Friday, December 19, 2014

My Grandma's Bible

So last night Lowell handed me an old Bible that he had found.  It was printed in 1941 and falling apart a bit.  As soon as I saw all the little notes and clippings in it, I knew it was my Grandma Brook's Bible. The first section it opened up to had about 10 little papers there.

There's a newspaper clipping from April 22, 1926:

 "Life's Golden Rule"
If only thoughtless people would take a little heed
and think about their neighbors, their troubles and their need.
It never just occurs to them that in their selfish way,
Maybe they've dimmed the sunlight and darkened someone's day.

If only busy people would linger for a while
and stop to do a kindly act then pass on with a smile.
The world would be a warmer place if only now and then,
We all would stay to think a bit about our fellow men.

There's a Christmas letter from Marge and Chester from 1988.

There's a card with John 11:25-26 on it that you have to look from the side angle with the paper almost flat and rotate it 4 times to see the whole verse come to life.  :)  See picture below.

Then there is a little newspaper clipping of Jimmy's obituary.  It doesn't look like the whole thing, but I'm not sure.  This caught my eye, because no one ever really talked about little Jimmy.  We all knew he was our uncle who died as a child, but Grandma and Grandpa never said much about him, especially Grandpa.  Actually my mom never said much about him either. I have to share this though:

BROOKS - In loving memory of our dear wee son Jimmy
who passed away May 31, 1945 age 3 years 9 months.
Two little hands are resting,
A loving heart is still,
A little son we loved is waiting
For us just over the hill. 
-Sadly missed by Mummie, Daddy and sister Mary.
BROOKS - In loving memory of my dear nephew Jimmie Filson Brooks
who passed away May 31, 1945.
Gone from us but leaving memories
Death can never take away.
Memories that will always linger
While upon this earth we stay.

Then there is a poem typed out on a leaflet.
Thine and Mine

I closely held within my arms
A jewel rare;
Never had one so rich and pure
Engaged my care;
'Twas my own, my precious jewel,
God gave it me;
'Twas mine, who else could care for it,
So tenderly?

But the Master came one day
My gem to take;
I cannot let it go, I cried,
My heart would break:
Nay, but the Master comes for it, 
To bear above
To deck His royal diadem,
He comes in love.

But, Master, it is my treasure,
My jewel rare,
I'll safely guard and keep it pure,
And very fair;
If thou keep'st my gem, He said,
It may be lost;
The threshold of My home, no thief
Has ever crossed.

And where the heart's rich treasure is,
The heart will be;
Thy jewel will be safe above,
Gone before thee.
The Master said these words and gazed
With pitying look,
While in the early hush of morn
My gem He took

Close to my heart that morn I held,
Tears falling fast,
An empty casket - the bright gem
Was safe at last.
Yes, Master, thou may'st keep my own,
For it is Thine;
Safe in the house not made with hands,
'Tis Thine and Mine.

My grandma wrote at the top, From Aunt Maria, June 1945.  This poem is true and comforting to think that these little ones are in Heaven with God, but the whole idea of God taking my child for a jewel on His crown or to protect them from the hurts and evil of this world, just doesn't seem quite right.  That makes God look kind of selfish to me.  From my perspective as a parent who's lost a child, that's not what I want to hear.  Maybe my grandparents weren't comforted as they mourned the loss of their child.  They had 4 children and my mom was the only one to live to be an adult.  Even then my grandmother nursed my mom to her death in 1994 with cancer.  She outlived all 4 of her children.  I don't think she ever really accepted Jimmy's death and literally mourned him her whole life, as well as the daughter that died within her womb at 7 months along where she was told she had to wait and have the baby naturally when the time came and carried the dead baby, I don't remember, maybe another month or something crazy like that before she gave birth. The only time I heard about this story was when I was 7 months pregnant with Samuel...  I told her that's not the kind of story I wanted to hear at that time.  :)  Loved my grandma to death!

 I can't say for certain what caused them all to never talk about Jimmy or her other lost babies, but I too, mourn my daughter's death, but I am also rejoicing in her life!  I know God had a purpose for Cayla Joy's life.  It wasn't in vain.  God grew us all.  Grew our faith, our prayer life and even brought people to know Jesus as their Savior.  :)  Every little life that dies, whether we see the purpose of their death or not, has a purpose.  We can become stronger and not even realize it.

