Monday, December 6, 2010

Livi Lu- Who

One of mine and Jade's favorite girls in this world is Olivia Drae Beasley...also known this time of year around our house as "Livi Lu-Who!" ... and we were DELIGHTED that she came to spend the night with us last week. We jam -packed our night full of fun...starting with a special trip to Joe and Greta's (at their request before I could even get the car pulled into the driveway!)...

(Greta spinning the girls in the computer chair...they squealed with JOY!)

...Making "music" together on the piano...

...and getting a little bit of "Papa Joe love"!

Next we were on to Gingerbread-men-making...

...and EATING! :)

Rich took the prize with his expert "Elvis" gingerbread man...

(UPCLOSE SHOT...for you, Rich! :))

And of COURSE the night would not have been complete without a bubble bath together! Somehow they both had "fros" this night which we were luckily able to tame with a little shampoo and water!

...And just to get them good and fired up before bedtime (and because they BEGGED)...we let them jump in Jade's bed until they were worn out (ok, it was a trick!)

We are so thankful for sweet Livi Lu Who! Her mama and Jadeybug's mama (not sure why I switched to third person here :)) spent so many days and nights together when we were their age. It makes me so happy to see God bonding their young little hearts, too...and I pray they stay close always. We sure do miss Liv being across the street, but it makes us that much more happy when we get to spend special nights, like this one, with her!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Doe and Geetie

After another sweet visit with our "Spring Hill Grandparents" last night, I started thinking about how blessed we to know this sweet couple...and wanted to share them with you! Joe and Greta (also known as "Doe and Geetie" at our house) live directly across the street from us and always welcome us into their home (almost daily since this has become Shaelyn Jades MOST favorite place in the WORLD to visit) with warm smiles and big hugs...and then begins a very detailed course of action for Jade! She immediately runs from Greta's arms (where she usually only gives her "half a hug" since she's so excited!) to the china cabinet in the dining room where she screams with delight as she sees (now remember this is a daily occurence!) all of the snowmen that Greta keeps on the bottom shelf (year round)...always as if it were the FIRST time she's seen them. Greta patiently (again, almost every day) and so lovingly stands with her and twirls the ballerina that hangs inside and takes out all of the snowmen and fish and birds and "pretties" that Jade asks for. When she is finished she darts to her next station- the snow globes (also a year-round "attraction" :)) where she waits (ok, not usually) for Greta to come and wind them each up each one and shake them for her curious little eyes to ears to take in...again, as if the first time...and then its OFF to the train! Mr. Joe is just as sweet and just as patient as he always sits with her for as long as she likes and turns on his amazing Lionel train set and lets her blow the whistle and watch the little man come out of the house and take the barrels apart...and usually try to grab the trains as they come by! When she's done with the train she takes in the
B-E-A-Utiful tree that now stands above the train, intricately detailed with a lifetime of ornaments (and stories for each one) and bright lights (which are even prettier from my living room) and garland and tinsel...the perfect tree for a little girl's curious spirit! Next, she may do a number of things- ask for a "nack" (because Greta always gives her yummy treats!), or run to the computer where Greta takes her in her lap and goes through pictures of everyone in our family, or run to the big pretzel barrel that they keep upstairs with the world's BEST pretzels in them...which she usually shares with her mother...:) She plays the piano, plays with dominos, goes up and down the little ramp Mr. Joe built for their sweet, old dog, Kissie...I am telling you, for as LONG as I will let her stay...she never stops moving while she's at their house. And with these frequent visits, I have found that this house has also become one of MY favorite places, as well...because I see true JOY in my daughter's eyes when she is here. She feels the LOVE that abounds here and it makes her happy. And it makes me happy...and I can see it also makes "Doe and Geetie" happy. It's amazing how God, with his infinite wisdom and also amazing care for the smallest details of our lives, placed us across the street from this precious couple during this time in our lives, where we have needed each other so many times, and enjoy each other daily. Sometimes "family" may not be related by blood, at all, but simply by love. We feel that Joe and Greta are our "family" in the truest sense of the word and are so THANKFUL for them.

Hope that you all find JOY in the "Doe and Geeties" that God has placed in your life this holiday season...whether across the street or across town...or across the world! He does not cross our paths coincidentally. No, there are blessings in people all around us...we just have to slow down long enough to enjoy them.

Thank you, Joe and Greta, for your warm love that we feel all the time. Thank you for taking time for us so often and for making my little girl feel like the most special little lady on the street! We love you!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Oh there was cake...

