Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Her Monument's Up and Christine Wyrtzen's music

Cayla's first time outside before we got in the car for our big ride home!
We were both leaving Cleveland Clinic for the first time in a month.  
Recently, as I've been doing dishes or baking, I've been singing along with Christine Wyrtzen's CD that I've loved since Junior High.  She came to Barcroft Bible Church sometime around 1982 or '83 and accompanied herself on the piano as she sang songs that even then moved my heart.  I remember begging my dad to buy her record for me.  Yes, it was during the transition time between records and cassette tapes... woah.  I loved that record and learned and sang all the songs right along with her.  The record was titled, "For Those Who Hurt".

I remember when I was 15, I went to a week of summer camp at McLean Bible Church. All was well in my world when I left, only to come home that Friday to Mrs. Genter (my mom's best friend) waiting to pick me up at church because my mom was in surgery for, I believe, a double mastectomy.  The details are still somewhat sketchy for me. The cancer went from the size of a pea to the size of an orange in a matter of a day or so.  This was a hard time for all of us.  I don't recall how my older brothers or sister were handling this, but one thing I remember is this record.  I played it even more.  I cried through the songs.  God brought it into my life to have at a point when I'd really need it. That record was a lifeline for me.  The songs "Carry Me", "Doves and Butterflies", and "My Father" were my favorite ones.  I even sang "A Woman's Prayer" from this record to Lowell at our wedding.

Well, I had my cassette player and went off to college 2 years later leaving my records behind.  Over the years as the internet grew, I would try to look her up but never could find her, until about a year ago, not long after Cayla died.  I found her website, Daughters of Promise and wrote her an email how wonderful it was to find her online and to tell her how much her music meant to me during one of the hardest times of my life.  How I will never forget the impression she made on me as a teenager going through a very difficult time.  I also told her about our precious Cayla Joy, her life and death.  I also said I've tried to see if my dad could find that record buried away in boxes, but to no avail.  Was this music still available on CD somewhere?

Well, she wrote me back that yes, she has turned that record into CD's and that she wanted to send it to me absolutely free.  I cried.  I'm getting good at that...  She promptly sent it with a nice note.  I wish she had some of these songs on an accompaniment CD to sing to.  I think she said she has sheet music for some of them, but I haven't been able to order those.  Maybe someday.

Soooo, for this past year or so, I've been reliving these same songs that helped me almost 30 years ago.  :o)  Isn't that amazing how God allowed me to find that music just when it would mean the most to me again?   I've found myself listening to them over and over until this summer when I misplaced the CD.  A couple of weeks ago, I found it and started playing it everyday again in the kitchen.

It was 2 weeks ago on Monday, Oct. 21st that I was singing away when I realized it was my dad's birthday.  Then instantly I recalled that 2 years ago on his birthday, I found out that life-changing news that I was pregnant again for the first time in 16 years.  The music playing, my thoughts running away...  I had my hands in soapy water in the sink and just bent down with my head on the sink and cried.  I couldn't breathe and had to stand up.  All the emotions came back again, and I cried out to God.  I can't help wondering what it would have been like having her here.  I'm fine here typing tonight, but at the time I just relived those 8 months of ups and downs and had a good cry.  As I was trying to pull myself together standing there, I started listening quietly to the music as it played.  These are the words that she was singing from this CD.  I love how God orchestrates everything even down to the timing of the words I needed to hear at that moment.

"Oh what a wonderful, wonderful rest
Trusting completely in Jesus I'm blessed.
Sweetly he comforts and shields from alarms,
holding me close in His mighty arms.

Pressing my tear stained cheeks to His own,
Hushing my grief with His sweet, gentle tone.
Touching my heart with His healing balm,
Holding me still in His mighty arms.

Troubles may rage, sin's surges may beat,
Never can they reach my sheltered retreat. 
I'm free from all danger, free from all dread,
I'm resting quite safe in His mighty arms."
an excerpt from the song, "Hiding in His Arms"

I just listened and thanked God for Cayla, for the message in the music, for Samuel, for Lowell, for everything that kept popping up in my heart.  Tears are very cleansing.  I was able to just continue washing dishes and sing along with her again.  Thank you Christine Wyrtzen for your testimony of God's power to me.  If I had more time, I'd write out the words to all the songs on this CD.  I tried to find "Carry Me" on youtube, but nothing that was worth posting.  I tried to download the CD onto my computer and copy it here, but that didn't work either.  You can hear some of her songs on you tube, or go to her website and order one.  :o)  It's my favorite CD, I guess since it holds so much meaning to me. You can download the songs from iTunes here:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/for-those-who-hurt/id405167064 or at least hear clips of them.

Throughout the rest of that week, I thought about the fact that Cayla would have turned a year and a half.  Oh, and plus my mother-in-law told me that it looked like they were marking her grave and getting ready to lay the cement foundation.  So of course, for the next three mornings, I took Samuel to work, took Lowell to work and then went to the cemetery to see if any more had been done.  Well, it hadn't, so I made myself stop going down until I heard more.  Here's a picture Jodi, Lowell's cousin took when she set it up for us. 

We took off to Virginia on a little "We need to get away" trip to my brother Jim and Marla's house in Berryville, VA that Friday the 24th to Tuesday.  Saw my dad too.  We laid low and just kind of got rejuvenated.  Don't we all need that sometimes?  Although I felt bad dropping in on them with Marla being pregnant with her 8th child and due in less than 6 weeks.  But they insisted and told us to come.  I wanted to go to Lorena Roop's funeral since we were in VA, but it didn't work out.  Sorry Kristi. 

Being completely honest, which is hard to do with some topics, it was a little bit hard to see Marla pregnant with her little girl due the beginning of December.  I really am happy for them.  I'm just throwing it out there, because I've had a few struggles with the whole thing.  Marla's been so good about being sensitive to me, to all of us.  It's hard for her I'm sure too.  I've beat myself up by going down the path of... she's a better mother and her little girl will have a house full of siblings to grow up with, while Cayla would end up being raised almost like an only child too.  She has 8 children, why couldn't we even just have a second one... Blah, blah, blah.  I could go on with more thoughts that plagued me, but you get the idea.  I've been able to squash those thoughts pretty quickly, but they resurfaced off and on while there.  

God's given me verses from the Bible that have just quieted some of these thoughts.  Even in Acts 17:24-25, 28, it reassured me that the one and only, perfect God is completely in control of life and breath and even death.  He had a plan for Cayla and numbered her days.  I do trust him.  Miss her, but trust Him.

