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This past week my sweet baby girl was at church camp. She returned yesterday! I was fortunate in being able to pick her up from the church when she arrived back home! 

  
Of course, it seemed as if she had grown a FOOT! Even my husband thought so! And there were hugs goodbye to her friends…both new and old…and also to the great adult sponsors who were with her! 

IMMEDIATELY…in the car…she began gushing and talking and telling me how wonderful it was! But one of the most PRECIOUS moments I will ALWAYS remember…is before we were even out of the parking lot… I was driving..and she reached over and grabbed my hand…interlocked her fingers into mine…and looked at me and said, “Oh momma….I’ve missed you soooooooo much!”. WOW…my heart melted. OF COURSE…I had missed her too…but to hear she missed me and was glad to be back and wanted to just hold my hand….well…you can imagine how big my mommy-heart swelled at that moment!!! 

I listened to her tell me about all kinds of things…the games…the fun…the boys…the girls…all of it! I soaked every bit of it into my heart…these moments…this fresh attitude! This is the girl with a heart for God I know and love! (I soaked it in so that when her teenage hormones get to her…they hopefully won’t get the best of ME!) 

She just wanted to go home and sit on her own bed and use her own bathroom!!! Pretty reasonable requests…so I obliged. I took her to her grandparents before I headed back to work for the afternoon. She ran to each of them…and her cousin….and hugged each of their necks! She also slept almost the whole afternoon…so when I saw her again she was refreshed!!

A bit later in the evening…I got to enjoy time with just her in my car on a long ride. She started to open up about what God had done at the camp….in others and in her. My mommy-heart again swelled as I listened to how her heart had been open to him. About what going “ALL IN FOR GOD” meant to her. I listened to what her next steps would be…..and just smiled! Inside and out I was smiling. These are the precious moments I’ll always remember and be thankful for! 

Then….she asked if I had a pen. She grabbed the only one she could find and told me she wanted to get a tattoo!!! And she was drawing on her hand what it would be….. I looked over…and all she had drawn was a triangle. No words. Just a simple triangle. 

I didn’t tell her…But I knew immediately what she was going to tell me…. but I just listened….to her explain it to me..and what it meant to her.

Okay….imagine a triangle ….. and you are at the bottom right corner, your boyfriend is on the bottom left corner…and God is at the top of the Triangle. Now…see the line between you and the boy? That is how far apart you are without you both seeking out God and getting closer to God. But as each of you grow towards God…and seek Him out….you grow closer to each other…because you are closer to GOD. She told me the other bottom corner can be anything….shopping…her phone…or any of her friends! ( and yes…she had to tell me she knows her phone can’t get close to God…but she knows she can put it before God and move away from God and focus more on whatever it is at the bottom edge of the triangle!)

Here is a pic…for those of you like me..who are VISUAL learners!! 

  
I told my sweet girl I loved her explanation. And I’d support a tattoo of a triangle….AFTER she turns 18!!! But I told her the reason I knew about this illustration…is because I used to use this same lesson…when I taught Sunday School to my sophomore girls a LOOOOONG time ago!

She just smiled at me…and I loved this moment too! I have to admit…at first…there was a twang of being sad I wasn’t the one that got to teach this to her first…but then God nudged me and reminded me…HE will place the person in her path when she is ready to hear a lesson…and that person isn’t always going to be me!!! I see that by me being the one to reinforce it though…it made it just that more special in her eyes too!!! I trust you, God….and thank you for knowing better than me!!

As she laid in her bed last night…I prayed over her that this “camp high” would follow her through for a long time! I prayed that her newfound fervor for Christ stay lit in her heart and not wane. I prayed God would allow her to always open up to me and share with me her heart. I thanked Him for all the great moments I’ve had with both my kids in the recent weeks.

I’m loving where my life is right now with my kiddos! They are awesome teenagers and I’m the luckiest mom in the world. To say there is part of my heart that still has a twinge of hurt and wishing I had seen my 3 boys be teenagers…and what wonderful times I would have had with them….doesn’t even begin to express that part of my heart.

