Wednesday, September 24, 2014



everytime I called up to the unit to check on Noah if I was in my room or away for a little while, I would have to give them his DOB as like a "password". I said it all the time. When I would consent for a procedure or whatever, they would ask for it. I mean, if I didn't already know it because he was my child, it was forever engrained because of the 5 months of saying it.

Today is 9.24.14 and he's not here, I don't have to check on him, and I'm sad today. I am trying to allow the Lord to bring me joy and I am so thankful for all the love poured out by friends and family over us today. I am very thankful, but honestly, I'm sad. I'm just ruined by the tangible longing to celebrate him, his LIFE and its hard when he's dead. My momma heart just wants to scoop him up and tickle him all over, kiss his face until he can't stand it and have birthday party to remember for all time... I don't need a pep talk about how he is in a better place, he's rejoicing with the angels, he's having the best birthday party in heaven. I know all of that.  I rejoice in that, but right now, this morning, right around the time he was born, I just want him. I want him, his smell, his smile, his cheeks, his warmth.

A very special friend of mine wrote me the other day and in the message was the following:
"But I truly believe your ultimate momma accomplishment was being the comforter and caretaker of a little life that needed you. You did it with grace. You did it with passion and energy and smarts. It is completed. Your reward will come, but take comfort in knowing there is a portion of your motherhood experience that you rocked! The journey is over for mothering Noah, and even thought that brings tears and pain, it also brings a sense of peace.Rest in the fact that the Lord sustained you as you loved Noah. He sustained you to feel that deeply and equipped you to walk that road.  Although the mothering is finished, the mother is not. You will never stop being Noah's mommy and he will never stop being your son. The physical act of comforting is no longer needed, but the mark that left on you is there. It will always be there. You will always feel so deeply about your son. The part of you that is Noah's mommy does not go away because he passed away. Some days you might need to curl up as Noah's mommy and just let the feelings flood you. Let the pain sting and the aches overcome you. Always always be weary under the protection of the lord, but be weary none the less. You can't go through a journey like Noah's and someday wake up completely "over it." You are ruined, sweet momma. You will forever be Noah's mommy and that will forever bring a flood of emotion, good and bad. I know you consider it an honor. But be reminded that the pain of Noah's death also means the joy of his life. It means we got to meet him. We got to smile with him. We got to touch him. It wasn't long enough, but it was. I am so thankful for his little life and I will never forget him! Love you!"

Wrecked. To have someone in my life that would pour that kind of encouragement into me. They nailed it on the head. That paragraph is how I want to remember Noah's 2nd birthday. Each time we come to his birthday or his day of death, I know God will have me at a new place, learning a new thing and reflecting in a different way. 

Noah being born, means he lived. He was mine for a short time, I will celebrate that. He helped move people closer to the Father, I will celebrate that. He made me better and still does, I will celebrate that. While it thunderstorms I will consider it the overflow of the heavenly party. As cheesy as it sounds and however much my flesh wants to fight it and wallow in my own pity party... I will thank the Lord. 

I want to thank each of you who have been so sweet to text, Facebook message or post to us. Your love and thoughtfulness makes us so thankful and happy. We cannot imagine doing life without y'all and your support.

Thanks and love!
Noah's mommy

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Our Miracle Didn't Come...

Noah would have been 2 this month. He died though. See, when you look at it from a pretty narrow point of view, his miracle didn't come. Our prayers didn't work. He died. His miracle for a healed heart did not happen.
I hate to say that there are days when I struggle with this to the point of tears. I was scrolling through some heart images today trying to prepare for going to Ft Worth by getting cards made for the goody bags. I came across a logo that said, "Noah's Mighty Heart". It was very well designed and so I clicked it of course. It was obviously a website/blog to update people on a baby named Noah, who has HLHS. I read a little bit. I emailed the mom and just told her that we had a Noah who had HLHS and that my prayers were with them in their journey. I then saw the most recent post, that I hadn't read. It was called Miraculous Healing. I read and weeped. You can probably assume from the title what happened for them. They went to a prayer service at their church, were prayed over and then the next dr appt they had, the sonogram went normal until the Dr looked and said, "the left ventricle looks really good. are you sure you have the HLHS diagnosis?" This dr was not their normal dr, so he wasn't sure if there was a mistake or something.

I couldn't handle it anymore. I closed the browser and just sat there. Tears streaming down my face, I tried to hold them back, but I was jealous, I immediately wondered what we did wrong to not get that miracle. We knew going into every sonogram that we could look on that screen and see a healed heart. We never did. We never did see Noah have a healed heart. Until the day he died.

I suppose I have every right to be upset and jealous. I can whine and throw my tantrum I suppose. I just feel so convicted that even though we didn't get that 1 miracle. I can tell you that in my Noah's life, he experienced more than 1. You can read through the previous posts about what all God did in Noah's short life. He could have died during his first surgery, he could have died during the cardiac arrest he went through, he could have died during pacemaker surgery, he could have died during the Glen surgery, he finally did die, but God gave us time with him on multiple occasions where it seemed bleak. I cannot deny the fact that Noah got miracles. Just, not the one we wanted...

I want to curl up in bed and weep for awhile. I miss my boy. He died. He didn't get a healed heart, I didn't get to hold him the day he was born, blah blah, same old story. I know.

I have been convicted recently of giving God my leftovers by having quiet time at night. So, this morning I got up a bit early and had some time in the word and journal. I came to a scripture I have loved. I found it and loved it during the time I was weeping daily, for my son, in the hospital and after he died. It was a nice piece to my morning quiet time, but I didn't realize God was giving me the strength, before the heart break was coming this morning.

You have kept count of my tossings;[a]
    put my tears in your bottle.
    Are they not in your book?
Psalm 56:8

See, God had my heart in his hands and prepared me for the hard time this morning reading that good news of someone I don't even know.... He puts each of my tears in his bottle. There are times when the pain still stings so much I just don't want to function. Yet, he sees me, he knows me and if I will continue to trust that, He will see me through every hard moment. Why did we not get our miracle healing in the womb? Why did we not see his goodness before 5 months of struggle, fight and heartbreak? Why do I not get to see my son grow and develop.... I am trusting that it was not a lack of faith that didn't get Noah his miracle healing, because God himself hand picked my Noah to live the life he did, the way he did, for a mightier purpose than I will ever know. 

