Justin Ryker Swick

Justin Ryker Swick

Thursday, April 26, 2012

SIDS/SUID and Vaccinations

I stumbled across something today...seriously stumbled on it.  I was not looking for answers, and I fully trust in God's timing and plans for each of our lives, including our childrens.  As I was browsing one of my all time favorite sites today (pinterest), I came across a pin about vaccinations.  I have a few friends I know of who have opted out of getting their children vaccinated, but I had never really talked to any of them about their choices and why they made that decision.  I decided I would click on this pin and see what it as all about.  I wasn't ever thinking I would come across so much viable information.  The first site I came to was one of autism, I knew that that was a big factor in a lot of the decision making when it comes to parents deciding on whether or not to vaccinate their children; this I was expecting to come across.  As I read further though, I was directed to another website regarding the effects of vaccinations; this one had to do with SIDS, and the correlation between when most children pass away of SIDS (between 2 and 4 months) and when they receive certain vaccinations, (DPT).  I got to thinking about when Justin got his shots, and realized it was just a while prior.  The DPT vaccination is the one that contains the pertussis vaccination (whooping cough).

Justin was small for his age, being that he was 5 weeks early and had to have a dose of surfactant due to this.  I was a few weeks late on getting Justin his shots, but the night we came home, he had a slight fever, (normal), and then later developed a cough.  The night he developed the cough he passed away.  Up until that night he was a very healthy boy, gaining weight like a champ.  Remember we had just gone to the dr. a couple weeks before, and had no health problems what-so-ever.  This got me curious and I went back to look at Riley and Jacob's baby books, to see if I had written anything in theirs when they got their shots.  Jacob was a few months behind on his shots and didn't get his first DPT until close to 5 months.  My notes in his baby book were, reaction: Fever for two days, I remember that fever, it was awful and we thought about taking him to the hospital for it.  Shortly after that he was placed on nebulizer treatments.  I fully believe that it could have had a worse effect had he gotten his shots on time, seeing as how he was also a nicu baby, who developed respitory distress caused by a very hard, and extended labor.  I had never put two and two together until I started reading up more on this.

Vaccines are full of toxins, arsenic, lead, and mercury being among them.  Here you do everything possible to have a healthy pregnancy, which I did, all of my pregnancies were very healthy; but we try to not consume anything that could be potentially harmful to the baby, this including anything and everything except tylenol and prenatal vitamins, so why is that they get these vaccinations so soon in life, before they ever leave the hospital they are already given a vaccine for Hib, and they are given around 18 vaccinations before they reach a year old! Vaccines have been linked to Autism, ADHD, RSV, and SIDS. 

I am not sure about all this, but I know I will be doing my own research and talking with people who know more about this subject than I do, so that I can make my own educated decision on whether to continue with vaccinations for our older children.  As far as future children go, we will NOT have them be injected with anything within the first year of life for sure, maybe even longer. I encourage all of you with young kids to do your own research before you get your kids vaccinated.  I am not saying it is wrong, I just want our kids to be as healthy as they can. Also, if you are someone who knows a little more about this, please let me know your thoughts and personal decisions as to why you do or not get your children vaccinated.  I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on all of this as we are doing our own research and making our own decisions.  I think it is definitely something worth looking into and educating ourselves on.  Also if you have a child who passed away due to SIDS/SUID when did they receive their last shots? It might be something to look into.  Once again, I am NOT looking for someone to place blame on, nor am I beating myself up on this.  IT is what it is and I trust God's plan and timing.  I just want to make sure that I am making the best decisions for my children here on out, with both Riley and Jacob, and any other future children we may have. 

Update: April 27, 2012  I talked with the dr. office that administered the vaccinations he was given Hib, IPV, Dtap, PCV, Heb B, and Rota, all of these were given on the same day; July 25, 2011, Justin passed away 2 weeks later. Here is the information I found last night:

 A Close Look at the DPT Vaccine
In case you want to choose to not get one of the vaccines here is further information on the DPT vaccine (diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus toxoid). They found that two-thirds of the babies that died of SIDS had gotten the DPT vaccine. Of these, 6.5% died within 12 hours of vaccination; 13% within 24 hours; 26% within 3 days; 37% within a week; 61% within 2 weeks and 70% within 3 weeks.