I am choosing to know there are moments like this that will always be wonderfully bittersweet…and relish in the what I’ve had…where I’ve come from …..and where I am right now! I love it! ALL of it. And I can honestly say that I wouldn’t….change….a thing!

This is to the Dad’s in my life…..

1st) …I have to say thanks to the man who gave me life! 

 This is my dad. Not just my father…but my dad. He is the one who I remember holding me when I wasn’t big enough to see the animals at the zoo over the fence. He is the one who coached the boy’s baseball team…and let me play too! He is the one who was always at every dance recital, every pageant I was ever in….no matter what! He is the one who I watched take care of my mom..in good times and bad…and taught me the meaning of unconditional love. He is the man I am thankful my husband is so much like…. He is my dad…and I love him so much!

He taught me to ride a bike…to swim…and that after you work hard…it’s okay to have fun! 

He is the one I called to help me….on the worst day of my life. He is the one who bore the burden of telling not only all of the members of my family….but me….the worst news ever. He was alone when he found out…but then took it upon himself to take care of each one of us…as he has always done. His strength that day amazes me! He protected me in ways I can’t explain! He designed my C3 necklace charm…and made one for each member of our family.
He is caring beyond comprehension…and I love that I get to call you my dad!!

2nd)…..to the man I love more than life….my sweet husband!

   

This man loves me and is my safe place in this world! He loves my kids and would lay down his own life for theirs! He has a servant heart….and is such a teddy bear! Family is one of the most important things to him…and he is teaching that to my kids! He is a hard worker and would sacrifice anything for these kiddos! He took a chance on me….and is the one I trusted enough in this world to parent with again! He is my love…my light….and my kids are so blessed to have him as their dad!!

He truly cares about people and is an example of being the hands and feet of Christ. His lead….is helping to mold our children into what God intends for them. He only wants the best for them….but also…more than anything…he wants whatever God wants for them! 

I’m blessed beyond words…to call him my husband…and the father of my two blessings.

3rd)…..My 3 boys dad….

As hard as it is for me to admit…..especially on this day….but I am thankful for this man too. 

A friend of mine taught me a very valuable lesson this week. You see….this is always such a hard day for me….. Because I get so mad at myself…..because I CHOSE this person….the one who took the lives of my three children…to be their dad…..

But….what she taught me is this….. I’m not the only one that chose him. You see…..God also chose him to be their father….and God doesn’t make mistakes. So for that…..I’m thankful. Because those three boys….are some of the biggest blessings in my life…and without him…I would not have had them. 

 

4th)….and last….but really more like always…..is my Heavenly Father.

  
You see…..I’ve always know He was with me. I don’t know how to explain it…but I’ve just always felt like He was with me. But it hasn’t been until the last part of my life I have truly understood so much about Him and the love He has for me.

He is the creator of the Universe…but He knows me and loves me! He is the beginning and the end…but He allows me to be used as a comma on this journey of my life! He is always there for me….as I walk through every obstacle. Being a parent…I understand more of the way He loves us! He is love….and loves us…ME….so much! But as a parent….I also understand now…the sorrow He must feel as we choose to love other things more than Him… How his heart hurts when He wants and plans so much good for us and our lives…but we choose to do things outside of His will. I love how He will take our brokenness and use it for so much good! I love how He comforts us…..and never leaves us….or forsakes us!

I am so thankful I am able to crawl into the lap of my loving Heavenly Father and allow Him to wrap His arms around me…and He lets me cry…be sad….be mad…and has patience, mercy and grace for me! I am thankful for the promise of eternity….for that means I will not only be there…in your Holy presence…but I also have assurance I will be with the ones I’ve loved most on this earth…for all eternity!

On this Father’s Day….I am so blessed…and so thankful…for the ones who have loved me and mine so much. I am thankful….to have had the best grandfathers a girl could ask for! One to teach me about life and gardening…and another to teach me about fun and love! My heart is full! My life is blessed! And I have so many to thank!

Today… I honor these fathers. For their contributions to my life……are what has made me who I am!

Be blessed today…..be thankful for where you’ve been….and where you are going!    ~c

   

It’s hard for me to put into words what is going on in my head right now. To say my two worlds are colliding….would be a gross understatement!! I can’t even make sense of it all right now…..all I know…is I’m one big, heaping mess of emotions.

