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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Poem for our Little One

One of the members of my parents’ church and Sunday Bible Fellowship group wrote this sweet poem in honor of our baby. Thank you for encouraging our hearts, Krista!
IMG_1360* I took this picture two days before we knew our little one was already with Jesus. What a beautiful image depicting the Lord’s power, beauty & creation. Little did I know as we were driving to our earthly home, the Father was holding our child in our eternal home.
It’s hard to imagine the sadness you feel
And if in the sadness it really seems real
And as you grieve - now for a season
It must be so hard not to search for a reason
The precious life of your little one
Taken before it had really begun
Yet we believe that God in His love
Has carried this life to a home up above
Perhaps if we could see up there
The joy with Jesus this tiny one shares
And knew the comfort of Jesus voice
Perhaps in our sadness we would rejoice
For life on earth is quickly past
But a home in eternity surely will last
And in God’s timing…not our own
Little and big - He welcomes us home.
by Krista Stoller

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1-3

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Meet Ebenezer & Jasper

Ebenezer (teddy bear on the left in memory of our 1st baby) and Jasper (monkey on the right in memory of our 3rd baby).

Let me explain why I’m sharing pictures of stuffed animals with you. After our 1st miscarriage, which took place on a vacation in Oregon with Chris’ parents. I had asked his family, if before we left, we could stop at a local gift shop where I could pick out a teddy bear in honor of our 1st child. I had seen the teddy bear when we arrived at the little resort town in Oregon and anticipated buying the stuffed animal for our little baby as an early gift to have around the house to encourage me during nine months of pregnancy. Well, I still had the privilege of picking out the teddy bear but it wouldn’t be a reminder of the arrival of a baby. On the other hand, it would serve as a reminder God had allowed me to get pregnant (after several months of infertility) and that we DID have a baby and we WERE parents - although the world would never recognize that fact. My hope was that one day we would give this teddy bear to our next child and explain how God is faithful even in things we can’t understand.
I didn’t have a name for the teddy bear until I was reading my Bible on the flight home to Oklahoma. I was reading in 1 Samuel 7 about Samuel’s response to the Lord after He delivered the Israelites from the Philistines.

“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying ‘Thus far has the Lord helped us.’” 1 Samuel 7:12
An “Ebenezer” is a stone of help, so I knew I wanted the teddy bear’s name to be Ebenezer as it would serve as my personal “stone of help” – that God “thus far had helped us.” I did get pregnant and that was a huge praise. I needed to see that teddy bear and be reminded that God could do it again and He could carry a healthy baby to full term. And . . . He DID. The day we found out we were pregnant with our 2nd child, I took a pic of Ebenezer (or Ebby for short) holding my pregnancy test so we could email the big news to our parents. In the message, I quoted 1 Samuel 7:12 and asked our parents what they were doing in March of that year.

So, Ebby is a very meaningful teddy bear in my life. In fact, he still sits on my nightstand. I haven’t been able to give it to Alexa Hope as it still holds so much meaning to me.

But now on to Jasper. After news of our most recent pregnancy, I had my eyes out once again for something special to purchase before the baby arrived. As you know now, we will not experience that day. And so, I decided yesterday I needed to get that stuffed animal I had in mind. So, I went to a local boutique I love and purchased a little monkey I adored in honor of our 3rd child. I can’t say anything very spiritual about this stuffed monkey yet – I’m just not there. However, I chose the monkey because Chris and I both believed this baby was a boy and this monkey encapsulates everything I envisioned our family would experience with a new baby boy in December – colorful, wild, crazy, and full of big smiles. We’d definitely have two little monkeys to love on. I have to admit, the reality of it all is hitting hard today and the fact we won’t get to experience all of that craziness causes tears to well up in my eyes and the pit of my stomach to ache. I’m sad.

But I will tell you that I didn’t hesitate one minute to give Alexa a big surprise monkey named Jasper when I got home yesterday. And . . . she LOVES Jasper (nothing special about the name. It’s his name on the nametag and I’m incapable of giving him any meaningful name at the moment). I wish I could have recorded Alexa’s first encounter with Jasper. She gave him a big look over, a sweet smile overtook her face as if giving the crazy looking monkey her seal of approval, and she gave him a big hug. He’s almost as long as she is so it’s adorable when she holds him. And, I have to say, that is exactly how I dreamed Alexa would welcome her younger sibling – taking a good long look at this new little being entering her world, smiling, and then gently giving him a kiss on the forehead. I know . . . pipe dream, I’m sure, but it’s my dream and it was a good moment for me.

