Friday, November 30, 2012

Not Positive

Warning: This post is not positive; it is downright negative. After practicing positive thinking and trying to do "soul detoxing" from small group since Wednesday, I need to vent. Today all the little things are adding up to annoy me. I am annoyed by bloggers that use other's sad stories to monetize their blogs. I am once again brought back to a time when I googled my mother in law's name and discovered that someone had taken pictures of my sister in law's grave and was using it the picture for their art series. No one in my family felt that I was appropriate usage of a place so sacred and felt extremely violated.
Today I got the third offer from someone to purchase something that they made for my sister. I felt violated. Do I look like I have the time, energy, and/or need for your stuff? If you decide to make something for Ashley or a member of our family, please do so out of kindness vs to make a profit. Does anyone else find it rude to have someone make you something without you asking or giving consent and then ask for money? I think what set me off the most is to know that items with my sister's picture might be circulating in stranger's homes. I know that we had shirts made; but somehow it is different to know that people can copy and paste pictures from our site and use them to make a profit. I also find it creepy that people would want a stranger's picture hanging for their tree. Am I sensitive? Perhaps...Ashley has been my sister since I was two year's old an verbalized everything she wanted by the mere point of her finger. I was there for each childhood fight or argument over clothes, shoes, or CD. She was there for the day that I married my best friend, birthed my sons, and I had the honor to do the same. She is MY sister and somehow this violation just hurts too much. Sorry for the vent tonight, but part of my detoxing is getting the bad out tonight and with it crying a bucket of tears. I love my sister so much and I want her story to be one of encouragement and love. Please don't use it to tear our family down or put us in a position to feel violated. Please respect our privacy. I know what Ash would say right now; Amber, don't let it bother you. It isn't a big deal. I love you Ash, but tonight is my night to feel emotional and to fully rely on God for the strength to be nicer than others are to me. I am not strong, but The Lord is.


When I was younger (perhaps just 1 year ago) I was really bad at saying no. I am still not the greatest at saying no, but I have a better method of dealing with stress. I just try to ignore it. It is probably not the most mature or adequate way of dealing with it, but it helps me right now. One common way that I avoid stress is by not listening to voicemails; this totally annoys some of my friends. I also ignore text messages if my response would require too complex of an answer. Is this solution working for me? Probably not. Do I feel better ignoring stuff that annoys me? Yes, I do.

Social Media is very overwhelming to me lately. I am required to do a great deal with social media in my current position. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I realized that the page that I designed via facebook for our graduate programs still lacks 200 fans yet the page I created for my sick sister raised over 700 in just a few short weeks. People like drama (although I am not implying her page is dramatic). They also like to know other people's stories. Along with the overwhelming growth of Ashley's page we have had the good, bad, and the just plain ugly. When you open yourself to the public you open yourself up to criticism. I try to do everything in my personal power to keep the negative comments/feedback from getting to my sister. This doesn't always work. I can now count on both hands how many people have used my sister's situation to try to sell us their cream, lotion, pill, or even disease preventing chocolate. We do NOT want your stuff. We are just asking for prayers.

In an attempt to avoid hurting people's feeling we have also declined all recent offers for fundraisers. My sister's husband does a mighty fine job of providing for his family and Ash has amazing insurance. It does cost a great deal for her to travel back and forth to Portland, but with the generous sales and donations from our friends and family Ash is doing fine. I did open a medical account for her and some anonymous people have donated; that helps, but we are not seeking donations. When you put it out there that a fundraiser is going on it implies that she needs the money. Ash never wanted any money and appreciates each and EVERY generous gift or donation that has been made. This is where my overwhelming stress comes in. I HATE hurt people's feeling and I don't want them to think that I don't appreciate their offers for help, but my plate is seriously full and I can't don't want to add to that. Fundraisers and other events can't fit on my plate right now.

Thanks, but NO thanks!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Five years

Five Years

I can't believe that tomorrow marks five years since your little heart stopped and you went to heaven. Sometimes I try to remember the exact way. Felt when I realized that I would carry your little body inside me until our little brother could be delivered. I remember cringing when people would rub my stomach or mention that I must be having twins because of how big I was (I don't think I was that large). I remember rewriting my birth plans over and over again because there was no way that I could imagine that day going exactly the way it should. I should have had two healthy, full-term twin boys to deliver.

