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Archive for the ‘Big Announcements’ Category

Here it is. The post I’ve been avoiding for a few weeks. After the last exciting post, I’ve truly dreaded writing this one. My heart aches daily and I can’t fix it. If you’re my friend on Facebook, this is old news by now. Little Christopher, the blessing I delivered on July 12th, went home to be with Jesus on July 22nd.

While I am grateful for the 10 days we all got to love on him, I have struggled every day since then to understand why, how, and what if. I’ve been a part of his life both in and out of the womb for the past 8 months and now I feel like I’ve lost another child. According to all of the paperwork, I’ve lost a grandchild. Lexi listed me as her mother. As big of a responsibility and honor as that role is, I’m at a loss trying to comfort her when I’m grieving so deeply myself. I love her and I know she knows it. God help me to love her like she needs me to.

I said in the last post that some things are too sacred to share, and some are just too private, but I can tell you this: Little Chris got an infection in his umbilical stump inside of his body after his cord fell off. By the time he was admitted to the hospital, the infection had spread and surgery was required. He was transferred to Children’s Hospital in Denver where they did everything they could for him, but he died the next day. I can’t say any more. It makes the top 5 worst days of my adult life.

Gathering around a table to remember what we’ve been given and to celebrate life is fairly normal for my family, so we held a memorial service for Little Chris at the park in Boulder, underneath the library. There were about 20 people there: some street friends, volunteers from Stand Up for Kids, a few close friends, and of course our family and summer interns. We played a slide show of the pictures we had taken of him, and lit a candle for each day of his short life. Everyone was given an opportunity to say a few words, and I choked my way through my brief speech. We ended our time together in a circle of prayer, and at Lexi’s request, a group scream. You had to be there.

I had strewn small river rock over the table, so we invited everyone to take a pebble with them or throw one in the creek that rushes by the library. I scooped up 11 pebbles, and one by one, my friend Nesti and I threw them into the creek as reminders: one each for love, healing, hope, friends, family, community, peace, joy, strength, and the promise of seeing him again someday. I kissed the 11th stone and asked Little Christopher to please tell my sweet baby that I love her and that I’ll see her someday too, and I aimed for the rapids and let it fly. Nesti and I stood there and cried together for awhile. As I was beginning to calm down, Benny pulled me into a hug, kissed me, and whispered that he too had thrown a rock in for our baby. I love that man!

The cremation was a few days later and nothing prepares you for that experience. I had to sign a waiver to be present at the cremation, and now I understand why. The mortuary was wonderful to us and they tried to prepare us the best they could, but it was a jarring experience and one I hope never to repeat. Every one of us that was present at his birth was present at his cremation. We all decorated the box he was cremated in, and wrote letters to him. I poured my heart out in a 3 page letter, then sealed it and watched as Lexi placed it inside. I said what I needed to say, and there was a little healing in that for me.  It was difficult to watch Chris (Little Christopher’s dad) go between silently pulling into himself and weeping. We all grieve so differently. I just wanted to wrap my arms around him and tell him everything would be O.K. when I myself was feeling the sharp sting of death. I think we all did a pretty good job of encouraging each other through that day, and what had begun as friends 3 weeks earlier, brought us close together and made us family.

Today I received a package in the mail for Lexi and Chris – molds of Little Christopher’s hands and feet – a gift from Children’s Hospital. We’ll open it together when I see them on Wednesday, and there will be more tears (probably mine) as another milestone passes. I hope tomorrow will be a little easier than today.

My sincerest thanks goes out to Bob Flory, the director of Pastoral Care at Children’s Hospital Colorado, all of the wonderful nurses and doctors from Boulder Community Hospital and Children’s Hospital, and John DeMers of Crist Mortuary in Boulder. These people were kind and supportive during this horrible time. God bless you all! To my fellow grievers and friends who have loved us through this tragedy, thank you for not letting us walk this path alone!

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  • I used Google Maps to find the house where my friend was in labor.
  • I timed contractions using the timer function.
  • I played soothing music on my iPod to keep my friend as calm as possible.
  • I checked the weather to see how long the rain would last.
  • I played Words with Friends while my friend sat in the tub for a bit.
  • I texted with my husband for moral support.
  • I chatted with my midwife friend for general information.
  • I updated Twitter/Facebook to tell everyone I had just delivered a baby.
  • I took lots of pictures.

