Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Little Lily of the Valley. . .

It was sunny and warm this morning, so the boys and I played outside for an hour or so. It feels healthy and good and right to be outside in the sunshine ~ especially when you are in the company of little boys.
Every year I am amazed at how the blackberry bushes multiply. It seems they are everywhere. And, at present, they have cute little white flowers as a promise to me that fruit will soon come. Everything is so alive, so green, so lush from the spring rains, and so beautiful. And, all you have to do is walk out the backdoor and you can smell it ~ the honeysuckle is beginning to bloom. I picked one to show JCT the drop of sweetness inside. He wasn't nearly as impressed as I was. But, I showed it to him all the same. There was a woodpecker having its way with some poor tree nearby as we walked. JCT wanted to wander into the woods, but I reminded him that Mr. and Mrs. Snake live there, and we better steer clear of them and their family. And, a large bee flew out of nowhere and scared Elijah to pieces, bless his heart. As we walked along, I took a special little detour to look at my favorite spring bloom - the lilies of the valley. And, as I stared at them a thought washed over me. . .
After a good bit of play, we came in, ate lunch, and, now, I am happy to report that all little boys are sleeping peacefully. The weather has changed dramatically since this morning. The clouds are dark and ominous. A spring storm can't be too far away creating the perfect setting for an afternoon nap. And, I am celebrating with a hot cup of coffee with French Vanilla creamer.

I'm not sure when I discovered how much I like lilies of the valley. I remember asking the florist before my wedding to give me a price on a bouquet of lilies of the valley to carry on my wedding day. I don't remember the amount she told me, but it was too much. And, I settled for a combination of soft pink and cream colored roses mixed with a few tulips (because Erik loves tulips). When we moved into our home 8 years ago this summer, I was thrilled beyond imagination to see that the previous owner had planted a large number of lilies of the valley in the backyard.

I think the reason that I love them so is that they draw no attention to themselves. In fact, if you aren't paying attention you might just step on them. They are tiny, very tiny. But, they are perfectly made, and if you look closely, the detail is amazing. They are simple and sweet. And, as I thought about them during our walk this morning, I couldn't help but make the comparison between these precious flowers and my precious mother-in-love.

She never draws attention to herself ~ especially not when she is in a group. She is simple and sweet, and if you take the time to get to know her, you will see that her detail is amazing. She is a servant by nature, a beautiful soul, that asks nothing in return for her offering. She just gives to give because she enjoys lending a hand, but mostly because God designed her that way. She has always been patient and kind, gentle and loving, humble and gracious, but at the same time, strong and sure.

Please pray that she wakes up all the way, ya'll. I am raising four boys, and she raised two of the most excellent that I know. I need her counsel. I need her.

I asked Erik one time what did his mama do, what was her role in his life? In other words, what is my role as the mother of boys? I asked him, "What did she do to help make you who you are today?" His answer. . .

"She was my confidence. She believed in me with all her heart. She thought that I could be anything or do anything that I wanted, and she made me believe it, too."

I can back him on this. She once told me, (you know, since I wasn't around when Erik played high school and college basketball), that "he could play basketball as well as Michael Jordan." No hesitation. She believed it. She meant every word of it. I had to hide my chuckle because she. was. serious.

She may be sweet and gentle, but she is steadfast and secure.

She knows what she believes and she knows in Whom she believes.

No doubt.

The lily of the valley.

One thing that I have noticed over the years. . .

Though they are delicate, they weather the spring storms well. We've had a lot of wind and rain, but they are still standing. May God allow my little lily of this valley to weather her storms with the same strength and beauty.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Prayer Manners.

When you try to have bedtime prayers with two wiggly, talkative, curious, active little boys, then you have to lay down the law from time to time. It is not uncommon to see one of our boys laying on his back with his feet high in the air kicking at absolutely nothing while we pray. And, as soon as Erik begins to pray, suddenly they remember what it was that they have needed to ask us all evening! So, Erik started saying. . .

"Respect the prayer."

If we are in the middle of a long prayer and JCT asks if he can wear shorts tomorrow to preschool, Erik doesn't hesitate. He doesn't respond to the question. He simply says. . .

"JCT, respect the prayer."

And, then he continues on with his prayer.

Well, while we were in New Orleans this past weekend, Nana stayed with the big boys. And, so she had the great honor of doing prayertime with our little men. She gave them the floor and allowed them to pray. We do this, as well, from time to time. But, we know our boys, and we know how they like to talk. So, we only give them the floor when we have time to listen for a while.

Nana said that when JCT prayed he went on and on and on and on and on and on. . .

