Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day

Well it's been a nice quiet, peaceful Christmas with family.  Wasn't about the gifts this year which is nice.  Glad that Samuel's ok with not having the latest gadgets and very happy with what he got even though we wish we could have done more.  But like I said, it's just not about the gifts.  At least not about the gifts we give each other.  We're blessed no matter what because of the gift of Jesus.  Sounds trite when I type it like that, but it really is true.  I didn't open gifts today, well, I did open a card from my in-laws... a trip to the lovely Olive Garden.  Very nice.  I got my sweet ring from my men that covered my birthday and Christmas.  :o) It's got April's and September's birthstones in it, for Cayla and Samuel.  They are so thoughtful.  They wanted to give me a ring for Mother's Day, but too much going on.  It's very special that they got this for me.  I love them both so much!  :o)

Some Christmas ornaments we got this year to remember our precious Cayla Joy...

Our senior and our baby... 2012
There were a few tears shed today.  But it was a beautiful day.  I wasn't sure how I'd be or even Lowell and Samuel, but we had our time this morning remembering her and talking together.  Amazingly enough, thanks to the prayers, we all were able to enjoy the day without a lot of stress or grief, but happy memories.  So a huge thank you to those who have prayed.  God answered!  :o)

Hope you all had a blessed Christmas!  We are looking forward to 2013 and all that it will bring.  I still want to post pictures of Cayla's little mementos and her shelf.  Another night this week maybe.  This is one tired mama who's got a doctor's appt. tomorrow.  God bless!

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Pastor's sermon this morning was on Isaiah 6:9.  It talks about what Jesus will be called.  When he got to Wonderful, he said there's a comma after it, and it's not being used as an adjective describing Counselor.  It's a name for Jesus all by itself.  I don't think I've realized that before, nor have I seen this in a list of the names of Jesus.  What a great name.  Wonderful.  He is Wonderful in everything He is and does.  That just made me smile.  :o)

Then he went to Counselor, and I was reminded that I have THE Counselor of counselors to talk to anytime or anywhere.  He's not just A Counselor... His name IS Counselor.  I need Him and His counsel more than anyone else's.  After my blog entry last night, this just jumped out at me this morning.  I love how God works!  This one definitely made me smile again.  A verse came to mind as he was preaching.  Psalm 1:1 "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly..."  I could never go to just any human counselor, they would have to be a Christian using God's Word.  There are some great Christian counselors out there, but since I have no money, unless they'll talk for free, it isn't to be.  But you know, that's ok because I do have THE Counselor of all counselors 24/7 and He doesn't charge.  Big smile.

The next one was The Mighty God.  These are names describing... Jesus.  He is God.  He is the Mighty God.  He can do anything and has.  He had to be who He was to do what He did. I had to write that one down.  I smiled as I said Amen.  :o)

The Everlasting Father... the Father of Eternity.  Then he said, You can't give what you do not have.  I had to think about that.  God couldn't give us eternal life if He wasn't eternal Himself.  He's not being called God the Father, but our Father.

Prince of Peace.  Jesus must be the Prince or there's no peace.  Peace with God is most important. (Romans 5:1 and Colossians 1:20)  If you don't have this, nothing else matters.  Nothing else works.  Then there's the Peace of God, Phillipians 4:6,7.  It's not bought or bottled but purchased by His blood on the cross.  Then the Peace from God found in the opening of all Paul's epistles.  This is the amazing serenity of heart.  I feel like I've been on overload with this!  God's peace is like nothing else.  He ended with saying that our world will always lack peace until they accept God as the Prince of Peace.

Let me just suffice it to say, I was blessed this morning.  (another big smile)  Thank you Pastor Emery for speaking God's Word to me like it's brand new!  I love my church.  I had to share because it applies to everything we've gone through.  My life is anything but perfect, but with Jesus it's sure on the right path and easier to get straightened out when I fall.  Trust me.  Those who are still holding out, just let go and let God!  Giving my life to God is something I will be eternally grateful for and never have nor ever will regret that major decision.  It's yours to make. 

