Justin Ryker Swick

Justin Ryker Swick

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

SIDS "Awareness?"

I'm going to take a break, for just a moment, from my postings about Justin's Jesus to ask a few questions.  I don't mean these questions to be mean, or to come across snotty.  I know I had a whole tangent in an earlier blog about SIDS awareness and prevention, but that is not what I mean by this blog.  These are legitimate questions I have about SIDS awareness, that I am hoping, maybe someone who reads the blog, or someone who is active in SIDS awareness campaigns, could clear up for me. 

I just can't seem to wrap my head around what SIDS "awareness" or even "reducing the risks" really means.  Are we making people "aware" that SIDS is out there?  And if that's the case, what's the motive or reason for it?  Once again, I don't mean this to offend anyone, I am just curious.  I don't understand what making people "aware" of SIDS is supposed to do, and I guess I don't understand what we are hoping the outcome will be by making them "aware" that sometimes a baby goes to sleep and doesn't wake up.  Won't that just make them fearful to put their babies to sleep?  Or to even get some sleep themselves? 

And "reducing the risks", what does that mean also?  I guess all that I have been told, and all that I have read about SIDS, is that there is no cause, therefore there can be no prevention, and no way to "reduce the risks"?  We don't know what the "risks" are, really, do we? If we knew the risks, wouldn't we know the cause, and in turn have a way to prevent it? 

I do have a lot of questions, and I am not guaranteed those answers; or to understand why things happen the way they do; just like anyone else on this earth.  There are things that happen in ALL of our lives, that we just aren't sure why they do.  God doesn't promise us answers, He doesn't promise rainbows and sunshine all the time, He promises to carry us through our trials, tribulations, and to comfort us when we are hurting.  So I am not necessarily concerned with getting all my questions answered as to why Justin went to Heaven on Aug. 11, with only spending very little time with his mommy, daddy, and brothers; I know that those questions, don't always have an answer. I am just concerned that by making people "aware" we are ultimately making them fearful, gaurded, and not able to enjoy their children fully, because like me, some can let fear totally consume their lives at times.

 I also feel that saying that there is a way to "reduce the risks" would make people think that if they do everything "right" it couldn't happen to them, and that's not the case; or telling other parents whose baby did pass away due to SIDS that they did something "wrong".  I just don't feel that is right or fair to either parties.  And ultimately by saying that there is a way to reduce the risks, we are saying that there is a "prevention" but once again, if there is no cause, how can there be a prevention, or even a way to reduce the risks?  Once again, please don't feel attacked by this post, I truely am just a curious mother.  So if you do know more on this subject, please let me know, I could be wrong in all of this, these are just some questions weighing on my mind lately.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

Monday, February 27, 2012

Going Global!!!

I first wanted to start off by extending a very very huge heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you who have, purchased, passed along, referred, spread the word, recommended, and left reviews, for Justin's Jesus.  Your efforts have made a gigantic impact on the expansion of Justin's Jesus.  I noticed the other day, that Justin's Jesus is now available in the UK, and that the blog has viewers from 34 U.S. states and 7 different countries.  That is amazing!!! I also talked with the marketing specialist from WestBow Press who said that Justin's Jesus is going more places in the first 6 weeks, than a lot of books do in 6 months.  I owe this entirely to the Grace of God and to all of you, without you there is NO WAY Justin's Jesus would have travelled that quickly and to that many places, so thank you so very much.  I wish there was a way to show you all how grateful I am for each and every one of you, and I'm sorry that I have not found a way to do that yet, so I hope that my eternal gratitude will suffice for now.  :)

I was wondering if I could just ask a little more of you?  While talking to WestBow, they stressed the importance of reviews on sites such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, etc.  If you have read the book any and ALL reviews are greatly appreciated.  Also are any of Justin's Jesus Blog readers Wikipedia-savvy? :) I do not know much about Wikipedia, but that was another suggestion I have heard that will help in getting our story available to other mommies, daddies, and others who are hurting and could use a little spark of hope and peace.  So if you would be so kind as to make a wikipedia page for us, that would be WONDERFUL!  I am so sorry if I am asking a lot of all of you, and please don't feel that we don't appreciate all of what you have and continue to do, we appreciate it more than we could ever express. 

