Sunday, January 20, 2013

How Great It Is...

I used to worry about offending someone by talking about God. Now, I worry more about not speaking his name.
Our God is amazing beyond words.
To KNOW him is to know love beyond measure.
To KNOW him is to know purpose and hope.
To KNOW him is to know yourself.

 Only he has the ability to show you your true self, your true nature, your true passion, your true motives, your true being.

To KNOW him requires time. Not just church on Sundays, but everyday.  I have never felt I was on a clear path until I spent time actively listening to the Lord, everyday. The more time I spend, the more natural it feels, the more our relationship grows, the more he makes me grow.

I follow instructions well. He gives instructions well. Its a match made in....well, you get the idea.

I stand in awe of the clear messages he gives when you actually listen. The lesson's keep on coming. I am soaking it up! I am still uber excited about it.... and Him. I can not believe I have been attending church for 7 years and I am just now experiencing him like this. I can clearly see why I wasn't feeling the intensity of his love as I am now. I couldn't have. I wasn't listening.

Don't get me wrong. We talked. He carried. He loved. He always loved. I loved.

But like any one sided relationship....their was no passion. I let myself be intimidated, lazy, offended, judgmental, hypocritical.  (Okay, That was slightly harder to write then anticipated)

I was waiting on God to do all the work. Most of the time, without even realizing it. Until, I was challenged to go to him daily. Pray, read, think. Everyday. Then discuss what I learned and be held accountable. I was hesitant because I didn't know if I would follow through but I prayed and made the commitment to God and to myself. It was the best decision I have EVER made. I found God and he showed me who I really am.

I mess up all the time. I don't SOAP EVERYday. I intend to but sometimes for one reason or another it doesn't happen but I do spend time talking to him daily.   (We are pretty much BFF's we talk the time! ;)

Nothing compares to living FOR HIM. There are so many things I have tried to do on my own and it just wasn't working because it was about ME....not HIM.

I could go on and on...apparently. (Being that this was one of those "what should I write about tonight?" posts)

So if you haven't yet, make God your first priority in life. I DARE YOU! You will forever stand in awe at just what he has to say when you listen. I know I am and will forevermore.

Ps. and PLEASE ask questions. I love excuses to talk about Jesus!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Lessons Being Learned

   For the last few months my relationship with God been growing intensely.  I have changed. My perspective has changed. As challenging as it is, I am loving it. It has allowed me to break out of the shell I had created and follow God's will for me on a more intent and active basis.

   Over this time I have noticed patterns of lessons that God has wanted me to work on. The first was to spend time with him daily. Not because I felt like had to but because I wanted to. The second was trusting him completely. (Which I outlined a little more in my recent Bump In The Road  post.)

  Well, recently SOAPing (aka journaling) and my quiet time have revealed to me the importance of insuring that my heart is in the right place at all times. I had been thinking about that all day actually, only to go to a meeting at church last night and it be the primary topic of conversation for our Children's ministry volunteers.

   The question I have been asking myself is "Is God at the forefront of EVERYthing I do?" And while the I would love to say yes, if I am being honest with myself (and you) it is no. I tend to get caught up in other peoples approval. Weather it be my husband, family, or friends I try to do things to make them happy. When I need to be seeking God's approval and doing things for HIS glory and not my own.
I love to serve people and that is not a bad thing. I just need to make sure I am doing it for God FIRST and foremost.

   Which brings the question "what is serving exactly?" Is it just when I teach or help out at church or do something extra special and nice? No, I have come to embrace that it is everything I do. I can serve God by taking care of myself as well as taking care of my family, etc. I can serve him by doing things that may be way outside of my comfort bubble. As long as everything I am doing is for His glory and not my own.

   It is easy to lose track of the reason behind what we do. I think that while I was serving with a loving heart and good intent I wasn't making God my reason why all of the time. Which is not easy for me to admit at all. (Is admitting we are not perfect ever easy?)

