Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Moments . . .

There are moments in our lives that change us forever – some are big and some are small, either way they impact us on some level . . . the moment you get picked for the lead in the play that you’ve been dying for or the or the moment that boy finally asks you out on your first date or the moment you go from being a Miss to a Mrs or the moment you realize . . . we are about to become a family of THREE!! or the moment that . . . you finish it.

For us, we had a moment last October 9th . . .it was the moment our doctor told us that, at 6 ½ months pregnant, our baby no longer had a heart beat!! That was a moment that will never be forgotten and has forever impacted our lives!

We’ve had miscarriages . . . but this was different . . . far different! I had just felt our baby kick the week before . . .I had seen ultrasounds of our baby moving. . . I knew that there was a life in me! Yes, we knew that our baby had some abnormalities – the month prior we had found out that he had a large hole in his heart – a ventricular septal defect – and that his right kidney was not functioning. We had been told that there was a possibility that our baby wouldn’t survive to term. There is a HUGE difference between “the possibility” and the reality! On October 9th we were living the reality!

That Thursday and Friday were two of the most wonderfully terrible days of my life! What do I mean? If we hadn’t been in that situation we wouldn’t have been able to see the Lord work. Those were two days where I felt the presence of the Lord in a way I don’t think I ever had before! My husband and I had such a peace within this storm. We were surrounded by family and friends (who frankly are more like family!). We were blessed by the Lord in ways that I can’t even begin to count. Big ways, little ways, ways that we didn’t even know we needed to be blessed. We were prayed for and just loved! What an amazing time that was!

As this first anniversary comes it is very surreal . . . it seems like only yesterday we were in the hospital and yet it seems like it has been ages. God is so good how He protects our hearts. And yet the heart still hurts! There isn’t a day that doesn’t go by where I don’t think of my son in one way or another. What would it be like to be getting three kiddos ready for the day? or What would it be like to look back and hear the sounds of my baby boy cooing at me while we are driving along? So many thoughts go through my mind and then I look at the two girls I have here with me and I’m so thankful for what the Lord has given me here! I can’t wait to meet my son when I step in to glory, but I have two precious girls here who need me right now! I have no guarantees on their eternity . . .I have a son who is in heaven . . . walking hand in hand with the God of the Universe – with my Jehovah God! Wow! I can’t even fully fathom that!!!

We’ve had moments that have been more difficult than others. The moment when someone asks how many children do I have . . . well, I have three . . . but do I say that and have them pity me if they ask the ages and I share about my son who is in heaven? I don’t want pity, but people don’t always know what to say and I don’t want to make people feel badly. Or the moment when someone doesn’t say anything because they are afraid that they are going to hurt my feelings or say the wrong thing . . . honestly, it is worse when someone avoids the fact that I have a son who is in heaven. That hurts. Yet, I understand . . . I’ve been there – what do you say. . .well, just be honest!

The moments get easier and harder all at the same time, but I have to be honest I wouldn’t change a thing! Yes, I would give just about anything to be sitting here with my baby boy, but that is not what the Lord had for our family! I am constantly reminded of Job’s response to his wife, who wanted him to curse God after his children and every possession had been taken away. Job 2:10 “But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God and shall we not receive evil?’”

From the beginning our desire was for God to be glorified in all that happened – we only pray that that has occurred. So many people have said such kind and lovely things to us and encouraged us over the last year. We are tremendously blessed! We are so thankful for your prayers and love!

I cling to the hope found in I Peter 5:10-11 “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

These moments of suffering are nothing in light of eternity and to know that my God, my Abba Father, my Creator and Redeemer will HIMSELF restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish ME, this wretched little redeemed sinner!!! That is a moment worth waiting for!

And then . . . there is the moment you find out God has blessed you with another little life! What a joyous moment that was!!!

You can read more about my precious Jackson Christopher here!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

40 years!!!

It's been quite a while since my last post, but today seems like a perfect day to break that streak!! Forty years ago today, October 4, 1969, my parents were married!!! Words cannot express how grateful I am that they have been faithful to their commitments to one another that October day!! What a blessing it is to not only be able to say that my parents are still married forty years later, but I can truly say that they love one another and enjoy each others company still! They continue to make each other laugh, drive each other crazy at times, spend time together frequently, look to one another for advice, encouragement, guidance, dog selections (that's for mom!), and so much more. From my vantage point they are one anothers best friend. Their relationship is inspiring! And I would venture to say - if you know them you have been blessed by them!!