DPT and Dtap, are different vaccines, but both prove to have a correlation with SIDS and other serious side effects.  In Japan they started administering the Dtap at 2 years of age, rather than 2 months and the number of infant deaths went down drastically.

Here are a couple sites that explains more on the correlation between SIDS and vaccinations.  http://www.thinktwice.com/sids.htm

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gentle Reminders

As we all know...a year is coming up.  Ryan and I both found ourselves being short-tempered, edgy, and just in a "down" type of mood.  I don't think either of us realized what was "causing" this change in us, until someone close to us, told us of her and her husbands experience with their own son's birthday, short life, and heartbreaking passing.  I started looking to others for encouragement, turning less and less to where I needed to actually turn, and I could feel myself putting up the walls around my heart.  By doing this I wouldn't let anything kind out of it, or in it.  I felt my hope escaping and not having the will or desire to look to where I needed to to replenish it.  I messaged my pastor one night, in hopes that there were some "magic words" to get me back on track, some magic scripture, something...anything.  He responded with Psalm 139: 1-18.  This same passage is in Justin's Jesus twice, and when I first read his response, I thought, "this one?  But I know this one!" But went to the Bible anyway and reread the verse I had read so many times before.  Thinking that I knew it like the back of my hand; it was the same one said at Justin's funeral, the same one given to me by my sister, the same one read at his grave, I knew this verse right? It's funny how the Holy Spirit works though.  Even though, yes I knew this verse, it wasn't a "new" one to me, it still seems to take on a whole new meaning each time I read it.  Even though it was one I am so familiar with, it still took on a power of it's own, and it was a nice little gentle reminder, that God knows. He knew before, He knew then, He knows now.  He knew what was going to happen, how He would carry us, how we would feel, and what His peace can do for heartbroken souls and how only in His power can we achieve that supernatural peace.  It was a nice lesson to learn.  Never underestimate the power of His Word, and always allow the Holy Spirit to show you knew meaning to already "known" passages. 

That same week at bible study, Beth Moore, talked about hope and hopelessness; what it is, what it does.  She went on to say that when our soul is sick we are going through a season of hopelessness.  And that hope is encouragement....(wait wasn't that what I was looking for??? An encouraging word...a magic word! Once again, don't I know where to find that hope?) I do and always have known where to find hope, just sometimes it takes a little more effort to allow God to work in you, through you, and just receive what He offers.  I wasn't willing to try to receive, and the walls were becoming larger and harder for me to tear down.  Beth Moore also explained that hope is when you fully expect Jesus to show himself in any and all situations.  I know the peace He provides, I have felt the hope He has given, I have seen what He can do, and felt the power of His love, but some how was still turning away from it without even realizing it.  I was worried about a year coming up, how it would hit us, how we would feel, how we all were going to react for those three months this year.  Those same three months that were great last year...what were they going to bring this year, pain and heartbreak, and I "forgot" to just let go and let God.  I "forgot" that God will take care of us, just like He did then, I "forgot" to just rely on and expect Him to do what only He does...I lost hope and didn't even know it! "We are tossed and tumbled souls, that are anchored by God and everyone of his promises will be kept!"  He will provide when need it, He will be with us from May-August, just as He is with us always.  Thank you Beth Moore for those words of encouragement, for opening my eyes.  Once again another very gentle reminder, that everything will be okay!

That same week, (obviously God knew me..(Psalm 139)....and knew I would need quite a few reminders during this time) a lady knocked on our front door.  We were not expecting company, and we don't have a lot of company. (I am not complaining I get nervous when there is a knock on the door, and look around to see how messy our house is at that particular time, and wonder if I will be embarassed to have this person come in) :) It was a lady from down the street, that I had never met before.  Her very sweet husband brings our dog, Duke, back to us about once a week when the boys leave the gate open and he wanders over to their house to play with their shih-tzu's.  I have met him, he is a very nice man, and talks with Ryan often on his weekly Duke returns.  During one of Ryan's conversations with this man he learned that this man and his wife tragically lost their son in a car accident at the end of last year, and they talked about a father's heartbreak, and Ryan gave him a copy of Justin's Jesus.  His wife had come over to tell me that she had read it and talk about our children in Heaven, God's plan and purpose, keeping things in perspective and just a nice chat.  Thank you Lord once again for those gracious hearts!!

