Thursday, December 31, 2015

Farewell 2015

I have seen some facebook posts this week about figuring out one word to describe the past year. It took me about 2.5 millaseconds to figure out a word: change. Change is the only word that would accurately describe our year. Family changes, personal changes, location changes, job changes, and the list goes on. And while I generally do ok with change, this year happened to be a lot of change, even for me! But through it all, we have seen God remain faithful throughout all the change. There have been times of silence, times of wondering, and times of crying and yelling at God wondering why. And every single change brought a new reliance on a different aspect of who God is. So as we head into 2016, fully expecting change, but hopefully not as much as last year, may we remember that God is God. He is bigger then the changes. He knows the changes. And He knows exactly how to lead you through those changes.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas?

It's amazing what routine does for making it feel like Christmas. And this year routine has been thrown out the window. It's Christmas in a new house. It's different. And I have struggled the last few weeks to get that "Christmas feeling".  I decorated a few weeks ago. Our tree has been up for a couple weeks. Music and movies have been playing. But nothing. Only in the last couple days have I felt like I am kind of getting into the Christmas spirit.

Maybe it was the lack of snow, and now that we had a couple days of frost covering everything it feels more like Christmas. But I really think a lot of it is that we are in a new house. Routine is super important, especially when it comes to Christmas apparently! Decorating a new house just feels different. The decorations don't go in the same spots so it looks different. The town is new so there is different things they do for Christmas, and things they don't do that we really enjoyed in Sexsmith. It makes it feel different. I don't exactly know what made it change the last couple days, but it feels different, like something just clicked. It just feels like Christmas all of the sudden. But I am thankful that it did. Because I have enjoyed these last couple days. I've loved the time with my kids. And I know that future Christmas's here will start to feel routine. It's just a matter of time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

28 weeks later....

This blog has been rolling around in my head for a while. Surprisingly, or maybe not, this is the first time I have had a chance to write one like this.

I think most of you remember 28 weeks ago Dan & I went through our 3rd miscarriage. I was 12 weeks along. And tomorrow, November 18, was supposed to be my due date. I have it marked on the calendar still. I thought I would cry a lot more about it. But so far I haven't. I am missing my baby for sure. My head is going through everything I thought I would be doing right now. Those first baby snuggles. Bringing baby home. Those adjustments. My first Christmas with a newborn rather then an almost 1 year old. Seeing the girls with their new sibling. Having 4 kids in my vehicle. A new bucket seat because our old one expired this year, and so much more. Yeah. My head is going through a lot. And this is the first time I've really gone through all of this because the other two times, I was already pregnant by my miscarried due date. But I knew back in May that this one would take a while to heal from. In fact, only in the last few weeks have I been able to say that pregnancy announcements no longer feel like a stab in the back. My first reaction now is pure and complete happiness for my friends, rather than grief first, then a mixture of happiness and melancholy. 

But God is faithful. He has brought us through the initial grief and placed us here. And we know that He is good. And I can honestly say that I have been able to find some good in this. For starters, this move has been more physically demanding then I imagined. We had to build a small deck on the front of our old house, which would have been hard to help with at 5 1/2 months pregnant. Unpacking boxes would not have happened as quickly, or at all, at 7 months. I would not have been able to take on the piano students that I currently have. I have been able to share my story with others who also have lost babies since May. I have been able to encourage and sympathize. And, most recently, I was able to attend my cousins wedding 10 hours away, which I would not have been able to do at 9 months pregnant. His wedding was only 10 days ago. There is no way I would have driven 10+ hours at 9 months pregnant. So while these things would have happened regardless of my pregnancy, I was able to assist in and enjoy these events now instead of just wishing I had been there or helped more.

And I can look forward. I have no clue whether the Lord wants us to have another biological child or not, but there have been exciting discussions happening in the Viel household in regards to our family! Things we have dreamed of since before we got married. And we still don't know what anything is going to look like, but that future suddenly seems a lot closer then it did 28 weeks ago.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A little more every day

It has been a little over a month since we moved. A month of a bit of crazy and a lot of change! And while I hope to never move again, I know that probably isn't very likely. At least next time I won't have 3 little kids around right? At least I hope not.

We have unpacked and settled for the most part. Dan is feeling more and more comfortable in our house with every little project that gets done. He is more confident that this house is now winter ready to his desires! I have hung some pictures, but some are still laying on the shelf. I suspect they will stay there for quite some time. I am learning new tricks to keep this house clean(ish) every day. I've gotta say that I am impressed with how the tile stays mostly clean! Or at least gives off the impression of cleanliness! The laminate a little less so, but oh well. Eventually we will have carpet. In a few years anyway.