I will close with this thought.  Tonight at our "Evening in December" service, JoAnn Ward read the words to the "Jesus Name Above All Names" poem kind of thing (not sure what to call it).  It went through all the books in the Bible and said how God was seen in that book.  Out of all the things mentioned tonight, the one that stood out to me was Daniel.  She said that in the book of Daniel, He is the 4th man in the fiery furnace.  I just loved that!  He goes through the trials with us.  Delivers us from them while right in the midst of the worst part.  I am feeling so blessed tonight in my salvation from God.  No gifts are necessary this week.  Cayla's with Jesus and I will get to hug and kiss her again.  She's doing fine, and so am I.  I would have done things a little different, but His ways are perfect.  What more is there?  I trust Him and pray that you do too.  And... I'm still smiling... that might also have something to do with the gluten-free pineapple cheesecake I made and am eating... ;o)  Good night and have a blessed Christmas Eve!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

It's been 6 months since she died.

What an amazing thought!  Six months since this all happened.  I thought about going back rereading the post I wrote that night she died, but can't quite bring myself to do so.  As much as I've tried to write these last months, it just isn't there.  So, so many days, I would have thoughts about something and think, Oh, I should write this in the blog.  But I didn't.  Now, I sit and have 100 things I could write about, but I don't think I'll be writing any of them. 

Today is a special day in my book.  It's exactly 6 months since our precious Cayla Joy died.  It's also 3 days before Christmas.  I remember a year ago wondering what this Christmas would be like with a baby after so many years.  We didn't find out about her heart until Feb 3rd, so we had lots of dreams last year not knowing she had anything wrong with her.  But you know, it's ok. 

The last thing I wanted to hear from anyone six months ago was that time heals.  I felt like that meant I was getting over her which ultimately meant I was forgetting her.  That's just how my thought processes went at the time.  Time does heal.  I love my mom and will never forget her, but time has eased the pain of losing her and it's nice to know I will never forget her after 18 years.  I *know* we will never forget our beautiful baby Cayla Joy.  I know that.  I guess I just worry sometimes that I'll forget what it felt like to hold her or kiss her.  What would I do without pictures, I don't know.  I cling to these pictures I have.  I doubt I'll forget her eyes looking at me and staring for long periods of time as if she was trying to tell me something.  I remember telling her to just let it out and tell me what's wrong... I'm a mess.  :o) 

I have to keep telling myself it's only been 6 months.  I'm actually doing great, I think.  I don't have anything to go up against, but for me, I think I'm doing well.  I feel free to laugh without guilt anymore.  I feel free to cry anywhere with anyone if something triggers the tears instead of holding them in wondering if people think I cry day in and day out.  I'm teasing people in my sarcastic way again (you know, the sarcasm I've learned from Lowell over the years.)  ;o)  He might not read this, so I can talk about him.  :o)  Anyways, I'm feeling free to do so much more in life.  It's kind of like subconsciously I've given myself permission to be more normal again.  To keep moving forward.  To get to a place where I can think about Cayla and smile.  It's not that I don't cry, but I can think about the what if's and guilt over her death and know that it's not mine or Lowell's fault although he still blames himself for her death.  That's a prayer request right there.  I feel like God has given me so, so many victories in my life through all this, that I'm thankful for all He's changed in me.  Some areas might have never changed had I not gone through this.

I praise the Lord for personal victories where I've actually listened to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and acted upon it to stop sin that only God and I know about.  God is so much more real than He's ever been in my life before.  I've taught Samuel and children at church that you can't hide anything from God and He sees everything you do and every thought you think.  Yet I am just now stopping sin because I know God's watching and because I know I'm grieving Him.  I'm learning the value of actions.  A lot of us can say the right thing all the day long, but our actions are the opposite.  It's that closeness to God that keeps us from sin.  Pastor Emery always says, "The Bible will keep us from sin, but sin will keep us from the Bible."  So true. 

