Thursday, April 28

:: 10 Things I Miss About Our Little Livy ::

With the reports of devastation across our state after tornadoes caused wide-spread destruction of life and property yesterday, I am so down. I think about all of the people who are mourning the loss of a loved one today. I imagine what they are feeling and try to think of needs I can pray for, and it brings back memories of how we felt that first week after our loss. Numb, disbelieving, agony. The feeling that you were outside your life, looking in. That she couldn't be gone. And these thoughts inevitably lead me to her-the precious, smiley, turquoise-eyed angel that she is-and all of the things I miss about her on a daily basis.

1. Those twirling toes. Her cute little, chunky feet were home to the most active toes I have ever witnessed on a baby and she had the uncanny ability to bend her big toe at the joint. I am so thankful for the pictures I have of her twirling toes, but so wish I had gotten some close-ups!

See how her right big toe is bending and her left is crossing? If she was awake, she was doing her twinkle toe moves.

2. Rocking her. I rocked her a minimum of 2 hours daily....yes, daily. It was my favorite activity. There was a brief month where she cooed loudly to my lullaby and humming when she first fell asleep. I'd laugh so hard I would have to stop myself from jiggling her too hard with my fits of giggles. I even called Cannon up to witness this phenonmenon. I kept saying we needed to get it on video, but like so many details in this busy life, that one fell between the cracks.

3. Her fascination with the bath tub faucet. I would put her bath sling close to it so she could reach out and touch the water filling the tub. Every time it would cause the water to splash in her face and she would look stunned and then crack up with a big toothless grin. Thankfully, this I do have on dvd. Last week I got so paranoid that something would happen to the videos of her that I took them to Wolf to be copied. Now I can rest easier at night. I store them in our fire safe but they are officially jam packed with memories and will barely close so I'm trying to figure out a better system. Any suggestions for how you store your irreplaceable photos, videos, important docs, etc?? I am going to try to import this video. I have it burned to a dvd but haven't quite figured out how to get it on my computer's hard drive to upload. Hmmm. If anyone knows how...please help!

4. The way she looked when she woke up. Those rosey cheeks flushed from sleep, hair matted, big grin, sleep sack on, fisher-price aquarium playing moments. I sometimes find myself face down on her mattress inhaling that sleepy scent. I hope it never goes away.

5. Her GiGi Technique. GiGi was a giraffe with a paci attached. She had two and I still have one. She never sucked on a pacifier the way most babies do and would look so disgusted when I put one in her mouth, but she did hold the giraffe part and gum the paci while she rubbed GiGi's ears over her eyelids. I have to have my fingers moving as I fall asleep (those of you who know me well know Bubbie) so I think she got that from me.

6. Watching her watch her brother. She was fascinated by his every move. I have one picture of her smiling up at him at Halloween that captures it all. I miss hearing him proudly tell his friends about, "his baby" and the way he was always looking out for her.

7. The sound of her feet bumping against the crib rails at night. Sometime around 10 every night she would wake up and just play in her crib for awhile, babbling and kicking. We'd hear the tell-tale "thump" of her playtime in the living room while we were watching tv and we'd watch her on the video monitor laughing until she put herself back to sleep. She was such a GREAT sleeper and self-soother.

8. Her proudest trick-waving "Bye-Bye." I think she started doing this in response to my trying to teach her to say "all done" with sign language, but it was a happy accident. She loved to wave to any and every person we came in contact with. I have this on video as well and will watch it over and over.

9. Hearing her say, "a-da,da,da,da" to her daddy and watching him gloat with satisfaction over the fact that she wasn't saying mama yet.

10. Watching her curiosity. She was fascinated with grass. We would sit on our front lawn on top of a quilt and she would work tirelessly to drag the quilt close enough to her so she could expose the coveted grass blades and try to eat them. When I would playfully get onto her she would squeal with her mouth wide open and laugh. She had figured out a way to get my goat and loved every second of it!

