"And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live." Deuteronomy 30:6

but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 Peter 3:18

Friday, November 26, 2010

1 Month

It makes me sad to think that Joy Michelle is already one month old!!! She doesn't look like a newborn anymore. She is still a good baby, prertty easy going. She is a blessing to our family.

I am so thankful she is here! She is my free therapy. Last year this day was Janie Beth's Iron Bowl (a big deal in the state of AL, Alabama V. Auburn). Today she isn't here to watch it, so I will snuggle Joy Michelle when my heart hurts too much. So often, Joy Michelle has milestone days on days that were all about Janie Beth last year. God is truly amazing!!

Here are some news pictures...

first time in the swing

Supervising the Christmas decorating...

Here is the progression of our photo shoot yesterday. LOL

 I am so done with pictures! Ha, ha.

My Favorite!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last year it was all about Janie Beth. It was her Thanksgiving, as it would probably be the only one she would attend. I have never called holidays the kids first when I am still pregnant with them, but Janie Beth was different. There would be no first after she was born except the first one she wasn't here for. I am so thankful for that precious day with her, but I wish I had a picture. I remember sitting at the table last year feeling completely alone while everyone else talked and laughed.

This year will be smaller, and I have so much to be thankful for!

I am thankful for my heavenly Father; His Son that gave His life for me; and His Spirit that He left with me until He returns!!!

I am thankful for an awesome husband who is my best friend!

I am thankful for each and every one of my kiddos, all 5 of them! They have each changed me in different ways.

I am thankful for my extended family. God knows the family you need to be a part of.

I am thankful for the friends that God has blessed me with! I just have to say they are awesome and the best. :)

I am thankful for my babyloss friends that I have only met online, even if the circumstances are hard! They let me know I am not alone and my feelings are normal.

I am thankful for having my basic needs being met.

I am thankful for the blessings each day.

I am thankful for a loving church family.

I am thankful for all that I went through the last 28 years because it has all made me who I am today and has brought me where I am today.

I am thankful that God is working all things together for my family's good and His glory!

I am thankful that I get to stay home with my kids and homeschool them!

I am thankful for hugs and kisses every day.

I am thankful for the grace and mercy that God pours out on me each and every day.

I am thankful that God carries me through each day, especially the hard ones.

I am thankful that God writes my faith; therefore, I can have it even when I do not feel it. It is a choice.

I am thankful for all that God has taught me and for all that He is going to teach me.

It all boils down to being thankful for all that God has done; all that He is doing; and all that He is going to do!

For all that You've done, I will thank You

For all that You're going to do
For all that You've promised and all that You are
Is all that has carried me through
Jesus, I thank You

and I thank You
thank You Lord
and I thank You
thank You Lord

Thank You for loving and setting me free
Thank You for giving Your life just for me
How I thank You
Jesus, I thank You
I gratefully thank You
And I thank You

Monday, November 22, 2010

Some Pictures

Joy Michelle with Little Janie (Her Janie Beth Bear)

Joy Michelle hanging out with Janie Beth. :)

Just looking cute!!

First time in the crib.

Visting Janie Beth. As close as I will come to a picture of all my kiddos.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

May You Be Glorified

Those were the words that I uttered through tears one year ago today. I told God I didn't know what He was doing, but may He be glorified through this.

You see, November 19, 2009 I went to UAB to see a specialist about Janie Beth's legs. That was one of the hardest days I have ever lived through. I think I remember things about that day better than my memories from Janie's day here with us.

I had Joey snap this picture before we left. I was 28.5 wks.

I do not remember a thing about the drive down there, but I am sure that we talked... a lot. :) Once we got to B'ham, we were early so we went to a thrift store. I remember looking around the store, but not really finding anything of note. I think we bought a couple little things; books if I am not mistaken.

Then, we went to the doctor's office. The waiting room had quite a few ladies in it, plus the people that came with them. I sat there and wondered why they were there. I had brought some things to read, but I never really read. I think I may have had a book out at one point, but it didn't really accomplish much. Joey had a cough, but he wasn't contagious. He actually went into the stairwell at one point to cough. We joked that everyone probably thought he was infecting them. (He really sounded bad!)

After waiting for quite some time, we were called back to an ultrasound room. The tech said that she was helping out the people we were going to see, and would take most of the measurements and then they would do an u/s as well. She was really nice!! She printed tons of pictures for us. (Once again, I wish I had a video tape!) She told us that Janie Beth was definitely a dwarf. She said her profile matched perfectly. She told us that the main concern would be if her chest cavity was big enough to allow her lungs to grow.

Janie Beth was so darn cute!!! One of my main prayers since our last ultrasound was that she be in the perfect position for them to get measurements. God answered the many prayers that were sent up. She behaved wonderfully for this ultrasound technician. When she was done with all of her measurements she brought us to a room to wait for the doctor to be ready.

They stuck us in a room. I remember that we sat in some chairs and there were a lot of boxes in there. We didn't talk much as we waited. My heart was already hurting.

