Monday, December 24, 2012


There is a heaviness that has been sitting on my heart this week. It is a physical weight that makes it a little difficult to breathe, slows my steps, and makes me want to climb into bed for a month. We have been so busy trying to get back into the routine of life and school and sleep schedules, I hardly noticed it at first.  But with each passing day, each day closer to Christmas, it becomes heavier.... tugging, threatening to pull me down, down, down...

I hate that Christian isn't here with us to see the "missmus wights" or to help pick out a color for his room... that he's not here to fight over who gets to wear the Santa hat and pass out gifts... I don't even know if he would be like Noah and prefer chocolate ice cream or vanilla like Austin prefers... Would he be reading fiction books like Austin or nonfiction like Noah or simply prefer no books at all?

I want to scream but I'm too tired. Perhaps weary is the better word...

I sit down at the piano to plunk out a few Christmas songs. As I flip through the hymn book, the pages open to two songs.

The Cross Is Not Greater

"The cross that He gave me may be heavy,
But it ne'er outweighs His grace;
The storm that I feared may surround me,
But it ne'er excludes His face.

The thorns in my path are not sharper
Than composed His crown for me;
The cup that I drink not more bitter
Than He drank in Gethsemane.

The light of His love shineth brighter,
As it falls on paths of woe;
The toil of my work groweth lighter,
As I stoop to raise the low.

His will I have joy in fulfilling,
As I'm walking in His sight;
My all to the blood I am bringing,
It alone can keep me right.

The cross is not greater than His grace,
The storm cannot hide His blessed face;
I am satisfied to know
That with Jesus here below,
I can conquer every foe."

-Ballington Booth

I struggle at times with that last stanza: "I am satisfied to know, That with Jesus here below, I can conquer every foe."  

I do believe that through Christ, we can conquer anything (Philippians 4:13).  It is the satisfied part that wavers from time to time.  

When I am rested and in His Word and "strong", I think "Yes, I can do this. I can run this race and be happy and joyful and content. I know I will see Christian again! Life is good! God is good!"

When I am tired and stressed and too busy with the things of this world to be consistent in prayer and reading God's Word, that is when my burden is TOO HEAVY to bear.  When holidays and special occasions mark the passing of time, the happy memories of Christmas long ago come rushing back, the sweet mixing with the bitter... and I cry...

How much longer must we wait, Lord, for your return?!

The words of the other song jump from the page.  This is a familiar song


The Christian's Good-Night

Sleep on, beloved, sleep, and take thy rest; 
Lay down thy head upon thy Savior's breast; 
We love thee well, but Jesus loves thee best--
Good-night! Good-night! Good-night!

Calm is thy slumber as an infant's sleep;
But thou shalt wake no more to toil and weep:
Thine is a perfect rest, secure and deep--
Good-night! Good-night! Good-night!

Until eternal glory lights the skies,
Until the dead in Jesus shall arise,
And He shall come, but not in lowly guise--
Good-night! Good-night! Good-night!

Only "Good-night", beloved-- not "Farewell!"
A little while, and all His saints shall dwell
In hallowed union indivisible--
Good-night! Good-night! Good-night!

Until we meet again before His throne,
Clothed in spotless robe He gives His own,
Until we know even as we are known--
Good-night! Good-night! Good-night!

I don't cry for Christian-- he is in that perfect rest and will never have to suffer the hurts of this world like we do. I cry for us. Christian's greatest gain was our greatest loss. It is in this loss that I give thanks for the promise and HOPE we gained when Jesus came in lowly guise all those years ago. Jesus Christ was born to us... He is the only reason we can say Good-night rather than Farewell!

As you prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, would you please take time to pray for the families that have said Good-night?  No matter how little or much time has passed, the missing and hurt is amplified during the holiday season. Your prayers make a tremendous difference in keeping together that which the devil seeks to destroy!

I choose joy.  Even in the hard moments.

To God be the glory.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

i can't choose

I put Ian in his bed and walked outside for a second, telling the boys "Keep an eye on Christian for me. I'll be back in a second."

They both stopped.

"You called him Christian. You mean Ian, right?"


I wonder how long I'll be doing that? It brings back those first weeks of his absence... accidentally calling Noah or Austin his name, just like I did when he was here.

