Saturday, December 15, 2012

There Are No Words.

It is 10:37 PM.  I have two little girls sleeping in the room across the hall, neither of which feels well.  My husband is filling up his tank at a nearby gas station and heading to Centennial Women's Center, the temporary home of our youngest.  I am sitting on my bed, knot in my stomach, mouth dry, waiting on a call from nurse Laura to hear what the next steps are for Josie and how big of a step back we have taken.  Honestly if I was a drinker I would be on my third glass of wine. A smoker, on my fourth cigarette.  A stress eater, through at least a pint of Ben and Jerry's.  But instead, in some weird way my addiction of choice is writing.  And so I write. 

Often, more often lately, I hear from people who love me, mostly women.  They tell me how strong I am and what an inspiration my faith is.   I wonder if they are really listening, reading, watching me.  Because friends, I am a mess.  I am a complete and utter weak mess of a mama.  I haven't taken a full breath in five weeks.  The only reason I eat is because I force myself so that Josie Hope has food.  I cannot sleep.  My stomach is sick.  I can barely talk on the phone too anyone close too me.  Every time my daddy calls I fall apart.  I haven't spoken to my brother but once in a month so as to avoid the same response.  And on Friday I drove from the hospital to Doc's office and I sat in his lobby a cried for 20 minutes.  Poor Doc.  The strength that I do have I use to get up, to pump, and to take care of my girls at home.  Honestly, I didn't even realize that you could be as tired as I am and still walk, much less function as a mother and a wife (sorta).

And so tonight, as my husband left he prayed for our sweet girl and headed to see her.  I checked on the two running fevers asleep in their room and then I hit my knees. I was all tapped out.  There was nothing to say. He already knows what I want and what I need.  So instead I just cried with my head on the carpet until I felt enough relief in the pit of my stomach to get up again.  

There are no words for what is happening in my home, in my heart.  There are no words for the loss of our sweet boy. There are no words for what is happening in the hearts of those affected by the tragedy in CT. There are no words for Hunter's mama and daddy.  There are no words for what the parents of Harrison Hudson have gone through. There are no words for parents who bury children or families who lose loved ones to violence.  There is only Jesus.  The only hope that any of us have who are fighting or who have lost their fight is in Him.  A beautiful, matchless Saviour who lives in a kingdom where there is no death or pain or fear or sickness.  A kingdom that is filled with the children that we miss.  A kingdom that I will one day call home as I hold my precious little boy whom I am certain has his daddy's dimples.

So tonight as I sit and write and wait for news about my sweet, tiny, beautiful miracle I will cry out to Him.  I will beg Him for peace in my heart and for breath in the sweet little girls lungs.  And I know, without a doubt, that He hears me.  He may not answer just the way I would like Him too or as quickly as I would like.  But He is listening. He loves me.  He loves her. He made Josie Hope and she is here only by His hand and for that I will praise Him. Even though I am weak and a mess, I will find strength in Him when I need it knowing I can do ALL THINGS through Him who gives me strength.  He is my strength and my inspiration. Without Him I am nothing. 

Thank you for praying.  We are humbled by your love. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It Is Written.

The last week has been the most emotionally draining of my life.  If I am being honest, which I usually am, my trust was tested and I failed miserably.  I let a human, a mere mortal, shake me.  I let him make me believe that he decided what was next.  That he knew better than anyone the future of my little girl, of my family, of my heart.  For about 12 hours I was broken because of the opinion and words of one man. Pathetic. 

Many of you know that over the last few days Josie has gone from not good too really bad too better.  And on Sunday when we left the hospital the really bad took a hold of our hearts and our minds and we lost the battle with the enemy as he shook us to our core.  We sat at a dinner table, both of us, defeated.   Not praying, not asking, just expecting and preparing for the worst.  That night as I laid awake next to my middle child, comforting her from the thunder, I tried to cry quietly so as not to wake her.  I called the NICU three times, each time the news was the same and the nurse sounded more concerned.  I drifted off to sleep and dreamed that I was at the hospital and they handed her to me as she struggled to breathe and told me there was nothing else they could do.  I held her as she labored begging Jesus not to take her.  I woke myself quickly and I felt like I was dying.  I could not take a full breath and my whole body ached.  I laid there and all I could come up with was "Please Jesus" over and over and over again until daylight.  I am not even sure what I was asking for but I know that as the sun rose He answered.  Praise God for the dawn. 

That morning as I got ready to go up to the hospital and I sat my girls down and told them that Josie was sick.  We had decided that it was the best way to handle things. Our hearts broke having to prepare theirs just in case, but it seemed like the best way.  Presley doesn't really understand.  Kathryne listened, nodded and said "okay mama".  I pumped and I headed to see my chiropractor and then to the hospital. As I drove I remembered something that I have known all along.  And though it in no way lightened the giant weight sitting on my chest, it offered me solace in a time where there was none.  


There it was, I knew it, I could not argue with it.  It has been made more than clear to me over my lifetime.  It is in the very book that we use for all answers.  It is written and I know it and Doc knows it and no matter what we want or what anyone else tells us, there is no changing it.  You see my friends the Lord has already decided if we get to keep our tiny miracle.  He has already made up His mind and written it down. Josie's future, be it one more day or 100 more years, is absolute. Our amazing, merciful, graceful Heavenly Father has made His decision and it is final.  Sometimes that doesn't make me feel any better.  Sometimes I want to decide or at least have a say. But this week, on that day, it made me feel better. It allowed my to breathe for a moment knowing that not only did I not have control, neither did the doctors in the NICU. 

So we here we are in week five of the fight of our lives, in the fight for hers.   We are tired and we are stretched more than we ever thought we could be.  But we know who is in control and we realize that it is all part of a Great Plan. Clearly that does not make us want that precious girl any less, but it certainly gives our hearts rest on the days that we are trying desperately to control the future.  I pray that if you are fighting for something or someone like we are, it will help you to rest as well. 

We are blown away that you read, that you care, that you pray daily for our tiny miracle. Please keep praying. 

God Bless,

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dear Josie

Dear Josie,

It has been 20 days since you were born and I have to tell you that it has been the longest twenty days of our lives.  There are really no words to describe the emotions that we have been through as a family.  Nor are there words to explain to you what you have done to our hearts.  You, my sweet girl, consume us.  So much so that I fear it is unfair to your sweet sisters that only want you to come home. 

In twenty days you have shown us how much we can take.  How much we can love.  How much we can trust.   How tired we can be, yet still moving.  How many things we can do without actually thinking about doing them.  How blessed we are by the people that love us and the people that love them.  How incredible our God truly is. In twenty days you have changed our lives and as we love you more and more each day, it is hard to believe that we have ever been without you. 

Josie, you are amazing. You are the strongest person I have ever met and a perfect picture of a miracle.  We are blown away by your strength, your courage and the way the Lord is using you to change lives.  Mama and daddy love you more than words can say.  We are literally begging Jesus to keep you healthy so that you can come home and be with us.  We are praying with every breath that we will have the opportunity to raise you with these two precious people that already fill our home.  The three of you are our whole lives, our everything.

Jesus loves you Josie Hope, He has great plans for you. He will protect you and heal you and carry you until you are ready to come home.  Mama knows in her heart that He is there holding you everyday.  So you rest my sweet Josie.  Rest in Him and He will do the work. 


Monday, November 26, 2012

The Perfect Plan

I was talking to a friend today, one of my closest friends that lives 2200 miles away.  She was calling to check on us.  We talked only briefly but long enough for she and I both to realize that there are really no words to explain what has happened to our world and that words like okay and fine don't work anymore.  Our lives, our home, our hearts have experienced a great shift.  It's like an earthquake came right through the middle of 116 Golden Meadow Lane and we are all standing on the same side looking into the giant hole and wondering if we will ever get across again.  The stuff on the other side that we can see but cannot touch are things like restful sleep, fearless moments, peace, certainty, "normal life".  All of those things and many more that we haven't even realized we miss yet are on the other side of that giant hole and we know, we know that it will be months before the hole is small enough for us to jump over and even then it will still be there.  

Today I woke up and realized the date and what hit me so hard about November 25th is that I missed November 22nd.  November 22nd isn't a big date for me in my world, but it is a HUGE date for someone that I love very much and I missed it.  I realized it and I cried.  Not because she will be mad or upset with me but because I realized that this is what my life will be like for a long time. A life where we are just trying to get to the next day unaware of what day it really is or what it may mean to someone outside of our little world and it made me feel selfish.  I hate feeling selfish.  I hate being the person that needs everyone to make her life easier.  I hate being the one that has to say no to the people I love, not because I want too but because I have too for my own sanity.  I hate missing holidays and knowing that Christmas is coming up and it is not going to be the way everyone else wants it to be.  Instead it will be the way we need it to be because that is the only choice we have right now.  And I hate having no choice. 

