Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Home from NYC and Hurricane Sandy Relief


This is just a short video that offers a glimpse of what Teamotions saw and did in NYC this past weekend.  Together with Tea for Humanity and generous donations from my local community, companies like Art of Tea, Adagio, and Mending Hearts Group, and $872 dollars of donations that came through on- line, we were able to bring over 10,000 bags of tea, cups, and water to three different aid stations in Brooklyn and Staten Island.  The devastation is mind-blowing and the video does not do it justice.  Continue to pray for those hit my Hurricane Sandy as the recover process will be long.  Thank you to all of you who supported us.  We could not have done it without you.

Sorry, I can't load it for some reason so here is the link: http://youtu.be/ozoHKrnWvds

Friday, November 9, 2012

Hot Tea and Hope for Victims of Hurricane Sandy

On Nov 16th I will be heading up to Staten Island to donate and serve hot cups of tea to victims and relief workers of Hurricane Sandy through an amazing non-profit organization called Tea for Humanity.  

My tea company Teamotions has donated every single tea sachet we have in stock, but it isn't enough. Even with generous donations from Art of Tea and Adagio we have not reached our 10,000 tea bag goal.

WE NEED YOUR HELP.

Donate $2 now to supply one cup of hot tea  to a Hurricane victim or relief worker through Teamotions. Join us and rally your community to help Teamotions spread our message of hope and healing through tea. 100% of your donation will be used offer hope, comfort, and warmth-through tea! 


video

click above

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Lemon Tree



  
I have been inspired by a lemon tree.

And after I tell you the story, you will be too. At least I hope so.

This is not my story but one I heard and it resonated with my heart so profoundly that I have to retell it.

It is beautiful (and true).

There was a lemon tree. It was a large and well established tree that sat in the center of the yard. It produced golden yellow lemons without fail year after year. It was lovely to behold and its fruit a delight.

But one day the owner of the property decided to cut it down. Where a magnificent lemon tree once stood, there was now a stump. And to add insult to injury, the stump was slowly being covered by dirt as a wall was being built near by.

All hope seemed lost for the lemon tree. Not only could it no longer produce fruit but it would surly die.

Yet miraculously the tree did not die. From under the dirt it sprouted new branches that (are you ready for this?) produced lemons!

It was so deeply rooted that even when cut down and buried, it continued to grow and yield fruit.

Since my girls died I have felt exactly like this lemon tree. Cut down and covered with dirt. Yet unlike the lemon tree, I underestimated my ability to sprout new branches. The lemon tree knows that producing fruit has less to do with what is above the ground and more to do with what is below. As long as it remained deeply rooted, the tree would continue to grow and produce fruit. Cutting a tree down does not kill it. It has to be uprooted.

I have been cut down, but not uprooted. And if I shift my focus from trying to get out from under the dirt to digging down deeper into it I might find myself growing again and producing fruit.

Or better yet, being grown...

I need deeper roots, not a farther reach.

God has promised that those who stay deeply rooted in Him will produce fruit. And only His power could derive fruit from a dirt covered stump like me. I want to be like the lemon tree, continuing to produce fruit because I am deeply rooted, regardless of my condition or circumstances.
 
Some days I feel like I am still waiting for a glimpse of the light that will warm my soul and melt the frost from the little branches that managed to sprout from the stump that was left of me after I lost my girls. I am learning patience. In the meantime I choose to become more deeply rooted in He who covers me...

I think the deepest roots grow in the dark.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Writing



I love writing on this blog but lately I feel like I am struck with perpetual writer's block.  When I do write it isn't very good so I erase it.  It doesn't come out the way I want it to.  So I try to change topics or await inspiration (which strikes constantly as I am one of those always inspired types) but when I sit down to put words to what is about to explode inside my brain or heart it doesn't translate.  And it is becoming very frustrating to me.

I started blogging to pour my heart out after the deaths of my daughters.  I did not consider for one minute if I was a good writer or if what I wrote was worth reading, it was therapy for me, survival, so I wrote on and on and on for the last four years.  But now, as I enter this new season in my healing journey I have become keenly aware of my writing ability-or lack there of rather.

