Sunday, February 28, 2010

God is Love.

I have no idea what the title of this post will be yet, maybe I'll decide by the end of writing it.
It has been another coaster ride these past few weeks. I have laughed hard and cried hard, Thomas was sick last weekend, I started going back to GriefShare one night a week, Caroline got sick on Friday, I am trying to keep up with the classes I'm teaching, reading three "improving my self" books, and trying to enjoy every ordinary and extraordinary moment all while riding the Grief Coaster. Whew.
I don't really have a focus for this post, I just wanted to touch base with the blogger world and let everyone know that Thomas is now rolling both ways and Caroline thanked me for helping her feel better. They melt my heart continually.A sweet, new friend recommended a fantastic book called "My Single Mom Life" by Angela Thomas. This passage today struck me, especially since my previous post had to do with "ordinary" moments:
from pg 179:
"Maybe this morning you woke up in your ordinary bed and rolled over to look at an ordinary pillow where no ordinary man sleeps. You walked into your ordinary bathroom and stared at that ordinary woman with the ordinary puffiness underneath her ordinary eyes...Maybe, right this minute,you need to hear God's voice saying to you, Hey, you with the heavy load. Lay it down. Just put it all right here in front of Me. All your dreams and your insecurities and your pain. Everything those kids want you to be. All your worry and the responsibilities that are too much for one woman to bear. The disappointment over how life turned out. Your weakness and your weariness and your aching body. The constant needs that never go away and the little battles that just rip out your joy. Lay it down and come to Me. Come in your ordinary. It's OK. I do extraordinary work with ordinary women like you. These circumstances will not win. Love has the final say.
I think it helped me to read that today, because as I was scrubbing red popsicle throw up out of my carpet Friday night, I realized that, although it wasn't "fun," I am staying strong with God's help. I didn't break down like I would have a few months ago--I let a friend come over (THANKS MEAGAN C.!!) and take care of Thomas while I took care of Caroline. I am allowing people to help. Several awesome friends brought dinner this week and helped me get my kids in bed. My mom came Saturday and as Caroline was getting better, let me go to church to have a break. I am NOT alone at all. God is giving me the strength to do the best I can and when I can't do it alone, He sends help. It might be someone coming to help, a text message saying "I prayed for you today" or new friends that are in similar situations that can say "I hear you and I feel the same way, too." God's love is never ending and it is unconditional--I can say that love does have the final say. Love is such a gift from God. I am coming to terms that I do not know how our future will play out. I trust God. I am going to allow Him to do amazing things in our lives. My love for Thomas will continue through until the day I see his amazing smile in heaven, and my love for my children, friends and family is a piece of heaven I get to experience right now. And I thank Him for that.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Gift of an Ordinary Day

My sweet friend, Ashley, posted this video on her blog. The tears fell freely from my eyes while reflecting during this video. I am crying for the joy of the blessing of my two babies and I am crying in sadness that I will never have an "ordinary day" again. Each moment or day is unordinary for me because Thomas is not here to share those ordinary moments.
I have always been a "savor every moment" type of person, but this video put many things into perspective for me. I've been pretty down for a couple of weeks now (more down than usual, I should say,) but after watching this, I am praying to God tonight to change my heart from longing for the past and the way I think our lives should have been to pouring my heart and soul into the present and simply loving my children for the amazing gifts that they are and fervently praying for them to have hearts for Him...As they lie sweetly, sleeping in their beds at this very moment.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

He Rolls!!!

My sweet baby rolled yesterday!! I didn't catch the actual first roll on video, but here is his 4th roll from yesterday!
I told Caroline, "And now our world changes again!" We are going to have to do some serious baby proofing! Why does it seem like every toy for a 3 year old comes with 5,212 tiny pieces? :-)
ps I lost my voice last Tuesday and it has taken what seems like FOREVER to come back. That's why in this video I sound like a lounge singer. (No offense to lounge singers-I think their voices sound really cool.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hearts for Hannah

I will be participating and I hope you all will, too! Let me know what you do (or post it on her blog) and I will pass it on to her. What a great idea, Kimberly!!

My dear friend, Kimberly, posted the following on her Caringbridge site:

 "As I've mentioned before, Hannah would have turned 5 on Monday, Feb. 15. I cannot really even describe how much I dread that day- as I said in previous posts, she was so excited to "get 5" and get to go to kindergarten. I hadn't had the heart to explain to her that she didn't get to go to school that very day... that she would have to wait until August. Anyway, I began thinking of a way that I could make her birthday have some sort of positive connotation and help others along the way. So, I would like to call Monday a "Hearts for Hannah" day (I had always thought it would be fun to have a Valentine's themed birthday party for her, but I never got the chance).

All of you precious people who so obviously have "Hearts for Hannah", I'm asking you to do something for someone on Monday (or whatever day works best for you) and tell us about it. Selfishly, I think that this will really help us make it through the day. Give blood (or remind us about how you already donated), pay for someone's order behind you in line, leave a surprise note for someone, tell someone you love him/her and why, etc. I'm sure you can think of many more ideas than I ever could.

I'm going to try and get some big hearts to take to church, school, Nana's office, etc. if people wouldn't mind writing down how they had  "Hearts for Hannah". Hopefully I can record posts from here, Facebook etc. on hearts. I would like to put these together in a scrapbook for Caleb to see someday. One of my greatest dreams for him is to really know one day how much impact his big sister had.