So I got your attention with the title of the post, now let me share more about the experience itself. My friend, who prefers the term “houseless” to being called “homeless”, told me back in January that she was expecting. For the past several months we’ve been talking and planning what would happen on the big day when it arrived. Being the hippie that she is – and I use that term with love – she wanted to deliver at the campsite she and her boyfriend were staying at, and I begged her to let me be a part of it. Instead she was staying with a friend when the baby decided it was time. (Click on the images to enlarge them.)A week ago today, I got the phone call I had been waiting for and made the drive to be with her as she labored. This being my first experience with a home birth, I didn’t really know what to expect. I had been a doula (care person for the mother) for two of my friends, but it had been in a hospital. I was a little out of my element this time, but tried my best to be prepared for anything. Little did I know that I would be catching a baby.

The dad, a friend we’ve known for a couple of years, was a great support person. I was so proud of him. We passed the day chatting, timing contractions, and doing everything we could to make my friend comfortable as she did all the hard work. Labor and delivery are fascinating! The body knows what to do and my friend had to pay attention and figure it out as she went along with the cues her body was giving her. I tried to make suggestions when I could, but it was up to her, and she was a trooper.

A midwife friend coached me through delivering the baby and the placenta, taking care of the umbilical cord, everything. It was amazing! 9 hours after I arrived, little Christopher took his first breath. I whispered a quick blessing over him as I laid him on his mommy and began cleaning him up and looking him over. I was nervous but had been praying all day for wisdom, guidance, and peace and felt all of those things. God is so good! My friends gained 6 lbs. and 14 oz. of blessing, and I will never be the same for having been a part of it all. There is so much more I could say, but some things seem too sacred to share on the internet. My friends are now learning how to parent and be a family, and I’m honored that I can speak truth, love, and hope into their lives.

Yes, my iPhone came in pretty handy, but it was nothing compared to God’s calming presence as heaven touched earth and I experienced the miracle of new life with my friends.

         

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March blew in like a lion and out like a…lion. Whew! I’m so glad that month is behind me. It’s been awhile, so I have a lot to share. First up, you may have noticed that I didn’t have a March de-cluttering post. With the tax season looming before me, I decided to de-clutter my many Wal-Mart sacks of papers. White trash. Literally. Come on, I know you’re smiling. 😉 So, I’m still working on it and the countdown to April 18th has begun.  AFTER the 18th, I will post the March/April joint effort that is/was my pile of paper clutter. I’ll be so relieved…

I’ve been reading a few new blogs that I think you should check out when you have a minute.

My Denver friend Don and his wife Ami moved to France a few months ago, and he’s blogging about the experience. He’s a writer, artist, Dr. Pepper enthusiast, and one heck of a Spades partner. Visit his blog, “Expatriatism: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Excellent Cheese” at http://donhillson.wordpress.com/

My college friend, Beckie McCord, has been blogging for a while, I just didn’t know about it until recently. Over the past year, Beckie and I have discovered a bazillion things we have in common, and I like her more every time I read her blog or chat with her on Facebook. She’s a passionate, funny lady, and one of my kindred spirit friends. Visit her blog, “Free To Be Too Much” at http://free2b2much.blogspot.com/

Speaking of blogs, did you know you can subscribe to mine over there in the sidebar? It can even be delivered right to your email inbox. You can also subscribe to the SEVENS blog to receive stories and news about our ministry, and my Sex, Love, and Marriage blog, which I haven’t posted on in over a year, but will be resuming in May. That’s my big announcement for the day. More on that later.

The list of books I’m reading has grown considerably over the past week. Allow me to take a moment and express my appreciation for the Denver Public Library. Never mind. That will be tomorrow’s post for Gratituesday. 😉

What I am reading: The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture by Peggy Orenstein, and God Alone is Enough by Claudia Mair Burney.

What I am reading with the kids: (Max)Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 1: The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan, (Zoe) The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler, and (Pete) 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson.

What I checked out at the library today: Choosing To SEE by Mary Beth Chapman, and Pure Scum:The Left-Out, the Right-Brained, and the Grace of God by Mike Sares, Pastor of Scum of the Earth Church in Denver. (Several of my street friends/former street friends attend that church.)

