Grief is complicated. It is all consuming. I know about grief. But I also know about the reprieve that God has given to me. I consider it a gift. An amazing one at that. But one I do not want all the time. Today, I want to miss my little girl. I went to a friends house tonight who just had a baby girl three days ago. She was yellow from jaundice, had dark hair galore and reminded me of my little girl. I came home and decided that I wanted to feel bad. Does that sound stupid? With Ava being gone for over three years, my grief is not usually as heart-wrenching on a day to day basis. It feels good to grieve sometimes. It makes her feel close. 

So, when does my grief end? I never really thought about that until a few days ago. You'd think I'd have thought of that before, considering how many books I've read regarding losing a child but I never really thought about when I'd be done. I was running the track at the YMCA, talking (or rather huffing) with a friend and we got to talking about Ava. As we talked, I came to this realization that most of you probably already realize, but to me, it was eye-opening. My grief will never be over in this lifetime. When I am 80, I will still miss my little girl. I will still hurt for all that was lost, or that was never to be. Instead of it seeming like a death sentence though, I find it comforting. Knowing that my baby will always be a part of me, that God has allowed my heart to love so deeply, to know that I never have to be "over it."

merry christmas

It's been a good day. I just finished putting away all the kids goodies from grandpa and grandma. We had a nice time celebrating Christmas with my parents today. I marvel at the fact that my God sent a baby to earth to save ME. He also sent that baby to save YOU. It becomes so simple when you try to explain it to your kids. It creates in me a child-like faith that I treasure. I serve an amazing God who has given me gifts beyond understanding and stood beside me while I went through the valleys. I am a fallen woman. A woman saved by grace. Now THAT'S  a Christmas present!


much has been happening around our home. as time progresses, I know that we will be letting you a little more into our lives. I really believe that God continues to teach me through each trial, error and success.  I'm sorry for the huge lull.  When things started getting crazy around here about a month ago, I really had every intention of putting up a new post.

So, even though things are tough right now, I thought I'd let you know we are still alive.  

The other day, we got out all our Christmas stuff and one of the things that came out of hiding was a Little People Nativity set. Ephram has been having a hay-day with all the parts. The other day, all the parts got thrown into the toy box and so I decided to go rescue it. Well, I could find every part but the most important part- baby Jesus. Hmmm... where did it go? I looked through every conceivable place and still, no baby Jesus. So, I thought I'd go to Noah who always seems to know where all the random stuff is around the house. I said, "Noah, where is baby Jesus? I can't find him anywhere."  He sort of looked at me for a few seconds and then said, "Well, He's not lost. He's in my heart."  

Okay, the kid might actually be getting it (I still couldn't find the baby Jesus toy). So, the last few days, as we've been looking for Jesus, he keeps talking about how Jesus lives in his heart. I started out thinking we had lost the most important part of the nativity set and ended up thinking that it may be the most appropriate.

By the way, we found Jesus today. He was hiding under Ephram's bed behind a basket I SWORE I moved. :-) Is anyone else as hair-brained as me?


I have amazing friends... When I moved to Grand Rapids, I didn't know anyone but my sister. I figured my sister would always be enough, and she is, but a great circle of friends is a blessing. I sat at a coffee shop tonight for a Bible Study with five moms from church and was amazed at how God had brought us together. Each one of them has a special story, each one of them is connected to my heart in a special way. God has taught me so much through each of my friends. I often wonder if that is why so many of my friends are different from each other. How would I learn from each of them if they were all similar? We sat around the table and we each had a turn to say what the others had in their personality that was a blessing to us. It turned out to be such a blessing to be able to tell others how they have touched my life. Some of these girls did not come into my life until after Josh got hurt and some of them came within weeks of Ava's death. Each of them have been a source of strength and encouragement to me when times are hard. Thank you girls for an amazing friendship. It sometimes seems like I've lost a lot in life but then I look at what I've gained because of those losses and I am amazed. I would still never have chosen for life to take the path it has, but it has all the same. My losses are great but my blessings are greater. Please be praying for Josh. He is struggling with a bad cough that is getting him down both physically and emotionally. Because he does not have abdominal muscles, coughing is very difficult. He sort of throws himself forward in his chair to get a small cough out. It looks a bit ridiculous but it seems to help a bit. He is wearing himself out doing this. We have tried quite a few cough medicines, etc but they don't seem to do the trick. Because it is so hard on him physically, it starts to get him down emotionally. He laid in bed a few hours ago, gagging because his need to cough was so great with tears rolling down his face. I was unsure if the tears were from the cough or from the emotions. His mind tends to start running too fast when he is down and gets him down further. He asked me to pray with him specifically about this. I figured I could ask you to do the same. :-) Both kids are doing better in school all the time. Zoe has pajama day tomorrow and is excited about that. Noah loves to play basketball on the playground and talk the ear off of his bus drivers. Ephrams new mobility is keeping me on my toes. He is starting to try and run a bit and it is quite a sight. He still does a lot of falling but it is getting better all the time. Zoe and I are going to take a pumpkin to put on Ava's grave tomorrow. She just realized a few weeks ago that Ava's body is in the ground there. We had never been very explicit on where Ava's body went after she died. Not sure how she figured that one out. I guess is was inevitable. That was an interesting conversation... That's the summary of my kiddos. :-) I guess that's all that's going on here. I hope all of you are doing well and enjoying fall. The colors here are so vibrant! This is my favorite season!!!


Sorry but this is going to be short and sweet. I somehow managed to delete a huge post and I am a little disgusted with myself. Oh well. For a few of you who wanted to see a few more pics of the blessing otherwise known as our home, go to and you should be able to view a bunch more. An amazing guy from Calvary came and took a bunch of pictures with a wide angle lens. They turned out amazing. You will have to copy and paste to get to the web site. Sorry, I'm not so techno savvy. Noah is continuing to do great. Zoe is doing better going to school. She is not so anxious or teary eyed in the morning which makes this momma happy. Ephram is walking and talking like crazy and is very clearly calling his daddy "Josh." It cracks me up! Josh and I took a quick trip to the Eastern Shore for my cousin Erin's wedding. It went off nearly flawlessly. This was such a blessing! It was a long drive but we figured it was much easier than flying and having to transfer from all kinds of wheelchairs and plane seats. Josh's office is nearing completion. We are so excited to have it almost done. We are having some countertops put in so he can have access to all of the stuff he needs like printers and faxes. Yay! No more cords for me! The carpet looks great and all of his office furniture is now put together. He has a ton of bookshelves to put his massive amounts of books on. It will be nice to not have to dig through boxes looking for specific books he needs to prepare messages. He's just excited to have everything in one place. We went to grandpa and grandma's today for breakfast and it lasted past lunch. They had been on vacation for a little over two weeks and Noah was on serious grandpa withdrawal. They helped make breakfast, pick apples, took tractor rides and all the traditional stuff. Zoe wanted to plant her apple seeds by Ava's tree in my parents yard so my dad helped her. My precious little girl, always thinking of her baby sister. That's all for now. Heading off to bed. sorry so short...