I want so badly for what is written here to be meaningful, inspiring, stirring and touching. I want every post to be written well and worth reading.  But I am doubting my ability to meet my own standards. And it is really bothering me. When I read what real writers write and how they write-it is undenyable.

I am not a writer.

But I'd really like to be.

Is it possible to learn to write?  Or is it something some people just have like the ability to sing or draw? Neither of which I have by the way.

Or maybe writing is for those who not only have something to write but that something is worth reading? Should I focus more on my content? Or is it worth reading because of how it was written? Should I focus more on my style? Do I even have a style?  And if not, is it possible to develop one?

I know I know, If a tree falls in the forest....? My brain is tired already.

Yet I find myself longing for it. Truly longing. I have a deep desire in my heart to be able to convert the thoughts in my mind into written words. Flowing, clear, comforting, useful written words. Not these frustrating bumpy words that seem to come so naturally to me.  I don't know where it came from or why now but it is in me and it doesn't seem to be going away. I'm not sure what to do with it.

So, who can help me with this?  Is there hope for me? Can I learn to write?

Or do I need to accept my lack of writing talent the same way I accept my lack of singing talent-it just isn't how God made me? I mean, I don't go around feeling a deep longing to be able to sing.

I'd love your insight my friends.  In the meantime, I will continue to type out these posts with good intentions even if they come out shaky.  For now it is the best I can do. I still feel that this blog serves a purpose and I do not feel it is time to end it.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Announcing After the Dawn

I announced that Waiting for Morning is getting a makeover and I am proud to announce the transformation is complete!  

Introducing....
After the Dawn

What do you think?  Pretty, huh!  Fran did such a great job. Thank you, Fran, you are amazing!

The first thing you probably noticed is that I am not calling it Waiting for Morning anymore. It no longer fits. I am in a new season. If I close my eyes I can feel the warmth of the morning light on my face as the sun rises on the horizon. God has been faithful to deliver the dawn.

That is not to say I don't still hurt.  I miss my babies every day and still cry for them. But I have new life in me and new strength.

This is no longer the place I pour my heart out as I wait for morning.  It is now the story of Aubrey and Ellie, their life, their death, and my journey After the Dawn.

The new title is overflowing with hope.  There is life after loss and it is the kind of life brimming with unexplainable joy and peace. The dark pain did lift to let the light of hope shine brighter than I ever thought possible.

I feel a deep sense of relief that I am in this new place. I truly thought I'd never get here even though with all my heart I wanted to get here. Since the moment my daughters' hearts beat for the last time I promised myself I would fight with everything I had to find healingreal, life-transforming healing.

What I didn't know when I began was that healing is not an event; it is a relationship.  I didn't find healingI came to know the Healer in a profoundly deeper way and I leaned hard on those who love me most. Christ did all the work transforming me and bringing me what I needed. Choosing healing means choosing the Healer. Healing is a choice, but the strength to make the choice is bolstered by the restorative power of relationship can be expressed by four powerful words: thou art with me. 

I've also learned that healing doesn't have a finish line. The process is lifelong because the relationship is lifelong. Instead of focusing on healing, I focus on Him and them-the people I love and who love me. And as my relationships deepen my pain lessens. I admit there are still times I reject the new mercies He offers each morning and choose to wallow. I grow weary or angry or I let the pain overwhelm me. Sometimes I just miss my girls so much. Even though the sun is rising I can't always see it through my tears.  But that doesn't happen as often as it used to. I don't resist as much. And this new strength in me is definitely not my own but Christ's. He is creating in me a new hunger for life and a deeper compassion for others. I feel courageous again. I see how Christ has restored my hearta heart so broken I thought it beyond repairand I know not a single tear has been wasted.

I look back on the last four years and honestly wonder how I survived. Quite frankly, there were some scary dark moments. I have not forgotten the long, hard road I endured to get here. And that is why I am so grateful to be here now.

I am SO ready to see what life holds After the Dawn.

I'd love it if you joined me. You can subscribe to After the Dawn by putting your email address in the subscribe box in the left column under the grab button.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Makeover!

Waiting For Morning is getting a makeover by the talented Franchesca at Small Bird Studios. She is amazing.  You should check out her work.  Her sweet Jenna Bell is hanging out with my babies in Heaven so she gets me.  She gets my grief and my need to blog about it.  She also gets that I am in a new season, that my grief is changing and so am I.  I went to her inspired to share this new season here and she is transforming my blog to reflect it.

