Brandon & Kristin

Brandon & Kristin

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Me again/Resources

I (Kristin) haven't written anything here in almost 2 months. And I'm going to try and not feel like I have to summarize 2 months worth of processing and grieving. Thank you to all who are still praying for us these past days, even though it's been almost 4 months since Addie died. What can I say? I miss her so much and I have to fight to remember truth about God more than ever, it feels. Adjusting to life after losing your baby is a little like a battle and a little like a long journey - in both there are stages, small victories/breakthroughs and blows/wrong turns. Each day is different and is affected by what I see, dwell on, and maybe just my emotional state.

I feel like I've had and still have MANY choices to make concerning who I am and will be because of Addie. A couple years ago, I realized that discontentment is a pattern in my life. And I asked God for help b/c I didn't want to be a bitter, joyless, discontent old woman someday. I think God is wanting to have some deeper discussions about who I am right now. And that scares me because I then feel like I have to figure everything out before He would give us more children. But I have to remember that God gives on the basis of grace; His economy is not based on effort. And so I wait and ask and try to listen and lean and let go. Most of the choices right now that I face concern my attitude about my time/responsibilities without Addie. I don't have her to care for and so I can either sit and pout and wish things were different and give in to bitter ways; or I can make the most of every day - spend quality time with God, love Brandon well, pursue college girls at UCR, keep our apartment nice... Contentment doesn't mean that I have to love my loss as a mother; it means that I accept life for what it is, what God has given and still live well.

I'm reading Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan. It's a Christian classic that is an allegory of a life lived for the King. The main character "Christian" is on a journey to the City of Celestial Lights and he encounters all kinds of people, trials and joys on his way. In the last few pages I read, he and his companion Hopeful go off the main road and end up trespassing on Giant Despair's property. They become his prisoners, are thrown into his dungeon in Doubting Castle and he beats on them day after day. They are downcast, hopeless and near death but Christian remembers (after days and days of hopelessness) that he carries a key called Promise that can unlock every door in Doubting Castle. And they escape with their lives.

I haven't had many days of feeling like I'm in the Giant Despair's dungeon. But there have been a few. And I am finding out on this road that God and His promises are indeed a key that unlocks each door. I am learning this and still need to learn more.

Well, this is getting long. Before I go, I've been meaning to write a few resources that have been helpful to us. All of them were gifts from some of you - books, songs and remembrance gifts. Thank you. I just want to write them here so others can be encouraged/helped by them.

  • A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser - not specific to infant loss but a great book
  • Holding On to Hope: A pathway through suffering to the heart of God - by Nancy Guthrie - a study of Job's life written through the personal suffering of losing 2 babies
  • Safe in the Arms of God by John MacArthur - answers theologically: do babies go to heaven?
  • Streams in the Desert - by L.B. Cowman - a Christian classic - another devotional. not specific to miscarriage/infant loss but wonderful
  • Mommy, Please Don't Cry... There Are No Tears in Heaven - by Linda DeYmaz - a precious illustrated book - the title explains it sufficiently
  • I'll Hold You in Heaven - by Debbie Heydrick
  • Grieving the Child I Never Knew - by Kathe Wunnenberg - a devotional book
  • An infant's funeral meditation by John Piper:
  • "Glory Baby" - a sweet song by Watermark
  • I've been listening a lot to the group: Enter the Worship Circle. their songs have helped me worship God in my grief.
  • remembrance gifts - jewelry, ornaments, etc. have been precious to us. thanks.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Many Decisions

God continues to teach me/us on His sovereignty. He is in full control and has authority over everything in heaven and on earth. Nothing is outside of His authority. It would be nice if we could decide to trust in His sovereignty once and be done with it. But it doesn't work that way. Kristin and I have had to decide many many times over the past 4 months that God is sovereign. We had to trust that he was sovereign in the intense moments of Addie's birth and we have also had to trust as we let go of dreams... and in countless other moments we have had to trust.

I am sure that we will have to decide to believe in His sovereignty many more times in our lives and even many more times as we continue to process life without Addie. But, all that to say, God is sovereign and can be trusted. We continue to take each step at a time and some are easier than others. I am thankful to be a child of God and to have a loving Father that I can turn to.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Time Goes On

It is hard to believe that 3 1/2 months ago we had a little girl. So much has happened since then that it seems much more time has passed. I am still thankful for that one day that Kristin and I got to spend with our precious little gift named Adella Mae. It has changed us in very deep ways for the better.

I am thankful for the people in my life who have taken the time to show me how to have a deep relationship with the Lord. If that foundation had not been laid I think that I would have crumbled under the weight of the loss. All we have known to do is desperately cling to God and that has been enough.

I would not want to face life without my Lord and Savior. While I am sure I would survive, the quality of life does not compare.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Hard News

Again I ask that everyone reading this would join me in prayer for my dad. I just spoke with him this morning and he said that the doctor gave him a 1 in 5 chance of surviving this cancer. As far as the doctors can tell it is a rare form of melanoma. This is very hard news to receive and even harder to wrap our minds around. We know that God is all powerful and that He is the great Healer.

Sometimes this is easier to believe than others, but it is true all the same. Pray again that my family and I would believe that God is a good God and that He is sovereign.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Plead With Me

It has been a rough summer for us and it looks like it will continue to be rough for a while. Kristin and I received news this past Wednesday that my dad has cancer. We do not know how severe it is but it appears to be fairly concerning. So, what do I do with such heavy news so soon after the heartache of losing our baby girl?

