Thursday, August 26, 2010

it has been 2 years

It has been 2 years since Christian went to be with Jesus. I mentioned it to Austin and Noah earlier this week, reminding them about today. They both looked at each other, completely surprised that it has been this long. They both thought that it had only been a year.

All week long, I have been contemplating what to write for today. A few ideas and thoughts have been swirling around in my head, but I have not had a peace as to what I should say.

These past two days, my heart has been heavily burdened for my friend Samantha. Two days ago, her loving husband Erik left this earth to be with our Heavenly Father. No one expects to be called home at only 42 years old. It was sudden, it was unexpected. Please pray for Sam and their three children!

I have written much about our grief over the past two years, and I pray that y'all have also seen God's grace that goes hand-in-hand with it. Instead of adding more to the pages of my opinion and experience, I want to share with y'all the TRUTH and FACT of God's Word. That you may come to see the face of God, to see Him for who He is... and that one day, you will be PREPARED to stand before His throne!

This is what I read just a few minutes ago. I know that God wanted me to read these words this morning and He has impressed upon my heart to share it with YOU.

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

Thomas said unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."

-John 14:1-6, 16-18 (emphasis mine)

Life does not turn out how we expect and plan. I never dreamed that my precious Christian would only be with us for 3 years and 9 months. Sam never dreamed that her husband Erik would not be here today with her. Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. But you don't have to go through it alone! Trust God. Believe on His Son Jesus Christ. Let Him be the pilot of your life and let His Word be your compass. That is REAL life, real living!

And dearest Sam, the Comforter lives in you. Let the Lord guide you and give you strength. It is spiritual warfare, a battle for your thoughts and the path that you will take after having your world turned upside down. Don't give up the fight! Put on the whole armour of God and use the shield of FAITH to resist the fiery darts of the devil! I love you, sweet friend and sister-in-Christ!!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sweet Shot: webelo

He is proud to be wearing this uniform, especially with the American flag on the sleeve.

So many sweet shots, so little time.
Sweet Shot Day

Sunday, August 22, 2010

saying his name

This week it will have been 2 years since Christian went to be with the Lord.

In this second full year of grief, one of the things that I have missed the most has been saying his name out loud.




I just miss saying it, y'all! I miss exasperatedly saying "Christian Edward!" as I would catch him outside with the waterhose again, after having changed his clothes 3 times already before lunch. Or whispering "I love you, Christian." as I would kiss his sleeping face before going to bed myself.

And I miss hearing it, too.

This past May, I attended a conference for mothers that have lost children.

(I hate to even use the word "lost" because Christian isn't lost... How can someone be lost when you know exactly where they are?)

Anyhow, at this conference for grieving moms we had a candle lighting to remember our children and speak their names out loud.

At this candle lighting, the darkened room was filled with moms lining shoulder to shoulder along the outside walls. We each took our turn to walk up to the table, light a candle, and say our child's name into the microphone.

Oh how I loved that bittersweet moment! I could say his name loud and clear and amplified!

Even if I choked up immediately after.

When all the mothers had taken their turn to say their child's name (or even children's names), we sang "This little light of mine." You know that children's song...

This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let is shine.

Some words were spoken as we stood awash in our own thoughts. The room became almost silent, punctuated with some sobs and one grief stricken woman wailing for her precious daughter that had died by suicide only a couple months before. (Oh how my heart went out to her!)

One by one, we blew out our candles.

I didn't want to blow my candle out. I was torn between practical and emotional. Practical said to blow it out, no sense keeping it lit since it's not like that little candle is Christian's life or anything. It's not like holding on to that flame would somehow be holding on to Christian himself. Emotional, on the other hand, wanted to pretend and put some sort of deeper meaning into the flame and light and believe all that craziness that Practical said wasn't true.

Practical won out and I extinguished the candle with a quick breath of air.

And the room became a little darker without the light that was born when Christian's name was spoken.

What a blessing it was to have been able to say his name out loud. And for his name to be received by the compassionate ears of mothers that understood me.

Say My Child's Name

Never are the names of our children mentioned. A curtain descends. The moment has passed. A life slips from frequent recall. There are exceptions: close and compassionate friends, sensitive and loving family. For most, the drama is over. The spotlight is off. Applause is silent. But for me the play will never end. The effects on me are timeless.

Say the name of my child to me. On the stage of my life my child has been both lead and supporting actor. Do not tiptoe around the greatest event of my life. Love does not die. My child's name is written on my life. The sound of the voice replays within my mind. You say he was my child. I say "is".