I'm not sure where you're struggling today, but maybe you need to hear that he holds every tear, he has counted them and he knows. He loves you. He has this. 

you can read more about this here...HIS BOTTLE OF TEARS
love and tears,
Noah's mommy

Thursday, July 17, 2014


We move into a new house today.  We have had quite the adventure the last 2 months with this and so we are just truly blessed to be getting this close to the finish line.
See, every year I pick a word that I feel like God is going to use to teach me and be my theme. Last year, 2013, was Deeper. My how that was truth. Our son died, 1.5 months after choosing that word. God dropped me deeper than I ever have into the ocean of dependence and grace. I'm certain that last year was the deepest year of my life in every way. This year he gave me the word Simplify. I felt that with the new year there was so much to simplify in terms of normal routine, clean out the house that had been neglected in all the chaos of '12/'13 and really simplify our family schedule, our eating, habits, plans, etc. I knew that God would clean house in many ways.

I always love looking at for sale houses online and have wanted to move for awhile now and I just felt like we weren't at a place financially, emotionally, etc. I gave it to the Lord though and one day Nick and I saw a house we liked and just asked the Lord to show us the direction and timing for selling ours and trying to buy that one. Little did we know that 2 or so houses later we would finally find the one, but it took that initial house to get us to jump down that cliff of unknown. We put our house on the market on May 6th and we had a contract on it on May 8th. That went through fine and on June 12 we closed. In that month we had to paint the entire house, get a window fixed and do a couple of other things, like pack up almost 5 years and 2 kids worth of stuff. ALL of our stuff went into a trailer, a storage unit and a little bit of space in my mother in law's garage. (we moved into her house) and we have lived here for the last month and week. We have been blessed by this and have been able to do things like a trip to Galveston and some other things because of the money saving ability. We are thankful. So in the middle of this we were trying to find us a house and we found another one, since the initial one was no longer available. We found a house on a street that was perfect, great school, nice neighborhood, close to everything we do and the right price. Well, things got nuts from there. So many repairs were going to have to be made, but we were in love. We found ways to figure it out and we almost had a deal. Then, we found some more major repairs and had to break up with her. It was no fun. We really thought we would live there for many years and we loved the layout and everything, but we knew it was not the one for us. So, we let it go, in faith, knowing that God would have a better place for us. Boy did he. This would mean we would be without our own home for an extra (almost month). We had to just trust and then start looking again and we realized that he truly could give us more than what we imagined, if we would let him. We quit trying to make work what we thought was best and let him do it. We will be able to move into a home we love, one that gives us more space, and also is coming with some things we didn't even think about until it happened. We are blessed, (I still trust and claim that we have always been blessed, even the day Noah died we were blessed...end soap box) and this season in our life feels so refreshing because we have been in a couple of years of deep struggle, pain and hurt. This refreshment feels so good, it is so undeserved but it is welcomed and I am so thankful.

Why am I telling you all of this? It doesn't really have anything to do with Noah, our journey with him or grief. It doesn't seem to really have anything to do with hospital life, heart moms, or how to cope after child loss. But, it has everything to do with it. I've realized over the last few months of house craziness that as long as I have Christ ALL will work out. When we let God handle our grief and our pain, he brings about healing in His way and His way is always best. I didn't understand why I never got to bring my baby boy home. I struggled with going into a nursery/kid room that was ready for a little girl and a baby boy to share and it never happened. I had made places in our cabinets for medicine, we had our carpets pulled up and floors redone so we could eliminate some of the "stuff" that could make it harder for Noah to breathe etc. We were ready to have him home and he never came home. As Nick prayed over our home as we left it in June, he thanked God for the home it had been for us, since we bought it, for how many holidays and special times we had there, but he also thanked God for letting us leave it, for we never got to bring our baby boy there and we were reminded of that daily. God knows what we need. Since moving out of that home, I have felt a refreshment and a sense of healing I hadn't had yet. Even just living with family for now, it has given me a month and a  half to breathe after leaving that special place. Now, I am super ready to move into a home that is just for us, maybe more children at some point, but for now, this home starts fresh, with memories of Noah strung about, but without the hole. I feel more complete and sure of things now than I have since he died. Time doesn't heal but it allows us to feel all we need to feel, to grow and change, to breathe and relax. Time gives us space. It doesn't make it hurt any less on any given Tuesday while driving and all of a sudden something sparks your memory. It does make the big picture more evident and in that, it brings comfort and perspective.
So many things to look forward to in this home. I'm excited that God has allowed us the opportunity to begin fresh here. I see many DNows, life groups, girl nights, birthday parties, sleepovers, bible studies, BBQ's, youth parties, playdates and family time there. I see relaxing, resting, laughing, and enjoying life together with my husband and daughter. I see bringing home a new baby that God might give us someday. I see so many possibilities I never could see in our old home.
Maybe you're in some grief or a season of dryness right now and you need some perspective change. I'm not saying buying a new home will fix it. I certainly do not advise
making some life change in the middle of it all. I'm saying to prayerfully ask God what changes HE CAN MAKE in you and in your life. Maybe it is a new haircut, a new pair of shoes, a new Bible study book, a new Bible or journal, a new place to go for walks or maybe take a road trip. Many things have helped me keep perspective and have assisted to change my outlook on my life in the last 2 years by keeping things refreshed. Get out of your rut. Let God pour in some sunshine. It would be a dishonor to your loved one to live selfishly in over drawn out emotional prison. Let God bring freedom, release and grace every day. This does not discount the life of your child or your close one. This is healing. This is new life. The pain and memories will always be there, they come up in waves and you let them come and go. The daily life has to come back though and in that, let God make it wonderful! Let him bless you without feeling guilty. Let him take care of you without you holding yourself back. Be healed. Be loved. Be free.
I am finally coming to some conclusions about grief and how lonely it can be sometimes. One of the things I feel very convicted about is that I would get so sad or frustrated when people started to "move on" often seeming like they had "forgotten" about Noah...I would try so hard to make people remember. Posting a picture a new blog post, forced out. I would just try and try to make people remember and that is not healthy. I have the freedom as his mother and as a person, to share with others about Noah when I choose, but to somehow be let down by something people aren't doing to me or on purpose.... selfish. It's time to move forward and onward in life, not forgetting, but living. simply living. If #simplify14 means anything to me, it means living simply, but it also means, simply living. I don't have to strive so hard to make life ok or better, simply living life, with my lovies is enough!
 Living Simply- healthier, less cluttered, more organized and more intentional- YES!
Simply Living- taking each day at at time, soaking up every moment with my daughter and husband, playing in the rain, going to the park, stopping to relax, to soak in the mundane and boring sometimes, to enjoy, to thrive, to just live. ABSOLUTELY.

