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 letJulia132@aol.com 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!