June 26

Nine months ago, at this very time of day, Alivia entered the world and was with us for five very precious and short weeks.

So many thoughts crowd my mind today, amidst the craziness of life in loving and caring for my other two precious girls. Life would have been even more full, I'm sure, if Alivia were still here. But I seek to trust in the goodness, sovereignty, and love of our Savior to help me through the extra quietness, less messiness, and deep ache in my heart that the lack of her presence brings.

How appropriate that this week, the pink impatients that my sister planted for me on Mother's Day weekend this year, started to bloom...reminders of my little one.

Today, Psalm 23 has been on my mind, as I have recounted all the mighty ways my Savior has lead me these past nine months and cared for my soul... "Surely His goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."


Selah's Birthday

It's only taken me a couple of weeks to post this, but I wanted to recap some of the memorable events that took place for Selah's birthday. On her actual birthday, June 3rd, we took her to Krispy Kreme for breakfast. Dave came with us, since he works very close, and we all got to be together (I forgot my camera, so don't have any pictures of this). One cute thing that happened while there is worth mentioning...

As we walked in, an older gentleman came in behind us. He was smitten with the girls. He kept commenting about them and was engaging them in conversation. The girls were all too happy to announce Selah's birthday to him! We found out he was a grandfather of a good number of grandchildren. Once we sat down with our donuts, he kept waving at them from across the room. He was sitting, enjoying his morning paper with coffee and donut. As we got up to leave, and headed toward to door, Dave asked them if they could say good-bye to the nice man. The girls turned to wave and then Selah, as is often her tradition, yelled out, "hug, kiss!" She ran over wrapped her arms around his neck and gave him a little kiss on his cheek. The kind man was so blessed and said, "I have tears in my eyes!" It was quite cute. We love Selah's affection for others.

That evening, Selah got to have her pick for dinner. And it was hot dogs, mac and cheese, and strawberries...typical kid's delight!

The strawberries were my favorite - they were so sweet.

After dinner, Selah opened her presents. By far, her favorite were the green froggy rain boots that she received. Mckenna has a pair of yellow ones, and the girls were always prone to argue over who got to wear them. Of course, they were huge on Selah and she wattled around in them. Anyway, now she has her own and both girls still love wearing them around. It could be a bright sunny day and you'll find the girls outside, up to their knees in rain boots!

On the Friday after her birthday, we had a small family party for her. Dave's parents, my mom and the Plunneckes attended, and that was enough to thrill her! She ran around with the boys and had a great time! Prior to Selah's party, if you asked her anything about her birthday, she would tell you that she wanted a pink butterfly cake. In fact, that is all she would say she wanted! So, of course, I tackled the making of this special cake. My mom had a cut-up cake book that had to be from the 60's that she let me borrow. I remember her making a cake for me when I was little from this book. All that to say, it turned out out fairly well and Selah loved her pink butterfly cake!

After cake, she opened a few presents. Both my mom and Dave's parents gave Selah "singing" princess cards. You open up the card and it plays a princess song. When Selah opened up the first one, she got the cutest grin on her face. Someone loved their gift and a picture says a thousand words...

I still can't believe my Selah Grace is 3 years old. She is such a delight to this family and we are continually giving thanks to God for her!


Happy Father's Day, Daddy!

Dear Daddy,
I love you. I want you to watch movies with me every day when I am sick and crying. We can go out and have a date together. We can go and get a treat and we can give hugs and kisses and have a happy dad. Dad, we love you.


Dear Daddy,
I love to eat treats with you. I love to eat dinner and watch a movie. I want to tell you that I want to give you a hug. Let's go on a date. I love you soooo much!



Trust when I cannot see

Sweet truth for my soul this morning...

Left Alone. Daniel 10:13

"Are you depressed because of some illness or great trial? Then you have forgotten that God has already provided. While you are asking, 'Where can I find a friend?' or 'Who will come out to my rescue?', that friend is already there. While you are questioning, 'How can I get out of this dilemma?', God has already solved the problem. The riddle has been answered, the question explained. You are complaining about a difficulty that has already been resolved by the divine hand.

