Grr....I just lost my original post...

Here we go again...

Trent has been asking Mike to "go" fishing. So last night, we took advantage of the pond in our backyard and really had fun!! This is what Trent scored on the first cast...a big catfish! (Scroll down to see how "big" Trent was showing me it was.) Mike had quite the time trying to get the hook out. I offered to gracefully jog up the lawn to the house where I took in a deep breath completely wishing that I was not so out of shape or out of breath from ALL the exertion ran back up to the house to get the needle nose pliers, but to no avail...the line broke and the fish swam off. I saw nothing "floating" out there this morning, so it must have been alright. I still feel bad though. Mike told me not to worry because the hook will eventually work it's way out. (I guess humans pierce their lips, cheeks, noses, and eyebrows for fun, so this fish can just start the trend for our backyard pond.)

It was so nice out last night. We enjoyed being outside together...I stayed out a few extra minutes - while Mike got pj's on the boys - to take some pictures looking out at our backyard...so peaceful!!

I love these leaves. This Canadian Choke Cherry tree was planted right after Drew was born.


My mom and brother joined us at the pool a couple weeks ago when they were up for the memorial service. We had a great time enjoying the sun, heat, and of course the water. The boys could hardly wait to get there and I heard about it all morning! Trent had fun as he was catapulted into the air...thankfully no belly flops ensued! And Drew...he's just too cute!! He was so happy to be a part of all the action in the big pool, I heard no complaints about wearing a life jacket.


The Results...

...all came back perfectly normal.

We decided to have some genetic testing done after Joanna was born. We specifically wanted to check her chromosomes. At the beginning of my pregnancy, the doctor said he was pretty confident that Joanna's heart defect was an isolated thing. Later in my pregnancy he tossed out the possibility Joanna had trisomy. I thought this was a bit odd, considering there were no other signs of any abnormalities. I was never convinced that this was the underlying issue.

When I talked to the nurse last Friday, she said all the tests came back perfectly normal. It was simply Joanna's heart that had not formed correctly. A bittersweet answer. As a mom, I felt relief that I could not blame myself or feel guilty for "contributing" to her abnormalities...it wasn't something I passed on to her. Yet, I wonder why God allowed this to happen...THIS WAY. Though I realize I will not get any answers this lifetime, I trust that God will turn even our most tragic circumstances into something good. He was and still is in control, He formed each part of her. His love for her runs even deeper than mine.

This video is the way we introduced our baby girl to everyone attending her memorial service.
Enjoy meeting her and celebrating her life with us, too.


A package, some cards, and our Mail Lady...

You just never know who God will allow you to cross paths with. Yesterday it was our sweet mail lady. She's been delivering our mail since we've lived here (5 years), usually we wave and smile and sometimes there is opportunity for small talk. Yesterday was one of those days...

I got such a special package! My friends from college complied cards and notes and sent them all to me with a Willow Tree memory box entitled, "Angel of Mine." Brought me to tears! Thanks again girls, you really made my day!!

Since the package wouldn't fit in our mailbox, our mail lady brought it up to the door and rang the bell. I said "Thanks!" and she casually asked if it was my birthday. I said, "No, actually it's just a lot of love and support from our friends...we just had a stillborn 3 weeks ago." She said how sorry she was and she began to tear up. She said that her daughter just went through the same thing on July 30th. She shared that her own birthday was the 28th, like Joanna's, so her daughter waited to be induced until the 30th. She wiped her eyes and said, "This grandma just hasn't stopped crying yet." She apologized and told me she didn't want to get me started either. She asked how I was doing physically and she went on to share that on top of the loss, they found cancer, and her daughter is now going to have a hysterectomy. Her daughter is dealing with the reality of not being able to have any more children. I told her about the support group I've been going to at one of the local hospitals. It's been good to be able to relate to moms who have "been there," and know that I'm not alone in this. After reassuring her I was doing okay, that we were "hanging in there" and "taking one day at a time," we said goodbye. As she walked away, I swallowed the lump in my throat, and wished I would have been better prepared to share about Joanna and the hope we clung/cling to through all of this...How Joanna directed our thoughts heavenward. Who knows if she shares that hope or if that was my only opportunity to talk her (BUT I hope it is not!) I wondered too if her daughter received our Noah's Hope photo book. I'm praying for another opportunity to talk with her.

Just think, I would never have had the opportunity to talk with her without getting this package from friends! Because of their love and encouragement, I was able to share with a grandma who needed a little love and encouragement too. Keep praying...and be ready to pass on a little love and encouragement to someone who needs it...God can work amidst my/your pain...are you ready?

Back to School

Trent has been back in school a week now. He seems to really be enjoying 1st grade. Here are a few memorable pics from the first day of school...his class was actually on the front page of the local newspaper. The article was written about the students going back to school at their brand new school "on time" as there was a carpenters strike this summer that halted the progress. I've been enjoying a few extra minutes to sleep in...Trent's bus picks him up 10 minutes before school starts. (Last year the bus came 20 minutes earlier) Drew has done well too. He plays well on his own. He has built some really neat Lego cars, boats, and planes. Drew and I also went to story time at the library this week. It has been fun to have some time together - just the two of us!
I guess they think they are rockstars!? They were very excited!


