Sunday, February 27

::Fear & A Leap of Faith::

So after a 3-month absence (excluding Christmas eve) we finally went back to church this morning. We did the early service and walked in late (I wish I could say that we only do that now after Olivia to avoid the onslaught of well meaning people who want to know how we are doing, but we are perpetually late-Cannon will definitely tell you it is because of me, but he doesn't know how long it takes to dry hair as thick as mine!) But I digress.

We went to church, which was a big step forward. And Randy's message was exactly what we needed to hear (thanks, God!). He talked about our fear and how God handles it and uses it to grow our faith. He used three words to describe fear: dark, distant, disturbed. Need I say more? I don't think there are three other words that could describe better how we have been feeling since Olivia went to live with Jesus. He went on to say that fear leads to despair. I am not one to shout in church, but I almost let out an "amen!" Despair is a feeling I've been dealing with throughout the day on and off since November 6th. So as you can imagine, I was ready to hear from Randy how our Savior deals with our fear. He said, "He prays for us, comes to us in our darkest moments, He awakens a desire within us, He invites us to step into our fears and He knows that failure is a part of the process." The one way that struck me the most was that He invites us to step into our fears. Randy used the example in John 6:16-21 of the disciples battling the storm in their boat for hours until Jesus walks to them on water and pointed out that Jesus KNEW that the storm was coming and He told them to get in the boat anyway. He uses storms in our lives to teach us and grow our faith. But I can't believe that our loving God causes them to happen. And that is where I find His peace in the midst of this dark and despairing time.

Randy went on to point out that Jesus cried out to God three times at Gethsemane asking Him to "take this cup away from me" (the msg) but God was not willing to take away the suffering Jesus would have to endure on the cross, but He WAS willing to take away Jesus' fear because when Jesus stood from his third prayer He was resolute to fulfill God's master plan. You see, having to live through this life without Olivia is torture and I am fearful of so many things, but I know that He is perfecting a new work in me and building my endurance, perseverance and character. Would I give it all back to hold my baby girl for just one more minute? You bet I would. But until I can hold her in heaven, I am going to be praying that God continue to turn my fear into faith.

As you can imagine, going from being the mom of two kids to the mom of only one still on earth has completely changed the amount of free time on my hands. With a 9 month old and a 3 year old, a part-time job, and household duties, I was busy 24/7 before Olivia passed. One of the hardest things to get used to has been the amount of time on my hands. This extra time doesn't feel right. And I feel guilty at times remembering how I used to wish for just a moment to myself. Now I have those moments and I don't want them. It leaves me too much time for sorrow and despair. Too much time to go over the what-ifs and should've, could've, would've list that constantly runs through my mind.
So, during our trip to the beach in January I was telling Cannon that I wanted to work again in some capacity that would still allow me to be there for Parrish and would allow for the possibility of another baby but would keep me busy and fulfilled in the meantime. The problem was that admittedly, everything I am interested in-decorating, fashion, etc-seems so superficial now. I wanted to do something that made me happy and kept me interested, but also something that I felt was giving back and furthering God's kingdom in some way. So we came up with the idea of me opening an antiques & interiors booth. I investigated opening it at a few different places but was intimidated to open one at Hanna downtown. It's one of the best antique stores in town and has been around forever. I am a novice and knew I would be doing a lot of learning through trial and error in this endeavor and I didn't want to be a fish out of water. But I decided I go in just to have a look around to get ideas and when I walked in there was a giant florescent sign that said, "Dealer Space Available." I have been to Hanna lots of times and never seen a sign saying that space was available. So I took a leap of faith and obeyed what I thought God was telling me to do by opening Olivia Charles Antiques & Interiors in a booth at Hanna. I am going to donate 100% of the profit from the sales of items that others have given me to sell and at least 20% profit from items I've purchased to sell. Thankfully, Cannon's mom CC has a background in antiques and is such a help hunting, restoring and pricing.

Parrish has been a great little helper at the booth. He takes pictures and sits in the little rocking chair and eats his lunch while commenting on what I'm doing.
Can you tell I love green? I love collecting all of the Jadite dinnerware and those old, large blue bell jars perfect for everything from displaying beach treasures to storing cotton balls and bath salts.

If you're downtown please stop by and shop. I have been so excited about the amount of sales and am enjoying "the hunt" for treasures to sell. I've found a man who uses antique lumber to restore old furniture and make benches (they're perfect for mud rooms and lake/beach cabins) and he makes beautiful frames as well. I am thrilled to be selling his stuff. The frames are beautiful-each one unique-and they are not nearly as pricey as similar frames I've seen in boutiques. I have one 10x10 frame already in my booth and am working with Karin Fecteau, a friend, artist and former co-worker from Southern Living, to get some of her prints to sell with the frames. She can do oil and water color paintings of anything-wedding flowers, your family silver or china, your kids, pets, etc and I am so excited to carry her original art. Check out this painting of her grandmother's silver, it's amazing and I'm hoping to have it in the booth soon (if I can ever find a 3x4' old frame to put it in-anyone have any ideas?):

Check out her other work at her blog-my favorite lately is the peacock-I told her I am going to own one of those one day and am dying to get her to paint Parrish and Olivia. She has been working on a logo for the booth as well, it's a work in progress, but here are the options so far:

So far my favorite is #1 on the second row. Votes??

