Saturday, December 31, 2005

current background

This is my current backgroud, thanks to Portland Studios.

I just loved this picture when I saw it. I don't know, it kind of reminds me of myself. You should check out their site. They have several different really cool designs, and they even have a section of e-cards that you can send. Great stuff.

Friday, December 30, 2005

pet peeve #3

pet peeve -- n. Informal
Something about which one frequently complains; a particular personal vexation.

The left turn lane.

There are many stop lights that have a left turn lane. It is a really great idea, you can get out of the way of the other drivers while you are waiting to turn left. That way, all of those people who are wanting to go straight can get going.

Some of these stop lights even have a left-turn arrow. Another great idea. This way you can make your left turn quickly, before the light allows all of the oncoming traffic to go.

But sometimes you don't quite make it through in time. The arrow changes to yellow, and then it disappears. This means that you can still turn left, you just have to wait until the oncoming traffic has cleared before you can go.

So... What do you do?

You pull out into the intersection and await an opening. And if that opening doesn't come, you can make that turn when the light turns yellow and the oncoming traffic has to stop.

This is OK. In fact, I can remember being in Driver's ED, and learning this principle. You are supposed to pull out into the intersection! Don't stay back. If you stay back, when the light turns, you have to wait until the next green arrow!

Someone needs to spread the word! "PULL OUT THERE!"

It is driving me crazy. I love living in the southern part of the United States, but nobody has taught these people how to use this turn lane!

Oh well.

pet peeve #1
pet peeve #2

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Christmas Miracle...Maybe?

(posted by Charity)

I can remember being a little girl and truly waiting in expectation for each Christmas to bring some sort of magical "miracle". I bought into the theory that December 25th can produce a joy you did not anticipate in a way you could not imagine.

Then I grew up.

Sadly, as many of you can attest to, Christmas is usually only as special as you make it with the right focus and a heart of giving and thanksgiving. It can, in fact, be a difficult day with disappointments and reflections that can actually bring pain on this joyous holiday. Loved ones that are absent are missed and the day usually ends, for me, with many sad good-byes.

Several people in my life has asked me to write about what I am learning during the recent loss of our baby this past month. I used to have a blog that I enjoyed very much but having given it up, I don't have opportunity to share like I used to. I will in time find a way to record all the things that have happened and the journey that we have taken but for now, I'll share this.

A couple of days after we arrived home, my father-in-law called me into the front room to watch a program that was on t.v. It was a telecast of a local church service that featured a testimony of one of my elementary school teachers, also a good friend's mother. My friend passed away a few years ago and recently, my former teacher also lost her husband. She was sharing how she intended to face the holiday season while enduring the painful absence of her beloved family members. She explained that she had a collections of photos of her husband on her refrigerator and in the middle a sign that read, "Don't cry because it's because it happened."

I cried as she recited the saying that had become such an encouragement to her and knew that providence had led me to that couch at that moment to know that it is okay to "smile" and move on from our loss without guilt and with a peace that what was best for me-had undoubtedly occurred.

I knew that I would write my teacher a letter or drop an e-mail to let her know what her vulnerability during a difficult time had meant to me and that she had truly been a blessing.

In a sad and empty moment for me this past Christmas morning, I walked into a church I had not attended before and as I rounded the corner, there she sat-my simple messenger of hope that had no idea she had taught me something...all over again.

She jumped out of her seat and as she walked towards me, we both started to cry. I whispered a few things in her ear along with a kiss and a "thank you". It was a weird, mysterious run-in that delivered a joy I had not anticipated but was much needed and extremely special.

So, this Christmas...

I'm smiling-just because it happened.


Monday, December 26, 2005

Per Request...

(posted by Charity)

I've been asked to post some of my favorite pictures from our Christmas visit home. It was hard with so many to choose from but here are a few. We still have to open gifts with the boys this week due to the unexpected ice storm that drove us North early and I'll be sure to feature a few of those later.

Enjoy and Happy holidays!


(Click to enlarge)

Mom and Charity and the "Christmas Candy" extravaganza!

GG looking at the album that I made for her for Christmas.

Final candy results...mmm-mmm good!

All of the siblings together for the first time in 2 years!
Bill, Jeannie, Julie, Charity and Travis

Siblings and Spouses
Christmas 2005

Little sister...Big Boss!
Charity still tells everyone how to organize.
Brandi (Travis' wife on the far right-
gave us a special surprise with the announcement
of a new baby. We had fun crying and laughing together
this year...Thanks Brandi, for my special gift.)

Dad's Christmas shirt for this year.

Jeannie, Charity and Julie
Big sisters have a way of making everything better!

Lori and Charity
(We may have gotten busted but we had fun in the meanwhile!)

Stephanie (my best friend) and Charity
At our annual Christmas dinner with
Sandy and Amanda.

