Sunday, March 18, 2018

Bekah, the Future Author

Last month I received a wonderful surprise from Bekah's teacher!

All of her focus was put into writing this amazing book.

By Bekah
Boy Jesus
Born in a Stable

Along Time
There were no 
beds in Bethlehem

There was an angel in the ski
she said, do not be afraid
I've come here for a reason
you much come with me

I am taking the liberty to translate a bit for you, for instance, "you must cum wits me" - God, love her! 

The King prayed to
the baby. The Shepherd prayed too. 

Baby Jesus is finally alone.

Poor Baby Jesus, it's hard to have so many visitors. 

I could cry. This was just too precious not to share. Bekah has such a big heart and that heart beats for Jesus. She is most certainly a little kindergarten evangelist. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Morgan's Magical Unicorn Birthday

Last weekend my dining room became magical as we celebrated Morgan's 5th Birthday!

 I had been collecting unicorn party supplies since the Fall and so many times I was tempted to change the color theme. Like, when I found these invitations.

Click Here to Find them on Etsy

 Matt was out the town the entire week before Morgan's party, so I decided to give myself a break and order her cake from H-E-B.

 Games didn't really happen this time, but we did have the traditional pinata.

 Morgan still gets super embarrassed when people sing Happy Birthday to her! Silly girl!

Presents followed cake which always causes some sisterly drama. 

Poor's hard to watch your sister open a cool new scooter. 

After the party, we tested out the scooter!

I can't believe she is five already. It was a rather emotional birthday for this mother...more on that later this week! 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Attention Prayer Warriors

We are in the middle of a sermon series at church called, Thy Will Be Done.  Taken from the words Jesus gave us in the Lord’s Prayer, the timing of series is a bit eerie as my family faces an event that is so dependent on only God’s will. 

It is His will and things happen in His time, but I want to ask for more.  I want to ask, beg for the Lord’s abundant favor because, well, this is important - this is big. 

My friend, Emily, sent the best prayer when I asked her to pray for this situation. 

Lord, please be in this. Breathe life into E. Give strength and comfort to J and to Matt and Dana. This situation is so complex and yet you knit life together so often. You know the future of these embryos, Lord. You understand everything, more than we can fathom. You feel the hurt and you rejoice in the goodness. You are good. You are always good. You are life. Lord, hear our prayers!

The last two embryos were implanted into their adoptive mother on Wednesday. Everything went perfectly but now is when the prayers are most needed.  Our families are praying fiercely for these babies to survive the next few weeks and that their parents receive a positive pregnancy test.  Then, the prayers will change to their growth, development and ultimately a healthy delivery.  This is where God’s will comes into play, well, actually he has been in all of this - seriously. It has been an amazing God’s timing, God’s people series of events. 

If you know me in everyday, real life then you probably know about the sextuplets and if you are completely lost, thinking possibly Matt and I are having more children then please keep reading. 

I learned very early on, like before our first date that Matt and Nici had six embryos frozen before her first round of treatments in hopes that after chemo they would begin a family.  That family was not in God’s plans for Matt’s life, but he made a strong vow that these six babies would have a chance at life.  

On our third date, before we had even kissed, after a few beers were consumed, I gave Matt a big offer.  I guess with visions of John and Kate plus 8 running through my head I offered to carry and birth his children.  Yep and to think he still married me.  That would not be the last time I offered to have the children I lovingly call the sextuplets.  

Shortly after our engagement, Matt started working on the adoption papers to find the sextuplets a loving family.  He was not doing this because he was about to marry a crazy woman, but he felt that it would be unfair for a child of his and Nici’s to be born in our marriage.  Not to mention just the pure heartache that would probably be there, you know? 

Years passed and each April when we would pay our storage fees for the embryos I would ask, “Are you sure you want to adopt these kids out?  We can have them if you want.”  Even, after the birth of Morgan, I was asking.  I went between “is he holding onto them for a reason?” and “is my husband really that big of a procrastinator?”.  It really was a complicated, full of feelings mixture of both.  

Then, one day God stepped in only a way that He could pull off.  He worked, again, through one of my dear friends.  That friend had heard my telling of the sextuplets' story many times and knew the struggle Matt and I were both having with the situation at hand.  Then, I am telling you in a Holy Spirit way, she read a post by an old friend on Facebook stating that she and her husband were looking to adopt embryos.  And the universe aligned.  

As the adoption talks began almost two years ago, I stepped back and offered support, but did not want to be a part of the decision making because even though there was a very odd attachment that had grown between me and these children, I am not their biological parent. I hope that makes sense and doesn’t come across as if I do not support their adoptive parents because I do, 110%. 