I still do trust God no matter what the reason for Cayla's or little Jimmy's death may be.  I found this poem quite the thought provoker last night as I read it.  It's good, and it could be comforting I suppose.  :)  I just thought it was kind of neat to find things in her Bible from the 1940's about the loss of a child and about little Jimmy.  My mom was 5 yrs old when he was born and 8 1/2 when he died.  I know my mom's life changed.  She said she grew up kind of lonely and even though she knew her parents loved her, they never said the words.  It was that experience in her life that made her determined that if God ever allowed her to get married and have children, that they would hear those words daily and not just know they were loved.  All of us 4 children benefited from Jimmy's death, sad to say.  That whole experience helped to make my mom who she was, which was pretty awesome.  :)

There was also a bookmark with Psalm 23 on it:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil.
For Thou are with me.
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
Thou anointest my head with oil;
My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Now that's comforting!  :)

She had a bookmark I made her when I was in junior high  (kind of has that look about it...) out of construction paper.  :)

There's 3 unused hankies.  One from Ireland from Dr and Mrs Beggs, her pastor and great friends.  One has a sticker saying it's made in Switzerland, and the last one has pretty purple flowers.

Wow.  There's another hand-written poem that's hard to read but it has a line that says something about grief being selfish.  I don't know.  How you handled grief in the 40's was obviously a little different than what we do now.  No tears.  Be strong.  = Not good.  I feel bad for them not being truly free to express their grief.  It makes me even more thankful for all my friends and blog friends who've prayed for us through Cayla's life and death.  

I still cry at times and will in the future.  I also feel like it was all a dream.  Same things I've said before.  I'm just blessed to live in a day and time where I'm free to grieve.  We are all different.  It's all good.  I know I'll see Cayla again.  God is good all the time - Even when bad things happen.  He doesn't change.  He never will.  There is evil and sin on this earth, but that doesn't define who God is.  He has not only been holding my hand these past 3 years, but has been carrying me through it all.  :)  

I have enjoyed going through this Bible and all my grandma's little treasures in it.  So many more, but this is enough.  I was just touched to find something in this Bible about the child my grandma lost, little Jimmy.  Sixty-nine years later, this wee little uncle of mine, comes up to be remembered again a couple of years after Cayla died.  I feel a bond with my grandma I hadn't thought about before, after reading these little snippets from her life.  God is so good. 

I broke down and took some pics.  :)

There's an old Christmas card on the bottom left as well.
Does anyone remember the verse card in the bottom right that I was referring to?
It looks like a pattern straight on, but you have to hold it at an angle to read it.  :)
Anyways. The hankies, the poems, the bookmarks,
and there's probably 5 times this little pile of papers and things that were in her Bible.  :) 

The little paper in the middle is the obituary for wee Jimmy.
You can click on the pics to make them larger.

Thanks for reminiscing with me tonight!  I'll have to find a good picture of me and my grandma to add to this.  It would take me a while to dig and find them and I already accidentally clicked "Publish" a while ago when I wasn't even half done instead of "Preview".  So some of you might have only read part of this. Maybe I'll add another picture sometime later.  :)  May God bless all of you!  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

God gave me a huge blessing today of all days!

Two years ago today, Cayla Joy died and saw Jesus face to face.  I didn't plan on writing today, didn't really plan to do much today.  Then God steps in and does something completely unexpected and wonderful.  Well this quote sums up my morning today from 3 am till 8 am and then the story to follow. :)

I don't want to use your names, but for you two guys in this story, I hope you let me know when you've read this.  You asked if I'm still writing in my blog, and yes I am today because of you.  So much to say about those 5 hours this morning.  I don't look for things to write about, but there are things that God puts in my life that I can't help but write about.

I haven't woke up in the middle of the night for quite a long time.  Last night I woke up at 3 am.  Saw my clock, sat up, and thought I guess I'll go to the bathroom. No sooner am I in the bathroom downstairs when I hear talking.  I thought maybe Samuel left something running, but soon realized it was coming from outside.  So I pulled the window down and there's a Rondevous facing me across the parking lot.  There's an agitated girl and 2 guys outside the vehicle.  I listened for a moment and asked if everything was okay.  The 2 guys walked over and said her tire blew and their phones weren't charged, etc. and they needed some help.  I asked if they had a spare, they went and asked her while I went upstairs to tell Lowell there were some people outside.  They came back over and said there was no spare tire, but her boyfriend in Conneaut (at least 30+ minutes from here) had a car with 2 other flats that they could use a tire from.  So, being that I'm the outgoing and awake one, we decided Samuel would drive me, this girl, her 20 month old and her friend to Conneaut to get this tire and her boyfriend and drop off the baby and friend.  We get there and he is trying to find a jack.  Cutting through some details, we were there awhile, while he worked hard to get the tire off his car.  We loaded up the tire, her and her boyfriend and headed home.  Found out on the ride home that she didn't know where to look for the spare and that she hadn't looked under the car.  I just had to laugh at the way this morning was progressing.  It only got "worse".  