Then....yes like I said I was obviously in desperate need of some God attention, and He provided!! We were at the grocery store, the boys were being CRAZY!!! Riley had already knocked the cart over on himself, Jacob...well....let's just say you can now definitely tell he is living his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, 3's...and on top of it has that red hair, that we always tell people goes straight to his soul; I also only had 5 things on my list and now had a cart full...I will never understand how that happens! :) Anyways, as I was looking at something, (that was not on my list) I heard someone say, "Are you Mary?" and looked around thinking there must be another Mary in the store. But there wasn't and this woman was talking to me.  She told me she recognized me from seeing Riley and his picture.  She also had read Justin's Jesus and we talked a little bit about her own personal experiences and loss. That was a really cool experience.

Thank you Lord, for all of these gentle reminders.  For healing my "sick" soul, and providing hope to my hopeless soul.  Once again, I am still learning, every day, and I falter often.  I am so thankful for a Lord that "knows" He knows my heart, He knows my needs, and He provides in a way that only He can.    As I was picking Riley up from school today, a song came on the radio, that I feel very fitting for this season in our lives, I know I have heard it many times before, but didn't pay attention to the words until just today. The first verse and chorus say this:

To everyone who's lost someone they love
Long before it was their time
You feel like the days you had were not enough
when you said goodbye

And to all of the people with burdens and pains
Keeping you back from your life
You believe that there's nothing and there is no one
Who can make it right


There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus
Thank you Lord for allowing us to cry out to you in any and all situations and for knowing just the right way to heal our sick souls, pick us up, and get us back on track!  Please remember that He will meet you whereever you are.  That your pain is not too big for Him, and you can never fall off track enough that He can't reach you.  Cry out to Jesus! He will find you, comfort you, and provide you with a hope that surpasses all understanding.  God Bless all of you who are hurting, discouraged, and just need an encouraging word.  May God be with you and place a certain peace in your heart that only He can provide.  He will meet you right where you are, where ever you are. 

Psalm 34:4 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears

Psalm 139: 1-18 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.a
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Thank Jesus for the Rainbows

So if I haven't sounded crazy enough in past posts about rainbow horses, or in Justin's Jesus when Riley tells us He played with bubbles the night that Justin went to be with Jesus; I will now!  Don't get me wrong, before I share our latest story, I want you to know that I am not ruling out brain and eye development, along with vision abnormalities.  The only thing is, this is the first time I have witnessed Riley "seeing" things, it does not happen often, I do not think he has a "gift" for paranormal activity, or that he "sees dead people."  We are not living in a Sixth Sense sort of life, and it could very well be just an over active 4 year old imagination. 

I wasn't going to share this story because I know that you guys will think I am crazy, looking too much into it, or that Riley is just an "odd" child....which of course could all be true! :)  But last night, Riley fell asleep in mine and Ryan's room while watching a movie.  The problem with Riley falling asleep early, and in our bed, is that he feels he only needs a couple hours of sleep and then is good to go for the rest of the day/night. Even if it is midnight; he has already gotten a few good hours of sleep in and that should suffice for the rest of us; it doesn't!  So of course when we went to move him to the couch, he woke up and was ready to go.  He wanted to watch a show, so in order for us to get some sleep, we let him, and went to bed ourselves.  A few minutes later, Riley asked for some apple juice and for his daddy to say his prayers with him, so of course, Ryan being the awesome daddy that he is, got up and said his prayers with him; came back to bed and fell asleep. 

About an hour later, Riley asked if he could come in and sleep with us.  He crawled into bed, and asked me to sing him a song.  I sang him Jesus Loves Me, It only takes a spark,  a couple other christian songs that came to mind, and of course he wanted "just one more".  I decided to sing him a song that my grandma learned from her mom, and that her and my mom used to sing to us a lot as little girls.  I don't usually sing it to them, only because I think it is a very sad song.  It is about two little orphans who are found under the steeple of a church and had gone home to be with their momma in Heaven, (I love the song and the message is great but thinking about two little kids frozen under a steeple is kinda saddening).  After I got done singing this song, Riley goes, "Mom, I am so glad Jesus gives us pretty rainbows."  I didn't know where this was coming from but at 3:00 in the morning, Riley could be grateful for whatever he wanted and I would have agreed, and simply said, "me too, Riley, but it's late, we have church tomorrow and we (mom) really needs to get some sleep" (He of course thought he had already slept for the night!). 