Let me try to explain.

This is the last week of elementary school for my sweet daughter. She is my baby…so this is definitely an emotional time for me. But, the fact her three oldest brothers never experienced this part of life…makes the emotions compound. Cody, my oldest, made it to sixth grade…but never to his sixth grade graduation. Sis has her ceremony next Tuesday. The last day of school is next Wednesday. So we are officially in the last week of our elementary time…..ever. 

I’m so proud of my sweet baby girl. She is simply beautiful….and her heart shines brighter with each passing day. Our conversations amaze me and I love the simplicity of her heart. The innocence she still possesses yet the growth she is experiencing is a blessing to watch! She is maturing…day to day I see changes in her…and she isn’t a baby any more. Although, this morning, while trying to wake her…I tickled her to the point of her crawling into my lap…..where she laid her head on my shoulder…and just let me hold her…and rock her. We stayed there for quite a while…  I relished every second. I asked her if she will still crawl in my lap when she is grown and let me rock her. She said she would….though I don’t think it will happen often. These are moments my heart will forever treasure!! She will always be my baby girl. No matter what.

Then…there is my son. We are actively looking for a vehicle for him to have. He turns sixteen soon and will be driving himself…and his little sister…to school….and everywhere. In the last couple weeks….he has amazed me with some of the paths he is considering for his life. To say I love the times when the two of us talk…just wouldn’t describe the joy this boy brings to my life. He is the rainbow…the promise…the continuation of my parenting a boy through life. At this point….I couldn’t compare him to his brothers…even if I wanted to. But I don’t even try. He is so much his own person. His voice is deep and I love to hear it. His smile is huge….(now that is like his brothers though!!) He is evolving into a young man…with an awesome heart…right in front of me. This will be his last week with his friends at his school before starting his new adventure in school in July. 

His heart though….wow. Let me share.

Like I said, we’ve been searching for cars (trucks) for a bit now. He sends me or tags me pics and stuff he finds quite often…so last week when I received a text with a pic…all I saw was …”What do you think?” and that it had a pic attached. I was in a meeting when I received it so I waited to open it. Thinking it was another truck…I opened it. What I saw…..well……it was a hand-written note. I sat alone in a glass room at the conference table and read. My eyes began to “leak” and then full blown cry. 

A few weeks back…he had asked what Cody’s favorite color was. I told him it was blue. ….. and asked him why. He said just wonderin. Okay……

Fast forward to my text….this is what the hand written note said, with my corrections in ( ).

             “C3 – About 17 years ago (actually it’s over 18 years) my mom was married to another man. Toghether they had 3 sons, Cody, Cory and Caleb ages 12 (11), 10 and 8. The dad (he used his name) had some mental issues. (how else would a child consider why he did what he did?) My mom, Cheli, had divorced him. One day my mom went to my aunt’s Graduation (she was in college…but it wasn’t graduation..just a visit) So the boys went to stay with their dad. On February 22, 1997  he (his name) called Cheli and while on the phone with her he shot and killed Cody, Cory and Caleb . Then a couple seconds later he shot himself. (Actually, he only shot himself while on the phone with me…the boys were already gone.)

               To this day there is not a day that goes by that we don’t think about them. On Saturday, May, 23, 2015…Cody Brian Fox would have been 30 years old. So….to honor him will everyone please wear a blue colored shirt (Cody’s favorite!) and put it on social media with #REMEMBERCODY.

                        PLEASE RETWEET/SHARE THIS.”

Yes…all on his own…he wanted to honor his brother…who he never even got to meet. I can’t begin to express what this did to my heart. Tonight…we’ll be tweaking this a bit and he will put it on his fb and instagram. My mommy’s heart is full and exploding all while it breaks at the same time. 

My daughter is also counting down the days until her brother’s birthday. I’ve taken off work…we’ll be together to celebrate.

Yes…my first born would be 30 this Saturday. Yes…my heart longs for the what would it be like? Where would he be? Who would he be with? Where would he work? Would he have kids? …..all of those things travel through my mind. If I allowed it to go on….I could easily see myself sinking deeper and deeper into a depressed pit. It would be hard to bring me out of it. 

