should’ve beens, would’ve beens, IS

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Should’ve beens. Today seemed to be the most difficult of Tucker’s birthdays so far. May 10th, 2008. We should’ve been celebrating his 5th birthday today… opening big boy birthday presents like Bionicles and Legos and playing arcade games at Chuck-E-Cheese… just finishing preschool, enjoying his first year at T-ball where he’d be on Hunter’s team, riding his bike, catching frogs with his big brothers, kissing his little brothers, preparing for Kindergarten, and learning to read. Should’ve beens and would’ve beens.

God’s grace and mercy have been abundant these past 2 years. Time doesn’t heal. With a guilty-mommy heart I admit with His grace, over time, the pain has lightened. God heals. A day never passes that Tuck isn’t woven throughout my thoughts, but grief no longer plagues me every second.

Beginning yesterday morning I felt a heaviness of heart. The day had a dragging start, and after time in God’s Word at lunch things sped up a bit. I pondered if it was grief or perhaps an arriving post-partum menses. As today closes, I report it was grief!

Today began dash speed with the exterminator dinging the door bell at 8:22am and then a woman here for craigslist posting (yeah!). Breakfast, nursing the baby, some Tucker-Movies – a whirlwind. I have forgotten how the cloud of “grief-angst” interrupts marital communication. Different emotions, desires, plans and expectations. Grief confuses the sensor to know when to speak or remain quiet. Grief fogs discernment and interpretation of the normal non-verbal cues.

I should’ve known better than to go out. I was in a fog and couldn’t make any decisions for the days plans or what to do next. I wanted to crawl back in bed, hide under my covers, and I felt exhausted. I walked through Wayside garden center attempting to select the flowers for the cemetery. I purposed to find the similar hearty plants we used last season. After consulting with four staff workers, I failed to find the right person to just tell me what to choose as they did last year.

A suffocating cloud of grief arrived. It’s presence increased quickly. It followed me from greenhouse to greenhouse. I explained to the sweet woman helping me that I didn’t care which flowers she picked, yet she kept giving me options. Didn’t she understand? I was in no shape to make a decision. I asked her to just pick them out for me. We meandered around the aisles for a few minutes (double stroller and grandma too!). I explained the situation, how I didn’t want to be there, warned her I was going to cry, and then it erupted in-front of her – and it was her first day of work!

Tears. A grief attack. It has been so long since I’ve experienced one of such magnitude. Intense emotions with such sudden onset that it makes it difficult to get a good breath, leaving me nauseated with the readying sensation to vomit. Gasping between words.

I called Irv to report my difficulty with the plants. He interpreted my broken conversation well. He drove over to my rescue and conquered the task of flowers with my mom’s assistance. (They did a great job!)

I sat on a bench and watched my boys on the playground, crying for 20 minutes. I wrestled and chatted with God. I noted my list of thankfulness – that always helps me! We discussed the should’ve beens, would’ve beens, and the IS.

I listened to Ving explain to his new playground friend about our special day. “Yeah, do you know what today is? Today is my brother Tucker’s birthday. He is five. Well, he died like when he was two or something. He went to sleep and had what is called a seizure. Do you know what that is? Its the brain and you like go to sleep and shake, and he just died in his crib. We are going to a movie (we didn’t), planting flowers, doing balloons….” His new friend chimmed in “He died last night?” “No, silly, like two years ago. Do you think this wood piece looks like the state of Idaho?” Ving concluded. “Well, it looks like a gun” new friend replied. Boys. And on they went about playground boy adventures.

Moments later a mother gathered her son from the playground and spoke to me with surprise and exhaust, “How many children do you have?”

“I have five sons” I longingly, yet proudly responded.

“Wow. I am amazed. What can you teach me? You certainly look so calm, happy, and great.” she complimented with surprise in her voice.

“Well, thank you” I silently laughed as I walked away …. me, in the midst of a grief-attack-breakdown in the plant aisle, stumbled to a bench, cried and prayed for 2o minutes! And I get a compliment! Only with Jesus.

My gang worked our way to the check-out counter. Now, I am not a plant girl, but my eyes were drawn to the beautiful plants being purchased by the couple in front of me in line. I had to ask, and I felt compelled to acquire one.

As I looked at the plants to choose mine, I noticed they all had one main shoot with differing numbers of off-shoots. The staff worker encouraged me to get the plant with six shoots as it appeared the healthiest. The first plant I touched had five shoots, and I knew it was the one for me! FIVE.

I loaded the van and drove away recounting the events at the garden center. A multitude of emotions. The floodgates had opened, intense grief experienced, and God remained faithful. Next, God reminded me of a special empty pot on my porch at home. I have spent the past month searching for a fake plant insert without success, and even prayed about it! As I drove away, God whispered in my heart, “that’s the plant for the pot”.

