Sunday, March 20, 2016

I have tasted and seen of the sweetest of loves...

Its that time of the year again. A day that is usually celebrated with the child that you are celebrating, but in typical Puente fashion (in that we never quite stick to the rule books) we will be celebrating his birthday on the candle wishes of "We wish you were here son". I remember his magical birth as if it were just yesterday, the presence of rainbows, prayers, miracles and doctors. his cry. 

Each year brings an overwhelming reminder of what is lost for a time on this earth, a reminder of the many unanswered questions that I still have. I am so grateful to serve a God who sees these innocent questions and still loves me, He knows the very innermost pains in my heart that sometimes I am to lost to see. I'm reminded that He already knows my ugly and He loves me despite that. He reminds me that He saw my pain and in place of that pain traded it for His unspeakable joy, His comfort, His peace...if only I am to daily lay my burdens and ugly at the feet of Jesus, because there is a sacrifice and obedience in being vulnerable to the one who sacrificed it all for me. 

I have done a lot in my grief journey that many may never understand, even myself. But there is a purpose to every season, to every stage of my grief and I have to respect the process. I cant look on the other side of the mountain and just pray to be over there. I have to walk through the sludge and muck, I have to combat enemies of unknowns so when I reach that other side, I am the complete servant that is perfect and lacking nothing as is speaks in James. Oh how that is the cry of my heart Lord. I thank You for my journey, I thank You for testing my faith God because You saw me where I was and told me "Andrea, I love you far to much to keep you here". You are leading me on a daily path, I fall short but as ever, You meet me and fill me with more of You and remind me that there needs to be less of me. This journey You entrusted me with, my pain, my grief, my tears, my words, my life, my legacy God is for Your Glory.


Bennett, Mommy cant put into words the ways that my heart misses you and longs to hold you just one more time, to breathe you in. The way my heart cries that our journey together could not have been different, the way that you calmed me and completed that place in my heart. Your life was so precious, and i consider it pure joy to have celebrated your entrance into this world 3 years ago. I miss you, so bad it hurts. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Loved you from the start

Sometimes God says no....and it hurts.

That day will haunt my dreams for the rest of my life...The day I held my precious son, a sacred gift given and taken from us to early. A flood of emotions that day when we came to realize it was the last day we would get to smell his sweet innocence, hear his unique beating heart, sing and whisper love to him, pray over him, to have hope that he would get better, a day where we realized we would fight for his body no longer and not because we had given up, but because it was in Gods will for his life.

Floods of emotions as I held him and his life faded through my fingers. Feelings of anger, deep unexplained sorrow, peace, relief, then it would cycle all over again. He was gone to quickly, I was not prepared to say my goodbyes that day, I was not ready to give him back to the God, I JUST GOT HIM. I remember how hard I fought to get him here and now I have to give him back to you God! Why?!

But He knew what He was doing that day, when He aligned everything just the way He intended. Only He could orchestrate such a perfect crowd of hand selected Doctors, Nurses, Family, only He could ensure our support system was there the moment we stepped out of that final meeting with fear and sadness in our hearts, only He knew that day we wouldn't dedicate him in the comfort of our church like we did with his sisters but in the comfort of my arms, intimate and safe. Only He knew that there would be no one in that last pod they used as storage so that we could be together as a family to say goodbye to him, to say a family prayer over him, only He knew He would paint the most beautiful rainbow after Bennett passed but that I wouldn't come to knowledge of it until months after, only He knows whats best for me, Only He knows the depths of my soul, Only He can love me with such a passion.

I recognize myself most day and there are days where I don't know who I am, I see myself from the outside, lost, my soul sometimes dry and empty, humor that masks my pain but somehow brings peace and clarity. Days where I wish I could stay in that dream of him and I just a little longer, where it would feel real because honestly, nothing is. My life changed a year ago...trauma. God rocked my soul, comforted me, and showed me his sovereignty. In the midst of my humanness I feel God meet me here, I feel him gently (in only the way he can) comfort me still allowing me to feel, cry, laugh, be mad, then be grateful.

