Friday, November 30, 2007

Kurt's Grandpa Manz

On Sunday, November 25th, at 2am Kurt's Grandpa Manz passed away. He is the first grandparent that either of us have lost... and it obviously comes pretty closely on the heels of Autumn's death.

The funeral was held yesterday, November 29th, in Markinch, Saskatchewan, and Kurt spoke at the funeral along with his dad.

I think that Dean (Kurt's brother) summarized what we were all feeling when he said after leaving the graveyard:

"I'm okay to be done with family funerals for a while."

Amen, Dean.

It was in some ways easier than I thought it would be... and in other ways harder. In Kurt's tribute, he mentioned the attributes he appreciated in his Grandpa - noting that he sees those characteristics in his dad as well. He also said that one of our sadnesses in losing Autumn was that we weren't able to introduce her Great Grandpa to her - and vise-versa. I wasn't prepared to tear up hearing him speak, but I did - and he had a hard time getting his words out, too. His Grandma told me afterward, "He didn't even cry that much at Autumn's funeral!" (chuckle) I guess there is some residual grief there for both of us. Not surprising, exactly - but still unexpected. Loss is loss... and it just feels like we've had a lot of that, lately.

The minister also gave a good message: encouraging the people there to consider where they stand before Christ before their time comes. Gord (Kurt's dad) also spoke so well... he really stood out to me as the "oldest brother" - and was obviously sad - but strong for his siblings, too.
Overall, it was a tiring day - but a blessing to be there for Gord, and Grandma Manz...

... not to mention seeing all those good-looking Manz and Davis cousins again! (lol!) Shoot! Kurt has great-looking relatives - male and female - but mostly male (only 2 girls in total). (lol!) Perhaps a biased thought: but I did get the cutest of the bunch! ;)Our grandparents: all of them, plus Great Grandma Manz at our wedding (Du-uh, Kendall...) Great Grandma is the one holding my hand. Grandpa Manz is on the right side of the picture, standing on the end. His wife - Grandma Manz - is the one holding Kurt's arm. We're hoping to get to go see her next week on our way to a pork show in Manitoba.

Funny story: Great Grandma Manz is actually Grandma Manz's mom. Mysterious... isn't it? This worked because her maiden name was Manz - and she married a Manz. They were unrelated - but still it makes it easy when people say, "Are you related to the (blank) Manzs'?" and I can say, "Probably." because it makes for a HUGE family! :)

So that's what else has been "up" lately. Thanks for reading, everyone. :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's That Time Again..

Yes! It's true... I have - once again - made changes of a most-drastic nature!
I know, I know... it's a quirky color scheme what with all the blues and creams and the greens... but I like it. And it's better than painting a room, right Kurt? ;)


So... any comments? Nice ones? (chuckle)

Besides the obvious cosmetic changes, people who want to comment will have to do a word-verification when leaving one. It's pretty common on other blogs to block spam, but I was doing okay without for a while. Now I've gotten a few: so it was time. For anyone who isn't familiar with this - don't worry - just follow the instructions. :)

Anyway, I enjoyed seeing one of our "old" pictures at the top of the last post, I figured I'd attach another one just because I can. :)

This was taken before my nursing grad - as you can tell by the date-stamp, it was last December (during an awful blizzard, if I recall correctly...). In some ways, I look at that picture and think, "Wow. That feels like a loooong time ago." :) In others, it feels like not much has changed.

But why - WHY - did I ever cut my hair??

It looked great - and I just chopped it off because I was tired of doing it! Shorter hair plus the pregnancy weight wasn't the greatest combo... but it does give me something to aim for as I try to get back to both "pre" states of hair and size.

Methinks I complainth too much, noooo? (Hearing Sylvester's voice in my head... lol!)

So I'll talk to you soon-ish!

How We Became "Us"

Kurt and I have known one another since early October 2002. We met in Political Studies – introduced by Paul C. (Kurt and Paul worked at Dutch Growers together the summer previous.) We were attracted pretty much right away. But I was not in university to find a guy – and neither one of us expected to find someone in an actual university class. :-) I was attending with Grace Fellowship, and he was going to Ebeneezer Baptist. We had some pretty interesting discussions over the next few months on some sweet topics such as election, free will, the Holy Spirit... and many other issues.

The first time he asked me out was to go the ‘Bassment’ (a jazz club) with him to hear some of his friends and their new band play a gig. Of course, Kiley came along to chaperone (my idea, not Kurt’s), but after that, I was hooked on the idea of getting to know this pretty cool guy with the great smile and cute haircut.

Grace Fellowship
was also starting up our Evenings of Theology on campus – to which he came- albeit cautiously at first (the first meeting he met my dad!). But God began to develop a passion for truth and a hunger for godliness in Kurt – and of course, I was rejoicing every step of the way. Not only had I found a cutie – but he was actually a cutie who was eager to think about “God Stuff”.

After a month-and-a-half of “seeing” one another, he decided he actually wanted to be my boyfriend – to which I replied “Okay, you can ask my dad.” Nothing like throwing down the gauntlet... wink-wink. ;) We were both 22 years old, and coming from totally different ideas of dating, courtship... etc. so I had no idea how he would respond, but he agreed. I also gave him the Josh Harris book Boy meets Girl which began to influence his ideas of why you date/court, and what our purpose should be in pursuing a relationship.

