Monday, October 18, 2010

Take a Deep Breath

I cant believe that I am actually typing that things look good for Baby Carlson! This little one has defied the odds... and we have a strong growing baby with a strong beating heart despite the very poor test results previously. Ultrasound shows this little one growing right on track.
Now time for a deep breath.... and a whispered prayer of thanks to our Maker.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Things are not looking well for Baby Carlson #4. My hormone levels are dropping dramatically. The Dr says that we will need to wait and see but it looks like a threatened miscarriage. I am trying to be hopeful but am afraid to be hopeful becuase I dont want to be disappointed yet again. I want and love this baby so much already... as much as any of the other babies I have carried. I will continue to hope and pray............. and wait.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Surprise and Delight

After several months of hoping, we are pleasantly surprised to be expecting again! After the two miscarriages in the last year and a half, its a little scary.... but fingers crossed and prayers whispered that this baby Carlson makes it to our arms.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I am not Chicken Little

I am not Chicken Little...... Or am I? Certainly there have been times in my life when I have FELT just like him. I have never run around screaming " The Sky is falling! The Sky is falling!" but internally I have felt the turmoil and depression that comes from fear and anxiety that the worst will happen. God reminded me of this recently through a series of what I thought were unfortunate events but what I have decided in hind sight were strategic lessons from God. In my despair and inner turmoil, God has used scripture and key people to reveal to me something that I never recognized in myself and didn't even know was a hindrance in my walk with him and my relationships on earth.
In a tense moment I have always assumed the worst- THE SKY IS FALLING! But the truth is that I really just got hit on the head with an acorn. A minor bump, easily overcome. I am not a victim of my circumstances and do not need others to feel sorry for me and the lot I have been cast- so I have to quit telling myself that!!!
I was bought with a price, God created me, fearfully and wonderfully I have been made, God has great plans for me, a future full of prosperity, He makes my steps firm, therefore I will not stumble. Do you believe it about yourself? Or do you still think your sky falling?

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Happy Heavenly Birthday Faith

First breaths
A visit with Mommy
Hi little one,

Its your mommy here. Today is your 3rd birthday. We are remembering you here by lighting sparklers at dusk and having a little cake. As I have wondered the last two years, I wonder this year what your birthday party will be like in heaven. What does a three year old do in heaven for her birthday? Are there balloons and streamers and cake and games? I try to imagine what we would be doing here if you were with us on earth. I imagine your red hair would be long and curly by now, down to the middle of your back. Would you let me fix it in pretty ponytails and bows? or would you be like your sister and pull everything out? Would you have dainty narrow feet like your brother and sister or would you break the Carlson trend and have chubby toddler toes? What does your laugh sound like? Your brothers is a winding giggle and your sisters is a witch's cackle...
What is your favorite color there in heaven? Now that you have seen every color that God has created I bet you have quite a few? I imagine that perhaps you would like purple, a strong contrast to your strawberry hair. Sometimes I picture you in white and purple with ribbons tying back your curls.
I wonder what a three year old in heaven has her room decorated like? Do you change it every year?
Do you see the bubbles and balloons that your cousins release to heaven for you?
Do you hear the prayers that your brother says for you every night?
Do you hear your name when I whisper it on my lips?
Do you know each and every time I think of you each day?
I don't know what your life is like in heaven. I don't know what your life would have been like here on earth. I try to imagine both and it is a beautiful vision behind my closed eyes as I drift off to sleep. I DO know what life is like here without you in it and some days it is so very hard. But I also know just how much I love you and how happy I am that God let me have you to touch and cuddle and talk to for 9 days.
Happy Birthday dearest beautiful girl.
I love you Faith.

