• I can’t believe it’s already been a week and a half since I posted last. As most anyone knows who is reading this, it has been an overwhelming week and a half. Apparently, when I wrote “Daffodils” God was preparing me for some even colder rain. However, in His infinite mercy He also spread a little sunshine.

    As far as the rain goes, I think I’ll just list it out: Mom’s cancer is apparently back. There is “multiple disease” in her abdomen. She is supposed to hear a course of action from her doctor here in Birmingham today or tomorrow, and she and Dad are flying to Houston on Thursday to talk to her doctor there. We are all doing well, and trying to submit to God’s sovereignty while waiting for her long-promised healing.

    Jeremiah had his tonsils out, and if you still have yours, then I recommend holding onto them. He has been determined to keep living life to the fullest, right down to eating cheeseburgers, and has suffered greatly because of it. His worst days have been post-op day 5 and 6 (we are only on 7 now) and I thought we should be well into the healing stage at this point.

    Mimi (my Dad’s mom) had a heart attack Saturday night. She is doing well, but they had to put in 3 stints.

    Now the sunshine: We are having another BABY!!

    Whew! Are you as breathless as I am? Every day, I pray through these and other trials and joys, and then I find that I just have to leave it all at Jesus’ feet. It’s too heavy to carry, so I leave it there with Him and keep living life.

    I want to share one neat moment and then I have to get busy. I experienced what felt like an actual hug from God. We found out about Mom on Friday (the 9th), and on Saturday I was feeling the need to be close to someone. Jeremiah was sitting in his chair at the computer desk, practicing a song the he and Ashley were supposed to sing at church the next day. I climbed into his lap and pressed my forehead against his cheek. He was learning the harmony, so I quietly began to sing the melody along with him. As we sat there, the words that I had been listening to all day without really hearing began to seep into my heart.

    Your grace still amazes me. Your love, is still a mystery. Each day, I fall on my knees, because your grace still amazes me.

    Even though my heart felt open and bare with fear for mom, I suddenly felt overwhelmed by God’s grace. I felt my husband who loves me pressing me close. I saw our beautiful and healthy little girl playing contentedly on the floor. I felt the ever-present gift of a new baby, a new life being knit together. His grace still amazes me.

  • It seems like, lately, I’ve heard a lot of bad news. Lauren’s little girl got really sick in the night, and Lauren had to see her precious baby go stiff and lifeless. Her face turned white, her lips blue, and she wasn’t breathing. They had to call 911. Natalie is going to be perfectly fine, but I know Lauren still has that haunting image and feeling of panic and helplessness stuck in her mind. It’s stuck in my mind, and I wasn’t even there.

    Whitney’s best friend at work, Meg, had a baby girl yesterday. I have been excited to hear how everything went for Meg and Craig. The delivery went great, but then they found out that there little girl has Downs Syndrome. My heart just hurts for them. The utter surprise, the dread of all the mean people in the world who might hurt your cherished child’s feelings, the responsibility of caring for a disabled child…all of these concerns have sat heavy on my chest.

    Jeremiah told me about a nurse he works with having a baby at St. Vincents and almost dying because her care was so poor. She started hemorrhaging and it took her doctor 4 hours to make his way to her. She demanded to be immediately transferred to UAB, and she is convinced that UAB doctors saved her life.

    Finally, my Dad drove to pick my sister up from AU in the middle of the night last night because she was so sick. She was admitted to the hospital this morning, but they still aren’t sure what is wrong with her.

    All in all, I have been feeling borderline clinically depressed. However, there are 3 things that are helping me cope. First is the fact that I know God is sovereign. That’s a blanket statement Christians like to throw over bad situations, but it is true. We serve the all-powerful God of the universe and He doesn’t owe us an explanation for all He allows to happen in this sin-filled world. All we have to know is that there is a reason, and that He hates to see us hurting.

    Second, is the way that Whitney’s friend Meg has handled her situation. Since Whitney told me what happened, I’ve been trying to imagine myself dealing with that same hurt…It wasn’t a pretty picture. Meg, however, said something that really touched my heart, “Whitney, we are honored that God sees a strength in Craig and I to handle this situation. We don’t see it, but He must.” She also said that her joy over her new baby, makes the grief look small.

    Finally, there are the daffodils that are blooming just outside my back door. I didn’t plant them, but every winter after cold and rain have long dominated our days, these friendly little faces open up and sing of the springtime to come. They bring me joy, and remind me that God has to bring some cold and some rain so that eventually we can bloom a little brighter for Him.

  • I just finished reading The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I bought a copy with a copyright from 1938, that was apparently a Christmas gift “from Nan-Nan to Carol” in 1944. The cover is a pale blue, with a little wear on the edges. The pages are slightly yellowed, and there are some beautiful color drawings scattered throughout the text. I love this book. I love the way it looks, the way it feels heavy and substantial in my hands, and the sweet story it contains. I love that when I would curl up and open its pages to start reading, there was a cold, wet scent from undoubtedly living unappreciated in someones basement. Now, I’ve rescued this little treasure and given it a good reading. I know it was delighted to be found of use again.

    I started this book, unsure of whether I had read it or not. The plot sounded familiar, but I couldn’t be sure if I’d read it or just heard about it. As I started the first chapter, I knew immediately that I was re-visiting old territory. The book opens with Mary, a spoiled and sickly little English girl who is the main character, being left alone in her nursery because the entire household has been killed by the cholera without her realizing what was happening. This chapter had a real effect on me as a child…The thought of losing my Mom and my Dad at the same time, and without realizing what was happening! As I read chapter one, those same terrified feelings from childhood cropped back up in my mind. I don’t know if it was because the first couple of chapters scared me so bad, or if I started reading this book at too young an age to stay interested through all 300 something pages, but I know I never finished it. I know I never experienced all the majesty this book has to offer, because I couldn’t have forgotten it. I have started writing a short synapse in the front of books I have just finished, in hopes that they will jog my memory in years to come. So, I will conclude with my synapse:

    Such a sweet, sweet story. I can’t wait to read it to our children one day! It proves the necessity of fresh air and exercise for a healthy life. It shows the ugliness of being spoiled, and the joy that comes from thinking of others. It could make anyone desperate for their own “little piece of earth” to make beautiful. All in all, I loved it so much that I read it in 3 days!