(Big surprise) :-)

So, several times she broke in and said, "Just a few more things JCT. . ." and, "Okay, JCT that is probably enough. . ."

His response. . .

He just ignored her and kept praying. . .

"God, please help Nana learn to respect the prayer."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A New Kind of Therapy. . .

I like to call it. . .
Baby Therapy. . .


And, it does the heart good. Just look at Pop's face. . .


I tell you this kind of therapy is better than any medicine. . .


At least it is with this grandchild loving Pop!


I kept worrying that Erik Daniel might hurt Pop with all of his wiggling, but Pop insisted that he was fine. And, he wanted to be close to this sweet little boy. And, my little boy wanted to be close to his sweet Pop.

Here is my favorite picture of them. . .



Precious.

Now, don't you think that made him feel a little better?

I do.

As you can see, Erik, Erik Daniel, and I went to New Orleans for the weekend. And, it was an amazing trip for so many reasons!!! So, let me tell you why. . .

I think we were about 45 minutes from New Orleans when Erik received a call from a man who was assessing Mom for admittance into a long term acute care facility. He informed Erik that she had moved her toes on command for him.

What?????!!!!!!????

For the first time, my husband lit up with hope! She had responded to a verbal command. This was huge. HUGE.

We got a little further down the road ~ actually we were on that really long bridge that goes from Slidell to New Orleans ~ when Jason called. He and Erik had previously decided that we would meet at the Praline Connection to eat before Jason had to fly home. But, Jason was suggesting that we meet at the hospital instead. Erik was afraid that going to the hospital first would take too much time and that Jason would miss his flight. But, then, Jason explained. . .

Mom opened her eyes!!!!!!!

She looked at Jason and mouthed the words, "I love you," to him!!!!!!!

Erik said, "Okay, yes, then we will meet you at the hospital!"

It was a miracle weekend. She didn't open her eyes again that day, but the next morning she opened her eyes for Erik and mouthed his name. Unfortunately I wasn't with him!!!! But, later that night I got to see those brown eyes myself!!!!

We went to visit her, and Erik is ruthless, I tell you. He rubs her shoulder and talks loudly in her ear, "Mom, it is Erik. I love you. Erin is here with me. She wants to see your brown eyes. Show her your pretty brown eyes, Mama. Show them to her. Open your eyes, Mama. Open your eyes and look at Erin. She is standing right in front of you. She wants to see your pretty brown eyes. Hey! Hey! Hey, brown eyes, open your pretty brown eyes, Mama. We love you. We're praying for you. Now, open those pretty brown eyes and look at Erin." And, finally after the one millionth time he asked her, a little miracle happened, and she ever so slowly, as if her eyelids weighed a ton, with great concentration and inner strength, she opened up her pretty brown eyes and looked at me.

And, I couldn't help but cheer for her! "Good job, Mom. Good job! You did so good! Thank you for letting me see your eyes! You are so strong! You are getting better every day! Good job, Mom! I love you."

I can't tell you the pride that welled up in me when I saw her open her sweet eyes!!!

And, because I need to go to bed, I am going to come full circle and end this post. We went back to see her today. She is in a new hospital, and I didn't know the rules about babies. So, rather than ask, we just decided to take Erik Daniel and see what would happen.

No one said anything to us. We walked right by several staff members and into Mom's room.

Erik did his little number where he asks her over and over again to open her pretty brown eyes while he rubs her shoulder with gentle force. He told her that Erik Daniel was with us, so she should open those pretty brown eyes and look at him. Erik Daniel cooed and giggled in my arms. And, I knew she could hear him, and I know what those sounds do to me, and I prayed that they would have the same effect on her. After several minutes of trying so hard to open her eyes, she finally got them about halfway open. So, I held Erik Daniel like superman in the air, so he would be in her line of vision. After that she mouthed a sentence or two that we couldn't make out for sure, and then, once again, she drifted back into a peaceful sleeping state.

Baby Therapy.

It is a good thing, just ask Pop!

And, speaking of Pop I must throw this picture in. . .



Erik and I bought him this shirt because we think he is Superman, and we love him sooooooo much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Simple things. . .

It's the simple things, right?

Yeah, it is. And, I am not talking about sunsets and pitchers of ice cold lemonade.

No, I am talking about empty laundry hampers, clean toilets - void of little boy tinkle stains, actually being able to sit down for a meal, a solid night of sleep, uncluttered counters and floors, the ability to wear a shirt without peanut butter, pureed sweet potatoes, or spit up on it, the ability to slowly sip a hot cup of coffee on a Saturday morning, an uninterrupted adult phone conversation ~ w/o having to hide in the closet (you know you've done it, too! :-), time to actually use a blow dryer on my hair, and. . .

the ability to take a shower without fear.