With the expansion of the blog, I wanted to let everyone know where Justin's Jesus is available right now, as there have been a few more stores and sites that have picked it up, and if you have heard of more stores or  sites where Justin's Jesus is available please let us know so that we can pass the word onto others who may have trouble finding it, or ordering it.  Thank you all so much for your participation in all of this, and once again your support means so much more than we could ever thank you for.  Thank you for being the most amazing support system one little family could ask for.  God has certainly blessed us with each and everyone of you. 

I am going to give you the sites where Justin's Jesus is currently available, but please keep in mind, that it is possible to go directly to the stores and order it through them.  I have had this question asked a lot, as not everyone has access to the internet to order it online, however you may need the ISBN which is: 978-1449736163   

Justin's Jesus is currently available at:

Amazon.com  http://www.amazon.com/Justins-Jesus-Mary-Swick/dp/1449736165/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330380804&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/justins-jesus-mary-swick/1108210589

Parables  http://www.parable.com/i.Justins-Jesus-Swick-Mary.9781449736163#Similar

Books-A-Million (BAM!) http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Justins-Jesus/Mary-Swick/9781449736163?id=5298384823326

Kindle http://www.amazon.com/Justins-Jesus-ebook/dp/B006ZYNRVY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1330380804&sr=8-2

Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/justins-jesus-mary-swick/1108210589?ean=9781449736156&itm=1&usri=justin%27s+jesus

Readers Store: E-Book http://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/mary-swick/justin-s-jesus/_/R-400000000000000618086

Foyles UK: http://www.foyles.co.uk/item/Mind-Body-Spirit/Justins-Jesus,Mary-Swick-9781449736163

The Living Well (Iowa Falls, Iowa): http://thelivingwell-if.com/ (641) 648-3611 602 Washington AVE Iowa Falls, IA

WestBow Press:   http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000520591/justins-jesus.aspx

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Justins-Jesus-Mary-Swick/dp/1449736165

Kindle UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Justins-Jesus-Mary-Swick/dp/1449736165

Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/78389990/Justin-s-Jesus

Better World Books: http://www.betterworldbooks.com/justin-s-jesus-id-1449736165.aspx

Booktopia Australia: http://www.booktopia.com.au/justin-s-jesus/prod9781449736163.html

MightyApe.com.au Australia: http://www.mightyape.com.au/product/Book/Justins-Jesus/19719790/reviews/

Superbookshop Croatia: http://www.superbookshop.net/index.php?page=book&ean=9781449736163&lng=hr

BOL.com Dutch: http://www.bol.com/nl/s/boeken/zoekresultaten/Ntt/Justin%27s+Jesus/search/true/searchType/qck/N/8299/sI/true/sA/203/sc/books_all/index.html

adlibris.com Sweden: http://www.adlibris.com/se/product.aspx?isbn=1449736165

Amazon Germany: http://www.amazon.de/Justins-Jesus-Mary-Swick/dp/1449736165

Amazon Japan: http://www.amazon.co.jp/Justins-Jesus-Mary-Swick/dp/1449736165

Bokus.com Sweden: http://www.bokus.com/bok/9781449736163/justins-jesus/

Lovelybooks.com Germany: http://www.lovelybooks.de/autor/Mary-Swick/Justin-s-Jesus-878362019-t/

Buecher.de Germany: http://www.buecher.de/shop/religion-spiritualitaet-esoterik/justins-jesus/swick-mary/products_products/detail/prod_id/34984117/

Amazon Poland: http://www.amazonka.pl/justin-s-jesus_mary-swick,99903519423.bhtml

buch.ch Germany: http://www.buch.ch/shop/home/mehr-von-suche/BUCH/sa/mary_swick.html;jsessionid=72FCF8452453707378AC7B5175CB3441.tc2

