The Pregnancy Post I Hadn't Planned on Writing

I know I still need to get caught up on an Easter post, too :)

But for today, this is the pregnancy post I hadn't planned on writing. No, I am not pregnant... at least not anymore. I debated whether or not to even blog about this, but felt that it was important to do so, mostly so that it might potentially somehow help someone else.

Earlier this month, I miscarried. Again.

I didn't start this blog until I was pregnant with Isaac and we had received news of his prognosis; but prior to conceiving him, I had a missed miscarriage with our first baby at 13 weeks. I remember that time so clearly... being pregnant for the first time and blissfully unaware that anything bad could happen. I do, though, remember asking my OB at a prenatal visit I had around 10-11 weeks what my risks were of miscarrying at that point, and he shared that since the baby's heartbeat had been detected on the doppler, the risk at that point was small.

Yet we found the narrow odds... and I was devastated.

I remember sitting in small group one night as we were watching and discussing the NOOMA video entitled "Rain." I just broke down and and started sobbing. Around the same time, my mother-in-law had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer (and she has been in remission for some time now! Praise God...). Things felt so hard and I was so ready for the rainy storms to pass. I wanted sunshine and rainbows again.

Little did I know what was a few months around the corner, and that Spencer and I would walk through what has unarguably been the most difficult circumstance of our life: losing Isaac.

Difficult trials and circumstances that we have walked through in the past certainly don't preclude us from experiencing them in the present or future; Job would certainly attest to that. And I know some of you would, too.

So earlier this month, I experienced another miscarriage. It was very early, and truthfully, I am okay. I suppose that for me, while there is some disappointment and frustration, I guess it all feels sort of relative to what we've experienced in the past. For us, having lost Isaac has caused this to not sting so badly; but I recognize that for some, an early miscarriage even at 4-5 weeks would be devastating... and I want you to know that it is okay to feel that way.

I hope that for those of you who have lost a child and desire to have more children, this post serves as some encouragement for you that you will be okay even in the midst of more hardship. God is so faithful in meeting us where we are, providing enough grace and peace for each moment, and I know He will do the same for you, too. It is in times like this that I look back on God's past faithfulness and am reminded that He will continue to be faithful in the present and the future.

Psalm 57:10 says "For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies."

I pray that truth would encourage your heart today.

Thoughts of Spring!

It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! ~Mark Twain

In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours. ~Mark Twain

The above quotes from Mark Twain are a reminder that the season of Spring is a time of yearning and uncertainty. Nature’s awakening in this season stirs in us a yearning for change, newness, and rebirth. And Spring does not disappoint. Soon the tulips will be in bloom in Albany’s Washington Park, blossoms will adorn the fruit trees, leaves will cover the now bare limbs, and peas will be picked in the vegetable garden. Soon…but when? Like children on a journey we ask each Spring morning; “Are we there yet?” We are impatient after a long and cold winter and desire a rebirth NOW!
And that brings us to the uncertainty and fickleness of Spring reflected in Twain’s second quote. This season of hope does not come to us in a smooth and steady revelatory process with each day becoming progressively warmer and full of more and more promise. No, it is an on again/off again season with ups and downs, joys and disappointments.
Spring is a wonderful metaphor of what it means to be on a faith journey. The Holy Spirit stirs in us a yearning and desire to walk closer with God. To experience the Holy Presence in all that we do. We wish that we would make a steady progression in this most significant task. The truth is that it is on again/off again and filled with days of hope and days of disappointment. This is not because God is fickle or uncertain. The promises revealed to us through Jesus are certain and assured. It is our fears, anxieties, and impatience that create the uncertainty in our hearts.

The year's at the spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hillside's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven -
All's right with the world!
~Robert Browning

Hope springs eternal when “God’s in His heaven-All’s right with the world”!

Book is on shelves. I'm on TV.