But this is our world and it is the world that He put us in.  And even though I hate the way some of it makes me feel, I love that He trusted us with such a huge, life changing experience.  I love that He let me be the mom of the tiny girl in the NICU at Centennial Medical.  I love that He made me the wife of the man that makes her healthier every time he holds her.  I love that He brought us Uncle Brett to help and is changing his life as He changes ours.  I love that my girls, one day, will understand what we went through and will be able to say without a doubt that their God is a God of miracles and we have living proof.  I love that our family, our friends, our neighbors, our patients, our community, our world is being touched everyday by our sweet Josie Hope, showing them all what the Lord is made of.  And I love that I know without a doubt in my heart that He is in control and whatever He decides is part of a perfect plan. 

So today I will drive up to see my sweet girl, I will hold her, I will feed her, I will talk to her, and I will pray over her. She will not go a day without knowing how much we love her or how amazing she is.  And as I leave her, and I hate to leave her, I will remember the things that I love. I will thank Him for her again and I will praise Him for making me part of a miracle that is beyond any I could have ever imagined.  Thank you for loving us, for reading, and for praying.  You are all part of our journey and our miracle. 


Friday, November 16, 2012

Dear Josephine

November 16, 2012

Dear Josephine Hope,

Typically I would have a journal for you, just like your sister's. It would be separate from my blog that the world can read.  But my sweet, tiny one, nothing about you is typical.  So I have decided to write and share with those that are praying for you. Oh my sweet girl, there are SO many people praying for you. 

Yesterday you turned 25 weeks.  And to say that is a miracle would be a gross understatement.  Your sweet little body and spirit are stronger than anyone I have ever met.  Your fight for life and every breath you take inspires people more than you will ever know.  Your week has been nothing short of a miracle.  Everyday, every minute, every second you have been touched and healed by Jesus in ways that we did not even imagine possible.  You have had test after test after test and the results have blown us away.  You crossed some big hurdles this week.  A blood transfusion, holding your weight, a brain scan.  It was scary, stressful, emotional for those of us that love you.  But you were strong, you fought, and you did so well my precious girl.  Mama is so proud. 

Josie you are changing lives and hearts everyday.  You are a gift that none of us deserve, a true example of God's grace and love.  By far the greatest blessing most of us have ever received.  I have no doubt that the Lord has great plans for you.  That he has gifted you to lead people to Him in a way that we cannot even comprehend. 

Your sisters are ready for you to come home.  We have explained to them that it will be a while, but truthfully you are already here consuming our thoughts and prayers.  Mama and Daddy and Uncle Brett and Janet and Big and Nana and Aunt Sissy and Uncle Robby and Uncle Michael and Cristin and Sam and Aunt Kasey and Grandma Jo and so many others are all going through the motions of our days but consumed by thoughts and prayers for you. Each of us begging, pleading with Jesus to keep you strong and healthy.  Knowing that He is in control, knowing that He will decide and praising Him as we realize the week that we have spent with you will go down as one of the greatest of our lives. 

Fight Josie.  I'll fight, you fight.  That's our deal.  You are so much stronger than I am, oh what our world will be like when you get bigger.  It is hard to imagine but at the same time it makes me giggle knowing what kind of spunk you will have.  Your poor daddy doesn't stand a chance! I am busy healing, making food for you, and reassuring your sisters that everything is going to be okay.  Daddy is working so hard at the practice but every thought he has is of you and every breath he takes is a prayer for you.  Uncle Brett came to take care of us until you are home. There are no words for the blessing he is to our family.  Jesus has changed us all through you my sweet tiny one.

Mama will be there this afternoon and everyday until I get to put you in a car seat and bring you home.  There are people praying for you that we do not even know, we are blown away everyday by the kindness and thoughts and prayers of them all.  So fight Josie.  Show them what Jesus does when we ask. 

We love you Josie Hope.  You are our greatest blessing.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Story of Josie

March 4, 2010 the Lord changed our lives with a little boy that never took a breath. At that time and the time since Bennett's birth and death, it has been made clear time and time again that the Lord used Him for the glory of His Kingdom. We have never questioned God, though we have been angry with Him. He never once let us wonder if Bennett's short lived life in the womb was only for loss and sadness. He always made it clear to us that Bennett had a purpose as his story touched the lives of the ones close to us and around us. We watched as hearts were changed, as salvation and the fear and love of God were brought forth to people who may otherwise still be lost. And we rejoiced as our boy brought glory to God as He rocked him to sleep each night. I have talked a lot about Bennett. I have spoken of how God changed our hearts, our faith, our marriage with that sweet tiny person. Never did I once realize that He was preparing us for something else, something greater, something harder, something more miraculous than we ever imagined. His sister.

March 4, 2010 changed my life. It was scary, and sad and traumatic and truthfully there are really no words to describe what it did to my heart. I was certain that the giant hole that was left there would never be matched. That the fear and recovery would always be what I considered "the hardest days of my life". November 8, 2012 I learned otherwise. So today I sit in a bed, tired, more sore than I even knew I could be, emotionally spent as I pump breast milk that is one of many miracles that I have witnessed over the last four days, but not the biggest. I sit here and I try to think of how to tell you all what has happened and I realize it is another story that is hard to tell, hard to believe, hard to grasp. But I am going to try because all of you have loved us through the hardest days of our lives....and they just got harder.

The morning of November 8, 2012 was not fun. We were exhausted from the night before because I had been up all night feeling bad. We were convinced that this was a result of them taking me off the meds that were preventing contractions. We had to come off of those meds because the one side effect that "seldom" happens, had happened and my sweet girl was living in a sac with no amniotic fluid. So as we struggled through the night and the morning Doc called the doctor that had been helping us since our first trip to the Maternal ER, Dr. Dobay. Thankfully he answered and they talked through some symptoms and decided I would stay home and tough it out. Doc called in half a day because the contractions were not ceasing. It only took about ten minutes for me to realize and one look for him to realize that we had to go in. And so we did. The ride was quick, we obviously knew the way, and only at the very end did I realize we were in big trouble.

I'll be honest with you. I had no idea that they would even give her a chance. We were 24 weeks to the day and though her heart was still beating it was low, I was dilating and the placenta had almost fully abrupted. I was checking out into my happy place preparing to deliver another baby that would go straight to Jesus. Only this one would be bigger, stronger, and would have touched my heart in a completely different way. The term emergency c section came up immediately. So immediately in fact, that Doc's truck was still on the curb running when they started prepping me. I asked one question, "will I be okay through the surgery" the answer was yes and there was absolutely no hesitation to try and save her. I looked at my strong, beautiful husband and he nodded. Off we went into a scene out of Grey's Anatomy. Doctors everywhere, running me through the hallway, a neonatal team already scrubbed in and waiting (how they did it that fast is beyond me), people screaming orders at each other and saying "hurry" "now" "faster". It was scary, hard, painful, by far the most physically traumatizing ten minutes of my life. They kept telling me what they were doing and saying they knew it was scary. I was not scared. I was not worried. I was not crying. I was hanging out with Jesus and saying to Josie "you fight, I'll fight. You fight, I'll fight". And then they put me to sleep.

I have never been so happy to be asleep in my entire life and honestly will tell you that the surgery was harder on Josie and her daddy than it was me, I was asleep. She was born at 9:18 am, 24 weeks gestation, eyes wide open, took one small cough. She was born out out a fully abrupted placenta with no blood in her lungs and minimal in her stomach, an absolute miracle. I woke up about an hour later, Doc right by me as usual, and my first words were "is the baby alive", he said yes. I breathed a thank you to Jesus and our world changed forever.

I have spent four days recovering. She has spent four fighting. My family, my husband, my world has spent four days trying to grasp our new normal. I woke up today and I realized Bennett changed our lives, our faith, our marriage, our parenting. And he prepared us for Josie. You see my friends, though this is more than we ever imagined and words like hard and scary don't even touch on it, we are so grateful for that tiny little girl and every breath she takes. We have already buried a tiny person. We have already sent one straight to Jesus that we never saw take a breath, move, that we never touched, that never heard his daddy talking to him or felt his mama stroke his head. And she has. Yesterday, I changed her diaper. Bennett never even wore a diaper.

So Praise be to Jesus for this baby girl. I will not question. I will not be angry or frustrated. I will not complain or cry about how hard it is. I will only worship harder, blown away at what He has done for us and the miracles that have happened to get her here. I eat and I will pump and I will heal and I will pray. We will take care of our girls here and the one that lives at Centennial Hospital everyday praising Him from the rooftops for all three of them.

I ask you, again, to pray for us. You have all been so amazing through our last few years and I am going to have to ask you to stand with us one again. Please pray for our hearts, our family and most of all our tiny girl. Please praise Him as you pray thanking Him for her and everyday she grows stronger. Please put Josephine Hope Hall on every list, in every offering plate, in every prayer box. We love you all and thank you for loving us.

