Penny in the Porch

I’ve been thinking about my childhood recently and this has brought up quite a few memories of my grandparents and their home. I want to preserve those memories, since my daughter will never be able to experience these things with these people. Sadly, a few years ago, my grandparent’s home (my second home away from home) had to be torn down. The people who bought it after my Pappy died did not care for the house and land like my grandparents did, and the house became unlivable.  But that’s another story.  I’d like to share a mental picture of my grandparent’s home, a place that held many special memories for me.

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The front of my Pappy’s house had a porch that went nearly the full length of the house. There was nothing fancy about it. It was a concrete porch, very narrow in width on one end and nearly a foot high on the other end, but it was level!  A dilapidated wooden door was near the “deep” end that led to the hand dug earth cellar. In the narrow end, near the corner that ran nearly flush with the sidewalk, was a penny in the porch. The penny caught my attention at a young age, and I wondered why anyone would put a penny in the cement. “That’s the year the cement was poured,” my grandma would tell me.  I can’t remember for sure, but I think it was a  1952 penny. It wasn’t shiny anymore and had some green on it where the copper had oxidized.  Every now and then, I’d check to see that it was still there.

Grandma would keep her houseplants out on the porch in late spring and summer. They would flourish there. Everyone who would drive by (the road was just mere feet from the porch) could see them in their lush greenness and full bloom beauty. Redwood furniture with stainless steel trim sat on the porch and hosted a bevy of guests on a regular basis. As soon as it was warm enough, we’d spend nearly every evening out on the porch.

I spent nearly every day at my grandparent’s house. They were my babysitters since my parents each worked the 3-11 shift. I remember Grandma and Pappy’s house almost better than I can remember my own home. I just loved it there! Being that I was there so much, I soon started to accumulate toys and things there that I could play with. Near the end of the porch with the cellar doors was one of my favorite play areas. Pappy had helped me set up an outdoor “play kitchen” there. You had to use your imagination (which I had a lot of!) but there were two concrete blocks and a few bricks fashioned into a “stove.” Grandma had given me an old sauce pan that got scorched one evening and could never get clean. I had a dull table knife, an old spoon, a tin pie pan, and an empty plastic butter tub. These were treasured items to me! I spent hours “cooking” at my stove. I’d go into the yard, pull up handfuls of grass, pick dandelions, and find other little earthy treasures to make salads and casseroles that I’d “serve” to Grandma and Pappy with great delight. They graciously would pretend to eat the meal I had made and ask me to go make something else. I’d get creative and grind things between the bricks like a mortar and pestal, chop things with the dull knife and make garnishes with little flowers that bloomed wild around the yard.

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One of my best memories was the nights we would sit on the porch together and watch it rain. Even during thunderstorms, we’d sit out there and watch it rain. At some point during the storm, there would be a deep stream form along the road in front of the house. Pappy and I would remove our shoes, go running out and play in the stream, wading up and down in front of the house. This was fine with Grandma, unless it was still thundering and lightening! Then she would be chiding us to “get in before you get electrocuted!” We’d be soaked until we decided to stop, but neither one of us wanted to quit! Grandma would shake her head and fuss that we were wet, but Pappy would gently remind her, “Edna, you’re only young once! Let her enjoy it!”

The year I was 10 years old, my Pappy began to have stroke after stroke. Before long, he was bedfast. There was no more sitting on the porch in the evenings. Then I found myself going out there just to think about what was going to happen. There was talk that Pappy was dying, but in my young mind, I couldn’t fathom that would ever happen. Who would wade in the stream with me? Who would I pal around with. Who would be my best friend if he was gone? The porch had become a place for me to go in solitude to cry and contemplate the future.

Pappy died that summer. Grandma came to live with us for part of a year and with my uncle for part of a year. Things were packed to sell or move. The house was emptied room by room. I was having a hard time letting go of the house and the memories there. It was more pain than my 10 year old heart could take.

On our last trip to the house to make sure we had gotten everything out, the penny on the porch caught my eye. I went down to that end of the porch and rubbed the penny with my finger. I looked around and no one was there, so I began to pick at the penny. I dug and dug until my fingernails broke, but I got the penny out of the porch. I held it in my hand until we got home and then I put it in a safe place. No one knew for a long time, but I would get the penny out and hold it and think about the times on the porch with my Pappy. It helped me remember him.

I still have that penny. It means a lot to me, but it will never bring him back to me.

But, that penny does give me hope. It reminds me that though I still miss my grandfather 35 years later, I know that one day I will see him again. I dream about him occassionally…they are some of my best dreams! It’s not just in my dreams that I will see him though. I know I will see him in heaven one day.

Revelation 21:4-7 tells us this… ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.  He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.  Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.”  This excites me! Not only will God take away the pain of death and the sadness we feel when we lose someone, wiping the tears from our eyes, he will make everything new! I’ll get to see my Pappy whole again! And, if I drink from the water of eternal life (Jesus), I will be there in heaven with him! We will both be children in God’s house! How exciting!