I am so excited to see what she comes up with!

Stay tuned...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Big Move

Some of you know already, but for those of you out of the loop-we've moved!

Swansboro, North Carolina is our new home. And this is our house.



We drove here. In two cars. Kids and dog in tow for 3000 miles.  And it wasn't so bad.  The drive went much better than I thought it would.

As a military family this should be a regular occurrence, but for us it hasn't been.  We've been so blessed to live in San Diego for the last 8 years.  My husband deployed during that time, but the kids and I got to stay. So this is really my first big move.  And I won't lie-I am having a hard time.

I miss home.

I am from Southern California originally and my family is still there. I took full advantage of seeing them regularly and never let the three hour drive prevent a visit.  We got to be together for holidays, new babies, summer pool parties, and anytime my boys asked to see Nana and Grandad. 

I miss my family.

I miss my business.  Teamotions was really gaining momentum in SoCal and I didn't like leaving it but I plan to get it going out here as well. Once I get settled (all the boxes unpacked and everything in its place) I will get cracking full steam ahead. Crystal is manning the West Coast while I open up the East Coast-I am sure good things will follow.

I also miss my friends. And I miss Dustin's friends. And the mountains and ocean right next to each other.  The weather. The hiking trails. And the organic food!  Turns out organic is still a bit of a foreign concept here. And Cups LaJolla Brulee J organic cupcake with custard in the middle and caramelized sugar on top-BEST EVER. I wonder if I can mail order a dozen? They also make the best mocha I've ever had with homemade chocolate sauce and organic whole milk. I will miss those most at Christmas time.

I miss Aubrey and Ellie.  I realize I carry them in my heart where ever I go but not being able to visit their gravestone and leave flowers for them makes me sad.  I feel like I left them behind.  They were conceived in San Diego, born in San Diego, and died there as well. And our house was the house they were supposed to come home from the hospital to.  There is a room in that house I painted yellow just for them and set up two cribs in.  That house knows about them.  It was intended for them. This house doesn't know anything about them. And that makes me sad.  I am working on ways to incorporate their memories into our home but in the meantime it feels like something very important is missing.

Mostly I miss familiarity.  It has always been hard for me to transition.  I don't like that lost feeling of a strange new place.  I mean, it isn't like North Carolina is Mars or something, and I can already sense that there is lots to love about this place-but until I get a little more established I have this constant feeling of anxiety (time for Teamotions Have Hope tea!) and loneliness.

It doesn't feel like home-yet.

This may sound a little out there but my biggest source of anxiety right now is that my landlord will not let me paint.  White walls are not the worst things except that our walls look like someone gave a two year old a paint brush and said go crazy.  There are about three different shades of white on these walls blotched about under the disguise of "touch up" paint.  And it is making me crazy!  I'd appreciate any ideas with a solution to this renter's dilemma.

I really want to make this house a home.

Lastly-if you follow my blog and live in my area and have always been curious about Teamotions Teas I'd be happy to come and do a tasting for you.  I am working hard to get a buzz going out here and I'd appreciate the help.  And it never hurts just to taste right! I also speak/teach for MOPS groups and other moms groups and grief groups.  I jump at any opportunity to comfort others with the same comfort I have received through Christ and tea.  If you'd like to taste my emotional well-being teas or have a speaking opportunity for me please Leave a comment or email me at Rachel@teamotionstea.com. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ways to Remeber

I've decided that I want to incorporate Aubrey and Ellie's memory into my life in more creative ways.  I was wondering if any of you out there have suggestions for me. 

Through Teamotions my girls' lives touch many and I get a powerful platform to not only speak about them and tell their story but give hope to other moms like me who think healing is impossible.  I feel so blessed to have my tea company but I don't want to honor my girls just in my business.  I want them in every part of my life just as they are in every nook and cranny of my heart.

I have a memory chest filled with all their things but I don't like that feeling of keeping them in a box in a corner of the house...I'd like them all over the house, in every room, represented in a way that brings smiles-not tears-to our faces.