Say the name to me and say it again. It hurts to bury the memory in silence. What is in spirit stirs within me always. My child is of my past but is part of my now. My hope for the future. You say not to remind me. How little you understand I cannot forget. I would not if I could. I understand you, but feel pain in being forced to do so.

I forgive you, because you cannot know. And I would forgive you anyway. I accept how you see me, but understand that you see me not at all. I strive not to judge you, for yesterday I was like you. I love you; will make no expectations toward you. But I wish you could understand that I dwell both in flesh and in spirit.

The mystery is that you do too, but know it not. I do not ask you to walk this road. The ascent is steep and the burden heavy. I walk it not by choice. I am what I have to be. What I have lost you cannot feel. What I have gained you cannot see. And I would not have you.

Say my child's name for my child is alive in me. We will meet again, though in many ways we have never parted. Say the name to me and say it again. My child is my child and I love as I always did. Say my child's name.

-Donald Hackett

Whether a child or a spouse, the loss of someone that you love deeply cannot be measured.

For my friends and sisters-in-Christ that have suffered loss, I want to say these names out loud to you.

Mason Cole
Josh and Jennifer
Kelly Christine Fitzpatrick
Tobias Emmanuel
Anna Tabea
Caleb Simeon

Whether it has been 6 months or 16 years, I promise that the sound of their child's name will never get old to a mom and dad's ears. It will be music.

Maybe you should make music sometime soon. :)

*If I left your child's name out, sweet friend, I am so very sorry. Please send me a msg (and link if you blog) and I would be honored to say your child's name out loud too.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Home Ec: Project 1

I signed up for an online sewing course called Home Ec. It's a fun little community of people that want to learn how to sew. We have one year to finish 26 interesting and practical sewing projects at our own pace.

Here are the results from my Project 1.

Single Sided Cloth Napkins

Pretty much blah and boring, wouldn't you say? I enjoyed learning to use the zigzag stitch but my corners were pretty scary looking. Backstitching on them threw me for a loop.

The next part of the project was supposed to be Double Sided Cloth Napkins.

Wanna see the impressive progress I'm making?

Yup, that's pretty much as far as I've gotten-- washed and dried the materials. I am lame-o.

My overachieving friend made 18 of them! As for myself? I think I'm going to make ZERO. I've lost my oomph and am completely unmotivated to work on something that I know I won't use.

I did, however, make the bonus project for the week.

*ding! ding!*

Does this extra credit mean I'm forgiven for getting a big fat zero on the double sided napkins?

Isn't the front of this pin cushion pretty? (Guess I should've stuck some pins in it to keep it from looking like a pillow!) I used some scraps that I had from making my niece's baby quilt earlier this year.

And I even like the back side of it!

I first learned to sew in Home Ec when I was in the 7th grade and picked it up again 7 years ago when Austin was 4. My first back-to-sewing project was this Indian costume.

You'd be amazed at how many different ways one can sew a sleeve on the wrong way, but I think it turned out rather nicely (just don't look too closely at the crooked seams).

Since then, I've only sewn the occasional baby quilt for my nieces and nephews. {Don't ask me if my own children have one made by mommy.}

I am really excited about learning to sew more than just a straight stitch in this course! As well as having an excuse to buy pretty fabrics. *sigh* I adore fabric, especially from Fresh Squeezed Fabrics.

Do you sew? Do you wish you could sew?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sweet Shot: birthday bonanza

I suppose y'all can guess where we celebrated Austin's 11th birthday yesterday.

Yup, the land of bonus tickets, birthday bonanzas and Chuck E's Sketch Book!

We were there for 5 minutes, when the Birthday Boy hit the Tower of Power jackpot THREE times in a row!

too many tickets=cotton candy and giant lollipops=trip to the dentist?

Maybe we should've wrapped up a toothbrush and some toothpaste instead of the skate ramp and light saber?

He was slightly excited.

Oh! I have to throw in this picture of Noah. Doesn't he look like a mannequin?!


I am so easily amused.

In reality, I was just shooting his very intense concentration from the other side of this...

All in all, it was super fun for the almost smiling guys...

...and the girls!


Yo. This is part of Darcy's Sweet Shot Tuesday. Over and out.

Sweet Shot Day

Thursday, August 12, 2010

they didn't know him

I went to our Classical Conversations meeting tonight to put student notebooks together. It was my second time meeting the moms from our new Essentials class and the first time to really be able to just chat with one another.

