Wednesday, November 30, 2011

five months is a long time but not

or should that be knot? isn't it crazy how my mind works? when I say "wrap up the vacuum cord" I think of Jack. I drive myself crrrrazy.

written on the shores of Lake Michigan, 8 days after Jack left us. I still replay his birth over and over in my mind. all day long, here and there.  it never lessens in intensity and hurt. but that is when I feel the hands of God encompass me and I know I will be ok and that Jack Oliver is too.

I do too.. ...not sure what I clicked on, on Pinterest tonight, but this popped up. make your own baby toys. I'd like to.

Five months ago, right now, I was still carrying my very alive baby, Jack Oliver Young, safely in my womb. One would've never ever known that there were to be any complications. I assumed he'd be born vigorously, like his FIVE siblings before, safely, with a midwife in attendance (don't get me started on anyone that says ANY...THING against midwives, homebirth and the like...).

Never has a child been more prayed for. Never had we decided to give any of our children initials that would spell out anything...why now? why is it that everywhere I go, JOY is there? Joy, in the world's sense, doesn't mean the same thing as it does to me. If you see me weeping in the aisles at Menard's or Target, don't fret. I do that a lot lately. that deep, from the bowels sobbing comes up. Baby's First Christmas...Baby's First Thanksgiving. Cherish your babies, k? I want to take all that stuff, those bibs, those outfits and knock the racks over. Or drop kick the mommy who isn't thrilled with her baby, or who lets it cry, cry, cry and ignores him/her to satisfy their own selfishness...sorry.

JOY means that, even though something really sad, horrible, incomprehensible happened on that June 30th day...God can and will still bring JOY in the midst. Especially now, as we remember why we celebrate this season (though as followers of Jesus Christ, we should celebrate the gift of Himself upon that cross on a daily basis...), Mary and that little baby boy. Did she have that foreboding feeling that I did, knowing her Son would die?

I really should go to bed but I'm up preparing Advent stuff, perusing Pinterest (oh my word, that is an amazing website but be'll suck you in) and I have so many thoughts and plans, ideas and questions rolling around in my bumbly head. I don't ever mean to compare myself to Mary...ever. Just in that we are both mothers, who had babies.

As moms, empathy is so important. I always thought I was empathetic...but now. whoa. pshewwww. empathy = your pain in my heart. I am sure I've got a long way to go in the empathy department.

Tomorrow, home all day. Celebrating home life, my kids, the fact that my husband has work, crafting, schooling, and the missing life of our Sweet     Jack Oliver Young. We miss you so very much, sweetness.

On Sunday, December 11, at 2 p.m., Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens on 135 in Greenwood is having a Memorial service, where the names of each person "entrusted into the care of Forest Lawn" will be read off. You can buy a dove ornament. Appropriately, the ornament says JOY. I am pretty sure no one else's initials are going to be on their ornaments. Just ours. God knew what He was doing when he prodded us to give that boy those noticeable initials.

I will end with this...and I will post pix and full story tomorrow...Kaye B., a girl I used to work with at the Baptist Temple Daycare (from 1991-1992), sent me two bags full of JOY ornaments and decorations that she's been gathering for a while now. I'm crying even just typing you folks even realize what this means? The first ornament I pulled out...well, I'll just post pix and the story tomorrow because I can't see the screen right now.

Good night. Godspeed.

NOTE: wow. I just re-read this. forgive me. I knew my head was a mush-fest but this just proves that I am right about ONE thing. that my head is mush. but I mean every word I said. Love your kids, love your husbands, stay strong. Serving God is worth every little tear that falls. night night.

Monday, November 28, 2011

JOY in the journey

love this wall vinyl from Denise. Thank you, sweet girl! It's right by my scrapbook desk.

sweet scrapbook paper that reminds me of my son. wish he was here. I wonder if his hair would've laid down eventually. I want to sniff his baby head so badly.

Jamie got this beautiful picture for us. shedding fresh tears of gratefulness. As she pointed out, if Sully and Jack had lived, we wouldn't know each other. yes, we want our boys here but we thank the Lord for putting us together.  Thank you, Jamie, for this touching picture. seeing his name makes him seem "legitimate". He was here, he was prayed for, he was wanted and we love him.

