Thursday, December 30, 2010

Babies, Boobs and Banana Bread

We went to dinner with friends last night.  New friends.  It was great.  We left the kids at home and had 3 hours of adult conversation that included everything from potty training to parents and all of the in between.  When we got home I laid in bed thinking of all that we had talked about and all that we had left out.  I realized that there is so much to know about people. I realized that from the outside everyone looks more normal, more together, more happy, more faithful, and less dysfunctional than you feel.  But actually, everyone is the same. The same but different. 

Our friends are also new to Franklin.  And thank God they did not tell us how much they absolutely LOVED it and fit right in because if they had it would have made my spring roll a lot less appealing.  No, they too were trying to find a place, a purpose, a person, to make them feel like they are home.  We sat there and talked a long time about friends.  Making them, keeping them, wanting them, praying for them, needing them.  We talked about how women especially need friends and how ridiculously terrible most of us are at making friends, new friends, real friends. 

We discussed how much easier it would have been to just stay in our comfort zone in the same little town or big city that we grew up in and have our play dates with our Stephanie and Samantha.  With the women that know us, that love us, that already know the secrets and the wounds and mistakes and love us anyway and more because of them.  But instead we both were in Franklin TN, lost and lonely if we were completely honest.  And isn't that what has kept us from making new friends? Honesty and openness either on our part or the part of the women we have tried to connect with.  Society has done women an injustice with TV shows and Hollywood magazines.  They have made us all think that unless we are completely together 100% of the time we are failing as wives, mothers, daughters, and friends.   But honestly you and I both know that no one is completely together 100% of time and most of us would take 45% if we were telling the truth. 

We meet new women and we smile too much.  We tell great stories of smart kids and beautiful new homes.  We talk about how much we love our mom and how we married the best man that ever walked the face of the planet other than Jesus (and let's be honest there is only one Shawn Hall so the rest of you are clearly not telling the truth) :).  We drink coffee, swap recipes, compliment one another on the immaculately clean house  that we are standing in as we eat banana bread that tastes so good that we could eat the whole loaf.  Instead we eat a piece fit for a two year old and comment on how we still have five pounds to get rid of and waste a perfectly good loaf of yummy banana bread! 

What is wrong with us!!  First of all, you and I both know that 30 minutes before you got here I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to clean the kitchen, bake the bread, fix my hair and put on make up.  I was stuffing everything I could find in closets and bribing the kids with everything in the house that had sugar in it begging them not too mess up for at least 20 more minutes!  I swept and dusted only the areas that you could see and if you pulled back the shower curtain in my ridiculously clean bathroom  (that I finished wiping down as you rang the doorbell) you would see two dirty washcloths and 15 toys in the bottom of it.  Ten minutes before you got here I was on the phone with someone in my family who had either pissed me off or driven me crazy and there were two dirty diapers on the ottoman in the den that still had not made it to the garbage can from when the kids got up three hours ago.  Neither of my kids slept through the night, I am exhausted, my husband has not been home in time for dinner in a week and the overhead light in my kitchen still has not been fixed and it is driving me nuts!!  There is pile of clean clothes in the closet that you just walked by and the laundry room door, well it is closed for a reason.  Don't even get me started on my weekend that was full of drama from extended family, sick kids, and eggs and grits for three out of four meals.  This my friends is real life. 

Real life is peanut butter covered kids that need there butts whipped more often than not.  It is dishes in the sink and clothes in the floor.  It is breakfast for dinner because we are just too tired to cook and poor to eat out.  Real life is temper tantrums at the most inconvenient times, poopy diapers in restaurants, parents that drives us nuts, spouse that don't always make the right choice, kids that don't always listen.  Real life is dirty bathtubs, messy hair, boobs that will never look right again because we nursed our babies, saying good bye to a six pack of abs and hello to the tankini.  Real life is messy and sad and funny and scary and completely dysfunctional in different ways for all of us just like God meant for it to be.  So why are we all pretending it is something else? 

The truth is that without other women I would lose my mind.  I need friends.  Real friends that know what it is like to have a baby and what it does to your body.  Friends that understand why it doesn't matter if I have 5 extra pounds or 50 it is still hard and still frustrating to buy new clothes.  Friends that have had days when their husbands have made them cry and their kids have made them feel like they have failed.  Friends that have PMS, that pray for babies, that cry at negative pregnancy tests, that feel like they are losing their minds at their job whether its at home or at an office! Friends that have toys and wash cloths in their bathrooms and don't care if my kitchen is clean.  Friends with whom I can share my life, my fears, my joy and my faith.  We all need these friends and if you ask me we should all work harder at being this kind of friend. 


As we walk our path of life,

We meet people everyday.

Most are simply met by chance.

But, some are sent our way.

These become special friends

Whose bond we can't explain;

The ones who understand us

And share our joy and pain.

Their love contains no boundaries.

So, even we are apart.

Their presence enhances us

With a warmth felt in the heart.

This love becomes a passageway,

When even the miles disappear.

And so, these friends, God sends our way,

Remain forever near.

Writer Unknown

Life is too short to waste our time pretending. It is meant to be shared and enjoyed with the people around us.  I don't believe that God means for us to befriend every woman that crosses our path. But I do think that if we are real with one another and true to who we are, He will send the right women at the right time in the right season.  

”A woman’s heart plans her way, but the Lord directs her steps.” Proverbs 16:9

May the Lord bring you just the friend that you need in the New Year.  And when He does, I pray that you will do less cleaning and eat more banana bread ;)


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Snowflakes and Jesus.

This weekend I had a romantic getaway with my very best friend.  It was cut short by the snow and slush that covered Nashville and surrounding areas on Sunday.  So, with the theme of the year, our little moment of rest, of happiness, of peace was replaced with the stress and chaos of trying to get home to our sweet girls.  Back to reality, which is not so bad here at the Hall house. 

Last night I sat reading while my girls slept and my sweet husband worked.  I thought about the weekend, my parents who came to help, the place that we stayed, the magic of the little cabin and the beauty of the landscape.  I thought about the huge fireplace that we enjoyed from the minute that we walked in, the fresh bread they brought for us and left at our door at 7 am, the puzzle that occupied our minds so wonderfully rather than the usual crap that we are both worried with.  I closed my eyes and remembered all of the moments that Doc and I enjoyed together.  The moment when we both tasted the best pasta that we had ever eaten, the moment that we pulled into Evergreen Farm, the moment when I sat and watch him build a big beautiful fire, the moment when I got my chair in just the right spot and leaned back and sighed a sigh of relief, of gratitude, of gratefulness for that moment. 

I realize that is all life is, one huge collection of moments.  Moments that tell our story.  Moments of joy, of happiness, sadness, glee, anger, stress.  Moments of life and death and marriage and divorce.  All of these things happen in moments.  They are like the snowflakes falling, all the same but different.   When you look at them together it's just cold, wet, beautiful, messy snow.  But separately they each have their own shape, their own meaning, their own place in our memory. 

God gave us life and free will to live it as we choose,  to make our own decisions and our own path.  Everyday, every decision, every moment is different just like the snowflakes but all of them are collecting as we age and at the end of our days they too will look like a big pile of snow.  Sloshy and sloppy and beautiful snow and waiting to be sifted through when we need  a laugh or a smile or want to share our past with a new friend.

One day we will stand before Him each of us praying, pleading, hoping that he digs about halfway down to one of our best moments rather than looking at the collection as a whole.  And He will. You see He is looking for one moment.  One snowflake.  He does not care about the time when you were 6 and you stole candy from the store when your mom wasn't looking.  He does not care what you did or did not do in high school.  Your college years mean nothing to Him. The marriage that failed, the lie you told, the father that you weren't, the mother that you should have been, the son that you weren't, the friend that you betrayed, the wife that you abandoned, the kids that you failed,  the business that you cheated, these moments, He digs right past.  He is God of grace and of mercy.  He cares not what you have or have not done in your life.  You collection of snowflakes was yours to make and he does not judge you on the collection as a whole.  He is looking for one moment, one prayer, one beautiful, individual snowflake.  And if He finds it, you're in.

