Be Still My Heart

This morning I was in the kitchen doing my Mommy duties and grinding up food for my 16 month old that only has 6 teeth. She was sitting and playing quietly by herself in the living room so I decided to let my breakfast get cold and take advantage of the situation.

I had my Ninja out and ready to grind when I heard it. The awful whining noise she makes when she realizes Mommy (or Daddy) is no longer paying attention to her.

I heard the pitter patter of her tiny footsteps come around the corner and then “MmmmmMmmmmmMmmmm” of her little voice echoing through my kitchen. Then she found me and grabbed onto my leg as tightly as she could. I was expecting the blood curdling scream of frustration I usually get when she is not immediately picked up. To my surprise, the scream never came. Instead the “MmmmmMmmmm” changed into a “Mmmmmmuah!” Then another tight squeeze on my leg and another “Mmmmmmuah!” She was giving me hugs and a kisses. Instantly, my frustrated, tired, annoyed heart melted. I looked down to see her little grin. She learned how to give Mommy hugs and kisses! Oh my sweet child. Best morning EVER!

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Moriah’s Birth Story Part 2

I called my mom and got her voicemail, called dad, sister, brothers, and in laws. Called Mom again and it went to voicemail. Called my Grandmas, sent a text message to my friends, and then called Mom to once again get her voicemail. There’s just something about having a baby that makes you want to talk to your mom and all I got was her voicemail. COME ON! She did finally call me back after my sister in law chased her down.

After the doctor’s office we went back to work to let our employers know what was happening. My husband really needed to keep himself busy as the surgery wasn’t scheduled for a few hours. After a while I went home to “get ready”. I think this mainly consisted of me wandering around my house not really doing anything. I needed a few minutes to myself to think and pray. I don’t cry in front of people much but when I’m alone I let her rip. The tears flowed and flowed. I sat in her room and touched her things. I’m not sure there’s anything more terrifying than being a parent and the reality of that fact was hitting me hard in that instant.

I remember saying her name over and over while I cried and rubbed her little head up in my ribcage. And then I heard his whisper, “Joanna why do you want to name her Moriah?” My answer, “Because Moriah is the place that you chose to be your holy place.” “That’s right. I chose her. She is mine. I’ve got this.” “Okay Lord, with you in charge, I can do this.”SAM_2906

A few hours later we were in the hospital and I was more nervous than I had ever been in my life. I can’t imagine what my face looked like at that moment when they handed me the hospital gown and showed me to my room. I was so terrified they couldn’t get my IV in my arm. I was calm on the outside but on the inside the waves were rocking and the storm was moving in. My doctor came in and there was just something about having MY doctor there that calmed my nerves. I asked him if I would be able to watch the C-section and he said “SURE!” They walked me into the operating room and the less than glamorous process began. My doctor set up a mirror and I was able to watch my daughters little body emerge bum first out of my belly. It was still the most magical moment of my life even if it wasn’t at all what I had planned.SAM_2909

Moriah means “The Lord is my Teacher” and I have a feeling the Lord is going to use this little girl to teach her Mama. Her birth was only the first of many lessons he will be teaching me. I learned that parenting is all about trusting the Lord. I can’t control anything. I can’t control how she was born and I won’t be able to control her future. The power of a praying Mama is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. And I have to trust that he will always know what is best for my sweet little princess.

My first look at my sweet little Mo. :)

My first look at my sweet little Princess Mo. 🙂

Moriah’s Birth Story Part 1

It is time to post it! The long awaited birth story of my first born.  Honestly, there is so much emotion wrapped up into that experience that it’s hard for me to sort out my thoughts and write it all out. But I guess I’ll start from the beginning and see where it takes me. That’s what blogging is about, right?

My Mom has always told me that I’ve never done things “the way everyone else does”. I tend to march to the beat of my own drum, however, when it came to childbirth I was perfectly fine with the experience being just like everyone else. I wanted to go into labor, have contractions for hours and hours, have a baby emerge from my nether regions, and then recover. Lynn and I had planned it, the doctor was on board with our plan and that was just the way it would be! Yes, that is how this is going to go. HA!

Prior to the main event I was doing my research and asked my sister to tell me her birth stories of when her boys were born. I wanted to have some examples of what I might be able to expect. The best advice I got was from my sister in law, “don’t expect anything, be flexible, and just go with it.” I remember telling my sister that I wasn’t afraid of the pain or the labor. My biggest fear in the world was a Cesarean Section. I just didn’t want that. The idea of it freaked me out and why anyone would actually want one was beyond me.