"God that made the world and all things therein, 
seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, 
dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 
Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed anything, 
seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;  
For in Him we live, and move, and have our being;"

I guess I just needed to be reassured that God is trustworthy in what happens in my life.  The good, the bad, it all works together to make me who I am.  I am thrilled for Jim and Marla and at the same time understand that God gave Cayla life and breath, but allowed her to only live 60 days and in the process was able to point people to Him.  :o)  I do like that.  It just helps me to write it out.  Nothing major, but there nonetheless.  

Well, it's late, but I'll close with yesterday, Monday, November 4th.  I'm finally being forced to change my closets and drawers around from summer to winter clothes.  I was pulling out plastic tubs trying to find things.  Well, I pulled out a tub of Cayla's things that I hadn't touched since the day after she died when my mother-in-law, Wendy Hollon, and Erin Brown packed up everything for me and helped me sort what to get rid of and what to keep.  I had no idea what I'd kept or given away.  I thought I'd given away the first little outfit I bought her when I found out I was pregnant.  I thought I'd given away her little socks she wore that looked like a ballet shoe on her non-casted foot.  I thought I'd given away the little navy and white striped dress with the strawberries on it that she wore.  Well, I opened this tub and all of that was in there, plus a sleeper from Grandma and Grampa Joe and the little outfit from Kari Birchler, and some other knitted things and gifts.  Well, as soon as I saw her little dress and socks, I lost it.  I bawled as I held up the few, little clothes she actually did get to wear.  I buried my face in her blanket that she laid on all the time, and I cried.  I know I sound like a weak mess of a person who's always weeping and crying, but tears are so healing.  And outside of the times I mention in the blog, I'm a normal, as normal as I can be, functioning, wife and mom.  At least I think so.  I haven't asked Lowell and Samuel.  Maybe we'll just keep moving on here...

In the midst of the tears, my heart's cry to God was for another baby, but only if it was His perfect will.  God knows my heart.  The last thing I want is a baby at almost 44 years old if it's not God's will for me.  He knows my heart and knows how much I truly meant every word.  If it's His will that I have no more children, then I asked Him to help ease the desire and maybe give me a job or some direction.  I've really not pursued a job like I need to.  I'm trying to change that.  I don't know how it would work with three, full-time people working in this house with one car.  It's in His hands.  I'm in no hurry.  :o)  

Well, I'm going to change around a few things in Cayla's little box on her shelf.  The socks are definitely going in and I'm going to trade out the onesie for the matching rose outfit and shoes.  

I'm ready for bed.  This post has been a while in coming.  I've tried to write for over 2 weeks now, but tonight was finally the night.  I'm feeling blessed tonight.  God's been good!  Love to all!  

Friday, September 6, 2013

Music with Gordon Mote

I've not felt great this week physically, hormonaly  and have been close to tears many times.  I've been grumpy and feeling like I'm on the edge of that pit called depression, but just looking in.

Last night I went with Tina Siesel to hear Gordon Mote, the blind, really amazing piano player from the Gaithers.  He started out with a song I haven't heard since youth group in the 80's, "Give Them All to Jesus".  The words and music just took me back, and as I listened to the words, a few tears started falling.  "Wrap up all the shattered dreams of your life, and at the feet of Jesus lay them down."

He went on to some praise songs about Jesus, but it was too late.  Something was triggered in me, and my thoughts went down the path to the day of Cayla's funeral.  I guess because I was sitting with Tina that my mind went to afterwards when everyone was coming up to hug us and say goodbye to Cayla.  I was going through the motions and talking, hugging, some tears, listening to words of comfort  But when Tina stepped up, who's been there through so much for me and all of us during this whole time, I burst into tears and started weeping as I held her.  I couldn't stop.  I think someone had to come put a hand on me to keep me going.  Here I am remembering this last night, and in the middle of a wonderfully happy song, I started crying again.

Then my mind went to Sheena Wood after the funeral with a similar reaction when I saw her in the line with little Gideon strapped on the front of her.  Her words of comfort and just seeing Gideon for the first time at about a month old, was just precious.  I just wanted to take him and hold him so I grabbed both of them and openly wept.  This, is what was going through my mind while Gordon Mote was only on his 3rd song or so.

Then as I'm trying to get my focus back on the music, he starts sharing a story of a family that lost their child and proceeds to sing a song I assume he wrote about this family, and how their faith was helping those around them almost more than what people felt they were doing for them.  We can still have joy no matter what happens because of Jesus.  The song was about all that.  Yes, you know I really lost it and was doing everything in my power not to just openly weep.  Tina looked at me as I got a tissue out of my purse and gave me a hug.  The setting, the music... the Lord sending healing music.  I really was blessed and greatly encouraged by that song right along with the tears.

I don't know if there was a song in between or not, but shortly after that song, he sang, "Through It All".  If you know the words...  It was just another reminder of how great God is and that through it all I have learned about a life-changing faith and trust in Jesus Christ.  I'll find the words and post them at the bottom.  So, I sang along with him as I just lifted my face to heaven with the tears still flowing.  What a release!  The Lord knew I needed to be there and have wonderful music soothe my soul and remind me how awesome God is!  I appreciated his words after the song about what each of our "it's" are in "Through IT All".  We all have been through different things and God will be everything we need if we are willing to trust Him with our lives.  So uplifting!

After sharing from Gordon, some laughter and pictures of his family, he sang some songs and then came to one that started off sounding just like my friend Tina's life.  It was as if he knew we were coming and picked out songs about us...  ;o)  Okay maybe he didn't, but God did.  She cried through the blessings and reminders in that song.  Let's just say that everything about last night was just what this momma needed.  God is good like that.  Isn't He?

Afterwards, I got to see so many friends from our store that I hadn't seen in at least 2 years.  Saw friends from church, and then I shook Gordon's hand and was able to just simply tell him thank you for being a blessing to me tonight.  We got a group picture with Tina and my dear friend Ann Sutch who lent us all the big baby items for Cayla like the crib, bassinet and all that.

Just had to share my blessing last night.  I went down memory lane, cried, smiled, cried some more and was reminded of God's greatness in the good and the bad times.  :o)

Did I mention he plays the piano incredibly???  Oh, yes I did.  ;o)  He has a powerful, great voice as well.

