Friday, February 27, 2009

Principle 4

OK, so I am not really done with principle 4 yet, but I have read most of it, and the gist is that you are supposed to leave your baggage behind. It tells the story of a man who had an abusive father, and basically he himself became abusive and difficult to be around. He let his baggage from the past affect his current demeanor, and subsequently he was fired from his job. This is the danger of holding onto old baggage. This really spoke to me.

I have always, always been a "baggage holder." I have always held onto grudges...I have always remembered the past...I have always confronted myself with things from my past that I would rather not remember but always do....and I have finally realized that part of growing up is letting go. I just have to let go.

Things have been really good here lately. Lent has renewed us and refreshed us, and we are ready to see what the next 40 days will bring. We hope that we experience a lot of enlightenment and spiritual rejuvenation in this time before Easter. As our due date draws closer (April 13, day after Easter)...we will be fighting the baggage of the miscarriage. Don't get me wrong, I ache to remember our child daily. I don't consider our child "baggage." But I do consider the sad and empty feelings, as well as the feelings of abandonment and despair, to be just the kind of baggage that needs to be left behind. 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Principle 3

So, last night after I got home from the long weekend, I decided to make some time to read the book "God Will Make a Way." I have found since I read the first 2 principles that a couple of things have been "revealed" to me, and when I read the 3rd principle, it made all the more sense.

The 3rd principle is about wisdom...seeking it out from God and others to help find a place of peace and the path that you are supposed to be walking. A couple things stuck out to me during this chapter. Basically, it said that if you ask for wisdom from God, you will get it, and that God doesn't usually give wisdom ahead of time, but rather just in time. A lot of times, I get so anxious about something and I find myself asking God numerous times to help me with something that is pretty far into the future. This has kind of frustrated me in the past, because I am an instant gratification kind of person...but that quote about the wisdom not coming ahead of time but just in time...it makes sense to me. I shouldn't be anxious about things that haven't even happened yet.

Additionally, I have been seeking the wisdom from people such as Luke's mom, dad, and siblings. They have really helped to not only share their experience and advice from when they lost a child, but they also have expressed concern about our apparent loss or weakness in faith...which is difficult to talk about but necessary and helpful to air our feelings and truths out into the open. 

It's really interesting to me how the principles have seemed to parallel my life, which goes along with the final thought of the chapter. Our paths are already decided and created, and it is up to us to ask for the wisdom to find the correct way. I don't know if the principles of this book are following me, or if I am following them, but either way, I feel like this is right.

Ernstberger Fun

We had a really busy weekend, between traveling to Bloomington on Friday night to heading to New Albany on Saturday afternoon, but we enjoyed every minute of seeing some dear friends and family. 

This is a picture of the portrait CeCe drew of me. I am trying to look like it, obviously.

Our hearts  melted as we laid eyes on Solomon for the first time in a few weeks. He was wearing a cute little bear suit that I had bought Gus once upon a time. It's hard to believe that Gus is now 2 years old, and Solomon is already 5 weeks (I can't imagine how Liz feels about her boys growing up so quickly)! I don't want to miss anything in their lives, but the distance makes this inevitable. 

Mary Ruth's (Luke's grandma) 78th birthday was Saturday, so we enjoyed a family dinner at her house complete with rowdy kids and fun conversations. It seems that all the cousins have their own little talents such as dance, musical instruments, jokes, etc...and they always want to put on a show for us when we are all together. It's fun to see joy through their eyes and laugh together as we watch them have fun.

Gus played some piano for us and sang his favorite songs, "Frosty the Snowman" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." 
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Sunday was a bridal shower for Luke's cousin Erika, which is fun because I remember doing all the pre-wedding festivities like it was yesterday! It's hard to believe we are an "old married couple" now. We are only months away from our 2 year anniversary!

Anyway, it was a whirlwind trip, but we had a lot of fun together and getting updates on all the people "down South." The closeness of this family truly is a blessing.

Aunt E (or Uncle E-Bone as Gus says) holding Solomon!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Principles 1 & 2 revealed

The last two weeks have been hard, for some unspoken reason. I can't put my finger on it, but as time goes by, I find myself asking more questions than receiving answers. I have talked about this in the Principle 1 & Principle 2 posts (referring to the book I am reading called God Will Make a Way). 

Anyway, I have said many prayers in the last several days. Usually, I am saying these on the treadmill at the gym (and no, not just the "please God let this be over soon!" prayer that people tend to think when they are dying of exhaustion!), in the shower, or before I go to bed. My hour long commute each way to school also helps give me some time to think (which can be good or bad). 

