Monday, November 14, 2011

Brothers

When I was 9 years old my sister and I went to a birthday party at
McDonald's for a kid my mom babysat for. 
I remember standing next to her when the boy's grandma came up to her and said,
"Congratulations, I heard you're expecting."
Say what and what are you expecting?

Needless to say at home after the party my sister and I were informed that a baby would be joining our family.  This baby was expected to arrive August 26, 1985.
Hmmm, so how was this going to work?

On September 7th, my sister and I were in a waiting area in the hospital.
Then suddenly the doors flew open and a man in a medical suit says,
"It's a boy!"
Hooray, Kimberly and I had a baby brother to torture love!
His name would be James Nicholas.





 
I was 10 and Kimberly was 7.
We loved on him and helped take care of this new baby.
We became instant babysitters.
We dressed him up in girl's clothes and put make up on him.
You knew that was coming!
We got him to do and say some pretty funny stuff.
I know it's on tape somewhere.

Fast forward,
I was 18, which means James was 8.
Our Grandpa Wheeler passes away on a Sunday morning.
This was the first death of a family member for us.
He was 8.

I was 23, he was 13.
Our Grandpa Diamond passes away.  It was a tragic death.
This was our second death of a family member.
He was 13.

When I was 24 I got married to Jason, James was 14.
I was out of the house now.  A new adventure and phase in life.
Career started.
We didn't see each other often.  I was out of touch.
I didn't even know he could sing.
I'm 36 and still have never heard my brother sing!
But I did hear stories of his shenanigans from mom.
He was 14.

In high school, James lost several friends in very tragic deaths.
Experiences that forever leave in an imprint on our lives.
I often thought about how much loss he had experienced at such a young age.
After high school he loses more friends.
I remember mom telling me that James had said he was tired of singing at his friends' funerals.
Such a thing to say for a young person.
Nothing I have ever experienced in my life.

By 18, the age I was when I experienced a death close to me, he had experienced a lifetime of loss for many.

Fast forward (again) through those early twenties (more shenanigans),
He's now going to school full time preparing to go to vet school.
He's taking classes that I would die if I had to take them.
Organic Chemistry, Biology, and on.

Because of our age difference we didn't have a very close relationship.
Something I wish I could go back in time to fix.

Another tragedy...
On February 18, 2010, our family learns that my daughter, Madelynn, has passed away. 
She is delivered that night.
James is there.
He stays with us, he sees her.
He has classes on Friday.
He comes to the hospital after.
He has tests to study for, he brings his backpack to be with us in the hospital.
He's there.
That left such an impression on me.  It meant so much!



Things are on the mend (they weren't really broken), we have become closer.
We are no longer 10 years apart.
We are adult siblings.
He texts that he loves me.
He puts notes on my windshield at work.
He shares the joys in his life with me.

I'm so proud of him and the things he is doing in his life.
He hasn't let the tragedies of life alter his course.
He is determined.

I am thankful to have James as my little (6'4") brother.
I am thankful he is an uncle to my children and my niece.
I am thankful for the man he has become and the goals he has set for himself.
I am thankful for the lessons life has taught him that I know he will use to help others.





We are blessed and better for having James as a part of our lives!!


Finding the blessings,
Denise

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Time


So, I missed a few days of sharing the things I am thankful for.
On Wednesday evening I had an anxiety attack.
We took Nathaniel to his first basketball practice.
There were three teams practicing, parents talking, and just plain noise everywhere.
The anxiety had started earlier in the day while I was attending a conference 
on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (ironic).
The anxiety intensified at the practice to the point that I had to ask Jason to take me home and forgo a dinner date with him after kids were dropped off at Awanas.
Pray for us as Jason and I are both dealing with anxiety issues right now.

Thursday was a crazy day as it was like our Friday at school.
I came home after school and began a mad cleaning and organizing frenzy.
Family is coming soon to stay with us for Thanksgiving.
I feel like there is so much to do.

Friday, I continued cleaning
It was Veteran's Day.
It was a day a realized the magnitude of time wasted and words unsaid.

