Sunday, March 22, 2015

Its a girl!

Before I had my miscarriage in November my mom and I talked about possible girl names in case I was having a girl. I suggested either Marigold or Magnolia since my moms name is Maggie and my great grandmothers name was Goldie. She fell in love with Magnolia and we were grateful since that name was on the top of our list. I had my miscarriage in November and it was hard, incredibly hard. Scott and I have been wanting and praying for a baby for so long. I was worried that maybe his medical problems were the reason why we couldn't get pregnant for such a long time. Then in January after a week of feeling queasy I took a pregnancy test. My heart fell to the floor because after a few seconds only one line showed up. I placed it on the counter and walked away. A few days later I was putting on DoTerra oils and the pregnancy test that I absentmindedly left on the counter caught my eye. I was thinking "No WAY! I see TWO lines!!!!" I started to cry and I called up Scott, my sister Rhonda, my brother Tim and my mom. I took a few more tests and sure enough I was pregnant.

14.5 weeks
This pregnancy felt different from the beginning. With Judah I didn't know I was pregnant for over a month. This one I felt very sick from the beginning. I was throwing up everywhere. Judah would tell the people we would speak to at Wegmans "the baby might make my mommy throw up again today!". I haven't been to Wegmans once during this pregnancy with out throwing up in the parking lot. I would call my mom and ask her "did you feel this way with any of us" and she would laugh her deep laugh, the one that I can just see the tears in her eyes and she would say "yes, with YOU! I know you are having a girl". This was my moms hope and what made her laugh, the idea that I was going to have a girl. She kept talking about baby Magnolia and would share stories about when she was pregnant with me. We were originally told I was due on 9/11 so she planned on coming up for the entire month of September to celebrate her birthday and spend time with her grand babies. My mom passed away on February 9th. It was unexpected and it is a painful loss. I saw my midwife a week after we got back from Houston/Louisiana and she told me that they moved my due date back, that I am actually due on September 17th. I cried because that's my moms birthday. Oh how I wanted to just call her up and hear her deep laugh that made her get tears in her eyes when I told her that her grand baby might share the same birthday as her. We ended up getting the DNA blood testing and a few days later I found out that I am having a baby girl, they gave me a sonogram and confirmed. We laughed and we cried and we laughed some more. My mom was right. I am having a girl and her name is Magnolia Mae Judkins.

Judah and Scott are both over the moon. Scott will get all mushy and talk to my belly and then Judah will say "no daddy! Only I can talk to baby Magnolia and give her kisses" then he will run up and kiss my belly and tell Magnolia how much he loves her. My heart may be grieving my mom, but my heart is so full with this sweet little blessing. We are so grateful for The Lords tender heart towards us during this season. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

writing my moms obituary

I was asked by the funeral home to write an obituary for my mother so they could put it up on their website. I tried multiple times to pick up my pen to write something down but I my heart would fill up with so much raw emotion that I would end up throwing my mole skin journal across the room.

My mother Maggie and her father Charles Seaverson.

You see, my mom is not the typical mom. She was in and out of our lives growing up. I wrote her at least one a letter a week while she was in the Army, stationed all over Europe, Panama and California. She has done some hurtful things to my siblings and I. It still breaks me to go back and read the letters that I wrote to her when I was a little girl. Then as an adult my siblings and I always felt like we were on a constant suicide watch with my mom. She was a cutter since she was 12 and was in and out of hospitals for suicide attempts or for cutting herself to deep. She would drink and mix her medication and text me horrible things. Telling me to go kill myself and list out ways that I could easily take my life at home. Or she would tell me how she never wanted me. Words that cut deeper than the scars that covered her arms. I would still reach out to her and pray for her. I knew The Lord could change her heart. At times I would have to take breaks from her and her texts. They would trigger a deep hurt in me and I would need time and space to heal.

About two years ago I decided that I am going to accept my mom just the way she is. I was going to put aside all the hurt and forgive her. I called her up and I told her that I know she has had a rough life and I know she is hurting and that I want to forgive her and to love her where she is at. I did not want to bring up the past or question why she did the things she did. I wanted to be able to text her updates on her grandson Judah and I wanted to be in her life. This phone conversation started our texting that led to more phone conversations that eventually led my sister Rhonda to forgive my mom and for the first time since we were kids my mom had all of her children talking to her and encouraging her. The Lord blessed our relationship because we were willing to forgive my mom. She needed that forgiveness, she needed her children and she needed our encouragement. Little did I know that she was struggling from years of deep hurt, childhood and adult rape and abuse and debilitating PTSD from serving in the Panama War.  She needed the forgiveness and unconditional love to help her heal from her past demons.

