Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This Week

What is it about this week in my life that God seems to choose it as the time in which to place the heaviest burdens and trials upon my life?  Why is it that this week is so difficult and perhaps about to become even more so?  I'm not complaining, truly I'm not, but I cannot help but wonder why this week.

Poppop is not expected to live through the week.  This is bitter news,  especially as I had been holding out hope that God might grant him just a little longer.  Perhaps He still will, but things are looking very bleak right now.

To receive this news that it might happen this week, out of any week in the year, is particularly upsetting to me, and I am struggling to rest in the Lord.

In 2007, I lost two very dear people to me during this week: Mrs. Carol Cummings and my grandfather, Leo Wilcox.

Today marks four years to the day that Mrs. Cummings went to glory (see In Loving Memory).  After teaching VBS with her for several years and seeing her often at my grandparents church, I had come to love and respect her very deeply.  For her life to have ended so suddenly and so shortly before I was again to teach with was shocking and heart-breaking.

June 3 will be four years since Poppop Leo passed to be with the Lord.  For those who know his testimony, it was a particularly amazing thing that God saved him so soon before his death.  After years of hardening his heart against the God he hated, my grandfather, through God's grace, became a completely different man.  He prayed for me.  He prayed for others.  He radiated love.

2007 was such an emotionally challenging time for me.  When this particular week rolls around every year, I am once again reminded of those who I lost in such a short span of time--one a friend, one a grandfather.

Facing Poppop's possible loss this week is even more emotional for me for these reasons, but it will be a rough journey for me no matter when my Lord decides to take him.

Poppop, I love you so much.  So much. And I will miss you for the rest of my life.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cowbells and Quiet

Friday's visit with Poppop was, to quote from J-Lo on American Idol, "Amazing."  He was lucid, able to be up, and in the mood to talk.  We discussed the time he saw Princess Diana in London, his service in the Korean war, and the new (to us) vehicle that Patrick and were planning to buy the next day.  He also loved talking about Natalie: how soon she was coming, what a blessing it was to think of her, and how well I am looking at 35 weeks pregnant (who could ask for a more charming grandfather?!).

Perhaps my favorite moment of the day was when my sister, Marissa, picked up a Swiss cowbell that was sitting on the TV tray next to Poppop's easy chair.  When she asked what it was, he replied, "My call bell."  With the mischievous look that we all know and love so well (and that we have not seen in a while), he picked it up and began clanging it relentlessly, waiting to see how long it took Mommom to jump up from her chair in the kitchen to come check on him.  He laughed.  It has been far too long since I've seen him play a trick on Mommom just to see us laugh.

Truly, it was nice to have some time with him and Mommom without having a house full of people there, as is usually the case with my popular grandparents.  Since it was a two hour drive for me to get to New Jersey, I had hoped for some quality, concentrated time with him without the distractions that a bunch of other people unwittingly bring . . . it's hard for me to get up there to visit, and everyone else gets to see him all the time since they live close by.  I was blessed to have what likely was my final visit be so intimate and private.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Lord, Thy will be done.  Not mine.

Today could be my last visit with my grandfather, the most amazing man I know.  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

You are Good

Nichole Nordeman wrote a song that keeps echoing through my soul at this time:

When the sun starts to rise
And I open my eyes
You are good, so good
In the heat of the day
With each stone that I lay
You are good, so good

With ever breath I take in
I'll tell you I'm grateful again
When the moon climbs high
Before each kiss goodnight
You are good

When the road starts to turn
Around each bend I've learned
You are good so good
And when somebody's hand
Holds me up helps me stand
You are so good

With every breath I take in
I'll tell You I'm grateful again
'Cause its more than enough
Just to know I am loved
And You are good

So how can I thank You
What can I bring
What can these poor hands
Lay at the feet of a King
I'll sing You a love song
It's all that I have
To tell You I'm grateful
For holding my life in Your Hands

When it's dark and it's cold
And I can't feel my soul
You are so good
When the world is gone gray
And the rain's here to stay
You are still good

So with every breath I take in
I'll tell You I am grateful again
And the storm my swell
Even then it's well and You are good

God has been reminding me of His goodness, of His undeserved love and compassion in a difficult time.  While sadness tries to overtake me, my good Lord shows me silver lining in the dark cloud.  

My grandfather is very sick, and he is going back on hospice . . . this time to stay.  He may have days, he may have a little bit longer.  

During this time, God is showing me all of the things that He has given me for which I should be joyful and praise His name: Poppop made it to my wedding, I got to see him cry over hearing that I was pregnant, and I've seen the joy on his face at the thought of his first great-granddaughter.  

According to the doctors, he should not have been there for ANY of those events, let alone all of them.  Thank you God for what You have given me.