I know everyone is so busy, and I don't want to add any stress to your lives.... but if you have a chance to participate Monday, thank you in advance. And if you don't, that's ok too!" 

Friday, February 5, 2010

Spring Is Coming

How I love him. And miss him.

Kimberly wrote on her caringbridge about how this weather is hard for her as well. She quoted Steven Curtis Chapman's song from the album, Beauty Will Rise, which I referenced in my last post...
"My heart's heavy now, but I'm not letting go of this hope that I have, that tells me spring is coming...and all we've been hoping, longing for, soon will appear... spring is coming, spring is coming... it won't be long now, it's just about here."

I had remembered Thomas had taken a picture of a beautiful flower one spring that would be perfect for this post, but I happened to stumble across some pictures I had never seen. I thought this past summer I had meticulously gone through every digital picture and file on our computer to save/print everything having to do with Thomas, but somehow this random folder of pictures was missed by me! It is such a gift to see these. I selected my favorite one to use.
It makes a huge knot in my stomach, seeing us together in this picture, not a care in the world, enjoying the weather in our front yard of our dream house we moved into only the month before with our beautiful 14 month old (at the time) daughter.

Watching the weather forecast tonight I see another winter storm predicted for Monday. This is the winter that will never end. I know I am being a little dramatic. It is just that I was in such a state of shock all last year that I did not really "experience" the seasons. This year I am more aware maybe? I don't know--I just know this snow and ice has got to let up eventually. As I mentioned in the post before the last ice storm, I packed up my children and went to Robyn and Donny's. I am so blessed to have them. The girls played so well together and Thomas was perfect (except at night, and at least he didn't bother anyone but me!)
I hate the feelings I have when I think about how if Thomas were here someone could stay with our baby boy inside while the other would play with our daughter in the snow. Such a simple thing, yet we can't do it.
I so appreciate that Donny took the time and energy to build a snowman with Aly and Caroline. It is the little things that mean the most to me.
Although I knew it was the right decision, it was hard being away from home. This was also the year anniversary of last year's ice storm when we were the wandering nomads looking for electricity. It was just a few weeks after the accident and in my first trimester of pregnancy, which is not very much fun even under normal circumstances, so I think it was hard because I felt as if I was reliving last January.
As soon as I start to feel like I can do more on my own, I get knocked back to reality that I can't do it all. I knew I could not, for emotional reasons, be snowed in with my sweet kiddos last week without outside contact. (I keep trying to find a way to reference the book and movie The Shining in this post and how Jack Nicholson's character goes crazy while being snowed in, but I don't want anyone getting the wrong idea about my mental stability so I will have to let it go.)
This upcoming snow storm, so they say, should not be as bad, we will see.

My new favorite quote came from the same post of Kimberly's I mentioned above. She read it in the Arkansas Children's Hospital newsletter and shared it:

"Courage does not always roar- sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says I think I will try again tomorrow.

I think I will.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sweet Caroline Marie Turns 3!!!!

Thank you for my new header, Ashley! You always know exactly what I need without me asking you!
As I thought about posting pictures from her last birthdays, I realized that Thomas was only at one birthday party (two if you count her birth!--Which I do.) Realizations like that are like a sucker punch to my stomach. HE WAS AN AMAZING DADDY! He loved Caroline so much! All of his students still tell me stories about how he talked about Caroline all the time in class at Har-Ber.
Anyway, I don't want this to be a sad post for her birthday-but I want to "keep it real" and this is the way it goes.
I found a few pictures that I had not posted before of Thomas and Caroline around her first birthday.

These pictures were taken for her first birthday. She is such a "mini-me" of Thomas!

Caroline showing off the hand-made blocks that Bapah and Daddy made her for her 1st birthday!
(Two seconds later after taking this picture we had to talk to her about not throwing them!)

The picture below was on the first snow of the season. Exactly one month before the accident and about two months before she turned two.
Her 2nd birthday(link to the post):

Turning three(!) at Cake Party in Springdale!Thanks to my family and friends who came to share this special night with us.
It was a blast. Thomas wore himself out. Luckily, Mimi and Rosemary were willing to hold him most of the night!
Fun times. Sweet Caroline and Aly Claire gobbling up their tasty creations.
(I couldn't resist-Here are Aly and Caroline 2-2-07 Aly was 6 weeks old)
Serious Thomas wondering when he will get to try the cupcakes...
Poppy with Jett looking like the mischevious monkey on his shirt...
Caroline, I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful God made you. You are special, thoughtful, caring, considerate, polite, intelligent and funny. I do not know how to put in words how amazing you are. I love how you squinch up your eyes and hold my face in your hands when you want to show me how much you love me. I love how you love your little brother and kiss him all the time. I love how you are so willing to come running when I call to you to see what new trick Thomas can do so that I would have someone to share that joy with. I love how you take care of me in more ways then you can know. I love how, today, in the car you were listening to me tell someone that I was losing my voice and you asked me if Ursula took it (from the Little Mermaid movie.) I love how you have been talking about about Daddy so much lately. I was trying to reach for something in the backseat while driving and I told you I was sorry I couldn't get it and you told me if Daddy were here, he could reach it because he has long arms. I love that when I wistfully said that I was ready for spring to come, you replied "I miss Daddy." You are so intuitive to know that is what I really meant. I love your sweet innocence when you told me that when Daddy got back from Heaven he would be waiting for us at home. I am so glad I got to tell you that instead of Daddy coming to us, that we will go to Daddy when God decides. I love you, sweet Caroline. -Mommy