Valleys

It’s in the valleys I grow

Sometimes life seems hard to bear,
full of sorrow, trouble and woe.
It’s then I have to remember
that it’s in the valleys I grow

If I always stayed on the mountain top
and never experienced pain,
I would never appreciate God’s love
and would be living in vain

I have so much to learn
and my growth is very slow,
sometimes I need the mountain tops
But it’s in the valleys I grow

I do not always understand,
why things happen as they do.
But I am very sure of one thing,
My Lord will see me through

My little valleys are nothing
when I picture Christ on the cross
He went through the valley of death,
His victory was Satan’s loss.

Forgive me Lord, for complaining
when I’m feeling so very low.
Just give me a gentle reminder
that it’s in the valleys I grow.

continue to strengthen me, Lord.
and use my life each day
to share your love with others
and help them find their way.

Thank you for valleys, Lord
for this one thing I know
the mountain tops are glorious
But it’s in the valleys I grow.

By:Jane Eggleston

I’ve been thinking a lot about valleys.  After all, it is lent.  I am reminded of last years lent as we were going through our fertility treatments and I was asked to sing the Exultet at our Easter Vigil service (as we had no deacon).  I will refer to a post from last year, And the Journey rolls on…  I feel as though I am coming full circle.  Somehow God always makes his presence known in reminders such as these.  So, this Lent we walk through another valley…I grow, my son grows, my husband grows…we grow together.  But boy…do I see the light Easter right around the corner.  The light of Christ.  Thanks be to God.  Rejoice heavenly hosts and choirs of angels, for the victory of our Mighty King.  Darkness has been vanquished (from the Exultet). 

How loved am I?  So, so, so loved.  I can not express the overflowing love I feel for the little one I spend all of my days with..that God has an even greater love for me, for my family just overwhelms and brings me such great joy and security.  It seems Lent is my time to grow, to hang on to the holy, to feel the holy.  I feel it every time I hold my precious little miracle.  Thank you, God.

Jonathan78

P.S. I’m 3 pounds!!!

Wow, sometimes the world just spins!

Dear Friends,

I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted a blog or been on line to check in with all of you.  As many of you know after struggling with infertility for quite some time, we were finally able to achieve pregnancy with IVF.  As happy as we were with the pregnancy, it was difficult for me to write about it, with so many I knew struggling with infertility still.  It still hurts that there are so many great moms and dads out there who are just waiting to fill their arms.

In that light, I thought I should share that my world changed in February.  I got very sick with HELLP syndrome rather quickly and they had to deliver the baby very early.  I was 27weeks 4days.  My baby boy came in to the world weighing 1lb 15oz. by emergent C-section.  I was so sick, I wasn’t able to see him until day 3.

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I cried when I finally saw him for the first time.  In fear, in relief, but mostly…in hope.  My beautiful church, CHN, held a Prayer Vigil 2 days after he was born…

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I wasn’t able to attend as sick as I was in the hospital, but my mom and sweet husband were able to, and brought back the bulletin so that I could read it.  Our beautiful Rev. Liz wrote a lovely prayer that still brings tears to my eyes:

“Gracious and all knowing God, We pray for your abundant blessings on this little newborn, Jonathan.  We look at this tiny baby and by faith we see:  Soft little ears that will one day hear and receive the message of God’s love and grace.  Precious little fingers that will one day reach out with acts of kindness to the world.  Cute little feet with tiny little toes that will one day bring blessings to the world.  Lord, we also see a tender tiny heart and tender tiny lungs.  We lift him to you, Lord God, and pray that you will sustain him in these very early days.  May this child always have an open heart to you and to your word, and may he grow up sure in the knowledge of your love and presence, all the days of his life.  All these things we pray through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.”

Today, my little preemie is 31 weeks 1day (we go by gestational age when they are preemies).  He is now weighing in at 1050gm or 2.5lb.  Almost all of those tubes you see have been discontinued.  We are working on helping him grow.  I’d like to ask for prayers for continued progress.

Jonathan42

One Lovely Blog Award

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I’d like to say Thank You very much to My Perfect Breakdown, Waiting for Baby Bird, and While We Wait for the nomination of One Lovely Blog Award.  What a pleasant surprise!  This is a first for me, and to add to it, there’s not one, but 3 nominations for the award.  Thanks so much for all of your encouragement!

The rules for winning this award are very simple, here they are: 

1.  Thank the person who has nominated you and provide a link to his/her blog.

2.  List the rules.

3.  Include 7 facts about yourself.

4.  Nominate 15 other bloggers and let them know that they have been nominated.

5.  Display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.

Here are 7 facts about me:

1.  When people ask of my heritage I tell them I’m human mutt.  When you have 2 different parents from melting pots, but in different parts of the globe, I really am.  Asian & White.

2.  I’m a musician.  I started singing before I could talk and performed in front of the church as a soloist for the first time when I was 4 years old.  That was “Jesus Loves Me.”  I’ve now advanced to singing more complex pieces of music.  My favorite is baroque.