Some believers are totally surprised when God delivers them. Their faith is small, and they are surprised that God would use something simple. They say, 'How could it have happened? Why didn't I think of that? Why was the answer so close but I failed to see it? I was thirsty, and I cried to God for rain, while all the time there was this well bubbling up with water.'

If you are troubled, ask God to help you trust when you cannot see Him. Ask God to help you yield to His will. Ask that His will throw a shadow over your soul, and let that shadow be you will. May we learn to be content in any state (Phil. 4:11), for this is the best foundation for true happiness.

Oh for grace to feel that if we do not know when God will deliver us, then it is none of our business! If God knows, that is enough. God has not made us the providers, and He does not intend us to hold the helm. We are to follow Him, not lead. We are to obey Him, not prescribe.

Your deliverance is near. But if it tarries it will be a richer blessing. Ships that are long at sea are more heavily loaded, but they carry a double cargo of blessing. Plants that grow quickly last only for a little while. Perhaps the blessing that is taking so long to spring out of the soil of your expectancy will last all your life." - Spurgeon


New York

The past weeks have been quite busy and I'm behind on posting many events.

We got back a few days ago from New York. We spent just a few days up on the island with the Plunneckes and my mom. Our main reason for the trip was to attend my Grammy's burial. But we also got the chance to see a lot of family, many of whom we have not seen for years. So, it was a sad, but joyous time, being reunited with many we love. It was a packed few days, literally going from one thing to the next and from one hotel to the other, so we all came home quite exhausted...and with colds. The past few days have been spent resting and catching up a bit. I have not even gone through any of the pictures yet. In fact, many of the pictures, for some reason, are not uploading so I'll have to figure that out.

But for now, that's a little update!


Be still my soul

I love the hymn of the month at our church. Tears filled my eyes as we sang on Sunday...

Be Still My Soul

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on your side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to your God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: your best, your heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: your God will undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shall you better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe your sorrow and your fears.
Be still, my soul: your Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Text: Katharina von Schlegel, 1752
Translated by Jane Borthwick, 1855
Tune: FINLANDIA, Jean Sibelius, 1899


Brynley Chord Madigan

A few Saturdays ago, Dave, the girls and I drove down to VA to see this new little bundle who just entered the world, Brynley Chord. She is the daughter of Jamie and Martha Madigan. Martha is Dave's cousin. What a cutie! I was so excited to meet her. We packed up the van with a meal for dinner, goodies and anticipation to see this sweet family. How we love them. Martha's parents, our Uncle Tim and Aunt Carmen, her brother Gabe and wife Sara and youngest brother, Andrew also came. It was great to see everyone.

For me, in many ways, this was a monumental time. It was the first baby that has been born into the family since Alivia. She also was the first baby I have taken pictures of since Alivia. It was bittersweet, but wonderful.

More than anything, I think Martha's greeting to me, upon arriving, made my heart melt and overflow with joy. I think since losing Alivia, it is normal for others to not know how I will respond to babies, possibly even to think I wouldn't want to hold them or be around them. I admit, yes, it can sometimes be bittersweet to be around them. Simply put, babies remind me of Alivia. But that can be a good thing! And I LOVE babies! I think I have come to appreciate them and the gift of life like never before. So, when Martha greeted me with a, "Here, I know you want to hold her" you can imagine how blessed I was. No one was waiting for me to quickly give her back. I held her, snuggled her, kissed her sweet head and enjoyed how tender this little one is.

Thanks, Jamie and Martha, for welcoming us to your home and allowing us to meet your precious Brynley. We love you all!


Happy Birthday, Selah!

Today is our little Selah Grace's 3rd Birthday. I can't believe she is 3! What a joy she continues to be to us. I love her little voice and the fact that she still can't pronounce her "L's," I love her love for animals, bugs and anything that is alive and moves. I love how she always yells, "kiss" and "hug" when anyone leaves and goes running up after them, and I love how vivacious and full of life she is. I cannot imagine life without her and am giving thanks this morning that God has entrusted her to us and that I have the privilege to be her mom!