My mom died on Monday, February 9th and this is what I have to say about our time with her.

Maggie was a good mom, she was a mother to three beautiful children, Jessica, Rhonda and Timothy. They were her life. She did everything she could to raise and protect them. Even if it meant that she had to leave them for a bit because she felt that she was unsafe to be around them. Maggie loved taking her children on walks, she always sewed their Halloween and school play costumes. She attended every school play and always had a bouquet of flowers for the child right after the play. She would sing "you are my sunshine" to us on our birthdays and made the best homemade cakes and held the best birthday parties. She taught her children to love and to serve the less fortunate. She taught them to look deeper at the person who is discouraged and reach out to see why their heart hurts. She brought her children to nursing homes to read books, shelters to hand out food and even brought them to the circus to protest the abuse of the elephants. Maggie loved. She loved even when she was hurt. She would always open her home to a stranger, make hot chocolate for the people who removed the snow or leave an encouraging handmade bracelet for girls who looked like they needed encouragement. She would always take her daughters to volunteer at the Whitman Walker Clinic in DC or would sign us up for races for charity. Maggie loved to serve and love on others. Maggie also loved music, it spoke to her soul and she introduced her children to her favorite music. We will never forget how the songs made us feel when our mom would get lost in the lyrics. Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Metalicca, AC/DC, The Beatles, The Cars and Alice in Chains all hold a special place in our heart and the lyrics conjure up memories of spending time with our mom. Maggie was always looking for something fun to do, an adventure whether it was driving up the Shenandoah Mountains, sky diving, taking the metro into DC for the Cherry Blossoms, going to a concert or taking her children with her when she got her earlobes stretched or another tattoo. Maggie was loyal. She loved her country, she fought and would die for her country. She made the best breakfast, had the best laugh, the cutest Louisiana accent,  the best sense of humor, the perfect hands, the biggest heart, she raised her three children as a single mom for a few years and was great at it. I never gave up hope for the mom that she used to be. That it was somewhere hidden behind the years and layers of depression and abuse. I would see it every now and then and I saw it come out more these last two years. I miss her. If you knew Maggie, you would miss her as well. She left an imprint of her heart on every person she meets. She is part of my heart and it aches knowing that she is gone.

We had plans to see my mom this spring and for her to come up when my baby would arrive in September. She was excited to be a Grandmother again and we wanted to have her spend a month with us for her for her birthday present. After my mom passed I had an appointment with my midwife. They moved my due date from September, 11th to the 17th. My moms birthday is September, 17. She would have been tickled pink knowing that my baby could possibly share a birthday with her. I take it as a sign from The Lord letting me know that He is closer than the air I breath and is comforting the groaning's of my grieving heart.

I wish I could introduce everyone to my mother. I wish she was still around and I wish I could text her pictures of my son or of my sonograms. I wish I could tell her all the things I was afraid to tell her. I wish I could go back and get a clearer understanding of why she self injured. I wish I could ask her about the countless scars on her arms. I wish I could ask her why she has PTSD from the military. I wish I wasn't fearful to talk to her about it all. I wish I was braver.

I know my mom is in heaven. She is safe in the Lords arms, free from pain, free from her demons. I can just imagine her face lighting up as she looks down on her arms and no longer seeing the scars. I can see the tears streaming down her face as Jesus cradles her face in his hands.

I miss my mom.

Monday, March 24, 2014

teaching encouragement

I wanted to be intentional about teaching Judah how to encourage other people. Some people have asked me what are my favorite things to do to encourage others with Judah and here are a few of my favorite. 

If you have a gift whether it is crochet, sewing, arranging flowers, baking or acts of service. Bless others with that gift. I love to crochet and one of my favorite things to crochet are joy banners. I've crochet so many I could probably crochet this banner in my sleep. 

I love writing out random notes to strangers to encourage them. What I will do is give the banner with the note to Judah and point out someone who looks discouraged and say "Judah go and encourage that person sitting over there". He will walk up with the biggest smile and say "Here you go. Have a good day!". Whenever someone is handed something by a smiling toddler they typically smile. 

We also give banners to people in places we frequent a lot. We gave a joy banner to our friends in the post office last December and it's still hanging up. We have also given out banners to all of the Starbuck shops we go to, the Library and the Fire Department. 

