Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Ok, not completely wordless.  Sorry.

But, I have been trying to write a blog for weeks now.  And no words are coming out to adequately describe what all I am thinking about right now.  Suffice it to say, it has been a strange time for the Dugan family.  Maybe I can get my words together soon...

Until then, enjoy this song from Shane & Shane's new album, Bring Your Nothing.  I may or may not be listening to this song nonstop today.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sentimental

Today is the last day of classes here at the Seminary.  We've had 6 semesters of "last day of classes" with no big hoopla or celebration.  But this one - the 7th semester - is something special.  It's Matt's last day of class here at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  In 9 days he'll be graduating from here with a Master of Divinity in Pastoral Leadership.  To say I have been waiting for this day would be a huge understatement.  But here we are, and I'm finding myself very sentimental.

There has been much growth in the Dugan family over these past 3 1/2 years.  And I'm not just talking about sheer number of people, even though that has been true, too.  Even more than that, I'm referring to growth in our maturity - in our thoughts and views on just about everything under the sun.  The way we view life has changed so much.

I can still remember the freezing, cold day in January when we moved up here in 2010.  I had tears in my eyes as we pulled out of Temple, wondering what in the world God had in store for us.  Never could I have imagined all that laid before us.

We moved up here with an 11 month old baby, who couldn't walk or talk or roll his eyes yet.  We had no jobs lined up, and not much in savings.  We moved into a 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath apartment from our 4 bedroom house in Temple.  I remember those first 3 weeks when I would look out the window on the courtyard of our apartment and see people walking around and feel an intense, lonely feeling.  I didn't know anyone, and the job search wasn't as easy as I had hoped.

Before long, I found a job, and then just a couple of months later, I procured a job on campus.  Only 5 months after that, I was promoted to a career position which came with health insurance and unlimited free tuition for Matt.  It was at my on-campus position that I met most of my dearest friends here at Seminary.

The biggest sorrow of our life, losing sweet Graham, happened here.  Matt being fired from his first church job - in a very mean-spirited way - happened here.  Parker turning into a young boy happened here.  Our 9 year marriage being the strongest its ever been happened here.  Wrestling with God's call on our life and what He specifically wants Matt to be doing happened here.

We've also had more than our fair share of friendships come and go during our time here at Seminary.  We've said goodbye to people as they've headed off to college ministry, pastoral ministry, youth ministry, and the mission field.  We now have dear friends serving in Spain, Japan, North Africa, and Chile. 

And now we're about to head off on our own adventure.  The path for us is not clear just yet, but we are ready to see where, when and how God leads us from this place.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Graham's Well

I got the email today that I've been waiting a long time for - or at least it seems a long time. You can read my previous post about Graham's well here. It only took us 2 and a half weeks to raise the needed funds and I got the email on Christmas Eve telling us that Graham's well was fully funded. It was such a great Christmas present to us. And since then, I've been waiting for the email with the pictures of Graham's well complete. They came today and the tears were flowing.
 
 



 
These are some of the most beautiful pictures I've ever seen.  It is always special to see Graham's name somewhere - to see that he had life here on this earth.  But when I see it on his well - giving water to 1200 people - it's indescribable. 
 
 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.  The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
John 4:13-15


Would you join me in praying that these people, more than getting this fresh water to bring them physical health, would also find Jesus - the well that won't run dry?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Pink

Last week Matt and I got to have an ultrasound to check out our growing baby.  By this time in the pregnancy (16 weeks), we knew that we could at least get a good glimpse of the bladder and kidney development to make sure that everything seemed to be working properly there.  We were also hoping for a glimpse of the gender, too, but our sweet baby was just a little shy.  The doctor said that the bladder and kidneys looked good, but was only willing to give an 80% guess of the gender.  I quickly asked her if we could come in again soon to get a better look at gender because I wanted to know for sure before our trip to Disney World.  Because I have the best doctor ever, she said I could come in the following Friday.

Today, Matt and I went in for the follow-up appointment and the doctor was able to confirm what she thought she saw the week before...we are having a GIRL! 

I am still in a ton of shock, and don't know if I still really believe it.  But we feel so blessed, regardless of gender, to know that we have a healthy baby right now.

This afternoon my friend Matia and I decided to announce the gender of our babies to our office friends.  Matia is due about a week before me, and she has been such a sweet encourager to me during everything we've gone through in the past year.  It was really special to share an exciting moment with her.


 
Not knowing the gender 100% before this morning, Matia and I just made cookies and put pink M&M's in some and blue M&M's in the other.  When it was time for the party, Matia and I picked up the correct cookie for our baby and took a bite.  We had a little fun with it, too, because we actually picked up the opposite gender (blue for me, pink for her), and then switched.  Just a little fun to throw everyone off one more time.
 
 
When we got home in the evening, we surprised Parker with the pink balloons to tell him that he was having a baby sister.  That is what he wanted all along (even with Graham), so he was really excited.
 

And then we had a little photoshoot, fun, too. :)
 
 
 
We are thankful for our sweet Emerson Bree and are so excited to meet her on August 1st.  It has been a little hard for Parker to understand that we are actually going to get to bring Emerson home with us.  I hate that his first big brother experience was hard and confusing, but he was a great big brother to Graham and I know he will be the same to Emerson.  We are blessed.
 