Amazon France: http://www.amazon.fr/Justins-Jesus-Mary-Swick/dp/1449736165

bol.it Italy: http://www.bol.it/books/autore/Mary-Swick/7/S/1/

adlibris.com Demark: http://www.adlibris.com/dk/product.aspx?isbn=1449736165

adlibris.com Norway: http://www.adlibris.com/no/product.aspx?isbn=1449736165

tanum.no Norway: http://www.tanum.no/tanum/product/product-detail.action?id=9781449736163

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Almighty Healer

I talked in Justin's Jesus, about all that I have learned about life through Justin's passing, and that the biggest lesson of all was forgiveness.  I was thinking today, once again, about all those lessons that I am being taught everyday and about how God really does show me purpose for all of this in things that happen daily.  While I was pondering all of this and feeling very blessed to have such an Almighty God that takes care of me in this way; I realized that while yes forgiveness is a HUGE lesson that I needed to learn, that it goes far deeper than even that.  The lessons God is teaching me through Justin's death is life changing. 

Ryan and I had a very rocky start to our marriage.  We had gone through more obstacles (most of which we caused ourselves) in our first couple years of marriage than a lot of couples do in 25 years of marriage.  There were quite a few times that we seriously considered divorce, and honestly the only reason we didn't go through with it was because God, had bigger and way better plans for us, and didn't let us take control of the situation, and I am so so thankful for that.  Ryan and I got a lot of people involved in our marriage crisis as well, which only added fuel to the fire, and made things worse for our marriage, all of a sudden it became about taking sides, and we disregarded our marriage vows about two becoming one, entirely.  How amazing is our God though, that He could take such a broken marriage, a horrible marriage, and make it into a BEAUTIFUL marriage.  I would do anything for my husband, and I don't give him enough credit.  He is a hard worker, a great daddy, a loving husband, and he even does laundry!!!! ;)  Yes I know, how lucky am I??? My husband is a beautiful man of God, he devoted, he is loyal, he is amazing.

Before Justin's passing there were a lot of things in my life that were broken.  While Ryan and I had been working on our marriage and starting to get a solid foundation there we still had a ways to go, and ultimately our marriage, looking back was still broken.  I also had other relationships that were broken as well, and it took a long time for both me, and others, to learn to trust each other again.  I had disregarded my father, and he me, we were both done with that relationship, it was broken beyond repair.  A week before Justin went to be with Jesus, I made a promise to myself to never think about this man again; that wasn't even a broken relationship, it was a lost cause.  I was a broken girl, in all sense of the word, I was lost, I was broken-hearted, I was broken spirtually, and I was just hard headed enough to convince myself that I didn't care.

Thankfully I have a God that does care.  He cares about my heart, He cares about my spirit, He cares about my relationships, my family, my parents, my marriage, and my children.  Sadly it took Justin going to Heaven for me to realize just how much He cares, and that He is the Almighty Healer, there is nothing too broken for Him and there is no such thing as a "lost cause" in His eyes.  He did not "take" Justin from me to break my heart, He received Justin into Heaven to heal my heart, along with others.  I now have a great relationship, with my father :)  He is one of my biggest fans, greatest supporters, and an amazing encourager.  I love that God has brought him back into my life, and while I went in with my heart being gaurded, He has also broken the walls down that I built up around my heart in this case.  It's hard to love unconditionally with walls built up.

He has also healed other broken relationships between Ryan's family and mine.  Like I said we got a lot of people involved and by doing that we damaged a lot of relationships.  In our wedding song, appropriately named, "When God Made You" by Newsong and Natalie Grant, it says, "I will love the ones you love"  I was not very good at this, and to be honest while I loved the song, I really didn't like that part. Was I really expected to love everyone Ryan loved?  And the same for Ryan.  We were hurt we were broken, both of us, and that was expecting a lot out of two humans.  It wasn't until after Justin's passing, that we all finally became the family we were meant to be.  We are now one person, loving the same people.  I love who Ryan loves, and he loves who I love.  Though it took us awhile to get here, and something awful to bring us to this point, I am so thankful that God brought us out of the depths of darkness, hatred, and bittnerness to show us love, acceptance, and forgiveness, He has taught us how to love, and He has taught us how to live. Sadly, it took Justin going to Heaven, for me to learn some of lifes biggest lessons, but through this my soul has been restored, my faith has been renewed, and my heart has been healed. He took mercy on a bitter heart, and saved it with His grace, giving me hope for tomorrow, for I was hopeless. So while I miss Justin, I can now live everyday knowing that I will spend eternity with him in the Lord's house, because the Lord has saved me from the depths of darkness, and shown me what it means to live in the light of His love. 

