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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How to get a good night's rest

1. Work a fully normal day for the first time in almost 3 weeks. 
2. Get a massage for the first time in 3 months. 
3. Take the kids grocery shopping. 
4. Skip afternoon for said grocery trip. 
5. Come home and move straight to kitchen clean up and dinner prep that takes you over an hour to make. 
6. Eat dinner in less than 15 minutes. 
7. Transport the entire family in caravan to church for meetings and Bible study. 
8. Switch off kids and regain them after first meeting. 
9. Come home, bathe girls, put in bed by 745. 
10. Take bath with a pound of Epsom salt and drink a glass of wine. 

Then collapse. Best. Sleep. Ever. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Because He Lives

My insides have had time to weep today, though most of the while we've kept busy. Finally back to school after 15 days of being at home, there were things to get done, I had a doctors appointment, and of course the busyness of the usual day overtook me. But certain moments of the day caught me off guard and wrenched me on the inside and twisted my tears. Our school director brought in chicken minis from CFA today-while a tasty treat, the smell was so vivid-I remember eating them the morning mom died-A friend had brought a platter to the house that day. Y'all, I CRIED OVER CHICKEN MINIS and it was only 10 am!!! 
After school it worked out that the girls were going to be spending some time with Nana (J's mom) and Aunt Emily and her three boys, so I had a bit of time after my appointment to grab a yellow rose, as I do every year, and drop it by the most gorgeous cemetery ever. 


As I stood in the bitter cold, I dropped the rose, and the Spirit came over me to sing: "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives." 

My mind was flooded with memories of standing in the church just a few hundred feet away singing that hymn beside momma and how she used to belt the chorus (she couldn't carry a tune, but she'd always know the melody of the chorus-and it was the Gaithers, come on!) on Sunday mornings right around Easter. 

Just thinking of those words, words that she really thought were true-life WAS worth living to her as she "fault life's final war with pain"- over the years there has been such profound emptiness, beyond words to explain to anyone, of what's it like to lose my mother at such a young age. BUT in those same years, there has been ABUNDANTLY more fulfillment and joy and overflow of His grace, blessing, and provision in my life. Yes, I still cry. Yes it still hurts. Yes, this day was sad because I miss my momma. 

But there's a greater joy in the resurrection of Jesus. And there's no fear for it really is a life conquering death scenario every. single. day. And life is worth the living simply because He lives. 

Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. (John 14:19 ESV)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My letter

Mom wrote letters to all of us while she was still in her right mind. I'm not exactly sure when that was, but it was probably before Christmas 2008. She wanted us to have something to hold on to for as long as we could after she passed. I am forever thankful that she did. The letters were specific to each of us, and they don't make a whole lot of sense, but they still are so special and so loving. She was so sad to have to leave the earthly world. She knew she was going to miss some of the most exciting parts of my life raising children.
 Every year, around these days, I pull out the letter to read, and let the water works flow-can't help it. I love looking at her handwriting, remembering our special words if endearment we shared, and hearing her voice as she reads the letter to me. She told me that "no one could ask for a better daughter" but I'm pretty sure I got a steal of a deal when I got my momma. Hands down. And for all who knew her, they'd 100% agree. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LYDIA!!!

This week we celebrated Lydia's birthday!!! As it usually happens every year since her birth, nothing goes as planned. 
Her birth year, well, she was born on February 11 when she should have waited 6-7 more weeks before coming. 
Her first birthday year, she was sick with bronchitis/rsv and I was in the mountains and we had to rearrange her birthday party to accommodate because she later got the stomach bug. 
Her second birthday, it snowed a good bit and we were all stuck around the house and had a limited celebration after the roads cleared. She was also sick with bronchiolitis. 
It never fails. 
This year, she again was sick. She still is sick. It's been a long, now on day 10 of sick. What started as the stomach bug, turned into possible flu, then bronchitis which is now some other type of undiagnosed infection. Fever for 9+ days. So we have all been held captive to the house since last Wednesday night. 
Sweet L has had the toughest week ever. She's been such a trooper through countless breathing treatments, the thermometer being shoved in her ear, me forcing Sunny D down her throat. Ready to figure out what the deal is and solve the problem. We all are. I sure hope this won't be a trend for every birthday year...

Sweet Lydia,
You mean BEAUTY and you bring grace and simplicity to our family. You snuggle with us when we need it most. You are goofy and silly and carry a confidence that is growing and growing each and every day. You love to say prayers. You love your friends. You are so sensitive and caring. You are so observant. Your memory is uncanny!! You are learning so many things from your big sister (good and bad!;))! You feel remorse for your wrongdoing immediately and are apologetic and show love when you have hurt your neighbor. You are becoming such a little lady. 
Our prayer for you has always been that "God would count you as one of his own people. And that he would give you a singleness of heart and action so that you will always fear You for your own good and for the good of your children. And that He would never stop doing good to you, and inspire you to fear Him so that you will never turn away from Him." (Jeremiah 32:39-40)

Happy 3rd birthday Lydia Lou, Lydibug, Little love, LEG!!!!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Satisfied with goodness

I was so weepy yesterday that my eyes were as big as hard boiled eggs!! This week was tough with J in Florida all week and violent sickness swept through the house. Sleep was minimal (that is why I had to teach myself how to make coffee!). I had minimal adult interaction. J was only available to talk via texting at random times. Showering was minimal and I'm pretty sure my hair was in the same bun for about three days.   I was plain tired. And of course, February always brings its fair share of tears. 

