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

Saturday, July 14, 2012

One Year...

July 13, 2012~approx 2:00pm

A year ago right now we were getting ready to say hello and goodbye to you...
So tiny and precious you were...
Happy one year in heaven sweet Isaac...

It has been amazing to see the impact that your little life has had, the stories we continue to hear.  I think in your short time you have made more of a difference than I will in my entire lifetime. You have shaped and defined my faith in my Father, I cannot tell your story without telling of the hope of our Jesus.  The peace that surpassed all understanding the day we met you.  We are closer to Him than ever before because of you.  I know this because it was His arms that held me that day, it was His strength that has carried us over the last year.

You made me brave sweet boy, it was courage because of you that I stepped out in faith to trust in His plan.  It fills this Momma's heart to see how He continues to give purpose to your little life.  Thank you for blessing our family.  We look forward to the day we will see you again, until then we rest in the Hope and Peace that only He can give knowing you are in His arms in heaven.
We found this image through a friend, it has given me so much peace, imagining that perhaps this is what it looks while you laugh with Jesus in heaven:)


He blessed with a glimpse of His promise this evening while I was walking.  Fortunately I found a picture that someone had captured of the double rainbows over Tulsa.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Our Little Rainbow

And after the storm, the promise of the rainbow...

Meeting Sofia (wisdom-σοφία) Hope~June 2, 2012

Waiting for "go time"...

Excited big sis...

Love of my life and best Daddy ever...

So blessed with an amazing team, love Dr. H...

Our first time meeting you, and did you ever have a set of lungs. Best.Sound.Ever...

Sweet Alyssa surprised us by coming in just for your delivery...

Big sister's first time to see you with excited Nana, Papa, Grandma, Papa, Tia and Cristian...

Getting to know you...

Dr. H, what a year and half she has walked through with our family, so, so thankful for her...

Our two angels...






What a year we have had, and He has never left our side...

We are reminded constantly of His power, perfection and promise.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.  Romans 8:28

Friday, June 1, 2012

Update and thank you...


With Sofia's arrival coming soon, we wanted to thank you for all of the love and support you have blessed our family with over the last year and a half.  Without our faith in God and love of family and friends (near & far) I am not sure where we would be.  If I could ask you to find room in you prayers for our family over the next few days we would greatly appreciate it.  There is lots of excitement, but I would be in complete to denial to say there isn't some anxiety and fear.  Sweet Anastacia asks weekly if Sofia is coming to live with us, or in heaven with her brother.  My thoughts often spiral back to last year at this time, ironically exactly today we were at Children's in St. Louis undergoing testing for Isaac. It is such a bittersweet time for our family.  We are eternally grateful and overjoyed to meet Sofia, at the same time our thoughts often are on our sweet son in heaven.  Many of you have sent messages of love and prayers the last several days and weeks, thank you.  We will keep you updated as Sofia joins our family.  Below is a letter that I wrote earlier this month, and it certainly applies to so many of you....

We knew from the beginning of this journey that God had His hand on it.  And His timing was perfect and never ceases to amaze us. We prayed for someone to walk along with us and He sent us all of you.  Your friendship has helped heal our hearts.
Thank you for sharing and doing life together, not just being together. God in is infinite wisdom wired us for community and knew we needed you, our friends and family more than ever this last year.
You allowed us to bring our joy, sorrow, pain, and lay them at your doorstep.  You have been there to celebrate both the beauty and the sorrow with our family. Many times you were content to come and just “be”.   Thank you for not staying “safe”, but instead reaching out with LOVE to us, for opening up yourself and your families to us.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20
Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus to our family this last year!   You opened your hearts to love and give as Jesus would.  Through so many of the moments we have shared with you, God has met us with His love and shared that He is enough….
You are loved… Psalm 103:11
You are chosen…1 Peter 2:9
You are valuable…Matthew 10:31
Thank you for the last year and for today, sharing in our joy!  You are a gift from God.  Each one of you has been such a blessing to our family and we love you all~

Amos, Jennette, Anastacia, Isaac & Sofia

“All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Everything

As my finger ran over her new shark tooth necklace, I immediately thought of thorns, then the crown. It is hard to find words to convey the meaning this Easter has for our family. We love them so much it hurts, physically it hurts. To imagine willingly, intentionally, sacrificing your child for me, for you, for our fallen world...

Because if we had the choice we never would have given up Isaac. But isn't that exactly what He did for us? Gave up His son? It cost Him everything.

It. Is. Everything.

It. Changes. Everything.