The most painful part is the unknown and curiosity of what Bennett would be doing now. What our family would look like with him. Would I be working with him on eating or would he need a g-tube? Would he be reaching milestones when the doctors swore he wouldn't? But on the other side, I am blessed to be able to still be apart of the lives of Bennett's brothers and sisters of his syndromes and I get to see the beauty and innocence of those amazing children. Just thinking about them moves me to tears. I thank God for those relationships, connections.

A few months back I was reading the bible and after snapping out of whatever trance I was in, I look down to see a figure of me walking and God is gently holding my shoulders as He was leading me down a rocky path with Him. I am thankful for that God moment because it was then that He revealed to me that I was never walking on a path to Him but WITH him. That whatever circumstances in life happen, He created them for me and He was never doing anything to me. A picture of his sovereignty.

This year has been one heck of a journey. Good days filled with a lot of bad but here I am, still so in love and sold out for God. For his peace and love and most of all His understanding. I love that He loves me the way I am and meets me where I am at. He does not try to change me because He created me wholly in His image. I am alive because He loved me enough to give His life so that I could have eternal life with Him because of the cross and because of His sacrifice. So I can continue to have hope during times where it feels hopeless. That He is NEVER on the other side of my pain and I need to to reach him to find healing yet He is right next to me guiding me, healing me, if only I choose to trust him in the good, bad and ugly.

My sweet Bennett,

Not a day goes by where I don't wish you and I could be back in that place with just us two, in Gods peace with no fear of the future because we were together and you were safe. My heart is missing a beat, its where yours was. I know you are being well cared for until I can hold you again. Until I can kiss you again. Nothing makes my selfish heart more happy that you are no longer in pain, that you are complete and happy. I just wish all of those things were with me, daddy and your sissy's. I love you my strong innocent boy. Thank you for holding on as you could so we could be together if even just for a moment.

I love you son, Always and forever I will carry you.


Please listen and be anointed by this.


~Special Thank You's~

-A BIG thank you to Beth Stafford Photography for being apart of our day and coming to capture those moments. I cant thank you enough for all you have done for us throughout our journey! You have a heart of gold and I am grateful to call you friend!

-To my husband, I love you more than I could ever express or show you. You have been a rock in the hard times, and you keep us moving forward each day, our motivation to continue our crazy days.

-To our families, Thank you for being apart of our celebration weekend in memory of Bennett, it was a time for us all to gather, to relax and just be together, as we were that day when we said our final goodbyes to Bennett. We made memories, and no matter what happens in life, I am so blessed to have each and every one of you apart of my life.

-To my faithful friends old and new, Thank you for being there for me whenever I need you. Whether to laugh or cry. If it is for late night adventures when my body and brain refuse to shut down, thank you!

and last but not least, to YOU (reading this)....

Thank you for taking this journey with me. I hope that through Bennett's life you can remember how sweet it is. How short it is. That you can restore your faith in God if it has been lost. That you remember that you can face any storm, ANY CIRCUMSTANCE big or small if you have God in your heart, that all of your hope is in Him. I pray that no one is having to mourn a loss of their child alone and without a faith in a God that will reunite you two together someday. If that is you, please reach out to me and I will pray with you and encourage you just as the Lord has encouraged me. This road traveled is different for everyone and I want everyone to know there is no "right or wrong way" to mourn and grieve. The most important thing to remember is God is sovereign, He is with you and He is for you, seek Him with all your heart and you will find Him.

Monday, January 13, 2014

"There in the sorrow and the dancing"

Gods Grace really struck me last night as my husband and I were putting our little's to bed. As we lay their silently to calm them down for the night. I was stroking Brooklynn's hair and thanking God for all of these pieces of my heart together in one room and missing our son which is an unspoken every second moment. We always play worship music for them to sleep to, only fitting in this house considering how much we love music and what a big roll it has played in our lives and more fitting in this last year.  Matt Redman's "Your Grace finds me" comes on and I silently start to cry. Every word of this song is anointed with truth about Gods Grace and it served in this moment as a reminder of the physically absence of our boy.