It didn't matter what I wrote in my birth plan because just six weeks later your brother needed to come out quickly via c-section. When the nurse asked me what I wanted her to do with you I panicked and asked for you to be laid in my bed. (Mistake #1)...upon leaving the delivery room I was shocked and surprised to see several family members waiting with happy/worried expressions. I freaked out and begged for your daddy. I didn't want anyone to reveal the fact that your cold little body was laying at the foot of my bed. I wanted the moment that I saw and felt you for the first time to be with your daddy and I alone. God gave me such a sweet tender mercy when you were born; I heard the cries of your little brother as your daddy was able to hand carry him into the delivery room to show him off. We never imagined being able to hold Bronson right away let alone without cords in the delivery room. I firmly believe God allowed this to happen so that our focus would be off of the horrible truth.

Mistake #2 the nurse that was tending to me had never dealt with a stillborn baby before. There were protocols in place, but when I asked for you to stay with me she panicked and brought you with us. (You should have been cleaned, wrapped, and clothed). Your daddy came to be with us and we both trembled when we saw you. Your little body was so perfectly formed, you were so so tiny; yet I couldn't wrap my mind around you little face. (That face will always be in my memories and the fact that you had hair.) Jackson, I do not know if I touched you because I was so shocked to see my nightmares become a reality. You were not supposed to enter the world dead. Your daddy and I were supposed to be holding you and your brother side by side.

Mistake #3 when the nurse returned after removing you from our room. Details about our viewing remain private between your daddy and I...I freaked the heck out. I ripped any pictures that revealed your face. I regret this so much. The only picture I have of you is of your beyond tiny little feet. I regret to holding you; all 6.5 ounces. I didn't know a baby that small could be so perfectly formed.

Wrapping all my mistakes into a huge bucket I am choosing to toss the entire bucket out because the best thing about being your mommy is knowing 100 percent of the time that you are perfectly formed and perfectly safe. I kow that you are in heaven. I know that your little brother loves The Lord so much and that someday you two will spend enter its together with me and your daddy. Jackson, it would have been wonderful to know the 5 year old version of you, but I am so thankful that I knew you and our heartbeat for the nearly 23 weeks you lived. I will NEVER forget that you lived.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sensitive Heart

Look at the little hand in this picture placed gently on the back of Oaklen. My mind keeps coming back to this picture after looking at it yesterday during my photo edits The picture itself is a bit blurry, but it speaks volumes to my heart. Meet my heart, my sensitive heart. My heart that literally hurts when I see others struggling in their health, life, or just relationship troubles. I had a thought the other day that I can finally see why some people just choose to pack a small bag and leave reality for a couple of days. My heart is not this way because of depression or sadness, please don't get my sensitive heart confused with a sad one. I am asking God to give me a heart that is more loving, kind, and gentle. He has started answering my prayers and I realize that with this answered prayer a lot of things that I used to just ignore grieve my heart. I have actually had two opportunities in the past week to be more honest with my friends than I have in the past. Ash and I actually talked how we will sometimes silently be praying for others while they are talking to us because when we see their struggles it makes our hearts ache.

Last week I had a realization that a friend was headed down a serious destructive path. I realized that she was no longer the woman that I met nearly 5 years ago. Every time I see her I feel that she is more depressed than before hiding behind a fake smile. In the past I would have just taken the wordly view of "it's none of my business," but then I realized that this "broken" heart is one that Jesus wants to mend. She used to love the Lord so much and I realized that if I continued to say, "it's okay" while she continued to go down this destructive path she would continue to get worse. I finally prayed as she was talking to me and out of love told her that I was VERY concerned about her lifestyle and her heart. I told her that her focus needs to be on God first and then family. That I loved her tremendously, but not even a fraction of the amount that God loves her. I felt that we ended on a good note. I keep praying that perhaps I will hear from her soon and that some life changes are in progress.

Getting back to the little hand placed gently on his cousin's back. Imagine a very LARGE hand placed over our hearts. God can do that for us if we just ask. He is currently massaging my heart muscles into being more obedient to his commandments. Instead of turning a blind eye to others he is asking that I take a leap of faith and share the good news of His son, Jesus Christ. He is asking that I strive to be a better example in my relationships and that I continue to have a sensitive heart against sin and direct disobedience to His word.