Maddison has started school. And she loves it! She actually kicked me out on that first day! Dan had met us at the school so we could do a family drop off. And so after we had gotten her to her class and settled her in Dan had to go back to work. And about 2 minutes after he had to leave, she looked at me and went "when are you leaving mom?" I must say that it made leaving a lot easier! She has made friends with all of the girls, but being as there is only 5 girls, that wasn't very hard. She is thriving and it is good. I am so glad we made the school choice we did and, as weird as it is to say this, I am glad that God moved us here when He did too. I have already seen a few glimpses as to why we are here and I am excited to be here!

Is it weird that I am already thinking about our Christmas letter? This year has been a year of change. It seems like every year I can say that. But this year has probably, by far, been the biggest changes. So while I hope to write here again before Christmas, just be forewarned that I have put a lot of thought into our Christmas letter!!!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A little of this, a little of that

Sometimes it seems that life never really slows down.  I can cut a lot out of my schedule, but it still seems so crazy busy.  That is what this last couple of months has felt like.  Crazy busy. 

We started June off with Chataqua Day's on the first Saturday, followed by my brother's wedding on the next.  And then the 3rd Saturday was the June Jamboree in Spirit River, so we were out there for the day.  And then only a couple days after that we were listing our house for sale and headed of to Slave Lake for a weekend of camping.  Life only got crazier from there, but I want to expand on some of these events first.

First of all, we are very excited for my brother and his new bride. They had waited a long time for
this day to arrive and it was beautiful.  It was cloudy and a bit rainy, but rain has never held any other wedding off, and it didn't this one either.  This was actually the only wedding of my siblings that I hadn't been involved in, so it was kind of different that way!  But a good different because this was also the first wedding where I had my own family to take care of, so I was glad to not have any additional responsibilities!  It was still a whirlwind day however, as we hosted my dad's side of the family at our house in between wedding and reception.  Excellent conversations and time spent together, but a busy day none the less.

The June Jamboree was on the 20th of June and we had to attend because Dan was part of the parade.  Plus we were house hunting following the morning events, so we kind of had to be there for that as well.  There were two houses we looked at that day.  Both were well suited for our family, but one stood out a bit more.  Unfortunately by the time we were able to make an offer on that house, there was already another offer on the table, so we were not able to purchase that one.  The other house was also a very nice house, and it is the house that we actually purchased once everything settled down.  We gain possession on August 21st!

We had planned a camping trip to Slave Lake long before we even knew we would be moving, but as it turned out, it was well planned.  We were able to list our house the day before we left and the next day we received an offer.  We were able to negotiate a deal from that and this house will no longer be ours come August 26th.  It did make for a little less relaxing camping trip as we spent a lot of time signing contracts electronically, but hey, so goes life sometimes.

July has been less hectic, but still busy.  We had some adjustments to do on our house to finalize the deal and of course there was house inspections and whatnot to complete on both houses.  But after all was said and done, all conditions were removed on July 17th.  And to celebrate we took our kids to Jasper for the first time! It was an awesome weekend of camping, climbing mountains, seeing Athabasca falls, and just spending time together as a family.  It hasn't been an easy road for our kids these last few months either, so having that time was very good. 

As for me, well things have been emotional.  I finally had a clear ultrasound on June 15th, so praise the Lord that my body was able to deal with this miscarriage without surgery!  And physically I am fully recovered, but emotionally I am still a ways off.  This has been, by far, the most challenging loss. I have come to acceptance over not having any answers, but it seems that the little things are what hurts the most.  My 20 week ultrasound was supposed to be on July 7th.  That day really hurt.  Seeing friends announce pregnancies and the sex of their new babies is like pouring salt on an open wound.
I am still happy for my friends, but this is the first time I have really felt sad at the same time.  God has used this time to deepen my trust in Him, and I have even been able to use my pain to help others who are going through similar times.  So I have seen the "good" side of this already.  And I know that all things happen for a reason, it is just that sometimes those reasons take their time to be revealed.  And I don't have those reasons yet.  But little by little, God is healing me.  Even today, as I was cleaning up lunch while listening to Casting Crowns song "Dream For You", I wasn't sure why, but it was very well timed with the day and I felt a little more healed.