It's there in the newborn cry
It's there in the light of every sunrise
It's there in the shadows of this light
Your great grace
It's there on the mountaintop
It's there in the everyday and the mundane
There in the sorrow and the dancing
Your great grace
Oh, such grace
From the creation to the cross
Then from the cross into eternity
Your grace finds me
Yes, Your grace finds me
It's there on a wedding day
There in the weeping by the graveside
There in the very breath we breathe
Your great grace
Same for the rich and poor
Same for the saint and for the sinner
Enough for this whole wide world
Your great grace
Oh, such grace
From the creation to the cross
Then from the cross into eternity
Your grace finds me
Yes, Your grace finds me
There in the darkest night of the soul
There in the sweetest songs of victory
Your grace finds me
Yes, Your grace finds me
Your great grace
Oh, such grace
Your great grace
Oh, such grace
So I'm breathing in Your grace
And I'm breathing out Your praise
I'm breathing in Your grace
Forever I'll be
Breathing in Your grace
And I'm breathing out Your praise
I'm breathing in Your grace
And I'm breathing out Your praise
Breathing in Your grace
For our God, for our God
Yes, Your grace finds me
Yes, Your grace finds me
Everyday is a battle after the loss of something so precious in life. Yes I smile, Yes I laugh, Yes I cry, Yes I get sad. Its all apart of moving forward when you lost a piece of your heart along the way. I do get numb and have to remind myself in that second to "choose joy". People often ask "How I do it", I don't. I don't have a magic pill that I take each morning that magically makes my life easier...wouldn't that be the answer to all of life's hurts. The answer is No, as convenient as it sounds. In loss, you have to go through the highs and lows and the daily lessons and reminders. You don't get to forget, I don't get to pretend that when I get out of the shower each day that I don't see my c-section scar starring back at me that reminds me of the emptiness it brings. I don't get to hold a sweet newborn baby and not forget that I had one of these blessings too. I don't see buttons the same, everywhere I go a button reminds me of his life, a life that I don't get to raise. I cant walk into OHSU and walk the halls and smell that particular smell without having a flashback. But I do get to do all of these things knowing that Gods Grace is sufficient and in all of these memories, painful or joyful that God is my steadfast and faithful strength.
"Don't look to the right or the left, keep your eyes on me. You will not be shaken, you will not be moved"
I cant allow my circumstance to stop me from enjoying the blessings around me. I GET to go and visit a friend with a newborn and CHOOSE JOY in that moment because its not about ME, its about complete happiness for that new exhausted parent. I GET to visit my nicu mamas that walked my journey and only have complete and udder joy for them when I hold their miracles, I GET to laugh, I GET to feel, I CHOOSE to live life after loss.
"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born"

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Gifts from an obedient heart.

This is just one of the many blessings that have come since Bennett's passing, but one that rocked me to the core and I wanted to share it with everyone because from the beginning of our journey we have been an open book and I want to continue because I believe God has called me to be during this time...I will share below. :)

A few weeks ago on a night like most have been since Bennett's passing, after my husband and kids are sleeping.  I cried, and looked at pictures of Bennett and I on our last day together. It is always emotional but sometimes its hard to process life and our circumstances until I lay my head on the pillow at night and allow my body and mind to rest from the hustle and bustle of the day to grieve. So I did that. The day was no different than any other but I was just feeling a little empty, my arms empty. I know His spirit is with me always, that He loves me, His strength is present and His grace is sufficient but this night I needed something tangible. I know God knows my heart and knows everything I need but sometimes I need to speak it with my mouth. so on that night, with all sincerity in my heart, in brokenness asked the Lord to show me a sign that he cares for me and that He was still by my side. Told him that I know that this journey had a purpose and I understood that but I needed to just be human for a min and attempt  rationalize something that couldn't be rationalized. Because his ways are not mine. I didn't ask why? I just asked for something, to ask if He loved me and if He was still listening. It was a rough night to say the least. I will admit waking the next morning that I felt a little ridiculous, like a drama queen asking the Lord this. Who am I? But I did feel a weight lifted by confessing my sincere feelings to God and was ready to start the day choosing Joy despite our new found circumstances. 