December 6th, he asked my dad if he could pursue me – with marriage as the intended end. Dad told him yes with much enthusiasm (they've always had a great relationship), but also told Kurt he expected to see him within the year to ask another question. Basically, "Fish, or cut bait young man." (lol) :-) Those of you who know my dad know I’m not exaggerating his directness at all. (chuckle)

And the rest, as they say, is history. The next 5 (almost 6) months were wonderful ones of trusting His faithfulness to Himself as we encountered some pretty rough stuff. But we were also able to see how He truly had our good in mind. Because of the seriousness of the relationship, we had always seen marriage as a realistic possibility.
I'd known I was in love since January... and it was an extreme exercise in patience to wait to be his wife, but it was during the last month or so (April/May) that things really started to happen.

Kurt had not been baptized as an adult – and was feeling convicted about that. So he called my dad and asked to be baptized on May 18th – in an unheated pool on a 7 degree day. What fortitude! :-) Unknown to me, he had talked to my dad on May 17th and told him that he needed to talk to him about marrying me.

Anyone who knows anything about my family understands that they are not easy to get together with. Especially my dad... with church business, and farm business, and family business... you get the point. :-) But that is where providence came in.

Monday the 19th I woke up with the idea that my dear, sweet, hard-working Kurt was tired and needed some sleep. So when he called before he left for work, I told him that I wanted to give him the evening alone so he could go to bed very early and get some rest. He hummed-and-hawed about that – and left me with a “maybe”.

Unbeknownst to me, as soon as we got off the phone, he called my folks and asked he could go out there for supper that evening after work. They live an hour out of the city – going at full highway speeds – so it was going to be a marathon. He also told my mom that he would try to get in touch with a friend of mine and ask her to ask me to scrapbook that evening – but there was no answer at her house before he left for work.

When I talked to my mom later I told her my idea (remember, it really was my idea) and she suggested that just to make sure I would really let him sleep, I should maybe scrapbook with my girlfriend. I thought that was a good idea, so I called her and arranged my evening so that I would be totally busy. I think anyone who knew me at the time understood that unless I had a distraction I would have no self-control and would need to make at least one phone call… (chuckle)

My girlfriend and I had a great time – and during our scrapbooking fest (it lasted 2 days) discussed the many ways that Kurt could surprise me if he proposed. :-) Of course, our plan did not include the possibility that he could have actually traveled out to the farm to talk to dad and mom Monday night, or that he had bought the ring at EASTER when we were visiting his parents... So when we asked him later if he had used part of his evening to talk on phone with my dad and arrange a meeting – he was able to truthfully answer “Awww... no, I didn’t. But that would’ve been a good opportunity.” :-)

Meanwhile, the two of us (he and I) had been planning since Sunday night that we would go and surprise my parents by showing up on Thursday for an evening visit (Thursday was his day off). So he told me Wednesday night that he had a surprise for me... and let me figure out the fact that he had planning a picnic about 5 miles from my house overlooking the river and the old fort. Because of my week of investigation and questioning, I had completely ruled out the possibility of being proposed to so soon. Furthermore, I was completely distracted by the red herring – the picnic details. He’s so clever…

Once we got there we set up and began to eat - relaxing and enjoying one another’s company. I had known he had written something that I wasn’t supposed to see – and he brought it out (not fast enough for me) and told me to listen.

It was a poem about a “princess” (one of his nicknames for me is princess beautiful - he coined that after we watched Life is Beautiful) who is met by a guy on a quest. He tells her that he has been looking for a wife his entire life (I had no clue yet), and tells her all the qualities about her that make her fitting (still, I’m thinking “good job, Kurt, this is a pretty nice poem”), and then asks her to come to “marriage castle” with him. (And I STILL had no idea!) But he signed it, “Love, Kurt."

From the start of our relationship, we had agreed to not tell one another that we loved each other until he proposed. So I just stared at him for a moment and said, “Are you proposing to me?” To which he replied “I love you, Kendall, and I want to marry you. Will you marry me?” and I said, “You’re really proposing to me???” One of the things I love about him is his patience (chuckle) – so he just laughed and said, “Yes, I am.” I managed to hold back the tears – and ended up just with a simple, “Yes! (Meaning, "Dag-nabit, boy - I love you bunches and bunches!") :-) Then he pulled out a box of chocolates he had been saving for “desert” and there, in the heart-shaped place, was the most beautiful ring I have ever seen (yes, I was in love and super-happy – but this was a gorgeous ring!).

After that we just talked and laughed and cuddled and discussed his most-excellent sneakiness. We also spent some time reflecting on all the circumstances God used to bring us together. Then we went to tell my mom and dad, call his folks, see my grandparents (both sets) and phone some other family.... All the while we kept looking at one another with big grins and saying, “We’re really engaged!” :)

And that, dear friends, is how I got proposed to. :) Here we are, almost 5 years later. Although the circumstances right now are not my most favorite, this is a great story for me to remember on some rougher days. The Lord hasn’t dropped us yet - not even close. I am so thankful He’s the same God who made us “The Manzs’”... 'cause those circumstances were so joyful - how can I doubt His goodness? :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fingers Closing!