If you feel like you don't have something to give you can always buy donuts. Everyone loves donuts. On a special day I like to get a box of donuts and put them in mini bags and let Judah deliver them to people in our neighborhood. We live close to a College University and we have students walking all over our neighborhood. They love getting free snacks from a toddler. We also like to leave these in our mailbox with a note for our mailman or will wait for the trash men to stop by for pick up and give them some donuts and a juice. 

We like to bring donuts to everyone. Sometimes I will have Judah drop off donuts for the childcare workers at my Wednesday morning bible study or I will have him drop off donuts for the librarians at our favorite library. 

Sometimes when we are in line we get donuts for the person in front of us or behind us. Judah loves giving donuts to construction crew members. Whenever Judah sees a construction crew at work or hears the trash men pulling into our neighborhood he will ask me if we have donuts or muffins to give to them. 

We always "adopt a soldier" while they are deployed. In the past four years we have adopted four. Two have come back and two are still deployed. Judah likes to draw notes for his "soldier hero friends" and will now ask me to pick things up while we are out at Wegmans or Target that we can send to his friends. After years of showing Judah the encouragement packages he now understands that we are encouraging guys who are protecting us. 

You can also base your encouragement off the need of your community. Last October our government was on furlough for awhile. I had Judah help me go door to door collecting food to donate to the local food banks that were affected by the furlough. 

One of our favorite places to encourage people is Starbucks. We have a drive-thru one here and I like to pay for the persons drink behind us and give him or her a note with a crochet banner. 

Judah also loves handing out daisies to customers at the Starbucks near the Fairfax Wegmans. They have a floral shop next door and we buy $10 worth of daisies. I cut them up to individual daisies so he can pass them out. Then I get to sit down and watch Judah run up to each person who enters Starbucks. I absolutely love watching Judah's heart fill up with encouragement as he passes out these flowers to complete strangers. Even the grumpiest person who walks in smiles at receiving a daisy. 

I like to occasionally make tear offs of "take what you need" and we will tape them up either around our neighborhood or around the college campus near us. Judah understands that these are to encourage people and he helps me tape them to the mailboxes. 

I have noticed after years of showing Judah how to encourage others the desire to encourage now comes as second nature to him. In a way I think it has taught him to be more social and outgoing to people we interact with through out our day. 

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Monday, February 24, 2014

fantasizing about my past

Each day my biggest struggle is trying not to look back. When the future seems uncertain or if I am in a difficult situation my mind and heart tend to wander to my past and over glorify how much easier my life was. I will get quite, overwhelmed with all the medical information Scott is giving me and I will get into that dangerous place in my mind and start wishing for the days of when I was single. To wonder about the certain choices I made to bring me to where I am now.

I started to feel this way last week when Scott came home with another Doctors update. He said as a precaution his Doctors think that Judah and I should also get tested for the parasite. Since we live with each other, Judah still climbs into bed at 4 am to co-sleep and Scott has diabetes (pricks his fingers to draw blood) that we are at risk of getting the parasite. Normally I am pretty calm with Scott's medical news but this time I flipped out on him. I was angry at him, God, the Doctors and just the season of life we are in. It is already hard dealing with Scott's chronic medical illness especially with no real end in sight, but knowing that both Judah and I might have to undergo parasitic medication just put me over the edge. When is this medical stuff all going to end?  Having the weight of all of this makes it easier for that door to the past to be pushed wide open. To think about the choices I made and to wonder how it would be different if I made different ones. It is easy to look back on the past so my mind doesn't have to try to process what is going on right now.

I do this just like the Israelites did to Moses when the Egyptians came after them again in Exodus 14. They thought they were finally in the clear. They were finally headed to the promise land after years of slavery and witnessing all the plagues. Watching and hearing the Egyptians come after them must have put them over the edge just like knowing that I have to get Judah and I tested for a parasite put me over the edge. But Moses responds to their fear and says "Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent." The Lord then directs Moses to open the Red Sea leading the Israelites to protection and destroying their biggest fear.  The word silent is a verb meaning to be deaf. To be deaf to all the outside input that is not from God.

What am I learning in all of this looking, waiting, trying not to be angry and waiting some more. If I am going to look at the past it is only to see where the Lord Himself has taken me from. He has commanded me to remember the former things of long past. Not to fantasize on how easier things would be if I took a different path but to see how The Lord is eternal, consistent and how He has lead me out of my valley time and time again. I am also learning that I should surround myself with people who care about us. Who care about us for who we are in the place we are at. Not for what we can give because the Lord is pulling us so deep into this season so we are unable to give anything else because we have to be so focused on Him. We literally have to look at His face for our hope. In my anger. I have to remember Psalm 141:7-8. Scott and I may feel like our bones have been scattered but our eyes have to be toward our Lord in who we take refuge. Keeping our eyes fixed on Him regardless of our circumstance.

