Sunday, November 29, 2009

Update on June

Well, I guess it's not really fair to have the cutest baby alive and not give out any updates on her. :) Little June is almost 3 months old and is working on her ABCs. Just kidding. She is really smiley and has started "talking" back to us when we talk to her. This is quite adorable and just makes me want to sit and talk to her all day. She loves to be held and only started tolerating her bouncy seat or swing at about 2 months. Now she can sit in there and smile at the lights or the mobile and be very content, which makes me very happy too. It is nice to have my arms back when it's time to cook dinner, play with Holly, etc. She is growing well and continues to be in the 95% for height and weight (that's my girl). When I look at her I see Holly as a baby, but then when we have looked back at Joseph's baby pictures she looks so much like him as well. I suppose all our children will resemble one another quite a bit. She definitely has Joseph's great arm and leg rolls and those fabulous chubby cheeks.

We are really thankful for this little girl. She is bringing us a lot of joy and it is just really fun to watch her little personality unfold as she gets older. She loves the sound of Allen's voice and lights up when she hears it. She does the same for Holly's voice and I can tell will have the same admiration for her that Joseph did. She is a fun girl to watch--always moving or dancing or playing pretend.

I am loving having two kids in the house again. Now that there is another child along with Holly I have found myself several times wondering, "Where's Joseph?" We will just be in the living room and I will have this strong feeling that he is back there napping. Sometimes it still doesn't feel real that he is not with us anymore.

The other day we were eating at Moe's and Holly saw a family with three children. She said, "They have FIVE people in their family!" Then she looked at us and said, "We have four, and one in heaven." Then she took a bite of food, and reconsidered. "We have five people in our family." I thought it was really sweet that she was thinking about Joseph, and I have to agree with her. We do have five. I have learned to not always share this with strangers, but I'm glad Holly still considers him part of our family because he was such a huge part of her life since the day she was born.

I am looking forward to seeing the relationship that is forged between Holly and June. Holly continues to be very protective of June and very helpful (i.e., pulling out ALL the burp cloths and getting me 10 diapers at a time). She also will bring me water and bring me the boppy when it's time for June to eat. What service! I can tell she is adjusting to not having my attention all the time, but I think overall she has handled the transition very well. I hope and pray that she and June will be close friends as they grow up together.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Death has a way of bringing life into focus. This morning I was thinking how I used to say, "I'm such a boring Christian. I never used to be a drug-addict living on the streets and Jesus saved me from a life of crime." Nothing dramatic. Jesus just quietly revealed himself to me through my sister, and I just found Him beautiful and believable. It was more the "I wanted what I saw she had" thing. I saw how her life changed dramatically one semester at college and it was just evident it was a supernatural thing.

Anyway, now I feel like maybe my story is a bit more dramatic. I guess not many people say they had to say goodbye to their 4 yr. old son due to a brain tumor, but they still believe in God. And not only that, but that they are more convinced of God's goodness and faithfulness because of it. Please don't misunderstand me; I do have feelings of abandonment by God, unfairness at what Joseph had to endure, etc., but this whole journey has proved God to me more than a hundred sermons could. Because if I could have walked away from God I definitely would have. But I couldn't and I can't. It is just not in my power. Losing Joseph made me realize that my security in God is not based on me; it's completely based on him--His faithfulness, His pursuing, His providing. The only thing I offered God for a long time is sadness, complaints, my own sin and pleas for mercy. But He hasn't let me go.

I read the book "A Severe Mercy" not too long ago. It is just a wonderful picture of a loving marriage, but at the end he has some great conversations with C.S. Lewis on grief and loss.

Lewis writes:

"It is remarkable (I have experienced it), that sense that the dead person is. And also, I have felt, is active: can sometimes do more for you now than before--as if God gave them, as a kind of birthday present on arrival, some great blessing to the beloved they have left behind."

I thought it was so neat to think of God passing on a blessing to those left behind. For me, the gift has not been a sense of Joseph's presence or being, but I do feel a deep contentment even amidst missing Joseph. I feel like his gift to me is the desire/ability to appreciate each day, no matter how mundane or draining it might be. I look back at days that I wished away and just don't ever want to repeat that mistake. They may have been exhausting days, but they were the days of Joseph's life.

My pace of life is a lot slower now. I will sit and smell June's hair and cuddle with her for a little longer, remembering how quickly these days go by. This is going to sound crazy, but I'm even a little sad that she will stop waking up in the middle of the night soon. I remember going in to Joseph when he would wake up at night while he was on steroids and it wasn't fun to be woken up, but I was so grateful he was alive and was not sure how many more nights we would have to cuddle and "hold handies" together. I used to get so annoyed when either of the kids would wake up at night, and while it isn't my favorite thing to do, I couldn't believe that at one point that was my biggest complaint. How blessed I was!

Even though I have experienced every parent's worst fear, I am grateful for the change in perspective I gained from it. I don't think I ever truly grasped how blessed I was to have children. I feel like God has given me a deep gratitude and contentment being a mom, something I didn't have when I first began this journey. That is the gift I feel Joseph left behind for me, and I'm thankful for it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rally Run Official Pictures

Here are some more great pictures taken by our official photographer who was given as a gift by our friend Lesli. I was so grateful because I love to take pictures but knew I would want to be soaking up the morning and talking to people, not worrying about taking the photos. Thank you, Lesli! And the wonderful photographer is Amber Beckham who captured the whole event fabulously.

Thank you again to everyone who came out and everyone who supported the first Joe P. Rally Run!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Joe P's Rally Run

The first annual Joe P's Rally Run was a huge success! We had terrible rain the night before and early that morning, but it cleared up just in time for the race. Thank you to the 150+ people who ventured out in the cold to support this event. Special thanks to Matt Peabody, Jon Holt, Clay Perry, and Joey Northern and the Rally Foundation for working so hard to organize this. And more special thanks to all the sponsors (E+ Cancer Care, Girtman & Associates, Moe's Southwest Grill, Big Move Games, Advanced Network Solutions, Pure Barre, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Journal Communications) who gave so generously and to all of you who donated. And thank you to Veggie Tales for the awesome umbrellas for all the kiddos. There were many people who worked so hard and gave of time and resources, so if I missed you, please know we appreciate your help and hard work.

We are overwhelmed at so much generosity. Together, we raised $22,300 for childhood cancer research. Praise God! All the money will go to the Rally Foundation which will put it towards pediatric brain cancer research specifically.

I am only posting a few pictures now but we had a great photographer there (thanks Lesli and Amber!!) so I will be posting her pictures soon.

Thank you again to all of you who came out and all of you who supported us. We are so grateful. See you next year!