Thursday, September 20

:: Life the last 6 weeks... ::

Life over the last 6 weeks has mainly been consumed with this sweet little face...

But in between the diaper changes, feedings, soothings, Kindergarten work and my 5-year-old's activity schedule we've also squeezed in some time for a few other things, like a special family dinner to celebrate my 33rd (yikes!) birthday.
My "boys" made me a yummy lemon cake and a precious "Mommy" banner (and yes, with all those candles it seemed like we might set the house on fire - and the sad thing is, it wasn't even all 33!)

Parrish starts deciding what he is going to be for Halloween in August (I guess I can thank the big retailers who think it's a good idea to put holiday stuff out over the summer for that!) and has been talking about being "GI JOE Snake Eyes Black Ninja" (whew - a mouth full!) for a month.  I tried in vain to get him to be something like batman that would be easy to coordinate with his baby brother (wouldn't Knox make a cute bat?!)  No, he said...Knox can be a ninja like him.  Well, let's just say that there is not exactly a cute infant ninja costume.  So instead I saw this baby sushi costume DIY tutorial on and decided that would be a precious combo.  CC came up with the idea to let the boys hand out fortune cookies, too.  Adorable!
So I followed the easy steps and came up with this costume for baby Knox.  Don't you think he'll make a cute baby shrimp nigiri?

Our photographer Alisha Baker also gave us a cd of beautiful images she's taken of my family over the course of my pregnancy and Knox's birth and I wanted to share them here.  I love all of them and appreciate her capturing these special moments in such a beautiful way!  I want to add 3 new canvases to our family canvas gallery on my stair landing and try as I might I cannot narrow it down to 3.  Any votes??  Please help me decide!

Although these pictures paint a story that can only be seen as idyllic, and these moments ARE just that, in the interest of being completely honest and painting a picture of our TRUE lives and not just the life that we want others to see on this blog, I will tell you that mixed with the complete joy has also at times been a sense of a disconnection from God.  When you are sleep deprived everything in life seems just a little bit harder.  The crosses you carry seem a lot heavier.  The "why's" and longing for Knox's big sister Olivia weigh us down more.  Not a day goes by that I don't imagine what their interaction would be.  I imagine her joy and curiosity at her little brother.  Some of Parrish's new Kindergarten friends have sisters that are exactly the age Olivia would be.  When we meet them at the park to play I think how perfect it would have been to have her there to play with them and the wounds re-open.

I went on a run over the weekend and this song by Heather Williams played from my playlist:

Wish I knew what I'm supposed to say to you
What you're going through
But I don't know what you're feeling
Does anyone know what you're feeling right now

You're afraid
The future's like an enemy,
and you just wish you could see
'Cause you don't know where you're going
Don't let it keep you from hoping right now

Yeah we've all been lost and we've all been hurt
Where our hope is spent and our faith don't work
But nothing lasts forever
The only thing that matters
Is God is still God and He holds it together

So hang on now

He's been there, walking in the wilderness
When it's hard to see the end
But He had the strength to do it, so He can help you through it
So hang on now

So even when you lie awake
And bend until you almost break
The darkest time is right before the dawn

This is often how I feel.  I know no one can know how I feel or even what to say, I know our problem is not of the "fixable" variety.  I long to know God's plan for my life and our family's future.  And this song reminds me that even when I don't have the answers and I feel disconnected from him, to hang on, because God is still there, waiting for me to wake up from my sleep-deprived fog and reach out to Him for clarity.  My sweet sister Caroline painted me a beautiful watercolor painting for my birthday entitled "clarity of the mind."  Appropriate, don't you think? 

My favorite line in the song is that the darkest time is right before the dawn.  Isn't that true?  Our darkest time was before our sweet Knox was born and his birth was our dawn.  He has filled part of the vast void that was left in our family when we lost Olivia.  We still have moments of darkness intertwined with our happiness, but we are hopeful.  

I ran across this quote the other day when I was reading and it's truth resonated with me:

“We don’t look at problems. Whatever you look at becomes bigger.
We look at God.” – Pastor Spinoza

When we stew on our problems they do become bigger.  When we look at them and not at God, that is when the darkness sets in.  So we stay busy and try not to do that.  We don't always succeed, but we are trying!  

One of the ways we stay busy is working, and because of this I am so thankful to Shelby Living Magazine for featuring our Olivia Charles Antiques and Foundation on the cover of their October issue.  This exposure has been wonderful because it has had the double effect of increasing our business and raising awareness about our foundation and it's mission.  You can read the full story here.

 Thanks to this exposure we are working on helping to provide burial assistance for our first family, and it is this family that I want to ask you to pray for.  You can visit their Facebook group at Prayers for Ryan.  Little Ryan has been battling brain cancer that has recently returned and there are no more treatment options available to him.  His family is working with many others to fulfill many of his dreams over these last weeks and and also asking for donations to help them with burial assistance when/if he does go home to be with Jesus soon.  I know what it is like to loose a child, but I have no idea what it is like to anticipate the death of a child on a daily basis, living with that looming over your head, so please pray for Ryan and his parents Jasmine and Greg.  On their Facebook page they are asking for people to mail him cards of encouragement, etc and if you feel led to do that I'm sure it would be appreciated.

And one last prayer request is for a family from Montgomery whose son Preston was found in a pool and rushed to Children's in Birmingham to be put into a medically induced coma.  I do not know this family personally, but they are friends of our friends, so I have been following their FB page "Prayers for Preston" and praying for their specifics needs and would ask you to do the same.  From what I understand they are in the process of bringing him out of the coma to assess his condition and this seems to be a long and tedious process which is very stressful for the family.  Please pray for their hearts and minds, the doctors, and God's perfect peace to settle on his parents during this nerve-wracking time.  We are working to get them a prayer pager and will provide that number once it is assigned. 

Thank you for lifting these families up!!