Tuesday, March 29, 2011

project 365 - day 88

i can't believe in less than a week, my little girl will be 1! ONE! where does the time go??

it seems like just yesterday she arrived...

and now at almost one, this little girl's smile just melts my heart!
i am so thankful to be celebrating 1 year with sweet kennedy grace in just under a week! she is such a blessing to us! we love you so much!

Monday, March 28, 2011

project 365 - day 87

"Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)

i am thankful for those (rare) quiet times in my life where i can just be quiet and still, and not have to do anything. today i had about 30 mins of this time during kennedy's nap. usually i'm busy trying to get stuff done while she naps but today i just laid down and was alone with my thoughts. i usually use "quiet time" to read my bible or pray, but today i just let my brain rest. i'm thankful for these quiet times to slow down and really get to know myself.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

project 365 - day 86

so i am pretty hooked on this show. so far i have cried during every episode. tonight's millionaire said something really profound. john ferber talked about how much giving the money away, actually changed him and gave him perspective on what is important in life.

i think this show is doing a lot of good. certainly the charities benefiting from the financial gifts of the millionaires are able to help more people, but i think it is having unintended results as well. each millionaire has gone home saying something similar to what john said tonight. they have left changed.

what these millionaires are doing reminds me of what Jesus says about how we are to treat those who have less than us:

matthew 25:34-40
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

maybe you don't have thousands of dollars to hand out to those in need, but you probably have a few extra dollars and time to volunteer, right? i am thankful for those in this world who set the example of generosity for all of us to follow.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

project 365 - day 85

date night!

i have to admit, all afternoon i was counting down the minutes until 5pm when the babysitter arrived and ken and i left for our date night. we haven't been out in 3 months (yikes!) and we really needed a night out. we love to go to dinner and a movie so that's what we planned. we tried out a restaurant i had been wanting to go to and we indulged in a basket of tater tots with cheese, bacon, chives and ranch dressing for an appetizer. yes, it was unhealthy, but dang, it was GOOD! :)

afterwards we went to go see the king's speech and we really enjoyed it. a great movie about friendship and overcoming the impossible. and if the tater tot calories weren't enough, i had a double scoop of vanilla with fresh strawberries after the movie. double yum.

it's so fun to spend time by ourselves. we're certainly going to be more intentional about going on 1-2 date nights a month for the next 6 months before ken leaves for afghanistan. now if i could just find a great but less popular babysitter...ours is booked a lot!

Friday, March 25, 2011

project 365 - day 84

today i am so thankful for my friend candace who brought us dinner. :) what a kind friend she is! i have been under the weather and not feeling up to cooking that much, so ken has had to be the chef. he was also thankful for a night off!

thank you candace, your kind and amazing heart is so generous. we love you guys!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

project 365 - day 83

i'm not really one to tell people how to do something, but with this subject matter, i feel pretty strongly. when you lose a child, i have no idea how you're supposed to get through this alone. however, i do know with the help of a counselor i have been able to come to terms with our loss and accept it. i'm pretty sure i wouldn't have come to this place just talking to ken or family members or friends.

truth is, a counselor is there to listen and if we want, we can really just dump everything on them. they're paid to do this. and the really good ones, will help you identify why you feel certain things and how to deal with those feelings. i have been truly blessed to be in counseling now for 21 months but i am now coming to a place where both my counselor and i feel like my time is coming to an end. i saw my first counselor for about 10 months but because she was a captain in the navy reserves, she was called to active duty in afghanistan. i was nervous to change counselors but she, too, is wonderful.

i can honestly say i believe anyone who has lost a child needs to see a counselor. i think a professional is the best person to help you deal with what you're feeling. i am thankful for the counselors i have had in my life, to help me release my anger, come to a place of acceptance, and move forward in life looking for opportunities and joy God has planned for my life.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

project 365 - day 82

sometimes, when i go long periods on here without mentioning my son matthew, i think people may think i have forgotten him. let me assure you; nothing could be further from the truth.

