Justin Ryker Swick

Justin Ryker Swick

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Just a Jake Day

I realized today just how far we have put Jacob in the middle child shadow.  Today he made a mistake; a big mistake.  He acted out on nerves, fear, and emotion, and chose poorly.  He got in trouble, BIG trouble.  I realize tonight though, as I can't sleep how much of that really falls back on me as a parent.  Jacob gets lumped in with Riley so much that we forget he is almost 2 years younger.  He is the same height they are two of a kind...but they aren't.  They are two different kids, yet we expect him to be just as responsible as his brother, to make rational decisions that he's not even developmentally capable of making at this age.  He also requires more attention than we give him.  With having a VERY demanding little sister, Jacob's needs sometimes are (unintentionally) put on the back burner.  I forget that he's only 6, and a young 6.  He's not 7 going on 8 in a few short months, he is ONLY 6.  There are two things that came to mind today.  

The first being that I need to stop thinking of the boys as "twins" and see them as who they are individually.  I cannot expect a six year to react in the same ways an eight year old would.  Riley and Jacob are two totally different boys, don't get me wrong they are the same in a lot of ways, but there are so many things that make them their own person.  Jacob is my lovey, snuggly guy that craves attention, once again attention that we don't adequately give him.  He had every reason to make the choice he made today, even though it was a dangerous one.  I expected too much from him.  I expected him to make 8 year old choices.  I am not saying that he did not need to learn a lesson for this, or that I should not have scolded him for it.  He needed to be. He needed a quick lesson on the fact that you need to calm down before you make a choice that could end terribly; (thankfully it didn't, this time).  And I'm pretty sure he learned his lesson. 

The second thing that has me up thinking about this tonight is something Jacob said.  After we had all calmed down, I told Jacob of course that we love him, we just need him to be sure of choices before he makes....on and on...you know the whole parent, "you need to learn your lesson" bit; and Jacob asked, "Mom, can we not tell the whole family about this?"  I'm honestly not sure why it is a big deal, but I made the promise that I would not tell the "whole family".  Which is why I am not putting exactly what he did in this post.  It wasn't something crazy, just a wrong choice.  That got me thinking though, how often do I ask God that same question. 

How often do I make really stupid choices based on nerves, fear, and emotion, then come to my senses and BEG God not to let the world find out about my faults or irrational thinking?  How often do I plead that He not show the whole world that I just fell flat on my face, or ask that I don't fall flat even though my choices could very easily cause me to do just that? How often, do I really think like a 6 year old.  Too many for being 30! At the same time, what an awesome, amazing, grace-filled, merciful God I serve that so many times He has done just what I did with Jacob.  "Yes child, you messed up.  Yes there are consequences, but I will cover you with my feathers.  Learn from this, get back up, make better choices, and yes, child, I still love you!"  How many times has he brushed off my knees and not let the world see that have fallen, and I am so so thankful for that!!!  I love that he loves me even more than I love my children, and that he loves my children even more than I do, even though it seems impossible to me. 

 A little about my little guy....I really am so blessed to be this boy's mommy.  He is spunky and quick witted.  He has more facial expressions than anybody out there.  He makes us laugh every day!

  He has charm and an attitude.  He melts my heart every night when he says his prayers, sings (belts out) his praises to Jesus and lets me hear him sing "God Speed" just one more time.  He makes me proud as we walk into church and he is in his Sunday best; suit and tie, the whole nine yards, because he has dressed himself again for church.  This little boy who wants to be a cop and a rock star.  The same silly boy that still believes he has night vision; so much in fact that he has Riley praying at night that Jesus would give him night vision like Jacob.  I hope I remember to let him be little, even when there are lessons to be learned.    He really is such a pride and joy.  I just love that boy!!!