Music is one of those things that within a moments notice can move me to tears.  I love to go to hear good, godly music that lifts me up.  I have few memories from childhood (to which I have learned I can credit the whole Celiac Disease to... topic for another time)  ;o)  but, I can remember times when our choir would sing songs at Barcroft Bible Church that would move me to tears even as a child.  I remember that feeling of my throat tightening and the tears starting on many occasions with solos or groups too.  I remember specifically crying at a Missionary Conference while the music was playing wondering what kind of mission field God would send me to.  I am thankful for the gift of music God has given us and how it can lift our spirits when other things can't.

Thankful to be able to go last night.  What a blessing!  Had to share.  Here's the words to "Through It All".

I've had many tears and sorrow, I've had questions for tomorrow,
There's been times I didn't know right from wrong.
But in every situation, God gave me blessed consolation
That my trials come to only make me strong.

Through it all, through it all, 
I've learned to trust in Jesus.  I've learned to trust in God.
Through it all, through it all,
I've learned to depend upon His Word.

I've been to lots of places.  I've seen a lot of faces.
There's been times I felt so all alone.
But in my lonely hours, yes, those precious lonely hours,
Jesus let me know that I was His own.

I thank God for the mountains, and I thank Him for the valleys.
I thank Him for the storms He brought me through.
For if I'd never had a problem, I wouldn't know that He could solve them.
I'd never know what faith in God could do.

Through it all, through it all, 
I've learned to trust in Jesus.  I've learned to trust in God.
Through it all, through it all,
I've learned to depend upon His Word.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Cayla's Little Joshie Doll

I've been thinking so much this past week and now that I sit here on the blog, I can't think of any of it...  Listening to a song about the greatness of God.  I'm a little distracted, but don't want to turn it off.  I like the many radio choices on iTunes.  There's something for every mood.

There's so much going on inside me.  I don't honestly know how to put it in words, but that's never seemed to stop me from trying before...  I've been wondering why I'm not really trying very hard to get a job.  Lowell's been trying to push me, albeit gently, but still pushing me to try harder.  This is the time people are hiring and I'm sitting back hiding.  So, I wasn't really trying to figure my actions out, but I had a meltdown last week which explained a lot to me.  Samuel could have probably done without the drama, but he graciously listened.  Part of me is realizing I'm at a point where I'm going to go back to work full-time, Lord-willing.  The only way that would happen is if I'm "done" raising my children.  Well, I'm done.  School's over for us.  Samuel will turn 18 in a month.  Cayla's in heaven.  In my tears and exasperation I felt the finality of it.  There is a little part of me that still feels like I shouldn't be at this crossroads, but I am. I truly have accepted Cayla's death and trust God's working through the good and the bad.  I guess that doesn't mean my emotions won't keep popping up here and there. These thoughts hit me earlier.

I went to Job and Family Services, at least I think that's what it's called, last Wednesday.  She gave me so much help and tips, I can hardly remember it all.  A possible job opportunity came up and I'll know by Wednesday, August 28th if I got the job or not.  I'm not worried either way because it's wonderful to trust Jesus to help me find the right job for me.

SOOO, I have to say... Sheena Wood and Jill Haskins have done a very special thing for me.  Jill had a little boy, Joshua, born in August of 2010.  He had the same congenital heart defect as Cayla did.  He lived about the same amount of time too, but he never got to leave the hospital.  Different circumstances, but still sweet little heart babies.  Jill has very transparently shared her very painful story with me and encouraged me as I went through the death of Cayla and guilt and grief.

In honor of her Joshie, she, being extremely talented, has started making Joshie Dolls.  The link to this page on Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/JoshieDolls.  You've go to check out the pictures of theses precious children and their dolls.  She sews each child's scars on to be identical to it's owner.  She places a little heart in the chest before she sows them back up.  It's just so sweet to see the children get their special Joshie Doll that's just like them.  I love scrolling through the pictures and seeing their before and after "surgery" pictures.  Those that help her and Jill herself do this all voluntarily.  They don't make money off of them.  The cost is reflective of the cost it takes to make them.  I thought that since Cayla has died, I don't need one, but they sure are fun to look at!

Well, Sheena Wood, who introduced me to Jill, and Jill got in on this together and made a Joshie Doll for us.  She even was able to use a foot that wouldn't go straight to copy Cayla's club foot.  :o)  She's so sweet.  When Sheena brought the doll by last week, under the auspice of bringing me some Chex Puppy Chow, I couldn't help myself and started crying when I realized what was in the bag.  I feel so blessed.  Such a sweet little Cayla/Joshie Doll!  Check out their page and pass it on to anyone who has a child with a Congenital Heart Defect.

So, Jill, a huge thanks to you for your talent and heart.  Sheena, a huge thanks to you for your love for people and making them know they're special.  You both are very special people, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Thank you!  She's precious!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

$0.00 Jehovah-Jireh, My Provider

It's Friday morning and I just got off the phone with Cleveland Clinic.  On that phone call I heard the words, "Your account is at $0.00.  You owe nothing more."  I asked her to repeat it since I've heard that before, and she did.  I asked her if that was for all 3 accounts we had there, and she said, "Yes.  I can guarantee you 100% that you owe nothing else to Cleveland Clinic and will not receive a bill for Cayla again."  I couldn't help myself and burst into tears on the phone.  I'm still crying/weeping as I type.  It's like something inside me has snapped.  I can't stop crying.  It's just a huge release of pressure or something.  I don't know if it's because of the finality of it all or that the last bill of $2,365.00 we got in May, has been covered by God through the Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps and Cleveland Clinic.  I think it's because of both.  It's good Samuel's out running and not here to hear me wail like this...  I'm sure I'll cry all over again when I tell him and then again when I tell Lowell when he calls at lunch.  Maybe I should wait and tell him after work.  No, I don't think I can.

God has been so, so good to us.  He has taught us to rely on Him for our needs and in the process supplied some of our wants.  He's good like that.  I feel so utterly undeserving of His goodness right now, but am so overwhelmed and thankful for it. What comes to mind is Psalm 136 - God's mercy endures forever!  I've got to add some of those verses.  Here's verses 1-9 and 23-26.