How can we ignore the miracle of Jesus' life...the love, grace, mercy, redemption, and hope we receive through Him.

The HOPE. This priceless gift we have, because of today, we know we will one day see Isaac again. Because of today, even though part of me has died, I am still alive.

Isaac is with Him, I may not know or understand His ways, but I can know Him. And we have hope because we have Him.

"It is finished." John 19:30

And we are redeemed...


We went as a family today to Isaac's grave, Anastacia wanted to help decorate it. (And we have finally picked out a marker, I think it took us some time before we were ready to go there) Her three pictures she made for him in the meantime are his marker. The cross, the last supper, and Jesus in the garden telling Mary He is alive. How I love her sweet spirit. As we were leaving, she waved and said goodbye.

Our conversation a couple of weeks ago...
"Mommy I miss Isaac, what do you think he looks like now?"
"I think he probably looks a lot like your Daddy, just like he did when he was born."
"You mean he has golden hair?"
"Yes, I think he has golden hair."
"I wish I could visit him so we could play."
"I know, Mommy misses him so much too."
"But, it doesn't work that way does it Mommy, once you go to heaven you have to stay there."
"No, it doesn't work that way."
"I am glad he is in heaven then, because one day I will get to go see him and play with him forever. When I go see Jesus."
"Yes, we will."

To update you on our precious new addition, Sofia, she is doing wonderful. He gives me peace daily through her kicks and activity. She is growing, and a healthy three pounds. It is hard to believe we are down to counting weeks until she will be part of our family. Thank you so much for all of the prayers and messages. We are grateful and excited for the hope of new life...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sofia Hope

Thankful and very, very grateful. For His blessings and all of your love and support. Our little girl by all indications is a healthy little baby. After much discussing (because when you have a six year old you have lots of opinions I have discovered) and many prayers we have decided on..

wisdom-σοφία (sofía)...

and Hope....

This pretty much sums up what we have held on to the last year. As well as what we
pray for all of our children to have. I remind myself often to breathe deeply and
hold tightly to Him and the promises in His word. He knows the fears and doubts in my heart. And I know without a shadow of doubt I can trust Him now more than ever before. Before losing Isaac, before walking through the valley. He knows the plans He has for us...

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and
not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11


We wanted to share a glimpse of our sweet girl, with her hand on her forehead. We are wondering if she is already taking drama lessons from big sis:)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

His Timing and Our New Blessing

Many of you have sent messages checking on us, I know I've been quiet. Cherishing the moments and intentionally unplugging. But also counting our blessings in amazement of His timing. It is always, always perfect...

We found out on October 13th, exactly 3 months to the day that we lost Isaac that we are pregnant. Shock that it happened so quickly (because it so hasn't in the past) has slowly turned to cautious excitement. I imagine a big part of me is protecting my heart, but I really try to not stop and think about that too much. This is also a big reason I have been quiet. If I ever seem to avoid or not answer questions I am sorry, I don't mean to, but believe it is part of my way of coping. We still have many, many moments that we grieve the loss of Isaac, and this baby will never, ever replace him. It is a balancing act, this life we all live.

We waited until we were toward the end of our first trimester to tell Anastacia. She was absolutely and completely precious. Her first comment was "How in the world am I going to be a big sister to TWO babies?" And then with her big eyes turned and asked us "Do you think God will let this baby live with us instead of heaven?" We told her that is our prayer.
We found out about a month ago we are expecting a little girl. Once again Anastacia completely called it:) We had been talking about names several weeks before and we went over some ideas for a girl, and then I asked what about if we have a boy? Her response...

"Mom, I have a brother I know he is in heaven but I will get to see him and live with him one day, God is sending us a sister this time." Sometimes I wonder:) A few weeks later when we found out and told her she clapped her hands and said "I knew it, remember mom I told you God was sending us a girl."

I have gone back and forth the last few months about writing this part of our journey, but there have been so many moments I don't want to forget. Also, God has taught us over the last year nothing can ever replace the community of faith and prayer that has surrounded us. So, here we are...

to which my body says really again? :)
And our minds and hearts are slowly processing and wrapping around this idea of another little baby. We have come to the conclusion we probably won't relax much until she is here. And that is okay, this is a whole other journey that has come with it's own set of mountains and valleys. More stepping out in courage to trust Him. And knowing that His plan is always, always perfect.