So, there you go. Ebenezer still sits on my nightstand and will serve, once again, as a reminder of God’s faithfulness. And, Jasper gets to be in on all the action of Alexa’s life. He joined us for some errand running today and I’m sure he’ll get tattered and messy along the way. I do pray sometime down the road, we’ll be able to explain to Alexa the significance of both Ebenezer and Jasper while I hold baby #4 in my arms. For now, I’ll hold to this truth and trust He is enough . . . “Thus far has the Lord helped us.” (1 Samuel 7:12).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Glimpse of His Faithfulness

I realize some of you reading might not know that we were expecting another child at the beginning of December and that we found out earlier this week I had lost the baby and he was with Jesus (Chris and I both believe our little one was a boy). I was almost 12 weeks pregnant when we received the news, and I had my D&C yesterday. Trust me, I will have more to write about concerning this journey and miscarriage #2 in blogs to come as I process everything.

But in the meantime, I wanted to share this image with you. Chris captured this yesterday as I was resting after the D&C procedure. Our 14-month-old sweet pea rarely, if ever, sleeps in our laps. She’s an active little jumping bean. However, I think even 1-year-olds can discern when things aren’t right. So, little Alexa Hope climbed up into my lap so she could cuddle with Mommy and I could read her a book. Before I knew it, she was out. What a precious gift the Lord gave me – the reminder I was holding our “hope fulfilled” and even though yesterday was a day of loss and deep sadness, it’s also a day I can hold close the child He’s given us with an immense sense of gratitude for her life, God’s faithfulness, and His goodness. Yes, we are now a family of five. We have the privilege of holding sweet Alexa Hope in our arms and we look forward with anticipation to embracing our two “perfect” children when we see Jesus. We simply have to trust God’s perfect purpose & plan for our family. After two miscarriages, I know there are no answers. God is sovereign – period.

This is a passage I’ve been meditating on as I know the road ahead can be long – filled with stages of grief, doubt, anger, and sadness. I want to be reminded of the Father’s deep love for us and to know, with confidence and renewed faith, He can accomplish in and through us so much more than our finite minds can grasp. In moments like these, it is so easy to blame and question God – but this passage reminds me He loves me SO much. He loves our family SO much. He loves our three children SO much and He knows what He’s doing. I want to rest in that in the days to come – especially the hard ones.

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Ephesians 3:14-21
My prayer now is that the Lord would heal – physically, emotionally & spiritually, that we would be open to grow through this experience and glorify Him in the midst of it, and that, with renewed hope & faith, we would trust the Father for a new beginning. Thank you to all of you who have prayed us through this experience and continue to lift us up as we heal and process this loss.

Monday, May 23, 2011

This makes me happy . . .

I needed a little pick-me-up today and this picture did the trick. Chris took this pic of us yesterday before church. I wanted to get a pic of Alexa in her new dress and couldn’t seem to capture it myself as Alexa is so active these days. Chris suggested a picture of us together. I’m so glad he did. It makes me smile. When I see this picture, I think of what an undeserved blessing Alexa Hope is to our lives. She brings a new purpose, a new joy, a new meaning to our lives. We thank the Lord for our precious daughter and those eyes that twinkle. I’m sure this picture will always make me smile – but it really does my heart good today . . . and that makes me happy.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

So . . . how do I look?

When we were in Dallas for Mother’s Day weekend, my sis, dad and I were able to do a bit of shopping at a local outlet mall. Let me rephrase – Hol and I shopped while dad held our bags and people-watched. He grew up with three women so he’s quite accustomed to this tradition and we love him for it!

I found several items for Alexa but only managed to find two new tops and two scarves for me. Alexa loves Mommy’s new pink scarf (mainly for covering her head and playing peek-a-boo). I tried showing her the many ways she could don the scarf and she chose this “loose” interpretation. She’s already a little fashionista. Notice she opted for the “no pants” look as well. Let’s hope that doesn’t start a trend. Here are a few more pics of her “working the scarf.”

