random thoughts

my life and thoughts about it

the day my friends left May 27, 2017

Filed under: Christianity,family,Life,relationships — dana @ 12:11 pm

Technically, its days plural, but I didn’t like the sound of that in the title. If you don’t like the topic of grief, I suggest you just stop reading now. 🙂

Grief is a topic I am well-acquainted with, unfortunately. I am in no means attempting to assert that I am an expert at dealing with it, but I have had lots of practice. It’s really not a contest I’m trying to win – quite the opposite. There are many others out there who have had much more tragic experiences, so I gladly tip my hat to those who have waded their way through the tatters grief leaves in its wake.

This particular post is to speak specifically about the loss of 3 of my friends, but I always like to mention others who have gone before me to be with Jesus as their presence made a difference in my life, such as both my grandmothers, my dad, my stillborn son, an uncle, an aunt, my sweet niece, one of my best friend’s little girl, my pawpaw (the only grandfather I ever knew as both of mine died before I was born), family friends including our dear neighbor of many years, my friend’s dad (she’s one of the 3 mentioned), one of the most precious women I’ve ever met (my new step-father’s late wife), two of my friends mothers, and an older gentleman who I worked with and attended church with who would always banter with me in his dry sense of humor. I’ve known many other people who have gone on to be with the Lord and attended countless funerals, but these are the people closest in my circle of family, friends, and acquaintances whose absences were notable.

June 2, 1997 – 20 years ago

Keri is her name. She was the first person to leave my life in a way that left a gaping hole. Today is actually her birthday. She would’ve been 38 years old. She turned 18 just one week before her tragic car accident. She wasn’t present at her high school graduation. Her mother, father, and sister received her diploma. She was a scholar (yet gullible at times), a beautiful dancer, and a light in every room she entered. She lived by the mantra, “Smile, God loves you!”

I met Keri when I was 4 years old. My family moved to NC as my dad accepted an assignment to pastor a church there. Keri and her family attended the same church. Keri was 3, I was 4, her sister was 5, and my brother was 5 or 6 depending on the time of year. My mom has always said we were stepping stones in age. My brother and Keri’s sister played more together and left Keri and I to play together. Of course, we all played together many times. They lived across a field from us so we could ride our bikes back and forth to each other’s houses.

Even in high school, I remember trying to drag sleds across the field to Keri’s because she had a huge hill on her dirt road which was perfect for sledding. Keri saw me struggling to make it in the snow and came to meet me halfway to help carry the sleds. I saw her at her baccalaureate the night before her accident. I’m grateful for that night. Since Keri was a year younger, we always had our own group of friends from our own class/grade. She was my back-up friend and I was hers. If our friends were busy, we could count on each other to have someone to hang out with. I remember at the funeral home, I was standing next to her casket and an employee asked if I was family and said only family was allowed at that time. Keri’s mom said, “yes, she’s family – they’re like sisters.” That meant the world to me. Still does.

I love telling stories about Keri – fun times shared throughout our growing up years, her OCD issues, the songs she loved to sing in church and the other songs she liked to listen to in the car. This year marks 20 years without seeing her smile in person. I’ve lived longer without her than I ever had with her. Every once in a blue moon, I’ll see an old car and wonder if it’s her before my brain remembers it can’t be her. When I hear those songs she loved, I smile. Occasionally, a tear will escape (like today as I write this).

March 6, 2002 – 15 years ago

Baker attended Keri’s memorial service. He was an intern at the church where I attended youth and Keri was involved there as well. He was so supportive throughout that loss. He gave me a cd (well a tape back then, but I eventually found the cd) with a song about death. It quotes 1 Corinthians, “death where is your victory, where is your sting?” I remember going to lunch with him one day as I had a lot of family issues going on at the same time of Keri’s death. I told him secrets I wasn’t comfortable telling anyone else. He was a faithful friend who could be trusted with my fragile state. I only knew Baker a short time. I wish I had met him sooner and stayed in touch with him longer. I was living in Florida when a mutual friend called to tell me of his passing. Nonetheless, hearing that the world in which I’m living no longer had him in it was a blow. First Keri, now Baker, I still don’t understand why it’s the most amazing people that get called Home so soon. It somehow makes this world less attractive to me. Baker was 25 then and would be 40 now. Just trust me when I say, you would be a very blessed person to have just met Baker, much less to befriend him. I count myself blessed to have known him the short time I did. He was, in a sense, an angel to me. He was there when I needed an extra loving touch from God and then he was gone.

August 19, 2007 – 10 years ago

Dan’l knew both Keri and Baker as we all attended the same youth group. I was maybe 17 or so when I met Dan’l. I went with my brother to this youth group and this kid (complete stranger, mind you) came and sat on my lap, introducing himself as Dan’l. I remember asking him again what his name was – it took me a while to get it. He was only 3 years younger than me, but he seemed so much more like a kid because of the innocence he portrayed. We became quick buddies.  I remember at a youth trip out of town writing him a letter of encouragement. For some reason that stuck out in my memory. Like Baker, Dan’l and I lost touch as we grew and moved away from home, living our adult lives.