I have been in prayer more over the past few days than probably any other time in my life. I have thought often of the lessons that I have been learning about God through the life and death of Addie. I know that God is good and that he is sovereign and I know that life belongs to Him. I have also been thinking about a couple of verses in II Corinthians 12. Paul was given a "thorn in his flesh" and here is what he had to say about it.

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, to that Christ's power may rest on me.

I noticed that Paul pleaded with the Lord to remove this thing that was so painful. He was open and honest with His God and asked Him to remove this thorn from his life. God responded and the thorn was not removed. Paul heard the Lord and his perspective changed. He no longer pleaded but boasted gladly of his weakness.

So, I think it is ok to plead with the Lord. It is ok to beg for healing or whatever the "thorn in the flesh" may be. And if the thing we are pleading for does not line up with His will, He will let us know. He will tell us what we need to hear and it is at that point that our perspective needs to change.

Please join with me in pleading with God that He would heal my dad.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


It felt good to be in the word this morning and to spend time with a God I love so much. I read II Chronicles 1 which is where Solomon steps up as king. God said to him...

"Ask for whatever you want me to give you."

I love that God has Solomon ask Him for what he wanted. He didn't just say "Solomon, you name it and it is yours." I think God was interested in the relationship that develops in His children asking things of Him. God reserves the right to give what is requested, withhold, or even give beyond our dreams. With Solomon He gave what was requested and much more. Regardless of God's response, we receive blessing in deepening our relationship with Him.

Many years after the reign and death of king Solomon I sit here on the other side of the world typing on a computer. I believe that God still wants His children to ask of Him and that is what I have done. I sit as a child on the lap of my Father and ask that He would give us more children. That we would have the privilege of seeing those children grow up. That they would be healthy and come to a deep and beautiful walk with the Savior.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

His Glory

Here's 2 more pictures of our Addie. They were both taken the last hour of her life, when we were together in our hospital room. There are waves of reality that wash over me. Deeper and deeper levels of the reality that she's gone. Death on this earth is so final. I won't see her again here. But praise God, that this life isn't the end. That there is joy forever with Jesus. I'm so thankful, too, that although I desire to be a mother to my own children, there is joy and satisfaction in this life with or without marriage, children, possessions, perfect jobs, etc... I need reminders of that now in these days. That God didn't take Addie from us to simply injure us. He hasn't brought us grief as if it pleased Him to do so. But He has provided eternal life here and forever in Christ. I have many thoughts/wonderings these days about His glory; about my fear and the future; about hope;... I will try to keep writing some of these thoughts down in this blog. It's good for me to write and we hear stories of how God is using this in your lives as well. And that makes me happy, as a mother, to hear how God is using Addie's short life for His glory.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Thick Fog

We are finally back in CA after 3 weeks of travel. It was a long time to be away from home, but we are blessed to be able to spend it with such dear family and friends.

As I think back on the summer it seems surreal. Many of the memories seem hazy as I think back on them. It is as if I am looking through a thick fog and can't quite make out all the details. I see shapes and muted colors, but the sharp and bright colors somehow elude me. As if it happened to someone else and not me. It is such a strange thought in my head that we had a daughter and that she died in our arms. Who ever expects life to hold such a sad memory? Somewhere in the depths of my mind I think, "did that really happen? was it all just a bad dream?"

And here we are... sitting in our little apartment watching TV as if everything was normal. The same shows are on and life seems to march on without skipping a beat.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

My lot

Here's another picture of our little girl. We think she's pretty adorable.

Some days I still feel like pouting like a 3 year old. And some days losing Addie just feels okay, even though I don't like it at all. And some days I just feel kind of sad. I still feel like there is a long road ahead of me. And I know there will always be a hole in my heart/life as a mother who misses raising her daughter. But I also know that Addie hasn't lost out. In heaven, Addie is "happier than the happiest person on earth," (in John Piper's words). So as we mourn losing her in this life, it helps me to remember that she hasn't lost anything.

And God's Word is true and full of health to my soul. Psalm 16:5-9 says: "LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure," Pray that I hold tightly to truth about God and will set Him always before me.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


We have been on the road for about 9 days now. We have been in Wisconsin up until yesterday when we arrived in Kansas. It has been a good trip filled with friends who have been praying and hurting with us. We have gotten to hug many people whom we love and who love us. We are so blessed to have so many people around us who love us.

We just wanted to say thank you to eveyone who reads this. I know we have said this before and we will probably say it again. Thank you. Your love and prayers have helped us more than you know. Please continue to pray for us as the Lord leads. The grieving process is a long one and we are far from being through it.

Let us praise the Lord together today and seek to serve Him. We have had some rich times with Him and He made us to walk with Him.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

6 weeks

Six weeks ago today I went into labor. But we don't have a 6 week old baby daughter. I know no more now about baby sleep cycles, feeding schedules or messy diapers than I knew 6 weeks ago. I don't write this to make you, the reader, sad or angry. I only write it because it's the thought that crosses my mind many times each day. Addie isn't here and I miss her. I also miss being her mom. I miss doing all the things that mothers do. I know that if she was here, I wouldn't be quite as thankful for missed sleep and another diaper to change. But I can say that I wish I wasn't getting as much sleep. And I wish I was listening to cries and baby grunts. And I wish...

But she's not here.

