Thursday, February 25, 2010

What would they say?

A few weeks ago, I went on a wonderful retreat with our women's ministry. Our speaker, Beverly Ross, was amazing and really inspiring. She inspired me to get a prayer chain going for our kiddos at church and so far we have 22 participating! (If we haven't gotten in touch about this and want to participate, let me know) God is so good. He has blessed our church with prayerful women.

Tragically, Beverly lost her sweet daughter Jenny on Monday. She was 32. It started out as the flu and quickly took over her body in so many different ways. I followed along through her care pages and have been forever changed by this family's story of faith in our loving God. In almost every post, their trust in God was overpowering. His love resonated on each page by them as well as the comments that thousands have left. I've also witnessed how a community of believers can come together and be connected. I've randomly come across so many who knew Jenny or of her. Amazing how people of every faith or of no faith can be unified in tragedy. God's glory has been shown and through her, I know many who have been deeply touched by her.

All this to say that last night on my way to church I was quickly reminded of something else Beverly talked about at the retreat. She told us that she always taught her kids at a very young age to write down what they want people to say at their funeral. What they want to be remembered for and then to live their days so that this would happen. How would people see them? How would they live their life? Would it always point to Jesus as their Lord and Savior? This memory of what she said struck me. I don't know what Jenny wrote down but at today's funeral, I know it will probably surpass her expectations if it's anything I've witnessed the last three weeks.

So what would people say about you? I challenge us to write it down and live our lives as such. This reminds me of the song I LOVE by Nichole Nordeman "Legacy". (click to listen to it! It's also on my song list on the right)

"I wanna live a legacy. How will they remember me? Did I choose to love? Did I point to YOU enough to make a marks on things? I want to leave an offering. Child of mercy and grace who blessed your name unapologetically.... and leave that kind of legacy."



Jenny's funeral is being live streamed at 1 p.m. today so if you'd like to take part in something amazing, the link is:
www.livestream.com/rhchurch

Here is what was left on the care page after she passed. I ask you all to keep the family and everyone close to Jenny in your prayers:

Jenny Bizaillion
Posted Feb 22, 2010 5:05pm

Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your
sting?

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord
Jesus Christ!

Jenny Bizaillion passed from this world at 3:38pm.

She was the most beautiful, wonderful friend, perfect mom, devoted sister, loyal daughter, and best wife a person could ever have.

We will see her again.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Winning and Losing

Well, today has been R-O-U-G-H mostly with Claire just not listening, not having self control and having unexplainable tantrums. Is she really almost four? Sometimes I get flashbacks of two... so to decompress while I FINALLY got Eden down and Claire still has 20 minutes of quiet time, I blog.

Today's blog is about winning and losing as we have all experienced in life before. But this is different to an almost four year old. She is having to learn that she doesn't always win and that she must always remember to do her best. That's what counts. The joy isn't always in the winning but the fun we have playing. Yada, Yada... my parents told me that too but seeing it as a parent I now know that it really IS hard to learn this lesson (and REALLY hard to teach it). I still know some adults who are really bad at losing so it must be an ongoing battle for some.

With Claire getting older we've been playing a lot of games and having a lot of fun. She is learning how to follow the directions (not an easy thing to learn either) and again, learning that she's not always going to win when she plays. This is a valuable lesson so yes, sometimes I let her win and sometimes I win on purpose. What's a mom to do? She is getting better but I believe this will be a toughy as she gets into more activities and sports the next couple of years.

Today was a hard lesson in just that. Not necessarily winning and losing but seeing others accomplish something when you don't even when you've tried your best. Claire has been taking swim lessons since the beginning of January and they are still trying to get her to put her face all the way in above her ears while blowing bubbles. This is a tough one for most the kids but the others have gotten more courageous the past couple of weeks. Claire practiced in the bath tub this week:


but she accidentally inhaled some water up her nose so she freaked. I believe this has set her way back because now she isn't blowing bubbles like she used to, she's covering her goggled eyes (what?!), etc. So today when we were getting ready for lessons, I told her she just needed to try her best. That she could do it. I knew deep down that the other kids would probably accomplish the task today, get their medal and ring the "I did it" bell. It broke my heart thinking that my sweet girl who has already come a long way and is trying really hard might really get her feelings hurt when she wasn't included in the ceremony.