So it's with these memories running through my mind that I lift up the people across Alabama who are suffering and mourning today, tomorrow, and for the rest of their lives, and ask you to do the same. These people now have their own memory lists and their lives will never be the same, but I take heart in the words of Helen Keller: "The world is full of suffering. It is also full of the overcoming of it." Amen to that. And to this:

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (The Message)
And regarding the question, friends, that has come up about what happens to those already dead and buried, we don't want you in the dark any longer. First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word. Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Jesus. And then this: We can tell you with complete confidence - we have the Master's word on it - that when the Master comes again to get us, those of us who are still alive will not get a jump on the dead and leave them behind. In actual fact, they'll be ahead of us. The Master himself will give the command. Archangel thunder! God's trumpet blast! He'll come down from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise-they'll go first. Then the rest of us who are still alive at the time will be caught up with them into the clouds to meet the Master. Oh, we'll be walking on air! And then there will be one huge family reunion with the Master. So reassure one another with these words.

A friend sent me this verse in a letter the other day and I hope it encourages you as much as it did me.

And I hope this little guy-the one with the mohawk, on a rubbermaid step stool, perched in my bath tub, with a washcloth and trash bag tied around his cast-brings you a much-needed laugh.
Leave it to our "Peesh" to lighten things up!


Wednesday, April 27

:: Spring=Asparagus ::

I was just putting away the recipes I used for Easter brunch and decided that one of them was worth posting for my super-busy, super-fabulous friends/mommies/wives/sisters/workers/chefs/shoppers....(you get the idea). I know everyone is pressed for time and need quick, yummy options for dinner and sides and this one was so good and easy I wanted to pass along. I get in a rut preparing veggies the same way every time and like to change it up, so I decided I'd try to find a recipe for asparagus with almonds and stumbled across this one on

Asparagus with Sliced Almonds & Parm


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound asparagus, bottoms trimmed
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (fresh grated works best)


  1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus, and cook, stirring, about 3 minutes. Stir in almonds and parmesan, and cook until the cheese is slightly browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.

You've just got to love a recipe with only 1 step listed under directions-especially on days like today when your kids get out of school early!! Hope everyone faired ok in the storm early this morning.

Monday, April 25

:: Bunny Tales ::

This time last year I was as happy as I've ever been. I couldn't believe we had two beautiful, healthy children and how lucky I was that Parrish ADORED his baby sister. (He even offered to wear a pink polo in her honor when going to see the Easter bunny!)
We went to Andalusia to visit my grandparents for Easter Sunday and I snapped this picture of my Grandaddy and his namesake, Olivia Charles. I'll never forget him holding her on the back porch swing and showing her the cousins dyeing eggs.
He couldn't wait to show her what the Easter bunny had brought for her that morning. She LOVED that bunny rattle. She was never without it for the next 6 months.

Although these images and thoughts were constantly flashing through our minds over the course of the day, we survived another holiday without Olivia. I won't say it wasn't hard-it was almost as hard as Christmas and her birthday-but we had moments of happiness. Mostly we have Parrish to thank for those rays of light. I mean, who wouldn't laugh at that little man riding his 4-Wheeler and pointing out eggs for his dad collect? Now that's the way to egg hunt! We loved having Tappy, CC & Grandaddy and our friends the Johnsons over for brunch after church and it was good to have something to focus on and prepare for. I love setting a pretty table and planning and cooking a good meal, so it was good for me to play hostess. I wasn't sure I was up for it but I am glad I did.
I was so happy to receive this GORGEOUS bouquet of flowers from my Chi O Class of 96' sisters. It warms my heart to think that these girls-many of which I haven't seen or talked to in years-would get together to organize a flower delivery to me once a month. If you're reading, thank you friends. The flowers bring a smile to my face-never fails!