When that day comes, I will no longer need the penny from the porch to remind me of happy days in my childhood. My Pappy and I can be together again as brothers and sisters. What a day that will be!

♥Miriam

Snow Day With a Cup of Comfort

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What is it about a snowy day that brings out the cook in us?  I had the privelege of working from home today, and at lunch time, Katie says, “Mommy, I feel like soup for lunch.”  She picked out a can of Progresso and soon we were both enjoying a hot cup of soup. As the chicken flavored broth trickled down my throat and warmed me from the inside out, I felt happy that I had been able to stay home instead of going out in the freezing cold outdoors.

I still had a few hours to put in for the day after lunch, but my mind started thinking of cake, cookies, pies, creamy casseroles and warm sandwiches.  I couldn’t wait till it was time to make supper. It was going to be comfort food for sure!

Finally, my work day was done. I decided to check Facebook and see what everyone else was up to on this cold winter day. I saw post after post like these:

“Just put a pan of banana nut bread in the oven. Mmmmm, can’t wait!” – Or – “I’m bored, think I’ll make a batch of chocolate chip cookies!” – Or – “Nothing like a snow day to make some peanut butter fudge!” – Or – “Brownies fresh from the oven! Yes, please!”

After seeing all this, I decided the only decent thing I could do was to join them! Soon the smells of a peach pie were wafting from my kitchen.  I could hardly wait for supper!

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What would we have to eat? I decided to have one of our all time favorite comfort foods…tomato soup and grilled cheese.  As we sat around the table with our steaming cups of soup, eating our gooey, cheesey, warm sandwiches, we talked about our day. We contemplated when the snow would stop and how tomorrow might be. There was something comforting about being able to enjoy a warm delicious meal on a cold night and enjoy each other’s company.

After supper, I checked my email (I checked Facebook again too), and I saw that many others had the same idea for supper. There were many posts about comfort foods….lasagna, chicken enchiladas, and lots and lots of soup!

It’s too bad we wait for snow days to experience this kind of comfort. Oh, but wait!  We can have this kind of comfort every day! II Corinthians 1:3-5 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” (NIV) We CAN have comfort any time we want it! God will comfort us when ever we are in distress. In turn, He enables us to be able to comfort others. We can have and share comfort any time, whether it’s through a casserole of comfort food or a plate of cookies or words of encouragement or reassurance. God shows His presence through these moments.

I look forward to another snow day where we can just snuggle in and be comfortable with each other. Until then, I’ll find joy in God’s Word and read His words of comfort.

The phone just rang. There’s no school again tomorrow. Perhaps another snow day for me is closer than I think!

♥Miriam

Loving Despite Ourselves

It’s been ages since I’ve put up a blog post, but I got a little “divine” inspiration this week!

It was one of those days. You know those days when nothing seems to go right, you don’t feel good, and everyone seems grumpy? Yup, one of those days. To make things worse, I was having some of the worst back pain ever and could hardly get around. Fortunately, I was off work as was my hubby and daughter. Early on in the day, Dave made it clear to Katie that she was to help me that day because of the pain I was having. In the beginning, she was more than happy to get things for me, bring me an extra blanket, whatever it was I needed. By lunch time, her demeanor was beginning to change.

“Katie, I’m going to stretch out on the bed for a while. While I do, could you please pick up the things that are on the floor of your bedroom and straighten up? And…make sure you get all your dirty clothes in the hamper because we’re doing laundry this afternoon,” I requested.

“Do I have to?” she whined.

“Yes, you do.”

“Make me!” she snidely snapped.

Moments later, her daddy having heard the nastiness in her voice offered some “incentive,” and she was grudingly cleaning her room, muttering under her breath and throwing things around in her room.  Soon, her bedroom door went shut and I heard the sounds of Toby Mac being played on her CD player. I knew instantly that the cleaning of her room had ceased.

I got myself out of the bed, which was no small feat with the pain I had, and walked across the hall to her room. I opened the door and said, “What are you doing?”

“Get out!” she yelled. “Get out of my room!”

As I made a quick survey of the room, I saw that very little progress had been made on the condition of her room. There were piles of stuff everywhere I looked and I had no idea how she’d ever get in her bed to sleep that night with all the things she had stacked on there.  I was angry. Not only had she disobeyed me,  but she had also disobeyed her daddy and now was talking back with quite a bit of attitude to boot.

“Is this what you were asked to do?” I said.

“No, but I don’t want to do stuff for you anymore today. I’m bored and I want to do this now.”

Trying to keep my cool, I replied, “You’re not just doing this for me or for Daddy, but you’re doing it for yourself too. Wouldn’t it be a whole lot nicer to sleep and play in a cleaned up room?”

“I don’t care,” she shouted. “I like it this way!”

