Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

End of year thanks

We have intentionally slowed down so over the last few weeks, and I have eliminated a lot of "media" time, that I haven't kept up very well with posting. I started my weekly list of thanks post a couple of weeks ago and then didn't take the time to finish it. Probably was interrupted to play Legos, American Girls dolls, puzzles or Wii games:)
Many of our evenings have been spent as a family in front of the fire reading stories, listening to music, doing puzzles and playing. And they have ended like this....


On Daddy's lap sound asleep. What sweet, sweet memories we have been blessed with.

Quiet evenings at home
Candlelit service with my precious family
Anastacia's first communion and her understanding of it
Shared communion with my family
Our church family
Watching my two nephews love on each other
Sweet cousin love
Reading nightly of the coming of Jesus
Time in front of the fire with Amos
His overwhelming love, grace, and mercy with me
Eyes lit up on Christmas morning
Sharing the reading of your blessings in our son's name
Our church family
Our silly, sweet dog


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Slowing...

Now, this moment, today, this week we are making every effort to slow time. To make, capture and cherish these memories. I just want to etch them on my heart. Amos and I promised to pull back, stay home more, do family and friends more, quite simply simplify. And I think it is working. Our focus is gradually sharpening in on His love, grace, and perfect gift....

He has come! For you, for me, for us!

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son...." John 3:16

~Smell of a new book
~Grace, because goodness knows I need it
~Gift of watching others share love
~Time slowing for our family
~Catching up with girlfriends
~God opening doors
~Watching Anastacia experience her first ballet with Nana
~That precious, precious smile and laugh
~A Daddy who loves making memories with her as much as I do
~The gift of His love coming down



Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Marriage Story...

As I continue to count the blessings, even the seemingly microscopic (thank you Ann Voskamp for that lesson), I have a sweet memory I want to preserve. One of my favorite times of the day is laying in bed with Anastacia at night. Although I don't do it every evening, it has become such a precious time as life seems to slow, and lessons are taught and learned.

A- "Momma when will you be Nana?"
M-"When you become a Mommy someday."
A-"When will that be?"
M-"When you are 30 (strategic thinking on my part right?:)"
A-"That is really old. I have to get married first, right?"
M-"Yes."
A-"But that means I have to find a boy."
M-"You have a long time for that sweetie."
A-"I guess it will be okay if he is like Daddy, will he be like my Daddy? (enter her voice rising in concern) I don't want to marry someone unless he is like my Daddy." (my tears, priceless moment)
M-"That is what we pray for, that God will send the perfect boy, and we can pray he will be like your Daddy."
A- "I guess ___ (the son of close family friends)will do, he is a boy." Had to end the moment with some humor, how I love that precious little girl.

Continuing to give thanks....

~Bedtime talks and memories
~Hot cocoa and Christmas light drives
~Jammie days
~Great friends who take care of my husband when he gets hurt
~Ditto to doctors
~Quiet evenings by the fire
~Breakfast with a dear friend who encourages my walk
~Outpouring of love from family and friends
~ Re-purposing old to new
~Warm home on rainy winter days



Sunday, December 11, 2011

Our Christmas Card & Isaac's Stocking

Friends & Loved Ones~

Charis ~ Eucharisto ~ Chara

(Grace ~ Thanksgiving ~ Joy)

Words cannot express how thankful we are to have each and every one of you walk beside us through the last year. The beauty, grace and unconditional love you have poured into our family is priceless. Your prayers have truly meant the world to us. From the beginning you shared in the excitement of our pregnancy and then felt our grief and sorrow. We know that you shared our pain in our loss of Isaac. We celebrate his life, and continue to see God work His goodness through the donations made in his name to the Rejoice Foundation. Because of so many of you we have been able to support and shine His love on families who are walking a similar path as ours. God has taught us so much this year, trusting Him in all things and giving thanks for each and every moment.