Most November 28ths of my life have been spent with this guy...

...celebrating his birthdays. And although this year he wasn't with us, don't you worry, folks-there was celebrating in TN! The birthday card I sent him in South Africa said that we'd bake a we did!
...And this girl never even knew that the reason for our celebrating was on the other side of the world!

Joey, oh how we miss you! We miss your funny, funny stories, we miss your big, fun spirit, we miss your wisdom and we miss seeing you all the time. I am so proud of you- you have always been one of the strongest leaders in my life, and it does not surprise me one bit that God has called YOU to South Africa to lead those precious people there. I pray for you daily and I love you so much. I hope your birthday was the MOST special one yet...and can't wait until we're together again to celebrate many more!

PS...the cake was STRAWBERRY...your fave! :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

We spent our Sunday night at the park...

...probably one of the last before light jackets turn into winter coats...

...and we loved every minute of it. We are so thankful for these fallish days with our little panda bear! :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

here and there...

Well we spent Friday ninght with two of our favorite dudes in town, Cy Austin and Colby Todd. Their mom and dad had a special date night and we had a sleepover. We started at the mall where they ran crazy with all of the other children in Franklin who apparently hang out there at the play place on Friday nights, too...

...and did a little driving around...

...and then ended up all snuggled up with popcorn and a movie. Shaelyn Jade learned how to say Cy ("th-y") so she pretty much goes around the house saying it all the time....

Then Nate and Rich left for work in Atlanta this week so Tiff and I joined our crews again last night for another sleepover at "Grandmo Connie's" house. We had one extra "cuz" join us so her mom and dad could also have a date night...and again it was just about more fun than they could all handle!

But I must say the highlight of this party was that we finally ALL got to talk to Joe and Court and the kiddos together this morning. Uncle Dra even showed up to get Livi at the perfect time and got to sit and chat with Joe for a bit...I know it did both of their hearts good. It was such a joy to see all of their faces- after too long...and hear their excitement at their new adventure. Briley is cast-free and has caught an African frog...Braxton showed us another one of his very cool lego creations and got to talk to his two best buds...Barron had MUCH to say to everyone over and over again :)...and told us about the baboons that are as big as him that walk all over the place there...we got to see Bristol walk (and heard her fall down the stairs)...heard a classic Joey story of how he ran over a snake the size of HIM (and a local took it home for "snake soup"...FOR REAL!)...and got to see our sweet "sis" Courtney and hear about her new home...and see that she is good. It was just what Tiff and I needed to hear, and KNOW----that our crazy family is still their same, crazy, HAPPY selves there that they were here!

So today as my sweet girl naps my heart is FULL of THANKFULNESS for my family...the ones HERE who we hold close and see lots (and who help fill the void of our other missing peeps) and who Jadeybug is growing to love more and more as she comes so alive to this world...and for those far away who we hold EVEN closer :), see less, miss more, and pray for MORE...and count days til we are with again. We love them all the same---so so much and feel so blessed to share such deep bonds with those who are my family. It was so good to be reminded, today, that those bonds will never change or lessen despite time or distance.

We will continue making memories as a with "Th-y" and Colby (which she absolutely cannot say at all!) and via SKYPE with Bri and Brax and Bear and Brist. It's new for us, but hey- we'll take it! Oh how sweet to see those smiling faces...

Friday, November 12, 2010

For You, Court...

Last night I went to Chili's...and although I never am a "dessert girl" (I'd rather have seconds on dinner always!), I couln't pass this up...

...because Courtney would give anything for a bite of it right now! My sweet sis-in-law has been known go great lengths for a molten chocolate cake from Chili's, so I just couldn't pass up the chance to indulge, FOR YOU, Court! :)

Thinking of you every single day. All the time. Love you, girl!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Lots of smiles this week as me and my girl have been just hanging out we always do. This was one of my favorite moments. As dinner ended the other night I went in to run Shae Jade's bath water like I do almost ever night. I had just started it and ran in the other room to do something quick...and when I returned I found an anxious bather had forgotten something...

...In her excited frenzy she didn't realized she was STILL IN HER shoes and all...and when I got to her she was, albeit a little confused, happy as a lark in her warm bathwater! I laughed and laughed over this one and yelled for Rich to come get a picture of this so we can look back many, many days from now and laugh again when we tell her about it.

Oh what JOY she brings to me...

