Saturday, November 27, 2010

thoughts...


Just a little history for those who don't know... my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in April of 2007. The cancer was in late stage 3 when it was discovered and we were given very little hope. We grieved, and we prayed like we have never prayed before. We were living in Kentucky at the time, and decided to move back to Florida in order to be closer to my mom and to help out with day to day needs that my parents had. After 8 rounds of extremely difficult chemo, mom's cancer counts were back in the normal "no cancer" zone. We praised God like never before. And she was cancer free for a while, but then it came back...

Since then, the cancer has gone away and come back several times. Last Christmas, she was very sick and we though her battle was nearly over. We began praying that she would get to meet Isaac. I feel so blessed that she has been able to know my sweet boy and see me as a mom. I'm still praying for miraculous healing, and that she gets to meet all of my kids! Her cancer counts over the last 6 months remained low enough that she did not need any treatment. She was finally able to gain some independence again and just enjoy life with her family and friends in a pretty normal way.

Then a few weeks ago, she began to experience dizziness, headaches, and balance problems. The tests revealed our greatest fear. Her cancer had spread to her brain--and it was all over. Last Friday, she finished a 3 week regimen of daily radiation on her brain and the doctors decided to admit her to the hospital because she was experiencing excruciating pain. It was determined that she needed to have a pump implanted so that she could have constant access to her pain meds. Throughout this hospital stay, her doctors also recommended that we transition her to Hospice so that she could have home nursing care and more access to pain relief. "Hospice" was a difficult word for me to hear. We have been assured that she can continue treatment at Moffitt for her cancer while using hospice care, but it's hard not to think of it as the end of the fight.

I'm definitely dealing with lots of emotions and have many things on my mind that are not easy to explain...these are some things I'm learning and thinking lately.

  • God is big enough to handle our questions, our emotions, and our fears.
  • Sometimes my fears and sadness are so heavy that I find it hard to breathe.
  • There are other times when God gives me peace, and I'm learning that's in those times, I don't need to walk around with a sullen face and a sad disposition--I need to be thankful for the times of peace and joy and enjoy them as a gift.
  • Isaac has kept me busy--this has provided a much needed distraction from the heaviness of this time.
  • I have watched God use these circumstances to transform my dad into the most tender, patient, and humble person I know.
  • I find myself constantly going back to the Psalms during my quiet times. David's emotions are a comfort to me. He writes about the sorrows, the joys, the struggles, and the victories of life in such a real way. This book constantly leads me back to the heart and love of God.
  • Thanksgiving without my mom (she was still in the hospital) felt so strange.
  • I'm thankful for my husband who is learning how to comfort me. Sometimes with laughter and sometimes with tenderness.
  • It's hard to tell the difference between the ideas of acceptance and giving up.
  • Something about putting up my Christmas tree always makes me very introspective. It's like a mixture of joy, melancholy, nostalgia, and sweetness. The emotions seem more intense this year.

Friday, August 6, 2010

God is so good...

We just got home from housesitting for my parents, and as I went to do my quiet time this morning, I realized that I left my Bible at their house. So I found an old Bible that I haven't used in a while on my bookshelf. When I opened it, a bunch of note cards fell out into my lap. These are verses I wrote as I walked through the pain of infertility and longing for a child. I am overwhelmed as I think about God's faithfulness today--he truly is finishing the work he began in me. These are the words I read this morning...

""Have mercy on me, O God, for I call to you all day long. Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul." Psalm 86:3-4

"Surely I spoke of things I did not understand (my suffering), things to wonderful for me to know." Job.42:3

"is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son." Genesis 18:14

"Sarah said, 'God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me." Genesis 21:6

"Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The Lord answered his prayer and his wife Rebekah became pregnant (with twins)." Genesis 25:21

"Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said 'God has taken away my disgrace.'" Genesis 30:22-23

"O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me and not forget your servant, but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life." 1 Samuel 1:11

"And the Lord remembered her, so in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel saying, 'because I asked the Lord for him.'" 1 Samuel 1:20

"'So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.' And he worshipped the Lord there." 1 Samuel 1:28

"And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters." 1 Samuel 2:21

"For you are God my savior, and my hope is in you all day long." Psalm 25:5

"How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?...But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me." Psalm 13:2, 5-6

"Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child...enlarge the place of your tent, stretch wide your tent curtains, do not hold back. Lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and the left; your descendants will settle in desolate cities. " Isaiah 54:1-3

"Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always." Psalm 105:4

"He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children." Psalm 113:9

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:14





Monday, June 28, 2010

Can't I just freeze time???

