Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Greetings!

Dear Friends,
In keeping with our yearlong quest, we continue our journey of doing all kinds of new things including this, our first online greeting card. Our apologies for using technology to send our hearts warmest greetings and thoughts your way, but it has been a year where we have found both our hearts expanded as well as our budget tightened.

2010 has been a long winter for us as we continue mourning and missing our sweet little Luke who was born and passed on January 4, 2010.  His birthday and getting to meet and spend time with our favorite little guy remains the greatest day of both of our lives.  Unfortunately, the days, weeks and months that followed were heartbreaking and difficult for us as well.  We continue to cherish our memories of our time with Luke as we gradually allow our hearts to heal and look toward our future with hope.

A quick recap of our year's big events...
Sarah returned to work from an abbreviated maternity leave in mid-February.

The company where Joe had been working was forced to downsize in April due to lack of venture capital funding.  This put Joe back on the search for the next opportunity at the beginning of May.

We traveled to Estes Park for a short get away together, and then on to Colorado Springs, Colorado for the wedding ceremony of Joe's brother as he married his beautiful bride, Mandy.

In late July, Luke's memorial bench was completed and delivered to its new home in Heartland's Lightbox (our church's indoor/outdoor garden).

In early September, we traveled to Jackson, Wyoming to visit Sarah's brother and girlfriend for a week.   Later during this same month, Sarah began taking a photography class at a local art institute with some dear friends.

In October, we traveled to Nebraska to attend Joe's first Husker home game in Lincoln.  It was one of our most favorite days of the entire year. We also traveled to Stillwater, Oklahoma to visit some of our favorite friends over a weekend.

In early November Joe's brother was deployed to Saudi Arabia for a six month deployment. Later in November, we received the wonderful news that Joe received a job offer at a non-profit here in town called MARC.  He started in November, and so far is really enjoying learning a new software program as well as meeting a wide variety of interesting and wonderful people.

This fall has also brought with it many changes in Sarah's extended family. Her sweet grandmother and great uncle were both moved to a nursing home here in town and her beloved great aunt began chemo treatments to treat a form of lymphoma.  With all three of these elders being over the age of 90, it all continues to come into focus how precious life is and how important it is to treasure time that you have with those you love.

Our biggest blessing of the year after getting to meet and love our sweet son, was receiving the blessed news that we are joyfully expecting a beautiful (and very healthy!) daughter in the spring of 2011.  Her presence in our life has been a true gift and because of her, we are able to begin to feel our hearts beginning to melt a little more every day after surviving this long winter of a year.  Sarah will be writing soon about our experiences with little Miss L. and we remain overwhelmed by His goodness and are beyond thankful for His provision in our lives this past year.

We hope and pray that this message finds you well and warm.  May God continue to hold you in the palm of his hand as you celebrate this season of love, miracles and hope and may your heart and eyes be opened to the beauty that surrounds us all.  Merry Christmas to you, we are so thankful for your presence in our lives.


Joe, Sarah and Baby Girl L. (!)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

11 Months

Our Sweetest Luke,

This letter is filled with so many emotions. We have spent the day thinking about you and as always, wishing you were with us.  We cannot believe it has been eleven months- almost an entire year since we held you close.  Last week we had our first Thanksgiving without you and although it was a lovely time with family, there was a giant Luke-shaped hole in our hearts as we gathered together.  You were not the only one missing from the table as our beloved Great Uncle Ed and Aunt Jean shared a meal at Uncle Ed's new home called The Sweet Life.  Its a nursing home where he moved about a month ago and where your great-grandmother moved only days ago. 

Your dad and I also picked out our Christmas tree and have it all decorated.  There are several ornaments that are yours that will always have a special place on our tree.  It was another bittersweet part of the holiday season for us as last time we did that, you were with us in my belly wiggling around.  Its so hard to mark all of these milestones of a year's passing...knowing that the last time we did all of these special things, you were with us for all of them.  I cannot help but wonder how cute you would look in some extra cute holiday pjs or discovering the beauty of this season for the first time....there is something so special about seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child and my heart aches to miss seeing this year's Christmas through yours.

But like I mentioned at the beginning of this letter, our emotions this year are high.  We have been working on learning to navigate the balance of bittersweet. Because not only are we missing you more than ever and longing to have you with us, but we are also elated and figuring out how to breathe and take giant, scary steps forward into the future of our family.  While we wish we could tell you in person, we are thrilled to tell you that you are going to be a big brother to a beautiful baby sister in 2011!  We are so excited, thankful, terrified and happy for what is ahead.  However, at the same time, it begins a whole new cycle of milestones that remind us of you, our beloved firstborn. This season we are so grateful for you, Luke and your sweet baby sister on her way!  You guys are our greatest gifts.

Merry Christmas sweet boy! We love you forever!
Your mom and dad xoxo