I love you mom and dad! Thank you for your faithfulness, diligence, godliness, wisdom, sacrificial love, time, and so much more!!! Here's to another 40!!!!

A couple weeks ago I had the privilege of photographing my parents . . . so here are a few!!!

I love this one . . . says so much!!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

in glory

As a little girl I always knew there was something special about me. Not just because my parents were very eager to praise me for any little thing I might do or because they made me feel like I was the most beautiful, smartest, most talented little girl (far from it - a parents' love will do that) - no I was given a very special name. My parents named me Michelle Ellen - the Ellen was after my grandma - my mom's mom - one of the most wonderful women I have ever known. Now she would tell you that there wasn't anything special about her, but I am here to tell you that she was, in a word, REMARKABLE! As much as I knew that I carried a special name I knew that my grandma was a very special woman - I knew that she wasn't like all other grandmas. For starters she was 60 when I was born - a bit older than my friends' grandmas, but I knew Grandma Cook could and would run circles around them. I cannot think of an event, party, performance, birthday, etc that she was not at! If my brothers or cousins and I were participating in something SHE WAS THERE!!!

My grandma was not just remarkable because she invested time in to my life, but because she first loved Jesus Christ! Jesus was her first love and she let us know that by her words, deeds, and actions! When Grandma Cook said she was praying for you - SHE WAS!! She loved her Lord and because of her faithfulness, He blessed her abundantly! Over the years I have seen her faithfulness and been able to see her love for Christ played out. She never wearied of sharing her faith with anyone and everyone - she has lived a life, in my eyes, of faithfulness, godliness, perseverance, wisdom, and joy!

My grandma was beyond special! It has been fun watching her with each great grandchild (now totaling 20) how her eyes would light up as they came in the room. My girls could not wait to see Grammie Great! They loved to sit in her room while she read them stories or played games with them or while she allowed them to carry-out one of their rather lengthy meetings. One thing I have admired about Grandma is how she so willingly loved my husband and friends. All of my friends know my grandma as Grandma Cook - they loved her like their own grandma and she loved them as well. She has always been so interested in what Flavio is up to and has taken a genuine interest in his golf career. When he was pursuing the PGA Tour she watched him play - walking the 18 holes - as he caddies she asks how they are doing. I love that she doesn't just love him because he married her granddaughter, but she genuinely LOVES Flavio!!

Last Saturday, May 16th, my grandma went to be with her Lord. While I still can't get my mind around the fact that she isn't here - it is a glorious picture I have of her in Heaven, worshipping Our Saviour, walking hand-in-hand with Jesus Christ, talking to Him, looking upon His Holy face, asking Him all of the things she has been dying to know. I can only imagine the joy she felt when she saw her Lord, when He embraced her and told her "Well Done good and faithful one". I like to think that after that she found my Jackson, hugged him, kissed him, and told him how much he is loved. Oh what a glorious day it will be when we will all be re-united together in Glory.

God graciously gave us a wonderful week with her - surrounded by family and friends we were able to sing some of her favorite hymns, pray together, laugh, and just enjoy our last times with this precious, precious woman. She had one final request of the Lord, she wanted to see her 20th great grandchild - Peter and Emily were expecting their first baby on May 14th - Scout Magnolia made her arrival on May 15th @ 4:46am - grandma was able to see pictures and video of number 20 and about 24 hours after Scout's arrival grandma entered in to the presence of the Lord.

My grandma will be missed here on this earth, but she has left a tremendous legacy.

Here are a few pictures of my Grandma Cook!

Psalm 92:12-15
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;

planted in the house of the LORD,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.

They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,

proclaiming, "The LORD is upright;
he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him."

Uncle Herbie (grandma's little brother)

Grandma and Lily - on one of our Scrapbooking Weekends

#20 Scout Magnolia

The two Ellen's - Grammie Great and my Ellie Grace

Friday, April 10, 2009

six months ago today . . .

I've heard it a million times - "my how the times does fly" . . . and that it does!!! It doesn't really seem possible that six months ago today we met our son, Jackson Christopher! God has sustained us in so many unbelievable ways within the last six months and how fitting that we are able to look back upon the goodness of God in our own lives on this Good Friday!! Today is the day that my Saviour, Jesus Christ, laid down His life for me!! His Heavenly Father, God, understands far more than I what it is like to lose a son - the amazing and miraculous thing is that Jesus did not stay in that grave - NO!! He was raised on that third day, Easter Sunday, so that I might be have life eternal! Yes, my heart has been broken in the last six months over the loss of my son, but I have hope because God was willing to sacrifice His one and only son for me and my sinfulness!!!

