Monday, October 26, 2009


I was driving home from the park this morning, and I knew I had heard the song that came on before, and I couldn't place it... I knew it was one that I tucked away to remember, and then the chorus hit..
Whatever will come, we'll rise above
No matter the war, our hope is secure
You fail us not...
You are bigger than the battle...
You fail us not...
Can I be honest with you?
I have these moments where I feel slighted, like God got it wrong. Didn't He hear the thousands of people praying? Didn't He see us proclaiming Him good through each and every storm? Didn't He know that people were watching and waiting? Didn't He realize that there would be no doubt where the miracle came from?
The answer to those questions, though, is yes. He did hear, He did see, He did know. And yet He still took JD home to be with Him. Sometimes, that makes me so mad. Sometimes I do feel disappointed, failed. Something I battled with in my heart for a long, long time, prior to JD passing away was that just because God could heal JD didn't mean that He would. I couldn't quite wrap my brain around it, didn't know what to do with that understanding.
When we found out on August 26th that the cancer had spread to JD's spine, I remember having quite a wrestle with the Lord, and then simply being brokenhearted upon realizing what probably was to come. I remember crying to Jordan, getting ready to speak the words, "I hate that his days are numbered..." but before I could ever get the words out, God impressed so strongly on my heart the verses in Psalm 139. As soon as I opened my mouth to speak, I know that God said to me, "They always have been." And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. How precious are your thoughts to me, O God. (ps 139:16). Yes, though his days were numbered... they always had been.
My husband gave me this analogy in one of many conversations with me just not understanding, being so perplexed. Think about being at a parade. You're standing on the side of the road, watching the marching band go on past. You crane your neck trying to get a glimpse of the dancers rounding the corner. Suddenly they're in front of you and you glance the other way to see the back of the band, and then back beyond the dancers to see Big Bird coming. We get snippets. God, however, sees every bit of the parade at once. We can only see what's within our eyesight, but He sees it all, every last detail, simultaneously. He sees what we can't. He knows what has passed, He knows what we're seeing right now, and He can see what's coming, long before it begins to round the corner.
It's important that we remember that. Once I lose sight of that, of realizing that God knows what He's doing, that He sees the big picture... I can get pretty hung up on wondering why things didn't happen like I wanted them to. I've referenced Jesus praying before He went to the cross saying "Lord, if there's any other way, take this cup from Me" before. That was an important verse for me before, just seeing that even JESUS had a hard time accepting what was placed before Him... but now, I feel like the Lord has used it in a different way. If there were any other way for God's will to be accomplished, things would've happened differently. But for whatever reason, this is how it had to be. There was no other way.
While I'd give anything for things to be different, I know that I wasn't failed. God didn't get it wrong. He is in control. He wasn't out golfing while we were on our knees. He heard every last whisper on JD's behalf... and chose miracles to come in different form. Man... I hate it. I miss my brother in a way that aches like nothing I've ever known before, but I trust that God is in control, that His plan is good, that His ways are perfect. He fails us not.

Friday, October 23, 2009

three weeks.

I cannot believe that it was just three weeks ago that I was sitting beside JD's bed, holding his hand, whispering that sissy was here, that I loved him, that he could rest now. I can't believe that twenty one days have passed... that life just continues on. I miss him so much.
I've spent a lot of time thinking lately, on life, on living life, on how JD lived his life... the funeral, things people have said, etc. And I keep thinking, concluding, that I want to live my life in such a way that there would be no trouble finding words at my funeral, that people would know that they know that they know that I'm with Jesus now, that they could say that I inspired them, encouraged them, comforted them. I want to live a life sold out for the Lord, unashamed. I want to be bold. I just keep thinking, how am I living? what does my life say that I believe?

I've been spending a lot of time in the Word and reading books, a lot of time journaling. I would most definitely recommend Greg Laurie's 'Hope for Hurting Hearts' to anyone who has lost someone, who knows someone who has lost someone, who may lose someone someday. (Get the picture? Read the book! Anyone and everyone!) It was written in the midst of his grief after losing his son, and my heart echoes so much of what he's said... and it truly has brought hope for my hurting heart and just solidified my desire to continue on, following after Jesus. He was talking about the thousands of comments he received on his blog after losing his son and he said this to his supporters:
"My word to those who have written to us and prayed for us is simply this: I still believe. God is real, and He is present. Our faith is true. 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."

Yes... my heart exactly. Three weeks out, God is still proving Himself faithful, still carrying us through. He hasn't left us, and we are not forsaken. He is still good. He will 'be with us wherever we will go.' This is hard... harder than I ever dreamed it would be. And the last week has been harder than the first two- maybe numbness is fading and reality is settling in, I don't know, but it's just been hard.
And I can't figure out how to conclude this, and so I won't. I'll just stop there. Things are hard, I miss my brother, but God is good.
Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

it came!