However, I don’t know why, but I tracked him down at some point and just called him out of the blue. I went to stay with my dad in Washington state because he was ill. Dan’l lived in Idaho at that time. We stayed on the phone for the longest time catching up and sharing what was going on in our lives. I remember in that first phone call after years he told me a story about a girl and mentioned he hadn’t told anyone about some of the things he shared. (I couldn’t remember what he said about the girl to save my life now). But it made my heart smile that he so quickly trusted me again after all those years. We agreed to meet in Boise which was halfway between where he lived and where my dad lived. It was a long drive for us both, but we made it work. I’m crazy enough to do stuff like that, but I never expect anyone else to do the same. It so blessed me that he drove hours just to meet me and hang out for half a day to turn around and drive hours back home. I recall that he kept calling me on the drive to meet me just to check on me, well that and he was probably bored. 🙂 We had a great day. We went out to eat and then to a Starbucks. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I got the best Dan’l hug of all time that day.

Dan’l didn’t just hug people. Dan’l embraced people in a way that makes you feel completely accepted and loved just the way you are. He had such a welcoming spirit that just enveloped you. It was that day I saw Dan’l in a different light than the kid I once knew. That was also the last time I saw Dan’l in person. From that day on, Dan’l and I either spoke on the phone or chatted online every day. We both kept trying to talk the other into coming to visit. I was in Florida and he was in Idaho. If I had only known, I would’ve moved Heaven and Earth to go visit him.

Dan’l died from a fatal motorcycle accident at the age of 26. He’d be turning 36 this summer. It was totally a God thing that I was informed as early as I was. No one really knew the extent of our daily conversations, so no one would know that I would want to know asap. A friend of Dan’l’s who I had never met before called me on a Sunday around lunch time. When she introduced herself as a friend of Dan’l’s, I knew something was wrong. I had a hunch something was wrong because I attempted to contact Dan’l the night before and never got a response, which was out of character for him. She said she saw that Dan’l and I seemed to be good friends on Myspace (and I have no idea how she found my number unless it was on there) and she told me about the accident. Then she said telling me was harder than she thought and she couldn’t call anyone else. I had the pleasure of meeting her and thanking her in person at the memorial service in Idaho. My brother gifted me flyer miles to make it out there. Dan’l’s family was gracious enough to let me stay with them. Otherwise, I couldn’t afford it. I remember asking Dan’l’s brother what Dan’l did the day of the accident. He told me what happened the night of the accident, for which I’m grateful, but I still don’t know what he did all day. I was so accustomed to sharing with him about my day and hearing all about his.

Dan’l’s death changed me in a way the others hadn’t. It’s one of those tragic unrequited love stories. We never actually had a conversation about our feelings for each other, so I was left with the loss of my best friend, the loss of the hope of what I wanted for the future, and the loss of having no answers – ever. I was left with no closure. God has really healed me and I feel like I have received answers, at least answers I choose to believe. Dan’l told me once he still had the letter I wrote him from our youth trip. I didn’t believe him until his family was going through his belongings. His mom handed me the note and asked if that was from me (it was signed dana). Sure enough, my handwriting and everything.

Dan’l was calm, steady, wise, and larger than life. He didn’t get ruffled easily, not never, but not easily. Whenever I’d discuss a problem with him, his advice was always, “you should pray about that.” He loved golf and always responded the same when I asked about it, “The first nine were glorious, the back nine I don’t want to talk about.”

I’ve since found closure, but I still miss my friend.


I miss all my friends who are dancing in Glory now. I’m sometimes frustrated that they’re there and I’m here. It’s bitter sweet. I’m happy for them, sad for me. I picture my heart like a puzzle made from thousands of pieces, each shape unique and not like any other. It’s a puzzle with missing pieces in the shape of Keri, Baker, and Dan’l. The picture will be complete again one day. In the meantime, I’m so utterly grateful to have had these beautiful, amazing people in my life for the short time I did. If I had to do it over again, I’d go through the pain and heartache again just to spend the time with them. Each one of them is so worth it. I’d rather have the pain from the loss than to not have the joy of calling them friends. Now, most memories come with smiles instead of tears. When the tears do come, they are a simple reminder of the love and friendship I have.


from pity party to Thy will be done April 18, 2017

Filed under: Christianity,Life — dana @ 12:20 pm

Writing is cathartic for me. Although I do talk about these things with people, somehow I feel like writing more thoroughly exhausts the subject. I’m allowed the time to think of exactly how I want to outwardly express what is going on inside my head. Anyway . . .