My verse for the day:
My grace is sufficient. My power is made perfect in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Tuesday, February 22

:: Gold For A Good Cause ::

My mother-in-law CC is heading up a gold project to raise seed money for Olivia's Memorial Fund. Please consider donating any of your items. If you don't want to mail them, you can drop them by my house or I can come and pick them up from you if that's most convenient. Just let me know. So far this effort alone has raised almost $6,000.00 and that's with only 13 people's donations! I can only imagine how large this number could get if each person reading this sent just one broken item, etc. Don't worry if you're not sure if it's real or not-send anything you think might be-the man CC is working with can test it to be sure. We had a watch that didn't look real and turns out, he took it apart and the bezel was solid gold even though the rest of the watch wasn't real, so you never know! Below is a letter from CC with more information:

Do you have one golden or silver earring that lost its mate?
Do you have a broken gold or silver chain?
Do you have anything languishing in the bottom of your jewelry box that you never liked and never wear?
Do you have any sterling flatware that went in the garbage disposal and you do not know what to do with it?
Do you have old costume jewelry or watches?
If so, we can convert it to raise seed money for the Olivia Charles Prickett Foundation.

Here is a quote from one friend who has sent us things..."The sadness behind this effort is not forgotten, but mitigated just a little by the satisfaction of finding worthwhile purpose for this discarded jewelry..."

Another quote..."I am so happy to be able to share a few pieces of "precious" gold that would mean so much more to me to give than to keep."

Many people have been touched by Olivia's death. The establishing of Olivia Foundation has been healing to our family. This fund will provide scholarships for Moms to have a Mother's Day Out, send kids to camp, and provide help for burial expenses to young families without resources.
Double Oak Community Church in Mt. Laurel has set up the foundation with the proper legal system in place. That is such a gift and help to us, because we do not have to be burdened with administration.

We have a trustworthy contact to convert our treasure for a good cause. Did you know that there is a Biblical precedent for asking for gold? When the Israelites left Egypt God instructed them to ask their neighbors for resources for the journey and they left with much treasure.
Exodus 12:35

I would love for you to ask other friends whom may have heard about Olivia if they might also like to send one piece...the ripple effect. Please feel free to forward this to others.

If you are going to participate would you do it SOON?

Please put your gift in a small padded envelope and send it to me.
When it is all done, I will send you a thank you report by email to let you know how we did.

Please ask friends to include an email address or other contact information so that we can properly thank them for taking part.

Please send it to:
CC Prickett
59 Hawthorn St
Birmingham, AL 35242

Thank you so love,
CC Prickett, Olivia's Grand Mother
Exodus 25:1 From everyone whose heart is stirred....let us raise a contribution.

Many of you have already done so much...and we appreciate your love and the support you have already expressed...I just wanted you to know about this project.

Also, I forgot to report on here that we raised $1,000.00 dollars for Olivia's fund with the CoCo McCain bath and spa product sales! Thank you to all who participated. We are thinking about doing it again in the future, so I will keep you posted!

We've been in Florida visiting Cannon's parents and going to Renninger's Antique Extravaganza since Thursday. We flew down and drove a huge covered trailer back with treasures yesterday-11 hours, so we are beat! I got some great stuff though and I'll reveal what I'm going to do with it all in a post soon.

A prayer request:
Many of you have been faithfully praying for Parrish and his foot surgery. We have scheduled the surgery for Monday, March 28th, so please keep us in your prayers as we prepare Parrish for this (it's been suggested that we not tell him until a few weeks before because he won't really understand and it would be cruel to make him have to worry for over a month). As I've said on here before, I am most worried about him having to be put under so many times. I have been fervently praying that God would ease my mind about this and give me the trust that everything will be alright. Well, God answered that prayer. Our friends have a little boy in Kindergarten that had the exact same surgery at Parrish's age and went to the same mother's day out (what are the chances?!) This is an answer to prayer not only because my friend can give me tips and tools, but because her husband is an anesthesiologist and has offered to speak with those other anesthesiologists scheduled to work the day of the surgery and select who he feels will be the best fit for Parrish. I can't tell you what a load off my shoulders this has been. We are so thankful.

