Matthew 22:37-39

Matthew 22:37-39

Saturday, November 3, 2012

He is our Home and Everything

When will heaven come?

I can't remember what my brother looks like.

I don't want to sleep in my bedroom alone.

This is dinner time at our house and I hate it sometimes.  I hate hearing how broken my daughter is, seeing the sadness in my husband's eyes when these quiet things are said, seeing her deep ache in missing her sweet brother and hearing her simple question of when, that we can't answer.

But I love it in the same breath, because nowadays we talk about things that truly matter.
We talk about heaven because it is our home.  We talk about seeing Jesus face to face because He is everything.  We talk about loving God and loving people because that is what God wants of us.
We talk about Gavin being more than okay now because his every need is met.

Tomorrow I am running a race.
And this race I still question God and ask Him on occasions, why are we on this life race Lord?
Tomorrow I am tackling 13.1 miles Lord willing because my son taught me to run.
Tomorrow I will simply run to run the race God has written for my family and I.
I will run to thank God for the three children He has placed into our family.
I will run because tomorrow is orphan sunday and we all can play a part in taking care of and loving orphans.
I will run and keep running because heaven is our home and Jesus is everything.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Wise Preschool


We would love to have you join and partner alongside this great ministry.

Brice and Amanda Wurdeman moved to St. Vincent with their three children in December 2011.  They are missionaries on the island and the directors at Windward Islands School of Evangelism.  They have such great love and hearts for others. 
They have now started a preschool to reach more for Jesus.
Despite living the island life, some of these children come from poor homes.  And some of these homes are without electricity and running water.

Your $25 monthly sponsorship, your love, and your prayers will help with many things each day including:

*Help pay a helper teacher.  She is from St. Vincent and this is her very first job.  It helps provide for her family.
*Help children receive education and to be able to learn and play with other children their age in a safe and loving environment.
*Help children hear a Bible story and hear about Jesus’s great love for them.
*Help feed a snack to each child.
*Help pay for their school uniforms.
*Help pay for the fans and lights in the classroom.

Contact me for more information.  Thank you.
Janna Conklin

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I am thankful for wonderful families stepping up and supporting sweet children in St. Vincent.  All ten students at the Wise Preparatory Preschool have sponsors in the United States.

I am thankful that even through my questions and wanderings, my God still loves me and wants me.

I am thankful that though our hearts are broken and our whys may never get answered, our sweet boy has all the answers, and one day we will too.

I am thankful my sweet Gavin has Jesus face to face, and that my sweet Lyndlee understands more about heaven, and Jesus' great love.

I am thankful for my husband who works so hard to provide for our family and loves everyone as Jesus loves.

I am thankful for a church that teaches us to love and serve as Jesus serves;  a church that teaches my daughter more about the Father's Love.

I am thankful for my super smart five year old daughter that has a huge heart and love for others.

I am thankful for my sweet ornery boy who continues to teach me even while we are apart.

I am thankful for the cross, for the Father's Love and that this is not the end.

I am thankful for three pumpkins on my porch that represent my three children that the Lord has given me.

There are many hurdles and prayers still before our third child comes home to us.

But I will keep trusting, keep serving, keep loving, and being thankful.
His plans for our life continue to surprise me and I still ask questions.

But I am so thankful He loves me.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Even If

In the book of Daniel King Nebuchadnezzar builds a large image of gold and commands everyone in the kingdom to bow down before it.
But three men refused.  These three men were brought before the King who then told them to bow down to the image he built, or he would throw them into the furnace.

I love their response.

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.  But EVEN IF he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.

They had faith.  They had faith and trust in God even if they were going to be burned alive.

I wanted this response last year when Gavin died.  I wanted this response in my heart.  But it wasn't my first reaction.  I was angry and broken.  And somedays I still am.
But I feel like my family has been learning to live this response.
We keep trusting God, we keep serving Him and following Him even when His plans don't make sense.

I have been praying for God to let me have this reaction with whatever happens next in our life.
And I feel He is giving me that chance once again, stretching me and changing me.

My daughter has been praying some very bold prayers for 7 months now.  These prayers are not anything that we told her or asked her to pray for.  They are all from her heart.  And I don't know how these prayers are going to come about or if they even will.  So we tell her to pray, to ask God because He is in control.

