duck & dolphin

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10 Responses

  1. Kathy says:

    The Lord graciously gives some life-long friendships to us, and it appears that Michelle and her children will be part of your family for the rest of your lives. What a wonderful time you had together! I appreciated her open, honest sharing last week. You were brave to try the Peking Duck OYO, but actually, it looked delicious! Counting the days with you until Valor arrives….

  2. Mom2Monsters says:

    I just wanted to tell you that I am so happy for you guys and I’m excited for Valor’s Arrival (in due time of course). I read all about James and Dora in one sitting today and I’ve been weeping uncontrollably for over 2 hours. He’s touched my heart. You all have. All the best to you and yours. And to the Li’s as well.

  3. revheff says:

    You handle the cleaver like a master butcher. Remind me not to rile you when you’re cooking in the kitchen. Thanks for loving his family so well.

  4. Beth says:

    This comment has NOTHING to do with your post. I just wanted to say that I cannot WAIT to see you’re sweet little boy that’s coming. I’ve been following you since the Cakewreck post. You and your husband’s faith amazes and astounds me. Thank you for your example.

    Have a wonderful day.

    Beth F.

  5. Tonya says:

    What a special treat having Peking Duck and Sea World. I’m sure after the time spent with you, there was no doubt in Michelle’s or her kids’ minds that they are dearly loved.

  6. Gemma says:

    Again, nothing to do with the post, but I discovered sweetbabyjames on Friday (7th August) and have finished that, and consequently this blog.
    I just wanted to say that he was an adorable little boy and while it made me sad to read of all his struggles, I smiled at each of his achievements and his smiles and laughs. I dont know how you both managed to go through all of that.
    And also, to wish you luck with baby Valor when he arrives (I imagine I will continue to follow your journey until that day though)

  7. Sachu says:

    Dear Abby and John,
    I really don’t know how to start this comment!
    As many of your readers, I got to you by Cake wrecks! I usually do not post in any blogs, (I only posted once in Cake wrecks and I’ve been reading it for over 8 months now!) but I really have the feeling that I need to let you know what Sweet Baby James blog meant and means to me.
    I started reading Sweet Baby James blog a couple of months ago when Jen posted about the safari themed party for James’s 1st year. I started reading your journey chronically, and I just couldn’t stop reading. Although I knew the sad end of the journey I felt I wanted to walk it too, to get to know James.
    I have to admit that I wasn’t and I’m still not strong enough to read it till the end. I know that this is incredibly difficult to understand, but I have such strong feelings for James even though I’ve never met him. I laughed when I saw him smiling, and I cried when I read that he had to undergo another surgery…
    I really want to thank you for letting me “know” sweet baby James and keep him in my memory and my prayers. James was a little warrior and he has also taught me that I should never stop fighting when things don’t look good. He taught me not to give up, even when everyone thinks it’s not possible.
    I also want to tell you that I think that James got the best parents on Earth. For moments I felt I was with you in the INCU, the first time that Abby got to hold James in her arms, or waiting for John’s exam results, trying to find the correct position so that he could drink the bottle, or the first grandparent’s visit. You’ve taken such good care of him that I’m sure that he’s taking care of you, Dora and Valor.
    Then, again via Cake Wrecks I got to House of Gjersten to happily find out that Abby was expecting again. I started reading chronically once again and I got really sad finding out about little Dora and again ecstatic to get to know about #3, Valor.
    I know that it looks so difficult to understand (it is also difficult to me to explain) but somehow I feel as if I knew you, and I can only but wish you the best and pray for you and your happiness.
    I thank our Lord that made me to go to Cake Wrecks and then to get to read your blog, to have met James, Dora, and now to get to know Valor via Ultrasounds.
    Thank you for being such a role model of courage and never ending hope.
    I feel very happy for you, and I keep you, Dora, Valor and sweet baby James in my prayers.

