Tuesday, November 18, 2008


It's been so long since I've posted that I sort of don't know where to begin! I feel kinda bad about that... knowing that many of you keep up with us here, have probably been wondering about the house, and want to know how we are doing. My apologies for leaving you in the dark!

We are in Maine visiting my family and will be here thru Thanksgiving. I'm sure you may be wondering (1) how cold is it? and (2) is there any snow yet? Well, it's actually been unseasonably warm, with temps in the 40's and 50's. Today though, reality settled in... it's about 25 degrees out there right now and we had a little bit of snow this morning... just a "dusting" as they say around here.

When Summer got up this morning she wanted to go "see them"... the snow flakes that is. Funny! She had fun walking around the yard in it... for a little while at least, and then it got too cold for us.

In case you are wondering about Maine, this pic will give you an idea of where we are. Aroostook County is the largest county (in terms of land-mass) east of the Mississippi River. I grew up in the small town of Washburn (pop. 2,000; just east of the big red dot on the map below) and that is where my parents still live (in fact, they've lived here their entire lives; they met when they were 8 or 9 years old, when my dad was the paper boy for my grandparents! how cool is that?). My sister and her family live about 10 miles from here, in the city of Presque Isle. Anyway, thought you may like to know all that!

We are okay. Good days. Bad days. Our new reality... that still hasn't sunk in completely.

On Sunday, Nicol sang and I preached at my home church, sharing as best I could the journey we have been on during the past 6 months since Luke's passing. After the service I saw the grandmother (Mrs. Kinney) of an old friend from high school. She approached me with tears in her eyes and said, "I know exactly what you are going through." I didn't know the details of what had happened, but it was obvious that she had suffered a similar loss at some point. I asked my mother about it later on that day and she said that Mrs. Kinney, now in her early 80's, lost a 5-month-old boy the same way we lost Luke. The baby just didn't wake up one day. All these years later and our story tore at the scabs of her heart, in some ways I am sure making it feel as though it happened just moments ago.

If there's anything I have learned since May 27 it's this: a parent never gets over losing a child. Never.

the house...
Unfortunately, I have no news of any real significance to share. There are a two couples who are interested, but neither have made an offer yet and one has to wait until they sell their house before they can even consider making an offer on ours.

So, as I've said before, we continue to wait. Thank you for all of your encouraging comments. I know that the house will sell when it's supposed to and I know that God has it all under control and His timing is always best... as someone else said, He's never early and He's never late!

"light your world" reminderbands®...
I ordered these a few weeks ago and they will be available for purchase or donation to the foundation. I will be giving more details in the days ahead. Danielle is going to do a bit of a re-design on the blog and once that is done we will have all the information needed for those who want to order the "light your world" reminderbands®. Until then, I thought I'd give you a heads-up! Here are a couple of pics. Would love to know what you think.

"a week of thanksgiving"...
With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I was thinking about the whole "being thankful" thing. You know what I'm talking about, right? It's supposed to one of the characteristics of our faith. Man do I fall short on this one. I think my thoughts have been spurred on by a comment that a friend made a couple of weeks ago over breakfast. He commented that the Bible says we are supposed to be thankful for everything. I swallowed hard on that one, thinking immediately about losing Luke. I am obviously not thankful about that. But what about the everything part? Well, I just can't go there.

Having said that, there are many things that I AM thankful for... even things related to Luke. I'll share those later. For now though, here's what this "a week of thanksgiving" part is all about. Click here to access a pdf file / worksheet that focuses on "cultivating a thankful heart." If you're anything like me, the pump needs to be primed sometimes! I first saw this a few years ago and I'm planning to go thru it again beginning this Friday. The final day will, of course, be Thanksgiving Day.

Here's the intro that you'll find on the worksheet:

"God’s Word teaches that thankfulness ought to be a way of life. But in the reality of our daily lives, it is so easy for discontentment, murmuring, complaining, criticizing, or even bitterness to displace the "attitude of gratitude." Cultivating a thankful heart will result in speaking thankful words. But we all need periodic reminders to be thankful, and, for most of us, developing the habit of thankfulness may require some practice! Here are some practical suggestions for devoting one week to practicing thankfulness. You may even want to include the whole family in this project."

Check it out! And feel free to post any "thankful" comments you'd like to share! I would love to read them!

food for my soul today...
[ Psalm 94:17-19 ]
17 If the Lord had not been my help,
my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
18 When I thought, “My foot slips,”
your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
19 When the cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul.


Dani said...

Thanks for the update! :) I am glad that things are going well. That is awesome that your story it touching peoples lives. I am praying for ya'll! Thanks again for the post!

The Morris Family said...

In the 2nd year of being separated from our 3yr Joel, I will never get over it but His grace has been so real and His Word has been my only source of hope and comfort....I will miss my Joel until I see him again...

rebecca said...

