Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Well I gave the blog a new look hope you all like it!  Again I continue to allow this blog to reflect my life since Ethin.  This truly has been my journey through grief.  It has not been an easy journey and it is and always will be the longest journey of my life.  By God's grace alone I am still here and able to be much further than I ever thought I would be.
Losing Ethin still affects me today just differently today than it did the day that it happened.  Different is the key word in what I wrote.  It has not gotten better nor any easier it has just gotten very different.  My life is so very different than anything that I ever imagined it or dreamed it to be.  There is not a day that goes by that I do not wish that I was the mother of four living children, but I am always thankful that I am the mother of four children whether they are here with me or not.
My life today is different and some of the ways that it has become different are not so unbearable anymore.  I have even grown accustomed to this different.  There are ways where it is still the same too.  For instance I still deal with my grief mostly on my own.  As close as Phil and I are that is one area that I do not just open myself up to him.  He does not understand and I can not make him understand.  I still rely fully on God to ease the pain inside my heart when it becomes more than I can bear.  I still help my children through it on their bad days alone as well.
The areas that are different are not all bad different.  Phil is a huge good different in my life now.  God is bigger in my life today than He ever was before and that is a great thing.  I have learned to rely more on God in the last three plus years than I ever did in my first 26 years.  I have met some of the most amazing women and am very blessed to know them and without losing Ethin I never would have.  Ethin changed my whole life, but not in bad ways.
Ethin has been on my mind a lot lately.  I am not sure why, but he just is.  I have been looking at pictures of him and trying to remember what it really felt like to hold him.  I guess that is one thing that is gone and I can not really remember the way it felt to hold him.  To feel him fall asleep on my chest and feel his little body move against me.   I really do miss him and that is OK that I do.
Life here is fast paced and constantly moving!  I think that sometimes Phil and I are not sure if we are coming or going.  Phil is coaching Owen's football team.  Thankfully they have one more game and then they will be done till next fall.  However winter means Owen and Jayde will be playing basketball, Jonathin will be wrestling, and Jessa, Owen, Jonathin, and Jayde will be working on softball and baseball again.  I help with softball and Phil helps with baseball.  In the winter it is all indoor training.  The way I see it we will have about two weeks between football and winter sports!  I started bowling every other Saturday night and will be doing that until spring....It is fair to say this home would not know function without sports; it would however have so much more time for other things.....who am I kidding there is nothing better than watching these kiddos play and for us to coach them!
This past Saturday Jessa was able to experience her first Michigan State football game at Spartan Stadium!  It was wet and cold and we lost so that kinda stunk, but man was it great to be there with her watching the game!  Phil gave her some money so she could buy hot chocolate and a souvenir.  We went with Phil's dad Phil so for me to know she was there with me and her papa was also secretly the coolest thing ever to me!
I know I jumped around a bit, but experiencing this past weekend with Jessa was awesome, but also a bittersweet memory that I can not ever share with my son.  These are the moments that as they come I am reminded that the world goes on; life goes on even when you think it should stop.  These are the moments that I am reminded of what I have and what I do not have.  I am thankful for what I have, but I miss what I do not have.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Firsts Still Happen

So life here is crazy as normal.  I am loving life and the experiences I am having for example I went to my first MSU game for this season and it was under the Spartan lights!  I was able to go thanks to my boyfriends dad and a friend that sits by us at Spartan Stadium.  So we got an extra ticket to the Notre Dame vs. Michigan State and I was able to experience my first MSU game of the season with my amazing boyfriend!!!
Phil and I at the ND vs MSU game September 15, 2012
 I have come to realize that while I am getting to experience some "firsts" there are still some first things that start to happen that I am not getting to experience.  Weird how that as time has passed I am learning that there are always going to be things that I am missing out on.  The big one this fall as school started I had friends that sent there children off to their first day of school.  This is something that I had forgotten would come to pass.  This is an experience that I have experienced with Jessa, Jonathin, and Jayde.  It is however an experience that I did not get to go through with Ethin.  As I looked at pictures of my friends sending their children off to school a small part of my heart ached as I did not get to send Ethin off to school.
I think the general misconception that I had after that first year was over is that I would finally not have more firsts, but I do.  I still have firsts that will not happen.  Life has seemed to level out, but there will always be someone missing.  As life has continued to move I still think often of Ethin and the life we were supposed to have.
I have also realized that there will never be a good reason that he is gone and I will never stop missing him or wanting him here, but I do know that while the pain is there God will always give me enough Grace to get through it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Good News Always Feels Great!