Thursday, November 4, 2010


This is, perhaps, the BEST GIVEAWAY I have E-V-E-R seen on any blog...and it happens to be one of my favorite bloggers giving it CHECK IT OUT! Enter to win. It's better than tickets to Disneyland...better than anywhere...because you can go there ANYTIME, FOR FREE, WITH ANYONE...for the rest of you life.

GO, GO, GO. It's one of my FAVORITE PLACES that I will be taking Jade to as SOON as she's old enough...I am dying to travel here with her!
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And let me know if you win!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

these are the days...

my life has been crazy lately. really crazy. trip to ethiopia, two deaths in our family, rich traveling to england, me taking two trips myself (one being our first cross-country trip with jade), ear tubes for Jade, tricia's wedding, joey and court leaving, pregnant...and sick. i have felt "out of sorts" to say the least...and there have been several days that i have felt too busy (or too sick! :)), too torn in too many directions, to just sit and look at my baby girl all day long like i want to. just last week i told my mom that i thought this week things would finally be back to "normal" (whatever that is...) and I was looking forward to just sitting in the floor and playing. my sweet shaelyn jade isn't the tiny baby that i held just months ago anymore. she is walking running all over the place, exploring, trying to repeat everything i say, soaking in every single cloud, insect, breeze, ray of sun, new person...she is at the BEST age yet, and i have been too busy to take her in enough. not this week, though. this week we have been home pretty much all day every day, just me and my girl, reading books (over and over and over again), taking baths, playing baby dolls, singing songs and dancing (did I mention this girl doesn't stand a chance at having any rhythm???)...and laughing---lots...long and hard. i can tell she's loved it as much as i have. today we went grocery shopping and she could point out so many things she "knows" now...and when we got home, she went straight back to her room to "play" was very quiet, which was much needed as i tried to pull my house together for the jewelry party i was hosting in just hours...too quiet. when i finally went back to check on her...

ever thought pulling EVERY SINGLE WET WIPE out of the container could be so fun? it was for this girl. and when i called her back and asked her what happened she just grinned from ear to ear, so proud of her accomplishment!

when she got tired of playing alone, she came into the kitchen where i'd started making brownies and said "UP!" i pulled her a chair over to the counter like i always do when i cook, so she could watch. then i remembered a birthday gift she had gotten that i cleverly put away for a day like today...and i ran back to the top of her closet and pulled down a "new" toy!!! her very own cooking set- complete with apron and chef hat and all of the essential kitchen "tools"...

have you ever seen a sweeter chef? and no i am NOT one of those terrible mom's who let's their children eat raw eggs from the chocolate way, i would never do that (among other things, like let my child run around in just a diaper for most of the day today...eek, caught twice in one pic!!!)

as i snapped this picture i realized, in a weighty moment, that these are the days i have waited for all my life. me, a mommy, to the sweetest little chef on earth. me, home with her all day long- and tired as it makes me some days, it is a dream come true for me...these are the days i pray i never forget.

oh Lord, please help me to slow down and soak up these days- for i know they will not last long. thank you for the precious gift of children... for my shaelyn jade, and for this small, sweet heartbeat in my belly. thank you for your child, Jesus Christ, and the hope that He gives me each day. please help me to let His light shine daily, through me, and into the hearts of my own children. thank you for making me a mommy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

And they're off!

I must say that the actual "goodbye" was even harder than I'd even anticipated...I had dreaded Friday for a long time and awoke that morning with a big knot in my tummy, knowing I'd see some of my favorite faces for the last time for a long while... But God is GOOD ALL THE TIME, and allowed the day to be perfectly hectic so that there really wasn't that much time to stand around and cry our heads off (though we tried) it was rather short and sweet painful :) Anyways, they are off on the first leg of their long journey where they have stayed several days in London (Rich's homeland :)) and are L-O-V-I-N-G it! Make sure you stay in touch with them HERE...Court will be keeping us all updated on their adventures from here on out. Oh how we all miss them already, but feel so peaceful that God has called them to His greater plans...and here are a few pics I stole from her blog of some of mine and Rich's favorite spots in London...

Big cool up close!

Trafalgar Square...Rich and I had fun taking crazy pics there, too!

Ah the REAL English pubs where you can get REAL Fish-n-chips...wrapped in newspaper! Yum Yum...