This year watching the excitement in Anastacia’s eyes over celebrating Christmas truly overwhelms our hearts sometimes. The simple joy and delight she finds in life takes our breath away. We also have found ourselves with a need to remember our son this Christmas. Four stockings are hanging this year on our mantel, including one for Isaac. We would like to enlist all of you in helping us fill his. All we ask is that sometime between now and Christmas, do something nice for someone, no matter how large or small. It doesn’t have to involve money-just commit a random act of kindness. When you do it think of Isaac and dedicate that act to him. You can even leave a note saying “This random act of kindness was done in memory of Isaac Lee”, but you don’t have to. Please write down your act of kindness and send it to me through email (at staciasara@gmail.com) and put “Isaac’s Stocking” in the subject line or slip a note in your Christmas card to us. We will wait to read them and fill Isaac’s stocking with your notes. On Christmas morning, we will open his stocking and read your notes for the first time as a family together. Please feel free to share this request with your other friends and family. Even if only a few are able do this, we will have a truly beautiful memory to share as a family on Christmas morning remembering our sweet son. And someone else (the recipient of your kindness) will benefit from a true example of the spirit of Christmas. We pray that God will inspire all of us, that something will come to each one of us, an act of kindness that we can share of ourselves in Isaac’s memory while touching someone else’s life.

With His love~ Amos, Jennette & Anastacia

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

For inspiration and ideas for random acts of kindness visit:

http://moneysavingmom.com/2011/12/25-days-of-random-acts-of-kindness.html

http://tsjphotography.com/blog/random-acts-of-christmas-kindness-summary/

http://ticklestogiggles.blogspot.com/2010/05/my-birthday-was-awesome.html



Believe In Christmas Religious
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View the entire collection of cards.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Greatest Gift...

As we prepare our hearts this year, I find myself asking these questions...

Is how we are celebrating, how He celebrated?

How am I sharing His love, the greatest gift ever given?

Am I giving more of Him this Christmas?

Am I reflecting Him to those who need Him most?

Are we giving differently, our time... our money... ourselves?

Are we putting relationships first?

We talked tonight about only "getting" one gift, and "giving" the rest away. She turned to me and said "you know mom, it is better to give than receive." Go figure, takes her heart to work on mine...






~nightly advent reading
~searching for christmas lights as we come home
~singing christmas carols with daddy
~intentional slowing down
~her response with big eyes "it is about Jesus was born"
~amazing teachers
~new girlfriends and time with old
~gift of a day with nothing but family time
~our family lined up to watch her sing
~a warm coat
~snuggling down deep
~finally "the" tooth falling out
~doors opening to touch others




Sunday, December 4, 2011

12 Days of Christmas

Blessed and humbled to be part of this amazing community and writing here today, won't you please join us?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wonder

Watching her awestruck wonderment over this season, brings so much joy. She senses wonder with her eyes wide open taking in all of His creation. Continuing to count the even the tinist of blessings wakes me up to the all the gifts of love I have received. The wonder of His love created all of this.


"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." 1 John 4: 9-12




~Time with family
~No plans for the day (how rarely this happens)
~Unexpected warm days
~Her wonderment over Christmas
~Celebration of birth
~Reassurance
~Sound of her words without the front teeth:)
~Cooking with family
~Kneading, rising, and baking bread with Anastacia
~Our nightly routine of reading stories, watching her memorize the words




Monday, November 21, 2011

Filling Me

This counting, adding up, becoming aware of all of the blessings in my life is how He is filling my heart. Discovering that He is enough, always enough. As long as I have Him, my heart is always full. Even in the toughest of times, the most unlikely of places.

In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Giving thanks in everything, learning this is where we find more of Him. We learn He fills us up when nothing or no one else can. And in that find the gift of His goodness in all things.

This week, as we pause to give thanks, etch the moments on your heart. For He is good, always.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Psalm 136:1





An unexpected nap on the floor, exactly the same way I would find her at six months old. Sweet memories.