Sooooo, when we got home, she realized she left her keys to the car at her house we were just at.   I laughed out loud as I gave her my phone and asked her to call friends that could help her.  I didn't care if it was 4 in the morning.  She wasn't having great success.  I kept making comments about everyone and everything that was happening, making everyone laugh throughout the morning.  

Meanwhile, her boyfriend was diligently trying to get this flat tire off her car.  It was long hard work. At one point he flipped the bar up into his face, just under his eye and gouged it a bit.  Then he was standing on the bar to loosen a lug nut when he slipped and his feet pounded hard into the concrete.  Well he was wearing shoes he wore this week while roofing.  There were 2 roofing nails stuck in the bottom of his shoes that pierced his foot and started bleeding when he landed.  He cut his fingers, pinched them, you name it.  It was almost humorous to watch.  He had a fairly good attitude about it all.   

So he finally brought the tire over we had picked up, and guess what? You're right!  It didn't fit. I laughed again.  There was actually a spare tire under her car, yet they couldn't get it off.  I went in and grabbed my Kindle Fire, pulled up the internet and googled, How to remove the spare tire from a Rondevous.  We found the latch inside the vehicle, but it still wouldn't release the tire. The three guys worked on getting that tire out from under there for quite some time.  I'm still making comments, sitting on the ground with them talking to them all, keeping the mood light.  At different times throughout the morning I mentioned how I don't get up in the night, but did tonight.  One of them said that yeah, this was all meant to be.  So I agreed and said God directs our paths and this was no accident to Him.  They agreed too.  

She had tried to call her parents in Ashtabula, but was basically unsuccessful at that until around 6:30 am or so.  She was yelled at even at 28 yrs old with 5 children.  Rightly so in some ways, but her parents who actually don't live far from us, decided they would first go back out to Conneaut to get her keys and check on the grandchildren and then head back here to Bible Baptist Church. 

It was going to be yet another hour or more.  I sat out there and continued to talk with them.  The sun came up in a beautiful sunrise.  At one point, her boyfriend said that this is NOT how he had planned to spend his morning.  I thought about it and said, "You know, this isn't how I thought I'd be spending my morning either.  Today is the 2nd anniversary of the day my daughter died."  They all looked at me.  I told them a little about Cayla Joy and all the things that God had done through her little life.  They were all listening closely and saying how sorry they were for me.  I appreciated that.  I had a chance to tell them about how God has worked in my life and many others too.  Her boyfriend, I could tell, didn't really want to listen to me talk about God, so he tried to get me flustered when I was talking about the Bible being the one book that is absolute truth.  He asked me how I know that with all the different Bibles out there?  I wasn't going to go down that path and get distracted from the message that needed to be shared, so I said that growing up I had a New American Standard Bible, yet now I have a King James Bible.  I told him, "You know what?  They all tell the story of Jesus and how he came to the earth to take our punishment for us on the cross so we could go to heaven when we die."  It was actually a perfect way to lead into the gospel story.  He eventually got up and walked around the parking lot.  But I still got to share the precious story of Jesus with the other 3 there.  The phone rang, distractions came up, but I was able to continue telling them what Jesus did for us and how much He loves us.  

It was quiet for a while, and the one guy who lives in the Harbor here in Ashtabula, asked if I could take him home.  I said sure.  So he and his friend got in the car and I drove slowly as he asked questions and talked about God.  He asked for the name of my blog I mentioned and said he'd really like to read it.  He'd not met someone that would do what I did for strangers this morning (aka middle of the night) and said something was different.  I told him it's just God and His love in me.  As he got out, he asked again for my blog.  I wrote it on the back of a receipt for him.  He thanked me for everything and said he really wanted to read it.  

So then the other guy came and sat up front with me for the ride home.  He then started in with his questions about God and His laws.  I knew he was struggling with homosexual feelings and told him the big picture is that when God created this world, it was perfect.  Absolutely perfect.  Part of that perfect world was one man and one woman.  It's how God intended it to be.  Once sin came into that world, it's been changing what God made perfectly that first day.  He said, "But this is how I was born."  I told him, "You're absolutely right!  I was too."  We are all born with sin, and we all struggle with some more than others.  Many people struggle with sexual sins, but that doesn't make that or any sin right.  He kept searching and asking questions.  I took my time driving and we had a great talk all the way home.  He asked me when we were getting out of the car if he could have my blog address too.  I said sure, went in the house to write it down for him and gave him it and my phone number.  He's searching.  It won't be easy, but I will be praying for them both.  Such nice guys.