This is quite the dramatic piece so far... But it's true - the reality of her death sweeps over me as I see other children. There are so many babies and children. But Addie's with Jesus.

So where do I go? What do I do? The sermon in church today was on Jesus' authority. The pastor's closing question was: Will you admit and submit to His authority in your life? I kind of feel like I have to submit to His authority with Addie - there's nothing I can do to hold her again in this life. The question more is what will I do with my today and my future? Who/what will I worship? Will I seek first God's Kingdom and His righteousness? or will I live only for my own dreams? God gives dreams and longings but they aren't meant to be worshiped as if they are all that matters.

Pray that we will seek God - His Kingdom and righteousness first. It does not come naturally to us. You can pray and ask God, too, that He would give us other children to love and raise. And you can pray that they, too, would seek God first.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Whom Have I In Heaven But You?

A few days ago I spent some time dwelling on Psalm 73:25. The verse starts out with the question, "Whom have I in heaven but you?" What an interesting question to consider after losing a baby daughter. After all, I imagine heaven being filled with many people I love including Addie. The Bible makes clear that not everyone will go to heaven and I would imagine that even some people that I love very dearly will not be there. However, I know that there will also be many people whom I love in heaven with me. So, "whom have I in heaven but you" is a very interesting thing to ask.

I thought of Luke 14 where Jesus says boldly that we are to hate our mother, father, sister, and brother. And Mattew 10 where He says that anyone who loves his mother, father, son, or daughter more than they love Him is not worthy of Him. Jesus is not teaching that we hate our family. He is simply saying that our love for Him should be so intense that all other loves pale in comparison... that they even look like hate when we compare them. With these passages in mind the question "whom have in in heaven but you?" makes perfect sense.

I loved our little girl very much and I miss her deeply. Often, she is the first thing that I think about in the morning when I wake up. I also think of her often throughout the day. I think of what she might have been like, I think of the little time we had with her, I think of what she might be experiencing right now in heaven. I enjoy these thoughts and they are strangely soothing.

The answer to the question above is that I will have many in heaven whom I love dearly. Our Adella Mae Crouch will be there and many others. But, my greatest love will be there too. His name is Jesus and though I have only seen a small piece of all that He is, I love Him more dearly than any other. In heaven I will see Him much more clearly and my love for Him will be overwhelming.

Indeed, whom have I in heaven but You Lord?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Human Kindness - God's Healing

"It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them." Hosea 11:3,4

I "found" this verse during a study of God's love a few years ago. I saw how God's love for me is real and true; that He is the one who teaches, feeds, heals and lifts burdens- like a father with his little child. But this verse also shows that He often shows His love "with cords of human kindness." He demonstrates His love for me through the people around me.

I/we have been so well loved by God through all of you. It seems that many people who experience losing a baby feel isolated and forgotten. You - our families and friends - have loved us and taken care of us. Many of your cards and emails have made me cry - each day it seems like there's at least one that just touches my heart in a new way. It's not a bad cry - but a healing cry. Thank you for writing your own stories, words of encouragement, favorite Bible verses and just for remembering us. Thanks for sending books and flowers. Your kindness has helped carry our sorrow. Thank you, too, for praying for us. We know we walk through this time being lifted up to God in prayer. His grace is enough for each day.

Days are getting easier. Life, strangely, feels normal and very abnormal. We miss Addie and miss being her mom and dad. But we are doing well in living each day for what it is. Thank you for your works of kindness to us.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

But Those Who Hope In The Lord

I am so thankful to have a relationship with God through the blood of His Son. Over the past month I have been especially thankful. He offers hope to me even in rough times. He has made clear that I do not need to despair over the lose of my daughter. I am sad that I do not have her now and I am sad that I will not get to see her grow up. I am sad that I will not get to know what makes her laugh. Sad that I will not get to take her camping or fishing. I am sad for many reasons, but my soul needs not despair.

Even in sadness I know my God. I have walked with Him and I know who He is. He is a good God who loves His children. He made Addie and loved her. He made and loves me and Kristin. He is a God of wonder. Who can make things as beautiful as my God? I have prayed many times that the Lord would use Addie's life to draw people closer to Him. I know that there are people out there who will hear of her life who do not have this kind of relationship with Him. I pray that the Lord would use her life to draw those people into His kingdom to live and walk with Him forever. What more could a daddy want than for his child's life to expand God's great kingdom and bring glory to our great God?

It may sound strange, but I am more convinced of God's goodness right now than I was a few months ago. I cannot imagine trying to walk through something like this without God. He truly is my strength.

"He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
Isiaih 40:29-31

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

4 1/2 Years Ago

Four and a half years ago I proposed to Kristin. It was just after her birthday and she thought that she was I was simply taking her out to celebrate but I had different plans. I had found a nice little piece of beach that was at the base of some small cliffs. It would disappear during high tide and was not easily accessible even during low tide.

This can be a very long story, but I will spare you all the details. Eventually we made it to this secluded little beach and Kristin still had no idea what I had in mind. After a little time passed, I asked her to marry me and she said yes.

Just two days ago Kristin and I headed back to that little beach only this time it was under much different circumstances. This time we carried the ashes of our little girl who had been born exactly 4 weeks earlier. We prayed on the way there, as we walked down to the beach, and when we finally got there. It was a sad time for Addie's mom and dad and we know that our Father's heart hurt with us.