I love the reminder bands!
I have been keeping you all in prayer daily. I am thankful that we as sisters and brothers in Christ can lift one another up in prayer. Prayer is powerful!
May you and your sweet family have a blessed Thanksgiving.

The Barnes Crew said...

Love the bands and my prayers are still with you all!

KK said...

Thankful, for you and your family to be where you are, with your extended family. I'm sure all of you will enjoy your well deserved time with them over the Thanksgiving Holiday.
Thankful also, more than words can ever say to have a home once again, after losing ours in a fire in September of '05. It has been difficult to see the news coming out of California about the massive fires. This too is a loss one never forgets.
Revelation 21:5
Blessings to all of you always,
Matthew 21:22
Psalm 46:10
Will wait for your update and the opportunity to buy a reminder band.

Miller Family said...

Glad to hear you are able to spend time with your family in such a beautiful place. Every night I pray with my two boys and now (after reading Angie's blog) I also ask them what they are greatful for. It has been such a special way to share with them what made their day. In pre-school the other day, the teacher asked the kids what they were thankful for and one little 5 year old boy said, "Jesus!" How awesome! Today I am thankful for so many things, including being able to meet wonderful, God loving people through their blogs. I think of your family often. Have a blessed Thanksgiving! Michelle

Ashley Beth said...

It's as though God chose to speak directly through your words here and to my heart tonight. I needed to hear the message about thankfulness so badly, and I will be doing the week of thanksgiving exercise that you provided. For that I am so THANKFUL! The Snake has jaded my heart lately, particularly today, and I have not been offering thanksgiving to God for all situations. Instead, I've been wallowing in my troubles, which is the exact opposite of what I am called to do. May God bless and grow all of us as we focus this week on offering thanksgiving! You all will remain in my prayers!
By grace,

Ashley Beth said...

Okay, one more thing! This thankfulness thing was so needed by me, that I wrote a little about this exercise on my blog and I wanted to share my thoughts more in depth with you. Here's the link to copy and paste into your browser, in case you are interested: http://womanofworth01.blogspot.com/2008/11/give-thanks-to-lord-for-he-is-good.html

Michelle said...

I'm glad you're able to minister where you are at, even to 80yo Mothers.

From memory, the Bible doesn't say be thankful for everything, but 'in everything give thanks'. Just a small word, but a huge difference. A friend shared in my home group one day that we can give thanks in the darkest times, even if it is just for the bird singing out the window, as she did one day because that was all she could find to be thankful for.

A friend who has just returned from Malawi has introduced the phrase 'God is Good all the time; All the time, God is good'. That is so true.

Anonymous said...

Psalm 94:17 sustained me in some dark, dark days. Cling to the Word friend. I am hurting for you and Nichol, and will continue to pray for you. In His Grip Always, Lynnebee

polly's path said...

I just posted on thanksgiving yesterday, and earlier this month on "thanksliving". Come by www.pollyspath.blogspot.com.
Praying for you guys as you get closer to the holidays, and hoping for peace in your soul. Losing a loved one has taught me that at some point we become able to not only have bad days and good days, but days when we feel both in parallel.

Julie D said...

Hi Greg! It was SO nice to see you the other day! I was hoping to bump into you, but was kinda nervous about it. Wasn't sure what I should say, didn't want to say the wrong thing, just not knowing what to say! Adam's parents lost a boy, Edward, between Mitchell and Jr, at 3 mos old, the same way you lost Luke. Wendall laid him down for a nap. Joyce doesn't talk about it much, but just like that woman at your church, the pain is always there and never goes away!

Your pain and loss have been in my thoughts and prayers since May. I noticed your band the other day. I am very interested in getting one! I am glad that we got some snow so Summer could see it and play in it! Although the mild temps are now greatly missed!!!

Enjoy your visit and know that I will continue to pray for you all!

Love In Christ, Julie Doody

katie said...

Thanks for the update. I pray for you and your family on a daily basis. Your sweet Luke will never be forgotten. I am looking forward to being able to wear a reminderband with his name on it. I love the soft baby blue color of the band, that color always makes me think of your family. :)

georgia tarheel said...

So glad to hear from you and that you are doing ok. Man, you are WAY up there in Maine, aren't you? I have never been to Maine... had family there for brief time, but never made it myself. I pray that you find peace and rest while visiting with your family.

Thank you for the study on being thankful. So many times I take for granted things that I should be thanking my Father for instead!

May God wrap His big, loving arms around you during this holiday season!


And I DEFINITELY want a band!

Laura said...

I'm in Boston so am feeling that cold snap myself today. Keep warm both in your bodies but also in your hearts.

