Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lately

Hello little world. I worked at my friends store yesterday. She's letting me work off my Christmas ticket :) honestly the most generous person I know. She paid me way more than I was worth while I was pursuing baking earlier this year so I could afford a babysitter for Fenley. Love her to pieces. 

Anyway, was working with my other dear friend up there yesterday and she made the comment... "Your little world has definitely grown." What a true statement! We rarely go somewhere that we aren't stopped and get to hear a heart warming story of how God has used Wills' life in their life, family, home. Proud momma. Strong son. Perfect God. Selfless Savior. 

It's amazing to see what God is still doing here in the Bowie household. Learning that He will never stop. His pursuit of us is unending. Who needs unending unfailing love? Who needs a relationship that isn't based on status or performance? As one mentor/friend/truth guru texted me tonight... God is not a riddle. He's a green pasture :) Who needs a green pasture? Me, me, me! Now if I can just lie down in that green pasture instead of analyzing where I should put my blanket...

Shortly after Wills went to Heaven I was obsessed with hoping that Wills remembers me. I wanted him to remember what I look like. Remember my love. Know our story together. Know I'm writing and loving on behalf of him. Know that he is my mamas boy and how proud of him I am. Seriously was consumed with hoping he still knew me in a real way. Then one afternoon I had a worship session in my closet and The Lord put a beautiful hope on my heart... a hope that Wills knows ONE THING about me: that I claim his Savior as my Savior too. That my heart claims one name: Jesus. The same Jesus he lives with also lives in his mama and daddy. Wills is in Heaven and he is living WITH Jesus who is eternal life (1 John 1:2). And his mama is on earth and living THROUGH Jesus til I can be with them in eternal life... True bond. We share THE ONE thing really worth sharing :) makes me so happy to think about.

Ok so new normal is pretty entertaining to me lately...

1) Granny Jill somehow talked me into a spray tan today. Needless to say I still stink and have partially orange hands tonight as I type this. 

2) I finally got my roots done last week. Teri at LaCru wouldn't let me pay her. Heart of gold. Love that woman. So I'm officially blonde again! 

3) Our Christmas was really sweet and really hard, all at once :) Hard knowing I'm only two and a half months postpartum yet no baby carrier to tote around. Walt and I bought ourselves what we wanted for Christmas basically - just this one year am I letting it slide :) not one surprise under the tree for either of us. Yet the best Christmas to date. I carried Wills' lovey with me in my purse that day. It helped my heart. How good is God that we can have bleeding hearts yet still have a sweet and full holiday? When you go through something like this - as bad as it hurts and ugly as it feels - you realize you really only need Him to have peace.

4) Fenley woke me up a few mornings ago by saying... "Mommy, you're my hero." :) 

5) I am planning my 30th birthday party - yes that's right...I'm planning it. Have I mentioned I'm a bit into celebrations? Poor Walt. No way he could plan what I have in my head. He knows it. I know it. Let's just say I see visions of pink, gold and glitter. Saying goodbye to my 20s and thrilled about it. I was born to be at least 30. Old soul. Used to tell my parents to tell boys who asked me out that I couldn't date yet. Such a nerd. 

6) Also planning Fenleys 3rd birthday and per her request - an alligator party. I specifically told the girl designing the invites that I didn't want a "preppy alligator" theme but instead like a "whimsical or funky alligator" theme. I get the file emailed to me from her and the title of the file was "Preppy Alligator". Haha. I got my panties in a wad for about 3 seconds - then remembered I'm not that person anymore, shrugged my shoulders, emailed her a few changes and moved on. "First world problems" have never left me easier. I love it. And I now love Fenleys party invitations :) just not sure I'll ever get them mailed out!

7) Have gotten to rekindle a few old relationships lately. Been so cool. One friend in particular is a soul sister for sure now. I stayed with my parents last night and she came over. My dad cooked for us and we shared a bottle of red wine and our hearts (and maybe a few tears) by the fire til after midnight. She's 6 years younger than me and way wiser I do believe :) huge heart, steady hand, big prayers. She trusts The Lord with abandon and it's inspiring to me. She doesn't see that about herself but it's oh so true. Also obsessed with her mom who I want to come teach me how to decorate my house...with deer heads and still keep it classy like her :) I think that means I need a bigger house. Only one problem...likely I'll never move from this house now considering who I got to raise here :) 

Really just learning more about myself and my God every day. Don't want to analyze as much. Want to be truly free to accept His marvelous love more readily. And to just live in His love. Want my heart to know how to melt into Him really well...and to admire His fingerprints on the souls He puts in my life. We all have a number of days. I want mine to be marked most with love...I want the story and do believe I am living the story that can only be written by Love Himself. Won't you join me? :) 

Guess that's it for now. Learning to love for an audience of One and loving it... 

Lauren












Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Immanuel

So I got a really sweet gift in the mail this week. An anonymous gift, at that. A bracelet with Wills' birthstone. The note said..."Some friends are thinking of you." It lit me up inside. It's so humbling and heart warming to know people are thinking of our hearts and Wills. And that they want to help make it better by giving me a bracelet along with their love. Means the world to us.  

People are awesome. I know this world is ugly but God knew what He was doing when He redeemed us through His Son and formed the body of Christ after Jesus went home...community in Christ is so rich, so beautiful, so meaningful. Just more marvelous fruit to add to the ever growing list of "marvelous happenings".