I'd like to say it doesn't bother me when people tell me I'm depressed, but I can't.  Others, Lowell included, say I'm not depressed but grieving since it really hasn't been that long.  I have a debate going between depression and grieving.   I think there's a difference.  I have grieved deeply over these last 6 months.  I have been depressed over these last six months.  Just because I am one does not mean I am automatically the other.  Many times in those first months, I could not function properly.  My grief was preventing me from being able to do normal things.  To me and my unphilosophical mind, that is depression.   These last couple of months, I have been able to function, take care of my family, do the music at church, work with Samuel, work a little each week at the store and whatever else.  But... I have not done them to level of quality I have done in the past.  I'm up to about 75% maybe.  I don't know.  I do know I'm getting better though.  I don't think that constitutes depression. 

Why is it a big deal that I'm not depressed?  Well, I think God has done so much for me and given me so many victories over this that I would be dismissing Him and His work in my life to say I'm depressed right now.  I cry.  (I weep during PMS...)  I cried again today when we stopped for a hearse and funeral procession to drive by.  But it's ok, and I can move on and enjoy the rest of the day.  It doesn't debilitate me.  I don't feel that depression like I did. 

I went to see Dr. Lazerescu the OB/GYN.  Being in that same building again and having to tell the nurse my whole story about Cayla since my 1st OB no longer works there and I went on to Dr. Rajabi the specialist, set me off into tears.  Then the doctor came in and asked why he had no record of Cayla and I had to tell it all over again to him.  I didn't cry with him, but as soon as I stepped out of the room and saw a nurse I had from last year, the tears just flowed again and I had a hard time stopping them. The whole experience of being back there and talking about everything that happened was simply overwhelming to me.  So... what does the doctor say to me after talking to him about Cayla for about 20 minutes?  "Linda, I didn't know you before today, but I see a depressed woman sitting in front of me."  I almost laughed out loud.  I just wanted to tell him to put himself in my shoes for a minute.  It hadn't even been 6 months since she'd died.  Am I not allowed to grieve without being labeled depressed?   I don't know what to say anymore.   I told him if I was truly depressed, I would go see a counselor.  I told him I've talked to my pastor and his wife and to a former Christian counselor friend of mine, but he said I needed to see someone who was not emotionally involved in my life.  Maybe I would, but our deductible for this year ends January 3rd.  Whatever doctor visits I can cram in between now and then, fine.  Otherwise, nothing after the 3rd. 

I guess someone who doesn't know me and hasn't been with me through it all shouldn't bother me.  I should just smile and be eternally thankful for those that have been with me through this and can see that depression is just not me at the moment.  Whew!  Got that off my chest!  Thanks for letting me vent and try to "talk this out".  :o)  You can write any comment on this (or facebook where most of you comment) and I will gladly listen to any and all advice contrary to what I've said or not.  :o)  I promise I'll be good. 

I love my family so, so much!  I love how Samuel and I have been able to talk and get his thoughts on all of this.  What a great kid!   Which reminds me.  I have pictures of him that I've not put on the blog.  We got to babysit Elise again right before Thanksgiving and took these pictures that beautiful day.

There's so much more I want to talk about, but I let off steam about depression.  I guess I needed to do that.  I still have pictures of Cayla's little memory shelf that I want to put up, but that will have to wait again for another post. 

This Christmas will be a wonderful one.  I am sad and missing the fact that Cayla will not be with us, but there's so much I do have, I am very blessed.  The Lord Jesus, who loved me, Linda Sowry, enough to lower himself to become a man so I could have eternal life is an overwhelming thought when truly looked at.  His birth was the start of Him fulfilling His promise to send a Saviour that would save us from our sins.  That is just huge.  I pray that this Christmas you will take a good long look at Jesus.  Who He really is that we celebrate His birth so universally.  Who He is that could die like He did on the cross and still be alive today.  He is awesome.  He is everything.  He is exactly what I need to live my life joyfully no matter what the circumstances are.  I pray He is all that to you too.  He can be.  I'm just going to put this out there again, but email me if you have a question or want to know Jesus personally.  I'd love to talk.  lindasowry@gmail.com

Have a blessed Christmas and thanks for the continued prayers.  Stay tuned for the next episode in Cayla's blog...   ;o)

Funeral pics and news

I've started writing numerous times over the last 2 months, but never posted.  Most of the time I never finished writing my thoughts and never came back to that post.  I've tried to put my thoughts down, but apparently couldn't make it happen.  I'll probably start a new post about where I'm at tonight, Dec. 22nd,  and just send this one out as is. 