This really is one of those situations that is stirring similar emotions to the way I feel about Nici - I am just shocked at the emotions that these sextuplets bring up in me.  How in the world can I love children whom I have never met? 

The past two years have brought peaks of joy and pure despair.  After the first two embryos were implanted we quickly learned that E was pregnant.  Heartbreakingly, we received news sometime later that E had a miscarriage.  The loss was a blow to all of those involved.  When J and E were ready, they implanted the second two embryos, but those babies did not survive the implantation.  Heartache, again, waved through our families. 

Many months passed and we received an email from J saying that he and E had healed from these tragedies and they were ready to implant the final two embryos. Honestly, this is when serious fear set in for me.  The next few months will either bring joy, complicated yes, but still joy or something so very final.  Our families are facing the prospect of there being a little Matt/Nici combination walking this earth or the finality of this story.  Ugh, that is so hard, so emotional.  So much that we cannot do, all of which we have to give to God. 

And this is why I am asking all my prayer warriors to pray.  Please, please pray.  We want life, we want survival, we want good to come out of this story.  

Monday, February 26, 2018

Wisp of Fog, Catching a Brief Bit of Sun

I have said so much about this day in the past (link below), but today I fell lead to tell you what is written in the book that he was named after.

You don't know the first things about tomorrow. You're nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. 

James 4:14 MSG

James Neal Krzywonski
June 15, 1978- February 26, 2009

Life is frail. Life is short. Death is certain.

Those are all factual, especially when you've lost some who spent such a short time on this earth.

Today I challenge you, how much time do you have left?  What does God want your life to look like on your deathbed? What will you have accomplished that matter in light of eternity? How much time do you have to hear what God is saying to you? 

Teach us to number our days correctly Lord, so that we may gain a heart of wisdom. 
Psalm 90:12

Thursday, February 8, 2018

95 Happy Birthday Meme

Today she would have been 95. 

As I work through the manuscript of my book, my editor asked, "Who was she? What was your relationship with her?". I still haven't finished that chapter because how do you turn "she was everything" into 1,500 words? 

that cuteness in white is my grandmother

I don't have words today and not because I am experiencing some kind of terrible grief, though I am crying at this moment. This year I really miss her.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Four Questions

As I have said before I do not set resolutions in the New Year and there is a 90% that any personal goals set for me will not be met. I was given a pre-release copy of Jon Acuff’s new book, Finish and had big hopes to improve my percentage, but, well, I never finished Finish. This is my life! 

This year questions came to mind instead of goals. This year I have four questions that I want to answer. Pretty doable, right?

One: Where do I come from? 
Ah, the continuation of my family research that has been sparked again by watching Coco in the beginning of December. I want to know who my ancestors were. What are their stories? What do future generations need to know? How can preserve the legacies from past generations?

Two: What is wrong with me?

Probably not a “mom approved” question to ask myself, but I am not seeing it as a search for the many imperfections of my life. I have, somewhat silently, struggled with some health issues this past year. And,  honestly, transparently, I am avoiding finding the answer for one ailment because I really, really, don’t want to change some habits or some coping in my life. I honestly don’t want the searching for answers to prevent or stop the treatment of my ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). That subject brings so much fear, seriously, more fear than not determining what is wrong with a part of my body. Yes, I am aware of the stupidity in that statement and I hear your mother voices as you tell me that I really, really need to see someone about this, but I am also painfully aware of my life when my condition is untreated. 

Which leads me to the thought that I REALLY REALLY (I am aware that “really, really” is my go-to phrase for this post) want to be an expert on my condition. ADD effects so much of life. I want to know why and how I can do more to not be dependent on medication to get through what should be simple tasks. 

While we are on the topic of expert knowledge, I want to also be at an expert knowledge level about Alzheimer’s. You know the disease that runs so rampant in my family that it should be called, “He who should not be named”. Sorry, Harry Potter has been a big topic in our house since Matt has been re-reading and I have been reading the series since Thanksgiving. 

I can state the statistics of Alzheimer’s up one side and down the other, but I need to know the facts, I need to know the studies, I need to know what “they” believe I should do. Should I eat kale? Should I run? Should I meditate?  I don’t know what God has planned for my life and I don’t know if Alzheimer’s is part of his plan.  

And that statement leads me straight to question number three. 

Three: Why do I believe in Jesus?

And honestly, what do I believe about God? Do I believe God gives people Alzheimer’s? I want to live with a faith that is really truly faith and not just hope. 

I don’t feel as distant as I did before my healing process started over two years ago, but I am much more disconnected as I have been since. That disconnect has a ripple effect, you can see it in my husband, you can see it in my children and you can see it in my ability to write and create. 

Which brings me to asks, 

Four: How am I using my talents?

