Sharing my Journey

I had the privilege of sharing my testimony at Cedarville University back on the 18th of October. I shared about "Leaving a Wake of JOY" through the storms of life. I'm working on the possibility of posting the video here on my blog, but for now you can click here to go to the university's Chapel Archive. In the search bar type in my name "Kristin Koning" or search for Oct 18 and it should pop up. You can listen to the audio version or watch the video which includes my powerpoint pictures and scripture. I pray it will be an encouragement to you...


A Walk to Remember

I got to be a part of this Remembrance Walk on Saturday - Honoring and Remembering our babies together. It was a sappy "sad/happy" day, but it is always a good thing for me to be able to create good memories alongside such painful ones.

I also wanted to spread the word about Dupont's new support group. I do actually look forward to going! This is a place where I "belong," where I feel like I can breathe deeply, share honestly, and I don't have to explain anything…the other moms just get it. We meet the first Thursday of each month at 7pm.

A Walk to Remember
By Kathie Mayo 

I walk to remember the steps you’ll never take.
I carry you with me as I firmly plant my feet.
Our trek started long ago, before my belly swelled.
You were a love that grew like butterfly wings that beat.
Your gentle flutters then become kicks upon which I would dwell.
And I would talk to you, sweet babe, about the world you soon would meet
the sun always shown upon us then - when you were in my womb.
And I was eager to show you the world that would have been your home.
How you’d have loved the sun shining - blue skies without a cloud.
The autumn leaves turning - the snow falling all around.
The flowers in the summer- would have filled your eyes with smiles.
And the rain that might have fallen would have caused you great surprise.
You would have traveled far with me holding me by the hand.
And I’d have shown you all I could more than I can imagine.
You hold my heart tightly now, as though we’re holding hands.
How far we’ve traveled, little one and my life with you has been sweet.
For I carry you in my heart as I firmly plant my feet.


October 15th

And though our arms are empty,
Our hearts know what to do
Every beating of my heart says
"I Remember You"

For those of you who are wondering about all the candle pics popping up, today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day - No, we Don't need one day to Remember…we remember them EVERY day! But I am thankful this is becoming less taboo to talk about!

I'll be thinking about and praying for the moms tonight who, like me, have loved and lost. We all light candles tonight as we remember. We create a #waveoflight. It's nice to be able to feel we are NOT alone on this journey. We gather. We honor. We remember.

My heart aches for the day I get to see my children again. I saw a quote that went something like, "I miss you with all of the pieces of my heart." Yep, a heart once shattered has begun to heal.

The world may never notice
If a rosebud doesn't bloom:
Or even pause to wonder if the petals fall too soon.

But every life that ever forms,
Or ever comes to be
Touches the World in some small way
For all eternity.

The little ones we longed for
Were swiftly here and gone.
But the love that was then planted
Is a light that still shines on.

And though our arms are empty,
Our hearts know what to do

Every beating of my heart says
"I Remember You"

Author unknown


And...2 years later...

I've finished Joanna Claire's story book.  If you'd like to look through the pictures or read some of my thoughts click here.  It will direct you to Picaboo's webiste.  Just a helpful tip: Click on the page you want to see/read and it will zoom in. Click again on the zoomed page to go back.

And...I promise more posts to come...we've had a busy, busy summer!


A Milestone

This last week I made it to 27 weeks.  Lots of emotions as I thought about/compared my pregnancy now with Joanna's - the last week I carried her.  So many memories...

I'm thoroughly enjoying feeling Baby K move and kick, not so much the heartburn, but I'll take it.  Can't wait to see what SHE will look like.  Trent and Drew have indulged me by walking throughout the baby sections of whatever store we happen to be in.  I got a 10 dollar reward from JCPenny and I thought it would be fun to see if we could find a good deal...preferably free.  I haven't allowed myself to buy anything for her yet!  When I commented to Drew that there were just too many outfits to choose from...he gladly took over and picked out a cute outfit set for his sister and it only cost $2!!

I also received my copy of the book A Gift of Time.  Not quite a year after Noah was born I saw on the Perinatal Hospice website that two ladies were asking for submissions to help write this book.  I sent in Noah's story, answering various questions they supplied on a questionnaire.  So, Tuesday I sat on the couch - 3 years later - and just cried as I read several of my very own quotes...bringing me back to those very moments...emotions so raw.  So thankful that Noah's legacy will continue to touch the lives of families that are going through similar situations even now.  I trust this will be a great resource for families to read when given their own devastating diagnosis.  I'll be saving up to get a few copies to give to my doctors office!!  You can read a few excerpts on amazon.com, just click on the book cover.