And I love it. Love love love it. A lot. Now... I just need to learn how to use it. Woohoo!! Hurray for Canon Rebels!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

potty potty potty

So that little boy of mine... you know, this one: He's potty training himself. I kid you not.
He's been ready for awhile now, but you know.. life was in an upraor. Originally I was going to start working on it as soon as we got back from vacation, but vacation didn't happen. And then he didn't see his parents for nearly a month. And now we're back home, settling back into routines, and he's always asking to go potty.
So I figured it was time.
Bought the Lightning McQueen 'undies', as they're deemed around these parts. Got the little seat that you put on the seat. Made a sticker chart.
Today is the first day in 'undies' all day, and he made it 4.5 hours accident free, with EIGHT trips to the potty. Yes, really. But who pees twice an hour!? Anyway, I'm not complaining... I have a timer going to remind me to take him once an hour, but I just shut it off because he was telling me he needed to go by himself. Can you believe that?!

You think maybe since he's doing so well with this... that is's about time we teach him to use a spoon??
PS- my new camera should be here TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

sweet reminder

I read Jesus Calling for a daily devotional, and was a few days behind. I started where I left off and this is what it said:
"Look to Me continually for help, comfort, and companionship...When you need comfort, I love to enfold you in My arms. I enable you not only to feel comforted but also to be a channel through whom I comfort others. Thus you are doubly blessed, because a living channel absorbs some of whatever flows through it."
If you read my earlier post, you can clearly see that this is what I needed to hear today.
I'm thankful for that.

sad and raw. beware.

My heart is broken.
I had several 'good' days. Things seemed better once I got home, back to my house, where JD didn't live, where his bedroom wasn't, where his absence wasn't glaring around every corner. But now, man. I had a dream about him Friday morning... nothing crazy, he was just there, just in it, and I woke up with an ache so incredible, so overwhelming. I haven't been able to shake it since. We saw family on Saturday. My cousin Mady is JD's age. They were so close. Mady has a sister my age, who was there too. You have no idea how my heart broke just watching them together, picking on eachother. It's only been 17 days, but I miss that so much.
I don't have a little brother anymore! Do you realize that?! I just hate it... I loved being Sissy so much.
How does life just continue? How can it be? How do I keep being Mama, keep cooking dinner, keeping being here... when I just miss him so much? I know the answer is that it just does, and I just do- but the last few days, today, it's just hard. I want to hop in the car, drive to Crawfordsville and lay on top of that pile of dirt and cry. And then I want to drive to Mom and Jack's house, walk into JD's room and crawl into his bed and cry. I wish I could just cry him back here. I know that sounds dumb, all of this sounds silly. But this is real, this is today.
I've been listening to 'you never let go' by David Crowder Band nonstop today. It's such a comfort for me. When clouds brought rain and disaster came, when waters rose and hope had flown... In joy and pain, sun and rain, You're the same, You never let go... I see that, I feel that, I believe that- but it doesn't take the heartache away. God IS still good. I don't believe that any less today, but today, I'm just sad. I've got a lot to say, a lot I'm processing, a lot I'm praying through. There are so many moments I'd love to share, but I'm not ready yet. It's easier to talk about than to write about right now, and that's only sometimes. Sometimes I want to talk talk talk about it... othertimes I don't want to say a word. It seems most people are afraid to discuss it with me, really. I'll start saying something, and the responses get real short. I know they don't know what to say... I know that. But sometimes I just need them to listen. It's just hard all the way around.
Anyway, my baby girl is crying. I think something startled her awake, though I'm not sure what. Hopefully I can get her to lay back down, as nap time is far from over. I'm really okay... just sad, that's all. I feel better after writing.. it's a good thing for me. I'm gonna go lay on the couch and read for awhile... the cleaning can wait. :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

feedback... please?!

Okay, so I have 24 followers now (YAY!) and am getting about 100 hits per day. I've got a very serious question to ask all of you....
Are you ready?!

What do you think of this color? (click the 'this' link to see it.)

You see, I have a GIANT dark brown sectional, and a GIANT black TV... both of which make the already dark room seem darker. Plus, I painted the living room two colors when we first moved in and now, with the new couch, it all seems wrong. I'm wanting something warm and comfortable, but not plain ole tan, and not yellow or creamy. It's already half green, but I'm over that.

This is just what I do. You should know that by now. It's like... therapeutic or something. Just be glad you're not my husband.