   So with that being said, I am on a mission to make him the center of my everything. When I make dinner for my family it is not for my glory or my husbands (sorry honey) it is for God's. When I parent my children it is for God's glory not so I can be a "good mom." When I do or say anything I will do it for the glory of God. I am not perfect. It will not be a perfect mission. I will have bumps in the road but I will actively try to bring him Glory and continue to grow in him.

Ps. As if all other "signs" weren't clear enough this is the song I heard on the radio this morning.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


   Well, another year has passed. It has been 3 years since I said goodbye to my little man. A rough and powerful 3 years. As usual I silently wished the world would stop and take notice on his birthday. Stop everything and remember him. Don't they know how special he is? Looking back, this is not a new feeling. I remember leaving the house for the first time after he went home to the Lord and being hit with the harsh reality that the world does in fact keep turning. People were still going on with their everyday lives as I was breaking over and over again as each minute past. There is a irrational part of me that finds that extremely unfair. It was the salt in wound.
   While a part of me still silently wishes everyone would stop and remember I know that the world is still turning and a lot of people have moved on. I never will and I am okay with that. Because while there are many people who probably forgot or didn't know what to say, their are still a big group of people that go out of their way to show me that they remember him and love him. I received texts starting at 12am and they didn't stop until 11pm. I also received flowers, calls, Facebook messages, etc. People showed their love in amazing ways.  I will forever be grateful for those that take the time to do the little things, especially the prayers, that help heal the hurt.

One of the many text messages I received that meant the world to me!

   We had a good day. I tend to start the mourning process the night before as I remember being in labor, being pregnant with him, holding him, what he looked like etc. I realized that I wanted people to remember like I do. To be able to see his life as I did. So I made the tribute video. I stayed up way to late because once it was in my mind that I was going to do it, I was not stopping until it was complete. It was frustrating because each time I saved or uploaded it took at least 45 minutes (and if you know me you know that their is always a million drafts.) I was exhausted so I hit upload and went to bed at some point in the am time frame.
   I woke up and decided my bed was a pretty good place for me and stayed until the hubby came to check on me. I finally got up and went straight to work on the video (that unconveniently didn't work while I was sleeping) After hours of editing and uploading I lost my final draft due to a computer glitch.I had to get this done! It had to be up on his birthday! I didn't have any more thing to spare as I had to run a few errands so I hit upload one last time and hoped for the best. The result was my second to final draft. It successfully uploaded so I figured it was meant to be and tried to let the imperfections go (still trying to talk myself out of revising it to add the pictures that were left out and fix obvious timing issues) . If you missed it before here it is. behind me. We ran our errands and came home. We were joined for dinner by my in-laws and my seester and her husband. It was nice to just be. We were sitting there chatting as my in-laws and oldest daughter were watching the video. (Not thinking of course about the repercussions of the emotional 5 year old.) She of course did what would be expected and we (my husband and myself) went to console her. And in her room we wept. Together. As a family who has lost one of its own. Together in each others arms we cried for our baby boy. The loss of our only son and only brother. It was beautiful.
   After we dried our tears we remembered how grateful we were that he was a part of our family. How he was worth celebrating. How grateful we were that he was at home with the Lord, in the place we all long to be. So we went and put his monster trucks (requested by big sister) on his cake, lit his "3" candle and sung "happy birthday" to our baby boy. It was a perfect way to end his day.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Happy Birthday Little Man

My sweet boy,

There are so many things I could say but it is nothing you haven't heard. I miss you. I wonder what you would look like. Sound like. Be like. All of which you know. I have been making a movie to document your life when I realized that I didn't just lose my child but I lost a life. We are doing the best we can to live it for you. I can hardly wait until I get to feel you again. I love you my son. More then I imagined possible. I miss you with everything I am. Have a great birthday in Heaven my boy. Don't eat too much cake. ;)

Love Mommy.