I am so thankful to have a wife like Kristin in these times. Four and a half years ago I had only seen a small piece of who Kristin was. I had no idea the quality or depth of character. All I knew was that I liked what I had seen and that I felt God's hand on our relationship. There is no one else that I would rather be with in these days.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Dear Addie

Dear Addie,
I cried today like I have every day for the past 24 days. I miss you. Today, I just cried when I talked to my friend, Amy, and when I wrote in my journal about our last hour together in the hospital. But today was a good day. I felt happy, too. I laughed and even enjoyed washing the kitchen floor. Yesterday was hard. I felt like my time carrying you and giving you birth was a dream. But it wasn't. It was as real as anything I've lived through. But I wanted to pretend that your death hadn't happened. It was hard to face it again, deeper.

Your daddy and I are doing well. We're thankful that God has given us a good relationship, in the midst of losing you. And we feel like He has protected us from lies and division. We have a lot of fun together - your daddy makes my life fun. I'm kind of boring sometimes without him.

Lots of people have told me that they look forward to seeing you in heaven. Some have even said that they look forward to dancing with you. Those words always made me cry with joy but I didn't know exactly how everyone could say that. Were people just saying nice things for me? But now, Addie, I have done more reading and thinking and studying and I know why all those people have said that. And I believe, too, that you are enjoying God's presence and worshiping Him now and forever. You are safe in the arms of God. And it makes me so happy, too. I know that I, too, will one day see God face to face because of Jesus' death and life.

Today, I read about Jesus in the book of John. It says that he laid down his life, of his own accord. Jesus laid down His life, gave it up, for us. Imagine choosing to die on a cross. And I definitely don't have the power to come back to life. But Jesus did that. It struck me today because I also wouldn't be able to lay down your life - I wouldn't have chosen this path of losing you. But God has decided in His Sovereign Goodness, to take you. I couldn't and can't control God. But Jesus, in His power, gave His own life. It hit me again today.

I love you, Addie. Sing loud for me.
Your mommy

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

His grace

I used to hold my finger at the place in my textbook to know how many pages I had left to read (while in college). And during an action movie, I often want to check the time to see how much longer until the end, the conclusion. If I'm going on a run in a new area, I quickly lose motivation to keep running when I don't know how much farther I have to go until I'm home. And in the middle of this grieving process of losing Addie, I wish I could know what the future holds for us. I think it's related to my desire to have control. But losing Addie was/is completely out of my control. Her death has felt very humbling. I would like to know the future so I can pace myself now in knowing what amounts of joy and grief I will face in the coming years. But God doesn't allow me to see that. And if He did, I wouldn't need Him. I wouldn't need to trust Him and I wouldn't have a relationship with Him. But He doesn't give us foreknowledge and I do definitely need Him. Also, my desire to know the future and pace myself shows that I would rather depend on myself than on His future kindness and grace toward me. His knowledge and joy in me means that He gives me enough for each day, protecting me and enjoying me. I'm thankful for His wisdom and sovereignty even when I want to fight it. (Kristin)

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Coffee Shop

This morning Kristin and I went over to the coffee shop again for a couple of hours. We usually split an iced Americano with a bit of white chocolate in it... sounds good huh? We have done this many times over the past few weeks and I think it has been very healthy for us... not the Americano, but the time spent processing.

I usually spend some time reading my Bible, praying, memorizing scripture, thinking, and journaling. So far we have written 15 pages each in our journals and I feel like I have many more thoughts in my head that I need to put on paper. These times have helped me process through my thoughts with God. The word is so rich and has so much guidance and help to offer. I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to sit before God and soak up His word. I have written down about 10 verses that have been particularly meaningful to me in the past month and I plan on memorizing them over the next month or so.

Today I spent some time meditating on Psalm 73:25

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides
This does not mean that I am supposed to snuff out all desires in life other than God. I have plenty of desires and many of them are good. However, God deserves and is meant to be my number one desire. He belongs in this spot and I want Him to be there. It has been good reflecting on this verse in these times. I can easily let created things become my primary desire above the creator... even good things like having a daughter. But this is a time of letting that desire rest with God. I can trust that He is not out to punish me or that He is looking to withhold His goodness from me. I can trust God even with my desire to have and hold a baby girl of my own. He has said not yet and I dont' know what the future holds, but I can trust Him.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Being A Father

Kristin and I are doing really well right now. But if you were to ask us again later this afternoon, we may give you a very different answer. The grieving process is not as steady as we might like. One moment we are laughing and joking and the next we are hit with a memory and crying. These ups and downs are slowly becoming less extreme, but I am not sure that they will ever totally level off.

One of the best questions that we have been asked is, "what have you learned about God through this?" I say it is one of the best, because it is one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves. I have learned many new things about God and I am still deep in the learning process. Here are a few of the thoughts running through my head...

  • I understand more of what it means to be a father. One of God's names is Father or Daddy. My heart and mind changed with the birth of Addie and I became a father. I became a protector. I would have done anything for that little girl. Why? Because I was her daddy.

  • I also know what it means to lose my baby. God sent His Son to earth to live and die. He lived a sinless life and was killed by men. He knows my feelings and understands them beyond my comprehention.

  • God is as good today as he was a month ago as he was 1000 years ago. His goodness does not depend on my opinion or the circumstances I find myself in.

  • God is the refuge to which I was meant to run. He is my strength and the rock on which I stand. Without Him there is no hope and life is meaningless.