The Lathrop Christmas Tradition

Monday, December 19, 2005

The ICEing on the cake.


Last Wednesday they told us at school that there might be an ice storm, and they handed out the back-up schedule for the last two days, in case of a delay or a closing due to the weather.

Having lived up in the northerly parts of the United States, where they don't close school no matter how "bad" the weather gets, I didn't think much about it.

But sure enough, early Thursday morning the ice had accumulated. School was of course cancelled, much to my relief, because I had actually slept in and would have been late, which is one of my biggest fears. I have 4 alarm clocks set in my room each night just to keep this very thing from happening. I didn't wake up until 8:30, and frantically raced around the house until I could figure out whether or not there was school.

We immediately decided that with my day off, and the hardships of the past few weeks, we should go out for breakfast. We deserved some IHOP (International House of Pancakes). We set off on our journey, right after the power in our house went out. We figured, why stay home if there is no power? So off we went.

After driving around for a few minute, we decided that this was going to be a little more difficult than we thought. The roads weren't slick, but there were trees down everywhere. It was really quite amazing. Powere out all over the city. We heard later on the radio that our county alone had over 300,000 customers without power.

We finally settled for a McDonalds. Not our first choice for breakfast, but it was the only restaurant that we could find open.

After 45 minutes of waiting line, we settled down in our booth to enjoy our newly acquired food. Only to have Sam drop his pancakes on the floor.

We went to the mall for a little while (which amazing had fully functioning power) to do some shopping. When we were spent there, we headed home to assess the damage. There were wires down in our backyard and trees down in our front.

After we realized that nearly all of the hotels in town were booked or empty because of the lack of power, we accepted some good friends offer to put us up for the night.

Shortly before bed time, one of the teachers at the school decided to call and let us know that school was going to be cancelled the next day as well because the school was still sitting in the dark. So we thought, why stay here for another day. So we drove back, packed up, and headed home.

So, here I am at my Mother-in-law's computer giving you this update. It doesn't even come close to the roller-coaster ride that we have been on the last few weeks. But we have both agreed that we have learned so much through all of this. It has solidified us and grown us so much.

Thanks again to all of you for your prayers and encouragement through all of this. And thanks for reading Harmless Thoughts!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


She's Home!

Last night after the doctor came to visit her room, he reluctantly said that she could go home. The infection isn't all the way gone, but he felt like she was healthy enough that she could go on home with a couple of prescriptions.

He released her around 6:30, but the nurse didn't get around to taking the IV out until almost 10! So, we sat up there one more evening, watching our AFV.

Now we are just hoping that she will be well enough that she can travel in a week. We are really (...REALLY) looking forward to this Christmas break. Probably more than we have looked forward to one for a long time.

Some rest, some relaxation, some family, some friends... all of these things are looking really good right about now.

Thanks again to all of you that prayed for my family these last few weeks. We have needed it, and it is truly appreciated.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Family Time

As I said before, it has been a hard couple of months.

But you know, you can have family time anywhere! And America's Funniest Home Videos can always bring on that smile. It is currently my children's favorite show, and no family night would be complete without it... Even a family night at the hospital.

On a serious note: I would truly appreciate your prayers at this time. We are hoping that this new antibiotic does the trick, and that she will get to come home tomorrow. And even after she gets home, it is still going to be a difficult road to complete recovery. It has been almost three months of non-stop sickness of one form or another. We are really, really ready for a nice restful Christmas break, and it would be nice to have one with a healthy family.

Thank you all for your encouraging comments and e-mails. They really have meant something to me.

Harmless' Law

Well, since the last post that I typed, it has been a busy time.

On Thursday, while I was still at school, I received a call from my wife saying that the doctor needed her to come in again. I guess that there was some of the placenta left after the first D&E (Dilation and Evacuation). The first one was really hard. Mostly for my wife. Right after finding out that we had lost our baby, she has to go in for this procedure. And it is a pretty extensive procedure. I personally feel like anything that you need to be put under for, is a little scary. So here we are a week and a day later, and they tell us that we need to do it again! Not good news.

So, we go in for this procedure. I am really feeling for my wife, but I am also trying to get geometry papers graded while I am sitting in the hospital.

After the procedure is over, all I am hoping for is that my wife can start to get healthy again. It has been so long, that neither one of us can remember what normal life was like. The next day, I head off to school, thinking that maybe things will start to get back to normal. At this point, the school work is starting to pile up. I have final exams to type, tests to grade, grades to figure, etc.

We make it through Friday, but by the end of the day she is starting to feel sick. The antibiotic that she is on, to fight the infection in her uterus, is reacting incorrectly with her system. Next thing you know, she is being admitted into the hospital. Right now we are waiting to find out if she is going to have to stay there for another day. There is a possibility that the infection has spread to other parts of her body. At this point, that wouldn't surprise either one of us one little bit.