if it wasn't for matthew, i wouldn't still be writing this blog. i wouldn't be looking for ways to really live, to find something to be thankful for each day.

angie smith said that while she is thankful for the opportunities God has given her through speaking and writing since she lost her daughter, she would trade it all to just have audrey back.

i feel exactly the same. no i'm not a speaker (and i hope i never am!), and i'm not quite a published writer yet (although i hope to be someday!), but i have been given a platform to help others through this blog and networking with other baby-loss mommas. but not a day goes by i wouldn't trade it all to just have matthew back in my arms.

every time i see a boy who is just over 2, i ache for my boy. i am sad that kennedy will grow up without her big brother. not a day goes by that i don't think about him and see his sweet face in my dreams.

i don't know why i needed to write this post but i just wanted to make sure you all knew, matthew is behind every single thing i do. everything. his sweet short 5-day life on this earth mattered so much to me and his papa...and countless others. lives were changed because of him. and i hope they continue to be.

today i am thankful for my precious son...not a day goes by that i don't think about you sweet boy. you are my everything. my every reason. God has given life through your life. i love you so much!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

project 365 - day 81

so what is it that you crave when your sick?

chicken soup is always good for the sick soul. but when i'm sick, i can't seem to get enough fruit in my body. maybe it's my way of trying to get better faster by loading up on vitamin c. i've  loaded up on bananas, applies, blueberries, strawberries, and grapes the past few days. today i'm thankful for something as simple as fruit. because hopefully it will get rid of my cough and have me feeling 100% soon!

if this fails, there's always hot chocolate like i had last night. :) 

Monday, March 21, 2011

project 365 - day 80

now kennedy has given me her cold so i am thankful for a husband who didn't mind getting up with kennedy a couple of times last night and who didn't bat an eyelash when he came home today and i was curled up on the couch without even a thought of dinner. ken quickly jumped in taking care of kennedy, getting her ready for bed and cooking a meal for us.

did i tell you i have the best husband ever? i love you sweetheart. i'm so thankful for all of your help around the house when i don't feel good, even after your own long day at work. you are simply...the BEST!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

project 365 - day 79

today was a good day with our small group and a rare lunch out. :) then we got to catch up with our midshipman will who we kind of adopted this past fall. i'm thankful for the joy he brings to our lives.

it's fun to have a 21-year-old guy who has his whole life ahead of him around sometimes. his perspective is fresh and pure. i know ken really enjoys "shop talk" about the naval academy and telling will battle stories of "well, when i was a midshipman, we didn't have cell phones or cars and i had to ride a horse out to town." :) i am thankful for a fun day, despite kennedy's cold still hanging around.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

project 365 - day 78

so today it got cold again and since hubby had the babe most of the day, i took some time to catch up on a few shows. one of those was a previously recorded oprah from the fall. oprah teamed up with michelle obama and tom brokaw to do a show on supporting the troops and their sacrifices, as well as what the public can do to show our support.

i mean how hard is it to volunteer at a hospital helping soldiers recover or make a meal for a family whose loved one is deployed?

it really got me thinking about all the sacrifices the troops have made and continue to make for us. i've had it easy compared to other military families and have only had to endure two 6-month deployments. and both times, ken was not deployed in a combat zone. the community in which ken serves is so incredibly family friendly because there are very few deployments. i often say if ken had stayed in aviation, we would not be married. my heart goes out to all the wives who have to keep it together for mulitple deployments over the course of their husband's career. i'm so thankful for these military personnel and their families and all of the sacrifices they make.

in just 6 months i'll know what this feels like first-hand. ken will be leaving for afghanistan in october for one year. yes, an entire year. ughh. i know it's going to be hard and i plan on moving to nw arkansas to be close to my family for support. i think what i'll be most sad about is ken missing so much of kennedy's life. but i'm thankful my husband wants to serve his country in this capactiy and i look forward to see how God will bless our lives during this time.

thank you to all of the soliders, sailors, and marines who so faithfully serve our country! you all are always in my prayers.

