Wednesday, December 30, 2009

#1 story of the year

"Not everyone will get to be a hero in his or her lifetime. But at only 13 years old, J.D. Taylor inspired others in ways that would make the most courageous men pale in comparison..." from The Paper's #1 story of 2009.

 I've been having a hard time finding the words to say to accurately express what's in my heart. I cannot find the words to do the memory of my little brother justice. The things that I would say barely touch the surface of the depth of my love and admiration for J.D.- but I'll do the best I can.

Clearly, 2009 will always be the year of J.D. for us. There were tremendous ups and downs, incredible amounts of heartache, moments of joy and lots of sadness. We're  beginning to wade through different emotions, walk in different parts of grief, and continue to ache at the gargantuan hole in our lives. Where I'm at now, what I keep rolling around is how to preserve the memory, how make this story live on, how to appropriately honor my little brother and the way he lived his life. He lived so boldly, he spoke what he believed, he left no room for doubt. He truly inspired and so many lives are changed... 

I keep thinking of all these moments. I remember him as he really was now- laughing and joking, making faces, dancing... There are moments of the hospital stay that I treasure, too, though they're much harder to think about. He received hundreds and hundreds of cards while sick. The last couple of weeks of his life he was unable to talk. I would sit by his bed, grab the basket of cards, and read each one to him. There was one day that I was in the middle of the basket and stopped for whatever reason, but as soon as I stopped he quietly moaned, articulating no words, but saying so much. He'd do the same if I stopped holding his hand, or when I told him I loved him. He always wanted Sissy nearby, was always quick to let me know he loved me. One night, we couldn't get him to take his anti-seizure medicine (as usual). Four or five of us tried, and he fought and fought. Finally, it was I who got him to swallow it down. And when I went to leave, I got a hand squeeze AND an eye brow raise AND a moan. Triple 'I love you'. The last conversation he had was with my son. Oh, how JD loved Corban and vice versa. JD had said nothing for a day or two, and we brought Corban into the room which was a rare occurrence. I took Corban up to the bed right by JD's face. Corban pointed and giggled saying "Das J.D.!" I said "Can you say 'Hi'?" And he responded, "Hi, DayDee!" JD raised up his eyebrows, swallowed hard and said "Hi Corban." Corban said, "How are you?" And J.D. said "I'm good." Corban told him he loved him, and J.D. said "I love you, too." A few hours later he said 'Okay' to my parents when they told him they were going to rotate him and those were the last words he spoke. Man, I miss that voice.

That isn't exactly what I planned on writing about, but that's okay. I want to have these memories recorded, I want to remember them as vividly as I do right now- thought I don't think that'll be a problem. 

Anyway, a conclusion of sorts to a jumbled post: JD was always so quick to let me know he loved me, both in word and action. Just one more thing my little brother taught me and has encouraged me to do... I want to love like that. I want to live like that.

#1 story of the year... A world changer you are, J.D. ... I couldn't be prouder to be your Sissy.

Monday, December 21, 2009

love and marriage!


Just a few shots I took from a wedding we were in this weekend. Marissa (the bride) looked stunning! The ceremony was beautiful and accurately represented their love for eachother and Jesus. I was so blessed to have been chosen as a bridesmaid... she was once (not too long ago) one of our youth group girls! Anyway- it was a beautiful wedding and everyone had a blast.
We love you, Taylor and Marissa!! We are so excited for this next stage of your life!
(Oh- and isn't my husband handsome? He's the good-looking guy in the second picture, and also sneaking in the background of the third-from-bottom. Man-oh-man, does he clean up nicely!!)
(And oh, oh [you know, like p.p.s], hasn't my hair gotten really long?!)
(Oh, oh, oh... what do you think about those smokin' hot red heels Marissa wore?!?!)

Hope your weekend wasn't as crazy as mine, and that you're soaking up every minute of family time that you get! Happy week-of-Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

When I was writing this blog in my head on my way back from the gas station (be honest, you do it too!), I started it saying something about my gas station crap-o-ccino in one hand and diet coke in the other... but alas, I'd be a liar.
This girl hasn't had a Diet Coke in 12 days.
Not really intentionally, either, it just sort of happened. My husband has an incredible hatred for all things artificially sweetened (as he should, I suppose), and despises me partaking in my favorite beverage. A lot. And so I stopped. I wanted one yesterday and I wanted one today, but instead, I filled my 32 oz. cup with ice and good ole h2o.
SO here I sit, drinking crap-o-cinno with sips of water in between.
I shouldn't even really be blogging right now. We had some friends over for dinner last night... and well, I was too tired to clean the kitchen before bed. And so I didn't. And I didn't do it during breakfast, and what do you know if the darn things haven't washed themselves...
So anyway, that's what I should be doing. Not this. I don't have anything to say, even... except that Christmas is in 10 days, my baby girl is 11 months old tomorrow, one week ago we celebrated 10 years of being together and my laundry needs folded. I have 1 more Christmas present to buy, haven't wrapped a thing, am in a wedding this weekend, have two Christmas celebrations and a baby shower all within 48 hours. Phew. And in 12 days I'll be 24 years old.
Anyway, I probably should wade through the dishes and try and find my countertops. Turning on Greg Laurie and off the monitor.
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 14, 2009