But God, in His all-knowing wisdom…gave me a great family! A husband that loves me in all my crazy moods and spoils me rotten….. A son who let me into his world and understands the complexities of my heart…. A daughter who is my baby and lets me love her and guide her as she grows and teaches me more than she realizes!! They are my focus and help me balance the heart-wrenching feelings I feel….while loving and being a part of their world. They get me. They know how messed up I am…how fragile my emotions are….that sometimes mom needs an extra hug and to just hold them close for a bit longer. They accept my crazy and embrace it. They are what God gave me to help keep me grounded. They….love me. And I love them.

I don’t know how I lucked out on having five gloriously happy….wonderful…caring children!! But wow….as I sit here and watch my two worlds collide…once again…..I’m reminded just how blessed I am. Continually….undeservingly…..blessed. That’s the only way I know to describe it.

So, as I struggle for the next week or so….through this massive collision…..please pray for my family…

And if you think about it…… Please wear blue and #REMEMBERCODY

And…….don’t forget to smile. My children all have the biggest smiles. All of Cody’s friends commented on his smile…after he was gone…they remembered his smile. He was generous with it…always giving. It made others smile…..and there is just something about giving your smile away. So please…share a smile with someone…and remember my sweet boy. All my kids really…..

Much love and thanks…smiles too! :) 

enjoy the pics….~c

  

  
  

  
 

Yesterday was a big day in our home!

My son, Bryce, was the recipient of all that was good! Yesterday he turned 15 1/2! Now, that half is a very important part of it..  You see, when you turn 15 1/2 here…you can take your test and if you pass, you recieve a Driver’s Permit! So, last week, during Spring Break….Bryce gave up two of his days to do 10 hours of in-class instruction at driving school. We made an appointment at the DPS to take his test on his 15 1/2 exact birthday….and off we went. I gathered all the needed documentation to prove he was who he said he was….and went into the office. 

He filled out a single sheet of paper and we were told to wait. He was called back and I asked if I should come with…the instructor motioned for me to come too. I went back to a little room…and the questions began!

“Are you his mother?”  Yes. “Are you 15 1/2?” Yes. “Good…because I’d have to send you packing if you didn’t have that half!”  Sign here….initial here…..fingerprinting….sight testing……and then….

“Okay….so I’m going to put you on a computer. It has 20 questions. You need to answer 15 correct to pass. You can skip as many as five before it counts against you. But they will come back around. The first question is a test question and if you get it wrong your computer will shut down….but you shouldn’t, because it is just asking your birthday. Don’t make me come back out there to set you up again. Okay?” Yes.

So mom leaves and goes back to sit down. I looked at my phone…3:00. I start to do something on my phone and look up to Bryce standing there in front of me with a grin and a piece of paper. It’s now 3:02! I can’t believe it.

He tells me he finished, skipping only one because he wasn’t 100% and didn’t want to get one wrong. When he finished, he went to the instructor’s door. The instructor said, “Did your computer shut down on you?”. “No sir, I’m finished.” The instructor looked at Bryce, at his computer, back at Bryce and then his computer again. His computer screen showed that Bryce had indeed finished….and passed! The instructor looked at Bryce and said, “Congratulations son, you’ve just set a new DPS record.” He finished his test in under a minute! 

I told Bryce this just showed if he worked towards something he wanted…he could do it…and do it well!!! 

Then we went to turn in some paperwork. 

You see….for about two weeks now, he has been juggling a decision that is a very difficult one. We found a charter school that isn’t really a traditional high school….but instead calls itself a “Middle College”. This school does all the same classes and core work as his high school…but meets on the campus of our Junior College. As soon as your second semester of your sophomore year, you can begin taking the college courses for double credits. Depending on the student….and the work they do….a student can graduate their traditional “senior year” with not just their high school diploma…..but also a diploma with a full Associate’s Degree! This school has free tutoring…full access to all labs on the campus…and a great atmosphere for learning. 

