Thankful

I am spending the week getting ready for our little one to arrive next month. It’s been emotional but, as I clean and go through spaces in our house for the first time in 2 years, I found that the smallest things, like a strand of Anna’s hair attached to a hair pretty, a small piece of paper with Mom written on it by Anna, Abigail’s favorite yellow hat, or the hundreds of bracelets she loved to wear, is like finding the greatest treasure one could possibly imagine.

Today I am grateful for the memories and that the space we created as a family is filled with them.

After dinner walk. Thanksgiving 2012

In the past 2 months I’ve slowed down, both physically and mentally, due to this little one who is growing leaps and bounds inside of me.  I can honestly say I am grateful to her for making me stop and just be. I’ve been praying a lot about her arrival and what it will do to my heart ~ I can’t even begin to explain what it feels like to be grieving the loss of your daughters while expecting another to arrive. I wish I could share those feelings but I can’t and I’m not even sure if I will ever be able to.

One thing I know for sure is that our youngest will be loved by many including two girls that I know are patiently waiting in Heaven for their little sister to make her debut here on earth.  As I prepare for her arrival I can hear their excitement whispered into my ear, Anna is over the moon that she will be sharing her room with her little sister and Abigail can’t wait for everyone to know this little girls name, the perfect name she suggested to us before she went to Heaven.

Today I am grateful for memories and for so many hugs and kisses from Heaven.

Happy Thanksgiving ❤

A Gift from Heaven

flowers 2

I stopped by to deliver a gift to my dear friend Shannon and her lovely family. They have been so supportive this past year and have continued to be present in our lives; through the love and joy and through the tears. Shannon and her family mean the world to us, I’m sure that’s why she was selected to be the messenger.

She seemed nervous at first, not really knowing how to even tell me about the gift she had for me. On the table I could see two flowers made of metallic paper and beads with stems made out of silver pipe cleaners. The flowers were presented in a beautiful yellow vase ~ I thought to myself, it looks like something my girls would make.

Shannon began by telling me she had a vivid dream of my Anna a couple of weeks back. My girl didn’t say anything (she usually doesn’t in my dreams either) but she gave Shannon two handmade flowers.

She went on and told me that when she woke up she knew that she had to do something. She searched and searched and couldn’t find the flowers, like the ones in the dream, anywhere. She laughed as she said she started away from Forest Grove ~ searching the stores she knew had artificial handmade flowers ~ nothing seemed right.

She then came back and went into our local antique shop where she found handmade flowers made from a local community member. They were perfect. She bought just two, like in her dream, and then put them in the vase for presentation. As she shared she laughed because she wasn’t sure about it all and checked with her daughter to make sure she wasn’t doing the wrong thing by giving it to me. Her daughter approved.

I was at a loss for words because I knew what was happening. Anna was giving me a Christmas gift from Heaven.

This beautiful handmade gift is not from my dear friend but rather from my Anna. Shannon’s gift to me was that she listened and was not afraid to be the messenger.  I think Anna knew that Shannon would do just that and in a loving and caring way, that is why she chose her.

Thank you so much Shannon for being Anna’s messenger and for being such an amazing friend. I love you so much!

My girls are celebrating the birth of Jesus today and they are in His presence. I can only imagine the Love and Joy they are feeling on this glorious day.

flowers

Note

Faithfully each day he would appear in a new spot around the house. Joey Francisco, our family elf,  was adored by our girls. They would run down the steps every morning looking around to see who would spot him first. Joey would even leave fun things for them to do, ways in which to help others and special treats on occasion. My all time favorite was the snowman poop (powered doughnuts) left with a note saying he was on special clean up duty the night before at the North Pole. That morning Abigail declared that she hoped he was on clean up duty every night from now on ~ white power all over her lips.

I had no idea she had written the note, it must have happened when I was making dinner. After the girls were in bed, Tom and I would discuss Joey’s new location and that’s when we found it. Anna had written Joey a note and placed it so he could look at it.

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It was so sweet and warmed my heart so much. The magic of the holidays ~ I loved creating traditions and celebrating this beautiful time of year with my family.

My heart is heavy. This morning it was hard to get out of bed ~ I’m sure the gloomy rainy weather doesn’t help. I miss them so much  ~ I miss them so much!!!!

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”   Philippians 4:4-9

Today, and everyday, I will rest in His word!

Happiness Journal

Lots to be happy about this week but with that said my heart is very heavy. I know what it is and to be honest I’m not sure exactly how to get through it except to just pray and trust God that he will provide me with exactly what I need this Sunday, Mother’s Day.

I will never ever stop being a mom, never!

My children, Emily, Ben, Abigail and Little Miss Anna, are my greatest gifts and I am so proud of each and every one of them. Being their mom is a privilege and I cherish each and every day I have with them.

This Sunday I will spend the day with my girls with no distractions. I’m still trying to figure out what that will look like but I know that God will show me the way.