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9.

On December 25th we will get up, Santa will have come, we will open presents and celebrate family and friends.  We will eat and drink and be merry and that is how it should be.  However, let us not forget that if not for one moment over 2000 years ago, one birth, one beautiful night, one gift that our Lord gave us, He would sift through our sloppy wet snow and we would be turned away.  Without the birth and death and resurrection of His son, we would not have that moment He is looking for.  That one, single, beautiful moment where we gave our hearts, our lives, our everything to our Lord and put all of our faith in Him is the only one He cares about.  Amazing.  God gave His son so that I could spend eternity with mine.  This Christmas the meaning of that is so clear, so wonderful, so perfect to me. 

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

I pray friends that you have a Merry Christmas.  I pray that Santa is good to you, that you travel safely, that you enjoy your families and eat well.  But more than that I pray that if the big, wet, beautiful pile of snow that is your life does not include the one snowflake He is looking for that you will take a moment, just one, and put your faith in Him. Add that moment to the wonderful collection that is your life and enjoy as He blesses you everyday, loves you like you have never been loved and welcomes you into His kingdom when your time comes. 

Love, blessings, and a Merry Christmas to you all!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas without Bennett.

It's been a while since I have written much about our sweet Bennett. Considering  the time of year and the way my heart feels I think I should.  I am not sure if it is Christmas or the end of 2010 or both but I have been covered by that mean old blanket of sadness for the last few days.  A friend of mine who has lost a child related it to me this way.  She said that Christmas is supposed to be a happy time and yet those of us who have suffered a loss feel as though someone is missing which is what makes it so confusing and emotional for our broken hearts.  I think that's probably as close as I can get to understanding why it is that every time I look at my Christmas tree and my sweet girls enjoying all of the lights my arms feel empty and heart feels like it is going to explode. 

There are things that I struggle with like is it weird that I think three stockings on the mantle is a good idea?  Should he have an ornament like the girls do for the first year they were born?  I mean I get it, we aren't buying the little guy any presents.  But at Christmas there are things that acknowledge your children, each of them and all of them, and he is one of our children.  So if we don't do anything to acknowledge him as one of ours then I feel like we are acting like he was never here.  I am not sure what Doc really thinks of any of it.  I haven't asked him because I have been so caught up in how I feel about it I haven't even considered him. That is just the truth.  Honestly, he knows I am struggling and I think he would do just about whatever I needed to get through this time no matter how strange it was.  He's a great man and I am so blessed. 

I have two beautiful, wonderful little girls.  But honestly friends, that does not take away from the fact that I am missing the hell out of the sweet boy that I should be toting around in my Ergo Baby while I make popcorn and put lights on the tree.  It just doesn't and I am not sure it ever will. 

Christmas around here is going to be a BLAST.  Scooter is so excited about everything and Presley is just a mess!!  We are blessed beyond measure and intend to enjoy every second.  I will not miss one moment busy with my sad heart.  But I will take a few special ones to remember, to cry and to imagine the face of that sweet little guy that should be celebrating his first Christmas with us this year.  And yes, I just decided that he will have an ornament on our tree. Just one.  But it will be on there.  After all, he is part of this family and of our hearts and we will honor him with our memories.

I know that you guys pray for me all of the time and I am so grateful!  Your prayers have brought me more comfort than you can ever know.  Today I would like you to take those prayers and give them to another family that needs them much more than I do right now.  I have some friends that are fighting desperately for the health of their boy.  His name is Harrison Hudson and he is 5 weeks old and is fighting his little butt off trying to get healthy enough to go home.

As you can imagine their story has really touched my heart.  Oh what I would have given for Bennett just to have had a shot to live.  After we lost Bennett, Doc made a really good point. He said you always see families with children that are special needs and think of how blessed you are that your children are healthy.  And that is very true. But when you lose a child you realize that the burden of special needs seems more like a blessing than a curse. He said he would have carried Bennett or pushed him or bathed him for as long as he lived just for a chance to love him and have him here with us. 

Harrison is a special little boy and truthfully he may have some special needs one day.  But our God is a God of miracles and you and I both know that He is capable of anything.  So I am asking you guys to lift up Harrison!!!  Please put him on all of your prayer lists and ask the Lord for a Christmas miracle for this sweet family.

I pray that each of you are having a wonderful holiday season and that you enjoy every second of it!!
Thank you for your love and support!

Love and blessings,

Thursday, December 2, 2010

This little light of mine.

Yesterday I had coffee with a new friend.  A new friend with strong faith in our Lord and a heavy heart.  A new friend that has lived a life touched by loss and death, yet still praises Jesus with all that she has and lets Him speak to her.  And get this.....she listens.  A friend that despite her life, her news, her health has a light that shines through her when she talks about Jesus that made me envious!  It is friends like these that we all need in our life.  Friends that remind us that, no matter what, we should be listening to One voice and One voice only.  After all, there is only One that really knows what is best for us and holds our heart in His hand. 

After we finished our coffee she thanked me for my prayers and my support.  Off we went into the cold TN night home to our very different lives.  Mine filled with babies and a husband that loves me and hers a little lonely and a little scary right now.  As I drove home I realized I should have thanked her.  Thanked her for reminding me who I should be listening to even on the worst days.  Thanked her for the example that she sets with her faith.  Thanked her for being my friend and sharing her light with me.  I didn't, but I will. 

That is twice this week that I have been touched by a new friend.  The first time was different, but still had the same light that shone through when it happened.  I got a gift.  A precious, sweet gift that touched my heart like no other gift has in a very long time. In addition to the gift, I also got a beautiful necklace that included my sweet boy's initial and birthstone.  You see the gift was not the necklace. The gift was what it meant.  The gift was the memory, the reminder, the acknowledgement of our baby boy that we miss everyday but know has been forgotten by many.  Our lives have been forever changed by him but others were just touched with sadness in the moment of our loss. 

This is a friend, a new friend that knows very little about me in comparison to others in my life.  A friend that heard the story of Bennett the first night that she met me because she shared a similar story.  A friend that has never had a cup of coffee with me one on one.  One that I have never taken food too when she was sick or called on her birthday.  We haven't celebrated a birth or a death together or a holiday for that matter.  Yet still, in midst of her chaos, she remembered my boy and touched my heart with that memory.

These are the kind of friends I have been praying for, begging for since we moved to TN.  As a matter of fact, these are the kind of friends Doc has been asking Him to send me.  I am grateful beyond words that I have met women like these to walk with in this season of my life.  My only prayer is that I can somehow touch the lives of others as they have touched mine.  After all isn't that what we are supposed to be doing?  We should be shining our light so brightly that everyone around us can see it!  We should be letting our love of the Lord shine through so that even smallest of deeds or sentiment make a huge impact on someone around us. 

Matthew 5:14-16 tell us  -Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

I pray that if your candle is dim today someone will share their light with you.  I pray that if your candle is bright, you will place it somewhere for all to see.  And finally, I praise Him for the two women that shared their flame with me this week. 

Have a blessed day my friends!

Monday, November 29, 2010

What are YOU thankful for?

Now that we have moved we take turns with holidays as a lot of families do.  This year Thanksgiving was spent with the Slocums.  For years we have done it the same way, with the same dishes and a whole lot of family including any and all extras they bring along.  There have been Slocum Thanksgiving's with more than 50 people there.  To some this sounds like nothing but chaos but to those of us who know it and grew up with it, it is nothing short of heaven.  It is exactly how Thanksgiving should be.

Thanksgiving "dinner" which is served at 1:00 PM has been at Aunt Beth and Uncle Steve's for quite a few years.  They live in a beautiful home with plenty of room and lots of adult toys and flat screen TVs.  Perfect for a large family full of men who never grew up.  Their home is conveniently located "61 seconds" from mom and dads.  This made travel easy for our little family that drove over 5 hours the day before to get home. 