My sister and I were brain-storming what we could do and we came up with the following ideas:

1) Draw or paint pictures dedicated to each of my daughters and frame them and put them up in the house. I am not an artist so I would have to take some art lessons-but that could be fun!  It wouldn't be obvious the pictures were for Aubrey and Ellie but I would know and I would think of them whenever I saw them.  And if someone asked about any of the pictures I'd have an opportunity to tell them about my girls.

2) Put more of their things out around the house.  I'd love to get a beautiful tall bookshelf to display the blankets my mother crocheted for them and the vases given to me for them. They have books, figurines, and ornaments I could put on the shelves as well.  I could keep fresh flowers in their vases and use the blanket from time to time when my friends visit me with their small babies.  It would be nice to see their things being used and their memory honored.

3) Custom print and frame their Bible verses.  When each of my children were born I picked a verse for them.  I would be nice to see God's word beautifully displayed around the house. I'd like to do this for my living children too.

4) Plant a tree or flower in their honor.  Nurturing a plant or tree is a powerful way to express the nurturing I long to give to Aubrey and Ellie as their mother.  I'd love to watch something grow and produce fruit just as Aubrey and Ellie would have if they were here with us.

5) Let butterflies go!  I saw a lovely photograph of little hands holding a butterfly being set free in honor of a baby gone too soon.  I'd love to have photographs of my boys letting a butterfly go in memory of their sweet sisters framed and up in my home.

6) Donate to charities in Aubrey and Ellie's name.  For their birthday this year I made a donation to EMBRACE baby warmers but I think I will make it a habit.  Every year on their birthday I will donate to a charity/cause on their behalf.  Maybe even more than one!  And eventually I'd like to have a foundation named after Aubrey and Ellie that does all kinds of good.

So far these are all we came up with!   I would love to hear your ideas! 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Aubrey

Four years ago today Aubrey left us for Heaven.

I think she missed her sister.

She close her smokey gray eyes and I whispered in her ear, "It's ok little girl, you can go," and off she went.

I miss you dearly sweet baby.  I didn't get enough time with you.  I look forward to the day we meet again. In the meantime I will live a purposefully as I can and remember what you taught me-time is precious and once it is gone it can't be reclaimed. You are always on my heart.

I love you.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Ellie

Ellie met Jesus today four years ago.

I did not have enough time with you sweet girl.  I miss you very much.  But I do have peace that you are whole and well taken care of.  I know you wouldn't come back if you could.

In the meantime I will live with a mended heart and I look forward to the day you will introduce me to our Savior.

I love you.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Aubrey and Ellie


Today is Aubrey and Ellie's Birthday.

Happy Birthday Sweet Girls!

I don't know if we have birthdays in heaven or what "age" we are when we are restored to perfection, but if Aubrey and Ellie were still with us they would be 4 years old today. 

I can't believe four years have passed.  In some ways it feels like it flew by, in others it feels like an eternity.

I have been trying to figure out how to celebrate their birthday this year.  I do something celebratory every year.  I have had parties, made cupcakes, done mostly traditional birthday things, but this year I want to do something different, something special, something meaningful to truly honor the impact their lives have had and cupcakes just didn't seem to cut it.

Two years ago I discovered a  miraculous new product that's sole purpose is to prevent the deaths of infants unable to regulate their body temperatures due to low birth weight or premature birth in developing and third world countries. It is affordable, reusable, safe, and most importantly it works! It is called EMBRACE BABY WARMER and it is not only saving lives around the world but preventing unnecessary grief and broken hearts of mothers who now get to keep babies they would otherwise lose.


 








 From the Embrace website...This occurs primarily in developing countries, often in areas that don’t have access to innovations in modern medicine. One of the biggest problems these babies face is hypothermia: they are not able to regulate their own body temperature, and therefore cannot stay warm. In fact, room temperature for these small infants feels freezing cold. 4 million babies die within their first month of life. Those that do survive often develop life-long health problems such as early onset of diabetes, heart disease, and low IQ. Such a tragedy can be prevented.

 When Aubrey and Ellie were born I had the blessing of knowing they were receiving the best medical care the world has to offer.  Everything possible was done for them.  But there are mothers out there who lose their babies simply because they don't have access to proper medical care.  It breaks my heart to know that their grief is preventable, that their child's life is saveable.  And if I can do something, anything, to help support both life and hope, I want to do it. 

