Category Archives: Family


One year ago at this moment…

So…..exactly one year ago today (even at this very time) my wife and I had a wonderful anniversary… We spent the day together, we went to dinner at Johnny Carino’s (one of our favorite Italian places), and then came home. We loved to watch the storms that were passing through town. Not a ton of rain, but man was there some awesome lightning. It was quite a site. We watched while we ate and even contemplated leaving the windows open all night, but thought it wasn’t a good idea, due to rain coming in.

We showered, and got ready for bed. I prayed for us, and it was strange that Sarah felt the urge to also pray (usually just one of us does per night). She prayed that God would send his angels to protect us. She didn’t know why, or how she prayed it, but she did.
It was lightly raining now, and I wanted to check the weather, just to make sure everything was safe. (We don’t have a basement, so if we needed to, we could go to our friend Lisa’s house – She only lives across the small town of Gardner). Well as I was checking my phone, I heard a noise that didn’t settle quite right. We live near an air field, and about 1/2 mile from railroad tracks, so we’re used to hearing loud noises at all hours. But this was no ordinary noise. It was wind. It was more than wind.
I realized what it was immediately, and screamed at Sarah “Get Down! Get Down! Get Down!” I yanked her off of the bed, pushed her to the ground, and shoved her up next to the bedframe, trying as much as I could to cover her. Sarah began praying. I know you’ve heard it before, but it really does sound like a freight train coming through your house. It felt like an eternity, but really only lasted about 30-45 seconds.

As soon as the awful thing was over, I immediately called 911. I’ve called previously in my life to report non-emergent situations, like drunk drivers, but I’ve never called to say just what was about to come out of my mouth: I think our house was jut hit by a tornado.

The operator on the other end proceeded to doubt my situation.
“Did you see the tornado?”, they asked.
“No, I was on my bedroom floor.”
“It was probably just wind, but we’ll send someone out just to check.”
“Thanks [you moron].”

Now at this point, anyone who knows me knows that I’m quite blind without my glasses or contacts. It just so happened that I had enough adreniline running through my system to forget completely about the whole sight issue, and ran outside to find out what the damage was. I flung open our front door, and could easily see that Sarah’s car was demolished. I didn’t know how, but something had smashed it. I realized this after I walked through a waterfall. Our gutters had been removed by the tornado, and it was now pouring. I noticed I wasn’t the only one outside. I started yelling to all the neighbors across the street to find out if they had been hurt. I gathered that no one had, and my wife finally got me to come back inside.

After this, I called my parents. It was about 11:30. I got the machine. The message went something like this:
“Hey guys, you there? Ummmm…. Our house just got hit by a tornado, please call us back as soon as you can.”
My dad returned the call, made sure we were alright, and informed me that they’d be there first thing in the morning. I got a call about 2 minutes later from my parents house. Apparently my dad wasn’t going to tell my mother that the ordeal had happened. Of course, she asked what happened, and my dad told her nonchalantly that the house had been hit by a tornado, and that they would leave in the morning. Well, of course that sent my mother into a panic. She called me, and made sure we were okay. Sarah was on the phone with our friend Lisa, who didn’t know anything happened (no sirens or any kind of warning), to have her come pick us up, as both our cars were totaled.

We also called our friend Jason (a barista at Starbucks & CSR at our insurance agents’ office). He said he was on his way. At this point, water had started pouring in, as the tornado had ripped off a chunk of the roof. We gathered our essentials, and our most valued possessions. Our family photos that couldn’t be replaced, the backup of our computers (for pictures), and our toiletries.

We stayed at Lisa & Brent’s house that night, and I slept a little. Sarah didn’t.

We walked out of what could have been the end of our lives, unhurt, and completely trusting that God can and will take care of His children.

I believe that (even though it may be cliché) everything happens for a reason.
At the time that this happened, Sarah and I had been trying to get pregnant for over a year, and had started fertility treatments. We didn’t realize that God was getting our house ready for our baby. We conceived, and lost a baby, within the next month and a half. We were devastated.  We had prayed that our baby would be an offering to the Lord, and after we lost him, we knew that his name should be Samuel.

We were debating on whether to continue trying fertility treatments. Was it worth the stress? We now had the burden of rebuilding a house over our heads, as well as anxiety about any rumblings in the sky. Did we want to add another layer to that?

We didn’t have to answer that question. About 2 months later, Sarah though something might be a little strange. We had extra home pregnancy tests, and she used one. It was a little older, and the stripe on the “positive side” was ever so faint. I was skeptical. I knew that older tests had the potential for false positives. Sarah couldn’t wait for me to get home from work. We had a meeting for the tech staff at the store, and she showed up with a smoothie for me. It was quite a surprise, as the store is 20 minutes away from home. She pulled out her phone and showed me the picture of a recently purchased pregnancy test, and there was no doubt about it – she was pregnant.

The rest is all history, and you can read about most of it here. But our sweet little Truett is here, and I can see that God prepared all of this for him, and for us.

Anytime I start to doubt, I just remember how close I was to something that could have wiped me off the face of this earth, how we were so close to having the child we’d dreamed of, and how God reminded us that it wasn’t medicine, but His grace, that gave us this sweet little boy we hold in our arms.

All I can say, with the deepest gratitude, is thank you.





{related: Video of tornado damage}

Christmas with the Stark Family

Our family Christmas was completely different this year…but it was still super fun.

We had a great time watching the kids open all their gifts.

They get so excited about everything!

Emi and Her Uncle Mattie

Megan with her new dress up shoes

Rah Rah with the kids

Rah Rah and Aunt Sissy

Josiah loves his legos!

I made Emi a new hat and scarf for Christmas.. she knew exactly what to do with them!