That didn't stop him though, he asked me if I could see the rainbow in my room, and after telling him I couldn't, he took my head, put it where his was and adamantly started pointing, and maneuevering my head so that I could see this rainbow. I never did see it, but once again it was 3:00 in the morning and I would "see" anything if it meant I could close my eyes and get some sleep.  But then he pointed to another one, got under the covers and told me that he was going to pray to Jesus and tell him thank you for the pretty rainbows.  Then started talking about all the bubbles in the room, and if we popped them feathers would come out for me and stars would come out for him.  He proceeded to get up and start "catching" bubbles.  Now I was awake!!!

I asked him if we were just playing pretend, and by this point told him I didn't see the bubbles or the rainbows, and asked if he was sure he saw them? He just assured me that these bubbles and the rainbows were real, and when he would "catch" one he would come over and show me the "rainbow" in his hands. 

At this point I was getting ready to wake Ryan up and tell him that we needed to rush Riley to the E.R, he obviously was showing signs of a concussion from that fall he took four days ago!  But I didn't, keeping in mind that it had been four days, and has been completely "normal" since, and that there wasn't even a bump on his head after the fall.  Then started thinking that maybe he got into something when we went mushroom hunting...anything!  I had no idea what to think about this. I did ask him if he sees rainbows and bubbles a lot, and if they are in his room too.  He told me no, just on his birthday, (the day the 'photograph from heaven' was taken) but I thought maybe he was talking about the balloons we had put in his room that morning.  He said, "no, before the balloons."  After awhile Riley told me that the bubbles were going out of the room, and rolled over and fell asleep. 

I had Ryan ask Riley about the "bubbles" and "rainbows" this afternoon after church.  The story was the same.  'There were bubbles in your room" "if you popped them feathers and stars came out" "he was catching them "there was a rainbow on the door" and "Jesus made the rainbows". 

Like I said this could just be an over active imagination, a brain or eye developmental issue, or a vision impairment.  Who knows.  I guess time will tell in that, but either way I guess in the mean time we can still thank Jesus for the rainbows. 

On a side note: When I gave my testimony at Bible Study on Monday, (which I had planned on writing about until last night happened) I had told them about Riley saying that he had played with bubbles that night that Justin went to be with Jesus and that after reading the book Heaven is for Real, I looked up Akiane (the painter of Prince of Peace in the book).  As I was looking through her pictures one night I noticed that she paints quite a few pictures that include bubbles.  Here is one I found later that explains what the bubbles mean in that particular photo.  The photo at the beginning of the blog (with the horse) is her painting that came to mind once again today, and also the poem that she wrote with this photo.  The painting is called "Butterfly Passion" Here is the description and the poem.  Written by Akiane Kramarik

Whether in his dream or for real, a horse is running after his love downstream, while the love butterflies surround him. The bubbles represent womb and beginning.

I painted this scene to express the search for love and its meaning...

Marching across the straining view, saddles are on their own.
The pounding hooves like crushed bells start suddenly to moan.

When I hold the armed love, controlling the courage in oak boats,
spoiled and regenerated sunbeams cross the country raspberry roads.

Glittering landscape by the shores is a newborn faith beaten by the countless waves.
Everything tempts me to love you...

Everywhere I run, love rains...

The revelation of the butterfly passion in front and back throbs the same.
What a fresh smell of your eyelashes I braid them along with my mane!

In midsummer we are like two young angels, inhaling love one motion at a time.
Your legs walk on mine, stepping on love, and right away I sense the meaning of life.

To be born together, yet years apart, we both rush out of the womb...
My eyes are blurry, yours are so clear, when I carry the river to you.