The Halls

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Thy Will Be Done As It Is In Heaven

It never ceases to amaze me the way the Lord has written our trials and our miracles. Always perfectly timed to go along with His plan whether we see that or not.  It is usually afterwards that we realize that He was in fact in control and did in fact use whatever challenge, trial, tragedy He put in our path for the good of His kingdom.  And so I type and I sit in the hospital bed away from home, away from Doc, away from my girls, yet closer to the only One that can comfort me. 

In my life, or that part of my life that starts with Doc and continues with him and his children, our toughest most trying times have revolved around pregnancy.  It started with my beautiful Kat who gave us quite a scare right from the beginning and it continues with pregnancy number 5, another perfect baby girl giving us the ride of our lives.  We have been blessed beyond measure by our Lord in terms of health, business, finances, family.  Yet since mid 2007 to today He has tested us, humbled us, broken us when it comes to our babies.  Tough to understand when you know us and the passion that we have for our children and how badly we want them.  But then it makes perfect sense.  As I understand that the Lord knows just where to take us to cry out to Him.  And so He has taken us there again.

It would be so easy for me to be frustrated, sad, angry.  To sit with my head down questioning why I am here, trying to understand how we can once again be begging for the life of one of our babies that we have yet to meet.  But I cannot.  You see yesterday I spent three hours with two of the most beautiful creatures I have ever seen.  And I looked at them with their giant blue eyes and perfectly distributed dimples and all I could do was praise Him.  Praise Him as I watched their daddy unload more clothes and food anticipating that my stay would be longer than we would like. Praise Him as their baby sister moved around in my belly listening to them fight over grapes.  Praise Him as the noise and movement of these amazing people He gifted me with distracted me from the reality of the unknown. All the while realizing what a true miracle those beautiful little girls are.  How He, in all of His perfectness, created them and and chose me to be their mama.   And I breathed easy for just a moment, filled with a peace that truly surpasses all understanding.  

You see my friends a week ago we were given news that is so hard to grasp that writing it down is worthless.  And that morning as my sister drove for 6 hours trying to get to me, my mama came once again to our rescue and my husband made phone calls that we never thought we would have to make again, I sent out about 5 text messages all saying the same thing "We are in trouble, we need a miracle, please pray".  And so they did, and so He answered and twelve hours later our news changed so dramatically that denying that the Lord answers prayer and performs miracles would be ludicrous.  So here we are, still waiting to see what is next, but blown away by the answered prayers and the miracles that He is performing for us everyday. 

Please continue to pray for us all. Please continue to pray for our third girl that we want more than you can even imagine.  But most of all please continue to pray that we will rest in Him daily knowing that He is in control and that His will shall be done. 

Love and Blessings,

Monday, October 8, 2012

But Now I See.

To say that I sewed my wild oats in my twenties would be a gross understatement.  Only those that somehow miraculously survived those years with me can fully grasp how gross it is.  I look back now and though a piece of me is sad for the wasted years, ashamed of the choices I made, even disgusted at how I abused myself, I am thankful for those years.  Without those years the blatant grace of my Lord wouldn't be so obvious.  Without those years the mercy that He extends wouldn't blow me away.  Without those years His love wouldn't be so overwhelming as I look at my life today, at the four blue eyes that I spend most of my moments with, at the dimples that I sleep next too every night.  And as I write I think of one of my favorites.....

You see I realize much more than I care to admit what it is like to live, ignore God, abuse myself, see myself as unworthy, and then be humbled by the mighty hand that made me so severely that there is nowhere else to turn but to Him.  I remember my moments. The ones when He spoke and I turned a deaf ear, the ones when He spoke and I heard only a whisper, the ones when He spoke as if through a mega phone...and I heard....and I acknowledged....and my life was changed forever.  I remember being lonely, lost, sad, ashamed, drunk, tired, angry, did I mention lost?  I remember a failing marriage, a tired body, poor choices filled with people that didn't love me enough to steer me away, bad relationships, hating mirrors, lots and lots of coffee and cigarettes and whatever my drink of choice may have been.  And then one day I was 28.  It was as if I had missed  24, 25, 26, 27....they were gone.  Blurred by hang overs and tears.  Wasted.

And so I woke up and I dusted off my tired abused body that wreaked of cigarettes and old booze and there was life.  Right where I had left it before I began my descent into hell where I imagined I deserved to be.  Everyone was there, everyone was the same, only I was different.  I made a different choice, and then another and another...and I realized that following the pattern of my family or my friends wasn't how it had to be. And slowly I saw Him.  Of course He was there the whole time...but for the first time I could see Him.  I saw Him in my sister's babies, in the eyes of the kids at church that I reluctantly sat with every Sunday trying to keep myself out of trouble, I saw Him as I watched my friends grow their families.  And as I got healthier, His presence became even clearer.  It was as if I was blind and now I could see....literally. 

And then one day, as I sat in UpStreet teaching those sweet second graders, the Lord said "here you go, you followed me and now this is for you"...and there he was with the best set of dimples I had ever seen.  And it was then that I knew.  I knew that all of my sins were washed away, that He died and bore every one of them.  Because if He hadn't I would never have been worthy of what was to follow. 

You see I have not earned all that I have.  I have not earned any of it.  It is a gift.  All I did was wake up one day and say " I can't do it without You, I am lost, please Lord take over".  And He, just like any daddy would, said "okay baby, you just follow me and I'll get you where you need to be".  And He did.  And I am. And I have six blue eyes, 8 dimples (yes 8 Kat has 5), three hungry bellies, one big one growing a baby, and the three best smiles I have ever seen that I get to spend the rest of my life with.  Do I wish it had started when I was 20 instead of 30? Yes. Do I wish I could get back those years and spend them with my chiropractor? Yes.  But I wouldn't trade how I got here for anything.  Because in those moments when He showed me, when He led me, when He blessed me, I was blown away.  And so my faith grows stronger everyday and when life hits me, hits us hard we are able to stand together as a family and endure. 

And so I say to those of you that are still treading water, trying hard to keep your head a float and not drown in your past and present out for help to the only One that can save you.  He will pull you to shore, dry you off and lead you to safe, healthy, beautiful ground filled with more than you could have ever imagined. His grace is truly amazing and it is yours to have if only you will take it. 

One of my favorites.......

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
When we've been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September 12, 2012: Where is God?

Last night Doc and I were up much later than usual.  The day had come and gone and though it was filled with facebook images of 9/11 and bits and pieces on the news, that was not enough for us.  So we were up at almost midnight watching documentary after documentary of that tragic day.  Blown away by images and stories like it was happening right in front of our eyes, again.

I think of how eleven years have gone by and how then my life was so very different.  I remember wondering, not completely understanding the impact that those planes full of people hitting those giant buildings would have on our Nation and on our lives.  Still today I am sure I do not fully grasp how that day changed America.  I pray that I will be educated enough to explain it to these four blue eyes that expect me to know everything when the time comes. 

When the buildings fell, when the footage of people falling from the sky was shown, when the second plane hit Tower II, I could see how you could wonder.  Where is God?  How is this happening?  Is He watching?  But as I watched story after story, blown away by the miracles that occurred that day and the heroics that seemed to come out of every corner I clearly saw the presence of our Lord and I understood.

You see my friends we are a Nation built on the belief and under the authority of the One and Only God.  Our currency, our Pledge of Allegiance, our Constitution, the entire foundation of our country is built on His name.  A great name that used to be honored in our offices, our schools, our homes, our ballgames, our political offices, our radios, our concerts, our everywhere.  A name that has protected us for centuries, that has built us into the greatest Nation in the world, yet today we cannot find it anywhere.  And still we wonder.  So as I watched last night, again, I understood.  I understood why God was seen within the smoke and ashes of a falling building.  I understood why His presence was made clear in the dark stairways and dimly lit corners of those towers. It was obvious to me why the Lord worked miracles under the rubbish and gave mercy to those in the dark rather than reaching down with His great hand and steering those planes in another direction.  Isn't it obvious to you? 

Where is God my friends? Where have we put Him?  He is not in our schools, on our radios, at our ballgames.  He is not spoken of boldly in our public offices. He is no longer acknowledged publicly at our ballgames.  And for many of us, He is hard to find in our homes.  So it makes sense to me that on one of the worst days in American history, He was found right where Americans had put him: in the dark, in the shadows, in the closets and the stairways, buried within our offices, under stacks of papers or books, under the rubbish if you will.  What else did we expect? 

So then I take a look at what happened after 9/11/01.  Did we call for Him? Yes we did.  Did we pray? By the masses.  Did we beg for protection and mercy from the only One that we knew could really give it?  Absolutely.  Did we acknowledge Him publicly, we did, time and time again...for those first few months.  And then we listened as the country, our leaders, talked about rebuilding America.  We sat and watched as they spoke in vain about how we would be a stronger Nation and cheered.  Again with little or no mention of the One that we should have been calling too.  And so I wonder did we learn nothing from this tragedy that took over 2700 lives?  Are really so arrogant as a people to think that we are strong enough to stand on our own with that the protection of the God that made us?  I would say shamefully, as a country, we are. 