I’ve been having a pity party to the point of completely falling apart yesterday. I’ve been inundated with seeing things around me that I don’t have, things I desire with all my heart. I don’t understand why things that seem to come so easily to others seem to be the biggest struggles of my life. I don’t have answers. I have heartache and pain, almost an emptiness. After all that, I condemn myself for feeling sorry for myself, for comparing my journey to those around me, for not being grateful for all the blessings I do have. I remind myself of those blessings, but the glaring hole of what is missing seems to overwhelm whatever gratitude I can muster. Quite frankly, I’m tired of fighting it, or at least yesterday I was.

Today, however, I’ve decided I need to find and aggressively press a reset button in my mind. That’s what I’m doing. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to practice what I preach. I need to live out the principles I so firmly believe. Either I’m going to trust Jesus or I’m not. I’m either going to lean on His understanding or my own. I’m going to choose His will or my own misery. I choose Him. I choose Jesus. I choose whatever it is He has for me and I’m letting go of these desires of what I want for my life. I believe His Word and His promises. He will take care of me. His thoughts are toward me. His end is good and not evil. My bottom line today is this: I choose to sacrifice things I want in this life so I can have every desire of my heart eternally. I don’t want a once a week relationship with Jesus. I don’t want a passive, “Hey, how are ya?” relationship with Jesus. I want ALL of Jesus ALL the time. I want to know Him better than I know myself. I want to know His thoughts, His desires, His will.

Right now, I don’t understand a whole lot about His will or what He’s doing in my life. I do know the purpose in His heart is to grow me up, to strengthen me, to make me into a bride without spot or blemish for Himself. So I choose to let go of the pity party, to stop looking at what I don’t have, and to look into His beautiful eyes so full of love and mercy. I’m asking Jesus to place in my heart the same desires that reside in His heart. He is the One who can pull me out of the pit I’ve dug for myself. Only He can save me from the mess that I am.

You know, come to think of it, Jesus never had a house with actual rooms & a yard or children either. He never had a dream job or all the finances readily available at His whim. He lived by faith for a place to rest His head and food to eat. He simply lived every day obeying the Father. I’m sure if I spent more time listening and less time complaining, I would find Him telling me what needs to be done in order to accomplish His will which includes taking care of my needs. This is how I see myself moving from a place of self-pity to a state of mind with the vision of Thy will be done, Lord.


This Week Last Year February 18, 2017

Filed under: Christianity,family,Life,married life — dana @ 4:35 pm

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

We went to an early morning ultrasound follow up appointment with a specialist my OBGYN referred us to the week before. I was 24 weeks pregnant and somehow losing amniotic fluid. I was compliant with drinking the 100 oz. of water daily my OB recommended the week before. They just didn’t know what was going on. The extra tests run by the specialist the week before weren’t much help. She mentioned terminating the pregnancy the week before and we were totally caught off guard. That’s never an option for us. Never. We tried telling her, but she kept offering after reading the test results, which might as well have been Greek, as all the numbers and information made no sense to us. Anyway, it was a non-issue after they couldn’t find the heartbeat. First it was the girl who performed the ultrasound who told us she couldn’t find it. She went to get the doctor. I asked Will if he heard what she said because he was doing something on his phone at the time. I reiterated that she said there is no heartbeat. He said okay. Then the specialist came in and said “I’m sorry.” She told us we didn’t have to check out or anything and she would inform our OB. We were in shock.

On the way out of the hospital (that’s where both my OB and the specialist are located), Will called our pastor to inform him. He asked us if we wanted to come over. We agreed, but told him we wanted to go to Bible College as planned. So after class, we went to my pastor’s to sit down with him and his wife. Both had suffered the loss of a miscarriage in the past. It was helpful and encouraging to have their support and wisdom. They asked if we wanted to go to lunch with them, but we declined to continue taking care of everything.

We contacted the OB as we hadn’t heard back from her office yet. They had an open appointment if we could come at the moment, so off we went. They preformed another ultrasound for me and confirmed the silence. It wasn’t until we began discussing scheduling the date for the induced delivery that I started crying (at least at that office, I had cried already during the day). They left me alone with Will for a few minutes to cry and gather my composure. We agreed on Thursday, even though it wouldn’t be with my regular OB. It just seemed like the next day was too soon and Friday was too far.

As we were on our way home, I called my supervisor to let her know I wouldn’t be in the office at least the next 2 days. I really began crying when I had to say the words out loud to her, “we lost the baby.” She was so compassionate and understanding and told me to not even think about work. The OB’s office called me and gave some reason I can’t remember, but Thursday wasn’t going to work so they scheduled me for Friday. The nurse felt more comfortable with it being on Friday anyway (and I did too, actually) as I would have my regular OB completing the delivery. So I texted my supervisor again, letting her know I won’t be in the office on Thursday and delivery would be Friday. The same response came, “don’t worry about work right now”. I also told her she could tell the team. I didn’t want it to be weird going back to work and everyone treating me as if I were pregnant and I wasn’t. So she informed everyone for me, which was nice.