June 2nd

Today marks 7 months since our little Alivia entered the presence of ultimate joy. As my mind has wandered back to the events of November 2nd, I have also taken time this morning to imagine what joy and laughter she must be experiencing, perhaps with new friends like Chase and Micah.

I was helped by what I read this morning in my devotions, encouraging me of what laughter and joy await me in heaven:

"Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh." - Luke 6:21

"And as I knelt beside the brook
To drink eternal life, I took
A glance across the golden grass,
And saw my dog, Old Blackie, fast
As she could come. She leaped the stream -
Almost - and what a happy gleam
Was in her eye. I knelt to drink,
And knew what I was on the brink
Of endless joy. And everywhere
I turned I saw a wonder there." - John Piper

"In Heaven, I believe our joy will often erupt in laughter...I think Christ will laugh with us, and his wit and fun-loving nature will be our greatest sources of endless laughter...

There's nothing like the laughter of dear driends. The Bible often portrays us around the dinner table in God's coming Kingdom,. What do you hear when friends gather to eat and talk? The sound of laughter...

The new universe will ring with laughter. Am I just speculating about this? No. I can point to Scripture worth memorizing. Jesus said, 'Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh' (Luke 6:21). You will laugh...

The reward of those who mourn now will be laughter later. Passages such as Luke 6 gave the early Christians strength to endure persecution in 'an understanding of heaven as the compensation for lost earthly privileges' (McDannell and Lang). In early Christian Greek tradition, Easter Monday was a 'day of joy and laughter,' called Bright Monday. Only the followers of Christ can laugh in the face of persecution and death because they know that their present trouble isn't all there is. They know that someday they will laugh. By God's grace, we can laugh right now, even under death's shadow. Jesus doesn't say, 'if you weep, soon things on Earth will take a better turn, and then you'll laugh.' Things won't always take a better turn on an Earth under the Curse. Sickness, loss, grief, and death will find us. Just as our reward will come in Heaven, laughter (itself one of our rewards) will come in Heaven, compensating for our present sorrow. God won't only wipe away all our tears he'll fill our hearts with joy and our mouths with laughter. Those who are poor, diseased, and grieving experience therapeutic laughter. At memorial services, people laugh quickly. The best carefree moments on Earth bring laughter. And if we can laugh hard now - in a world full of poverty, disease, and disasters - then surely what awaits us in Heaven is far greater laughter...

Who's the most intelligent, creative, witty, and joyful human being in the universe? Jesus Christ. Whose laughter will be loudest and most contagious on the New Earth? Jesus Christ. When you face difficulty and discouragement, keep your eyes on joy's source. Recite Christ's promise for the new world, a promise that echoes off the far reaches of the universe: You will laugh." - Randy Alcorn


2 important dates...

occurred last week, but I never got a chance to record them.

May 26th marked Alivia's 8 month birthday...she would have been 8 months old! At one point this past Saturday it dawned on me that she would be crawling by now and probably getting into everything. Later that day, Dave, the girls and I were enjoying the beautiful evening around our fire pit, roasting marshmallows (or as the girls call them, "mushmallows"). Dave and I were enjoying watching the girls run around and play together. Out of the blue he said that he missed that Alivia was not here too. I started to cry as I mentioned that she would be crawling all around in the grass, exploring. A tender moment, remembering her. How we continue to miss our little girl.

Then, this past Saturday marked exactly one year that we have been in our home. It's hard for me to believe. A whole year has gone by! Never would I have imagined what our first year in this home would hold for us, but we continue to be amazed at the blessing that this house is and how much of a home it has become. We are so grateful to God for it!

For over a week now, the following scripture has continued to meet me and come to mind often. It has served me as I have walked through this past week, marking two important dates in my book. The Lord has definitely sustained us and upheld us through all the events of the last year, as hard as many of them have been:

"If the Lord had not been my help,
my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
When I thought, “My foot slips,”
your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
When the cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul." - Psalm 94:17-19


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