Always Yours,

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fill Me Up

This weekend, my dear friend Emily invited me to attend a Women's Conference at her church. Really I should say coerced. She was persistent in gaining my commitment to attend over the last three months- and I have to tell you I am SO thankful that she was.
It lasted for 3 days, although I only attended Friday and Saturday. I am so glad I was able to attend!
God absolutely filled up my heart. It is funny how life can feel so upside down, and in a moment, God can flip your world right side up. TO the heart that has no hope, God can fill it up with HOPE and love. In these last several months that have felt so dark and alone, God has shed light into my heart to remind me of his Love for me, of His plans for me, of the way I have been redeemed.
I was surprised this weekend to see how many of the lies of the devil that I have bought into and believed. Christ died on the cross, and sacrificed his life to REDEEM my life- of course he wants good things for me! Of course God wants me to be secure and confident- and blessed! God loves me, and He has more than one plan or dream for me. He has a lifetime of plans for me.
And if you are out there doubting that today, I just want to tell you- GOD LOVES YOU TOO. God created you. What God says, his word, its all true. The hurts of this life, the distractions, the disappointments, that is not God robbing us. that is the devil robbing us- but God can use those things for good- He can use those moments to pour love and peace into our hearts.
The bible tells us not to give the devil a foothold. But give God one. Let God have a foothold in your life, just open the door a crack and let Him get a foot in the door and show you how much you are loved.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Precious little one

Today was the due date of the precious baby that we lost to miscarriage back in November at 11 1/2 weeks. Leading up to today, the last few weeks have been a little bit sad for me as I have watched several people around me welcome their new little ones into their families. It reminds me of the little one that I dont have to hold in my arms right now... the sleep that I am still gloriously blessed with each night, the simplicity of feeding an almost 2 year old and a 5 year old who can hold their own forks, the baby gear and bottles that will remain packed away.... but I tell you that seeing those little ones be born is a blessing and a balm to my aching heart. What a precious and wonderful gift life is- a true miracle to be celebrated! If not for Cliff and I to welcome another baby into our family, then dear Lord, please let that blessing rain down on others!
Life is so full for us that sometimes it feels that the loss of that baby, whom I named Evin, is a world away. The sadness is there, in small waves it seaps in, but the fullness and blessing of our life today fills me up and although I have loss, I HAVE GAIN.
My good friend Tami reminded me some months ago that Ethan has Olivia to play with here on earth and Faith now has two siblings in Heaven with her. It calms my heart to imagine those three little ones running amuck in heaven, exploring the great garden, singing and rejoicing with the angels, hearing bedtime stories from Jesus himself. My heavenly children will not know sorrow or pain or loss the way that I have- and someday I will get to be with them again and they can fill me in on every wonderful day that heaven has brought to them.

But today, I will remember my precious little one.
Evin Carlson- Due June 14th 2010. Love and kisses baby boy.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A box full

Tonight, we learned that we can fit 11 people in our 6 person storm cellar. Six adults, Five kids(at least one of them screaming his head off too). We have been here 4 years, 3 tornado seasons, and this was the first time we actually had to take a trip down into the cellar. But everytime we have a storm, just to be safe, we put together a laundry basket of items to take into the cellar. Water, blankets, snacks, flashlights, diapers...
Tonight, as I hurried to make our basket and found out some neighbors would be joining us, all I could think about were the items that we have of Faith's that could be swept away in a tornado. I could kick myself that we hadn't bought a security lock box for them yet. I scrambled to grab her things and place them into a small cardboard box to take down to the shelter just in case.
I slid her memorial album in, her picture album, and the tupperware shoebox that has all the things that were hers at the hospital- her ID bracelet, her blanket, her unused micro preemie diapers, a clipping of her hair, and a caste of her footprints.
After the storm was over and the box was sitting on my kitchen table, I walked passed it several times as the evening wore on and I thought," I can fit all of my baby's belongings in a little cardboard box."

MY Baby.



I wanted more. A lifetime of memories and momentos. A room full that I would have to pack up when she moved away to college or to get married. Things I could drag out to show her children when they stayed the night. I want her drawings to hang on my fridge. I want her clothes to fill a closet in the extra bedroom. I want a toothfairy box with her first tooth. I want to step on her toys in the dark in the middle of the night. I want to take her tightly in my arms and hug her and whisper " I love you" and I want to feel her breathing against my chest. I want her to call for mommy over and over again from the other room while I try to just finish putting on my makeup.