Well, Happy Monday to YOU! If your Monday was as rainy and dreary as ours, then Happy may not be the most fitting word. Choosing JOY is a bit harder when the weather bites.

As you know, our van was broken into on Thanksgiving (grrrr!). I called our credit card people and the very nice rep asked me if I wanted to change the look of my card, that they have over 1,000 styles available to choose from...I told her to pick one for me, "surprise me" i told her.

I got my card today.

it has a butterfly on it.


I don't think so.

I think the Lord cares about me enough to send me little reminders that He loves me and that HE alone is in control of things. yeah, bad things happen to reasonably good people...and He uses these situations and seemingly bad things to draw us to Him. I'm being drawn. I don't want to live outside of His plan.

In other van breaking into news...David discovered on Saturday night that the thieves/creepers/jerks did in fact pop our lock. It's not noticeable, especially since we use a remote to open and close the Ol' Grey Mare. Doesn't that just make your skin crawl? yeah, mine too.

Christmas decos are going up slowly...I can't seem to move very quickly, as I stained the entire pool deck on Saturday (bent in half, mind you) and I can hardly move my limbs. Sorry about skipping out on you for an early morning rainy Monday walk, Tashena. I may be able to walk by week's end. but it's doubtful. ha ha.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for taking #1, #3, #4 and #5 home for me tonight....I love you.

Levi stepped on a sewing needle tonight. It was gruesome. He doesn't cope well with stabbing.

Ok, I'm going to take my scattered brain and go put more lights on ye old tree. Hope this finds you warm and snuggly...maybe listening to some Nat King Cole singing about chestnuts and JACK I am.

Good night and God bless you!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

...with arms wide open...

"the babies", as Becky lovingly refers to them. (I love that...)

Scott and Nora

Our family...we aren't sure who the creepy guy with the cigar and long hair is but he kept getting into our pictures. eeek.

Good thing we had Karate Man to protect us...

And the Phantom of the Opera....

Masquerade girl...

Sheesh, there he is all honesty, David always creatively comes up with some costumed character that has everyone laughing. This one, though, has been his creepiest because he played the part so well. Thankfully, he is nothing like this guy in "real life". note: he did NOT smoke this Swisher Sweet...

My God is so Big, so strong and so mighty, there's nothing my God cannot do...

gotta love blue frosting...Molly surely does. Nora shows her without flinching....

the Bandy's hosted a Daddy/Daughter Dance last week. David was out of town for his Uncle Kent's memorial so Uncle Tom stepped in. What. A. Guy.

Molly does a mad twirl....

Then a dip...and I don't mean Molly. What fun!!

This pic is  for pure fun....I know these crazy bad things are happening for a reason. But it surely seems as if someone has it out for me and for us. Refiner's Fire is a painful thing sometimes.

 Good Sunday Morning!

I really do not know where to begin. You'd think the pix above would give me a good shoo-in...yeah, no. they are all completely random and most of them were taken by my loving brother, Tom. Thanks usual, your pictures are da bomb. Expect to see our family portrait above on our Christmas card this year.

I'm really just at a total and complete loss. Dealing with fear is like dealing with a great big, gigantic, unruly beast. David and the kids went out for a late night Cow Tail run last night and discovered that the driver's side lock was punched out of the door. How we didn't notice or the cop that filed our incident report, I's not that obvious and we use our remote to lock/unlock the van. As if taking our purses and identification wasn't ENOUGH. CREEEEEP!

One might start to think that God has it out for us, or someone does. That God is allowing these things to happen to us. I believe that the latter is true. What is He trying to teach us? Complete and total reliance on Him. That this world is NOT my home, I'm just passing thru...people are "crafty" and wicked (I am NOT referring to ANY of my crafty friends...I mean crafty in the evil, space-invading, sneaky sense).

We are to completely and with arms wide open surrender our lives to Him...even when it makes NO sense. and when it hurts. and when there are thieves and robbers out there...which there seem to be a lot of...

So please, let me be an example to you...not of what NOT to do, but of what TO DO. keep going, keep trusting in Christ, keep PRAYING most of all. Because that is what I've been doing.

so I will (fearfully) embrace each day and take it for the gift that it is. (does NOT mean I will get it right most of the time, but that I will put on a JOYful face and bathe the day in prayer). When you see me, I've most likely just had a little crying forgive the lack of make up, or make up running down my face, or red eyes...or well, you get the picture.