This past week has flown by. I am so thankful for amazing friends and family.  My life has been a whirlwind of activity since the open house.  I went out to NYC last weekend while my sister and brother-in-law stayed here at the house with our kids and helped Josh.  My cousin and one of my best friends is getting married next week and I went out for her personal shower.  I had not been to NYC since I was a fourth grader and we were only there for a day. I loved the city, the people, the activity, almost everything about it.  What I loved the most was how much it made me appreciate where I live.  Going out for a few days was ideal. I was ready to come home to my hubby and kids. 

The kids have been adjusting to school life quite well. Noah continues to go to school like a champ.  Zoe is struggling with going all day.  She says it's too long. She loves to go on Fridays when she only goes for a half day. It's hard to send her out the door when she is upset, with tears in her eyes, saying she liked preschool better than kindergarten. I know it's what's best for her but it's kind of feels like she's ripping my heart out and stomping on it. 

Ephram is finally walking!!! I can't remember if that happened the day of the last post or not, so if you already know, I'm sorry. :-) We are so excited for him and even more excited for non-calloused knees and clean hands. He is so proud of himself. He just cheeses this big crazy grin when he starts walking toward us. It melts this mommy's heart.

Josh is continuing to stay busy and enjoying having his own space in the house. His office is hopefully being carpeted on Friday. We can then start decorating a bit and getting his massive amount of books out and getting them onto shelves. This wife is tired of rifling through boxes every few days looking for a specific book or cord. :-) I know how much he will love having a place to call his own. He is staying busy working on graphic design projects and church stuff.

We had Fall Kickoff for church this past Sunday.  One thing that we are really excited about is having all the kids come together for a time of worship. Each family got a CD with the 10 songs on it they will be singing this semester. This way, all the kids will learn the music. Each Sunday, they get their own live band and the kids are pumped. Zoe and Emmy got to help lead worship this past Sunday. What an amazing opportunity for her. Singing was the first thing Noah talked about on Monday morning. I love how much my kids love church. It solidifies that we are in the right church for us and that God is working in their lives.

Saturday is Family Fun Day in Allendale.  We had it last year and had a blast!!! It is an amazing afternoon of fun for the kids and the adults had fun just talking and hanging out while the kids played. They have bounce houses, face painting, cotton candy, rides, and all kinds of fun stuff. There is also a silent auction and free food. It was a great success last year and a huge help to our family.  I just loved how much my kids enjoyed themselves and all the other kids there. So, if you're looking for something to do on Satuday (the weather is supposed to be great!) from 3p-7p, head out to Allendale Middle School. It's right on Lake Michigan Drive between 64th and 68th avenue on the north side of the road (or mapquest it). It's guaranteed to be a great time. Hope to see you there!

house pictures!!!

it's a miracle

No, Josh is not walking...sorry if that post title sort of freaked you out. :0(

This is as close to a miracle as Josh walking though.  

Ephram is walking!!!! 

Look down to the last few posts. I have been post crazy over the last couple of hours.

Pictures to come later today.  I borrowed my sister's camera cord to download some pics. 

Much love.

pictures? what pictures?

So, I took a handful of pictures tonight to post here on the site. Great idea huh? Until I couldn't find the cord to link up my camera with my computer. Most of the stuff in the house is organized except for all the cords etc. that will go in Josh's office. I'm sure that is where my cord happens to be. :0) Sorry.  I'll try to get back tomorrow and post them.

The open house went absolutely amazing. The dedication ceremony was heart-tugging to say the least. The prayer that Pastor Jim Samra prayed was truly blessed. He prayed for the house to be a place where ministry is done, where our family is home, where people of GR can see what God has done, and many other things. We are amazed by God's blessing...and we are home! 

The past few days have been nothing but normal. I'm back to cooking regular meals where we all sit down and eat. The kids are adjusting well to school. This momma is loving having the kids back in school for a bit every day. 

I spent about 4 and a half hours working on finances with a friend today. We got all of our bills together, created a new budget for the new house, and generally got all the moving craziness under control. I was so overwhelmed with all the paperwork that she took it into her hands to help me get it done. I could never have done it without her. She is a strong Christian woman who only has our best interest at heart, making sure we are being responsible and wise with what the Lord has blessed us with. 

I can't wait to show you all pics of the new house, but it will have to wait. Please be in prayer for Josh as he is nearing driver's training. He is a bit apprehensive (obviously so). Pray that the Lord reveals what plans he has for him, and that Josh's heart would follow along with the Lord's leading. Being able to drive will open up many new avenues for Josh such as going to seminary. We are continuously praying for God's guidance- for him to be the leader of our house. We are praying for clarity as we set out on this new journey of life after spinal cord injury.

family fun



3 P.M. TO 7 P.M.









Join us at the second annual Family Fun Day, a festival put on by a generous anc caring group of Shelly's friends from high school. All funds raised benefit Josh and Shelly and their ministries.

we're here!!!

We are really starting to settle in. The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity- contractors coming and going, friends helping unpack boxes, family over for fun times together.  We are starting to feel at home here at the house. I am laying in my bed right now and it is the first time since Josh's accident that I feel like we have a normal bedroom. :-) We don't just have a normal bedroom, we have a beautiful bedroom!  I am really looking forward to posting some pictures but I want to wait until after the Open House. I don't want to spoil the fun for anyone who is wanting to see it firsthand.  Come and see this amazing gift that God has given us- through you.

The Open House starts at noon this Saturday. There is a dedication service from 12 to about 12:20 and then they will open up the house. All of the specialty items purchased to help Josh will be working. There will be someone in each of the rooms with equipment, demonstrating how things work. The ceiling lift will be going, the I-Bot (balancing wheelchair) will be performing many a stunt, and the elevator will be available for viewing. I hope many of you can see what an incredible blessing this house is and will be for many years to come. 

Josh is really loving some space of his own. He has spent much of this week working on a graphic arts project for a company selling a type of honey as a cough suppressant for children. It is so great for him to have some space of his own to get work done in and have meetings in. This is the only room not completed but he's not complaining! He loves having a door he can close and get to work in. 

The kids are adjusting quite well. Zoe seems to be having the hardest time. We went to a neighborhood picnic on Sunday night and she just sat in Josh's lap and would act like she was sleeping. She continuously asked for us to take her home. There are numerous girls in the neighborhood, but they are all older than she. Please be praying for her to make some special friends who will make her feel welcome.

Noah is adjusting to school with flying colors. This is his fourth year of school already so he's an old pro. He has been jumping on the bus with little to no hesitation and already has his bus driver wrapped around his little finger. She is already letting him open up the door to the bus- he thinks he's big stuff. In the mornings, he goes to a Kinder-care class. This is a class for kids whose parents work and are in half-day kindergarten. No, we don't work but Noah has already been in all-day school and we don't want to lessen the amount of time he spends at school. In the mornings is when he gets socialization with other kids who are part of the general ed. population. In the afternoons, he goes to an Intensive Kindergarten. This a self-contained class with 10 students so he is getting plenty of one on one attention. So far, we are very happy with his transition.

Ephram continues on his happy way, indifferent to the changes around him. He is starting to talk so much. He thinks he needs to hang with the big kids and has taken to screaming when they shut him out or don't let him try something himself. He continues to crack us up. He is still not walking (little stinker) but crawls at a shockingly fast speed. He loves to get in his stroller and walk his brother and sister to the bus stop. 