    Sabrina from Argentina

  8. Reina Brown says:

    I came back here because I really needed to see your blog. I needed some major encouragement. I’m going through so much right now, and if it were not for my faith, I’m not sure how I’d handle it. I’m glad that your blog is here, as it inspires me every single time I look at it. Your stories inspire me to keep going. I hope that you keep your blog up forever! I will always read it, and I constantly tell people about it. I even tweeted about it on my Twitter profile. I feel that many more people need to see this blog. They will then know how truly remarkable your family, as well as baby James, really is.

    There are times I’ve felt like giving up, but I’d never, ever actually do that, as I know that giving up is not an option. Giving up is only for wimps, not soldiers of God. Giving up is bad character. Giving up is disgusting! Giving up is a total let down. This is why I don’t do that.

    I agree with you and know totally how tragedy can make one see things differently and appreciate life more. I remember telling you in a previous post that I have lost almost half of my childhood friends, and I’ve seen more death than anyone should my age—I’m twenty-four. Well, I have two friends who are fighting to stay alive right now. One has stage four Retinoblastoma—a cancer that begins in the eye between birth and five years but could show up later elsewhere in the body or in the same place. It took my friends and I by surprise, as he was doing fine just a few weeks ago. When he told me he was in stage four, I was shocked and numb. I did not have too much time to focus on my feelings, as I went wildly into motion, coordinating doctors and arranging for him to receive care at John’s Hopkins Hospital. I wanted to make sure he had the best care in the world, and I was not going to give up until he got that. Originally, the doctors were going to not let him be seen until October, but I fought hard until they gave in because my friend’s life is precious, and I was not going to let them play around with it. My other friend is battling the same thing, but she is not that far along. I pray to God that both of them will come out of it and get to stay with me for awhile longer.

    I want to have at least one year when someone does not die. I thought that could happen this year, but it did not. My second cousin, whom I was close to, died this summer. I’m praying that none of my friends or other family members follow suit.

    It is horrible for me to say this, but I do not even cry anymore when someone dies. I just say something like “Okay. Whatever.” I’m not cold or anything. I do feel sad. It is just that I’ve become like a doctor who has seen death all of the time, and is sort-of, well, used to it. It hardly fazes me anymore. I feel sad for only about two to three minutes, and then, I get over it. I’m probably horrible for saying that. No, I am not hard hearted. I hate to see people suffer. I hate injustice and wish I could get rid of it. I want to practically kill anyone who hurts or exploits the weak, as well as babies and children. I’ve just seen so much death, starting at the age of fifteen when one of my friends died in his sleep, that I’m used to it. It may not be the correct way to describe it, but it is the best I can do for now. I hope you do not take me the wrong way.

    I told my mom about it, and she said she understood. She works in the medical field, and she sees how doctors and nurses respond to the loss of a loved one. She said I am like them because I see it often and have had so much tragedy in my life. I’m glad that she understands me and does not think I’m some heartless piece of junk that does not care because that is not true.

    When my mom lost a dear friend and coworker this week, I was able to be her strength. She comes to me with her problems because she feels like I’m strong enough to help her. I’m glad that I am. I’m glad she can find strength and encouragement in me.

    Can you please pray for my mother? She is having surgery tomorrow to remove a tumor on her uterus. They do not know if it is cancerous or not. So, pretty please pray for her. I do not want to lose my mom. I really do not. I love her dearly. I’ve lost so many people. So many have left me. I don’t want her to leave me just yet. I don’t usually say this often, and it is rare that anyone will ever hear me say this, as I’m known by everyone around me as someone who is tough, practically fearless, and possesses a great deal of strength, but I’m scared.

    • abby says:

      Dear Reina,

      First of all, we are praying for your mom’s surgery and possible cancer, and we encourage all who read this comment to take a moment to stop and pray for her as well. God is pleased to hear and act on our prayers because it shows our dependence upon Him, and that brings Him glory.