Parrish and I decided we'd serve candy nests for dessert. So we melted chocolate chips and stirred in peanut butter, then added pretzel sticks until they were coated. Then we put parchment paper in small bowls and pressed the mixture into the form and placed them in the fridge overnight to harden. Just before brunch we removed the nests from the bowls and arranged them at each person's place filled with peeps chicks and eggs. They were an added touch to the table that doubled as dessert.
This is me with Tappy and CC. Are you noticing my beautiful orchid corsage? The Johnson's oldest daughter, Ryan, who for reasons unknown to me thinks I am pretty cool, asked her mom if she could get me that corsage and gave it to me the night before Easter when we went to their house for a fish fry. Is that the sweetest thing? I had forgotten about that old fashioned tradition, but have decided I am going to bring it back in our family. Next year-corsages for all the women and girls! I kept thinking how much fun it would have been to pin one on Olivia when she got older. That's what happens-I start imagining the future only to realize she won't be there. Cannon refers to it as a punch in the gut. I'd say that's about right. We'll be going along doing fine and then all of a sudden-wham! Out of no where, we're knocked off our feet by some random thought or memory.
But this year was a year for new memories and Parrish helped us make plenty. He was amazed that the Easter bunny knew that he was sleeping in our room and left his basket there. He had candy for breakfast and loved it. Who wouldn't? I had a few pieces myself! You've got to take advantage of the opportunity to have candy before noon. When does that happen?!
Parrish visited with the Easter bunny (aka Kolbe) at Mt Laurel and hunted eggs with daddy pushing his wheelchair. I'm pretty sure Cannon had almost as much fun as Parrish. I think they were at a slight disadvantage competing in the egg roll in a wheelchair over gravel, but they had fun none the less. He couldn't wait to tell me how quickly the bouncing had made him drop his egg. His joyful, happy spirit and funnier by the minute comments provided lots of smiles. As I was thinking about answered prayers I realized that God answered a big one for us in Parrish's attitude over the last 4 weeks. It really couldn't have gone more smoothly in that regard and we praise Him for that. I hope you all had a very happy and blessed Easter!

Thursday, April 21

:: Surgery #2 Report & Easter Happenings ::

The last two weeks have really flown by-between Parrish's cast change, our anniversary, Easter events and working on Olivia Charles Antiques I really don't know how it's almost May!

Parrish did great at his cast change last week. I think he knew what to expect so he was agitated and upset that we wouldn't let him eat breakfast. The nurse saw that he was upset and decided it would be best to give him some verced to help him relax (and provide us with some entertainment!). They ended up just sedating him for the pin removal so he was back to his usual self before we left the hospital and asking if he could go home and play with Jackson.

The day before his surgery we had a scare because his pediatrician called and said she had just gotten the ekg report from the hospital and it noted a possible heart problem. We went to see the pediatric cardiologist that day and thankfully, what they thought indicated something more serious turned out the be just an innocent heart murmur (thank you, Lord!). That said, the visit did shave off about 10 years of our lives. While he was doing Parrish's ultrasound (which seemed to take forever, but in actuality was probably only 10 minutes) several doctors came into the room and I just knew we were about to get bad news. I really didn't think I could take one more thing and the whole time I felt like I was about to burst. When he said everything was ok, I burst into tears of relief.

We are so thankful that we are almost done with this process. Parrish goes back to Dr. Killian's office in 3 weeks to have this cast taken off and will be in a walking boot or cast, depending on what the x-rays show. I am glad to be done with the hospitals and hope we won't have reason to visit another one any time soon!

Last Sunday CC and Grandaddy Jack had some Mt Laurel friends over for lunch and an easter egg hunt. Parrish's best buddy Kaden and his little sister Gabby were there with us. Parrish tells me all the time, "I can't get enough of that Kaden, Mommy!" Cracks me up. Today he told me he wants to move to Mt Laurel so he can play with him every day. They already see each other practically once a day, but apparently that is not enough. I remind myself that he doesn't have a sibling at home to play with every day and that is lonely. We are blessed with great neighbors and friends who fill that need for him.