At church that Sunday, I had a beautiful young woman by the name of Claudia, who i regretfully do not know well, approached me with two other ladies from the church. She had a beautiful bouquet of white roses...I mean a lot of white roses in a stunning vase. She pulled me aside as nervous as ever. She gathered her thoughts and confessed that she didn't know why she was giving me these roses but she was prompted by the Holy Spirit to do so. It didn't make sense to me at the time either but of course I accepted them with open arms. She had her friend translate for her because her comfort level for praying was in Spanish. Which I happen to understand a little, but not when I am a crying hot mess. haha. As she began to pray over me, it was just a moment of me asking the Lord in his time to reveal to me what these meant and thanking God for her and the gift. After she concluded her prayer, her friend translated to me what Claudia heard from the Lord to me. (AS tears stream down my face at this very moment) the Lord told her that these flowers were for me, a gift, to show me how much He cares for me and how much He loves me. That He understands what I am going through and that He hand picked me for this journey. to be strong. That He knows that it may feel like a long time until I see Bennett again but to keep holding on because it is not. That I am his beloved and he wanted to show me that today through this gift. That He is there for me, that He is my strength and Peace and all I have to do is ask.  

I was in shock. In tears and grateful for the gift (but still not comprehending). It wasn't until I walked into the sanctuary and began to pray and worship God that he took me back to my prayer those few nights ago. WOW..... I was in shock. I spoke that prayer in the comfort of my home, while everyone was sleeping and shared it with NO ONE! how was Claudia to know what I prayed? She didn't, but he did! She was obedient to the spirit and look what blessings and confirmation it brought. how much it meant to me. Beyond words, these words still not quite enough.

I am grateful for this gift from God, this confirmation. Although signs are all around, I do not feel as though I was testing the Lord because he can not tested, I firmly believe he knows my heart and cares for me. I understand that as I walk further and deeper in my walk that I will not always get these STOP signs if you will. But he knew what I needed in that moment when my soul needed filling. I urge you to follow through if the Spirit is prompting you to do something, with a lot of prayer beforehand because although It may sound absolutely ridiculous, you never know what it will mean to the person the spirit is asking you to give it to. It may just be prayer, or it may just be a word of encouragement or a physical gift. Blessings.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Rivers of living water will flow from his heart...

Its taken me some time to be prepared to get to the point where I am prepared to share our last moments with our sweet Bennett. To wrap my mind around everything that has happened over the last 3 weeks, to listen to God and ask that my words be His words and I share exactly what needs to be shared. Its quite peaceful in the night silence and I am ready to share what is on my heart. This is a rough post because this has been a key instrument in our journey with Bennett and now that he is dancing with my Jesus, I find it so tough to think this could be my last post.

After months of Bennett fighting all odds, from highs to lows. May 16th at 3:40pm our Bennett went to be with Jesus while lying in my arms, with the whispers of me and my husband pouring our hearts, love and prayers into his ears.

That day is one I will remember the rest of my days. Chari and I fully prepared to enter the care conference to tell them they were to do EVERYTHING possible to help our son, only to realize that they had, that they were and that their "everything" was not enough. To be made aware we had no other options, that our road was not life. I remember at one point during the meeting I couldn't hear their voices any longer and I heard God asking me "how far are you willing to go to trust me? are you willing to accept that this is my plan for his life?". Tears. I remember telling myself that I just wanted to hold him and be with him and love on him. So after lots of prayer that is exactly what we did. There were so many tears involved and so many questions asked but so much peace at the same time. The peace that only God gives. Our pastor and his wife were there with us that day and they were able to be with us and pray over us with bennett and most importantly, dedicate him back to God.

Our sons heart condition went from best case scenario to worst case scenario and there was nothing that could be done. A cardiologist stated that an average baby born with his heart condition would not have survived birth. So I know that It is a miracle that God gave me Bennett for 56 days and I choose to be GRATEFUL for every second of them. He wanted to fight but his heart and body wouldn't let him. As a mother, its the most excruciating thing to see. We didn't understand it until that day, until he looked into my eyes before passing telling me without words that I could let him go and he loved me.  I got to be a mom to Bennett for that time and that is a blessing. Far to many mothers get none. Thank you God for that.

He was a fighter, such a beautiful and incredibly life saving angel from our God and my heart hurts that he is not here. What I would give to be holding him again, singing to him and caring for him. I know I will do this again, with strong belief in my heart I know this.