“You do?” I questioned. “You enjoy sleeping on books and Legos and dirty clothes?”

“Yes, I do!”

David, having heard this interaction, came back the hall and laid down the law. There would be no more music, no more playing, no more goofing off until the room is picked up.  He ushered me back to our room and helped me back in bed and went back over to talk to Katie. “I believe we had an agreement that you would do what your mother asked you to do today.”

“Yeah, but I don’t want to do this!  She’s just being mean to me!”

“No she isn’t.  She loves you and wants the best for you and that’s one reason why she wants you to have a clean room. Mommy can’t clean it for you today, I’m taking care of laundry, dishes and cleaning up the living room and kitchen, and this is your room, so you must clean it yourself.”

“Fine!” she yelled, and proceeded to begin the process of cleaning her room.

Later, Katie came into the room and threw a piece of paper at me. It said, “Do you love me?”

What? I could hardly believe it! I was so upset! Of course, I loved her! How could she think otherwise? I was hurt, frustrated and all that hurt and frustration just seemed to intensify the pain.  I began to cry. Dave came into the room at that moment. “What’s wrong? Do you need more pain medication?”

“No,” I replied, “here.”  I handed him the note.

“I’m going to talk to her.”

“No, honey, don’t. It will just make things worse,” I sobbed.

Towards supper time, Katie had finished up rearranging her clutter (it was far from resolved) and cleared off her bed. I could see from my bed that progress had been made. “Katie?”

“What!” she yelled.

“Come here please.”

“What do you want now?” she snapped.

Disregarding her attitude, I asked, “It’s almost time for supper. If you could help me out of the bed, you and I could go to the kitchen and make supper together. I’ll let you cook.”

She smiled a little at this point. “What are we making?”

“Meatloaf.”

“Cool! And I can make it?”

“Yes. I’ll tell you what you need to do.”

“Just get out the recipe and I’ll follow it,” she said.

“I don’t have a recipe, Katie. I make it from memory, so I’ll have to tell you.”

“Fine,” she said the smile suddenly leaving her face.

She helped the best she could to help steady me as I crawled out of the bed and we went to the kitchen. I sat down at the table and started giving her directions. At several points of the process, I had her wash or rinse her hands at the sink. This seemed to just irritate her further. She got the meatloaf finished and put into the oven and I asked her if we could mix up a Betty Crocker potato mix to go with it. “Nah, you can do that. I’m done with this stuff. I need to go cool off. I’m mad at you.”

“Why are you mad at me now?” I questioned, still wondering and hurting from her written question earlier in the day.

“You wouldn’t let me do the meatloaf my way!”

I explained that when you cook, you have to follow the directions or it won’t turn out right. That explanation wasn’t good enough for her and she stomped off to her room. Soon sounds of Toby Mac were once again flowing out her door.

David walked into the kitchen and said, “Did she help you?”

“Yes, but only for a little bit,” I said.  I shared what had happened.

“I’ll go talk to her,” he said.

“No, this is our battle, David. I’ll deal with her later.”

Supper was delicious! We both gave Katie praise for the delicious meatloaf, but not a word of thanks came from her mouth.  She was sent to get her bath, again with much complaint, but she did go. When her bath was over, I asked her to go get her brush so that she could get her hair smoothed out and also to get ready for bed.  She stomped around and stomped around. “I can’t find my brush!” she screamed.

“It’s in my purse. You gave it to me to hold for you last night in the van and I told you I’d put it in my purse.”

She marched to the kitchen and immediately comes back. “It’s not in your coat!” she screamed.

“You didn’t listen to me!” I snapped back. “It…is…in…my…purse!”

She tramped back to the kitchen. She brings back my bag I carry to work and shoves it at me. “Find it yourself! It’s not in here!”

“I know it’s not in there,” I said, “because this isn’t my PURSE!”

“Aaaah!” She runs to the kitchen again. I’m hearing her grumble and grumble. Next thing I know, she’s walking back the hall brushing her hair.

“You found it I see!”

“Yeah, whatever…” she said.

I could hardly believe it. Here was my sweet 11-year-old acting quite like a moody teenager. And worst of all, she didn’t think I loved her. She was ready for bed and kissed and hugged her daddy, walked past me and back to her room. David was angry. “She needs to tell you goodnight!”

“I’ve got it,” I said and made my way to her room.

I went in and said, “Katie.”

“What!”

“You didn’t give me a goodnight hug and kiss.”

“Yeah, so?”

“Well, I’d like to have one.” I leaned down to hug and kiss her and she did not reciprocate. I was ready to break. I sat down on the end of her bed. “I got a note from you earlier today.”

“Yeah.”

“Did you really have to ask if I love you?” She immediately began to cry, I believe because she knew the answer.

“Maybe.”

“Why do you think I don’t love you?”

“You were asking me to do stuff and you wouldn’t let me just play and goof off.”

“Katie, do you realize that I ask you do things because I love you?”