Hope Less..... Hope More

Depression is an unpredictable thing. It can come at a time that you can expect it- after tragedy, loss, heartache, sorrow.... and it can come at the time that you least expect it- when life is busy, full, overflowing,.... blessed.
The last few months have been a rocky road for me. Sometime over the course of this vast winter I found myself in very pit of the belly of depression. I don't have one giant trigger that set it off.... rather, a multitude of smaller triggers that both stung me and overcame me in a way I hadn't expected. I have faced bigger more painful things in more desperate times....
but this winter my heart and my mind refused to listen as I tried to remind myself that my life is blessed, my life is full, and that I should be full of joy instead of sorrow.
Hopelessness is a scary word. But it is an accurate description of the hollowness I have felt in my heart over these last months.
I have been absent in writing and hesitant to share my sorrows and burdens here because depression is both debilitating and embarrassing. Its just not something that is easy to share... and if I ever did reach a day that I thought I could share it with the world wide web, I certainly didnt have the energy to sit down and write about it.
Because I am a christian, I recognize that my hope in Christ should be enough to have strength through even the darkest periods of my life and it has been embarrassing to me to know that my mind and my heart made me feel otherwise.
I have been doing lots of reading, lots of soul searching, and have humbled myself to the point of seeking professional help and thankfully, it's helping.
I am so thankful for the friends and family that have been praying for me and reaching out to me during this time. For their kind words of encouragement, for listening to me pour out my fears and anxieties, and for encouraging me to take care of myself so that I could get better for my family and for myself. I am thankful for my kind husband who sat with me evening after evening as I cried and held my hand and listened to my sorrow. A man who encouraged me each morning to get up, to get moving and sent me on my way each day armed with a warm cup of coffee. I am also thankful for a God who listens, who comforts, and who cares about my every need. A God who is there even when I refuse to see him.

Regardless of how I change, he is always constant.... and he is always always holding on... even when I have been overcome with hopelessness and let go.
David Crowder says it best as he sings " When waters rise and hope had flown, oh my soul. In Joy and pain, sun and rain, you're the same, oh you never let go. Perfect love that never lets go"

I am so thankful that he never lets go.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

She Got the Call Today

She got the call today
one out of the grey
and when the smoke cleared
it took her breath away
She said she didn't believe
it could happen to me
I guess we are all
just one phone call from our knees

