has and how that I could trust my fears to him. Going into this surgery I was so scared something would go wrong and I wouldn't wake up and get to see Ben and Addy ever again. Crazy, I know...but it was a fear. Through my prayers and prayers of others the Lord blessed me with an amazing surgery and peace that I would wake up again. I took for granted that the Lord always protects me and my family.  Once again, he showed me just how gracious and powerful he was.

I take for granted sometimes those who are the closest to me. Sunday night, I slept at my parents house so that my mom would get up with me at 4am to head to Fairview Southdale for my surgery. So I had a nice evening of spending time with my parents alone as I prepared for the next morning. My mom even made some homemade apple pie. This next thing may sound corny to some but I don't care...My dad tucked me in to bed and gave me his famous goodnight kisses on my cheek like he did when I was little. (He would do a certain number of little kisses, lets say 16 and he would tell me that it is a player from the Vikings and I would have to guess who it was). Then my mom and I got up at 4 am to head for surgery. For those of you who know my mom, she has severe rheumatoid arthritis and if she gets up too early she can be in a lot of pain. Needless to say my mom is AMAZING. She got up at 4am, sat through the whole surgery and recovery and brought me back home where she stayed by my side for 2 days. I can't say enough how thankful I am for my mom and dad!!!

I also learned I take my wonderful hubby for granted to often. He stayed home with Addy Sunday night and got up with her in the morning, dropped her off at his mom's house(thankful for Ben's mom who watched Addy all day-such a blessing) and drove down to Edina for my surgery by 8am. He had no time off left at work and his office is short staffed and yet he was one of the first faces I saw when I woke up. Ben is always there for me, he is my biggest supporter. He made sure I was ok, brought me out to my mom's car for her to bring me home and then had to work until 7. He continued to care for me the rest of the week in numerous ways that I probably can't count. I am blessed to have him as my husband. One thing that really stuck out to me is his amazing faith in God and how he always told me to pray as I was having many fears/worries about this whole process. Thank you, Lord for a husband who calls on you first!

Addison Rose....she is one amazing little girl. She is flexible, adaptable, helpful, self-less and kind hearted. She knows how to be gentle and just love her mama. She came over to my bed and brought me to the bathroom when I had to get up. She says, 'I got you, Mom. I can help." She was so proud to help. On Thursday of last week, it was my first day without "adult" help. Addy sat next to me, we watched Mary Poppins about 10 times and she did a beautiful fashion show. Lord, I am so thankful you blessed me with this miracle. She is the best!

Last week, we were blessed with many wonderful meals from family and friends. I was blessed with amazing phone calls and visits from friends. When you are healthy and things are going perfect, you can really take for granted the people that you surround yourself with. I am blessed with so many that love and support me.  I pray that I can be a blessing like this to others when they need it. 

I think another thing I take for granted is doctors. As many of you know I trust doctors, I believe in them. Being a doctor is a calling. I prayed ahead of time for my surgeon and his staff. The day of surgery each one of them was amazing. They comforted me and were kind every step of the way. This surgeon in particular was the first doctor I felt truly helped deal with the issues I have had for the last 3 years. It gave me a sense of hope and trust that God has mighty plans for our family. It reminded me how thankful I am for doctors and their knowledge. It also reminded me how much I miss my father in law. He was at my last surgery in March as he was battling cancer. He always put other's first and he really walked through the infertility issues with us for the last few years. He always had good advice and always knew what I should do. So to make this surgery decision without him was hard. I took for granted how wonderful it was to have a doctor in the family. But, I was also thankful that because my reproductive endocrinologist cared so much about me (and also knew Charlie) that he referred me to a great surgeon.

Last but not least, I took for granted my home. Being home. Once surgery was over I didn't leave the house until Saturday for Ben's work party. It was refreshing to be home with nothing to do (even though I couldn't do anything). The surgery came at a perfect time. God knew I needed rest.

So, in this last week, I have been blessed. I have a new perspective on hope, trust, fear, family and much more. Although, I am still recovering, I have a hope and peace that I didn't have before the surgery. I am thankful for all the people who have played a roll in showing love and support during this time.

A beautiful verse my Grandma Betty and Grandpa Ken gave to me before my surgery...I am thankful to the Lord that promises these things and he blessed me with each one.

"May the Lord bless you and protect you; may the Lord's face radiate with joy because of you, may he be gracious to you, show you his favor and give you peace." Num. 6:24-26