#simplify14 just continues to teach me and make me better! :)

Be blessed, be simple;

Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Awkward Silence

This particular post has been stewing for awhile. Today, of all days, I post it, even though today is not a day that I'm "ok". With that said...

Is it ok to be ok?

I think so....


Do I want to cry everyday? Sometimes.

Do I feel like slowly the world is forgetting that he lived, that he was a part of this life?

Sure do.

Do I now have a deeper wisdom when it comes to seeing these kind of situations from the outside looking in?


Can I ever cry enough to bring him back?

If I could, he would be here.




For awhile I was the girl who was pregnant with a baby with heart problems, then I was the mother with a baby that had heart problems, next I was the mother of a baby who died of heart problems, and now... Well, I'm at an odd place.  It's been over long enough that life has moved on, there is no need to blog or update everyone or even ask for prayer anymore(at least like I did) I always wondered about the day when I wouldn't "need" you all so much. (But maybe I really do because so many continually tell me that they pray for me often) I was driving down the road the other day and the thought, "I'm glad he died" made it's presence known in my mind and it caught me off guard. For the last 19 months I have been trying to learn to be ok with the fact that he did pass away and suddenly out of no where, I am glad he died? I immediately explored that thought and prayed, "Lord, what am I even saying?!" Later in the week I came across a picture on Instagram of another heart baby's "9am meds"... There are 11 meds laid out in their doses ready to give her. It occurred to me that that would have been my life. My baby boy would be on lots of meds, all the time and would be forever. You know I'm not saying that I wouldn't do it everyday of my life if I could. If Noah were here, alive, and he needed that many meds, more surgeries, constant medical attention etc, you know we would do it, everyday of our lives and we would be thankful he was here with us. I can tell you that I would drive 6 hours one way to be at his Dr's or we would have moved to Ft. Worth. I would have been there everyday, trying to make his world as happy and functional as possible. Trust me, I would have. If he were here we would do all we would have to do and all we could do to make his life an incredible one.


But he's not.

He. Is. Not. Here.


You want the honest truth?

I am glad he's whole.

I am glad he's healed.

I am glad I'm not administering 11 medications multiple times a day.

I am glad he will never have to endure another heart surgery. Ever.

I am glad he won't have to ever deal with why his body failed him from the start.

I am glad that he has won his race.


With that being said, I've come to an odd place in grief. It comes much less than it used to, life is at a normal place again. Not to say we will ever be the same as we were before, definitely better, but not the same. Yet, I don't have to write every week to try to let people know what's going on in my heart and in our life. I don't have any new followers on here, no profound wisdom flowing from the most recent lesson learned in the grieving process, and that is ok. It means that grief has taken it's hardest toll and we are coming into a season of healing and renewal.


There are moments when I want to grab the world's attention and say "hey, don't you remember him?" "See him?" "See how amazing he was!" "See how handsome and perfect he was" "he died, remember????" "Still over here figuring out how life works when you had to bury your child" ..... Silence.


There are also moments when I want to remind people to hold their children tighter and to never take for granted the blessing of a healthy child. Some days my heart just aches because so many children in this world do not have someone to love them and I want to fix it all. I want every child to know and feel the love my son received, not just from myself or nick but from the masses of people who were touched by him. I want all of that love to somehow touch kids that don't have it. Lord, please.


So, my goal these days is to not feel guilty for not grieving all the time, for having more good days than bad, and for not trying make people remember him or that it happened to us. I want to be changed by him forever, yet I don't have to force all that's happened onto anyone and even myself. I don't have to always think about him or the life he lived. It doesn't dishonor him to move forward in life.


I still grieve. I always will. Every September. Every February. Every Mother's Day. Every holiday. Every normal day. Every day; in it's own way. It could be a small thing that brings up an ocean of tears onto a shore of memories. It could be anything. Most things make me think of him, but not all of those things make me want to curl up in a ball and weep anymore. I do not have as many days that I want to stay in bed and sleep all day.

There is too much life to live to wallow. He is still in my life, everyday. It's ok that he isn't a part of everyone else's.

Life is moving forward, getting brighter and easier to do.

Noah has been gone far longer than he was here. I'm learning that's how life will look like for awhile to come; until the next season of healing comes. Taking things a day at a time and knowing that because I am better at being me, I will never forget that boy or what he means to me.
The commotion has settled, the craziness of it all is about over and this momma is left here in this awkward silence.
Silence is hard for me. (Yes, Nick, I admit it. Mom and Dad, yes I know. Sorry I'm not sorry for the years of constant chatter haha!) Silence just is not my gift, it makes me awkward and uncomfortable. I want to pipe in, say something, fill the space and save the day. ha! This silence I am in the middle of is not one that I can pipe up in the middle of and really make it any less awkward. I have hit this place where people know (and lots of people don't know) that Noah lived and died. God and I don't have much to say on it anymore, I'm dealing less with the why and settling into the answers God has given me and am learning to surrender to them. This quietness is humbling. It's not about us anymore (it never was in terms of us ever choosing that this would happen), but things automatically become focal and all attention is drawn to your family/child because people are genuinely interested and want to pray and support, but also people are nosey. No one asks anymore and that IS OK. No one needs to. That is a place that I have prayed for, yet now that it is here, it can be lonely. I say this, not to draw attention to us, but to reach out to the ones who are dealing with this as well. I know that just because life is normal again for the world, it is not and will never be all the way normal for you. I understand that and know that our new normal will always have it's sting. Just know that someone understands this weird place and is going through it with you. Learn to reach out. I am trying to learn that. I cannot be self reliant when it comes to this grief thing and neither can you. Be encouraged and know that just because it seems as though people have forgotten and life has returned to normal, your loved one (especially children) are never truly forgotten and we as parents will never know the extent of how their lives and stories are reaching people. I'm certain that he is talked about and thought of more than I will ever actually know. I rest in that when the silence gets unbearable. Press on!
Noah's mommy