Anyway, we went to my mom’s house next. We asked her to sit down at the same table where we told her she would be a grandmother. I talked and told her the baby has no heartbeat. She shook her head in disbelief and shared tears of grief and compassion. Her biggest hurt to this day is that she can’t heal the pain of her baby… me.

I forget what we ate, but I remember we ate something somewhere for dinner. We contacted Will’s parents and they were at his brother’s house, so that was our last stop of the day. We of course had gone home at some points during the day, but I don’t remember when. I just remember all the places we went. Anyway, we went to his brother’s and they were making dinner. We asked them to send their son upstairs so we could have a grown up conversation. They could all tell by the looks on our faces that something was serious. We sat down at the table and Will began to talk. That’s when he broke down and choked on the words. As he finished, we were met with more shared tears of grief and compassion.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Will was scheduled to teach at Bible College this day. He felt like he needed to follow through, so we went to Bible College. Will taught. It was amazing. People didn’t know what had happened yet because we asked no one to share it. We wanted time to grieve alone without the rest of the world offering condolences yet. Of course, word got around to a couple people. But I remember a couple people asking if I just took the day off work because I’m usually not available to go to morning classes. I just said yes and I had a few days off that week.

At some point that day, I texted a few of my closest and dearest friends in a group text to inform them. I also posted on facebook, “Just a little life lesson/nugget of wisdom: You can always trust God’s heart when you don’t understand His ways. Everything He does is from a loving, merciful, just, and right heart. Jesus is so precious.” (I had to look that up). Family who I informed in a private group, friends who knew, and co-workers who knew at this point made sweet comments of how they love us and were praying for us.

I remember my friend Kristen texting me, asking me what was going on because she knew something was up, but didn’t know what. I actually had planned on contacting her that day because I know she understands my path from a place of walking through it herself. I just hadn’t gotten to it before she texted me. So, I told her what happened and she’s so compassionate (I know I’ve used that word several times already, but it’s the best I can come up with to describe the response I felt). The funny thing she couldn’t believe was I was actually getting a pedicure at the time she texted me. Haha – she was in complete disbelief that that’s what I was doing. My thought was that I was going to be in the hospital with who knows how many people seeing my feet and they were in bad shape – in much need of attention. I wasn’t working, so seemed appropriate to me at the time. Plus, I was enjoying the alone time.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

I don’t remember. The only thing I recall is being anxious and nervous about the delivery. Would everything go smoothly? I knew the baby wouldn’t be harmed. I was secretly hoping maybe his heartbeat would be there. Would it hurt? I just had a lot going through my mind. I have no idea what we did that day though. I do know Will was with me the entire week. He’s self-employed, so he gave himself the time off. 🙂

Friday, February 19, 2016

We arrived early at the hospital. I checked in and got settled while Will parked the car in the parking garage. I don’t recall either of my nurse’s names. The first one though had a thick accent and I have no idea where she was from. She was nice, but difficult to understand. I felt bad for having her repeat everything. I had to change into the gown and complete tons of paperwork. We had them do one last ultrasound to quadruple check there was no heartbeat. Still none. Y’all probably don’t want the details, but basically they had to dilate me which involved a pill that I didn’t take orally. I had an IV and a monitor around my waist to measure contractions.

They kept offering a chaplain to come see me or a grief counselor or both. We kept declining. They kept offering. We kept declining. Will and I were in perfect peace. All the anxiety I had from the previous day was gone. It was like we were in a cocoon of grace. Plus, we have a pastor who is there for us and walks with us through the ups and downs of life. Will is an angel too. He was so completely attentive, except for once, but that’s in another paragraph…

Our visitors at the hospital (not all at once, but throughout the day) included my mom and brother, Will’s sister, and his parents and grandfather who happened to be in town. He’s been a missionary all his life, so I was grateful he came in the room and prayed with us. At shift change, I was so grateful for my next nurse. She was such a sweetheart and so attentive. The other nurse was nice, but this sweet girl was just amazing. She informed me of the pain meds I would probably want. I felt okay at the moment and was trying to put off taking the pain meds, for no other reason than I have a tendency to be stubborn and want to prove a point that I can deal with pain. Eventually, I did ask for the pain meds because I knew I really didn’t want to feel the pain. I also had an epidural. That was one of my biggest concerns as I have scoliosis which looks like a corkscrew and I was paranoid about being paralyzed by it. It took the guy a minute and he had to do it a bit higher than usual, but it worked out fine.