God has and continues to sustain us as we walk through each and every day! There have been some really hard days in the last six months, but all in all we are finding such joy in watching Ellie and Lily grow and learn and explore, we are clinging to Our Lord more and understanding His truths better because of all that He brought us through.

The girls often talk about Jackson and wonder what he would be doing right now - it tugs at my heart because I often wonder the same things, but we talk about how our little guy is rejoicing at the feet of God Almighty - none of us really fully understand that, but what joy and comfort it brings to our hearts.

Ellie and Flavio went to the driving range one day and on the way back she asked her daddy if he thought Jackson would've enjoyed playing golf! I'm pretty sure he would have!

We are blessed beyond measure!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

One tooth down. . .

the tooth fairy will be visiting tonight!!! Ellie is so excited ... and well, so are we!!!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Happy Jackson Day!!

That is what Ellie said when we were leaving the park today! So adorable! Today we did have a celebration in honor of our son, Jackson Christopher, (you can read more about him here) as today was our due date. I wasn't really sure how I would feel today . . . it has been rather surreal to have this day get closer and closer and not be preparing for a baby. I have to say that Lily has been the beneficiary of many, many hugs and snuggles -Ellie too, but Lily is still small enough to carry around and hold on my lap. She has filled my arms where I had hoped my son would be. As we appoached today - I could not help but think about God's goodness to us! He spared our son a life of pain, agony, surgeries, and a host of other things. He spared our hearts the torment of watching our son go through so much. I do not understand the fullness of His power and might, but I do know for certain that Our God is an Awesome and Mighty God - that His plan is far better than mine!!

We had decided that we would do something special on this day. I didn't want to be at home all day - I wanted to have something to look forward to. We told the girls that we were going to go to the park for a little celebration - we told them that today was the day that their brother was due to be born - honestly I think all they heard was park, play, cupcakes, balloons, and friends - well that sounded GREAT to them!!! And it was!!!

I made some special "J" cupcakes, got some blue balloons, packed and lunch, and off we went to the park. My parents joined us along with our sweet friend Abby and her two little ones. The kids played and played and then we had a little balloon launch for our sweet son!!!!

Flavio prayed this morning - thanking God for today - this is the day that the Lord planned from the beginning of time. He knew that today would be a day of sadness and joy and He also promises to never give His children more than we can handle - that is from point A to point Z and we can honestly say that He has been faithful. It is by His strength alone that we have been able to do anything, most of all Praise Him through this! No, we are not perfect and yes our hearts hurt, but God has been so gracious to put His arms around us and comfort us and He has used many of you as those tangible arms! We are forever grateful for our family and friends who have loved us so much - they have cried with us, laughed with us, thrown their arms around us, carried our burdens, and mostly just loved us! To name you all would take too long, but you know who you are (plus I want your reward to be in Heaven - what a blessed day that will be!!)

Over the past 4 months or so there have been many verses that have greatly ministered to my heart, but I would have to say that this one is quite tremendous:

1 Peter 5:10-11
And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


This is more for me than anything else. . . I don't journal anywhere else, but here, so here goes...

For the past couple weeks I had this overwhelming feeling of gratitude. Gratitude for a few things, but mostly for my salvation! I, like so many of us, have gone about my life just plugging along - thankful for God's gracious gift in sending His son, but not always or completely understanding the depth of that gift (nor do I still . . .ahh Heaven!). But last Sunday as we were singing and praising God I was just filled with emotion and gratitude to My Heavenly Father for sending His son, Jesus Christ, to die for me! Me, a wretched, selfish, stubborn, undeserving sinner, and yet, He did!!! I don't know how else to put it but I am so thankful that God saw fit to save me from the snares of the devil and write my name in The Lambs Book of Life. What a tremendous gift!!!