Well last week in our home we had good news to share, but had to wait until everyone involved knew.  There really is something fun about sharing a secret with Phil that only we knew!  I think what was so nice about it was knowing it was something that just we shared even if only for a few days.  It also did not amaze me how many people emailed me or called to ask if we were getting married!  LOL  We are not getting married YET.  However we have in great length talked about it!  So back to the good news...
The backstory........Phil and I have been together for over two years now.  In those two years I have fallen completely in love with this man.  However there are things about him that I love more than others.  For instance I love his dedication & committment to whatever he is doing, the drive he has to not just be the best but to be better than the best, the way he is all in or nothing.  I see these traits in him all the time with our kids, when he coaches, a house/yard project, and a lot with his job. 
Phil works for a very well known bank.  He is always on extra projects, volunteering at activities, giving presentations.  His job requires him to go to Ohio for a week at a time and has required him to spend weeks in other cities.  At best not including coaching or sleeping time Monday through Friday Phil has maybe 15 hours a week that can be dedicated to the kids and I however normally he will work from home leaving only 10 hours for us.  I never try to complain about this as I know his job is very important to him.
Phil is also very goal orientated when it comes to his job.  He has a ten year plan to be at the corporate headquarters for the bank he works for.  (Right now he in Grand Rapids which is the Michigan corporate offices).  Well about 2 months ago he came home from work and told me his boss had put in a two week notice and he was going to post for the job.  I immediately began praying that God would prepare Phil for his interviews and give Phil the knowing that he could do this.  Two weeks ago Phil had a conference call interview with the corporate bosses in Cinncinnati.  That day I prayed that Phil would have the right answers and that the interviewers would make the right choice.  The following day Phil interviewed face to face with his old boss and again I just prayed that he would do well and feel God's prescence that no matter how it went, it was God's plan not his.  
These last couple weeks I have prayed that if Phil was to have the job we as a family would follow that, but that if Phil having that job did not fit as God's plan for us that He would lay understanding in our hearts.  Phil and I both wanted this for him.  Well last week Thursday while Phil was finishing his vacation the phone rang and it was the HR department from his work to tell him that they had chosen him for the job!  Phil got the job and he even said he did not think he was going to.  I told him I just knew he would that I had prayed so much for this and I knew how much he deserved it!
So today Phil starts in his new position at work.  This means there is no boss in Grand Rapids for him. He will report to the people in Ohio.  It also means that there will be less family time.  It does also bring him one step closer to the goal he has set to one day be in Cinncinati!  Yes I guess eventually I will leave MI and go to OH.  We will not move there till the kids are graduated so I guess we have a few years, but I am very proud of him and I am very thankful for the answered prayers!  God has answered so many prayers this past week for us.  
I know you were all hoping our good news was wedding bells, but not yet!  
And just cuz I finally got these pictures downloaded here is Phil and I at the Chicago Cubs vs Detroit Tigers  game in June at Wrigley Field!

Love to you all,

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Field Of Dreams

It has been a picture taken two years prior to this and it is a picture that was taken this year?  Start guessing now and at the end of the post I will share a picture!
So it has been discovered that Jessa is a very good catcher at 10 years old.  A very natural ability to do this job on the field!  She went to All-Stars and caught 6 innings there as well as caught 2-3 every game we played.  She plays shortstop when she is not behind the plate.  Which she also fields well.  However it was her catching skills that everyone began to talk about.  And so in July after softball season was done she went to Michigan State University catchers camp!  I wanted to share this picture of her....
Here she is sitting in the dugout at Secchia Field....
MSU softball is also a big deal to my little ten year old as she imagine it is a MSU fan.  She has always wanted to be a veterinarian and wants to go to MSU for her education and play softball for them!  She was able to meet the coaches of Spartan softball; Head Coach Jaquie Josephn who Jessa said she was scared of and she was great to watch, but honestly she intimidated me a lot!  She was awesome though! I was able to get a few greatideas to help me coach my teams next season.  However Jessa worked with Assistant Coach Jessica Bograkos most of the day and loved her!  It was fun to watch and the Spartans softball program put on a great camp for the girls.
For Jessa the day was so much more than drills!  This day was a dream for her to play on Secchia Field where the Spartans play.  For her to work with a coaches that she truly admires was a great feeling.  Jessa has every intention of continuing to play softball behind the plate and hopes that one day she will be scouted to play for MSU.  Until then she'll play for Newaygo.  When we got home from camp that day she said, "Mom, the field was so big and the stands it felt so real to be there catching behind the Spartan plate.  Ya know mom that is my field of dreams there at that stadium!"  Keep Dreaming Jessa dreams come true!
In other fields of dreams does anyone have a guess about the other picture I wanted to share with you?
Of course it is Phil and I at our Annual Donate Life Tigers game.  This is the 3rd year that we went to this game and look we are still in love and happy!  (Note the left hand on chest still no ring!)  The day was hot and I do not mean a little I am talking a game time temperature of 100 degrees!  We were able to see some great friends; Schomakers, Butchers, & the Spehn's.  We were also able to see a shutout game on our field of dreams as the Tigers fell 0-13 against the dominating Angels......YIKES!!!
Phil and I also went to Wrigley Field this summer and watched the Tigers and the Cubs.  This series of games at Wrigley Field only happens every six years so it was awesome to be there!  Oh and we did watch Justin Verlander pitch as well as the Tigers beat the Cubs.  
I would say over all we had a summer filled with our fields of dreams!  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What Do You Say?