O Give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
O give thanks unto the God of gods:  for his mercy endureth for ever.
O give thanks to the Lord of lords:  for his mercy endureth for ever. 
To him who alone doeth great wonders:  for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him that stretched out the earth above the waters:  for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him that made great lights:  for his mercy endureth for ever.
The sun to rule by day:  for his mercy endureth for ever.
The moon and stars to rule by night:  for his mercy endureth for ever...
Who remembered us in our low estate:  for his mercy endureth for ever.
And hath redeemed us from our enemies:  for his mercy endureth for ever.
Who giveth food to all flesh:  for his mercy endureth for ever.
O give thanks unto the God of heaven:  for his mercy endureth for ever.

You know, I tried to tell her thank you as a representative of CC and apologize for my outburst and inability to stop crying, but she just told me to go on crying and it's "all good".  She's going to send me a bill that shows everything at $0.00 and will settle the account out completely with Medical Mutual.  She said she'd put her name and ID# on the bill to hold her to everything she said on the phone.  

God is still showing how great He is through the life of our precious Cayla Joy!   He knows where we're at in every aspect of our lives!  He allows us to get to certain places in our life to see if we really are trusting Him.  He wants to bless us, but also wants our obedience.

Well, I'm settled down.  Feeling exhausted, relieved, and unsure what to do with myself.  I've wanted to write here over the past month or so, but have been unable to.  It's not that I've been too emotional to write or even depressed, just that I either didn't know what to say or how to say it.  I never even tried to sit down and write.  I have to have something to say, for the most part, or I can't write.  I can't just sit and write that Cayla died a year ago.  I don't know what else to say.  I've shed my tears, laughed and loved with her through pictures.  It is what it is.  God made her for this very specific purpose, and she's His, in His arms.  As much as I've always wanted more children, I truly am okay with all that has happened.  I hope I've learned and done what God intended to accomplish through my beautiful daughter's life.  I'm blessed too because I can see some of how God used her life.  I know many people lose children or loved ones, and don't see the purpose for it until heaven.  God has worked in many people's hearts because of Cayla Joy, and souls have been saved.  What an honor.  I'll say it again, I truly am okay with all that's happened.  Would I have done it this way?  No.  Am I God?  No.  Would I rather trust a perfect God?  Absolutely.

I've mentioned this before, but I don't think in the blog.  There's a song called "God's Been Good".  It has a line in the chorus that says, "and though I've had my share of hard times, I wouldn't change them if I could...".  I wanted to sing this song Sunday, June 23rd since Cayla died the 22nd, but couldn't because of that line.  I know God has done things in our lives through Cayla's life and death that couldn't have been accomplished any other way.  He's changed me through this, but I can't truly say that line.  Yet.  I do wish she could have lived.  I do wish she would have been healthy.  I do wish I still had my little girl.  God could still have used her life for His glory.  I'm not trying to undo all the good that God has done and is doing because of Cayla's life and death, I'm just being honest.  Every time I came to that line, I felt like a liar.  I just skipped it, but knew I couldn't sing  the song if I didn't believe what I was singing, which is sad because it's such a good song.  Oh well, there's another song on PCC's album "God Is Good" called "Even in the Valley".  This one I'll have to sing with Larina.  It's all good!  Someday, I do hope to be able to sing that line.  I'm just not there yet.

I've been gone all evening and our internet went out this afternoon, so I'll have to finish this tomorrow.

Well, we're now home from hiking at Nelson's Ledges, and it's 2:30 pm Saturday afternoon.  I'm so tired, but feeling great.

So, I'm facing an empty nest, and part of me flinches when I say that.  It's going to be okay.  We will just always continue to go through events in life and wonder what life would be like if Cayla were with us.  That is just something we will do.  Even sitting at my brother's bonfire while everyone was making s'mores last Saturday night, I started quietly crying in the dark just trying to picture Cayla with all her cousins.  When we went to Columbus for Samuel's graduation in June, we sat around talking about how that weekend would be different with Cayla.  Would we have been able to do and go to all the places we did?  Which made us stop and think about where she'd be in the line of surgeries.  Who knows?  But these conversations will pop up randomly throughout our lives. Sometimes there's sweet tears, sometimes there's smiles and stories.  God's love and comfort is always there.  His perspective.  It changes everything.  I am learning to sit and listen more.  I don't think I've done a whole lot of listening at times with God.  I talk, I read, I ask forgiveness and ask for needs, then I run off again into my day.  Listening is good.  I wish I'd done more of it in the past.

So thinking about what's coming up this week.  Wednesday, July 17th, will be our 20th anniversary!  I keep telling everyone I deserve a medal.  Well, if I do, he does too.  I might seem all sweet and kind and outgoing and all, but like I said earlier, I'm not always a good listener nor a good follower.  He's put up with his share of craziness from me and I with him.  You know, you ask a person why they love someone and they can say all sorts of nice things about them, but in a marriage it's not always full of all the nice things they do.  There's a lot of other junk that rears its ugly head.  Why I know I will always love Lowell is because when the ugly stuff happens, I can get mad - he can get mad, and in the midst of it all, I can look at him and still have such unexplainable love for him.  I can complain, but I can also forgive.  We are anything but perfect, but no matter what happens, I know he loves me even at my worst.  We made our vows, "Till death do us part."  It is the Lord helping us to love when we don't feel like it.  It's the Lord opening our eyes to what we need to do to change and keep the marriage going.  It's not about changing the other person.  The Lord knows we've both tried!  Ha!  Anyways, God's working in us and keeping our marriage strong through the hard times.   Who knows what the next 20 years will hold!

Well, we've been busy with Samuel's graduation.  That went so well and right into his open house the next weekend with lots of family here.  We are praying for Samuel as he makes decisions for his future.  He's still looking into the Air Force.  I will be happy with him anywhere if that's where God wants him.  Military or not.  We went to Virginia to see my brother Jim and his family and my dad and Pat.  Very good to relax a little and get a change of scenery with family.  Got to see Kim Yeatts and Debbie Fitts while we were there too.

Thanks for listening and rejoicing with us over God providing for us!  Pray for me and Samuel to find jobs.  For Lowell as he works through the loss of Cayla in his own way, which is nothing like me.  We all handle grief differently.  So we love and appreciate you all and your prayers!

My brother and his family of 9.  Kim Yeatts and 3 of her girls.
Debbie Fitts and 5 of her children, and the 3 of us at the
Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum near Dulles International Airport, Northern Virginia.
Debbie, me and Kim

Debbie and I.  Went to youth group together back in the good old 80's.  
Kim and I.  We met when we were 5 years old back in the day...  almost 40 years ago.  

The Space Shuttle 'Discovery' that was flown in by piggy-back last fall on its final flight.

My guys.