~That she counts my kisses, and says "only three?"
~Holding little hands
~Lunch with a dear friend
~Warm blankets
~Swinging with her on my lap
~Never ending belly laughs
~He is always, always, always good
~Watching Daddy read her books in front of the fire
~Discovering precious, precious new books
~Watching her read
~Our fuzzy Alex, despite his quirks
~Singing
~Rediscovering old childhood favorites with Anastacia
~His grace in teaching me to trust Him
~Catching glimpses of the baby still in her
~Making ornaments to remember Isaac
~Family days
~Eucharist, remembering Him
~A friend to bless me with new perspective



Saturday, November 19, 2011

Special Friends & Great Grandma

It never ceases to amaze me how God will place exactly the right people in your path at the perfect moment. We were blessed to have lived next to one of the sweetest families for a short eight months, but it seems like we have know each other a lifetime. Our families just clicked...


Who says you can't get in on making over the girls if you are a boy???






Oh my, the finished product. Could there be anymore sparkle and pink?

They ended up moving, but fortunately for us they aren't but a couple of hours drive, close to Great Grandma and Anastacia's newest obsession~OU:)

Visit with Great Grandma Neva. I can only pray that I still live on my own and am this sharp at 92!


Great grandma has awesome climbing trees, perfect to occupy a busy six year old!



Wonderful friends, family and a beautiful weekend! All three make for fun, precious memories.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Decrease

My prayer...

Decrease me until all that is left is You...




"He must increase but I must decrease." John 3:30

Pausing to give thanks, slowly learning in bending of knee giving of thanks, His gifts become more and more, as I become less and less.

~Heaven sent gifts
~Drumming of rain
~Cousins playing
~Her joy in sending a letter to a new friend
~Love her excitement in going to Whole Foods
~Fall mornings
~Gardening with my daughter
~Listening to a sweet voice practicing new Christmas songs
~His grace as I learn to trust
~Time to read




Monday, November 7, 2011

Her Heart

Her view of the world, the perspective of a six year old, makes me wonder if that is why I have found so much healing through her? Her joy and love for life, it is humbling to me. She leaves me in awe moment by moment throughout the day. Watching her live without expectation, finding joy and wonder in all her moments. Life is a beautifully wrapped box, a gift always waiting to be opened. I watch her open, discover, and experience it with so much joy. This is healing, this grows gratitude.

Seeing the world through her eyes, I am seeing more of His kingdom...

He said to them, "Let the children come to me.
Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God
belongs to those who are like these children.
I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn't
receive the Kingdom of God like a child
will never enter it." Mark 10: 14-15




~Her heart, the love that is in it
~Her excitement over giving away
~New life
~Women, sisters to do life with
~When the world seems shaky, having Amos by me
~Hugs and being missed
~Six year old artwork
~Doors opening
~Sunny fall days
~The perfect golden leaves



Saturday, November 5, 2011

Letting go

This was asked to me recently...

Has God ever allowed the threat of trouble in your life to drive you to your knees? If so, what did you learn through the experience?

And oh my did it hit home. I think I have spent more time on my knees the last six months than probably my entire life. Learning that without Him, I would not have survived the last several months. I can't do it, I could not rely on my own self-sufficiency. I wish I could describe to you the feeling of knowing He is carrying me, the peace that I have had so many times. Peace that can only be from Him, because otherwise it just doesn't make sense. The overwhelming feeling of knowing that He will never let go of me.

For the LORD will go ahead of you;
yes, the God of Israel will protect
you from behind. Isaiah 52:12

When life gets crazy, no matter the situation, have the courage to turn to Him. When there is less of us, there is more of Him.

"You're blessed when you're
at the end of your rope.
With less of you
there is more of God
and his rule." Matthew 5:3

Let go of that rope, He will be there to catch you. Never letting go of you, He will guide and sustain you no matter what.


Monday, October 31, 2011

He's Perfect

This weekend I was cleaning out one of the bedrooms and found this...


And my heart broke a little. I remember so vividly buying it in the spring while I was on a girls weekend with some of my best friends from college. Thinking it would be perfect for this fall. And about two weeks later our world was turned upside down. Especially in moments like this I can't begin to describe how thankful I am for the hope that I have...

Knowing that no matter what, when all is said and done, we won't lose...

One day I will see our son again...

In His perfect timing, He will raise the veil for us to see...

"This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God's inner sanctuary." Hebrews 6:19

A dear sweet friend who walked into our life at exactly the right time wrote this for us. She is amazingly talented and has a voice of angels. As tears ran down, she blessed me with hearing her play and sing this sweet song a few weeks ago. And I continue to be reminded that there are no mistakes, that Isaac was perfect too.