I think this week Jacob and I are going to have a Mommy-Jake day.  Just me and my precious 6 year old.  A day where he doesn't have to share my lap with Hannah, where he doesn't have to do what Riley wants him to do.  A day he doesn't have to share all his toys with Hannah and move out of a chair because it is HER CHAIR and she demands no one else sits in it.  Just a Jake day.  I so badly want to go wake him up and snuggle with him, and ask him just what he wants to do on a day just to himself.  I know how excited he is going to be!  Of course I won't, it's late, way late, and he has had a hard day, but I know tomorrow the first thing I am going to do is snuggle that sweet, yet oh so ornery, little strawberry blonde boy, and plan a very fun Jake day!  I may actually be even more excited than him!! :)  

It seems this lady must have had the same kind of day, she just says it more eloquently, than I did.  If you get a chance click on the link below.  :)

Friday, May 29, 2015

Help Me, Lord

I have been trying to write this blog for a few days. I even had one almost written then deleted it because it just wasn't going where I wanted it to. I kept allowing my own thoughts and emotions get in the way of what God was wanting me to hear, and I knew it, I just couldn't seem to get over myself enough to listen to what he was wanting me to hear.  I prayed a lot, I got impatient, even angry.  A lot of times I have to write in order to get my own thoughts straight, otherwise my mind wanders and I get lost trying decipher through my own thoughts, and I end up getting no where And learning nothing. I become more impatient trying to figure things out on my own.

The other day I found a book I had bought a few years ago and never got the chance to read. It is a Max Lucado book titled A Love Worth Giving.  It was just what I needed to get over myself. My feelings of despair, rejections, failure, and disgrace.

I was still not sure how to put all of my thoughts into writing so I prayed. My prayers were still a jumbled mess and left me getting sidetracked and distracted by other things, so instead I sat down and wrote my prayer. I really believe that was the Lord, bringing me back to him.  Just me and him, keeping me focused on what exactly I was needing to talk to him about. 

In Max's book he shares a story about a 6 year old girl who received a strand of pearls from her dad who frequently went on long business trips, they were fake of course, but none the less she adored these pearls.  Her dad came home  after a week in the Orient and as he tucked her into bed he asked her if she loved him more than anything, to which she obviously replied that she did.  He goes on to ask her if she loves him more than her pearls, and if so to give them to him.  The little girl does not want to let her pearls go, and tells him so.  He tells her that he understands and the little girl goes to bed.  The next night, however, she brings the strand of pearls to her daddy and tells him that he can have them, because she loves him more than the pearls.  After she has given him the strand of imitation pearls, he pulls out a box of beautiful genuine pearls for her. 

The point of this story is to make ourselves question what we are holding on to and not giving to God.  What imitation are we settling for because we are too "attached" to let it go.  What blessings, genuine blessings, are we missing because we are not allowing God to give them to us. 

This got me thinking....all night.  I know that there are things I need to do differently, ideas in my head that I need to let go of.  I have been struggling with where I expected my life to be 30.  It does not bother me to turn thirty next month; not in the way that you would think.  What bother's me about this birthday is what is going on in my life right now.  I foolishly expected my life to be like that in the movies, or even the life that some of my thirty year old friends have.  You know the one.  The family friendly house, with a picket fence, a dog in the yard, jobs we love, in a nice little friendly Mayberry town.  Okay, even I didn't have that high of expectations, but I did expect stability in life by now.  I did not expect to be moving every two years, or renting (ugh), or not knowing where we are going to be in month, what the house will even look like, if we have to get rid of the family pets because the landlord doesn't allow them.  I wasn't expecting this. Jealousy started rearing it's ugly head. I see my friends in lives that I thought I would have and we are just not there yet, do you hear the pity party I was in again?  Max explains how jealousy is like a spark in a house.  If something sparks in your house, what do you do?  You immediately put it out, make sure that there is no way it could start a fire, because if it does it could destroy your entire house.  That's what happens when you allow jealousy in your heart even for a moment, without stomping it out.  It festers, it consumes you, it consumes your thoughts, and steals your joy.  Jealousy is awful. 