Samuel's graduation open house

Samuel with Mom and Dad, Grandpa and Grandma, Aunt Cathie and Matt, and cousins Hannah and Sheylyn
 at the Columbus Convention Center.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Financial and Emotional Blessings

"Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee:"
Psalm 55:22

"...and of faith unfeigned:"
I Timothy 1:5

I feel like my burden is getting lighter.  It had become heavy a few weeks ago, but it's very light right now thanks to God and how He works in my life and those around me.  I only put the last phrase of the verse in Timothy.  I Timothy has been a great book to read.  Read the rest of the verse, the chapter and book.  The verse says our goal is love from a pure heart and conscience "...and of faith unfeigned."  Fake faith is one thing I never want to be accused of.  God is more real to me every day that passes.  If my friends and family can't see my faith in God is real, then God's not getting glory from my life.  I pray that whatever He brings into my life will give Him glory.  He has blessed us financially through friends, family, Lowell's job, insurance, and BCMH.  I didn't think we'd still be dealing with finances for Cayla a year later, but we are, but God's faithful through it all!  He has blessed us emotionally with family, friends and His Word.  Even just knowing my in-laws are stopping and checking on her grave site helps me.  There are so many things to praise God for, this whole post is just part of it.  I'm warning you now, it's turned out to be a long one.  So much going on, but we are blessed.  We are looking forward to Samuel graduating next weekend and his open house June 8th!  We have a wonderful son who loves the Lord that we have been blessed with.  Cayla was a blessing too, and we do have much to be thankful for.  So here goes.  I'll put a picture of my two children in here first though and then one of Samuel and I at 11 pm this past Mother's Day.

We thought we were through with bills from Cleveland Clinic.  Silly us. We'd just paid down the amount we were told was left after insurance.  So, we then got another (random) list a couple of months ago totaling another $2,300 they say we have to pay.  We tried to call and get things figured out, but didn't get anywhere.  We got busy and set it aside.  Well, we got a "Final Notice" on these items again.  I called them, they said they'd given the list to BCMH (Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps) back in January and this is apparently what's left over to pay.  So, I called BCMH and got the claims supervisor.  She said they received this list in January and paid for much of them, and proceeded to go through all the charges on my list and tell me what we're not responsible for.  She took off $1,300 from the $2,300 and said what we owed for sure was about $350.  But I had a $200 and $500 charge on mine that they had not received.  She said she would ask what the $700 was and try to get rid of that bill and call Cleveland Clinic to take off the other charges they'd paid.  Yay!  I said God is good, right?  

So I called CC's in house collection agency and told them what she said.  He took the lady's name and phone number and said he would mark our account pending until he'd heard more.

Then an hour later, she calls me back from BCMH and said she was going to ask CC to write off our $350.  So, this COULD be the end of the bills, although I've said this before, so don't hold me to it.  I only cried once during the phone calls.  I was very proud of myself since I usually bawl through entire conversations that deal with bills.

BCMH asks every doctor at CC to be a part of their program.  Some say no, many say yes.  The charges that BCMH couldn't cover were from certain doctors that weren't under their plan.  But BCMH has covered quite a bit for us that insurance did not cover which has been a life-saver and a huge blessing!  God is taking care of us through so much!  I will ask for prayer that CC will write the rest off.  If we have to pay it, we will, but... you know.  If we don't, even better!

I was washing dishes yesterday and had the thought that it's been a year or so since Cayla came home, and I was washing a thousand little pieces every day besides our regular dishes.  I just left the big towel on the counter next to the sink with all her "stuff" on it.  There were big (normal) 8oz bottles that I used to mix the milk with some formula.  There were little bottles that she used every other feeding.  There were big syringes for full feedings through the NG tube.  There were medium sized syringes to use for what was left over after her attempt with the bottle.  There were small syringes for water to rinse the NG tube every time after we used it and for pumping air every time to check that the tube was in place.  There were smaller syringes for her calcium and ... you know, I can't remember what the other medicine was she had to take.  Oh well, she had to take them twice a day.  Then there were the milk bottles that I used for pumping and storing my milk.  Then there was all my pumping paraphernalia that had to be washed every 3 hours.  I had multiples of most of these items, so I only had to wash them all once a day.  Thus I say a thousand little pieces, I mean a thousand little pieces with every syringe and bottle having 2-3 parts.  But I had a routine down and everything was going fairly smoothly with all that.  This is what went through my mind as I washed my few plates and silverware pieces yesterday.  I was *almost* missing all the washing just because it meant that Cayla was here.  But in reality, I don't miss the craziness.  I miss Cayla.  But God's been so faithful.

I had a rough few weeks around the last days of April and couple of weeks into May where I was fighting depression.  I was trying to stay busy, but just wearing myself out.  Mother's Day was very busy with revival services that day and the following week with Mark Rogers.  It was actually a huge blessing and help for me to refocus and know that it's okay to not think about Cayla 24/7.  I'm not going to forget her and maybe I felt that I would if I wasn't thinking about her.  I don't know, I don't like to over-analyze myself.

The week before Mother's Day was a week I cried more than I had the last two months.  I had some stress in my life.  The Prayer Breakfast put on by the Concerts of Prayer board that I'm on, was having Sandi Patty as our speaker that Friday.  There was just a lot of work going into that to make it happen smoothly which was stressing me out a bit.  And I must add it went off perfectly that morning despite all the glitches we had to work through!  God helped us all through that.  I was still tutoring every morning that week.  Samuel had to be completely done with all his work by early the next week and I was stressing some over that getting done well.  And he got it all done and ended up with A's and B's and one C.  He's graduating next Saturday!   Plus that week I was thinking about my mom and Cayla.  You know Mother's Day is just going to be one of those emotional holidays for me.  So I'll be prepared next year.

The depression is lifting as I'm getting back into God's Word and remembering that we are all going to go through difficult times in life.  I can't hold onto this as a crutch that will hold me back.  Cayla is in heaven and as long as I keep my focus on Him, I'm okay.  It's such a simple thing, but it's not.  It is, and it isn't.  You know what I mean.  Right?   I don't want to be one of those people that never moves on after tragedy.  It's changed me, but I am still here and ready to be used by God for the rest of the days he gives me.  I miss my baby girl so much, but am ready to see what God has next for me.  Samuel's done with high school, and I'm done homeschooling, so a whole new chapter is starting for me.  We will see.

