Christmas Time

It was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. We had just gotten home from the mall and I rushed to Lillian’s room to put her down to sleep. She had fallen asleep in the car and I was hoping she wouldn’t wake up, so I rushed the kids out of the car and ran to her room! When out of the blue Jack asked:

Mommy, do you think Christmas is a time when we should be greedy?

I didn’t even look at his face but I could tell by the tone of his voice that it was a sincere question. I could picture the wheels turning in his head trying to figure out what was right and what was wrong.

Oh how this question convicted me. See I had just spent the last week scourging for Black Friday deals coming up on Thanksgiving day. I had made a mental and physical list of all the things I wanted for myself and the kids. I knew I was greedy and it happened every single year around Thanksgiving time.

For those last two weeks I had repeatedly asked Jack what he wanted for Christmas. Grandparents and aunts and uncles wanted to know. I wanted to know! His answer was too simple: Legos. Nothing else. Not even a second or third item on his list! There was not even a specific Lego he wanted, he was pretty much happy with anything. And apparently this had not been good enough of an answer, so I continually asked him to think about it some more and get back to me. I needed more details and more ideas! Come on kid this is your golden opportunity to ask for anything you want… and all you can think of is a lego?

I didn’t answer his question right away but I circled back with him later that afternoon. I knew I couldn’t just give him the ‘politically correct’ answer because this savvy seven year old would see right through me. I knew I had been greedy myself and had bombarded him with questions about what he wanted. I may have said with words that we should be generous, but my actions were not saying the same thing.

That afternoon I told him that Christmas was a time to think about others. To think about the gift that Jesus is and that Christmas is a time to love on others less fortunate than us. I also told him it was easy to become greedy and that I myself struggled with it every year. I shared how the TV ads on toys made it tempting for us to want more and more things. And how hearing ‘What do you want for Christmas?’ over and over again would make us think more about us and less about others. That afternoon we prayed and asked God to change our hearts from takers to givers. And we talked about all kinds of practical ideas that we could do to love on others.

I’m not sharing this because there was a happy perfect ending. I have shopped online and still managed to spend quite a bit of time buying Christmas gifts since then. After all I do have to buy presents for family... but I am now reminded that my children are watching closely. And that as little as they are, they pick up on things quickly. My hope for them is that they will be generous young men (or women) when they grow up. I hope they will truly understand what Christmas is all about one day. And I pray that I will show them by example and not just by words.

On your 8th Birthday

Dear Andrew,

Today would’ve been your 8th birthday. This year it doesn’t seem as difficult as other years and that’s probably because my hands are full right now with your baby sister. Not that anyone would ever take your place, but it is a joy to hold a brand new life and marvel at the wonderful things God does. Thankfulness seems to surpass the grief this year.

I like to pause and remember on your birthday what a blessing you have been. Over the years your story has given us the opportunity to share our faith with others around us.  When tragedy strikes someone close by, we no longer turn the other way or shy away from the pain. Instead we can share our story - your story- as a testimony that God can bring good out of the most unthinkable of circumstances. When someone is hurting because they’ve lost a loved one, instead of saying ‘Just trust God!’ we can now understand their feelings of anger and doubt. And that it’s normal and not a sin to feel this way at times.

It is a blessing to be able to connect with the most broken hearted of people, and be able to walk alongside of them during their grief. These are roads that very few walk down upon and they can be very isolating. It is a privilege I never wished or asked for, but now that I’m here I wouldn’t give it back.

My heart changed the day you were born, but it changed even more the day you passed away. It had always been easy for me to trust the Lord when things were going good, but after you were gone I had to learn to trust God in dark places where life didn’t make sense. It wasn’t an easy process, it was hard and messy, imperfect, and certainly there were more bad days than good days. But God used that season to draw me closer to him and get to know some qualities about him I wouldn’t have known anywhere else. And when it’s all said and done, what I strive for in this life is to know God more, even if the process involves some difficult and hard places along the way.

The blessings that came from your life also came with a cost. My pregnancies since you’ve been gone have been very difficult. I’ve wrestled with fear of loss in all of them and wished I could’ve enjoyed them more. I thought about you every day during this last pregnancy. Even to this day I often wonder what life would look like with you in it.

These last three months have been joyful and difficult at the same time. I don’t take for granted the miracle of new life, but I also know how fragile it can be. During the newborn season I try so hard to be perfect- to make all the right decisions to protect this new little human that’s been entrusted to me- and I’m really hard on myself when I don’t make all those perfect decisions. I know it’s my own way of trying to be in control and prevent something bad from happening. Thankfully God extends His grace when I give in to worry and fear of losing another child. Because the fear is still there and I’m not sure it will ever fully go away.