Hi guys.
Today at last, half a year after it hit shelves overseas, WARM BODIES is finally for sale in the USA of America. Find it at your favorite book store, unless your favorite bookstore is one like Left Bank Books in Seattle, which probably doesn't stock commercial books from commercial publishers, only books that are hand-written by the author in the author's blood on dried sheaves of the author's skin.

Also, a last minute cancelation (of a guest so important the host couldn't even remember who it was) led to a last minute booking on New Day Northwest, a morning talk show on Seattle's King 5 News. So I rushed down to Seattle last night, got my hair cut, and went on TV. Weird! Here's the clip:



It was my first public appearance of pretty much any kind, so go easy on me.


Speaking of public appearances, why not attend my second one? I'm doing my first reading this friday, April 29th, at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, near Seattle. I'll be reading a short story or two, maybe something from Warm Bodies, "A"-ing some "Q"s, and getting severe dry mouth.

Come hang out! Admission is 1 High Five.

Also, to recap: here's the book on Amazon. (but please buy it at a local bookstore if you can!)

And here's the book's Facebook Fan Page for you to LIKE!

Draw!



This sketch is for our group blog, this weeks topic is Old West!

http://ten-paces.blogspot.com/ Check it out!

Animal Alphabet: D is for Dobsonfly

I could have predicted this would happen. I'm so swamped with grading this week that I pretty much have to punt on the Animal Alphabet. Before I could even properly decide between dung beetle and dobsonfly, the deadline is passing...

Fortunately, I have a preliminary sketch-doodle that I can post.



A dobsonfly, in case you don't know, is what a hellgrammite grows up into. The thing that's missing from the preliminary sketch is a sense of scale: for insects, dobsonflies are large, and those pincers the males have are pretty impressive.

And as I was scanning that doodle, I thought, "Where have I seen that before?"

It turns out that my notebook for Spring 1996, early in my grad-school days, is full of drawings of dobsonflies and hellgrammites.



I was working on a poem then, eventually drafted too much under the influence of Hart Crane I think, about water insects.



The diagram of the three arrows represented the three worlds I wanted to describe: the water-strider's transit across the surface of the pond, the metamorphosis of insects like the hellgrammite and the dragonfly, and the hand of the human collector passing down into the underwater world. Or at least that's how I read it now, fifteen years later.



Like most of my old creative efforts, it's a little embarrassing to look at: yet another old failure. But maybe there's something I could learn from those fifteen-year-old notebooks (scribbled by a twenty-four-year-old) if I had a little more tranquillity in which to recollect them. Today, however, I'm back to the grading piles. Poetry (and drawing) is for another day.

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So these are a few little images for a mini comic I'm working on, they might appear on the back cover or on a sleeve, that sort of thing.

Animal Alphabet: C is for Coati

For this week's entry in the Animal Alphabet, I picked out a creature I knew by another name.

Did you know there's actually no such thing as a coatimundi? Apparently people at some stage were confused by the differing habits of the solitary male and the extremely social female, and construed them as belonging to separate species; really, they're all coatis.

I plan to take my correction in stride. In fact, I've been happy to discover that the gangs formed by mama coatis and their kits are super cute. You should see them in the BBC Life episode about mammals: super cute, I say. (And, like many social animals, they can apparently be raised by people as pets.)

Anyway, C is for COATI.



Do you recognize what I'm swiping there? Do you want a prize for recognizing it, or just bonus points?

And if I said coati, koala, coati, koala, coati, koala long enough, would I get one of those critters for my very own? (Alas, I'm sure neither would thrive in Vermont.)

Book Trailer 2 Redux: The Threequel

Remember how I've been bitching and moaning about the amateur quality of the book trailer that I made years ago and was then forced to use as Warm Bodies'? official representative to the internet? Well, I went ahead and remade the whole thing with my friend Tiffany Laine De Mott and her fancy pants camera.
Some of it is the same shots, some of it is all new. Please enjoy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBv7cC_qU30


(It's too wide-screen to embed here)


If it pleases you, please spread it around the internet. R needs your help.

