LOVE

So much LOVE.

It’s amazing what this four letter word can do to ones heart. Thank you for responding to Love Rocks and choosing to love fiercely those around you. I can’t wait to see how the love of two little girls and our amazing community ripples across the country.

Thank you to all of those who sent us cards, put flowers in our front yard, made homemade eclairs, made a cake or said prayers for us this past weekend. We are so blessed and feel so loved by so many. We have found that in having no expectations for what each holiday will bring, we are always amazed at the peace and love we feel as we move through our year of first. We know, without a doubt, that our girls were celebrating Easter and Tom’s birthday in the most glorious place of all. We smile at the thought of the perfect milkshakes they were drinking to honor their dad/Tom as we were eating store bought ice cream.

These next couple of weeks are going to be very busy for both of us. Right now we are in tech week for Guys and Dolls which opens this coming weekend. Once again we have spent the last 2 months with a group of amazing people laughing, creating and celebrating community theater. We feel so blessed to be a part of Theater in the Grove and have truly found that it is a place we not only feel the presence of our girls, but also are surrounded by people we truly love and love us.

We are also very excited to be hosting an event on May 3rd, alongside Donate Life Northwest, to celebrate the gifts that our girls have given during their lives. We feel very blessed to be part of the Donate Life family and are honored to share Abigail’s donation story. We are so proud of the fact that she has impacted so many lives through her donation. Anna has also given an amazing amount of gifts to those around her during her short life on earth and continues to do so now that she is in Heaven. I am looking forward to sharing with our community all of those gifts and to celebrate and bring awareness to organ donation. If you would like to attend you can register at http://www.donatelifenw.org/content/events.

Needless to say our plates are very full right now. Sometimes being busy is a blessing and sometimes it’s not. I have found that I have become quite the introvert  and I find that a good day for me is one in which I can lock myself in my house and spend hours on iPhoto or in heaps of fabric in front of my sewing machine. My life is busy right now honoring my girls and celebrating their lives; this brings me joy.

I have found that even through this joy, moment by moment there are a variety of emotions. My heart hurts in places I didn’t know could hurt and it has also felt joy in ways I could never imagine, especially given our circumstances. My heart will never be whole again here on earth, pieces of it now reside in Heaven with my girls. I do however feel that with suffering emotional pain one can truly feel the joy in new and different ways they never thought they could. My girls have always brought me joy…now that joy is supernatural and a gift from God!

I love and miss them so much.

 

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Love Rocks

One thing that I have found more than anything else these past six months is that my girls knew how to really love in their very short life here on earth. People have shared with us story after story of how my girls have impacted their lives. I think they will continue to do so even now that they are in Heaven. I feel so blessed that I got to feel that love daily.

I am so blessed to be Anna’s and Abigail’s mom.

When Tom and I got married the girls and Tom’s mom made heart rocks for people to write a little message on at our wedding.

grannie and pops rocks

Those rocks are found all over our house and remind us of all the love we had and continue to have surrounding us. When we came back to our house after the girls went to Heaven, those rocks had a whole new meaning – - so simple yet so powerful. We also had everyone take a Love Rock home with them to remember our special weekend. It’s nice to see these rocks when I visit their homes.

love rock 1

For Valentine’s Day this year I made Love Rocks for all the students in both Anna’s and Abigail’s classes. It made me smile to see the kids hold them tight in their hands as if they were holding Anna’s or Abigail’s hand tightly. Those smiles gave me an idea.

Wouldn’t it be fun to leave Love Rocks all over for others to find? People know how Tom and I are hurting, but for most people their struggles and hurts are hidden. You never know exactly what people are dealing with on any given day. Giving and receiving love is very therapeutic and definitely good for the soul.

To get involved, find or make a Love Rock and spread the joy. Give the rock to someone while doing an act of kindness for them, place the rock somewhere special for someone else to find or simply give the rock to someone and just let them know they are loved. You can write a little message on the back or just leave the heart to say it all.

I keep a bag of Love Rocks in my purse, in my car and I have a few in my jacket pocket. I have found so much pleasure in leaving these rocks in places people will find them. We took some to Seattle with us, I’ve left some on a long hike we did a couple of weekends ago and while getting my car fixed, I just left one on the counter at the dealership.

I smile at the thought of those who find them. What will they think? Will they feel the love? I sure hope so.

So, if you feel moved to join me in spreading love, get out your Mod Podge and go to the dollar store and buy a big bag of rocks and some fabric. Here is a little DIY for those who need it.