Job 5: 18
For He wounds, but he also binds up; He injures, but His hands also heal.
Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

That Dreadful Day--It is well with my soul

I know that I already posted today, but after writing that blog, talking to another mommy whose baby passed away due to SIDS, and reading other blog postings from parents who have had similar experiences; I realized that I have never actually shared our story of "That Dreadful Day" on my blog.  It is in Justin's Jesus, but I know a lot of you do not have access to the book and have seen it.  At one point I had considered taking that part out of the book completely, thinking that it was too intimate and heartbreaking, and it is, but then again it is our story, the very tragic part of our story, but our story none the less and keeping it out of a book, or off a blog, wouldn't have changed the story one way or another.  I hope that other parents who read this find peace in knowing that their circumstance was not their "fault" just as Justin's passing was not ours.  I also want to let parents know that it is okay to ask God questions.  I had two questions I asked after Justin went to be with Jesus, the first one was, "Why give me Justin if you just wanted him back so soon?"  He answered that with the poem, "Why God Gave Me You", my other question I asked was that he would "show me a purpose for all of this, and let it be something BIG" He answers that daily!  Through our story, through the blog, through the book, and just in little daily things.  Just this weekend I had a message from one of my sisters telling me to go look at a couple of pages on facebook, both of which were girls I had never heard of.  Once I clicked on their pages, there it was, right in front of me, one of my own blog postings and touching words they had said about it. That was really cool!  So mommies and daddies, God hears our prayers, He is big enough to handle our questions, and if we are patient and open enough to listen to him, you will get your answers.  Have faith! :)  Here is a little bit of "That Dreadful Day"  I can't post all of it, because it gets to be really long.  Please remember though as you read this, the entire outcome of this situation.  Yes this was a horrible day,  a day I didn't want to live, a day I never want to go back to, but God has carried us through it, we will hold our baby in our arms in due time, and God has given us peace in knowing where he is, that he is better than okay, he is with his perfect maker in a paradise we can't even began to imagine.  He visits me in my dreams, I can still snuggle with his blanket, and I still have my "photograph from Heaven" it is all well with my soul!

That Dreadful Day
One night Justin had wakened at 2 a.m.  He had been sleeping through the night, so this was a little out of the ordinary.  I picked him up and he sleepily opened his eyes, looked at me, snuggled into my chest, and fell back asleep.  Justin had the softest baby hair, and I just loved to run my face across it as I cradled him in my arms.  I told him that night, “Baby, I could just snuggle you forever! I never want to let you go.”  I contemplated letting Justin sleep with me and my husband, but knowing the risks we decided we’d better not, and thought that none of us would get any sleep. 

Ryan took Justin upstairs and laid him in his crib.  By this time Justin knew how to roll over, and was loud enough that we were able to hear him when he cried.  When Ryan had came to bed, he told me that Riley was sleeping in Jacob’s bed.  Jacob’s bed is in the same room as Justin’s crib. Riley does NOT sleep in Jacob’s bed except when we have company and someone needs to use his bed, and he threw a fit every time that we made him.  Earlier that night I had tucked Riley and Jacob into Riley’s bed.  We said our prayers, read a few stories, and sang a couple songs.  “Jesus Loves Me” was one of those songs.  When I went downstairs, they were still both in Riley’s bed.  It seemed really weird to me that Riley would get up and go sleep in Jacob’s bed, but I pushed it out of my mind and went to bed anyway.

Sometime really early in the morning Jacob came down and climbed into bed with us.  It had been awhile since he had last done this, so I rolled over to let him sleep in our bed.  We both dozed off and on for the rest of the morning.  Ryan’s alarm clock didn’t go off that morning, so when he woke up and realized that he had overslept, he jumped up and frantically got ready for work. 