I enjoyed talking with the other moms, one of which has 14 children! (Several homemade, several adopted and several foster.) As most conversations with mothers do, the talk turned to number of children. Actually, I was surprised that it took an hour and a half before we got to the subject.

When it got to me, I said "I have three boys. Those two right there and one that passed away almost 2 years ago."

And I said it without crying.

I even said it without choking up, hesitating or stuttering. It was a first for me!

I'm not quite sure how I feel about that either.

"I'm so sorry" was replied and then I kept talking about other things, not really wanting to be a downer and dwell on the subject.

Do you know what I realized?

These people have never met Christian. They don't know who he is or what he is like. They don't know when he was born or when he died. They don't even know his name because I didn't mention it.

Although they were feeling sorry for ME, it was *I* that was feeling sorry for them for not KNOWING him!

They truly missed out, y'all!

Then I realized something even more tragic...

How many people cross my path every single day that do not know Jesus?! My heart breaks for the loneliness and emptiness of the hearts that are empty of Him! I cannot imagine my life without Jesus.

my compassionate Savior,
and friend of the weak.
He is my Lord, my example, my hope!
Out of His mouth comes wisdom.
He is real from day to day.

Oh that my children see Him in me and through me always-- in words, actions and attitudes! That is a mighty tall order for this weak, failing woman.

Praise God that "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13)

And does it bother you that others don't know Him? What are you going to do about it?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

working through my thoughts

I'm sitting here listening to the hymn "I Surrender All". Listening to the words, I take a deep breath.

All to Jesus I surrender;
all to him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust him,
in his presence daily live.

Sometimes it is hard to surrender. I give my pain over to the Lord and then I take it back, as if holding onto the hurt that is seizing my heart will somehow make Christian more alive to me.

Each day that passes further cements our "new normal".

And my whole being fights it.

Can't I hold on to the old normal a little while longer? To my orange kitchen, a carseat in the middle row of the van, Batman pj's, red Power Ranger underwear, fwogs in the fridge, and Christian's little voice piping up with "Dwink pwease!" when he's vying with his brothers for a sip of the Icee?

I am truly pained that another school year is starting and I don't have a third student to add to my plans. We were both looking forward to Christian learning to read and graduate from Kindergarten, doing all those fun hands-on things that little guys get to do. Our current curriculum is so... grown up. I am very proud of Austin and Noah's growth this past year, but it is a little bittersweet since our old plans were never fully realized.

(I wonder how I'll feel this time next year?)

I want to hold on to the chapter of my life that is forever marked as "Before Christian..."

I can't even bring myself to finish that phrase out loud.

Before Christian what?

Before Christian died.

That sounds so harsh and ugly, doesn't it? I suppose that's because it is. Death is ugly, brought into this world as a result of sin. There is nothing pretty about it, especially when it's your own child. They are supposed to mourn the loss of us, it's not supposed to be the other way around!

And now the song on the radio is "Jesus Paid It All"... I stop crying to listen more closely to the words.

I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all."

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

He carries me when I am weak (which is often). Others might see me as strong, but it really is His strength, not mine. He brings me back once more to where my focus should be-- on Jesus' finished, redemptive work on the Cross of Calvary!

He encourages me throughout the day and lightens my burden. It is His grace alone that allows me to smile, laugh, and find joy while a piece of my heart is missing.

For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim;
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.

If I didn't have eternity to look forward to, I would be a real basketcase right now. This world is so dark and depressing, full of heartache and emptiness, even when you don't have "big" troubles. If it weren't for the loving grace of God and His constant reminders that He cares for me, I would most likely be depressed, divorced and distant from everyone I know. It would be all the more tragic to mourn the loss of our marriage or the destruction of our family on top of it all. (Thank you, Lord for keeping us together!)

Once you allow a little ugly or bitterness take root, it has a way of growing like a weed, quickly choking out all that is good in your life.

Choking is never a good thing, y'all.

And now complete in Him,
My robe, His righteousness,
Close sheltered ’neath His side,
I am divinely blest.

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow’r, and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.

When from my dying bed
My ransomed soul shall rise,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
Shall rend the vaulted skies.

And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
I’ll lay my trophies down,
All down at Jesus’ feet.

I WILL stand at Jesus' feet. I will stand where Christian has already stood before me. And the One who suffered greatly will extend His arms and nail scarred hands to embrace me.