So at one point, when the pain meds had kicked in and I was incredibly drowsy, I recall my mom, brother, and sister-in-law discussing where they wanted to go eat dinner before church and they couldn’t decide. I was so frustrated. I wanted everyone to leave. The meds made me super irritable and on edge. I kept looking at Will trying to get his attention telepathically, but he was involved with a friend of his who needed help with car parts. I love my husband. He’s such an amazing person, helping his friend figure out his car trouble while we’re delivering a stillborn. It’s bittersweet though, because I wanted him to look at me so I could give him the evil-eye to ask people to leave. He’s better at that than me. I’m not sure if it’s my dad’s unassuming personality trait or the Southern hospitality I get from my mother, but I can’t imagine ever asking someone to leave, unless of course they’re doing something horrible – something much worse than just getting on my nerves. Will eventually finished up the phone call and did ask everyone to let me rest.

Poor thing. I remember biting his head off because when I changed into the gown in the morning, I didn’t consider that I’d have an IV and all these contraptions attached to me and I left my bra on because I knew we’d have visitors. So, he was trying to help me get it off while I’m doped up and irritable. I couldn’t speak as quickly as my brain was working or maybe my brain wasn’t functioning as quickly as I thought it was. I was trying to give him instruction on what I wanted him to do and he was doing what he thought was the best way to maneuver all the lines and cords. I don’t remember what I said, but it wasn’t in a very nice tone at all. He was quiet and patient with me though. He’s a saint, I tell ya!

My OB had come in to check on me. It was almost time. I remember us laughing as she said, “I just have to run and do a C-section real quick and I’ll be back” like she was going to order lunch or make a phone call. Maybe you had to be there, but we absolutely love her. But she didn’t make it back in time and the sweet nurse and charge nurse were actually the ones in the room when I delivered. I already wrote the other blog about what happened with holding him, etc.

They did give us a box with pictures and keepsakes which was sweet. We had already discussed names. We of course had names picked out for the baby, whether it be a boy or girl (Isaac Benjamin or Calah Rebecca and as a backup boy name in case there’s another one – Johannon Jude), but we decided we want to save those names for babies we actually have the opportunity of raising. That may sound horrible, but it is what it is. So over the last 2-3 days we had been discussing names we wanted to use instead. Will said I could use a girl name I love, which he vetoed for a daughter we raise, which is Jaymes-Anne. I’ve always wanted a boy name (I know Dana can go both ways) and Anne is after my beloved friend, Anne of Green Gables. So that would be the name if it was a girl. We chose Judah Gabriel if it was a boy. I’ve always wanted a son named Gabriel and to call him Gabe, but you can’t call a kid Gabe Bridges without him being picked on at school. Just say it out loud. So Judah Gabriel it was – or so we thought. My mom returned to the hospital after church. We asked what the Word was on and she told us, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah until Shiloh comes” (Genesis 49:10). I exclaimed to Will, “what about Shiloh? Judah Shiloh? He agreed. It was perfect and perfectly fitting.

They asked if I wanted the baby to stay in the room with us. We declined. See previous post for more info on why. My brother came back to the hospital too and wanted to hold Judah, so of course they accommodated him, which I’m grateful for. They asked if I wanted to stay in the labor and delivery ward or be moved to med/surg. I chose to be moved. When babies are born, they play a sweet lullaby song over the intercom. You can hear happy family members in the halls. Every once in a while, a baby cries. Yeah, I wanted to be moved.

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

I was home from the hospital by lunchtime. We missed a wedding we were planning on going to, but they graciously forgave our absence. I slept. I cried. Slept and cried. Pretty much sums up that day. I recall gathering the handful of baby things we had already, mostly gifts for the baby from our moms at Christmas. I put them in a paper bag and asked Will to give them to my mom for safe-keeping, but I didn’t want them in the house to remind me. The last thing I needed was reminders.

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

We announced our loss to our church family. We posted the news on facebook.

As the week went on . . .
We (Will) began taking care of arrangements. He went to the funeral home to meet with them about cremation. I found a little baby urn I liked online and ordered it.
I got my hair cut Monday or Tuesday which was a nice distraction from people commenting on the loss when I went back to work. My schedule at the time was working four, 10 hour shifts Wed-Sat. I returned to work that Wednesday. Will went back to work so I didn’t want to sit at home by myself all day. I think I made it through half my shift and came home. I didn’t go in Thursday. Friday and Saturday, I think I may have made it through staying the whole day, but only due to having offices and bathrooms to hide and cry in.

And now one year later,

I’m still at peace. I still give all glory to God and am grateful for the time I had with little Judah growing in my belly. I know he’s safe and happy. I’m actually somewhat jealous of where he is. I know I’ll see him again. My grief has shifted from grieving the specific loss of my baby to the possibility of having no children. But Will is a great encouragement and reminder to keep the faith, believe God is a God of miracles and promises. We both still trust we will have children. We know they are a blessing and inheritance from the Lord. I know the things I’ve had to wait for the longest are the things I appreciate the most, like Will. I believe God will give me a little Isaac in His perfect timing the way He did for Abraham and Sarah. Isaac is representative of the promise of God. I’m still believing to see the fulfillment of that promise come forth in my life.


