Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Joy in Pain

I was having a bit of a meltdown this morning.  We left the doctor with the news we'd feared, surgery was most likely our best option for Tim's back.  And much to hubby's dismay, he is off work indefinitely.

Although I left Tim in positive spirits as I headed to work, tears quickly found their way down my face.  So many worries and thoughts went through my head.  ...How long would Tim endure this pain?  Will we survive this financially?  Can my stir crazy husband stand numerous months of little activity?  So many concerns.
Yet on the way to work, God was speaking to me through the radio.  With every step I took down into depression, he lifted me up two more.  Once I arrived, this message found me:

God is never going to put us into a situation
or permit us to be in one without giving us the ability to be in it with joy.

It seems like a lifetime that this all began, yet it was only a week ago.  To those of you who are somewhat lost right now, I'll begin at the beginning...
By last Tuesday, Tim had been ill for over a week.  At first we just thought it was a typical stomach bug.  After five days of not keeping any solid food down, we feared it was more.  A trip to the doctor and an antibiotic later, we were told it was an infection due to diverticulitis.  But over the weekend he grew worse and after several days, intense back pain had joined the the party.

One moment I was fussing at him for going into work, the next he was unconscious on the floor. 
My life stopped. 

Heart racing in my throat, I made the call to 9-1-1, part of me remembering the terrible night four years ago I'd last called them.  Prayers never ceasing, I went through the motions of making Tim comfortable as possible, dressing, unlocking and opening doors and waiting....waiting for the ambulance.

Hours in the ER and several tests later, we were informed he'd be admitted.  Other than our motorcycle wreck all those years ago, Tim had never spent the night in the hospital.  I fought the tears as they wheeled him through the halls and was yet again grateful for my husband's joking  and joyful spirit. 

At some point, I went home for a quick shower, supplies and to check on the doggies.  Thankfully my sister had come hours earlier to get the kids and occupy them.  Getting back to him in record time, I arrived to find his doctor sitting at the foot of the bed.  Though there had been thorough testing, we still had no real answers.  His pain was fairly managed and a scope scheduled for morning.

The clock was a constant reminder to me of that night's obligations...VBS.  Why did I sign every one of us to help this week?  One person missing could be worked around.  Not four.  And especially when we each had specific roles.  But could I leave Tim?  Satan was certainly taking advantage of our situation.

Part of me wanted to crawl up in bed with him.  Part of me wanted to take him home.  All of me just prayerfully wished he was better.  Knowing I had none of those options, and that two kiddos needed me at home each night, I opted to move forward with Bible school.  Kissing him good-bye was difficult, but it helped to have the kids there, keeping me strong. 

VBS was a blessing in so many ways.  Every group that came in, was filled with happy kids and worried faces of teachers, wanting an update on Tim.  Hugs and pats on the back got me through, including the children's faces of surprise as we acted out the resurrection of Lazarus.  As soon as VBS was over though, tears fell.  I was thankful for the dark sky and tired kiddos because we all headed straight to bed, even though my husband's side was empty.  It was a long night.

The rest of the week was much of the same.  Groundhogs Day.  Little sleep.  Long days.  Late nights.  Tears, prayers and laughter.  Juggling work, church and squeezing in as much time with Tim as possible.  Grateful for a caring boss and flexible schedule.  Blessed with a church family who cares and prays.  Thankful for docs who let me hover and ask questions.  Honored to be a part of Bible school and the many, many God-filled moments it brought.

In the end, I realized what a blessing it was that Tim was hospitalized the entire week of VBS.  Had he not been, I would have been even more torn, not wanting to leave him alone.  At least there I knew he was monitored and cared for.  And at church we were seeing tiny movements, inspirations and rooms full of love that only children can bring.  By Thursday night, each of our leaders had counseled with a child.  Our three influences brought two recommitments and a salvation.  That was worth every long and stressful moment of working Bible school!

Decide not to spend your life miserable. God is alive and has a plan for you!
 By the weekend, Tim was back home.  Although I was happy to have him here, it hurt me to watch him in pain and not be able to change it.  Even an hour at church deemed too much Sunday and he paid for it that afternoon.  He tried to go back to work yesterday but didn't last thirty minutes, even on light duty.  Today brought us back to the doctor's office with the news we dreaded to hear but expected.

I don't know what our future holds and sometimes the stress of this seems overwhelming, yet I'm reminded again and again of God's presence.  Throughout the day, messages, as if written just for what I'm going through, have fallen my way.
Don't be discouraged.  Sometimes God answers us, sometimes he doesn't.  But he always there.