While we were at Renninger's I bought a super-cheap antique day bed to put Parrish on in our room while he recovers. I told him it was his "new bed" and he was so excited. I've even agreed to batman sheets, etc, and we plan to introduce the new bed and get him used to it a few weeks before the surgery. I am hoping he will love his new superhero bed enough to sleep in it so we won't have to worry about bumping the pins that will be protruding from his cast after the operation while we sleep-3 in a queen bed is already pretty tight without a cast to worry about! Please keep this in your prayers as well. Thank you praying friends!

Sunday, February 13

:: Vail & Valentine's ::

I feel like we have been on a whirlwind tour of the United States the last few weeks. We spent 5 days in Vail with our best friends The Browns snow skiing, sledding and meeting with Pastor Tracy-a minister that we were put in touch with through my friend Mackenzie. She lives in Breckenridge, CO now and shortly after hearing about our loss of Olivia she and her husband Shawn made an appointment to go and speak with their minister. She told me that she really didn't know why it had affected them both deeply enough to want to talk to Tracy about it (we had not seen each other in years, but grew up together in Tallahassee), but the Holy Spirit was moving them to do so because you won't believe what happened. When they met with Pastor Tracy that night and told her of our situation, she said, "I know exactly what they are going through. My husband and I lost our baby girl Madeline at 9 months to SIDS as well." When Mackenzie sent me a letter telling me of this with copies of sermon notes that had helped Tracy and her husband to heal, along with their weekly church bulletin asking the congregation to pray for us, my jaw nearly hit the ground. Cannon and I both knew that we HAD to meet this pastor who had lived our exact situation and was still around to talk about it and dare I say, was even happy now?! It took 3 months, but thanks to my sweet grandfather's Delta miles and Nancy's dad's Marriott points, we got the opportunity to sit in Tracy's office and hear her advice and wisdom. She was extremely real-no beating around the bush-and gave us such hope for the future with how they had felt during a future pregnancy and that first year with baby Nathan after loosing Madeline. It was wonderful to hear that having another baby had been the one thing that had helped them to heal and encouraging to hear that she had a lot of anxiety during pregnancy, but after he was here the first year was not horrible at all with worry that it could happen again. She learned to trust God and rest in his peace and mercy, knowing that whatever happened He could use to work together for good, no matter how difficult the circumstances. She was also the SIDS representative for Colorado and worked for years training first responders how to treat families living the nightmare that we did that morning.

As a bonus to our meeting with Tracy, we got to hang out with Mackenzie, Elsie Ann and Shawn and go sledding and to lunch. We felt like regular locals at the sledding hill-we never would have found that fun activity without Mackenzie's suggestion-thanks, girl-for that and putting us in touch with Tracy. I know that God orchestrated the whole thing and I thank you for being obedient to His urgings.
Nancy and I bundled up at the sledding hill. It was about 1 degree that day and not much warmer the rest of the week. We skied in face was that cold!
Cannon wore flat soled hunting boots to go sledding. Needless to say, this was not the only time he slipped on the snow and ended up flat on his back. It got pretty comical after the first few times. Ever the frugal one, he saw no point in buying any snow-appropriate boots. He said he'd rather slip n' slide all over town. Hey-at least it provided all of us some entertainment!
"Uncle" Karl found a floaty turned sled at the top of the hill and took Parrish on a whirl before Mack got there with true sleds and saved us from ourselves. Cannon and Karl get pleasure out of using random objects in the snow. One year it snowed in Birmingham and they got the bright idea to hook a ski rope to our golf cart, sit in our blue plastic baby pool with the kids and pull each other up and down our street. I am pretty sure my neighbors were wondering what kind of rednecks lived next door to them. They did it so much that the friction actually created a hole in the bottom of the baby pool (and their pants!)
A family shot after sledding. Karl got the bright idea to peg me with an enormous snowball IN THE FACE right before this picture was taken. Sad to say, I never got around to getting him back on this trip, but his time is coming!!

The rest of the week we spent skiing in Vail. Parrish and Trotter did great at ski school. They never quite mastered the "pizza wedge" stopping technique but they had fun trying and were most excited about riding the "magic carpet" back up the bunny slope to try again.

Riding the Breckenridge gondola.
The boys after a long day at ski school. After this we hit the heated pool (their favorite) and Parrish was so tired that he fell asleep in my lap at dinner! If only there were these winter sports in Alabama to wear our kids out that much!
Trotter and Parrish goofing around while waiting their turn to ski
My little ski bunny. He informed us that his "mask" made him a superhero-specifically, Spiderman.
Parrish skiing for the first time. Go Parrish!