While I was driving him home, her parents had come, looked at the tire, got some kind of very noisy saw and sawed off the rusted, corroded bolt to release the spare tire.  He then had left for home to fill it up with air.  We got back after he'd already left.  I told them that since they were finally being taken care of, that I needed to go get ready for church.  She gave me a big hug and thanked me for everything, and when I went to say goodbye to the young man, he put his arms out wide and gave me a huge bear hug, even though he was a little shorter than I am.  It was just such an amazing feeling!  I will keep praying for each of them.  God has a plan for their lives.

I know I didn't need to post all the details I did, even though I still left so much out.  I was just overwhelmed that this happened on this day.  The quote on the top, 

"God's plans for your life far exceed the circumstances of your day," 

fit my morning. I'm already sleep deprived, but I wouldn't have traded those 5 hours of sleep for anything else.  God allowed me to be able to use our precious Cayla Joy's story to open up a conversation about God with 4 people I'd just met.  Once I said that she died 2 years ago from today, and I wasn't a bitter, angry mess, they wanted to listen.  I pray they saw Jesus this morning. 

You know, I've had a great day.  How could I weep when I got to see and be a part, first-hand of God continuing to use Cayla's testimony and life!  I just can't explain it, other than God is so Good!  It's now 11pm.  I'm yawning my head off, but I just had to share.  Pray with me that these 4 wonderful people will someday come to know Jesus personally and spend eternity in heaven!  Nothing is by chance.  This was a God-orchestrated morning!  :)  It may seem like a bad morning and start to my day, but not when God's in the middle of it.   Had to share!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Charis' Quilt

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; 
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 
A time to kill and a time to heal; 
a time to break down and a time to build up; 
A time to weep and a time to laugh; 
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together; 
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; 
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love and a time to hate;
a time of war and a time of peace."
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Well, this must have been the time to sew.  ;o)  ...and a time to heal.
The Quilt...

My brother Jim and Marla had their 8th precious child in December.  She's absolutely beautiful and definitely a Halbach since she looks so much like all the others.  We haven't been able to meet her yet, but last December I just wanted so, so badly to do something special for my new, sweet niece.  I didn't want to buy her an outfit or blanket.  I just put it off not sure what to do.  Well, I've also been fighting the temptation to join Pinterest, until a friend posted a bubble quilt from Pinterest.  I had to join to see it, so I broke down and joined.  I'm never on there anyways, so I don't know what I was worried about.  One look at this quilt and I knew this was what I was looking for.  I had to make this.  I could analyze it and say that it was something I couldn't do for Cayla and wanted or needed to make for my niece.  I don't know.  It could be, because I do think it was a very healing project for me.  I'm not good with thinking into things like that too much.  All I knew at the time is that I was making this quilt.  I've never made a blanket or a regular quilt, don't really sew at all, yet felt like I could do this with her tutorial, so I did.  Sometimes I don't think we realize what we can do if we just put our mind to it.
One of the 90 squares getting ready to be sewed to a smaller white square underneath.
Setting up the final design before sewing them together.
Thanks to Mary Ekholm bringing me her walker foot which made everything so much easier to sew.
I could have never sewed so many layers together without it.
I didn't even know I needed it until she asked if I had one.
My little slits in the back of each square so I could stuff them,
then hand sew every single one back up......
The unstuffed 4" squares in  9 x 10 rows all together laying on the green minky background material.
The beginning of my ruffle.
All the middle bubbles are stuffed and my ruffle is finally starting to look right.
  For all the trouble the ruffle gave me, it was well worth it in the end!
Ruffle is pinned and ready to be sewed on.
Ruffle is on!  Now to somehow attach the soft, stretchy backing. 
The backing is that super soft minky material with the bumps on it.
The soft, mint green made it so nice.

It turned out better than I imagined although it has plenty of
"Aunt Linda made this" reminders all over it.
Rolled, tied up with purple ribbon, and ready to be hand-delivered by my dad
who swung by Ohio just to pick it up on his trip home to VA from Ontario.
Thanks Dad!