I went in for my 36 week appointment and everything looked great. Baby was positioned perfectly but she still needed to keep cooking for a while longer. A few days later I came down with a nasty fever. I have to say that being sick while pregnant is miserable. I only had a fever but man I was shocked I survived. I spent most of that week on the couch.

My 37 week appointment came. Fever had finally broken a few days earlier and I was back to just feeling huge and pregnant. My super awesome doctor came in and did his measurements, poked around my belly and decided that all was normal. He went to check the heartbeat, those of you that have been following my blog know that hearing that heartbeat is a big deal to my husband and I, at every appointment I think both my husband and I hold our breath until we hear that gentle thumping. Then a sigh of relief would escape our lips when it was there. However, this time the heartbeat wasn’t easy to find. Every other appointment the doctor rarely had to search to find it but this time it couldn’t be found. I saw my doctors face change from happy and relaxed to concern and confusion. He moved the wand all over my belly and finally after what seemed like an eternity found her heart beat up in my ribcage. She had flipped and was now breach. That wasn’t all; the fluid levels in my uterus had dramatically dropped. Time started to move really slow and yet my mind was moving really fast. The doctor left the room to see if he could get us in for an ultrasound. My husband started pacing and I tried to remain calm. I prayed, “Jesus, just so we’re clear, I’m really okay if you don’t use childbirth as one of those teaching experiences to grow my character. I would rather you wouldn’t.” But that’s not how Jesus works and I knew that I would have to find a way to trust him.

The doctor came back in and informed us that the ultrasound department was busy so he took us to a back room and did an ultrasound on what I assume is one of the “old” machines. His suspicions were confirmed, I had 2 cm of fluid. At this point in my pregnancy I should have 15 cm of fluid. After hearing that I stopped listening to what the doctor was saying. He continued to talk “doctor talk” to my husband for several minutes while I laid there in an almost passed out state. After a few minutes,  I broke my zone and asked the doctor point blank “do I need to have a C-section?” Which followed by my husband asking, “Doc, are we going to be parents today?” With a slightly disappointed look on his face he said “Yes, we need to get you in today or there could be further complications. I’m sorry these things just happen. I know it’s not what we talked about.”

At the time I didn’t ask what he meant by “further complications” the thought of it made me very uneasy. The doctor left to get us scheduled at the hospital while Lynn and I stayed in the little room, prayed, and shed a few tears. We reassured each other that she was okay and we were going to be parents today! I tried very hard to focus on the excitement of the situation, but I was terrified.

The doctor came back and we were scheduled to become parents early that evening. As we were walking out of the doctor’s office I looked at Lynn and said, “I better call my Mom.”

The Due Date- Round 3

Since there is so much construction going on in our house right now Moriah and I decided to take a little vacation. I am tired of living in a hotel or in a construction zone. We booked a flight and spent 8 glorious days with family in Minnesota. While we were there my sister gave birth to her third child. My parents were on duty to take care of her two older boys and Moriah and I were excited to have a sleepover with cousins at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Since I live far away from my family these occurrences are few and far between for me. I will cherish those special moments I got to spend with my nephews for years to come. As I was going through my pictures and telling my husband all about our trip the past came back up from the depths of my soul. Like a hammer hitting me straight in the face. I don’t always remember or think about it but sometimes my heart stops and I remember the child that was lost.

One of my nephews is one month older than my child that was lost of miscarriage and my niece is one month younger. Of course I don’t know for sure as I was only 9 weeks pregnant at the time but in my heart I feel that child was a boy. As I was looking through my pictures and the memories of our mornings together my sweet nephews blue eyes struck me: he (my child) would be the same age.

Every morning Moriah would wake up in her crib and I could hear her sweet cooing before I was fully awake. And every morning when the boys were there someone else would greet her. My bedroom door would slowly open and I could hear quiet footsteps as the morning sun poured into my room. I would open my eye just a sliver to see that my nephew had heard my daughter in her crib and he would sneak in to gently touch her. One morning he was petting her head the next holding her hand. The picture I was looking at was one morning she was up early and woke up wanting some breakfast so she was in bed with me when he came in to check on her. He decided to climb over the footboard and into bed with us for his morning greeting.