“What?”

“Yes, I love you! I ask you do things like clean your room and help with supper because I want you to grow up to be responsible and to know how to do things.  I’m not doing it to be mean. Do you understand that?” As I said this, I looked at her dresser where a photo frame was sitting with various pictures of our family in it. My picture was missing. “I see you removed me from your picture frame. Do you want me not to be part of this family?”

“No!” she sobbed. “I was just mad at you. I don’t want you to leave me ever! I’m sorry! I’ll put it back. I guess I was just having a bad day today.”

“Me too,” I said. ” I thought you didn’t love me anymore either.”

I reached out to her and she fell into my arms and hugged me and kissed me. I tucked her in and gave her one more kiss goodnight. “Thanks for talking to me, Mommy.”

“You’re welcome, I love you, goodnight!”

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I began to think over the events of the day as I laid down to sleep. I couldn’t help but think of how God has many days like this, days where His children totally disrespect Him and act as though they don’t love Him. Yet, he patiently waits for us to realize that He’s still there, He still loves us, and He’s willing to forgive us for our self-centeredness. God would do anything for us. This is made clear in in Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  (NIV) What greater love could there be than giving up your own Son to cover our sins? That is true love.

So despite our humanity, despite our tendencies to think only of ourselves, despite our inability to fathom such a love as our Father has for us, He loves us anyway.  What a comforting thought.

As I drifted off to sleep, I thought of how I couldn’t wait to share that with Katie in the morning.

♥Miriam

The Not So Strange People of Walmart

It was the Saturday before Father’s Day. I wasn’t in the greatest of moods. I had seen my doctor the day before and he changed my medications around yet another time and I needed to go pick up my new prescription. I had dropped Katie off at Bible school and Dave was fishing with a friend. I had some time to myself for a change, but instead, had to run errands and part of those errands was getting a prescription I didn’t want.

I was upset that I had to have another medication change. I’ve been dealing with uncontrolled hypertension for a while now, and have gone through countless medications in hopes that one will bring those numbers down. But time and time again, I hear those words from my doctor, “This medication isn’t doing the job, let’s try this.” I dread seeing him any more. I have a medicine cabinet filled with meds that I can’t use….money down the drain in my eyes.

As I drove to Walmart, I was thinking about all I had to do that day and about the fact that part of my day was disrupted again by my need for a new medication. “Wonder how much this one will cost, ” I thought. I pray a lot when I’m alone in my van and driving. (I do keep my eyes open, obviously!) I began to cry out to God and implore Him to help me and my doctor find something that would work to change my chronic issue. I found myself actually whining. I’m sure God wasn’t impressed with my prayer that day…it was mainly a lot of complaining.

Finally, Walmart was in view and I pulled into a parking space. When I went inside, they were out of the motorized carts I’ve come to depend upon to get through the store with my arthritis issues. I was feeling defeated. I was dreading hearing what the cashier would say my total was today.  And, on top of that, I’d have to walk all through Walmart on a day I was having some significant pain.

The pharmacy wasn’t busy so I got to be waited on quickly. “Did you know this medication costs $294?” the clerk said. The look on my face told her I didn’t. I didn’t have a choice though.  I paid my bill and started shopping for the remainder of the things I needed.

I needed to get a Father’s Day gift for David. Katie had given me specific instructions to get him a Duck Dynasty t-shirt with Uncle Si on it.  I went to the display where we had seen them before, only to discover the only size left was small. There would be no Uncle Si shirt for Dave. I had to find something else. This only added to my disappointment in the day.

Cards were picked over….I shouldn’t have procrastinated on that one! I was at a loss to know what to get for Dave. I had my mind set on the t-shirt and now it wasn’t an option. I looked at my list of things I needed to purchase, and decided to look for the other things instead.  As I shopped, I tried thinking of what I could get for Dave. The idea finally came that he had been wanting a small chainsaw. Certainly, Walmart would have an inexpensive one. No. No such luck. The only thing left in that department were weed eaters and he didn’t need one of those.

Feeling even more defeated, I went to the check out line. “Really, there’s only 3 lanes open and about 100 people to check out?” I thought. How could my day get any better? I was just about ready to cry at this point.

Then I heard it. Someone was humming. It wasn’t extremely loud, but it was loud enough that I could hear it. The tune sounded familiar. I moved toward the sound. It was coming from the cashier in lane 13. Despite the fact that I usually avoid lane 13 (call me superstitious) and it seemed to be the longest line, I got in line there anyway.

The cashier continued to hum. I was thinking really hard to figure out the tune. I knew the song, I was sure of it.

About a minute went by, and someone decided to open the lane beside us, about 4 people in front of me flocked to the new lane. I stayed where I was. I needed to figure out the song she was humming. “Change My Heart O God“! That’s what she was humming. I was intrigued!