Mainly, I have wanted to make sure God knows that I really am ready to listen and believe that God is in our sorrow...and God will pull us through. In my Principle 2 post, I expressed worry about how to find the people who were supposed to travel this "journey" of healing and discovery with us, and I guess last night God delivered and opened a conversation between Abe & Elizabeth (on our way back to Indy from Bloomington at midnight!) and Luke and myself that we have never been able to have before.

With the recent news of more friends having children of their own, Elizabeth genuinely asked both Luke and myself how we were doing with it. I could tell she was referring to how we really felt deep down, and she wasn't really wanting a "OH we are SO excited for everyone" answer (which, in my heart, I am excited and wish my friends nothing but the best). Luke and I were both able to express our still-present feelings of sadness, jealousy, abandonment, etc. 

Abe & E filled us with a lot of sincere words of wisdom and encouragement, encouraging us to speak more openly about our feelings, seek more spiritual enlightenment and understanding, and to take the time to truly heal from this. 

Abe asked if we ever named the baby. The answer is no. This made me sad....but I guess I have never known how to do that...how do I name a baby I never met, never even saw on a grainy ultrasound? How do I name a baby who had no gender or personality? But then again...how do I NOT name a baby...who was mine? What kind of a "mother" is that.... ? 

Basically, the point to this post was to put in black in white that I do feel like maybe God spoke to us last night through Abe & E...who were meant to be some of the people who will see us through this. 

I think one of the most profound comments Abe made was saying that we definitely have a choice right now....a choice to turn our backs on our faith or a choice to really embrace it and let it develop...we have spent a lot of time feeling sorry for ourselves and ultimately we know that we need to choose to make a change for the positive. 

In other news...we had such a wonderful time with Ken & Jenna in Bloomington. We enjoyed a great Italian restaurant that we had never eaten at during the 4 years Luke was at IU, and we had a lot of fun reliving some funny/embarrassing high school memories. They are right where they need to be...expecting a baby and getting ready to close on their first house. They deserve it!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Principle 2

I read the 2nd principle in the book, "God Will Make a Way" last night. Basically what it spoke about was how you have to choose good people to be with you on your journey with God. You need supportive people who will encourage you and bring out the best in you. You need people who have faith in God themselves, and you need people who are going to be a source of positive energy. This one seemed like common sense to me...I mean, of course you should surround yourself with great people. The question/problem is...how do you surround yourself with JUST good people, without alienating people you do truly care about and have history with?

I don't want to just go through my friends list and start weeding people out. I am one of those women who really "needs" people. I hate this about myself, but I pride myself on my relationships and friendships. I yearn for connections with both my male and female friends, and I just don't feel comfortable "kicking people out" of my life who don't fit the above mentioned description. This issue perplexes me. 

I think what is really absent from our (mine and Luke's) lives is a strong connection to church here in Indy. We haven't really found a place that we call "home"...we aren't members anywhere. We have thought about St. Simon in Fishers. It's really great and seems to have young people galore, but how do we get involved? How do we make friends who share the same spiritual background as us? We really need to make this goal in the coming year. 

I believe in having friends in all "shapes & sizes"....meaning that some friends are great to drink and party with...some friends are great to shop and gossip with...some friends are great to hang out with on a Friday night....and some friends are the ones you  turn to when you have a crisis or spiritual question....these are the type of people I really, really need right now.

In other news...Luke and I are heading to see good friends of ours, Ken & Jenna, in Bloomington tomorrow night. Bloomington holds so many memories for us from college, and we really enjoy visiting when we can. We also are excited to see the Griles because Jenna just told me they are expecting their first baby! How exciting and wonderful for them :-)

This weekend, we will be in New Albany for a wedding shower for Erika and a birthday celebration for Luke's grandmother. I am so excited to see Gus & Solomon and plan to post pictures of him when we get back!

Tomorrow is Friday. Yay!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lachlan Trent

One of my good friends, Megan, welcomed her second son into the world! Lachlan Patrick Trent is here, and everyone is oh so happy! I got to go see him when he was only a couple days old. He's a cutie, and his big brother Kamden is doing awesome, too!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Principle 1

This blog has been a great/fun way to document our happy times (and even the sad ones, in dealing with the miscarriage), but I also think this blog can be used for us to vent some thoughts and process some feelings. We are pretty "deep" people...and we have been known to be a pretty "spiritual" couple. With Luke's upbringing in the Catholic church, he really has been the leader in our relationship when it comes to religion and faith in God. However, since the miscarriage of our first child, we really both have struggled so much with the question of "Where was God when our child stopped developing? Where was God when we were suffering so painfully?" We have found ourselves asking the ever-popular "why us" question over and over again. Not only "why us," but also "why them..." referring to some other couples we have read about and know personally who have experienced the loss of a child, either during pregnancy or just after birth. Why do these people have to suffer such a painful experience but "other people" (who, in our eyes, often seem "less deserving" = octomom, unwed teen mothers, crack addicts, etc) have perfectly normal pregnancies and babies???

