Monday, June 30, 2014

Telling My Family the News

Here is a video from when we told my family our exciting news!

We drove to Bryan and Jenna's house immediately after finding out, and thankfully Tony just happened to be there too!

That's all for today!

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Saturday, June 28, 2014

My Own Mother's Day!

Okay, we need to jump back a little bit.... to Mother's Day. And I'm going to jump right to the point...

I wrote about my Mother's Day weekend in Texas here. But what I didn't tell you is that as soon as I got home from my trip, I found out that I had actually just celebrated my very own first Mother's Day! Get it??? David and I found out at 9:00pm on Mother's Day that I am pregnant!

This picture was taken in the car at about
9:20pm because we immediately headed
over to tell my family! It was too good a
day to pass up!
Can't believe there's a little baby in there!
I was 5 weeks when we found out.

We couldn't be more excited for this new life! What precious and perfect timing that the Lord allowed us to find out on Mother's Day. So far the journey has been very bittersweet - wishing my Mom were here more than ever, knowing she would be so excited with us. But even in her absence, my heart is overjoyed and full of excitement. I can't wait to meet our little one!!!

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

6 Months Today

As this 6-month mark has been approaching, I haven't had a lot of time to process or grieve. The past two days I have worked over 12-hour days getting ready to leave for youth camp. We leave tomorrow, and I fully expect another 12-hour work day again today.

But as I sit here this morning, I can't help but think about her. I can't help but think how strange it is that I haven't heard her voice or hugged in her 6 whole months. It just doesn't seem right. So much has happened since she has been gone. There are days when I think I might be okay, and then there are days when I literally feel like I can't breathe.

I had one of those can't-breathe type of days just this past Monday as I sat and read through my old journal about my last few days with her. I wrote down every detail I could - how I loved just staring at her, how much I cherished the life in side of her, every breath she breathed was so precious to me, the time I put my head on her knee and she played with my hair and for that moment everything felt okay, the conversation we had as I laid in her bed with her, the things she told me - she was thankful I have David and she told me to take good care of Tony.

As I read these things, I broke. It all felt so real to me again. It seemed like it was all just yesterday when we received the news that her cancer was terminal. When we found out she only had a couple weeks left. I remember driving down the road listening to "Oceans" and realizing God was calling us out upon the waters where my feet would most definitely fail.

And now here we are, six months later. As I wrote in my journal this morning, which is also a form of prayer for me, for some reason I just began thanking the Lord for the good things. For the grace and the strength He has given me on this road. For remembering that I am but dust. For His love and forgiveness - I've needed a lot of these two things lately. And I thanked Him for all the people in my life who love me so much. He really has blessed me these past six months.

But even in the blessings, there is still so much pain. So much heartache. So much missing her. It still hurts. Even more than the day she left us.

My mom. My best friend. I love you, and I wish you were here with us now more than ever. To hug you again. To share with you all that is happening in my life. To hear your voice and to see you smile.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know, Mom, how much I love you
You'll always be my sunshine today.

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Busy Summer

I've had a pretty full past couple of weeks. Summer is our busiest season with the youth at work. About two weeks ago we had our local Youth Missions Week which consisted of holding a backyard Bible club at a nearby apartment complex and volunteering at a couple organizations helping with anything they needed.

Here is part of our group volunteering at Helping Hands -
a second hand store and food pantry. They did such a great job!
And here is the other part of our group at Havenwood - a local
organization dedicated to helping single parent families. Students
organized a huge donation closet and revamped the playground.
Another great job by our kids!
We assigned a team of guys who worked on the playground
for two days. They replaced the old gravel with brand new
rubber mulch. The finished product turned out AMAZING!
I'm so proud of the hard work they put into this project!

The week was a huge success! The children at the apartment complex learned about Jesus, and our students got to be the hands and feet of Jesus to our community. We have such a great group of students!

About a week ago, David and I went to a Third Day concert with our friends Jonathan and Amanda. It was a really fun night to be outside enjoying great music with great company!

I don't know why we didn't get a pic with all
four of us. Oops!

Thursday I flew to Austin, TX to go see my uncle graduate and become an official Texas State Trooper! He went through a grueling 23-week academy, and now all of his hard work has paid off. I'm so glad I was able to go be part of such a special and exciting occasion!

Tony, me and Texas State Trooper David Hudgens!
So proud of you, Uncle David!