Finally, it was my turn. She began to scan my items, still humming away at the tune. She looked at me and smiled, still humming. I smiled back, “Change My Heart O God.” I said.

“You know the song?” she said.

“Sure do! It’s a good one,” I replied.

“One of my favorites too!” she exclaimed. “Some people don’t like it when I hum, but I was made to praise the Lord and I want to do it all the time. He is good isn’t He?” she said.

“Yes, He is,” I answered. I felt a little guilty as I said it though. I had really not been very joyful that day up to that point. I whined and complained to God instead of thanking Him for all He was doing for me. I left one thing just ruin everything.  “Thanks for your song,” I said.

“My pleasure! Some days, it’s really hard to be joyful and courteous to some of the people that come in my line. But, I just pray that God will change my heart so I will treat those people the way God would want me to,” she said. “I want to encourage everyone I meet. I believe that’s what God put me on this earth to do…encourage others.”

“Well, you sure encouraged me today,” I said.

“Me too!” said the lady behind me. Up to this point, I was oblivious to who was in line with me. I turned and saw an haggard looking woman, probably in her 50’s with a tank top on, heavily tatooed and missing several teeth. (One of those people you see show up in the pictures entitled “People of Walmart.”) “God is great and takes care of all of us, even when we don’t deserve it,” the tatooed lady said.

“I’m so glad I got in this line today!” I exclaimed. “You both have made my day a little better! Thanks!”

“Any time!” said the cashier.

“Yup! It’s what we’re supposed to do for each other!” said the tatooed lady.

I left Walmart, feeling a bit better and a bit lighter because my burden had been lifted. I went to my van, crawled inside and quickly thanked God for all He had done for me and asked forgiveness for doubting that He was caring for me. My heart had been changed by my check out encounter, and because of two ladies who weren’t afraid to share their faith with others.

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The rest of the day went much better and I found an inexpensive chainsaw at Home Depot for Dave. He deemed it one of the best Father’s Day gifts ever!

I Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” I believe these two women were put there just for me that day. God knew I needed some encouragement and He sent two angels, one dressed as a Walmart cashier and one as one of the “strange” people of Walmart. Where ever they are, I hope they continue to share this love and encouragement with others. It meant so much to me!

♥Miriam

I’m Still Here

So, for those of you that follow me….yeah, I know, I haven’t posted a blog entry for a very long time. Don’t think I’ve given up blogging…I haven’t. I have hundreds of things floating around in my head at present that I’d love to write about.

Life’s just been busy lately. If you remember, I work for a Christian ministry that has summer camp, and well, it’s summer so we’re, you know…having camp. It makes for a lot of long weeks and tiring days. Not that I’m working as hard as the counselors do. It’s a different kind of work.

Also, right now, I’m struggling pretty badly with my arthritis. There have been a lot of setbacks and little progress in my treatment. However, I am starting a new med today that hopefully will be my “wonder drug!” (Fingers crossed!)

So, stay tuned! I’m still here! Just being a little quiet for a bit! In the meantime, enjoy this picture of my new sweet little kitty, Tillie! 🙂 Be back soon!

Miss Cookie Matilda, "Tillie" for short!

Miss Cookie Matilda, “Tillie” for short!

Finding a Cure…A Terminal Case of Baby Envy, the Final Chapter

We were finally at peace with our decision not to have more children, either by our own efforts or through adoption. We were tired, hurt, depressed, and frustrated. It was time to let it go. We did take measures to insure that there would not be another pregnancy…Dave took care of that. Though it was a tough decision to make, we were glad that there were no more worries about ectopic pregnancies or miscarriages. It was time to sit back and just enjoy our lives and our daughter, Katie.

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I learned that our “son”, Evan was still in his mother’s care and doing well. A former coworker discovered this as she used the same day care that Jenny did. She told me, “She kept his name. He’s still Evan Matthew.” I felt as though I had been given a gift. Though Jenny changed her mind, she didn’t change the name we had given him. She cared enough about us to keep his name. It took some time, but the bitterness I felt toward her began to fade. After all, any parent’s desire for their child is that they are happy, loved, and well-cared for. He had this, though not with us, and so how could I be angry?

Three years after Evan came into our lives, I had my yearly check up. My midwife recommended an ultrasound because I was (to make this as generic as possible) having “women’s issues.” To my surprise, the ultrasound came back showing a rather large ovarian cyst. I had no symptoms whatsoever. Surgery was warranted and it was decided that I would have a total abdominal hysterectomy. The cyst was too large to remove other than through an abdominal incision, and a hysterectomy would take care of those “women’s issues” once and for all.

Now it would be impossible for us to have children. That was okay. I was 40 years old by this time. However, those familiar pangs of want would surface each time I held a little one in my arms.

During this time period, my best friend, Becca became pregnant with her first child. In a way, I was jealous. But, that feeling faded quickly when I felt the excitement she was feeling as the due date came closer and closer. Finally, Annamarie was here. We were one of the first ones, other than her family, that she called. Annamarie was a such a precious bundle of joy! I was so happy that my best friend could experience the joy of motherhood!