Megan Loved her new pillow pet!

Nice Hat Josiah!

The gift of time…

The past 6 months have been an adjustment to say the least. Our house and both cars were destroyed by a tornado, after years of trying we lost our first baby, and Matt started a new schedule at work. He has always had a crazy schedule, but it got even crazier… The earliest he could get home was almost 8pm, and he only had 1-2 shifts like that a week. The other nights he would get home sometime between 10:30 and midnight. I was still working 7:30-5:30, and for a lot of that time I was pregnant and exhausted. So, needless to say we didn’t see each other much! It was so hard.  We craved spending time together. Our lives felt like they were falling apart, and we barely had time to talk to each other. He would wake me up when he got home from work and I would try to sit up with him while he ate his dinner, but usually ended up falling asleep in his lap. I would kiss him goodbye in the morning as I walked out the door, and would many mornings drive to work in tears.

I prayed and prayed that something would change. I needed more time with my husband! Matt looked for a new job, but found nothing. We were both miserable.  Then, I got put on bed rest. While it is not the ideal situation considering we have lost half of our income at a time when our expenses are going up, we have both been extremely blessed by having more time to be together. It is so nice to be able to see each other when the other one is not exhausted! We have time to talk, eat meals together, and dream about our sweet little Truett.

I still hate the nights that he works late… being by myself late at night is not very fun, but at least we get to see each other in the mornings!  So while even “modified” bed rest isn’t convenient,  it has been a true blessing to both Matt and I. I feel like I know my husband again! We can talk about things and just spend time enjoying each other and for that, we are both so very thankful.


Weekly Update…

We had our weekly appointment with the Dr today. Got my lovely shot, had our sonogram, and visited with the Dr. Everyone is very pleased with how things are looking. So far there has been no change in my cervix which is great news! After 4 weeks of bed rest, since I’m not having any bleeding or contractions and things are looking stable. Dr has given me permission to start getting up and doing things as I feel I can.  I am even allowed out of the house, including shopping! YAY! I’m not allowed to lift anything heavy, and I can’t return to work, but I can start doing somethings around the house and actually start having a social life again!

Truett is looking great! He is growing and changing each week. He spent most of our sonogram today with his hand up by his face waving at us! He is still way up high under my belly button, but has decided that my bladder makes a fabulous trampoline. Got to love that!  We did get another look today and he is a boy! Matt is just thrilled! He can’t wait to have another boy in the house… I hope that means I won’t get picked on more…

The plan as of now, as long as everything continues this way, is to take my stitches out around 36 weeks… So chances are Truett will be a little March baby instead of April. I’m not going to complain about that though. I don’t think I will quit worrying till our sweet baby is safe in my arms and I can see and touch him and KNOW that everything is ok.

Matt took me to Hobby Lobby when we were done at the Dr so I could get a few things to start getting Truett’s room ready. I have to say by the time we walked to the back of the store, I was ready to come home and take a nap! Not only that, but my ab muscles were so sore! I’m not used to carrying around this baby belly I guess.

We are so blessed to have such a great Dr who truly cares about us and Truett. We feel so comfortable with her and know she is doing everything she can to keep our baby safe!

Thank you all for your continued prayers!



Tomorrow is our weekly Dr appointment… I always have mixed feelings about going. I love that we get to see our little one every week when we do our ultrasound! It is so fun to get to see how big he is getting and watch him kick and squirm around! Knowing that tomorrow I have to go in, also makes me nervous and terrified. We never know what is going to happen.  Obviously, the first week we went in we had no idea that there was an issue at all. The second week I really thought we would go in and they would say that I had done a good job being on bed rest and that things were fine… I was so wrong. Last week we got a good report, but there is no guarantee that it will continue to be that way…

We are trusting God that His plan for Truett is best. We know that our God is Healer, He is powerful, He’s will is perfect. We know those things and we believe them, but sometimes, it is still so hard to let go of the worry. To just leave it at His feet and walk away. Oh, I’ll lay it down, but 2 minutes later, I’m carrying around again. I frustrate myself!

So, please pray for us tonight. Pray that no matter the outcome of tomorrow’s appointment that we will just be content knowing that God is in control. That we will remember that God love us and Truett more than we could ever imagine. That we would have peace.

Thank you so much for being part of this journey with us. Your prayers and love for us and our precious baby mean so much!


Daddy’s Buddy

Our little Truett Matthew (pronounced True It) sure loves his Daddy! Maybe it’s because he is named for his Daddy, or maybe it is because his Daddy has been yelling in my belly everyday for months, or maybe its because he just knows how amazing his Daddy is. It astounds me how even at an age when a baby can’t survive outside of the womb how amazingly perfect they still are! For weeks now, when Matt gets home from work this little man starts kicking the minute he hears his Daddy’s voice!  It is just so cool that Truett recognizes who his daddy is so quickly!

The other day, Truett must have just been tired. He didn’t move nearly as much as he usually does all day. So before I went to bed, I was trying to get a response out of him. I layed in bed poking and rubbing my belly, talking to him for at least half and hour… no response at all. Matt got out of the shower and looked at me like I was nuts! He walked over, leaned his head down by my belly and said, “Hello in there!” and immediately I got kicked. I giggled, so Matt kept talking. With each sentence he said, Truett got more and more excited and started kicking harder.

I can’t wait to see my two favorite boys together someday. What an amazing moment that will be!

This precious little boy has brought so much joy to our house in the few short months that we have had him. We can’t wait for the day he is finally strong enough to be born so we can hold him and tell him about all the amazing people who have daily been lifting him up in prayer and love him so much even before he was here!

Thank you for your continued support and prayers! We wouldn’t make it without you!