You know. God is okay if I am angry at him. He is not okay if I desire for another path that He has not taken me on. He wants me focused on Him and the path He has chosen for me. In the big scheme of things. My present is not that bad. I am married to the most amazing man, we have the sweetest son and The Lord is teaching us things in this season of being in the trenches with Him. When Scotts medical issues get discouraging I need to capture my thoughts to not only be encouraging to my husband but to also save my soul a lot of havok by not fantasizing about my past.

{Philippians 4:8}
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Happy Birthday Judah!

Happy 3rd Birthday Judah 


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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

sharing Joy

You could try to encourage someone with the best material gift in the world or the most meaningful words that are spoken from the heart. But the feeling from hearing those words and receiving that amazing material gift will only last for so long. After awhile you will still feel that hole in your heart that you thought you could fill with other things. You can't fill it and it seems to get deeper and deeper. The only thing I can truly encourage someone with is how I was able to fill that hole in my heart. I was only able to do that by trusting in Jesus Christ. Turning to what he says about me when I feel like all is lost, when I feel hopeless, when I feel like giving up. For advent I am attempting to crochet a Joy banner to hand out everyday to a stranger for 25 days. I am also mailing some out to some family and friends who have really been on my heart. 

December 1st.
I had Judah walk up to a lady who was sitting by herself at Immanuel Bible Church and hand her this note with the crochet Joy banner. 

December 2nd
Judah and I brought in some Duncan Donuts to our postal worker friends. We gave Richard a banner to hang up in the post office to encourage everyone who is standing in that long line for the month of December. 

December 3rd
We delivered homemade chicken and dumplings and a joy banner to our elderly neighbor Lorraine. 

As long as my hands are working I am going to try to give out as many Joy banners as possible this December. I also mailed out 12 and we gave one to the Fire Station last week.

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Friday, November 22, 2013

our nighttime reality

There are many nights my heart breaks for Judah. His favorite person in the entire world is his daddy. Each morning when he wakes up the first words out of his mouth are "where is my daddy?". Each person we interact with through out the day Judah will tell them "I miss my daddy" and when Scott finally pulls in from work Judah runs outside to hug him and will not leave his side all night. Judah adores Scott. It makes my heart swell when I see him holding onto his daddy and never letting him out of his sight. 

We have a nighttime routine with Judah. If Scott is in a lot of pain he will go upstairs and try to grab a nap either before or during dinner. I keep Judah extra distracted and try my best to explain that "daddy doesn't feel well and needs to rest". After Scott's power nap he will come downstairs and help out with Judah while I go upstairs to crochet for about an hour (to get a little me time). Around 7:45 Scott will bring Judah upstairs and we will either give him a bath together or Scott will read to him. I know if Scott is having a really bad night when he can't read an entire book with Judah (like tonight). When I hear Scott struggling with his words I know that is my cue to step in to help out. At first when Judah realizes that Scott can't read any more books he completely freaks out. He wants his daddy time and he thinks that I am stealing that time away from him. He will get these big crocodile tears in his eyes and his lip will start to quiver as he says "I want daddy to read to me! Not mommy!". Scott at this point is typically lying down with his arms crossed and his face in pain. He is unable to respond to Judah's cries. I assure Judah that I am not stealing daddy away from him. That instead of just daddy reading we are going to hang out all together. That he can lay down next to daddy and even hold his hand and I am going to read him EXTRA books. This normally calms Judah down. Afterward Judah gives daddy one more hug and I take him to bed. He cries the entire time. Not a scream whiny cry but a sad heartbreaking cry because he doesn't understand why his daddy can't respond to him, why he can't read to him and why he can't tuck him in. All Judah is thinking are those four words that break my heart through out the day "I miss my daddy". Judah will come out of bed a few times and ask Scott for extra hugs, beg for Scott to tuck him in and wrap him up tight (like a burrito) and when he realizes that Daddy is not feeling well he will then ask for mommy hugs when I carry him back into bed. 

Knowing that Judah's heart is hurting just wrecks mine. When my sweet little boy has his head nestled against my neck as he is hugging me tight I whisper that it is going to be ok and tomorrow will be a better day. As I whisper those words into my sweet boys ear my heart wonders, will Scott ever be ok. 

Our weekends are like gold and I am happy that Judah wont be asking me tomorrow "where did daddy go, I miss him" because he will be with us all day long.  

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