Friday, March 18, 2011

project 365 - day 77

so today is was 77 degrees and it was heavenly. wow, spring, you're almost here! i am thankful for this beautiful, beautiful day. does my heart good to get some sunshine on my face. :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

project 365 - day 76

i am thankful for my irish heritage and celebrating st. patrick's day.

unfortunately i didn't get to celebrate with a green beer or margarita because i was in bed or lying on the couch for most of the day. kennedy came down with a cold in the middle of her teething and passed it on to me. her coughing and crying got so bad i made a dr's appointment for her. today i am thankful my husband could come home early from work to help care for kennedy and take her to the doctor. she has a virus; thank goodness it wasn't an ear infection.

i hope everyone else had a happy st. patrick's day! i've celebrated st. paddy's day in dallas, austin, l.a., new york, chicago, and greece. by far, i think chicago does it right! dying the river green? can't get much better than that. :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

project 365 - day 75

alas, my little girl is getting teeth. her bottom 2 ones are beginning to poke through! she doesn't seem to be her same chipper self but i'm anxious for her to get some teeth! i can't seem to get a picture of them, but as soon as i do, i'll post one. i'm thankful my little girl isn't going to have to wear dentures. at 11.5 months, we were wondering. :) LOL! hopefully soon she'll like more real foods!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

project 365 - day 74

i hope all of you have a sweet husband like mine who doesn't mind jumping in to help. today i am thankful for ken cooking dinner (tacos) while i ran out to the grocery store. he also took care of my second least favorite chores of all time...emptying the dishwasher. i don't really know why i hate doing this ~ maybe it was those daily chore lists mom left us in the summertime: 1) empty d.w. 2) vacuum l.r. 3) fold laundry. and to this day, i don't really care for doing any of these household tasks.

thanks hubby...you are such a great help to me. i love you very much!

p.s. check back over the next week. as you can see i missed 9 days of entries over the last week since i was out of town so i will be back-dating posts to catch up.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

project 365 - day 64

thankful for my uncle paul
back row: paul, tommy (dad), doug
front row: almedda (stepmom), me, ashley
picture taken in april 2008

today we buried my uncle paul, my dad's brother, in hendersonville, tn, next to his son, chad, and 20 feet from johnny & june cash. the weather matched our hearts and moods...rain, rain, rain. when it would let up to just a sprinkle, a big downpour would come and mini-lakes would form all around us.

this is the first funeral i've been to since matthew died and honestly i was nervous. i was afraid i would inappropriately or unexpectedly breakdown in a pool of tears. i prayed the day before and the day of, especially for my aunt, cousin, and my dad, and then i prayed for myself. i wanted to grieve my uncle and celebrate his life without letting the emotions of attending a funeral overcome me. i was only able to stay in the main sanctuary of the service for about 3 mins before kennedy started talking so loud that i got multiple looks that said "hit the road." thankfully the chapel had a back foyer separated by a half-wall to the main sanctuary and i was able to see and hear the entire funeral while kennedy played on the floor.

the service was beautiful. God really met me in that moment and even though i did listen to the pastor's words(for the most part), i kept daydreaming of my uncle in heaven, completely free from the aches and pains of his earthly body, reunited with his son who died 2 1/2 years ago. i even pictured him holding little matthew phillip and it made me smile. uncle paul had this great smile and even better laugh and that's exactly how i pictured him in heaven. full of joy...finally complete.

my uncle came to know christ after chad's death when he started attending church near his home. he told me all about it when we stayed with them in the summer of '09. that was the last time i saw him. it was such a great visit and i was glad he was so excited to share with me the new eternal hope he had in Jesus.

please pray for my cousin, his wife, and my aunt. my uncle's sudden death due to a heart attack, definitely stings as they are still grieving the loss of their son/brother, chad.