Becca had shared with me long ago that she had a desire to adopt. Even with the arrival of Annamarie, this desire didn’t leave. So, not long after Annamarie arrived, she and Nathan began the process to adopt from overseas.

They hit many hurdles in their journey. One door would open only to have another one close in their face. In July of 2011, Becca and I met for breakfast. We were planning a couponing class at our church and wanted to finalize some of the preparations. We talked a bit about the adoption process. She was frustrated. I told her I’d pray.

By the end of July, things began to progress faster than we could keep up with things! It was almost time for our couponing class to take place and Becca and I were in contact on an almost daily basis. “We passed our home study!!!” she emailed me. This was a much-needed step to start the final adoption process. By the following Sunday, she had more news for me. She met me at the door at church with a paper in hand. “I could hardly wait till you got here this morning!” Wow, she was a little too excited about the coupon class flyer, I thought. I quickly realized that I was wrong as she turned the paper around. “Meet my son!!! We have a boy!!!”

We started jumping up and down, laughing and crying all at the same time. People thought we had lost it. But soon, everyone realized what the commotion was about and began rejoicing with us.

Just a few days later, I was sitting at my desk at work when an email came from Becca. “Please pray now!” She had an urgent request about the adoption and needed reassurance. I did what I knew I had to do. I went to the quietest place in the office (the bathroom) and prayed. I felt God was speaking to me in those moments. I felt He was telling me that everything was going to work out in a miraculous way. And somehow, I felt I was being healed. I could help Becca through her adoption, and in turn it was going to help me let go of mine.

The days went by so quickly. Email after email, phone call after phone call came, each one with a new prayer request. What was to take months to accomplish took mere days and soon Nathan and Becca were flying to Ethiopia to meet their son! Becca went knowing that they were most likely not going to come home with him on this trip unless a miracle occurred. I was still praying hard. I wanted so badly for Becca to be able to bring “Z” home this trip.

God listened! He answered!! And soon, they were on their way home! I was overjoyed and overwhelmed at how God had answered my prayers. I had never felt closer to Him and had never felt He had heard my prayers quite the way He did during this time. It was truly a humbling experience! So many things occurred during Nathan and Bec’s time in Ethiopia! It would take another blog to tell all that happened! (Actually, Becca does blog….so her story can be read!!)

I felt strongly that I had to do something special for my bestie, my sister, Becca. So, quickly, I wrote her a book that contained all those emails we had exchanged. I had even written down phone messages word for word and included them in the book. Seventy pages later, the book was finished and I had my gift for her.

They arrived home from Ethiopia and a couple of days later she called and asked us to come and meet “Z”! I quickly assembled the book I had written and placed it in a box for her. While David showered, I pulled down a box from my closet. There was something else that needed to go in with that book.

The van couldn’t go quick enough to get there! I nearly ran to Becca’s door! I wanted to see her so badly and hold this dear little child that was now her son. She met me at the door and we embraced and cried. Then she handed me her new son. I was overcome with emotion. He smiled and laughed as she said, “This is Aunt Miriam, Bid (his nickname)!” I wanted to hold him forever! He was truly an answer to prayer!

I wanted her to open my gift. I knew she was going to love it! Dave took “Z” and she and I sat down. She opened the gift and removed the book. Tears filled her eyes as she removed the other contents of the box. I had placed Evan’s little blue monkey and teddy bear in with the book. She knew instantly who’s they had been. “Oh, Mim, this means so much! You’ve given me something so precious! I was so worried about you as we went through this adoption, but I realize now that it has helped you heal, hasn’t it.”

“Yes, Bec, it has.”

She clutched the book and stuffed toys as we held each other and cried. I WAS healed. The pain was gone. It took the adoption of a little needy baby from Ethiopia to bring me out of my hurt and back into the loving arms of God.

Soon, I would be asked to share at work about pregnancy loss and how to approach these patients…sort of a do and don’t sort of approach. As I shared my struggles with my coworkers, some of which had never heard the story, there were many who cried. This was the beginning of the rest of my healing…being able to share with others so that they can learn and be encouraged.

And now, my story has been shared with all of you! Are there times when I wish we had more children? Oh, yes! But then I recall how God wants us to be content in whatever circumstances we’re in (Philippians 4:11). All I have to do is look at Katie and realize how blessed I really am.

So, I’ve been “cured” in a sense from my terminal case of baby envy. It’s only through God’s grace that He helped me through it and now helps me as I minister to others in similar circumstances. I believe He gave me this story for a reason, and I hope it has touched your heart.