Today I remember your life. I am so thankful for being able to hold you for those short 10 days, even with the countless tears that have come over the last 8 years. You were and are a great blessing, and I dream of the day when I will get to hold you again. 
"The Lord gives and He takes away, Blessed be the name of the Lord" Job 1:21

The Last Week

It seems surreal we are getting ready to meet Lillian in less than a week! While we are very excited there are other emotions that always seem to creep up the week before my due dates.

In my past pregnancies with Jack and Palmer it was difficult for me to allow myself to be excited. Because we had lost Andrew so unexpectedly after he was born, I didn’t want to go through the pain of cleaning up things for another empty nursery. I didn’t really talk to them in my belly like I did with Andrew, and when I did it was difficult and painful. I didn’t really post any pictures of my pregnancy with either. I was very private about both pregnancies.

In this pregnancy I have tried really hard to allow myself to be excited and it hasn’t come naturally. Not because she’s a girl, but Lord willing, because it will be my last pregnancy. I have many regrets of how I’ve done things in the past. I regret not enjoying my pregnancies more and staying so stuck in fear. I regret not getting ready for them as I should’ve, not singing and talking to them like I did in the past, not allowing myself to anticipate their arrival with joy.

Even after they were born, I regret wishing away that newborn season because it was just plain hard and exhausting. Looking back it went by in the blink of an eye and I wish I wouldn’t have looked so much forward to the future.

So this pregnancy has been different and I have enjoyed it more, much thanks to the help of friends and family. But as we get close to welcome her this time around, I am often reminded of Andrew. I have thought so much about him these last few weeks, multiple times a day. And I feel the same anticipation and excitement this time around as we did with Andrew… and it bring back all the memories I have of waiting for his arrival. There have been a few other things that have felt similar to my pregnancy with Andrew (and even Steve agreed with me the other night) that it has left me feeling unsettled and wondering how life will change after this baby. One way or another it will change significantly in five days, and I hope and pray that it ends with a healthy delivery and baby.

I sometimes wonder how I can miss Andrew so much even though he was only with us for 10 days. We have very little memories together other than our time at the hospital with him. We never got to know his laugh, his personality, or his perks. And yet somehow I miss him so so much all these years later. It is incredible how God gives us the ability to unconditionally love our children from the moment they are born, and even during pregnancy. I not only long for the short time we had together, but I think I also grieve all the dreams we had for him that didn’t come to happen. And so these days I miss him a lot.

Other than this mix of excitement, fear, and missing Andrew- physically I am doing ok. I didn't think I was going to make it to my due date (per my big belly, pressure, and increasing contractions) but I think I will probably make it after all. I don't have the energy to do much these days and I've been resting a lot so I don't go into labor early. 

Really appreciate everyone’s prayers for delivery next week. I don’t quite feel ready yet here at home, but I’m hoping that I’ll have time to wrap everything at home during the days I’ll have at home before delivery. My c-section is scheduled for Friday morning at 9am on April 22nd. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement!

Baby Briggs # 4: Boy or Girl?

We had our big ultrasound for baby Briggs this past Tuesday January 5th. I was 23 weeks and 6 days, and we mostly decided to wait until 2016 due to insurance reasons. While I would’ve been happy to wait until the baby was born to know (we never found out with Jack and I loved it!) Steve was very set on finding out this time around, so eventually I gave in.

Since the beginning of my pregnancy Jack was hoping for a girl and Palmer for a boy. Mom and dad were hoping for a baby human :)

After being blessed with three beautiful baby boys….




Baby Briggs # 4 is a…


We are so excited to welcome a baby girl!! I would’ve posted the pic of her bottom, but then who wants their first facebook picture to be of their butt right? We are thankful from the ultrasound she looked healthy and growing as she should be. I did ask Cathy (our ultrasound lady) to check multiple times since we were very surprised and didn’t quite believe her at first... We could tell from this ultrasound this baby has big hands and feet, just like her big brothers :)

And while we are excited to welcome a girl to our family, we would’ve been just as thrilled had we been blessed with a baby boy. (I have to say this because I don’t like comments like ‘Oh you finally got your girl!’ as if we were holding our breath hoping only for a girl). What an adventure and honor it would’ve been to raise little men to love the Lord. I so love being a mama to boys- doing all things boys like Star Wars, legos, and gun fights.  I can’t even fathom what princesses and dress-up will look like in this house, but I’m looking forward to that too.

We praise God for the gift of new life. He deserves all the honor and glory for the little miracles He creates! The verse below has always been a good reminder that God alone has the power to give forth new life- no matter how at times I wish things were under my control or go according to my plan. It has been encouraging during times when I've struggled to get pregnant or wrestled with worry during pregnancies. Truly He deserves all the glory, honor and praise.
'You are worthy our Lord and God  
to receive glory and honor and power
for you created all things
and by your will they were created and have their being'
Revelations 4:11