Thursday, September 30, 2010

what to say..

Just a little preface- this is a little bit of brain vomit... forgive the typos and lack of order.
I've gone back and forth, over and over...
The one year anniversary of JD's death is this weekend, and I can't just not address it... but I don't know what to say, either. This week has caught me way off guard. Lots of emotions that I wasn't prepared for. A lot of tears. A lot of little details surrounding this time last year that I hadn't remembered until now.
It still stinks.
It suddenly is so fresh, so real all over again. I miss his face more than you could ever imagine. I miss hearing him talk, listening to him pick on me, watching him love on my kids... everything about him. Even those hospital days- at this point last year, I would've told you those were the worst days I'd ever endured, that they were torturous... and they were, but there's now a preciousness about them- As hard as they were then, they were the last days we got with JD, and that makes them sweet, tender memories.
I just miss my brother.

I'm part of a women's Bible study right now, and we're going through Beth Moore's 'Jesus, the One and Only'. One day this past week, we looked at two different healings that Jesus performed. I won't go into all of the details, but I love what Beth Moore had to say:
"I believe with all my heart that eternal purpose is the central issue involved in whether or not God heals a believing and requesting Christian's physical illness. Although I don't pretend to understand how or why, some illnesses may serve more eternal purpose than healing, while other healings serve more purpose than illness.... Like you, I cannot imagine what purpose some illnesses and premature deaths possibly serve, but, after years of loving and seeking my God, I trust who He is even when I have no idea what He's doing. Above all things, I believe God always has purpose in every decision He makes."
I trust who He is even when I have no idea what He's doing. I pray that'd be my heart every single moment of heartache, you know? And for you, too... I don't know what your situation is or what it looks like, but I pray that you'll look- and find- our God who is faithful and good, Who has a perfect plan, Who will never leave or forsake you. Without that hope... I've got nothing.

J.D. and I didn't have a ton of real serious heart to heart conversations regarding the Lord... he saved those for Jordan :)... but I am confident, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt what my brother was holding on to, what was carrying him through those last days. This past week, I've spent a lot of time looking at his facebook profile. I know that it was summertime when he had last updated it.. I don't think we knew that the cancer had spread yet when he changed it, but I could be wrong on that. Listen to the things J.D. had to say, though. He wasn't feeling well by summertime. He was very sick, in and out of the hospital. These are the things he chose to put for his information about himself, favorite quotes, etc.

"Name is JD. God is GREAT"

"Song: Savior, He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Forever, Author of Salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave"

"Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
(Psalm 84:10)"

"I lift up my eyes to the hills -- where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2"

Today is the day You have made
I will rejoice and be glad in it
Today is the day You have made
I will rejoice and be glad in it
And I won't worry about tomorrow
I'm trusting in what You say
Today is the day"

"Me: I learned that I should not have Red Bull. It gives you black Nose Hairs!"
Those were copy and pasted straight from his page. Words my little brother chose, things he wanted to be identified with. You have no idea what it does for my heart that the first verse he had written out was one talking about being in heaven. Do you remember the story of his baptism day? I'd love to retell it all, just not tonight... but there my not quite 14 year old brother laid on his death bed and told us, he told us that God was good, and that we can trust Him and the he (JD) did trust him. 
Sweet, sweet memories that I thank God so tremendously for...

Anyway... this weekend will be really hard. This week has been hard. This year has been the hardest of my life. I have been so blessed by hearing, reading, listening to people remember him, though. Facebook is abuzz with memories and pictures of JD right now. There's the 2nd annual JD Taylor Golf Scramble benefiting two local children with cancer taking place on Sunday. The middle school he attended is opening a Broadcasting Center tomorrow and it's being dedicated to JD. People remember, and that means more to me than you could ever know. It's so easy to get caught up in the sadness of him being gone- but I think it's even more important that we remember who he was, how he lived, the stands he made, what (Who) he placed his trust and hope in... the impact that he made.
"I have asked the question why
But I guess the answer's for another time
And so I'll pray with every tear
And be thankful for the time I had you here
I want to live my life just like you did
Make the most of my time just like you did...
You know I bet it feels good to have the weight of the world off your shoulders now
I'm dreaming of the day when I'm finally there with you..."
(Matthew West, Save A Place for Me)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

26 weeks!