Monday, July 09, 2007

2 weeks

It's been 2 weeks since Addie was born. The past week, Brandon and I have been getting used to life without our baby daughter and without our families here. It's strange since we have no memories of Addie here in our apartment (except inside me). But we grieve what we were looking forward to, what we were expecting and awaiting. Some days have felt harder than others. We've spent a good amount of time journalling, reading, praying together and talking. I am so thankful for our marriage, for Brandon. He is both strong and gentle.

I also have learned more of how I see God, in positive and negative ways. I am so thankful that I knew before Addie's death that God is the worthy One to whom I will run. That He is the Source of what I need. And I have seen that grief is humbling, that I cannot control God or tell Him what to do or explain. I am so thankful that with Him is hope. But it is hard to hope in God and not in other things. It seems to take much diligence and training; and I feel like I am in the midst of it.

Psalm 23: 4,6 - "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;... surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Where Else Would I Go?

It was only two weeks ago that Kristin was experiencing her first real contractions. It is hard to believe all that has happened since then. We are different people in many ways. We have grieved hard and cried many tears, but the days are getting easier. We have gotten to know each other in new ways and our relationship has never been sweeter. We have also gotten to know God in deeper and more intimate ways. He is really the only source of comfort for us. Even though it is scary to trust Him at times, we would have it no other way. I think of Peter's response when Jesus asked if he wanted to leave Him too... Peter said "where else would I go? Who else has the words of life?" That is my own little paraphrase, but you get the point. It is difficult to follow and trust God with something as precious as our daughters life... but who else can we trust? Certainly we cannot even trust ourselves.

We would still love to wake up in the morning and hear little Addie in the other room. We would still love to hold her close. We would still love to get to know all of her little sounds. There are so many things that we would love if Addie were still around, but God had different plans. And again we hold to the fact that those plans are good. We are confused at times and sad at times, but we hold no anger toward our good God.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Things that we are thankful for...
  • A healthy and easy pregnancy
  • 1 beautiful day with Addie
  • A sovereign God
  • A good God
  • That we were able to hold our little girl close
  • Our God hears our prayers
  • Our God understands our pain (He lost His Son)
  • Going through labor/delivery as a team
  • Our relationship with each other has deepened
  • Our amazing family
  • Our wonderful friends
  • All the prayers that have been said on our behalf
  • A beautiful daughter
  • A surprisingly fast recovery for Kristin
  • The time we spent in our room as a family
  • The word of God
  • That we had such good times with our family (they love each other!)
  • That we're learning what it means to grieve and be comforted
  • We are parents
  • We belong to Christ and heaven is our home
  • The sweet pictures of Addie to remember
  • Our times together as husband and wife - in prayer, tears and joys
  • The wonderful care Addie & Kristin received in the hospital
  • People who grieve with us
  • The Navigators' love shown toward us
  • The kindness of God through His people - phone calls, hugs, flowers, tears, prayers
  • We know God in new and deeper ways
  • God's Presence that never leaves us
  • Students who love us and came to be with us
  • The hope that is found in Christ alone
  • That Addie is with Jesus

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

My Portion Forever

Our hearts are heavy and the tears still flow. Life is strange to us right now. We have become parents, but the people around us can't tell. We feel that we should have a little one filling our home with sweet noises and little cries. Instead, it is still just the two of us in a strangely quiet home. It is filled with some pictures and many flowers, but no Addie.

But we serve a God that can be trusted. We serve a God that is infinitely good. We will praise God in this time of sorrow. We will praise Him for His goodness and we will not question or curse Him.

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26

"But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds." Psalm 73:28

Monday, July 02, 2007

Labor & Delivery

After having strong contractions for hours, we headed to the birthing center in Redlands at 5am on Monday morning. I was 5 cm dilated and happy that I was so far along. My labor was long but normal and without complications. Addie’s heart rate was always good whenever the midwife would check it. Brandon was with me the entire time: coaching, cheering, helping, holding me and loving me. We were both exhausted by the time Addie arrived at 4:50 pm.
I had been waiting and waiting for the moment she would appear and be placed upon my chest - to have my little baby close and near me right away. But our little Addie was born without the oxygen she needed. Something had happened in the last minutes of labor that kept her from being born full of life and breath. She received good care from the minute she arrived and through her entire time at the hospital. But there was too much damage to her little organs.
We had been able to see and hold and touch and kiss Addie in the NICU but for the last hour of her life, she was brought to our room and we were allowed to be together as a family. This was a precious gift from God. I was able to hold her close and we were able to hug and be with her in the way we had been waiting – just our little girl in our arms. Her daddy committed her to her Heavenly Father and Jesus took her home. We are so thankful to God for what He did by giving us a beautiful daughter. Addie’s enjoying His Presence and Glory forever. He is so good to us.

We wanted to give you a little more of the story. Thank you all for your deep love and prayers on our behalf. We feel so upheld, and carried by God. And we rest not in our strength but in Him, knowing that your prayers for us in the midst of grief have been deeply answered. We enjoyed a sweet service on Saturday in memory of Addie and in honor of God. He has been gracious in His provision and love to us. Tomorrow, all of our family will be back in their respective homes. But we have great support and friends here in CA that will take over as our family. God's kindness is indeed shown through His people. Please pray for us as we face the coming days and weeks without our little girl. We love you and are so grateful for you. This last week has been so, so hard and sad but also so deep and such sweet days with each other, our family, friends and others. We will continue to record some thoughts and more pictures in the coming weeks. Thank you.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Adella Mae Crouch

Our beautiful baby girl was born on June 25, 2007 at 5:00pm. She weighed 7 lbs. 7 oz. and was 20 inches long. She was so lovely and precious and we loved her so much. She lived for just 21 hours and passed away on June 26, 2007.