He's Perfect

Such perfect little tiny toes
Such perfect tiny fingers
Saying I love you
I love you.

No time to run or play with him
No hugs or mommy kisses
Will it be okay?
Will it be okay?

But I know that my Saviors here
He gives me strength when I am weak
He'll wipe away my every tear
He died for me
He died for me.

Don't cry for me my Mommy
You know I'm in His hands
It's gonna be okay
It's gonna be okay.

He died for me as He died for you
And He let me come to tell you
To tell you I love you
I love you

And you know right now that your Saviors here
He gives you strength when you are weak
He'll wipe away your every tear
And He's holding you as He's holding me

Cause Jesus said it's for a little while
And I'll see you once again
But until that day you know I'll wait for you
And He's telling me, He's telling me
He loves you.

Such perfect little tiny toes
Such perfect little fingers
Saying I love you...I love you.



~squeaking of park swings
~His perfect timing
~warm blankets on cool mornings
~bedtime prayers
~pumpkin, pumpkin, and more pumpkin. Muffins, pancakes, oatmeal.
~fiery orange leaves
~sparkle of princesses dressed up
~His promise
~learning to live in this very moment, this one right now He blessed us with
~playing soccer with Daddy


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Neighbor...

Why is it so easier to exclude, rather than include???

To put yourself first, rather than last???

"And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. And the second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these." Mark 12: 30-31 (emphasis mine)

Nowhere does it say love your neighbor only if...

they look like you....

have your skin color...

wear the "right" clothes...

drive the "right" car...

don't have annoying children...

aren't Muslim....

aren't Hindu....

What if we could love more, love unconditionally as His son did. Love without intention, love irregardless. To often I catch me putting myself before others. Wondering why they can't be like me, wouldn't it be easier then? Rather than bowing before Him and refusing to go there. What about putting others first as He did? How uncomfortable is this prayer of mine. For Him to chisel and shape me, taking my selfish, sinful mess and praying that if I am patient, maybe just maybe I will be able to make out His image.



Monday, October 24, 2011

Greater

Our God is greater.

Our God is stronger.

Our God is higher.

Only He works in our lives in ways we could never imagine. He is faithful, He is the promise-keeper. Nothing happens by chance. Even when you can't see Him around you, He will show up. This mess of me, He is working in, He is shaping, and molding into His image. We are still known and loved by Him. There is no place that He cannot go~

"The Lord is great and is to be highly praised; he is to be honored more than all the gods. The gods of all the other nations are only idols, but the Lord created the heavens. Glory and majesty surround him; power and beauty fill his Temple." Psalm 96:4-6


~Holding hands
~Climbing trees at Great Grandma's
~Time slowing for puzzles
~Delight through six year old eyes
~Transparency and growing with friends
~Body of Christ doing life together
~Love still, after 14 years
~When friendship becomes family
~Teachers who care and inspire
~Warm sun through windows
~Messy handprints
~A clean home







Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Held

Six months ago we had a choice. We could either operate in faith or in fear. Even if you stand with only one tiny seed of faith you will learn that God is bigger than our fears, anger, pain, sorrow.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

No matter how much you throw at Him or lay at His feet, He loves you through it all. His promise has never been that we will not have trials or suffering. His promise is to meet us in the middle of it all. Our prayer landed in Gethsemane. And when He met us not only did He hold us, many times He carried us.

Breathing deep I let go and He catches me. For this is His promise, when everything crashes down, He will be there to hold us. We ran to Him for refuge and experienced His provision in the wilderness...

"The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." Deuteronomy 33:27


"This is what it means to be held
How it feels,
When the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive..."











Monday, October 17, 2011

Memories

Memories float back, so clear this time of year. Warm air brushing my face as I walked in, smelling of chocolate chip or snicker-doodle cookies depending on the menu that day. I can still feel the crisp clean sheets that always smelled slightly of bleach. Cheering of fans, this announcer, the game playing in the background. Oh, my grandparents loved baseball. Especially this time of year, because if it was still on in their house it meant the Cardinals were winning.