romans 12:15

Some days are so hard. Yesterday was one of them. Today continues to be. I just miss JD. It doesn't seem right, doesn't seem fair that just one year ago I was writing this, praising God for a clear MRI, saying it will be a merry Christmas indeed. And look, now, this Christmas...
My heart is broken.
Grief is a hard, lonely road.
I listened to several families share their heartbreak yesterday. I listened to them smile through their tears as they recounted their little girl's smile or passion for living or bravery as they battled their illness. I watched men cry, missing their baby even six years later. I watched guards come down as mother's opened their hearts, knowing they were safe here, in the company of those who can understand their hurt. I watched and I partook. I grieved with them for their losses, too. I wished that I could do something to erase their heartbreak... I still wish I could do something.
It is hard. It is so hard to lose someone who you love so much, would do anything for, enjoy tremendously. It's hard to consider what would've been, what could've been, how my babies will be without an uncle... how my parents are without a son... how I'm without a little brother. This grief... it is consuming at times. How does living without him ever get easier? I heard stories of hope yesterday, though... we will get through this. No, we will never stop missing him, never stop feeling a hole where he once was, but the days will get easier.
Can I challenge you today?
There are so many people hurting right now, living situations very similar to ours. Maybe it was a dad, a brother, a best friend. Maybe it was 15 years ago... but I promise you, the hurt is still there. Could you step outside of your comfort zone... and let them know that you still remember? That you'll be praying for them as they endure another holiday without their loved one? I know... they haven't forgotten. You will not offend them by offering your support. I pray in Christmas's to come that the same will be offered us, and that I, too, will have the strength to do so for others.
It's easy to accept pseudo-smiles. It's easy to leave things alone for fear of tears. But it's worth it to take a chance and be that shoulder to lean on just when it was needed.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

remembering you...this way

I had a whole post written about what we're getting ready to do, another 'first' in our family, how I was dreading it, how my heart was breaking, how every piece of me just misses my little brother. Instead... I just want to show you this picture...a picture capturing JD in a deep belly laugh, full of life, full of fun, as goofball as they get, as he truly was.

Today, when we light a candle in his honor... at a ceremony for the families of those who lost a loved one at the children's hospital this year, I'm going to think about this and remember him this way and also consider what he's doing now...
In the presence of God is the fullness of joy...

I miss you, JD.

Friday, December 4, 2009

welcome back.

It suddenly feels like December in Indiana. I can't say that I'm welcoming it with open arms... but it does make it seem like it's Christmas time, so I can't complain too much.

Anyway, after laying in bed praying with my husband last night, I realized that I left something pretty important out from my last post. Not that everything I said wasn't what I meant... I did mean it. But I failed to mention the biggest factor, the biggest change.
I am working on those things, I am striving to change, but what I left out, failed to tell you is that there's been a tremendous change in me.
What's the change, you wonder?
I'm having fun.
I found pleasure in whipping up meals for my family.
I smiled while folding socks.
I had Corban help me clean in the kitchen and laughed as we did so.

Simply... joy is returning.

I'm beginning to smile again... and it be more than a mask. I'm finding comfort for my hurting heart. I can think about JD and laugh over a memory in the midst of my tears. I'm starting to feel like me again, and man does it feel good.
As we prayed last night, I realized that my heart was just overflowing with thankfulness and I prayed in a way I hadn't in months. Not that I'm not sad, not that I'm not crying, aching for my little brother nearly every day... but it seems as though the clouds are beginning to lift, that a time of refreshing is upon me. I'm ready to start living again, living purposefully and intentionally. I have a lot of people I want to talk to and thank, a lot of people I want to reach out to, I have a tremendous burden to help those walking through what we just went through. I want to write a book, I want to cook dinner every night, and finally finish cleaning my master bedroom. I want to do those things not because I have to, but because they truly are desires of my heart, and doing them brings me joy. I feel like I'm finally getting to a place where I can see beyond my grief and begin to look at the world around me. And it's good.
Just like I said in this post, just three weeks out from JD's death.. okay, fine, Greg Laurie said, "The Lord is with me moment by moment, and He will be with you in your darkest hour, too...Heaven is closer to me now, and earth is less attractive. But I still have a task to do, and I want to do it."