So I just realized that next weekend is October 2nd. And I panicked. And then- I realized that October 1st puts me 3 months out from my due date. Yikes. And then I thought about how the next 6 weeks are jam packed and crazy... and once they're over- I'm only 6 weeks away from giving birth to a BABY.
Like... I'm about to be a mother to THREE.
That's a big number! Especially when your oldest is just going to be 3.5 years old!
I can't wait, though. I really have loved this pregnancy, love feeling this little one squirm all around, loved wondering who this baby is. As crazy as it makes me feel some days, there really is an excitement different than before from not knowing the gender. Can you imagine how amazing that moment will be when Jordan announces, "It's a........!"?? I find myself daydreaming about that often. I would feel a whole lot better about things if we could somewhat agree on a boy name, but nope. I'm pretty close to revoking Jordan's veto power, really. Just kidding... but I've come up with some pretty good lists just for him to shoot them all down. I know we'll settle on something or something will jump out one day- I just wish it would be soon. :)
Ummm.... what else? It's 95 degrees today. That's hot. Especially for it being the first day of fall and nearly October. But come Saturday, our 10 day forecast looks just about perfect- highs in the low 70s. I can't wait!
You probably won't hear much from me the next 6 weeks. I've got a LOT of photo sessions that I'm trying to get in before being too big to jump around and squat and run and before it turns snowy here (let's not even think about that, though), making my free time very little. I've set some lofty goals and am really hoping to save enough to get my new camera before my little hiatus... and help fund a vacation the second week of November. We'll see how it all goes. :)
How about some pictures? First, here's that belly that's rapidly expanding with child:
Mmhmm. I'm really terrible at self portraits. Ha! It took about 20 tries to even get myself IN the picture. But there it is, 26 weeks along. Don't you wonder who is in there??! Any guesses? Boy? or Girl? 

And now, to my sweet babies:
So serious... and so curly! The one thing I'll miss about humid summer weather... Cate's ringlets :)
They really play VERY well together- and really miss eachother if they're apart. I love that. :)  
He loves to run. Just like his Mama. :)

Okay... well, I better make dinner.
Happy almost weekend!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I was given the privilege of photographing this precious couple with their daughter and grandchildren. Pictures took about 30 minutes... but I sat for hours and listened to their stories.
They just celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary.
I loved hearing story after story of God's goodness and faithfulness that they've seen over the years.
This is why I want to be a photographer... people like this, families like this.
More to come, I imagine- but I just wanted to share this image.
So thankful for the opportunity given to me tonight.

Hope your weekend was great!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

boat ride!

We got a chance to go out on a boat earlier this week- we ALL had a blast! Cate, much like her normal self- had no fear and wanted to reach down and touch the water, hop right on the 'island' floaty. Corban was a little more reserved, but enjoyed it tremendously. It was a perfect evening weather wise, and the sunset was beautiful. Anyway, here's a few pictures from that:
Coming soon: apple picking pictures!