If my camera weren't broken, I'd show you a picture.

Okay, fine. Really I just wanted to mention that so I could say that WE ORDERED A NEW CAMERA TODAY!!! I'm giddy about it, really. A Canon Rebel. Yes, wipe the drool off my face. I've only been wanting this and saving my pennies (sort of) since was Corban born. We've been looking and waiting for a good deal to come up, and then our camera broke, and we found a great deal and we did it. I can't believe it!! And I can't wait for it to get here. This is probably the most exciting, anticipated purchase (besides my house) I've ever made. Really!

Okay, anyway. I need to get back to my (mountain of) laundry. I just stumbled upon my Sherwin Williams paint deck and got completely distracted.

So what do you think?! To waterscape my living room, or not? If not... got any other ideas?! I'm open, and ready to paint. Oh, you want to join me? Sounds great! Come on over. Haha. :)
Happy Weekend!

Cate Taylor, 9 months old!

(just so you can see the outfit- ha! Check out her new boots!)

My sweet girl! Love you, baby Cate!!
(And in case you're wondering, she's about 16lbs now, nearly walking, says 'mama' and 'dada' and the nursery worker at church swears she was saying 'hi', she waves, cruises like crazy, loves to try and take whatever toy her big brother is playing with, is very very vocal, great at expressing her displeasure when I move her away from danger, loves her bottle, is exclusively formula fed, loves any and all baby food, is going to be a climber like Corban, adores her blankies and paci, looks stinkin' cute in her new winter hat, and brings my heart more joy that you could ever imagine. Not bad for 9 months, eh?!)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

a few thoughts

There's a reality to my relationship with the Lord that there has never been before.
Suddenly, heaven is a real place... and on the forefront of my mind.
Suddenly, Scripture is sustaining me, constantly running through my heart.
Suddenly, I'm relying on the Lord to simply carry me through the day... and He's doing it, He's showing up faithfully.
Honestly, I've never given heaven much thought. It was a 'sure, sounds great' kind of thing... never really a goal, never my focus. My perspective has been very skewed, very here-and-now centered, never eternally-minded.
That's all changed.
Now that I know that I know that I know that JD's there... suddenly it all has new meaning. It's very...real to me. Not a nice concept, not a cushion for the blow, but a reality.
Even worshiping has changed. It's been a very emotional thing for me, because I can't help but to think that every time I close my eyes, shut the world out, sing "Holy is the Lord God Almighty"... that JD and I are doing the same thing, at the same time.
In the presence of God is the fullness of joy...
JD's getting that fully, unhindered. We get only tastes of it, right here, right now.
What are we living for? What's our goal? Where's our focus? What's our priority?
Is it to love God, to love people? Is it to know Jesus and make Him known?
I want that to be my heart... and I want it to be yours.

just a few thoughts for today.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


The kids are napping, the house is semi-picked up (and I say that very loosely), and I'm enjoying a mid-afternoon pot of coffee. I'd say cup, but I'd be lying. I'll drink every last drop of that pot. It's a nasty habit that has gotten way out of control during the long-hospital-day/long-sleepless-night schedule. Regardless, my coffee is good and today, my heart is light.
I feel an ease today which I haven't felt in a long time. I heard my mom really laugh yesterday, and that did more for my heart than I could ever express. I had really sweet time with the Lord as I began reading 'Hope for Hurting Hearts' and then doing the Beth Moore 'Jesus' study. I opened my heart to my husband and shared with him the desires being stirred up in my heart, and what I feel God is saying about them... which is to wait, to keep seeking, keep clinging, to allow Him to work in me first. I sighed as I echoed nearly every word of what Greg Laurie had to saying regarding his brokenheart, but felt encouraged at the hope and peace he proclaimed. I played lots of baseball with my son, and laughed with Cate as she laughed at herself. I found a pair of American Eagle jeans, my size, and LONG at Marshalls for $16. I also got a speeding ticket, but that's another story for another day.
Today, I'm doing okay.
Grief is a funny thing. One minute, I'm fine. The next, I'm crying. Some days I can tell story after story about my little brother with a smile on my face. Others, I can barely speak his name. I can't believe that it's only been 11 days, though. I feel like it's been forever... and I miss him so terribly. But man.. I keep thinking about what he's experiencing right now- can you imagine?! During his funeral, the song 'I can only imagine' was played. First, I kept thinking that JD doesn't have to imagine anymore, that he knows. The second chorus through, though, I nudged my big brother Brandon and whispered, "I bet he's dancing," and Brandon laughed and said he nearly nudged me to say the same. That makes my heart smile. In his book HFHH (see above), Greg Laurie says, "My desire to be in heaven is greater now than ever before, and heaven is more real to me now than any time I can remember. Why? Because I have an investment there now." That's exactly how I feel. All of this has forced me to really step back and evaluate how I'm living, what my priorities are, what my focus is. I keep thinking about the incredible impact that JD has made and how and why, and really, it boilsdown to these two things: He loved Jesus, and he loved people. Simple as that.
Anyway, my little boy is stomping around upstairs, signaling that my time is up. Here's to hoping he's in the mood to snuggle... :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

love, Sissy.