About My Son January 31, 2017

Filed under: Christianity,family — dana @ 6:55 pm

Wow, I don’t even remember the last time I’ve blogged. It’s been so many years, I can barely figure out the website. But I’ve had a lot on my mind and it’s been on my heart to just write to get it off my chest. Sure, I journal some off and on – nothing like I used to. Life has gotten so hectic and busy and chaotic and I’m older and just want to sit down and do absolutely nothing.

Anyway, onto the topic of the title. . .

My son’s name is Judah Shiloh Bridges. I’ve never had the opportunity to parent him. He went to be with Jesus when I was just 6 months pregnant with him. The past year has been a process of grief and growth. My experience is mine. My current mindset is this: I’m happy to receive anything encouraging, but not open to constructive criticism. Because this is my path, my journey, my heartache, my growing pains, my healing, my family. That’s a whole lot of my, me, mine, but I’m over people’s judgments of me. Keep it to yourself, please and thank you.

I don’t even know if I have a point or what it is I want to say exactly. Thoughts swirl around my head. Hmmm. Well, 16 more days will mark one year since we were sitting in the specialist’s office listening to the deafening silence of no heartbeat and, of course, the doctor confirming that. 19 days will mark one year since I delivered Judah and held his tiny, limp, empty shell of a body.

I didn’t enjoy holding him. I’m glad I did, so I don’t regret the not knowing of what it would be like, but it was an empty experience. See, it took us 3 years to get pregnant. I didn’t know the gender. I was so looking forward to that moment when the doctor exclaimed, “It’s a ____!” I was so looking forward to holding my baby in my arms and feeling that feeling moms and dads talk about – that feeling of not knowing you could love another person so unconditionally, so immediately. None of that happened. He was birthed. The doctor was assessing him to try to detect what went wrong. Sitting in the bed waiting, I eventually asked, “what is it?” or “is it a boy or a girl?” – I don’t remember the exact words. It was a boy and my heart instantly sank. It was in that moment I realized I wanted a girl. Who knew? I asked the doctor to help us with the decision of whether to hold him or not. I knew I didn’t want to see him if he was in some way deformed – I didn’t want that to be the only image I had of him. I had never seen him otherwise.

He came out breech. So his little face got all squished up in the birthing canal. The doctor put a teeny tiny beanie on him and covered the side of his face that was smooshed up. I held him. He felt lighter than a feather – just one ounce shy of one pound. And then I was done holding his body. I didn’t identify that little body with my son. My son was gone. I knew my son was gone days before I birthed this little infant, lifeless body. My son was in Heaven. Jesus was already holding my son. So this experience of holding this little empty shell was empty and morbid for me. I think I forced my poor husband to hold him quicker than he was prepared for. He still hadn’t decided if he wanted to hold him, but I was done. I couldn’t get out of the bed or I would’ve walked him back over to the table thingy. Will (husband) was done holding him quicker than I was, I think.

It took a while for me to get used to not being pregnant. I loved being pregnant. It was really disheartening when my milk came in. The last thing I needed was another reminder of what I had lost. It wasn’t just my son, but the dream I guess. It still seems so surreal sometimes. Here it is another year later – another year with no baby, no pregnancy. I do wonder if we will ever have another child, if we’ll get pregnant again. I turn 39 years old in a couple months. I could definitely be in better shape. I have hope and faith that we will have children, but I wonder. We are open to adoption one day. That costs money in advance. We aren’t open to IVF or AI. It’s mostly a money issue as our crappy insurance (that’s another conversation altogether) doesn’t cover infertility issues. Interesting fact, we aren’t infertile at all. We were both checked out maybe a year before we got pregnant. Will’s swimmers are above average and all my hormone levels were within normal limits. We may get checked out again this year – we’ll see. Again, that’s a money issue. I’m open to taking hormones, etc. but I figure if God really wants me to have a baby, then He’ll give me one.

But back to Judah. This post is supposed to be about him. I’m realizing there may be an undertone of cynicism or something. I’m usually pretty okay and chipper – it may just be my mood at the moment. Anyway, my most recent advancement in my thoughts on Judah has been the realization that I do have a son and he’s in Heaven. People who don’t know me ask if we have children and I just say no. I don’t really want to talk about Judah with strangers. Heck, I don’t want to talk about him with people who don’t get me or understand where I’m coming from. But I do have a son. I’ll get to meet him one day – know who he is really. I’ve been reminded of Hannah’s sacrifice of Samuel to the temple. It’s like that, but I don’t get to see him once a year. It’s pretty cool to think that he has a full revelation of what his name means – more so than Will and I. Judah means praise and Shiloh means peace – that’s the short of it. We continue to praise God and find great peace in His comfort.