Parrish didn't let the wheelchair slow him down hunting those eggs one bit. It has been amazing to see him maneuver around that cast. He will walk on his knees, crawl, scoot on his bottom or balance on one foot to get where he wants to go. He is so independent and I am proud of his determination.
I arranged some of CC's favorite pink peonies in an Easter basket for the lunch as a thank you to her for all she has done for all of us over the last 5 months. She has devoted herself completely to us by moving to Birmingham full time and done everything from cooking and helping me with my antiques booth (she helped me open it in under 24 hours) to laundry. "I have your Favorite Laundry!" has become one of my favorite sentences to hear. We will all miss her as she heads back to Florida for the summer and I know her new Garden club and neighborhood friends will, too! I keep telling her that we want her back this fall. Thanks for everything, CC! Hope you get some rest this summer between grandkid visits!

I have to include a picture of the anniversary present Cannon got me as a surprise. I came in from the kitchen on the morning of our anniversary and found Parrish perched on top of one of the bedside tables I had been admiring the past few weeks at Hanna. They yelled, "Happy Anniversary!" It was the sweetest surprise. I love that Cannon likes to get furniture for our anniversary gift to each other-I can walk around my house and tell you which piece he got me for what anniversary. It is neat to see our collection grow with our marriage.

As I look forward to Easter Sunday and read again the passages in the bible just prior to his death and resurrection, I am reminded that our Savior is familiar with our sufferings and disappointments. He was betrayed by one of his 12 closest friends to be hung from a cross. He has endured many tragedies and knows how we feel. I am so thankful that we have a loving Jesus that rose from the grave so that one day I can live with him in paradise. I hope there I will get to see the things that I am longing for this Easter-to see Olivia toddling around with her basket hunting eggs, to watch her face light up with laughter at her big brother's antics and to see her scrunch her nose when she bites into a peep marshmallow for the first time. One thing I know I'll see there that can't compare to any Easter celebration here on earth? The celebration of our savior in heaven...I bet that's one heck of a party, the likes of which we've never seen!

As the precious Easter stickers Deanna made for Parrish say, "Happy Easter to My Peps!"

And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him. Mark 16:6

Sunday, April 10

:: Cannon, Projects & Surgery #2 ::

A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even tempered.
Proverbs 17:27

That about sums up my Cannie. He is one of those fathers that rejoices in the job of provider, instructor and protector. He is a baby addict. Seriously, we used to fight over who got to hold our babies and it is no secret that Parrish always preferred him. So wasn't I happy to gloat when Olivia came along and always wanted me?? But I digress. My point is this. I know that I could not go through this season of trials with anyone else. Cannon is steady as a rock. Even when he is hurting he pulls himself together to pick up my slack. If I need to have a private break down and stay in bed and cry, he is there to entertain Parrish, cook dinner, clean the house, or whatever else may be required of him. And the best part is-he takes it upon himself to help me with these things and never gets angry about it. I have always been amazed at his even temper and joy in the simple things (especially considering I tend to have a bit of a temper and the patience of a 2-year-old.) So as we look forward to our 8th anniversary on Tuesday, I want to say thank you to my Cannie. Thank you for being you. For being selfless and telling me it helps you heal to help me. I pray daily that this will not become too much for you and that you will be able to continue taking such good care of us and yourself. I hope I am an equal source of comfort to you. We are a great team and it warms my heart to know that we both took the "for better or for worse" part of our vows seriously.

By the look on Livy's face I'd say she delights in you, too! I can still hear her squeals when I look at this picture. I know you miss your baby girl and all the dreams you had of her being your daddy's little girl. I was so excited to see the two of you as she grew. I could see lots of complaints about too many boys paying attention to her in your future. I know she is as proud of her daddy as I am. You are, in my book, the best a dad can be. I love you and am pretty certain the handsome boy posing with your latest catch in the first picture is proud of you, too.

Another thing my hubbie did yesterday? He stood in the hot sun with me, Tappy, CC and Grandaddy Jack at the Mt Laurel Spring Festival and sold tons of the reclaimed adirondacks, benches, frames, tables, planter boxes and bird houses. He loves to talk to people, but I know it was hard to explain Olivia's foundation and the way we are using the sale of this furniture to raise money to help others in her honor. He told me today that several times he got a lump in his throat. But it was well worth it because he sold all the adirondack chairs and took orders for more and we only have one bench, table and frame left. We were able to contribute additional monies to Olivia's fund today at church and it was such a joy.