Today we ended up going for a stat (ie: "sooner than the health care system usually works") ultrasound because I've been having some pretty heavy bleeding. My apologies to anyone for whom that is "too much information", but it is essential to the story - I promise. :-D
I've been concerned mostly because I had no idea what to expect in the time following birth. Not only have I never had a baby before, but I didn't follow the regular "recovery" regimen afterward: mainly breastfeeding - which helps shrink the uterus back down to normal size by continuing contractions. And Kurt - who is normally concerned - was doubly concerned because of mine.
Anyway, yesterday the doctor arranged for me to get the ultrasound to make sure there weren't any "retained products of conception" which means 'tiny pieces of placenta'. If there is anything left in there, the uterus can't get back to where it is supposed to be - and a woman can bleed, and bleed, and bleed... I'm sure you get the point.
This morning I woke up with some major attacks on my faith. As I lay in bed, I could imagine going there and having them say, "There's placenta present - you need a D&C (uterine scrape - not good for future conceptions) immediately." Or, "Your bleeding will never stop - a hysterectomy is the only option."
On one hand I could tell myself they were just "silly" thoughts. On the other, my perspective on things that are unlikely to happen has changed drastically. We've had unimaginable news given to us in a situation that was just supposed to be a check-up... and I found myself thinking, "I don't know what I'll do if I can never conceive again - never feel a baby move inside me. Please don't do this to me, Lord!" Even considering that our future could be childless after having been so close filled me with paralyzing anxiety. I hate worrying - it never accomplishes anything! But it was so hard to get away from today.
So I found myself fighting the fear and sadness - and all manner of unpleasant things as I waited for the ultrasound. There was another lady there who was a real chatty gal. And yes - I am 'understating'... chuckle. :) She kept going on and on to her husband about all the people that were pregnant at the same time as her, and spring babies, and all the parts of pregnancy that she was enjoying, or not... and I just stared out the window and thought, "Please, please just be quiet."
I've heard that anger is often just displaced sadness... but sometimes it is just plan-old ugly anger... and I had to do some serious repenting. How many times have I displayed joy without being aware of other's around me? How often was I oblivious to other's pain - perhaps even on the days we went for our happier ultrasounds?
When we got to have the ultrasound - with the same technician who had done our last one - the memories were just like a ton of bricks falling on me. I stared at the ceiling remembering how I eagerly watched the screen before looking for little hands and feet - and how thrilled we were to see Autumn suck her thumb and yawn at the 30-week mark.
Yes, it was hard to be reminded of the times we were there and how we had the same excitement and anticipation... and how naive we were about the possibility of anything going wrong. Just like the other girl. But I am glad for her that she was happy about her pregnancy - because truthfully, I understand that thrill.
I just sorrow for me. My wants. My goals. My desires.
I wouldn't wish this on anyone else... but I just miss our baby girl. I want another baby to fill my empty arms - and today the battle is particularly hard to not make that my idol - the source of my happiness. My fingers have been so close to crushing the butterfly today... and I'm praying the Lord gives me strength to deal with whatever comes across our path - to keep my hands open and my heart calm. I don't want my faith to be in my circumstances - I want it to be in who my Lord is.
The good news is that there isn't any obvious problems - so this is probably just "that time of the month" which gives us both relief. My system is kinda screwy - but it seems to be trying to get back to normal... so I'm thanking the Lord for that in a huge way.
Also, I've been reminded of friends and family who are also going through some hard stuff today, so Kurt and I are praying for them... I'm sure you know who you are. :)
Anyway - thanks to everyone reading - and for your continued prayers. I'm so convinced that the Lord uses them to get me through these exact kind of situations - plus the day-to-day struggles. I look forward to the pain not being quite so acute or sudden - and I do trust that will happen, too.
So - deep breath and a smile - that's been November 27th (so far) in a nutshell, everyone! :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Postpartum Party

I just want to acknowledge and thank the gals from my unit for the amazing support they've given Kurt and myself over the last month and a bit. The Christmas party was tonight, and while I was relaxed and happy to be there, Kurt didn't feel awkward either. With him being the only guy there, that just shows how great you guys were! :) It was so wonderful to see you all - even the ones I didn't' get to visit with that much... and I missed the ones that didn't get to come - so it is an added incentive to get super-well and get back to work. :) You're an amazing bunch of ladies - and I'm officially adding my coworkers to my list of blessings! :)
Thanks 5100 - we (not just "I" - grinning!) love you guys!


Since last post was about challenges - this one will list a few blessings of the last few days (Yay!). In no particular order other than the way they come to mind:
  • Several cards from friends and loved ones reminding us that they are still praying for us - especially as we were coming up to and passing Autumn's one-month birthday. They were an encouragement and a timely blessing on a few really hard days. Thank you!
  • Some dear friends from my hometown made a donation to the RUH memory Box program in Autumn's memory. That touched both Kurt and I very deeply - as receiving our memory box after Autumn died was part of what made us feel her birth was as valuable as any other... even if we were not going to take her home.
  • I got through my first post-birth doctor's appointment. It wasn't that seeing him was hard - but going back to the office where we spent so many months hoping and not even thinking that we could lose our baby was hard. Initially, I was going to go by myself - but Kurt insisted on coming with me. In the end, I am so glad he did as it was hard to be there and see all the other people with their healthy little ones. I shed a few tears, but I feel like I crossed a hurdle - and it was nice to see my doctor and some staff members again.
  • The Roughriders won the Grey Cup after 18 years! :)
  • The heat is fixed in our basement suite - this is more Kurt's blessing than mine... it's warm upstairs where we live. ;) But really - it was kinda stressing out my dear husband - and knowing it is working again (now that it is -22/-32 with the wind chill - that is -7/-18 F... fyi) is making him happy.
  • I managed to find a couple of sweaters that fit me - and will fit me as I lose (hopefully!) the baby weight. This is a huge blessing for the previously mentioned 'brutal cold' reason, as well as the fact that all my maternity clothes were summer-themed. As the hormones drop, so does the internal heat... and I've been craving some long-sleeves. This blessing, in particular, proves that I am a true female-type person. ;)
And the last one: Kurt and I have found something (I think) to spend the money we were gifted. Are you ready?