After the boy's b-ball games, Mike helped me clear out our catch all/office/craft/computer room.  We set up the crib our friend gave us (thanks Ian for moving to your big boy bed!).  One of about the only things that didn't sell at our garage sale was the baby bedding.  So, I just got that out too.  The other half of the room will continue to house my office and the boy's desk/computer.  I organized the closet floor to ceiling with all my craft stuff.  So, needless to say, I'm glad to get this part done while I'm still feeling good.  Want a peek of the work in progress?


A Purpose...

I came across this illustration while I was reading Death of a Little Child by J. Vernon McGee.  I wanted to share this today as I think about my little girl.
"There is a story of sweetness and beauty which enlightens the heart of every parent who has lost a child. It concerns a custom among the shepherd folk of the Alps.  In the summer time when the grass in the lower valleys withers and dries up, the shepherds seek to lead their sheep up a winding, thorny, and stony pathway to the high grazing lands.  The sheep, reluctant to take the difficult pathway infested with dangers and hardships, turn back and will not follow.  The shepherds make repeated attempts, but the timid sheep will not follow.  Finally a shepherd reaches into the flock and takes a little lamb and places it under his arm, then reaches in again and takes another lamb, placing it under the other arm.  Then he starts up the precipitous pathway.  Soon the mother sheep start to follow and afterward the entire flock.  At last they ascend the tortuous trail to green pastures.
The Great Shepherd of the sheep, the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, has reached into the flock and he has picked up your lamb.  He did not do it to rob you, but to lead you out and upward.  He has richer and greener pastures for you, and He wants you to follow.
Will you follow Him?"
There is a new lamb cradled on Thy breast tonight,
A sweet small lamb, so lately mine
I scarce can keep my arms from reaching out
As though to snatch her back from Thine.

These arms of mine are wonted so to her, dear Lord,
They curved about her little form
So sweetly, and from dawn of time my breast was meant
To be her pillow, soft and warm.

What does one do with aching arms and empty hours,
With silent rooms, and dragging days?
The things I knew before will not avail me now-
Teach me new lessons and new ways.

Take Thou, I pray, these idle folded hands of mine
Which can no longer busied be
With dear, familiar tasks for her...In mercy, Lord,
Fill hands and heart with tasks for Thee!
                                                           -Martha Snell Nicholson


Would You Dare to Believe...

I Still Have a REASON to Sing.  It's been six months today.  Can't believe how the REALITY of my life has changed from what I thought WOULD be.  So I'm sittin'...thinkin'...cryin' today as I remember my little girl...BUT I can say I DO HAVE A REASON TO SING!  So, I choose to continue...even when the tears come...

I've head this song a few times now and I really like it!  I've said this before, but music has helped me so much as I process this thing called grief!  I'm so thankful for the HOPE I have.  When I went to youtube I found a link to the story behind this song...why it was written.  If you have time, check out this 10 min. video.  I love what the mom, Paula, says to her husband..."If we can trust God with our eternity, we've got to trust him with our NOW."  What a good reminder.  God knows right where I am NOW (not so much physically, but emotionally and mentally) and He's HERE carrying me through the hurt.

Do you wonder why you have to
Feel the things that hurt you
If there’s a God who loves you where is He now
Maybe there are things you can’t see
And all those things are happening
To bring a better ending
Someday somehow you’ll see you’ll see

Would you dare would you dare to believe
That you still have a reason to sing
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It can’t compare to the joy that’s coming

So hold on you gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It’s just the dark before the morning
 My friend you know how this all ends
You know where you’re going
You just don’t know how you’ll get there
So say a prayer

And hold on cause there’s good for those who love God
But life is not a snapshot
It might take a little time but you’ll see the bigger picture

Once you feel the weight of glory
All your pain will fade to memory

Would you dare would you dare to believe
That you still have a reason to sing
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It can’t compare to the joy that’s coming

Come on you gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
Cause the the pain that you've been feeling
It's just the hurt before the healing
Oh the pain that you’ve been feeling
It’s just the dark before the morning

Thanks for letting me share...

And before you think this blog is only about sad stuff...I've recovered my pictures from the hard drive crash and I'll try to post more regularly :)

Here's a sneak peak of what's BIG in Trent's life these days.


We Remember You...

By Connie Dyer

We do not need a special day
To bring you to our minds,
The days we do not think of you
Are very hard to find.

Each morning when we awake
We know that you are gone,
And no one knows the heartache
As we try to carry on.

Our hearts still ache with sadness
And secret tears still flow,
What it meant to lose you
No one will ever know

Our thoughts are always with you
Your place no one can fill,
In life we loved you dearly
In death we love you still

There will always be heartache
And often a silent tear,
But always a precious memory
Of the days when you were here.

If tears could build a staircase
And heartaches make a lane
We’d walk the path to Heaven
And bring you back home again.