If you could find room in your prayers this weekend for our family, we have an ultrasound Monday morning with a perinatal (high risk) doctor. Our amazing OB who is so dear to us has been following us every two weeks, but they also want to do a very thorough anatomy scan and growth measurement check-up. I am about 21 weeks and she is actively kicking right now, there has been nothing to indicate anything but a healthy little girl. On the flip side of that we intentionally turned down much of the testing we did early on with Isaac. It didn't ever tell us much other than that "something" was going on, but they weren't able to tell "what" until he was developed enough to check/measure anatomy. Which is where we are now. This makes me nervous if I stop and think about it, which honestly I don't...

We continue to hold tight to Proverbs 3:5.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding."

Thursday, February 2, 2012

You Brought Joy...

Oh, how you brought joy to their world. The blessings you poured out to so many were amazing to see and we wanted to share some of them with you. In memory of our precious son you filled his stocking, and the hearts of so many this Christmas season...



"Yesterday morning my sons and I spent some time making care bags for those going through treatment at my oncologist's office. They colored cute little Merry Christmas tags and packed the bags while my friend and I tied ribbons. I told my friend all about you and how much your mommy, daddy, and big sister love you and wanted to remember you this year. I can only imagine how heaven must be right now. How precious to know you are whole, perfect and so very loved. When we delivered the bags to the nurse at the chemo room, she had tears in her eyes as she thanked us."

"We selected a tag off the giving tree at our church to purchase a gift for another four year old girl who wanted a dollhouse for Christmas. I explained to our daughter that the true reason for the season is giving to others and sharing our blessings. She went with me to pick out the dollhouse for this child and we took it to our church. It is still a work in progress, but she is slowly learning the value of giving to others. We also did something a little different this year for the kid's gift exchange between cousins on Christmas eve. The money that we normally would spend on gifts we used instead to buy animals for a needy family through Heifer International. It's truly amazing how a donation from us can buy a needy family an animal that can make milk to drink or sell and support their family for years. The kids exchanged books instead that they already owned and thought their cousins would enjoy. Christmas eve was truly a wonderful time spent with family and reflecting back on the year."

"We donated sheets and snow boots to our angel tree. We made and brought Christmas cookies to a neighbor in a difficult time."

"We donated to www.vestergaard-frandsen.com towards the wells being dug for water. The most expensive part of the well digging is the concrete. For $25 for you can donate 2 bags of concrete. It takes many bags to line the well. We are donating $300 this year in Isaac's name. I spoke with my husband about it last night and these children will have clean water to drink from."

"My daughter-age 6- had decided to get rid of some of their books, so I took them to her school, where my secretary collects books for her late daughter's memorial fund at Catholic Charities. Both of my kids (my son is 9) were so touched by the reaction over the donation of only a few books that they decided to go through all the rest of their books so they could donate even more."

"We made the decision together as a family to spend less on one another and instead focus on those in need. We adopted a family through Collinsville Schools and had a blast buying gifts for them."

"My wife and I were at dinner having a date night. While we were eating she noticed a young couple and asked "Can we buy that couple's dinner tonight in honor of Isaac?" So we asked the waitress if she would give their ticket to us, once we got their ticket we wrote: Merry Christmas in honor of Isaac Lee Berry and left it on the table. While we were leaving the restaurant we saw the waitress tell the couple that someone had bought their dinner and they were truly ecstatic."

"A drink was purchased for the Salvation Army bell ringer outside Reasor's one evening."

"We ate at IHOP this month. Service is always slow and not that great. Well we got a very good waitress. She was young and friendly. When we were leaving I told her what we thought of her service. She said we made her day. Our words gave her the encouragement to stick it out at a less than fulfilling job. She said people are always rude and impossible to please and she was ready to quit. We left her a big tip and a light heart. Those simple words that took a few minutes to share quite possibly changed her life....in Isaac's name. As usual he is changing lives from his little perch in Jesus' lap. We will continue to try and change lives in Isaac's name because he changed our lives forever."

"My act of kindness was for my elderly neighbor that lives next door to me. She's lived in her house since I've lived here but I rarely see her. I really don't know much about her, other than she is alone. She does have children that occasionally come by a handful of times each year. She probably leaves the house once a month or so. I put together a Christmas gift basket and card for her. The card left my contact information and I asked her to please call me with any needs. It took us three days before she would come to the door but this morning after my daughter tried to open the door to let herself in she finally answered. We were able to talk for awhile and I think she really enjoyed the basket of Christmas goodies. I appreciate the idea and I think it's a great way to inspire and show us how easy it can be to lend a hand, or let someone know they are loved/cared for!"