We are thinking about trying to travel around to some more Spring Festivals to sell more furniture. Does anyone have any suggestions of festivals they love? Please comment if you do. We'd love a few beachy festivals and to know of any in Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, SC and NC, etc. Basically driving distance from Bham in addition to any other festivals in or around Bham. We were tossing around the idea of Pepper Place...anywhere else you'd recommend?
Update on the Easter Experiment: It worked!
From the picture above you can tell that the soil and grass seed method produced the most grass.

Here is what you'll need:
  • plastic easter egg with holes (I found these bunnies at WalMart-they're great because they have flat bottoms)
  • potting soil (I used seed starter potting mix from Miracle Grow)
  • grass seed (I tried to find rye grass but settled for a regular grass mix instead)
  • Spray bottle with water
Step 1:
Fill the eggs 1/2 full with the potting soil
Step 2:
Sprinkle a handful of grass seeds on top of the soil (more is better in this case)
Step 3:
Top seeds with more soil until egg is about 2/3 full and have your kiddos use their fingers to work the seeds into the soil
Step 4:
Spray with water to moisten well
Step 5:
Replace the top of the egg and place in a sunny window-sill for 2 days (replacing the top keeps the humidity level high and the seeds from drying out)
Step 6:
After you see the seeds starting to sprout you can remove the lid. Keep lightly watering for several days until the grass is the desired length. (It took longer than I expected to get the grass to the point shown in the picture-almost 2 weeks)
Step 7:
Style your easter egg head! I let Parrish give his a trim and put it up in pigtails.

If you are reading this and are in Parrish's mother-day-out class-don't go out and buy these supplies. We'll be sending them home along with instructions for their Easter gifts.

I hope everyone has fun with their kids doing this project. It was a good distraction for both of us.
Here is the one remaining frame from yesterday. It's an 8x10 for $65 if anyone is interested or knows someone who might be. I can also have them made in any color you want in either 8x10 or 10x10.
Tappy was here all week for her Spring Break and I loved having some non-rushed quality time with her. One of our many activities was going to an estate sale where I picked up this bird bath. We painted the top part with the bird pale pink and planted a succulent garden in that part and filled the base level with rocks and water for birds to bathe. We bought the succulents at Leaf n Petal in Cahaba Heights (they were a great price-$3.99 and we later saw some smaller, uglier ones at the home improvement centers for $3.49) and while I was browsing I ran into the little angel sculpture holding the bird. It took my breath away how much it reminded me of Olivia and meant so much since the Lord sent me a bird. I started bawling right there in LNP, but I didn't care. It was perfect. I nestled the angel along with some rock eggs in with the succulents and have been sitting on the back porch every chance I get admiring Olivia's bird bath. I wish she was here to splash in it with me.

Our silly boy having some fun with the "Cast Cooler". I bought this contraption that attaches to our handheld vac and cools and dries the inside of his cast. We use it when it's itchy and to hopefully keep the stintch to a minimum.
Thursday we will go back to Children's for the first of Parrish's 2 cast changes. They will put him under and remove the pins and then re-cast. Please keep him and the doctors in your prayers this week. We are more relaxed now that the initial surgery is behind us and we know he did fine under anesthesia, but would still appreciate all the prayers we can get on his behalf.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, April 6

:: Joy is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ ::

I felt a little better today since Tappy (my mom) and Glorio (my grandmother) were here to visit and help keep Parrish entertained. I had a doctor's appointment and needed mom's help in the OC antiques booth today so Glorio and P had fun playing Samurai's and watching lots of movies while we were gone. It was good to get out. My sweet hubbie even took us out to lunch and to visit the new La Paz they've got in the works. The interior already looks great and the patio is going to be so much fun. I can't wait until it opens.