 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Second Trimester

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
 
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7
 
Well, here I am - in the second trimester finally!  I am 13 weeks pregnant with Baby Dugan #3.  This is probably about the part of the pregnancy that people stop worrying so much about something going wrong and settle in for "smooth sailing."  I mean, once you get past the worry of a miscarriage, everything is good, right?
 
Well, that's what I used to think.  And honestly, before I had my first pregnancy and the subsequent miscarriage, I didn't even think an early miscarriage was a risk for me.  I think back about my ignorance and wonder why I felt like I was so untouchable.  That miscarriages, and later on, infant loss, happened to other people.  Surely not me. *insert appropriate cliche here about not speaking too soon, or hindsight is 20/20, etc, etc*
 
But I look back on the loss of Graham and see how much 1) the Lord prepared me for losing him and 2) He carried me through when the obstacle before me seemed insurmountable.
 
All that to say - I am worried. 
 
I know I shouldn't be.  I know that I'm not in control.  I know there's nothing that I can do.  I know the Lord will continue to be faithful.
 
I feel like the Lord taught us so much through the loss of Graham that I don't want to forget.  I want to apply those truths to my life.  That is why we told people we were pregnant a little earlier than I felt comfortable doing.  We decided to announce it via Christmas card, but I was still so worried that it was too soon.  That we were jinxing ourselves.  Like that can really happen.  UGH!

But then I had to step back and realize that:
     1) There is a baby in my belly.  Our baby.  And this life should be celebrated, no matter how   short or long it is.
     2) We learned firsthand how real the power of prayer is.  Why would we not want more people praying for this precious life to grow strong and healthy?
     3)  We suffered a pretty public loss with Graham.  I feel like so many of you walked this road with us, and deserve to know about this new life, too.

The innocence of pregnancy has been long-gone for the Dugan family, but we are grateful for another baby.  We are praying so fervently to be able to bring this baby home with us, but regardless, Blessed be the Name of the Lord! 
 

Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Year

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
 Psalm 30:11-12

 I have had such a hard time writing this blog - wanting to say the exact right words.  But I'm not sure it's possible.  I cannot say that I am sad to see 2012 go; it was a tough one.  But, really, it was pretty good, too.

Highlights:
- Got to meet and hold my sweet Graham.  I will remember those 4 hours with him for the rest of my life and I am truly grateful for that time.  It was so peaceful and couldn't have been sweeter.  And to top it off - he was beautiful!
- Got to experience true community.  The support that we had from friends, family, and even strangers was overwhelming.
- Matt and I got to go on a cruise with our good friends Victor and Linda.  And it was a perfect vacation to just relax, sleep, and eat.
- I turned 30 and was thoroughly spoiled by my sweet, sweet husband.  He really is the best.
- I started a small little side business (Padged Designs) and it has been really fun making pretty things.
- We were able to fund a well in Uganda in Graham's honor.

2013 is looking up, too.  A trip to Disney World in March, Matt's graduation in May, hopefully a new job, city & home soon thereafter, and a baby in August!!  Thank you Lord for your good gifts.  We are truly thankful.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Saving Lives this Christmas

I've had a lot of people ask me about how we're doing during the Holidays.  It's a common question, for sure, but I don't really have a good answer.  Maybe I'm in the minority here, and it may change at any time, but I don't feel like my grief really differentiates between holidays or not.

I feel just as sad as I did on a random Tuesday in August, and sometimes I feel just as happy and joyful as I did on a good weekend in September.  It's a roller coaster, and it stops for no one or no thing. 

All that to say, I do feel like I need to do something for Graham this Christmas.  We are busy looking for things for Parker, getting excited with him about Christmas lights, and using green & red sprinkles on everything.  But our sweet Graham isn't here to do those things with. 

So, we've got another idea.  What if we could save lives in Graham's honor?  What if we could take the money we would have spent on Graham this Christmas - and in 2 months, his 1st birthday - and use it for others?

Well, in comes Holden Uganda.  Chet & Sarah Erwin lost their son Holden in August of 2010.  And ever since then, they have been saving lives by providing water wells for people in Uganda who so desperately need clean water.  Just look at some of these pictures off of their website for other projects that have been funded here.  These wells have the name of a sweet baby who was gone way too soon.

It gives me chill bumps to think of a well across the world with Graham's name on it - constantly providing clean, life-saving water to those in need.

Here's their mission statement off of their website:

Holden Uganda is a non-profit foundation founded in December 2010 to spread the love of Christ with people around the globe. Our mission is to provide clean drinking water, through Artesian wells, to African communities.

These wells provide HOPE. Between 500 & 2000 Ugandan people are given hope through clean drinking water with each well. Also, each well is dedicated to a baby or child who went to heaven before his/her parents, providing hope to the families.

So, here's what I'm asking you to do....HELP!

Matt and I will not be able to fund this well on our own.  At least, not for quite awhile.  But, we would love, if you would be so led, to help us get this well funded by Graham's 1st birthday (February 3, 2013).  Artesian wells cost anywhere from $1800 - $2400. 

There's a lot more information that I could give you, like the Erwin's story, or the fact that your gift is tax-deductible, or that 100% of your gift goes toward building a well.  But I will let you check it all out on their website, www.holdenuganda.org.

And if you are willing to help us, you can click on the Donate/Purchase tab, follow the instructions, and then you will see Graham Dugan's name on the drop-down list of Funds.

But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
John 4:14





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