This year Thanksgiving was unusually light for the Slocums.  Sick kids, changes in tradition, and family quarrels are just a few of the reasons there were empty seats around the table.  However, our family is large enough and loud enough that even about 25 of us made for a fun and lively afternoon.  Presley enjoyed her first Thanksgiving meal.  She ate like a Hall and made her daddy proud.  She ate so much in fact that she settled down for a long nap in the middle of Aunt Beth's bed for the rest of the afternoon.  Scooter played the arcade games, sang songs for Nana, raced the race cars, rode around the house on a motorized jeep and ate more creamed corn than anyone else in the house.  Doc and I played shuffle board, visited, laughed, marveled at the new toys Uncle Steve had added to his family fun room and snuck extra bites of dessert when no one was looking . Wait, that was me not Doc. Ssshhh. 

It was a nice change of pace to have one of mine asleep for a little while and about half of the people there to visit with.  It gave me chance to stop and breath.  A chance to smells the food and enjoy my glass of sweet tea.  A chance to really look around and see how much I had to be thankful for and what a blessing this family really is.  I stopped for a moment and praised Him for all that surrounded me that afternoon. 

I was thankful for my Nana who was sitting at the table singing Jesus Loves Me to Scooter while she stuffed herself full of creamed corn.  I was thankful for my Aunt Patty who has loved me like I was hers for as long as I can remember.  I was thankful for Uncle Steve and his generous and loving spirit that made his home the perfect place for our celebration.  I was thankful for Aunt Beth, who despite all of the  hell she has been through in the last year, still made this Thanksgiving just as yummy and wonderful as all of the others have been.  I was thankful for Uncle Garland who is by far one my favorite people in the world and loves my babies so much that he sent us home with some of his creamed corn for Scooter to enjoy all the way in TN.  I was thankful for my daddy who makes me laugh and makes watching football fun for me.  I was thankful for my cousin Zack and the fact that he was there with us after the recent scare he had with his health.  I was thankful for my mom and the way she loved me enough to stop eating her food and chase Presley so that I could eat and enjoy mine!  I was thankful for my healthy beautiful babies that were lighting up every room they went in.  I was thankful for my brother and his friendship and the way he loves me.  I was thankful for my cousin Jenni (Biz) who blessed our food and praised Jesus with so much love that she brought us to tears.  I was thankful for Doc, for every single second of my life with him.  I was thankful beyond words and for just a moment I took it all in with all of my senses and praised Him.  It was wonderful. 

Then it was over.  Just like that.  I looked at Doc when we got into the truck and said "well there went Thanksgiving!"  It was wonderful but fast, just like our lives have been for the last 5 years.  Wonderful but too fast.  I am so grateful for all of my blessings and for moments like I had at Thanksgiving where I get to take a minute and really appreciate them.  I am going to pray for more of those in this fleeting moment of time we call life.  I am afraid of I don't get them, I will miss it, all of it. One day I will wake up and my girls will be grown and my body will be old and when I do I don't want to wish for the time back, I want to be thankful that I enjoyed every second of it! 

I pray that your holiday was full of thanks and family and love!!  Not so long from now we get to celebrate the best day of the year, Jesus' birthday.  Make a cake, sing a song, do whatever you do to make birthdays fun but remind your family what Christmas is all about friends!!  And don't forget, Santa is watching ;).

Love and Blessings,

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sick and sick of it.

I have two sick kids.  I am sure you are thinking, "yeah so what? You and half of the country have two sick kids, it is the middle of November".  I know that you are right but in my world, at my house, sick kids are not only abnormal they are typically absent.  We don't have sick kids.  I have two girls, one will be three in January and the other is 18 months.  Up until two days ago neither of them had ever taken anything over the counter, prescription, or homeopathic for any kind of ailment (other than a few teething tablets on the worst of days).  Not today my friends, today my kids are running around this house with dripping noses and dry coughs as they fight off what is commonly known as the croup.  They are loaded up with elderberry syrup and drosera tablets (you didn't really think I was going to say robitussin and tylenol did you!?) and down for a nap an hour and a half early. Thank God. 

I have realized over the last four days that there is a reason God paired me with a man that was educated enough to know that with the right food and proper spinal alignment you can prevent a lot of the everyday kid crud that most families fight all winter.  I am certain that the reason I was paired with this man known as Doc is because if I was married to someone that did not know this and my kids were sick all winter, I would lose my mind.  Don't get me wrong, I feel so bad for my little people!! They are pitiful and I have juiced more oranges and wiped more noses than I ever thought possible in the last week and will continue to do so until they are well.  I am just praying that comes before I need a straight jacket to keep me from drowning myself in the kitchen sink that is constantly full of dirty water and the parts to the juicer. 

The purple skirt. 
I am just being honest here friends. I love my life, I love staying at home with my kids and wouldn't trade it for the world.  However, staying home with two healthy fun toddlers is completely different than staying home with two sick and whiny kids that cry or scream every time you say no, or yes, or anything for that matter!  I have an 18 month old that feels so bad that if you look in her direction she slings whatever she is playing with at you and walks off crying.  I am not kidding.  And the meltdown of the day goes to Scooter who realized, today of all days, that her purple skirt that she wears almost everyday no longer fits her comfortably.  Which doesn't seem like a big deal except for the fact that this is apparently the ONLY outfit in the entire house that allows her to dance freely and goes with her red sequined shoes.  I tell you what, if I had a little more Janet in me, those shoes would have been flushed down the toilet at 8:24 AM this morning.  Just sayin'.  
The red shoes (and a really cute kid in a blue bow).

So here I sit covered in snot and elderberry syrup, fantastically sleep deprived and sipping on a decaf cup of coffee that my favorite person of the day brought to me when she dropped off the soup that became Doc's lunch.  There are angels among us friends, and today mine is Presley's favorite Ms. Anita.  So, that's it in a nut shell.  I can't decide if I am going to nap or do yoga but whatever I do I better do it fast before the croup screws up my few moments of sanity I have been gifted (not because I deserve them I assure you).  I am off to stretch out one way or the other.  It's November, the month of Thanksgiving, and today I am thankful for a smart husband, a great friend and hot coffee.  Have a blessed day friends!


Friday, October 29, 2010

An Awesome God.

I was talking to a friend today about life.  In the conversation I told her that we all have our cross to bear and though some are heavier than others, some have thorns, and some are on fire, everyone has one.  I thought about my cross and how heavy and awkward it seems today.  I thought about my life, my past and my present.  I looked around my house and at my girls and realized something I had not realized before.  Some of us are carrying crosses that are heavy because of the extra load of burden that we have tied to it.  I am some of us. 

What would happen if we dropped that extra baggage off at the nearest dump?  What would our lives be like then? Think about it.  What if, like we are supposed too, we really gave all of the crap from the past (for lack of a better word and by better I mean shit) to God?  What if we went to His feet, which He has offered as our dump, and dropped off the abuse from our childhood, the stupidity from our adolescence, the plethora of bad decisions we made in college?  What if we dropped off our first marriage, our second and third marriage, our infidelity, our shame, our lies, our deception, our loss....what would our lives, my life, be like then.  Here I am claiming to be a believer, to trust with all of my heart and soul, to love my Lord with all that I am everyday and yet still I carry a cross with a bag full of loss and sadness tied to it. 

Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Psalm 55:22 NLT

I believe this scripture with all of my heart.  I really do.  Yet daily I struggle with my burdens.  Our Lord does not promise us a life free of struggles, yet scripture tell us to lay our burdens at His feet, pick up our cross, and keep walking on the path He has set before us.  If we could do this, if I could do this, what a difference it would make in my life and the lives of my loved ones.  Learning to let Him have our pain and our shame is at a level of trust that I have yet to master.  Some days I am able to give it all to him and carry my sweet, bulky cross into the day before me.  Other days I wake up barely able to lift my cross that feels as if it is seven feet tall and two hundred pounds.  Those are the days that I do not trust, the days that my sadness and frustrations with my past is stronger than my faith.  Those are the days that I hang my head and cry in both sadness for my loss and shame for my lack of trust in a heavenly Father that has done the unimaginable for me. 