It was an early morning start for me. I was tired and nervous. I was almost too tired to feel my nerves but I was so nervous that no level of exhaustion could quite wipe away the steely feeling my nerves left in my stomach, tightly knotted and leaving my stomach feeling a little queasy.
This pregnancy had left me quite worn out and the travel schedule with work didn't help the overwhelming waves of exhaustion that caused me to crash down onto my couch each evening as I listened to Cliff give Ethan a bath as I drifted off to sleep.
But this morning was a special morning and also one that left me quite anxious. I was traveling to the city to help lead a training class for new associates. I was insanely nervous at the idea of speaking in front of a group, but was equally passionate about the importance of this training and this created enough drive for me to try to push my nerves aside. This was my first time to help lead the training and I was not as familiar with the materials and the flow of the class as I would like but I was determined to do it with passion and enthusiasm.
The fun part of leading the training course was that it was themed to make it more enjoyable. The theme was Space and I got to pick from two costumes to wear upon my arrival. The options were Obi Won Kenobi and Princess Leia and with my ever growing belly, I quickly determined that the flowing white robe of the Princess would be the most comfortable route to go. I went to the bathroom and put on the over sized white robe over my clothes and adjusted the cinnamon roll wig on my head, making sure to secure the cinnamon buns over each ear with a bobby pin.
I went back to the conference room and helped to finish prepping the room and joked around with a few people that worked at the business office. Just before class was set to begin I looked at my phone which I had already put into silent mode and saw that I missed a call around 7:50 am. I thought that it seemed very odd and checked my voicemail to find a message from my OB/GYN. The message asked me to call him back as soon as I could. The nerves that were already present in my stomach began to flutter a little bit faster but I pushed that feeling aside and told myself he probably just wanted to discuss my next appointment. I called his office back and the nurse said he was in with a patient but he would call me back. No sooner was I headed back to the training room and my phone began to ring again.
I went quickly back to the little kitchen and paced nervously as the Dr began to explain to me that something came back out of the ordinary on the ultrasound image. Something was wrong with our baby. I sat down at the little round table in my princess leia costume with the white robes spilling around my dangling feet and the cinnamon bun wig itching my head and nervously took notes as he explained to me that our baby had stomach organs or intestines growing outside her stomach. I wrote down what he was telling me as accurately as I could, trying to spell out words like omphalocele and gastroshisis so I could look them up later. I was too shocked to asked questions and my doctor seemed to have prepped for this because he calmly explained that it was too early to know what we were dealing with and he had already set up an appointment with a specialist for me. I hung up with the Dr and sat at the table for a moment in a daze. I leaned my face into my hands to try to hold back the hot tears from my tired eyes but they spilled over and unto the sleeves of the princess leia tunic. I knew there was no way that I could stay at work and tried to put on a brave face so that I could face my co-workers and let them know I was leaving to go home.
I walked around the corner to tell the Admin that something was wrong and I had to go home and as I passed another smaller conference room one of the associates there caught my eye. After I quickly explained to the admin that something was wrong with the baby and I needed to go home and headed back down the same hall, the associate in the conference room stopped me. Even in my shocked state I knew that I did not want to be rude, even though I really didn't want to make small talk with anyone.
"Hey Micayla!" They exclaimed boisterously. "How are you?!" I tried to control my voice so that the emotions wouldn't spill forth. "Okay." I said making eye contact quickly and looking away. " Geez," He joked " You are acting like something bad happened or something." I was floored at this and didn't know what to say. I don't even remember my response or how I got to my car and made the hour drive home. I spent the rest of the day in shock and an immense sense of dread as I researched as much information online as I could.
I didn't understand how this could be happening to me, TO US. I cried out to God, prayers and questions swirling in my head as the helpless tears rolled down my check over and over. This would be the beginning of many many days and weeks and months of tears and I would soon learn what it would be like to have crying become a part of my daily routine- so much a part of it that I swore off makeup in the coming months rather than reapply it several times a day.
And so our difficult journey had begun- with one simple phone call- 3 years ago on this day. March 14, 2007

Friday, March 12, 2010

The start of a journey

Three years ago, on this date March 12 2007, it was a Monday. A sunny Monday and a hectic Monday at work. Cliff was taking half a day off from work at his job in the city because we were having a second level ultrasound for our second child. Somehow we managed to schedule the ultrasound for around 17 or 18 weeks which we found out later was about 2 or 3 weeks earlier than what is the norm. I am not sure how we managed to get into the ultrasound a few weeks early but given the prognosis we recieved a few days after the ultrasound I am glad that someone somewhere messed up on the scheduling. I like to look back and think that God had a hand in that mixup. I had received an ultrasound or 2 before this date, but they had been basic ultrasounds on the doctors old machine at his office. This was the official level 2 ultrasound that would tell us if we were having a boy or a girl!
I managed to leave the office just in time to make it over to the ultrasound room at the hospital and as I drove over there my mind was preoccupied with the thought that I really wanted to have a girl but I reminded myself over and again that I would love a boy too and not to be disappointed if that's what we were having.
The ultrasound technician was very pleasant and seemed very knowledgeable. She spent a long time looking at some of the images and said she just couldn't tell if it was a boy or a girl. She even called a colleague into the room to look at the ultrasound screen. They seemed to take a lot of images of the babies midsection and the ultrasound tech assured us it was because she had a hard time capturing it just right. I began to grow a little nervous but remained oblivious to any problems. I was so happy to see images of our child's face and foot which they printed out for us to keep. I left the ultrasound disappointed that we wouldn't know if we were going to have a boy or a girl for the rest of the pregnancy( unless we could talk the doctor into another ultrasound which I was already plotting in my head as we left) but very happy to see my little one. We would not receive the full ultrasound report for a few days yet, so our world remained worry free and well adjusted.
It seems ironic to me when I look back at the dates that we had Faith's level 2 ultrasound on March 12th and received the news of complications from the ultrasound report on March 14th- with National Trisomy 13 awareness day smack in the middle of those two days on March 13th. But I will share more about the day I received that call from the Dr on March 14th in a few days.
Today, I will just think about the moment that I first saw my daughters face(via ultrasound) and remained innocent to the knowledge of her difficult journey- our difficult journey- ahead.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

