Comfort-Giving and Receiving

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.    2 Corinthians 1:3-4

June 1st was the one year anniversary of the launch of our blog.  We wanted to take a moment to thank all of you who have been supporting us and reading our posts!  We hope that somewhere along the way this year, you have found some inspiration from our blog!

June 1st is also the anniversary of a very painful event in my life.  I was debating whether to share this post and talked it over with Jules.  She thought I should share, in the hopes that it may touch someone else who has been through this same experience.  Thirteen years ago on June 1st, I lost our second precious child to a miscarriage.  It was one of the hardest and darkest days of my life.  In one day, the hopes and dreams we carried in our hearts for this little one were gone.  I was overwhelmed with sadness and grief and it took me many months to move on from this loss.

In the midst of this sadness, I found comfort in God’s presence and in those He sent to comfort me.  As friends and family heard of our loss, I was surprised at the number of people that opened up and shared their own stories of  similar loss.  It was a comfort to know that I wasn’t alone and that I would survive this  grief and get through it.  As the Bible verse above states, God gives us comfort during hard times, so that we can then comfort others.  I found great comfort in those He sent to console me.  My sister-in-law, who had also recently suffered a miscarriage, gave me a special angel charm with the birthstone of the month our baby was to be born.  Someone also gave me an idea to keep a memory box.  That box contains congratulation cards and e-mails we received, and other mementos from the pregnancy as well as letters I wrote to the baby.  I look through this box in honor and memory of our child every year.  Everyone handles this type of loss differently, but this really helped me process my grief.  As the years passed, it did get easier to accept the loss.  This child will always be in my heart, but I was able to move forward.

Over the years, I have found that I have been on the other end of offering comfort to loved ones who have lost dear, precious babies.  Sometimes it is hard to understand why bad things happen, but I do believe we can take those experiences and find the positive in them and use those difficult times to help others.  Thirteen years later, I know that God had a plan for our lives and how our family was to expand.  After that loss, I was never able to have any more babies, but we found the perfect child for our family through adoption (which is a story I will share another day).

As you travel through life, I encourage you to look for opportunities to offer comfort to those around you who may be experiencing a similar difficult situation you have lived through.  You never know, you may be just the person God intended to be there to offer comfort and solace to the broken-hearted.

~Blessings,

Jen

Step Away from the Electronics!!

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I love people watching. It’s one of my favorite things to do when I’m out and about. Recently when visiting my daughter in Georgia, where the weather was MUCH better than it is here, I had the opportunity to go for some walks. The destination was a park that also had a walking track. I had taken my niece there one day during their visit and she loved it. Sadly, what I observed for the most part, was kids playing and mom’s sitting on benches on their phones. Kids calling out, “look at me” and mom’s acknowledging them with their attention clearly on their phones. This happened another time I was at a hotel pool. Dad sat on the side, in his bathing suit while his son played. He was glued to his phone. Despite his son constantly pleading with him to come in the pool, he never did. I find this really sad. These are such special moments with children, and many parents are just missing out. I guess they don’t realize just how fast this time is going to pass and their kids are going to quit asking them to join them.

I will admit I am as guilty as most when it comes to the phone, but when I am interacting with my grandkids or my niece, the phone is put away. Kids can be pretty funny if you just tune in. We call these times “memory makers.” I want my grandkids to remember the events we did together, not me observing from the sidelines with a phone in my hand. So, once again I say, “Step away from the electronics” and go have some fun. You will never regret these moments!

Have a great week,

Julie

Happy People Inspire Me!

I am currently reading a book on happiness and it has prompted much thought on the topic.  Since our focus this month is on inspiring people, I decided to write about “Happy People” because I find them to be very inspiring.  Who is the happiest person you know?  Can you think of more than one?  I have to admit, I had to stop and think  for a few minutes about my answer to this question.  Three people came to mind, two of them are no longer with me and one I am blessed to live with each and every day!

The first is my Dad, who was known for his belly laugh and overall cheery disposition.  He had one of those laughs that could be heard across the room.  He was always whistling a tune and hearing that happy sound is one of my fondest memories of my Dad.  Later, when he fought the battle for his life against cancer, he continued to be an inspiration.  He faced his illness with grace, courage and optimism until the very end.

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The second person on my list was my Dad’s sister, my Aunt Margaret.   [Read more…]

Just another manic Sunday!!

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I do it to myself. I must admit this-I over schedule, wait till the last minute, try and pack a months worth of fun into one day.  I love my kids. Really I do. Every single one of them!! And trust me, I’m not complaining…(I don’t think)!! But I will admit, yesterday I sent my sister a text that read something like this…”Help me, I am in a zoo and can’t get out!!!” I had two youngest daughters and their families here (which includes a 4 month old and 17 month old) (4 month old not feeling well) (=intermittent screaming), bored 17 month old who can’t stay settled in anything, tired, falling down, crying (see where this is going). But I love them all, I really do!!! (Did I mention the two barking, shedding wanting to go in and out, Golden Retrievers and the Schnauzer puppy who hasn’t quite caught on to the house training thing!!) So add to this mix 11 year old twins who are trying to work on last minute 4-H Fair craft projects, (my fault, we have had all year to do this). Did I mention these 11 year old don’t have a lot of patience and get frustrated when things don’t turn out picture perfect!!!???? (Picture tooth picks and beads flying across the room) (Picture grandma making them find them because of babies and puppy!!!) Did I mention we went to church and I fixed two meals in the middle of all of this!!! My mom showed up at one point and then suddenly…she was just gone…I have no idea why!! I remember at one point making eye contact with my husband who wearily said…”we did have a little peace and quiet there for awhile didn’t we?” That may have been the point I started thinking that going to work sounded relaxing!

Now where is the inspiration you ask?? Isn’t this an inspirational website??? Well, the answer is yes. Today I am inspired to stop procrastinating, to stop over extending myself and to go to the beach!! Truth be told though…I probably wouldn’t trade a minute of any of it. We made memories yesterday. And at the end of the day my granddaughter gave me a hug and thanked me for helping her with her projects. They are my inspirations…every child and grandchild I have…and while I TRULY understand now when my mom used to say “it’s good to see them come, and it’s good to see them go,” I don’t plan on changing much of anything any time soon.

Enjoy your families, chaos and all. Be grateful. I know some aren’t near as lucky as I am. Chaos and all, I think I will keep them!!

Happy Monday!

Julie