Did some Christmas wrapping yesterday. Doing it with a less stressed heart this year...not so caught up in the commercialized lies. None of my presents will have perfectly coordinated bows, or even ugly bows for that matter - because I keep forgetting to buy bows. Oops! Farewell to the idea that all needs to appear perfect so I can feel Merry and Bright. I mostly blame Pinterest :) 

Read today in Acts that God doesn't NEED anything from us. Human hands can't serve His needs because He doesn't have any! He Himself gives life and breath. He is not far from any of us - and His hope is that we would seek Him (Acts 17:22-31... HEAVILY paraphrasing). And a beautiful thought sweeps over me... Instead of heaping on guilt as Christians at Christmas time (for over spending, for not doing enough for the poor, for having or not having Santa) I want to just take a deep breath, drink some crockpot hot chocolate, open a fun present, give of myself and smile a deep joy knowing I am His and He is mine. And that's the best gift we can receive this year...being TRULY loved by Him. And a great gift we can give Him back is to sit on Christmas Day and just marinate in His love. Sit until you feel it. Soak it up and thank Him for it. Then if He tells you to get your butt up and out of your flannel pajamas to go give a $143 tip to a kid on roller skates serving cars at Sonic having to work Christmas Day, then you'll go do it because of intimacy with Him. Not out of duty or obligation or guilt. Dancing with Him...the highest calling :) 

God isn't threatened by Santa. Or the media trying to phase Him out of this holiday or country, for that matter. Or anything stealing His glory. However, He is jealous for YOUR love and YOUR heart. Choose to give Him all of you. Simple as that. The media can say "Happy Holidays" all day long...but guess Whose Word stands forever. And thankfully 2,000 or so years ago, He called this season "Immanuel" and that name it will be forever... Period. 

Oh how I've come to love and depend on that name. Found an old prayer journal from earlier this year. The first prayer written in it was from January 1, 2013. I specifically asked God to invade our hearts, thoughts, plans, goals, spirits and home in 2013. Also told Him I wanted to say YES to sacrifice, obedience and believing faith. Wow. And I am here to testify that Who we are celebrating this Christmas is a LISTENER and a PROMISE KEEPER. Everything is on purpose with Him. Not one tear or heartache is unaccounted for... Hallelujah! What a thought!

So let's celebrate "God with us" this Christmas. Because He certainly is with us. In the big family lunches. In the lonely place. In the car. In the meltdowns. In the family drama. In the bowless presents. In the happy tears and ugly cries. In the broken hearts. And for us and many other moms and dads this year, in the empty cribs... Just whisper Immanuel and feel yourself melt into Him...

Ho, Ho, Ho! :)
Lauren


Another cool thing I found in my old prayer journal. Wrote to Him as Marvelous God in May of 2013 :)

Cannot even handle the sweetness of this picture! Thank you to Leah Hendrix for these pictures of our family. She wouldn't let us pay her :) again...the body of Christ is amazing. And we are thankful!

The other night Fenley dressed up as "Mary", daddy was "Joseph" and I was "the wise men" and baby Jesus was "in her tummy". Cutest moment yet this Christmas, hands down...

And this is her rock star altar ego :) haha. 

Wouldn't be a good blog post without a picture of my WLB...outside the day of his baby dedication with Jeff. Best. Day. Ever. 



Thursday, December 12, 2013

Scoreboard

Back in Wills' room tonight...listening to Fenley and Walt watch Arthur Christmas. Cutest Christmas movie ever in my opinion. 

Finally have addressed our birth announcements that we ran out of :) yikes! So if you don't get a birth announcement, you'll be getting a Christmas card! Daddy Bowie has me on a budget and I don't blame him - I have yet to work a full time job since we got married - another yikes! I have a degree in French. Not French plus Business or Education. Just French. My dad said get a degree... I said how can I avoid Business Calculus and dissecting anything in a science class? So French it was. I love the language and culture... Went to Paris in high school :) it was dreamy. 

Back to jobs - or the lack thereof... I was actually baking from home when we found out we were pregnant with Wills. French Macarons were my specialty. They're deliciously sweet and pretty particular little French pastries. I was obsessed with them. And the week I got morning sickness with Wills was the same week I had to do 50 dozen - yes, 600 - for a wedding. It put me over the edge with throwing up. I literally couldn't talk about them without gagging. I'm not exaggerating... Ask anyone that knows me or tried to place an order. Apparently Wills didn't care for French Macarons :) 

I'm actually thankful because it sent me back home with Fenley 100% and I really got some quality time with her. Who knows what will come next... Part of me wants to try my hand at baking again. Another part of me wants to go to work raising money for something that pulls on my heart strings. And another huge chunk of my heart wants to stay at home with Fenley until she starts preschool. Nice taking a deep mental breath knowing God's agenda is marvelous and that I can trust it. Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus! 

If I do try baking again... A few friends have mentioned I could name my business "Marvelous Macarons" :) quite a thought. I'll have to blog about my first attempt back at my macarons. It's going to be a pretty emotional batch for me if I had to guess...

So we got to share our testimony with our church family last Sunday. It was awesome. I'm a pretty shy person - believe it or not! - and was nervous about being recorded but if God opened the door to share about His faithfulness...how could we resist? :) so we shared. And have gotten so many messages, calls and texts about how God has used it to draw people closer to Him. A few words come to mind... Amazing. Exciting. Thrilling. Chill bumps. Happy tears. Smile inducing. Jaw dropping. God glorifying. Just marvelous, really, hearing people share how God has used our son in their hearts.  

I love that we got to share in conjunction with Zechariah and Elizabeth's story of their son John the Baptist. Ya know the first words out of the angels mouth were... "Don't be afraid." Wow. Their son would never marry, never drink, live in the wilderness and die at a young age by being beheaded by a godless king. But they were told not to fear. The angel was bringing GOOD NEWS. How could that be good news??? 

Because Earth's scoreboard is wrong... 

Need I say more? Wills... Short life. Sick body. Never married. Never got to go to the prom and have me bug him about his first crush. Never rode the school bus. Never had his first car. Never got to go snow skiing or see the beach. Never got to have what we consider a normal life. 

But God brought us TRULY good news about our son too. A prayer warrior at Pinelake - that we still haven't met - got a word for us from The Lord after she heard about our story... One of the things she wrote to us was "Don't be afraid" :) Wow. How can we not be afraid? Because on Heaven's scoreboard, Wills had a perfectly full and purposeful life. Who wants "normal" here anyway? Been there, done that, and lived pure dissatisfaction. 