He is gone fishin' and he ain't comin' back

Today my family and I traveled to Muskogee Oklahoma to say goodbye to my dear Grandpa Wayne. We met the rest of the family there, all his children and grandchildren, and spread his ashes at Spaniard Creek, his favorite fishing hole.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

From pleasing them to pleasing Him

I am a people pleaser. I want people to like me. I don't want people to be angry with me. I have always been this way since I can remember and it is one of the things I like least about myself. I have spent many nights tossing and turning as I play a conversation over and over again in my head, analyzing the things that were said and wondering if I said it wrong and if I will ever get it right. It is one of the major sources of stress in my life. As long as I am confessing one of my dirty little secrets, I might as well just go ahead and say that I do this with even the most positive and healthy of my relationships. Even the friendships that have never had a misstep or ill word bring with them a lot of anxiety and speculation over my words and actions and how my friend perceives me.Ridiculous isn't it? As I write this blog even I can see how illogical that thought process is.
Being a people pleaser sucks.
One of the encouraging and wonderful things that God is teaching to me in my current bible study is that all the time and energy that I put into pleasing other people needs to be redirected at pleasing Him. All this time I have been longing for people to like me and God LOVES me. He loves me extravagantly. He loves me unconditionally and so completely that he sent Jesus to die so that I could have a relationship with Him. He loves me regardless of the stupid things I might say and regardless of how many times I am so busy in my day that I forget to acknowledge His friendship. He is simply the best friend I could ever have and He loves me for exactly who I am... after all, He created me.
God, I thank you for creating me exactly as I am. May my heart seek to please you and know you above all others.

Eternal Friendship

It has been three weeks since I posted about my struggles with the ebb and flow of a friendship that is very near and dear to my heart. It is one of the longest standing friendships in my life and although I was able to pour some of my thoughts and feelings out into that post, my friend has not been far from my thoughts. I think of her everyday, and I wonder what I did or didn't do that caused a crack between us, and I wonder even further still how that crack turned into a chasm. I have a lot of one sided conversations in my head.... and occasionally I have a breathe of relief. The relief comes simply from the thought that perhaps all the volleying between the highs and the lows is done for a bit and I can rest.
In this time of reflection and angst and absence there is one thing that emerges as a simple and bright truth. God is using this time to reacquaint me with parts of Him. God is able to take the absence of my friendship and redirect my heart to Him.
God uses LOSS in our life to transform us.
You would think I know this lesson by now and would learn to embrace loss. But for all that I have learned of the ways that God works, loss is simply too painful of a thing for me to seek it out.... However, I am grateful to God that he uses those times in my life that empty me and leave me hollow to fill me back up with something new and glorious and just a little bit different than what was there before.
God, I praise you for transforming my heart again and again. I thank you for the eternal friendship you offer me, always.

Fill it up and Pour it Out

Spirit what do you say?

I have been in the desert many times in my life, spiritually speaking. It is an easy place to wander upon and all it takes is a few small misguided steps(or unguided I should say) to lead me on a wandering trail that leads into the heart of a dry and dusty place. One would think that I have been there enough times to recognize where I was going or where I was when I got there... but just the same... each time I wander far enough away from God to recognize the barren land I am headed for, I am surprised.