I want so badly to wake up everyday and lug around my sweet, bulky cross that He has given me all the while leaving the past behind me.  I am so blessed that the cross that He gave me to carry has no thorns and is not on fire. I know people who carry one with thorns that is burning from end to end.  People that have been through the unimaginable.  People that have earned the right to just put theirs down and surrender to their nightmares.  These are the people I should be praying for.  Not for myself.  Not for my sad heart or my tired soul.  I should be grateful that my loss is minimal compared to others and my soul is well rested compared to many.  I know that.  I would be lying to you if I said that I remember that everyday, because I don't. 

All of us, whether we are faithful believers or seeking the Lord, have days that we doubt.  We all have days that we fall short of His glory.  Yet it is on those days that His glory shines the brightest.  This, my friends, is what makes my God an awesome God. 


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

There went October!

I am amazed and frightened at how quickly October came and went!  This weekend will bring an end to the month and a beginning to the holidays that seem to go by like a single Christmas morning.  The month itself has been wonderful in comparison to every other month that we have had since our move to Franklin TN.  I have been healthy, we have made new friends, entertained, enjoyed the wonderful weather and watched the girls play and grow right before our eyes.  It has been uneventful as far as the Hall life goes and we are so grateful for that!!

This entry finds me on the day after a WONDERFUL trip to the beach with my girls and my mama.  We went to Panama City for  five beautiful nights and I cannot remember a better beach trip since my honeymoon.  I am not sure if it was the timing of the trip or the trip itself, but whatever it was I am so grateful to my husband for encouraging me to go, my mama for going with me and my God for timing it just right.  The weather was perfect, the condo was just the right size, the girls were wonderful and had so much fun and the company was low key and offered no stress ;) it was so perfect for my tired soul.   

So here we are back in Franklin on a cool and breezy fall day  The girls are happy to be home but frustrated that our little stray kitty "Beauty" is no where to be seen.   I am praying she shows in the next few days.  We have a busy week filled with community groups, pumpkin patches, BBQs and Halloween.  It should be fun!! God is doing great things in our lives right now.  The girls are healthy and growing up.  It makes me want another baby so badly!! (Don't panic, not yet!).  The business has been blessed and is growing everyday.  And our family as a whole is happy and content.  What more could we ask for?  I am scared to ask!! ;)

There is a presence in our lives, a feeling that we have yet to touch on what God wants us to do as a family.  Doc and I both feel it.  We are just praying that it is revealed to us in His time.  We are trying to keep open minds and open hearts.  Selfishly I think we both have our own idea of what we hope it includes, like more babies :)  But truthfully we know that we are ready for whatever he has in store for us and are looking forward to a new season.

Here comes Thanksgiving, we will be in Atlanta with my family and then it will be Christmas in Alabama.  I am looking forward to family time, but not the chaos of traveling as much as we will be!!  Doc has two weekends coming up that we are going to stay home and we are hoping that one of them includes two special visitors for us! ;)  I am keeping my fingers crossed. 

I am praying for many of you and am so grateful that you care enough about us to read.  I hope this finds you all healthy and happy and looking forward to the holidays ahead!!


Monday, October 4, 2010

Bicuits and Gravy

October.  Wow.  This morning I realized that it has been a year this month since we moved into this house.  A year.  A year that flew by.  A year that was filled with life changing events.  A year that changed our marriage, our hearts, our faith, and our lives forever.  The year that we opened our business.  The year that we found our church. The year that we had our son, and the year that we lost him.  The year that will mark the birth of two of our children and the year that Jesus took them both home.  A year that will go down in the books as one of the longest, one of the shortest, one of the hardest, one of the happiest and one of the most tragic years that we have lived thus far.  2010 will not be forgotten in the Hall house but I assure you that we will be welcoming 2011 with open arms. 

Today is October 4th.  It's the birthday of one of my oldest and dearest friends.  If I were home I am sure that we would be planning a night out together with  three of our closest friends.  They are planning, I am in TN wishing I could go.  Slowly I am accepting that this is my home now.  That there will be moments missed and events that we cannot make.  But I know that we will have our own parties, our own moments that we will share with the people around us.  Is it the same?  No.  But that doesn't mean it's not equally as wonderful, just different. 

As the end of the year comes at me like a hurricane, I see the holidays in the distance.  I realize that this year I will be home for Thanksgiving, but not for Christmas.  This year Christmas will be spent in Alabama.  This will be the first Christmas in 35 years that I do not see my parents, my sister, or my brother.  The first year in a long time that I miss the flank steak and twice baked potatoes at the Stewart house.  It's a fitting end to 2010, the year of different and wonderful.  

It's cool here.  Winter is coming quick and we are trying our best to enjoy being outside as much as possible before cabin fever catches us!!  The last two weeks have been a lot of fun. We have made new friends, enjoyed Uncle Brett who came to visit us, planned a trip to the beach with Janet, and watched a lot of good football.  Our lives have been as close to normal as they have been since we have moved here.  It feels wonderful and like a ticking time bomb all at the same time! October - December bring a lot of trips for daddy and three or four for the girls and I.  It will be very busy!! I am praying for health and safe travels.  One thing that 2010 has taught me is that the rest really does not matter. 

There are a few things that are on my heart that I am trying to give to Him so that I can rest.  I know that He can do a lot better with them than I can.  I am praying incessantly that He will take them because truthfully they are not decisions that I can make or things that I can change. 

Matthew 6:33-34 Tell us:
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Amen!  This is what we are doing here in Franklin TN.  2010 has shown us that there is more truth to these verses than we ever realized.  I miss my little boy and the baby behind him. I realize now what a miracle these girls really are and I am trying my best to soak them up like gravy with a biscuit everyday and let tomorrow worry about itself. 

Love and Blessings,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Who Needs Wings When You Have Dimples?

There are moments when life knocks you down and you are just too damn tired to get back up.  Yesterday was my moment.  We have been in this house for a year and for the entire year I have been sick.  We moved in October and not long after I was pregnant with Bennett and had my first hemorrhage.  As I have told you before, the pregnancy was very hard and I was sick the entire time.  After we lost him it took me two months to recover fully from the anemia and BAM I was pregnant again.  For the 11 weeks that I was pregnant with our fourth I actually felt pretty good.  But the loss of that baby resulted in so much blood loss that I was down again.  It has been four weeks since we lost our last baby and this weekend I actually felt almost human.

Doc and I had date day on Sunday.  We went to Nashville and watched the Titans game and ate lunch at the Broadway Brew House.  It was a lot of fun!  It was hot and we walked a lot, but I was up for it FINALLY!!  After the game we made a quick trip to Target and came home to our sweet girls for the evening.  We all went outside to play and Doc cut the grass.  At about 6 PM he got off of the lawn mower saying he was not feeling well.  We all came inside, I took care of the girls for the rest of the evening and poor sweet Doc spent the evening with what we at this point were classifying as an upset stomach.  As the night went on he got worse.  I sat on the sofa watching football and taking care of him as best I could, all the while praying that I did not get whatever it was he had.  There was absolutely no way that my body was ready for a stomach flu or any kind of food poisoning and that is what we were classifying this sickness as at 9 PM.  I went to bed and left Doc on the sofa under a blanket with water and the remote within reach.  I felt just fine and was so thankful!