Though it is dark and it is cold, You are good.  The skies are gray, and tears fill my soul, but I still rest in Your goodness.  Thank you, God.  Thank you.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Fine Balance

I awoke this morning to find my right hand completely numb and tingling, and I rolled out of bed to find that both of my hands were going to be numb and tingling for quite a while.  If I so much as leave my hands still for a few seconds, they get REALLY numb and tingling, otherwise they remain somewhere between uncomfortable and annoying.

Unfortunately, I am attempting to write a bunch of thank-you notes today in response to all of the blessings that Patrick and I have received at all three of our baby showers.  To those of you whose notes are being written today, please pardon my handwriting because it's rather difficult to write when one's fingers are stiff, asleep, and not functioning properly.

On the bright side, though, we truly are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of love shown to us and to Natalie in the past few weeks.  Our condo is no longer ours--it is now filled with the fun, cute, adorable, practical, and necessary things that will fill our daughter's life.  She will be the best dressed little girl and will have the most variety in her wardrobe.  All I can say is that she'd better be a girly-girl . . . we have an abundance of hair bows, ruffly outfits, lacy dresses, and darling hats in which to deck her on a daily basis.

Thanks to all who have and continue to support us in this time--we can't wait until you and we get to meet Natalie!  There are so many of you who we would love to have over for dinner (and Patrick would invite everyone over now if I let him!), and I hope to begin hosting regularly again very shortly after the baby is born.  As for right now, my fluctuating energy levels, unpredictable hands, and the amount of things that I need to get done before Natalie arrives is keeping me from being able to have people over as I would like.  For now, we covet your prayers for health and well being during these last 3-6 weeks before our lives change forever . . .

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Unfortunately, my little plot to trick my body into sleeping the other night did not work.  I slept a tiny bit better last night, but I found it ironic that Patrick woke up in the middle of the night to tell me that I was taking up most of the bed and, in doing so, was kicking him off.  Would I please move?  Nothing could be farther from the truth!  He hogs the bed, and most nights I'm trying to shove him (he sleeps like a comatose person) over so that I have more than a foot and a half of bed space . . . which is nowhere near enough considering my ever-expanding belly and the fact that I need to sleep with a body pillow to support that belly!  Anyway . . .

I've been feeling a little down, lately.  The warm weather has brought on swelling in my extremities.  Although uncomfortable, I can deal with the swelling of my legs and feet.  My hands and wrists, however, are a different story.

Pregnancy induced carpal tunnel.  Not pleasant for the girl who has dealt with bad bouts of tendentious brought on by the overplaying of Beethoven and Chopin, painful for the pianist who now struggles to even curl her fingers into a fist.  Water has become my new best friend, but even she can do little to relieve the pain and discomfort.

I am trying not to feel sorry for myself, attempting to forget that I still have 4-7 weeks left before these symptoms begin to go away (and before I can take any kind of anti-inflammatory drug).  For this reason, I have decided to list the things that I truly CAN be thankful for during this time.

  1. Natalie is healthy.
    • This child moves all the time.  She gets the hiccups four times a day, and she loves to use my bladder as a trampoline.  Yes, I have to go to the bathroom all the time, but at least she's happy and full of life!
  • Patrick loves me.
    • He took one look at my swollen, pitiful self yesterday and decided that I needed to get out of the house.  We went to the Hunt Valley mall, walked around, visited 5 Below (he loves it there!) and Best Buy, and ate Chipotle.  It was nice despite the fact that I now have trouble keeping up with his pace.  :-)
  • My family loves me.
    • Mom and the girls came over with Jesse yesterday.  While I helped him look over some research, Mom cleaned my kitchen, Krista straightened up the nursery, and Gianna distracted me by making me look for a new book for her on my Nook.  Despite not having slept for a few days, I had a great time.
  • Friends and Family love me.
    • Patrick and I (and Natalie!) have been so blessed by our friends and family at our baby showers.  We have received so many things that will be useful and necessary once Natalie comes, and we've gotten a lot of things that will just be fun (hair bows, outfits, and all kinds of things to dress up our little girl!).
  • God loves me.
    • This one is the most important.  I know that He will never give me more than I can bear, and that He is right there when I think I am going to fall.  I struggle onward, but He gives me just enough grace to get through each day.  Other than the aches and pains of pregnancy that I face now and first trimester bleeding, He has given me an unexciting few months--neither Natalie nor I have had any major health issues.  He sends me people to encourage me, ones who say exactly what I need to hear at the moment I need to hear it.
In all reality, despite what I may sometimes think when I am wallowing in self-pity, the good does outweigh the bad, and I am a blessed woman.  Now, I need to get off to the store to buy some wrist braces . . .

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I hope to get back to posting tomorrow, but here's to my second night in a row of staying up extra late in an effort to actually make myself so sleepy that I'll actually be able to sleep.  It didn't work last night, but my eyes are getting progressively heavier by the minute.  Honestly, I'm just envying Patrick who has been sound asleep for hours now.  

Come on pregnant body and little babe who moves nonstop within me--let me get some rest tonight!