Wednesday, December 30, 2009

So Blessed

video video

A video of Thomas's giggles that make me feel like I am truly alive. And a video of Caroline trying to calm Thomas down for me. At the end we make her say something she said to Travis the other day when he threw a snowball at her-I couldn't believe it: ("Oh Yeah, tough guy, you want a piece of me?) She said she heard that on the Toy Story movie. We watched several movies during her three days of sickness! We watched The Polar Express more times than I would like to admit. She called it "The North Pole" movie.
(Thanks, Dad, for letting me use your camera!)

We enjoyed our Christmas with my family in Fort Smith! (We will head home tomorrow!) For a while we were unsure we were going to have Christmas this year! I am calling this Sick-mas 2009! Caroline got very sick on Sunday and it went through Tuesday night. The doctor treated it as the flu. Thomas had a little tummy trouble starting Monday that went a whole week! THEN just when we decided we were going ahead with the trip to my mom and dad's, Jett got sick! Some how we all managed to be together and make wonderful memories for Christmas. We even had a white Christmas! (Pics to come!) The sickness of the kiddos took a lot of my energy and helped distract me from the sadness.
I have to say a HUGE THANK YOU to sweet Leigh. She volunteered to come Sunday night and take care of Thomas while I tended to Caroline all night. She then stayed the whole next day and night-feeding, loving on him and changing LOTS of diapers!! God ALWAYS provides right when I think I am going to "lose" it! Them Mimi came and took Thomas to Fort Smith for Tuesday night while Caroline continued to recover. Thank you, Mimi!
As I continue my thank yous...Becky and Travis knew I was DREADING taking down my Christmas decorations. It is depressing taking them down every year even without grieving. I just heard from them that they took it all down and packed it away so I won't have to when we return home. WOW! That is LOVE.
I am not sure I will have time to post before Tuesday. I just want to say "Thank You" in advance for all the prayers that will be needed to get through this week. A "thank you" also to Becky and Dori and some others who have planned an amazing tribute for us to attend for my husband Tuesday evening. Becky knows how thrilled I get when a lot of our family and friends get together (we always say that when we are all together it is like what it will be in heaven!) and she is adding singing some of our favorite hymns that night so it will truly be as close to heaven as we can get.
I am so thankful for such awesome support and love that surrounds us all the time.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Time

I've always known that time is precious. Of course, after the events of this year that fact about time has been beaten into my head. (Being blunt today, no time for flowery statements! :-) ) I bought a Gingerbread house kit at wal-mart knowing that it would be fun for Caroline and I. Didn't it turn out great?

Ha! That was the picture from the box. Here's ours:


To be really deep, this is kind of like my life--you think it's going to turn out one way, and it turns out completely different. (By the way, do NOT use the red sprinkles that come with the kit-it took two days for the color to fade from my hands! Use your own red sprinkles!)
My life is not turning out at all how I had "planned" or even hoped, but I can say that I am making the best of what life and God has given me. Look at that sweet smile on Caroline's face. How can I say life is awful or that God is so mean etc. He is keeping His promises from the bible--we will have heartaches, but He is here for us to get through them. The ultimate goal is not to make sure everything goes our way here on Earth--it is to persevere, even thrive if possible, through the hard times and let everyone know that the way you spend eternity is way more important than the "comfortable" life we strive for here on Earth.

"For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!" 2 Corinthians 4:17

There have been some really dark days, or moments since January. But I can say that God sure has taken care of me as much as possible. He has sent so many "new" friends to help me. Nellie (above with Caroline and her hot "toe-toe") has the most empathetic heart of anyone I know. She has cleared her schedule many a-times to make sure I have help on those days where I can't juggle everything alone. Here's another sweet friend who takes time whenever possible to help me with my kiddos. Leigh (or Ro-Ro, as we affectionately call her) is helping Jacob (Tara N's son) and Caroline make brownies. Leigh has endless energy--Thank you, God for friends and family!
There are so many friends and family who have helped at multiple times this year. I hesitate in mentioning anyone because there is no way to include everyone! I can always count on Meagan C. to cook and take pictures for us whenever I feel it's time, Tara H is my reliable babysitter and the one who understands what I need, Meagan and Matt T. are always willing to spend the night if I feel I am too tired for those 2:00am feedings. Julie and Adam always seem to know what I need before I do, Tara S. always finds ways to help me all the way from Texas. A few people email or text me every few days all year long just to let me know they're thinking of me: You know who you are! My sweet momma spent almost this entire past week caring for my kiddos. Becky: There are no words. The list goes on and on.
My advice to everyone: Don't get too down about your situation, there is always something you can smile about and usually God doesn't make you look too hard.

Before I forget:
Caroline trying to repeat "Humpty Dumpty": "Hokey, Dunkey sat on a wall..."
She says "actually." Example, "Actually, I think you need to take my band-aid off for me."
About a month ago she said, "Thomas, you're so ham!" (Instead of "handsome.")
My favorite: "Snuggle with me, Momma."