At the time I thought it was adorable that my nephew was so gentle with her. Excellent practice for when he went home to his newborn sister, and that’s where my thought process stopped. But the other day, while looking at this picture I was reminded of my son, who I can only imagine was blonde and blue eyed; and my heart broke. I truly can’t wrap my mind around having a 2 year old along with my 4 month old daughter. That would be a handful. So today, I let the pain of loss wash over me again and I think about what would have been? Would he reach into her crib and hold her hand? Would he sneak into my bedroom and pet her head as she jabbers away? Would he reach out his arms with longing in his beautiful eyes as he asks to hold her one more time before bed? Would we be counting his animals and mimic the sound each one makes? Or would we be in a potty training battle full of 2 year old tantrums and “no,no,no’s”?

Probably.

Sometimes I let the grief and heartache bubble up to the surface because it’s in these moments that I am reminded of how grateful I am to have known this kind of loss. It’s in these moments where I’m reminded of Christ’s blessings. I did not lose a child in vain. God had and has a plan. And for that I’m eternally grateful.

My First Jack Bauer Moment

Since my sister’s birthday is coming up this weekend AND Jack Bauer will soon be returning to television what better post to kick off my relaunch than this one? I’ve taken a little time off but I hope to be back up and running in no time. Enjoy!!!BekandIsleeping

As children we were always finding ways to get into mischief. It’s really all my parents fault. They were the ones who encouraged my siblings and I to be overly creative farm kids. Summer vacation is when my creative genius was at its finest.

Long summer days with 4 children home all day left my mother in a state of exhaustion. As we got older “nap time” slowly morphed into “be quiet for one hour while mom regains her sanity”. During this time the kids had two options: one, we could play outside for one hour. Or two, play upstairs quietly and don’t bother mom who was napping on the couch. Basically, you could either go outside and stay there or be upstairs and stay there but you couldn’t have it both ways.

The boys would retreat to do whatever boys do outside. While my sister Bekah and I opted to stay upstairs and play quietly. This arrangement worked well for a couple of days. But by that third day I grew bored. About 20 minutes into the quiet time I decided that I wanted to go and get the baby kitties from the barn and bring them into the house. However, there was an obstacle. Mom was napping downstairs right next to the front door. There was no entering or exiting the house through the only door. However, this would not stop me and my mission. My creative juices started flowering. There had to be a way, right? In all honesty, my sister probably tried to talk me out of my devious plans, but my plan required team work. I successfully convinced her that she wanted to play with the baby kittens too. And so my accomplice was born and I could execute my fool proof plan.

For whatever reason, my dad had taken the screen off of one of the upstairs windows on the 2nd floor of our 3 story home. I went into the linen closet and found an old mismatched sheet that my mom wouldn’t notice was missing. I slowly and quietly opened the window and hung the sheet out of it. Then I tied one end of the sheet to the couch leg; I asked my sister to hold on to the sheet for extra support and I lowered myself down. It worked! Bek threw one of our school backpacks down to me and I made my way down to the barn. I loaded the baby kittens into the back pack and climbed back up the sheet. This was our daily occurrence for several days. Mom and Dad would never find out. We were like secret operatives on a top secret mission and no one would ever know our secret.

That is, until the day Bek asked if she could be the one that was being lowered down. I opened the window and threw the sheet out just like every other day. However, my sister was small and my pride was as big as the state of Minnesota. I decided that I could just hold the sheet and not tie off the end to the couch.

Carefully, my sister made her way out the window. She began to climb lower and lower on the sheet. Then all of the sudden she looked up at me and her facial expression turned to panic…and then her hands let go. The shock of her letting go caused my hands released the sheet and both my sister and the sheet went falling to their doom.

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All I could do was watch as my sister fell flat onto her back. To my relief her head was inches from the cement opening of the cistern and she landed on the grass. To my detriment, my dad was working in the yard that day and saw everything. Well, he didn’t see everything. He saw my sister climbing out of a window, and me dropping a sheet. Let’s just say my dad was none too pleased with me that day, and yes Mom did wake up from her nap. And yes, I was punished for dropping my sister out of a second story window, but really, she let go… It doesn’t matter no one will ever believe me.

Happy Birthday!!! It’s a miracle you survived this long….