I think people also seem to forget or maybe not realize that Will had a son too. Will lost a son. Will grieved this loss too. Will still feels this loss just as I do. It is different. He didn’t feel the baby kicking and growing and wasn’t aware 24/7 of this child, but he had the same hopes and dreams and excitement of our child. We can share the loss together and talk about Judah and understand each other. That’s a gift for which I am eternally grateful. He probably doesn’t even want people to talk to him about it, but I don’t think he wants to be forgotten in this either, like this is just something I’m walking through alone – because I’m not.

I try not to compare my experience to others. I seem to identify most with people who have struggled to conceive. But I still gain from other women who have lost children because their pain is no different than mine. A loss is a loss. I gravitate toward people who understand, regardless of the circumstances, and have avoided others to an extent. For the past year, I’ve ‘unfollowed’ most of my pregnant friends on facebook. After the initial twinge of jealously, I am genuinely happy babies are coming into this world, especially to good parents. That makes my heart smile. All the ultrasound pictures, baby bumps, and pregnancy complaints are a little much for me though… they’re all reminders of what I don’t have that my heart so deeply desires.

This wasn’t supposed to be a terribly depressing post. Haha, I’m not even sad at the moment. God knows the desire of my heart. I know this is in NO WAY a punishment or anything close. I truly believe in my heart of hearts that God knows what is best for my life and He knows I’m submitted to whatever His will is – babies or not. I’m getting back to the place of contentment with my life as it is, accepting the idea that I may never actually get to parent a child. God created me for many other things in this life, but I still hope being a mother is one of those things. In a grander scale, I think about what God’s purpose is in general – for His kingdom. Like, maybe if Will and I have children we won’t be able to fulfill some kind of other calling or something. I dunno. Just thoughts. God is always moving and has purposes far above what I can imagine. I just want to be a part of what He’s doing. Maybe I can better do that without having children. I may be missing out on having children, but I certainly don’t want to miss out on all the other blessings and callings of God.

So my one request, I suppose, getting back to the whole mother thing is please don’t say happy mother’s day to me. That happened last year. I’ve done that to friends who have lost babies and never conceived again. Maybe they have a different experience, I haven’t asked, but it’s just weird. I’m not a mother in the traditional sense. I haven’t changed my child’s diaper, wiped his runny nose, packed his lunch, or taught him to drive. I haven’t parented him. I simply played my part in his creation. So it’s weird to me. Maybe I’m just weird, which is usually the case. 🙂 I am a horse of a different color.

Okay, well I guess that’s all I have to say about that at the moment. There’s always something, but I usually just talk to Jesus, or Will, or occasionally journal. This was too much to write in my journal though. And Will pretty much heard all this already as we are open and vocal about it with each other. And Jesus knows my heart. Now you do too.


Two Weeks August 2, 2012

Filed under: Christianity,school,work — dana @ 12:59 pm

LOTS of great things are happening in the next two weeks. So much so that I thought of blogging about it! Craziness since it’s been so long. 🙂

I am not sure if I am any more excited about one thing more than another, but it’s excitement all the way around! In 10 days, we will have our very first meeting at the church we are starting here in Alaska. The first year of the Bible College was so successful, we will have a church home for many of the students as well as the weekly classes. I am super stoked about that. Although we have attended a couple churches here that some of the students attend, it’s just not “home” with the same feeling as our home church. In 12 days is the first day of the second year of the Juneau chapter of Narrow Way Bible College. YAY!

As I said earlier, I am equally excited to announce the conclusion of my education. That’s right folks! I am finishing up all the coursework and internship for my Master’s Degree. I still have a huge exit exam to take in December before I officially get my degree, but at least there’s no more classes and no more internship. I’ve actually applied for a couple part time jobs and have interviews at both places this week so I can start making money at something I actually enjoy. I’m SO looking forward to it!

Last night, I couldn’t get to sleep because I kept thinking about what to do with all the extra time I’ll have in two weeks. It’s been 5 years of school and work and family and Bible college and church and housework, etc. I did take one year off in the middle, but worked full time and attended Bible college – so I was just as busy. Anyway, I have a whole list of things I’d like to occupy my time with… things I would’ve loved to do while I was in school, but due to having to prioritize schoolwork, etc. some things just got put waaaaay back on the burner. So here’s my list of what I want to do in no particular order:

Learn to play the fiddle. Hubs got me one for my birthday because I’ve wanted to play for years, but haven’t had time. It’s been sitting in its case for over three months and I haven’t even tried to pick it up. So sad.

Sleep (self explanatory I hope)

Write music again. I LOVE spending time farting around on my guitar or piano playing different chord progressions and expressing whatever lyrics spring forth out of my spirit. Miss that so much.

Spend way more time with Jesus! I want to put a lot more effort in studying His word and worshiping which is directly related to writing music.