I'm absolutely loving everything about motherhood! I wanted to record a few of my favorite things right now...
  • Isaac's smile is the most beautiful thing in the world to me right now. I think God is going to use my boy to bring joy to people!
  • He learned to roll over yesterday and after the first time, he looked so surprised. Then I made him do it over and over until he cried and gave me the "ok...I am DONE, Mommy!" face.
  • 10 hours of sleep last night :) I had to wake him up this morning!
  • I am finally back into my pre-pregnancy pants!
  • Isaac thinks I am funny. I'm pretty sure he's the only one in the world who would characterize me this way. He laughs at my silly faces and my singing :)
  • I feel overwhelmed with joy at watching my mom with Isaac. This is a blessing that I didn't think I'd ever see. One of my major prayers throughout her sickness is that she would get to see me as a mom. God is so good!
  • I love my video monitor. It is so fun to watch him in his crib--he plays and talks and waves his arms around while trying to fall asleep. We need to hang it higher though, because he scoots down and by morning, all I can see is the top of his head.
  • Daniel is a great Dad. He gets the best smiles and laughs from Isaac. When Isaac wakes up, he always asks if he can get him.
  • Bath time! Isaac splashes like a crazy man and is so smiley during bath time. I think this is his favorite part of the day, so I've started giving a bath every evening. He has never cried in the tub.
  • Little bitty laundry--every time I fold his tiny little clothes, I thank God for his sweet gift to us. Tiny jeans have become a symbol of God's blessing in my life!
  • I love how whenever I walk into a house where Ava is, she immediately says, "where's Ise?" She absolutely loves her little cousin.
  • When I went to pick Isaac up from the church nursery yesterday, the ladies didn't want to give him back and they said he was the sweetest baby :)
  • I love getting to be mommies together with my sister. I am so thankful we live close to each other. She is my best friend and one of the only people in the world who truly knows me. It's a little chaotic with all three kiddos, but it's so much fun!
I'm sure there is more to say, but I need to take a shower before my little guy wakes up.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Father's Day Photo Shoot

While Daniel was at camp I had my friends Mary Beth and Chen Wang (www.sweetlighting.com) come an take some pictures of Isaac as a Father's Day present for Daniel. I think they turned out so cute! Here are some of my favorites...






Ok...I'm just going to start

I've been wanting to start a blog, but I got overwhelmed because I felt like I needed to blog on everything that has happened in Isaac's life so far. So for today, I'm just going to start where I am...I may get motivated to go back and fill in some things I've missed at another time...

Up until this point in time, I have been a blog failure. I have started 4 or 5 different blogs and have quit writing after only a few posts. I am determined to do better with this one. I feel like God is teaching me so much and I want a place to record those thoughts along with the other random or silly happenings in my life. So, here we go...


Other Random THoughts

2 Months

One Month

The First 2 Weeks

Birth

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Our New Blog...

As we get ready to meet little Isaac sometime in the next few days, I decided it was time to set up a blog so that we can chronicle our memorable moments as a family as well as share our joys and struggles as we walk this journey of faith. I pulled our blogs from the adoption blog I started (it was short lived:) ) I have also included pictures of my growing belly and all of Isaac's ultrasound pictures. Thanks for joining us on our journey!

Meet Isaac Daniel Duncan :)

23 Weeks....
20 Weeks...

13 Weeks...

10 Weeks...

The Pregnancy in Pictures...

34 weeks...
30 weeks...


26 weeks...

21 weeks...

20 weeks...

17 weeks...
16 Weeks...
15 weeks...
7 weeks...

BIG NEWS!!!



"You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways an loving toward all he has made."

Psalm 145:16-17


I just want to start out by saying how amazed I am at the grace of God. He has heard my cries and has turned our sorrow into a beautiful story of joy! Here is how the story goes... After three years of trying to conceive and several rounds of fertility treatment, Daniel and I decided it was time to stop trying to get pregnant and begin the adoption process. It took many months of tears, prayers, and grieving for us to truly surrender this desire to the Lord and be content with his plan, regardless of what that was. We threw ourselves wholeheartedly into the adoption process and managed to finish our home study paperwork in only 2 weeks. And with the help of a free trial of photoshop, I was able to nearly complete our family profile. All that was missing was one of our letters of reference. We were leaving for Memphis to visit Daniel's family, so my sister checked our mailbox daily until we received the letter and then she was going to mail our package to the agency. Here we are with our complete homestudy...
Well, Rachel called me on Tuesday and said that the letter had arrived and she would be mailing it Wednesday morning. We were so excited to move on to the next phase of our adoption. Wednesday, we had to run to walgreens to print some pictures. While we were there, I picked up a pregnancy test just because I was a little late. (This was not unusual...I have probably taken hundreds of these in the last three years.) We got back and I took the test, not expecting anything out of the ordinary, but much to our surprise, this is what we saw...
(Yes, I took two in a row and then went back to the store to buy about 6 more :) ) I immediately called Rachel to tell her not to mail our adoption packet, but it was already too late. She had mailed it about an hour earlier. However, we were able to contact our agency to tell them not to cash our check and mail our packet back to us.
I am just amazed at God's timing. He waited until we had completely surrendered to his will and until we had shared our story with the world and then he opened his hand and blessed us with the most amazing gift. We are just basking in his goodness and grace!
Tuesday, we had our first prenatal visit and were able to have an ultrasound of our sweet little baby. Although we thought we were 10 weeks along, the ultrasound revealed that we are only 9 weeks. We got to see and hear the heartbeat. Let me tell you...in that moment we were changed. We are so in love with God's sweet gift! Here is our baby's first video:)