(I'm sure Christian wouldn't be too far away either, probably standing really close by with a giant grin on his face.) :-)

I really need to quit being amazed at how God will sort my thoughts and walk me through my tears and worries. He is so good to bring me from tears to thankfulness-- all in the span of writing this post.

Okay, I'm going to stop now and go to bed thinking... about what it will be like to see Jesus with my eyes for the first time... about what things will sound like in Heaven... about Christian's big grin and excited laugh...

It will be a joy *huge understatement!* to hear the voices of my three boys laughing in Heaven together. Even better to hear David laughing with them.

And I bet Jesus would join in on their laughter too.

{I am so thankful that they have all believed on the name of Jesus and asked Him into their hearts. Do you believe?}

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sweet Shot: yellow kitchen

Goodbye, Spiced Pumpkin!

Helloooooooo, Bicycle Yellow!

And in case anyone (ahem, Bethany) was wondering if my counters were always so tidy, here is a more realistic photo of what our kitchen might look like on a regular basis.

(circa 2007-- my counters are always messy so why would I take a more recent photo of them?).

The yellow is awfully bright and cheerful, no?

Now I just have to figure out what to put over the hutch in the dining area... Got any good non-cluttery-looking ideas?

And nothing complicated because that's why the CEC pictures are still sitting in a pile. *...hanging my head in shame, y'all.*

It's Tuesday, which means I'm hanging out with Darcy again.

Sweet Shot Day

Friday, August 6, 2010

withdrawal, home ec, creepy me and a giveaway

+ I am going through Lulu withdrawal. I keep wondering what she's doing. Is she missing her Marshy-Eemo?

+I am also going through yummy-non-casserole-food withdrawal (I miss that sushi!). There aren't many cities where you can walk a matter of blocks and find cuisine from all over the world. The closest eating establishments to my house here in semi-suburbia Texas is the Church's Fried Chicken that is part of the corner gas station (adjacent to the tatoo parlor and donut palace) and Myrtle's Country Cooking (formerly Ray's BBQ, formerly some Mexican dive, formerly someone's house).

+When I grow up, I want to be like Ruthanne. I already have this bag... just like she does. She wrote a great review about it on her blog recently. It's perty. And it makes me happy.

+And now I've gone and signed up for the same Home Ec online sewing class for beginners. It's online and you have a year to complete the 26 projects at your own pace. Anyone else want to do this with us?

Copying is the highest form of flattery, Ruthie! It's NOT CREEPY. (much?)

+Have you seen my rhyming and robot skillz over at HOTM today? I have no shame.

+Speaking of HOTM, Heart of the Matter's Online Homeschool Conference begins on Monday. As in this coming Monday! As in three days from now Monday!

And I have a few tickets to give away!

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment with "ticket please" tossed in there somewhere.

I'll pick five winners sometime on Saturday and email y'all. (Why do I wait so late to do my yearly giveaway?) If you already have a ticket, you may give your winning ticket away to a friend. It's more fun with friends, right?

+The End.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Our 2010-2011 Curriculum

I just love starting a new school year!

Why is it that thinking of the possibilities of a new curriculum and plan is so much fun, but actually completing the old one is such a drag? I guess I just love mixing things up when it comes to our curriculum, much like how I get great satisfaction from tweaking and rearranging the furniture.

For the record, here is what we did last year and the year before:

For practical purposes, Austin (11yo in 12 days) will be entering the 6th grade and Noah (9yo) will be entering the 4th grade.

A: Epsilon
N: Delta

Sonlight Core 5 (4 day schedule)


A: A1
N: Beginning



Institute for Excellence in Writing (through CC Essentials above)

Critical Thinking:

Guitar lessons, weekly

Boy Scouts
LEGO Robotics
Masters Club at Church

Not Back to School Blog Hop

To see what curriculum other homeschoolers are using this year, visit Heart of the Matter's Not-Back-To-School Blog Hop. Next Monday, the NBTS Blog Hop will be all about our school rooms!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sweet Shot: suteishi

I had my first really good sushi while visiting my sister in NY.

Meet my new crave. The Crunchy East from SUteiShi.

Avocado, cucumber, spicy salmon, scallions and these super delicious crunchy toppings that bring a WOW to your mouth.

Or as my brother in law would say, it's like a flavor explosion.

Seriously yum, y'all.

This sure beats the airplane and generic California roll fare I've had around here!

Do you like sushi or does it scare you? What's a must-try for this sushi novice? Anyone know of a good place around Houston?

I'm hooking up with other Sweet Shots at Darcy's place.

Sweet Shot Day