Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The game

The game Saturday was so unbelievable sad, yet memorable. Caroline was so excited that she literally ran as fast as her little legs could carry her all the way to the stadium (Thanks Uncle Trav for dropping Becky, Caroline and I off!) It was so fun seeing it all through her eyes. She asked me a million questions and it made me think about why we do what we do at football games.She wanted to know why some people were painted red from head to toe, "because it is a fun way to show support of our team"??
She wanted to know if I was going to help her play football. I had to explain that we were just going to watch other people play football.
She was concerned because she only had one pom pom and the cheerleaders had two. (Becky helped her by saying that Caroline's had both red and white colors in the one pom pom, so it was special.)
She kept saying the Razorbacks are "tough!"
She wanted to know why everyone was so loud, but then sometimes I had to tell her to be quiet for cheering too loudly. (so confusing!)
I remember my dad trying to patiently explain to me the four down system of football over and over again so many years ago.I saw so many dads with their kids there enjoying their time and part of me wanted to shout--"Enjoy this moment!! DON'T TAKE A SECOND OF IT FOR GRANTED!" and then a morbid part of me wants to tell everyone "You know you are going to die at some point?" I try to imagine what I would have thought of someone who would come up to me and say that to me nine months ago--What a loon! But today, I would just tell that person "You are right. Good thing I know where I am going when that happens!" At the same time, I realize now that most people are either going through or have been through a terrible "valley" like mine. So many people look "fine" on the outside, but who knows what is going on in their lives. My friend Kimberly (see the end of this post) mentioned this in her blog. So many times you are asked, "How are you?" by someone and you just say "fine" when actually you are hurting so badly or crying in your head about what is happening in your life. I try to remember this when I am feeling like I'm the only one hurting and everyone else around me seems so perfectly content.

God has been showing me how he is/has taken care of me in a couple of ways these past weeks. In the last post I mentioned how I was dreading telling the sweet couple from the Little Rock area who sit behind us about what happened.
I went by myself to get Caroline a hot dog and saw them! I thought what a perfect opportunity away from Caroline to tell them. As soon as they saw me they just hugged me so tight and I knew that they knew already.
They said they had heard Rick Schaffer (who works for the Razorbacks and for the school system Thomas taught in) on the radio say they had lost a teacher-he didn't hear the name, but God told him that it was Thomas. He went to the computer to check and it confirmed what God had already told him.
It was comforting to know God took care of this worry I had about telling our Razorback football friends months ago. I shouldn't have worried about it at all--
Matthew 6:25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life... 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"A couple of days before the game my dear friend, Kimberly, got a call to meet her family at the doctor's office where her precious four year old was supposedly having a routine check up for a fever. By that evening they were at Arkansas Children's Hospital where they were told Hannah has Leukemia. This is a strong Christian family and God is giving them strength, but prayers are needed. She and I have talked about how one day is "normal" and then the next moment can turn your life upside down. Please pray strength and healing for this family. Thank you!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Another new season

Our sweet friend, Meagan, loves to take pictures of my kids! What a blessing! She took some of Caroline this summer and these of Thomas when he was just over a week old.

So here is another new season: Fall. I think I'm doing okay and then--whammo!--it all comes rushing at me again like I am back at square one of this grief thing. I say it is a "whammo" but I think this might have been building for a few days...
Caroline started school last week (one day a week at our church's mother's day out.) I can't believe my little girl goes to school with a backpack and a lunchbox!! She loves it. I couldn't even get her to look back at me to say "goodbye" she was already engaged in playing. I'm so proud of her. She amazes me more each day with her maturity, intelligence and sweetness. Her favorite song to sing now is "You are my Sunshine" which she calls "Don't take the sun away" and her favorite book is "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." Between myself, mimi and Becky I bet we have read it to her at least one hundred times over the last couple of weeks.
Of course, as time goes by, I will be meeting new people who do not know us. A sweet mom who dropped her child off at Mother's Day Out at the same time as me struck up a conversation on our way out. She asked if we were finished having children...so much ran through my mind in the three second pause I took to figure out how to answer it without making her feel bad. I didn't want to just say, "Yes, we're finished" only to have to tell her the story weeks from now and have her not know the truth, so I told her that I'm in a strange situation in that my husband passed away a few months ago. I don't know why I started with "I'm in a strange situation" except that it is strange/unusual and that there is know good way to say what I am going to have to say.
She said she felt bad for asking, but of course, I told her that is was a perfectly innocent question. In my mind I knew this will be the first of many other times I will have to explain our "situation." I went onto tell her that we have amazing support from family, friends and our church and that prayers are keeping me going.Also, this Saturday is our first Razorback football home game. Those of you who aren't into college football will find it hard to relate, but I am honestly thinking I may cry the whole first quarter because Thomas will not be there to sit by me. We've been going to the games so long together that I can't even remember when we started! Luckily our tickets are next to wonderful friends so I won't have to have strangers hand me tissues. But we do have some sweet people who have sat behind us for years that I will have to tell the news to. Not fun.
On a happier note, I am taking Caroline with me to the game. She has her Arkansas cheerleading outfit ready and I think it will be good for us to be together there.As soon as I think I get used to a "season," it changes on me and I have to get a new grip on our new normal. I was thinking today about how the weather is about to get cooler and all that comes with that. More indoor activites and Thomas would have been making chili at least once a week (He made a really great chili) and that will be something I really miss--Just spending time in our home as a family on a cold night.
Thanks for your continued prayers!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tara Newby

Me, Caroline, Jacob and Tara from our fun meeting this past June
(baby Micah sleeping and baby Thomas had not arrived yet!!)