3.  I love to read.  While on vacation, I often bring 8 books (thank goodness e-books exist now) and then need to buy more because I finished them all.

4.  I take lots…I mean LOTS of pictures.  It was once said that when I switched to digital, Kodak would go out of business.

5.  Someday I’d like to finish my work in becoming a Music Thanatologist.  I feel as though this is a calling for me and the perfect way for the musician and nurse in me to join skills.

6.  I love to travel and see new things that are old.  I use travel therapy to prevent burn out, which has a high incidence in my field of work.

7.  I feel close to God in nature and simple things.

Here are some, but not all of the blogs that I find lovely and would like to nominate for the Lovey Blog Award!

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THE CHRONICLES OF THE UNFRUITFULNESS

Eventual Momma

Ever Upward

Every Little Thing’s Gonna Be Alright

HOPE ANCHORS THE SOUL

INFERTILITY, WHY ME?

It Is Well With My Soul

Mercurial

The Mom in Me, MD

my lady bits

Our eggs and a plumber

OurGreatestDesire

Tales from the Laundry Room

waitingbetweenthelines

woman waiting

I’m looking forward to getting to know you all more!  Please know that there is no pressure, but I wanted to let you all know how much I enjoy your blogs!

Happy Anniversary to a very Special Couple!

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Happy Anniversary Kat & Kirk!

It’s a milestone!  At least in my book it is.  The happy couple has been married for 5 years today!  I just wanted to wish my sister and brother-in-law many more years of happiness.  These two have been through so much together and are always there for each other picking each other up on bad days and cheering each other on in the good.  A beautiful example of love and friendship!  I love you both and wish we lived closer so we could celebrate together!

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Now remain in my love.  If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.  Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.  This is my command: Love each other.”   John 15: 9-17 (NIV)

The Great Reveal

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Well, I am blessed!  Yes, I’m pregnant.  I know as you’re seeing this picture, you probably realize I’ve known for a little while.  I’ve honestly not been able to relax until 1.)  I knew the baby was in my uterus.  2.)  I saw a heartbeat.  Call it the nurse in me.  Call it my grief at the recent miscarriage.  Call it fear.  But alas, God is good.  I heeded where he was guiding me and here we are.  I pray that I am able to sustain this pregnancy.  This is from yesterday at exactly 6 weeks.  Baby had a heart rate of 114.  Yippee!  I guess God knew exactly what I needed.

Can I just say…I AM SO HUNGRY ALL OF THE TIME!  That so far is my big pregnancy symptom.  I don’t seem to ever be satisfied.  Wow.  I don’t think I’ve ever been this hungry, this often.  I’ve always had a good appetite, but sheesh!

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If you look really closely, you can see the head and fetal pole.  So exciting!  Thank you all so much for your prayers.  They mean so much to me.  We have nicknamed the baby “Parasite” because of my hunger…ha ha ha.  I guess my fur baby was right!  I really was pregnant when he peed on my belly after the embryo transfer!  Happy Friday!

No, I just can’t forget…

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Jonathan  9.11.1977 – 8.10.1988

Who?  I’d like you to meet my brother, Jonathan.  He would have been 37 years old today.  Born in Bitburg, Germany on Bitburg Air Base, and died in Maywood, IL and Loyola University Medical Center.  My brother died tragically while riding bikes with 2 other friends.  He was hit by a car and sustained injuries that took his life.  In his death, he was able to give others life by donating organs.  Hope in the midst of absolute tragedy, devastation, and loss.  We still miss him everyday, but on days like today, he is in the forefront of our minds.  Happy Birthday little brother.  I can’t wait to see you again in the clouds.

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9.11.2001

I’m sure you remember the tragedy and loss that people simply now only refer to as 9.11.  It definitely brought a whole new perspective to an already seared date for me.  Do you remember where you were, what you were doing, or who you were with?  I do.  I remember being in shock and saying…”we’re at war.”

I don’t know that anyone put it quite as well as Alan Jackson did.  Faith.  Hope.  Love.  God Bless you wherever you are on this September 11, 2014.  May peace shelter your souls, love fill your hearts, and hope dry your tears.

Surprise!

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“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” ~Jeremiah 29: 11-13

Do you like surprises?  I generally like surprises, specially if they bring automatic joy.  Sometimes surprises bring uncertainty and shock.  That’s kind of what my Saturday was like. 

I got an email on Thursday afternoon that there would be an URGENT Executive Session of the Vestry this Saturday.  Now, I should preface that this is my third and final year on Vestry, and this has never happened before.  There was no other explanation, just a sense of urgency to be at the meeting.  I have to tell you, this left me with some anxiety regarding what this meeting would be about. 