I really can't believe Christmas is just a couple of weeks away.   Thanks to Lowell, we finally got some Christmas decorations up last Wed.  We've had the tree up with the lights and my rose balls up, but didn't put all the rest up until last night.  I don't think I'm dreading Christmas or anything, I just feel like I've lost a little enthusiasm for all the celebrating.  I am still enjoying Christmas music and other stuff, maybe it's just taking me longer to get into it all.  This really is the best time of the year with all the beautiful lights and decorations everywhere.  I do love it all.  We even went to the Ashtabula and Jefferson parades which was fun with family and friends!  Saturday we had our church Christmas dinner which turned out really nice and fun.  And last night we drove up to Lakeshore Park with some friends from church and saw the light display they have there. 

I was reminded in the song "Mary, Did You Know?", that because Jesus came from heaven to earth, "The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again."  That's my little Cayla. There is a promise in that.  I know we will see Cayla again.  I'm not wishing it, or hoping it, or 99% sure of it... I'm 100% sure of it because God's Word says so, and He wouldn't be God if one word in the Bible wasn't true.  What an awesome God!

You all will be proud of me.  I've made a doctor's appointment for Thursday, Dec. 13th.  I just still feel imbalanced maybe hormonally, I'm not sure.  I can't seem to physically get myself back together.  I've not been to a family doctor since we've been here in Ohio, and the only doctor I've been to was my OB/GYN who's no longer there.  But I called their office and asked them where to start.  She said I could choose another doctor from there, so I have, and he'll do some blood work and get me started on getting my health back again.  Even with exercising and eating fairly well, I've gained weight and can't seem to stop it.  So, hopefully I can get my life, physically, back together.  We will see. 

Thanksgiving brought my dad and Pat up for a visit which was so great to see them again.  While she was here, Pat downloaded pictures she took at Cayla's funeral for me.   I had my camera, but couldn't bring myself to take any pictures, so I'm glad she did.  I'll post some of them here.  In one way, it's kind of hard to see them, but I know she's in heaven which changes my outlook.  In other ways, it's not hard to see them because I want to remember everything... even that day of celebrating her short little life.  So, here's the few pics.  Mostly they're the flowers so those who sent them can see what was sent. 

Lowell's cousin, Jodi Poole, talking to us about how the day will go and and answering our questions.

Dad and I talking.  I guess we were looking at who all the flowers and plants were from. 
Not all the flowers were there yet.
Still talking about who knows what.   I guess Pat was just clicking away. 
I don't think I even knew she was taking any.  I'm glad she took some but not too many.  
Our precious Cayla Joy. 
Her flowers from Dad, Mom and Brother hadn't come yet. 
She was in the beautiful little yellow dress from our Pastor and his wife
and then wrapped in a big, soft blanket from her Aunt Cathie and cousins Tyler and Sheylyn. 
Jodi had it set so you could see the embroidering there too.
The little pillow in the shape of a heart with the yellow roses is from us, Mom, Dad and brother.
  They stayed in there with her.  You can click on the pictures to see them better to read the cards.

From Grandma and Grandpa Guenther
The yellow butterfly is on her little shelf

From Aunt Carol and Uncle Sandy Baumgardner
This angel is made of stone and we put this at her grave site too.

From Aunt Doris, Karla, Donna and Louisa, my aunt and cousins

From Cayla's cousin Hannah Sowry and Jim and Janet Slater (her mom)

From Ken Forging, where Lowell works

From the Ashtabula County Concerts of Prayer Board

From N.W. Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. Pastor Rodney and Diana Moye
We didn't find out this was the Moye's church until a month or so after the funeral.
For a while it was the beautiful, mystery wreath. 
We put this up at her grave and have just swapped out fake flowers. 
I'm collecting fake flowers to replace them since they don't last long in the elements. 