In my current bible study I am learning a little bit about the spirit, the Holy Spirit that lives in me and the fruits that my spirit can produce. The study suggests that when my spirit is dry and parched, then it will verbally manifest itself in ugly ways- gossip, complaining, cussing, and hateful words. As I look back on moments in my life when I have fallen into all the above, I am embarrassed to realize that not only was I lacking in my faithfulness and attention to God, but by my words, my dry and rusty spirit was evident to everyone else as well.
A spirit that is hungry for time with God but is neglected also has symptoms, just like an empty stomach rumbling for food. When our spirit is hungry and we choose not to feed it the Bread of Life, it will begin to manifest physical symptoms such as lustful thoughts,envy, anger, resentment, selfish ambitions, irritability, impure thoughts, etc. On the contrary to a parched and dry spirit, a spirit that has been recently satisfied by God will praise God, sing His word, and will offer words to sustain the weary.
I think the later sounds the best of all three don't you?
I dont want to wonder in the parched and dry desert. I want to drink the water of Life.
I pray that as I continue to seek Him, I make quality time to spend with God so that He can fill my spirit and satisfy me like nothing else in this life can.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Today was the day my fourth child was due. I have spent several of my days this month volleying between two thoughts: wondering what that little miracle of life would have looked like and what it would have felt like to hold her in my arms the day she was born, and wondering what it will be like when I get to meet her, hand in hand with her sister Faith, in Heaven. As much as my heart hurts for her, I have to thank God that I am so incredibly blessed with a wonderful family here on earth and in Heaven too. I look forward to the day that I will get to know my heavenly children.

Arin Avery Carlson- due January 18 2010, miscarried May 2009

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Seasons Do Change

Last spring I wrote a blogpost about a friend that was going through some changes in her life. At the time I had the strongest feeling in my gut that those changes would cause her to move far away. It was a hard season to bear becuase we had grown incredibly close once again after a hard winter in our friendship and I didn't have that many close friends. I had grown acustom to the season that we were in which was a fragrant summer of blooming friendship.I had grown dependent on her once again. It turned out that she didnt have to move becuase she found a new job in the same town. This change filled my lungs with a big sigh of relief.
Fast forward six months and I realize what my heart was telling me back then. Those feelings that I was getting deep in my bones had nothing to do with my friend moving and had everything to do with our friendship entering a period of dormancy, winter. I dont know what caused the seasons to shift so swiftly from a never ending summer to the a bitter winter.... but there the seasons lie. Rather than resisting the change in the climate and the absence of the beauty of our friendship... I have decided to buckle down for the winter and embrace this season in our friendship for what it is- a dormant season.

Friday, January 08, 2010

All the worlds A Stage

I went to dinner with a dear friend tonight in which each second was filled with words and deep conversation. One sentence toppling over another- no moments to get a word in edgewise- you just had to make your edgewise. Our conversation fell to blogging and she explained to me once again the wonderful title that she has for her blog.
She explained that so often we live our life as if we are on stage.... that everything is in show or ends up being a show for everyone or someone...... and that the intent behind the name was to let the reader know that her blog was not going to be a show and that she would not be writing what people want to read or just what she thinks will paint a pretty picture of her life but what she really feels in her heart.
This conversation reminded me of my readers and my blog and the disclaimer that I should share.
I dont write my blog to paint a pretty picture of my life. Although I do have quite a love affair with words and may write something for the beauty and the flow of the sentence, I most certainly never want to write something that will lead the reader to believe I am living a fairy tale life. The truth is that I absolutely am not. And I am not living my life in a modern day tragedy either. My life is simply my life and I write my blog as little glimpses of that life- of my thoughts, my feelings, my reflections, my dreams, etc. I write what I write the way I write becuase I want to tell the story right.... that is correct I mean.
So as you read through my blog, think of it more of an intimate poetry reading from the poet rather than a show on the stage..