So I decided to honor Aubrey and Ellie on their birthday this year by making a donation to Embrace to help not only save the lives of babies, but also prevent others mothers from feeling this pain.

If you'd like to honor Aubrey and Ellie today and save lives and prevent grief, please make a donation.  Any donation amount is accepted and makes a difference.  If you can afford a minimum $25 donation you can send a tribute card to Aubrey and Ellie and partner with me to save babies and spread hope! I'd love to know how many others have been touched by Aubrey and Ellie and moved to help other babies on their birthday today.

Our address:
472 Cornwall Glen
Escondido, CA 92027

I may not be able to hold my babies today and be with them on their birthday, but these moms can thanks to EMBRACE and generous people like you.























Happy Birthday Sweet Babies.  What life you inspire in all of us!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Support Our Military

Most of you know that I am not just a baby lost momma but I am also a military wife. My husband is a pilot in the Marine Corps currently stationed at Camp Pendleton, CA but we are soon to be on our way to North Carolina this summer.

Leaving San Diego will be hard. Not only is San Diego a very nice place to live, but I was raised in Southern California so it is home to me. I have never lived anywhere else for more than a few months.

But as the mother of two boys and a dog-all three full of energy- I look forward to a bigger yard and the prospect of a garden. The sticky summers won't be ideal but I welcome everything that will be different with a sense of adventure. Sure, I have to leave some things behind but I know I will gain others in their place.

Such is the life of a this military wife.

Supporting our troops is very important to me, and not just because my husband it one. I see first hand how our military makes untold sacrifices on our behalf and so do their families. They do it willingly and without complaint, but I know from experience it does take a physical and emotional toll.

That is why my company Teamotions has created three new teas that specifically address the emotional needs of our military and their families. If you are not familiar with my company Teamotions we specialize in teas blended with adaptogens- herbs that help the body cope with stress, boost immunity, and foster emotional well-being. We are the first and only line of emotional well-being teas on the market.

These three new teas not only support our military emotionally, but $1 of each tin sold goes directly to support the Semper Fi Fund-a non-profit organization dedicated to the healing and rehabilitation of wounded service members and their families.

BUT...we cannot get these teas into the hands of our military and their families or support the Semper Fi Fund until we PRE-SALE 600 tins (total, not of each). WE MUST REACH THIS GOAL BY APRIL 30th!

WILL YOU DO YOUR PART TO SUPPORT OUR MILITARY AND PLACE AN ORDER NOW?

Watch the video below and learn how you can help us help our military and support the Semper Fi Fund NOW. And please, don't just watch it, SHARE IT with everyone you know. It is also on our Teamotions youtube page and our Teamotions facebook page.

I tried to upload the video here but it would not let me so here is the link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qf9dTUpSnBI

For more information go to www.teamotionstea.com. And don't forget to tweet, facebook, email, yell, call, text, or write EVERYONE you know about our goal of 600 pre-orders by April 30th so they can do their part too! The more who know the more likely we are to meet our goal. It only takes on click to say thank you and support our military and their families.
Link

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Broken Arm

Dustin broke his arm.

Three weeks ago, on my birthday actually, March 13th, he jumped off my sister's couch and BLAMO! He broke his humerus at the base of the elbow completely through.

There is nothing worse than seeing your child in pain. I literally get sick to my stomach watching my child cry and squirm in real pain-pain I can't do anything about.

The truth is Dustin's broken arm scared me half to death. When it happened I didn't know what in the world was going on. I knew my son was in agony. I knew that it was serious. I knew he needed my help. But I never felt more helpless...

Well, actually, I have felt more helpless. Seeing my son in pain reminded me of how helpless I really am. When my girls were in their incubators I just stood looking in at their tiny, sick little bodies completely powerless to do anything to help them. We had the best doctors and we live in the most medically advanced country in the world. I prayed morning, noon, and night. I cried and I begged. But at the end of it all it was never up to me, it was never in my control, and I had to let them go.

When Dustin broke his arm I had that moment of dread, that second of please God don't take another one. THE FEAR. You know what I am talking about. Once I realized he was just in a lot of pain but he wasn't going to die I calmed down a bit. But the thought has not left me-what would I do if I lost another child?

