Monday, July 24, 2017


Joylily's mentor/friend and my new friend, Beth, shared this song with me today.

I've just discovered a new artist to put on repeat on Spotify...

thank you, Beth.

Your moments were a charity...they gave me more than I could lose.

This boy made me a Lolli. 

shock. utter shock.

such precious piggies.

Looking at a tiny version of herself. oh Lord.

a familiar pain...oh God.

We were going to get into so much fun together.

Pops taking him in...

Uncle E...such a tender guy

his hair. his aunt...oh God.

This was the first time Aunt Mo got to hold couldn't go back to the postpartum
rooms if you
were under the age of 14. 

UncVi...I was so glad he wanted to hold him.

surreal moments, seared into our minds eye. a most perfect and wanted little boy.

We wake up (who am I kidding? we don't sleep well). We brew the coffee. We sit at the table. We read our Bibles, write down prayer requests, pray in our rooms. We make our daily lists...we keep going....

Funny how we go through the motions of everyday life....hang on tight. forgive me ahead of time for the all over the place-ed-ness of this post.

Jack died 6 years ago. My world was rocked to the core. I found out what my foundation was and it wasn't completely Jesus. It only "looked" like Jesus. I found my identity in being a mom and a child bearer...

Since June 30, 2011, my family and I have been on a quest. A hunt for good, a hunt for LIFE, and we have found a Savior.

These 2,216 days since have not necessarily gotten "easier". In fact, by the world's standards, they've only gotten harder, scarier and grittier. We should've bailed on this "Jesus" long ago. He is NOT to be trusted.

oh, but they (the world, the skeptics, the unbelievers, and even some believers) are wrong. He is the only One to trust.

I must add - so many good and amazing situations have taken place...

-Will and Joylily's Sept 2016 marriage.
-Our marriage has continued to survive and thrive. It has not been without bumps and bruises but that is the beautiful part of it...
-We are all seeking the LORD daily, actively pursuing a life lived for Him and thriving in SO many ways.
-you get the picture....

Walking around with a broken heart isn't a bad thing. I consider it an honor and privilege. It's what you do with your broken heart....that's a blog post for another day, I believe.

As of this day, July 24, 2017....we all seem to be "making it"...and we are.

God is with us and we know it. EMMANUEL. He has called us to take these risks (i.e. living in community, being around people, having kids, being open, being accountable)...

Lately: I believe the shock and numbness is slowly wearing off and leaving behind tear-soaked, smiling, grateful souls who just want to point EVERYONE to the HEALER.

I won't lie...I've been pretty angry about Oliver's death. Angry in different ways and aware that the Creator can handle my anger...

Angry like "How God?", "Really???", "Why do these other mothers/fathers get to keep their babies...these teens, these rejectors and people that don't serve You, Lord? these druggies, loose people...whatever. Why God?" To which there is no answer and I'm sure I wouldn't even want to know really...This is just where my head and heart is thoughts can take me to some pretty sad, dark places but I don't stay there long. I have an ongoing discussion with Him - and we're good - but I run up against Him on these points often. Flailing, crying big ugly tears and saying words to Him that I know He can handle. This loss will never make any sense this side of heaven...

Where are You in my broken heart? Everything seems to fall apart...tell me that You're there...

and He does. Since Jack's death, I've felt the Lord's presence in ways I hadn't before. Since Oliver's death, even more, if that's even possible. I used to say "I don't think my heart could be any more broken...."

I don't say that anymore. I know it could be.

Oliver Franklin Young was the high point of our year. He was born exactly 5 years and 51 weeks after his Uncle Jack. forever one on top of the other on our calendars. Two most wanted boys...

Facing extended family struggles (not to be vague but...),  Levi's healing from major spinal surgery, work stress of folks not paying us etc, the loss of John and Sherry, misunderstandings and eventual departure from our church...we were all keeping our noses above the water...just barely.

When Ollie made it here on Friday morning, June 23, 2017 at 4:27 am, we were all ecstatic, breathing big sighs of relief. He was beautiful, chubby at 8 lbs, 13 oz and such a lovely mixture of his momma and daddy. We could hardly believe it and we praised God that Joy was such a tough, loving little momma. She endured a long labor with an eventual c-section after dilation stalling at 5 cm...Will was such a comforter to Joy and to Ollie (and to Mel and I) and it was so beautiful to observe him with his son in Oliver's first moments. Lots of tears and admiration...we couldn't get enough.