And I haven't wanted to talk with my five year old about the times God answers our prayers in different ways.  But we have lived through this, she knows it.

So today I feel God giving me the chance to have the response of these three men.

Even if my daughter's prayers aren't answered the way her heart thinks and so desires, we will still serve God.  We will still love God.  We will still follow Him and His plans.

Even if.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


We would love to have you join and partner alongside this great ministry.

Brice and Amanda Wurdeman moved to St. Vincent with their three children in December 2011. They are missionaries on the island and the directors at Windward Islands School of Evangelism.
They have such great love and hearts for others. 

They have now started a preschool to reach more for Jesus.
Despite living the island life, some of these children come from poor homes. And some of these homes are without electricity and running water.

Your $25 monthly sponsorship, your love, and your prayers will help with many things each day including:
*Help pay a helper teacher. She is from St. Vincent and this is her very first job. It helps provide for her family.
*Help children receive education and to be able to learn and play with other children their age in a safe and loving environment.
*Help children hear a Bible story and hear about Jesus’s great love for them.
*Help feed a snack to each child.
*Help pay for their school uniforms.
*Help pay for the fans and lights in the classroom.

Contact me for more information.
Thank you.
Janna Conklin

To read more about WISE:

To follow along Brice and Amanda's heart and love for others:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Heaven Home

Home. Yesterday we closed on a house we used to call home. And while I was excited and praising God for providing buyers, I was heartbroken too. I envisioned watching both of my sweet children growing up in that house. I loved seeing my husband walk in from work and the kids tackling him. I had these plans for our life. But they were not what the Lord planned. And I have learned through this past year that His ways are not like my ways, and His thoughts not like my thoughts. His ways and thoughts are higher, though at times I do not understand. Today I struggle to call anything home and I believe that is okay. Because I love my family. I love where God has us serving. I love Real Life Church. I love the beauty of California that brings joy to my soul, and the sweetness of the new people God is putting in our lives. I love my close friends and family that just get me and know when I need to talk everything out and have a good long cry. I love to walk my sweet tiny princess to school and pick her up each day. I love seeing her excitement when her daddy walks in the door from work. I love seeing my husband pour his heart out for the Kingdom work God has set before him. And I love I get to hold his hand and be his wife. I love that God brought Gavin into our lives and now my sweet baby boy is in the arms of Jesus. I love the goodness God is pouring onto us each day. I love the hope He gives us as an anchor for our souls. I love how He loves me and desires me even through my questions and my wandering. The lesson God wants me to grasp is this place is not our home. Gavin is home and so many others that have gone before us are finally home. They are home with Jesus and that gets to be our home as well one day. And that is our home, our heaven home. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await our Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body. Philippians 3:20-21