This book is based on 1 Corinthians 13.  Love is patient, love is kind....  As I read it I realized how far I had allowed myself to go and how much I needed his help to bring me back to him.  There are so many aspects in my life I need to improve on and I cannot do that without letting go and letting God.  I know he is using this as a lesson for a blessin'. 

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your love, your power, and your forgiveness.  I know I can stand on your promises of hope and a future. Thank you for your blessings, abilities, and talents.

Help me to see others, and myself, through your eyes.  Help me to forgive as you forgive me everyday, for everyday I fall short of your glory.  Please give me wisdom and understanding of your word, that I may use my life to glorify you. show me what you want me to give up so that I may live my life to glorify you and the  attitude to let them go.  Help me to imitate your ways, not the ways of the world.
I was made by you, in your image, not my own.
Lord, be with me. Always guiding me with your light to illuminate those areas in my life, to get out of the darkness of my own shadow and into the light of your mercy and grace. 
Help me to see pass my faults and failures, as you do, so that I will no longer be imprisoned by them. Break the chains of resentment and rejection that I allow to bind me. 

In Jesus' Name,


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Lord, be with her

I am not one to watch the news regularly, but there are some things you just can't miss.  With that being said, the news lately seems to be hitting pretty close to home, considering I spent a lot of my childhood living near Omaha.  Here is what has been going on lately:

A baby found in a dumpster, still alive thankfully.  His 5 year old brother, taken on his fifth birthday, thrown over a bridge, left to die; and their mother found dead.  Terrible!!! All of it!

Then you have the Omaha police officer who was shot and killed just hours before she went on maternity leave.  Again how heart breaking.

AND AGAIN....3 babies dead in 4 days in Des Moines; co sleeping is the "cause".  I WILL have a post about this, very, very soon!!! This was not coincidence, this was NOT a matter or co sleeping and that Iowa Medical Examiner, Mr. Dennis Klein himself, needs to be in the spotlight for blaming parents.  He is evil at it's worst.  Sorry, a little worked up on that subject but that is for another day; maybe when I calm down a little; or get more worked up, we'll just have to see.  :)

But the saddest news story I have seen is a young mother, just 24 years old who was found at 6:55 in the morning pushing her dead child on a swing in a public park.  It is reported that this mother may have been pushing this precious boy all night!  ALL NIGHT?! Can you imagine?  We took the kids to the park yesterday, just before I read this news article.  One of my children's favorite past time is swinging.  All of them love to swing!  I'll be honest though, when Riley and Jacob learned to pump by themselves, it was a glorious day!!! haha.  I do not like pushing the swings all the time and doing countless number of underdogs.  After about 10 minutes of pushing Hannah on the swing I try to either give the job to one of the boys, or direct her to a different park activity.  Pushing swings is not all that exciting. So, can you imagine doing it for HOURS on end.  I don't think this momma necessarily pushed her child non stop for hours.  I do not know this mother, I don't know her heart, her emotions, her day to day activity.  I don't know anything about this woman, but my heart breaks for her!!!!!! My entire being aches for her.  Who knows what possibly could have happened that day; no one knows how the little guy passed away, what the causes were, but there wasn't anything evident that would point to foul play.  Here is how I see this mother. Here are all the "maybe's" that go through my mind when I think of this girl.

Read the story here:


Maybe the little boy was sick and she knew he was going to be gone soon so she took him to his favorite park to do his favorite activity; swinging.

Maybe the little one did pass away before she took him to the park and she couldn't bear to let him go with out taking him to their favorite place. 

Maybe she was homeless, and couldn't afford to feed or take care of her pride and joy, but she could give him happiness with one last park trip.

And who knows, she may have a dark background, maybe drug abuse, maybe not.  Either way her background doesn't matter, one thing is clear; this mom LOVED her baby. 

Here is what I think about this awful night for this momma.