My special pot is a gift I received at Tucker’s birth. The winter he died, I accidentally left in outside all season. Spring sprung and full of grief I found it all weathered. Everything seemed ruined. I stuffed it in the garage to store. While cleaning out the garage last Fall, I found it.   I asked my friend (the original artist) if she could preserve it for me in its weathered condition.

My God delighted in me today. The God of the universe paused for me. Ugly, grieving, crying, poor communicating, second-day-clothes-wearing-Darci. He placed the perfect plant, and pink, in front of my eyes for me. Then He whispered to remind me where to put it. He remembers, He cares.

I placed my special pink plant with five shoots into my special Tucker pot tonight. Of course it looks great. I love it, and pray I don’t kill it.

Grief is the result of loving much. Loving much I did, sweet Tucker. Grieving much I did, and will continue. But, my Jesus is enough.

The day proceeded with planting and a picnic at the cemetery.  Then, cleaning out the car and garage walkway when we came home. Special visitors with love, hugs, and prayer. Special emails and calls. It’s great to be remembered. Special meals of eggs & sausage, and pizza – Tucker’s fav.  The birthday song and balloon releasing – well Isaac took 20 minutes to release his and I am not sure if it was on purpose – he loves balloons! Special Tucker movies, songs (check out this new one for me on itunes “With Hope” by Steven Curtis Chapman), videos, and scrapbooks. Lastly a Daddy devotional on sin and suffering, our favorite Tucker memories, Tuck-ins and prayers.

Here I type. Another birthday passed. As we count in our family, Tucker is now five in Heaven. Jesus has rubbed a healing salve on the wombs of my heart. I continue to grieve, but I continue to love-much my many blessings.

Days like today I more readily think of the should’ves and the would’ves. Yet I embrace the IS – my new normal.

My life: burying my baby, visiting the cemetery, tears, five sons but only holding four, a bigger HOPE for heaven, and many blessings! My IS.

I believe God knew all Tucker’s days before any of them came to be. Tucker was fearfully and wonderfully made. We suffer in this world because it is fallen and tainted by sin. God did allow Tucker to die in this sinful world. He allowed it to happen for His greater purpose that I do not know. I trust Him as a Heavenly Father to know best and to work it all out. God does not make mistakes. He is involved all aspects of our lives and knows all the details of all events. God ismerciful . Tucker is safe in the arms of God. I am so blessed to be Tuck’s mommy and my life is so much richer for the chapters of Tuck.

I conclude with my special rhema from God on February 8th, 2006…. Psalm 40:1-5 ….

1 I waited patiently for the LORD;

he turned to me and heard my cry.

2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock

and gave me a firm place to stand.

3 He put a new song in my mouth,

a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear

and put their trust in the LORD.

4 Blessed is the man

who makes the LORD his trust,

who does not look to the proud,

to those who turn aside to false gods. [a]

5 Many, O LORD my God,

are the wonders you have done.

The things you planned for us

no one can recount to you;

were I to speak and tell of them,

they would be too many to declare.

Thank you JESUS!

Well, this has lots to do with wellness. And for eating, I could’ve ate better – but also could’ve ate worse! More on that later…

Thanks for listening friends, well reading …. night, night.

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hiatus turned funk

I took an unplanned hiatus from blogging. It just kinda happened, and I now realize I have limited ability to multi-task in my brain space reserved for “extracurricular thinking”.

Last week I was blessed to “share” with a small group Bible study of delightful, spirit-filled college girls. As I prayed and prepared for our time together, three weeks of time passed and my small reserved section of brain space for such extracurricular thinking was occupied. I did little else other than my basic wife, mommy, homeschool, and domestic engineer duties.

Email, phone calls, paper piles, creative outlets, organizing and hot spots were not attended too. No blog posts were written in my brain space nor on WordPress (sorry)!

During this time, my purposeful healthy-choice-living for my wellness journey also slacked. I let choices kinda “happen”, and it really didn’t work as well as I hoped. Well, maybe for a few days, but slowly my bad habits creep-ed right back in. Exercise became obsolete, fast food moved in many meals, I was sneaking chocolate (from who?) and single parent living for three days took its tole.

I sit here tonight amazed at how quickly I can feel like a failure. Again, dangling at my pit. The past few days I have felt despair and unbelief that I will ever live free from my strongholds and healthy.

I would love to post about my healthy success and pounds removed, but at the moment I am staying far from the scale. I pray, “me, raw and real” blesses you, rather than depresses you!