My phone had died and Jason and I were vegging in the family room.
Jason gets a text that my dear friend Andrea's dad has suffered a massive heart attack.
I quickly went and plugged in my phone while I debated going to the hospital.
I didn't want to be in the way.
My other dear friend Janet texts to pray urgently.
I decide to go to the hospital.
Security takes me to the room where Andrea and her family is.
I walk in, Andrea is sitting next to her dad's lifeless body.
It was a surreal moment.
I embraced her and cried with her.
Less than hour before that Charlie, a proud veteran, was having pumpkin pie with family.
Now he was in the most glorious place, his eternal home.

My heart broke for her as she cried about not sharing her feelings with her dad while he was here with her.
Guilt, an intense emotion in a tragic time.
Satan trying to take advantage of a weak moment.
God filling that room with people that loved her and Danny.
People not there that were lifting them up in prayer.

Charlie had been living with her for the last year and eight months.
One day a knock on the door, a dad there to become a presence in her life.
A time of rebuilding a father-daughter relationship.
Though words not often said, love was there.

At 9:30, I texted my dad to tell him I loved him.
I figured he would be asleep.
He texted back,  "We all need to take the time to smell the flowers!"
Wise words.  
Life gets busy and we forget to work on those relationships
To tell each other we love each other.
To spend time together.

In those moments I realized that there is nothing more important than the relationships 
we have with family and those around us.

Today, my dad called to tell me that someone named Ellen needed me to call her.
He gave me a number.
I called.
Ellen is another dear friend and a coworker.
She shared that a former coworker's son had been killed in the Middle East.
My heart breaks again.
As I imagine a mother sitting at home engulfed with sadness.
I imagine she's dwelling on the last words she shared with him.
The last moments they had together before he headed overseas.

Again, I am reminded.
Our time here is short.
Are we making the most of our lives?
Are we acting how God would want us to act?
Are we reflecting to others the love He has for us?
Are we leaving a legacy?

Tonight, I pray Andrea and lift her up.
Tonight, I pray for my coworker and lift her up.
Tonight, I pray for myself.
The changes I need to make so that I am cherishing my time here.
Working on the legacy I want to leave.

Finding the blessings,
Denise


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chicas

Tonight I'm thankful for Chicas.

The Urban dictionary defines chica as:
A name for a girl, preferably an extremely hot girl, that you find pride in just knowing her.

So I'm totally laughing now because Chicas is a name that four of us gals have given ourselves.  
I'm pretty sure we wouldn't define ourselves as extremely hot.  
Our husbands might say that :)
But I know we would say that there is a sense of pride in knowing each other.
This group of gals was brought together by a God who knew just what we need when we needed it.

It was the GateWay women's retreat.
Two gals ambushed two other girls' room.
They just planted themselves into their cabin.
Can you believe it?
I will tell you that God put them there!

We laughed a lot, we cried a lot, we opened up like never before.
I had found in those moment other ladies that felt just like I did.
That had the same issues that I had.
That got me.

We decided to cultivate these relationships.
We meet together.
We challenge each other.
We pray for each other.
We love each other.

Tonight I am thankful for the people God puts in our path.
I'm thankful that I am stepping out and developing these relationships with God Friends.
I'm thankful for Janet, Andrea, and Kristi!

Finding the blessings,
Denise

Monday, November 7, 2011

Walt Disney!

Today I am thankful for Walt Disney.

I'm thankful he had a vision to create a place for families to go experience happiness together.
I thankful for the happy times our family has when we go to Disneyland.