I still have a task to do, and I want to do it. I'm ready. And smiling.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I want to be a blogger. I do.
A good one. With followers and comments.
I want to inspire people with the things I write, point them to Jesus, sort out the thousands of things running through my head, share what's going on in my heart.
But more so, I want to be a good mom and I want to be a good wife. I want to be a good homemaker. And right now... I'm trying to find balance. Most to all of those roles have been tremendously neglected as of late... part due to life circumstances and part due to... well, negligence, but it's time to right the wrong. So while I'm learning, working, prioritizing, this may continue to be neglected. But don't give up on me!
Jordan's caulking our new shower, the kids are in bed, and the dishes are patiently waiting in the sink, and here I am, showing you what I've been up to, what exactly I'm working on.
You want to know?!
How about this:
Those were made, from scratch, by ME! Whoa!
Okay, fine, I'll admit it... They look a whole lot better photographed than they did eaten. But still- I used yeast! to cook! and my kitchenaid mixer! I let dough rise over night! And made icing from scratch! (tired of the exclamations yet??) Anyway, cooking is an area I'm working on. The cinnamon rolls were a for-fun thing for our Mommy's group we have, but I have planned menus and tried some really interesting new and packed-full-of-nutrition recipes. And I've enjoyed it. A lot.
And then there's this:
You see that? That's a BOW. In Cate's hair!
Okay, maybe I'm not working on styling my daughter's mane and I just wanted to show off that teeny-tiny 6 stranded pony tail on top of her head. Cute though, right?!
But we have done this:and this:

all on the first of December. We played outside, without coats and hats, in central Indiana. Crazy, huh?!

Really though, honestly, seriously... It's an incredible privilege for me to be able to stay home with my kids. I haven't acted as though it is and have abused what I've been given. I've wasted a lot of time in front of the computer. I've treated my kids as though they were a bother or an interruption because I was staring at the monitor. Man oh man, did I have it backwards, you know?! My babies won't be babies for long. In the blink of an eye Cate will be where Corban is and Corban will be in school and I'll be wondering where my time went and why I thought facebook was important in the first place... I can't have that. I've seen so personally that life is but a vapor...and I don't want to waste the time I'm given. This can wait, can wait for moments like right now, when everyone is in bed. But it doesn't get my Corban's time anymore. Okay? Okay.
In addition to that... I'm really blessed that my kids take synchronized 2+ hour nap times, but when you've neglected your house like I have.. ayeyeyeye... it takes awhile to catch up. My house, our home... it's important. I want it to be welcoming, comfortable to any and all, and a sanctuary for my husband. But it takes work to get to that... work beyond picking out fun new paint colors and dreaming up new window coverings. I want my home to shout 'relax'... not 'the housekeeper has been relaxing'. My husband works hard so I can stay home; it's the least I can do for him, you know?! And I'll admit- this is much harder for me to work on than giving the kids my attention.. but it's necessary and worth it.
Thirdly, lastly... there's a lot of junk in my heart that I need to allow the Lord to work through. This week has been eye-opening for me, just God revealing the walls I've put up and what it'll take to break them down. But if I don't do it... it would detrimental. I see it already hindering me, bitterness taking root. It's got to go. I definitely will be sharing more of that in the days/weeks/months to come, I'm sure, but for right now-that's all. Jordan's done working upstairs, and I'm ready to relax with my permanent boyfriend (as he says).
Until next time...