Since we've been home, Parrish has performed at Muffins for Moms at school, singing "Hey, Good Looking" and "Happy Valentine's Day to You" with the rest of the kids at Tiny Blessings to us moms. It was tough and wonderful to be back at school again. I loved getting to catch up with everyone and so appreciate the love and support they show us there, but I find myself drained after these outings. (It probably didn't help matters that I had little to no sleep the night before after arriving home late from the airport). Anyway, I was a sobbing mess as Olivia's sweet nursery teachers, the director of TB and Haley presented me with a scrapbook of Olivia's time at school in addition to a letter of thanks from the family of a little boy who will get to attend Tiny Blessings next year thanks to the Scholarship North Shelby Baptist set up in Olivia's name. I spent the rest of the day looking at the pages of the book-new pictures of my baby girl at school I had never seen-she was twirling those toes and having a grand time in every one of them. She got to play with shaving cream, crinkle leaves in a bag, play with scarves with her best buddy Macie and hear stories from Miss Rochelle. The funniest picture in the whole book was one of my little Livy craning her neck to look at the handsome firefighter who was visiting her class during fire safety day. None of the other babies sitting at the table were giving him the time of day, but she sure was! We joked that Cannon would have had some serious trouble on his hands later in life with us living close to so many fire stations!! :) Olivia never would take a bottle from anyone at school and I was secretly proud that she only wanted to be fed by me. Feedings were always our alone time to rock and talk. I miss those times so badly it physically hurts.

To continue our whirlwind tour we took Parrish to the Monster Truck Jam in Atlanta Saturday night. His sweet friend Christopher gave him the ticket for his birthday and he was so excited to go. Afterward we asked him what his favorite truck was and he said, "Blue Superman and Red Iron Man." Surprise, surprise. That baby boy LOVES himself some super heros. It is endless fun to listen to his narration of battles between his superhero figures. I love this stage and have been telling myself that I really need to get one of these battles of his on video so I can remember how funny and creative it was.

On our way home (because we had so much energy and all) we stopped by Scott's Antiques. I got a few great things but spent most of the time researching pricing, etc. As I was browsing I came across a booth selling gorgeous heirloom baby clothing. I spent forever going through the racks picking out things Olivia HAD to have and then had the realization for the millionth time that she is really not coming back. This stage of grief has been the hardest in a way because as you come out of the shock and fog you really have to start admitting to yourself that your baby is gone and this is not a dream. Every time I see a baby I just want to rush up to the mom and ask if I can hold him/her. I am pretty sure they would call the police if a stranger was begging them for their baby, so I restrain, but that doesn't mean I don't entertain the thought.

These last few weeks I have been clinging to these verses for dear life:

Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you. Psalm 55:22

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

I will trust and not be afraid, for the Lord is my strength and my song. Isaiah 12:2

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:3-5

I know this is the longest blog post in the history of mankind, but I'll leave you with a few pictures of my little Valentine doing a "project" to get his valentine's ready for his classmates and family. He is his mother's son and LOVES to do all sorts of art projects, especially ones that involve the use of scissors and glue!

The finished class valentine's next to the framed heart footprints of Olivia they did at school a few days before she went to live with Jesus. I was so thankful for this picture that arrived home right after she passed was like she was telling us she loves us from heaven. We will especially cherish this tomorrow as we long to see her all dolled up in pink playing in the melted chocolate we use to dip strawberries every year. This is the first holiday we're experiencing without her that she was here for last year. I have lots of great memories of her, at not even 1 month old yet, dressed up in her valentine's clothes from Katie, snuggling on the couch with me while we waited for our strawberries.

As I look back on this picture I am realizing that she started smiling within weeks and never stopped!

Parrish's homemade Valentine's. He cut out the heart and "o" that looks vaguely like a bird on the left. That was his card to Sissy and he dictated the message for me to write:
Happy Valentine's Day to you, Livia! You're my BEST baby girl. I love you, Livia, and miss you so much. Love, Brother
My friend DeAnna has put a smile on my face so many times with happy's like these precious stickers she made for Parrish's valentine's cards. She is so talented. If you're needing any cute stickers for your kids, her stuff is great!
Parrish having fun with the scissors, his favorite because "I can do it myself, Mommy. See, I'm being careful."
Stuffing his valentine's. Oriental Trading had what I thought were the cutest treats for little boys to give. They are rolls of bubble gum tape that say, "You measure up, Valentine."

I always order Parrish's valentine's from Tiny Prints because I can't resist them. They are too cute with their tiny little envelopes and original artwork.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 1

:: Olivia's Shop-for-a-cause ::

Help us spread Olivia's Light!

100% of profits from this week's sales will be donated to the Olivia Charles Prickett Memorial Fund at Double Oak Community Church. These funds will provide free mother's day out and other important preschool programs to families in need. Please shop-for-a-cause and spread Olivia's light to someone you love. The products are amazing-fresh, clean scents with beautiful presentation boxes. These products make great hostess, house warming and VALENTINE'S gifts. Tell your hubby to forgo the flowers this year. Instead you want him to shop-for-a-cause! Click on the link provided above to shop. Thank you for your support!

A have another special announcement that I hope to make later this week, so check back later for another way you can help spread Olivia's Light.