Remembering the stories of my mom listening to the games with her grandpa, as they repeated the same with me. Holding his hand going to the game, the strong smell of popcorn, excitement in the air. This week is for slowing down, making our own memories. Waking up to the gift of our moments. Watching some Cardinals baseball with one more generation.

~Silky sweet smelling curls
~Cousin love
~Lifting of hands together
~Unexpected, surprising blessing
~Sunrise that glows
~Fall drives
~Sisters
~Unwavering support of friends and family
~Warm small arms that wrap me in love
~ Privilege of ministering to others
~World Series baseball with the Cards:)



Saturday, October 15, 2011

October 15th - Breaking The Silence...

Nine months ago today I wondered if we were having a boy or girl...

Never even considering we would be on this journey instead...

Never thinking I wouldn't bring Isaac home with me, almost exactly on this day today...

Never knowing that there is a whole month remembering and celebrating our precious angels in heaven...

No one really thinks that their baby won't live, won't be born healthy, won't be going home...

Unless you know someone, or are that mom or dad...

Five months ago was the worst day of our lives, we found out we may get to hold him, only to have to give him back...

Three months ago we lived that day... and He let Isaac come long enough to tell us "I love you"...



Today is about remembering, celebrating lives lost too soon...

About BREAKING THE SILENCE...

One in four women will lose a baby, and we are not alone...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pure preciousness

Maybe I am nuts, but I was excited over the fact that she didn't need speech therapy, that she will "grow" out of all her crazy little sayings...

I am in love with the way she needs a banbaid for her dinger...

Or hanatizer for her hands...

I had a flat tummy when I was pregnant...

What dtinks momma???



Look at that face, would you want her to grow up any more quickly than she already is? If only I could just catch these breathtaking moments and bottle them for later. The sayings, belly laughs, hugs and lovins. Instead I will pause, catch myself and breathe, for this very moment is the only one I have for sure. Preciousness...





Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fingerprints

There are days He takes my breath away...


The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1

His fingerprints seem to surround, as if He is gifting me with a reminder of His power, love, glory and faithfulness. The masterpiece He has created pulls at me. Seeking beauty, I find Him and am overcome with His presence. Some days He seems so hidden, then other moments I am taken aback by His glory. My prayer has been for Him to reveal himself to me in all the moments in my day...

LORD, our Lord how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. Psalm 8:1


Monday, October 10, 2011

Lessons~

A small hand opened showing me a wooden cross and whale key chain. Momma, I am taking these to school today to teach my friends about God. Did you know that no matter how far you run away from God He will keep chasing you, He loves you that much. That is what Jonah did. He tried to run away and God kept chasing him because He loved him, that is what I want to tell my friends.

"In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead, I called for help and you listened to my cry." Jonah 2:2

"To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, LORD my God, brought my life up from the pit." Jonah 2:6

When we were cruising along and bouncing through life we tended to take God for granted. Yes, we prayed; yes, we went through the motions. But a deep, abiding, depending faith? Trusting Him with every part, every loved one in our life? It wasn't until we had lost all hope, that we truly turned to Him and gave Him each and every part of our lives.

"When I had lost all hope, I turned my thoughts once more to the LORD." Jonah 2:7

Much like Jonah we ran and He followed, we hit bottom, cried out to Him and He answered. He brought our life up from the pit. We are stubborn, but learning our own limitations, and that only He is sufficient. I know He is chasing me, and asking me to trust Him with all of it, even when I can't see beyond that moment. Learning to turn to Him in both the good and bad times.


~Lessons from my daughter
~Eyes sparkling with the love of the Lord
~Catching up with precious friends
~Mommy/daughter date nights
~Saturday morning pancakes
~Pink snow cones
~Perfect park days with girlfriends
~Rainy mornings
~Pumpkin patch
~Hope we have through Jesus
~Gift of a tree for Isaac
~First fall color

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fall fun~

Our visit to the pumpkin patch this week~

Angel kisses, don't you love them?

Smiling scarecrow~

Piles of pumpkins~

Oh, the indecision~


Precious friends~

"Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:20