Tuesday, March 29, 2016
I'm 2 weeks into not being pregnant any longer. This is still a weird reality. The first week after Kaia's birth & death was somewhat of an out of body experience for Z & I.
We are by no means the first or the last to have loved & to have lost a child in this way. And while every fiber of our being knows, believes, & trusts fully that Kaia is in the arms of God, it does not make us want her in our arms any less.
Our Spirit gifted faith & celebration of Easter helps carry us through each day into the next. Some times life starts to blur so quickly from one big event to the next, that it takes something to jolt us to a stop & focus on our breathes.
Kaia Gene's life & death jolted us to this stop. It's not how we wanted to be forced to stop, but most likely nothing would have been ideal if it was so big & disrupting to our very cores to make us stop.
Breathe, just breathe. That is what I've been doing to get me through these times. I've been focusing on my breaths. Especially the importance of deep breathing. And with each breath I take the time to give thanks for that breath, for the moment, & for the life that I still have here on earth. We are granted new perspectives in these life events that jolt us to a stop.
Reminded of how precious our time with loved ones is, we plan for the future, one step at a time. And let's be honest, we plan for the future one sip of tea after another, after another, after another, at a time.
Today I'm getting lost in my Tuesday Tea. Thanks for sharing the time!
Sunday, March 27, 2016
Easter Sunday is my favorite holiday. It is the story of resurrection & salvation that the world needs. It is the story of resurrection & salvation that I & my family need.
Death has been heavy as of late.
Monday, March 14 I was woken up with what turned out to be labor pains. At 9:33am Kaia Gene came into the world at only 23 weeks & 1 day old. I knew on the way to the hospital that it was not my sweet girl's time to show herself just yet. My womb dancer not only came breech naturally, she then succeeded to share life with us for a full 90min. This was just enough time to have her be baptized by myself & Z & leave her little 1lb 3.6oz print on my chest where she rested & on Z's arms. Our hearts had pieces stolen that day, but Kaia Gene deserved all the heart we could give her & more.
Wednesday, March 23 we woke up to a phone call from MN. We knew it was to say Z's dad had joined Kaia & many other saints gone before in heaven. We had been grieving this pending death for the better part of the past month. Cancer had reared its ugly head in February & the prognosis was never favorable. Z's final conversation with his dad was about shamrock shakes on St. Pattys day & dad got so excited about having his own shamrock shake, he hung up on Z! While we knew this phone call was coming, the real truth of his death doesn't quite seem real. It has brought a new quiet to the family.
Thursday, March 24 in conversation with my mom, she says, 'Oh yeah, today's the day for Zoey.' This meant that Zoey, the family dog of 12.5 years & my 'replacement' after leaving for college, was finally being put to rest. This was another expected phone call & awaited death. Zoey lived a good long life for being 50% Rottweiler. She is missed & has left her mark of drool even on Z's & my couch.
So what do you do when life stings at you repeatedly?
While we've had our days of weeping & pajama wearing all day long, we've continuously leaned into scripture, each other, prayer, & those who have been doing what they can to make sure we're eating & showering & other daily ins & outs.
We've found focus in the ways we've been forced to grow. Dad Nelson was 64 years old & his cancer has caused us a health awareness in the foods that we do & do not eat. Zoey was 50% Rottweiler & outlived her life expectancy by roughly 3 years. She was a big ol' loving puppy till her last breath. We all want to love & be loved like that. And baby Kaia, our much anticipated first child, taught us about strength. We never thought pregnancy was possible for us. Then Kaia came so fast, so early that I wasn't given any meds or even an I.V. Giving natural birth to a baby that hasn't even the chance to turn just yet (she was breech) without meds in 2016, is pretty phenomenal in my book.
We are beyond thankful for the prayers & words of support from people in all parts of life. The pieces all come together when you need them the most. We are thankful for the care packages, the engraved jewelry with Kaia's name, the scarf that each material was picked with purpose, and the phone calls. We love our communities & ask that you keep checking in & sending your support.
What we are most thankful for is the resurrection of Jesus that creates all of this life's purpose. It is through the ways that people have cared for us that we see Jesus' resurrected. It is through this resurrection that death is silenced & our family gone, from this world, have eternal life.
The tomb is empty! The dead has been raised! Alleluia! Praise be to God!
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
March 14, 2016 9:33a - 11:07a
Beautiful & pure new life
You graced us
With your tiny breathes
Your long feet
Your potential height
Your daddy's nose
Baptized with ice cold water
Holy in the moment
& the Word of God
The Spirit present
May you dance
With the saints
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
In the last week I have been processing one significant life change. While it has nothing to do with baby Frieda, of course it makes me wonder about her future.
Last week Youth Encounter (YE) announced their closing. This was not a huge surprise, but just as a beloved spot such as camp is hard to let go of, so is an organization that provided those spots all over the world.
I grew up with YE ministries. I learned about church, love, friendship, adventure, missions, & following a Spirit led call through my experiences. I went to my first youth quake in the fifth grade & was hooked by the Spirit. I then attended my first Congress turned Construction Zone (aka Zone) as a 9th grader & when I went off to college I volunteered at all the events nearby that I could. It was only natural to apply for a year of volunteer ministry to follow my college graduation. And when you survived nearly a full year of living in intentional community, why not apply for a second year?!
And we can't forget being introduced to great opportunities such as Side by Side (SxS) Global Missions & Spoke Folk (SF). I signed up for SxS in September 2001. I told my parents I was going to Kenya in 2002 & that'd I'd be 18, so they couldn't tell me no. Possibly not the best approach, but it's what was done. So when I returned from a month of travels to & from Kenya, I blindly signed up for SF. It took one SF tour to have me hooked. I was always trying to recruit others to do SF with me. In fact some of my CAP fam couldn't believe when I said I hadn't toured in a year or more.
Now it's been 14yrs since SxS, 8yrs since SF, 8yrs since Mosaic, & 7yrs since New Dawn. After finishing my year with New Dawn in Fall '09 I started seminary & started a new phase of life. Time slipped by & I have volunteered & worked temp jobs for YE as I was offered & able. In fact I was working for YE right before my current call.
Saturday night I attended my last piece of a YE event. I saw friends I hadn't seen in years & trust the Spirit will bring us together again. I was hit by all these pieces of ministry that have helped get me to where I am today. Then I was hit by the fact that it was my first & last chance to share YE, in that way, with baby Frieda. Frieda will no doubt have her own story, but she will also have one of the largest extended families one could imagine. No matter where I go, there are connections of friends who pick up right where we are & I trust they will offer that same YE family welcome to baby Frieda as she builds her own adventure.
Thank you YE for being such a powerful presence for the church over the last 51 years. I'm beyond blessed to have known your ministry & to take it with me through the years to come.