Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Greetings

Happy Christmas to you all!

We wish you a day full of merriment and joy... 

...and we hope you are all taking full advantage of the fact that Christmas calories don't count!

Cheers from the Lathams!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Cousins

Cousins in Christmas Jams...

Thanks, Grammie and Grandpa!

Merry Christmas!

House Tour: Living Room

Welcome to our living room!

It was a (giant) add on to the original house, and is connected to the entry/ dining area through this oversized doorway (which I love... And I love the little guy playing peek-a-boo in it a goodly bit, too!).

And the rest of the room...

Love my home made wonky boxwood wreath...

It compliments the wonky piano nicely... *wink*

It's such a lovely space to sit and play. We love it!
And a bonus: Here's what our house has been looking like outside these Christmassy evenings of late...


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

House Tour: Boys' Room

I'm finally getting around to posting pictures of our house.
I will have to do it one room at a time, as I seem to be incapable of keeping more than one room presentable at any given moment. *wink*
And since I'm starting now, you get the added bonus of seeing our home decked out for Christmas! Yippee!

We'll start with the boys' room...

We purchased the beds (which can be used either this way or as bunk beds) on craigslist when Asher outgrew his crib. We got them for a steal, and we're so thankful we have them! (And also thankful they can be used as twins, since the slanted ceilings coupled with a large ceiling fan would make bunks a little tricky!)

The boys hung all the ornaments on their tree by themselves! 
They were super proud. 
(And for some strange reason, they haven't been tempted this year to take any off!)

And the view from the other direction...

I have big plans for this room. I hope to actually get curtains hung at some point, and hang a few more pictures on the wall. I'm going with a vintage automobiles theme (sort of) and I think it'd be fun to get a few vintage-inspired prints. 

It's a fun, fun room! And just outside their door is the Play Room!
(Otherwise known as The Giant Mess. Haha! Might be awhile before I post on that one!)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Five Ways to Bless the Grieving

Ice glazed berries in our yard.

These past few weeks have been a flurry of mixed emotions.

Complete and utter sadness in our dashed expectations.
Joy in the promises I keep reading in the Scriptures.

The coldness of an empty womb.
The warmth of friends' arms wrapped around me, whispering kind words and prayers in  my ear.

Finding little reminders of a failed pregnancy and our lost child everywhere.
And yet, kind letters, notes, phone calls, meals, and gifts flooding our home.

Sometimes you just don't know what to say to someone enduring a great loss or trial. Since we've lost our baby, I've had the blessed opportunity to witness the beautiful peace that has come pouring through the caring people God has placed around me. And I've been taking notes.

Five Ways to Bless the Grieving...

1. Say something. Anything. The simplest "thinking of you" or "I'm so sorry" will mean more to those enduring a loss than you can ever imagine. I had so many people comment on my facebook and my blog post, so many friends approach me at church, all offering their condolences, and I was so blessed by each and every word. A very sincere thank you to all of you.

2. Tangible gifts. I've been so greatly blessed by the people who have taken the time to give me something tangible these last few weeks.  I have lost something real, something near and dear to my heart. My baby is gone forever, and I cannot have it back. While letters and flowers are of course no replacement, they have given me a gentle reminder of the real baby that has left us, and I now have something I can touch, hold, smell. Something to remember our sweet child by. I have a photo box that I am planning to fill with the numerous cards I've received, and pictures of memories of this baby's short life. It is actually more of a blessing than I had formerly realized to have something tangible to hold on to in memory. This is especially true in the case of a miscarriage, because unlike losing my Grandma (where I could cry into one of her hankies while wearing one of her necklaces), I have very little with which to remember this very little person. And, not to mention, there is a joy that comes with seeing a handwritten letter waiting for you in your mailbox!

3. Phone Calls. I had several kind and unexpected phone calls the weeks after my miscarriage, and each and every one of them was a blessing. No matter how short, no matter what was said, it was a blessing to know that not only were people thinking of me, they cared enough about me to take the time to dial my number and check on me.