Yesterday was absolutely beautiful, thus we played outside for hours! We went out in the morning and then again for several hours in the afternoon. All that to say, I had the great desire to take a quick shower before we went to church that evening. So, I corralled the boys and brought them in around 5 to feed them an early dinner and to get them ready to go. After I fed those sweet hungry little animals, I took them upstairs to play.

Erik and I have gotten quite comfortable letting the 3 older boys play upstairs alone with the baby gate up to keep Elijah from wandering down the steps. Our stairs are hardwood and the foyer floor is stained concrete. It has all the makings of an ER visit, thus the baby gate.

So, I put the baby gate in place, and I had a little talk with Joshua. I told him that Mommy wants to take a very quick shower, and that I will come up as soon as I get out and dressed.

With that done, I stepped over the baby gate, and went downstairs with Erik Daniel in my arms. I placed him in his crib in our room with a few toys. Then, I took the monitor that monitors Joshua and JCT's room into the master bath and turned it on. After that, I proceeded to take a quick shower all the while trying desperately to discern whether what I was hearing was laughter or loud talking or yelling or crying. I cut my quick shower short and was pleased to hear that it was laughter coming from the monitor ~ loud belly laughs with long sighs in between followed by another uproar of hysterical laughter. At first, I was relieved. . . but then I began to think. . .

Laughter isn't always a good thing when coming from little boys. . .

Then, I heard JCT say, "He's stepping in it! He's stepping in it!!!" And, that sealed it for me. This could not be a good thing. I grabbed my towel, wrapped it around me, and took off like a shot into the foyer and up the stairs to see what "he" was stepping in. I knew who "he" was ~ no doubt. Elijah has replaced JCT as "the one." I didn't even look as I passed our double front door windows to see if any of our neighbors were walking their dogs and happened to see me dash upstairs in a towel. As I reached the newel post, I yelled up, "JOSHUAAAAA, WHAT IS SO FUNNY????" I was met by 3 not laughing little boys at the baby gate. It didn't take me long to figure out what "it" was. . .

All I had to do was follow one of two things. . .

A.) the diaperless 2 year old with a bottom in need of wiping. . .

or

B.) the little brown footprints on the sisal carpet leading straight to a dirty diaper in the middle of the big boys room.

Enough said.

So, as I cleaned, resolved, wiped, and bathed all effected areas while constantly adjusting and readjusting my towel with my hair piled on top of my head and mascara running down my face, I smiled to myself. My, has my life changed. Or, should I say. . .

My, has my life changed me. . .

Gone are my diva days. . .

Now I clean poo poo footprints off carpet and tinkle stains off toilets, and, occasionally, vomit off big brother's hair after little brother woke up in the middle of the night and threw up on his head, and I don't even flinch.

But, you want to know the truth?

I'm glad.

I don't want to be a diva. I would much rather be the me that I am today than the me I was 6 years ago. They make me better. These crazy wild little Indian boys. . . They make me better.

And, you know what, I am thankful for tinkle stained toilets. Well, not so much for the tinkle stains themselves, but for what they represent. . .

Little boys.

Little boys who think that their sweet God in all His infinite wisdom blessed them with their very own toy hose!

It really is the simple things, you know?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

For Life. . .

When I was in college, I loved listening to Rich Mullins. His music was so challenging, so honest, and so deep, and I loved him. He actually went to be with Jesus during my senior year of college, and I was very, very sad. I think the thing that I loved most about him was his reckless abandonment to God. He was, by no means, a casual Christian. He was bold and untame, and I was very drawn to him because of it. I have always been straight laced and a bit on the stiff side. Legalism comes naturally to me, and I have to fight daily to live free. All that to say, Rich challenged the starched spirituality that I had come to accept as Christianity. He helped me to see Christianity not as a religion but rather as a wild carefree journey to the heart of God. Jen and I began using the word "raw" to describe this reckless faith. And, we would pray that God would give us "raw" husbands one day. I didn't want to live an ordinary life just going to church on Sundays. I wanted my faith to permeate every aspect of my life.



I met Erik early in my Junior year of college. We ended up sitting in a car waiting on Jen and Jason, and we talked and talked and talked and talked. At one point I remember thinking. . . "Who is this guy, and why am I telling him all these things?" I poured out my heart to him, my dreams, desires, goals, and plans. And, he did the same. He even walked me through the floor plan of his "dream home" that night. We had a lot in common, and a seed was definitely planted that night. For the first 6 to 8 months that Erik and I were "friends," I was also being "friends" with another young man. His name was Chris, and he was studying to be an orthodontist in California, so we dated when he came home for weekends and holidays. But, the summer between my junior and senior year, I began to feel convicted that neither of these guys knew that I was "friends" with someone else, and I needed to choose.