Monday, November 30, 2009

10 minute scramble

No, really.
That's the amount of time I have to post. I'm trying out this new 'be discplined and manage time' stuff and that's what I have remaining of my (first) free time.
We got through Thanksgiving. Survived. Managed to keep it together most of the day. I seemed to miss JD every minute of it though... Today has been even harder for me, I think just realizing that we DID get through it... that life is continuing on, while I'd give anything to rewind and pause for a bit. So it goes, I guess.
I've begun Christmas decorating and have had Christmas songs playing all day! I love the holidays!
My little boy... he's really growing up. We had our first out-and-about adventure in undies, were gone 4 hours, and remained accident free! Woo! He's so tenderhearted at moments... I really am enjoying the little boy he is becoming. My Cate...she is walking! Says 'Wow!' as she points to everything all day long. Scrunches her nose and gives me a big toothless grin that melts my heart. I absolutely love being Mama. I truly do.
I planned my schedule for the week, planned two weeks worth of menus and shopped accordingly. It's incredible how good it felt to do. A definite sense of accomplishment- which is a tremendous improvement on the pure defeat I've felt the last month.
My big brother is almost 30! His birthday was Saturday and we had fun celebrating at my parents house with lots of family and friends. We kept our usual tradition of Black Friday shopping and I look forward to next year already! We ran a 5K road race on Thanksgiving morning, where my plan of action was to start in the back and run slow. For once- my goal was accomplished! And to boot, I had a blast AND won a Dutch Apple Pie.
The weekend was really good. I'd love to say more, but... my timer is dinging. Time to stop! Off to work!
PS- I'll be back with pictures after some cleaning. :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's been busy 'round these parts.
Doing what, I don't know... but my days have been full and it's been good. This screen I'm staring at, I've realized, has become a time-sucker and I'm trying to remedy that, so that's why you've been hearing from me less often. As mentioned in my 'feedback friday' post, things have gotten incredibly unorganized around here, my priorities all skewed, any semblance of calm and orderly gone... and my family was feeling its effects. I felt guilty every time I sat down at the computer because I knew there were 987 other things at least that needed to get done. So for now, this is on the backburner. I love to write, I love to blog, I love to read blogs... but more than that, much more so, I love and need to be pouring into my kids. I need to be planning my days. I need to be making my home. I need to be in the Word. I need to be making dinner and grocery lists. I need to clean my stinking master bedroom.
So if you don't hear from me for a bit, that's why. I'm doing the things that I need to be doing. I don't expect a long absence, just a little time to reorganize and reschedule.
And... Corban's door just broke, (which means he can escape and won't stay in his room..) he woke up Cate...naptime isn't happening, which is terrible after a houseful of 5 moms + 9 kids, and a big project that I'm trying to complete before tomorrow night. Oh brother!! Next time I post, I'll get to the 'feedback' questions. If I don't post before... Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

wordless wednesday

Baby Cate, 10 months old.

For more wordless wednesdays, visit five minutes for mom

8 thankfuls

Thanksgiving is just 8 days away, and because of that, I'm giving you a list of 8 things I'm thankful for today.
1. The fact that I am merely hours away from having a working shower in my house again. Oh yes, for that I am thankful. Because, you know, we haven't had one since Friday. No tub, no shower, nada. Fun, huh? But on the same note, I'm really thankful that my husband is so handy and has demo'd and redone our main bathroom... without having to pay a plumber or anything!
2. I'm thankful for naptime. 2 quiet hours to refresh and recharge, re-clean and remove mess. And then I'm thankful when it's over, too, and my babies greet me with their smiles.
3. Diet Coke and coffee. Not together, of course, but wonderful they are.
4. My new camera!
5. Corban and his agreeable attitude today. We've had no spankings, no timeouts, lots of hugs, very few fits, and a really fun morning at the gym. We then perused the mall quickly, and came home and played air hockey (minus air) on our ceramic tile in the kitchen, and he laughed the whole time. It's been really great to enjoy eachother today, especially with the weeks we've had.
6. It's Wednesday, and I love Wednesday's. Jordan comes home half days, which is great. I'm going at 3:30 to have coffee with a former jr. higher (who is now a freshman), who I enjoy tremendously and have been so blessed watching Jesus get a hold of her heart and drastically change her life. And then youth group tonight. :)
7. The mini photo-shoot I had with Cate yesterday. She was SO good and laughing at everything... I got some really beautiful pictures, ones that just melt your heart. :) But I can't show you them, because they're going on our Christmas cards. For documentation sake I'll add that Cate took her first steps one day shy of being 10 months. She's probably taken about 10 steps total now. Can you believe it?!
8. And... my mom. I get to see her tomorrow, and for that I'm thankful. =)
So.. what are you thankful for?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Feedback Friday!!

Here's what happened last time you gave your feedback:

My living room turned blue/green!
And I need your opinions again.
This time, however, it doesn't involve a paint color. I'm grounding myself from paint rollers until my 'problem' gets under control.
What 'problem' you ask?
My lack-of-organization/piles-everywhere/clutter/mess/ahhhhhh!!! taking over my house.
That problem.
Really, a lot of my upstairs mess has to do with two kids who sleep in the rooms I need to clean. But also really, anyone who knows me knows that organization is far from on the top of my character qualities chart. It is not something that comes natural to me. But also opposing my natural inclinations is the ability to live in a constant pig sty. That's why I need your help!

I want to know your best and most helpful cleaning/organizing tips.
Give 'em to me! Let me try them out! Save my sanity! Be a friend!
Okay, I'll stop. But seriously... I've got to start somewhere. That's the issue. I'm overwhelmed and have SO much that needs done. But I want to do things right, declutter, reorganize, get practical. I don't want it to just look good for a minute. That only lasts a minute around here, you know? So, let me have it.