1. Anna and Abigail’s Celebration last Saturday. We were so blessed by our Donate Life Northwest family and feel honored that they asked us to join them in this event to celebrate the gifts our girls gave here on earth and continue to give now that they are in Heaven. It was a great day!

Are you registered to become an organ and tissue donor? If not ask me how you can become one. Our Abigail gave sight and saved lives…we are so proud of her!

donate life

 

2. Love Rock Tour. This week I was given the opportunity to come and share Love Rocks with a lot school children, both here in our town and in neighboring towns. All of the kids, and the adults with them, were so kind, gracious and ready to spread love one rock at a time. It is so amazing to see how the love has spread throughout the country and in other countries too.

3. Long weekend spent with my mom and dad. I am so grateful to my parents for all the love and support they have ALWAYS given me. It was so good to have them here to help us celebrate our girls, see Guys and Dolls and just spend time with them. They also love to do projects around our house which is very appreciated. I can currently see in my bathroom again and our downstairs studio has a fresh coat of paint. Thank you so much mom and dad for being the best parents and grandparents. We love you so much!

nana papa funny

 

4. As I was just getting ready to pack up my Love Rock supplies and head out for a little “how-to” session at another school I pulled out this amazing picture drawn by a second grader at one of our elementary schools. When I was visiting her class yesterday she gave me this little close pin person and this beautiful drawing. This warms my heart and makes me happy.

gift drawing

 

Everyone Needs a Bunny on Easter

Linus likes to chew on things, anything really. I forgot how much puppies love to chew.

The other day he started chewing on some Easter decorations and then I remembered the bunny ears.

Have a wonderful Easter Weekend!

linus bunny2linus bunny 1

Family

I remember sitting around my grandmother’s antique table eating dinner with Miss Anna. It was just the two of us, our little family. We would say a prayer, talk about the day’s adventures and discuss what our plans were for the evening. Anna would suggest putting on “a show,” which was never really an actual show but rather lots of funny antics in preparation for “a show”. I have video that I’m sure I’ll share at a later date.

I remember sitting at the table thinking about how simple and wonderful my life was but also thinking that I knew there was something missing: A husband, siblings, grandparents that lived close are all something I longed for in Anna and my life together. That longing was brought to peace when I finally gave it over to God and asked for peace with my circumstance of being a single mom. God gave me that peace, allowing me to cherish the treasured moments that Anna and I had together, allowing me to focus on what we did have and he started to place in my heart that the perfect mate for me was not someone who I would seek but rather someone He was preparing.

Tom, when entering my life, was just that. A gift from God. He was everything I wanted in a mate and he even had an English accent. Tom did not come alone, he came with three siblings for my little Anna to love, jump on, pester and adore and three children for this Mama to love, nurture and treat as her very own.

Our courtship was short because we knew that we had finally found “the one”. We had both gone through a lot in our years leading up to finding each other and through those experiences we knew that God had always been preparing our hearts for each other. It was so obvious to us and still is.

I was very privileged to be able to spend the day-to-day with Abigail and Anna. Our two oldest, Emily and Ben, were with us on weekends, long holidays and one night a week for two years until they moved South. We now see them less frequently, which of course is hard, but it doesn’t change how I feel about them. They are my children. We are not “step” or “half” in our family we are brother, sisters, mom and dad. From the beginning we decided that our family would not be defined by being “nontraditional” but rather by being a family that loves each other dearly.

Anna and Abigail adored their siblings and as soon as they would walk in the door you would hear screams from upstairs, “EMILY and BEN are here!” Emily would promptly go hang out in Anna’s room rocking out to Taylor Swift while Abigail would want to take Ben across the street to play ball. As they all got older, their interest changed. Sometimes it was Abigail and Emily talking for hours before bedtime and Anna climbing Ben like a jungle gym. No matter what the combination they were a true siblings in every sense of the word.

This afternoon Emily will arrive and there will be no screams from upstairs to celebrate her arrival. Instead there will be giant hug from her Susan waiting, a lick (and probably a little nibble) from her new puppy and a Taylor Swift CD in Anna’s radio waiting to be played.

Our kids have experienced something that no child should have to, the loss of their siblings. I pray that their hearts know the love of God and that they feel the peace that comes from trusting him.

There is a certain calm that comes when Emily and Ben arrive to the house. It’s as though the girls are whispering in the wind, “Finally, Emily and Ben are home.”

During our first Thanksgiving dinner together I remember sitting around my grandmother’s antique table, all six of us. I remember thinking how crazy and chaotic our lives had become, there were so many moving parts. I also remember thinking how blessed we were to have found one another. We prayed, we talked about what we were thankful for and we discussed that evenings activities. The kids were going to put on “a show.” They were going to retell the Thanksgiving story with costumes, props and hopefully lighting effects. It was perfect and I remember thinking that what we had found was what Anna and I were missing: Tom, Emily, Ben and Abigail.

Anna hugging

ben

Anna’s favorite way to travel…on Benny’s back!