We are starting to eat at home, as a family more which is great. Before the move, things were so chaotic it seemed like that fell off some. We are back to making it a priority and loving our time around the dinner table together. It makes me realize how special it is to take the time to sit together and just "be." Zoe has been setting an extra place for Ava so we all don't forget her.  She was telling a neighbor she has a sister and then said so matter of fact that she is "dead" but she lives in heaven with Jesus. This poor woman did not know what to say. :-) We did not say that word at first but found that we avoided the concrete words because they were hard for us. We have since started saying the harder words because this is what our kids seem to understand the easiest and they don't have all the social understandings of what's appropriate and what's not. We have just disregarded the social norms and did what we thought was best for our kids.

I feel as though I have carried on and wrote a novel. Sorry about the lapse in posting. Our internet was very flighty at first and we finally have the glitches worked out (now if we could just get Comcast to bury that stupid wire...another story all together!). Blessings to you all...

moving in

Since Josh and Shelly still don't have internet connections, I thought I'd quickly let you all know that moving day went well. Actually, it was fabulous. Wonderful. Excellent. Amazing. Lots of strong arms from Greenhouse showed up to help. Plus two kind men and their big truck. Plus two of my old friends (old as in they've been friends a long time!) with delicious food for everyone. Everything was out of the old rental house and into the new house by around 4 or 5. By 7 p.m. all beds were made and the kitchen was pretty much unpacked. I'll let Shelly fill in the details of the kids' reactions and all the other feelings, but those are the bare details of a very wonderful day.

I've been at Shelly's every day since helping to get everything in its place. I watched on Saturday as she stood in her new kitchen making sandwiches, a very ordinary but  very special sight. A friend called it claiming her territory in her new home. We're slowly making it feel like home, especially as we get out favorite items that have been packed away since the last move to the rental house. I'm so grateful to all those who have shown the love of God that lives in them by loving on our kids. What a gift of happiness in the midst of so much difficulty!

Jean (Shelly's mom)

the big day!!!

Tomorrow is the big day!!! As of 12 hours from now, we will officially be moving!!!!!!!! (How many more exclamation points can I post?) People are arriving around 9:00 a.m. and we will officially be underway. It will be a huge job, but we have many willing hands! Last night, a group of prayer-warriors did a prayer "walk-through." They prayed in every room, and for every family member. We are so blessed. They also gave us a gift called a mezuzah. It is a ceramic plaque, about 2 inches by about 6 inches. In the back of it is a small opening to put a piece of paper with the scripture of Deuteronomy 6:4. "Hear, oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One." You place this mezuzah in your doorway and touch it on your way in. The significance of this gift is so touching. We have received many wonderful gifts for our new home but this one will always hold a special place. I will post a picture of it after we place it at our door. The last few days have been full of packing, organizing, and planning. I don't always work so well under this type of pressure. It stresses me out. Josh said sarcastically, "Yeah, we've endured a lot. Paralysis and all... but it was moving day that was the end of us!" Giggle giggle. The kids are excited about the move. Noah can't wait for the swing in his new room and Zoe wants to see the rainbow painted on her wall. Ephram just sits around grinning. We will be trained tomorrow in the use of all the features of the house that will make Josh's life easier. Because we have not been trained, we have not been able to see them in action. So starting tomorrow, Josh will have a ceiling lift, an elevator, doors that open by remote, sinks and stoves he can pull under...the list goes on. The blessing of this house is beyond comprehension. For some reason, God chose to place us on the heart of a spiritual leader who felt it was his job to get something started. The "something" is a beautiful home for our family. Thank you to all of you who have prayed so diligently through this process. The people we have worked with have been wonderful. Everyone has been so generous and genuine. We have made great friends in the process. We are grateful. So grateful. The dream is becoming a reality.

happy birthday part 2

Josh got so many birthday wishes I couldn't figure out how to post them all. I gave up and decided to post.

32 years ago, around 8:00 in the evening if I remember correctly, Josh entered this world. He has brought so much joy to my life. He continues to make me laugh, encourage me, and lift me up to our heavenly Father. He continues to be a dedicated father and husband, and makes me proud almost every minute of the day. He continues to handle this hurdle in his life with dignity and poise which is only God given.  

We are moving in on Friday if all goes as planned. The lower level will be finished in the beginning of September, but the upper level is very livable.  I can't believe this if finally happening.  I cannot wait for people to come in and see the house that God's people built. Pretty incredible. 

I took the two older kids to Target this morning to buy daddy some presents.  Each picked him out a DVD about Earthy produced by PBS and we all watched it together this afternoon.  Zoe was the wrapping master and wrote out cards to Daddy (even filling out the one from me, signing it from "Shelly") and was beyond proud of herself!  We went out to Carrabba's for dinner with my mom and dad and Holly and Jay.  It was very nice.  We then went on to meet a large group of friends later at a restaurant and had cake shaped like a bear (long story, don't ask!). 

I am heading off to sleep. I have plenty to do to keep me busy before Friday so this little momma is hitting the hay!

happy birthday

Happy birthday, Josh! Wish Josh a happy 32nd birthday today!


Today was amazing.  

Really amazing. :-)

Yesterday evening, Josh and I headed down to Marion, IN to be a part of a golf scramble to benefit our ministry and family. It was an uneventful night (this is saying a lot considering we stayed at a hotel- not easy for us newbies in the area of quadriplegia) and did not run in to any major difficulties. We arrived at the golf outing around 10:00 a.m. and were greeted by many family members and friends. The feeling of love was overwhelming to us both at times. For Josh, to return to his hometown, see so many familiar faces, many of whom he has not seen in years, and feel such a strong support system was amazing. He had a perpetual grin on his face. I love to see him glowing!

The outing was a complete success, with many friends and family putting in countless hours of hard work. We know how much people have sacrificed to make this outing a success. We say thank you from the bottom of our heart. 

Josh had a chance to share from his heart during the lunch portion of the scramble. To hear how God continues to work in his life makes me a proud wife. :-)  We have many dreams and are praying for God to put some clarity to the plan. We both know that God wants us to use this for his glory, we are just unsure how this will take place.  Please be in prayer for us as we attempt to finish up our 501(c)3 status and have to have a clear, concise synopsis of what we are attempting to do. You know any form of a "synopsis" is difficult for me. I tend to run on and on and on... you get the picture.

We move in to our new home two weeks from today. The sod was laid yesterday and it looks absolutely amazing. The garage door is laid out in the garage, ready to be installed. I never thought I'd be so excited over either, but I am! Josh's lift system is ready to go, able to get him in and out of bed with ease, into the bathtub if he so chooses, and onto different workout equipment.  The blessings just keep on coming. 

Some friends are throwing us a housewarming party on Sunday (much undeserved but greatly appreciated) and we are getting excited. We just heard that the boys are invited so we are even more excited. Yes, Josh does care about the color of the towels, the light fixtures and most everything in between. He may not be your typical male, but that's what makes him who he is and why I like him so much!

Thank you to all of you who continue to follow us, pray for us, support us, and continually check up on us. We are truly blessed!

