Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Missing a little girl....along the road

We're moved in!!! It feels great to be settled a little. Our church family as well as old friends and others have loved us so well. My house is mostly unpacked and thanks to Wendy, Jennifer and Lori most of my pictures are on the walls and my things are in their rightful place. We had fun and laughed a lot during their three night stay. As I laughed, it's like I would think "wait a minute....I'm SO sad." But God's grace allows me to laugh and still be joyful because my hope in Jesus is sure. I look back and am truly convinced that He has carried me.

I never knew that I could physically ache over something....over a loss like this. When Lori, Wendy and Jennifer had some of their kids here the ache was with me as I knew Alaina would LOVE to be running and playing with all her I watched Holden and Elley see their new rooms for the first time and be totally delighted, the ache was there just knowing that Lew would be saying "Mama, it's beautiful!" Unpacking her things....the ache is there. The smells that remind me of her....and the ache is there. Seeing her pictures and just feeling like I can almost reach out and touch her....the ache is there. OH, I hate it!!! Sometimes it just won't leave. It won't just "go away." And once again, it brings me to my knees. See, sometimes it's so hard to even enjoy the joy and laughter of Elley and Holden. On one hand, it's great to see them run and splash at the park today and just love life, but on the other, Billy and I both are seeing in the midst of their playing that a piece of us is missing. Another little girl should be running and giggling. It seems so lonely without her. It wasn't supposed to BE like this!!!! I just want my life to be easy......That's what my flesh screams. But, we live in a fallen, sinful world, and in my spirit I know this is part of God's GOOD plan for us. I pray, well sometimes when I can't even pray, Jesus is interceding for me, for grace to believe the gospel.....this life is not all there is. I can't live for "this life." I just miss her so much it hurts.

Ok, for some comic relief.....I'm taking this suggestion from our new add this story. God had given us such a gift in our knew Dr. He will see our whole family. I'm not sure if he wants me to give his name, so I'll just call him "Awesome Dr." :) Ok, any Cullman people that might read probably know, but oh well, HE told me to share, so I am.

He and his wife go to our church and they're the kind of people you meet for the first time and think to yourself "I want them to be my friend" kind of great. They had us over for dinner this week and we so enjoyed their company. Awesome Dr. has been so great to truly go above and beyond for us and I really don't think He thinks we're weird. His exact words to us were (if we ever have ANY concerns about our children) "You just put it on me any time." And I know he means it. He has also done SO much for us to find out more information about Lew's sickness....more about that later because it's all still in process. We will never forget how he has served us in this unique way. ANYWAY, so I'm in his office today with Mary Helen for her six month checkup (yes, she's really 7 months but we're just now getting around to taking her ). Ok, this part is not really part of the story but it does give some background of my time leading up to the appointment.

First, I don't really know where I'm going because my GPS was not cooperating. I was very frustrated. See, things that would frustrate me under normal circumstances totally frustrate me WAY more these days. I drove around the hospital parking lot SEVERAL times looking for awesome Dr.s office. After about the fourth time, and saying "God, please give me a break here," I finally found it. Of course, Mary Helen had a dirty diaper. I get to the room, waiting for Awesome Dr. to see her and I change her diaper. As I'm washing my hands I had her on my hip with no diaper on and she (tt'd) all over me. The room totally smelled like poop and urine.

In walks Awesome Dr. OK, this is the funny part. I guess maybe my most embarrassing moment.....but I laughed until my stomach hurt. He proceeds to ask me a long string of questions about Mary Helen...."Is she rolling over? Eating cereal/baby food? reaching for objects? sleeping well ? and so on. Then he continues, "Did she have any problems at birth? Was she born at 40 weeks? Did she have a regular birth? " I told him that I had a C-section and she was around 38 and a half weeks....she was my fourth C-section.

THEN, he continues by asking, "Now does Billly have his guns locked up?" And I say "No, I had my tubes tied." OK, he totally meant Billy's actual shot guns and rifles that he hunts with !!!!!!! Do you get what I thought he meant????? ( like male body parts "locked up") I am a total freak aren't I. He pushes back in his chair and is laughing out loud, then I realize what I THOUGHT he meant and I know my face was as red as the wall but I was laughing so hard it hurt....we both were for several minutes. He said " that's the best I've heard in a long time!" He even told the nurses :)

He also said, "I read your blog last night and you need to add this story for some comic relief." I decided he was right. I hope it makes you laugh. This one is going down in history for me.