God has redefined "good" for us. Used to I would read psalm 84:11 "He withholds no GOOD thing" and I would think good meant for how I see my life playing out. But now I'm learning...good is Him. He is the good thing that He doesn't withhold. Wills had a very full life of the BEST One. Forget prom. Forget his first car. Forget his first crush and first day of school. He had God's perfectly gracious hand on his life. What more could I want? Seriously. Forget Earths scoreboard... Teach me more about what matters in the greatest reality: HEAVEN. Wills' short life has a lot of fruit. May that be the ultimate desire of my heart...to bear fruit for my Good King and Savior. Tearing up writing this...shocked at what God has done in my own life through this journey. I've never cared less about earthly things and I love it. Hello, true freedom :) it's so good to finally meet you. I actually talked my mom OUT of buying me a Kate Spade bag the other day. Yep, I'm a changed woman!

People ask if we are ready for more kids. And I say...I'm really proud of my two kids. We'll see if God calls us to shepherd a 3rd :) I hope if God calls us to a 3rd child, that I will be most concerned about the anointing on their heart than their percentiles at doctor check ups and milestones reached according to the latest study. Been there, done that. Empty. Thank You Lord for being the very best thing and for filling Wills' life to the brim. And for humbling me in the process. You're just so GOOD. 

Good night, sweet world :)
Lauren

A swaddled toddler. Seriously??? She insisted...


The rainbow the morning after Wills went to Heaven. Could see it end to end. Marvelous. 0% chance of rain that day. 

Walt and me, thanksgiving day after our half fried turkey :) love my manly man. 

Fenley let me rock her to sleep the other night. In Wills' room with his boppy. Hello, therapy. Happy happy night for me. She hasn't let me rock her in about 2 years. 

Ice skating with her daddy. She kept saying she was Tinkerbell :)

Will end with one of my favorites. Looks like a little smirk here :) my WLB. 









Saturday, December 7, 2013

Reality

I just tried to move Fenley inside from sleeping in her car seat. I failed... She woke up. Used to that would have exhausted me. Like...I need you to nap, child. And this time I just really felt The Lord say sit down and soak this up. So I laid her on the couch and I sat with her. Scratching her arm and looking at our nativity on the mantle with our four stockings hanging underneath.

And the most beautiful reality consumed me...

I really have the sweetest daughter here. She gives me the sweetest moments. 

My handsome husband is really on his way home from the deer camp. The husband who gives me butterflies still. The husband that his company makes me jealous of the deer camp. 

I really have a son in Heaven. He sees God's throne room. He knows what Heavenly storehouses of snow look like. He doesn't know sorrow about missing me...just excitement to see his mama again one day. 

I really have a Savior that died on a cross so I can know his Father. 

And Jesus' Father... He really adores me. He really chose me for Wills and Fenley. He really made me, on purpose. He really meets me here and fills my heart with Himself. 

I really have a home that I love that is filled with so many happy and beautifully heartaching memories. 

I am really walking out a story that I thought would take me out emotionally and instead it's the one thing God has used to sober me out of my excessive stuper and help me feel real emotions for the first time. 

Leads me to think of a story God has richly used for us from Daniel 3. The 3 Israelite friends that won't bow to the king...are then thrown into the fire and a 4th man shows up in the fire (Hello Jesus!!) And they just walk around in the fire. They are then pulled from the fire and...

"Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!" (verse 27)

They didn't smell like smoke :) during the early weeks of Wills' diagnosis I was terrified that this chapter would wound me in a way that I could not recover from, mentally and emotionally. That I would be a child of God that reeks of heartbreak...that people could smell me coming a mile away with my very own personal cloud of gloom. God oh so gently led me to this story. 

They didn't bow to the king of their day. I refused and still refuse daily to bow to the fear that tells me this is impossible to recover from. I refuse to believe that it's impossible to walk through this and not smell of smoke... I want to be known not for how this earth and it's diseases drained me of my joy. But rather how God tended to me on this earth in the midst of disease and in my heartache and say... He is marvelous and I'm smitten with Him. Because of the fire, I deeply know His goodness like never before. Just like the 3 friends in the fire. I know they loved God before but now they had seen Him firsthand. They were rescued from their fire. And so was Wills, who has seen the greatest miracle...death came, Jesus intervened and now Wills is spending his first Christmas with the Prince of Peace. And I now have a hole in my heart that is shaped like my baby boy. To miss something this much means I loved him that much more :) sweet grief. 

God prompted me to make a list. Of people that I knew had been through heartache in this life but didn't smell like smoke. It was a short list to start with but it's growing :) He is introducing me to people who really see Him in their question marks. And let Him answer those questions. Even when His answer is just His presence. Isn't that all we need anyway? Him? When He gives an answer, hallelujah! But when He gives Himself...wow. What a privilege to get Him as the answer to your questions. 

This life...many questions, one Answer. 

Side note...2 people on my "no smell of smoke" list.

A Godly woman who lost her hearing in her 30s, now brutally dying of cancer and on hospice but still only has the sweetest joy for God and how good He has been to her. You can't trick her into poor mouthing. 

A dear friend who has two special babies in Heaven. She had a quiet c section room...which was my greatest fear. And she is the one I constantly needily (is that a word?!) text about how she has the SWEETEST grief. 

Like I said...the list is growing and I'm thankful to meet others who don't smell like smoke :) only God can keep you from smelling like smoke after the fire. His presence is the cure. Praying He protects me from the doubt and fear and anger that try to sneak in.

A marvelous side note on this perfect Christmasy day...

My ornament of my two babies. This ornament was the last one left at the store. It already had two other names on it. I asked if they could get the other names off and they said no. I said, could you try? She said yes. I said a prayer. She came back. Said the marker had never come off like that before :) I said, with tears, it's because I prayed and then got to share our story. Then the guy ringing me up recognized Wills' name and shared that he knew our story and wouldn't let me pay for it. Glory!

Happy weekend!
Lauren :)





Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Glory

Hi there :) long time, no blogging. I've been busy. Ok not really. Just pensive and content...

Ready to write for a bit.