I tend to steer away from politics for two reasons, one I am not near educated enough in them to carry on a strong defense for my vote and two my husband is passionate enough for the both of us.  So who you vote for and what you believe about topics such as abortion, health care and gay marriage are not of interest to me.  What is of interest to me is that we are a country crumbling under the leadership of godless leaders and I am pregnant.  We are bringing kids into a society that is filled with godless TV, books, music, politics, and media.  My friends the Lord allowed Israel, His chosen people to fall because they turned away from Him.  Read as in their arrogance they believed they could rebuild without Him. 

The Lord’s Anger Against Israel

8 The Lord has sent a message against Jacob;
it will fall on Israel.
9 All the people will know it—
Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria
who say with pride
and arrogance of heart,
10 “The bricks have fallen down,
but we will rebuild with dressed stone;
the fig trees have been felled,
but we will replace them with cedars.
11 But the Lord has strengthened Rezin’s foes against them
and has spurred their enemies on.
12 Arameans from the east and Philistines from the west
have devoured Israel with open mouth.
Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
his hand is still upraised.
The Lord spurred their enemies on!  He strengthened their foes against them.  Why? Because they no longer thought they needed Him.  They had put Him in the closest, left Him in the darkness, removed Him from their homes, piled Him under the rubbish.  And for that He let them be defeated and destroyed, devoured by their enemies.  This my friends is what we should take away from 9/11.  This is what should bring the fear of God back into us.  He will let us fall.  He will teach us a lesson.  He will let us be defeated if as a country and a people we continue down this path without Him.  Will He leave us? No. Read to the end.  "Yet for all this, His anger is not turned away, His hand is still upraised." He will never leave, but He is willing to let us be destroyed just as He did Israel, if we do not turn back to Him.  I do not mean lose 2700 innocent people, I mean destroyed.  Understanding this is more important than voting in November.  Understanding this is more important  than your thoughts on Chick Fil A or abortion.  Understanding this will change the future of our country, our families, our children, and their children. 

So today I pray for my family, my friends, my country, the hearts of it's leaders, the people.  I pray that they realize who is really leading America.  I pray that they open their hearts, dust off their bibles, and fight for their God to be present in all of the places that we need Him, everywhere.  And I ask that you my friends, will pray with me.

Praying for a falling Nation and thankful for a merciful Saviour,

Thursday, September 6, 2012

From a coat to a sweater.

I am constantly reminded that the Lord knows exactly what He is doing. That every person we meet, place we go, experience we have was written.  That is hard to swallow on days like today.  Days that are made blurry by memories of sadness.  Days that I am reminded that at any moment my world could change, again.  If it is written and  I have chapters of sadness that means I have to accept that my loving, merciful, healing, Heavenly Father wrote those chapters.  And He did and I know it and it makes it, no it doesn't.

Today I sat with a friend, a friend that I barely know, but whose heart I can see. You see she knows my sadness and hers is more recent than mine.  I can actually see the weight that sits on her chest when she talks about babies and pregnancy.  I can feel how heavy it is and it reminds me of mine and in moments of talking with her I find it hard to breathe again, still.  And so I rub my belly and I remember that He chooses not me.  And I realize that He put her in my living room for me, and for her, and I am grateful. 

There is a process that we go through as mamas of babies that lived only inside the womb.  A process that requires more anger and crying and begging and praying that anyone who has not been there can fathom.  A process where we realize that this person, this small, perfect, precious, person lived only within us.  That the loss, though great for those around us and close to us, in unexplainable to anyone because the baby that lived with us, never lived with anyone else.  It's like having a friend that no one else knows but you and then having them die.  Everyone is sad for you that loves you, but no one else experiences the loss.  The process is long and it is filled with guilt, and frustration, and questions.  It is "what ifs" to the point of insanity and "if onlys" that haunt you.  And then one day you wake up and you can breathe again.  You can drive your car alone and not cry.  You can see a new baby and not envy.  You can hear of a pregnancy and not cuss.  The weight is lighter and the heavy coat of sadness becomes more like a sweater.  Things look beautiful again and the life you missed grieving has gone on without and you realize it is time to catch up.  I am in a sweater catching up, my friend, she is in a winter coat and it is 90 degrees outside.  This makes me sad, it actually makes me cry.  Not for me but for her because I know how she feels when she lays down at night.  I do not miss that feeling. 

So tonight I will pray not for myself, but for my friend.  I will plead with Him to lighten her weight just a little tomorrow.  I will remember how she feels and be blessed by the fact that I am able to actually tell her I understand and mean it.  Tonight I will be grateful that I have met someone in a coat that needs a friend in a sweater. 

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Praying for a mama that wants another baby,

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Remembering Joshua 1:9...Dear Baby Hall

Recently one of my favorites asked me why I haven't been writing.  And as I usually do, I answered with blatant honesty explaining that when I write I expose my heart and right now my heart is being guarded.  This morning I read a post from a friend that lost a son in 2011 and as I read I realized that all families that lose children suffer the same. Some come out stronger, others lose themselves in the pain and fall apart.  Thankfully my family and his have managed to stand strong even in a storm as fierce as the one that comes with the death of little people. 

We are almost 13 weeks pregnant with Baby Hall # 4.  Our fifth pregnancy in five years.  The pregnancy thus far has been filled with nothing but normal pregnancy symptoms.  At this point you would think we would be bouncing off the walls with excitement, but you would be wrong.  Instead we talk about the pregnancy with words like hope and if.  We plan for tomorrow instead of February.  We prepare our thoughts and days and hearts for the worst and think briefly about how exciting the best would be.  But not for long.  I wonder at times if the whole family is doing this or just us?  We smile at each other as we search for a midwife to help us and shake our heads at the fact that the Lord has always used pregnancy and birth as our challenge, humbling us along the way.  We remember the nightmare that was the birth of our boy and we discuss how we will prevent things from getting that out of hand again.  And then at night, when it is quiet and everyone sleeps, I rub my tummy and I thank the Lord for the chance to carry another one of His children.  I fall asleep pleading for health and life for me and this precious little heartbeat that rolls around inside of me.  I try to explain to Him how hard it would be to have to tell Kathryne another one of our babies has gone to live with Jesus, begging Him to show her what a successful pregnancy and birth are like and give these girls another sibling.  Knowing.  All the while knowing full well that I do not get to choose. That I do not want this baby anymore than I wanted Bennett.  That I am talking to a Lord that sacrificed His own son, watched Him suffer and die on the cross for ME and I am asking him to spare me from what!?  From what He Himself has gone through!?  Realizing once again that I am not exempt from pain or loss or suffering and that each day with my husband, these girls, this pregnancy is precious. 

And so I remember my boy. Not the loss and the pain and the grief that still lingers on any given day, but the JOY.  The gift that he was. The fact that I am the only one that ever knew him alive.  The fact that his daddy and I are the only ones that ever got to see him.  The precious moments that the Lord gave us with the boy that we wanted so badly, that were His to give and His to take away.  I think about how he changed our lives.  How he reminded us that the Lord was in control.  That he brought us back to what was important and literally changed me as a mother to these girls.  I rejoice in how he strengthened our marriage.  I giggle at the responses we get when we tell the whole story visualizing how people look at us like we should be in a padded room somewhere, shaking their heads in disbelief at what we went through alone, at home, in the bathroom, in the car, in the hospital, beside that Natchez Trace bridge.  And it makes me thankful.  Thankful for a Lord that brought us through it all, thankful for a husband that was unwavering at any given moment, thankful for a midwife four hours away that helped him make decisions in the middle of the night, thankful for family that came to help, thankful for health baby girls that needed me when I got home.  Thankful for my son, who I carried for  months, who I had prayed for for many years, who changed our lives and the lives of those that love us.  And I rub my belly. 

My girls have a journal, I started one for them both when I found out I was pregnant.  I never started one for Bennett, I was so sick the whole time I just never felt well enough to enjoy it.  I have not written one word for this baby.  Not one.  And honestly, I think of how one day I will have to explain to this child that the reason I did not write to him/her until I was in my second trimester is because I lacked faith and had fear. But that is the truth.  It is like we forget what the Lord has done for us, what He has brought us through already, what He has gifted us with before our loss.  How do we forget?  We are a family that knows full well that the "Lord heals the brokenhearted and binds us their wounds" psalm 147:3.  We live by verses like Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." yet we have fear over a miracle such as birth?!  No more.  Today I start enjoying the pregnancy I have been asking for since the loss of our last.  Today I smile and rub my belly all day long!  Today I start my journal for my fourth baby.  