It's so good to laugh. I get tired of being sad. Just another reminder to me of God's grace in my life....that I can ache from the pain but can also ache in a fun way from laughing so hard.

I'll end with this....a poem from my recent women's bible study "Tapestry"

My life is but a weaving
Between my Lord and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He works so steadily.

Oft' times He weaves in sorrow
And I, in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper
And I, the underside.

The dark threads are as needed
In the Weaver's skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

Not till the loom is silent
And shuttles cease to fly,
Will God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.

He IS my Master Weaver and He causes me to trust.


Aimee said...

So good to hear your "voice". I can totally hear you talking as I read your blog.

Thank you for that good laugh. That is a classic. I just read it to Carlton and he is cracking up to!

Laughter is so good, and I do understand that feeling of pausing mid-way through a laugh and thinking "Hey, I am not supposed to be smiling, much less laughing." But, as God continues to carry you through these tough days, you will see joy return. And you will find joy in things you never thought of. The birds sing so much louder than before and my children's laughter/whining/crying has never sounded so good.

We continue to pray for you and your sweet family,

These Three Kings said...

wow..that was funny :)

praying for you

Amy said...

It is great to see God answering prayers. I have continiually prayed that laughter would return to your home and that it would bring you healing in some way. This story by far is a comical one. I just shared it with John and he, like Carlton, is laughing hysterically. I am glad to hear your voice too. Yesterday you were on my mind all day. We are still praying.

Allison said...

Hope, we still think and pray for you and Billy often. Thanks so much for continuing to share your journey with us. And thanks for the story - We laughed out loud!

Matt, Carrie and Lucy Allen said...

That did make me laugh!! Too funny. I have been thinking of ya'll a lot. Whenever I get up in the middle of the night (which is a lot) or cannot fall asleep b/c hubby is snoring (which is also often) I pray for ya'll. I am so glad you updated the blog and I am continuing to pray!
lots of love-

Mary said...

still praying for glad that the Lord is bringing pockets of joy and laughter to your heart.

Anonymous said...

Hope I am totally laughing out loud and crying too...I miss you all. Would have loved to be there to help in the move in! Hi to Wendy and Lori and Jennifer--you all are so great. THANK you so much Hope for sharing it all--you are glorifying God. Praise God for how He is providing for you in this doctor and your church and friends. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who smiled when reading your description of meeting the Dr. family for the first time--"I want them to be my friend' kind of great"....that is exactly what people feel when they meet you for the first time!! As you already have been, cling to His Word, dear one-- at your most helpless point you are in such Good Hands. "When I said to the Lord, "my foot is slipping" your love, O Lord, supported me;when anxiety was great within me your consolation brought joy to my soul." Ps. 94 You are proving this truth to me. Love and many prayers, Katie Naperville

Rachel said...

I have missed you blogging, Hopey T! I am so glad that you are getting settled and that you have already connected with the people there. Just remember that your old friend is still here for anything you need. I continue to hold you close in my heart. We have started a blog, too, if you would like to check it out. Just email me and I'll send you the link. I love you!

Elijah's Mom said...

Hi! Thank you for the laugh. That totally sounds like something I would do!

I pray for you often even though I have never met you. I have shared this story with my husband and he is praying for your husband also.

I was looking for an email address for you but I don't see one on the blogger so I think this is the only way to contact you. Could you please email me at I have something I would like to offer you and don't want to do so on a public board. You can see my website at to see I am a real person. If I don't hear from you, I undestand. But I would love to give you something.

Either way, you are in my prayers and I am glad you are getting settled in your new home. I am about an hour away in Bham but I have several friends that live in Cullman! Blessings!

JJMERKEL said...

Hope, I laughed so hard. What a great story. I am glad that you are finding some joy in your life. I am thankful that your friends helped you move in to your new home, and made you laugh. I wish we could have been there to help you out. : )

Shea said...

Hope, I'm crying, then laughing hysterically, then crying again. It sounds like "Awesome Dr." is indeed AWESOME! I'm so happy to hear that you are getting settled in your new home. I think that God is going to bless you with such special people there. It's not often that you aren't in my mind and on my heart. Continuing to pray!!