A friend sent me a quote today that helped me a bit-"A God you can understand is not God." There is truth in that. It doesn't end my quest for understanding, but I think that's the point-we can't understand His ways because He wants us to keep seeking Him, even when we won't get all the answers this side of heaven.

Another friend gave me the book by Angie Smith called, "I Will Carry You". This book is another one of those heart wrenching reads that also feeds my soul. I don't know if it's the feeling of companionship in our sorrow and longing for our babies or if I find hope in her words because so many of her thoughts have been similar to mine over the last 5 months, but she included this popular quote in her book- "Joy is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ." How true that statement is to me. I will always remember those words.

I am glad I read them on the eve of yet another 6th of the month. Have I mentioned to you that I can't stand the 6th of the month now?? Every month I wake up with a boulder on my chest the morning of the 6th. I can never believe another month has passed. It's funny how it can seem to take so long and also fly by at the same time. Day-by-day, minute-by-minute, breath-by-breath. We are surviving, and trying to re-invest in life, as hard as it is.

One of my reasons for re-investing is this smiling little ball of energy: our baby boy, Parrish, who has been the trooper of the century during his surgery and subsequent recovery period.

This is the brave little man as he waited for his turn for surgery. He was so brave. I shouldn't have expected any less, but he was almost excited about this "adventure." As we walked him to the "line" where we had to kiss and say good-bye we were trying to hold it together and be upbeat and excited for him when he started to whimper and not want to let me go. I felt the presence of Christ with us at that moment (and maybe his Sissy, too) as Roxanna stepped forward and took his hand from me. He hesitantly, but bravely said see you later and off he went without a fuss. All of the nurses were apparently flirting with him and he even got to call his anesthesiologist to the operating room on a cool walkie-talkie. Everyone at Children's was great and it was so nice to have Randy, our pastor at Double Oak, there to pray with us and distract us, too!
Parrish and George with matching casts shortly after being wheeled to his room from recovery. He was still pretty dazed and happy at this point, but unfortunately that did not last. At least he got to eat and eat and eat before the meds wore off and he started hurting. The poor thing had been so hungry all day and had busted me hiding and eating peanut butter crackers in the hospital waiting room. He was so funny and made me open my mouth to prove I wasn't eating what he thought I was eating. Oops.
His little face got so flushed and hot as he was recovering from the surgery, but he didn't let that keep him from playing with his play-doh. It was right after this picture was taken that he was in so much pain he was trying to walk out of the hospital, screaming for a nurse and saying, "Mommy, this is NOT a fun adventure!" The nurses were amazed because he had had Morphine, benadryl and motrin and still wasn't asleep 3 hours later. We are since discovered that our little man has the opposite reaction to these typically sedating drugs. Apparently they can make some kids hyper. You can imagine what a full time job it's been to make sure he's not trying to put weight on his cast. We've caught him hopping like a flamingo to get from point a to b, but have finally convinced him to at least slide on his bottom instead.
It's amazing what difference a day makes. This is on his way home from the hospital. Pop G and Nan P sent him the gorilla he named Gorillee (he also has pillee, blankee, lovee, get the point) He will probably name his first child something that ends in "ee" too.
I had to include this picture because it is so Parrish. Cannon took him to the pond in our neighborhood and he caught a bass from his wheelchair. Classic. Brings a smile to my face every time I look at it.
Another thing that makes me smile?? These 3 guys. My mom and I took Parrish and two of his buddies Kaden and Cade to see Hop on Tuesday. They were absolutely hilarious. They were dancing in their seats, chatting or staring at the screen and passing the candy back and forth the whole time. Every now and then I would just look over at them and hear their little conversation and smile. They are getting so big. When did that happen? It was good for all of us to get out and the movies are going to be a good play date for us over the next 9 weeks while Parrish is recovering.