So, two roads diverged, and I stood looking down both desperately trying to choose. They were both awesome Godly guys. But, there was one difference, and I could sense it and feel it, and I knew the answer. Chris loved God. He really, really did. He prayed with me and talked about wanting to be the Godly head of his family, and there is not a doubt in my mind that he is exactly that wherever he is today.



But, Erik was different.



He was like no one that I had ever met. He was reckless in his faith. He loved Jesus and talked about Him casually, comfortably, and with deep emotion. He was a living extension of what I was learning from Rich. He was "raw," and I was wholeheartedly smitten.



So, I made my decision and never looked back.



A year and a half later this amazing man knelt down in front of the fountain in the courtyard of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Courtyard, and said that there was no one else he wanted to wake up next to every morning, no one else he wanted to be the mother of his children, no one else that he wanted to grow old with, and then he asked me to be his wife.

It was the greatest compliment of my life.

This man that I adored and respected and admired. . .

Full of character, integrity, and a rugged, "raw" faith and passion for Jesus. . .

That he would choose me to be his. . .

for life.

I am still baffled by this. . . baffled but grateful, so grateful. . .

On our one year anniversary, I looked across a candlelit table, stared deep into his eyes, and told him that through his daily life I had learned so much about the love of Christ and about the character of Christ. My respect and admiration for him multiplied that first year as I watched him live life, and it challeneged me tremendously.



And, now we have been married ten years. And, when we went to dinner the other night to celebrate, I told him the same thing once more. I never cease to be challenged by his life. And, as unbelievable as it is, my love for him grows day by day, year by year.


When I look back over the last 10 years, I am amazed. God has been so good. We have been blessed in so many ways ~ four little red-headed freckle faced boys being at the top of the list. And, up until 3 weeks ago, we hadn't really had much in the way of trials or tragedy. But, now we are dealing with that, and our love is being grown and strengthed as we walk through it.



An update on his parents: Erik's mom is still in a coma. She has two infections that she is fighting right now. So, please pray for her, and pray for her doctors. Erik's dad is also about the same ~ just healing. These things take time. Jason, Erik's brother, is working hard to get them into the next hospital (a long-term care facility). Pray that they will be able to share a room! This is something Jason is working on, and it would be wonderful!!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

He's home!

After 11 days in New Orleans taking care of his parents, Erik came home to see us and catch up on work for a week before he needs to go back once again. I cannot tell you how much we all missed him. The boys missed their Daddy so much. It just hasn't been right around here without him. I haven't slept well, the boys haven't slept well, and there have been a good number of tears shed. But, he is back, and we celebrated his return! We got balloons and flowers (tulips ~ a favorite of his), made brownies and his favorite good old southern dinner of chicken and rice along with mashed potatoes and green beans, and the boys made posters to welcome him!

The boys were so excited ~ so, so, so excited to see their Daddy. No one missed him more than Joshua ~ except, maybe, for me.


Sweet, sweet reunion for this Daddy lovin' little man!


Joshua may have been most outspoken about how much he missed Daddy, but Elijah was most outspoken about how excited he was to see Daddy!!!! Even this morning he kept looking up at Daddy and hugging him tight and kissing him. I know it has to be a little bit of a healing balm to my sweet husband's hurting heart ~ at least I pray that it is.



He looks a bit like he has been in the wilderness for the last 11 days instead of in the city! He has since lightened up his beard a bit and gotten a haircut!!!!! He is looking a little more like himself today! But, I think he is beautiful no matter how he looks because he is mine and I love him like crazy!!!!!! Did I mention that we have been married 10 years today!!!!!! That is another post for a day when I have time to sit down and really pour out my heart! He bought me a beautiful Fleur de leis necklace while in New Orleans to celebrate our 10 years ~ very apropos since we were married 10 years ago at Martin Chapel on the Seminary Campus in New Orleans. Fleur de leis have become sort of a symbol of our love, obviously, because we were married in New Orleans.

I digress. . . Erik Daniel sat in his stroller watching the other boys reunite with their Daddy. He sat there just a smilin' away with the biggest grin, and I just watched and waited for his Daddy to stop and say hello to him. After he had held each of the big boys, he knelt down to talk to his littlest man, and Erik Daniel literally lit up under the attention of his sweet Daddy!