Upon learning of this school….it was BRYCE that did all the research. He made a “Pros and Cons” list and weighed all of his options. He asked us to set up a tour and a meeting with the school’s director. After all of this….he decided to apply. There are only 50 sophomore spots. We filled out his application…but had to still take all of his other documents…..which is where we pick up …. yesterday.

So, after passing his test…we drove to the school to take his documentation. He was all smiles and talking the whole way! This momma was LOVING every minute!! We went up to the third floor where the school meets and went into the office. We gave them all his papers, but had to wait for them to make copies of one thing. While waiting we kept talking. The director came out and greeted us and asked if we were waiting for him. No, just turning in papers. “Well…it’s a good thing,” he said. “You got in!”. 

Just when I thought Bryce’s smile couldn’t get ANY bigger…it DID!

When we got in the car to leave the school and then go to get his actual license….he said, “Wow, this day is awesome! First I pass my test…and break a record…THEN I find out I made it into the school!” 

Proud momma! He drove to my dad’s after he had his license in hand and we all went to celebrate! My neice and nephew, his Memaw, Gramma and Grampa all joined us! My neice is even wanting to apply to his new school! His smiles were contageous and I couldn’t stop looking at him, across the table….growing up….making great…and hard decisions. I can’t believe God blessed me with this boy. I can’t believe I get to be his mom.

We came home…and after a while I finally sat down…and the emotions hit me! I was emotionally exhausted…and hadn’t even realized it! The tears started streaming down my face. Tbh…they still are this morning!

Happy tears…My boy is growing into such a fabulous young man! I truly am a very proud mom. He studied hard for his test…and busted straight through it! He made hard decisions…ones that I’m afraid I wouldn’t have been strong enough to make at his age! He sees that the next 3 years..can shape his next 60 years.. He is up for that challenge!

Sad tears…the realization hit that this is my first legal driver! But…15 years ago….should have been my first. My first born never got to go through what Bryce is experiencing…nor did his brothers. This hit me hard. As I told my friend….it’s always there. I hate it. I hate that after a whole day of just being a proud mom…it comes to that quiet time of that happiness turning melancholy…and the realization of all that I was robbed of…that THEY were robbed of…is always there. It’s just hard.

Mixed tears…happy and sad….all at the same time. This is normal for me now. Even as proud as I am of Bryce, realizing he is growing up and not my baby any more. He is making some fantastic decisions and he is hitting some wonderful life milestones. Happy and sad…….happy for where he is…and sad for all that was missed. 

Such is where my two worlds collide. My new normal. Where my now and my should have been bounce off of each other and my mind is stuck in a vortex of mixed emotions. Only those who have lost a child…and living in their children’s now would understand. 

I love it…and hate it all at the same time.

But it doesn’t change how proud I am of my son! He is awesome! He is growing up! He is making me a very proud mom. 



Thanks for letting me share…my triumphs and my trials..with all of you!

Blessings! ~c

Crocodile Tears

Last night while preparing dinner….I asked my hubs where our daughter was? She had taken a shower and had been drying her hair…but I hadn’t heard anything coming from her way for a while!

So, my sweet husband went to check and when he came back he made a funny face….and then said she was just sitting in her room crying.

Well…needless to say I finished what I was doing and went back to her room. She was coming out and I could tell she had tried to pull herself together to make it seem like everything was okay…but this momma was having none of that! I told her to come back to her room with me.

When we got back there we both sat on her bed. I looked at her and asked her what was up. She looked at me and her lip and chin started quivering. She was trying so hard not to cry. She even turned her head and her hair was covering her so I couldn’t see her face…but I knew she was about to break. I went and got a box of Kleenex….came back and closed her door and moved closer to her. She just broke.

She cried so hard.

Then….when she was able to pull herself together…she told me she had
been been listening to some Christian music. She had her earbuds in and was just sitting on her bed and listening. This isn’t uncommon. She spends most of her time listening to music. I don’t limit the genre and let her go with her mood…..but today….everything she listened to was Christian.

She told me she had forgotten just how powerful Christian music can be….especially when you are just sitting still and quiet and listening to the words. She said the first song reminded her of her brothers. That alone….brought a tear to my eyes.