The truth is I don't know.

And I don't want to know.

Sitting in the ER with Dustin was heartbreaking. The ER is always a hurry up and wait scenario. It wan't a busy night and we were not umpteenth in in line, but nonetheless it seemed like forever until Dustin received medicine for his pain.

While we waited he kept telling me with tears in his eyes, "I wish I NEVER jumped off the couch Mom, I really wish I never did it." My heart ached as I watched my little guy fight his tears and feel the crushing pain of regret for the first time in his life. I would have given anything to rewind time or take the pain away because I know he didn't intend to break his arm, but the only thing I could do was be there for him as he endured it. I hurt for him and I hurt with him. But ultimately the pain was his to bare.

Finally the nurse came in with some pain medicine and within ten minutes Dustin fell asleep. He stayed asleep through x-rays and I watched him on the table finally at peace. I worried it would be temporary but I was glad for it how ever long it lasted. I paced and prayed and took a lot of deep breaths all the time telling God thank you that it was just a broken arm.

After loosing children a broken arm feels like a gift. And what felt to Dustin like the worst thing imaginable was to me simply a side effect of being a boy. I knew he'd recover. I knew he'd be ok. And I knew it probably wouldn't be the last time in the emergency room.

To make a long story short Dustin spent three days in a splint until he was able to get surgery on his arm. Two pins were needed to reset his bone and he was put into a cast that comes off tomorrow. The day he broke his arm was rough as were the few days following his surgery, but overall he seems un-phased.

I think I have been more effected by his broken arm than he was. I doubt he has lost sleep thinking about how God works through all things-even broken arms- for our good and His glory or has wrestled with the fear and mistrust residue still present since Aubrey and Ellie's deaths. He has not had to face his limitations as a mother yet again nor struggle with trusting God to be limitless where I am not.

A broken arm is tough for a kid, but I think being the mother of a kid with a broken arm is tougher.

How must it be for God being the Father of all of us?

I often forget that just because I am a mom does not mean I have stopped being a child of God. Just like Dustin's pain is my pain, my pain is His pain-God hurts when I hurt. The difference is God can actually do something about the pain. He can impart his grace and mercy on our lives and make us whole. Where we are powerless he is powerful. And his will is always perfect.

Dustin's arm is healing, the memory of the pain is fading, and I am recovering from being scared half to death by something that turned out not to be life threatening. I am letting God deal with my hypersensitivity and in the meantime I am enjoying getting one armed hugs from my blue-casted 6 year old who has already forgotten just how disastrous jumping off a couch can be.

I guess that is what moms are for...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Crayons

It was clean up time first thing this morning. I heard the kids outside my bedroom door playing and when I slipped out of bed and opened the door I saw two happy little faces and one big huge mess. I vowed not to set food downstairs until it was cleaned up.

I really wanted to start the day off right!

Dustin and I started picking up while simultaneously distracting Colt from undoing all that we were doing. One of my nicknames for Colt is Tornado.

I think you get the idea.

We were making good progress. Dustin is incredibly responsible for just 6 years old. He knows how to pick up after himself and, for the most part, put things away where they go. All you moms out there know what I mean. He is a dutiful son. A sweet, helpful boy. If I could just get him to finish then talk. The kid can talk the hind leg off a mule.

And and I have no idea where he gets that from (wink wink). Poor baby, that apple does not fall far from the tree.

Just as the last toy was put into the right bin (yes-I have certain bins for certain toys) something caught the corner of my eye. The top drawer of his desk was cracked open. I went to push it closed (I like drawers closed all the way or little fingers find there way into them) it wouldn't move.

I opened it to see what was in the way and discovered about 500 crayons dumped out inside it. Just a heap of disheveled, confused crayons overflowing out of the shallow drawer. I asked Dustin what happened because Lord only knows. The most likely explanation was that Colt did it.

"Why are all the crayons in here like this?" I inquired.

Dustin looked right at me and said with complete confidence, "Oh, because it would have taken way to long to put them back in the box."

I couldn't argue with him. It must have looked overwhelming to a kid to even begin the tedious task of putting all those crayons back in their boxes one by one. Which went where? And once they were all back in Colt would probably just dump them out again. It was much easier to just shove them all in the top drawer and close it-mostly.