At midnight all hell broke lose.  I got up knowing that I was in big trouble.  I walked to the other end of the house, grabbed a trash bag just in case I did not make it back, woke up poor sweet Doc who was asleep in the end room and told him his shift with the girls was on, there was no way I could help if they woke up.  I was right.  Now keep in mind folks that I just woke up a man that had been sick for 6 hours with food poisoning and told him to get up and take his two year old to tee tee.  The fact that I even expected him to walk was ridiculous.  But I had no choice.  I was down for the count.  There I was laying in the bathroom floor (you know the one that I hate) and praying that this would not last long.  7 hours later I quit throwing up.  So much for asking God for the little things.;)

I believe that everyone has a guardian angel, some come with wings, others with a money tree, mine happens to come with dimples.  Once again my husband proved to be the amazing man that he is.  I spent all of Monday completely useless.  Usually I bounce back pretty well.  When I was pregnant with Bennett there was a night that  I was sick for three hours and the next day I went into the office and helped Doc.   I made formula at 3 AM the night after my second D&C.  I am telling you folks, I am tough.  I don't know if it was the food poisoning or just the sheer fact that I had to spend another night in the bathroom where the devil lives, but either way I was not able to do anything all day on Monday.  Lifting my head was a chore and I was not willing to attempt it unless absolutely necessary. 

My husband got up Monday morning still sick, called and cancelled his entire day of patients, made the girls breakfast, lunch and dinner (which included some ridiculously yummy chicken soup that Scooter could not get enough of!) changed all of the diapers, cleaned the kitchen, fed me sprite and broth, and finished the day on the lawn mower completing the task that he had started the day before.  I ate the broth and drank the sprite.  Period. 

I have had the worst year of my entire life hands down.  But somehow, in the midst of it all, it has been one of the best years of my life thanks to a man that has strong faith, courage beyond comprehension, determination and a love for me that surpasses anything I have ever dreamed of.  Not a day has gone by that he has not made me laugh or loved on me when I really needed it and the truth is he has gotten his butt kicked just as hard or harder than I have and has not stopped for a moment to rest.  God only gives you what you can handle right?  Or maybe He gives you more than you can handle but someone to walk along side you and carry you when you give out.  At least that is what He has done for me.  In my heart of hearts I know that there is not another man in the world that could have made this past year seem survivable, much less wonderful at times. 

I am thankful for many things in my life and my testimony for my love of the Lord grows everyday with the good and the bad.  But I will tell you this, I did not deserve my husband.    He was a gift that only a Father full of grace and mercy would give to me.   And truthfully, my sweet Doc is the reason that I know that there is Father in heaven that loves me unconditionally and has forgiven me for all of my sins.  If there wasn't, I would be married to a stock broker.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Chocolate Chip Muffins

There is one thing that I love about TN, it's the weather.  It is so nice here right now, at least ten degrees cooler than it is in Atlanta.  We live on over 10 acres and the owners have done a wonderful job with the land.  We have apple trees and blackberry bushes and lots of big wonderful trees.  It really is beautiful here, less the interstate that sits within stone throwing distance but why focus on the negative?

This morning we had new friends for a visit.  We were supposed to meet at the park but due to a light rain early we decided to meet here at the "farm".  It was a last minute decision that I realized was not well thought out when I walked into the kitchen and saw last nights corn on the cob still sitting on the counter.  All of the sudden I had an hour and a half to do 3 hours of work, it was on.  Two banana's and "Super Why" right out of the gate and I went on a war path battling against my house that was determined to beat me.  Obviously it does not know me very well. 

I have said it before and I will say it again.  I am not a woman of many talents, however, I am GREAT at getting my house and myself together in a very short period of time.  Give me fifteen minutes and I can prepare for a friend to stop by, give me an hour and you can bring the president for all I care.  I had an hour and a half and knew I was well within my range to make it happen.  So I did dishes, wiped down a bathroom, made beds, folded laundry, fed and clothed both girls, and mopped the kitchen floor all between 7:15 and 8:30.  And then it happened, my over-achiever set in and I could NOT put it to rest.  All of the sudden I was determined that in the next 30 minutes I was going to not only shower and get myself together but I was going to make a yummy breakfast treat to share with our new friends.  I preheated the oven and surveyed the kitchen for ingredients. Flour, eggs, vanilla, rice milk, butter, sugar, baking powder and whatever main ingredient could make a muffin.  Today's inventory offered cinnamon or chocolate chips, I chose the latter. 

I love google.  It is amazing to me that I can type in "easy chocolate chip muffins" and get a recipe in about 7 seconds.  It was 8:40 AM and I had my recipe and ingredients.  At 8:47 AM I was talking to Doc and putting my giant chocolate chip muffins in the oven.  At 9:05 I was showered, dressed, and my hair was dry.  I am not kidding and I know you are either really jealous or think I am full of it but I am dead serious.  A little lip gloss and mascara and I was ready for the muffins to come out of the oven!  As luck, or bad directions, would have it my guests were a little bit late which allowed my muffins to come out of the pan and my face to cool down so it did not look like I had just gotten off the treadmill before they arrived (we don't have a treadmill, but you get it).  

We had a great time.  Scooter and Pdub made a new friend, a four year old little boy who was precious and patient with my two crazy girls.  I met someone who does not think we are completely crazy, or at least didn't act like she did.  Oh and as a bonus she brought me a Starbucks and the muffins, despite the rice milk, were DELICIOUS!! I will post the link on my recipe list. 

So here I am, chores done, having another muffin (shut up), girls sleeping, socially satisfied and finding myself for the first time in a long time enjoying my day in Franklin TN!!  Don't you dare tell anyone I said that! Plus, (I know how could it get any better?), I am having small group tonight at Steph's house and she is by far one of my favorite Franklin TN people.  Who knows friends things may be turning around. Lord knows we are due for an easy Fall.  ,

Matthew 5:4 tells us "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." What an amazing Lord I have.  I have mourned more in the last 6 months than I have in 35 years.  Yet still I find comfort somewhere everyday.  Some days in my children, some days in the arms of my sweet Doc, today it was in the heart of a new friend,  a precious little boy and a yummy chocolate chip muffin. 

Love and Blessings,


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sink or Walk on Water?

This weekend we threw a surprise party for my mom.  She was 60 years old on the tenth of this month.  Somehow, some way, by some miracle, I was able to pull it off even in the midst of our chaos.  It was wonderful.  She was surprised (so she says) and we were tickled to honor her.  She deserved a party much bigger than we could afford, but she was beyond happy with our little party in our little club house with all of the people she loves the most on the planet. The girls were in Atlanta for a week, I was there for four days and Doc came for the weekend.  Today we drove home, or back as I say because TN still doesn't quite feel like home. 

As I drove listening to Francesca with Finding Nemo in the background I thought of about a thousand things.  I thought about my family and the hell that some of them are going through right now.  I thought about our girls and how much fun they had with their cousins and their grandparents. I thought about how much I have always hated leaving my mom standing in her driveway knowing that she is trying not to cry before I get out of sight.  I have never really been a "misser" for lack of a better word.  I have never remember missing anything or anyone. I have always been very independent of anyone else and though I loved them all, I never really missed them if I was away for an extended period or maybe just in a phase of life that did not include them.  Until I met Doc.  When I met him my heart changed.  All of the sudden I not only missed someone when they were away, but I wondered how I would ever breathe again if they never came back.  It changed my heart.  It changed my life.   Honestly, it made me a sap. 

So as I drove "back" home today I missed everything.  I missed our condo on Powers Ferry Trace.  I missed cooking for Doc and Brett and watching them both eat like it was the first meal they had eaten in weeks!  I missed Doc being in school and our evenings together when we first got married.  I missed having lunch with my daddy. I missed drinking red wine with Sam, Priss and Kel.  I missed our church.  I missed my girls that I have watched grow up for the last 8 years.  I missed my sister and brother, everything about them both.  I missed saying goodbye to my mom knowing I would see her in a week or a day!  I missed my little boy who should have been making his first appearance in Atlanta.  I missed my Nana even though she was the last person I saw before we left today.  I missed Starbucks with Meg.  I missed  girls night  with Billy and "emergency" phone calls that resulted in cold beer and long talks. I missed Houston's and Cafe Intermezzo and the Brazilian Bakery!! I missed home and I cried as I got closer to it. 