But then…she said the second song reminded her not just of her brothers…but of the fact she has never met them. She admitted she is jealous because it seemed like most of the people in my life had known them….and here she was…..12 years old…and she had never met her brothers!!! That…..made my tears….start to fall and just hit the bed.

Then……she said the third song talked about changing the world. She told me she knew she was going to do something to change the world…but her brothers would never be here to witness it.

I’m sure, you know by now….we were both just embracing and bawling our eyes out. I held her so close and so long I thought I would snap her in half. There was so much going through my mind. I felt so guilty….for bringing her into this world under those circumstances and asking her to live a life…..without meeting her brothers.

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After a while…we separated….(we had to blow our noses sometime..) and she looked at me and just said……”it’s just not fair!”.

It’s not fair.

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She is so right. I didn’t know what to say. I told her I knew her brothers would all love her and be so proud of her! But she looked at me…and asked, “But how am I supposed to know they would love me?”. I looked at her and told her….she is just going to have to trust me.

Of course I told her I knew how each of her brothers knew Jesus and since I knew she did too…I knew we would all spend eternity together. But she said that this life without them…will just seem so long. Then…she kinda grinned…and told me it wasn’t fair…I was going to get to see them first! Wow! She is just like me…that is exactly the sentiment I had when I lost my mom. I couldn’t stop crying….and at that moment…it wasn’t because she was gone…..it was because she got to see the boys FIRST!!! I told Breanna that story…and she just smiled at me.

I also told her…there are a lot of people who hurt so bad…they don’t think they can continue in this life without a person they love……and they don’t think they can ever get over the sadness they feel. I told her I felt that way the day her brothers died. I told her how late that night, I went in the other room to be by myself. I told her how I talked to the boys, I cried…and I yelled at God….”WHY DIDN’T YOU TAKE ME??????” I told her how God had calmed my spirit…and I realized if I was still here…HE must have a reason. I promised both God and my boys…that very night…I’d continue my life here on this earth…trying ….searching for what the purpose for me still being here was.

I looked my sweet daughter in the eye…and told her if I hadn’t gone on….I wouldn’t have her with me today…or her brother! I told her I was so thankful God allowed me to be a mom again! She touched my face and told me I would always be her brothers’ mom too! The tables had turned…and she was beginning to comfort me now!

I told her if she had any questions or ever wanted to talk about her brothers….it was fine. She told me it didn’t feel like she could talk about them…it felt like they never even happened. My heart sank. I felt that in protecting her….I had hurt her. So, I assured her she could. She reminded me I had told her not to tell her friends about them though….

I had to explain to her….because of the way they died….I tried to protect, not just her…but her friends too. She knew how they died…and had me to talk to about it…but her friends might not understand all of it and their parents might not want their kids to know something like that…..it was just too much for some.

But then…I looked at her and told her it was part of who she is. I told her it was now hers…I told her I trusted her with their story. She could share with whomever she thought she needed. I told her I trust her judgement. She isn’t to do it for attention…but it is a part of our family…it is a part of her…just as much as it is a part of me. Even though, physically, she hasn’t met them. They are her brothers and are a part of her life too.

I apologized. Over and over I apologized. I was so sorry she had to carry this burden. It hurts me to the core to see her hurt so much…for loving brothers she has never met and carrying this around with her. How do you process that? I mean, I have memories with them….she just has stories….and wishes to know them!!!

I thought of the families we know that have lost children. I thought how all of those….the siblings knew the child. And each of them…..were sick….not taken like her brothers.

These are the days that haunted my soul before I got remarried. These are the reasons I almost didn’t have any more children. These are some of the…….there is NO book….no “How to raise children after their siblings are murdered” website to go from!! These are the ways….the enemy toys with my mind and makes me feel selfish for having more children!

I just have to trust God….that these children are not only part of my continued purpose on this earth…but that each of them….has their own specific purpose. I also have to trust God…..that their purpose will be great…BECAUSE of who they are…and the story they have!!!