My Grandmother had a still-born child. It was also spoken so matter of fact in our family - "Your Dad has a sister but she was still-born." I would love to have had the opportunity as an adult and mother to have spoken with her about it; how she managed to go on after that...just seems so impossible somehow. I know physically and logically that one does go on (esp. when there are older sibling to love and tend/care for), but the broken heart never mends. As you say, you never get over the loss of a child.

Lee said...

Faithful reader but rare commenter....
Your post really struck a chord with me...not necessarily a good chord. After I read through the conversation you had with a friend about being thankful for everything and it really stayed with me. For hours now I have been wrestling with God.
I guess I have a hard time believing that our sovereign holy Lord would want you to be thankful for Luke's death. Do I believe God weeps with you? Grieves with you? His heart breaks for you? YES! Do I think He wants you to be thankful??? NOOOOO. Do I think He wants you to praise Him in ALL things, YES. But be THANKFUL?? I cannot get my head around that concept. I refuse to get my heart around it. I cannot conceive of a faithful loving God wanting us to be thankful for abused children, abondoned and orphaned children, children who are taken from us too quickly, for famine, drought, war torn countries. I pray daily for God to break my heart for what breaks His. And my heart BLEEDS for you and Nicol. What you have experienced is unfathomable. God has already given you enough to handle. Asking you to be THANKFUL is beyond my comprehension.
If someone out there can explain how to come outside myself enough to be thankful for something as horrific and tragic as Luke's death, I welcome you thoughts. The thoughts I am having now verge on anger and that is not what I believe my God wants.
Please know I pray for you. I think about little Summer and wonder if she will truly remember her baby brother or the memories supplied to her by you and Nicol. I think of Nicol when I tuck my kids in at night. I pray over them and am THANKFUL they are here, with us, healthy, whole and in love with the same Jesus I am.
I am also thankful for your transparency in such an intimate painful time. You, Nicol and Summer are a blessing!

Sun said...

OH wow - I cannot wait to hear more about ordering the bracelets! I LOVE reminders like that because so often I want to pray and help carry the burden through prayer to Him who can handle it...what a great way to keep that request in front of my face literally! Every time I look at it - it would remind me to lift you and your sweet wife up...then Angie and her husband - it would snowball thoughts of so many sweet parents who are walking through such unimaginable grief. I hope that your time in Maine is amazing - I LOVE the Thanksgiving link - thank you! I have to say I am SO thankful for a God big enough to handle our hurts, questions and disappointments. You all remain in my families prayers! Sunshine

So Blessed said...

It was good to hear from you and I pray that your Thanksgiving will be a blessed time, even in your sorrow. I do believe that in all things we are to be thankful to the Lord (Eph.5:20)...but, not necessarily for all things. Even in the darkest, most painful times, as you know, there are things to be thankful for...caring friends, a warm hug, a sympathy card, a call from someone dear just to let you know they are there for you and remember...God works in all these ways to comfort us. But, I don't believe that He expects us to give thanks for the things that happen because of the evil in this world. As long as we stay in close relationship with the Father, He can change our hearts and heal us...not that we ever forget or get over losing someone we love, because I don't believe we can. Thank God we can look forward to being reunited with them all again one day soon. What a day of rejoicing that will be...

Angie said...

So glad to hear from you. Hope you are staying warm.

AmandaHoyt said...

Greg, I'm praying for you, Nicol and Summer.
P.S. I'll be ordering a reminder band when they're available.

my3sons said...

Another Mainer here! I live in the Portland area. I have been following your blog for a while. Please know that your family is in my prayers often.

Kristy said...

I love the bands! It was also very interesting to see where ya'll are. As you may be able to tell - since it is hard for me to make a sentence without "ya'll", I'm from the deep south. I've never been to Maine, and the thought of it sounds wonderful to me. Quaint and beautiful. I'm so happy that ya'll are with family and having fun with Summer and the snow! Wonderful that you got the chance to minister to an old woman's heart (and many others too). Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.

Bob and Cindy Cole said...

I am a faithful reader, but not a poster. Your words are so convicting/comforting to me. My husband and I lost our little boy at 16 weeks gestation last November. Although we have 8 children here on earth, we still grieve for him. You are blessed to have family to hold you up and help you through the trials of life and just to spend time with. We don't have that and the holidays are really hard. Our parents are in heaven. We are all alone.

Thank you for your reminders on thankfulness. I printed out the pages and I am anxious to get started.


Laura said...

Greg - a friend of mine posted this in her blog today - I thought the study might interest you:


sheila said...

Hi, you've mentioned a few books you read after Baby Luke went home to be with the Lord that were helpful to you. Could you pass along the names; I could really use them at this time. In God's Love, sheila

Kelly said...

My friend lost her husband (and father of their 5 kids) in Iraq two years ago. She talks on this subject here - in her blog.

In short she interprets it as "Be thankful IN all things" not FOR all things.

Bless you and your family - especially this time of year.