I'm sure she didn't push non stop for 12 hours straight.  I bet at sometime she took a few minutes to snuggle her little guy, just one last time.  She knew, she had to let go, and soon.  Soon she would have to fully admit that little boy was no longer with her, but just not yet.  I'm sure she screamed.  Maybe she was pleading and begging God, "Please, God, I promise I'll take him to the park more, I know how much he loves to swing. If you just give my baby back to me, I'll take him to the park everyday. I will push him on the swings everyday.  I can show you now, I will push him, I will play with him more.  I will be there for him more.  I will have fun with him more.  I will give myself for him, Lord, please if you just give my baby back to me." 

I'm sure she cried.  And cried.  And cried.  She may have even wished that if God was going to take her baby, that He would choose that time to take her too; and as she cried I'm sure she screamed that to the heavens as well.

Like I said, I don't know.  I don't this woman, but my heart has never broken for another woman as it does for her.  I pray for her.  I pray for healing and peace.  I pray for a future, and I pray that she knows the Lord and Savior.  Whoever you are, my heart is breaking with yours and I am praying for you and your sweet little one. I'm sure your little one is swinging on a beautiful playground in heaven.  Lord, be with her. 


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Rainbow Baby

See I told you I was back!  ;) If you are my Facebook friend you know ALL about our rainbow baby, but may not know what "Rainbow baby" means; and if you are not my Facebook friend, but follow my blog, than chances are you don't know much about our Hannah Grace, but you know what it means to have/want a rainbow baby.  For those of you who don't know, there are three different "types" of babies after a death of a child.  You may have what they call a sunshine baby/child, maybe even more than one.  For us we had two sunshine children when Justin was called home.  A sunshine baby/child is "a baby conceived before a family is struck by loss. A baby conceived before devastation has held a place in a family's heart and their symbol of love, before they knew anything about shattered dreams." These children give you a reason to get up in the morning after tragedy, these children are your sunshine everyday, the only ones who can make you laugh when you didn't know you were even able to anymore.  They are special children for sure, and I am so blessed to have had Riley and Jacob to help me through after Justin passed away. 

Then you have your angel baby, I'm sure we all know what this is.  This is that very special little baby that did their work on earth, (or in the womb) so quickly that God had special plans for them in heaven and called them home; leaving everyone who loved them with a whole in their hearts that will only be filled once you get to heaven.  These babies teach you something, they make you grow, they change you.  These are forever babies.  It's hard to imagine them growing up in heaven when you can't witness it for yourself.  These babies are special and God knew that too.  I can't even begin to imagine the joy they brought to the angels when they flew them up to heaven on their wings. 

And finally you have what we call a rainbow baby.    a rainbow baby is a baby that comes after the storm of having another one of your children being called home. A rainbow baby  "is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope." 

Our family was blessed with a rainbow baby, we named her Hannah Grace.  I know that I have written blogs about her before, around the time of her birth.  Our little rainbow baby isn't so much a baby anymore.  She is a 2 year old spunky red head.  God really broke the mold with her and she is the epitome of a rainbow.  That girl brings so much color into our lives, and even just looking at her she is full of color, spirit, and hope.  I watched as she walked with her brothers down the driveway a ways today and thought, "boy, that girl just radiates color!"  With her bright red hair, that seems to glow red hot in the sunlight, and her pretty big blue eyes, she is just a world of color in her tiny little self. 

Her personality is anything but dull as well and she gives us a run for our money everyday!!! I'll be honest she is a spitfire and most of the time outwits both Ryan and I.  She knows how to work my phone better than I do, she already seems to have an attitude of her mother (times 10) and can whip her brothers into shape with just a look, (sometimes she throws a nice high pitched scream in there for fun).  This girl is amazing!! She is a spice and she is sugar, she is crazy and calm.  She is everything.  I am so very, very blessed to be her momma, and I am so very, very, thankful for my hot tempered little redhead that is a ray of sunshine, an angel, and rainbow, all mixed with a little bit of spunk, sass, and down right attitude.