Have you ever heard of Murphy's Law? You know, the one that says, "If it can go wrong, it will go wrong." Well, I am firmly convinced that Murphy's Mother's maiden name was Harmless. I just keep thinking that things are going to get better, but then something else goes wrong.

Now, just so you know, we are trying to keep the right perspective. As I have been traversing back and forth through those hospital walls, I know that there are those there that have a much harder situation. In fact, I know that there is a children's hospital attached to this one, and there is a whole floor of children with terminal cancer.

Whatever the situation, I know that God is in it, and that He is wanting to use this in our lives. But the body and the mind wear thin. There is fatigue and stress, worry and fear. Trusting in God doesn't mean that these things are absent. But instead it means that God's grace is present. And God's grace is always in an equivalent quantity to the trial that we are going through.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know the current status of the Harmlesses.

Thank you all for your prayers!

Thursday, December 8, 2005


(posted by mommy)

....As HE holds our little one, I find myself being held. How comforting to know that His arms are big enough for the both us.


Two months is too little.
They let him go.
They had no sudden healing.
To think that providence would
Take a child from his mother while she prays-
It seems appalling.

Who told us we’d be rescued?
What has changed and why should we be saved from nightmares?
We’re asking why this happens
To us who have died to live?

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we’d be held.

This hand is bitterness.
We want to taste it, let the hatred NUMB our sorrow.
The wise hands opens slowly to lilies of the valley and tomorrow.

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we’d be held.

If hope is born of suffering.
If this is only the beginning.
Can we not wait for one hour watching for our Savior?

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we’d be held.

-Natalie Grant

Wednesday, December 7, 2005


On Tuesday, October 25, 2005, at around 11:30pm, my wife woke me up and showed me a pregnancy test. I wasn't all that surprised by this pregnancy test, that was being held in front of me. I was expecting her to take one sooner or later. I was a little surprised that she was showing it to me in the middle of the night, but only a little... I have known my wife long enough to not be too surprised about pregnancy tests in the middle of the night.

I also need to mention that we weren't too surprised about the results. This is something that the both of us were hoping for. As soon as she showed me those two little blue bars on the test, I was immediately convinced that we were going to have another baby, and that I was now going to be the father of three children... great (I thought) now it is time to go back to sleep.

Five pregnancy tests later my wife was convinced.

Because of some symptoms that my wife was having, we decided to see the doctor a little earlier than originally planned. Everything seemed fine, and when we went back for the ultrasound, we were able to see the baby, and when I saw that little heart beat, I was unashamedly giddy. I love being a daddy!

As the days progressed into weeks, we began to tell a few people about it. Especially because after that first appointment and seeing the little flutter of that heart, the doctor told us that the chance of miscarriage was only about a 1% chance. We were so happy about about this new life. In the words of my wife, "...there is no dream that you will attach yourself quicker to than the dream of a child". You see, you begin thinking of names, wondering whether it will be a boy or girl, pulling out the baby clothes, etc.

But then things started going bad. My wife always suffers from morning sickness in her pregnancies, but this morning sickness was abnormally bad. My poor wife was sick 24 hours a day, but there is always a light at the end of any tunnel. We knew that once the baby reached a certain age, the hormones would let up and all would be well.

We went in for our second appointment last Wednesday. Everything was going as well as could be expected. We had the camera with us in the waiting room, we were talking about names, we had our blank tape to record this ultrasound: it was like being first-time parents all over again. We went back to the ultrasound room and as they got ready, I anxiously awaited the sight of my child.

When the ultrasound screen fired up, it was my wife who first noticed that there was no heartbeat.

I could see the baby's little body, but that little flutter of the heart was absent. When the nurse left the room to get the doctor, we both knew what it meant. You can tack whatever term you want onto this, but we lost a child.

The baby had stopped developing a few weeks earlier, but my wife's body (so much like my wife) would not let go. She doesn't give up easily, so it was no surprise to me that the placenta was still pumping the hormones and trying to nurture this baby.

But it was time to let go, and that is what had to be done.

There have been many times in my life that I have heard about this or that couple losing a child this way, and I don't think that I have ever put much thought towards it before. But now, having gone through it, I understand the grief they were experiencing.

As I write this post, I realize that it so inadequately expresses exactly what I have felt this last week. I don't care what anyone says, there was a life, and it was our child. My baby has died before I ever had a chance to see it or hold it. Before I could smell its little feet and kiss its forehead. We have wept and mourned this last week, and even though we are moving on now, that baby will never be forgotten.

Even though it will never come to me, one day I will go to where he (or she) is.

When all is said and done, I am still the father of three.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005


I think that my 8th grade prealgebra class is suffering from a severe case of logorrhea.

Thankyou word of the day, for providing me with the final diagnosis for this class' problem!