Thanksgiving was awesome. We had the best holiday. We three Bowies hung here all day...almost botching lunch - to the point we called Cracker Barrel to see if they were open :) thankfully it came together and was delicious! Here's a pic of Walts half fried turkey...we didn't buy enough peanut oil. Oops! We just stood outside and laughed at our poor half cooked turkey. We ended up flipping the turkey and it was fabulous - I think we are on to something.


Then we had friends over for the Egg Bowl. 5 kids total. It got crazy. But was the PERFECT kind of crazy. Here's a pic of our parenting skills at their best... Movies and Cheezits.


Anyway, it was a really really really good day. The first Thanksgiving I think I've ever actually had real gratitude in my heart. Crazy, huh? That the first holiday after my son goes to Heaven is the sweetest holiday yet. Do I miss him? More than words. Can Jesus please hurry up and come? I internally beg that often. But God's economy is upside down. Loss for a believer here means real life there. A potentially really sad day here turns into the sweetest day because of Gods promises... Wills' real life is happening now. My life is the shadow. May I live this shadow of a life genuinely preparing and hoping for the real life coming. Where I'll be reunited with my Wills :) and even more...my Jesus. Glory. 

Glory. A word God has pressed heavy on my heart lately. So yesterday I started looking a little deeper. What do ya know...when you google it, a synonym is "marvel" :) in two days of "studying" this word, He has shown me two verses so far...

"Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me GLORY."
Psalm 50:15

"Your godliness will lead you forward, and the GLORY of The Lord will protect you from behind."
Isaiah 58:8

Definition...

Glory: a thing that is beautiful or distinctive; a special cause for pride, respect, or delight.
plural noun: glories
"the glories of Paris"
synonyms: wonder, beauty, delight, marvel, phenomenon

Is it just me or does Glory seem to be something tangible? Not just some faint phrase of "God, get the glory"...but a real thing that the Heavenlies can see maybe? What if our lives send up real visible glory to Him? And what if He intimately knows the glory that each child gives Him? Beautiful thought to me...that He receives a tangible Glory from our obedience and trust. And that He adores the glory we give him. Just like I adored Wills' smell :) I am obsessed with the thought that the glory we give Him is a sweet aroma to Him on His perfect glorious throne!

Gosh. I tend to get really excited when it comes to God's perfectly mysterious yet simple story... I adore that He lets us be a part of it. So undeserving, so graciously grafted in. I'll keep y'all posted on my Glory study. If anyone else wants to nerd out with me about it, let me know and we'll chat :)

Switching gears... Walt and I went to the movies a few nights ago. It was fun. We are more in love than we thought possible. He's so cute! I actually feel like we are dating again...it's crazy. I love it. After we got home and before bed, he found me crying in Wills' room. And do you know what that strong sweet man did? He stood there and listened to me. Not a fake listening that men have perfected. But a genuine, tender listening...so guess what... I just kept talking :) it was awesome. And he just kept listening. I tell him often I think he'll have extra jewels in his Heavenly crown because he puts up with me so well. And lets me watch Sabrina every night as I doze off. True love, people!!!

I had coffee with a dear friend this morning. We come from completely different backgrounds and live completely different lives. Our life stories couldn't be more opposite...and yet as we sat there and chatted, I realized we are absolute sisters. In Christ and our love for Him. Two women from broken roads that have merged onto a very sweet and narrow road with our True Love. Both learning to dance with our Savior in our own ways and sharing the joy of learning how to move our hearts with His. Glory :)

Learning to dance with The Lord. What a thought. Not always easy, but always beautiful. 

Have a good day, little world :)
Lauren Masa









Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chicken

"Naps are for the birds." - Fenley Grace. 

Ok so she hasn't actually said that but actions do speak louder than words...and we just finished our second day in a row with no nap. And oh my gosh I'm tired! So I've been getting creative as the day goes by to keep her awake for a decent bedtime. She took an hour plus bath this afternoon. Yesterday it was baking cookies. I feel like I've got nothing but time these days...

So I play extra long with Fenley. And go on dates with Walt. And I do extra laundry and dishes (my house is REALLY tidy). And we deliver chocolate cakes to the NICU. And decorate for Christmas. And I text with friends a lot. And read a bunch of really sweet notes from y'all. And have embarrassingly long lunches with long lost friends. And Fenley and I go bother Walt at the office :) and beg family to come for a visit. One thought that has helped me get this far is...that I would rather be at home taking care of Wills, but since I can't be, I'm happy to be able to _______. It has helped my outlook a lot and also helps me fill my time with good things and good people :)

The time I had Wills was so rich. So rich that I don't think there is a word for it here on earth. And ya know what I'm learning... The time I had with Wills was rich because God wrote the story. Wills had an awesome 15 days because Life Giver God allowed him that. I love Wills beyond words because God gave me that love for him. Our story is marvelous because God called it marvelous. Wills got to come home because God said he could. I got to carry that precious child because God kept his heart beating. We have lifelong friends now because God has given us them. I tell Wills' story because God allows me. We keep walking because God makes our feet walk. He is our EVERYTHING. I'm a chicken. That's why He picked me I'm quite sure. Because He knew I would have to rely on Him. So trust me, if God can show Himself marvelous through me, He can do it with you too. You've never met a bigger coward (left to my own devices) than me. Christ in me, the ONLY hope for glory...

And who knows what's next for this little family. Or this strong-in-Christ chicken of a mama. It's a mystery...just like Wills' story was. But God showed up flawlessly and will show up in the mystery of our next season too. And every moment in between. I guess life really is beautiful because of the mystery. Doesn't make the mystery any easier to understand at times but Gods presence makes it worth it :) 

Memo to other chickens: the worrying anticipation of EVERY SINGLE event surrounding Wills' birth, life and death was worse than the reality. Just FYI :) 

All that said... Could I ask you to pray for me? I love the comfortable intimacy I learned with God through my season with Wills and really don't want to lose it. Just being honest. Anything I can pray for you? Seriously. Anything? Please share your burden or joy with me. Wills grew my heart a lot and I would love to share some of that love with you.