God is so good and He gave us the most precious gift we could ever ask for. We will treasure that day with Addie for as long as we live. We loved her, kissed her, held her, prayed for her, sang to her, talked to her, committed her to Jesus, and she died in the arms of her mommy and daddy. Now she is with Jesus and, though we are so sad, we praise God for that one day.

We will have a service for family and all of our friends who can make it. So, if you are able to attend, we would love to see you there.

The location is...
Cortner Chapel
221 Brookside Avenue
Redlands, CA 92373

The schedule is as follows...

Saturday, June 30
9:30 - 10:30 family visitation
10:30 - 11:30 friends visitation
11:30 - 12:30 service

This will be a very informal gathering. we will not dress up at all, we just want people to be together.

We are incredibly blessed to have so many friends who love us and we value all the prayers that have been said on our behalf. As you grieve with us, we ask that you would also praise God with us. He is so good and He gave us the most wonderful gift that day.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" - Romans 8:28

"For those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough; for you are a God who does what is right and you smooth out the path ahead of them." - Isaiah 26:7

Sunday, June 24, 2007


The moment we have all been waiting for is upon us. Kristin started having contractions today (Sunday) at noon. They were very mild at first, but are becoming more frequent and more intense. We have had a great day... Kristin took a nap (in preperation for one of the most exhausting things she will ever go through), we took a couple of walks, we played monopoly (I won), we got an A&W rootbeer float, and we have been praying frequently.

We find that the most common prayer is that we would remember that God is good and that He is sovereign. No matter what happens or how it happens, God is good and He is sovereign. We can rest in that. Please take a brief moment and pray for us right now. We appreciate you all and the next post on this blog promises to be even more exciting.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Here we are with the due date a mere 29 hours away. When is our daughter going to show up? Every morning I am still asking Kristin, "is today the day?" And each day passes with no daughter. The good news is that the odds go up everyday. I am bound to hit it sooner or later. We are trying to be patient and trust God in His timing.

We have had a wonderful time together lately. We have had fun talking, laughing, and praying. I am blessed to have such a wonderful wife.

Please continue to pray with us that God would introduce our daughter to the world in His perfect timing. Also pray that we would be patient in waiting and that we would fully trust in God's sovereignty. We serve a wonderful God who is good through and through. We serve a God who is all knowing and all powerful. We serve a God who is much more wise than we are. We serve a God who wants to live life with us.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Still waiting...

Hello everyone - no picture today. there's not much new here. we're basically waiting for our little girl's big day. I'm feeling quite ready, especially since I was kind of planning on her coming early and well, my "official" due date is now only 3 days away (although everyone tells you the due date is only an estimate). anyway, I've definitely picked up the nap-a-day routine and it's nice. It's just been the last week or so that I've felt dramatically more tired. she seems to be sucking my energy which I gather is what she will continue to do after she is born. but I still am anxiously awaiting her arrival. I can't wait to see her face and touch her skin and hug and kiss her all the time. We'll keep you posted on any new activity. love, Kristin

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

That's My King - Dr. Lockridge

This is one of the greatest talks ever given. It doesn't directly have anything to do with our soon-to-be daughter, but we are praying that one day her heart will cry these words. Take a look at it... it is AWESOME!!!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

15 Days and Counting

15 days until the due date!!! It is hard to believe that these 9 months are drawing to a close. We are getting more and more excited every day. Our little daughter seems to be getting more and more anxious to meet us as well. She is constantly moving, and kicking, and turning. We have had a good time playing Name That Body Part. We can feel little parts, bigger parts, and hard parts.

All in all, I think that Kristin would say that it has been a pretty easy pregnancy. And I have to say that it hasn't been to difficult for me either. We have had a good time these past few weeks as we have been settling in. We are enjoying a slower pace and a resonable amount of sleep. We are fully aware that this will all change soon enough... but it has been fun and memorable.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

37 weeks

Hello - here I am in our new Riverside apartment - in our kitchen. It's pretty nice - with new cabinets, appliances and countertops. and I'm 37 weeks along which means "full-term" and our little girl is supposedly ready to arrive any day, although it also could be weeks. I still feel good overall, although I'm still hoping for the earlier than later arrival. I am definitely excited to meet our daughter and see what she looks like and get to know her better. She still is the little mover and squirmer although if I feel her little feet or legs and I push on them, she moves right away (which either means to me that she's ticklish or just doesn't like to be messed with). I'm hoping she's just ticklish. please pray for us as we wait and get ready for her - that my labor would go smoothly and that there wouldn't be any complications. we love you!

Guess the Due Date

June is finally here and the days just keep ticking away. The official due date is June 25th, but my money is on the 20th. Kristin is pulling for the 15th. It is pretty crazy knowing that it could happen at any time. Each day we are one day closer to the arrival of our new baby girl... but that could mean 1 more day or it could mean 30 more days.