I bought fabric, scissors, stuffing stuff, material for a ruffle and all!  I got it in January when JoAnn Fabrics was having huge sales.  My yard and 1/4 of the minky material for the back was 65% off @ $15/yard.  Yay!  I got everything on sale and spent actually very little, less than $30, compared to what these were selling for on the internet... $160-$200.  I felt so good and jumped head-first into doing something I had no idea how to do.  It was wonderful.  I loved cutting, designing, and actually using my sewing machine my grandmother got me 20 years ago.   Every stitch by machine and by hand was all done by myself.  I just worked through it with all the kinks and issues.  If I needed a break, I walked away from it for a few days or a week.  I think after pulling my ruffle out about 4 or 5 times before getting it the exact way I wanted it to look, I took a good week or so off.  That ruffle took me more time than the 90 squares I had to sew together and stuff.  It still was just fun.  I loved doing it.

Something about the quilt has helped me in a way to let go.  I had finished everything except about 6 inches that still needed to be sewn up by hand when I went in for my interview with Seeley Medical and started working.   I let it sit for about 2 weeks before I finished those last stitches the night before my dad stopped in to pick it up and hand-deliver it for me.  I knew my quilt was done, I was ready to take that step forward, admit that getting a job is what God wanted, and let go of my desire to have another child.  It all sounds so simple, but it was pretty momentous inside of me.  The whole timing and God working things out for my job is another post, for another day in the near future.   I did just want to share my quilt though here on Cayla's blog.

I also want to say thank you to Lowell and Samuel for letting me have the dining room table for 2 months as my sewing table...  Love them.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Build-A-Bear Birthday

Yesterday would have been her 2nd birthday.  I had no idea what to do for it.  I asked Lowell, and he said he had an idea.  He thought it would be nice to go to Build-A-Bear that night and make a bear.  It's always been a joke with us.  Samuel was past the age to get one by the time they came out with them, but we've always teased him when we'd walk by one that we could go build him a bear!  Wouldn't that be fun!?  He'd look at us with that look of... come on mom and dad, cut it out.  So when pregnant with Cayla, we were all excited when we passed BAB in the mall, saying that now we can go with Cayla!  Well that was never to be.

So Lowell thought we should maybe do something that we might have done on her 2nd birthday had she lived.  What came to mind?  Yes, BAB.  :o)  When he suggested it, I thought to myself that that's perfect.  How does he think of these things?  I was drawing a blank.  He's just very thoughtful at times. It was nice.  It gave me something to look forward to for her birthday other than the fact that she wasn't here.  It was perfect really.  We asked his family if they wanted to come, and Grandma, Hannah and Sheylyn were able to come which made it nice too.  It was like our own little party for Cayla Joy.  :o)  I am very thankful to God for the family he's given me.  I am blessed.  We all went to Denny's afterwards for dinner which was a good time of laughter and fellowship.  :o)  Even the ride there and back was fun with Lowell and Samuel cracking jokes with the girls giving it right back to them, Samuel's Yogi Bear impressions, all with all 4 girls crammed in the back seat. Good times! 

I have to add one other thing that happened last night too.  As we left BAB, I saw a bench up ahead, and went to sit down and put our little bear together.  It was actually the bench for the train ride which I didn't realize at the time.  As I was trying to get the tags off our purchases, a girl maybe in her 20's who was obviously disabled, peeked around the corner at me as she was waiting for the train with her friend.  I don't think she could even speak, but it was like she was trying to say something to me.  I don't think she looked at anyone else.  She stared at me and then came and sat down next to me.  She reached over and looped her arm in mine and then took my hand and weaved her fingers into mine.  She sat there with me for a little while until the train came and she had to go.  As we talked about this later, Hannah said how sweet it was that she did that.  The more I think about it, it's almost like she sensed that I was hurting inside and just wanted to comfort me in the only way she knew how.  No inhibitions.  Nothing held back.  It was actually pretty sweet.  I love things like this.  People are amazing. I think sometimes people like this have more intuition or can tune into it more than the rest of us and see and feel more than we give them credit for. This sweet girl blessed me last night, and I thank God for that extra, unexpected blessing.  

Some pics from last night.  I've started two other blog entries over that last weeks, but have not had the time or the emotional energy to finish them.  They will be coming soon I hope.  :o)  Thanks for all the love, notes and prayers for our family this week!  Love you all!  God is good ALL the time!

