Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I've been thinking quite a bit about Heaven lately... just in the past two days I've had dear friends walk through seemingly unbearable circumstances.  The loss of a newborn and the unexpected death of a family friend. As I've walked with these friends and listened to their tears, it stirs my heart... both in pain for them and their loss and bringing my own feelings of loss and grief back to the surface. This past Friday marked a year for us learning that our fourth child would not be living with us here on earth, that we would have to wait until Heaven to hold our baby, to know this baby.  It is so odd  that a period of time can feel like it was such a long time ago and then in some ways feel like it was just yesterday.  In some ways it seems like just yesterday- I can remember so vividly the appointment, I can still picture the nurse who was in the room with me.  I can still recall where I was during several phone conversations I had that day. Yet,  in other ways, it seems so very long ago.  A very long year full of tears and hard decisions, of clinging to Scripture and promises found there.  The path of grief  feels especially difficult because there is no end in sight.  It's not one of those things you can walk yourself through by looking ahead and saying " I only have to make it this far and then it will be over..."  It's also unpredictable because there is no set order to how we grieve.  Some days angry, some days weepy, some days indifferent, and some days all three within a two hour time period. For those of us who like a little order in our lives, this unpredictability is especially tough!

But for all the things I don't know or understand about this part of life, there are some great Truths that I do know.  I know for sure that I long more for Heaven. Yes, partly because I believe that our baby is there- alive and well- before her Creator. That in Heaven we will be together.  But even more than that because of what the Bible says about Heaven "...they will be his people and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."  Revelation 21:3-4  I can hardly even imagine- no pain, no crying, no mourning, but even more than that it says that God himself will be with us there.  It is sometimes easy to ignore Him and fill our lives with other things that seemingly satisfy, but here is the hope of eternity that those who repent and believe can be "with God Himself."

I also know that on this path- this path that I believe God has very lovingly and Sovereignly ordained for me-I am not alone.  The Bible also says about Jesus that "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering."  Isaiah 53:3  He knows and understands and even when I do not, when I cannot, He is with me and "with everlasting kindness, (He) will have compassion on me" Isaiah 54:8.

When I do not know what else to do, what to say to these friends, what to tell my own hurting heart, these are the things I call to mind.  The hope of Heaven, the reminder that our days here on earth are fleeting and temporary, that this is not our home and that one day I will be with God himself (holding my sweet little baby in my arms!)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Railroad Park

A couple of Saturdays ago, we headed out to Railroad Park.  (it is downtown off of 1st Ave S) and was such a great incorporation of  green space in downtown!

It is very close to a railroad switchyard and our boys were fascinated by the trains coming in and out.
 There is a paved trail all around the circumference of the park and it was great for bike riding (or jogging to keep up with bike riders!)
 There are also some very unique playground and fitness items that our kids had a blast playing on.
Not every day you get to play on parallel bars at the park.  Abby showed us many fancy tricks, including the mermaid!

 I'm not sure what you call this little machine, we called it the "running man" and they thought it was hilarious to run on.  Their little legs ended up going all sorts of directions!

 This huge spider web was the highlight for every kid in the park.  It was packed full of kids!  They loved being able to climb all over it!

 When we left the park Nathan said his favorite part was seeing the trains and airplanes.  Because downtown is so close to the B'ham airport we saw 6 or 7 airplanes take off and fly right over the park.  This little boy with the enormous eyes was in heaven.  He paused mid-sentence and watched one fly overhead!
 This was another fun climbing adventure!
 We called these the "dip baby dips" and while plenty of kids were zooming in and out of these on their bicycles, we made ours settle for the big wheel!  I'm not quite ready for bike jumping and ramping!

 Pause to check out an airplane that is flying overhead!  These dips were pretty fun to run through, too!
 speaking of running, the park really is a little boy's dream b/c not only do you see trains and airplanes, but there are very fun and unusual surfaces to climb and run all over.  Our boys ran up and down these a ton- for the mother, it is a little unnerving, Jay is good at reminding me that these types of accidents waiting to happen adventures are good for little boys!
 coming down full speed ahead!!
 taking a break to see a train pull in!
 it really was so cute to see how almost every little boy (and a lot of their daddys) took off from whatever they were climbing on to run up and watch when the trains come by.  All of these boys were on that semi-circle climbing and took off in a long row when this train pulled out!

Our kids have already mentioned going back to this park, so if you haven't gone, I would definitely give it a try!