My dear friend, unfortunately we met because of our similar stories, will be going through her one year anniversary tomorrow (Sept. 15th.) of her husband arriving in heaven. Please pray for her and her adorable two boys as they face the day. Here's a link to her post from two days after the accident, you can see see her faith shine even in the midst of the tragedy. To read her current posts, just clink at the top of the page on "Tara-nator."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


No, that's not a mistake in the title! That is the date of my baptism! My ten year anniversary is today, 09-09-09. Wow! Where does the time go? I have so much in my head I'd like to write, but Thomas has decided he likes the 3:00am-5:30am hours for playtime and so I'm exhausted. I just had to have a post with today's date to commemorate this amazing event in my life!
The pictures on this post are from the session that Raye Law gifted us last Monday on Thomas's two week birthday! Raye heard about our story from Becky and was so sweet to ask to photograph us! Here's a link to her site, Raye Law Photography where there are a few more pictures of our family. Thank you, Raye!I came to the University of Arkansas and joined the Razorbacks for Christ group on campus. That group, lead by Scott Karnes, read his blog as he and his family prepares to be missionaries in Ireland) changed my life as well as influenced many friends and family members of mine.
I started attending ladies' bible studies on campus and eventually felt brave enough to tell the girls that I was interested in being baptized, but nervous about telling people I hadn't been or having to do it in front of a big congregation. The girls immediately took action and told me that they were thrilled with my decision and that we didn't have to do it in front of a big group. (In my mind it had to be a Sunday morning thing in front of the whole church) They even said we could go right now! (Which happened to be a Thursday night at about 8:00pm! They asked if they could call a few other bible studies meeting around campus and invite them-I told them sure, but didn't really think anyone would be interested in coming, I was still pretty new to the RFCs. Well, I was wrong, when we got to the church there were probably about forty college kids there along with Scott all totally excited about my decision! We sang lots of songs and prayed and then Scott baptized me in front of that group. It brings tears to my eyes-ten years later(!)-when I think about the amazing feeling of being lifted out of that water to everyone's clapping and cheers. I cried a lot that evening, for the person I was and for the person I was ready to strive to be. I love that I learned you don't have to have everything "fixed" before you give yourself to Christ, you just have to be open to the idea of letting God work on you and do your best to love Him! He will use your faith even if it is the size of a mustard seed (as the bible says!) That is comforting, because somedays that is all I have to give and he gladly accepts that.I think back to ten years ago and all that has happen since then...I have had-and continue to have-a blessed life. God has provided me with a way to influence the future from teaching kindergarten through college aged students, I was married to an amazing man who loved us with a fierce devotion, I have two adorable children that I love so much it takes my breath away, literally countless family and friends that lift us up in prayer--as well as take care of us any way they can, and most importantly my relationship that has grown with God and having the fulfillment that only He can provide and, thank goodness, His promises of what can be ours after this unbelievably short time we have on Earth.
PS Thank you Nellie and Becky for taking me out to eat for my special day and for your phenomenal, faithful friendship!
Thank you to all of my readers for the uplifting comments on my blog, e-mail and facebook-they truly help me get through each day.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Pierce My Ear, O Lord

So a couple of days after Thomas came home from the hospital I was admiring him in his crib and it hit me that God gave me another "sign" of his love for my family. I have constantly prayed, even before their births, that my kids would have a heart for God. I want them to feel like I do about God and how I choose to belong to Him and live my life for Him. I know that growing up is hard and their beliefs can and will be challenged, but I have always believed that if they have a heart for God they will always belong to Him and want to be close to Him. At the hospital I was aware of Thomas' cute dimple on his right ear, but it wasn't until I was able to be in a quiet time with God and baby Thomas that it hit me... God had pierced Thomas! One of my favorite church songs is "Pierce My Ear" Here are the lyrics (and here is a home video of some sweet girls singing it a capella!):
Pierce my ear, O Lord, my God. Take me to Your door this day. I will serve no other god. Lord, I'm here to stay.
For You have paid the price for me.
With Your blood You ransomed me. I will serve You eternally. Your free one I long to be.

This song is in reference to Exodus 21:2-6 where it discusses a servant who fulfills his/her obligation to the master, but then chooses to stay with the master who then pierces the servant's ear as a sign of devotion.

This piercing of just his right ear (which doesn't go all the way through his earlobe, in case you were wondering, it is actually considered a "dimple") along with his special birth date, shared with his daddy, makes me have goosebumps because both of these are such special, unique occurrences that will be constant reminders of God's love for our little family.
Photographic evidence below :-)
*Thanks for the prayers and suggestions for nursing--they have helped!
*My energy is slowly returning!
*Caroline is loving her little brother, although she has been telling me that she misses me quite often, (like when she woke up this morning!) Pray that she won't feel like I'm not here when I am taking care of Thomas!
*Praise of thanks for mimi (my mom) and all of my family and friends who have stayed with me these last couple of weeks and helped give all three of us attention when we need it!!
*Also a praise that I was able to go back to teaching the early childhoo University of Arkansas class for a few hours two days a week. Thomas was proud of me for teaching it last year and it has already been a blessing to me these last two weeks. The students are fantastic and it has been good for me to share my love for learning and teaching (and being a part of the outside world again!!)