My daughter is right……she WILL change the world. I told her she might just do it with a part of her brothers story! They may not be here…on this earth….to see her do it…..but one day…when we are all in heaven together…they’ll pat her on the back for all the jewels in her crown and say “Well done, sis…..well done!”.

She smiled….I smiled. Thank you God for this child and her heart. Thank you for trusting me…..with this part of your story. It’s hard…and it just isn’t fair…but it is OURS!

“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.” (‭2 Thessalonians‬ ‭1‬:‭11‬ NLT)

Please pray for our family as we try to figure out what this looks like. We talked about how we are in a new season. I am at a place where I’ve never been…she has now grown past all her brothers and I’m in uncharted territory with her and her brother now. We are in a season of hoping our life change will somehow create world change in us…in our hearts. My sweet girl has such a huge heart! She is more, at her age….than I could have ever aspired to be! I pray for protective coverings over this heart….so her part in HIS story will be HUGE!

I love each of you…and thank you for allowing me to share in our journey. It’s hard. But….OH SO WORTH IT!!
Blessings! ~c

Welcome to my world…. I know it sounds like the weirdest title ever…but it is truly just a glimpse into my mind in a single week.

The reality is there. I live in the present tense but my mind is constantly in the present and the past …all at the same time.

Last week….those three things were all a part of my reality.

Driving school…..yes…my son is old enough to be in driving school. He attends the classes over Spring Break so he can get his permit the next week! I’ll have a driver….AAACCCKKKKKK!!

Junior High Enrollment…yes…my daughter brought home this envelope with enrollment information for JUNIOR HIGH!!! again…….AAACCCKKKKKK!!!

And then….3 White Caskets…you see…last Wednesday was the anniversary of the day I buried my three boys. All that was going through my mind during part of the week was those white caskets. A friend asked me if I would have done anything different. I only had to think for less than a second. I said there were quite a few things I would have done different.

One of them was the funeral. Not that I would have changed any of it….but I was in such a fog during that time….I just wish that I would have had someone take pictures…or even video the service. There were so many beautiful flowers and all the people there were so kind. I really wish I could share pictures with my kids…of the flowers….of the way we had the pictures of the boys by their caskets….of how we had the things that were special to each of them on or next to the casket. It sounds weird to even type it…but that is what I wish I had….so I could share my “then” with my “now”.

I wish I would have gone to see them again. I only went one time…I only went to see them …….and then I didn’t go back. I know why I did it then….and I know it was just their earthly shell….but I still wish I had gone to spend more time with them when I could still stroke their hair…still talk to them and touch them at the same time…..but I didn’t. And honestly…I wish I had.

Those are thoughts in my head…..and yes…the anniversaries make those thoughts swim in my head at a much higher rate…but they are always there.

Like this week…..it hit me that I was in a place I’ve never been before. It hit me that even though Breanna is, in age, past where all my boys had been in age……in calendar time….I was here. Breanna is in sixth grade…..her sixth grade graduation is coming in May…and …..here I am….in March of her sixth grade year……which is a place in time I never made it to with my boys….and now my baby…is there. Cody, never made it to March of his sixth grade year….that is a very vivid memory I am always very aware of. So, this is another place where I’m here and there….all at the same time again.

I’m totally in uncharted territory….I have been for a while now. I mean, my two kids now are so different than their brothers! But still….kinda the same. But my baby has now outlived the place in time my oldest never saw……..and that is hard. But it’s my reality.

Driving school……is a first…..and I’m going to enjoy this phase of my son’s life!

Junior High…isn’t a first….but she is my only girl…..and my baby! But I plan on enjoying this part of her life!!

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That is where I am people…..I’m in new territory….and I’m enjoying and relishing each part of it…..but it doesn’t mean my mind doesn’t go back…….or that my mind isn’t in both places at the same time. It’s hard. Very hard. I love where I am…but I miss where I would have been….all at the same time.

I read an article today…and it said what I’m experiencing is called “Complicated Grief”…..I think it is more like…..Complicated Survival!

Anyway…just a peak into my mind…that is just a few seconds of it…you should try to LIVE here! HA!

Wherever you are…know that God is with you! That is one constant that helps to keep me sane! Knowing that in my thoughts, both present and past, He is…was…and always will be there! Thanking Him for that…today and always!