I don't pretend to understand God's plan for my life.  I just continue to be tickled to death that He has one.  But I would be lying to you if I said that I don't look around Franklin TN and really wonder if this is really it. How can I live in a place that is so wonderful and not enjoy it at all?  I think about people that I have met since I have been here.  People that have been here for years and still don't like it here.  People that have accepted their fate but when you ask them if it's home, regardless of their answer, their face says no.   I don't want to be one of those people.  How fair would that be to my kids, to my husband?  I don't want to wake up in five years still wondering if I will ever get to go home.  I want to wake up in five years and BE home, even if that's in TN. 

Tonight I am sitting on my couch, watching the Red Skins play the Cowboys with Doc and looking around this rental house wondering what it's going to take.  Another place to live? A new couch? A new look?  A new friend? What is it going to take to make Franklin TN feel less like the vacation from hell and more like a home for me and my sweet little family.  You are wondering what I came up with aren't you?? Well hold on to your hats folks because here it comes!!  NOTHING.  NADA.  ZIP!!!  I have no idea what it's going to take and any suggestions are welcomed.

So instead I will trust, lean, ask, be tickled with Him and His plan. I will continue to pray that He will change my heart and my mind.  I have faith that just like he tenderly dresses my wounds everyday making me a little bit stronger, He will help me find my place in Franklin TN in His time, in His way.  And until I am settled I will rest in Him, with Him, knowing that He knows best even when it seems to me like He may have missed the boat on this one.  Who I am fooling? He doesn't even need the darn boat. 



Tuesday, September 7, 2010

This I know.

It is Tuesday morning and I am sitting in my bed chatting with you.  There is no one standing beside me asking me for a snack, no dirty diaper to change, no paci to look for, and no fussing to be is entirely too quiet.  For the first time in three years someone has both of my babies and I am still at home.  Now you would think I would be dancing around the house naked or laying on the couch eating whatever I wanted, or hell, still asleep! But no, I am awake thanks to my phone ringing five times between the hours of 8 and 9 and my poor body still recovering from all of the meds they pushed in me in the last two weeks!  Oh, I have not told you that!  You will not believe this, I had to go BACK to the hospital. 

The last six months of my life is kinda like being on that show candid camera.  Do you remember that show?  They would hide a camera and play a practical joke on someone and then say " Smile! You're on candid camera!"  Sometimes the jokee (for lack of a better word) would smile and laugh and other times they would knock the crap out of the person standing beside them and walk out of the room.  I would be the latter.  Anyway, without going into too much detail I will tell you the basics. Wednesday night I was sick the entire night with pain, Thursday my midwife and trusted friend advised me to go to Vanderbilt, Thursday afternoon Doc cleared the calendar AGAIN and off we went, Thursday night Janet arrived AGAIN (we are going to have to get that woman a helicopter!), Friday AM after an ultrasound, a pelvic, a rectal exam (no I am not kidding) and a CT scan of my entire abdomen, they sent me home with a muddied bill of health saying that nothing MAJOR was wrong.  All be it for me to argue with the doctors but in the last 6 months I have buried a little boy, miscarried a baby and lost enough O+ blood to keep the Red Cross stocked for a week...I would say that is plenty of "major" wouldn't you?

So my sweet mother came and helped and took my girls home with her to give us a much needed moment to recoup from the hell that has been our lives for the last 6 months.  We have had a great time eating, sleeping and spending money.  It's like a mini vacation in Nashville!  Doc has spoiled me rotten (what's new?) and we have had some much needed laughter! Oh and as a bonus mom left us her Volvo convertible and the weather has been GREAT!  We have been riding TOP DOWN and loving every minute of it. 

So here I sit, it is Tuesday and my kids have been gone for a month, no wait a week, okay two nights but it feels like a month.  I love my babies, they are my world and honestly all I know here in TN.  I have NO idea what to do today.  I am taking Doc lunch and I plan to clean the bathroom.  That's it.  Pathetic huh!?  Don't feel sorry for me. I love that my life is my family.  I love that my girls are my BFFs.  I love that without them and Doc I am bored to tears because that means that where I am supposed to be is WITH them!! 

As I sit here and type I think of my sweet greedy Jesus up there rocking my two babies that He took from me in 2010.  I imagine what they look like and how they smell.  I think of how lucky they are that they get to sit in His lap already when the rest of us struggle on this earth waiting for our turn.  My heart is both breaking and rejoicing at the same time missing being pregnant and knowing that I should have a little boy sleeping beside me as I write.  I have grief that at times seems too heavy to carry and I am constantly praying that He will lighten it just a bit.  I remind myself daily that my time on this earth is like a drop of water in the ocean compared to eternity.  This always brings a smile to my face because eternity is where I will see all of my babies and my Father that has blessed me with them.  I rest in the fact that in my 35 years the last five have made my life worth living and the last 6 months have not for a moment taken away from that.  It makes me smile knowing that my heart is so filled with Him and my life with His mercy and grace that I can suffer so much loss and still fill so much love, what a wonderful Lord He is.  I pray that if you feel lost or sad that you will turn to the One that can bring you joy in the midst of sorrow and love in the midst of hate.  I pray that you are reminded that this life is not your eternity, this is not what you are living for, and today is not all there is for you.  Keep you heads up and your hearts full my friends, heaven awaits!


Monday, August 30, 2010

Sweet Greedy Jesus.

I hope that you have a cup a coffee in hand and a few minutes to spare because this is going to be quite an entry.  First, let me start at the beginning.  July.  In the first weeks of July we found out that we were pregnant with our fourth child.  Thrilled, but apprehensive we decided not to share our news with anyone until we were through our first trimester September 1, 2010.  Below is the first entry of Hall baby # 4's journal. 

Monday, July 12, 2010
Hello Sweet Little One,
What a WONDERFUL surprise!! We are so excited that you are here. We found out about you on July 7, but we had a feeling the weekend before that you had shown up! ;). I am almost 5 weeks pregnant, and so far I feel great. I have been really tired, which is completely normal. Thankfully, my tummy has felt better than I expected, which is such a blessing! You are due to arrive March 16, 2011. We have not told anyone about you just yet, because we do not want them to worry! We lost your brother March 4, 2010 and I think the Lord’s timing is amazing! What a blessing to have you around the same time, Joy meets Sorrow ;). I promise to take very good care of you. I am being very tender with my body. Eating well, walking some and napping and sleeping as much as I can so that you have the best opportunity to grow and thrive. You hang in there sweet baby. We want you more than you will ever know!! We love you bigger than the whole sky!! Mama and Daddy.

I spent the first weeks excited and scared to death.  But once we were about 7 weeks in with no problems, the anxiety started to fade and I spent the next weeks smiling and rubbing my tummy.  God is amazing, here he has given us another baby right at a very difficult time in our lives that is due in March, right at our sweet Bennett's birthday.  He knows just what we need!!

July 20, 2010
Hello little one. We are almost 6 weeks along and so far you are doing just fine! We are very excited that you are here. We have not told many people about you, because we want you to be our little miracle and we are waiting to give them all a BIG surprise. Jeff Buffo and Sean Totten and Uncle Mike are the only ones that know right now. Oh and our midwives Stacie and Debbie. Scooter knows too even though she is not quite big enough to understand. We have our first appt with Stacie on August 11, we will be through 9 weeks by then. I am taking good care of you, feeding you well and resting when I can. I have been really tired, but my tummy has felt pretty good so I am grateful for that. Daddy is very excited that you are here and we pray for your health every night. We love you sweet one. Mommy and Daddy.