Erik had to run to the office immediately after reuniting with us ~ something about a football player and a shoulder. . . But, while he was there the girls at his office gave him these. . .



These are the names of all of his patients who called to check on him while he was away ~ front and back of the legal pad page, too. Tons of names ~ some left short messages, several wanted him to know that they had their entire church praying for his parents. His office staff was so sweet not just to answer all the calls, but to write down each name so that Erik could know how loved and prayed for he is. This meant so much to him. Every neighbor stopped by the house last night. Everywhere we go in our small town, we feel so loved and lifted up!

I am so thankful to have Erik home with us physically. But, there is still a part of him that is in New Orleans. I can see it in his eyes, and I have been feeling that this will not change for quite some time. Please continue to keep Jason and Erik in your prayers. One of our sweet aunts volunteered to pay for an airline ticket so that Jen can be with Jason in New Orleans this weekend. And, I am so thankful that he will have her there with him while Erik is away ~ not to mention the fact that I am thrilled for them that they get to see each other. Jen and I have missed our loves so much and have longed to be with them!

I better go ~ gotta date with a tall, dark, and handsome man!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sons are a heritage from the Lord,
children a reward from Him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one's youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
Psalm 129:3-5

Going through this experience with my husband has strengthened my love for him. And, I didn't think it was possible that I could love him more. . . But, God continues to make my love for him abound more and more, deeper and deeper, the more we experience life together.

Watching Erik and Jason care for their parents has been very moving for me. These two very driven, very hardworking, family loving Dads left their homes, wives, children, jobs, patients, and congregation to be at their parents' bedside. And, they have not left them. And, their plan is for one of them to be with them in New Orleans at all times.

They are taking good care of their parents, and it is a blessing to watch.

If I could whisper something in Erik's mother's ear right now it would be "You have raised wonderful sons, and they love you so much. Do you hear them singing to you and over you? Do you hear their sweet prayers? These are precious men you have raised. Thank you. Thank you so much. I am so blessed because of your faithfulness to God and so are my children. I love you."

Joshua was missing Erik again today, and before he let the tears flow once again, Nana stopped him and said, "You know how much you love your Daddy? Well, your Daddy loves his Daddy just like that. And, his Daddy is hurt, and he wants to be close to him while he is hurt. And, he wants to take care of his Daddy. That is why he has to be away from you right now. One day your Daddy may be hurt, and you will want to go and take care of your Daddy, don't you think?" And, Joshua agreed that he would want to take care of his Daddy. And, JCT chimed in, "Yes, and I would take care of my Daddy even if he threw up on me 5 times. I would take care of him." JCT's part I had to throw in because it made me smile. But, I love what she said to Joshua, and I think it help put things in perspective for him.

When I saw the picture above that Jason took of Erik and his Dad. I knew immediately that I wanted to put it in a post with Psalm 129:3-5 by it. When I pulled my Bible out to copy the verse word for word, I saw something that I had long since forgotten. When I was in college and dating my sweet Erik, I wrote "Mr. Jimmy" (Erik's Dad's name) by these verses in my Bible. I've probably read this verse 500 times in the last 10 years, but I have looked right past it. But, tonight it caught my attention. How true it is! How blessed are they to have such sweet Godly sons!


Erik and Jason have worked it out so that their Dad can visit their mom for the first time since the accident tomorrow morning. Be praying about that. It will be beautiful, bittersweet, but beautiful.

Tailbone. . .

So, Nana took the boys to the park today. By "the boys," I mean Joshua and JCT. They had a wonderful time until Joshua got hurt. Evidently, he was trying to walk down a slide with muddy shoes and he slipped, fell, and hurt his bottom. Nana was off watching JCT when the little incident happened, so Joshua ran to her and began to tell her what happened. But, then he decided instead of telling her, he would show her. Brilliant idea. So, as you can imagine when he reenacted the incident he fell once again on his bottom. This time it really hurt.

He got up and tried to walk, but he was walking bent over and stiff. Nana insisted that they leave, but Joshua didn't want to go. He told her, "I'm okay. I'm okay. My daddy walks like this sometimes." And, he is right. Sometimes first thing in the morning Daddy is stiff, and he does kind of walk like that!

After a few minutes of trying to play but still hurting, Joshua looked at his Nana and said, "Well, I guess I'll have to go to New Orleans because my doctor is in New Orleans." But, then Nana suggested another good doctor in our town, Dr. Sean, Daddy's partner. That was sufficient for Joshua and in his mind he began to plan what he would say to Dr. Sean during his appointment.