Thanks to Tiffany for her beautiful photography, and to my dear brother Nathan for letting me kill and eat him about 15 times.

Mother's Day Open House Coming Soon!



So, it might be kind of hard to see, but I am writing this blog to announce the upcoming Mother's Day Open House and Sale,
April 28, 29, 30
9 am to 5 pm
At my studio, 1150 East 800 South
Salt Lake City, Utah 84102
I have not updated my blog for several weeks because, in part, I have been crazy busy getting ready for this open house. I will have lots of pottery including bowls, mugs, journey jars, planters, lots of garden art and lots of other fun things.

Eleven years ago, when we purchased our home, I promised Lynnette we would remodel the old kitchen. For years we scrimped and saved to set aside funds to do this. Well, instead of getting a kitchen, two years ago, I spent our savings on printing the first 1500 copies of Remembering Isaac, hoping the money would someday be returned so we could do the kitchen project. There were many days that I wondered if the books weren't the stupidest financial decision I ever made. But slowly, the money began to come back in. I have learned the lessons of casting one's bread upon the waters. We are in need of a new roof, too, so we have reasoned that if we are going to go to the expense of taking off the four layers of shingles that are up there, we might as well finish the house like we would like, so the roof is coming off and a master bedroom/ office is going up on top. We will be chopping into the house right after Mother's Day if all goes as planned. We will be living with Lynnette's folks while this construction is going on--something we anticipate taking several months to compete. When we are done, we will be having an open house to show you all the tile work I have been working on for years.

I say this now because after Mother's Day weekend, I will not be working in the studio regularly until the project is complete. I will still be here everyday and will likely be working with clay every day too, but I am the general contractor for my house project and the thought of living with the in-laws has given me a lot of motivation to get things rolling as quickly as we can. So, I will still be available by appointment, but for at least the first two months, the house will be the priority. I have been working hard to get a lot of pottery made and set aside for the arts festival which will take place at the end of June, but this summer is going to be an adventure. Come and see the "before" so you can appreciate the "after."

Call me if you would like to come before or after the normal show hours. Otherwise, I will hope to see you in two weeks. Cheers 801-883-0146

Hope in the Hard Places

I've been trying to write this post in my head for almost two weeks, and to be honest, it just really hasn't come together! As I shared previously, I was fortunate to attend a women's retreat sponsored by my friend Erica's church the first weekend in April. Nancy Guthrie shared some poignant and challenging thoughts on the topic of hope in the hard places, and used the book of Job as the cornerstone of her series. When I came back from the retreat, Spencer asked me about what I learned and what stuck out to me. Truthfully, I had a hard time answering... not because I didn't know, but because I was still processing so much of what Nancy shared. And even still, I find myself challenged by what she shared as we looked deeply into the life of Job. While I was pregnant with Isaac, I found myself reading through Job quite frequently. I felt so drawn to his story, and even more so to the way in which he responded to his sorrow and suffering. I was particularly comforted by the fact that this righteous man grieved so deeply and so openly. He didn't just grieve inwardly and give an appearance of having it all together on the outside; he grieved outwardly, too... fully revealing the depth of his sorrow (Job 1:20). Nancy shared with us that, "Real faith doesn't minimize how much loss hurts, but magnifies how sufficient God is." And I would add that He is the only thing that is sufficient enough to carry you through deep sorrow. What I found particularly challenging was this: after Job openly revealed the depth of his sorrow... he worshipped God. Job 1:20-21 says: "At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” I remember how hard it was for me to want to worship God. I remember not being able to sing songs in church, and I remember how the upbeat, cheery songs would almost make my stomach turn because I was aching so, so deeply. I think, though, that my view of what it means to worship when I first considered Job's response was a bit too narrow. Because truly, I believe that worship isn't just singing on Sundays. It isn't just singing along to Christian music in the car. True worship stems from remembering who we are in light of who God is, and we respond to Him in that proper place. And so those times when I cried myself to sleep, begging God to just be near? That's worship. The times when all I could do was open my Bible and read, yearning to find words of comfort and hope there? Countless times when even though I couldn't sing one word to one song in church because I was sobbing too hard to get any words out, but I stood up with the rest of the congregation anyway? That's worship. Nancy shared with us that as Christians, we worship because God is worthy, not because we feel like it... and in that, we find that God often then changes our feelings. I know that has been true for me. A few other great nuggets from Nancy as she walked us through the book of Job: - Genuine faith is revealed when we hold on to what is true about God, even when we suffer. - Goodness and godliness are no guarantee that we will not have to suffer. - The same circumstances that Satan uses to get us to reject God are often the same things that God uses to draw us closer to Himself. - God's love is an active commitment to our ultimate good and eternal happiness. - (In some cases), rather than providing healing, God will provide Himself. - Suffering provides us the opportunity to move from knowing about God, to knowing God in an intimate way. And she left us with this question: Has the suffering in your life allowed your faith to be proved genuine? It is my hope to be able to answer with an honest "yes."