One thing I know for sure is my ability to share through the written word is  God-given. It’s a talent that has been here since I was very little. Besides English 101 at the community college in the Fall of ’96, I have not been trained in this skill. Honestly, I probably could use a good course in grammar. 

But where are my talents being used (or wasted)? 

If I had to pick one of those life focusing words for 2018 it would be “purpose”. How is this fulfilling my purpose? How is this helping my purpose? How is this keeping me from my purpose?

Shelby just walked in while I was writing this (in my journal), talked a bit and then said, “Okay, get back to your Jesus work.”

Yep, that’s what I need to do, get back to MY Jesus work. Remember to not neglect the purpose He has given my life, then plans He has for my talents. 

I love questions. I love digging deeper, hypothesizing what could be. Again, grammar. I am not sure if I am even using that word correctly, but, eh, it works for me. 

I am not sure what form this will take, I have no plans for question focused weekly blog entries because seriously my crazy mind would see that as a goal and you wouldn’t hear from me again until 2019. 

As always, I welcome your prayers as I walk through through these questions. And, I guess, I even welcome your motherly (or fatherly) lecturing about my health - bring it! (nicely, of course). 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Today I Cry

I woke this morning with a blinding painful headache and my husband was there to help make sure it wasn’t my blood pressure.  He brought me more medicine to help elevate the pain. It’s Wednesday, but I’ve already been difficult to love this week. I had a pretty manic meltdown Monday night and the devil was attacking my royally yesterday morning, but my husband has been amazing.  So when I woke up at 3 am this morning in horrible pain I thought, “not today, today I need to be strong, today is the day we (or at least I) cry.” 

When I met Matt and we began dating I had no clue how much I would personally morn over the loss of his first wife.  My therapist has said countless times that I should not use “crazy” to describe my actions, but I think that it’s seriously crazy that I cry more eight years after Nicole’s passing then my husband does - not that he does not still morn - he just doesn’t cry. And, well, I am good at crying. 

I am telling you never in a millions years did I think I would morn Nicole like she was my dearest friend, but my goodness I mourn her.  I fight the guilt that I am here because someone is not.  In some ways I morn as I do for James in that I am saddened by the “what could have been”.  There have been many events over this last year that have made the “what could have been” sadness stronger. 

Our the first year of being married after Nicole’s passing I was blindsided by what grief looked like from my husband. Honestly, I was angry and jealous, being newlyweds I was frustrated that he was not more present with our family.  I was shocked at how badly he disconnected.  Since that first year, I always prepare myself for what is to come the week after Thanksgiving.  I have been known to ask for prayer for my husband stating, “because I lose him from now until after Christmas.”  Matt’s grief has ebbed and flowed as the years have passed - some years seem harder than others, but it’s not his sadness that makes me cry. Well, it’s not always his sadness.  

If you know me and we have discussed Nicole, at all, you know that I seriously cannot talk about her without crying.  This past year I spent hours in conversation - good raw conversation - with another woman. I shared my story and talked through fears I faced without shedding a tear. And it was until we ended our conversation that my mother-in-law said, “You know Deb’s husband is the pastor of Nicole’s parent’s church.”  I ugly cried all over that poor woman because I knew that she had a glimpse into Nicole and her family.  She actually knew about me before we had met, she knew all about my littles and about Matt.  I never imagined feeling the love that we receive from Nicole’s parents.  My sadness is for them as well. 

As I am writing this I feel like I need to gain the attitude that I have with thoughts of James’ passing: celebrate the time I had with him, the memories of his life in a positive way.  Live in thanksgiving for the blessing of his life on mine. 

Nicole gave Matt specific directions when knowing of her passing. I am telling you the woman was organized - I woman after my own heart with lists of things he needed to do, gifts he needed to pass to her friends and family and letters she wrote to her dear husband (y’all know I am balling right now).  She told Matt that he was to take care of the schnauzers (Gus & Moby) which he did until their passing, lose weight (he was a little fluffier then) and get remarried.  

From those directions I feel like I can honor her by loving my husband well especially during this time of year, not taking for granted an ounce of time together and living our life fully.  At this moment in my headache induced loopiness that seems a bit of a big ask, but it’s the least I can do to honor Nicole. 

So today I cry (I might cry tomorrow, or next Tuesday, too), my therapist would approve.  She would probably say, “crying is normal, you are normal”. Today I cry because sometimes life just sucks.  It just does and we really have no real explanation why we are to walk through these hard things in life, we just have to trust God’s plan…even when it sucks. 

You must forgive me I just love this card by Emily McDowell and it’s so perfect for this.  

and this one too. 


Last year I wrote this post for Matt:

Have to say, though, a good cry has made my headache go away! Yes, a positive spot on the day!!!!