We hold you close, within our hearts
And there you will remain,
To walk with us throughout our lives
Until we meet again.

Our family chain is broken now
And nothing seems the same
But as God calls us one by one
The chain will link again

Today was Joanna's actual due date.

We will never forget...

My heart hurts for the little girl that is not with us. 

My arms ache to hold her while she sleeps.

My mind tells me I should be awake at night with my baby, sleep deprived. 

I long to sing her lullabys, kiss her chubby cheeks, and tickle her little toes. 

We sure miss you Joanna Claire!

We find comfort knowing you'll just have heaven before we do...

These candle's were lit in honor and memory of both my babies, Noah and Joanna, and many other babies whose families live in the area.  We lit these earlier this month, participating in the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrace Day

In the rising of the sun
And in it’s going down,
In the blowing of the wind
And in the chill of winter,
In the opening of buds
And in the rebirth of spring,
We will remember you.
In the blueness of the sky
And in the warmth of summer,
In the rustling of leaves
And in the beauty of autumn,
In the beginning of the year
And when it ends,
We will remember you.
When we are weary
And in need of strength,
When we are lost and sick at heart,
When we have joys we yearn to share,
We will remember you.
For long as we live, you too shall live,
For you are a part of us,
And we will always remember.


Hittin' the Road...

We (Jen and I) are very excited about a new opportunity to share about our life experiences and our children. We will be traveling to Alabama in just two weeks, and speaking on the 20th! While we relflect on the value and miracle of new life, we will be focusing on how our children, Noah, Owen, and Joanna are WONDERFULLY MADE too.

Please be in prayer for us...
* that God would be glorified by all that we say and do
* as we pen out and prepare to share what is on our hearts -we are
  in the thick of this now!
* that our message would be heard loud and clear
* that we can deal effectively with the emotions that companion
  "going back there" (and specifically for me as Joanna's due date
  would have been Oct. 24 - these milestone anniversary dates can
  be emotional)
* that all the details come together smoothly
* for our physical health
* safety as we travel
* as our husbands care for our kids while we are away
* that we have an encouraging time with friends, old and new



Song of the Grieving

My mom gave me a cd before Noah was born. I like this song...you can hear part of it here.

Song of the Grieving

Lord, you can see our hearts filled with sorrow,
The tears that are falling down,
Someone we love has gone on before us,
And we're left with the questions now,

And we know in the bigger scheme it would seem
We'll see you again 'fore we know it,
But the truth is it feels like this wound might not heal,
We need Your mercy, Lord show it,
Please, hear our Prayer...

Give us grace to weather this storm,
And strength to grieve our loss,
And trust that you have not abandoned us in our pain,
Give us faith to believe that there's more than this,
And hope for out final home,
We stand here before You broken but still believing,
The song of the grieving.

We smile at the fact that your journey is done,
And your spirit is where it has longed to be,
We picture you now as you laugh with the angels,
Thanking the Lord that you're finally free,

And we know in the bigger scheme it would seem
We'll see you again 'fore we know it,
But the truth is it feels like this wound might not heal,
We need Your mercy, Lord show it,
Please hear our cry...

The song of the grieving
We're broken and beaten
We need your healing

-Matt Rexford


Nestled in Peace...

When I returned home from Iowa, Mike said the cemetery had called to let us know that Joanna's headstone had been placed. So, on Tuesday - the first day of fall - the boys and I took some flowers to the cemetery.
"May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way."

II Thess 3:16



Today I went to the doctor to have my "6 week check up." Hard to believe it's been that long since I felt the warmth of her body as they tenderly placed her on my stomach. I will never forget that, nor the cold of her checks, just hours later, as I gently stroked them. No, I'll never forget.

Time doesn't heal, but it cauterizes.

Each day is another step on this journey of grief, toward healing, and learning what my normal is now.

Okay, back to my appointment, everything went fairly well. The midwife that delivered Joanna took time to talk with me and make sure I was doing okay emotionally, not just physically. She and my doctor said how surprised, no pretty much shocked, he was when the results of Joanna's testing came back perfectly normal; her chromosomes exactly the way they should be. The doctor said again how glad he was we have our two boys...that what happened with Noah and Joanna were isolated occurrences...that I don't have to worry that I'm "damaged goods" (not the words I'd choose to describe my circumstances, but oh well)...I guess he meant that I shouldn't blame myself, that my body is not letting me down, or that I'm not doomed in the pregnancy department.

As he was leaving, I thanked him again for his care. I shared that I was apprehensive about coming back to see him this time. He rambled off about understanding that it would bring back unpleasant memories. But, I wanted to be sure to say that I appreciated his attitude and respect of our choice to carry Joanna. I emphasized how his support really made a difference. He shared how he's learning from his patients, he's changing how he does some things, and that his nurse is "softening" him.