This "faith struggle" has become so significant that we have found ourselves truly at a loss. We really just feel kind of like lost children...asking for help anywhere we can get it. We try to "fill our time" with fun things to do and great people to be around, but when we get down to it, we always have to confront this feeling of emptiness and, quite honestly, bitterness in reference to our baby who never came to be.

After visiting with our friend Megan and seeing her newborn son, I felt compelled to go to Borders and buy a book that would somehow speak to me (and Luke) and help us through this situation. I picked up two, one called "God Will Make a Way." This book is about God's presence during all the horrible times in our life, and giving us 8 principles to live by in order to remember that God is with us, and God will find a way. I have read the first chapter, Principle 1, which is about truly beginning your journey with God. It basically says that you have to accept that you are at a place where you need God to take over, and you have to trust that God will take over. This is hard for me because I am a control freak and, in many ways, believe that people create their own destinies. Well, anyway, this chapter also talks about the concept of "faith" and "believing," and how giving the advice of "just have faith" or "just keep believing" is not as helpful as saying, "Believe in God. Have faith in God." Faith and belief are merely "bridges" as the author describes to link us to God. We have to use faith to get to God. Simply "believing" is not good enough.

I am intrigued by this book and have already said many prayers tonight, asking God to open my eyes and take over if He can. The book explains that we did not make ourselves, and we cannot survive on our own. We needed God to come into this world, and we are going to need Him while we are in this world, in the times that are darkest and most humbling. 

I am looking forward to reading the next principle tomorrow. 

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Edna's Valentine's Gift

My mom and dad gave the cats this laser pointer toy, and Edna REALLY likes it! Check out these hilarious videos!


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Valentime's Day

Notice the typo at the top....this is how a lot of my students pronounce "Valentine's Day." I had a lot of fun yesterday asking my boys if they had any "hot dates" planned for the weekend. Most of them just looked at me like I was CRAZY! :-)

Last night Luke and I babysat for Marty and Monica's kids. We had a lot of fun playing with Gwenna, Andrew, and Walt. They made us laugh a lot, especially when they decided to play the Wii. 

This morning my parents came to our house and took us out to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. It was great to catch up and spend time with them. Then Luke and I went to some antique stores in Noblesville. Luke has always wanted to go, so I decided to finally make it happen. We had a lot of fun looking at all the old furniture and collectibles. We weren't looking for anything in particular, but we did end up buying a cabinet that would work really well for a baby changing table! Luke is going to refinish it and it will be great! 

Speaking of babies, our friend Megan just gave birth to her second son, Lachlan. I am going to go see him tomorrow, and I can't wait to meet the little guy! 

Anyway, tonight for our Valentine's Day date, we are going to Buca Di Beppos. It will great food, I'm sure!

I have always been one of those people who really like Valentine's Day. I don't think it is a stupid holiday, and I don't think it means that you only celebrate love for one day a year. I think it is just a great time to show EVERYONE how much you love them. There are so many kinds of love on this earth...family love, romantic love, friendship love, and even love toward strangers just because they are human beings, too. How could anyone despise a holiday dedicated to love??

Have a wonderful day and spread some love around...

CORRECTION: Buca's had a 4 hour wait. No food is worth that!!! So we went to Stefano's instead and enjoyed the dinner. Good times!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Productive Weekend!

Luke and I decided to really clean and purge stuff that we no longer need. The springlike weather outside inspired us to do some "Spring Cleaning" a little early. We started with the garage. We had a lot of stuff in boxes that we had no idea was there. Luke took care of organizing while I took care of weeding out stuff we no longer used or cared for. 

I also tackled the coat closet (which had become the "throw the junk mail and random house findings" closet) as well as the linen closet. I re-did the table setting (or "table scape" if you are a Sandra Lee person...) and cleaned up the kitchen.

Today, after a record high grocery bill, we got rid of a whole garbage bag full of food that had gone bad or we no longer wanted. It felt great to get that stuff out of our lives! We felt quite wasteful, but I have to admit that I am really bad about buying one item for a recipe...I use 1 cup of it...then I forget I have it and let it go bad. Then usually when I make that dish again, I will buy ANOTHER one of that same item and do the same thing. I have got to be better about that!

We organized all the pantry foods into shelves and everything just looks so much better! It wasn't the "hottest" Saturday night plan (considering my parents were at the casino!), but we got a lot done and feel really good about our home. 

The next area to work on will be our closet and all of my bathroom toiletries and things that are overflowing. I am such a pack rat and I really need to get over that habit! Wish me luck!