I am already wishing I were with them, too.... :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Sunshine

You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy
When skies are grey...
You'll never know, dear
How much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

I remember when Joey and Court told us they were pregnant for the first time and the excitement I felt to be an AUNT! I remember hoping that I would be a "good Aunt", that this baby would like me...Well, Bri came along and stole my heart. She set the stage (as she usually does!) for my role as "Aunt Dane Dane" and we were instant soulmates...and I have always told her that she's my "sunshine". I remember when I moved away to Charleston, SC for a year how much I missed her, a baby at the time---I had pictures of she and I framed in my room and I remember showing them to people all the time and telling them all about her. I was so proud of her! I remember when I moved home I'd get her to spend the night with me at my Mom's house and we'd jump on the beds and giggle, giggle, giggle...and it always ended with a sleepy-eyed Bri saying, "Tickle me, Dane Dane"... You see, I was the original "tickle princess". For my whole life I have asked everyone who knows me, at some point, to "tickle my arm"...and my sweet little sunshine inherited that from me...her mama has always said she could have been mine...and in my heart, I kinda love her like she is. :) There are so many other ways that she and I are so much how she loves silly little things, like I do...little creatures or funny little stories...and art, she's a true little artist! There have been so many times that I get a random phone call from Court telling me Briley just had to call her Aunt Dane Dane and tell her..."I WON AN ART CONTEST!!!" or "MY TOOTH'S COMING BACK IN!!!" or "I GOT NEW CHICKENS!!!"...and no one will ever know how much it warms my heart that she wanted to call me...she's just my sunshine. When I was pregnant with Jade, she made me promise I'd have her a girl and I remember worrying that if "it" was a girl (what can I say, a promise is a promise, people!)---how was I gonna really handle it with Briley? I'd never want her to feel "second" in my eyes! :) Well don't you worry---Bri made sure she was in every picture on the day of the birth, right on the bed with me through just about all of it (she even secretly stayed right outside the door through my labor so she could be the first to know boy or girl!!!)...and she was the happiest of all to have a girl! And oh if you could only understand how much Jade ADORES Briley, too! It is amazing to me that even at such a young age, she loves her so much, and her eyes light up at the very mention of "Bri Bri"...she stole her her, too, from the beginning...

So, needless to say, I'm really gonna miss Briley Elizabeth. She insisted that she have one last "spend the night" at my house last night where we rented movies and popped popcorn and all snuggled in on a pallet together...

...And as her little eyes got sleepy she stretched out her arm and said, "Will you tickle me, Dane Dane?" For one second I started to say, "Not now, Bri...I don't feel like tickling right now"...but in a second I realized this might be the last time, for a good while, that my sweet Bri asked me that question, one of my favorite requests...and so with big tears rolling down my cheeks (which she never even saw) I tickled that little lady's arm for the rest of the movie. Gladly. Thankfully. So thankful for the deep, deep love we share for each other.

It's funny how in life there are some people with whom age simply does not matter...for no matter how young they are or how old you get---you just kinda "get" each other. It's like that with she and I---she'd tell you that, too, if you asked her. So, even though my "sunshine" is going away for a little while, I know when she returns, it will be like it never changed. We've made promises to write lots send each other our "creations" by mail...and think of each other lots. I know God has big plans for Briley Beth and I am so excited for the ADVENTURE she's about to take! Africa will NEVER be the same, for sure, once this ray of sunshine hits the ground there!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


P.S.... I realized after my sweet mother-in-law called me yesterday to tell me all she saw in that picture was a "beautiful, beaming, pregnant young lady" and not to "worry about growing too fast" that I didn't make it clear that that picture was taken at the END of my 1st pregnancy...not this one! People, I'm not bulging THAT MUCH yet!!!! :) Just sayin'.... :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Battle of the bulge

...did I mention that this pregancy isn't ANYTHING like my first one? Rich says that means, hands down, it's a boy. I'm not so certain about that...but I AM certain that my belly didn't change at all until I was almost 20 weeks with Shaelyn Jade. And I am pretty sure that none of my jeans are fitting, ALREADY, and I am pretty sure I am not quite E-L-E-V-E-N weeks yet!!!! Aaaaahhhh! I just don't know that I am ready for this part, yet! I am so happy, so excited, so ready for another baby...but not so ready for another belly. :) Ready or not, I guess... it comes!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