Although it brings about a moment of awkwardness, making that mistake again isn't all bad.

It throws me back to a time where it hasn't been THIS LONG since Christian left us. It somehow makes me feel a tad closer to the time that he was last with us... closer to hearing his voice, smiling at his laughter and mischief, feeling his sweet sweaty head lying on my shoulder... feeling his cheek beneath my lips... I remember barely hanging on to the edge of my bed because Christian would sneak into our room at midnight and climb smack dab in between David and me.

I can't believe it has been over 4 YEARS since Christian passed away. 
I can't believe he would be turning 8 years old on Monday.

When we went back to our house in Texas earlier this summer, I did not expect to be so emotional when I walked through the back door of our house and into our old familiar world. I looked at Ian cradled in my arms... our new son that will not meet his big brother this side of Heaven... the son that might not even be here had Christian not passed away in the first place.


Right before we left Guam for Texas, David had a dream...

God told him that things could be the way they were. 
Our family together with three boys, Christian the baby of them all...
Our family never touched by true sorrow... Not in pieces, but whole.
We could have Christian! Here!
...But then we wouldn't have Ian.

Or we could have Ian...
and He would keep Christian.

God said to CHOOSE.

Then David woke up.

I am so thankful that God doesn't ask us to choose! How could we ever choose?! 
We could not! Not ever!

Even when we wish He would answer our prayers just as we ask them, I am thankful that we can trust Him to look at the big picture and love us enough to sometimes say no... and when we hurt with this saying of no, He holds us close and reminds us that He is faithful and sure.

Choosing joy (or fighting for joy) in the midst of sorrow is one thing, but choosing our yesterday, today and forever?  I dare not.

God thundereth marvellously with his voice;
great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.
-Job 37:5

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Although this journey is hard, I get the best of both worlds. Christian AND Ian.

And all because of Jesus.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


How can something that started off so small...

[Is it my imagination or do y'all also see a resemblance to Ian?]

...turn into a taller-than-mom young man?

[These pictures were taken back in March. He looks even older now! 
I have a feeling I'm going to be making that same statement for the next 10 years... okay, 30.]

On the birthday agenda:
-breakfast of bacon and eggs
-scuba diving with daddy
-mint chocolate chip ice cream birthday cake from marble slab
-dinner at his favorite Korean restaurant where he can chow down on bulgogi

Hmmm... 4 out of 5 things on that list deal with food.  Imagine that.


Monday, August 6, 2012

2012-2013 Homeschool Curriculum

It's time for the 4th annual "Not" Back-to-School Blog Hop!

This week is all about curriculum. *swoon*

Hello, my name is Marsha and I am a curriculum junkie.

With all the new! and amazing! and fun! products that come out every year, no wonder it is hard to choose or stick with the same program each year. Even when I have chosen and purchased and planned, there is no guarantee that two weeks into the program we will decide that I was overly ambitious in the planning stage (hello, Mapping the World by Heart from last year... not!).

It will be interesting to see how our daily schedule plays out with Ian in the mix.

He is a pretty happy and easy going baby 99% of the time.
But sometimes that 1% is a doozy! :-)

AUSTIN - 13 years old, Grade 7/8

Teaching Textbooks Math 7

All American History Volume 1: The Explorers to the Jacksonians

*Science Fusion Life Science: Cells and Heredity, The Diversity of Living Things, The Human Body

Language Arts:
Wordly Wise 3000 Level 7 and Level 8
The Giggly Guide to Grammar
The Paragraph Book 2: Writing the Paragraph that Tells a Story
Daily Language Review Grade 8

Foreign Language:
**Rosetta Stone Latin Level 2

Type to Learn 4: Agents of Information
Scuba Diving

NOAH - 11 years old, Grade 6

Math U See Epsilon
Teaching Textbooks Math 7

All American History Volume 1: The Explorers to the Jacksonians

*Science Fusion Life Science: Cells and Heredity, The Diversity of Living Things, The Human Body

Language Arts:
Wordly Wise 3000 Level 6
The Giggly Guide to Grammar
The Paragraph Book 2: Writing the Paragraph that Tells a Story
Daily Language Review Grade 6

Foreign Language:
**Rosetta Stone Latin Level 2

Type to Learn 4: Agents of Information

* Just so y'all know, the science was discounted through Homeschool Buyer's Co-op. Membership is free and I have purchased programs and curriculum for 30-60% off retail price.

