Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A whirlwind of emotions

Ok, I know its been way too long since I've posted. Since my last update my baby boy turned 1! Where does time go? Ryan had an awesome birthday and I've never in my life seen any child enjoy a cake like he did! I made him a firetruck cake. Grandmommy & PaPaw were here for their first grandson's first birthday, so I thought a firetruck cake was perfect! I am so so thankful my parents were here to celebrate with us! We had a terrific Thanksgiving and have been preparing for Christmas and our beach trip with my family. I can't hardly wait to take Lelia & Ryan to the beach for the first time. My most treasured memories as a little girl (and a grown girl) are of my mom & I walking on the beach picking up sea shells and enjoying the lighthouses. I can't wait to share that with both my mom and my children!
This year, for the first time in many years, it feels like Christmas to me! I realized that earlier this week and thought about "what's different this year?"
Here is what I came up with:
-Since Claire went to heaven, I have really focused on what really matters to me.
This Christmas, I've really tried not to get so stressed out about
making "things" perfect. What good is a beautifully decorated home or every detail
planned out if you miss out on the precious moments with your children?

-Shane, Lelia, Ryan & I have been so blessed with a loving church family! Our
family was blown away when we were given gifts for Lelia & Ryan. I can't wait
until Christmas morning to see what they are going to open. To have a church
family who loves us and our children means the world to me and is a huge answer
to prayer!

-I've enjoyed hearing Lelia talk about Baby Jesus, Mary & Joseph. She plays with
the three of them all the time. As a mother, it is so amazing to me that she
already is beginning to understand the real meaning of Christmas. I have
said "Ryan, take Baby Jesus out of your mouth please. We don't eat Baby Jesus"
more times then I can count. And "I think Baby Jesus is under the couch again"
Oh the fun of having two this age!

As I sit here writing this, my heart is filled with mixed emotions. I am so excited about Christmas morning with Lelia & Ryan! I can't wait to spend time with my family at the beach this weekend! My heart longs for us all to be together. I am also feeling a broken heart like I've never felt before. I can't imagine what Angela & Jeff are going through right now. I feel so helpless that I can't make things better for them or for Abbie, Caroline & Sarah. To see my parents grieve the loss of their granddaughter and not be able to "fix it" for their daughter, is one of the toughest things for me to see. I know Sandra & her girls are missing Claire terribly as well and that makes me feel so helpless as well. I am thankful that Lelia & Ryan are young enough to not really understand right now. But at the same time it breaks my heart that my children didn't get to spend more time with Claire to have so many memories. It amazes me though, how much Lelia remembers about Claire and I enjoy showing her pictures and talking to her & Ryan about Claire Bear. Sometimes, from the little things Lelia says, I can't help but think her big cousin is around showing her the ropes! I know that Claire wouldn't want me to be sad. But there are times with I am overwhelmed with the sadness of her being gone.

This Christmas season, I am so thankful that my Heavenly Father loves me so much that He sent His Son to earth to die for me so that I could one day spend eternity with Him as well as with Claire. When I really get to missing Claire, I am reminded that Christmas is about the birth of my savior and that is what gives me strength this Christmas season.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Please watch this video

I saw this video and had to share it with each of you. Angela had a blog post recently that talks about what people's stories are. This video will help look at others in a different light.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Playlist

I thought I'd post today about the playlist I added. A dear friend of my sister's and our family said recently that she thinks we all have a soundtrack to our life. I have to agree. Please take some time and enjoy the music I've added to my blog. Here is a brief explination as to why I chose these songs for my blog's playlist. I am listening to each song now and posting my thoughts.

"He Will Carry Me"- This song became a reminder that God will always carry me through, several years ago when Shane and I were going through a very rough time in our marriage. Key lyrics for me are "even though I'm walking through the valley of the shadow" because it reminds me that we will not stay in the dark times.

I call, You hear me I’ve lost it all And it’s more than I can bear I feel so empty
You’re strong I’m weary I’m holdin’ on But I feel like givin’ in But still You’re with me
chorus: And even though I’m walkin’ through The valley of the shadow I will hold tight to the hand of Him Whose love will comfort me And when all hope is gone And I’ve been wounded in the battle He is all the strength that I will Ever need And He will carry me
I know I’m broken But You alone Can mend this heart of mine You’re always with me
chorus
And even though I feel so lonely Like I’ve never been before You never said it would be easy But You said you’d see me through The storm
chorus


"Love is Here"- An upbeat worship song that reminds me that God wants us to come to Him, everyone in every situation. God is Love.