Thank you in advance...

"Has The Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!" 
Psalm 107:2

"What joy for those whose strength comes from The Lord, 
who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem."
Psalm 84:5

"...'No one can receive anything unless God gives it from Heaven.'"
John 3:27

Good night y'all.

Here are some pics I would like to share, just because I can :)

Wills' stocking. I thought about ordering a little boy themed stocking for him but started thinking...he's so much more than a little boy. A lighthouse is much more appropriate for his fruitful, marvelous life.

Our nativity. Notice a tiny boy to the right? He's looking up to Heaven and holding a balloon called "hope"... I like to call him Wills :) because he gave me back my hope. 

My Christmas village :) a holiday indulgence that I can't pass up! These houses make me embarrassingly giddy!

Basically force feeding our favorite neonatologist yummy chocolate cake before 10:00AM. He's just amazing.

Looking right at the camera :) while his head was still bruised from labor. He had very serious eyes in my opinion. Pretty sure he knew what he was up to here...

A fave for sure. I love my wrinkles now :) they're proof I'm one day closer to seeing him again. 

Another favorite. And again, those serious eyes. 

"I wanna hold him finger" - FGB (will never forget her saying that!)

Latest purchase...Enough said :)






















Thursday, November 21, 2013

New Normal

I have officially talked Walt into letting me decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving. I must admit I am pretty excited about decorating and the approaching holidays... Walt has said he thinks this will be the first holiday we have ever REALLY celebrated. I agree. And we are doing things a little different this year with our little family. Starting some new traditions and intentionally savoring what Christmas is all about. I read an article the other day about removing Santa from Christmas and I went on a tangent to Walt about how we should eliminate Santa from Christmas and all these other lofty thoughts... And my simple country boy replies with, "We both grew up with Santa and we love Jesus." Well said, Bowie, well said. So needless to say, we are keeping Santa but will be worshiping Jesus :) and remembering Wills and relishing Fenley and each other.

Fenley has requested a mircophone, a unicorn and a sleeping bag. Really? She makes me laugh. 

So Friday is my postpartum check up. Bittersweet. I don't want to be finished with the physicality of having Wills. Confession: I've thought about calling to reschedule to buy myself another week of expecting one more appointment where Wills is the reason I am there. Just know if you see me in Kroger Friday afternoon, don't question the amount of cupcakes in my buggy. Just smile and wave... In all seriousness though, I do grieve the end of my appointments. I miss being pregnant with him and I am going to miss having appointments because of him. Prayers appreciated for Friday morning...

On a really uplifting note...some legit guys that Walt went to college with all went in together and blessed us tremendously. We went to dinner with one of them this week because he had something to give us but couldn't open it until we got home. Well, antsy pants me opened it the second we got in the car. Tears flowed the whole way home from both Walt and me. Inside was a gift card to The Alluvian for an overnight stay, with the romance package, a couples massage and dinner at Giardinas. I mean really. The cool thing is I turn 30 in January and I had been hoping to spend my 30th at The Alluvian before we got Wills' diagnosis and was trying to figure out how to budget for a getaway. When we found out Wills' condition all of that went on the back burner obviously. And look what God had in the works...thank you, legit guys, for splurging on this tired couple... We are so excited and more than ready for our getaway. Marvelous. 

Our new normal is constantly changing feels like. A few big changes. A few small ones. A few fun ones. A few not so fun. All in all, life feels like an adventure now. With God really calling all the shots and us asking for wisdom and perspective and endurance and joy. He knows our hearts better than we do. Who better to shepherd us? I told Jan Moncrief tonight I am having trouble finding words to describe where my heart is (which is rare for me!) but started thinking... who needs words when you have the Creator of the universe intimately acquainted with where you are? So again...I muster every ounce of faith I have and rest in Him. Glance at one picture of Wills Bowie and I'm reminded..."Oh yeah, just do now, in faith and trust. And keep your eyes peeled for marvelous."

We are having another NICU reunion Monday ("Hi, my name is Lauren Bowie and I am a Baptist Hospital stalker"). Taking them a chocolate cake. Apparently our favorite neonatologist likes chocolate :) I wish I could make sure he always has a chocolate cake at his disposal. Words aren't enough for that doctor. I know this isn't 100% true but I like to think it's somewhat true maybe...that God moved him here from Birmingham for us :) his heart certainly made us feel that way. I know Wills will be in his receiving line when he gets to Heaven. Hopefully with some form of Heavenly chocolate...

I'm thinking I've rambled enough for tonight :) good night...
Lauren


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Should Be Sleeping...

Yeah so my eyes are burning as I write this. Slumber is calling my name but my wheels are turning about WLB.

Wills went to be with Jesus 15 days ago. What an interesting road this has been and still is. I wouldn't change it for anything. I don't want to raise Wills as the old me...which is who I would still be if not for his perfect little life. I would be complaining about sleep deprivation, pumping, hospital bills, weight retention (aka - I can't stop eating sweets), not enough "me" time and totally missing the glory of him. Could go on and on. I remember the old me too well unfortunately. 

Thank You Jesus for your work on the cross that Wills can be in paradise with you. How cool are you, really, Jesus? That you gave your all for ugly hearts like mine. That I would have you with me in the valleys - particularly the valley of the shadow of death - and the mountaintops. Goodness. Glory. 

I've got some thoughts on Heaven. Sometimes I get overwhelmed or intimidated at the thought of what Heaven may be like. I can't comprehend it so my mind can get boggled easily... Because it's unknown to my flesh. But if I've learned ANYTHING on this road it's this: If You are involved, then it's GOOD. And if Heaven is where Your Word says Your throne is, then my goodness, what more do I need to know? :) 

The road of contentment in this life is paved in humility. God has taken me to Luke 17 quite often in my heart...

"When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, does his master say, 'Come in and eat with me'? No, he says, 'Prepare my meal, put on your apron, and serve me while I eat. Then you can eat later.' And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do? Of course not. In the same way, when you obey me you should say, 'We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.'"