video


I know it's hard to tell what is what, but the head is on the right, the bottom is on the left and the flashing in the middle is the heartbeat!
Please join with us with giving God the praise for the amazing work he has done in us and continue to pray for our sweet baby's health and protection.

P.S. I know that some of you are following my blog because you are also struggling with infertility. I am praying for you daily that God would bless you with a child. I know that this news may cause pain to some, because it wasn't long ago that news of friends' pregnancies only made the sting of my own circumstance sharper. Continue to trust in the Lord and in his timing. Allow him to carry your hurts and find your comfort in his nearness. He is working a plan for your life! Please let me know if I can pray for you in any specific way!

Staining Our Crib

We have spent the last week sanding and staining our crib so it will fit perfectly with the other dark brown furniture we are putting in the nursery. My sister and my best friend Lindsay we so sweet to help me! We are out of town for a week, but when we get home, we have to do a polyurethane coating and then put it together. I can't wait to get our nursery all set up. I know it will probably still be a while till we have a baby in there, but now we will be ready in case the process ends up being quicker than we expect. Here are some pictures of our fun :) Lindsay and I working hard...




Trying to take a picture of ourselves with our work.
We put the stain on a little too thick so we had to move it inside so it would dry. Don't tell my dad :)


This is how I felt when we were finally done :)

Amazed

We were so blessed today! With our adoption fees, we don't have much extra money to spend on baby items, but we were really wanting to get our nursery set up so we could inlude pictures of it in our family profile (and just because it is so exciting to have our baby's room set up!) A family in our church gave us a crib today. (thanks Anne and Stetson!) How cool is that!? I love when I get to see the church working as the hands and feet of Christ. We were praying that God would provide what we needed to get a crib. At the same time, some amazing people who are listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit got to be used to answer our prayer. On top of that, our church nursery was getting rid of a glider and a pack n' play and said we could have them. So in one day, God blessed us with three of the most expensive baby items we would need. The glider needs a little work and TLC, but God also blessed me with a husband who can fix anything. So, today I'm just basking in the goodness and provision of my God!
"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

We're Pregnant...

…well sort of. We have officially begun the adoption process! We are very excited about where the Lord has led us and are looking forward to what He has in store. Daniel and I always have talked about adopting at some point in our future, but we planned to have our biological children first and adopt later on, when we were more financially stable. All my life, I have known that all I wanted to be when I grew up was a mommy. I know it is my calling–It is what I was created for. Well, you can imagine the discouragement and confusion when we just couldn’t get pregnant. We have spent the last few years on an emotional roller coaster of hope and disappointment. Around December, we decided that if we weren’t pregnant by April we would begin the adoption process. Well since December we have prayed so hard about becoming parents and we have really tried to seek God’s will and open our hearts up to his plan, regardless of what that meant. Well, the Lord has opened our hearts to adoption in a way that I didn’t ever think possible. I had to go through a sort of grieving process about the things I will not get to experience in pregnancy, but in that God has given me joy in the miracles and experiences that come with adoption. It is no longer feeling like second best to me. He has brought Daniel and me so far in our faith and in our marriage through this difficult season, and we believe that he has been preparing our hearts for the child he has created just for us! We have completed our application with an agency called Heart of Adoptions and are just beginning the piles and piles of paperwork we need to complete. We are pursuing a domestic adoption of a newborn baby and are trusting God with the details. We have lots (and lots) of fundraising and planning to do, but God has given us so much hope, joy, and excitement! Please pray with us for a quick and smooth process, for our sweet baby’s health, for our baby’s birth parents, for the finances, and just for God’s leading for Daniel and me.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13