      I do not think you should be embarrassed about your reactions to news of death. I have read accounts of the Black Plague that described people receiving the news of a friend’s death with almost no reaction, because they were emotionally numb from so many deaths. I do wonder if you need someone to help you process your thoughts and feelings, someone who will listen and guide you to the next level of understanding yourself. There are a lot of Christian counselors out there who can do this. I do not suggest “counseling” as some kind of insult or accusation that you are “screwed up,” but rather as something that I know should help. You need someone to talk to, someone to help your processing of these losses, and someone who can help you see where God is in all this, and that is the role of a good counselor.

      So where is God when people die, or get cancer, or get sick other ways? Let me say, He knows, and He cares, and there is nothing outside His control. Death first came into the world because of human disobedience, but Jesus defeated death and made it harmless for those who trust and hope in Him. If we have faith that Jesus’ crucifixion took the place of our own rightful punishment, and ask Him to forgive us and help us live a life that pleases Him, then we are released from the fear of death that permeates our culture. For the Christian, to die is a win, not a loss–heaven is getting to focus on God without our physical limitations or sinful selfishness getting in the way anymore. When my son James died, it was like his body fell off his eternal soul like a cloak, and he was free of the pain and filled with joy.

      This is not to say we who are still living can easily accept the death of a loved one. They leave gaping holes in our hearts, even if we are confident they trusted Christ (assuming they were old enough to be able to understand the gospel). It is healthy to mourn for a loss in whatever form that takes, and it is healthy to fight to prolong life however we can. What you are doing for your friend’s treatment is an excellent thing. But if we know Christ, we have a perspective on death that is completely different. It is not something to fear if we trust Him, ask His forgiveness for our sins, and live by faith. Is this something you have done, Reina? I see you struggling to carry your and your friends and family’s burdens by yourself. Ask God to help you trust Him more. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”–Matthew 11:28-30.

      in Christ, my only hope–

  9. Reina Brown says:

    Wow! Thanks so much for responding to my comment, Abby. That means so much to me. Wow! I feel totally honored!

    I’m definitely into the Bible and into serving Jehovah God. I read it all the time. I pray incessantly every day. I pray so much that I can’t even tell you how many times I do, and that is the way it is supposed to be. Though I do carry significant burdens, it is my strong faith that gets me through. It is the thread that holds me together. Jehovah God and the Bible are intricate parts of my life. They ARE my life.

    Lately, I’ve been meditating on the following Scriptures, and these are quoted from the New Living Translation:

    “Dear brothers and sisters, [a] when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”—James 1:2-4.

    “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”—1 Corinthians 10:12, 13.

    “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”—Hebrews 13:5.

    “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”—Isaiah 41:10.

    “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”—2 Timothy 1:7.

    “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

    We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”—Roman 5:1-5.

    “And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died[f] so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.”—1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14. I look forward to the day that there is a paradise and that all will come out of their graves, as it says in John 5:28, 29. I know that they are resting for a little while. They are charging up for when the resurrection comes about. I will hug each one of them as they rise up.

    I’m always talking about Jehovah God to people. I’m always witnessing about the good news of the Kingdom, telling people there is a hope. There are also many times I find ways to get God into a conversation when talking to strangers. I do it carefully because some find God to be offensive. It is sad that they do; nonetheless, they do, and I always pray for them.

    When I have a lot to deal with, I sing songs of worship. My favorite, as of late, is a CD titled “Hands Lifted High: a Modern Worship Collection.” The entire CD is just awesome. You may want to get it for yourself. All of the songs are just so wonderful.

    As for counseling, the only formal counseling I receive is when I have to deal with issues that arise having to do with Asperger’s Syndrome, which I do have. I don’t always go. I go when I feel the need to. I have a Bible Study teacher, and she is a very big help. Also, everyone in my congregation is awesome! But, I just can’t see me sitting down with a councilor and exploring my feelings and emotions in depth. That’s not for me. Talking about them with people I love and receiving encouragement is good enough, and knowing that they are there means a lot. Also, knowing that Jehovah God is always with me helps greatly.

    Oh, and I thought that I should share that Twila Paris has done a song based on the scripture for your son James—Romans 8:28. I believe it’s called “All Things Work Together.” I’ll have to check through my CD’s to be sure. But, I thought you’d want to know.

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