Plein Air Study




I managed to fit in a quick painting on my way home from the studio today. It was a race against the sun! I managed to finish up just before the sun disappeared, then I realized I had to go to the bathroom horribly bad, being in the middle of nowhere but farmhouses I was forced to run up to the closest house and ask to use the facilities. Interestingly enough they informed me across the street was the home of Joseph Meyerhoff, the owner of the largest collection of american art in the world! Also the major funder of my college, and art galleries around the world. So that was pretty cool, really looking forward to doing more of these now that the weather is getting nice. Also, I want to start using them as reference for some more creative imaginative pieces.

Collaboration!





Heres a fun piece that I collaborated with my good friend Alyssa Nassner. We have been wanting to work together on something for a long time. She recently started a pretty cool new blog where artists will trade sketches every week, painting another participating artists sketch. Alyssa did this sketch, and i did the coloring...maybe soon the tables will be turned!

Check out Alyssas work here.. http://smalltalkstudio.net


The group Blog is located here... http://ten-paces.blogspot.com/

Stop by and please follow both of those awesome blogs!

Animal Alphabet: B is for Birds of Paradise

MY POKEMANS. LET ME SHOW YOU THEM.



For this week's letter in the Animal Alphabet, I give you five of the most peculiarly adorned creatures in the animal kingdom, all close relatives from the islands of New Guinea. From top to bottom, they are:

The King of Saxony Bird of Paradise

Wallace's Standardwing Bird of Paradise

The King Bird of Paradise

Wilson's Bird of Paradise

The Western Parotia

Although they are a trip to draw and a marvel of color, the best way to see the birds of paradise is in action, so I encourage you to check the video links I've put behind their names. If you've never seen them before, there's a decent chance your mind will be blown.

The weather is getting warmer!




Finally the weather is getting warm enough to go outside and play again. Todayi went for a nice hike with one of my dogs and she was kind enough to wait patiently while I banged out this little number. Unfortunately there was no sunlight today, all clouds and cold...a little rusty but looking forward to getting back in the swing of things. One of my little studies made it into the upcoming creative quarterly in the fine art category! Imagine that!

Also, stay tuned I am working on some T shirt design's for the Chicago Bulls!

Granny




Frustrating Day.... Heres a couple images from today. First up is a grandma...second is a quick little study of my desk, its for a new blog which a friend of mine is starting up. I will post more about it later. Check it out..its located at http://ten-paces.blogspot.com/

Animal Alphabet: A is for Anglerfish

Leave it to our cartoonist pal Ben Towle to light a fire under me and get me posting here on the blog again. Today he announced a new project that he and Rob Ullman are undertaking, to post weekly alphabetical animal cartoons. (Ben did an alpaca today, and Rob did an aardvark.)