Dear Baby Hall #4,

You are almost 13 weeks old, due in February on your daddy's birthday!! Mama is so very sorry it has taken her so long to write.  I am ashamed to tell you that the reality of your very existence has been hard for me to accept.  Please know that we have prayed for your for a very long time.  Mama has worked very hard to be healthy again so that I could carry you as long as I needed for you to be healthy and happy and perfect! ;) So far the pregnancy has been a breeze, and one day I will explain to you what a gift that is to us!!  For now know that we are beyond blessed to have you.  We cannot wait to meet you and we already love you with every ounce of our being.  You have two beautiful little girls here praying for you every night, arguing over who will hold you first! Just wait until you get here, oh the fun you three will have!!!

You are a miracle sweet person, perhaps that greatest one the Lord has blessed us with thus far.  I promise to write again soon. 
Love, Mama

Thank you for reading, for caring enough about us to pray, for walking with us for the last two years and for continuing to pray for this sweet person I am growing. 

Love and Blessings,

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Another Hall.....

Before I even start this post I have to say that I am married to the single most wonderful, kind, patient, understanding, compassionate, beautiful man in the world .  That is the only reason I can write today.  The only reason I am home, the only reason I have time.  Thank you Doc. 

Doc recently mentioned to me that I have not blogged in a while, and I realized he was right.  I started thinking about how busy I have, well WE have been and decided that was my excuse.  We have had a lot of company, I have had to work, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Independence Day....what else can I use as an excuse??  Ok now the truth...when I write it makes things real, and real and pregnant are a little scary for me.  To write without even mentioning the pregnancy seems ridiculous, so I just didn't write.  So I am sitting here, eating chips in order to be able to sit up without wanting to throw up, and writing with no idea what I am going to say except that I am pregnant.  7 weeks pregnant.  I could tell you how it is going so far, but I prefer not to complain about something that I have been praying for for almost two years.  That seems ridiculous to me.  So for the record, I feel pregnant and complications are few so far.  ;) 

To say that we are excited is an understatement.  The kids are so cute, and Doc is as excited as he was when we were pregnant with Kat.  I am praying, praying and praying.  I am begging my body to cooperate.  I am pleading with Jesus to let this pregnancy be a healthy one, to let it end with a healthy baby and mama in February.  Asking Him daily to let me show Kathryne that all babies do not go directly to Jesus, that sometimes we get to keep them with us.  I wish I could write and tell you that I have peace about it.   But I do not.  What I do have is trust.  Trust that He knows what is next, trust that He will be there when it happens, trust that no matter what Doc and I will come out on the other side of whatever He has in store strong and faithful.  Peace would be a bonus, maybe that will come. 

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

They are for good and not disaster.  This part makes me smile.  I think if Doc was sitting here we would both chuckle thinking about all of our disasters that we have experienced over the last few years and how they have indeed been for good.  Understanding that in the midst is of course a whole different ball game.  How do you bury a little person, a little boy, and see good in that? Ever?  But we have.  We have seen Bennett's story touch and changes peoples lives.   The Lord is faithful and what He says He means.  So we will trust, we will pray for his will and beg for ours.  We will understand that we do not choose, we do not decide, He does not bargain with us, but He hears us.  We will enjoy this time carrying one of God's miracles, another Hall baby, and look forward to the time when we hold him/her just as we held our girls, just as we will hold our boy.  We appreciate all prayers and trust that they are being said. 

Okay, there, I wrote about it ;)  Now I will pray, and I will write more. 


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mama / Janet

Happy Mother's Day.  I pray that each of you are having a wonderful day with your families.  I am.  Though I have loved every moment of the day so far, a little piece of me lies in Braselton Georgia with my mama.  That is one of the handful of things that really stinks when you live out of state, sometimes you miss the days that seem to be more and more important the older you get. 

For those of you who do not know my mom, she is better known as Janet.  If you have met her, you will remember.  Her presence is in one word, unforgettable.  It makes me smile to think of how my opinion of Janet has changed over my 37 years.  Oh how we learn as we go.  You see as a child my mom was my everything.  She was my mom, my encourager, my disciplinary, my friend, my cook, my maid, my coach.  She was the one that wiped the tears, kissed the boo boos, told me stories, sang me songs.  She was a great mom and I remember clearly that I thought so then.  I realize now just how great she was. 

As we grew up, my mom and I had our moments. We are a lot a like and that at times made my teenage years tough.  I do remember that she was one of the "cool" moms when we were in school.  I think if she could take that back now, she would. But if I have learned anything in the last 4 years, it is that none of us know exactly what we are doing and none of us are perfect. Right ladies? And though I think she would do some thing differently, she was always there, always protecting us even from ourselves and we could tell her anything. 

My twenties were not my best string of years, I made a lot of mistakes.  All of which my mom conveniently ignored ;).  Well I say ignored but actually she was paying very close attention.  She always knew where I was supposed to be and where I wasn't.  And if I was having a "wasn't" kind of month she was checking on me much more than I liked.  At the time it drove me nuts, now I appreciate it more than I could put into words. 

Then I met Doc, we had babies and who my mom is to me changed completely.  Yes she had always been on my side, there to help, easy to access.  But the reality of what she did for me became crystal clear.  You see my mom had two very healthy children and then she had me. When I was young I had some problems that caused me to not be able to do all of the physical things the other kids my age could do.  It's a long story so for your sake I'll leave it at that.  I was told I wouldn't play sports or jump rope. I wouldn't run and jump.  PE would be less than exciting.  My mom heard all the doctors had to say, but she did not listen.  Nope, not Janet.  Janet was making no excuses for her middle child that was somewhere between a tornado and a fire cracker personality wise.  So, while she raised my sister and nursed my brother she spent all of her extra time on me.  I can still hear her "flex and point and bend and straighten".  I cannot begin to tell you the time and energy that she put into me, but let's just say that I danced for 9 years and played softball in high school. 

After I had Kathryne, I realized the extent of what she did for me.  I realized how much energy she must have put into me day in and day out so that I could be what we defined as "normal".  I was struggling to feed Kathryne lunch and nurse Presley without losing my mind and 28 years prior my mom was doing three times what I was capable of.  Just as she always has, just as she still does. 

Now that I am a mom appreciation does not even touch on what I have for my mother.  Admiration and awe are two of many words that I think of when I think of Janet.  She is a mother, a wife, a grandmother, a friend.  She is loyal and never ending.  She does not stop, she does not rest, she does not say no.  Her commitment to her children is one that cannot be matched.  We can and have called her from TN, 4.5 hours away at 1 AM and she has packed and driven in the dark, in the rain.  She does not ask, she just hears and moves.  She is our go to person, our help, the person that does not, will not say no.  The one that wants to rather than has to.  She has rescued us countless times over the two hardest, most exhausting years of our lives and saying thank you sounds ridiculous. 

I pray that she knows what she means to my family.  I pray that she is made to realize who she is to my brother and sister and I.  I pray that one day my girls will sit and think about who I am to them and that their heart will overflow with so much appreciation that they cannot write it down without tears flowing.  She is not perfect or without fault, she has never pretended to be.  She, just like all of us makes mistakes and has to ask for a mulligan now and then.  But she gives us 100% all of the time, even when we have not earned it and do not deserve it.  I am blessed beyond measure by our Janet.  If I have said it once I have said it 100 times since my kids were born.  Everyone has a mom, but we have a Janet.  And my friends, there is only Janet. 

Happy Mother's Day mama.  I love you.  Melanie Shea

Monday, May 7, 2012

Love, Jesus

It's May. I am not sure how it is already May.  But in a few days my baby will be three.  2012 has been the most peaceful year we have had so far.  I can say that even with the move, the health scare, the business, the family issues, the traveling.  Overall it has been better than the last two.  Easier, more peaceful.   The world around me keeps moving regardless of what is going on in my here and now.  The days come and go and the months pass quickly.  I will wake up and be 38, 39, 40 and my girls will grow right before my eyes.  When I think of it like that I realize that the problems of today do not matter.  I rest assured that the Lord is right there waiting on me to hand them over as I am reminded in Psalm 55:2. So I sit, I write, and I think of my blessings and I hear God. This is what He said.....

Dear Melanie,

Take a deep breath and remember what I have done for you.  Stop and think about where you have been and how many times I have rescued you.  It is ok.  I am here, I love you, and I will not leave your side not even for a moment. 

These days, the good and bad, they are all written.  They are all my plans, my design.  My life on earth was perfect and without sin so that I could bear the weight of yours and I am doing just that, so stop trying to help.  Your life is blessed beyond measure because you have faith in me.  Do not be afraid.  Do not worry about your health, or your girls, or your marriage.  Know that I am in the center of all of it taking great care to make sure it is just as it should be. 