The Christmas Blues…

prayerblogAll of December I have felt less than “myself”. As Elvis would say, “I had a Blue Christmas”. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why. Did I miss my family? Do I want to go home? Am I not busy enough? Am I too busy? And then last week as I was sitting at work on Friday it hit me. I’m not supposed to be here. I should not still be working right now. I should not be HERE. I should be at home baking cookies in anticipation for my husband to arrive home from work to start some amazing Christmas traditions that I’ve dreamed about for a long time. My house should be warm and filled with lights and decorations. Not bare due to lack of time in my schedule to dedicate to decorating. I should hear small coo’s and cries in between my Christmas music that’s blaring on my Ipod. I shouldn’t be stuck at work. I should be home preparing for babies first Christmas… And ever since that thought entered my mind I knew why my Christmas was blue.

All December I have had a hard time getting out of bed. I had no PMS so there really wasn’t any other reason other than the weather. And I don’t like to blame a month long of bad attitude on the weather (but it may have been a factor). I find myself just wanting to shut the door to my bedroom and stay in there, because “I should not be here”. I didn’t send a Christmas card because I feel a card of me smiling would be a misrepresentation of how I feel this holiday season. I went home on Friday and was doing a pretty good job of keeping it all together until I started opening the Christmas cards that came in the mail. I love Christmas cards. I love seeing how creative my family and friends get. I love seeing my nieces and nephews dressed in their best posing for some sort of ridiculous riddle their parents create. But this year was different. My joy was gone. And only bitterness and frustration was left. UGH!!!! I needed a break and time to grieve once again. I screamed and took the longest hottest shower I could stand. I told my understanding husband that I needed some time and to leave me be as I wailed on the tub floor. Life isn’t fair and it sucks. And I’m angry, frustrated, sad, hurt etc. (the list goes on)

Just when I decided I was going to stay in the shower forever because I couldn’t move from paralyzing grief I heard a little “meow” and the shower curtain started moving. Louie needed food and he refuses to let Lynn feed him. And then the water went cold. So I stood up, dried off, and fed him and realized that life will go on. I went down to find my husband making beer with his giant burly arms open and ready for me. I am blessed and that is a fact. But I’m not exactly happy about it right now. And that’s OK. Right now, I can surround myself with the family and friends that God has placed in my life. I’m so thankful for the encouragement and love that I receive from them every day. This is my advice if you are also suffering from “The Christmas Blue’s”: feel what you’re feeling and scream and wail all you want. Surround yourself with those that love you. It’s OK to not be OK. God hears and He cares. And He’s right beside you every step of the way. So today I will celebrate that my future is out of my hands and I will find my smile again in the little things. A new year is about to start and I thank God for that!!!

God’s Gift to the World!!! – just kidding :)

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I’m very fortunate to have received the gift of creativity from my parents.  So when I started asking questions about my birth story so that I could write my own version filled with drama and twists and turns, my mom offered to write it for me! So, today I give you all a special treat, a guest post today from my lovely mother Sheryl… Enjoy!

It was a cold dark December night and the weather was turning nasty.   As the family settled in to watch their favorite Monday night comedy shows, the father noticed that the freezing rain had begun.  Although the Mother was feeling uncomfortable she did not feel like she was in recognizable labor.   The family was watching the Bob Newhart show and the weather wasn’t getting any better so the father announced that as soon as the show was over the family would load up in the car and head to town just in case the baby decided to arrive on this blustery night.   Not long after the car was loaded and the boys in their places, the mother- to-be started to feel labor pains that she had been waiting for two weeks and she knew it “was time.”

The next plan was to drop the mother off at the hospital and take the boys to grandmas.  Is this where the song “over the river and though the woods “came from??

Or is this the song being sung on those icy roads 10 miles from the hospital?

The special child was born after several hours of walking up and down the hallways of the hospital which was and still continues to be the smallest one in the state of Minnesota.

Ok, ok back to the special baby…….yes, the baby was born and she was a GIRL!   Yes! A girl!!! Pink, bows, lace and dresses now could enter into the happy mother’s life.   You see the family before this special night consisted of a father, a mother and two little boys.   Now they were joined by a Girl!  A red headed girl!   This mother was so excited that she called her mother to tell her that she had been blessed with a daughter, a redheaded daughter!   The grandmother proceeded to tell her daughter that the little girl probably just had remains of her birth on her head and not red hair!  The grandmother was very surprised in the morning when 4 hours after the birth and her first bath the little girl still had beautiful red hair.  Red hair and an amazing interest in the new world around her.  The nurses were surprised at her alertness and interest in her new world! But where did this red hair gene come from???   As the child grew she used to tell people it came from the milkman!  Her mother said it came from the milk.  Well, it was true that the milkman did have red hair……..But with all kidding aside the red hair came from several generations back on both parents side.   The great grandmother sister on the maternal side had reddish hair and the great grandfather on the paternal side had a red beard.  God took out his red brush that night and created a beautiful little baby girl to bless this family and the world.  This beautiful baby girl, Joanna Kay Kopperud was born on December14, 1982 to two very proud parents and two very excited big brothers.   The mother felt like she had just received a special new dolly for Christmas that year.

joannasbirth

Can we all just take a moment to admire how incredibly adorable my brothers were???? So cute!!!! Joanna’s Homecoming and Christmas Card 1982.

