Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Wooden Box

Ok ya'll. Time for me to brag on my man for a bit.

Way back in July, our besties found out that they were pregnant with their first little one. When they went for their gender ultrasound this fall, they discovered they were having a little girl. {In an effort to make a very long, roller-coaster of a story short}, they were informed that little Noelle had some serious health issues and was not expected to survive the pregnancy.

I'm not sure that I've ever felt so helpless before...because there really is nothing you can do to make things better or easier. And I like to "do"...something, anything! Instead, in our living room, just hours after their devastating news, we began to walk a new road with them. One of prayers and tears, but ultimately knowing peace by trusting in the sovereignty of our Lord. Truth be told, they have been more of an encouragement to everyone else through evidence of how much grace the Lord truly gives.

I really wanted to be able to give them something special...a visual token of our thoughts, prayers, and love for them and their precious girl. I decided that a memory {or keepsake} box for Noelle would be perfect. I really wanted it to be made of a good quality wood and perhaps cedar-lined. I began to look online and Amish-made stores, but wasn't finding anything like I had pictured in my mind. I finally began to see if their were any men in our church that did woodworking. Then {duh!} inspiration struck in the form of {finally!} asking Aaron if he thought he could build the box for me. {Just a quick side-note, Ladies: ALWAYS remember to ask your honey first about these sorts of things! I really wish I really makes them feel valued, respected, capable, etc. etc. I don't know why I didn't think to ask him first, but now I will!} Aaron did some research {as is typical with him} and came to the conclusion he thought he could build this. Now, I know a few things about my husband. I know A) if he says he can do something, he can and B) if he's going to do something, he's going to do it right and C) he won't do a sloppy job.

I was not prepared for the amount of work and detail he put into this project. I was thinking, "It's a box. How much work can it be?!" First, he chose the wood he wanted to use. The box was to be made of walnut and include a removable cedar bottom on the inside. Oh yes...and he wanted to route out part of the cover and add an ash inlay. The first part of the week he spent building a box-joint jig so he could, you guessed it, make box-joints. The rest of the week was spent actually making the box itself. And when I say the rest of the week, I mean just about every minute he was not at work. Several nights he was up until at least midnight. This amazing guy chose pieces of wood with striations he liked, decided where it would be included on the box {ie: top, sides, back, etc.} and cut each piece to fit.

The end result was better than I even imagined.

front with pretty latch

top with the ash inlay

top & bottom are actually 2 pieces of wood. Perfectly seamless!

look at those beautiful joints!

he drilled a little hole through the cedar piece and I added a ribbon so it could be easily removed

so pretty!

Isn't it gorgeous?!?!

There is a guy Aaron works with that is a fairly accomplished artist. He told Aaron that when he paints a piece for someone, he always adds an extra day to the time estimate beyond the actual completion date so he can enjoy the art before giving it to the buyer. Aaron says that he now completely understands that. Of course, he will tell you that the box is not perfect and could point out every "flaw", but anyone else would be hard-pressed to find any errors.

The amount of love and care he put into this gift makes my heart swell and brings a smile to my face.

Oh, and Noelle Christine was born on December 8, 2011. She was 29 weeks gestation {but measuring at 23 weeks} and weighed 13 ounces.  Today, she is three weeks old and weighs one pound.  The roller coaster surely has not stopped, but the Lord is always still gracious and faithful.


  1. Simply beautiful. The picture of baby Noelle brings tears to my eyes. God is an amazing God and worthy to be praised.

    Thank you for sharing.


  2. The box is gorgeous!!! That man of yours is gifted! I'll be praying for beautiful little Noelle and her family...

  3. Thank you both for praying!

  4. Incredible story Sue! I can understand that about Aaron, b/c Patrick is like that:-). The box is beautiful and Noelle is even more baeutiful. I have had a tough Christmas and you just made it - thank you so much! Love to all of you! Anna