If you know me well you know I grumble about Jason's obsession with going to Disneyland.
I always talk about how there are other things to see. 
Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, etc.
I mean really, think about those Disneyland prices!
I wonder what Walt would think of the prices of things in his park.
But tonight, on my way home from work I was genuinely excited about our next trip.
Excited that we'll be going soon before our passes expire.
We'll get to spend time together.
We'll get to enjoy a bit of Christmas.
Thankful for a getaway to look forward to that will get me through conferences!
We went last year for Thanksgiving.
It was a neat experience for our family.
I think it just might be our new tradition ;)
This time we are going the days before Thanksgiving.
Ohhhh!  I can't wait!
(and Shhhhh!  Don't tell Jason that I really am excited about this trip!)
Enjoy some pics from our trips to Disneyland.
 Gotta live this kid!
 Our trip to Disneyland during Christmas!
 Poor Nathaniel was falling asleep walking.  Jason picked him up.  Then he had to go get the car from the hotel because the poor boy was out like a light!
 Carefree!
 The joy of childhood!
 Okay, so I really do like our trips!
 It's snowing!
 What's this stuff?


Today I am thankful for the means to be able to take our family on a getaway!

Finding the blessings,
Denise

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fellowship

I'll start off by saying that I have always had a hard time maintaining friendships. 
It's not that I'm too busy (although I'll say it is), but that I have an issue with acceptance of others.
Not of my accepting them, but rather a fear of them accepting me.
I'm always afraid that they won't like me.
(So, elementary school)
But seriously, I think more women struggle with this than would care to admit.

I don't fellowship well with others.  
At least this was the case for a really long time.
I'm working on getting better at putting myself out there.


Here's a definition off the internet of the word, fellowship:

friendly relationship; companionship:
community of interest, feeling, etc.
communion, as between members of the same church.
friendliness.

Well, that's sounds like a piece of cake.
Honestly, it's a struggle that I'm working through.  

So folks, tonight I'm thankful for fellowship and friends.

This evening our family got to spend time in fellowship celebrating our friend's birthday.
People from all aspects of this person's life coming together to celebrate her.
Conversations in every room.
Tons of kids (literally) enjoying being outside and playing together.
Little girls running away from little boys.
Their mommies sitting around a table sharing life.
New friends made.

Tonight there was laughter all around.
Bad days turned into good evenings.
The stresses of life checked in at the door.
No masks worn here, everyone being themselves.
Stories shared.

 I am thankful for friends.
Friends that check in with us and invite us to join them.
Friends that get us, get me!
Forever friends that can text each other during work 
(shhhh, don't tell, but sometimes you just have to) 
to share the stresses of life.
To know that even though time passes the connection that sparked so many years ago 
(like 26 years ago)
 is still there, we are still so much alike!
New friends, people I've known of and casually known for a while that have become God Friends.
Chicas that God has brought together that share so much in common and just long to have connections with other gals and be able to be themselves.
A circle to share their struggles, their joys, and to encourage each other.
Crafty friends, creative folks that I am learning so many things from.
A welcoming group and a place to share creative ideas and projects.

I am thankful for friends.  
I am thankful for time to fellowship with others
I am thankful for these steps I'm taking to put myself out there,
to go after these connections I long to have in my life!

Finding the blessings,
Denise

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Weekends

I love the weekends!
Sleeping in or at least not having to wake up when an alarm goes off, the four of us hanging out together, and getting things done around the house.
The third one isn't really something I look forward to.
Today it was cleaning the garage and then Janell had a dance show for their Fall video shoot.
Our evening was spent helping Jason do work down at church and a late dinner of BBQ chicken sandwiches.
Yummm!

I am thankful for the weekends because I can take my mind off of work and just be wife and mom.
These are my favorite jobs!
I am happiest on the weekends and feel the most content.
I am grateful to have a job that allows me to be home on the weekends.
In a few moments I'll put a load of laundry in (maybe),  
change into comfy clothes, and get ready to call it a night.


Don't forget to enjoy your extra hour of sleep tonight!!

Finding the Blessings,
Denise

Friday, November 4, 2011

My Kids

Okay, so time can stop flying by please!!
I cannot believe that in two weeks my not so little guy will be 7 years old!
Janell will turn 10 in December!
How can this be?

Today I am thankful for the kids that I have been blessed with to raise here on Earth.
These two kiddos bring so much joy to my life.
It is amazing to have miniature versions of Jason and me!
Each one of them has characteristics from both of us.