Melanie, you are exactly how I made you.  Your gifts, your talents, your flaws, all of it was my idea.  I treasure you just as you are.  There is no need to worry if you should be better, or wish that you were more because you are just enough of everything for Me.  Your life is filled with people that you will touch.  Some will stay forever, some will go in time.  But all of them will learn something from you.  Be a light.  Show them what I have done for you.  Remember the times that you were lost and I found you.  Remember the times that you fell and I carried you.  Remember the times that you cried and I held you.  Share them with the world Melanie. Be bold!  Do not be afraid.  Do not worry what others think.  You know Me. You know My word and what I expect from those that follow me.  Live in a way which you know will please Me and you will be just fine. 

There will be people that do not like what you have to say, that will not listen, that will mock you.  Yes, I know it is frustrating.  But remember what they did to Me?  Even your toughest days do not compare in the slightest.  The world is not a pretty place Melanie, it was broken long before your time.  You cannot fix that.  You cannot make right all of the wrongs of those around you.  You cannot carry the load of the lost, that is My job, not yours. 

Do not be the same.  Do not smile when you aren't happy, do not do acts of kindness for reward, do not talk out of both sides of your mouth, do not gossip with those that claim to know me, do not mock those that do not know me yet.  Be different and know that I am in your corner cheering you on.  Melanie, I am always here, do not turn to anyone but Me.  Let me guide you. 

I love you,
Love Jesus

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Anger Management?

Understanding the Lord and His plans is something I have yet to master.  I try desperately to trust and move forward even on days when nothing makes sense.  I have had a lot of those days since our move to Franklin.  Days when I looked up in anger or sadness and shook my head blown away by what just happened.  Understand that I am in no way disillusioned, thinking that I should live a life without trial or tribulation.  Quite the contrary.  In all honesty my past and my blatant lack of obedience and faith that goes with it should all but leave me without blessing if you ask me.  However, as luck would have it we serve a Lord that is not a punisher, but quite the opposite. He is merciful. Amen.

I am sitting in  my "new home" in Franklin TN with about 1000 thoughts in my head 998 which seem to be negative.  It is late, I can hear my sweet husband snoring and my oldest moan occasionally.  I love this house. I love that I have no fear in this house, no memories that make my stomach hurt.  I love that I sleep soundly and that Kathryne runs through it without having to see me the whole time. It is a good house. One that is filled with love and the Lord. One that shall serve us well for a while I think. 

So why am I negative?  Honestly, sometimes I am just angry.  Angry that I have a little boy in heaven.  Angry that I drive a car fit for a large family and seem to be on track for a family for four.  Angry that I am surrounded by women that I love that are pregnant, knowing that in some way that makes them feel bad when they see or talk to me.  Angry that my body will not cooperate! That my health is not 100%! That my husband has spent three years trying to get me well both physically and emotionally and I am still not there!!  Angry that I don't have a church that I love here yet. Angry that I STILL do not love this town that is supposed to be one of the BEST places to live (according to who!?). But most of all, more than anything, I am angry that I am angry. 

I don't want to be angry.  I don't want to wonder why or question the plans of a God that has blessed me beyond measure.  I don't want to look around and only see what I cannot stand about Franklin TN.  I don't like myself when I see the bad rather than the good.  I try to cut myself a little slack.  Thankfully, my husband is willing too as well.  I get it, it is understandable that every now and then I just lose it.  I mean we have had one heck of a ride here.  And I have done my very best to stay in control, trust, have faith, move forward and be thankful.  Sometimes I just fail.  Today I have failed.  Today I want my boy.  I want my sister closer to me.  I want to eat lunch with my brother.  I want Sam to bring Ryan by for play time. Today I want to go see Wendy's new babies and hug Kelly on a coffee break.  Today I want my husband to work 40 hours instead of 60 and my mom to come help me fold clothes. And tomorrow I want to watch the Master's tournament with my dad. 

So there I said it.  It is late, I don't feel well, and my sister went home today.  Please don't judge me ;)

Tomorrow I will wake up.  I will make breakfast for two of the best kids the Lord ever created.  My mom will call and Sam will too.  I will meet one of my favorites for a play date and breathe some fresh air and all that is missing will seem far enough away not to sting. Why? Because I am right where I should be.  Right where He put me.  Right on His track.  And I am grateful that He loves me enough to write out a plan for me, because honestly I was doing a piss poor job on my own. ;)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Proverbs 3:5-6 LOUD AND CLEAR!

So, as most of you know we have been trying to get pregnant for a long time.  And recently, as I have been bombarded with news of new babies and new pregnancies from some of my closest and favorites I have been hearing a gentle "trust me" whisper.  Initially I dismissed it as me trying to make myself feel better about my lack of pregnancy, but then it started coming at the most odd times.  Times when babies were not even on my mind.  Times when I felt completely at ease about, well, everything.  I heard it so often and so audibly that I finally was like "OK I GET IT!".  And then the month ended and the clear sign that we are NOT pregnant came and I thought, "boy He sure did think I was going to take that hard!".  And then it started. 

As some of you know and others do not I have not felt "well" for a while, a few months.  My symptoms have been odd and sporadic and honestly, I have for the most part dismissed them.  Last week, finally, I decided that maybe I should go and let someone check me out.  Yes, we DO go to see doctors if we need too! By need I may have meant HAVE but whatever.  Anyway, so I made some calls and got an appointment and went on in, both girls in tow, for what ended up being 5 hours of talking and testing.  The result?!  I have an ovarian cyst, just as we suspected.  We took this news well, I have a history of this and really I already knew that is what they were going to tell me.  So, we continued to pack for our much needed trip to the beach and waited on the blood test results.  The following email will catch you up quick.  It was sent out last week while we were at the beach. 

Hi Ladies!!!
I hope you are all doing well and I miss seeing you guys!!  I have a prayer request and I thought who better to send it to? ;)  

So, as you all know we have been trying to get pregnant for a long time with no luck.  Well recently I have started to have some health issues.  Pain, swelling, weight gain. Last week I went to a midwife for an exam and she sent me for an Ultra Sound. Sure enough, there is a mass about the size of a lemon in my right ovary.  So....we thought no big deal because I have a history of ovarian tumors and in 1998 I had one removed.  Next step, they ran some blood tests called and said it was all normal BUT they wanted to throw in a test called a CA 125.  Sharliss I am sure you know what that is. We felt much better about the other tests being normal and (I am at the beach) went ahead enjoying the sun.  So, here is the kicker.  Today I called and just as the Lord would have it, it could not have been that easy.  The CA 125 levels are elevated.  What does that mean? Well if you ask the lady that delivered the news to me it is NOT good.  So, here I am in Fla with two toddlers 30 minutes after Janet has left for GA and Shawn is flying in tonight.  I am standing in the only spot in the condo that gets a signal on the phone with a midwife that is basically apologizing for telling me I have cancer over the phone.  I was HYSTERICAL.  Understand, I am tough but the midwife said "I hate to deliver this news on the phone, I am really sorry, go talk to God". No I am not kidding. My thoughts? Shit Damn Hell. (in honor of Sharliss, sorry Terri) ;)

 Okay, so I called Shawn, had mom turn around and come hang with the girls (since mama had gone off the deep end) and then I called the Dr's office where I am already scheduled to have an appt on Wed morning to meet with a very highly recommended doc about our options.  I spoke with the receptionist and asked her to move my appt to tomorrow, as I walked around and tried to start packing.  She said she could not, I proceeded to beg between sobs.  She put me on the phone with the nurse (meanwhile the girls are fighting and eating out of an open bag of pita chips).  Thank GOD for the nurse.  I have no idea what the nurses name was, all I know is that Jesus knew she is who I needed to talk to.  She told me a few things 1) She had ordered the test 2) it was standard with a cyst so large 3) I needed to take a deep breath or two 4) the test in inconclusive and shows an increase with benign tumors as well as endometriosis (which we already know I have) 5) 95% of the time the radiologists are right and the radiologist said it was "just" and endometrioma (which is NOT a malignant tumor but a blood filled cyst similar to my cyst in 1998).  So, I slowly stepped down from the ledge, took the chips away from the girls, took 5 deep breaths and gathered myself.  I called my sweet husband who I scared to death and left him a message that we were staying at the beach.  My mama came back and will leave tomorrow after Shawn gets here tonight (poor Janet I scared her, Mike and Big so badly! Oh and Sam too sorry Sam).  

All of this to say that we have a Dr. appointment Wednesday at 10:30 am and though I am feeling better, there is still a chance that we are looking at something much scarier than we anticipated.  Here is my request.  PLEASE pray that whatever it is I will have courage.  PLEASE pray that whatever it is God will carry all of us through it.  PLEASE pray for me to hold it together for my kids and the best husband in the whole world.  I realize that His will is what it will be and I have zero control over that.  I have learned that the hard way the last couple of years with the loss of our boy.  I know that worry is a lack of faith.  But I have two of the sweetest most beautiful little girls in the world and a husband that loves my biscuits and Lord willing I want to be healthy and old with all three of them.  So I'm probably going to worry, and then ask for forgiveness and I was hoping you guys would just have faith and pray ;)  Deal??