My prediction was right. The kids did well and Claire did great on everything except for the whole face in the water thing. She had the biggest smile on her face when she came out until she realized the other kids were getting rewarded. She cried her big ole tears and said "But I did a good job!" Break a mama's heart... she did a GREAT job and I reminded her of that over and over as well as telling her she did just what she was supposed to do - try her best. This is the first time I've experienced this with her and it truly made my tummy turn. I reassured her that we'd work real hard this week and she'd get better and better and get her medal sometime soon.

Anyway, all that to say that this parenting thing is so hard. Love it to pieces but it does stretch you like no other job in the world.

On another note, as she came out of the pool it was snowing so I tried to get that to distract her. She wasn't too interested. Kind of ruined the who joy of "it's snowing" moment. It was pretty icy all morning and when we came home, this is what we found.

Hope to see more snow today =)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Princess Robe

Here is Princess Claire loving her new robe that Grandma made her! It's so cute and big enough for next year too. I thought that the love of princesses was going to be a phase but it seems to still be going strong! Amazing how attached she is. Thanks mom - It's perfect for our cool mornings and what a sweet gift of your talent and time!


Monday, February 15, 2010

My girls

I haven't used my camera in almost a week - can you believe that?! The battery was dead and I just never got it charged. So since I haven't shared pics of my girl's thought I'd share a few from some playtime today. Neil and Claire were rolling around in the front yard and Eden just couldn't stop laughing. Man, I love my life!



Look at those two in the background!
And again in the background. Think they were having fun?!

Hope you had a great Monday!

Valentine's Weekend

I love having Vday on Sunday! It seemed like we celebrated all weekend which was a lot of fun now that Claire is into all the holidays. Kids make it that much more fun!

Friday Neil came home from his Humanities Conference with these beautiful roses. They are the deepest red with a little frill to the petal. That night we visited with family since it was my dad's bday and then Sat. morning we had breakfast to celebrate. Neil had a service project down at Seton Home so Claire and I baked some mini cheesecakes for him before I took the girl's to a Chuck E. Cheese bday party. Wow was that crazy! Claire had the best time =)

Saturday night was our date night thanks to our babysitting swap with the Bowers. We had a wonderful Italian (my favorite) dinner at Zio's and then drove out to Boerne to listen to our friend Andy's band, Acoustic Soul. What a treat! They were great and it was so nice to listen to some live music and just do something different!

Sunday was family day with the girls with church, a visit from Grandma and Grandpa and a great, much needed nap for everyone! We gave Claire and Eden their little Vday gifts and just enjoyed the time we had together; A trip to Costco and a visit to see Eric and Erin. To top the day off Neil and I talked about life over a glass of wine and watched a movie... couldn't get much better than this!

I have the most WONDERFUL husband who makes me feel so loved every day of the year but we still enjoy a special celebration =) At least it gives us an excuse to get out on date!

Friday, February 12, 2010

February 12th

(Excuse this long post! On going healing. I've never written the whole story out. I'm a bit nervous posting it all but I want to be real. Be transparent in hopes of using part of my testimony to let others know God will NEVER leave you. His love is perfect even when bad things happen. Our faith is strengthened through trial.)

February 12th - a day I always remember. My dad's birthday but ever since 1999 it has taken on a different meaning. The day we lost Mikey. I'll never forget. I was on LSU choir tour in Texas and we had our last performance in Houston that morning. My parents and grandma drove from SA to see us perform. Bless their hearts they got lost and drove all that way to miss the performance =( I was so bummed but we still got to go to lunch together. (I have a funny story about our ride to Whataburger so ask me if you want to know)

So we ate at Whataburger. I had the chicken strips box and mulled over if I should go back to SA with them or not. I wanted to but it was going to be my first Mardi Gras so I really wanted to get back to Baton Rouge to go with the guy I was dating at the time. So... I said my goodbyes and took the tour bus back where I got to my dorm room and crashed from exhaustion. Next thing I know, I woke up with the phone call from Kate. I was still trying to wake up and make sense of what she was saying. I crumbled. My body went numb. Mikey had been in a head on accident as the passenger and they believed that the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel. They were driving back to SA from ACU for a close friend's funeral. Both were gone instantly.