...these last days with some of our very closest peeps on this planet...
Yeah, we've known for over a year that these days were coming, but honestly, it's been easier just not to think about it. Well we can't do that anymore, and so it's getting hard. Real hard. I find myself wondering what it's gonna be like at our big family gatherings without these 6 members. Not as BIG. And not as fun. Oh how I will miss Briley coming up to me every chance she gets and asking if she can spend the night at my house...and Brax overhearing and insisiting he come to...and then the popcorn, palette, arm tickles, and giggles that are sure to follow. Oh how fun Barron is...his big, wild spirit...and how he's started helping Jade find her way in the world here lately...I want her to grow up with him and be close to him always. I am going to miss watching Bristol grow up like I have these other 3 kiddos, almost daily. I worry I won't KNOW her as well...will she love her Aunt Dane Dane like they do? And Joey will be so far away...he, who has been so close every day of my "biggest" brother... There's always been "3" of us hangin' it's gonna be just me and Na for a while.It makes me sad to think he and Rich won't just get to sit and talk for hours like they so enjoy doing...they really love each other and value each other's thoughts. But the thought that I just still can't deal with----??? Sweet, sweet Court. Oh how dear you are to my heart...a real sister, it feels. You have been such a treasure in my life- so constant, so strong, so sweet to me. You kinda HOLD this group together, somehow. We talk every single day- sometimes about absolutely nothing...sometimes because I have a mommy questions or a marriage questions or a friend question...but it's YOU that I have found I go to (as do SO many others) when I just need help. You're honesty keeps me in check, but your gentleness always provides a soft place to fall. You have become, unknowingly, my standard for raising my own have set the bar so high, and you make it looks so easy...and fun! What will I do without you close?...just MISS you, I guess!!!! :)

Oh these are the thoughts I am finally letting in...and as I do, tears flow out. These thoughts are so selfish I know, but they are true and real. I just love, love, love, love, love, love these 6 sweet faces so dearly. And I KNOW that God sees how special this family is, even more than I can...and that's why he picked THEM to love, love, love, love, love, love on people so far away. Because they WILL. Because they FOLLOWED Him, even to the "ends of the earth"...away from all the comforts they have come to love, too. I am inspired by them. I feel so lucky that I am so close to such great people, who God is going to USE. I pray that I can be MORE LIKE THEM, more obedient, more courageous, more LOVE-ing.

So as the days are flying by and we are down to just one more week, I am TREASURING my time with Joe and Court and Bri and Brax and Bear and Bristol...and I am thankful, in advance, for these lasting memories we will STILL make together!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Two Pink Lines...

The reason I haven't been keeping up with my blog for about a month?...

Two pink lines.

Oh the joy in our hearts, but oh the sick in my tummy! I wasn't sick at all with Shaelyn Jade, so I just assumed that I was a "pro-baby-carrier" and would never have to worry with any morning sickness...or afternoon sickness...or evening sickness... :) But alas, I am NOT a "pro-baby-carrier" apparently, and I have had all three. For FOUR weeks. I am JUST starting to feel a itsy-bitsy bit better this week (knock on wood) and my house is starting to fall in on itself. I am usually a pretty good housekeeper, if I do say so myself...not so here lately. When Rich leaves in the mornings I am usually laying on the couch feeding Jade breakfast...when he returns in the evening, I am usually laying on the couch waiting for him to cook dinner. Ha Ha. Not joking though...

But REGARDLESS of the toll this pregnancy has taken on me thus far, we are even more excited this go 'round because WE KNOW how much we are going to love this little growing heartbeat inside me...and what a sweet "big sis" Jadybug will be!

Here's Baby Andrews #2's first picture...

...Isn't he/she PERFECT? :) We won't be finding out boy/girl on this one either- so we've all got a long wait...but oh the fun it will be! Our due date is the EXACT SAME as it was for Shaelyn Jade, May 14 (so much for planning!) we'll have two close May birthdays. And right now I am almost 10 weeks along, so this sweet little peanut is about 1 inch long. Amazing.

We are so happy. Thank you for your prayers.

Monday, September 20, 2010

My "little mama"...

(taken by Nana Greta as she babysat Jade...and Jade "babysat" a little herself!)