We never pictured this journey for our lives. Its always something you read about and pray for other families but never imagine for yourself. who would? But let me tell you, God has done some amazing work in my life through Bennett. He was my angel in more ways than one. Through Bennett God taught me to LIVE again, to be grateful, to Love deeper, to trust harder and to have faith even when the path ahead was too dark to see. I have grown up in the church and "thought"I knew God but there comes a point in I believe every ones faith journey where you wonder if God is there, if he is real, and If he even cares about you. I can say today that I no longer "think I know God". I DO KNOW GOD and I can promise without any doubts in my whole body that He IS THERE, HE IS REAL, PRESENT and HE CARES SO MUCH. It took me fully trusting him, laying my life expectations in his hands, and putting all faith in him to realize it and I only wish that I had started sooner. (better late than never )
One time since Bennett's passing have I questioned God asking him "WHY? WHY BENNETT, WHY US?" and he took me back to the day where we found out what was going on in the pregnancy, where we knew we were not to abort him but to continue the pregnancy, and I asked God to Please use us for His Glory, use Bennett for His Glory. and it was then that I realized, that we did not get the outcome we expected but we got the outcome that God panned, the outcome that he designed for our lives. My son touched peoples lives WITHOUT words. He could speak to people without words and that is because God was living in him and pouring out his love through him. How blessed I am to be a mother to such an amazing son, How undeserving I felt that God cared so much for me that he gave me Bennett, one of his angels. I was hand picked for this journey. In awe of His love for me.

I knew Bennett's life touched many, but could not quite understand how much until his passing and all the Love and support that has been out poured over this household. I have no words but thank you! Thank you so much and may God bless you as you have all blessed us.

Moving forward has been rough but I still am surrounded by angel armies giving me peace, love, and joy. I am not angry with God, I choose to see that he gave me days with Bennett when I might have had none. We will always feel like something is missing. I will always feel a sense of emptiness, but I do know that in return, God will fill and consume the deepest places of my soul with him. The enemy is out to deceive, kill and destroy and we must constantly be prepared to throw Gods counteroffers when he attempts to plant his seeds. I KNOW that we did everything there was to do for Bennett and we will not believe anything other than this. We have NO regrets. God numbered my sons days, not man.

We don't know where we will go from here but we do know that as we have in this last year will keep our eyes on our savior. I have and will have my moments of sadness which is okay, but God has been flooding my mind with the good memories of Bennett and teaching me to focus on the good I had with him rather than the fact that he is not still here. He is here in spirit and I will forever hold him in my heart and as I have shared before, believing that when I meet Bennett again, it will feel as if he never left them.

I have 3 children. 2 girls and 1 sweet, perfect, innocent and COMPLETE angel boy.

A MESSAGE FROM THE AMAZING FAMILY AND FRIENDS HELPING WITH A FUNDRAISER: The Benefit in Memory of Bennett will be held on June 14th 6-9pm: Spaghetti Dinner with silent auction tables, bake sale tables and other fundraising ideas. If you have anything to donate to the silent auction table please drop them off at either with Janice Webb At Webb Chiropractic or Kelly Long Howard at Long Bros. Lumber. Email me that you have done so please. If you have baked goods you would like to make please bring them by the Foursquare Church the night before the event or day of but please let me know so I have a price sheet ready to go for you, and space for them. There will be a car wash the next day still working on details but if you can donate your time to wash cars that would be great. email me at Share to get the word out for the event to help the Puente family in honoring the memory of Bennett and helping with their medical costs and additional expenses. You can also donate funds at any US Bank in the name of Bennett Timothy James Puente. The family and Rick Puente and I appreciate all your help. If you have any questions please call me at 503-984-3825 or email Rick at

Thank you all for taking this jouney with us. I fully believe Bennett's journey will never be over, he will still be touching lives far after.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bennett's first month on the outside!

A few days late but wanted to try and do a quick update on how our sweet bennett has done on his first month "on the outside" (when he should be in).

He has come from he may not survive after birth, to thriving, from he will most likely need to be int abated to breathing on his own with VERY LITTLE HELP, From heart conditions to we cant find any concern in this area. and so many more little areas along the way.

Professionals-0   God-to many to count!