No matter the heartache.  No matter the uncertainty.  No matter the trials.  Knowing that he's always there is what keeps me filled with joy, even on the hardest of days.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Faithful Friday: 5 minute Joy

I apologize for writing this week's Faithful Friday after 10 p.m.  Doesn't leave much room for inspiration in what's left of the day.

Our life has been, in a word, chaotic.  Life, since Tuesday, has been turned upside down.  I'll share more in a later post.  For now, I'll just say I had a very scary, heart-racing glimpse of what this life might be without my dear husband in it.  It was void of joy.

Yet throughout this week of uncertainty, tears and pain...joy has been present.

Even from the ER (yes, that place again), joy came.  ....In the exuberance that is my husband.  How he manages to bring laughter in a room full of seriousness.  ...from the comfort and peace prayers provide - and in seeing the response of so many gladly responding. ...simple text messages that brought me strength.  ...of our pastor's presence.

VBS... in the midst of the chaos.  ...Having a purpose to ease my worries.  ...Hugs from sticky, sweaty, precious children.  ...the undeniable light of Jesus shining in their faces.

Noah saying to me one late night before bed, "there's that beautiful smile.  I love your smile, Mom"
- I still tear up just typing that.

Sharing the gospel with kids, hearts ready.  ...The amazing, goose bump moment when a child finds salvation.

Treasuring each good-bye and hello kiss each time with Tim in the hospital this week.  ...Seeing him perk up when I entered the room.  ...Knowing he missed me when I was gone.

Surprising the kids every night at VBS.  ...From Lazarus' resurrection - to a hunt for clues in the dark - special angels sharing the news - to goldfish crackers over an indoor campfire - to a dance party on the beach.  Watching their expressions and seeing them eagerly soak up the Bible stories.

Answered Prayers.

The unexplainable comfort that comes from having Tim back under our roof.  Having my husband beside me in bed, after three lonely nights without him.  ...Grateful beyond words.  ...Blessings through teardrops.

And so many, many more that I'm forgetting at this hour.  Way more than I can fit into five minutes. 
Joy overflowing....in the midst of the storms.

 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.   - Psalm 107:28-30

Friday, July 20, 2012

Faithful Friday: Joyfully Serving

I'm up to my eyeballs in cardboard boxes, glow sticks, and a schedule so crazy a clown would have trouble juggling.  But I'm filled with JOY.

VBS starts next week at our church, and for the first time in many years, I get to help!  Not just drop off my boy (who is now too old to drop off -sigh) but really, truly help...and teach!  You can do a happy little search on this blog and read more about my love for VBS that started as a young child.  The memories I have of Bible School are of my own childhood, at my Grandpa's church, and of watching my two boys grow in their faith. 

Not only do I get the joy of volunteering this year, but so do Tim, Noah and Tina.  VBS is a family affair this year.  And I couldn't be happier.  Tim, Mr. Fireman, is all safety and traffic.  Noah, Mr. Athletic, is all Recreation.  And Tina, Miss Artsy, is on decorations and assembly.  Me, lover of all things drama, is part of Bible Adventures, where the kids will actually see the stories come to life each day.  So. Much. Fun!

I love how God is using each of us and our unique talents and abilities for His glory!  I'm excited and honored to serve him in this way.  Next week's posts will surely include some stories from VBS and the joy I already know it will bring.

As I was drawing stones onto those large boxes last night, which will soon be transformed into the town of Capernaum, I reflected on how this all began.  On our first meeting with my other "Bible Adventures" ladies, one of them asked if we could start with a scripture.  The one she chose is below.  It immediately spoke to me because it is one of many that contain the word JOY, but it is a beautiful Psalm regardless.

It is a scripture that has remained on my heart as I've prepared for next week and I pray that it stays - in the midst of the chaos of ......the cramming session we will have this weekend to prepare, remembering my lines, rushing home from work to scoop up the family each night and get to church on time, late nights to re-decorate the room for another adventure, and the exhaustion I'm sure that will come.  I hope I don't get caught up in the busyness of it and savor the joy.  I pray I remember that the only "to do" list I should truly focus on for VBS is to help bring as many children to him as possible.  Amen!

A Psalm of Thanksgiving.

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;[a]
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.
Psalm 100

***Join us at EHBC VBS next week...July 23-27, 5:45-8:30 pm. If u need a ride call 298-3400. Ages up to 6th grade.  Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

CHEERful Joy!