August 1st

Philippians 4:7 "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." TNIV This verse has been very close to my heart over the last few days. I had a conversation with my mother-in-law last weekend that really solidified this verse for me. First, some previous information thay may be helpful. Three years ago today our daugther, Ava Nicole, left this world to live with her heavenly Father. The past three years have been a major uphill battle but the Lord has been near to us through it all. After we lost Ava, the mental pictures of that day were nearly controlling my mind. I began to ask for prayer, specifically that the Lord would take these pictures from my mind and replace them with memories and peace. Fast forward three years and to my conversation last weekend. We were talking about Ava and how we have come so far since her death. We talked about how three years ago, before Ava's death, we were different people than we are now. Yes, it has been hard, but the growth that takes place is immeasurable. We went on to talk about how we remember her. The only word I could think of to describe that point in my life and the memory of Ava is "bittersweet." My memories are no longer of that horrible day and the pictures that went along with that. God granted many peoples prayers. Today, I remember her sweet little face. I remember taking her to the zoo and how contented she was all day in her car seat. I remember the day she was born and I was so drugged that I kept falling asleep right after she was born. The doctors thought it would be a few hours and it turned out to be only a few minutes. :-) I remember how we felt our family was complete. The day we brought Ava home I was sad that our birthing days were over. My memories also include the time after her death. We spent about a week at the lake a few days after she died, just to get away. I remember thinking that if my heart could crush my body, it would. I thought I would never take a bite of food with enjoyment ever again. Swallowing past the lump in my throat was difficult for months. I remember standing at Zoe's and Noah's cribs every evening and thanking God for getting us through another day. But the funny thing is, the pictures of that day and that hour of wondering if she would survive or not no longer have control over my mind. God granted the prayers of many and relieved me of carrying that burden. I don't think I would be the person I am today if I had to carry those pictures around in my head. Through this all, my God has given my many things. He gave me a closer relationship with those around me, he gave me another wonderful son, he saved my husband when he should have died, but most of all, he have me Himself.


This is Jean, Shelly's mom, highjacking their blog to let you in on some exciting information. THE MOVE IN DATE HAS BEEN SET. Oh, well, maybe Shelly already mentioned that they will be moving into their wonderful new home on August 22. The house is in its final stages, with tile and plumbing and landscaping going in.

To celebrate and to help outfit this new home, Shelly's friends from Greenhouse, their church, are having a housewarming party on August 10, 2:00 p.m. at the church on 1513 E. Fulton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49516. A number of friends and family received invitations, but we also wanted to open this up to Josh and Shelly's faithful friends on this blog. If you'd like to come, we'd love to have you there. Please know that you plan to attend. Shelly is registered at Bed Bath and Beyond and at Target. 

To those of you who I KNOW will ask if I don't mention it here, my ankle is healing fine. I went to the surgeon yesterday and had the stitches removed from the 4" incisions on each side of my ankle. Lots of blood and drainage and bruising and swelling. Too much information? OK, I'll move on. I have a new, removable cast and in 2 weeks I can get rid of this knee cart and start walking on it. Anyone who wants to see the xray picture of the huge plate and screws that now reside in my ankle, just let me know. I have it in my purse!

As many of you know, tomorrow is the third anniversary of the day we lost Josh and Shelly's precious little Ava. We'll commemorate the day together as a family in the way that has become a tradition already. I have a "memory" craft for everyone to make. We'll bring our creations out to Ava's grave, and we'll let pink balloons go.

When we get close to these anniversaries, I still have to remind myself why I'm feeling sad and anxious. Perhaps its because these experiences and the feelings that go with them are not what God planned for us as human beings. When sin entered the world, so did the death of little ones like Ava, and so did the sadness and anxiousness. But we've still retained our original design within ourselves, that this is not the way it was meant to be. So we're surprised by the experience and by the feelings that go with it.

Well, I've gone on a lot longer than Shelly probably intended when she gave me permission to "highjack" their blog. Oh well, open the door and I'm gonna go through, broken ankle, tears over Ava and all...

July 23, 2008

Hello all. We are doing well here at the Buck household. Ephram got tubes put in his ears last week and is doing great! He is a bit less fussy, although he has never been fussy baby. :-) We got to the hospital at 6:45 and we were gone before 8:30. Not too bad huh? This should solve his ear infection and numerous fevers issue. Josh continues on working for the church. He and my Uncle Randy have been doing a lot getting ready for the golf scramble on Saturday. It should be a great time. We have heard of numerous people we have never met who will be there, so we are looking forward to that. The house is getting very close to completion. The tile is going in the last few days as well as the elevator. Josh has been in the lower level only once so he is getting excited to see his office and the other areas he will use often. We have been furniture shopping and going to meetings the past week which makes for a busy week. We went to my mom and dad's house tonight for a little swim party. My brother, Derek, is in town from Florida so we've been having lots of family time. It's been great. We all met for dinner in Grand Haven on Monday at my parents RV. The kids went swimming and we went for a few walks. It can be hard for Josh to be in these situations because it becomes so obvious to him what he can't do anymore. All in all, he did really well. After we left, my parents and brother went for a walk on the pier and my mom fell and broke her ankle. She had to have surgery yesterday to have plates and pins placed which put a bit of a damper on things. (Yes, I'm being a bit sarcastic!) She is home and in good spirits. Please pray for her health and for infection to not set in. She was feeling a bit cold and under the weather when we took off this evening. On the way home I saw something that has had me thinking. We were heading east on Lake Michigan Drive toward home when I saw a mother and little boy around four walking on the sidewalk. A large white dog went running for them and jumped on the little boy. This was no mild jumping- the dog was attacking the little boy. The mom lunged forward and wrapped herself around her little boy. The owner was screaming at the dog trying to get it back under control. It all happened in just a few seconds but it really shook me up. I feel like that little boy. It seems like no matter which way I turn, that dog is still coming after me. The attack is relentless. The devil is insisting on this attack. And even when my heavenly Father wraps his arms around me to protect me, I am so scared I try to shake him off too, until I take that second to realize that someone is trying to protect me, not harm me. I'm sure that little boy was not sure what was going on when his mom wrapped her arms around him and yanked him to the side. I find myself pulling away from people lately. These are people who I know God has placed in my life as an encouragement and a positive influence. I know I pull away because my heart hurts. The three year anniversary of Ava's homegoing will be next Friday, August first. This has been another challenging year but one where I realize the constant ache and lump in my throat is much less prevalent. There are still times of such poignant grief yet they are becoming less often. There are still times where I realize that she is never far from my heart. For example, we were at camp last Sunday and I was sitting next to Sarah during the service. Josh had a power point presentation with pictures of all our kids, including Ava. Part way through the worship set, and before Josh was speaking, Sarah leaned over and said, "There's Ava!" Keep in mind that the strongest memories I have of her are at camp, a little over a week before she died. We spent the whole week together there, as a family, and the memories are very special. Well, when Sarah says, "There's Ava," my first gut reaction is to gasp and look. What she meant was "Look. There is a picture of Ava." After three years you would think I would not react that way. I have come to the conclusion that I will probably react that way when I'm 85. I will always be missing my little girl until I see her again. Anyway, a lot of thoughts running through my head, not much structure...typical me.