The rest is a little blurry. I was beside myself and didn't have anyone with me. Marie was already in New Orleans with her sisters for a ball that evening. I couldn't get ahold of her. I called J.J. but didn't get an answer. I finally called the guy I was dating (Ken) and he came to pick me up. He probably had no idea what to do with me. I just needed to be with someone...anyone. I finally heard from J.J. while at Ken's apartment and I fell apart all over again. I still remember sitting in the corner on the kitchen floor in the corner by the dish washer. Sobbing. The next day Ken drove me to SA and dropped me off while he traveled on to College Station to visit friends. I don't have very fond memories of him but this was such a selfless thing to do.

Tragedy.

Isn't it funny how we can remember every tiny detail when it hits? What we're wearing, eating, times, clothes, smells, songs... it keeps things fresh in our minds. Feb. 12th continued to be bad when I found out on the one year anniversary I had been cheated on. I was crushed all over again. How could this be happening? Especially when I had given so much of myself not to lose him? And on the one year anniversary? Are you serious? The second year anniversary I couldn't get out of bed. I skipped conducting that morning even though I had a conducting project due and if you know me, that was not something I do. I just couldn't bring myself to get going. The third year, I was still so upset but I was at least functioning. And year after year, it gets easier and easier even though I remember everything just as much as I did so many years ago.

Why do I write all this? Well, for those who have made it this far it's to attest to the cliche that time heals. And it does. It's not as fresh. It's more of a scar rather than an open wound. There has been healing over the past 11 years.

When everything happened, I lost it. I totally turned my back on God. I was 18 and facing my first real tragedy in life along with transitioning to living far away and adjusting to college. Needless to say, I made bad decisions and each one made me farther and farther away from Him. It was such a lonely and dark time as I look back. What a sad girl living her life the way she wanted. Leaving God out of the equation. Getting farther and farther away. In hindsight, I know that God's hand never left me. He was faithful even though I turned away. He was there with arms wide open when I decided to fall back into Him. He never left. I was so afraid of losing people that I turned away from THE ONE that would NEVER leave me. NEVER hurt me.

So again, I say all this knowing that even though it was painful, it has helped mold me into who I am today. IT helped me deal with losing two other close friends a few years down the road. So much lose taught me more than I could've imagined. I don't take my time here for granted. I don't take people for granted. I try to live day to day like it's my last. I know we are not promised tomorrow so I want to be His hands and feet to everyone I meet. I want to teach my girl's about their Lord everyday. My faith is deeper today than it ever has been. Not only have I learned and grown into a totally different woman from these experiences, I've been able to reach out to those who lose people they love. I pray to be encouraging and be able to relate. To tell them that yes it hurts but it does get easier. It doesn't mean you don't care or you forget but you heal more and more each day.

All in all, I testify to forgiveness. Jesus Christ was the ultimate sacrifice so we could be forgiven from our sinful ways. Action, hearts, minds... we need to forgive others and forgive each other so we can move on. Heal. Take advantage of everyday we have with those we love.

So today as I remembered Mikey and that day long ago, this song came on KLOVE. I've never heard it and I tried to get it on YouTube to post it for you but for some reason I couldn't. It's called "Beautiful History" by Plumb. Awesome. Here is the text. My favorite part is probably when it talks about when we run away and turn from our faith, it's just another stroke on our page making our beautiful history...

I pray that my LONG story and testimony encourages someone and that this song touches someone else the way it did me today!