Jacob and Riley, (who were now on the couch) both got up around this time also and asked for some cereal.  With Ryan in such a hurry, I got the boys’ breakfast and went up to check on Justin, who seemed to be sleeping awfully late.  Usually Ryan would check on Justin as soon as he got up, again because I was always scared that I would get up there to find something wrong with him and I wouldn’t be able to handle that, once again letting fear control my actions. 

That morning, my worst nightmare and biggest fear came true.  I walked over to Justin’s crib, and it looked like there was just a blanket lying there.  I felt for him, pulled the blanket off and found my baby with his eyes closed; he was not breathing.  Ryan had given me a kiss goodbye as I was walking up to check on Justin, and I started hysterically screaming his name.  As I ran down the stairs I willed Justin to wake up, to start breathing, and in the back of my mind I remember hoping to God that Ryan hadn’t left yet.  

Ryan met me at the bottom of the stairs in a panic at the sounds of my screaming.  In a breathless, hysterical, fit I handed Justin, warm and limp, to Ryan screaming that he wasn’t breathing and that our baby was dead. I kept screaming over and over, “I knew we shouldn’t have put him to bed last night!” Ryan took Justin, said we needed to do CPR and laid Justin on the table.  The older boys came in, surprisingly calm and Riley asked, “What’s wrong with Justin, Mommy?” Trying to catch my breath while still hysterical, I told him the first thing that came to my mind, “I think Justin has gone to heaven to be with Jesus, baby.”  “I want to go too, Mommy.” was his reply.  “No, Riley, we can’t do that right now.”

A lot of the next few minutes (although they seemed like hours) are a bit fuzzy.  I had called 911, and my mother. The emergency medical technicians (EMTs) were on their way and at some point I had taken over doing CPR on Justin.  One thing that happened though, I remember clear as day.  When I first found Justin in his crib, his eyes were closed, as they were when I started CPR.  I know that muscles twitch, but I swear he opened one little eye, just a bit, and looked straight at me as if he was getting one last look at his mommy and wanted me to know that he was okay.

I Will Not Accept Defeat

Once God's word starts getting out and faith spreads, it's crazy what the devil will do to try to bring you down, and it's even worse once you realize that you were about to accept defeat from things so trivial.  Yesterday I succumbed to my own "human-ness" not allowing myself to embrace all the blessings God has given me, and I am one very blessed woman!

Yesterday I could feel those evil grips trying to sway my mind, and reach my heart. Thankfully God is bigger than my human-ness and the devil's cunning ways.  Everything seemed to be going wrong, I wanted to give up, stop trying. Here we are in a house that is over 100 years old, my husband works his tail off, and things are just falling apart and we can never seem to get ahead! The furnace keeps quitting, the door handle on our bedroom door was defeated by a three year old, and our toilet was clogged (to the point that we had to take it off entirely) by a pencil, my paint job that I worked so hard on last year is peeling, the dog keeps chewing on EVERYTHING we own, (including our dining room table), and to top things off I got asked if I was "having another baby, or if that was just left over" I was ready to quit trying yesterday. Although then I thought about it, (and my wonderful husband brought me back to my senses).

God didn't give up on me, I do not have the right to give up on all the blessings he has given me, and if I didn't give up after that "dreadful day" why would I let the devil bring me down now with things that are, once again, so trivial. To tell you the truth I'm not even sure how I would "quit trying" what does that even mean? Stay in bed all day...not likely with two little boys, stop cleaning the house? We wouldn't be able to walk through it!  Quit writing my blog?  That's the only way I am able to vent!  So I guess I really didn't have a choice to "quit trying" I was just wanting to be a punk I guess. This morning I was reading in my Bible, about how Peter started walking on the water towards Jesus, but doubt set in and he started sinking, at that time Jesus reached out to him and pulled him from the water, asking him why he had so little faith.  That was me yesterday, did I have so little faith that I was actually feeling defeated??? Thank you Lord for reaching out to me, and for pulling me out of the water. 
Yesterday, I was NOT defeated, just as I wasn't defeated on that dreadful day, the Lord has me in his arms, I am his!  I will not accept defeat!