Today is a hard day for me, but I have nothing to write that hasn't already been written. I've had a couple of requests to post what I wrote and read at JD's funeral, and so I will. It's lengthy, poorly edited, and written exactly as I speak. I knew better than to try to present it like I speech... I stared at the paper and read the whole time. Now, I can't even believe I was able to get up there. I can hardly say his name without crying- hard to imagine I stood in front of hundreds of people and in front of his casket and made it through. Anyway, here you go:

Trying to find the words to summarize nearly 14 years with the most amazing, courageous, inspirational young man was proving to be very difficult. But after days of trying, I realized that a conclusion wasn't necessary, that while his time on earth seems way too short, the impact he has made, the lives he has changed, and ultimately, his eternity rejoicing and running the streets of heaven has just begun.
I can still see those big blue eyes, flat-top blonde hair, big missing toothed grin saying "Sissy, listen to what I learned in Sunday School..and he'd continue as he quoted John 14, 'Let not your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. In my Fathers house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you..'" I heard him say it so many times that I ended up learning it! I've always thought of those as JD's verses.. I've thought of that- of him saying those lines, over and over the last few days. A comfort for my heart,and really, I believe the Lord helping me then for right now. There's so much that we don't know, that we can't understand, so many why's... but we have to focus on what we do know. We know where JD's at. We know that he's no longer a cancer patient, that he walks just fine, talks just fine, probably cracking jokes and playing guitar. We know that in the presence of God is the fullness of joy, and that's what he's experiencing. No more pain, no more sorrow. Just joy.
With that said, I have a story I want to share with you, one that truly has changed my life and has enabled the last few days to be much more bearable. As you all know, the last month of JD's life was very very difficult. The last week, even more so. We watched him deteriorate every day and knew there wasn't much time left. Mom called us in at 6 a.m. on Friday morning and let us know that things were looking bad. We got there as fast as we could, and didn't leave his bedside the remainder of the day. It was heart wrenching, agonizing. At one point during the day, for some reason Mom looked up at the ceiling and casually mentioned that there was a rainbow shining in, a reflection from something, but nonetheless, a symbol of God's promise. Our attention quickly went back to JD and the next several hours seemed to take days. In that moment that we realized he had taken his last breath, though, those last days seemed like mere seconds and the heartbreak was incredible.
It was a moment of absolute despair, absolute desperation. For some reason, in the most sorrowful, devastating moment, Mom's mind went back to a few hours prior. In between sobs she said "Where's my rainbow now? God's promise. I need my rainbow right now." We all looked up and saw a blank ceiling.. but before we could even blink, the sun poked through the clouds, and wider than the hospital bed and so bold and bright, a rainbow covered the ceiling. Yes, God's promise. It may have been just light hitting a cd, but we'd been there for weeks and never seen anything of the sort. It was for us, for that time. In our darkest moment, the moment we needed Him most, He proved himself faithful. It's as if god wanted us to know, My promises are still true. I haven't left you. You are not forsaken. I am still good, and I am still love.
His promises are still true.
I've shared these things with you because I want to encourage you, as I fully believe my little brother would have me to do. He has made it very clear what he was about, what mattered to him, what he stood for. I don't know if anyone took a look around at the viewing last night, but I saw hundreds and hundreds of people whose lives have been changed by JD. I was so touched seeing all of his peers, and the vast differences between them. I know JD well, and I saw the heartbreak in these kids... He just loved. He loved everyone. Age, gender, size, economic status.. It didn't matter. He had a boldness that I admire so greatly.. He was so comfortable in his own skin. He knew what he believed, and he stood for it- whether it be his faith in Jesus, his, ahem, political stances, or favorite sports teams.. I want to be like that. He had a passion for living and a simple joy about him. His zeal for life was contagious, and he always knew how to make you laugh. I could go on and on, listing all the wonderful things about him, but you know, you know, so instead, I'll continue on.
I've heard so many people say that JD has changed their lives, that he inspired them.. I want to challenge you to continue on with that. Remain changed. Continue changing. As hard and as much as you prayed for him, pray for someone else. As much as you poured into helping our family, help others. Don't stop doing the things you've been doing. We have been so incredibly blessed by the outpouring of this community, by you, each of you sitting here... continue to be that. The unity we've seen, the love we've seen, the way people have cried out to God... don't let that stop.
You all are so familiar with Joshua 1:9 by now, our theme verse. I feel almost like it's broken into three parts for us,and now we're on the third. First- be strong and courageous. JD took care of that with ease. Second, do not be afraid or discouraged.. Well, we might've stumbled through that one, perhaps, but now third, finally: The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. He's going to keep carrying us through. His promises are still true.
JD did more in his almost 14 years than most do in a lifetime. My heart is broken. The hole I feel without my little brother here with me is tremendous. But I know where he's at, and I know what he'd want for me. He'd want me to keep putting Jesus first, keep loving my kiddos, keep laughing... and so that's what I'll do. Matthew 5:14 says You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. As a friend recently said to us, JD IS a city on a hill, and his light WILL NOT be hidden. Shine on, JD.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fourteen years ago today, my little brother was born.
One week ago today, he died.
This has been the hardest seven days of my life.
I've never been so surrounded, yet felt so alone.
I don't have the words, I can't explain my heart. This grieving stuff... it's just hard. I feel like no one in the world can begin to understand how I'm feeling. I feel like no one really 'gets' how much I loved JD.... how much I loved being Sissy. How I treasured those Saturday coffee dates whenever I came into town, how I loved making him breakfast all our lives and taking him to school my whole senior year. How I still have the card he mailed me while I was away my freshman year of college, how I'd give anything for a baggie of poptart crusts from him. How I loved, oh, so much loved that he wanted me at every appointment he had, that I was a source of comfort for him. I cherished my little brother. I loved our time together from the day he was born.
And now he's gone, and my heart is so broken.
We went to his gravesite today to send up some balloons for his birthday. 7 white, 7 blue. I had Jordan take a picture.... because it was breathtakingly beautiful. There wasn't a hint of shoveled dirt, barely a hint of a freshly burried casket. Every inch was covered and layered with flowers, of every variety, every color. It made seeing it a little easier, I guess. But as the balloons flew up, up, up... my tears collided with the rain on my face, and I wished I was holding onto those strings, flying away too. We watched until they were out of site, and then got in the car and drove away.
This is just so hard.