"For I know the plans I have for you..."

We had a fun night tonight. We went to Brad and Sarah's house and had a cook out with numerous people from church. We have made such great friends since we moved to Grand Rapids a little over 3 years ago. Looking back, I don't know how we would have made it through the last three years without the support, prayer and love of our church family.  There was a little girl there tonight whose name is Ava. Crazy thing is- they are the family that rent our past house from us while it is for sale. She stays in the bedroom where our little Ava stayed. Two Ava's, one room.  

Josh and I play this sick little game of what we would give to get back to July 31, 2005.  This is the day before Ava died.  This  game also includes Josh not being hurt.  We realize that we would give up any earthly possession to get back the life we had then.  Funny thing is, we're not given this choice. Nothing I can do or say can make time turn back.  The other "funny" thing is, I'm not sure I'd go back if it meant having to be the person I was then.  I'm not sure I'd recognize who I was then, nor really like her. I was much more concerned with what people thought, especially what they thought of me. I now am mainly concerned with what God thinks of me.  Who am I really out to please?  Did all of this happen so that God could make me more like his Son? I surely don't like the situation I'm in, but  I am  trying to trust God, knowing he knows best.

Thank you for all your responses in regards to my feeling depressed. Yes, I realize meds can be a huge help.  Yes, I realize exercise is a huge release. As of right now, I am working at them both. I take the kids to the YMCA 5 mornings a week to work off some stress. It works well with our schedule.  I take off while Josh's caretaker is getting him ready for the day.  I get home right about when he is getting out of our bedroom; just in time to share a cup of coffee together.  Please continue to pray for me.  I do not want to be a discouragement to my family or friends.  I just want to feel some normal... I long for normalcy.


I am sorry. I know there are numerous of you who check our blog regularly and have found no new updates. I apologize. I am trying to get back into a routine and it has not been successful as of yet. I did post a huge update about a week and a half ago only to have my computer die on me and not be able to get it back. Yes, that was slightly frustrating! :-)

We have an official move in date: August 22!!!! We are so excited. As far as we understand, it will not change. Painting starts tomorrow and the upstairs floor are laid. Yaaaay!  The kids were able to take their shoes off inside the house and slide around on the floors in their socks. They thought this was great fun. The floor looks gorgeous! I would love to post the latest pictures but can't which leads to my next point of business.

Last weekend, someone stole some things from our home. Not too much was taken, but it still has a tendency to make one feel unsafe.  They took my laptop and our digital camera. I know it is only "stuff."  It can always be replaced. The thing that bothers me the most is losing all our pictures. I got the laptop just a few weeks after Josh's accident and every picture since has been saved on that computer. It really makes me angry. It also makes me angry at myself for not saving them on discs also. These were the only copies. So, if you are stupid like me :-) go and make some copies. If any of you have any pictures that involve our family, we would love to get some copies. All of the pictures of the first few minutes of Ephram's life were there. In the past year and a month, he has changed dramatically. Then I can look at it from another perspective. I have all of Ava's pictures and no little girl. I have few pictures of my little bud but I still have him. Maybe I shouldn't complain huh? 

Josh's nerve pain has gotten much better. Thank you to all of you who have been praying for this. We are still in the process of getting his spasms under control. He seems less frustrated with it as of late. He has been busy with church stuff and 311 stuff (our not for profit formed after the accident).  He is speaking next Sunday morning at the West Michigan church camp service. I grew up here and love going back. The service is at 10:45 a.m. in Hastings, MI at Winding Creek Camp for any of you interested in stopping by. He has started working on graphic design again and has found that he can do it with minimal difficulty. This is a blessing.  It's so refreshing to find something that still works like it did before the accident. 

We have found an amazing woman who is joining our family three days a week to help around the house and with the kids. Her name is Kathy and Noah immediately started calling her "Aunt Kathy" with no instruction from us. She is a strong Christian woman who is a grandma in her early 50's. God has really blessed us with the right person for our family. Josh has even taken to her which is saying a lot! That sounded bad... my real meaning behind that is that it's hard for him to have people come over to help, because it seems to scream of all the changes our life has gone through in the past year and a half. All to say, we are so thankful that he really likes Kathy. 

We had a great 4th of July. We took the fam to downtown GR and enjoyed the fireworks. Even Ephram enjoyed them. We weren't sure if he would love them or be scared, but he just watched in awe. We hit Taco Bell on the way home and the four of us were eating tacos at 12:30 in the morning. The kids thought it was great. I love to make memories like these. 

So, why the big lull in updating?  Life has been tough for me. I do not say this so you all can say "Oh poor you" but so that you can pray for me. I have been feeling pretty depressed and very overwhelmed. It's so frustrating to feel so down and just want everything to go away. I have been spending a lot of time listening to praise and worship music, trying to connect with God on a regular basis, even when it seems like the time is so short. I know I am going to the source of my happiness, but my discouragement continues to get me down. I look at how much I have to be thankful for, and I want to smack myself. Problem is, telling this so my heart is a different story. I finally made a trip to see my doctor this week and she had some suggestions. Please be in prayer for our family. Pray that I can be the wife and mother God intended me to be, not the mother who just wants to hole up in my room and just meet everyone's basic needs. 

I have been realizing lately how short this life on Earth  really is. Josh's paralysis and the years to come can loom over me and overwhelm me. It is then that I realize that in comparison to heaven and eternity, it is just a flash. I have been listening quite a bit (okay, incessantly) to a song called "Glory" by Selah and Nicole Nordeman.  There is a part that says:

One day voices that lie will all be silenced
One day all that's divided will be whole again
One day death will retreat and wave it's white flag
One day love will defeat the strongest enemy.

So we wait,
For that one day
Come quickly
We want to see your Glory
Every knee falls down before thee
Every tongue offers you praise
With every hand raised
Singing Glory
To you and unto you only
We'll sing Glory to your name.

If you've not heard it, you've gotta go to Itunes right now and download it.  So, why does this song strike me so soundly? The first line say that the voices that lie will be silenced. Those voices right now exist within my own head and I know whose they are. They are not God's. They are Satan's. He loves to tell me I am a failure and incapable. He loves to tell me that I don't deserve the love of a Father who died for me. I know he is wrong. I yearn for the day when all the lies will be gone.

The next line says that all that's divided will be whole again.  I believe Josh's body is divided. It is divided into the functioning and nonfunctioning. When God's Glory is revealed Josh will be able to walk the streets of gold. His body will no longer be divided. Josh's paralysis will only continue until God says it is over, either when he is miraculously healed or God calls him home.

The third line says that death will longer be after the Lord returns. It is sometimes hard for my human mind to understand that one day, the fact that Ava died will no longer separate us. Death will be obsolete. I will be able to see her, smell her, hold her. When I think of a my sweet baby Ava, this is what I think of. Yes, I am clueless if I will still be able to see her as a baby in heaven, but this is what my Earthly mind yearns for. I'm sure that whatever it turns out to be in heaven will be beyond anything I could think of now.

The last line says that one day love will defeat the strongest enemy.  The love that my Father has for me and for each and every one of us will defeat Satan. Wow.  Do I sound like a preacher or what? I'm not trying to be preachy, just letting you know how God is using a song to speak to my hurting heart.