Airplane tickets.

Yowsa! If anything defines "blowing it"- that would! :)

It also works out nicely that we've racked up enough VISA Avion points to complete one long-haul (anywhere in Canada and the United States except Hawaii and Alaska) trip. I'm not going to spend too much time thinking about that particular accomplishment (!) but the trip is a nice reward. Seeing as though we have some unplanned one-on-one time, a trip would be wonderful for me - especially now that winter has hit. We're not sure where we're going to go yet... or when... but we're pretty sure that a trip would be really, really nice sometime before spring. (Which seems really far away...) And it has given me something to look forward to - because winter is hard even in the best of moods, let alone when thinking about how much more exciting I thought it would be with our daughter, you know?

So our HUGE thanks again to our anonymous donors - I hope our decision matches what you stipulated and makes you happy. :)

Anybody have ideas where we should go? :)

The view from the Calgary tower. No particular reason to post this other than I thought it was a cool picture... and I kinda hope it freaks people out initially... heh-heh! And yes - those are my feet. Lest you think me brave, however, I must confess it took me almost 10 minutes to step out on the plexiglas despite all the little kids jumping up and down on the stuff... lol!

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Today had a few challenges... not major ones - but ones that needed to be dealt with and not ignored - 'cause that always leads to come kind of repressed crankiness that ends with me in tears. And not good tears, either. No, they're the kind that have Kurt going, "What the heck!?" as he tries to comfort me and stay out of my way at the same time. Ick... not my best moments... but anyway - you get the point I hope. :)

They were little things, mostly - like dealing with my own sadness... it was almost like being at the crossroads between depression and contentment - and I had to make that choice. The Lord was gracious, and I was able to battle the sadness to the point where it didn't rule me today.

So I chose to be busy instead! :)

I did laundry - all of it - by myself. I haven't done that in months because of the washer and dryer being downstairs so Kurt always took it down and up. It felt nice. Plus, when I do it, it gets done in one day - versus over a couple of days and then the clothes are all wrinkly from sitting in the dryer for hours and hours. Of course, I am so thankful that he took care of me all those months - lest I be rebuked by him for my ungratefulness. ;)

We also talked to a few builders about some more quotes for house plans so that we can keep looking toward moving to the farm. :) Other than the money they want (!) it is pretty exciting. (chuckle) There are almost too many options out there - but I think it helps that we have our floor plan pretty much figured out... so we'll keep you posted on the (if any) progression towards "the big move".

The most daunting task of today was picking which pictures to put in Autumn's album next weekend. I'm going to scrapbooking 'get together' with my mom, and I think that I need to start the album sooner than later. But sitting down and looking at the pictures is always somewhat heart-wrenching. Furthermore, I haven't worked on pictures in over a year (so much for my "make a pre-baby album"!) and this album feels like so much more than "important". I want it to express the full depth of emotions I feel for Autumn and everything we've gone through because of her birth and death... and that is intimidating. I am actually nervous. But I got the pictures ordered, and they should be ready by tomorrow afternoon - thank you Costco! - so that step is finished. :)

We also took Oscar for a long walk in the snow today - which was fun for him and good for us. I think that God made it that fresh air and exercise was supposed to make us feel better. Other than the chill, and the sore toes (darn shoes...), and the snow down my neck... ahem.

Well - that should do it for tonight... have a good remainder of the weekend, everyone!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Family Pictures

I thought it was time to put up a few more pictures... 'cause it is my blog. :)

My favorite family picture of the three of us... and although Autumn's face isn't visible, we look like adoring parents.

Well, Duh. (giggle!)

I don't have one single picture of the three of us where Kurt and I are holding her and looking at the camera... we're always looking at her or at someone else. So this is as good as it will get... and that is okay... it wasn't my best day. ;)

These are some of my favorites of the uncles and aunty who came to visit. :)

(Uncle C0dy - my youngest brother)

This is one of the best pictures of Autumn being held where her face is really visible but her lips aren't so dry. I love it. Thanks, Cody. :)

(Uncle Kiley - my middle brother)

(Aunty Jessica - my brother Kiley's wife)

We really loved that my brothers and Jessica were able to come to 'meet' Autumn. One of the most special moments in the past month was when I gave Jessica and Kiley pictures of them and Autumn. Jessica immediately put the pictures of the fridge and announced, "I am a proud aunt!" Thank you, Jessica, for being a proud aunty. Autumn would have loved her "Aunty Jess" lots and lots - I know her mommy does. :)