Matthew 14:25-33
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I Am

I'm not quite sure how to start this blog, and it going to be different than any other blog I have posted, but this is where my heart is being lead today.  Which is even a little hard to write down considering where I am going to go with this post.  I probably shouldn't say my "heart is being lead" anywhere, because then that leads to "feelings", and lately it seems like no one is supposed to feel anything.  We are supposed to put a smile on our face, (not necessarily because we are "happy", but because that is what is accepted), we are supposed to say the right things at the right time, and never have any emotional attachment to anything we say or do.  I am not one of those people.  I feel, and most times I wear those feelings on my sleeve, (or better yet, on my blog). 
It's okay to talk about how I am "hurting" because I am no longer able to hold my baby, watch him grow up, or see his smile, but it is not okay to say that I am "hurt" or even worse "angered" by things that go on around me.  It seems to me like we cannot be "happy" about something because then we are being boastful, we cannot be "sad" because then we are just being pitiful or wanting sympathy, we cannot be "hurt" because that shows weakness, and by no means are we allowed to be "angry" because it might upset someone.  I do not want this to be a negative blog, and I know that that is how it sounds right now, and for that I am sorry.  I guess what I really want to get across in this post, is that it IS okay to feel, and I feel A LOT. 
I am..Happy, I am happy that I have a wonderful husband, great kids, and an extremely supportive group of family and friends
I am...Joyful, I am joyful that my maker in Heaven is holding my baby, keeping him safe and singing him lullabies, I am joyful that he has shown himself to me during this time of heartache, and that he carries me through this storm.  I am Joyful
I am...Hurting, I am hurting that I don't get to physically have Justin in my life, I am hurting that there are other mommies and daddies out there that are heartbroken that they don't get to physically have their children with them either. I am hurting that some of those parents don't get the support we have, and I am hurting that we do have "leaders" that aren't leading.  I am hurting.
I am...angry,  I am angry that other mommies chose not to have their babies, and I am angry that some mommies have their babies and don't appreciate them or take the time to love them.  I am angry.
I am...humbled.  I am humbled knowing that this is all according to God's righteous plan.  That once I get to Heaven, I will not be hurting, I will not be angry, I will only be joyful and singing his praises. 

I am a lot of things.  I am a woman with heart, I am a woman with a backbone, I am a woman of faith, and I am a woman with a voice; and I will continue to speak with faith, joy, and yes sometimes even anger, if that's what the situation calls for.  I am a woman that God made, just this way.  Not that I do not have things I need to work on and lessons to learn, I do, and there are (lessons I need to learn), and I will continue learning and growing, because I am still on earth, and God is not done with me yet, I still have a purpose, and my feelings have purpose, so I am who I am because God is the great I AM!

Luke 6:45
"A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart"

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Thank You Lord for another Birthday

I have so much in my life to be thankful for, but today I am most thankful for another birthday.  Thank you Lord for allowing us to celebrate another birthday with our happy, healthy, spunky little Jacob.  While birthday's are a little more difficult now since Justin went to Heaven, they are also that much more special to us too.
 It used to be that birthdays were just a fun day to celebrate with cake, candles, ice cream, and presents; room full of balloons and streamers hanging from the door.  Not anymore.  Now it is a whole new celebration, a celebration of thanks that we are so blessed to have our children with us and that we are able to celebrate the day of their birth with them.  And as I think about how fortunate we are, I also think about all the love I have for my children, and how it compares to the love Jesus has for all of us.
 Lately I have heard of a few situations where people have done some things out of character and how we are generally so quick to judge and condemn them, until it happens to one of our friends.  I can fully admit that I am still learning, the Lord is still teaching me lessons everyday.  Lately it has been how to love people like Jesus.  I have faltered, I have said hurtful things, I have sinned, so I am here to tell you that while I don't always agree with what people do, including my own children, I still will love them through it.  Everyone deserves prayers, and even if their actions are unthinkable; and we don't understand why things happen;  Jesus died for them just as much as he died for me and for you. 
So I am working on loving not only my children the way Jesus loves his children, but also to love and care for everyone the way Jesus does.  I will continue to falter, until the day I am called to be with Jesus and Justin, but I promise, Lord to learn and to listen to all that you want to teach me, and thank you for allowing me to grow in my faith, and for allowing me another priceless birthday with Jacob.  I love you.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hug Him Once For Me