♥Miriam

One More Round…A Terminal Case of Baby Envy Part IV

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We thought (well, at least David thought) we were done wanting a baby.  I wasn’t yet. I’d fairly drool each time I passed a baby in the grocery store. I fully understood why people posed as nurses and stole babies from nurseries. (I’d never do that…honestly!!) People all around me were having babies and I was insanely jealous. Everyone would want me to hold their new bundle of joy, and I would, but inwardly, I just wanted to die. If they only knew how much I just wanted to take that baby with me and not give it back. Working for an OB/GYN didn’t help this one bit. I found myself saying things to patients like, “If you ever decide you don’t want this precious little baby, let me know. I’d take him/her in a heartbeat.” They would look at me like I was a stalker or something and I hand the baby back to them realizing that I must appear crazy or something. They didn’t know. They just thought I was a weird nurse.

We continued to “try” for pregnancy. Nothing every month. It was so frustrating. Finally, we reached a point where we decided it just wasn’t fun anymore. We hated planning our intimate times to occur at just the right fertile moment. There was no spontaneous moments. We were beginning to loathe the bedroom. (Again, feel free to stop reading if this is too much for you!) We were ready to give it all up and take measures so that pregnancy did not occur. Besides, I had health issues. My blood pressure never did return to normal after I had Katie. It was, and still is, a constant battle to get just the right medication to control my hypertension. We talked about our options. The plan had been all along that when I had another baby, it would most likely be a repeat c-section and I’d have my tubes tied. Since that had never happened, Dave wasn’t willing to let me go through a surgery for a tubal ligation. “You’ve been through enough.” Dave stepped up to the plate and decided he’d go under the knife instead.

Plans were made to proceed. We would be done. There would be no more children for us, and we thought we were okay with this decision. But, the day came when we were offered another wonderful gift.

My co-worker and friend, Carol, came to my desk. “I need to talk to you.” She took me to a private area to talk. “There is a girl in the prenatal history office right now whose pregnancy is a result of rape. She wants to give up the baby for adoption. I know you said you’re done, but would you consider it? She’d like to meet you. I already told her about you.”

I agreed to meet *Jenny (not her real name), but made no guarantee that I’d want to adopt her child. I walked into the office and there sat a beautiful young lady, eyes cast down, looking sad. She was heavy set like me with dark eyes and black hair. Based on her looks alone, I knew she was someone I’d relate to. Carol introduced us. Jenny says, “Would you like to adopt my baby?”

I was taken aback. She didn’t know me at all. She had no idea what I was like. She hadn’t asked me a single question other than would I like to adopt her baby. I responded, “Before I say yes or no, can we talk a little?”

“Sure,” she replied. Carol slipped from the room so we could have some privacy. Jenny told me the story of her pregnancy. She was embarrassed and humiliated I’m sure to have to repeat it again. “I have an 8-year-old daughter and I can’t tell her about this. I plan to just go to the hospital when it’s time and come home a day or so later and just tell her I had surgery on my belly. She doesn’t need to know anything else. I just need to find someone to adopt my baby boy.”

So, it was a boy. Dave sure would love a hunting buddy!  She seemed sincere and I had a good feeling about the whole situation. We exchanged names and phone numbers and I went home to talk to Dave.

When I told Dave about Jenny, he just smiled. “Maybe this is why we didn’t get the last adoption,” he said. “Maybe this is the baby we were to have. We can do it if you want to.”

I was so excited to call Jenny and tell her. “Wonderful!” she said. “My next appointment is in 2 weeks. You can come along with me if you want and hear his hearbeat.” We talked for about an hour about the pregnancy and each other. Once again, I had found a young lady with a love of music and a love of God. Certainly, God had brought us together. As I hung up the phone with her, I looked at the calendar, it was “Maggie’s” due date. What timing God has!

I went to each visit with Jenny with the excitement an expectant mother has. I cried when I’d hear his heartbeat. I met Jenny’s mother who hugged me and thanked me for being the one who would raise her grandson. Everything was just perfect. Jenny and I were becoming really good friends. We’d talk every night on the phone after her daughter went to bed. Not only was she giving me the gift of a son, she was giving me the gift of friendship as well. I was floating on cloud nine!!

Once again, I began doing research for just the right name for our son. I asked Jenny to be a part of naming him. She was excited and was thrilled to find out we wanted to name him Evan Matthew, (which means God is gracious, gift of God….or gracious gift of God).

Finally, the moment came when Jenny was to be induced. For 2 days, I waited at the hospital until my friend, Darlanna, a midwife at my office, came to waiting area and told Dave and I that Evan had been born. Moments later, we were taken to Jenny’s room and got to hold Evan for the first time. We were given our own room where we boarded with Evan. Jenny was discharged a few hours later and brought Evan to us. She hugged us both and we all cried as she said goodbye to her newborn son. Jenny’s mom hugged us too and told us to take good care of Evan. Then they were gone, and it was just the three of us. I looked at Dave as I held Evan in my arms and remember saying, “We don’t deserve him. He’s just too wonderful.”