From Dr. and Mrs. Shoemaker for Pensacola Christian College. 

There were others, but I don't have pictures right now.  Dad and Pat's long-stemmed roses aren't in this set of pictures, but maybe I'll post more later.  Thanks for all the prayers and love over these months.  Love to all!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

What a year...

Well, a year ago today we found out I was pregnant.  What an amazing day that was!  So, so much has happened since then.   I look back at this past year and as much as I would have loved for a different outcome, I wouldn't trade this year for anything.  I had a daughter.  No, I have a daughter.  I never thought I'd be able to say those words.  My precious baby girl is always going to be a part of me no matter what.  As time passes though, I feel like it was a dream.  The pregnancy seemed to go by so quickly and then the time in the hospital seemed so surreal.  The couple of weeks we were home with her went by so fast as we tried to make some kind of schedule.  And then it was all over.  And now 4 months have gone by.   

We'd have a little 6 month old now.  It's hard to think that it's been six months since I had her.  I've shed many tears this past week just realizing how much I miss having Cayla in my arms.  It's been a rough few days.  The peace from God is still there, I just miss my girl.  After waiting so many years for her and to only hold her for such a short time...  It's just hard.  She really was so precious.

I know if I were to turn my thoughts and perspective around, the tears would subside, and they have when I've needed them to.  But sometimes I just want to cry about losing Cayla.  Sometimes I need to cry about her.  Tears are healing.  They tell me I've not forgotten her.  Part of me wants to hurt so I don't ever forget her.  I feel like the time we had with her was so short that it would be easy to forget this past year even happened.  I know I'll never forget her, but my life has fallen back into pre-Cayla routines and activities that have nothing to do with a baby.  I do feel like it was all a dream.

Anyways, I'm just a little weepy and tired tonight.  I wanted to write today since this all started a year ago.  We had no idea what the year ahead would hold, but God did, and it's so amazing just resting and trusting Him.  I cry, but I'm ok.  Really.  I am.  Thanks for the prayers so many are still praying for us.  It's a process and we are all still going through it.  So don't stop.

Before I say goodnight, here's some random pics of those few short days with our precious Cayla Joy. 


Aunt Cathie
Grandma and Grandpa

Grandma and Grandpa




The yellow cow... she would stare at this picture intently... Thanks Andy Warhol for entertaining Cayla.

Our Precious Cayla Joy
 Goodnight!  :o)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Samuel's 17... missing my Cayla

Well, thinking about little miss Cayla alot these days.  I guess I will for a while... especially around the 22nd and 24th of each month.  Yes, she'd be 5 months old today.  I guess in time I will get past these days of the month without noticing, but not yet.  We'd probably still be at Cleveland Clinic recovering from her 2nd heart surgery so we could gear up for her bottom surgery.  Oh well.  How to stop these thoughts.  I do not know.  I love her so much.  I miss her so much.  I want to kiss her and hold her one more time. 

I have this picture of her and Lowell as my desktop background, and I find myself before I go to bed each night, telling her that, Momma loves you, and stuff like that.  There's going to be a permanent mark on my screen where I "rub her head" like I used to.  Feeling like this is pretty pathetic, but it makes me feel like I can at least say goodnight to her each night.  Don't know if it's "healthy" but it's where I'm at.  :o) 

I really am doing ok.  I just miss her.  I am feeling like I'm functioning a little more like myself everyday.  Haven't determined whether that's good or bad yet... ;o)  Samuel and I are doing the couch to 5K program instead of just our own walking/jogging for 3-4 miles.  This is different, so we'll see how it goes.  We only went one day last week between Samuel's poison ivy all over his body and then his birthday.  So today was a little rough getting back into it.  I am loving this cooler weather though.  The trail is pretty shaded so it's definitely jacket weather. 