Heaven just keeps getting sweeter every day...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving, said with a grumpy tone in my voice...

found this oldie but goodie on the computer today... remember when Molly cut her own hair? this is FUNNY! she also has binky mouth here...her bucky teeth have gotten better.
I really don't have the heart or energy to post about this morning's Drumstick Dash. Beck went with David, Will, Ethan, Melanie, Levi and I. We had our purses/wallets stolen out of our van, which was locked.

Happy Thanksgiving?

Ok, well, here's what I AM thankful for, which, considering the past 5 months, was a stretch for me to find things (not really...I DO have a lot to be thankful for really) to be thankful for. Every thing seems to have a cloud of gray hanging over it. with little specks of light each day, in the form of my kids, David or a caring friend or relative, or an answer to prayer....or unexpected but well loved mail...

That the flippin' crooked thief didn't get all the money we had with us, which was stupid of us and very naive, to think these were the same days we lived in as children, and we can leave our identification/belongings in our cars. It's not safe out there, folks.

That my kids made it back to the van in one piece, no one was kidnapped or mugged.

That Heaven looks a little bit sweeter every. day. I'm. here. This world is NOT my home..I'm just a-passing thru...

One can't help but wonder what the Lord is trying to tell
I'm listening, Lord...I thought I had been, please reveal to me what You would like me to glean from this...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours...God bless you!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving past...

the Cunniff brood

"The Babies"

sad to think 1.) that we let our child play in a cage and 2.) that Gracie isn't here this Thanksgiving either. awww.

I actually remember thinking, while these pix were being taken, "next year, we will have another kid to fit in here...and won't that be fun???" I'm so sad that Jack isn't here but he will always be remembered in our pictures, from now on.

unfortunately for most, when Tom is walking around with his camer, Becky and I pose. it's better than the alternative (which is getting your picture taken while you don't know it and you actually look like we do up above, but while NOT knowing your pic has been makes sense to us)

Piper and two of her big boy cousins. Ethan is recently shaven in this. wow.

pretty girls

This won't take long...I am out the door to get the Thanksgiving foods with my sister and my momma.

I wanted to let you know that if you comment on my blog, you were prayed for yesterday. a lot.

We had a day of Prayer, home all day, in the house all day, praying in big chunks of the day. Amazing how sleepy that makes a person.

Enjoy these pix from Thanksgiving 2010, when I was pregnant with sweet Jack, whose passing and remembering all the details of it, caused me great tears as I fell asleep last night. I wish there was a button I could push that would "dull" the pain of remembrance of that June day, only to be remembered when I feel stronger or whatever. I always want to remember him and I always will but recalling his birth experience, though beautiful because it happened so fast and he came out in under 2 minutes, is such a sad, holy experience. This is my story...

Even though I feel like my heart is being ripped out, I will praise You Lord Jesus. I cry, I wonder, I look UP.

Hope your Wednesday before Thanksgiving is a wonderful one. Hope to get some Drumstick Dash pix on here tomorrow. God bless you..

Sunday, November 20, 2011

as we gather together...

Melly and Ellie

My Starlet

found this ornament that Tammy had given me two years ago...has a whole new meaning this year. It actually amazes me how many JOY stamps and ornaments I already I've been searching for JOY for many years.

we are in full speed ahead crafting mode...more to come on this later.

not sure why Levi was so glum. must be the horrendous blue socks.

such confidence as he cleans out the gutter

don't fall there, Daveyboy!

we be lovin' these stars...
I won't post much tonight...just wanted to get some more pix on before the whirlwind week picks up.

so many thoughts rolling around in my head...ting ting...can you hear 'em?

until then...Godspeed.

Friday, November 18, 2011


sweet boys...

we went to Jack's grave today, to clean it up for the winter.

I don't usually cry because I'm out there so regularly...but I have my moments and it really hit me today.

This is not how I imagined this winter, last year. visiting my son's grave? making sure the trinkets and memorials that other's have placed out there are cleaned up, so the Forest Lawn peeps don't pitch it?

for real?

well, has been 20 Thursdays now since Jack Oliver Young met Jesus Christ. so glad for him. such a raw deal for the rest of us until it's our turn.

wish you were here, sweetie pie. I really do.  I just want to smell your sweet breath and play with your chubby legs.