I'm sitting here with pillows propped behind me, legs extended, nestled all comfortable on my couch. The windows are open and there's the most perfect hint-of-fall breeze blowing in. I can see the curtains in the other room swaying back and forth, and I hear my children both singing their sleepy songs from their beds.... music to my ears. I'm ignoring the mess for a moment, enjoying the quiet, and finally... taking some time to think.
The truth is.. my words are many right now. I've noticed something about myself, can trace it's pattern back over the years. Times like this... where reality is hard, where remembering is hard, I make life so hectic that there's not a minute for quiet or rest... not  a minute for the hurt to take over. But it does anyway... It rears it's little head when I least expect it, and suddenly- I'm sobbing and can't figure out what set me off, how I went from laughter to tears without a blink. Try as I may, it finds its way in, but I don't seem to stop. I've filled every minute of our days, and the days that aren't filled, we're running here or there, just to be out and moving and busy. My usually treasured silent naptimes have been overtaken by worship music and sermons- wonderful things, absolutely... but I know in my heart it's just noise to fill the silence, to occupy my mind.
There's a fine balance that I have yet to find... How do I remember without being consumed? How do I go there without a fresh heart break? How do I walk through this... now, almost a year later, when every corner I turn reminds me of where we were last year? I remember wishing that I could just fast-forward through the pain for JD, but yet pause life at the same time... knowing what an end to pain might mean. But here we are, twelve months past... It's hard to think about those days, to consider all that happened in such a short amount of time. It shatters my heart to think of what my little brother endured... but man, what I wouldn't give to hold his hand one more time...
I went on a retreat with the women from our church this last weekend. Know what the theme was? MmHmm. "Remember." Pretty quickly the Lord was showing me all the things I talked about already- just my need to busy myself past the hurt- and it's insufficiency- and lesson after lesson they discussed remembering the faithfulness that God has shown us. So many things flooded my mind... and then I remembered the psalm that was so tremendously impressed on my heart just weeks after JD's death, and all that it spoke to my heart, and all these things, so many things were stirred up in my heart. Truthfully, even while there, I wanted to run. I didn't want sweet quiet worship at the end of the night, I didn't want to be still and wait, but God wasn't letting me off the hook. The last worship song of the last session felt as though my Jesus was cupping my face in His hands, looking me in the eyes, saying firmly, "Do you hear Me yet? Will you listen to Me?"... As we took communion and went to pray in small groups, the words, "There's a peace I've come to know though my heart and flesh may fail. There's an anchor for my soul- I can say, 'it is well'..." blared through the speakers and I sobbed. "I will rise when He calls my name, no more sorrow, no more pain..." The last time I'd heard those lyrics sung live was moments before I took one  last look at my little brothers body, before the casket was closed... but this weekend there was peace- I was overwhelmed by the goodness and faithfulness of our God.
So what now? If you've lost someone close to you, I'm sure you can relate to a fear of forgetting... Part of me wants to remember and record every last memory from this time last year, because to forgot would somehow be to discount my brothers life. The other part of me would love to just close the door and run... it is hard. A year out, I have less answers than I did. I think it's different for each one of us- as much as I'd like for there to be an outline of what normal is and how to apply it, I know that's not the case for me. For me.. I'm letting myself cry. I'm letting the unexpected catch me off guard and the tears fall. I'm choosing to drink pumpkin spice lattes and remember those long (but precious) hospital days. I'm reading old journal entries and holding on for dear life to the same scriptures that saw me through last year. I'm holding onto the memories of God's faithfulness then, and the freshness of His faithfulness now. But I'm also wasting time at Target, turning on the radio, revisiting the Greg Laurie sermons... Some days, that's just what is good and right for me.
Though I do wish to just skip this hard part, skip this time of year, skip those painful memories... I know there's much to be gained from walking through it. I want to work through this now... I want the Lord to work in me, change me, grow me- so that I can be used by Him. I want to help others who are enduring what we've endured... I want to honor JD's memory and use his story and his love for Jesus to help others. I'd miss out on all of that by just running from the hurt. I don't know exactly what it means to face it every single day, but I am ready to try.
In 'my' psalm (116) that was given to me about a year ago, there's a section of verses that speak so loudly to my heart- even more so now than then. I'll just conclude with that:

"What shall I render to the Lord for all of His benefits toward me?
I will take up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord now in the presence of all His people.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.
O, Lord, truly I am your servant...
I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And will call upon the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord now in the presence of all His people,
in the courts of the Lord's house, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!"

May our hearts be focused on the faithfulness of our tender, merciful, loving God!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

sweet 16

I had my first photo session with a 'big kid' on Sunday- and I ABSOLUTELY loved it. It helps that my subject was beautiful and like a sister to me- but still... I think I just may like this audience. A lot. Truthfully, I was nervous... a 16 year old doesn't find bubbles or jumping or silly voices all that amusing- but she's incredibly photogenic and comfortable in front of the camera, so we ended up with some great shots. :) And because I'm tired and ready for bed, but not wanting to entirely neglect my blog- today, you get pictures- and not even of my children!
And here's a few of Maddie with her Mom:
In case you're wondering- Maddie is as beautiful inside as she is out. She has a heart to follow closely after Jesus and lives to show that in everything she does. I am SO blessed to be a part of her life, so thankful that she just so 'happened' to go on that ski trip almost two years ago, so amazed at the young woman and leader she has become. 
Happy 16th Birthday, Maddie! I love you!