Janell is such a sweet and caring young lady!
She looks out for others and is always willing to help.
She's gonna make a great babysitter in a few years.
She's a pretty good dancer too!
We've got some good blackmail videos to show future boyfriends.

Nathaniel is quick witted and never leaves us bored!
That kid talks and talks and talks and talks!
He uses big words and uses them correctly.
He is very literal which means he says some pretty funny stuff! 




I am so honored to be mommy to Janell and Nathaniel!
I pray that I am doing a good job!

I'm so thankful that I get to love on these kids and teach them to be caring people!

Finding the blessings,
Denise

Thursday, November 3, 2011

He Makes Me Better

All day I had giving thanks on the brain...and a whole a lot of other stuff.
Today I am thankful for the man who make me a better person...
Jason, my husband.
Jason and I met in 1994 through a mutual friend at COS.
It was love at first sight, or something like that.
On November 4, 1994, he asked me to go out with him.
Yes, he wrote me a note that said, "Will you go out with me?  Circle yes or no!"
I circled yes!
Jason was the first true love of my life.  He was my first boyfriend.
He was a follower of Jesus.
He was, he was, he was.  The list goes on.
He really had all the qualities I was wanting in a husband.
We really did a lot of growing up together.
It wasn't always candy and rainbows.
There were rough patches. 
There were times where we sought God's will for our relationship.
I'm so thankful that it was in His will for us to be together.
In August of 1999, we became husband and wife.
We've experienced the best in life and the worst in life together.
Through those times Jason has always sought God's will for us.
I have always admired his humbleness toward his talents and abilities.
I strive to be like him in the way he builds others up and helps them to develop their talents.
I am grateful for the model he sets for seeking a God focused life.
I really could go gushing on about this man that God chose just for me.
I am sooooo incredibly blessed beyond measure to be Jason's wife!
I'm thankful today for his love!

I mean really, how could I not say yes to this:


Finding the blessings,
Denise

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Modern Medicine

Today I am thankful for modern medicine.
I am thankful that the anxiety and depression I suffer from can be treated with medicine.
I know that there are many that feel that one should be able to pray and rely on 
God to take care of anxiety and depression.
After all the Bible does say:

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
1 Peter 5:7

So many nights I pray, "Please, take this anxiety away!"  
I beg and plead and earnestly cast my cares upon Him who is strong enough to carry them.
And in my heart I know that He is taking care of me and carrying me through.
However, my mind and body do not agree with what my heart knows.
You can read one of my posts from earlier in the year where 
I share about coming to the realization that I needed some medical intervention.
Well, it's a stressful season for me.  
All you teachers reading this will know, it's report card time.
On the surface I don't feel anxious about it.  
I know what I have to do.
But deep down my mind is reeling with the list of things that have to get done.
Papers graded, reports ran, grades given, comments made, conferences scheduled.
And that's just my day job.
I try not to bring work home so that I'm available to my husband and children.
Then it's mounds of laundry, sinks full of dishes, homework to finish, Oh my!

This week I have found those anxiety symptoms creeping back in.
They hit in the evening.
My chest starts to feel tight.
The top of my back hurts.
My brain won't shut off.

I tell myself:


"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
1 Peter 5:7


I do, I cast my cares upon Him.

Tonight, I am thankful that I am a child of a God big enough to take this burden.
I am also thankful that he instilled wisdom and knowledge in people to make discoveries in the field of medicine that can help people who suffer with anxiety and depression that go beyond just a feeling and manifests in physical forms.
I'm thankful that I don't have to suffer in silence and that I can be honest with how anxiety affects me.

Thankful that I can find the blessings in my life,
Like these two that bring me joy,




Denise

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day One of Thanksgiving

So Thanksgiving is this month and I have seen many Facebook updates about giving thanks daily.  
I've shared about the chalkboard I made with the verse found in 1 Thessalonians 5:18.  
In all circumstances give thanks...  
Today I am thankful for God.  
I know that this sounds so cliche. 
 Like those singers and actors who thank God when accepting their trophies and yet you rarely ever hear them mention his name at other times. 
I think it's important to start this season of Thanksgiving by thanking Him who has given me life.
I'm thankful for a God who is there is the darkest of times.
In those times where I just want to cry out and ask, "Why?"
A God who says, "Ask, Cry, I've got you." 
When everything seems so crazy I can just ask, "God, be here."
He is and always was.
He's there holding me and rocking me.
Today, I am thankful that I have a Savior who loves me!