I came across this letter I wrote immediately after he went home to the Lord. It suprises me how true every word of it still is. It doesn't get easier. You just learn to live with it.

My Dearest Son,
Wow, words can not describe just how incredibly much I love you and miss you. There are so many things I had wanted to do with you and see you do in your life. I keep imagining what your smile would have looked like. I know it would have been beautiful just like you were.It brings me warmth just thinking about it. No one can ever take your place in my heart my baby boy. Everything I feel is so overwhelming. I have such joy and peace knowing that you are happier then I can even fathom in this life. You know more happiness then I will ever know until I see you and God. I couldn't have wished for anything better for you. The pain I feel is my own, not for you my Donavin. I know you will never experience pain. I know you can see me and your Daddy and your big sister and know how much we all love you. You are still very much a part of this family even though you didn't get much time with us. You will always be our baby boy. Our first born Son. Addyson's baby brother. You have such an amazing Daddy. He had so many plans for things you guys could do together, so much he wanted to teach you. He loves you more then I can imagine or even try to explain but he too is so happy for you. He knows there is no better place in this world for you. He knows that God and Great Grandma are taking care of you. Your big sister was so excited to meet you.She too loves you very much. She gave you lots of kisses when you were in Mommy's belly. She also insisted that you had to share your toys and loved to try to wake you up when you were sleeping in my belly. She is sad she didn't get to see you but she know's you are with Jesus and although she is young I think she understands that you are in a better place. We all suffer a great loss with the loss of your life and it will not be easy to overcome but we can not overlook the joy you've already brought us and we definitely can't overlook the joy you are and will be forever experiencing. You are so loved by so many people my sweet sweet boy. I will see you again someday and I can't wait to hold you in my arms again. Until then we will live in honor of your memory always striving to be closer to God and closer to you. I love you my baby boy, my Son, my Donavin. I will miss you always.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Bump in the road

Yesterday. Sweet yesterday.

Started out not so sweetly. According to me.

I was having a heavy morning.  Parenting, money, and the impending birthday of my son were all weighing on me a little more so then usual. I had just picked up my daughter from school and was on my way to get boxes so she could pack her things as part of her resent "consequence." I got to the store went in with hungry, tired children.

 Annoyed by the 3 small boxes we got, I loaded them in the car to go home.

Until, my car didn't start. Tried again. Nope, not happening. I am sitting in my car with my 2 tired and hungry girls and the dog. Are you kidding me?! It is raining and I have no one close by to call for help. What I am I going to do!?

I have to walk home. With 2 girls and the dog. Its only a block BUT it is down a busy street with no sidewalks and did I mention it is raining. Oh, and the dog loves to pull me. (pretty sure he thinks I am playing tug-of-war with his leash)

This is awful.

The stresses of trying to keep the girls (and the dog) safe, the money involved in whatever was wrong, and the "how in the world is my oldest going to get to and from school the next 2 days?", were all so overwhelming. I walked home, fed the girls, went to my room, dropped to my knees, prayed, and cried. Then I called my sister and cried some more.

I was in crisis mode. I was stressed and worried.

Here is how the day really happened:

I slept longer then I knew I should have setting myself up for disaster. I was planning on going to Safeway which is a few miles away from my house and driving by Grocery Outlet I made the last second turn for no "apparent" reason. (I really didn't have any desire to go there as I feared it would not yield results) When I realized I was going to have to walk home my youngest was not wearing shoes, had a sweatshirt with no hood on, and I had the dog with no leash. I found both socks and shoes, a warm hat, and a leash in my car. I had everything I needed to get home with out too much trouble. (Which again, was only a block away instead of a few miles) We made it home safely.

We have road side assistance included in our insurance so we could have the truck towed home for free. Which we didn't in fact need. My husband was able to get off 2 hours ahead of schedule and go jump the battery. It started right up. He then went to the part store who determined it was in fact the battery and not something far more expensive.