April Brown said...

I almost woke the kids up from laughing...that was good! And don't you know you will never live that down...Billy is going to use that every chance he can. I can only imagine when references to the "guns" will be made!! Love you, girl!! I can't wait to get up there and see you!

Anonymous said...

Oh Hope,
We miss you and Billy so much. I have been so worried about all of you, and your move. I am glad you are getting settled. And I can so totally see you telling this story. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time, the kids are looking at me like I am a freak as I am laughing hysterically ..I am so happy you found people to love on you. Will continue to pray for all of you and we will be thinking of you often.
P.s. Anyone that is blessed to meet you and become your friend is a fortuante individual there is NO one like you and billy!

CarolSue said...

Hello, Hope
Just talked to Billy. He told me I HAD to read your new blog.
I laughted my head off! I knew exactly what you meant right away and I would have thought the exact same way after just having 2 kids!
I pray that each day God takes a little more of the pain away and leaves you with just the mellow comfort of having known one of His children in such an intimate way as you knew Alaina. Praise God that you can laugh and please don't feel guilty doing it. (Easier said than done I know.)
You are constantly in my prayers, my friend. Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

So good to hear from you again. Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. I am so glad to hear that you are starting to get connected in your new home. We miss you all. The Witts

Lori Ellen said...

Hopey T...that was CLASSIC! I'm so thankful to God for your ability to laugh. I can absolutely hear and see your loud, infectious laugh as I read your story. Oh how I miss the days when we laughed that way together...remember your mom suggesting cheerleader poses when we practiced in your front yard...remember "throw a potato at you" many memories!! They are all so precious to me. I do so enjoy reading your blog. I've got one too. Email me and I'll send you the link. You continue to humble and amaze me. I miss you so!

Love, Lori

P.S. My email is

Meagan said...

So Hope I've not met you yet,but my heart hurts for you..My husband Scott was the phone man that helped you and billy this week and he shared the blog site with me and explained how he spent his time with you..You have blessed us more than you know, you are an amazing woman with a amazing God.. You and your family our in my thoughts and prayers and I love the new blog..You'll have to share the secret doctor with us because were going to be moving soon to Cullman...I'm new on the blog site and unsure of how everything works so hope to talk to you soon. Maybe we can get the kids together...

Jaime said...

Hope, I am so glad your back! I know you said it may be a while due to the move, but I have continued to check almost daily. One of our friends from seminary is about to move to Cullman for a youth minister position. I think you would really like his wife Marianne. Email me or call me when you have a chance. Love you guys,

Anonymous said...

Friend of Brandi Barnes Parten. I have posted a comment on here before, but it has been a while. You touch me each time you post, by being so real about your grief, but being able to still enjoy the days God has for you! Thank you for being willing to be genuine. As a mom, I am learning from God through your forever-changed testimony and I am blessed by your trials and triumphs!
Thank you for sharing,

Joy said...

That was an "awesome" story from "Awesome Dr.!" Loved it...."Does Billy have his guns locked up...." *chuckling, chuckling*

Still praying for your family.

Joy Goode Hutzler

Michael and Jennifer Werneth said...

so sorry for the ache you feel as you miss alaina. i love your new house so much but so wish she were there too. how could you not physically ache? isnt laughter such a gift though? even though i still cry for yall as i pray, your bright spirits make me laugh too. i so love your dr. awesome! make sure you call him instead of worrying! by the way, we so need to lock up michael's guns! talk about russian roulette! im gonna get in trouble if we dont! i also love that you are still trusting the "Weaver" of your life though the threads are dark. you have made my view of God bigger, fuller, realer... love you

Danny and Jennifer White said...

Hey Hope.So glad you are getting settled. we will continue to pray. thanks for sharing the story!

Coleman Happenings said...

That IS comic relief! Sounds like you found an awesome doctor and that God is proving his faithfulness by using you. We are continuing to pray for you in the night.

Amy Coleman from NPC

Patric and Jennifer said...

Sometimes when I'm up in the middle of the night (like right now), I wonder if it's because I'm supposed to pray for you guys. So, here I am. Just wanted you to know. :)

Thanks for the comic relief tonight, too...I had to laugh quietly so as not to wake everyone up! Can't wait to tell Patric about the guns in the morning!!