Finding the Blessings,
Denise

 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Made by Me Monday!

So I thought I would start sharing what I've been doing with this creative surge.
First off I should share that I have become a wee bit obsessed with thrifting and bargain shopping.
I can't even tell you the excitement that comes from hunting down the red stickers in Target.
So much excitement that I should probably see someone about it or I might just thrift myself into debt!  
(insert extreme exaggeration here)

Anyhow,  I love going to the Salvation Army and Rescued Treasures.
Not too long ago I hit Rescued Treasures on just the right day.
All frames and furniture were 50% off!
I scored that day.  
I came home with two nice size oval mirrors with decorated wood frames for only $10 each.
They are sitting in my living room waiting for their rebirth.
That day I also picked up one of those wood things that have a painting on it.
I had remembered this cool project from Jaime Baeza's blog:
(Jamie, if you're reading this, I love reading your blog and gleaning ideas. You might call me a stalker... )
Really folks, she is so creative and I just love her stuff!

Anyhow, I didn't take a before pic of my bald eagle flying.  
But that bird gave it's life to become the perfect chalkboard for my porch.

Here's what I made:



The verse is special to our family.
It was the license plate on Grandma and Grandpa Diamond's little maroon Honda.
I Th 5:18
I'm pretty sure it was the one verse all us grandkids knew by heart, besides John 3:16.

It's such a fitting verse for this season of thanksgiving.

"Thank God no matter what happens.  
This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live."

and leading into that verse:
"Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time;"

Hmmmm, sometimes not so easy to be cheerful or thankful all the time.  
I need to remind myself to have this attitude!

And now I have that reminder every time I walk in my front porch!

Hoping you have a cheerful Tuesday!

Finding the Blessings,
Denise


Sunday, October 23, 2011

We had Church Today!

Such a special treat to have Jason's mom, Sharon, join him in leading worship today.  
They played some of those great gospel hymns.
I'll post a video later.  
It was awesome!!

Here's a little something for you this evening:


Hope you had a blessed day!

Denise

Saturday, October 22, 2011

So I fibbed a little...or a lot!

I think I ended one of my last posts with something about not waiting so long to post.  
Well, um. yeah, that didn't go so well now did it!  
Does four to five months constitute a long time?  
This summer I embarked on a journey of discovering my passions.  
That kinda of sounds weird!  
I have found that I have a new perspective on life and for my life.  
God continues to guide me through coping with the loss of a baby, and 
He has taught me so much.  
Through this journey I have uncovered a new desire to create and be creative.  
I read things and see things on blogs that other ladies are creating.  
I twist them and tweak them to create something new. 
 I have landed on creating things making rosettes and turning them into jewelry and other things.  I just realized today that they are called ROSEttes. 
See previous post about roses to see how God is working in my life!

Here's a sample of what I'm doing:



I spend my time brainstorming what I can make and how I can start to sell them.  
I received many compliments on the necklaces and people are surprised I made them.  
I'm starting to look at ways are can sell them to supplement my income as I have begun to pray about other opportunities that will allow me to be more available to my husband and kids.
Oh, and reduce the stress level in my life.  

Today I embellished four bags, made one necklace, and two hairclips.  
I started setting up a facebook to get my stuff out there.  
I'll ask you to like it when it's ready :)  
I need to take some good pics of my stuff first.  
My little adventure is going to be called, "Finding the Blessings."  
It's all because of Madelynn that all this has come about.   
I do this in honor of her!  


So, I would say that I promise to post often now, but I don't want to set myself up for failure!

I invite you to join along with me on this journey and 
see what blessings are waiting to be showered upon us!