Laundry detergent is bringing me immense joy this week.  Homemade detergent, to be exact.

A few days ago a sweet friend sent me a message, at the prodding of her young daughter.  She had recently begun making homemade detergent and her daughter had an idea to use that to help Austin's Legacy.  They decided to use the detergent as a fundraiser this week, with the profits going to the scholarship fund created in Austin's memory.  Needless to say, I was touched.

As I've written before, I was hesitant in continuing the scholarship program.  We even opted to give three scholarships this past May, to clear the account in case we made it final.  Looking back, I know it was the stresses of the season.  Mother's Day and what would've been Austin's graduation was too much at one time.  Part of me was trying to shut down, but as he always does, Austin gave me a push from above.  And he was so right.  Without struggle, the next scholarship was funded - fully from friends, family and even strangers. 

Now, with the help of another friend, we're on our way to start funding one for 2014.  One jug of laundry detergent at a time.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Vacation Moments Part 2

My vacation is coming to a close.  I've soaked up just about as much relaxation and laziness as humanly possible.  And it was joyful bliss.  Here's some tidbits from the rest of the week...

We introduced Noah to Andy Griffith, via the Andy Griffith Show. 
After he finished complaining about the lack of color, he fell in love. 
Now we have to stop him from watching a rerun without us!

Even though I was too lazy to get out of my PJs, Noah insisted he not miss youth on Wednesday night.
We happily took him.

Noah schooled me at the "arcade"...aka his bedroom.
I'm so bad he had to take over and play both our controllers at once. 
I told him I'd take a JOYstick with a red button, a frog and a road over that stuff anyday.

We spent a day shopping, eating, and movie watching.
And brought my Mom along.

This meant sushi.
Where Noah ate his share, part of my share, and most of Mom's.
And lots of "deals" shopping, which of course actually included shopping at Deal's.

We ended the day with a trip to the movie for obscenely overpriced popcorn and coke.
And I worried the entire time we'd be escorted out for the
sheer volume of candy my Mom stuffed in her purse to sneak in the theatre.
Told her we wouldn't eat all of that!

It was such a delightful day we opted to have chocolate cake for dinner.
Tim laughed at my reason for being too tired to cook.
...Listen, vacationing takes a lot out of a girl!

And my last official day off was spent at home,
piddling with a few odds and ends I'd neglected, while Noah slept.
Since it was rainy, we opted to stay in and cook a big meal.
Thanksgiving in July. 
Chicken and dressing.....yum-o.

Noah was overJOYed I finally printed out and made the Pinterest recipe
for eggless cookie dough.  (Safe to eat raw that way) 
He had it for dessert.
I opted for more dressing.

Then we marathoned Andy Griffith to stay awake way past our bedtime to pick up our girl.
She arrived home around midnight.
Tired.  Happy to be home but missing new friends.  Blessed from the mission.

Yep.  Pretty great vaca...er, staycation, if I do say so myself!

What's your favorite way to enjoy a vacation day?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Faithful Friday: Shine Little Light

"This little light of mine...I'm gonna let it shine.  Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine."

When I think of song I'm taken back to fond memories at church, first as a child myself and then of my own boys, learning and singing these verses.

I always loved seeing the unique personalities of the kids when they got to the part of, "hide it under a bushel, NO! I'm gonna let it shine," and which ones would enthusiastically shout out "NO!"

I'm reminded of this song thinking of my niece, Tina, and her experiences from mission camp this week.  We haven't been able to talk much, as she's been in putting in a full day of work each day, but one thing has stuck out from our short chats on the phone.  She's been blessed by helping others this week and God's been at work in her.

"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." -Matthew 5:16

When you blog, you're basically agreeing to share your life with the world.  And I'm ok with that, for myself.  I hesitate though when it comes to others in my family.  I tiptoe between their privacy and what I feel needs to be shared.  With Tina especially I've been very light in what I divulge.  What I will say though is that for her thirteen years, she's certainly had more trials and burdens than any child should.  She's come through it all with grace, determination, and strength, that can only be provided from God.  The one scar I've noticed linger the past year, however, is shyness.