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Rock of Ages

There is a sweet woman, whom I never did get the chance to meet, who is enjoying the pleasures of eternal bliss in heaven as I type. The children's minister at our church has been on a rather long journey as her grandmother has had a long "road home". Her death this week was expected, although, not easy in the least. She was a strong matriarch and woman of faith in her family and her life. I knew this without ever meeting her because Keena has told me of her grandmother's legacy. As she asked me to sing at the memorial service, a hymn was suggested and I was not particularly familiar with it. I looked it up and it has a very simple melody. The words are ones that run deep through my soul though and I wanted to share with you. This hymn was written during a heavy storm, in the late 1700's as a gentleman was taking shelter from the storm under a cleft of rocks in England. He wrote the first line on a playing card and the rest is history.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Safe from wrath and make me pure

Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law's demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Saviour, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I rise to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgement throne,Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee. 

The words run so deep throughout my heart as it is such a blunt and clear description of the gospel and our deep need for it. What beauty in, "let me hide myself in thee". 
There are such vivid pictures in my head of what I think heaven will be like, of what Noah is doing up there and I like to think that he met Lillian with a big running leap and said, your Keena knew my momma!!! They would sit and visit about us and how much they love us... my imagination runs and I smile at the thought. 
Death is such an interesting event. The finality of it all and yet the mystery of eternity. The legacy of a long and well lived life of faith is something to be celebrated and we will do that Saturday for her. I feel so sad that I  never met Lillian, but she has marked my heart in a special way and now I know why Keena is such a servant and Christ centered woman of God who deeply desires children to know Jesus. Praise God for the Lillians in this world who have fought the good fight of faith and have won!!! Thank God for the Noah's who have done the same, just in a much shorter amount of time. God is complete and fully present in each of these lives and only his way and his hands can make such sense out of a place of such questioning and wonder. Thank you Lord for your salvation that is our only hope in all of this world. May you cover Lillian's family and hold them close as they grieve her departure. May you continue her legacy through her family. Praise God for His unfailing shelter, salvation and security in all of life's storms. 

Noah's mommy

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Heart Momma's 10 Ways to Live After Child Loss

 Grief is such a ongoing process that sneaks up on you sometimes. Grief isn't always crying or being sad. Sometimes, I have found recently, grief comes in the form of an attitude or a mindset. I found myself griping about every little thing today and suddenly it dawned on me that I had been fighting grief for a few days and I could no longer hide it or keep it bottled in. Once I dealt with it, I could have a refreshed mind and heart. I am learning to give myself grace. My husband sure does, as well as family and friends, especially my church body.

If you are grieving, give yourself space to calm yourself and collect yourself when things seem to jumble up into a big ball. Whether you face a big family function, an event with lots of people who don't understand or just an evening alone where you don't have to hide and then everything comes up and out.... let it happen. Quit trying to be ok. I'm learning to not be so hard on myself with this and to just let the grief come and go as it needs to. I also urge you to be honest with your spouse or close friend, family, etc so they know it is the grief that is spurring on moments of anger, sadness, fear, anxiety, and whatever other emotions you seem to deal with at the time.
There isn't a right or wrong way to get through it. Just a moment at a time. The best way to get through it, in my opinion, is with Christ, His word, and those people He places in your life that don't push you.

So, with that said. I have thought about some of the ways I have dealt with my grief, in this second year since he died. (that is just crazy that is has already been over a year)

1. Journal- this helped me in the hospital while Noah was alive and it has helped me since he died. There are times when I do not journal for weeks, sometimes I switch journals and then tear out the pages and tape them in order in the current journal. Sometimes I draw in my journal, sometimes I just write my feelings, pray, make lists, jot down ideas, etc. It is my own space to be totally honest, not pretend to be ok, and just release things from my mind. At times I have been known to unload in the harshest of ways in my journal because it is safe. Let this be a way you de-clutter your mind and heart.

2. Church- if you are a believer, you must be involved and committed to the body of Christ. It is not always easy. I will tell you that there have been times, while at church, that I have broken down, but in my church, I haven't ever felt out of place or weird. I have always been loved on and supported.
(if you need a place like this, let me know and I will get you connected here at Family Life) Whether it is during baby dedication day, just seeing sweet little baby boys in our church, babies in general, whatever, if I am hurting, I have support. I can go by the office anytime for prayer, to talk, or to just visit. Also, serving others, even in your own grieving time, helps. It really does. It gets your focus off of your grief and your hurt and turns your attention to others and what you can do for them.

3. Small Group- this goes along with church, but if you do not have a small group/life group/home group or Sunday school class or group of women you can meet with regularly, find one. This helps in so many ways. You can be connected to people, who may not understand your grief, but they have life events that have happened, they have a love for you, for coming around you in prayer, etc and can support you. This is important even if you haven't gone through grief, just life can be hard and you need support in a small group environment.

4. Outreach- find ways to remember your loved one, by serving in their name, staying connected to things they loved or were involved in, and giving back in honor of them. We still love to go to Cook Children's Medical Center and take treats to the Cardiac ICU. We love to give to Ronald McDonald House in Noah's memory and we love to reach out and tell Noah's story here on our blog and on our FB page, A Momma's Heart, so that heart families can feel connected and that someone understands where they are at, somehow.