Tracy said...

We continue to keep you in our prayers. Love you. The Jacksons.

Ashley Hood Gunn said...


At the beginning of your message I had tears streaming down my face as I hurt for you, BUT by the end I was laughing out loud. The Lord is so precious to allow us to laugh! Thank you for sharing your heart it not only allows me to know what to pray, but also I am constantly encouraged by how God is caring for you all. Please I still think of you all daily and send my thoughts straight to the Lord because He cares for you!

Love you,

Ashley Hood Gunn

stargirl12264 said...

Oh, Hope! You're back! I'm Rachel Hester. I teach 2nd grade in Georgia (5 mi. south of Chattanooga), and I don't know how I know you. My sister, Amanda Sanford, went to Samford with someone who knows you, andwhen you guys lost Sweet Lew, she directed me to your blog to read and then start praying. I did exactly that, and I've prayed so hard and heavily for you and your family, that I feel like I KNOW you now. You are my FRIEND, like it or not. I've worried because it's been a few weeks since your last post, but I reminded myself that you have been moving, grieving, and still being wife and mom, so I've tried so hard to be patient. This is our first day of school. It's FINALLY my planning time...WHEW! WHAT A DAY!...and here I am at my desk checking your blog. You're on my mind so often. I'm delighted to hear that moving went smoothly and that you already have such a precious "family" in Cullman (?) I think that's right. Anyway, I have to go pick up my class from computer lab, but I will comtinue to pray faithfully for God to continue to encourage, support, and carry you and your family; for your good and well-earned sleep, and for a happy, healthy, family every morning. I love you! That's weird, I know....and I'm not a total weirdo....just a fellow Christian who is grieving with you from miles away. Take good care of yourself and your family! God bless and keep all of you!

Anonymous said...

Hope - Thanks for continuing to keep us posted via your blog. It is always a joy to read. I had a good chuckle when reading your story - sounds so typical of you and the events that surround the Atchison's.
Miss you guys. Hugs and kisses to Billy and the kids.
Karen and Rob, Yorkville, IL

Angie said...

Thanks for sharing. You are so funny! Scott and I really miss your stories. We are glad to hear that you are starting to feel settled in your new home. You'll continue to be in our prayers as this month will be busy with school starting and the routine of Fall. We think of you daily. Take care and forward your new address when you get the chance. I would love to give you a call soon.
- The Pattons

Sarah said...

Sweet friend,
I know you miss little Alaina, what an ache. Getting used to the new "normal" will be a process. I love you girl and I am so glad you shared Awesome Dr.'s story. As I was reading I thought "guns" were the same thing that you did! Thanks for the laugh. I can hear your laughter now. I pray you will have more times to laugh.
Love you,

Jill Williamson said...

Hope, that was a good laugh...well, I guess Billy liked the guns comment!! ha...
oh, I am still praying for a heart friend there in Cullman for you....
I think of of you and your pain often.

Duane and Kim said...

Hope, I continue to weep for you. Know that we are still thinking of you and praying for you and Billy. I know that tomorrow is a month, know that we remember.
Love, Kim and Duane

ken and jenny mcneill said...

Billy and Hope,
We just wanted you to know that we're thinking of you, especially today, and praying for you. You have alot of friends who haven't forgotten and will continue to lift up your family.
Thanks for the great guns story...that was a classic Atchison moment. :)
We love you guys,
Ken and Jenny

Jackie said...

Still thinking of you and praying. LOVED the guns story! So funny.

Anonymous said...

Hope I am a good friend of Karen's. I know we met once or twice when you were visiting Indiana.bkznawt I just wanted to say that your faith and love and for the Lord is truly and inspiration. You are a woman of substance when it comes to your walk with the Lord. I actually got the privledge of having Alaina over for a play date when she was here visiting at Karen's. What a beautiful sweet fun loving little girl. My heart breaks for your loss but at the same time my heart rejoices over God's grace in your life and how amazing it is to read about how he is carrying you and your family through this diffcult time. I really do pray for you and your family that God will become more and more real each day and that He will continue to use you in a mighty way, I know your faith has impacted my life. Your hope in Jesus brings me great comfort and reminds me that He is faithful and I don't have to worry about whatever comes my way because He does fill in the gaps.
Your Dr Awesome story was hysterical!! I had to tell my husband and he about fell over laughing. Thanks for the laugh!
In HIs Awesome Power,
Keri Combs

Anonymous said...