IMG_1297Just a sashay down the catwalk . . . I mean hallway.

IMG_1299Stylin’ with her “Alexa” sippy. I mean, look at that nonchalant pose.

IMG_1301With such a high sense of style, it seems she’s even become a bit pretentious about her taste in drinks. Apparently, this water isn’t quite to her standard of refreshment.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Mother’s Day!!

The girls – Holly & Rylen Moore, Alexa Kennedy with Mimi & Kels.

The Kennedy crew enjoyed a lovely (but always too fast) weekend in Dallas celebrating Mother’s Day with my parents and sister’s family. I have to say I think I have the best mom in the world and my respect, admiration, and love only deepen for her as I learn the ropes (and humility) of motherhood. Mom is and has always been a great servant for our family, and she serves with such joy and enthusiasm. My mom really has a zest for life. I wish the energy and enthusiasm would rub off on me (perhaps I need more caffeine). I’m a worrier by nature – a gene passed down to me from my Nonie (my maternal grandmother). My mom never seems to let much worry her or her outlook on life. Everything is big in my mom’s life – including her God and her walk with Him. Perhaps, that’s the aspect of my mom I hope most to emulate as we raise our little sweet pea. I so admire my mom’s total dependence on the Lord and her eagerness to share that with anyone who might listen. Thank you for investing in my life mom! Even to this day, you continue investing in your daughters and their families. I am grateful for your godly example, your joy, your wisdom, your humor, your service and your belief in me. I love you mom!! Happy Mother’s Day!!

Alexa loved feeling the wind against her face while she enjoyed the red geraniums.

Donning rainbow pajamas and a shimmery apron. Alexa loved playing with her cousin, Rylen. They were sorting oranges in this pic.

I learned my lesson . . . get a pic with my daughter in the morning BEFORE church, BEFORE lunch, and BEFORE naptime. Alexa was done with pics. Maybe next year!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Double Doozie, Anyone?

I have to admit. I had a moment of weakness at the mall this afternoon. Okay . . . so I have lots of moments of weakness these days. I had to exercise self control to photograph the cookie without tearing off a piece.

Anyway, if you know me even just a little bit, you know that an M&M chocolate chip double doozie from the American Cookie Company is the way to my heart. Not only that but it has to have extra icing. Yep, this baby has two scoops of iced delight! It takes about two glasses of milk and a power nap to process this 1 lb treat – but it’s pure bliss going down. And as far as the title goes – it isn’t really true. I don’t share double doozie cookies. Chris knows this. My dearest friends know this. And one day, Alexa will have to learn the hard truth. But seriously, that’s why they sell dinky doozies! Bon Appetite!

*Just so you know, I couldn’t down the cookie in one sitting. It took three. I must be slowing down in my old age.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Happy Belated Easter . . . He Is Risen!!

Whew! Last week was just crazy so I do apologize for getting these Easter pics to you later than I anticipated. Just wanted to share a few highlights of Alexa’s 2nd Easter celebration. We joined Carl & Sharon Moore (my sister’s in-laws) along with my sister’s family to celebrate Easter dinner together. The day was wet and dreary with a wild thunderstorm including hail but the fellowship inside the Moore residence was warm and delightful. We were so thankful to be a part of the Moore family’s Easter get-together. Alexa enjoyed it as well – especially seeing her cousins. Thank you Carl & Sharon for your continued hospitality to our family. We had a blessed time!
Alexa’s definitely at the age where sitting still is an adventure. Here she is posing with Rylen and Layton. She just had to have Layton’s basketball in the mix.

What most of my attempted photos resemble. Alexa running toward the camera.

Layton requested a pic with “just Alexa.”


Have to show off a pic of Alexa’s sweet dress courtesy of Ama & Opa.

Alexa also received some fun Easter goodies from Ama & Opa. Thank you for the spoiling!! Here she is packing her gifts back into the box. She could’ve done this all night. I hope she continues to enjoy putting things away!

She wanted to “wear” her pajama pants so this is how she put them on. She’s such a silly goose! Hope you all had a wonderful Easter celebrating our great hope in Christ!!