Now anyone that knows Tina - and has for awhile, would not describe her as shy.  As a young child, she was fierce, full of attitude and spunk.  Because of what she's endured, I think her shyness was a way to protect herself.  She's not as trusting as she used to be because she's been hurt.  She's hesitant to put herself out there, but piece by piece, I'm noticing a positive change in her.  And I've seen it through her voice more and more this week.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity,
but of power, love, and self-discipline." - 2 Timothy 1:7

Each time we've talked, she's shared about how much she's enjoyed her time.  How it makes her feel to help someone else.  How she's been touched and moved to see others in need.  How the stories have impacted her.  She said to me one night, "I did the devotion," and I wasn't sure how to respond.  Not knowing fully if I understood her, I asked what that meant.  She explained that they have a daily devotion and had asked for volunteers and she raised her hand.  She led it and enjoyed it!  I was beyond proud of her and told her so immediately. 

That small act spoke volumes to me.  For a somewhat timid girl to voluntarily lead others in a devotion...Wow!  Only God can bring about change like that.  I think back to the first time I placed a new pink Bible in her hands and how she looked up nervously at me.  She was worried bringing it to church because she didn't know how to find the books of the Bible and was worried someone might look down on her.  (We bought cute neon tabs to help with that!)  And I recall the first time she brought me into her room and showed me a verse she'd highlighted because it spoke to her.  All the way to where she is now, shining her sweet little light on this trip.  I'm just teary and thankful and blessed all at the same time just thinking about it.

Progress.  Growth.  Transformation.  Healing.  All good things that come from God.  And I'm praising him for shining through her.

You can see our little light at about 1:30 and 2:46 into this video.  She's in a purple sock monkey Tshirt. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Vacation is Just a State of Mind...

I'm on vacation this week.  Now before I get tweets and comments warning me not to post such things live, for fear our home will be at risk, I'll make the exciting announcement that I'm blogging this vacation post from (drum roll please) ...my home.

Yes, Virginia, you can enjoy a vacation without leaving your hometown.

At least one vacation a year I plan a "do-nothing-staycation" and savor it to the last drop.  This time, with Tim opting to save most of his days and Tina away at mission camp, it is just me and my boy.  It's given us some great Mom & Noah time and that, my friends, beats any exotic vista or action packed trip you could plan!

We're only on Day 3 but I already had some joyful tidbits to share with you.

What's vacation without yummy food? 

We kicked it off with a trip to DQ for some frosty treats.
We ordered "room service" one night for some cheesy pizza.

We went shopping in our downtown stores, complete with a stop for gift shop fudge.

We enjoyed breathtaking views.

We spent a complete LAZY day  living in our PJs and piling on the bed to watch old movies.
And napped joyfully in the middle of the day.

We went on a boat tour with a handsome captain.

And had an extreme water experience...

Who knows what will be in store the rest of this blissful week?!

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Tree of Hope

I'm starting to see Austin uses trees to send us messages of love.  It makes sense.  Especially since Austin's Last Gift to us was through a Christmas tree. 

We lost Austin Thanksgiving weekend 2008 and our last day with him was spent decorating the house.  You can click the blue link above to read more about his gift, which included surprising us by putting together the Kid's tree, and in every touching moment of decorating the main tree in our living room.  It brought us such comfort that lonely Christmas season and is what's made us continue those traditions, even when our hearts disagreed.

On Austin's first Heavenly Birthday, we planted a tree in the backyard.  It's planted directly in front of his bedroom window and is in our line of sight when we're in our favorite spot on the deck.  I prayed over this little tree, asking God to let it grow.  I'd hoped it would bring us a bit of peace in the cloud of grief we were in.  As always with Austin, it's surprised us and exceeded our expectations in so many ways.

The tree had stretched to full bloom the week of Austin's 16th birthday.  Perfect timing for our family get-together to celebrate his life.  You can read more here:  2010 - Birthday Blooms.

Last year, my heart was heavy at the thought of losing that little tree.  Winter was hard and I was convinced it wouldn't bloom.  My lack of faith, I'd already contemplated how I could replace it with something that would lessen the pain come his birthday.  But again, God showed us how great He is....and reminded us of Austin's Life Anew with Him.

This season, instead of a hard winter, we've had a horrendous summer.  In fact, we really didn't have a spring at all.  Record temperatures and a solid two weeks of a heat wave, caused me to worry again about our little tree.  But just like in Life Anew, that determined tree grew around the decay and shot higher, just in time for July.  Yesterday, after the welcomed rain, I went out onto the deck.  Looking over at Austin's tree, a lump formed in my throat.  Tears, so easily spilled (because yesterday would've been his 18th birthday), found their way falling across my cheeks again. 