Journal/Blog. I used to always keep a journal. It is so awesome to go back and read what I was feeling during certain times of my life and events that happened that I have since forgotten. That went by the wayside and I would love to get back into it.

Exercise. I have been doing Weight Watchers and lost about 10 lbs, but I’m sure my progress would be greatly increased if I could fit exercise into my daily routine. I try now, but like I said – some things just have to give.

Start a family. Yep. We’ll get to that. My goal was to finish school before having babies, so I guess it’s time!

Keep  a clean house?? I question this because this is usually the first to go. If I have to choose between writing and cleaning . . . I’ll always choose writing. I’ll always choose anything over cleaning really. I do love a clean house though, so hopefully it’ll be a little easier to keep up with when I have more time.

That’s it for now. Or at least that’s all I thought of before drifting off to sleep last night. Sounds like I’ll still be busy, but at least I’ll be busy doing things that aren’t mandatory so I can get to them at my leisure. Just two more weeks . . . .


Venting about Angels December 15, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — dana @ 4:18 pm

 I apologize if I end up stepping on someone’s toes. I’m just annoyed at a few things and thought I’d share. Lucky for you, right??

Little things bother me that I do my best to ignore every day, like when people write your and you’re incorrectly. I do want to let them know the correct way to use those words and words like them, but I refrain.

The biggest thing that’s been bothering me lately (namely because of all the posts I see on my niece’s facebook page) is about angels. I also refrain from saying anything to people making posts about Nina being an angel now because I think that it helps them in some way to believe that. However, it is completely wrong theologically speaking. Nowhere in the Scriptures does it say people turn into angels upon death. Angels are created beings just as we are. If people think they turn into angels when they die – then they basically believe in reincarnation. It’s like saying an apple will turn into an orange. They’re made of completely different compositions. Furthermore, nowhere in the Scripture is there a female angel… Michael, Gabriel, etc.

In many places, angel is used instead of the word messenger which should be the proper translation. So in that sense, a person can be an angel – as a messenger. But not with fluffy white wings and a gown. I don’t mind calling people “angel” either if they are a gift from God or a really well behaved child. I’m talking about when people seriously, honestly believe people become angels. I even saw a post about a person who prays to Nina. Trust me, she would be the first to say STOP IT! That’s just silly!! Only God can answer prayers. I personally also don’t believe our loved ones are protecting us from anything – again that job belongs to my Heavenly Father and the actual angels He delegates.

I know these false concepts and beliefs help people with their grief, but it helps me to know that Nina and others are still themselves worshiping at the throne of God.


ALASKA! November 9, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — dana @ 1:53 pm

Obviously I’ve not been on this blog in quite sometime. Crazy life I tell ya! Hubs and I are now living in the quaint, yet majestic town of Juneau, Alaska. We moved here to support his brother & his wife start a Bible College/Seminary. Quick little plug for our ministry:

Anyway, it’s been quite the challenge in getting here and we’ve met a lot of opposition on the way, but we still know this is where the Lord wants us. Now that we’re here, there’s some adjusting. We’ve been staying with other people living out of suitcases for a few weeks. We’re trying to settle in as much as possible while living with hubs family here in Juneau. It’s a tight squeeze with 4 adults and 2 children in a 2 bedroom/1 bath apartment. It’s an adjustment for everyone, but I like to think it’s harder for me. (of course because I’m a princess). Hubs and I are so used to being alone and obviously with no children. Before marriage, I lived alone for 7 years. Before that though, I lived with my pastor’s family for a couple years and they had 4 children. So if I can do that, surely I can live with family. 🙂 It’s really been easy – after the initial shock wore off. We’re actually looking for a large house we can all share and split the cost. That would save a lot of money as the cost of living is REALLY high here in AK. The weather isn’t that bad – YET. Right now it feels like NC winters which I can handle. That’s nice because it’s slowing me into the colder weather. Sunset at 4pm is totally weird. Also, the jet-lag is finally starting to wear off. I’ve not seen any bears yet – but I think they might be preparing to hibernate. Hubs is anxious to buy a gun so we can go in the woods. It’s a big no-no here to go in the woods alone and/or without a gun. Plus guns make hubs (former marine) all giddy so of course I want him to have his heart’s desire. The people here are very sweet and friendly. Apparently, it’s a small town so everyone knows everyone and you run into them at the store. I like that. I’m still working on my master’s degree. It feels like FOREVER, but it’s only been a little over a year. I think it seems like longer because I’m not taking any breaks and going year-round til I finish. I start my internship here in January so I’m looking forward to that. I think that about sums it up other than missing family and friends back home. I’m looking forward to getting settled into a bigger place soon – hopefully we’ll find a place before our shipment of our household items arrives at the end of the month. Well, with ALL that being said – I seriously need to work on my homework. Bummer. I’d rather go exploring in our new town!!