Your tears are free, but mine are armed from above.
Let me hold our courage, so the courage could arm our love!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

An Easter Celebration

It seems that as each holiday passes, I always think about what it would be like to spend those holidays in Heaven.  I have thought about how amazing it would be to celebrate Jesus's birthday with him in Heaven, and what an awesome birthday party that would be to attend!  I've never thought about what it would be like to celebrate His resurrection with Him.  Can you imagine that party!? Being in Heaven with our Lord and Savior, singing His praises and knowing that you are there because He lived, died, and rose again so that you could?  What a joyful noise I am sure! On this side of Heaven it is a glorious day filled with hope and peace, a day of thankfulness, in knowing that we have a home with Jesus; but to actually be there with Him to sing His praises, I can't even imagine. 

I really am blessed to have a child in Heaven that is able to sit on the lap of our Lord and sing His praises, see His light, and feel only His love and not the heartbreak of this world.  Don't get me wrong, it is a little difficult to say that "I am blessed to have a child in Heaven", because ultimately that means that I do not have my child here with me, but then I start to think; "Why would I want to keep him from Heaven?" From living with our Lord, feeling no shame, no hurt, no pain or heartbreak. (I know why, because I am human, living in a human world, with a human heart and mindset.  I am selfish as a human, and even though I know that I could never come close to giving Justin a life any where near what he experiences in Heaven, doesn't mean that I didn't want to keep him anyway.) But what a life that must be!  I can't even fathom what our home in the sky is like, how glorious, how beautiful, how perfect, and my child gets to experience that first hand.  I don't know what an 11 month old coos and babbles sound like in Heaven, on Easter, but I bet it was music to the Lord's ears, and that those coos and babbles were made just for him. 

Thank you Lord for receiving our son into your home; for allowing him to sing Your praises, sit on Your lap, and feel all the love and none of the heartbreak.  Thank you Lord for dying, and for rising again, so that not only Justin, but that all of us will be able to live with you forever. Thank you for that hope and peace. 

I have kind of always thought of Easter as being a solemn holiday, and it is, it is very bittersweet.  For any of you that have watched the Passion of the Christ, there is nothing sweet about how our saviour died, it was brutal, vicious, and heartbreaking...even to watch as a movie. However His rising was the sweetest thing that has ever happened on this earth.  This year I felt something different though.  While yes, I do believe that the crucifixion is something we all need to know about, so that we can understand, even a little, what Jesus went through for us, this year I felt the hope of Him rising again.  Easter had me all giddy, because I know that while He suffered a brutal death, He also had a glorious return, and that return meant my salvation.  That return meant I have a home.  That return meant He loves me enough to die on that cross, to take my sin and shame, and He rose again to give me peace and joy.

While we were singing, "Because He Lives" (one of my favorite songs!) here on earth, I am sure all the angels in Heaven were singing praises right there along with us, at a party in Heaven celebrating the life, the death, and the rising of our Lord and Savior.  Thank you Lord.  Happy Easter Justin.

We hope you all had a very Happy Easter!!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Oh no, she's up!!

Last night I had a horrible night of sleep and it was a really odd night all around. For some reason I kept waking up questioning if I had really grasped all that has happened in the past year.  Every time I woke up it was the same thing, "you know he's your son right? Your son passed away!  You know what that is right, how big that is?  You should not be where you are! There is no way you should be able "handle" that!  You should not be able to sleep! You should not be living day to day! Your life was not supposed to just "go on"! Do you not get it? What type of mother are you? Your son passed away!  Your child passed away! He is not with you! He is NOT with you, with his mother, isn't that where a child is supposed to be?!" 

It was like this nagging voice, and then I would fall back to sleep, just to wake up to it again.  Wondering where these thoughts were coming from, why was I waking up out of the blue to them? And then questioning if I really did grasp the reality of this situation, thinking, "you know you're right, my child passed away. I should not be "okay".   I should not be able to live my life day to day, life shouldn't have had the ability to go on. Life should have stopped the day that we knew we were no longer going to have Justin in arms, (and to be honest I wanted it to), how am I "handling" it...isn't that what I expected, wanted almost, before Justin passed away, "if I were to ever lose a child, God better just take me too, I wouldn't be able to go on" aren't those the words I spoke, so why is it that I am here, and not there?  Why did my life "go on", how am I living day to day, and why am I not where I expected to be, did I not understand? Am I in denial?"