we all love you very much uncle paul. you will be dearly missed but we look forward to reuniting with you in heaven. i am so thankful we share an eternal hope in our Savior.

two brothers who really loved each other

Friday, March 4, 2011

project 365 - day 63

thankful for my sweet 11-month-old

i can't believe 11 months ago today my life was forever changed when i met my beautiful daughter, kennedy grace.
sweet girl, you have been such a joy to your daddy and i (and so many friends and family). thank you for giving us the grace of such a wonderful and easy baby and for bringing joy to my life that i thought i might never experience after losing your big brother. you are such a blessing precious girl!

we're in full party-planning mode these next few weeks and hope your 1st bee-day party is as bee-autiful as you! we love you so much!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

project 365 - day 62

i am thankful for the bible

what a powerful tool we have in the bible. currently i am in a women's bible study and we are going through "the patriarchs" by beth moore. it's been such a rich blessing to my life to learn about my heritage in the Lord. i have known the general stories of abraham, issac, and jacob since my days in sunday school. what i didn't know is how unbelievably human they (and all of their wives and children) are! i am incredibly encouraged when i read about behaviors in each them that i myself have mirrored. it makes me realize that while God loved each of them and their imperfections, he also loves me just as much. really? well, yes, he does!

i am thankful for the written word of the bible where we can find characters who resemble ourselves, where we can find words to help us in sticky situations, and where we discover promises that have been and will be delivered.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

project 365 - day 61

thankful for texas
even though i wasn't born in texas, i got there as fast as i can. when i was 8 years old to be exact. today i am thankful for being an adopted texan. why you ask? so many reasons...

the people are just the absolute best! you rarely walk up to a door with a man where you would have to open it yourself. you need to cut into a traffic line; no problem. random, nice conversations with people you don't know can totally make your day. there is pride in customer service delivered with a smile. i think texans are some of the best people in the world.

the food and drinks leave no taste bud wanting. fantabulous mexican...enough said. after living away from texas for 10 out of the last 11 years i have just about given up on trying to get mexican food anywhere else! margaritas are properly made and good microbrews like shiner boch and ziegenboch never leave you thirsty. lest we not forget about the yummy bbq. proper texas brisqet should be it's own food group.
the land is so diverse. we have the coast and ocean, prarielands and plains, and mountains and hills. we have the small ranching towns, bustling metroplexes, and charming coastal villages. you can travel an entire long day (12-13 hours) and just barely make it out of the state. texas is just plain BIG!

sports are BIG in texas and football is king. there's nothing like sold-out seats to a friday night high school football game. it's the best ticket in town. we also have some of the most storied franchises in professional sports. cowboys, anyone?

i'm thankful i was raised in such a rich state ~ so many things make it a wonderful place to grow up...and thankfully i'll get a chance to raise my kids there in 5-6 years!

happy independence day texas!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

project 365 - day 60

today i am thankful for a reunion in heaven

as hard as it is to say goodbye, when i lose someone in my life i have to focus on the reunion in heaven. on sunday we lost my uncle unexpectantly to what appears to be a sudden heart attack. i'm so glad to know he is now in heaven but it doesn't make it easier for his loved ones who are left behind. please pray for his wife and son. this is a tremendous loss for them because he's the rock of the family, but also because their youngest son passed away 2 1/2 years ago.

uncle paul, we will miss you so much. we love you and are looking forward to reuniting with you in heaven someday.

"Remember Me" by Anon

To the living, I am gone,
To the sorrowful, I will never return;
To the angry, I was cheated.
But to the happy, I am at peace.
To the faithful, I have never left.
Talk to me, and I will hear,
your prayers, they comfort me,
your laughter makes me laugh,
but don't weep for me as I have my reward,
I am with the Father who will never let me perish,
The Lord comforts me, and longs to comfort you.
So be happy my family and don't despair,
I am in good hands, waiting for the day when
the Lord calls you to come home.