I left a CD of Joanna's Memorial Service and a DVD of pictures...like I posted a while back...I hope his curiosity will be peaked and that he'll take a chance on listening to them. I've been thinking about what I can give to my doctor and his staff, to keep at the office, that would serve as a visual reminder of Noah and Joanna and the extraordinary and unexpected time I was given to carry my children. I'm thinking about giving them the "Cherish" Willow Tree figurine...it looks like this...

Thanks for "listening", friends. I'm reflecting on these verses tonight...I weep, but not without hope...

"What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,
who have set their minds on a pilgrimage...
when they walk through the Valley of Weeping,
it will become a place of refreshing springs.
The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings."
Psalms 84:5-6


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?


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


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.


An Uncle's Thoughts

As I wait to pen my thoughts and the events these last few days, I wanted to share the letter Joanna's uncle wrote. I think it captures perfectly my heart as well. THANK YOU for this SPECIAL GIFT, Kevin.

To my tiny niece Joanna,

I'm so glad I got to see you, Joanna, the day that you were born.
All bundled up, I held you, such a tiny baby's form.
Little Joanna Claire, such a great big shining light.
You have shown us God is gracious, and that His timing is right.
Without speaking a single word, you've already said so much.
Kicking in your mommy's tummy, did you know how many lives you'd touch?
See, just like your older brother, you are fulfilling your design,
God made you with a special heart, that now beats in perfect time.
You've shown so many people that God controls all of our days.
You are proof to the whole world that God is perfect in His ways.
We can not always understand why things happen like they do.
But we are certain that God is Love, because He created You!
I'm a little disappointed, Joanna, I have to wait so long,
To get to know my little niece, and ask you how you are so strong.
So til we get to see you, Joanna, we'll feel like we are apart,
But we know that you're with Jesus, living in rhythm with His heart.


No words...

Joanna Claire was born at 7:28 am this morning July 28. She was a full 26 weeks old. She weighed 2lbs. 13 oz. and was 12 in long. Her hands and feet were so tiny. Thank you all for your prayers, I have felt a real peace today.
I wanted to share the lyrics to the song I kept thinking of today...
He Knows My Name

I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hands

I have a Father
He calls me His own
He'll never leave me
No matter where I go

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And He hears me when I call


Joanna Claire's with Jesus

My tears are flooding over as I play the confirmation I got from the doctor just an hour and a half ago over in my head. Emotions and thoughts are overwhelming as I anticipate all that will take place in the next 24 hours. Let me back up a bit, last night as I enjoyed sitting with a friend talking and eating some Cold Stone I wondered how long I get to feel the hiccups and kicks from my little girl. Never did I imagine this week to be the "perfect time" God would chose to allow Joanna's heart to beat it's last. Today I got out my trusty dopplar and tried to find her heartbeat, but it was quiet. I don't allow myself to get all worked up, sometimes shes just not in a good position. I tried the cold soda and decided to wait to see if I could feel her kick or move. We enjoyed a wonderful day with some friends - swimming - the boys had a blast!! I checked again when we got home, but couldn't find a heartbeat. I called the doctors office and they said to come on in. My heart racing I dropped off the boys and raced to the doctors office...getting very impatient with all the SLOW drivers! He asked if I had a sixth sense about things. I told him I was not very confident about what I'd find out and as he moved the wand over my belling I saw nothing but black and white...no more movement - where so many weeks before, Joanna had defied the odds and just kept fighting to stay alive. He said, "I'm sorry, but you were right." He said, "Go home spend time with your family, get things settled, and meet me at the hospital at 9pm. I'll have everything lined up and ready to go." So, we'll head in to be induced tonight and say 'Goodbye before our Hello' to Joanna Claire in the morning.

We appreciate your prayers! Don't understand this timing like I said before because my mom is out of state doing some advanced training before school starts, we have been planning a family vacation to Michigan next week, Mike is very busy at work as another co-worker is on vacation. AHHH!!

So what can I change? Nothing but my attitude...so, I'll continue to trust that God is faithful and caring and is not at all looking down from heaven saying, "Ha, let's see how you do now! Figure this one out!" He is hurting with us, this is another reminder to us that this world is not all there is. There is a perfect world he has provided for us, and that is HEAVEN...no pain, no tears, no disease, no death! We are thankful for the assurance of this HOPE. Christ made a way for us to be a part of heaven through His own death on the cross and I can trust that no matter what tragedy or brokenness this world throws at us, we will come out with the faith that God has not abandoned us and left us alone. His Spirit abides with us giving us comfort, strength, peace, and hope for the future. It doesn't mean it doesn't hurt, boy, just the opposite!! My tears will be my constant companion for a while.

We'll try and post updates as soon as we can...