** I HIGHLY recommend Rosetta Stone. If you buy it through My Father's World, you will get their Daily Lessons Plans for Level 1 for free. If you can swing it financially, buy Levels 1 & 2 together as you will kick yourself later for having to pay for Level 2 by itself. It's a much better deal together.

To see what everyone else is doing this year or to join in the fun, visit the iHomeschool Network HERE.

Not Back to School Blog Hop

PS I can't leave y'all with a crying Ian!

Ahhh... that's better.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Temps reached 110 today. It feels like summer and smells like summer and a part of me wants to run away from this place and the memories of that August night.

Then I remember the long summer days that were filled with water balloons and rocket sprinklers and digging for gold and I realize that summer is not all bad.

Can you please pray for me?  I am feeling emotional and a little on edge tonight.

I also covet your prayers for the Haven of Hope Retreat this coming Friday through Sunday.  Please pray for God to prepare the hearts of those attending and to encourage the hearts of those that are leading. It truly is a privilege to serve the Lord and my fellow sisters in Christ. I am excited to see God's hand this weekend!

To God be the glory.

The will of God will never take you...
where the grace of God cannot keep you, where the arms of God cannot support you, where the riches of God cannot supply your needs, where the power of God cannot endow you.

The will of God will never take you...
where the Spirit of God cannot work through you, where the wisdom of God cannot teach you, where the army of God cannot protect you, where the hands of God cannot mold you.

The will of God will never take you...
where the love of God cannot enfold you, where the mercies of God cannot sustain you, where the peace of God cannot calm your fears, where the authority of God cannot overrule for you.

The will of God will never take you...
where the comfort of God cannot dry your tears, where the Word of God cannot feed you, where the miracles of God cannot be done for you, where the omnipresence of God cannot find you.

– Author Unknown

Sunday, June 10, 2012

1,384 days

Today marks 1,384 days without Christian.

When Christian was born, we never fathomed that we would be around to experience the date at the end of his dash.  We had 1,383 days with our fun loving, little blonde charmer.

And now it will always be more days without him than with him.

And I can't quite wrap my mind around that.
I know that when we get to Heaven, we will be together for eternity and all this pain and hurt and missing will be made right. MADE RIGHT. As in I won't be disappointed!  I have no idea how that will work or what this making of things right will look like... but what I DO know is this:

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." -1 Corinthians 2:9

Let me tell you, I love God!  I am not perfect and fail Him often, but I love Him.  I can't imagine sacrificing any of my children for another person, let alone a person that is wicked and undeserving, but God has done that for me. For me! Saved by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Son of my Creator.  How can you not love the One that gives his life for you?

In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.  -John 14:2-3

God is preparing a place for me.  I wonder if Christian gets to see any of this preparation? I wonder if God would ever ask Christian what color my kitchen should be. I mean, I love to cook and it gives me joy, so God would surely give me a kitchen, right?  Can a feast in Heaven be a potluck, but one where all the food is piping hot instead of room temperature?  It brings me such joy to eat and talk and hang out with my brothers and sisters in Christ. Would God laugh if Christian thought my kitchen should be orange polka dots? Lots of questions pop in my head when I think about what God is preparing.

I started writing this post with a measure of sadness in my heart. I have started and stopped and walked away and returned to the computer. I don't really know what to say about these numbers of days and milestones.

I guess I have a choice in how to face them... I can face them with sorrow and sadness for the number today that is greater than the number yesterday.  Or I can face them with gratitude.

I choose to be thankful for the 1,383.  This exact number is definitely not what I would have chosen for myself, for Christian, for David, for my other boys... But God sees further down the road than I do. He will make things right. He is preparing a place for me. He told me so!

And as I didn't know how to face this day 1,384, I knew to Whom and Where I should turn for the answer. To God and to the Bible.  That is the only TRUTH there is in this world.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.  -Philippians 4:8-9

I began with a date and numbers and a heavy heart.

And then through His Word, God reminded me of His plans and love for me. He reminded me to look forward and see that this world is temporary. This heartache is temporary.