"I will put the crayons back for you." I said watching Dustin's face light up with relief. "You can go and play. Take your brother please ok?" Glad to do it, Dustin pulled his new remote control car out of the box (leaving the box and tiny Styrofoam bits all over the floor) and took his brother outside to play.

While I sat and sorted all the crayons into the giant crayon suitcase by color I thought about how these crayons represented the stuff in our lives, the stuff in a huge messy pile that needs to be sorted out but instead gets shoved in a drawer to hide because dealing with it will be hard work.

As I made piles of all the blue ones and then the green ones I talked to God for a while. I did not have to ask God to show me the piles in my life-those are clear as day to my conscience. I am not blind to the stuff I need to sort out. But I am guilty of hiding it.

I work much harder at making the outside look clean than I do at sorting out the inside stuff.

Its because I know it will hurt.

So I asked God for some strength and some courage. I asked God to be close to me. I asked God to sort out my stuff as the pace I can handle and to comfort me as we face together all the stuff heaped and piled in my heart, my mind, my life-one piece at a time-for His glory and my transformation.

I finished sorting all the crayons by color and put them neatly away.

Who knew God would meet me at a pile of crayons today?

I remain a work in progress. There is a lot more than 500 crayons in my pile. Good thing I have God to sort them out for me then.

Good thing we all do.

Monday, January 9, 2012

HWY 101

Things are finally slowing down a bit after the hustle and bustle of the holidays. I enjoy the holidays very much but I also love to get back to normal when they are over.

The New Year brings with it the second semester of kindergarten homeschooling, resolutions of all kinds (I LOVE making New Year resolutions...keeping them is the challenge), and a lot of unknowns. My husband should be getting orders soon and when he does we will know if we are moving and where and when. We really have no idea where we might end up. Also Teamotions is about to celebrate its first full year in business which means we've managed to survive this economy! And my 7-year anniversary is around the corner and my oldest son turned six on Jan 7th. Where does the time go?

We spent Christmas in Texas this year (and I got to meet one of my blog friends in person-more on lunch with Fran later) so we didn't visit my parents until just before the new year. I love going home as my childhood house is filled with an entire lifetime of memories. When I drive the streets or eat at my favorite restaurants of my home town I am reminded of a thousand more different memories all strung together to make my life.

There is this strip of HWY 101 between Ventura Avenue and Johnson Drive that I must have driven thousands of times in my lifetime. When I was young I would stare out the car window and look over the ocean. On clear days I could see the channel islands. On rainy days the waves got really big. On most days it was simply beautiful and I enjoyed seeing the water.

I never really noticed when I was younger that it also passes a cemetery. You can see the front gates from the highway and all the headstones behind the walls as the highway increases in elevation. It never meant much to me when I was young.

But it means much more to me now.

My girls are buried in that cemetery. Their headstone is right inside the front gate. I can see it when I drive past.

Never in a million years did I ever for one second think that someday I'd have my own babies buried there. I never thought I'd drive on my favorite section of the 101 and wince with sad memories of tiny little faces I never got to know. Now the cemetery I never really noticed before gets my full attention each time I pass.

I've never really enjoy visiting the cemetery. I go on their birthday and the anniversaries of their deaths and at holidays. This year I read them a book for their late Christmas present. But every time I go I just cry and cry. I don't feel comforted there, I just feel sad and overwhelmed with the reality of losing them. I wish I could sleep next to their headstone and cry all night. When I leave I always feel exhausted and drained.

I prefer to think of them in heaven, not in the cemetery.

Over the Christmas holiday I read the book Heaven is For Real. It was SO wonderful. The story is sweet, encouraging, but mostly comforting. I highly recommend it, especially to those of you who lost children too. I don't want to ruin the story for any of you so all I will say is read it for yourself. You'll be so glad you did, I promise.

My favorite strip of highway is now bittersweet. It holds my best memories and my worst. No matter how sunny the day is or how sparkly the ocean, when I can see the channel island and when I can't, if I stop to drink my tea at the point or just keep driving I will always peak over the wall to see their headstone, fights the tears, and long for the day I get to see them again.

Sometimes heaven cannot come soon enough.
 
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