Monday, April 4

:: God WILL give you more than you can handle ::

Have you ever noticed that it is comforting to know that God is in control when life is going your way but harder to take when around every corner there seems to be a new crisis in your life? I've found myself in a "dark night of the soul" lately. I'm just at a point where I am exhausted from trying to hold myself together. I am in desperate need of something positive in my life. A reason for hope. I thought we had that reason and then the rug was ripped out from under us...AGAIN. It's made me so mad. Here I finally thought we were going to turn the page and have reason to hope for some happiness again and then it all comes crashing down.
I keep thinking of that saying people throw around-that God will never give you more than you can handle. I beg to differ. What we are living through-the loss of Olivia, Parrish's surgery, the loss of our hopes and dreams for her and for us as a complete family-those are all much more than we can handle. So I don't believe that He doesn't give us more than we can handle. I believe that in that moment He uses those things we can't handle to bring us to our knees in desperation and complete dependance on Him. When all of the worldly things we've put our trust in come crashing down around us we realize that He is the only constant. The only one worthy of our trust. The only one left when everything and everyone around you can't satisfy or give you the answers you so desperately need.
But at the same time I find myself completely dependent on Him I also find myself full of questions and doubts. Why us? Why Olivia? Why, why, why? Where were you when all of these things were put in motion? If you didn't will them to happen, why didn't you stop them? If it's the devil testing me, why are you letting him? So I have been doing one of the only things I know to do when I am plagued with doubt-read. Read the bible, read books, read blogs-read everything I can get my hands on that may shed some light on my otherwise very hopeless situation. In that quest for material my friend Nancy suggested I read the book, "Plan B" but Pete Wilson (who is a pastor of a church in Nashville). I found that this book spoke to my soul. Not everything was easy to digest, but I needed this author's frank and truthful examination of where God is in our "Plan B's" of life (I told Cannon-forget Plan B, we're now on Plan C)
Which brings me to the point of plans-even after my very frank realization that we are not ultimately in control of our lives and circumstances after Olivia's passing-I still have the urge to try to plan it all out. In my need to control something I end up depending on myself to do something to make things better. But every time I start trying to make a plan or one seems to be coming together, it is ripped out from underneath me. Is God trying to tell me to stop the madness? Is He telling me over and over again to, as-they-say, "Let go and Let God?" Surely He knows that I struggle with letting go of control. Mainly because I know now that we are not immune for disaster just because we love the Lord. I have lost that innocent belief.
But strangely, I am realizing that our crises are closely related to our faith and hope. Somehow through living through the unthinkable, God reveals the truth of His word in new ways. No longer are you worried about the "little stuff" that used to seem like such big problems. There is a depth to your soul that wasn't there before. You have less tolerance for listening to people complain about things that shouldn't really be complaints but are more minor annoyances in an otherwise very blessed life. You realize that only through crises are you stripped away of all the pretense and false reliances and have the chance for true transformation in Christ.
That is where I am now. I am at the place in my life where I have to make the decision to trust in God, even when I know He may not work things out the way I pray He will. I desperately need to see Him at work in my circumstances-I need to see him "working all things together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28) I need to see His plan for my "hope and future." (Jeremiah 29:11) I need to be able to press fast forward and see how this is all going to turn out, just so I can survive the current, painful waiting. I know that won't happen For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7) But as Pete Wilson points out in his book-God is a God of miracles-a powerful God. "A God that can use the same power He used at the cross to raise His Son from the dead to deliver, transform and redeem us." And right now, at a time when I feel like all hope is gone and I feel impatient from all of the waiting and heart break, is the time that I have no choice put to place my hope in Him. He is our only hope. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). We have no choice but to keep our eyes focused on our eternal future. Tragedy in this life has a way of making you long for your eternal life and long to bring everyone you meet in this life with you to experience the way God intended life to be before the fall. Where "...there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Revelation 21:4) Despair makes you realize that we weren't really made for this world.
I pray that my experiences will bring more people to Christ because pain with a purpose is so much easier to bear. I hope that by examining my soul and my life out in the open like this will help you to realize what I've realized. That while everything in this life has the potential to disappoint you-He will not. "After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you!" (1 Thessalonians 2:19)