Come to the waters, you who thirst and you'll thirst no more. Come to the father, you who work and you'll work no more. And all you who labor in vain and to the broken and shamed: Love is here. Love is now. Love is pouring from His hands, from his brows. Love is near, it satisfies. Streams of mercy flowing from his side. Cuz love is here. Come to the treasure, you who search and you'll search no more. Come to the lover you who want and you'll want no more, no. And all you who labor in vain and to the broken and shamed, Yeah: Love is here. Love is now. Love is pouring from his hands, from his brows. Love is near, it satisfies. Streams of mercy flowing from his side. Yeah And to the bruised and fallen, Captives, bound, and broken hearted. He is the lord He is the lord, Yeah By his stripes he's paid our ransom From his wounds we drink salvation He is the lord He is the lord Love is here. Love is now. Love is pouring from his hands, from his brows. Love is near, It satisfies. Streams of mercy flowing from his side. Streams of mercy flowing from his side. Cuz love is here Love is here.
"All That I Can Say"- This song gives me chills as I listen to it. It reminds me that God is always there, when we feel a distance from Him, it is us who create the distance, not God.

Lord I'm tired So tired from walking And Lord I'm so aloneAnd Lord the dark Is creeping inCreeping up To swallow meI think I'll stopRest here a while And didn't You see me cry'n? And didn't You hear me call Your name?Wasn't it You I gave my heart to? I wish You'd remember Where you sat it down
Chorus: And this is all that I can say right now And this is all that I can give
Bridge:I didn't notice You were standing here I didn't know that That was You holding me I didn't notice You were cry'n too I didn't know that That was You washing my feet

"By Your Side"- This song also reminds me that God is holding me...Always. God will never let me go. We don't have to earn grace, it is a gift from God.

Why are you striving these daysWhy are you trying to earn graceWhy are you cryingLet me lift up your faceJust don't turn awayWhy are you looking for loveWhy are you still searching as if I'm not enoughTo where will you go childTell me where will you runTo where will you runAnd I'll be by your sideWherever you fallIn the dead of nightWhenever you callAnd please don't fightThese hands that are holding youMy hands are holding youLook at these hands and my sideThey swallowed the grave on that nightWhen I drank the world's sinSo I could carry you inAnd give you lifeI want to give you life(Chorus 2x)Cause I, I love youI want you to knowThat I, I love youI'll never let you go


"Glory Baby"- I first heard this song on a blog of a Christian mother who lost her baby shortly after birth. The lyrics remind me of Claire, as well as the Sandra's baby she miscarried and Angela's miscarried baby. It reminds me that God is holding these little ones before we will hold them in Heaven.

Glory baby you slipped away as fast as we could say baby…baby.. You were growing, what happened dear? You disappeared on us baby…baby.. Heaven will hold you before we do Heaven will keep you safe until we’re home with you… Until we’re home with you…
Miss you everyday Miss you in every way But we know there’s aday when we will hold you We will hold you You’ll kiss our tears away When we’re home to stay Can’t wait for the day when we will see you We will see you But baby let sweet Jesus hold you‘till mom and dad can hold you… You’ll just have heaven before we do You’ll just have heaven before we do
Sweet little babies, it’s hard tounderstand it ‘cause we’re hurting We are hurting But there is healing And we know we’re stronger people through the growing And in knowing- That all things work together for our good And God works His purposes just like He said He would… Just like He said He would…
BRIDGE: I can’t imagine heaven’s lullabiesand what they must sound like But I will rest in knowing, heaven is your home And it’s all you’ll ever know…all you’ll ever know…


"Amazing"- This song I found while searching YouTube for another song. It makes me think about Lelia & Ryan. They are so Amazing! God has blessed me with two beautiful, amazing, smart, healthy babies! I am so thankful for them!

The morning cold and rainingDark before the dawn could comeHow long in twilight waitingLonging for the rising sunOh, OhYou came like crashing thunderBreaking through these walls of stoneYou came with wide eyed wonderInto all this great unknownHush now don’t you be afraidI promise you I’ll always stayI’ll never be that far awayI’m right here with you
You’re so amazingYou shine like the starsYou’re so amazingThe beauty you areYou came blazingRight into my heartYou’re so amazingYou are, You are
You came from Heaven shiningBreath of God still fresh on youThe beating heart inside meCrumbled at this one so newOh, OhNo matter where, how far you wanderFor a thousand years or longerI will always be there for youRight here with youI hope your tears are few and fastI hope your dreams come true at lastI hope you find love that goes on and on and on and on and onI hope you wish on every starI hope you never fall too farI hope this world can see how wonderful you are