***And also- part 2!
It's been pretty serious round these parts lately. Let's liven things up a bit!! Got anything you've been wanting to know about me? What my favorite food is? What color my bedspread is? Where I keep my silverware? Anything you want to see a picture of?? Lord knows, I'll take a picture! I'll do a post this week answering any questions asked and posting requested pictures. Have fun with it! Make my day! Come on!!
Back to laundry I go....

Thursday, November 12, 2009


You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
psalm 56:8

It's hard to find the words to describe the ache I feel, this cloud I have hanging over me. My little brother is gone... it hurts so terribly. I've cried more tears the last few days than probably the last 20 years combined. I had a dream about him two nights ago, and it shook me. Nothing profound, he was just in it. Somehow, I knew he was going to be passing away soon in my dream. He was just sitting on the floor, perfectly healthy, looking just like he did before steroids took over. Just sitting there, making faces at me, being his goofball self. I so clearly remember thinking in my dream though, that I would one day miss that. And then in the next scene, I was preparing for his funeral.
I've barely stopped crying since.
I do miss that. I miss that more than words could ever say.
I miss him so much.
I've prayed more 'give me comfort' prayers the last few days than ever in my life. The ache is overwhelming sometimes, and I just don't know what else to pray. God answered that today, in a nearly tangible way. I've been listening to this song for a few days, but today... I really heard it. I could nearly hear JD singing it to me, and I couldn't help but smile through my tears....

"I hear Your voice and I catch my breath,

'Well done, My child, enter in and rest.'
Tears of joy roll down my cheek...
It's beautiful beyond my wildest dreams."

It's perfect. And I bet, just maybe, close to how things went. Those last few days of his life, and especially last hours, his breathing was so labored, every breath agonizing. To think that the second JD took his last breath on this earth, he took his first one in heaven, and to consider the difference between the two... it takes my breath away. He's breathing easy now. He has caught his breath, indeed.
And can't you just hear the Lord saying to him, "Well done, My child"? Oh, how he deserved that 'well done'. I wish I could've seen the reception he got, and his reaction to it. I can picture him fist-pumping and cheering in my mind. Can't you? He's dancing again, my friends.
And the Lord telling him that it's now time to enter in and rest. I can hear it... and it's beautiful. No more fighting. No more pain. It's time to rest.. and rest in the presence of God, where there is the fullness of joy, and pleasures forever more. That's where JD is at.
And I can nearly hear him saying to me, in his voice, that it's beautiful beyond his wildest dreams. Of course, there'd be hand gestures if he were saying, and probably a joke or two, but I can hear it, and I know it's the song he's singing... that it is more beautiful than we could ever imagine.

I probably listened to the song twenty times on repeat, tears streaming down my face every time. But each time that I heard 'It's beatiful beyond my wildest dreams,' I couldn't help but smile and say, "I know, buddy... I know."
And then I would sing the last lines back, up to my God, up to the heavens, up to JD, if he's allowed to listen in on things like that...

My soul is getting restless for the place that I belong...
I can't wait to join the angels and sing my heaven song.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

-Vacation was really, really wonderful. 85 and sunny every single day. Glorious. Relaxing. Fantastic. Any other adjective that means 'amazing!'
-Came home to discover that our shower now officially leaks through our kitchen ceiling. Cut a giant hole in the ceiling and bought the stuff to begin our bathroom renovation! Yes!
-Got some 24 hour flu bug. Threw up all day, slept when I wasn't puking, had 101 degree fever, aches, chills, the works. Was absolutely miserable. But I feel great today. Glad that's over with.
-Corban has stopped sleeping. No, really. I don't know what to do about it either. Is this some weird payback for him being a great sleeping newborn?! Ha. Just joking. But seriously... I'd like my 2.5 year old back, please. Naps included. Is twelve hours at night and 2 hours during the day a little demanding?! I don't think so either. :)
-I've got a million gazillion great pictures to sift through from vacation and a few days prior. Have I mentioned that I love my camera?
- God is doing some pretty neat things. Giving me specific direction in an area I've been really praying about. A starting point, at least. I'm really thankful for that.
-It's NOVEMBER. Like, the month before December. Like, summer has passed, August and September really happened, and now, holiday season is approaching. Whaaaaaaaat?! Not only has time flown, but this weather is playing tricks on me as well--- not that I'm complaining! Just sayin'... November?!?!
-Phil Whickam Saturday night at our church!!!! Can't wait!

That's all for now... back to cleaning. Real posts to come soon. :)