I know I've been talking a lot here, but I have to share the conversation I had with my friend Julie.  I've tutored her son for Kindergarten and her in a little algebra.  Wonderful people who'd do anything for you.  I usually end up staying after I tutor, and  we talk about all that's going on in schools today, her nursing job, or whatever, and recently we talked about Cayla.  She started asking questions about it all, and I love talking about her.  As I was going through the basic things that happened in her little life, she sat and intently listened, asked a few pointed questions and then said something that I'd not heard.  Coming from a person in the medical field who had nothing to do with all this as it was happening, but to give an opinion from an "outside" viewpoint was very helpful.  She basically said Cayla could have very easily been septic from the beginning and was definitely septic much longer than just the day she died.   Cayla had no muscle at her anus to hold her bowel movements in because her anus was in the wrong place which stretched the piece that connected her bowel and anus.  Her bowel would build up most of the time until you lifted her to change her and then you'd get a big gush.  Sorry for the topic, but this is what killed her.  When she was born, she was covered in it and came out a mess.  She continued to have these episodes which Julie said could easily have been caused by her bowel backing up into her system from the beginning since it wasn't releasing properly.   Everyone was saying how fast the infection went through her the day she died, but I didn't catch it until a little while before she went into an unconscious state that morning.  Then she was gone in 4 hours.  We've been reliving that night and morning and the whole week over and over in our minds, both Lowell and I.  We can find many things to blame ourselves for that could have caused her death, but in reality, she had to have been septic a lot longer than that day. It had to be building up and backing up into her system for days.  When we took her back into the hospital a year ago this weekend, they put her on antibiotics and her body settled down, but they ran test after test to find the source of the infection and never were able to. Well, I'd say it was her bowel, I guess.   The way Julie explained what she thinks caused her death, whether it's true or not (only God knows), allowed me to let go of the wrong decisions I made the day she died.  It seems it was inevitable.  Even with the colostomy bag, she could so easily have had problems that would have led to her death.  And then when you add in her weakened immune system issue of not knowing how strong it was, it was a matter of time I suppose.  This thought does relieve some of the pressure I've put on myself over the past year.  I'm not blaming myself for her death, I really have given that to God a long time ago, but it doesn't mean I don't think and relive those moments and decisions.  I guess all this is just one more step forward to letting go of pain and blame and all that goes with it.  I am very grateful God has used Julie in my life, and am praying God can use me in her life as well.

Thanks for listening.  I've needed to write for a while, but haven't allowed myself the luxury to just sit and type when there's so much I need to be doing.  It feels good to get this all out there.  This is a long post and I still didn't even talk about her head stone for the cemetery.  We didn't know exactly when he laid the concrete foundations and missed it by a day.  He won't be doing that again until September or October, so I guess we will have to wait.  Plus we want to focus on Samuel right now anyways, and we need to save a little more money.  But a huge praise about that, another financial blessing! Friends from many years ago, have so wonderfully blessed us with money to put towards her grave marker!  Thank you so, so much.  We were going to put a simple little, slanted marker there since they're the most inexpensive, but Lowell's cousin Jodi from Baumgardners Funeral Home, who did Cayla's funeral, showed us one she had on hand that's a heart with a lamb on it.  It's made of pink granite.  Once I saw this, it was hard to go back to a little marker.  She did mark the price down some which is another blessing.  We will see.  It's going to be $2 to 300 more, but now we have more time to save up.  Apparently we're in no hurry to get this headstone up.

I could add some pictures... maybe I will.  Since I talked about her first moments in this world, here's a picture I haven't put out where she's covered in quite a mess.  The second one is where we kind of chuckled at the picture of her behind kind of hanging like that, but had no idea why or that it was more of a problem than we would ever realize.

Here's what's on the background of my computer desktop right now.  It's how I remember her.

I guess I'll also add a picture of the stone Jodi has that we will probably get.  

Thanks for all the love and prayers!  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Year Later

It's been a year now since we had our precious Cayla Joy.  When a milestone like a 1st birthday of a baby in heaven approaches, there's no telling how each person will face it or handle it.  I was obviously not anticipating celebrating this day, but still very unsure how it would effect me and my family.  Without saying much, many have just been giving extra hugs, cards, notes, verses, and other tangible evidence of their love and support over the last week or so. Plus, many have quietly prayed for us and for God to give us His perfect comfort through this time, and He has.  I think many have tried not to talk about it to be sensitive to where we're at.  Problem is, I don't know where I'm at.  I thought I'd be weepy and who knows what, but I was wrong.  Then I thought, well, maybe I'm just repressing my emotions (not something I'm known for), or in denial somehow (not usually me either).  But, no.  I think I'm just simply loving the memories of a year ago, wishing to be back there in the midst of all the excitement and wonder of having another baby after so many years.  I have been reliving it all, and the memories that are coming to me are the feelings of how my world (as my life was at the time) came to a screeching halt when I had Cayla.  Whether I wanted to or not, my focus became little Miss Cayla Joy.  Okay, now I'm crying just typing this out.

That day a year ago was one of the highlights of my life.  I never thought we'd ever get the privilege to have another baby, but God gave Cayla Joy to us.  That in itself is enough to blow me away in it's magnitude.  There is nothing that quite compares to having a baby.  It's in a category all by itself.  It's one of life's most incredible moments.  September 20, 1995 and April 24, 2012, will always be up near the top of the list of my life's most amazing days.  I was so excited, so looking forward to actually holding her and touching her to make it all real.

I could go on, but it will probably make me cry again, and you get the point.  This time last year was something I'd love to remember over again, and brings thoughts and feelings that I really can't even describe. I even feel at times that I'd love to go back to Cleveland Clinic just to see, smell and feel it all again.  Out of the 60 days she lived, 35 were at the hospital.  So, as I relive this week from last year, it's all good.  I've laughed, smiled, dreamed, and I felt very blessed for being given such a precious gift.

I'm not grieving like I thought I would.  As we were going through pictures of those first couple of days, we were looking at things we didn't notice before and were telling stories and memories.  There's tears, but more smiles.  I'm thinking that June 22nd might be a different story, but only time will tell.

I do want to thank everyone who's praying for us.  I give God the glory for making this week a good one when by all estimations, it shouldn't be.  God is faithful in keeping His promises.  There's just no getting around it.  God's as real and a part of our lives as the nose is on my face.  He really did give her to us for His purposes, and if that means that many of us were made to think about where we stand with God and what we're doing with our lives, then I pray her life was worth it.