I woke up this morning, only vaguely remembering all the times I woke up throughout the night, but even my foggy state last night, I knew what had happened, and thought...

Maybe the devil was just grasping at straws, I don't know, trying to get me at my most vulnerable, and if he hasn't gotten to me the way he wants to when I'm conscience why not while I'm sleeping?  I actually am a little grateful that he has to do that!  That he now has to grasp at straws to get me to feel bad, bitter, or angry, he can't do it when I'm awake, thinking clearly, and know the strength the Lord lends me each day, he had to do it while I wasn't thinking clearly, not even fully awake.

There is saying I have seen a few places that says something to the fact of, "be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor the devil says, 'oh no she's up!'" Maybe I'm becoming that woman!  :)  That's pretty awesome.  I love that I am growing in my faith, and that God protects me from those evil thoughts, and carries me through.  I am not where I expected to be for one reason and one reason only...It wasn't in God's plan.  It wasn't God's plan to take me that day, it isn't time for me to spend eternity with Him and Justin.  I wasn't supposed to stay in bed all day, disregard my husband and other children.  I wasn't supposed to curl up and die, like I thought I would, I wasn't supposed to according to God's plan, so He made sure I didn't.  He made sure I was comforted, carried, and protected, from both the devil and my own emotions.  God provided in a way that no one else, and nothing else ever could.  I am not in denial, I am in God's hands.  So thank you Lord, for making me the woman that is starting to scare the devil with my faith, my love for you, and our testimony. I'm sure he doesn't like Justin's Jesus being out there, but that's too bad, thank you Lord for where you are taking us and continuing to protect and provide for us. And thank you most of all for not only comforting us but allowing our story to comfort others. 

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

New International Version (NIV)
Praise to the God of All Comfort
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pretty Amazing Leaders

This weekend Ryan and I were blessed to get to see a couple of pastors who have been so influencial in our lives.  God has really put some great people into our lives, at just the right time, and that goes for all the pastors who have helped us along in our journey as well. 

We continue to be blessed in this way, as we have an amazing pastor here also; that we are able to listen to and learn from on Wednesdays and Sundays. Pastor T.J. has been more than supportive in helping us on this new journey in our lives, with the passing of Justin, our growing faith, and becoming part of the church as a whole.  We really feel we are part of a church family, and there is not a sermon, that we are present for, that does not speak to us, or touch our hearts in one way or another. So a special thanks to Pastor T.J. for your messages, support, and guidance. 

While we were in college, Ryan and I attended Journey Christian Church in Wayne, Nebraska.  Don't get me wrong we were college kids and didn't attend church nearly as often as we should have, but regardless with our lack of obedience, God still placed another amazing pastor there for us to learn from and listen to when we were willing.  Pastor Troy at Journey Christian Church was kind enough to do our wedding ceremony for us and counsel us as we were preparing to become husband and wife.  This weekend we had the opportunity to attend one of Pastor Troy's services once again.  It was really exciting to see how much the church had grown in just the few years that we moved away from Wayne.  The growth really is remarkable, and the church was packed with people of ALL ages.  I am not sure if I have ever seen such a diverse group of people in one church sanctuary before, and the REALLY cool thing about this was that EVERYONE was just so excited to be there.  A young lady had decided to dedicate her life to Jesus Christ and was getting baptized, afterwards, the ENTIRE congration gave her a standing ovation.  I got goosebumps!  That was really cool to see.  I have never seen an entire church be so proud and show this young lady just how glorious that decision was and that it would not go unnoticed, they would make sure of it! I was moved. Well done Pastor Troy!!

We also were blessed to see another pastor and his wife this weekend that has helped us more than any other couple through our journey as husband and wife.  Ryan and I were struggling financially, we had two kids, we were both in college, trying to get placement for student teaching, which ultimately meant working a full time job, being graded on it, and not getting paid; with that we would have very little time for another job while still taking care of our children and nurturing our marriage; that is when things started getting really rocky for us.  Pastor Chuck and his wife Connie, took us under their wing, counseling us, guiding us, providing for us in some ways, and holding our hands so that we could make it to the next stepping stone, becoming stronger in not only our marriage, but our faith as well.  Because of their love and support we were able to finally open our eyes, hearts, and minds, and let God work in and through us, and He did. He made everything more beautiful than we could have ever imagined.  Once again, Pastor Chuck and Connie were there to support us this weekend, as they showed up at our Sioux City book signing, roses in hand.  They are just amazing people, thank you both so very much.