I like to think this duty for us from God sounded a little like this...

Boy, William Lamar Bowie
Parents, Walt and Lauren Bowie
Big sister, Fenley Grace 
Birthday, 10.17.13
Birth time, 12:34PM
Brown hair and a hairy back
He will always sneeze twice like his mom
He prefers his right side
I'm allowing T18 because that will bring more glory to My Name 
Let's give them the word Marvelous 4 times...they'll need it
Life on earth, 15 days

God said 15... I humbly whisper, "Ok." Who am I to question? And not only do we say "Ok"...but we say thank you. For a sober heart. For 20/20 glory vision. For a son. For a calling. For a new fire in our hearts. For restoration. For marvelous. For meeting us here and being so stinking good to us.

Some folks assume I don't want to be around anything "baby" right now. Nothing could be further from the truth. I love your babies!! They're precious. They smell awesome. They're lovely creations of God that He has entrusted to YOU. I adore your baby and I hope you adore and talk to me about my baby. I got my mama's boy. He's in Heaven... I raised him here. I got to plan his life celebration because he had a LIFE! I think he's irresistibly perfect for me. And your baby is perfect for you. Trust me, be yourself around me. Brag on your baby because I can promise you I'll be bragging about mine! 

I am convinced the Holy Spirit LOVES Baptist Hospital. We went to visit the other day - literally hoping to see ONE NICU nurse (Sondra Finkbeiner - I wanna be like her when I grow up!). Well... We see my OBGYN, who talks to Walt for 10 minutes about duck hunting (insert drooling husband) and even mentioned Walt going with him on a duck hunt. Then we get in the NICU and next thing we know, almost the entire team that got us home with Wills was there by chance - even Lee, our Oxygen guy :) it was just too good! We even got to pray together. Hello, glory! And shared a few Wills stories too of course...

Last train of thought I'll indulge tonight... Most of this blog has been about Wills. Well, I would like to say how crazy I am about my baby girl. She is MANY things that I wish I were. And she's only 2. I feel quite certain that she is going to have a marvelously fruitful life for the Kingdom. The faith of a child is a beautiful thing. For the first few days after Wills went to Heaven, she would go to his crib and say, "Where is Baby Wills?" And we would reply with him being in Heaven with Jesus and she would simply, excitedly say... "Ok!". I mean really, thank you Fenley Grace for teaching me. You and your brother are legit and I am so proud that God entrusted both of you to me. 

Enough for tonight I suppose :)

Night night...
Lauren

Some pics...because there are literally like 1,700 of them and I just feel like sharing some tonight. Part of my process :) I love missing Wills, it's the next best thing to having him. 

Admiring our little man in the NICU 

Our last night together 

Be still my heart!

Forehead cleavage...

Miss those eyes.

Love this one of us 3...

Last but not least...our NICU reunion!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Forever

Forever bound to Wills. 
Forever grateful to God. 
Forever humbled to be used. 
Forever doing a heart happy dance to be God's steward. 
Forever sweetly loved by my Creator. 
Forever asking God to rid me of pride.
Forever expecting good things from His big hand. 
Forever eating cupcakes. 
Forever praying I'm like the servant who doubles his money. 
Forever wondering what Heaven looks like. 
Forever rainbow hunting. 
Forever texting my friend asking her how she has the sweetest grief. 
Forever not shutting up about the glory here.
Forever smelling Wills' blankets. 
Forever stalking the Baptist NICU. 
Forever not washing a certain tank top.
Forever trusting God like never before. 
Forever marinating in God's Spirit. 
Forever reading and relearning the definition of marvelous.
Forever counting miracles. 
Forever flipping through Wills' pictures. 
Forever being needy for God to carry me. 
Forever contemplating how we did this story. 
Forever lingering with Fenley. 
Forever pushing the pause button. 
Forever weepy and sappy. 
Forever nostalgic. 
Forever treasuring 15 days. 
Forever journaling. 
Forever giddy at being Gods child.
Forever thankful for Jesus and His blood and His promises and His provision and His call to the harvest...





Sunday, November 10, 2013

Gold Diggin'

Who knew a 44 second video of Wills breathing in the NICU could be such a treasure now. 

Who knew heartache could also be the greatest gift I've ever received. This road is lined with gold... God has made me linger long enough to pick up as many pieces as I can. I love gold digging :)

Also along this road I've met my heroes... You all know who you are. Fellow gold diggers. You've reached out to me to share your heartache and I say thank you. I've decided that heartache has no meter, whose is worse or whose is better. It's just heartache at the end of the day. Y'all are part of my treasure here. Y'all inspire me to keep going because y'all are still going too...

A few people have mentioned they hope I keep blogging. I hope I get to keep blogging too :) that's a conversation I'm having with God lately. I want to keep writing, it helps me. So I hope He keeps inspiring me...because that's the only reason I write. I pray I don't get blind again in my excess. Blind to the gold in every day life. Must say... Wills made it pretty dang easy to see gold. But I know God will continue to meet me in this season of earthly loss and show Himself marvelous to me.

Speaking of gold... 

My friend Carly owns a store called BellaChes. She is the friend who keeps me stocked up on Little Debbie's and cupcakes :) not the kind of friend who just feeds you - she'll pig out WITH you - sisterhood right there! Well, at this store is a jewelry line called Heather Moore that I am obsessed with. I have a necklace with a couple of charms on it telling "my story". One charm from Walt with "Love" in all the different languages. One charm from my mom on my first Mothers Day that has "Fenley Grace" on it. I love my necklace... the day we planned Wills' gathering I went by the store to hug their neck. I peeked in the Heather Moore jewelry case to start my wheels turning about what kind of charm I would custom order for Wills. 

And what do I see...but this in stock one of a kind piece...


That's right. God had already ordered a custom piece just for me. A "Make the Days Count" charm with none other than FIFTEEN days marked off!!! Y'all!!! Please...someone pinch me :) that's how much God loves me.