Yesterday morning, April 24th, I opened my Bible and did the "open and point your finger" thing.  I found myself in I Corinthians 15. My eye was drawn to some verses I'd underlined.  Verses 14-18 were right what God had for me to read.  We celebrated Jesus' resurrection a few weeks ago on Easter.  If He had not risen from the dead, then the entire Bible, God, preaching about it and our faith is all in vain.  Verses 17 and 18 say,
"And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins,
Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished."

If Jesus hadn't rose again, I'd have no hope of seeing Cayla again.  Through David's example with his baby that died, these little ones that are not old enough to understand, are His and with Him in Heaven.  This verse says that if Jesus' resurrection isn't real, none of us can go to Heaven when we die, and we will all perish and spend eternity in hell, a lake of fire.  BUT, Jesus DID rise from the dead and we DO have His promise that those who've put their faith in Him and believe, "asleep" or alive, will NOT perish but be in Heaven with Him.  I don't know I'll see Cayla again because I hope I will or think I will because that's what I want to have happen.  I know I'll see Cayla again because Jesus Christ rose from the dead and everything He says in His Word, the Bible, is 100% true.  That, is what Jesus gave me yesterday morning!  Isn't that just awesome?!  

After I called Samuel in and we read through I Corinthians 15:1-18 together and talked about sharing our faith as it's laid out in verses 3 and 4 and then going on to the power in Jesus Christ's resurrection, we were ready for the day.  I have mentioned before that Cayla was born on Mrs. Emery's birthday (our Pastor's wife).  They were unable to have children, and when we realized that these 2 would share a birthday, I thought that was pretty special.  I was thinking about this last weekend and didn't want Mrs. Emery's birthday to have a negative feeling associated with it.  So, I thought I should have her over for lunch that day.  Then I thought I can't hog her all to myself, so I thought I'd give her a surprise party that morning at my house.  It was the perfect thing to do, and as I look back, I feel that God put this thought in my head to do this.  For one, I got to plan a birthday party, even if it wasn't Cayla's.  I quietly told whoever I saw Sunday (sorry if I missed someone, but I couldn't announce it and this was kind of last minute).  There were 13 of us here and yes, we did manage to surprise her. Yay!  It was such a beautiful time of fellowship and just what I needed with such sweet people loving me in so many ways.  I am a blessed woman!  I didn't have the time to write yesterday, so I put as my status on facebook that I was feeling loved.  

After everyone left around 2, my sister and I talked for almost an hour and a half.  I haven't had such a wonderful, uplifting, talk with her that was that long in a while.  I think we both needed it.  I love you Kathy!!!  Then I fell asleep on the couch for about an hour before getting ready to pick up Lowell from work.  My brother John called me the night before, and I had a really good talk with him and then I got to talk to his wife Lisa last night too!  Jim and Marla called me while we were at the cemetery and I'll catch her tomorrow.  I love my family.  All of them on my side and Lowell's.  They have been there with us through all of this, and I know we wouldn't be where we are without all their support and love!  

Yesterday, when we went to pick up Lowell, it was raining when we left the house, sleeting by the time we picked him up, and a yucky, muddy mess with umbrellas by the time we arrived at the cemetery.  Of course Tuesday was an absolutely gorgeous day when Lowell and I stopped by Kelly's Gardens to get some pansies for Cayla's graveside.  We did take the flowers and actually left them there.  Lowell' mom and sister Cathie came with Tyler and Sheylyn with their flowers too.  I'd like to say it was a beautiful little moment there, remembering our precious Cayla Joy, but with the weather and mud and all, it was hard to stop and think.  We almost sang Happy Birthday to her, but even that didn't seem to fit.  (Although I did hear that Cayla's cousins in Florida got together on their own and sang Happy Birthday to her.)  :o)  I guess we should have tried after all.  Oh well, it wasn't quite what we were hoping for, but we definitely will never forget this precious baby girl.   Some very dear friends sent us a gift card to Applebee's to let us know they were remembering Cayla with us (so blessed!).  So we went afterwards to dinner with Lowell's mom and had a really nice time talking and remembering and telling stories.  She was such a huge part of all that went on last year being there with us through it all.  Love you mom, so very, very much!  You will never know how much you and Joe mean to us.  I can't put it in words.  Just know you're loved so much!  

I suppose I need to wind down here.  It's now 11:20 pm and I'm definitely ready for bed.  Through all of this, I've realized that I forgot to order Samuel's graduation announcements.  I set them up and got them ready on Shutterfly, but then never finished and bought them.  They even make it so easy to do, I just was waiting for what, I don't know.  So hopefully they will get here soon and I can send them out.  He's graduating June 1st, which is just around the corner and then his open house is the following Saturday, June 8th.  So, I have much to do to keep me busy and out of trouble, I hope.  Between Samuel's graduation, some tutoring, and helping to organize the Ashtabula County Prayer Breakfast with Sandi Patty May 10th, I'll have lots to keep me from sitting around moping or feeling sorry for myself and all that good stuff.  

Thanks for all the love, prayers, encouragement, hugs, and cards!  We truly are blessed by all of you and by our wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ!  We could do nothing with out Him!  I'll do a post later with some pictures.  Too tired to download them right now, but I'll close out with a sweet picture of Cayla and me exactly one year ago when she was a day old.  Missing and loving my sweet, precious girl!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

March 2013 (don't know what else to call it...)

I start writing at times and then never publish it to my blog.  I guess I can go back and publish this from earlier in the month.  Looking at my calendar, this first part was a couple of weeks ago.  I started writing a little more some time later and I guess I'll finish it today, March 24th.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Well, I dropped Lowell off at work around 8:20 this morning and didn't have to be to my Bible study until 9:30.  Not being far from Jefferson, I decided to drive down to Lenox Cemetery.  It was around 30 degrees out, the ground was frozen and covered with frost and snow in places, yet I sat down there next to the wreath, cross, and little angel in front of Cayla's grave.  As I talked to God, the tears just started flowing.  I couldn't stop them.  I really didn't want to.  As I sat there loudly weeping, I had the fleeting thought that I was glad I was off the beaten path.  I'm not sure what set me off, but probably just the setting was enough to trigger the onslaught of tears.  I lost track of time, and without realizing it, found myself frozen there about 40 minutes later.  I thought it had been maybe 10 or 15 minutes, but the quiet, peaceful, reflective, and overwhelming setting allowed me the chance to just let it all out and pour my heart out to God.  Nothing held back.