Have a wonderful evening, everyone! Thanks for still reading - I know the last couple of posts were pretty heavy to get through (Kurt told me so) but it really is such a release to get my thoughts out there - and tell myself truth. :) But I do hope I'm not depressing anyone too badly. (chuckle)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

One Month, One Day (A Letter to My Daughter)

Dear Autumn,

Although yesterday would have been your one-month birthday, today is one month, to the day, that I started to live life after you left us. When I woke up on the morning of October 22nd, there was a new way of existing different from what I have ever experienced and certainly never imagined all those months you were part of me. (Even after we found out that you had died you were still inside me.) But after you were born, and we cried the last tears that would fall on your pretty face, we said our last goodbye and we left you there. We came home, I blogged and your daddy fell asleep in his chair (your parents are nothing if not predictable… chuckle) and then we went to bed. One month later I woke up wondering, “How did we do that?” How did your daddy and I give you one last cuddle, one last kiss, hand your tiny body to the nurse, and then leave without you?

You were such a special gift! But the Lord, in His complete sovereignty, has taken you out of my hands for the duration of my earthy existence. I find my fingers daily wanting to curl around you again through a lack of trust in Him. Like a young child can squash the butterfly in her eagerness to preserve the delight of holding it - allowing the pain of loss to rule me would mean that the sweetness of you would be crushed. The true value of a gift is in knowing and treasuring the Giver. The true value of you, my sweet girl, is that you daily point me back to Him. I have no doubt that He could have spared you – could have pointed me to Him through your life… but I also know without a doubt that had that been best it would have happened.

And so daily I cry out to my Savior to help me to uncurl my fingers from your memories. To let go of envy, and self-pity, and despair and hold you with an open palm – amazed at the value of what I see, but not so fixated on what I perceive I lack that I destroy your beauty and undervalue the One who lifts my head, dries my heart’s tears and promises, “Someday you will understand.” It seemed unfair that Jesus was murdered, too… and yet I know that His death – His willing release of His life and relationship with His Father - secured my future. How amazing that He has hand-picked this for us, and given us opportunity to prove Him trustworthy...

Your daddy told me today that each morning he wakes up and remembers how he planned to spend his mornings: you in one arm and a bible in the other. He is so dear to my heart, and I love him so much. He doesn’t cry as often anymore, but there is a maturity in Him that God has brought about with loss – he always misses you, sweetheart. I would have loved to see you together – to develop the relationship that little girls and their daddies have! I, for one, know how special that relationship is. :) Your Papa is a special man, too. You would have learned so much from him, and in some ways, he could have had a “little Kendall” back again through you. Both these strong, wonderful men loved you so much, and the Lord knows how it breaks my heart to not have you be a daily part of our family.

But something else that I remembered this morning was that God has finally given me that which I pleaded years for: more love for Jesus. Just as you, my precious baby girl, would have learned to love your daddy and me as a result of your complete and total dependence – so I have learned with Jesus.

The strange part is that unlike you, who would have learned it from the start, He has taught me this many years after I first started following Him. He has gently taken from me that which is most precious and brought me to a point when even my basic functioning seems like an overwhelming task – and has then shown Himself to be more than able to carry me.

I can no longer be independent in my plans, goals and desires. I am learning that even when I did not see His worth, He never left me – or I would not be standing today. This knowledge gives me security even facing an uncertain future. I trust Him because even in the hardest trial I have ever gone through, He has quieted my heart with the promise that I am loved and valued by the God who holds atoms together. And while I may have been tempted to doubt His love for me in the past – whether through things not going my way, or because I felt I had ‘messed up’ – I believe it with all my heart now. How could I have gone through this without Him? I praise Jesus that He took my sin upon Himself at the cross and made the love of the Father accessible. The life I now live – and will live in the future - I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. Strange how faith totally trumps logic because of Whom it is based in rather than what I understand...

The value of that lesson cannot be measured in earthly terms. Do I love Him yet as I ought? Not even close. But I want to. And you, my sweet, precious baby, have taught me that. I would have gladly given my life for you, Autumn. But, in so many ways, your life was given that I might live more fully. I am both honored and humbled. With tears, I thank the Lord for you, sweetheart.

I love you forever,

Monday, November 19, 2007


Sometimes I walk into the nursery and can imagine picking up our baby after her nap. Without even thinking about it too much, I can hear her baby sounds and feel her soft skin and tiny fingers. These are the imaginings that people tried to warn me about... and they're bittersweet.

Sometimes I look at the change table and can giggle imagining Kurt trying to change diapers.
Sometimes the same thought brings tears to my eyes - because I know what delight he would take in that less-than-attractive task.

Sometimes I can imagine going back to work and bursting into tears the first baby-girl I see cuddling with her mommy...
... and sometimes I can picture seeing it and smiling with only a little misty-eyed wistfulness.

Sometimes I find myself enjoying the quiet... and then wish it was filled with the sounds of a crying baby girl.

Sometimes it surprises me how lonely I get for a little girl who never had a day-to-day impact on my life. But then it doesn't because she was part of me for so long. My life sustained hers.

Sometimes I look at her picture and know - beyond a shadow of a doubt - that she is our child. Other times I wonder it it was real - any of it. The pregnancy, the induction, the labor... and most especially her death.

Because if it was just a dream, or a sad movie or book - then I could get up, and walk away thinking of the sorrow as belonging to someone else. "So sad", I would think. "But thankfully not mine."