I have also felt so overwhelmed by the relationships that God has put in my life. Each one is there for a specific purpose - not all known to me yet. Some are easier than others and yet, I am grateful for them all! I am particularly grateful for my parents and their tremendous love and support - their prayers and their practicality. What would I do without them!?!?! I don't even want to imagine. Last night I got to spend some time with two of my dearest friends - oh how I enjoy their sweet fellowship and their encouragement and their wisdom and just their laughs - such joy they bring to my heart! I hope they know how much I love them!!! There are just so many ways that I have been blessed - to name them all would take forever, but I just wanted/had to get my thoughts down on "paper". My heart is overflowing with gratitude, with emotion, with joy because of all that God has done for me and all those He has brought in to my life!! This morning we sang "And Can It Be" - I LOVE that hymn - I love most hymns - but this is at the top

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Still the small inward voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

I could go on and on and may on another post, but . . . that is where my heart is right now! Overwhelmed with gratitude!

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I cannot believe it has been so long!!! I've had many things I have wanted to blog about in the past weeks, but by the time I sat down to do so . . . I forgot or just ran out of time! But here I am . . . back!!

I've had a lot of things on my heart lately, one of which is our blessed Bible Study! We have a great Bible Study and through the course of the last year we have all (maybe not ALL, but a large majority of us) been going through some "various trials". On Friday, Dan Gallagher gave us an update on his condition (he has aplastic anemia - go here to read more about what he has/is going through) and shared about suffering. It was so encouraging and awesome to hear what God is doing in he and Pam's life through their present suffering, but also God's perspective on suffering.

He had two points:
I. Suffering is designed by God for us - Job 2:7&10, 42:11

  • suffering is for my good and GOD'S glory - Romans 8:28
  • It's good to consider life and death - do I really long for Heaven or am I too tied to this world?
  • suffering should increase my longing for Heaven.
II. Suffering is a gift from God - it doesn't always seem that way as we are going through a trial and suffering, but it is!
  • Phil 1:29 tells us that we've been given a gift of suffering
  • I Peter 2:21 - suffering is a megaphone for God - we get an opportunity to tell others about our amazing God through suffering.
  • Phil 3:8&10 suffering brings fellowship
  • it is an opportunity to tell others about Christ!
  • the Body of Christ is able to come together to support and love.
  • God uses our suffering to conform us!
  • through our suffering we are able to comfort others
It has been so amazing, comforting, challenging, & indescribable to watch each member of our Bible study go through their trials. It has been a little over three months since we met Jackson and, as hard as it has been, it has been so awesome to see God use our suffering to change our lives, to help us be more compassionate, to show us areas in which we needed to change in our lives, to help us see what is important and what isn't, to help us long for heaven in a way that we hadn't previously done. Suffering is HARD, but as painful as it has been, I wouldn't change it for what God has done to me and my heart! Yes, I wish with ALL of my heart that I could be anticipating the birth of my first son, but I will have to wait a little while longer!

Thank you to those of you who continue to uphold us in prayer - we so appreciate it! I so appreciate those of you who have come up to us and asked us how we are doing and not the typical - hey, how ya doin'? kinda thing, but the really sincere, making eye contact -"How are you doing?" - that means a lot to us! To answer that question - we are doing good, but as February 11th approaches I find that I am having a hard time. Jackson was due on or around February 11th - it is weird to have that date getting closer and closer and knowing that he won't be coming . . . I'm not pregnant and anticipating the birth of a sweet baby. Thankfully I have these two, busy little girls that don't allow my mind to stay on that thought too long - Praise the Lord for Ellie and Lily - they are wonderful distractions!!

I pray that you are doing well and that if you are suffering right now you are leaning upon God Almighty!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy New Year!!

Yeah, I know . . . we are 11 days in to the new year and I am already running behind!! So why should 2009 be any different than the last 10, 15, 20+ years??!?! We had a great Christmas - it was nice and relaxing! It was so wonderful to have Ellie girl home for two whole weeks!!! Loved the late nights of doing whatever and the late mornings sleeping in!! I didn't relish our time at home as much as I should of before she went off to Kindergarten!

Here are some random pictures from the last few weeks . . . can't wait for the next day off! That's Friday!!! Woo Hoo!!!!!!!!!!

Our Impromptu Cookie Decorating Party

Oh Tate!!!! :o)
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A Tagliere Christmas - I know - it's a little blurry - not sure why . . . gotta figure that one out!

Aren't they so cute!!!
And my sweet little niece on the way!! Can't wait to meet her!

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Are we the greatest aunts and uncles ever???? We, meaning all of their aunts and uncles, got them a drum set, guitar, and set of fun little instruments!! We figure Parker will be on the drums, Alyssa on the guitar, Reagan on the cymbals, Laura on the piano, and Danny . . . Lead Vocals of course!!!

Ahh sweet!
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