It felt good to be there and talk to God about Cayla Joy.  A lot of back and forth, getting-things-off-my-chest kind of talk went on.  There's just a part of us finite human beings that so badly wants to understand an infinite God.  I wish I knew the mind of God.  I wish I understood all of this.  At times I wish I could have just had a healthy baby girl and was now just enjoying my little treasure of a baby girl.  God finally allowed me to have another baby, and this is where I start having pity parties with myself.   Once I start thinking of how so many people are blessed with  many children, and now 16 years later, I am blessed with a baby girl only to lose her, I can work myself up into a quite a crying spree in seconds.  But God.  He knows the beginning to the ending and sees the whole picture.  I know I go on about Cayla at times, but the discouraging thoughts usually are turned over to God and then I'm okay.  It's okay to ask why, as long as I accept and learn from any part of an answer I may get.  It is wrong when I let my unanswered whys cause me to sin though.

All this to say that I'm still here with human emotions.  God's still the same perfect and holy God.  I read this quote recently, "God doesn't give us what we can handle, God helps us handle what we've been given."  And I must say He's very good at His job!  I do understand how God has used Cayla's short life for His glory.  There is no question there, but I also understand that I miss my baby girl something awful.

March 24th
I seem to only post when I've been crying.  I guess if I'm doing okay and talking about Cayla without crying then what's there to write about?  ;o)

I recently gave some verses to my friend who's going through a very, very hard time.  Today, March 24th, I've been struggling through my emotions of missing Cayla being that she'd be 11 months old today.   Last night there were tears and today there are tears at times.  I'm good about being able to "keep busy" so I can't just sit and think about it.  A little bit ago, God brought those same verses to me, and I realized if they're good for her, they're probably good for me too.  So, I looked them up again today...

"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed;
we are perplexed, but not in despair; 
Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;"
2 Corinthians 4:8,9

"For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish,
yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment,
worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen:
for the things which are seen are temporal;
but the things which are not seen are eternal."
2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

"The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe."
Proverbs 18:10

"I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait on the Lord:  be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart:
wait, I say, on the Lord."
Psalm 27:13-14

"Hast thou not known?  hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, 
the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? 
there is no searching of his understanding. 
He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; 
they shall mount up with wings as eagles; 
they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
Isaiah 40:28-31

Had to share these.  There is so much to look forward to in eternity.  There is so much strength available for the here and now, no matter what I face.  I am not utilizing the power I have through Jesus Christ. I need to, so I can wait on Him.  Rest in Him.  Trust Him.  I will run to Him and be safe and strong, not weary or faint.  God knows just what I need.  Amazing how a time a prayer with Jesus will change a lot.  I will still cry at times and grieve the loss of my precious Cayla Joy, but that's not the end of the story which allows me pick myself back up and keep moving on.  

Thank you Jesus!

Some sweet pictures my brother John and sister-in-law Lisa took when they visited about 2 weeks before she died.  So precious!  Thank you Jesus for such a precious girl and time with her!  You can click on pictures to see them bigger.  :o)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Cayla's little grave marker and Hope

 "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? 
Hope thou in God:  
for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."  
Psalm 42:11

Years ago I used to wonder how people could let themselves get so despondent to the point they were unable to get out of that deep pit of depression.  "Just get up and do something for someone else."  "Ask for help."  "Look around you at all the good there still is in life."  These are thoughts you just want them to think about and do.  It's not that hard...  Yeah.  Right.  I'd have to say my thoughts have changed a bit this past year.  I do admit it's hard to get out once you've let yourself go there, because as long as you stay there, you keep moving deeper into the pit.

I've been blessed being God's child, that even when I was working my way down into that pit, I always had a life line attached to me.  I've been in that pit, hung over the edge, hovered at the top, walked away from it, and went back to the edge many times this past year in my grieving process.  Thanks to Jesus, I've been able to get out and walk away from it.   Yes, I've had bouts of depression as I've grieved over Cayla, and even these past couple of days, I've just found myself missing her so much.  I cry wanting to hold her, kiss her and just love all over her again.  I can't help it.  I cried hearing the song Saturday, "Serenaded by Angels".  I've not been able to focus on the words I read in the Bible, or to pray and talk to God.  Then all of the sudden, I read a verse like Psalm 42:11 and my hope and peace are there replacing grieving and sadness.  I guess I need to remember to keep reading the Bible even when I don't want to or don't think I can.  God will speak to me and remind me of the hope I have in Him.

Tonight, Monday, I'm still just seeming to be on the verge of tears at any given moment, yet haven't cried.  I still feel that heaviness in my heart, but it's okay, because even though right now I can't seem to get it to go away, I'm still somehow at peace because I know God is there.  I know God is still working in me and holding me.  He will heal my countenance.  He is my God.  These feelings will come, but I know they won't stay. He will let me cry and comfort me.  He doesn't say He'll take all the pain away, just be there with me through it to ease it.  That's kind of where I'm at right now.  Well, now that I'm typing my thoughts out, it's making me cry.  Of course I'm laughing now too because I'm crying over my writing.  Crazy emotions and I'm not even hormonal... :o)

Who knew that our countenance could have health issues?  I love the part where He "is the health of my countenance".  He is my ability to smile, laugh, sing no matter what.  He heals the frowns, tears and crying.   I will praise Him.  Yes, I will praise Him!   The struggles will still be there, but so will my hope because of Him.

Yesterday, we all (Lowell, his mom, Samuel, and I) went to Cayla's grave.  We haven't had the money to put a headstone at her grave yet.  This summer we are planning on doing that.  Meanwhile, it's been bothering Lowell that there's nothing there saying who she was or even what her little precious name was.  So, Lowell went to Hobby Lobby, and he and Samuel bought a plain wood plaque, some plain wooden letters, stickers, spray paint and shellac.  He painted the letters and the background and asked me to put them on the plaque somehow and then he shellacked the whole thing.

We've kept the wreath up from her funeral and a while ago, put some fake red berries around it for the winter.  Well, Lowell was ready to put his plaque up for Cayla for the next couple of months.  So that's what we did yesterday after church.  It's just a sign telling all that our precious Cayla Joy's little body lies here.  It's sweet though, especially since Daddy did it with lots of love.  Once the weather clears up and spring decides to come, we'll do a little something more there, but until then, I just love our reminder of our precious Cayla Joy.  :o)   Lots of love!