Whatever hurt or trial you are going through, whatever loss you are mourning, remember that this world is not all there is. If you have believed on Jesus Christ, the best (better than your life has ever been, better than you could have ever dreamed) is yet to come!  God will make all things right. Keep trusting Him.  Look to the Bible for the Truth you seek.  You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

yo, it's my birthday

Today I am 37.

Whether that is really old or really young depends on my mood and how my day is going.

Easy day = young

Rough day = old

It is 1:00 AM here and I am feeling OLD at this moment.

Noah was the first to bring him up. He was the first to say that he missed Christian.

We can't help but think of Christian when there is a major celebration or family moment to be marked.  We can't help but think of Christian when the hour grows late and our bodies are tired.  We can't help but think of Christian when we look at Ian's face or kiss his chubby chipmunk cheeks.

Holding Ian and hearing his baby coos fills my weary heart with smiles and unexpected joy.  How can I be both sad and happy? Empty and full? Weary and hopeful?

When I think of God's promises, I am reminded that He does not promise us that we will not have trouble and sorrow in this life. But He does promise to be with us and bring us through the trial without being consumed.

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
-Isaiah 43:2

We grieved for almost 3 years before God gave us the hope of Ian.  Three years of grief not brightened by the hope of this child that might not have been had his big brother not passed away.

But he is here now.  And I am thankful.

I am thankful for the gift of all my boys-- Austin, Noah, Christian and Ian.  I can't wait for all of us to be together for the first time.  Now that will be an occasion to celebrate!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

my 5 favorite baby items

New baby products come out every year. Companies spend tons of money trying to convince moms and dads that they are less of a parent or don't love their kids enough if they don't get the latest and greatest stroller, carseat, baby gear, outfit or toy.

Although I'm of the mindset of less is more, there are a few new baby items that I have been loving lately!

1. Fisher Price Rock N Play Sleeper - If you get this, you will love it and your baby will love it and their head might get wonky if they love it too much so be sure to also get this noggin nest.

This is where Ian usually naps. Portable, comfy, and makes him happy.

2. Zippered Sleepers - Easy on, easy off. Night or day.

3. Twist and Fold Activity Gym - When babies are just getting out of the sleep 23 hours a day stage, you end up needing one more "station" to capture their interest so you can brush your teeth, pee, or help someone with their math.

I love the colors and that it folds up.

Ian likes the mirror and hits the toys with his hands and feet.

At the same time.

He's advanced.

#1 in his class! :)

4. Muslin Swaddle Blankets - A little pricey, but these blankets are generous in size, wash up to super softness, and are perfect when the temps are a little on the warm side.

5. Medela Freestyle Breastpump - Oh my goodness, this was a lifesaver for us! Medela makes the best pumps ever. When Ian was in the hospital for 2 weeks, this bad boy (the pump, not Ian) worked tirelessly every 3 hours. Nothing like good ole breastmilk to fatten and grow a wee little one into a chunky monkey!

And this little number is worth the extra money for the sheer sake of being able to toss that LITTLE square pump into the diaper bag, your purse, or pretty much anywhere. Rechargeable and easy to use, I keep it in a little tote so I can pump in the car if need be.

I also throw in this nursing cover to keep other people's uncomfortableness at bay. Some people call them hooter hiders which totally makes me *snort*.

We're not to the Bumbo stage yet, but I am shocked in both good and bad ways at all the new fangled baby things that are available.

Do you have a new favorite? Is there something you wish you had back in the day? Any must-have's that I'm missing out on?

Monday, April 2, 2012


We applied for Ian's passport this week. It was a bit of a drawn out process as you first have to have the hospital birth certificate, then the official Guam birth certificate, apply for a social security card, and then finally apply for a passport. [Insert appropriate amount of island lag time in between.]

Want to see his mug shot?

{ I laugh every time I look at this shot! I wonder if he will hate it when he's older? }

Here on Guam, you don't go to the Post Office to apply for a passport. You go to the Department of Revenue and Taxation, which is a big warehouse of a cinder block building that houses all the government agencies that deal with money, tags, licenses, passports and who knows what else.

Oh Guam with your old school posterboard signs, you make me laugh... See them up there on the left wall? :)

The lighting is not the best. An eerie grayish green glow is cast on everything. Kind of scary, isn't it? Reminds me of those stupid zombie shows.

We should get little Coconut's passport in a month or so, just in time for our trip to the mainland in May (woohoooo!).