My Shaelyn Jade reminds me of me in so many things she does (don't worry people---NOT the way she looks!!!) One big way is her love for baby dolls more than any other toy. Since she was about 7 months old (when Nanny Thelma got her first baby for her for Christmas) she has just loved to have a baby in her arms. It just amazes me that she actually understands the concepts of rocking a baby, loving the baby, bathing the baby, changing her diaper. Sometimes I will be in one room and she'll be in her room and I'll hear her say, "Oh Baby"...and if I sneak in on her she is always rocking that baby and just patting her little back! It has to be the SWEETEST thing any child has ever done! When we leave her in the nursery at church each week, she immediately finds a doll, rocks it the whole time we're gone, and has to be pryed away from it when we return. I really think she might just as well stay the whole week at church if she could just stay with that little baby!!! As far back as I can remember, it was baby dolls that I always asked for, baby dolls that I always preferred to play with (Barbie who???), and a "mama" I always dreamed of being. Never, however, in my wildest dreams did I ever dream of loving my own baby like I do...there are simply no words for what this "little mama" does to my heart. Oh, Shaelyn Jade, please don't grow up! How I love these days of rocking and holding my own little baby...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Grampy Andrews

Today we remember Rich's sweet Grampy Andrews who passed peacefully in his sleep last night. He was 81 years old and lived a long, full life. He is survived by his daughter, Susan Andrews and her two children Jameson and Madison, as well as his son, Christopher (Rich's Dad), his wife, Christine (Rich's Mom), Rich, Sarah (his sister), Emily (his niece) Shaelyn Jade! We all spoke today via skype and laughed and laughed at all the funny memories we have of Grampy. Please keep Rich and our family in your prayers as their hearts are obviously sad for this loss.

I was able to be with Grampy for two extended visits- once when I visited England in 2004 and then again when we all went to San Francisco in 2005. These are the things that I learned about the old man:

1) Grampy had been married to one woman, Margaret, until she died in 1992. He loved her.
2) Grampy was a policeman in Bath, England. I bet he was a tough policeman!
3) Grampy's favorite past time was going to his local pub, drinking beer, and playing snooker.
4) Grampy loved beer.
5) Grampy loved scotch even more.
6) He lived in the same house, 49 Moorfields Road, for over 50 years.
7) Grampy had a deep heart. He would have done anything for his children.
8) He had a great laugh...and he and Rich loved picking at each other, back and forth.
9) Grampy and Nanny Andrews used to take Richard and Sarah to the "caravan" every year...sort of like a "KOA" on the beach in England. It was the highlight of their summer... some of Rich's best childhood memories.
10) Grampy had a chair in his house that there are pictures of him sleeping with every one of his grandkids.
11) Grampy could sleep ANYWHERE. And required much sleep since I have known him.
12) Grampy was a your typical "crotchity" old Englishman...with a great English accent...and an even dryer sense of humor.
13) Grampy loved to walk...when he had dogs he walked them daily and really enjoyed it.
14) Grampy was very loved...and will be very missed.

Friday, September 10, 2010


...So I spent another day with Sonya today. Different than the old days, but still good. Still us. We go through so much of the day just as us, our good ole squabbling selves always giggling and knit-picking each other's every move- and now shadowed by two littler versions of ourselves who have started squabblings of their own already. We stay busy. We ALWAYS have a list in front of us to keep us on track (because, let's face it, I am not a "stay on track" kind of gal, and she's in a whirlwind...)We focus lots of our conversations on Banebow...and the GOOD that is going to come of all this. Then the reality creeps in- in the spaces where comfortable silence has always had its place for us...and she tells me how one month later, the doesn't miss him one bit less than the morning after he died. Hard to hear. Hard to know. Hard to accept that this unimaginable pain is her lot- for the rest of our lives. It will never go away completely.

It's been one month. I remember the night Bane died, standing in Vanderbilt ICU thinking, "I wonder how they will be a week from now, a MONTH from now...a year from now????"...and this is the reality after one month. She knows that only time will ease the severity of the pain, but for now, it is intense. I say all of this because I know that for everyone but them- it's easy to forget. It just is. I hate to say that. But I want to just remind you friends who keep up with me that this hurting mama and daddy are still hurting just as bad today as they were a month ago. They need your prayers today and tomorrow and the next day oh so much. Please continue to pray. Please continue to read Bane's blog. Please continue to call and text and remind them of your love. You do not know how far it is carrying them on days like today.