Monday, September 6, 2010

my house

looks like a baby store threw up everywhere.
Oh, how I wish I were exaggerating.
And that my camera weren't in sleeping Cate's room. I could prove it.
Really though- 4.5 years of baby clothes (the 3 years of Corban, 1.5 of Cate) sorted in keep and don't keep stacks in numerous room. Soon to be sorted in 'keep' stacks by size and 'don't keep' by size. And then put on hangers and tagged to sell at a local store. All before Saturday at midnight. My head hurts just thinking about it...
BUT- I really look forward to it being gone. A tremendous relief for me, really.
It's not silly that I'm ridding us of baby clothes right before a baby of unknown gender appears, by the way. You see, Corban was born in summertime. His little stuff is the wrong seasons. And his bigger stuff will be 4+ years old before the baby would need it anyway. And then with Cate, if I don't love it, it's gone. If it's bigger than 12 months, it's gone.There's just too much stuff and we won't need it all and I certainly don't want it taking up any more of our disappearing space.
Disappearing space?
Oh yes.
That's the other thing about my house right now.
I just eliminated 2.5 closets in one afternoon. I don't mean just empty contents of (which I did), but rather, tore out walls to make a new bedroom. Really! Again, I wish I had my camera to show you... Two and a half walk in closets are no more, and a bedroom nearly is. I'm giddy about it. We ran into a slight problem when we remembered that the floor of our bedroom (the half of closet part) is a foot taller than the rest of the upstairs. (Our room is split-level. And really cool... if it could ever stay clean. Just sayin'.) But my husband and our friend Jacob, who is currently also a housemate (and who will be occupying the new bedroom for now) came up with a genius solution that I'm so anxious to see in action.
Our labor day was labor-filled. And I'm tired. This weekend wore me out, I have tremendous circles under my eyes and enough work to last me until I'm 92, with these baby clothes and all. But...I WILL be really excited about all of this, once I sleep and once it's done instead of hanging over my head.
So there you go.
OH! One more thing... I read today that 72% of Mom's are only able to come up with names for the gender of baby they're having. If that's true... this baby is a g.i.r.l. :) I'm aching to know, going through all these little bitty clothes, blankets, shoes... but we'll keep holding out. I might have to bring a blind fold to my 24 week appointment this week... but I really want to wait it out. Mostly. Sort of, at least. :) Remind me again why I'm waiting...???
Ha. Okay. Goodnight.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

just kidding. there's more.

I know I concluded my last post (which was just posted, you know... 5 minutes ago) saying 'that's all I've got today', but I just hate to leave such a hard post on top. Look back, and you'll see... those sad ones are almost always quickly followed up. Anyway, that's not all I've got today. I am sad... this has been the hardest day I've had in a long, long, long time- but it's not all bad. Not at all.
You have no idea how grateful I am for pictures. Neither JD or myself liked the picture I posted below last year after I took it... but now? I want it framed. It's a treasure to me. Though it is a hard memory, I'm so thankful I have documentation of that memory, you know? Exactly what I was saying the other day, (or rather, Natalie Norton was saying)... all the motivation I need to be a photographer.
Speaking of which! I'm an assistant wedding photographer this weekend! Holy Moly! I'm really really REALLY nervous about it. And I'm just an assistant! ha! I think that's part of what makes me so nervous... I really respect and admire the photographer I'm shooting with- and I've never done ANYTHING like this. At all. I'm excited though... I hope this less-than-4-months-away-from-having-a-baby body will keep up all day.
I've got a pretty packed September and October ahead. Lots of sessions on the calendar. I'm really excited, and really, seriously!, love more and more every day being a 'photographer'.
My baby girl... she melts my heart. Sweet as they come, folks. She always wants to 'hold mama hand' and is usually pretty near my side- at my feet in the kitchen, on my lap in the couch... I love it. She LOVES being carried in the sling. Still. And is pretty much possessive about it. I put the sling on and got Corban out of the car first... she freaked out, yelling, "Cate ride!" over and over. (She always says she's riding with Mama when she's in it.) Makes me a wee bit nervous about this new addition. I think I'm going to have to get a different sling so she knows that one is the baby's. I also want to get one of the mini-slings for her to carry her baby dolls in. She would love that.
Corban is in AWANA. Seriously. My baby boy. In AWANA. A cubby. Where has the time gone? He did excellent last night, and had a blast. I am always nervous about how he'll do in a classroom like setting, sunday school, etc., but really- it's been a long time since he's gotten into any trouble. Makes this Mama proud. :) I may or may not have shed a few tears yesterday morning as he and Jordan were getting ready and I was laying in bed, thinking about how next year at this time he may be leaving with Jordan to head to school. Not so sure I'm ready for that. :)
Lastly, I made this for dinner (thankyouverymuch, Pioneer Woman)and it's in the croc pot smelling delicious, and I can't wait to eat it.
And- as soon as I get a spare minute or day (ha....haha...ha) I want to make this for my baby girl.
Umm... now that's really all.
Good day!


Eleven months.
A year ago today (though it was the 3rd, not the 2nd), I was anxiously awaiting the evening, our night of taking JD to the Tenth Avenue North concert. I spent so much of that evening holding in tears...
and today... I just can't get them to stop.
Missing him... more than ever.
That's all I've got today.