Prayers: Crumby family. They need constant prayers.
Praise: I've heard specifically about three people who have turned to Jesus through sweet Hannah's story. How many of us can say the same thing about our lives? (Also, don't think you have to wait to get your life in "order" before calling on Jesus, He wants us the way we are, mess and all! If all you can do is pray, "Help me!" that is enough. Sometimes, that is still the only prayer I can pray!)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hannah

Hannah is heaven now. She went at 3:18am this morning. My heart is broken for their family. Please pray that God can give them the peace that only He can provide.

Visitation Friday night from 6pm-8pm
Funeral Saturday at 10:30am all at Calvary Baptist in Fayetteville

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thankful

Here is the latest update on Hannah Grace, copied straight from her Caringbridge journal this morning:

Monday, December 7, 2009 8:14 AM, CST

Good Morning to all-this is Nana. Hannah is still with us this morning. She is having a little more difficulty breathing this morning but still being a Warrior Princess. Momma got to sleep in the bed with her last night and I'm sure that was a great comfort to both of them. We are thankful of the day we had with her yesterday. We surrounded her and the ones in the room with wonderful praise and worship music. It brought a sense of peace to our hearts. Please continue to keep the prayers going-we were more mentally & emotionally prepared for Hannah's homecoming yesterday than we are today.

I am now in the position that so many of you were when you were comforting me eleven months ago. How do you keep going with your normal routine when a family you love is having their entire world change forever.
Uncle Travis made a really great point to Becky and I when we were despairing over the situation with Hannah. Everyone is praying for the Crumby family and God is holding onto them tight. The rest of us, who are praying for them, may not feel the peace and assurance that God is granting them.
I can speak from experience when I say that God's embrace was physically, tangible during those darkest days for me-and He continues to be when the dark days creep in again. I do draw comfort that I know the Crumby family will feel the same way because they are believers.
Thank you, God, for keeping your promises to us. You will be their Great Comforter. You will carry them through and You never let go.

I am continuing this post on being thankful, hoping that it can be an encouragement, that although there are certainly trials in life there are also many blessings...
We had an amazing turnout at Har-Ber High's First Annual Run to Remember for my husband. The students from EAST lab put together a great run and they raised over two thousand dollars towards the Thomas Culp Memorial Scholarship. I had many family and friends come out to support us. Thank you to those who contributed, ran (or walked in my case!,) or prayed for this event. The back of the shirts had a quote from my husband that he had written on a picture of himself that he kept in his classroom "Bending the future to my will one student at at time." He still makes me laugh.Caroline celebrated Thanksgiving at her Mother's Day Out by singing a song with her class on stage and inviting us all to a feast afterwards. Sweet memories were made. (I was juggling the camcorder and the camera so the pics did not turn out great. Thanks to Mom, Becky, Travis and Nellie who juggled Thomas and Jett so that I could focus on Caroline!)We spent Thanksgiving at Aunt Jen and Uncle Mark's house. They went all out to make sure all their nieces and nephews had a fantastic time. Caroline is still talking about the cart and feeding Taffy the pony, bounce house and puppy Sera. I am so blessed to have a close relationship with Thomas's family and it really feels like I've spent time with Thomas after being with them all.Getting out the Christmas decorations was really tough. I remember so vividly sitting in front of our tree this time last year and letting Caroline bring her daddy the wrapped present that had a picture of our positive pregnancy test inside. I am so happy we were able to celebrate the pregnancy together those few weeks.
I have tried hard to really "be" in the moment when special times come around throughout the year. But sometimes I am just going through the motions to create those memories for Caroline and baby Thomas that I know are important for them to have. I truly believe that eventually I will feel more true about these times in the coming years. It seems a little far off right now, though.The fact that the ONE YEAR mark is quickly approaching has not been lost on me. I really do not remember what happened to spring this year, summer I tried hard to do special things with Caroline before her brother arrived, so I remember some things from it. The fall has flown by, and now we are here. Wow. I've heard from people that the days leading up to "the day" are harder than the day itself. Not sure that makes the experience any easier, but I do know my dear friend Tara's blog about fear sure helped me this week.
Tara and her two adorable boys, their mimi, my dear friend Leigh and us three were able to go to the square and see the lights. I am so glad I went with them. This was one of the last "big" memories from our time together last year and it helped to be with Tara who knows almost exactly how I feel. We were able to spend a lot of time together that day and I am so thankful for her friendship and that God brought us together.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hannah Grace Crumby

As those of you who have been following my blog know, words rarely fail me. They are certainly failing me now. I was able to spend a precious, so very precious, three hours with Kimberly and Hannah Monday night. It was such an honor to me that Kimberly let me share that time with them. God is holding the Crumby family so tight, you can physically see it. I have asked my blog readers to pray for this family over the last few months and now this sweet little girl needs more. The ventilator will be turned off this Sunday. Please ask your friends, family and churches to pray like they have never prayed before for a miracle for Hannah Grace. Kimberly and I are strong in our faith and know that God can heal Hannah if it is his will at this time-we also know that we cannot know the bigger picture and He may choose to have Hannah in heaven with Mr. Thomas. Either way, Hannah will be taken care of and the bible that we choose to believe with every fiber of being promises that we will all be together again.
www.caringbridge.org (HannahGraceCrumby)