In fact, the battery was under warranty. It would cost us nothing at all to fix.

We all made the trip to Costco together. Had some pizza while the husband was exchanging the battery. And lived happily ever after.

The moral of the story?

How big is the storm really when you have God on your side? It could have been so much worse. It pretty much happened as perfectly as it could if it were going to happen and there is no way that was all just a product of "good luck." No, that was the product of God looking out for us, for me, and I am pretty sure my sanity. ;)

I learned that I would have saved myself a whole lot of stress and tears if I would have completely trusted and relied on God from the very beginning. Once I completely lifted the problem to him I was able to see the mountain for what it really was. Nothing but a little bump in the road.

Truth be told, I am slightly embarrassed at how I let it get to me. I know better. I am however, laughing at myself (pretty sure God is too as you know we as parents tend to find amusement in the way our children think and do things sometimes) and I thought you might be able to use a good laugh as well.
The cost of my breakdown ;)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Storm Before the Calm

Here we are.
  5 days away from my baby boy's birthday.
 Yet, again I am reminded of the 3rd birthday party I am not planning. No decorations or presents. No 3 year old. I feel robbed of the sweet innocence of a 3 year old little boy. I feel robbed of the craziness that comes with having a boy. Especially, a toddler. I strenuously try to imagine what it would be like. I know I have no idea. I know I never will.  You hear it all the time, girls are so different then boys. I will never get to experience that difference. Its heart wrenching, tear producing, horror each time I remember that I have a son who I do not get to experience raising. I know someday I will get to feel his embrace in life after but days like today that produces little comfort as my arms hang heavy longing to embrace the warmth and weight that only my 3 year old Donavin is able to produce. It is not only a emotional longing but the sensation is so intense it is actually physical.

  The days before his day, the weight builds. Its heavier and heavier. The weight of the loss. All we are missing without him here. All of the unanswered questions. The never ending knowledge that without him here our family is not complete.

   Adding to the weight is an irrational fear I have, that people will forget him. Because every year I am pleasantly surprised by all those who take the time who share that they were touched by his life with sweet gestures and kind words. I just worry that as time goes by he will be so far in the past that the distant memory of his short sweet life will be forgotten.

  On his birthday I release it all. I dive into everything I have left of him and with each tear my load gets lighter. Until what I am left with is an unending love for him and gratitude to God for giving him what he only could.

  We celebrate his sweet life. We have cake and sing "Happy Birthday." We are grateful for his life and his impact on us. We will always celebrate that.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January Sucks


  Is it over yet?

January is not just a hard month for me but my family as a whole. 3 years ago we not only lost our only son but 2 weeks later we also lost my husband's grandpa. I said it then and I will say it now. January sucks.

I am trying to not hate the WHOLE month these days and just THE specific days but it is difficult when I change the calendar and see January. I know what is coming. The one day a year that I  unleash the grief and great loss. I submerge myself in everything I have left of my boy. I try to imagine what he would look like at 3 years old. 3 YEARS OLD! It seems like forever ago and it seems like yesterday. There is weight my arms will never hold again. That is still, 3 years later, hard to wrap my mind around.

This year is going to be a little different as I mourn a new loss. The place where he existed physically to me is no longer available for me to visit. For the first time I can not sit in only place in the world I held him in my arms. I can not walk the path my husband did to carve his initials on that tree. I have to let go of the place where I actually felt his skin against mine. I am having a hard time with that. I know it will be ok eventually and logically I know it is just a place and he is a part of me wherever I am.

But there is that part of me that longs to relive the day over again in its completeness. The blanket I had wrapped around me, the smell of my surroundings, and the soup that was the only thing that could make me feel warmth. I want all of it back just to bring me closer to him. To that moment when he was still mine.

The blanket wasn't mine. The surroundings are gone and I can never make the soup taste right. My son is gone. Truth be told, he was never mine. He was God's and God called him home. As much as it aches, I love him more for it.

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