I'm just really sad today. Really, really sad.
Maybe this is all part of the 'healing process'... whatever that is.

I am thankful for this though:
Psalm 34:18- The Lord is near to the brokenhearted...
and this:
Lamentations 3:22- This I recall to my mind, and therefor I have hope. Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness!"
I can say with full confidence that it's true. While I am a mess of emotions right now, I've never been more thankful, more grateful for an unwavering, ever-faithful, all-knowing God.

Much love,

Sunday, October 4, 2009

trust His heart

JD went to be with Jesus on Friday. He breathed his last breath at 2:47. His heart beat it's last beat at 3:02. I'm too tired, too sad, too heartbroken to write much else right now. There is good in the midst of all this, some really beautiful moments proving God's faithfulness, and I hope to get to those in the days to come. But I found this quote, and it speaks to my heart... I hope it will encourage you too.
God is too wise to be mistaken, God is too good to be unkind. So when you don't understand, When you don't see His plan, When you can't trace His hand...Trust His heart.
When you can't trace His hand... when nothing makes sense, when we can't even begin to understand why... trust His heart. Trust that His promises are still true. Trust that He's still good, and still doing good. Trust His heart. Sounds so simple, huh? But I know... I know that I can. God has shown up so big, so real in our most desperate moments. He's proven Himself faithful, proven trustworthy. So while I can't understand, can't see His plan, can't trace His hand... I'm trusting His heart.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Corban was in bed long before I was home tonight, as has happened way too often the last month. I decided to sneak in and at least take a peak at my little boy, but he heard me open the door.
I snuggled up in bed next to him, and he grabbed my face with both hands. "Mama, you're home," his sleepy voice said so sweetly. He snuck his arm underneath my head, held tightly to my neck with his little fingers... "mama, yey," he said, and my I felt his grip tighten, my heart melt a little more, in a way that only my son can do.
I see more and more every single day what precious, precious gifts my children are. I am so incredibly, overwhelmingly thankful for them, to have them right now, that they're here right now. I see a tiny glimpse of why things have happened when they did, why I had Corban first, why I didn't finish school. Can you imagine if I were working? Or if I didn't have my babies? As cloudy as things seem right now, as confusing and hard as everything is... I see a bit of God's perfect timing, His hand in things, His sovereignty.
He is still good.
And man, am I thankful.