"Beautiful History"

I have made mistakes
and I have been afraid
I have felt alone
Then you called my name

Things were crashing loudly
Happening all around me
But you're still small voice
Was all that I could hear

I am here
I'm holding you
You'll make it through this
I am here, I am here
x2

Whenever you run away
whenever you lose you're faith
It's just another stroke of
the pen on the page

A lonely ray of hope
is all that you need to see
a beautiful history

Well I have been such a fool
when I have known the truth
I've wasted so much time
Doing what I want to do

I've been living solely
for myself and myself only
but your still small voice
is whispering

I toss and turn and scream
I try to do everything
with two feet on the ground
I just keep falling down again

I feel so far from home
Completely on my own
and then I hear you say
I am here, I am here

Whenever you run away
whenever you lose you're faith
It's just another stroke of
the pen on the page

A lonely ray of hope
is all that you need
to see
a beautiful history
a beautiful history
a beautiful history

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Home alone

Wow I'm so blessed to have a husband that is home a lot! I know I'm super spoiled! Neil left early (around 5 a.m.) for a conference in Georgetown and he'll be back tomorrow afternoon. I miss him already! I really started missing him when I randomly found a journal from when we were engaged. It was letters he wrote to me...wow...a man who expresses himself in writing, poetry and song. Can't get much better than that! Again, I know I'm spoiled!

The girls have been SOO good today. A complete pajama morning with the yucky cold and rain. A play date this afternoon, maybe a dinner date with my dad and then a trip downtown tomorrow for a TMEA concert. At least we're keeping busy!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Shopping

I've never been a big shopper. My mom on the other hand can shop till she drops so not sure why I didn't catch the bug! (but I DO love shopping for little girl clothes!)

Well, I pretty much HAD to go the other day. Bra shopping. The only other kind of shopping that I can't stand more than bra shopping is bathing suit shopping - yuck! Anyway, I realized that now that I finished nursing two kiddos, my bras just aren't the same. Their either too big or too small so off I went to Dillard's. I guess I looked completely clueless because a lady came up to me and asked if I needed help and if I needed to get measured. She of course leads me to the $50 bras... so after trying on about 10 bras in all shapes and colors, I did find one that fit well and it didn't cost me an arm and a leg!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Billy Boy

Well, today we said our goodbyes to Billy after staying with us for 6 months... wow... can't believe how fast the past 6 months flew by. He started camping out on our couch in August, he set the goal to move to Austin in November and after his last shift today he loaded up and off he went. I've NEVER seen him so excited about anything in his life! I'm so extremely proud of him for setting a goal, sticking with it and meeting it.

This time together was priceless. Neil and I had always wanted to be there for him and I just pray we were there for much more than a place to stay. We've never had so much time together. We've never talked so much. One of the best things was having him see us as a family and for him to spend so much time with the girls. He admitted to us the other day that he didn't like kids before he moved in and now he loves them! I'll never forget the picture I have of him yesterday in the Kohl's parking lot. One hand holding Claire's and the other pushing Eden's stroller. I laughed and said I wished I had my camera!

So my baby brother is growing up. He's taken a lot of tough roads so I'm praying that he continues on this self motivated one he's on right now. Most of all I pray that he comes to know the Lord so that he realizes that he can't do it by himself. I ask for you all to remember him in your prayers as well. For his transition to go well, for him to get a job in Austin as soon as possible, for him to stay focused and to make wise choices, for him to have good friends and influences in his life and most of all, for him to come to know the love of Christ for him.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Where is sister's belly button?

Eden can't get enough of Claire's belly button!! She's always pulling up her shirt to check it out and with the most serious face... it's hilarious!

Here she is checking things out!



And then she had to go check her email and tell her friends all about it!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

14 months

Eden turned 14 months last week and I can hardly believe it. You never believe how fast time will go by when you have kids until you're in the midst of it all. Here are a few things I want to remember about this time.

-Eden still only has 3 teeth but the 4th one is slowly working it's way through

-14 months has proven to be a big transition for Eden just like it was her sister. We will need to be as consistent as possible or it'll be trouble down the road! She wants what she wants and she'll let you know! (even more than before)

-What a mama's girl! She prefers me over anyone but has never once cried when we've left her at the nursery or with babysitters. That's been a huge relief.

-She is now preferring to walk more than crawl and she's getting pretty brave! She tried to run today... crazy girl! She still has that intoxicated swagger but it's going away bit by bit.

-Three days ago she got up to her standing position without using anything to pull up.