I think that's all for now. Thanks for reading, you have officially read a novel if you got all the way to the end. God bless!

Driven Scramble Golf Tournament

This July 26th is the second annual Josh Buck charity golf scramble. This year it is called "Driven Scramble."
  • It will be held at the 4.5 star Pilgrims Run  in Sand Lake Michigan.
  • $125 per person ($500 per team) includes green fees, cart, a practice bucket of balls, free Starbucks coffee, catered lunch, and an embroidered polo shirt.
  • Proceeds to go to Josh Buck and 311 Ministries,
  • Golf gear giveaways
There are only 36 teams available.  The registration deadline is July 15.  
Go to for more information and to sign up.

3 Birthday parties -- 1 day

It's been so long since we updated that even though I don't intend on making a long post,, I still think I should write something.

Today we celebrated Noah, Zoe, and Ephram's birthdays. The Bucks, G-ma & pa Buck, G-ma & pa Syswerda, Grates, and Emersons were in attendance-- drinking beverage, eating chips, and devouring and 6 feet of sub.

All three kids opened presents, with the big hit being a trampoline purchased by G-ma & pa Buck and G-ma & pa Syswerda.

After we sang happy birthday (Noah played the mandolin... kinda), the adults sat outside on the patio and talked while the kids played in the sprinkler and screamed. It was a pretty great day.

One update that is very important... Shelly is feeling much better. The cortisone shot really did the trick.  So between the hysterectomy and the nerve pain, Shelly is finally feeling pretty good.  Amen!  This topic deserves much more attention than this, but I'm still wanting to get to bed soon.  I'll make Shelly post a little bit about it too.

Thanks.  We love you all and are so thankful for your prayers.

Back at it

The momma is back in town!  Today I went to the pain clinic and had an injection of cotizone shots into the effected area. As of right now, the pain is minimal which is a huge blessing. I think they finally have an idea what is going on so that feels reassuring.

Josh and I got married 8 years ago today. We got married on a gorgeous Friday evening in downtown Grand Rapids and rode up to our reception in a horse drawn carriage. It was an evening I'll never forget. Eight years later and still going strong.

Josh has been having a lot of nerve pain the past 24 hours. He was extremely discouraged this morning. He is laying next to me right now, unure of how well he will sleep. Please keep him in your prayers. The nerve pain is very difficult for Josh because it is a burning sensation and their is little he can do about it. Please pray that the Lord continues to uplift his spirits.

My cousin Erin was in town for her wedding shower this weekend. She lives in NYC so I don't get to see her too often and she is like my kindred soul. I love to spend time with her. She is getting married in October and Josh and I are taking a road trip out to the East Coast for the wedding. It was fun to see her and see how the plans are coming. I am hopefully going out in July for a night or two for her personal shower. She has been such a huge support to me and I would like to do the same for her. And, considering I'm her favorite cousin, I'd better be there... just kiddng!

Noah and Zoe are spending this week adjusting to being home. We don't have any big plans. We let them fill up the pool for the first time on Saturday. They loved jumping off the mini trampoline and into the water. Ephram loved watching them! I was hoping to get some pics but have had some trouble locating my camera charger.  Woops. :-)

That's all the exciting news here. Zoe has her first ballet recital on Wednesday so I'll have to post some pics. G and G Buck are coming from Indiana to see her. She is psyched!

Shelly's home

Just a quick update... Shelly came home Friday at about noon.  This was a little sooner than we thought.

There has been no treatment for the pain yet.  Apparently that is not going to happen until June 9.  Ridiculous.

On the upside, Shelly's oral pain meds are not leaving her flat on her back.  The pain does get pretty bad every couple hours, but she also has moments when she feels pretty good.

More updates soon.  Thank you for your prayers.

Josh posting

I just wanted to give you a few more details...

 For the first two weeks Shelly was feeling better every day.  Some people said that she was up and around too much, but she was really just being Shelly.  This past Sunday she started feeling a little bit of pain near one of her incisions.  She made nothing of it at first, but by Monday morning it was pretty bad.  I told her to go into a med center. They wouldn't treat her there so she went to the ER.  Once at the ER they gave her a CAT scan and an ultrasound.  They were thinking it could be an abscess, a hernia, or an infection.  It was none of those.

 Before she left, I reminded her to tell the doctors what happened in her abdomen 10 years ago.  About a decade ago Shelly had her gallbladder and appendix out.  Over the next few months she had some unexplained pain in her abdomen.  It got so bad that eventually Shelly's parents put her on a plane to Mayo Clinic.  Once there, what had been undiagnosed pain for several months was quickly healed with a shot of cortisone right into her surgery area.

 We told the doctors about this on Monday, and by Wednesday they had ruled out everything else.  Shelly has been on narcotic pain medication up until today when they switched her to oral pain medication in preparation for sending her back home... and no treatment yet, just pain meds.

 The "pain clinic" came in to do a workup on giving her a shot.  But for some strange reason they cannot operate inside the hospital.  Shelly will have to get an appointment with the "pain clinic" after she gets out.  Their first opening date is June 9.  This is just not acceptable.  Why did she need to sit at home drugged up for 10 days before she can get the shot that took four hours to get a decade ago?  I am very very frustrated.

 Yesterday, Jean alluded to another situation I'm pretty frustrated about.  My kids need to feel like they can have a normal routine at home.  They are missing end of the school year zoo trips and picnics because of this.  I was lucky that Zoe told me about her end of the school year program today, or I would've missed that too.  The conversation went like this,


"Daddy, do I have school tomorrow?"

"No baby, today is your last day for the whole year."

"Oh.  We are having a program with a CD with all the songs on it and we are dancing and stuff and all the mommies and daddies are coming.  So you'll have to get somebody to bring you, right daddy?"

"Umm... absolutely baby."


They just need a normal routine.  They are very resilient, and are very strong.  But they are dealt with more than many of us deal with our whole lives.  I just want them to be kids.

Pray for us.  Pray that we have enough of volunteers to get us through to whenever Shelly can be back up to speed.  Pray for Zach and Rachel as a spearhead the charge while looking for jobs!

I don't know why we continue to roll out difficulty after difficulty around here, but I'm sick of it.

 I don't know what this means spiritually yet. I don't think I'm supposed to.  I know that I'm still on God's team.  I know he has a plan, and I want to be a part of that plan... no matter what that part is.  But I would be nuts if I didn't admit that sometimes I feel like our family is the team whipping boy.  Forget the big plans and grand schemes... just give me a mundane and average for a couple decades.

 Sorry to vent.  Shelly does it sometimes, so I guess it was my turn.  Pray for us.


This is Shelly's mom, Jean, reporting in for her. She told me this evening to post some information. She is currently in the hospital again, has been there since Monday, with complications from her surgery a few weeks ago. She asks for prayer for her quick recovery, for the kids and Josh at home, and for our angels of mercy Zach and Rachel who have again stepped in to hold down the home front. Shelly and Josh are both having a difficult time dealing with this latest challenge. The why question has popped up. Mostly they are both concerned for kids who need to know life can be "normal." Pray for all of us, OK? We're dependent on those of you who hold us up before a God whose ways we don't always understand.