Then the doctor came and got us. There was a doctor, a resident, and a student, plus the u/s tech came in too. The resident did the ultrasound. I do not remember much talking; maybe some between the doctor and resident, but that was about it. The ultrasound tech pulled a book out and looked up what percentile Janie Beth was in for the size of her chest cavity. Two and a half percent! I will remember that forever. Janie Beth wasn't behaving as well for these docs, and the resident had trouble getting a couple measurements so the doctor took over.

When they were done, the doctor talked to us. I do not remember exactly what he said, but I know he started with telling us the names of 2 different types of dwarfism and that Janie Beth had one of them. I know that he told us she would not live, but how he phrased it I do not know. He did say at one point that she could surprise us. (In our language, that is God might do a miracle. :) ) I had tears streaming down my face, but I didn't lose it completely. The ultrasound tech was crying, as were the resident and student (all of which were female). He asked us if we had any questions. Are you serious!?! You just told me my daughter is going to die and you expect me to know what questions to ask! Of course, we didn't have any at that point. The resident was kind enough to get me the kleenex.

We left that little room forever changed. I handed over my paperwork to the check out lady with a red face and tear stained cheeks. She didn't ask. As we were walking out, I told Joey I needed to go to the bathroom before we left. It was in that one person bathroom that I looked in the mirror and said those words. I gave it all to God in that moment. He was in control.

What do you say when you get in the car after you are told your daughter is not going to live? I don't remember. I do remember that we went to McDonald's drive-thru. I remember thinking about calling people and having to tell the kids. It was a long, sad drive home. Very quickly many were praying on our behalf! A sweet lady even called me as we were driving and told me not to give up hope.

The kids stayed at my mom's with Poppa that day. My parents knew, but we were going to tell the kids when we got home. The doctor had given us a picture of her chest and belly, and Joey used that to explain to the kids that her chest wasn't big enough for her lungs to grow and be able to breathe. Katie Jo cried; a very hard moment. We told them we would be praying for a miracle, but that it was ok if Janie Beth went to Heaven. We know God loves us and He is going to do what is best for us and Janie Beth. And so began The Journey of the Karr's, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.

God is still doing what is best for us, even when it doesn't feel like it. There is always someone missing. We went to the cemetary today. It was Joy Michelle's first visit. The picture at the top of the blog is the closest I will ever get to a picture of all my kiddos together. It hurts.

God graciously carried me through November 19, 2010. I started this post on Nov. 19, but didn't finish it until today. The morning was hard on Friday, but I played one of the cd's that helps me, and I just sang. A precious friend and her little girl came over that afternoon, and it was nice to visit with them! Joey picked up pizza for him, Josiah, and Katie Jo, and Burger King for Eli. We put the kids to bed and Joey and I watched a movie. Joy Michelle hung out with Joey and I, and I held her extra tight all day.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November 16, 2009

Here I sit one year later. Up until this day last year I really thought everything would be ok with Janie Beth, she was just going to possibly have dwarfism. On November 16, 2009, I went to my regular OB. We had an appointment with a specialist on the 19th, but had already scheduled to have another ultrasound with my regular OB the 16th before the other appointment was scheduled. I really didn't think we would get the ultrasound since we were going to UAB on Thursday, but to our surprise we got one. (I so wish we had it recorded!!!) We were checking to see if her legs had grown or gotten further behind.

Back up a minute... At my last appointment before this, I had asked the NP if we could have another u/s to see how her growth was, and then if the legs had not grown or gotten further behind then I wanted to see a specialist. Well, my OB called me and said that it would be better to go ahead and set up the appointment because they can take a while to get you in.

So, the ultrasound. Her legs measured at exactly the same as they had 6 weeks before. I am not sure what I was expecting, but that wasn't really it. After that u/s my sinking feeling was much stronger, although I never would have guessed the news we would find out Nov. 19.

I never really considered what the month of November would feel like for me. I knew her birthday would be hard, but I hadn't thought about the weeks leading up to it that were all about her. I hadn't left room to think about what I would have done differently. It slapped me in the face! Here I am one year later at the beginning of this journey that I had no idea where it would be taking me.

I am so thankful for the steps God has helped me take!! There are still so many more to take! My pain is deeper than I let myself think. I am once again praying for God to go deeper than my pain because He is the only one who can.

He brought me to Lamentations 3 just the other day. Those verses were a rock for me, and I believe He was reminding me to not forget them now! Then, on Sunday we sang Leaning on the Everlasting Arms! Ok, God, I get it! I need to lean on You again. It was hard to sing that song. It brought me back to our old church, to Janie Beth.

We are entering a hard 6 weeks. There are so many anniversaries in these coming weeks, so many things to remind me of Janie Beth. I still miss her so much!!!! I wonder what she would look like, and what her personality would be. I try hard to remember what it felt like to hold her, but her feel is almost gone because time keeps going.

I am so thankful to be able to hold Joy Michelle during these weeks. All I really want to do is sit and hold her. I want to drink her in. I finally cleaned the crib out of all the clothes Sunday night and put her in it for the first time. I was flooded with multiple emotions. I look at Joy and I am overwhelmed with the grace of God. I think it is finally sinking in a bit that she is mine. I am letting myself love her more. I didn't even realize I wasn't letting myself until reading another bloggers post. After reading her post, I went to town getting her clothes organized and her crib ready for her. I talk to her more. I just love her.