5. Fun- find ways to have fun. Do not feel guilty for having fun either. You must find ways to spend time with family and friends. I have found that nail painting night with the girls is refreshing, relaxing and I even have moments to share my heart if needed, with women that love me and don't mind if I'm having a hard day. Family fun nights are always nice. A movie night, time at the park, doing a craft, working in the yard, whatever you can find to do, do it and soak up the moments.

6. Crying- Do it. Let it out. Don't bottle it in or stifle your pain. Let them flow, freely. The only way to keep growing in your faith, through the pain, to let out the struggle and to feel unburdened is to let the tears come. My Dad taught me that tears are words from the Holy Spirit - (In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26)

7. Dream- Don't feel like just because your child died that you cannot ever have a good life again. I am learning that I must keep dreaming, setting goals and pushing myself to better things, BECAUSE of my child and his life. If I just sat around sad and mopey about my life all the time, I would be doing such an dishonor to my son and his life. He fought every day for his life and he was an amazing little yet mighty warrior. Why wouldn't I fight every day of my life for greatness, for betterment and for what God wants for me and my family. Christ calls us to do our best, plus some. I do not want to muddle through life, complaining and thinking that nothing will ever change or I will be in some suffering hole for the rest of my earthly days. Make the most of each day and when the hard days come, try to find the blessings, but rest in the fact that each new day starts with new mercies.

8. Holidays- Make new traditions, keep old ones. Mother's Day is approaching and I can't help but think about all the mothers who are still grieving the loss of their child. Last year, a friend of ours, who was in the middle of an adoption process wrote in her blog of this subject and it was beautiful. Holidays can be burdensome and tough, but I am trying to work, this week, on how I am going to approach it. Everyone will be posting their Mother's Day pictures of their own mothers, of their children giving them breakfast in bed, flowers they got, cards and treats. In all of this, I can't help but scream in my spirit that I DON'T GET TO HAVE ALL OF MY CHILDREN HERE WITH ME. IT'S NOT FAIR. But, if I can deal with that early this week, with the Lord and prepare myself for some of that emotion and hardship, I can approach this Mother's Day with grace and be thankful that I have TWO children. Whether or not one is here or not doesn't make me any less of his mother. So I will go on and on about both of my children, as much as I possibly can, forever! Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays, anniversaries.... THEY GIVE YOU REASON TO CELEBRATE, BAKE THINGS, PLAN A PARTY, USE SPRINKLES, BUY A NEW OUTFIT, SURPRISE SOMEONE, GIVE SOMEONE HURTING A SPECIAL GIFT OR JUST A HUG. Use holidays to make much of your life! I plan to make this Mother's Day a happy one, for SO many reasons.

9. Spousal support- Grief and child loss can reek havoc on a marriage if you let it. Nick and I are still in the middle of dealing with lots of different aspects of grief and "moving on" after child loss. So much of the grief does come from my side of our marriage, at least in the most obvious ways such as emotions, struggle with guilt, deep pains to hold my son, questioning myself in all the decisions we had to make. So much of my grief is personal  to the point that I question if I was punished for something in my life, with having to lose a child. So much of grief is dealing with all of that and to have a spouse that is so supportive in those times is vital. On the other hand, I have had to apologize and tell Nick that I had not realized how mean I had gotten, how snippy and rude I had been. We have to be aware of ourselves in our grief, so that we do not push away the people we need the most. I have learned to recognize Nick's needs more as well, when I am aware of how I am dealing with my grief at the time. I won't speak for Nick, in detail, but I know that so much of his grieving was happening during Noah's life. He could not be with Noah all the time like I was, he was still working full time, being a single dad to Ava at home, traveling every weekend, etc. He dealt with so much while Noah was alive, that when he died, Nick automatically felt some relief because he knew Noah was healed and whole, I could come back home and be a part of our family again, Ava had her mommy back home and Nick had wholeness again. That doesn't mean he doesn't grieve the loss of our son, his son. It just means that we grieve differently. I have recognized that and it has helped me to not question his strength or lack of emotion. Learn to communicate your needs and your struggles so your spouse can help you and know where you are at.

10. Gratitude- Be thankful. Even in the midst of the darkest days of your grieving, find SOMETHING to be thankful for. Find something that you are grateful for and focus your heart. There are times when I get so jealous of families who have alive, healthy and whole babies, especially little boys. I immediately have to focus my heart and be thankful that my son no longer suffers, his eternity is secure and I will get to be with him again. I have to remember how much Noah did in his short life to inspire and make great the name of God. I have to remember how much Noah has and continues to do for myself and others. He inspires, encourages, convicts and brings joy. Still. Find the things in your life that bless it and thank God for them! Ava, my sunshine and right hand girl .I thank God for her and her endless joy, laughter and brightness. God knew to give her to me first so I would have a constant joy, precious hugs, kisses and sweet words of encouragement. I am thankful for my husband who provides for us, makes me laugh, keeps me grounded and never ceases to love our little girl. I'm thankful for family and their endless support and love. I'm thankful for friends and their gracious hearts and kind spirits when I am down and hurting. I am thankful for our church who constantly teaches us to worship and be thankful, to press into Him and to share Him with others. They love us and our son. I am so thankful for all of these things. How can I stay sad all the time with so much to be thankful for? So, stay focused on gratitude.

I pray that you find some of this to be helpful. I am certain that God continues to teach me so I can share with you. If we can help you get through a rough patch, let us know. You can contact us through the blog. If we can share our entire story with you, your small group or church, we would love to share our son and our story so that Christ can be lifted high. Let us know how we can minister to you in anyway.

Noah's momma

Thursday, April 10, 2014


He was mine. Well, he was never really mine, but, while he was on earth, he was in the way that our children always are. They are ours, they are our responsibility, a priority, our joy, sometimes our frustration, even from day one. They are the Lord's, but they are ours. Sometimes I forget that Noah was mine. I forget that I carried him inside my womb for 9 months, I sat by his beside for 5 months, I was the first one to hold him. I was the one to hold him when he died. He was mine. A precious woman and dear friend/sister in Christ sent this to me today.

