Thursday, September 15, 2011

Big Enough

In nearly 48 hours from now, my little brother will be getting married. His bride-to-be is a wonderful young lady, who happens to share my exact first and middle name! I have had the privilege to get to know her over the last several months and will proudly stand beside her {in my guava colored bridesmaids' dress} as she marries the love of her life, my little brother.

I pray that He restores my joy and infuses my heart with happiness before Saturday.

Because life just doesn't stop. My brother will get married. My bestie from high school will wed her man only a few weeks from now. Another BFF is pregnant and is due only 10 days before I was. We shared only one day of joy and giggles over being pregnant together, which I am truly thankful for. She hesitates to share happy news, knowing that my heart is still broken.

But I think I am big enough.

Big enough to know that the world keeps on turning even when we're hurting.

Big enough to love & put other people first and be happy for them, even if I am only smiling on the outside. Because grief and joy do mingle.

Big enough to remember that I will not always feel the way I do today. Time will pass. My heart will heal. I will hope and laugh again. Joy will be restored.

Big enough to believe that He is BIG ENOUGH for all my sorrow, even if my heart forgets it sometimes. He is BIG ENOUGH to handle it all.

And that's the most important big enough of all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Tiny Blessing

I hesitate.

I hesitate to put fingers to keys, feelings to words, to give heartache a voice. Should pain be kept private? I remember reading once that a loaf of bread will feed only one, but broken, it will feed many. I do believe that allowing our brokenness to be shared can bring healing to other broken hearts, knits us together who have gone through similar trials, gives us courage to continue on the hard road.

I had a tiny blessing. We were expecting our fifth child! I was cautiously excited as this was our first pregnancy since our precious Olivia died. Time passed. Days. Weeks. We told our families. We told our children.

And then lightening struck. Miscarriage.

I had felt immune, I think, as if I had already endured enough horror and trauma with Olivia's diagnosis and death. Like I had used up all my allotted Bad Stuff and had only Good to look forward to. But the Lord gives and the Lord takes away.

Sometimes much quicker than we prefer.

I am awestruck at the faith of my daughter and my future sister-in-law. Praying for miracles! Maybe all hope had not been lost! Not just faith to move a mountain, faith to move an entire mountain range. I am blessed by their belief and pray for Him to increase my faith, as it seems so little in comparison. I realized that when I heard the doctor's words on Sunday, verifying that there is no longer life within, that even I too had been holding onto hope. Maybe my faith is a little bigger than I thought.

There is comfort in knowing that Olivia has been joined by a sibling. Big sister and little living together amidst His glory. A strange sort of comfort which leaves in its ache. That I am mother of five, but parent to three. That I have children (plural)....children whom I will not know on earth. That I have a large family, although it might not appear so to the naked eye. 

And I grope to find Him. I try to convince myself of His continual goodness, even if my earthly eyes struggle to see it. I desperately search for His kind hand at every turn. I can not even begin to understand the "why" and the "what for". Maybe you are there too, friend. Crawling through the valley. Trying to make sense of the seemingly senseless. Hesitating to give feelings their voice.

Know that I am there with you. Hurting. Healing. Hoping?

Praying that we can find Him together,

Friday, September 02, 2011

Pieces of Me: Summer Sips

Even though it's still in the 80's around these parts, I feel like summer is slowing slipping away. We have been back to school for 2 weeks now and the evenings are growing cooler. The thing I will miss most about summer? Cold Drinks! I have an assortment of drinks that remind me of summer or are a great cool down on a hot day. Here they are, in no particular order:

#1: Iced Tea
I'm a huge iced tea fan and I've converted my mom to be one as well. She actually gets a little sour if she comes over and the iced tea pitcher is empty. I have brewed homemade iced tea so many times, I could do it in my sleep. My simple recipe is this:
2 family size iced tea brew bags (W-M brand)
1 quart water
1 quart ice/cold water
1 c. sweetener
Put the 1 quart water over the 2 tea bags in a glass measuring cup and microwave for 5 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes more to steep (or 2 hours, if you're anything like me and forget it's in there!). Add the sweetener. I like to use 1/2 Splenda and 1/2 sugar. Not only does it cut down on the sweetness a bit, but the calories too. Stir well to dissolve. Add 1 quart of ice cubes & cold water. Stir to blend. Drink over ice!

DELICIOUS VARIATIONS: Add one regular sized flavored tea bag for super yummy flavored iced tea. I have tried (and liked) Celestial Seasonings Country Peach, peppermint (put the bag in AFTER you've microwaved it for only a few minutes), and my new FAVORITE Lipton's Island Mango & Peach White Tea. It reminds me of the iced tea served at Wolfgang Puck Express in Downtown Disney.

#2: Iced Chai
I don't make it nearly often enough, but I love a really spicy chai like the one I posted about here. You would just serve it cold. With whipped cream on top. And freshly grated nutmeg. 'Cuz that's how I roll.

#3: McDonald's Caramel Frappe
Cheaper than Starbucks, but just as tasty! Yes, there's probably like 2000 calories in there, but that's why I only get them once in a blue moon. 

#4: McDonald's Pineapple Mango Smoothie
Cheaper than Jamba Juice and very refreshing!

#5: Cranberry/Pomegranate Juice & Fizzy Concoction
I must have the love-to-concoct-my-own-drink gene, well......maybe just a little. (Sidebar: My little brother was the sort that would take a little bit of soda from every single dispenser and drink that big cup of weirdness. Anybody else do that?) Anyways, back to my tasty drink. I like Aldi's Cranberry/Pomegranate Juice and even better if I can find the Fit 'n Active version. Old Orchard (national brand) also makes one called "Healthy Blend" that I believe only has 5 calories per serving. I like to mix that juice with about 1/2 of a no-calorie fizzy drink, like Aldi's key lime club soda or the Sierra Mist 0 calorie that I scored on clearance for 50cents for a 2 liter. Serve all that with lots of ice! It gives me the taste of soda without all the sugar and the tartness feels very refreshing.

#6: Panera's Lemonade
I have made my own lemonade in the past, but it just seems like such a pain. I do love homemade and there is nothing like it taste-wise. Panera's seems freshly squeezed. Too bad there's no free refills!

Got a favorite summer sip?