"Our daughter and our son picked out four Angel Tree children this year. It was a delight to see them excited about giving to those that are less fortunate. Also, instead of giving gifts at our school Christmas party this year we gave to those families in our school that needed our help. Our daughter helped another get up after falling and clean up their spill with napkins."

"We took a small basket filled with goodies to the assisted living center down the street from our home. My sons and I walked in and found about 8 individuals sitting around the table. One gentleman said, "look maybe that's Santa coming now" referring to us. I just replied, actually we have brought you a few goodies. We chatted for a bit and then another individual asked me if we were with a church. I told them I brought the treats as an act of kindness in remembrance of our friends son Isaac who passed away this year. I was very touched by the sweet responses and appreciation of our kindness. It was especially good for our son to see and he wants to go back and take more stuff."

"Our Kindergartner- I cleaned off my lunch plate, my silverware and my trash today. Then I told my mom, 'This is my random act of Kindness, If we do things before someone asks us, we are loving them'."

"I realized that your note and his memory have pushed me to do much more for my mother this season and make memories with her. Thank you for the wonderful reminder of what Christ's birthday represents."

"Through a outreach program I heard about a family who was being evicted from their home in 2 hours. They were a husband, wife and 3 children. I was able to talk to someone I helped before that was an assistant manager at Town House Suites. She agreed to allow them to stay there for 3 days in a very nice room. The outreach paid for two nights and our family paid for the third. I also took several bags of groceries and had them let me put it all in their room. He called me the next day to say how appreciative his family was for getting them the room and the groceries. It felt good to be able to help yet another family."

"We sent several items this year to the "Gospel for Asia" program. We added an extra blanket in our order from Isaac Lee."

"We sponsored a little boy from Uganda."

"We appreciate good service and like to commend those who give it. We have been calling companies as we receive good service and telling them we wanted to thank that employee for a job well done. Hopefully, the message was passed down to them."

"The random act of kindness done in the name of Isaac was the donation of our mini-van to a family desperately in need. I heard about this family through a co-worker. The father of this family of five is a salesman. Two weeks ago he was crossing 3 lanes of traffic and was hit and totaled their car. They didn't have the means to buy another car. Besides getting to work, the family was struggling to find rides for the teenage children to get to school and run normal errands. God laid it on my heart to give them our van and so we delivered it to them on Wednesday 12/21. As it turn out, both husband and wife struggle with the performance trap and could not believe it when they were told that this van was given to them by a complete stranger. It is my prayer that they see that the donation of this van reminds them that God has not forgotten them and is with them in their pain. He is cheering for them. I gave our van in memory of Isaac. May the spirit of giving continue as we share life together. Just as God is with this family, so has he been with your family. It is my prayer that the stories of provision and God's grace and provision through this hard time linger in your heart and minds until you are reunited with Isaac in Heaven. I am humbled and honored to share life with you guys and look forward to meeting Isaac in Heaven!"

"A good friend of ours had to leave her home and move into a nursing home. We visit her weekly, this week we are taking her a Christmas centerpiece in Isaac's name."

"We purchased a gift card at Chic-fil-a for someone in the military."

"Our family served at a women's shelter, we pampered the mom's doing manicures, activities with the children, cooked meals, and helped with Christmas gifts."

"The janitor at our children's school has five children and works 2 jobs. Our daughter was told each child would get only one gift for Christmas. She came home and looked at our tree, and then she and her brother grabbed their own money and went shopping for the family."

Some of our own "Random Acts of Kindness" with Anastacia. It was so much fun to watch her eyes light up and see the excitement she had over blessing others.


Hiding money in the food at the grocery store. We prayed the families that needed it most would find it. We were back a couple of days later and she checked to make sure it was gone:)


Hiding money in the toy aisle at Walmart.




A little love for our faithful postal worker.


On Christmas morning we made such a special memory as a family together, reading all of the letters and notes from you. Our eyes brimmed with tears as we read on and on. You were a blessing to so many, thank you!


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Courageous

So I don't think I have cried that much since May, or June, or July for that matter:) Amos and I opened up some tender and pretty raw wounds late last night. I knew they were still there, I think they always will be to an extent...

We have heard amazing things about the new movie Courageous, but honestly knew very few details as to what it was about. It is probably a good thing, because I am not sure I would have been brave enough to watch it, but it was SOOOOOO worth it. The tears were worth it. What a powerful message. If you haven't seen it, run and I mean run to rent or buy it!