And on a lighter note...I left Sonya tonight and met Rich for dinner. I insisted on leaving her my car since she was meeting a friend of ours for dinner...but she said she'd rather walk. As I left dinner, across town from her, actually as I was crossing a busy intersection---I spotted a Banebow so BRIGHT and beautiful in the sky. I almost wrecked my car (literally) as I fumbled for my phone to snap a picture. My battery was low but I prayed this one last message would go through to Sonya, a text: "Look who shined down on my dinner again tonight!"...and it sent...and then my phone immediately died. I came home, plugged in my phone, and forgot about it. As I laid down a few minutes ago, I saw my phone blinking. A text from Sonya..."check blog!" I texted her back to see if she got my message from earlier. She wrote back..."yes. check blog!" So I got back out of my bed, came to this computer where I am presently standing in the kitchen, pulled up sweet Baney's blog...and read THIS. Tears in Spring Hill on a late Friday night. Oh our God was so big and so BRIGHT tonight...and always. On this "one month" milemarker that she, through sobs last night, told me she dreaded...He was so faithful to give her the strength for a walk instead of a ride tonight, so that He could remind her of just how CLOSE He is.

I have seen more rainbows Banebows in the last month than ever before...and I KNOW that is not a coincidence.

Our God is big and BRIGHT.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Signed Up & Ready To Run

Go here. Sign up, too. Walk, Run, Crawl...whatever. Just come help Sonya and Dra celebrate sweet Bane's life. It's his 1st birthday party!!!

North, West and Walter.

...I know. It's been a while. But I have been in Chicago AND San Francisco in the two weeks. Needless to say, I am happy my feet are back on TN soil! Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed both trips. Chicago was for my sweet friend, Tricia's, bachelorette weekend. Love that city. I had been there once before with Sonya, when I was 18, she was 20. We were so poor we had to DRIVE there, and stayed WAY outside the city. But of course we had fun. And again, Chicago was fun for me. It was so good to see all of Tricia's favorite girls gather together around her to celebrate her. Such a testament to how well SHE loves people. Then were off to San Francisco to visit Rich's family. It was, as always, wonderful and beautiful. From their back porch you can see the most beautiful golden hills all around you. I love it there. No matter where they live, their houses are always so "homey" to me. Must not be the houses. Must be the "warm" bodies in them. :) I always miss my mother-in-law... We loved the time with them...and it was so sweet to see them enjoy Shaelyn Jade. She is really growing into her little personality and I was able to just sit back and watch it myself this week. That was the best part. AND having Rich right with us for 6 days straight. That was great!

...So my last post, I mentioned that the next day, Sonya and I (and Jade and Livi)were going to "Play It Forward". We did. We spent the day getting pictures of Bane blown up, and buying frames and bright colored gift bags and delivering them to special people who have been so sweet to Sonya and Dra. Like our wonderful pediatrician, Dr. Brooks...and his fabulous nurse, Eva. And our wonderful pastors at Bethel who really have given the term "church family" a whole new meaning for us through all this. That was fun. Next, we decided we'd like to do a "random" act so we just started driving, all over the place, praying that God would lead us to someone who needed a "lift"... Listening to the praise music from Bane's Celebration. It's amazing how when you just WORSHIP GOD, the rest of the world sorta fades away. So we drove. And praised. And then we saw him. Walter. Walking alone down the sidewalk. Kinda limping. Just looked a little down on his luck. Sonya said, "That's him...let me out!" Right there in the middle of the road. She approached him. I stayed in the car with the girls.

And they started walking along together. My eyes filled up with big tears as I watched my sweet Sonya following God's path for her, right down that sidewalk. You see, since Bane died, it's as if God's "calling" for their lives has become SO CRYSTAL CLEAR. All of the planning, all of the preparing, all of the schooling...none of it could have "prepared" them for the pain of losing their son, but it was all part of God's perfect plan to use glorify His Name. She stood there on that sidewalk and listened to Walter's story. He actually said it himself, he was a little "down on his luck" lately...and shared his struggles. She listened. Then she asked him where he was headed, and he said he has the key to a local church and he walks and lets the choir in each week for practice. She asked him if he was hungry to which he shamelessly said yes. She asked him if, in exchange for a good warm meal, he'd also let her share her story with him. He agreed. We headed straight to Hardee's where we got him a yummy meal that he almost enjoyed all by himself...

...minus two fries...but we promise we told him! :) He was waiting outside the church when we returned and he smiled as his new friend approached.

They went into that little church and talked more...this time her.He listened to her heart as she told him all about her baby boy that she lost. About how "down" she was feeling too.

Two complete strangers. Very different lives. Directed by God to each other. Paths crossed. Stories told. Burdens SHARED.

Walter took a Banebow card and made a promise that night to Play It Forward himself.

I believe he did.

I wonder what other person out there was, in turn, blessed by sweet Walter?