Until later and with many blessings,
Denise

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

C is for Cookie! The Chocolate Chip Kind!

I've been making chocolate chips cookies for many years.  Who hasn't made them? 
 Every time I take them somewhere I get complimented on their yumminess and asked how I make them.  Well, here's a picture collage of how I make them:


Are you drooling?  
Oh believe me, there was some sampling going on as in I had to check the cookie dough!  
One cookie "accidently" broke, so that one had to be put out of it's misery!

Here's the real quick on how I make my cookies:

Ingredients:
  • Real Butter- softened, I use the microwave when I'm in a hurry.  But don't melt the butter.  
    • (Thank you COS speech class and the girl who shared that tip in her speech.)  
  • Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Eggs
  • Unbleached flour- not sure if that makes a difference, but it could be the secret ;)
  • Salt
  • Baking Soda
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips
Recipe:
  • Honestly, it's the one from the Nestle Tollhouse bag!
  • I follow it!
What I do:
  • Not sure they're really secrets.
    • Soften the butter
    • Mix sugars, butter, vanilla
    • Add eggs one at a time, mix in between each egg!
    • In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking soda, and salt (I use half a teaspoon of salt)
    • Add a little at a time to the sugar mixture and mix well before each addition
    • Mix in chocolate chips
    • Start a baking the goodness.  I took a pic of the pan I use.  Some might say the pan is the secret!
    • Bake about 10 minutes.  Remove from pan.  Eat Store for your taste buds' enjoyment!


I hope you get to make some chocolate chip cookies soon!  
Tomorrow my friends at work will get a yummy dessert after lunch!


Finding the Blessings,
Denise

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Buried

It's that time of year where I feel absolutely 
buried in busyness, things that have to get done!  

Much like this:



I worry over how it will all get done.
 I put it off ,
I'm too overwhelmed to figure out where to start. 
I wish that someone could come along and pull me out:


Or better yet, 
come along aside me, 
take my hand, 
talk me through it, and 
walk with me:


Then I am reminded, 
there is someone who does take my hand and walks alongside me!

"Don't panic. I'm with you.
   There's no need to fear for I'm your God.
I'll give you strength. I'll help you.
   I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you."
Isaiah 41:10, The Message

I hope that the busyness of life doesn't overwhelm you, but that the love of God strengthens you today!

Finding the Blessings,
Denise

Monday, May 9, 2011

I'm Totally Obsessed...

Oh my how the time flies!!  Yikes, it's been almost three months since I posted on here.  I'm always thinking about what I want to post but haven't exactly prioritized my time to do so.

So, here I sit with a little time on my hands.  Dinner was cooked, devoured, and cleaned up and now I feel like I should post something.  I guess I will warp speed through the happenings of the last few months:

  • I've been working on (praying) about making a move into school administration.  God hasn't opened the doors yet (in fact several have slammed shut) and I'm wandering if my future is even in public education. ( Being a part time working mom has also been on my heart.)  You'll see below about my many obsessions that I would like to explore.  Working kind of gets in the way ;)  Until that time, I've been praying about where God would have me so that I am my best and using the gifts he's given me as I serve Him.  Until then I will be teaching the fourth graders and Crestwood again next year.
  • A new passion.  Many already know this but one of my lingering regrets with the passing of Madelynn is that I don't have pictures with her or of her.  No family pictures, etc.  Well, that lack of photographs has manifested in an obsession of photography.  In November I bought a really nice Canon camera and have been learning how to use it.  I love, love, love taking pictures.  I also love editing them, thank you picnik.com for your many fun features.  I done some fun "Photo Shoots" to practice my skills.  Here's a few samples of my "work":

  • I also have an obsession with lurking on the blogosphere.  Did you know there is this whole world of creative people out there posting about their crafting adventures?  Well, there is!!   I lurk around these blogs and bookmark the projects that I'm convinced I will be undertaking.  I am somewhat of a stalker.  I haven't gotten to the point where I post comments.  I'm thinking I probably should.  I find that I'll start on one gal's blog and then lurk through 10 more and an hour later I'm convinced that I can repaint the entire inside of my house and make all the decorations to go with it!  And the best part, many of these ladies are Christian and their blogs show their love of the Lord!  I've already been inspired to go hunting for that one thing I'm going to bring back to life!  Janell and I went treasure hunting for the first time this weekend.  Oh the possibilities!  Hmm!
  • What is your current obsession?  What is is that you really want to do but feel like you don't have the time?  I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who wants to be doing something else.  Would you share with me what you want to do?  I may get an idea for something I would want to do too!!
Until later (and I promise not three months later)...