For the past 5 days or so, I’ve been in a funk! I’ve despaired and then felt temporary relief from God’s Word and worship music. However, within hours I was funking again. Same for today. Experiencing funk-relief after time with God reveals there is a spiritual component to my funk! I know it is the result of choosing to indulge the flesh with gluttony and poor choices. So friends, my unplanned hiatus has turned funk.

I’ve decided that food abuse is my thorn. My grief of Tucker’s move to Heaven has reminded me of 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 these past few years as well. My thorns are my “issues” that land me helpless and on my face before the Lord. Postured before Him, knowing HE is my only hope.

I am reminded of Paul as he writes in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Tomorrow, I purpose to rise early. Walk and worship Jesus. Read the daily selection in my Chronological Bible (love it!) and then begin a new Bible study the LORD has placed directly into my hands, Celebrate Recovery.

As I snuggle in tonight, I am thankful for God’s word. We all have thorns in our flesh… and His grace is sufficient for us. For when we are weak, then we are strong.

My verse for this week is …. Matthew 19:26 (KJV) But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Happy Sabbath my friends, night-night.

april facts & the Word

This blog is about my wellness journey. I’m sure you’ve noticed my ramblings lately aren’t always facts of the journey, but reflections of my heart. Today, I wanted to remain accountable to blogging the facts of the journey. I report I am still at the same weight – 16# removed.

While I have made some eating choices I am proud of, I know there is so much more to do! I will be thankful that in breaking this cycle I know it isn’t an “all or nothing” deal. I must choose to BELIEVE I can do this with Christ, despite my success and failures. If my successes leave me prideful in MY accomplishments, I fail. If my failures leave me despairing, then I will remain in the cycle of unbelief and never reach my Promiseland. In Christ’s strength I choose prevailing belief that at each meal I can make healthy choices.

Thanks for the comments my bloggy friends. I am encouraged and learning much. I pray you are as well. This isn’t all about me, but about a journey that so many are on, and about a BIG HUGE God working in and through us. “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

This week, I purpose to be more active. The weather forcast is for sunshine and warmth so I can keep the baby outside with me. I’d like to exercise all five days, and report in on Friday to blogosphere.

My encouraging scripture of the week is Matthew 21:22, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

I am making my index cards to speak God’s word out-loud this week to battle my temptations. If you are doing this as well, please share your verses for battle with us by commenting. I just may take Beth Moore’s recommendation and pin them to my shirt!

” We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.” Romans 6:6-7 (NLT)

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.” Romans 6:6-7 (KJV)

“They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you.” 2 Peter 2:19 (NLT)

They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. ” 2 Peter 2:19 (NIV)

Blessings, Blessings. Keep Believing!

expelled: not me. not you?

We just returned home from our date night of viewing the movie Expelled. It is opening night, and with great anticipation we purchased our tickets in advance online in case it was sold out. There was an excellent turn out. I am definitely now more educated on the issues surrounding evolution vs. intelligent design

Mark Looy of AIG sums it up in his review: “While the film is mostly an examination of the plight of intelligent design (ID) proponents rather than of biblical creationists, it is not really a film on ID, per se, but an exposé on blatant censorship by hardcore evolutionists.3

This film did an excellent duty in exposing the censorship by hardcore evolutionists against intelligent design. America must be educated and stand against this to preserve our freedom of speech. I say, Christians don’t have to “fit” evolution into their Christianity – the Bible stands true. We must speak up, our LORD is the intelligent designer!

This documentary educates and aggravates emotions. For myself, I was nauseated and tearful. The “world of darci” was disturbed

For me, this was not simply an expose of censorship, but rather an exposure of satan’s tactics of deception. I was saddened to listen to grown educated men speak against the existence of God, with pride and hopelessness running rampant. Blindness.

As I viewed the film, I found myself apologizing to the Lord repeatedly. “I am sorry Lord for their comments, please forgive them for they must not know what they are doing or saying!” When leading scientists discussed their conversion stories from Christianity to Darwinism, I prayed perhaps there names were written in the Lambs Book of Life when they were children, perhaps they’ve just been blinded by the evil one.

At some points in the film I became mad and nauseated. The select few individuals in the film represent many across the globe who’ve been deceived, and who’ve molded their theology on lies from the evil one. They have souls, and Jesus died for them on the cross. They will spend eternity in Hell without the redemption of Christ’s work on the cross inside their hearts. “Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing!”

I have a difficult time getting all hyped up on the battle of the debates, proof, and the scientific evidence. I get hyped up on the great deceiver keeping people from the truth. I believe because I believe. My redeemer lives, and I know HIM. HE is evident to me intimately through my life. Sure, I have a Biblical worldview, and I believe because my Jesus is real to me daily.