In the middle of everything that has happened the past couple months, Dan and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary.  It seems a bit surreal to think that it has been 6 years already.  And I know that isn't even very long.  We were discussing how much we have gone through in the last 6 years and we can say that it hasn't been easy.  3 kids, 3 miscarriages, basically completely renovating our house from top to bottom, inside to out, the death of his sister, the sale of my first house, and now a fairly major move, all in 6 years.  Add in a few health challenges, switching churches and seeing my brother and his family move to Africa, and you've got our first 6 years!  Yet through it all God has proven Himself to be faithful and true.  He has lead us through some very deep waters, yet we have come out on the other side stronger and more equipped to deal with the next challenge. 

And we have seen Him bless our family!  I have saved this news for last because it is the most exciting for us!  We have never been ones to push our kids to acceptance of Jesus.  We pray for them every day that they would, we read stories, read the Bible, talk, answer their questions and what not, but we have never pushed them.  I wanted them to come to the realization themselves that they needed to make that decision.  So while we were eating supper on June 11th, Maddison, after we had prayed, quietly told us that she had asked Jesus into her heart the previous night in her bed.  It kind of took Dan & I by surprise because we hadn't ever used that wording, but we have seen little ways in which she has changed since then and it is super exciting to see.  We also realized that now the battle really starts and we have amped up our praying for our kids as they enter this spiritual battle.

And then, just a couple weeks following that, on June 28th, Brooklyn announced that she too had asked Jesus into her heart.  And again, we were a bit surprised, but still thrilled!  She too has changed in small ways since that day, so even though they are young, we can tell that the Lord is working in their lives.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Life's not Fair - Part 3

This one really isn't about life not being fair.  But since it does concern my miscarriage, I figured I would put it under this title.  It has been 3 weeks since my last ultrasound.  I am not going to put in a whole lot of details, but I did have a small amount of retained tissue at that point.  As of right now we are still waiting and I might still need a D&C, but because of all the specifics that I am not sharing, the doctor is very positive that I probably won't.

That said, I want to say that, looking back on this past month, I have to give God exactly the glory and honour that He deserves.  While there are many different emotions we are still dealing with, and will be for some time, God put such a huge support group around us that it was next to impossible to not acknowledge Him for it.  My best friend even managed to send me personalized flowers from 15 hours away!  The constant support from friends at Bible study, the meals from friends that just happened to be delivered on the days I needed them most, the tree from another friend that will forever be a reminder of baby Dakota, the random facebook messages just asking how I was doing, my parents taking the girls for our anniversary weekend so that we could have some us time to recover, and I could mention many more.  Even more so is the way that God worked out the above medical details.  God knew that I didn't want to remember the exact time of losing baby because that is probably the hardest part about my first miscarriage. 

So while this loss is harder then the other two for numerous reasons, it was also the one where I saw God the most.  I still have no idea why this happened.  I don't know if I want to know really.  I know eventually I will find out, when I meet Dakota in heaven, but for now I don't know if my heart could handle that.  All I need to know now is that God does know and even when I feel absolutely empty and drained, He will be there.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Life's not fair - Part 2

I didn't really intend for this to become a part 1, part 2, part however many more I write thing.  But now that I am past the initial anger and today being what it is, I have to write more.  My heart still hurts every time I think about who us and the girls are missing here in our family.  Especially today.  I enjoy Mother's Day.  But today is hard.  And mostly my thoughts are with those who don't have the babies they so desperately want.  Those who have had miscarriages/child loss or infertility and are mothers, but still do not have babies to hug here on earth.

I am blessed in that I have 3 babies here.  I have little hands that can give me hugs, but I have friends who don't.  I have friends who have struggled and are either mothers of only heaven babies or mothers in heart and desire only.  This day is hard for them.  Because while the rest of the world sings the praises of those with kids here on earth, those with heaven babies are left to pick up the pieces.  We see all the posts on facebook that have happy smiling moms and kids.  We see the tributes of "I am so blessed to have my mother and kids".  And I am and we are.  But my heart is still broken.  My heart is still crying for the 3 babies I have lost.  And I fully admit that this year may be harder because I am still in the last stages of my miscarriage.  My emotions are still right below the surface.  I am still fighting the why's.  But as you go through this mother's day, remember that there are those mothers walking around who don't have that physical evidence of motherhood.  And while there is no reason why you need to hold back your own mother's day celebrations because of them, there is reason to remember them in your celebrations. 

If you know a childless mother, give her a hug.  Include her in your tributes.  Because they deserve to be acknowledged.  They have done the hardest mothering job of all.  They have mothered and then let go.