 Love your perspective having "lost" Noah. He is not lost, and how exciting for the men who will find that same hope today! Every time you pour into someone else, pray for someone else, turn yourself off for a weekend and selflessly give to others, you are sharing, honoring, and continuing Noah's impact. I always want to say "you make Noah proud" but I am not really sure how that works. I do know, that if Noah was here and could physically grow up with you as his mother, how incredibly blessed he would be, just like Ava. Even though Noah doesn't get to grow up on this earth, he was able to grow inside of you for 9 months, completely fulfilled and sustained by your body. He then felt your touch and heard your voice and constant encouragement for the remainder of his life. Your bond was incredible and I pray you still feel it as tangibly today as you did when you could touch his face. I know for a fact, that what Noah experienced as your son amounted to much more than just years or time. It was an immeasurable bond. I hope that doesn't sound insensitive or like "at least you got to have…." That is by no means what I mean. What I do mean is that his influence is strong and tangible and I see it in his momma every day. 
Wow. Truly, I just sat at my desk and cried because sometimes I forget that Noah was a person, not just a story, not just a legacy, not just a witness, not just a heart patient, but my son. my baby, my precious little piece of Nick and myself that God made, to bless our life with. I am thankful that for 14 months, Noah and I were together, 9 of those in the most secret place, where he was "healthy" and his body didn't have to work so hard. I know that as the years go by, people will think less about Noah and that is normal, that is fine and that is expected. What I also know, is that the more I let God work in me and through me, the more I recognize grief as a way to draw closer to the Father and that all Noah did in my life continues to shape me, he will be thought of often. Overall, he will always be mine. I've said it before, but there are days I know that God sent Noah just for me. For that, I am deeply grateful, thankful and will continue to always strive to be shaped and molded by the journey we had with him.
Thank you to those who remind me that Noah was my baby boy and that he will always be a part of many people's lives, but I will always and forever know that beyond all he "did for others", he was still just MY sweet baby boy.
Have a blessed day.
Noah's momma

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Blue Twisty Ladder

"but, I can't Daddy!!", she squealed with a twinge of fear in her voice. She could climb up all the ladders on the playground except for one. This swirl of blue poles created a cylinder shaped ladder and she would not have anything to do with it. Her daddy tried numerous times to convince her that she was capable and able to climb that ladder, but she would not have any part of it. He finally convinced her to at least try it out and assured her that he would be right there to help her. "but, I can't, I can't, Daddy!!" she would exclaim, all while being half way up the ladder. Her daddy enthusiastically let her know, "you're ALREADY DOING IT, Ava!" She finished up the ladder and said, "TA DA" as she lifted her arms to the sky in such pride. She had climbed her nemesis ladder and didn't even realize it until half way to the top.

I watched my 2 and a half year old daughter struggle and then conquer her frustration and fear of that ladder, but she didn't just decide she would do it, she didn't even really do it by herself. Her daddy suggested and pushed her to try, he guarded her back, stretched out his hand to her when she needed that last grab before both feet were safely on the platform. She then exclaimed that she did it and was so happy. Her daddy agreed, "Alright! Yes you did! Way to go, I'm so proud!". He didn't correct her and say, "actually dear, I convinced you to get on it at all, then helped you half way up and there at the end, you would have fallen if I hadn't of grabbed your hand". He didn't need to. He knows his job as her Daddy and he does it without reminding Ava of the details in which he did everything. His job is to teach Ava, extend his hand when needed, have her back in protection and then praise her when she accomplishes a goal, conquers a fear or simply completes a task. He is to bless her by celebrating her accomplishments and remind her that she is able, capable and less afraid than she might think.

I relate to my daughter. So many times in my life, I know I have doubted myself, screamed "God I cannot do this! I cannot make it through. I can't do what you're asking me to" if I had listened closer, I might have heard him saying, "Shaina, you're ALREADY DOING IT". It is a lesson I have learned on different levels as life has gone by. I sat in bed last night and went through the journal(s) I kept while being in the hospital with Noah. There were lots of times when I would pray, "God I cannot keep doing this, I can't continue, I don't know how to be, how to pray, how to trust" as I read those things last night, I realized, He was whispering to me, "you will, you are being exactly who I need you to be for your family, you're praying right now, just by seeking me you're trusting me." I know that in the middle of the storms in life, we tend to doubt, question and wonder where God is. We sometimes frantically think he has left us all together and somehow we think we've earned the right to "tell God how it is". Perhaps though, maybe God is right there, right behind us, guarding our back, guiding us up the blue twisty ladder, watching us grow as we do the hard thing he has asked us to do, all to extend his hand at the proper time and then celebrate with us when we reach the top, smiling at us and blessing us with his affirmation and love.

I guess I just feel as though there are days where I feel like I say, "God, I can't do this.  I can't climb this ladder. I can't keep trudging through the hard nights, the hurt my heart feels when I imagine a life we won't ever have with our son. I can't keep going through the years wondering how things would be, all the while, my other baby is not so much a baby anymore and is growing up in stature and character. Is time passing me by Lord, so quickly that I can't even think straight? Lord, I cannot keep smiling when I really want to cry. I can't keep taking steps away from the last time I held him. It only gets further away. ....after awhile I remember and I hear him saying, "you are doing this. As you are getting further from the last time you held that boy, you are getting closer to the time when you won't ever have to let him go again and in that place there won't be a tear shed. You are smiling in my joy and it's ok to cry through the nights, as much as you need."