Happy 30th birthday baby girl!

The woman I never had the privilege to know

A question that has been on my heart is “Why do bad things happen?” This past month I’ve been touched by a story of a young woman who just recently passed away due to cancer. She and I went to the same college but I never knew her. However, through a lot of facebook stalking and posts from mutual friends I have learned of her story. I saw many struggle with the question, “why do bad things happen?”  She was 24 years old and recently gave birth to a baby boy last February. Please see the link below for more details.  I’ve seen many posts offering prayers of encouragement to her and her family.

As I stated before, I  never knew this beautiful young woman. And yet, her story has touched my heart and forced me to look inside of myself. From my stalking, I’ve learned that she was an amazing woman with a strong faith and love for the Lord. I’ve seen pictures and tributes to her and one thing that has touched me more than anything is seeing this young woman holding her newborn baby and knowing she will never see him grow to be a man. She was smiling and glowing with the love of Christ for her family. She had her husband’s admiration and her faith radiated out of her smile and cheerful demeanor. Granted, it was only a photograph but the beauty that shined off this young woman struck me to my core.

So, this leads me to my question. Why do bad things happen? Why doesn’t this woman, who was living for the Lord, get the chance to raise her child? Why is her journey over? The fact that her story has struck me; someone who is her sister in Christ but under different circumstances never would’ve known her, and the fact that her life has touched mine and many others is how she will live on in all of us. In John Chapter 9, Jesus says, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in (her) life.” What an amazing legacy this young woman is leaving behind for her son and all of us that are privileged to be touched by her story. There are mothers out there that are cherishing their children more because of her story. There’s a wife, right here, that will cherish the love of her husband because of her example of how short and precious life can be.

Rest in peace dear sister, you have touched my life and demonstrated Christ’s love to me in ways that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. Know that your legacy lives on not only in those who were blessed to have known and loved you, but also in those of us that have been touched by your example of faith and courage for His glory.

http://mankatofreepress.com/obituaries/x403301882/Ruth-M-Wilde-Gullixson-Webber

The Case of the Rolling Bull

I found this little gem from my college years. It was written sometime before May 2005.

Our families cows breaking out of their “fenced in roaming area” is nothing new. I remember such experiences as a child when death felt near. It is those times when your heart beats fast and panic sets in, then your mind and body come together in that short instance that saves your life.

My family had just gotten home from vacation. We notice many footprints on our lawn. These were not any ordinary footprints but they certainly were familiar to my family. They were the kind of footprints that we all dreaded to see. They were cow footprints. My whole family was so tired and did not want to deal with the cows wondering all over our lawn. Dad took it upon himself and said that he would go out and see what’s going on while the rest of us unloaded from the trip. We were all laughing and reminiscing about the trip when we all turned to see my dad running towards us. It turns out that my neighbor’s cows had gotten into the very same pen with our cows and we would have to separate them. This is a HUGE job. My sister, mom, dad and I went and put our clothes on and got ready to go.

When I had finished getting changed I went down the hill to where the cows were. Naturally, the two bulls had found each other. I made my sister round up the herd while I stayed up by the house. My life all of the sudden became slow motion. The two bulls were coming towards me in a not so orderly way. Rolling, rolling towards me. I looked around for somewhere to hide, but unfortunately this was the open plain of the Midwest. There were no trees or anything to hide from two fighting, 2,000 Pd bulls. I screamed and looked at my sister. To my shock she was laughing hysterically at me. I did not think that this near death experience was very humorous at all.

I looked back at the bulls. The neighbor’s bull was running towards me looking for protection because our bull was winning the fight. This only worsened my situation. Finally, I did what I had to do; the only thing there was to do. I ran. I out ran them. After all I was only 140 pounds and they weighed only about 1,860 more.

Well, that’s what I remember. During the rest of the day I had two more near death experiences. If you would like to know “the rest of the story” just ask. It is quite amusing.