I got home at about 10 o'clock last night, right as our high school students were showing up to our house to hang out for a couple of hours. They swam and we all roasted marshmallows and ate s'mores and it was a really fun night!

And now.... I am exhausted! But the craziness of the summer has only just begun! We leave for camp in just a few days, and there is still so much to do to get ready for it! Whew!

That's all for now!

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Monday, June 16, 2014

Broken Cisterns

I had a much-needed meeting with Jesus on Saturday. I have been struggling trying to figure out how to balance so many emotions. I finally admitted that anger is still one of them, along with frustration and confusion among other happy and joyful ones as well. I'm telling you, it's a very wide range of emotions that I sort through and push away every single day.

Sometimes, well, most of the time, I feel like a mess. I don't even know what to do with myself. And since I don't know what to do with myself, I guess I've somehow reached a place of thinking that God probably doesn't know how to handle me either. So I've just kind of been.... scraping by.

Each morning I sit down to eat breakfast and read my Bible. I read for as long as it takes me to finish eating, and then I go get ready. I utter a quick prayer as I drive to work. But for the most part, I guess I've been depending on myself a lot.

But Saturday morning, I felt like the Lord revealed to me that I have forsaken Him. I didn't really do it consciously. I have just been so overwhelmed with all my thoughts and emotions that I guess I subconsciously buried them and kept putting one foot in front of the other.

For my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.
Jeremiah 2:13

This verse screamed at me. I honestly don't even know what cisterns I've created or turned to, but I know that they are empty. I've been parched and dehydrated for far too long. How have I turned from the fountain of living waters? It seems so silly. God alone is our Living Water, readily available to us at all times. But for some reason, we choose to weary ourselves and create our own cisterns... that can't even hold any water. It would be like someone offering us this massive endless buffet of yummy goodness, but then we choose to microwave a Hot Pocket and eat the cardboard sleeve. Like... what?!

Return, faithless Israel,
declares the Lord.
I will not look on you in anger,
for I am merciful,
declares the Lord;
I will not be angry forever.
Only acknowledge your guilt,
that you rebelled against the Lord you God
and scattered your favors among
foreigners under every green tree,
and that you have not obeyed my voice,
declares the Lord.
Return, O faithless children,
declares the Lord;
for I am your master;
I will take you, one from a city
and two from a family,
and I will bring you to Zion.
Jeremiah 3:12-14

All I needed to do was return and repent, which is sometimes the hardest thing to do. But I had to trust His word, that He is merciful, and that He will not look on me in anger. So I put my pride aside, which really was such a dumb pride... it was the pride of thinking I was too much of a mess, that I had too wide a variety of emotions and thoughts for Him to handle.

But I got on my knees and I cried out to Him. I asked Him to forgive me. I told Him every emotion I was wrestling with. I told Him that I have no idea how to handle it all and that I desperately need His help.

I don't say any of this to highlight myself at all. Honestly, I'm still a mess, and there is no reason to look at me. Really, I write this for my own processing and remembering. But my prayer is that maybe you needed to be reminded of God's mercy today. Maybe you needed to know it's okay to be a mess, but don't let yourself think that your mess is too big for God to handle. Stop burying all those crazy emotions that make you feel like a monster. Stop dehydrating yourself. Turn back to God. He alone is the Living Water. Throw away your Hot Pocket sleeve and come back to the buffet!

Put away your pride and ask for His forgiveness and help. It really is that simple.

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

These past 6 months have been the most trying 6 months of my life. It's been full of many ups and downs, although let's be real here, mostly downs. But this post isn't about focusing on the trials and hardships. I want to focus on one of the ups - that being my relationship with the man who has been my father for the past 20 years.

Tony and I have always had a great relationship ever since he stepped into my life when I was 5 years old. He truly has filled the role of "Dad" for me, and I honestly don't know how to put into words how thankful and blessed I am. I can't imagine what this time in my life would be like without him.

We have cried and complained together, and we have remembered and laughed together. He has become my new "lunch buddy" during the work week. When my Mom was still here, she and I worked together in the youth ministry at our church, and it was only natural that she was my lunch buddy nearly everyday - whether that meant going home and eating together or grabbing something to-go and sitting in her office eating together. Clearly things have now changed, but I wouldn't want anyone else to be my new lunch buddy than Tony. I cherish our lunch dates, and I am so thankful for all the time it has allowed us to spend together.