Tiny red buds were beginning to form, as if to say,
"Hello, Mom.  I am here.  Love you, Austin."

**Go back and compare the tiny sprout in Life Anew to the one above,
just one year later.  Wow.

- - - - -
And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always irregularly.
Spaces fill with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be.
Be and be better.
For they existed.”

― Maya Angelou (When Great Trees Fall)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

If You Were Here...

To My Son, Austin -

If you were here today, I'd wish you a Happy Birthday and tear up thinking how quickly you grew up.  No more Momma's Little Blair Bear, but a young man.

If you were here today, I'd stand tiptoe to reach my arms around your neck and squeeze you back with one those famous Bear hugs you were known for.

If you were here today, I'd cook all your favorite foods from breakfast to dinner.  From cheesy eggs to special buttered toast all the way to shrimp and hot potato salad.  We finish it off with a strawberry cheesequake ice cream cake from DQ.

If you were here today, I'd take lots of pictures, even though you'd try to look away, and we'd comment how much you've changed.  I'd drag out the baby books and photo albums and we'd laugh about past memories.

If you were here today, Dad would have his talk with you about becoming a man.  It would be a collection of all the mini stories and lessons he'd of told you in previous years.

If you were here today, Noah would be your shadow, soaking up your company before you left for college.  Maybe you'd have a sleepover together in your room for old times, having a marathon Xbox challenge.

If you were here today, we'd pretend to surprise you with a party.  You would've asked to open your presents thirty seven times and I probably would've caved in on a few. 

If you were here today, you'd pace the floor checking the time, eventually taking your spot by the door to greet everyone as they arrived.

If you were here today, the house would be filled with your deep laughter and contagious smile.  Your eyes would be sparkling, loving being surrounded by family and friends.

If you were here today, I would be weepy, sad that my baby was all grown.  Already dreading sending you away to school but trying to forget that - just for today.  I'd try to be brave but you would've rested your head on my shoulders, knowing the pain I tried to hide, and wanting to take it away.

If you were here today, you'd have hugged me a dozen times, thanking me, reassuring me you won't forget to call, telling me you love me.

If you were here today, I'd kiss your cheek and look into those brown puppy dog eyes and tell you I love you.  And mean it with every fiber of my soul.

Happy 18th Birthday, sweet boy.  We all love and miss you so...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Remembering Austin's Birthdays...

In honor of Austin's 18th Birthday, I'm attaching links,
mostly to Austin's memorial blog, which covers every birthday 1-14,
as well as how we've celebrated his life since he's been gone.

Our Blair Bear


Lil Big Boy

The Jeep

Scooby Doo...and Tarzan too

RiDQlously Sweet

Backyard BBQ

Old Fashioned Picnic

Family First

double digits

2005...trials & transformations

the year of 2 parties

Big Sexy

Our last

Happy Birthday in Heaven - 15th

It’s hard to imagine that you're not here with us on your special day.
We’re still trying to cope with why God took you away.
But some things just aren’t meant for us to understand.
So we’ll focus on our memories of you and know it is God’s plan.

You were so special and your life was such a gift to us each year.
We hope you know how much we truly loved you, dear.
Fifteen years ago, you came into our lives and filled each day with laughter and joy.
We are so proud to call you “Son” – you were a terrific boy!

So quickly you grew from a baby, to boy, to young man, growing taller each day.
We loved to watch you excel in school and to cheer you on in the sports you’d play.
We were honored to see you lend a helping hand, whenever you saw a need.
A caring big brother, mentor, fundraiser and junior firefighter – you did so many good deeds!

Life isn’t the same without you here; we miss you with every beat of our hearts.
It is hard not having you with us and being so far apart.
But we feel your presence daily and see you smiling down from Heaven above.
You continue to inspire, to touch so many, we all can feel your love.

Your life was a legacy,
and to keep your memory alive we will proudly share your story.
We know you’re spending this birthday in Heaven
and you deserve that honor and glory.
We hope God knows how special an angel he’s chosen in bringing you there.
Happy 15th Birthday, Austin. We love and miss you, “Blair Bear”.

Heart Hugs from Heaven

Happy 18th sweet boy...
we love and miss you with every breath.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Faithful Friday: Heavenly Birthday

On Sunday, July 8, my firstborn would've been celebrating his 18th birthday.  18 years.  All grown up. 

Yet, for us, Austin will eternally always be only 14.  We will never know how tall he may have been.  Or how his looks and voice would have changed.  For us, he'll always be that simply sweet, innocent age of fourteen.  That delicate time between being a child and a man.