"Mighty to Save"- This is such an awesome worship song! We sang this in church one Sunday and I love to sing it! Our Savior is so mighty! He can do anything!
Everyone needs compassionA love that's never failingLet mercy fall on meEveryone needs forgivenessA kindness of a SaviorThe hope of nationsSaviorHe can move the mountainsMy God is Mighty to saveHe is Mighty to saveForeverAuthor of salvationHe rose and conquered the graveJesus conquered the graveSo take me as You find meAll my fears and failuresFill my life againI give my life to followEverything I believe inNow I surrenderYes I surrenderSaviorHe can move the mountainsMy God is Mighty to saveHe is Mighty to saveForeverAuthor of salvationHe rose and conquered the graveJesus conquered the graveShine your light and let the whole world seeWe're singing for the glory of the risen King...Jesus (x2)SaviorHe can move the mountainsMy God is Mighty to saveHe is Mighty to saveForeverAuthor of salvationHe rose and conquered the graveJesus conquered the graveYou were mighty to save


I know this post is rather long, but I wanted to share my playlist and the lyrics with all of you. I hope that you will see the songs in a different light after reading why they mean so much to me.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tough One to Post

This past week has been crazy! I've been fighting a cold and Lelia has either been fighting a cold or cutting top teeth. We are both feeling much better now though :)! My 33rd birthday was Tuesday. I had a good day:) Wednesday, we had our small group from church. One of the couples shared their life story. It is always so awesome to hear how God is working in the lives of others! One of the students from church is watching Lelia & Ryan for us every Wednesday. We are so thankful for Jennie, a wonderful Christian woman who is willing to babysit. She is so great with our children and is an absolute sweetheart! Shane has started a paper route. The route is very close to our house, which is nice. It is a 7 day a week thing and we are so thankful for the extra job opportunity. After gas expenses, it pays almost as much money as he makes working 40 hours/week with his full time job. He has to leave the house by 3:00am. He is learning the route right now and its going good so far. He is done with the route around 6:00am, comes home to eat and then goes to his 8hr day landscape job. The hours are long and I am so proud of him for getting up so early for the paper route and then working hard all day! He has been so awesome about making quality time for me and the kids when he gets home. I am sure he is exhausted but not once has he said he was tired. The earlier bedtime for Shane is going to take some adjusting on everyone's part here at the Parker household but I know we will do just fine. After he learns the route, I'm planning on learning it too. This way we can come up with a schedule where I can do the route some days and he can get a break :) .
Now that I've caught you up with what's been going on around here, I'll share the tough part....
Monday, Lelia, Ryan & I had some errands to run. From the time I start getting Lelia ready to leave the house, until we get in the car its "Ready to go mama! Ready to go! Ride Clyde, I ride clyde!" it is so much fun to see life through the eyes of a 2 year old! Ryan is such a trooper, he is so laid back, like "Whatever ya need to do mom, I'm cool"! We are so blessed with such great kids! When we went to get out of the car at our first stop, Lelia got sooooo excited. I mean big time excited! Squealing, laughing, bursting with joy kind of excited. She started saying "Mama, I see my Claire Bear! I see Claire Bear mama? Get out, I see my Claire Bear!" Oh how my heart broke. I fought back the tears and said "Oh baby, I wish we were going to see your Claire Bear here." My mother's broken heart for my child when I had to tell her that is nothing, I mean nothing, compared to my own mother's (Grandmommy) broken heart for her child (Angela). I thought about how small of a comparison it is for me to tell Lelia that we weren't going to see Claire that day, and how my mom knows Angela won't see Claire until she is with her Heavenly Father. And that is such a small comparison to my sister's broken heart knowing Claire is no longer on this earth. I am so thankful for the 8 years we had with Claire! I am so thankful that Lelia not only remembers Claire but gets sooo excited when she thinks she is going to see her. What an impact Claire had on my daughter's life! I struggle today with it "just not being fair" that Angela, Jeff, Abbie, Caroline & Sarah have to live each day on this earth without Claire. I know in my heart that God is in control and that He has great plans for us, but some days its just hard to accept the fact that she's gone. Life is Good but God is Great!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I've Got Something Even Better For You My Child