I would like to tell you about my rector and priest at Church of the Holy Nativity, The Rev. Aimee Eyer-Delevett.  Yes, you can click on the link and her bio will appear, but that is not the same as hearing personal stories.  The first time I met Rev. Aimee in the Fall of 2007, I was trying sneak in to this little church that kept compelling me to “check it out” after I had moved to the area.  I tried to sneak in, but there is really no place to sneak in this church.  I did my best and sat in the middle near an elderly couple.  As the processional started, I noticed the priest was walking in, in sneakers.  Wow, I thought, this is a really casual church.  Now after the service, the lady next to me put her arm through mine and asked if I would have a cup of coffee with her. Now remember, I was trying to sneak in and sneak out…but who am I to tell sweet little Harriet, no?  Needless to say, I found myself sitting down to a cup of coffee.  As I sat people started sitting with me and introducing themselves and next thing I knew Adult Formation was starting.  (I can’t just get up and walk out in the middle of a “talk!”….I thought)  Well, so I stayed.  As I listened to the speaker, I realized she was familiar.  So I kept staring and staring until I placed her.  I had taken care of her before in the Cardiac ICU.  She looked great!  She was thriving!  Suddenly it dawned on me, connections, God brought me here.  I was already connected in so many ways to the body (the people) of this church.  Oh, and that strange priest that led the service in her sneakers…she was prepared for Crop Walk Sunday!  This was the beginning on my journey with CHN or Church of the Holy Nativity.

Through the years, as you might imagine, I’ve gotten to know Rev. Aimee so much more and on a much deeper level.  Not only is she my priest, but she is also my friend.  She has listened to my hopes, my fears, my struggles and has been there for the joys.  She provided my husband and I marriage counseling before our marriage.  She married us.  She blessed my womb before my first IVF and embryo transfer (that so many knew nothing about), and anointed me with oil.  What is special about Rev. Aimee, is that not only did she listen to my joys, challenges and hurts, but she shared hers as well.  Most certainly not all of them, but there is a vulnerability and authenticity that just exudes from her spirit.

Saturday morning, I found out that Rev. Aimee will be taking leave from her position at CHN as rector.  October 26th will be her last day with us.  She received a call from All Saints by the Sea in Montecito, CA to be their rector and accepted the call.  This is the letter that just went out to the parish (CHN).  We are so sad, but also know that God is working through Rev. Aimee, and that in our sorrow there is also hope.  Hope for us at CHN, but also hope for those at All Saints by the Sea.  As I said to Rev. Aimee, “I can only wish for you to grow and share your leadership, love and compassion to those who need you.”  Godspeed my dear, dear friend.  Know that you will be taking a piece of my heart with you, just as you are leaving a piece of yours.

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Rest for the weary

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Happy Labor day all!  How do you celebrate Labor Day?  What is it you do?  In honor of Labor Day, a day that should be a time of rest from our work and celebration of our accomplishments, I thought I’d try to get to know you all better and find ways for us to honor our work/labor.

Yes, this is at my sister hospital:

For those of you that don’t know, I’m an ICU nurse.  I love what I do and see the “fruits of my labor” everyday.  Yes, there are frustrating days, but what we do makes a difference.  I hope you all have a great Labor Day and celebrate you!

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A younger me, when it all began…

A Beautiful Morning

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It’s a beautiful morning!  I wanted to wish you all a good morning too!  Freddie (the pup) needed to go out at 7am this morning, and as we were walking outside and the sun was rising, I thought to myself, “Oh what a beautiful morning!”  Yes, I’m also geeky enough to start singing it too.  I forgot how much I love watching the sun come up, so I can only say thank you God, and thank you Freddie, for the gentle reminder.  Sometimes it’s the simple things that bring you joy and remind you to be grateful. 

A virtual Good Morning to all of you!  I hope something or someone brings you a smile today!

Prayer9

Who’s claiming who?

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Oh yeah, he did!  Here you’ll find humor in a 2 week wait.  For those of you who aren’t aware, after an embryo transfer you are required to take it easy.  Bedrest or couch potato rest, it’s often called.  We have no children yet, but we do have a fur baby named Freddie.  He’s a wonderful boy.  I rescued him from A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter when he was 10 months old, but I digress.  We came home from our embryo transfer feeling like we’d won the lottery, so I sent my husband to go and buy a lottery ticket for kicks.  While my husband went out to get a lottery ticket…

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Freddie and I were snuggled up in bed.  I was laying on my side with a body pillow between my knees and talking to one of my best friends on the phone when suddenly Freddie stands on my hip and pees all over my belly!  It took me a second to realize what was happening (I was drugged for the procedure), and when I did I squealed “Freddie!”.  At which point he hopped off the bed, not  a drop of pee anywhere else.  Just all over my belly and the bed.  Of course my girlfriend was like “what happened?!?!”  So I explained…there was a long pause….then…”well, should we take it as a omen?”  I didn’t know what to think.  This is a fully potty trained dog who has NEVER peed on his or my bed and certainly not me.  This dog is so smart that there was a time I didn’t realize he was trying to get me up to let him out in the middle of the night one night and I heard water flowing in the bathroom; it was Freddie peeing down the shower drain.  He was able to get in because we had left the door open.  Smart and resourceful pup.  So I said to my girlfriend, well I guess he either just claimed me or the baby…I’m not sure which!

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Here is my beautiful boy.  I’d love to hear thoughts from you all about this!

“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.  Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’  The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”        Psalm 126: 2-3