Zan discipled me on my first SBP. She lost her daughter age 11 last October in a similiar manner. Martha Ann went to bed sick and was gone in the morning. I think they determined it was luekemia. Billy may or maynot remember Zan. Anyway, would you be interested in talking with her? So much of what you say is similiar to her famililes thougths. Her husband has blog. Love you thinking of you and Praying for you. Classic story so funny!!! LOve Rayanne

Kelly Brechman said...

Hope, just checking in on you. I am amazed how your blog is reaching people all over the country. By the way, you were the person I met at ESPC that I instantly wanted to be friends with when we moved here! I have no doubt you will find your place in Cullman with loving friends. Kelly

Kim said...

Oh friend,
How I love you and miss you! I laughed out loud as I read the blog and I cried as I read the poem. I pray for you (and Billy) so often and I grieve with you. I have called Billy's cell hoping to check in but his box was full. As I listened to that message, I smiled and thanked God that a full box meant that many were loving on you and checking in on you.

Kristin said...

Love you, Hope. We still think and pray for you every day, and we still think of Alaina each day.

I can't wait to share this one with Jonathan when he gets home tonight.

Anonymous said...

Recieved this from a friend and thought of you and how you have inspired us all.. This sounds like something you would have written.Praying for you and the family.
In God's hands, Stephanie

I'm A Little TeaCup....
Love this story or not, you will not be able to have tea in a tea cup again without thinking of this.There was a couple who took a trip to England to shop in a beautiful antique store to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They both liked antiques and pottery, and especially teacups. Spotting an exceptional cup, they asked "May we see that? We've never seen a cup quite so beautiful." As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the teacup spoke, "You don't understand. I have not always been a teacup. There was a time when I was just a lump of red clay. My master took me and rolled me pounded and patted me over and over and I yelled out, "Don't do that." "I don't like it!" "Let me alone," but he only smiled, and gently said; "Not yet!" Then WHAM! I was placed on a spinning wheel and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. "Stop it! I'm getting so dizzy! I'm going to be sick!", I screamed. But the master only nodded and said, quietly; 'Not yet.' He spun me and poked and prodded and bent me out of shape to suit himself and then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat.. I yelled and knocked and pounded at the door. "Help! Get me out of here!" I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as he shook his head from side to side, 'Not yet'. When I thought I couldn't bear it another minute, the door opened. He carefully took me out and put me on he shelf, and I began to cool. Oh, that felt so good! "Ah, this is much better," I thought But, after I cooled he picked me up and he brushed and painted me all over The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. 'Oh, please, Stop it, Stop, I cried. He only shook his head and said. 'Not yet!'. Then suddenly he put me back in to the oven. Only it was not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I just knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried I was convinced I would never make it. I was ready to give up. Just then the door opened and he took me out and again placed me on the shelf, where I cooled and waited and waited, wondering "What's he going to do to me next?" An hour later he handed me a mirror and said 'Look at yourself' And I did. I said, That's not me; that couldn't be me. It's beautiful. I'm beautiful!!! Quietly he spoke: "I want you to remember, then,' he said, 'I know it hurt to be rolled and pounded and patted, but had I just left you alone, you'd have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I know it hurt and it was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn't done that, you never would have hardened. You would not have had any color in your life. If I hadn't put you back in that second oven, you wouldn't have survived for long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. Now you are what I had in mind when I first began with you. The moral of this story is this: God knows what He's doing for each of us. He is the potter, and we are His clay. He will mold us and make us and expose us to just enough pressures of just the right kinds that we may be made into a flawless piece of work to fulfill His good, pleasing and perfect will. So when life seems hard, and you are being pounded and patted and pushed almost beyond endurance; when your world seems to be spinning out of control; when you feel like you are in a fiery furnace of trials; when life seems to "stink", try this. Brew a cup of your favorite tea in your prettiest tea cup, sit down and think on this story and then, have a little talk with the Potter.

-t- said...

Keeping you all in our daily prayers-

The Smith Family