I really need to do this and watch what I'm eating since I've gained back all the weight I lost with my pregnancy and some.  I need to hourly ask for God's strength to do what's right for my body physically.  I cannot do this on my own.  I've tried my whole life to be able to lose the weight.  I mean lose it and keep it off.  I'm going to take it where I'm at right now and ask God at the top of every hour (even if I need to set my alarm) to be in control of my actions.  To drink a glass of water every hour.  To take a few minutes to pray for all the many people needing it that God brings my mind throughout that hour.  To guard what I eat. To smile and show the love of God.  To not be a waster of my time.  It's easy to sit here and write this out... what great intentions.  Well have to see what kind of a report on how I do in the next post...

Good news!  Well, bad news too.  First the good news... My hair that has been falling out by the handfuls is growing back.  Yay!  My head is covered with half inch peach fuzz.  Some are even longer.  :o)  Ok, the bad news... It's coming back white and kinky.  I have white hairs zig-zagging out of my head that will not curl, or unkink.  It's almost funny it's so bad.  Actually it is funny right now while it's still just a few long ones that stick out, but once all these many other ones start growing out longer, me thinks it won't be funny anymore.  At least you can't see my scalp all the way back anymore.  So I guess this means another update will have to come later with pictures.  Eww, Ahh.

Another note, two weeks ago, I was able to complete the process to send in my milk and they called to tell me they pasteurized it that morning and it's already being used.  They were thrilled with the amount I was able to send and the content of it.  She said it is just what they need for preemies with lots of thick cream and good fats (from all the salmon I was eating).  :o)  So, I'm so glad that finally worked out and is done.

Don't have time now, but I'll have to take pictures of Cayla's little box.  We put some of her mementos in a fancy jewelry box from Things Remembered.  I keep meaning to do that and don't think about it until times like now when I don't have the time to do it.  Oh well. 

Samuel's now 17 and we had a great weekend celebrating him!  Although the celebrating will continue this next weekend too.  Friday night Grandma and Grandpa are taking us to an Indians game in Cleveland and on Saturday, Lowell managed to get tickets to see Tim Hawkins, the Christian comedian, in Middleburg Heights.  Somewhere in the suburbs of Cleveland I think.  Plus we got a free $50 gift card to Chili's and Lowell has been through Chili's withdrawl since moving to Ashtabula... So he's really looking forward to this weekend as well.  We all are.  It will be nice going to Cleveland for something other than the Clinic.  :o)

Some pics from Saturday night with family and friends.

Thanks for all the love and prayers.  So many times I feel my spirits lift and just know someone had to have been praying for us.  Thank you.  We'll talk more later!  ;o)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Samuel or Cayla?

It's 12:30am this lovely, cold, rainy, dark, Friday night.  Samuel and 3 of his friends are outside, in the rain and darkness, having an AirSoft battle.  Whatever makes them happy.  I'm glad to be right here, dry and warm.  Samuel turned 17 yesterday and is having friends over tonight.  We'll have all the family and friends over tomorrow for dinner.  He's had a great time so far.  Uncle John (my brother) and Uncle Cress (Lowell's brother) have had an impact on him.  He likes cool smelling deodorants and sprays, so I thought I'd ask him if he wanted to look at some cologne yesterday.  So, what do we see right off the bat?  Mustang.  It was in the original or Blue Mustang scent.  We both really liked the Blue one, so I got it for him.  Thanks to his uncles since Lowell and I don't wear any of that... :o)  Tomorrow we celebrate my boy. 

Yesterday, we also started looking through old pictures.  I wanted to post a little album on facebook with some of his baby pics.  Well, what do we find?  This picture below of him sleeping on the couch with Daddy.  The top 2 are Cayla.  They almost look like the same baby!  I had to share.  So amazed at how much they look alike.  Samuel thought it was pretty neat that she looked so much like him.  :o)

Cayla Joy 2012
Samuel Hunter 1995

Well, they are coming in, drying off and wanting to play the Wii which is right behind me... Well, I'll get a picture of the wet gang and go to bed.

Left to right... Steven Russell, Joseph Laing, Roger Strull, and Samuel