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Lyndlee and I found these at Target Dollar spot. They had all these different things you could use and we couldn't believe how perfect each was for our sweet family. Brennan loves cooking and feeds us so well. Brennan and Lyndlee like when I have my hair in pigtails. Lyndlee is the princess in love with horses. And Gavin and balloons are a perfect match.
Brennan is gone this weekend taking college kids camping. So Lyndlee and I have been missing him and Gavin deeply but making the most of these days. Its the weekend for princess time, craft making, and a lunch date to Tea Garden Restaurant. Only my daughter would get more excited over the plastic around the chocolate dessert. She asked if she could take it home and said she had a great idea for it. She made it into a craft. Only my daughter.
God is faithful friends. It seems like on the days when it just seems to be too much or I have reached my limits, He is there or sends a friend. My mom or a close friend will call and just really pour into my life. It is such medicine for my soul. Thank you friends for encouraging me and I pray I am in turn encouraging you and pouring into your lives. Today I volunteered in the three year old class at church. God is doing some things that I don't quite understand. I asked to help and this was the room that needed help. I want to be obedient and listen to His call. I was hesitant to go but my sweet girl encouraged me this morning with her smile and kindness. We put on our shoes, Lyndlee putting on her fancy Leanne shoes, and walked out of the house in faith; trusting in God's goodness, love and mercy. Being in the three's room, seeing these sweet kids and thinking of my Gavin being three yes broke my heart but I also see it did my heart good. These were beautiful creations of the Father that I got to spend just a few moments with. I stayed though at times I wanted to walk away. I played with the kids. And even when a sweet little Asian boy walked in and it nearly knocked me off my feet, I still stayed. Volunteering in that room may not be the best fit for me and that is okay. This week I am helping at a local preschool in the three year old room. Again I don't know what God is doing but I am excited to see what unfolds. Perhaps maybe this is to heal my heart more, to let me love on these sweet kids and let me think of my sweet boy at the same time.
School for Lyndlee has been such a great time. She doesn't cry when we leave her. She has met a good friend that lives just a few houses down from our house. They look for each other in the morning at recess and are so sweet. And every craft she brings home you better believe she tapes it on her wall. I love my crafty girl.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Kids have a way. They are honest and forward about everything and it works. Sure it might embarrass us as parents at times but it doesn't embarrass them. The other day at the park Lyndlee met a boy and they started to play together. He had dark skin, he was African American. Lyndlee loves to see how God has made each of us different and has given us different gifts. She makes note of this always no matter where we are at. So she told the boy that he had really dark skin. And the boy said no I don't. And then she said, you have darker skin than me and just smiled at him. He looked at her and saw her glasses. Then he asked, "Are you handicap?" Lyndlee said what does that mean? And the boy said you know, because you have glasses. Brennan and I were just smiling and laughing quietly. But then it got me thinking. Kids are so honest and blunt and you know what, it works. There isn't hard feelings. They can tell each other truth and asks questions when they want to know an answer. So what has happened to us as adults? Why can't we talk to each other? Why can't we be honest with each other? Why can't we play nice? Why can't we look past the colors of our skin and the differences we have and just love each other. Why can't we love like He loves? Why can't we be more like children and just be honest with each other? An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips. Proverbs 24:26

Monday, August 27, 2012

My tiny princess at school.
Gavin's name means battle hawk. Thank you Jesus for this gift.
So tired after the first day of school but still holding on to the marker.
Celebrating Lyndlee's 5th Gotcha Day. I love these two!
She makes me heart sing.

He Still Is.

It seems as though I just don't have any words these last few days. I feel broken and all used up today. I struggle Sunday nights because I know Monday is right around the corner. And I still get angry at God. I cry out to Him saying He changed these plans, He changed my job and my mommy heart. I beg him to tell me what He wants me to do. Lyndlee is adjusting to school. She is so brave. Most days we leave her crying and it breaks our hearts. But when we pick her up she is smiling and lets us know the things she learned and all the fun she had. She definitely does not get craft time because she comes home and spends hours cutting, drawing and gluing. She makes my heart smile. Yesterday we found out a friend she made at school goes to Real Life Church and we all attend the same service Sunday night so the girls are in class together at church too. Thank you Jesus for this connection. We have been praying for a friend for our sweet girl. She also made some new friends at the SoCal Taiwan Reunion. And the friend she really got close too actually lives in our town as well. We leave her in the palm of His hands every single day as we walk out of the school gate and she is out of our reach and out of our sight. And this is something that I need to figure out and get through emotionally. All last year she was with me all of the time. Every laughter, joy, anger, sobbing, questions, etc. were my job. And we communicated through everything or we just held each other and were quiet some days. But now its different and I am away from her. I don't know how her emotions are, I don't know what she is feeling. And I don't understand His ways. But I leave her in His hands. We put Gavin in Jesus' hands and my flesh tells me daily but now he is gone. But my heart knows Gavin is still in His hands. I know Gavin is where we all want to be. He is home. And we just want to go home too. So we wait. And what I keep coming back to is I don't understand God's ways. But they are His ways and they are higher than my own. So I keep waking up. I keep trying to love and serve. I keep running. I try to keep my eyes opened for His goodness. For He is still God. He is still good. He is still here. He is coming back.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

God's goodness pouring out

God's beautiful creation to enjoy and soak in on my run.
My sweet girl playing with Little House paper dolls.
My sweet husband cooking dinner for his girls.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Life Now