How do I know she is a gift from Jesus himself?  At just a year old, when she could say very few words we happened to walk by the Prince of Peace picture I have hanging in our hallway.  As we walked by she pointed right at that picture and said, "Jesus" with a big smile and leaned in to give the picture a kiss that was just at the right height to do it, since I was holding her.  I was stunned, and had to ask her again to make sure I heard her clearly.  Yep, that is what she said, and to this day, a year later she still stops at the picture points to Jesus with a smile and says His name, and He knows hers. If you have a little one of your own, try it.  Show them the Prince of Peace picture, see if they know who he is; it may just surprise you.  :)    You will hear a lot more of our Hannah Grace, our very own rainbow. 

For those of you still hoping, dreaming, and praying for you rainbow baby; keep the faith, keep praying, keep hoping, and I will pray for you too.  God knows your name just as He knows Hannah's He knows the desires of your heart.  God Bless you sweet momma's out there may God bless you with your own rainbow baby. 

Here is our little rainbow, just tonight.  She was all tuckered out, keeping those older brothers in line is hard work!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Dream on

I'm back!!! And if all goes as planned it is for good this time, (I know I hear God laughing too).  :)  Turns out there are very few of my plans that go according to....my plans.  What I have learned from it all, however, is that I just need to keep dreamin' on.  The past couple years have been a whirl wind; both good and bad.  My family is stronger than ever, we have gone through some really bad times and some really good times. Sadly the bad times tend to try to outweigh the good ones in my own mind, and then I am reminded that all works out according to God's plans.  So here I am.  Let me fill you in a little of our past 2 years.  I would like to say that our experience with Justin helped shape me, and prepare me to deal with what would lie ahead. 

I was offered a "dream" teaching job in a school where I did my student teaching.  I thought for sure that leaving our newly purchased beautiful "dream" home was the right thing to do.(Turns out I dream a lot!) :) There have been times where I look back and think, "maybe not so much" but it has brought us more blessings and opportunities for sure.

When I took this job, I thought that this is where God was calling us to be, that we would fit in, and live happily ever after in a small, close knit, community doing what I love, and living in yet again a very beautiful home, even if we don't own it.  Turns out that was not our happily ever after.  My first year of teaching went pretty well, with only one hard hit towards the end of the school year, and a miscarriage to boot.  That is where this "dream" started fading and my "dream" career was no longer a dream of mine.  I don't want to go into too many details as I want this post to be about speaking life not bitterness.  I am not bitter about the way things went as it allowed me an amazing opportunity to homeschool my beautiful children.  I have met some really great people that I love and cherish and I have met some other's that became lessons.  I cannot say that I am thankful for every situation, but I had to go through them to learn from them.  It also made me wake up and realize I still have the potential to dream on. 

Our son was taken out of a hard situation as well, and I know it all worked according to God's timing, even if I didn't think it was in tune with mine.  Seems He always has a way of doing things better, I doubt Him, (because I'm not always a quick learner), and once I finally come to my senses and remember His promises, that is the time that He really shows off; and He has done that for us big time.  I have to learn to quit doubting His grace, mercy, and love for me.

My second year of teaching was anything but a dream, and I realize that that is not where my heart lies, nor is it where God wants me to be right now.  I am grateful for the opportunity considering I went to school for it.  Had I not been given the opportunity I would have spent my life wondering if I missed out on something.  Don't get me wrong, I loved teaching, I love the children, but it is not the environment I am supposed to be in, and God knew that, as He always does.  I think there was a time when I should have been a teacher, and I got that chance, I know I made a difference in a few children's lives, as they did mine; but my time for teaching is done and it is time to dream on onto something different.  A dream where I can wear my heart on my sleeve, whether through a blog or through words, I didn't feel I could open up like I had in the past, and stopped writing completely, and endured yet another miscarriage.