But then I remember how it felt when the doctor told us her heart wasn't beating anymore. How my stomach dropped, and the air froze in my lungs, and the way my ears starting ringing - and how my husband's hand tightened on mine, and I heard his breathing change as the sob started... I have to own it. And owning it is hard. There is no walking away. There is no forgetting. It isn't a story. It is real... and it happened to Kurt and I one month ago today.

And sometimes I remember how it is in this valley that I have come to know Jesus more. Can the value of that be measured? Can the security that comes from knowing He holds me be traded?

These "sometimes" give me more to pray about - and more ways for God to show Himself strong and sufficient for such a fragile woman with such feeble faith. He won't get tired of caring for me... and I thank Him for it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bye-Bye BC!

We're going to the Grey Cup!!! :)
Thanks to everyone who came over - even for a little while - to watch the game with us. It was great to have the company and we really enjoyed it. :)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Double Dating

Our huge thanks to our good friends Patrick and Pam for our "double date" last night. We got to tag along with them as they redeemed their free movie tickets, and then went and hung out at their place until much (and I do mean much!) later than anticipated.
But, in those unexpected extra hours, the guys had a great discussion, and Pam and I got to talk and share - and do a little crying together. Always good for the spirits. :)
The whole secret of last night is that before we left home I really wanted to be depressed. Not that I would have actually phrased it like that at the time - but it is the truth of the matter. I mean, it was cold, it felt like snow (which was an accurate feeling this morning!), I was tired (never a good sign), and was feel really sad about Autumn. Kinda setting myself up for a grumpy, weepy, self-centered evening. Poor Kurt! (chuckle)
But our friends - unknowingly on their parts - pulled me out of that wrong thinking with their wonderful company. The movie was pretty good, but the gift of true friends was a blessing that I'm still thanking the Lord for this morning. :)
So thanks guys - we love you lots! Hope the kids let you sleep in a little bit this morning. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sleeping and Dreaming

My day started with a sleep-in.

I know, I know... the ladies with little ones are squinting their eyes trying to remember what that word means. (chuckle) I wish for what you have, but truly, I wish for it without envy or bitterness. :) I praise God for this fact.

So I spent time this morning praying for everyone I know who has little ones. For patience, for love, for gentleness, for happiness... for gratefulness even in hard-things like tantrums, short naps, really dirty diapers and yes - even the lack of sleep-ins. :) I would give the few extra hours of sleep to have Autumn. But God has changed my perspective on so many things... so that even that 'wish' doesn't consume me all the time. I can only hope others will be praying for me the same as a "new" mother someday... and that I will remember this when my colicky baby cries for 6-months straight. (chuckle)

Kurt had to go to a work-thing this morning... but before he left he told me, "I had a dream about Autumn last night." I had to laugh as I not only perked right up, but asked a bunch of questions.

Me: "How old was she?"
Kurt: "A 2 or 3 year old... talking to her great-grandparents saying goodnight or something and giving them kisses."

Me: "What did she sound like?"
Kurt: "Cute... she couldn't really pronounce all her words - but she was trying hard. She couldn't pronounce "Great-Gramma" very well - but she could get out "Oma and Opa"."

Me:"Awww... so what did she look like?"
Kurt: "Light-colored hair, chubby cheeks, and big blue eyes with dark eyelashes - like her mommy."

(... so I have chubby cheeks?) ;)

Funny how I craved news of her, isn't it? Even though it was just a dream, I wanted every detail... and since Kurt never dreams (or at least remembers them) I was so thankful that he remembered so many details.

That little girl has such a hold on my heart... and I knew this morning that even if I never have another child - I am a mother. :)

I want to thank Pattie for her comments on the last post. I so appreciate your opening up and reaching out to us. Your words are both heart-wrenching because I know you understand the feelings we're going through, and encouraging because I know you've moved through what seems for me to be a long, hard journey. Thank you. :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Oh Yeah...

I also wanted to acknowledge that the visitor counter is over 6000. Aye carumba!!
I am both amazed and humbled. :)
For those who read, pray, and/or comment... and especially for the ones who do all three (chuckle): Although we cannot always reply, both of us read each comment left on the blog. Your reaching out to us across the distances (even not-so-far distances) is neither unnoticed, or taken for granted. We continue to thank the Lord, daily, for the way He strengthens us through you.
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! :)

Five Ponderings

1) I was doing the laundry last week and wondering why the "whites" basket was so full. Particularly - full of socks. Then I remembered that not only was it warmer for most of my pregnancy - but my feet were also much fatter. (Is fatter a word?) Hmmm... nevertheless - shoes weren't an option - therefore socks were unnecessary. Not so now. Even if I did have to buy a pair of bigger shoes to fit my longer (really!) feet! (chuckle)

2) I've been thinking about her kicks. In particular, how the specific memory of them is fading. I can no longer feel them - or expect to feel them - when I put my hand to my stomach. Tomorrow it will be November 15th - one month past her due date. On Monday it will be a month since she died - and a month since I felt her. Next Wednesday she would have been one month old. I grieve these things, but I trust that God will fill these voids as time moves on.