In other news, I've been avoiding Pinterest for a while now...but went ahead and dove in tonight...ruh roh...I love it. oh man, do I!

I'm outta here...thank you for loving our darling boy with us.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

JOY painting from Japan and around the house delights.

This beautiful painting is a gift from my beautiful, faraway friend, Shellee.
Her fellow missionary friend, Rachel S., made this and there is a name for it and also, the Japanese spelling of JOY.
I had the pleasure of talking to my sweet friend on the phone last week.
She told me the name and I told her I'd forget (I was driving) so she is going to comment on this post, when she can. (no pressure, Shellee) to tell us the English word for this very gorgeous Japanese interpretation of joy.
She ended our convo by telling me that every time I looked at this painting, I'd remember that someone in Japan was praying for me.
Yes, she made me cry. I love you, Shellee. You are such a blessing to me, you can't even know how much.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for sending this to me.

help. me.

Tashena, most of what you helped me accomplish in the later summer is still mostly in place. I just need to keep downsizing. keep. downsizing.

can't I just get rid of everything in here? Most of this stuff is the kids. egad, what a mess.

Welcome to my lair. enter at your own risk.

scrapbook explosion. do you think I actually got any scrappin' done? yeah, no.  gotta organize first.

two spectacular views of the new JOY Ministries board. 

This is the very busy view from the upstairs doorway. Legos, markers, scrapbooking, star-making, 
My scrapbook desk. so sad. so small. I have plans rolling around in my jumbly  head for what I'd like David to build for me. 

So, hi there. Happy Wednesday to you.
I've been home. ALL. DAY! it feels soooo ooooo good.

I've not even made a dent in what I'd hoped to accomplish but I did get the leaves cleaned out from around the pool and sorta cleaned out Jack's garden, which reminded me that I need to take a pic of it with his new stone in place. I may get around to that in the near future.

Tomorrow is 20 weeks since Jack's departure and another busy Thursday. I am so ready for winter break. Scratch that. summer break.

Time's up...gotta keep moving. Plankton just said boogers on Spongebob. hee hee. that word is always funny.

Until the next post, which may even be tonight...we'll see.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bloomington trip and Levi/Pa Birthday festivities!


shadows are cool

this stuff is not. even though I know it serves a purpose. eww. :)

Mel and Moll with the skeery guys


just Mel

Levi looks thrilled. He had to go to the bathroom badly

Ethan my boy

Willi Vanilli

preparing to indulge at the ol' Olive Garden

The October boys requested this trip to Bloomington 

Guess who's NINE??

I think this was a self-portrait.

present time

Angry Bird pj pants. Levi loves to play this game on Mel's phone


I like this throng of female present passer outers

whirling dervish

pretty girls

best friends forever, or until one of them gets hormonal

We also celebrated Dad's birthday. His 64th in fact.

Cake friends

So, I'm a force to be reckoned with today, eh? two, count 'em, TWO blog posts in one day...and more just a-waiting in the wings.

Without further are the pics from Levi's birthday weekend, nearly two weeks ago.

Can you believe it's November 16th already?

Time to clean off Jack's grave for the winter, from what I hear. Isn't it weird that I even have to consider this?? Shouldn't I be worrying because he's drooling everywhere, cutting teeth, rolling around, fighting diaper rash and getting the Bumbo seat out?

it's just not cool that he is not here. we all miss him, we all try to find ways to keep his precious memory alive. I wear jewelry that has his picture on it or my bird nest necklace with six eggs, the word JOY on it. With Christmas quickly approaching, JOY is everywhere.

Can you believe that a child so bathed in prayer, even giving him initials that imply one of the fruits of the spirit, was not even given the chance to live outside of his mother's womb? Makes me wonder...God is up to something.

on that note, time for Gunsmoke, stars and hopefully bed. I have so many pix to blog...hint: Molly, with marker on her cheeks is my favorite upcoming picture...or the new metal covering we FINALLY put on the chimney flue hole...or all the stars that we are hanging all. over. the. house.

Good night. God bless you...hug your loved ones CLOSE, affectionately. We are never promised tomorrow.