 So, maybe you find yourself on the blue twisty ladder today. You're screaming, "GOD I CAN'T DO THIS",  you're climbing the ladder of suffering through illness, you're climbing the blue twisty ladder of grief, you can't breathe today because you miss them so much, you're head is spinning from all the chores, kids' activities, mouths to feed, things to get done, you'r weary of being home with your children day in and day out, you are wondering when you'll get a breath of fresh air and he is whispering in your ear, "you're already doing it, I'm right here."
 It is never that we are to do it on our own as he stands by and watches us struggle, just throwing out a suggestion here and there. No, he is right there, his breath upon the back of your neck, his hand guiding you, but not pushing you. He is your encourager, your guide, your safety net, your Daddy. He will push us into things we would never ever ever choose for ourself, guide us through, celebrate when we come through it and then let us enjoy ourselves on the things we do choose and enjoy the most. Did Ava have to be convinced to climb up that ladder again? Not really. She looked at it and saw what she did, not what she thought she couldn't  anymore. So, be encouraged, friend. He didn't leave you, he hasn't left you and he will never fail you. If anything, he is letting you grow, working out your fears and struggles, with his quiet help, because He is wanting you to learn that He didn't mess up on you, He has and will always equip you where you're at, but you have to trust Him in it all. Keep climbing, dear one. The top will come sooner than you think. Then you will look back at the blue twisty ladder and laugh. "YA! I did it!"and all the while, God will be smiling and celebrating with you.
Remember, you didn't do it all. You didn't even choose that ladder. He chose you. He guided you. He brought you to a place where you could be proud of yourself, excited and full of joy. You climbed the ladder, you conquered your fear, but you were never ever on your own. Give him the honor, give him your celebration and your praise. He is a GOOD daddy.

Just don't jump off because you quit. Don't bail. Don't give up. The celebration to come at the top will be worth all the steps it takes to get there.

The next time you face a blue twisty ladder, it might still be intimidating, but you'll know what you're made of and who has your back.

Keep climbing,
Noah's mommy
 Psalm 18

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Doves

Well, February came and went. I had so much anticipation as it approached and everything was so wonderfully perfect. I never wanted to have a month that we celebrated a child we couldn't watch grow up, I still don't, but since that is a part of our life now, we had a wonderful time with all the various ways we found to celebrate Bubby, hearts and all things heart related. We started the month with some fun heart themed family meals, a few heart crafts, some heart themed artwork for a cause and then went through the month enjoying getting ready for our trip to Ft. Worth. Nick and I were able to attend Passion 2014 in Houston with our young adult/college group from church. That was a perfect way for us to approach the 1 year anniversary of Noah's death. We came away refreshed and recharged spiritually and had that time away from home, the daily grind and also from parenting for a few days. All of that combined was so wonderful. I was able to spend a couple of days after that with my best friend. We had lots to visit about, we went antiquing, had yummy lunch together, lots of laughs and catching up in person as well as some deep therapeutic talk about Noah, his death, his life, and the little boy she is growing in her womb. :) It was perfect and I flew home to a bright little girl who was so excited to see her mommy and a few days to unload, reload and get going on our Noah Day trip. :)
We had such an incredible (short but nice) weekend. The weather was gorgeous, we were able to have a fun time in the hotel, swimming and eating at places we don't have in AMA. We went to the hospital and dropped off all the amazing gifts for the CVICU family and the heart families who are in the trenches with their little heart warriors. It was a lovely time. We left Ft Worth feeling so loved, full of happiness and more refreshment! The days came last week where we remembered back to his service, his celebration evening and all of those things. We ended February with Nick's birthday and an incredible honor to be used in our Assoc. Pastor, Matt Johnson's powerful sermon on Suffering Produces Worship. wow. It emotionally exhausting for me, but to hear my son's and our family's testimony being used for God's glory was like watching Noah hit a home run, or walk across the stage to receive his diploma. He makes me so proud. Even still and forever more.

So, here we are, into March a few days and we are so ready for Spring, rain showers, thunderstorms, green grass, sunshine, warm days and freshness all around. I'm ready to get the grill out of the garage, pull Ava's little playhouse out and hose down her trampoline and get it ready for her to jump for hours. We are looking forward to some house projects and other things this spring and have a feeling of refreshment. Simplifying is my theme word this year and the season itself just screams simplify. So, closets are about to meet their maker, nooks and crannies are about to get bossed around and life is getting cleaned up around here. Last year, survival was our goal. Just getting used to life again was a daily chore and now I am seeing God's grace bringing us into a new season.

I feel like I can still peer over my shoulder and see the pit. That dark place we've been in for the last year and a half or so. I can turn around and peer down in there, I can still smell it, it is taunting me and keep whispering that it misses me. BUT, I can see ahead a little ways as well. I can see that for one, I'm not still in the pit. That in itself is wonderful and I rejoice that the pit is no longer a part of our life at this moment. We are on level ground and God is moving us into places of fruit and harvest. We continue to let him lead the way and we follow his timing, but I can feel the breeze teasing me and can tell that it's coming.
My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
    and come away,
 for behold, the winter is past;
    the rain is over and gone.
 The flowers appear on the earth,
    the time of singing[d] has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
    is heard in our land.
 The fig tree ripens its figs,
    and the vines are in blossom;
    they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
    and come away.
Song of Solomon 2:10-13

I know some people get a little ancy at reading out of Song of Solomon and I know that it is book between two lovers, but I also read this in the context of Christ being our true love and it makes this part of our journey make so much sense. 
See, in the last year doves have made their presence in my life. Shortly after I got home from Ft. Worth, the craziness of everything had calmed down and I opened the blinds one morning and there were two little doves. They weren't white, they were the "ring necked" doves and they were kind of cooing and waddling around our front drive. It was misty out that morning and I  knew God had sent them just for me. Noah means peace, doves are a symbol of peace. The Holy Spirit came down on Christ when he was baptized as a dove. Noah (in Genesis) sent out a Dove after the flood, to see if dry land had made its way out of the flood. Doves are always a symbol of God's nearness and his hand upon our life. 
Another month or so later, Ava, PawPaw and I were out to lunch on our regular Thursday routine and we saw another dove, this time at the store. He was just flying around and then would stop for awhile on the ground. He was by himself. This time this one had more white on him. Another sign in the middle of regular life, that God's peace is always available to us. Finally, in September of last year, the PICU at Cook's held a lovely remembrance ceremony for those children who had passed away in the last 2 year. They had such a lovely ceremony that included a dove release at the end. They were beautifully pure and white. It was around the time of Noah's first birthday and it was just another symbol of peace. As Noah means peace, he has always been peaceful, even in all the turmoil of his life. These doves were symbols of peace and continued sustaining grace over us this last year. Today I feel as though, he sent a dove through his word when I was reminded of this scripture. 
Spring WILL come, even if it doesn't seem like it today with the cold temperatures. I know it is coming though. Fruit is to be harvested from the time we have been in the valley. It is like we are coming out of the pit, rubbing our eyes because it is so bright and looking around us like, "oh ya, this is what the level ground looks like, the sun feels warm and the breeze is sweet". 
I'm excited to see where God takes us this year. Thank y'all for being such support and love for us through this last year. We have been overwhelmed with "heart pictures" from so many, messages, texts, calls, cards, packages, etc. We are overwhelmed by your love. Thank you thank you! 