3) I used to always wonder that when the rubber met the road (whether through death, or Christ's return) if I was really believing... or if God would look upon me and say, "You never really loved me - just what I could do for you." After all this: I know I love the Lord more than anything. He, alone, in His goodness is getting me through. The trial is from Him - but so are the blessings of family, friends, my husband - and even our goofy dog (who even as I write I can hear snoring at the other end of the house... lol!). In fact, "the end", whatever it looks like, is no longer an anxiety-causing event. I look forward to kissing the hands that bled for me - and having Him wipe the tears from my eyes forever.

3) Psalm 119 says a lot about suffering. It uses the word "affliction" or "afflicted" a lot. That word really jumps out at me now - with a totally different meaning than it used to have. This helps in two ways. The first is that I know that others have suffered in the Lord over the ages... we're not alone - and our Lord is very experienced in holding His own through the valleys. The second is the confidence in knowing that suffering has a purpose: "I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me." (vs 75) and "It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes." (vs 71). The writer is not saying these things under duress: he knows - as I am learning - that there is so much value in knowing God that even if it takes affliction to drive me to His arms... that His arms are still the best place to be. It boggles the mind to have such comfort in pain... and yet it is no longer a theory to me - it's a reality.

4) At times there can be such a sense of disbelief: Was I really pregnant? Did a baby really grow inside me - let alone come out of me? I said to Kurt the other day, "How did we go from "just about there" back to "wait and see" so quickly?" We were almost parents - functioning parents... but there is no word to identify people who have lost a child. I told my dad it is like being a bride whose husband dies on the wedding night: technically a widow... but never actually "married" with all the fullness that word implies. I am so thankful for the pictures - like the one below - that remind me that Autumn was real. So many of you have also reminded me that yes - I am a mommy and Kurt is a daddy. We were so proud of her... just see the look on his face? I am so blessed to have this man with his tender heart and love for his daughter...
5) We got the bush pushed at the farm for our future driveway. This is very exciting for us! It means that life has not ground to a horrible stop. We will move on, our lives will still progress. We can make plans, and undertake them... and since the driveway was the most stressful thing for Kurt - he feels quite liberated and relieved that it is now ready to be built. :) No pictures yet, though - as it was done by dark yesterday and we had no time to take them this morning. Sorry, Lori! :)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

That's My King!

Amen? :)
Such an encouragement to hear truths - and know this guy was probably barely containing his enthusiasm for Jesus even waaaay back in 1976. :) The crowd seems to enjoy it, too.
Kurt and I grinned our way through it. :-D
It's a tad long (just over 6 minutes) but worth the watch if you have the time. Hope you enjoy! Oh - the first part is quiet. There isn't any talking until the words "The bible says" come up - it isn't your system malfunctioning! :)

PS: Today is a much better day than yesterday. Thanks for your prayers - and for those of you who replied to yesterday's post... each was a wonderful encouragement. God used them to strengthen both of us, and we're praising Him for you today. :)

PPS: Go Riders! Boo Stamps!
My half-hearted apologies to those reading in Calgary... ;-D

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Battle

I literally have a list of things I want to/could blog about... but the truth of the matter is that tonight has been kind of difficult. I just got off the phone with my mom - and I feel much better... but still thought I'd put up a post about how things are going.
I miss Autumn so much. It's almost physical... and that is hard to be distracted from. Tomorrow she would be 3 weeks old.
I cry because I just hurt deep, deep inside - and I can't trace the root to any one cause other than her being gone and all the hopes and dreams that died with her. Sometimes the trigger is the nursery. Sometimes it is seeing other babies. Sometimes it is remembering how exciting it was to be in various stages of the pregnancy: first heartbeat, first kicks, first ultrasound... the list goes on. Sometimes there is no specific trigger: it just hits me that our daughter died - and the shock is as real and immediate as it was when the doctor told us that her heart had stopped.
I treasure - so much more than words can say - when others say her name. We agonized over finding the right name - and it was perfect for her... but it breaks my heart that it is, and will continue to be, a name spoken in the past-tense.
I am trying so hard to fight - to continue to trust the Lord. But oh - that battle feels as though it is uphill at times!
I am so thankful that I want to think rightly... I know how easy it would be to give myself over to despair at times. Despair is such a natural instinct, I'm finding. But God gives me the desire - and the strength - to have hope. The tunnel always has the light shining. The hand that holds me is always visible. The blessings amidst all this are innumerable.
I know that I have not cornered the market on suffering. Others have suffered equally - and many have suffered much, much more. Remembering that helps to battle. I'm so thankful for our friends. I'm so very thankful for my mother. :)
Prayer has become so-much more valuable to me over the last 3 weeks. Not so much because of the action itself - but because of the One that I know it goes before. If you are praying for me - thank you for carrying me to Jesus!
He will heal this broken heart. His timing is best. His methods are best. He is good and does good.
I cling to these truths with all my strength - but He uses your prayers to give me more.

Friday, November 9, 2007

What's Up?

Or are they? ;)
Actually, they are the massive windmills near Swift Current. They cost $1,000,000 (yes, one million dollars) each and will take 25 years for the Saskatchewan people to pay for. Each.
Love that environmentally friendly/fiscally un-conservative power. ;) I joke, of course.
The funny part? A huge bunch of them weren't even working when we went by. (lol!)

The puppy: It kinda looks like he's sleeping off a bender to me. (lol!)
He's never staying with my parents again! ;-D
Actually, he looks like he's put on weight with his exposure to cold (thus a thicker coat) and a bigger diet to compensate for all the running around he does out there. He literally gallops around. What a ham...
What a cutie!
More blogging to come soon...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Considering the Sparrows...