We decided after I lost the job that it was time to move back to our dream house, find jobs there, take yet another leap of faith, and move back "home" to Iowa, (the land that I love).  :)  About a week before making it final Ryan was offered a job here we couldn't refuse.  I was excited....and crushed.  This is such an awesome opportunity for him, and yet we were once again in a place where we had to find a different dream, a brand new one in a place we weren't exactly welcome anymore, for situations out of our control. 

Then.....we found out we have to move.  This really was a blessing.  While we love our house we really need a change of scenery.  We have a month and no prospects...oh gosh.  Once again, my doubt and fear kicked in.  Once again, I felt sorry for myself, why do we always have to struggle?! I may have screamed that to the heavens on more than one occasion when the kids weren't around.  Then I was reminded of Philippians 1: 29-30 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have."  and also Phil 4:4-7 "rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  

The next day we found a place, a least a potential place, nothing is certain yet, but I am thankful, so very thankful that God allows me to stand on His promises even when I am shouting out in fear and anger and every emotion that doesn't come from Him, and He reminds me that it is His plan that needs to come to pass, it is not my world to conquer. He's got this as He always does, and I need to learn to quit doubting, getting angry, or fearing the unknown.  He knows what He is doing. He made me a dreamer and I'm so thankful He did.  I am still finding myself in this world, (that I don't need to conquer), and in the mean time I may lose some battles; but that's okay...I still dream on.

Phil. 3:13-16
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  All of us, then, ho are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.  Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

why your posts hurt SO much

I have stopped blogging for a long time for a couple of reasons, one of them being that we don't have WiFi at home so blogging on a tiny phone proves to be difficult,  the other is I'm always worried about doing or saying something wrong. I've learned a lot from this experince. I'm never going to do or say just the right thing. If someone doesn't like you, others won't like you. It doesn't matter who you are or what your heart is, what matters is what others say. So, if that's the case, " Be who you are and say what you feel because those you mind don't matter and those that matter don't mind." To quote the great Dr. Seuss.
I noticed quite a few really hurtful things today. One was titled " one dead child two foolish parents"  the thing is, this goes both ways. I have one dead child and Ryan and I were two foolish parents. The other was a doctor "so great" at giving a child shots.  So the question is why does this get me fired up? Why can't I let it go? Here's why.

I thought I was doing right by taking my child in for his wellness check ups, for getting him his shots. I was not the foolish parent, right?? Wrong! I held my screaming baby as they jabbed him with needles that we were told were to protect him. I did. I consoled him through the fever that was "normal". I did. I also woke up one morning to him not breathing. I did. I was one out of 5 who performed cpr. I did. I was the one praying and begging my son to wake up. I did. I wanted to see him look up at me one more time, I willed him to start breathing again. I did. I heard the dr. Say, "that's one sick baby". I did. I also heard the same dr. Tell me there was nothing he could do." I heard,"I'm sorry" I did. I left that hospital with empty arms and a guilty heart. I did. I picked out a baby casket. I did. I chose what blanket, what songs, what verses to share at his funeral. I did. I watched them put a 2 foot casket, that held my baby boy, in the ground.  did!!! So why do your posts offend me? Because you didn't!  And I pray to God no one else ever does. I heard "your child died from a brain hemorrhage caused by aluminum build up from the dtap" that I held him down for. I did. I held him. So the next time you post please keep my heart in mind. I do not blame myself I know it was out of my control, but it is still something I struggle with every day. I do. Next time you are mean to someone because a friend doesn't like them, remember their heart has already been through the wringer. Please remember.
I also have one very healthy daughter who has never been held down and jabbed with aborted fetal tissue, aluminum, mercury,bovine serum, etc. I do. I have a healthy daughter who has been to the Dr twice and an antibiotic for two days once in her whole life. I do. I have three kids who haven't been sick enough to take to the dr. In over a year. I do. I have twin nephews free from poison who have never been sick. I do. Please remember not every laugh is joyful and not every tear is worthy of sympathy. I'm not asking for sympathy,  I'm asking for compassion. For consideration.