On Sunday, June 25, 2017, the day we were all going to drive down to Bloomington to pick up the new little family, I got a call right before 7 am. It was Will - instant panic - couldn't get out of my sheets fast enough..."Mom! please pray. Something is wrong with Oliver...he isn't breathing and he's gray!!" Click....



Oh God no....

I can hardly type this without hyperventilating and weeping as I was that Sunday morning. Pleading with God on my bathroom floor to let Oliver stay with us.

No please..Oh God, please

no no no....

Will called back. I threw the phone to David because I couldn't take it...head in hands. Utter disbelief.

"Please get here as soon as possible. He didn't make it...."

oh no. oh God. Why are You asking us to walk this road again...why Will and Joy? they honored You in every step of their courtship, their marriage....they are SO young and this baby was to bring such redemption for his uncle, who he was a namesake for...Oh Lord. How could this happen....

We all traveled down to Bloomington...listened to Jon Foreman's "All of God's Children"...wailing, tears dripping off our chins, sneaking down our shirts. Struggling, singing, praising God...disbelieving..

Oliver Franklin Young. so perfect. Such a glorious blend of Bogle and Young. 49 hours old.

Please pray for Will and Joy. Grief is such a weird roller coaster. One minute you are ok...maybe even laughing and then out of nowhere, you are side swiped. You get through those first hellish days, milk coming in, incisions healing, people visiting, asking "what happened...", meals coming in at a furious pace...a spectacle so to speak...

then a few weeks out...people still check on you, but as expected, life goes on, novelty wears off...and Joy is left sitting there..."ok, that was hell...where's my baby??"

We are so grateful for the people that visited...the meals and food that were brought to us, and to Will and Joy once they got back home...We are so grateful for the prayers and cards, keep them coming...please know that if you haven't gotten a thank you back yet, it's coming...the fog is lifting. Making sense of life is taking time...

I will be back to blog more about the beautiful service that Will and Joy had for Ollie at Forest Lawn and how amazing it is that Ollie is buried right next to his Uncle Jack...Joy also posted her pics from Ollie's last day, on Facebook, last night and I will have to share those here also...they are amazing.

God with us.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Oliver Franklin Young

It was so cute how Ollie would calm down when his Daddy spoke/put his hand on him. oh man.

beautiful boy. Oh Lord, my heart.

cheeks for days

I'm gonna rock the Lolli gig...

Oh silly.

such a momma. my heart explodes...

Hearing test champion

This pic. ahhhh!
so, I'm outta order here but you get the idea...this is pretty quickly after Oliver arrived. 

Look at those delicious cheeks.

This ended up at the end of this post...hmmm. first pix.

Our family welcomed Oliver Franklin Young on Friday morning, June 23, 2017 at 4:27 am.
He weighed in at a whopping 8 pounds and 13 ounces, 20" long.
I hope to get the story on here soon. 

I don't even know how to type all of this without crying, folks.
I just can't. So, I'll go ahead and cry....
Typing through tears....

I want to blog from start to finish on this wonderful journey but for now, I will just tell you that when Ollie was 49 hours old, Sunday, June 25...He quietly passed away.

He isn't even here with us. 
I can't even type THAT without bawling.

How is this so...
How is that perfectly beautiful baby boy NOT HERE?
I'm not really asking and I'm not really wondering what happened, as we trust the Lord and know that HE knows what happened.

Watching Will and Joy in those 2 earthly days they were given to parent that precious bundle was a gift, in and of itself. I mean, what the heck? He was obviously Joy's mini-me and Will's little pal (I did see some of Will in him). Joylily is a natural momma!

His cheeks were incredible. He smelled of heaven
He was also born exactly 5 years and 51 weeks after his Uncle Jack. so many cool details....
Jack's namesake isn't even here....
What are You up to, God?

So many thoughts, so many aches, tears, hurts and sorrows. I won't hash them out now...but I will need to.
for now, enjoy the few pix I gathered on Oliver's first day of life.

Thank you for letting me cry and work it out here.
Also, we so appreciate your prayers and love. 
Will and Joy, they have done amazingly well. 
Yes, hurts like h*ll. so keep those prayers, cards, meals, whatever you feel the Lord leading you to do for these 22 year old babes, as they keep moving forward...with aching arms, tears in their eyes, and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ.