Friday, March 29, 2013

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow!

Today is GOOD FRIDAY... A day I am personally using to reflect upon Jesus and His suffering on the cross for me.  I am also reflecting upon some of my early Easter years...

I am reminded of those days when I was a little girl just so excited about a new pair of white gloves, a new dress and a hat to complete my Easter Sunday finest.  I am reminded about the anticipation of Easter Sunday.

Today, I am anticipating Easter Sunday, although I am not looking for a new dress or a new hat but rather for what I didn't understand back then.

Easter as a preacher's daughter started at Sunrise Service at Buccaneer Park on the beach.  Did I say it was BEFORE the sun came up?  Whew!  My BFF, Tammy Cremer  and I would sit in the back of the station wagon and look through our baskets of candy after the service while we waited for the next service to begin.  Yep, another service...

It was a day I knew was a really, really special day.   I knew that we celebrated Jesus' resurrection... I understood the agenda of our day, I understood Jesus died on the cross and I understood that three days later He was risen! 

But, as that little girl was all dolled up in her Sunday best, she had no idea what the depth of it all meant.

As life and death happened, I would soon find out.

Y'all all know the song "Because HE lives," right?  And if you don't, go to church on Easter Sunday morning and you will find out.  So, on to the song...

Read the lyrics before I go any further-  even if you know the song, read them again...

"Because HE Lives"

God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!

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!

How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy he gives;
But greater still the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain days because He Lives!
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!

And then one day, I'll cross the river,
I'll fight life's final war with pain;
And then, as death gives way to vict'ry,
I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He lives!
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!

I sang this a little girl over and over and over and over, Well, why wouldn't anyone want to face tomorrow I wondered? 

Oh boy, did I ever grow into that one!

The lyrics to this song pierce my heart! 

Let me have you read this verse again-

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives;
But greater still the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain days because He Lives!

As a little girl I had no idea I would understand this song so very much as an adult! But I will tell you folks something... I may not have  understood it so much then, but I BELIEVED every word of it and it was IN my heart and today more than ever I KNOW HE LIVES!

I know how sweet it is to hold a newborn baby and the pride and joy that he gives!  I know that I have the calm assurance that my child, Matthew, who is not living here with me is living with Jesus!  Because HE lives! 

Jesus died for you and me... He suffered for our sins and our iniquities...

He died so that we could  have everlasting life!

He was nailed to a cross so we could be free from our sins!  He took his last breath for you and for me.  And three days later the tomb was empty!

HE LIVES!  And because He lives, I can face tomorrow!  My fear is gone!  Life is worth living  because He lives! 

Because HE lives, Mattthew lives and I will be with him one day again because His death upon the cross made it possible for a sinner like me to be forgiven and to enter into heaven!

John 3:16 ~ "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life!" 

Get real people... Heaven is for real! 

I was outside earlier today and I was thinking about Matthew and life without him here on this earth.  I was thinking about the amazing grace that has been given to us so that we will be with him again and I was thinking about the lyrics to "Because He lives."  All of it made me want to go to heaven right now! 

When I came in, I felt my heart tug to go to Matthew 10:7 in the Bible, specifically because it was Matthew's time of death...10:07 pm on July 2, 2005.  I had never looked specifically at this scripture before as I did today, but when I read it  I was sure grateful I did!  Heaven is near!  Heaven is near!  I will leave you with this today! 

Matthew 10:7 "As you go, preach this message; The kingdom of heaven is near." 

If I didn't have the HOPE in  my heart that I would be with Matthew again, I wouldn't be able to face tomorrow BUT... BECAUSE HE LIVES... I CAN FACE TOMORROW!  Can you?

And then one day, I'll cross the river,
I'll fight life's final war with pain;
And then, as death gives way to vict'ry,
I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He lives!

Woo, can't wait til' that day "peeps!"- tis' the season for those lil' guys, right?  :)

With much love and a great big Happy, Happy, Happy Easter to you all! 


Thursday, March 14, 2013

on growing older.... BLESS OUR HEARTS!

Oh my goodness, I had to laugh at me and sis the other day!  Ladies, especially those blessed with “roots,” will appreciate this post!
Have you ever just had a day when you look BLAH?  A day when you wake up and see more gray and roots than ever before?  A day when you are depressed just a little about life, growing older and/ or combination of feeling fat or fluffy? 
Well, apparently that happened to me and Lynette the same day-  Seriously, we laughed at ourselves, after!
Both of us have been in the beauty business since 1992 so we have seen our fair share of gray hair and roots… along with the signs of aging, ladies spiraling into the beauty salon for a touch up in their spandex and head bands… YOU know who I am talking about! 
We would console behind the chair many ladies evolving into the aging process as we stood our cute young butts behind the chair thinking, what is that saying again, hmmm… oh yeah “bless her heart!”
For years and years we would wave our magic wand, do make overs as the big 40 approached for these lovely ladies… and send them out the door with a can of freeze spray and a tube of lipstick!  And for about 4 weeks that would occupy the aging process a bit!
So, it hit me the other day!  Me and sis ARE those ladies!  Omgosh!  BLESS OUR HEARTS!!! 
And just when we were fixing to put our color on… the ice cream fairy, aka as the Schwann’s man, knocked on the door!  Ice Cream anyone?
Holy moly!!! YES!  I looked at sis and said oh boy did he pick the right time to come!  We were old and already feeling a little fluffy, so why not? 
Two quarts and some 13 dollars later he was out the door and we were happy, happy, happy!  Almost, anyway!
We sat in the shop and laughed as we ate our ice cream!  Oy vey!
Then we slapped some of that magic on our roots and took about 5 years off of our aging process, at least for a bit!  
Anyhoo… We vowed to never ever have roots again!  And we also skirted around the subject of the noticeable changes to our heads and bodies as we did this thing called aging! 
I also went down the check list of things that “those ladies” used to always get done when they were in, hmmm… this state of whatever you call it!  I said have you done a facial?  Check!  What about your fingernails?  Check!  Toes?  She pulled off her shoes, check!  And then we just shook our heads!  Only one thing left… a long spa bath!
Oh Lord, it was too funny!
So, the bottom line, our roots are gone, so is the ice cream!  Our toes and fingernails are kept up and ready for the spring and our faces have had the Ultimate Facial!  So, are we ready for this growing up/ older thing?  At least for another 4 weeks, absolutely! ;)
When you are down, feeling BLAH… grab a friend or a sister, eat ice cream, a lot of it, grab the polish, do your toes!  Whatever you do, please don’t go to Walmart and buy a 3 dollar color for your hair!  Although fixing those 3 dollar colors did generate much of our income back in the day!
We had some enormously fun times at that salon together!  Thursday nights were “Late Nights” and you all remember that I am sure!  It was the hottest beauty salon to be at on Thursday nights!  We would do hair until 1 in the morning some Thursdays!  Everyone wanted to come on Thursdays!  Ladies would come in their pajamas, bring food, some would bring their wine, but all of them came without kids or a husband!  Ah, memories!   Special thank you to all of the amazing clients that we had!  I know Lynette still sees so many of you, but I don’t!  Good times!
I think that sis and I have learned lots of beauty tricks over the last 2 decades and we are gloriously glad that we did!  Especially to help us through this season of blessing our hearts!
Some blonde hair and some bangs, maybe a pound or two later, we are ready to face another day!  Another day of conquering the beautiful gift of aging! 
I know some folks age gracefully, but I can probably bet that sis and I aren’t on such a graceful road!  It is total freak out!  J
I can fast forward to our ‘silver’ years, in beauty school, that would be affectionately called the ‘blue hair ladies’ and I can see us sitting there with our purple rinse waiting on the ice cream fairy to stop by! 

So here’s to the next stage… here’s to the memories of days gone by as we stood in our youth and gasped at the thought of us ever ‘needing’ to work out or ever needing to run as fast as we can to the beauty shop to get those roots done! 
Sis, we HAVE arrived!  J

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Facets of Life Anniversary Book Giveaway! Enter today!

Hi there everyone! 

I am excited to announce that my book is going to be celebrating the second anniversary of publication on March 16th!  I am going to be giving away two copies of "Facets of Life; What I Didn't Expect When I was Expecting" over on my Facebook page! 

To enter, please visit the link below and "like" the page and leave a comment!

If you are wondering if this book is for you, check this blog out!

It is exciting for me to see where two more books are going!  It could  be to you!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

I went to the ballpark today, did you?

I went to the ballpark today, did you?

Today I had concession stand duty!  What mama doesn't love to serve up some nachos and chili chees fries to a bunch of boys in between games?  ;) 

Well, I won't be telling stories about sunflower seeds and Diet Dr. Pepper in this post but  I do want to share some things that you may never think about, unless you are a "mom like me." 

Toward the end of the first game the bleachers were full of parents, grandparents, fans, aunts, uncles and friends, a scene that is pretty typical of a baseball game.  (oh, except for the man that had his gray and orange shirt on backwards that stood in front of me!  It was Adidas, of all brands! SO you know that word sat right on his shoulder, as if to wave at me all during the game!  Goodness, that was tough!)   Other than that man's shirt and the game, my mind was drifting off to what everyone else couldn't see... unless they were like me.

I saw 13 and 14 year old boys in the dugout in uniform and couldn't help but think of my friend who will never see her son on the ballfield again.  He plays for Jesus now.

I saw the absence of his presence in a uniform.  I felt his absence.  And I missed his presence. 

I saw a beautiful little baby girl, I held her, I squeezed her cheeks... and I knew that just a few feet away from where I was holding her, there was a mama who would never be able to hold her baby girl again.  It ripped my heart out. 

I felt her absence.  And I missed her presence.

I know what it feels like to see a baby and not be able to hold mine and I feel that.  I get that.  I cannot explain it either. 

I know what it feels like to see my 12 year old play ball without his teammate and friend beside him.  I know what it feels like to be a friend to his mom who wishes she had smelly  baseball socks to wash.  I know how it feels to be her friend and I know how it feels to be that mom.

It is an awful feeling...

I began to look around the ballpark and I knew there were mothers and fathers who were out there that were missing their kids too!  My heart broke.

I wanted to protect the mamas out there at the field today from seeing others with their children.  I didn't want them to feel the pain in seeing the presence of someone else's child and feeling the absence of their own.  It hurts so badly.  I know that all too well.  Some of my hardest days ever have been at the ballpark. 

I will never see Matthew steal second or throw a pitch.  And EVERY time I am at the ballpark I am reminded of that.  Every single time.

There's never a team without a Matthew on it, right?  GO MATTHEW!  GO MATT!  Oh, my heart!  EVERY SINGLE TIME!

Someone sitting beside you today at the ballpark could have been feeling this too... maybe you don't even know it. You may not even be aware of their loss... but I promise if you grab a handful of friends,one is experiencing this pain.

The ballpark is often referred to as a field of dreams... but for some "mamas like me" it can be a painful reminder of dreams that will never come true. 

I know what it feels like to suffer in silence and some people may never talk about their loss, but I do!  I want them to know it is okay to talk about their children too!  I want to listen!

It is important for moms like me to remember their children.  Just because we don't have them in our arms doesn't mean it discounts their role in our lives as our child.

I cannot tell you how many times I have visited Matthew's gravesite before a ballgame.  Please be kind to the person beside you, you don't know where they just came from.

I say that with great empathy and sympathy. 

Today as all of the kids were running around the ballpark, I noticed the ones that could not be seen, the ones we feel in our heart every second of every day.  I saw them.  In memory of all of those precious children that will never get to run around the bases... your absence was felt and your presence was missed today at the ballpark!

Next time you are at the ballpark, maybe you will notice them too!

P.S.  I wonder how hard Matthew is trying to convince Jesus it is okay to steal second base! ;)

XOXO to all of you! 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Facets of Life: What love is...

Facets of Life: What love is...: Fourteen years ago today I married the man I fell head over heels in love with! God had chosen RW for me long before my existence.  That I...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What love is...

Fourteen years ago today I married the man I fell head over heels in love with!

God had chosen RW for me long before my existence.  That I am sure of. 

From the moment we allowed God to be first in our hearts and lives, He took control over them.  And He placed us together, forever.

Gatlinburg, TN- honeymoon

I glanced at this photo of RW & me on our honeymoon earlier, as I do everyday... but today I picked it up and looked so closely at the two of us.  We were 24 and 26 when we married, young and full of hope and expectations for our future.

I started looking at our eyes and the joy that we both had... the joy that you have before you lose a child.  That JOY. 

I got sad for a second thinking those two in that photo had NO idea what was ahead for them and if they did they probably would have ran as fast as they could away from each other... BUT God was there to keep them together.

Of course the old song by Brad Paisley came to mind "If I could write a letter to me..."
And I started thinking about what I would have written... here are a few of those thoughts:

You will love each other to death until 5 weeks after you are married and then you will say OMGosh what did I do?  Who did I marry?  That will last about a week until both of you come to an agreement about dinner and the socks on the floor.  Then surprise you will absolutely love, love. love each other again...!!!

You will enjoy life so much, be heavily involved in church and ministry and have friends over all of the time and laugh and play and rollerblade and so much fun stuff!

Another surprise!  A baby on the way!  Oh no, you didn't plan that, but God did!  There would be some scary times of pregnancy and after but a beautiful boy would be in your arms on Easter Sunday morning of April 2000! 

Then there will be birthday parties and selling the convertible because it wasn't safe enough for the baby... Bye Bye car! There will be an SUV family vehicle!  Hello stroller and playpen!  Goodbye rollerblades and hello bike with a seat on the back! 

There will be many laughs, cries, fevers, bo bo's and peekaboo's that would solidify this thing called parenthood!  What a scary and beautiful ride! 

There will be the excitement of purchasing new land for a dream home!  July 2nd, would be the date you were official land owners!

There will be lots of MUD in that land while clearing it and lots of tractors and outside showers for your boy!  (and for you both!)

Oh and just shortly after you list your home for sale, like two weeks short, you will sell it!  And have to move within 30 days!  Land, muddy land, and no house!  Woah!  Okay, thank God for parents and a home to stay in until your home is built....

Oh and about building that new home...

You will draw the plans and shortly after that have to adjust the plans because you need a  nursery added!  Woah, another baby!  Not planned... but wow! 

So there you have it... land, the shell of a new home complete and a new baby on the way!  And the most precious 4 year old ever!

Now is where I wish I didn't have to tell you something-
The little life you are expecting to bring home and put into that new nursery will not leave the hospital with breath.

You will have the most beautiful baby, 8 lbs and 14 oz, and he won't survive the trauma of a uterine rupture.  And your health will not either.

You will fight for your life and suffer extreme complications and injuries.  For two weeks while you are in the hopsital, your baby boy will be in a morgue waiting on your hospital release so he can be laid to rest.

You will leave the hospital with a pillow on your lap and a hole forever in your heart. 

You will go and pick out a site at the cemetery where you will bury your child.  He won't ever play in the nursery, he won't ever cry in the nursery and you will never hold him in the nursery that was being built just for him.  That can of paint that is labeled "Matthew's room" will sit in your hall closet for the next 8 years and you will dare someone to remove it.

You won't hold him until the day of the funeral.  The first and last time.

You will ride with him beside you on the way to the gravesite... cars following with their lights on as tears flow down your face as you carress the little"bed" that he is laying in beside you... the top is closed forever.  You cannot open it again... so this is what you have.  Forever.

You will sit in the hot sun on July 23, 2005 as balloons are released for your son and you will not even understand what is happening for a long time.


You will become a shell of who you were.

You will struggle and cry in pain alone while noone is looking.  You will scream at God, the one who gave you to each other and you will get mad, a lot.

You will experience things only grieving parents could ever understand.

You will never be the same.  Ever.

And just five weeks after you lay your son to rest, a giant hurricane, Katrina, will visit you.  She will flood both of your business... yes both of them.

Your friends and family will lose much.  Yet you will not understand how someone can complain about losing their stuff when you lost your son.

You withdraw from everyone.

You are so sick from the trauma to your body and the doctors try to help, but nothing works.

Therapy.  Tests.  Procedures and more medical stuff than you would have ever imagined will occupy much of your time.

Your career will be over due to the injuries you will sustain from birthing your baby.

Your body will be like a lab rat... you will survive what most people don't.  You will not understand still.

You will suffer immensely, both physically and mentally.  Immensely. You will suffer together and apart. 

Fourteen months after losing your son, God will give you a MIRACLE!  God's Will becomes YOUR WILL!  God will begin to restore your joy through a beautiful gift, life!  Your lives will never be the same again!

You will start to laugh again and have hope resignate within your heart!  Yes, you will feel that JOY again...

You will learn to let go when you need to and hold tight when it is necessary.

You will learn life, life is so, so precious and truly a gift from God.

You will learn death is part of life.

You will grieve even after new life is given to you... you will grieve still.

You will grieve together and separately.

You will grieve differently.

You will cope differently.

You will heal together.

You will get through the most difficult times moment by moment... enduring the adversities that come moment by moment...

You will say I am sorry, a lot.  You will cry a lot and eventually you will laugh a lot.  You will know that even the moments when you have questioned your faith, your God has never left your side.

You will be scared and brave at the same time. 

You will learn God is always there, always.

You will learn how to lean over and pick the other one up, even when you want to kick them first.  You will learn that at the end of the day it is not the socks on the floor that matters or what you have for dinner!

You will come full circle with life, death and be right back where you started when you said "I do!"  God will  be in the center of your heart and your home...

You will LOVE EACH OTHER for better or worse, for richer or poorer in sickness and in health til' death do  you part!!! 

You will both know God's grace is sufficient for all of your needs!  And you will be blessed abundantly with love,  hope and peace that surpasses all understanding! 

After writing these thoughts out and as I take a second look at that photo now, I can laugh a little and know that we didn't really KNOW what LOVE WAS back then...sure we were in love... but we HADN'T EXPERIENCED LOVE yet! 

Two births, one death, one adoption and fourteen years later, WE KNOW WHAT LOVE IS! 


1 Cor. 13: 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

Thank you God for the LOVE that you have given to us...for the boys that you have given to us, (all 3 of them) and for the joy that you give to us every single day! 

 Happy 14th Anniversary to my LOVE! 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

ramblings of a grateful mama

Where do I began this blog today?  So so much going on...I am just going to do a run down of a few things... this post may be all over the place, so stick with me! ;)

Let's see, new puppy, need I say more?  Will got a puppy from his Uncle Todd and Nay Nay... He has wanted one for so long and has worked really hard to get one.  He has done extremely well in school and we knew it was time to say "yes!"  Big smiles from Will!  Her name is Penny!  Yep, Penny!  I told him "Will, that is so sweet to name her Penny!  Is it because of the penny I give to you boys before baseball games?"  (I give the boys a penny before every baseball game since Matthew has passed and they put it in their pocket to have a piece of Matthew's memory on the field with them, so of couse I thought he was being sentimental!)  He said, "No Mom, it's like a girl Penny!"  (like Penny and Sheldon) Oy vey!  Let's just say his Uncle Todd could have had The Big Bang Theory on a time or two!    (no, I do not let him watch that show!)  Anyhow, her name, Penny!  She has brought smiles and lots of cleaning floors to our lives! 

We recently had family night at school and RW & and were excited to see Will's work and Nathan's History Project on display.

Will was super excited to show us his work as well!  We were in his class looking at his folder and then came THE JOURNAL!  I love, love, love kindergarden journals!!!  Seriously, cannot help but love the way they write and sound out words!  I love to look through Nathan's still!  And when I get Will's at the end of the year, will love having both of them side by side for this mama to walk down memory lane!

Okay, so here is the part I really love!  As Will showed us his journal, you could see the progression of his letters and thoughts come alive and as we turned the pages the drawings and the words begin to have more clarity.  We smiled and laughed at the things he wrote and then I saw this... and I was like "AWE!"


Of course, I am sporting a mohawk in the pic and only for Will would I wear one!  :) (big mama grin!)  I tell you that because I was elated that I was able to go to the school that evening because I have had to miss so much because of my  injuries.  I really cherish every moment I am able to be present at things as this.

Then we walked to the gym to see the Science, History and Reading Fair projects.  Nathan had worked really hard on his History Project and I couldn't wait to see it on display.  When we walked into the gym, his teacher told us he had won first place in his category!  We were thrilled and proud of the work he put into the project. 

When we left the school, we headed to the baseball field where Nathan was practicing.  Once again, I felt very, very grateful to be there in that moment watching Will run around the bleachers and Nate on the field.  I was sitting in the car completely aware of how blessed I was to be there.  Completely. 

When we got home from the school that night, I snapped this photo of Nathan with his project and when I hugged him quickly knew I needed to find a thermometer.  His temp, 101.1.  He was sick.

So, off to the shower and bed he went and he would stay all weekend very under the weather with flu like symptoms and a fever.  Soon after, RW was in the bed too! 

So, here I was, feeling GREAT and Nate and RW were in bed...!  That never happens! 

Sunday morning, I took care of them while they were on the couch coughing and sneezing and fevers blazing and then that afternoon, Lynette was taking Will to the parade.  Well, I didn't want to miss that with Will, so I made sure the sick boys were settled and got dressed to spend the afternoon with my lil' man!  I was walking out of the door and I looked on the couch at RW and Nate wrapped in the blankets and I couldn't help but think this is the first time I have left feeling great leaving them home sick.  It is usually the other way around. 

I was so happy that I was able to go and see the smile on Will's face!  That I didn't have to miss this!  And that I had had such a great week of not missing stuff! 

And of course the Superbowl was that evening!  Wish the bigger boys would have felt better for sure!  But we still enjoyed some time together that evening~!