Very rarely does a day go by that I don't see Tony or at least talk to him on the phone. He has always meant the world to me, but inexpressibly more now. I would feel completely lost in this big world without him. He truly is a gift from God to me and my brother, Bryan. Bryan and I cried on the phone together the other day talking about how much we miss Mom, but also expressing how thankful we are for Tony and what he means to us. We both struggle to fully put into words our gratitude.

Tony, I hope you know how much Bryan and I love and appreciate (which seems like such an inadequate word) you with all our hearts! Thank you for being our Dad for these past 20 years and for giving of yourself so selflessly over and over again. We love you!

Well this is the only picture I can find with the 3 of us...
And Bryan is holding a Pepsi. Uh oh!
We love you!

Happy Father's Day!

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Allowing Myself to Process

I met with my counselor this past week. I hadn't been in probably about a month because I just kept forgetting to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment... oops! It was great to meet with her again. She encouraged me to make sure I am still writing in a journal and/or blogging to be sure I am still processing all my thoughts and emotions.

Looking back over the past month or so, I can see that I haven't done a good job of continuing to allow myself to process and to grieve appropriately. Grief is such a strange thing to work through. There's no "right" or "wrong" way to do it, although there is a healthy and unhealthy way. And I'm not sure where I land in those terms.

It's been over 5 months now, and it's so hard to describe how I feel and what I think. I'm pretty sure I've been pushing aside sad thoughts and emotions though. It's not fun being sad. It's not fun missing your mom. It's not fun knowing that my desire to see her will never be filled this side of heaven. I don't like to dwell on those things.

In a relatively recent post I talked about how the daily routine of life seems more "normal" now. And while it seems a little more normal, it's easier to not be sad all the time. But the fact that it's a little easier to not be sad all the time makes it harder to allow myself to be sad sometimes. Which is not good. It's okay to be sad. It's okay to miss her. I will always miss her. I just hate that the missing brings pain.

But I do....
I miss her voice
I miss spending time with her
I'm sad that she didn't get to ask me to go with her to buy flowers with her this year
I miss her hugs and her hands
I miss being able to call someone "Mom"
And not just any someone obviously....just her
I miss her wisdom
I miss her words of encouragement and her prayers
I miss the sense of security I had when I was with her
I miss being in her shadow
I miss being able to sit and stare at her (which sounds creepy, but I really would just stare at her and think about how wonderful and beautiful she is and how much I love her and want to be like her)

I do sometimes find myself thinking I wonder what we would be doing today if she were here right now. How would my day look different? I wonder how many more pedicures we would have gotten together by now. I wonder how many walks we would have gone on. I wonder how many times we would have done this or that...

How do you type out a gut-wrenching, frustrated sigh??? Oh, I miss her.

5 months seems so long, but at the same time it's gone by so fast. How has it already almost been half a year? But how has it only been half a year? It seems like just yesterday she got diagnosed, but it also seems like an eternity since she's been gone.

Oh, my sweet Momma, I miss you. I miss you so much. I love you with all my heart. You truly are my sunshine.

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Our Trip!

Oh my, it's been entirely too long since I last updated. I really wish I had been doing a better job of being disciplined to sit down and write. I plan on doing a much better job throughout the summer, so keep checking back!

In one of my "recent" posts I mentioned a trip that David and I would be taking to Destin, FL. Well, we went on that trip, and it was wonderful! We were in Destin for 4 whole days, just the two of us, and I couldn't have asked for a better time! So how about a review via pictures?!...

Our first morning was a little chilly, so we went out in our
jackets and walked along the shore. Thankfully it warmed
up in the afternoon!
The view from our condo. Such a great location!
Dewey Destins where I got to enjoy some yummy crab legs!
Thanks to our friends for recommending this place!
So happy to have my crab legs!
We rented scooters for a couple hours one day and had so much
fun riding along the scenic highway!
Stumbled upon my favorite restaurant!
We also went on a sunset sailing cruise one night
Me and my love

On our way home, we stopped in Alabama to see our
sweet friends! We love the Mays!!

It was such a great trip, and I'm so thankful we were able to go together!

Okay, so that's all for now. But really... I'm going to do better and will be updating more! At least more than once every 3 weeks :) So hang with me!

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."