I'm going to try to keep up. And since I know lots of peculiar creatures, I'm going to try to stick to the more bizarre corners of the bestiary.



Her tail's like a comb, and her teeth are a tangle;
She married a leech who does little but dangle;
She's a fish with a lure, and she'll teach you to angle.


If you don't know about the marital habits of the male anglerfish, you may not believe your eyes.

Here's to fifty-one twenty-five more weeks of weird animalia.

Blessings

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a women's retreat through my friend's church and was privileged to hear Nancy Guthrie speak and Laura Story perform. Admittedly, I haven't had time in a while... in a long while... to really sit and think and evaluate where I am at this point in my journey of a mom of two, one of whom is in heaven. I've been so caught up in the momentum of being a working mom and trying to juggle all that comes with that, that I haven't had a chance to sit and really ask myself, "How is your heart with all of this, Stacy?" This weekend allowed me that opportunity. And I realized, that while I can still rarely share about Isaac without tears (which I know is perfectly okay), that over the past year, God has really worked so much in my heart. I remember a while ago blogging about how I had so much trouble singing certain songs in church... songs like "Blessed Be Your Name" and "Mighty to Save" (both of which we sung this weekend, and the ladder being written by Laura Story herself). Even though both of those songs still evoke floods of tears, I find myself in a place where I can finally sing those words with a heart that is fully postured in a position of belief. One of the things Nancy talked about this weekend as she walked us through the book of Job and addressed what it means to have hope in the hard places, was the truth at the end of Job 1. Verse 20 reads: At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship... She talked about that even though Job was stricken with grief, and maybe didn't feel like it, he still worshipped God. Can you relate to that? I know I can. I know that there have been so many times that the best I could, do that my greatest act of worship in that moment, was to simply be able to stand up with the rest of our church congregation as they sang, and instead of singing myself, shed rivers of tears. Gradually, I was able to eek out words here or there during our time of singing. After Laura performed for us on Saturday evening, I had a chance to share with her about Isaac and how much her song "Mighty to Save" meant to me during my pregnancy and in the weeks and months that followed. I shared with her how during my pregnancy, I sang those words with such conviction, knowing that God was capable of healing and saving my son. I also shared with her how for a long time, I really wasn't able to sing that song, and would flip it off when it came on the radio because I felt so hurt that God's answer to our prayers for healing on this side of heaven was "no." And I shared with her how the words to that song played such an instrumental role in allowing me to view Isaac's life in light of eternity; the fact that God did save Isaac, that in Jesus's finishing work on the cross, He did conquer the grave and save Isaac for all eternity. Laura's newest album was just released this year, and on it is a song called "Blessings." You can watch the video for it here. (Be sure to pause the music at the bottom of this page before viewing it). It is worth the 5 minutes of your time it takes to watch it. I am just now getting to a place where I can say, "Yes... I get it. I understand what you mean" when I hear these lyrics. I hope this song touches your heart the way that it did mine, and for those of you who may be struggling in a hard place right now, that it would comfort your heart.

in sheeps clothing panels




















these are a couple of panels from a short comic i did a year ago

Book stuff for people who read words

A couple minor missives from the Warm Bodies front:

I've created a fan page for the book on Facebook. Anything relevant to the book or the movie will show up there, and all your friends will be able to see how painfully cool and literate you are, so please Like it (I love capitalizing verbs) if you're into that sort of thing.

http://www.facebook.com/warmbodies

Also, remember that little trailer I made in 2009 when I was self publishing the book? The one I filmed in 4 hours with my brother's old camcorder and some halloween makeup, then edited on my brother's laptop in iMovie, which I'd never used before? Turns out none of the 20 major publishing houses now publishing the book think their professional marketing teams can do any better, so this pixelated home movie has become the official trailer for Warm Bodies. Luckily, I now have a whole mess of glowing reviews to pepper throughout the video, which does seem to grant an illusion of professionalism to the whole affair. Enjoy, and please spread around!