And that's how much He wants to meet you too. Just FYI :) He wants to custom order you a charm for your necklace. He wants to let you get peed on. He wants to meet you where you are and lavish His love on you!

Let heartache sober you enough to see the gold... He's right there. Accept His call to deep deep deep love with Him. Intimacy with Creator and created. Pray I keep accepting the call to deep love with Him too :)

On a lighter note...

Life is shifting into a new normal. I really loved my normal with Wills. How I treasure that 15 day normal! Goodness gracious.

Normal, right now, looks a lot like... Walt back at work but texting to check in a good bit. Fenley and me back to being "daytime buddies" as I like to call it. A lot of sitting in Wills' room and smelling his hats and blankets. Me back to doing all our laundry...not sure how I feel about that one :) Some tentative Holiday planning. Coffee drinking and donut eating. An excessive amount of looking at Wills' pictures and videos. A good bit of sleep catching up...embarrassed to say we were all 3 in bed at 6:45 Friday night! And really just enjoying each other and Fenley, missing Wills and thanking God for 15 days :) and some major "Wills story telling" too... If you come by, be prepared to listen. I may not shut up about WLB and the glory here. You've been warned.

Thanks for listening to this rambling gold digger :) night night...







Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dear Wills...

Hi there,

Mama here. Ya know, that soft, pale, big eyed blonde you got to snuggle with so much. Did I smother you with affection? I certainly hope so. I can't wait to do it again one day...just get ready. I plan to embarrass you in front of your friends :)

I sit in your nursery tonight...missing you, praying, loving God, listening to our song, missing you, hearing Dad and Fenley play a room away, aching, missing you, drinking a glass of wine, rocking, and did I mention missing you?

What a celebration of your life yesterday. I felt like I was having an out of body experience..sitting in a peaceful room with an 18" casket that held your tired body that was in my womb for 36 weeks. The same baby who gave me labor after I had begged God that I would get to experience labor with you. You broke my water and everything! We made a good team I think :) we still do. 

How did you do it here for 15 days? You made it look easy. But I know as a premie white male with Trisomy 18 that what you did here was no easy thing. You're a stud. My seriously joyful and strong baby boy. 

People keep telling me to grieve. I am tempted to google "grief" and the stages of grief. What I do know is this, baby boy... Just about every thought, emotion, tear, empty ache, and joy is processed with Jesus. How good is He that He sits with this seriously grieving mother and tends to my heart? Just know I'm doing my best to feel everything here and give it back to Jesus as a sweet offering of my heart and my love for you and for Him. It's really all I can muster the energy for right now anyway...

I wish I could understand everything around every corner but I cannot. You taught me that. Thank you. There's beauty around every corner...especially the scary ones. 

I'm on mission now, Wills - just like you were. I'm setting my mind on a pilgrimage to the Heavenly Jerusalem - where YOU are sweet boy!!! - and have a new desire to take people with me. I hope to arrive with a line of folks that we have helped meet Jesus. 

Your room is legit. I love it. It's my favorite place in this house right now. I love that I got to raise you here. 

If I could ask you one thing - it would be have you met Mallie our black lab that died before you were here? Do y'all get to play fetch? Is she still goofy as all get out and hyper as can be? Is she boys best friend in Heaven, too? I hope so :) I know y'all will take good care of each other til we get there. 

I'll NEVER forget the night we got to nap on the couch and I dozed off looking at your dreamy face and missed your feeding by an hour and 20 minutes - sorry again about that :) 

I appreciate the relationship I have with your big sister more now because of you. I now cherish her smell like never before. You did that for me.

Your dad and I are enjoying the heck out of each other - we've slept closer, hugged longer and lingered a lot lately. Except for when I get crispy. Then he's nowhere to be found :) I don't blame him. I'm glad you didn't get to know that part of my personality. 

I'm not a hypochondriac anymore! I welcome the departing from this life into that life. Used to I would get the hiccups and think it could be chronic. No more, buddy. You've given me courage. 

Visited your grave today to clip some flowers for drying. It was really sentimental and sweet. I was surprised... Jeff kindly reminded me it was just me and God there. That helped. 

Ate a cupcake for you today. I now have an excuse for my massive sweet tooth. Thank you for that, too :)

Too much to say. I'll go for now... Hugs, kisses, snuggles and high fives...

Mom






Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Gathering

Walt and I both had the word "Gathering" pop in our heads this morning. So that's what we are planning today :)

So many of you have reached out to us. Thank you is an understatement. Wish I could respond to each word with thoughtfulness but really just soaking in this day and knowing my baby boy isn't sick anymore. He's happy as could be and sent the clearest rainbow to our front door this morning. He and Jesus are showing off for us still and we are grateful. Our little over-achiever :) he is healthier than any of us are, and I cling to that truth and my Savior...who can't be taken from me. (Luke 10:42)

We plan to celebrate Wills' life on Tuesday November 5th (the day Wills was scheduled to be born!) at 10:00AM at Pinelake Madison. 9:00AM visit and chat...

If God has used Wills to touch your heart and life, then come remember him with us. Really. I mean that. Even if we haven't met in person. Come praise God with us!

This gathering is as informal as we can get...wear your personal favorite color :) and come expecting to feel God's presence because He is near. 

Instead of flowers, send a compassion kit to a child in need in honor of our Wills... More information:

http://pinelake.org/blog/compassion-kits-the-gift-of-a-story/

Address for the celebration:
Pinelake Madison
223 Old Jackson Road
Madison, MS 39110

Friday, November 1, 2013

11.1.13

Loss. My least favorite four letter word right now. 

Wills went to be with Jesus today, right after his 15th birth day. He departed oh so peacefully, in my arms with Walt by my side...seemed pain free to me. I prayed his last minutes would be peaceful ones and they certainly were. 

Writing helps me. Don't go holding me accountable for anything said in this post though...

Sweetest 15 days of my life. 

Taking 5 minutes at a time...advice from a good friend who has had more than her fair share of earthly loss. 

