Christmas 2005: A Year of Hope

“Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love, and the future to God’s providence.” — Augustine

We have had an amazing year this year. As two very separate families who came together on May of 2004, we continued our blending this year. We had our ups and downs, our joys and our tragedies. We have explored old traditions and started some new ones together.

Our three teenage boys have really settled into Redding life. They love their schools and get way too many phone calls. Do all teenagers talk on the phone every minute of the day? It seems like the only sounds we hear in our house are the phones ringing and three teenage boys yelling out “I got it! It’s for ME! Mom, tell him to get off the phone!”

Zachary is the leader of Sequoia Middle School’s Christian club, called “Grace Abounds”. He works hard all week putting together the messages that he delivers every Friday to his fellow students. It is so amazing to see him growing his leadership skills and loving Jesus! He loves his cat Peanut Butter, listening to music, nerd bowling with his youth group, and playing on his X-Box with friends. He has been to the emergency room for a broken nose, finger, and foot this year, one concussion, and strep throat with a fever over 104!

Ben is very active in the Christian club at Shasta High School. He was on the swim team this year and even earned a letter! His favorite sport, though, is definitely wrestling. He loves climbing trees, playing X-Box, and eating Spaghetti-Os! Ben has had terrible outbreaks of poison oak twice this year, a chest x-ray for possible broken ribs and we won’t even mention how the magnets with red, white and blue flashing lights became lodged in his sinuses! The ER doctor was very amused!

Christopher’s is a Junior at Shasta High School. He loves playing on the computer, selling stuff on EBay, and building his experiments in the backyard! Chris has had ER trips for his racing heart, injured wrists, and back pain.

Jen’s parents have moved up to Redding this year! That is so great. Jen’s dad is living in his RV just outside in the driveway. This has been an excellent way for the boys to have grandpa close by, yet gives grandpa some space to get away! Jen has loved having her mom and dad close enough to see whenever she wants!

Charles’ started this year employed by H&R Block. He loved that job, but we knew it was coming to an end on April 15 (go figure). Then he started working for Valley Yellow Pages. He very much enjoyed the work of designing ads but disagreed with some of the office politics, so when H&R Block called in August asking him to come back for a full time year round job with benefits and a new title of Assistant Office Manager, he was thrilled. He has been teaching the class he took for the first time last year and enjoying every minute of it. Though he is having a tough time fitting in with everyone else’s habit of needing to be rushed to the hospital! His claim to fame would only extend to lots of dental work. Hey, he is trying to fit in!

Jenny resigned from her job as the Domestic Violence Specialist at Child Protective Services. She is now enjoying spending more time at home along with chauffeuring and corralling the teens. Between swim practice, nerd bowling, and trips to the ER, she is very busy. (We have no idea how many trips Jenny has made to the hospital this year!)

When I look back over the year to sum it all up, many emotions come to my heart and mind. Mostly, I think of hope. In December 2004 we got the news that our tiny son, Jordan, still snuggled safe inside Jen, had a condition called Trisomy 18 — Edward’s Syndrome. This condition is fatal. We were told that we would not meet him alive.

We didn’t tell our family about our news until January because we didn’t want every Christmas holiday to be a reminder of our broken lives. So we hid out and cried in silent for two weeks. It was horrible. Watching all of the holiday shoppers happily carrying packages and buying “Baby’s First Christmas” gifts knowing that was the only Christmas that Jordan would be in our lives.

We learned a lot, too. We found strength and peace in our Lord. Christmas is an odd season to learn of the impending death of your baby. With Nativity scenes every where you turn and songs about a baby born in a manger, it would be hard to miss the connection. God sent his only Son to this terrible Earth during the Christmas season. He invited our son to go to Paradise. What a contrast, and yet he did his part with an open heart while our hearts were crushing.

Of course our first response to the diagnosis was to pray for a miracle. To say to God, “Ok God I will trust you to heal my son”. We thought of how amazing it would be if God chose to use us in a ministry of praying for and seeing the healing of babies!! What an amazing ministry!

The week of New Year’s Eve we went to church to hear the message from Isaiah chapter 6 as God asked, “Whom shall I send?” and Isaiah replied, “Here I am Lord Send me.” And it hit like a ton of bricks. God was asking us if we could trust him if Jordan died. I knew then that my sweet tiny son would not be with me for long. I responded with “Yes Lord, Here are we, send us.”

We had twelve more weeks of pregnancy to spend, hoping and praying for time with our son. On March 10, 2005, we met Jordan, alive! That was the most amazing day of our lives. He was so tiny and perfect and beautiful.

On March 11, we had to say good bye as our sweet son went to Jesus. We have the gift of the hope of seeing him in Heaven again some day. On March 24, we celebrated Jordan’s life with many friends gathered around us. We are so thankful for the many people who have supported us during our loss of Jordan.

On June 10, we discovered we were expecting another little baby! We were once again filled with hope. We were blessed with three wonderful months of hoping for this new blessing. Sadly or second son in a year went to Heaven in August. Our sweet Joshua had Trisomy 21, Down’s Syndrome.

This November we were given a new reason to hope. A new tiny blessing was on its way. We were expecting a baby in July. The pregnancy felt very different than any other Jenny had experienced, everyone said that was because this was a girl. We will never know for sure though. Jenny began spotting on Thanksgiving Day and received the confirmation on November 30 th that our baby was gone. We named this baby Autumn Joy, as that is what this baby meant to us.

We were blessed with the hope that our little ones are playing together in Heaven. We know they are up there all filled with love and joy, as they play together and explore Heaven together. Isn’t it wonderful to think of three small children on such an amazing adventure? They can run as fast as they want, jump as high as they want, ride a shooting star, and never feel sadness or pain. There are no skinned knees in Heaven. I can imagine their melodic giggles as they are tickled by cherubs.

We have established a memorial fund at our local church in honor of our babies in Heaven. Our church is in the process of building a new Sanctuary on Oasis Road. They will include a lovely garden area in honor of Jordan, Joshua and tiny Autumn. It will be a place where people can come and sit and rest with the Lord.

We have designed a website to allow others to learn about the miracle we experienced in meeting Jordan alive. You can find information about the memorial fund on Jordan’s website and also see lots of photos and read stories of our time with Jordan. The web address is

What a road this year has led us on. It is unimaginable that anyone could survive what we have survived this year. Neonatal death, miscarriage, friendships formed, friendships lost, blending a brand new family together, and through it all God has proven himself trustworthy. And here we are, still breathing, a year later.

Our family has definitely come together this year. We are no longer divided by last names and traditions. We have become one family. We are the family who knew the love of three little babies, and looks forward to seeing them in Heaven; when we will all be together again. We are the family who loves to play Monopoly, Spades, Hearts, and Hand and Foot! We are the family who gets frustrated when someone else is hogging the phone. We are the family who is always ready to give a hug and a prayer to each other when it seems we don’t have the strength to go on. We are a family who loves each other.

Our family is sending our love to you and your family. We wish for you a happy, healthy, and glorious Christmas season and a New Year filled with hope and blessings.

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