Finding the Blessings,

Denise

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The First Year

Yesterday we remembered our little girl, Madelynn Lorene.


She was born into Jesus' arms on February 18, 2010.
This was our first "anniversary" of her passing.

I have to say that Thursday was a harder day for me.  Lots of tears.  
It was a Thursday that she was born so my mind was flooded with memories of that day.  
I spent time looking for something special for her birthdate.  
Then spent some time driving in the foothills and taking pictures.  
I was reminded of God's awesome creation.

Part of me was dreading the 18th and what emotions would fill that day.

Jason and I talked about how we would honor Madelynn on her "birthdate."  
I've decided to call it her birthdate because it's just easier for me to say.  
February 18th will forever be the day we remember and honor our Madelynn.

I'd love to share with you how we honored Madelynn on her day.


I bought a flameless candle with an "M" on it.  This candle was lit all day yesterday on our shelf that holds all our physical memories of Madelynn.  It was so peaceful to look at it and see it flicker.  We left it on all day.  We decided this candle would stay on every year on her birthdate.  I have to say it really had an affect on me.  I was bothered when I turned it off last night.  So, I turned it back on today.  Janell said to me, "Mommy, did you see that Madelynn's candle is on today."  I told her I turned it on.  It made me feel good.  I think I'll be buying some stock in AAA batteries.

Both kids went to school yesterday.  Janell had a trip to see Cinderella and Nathaniel was concerned about not getting his perfect attendance pencil for February.  He was so cute though because he said it was alright if he missed school, he could just get the March pencil.  I picked up both kids at 12:00 from school.  We went to lunch, their choice.  After we ate we went and bought balloons.

We quietly drove to the cemetery.  
I would like to share with you in pictures what we did at the cemetery.








It was a very special time for our family.  After releasing the balloons we just had a time of being together at the cemetery.  We enjoyed the special rose that Uncle James brought to her.


Nathaniel is our sensitive one.  He was bothered that he didn't have anything to leave for Madelynn.  He kept asking why we didn't just lift up the stone and get her out.  He has such a sweet spirit.  I told him I had some paper in my purse and that he could write her a note.  Both kids decided to write a note to leave for her.


"For joy and love.  I miss you."  Nathaniel


"I love you and God too."  Janell




Our time in the cemetery with Madelynn was a very special time for our family.  I found myself not wanting to leave.  In that moment there was such a beautiful peace about us.  We have been blessed immeasurably and are thankful to a God who has seen us through the storm.

Our day ended with  all our family together.

Mommy, Daddy, Janell, and Nathaniel
Nana, Papa, Auntie Lisa, Jessica, Justine, and Alexis
Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle James, Auntie Kim, Kate, and Grandma Marge in spirit (she was home sick)

We enjoyed a pizza dinner at Me-n-Ed's and brownie sundaes back at our house.  Jason and I both agreed that it was so nice to be with our family on such a special day.  We are so thankful for all they have done for us during this time.  We also remember that they all suffered a loss as well.

We are so thankful for the prayers that have sustained us this past year.  We know that our lives have a new normal now as we are constantly reminded of the "should be's."  

But we also know what God's word tell us in Romans 8:38-39:

 "I'm absolutely convinced that nothing - nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, 
today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable - 
absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love 
because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us."

One day we'll see Madelynn again.  And until then we continue to seek God's will for our lives and use our experience to reach out and help others.

Thank you for taking the time to be a part of our lives.  
I look forward to sharing life with you!!