We're in Swift Current tonight... on the third day of our road trip. I've seen over half the Hutterite colonies in this part of the province. Some I visited with, and others I just waited in the truck. Most of the guys tease Kurt about having his wife along to keep him in line. He laughs and tells them that my job is to make sure that he actually gets to the places he wants to go. :) Some of them knew we were expecting, and ask if we "had that baby yet?". Upon telling them, I get hugs from the ladies, and condolences from the men... and a few have revealed that they've lost babies, too... whether with miscarriages or with early infant losses.

On Monday, I was sitting in the truck while Kurt was visiting with some guys and I happened to be near the feed-mill. I was amazed at the birds - several kinds - and all really chubby (if birds can be chubby?) from eating spilled feed. If I was a bird, I'd hang out by a feed-mill, too. The heck with foraging in the fields and forests! Anyway, I was thinking about how they don't worry, they don't plan their lives - they simply do what God created them to do. It made me think about our daughter - and how she really is no different. She served the exact purpose that God created her to fulfill. We were allowed to love her, and we are allowed to mourn her. As a result of her life, and death, lots of people are thinking about Him. Honestly, that makes me happy even as it brings tears to my eyes. I want to be as "faithful" as my daughter. :)

I've started dreaming about her -and as a result have been waking up really sad... this morning was hard as my body is still wondering where Autumn is. I was frustrated, and tired, and sore... and Kurt just held me and we cried together. It didn't last long - but to release the emotions is such a relief. Overall, though, this time on the road has been really good for Kurt and I. We've been able to talk about her, about us, about the future, pray together... and have a few laughs over his navigation skills and my lack of ability to "feel" direction. In my defense, the days have been cloudy... ;)

On a totally different note: Go Saskatchewan Party! :) Everyone in Swift Current is invited down to the Brad Wall campaign headquarters. They are a tad confident. But we're probably going to be more than content to stay in the hotel, blog and eat desert and drink coffee. Not in that particular order. Kurt is sitting on the bed getting agitated every time the NDP moves ahead... so I can't blog long because he needs me to be there to comfort him. ;) Hope I don't offend anyone with my blatant support... but I'm excited! :)

Also just wanted to let anyone who has emailed us while we've been gone: We're not ignoring you - this is just the first email connection we've had in 3 days. :) Thanks for all your continued prayers - and, Lord willing, we'll be home tomorrow and I'll be back to blogging on my own computer.

G'night from Speedy-Creek!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Ah Melfort...

We've taken another small break... to Kurt's hometown. When we first got here yesterday I walked by myself to the the back deck and had a little cry. It was supposed to be "next time with the baby".
But God, in his sovereignty, has chosen different for us. So I will choose to enjoy this time with my husband and my in-laws... and Oscar and Ty the pug. He shall be known henceforth as: the dog-who-thinks-he-is-human-and-strongly-dislikes-Oscar. :)
Lori takes such good care of us... and it is a delight to visit with my father-in-law. As time passes - and especially after all that has happened with Autumn - I see so much of Kurt in him... and it makes me appreciate and love him more. :) So thanks, you two - we love you both more than words can say.
We're getting some laughs out of the two dogs. Oscar outweighs Ty about 60-to-1... but Ty is the one that will get aggressive. Just a tad territorial, these pugs... (big grin)
My first walk (other than to-and-from-the-car) since giving birth was taken with Kurt, Gord (my father-in-law), and the two dogs last night. It was super-cold, but great to get outside. It was also fun to see Kurt rip-around with our dog... who has been acting out during the last week. He feels neglected - a feeling based somewhat in reality... so hopefully this time will pacify him a little bit.
I laughed when I saw my hair - obvious toque-head - even with pigtails! :)
I also got a couple of pictures taken of my ever-shrinking tummy... amazing - something I would have taken such pride in before... and now all I think is, "Good thing we took so many pictures when I was pregnant with her!" It makes me strangely sad... it is like evidence that I carried her is slowly disappearing. Never thought I'd look at these stretchmarks with gratefulness... but perspective on so many things and their actual importance has changed for me. Not necessarily a bad thing...I mean, there is still a bump... but not as big as I thought it will be after only two weeks... and that without breastfeeding assist in the "shrinkage". Forgive the colour, but I guess there is still a little vanity left in me... chuckle... this light makes my hair look smaller. (lol!)Oh - and something (or someone) I'd really like to acknowledge: We received an anonymous gift in a significant amount - with the only major stipulation of use being that we "blow the first $100 on ourselves" and then do whatever we want with the leftover money. Kurt and I just looked at each other with open mouths. Then he said, "Umm... I'm not sure I know how to "blow" money anymore." I told him that I'm pretty sure I can remember. (lol!) However, he did inform me on the way to Melfort that he has an idea... so I am eager to see what he comes up with. :) But, whoever you are: your generosity has touched us so deeply. Thank you for your kindness... words cannot express what I'm truly trying to say... so Shiela has been instructed to give you big hugs from us - since we do not know you. Perhaps someday we will be able to hug you ourselves... even if it is in heaven... :)
Okay - lunch is ready so I'll sign-off for now.
K&K... & O. (grin)
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