On the way home, Joshua asked Nana, "Nana, will I still hurt when I get to heaven? Because. . . because if I do, then I won't be able to bow down to Jesus!!!!"

Nana assured him that when he got to heaven he would no longer be in pain.

Here is a little note he wrote for Dr. Sean. The picture is of Sammy the skeleton (who lives at Dr. Sean and Daddy's office). The arrow is pointing out where my Joshua is hurting.


Kids are so fun! And, I cannot tell you how much we have enjoyed having Nana with us!!! She has helped me so so so much!!!! Thank you, Mommy!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Do you think he misses his Daddy?

Ummm. . .

Yes!

It has been a little over a week since we have seen our sweet Daddy/Erik, and we have never been away from him this long. never. ever. So, naturally the boys are really beginning to miss him ~ especially one boy in particular.

Joshua.

Today he came home from school with his usual bunch of papers. On the back of two of his worksheets, he had drawn pictures of his Daddy.


When I inquired about the picture above, he informed me that it was a picture of Daddy and him working in the yard. Daddy has an ax. I guess he is going to cut down the tree to the left of him. And, that grey thing to the right of Daddy is his wheelbarrow.

We thought that Daddy was going to come home today, but he wasn't able to leave just yet. So, there has been great wailing and gnashing of teeth in our home this evening!!! Long after I tucked the big boys in bed, I heard more crying upstairs. I went up and found both my sweet men in JCT's bed. They were cuddled together, and Joshua was crying again. I held him and told him that I missed Daddy, too. Then, I sang the boys a sweet little song that Erik wrote for his Dad when he was growing up. . .
"Neither heights nor depths, nor doubts nor fears, nor taking steps, nor buggy-men or bears, could ever separate me from your love. . ."
I sang it several times while brushing their soft strawberry blond hair out of their eyes. Then, we talked about all the fun things we will do when Daddy comes home, and the tears slowly dried. Before I left I asked them. . .
"Who is going to be the most excited when Daddy comes home?"
They both raised their hands and yelled, "ME!!"
I laughed and said, "You're both wrong! I'll be the most excited!!"
Joshua argued that since he was the first in our home to cry that he would be the most excited.
But, he is wrong.
So, very, very wrong.
We all know and understand that Daddy is just exactly where he needs to be right now. And, in a few days he will come home and be home for a week!! At least that is the plan for now, but it is subject to change at any moment!
Erik, I just wanted to let you know how loved and missed you are! Godspeed, sweet love.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Peace. . .



All shall be well. . . And, all shall be well. . . And, all manner of things shall be well. . .



Unless I get a call in the next hour, we didn't receive the Easter miracle we were praying for, but all is still well. Erik's mom is still in a coma, and we are still praying and believing. Erik's Dad is doing quite well. I got to see him via my computer on Saturday and have a quick conversation with him. He looked great, and I got to hear those wonderful rich tones in his voice once again, thank You, Jesus! His deep voice is one of the most soothing I know, and it was wonderful to hear and see him. As per his usual, he was pouring love through his words over one of my sons. Joshua and JCT were at a softball game, so Elijah had Pop all to himself! It was such a special time for us.

Pop is the most knowledgeable, highly educated man of God that I know. He preaches out of the Greek New Testament for goodness sake! But, yet the sweet simplicity of his faith is what is most remarkable about him to me. And, this statement that he made on Saturday pretty much sums up the way he lives ~ listening to God and following Him. What I tend to complicate, he sees so simply. And, I love that about him. This is what he said in regard to his present set of circumstances. . .

"I just simply sense the Lord whispering, 'Peace.' And, I trust Him."

I love that.

And, isn't that what Jesus died and rose again to bring us.

Peace.

Peace with God. . .

Peace with our fellow man. . .

And, peace even in the midst of life's greatest trials.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Egg Hunt. . .

A few of our good friends put together a little Easter egg hunt for my boys and Afton. It was so incredibly thoughtful of them. I couldn't thank them enough!


Mrs. Jean invited us out to her home just outside of town, and it was beautiful. There was so much room for the kids to run and play, and they had a blast!




LuAnne and her daughters were there. Both of her daughters are dear to me, and the kids had lots of fun playing with them!






They had a special table for the guests of honor. . .







We ate a good meal, and then the kids went egg hunting!




Mrs. Jean and Mr. Johnny have a beautiful and big backyard - perfect for Easter egg hunging!








This tire swing was awesome! Well, to be quite honest, it scared me a little. Lauren pushed him very high! But, Joshua loved it!




The kids loved hanging on the skeleton of the trampoline! Little gymnasts!




Fun, fun, fun!