While we are getting ready to celebrate another birthday, of course my mind goes back to Justin and the hard realization that we won't be celebrating his birthday with him.  I'm hoping that eventually birthday's will become a little easier. I do trust in the Lord's plan and that it is far better than my own; and I know also that it won't be "long" until I get to see both the Lord's face and Justin's.  My aunt had posted a video on facebook a few days ago, and I had "liked" it, but forgot to go back and watch it until this morning.  She had posted on there not to watch it until you are ready for a good cry, and boy she was right.  This song is EXACTLY how I feel.  Here I was thinking that I was doing well expressing how I felt about Justin going to heaven, I could have never put it like this, THIS is how I feel about Justin going to heaven.  And I pray Lord, that you will hug him once for me.  Justin I love and miss you so much sweet baby, and I cannot wait to see you again!!! I love you!!! And thank you Jesus, for hugging him once for me. 
http://youtu.be/IBHEJtqKjkk  The link to "hug him once for me"

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


For my Florida and other southern state friends!
Sorry for posting twice in one day, but I forgot to mention in my last blog that Books-A-Million now carries Justin's Jesus online, which also means that you are able to go into the store and have them order if for you, if you are not wanting to order it online.  Here is the link to their website http://www.booksamillion.com/search?id=5287278132292&query=Mary+Swick&where=book_author
BOOKS A MILLION CUSTOMERS that have tried or would like to try to order Justin's Jesus through them. I talked to the manager in Port Charlotte, FL, here is what he said. If you come into the store and ask them to order it from booksamillion.com (make sure to say that :) ) he will be able to order it for you and have it shipped to the store. :) His name was Mike
Thank you all for your continued support!

Cleansing My Heart

Today I'm getting a brand new heart.  :) After my posting yesterday I decided I really need to go in and wipe the slate clean. In Justin's Jesus, I say that the biggest thing I have learned about life through Justin's death is to forgive and forget, and like I have said before, while I thought I had done this, it came creeping back and I realized I need to do it again.  I had forgotten and forgave the big things, but what about the little ones?  The pain that people cause that they don't even know they have done.  I know I am just as guilty of this as the next person, in both being the one who hurts others and being the one who is hurt that holds it in until it festers.  Why do we do that?  If someone has hurt us unintentionally, (or even intentionally for that matter) why do we hold on to it?  It doesn't affect my day to day life, it doesn't make life any better, and the truth of the matter is all it REALLY does is puts bitterness into our hearts, it takes away our joy, and it makes us struggle with hope.  We do things that hurt Jesus everyday, whether we mean to or not, we still sin, we still hurt him though our actions, and with our words, and yet we ask for forgiveness and our slate is wiped clean.  Why do I think I am better than that?  Do I think I have been hurt more than Jesus, who was betrayed, humilated, and killed, that I get to hold on to grudges and life's upsets, because I have been hurt?  Wow, probably not.  I think it's time for me to take a look at how Jesus handles his hurt...with an clean heart, and open arms.  So today that is exactly what I am doing.  My prayer today is that Jesus will take my heart, clean it, the way only he can, and give me a heart that doesn't resemble this one that I have battered with bittneress, and I know he will do it.  Today I am wiping the slate clean while Jesus gives me a heart as good as new, no more grudges, no more hurt, no more hard feelings, towards anyone, while this will be a struggle for me on those days that I don't focus on Jesus and sink into my human mind-set those icky feelings will come back I'm sure, but I'm making a vow to myself that when that happens I will turn back to Jesus and have him cleanse my heart again,  I will have to do this for the rest of my life I am sure, just as Jesus forgives me everyday.  It is not a struggle for Jesus.  So thank you Lord, for cleansing my heart.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Regaining Focus