It's a difficult time for this momma.  I so much want to be planning the biggest birthday party ever for my special guy.  My tear-stained eyes and heavy heart sometimes wonder if we're strong enough to get through the next few days.  How do you carry on when a piece of your soul is no longer with you?

When I said, “My foot is slipping, ”
your love, O Lord, supported me.  - Psalm 94:18

In search of what would've been Austin's birthday scripture, I landed at the verse above.  1994 was his birth year, and on Sunday, he would be 18.  Psalm 94:18.  Yes, that is how we have survived this.

The past three and a half years have been unimaginable.  The pain often unbearable.  But when I couldn't breathe, couldn't move, couldn't cope, was in complete despair, the ONLY thing that got me through was God.  Even when I didn't want Him.  When I was mad at Him - for taking my firstborn.  He was there.  Each time I slipped, stumbled, fell...He was there.  On the days I couldn't do it.  He could.  And did.

Searching for Austin's birthday verse wasn't easy.  7.8.94  There isn't a Psalm 78:94.  Other variations took me to scripture that, well, didn't speak to me.  I added up the year 1994.  Instantly I remembered it was in fact Austin's favorite number, 23.  He'd discovered that years ago as we were both watching the movie 23, and then realized Noah wearing his jersey, the back displaying 23.  Goosebump moment.

And I thought, how fitting.  Probably the most known Psalm of the Bible.  Maybe the most known verses period.  I read through them again, memory skipping ahead of my eyes. 

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

They landed to the last verse. 

So much comfort in this Psalm, especially in this last sentence.  Though the earthly arms of this momma long to reach up and hug Austin's neck on Sunday, to wish him a Happy 18th Birthday, my heart and soul are comforted with this knowledge.  And the 23 Psalm will now have an even deeper special meaning to me.

Happy Heavenly Birthday, sweet boy. 
Thank you for leading me to these scriptures today.
Keep smiling down on us.  Love you Big.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Best Firework Show. Ever.

My fondest memories of watching fireworks was during our Dream Vacation....on a Disney Cruise. I found myself watching the expressions of my children's faces much more than the bright display over the sea though. To this day, nothing compares to those memories made.

That vacation was special for a number of reasons, the major one being it was our last family trip with Austin.

Though the 4th will always be a special day, because it is my Momma's birthday, it also tugs at my heart because it's 4 days from Austin's. On Sunday, July 8, our sweet boy would be celebrating his 18th. Instead he'll be looking down on us from his Heavenly view above.

We miss him so.

Hug your family tight this holiday - and cherish every moment in between.
We are never promised a tomorrow, at least not on this earth.

You can read more about that special trip by clicking here...Vacation of a Lifetime.
Wishing you and yours a family filled 4th of July.

Monday, July 2, 2012

35 days of Summer

Oh, how quickly the sweet days of summer breeze by...

In a month my "baby" will be starting middle school.  Almost a teenager.  Unbelievable.

Our lazy days of summer will be gone and soon the table will be filled with textbooks and crumpled papers.
Staying awake til the sun comes up and sleeping through the day will be replaced with bedtimes and alarm clocks.   Before the neatly routine schedule presumes, I want to soak up each ray of sunshine from summer.

The past month of summer went way too fast and I haven't snuck in all my seasonal favorites.  Yet.

We have managed to waste a few hours fishing...
but the tube has yet to be inflated and flown down the river.

A batch of homeade banana ice cream has been devoured...
but I've yet to assemble ooey gooey S'mores (spring break doesn't count!).

A night was spent under a blanket of stars watching movies on the big screen - and we've snuck in a few at Sticky Floors....but we've yet to squeeze in a matinee, or even better an RC matinee.

I have eaten more than my share of summer tomatoes, fresh from my garden....
but not a sweet cantelope or watermelon, juice running to my elbows.

I've lived in flip flops and enjoyed a pedicure or two...
but I've not dug my pretty toes into the muddy sand of a river bank.

Our grill has pefectly charred meals more than a couple times a week...
but we haven't shared them with family and friends.

Gas has been amazingly cheap...
yet we haven't taken advantage of those prices to fill our tank just to waste it on a country road.

My "to do" list for the rest of the summer will not include cleaning...or running...or any other busy-work...
but I will happily check off each joyful wishlist and savor each sweet summertime memory along the way.  That's my goal...these last 35 days of "summer"!!

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