4. Anticipated Help. General offers to help are a blessing, but anticipating a need and jumping to fill it is what really does wonders in comforting a grieving person. I had several very kind offers to "help in any way I needed," but I couldn't ever think of a need. I could hardly think of anything, which is common when someone is grief-stricken. If you want to offer help to someone enduring a loss, think ahead and anticipate the need. Since I miscarried on Thanksgiving Day, and I was hosting our family dinner, I got to watch my in-laws step up to the task of pulling off a meal while I laid on the couch (or cried in the bathroom). They just hopped into the kitchen and took over for me. They brought me water and snacks. They washed every dish and wiped every counter. Blessing. My sister-in-law made a meal for me later that week, and it gave me time to rest instead of cook. Blessing. A friend offered to drive an hour to come visit me and keep me company while Riley had a busy week at work. Blessing. Another friend told me to drop the kids off anytime I needed a moment to breathe. Blessing. A dear friend had the thoughtfulness to send a gift card to Starbucks, anticipating the need for a pick-me-up. Blessing. (And don't even get me started on the blessing my wonderful husband has been to me this month!) If you want to bless someone going through a hardship, invite yourself to their house and start cleaning or doing laundry. Or make them a meal (or two!) because food not only feeds the body, but also nourishes the soul. Anticipate the need, and fill it.

5. Prayer. Tell them you're praying for them, and then remember to do it. I have been given the incredible opportunity to experience the power of the prayers of the saints in a very real and physical way. I could feel their prayers that first week of my miscarriage. I felt them carry my burden, share my grief, and cry out to my God on my behalf. What an unbelievable experience! I miscarried just days after we had announced our pregnancy on the internet, which I thought would make announcing our miscarriage all the harder. But instead, I was reassured countless times of prayers being offered up for me across the country... and across the world! Here I was, in physical and emotional pain, and yet laughing. Joy and peace washed over me during those difficult days, and it was a direct result of faithful prayer. One friend told me that she was even waking up at night and praying for me. As I lay in bed each night, soaking my pillow with my tears, I had the blessing of knowing my pain was being shared, possibly even at that moment. How powerful!

If you aren't a Christian, and you don't pray, I'd suggest that now is as good a time as any to start. It's during these times of grief that we are reminded of the brevity of life. We are presented with the pressing questions of "Why am I here, and what am I doing?" The answer is this: You are here because God created you. He is writing a story, and you've been given the enormous blessing of playing a part in it. And the point of the story is not that you get everything you want, live a happy life, try to be a "good person" (what is that, anyway?), and pretend that death is not waiting for you at the other end of your journey. The point is that this is a good story, full of conflict and turmoil, bad guys and good guys, chapters where you just don't see how this can possibly resolve, and pages you want to read over and over again because they're filled with such joy. The plot is the glory of God and the redemption of mankind. And like all the very best stories, good will prevail. God will prevail. And His people will be raised into glory with Him. Prayer is not only an obligation; the ability to converse with our Author is one of our greatest blessings. And it is powerful.

I've continued in the same peace that passes understanding that I shared in my last post, and I am so thankful for the gift of faith. I am pressing on in hope as I come to grips with the fact that our kind and good God has chosen to include this chapter in my story, and I am choosing to embrace the joy that comes with the celebration of the birth of our perfect Savior. I have been so blessed through this trial, I can already begin to see a glimmer of what God is doing through this hard time. And I am looking forward to seeing what will happen on the next page.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Thankful Still

I should be nine weeks pregnant today, but instead I am grieving the loss of my third child, who entered into glory on Thanksgiving day.

I thought I knew what I was going to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, but the Lord surprised me. While I thought I'd be thankful for the growing baby in my womb, I found myself overwhelmed with thankfulness for the promises God gives to the children of the faithful. 

I thought I would be thankful for the chance to add another fat face around my table, but instead I wound up thankful for the sweet family seated around our feast on Thanksgiving, who provided both encouraging words and helping hands as my baby left this world and entered into the presence of Jesus.  

I am thankful that we were blessed with the opportunity to create an eternal soul, to add one more voice to the choir of saints praising our Creator God in the heavenlies.  

I am thankful for the sweet words and prayers from kind friends and family that have carried us through this longest of weekends.

I am thankful for the chance to teach my sad children what Christian grief looks like... sorrow mingled perfectly with joy. 

And I am thankful for that good and perfect peace that passes understanding.

"They are not lost to you, that are found in Christ. 
They are not sent away, but only sent before."
-Samuel Rutherford

Our hearts are heavy, but we can see that we still have much to be thankful for, and we can press on in hope, knowing that our baby is in the arms of a perfect God who does all things for our good and His glory.

"The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord!"
Job 1:21