We made it to Saugus, California. Our new house is wonderful. We had family with us helping us on the long trip. Everything went so well and they helped so much with unpacking and getting our house set up. We have had some plumbing trouble but sometimes things just don't seem so big anymore. We can handle it. I have decided to turn this blog into looking for God's goodness each day and each moment. I feel like God is just pouring out His goodness daily and I need to keep my eyes open for it. I have also been writing our story. Not sure where it is going other than just helping my heart. Lyndlee is busy making art projects all day long. It is so good for her heart. The other day she mailed 25 art pictures to people that she loves dearly. I love how she loves all through her heart. She starts school on Thursday and is ready. I am not. I feel like we have had so many changes this past year and that is just one more. But this one seems to be hitting me really hard. I need to figure out what I am doing when she is at school. And I wasn't supposed to be figuring this out. Gavin would have been home with me. We would have been serving in another country at this time. But this was not the plan God had written. And I have to daily get my heart ready to serve and love through the changes. For He is still good and He is still here. We love Real Life Church and are so excited to be apart of what they are doing here in Santa Clarita. The people are so friendly and wonderful. Lyndlee has just come out of her shell and is so brave here. She even slept in her own bed last night. Brennan is getting to know everyone at the office and remembering all of their names. Already I see God using him here. I am so thankful God brought him here to be apart of this team. I am training for a half marathon in November. Running and looking at God's goodness and beautiful creation is good for my heart and soul. Gavin's heaven day came and passed. We just spent the day together as a family. We felt God's goodness and love all through the day through emails, texts, calls, special things brought to our house, family in Missouri letting balloons go, and peace from the Lord. Thank you for praying and remembering our family. Longing for Home. Blessings and Love.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pieces Of His Goodness

Friend from church made me this necklace from Gavin's Chinese outfit.
She also made these stockings for Lyndlee and Gavin. These are made from special things of the kids, like their blankets and clothes we sent to them in Taiwan and also special shirts they wore last year.
This lid. God's goodness and humor wrapped up in one, tied in with Gavin being naughty. My mother in law had brought me back this cute little bowl and lid from Mexico a few years back. I had lost the lid about a year ago. The other day while some dear loved ones came over to help me pack, we found the lid in one of my vases. Gavin took the lid and put it in the vase. I know it with all my heart. I could literally seeing him hiding it in there, I could hear his giggle and I could see him running away.
Shorts from a friend that had anchors all over them. Thank you Lord. And my sweet daughter reciting that Hebrews 6:19 verse out loud. We have this hope as an anchor for our soul.
My sweet girl. Need I say anymore.
Lyndlee's recent picture for my Bible. Love her heart. Love her. Love His continued whispers to her little heart. Love she knows Jesus is the King and He is making everything new.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Aching yet feeling His goodness Indeed

Just finished a week of camp with some kids that I love all through my heart. My family hadn't laughed that much in a long time. It was good for our souls. It was such a great week with so many wonderful memories that we will cherish always. Coming home however was hard. To me all this week felt like Gavin was still with us on this earth. At camp I kept thinking he would not have done well so we would have had the grandparents watch him. Lyndlee was at an age she could go and really enjoy it. So coming back to Branson I thought for sure we would be picking Gavin up in Joplin and I could kiss his sweet lips and hold him tight. Its so strange how my mind works like that, thinking this past year had just been a nightmare and I would surely wake up soon. But to reality my mind came back and the sadness sank in. We drove home and I glance down at Lyndlee's hand on my hand; her skin proudly showing off her tan from camp against my white skin. And my mind thinks she has such beautiful dark skin, but my heart aches to see Gavin's darker hand right by ours. I ache for his dark skin with sun spots on his sweet little face. But then I feel God's goodness surround me, and I thank Him that He chose me of all people to be both their mommies. I thank Him for the sun spots I got to see on one of our youth kids this week; a boy I love with all my heart, a boy I got to pray over and talk too this week. An experience and joy I won't ever have with my own boy again, but an experience and joy that He gave to me in other ways. God's goodness indeed. At camp one night the speaker talked about the day he and his wife found out she had cancer and would die from this disease. It was the very first time in my life I knew exactly what the speaker was feeling. He began to describe his reaction, how he cursed God and didn't want to sing praise songs. He remembers certain details and what the doctors said. He talked about his forgiveness towards God. And my mind went immediately back to August 9th, what the doctors told us, the feelings and anger I had towards God, the aching of leaving our sweet boy at the hospital. It overtook me and I just had to sit down and let the tears pour out. And one of my youth girls grabbed my hand and held it until I was ready to let go. It was as if God had whispered to her heart to encourage me and give me strength. God's goodness indeed. Our friends in St Vincent are making some big dreams come true, dreams we prayed and hoped along with them. And it is so amazing and encouraging even if it might look a a little different than what we had all thought. Seeing Gavin's toys at this preschool and knowing kids will be playing with them brings me joy. Knowing Bibles were given in Gavin's name for the school, and more kids will learn about Jesus and His great love! God's goodness indeed. My heart is feeling the heaviness of packing and leaving this house. Its just walls I know, but this house is full of every emotion and memory possible. God has it heavy on my heart to pray earnestly for whoever is going to buy it. My heart aches leaving it but I feel God's goodness in that we take all our memories with us and that this earth is not our home. This is not the end. So I will keep praying for these people who will buy this house; that it too can be a house of love and God's goodness and grace pouring out daily on them. Tomorrow is our "see you soon" to our church and families that have walked alongside us since that August night. My heart is not ready for the many "see you soon" but tomorrow is the day. My heart aches but I see and feel God's goodness through this. God's goodness and love comes in so many forms. Through a letter from my mom, through a "I love you" from Mama Bev in Taiwan, from texts of friends praying; from the daily comfort of the Holy Spirit, from the love of my daughter and husband. God's goodness indeed. I might feel all these aches but I know God's goodness, love and grace are directing our lives. I know He is working and still using us, even when I am broken and aching.