It is going to sound like we go through a lot of churches, but there is one more Pastor I cannot leave out, and we did go to a lot of churches, we have moved a lot trying to get a firm foundation on our futures, jobs, and had to go where the opportunities presented themselves in different ways.  I think we are where we are supposed to stay for quite awhile now, hopefully. :) Unless God has another plan for us.  While I was doing my student teaching in Princeton, MO we honored to meet and attend Pastor Russ's sermons, and also get to speak with him one on one.  He is a great encourager and a very insightful leader, who also has done some really amazing things with the First Christian Church in Gallatin, MO.  This is not only a church that we attended, but also one that I was able to work in after graduating, in their daycare that is provided in and through the church.  It was a great experience and one that I will cherish forever.  The church and the daycare is filled with very amazing people; children and adults alike. 

Thank you all so much for helping us through different seasons in our lives, we truly are blessed with amazing leaders of faith.  We are so thankful for each and everyone of you.  Pastor Chuck, Pastor Troy, Pastor Russ, and Pastor T.J. thank you, thank you!

If you are ever in need of a good sermon here are the links to both Pastor T.J's and Pastor Troy's services; both of them are great pastors who have an incredible talent of speaking and teaching the Word of God.
http://www.journeychristianonline.org/messageaudio.php Journey Christian Church Wayne, Nebraska: Pastor Troy Reynolds

http://www.firstchristianiowafalls.org/sermon.asp First Christian Church Iowa Falls, Iowa: Pastor T.J. Norman

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Life's a Dance

As I have said before just as any other husband or wife has, my husband and I have had to work really hard on our marriag! I won't go into our own demons and strife we have had to deal with right now, because right now is not the time; but I do have to say that with all we have been handed in life, we are just learnin' how to dance.  I love my husband with all my heart.  Like all of us, he has had his own hand dealt to him that he has had to learn and work from. 

The past few months we have been taken completely out of our comfort zones, and to be honest sometimes it is hard to do what God calls us to do.  We have been reminded through many scriptures and sermons lately, that God does not call you to do what is easy, He calls you to do His works; and most often times it is through things that are "hard" so that we know that we are not doing it in our own strength, but His.  If we had to do things in our strength, we would fall flat our our face, but through Him, all things are possible. 

We were reminded of that just this weekend.  There were a lot of things going on.  Ryan's grandma was admitted to the hospital, and it was very serious.  Alice Swick (Ryan's grandma) is one of the sweetest and most Godly women I have ever met.  She is a rock for her family, and one that we can all rely on, she really is just an inspiration; so this weekend, with the book signing, family get-togethers, etc. and with her going into the hospital, it was a tough feat for all this weekend.  Emotions were high, everyone was scared, and all were completely taken out of their comfort zones.  Ryan and I all of a sudden were slapped back into four years ago.

I took my anxiety, hurt, and fears out on him, and he me.  We just took one step forward, to have to take two steps back; but....life's a dance.  I love that man more than any other human out there.  He is my rock, my provider, my security; as far as humans go; don't get me wrong I know all that God can and does do for us; but as my husband he really is amazing to me. 

Sometimes though, we falter, sometimes we lose some of the hard work we have put in it for four years because of hurtful words, anger, and emotions; it happens to the best of us, and Ryan and I are no different.  Sometimes I think we just need to learn how to dance.

So tonight, I am going to love my husband like no hurtful words were said, I will be his shoulder, his rock, and yes even his sounding board if that's what I need to be for him, because after all this is our dance, and we are learning as we go.

Ryan and I are still learning how to dance, we are still learning how to be "adults".  We are still young, and a lot of times people don't see us as adults, they see us as their children.  I am sure it is hard to see your own children growing as adults, with their own children, their own trials, and their own faith.  Ryan's mom is an amazing woman, just like his grandma is.  This is the song Ryan danced to with his mom at our wedding.  I think we are all still just learning how to dance...because that's life, just a dance we learn as we go.