-She's slowly drinking more milk a day. She's maybe up to 16 oz. a day and Dr. Gulde said 21-24 AT LEAST! She's come a looooong way the past two months but has dropped some weight due to her pickyness. We mix it in everything we can which helps!

-Eden has started talking SOOO much the past month. She was always so quiet (except for her screaming at night!) but now she just babbles up a storm. She doesn't say much that we understand but I know she understands a lot of what we say. Here is what she will say:
1. "daaaaaaaaaaaaaa?" for "that" and wondering what everything is while pointing
2. "mama" but not very often
3. "mou" (as in ou-ch) for cat imitating "meow"
4. "du" for "duck" - just started this one the past week
That's about it! That and a whole lot of nothing but babble, babble! She seems slow with her verbal but I know she will be right where she needs to be when the time comes.

-She is sleeping better through the night. When she sleeps all the way through she will sleep from 7-7:30 p.m. to about 6-6:30 a.m. This is still not as often as I'd like but it's still better. It consistently happens about 4 times a week on average. The worst is when she wakes after 5 a.m. and won't go back to sleep no matter what you do.

-For about the past 3 weeks or so Eden has been doing some quiet time in her crib when she first wakes up. Neil will go in there and put toys in for her to play with. She does well until she has managed to toss every toy overboard!

-Two weeks ago she started noticing airplanes while we are at the park. Now when she hears them she will point up to the sky even when we're inside.

-She's a little shorty! She still wears her 9 month pants and her 12 month pants are good as long as they are rolled up.

-She had RSV at 13.5 months old and was about 19 1/2 lbs. at her last appointment in mid Jan.

-This girl LOVES animals! She will cuddle, kiss and beam up for any animal (even her stuffed animals) but isn't as interested in baby dolls or other babies. Not like baby crazy sister =)

-She also loves anything to do with music. She will dance to someone whistling! She really loves when I leave the keyboard out to play on and asks to play the piano just about everyday. When I sing to her before bed, she "sings" along.

-She is just PRECIOUS!! What an incredible little girl exerting her independence and learning everyday.

Love this picture and dressing her in pink and red! What a sweet valentine we have!
She's coming to get me!
Pure joy! Look at those 3 teeth!
A rare picture of Eden wearing a bow. She really hates them now and it's just not worth the fight because one day, she'll ask me to put them in =) Yes, the vday shirt gets a lot of wear around here lately!

Swim lessons

Claire just LOVES her swim lessons! She looks forward to every Tuesday =) She's been doing a great job at blowing her bubbles, kicking, putting her face in the water (as fast as she can!) and is the best in her class at floating on her back. She's so relaxed and still. Her Coach Betsy seems to be nice but she's not too expressive. Claire seems to like her but still talks about Coach Don who she had almost two years ago!

Here's the bathing beauty waiting to be called into her lesson


And here are some videos of her at lessons - these are really for the grandparents and other extended family! She does flash a few million dollar smiles that are just precious =)



Monday, February 1, 2010

Ladies Retreat

Went to our church's annual ladies retreat and had a great time! It was my first night away from Eden - 14 months - I was ready but I did miss the little booger and the big booger too!

The speaker was great, the small group sang beautifully, I didn't pass out while leading the worship sessions (though I thought I was going to during the first one!), the food was yummy, growing relationships was fabulous and I'm already looking forward to next year!

The only thing I'd change is getting a good night's rest. I think I built up the fact that I wasn't going to be sleeping in a house with two kids that wake up. Too much pressure to get a full night's sleep and to sleep in.... yeah, didn't fall asleep till 1:45 a.m. and then up about 7:15 a.m. - YUCK!! Oh well! I'm hoping to go on a little trip with Neil sometime during May so I'll just have to make up for it then =)

My favorite part of the speaker's words of wisdom was when she spoke of us really living in the midst of spiritual warfare. She spoke of Satan so realistically like he was standing right there. He doesn't cringe at church attendance but at our relationship and lives being transformed. I've been moved to start a prayer chain for our kiddos because we need to be fervently in prayer for each other's little ones. They need prayer for protection and guidance and we need to get on it asap! Let me know if you'd like to take part. You don't have to be a mother yourself, just willing to lift a child up in prayer.