Besides thus far beating all the odds that have been against him. Today he is growing wonderfully. Yesterday he weighed in at 2lbs 8.7oz. He is still needing a little bit of O's (oxygen-about 21-25%) and still has tachycardia. The Dr's feel it all wraps around his small size, he may be a 38 week baby but his lungs are still small so growth is very important. He "nippled" from a bottle 4 ml's yesterday which is great! Practice makes perfect, sometime this week the speech therapist will see him and I will let you all know how that went. My main focus is for him to learn to suck and we will continually practice nursing but I'm not pushing it yet. The poor boy is underdeveloped and not even suppose to be out yet. :)

So overall I believe our son is doing great. He has some amazing nurses round the clock that just adore him which makes it a little easier for me to leave him there. I am getting the hang of the rounds and am happy that I can walk in the NICU and really understand and assist his nurses with his care. Especially to give the nurses a little break to catch up on charting. :)

Bennett has such a beautiful spirit, which i know is the Lord in him. Ministering even now to everyone who works with him, even to chari and I. The connection the lord has allowed me to form with bennett in this short time is much more than a mother-son relationship....its so much more. One that I cant explain. Our life will never be the same, our life changed in January when we started attending OHSU and then even more so the moment Bennett came. But I can tell you that I am so happy it did. I feel like the lord is giving me a second chance with life, the way I perceive it, a reminder of why we are here in the first place. God has taught me a deep gratefulness for our girls, our crazy life, what we have rather than what we don't. He has helped me understand that bennett is a precious and special gift, from the moment he was formed in me!! no matter how many times professionals give us their "diagnosis", no matter how hard it gets, I am to keep pressing on without allowing it to phase me. I am not to question god why?, I am to faithfully trust this process.  Chari and I have been chosen by God to have Bennett and His WILL be done in and through his life and I can trust that because it is for a hope and future.

God has not given us an ordinary blessing but an extraordinary miracle.

Prayer requests, his growth is always a must but really ask for extra prayers in the breathing and eating department. That is really what needs to improve before he can come home. He holds his temperature wonderfully, but he needs to be eating by bottle or breast and breathing on his own with no cannula. So please help us pray in those areas. We so appreciate it

Here are some photos of the last few weeks. :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

We looovee fat!

Here we are week 3 on our journey in the NICU.

(Since friday the 5th) As some of you know Bennett is off his IV's and up to full feeds and tolerating it well! :) they have fortified it with extra calories and you are really starting to see some weight gain. It will never be acceptable to say "you need to get fat", or "I love that your getting fat and filling out" other than here in the NICU. Bennett, Benny, BT, TJ, BP, lil man or whatever you like to call him is almost 2lbs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1lb 15oz or 880grams!!! He has pooped alot today (he's a puente) so we think he will hit that mark by tomorrow or Friday!! (I will throw a mini party because its a BIG DEAL!) The nurses also tried feeding him by mouth yesterday (tuesday) and he took 3ml's which isn't a lot out of his 16ml's but good! The nipple was just so large for his mouth. Feeling grateful, blessed and amazed by this little guy! He's such a fighter.

Today he has been on and off his nasal cannula. So we are praying that over time, he will be fine without it. :) so far, he has been doing well and needed it at one point when I was holding him today. We couldn't be more thankful for this.

I'm amazed although I shouldn't be by Gods grace, peace, joy through this journey. We are starting to adapt to this "new norm" although we know it won't last forever. We had to transition into this time and in the same note will have to transition out when the time comes. I'm getting more familiar with how things are run and I'm sure soon will be able to do this job in my sleep! ;) jk. ( This is a tough position and pray over the medical staff daily, they are amazing.)

Gods given me this time to allow His work in my life on all levels. He's taught me through spending time here what's really important in life, he's allowed this time to look at my priorities, he's taught me to be grateful because although our situation is hard, someone has it worse and to be thankful for our version of "hard". He's taught me a deeper appreciation, love and compassion for the families of the NICU, he has brought me a passion of prayer for this field and for these people I encounter daily. And for all this I am humbled and blessed.

We really can't thank everyone enough who have stepped up to help his financially, spiritually, with meals and overall support. Continued prayers are always appreciated for all these areas below. His heart condition is not a current issue and just prayer it wont be. :) Please pray for development all around. Hearing, eyesight, weight gain, breathing. All of these things that come so naturally to a full term baby but come slower for him. Although he has continued to amaze and capture the hearts of doctors and nurses, prayers for these areas are always appreciated. :)

Here are some pics of the last few days and one from today!!! Happy 3 week birthday little man!!