I think it impacted us so much because we have had so many similar conversations in our family over the last year. If there is anything we have learned it is to slow down, live intentionally, and that life is so very, very fragile. While we did not lose an older child, the pain and grief are still all too familiar. I have played the movie reels in my head of the missed moments rocking, holding, playing and watching Isaac grow up. And the one thing that has kept both Amos and I steady the whole time is our faith and hope we have in knowing we will one day see Isaac. Until then as I like to say to Anastacia, he is sitting in the lap of Jesus.

My hope and prayer for all of you is that you won't ever have to lose a loved one or have tragedy strike to cause you to reflect on your life and motivate change. Just this week I answered a text back late at night from a girlfriend who responded she was surprised I was still up. I quickly explained I had already been to bed once and was on my second trip for the night. I had laid down to snuggle with Anastacia and say our nightly prayers. As usual I ended up falling asleep and moving to our bed about 11:) She answered back I was "a good momma", to which I replied that wasn't me, but Him changing and working on me. It made me think back to all of the moments that I have missed in the past but since losing Isaac have literally clung to with Anastacia and Amos. It isn't always easy and sometimes takes reminding that I have to be intentional about spending time with my family. It has become our number one priority the last several months. TV's and computers have been turned off while texts and phone calls often go unanswered. The house is sometimes (okay lots of times:) messy, and laundry doesn't always get done.

But as they said so perfectly in the movie what is more important than the soul of my child?

I think I should tape that to the mirror, TV, computer and my phone. Just to remind me in the midst of all of the distractions what my true focus needs to be on. We need to, we have to have an URGENCY like nothing else to pour our love and the love of Christ into our children.

STOP to dance, play, listen, connect and spend time with your children...

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 1:4





Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas Day 2011


~Christmas morning at our house~



We keep it pretty simple at our house, because as you will see we are beyond blessed with lots and lots of family:)









The blessings poured in, I will write more about this later, but our hearts were truly overwhelmed!

Christmas at Grandma and Papa's house with our Sariah, Sydney, Uncle Russ, Aunt Kim and Great Grandma.

Loving on our Great Grandma:)

A surprise, the refrigerator to her pink kitchen set. I think she could cook all day!



Christmas at Nana and Papa's with Cristian, Erik, Tio Tavo, Tia Tricia, Aunt Julie, Uncle Ric and his girlfriend Spoorthi.









Loving on our Nana:)


Good thing he is so stinkin cute, because he is ONERY:)

American Girl doll loot, and she was blessed with lots of it! That is what happens when you have fours sets of aunts/uncles!

Aunt Julie with lots and lots of patience to unpackage all of it, and play, for hours and hours. I was told a couple of weeks later she "needed" Aunt Julie to come play because I didn't know how to do it right:)


Only at Nana's do you get lots of ice cream with syrup and m&m's...

Such a wonderful weekend, we were blessed with lots and lots of family time and worshiped with our friends/church family to celebrate the birth of our savior!


Friday, January 6, 2012

Christmas Memories

Some of our favorite memories from the last few weeks...



~Before our Christmas program at school~



~Hot cocoa, pj's, and an outing to see Christmas lights. We had so much fun we went again and she brought a girlfriend. A funny and sweet conversation took place. After a period of quiet and looking at lights her friend quite dramatically said "and our house has nothing", to which Anastacia said "that's okay, not everybody celebrates Christmas", I started to say something and glanced to the backseat. She went on to explain "well it's not about Christmas lights, trees and Santa, it is about Jesus and giving so it doesn't matter if you have lights or not." I breathed a sigh, maybe, just maybe she is "getting it"~



~Decorating our "sparkly" Christmas tree, bet you can't guess we like pink, and sparkle~



~Fun with Nana's blinking reindeer nose~



~That our cousin preferred to wear as an eye patch~




~Finally one more tooth out, we lost four from Halloween to Christmas~



~Baking with mommy~



~We loved kneading~



~I tell her she has the face of an angel~



~A visit to see Santa, she wanted to tell him she needed her two front teeth for Christmas. And then proceeded one of the most precious conversations. Santa has never been, and never will be our primary focus at Christmas. We pray for wisdom and balance while also allowing some freedom for fun:) ~


~Explaining that she "needed" her two front teeth back. Asking what she had done with them, she explained she had put them under her pillow and received some money for them. To which he exclaimed "YOU sold your teeth??"~



~Which elicited lots of giggles and smiles~



~A fun picture from the photo booth and memories. I love how her sweet hands are folded. She told Daddy, he might be the real Santa because you could see his hair, but the rest are "fakes"~