I PROMISE to send an update as soon as I have one. We will know more after we meet with the Doc wed about options and surgery. In the mean time this is not a prayer request to keep private it is one to send to the masses if you ask me.  So PLEASE put me on all the lists.   I love all of you and am so blessed to be able to ask this of you.  

Love and Blessings,

There you have it, that was one full day at the beach down the tubes.  The rest of the trip went like this, Doc flew in, Janet finally got to go home, and we enjoyed our weekend trying to NOT worry!!  After some research about this pesky CA  125 test, we discovered that the news was not quite as bad as we thought.  We will not know for sure what is going on until Wednesday BUT we are leaning toward better news than we got last week!! I prayed for peace so that I could enjoy the weekend, and I got it.  We came home yesterday, back to the "new house" as the girls call it ;).  It is a mess, clothes everywhere, tons to still do, but it is home.  And today as I was folding one of the multiple loads of laundry I thought, "this is it, this is what the "trust me" was for".  It actually had nothing at all to do with not being pregnant.  He was preparing me for this news.  Preparing me for this "scare" as I would call it.  Amazing.  How thoughtful He is to care enough about me to warn me ahead of time and assure me that He was there!!! 

So I am typing, without the knot in my stomach.  Because even though I find myself anxious at times, I feel like it would be ridiculous to worry too much about something that is so clearly planned out by my Father in Heaven that He was preparing me for it a week before hand! I am not in control and He is and I am fine with that. Because here is the truth.  If something is wrong, something that is scarier than we would like, the ONLY one that can take care of it is Him.  Not us, not the Doctors.  He decides.  I know this, it has been made clear to me over the last few years.  He decides, not me. 

I would be lying if I said I wasn't trying to make a few deals with Him ;)  "Dear Lord if you will let me be okay I will never ask for xxx again".  Isn't it so easy to go there?  But the truth is He already has it planned!!  And if we go against His will, we will still end up right where He wanted us eventually.  So, I have asked some of the strongest women I know to pray for me, and you can bet they will.  And Wednesday will come and we will sit and listen and decide regardless of the news and TRUST just like He has been telling me to do for two weeks.  Because when things are not in our control that is the only thing we can do. 

Pray for Wednesday friends and TRUST no matter what you are facing, He is there, I can hear Him ;)


Friday, March 16, 2012

Home, Vacation, Doc.

We finally have Internet!! Yay us!! So, to celebrate, I thought I would write. First things first, we are in our new house! We hit a few moving speed bumps, but we are in and remotely settled and we LOVE IT!! The girls seems at peace, Doc has gotten enough boxes unloaded not to drive himself crazy, and I have slowly been letting go of my past frustrations and celebrating a new home, a new start.

There are so many things that I could tell you about. The girls are fun, the practice is doing well, we are discussing many new beginnings in our family which have not been decided, and my health lacks a little but we are getting help with that. All of these things are pertinent to our life right now, but instead I am going to talk about Doc.

You see as I sit here in type in the home that costs us almost twice as much as the last one did, he works. And Tuesday when he sent me for a pedicure before my beach trip, he worked. And later when I will have lunch with my girls and maybe make a fun run to whole foods, he will work. And yesterday when we had friends over to play outside, he worked. And Monday when the three of us are on the beach with Janet, my sweet, sweet, husband will work. He will call and check on us and he will not complain, he will not jab about what I get to do and he doesn't, he will instead smile and giggle at the stories of the girls and if I know him say something like, "baby I am so glad you are having fun, you deserve it" and then he will go back to work. Yes, this is the man I married, be jealous, be very, very jealous.

I know so many women that are married, a lot of which get to stay home, and I wonder if they are as in awe of what their husbands do for them as I am. And then I think of the women I know that do not get to stay home and it makes me feel almost ashamed at the ease of the life the Lord has blessed me with and my husband provides. I am rotten. Yes there are women with more clothes, bigger homes, fancier vacations, prettier cars, but they are not married to my husband. You see this big house and my pretty toes are not what make me rotten, my husband is what makes me rotten. The way he treats us, the way he loves us, the way he provides for us unselfishly. We are all three ROTTEN to the core.

If I have said it once, I have said it a hundred times, "Kathryne, marry a man like your daddy baby girl. Trust me." She just looks at me and smiles. But the older she gets the more I will tell her and my sweet Presley Rose. Praying that they remember two things that I have hammered into them the most, "Jesus Loves You" and "Marry a man like your daddy". If they can get those two things, they will be just fine.

So today as it rains, I will pack. These girls will run and play and fight and I will play referee and put little swim suits in a bag. I will hunt down the life jackets and pick out the right movies. I will throw in a few pairs of shorts and some sunglasses for myself and we will be set to go. Sunday morning we will leave for the beach without daddy. I hope that he will use the day too nap and relax, but my guess is that he will work. Some because he needs to, some because he cannot stand it when we are gone. The truth is neither can we. We will go and spend 5 days with Janet and then Doc will join us for a much deserved short vacation!!! Oh how blessed we are.

If we had it our way daddy would be in the truck going with us Sunday. Heck, if we had it our way daddy would be home with us everyday. We miss him when he is gone and look forward to the minute he is home! But we will take Thursday to Saturday and all three of us will not be able to WAIT until he gets there!!! How hard it must be for him to have three girls totally and completely in love with him. ;)

So friends that is it for now, we are in the new house and soon we are heading to the beach, all by the grace of an amazing God and the hands of a man that is the greatest blessing this girl has ever seen. 

Have a great week, we sure will!!!

p.s. (We love you bigger than the whole sky daddy!  Thank you.  Your Girls)

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Well it is here and the truth is, selfishly, I was kind of pulling for "too busy to notice".  But last night as I was reading an email from my midwife and scrolling up to look for a phone number, I was quickly reminded that March is here and it marks the memory of the longest, hardest days of my life. 

It is funny to me how God times things.  Here we are moving out of this "house of memories" on the weekend that marks the two year anniversary of the the birth of our boy. The birth and the loss.  I have tried desperately to be busy enough to let it pass by, barely noticed, in an effort to keep my heart from exploding as I recognize that I am moving two out of three of my babies into this new home.  And even though Bennett never "lived" in this home, he was here and he has not been and will never be at 116 Golden Meadow Lane.  But I failed and yesterday, as I stood in the laundry room of this house that has haunted me for so long, I hung up clothes and I cried.  In walked my sweet husband to hold me until I could breathe again, never asking, just knowing. 

So as usual He brings us to a bitter sweet moment as we celebrate a change in our lives.  A new home, a new start, but an oh so familiar absence that will be moved from Tom Anderson Road to Golden Meadow Lane no matter how far back in a closet we have hidden it.  As I pack today I pray for comfort, I pray for a gentle reminder that I am the mother of a little boy with whom I will spend eternity and an even gentler reminder that eternity will start later, not today.  As I carry out heavy boxes I cringe knowing that they are even heavier than they should be because of the weight that sits on my chest as the birthday of our son approaches.  Breathing in and out seems labor intensive and truthfully, the bed sounds pretty good.  Thankfully I am surrounded by boxes and four blue eyes all of which require me to stay vertical and move forward. The Lord knows just how much we can take and He also knows what we need to be able to take it. 

Breathing in and moving boxes out,

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Golden Meadow Lane

Dear 116 Golden Meadow Lane,

I would like to introduce my family. We are the Hall's and we will be the family occupying you for the next couple of years.  My husband Shawn, myself and my two girls Kat and Presley are very excited to get to know you.  We come from Atlanta, Georgia and we have lived in Franklin for just under three years.  Three years that have been long and hard and fun and exciting all at the same time.  We are a good family, filled with love and Jesus.  We are happy most of the time, even on the bad days and we like easy.  Easy days, easy weeks, easy years.  We appreciate calmness and joy and we accept sorrow and chaos when it comes. All with the heart of a family that lives for the Lord and trusts that His hand is in every move.  That said, we are certain that He led us straight to you and that makes me smile. 

You see 116 Golden Meadow Lane, we are ready. Ready for a change, for a home that suits us and fits us, ready for comfort and peace, ready to make new memories and leave behind some of the greatest struggles of our lives.  I realize that you alone cannot provide that, that the Lord has a plan and without fail it will be completed one way or another. You, my friend, are just a house, but to us I pray that you will become a home.  A home with more good memories than bad.  A home where we can rest and heal and breathe just a little easier for a moment.  A home where the moments of chaos are overcome by the moments of peace. 

So, in a few days you will meet us all.  We will move our clothes and our furniture and fill you up with stuff.  But more importantly, we will be bringing two of the most wonderful little girls that God has created and their hearts.  So as I pray daily for our family and this new beginning I am going to ask you to do your best to provide a strong, safe, comfortable place for us to live.  I am going to ask that you will take care of us and keep us warm and cozy.  And in return I will promise to take care of you and fill you up with all the happiness and love that a family can bring.  In addition to that we will be bringing Jesus with us and He will be in charge of everything, we will just be following His lead. 