Keep moving forward friends! It may only seem like an inch….but that is still progress! Know I love you…but more importantly…know the King of Kings….is MADLY in love with you!

Hope the trip through my mind made you smile…and feel “normal”! Whatever that looks like! :) ~cheli

18 YEARS!

18 years…..
The time, people say, from birth to adulthood.
The length of time, they say, it takes to make you mature enough or responsible enough to vote and serve our country.

But today…..18 years….is the length of time I’ve lived on this earth without my three sons.

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I’ve tried, really hard, to see this today as a positive thing. My sweet friend, who has also lost a child…calls this anniversary her sweet baby’s “heaven day” and celebrates it as such. I know that is where they are….but I just don’t see this day as that…..

I see this as the day they were taken from me….literally…taken. They weren’t sick and needing to be “completely healed”……I wasn’t sitting at their side…ready to release them. I was just in another town. Away for a couple days….thinking I’d get to come home and our lives…my life…would continue on. I thought I’d be their mommy forever…. I thought I’d get to see them through the teenage years….young adulthood….girls….women….marriages and children.

But I’ve seen none of this. I can’t imagine anything…..except their sweet smiles.

Cody will always and forever be 11 and in 6th grade.
Cory will always and forever be 10 and in 4th grade.
Caleb will always and forever be 8 and in 2nd grade.

THAT …. is my reality.

I can’t express, how today feels. I can’t make anyone understand the way I physically ache….and my heart physically hurts….I just can’t.

I just wanted to curl up in my bed this morning….and as the waves of sorrow washed over me…and I grasped so hard at the second pillow to muffle my crying…my gasping for breath…..I knew I couldn’t. I couldn’t stay there and just be sad all day.

And I thank God for that. As much as it hurts….as much as it makes me feel like I can’t breathe…like my lungs are being drowned, literally, in the sorrowful mourns of a mother having her life ripped out from underneath her…..as much as I want to wrap myself up in a big cocoon and not be a part of the outside world…..

I thank God…because as I was gasping for breath this morning….I also knew…that on the other side of my bedroom door….was another part of my life. On the other side of that door….were two more children…who love me, in spite of how crazy and not-normal I am…..and who need me…to be mom…to be present…in the here and now…in today….and not drown in my yesterdays!

That is a gift from God. All of my children are gifts from Him.

Even though I only got to be a mom to my sweet c3angels for less than what I wanted here on this earth…..I had them. I am oh-so-thankful for that part of my life. I can’t take any part of it away….I can’t ….and I wouldn’t want anything BUT to have had the pleasure of being their mom. I’m still their mom. I still get to share them…by sharing myself and their story with others. I thank God He has strengthened me in a way that I am different….and I can see all of this now!

And I’m mom to two great kids now. I love being a mom. I can’t tell you how much my heart aches for my sweet boys…my angels. But I do know I’m getting to a place in my life where I know they are looking over me and so proud of what I’ve accomplished since they’ve been gone.

I’m blessed. Yes…on the 18th anniversary of my three children’s murder…I can honestly sit here and tell you I’m blessed.

Blessed to be the mommy to five VERY wonderful children!
Blessed to know the love of one wonderful man!
Blessed to have family that love me and support me in everything I do!
Blessed to have friends, far and wide, to support me and pray for me when I don’t feel like I can do this thing called life…on my own!

I have so much to be thankful for! I know this….and yet I’m still sad. But I think that is okay. It’s okay to grieve…it’s okay to to be sad…because it only means…I have loved hard in my life….so I must grieve hard! As one of my friend’s told me…it’s beyond normal! And I’ve not considered myself “normal” for a long time!

I’ll leave you with this…a clip that Oprah didn’t use. It’s my sweet earth angels talking about their brothers…..and it is VERY precious to me.

Thank you for seeing me through…thank you for allowing me to share….thank you for letting me be so real….it means more than you know!

I’ll keep going……and might have 50 more of these “anniversarys” until I see you again…But when I do see you…all three of you…..what a glorious day that will be!!!!!! I love you forever! ~momma

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