Yes, it's been a long time since I have blogged. This post is a long time coming and I'm really not even sure what to type. That has been a big part of why I haven't blogged in months. Some things need just the right words and some things cannot be put into words. It's when the two things merge into one that you find yourself in my shoes... wondering just what to type.

I have spent countless nights laying awake formulating this blog post. Not that I was losing sleep over it, that wasn't the case. Not that I've been stressed or anything over it, that is not the case either. I just didn't know how to put my thoughts into words. I didn't even really know what my thoughts were!

So, I suppose I'll just start typing. Is that okay?

2012 started off pretty great. We spent the beginning of the year with some time off to just focus on God and seek Him. It was such a much-needed time of refreshing and renewal! Oh, the wonderful moments that strengthened us and drew us closer to Him! What a blessing those days were to us! We returned rejuvenated and ready to carry out the plans He laid out for us. Then one after another, a blow was dealt that sent us reeling. Nothing major at all, really. But emotionally we were reeling in ways others couldn't see or understand. So many family things going on that tossed our little boat in the waves of it's path. My mother-in-law was the hardest of all.

This is where this post gets hard.

She has been ill for so long. We've watched her suffer from dementia and also her quickly failing health. Life was busy enough with two little guys. Homeschooling was keeping us very busy in itself. It seemed life was too busy to allow life to happen. Have you ever felt that way?

One morning, her Home Health nurse noticed something different about her during their regular therapy session. My father-in-law took her to the ER. They admitted her and ran tests, they thought she might have had a stroke.

As the afternoon crept in and turned to evening, our family gathered around her in her room waiting for the results to confirm the suspicions. Fern was disoriented and confused as to why she was in the hospital but, as usual, she maintained a lifted spirit, smiling at her children and grandchildren around her, giggling at the antics of the boys.

It was confirmed that she had had a small stroke and possibly had some previously. They reassured us that they were small and she'd be fine but were more concerned with her failing health and constant weight loss.

Due to the very busy schedules of the family on such short notice, I was the most flexible and was blessed to be able to stay the night with her that night. She and I shared stories and chatted into the night with many bursts of uncontrolled giggles. We also shared many hugs, held hands and hummed our favorite hymns. The biggest blessing was that I was able to tell her how much I appreciated her and love her. But even more of a blessing was that she did the same. I could hear from her lips of her love and acceptance.

A moment I will treasure the rest of my life.

As the night trudged on, we tried to sleep. But with each interruption for vitals and weighing, we'd share a smile and a hug. I made a point to tell her how much I loved her each time because with each waking, I could see a change. I hoped against hope that it was just because she was exhausted from the busy day and lack of sleep. However, by the time the morning light peeked in around the blinds, I could see that it was not an issue of exhaustion. By the time the early morning rounds began, she was unable to move her right hand and the right side of her face was paralyzed to the point that her words were no longer intelligible, slurred beyond understandable.

My heart completely broke.

Seeing her like this seemed to tear at every part of me inside. I ached and longed for the moments just 12 hours earlier when we could laugh and sing together. When we could say "I love you."

The next few days were a whirlwind as we wondered what the future held. The days rushed into weeks and then rolled over into months. We kept all our "plates" spinning, trying to balance a normal life, extra activities that piled up and the weight of what was before us as a family. Watching my father-in-law go through these days was especially difficult.

There were days when she seemed to improve but they were followed by days she seemed to be worse. We spent our time managing life and loving on her whenever we could. The boys didn't understand much more than "Grandma is sick" and it was hard for me to see Jeremiah confused at the status of one of his best friend's on the planet.

In April, she passed away and we miss her terribly. Not a day goes by that I don't miss her. She was a mother to me and I loved her as one. Things have been busy since, yes, but also different. We see things from a different perspective. We have struggled with so many things as we try to move on and accept that things will never be the same. But our faith is not wavering. God is still God, our Rock and Shield. Our great comforter. How blessed we are.

I feel like I've rambled aimlessly in this post. I felt the need to address some things so we can move forward with the blogging here. I have so much to catch up on here. So much has gone on around our home this year! I'm so thankful for my family and what they mean to me. I'm excited about the changes coming soon. I'm praying that we can glorify His Kingdom in every thing we do. Many exciting things to come!

Since a blog post is no fun without a picture, I'll include these snapshots of my boy when he fell asleep in my ugly chair in my office...