I also wept hard with my sweet friend who, yesterday, after months of knowing the inevitable, said goodbye to her momma, her best friend, the lady who taught her so much.  I praise God for His strength that He continues to give her and the faithfulness she has in knowing his grace and abundant blessing even in these sad days. But I still pray for physical rest for her and mental clarity for the days ahead may be hard. 

This is the 5th girlfriend of mine to have to endure this pain since mom's death and it breaks my heart for them. It made me miss my momma even more. I was a wreck. 

As I was trying to pull it together at one point last night, sweet M grabbed my attention and pulled me outside to look at this:
And I wept some more. God is such a master artist. It seems he's been paitnting some rather gorgeous sunsets for his children lately, especially when we need it most. 

"I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 31:13-14 ESV)

And then I cried some more...but I woke this morning, read promises from God's word in the Psalms and how he cared for his people in the Exodus and was filled with joy. He is faithful in all he does (Ps 33:4).  And I am satisfied with his goodness. 


I. Need. Coffee.

J flew out to Florida EARLY Monday morning for a sales meeting and left us girls to our own devices :) we had a great week planned with activities and our normal busy schedule so I knew the week would fly by. 
Monday= errands (grocery, bank, nap, Hobby Lobby, craft night)
Tuesday= dinner with Nana, movie and popcorn night
Wednesday= church night
Thursday= baking and playing 
Friday=prep for weekend!!!!

The week was bound to come and go as quickly as it could and the older the girls get the easier it is to care for them "on my own"...
But as I was washing the coffee pot on Monday morning, I realized something drastic: "how am I going to have coffee this week if j isn't here??? He makes all of the coffee every morning!!!" I was shocked and began planning how I could most effectively use the gift cards I had to get my coffee that week. It's so embarrassing but I don't know how to use a real pot. 
I remember back when I lived with mom and dad after college, I had to "make" mom's coffee, but I'm pretty sure dad made it and I just pushed the button to turn it on, or mom did it. I had no clue. And I'm 32 years old!!!

Well, I never sleep well with J gone anyway. I didn't grab any coffee on Wednesday am. So I was tired and that night....we get home from church. And Lydia is coughing so much that I thought she gagged herself....and she throws up. And some more. And some more...to what continues to be an all out 8 hour battle with the stomach bug (or beginnings of the flu, still not sure). At 430 am Thursday am I'm lying in bed, still haven't gotten any sleep for the night and I'm thinking to myself: " how am I going to make it to Dunkin Donuts in the morning with a sick Lydia?"
So I conquered my fears, got up, and attempted to make a pot of coffee. 
I present a fresh pot of successfully brewed coffee. And drank and drank and drank all of the caffeine that I could. 

One lesson mom didn't teach me....and she certainly didn't teach me how to drink it black!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Joy comes in the morning

After mom came home from the hospital the last time, she was put under hospice care. It was around this time during mom's last days that I took the night shift one night to make sure all was well. It was the first all nighter I had pulled since college. And I had no test the next day so instead of cramming material in my brain with tons of caffeine I turned to study God's Word. It was some of the most beautiful six hours of my life. I read through most of The Psalms, Proverbs, and Job and then wherever the book fell open. The Lord himself was keeping me company and whispering sweet words of love and peace to me while I was watching my mom pass from one life to the next. It was a great moment of reassurance and there has never been another moment in my life much like that. 

I remember camping out on Psalm 30 for a while, being filled with such a great promise and hope for tomorrow...not just, tomorrow as in when the sun would rise, but the new tomorrow when the restoration to life would be forever granted. I also remember thinking back to a season in my life in college when I struggled with an eating disorder and praising God that he had indeed "brought my soul up from Sheol" (that's another story -or ten - for another day...) and that my life had been restored. While I was sitting there watching my mom DIE, I was so caught up in the wonderful love and mercy of the LORD that I was overflowing with praises and song-not mourning!!!!!!! The spirit was moving and there was so much joy! What great favor The Lord places on His children in time of their great need!!

I've been following a two-year Bible reading plan and was brought to tears of joy and remembrance when I came across Psalm 30 in today's reading and it was so timely. Joy certainly does come in the morning! O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever. 


I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit. Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.” By your favor, O Lord, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed. To you, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!” You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever! (Psalm 30:1-12 ESV)