As August approached my anxiety faded and was replaced by guilt and sadness for me sweet little boy that was due to arrive on August 13.  We told a few more people and still had no problems with the pregnancy.  I had some nausea and some other pregnancy symptoms which we welcomed but other than that we were cruising right along!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010
Hi Sweet Baby, It’s your mama again. We are just over 8 weeks along and everything is going really well. We have told just a few more people including Aunt Sissy. She is SO EXCITED!! I feel good. I have a lot of nausea and I am pretty tired, but overall I am feeling great. I have gained quite a bit of weight already, which is unusual for me in the first trimester. I think I have gained at least 5 lbs! But, I’ll take it, its better than gaining no weight! We are all trying to stay cool in the hot summer here in Franklin TN. Daddy is really busy and the business is going well. The girls are having fun playing inside and out together. So far, I think you are a boy, but truthfully boy or girl I am going to be so excited when you are here and healthy!! I love you little one and so does daddy. He rubs on my belly every night. So if you are wondering where the massage is coming from, it’s him. MMWA!

At my ninth week of pregnancy, we had our first midwife appointment scheduled.  It happened to be the same day that my mother in law was coming into town.  We still intended to wait to tell everyone, but in the middle of a crazy day sweet Doc let the cat out of the bag and told his mama that we were going to the midwife.  So, that evening after our appointment I called and shared the news with Janet and Big.  Everyone was SO excited and even more excited that we were having such an uneventful pregnancy. 

When you have lost a baby later in the pregnancy, the fear of losing one early is not near as strong as the fear that grows inside of you the further along you get.  I had accepted that we had a great chance of an early miscarriage and was ready for it if it came.  It was the later weeks that I was worried about.  The further along I got the more I pleaded with God to keep me healthy and protect my baby.  At ten weeks we were doing just fine.  My mother in law had come for a visit, my brother had visited and my mom and dad were here for a weekend, last weekend as a matter of fact. 

On Monday mom and dad left and that my friends is where the nightmare begins.  Monday August 23, 2010 I started spotting.  Ten weeks and five days with no problems and then here it came.  So, as always Doc and I took it in stride.  We went to bed praying hard and got up optimistic.  As the day progressed the spotting got a little worse but not too bad, so we scheduled an ultrasound.  Now if you know us at all, you know what it took for us to schedule an ultrasound.  But we had decided that if we had a shot to keep this baby we were going to do whatever it took!  So Doc cleared his schedule, Aunt Kasey once again came to our rescue to keep the girls last minute, and off we went to Waynesboro, TN for and 11 week ultrasound of our fourth child. 

I realize that you are probably wondering why we drove an hour and a half for an ultrasound when we are twenty minutes from Nashville.  Well we knew that if we went to just any MD at 11 weeks pregnant they would insist on a vaginal ultrasound.  What sense does it make to do a vaginal ultrasound on a woman who is already threatening miscarriage??  Obviously it makes a lot of sense to most practicing OBs, but to us it is just plain stupid to put a foreign object inside of a woman who is trying desperately to keep her baby from coming out!!  It was a long drive and we talked a lot about what we would do if the results were good and what we would do if the results were bad.  We had decided that if the baby was alive, it was on! Bed rest, cramp bark, wild yam cream (hormones), whatever it took!  If the baby was not alive and it was a ten or eleven week baby we were going to go in for another D&C.  We knew the risk was too high for me to hemorrhage and to do that all over again was not an option!!

We got there at 2:30 PM and at 4:30 PM we got in the car with inconclusive results that they "were not able to find a baby" on the ultrasound.  The MD was kind, she left us with a little glimmer of hope with a story about her daughter who had an eleven week ultrasound where the baby was "hiding" and two weeks later they were able to see a perfectly healthy 13 week baby.  But deep down I think we knew.  We still prayed for a miracle and agreed to do the hormone testing the next day.  We headed home to our girls with a box of Krispy Kreme that we had both earned talking about how "lucky" we were that the baby had died early because the miscarriage would be easier on my body and we would be able to do it at home with little risk.  Now that I think about it, what you must have had to go through to be tickled about an early miscarriage...unreal.  I digress, we were home about an hour and a half later and our sweet girls sure were happy to see us!

Presley is too young to really grasp anything that is going on, but Scooter is old enough to know when something is wrong, and she knew.  That morning before we left she overheard me on the phone with our midwife and she brought me a tampon.  Later we were sitting on the couch and she said "mommy, you need to go see daddy and let him fix your tummy".  Sweet girl, she has been worried about my tummy for 10 months.  So we came in the house as if everything was fine.  The miscarriage started not long after we were home.  Truthfully, it was not fun but it was not awful.  I hung in there pretty well, texting my sister and talking to the girls in between painful cramps.  At the peak of it Doc and Kasey took the girls outside so that they would be distracted.  I called one of the midwives once I passed the part that was actually the baby.  It was not very big and really it was only a little sack with a small placenta attached. A small incomplete placenta.  And the nightmare continues. 

I called Stacie and told her what had passed and explained that the bleeding had not stopped.  She told me I had about ten more minutes before I needed to go to the hospital.  The hospital!?  Seriously!?  This was a 7 or 8 week miscarriage for crying out loud!  This should be over and done with already!!   We aren't going back to the hospital!!  Ten minutes later I called Doc who was outside with the girls and told him the news.  He came in and got things ready. I called Janet, again, to come and stay with us because we had no idea what to expect.  Little did we know at that time we really had no idea.  Kasey stayed with the girls and off we went back to Maury Regional Hospital with a bag containing a change of clothes, anti bleed, shepherds purse, and the remains of our fourth child with the same prayer we had 6 months before, "God please don't let anything bad happen to me, I have two babies at home".

We arrived at Maury Regional at about 8 PM with a sense of urgency that was not met by the staff.  I was wheeled in, asked to sign papers and given a bracelet all while I sat in the wheel chair losing more blood.  They took me back to another ER room, the nurse introduced herself and asked me if she could get me something for pain or nausea.  I explained that I had been bleeding for a while and only wanted something to stop the bleeding.  COME ON PEOPLE you have seen my history and the clothes I wore in, do something!!!  Doc tried his best to be patient but started getting antsy as I told him I was starting to feel light headed.  I laid on the bed and bled over and over again, every time the staff changed the bed and explained that the doctor would be in to assess shortly.  A few minutes later the doctor came in, I told him quickly my story and history with Bennett and the reiterated that I had been bleeding too much for too long.  He was less than reactionary and said he would be back shortly to assess the bleeding.  

Okay I get it, I do, I get that people go into the ER all of the time thinking that they are having a heart attack when they have gas, or that their kid is going to bleed to death when they really only need 10 stitches. I get that they are used to people over reacting.  But friends, we all know my history and the hospital not only has it but we told them again when we got there!!  Doc must have said six times if he said it once, " I don't understand what we are waiting on, she needs to go upstairs to Labor and Delivery for a D&C!"  They ignored him every time.  I have no idea how long the doctor was gone, all I know is that I looked at my husband and I said, "something is wrong, I don't feel good".  I heard one nurse say to the other, "she doesn't feel good, go get the doctor I'll stay with her".  That is about all I remember for the next ten minutes or so.  I heard machines going off and I know we went from two nurses to about 6 people in the room working on me at once.  I heard voices talking about low blood pressure readings, I had two different people starting IVs at once and everything was blurry.  Doc was standing next to me and I told him he needed to pray for me, he did and then they had him move to the end of the bed.  A few minutes later I broke out into a cold sweat.  My vision came back and at the end of the bed I saw my sweet Doc watching as they worked like crazy to get my blood pressure back up.  I smiled at him and nodded as if to say, "I'm back!".  He smiled back and took a breath, probably the first one he had taken in the last ten minutes.  I laid there looking at him and thinking of how grateful I was to be the one that almost bled to death rather than the one watching the most important person in my life lay in a hospital bed and unable to do a thing to help them.  Poor sweet Doc. 

Once they got my blood pressure out of the 60's and 40's and into the 80's and 50's the OB finally came in.  He mentioned a D&C and a hysterectomy. Doc almost knocked him across the room as he made it clear that we were leaving with all of the parts that we came in with.  He asked about our history, we told him about the girls and our sweet boy we had lost just 6 months ago.  He made sure to tell us to "count our blessings" which is probably our least favorite of all of the stock replies that we get when we talk about losing one of our babies.  Without going into the gory details I will tell you that we were able to leave the ER without another D&C and with my uterus ;). That and the fact that we were able to opt of the blood transfusion that the ER doc desperately wanted us to have, is the best news I have to share. 