In the last 3 years I have come across many parents that have lost their children now.  parents who are bereaved less time than me and some longer.  I have also seen friends I love dearly lose their children.  Honestly having to bury your own child should be a crime.  While it breaks my heart when I meet any parent who has had to face this awful task I have found in the last three years that is the moms I know personally that hurt the worst for me.
This is not about me and I do not want to sound selfish, but it hurts not just because I remember all to well what it feels like to plan a funeral I never imagined I would, but I feel like I am supposed to know what to say to them and I do not.  I never know what to say to parents who have had to face this awful loss.  As a parent who lost my son I know what not to say, but have difficulty finding the right words to say.  I never know what to say, because really there is nothing I can say that will make it easier.  
This is not just a random thing today.  A friend of mine passed away this week and his funeral is on Saturday.  His name is Jonathan and he had the most infectious smile, gave the best hugs, extremely respectful, and never had a problem expressing himself.  I have bought many of Jessa's clothes from his little sister who also helped raise money for EHSB.  His mother was my boss for 3 years and we have always kept in contact.  I know his whole family, but my heart breaks the most for his mom.  I just can not seem to find the words for her.
I have another friend that lost her young son 2 years ago.  My daughter Jayde and her son Gagge went to school together and I helped her coach his soccer team one season (learned he had a CHD) which is how I met her.  To this day I do not know what to say to her.  She is still very heart broken.  I love her and can not make this better for her.  No amount of conversations will ease the pain.  So what am I supposedd to do for these friends; What Do You Say?
The part of me that wants them to know the truth wants to blurt it out, but that seems harsh.  The part of me that just wants to ease their pain wants to say whatever they need to hear.  Of course I want to tell them how sorry I am that I know the pain, but I do not know their pain exactly.  I so wish that I knew what to say.  I so wish that these things just didn't happen.....


Monday, August 20, 2012

I Have Missed This.....

Well when I first looked at this blog and seen that I have not blogged in so long I was fairly taken back as I remember how vital writing was to me when this journey on blogging/carepages started.  I have said many times in the last few months that I missed writing.  I guess it is time to just get back to it.  Not sure where to start after all this time has passed, but I guess a good catch up for starters would pry be a nice start for all of you right?!
Jessa is going to start middle school in two weeks....I am nerve racked that my first born is going to be in middle school already!  Orientation is next week for her and I really wish she was not growing up so fast!  She is so funny and caring!  I am still amazed at the way she is.  She had a very successful softball season this past spring moving into a catchers position!  She made it to All-Stars and then went to Michigan State's softball catchers camp in July.  She is also learning that you can be fashionable and modest at the same time!
Jonathin starts 4th grade in two weeks.  He is excited about his teacher and I am fearful that him and Owen (Phil's son) in the same class may be a bad thing!  Time will tell....Otherwise Jonathin had a not as successful baseball season, but enjoyed being on Phil's team.
Jayde starts 3rd grade in a couple weeks and that means she is in the big elementary school.....Hard to believe that she too is venturing into a new school.  She had her last year of coach pitch baseball and will venture into softball next spring and has also decided that she wants to play basketball.  She is growing to be quite the athlete.
Which I guess brings me to Phil....Well I am happy to report that we are still together.  We are still just dating.  I look at the last two plus years with him and boy has some of it been challenging.  I suppose that helps me to appreciate the fact that I would have only wanted to share it with him.  He is still my best friend, my favorite team mate, and honestly he holds the key to my heart.  However when I say that it has been trying it has truly had its moments of trials, but has also had moments of pure joy! We have shared many adventures together and I hope there are many more to come, but there are times it seems to me that I can not get past the part that truly wants to marry this man and share all of my life and family with him.  More often than not I am very torn by this subject....Any advice would be greatly appreciated and yes he knows I want to get married.....
Alright so June marked three years that Ethin has been gone.  Hard to imagine three years went by so fast yet so slowly! I still miss him very much and have a hard days, but my life has truly gone on.  My J Triplets and I still speak his name often.  For Phil it is a hard thing for him to comprehend, but he tries his best though his words are usually not good.  He has slowly learned to say  nothing and just wrap me in his arms and listen.  Hard to believe where my life is and all because of Ethin's life.....
Ethin's life has taught me great lessons.  I have for one learned that the only healing I will ever get does come from my Heavenly Father.  He has cried so much for me and with me.  I am His child and He has loved me through this.  I also have learned that no matter how long a life is they all hold a deep purpose in His plan.  I have come to the conclusion also that my purpose no matter how big or small will take a long time to fulfill. While I am a bereaved mother I still find that I never know what to say to other bereaved parents which breaks my heart.  To comprehend the fullness of losing Ethin is still something I deal with.  It has never gotten easier, but the heart stabbing pain has lessened with time; though I am not saying it does not still hurt, because it does.
God has perfectly crafted my life.  He has put everyone in it that I would need!!  I am greatly looking forward to school starting, because that means women's Bible study starts too.  We will be studying Esther with Beth Moore!  God has greatly blessed my life and I am thankful to Him who is my Rock and Refuge!