I look forward to spending the next couple of years making you our home and making new memories!  See you in a few days :) 

The Hall Family.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Our Story (The Short Version)

January 2006.  That is when my life changed forever.  It was my moment.  You know everyone has a moment and if you haven't yet you will.  Some of us have more than one.  Moments where you make a choice, good or bad, but that choice changes the course of your life forever.  It changes your present and your future more than you ever imagined that it would.  At the time it seemed like a small choice, but as you look back you realize it was the biggest decision of your life.  That moment for me was in early January of 2006. 

A friend of mine from church and a couple of his buddies were going to serve at the Passion Conference in Nashville TN.  He had all but guilted me into going using all of that Christian "you may change the life of a teenager" garb ;).  So there I was 30 years old, newly engaged to the man I had been with for two years and had wanted for four, and on my way to meet up with three men, two of which I barely knew at 5:30 am on January 2, 2006.  I had my Starbucks, my bags, my bible and I was wearing my beautiful new engagement ring.  I was headed to Nashville TN to change the life of a teenager.  ;)  Boy oh boy is God funny. 

This is a story of listening to the Lord. Not the first time, not the second, but the 50th time after he had been banging on the door of my heart and soul for years.  This is a story of God's plan coming to fruition regardless how of stubborn the person in it was.  This is a story of God's will, love, grace and mercy and I am the main character my friends. 

It was 5:30 am and I met up with my friend Shawn at his house.  We proceeded to ride to Kennesaw, pretty much in silence because neither of us are really morning people, and meet up with his buddies from his small group Jeff and Watts. We all piled into Jeff's Mercedes at 6:30 am and off we went to Nashville for what would be a life changing trip for many teenagers and at least two adults.  The weekend was filled with the Lord.  The Holy Spirit showed up in huge ways as worship was led and the speakers taught.  I roomed with two girls I had never met.  The extent of our conversation was "where are you from" and "why isn't your fiance here?' which just aggravated me so I quit talking to them.  I could go on for days about how God orchestrated the weekend. But to save time here are a few highlights.

1) I was assigned to work outside in the freezing cold and give directions to the students for the weekend.
2)One of the girls in my room was very, very sick so I basically had to find something to do at all times when I was not sleeping.
3)Watts turned out to be a real gentleman and gave up his "inside the arena" post with Shawn and Jeff and stood outside in the cold for me after the first day.
4) There was absolutely NO time to talk on the phone.
5) Complete strangers continually asked me all weekend where my fiance was and why he wasn't serving with me.  After the 10th time of explaining that he did not go to church with me, I felt so stupid and ridiculous (because that is how it sounded) I took off my ring and wore it around my neck. (Yes God will embarrass you to make a point).
6) There was a few minutes when I was left alone with Jeff that led to a conversation that left me more convicted than any other conversation I had ever had. 
7) The timing of Beth Moore's lecture on "listening to God rather than running from Him because what He wants is not what we want" led to the only phone call I made all weekend.
8) That phone call was to my mom to say "I do not want to get married".
9) Having one of the greatest mom's on the planet made this all a lot easier. 
10) Watching a grown man worship Jesus was much cooler than I imagined.

The weekend was amazing and God showed up all over the place.  Yes I spent time with these men, yes they treated me better than I had ever been treated by the one I was going to marry, yes I was blown away by what God taught me in such a short time.  Isn't it always amazing what we learn if we just listen? 

I have left out one major part of my weekend.  Not because I forgot but because I wanted to explain first and foremost that God changed my heart and opened my eyes just in time to keep me from making the biggest mistake of my life, again. And then there was Shawn.

There he was, bald head and dimples with the sweetest blue eyes I had ever seen.  He was right there doing nothing but doing everything at the same time.  We would eat as a group and when we would get up to leave he would get my coat for me.  They picked me up each morning and he brought me coffee just the way I liked it every time.  He opened my doors and carried my luggage.  I never asked, I never expected, I didn't even hope.  He took better care of me for a weekend then I had ever been taken care of by a man in my life and I wasn't even his.  Yet. 

We left Nashville after a weekend of an amazing God.  The ride home was one that I will never forget.  I remember wishing we would get lost so it would last a little bit longer.  There was nothing  inappropriate.  He never said anything or did anything to even make me think he wanted to take me to dinner, much less marry me.  But there was this unbelievable since of urgency for me to get home and end what was wrong and pray for what was next.  It was like I knew.  I knew he was going to be mine someday and I wanted someday to start ASAP!  So that is what I did.  I came home and the first time I saw my fiance I gave him the ring back.  It was not easy, it was not fun, but it was right. I remember sitting in the condo and looking around for anything that may be mine so that I could grab it on my way out willing to leave the rest forever.  All I could find was a pair of tennis shoes.  So me and my tennis shoes left, ring on the table, man broken, certain that I was following God right out of that door.

I prayed and prayed and prayed.  Lord forgive me for not listening before and please, if there is any chance I could have that man with the blue eyes and dimples, I would really like too.  If we are obedient and we ask, He answers.  That was the first week of January.  January 28th I had a scheduled dress fitting that I would not let my mom cancel.  She and I went and I put Shawn's name down as the groom.  He had not even asked yet.  In March we were engaged and in June we were married. It was the best day of my life.  A day that proves that we have a Father in Heaven that shows us grace and mercy and unconditional love.  I know this because I did not earn Shawn and I did not deserve him.  

So today I celebrate Valentines Day with the man that God made just for me.  I celebrate the fact that the Lord waited patiently, on both of us, and then put us together at just the right time.  I celebrate being married to the best man I have ever known.  I celebrate being blessed beyond comprehension as I spend this life and eternity looking at those blue eyes and dimples. And I praise my Lord from the rooftops for every second He gives me with the love of my life!!!

Happy Valentines Day baby.  I love you today and everyday. 
Thank you for making my dreams come true. 

Your Girl

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me.

On Friday I turned 37 years old.  I would like to say the it was a memorable 37 but honestly it was unlike any other day we have had recently.  I was home with the girls and Doc worked later than we had planned.  I did have a visit from a sweet friend who always makes me feel less lonely on days that home seems more than 4 hours away.  The weekend came and went and was full of family and fun and the Super Bowl.  I was a year older but I felt the same as I did the day before and the day before that. 

I am the youngest of my friends back home, but somehow have fallen into the oldest category with most of the friends that I have here in Franklin TN.   I have learned that it doesn't really matter.  The women that I am closest too are all wise beyond their years with hearts of gold.  Women that love me just as I am with my big mouth and obvious opinions.  Women that would leave work to help me in the middle of the day or travel thousands of miles to aid in my healing from a couple of long hard years. Women that recognize the hardest days and acknowledge them, each in their own way.  I am blessed by each and every one of them. And the ones that I do not see, I miss more than they will ever know. 

Age has always bothered me, so being home was more fun at birthdays because I am the youngest. I am even older than Doc, so Franklin is not my friend as I age. Truthfully, I just do not age well.  I took 30 really hard and 35 was just gross.  Now that I am 37 all I can think about is how I want more babies and how disgustingly close 37 is to 40.  See what I mean? I suck at this.  My dad has always made a joke at birthdays, "well it is better than the alternative" he says.  And I supposed he is right.  Or maybe not, I think that alternative probably beats the heck out of everything.  But I get his point ;) 

So here I am at 37 with two of the sweetest girls on the planet and the best man I have ever met.  I would venture to say that out of the last 3 years, my 36th was my best so far. At 37 I am healthier, happier and more content than I have been since my moved to Franklin.  For that I am blessed.  So here I am finally liking Franklin, just a little bit.  We are moving out of this house that has beaten us to a pulp for two and a half years into a home that will change everything about our lives here including Doc's commute.  We have two beautiful little girls (almost potty trained).  Our business is successful and our marriage is strong.  I have made a few great friends that have blessed me beyond measure. 

I have absolutely NOTHING to complain about and so I wait.  Not for something bad, just for something.  You see we are not the family that God leaves be.  Oh no my friends, we are, and are happy to be, the family that God constantly tests and challenges.  So what is next?  What will my 37th year bring?  Will it be the baby that we have begged for for 2 years?  Will it be a move? A new venture? A new exciting challenge?  I have no idea.  I am asking but He has not told me yet. So I will be still and wait for my Lord.  Knowing that in Him time He will tell me, show me and lead me. I look forward to my 37th year with anticipation and excitement.  Knowing that He has been preparing me for whatever lies ahead and trusting that He will be right there with me, with us, every step of the way. 

As I wait I will enjoy this time of peace.  This time of contentment.  These Moments of Peace if you will.  I certainly have been looking forward to them and asking for them for a while now. I am delighted that Jesus knew exactly what I wanted and needed for my birthday.  Happy Birthday to Me! ;)