David said, “Yes, we do deserve him. We’ll love him and care for him like no one else can.”

I went to sleep happy that night, the first time in months I was truly happy. I felt complete. While I slept, a terrible snowstorm came up. Dave called the next morning; it was Valentine’s Day. “I’m on my way in to get you! Your mom is with me and Katie. We’ll be there as soon as we can.”

I was excited! We were on our way home! Our family would be complete! The nurses at the hospital all fused over us as we left. There were congratulations all around as we left. We drove over some rather trecherous roads to take my mother home and for my dad to see Evan for the first time.  We finally arrived at my parents. Dad was overcome with joy as he held his grandson for the first time. After mom and dad had held him for a while, we decided to head home.

Home, as a new family. It was wonderful! The first night was sleepless. Evan cried every time I left the room, so I spent the night sleeping in the rocking chair just so he knew I was with him. Dave went back to work the next morning and Katie and I were left to care for Evan.  Katie loved running to get things for me and just fawned over her new baby brother. She was so happy to be the big sister!

In Pennsylvania, a birth mother has 72 hours to go to the lawyer’s office and sign over her rights to the baby. 72 hours after Evan was born, we had just said goodbye to Dave’s mom who had come to meet Evan for the first time. Dave was getting ready to shower from a long day of work. The phone rang. I was feeding Evan, so Dave answered it. “What? You’re serious. Okay, fine. What time do you close? We’ll be there as soon as we can, but this is going to happen tonight, or she’ll just have to wait until we can get there tomorrow.”

Dave walked into the living room where Katie and I were taking turns giving Evan his bottle. “We have to take him back.”

“David, stop it! That’s not funny!”

“I’m not making it up. That was the lawyer’s office. Jenny changed her mind. She wants him back.”

“NO!! NO!!!! I won’t give him back!! He’s ours!”

“No, honey, he’s Jenny’s and she has a right to him.”

“But she promised! She said there was no way she’d change her mind! How could she do this?”

“We have to go honey. Get him dressed to go.”

I knew he was serious. Dave didn’t joke about things like this. Katie began screaming and bawling. “You can’t take my baby brudder! He’s mine!” Her words just tore at my heart. She was only 4, how could she even begin to understand what was happening here? We quickly called my parents and Dave’s mom. We called our babysitter to see if she could watch Katie while we took care of things. We all were crying hysterically, including Evan, the whole way to town. We dropped Katie off at the sitter’s house. Nancy, our sitter, hugged me tight and said she was praying for us. My mom called our church’s prayer chain while we were gone. Prayers began going up all over the place.

The exchange was made at the lawyer’s office. Jenny was in one room, we were in the other. The lawyer carried Evan to Jenny. We were to wait until Jenny left with him before we were allowed to leave. The lawyer kept watch that we wouldn’t have to cross paths. Jenny and a friend waited and waited outside the office, we think waiting on us. An hour went by. Finally, our lawyer said, “I don’t know why she isn’t leaving, but I’m sure you’d like to leave. I’ll walk you to your car. You don’t have to talk to her. We’ll just keep moving past her vehicle.”

As the lawyer walked us out, I made eye contact with Jenny. Her expression seemed to say, “I’m sorry.” She seemed like she wanted to tell me something. I, however, had nothing to say to her. I counted her as a good friend. We’d become close over the weeks we spent together. I felt betrayed.

I cried the whole way home. We picked up Katie, who by this time, had cried herself to sleep. We’d explain things better to her later.

When we arrived home, my best friend, Becca called. “We’re coming over.” I wasn’t sure I wanted company, but it was the best thing that could have happened. Becca and Nathan arrived and just sat with us. Becca kept her arm around me as I cried, yelled, tried to ration what had just happened. Neither she or Nathan said a word, they just listened and grieved with us. They left us talk without answering or offering any reasoning or speculation why things hadn’t worked out. They were just there for us, a gift that was truly priceless to us.

We were finished. There would be no more children for us….natural or adopted. We’d been hurt too badly.

The next two weeks, I stayed home with Katie and just enjoyed every moment of her. I wasn’t sure I could go back to work. I finally did though. My coworkers greeted me with love and concern. Some just hugged me because they didn’t know what to say. Others sat and cried with me. Carol felt awful as though it were her fault. I reassured her it wasn’t.

The door to Evan’s room remained shut for 6 months before I’d even consider going in to package the clothing and items we had in there for him. I kept the outfit we brought him home in as well as a blue monkey and teddy bear we’d gotten for him. It’s all I had left. I packaged the clothes and gave them to a couple at church who had just had a baby boy. It was time to let go and move on.

We grieved a long time. It was like there was a death in our family. Though we had him just 2 short days, we loved him so much. He was and still is “our son”. That was 6 years ago.

We decided our “baby days” were over. But I still wasn’t cured of my terminal case of “baby envy”. There would be one more chapter yet.

(To be continued….)

♥Miriam