What a journey! Thank You Abba for walking with me and carrying me! Thank You for writing my faith and being strong where I am weak! Thank You for allowing me to Lean on Your Everlasting Arms!!! I love You! May You be glorified through my journey of living after Janie Beth. Please give her a special hug for me! Tell her I love her. Please heal my heart, Lord. I need You.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Trust His Heart

I heard this song on my ipod a couple days ago. I wanted to share it. It really touched me! I tried to find it on Youtube, but there isn't one sung by Newsong, just some other lady, and it isn't as good! So, here are the lyrics..

Trust His Heart-Newsong

All things work for our good
though sometimes we can't see how they could.
Struggles that break our hearts in two
sometimes blind us to the truth.
Our Father knows what's best for us;
His ways are not our own.
So, when your pathway grows dim,
and you just can’t see Him,
Remember He's still on the throne.

God is too wise to be mistaken.
God is too good to be unkind.
So when you don't understand,
when you don't see His plan,
When you can't trace His hand, trust His heart.

He sees the Master plan.
He holds the future in His hands.
So don't live as those who have no hope.
All our hope is found in Him.
We walk in present knowledge,
but He sees the first and the last.
And like a tapestry, He's weaving you and me
to someday be just like Him.

God is too wise to be mistaken.
God is too good to be unkind.
So when you don't understand,
when you don't see His plan,
When you can't trace His hand, trust His heart.

2 weeks

Joy Michelle is 2 weeks old. She was actually 2 wks yesterday but I didn't have a chance to get on. :) She has been home 1.5 weeks, and I cannot imagine her not being here. She is laid back for now and pretty much just eats and sleeps. She is beginning to stay awake for a longer period of time a couple times a day. Her jaundice is much better! There is a part of me that wants her to stay this size forever. I love snuggling with her. Everyone here is in love with her, and it is hard to keep everyone from kissing her and hugging her while she is sleeping. Sleeping is the one thing she does loudly. LOL She is a noisy little girl. :)

Here are a few pictures from the last couple days.

Off to the doctor...

This is how well she is in school. LOL Learning through osmosis

Went to the park today.

Monday, November 8, 2010

12 Days

How different the 12th day of life can be!

The day that Janie Beth would have been 12 days old is the day that she went to church in a casket and we celebrated her life. Then, we followed her to the cemetary on a sunny, cold afternoon. It was a beautiful yet extremely sad day. It was the only time that she was in church outside of my belly. (Granted, she is in the ultimate church in Heaven! But, that doesn't always soothe my soul.)

Fast forward 10 months, and Joy Michelle is 12 days old. It is a Sunday, and the question in my mind is whether to go to church or not. For a while I couldn't figure out what my problem was, all of my kiddos have gone to church rather young, but stayed in the carseat or sling to keep germs away. It made me want to cry to think about taking her to church. What was up with me!?! Then, it dawned on me that I never got to carry Janie Beth to church to worship in my arms. I didn't get to show her off to everyone and get compliments on how cute/pretty she was. Was my soul ready to do that with Joy Michelle, and to do it 12 days after her birth just as I went to church 12 days after Janie Beth's birth to celebrate her brief life?

I decided this was another way that God in His infinite wisdom chose to show me mercy and grace. Just as I walked through the NICU again this time, I would walk to church 12 days after giving birth. My arms would be full, but my heart would have a hole. My face would be full of joy, but if you really looked closely you may have caught a glimpse of grief. I was blessed to sing praises to my Abba! Praises of a totally different kind than I sang January 10, 2010.

We sang this verse of Because He Lives January 10, 2010:

How Sweet To Hold A Newborn Baby,

And Feel The Pride And Joy She Gives;
But Greater Still The Calm Assurance:
This Child Can Face Uncertain Day Because He Lives

I could not help but think of the difference between singing that verse then, and if I was to sing it now. It was so sweet to hold Janie Beth. She filled me with pride and joy, and I have the calm assurance that she is face to face with Jesus because He lives! Now, it is so sweet to hold Joy Michelle. She fills me with pride and joy, and I have the calm assurance that she can face uncertain days because He lives!

The day was bittersweet and I was on the verge of tears most of the day. I cannot express how thankful I am that Joy Michelle is here and I can hold her and kiss her and tell her how much I love her. At the same time, I cannot express how much it pains me that I cannot do those things with Janie Beth. She floods my heart often. Yet again, God amazes me! Once again I feel opposite emotions at the same time.

Janie Beth and Joy Michelle have both blessed me beyond measure, but in very different ways. God is the best Father!!! He knows exactly what I need. He knows exactly how to bring healing to the deep recesses of my soul. As usual, His ways are higher than my ways and His thoughts higher than my thoughts!

God brought me through a bittersweet day, and I have full assurance that He will bring me through many more! Thank You, Abba!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Some Pictures

Joy Michelle

 Proud siblings

 Love bows!
 Gotta love the tongue sticking out!
 Katie Jo is talking to her.

I have to add one of Janie Beth because she is on my heart today. I never know when she will flood my heart.