They kept us longer than we would have liked  but we did not stay overnight.  After explaining that we gave them quite a scare they let us go home at about 3 AM.  We left with a lot of band aids, a bag of bloody towels, some paperwork on how to recover from a miscarriage (like we needed those), a prescription and without a baby, again.  On the way home Doc offered to stop at the same Waffle House we stopped at on March 14th, I declined the offer unable to stomach a meal and ready to get into my bed.  I rode home thinking about how grateful we should be that I actually got to go home to my girls.  All the way thanking God for that. 

The rest of the week is a blur.  Physically, I felt decent considering what I had been through.   I came home very anemic and exhausted.  I brought with me a headache that I still have not seemed to shake which is probably due to the anemia or all of the meds they pushed into me, I am not sure which.   Emotionally, I am pretty sure we are both still in shock.  We have not even had time to deal with the fact that we lost another baby.  Truthfully, a lot of what happened just reminded us of our boy and that made it all even harder.  I remember in the thick of things they brought in a little blue box for Doc to put the little baby sack into and as he dumped it into that box I heard him say, " I hate these boxes".  Our little boy is buried in one of those boxes.  That's two babies in two blue boxes in six months.  No wonder he hates them. 

That's it my friends.  That's the latest on the Hall family.  We have been in TN for just over a year.  We have moved twice, started a business, buried a little boy and now we can add a miscarriage to the list.  How am I feeling?  Defeated is probably the best word to describe me at this point.  Doc is the cheerleader and I am the team that is down two touchdowns in the 4th with 4 minutes left.  Just last night I all but begged him to take me home, and I don't mean for the weekend.  Actually I begged him to take me anywhere but just to get me out of TN!!  I know, I get it, "wherever you go there you are".  Do I really blame TN for the loss of my two babies? Nope.  Do I really think moving would change whatever else God has planned for us this year? Nope.  Was it a completely irrational and emotional request?  Yep.  Did I mean it? Yep.  Do I think it will happen? Absolutely not.  We are here to stay, period.  I will tell you that I am beyond happy that we do not own this house because I HATE that damn red bathroom. 

I don't know what God has planned for us.  I am not sure that we will have any more babies, right now it does not seem to make much sense to take that risk.  I have no idea how we will feel about it in a year or two but we'll see.  Today I am just happy to be home with my babies and have a husband that loves me enough to let me have a complete irrational breakdown right in the middle of the chaos that is his life.  My plan yesterday was to pack this house and move anywhere he would take me.  My plan today is to enjoy the friends we have coming to bring us lunch and to do laundry ;).

Children are a gift. We don't earn them, they are not something God owes us and we do not get them just because we want them.  I know that.  Just like any other gift they are to be cherished and handled with care knowing that at anytime we could lose them.  Today I am thankful for the two most precious gifts that are sitting in my living room playing tea party while I type.  I promise you that I did not deserve them, nor did I earn them.  I just have a Father that loved me regardless of all of my mistakes and wanted to spoil me rotten!  That's why I have these girls and that is why I have my sweet Doc. 

Though a part of me thinks that Jesus is getting a little greedy with my babies, the truth is that I was not worthy of any of them. Honestly, I am blown away by the fact that He loved me enough to not only give me two beautiful healthy girls but to also give me their father that is by far the best man I have ever met.  So today I will praise Him and thank Him and know that even in the middle of what seems like hell on earth, He loves me very much and has blessed me beyond measure.  Tomorrow, we'll see, tomorrow I may be packing the kitchen ;).

Love and Blessings,


Thursday, August 5, 2010

A little of this and a little of that.

I have had trouble this week coming up with something to talk about.  I don't know why, we have plenty going on!  I am kind of in a funk and it just doesn't seem to be coming easy the last few days.  It's so freakin hot here in Franklin TN that it is almost impossible to go outside.  So I have two girls bored to death just waiting for me to come up with something exciting to do.  I am just not really creative, my mom was much better than I am about finding things to do .  It's just not my strength. 

I have sworn off TV because Scooter has decided to replace yes or yes ma'am with mmm hmmm.  I think not my friends.  A two year old that answers you with mm hmm!?  I am positive it is from over exposure to Hannah Montana or Zack and Cody.  It's my fault.  She doesn't get to watch a lot of TV but when she does I let her pick, mistake number 1,472.  They just keep adding up!  Anyway, there goes the TV.  She is now limited to 30 minutes twice a day.  Once in the morning while I fix breakfast and once while I get Presley to sleep for her nap.  That's it.  Speaking of naps, I do have them sleeping in the same room for naps which is wonderful unless one of them wakes up  too early and then I end up with two grumpy kids on my hands by 3 PM.  Baby steps right!? 

My brother is coming this weekend.  We have a big day Saturday, a lot to look forward too.  We are going to the Loveless Cafe  It's so good and really close to where we buried our little man, so we are going to go by for a visit.  I sure do miss him, especially now that he should actually be here.  It's hard knowing that we should have a little boy in the mix and not having him.  I have quite a few friends due with babies any day now and I am so excited for them, and truthfully grateful that they did not have to go through what we went through.  I would not wish it on anyone, nor would I switch places with anyone I love.  God gives us what we can handle.  Not everyone can handle losing a baby like that and I realize that.  Lucky us ;). 

I have a really close friend that lost a little one at 3 years old and I admire her so much for her strength.  I look at these girls I have and I try to figure out how I would even breathe the next day if something was to happen to one of them.  I just don't know that I could.  That's the thing about God, He knows, He knows what we can take and how much of it we can take.  He knows who is strong enough to face death, disease, divorce (I just realized how many yucky things start with a D...hmm...devil starts with a d too!!).  He knows what we are capable of surviving and what we aren't.  So we either take it as He gives it to us and move forward or we try and prove Him wrong and shut down.  Thankfully, I have two beautiful girls and an amazing husband, so I moved forward desite my urge to stay in bed and cry for months. 

Now that we are approaching his due date the sadness is not worse, I don't feel more anger or loss and I am so happy about that.  What I do feel is fear.  Fear that we will forget him.  Fear that one day when someone asks me how many babies I have had I will only number and name the ones that are living.  Fear that we will forget to honor him and remember him and let him count in our family and in our lives.  My guess is that happens a lot with death before birth because there was never really a baby  for everyone to see or hold.  So only those of us who carried and delivered these children really remember them as they deserve to be remembered.  Of course that makes perfect sense, but it seems really unfair.   

My prayer is that I will remember every single bit of the day that he was born, no matter how awful it was at the time.  Because that was Bennett's day.  March 4, 2010 is his day and regardless of how hard it was for us, he is our baby and we should remember and rejoice that we had it with him.  Thank you sweet Jesus for allowing me to carry, deliver and touch that sweet baby boy is what we should be saying everyday.  That was our time with our son, and that's all we are going to get until we join him in Heaven.  Oh my the fun we will have when we get there!! Talk about spoiled rotten!! 

I had a friend contact me and her family recently suffered a similar loss. My heart broke for her sister in law about 1000 times.  I pray that she will find some comfort somewhere because I know that in the first few weeks it seems like the harder you search for it the further away it is.  I sent her a short note and my book that I told you about "I Will Carry You" by Angie Smith.  I pray that she will find some comfort in it as I did.  I may never hear from her, and that's okay.  My objective was not to make a friend.  My objecive was to let her know that she not alone in this world, and there are others who know exactly how she feels.  That helped me, so I am hoping that will help her.  I am not going to put her name on here but I would like for you to please pray for her.  Just call her Melanie's friend that lost baby Hunter. 

Thank you sweet friends.  You prayers have brought me more comfort and peace than you will ever know!  I am hoping they will do the same for her!!

Love and Blessing,