Monday, July 9, 2012


The last few weeks feel like they have been so heavy. Headaches have come like clock work each day. Broken air conditioner in the car, broke our friend's car, wet carpet in the house. House contract fell through. Blessing: God brought about a 4 bedroom house to rent in California and waiting to see what He wants us to do with all those rooms. I know He has some mighty plans. Hard painful goodbyes coming in a few weeks. Sweet hellos and introductions to follow. Big school for my girl. New jobs for us. Transition into a new home. This is all easy. We have done hard the last year and continue to do hard each day missing our Gavin and being apart. Gavin's heaven day is right around the corner. We will celebrate where he is and who he is with. But it will be hard. Grief has a way putting things into perspective for you. But through the easy and the hard, Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

His Lists, His Plans

I used to plan. I used to look at my calendar. Being a minister's wife, I had to have a schedule. I had to schedule our youth events, our hectic life and make sure things wouldn't run together. I would control everything. I made lists for everything. I made groceries lists, cleaning lists, menu lists, lists for the kids, lists for my husband and lists for me each day. I loved lists and I loved to plan. But those days are gone. I have tried so long to plan my life, to know what each day will bring. And what I have realized over the last year is that I have no control and that is for the best. I can't control what each day will bring. Lists today don't help me, they stress me out. I am living in the freedom of going by God's will and plans for my days. This may cause our family to not know where we are supposed to be and we might even be late to things. But we know Who is in control. He has a plan, He has a purpose. And we will follow and obey. In 29 days our family will be on another adventure to California to be apart of God's work at Real Life Church. It is nothing we planned for or put on a list. We will be going by the plans God has laid out for us and that the Holy Spirit laid on our hearts. And this is refreshing and exciting. We had our dreams laid out for our family of four and the plans set. But we have had to let those dreams die each day. It is so very hard but we will keep trusting in His unfailing love and goodness. So soon my family and I will be packing all our belongings in a truck and saying goodbye to the house we knew and loved our family of four in. It will be hard as this house was where we watched our children grow, where we laughed and loved and had so many awesome memories. But this is also the house full of sadness where we watched our son die, where we said goodbye, where satan keeps trying to take his evil hold. It will be hard to say goodbye to so many family and friends that have loved us and walked this journey of grief with us. But to me, it isn't a goodbye. We had to say goodbye to our son and that has been so hard. This is simply see you later. This is, we love you and will always be apart of your lives no matter where God takes us. This is, see you soon. So this move is filled with every emotion possible for our family. We covet your prayers. You are all blessings to our lives. We thank you and love each of you. See you soon.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Love God, Love Others