I have 4 kids

Things on the homefront continue on as normal. Josh's mom and dad are in town for the holiday weekend. We will be cooking out with friends tomorrow here at the house. Josh and I have always loved entertaining, and that has not changed since the accident. We are looking forward to it.

So, today I was posed an interesting question that I seem to encounter very regularly. When other mothers see you out and about with a child or children, you are often asked how many children you have. After almost three years, I still do not have a great answer for that one.  I have read of many mothers who have no problem with answering.  Some answer with the number of children they have living, others just say the total number.  Me, I'm a total number girl.  The only problem is- sometimes the conversation continues to how old are they? Hmmm.. this one always gets me a bit nervous cause I realize this could lead into an uncomfortable conversation.  I have even met one that says she has "two that walk and one that flies." I am not really comfortable with this answer.  I'm still at the point where I usually say 4 unless I figure we may have time for the converstation to continue.

Just 3 weeks after Ava died, we went to some friends for dinner.  They had some neighbors stop by to see our friend's new baby girl.  When they were leaving they asked how many children we had and Josh replied two.  I thought I was going to puke and punch him at the same time.  I felt like we were not acknowledging who she is in our lives.  Now, after almost 3 years, I find myself doing the same thing at times.

I remember reading somewhere that losing your parents is like losing your past, but losing your child is like losing your future.  This really captures how I felt soon after we lost Ava.  It left so many questions in my mind, what were we going to do now, would we move back to the home where she died, would our kids remember their little sister (I now see this is my responsibility)?  How was I going to continue on living and still be a mom who functioned for the rest of the kids.  I didn't want my kids to look back at this time and think, "this is when we lost my mom, not just my sister."  I still desired for my kids to have a happy childhood. I wanted my kids to be able to look back and see how present the Lord was through this ordeal, how he continued to be faithful to us even when we couldn't see it through our sorrow.

I realize now how differently Josh and I reacted to Ava's death emotionally. This was addressed while we went to see an amazing Christian counselor for a few months. There were so many feelings hurt, so many things we wished we could have done different, but the past was over and we couldn't change them.  But we could change how we started hadling the future. We realized it seemed a little screwed up, but if we wanted to continue our friendships with those who had fallen off the map, it was us who were going to have to make the effort.  I really balked at this idea and then realized I was just being totally selfish. Just because I lost a child did not give me permission to become self-involved.

Josh and I made a promise to each other, less than 8 hours after Ava died, that we would talk to each other.  There were so many horrible things running through my mind that I would never have admitted out loud.  Josh started by saying something that I couldn't believe he would admit and it opened up a huge door of communication for us.  I remember admitting to thoughts that I couldn't believe I had, but I did.  

One other thing we said from the start was we were going to cling to God, knowing he had a plan- even if we couldn't see it. I knew I was not going to like his plan, I never would, but I have never doubted that God knows better than I do. Yes, I still want Ava back into our family, but this is not possible during our Earthly life.  I believe, 100%, that we will again be reunited with her. This life is just a blink of an eye, I will have plently of time to enjoy her come heaven. 

A guide

I'm sure by now most of you have heard that the Christian artist, Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter Maria died yesterday after being run over by a car.  Josh brought this to my attention this morning and it has occupied my thoughts ever since. It makes me feel such empathy for this family, knowing what they have ahead of them.

The overwhelming void that filled my entire being was all I could think about. I didn't dare shut my eyes because of the images that filled them when they were closed were too horrifying to recall. The loneliness while surrounded by all our loved ones did little to ease the pain. Eating was out of the question.  I decided to drink black coffee because I liked it with cream.  I wanted to do things differently, observe my pain in some inadequate way.  I have read of another person doing this after grief. Guess I'm not so odd after all.  Life took on a before and after era.  Before Ava's accident and after. I remember watching Josh sleep the first night after she died and being amazed he could sleep.  I was thankful that he could have a few minutes of escape. I recall sitting upstairs around 4 a.m., at my parent's house, with my mom, Holly and Josh's mom and just sitting there not knowing what to do.  At times this desperate feeling that I needed to just DO something was overwhelming.  I would pace and just yank at my hair, trying to make things right in my head. I wish could words could do justice to an emotion that I pray none of you will ever have to face.

Right now, I know what a family is experiencing, to a certain extent. Every story is different. Every person is different. But every Christian needs to make a willful decision to trust God. No matter how angry I go, no matter how little I understood, I knew deep down that my getting through this was not going to be successful if I didn't just lean on him. Those first few days, it was very hard to pray. It became more like guttural cries to a heavenly father who knew I was hurting. It meant acknowledging that God knew this was the plan for Ava from the start, but being really ticked. Ticked just doesn't do it any justice. Pissed, I was pissed. Why would God do this and what kind of a God was he to allow this to happen. I knew he could take my anger and my questions.  But could I?  Was I willing to really hear the truth if it wasn't what I wanted to hear. I can say that nearly three years later that I still don't like the plan, nor do I like how it has affected my life, but I trust in an Almighty Father whose desire is to bring other's close to him. 

There are various times when I realize that the memories are growing hazier, easier to deal with. Losing Ava is not the very first thing I think of when my feet hit the floor. I would say rarely does 10 minutes go by when I don't think of her after waking. Just recently, I got out one too many bowls for the dinner table (I got out 5 and only needed 4. Ephram is not eating out of a bowl just yet). It's been three years, and we didn't have her with us too long, but it shows how much a part of us she still is.

It is my desire for Ephram to realize that he is not a replacement. God knew from the beginning that he would be part of our family.  I want him to grow up feeling like he has an extra special place in our family- that he was God's gift to us, out of pain and suffering came joy and restoration. Who could ask for a better gift?

As time has passed many of my friends said how they were so unsure what to say and what to do.  I thought I may be able to give some words that may be helpful if they are anything like me.  Number one, I knew Ava was in a better place.  I didn't need people telling me that- I wanted her here with me.  That comment came as a slap in the face many times. That whole "she's in a better place" could well be saved for a few months down the road. Number two, "you can always have more children."  At this point, I didn't want more children, I wanted Ava. Number three- "I lost my grandma (aunt, uncle, cousin 68 year old mother) last month, I know what you're going through." I hated that one. Until you have lost a child, you don't know. Just like I don't know what it's like to lose a mother or father at a young age, or be a child who has lost a sibling. Don't claim to understand unless you really do.  I clung to those who had lost a child and the knowledge and advice they could give me. Lastly, I know Ava was young. Those who had had early miscarriages cannot possibly know the grief of losing a living child, or of a having a birth where the baby was too young to survive.  We held our babies. We saw their faces, Saw the potential for life. Don't get me wrong, I know miscarriage is heartbreaking, but please don't compare it.  Comparisons are nasty, especially at the beginning of the grieving process.

So, what can you do?  The day that Ava died, people started pouring in.  All of these people needed to be fed and it was the last thing on my mind.  One of my best friends quietly showed up, ordered pizza, lasagna, and salad and had it out for those who felt they could eat. I got a huge box full of toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, cups, utensils and more Kleenex than we thought was necessary (only to find out it was).  We used up every last one of those Kleenex. Someone brought treats for the kids, juice boxed, frozen kids meals, kids movies and easy toys for the kids to stay occupied with. Most of the time you want your living children around you but you are not really concious of what they need all the time. These things helped a ton the first weeks. 