As a mother, I sometimes get a very small glimpse of how God must feel about us. One example of this happened several weeks ago. Lelia loves to go in the kitchen where all the food is and get stuff out. This particular evening, she brings me an unopened Carnation Shake packet. If you've ever had one of the Carnation breakfast shakes, you know they are pretty good, not great though. She must have seen the picture of the shake on the box. As she was getting stuff out of the cabinet, I was in the middle of making brownies. She brings us the shake packet saying "shake, please" "please mommy shake". Shane told her "no mam, not right now". He knew she would soon be licking the yummy brownie mix off the beaters. She proceeded to get really upset about not getting the shake right then. After being consistent with her, a must with a 2 year old, she was sobbing as she put the shake mix back in the cabinet. You would have thought her world had just come to an end. But she did what we asked her to and put it back even thought she really, really wanted it. Then, Shane put her in her high chair and I gave her 2 beaters covered in brownie mix! Talk about YUMMY! She proceeded to enjoy every bit of it! I told Shane later, I wonder if that is how God feels about us sometimes. Even though we want something so bad, He will sometimes tell us "No" because He knows there is something way better in store for us. Our Heavenly Father knows the plans He has for us, and sometimes our hearts are broken for a moment, but He sees the bigger picture. This past weekend, I was back in Winston-Salem, NC for my cousins wedding. Amber, the bride, was absolutely gorgeous! She and Brad had a beautiful outside wedding and a fun reception. My sister, Angela, and her family were there also. Since we left Spruce Pine after celebrating Claire's life, I longed to hug my big sister. I can't think of a time in my life when I couldn't wait to hug someone! Before we came home Sunday, I went back to the hospital where I last saw Claire. As I pulled into the parking deck the song "I'll Fly Away" came on the radio. God knew I needed to hear that song at that very moment. I saw the tree in the hospital lobby where a bronze leaf with Claire's name will placed. This is called the "Tree of Life". Each leaf has the name of an organ donor who, through their death, gave others life. I then got on the elevator to see the Pediatric ICU waiting room. I could not remember what floor it was on. I got off on two different floors before going back to the lobby to see where to go. As I walked into the empty waiting room, memories of July 17th &18th flooded my mind. I sat in the waiting room and prayed for all those who had been in that room and for all those who would come after me. I prayed for the staff working there and for God to be with them as they care for children in critical condition. I prayed for Angela, Jeff, Abbie, Caroline & Sarah as they face each minute without Claire. I prayed for Sandra & her family as well as for my parents. This has been a tough road for all of us and God has carried us through each moment. I am so blessed to have had Claire in my life for 8 years. During those years, she brought so much joy to everyone she met, taught my daughter to crawl and loved with all her being. Being back in Winston-Salem has brought back a lot of the same emotions I felt in the days and weeks following Claire's trip to heaven. I am reminded to lean on God in all things and especially in the things I don't understand!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Friends

Last night, we started our new community groups at church. We are in the same group as one couple from last time we met in groups. The other couples are people we don't know very well. We are so excited about the new opportunity to meet new couples and fellowship with them. Meeting on a regular basis with other Christian couples is something Shane and I know will be an awesome experience. Please pray for all of us as we form friendships, study God's word, and fellowship every Wednesday night.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What a Weekend!

This past weekend was so much fun for our family! My parents came down Friday night and it was so good to see them! Saturday, we celebrated Lelia's 2nd birthday in full Veggietale fashion! She had a blast eating her Bob & Larry cake, playing with her Bob & Larry Balloons and dancing for guests to the Belly Button song! She had so much fun opening her presents and playing with her new cleaning stuff, baby doll with stroller and coloring with her big new coloring book! Ryan enjoyed visiting with everyone and eating some of his big sister's cake! Sunday, we had Baby Dedication at church. We finished up the "Destinations" series. This series has been exactly what Shane & I needed! Sitting on the row in front of us were Wayne, Chris, Christie, Norma & Melvin. The seating arrangement in itself was a visual of everything God is doing! After the service, we got to see God's work again as Norma took Ryan over to Wayne and asked if he wanted to hold him. They both talked to Ryan for a moment and Norma sweetly handed Ryan to Wayne. For those of you who know the situation, you know how this had to be a God thing! Lelia didn't feel so good Sunday, I think it had something to do with the amount of cake she had Saturday..lol. We spent the afternoon with mom & dad and watched Claire clogging on a video they had. Lelia pointed Claire out and pointed to her throughout the video. Then she started dancing with them. This is one of the ways we will continue to keep Claire's memory alive for our children.
Today I am so thankful for a loving family, supportive church family, two precious children and a husband who has walked this road of grief with me these past two months. Most of all, I am thankful for a loving heavenly father who cares about every aspect of our lives.