And, JCT, my sweet darling JCT, as we were leaving Mrs. Jean's home, as we were making our way to the car, he decided that he needed to go. . .



If you know what I mean. . .



And, I was still inside saying my 5,000 thank you's. So, he just took it upon himself to relieve himself. . .



in Mrs. Jeans flower bed!



And, if that wasn't bad enough, he did it in front of LuAnne's daughters who thought it was the funniest thing EVER.



And, you know what that does, that just encourages such behavior. . .



Why, oh, why? Joshua would never ever have done something like that! Never! But, JCT is his only precious little person, and I love him tremendously. . .


How could I not love him?





And, after the Easter egg hunt the boys went to a softball game with our sweet family friend's ~ Mr. Ray, Mrs. Wendy, John Andy and Jake. They had a great day. Poor Lijah had to miss all the fun! He was home sick with Nana. But, thanks to Uncle Sean, he will be well very soon!

We may not have family that live here in our little town with us. And, we may not have Daddy home with us for Easter. But, we have friends. Lots of friends. Lots of very, very good friends.


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Back Home. . .

I'm not sure whether Erik is borrowing Jason's laptop and reading my blog or not. But, just in case he is. . .
Here are a few pictures of what is going on back home, sweet one.
People continue to be so sweet! Take for instance Michael, our next door neighbor, who offered to come over and put our trash out for me! How sweet is that??!!

And, LuAnne, our choir director, brought us this yummy cookie that she made!!!



Do you see JCT's finger about to steal some icing? :-)

Oh, my goodness, I love her. I really, really love her. And, I will never, ever forget, Sunday night as we performed our Easter musical for the second time - Sean was Jesus - Erik was in the ICU in New Orleans visiting his parents - LuAnne did something that nearly stopped my heart - or at least made it drop into my stomach. It was very difficult for me to sing that night. My mind was distracted. My mom sat two rows from the front holding Joshua tightly in her arms, and I couldn't help wondering if that was to be Joshua's only living grandmother. And, my heart was broken about it all. And, Erik wasn't Jesus. And, for eight years he has been Jesus every year. And, it just felt so foreign, so strange, so lonely to be doing it without him. The words to the music were just that, just words. They weren't penetrating, and I just wanted the evening to be over, quickly. Yuck. That is how I felt. Yuck. Anyway, we came to the song, "In His Presence." And, my eyes were fixed on LuAnne trying desperately to focus, to keep up, to remember to sing.
Then, it happened in one quick little moment.
We got to a part of the song where the line is, " In His presence there is hope and there is peace." And, LuAnne looked over at me and sang the words as she directed. But, she didn't just sing
the words to me. She sang them over me, she sang them to my doubts, my fears, to my heart and to my head. And, as she sang the words over me she looked unwaveringly straight into my eyes and through to my soul. It was a moment that I will never forget. I felt God singing those words over me. And, that is not the first time LuAnne has spoken God's love to my soul, and that is why I love her so.
Here she is with my littlest man. . .

And, I love this picture of my mom enjoying a sweet little sleeping man on her chest.

And, then, baby, if you are reading this, these two pictures are of the boys after bath tonight. We all came back downstairs to watch the DVD of the first night's performance.

Cute little cuddly brothers. . .

As far as an update on Erik's parents goes. . . Everything is pretty much the same. Little things have changed but nothing significant yet.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A Bright Spot. . .

So, the bracket is complete, and we are happy with the outcome!


My sweet husband only watched the last minute and 30 seconds of the game, but at least I hope it brought a little smile to his face. I had a talk with God about the big game earlier in the day on Monday. I asked him to please let the heels win for Erik's sake, and what do you know, He did!

Today has been an interesting day for me. It started off really lousy, but got a whole lot better after I was blessed to have two long focused conversations with my sweet husband. I was able to ask a lot of questions and learn a lot more about the accident and state of his parent's health. It is hard to be away from Erik during this tragedy, but I know that I am where I am supposed to be, and he is where he is supposed to be. People constantly say to me, "I know you wish that you were there with him." And, in part, I guess that is true, but I think God did an even better thing by sending him on ahead of me. Now, let me tell you why. . .

Erik's good friend, Kevin, drove 8 hours on Sunday to be with Erik. Chris drove 11 hours with Jason so that Jason wouldn't be alone. And, Drew, who was in both Erik and Jason's weddings, drove from Montgomery to be with them. So, Erik and Jason spent Sunday and Monday with 3 of their best friends. Three Godly men to whom I will forever be indebted. Today through tears Erik described how these men loved on him and Jason. They were a source of strength and encouragement. They cried with them, and they laughed with them. And, I think it was Jesus' perfect plan for Erik and Jason to have these special friends walk with them through this incredibly, indescribably difficult time. Erik called me Sunday night from one of our favorite New Orleans restaurants. The music was loud and there was so much talking in the background. And, in my mind, I pictured these 5 men, exhausted emotionally and physically, sitting around a table sipping sweet tea. And, all of the sudden in the middle of Erik and my quick conversation, I heard a beautiful thing. . .