Are you Playing It Forward in your own life? Has Bane's story encouraged you to ACT? If so, please let me know. I would love to share your story with Sonya tomorrow. Oh the strength it brings her...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sad. Keli.Thankful.and Playing.

Today was a long was a SAD day. We spent it with my favorite girl, Sonya...and "Shae Jade's" favorite girl, Liv. The four of us have spent lots of days together. Lots of good, easy days. But today, we spent a long, hard one- because it hasn't been just "us 4" in a long time- since this day...

...when little Baney Bane came along...

...and we miss him.

Even though "us 4" is good...we loved having that little man in the mix. Like on this day...

...when these three kiddos tasted their first real snow...and lots of it!

Or this day...

... when we all loaded up and went to The Piney...

...or this day when we celebrated Sonya's birthday together, just "us 5"...

...or on one of the many, many nights that these three found themselves playing in the same bath water.

So today, we missed Bane. Some days I feel really strong. I feel so close to the REALITY that God has such great things that will come of this pain. That joy will come again for Sonya and Dra. But today, honestly, wasn't one of those days. I felt helpless as I sat with Sonya and just cried again this afternoon. I felt weak as I couldn't even take any of her burden from her. This precious family who so many have grown to love are hurting tonight. Please, please, please keep praying. Please God, don't let us settle back into our every day lives and forget to PRAY for them.

"If thou shouldst never see my face again, pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer than this world ever dreams. Wherefore, let thy voice rise like a fountain for me, night and day..." ~Alfred Lord Tennyson, Morte D'Arthur

So at the end of today as I drove home with a heavy heart, I called my friend, KELI,(who is one of Sonya's oldest and dearest friends in the world) knowing that her deep love for Sonya would allow her to help me carry this sadness today. She did. She listened and, as always, had the perfect words. She should be famous for how well words flow through her. Gift from God, for sure. (And might I request here, that if you are ever famous, KELI, you'd remember this shout out??? :)) So after 45 minutes of our kids screaming in our ears and climbing all over us- refusing to let another minute of their mommy's love on anyone but them, we were forced to hang up... but I felt better...and needed more... so I went HERE for more of her words. Trust me, people, you're gonna want to follow her blog. Inspiring. Rich actually calls her The Wordsmith. Anyways, her blog today inspired me to rise out of my sadness and start counting.

So here it goes. Today, on a day when my heart is heavy...I still have so much to be THANKFUL for!!!
1)I am so THANKFUL for Jesus Christ, who overcame DEATH.
2)I am so THANKFUL for Sonya and Livi today- two girls that God gave to me enjoy the best of life with, and share the burden of hard times with...and for Drason who is so strong and loves these precious girls so perfectly, even now.
3) So THANKFUL for my baby girl. Oh what a joy she has been!
4) So THANKFUL that I am married to the kindest man on earth, who has been a testament of God's faithfulness and and inspiration to be better since the day I met him.
5) So THANKFUL for a very tight-knit family who loves deep as the ocean...
6) So THANKFUL for the beautiful sunshine today that shone bright as ever and reminded me that light always overcomes darkness. Even today.
7) So THANKFUL for so many wonderful friends whose encouragement hasn't stopped coming at the most needed moments.
8) So THANKFUL for the WORD OF GOD that I can rest peacefully in on the good days and stand firmly on today because "...we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose..." -(Romans 8:28)

And, KELI, of course, is another gift to Sonya, for "such a time as this" the mouth behind the perfect words on Bane's blog, too...which further inspired me today...

...So tomorrow...tomorrow is another day. And after a day like today, I have resolved to get busy PLAYING again, in honor of Baby Bane. I just texted Sonya and asked her to join me tomorrow as we let God lead us to people who need us. Nothing heals a hurting heart like serving others! I have been so inspired by Sonya's strength and her desire to let Bane's legacy be one of good...and so tomorrow, I am gonna PLAY IT FORWARD. If you don't know Sonya or Drason personally, you can't imagine the strength they, too, are drawing as more and more people come forward with stories of how their lives have been changed by the loss of their son. If you are trying to find away to love on this family and have wondered "what could I possibly do to comfort them?"--- let me tell you that the very best way is to get engaged in letting Bane's story inspire you to change your world, with kindness...and then make sure you TELL THEM about it, on Bane's blog. They read it every day, I promise. Follow the button on the right side of this blog to PLAY IT FORWARD yourself, and then find a way, yourself, to tell as many people as you can to do the same.

"No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted." ~Aesop