Heading into Build-A-Bear in Mentor
My nieces Hannah and Sheylyn
Lowell choosing things to find in her heart.  It was cute.
You know, we went through most of the little things to do.
It was just fun and sweet.
By the end of our time here, I was in tears, but not till the end.  :o)
Lowell has a little sound chip that went in her paw that giggles when pushed.
It's was sweet how you could personalize some things.
I got to step on the pedal to make the stuffing flow.
It's very cute how it's all set up.
The lady let all 6 of us choose a little heart to put inside Cayla's bear.
It was sweet thinking about Cayla and her half of heart.
We made up for the difference last night.  ;o)
She's sewing her up. 
Sheylyn and Lowell having fun giving her a "bath".
Her little dress we chose.  So many choices.  It was kind of fun.
I've struggled at times walking by children's clothes in a store
and seeing little dresses that I'd love to buy for Cayla and not being able to.
So doing a little "clothes shopping" for a little dress was precious for me.
Her little head band with a flower at Lowell's suggestion.
Group picture as we were leaving.  I was trying to stop the tears...
Sweet time.  Precious little reminder of Cayla to pass on someday.
We ended up with a bow, dress and shoes.  Couldn't resist.
Such a cute little bear.  Loved the swirled fur on it.
Cayla's portrait by my long-time friend Maria, her blanket from Lowell's work,
and her little Cayla Joy bear.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Moments That Take Our Breath Away

Happy New Year!  It's a new year and for some reason I feel compelled to write.  Not sure what about yet, but I've never been lacking for words before.  :)  I do keep thinking about the fact that it was 2 long years ago that I was pregnant.  The whole time of Cayla as part of our lives seems to be getting so, so distant.  I don't particularly like that thought.  I have an 8x10 of her sitting next to Grandma Brooks' pink chair in "my corner" where I go to sit and relax, read or spend time with God.  I actually haven't been noticing the picture for a while, but last night on New Year's Eve, I just sat and stared at it and kept telling myself, as if willing myself to never forget, that I have a daughter.  Not sure which tense to use there.  I still have a daughter even though she's in heaven, so I guess I'll stick with that one.  I have a daughter.  It's hard to grasp really, because I don't feel like it at times.  I feel since I've had to keep moving on with life, that I forget sometimes that yes, I have a daughter.  I feel the need to keep writing this to help solidify it in my brain.  My life with her was so short and so surreal.  Well, I did have a daughter and that's that.

I picked the picture up and just took in everything about her.  This may be weird, but oh well... I gave her a kiss on her cheek, on her head, on her little mouth even though her fingers were in the way and just put my cheek next to hers and tried to remember what it felt like to do this.  It's a hard thing when you feel like you can't remember.  I do remember her cheek against mine, but there's a lot I feel that I'm forgetting.  Aye, yie, yie.  So yes, some tears fell, but it was okay...  I needed to grab a tissue and wash the picture off anyways.  ;)  It's nice and shiny and clean now - even the frame.  Wish I could say the same for the rest of the corner.  So I had to snap a picture.
A quick pic of my messy corner with my little bright spot in the picture!
That's also one of her blankets across the back.
I had been talking to Lowell about Cayla later on in the kitchen.  We stood there and reminisced a while.  Then he pointed to a little plaque sitting above the sink that my mother-in-law and niece Sheylyn gave us for Christmas.  It says, "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."  He read it out loud, looked me in the eye and said, "When Cayla died, that was a moment that took my breath away."  During the 8 months we had her and the  months afterwards, there were actually many moments that I held my breath and didn't know what to say.  Hard to imagine, I know, but nonetheless true.  I had read the plaque and only thought of it for the good times, but Lowell reminded me that yes, this applies to her death as well.  But not even just for us.  I know there were many people I knew and some I didn't that went through the whole thing with us and felt all the "moments that took our breath away" with us.  Last night as I thought about this little phrase, I once again realized that Cayla's little life touched many people with her "moments".  Not just her death, but her time in vitro, her birth, her time at Cleveland Clinic, her time at home, her death, her funeral, her impact after her death too.  She gave us all very many of "the moments that take our breath away."

Thanks Mom and Sheylyn.
As I sit here January 1st, thinking about all this again, I just want to say thank you again for all who went through our journey with us.  God has done great things.  I look forward to see what 2014 holds for our family.  Pray with me for God to show me and provide the exact job He has for me.  I'm ready to be back full-time working if that's what God has for me now.  We just have a few kinks to work out logistically with one car and 3 of us working.  God will work it out and has the right job waiting for me.  Just pray that I listen.  :)  Thanks for your love and support these last 2 years.

Happy New Year from the Sowry's!