God Bless and Keep Always,


Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Well I guess Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday Tater Tot, Happy New Year, MSU won the Outback Bowl, Happy Valentine's Day, Happy St. Patrick's Day, and MSU won the Big 10 tournament!!!!  I think that catches me up, but not sure?!  LOL   It really has been a very long time since I last wrote wich strikes me as odd seems that this used to be my biggest escape from life.  Allowing the Spirit to work through me and type on my computer something that needed to be said.  Whew that was winded!  
Well Thanksgiving was alright here we all are and I mean all of us like a family Phil, the kids, his parents, and I!!
 So in the back there is me, Phil and Rylee, middle row Jayde, Jonathin, Owen, Jessa, and in the front GP & Papa.....The boys clearly not thrilled about pictures, but otherwise not a bad bunch!
 This is Phil and I with our kids minus Jonathin who refused to take another picture!  We might be Lions fans! LOL we had to wear our jerseys for the annual Lions Thanksgiving Day game!
Rylee Phil's daughter and I....This girl sure is something special, but someone should have warned me that teens are different than children!!!  Boy do I love her though!!

A nice dinner just the two of us after Thanksgiving!!!
Phil and I at the Outback showing EHSB support to Faith's Angels

Then there was Christmas and 5 kids at Christmas Whoa that was a lot!!!
 My kiddos at Christmas; Jessa, jonathin, and Jayde
Phil and celebrating holidays with him is different

Merry Christmas from us to you!

Michigan weather has been very weird this year so outdoor winter family pictures have no snow, but we did not freeze!!!!  Here are a few of those then the blog cuz we will be all caught up!

Jessa, Me, Jonathin, and Jayde

 Walking the Bridge
 Sitting by the creek
 We love MSU!!!  Family hats!
Too cute!  Cost me $5 but I got the shot!

OK So now we are brought to present day!  As you can see the J Triplets are getting big and growing like weeds.  They are all doing well in school and getting ready to start softball and baseball.  Our spring is always busy with sports for them and me!
I guess I felt compelled to write today as I continue to have random thoughts about so many things.  I have been missing Ethin a great deal lately and so badly wish he were still here with me on Earth.  It has still never gotten better always and continually gotten different.  And life is different than what I dreamed it would be, but we have found our new normal.  God truly walked me through this heartache and I am so thankful for that.  
Ethin would be 3 now and it still hurts to think about him, but I am still overly joyed when I think about his time with Jesus and what is going on up there.
So this week I found out some things about my biological mother that made me cringe.  Something I have never talked about is my mother as the way I grew up was so bizarre, abusive, and honestly tragic.  It really was like one of those nightmares you read about in books.  As I learned more about her and the things she did in the last few days it is no wonder I have tried to forget her.  
It got me to thinking though what if what is wrong with her is genetic.  What if I myself could become like that?  I know I never wanted kids because of her, but then I had them and I just knew I never wanted to be her.  Having this stuff come up this week though has stirred many emotions and memories and nightmares for me.  
All in all I think my biggest thing right now is why did God let so much happen to one person?  How is it that my entire life has been on tragedy after another?  I do know that while it all happened to me I look at it and think there is no way.  My sister in law told me today that I am a survivor and she is right I am a survivor and it all happened, but it also made me the woman, mother, friend, and person that I am.  God shaped me from all the tragedy into this.  Whatever this is, it is me!