 

1. Cut hearts 2. Mod Podge top of rock 3. Place heart on wet Mod Podge and then apply another layer on top of the heart. Let dry and spread love!

1. Cut hearts 2. Mod Podge top of rock 3. Place heart on wet Mod Podge and then apply another layer on top of the heart. Let dry and spread love!

rockslove rocks mckenna

After giving or receiving a Love Rock, log onto http://www.facebook.com/lovedrenched and share your story or pictures of your creative placements. Leaving a rock at the dealership was a bit tricky — I felt like a spy when I was doing it which made me think of the many times Anna and her friends would try desperately to sneak downstairs and spy on me while I was making dinner. I smile at that thought.

Anna and Abigail would be all over this. They would have hundreds of rocks made and would be leaving them all over the place. I smile to think that their love shines ever so bright.

Once again, I’m proud to be their Mom!

mama and girls

 

If you just don’t have the time to make your own Love Rocks visit Anna and Abigail’s tree. There is a basket of rocks already made just for you. Please take a few and spread the love. I promise it will come back ten fold.

LOVE ROCKS!

 

 

 

April 20th

A couple of weeks ago it dawned on me that Tom’s birthday and Easter were on the same day this year. Then I took a deep breath as I realized that April 20th is also the 6th month anniversary of our girls being in Heaven. When I shared this with Tom his face got so sad. Neither of us could imagine a day without our girls let alone 6 months.

As we sat there discussing what our Easter/Tom’s birthday weekend would look like, Emily and Ben here for the weekend, Threads of Life Quilt Ceremony, church, play practice and possibly a hike somewhere fun,  I had an overwhelming thought. We get to decide how we respond to these dates on the calendar. Six months, a year, three years – these time markers will all come and we will get through them by the Grace of God. Today we are six months closer to seeing our girls again in Heaven.

Today we will celebrate Jesus. Today we will celebrate Tom. Today we will thank God for his Grace and for taking care of our girls until we are with them again. We are six months closer to that day and for that I am grateful.

I couldn’t ask for a better husband and father to our children. I am so blessed!

Happy Birthday Tom, I love you to Heaven and back.tom 1

tom anna 2 Tom and Abs 1 tom and ben 1emily tom

I think it’s inevitable not to acknowledge the fact that my dad’s a warrior. In the past six months, he’s been weighed down by more emotional stress than most people deal with in their entire lives amassed. Granted, I haven’t always made it easy. I push him for more time with Amity, a trip downtown, a latte from Starbucks. Every time, he handles it as he always has; imploring me to stay home so he can spend time with his family.

My dad’s a family man. He’s always been that way and always will be that way. Therefore, losing the core of our family, Abigail and Anna, was the worst possible form of torment for him. Generally, when you see my dad at the grocery store or at the theatre, he asks you how your day was and displays a genial mood. This is at the core of what makes him warrior strong. He is able to acknowledge the gaping hole left in his life and the pain that fills it at times while still being a warm, genuine human being. He hasn’t stopped being a dad either. He calls me nearly everyday on his way home from work, greets Ben and I at the airport by jumping out behind a pillar, and makes an array of delicious meals as our short order cook.

Dad, I wish you the best birthday that you are currently able of having. Allow some joy to trickle into your life, whether it’s through Linus or theater or whatever God has planned for you. I miss you terribly when I’m down South. I think most often of the days when we would turn up Muse on your stereo and jump from couch to couch in the fancy living room. I hope that we continue to create some good memories and try to pick up the shards of our lives and figure out how they fit together differently now. You have the strength of a warrior and the heart of a saint. I look up to you for guidance on this confusing road we are currently traveling. I love you too much to adequately put to paper, but I hope this is a good start.

All my love and then some,
Your Emily

It is Finished

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These words are so sweet and so true. The Grace we are given through Christ is such a blessing. I feel that Grace every single day and I know that one day I too will be in eternity with Jesus and with my girls. I am looking forward to the hug!

I can’t help but think of Mary today. How proud she was of her son but at the same time not wanting him to leave her. My heart hurts thinking about the pain she felt, I know that pain.

I also know the peace that Jesus brings in the depths of our suffering. I know first hand that he provides us with a shield that protects us from this world and gives us, if we let him, peace knowing that their is more than just this life on earth.

Mary’s son saved us, all of us and all we need to do is believe and allow him to love us.

I can’t help but think that maybe, just maybe, my girls are in the arms of Mary today ~ just like I’m in the arms of Jesus every day.