Anyone else out there who wants to get in on the "guess the due date" game, just leave a message with your guess. Just so you know... Kristin might not be as friendly to you if your guess is too far into July. :)

Monday, May 21, 2007

35 Weeks (and our friendly moving crew)

This was the crew from ASU that helped us move to Riverside! They were an amazing help! We'd still be in AZ without them. They not only helped us load the truck but they caravanned with us all the way to CA and then helped us unload - once in our apartment and then to our storage unit. They had great attitudes and made the whole thing fun. Thanks to everyone! The other picture is in our new little back patio that Brandon has adorned with all our potted plants from our house. We even planted a tomato plant and some herbs. yum. I'm about a month away from the "due date" and still feeling well. Sleeping has become not quite as fun with achey hips but I can't complain - this pregnancy has been great. We are eagerly awaiting this girl's arrival - she weighs over 5 pounds and it's evident as she moves around inside - trying to find a comfortable position. We'll post some more soon.

Settling In

We are well on our way to official CA residents. We have been here 12 days and already have California tags on our cars, California drivers license coming in the mail, insurance switched, and mostly unpacked. We have been out exploring and have found a few really good places to eat, a really fun place to hike, and a secret avocado grove. Kristin is looking great and feeling great. Her tummy is slowly growing and we are getting anxious to be parents. Please keep us in your prayers as you think of us... that the baby would be healthy and on time and that God would speak to us as to how we should shape this ministry. Also pray that we would be good parents.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Tempe 2 Riverside

So this isn't my favorite picture but I've been slow at the blog lately... so we'll take another picture soon (maybe even today!) and post it but I wanted to add something. this picture is from our ASU end-of-the-year luau. It's at least a decent pic of Brandon's new facial hair design(aka trucker stache) and a profile of my ever-growing belly. We love you! Riverside is great - we already have our new CA license plates and we know where a grocery store, Home Depot, Target and Trader Joe's is located. We also know how not to get on the 215 North and to avoid Interstate 91 around any sort of traffic times. The weather is cooler than AZ but we don't know anyone here... yet. We miss our friends in Tempe and are trying to get ready for our baby's arrival. I guess this is getting to be random. I'll tell you more next time!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

32 weeks!

Hello again! My parents came to visit this weekend and we had a great time. They hadn't seen me pregnant since Thanksgiving so they enjoyed the drastic changes since then. They were amazing help, too, since we had lots of projects to do (cleaning, packing and going to fun restaurants). Brandon and I enjoyed every minute of it - we also swam in our pool, took walks and talked about babies. thanks, Mom & Dad!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

30 weeks!

Here I am - a nice profile shot for you. I'm definitely sticking out. I still feel good and happy to be pregnant. We have been taking a 4-week childbirth prep class and I also just took a breastfeeding class. we're learning a lot! Our little girl is still tumbling and moving and kicking and she even had hiccups one night when I was falling asleep. I thought she was kicking at first but in my half-sleep state, I noticed that her kicks were quite rhythmic and the same each time... I yelled out: "Hiccups" but I woke Brandon up and then I fell asleep. oh well. she also has taken up sticking something up in my rib area which makes it a little harder to bend or breathe. I just poke her back but it doesn't seem to bother her. And today, I finally made the trek to Babies 'R Us with a friend who could help counsel me through baby registering. That place can be slightly overwhelming. But I made it.

Mexico - 30 weeks

This picture was taken on our way back from Mexico last weekend. We had an amazing 4 day weekend (courtesy of my cool brother and sister-in-law) in Puerto Penasco as a pre-baby vacation. We had a great time relaxing and playing poolside. The cactus behind us is called an ocotillo and are in bloom this time of year. they're strange and beautiful.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Brief Update

Kristin and I are enjoying temperatures in the upper 80's out here in the land of sunshine. We have no big news to report on the pregnancy or the baby. We just took a three day trip out to Riverside to check out houses, the campus, and hospitals. It was a really good trip and very worth while. It is hard to believe that we will no longer have a home in Tempe in one short month. There is much to do between now and then and I think we will be quite busy for the next couple of months. Things should really be ralaxing and slow down once the baby comes (yeah right!).

Sunday, April 01, 2007

28 week belly shot

Well, some of you probably think this is a cool picture and some of you think it's a little odd... either way, here it is. my belly @ the beginning of the 3rd trimester. I know that our little girl is going to more than double in size and I can't believe I have that much more room. Now when she moves around, my whole belly moves and jumps and it's entertaining to watch from the outside.

Our Little Girl

Kristin and I went to get one last ultrasound before we meet our little girl face to face. We had a good time watching her move around and open her mouth and eyes. The doctor said that she is doing well and just slightly ahead of schedule in weight gain. It is obvious to us that she is in the top 1% of beautiful babies. Maybe even the top .01%. It is pretty amazing and humbling to think that God would entrust this little girl to us.

28 weeks

The 3rd trimester has begun and all is well. Our baby girl appears healthy and weighs about 2.6 pounds. We will begin our childbirth preparation classes this Tuesday. By Wednesday we should have everything figured out. Ha.
We are a little sad that we only have 5 weeks left in our house here in Tempe. We love the pool and the orange tree behind us but God has good things in store for us in California.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

26 weeks

Hell0 - this picture is taken in our back covered patio area. Our news is that our house sold on Friday - so we're really thankful and happy that it sold so quickly as well as sad because now our house won't be ours as of May 11. I'm feeling well - my belly button is definitely stretched almost completely or maybe it will pop out one of these days...? I think I prefer stretched. Our little girl is busy moving almost all the time and I love feeling her from inside and watching my belly do moves I can't control. Thanks for keeping up with us and for all your prayers for me and our little girl!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

more of spring break - 25 weeks

this picture is of all the girls that stayed in one of the condos with me. we had a sand castle competition on the last day and since we called our condo "the palace," we made a sand castle in the shape of a crown. isn't it beautiful?