Monday afternoon, Will had practice for the school talent show.  He did so great practicing his drums on the stage.  I didn't miss that either!  :))) I just love it!  And I took him for not one, but two ice creams after! 

Believe me, it is such a big deal to me when I don't miss something!

Will did AWESOME in the school talent show!  He won 3rd place!  I love to watch him play the drums!  (yes, we have a stage built in our home for him!)  ;)  This is a video of him practicing for the big night! 

I am blessed... grateful that God has given me the strength and the fight within to stand and to continue to make memories with my boys and family.  I am grateful I am feeling good and able to run after Penny while Will is at school.  (I will tell you that she does get a bow or two in her hair though!)  For sure!  Hot pink nail polish is next!  She is a guard dog in training, and she is going to be looking fabulous while she is on patrol on this hill!

And you guessed it... Dr. Seuss had a birthday at school and this mama got to go and cook some GREEN EGGS AND HAM!  I had a blast listening to the kids (and myself) saying yuck!  I admit, I have been a mama for almost 13 years and it was just yesterday that I tasted green eggs and ham!  And we ALL liked it! 

Another memory... another smile and another notch in my mommy belt!  GRATEFUL!

Will is still on cloud 9 because he finally has a "dog of his own!"  And I am still in awe at being here!  Being with my family, being with my boys and being with RW! 

Ohmygosh!  I almost forgot to talk about shoes!  Whew! Told you I was going to be all over the place today!

See these shoes?  Yep, those are on my feet!  The feet that I can't feel!  If my doctors are reading this... LOOK AWAY, LOOK AWAY! ;)  My mom bought them for me last week and I had the perfect event to wear them to!  Pink Heart Funds, Evening in PINK!  What a beautiful job my friend JoAn Nicely, founder of PHF, has done for breast cancer survivors!  Wow, I was blown away by the event.  For more info, see Pink Heart Funds.  I cannot say enough about PHF!  That's another blog day!  JoAn was so kind when I lost most of my hair (after losing Matthew) and she gave me my first wig... That kindness lives on in her and  in PHF!  I will never forget it! 

God knows how much I LOVE heels!  I am so grateful I was able to wear them and walk around!  That is crazy! If I listened to all the things my doctors say I shouldn't do, I would never have any fun and I would look like a total grandmaw all of the time! ;) 

Sis and I at Evening in Pink

Life is short.  Life is HARD! 
I can testify to both. 

Nathan was just 5 years old when we laid his little brother to rest... today he stands taller than me, with strong arms and a beautiful heart that is full of compassion as he is growing into a young man of God.  He has been through so very much in his 12 years... I know God has some pretty amazing plans for him! 
 But I can also testify that through those HARD times, I have become better! I have become more aware of the absolute blessing that life is, that my family is and that through it all, God has been in control, He has never failed us, and He has never forsaken us.  Through it all, we have become stronger in our faith, our marriage and our family.  Stronger.

I heard a pastor say the other day that if you can just hold on to God and to each other during the most tragic times in your lives, your marriage will be stronger than ever because of it.  I  know that to be true.  I have lived it, RW has lived it... and on March 6th, we will be celebrating 14 years of marriage!  I can promise that when we said for better or worse we had no idea the worst would be attending the funeral of our own son nor did we know that the better would be the gift of our little Will!  God knew it all!  And he knows what tomorrow holds!  He knows the better and the worse before it comes and is preparing us, whether we know it or not, for all that is in store for our lives. 

Our constant is our God, ALWAYS!

There's a song that says "I've been through enough to know that he'll be enough for me!"  How many of you can amen that one?  Whatever our day brings, God is enough and I have honestly been through enough to say that!  Amen!

Oh I could go on and on tonight, however I hear the rumblings of little Will and Nate...  I think it is time to blow the whistle and send them to separate corners!  ;)  But one more rambling before I close,  You all know I use XOXO all of the time as a term of endearment, and I found Will's writing tablet on the counter with this written on it. (big mama grin)

If I ever thought my children didn't watch what I did, this would be a great reminder that the opposite is true!  This made me smile so big and yet gave me a great awakening of just how much is absorbed in our children that they see and hear from us!  God help me today to be the best example for my boys that I can be!  And thank you Jesus for keeping me well and letting me wear fabulous shoes!  (Will did tell me to never wear those pink sparkly shoes to his school because he would be embarrassed!) hah!

I think I need to go and show this to them as they are going to their separate corners!  ;)

Grateful mama signing off with lots of XOXO's to all of you!