So, what did people say or do that helped and didn't hurt?  It seemed like the less they said the better. Not because of what they said may offend me but because the hurt is so great, words often seem inadequate. Hugs, hugs, hugs.  I just needed to feel the comfort of those around me. If you're a praying person, tell them you'll pray for them, but only if you really will. :-) Start calling them.  We screened more phone calls than you can imagine but seeing your name pop up on my caller i.d. made me aware that you were reaching out. A few weeks out, some people stopped calling, the uncomfortable feelings of what they were going to say became too strong (the only reason I know this is because of conversations with friends over the past three years). Call anyway.  I spent numerous days wondering why they didn't call and so I didn't call. Didn't we have a closer relationship than I had thought? Err on calling too much. They won't call you back if they really don't want to talk.  Thank goodness for the 21st Century blessing of caller i.d. 

I hope this hasn't come off as harsh or as though the ones that helped us after Ava died did it all wrong. That could not be further from the truth. We had an incredible support system that continues to this day. I know so many of you pray for us as we continue down this journey along with the new journey of Josh in a wheelchair. 

Yes, life is complicated. But it is so short in the grand scheme of things. I know I will soon again be with my little girl and all of this grief and trusting will be truly worthwhile.

back home from the hospital

It's nice to be home. I came home yesterday in the late afternoon. Because Ephram is still not feeling great, the two of us stayed home from church and sent the rest of the troops on.  Noah and Zoe came home talking about Paul and Silas and how their chains fell off!!! They were so excited about it and telling me the story. Noah was still talking about it this morning. I love hearing them getting so excited about the Bible. We spent the day doing lots of laying around. We did some slow work and my Aunt Jill came over to lend a helping hand. I'm not supposed to lift Ephram yet (6 weeks according to the nurse that called today) but that goes over like a lead balloon in this momma's mind. We relaxed together on the couch and took a nap together. Now Sheena is here from Kalamazoo to hang out for a few days. It's been a nice day.

I realized how proud I am of Josh today. We were talking to a friend who told us about an acquaintance of hers who is dealing with paralysis. This guy is having a really hard time (obviously so) but it made me realize how much Josh has just pushed on. Even when he feels like giving up and I get disheartened, he continues to get up every morning, not lay in bed all day, and at least attempt to live this new life. I hear how many others who are in the same boat as him just give up, don't really "live." I am the proud wife of a roller, who has decided to keep on going, even when it's tough.

Momma Time

I've gotten numerout comments asking how my mom is faring.  She continues to heal well, slowly but surely.  I may even surpass here in the recovery process over the next few days! :-)  She is doing a great job taking care of me- dragging me to garage sales when I have an hours energy, or taking me to Hobby Lobby to look at stuff for the kids new rooms. We're definitely from the same mold. We have been having lots of fun. They are now out in Grand Haven having their first camping excursion of the year  and they couldn't be more excited. She actually said she was more excited about this trip than their trips earlier this year to the Bahamas and Mexico. I thought she may have taken a few too many pain meds...

On another note, we finally got news of what the next step is in regard to her treatment. She met with the oncologist earlier this week.  The doctor said (summarily), "Go home, live your life. You're cancer free!"  There are no more treatments, no chemo, no radiation, no nohting.  They are not even putting her on the cancer drug (not sure the name of it cause that's all my mom calls it) because it is used to fight cancer in the breasts and ovaries and she has neither! The doctor said that would be sort of a waste. My mom came out of that appointment feeling like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. Now all she has to do is regain all her strength and she'll be good as new.  She rocks. I wanna be like her someday (minus the cancer of course!). Thanks for all your prayers for her.

the home front

Just you know, this is the second posting of the day so read on if you didn't catch the first.

I took a quick trip home yesterday to see my kiddos.  The two older kids are doing great, staying busy, and loving that they had Zach and Rachel to play with and now Grandma Buck has come! Does life get any better for a 4 and a 5 year old? Ephram is struggling with a virus which is not allowing Grandma B. to get too much sleep.  He is running a high temp and just fussy all around. I saw him last night and had the chance to just hold him while he lays his sweet little head of my shoulder. He was not too fussy when I was there, but I know he was having a good few hours.  I left about 6:30 and the little guy was ready to head off to bed. We did take him in because we were afraid it was his ears again (he is still on antibiotics from the last ear infection) but thankfully, it was not. The doctor said he just caught a virus so we will just let it run it's course.

Please be praying that Josh's mom can get enough sleep and feel like she can keep up with the craziness while at our home. She usually has the help of her hubby but he is off in Europe teaching a class.  Poor him right? :-) He loves his job and rightfully so.  Anyway, she will be doing all the work and needs an extra dose of stamina to get her through the next few days. Please keep her in your prayers.

Shelly reporting in

Since my husband hasn't added another post as promised, and doesn't even know how to spell my name correctly , I decided to post myself. I'm hanging out at my mom and dad's, enjoying a few minutes of peace and quiet. I got here yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon and will be here until the weekend. Pain is quite minimal, and I'm actually feeling quite a lot better than I expected. I may even have to fake it a little bit to stay here until the weekend. Everything at home seems to be running smoothly. Zach and Rachel are taking the two older kids to see Horton Hears a Who tonight. Josh is staying busy with friends coming to visit and with last-minute decisions about the house. Josh's mom is coming late Thursday night and will be here until Sunday. Please pray for a smooth week at home, happy kids, happy husband, recovered wife.

surgery day post 1

Hey, this is Josh.

Shelley's surgery went very well this morning.  She was in the operating room for just about an hour, and then she was in recovery for about an hour and a half.  When she came out of recovery she felt pretty good... drugged up but good.  Once she was in her room, we talked and she seemed ok.

I'm at home right now, but I'm going back to the hospital soon.  I will post later tonight about what else I find out!

Thanks for all your prayers.  Keep them coming!


New Pics

So, I'm going to give this picture thing a shot.  I'll not be surprised if this doesn't work.  My computer and I...we don't get along so well. :-)


This is Ephram and me at his big sister's "stone." We always tell the kids we're going to the place where we remember Ava and see her stone.  This is Ephram's first experience with this. Last year he was too little to even get out of the car. This year he even got to sit in the grass!


Here is a pic of Ava's stone.  Notice the sticks in front of the stone.


 Here are all the goofy kids.  The picture quality is terrible. Not sure why.  Zoe looks like she has "buck" teeth.  Get it?Hahaha. One funny thing to note.  All the kids were gathered around the gravemarker and Ezekiel (4 years old with the tie-dye shirt) was crawling over the front of the stone.  You could see Jason get really uncomfortable with what Zeke was doing and start to get after him.  I laughed and said not to worry. If she were still here with us, he would be crawling all over her, beating her up, and we would just let it go.  I like that they crawl all over her stone.


This is the last pic.  Hopefully this blog doesn't take forever to load. This is right before we went out to eat with my parents for their 35th wedding anniversary. We had a great time and waaaay too much to eat. Isn't my husband a hottie?