What the mailman should delivering in the next few days: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare, and Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived by Rob Bell. (Yeah borders.com!)

That’s  a lot of reading, so I’m starting something new on my blog. It’s called “Niki’s Book Look”. I’ve done book reviews before, but in most cases it was to get a free book from a publisher in exchange for spreading the word about the book/author via my blog. This new thing I’m doing is for books that I am choosing to read on my own and the only thing I’m receiving is a sense of time well spent, relaxation, free entertainment, and the renewing of my mind. With rewards like that, it’s a win-win situation for me.

What are you reading? What books do you think I should add to my 2011 reading list?

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My email account was hacked. grrrrr…

Thankfully I was online at the time and caught the beeping of my email notifier about all of the failed delivery attempts, and quickly changed all of my security info. and passwords for my online accounts. I spent the next 2 hours double checking all of my account settings, running a security scan, and figuring out where the hacker was coming from – not that it does any good. I have an IP address for the hacker but don’t know what to do with it, or if it’s authentic. 😦

I apologize if any of you received spam from me. I believe the problem is fixed THIS time. I’ve had the same passwords for ages, but I believe I’ve learned my lesson on this one.

When is the last time you checked your security settings, changed your password and security questions, etc?

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Sally

Thank you for entering my drawing!

Stop back next week for a chance to win a copy of Boy-sterous Living by Colorado author, Jean Blackmer.

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small headshotJoy. It’s all about J-O-Y with her. I’m talking about my friend Kim Woodhouse. I’ve blogged about meeting her at a writer’s group, asked for prayers on her family’s behalf, celebrated with them when they were chosen by the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition show, and shared pictures from the “reveal day.” For months, I talked about this amazing family to anyone who would listen, and now I have the honor of telling the world (along with several other bloggers) about her new book!

My anticipation of this book release was great, and I was not disappointed. I was thrilled to read Welcome Home! and learn more than I ever knew about Kim, Jeremy, Josh and Kayla. I cried, laughed, and cried some more. I continue to be impressed with Jeremy’s patience and strength, Kim’s perseverance and joy, Josh’s tender and loyal heart, and Kayla’s sweet spirit and hope. 🙂 I am thankful for the thousands of people who have touched their lives, walked through many trials with them, and encouraged them to never give up.

Kim's Book cover

From the back cover:

Overwhelming trials . . . met with overcoming joy.

Kayla Woodhouse is not your typical twelve-year-old. Due to a rare medical disorder, she feels no pain, doesn’t sweat, and needs protective cooling gear just to go outside. With her restrictive lifestyle; countless hospitalizations, including brain surgery; and the resulting mountain of hospital bills, what’s a family to do?

How the Woodhouse family has faced seemingly impossible challenges is a story that has captured the hearts of America. Millions of people have experienced glimpses of their lives on Discovery’s Mystery ER, The Montel Williams Show, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (recently voted one of the show’s all-time best episodes!).

Now Kayla’s mom, Kimberley, takes readers behind the cameras to reveal their family’s journey as never before told. From medical sleuthing to cross-country moves, from freak fires to battles with insurance companies, Welcome Home proves that truth really is stranger than fiction. This candid life story reveals both success and failure and demonstrates how, even during tough circumstances, to shift your life from heartbreak to extreme joy.

Peek inside the Woodhouse family’s life (and their famous house) with a 16-page photo insert.

I’m going to give you the opportunity to do just that! For a chance to win a signed copy of Welcome Home!, leave a comment at the end of this post. On Monday morning, September 21st, I’ll draw a name using random.org.

This book was the reminder I needed to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish it’s work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4). Kim lives by this verse, clings to it, and rejoices in it, and her story is a wonderful example of faith for the rest of us!

kimberleywoodhouse.com has it all! Learn more about the Woodhouse family, check out Kim’s other projects, sign up for her monthly newsletter, invite her to speak, shop her store, leave a note of encouragement, and more!

*Don’t forget to leave a comment here for a chance to win Welcome Home!*

It’s available for purchase from Focus on the Family, Barnes and Noble, Borders, Parable Books, and Amazon.

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robby

Congratulations Robby!

Thank you to all who participated in the drawing, and everyone who has encouraged me on my writing journey.  If you’re interested in purchasing the book or submitting your own story for the next project, click here.

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