As I snuggle down to bed, I ponder the verb expelled. It is defined as:

1. To force or drive out

2. To discharge from or as if from a receptacle

3. To force to leave; deprive of membership

Thesaurus: eject, kick out, throw out, boot out, chuck out, exclude, turn out, exile, deport, debar, suspend, banish, cast out, shun, ban, remove.

When our lives are all said and done, and we stand before the Creator of this world, what really matters is who gets expelled from His presence.

I too could easily be on the deceived end, as could my spouse, child, friend, or family member. I too could be expelled from Heaven if it wasn’t for the Grace of Jesus upon my life! I am thankful! The Good News is we all have free will and God does reveal Himself to us. We simply have to make a choice.

Join me in praying for all who’ve been deceived, that they will know the awesome intimacy of a relationship with the Living God. May their darkness be pierced with the Light.

Expelled? Not me. Not you?

Let’s praise God for all He is, and all He’s done!

Great is HIS faithfulness.

heres and nows.

The here and now. I am here, and it is now.

Actually, now it is 2:00 am and I cannot sleep! Perhaps there was caffeine in that diet mountain dew I drank with dinner? It was left here from the wedding yesterday, and I have never had it before. Not that great, but was something different. Yup, definitely caffeinated… I’m WIDE awake.

Back to my thoughts for this post. My here and now. Soaking in the moment, my life, my season. Each moment I am given.

Yesterday we hosted the wedding ceremony and reception of my brother-in-law. It was an honor to host the 30-something family members and watch them exchange vows. What a wonderful experience for my boys, in their own home. “Don’t they look in love?” I asked Ving as he starred. “Yup,” he simply replied. The sparkle in his eyes as he observed their googoo eyes for one another made me think that in not too many years he will be capable of such intimacy. As I watched my boys dance amongst family, I snuggled my hubby on the foyer steps and thought … just 13 years ago. Thirteen years ago we were this young blissful couple with only love in the air.

Where has the time gone? I never dreamed, 13 years ago, I’d be living the life I do today. On all fronts – spiritually, emotionally, physically, materialistically, motherly, etc. Now I have two boys dancing the beat, my Tucker in heaven, Isaac toddling around snuggling everyone, and Zaiah breastfeeding! My husband, my family, my home. Homeschooling. Jesus. I am blessed.

The phrase “here and now” has been stuck in my brain today. I’ve been thinking of living IN each moment for many days now, but yesterday has brought it to the forefront.

I don’t know if I am crazy, or if anyone can relate, but I don’t always feel and experience my life. I kinda go through it. Pressing on, planning, and anticipating the next. Sometimes focusing on what is going on around me, rather than what is in front of me. I don’t live the here and now, I just co-exist with it. Often numbness.

Sure, certain seasons and life events may precipitate such circumstances. However, it shouldn’t be a prevailing co-existence.

Perhaps I am feeling this way as I can’t believe it’s been over two years since Tucker moved to heaven. I have lived in the time warp of grief. Things pass differently there.

Regardless, my life has had prior phases and seasons of numbing co-existence. Living the busyness of life, but feeling as if I don’t experience it. Kind of like being a spectator at an athletic event, rather than the athlete.

Well, I purpose no more.

This is not an issue of memories. Memories fade, my grief journey has proven that. This is an issue of purposing to live in my moments, my heres and nows.

I  know the bitterness of life being too short. The desire to delight again in changing my Tucker’s big boy dirty diapers! I have learned to take delight in the mundane, as the absence of the mundane has proven its beautiful sweetness.

To embrace each nursing session as an intimate time with Zaiah, and not another demand for my body’s use. To pause, and look into the eyes of my sons and they share their concerns and ideas with me. To squeeze Isaac’s wiggles and busyness right out of him! To wash the floor after every meal with a smile. To give of my inside heart to those around me in a form of relationships, and not tasks that must be accomplished. To teach my children, for the excitement of learning and not finishing the remaining scheduled lessons of the year. To delight in making my hubbies lunch, washing his clothes, picking up his ____, and his desires.  At this moment, I wan to soak in my now, as I look upon this beautiful baby sleeping next to me!

To live life, feel it, experience it, love it, enjoy it, because it all is a gift from my loving Father in Heaven.

I pray for scripture regarding all this, but nothing specific is on my heart. Please share if God leads you with something!

“Lord, help me live in my hears and nows. Help me embrace it all and feel it. In Jesus’ name, I pray against numbness, indifference, busyness, and co-existence. I want to be present right where Your sovereign will has me each moment. All in Your power, mercy, and grace. Amen.”