Noah's mommy

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Sun Flooded In

I woke up that morning and had realized that I just had the best night's sleep in 5 months. February 23 was a day that is forever etched in my mind. I mean, of course, the 22nd is the day my son died and I will never forget it, as long as I live. I will forever remember the last breath he took, when I had to give him up, leave him there. I will always remember that, but I will remember the next day because, as it might sound really cold, there was a spirit of relief in my heart that I had not felt since September 24. From the day Noah was born, I could not get to sleep at night, I could not sleep deeply, I could not wake up without immediately calling the NICU or CVICU. I could not leave the hospital without making sure I had a full charge or a charger with me, just in case they called, just in case something went wrong and I had to rush back. I didn't leave often, away from the campus of the hospital, but when I did I was on egg shells. When I would force myself to go sleep in the room at the RMH, I would stay up just laying there, sometimes reading, sometimes deep in journaling and the occasional netflix binge on my laptop. I  just couldn't sleep. My husband was 6 hours away, as was my baby girl, my son was in critical condition, always, and I could not rest. I could not relax. My body and mind were in a constant battle with my heart. I trusted the Lord, sometimes it was harder than others and often I had to force myself to really hold tight to the TRUTH, but I could not actually release myself into deep sleep or comfort. There was always too much to be aware of. But, that morning, it was different. For the first time in 5 months I slept. I really slept. We didn't set an alarm that night, once we got back to our room from leaving the hospital. We just went to bed and wept awhile. We held each other and both of us slept the best we had in months. I remember waking up and the sun was pouring into the room. We had just checked into that room earlier in the week and I had been sleeping up in the CVICU since Noah was so critical. I hadn't realized the morning sun was so heavy in that room, but that morning it welcomed me and hugged me tight. It was like the Lord saying, "good morning dear, I'm still in control". Don't get me wrong, there was this heaviness in my heart that my son was truly dead and nothing I could do would change that. Out of habit I picked up my phone and realized that I didn't need to call. Noah was fine. I showered and got ready for the day, we packed up our jeep, made one last stop by the CVICU for a memento we made of Noah's hand and then we said goodbye. We stopped by the Starbucks, walked passed the dining hall and walked out the doors to the parking garage. 5 months. done. For 5 months I lived there, I was rooted there. I never really left there and then all of a sudden it was all over. I keep the last parking garage ticket in my Bible as a bookmark. It is like a little altar that every time I see it I thank God for that season. I also thank him for that day we left the hospital, because even though it didn't end like I wanted it to, God was still answering my prayers. I was coming home. I was coming back to my husband and daughter, my family, my church, my own bed. There were things that I had prayed for since we left home that God was giving me back and I realized that. I needed to be reminded, especially in the heartbreak of leaving my son "behind" that I was headed towards good things. I knew life wouldn't be the same as when I left. I knew that our home would be comfy and inviting, but as soon as I walked in, I knew I WAS DIFFERENT. I felt that I didn't belong, that I wasn't needed there. Nick had done such an amazing job at raising our girl, keeping our home and making life keep going here that I longed to be back at that hospital. Yet, I  knew the way God worked it all out, would be ok, someday. I would probably never understand it, but I would learn to accept it. As I sit here, in this home, Ava is sleeping soundly in her bed after a full day of snuggles, giggles, outings and "the good life". Nick doesn't travel every Friday-Sunday. He doesn't have to be a single dad nor does he have to sacrifice being with his son to keep a job and stay committed to it to provide for our home. We are able to go to the park together, minister at church again, be involved, soak up the times in life like dance parties in the living room, watching Ava pretend to be a ballerina on the "stage", to sit at the dinner table together, to laugh until our sides hurt. These things make life good again. They lessen the sting of the loss and fill it with healing. There will never be a time when I don't miss my son, but I can tell you that after one year of him being gone and earnestly seeking God and his goodness, He has not let me down. I am learning and growing, changing and I guess you could say, getting to know myself. After such a life changing event, one has to stop a minute (months) and re-evaluate, make decisions and changes as well as realize just how amazing you were to begin with. God has done this and is still doing this in me. Seasons are meant for change. We must seek out ALL that God is asking of us and also what He is doing in us, for His plan and glory. It makes it all worth it.

Somehow this year has been relief, even in the deepest and darkest grieving of my life, there is relief. There have been days where I couldn't get out of bed, some days I was hateful and mean to everyone I came in contact with, and some days I didn't say a word. All of these days were hard and I am not "past" it. I know there are days coming that will be dark and hard as well, but amongst it all, there is a peace beyond understanding (Phil 4:7).

We came back to Ft Worth this weekend and being in that place reminds me that it all REALLY happened. Life was lived there. Our life was lived there. Our son came into the world, changed it and then left it, all in that place. This weekend was blessed, it was so perfect to take it all in, fresh air, the three of us just enjoying each other and the "relief" of being in the middle of God's will, not the life we all begged God for, a life with Noah in it. I will tell you though, Noah is still in it. Everyday we see how he has touched our life, touched others' lives; we are amazed and blessed by all the outpouring of encouragement, love and support. WOW! God is so gracious to us through y'all and we could not have made it this year without you. Thank you and we love y'all.

Noah's momma

Here are some of our favorite pictures from Noah's celebration last year.