Tucked Fenley in with one of his blankets tonight :)

That mustard seed size faith I have...yeah, I'm pretty much leaning on that right now. Trusting with little or no understanding of how to walk this out but knowing God will faithfully carry us through. Isn't that all we can ever do? 

I want to hold my sweet boy tonight. But I would rather him not be sick anymore. I really hate Trisomy 18 and what it did to his body. But if that's what it takes to make me even more thankful for Heaven, and the work of Jesus on the cross...then okay. 

Good night, Wills...even though it's always bright where you are. 

Mama

Thursday, October 31, 2013

14 Candles

This place of contentment. Of seeing God. Wow...

We were prepared for a still birth. Possibly minutes. Maybe hours. And here we are celebrating week two. Not from the NICU. But from his precious room. That I was scared to decorate, but did it anyway at the Lords leading.

Y'all, God is good. His ways are certainly higher than our ways and thoughts higher than our thoughts. A lot has happened the last 3 years of my life that has not made sense to my heart. And instead of this being the thing that pushes me "over the edge", it's the thing God has used to steady me and make me better than I ever thought possible. He has healed my wounded spirit. He has cleansed my hands! He has restored our marriage. He has given us new friends and new life to old relationships. He's still working on me and I have never felt more sure of God's faithfulness and perfect timing. Ask Him for yourself...He's waiting and listening to ALL who would call on Him. 

So in this moment...because we live moment to moment here... I would just like to muster every ounce of my being and tell Him thank You, again, for showing off for me. My heart needed it and He has watered this land. 

I don't know what this afternoon holds, or tomorrow, or a week from now...but I know the One who goes before me. And He will withhold no good thing (Psalm 84). Days ahead may not look "good" but I know the Author of my faith and life will shepherd me through anything to come. 

Thank You Jesus for the glory in a life lived with YOU!

Thank You Lord for Wills, Walt and Fenley. 

Thank You that Walt got a whole entire birthday with his son. 

Thank You for 14 candles. 

Thank You that I drove myself to Kroger this morning, bought a generic Kroger birthday cake, got the lady to write "Happy Birthday" in blue and drove home to Wills still sleeping sweetly. 

Thank You for the daily bread here. Manna from Heaven, perfect provision..

Thank You that two of my dearest friends informed me they are having healthy pregnancies yesterday. I have GENUINE joy for them. And I know they will cherish their babies as much as I cherish Wills. 

Thank You for a certain friend who has kept me stocked on cupcakes. And a Little Debbie thrown in here and there. And muslin blankets for Wills and cute premie clothes. 

Thank You for my dad who can't walk in Wills' room without the sweetest tears. 

Thank You for my mom who has put up with my OCD tendencies and hasn't left my side except to brush her teeth - maybe. 

Thank You for my in laws who have tended to Fenley so perfectly while we cherish Wills. She's almost potty trained after a few days in West!

Thank You for the staff at Baptist - I am quite sure I have all their cell phone numbers and if I go too long without sending an update, they start asking for one :)

Thank You for Jeff Redding - where would our hearts and marriage be without You speaking through him to us? 

Thank You for medicine and comfort care. Thank You for doctors and nurses and his feeding tube and oxygen support. Modern medicine is a gift from You. Thank You for my OB who was very patient with me through the c section, as I was asking "How are we?" every 20 seconds...next time he'll probably put in orders for extra morphine :)

Thank You for celebrations and life and Your word and Your comfort and our small group and hot coffee and spit up and soft blankets and cuddle time and a home and birthday cake and real, beautiful life WITH YOU!!!

And last but not least...thank You for Wills. Each breath he takes. Each squeak. Each diaper. I love his folded over hands and his sweet feet. And his long fingers. And his angelic head. And brown hair. And sometimes stinky booty. And his mighty spirit that is finding rest in You and showing his mommy how to rest in You too. 

God, You are so good to us. Don't ever stop. 

Love,
Wills' proud mommy




Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ramblings...

Lots of celebrating going on at the Bowie house lately. Lots to celebrate. Birthday candles laying everywhere. Campbell's cookies. Chocolate and red velvet cupcakes. A Lisa Hill cake. A homemade caramel cake. Sugar cookies. Walt asks what I want for dinner... I pause, thinking of that double chocolate fudge cupcake I just scarfed down and wonder if there is evidence in my teeth :) 

I'm still getting peed on. Even got some spit up last night!

I'm getting to give him the best milk I can! Doctor told us breast milk is like medicine to his sweet body. Made me HAPPY!

We had a pallet party tonight and I got to read him The Very Hungry Caterpillar. 

We watched Elf the other night together while I ordered our four Christmas stockings. Old School Walt requested needlepoint...can't wait to post a picture once they come in. 

We have celebrated 12 birth days. Wow. We were prepared for 12 minutes. Marvelous provision...

He's been home from the hospital so long that we've had hospital visitors come by! Jeff Redding pointed that out to us :)

I ordered birth announcements today. They're so stinking cute. Way over budget but Walt obliged his excited wife. 

Wills is such a peaceful baby that he allows us to get rest. It's a blessing. I've never seen such sweet sleep in all my life.

Confession: I still haven't washed my peed on tank top! Or the outfit I went to the hospital in. Or any of his blankets. They just all smell so good!

Wrapping up... Wills' physical life is probably going to be much shorter than my heart wants to allow. But I just need to say this... Because of Jesus and what He has done in my heart through Wills, I will never stop looking for marvelous. He will always live on in my heart and in my search to dig up gold and find the marvelous. We serve a marvelous God, who marvelously blesses His children and I will never stop looking for or talking about the marvelous things He has done for me. 

Good night! Time to feed my Marvelous Fighter...

The Bowie boys. Can't keep em awake!

Walt cooked me dinner!

Too many blankets I know...he was just so comfy!

Digging up marvelous... The Word is alive!

Getting to empty the diaper genie! It's the little things :) 

Walt went back to work and I didn't lose it! He was back in two hours :)

Fenley insisted on touching his nose...

This mama's boy says Good Night!