25 weeks - in Mexico

We spent last week in San Felipe, Mexico, with 37 students for spring break. San Felipe is a great little fishing town on the Sea of Cortez. This picture is of me and a few freshmen girls on the day we went fishing (we're all wearing our fishing hats). It was a beautiful day to be on the water, we caught lots of fish and we even spotted 2 whales. The trip was great and the students had a blast. We'll post another picture soon.

Friday, March 02, 2007

At the beach

Here's a recent picture of us at the beach in San Diego! We had a conference with students east of San Diego. But during our free time, we always hit the road with a few carloads of Arizona students and head to the beach. It was fun to stick our toes in and look like tourists.

23 weeks!

Here I am again... poolside. I've been feeling great! I have been feeling the little girl inside of me kicking and moving for a couple weeks. But lately, I can feel her all throughout the day. It's so fun to be reminded of her presence by all of her squirms and dances. She weighs just over one pound (so the websites tell us) and her bones are definitely formed enough to remind me she's there. Thanks for praying and checking out our path to parenthood.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Any Advice?

What an awesome privilege it is to be entrusted with a little baby girl. Kristin and I are so excited to be parents. I am sure that there will be good times, bad times, hard times, and fun times. At this point we are still trucking along in our well ordered lives and I have a feeling that our lives will look much much much different in about 4 months. If any parents out there have any advice that they would like to leave here as "comments" we would love to read it.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

21 Weeks!

And here's a picture of me at 21 weeks! I am feeling well and enjoying my growing belly (which is an attention point of many conversations with the ASU college girls). They're really excited and quite interested in our growing baby. They also offer lots of suggested names of our little girl. Lately, I've heard Dottie Periwinkle, Paisley Bubbles and of course, everyone thinks their own name is a splendid idea... Brandon and I have discussed some names but aren't near a decision. And we're also thinking that we're going to keep it a secret until our little girl's debut.

It's a girl!

Well, here's the answer to the last blog's question... it's a girl! We had our ultrasound on Tuesday and it was really fun to see our little girl kick and move. Brandon wrote these two refrigerator magnet-phrases after our appointment. And a picture of the sonogram picture isn't as clear as it is in person, but we're sure you'll recognize her incredible beauty even with a glance. It's pretty amazing to know that God has given us a girl as our first child.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Boy or Girl?

I was recently inspired to try and make little baby booties. I'm a beginner sewer (seamstress?) and that is a favorable way of describing myself. But my friend has a blog which gave me the idea and a link that gave me directions (with step-by-step pictures) on how to sew these little booties. I made one pair for a little boy and one for a little girl. And although they're not perfect, I have to say that I'm pretty proud of them! We have our ultrasound next Tuesday so we'll let you know if our little one will be wearing the blue ones or the pink ones.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

18 weeks and counting...

The word on the streets is that I'm in the middle of the easiest and most fun part of a pregnancy. And I would agree - it has been fun! I feel good and am excited for all that's ahead. Here's a picture of me by our orange tree in our backyard. I think I look pregnant and Brandon notices my belly more while hugging me; but strangers still might not guess that I'm pregnant. I've been doing a lot of reading lately about pregnancy, labor, exercises - these library books will keep me busy for awhile.

This morning, I read Matthew 2, which tells the story of the magis' visit to Joseph, Mary and Jesus. Some time after their visit, God warns Joseph in a dream to leave for Egypt to escape Herod's killing of young boys. They move to Egypt and then eventually to Nazareth. It doesn't say if they knew anyone or had any family in either location. It encouraged me and reminded me to trust God as we plan on moving to Riverside in May (before the baby). God is indeed the One who will lead and provide for us - all three of us. There is much to wonder and consider and dream about between the lines of the story in Matthew 2. What did Mary think of Joseph and his dream? How their families missed them and wanted them near. Was Joseph scared to lead his family into a new country? How was their marriage affected? And how did Jesus grow up with all those transitions? God led and ruled over it all.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Large Onion

The little one is officially the size of a large onion. We are not talking about a small onion, a green onion, or even a medium sized onion. We are talking about a LARGE onion!

This whole pregnancy thing sure is an educational experience for a guy. For instance I had no idea that a little baby could be compared to so many different fruits and foods. I have also learned the benefits of squatting during pregnancy to help in child birth. Many things I have learned would probably be inappropriate to share on this here blog.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Avocado-size baby/growing-belly

Here's picture #1 of me, the mommy-to-be. My belly is growing and at 16 1/2 weeks, people who know me would say I look at least a little pregnant. It's kind of strange to have a growing tummy and I'm happy to be done with nausea and extreme exhaustion. I'm on to better things now like headaches and ache-y hips. But I am thankful for all of it. And the second trimester has been quite lovely, I'd have to say. It's fun to be pregnant and it's fun to be pregnant with Brandon. He seems to enjoy my growing belly as much as me. We go for the ultrasound appointment in one month and I'm looking forward to it. In the meantime, we will talk about names and weird aches and wonder when I'll first feel the babe's movements. Kristin