I have noticed that since I wrote the blog 'Real Pain' and acknowledged just what that pain was, I never really fully came back from that pain.  I wrote in there that I had to go back and focus on the hope, peace, and joy and I had to do it for me, and I thought, that day, that I had.  I thought it would be easy to write about it and then get right back to where I was before.  I was wrong, and didn't really realize it until I have gone for a couple weeks struggling with it, not ever coming to the realization that that was what had happened.  I just thought I had gone into some sort of funk, that it would just be a day and be over, and it was like I said the next day after I had my meltdown was better, but then again, I refused to actually FOCUS on hope and peace.  For some reason, I never went back there, which is weird because how many times have I talked about the fact that in order for me to get through my bad days I need to focus on hope and peace, and the joy I have in my heart, all these amazing gifts God has given me, so why was I all of sudden thinking I could do it on my own?  Not that I didn't pray, I did, and once again He got me through everything, but I wasn't focused on him, and his gifts, I'm not sure why, and because I wasn't I started feeling sorry for myself.  I didn't understand my own pain, but wanted everyone around me to, which again doesn't make any sense looking back on it now, and not only did I want them to understand it, a lot of times I would actually sink into the bitterness that comes along with self pity where I would start, in a sense, blaming others for my pain.  The truth is my pain is not their fault, I know who saves me from pain, but for one reason or another lost sight of where I needed to turn.  So I am so sorry for the bitterness that I let reside in my heart even for a moment, I'm sorry for feeling sorry for myself, that was just ridiculous, and I'm sorry for hurting others because I was feeling hurt.  I've decided now, no more taking "breaks", now it's time to get back to "normal" so I am going on a facebook hiatus, and I am going to get this house cleaned, I am going to cook supper, I am going to smile, and I will give my family that sense of "normalcy" that they deserve.  Life does not stop for my pain, and when I feel sorry for myself, that not only effects my hope and peace, but families as well, and that's not right, or fair to any of us.  So I'm making my choice today to put a smile on my face, hold on tight to the joy in my heart, and I will get up this family up and running again, that they have suffered too long from me being selfish, it's time for me to be the best wife I can be to Ryan, and the best mommy to my kids.  Today I am focusing on Jesus, I will spend time with him in prayer, in his word, and in my heart.  I am going to have a good week, I am going to get back to where I was....starting now!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Justin has a brand new friend

Another family in Alden had their baby go to heaven last week.  It's crazy to think that in such a little town a tragedy like this could strike twice in 6 months.  I have got to say, being on the other side of it this time, it is really hard to know what to say and what to do.  I try to think back to the first few days after Justin passed away, and it's hard for me to even allow myself to go back there, however I know I need to so that I can be the best support I can be for this family.
We were so blessed by the way our families and the communities pulled together to help us through this.  I feel as though no parent that is burying their child, should have to go into debt to do so.  They shouldn't have to worry about money, what to make for supper, or being strong enough to hold it all together at a time like this.  We were fortunate enough to not have to worry about that because of the support and love people shared with us.  So I am going to be blunt and ask all of you, especially those in the Iowa Falls/Alden communities to pull together once again and share that same love and support that you all so freely gave to us, show this family just how amazing this community is at  giving to those in need, and show the Beall/Davis family what an awesome community they live in.  Take them food, donate even $5 to little A.J.'s memorial, give them a call, send them a message, or go and give them a hug, show them we are here for them, that they don't have to be "strong enough" they don't have to do it on their own, and that God will carry them through this, by using us as his disciples.  Be an angel on earth to this family.  WHATEVER you can do, do it, even if you think it's not much, a little goes a long way.  And if you have nothing to give, send up a prayer.  Show them that the power of prayer is amazing and that we care enough about those not only in our own communities, but all those mommies and daddies, to pray for them.  God will do the rest. 
My heart breaks for this family, and while I don't know what to say, I will be here whenever they need, praying for them constantly, and I hope that the peace God has given us, he will give to them as well.  I am sure Justin is up in Heaven making funny faces at his new friend right now, and that they are both watching over their families.  God Bless you Melissa Beall, Anthony Davis, your daughters, and family, I will be praying for you.