A Beautiful Service

I wanted to share a bit about Joanna's Memorial Service. In two words: BEAUTIFUL, AMAZING! It was all that I could have asked for as we remembered with friends and family our "shining light," Joanna Claire. The music was beautiful (Thanks Ellen, Hillary, Doug, and Jerry). I wish I could post it for you all to hear! The poems and scripture were shared from the heart. (Thanks, Jen P, and Jen F, Dad, and Brianna) Then the message John brought so encompassed what Mike and I wanted to remember and share with you all about what we learned through our short time with Joanna. Though she never took a single breath of air, she was very much alive. I still cherish each kick! Though she never cried, she spoke volumes about The Perfect Designer and the Love, Grace, and Hope we can have through the death of His son. It was BEAUTIFUL!

Mike and I also shared a note at the end of the service and I'd like to share that again here...

August 15, 2009
Dear Family and Friends,

Mike and I first want to share how thankful we are for you. It is surreal to be here at this place again, saying goodbye to our child. Many of you sat in these chairs 2 ½ years ago as we remembered our son Noah. We can't thank you enough for the prayers of strength, grace, and peace that have sustained us these 7 months. Our God is gracious to give us what we need, just when we need it!

Emotions come at any moment and without warning. We know this makes for some awkwardness, so in these times, thank you for crying with us, offering a hug, or just extending grace through your quiet patience. Sometimes there are simply no words. We will never forget her life and so please don't feel you have to avoid mentioning Joanna's name for fear of "reminding us of the pain"...knowing you haven't forgotten is a gift to us. Joanna and Noah will always have a special place in our hearts. They will never be forgotten.

There are opportunities to continue learning our whole lives. Life’s lessons keep coming at us, they never end. We can let them beat us down, or choose growth - gaining wisdom and understanding from them. As hard as it is to walk through the school of suffering, Mike and I desire to graduate - not shaking our fist at God asking “Why?” but looking to the future asking “What is God going to do with our experience? How will He use our daughter’s life to impact others?” You being here is already testimony to that fact! Joanna Claire’s life has made a difference!

We trust that in your life, AS HE HAS DONE IN OURS, you recognize that God gives us beauty for ashes, strength for fear, gladness for mourning, and peace for despair. Our suffering is not in vain, our pain will not go unredeemed. He works in our lives amidst the pain to draw us near to Himself. Though we couldn’t control how Joanna’s heart was formed, we can control our response to this deep loss. Lord, may our response be beautiful and pleasing to You!

Mike and Kristin

The Cord

We are connected, My child and I
by an invisible cord, not seen by the eye.

It's not like the cord that connects us 'til birth
this cord can't be seen by any on earth.

This cord does it's work right from the start
it binds us together attached to my heart.

I know that it's there, though no one can see
the invisible cord from my child to me.

The strength of this cord is hard to describe
it can't be destroyed, it can't be denied.

It's stronger than any cord man can create
it withstands the tests, can hold any weight.

And though you are gone, though you're not here with me
the cord is still there , but no one can see.

It pulls at my heart, I am bruised , I am sore
But this cord is my lifeline as never before.

I am thankful that God connects us this way
A mother and child, death can't take this away.

-Author Unknown


Memorial Service

From Our Hands to Jesus'There will be a Memorial Service for Joanna Claire

on Saturday the 15th

at 11:00am

held at Wallen Baptist Church
(1001 West Wallen Rd, Ft Wayne,IN 46825)

Thanks for walking on this journey with us, friends!

Kristin, Mike and Family


On the schedule...

...Nothing but time. The pros: Relax, Rest, Quiet, Time to Think. The cons: Quiet Time to Think.
It's been an interesting few days, hard to believe our little girl was born a week ago already. Time just keeps on going and yet in my head and heart I'm stuck back at last Tuesday. It's been good for me to see Trent and Drew enjoying themselves and I love seeing their personalities come out throughout the events of the day...swimming, boating, tubing, kayaking, rope swinging, and just hanging out with their cousins. I'll give you a peek at the things that are making me smile this week among the tears.

**This was Trent's attempt to get a pic of Mike and I...oh well :)**


Drew as Indiana Jones!

Hope you get as BIG a smile as I did watching this!


Vacation? Now?

Well, we made it Saturday evening to the cottages with Mike's family. I actually slept pretty good last night. Thanks to Mike's mom and my mom for doing loads of laundry and helping me pack! But it might take a few days for my swelling ankles to recover from being on my feet more than I should have - I plan to sit and relax this week, promise!

I'm enjoying a cup of tea this Sunday morning and looking out over the lake - what a beautiful creation from the most Awesome Creator! I'm looking over and over at Joanna Claire's photos and thinking about Joanna's Creator not making any mistakes. She, a beautiful canvas to display His gentle brushstrokes and His sovereignty over all of the things He has made. Each of her tiny parts has been restored to perfection. She is alive, and one day I'll Will Rise too, no more sorrow, no more pain!

So, as you can guess, I've been listening to the song I Will Rise, among many others, and I've been reading in Hebrews. Chapter 7 verse 19 tells us, "and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God." This hope Mike and I claim is the gift of Jesus - sent to die for us (ME, Mike, Trent, Drew, Noah, Joanna, YOU) by His heavenly Father so that we can have a new life with our Creator God. Chapter 10 verse 23 says, "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."

I also wanted to attach the link to my aunt's blog - can't wait to get a hold of this book! Read her post Treasures in Jars of Clay. Many of you have commented about Joanna's "name" picture and I must give credit for the idea to my cousin Katie! She's just started a photography blog here.