On one of the hardest days of his life, I heard Jason laugh. And, not just a little laugh. No, I am talking about the kind of laugh that comes from deep down inside. And, it made my heart smile.

How do you say thank you for that? For 3 friends who dropped their life, left their wives and children, and came to be at your husband's side when he needed them most. Jen and I are so grateful. We will not soon forget.

So, yes, in a way, I am sad that I couldn't be there to go through these very hard first days with Erik, but I honestly think God had a better plan for Erik and Jason. Had I been there, a small part of Erik would have been worried about me, about how I was handling it all. But, instead, he and Jason were free to think only of their parents while good friends took good care of them.

Now, Erik's mom is pretty much the same. Nothing that Erik would call "significant" has happened. . . . yet. And, Erik's dad is healing from his surgery on Monday, and will go back to surgery tomorrow to repair the breaks in his arm and wrist. He's in a lot of pain, so please pray for them to get his meds just right ~ so that he isn't in too much pain, and he isn't too fuzzy headed either. And, of course, pray for Erik's mom that she will begin to respond and act voluntarily. And, pray for Sean as he takes care of his own patients and some of Erik's, too.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Please Say a Prayer. . .


After the first performance of our Easter Musical this past Saturday night, we received some bad news. Erik's parents were in New Orleans at the seminary, and as they crossed the street in front of the seminary campus at a crosswalk, a car hit them and injured them severely. We'd appreciate your prayers.

Erik's Daddy has two broken legs, a deflated lung, some blood on his brain, and a cervical fracture. But, the one who needs your prayers most urgently is his mama. She has a herniated brain stem, and is not responding to anything except pain at this point. Please keep them in your prayers and Erik and Jason, too. Pray for strength and peace and patience and healing. . .

Erik's brother called to give us the news late Saturday evening. He and his family had just left our home Saturday morning after a fun filled week of play with 8 children under one roof! They were almost home when they got the news. So, poor Jason had to turn around and drive another 11 hours to New Orleans after he drove nearly 12 hours back to Florida earlier that day.

The most amazing thing to me is that in the midst of this horrible situation God has made Himself real and present through friends, friends who are like family. Take for instance, Sterling, our neighbor, who when he heard about Erik's parents called us and offered his company's plane to Erik. Erik took him up on the offer of a quick flight to New Orleans, and when Sterling heard that Erik would be traveling alone, he went with Erik. When they arrived in New Orleans, he had a car waiting for them at the airport, and he drove Erik to the hospital and stayed for a while. And, then there is Kevin, who drove 8 hours from Northwest Georgia to be with Erik. And, Sean stayed behind and played Jesus in tonight's Easter Musical performance so that the show could go on. And, Chris and Becky who met Jason and Jen on their way home from our house. Chris drove the 11 hours with Jason, so Jason wouldn't have to go alone, and Becky got Jen and her crew the rest of the way home safely. And, then there are all the seminary families who have gathered to support Erik and Jason and their parents.

But, the thing that has touched me personally the most is the outpouring of love we have received from our community and our church. Good heavens, within a few short hours word spread from one corner of our little town to the other. In a matter of hours, we received phone calls from everyone ~ from the lady who cleans our home to Joshua's teacher to our hairdresser and on and on. Our church has an average attendance of like 300. And, I guarantee you that at least 150 of the 300 have called or contacted me in some way today. The family of God is a good thing, a really, really good thing.

Also, please pray for my children and my nieces and nephew. Some of them are too young to understand, but some of them are not. My Joshua's sweet little dam broke tonight, and he cried and cried. He misses his Daddy, and he saw his Daddy cry and that is bothering him. Please pray that Jen and I will have wisdom to know how best to talk about all this with them.

Thank you so much.

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Hi! I live in a sweet country home overflowing with love, laughter, and little ones. I have been blessed to journey these days beside a man that I love, respect, and admire. He is my soul-mate and best friend. Together we are seeking to raise our seven children to be lovers of God, to be wise and discerning, and to be all that our sweet God created them to be. I am in the goldfish and cheerio stage of life, but I am keenly aware that these days are slipping right through my hands. This blog is my attempt to keep our memories safe for years to come.

 

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