If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you go?

Bali is sounding really good to me right now.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

pecan pie muffins

I have been on a wee bit of a muffin binge lately and had to ground myself from making more. (Can there be such a thing as a wee binge?)

I am amazed at how 5 ingredients can create the. best. muffins. ever.

No joke, y'all. You have to make these and then tell me what you think!


1 cup brown sugar (light or dark, your preference)
1/2 cup flour
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease/flour muffin tins.

2. Mix dry ingredients together, breaking up any brown sugar lumps.

3. Add melted butter and eggs to dry mixture, mixing well.

4. Fill muffin tin 3/4 way full and bake at 350 for approximately 20 minutes. Reduce heat and time if using dark metal pan.

5. Immediately dump muffins out and let them cool upside down. This creates a nice caramelized crunch to the outside of the muffin.

Yield: 12 muffins

{Speaking of yummy, I just want to eat this little chunky monkey up!}

Sunday, March 25, 2012

psalm 3:3

I wake up in the middle of the night and peer closely at the video monitor, waiting to see that reassuring rise and fall of his chest. As my eyes adjust and focus, the first glimpse of baby breath makes me realize that I have been holding my breath in the waiting as well.

Thank you, Lord, for this child, this measure of joy so undeserved. Help me to not be fearful. Help me to trust you in every moment and with every treasure.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

what my kids need from me

[ Ian at 2 weeks old; not relevant to post, I just like it! :) ]

Do you ever have those days when you think you are the worst mom ever?

You feel like you are constantly getting onto them for the same old thing... brush your teeth, quit hitting your brother with that light saber, what do you mean you can't remember how to find the area of a rectangle?!, sit up straight, focus!!!, food trash only goes in the kitchen trash can, use a napkin not your sleeve, don't use that tone of voice with your brother...

... over and over and over again.

I just began reading the book 52 Things Kids Need From a Mom: What Mothers Can Do to Make a Lifelong Difference by Angela Thomas.

Since I am such a rule breaker, I jumped ahead to peek at what was up ahead...

Chapter 11: Kids Need Their Mom... To Miss a Few Things They Do Wrong


It is so easy for me to be the people police. To monitor my boys' every move and every word.

Yup, nitpick them in an effort to mold them into perfect adults in miniature form. Can I get more hypocritical? *I* can't even get through a few hours or the day without messing something up or being selfish. What in the world am I thinking to have that expectation of perfection from my children?

It just leads to disappointment and stress for everyone-- myself and my kids!

So tomorrow I am skipping ahead to put into practice Chapter 11 (even though I haven't read Chapter 1).

I do not have to see every thing that they do wrong. Even if I do see it, I don't have to call them on it.

Nag less, extend some grace, focus on the big things, and as cliche as it sounds, don't sweat the small stuff. My perfectionist tendencies need to take a back seat to the relationship I am cultivating with my children.

Do any of y'all struggle in this area? Any advice you want to share with me?

Monday, March 19, 2012

breaking the ice

I have found that I need this space here.

I need to write, post pictures, and get otherwise random things out of my head.

[ Chai Cola tastes like Christmas!]

I think in words and pictures but have been having an incredibly difficult time making them coherent enough to share.

And the more time that lapses, the more difficult it becomes.

[Boo to this syrup... even Austin noticed it had a certain sliminess to it.]

So this is me writing a little nothing just to have something out there to start the ball rolling.

What have y'all been up to?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

psalm 19:1-3

The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Day unto day uttereth speech,
and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
There is no speech nor language,
where their voice is not heard.

Sun breaks over horizon, dimming the blanket of stars, as stubborn crescent moon fights to shine on a while longer.

How can anyone see this and say there is no God?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Hellooo, Ian!

Over three years of praying and hoping... and here you are!

Our gift from God.

January 13, 2012
6:45 pm
4 lbs 15 oz
17 inches long

We were surprised when you decided to join us 6 weeks early.

Two weeks in the NICU and your big brothers were only able to see you twice through the window.

When you finally came home, they couldn't wait to hold you and touch you and kiss you!

Halmonee and Grandpa flew halfway around the world to see you. I was so glad that you were able to come home before they had to leave to go back to their home!

Daddy can hold you for hours on end.

And he does.

Welcome to the world, little coconut!