I am overwhelmed by all the kind emails, texts and messages we received on Gavin's birthday. Friends and family you are so good to us and love us so well. Thank you. Lyndlee was blessed with a sweet package from cousins that included water balloons and a fun music card for her to dance too. They know her heart well. About a week before Gavin died I came across this phrase another blogger mom had made into wall art for her little girls room. It was simple and perfect, "Love God Love Others" taken from Matthew 22:37-39. So I wanted to make this for Lyndlee and Gavin's room. Joy, do you remember how many hours you tried to hang it up, simply trying to make it straight for me? You are the best. I still have it up in their room and I feel it has become our hearts passion this past year. We want to love God and love others. So this was what we wanted to do for Gavin's birthday. So we chose to thank the people who helped our family August 9th. We thanked the church friends and our parents who came to the hospital the minute they heard the news. And they all stayed with us for those 6 hours. We sent food and cards to the ER workers and the EMT workers in Branson; and the funeral home in Joplin. We were so blessed by all their work, love and care for our son and our family. They were amazing. We sent thank you cards to two very special families that have taken us under their wings this last year. They have loved us and walked hard days with us. They have welcomed us into their family and have loved us so well. But this doesn't even come close to thanking all the people that have loved and blessed us during this time. Thank you friends. You have given us food, grief books, special gifts for Lyndlee, airline tickets to Taiwan and have made us family scrap books. You have given donations to the Home of God's Love in Gavin's name. You have called. You have come. You have emailed. You have given donations to orphanages in Guatemala and have bought Bibles for children in St. Vincent. You have organized sending letters in the mail to Lyndlee and this blessing went for 5 months. You have walked toys over to Lyndlee that you think she will enjoy. You hand wrote Scripture verses for us. You prayed and sang praise songs over our house. You made donations to hospice in Gavin's name. You made a special book of memories of Gavin that we can read and read again. You gave us a special marble set of children of the world, reminding us that Jesus loves all the children of the world. You mailed a sweater to me one day. You mailed a Bible and Scripture verse bracelet. You gave Lyndlee a Chinese Bible. You gave Lyndlee a special Minnie Mouse purse that she loves dearly. You bought balloons on special occasions to remind us you remember and love Gavin. You bought us Silver Dollar City and White Water tickets to enjoy as a family. You gave us plants and flowers. You arranged the whole funeral service. You wrote a song just for us and Gavin. You drove from Texas to be with us. You practiced and sang a beautiful song to us in Taiwan at Gavin's service. You took Brennan to a baseball game. You wrote words of encouragement on index cards. You made a huge meal for all our family at the funeral. You babysat all the kids for free at the funeral. You mailed worship CDS. You made a special CD for Lyndlee and even put a horse picture on it. You fixed our car. You mailed a necklace that says Gavin. You made picture necklaces for Lyndlee. You mailed a cross. You bought me shoes. You gave all your toy horses to Lyndlee that you played with as a kid. You mowed our lawn, cleaned our garage, stocked our fridge, and painted Lyndlee's room with horses and balloons. You made a memory collage of Gavin that hangs in our bedroom. You had your students write encouraging letters to our family. You painted Lyndlee a unicorn. You drew endless pictures of horses for Lyndlee. You bought her numerous books and you became the book lady at church. You met with me every Wednesday at Panera to talk with me, pray with me, and cry with me. You take Brennan out for hunting, coffee, food and prayer. You fixed our porch although to Lyndlee you are the one who put a hole in our house. You took me shopping for clothes. You paid our expenses at the funeral home. You love us and love us so well. Thank you. We spent Gavin's birthday wanting to do this in return, to love others. And it brought us so much joy doing these things in Gavin's honor. And then we had a nice dinner with our parents. We have some amazing Godly parents. They have done so much for us. At dinner they brought a needle and thread to fix Lyndlee's stuffed animal. They brought a plastic bag full of turkey bacon and packed an envelope full of paper, markers and stickers. They love her and know her so well. It was hard knowing we were all missing Gavin but we all shared the peace knowing he is with our Lord. We came back to Branson to find surprises for our princess on our porch. A sweet family from our church brought balloons, cupcakes and princess things for Lyndlee. It made her day, thank you friends. Balloons are special at our house as Lyndlee likes to let them fly to the heavens to her brother Gavin. So she chose a green balloon because that was his favorite color and she let it soar to the clouds. And we also do silly games with balloons as we get kitchen spatulas out and hit the balloons. We missed Gavin deeply and ached to be with him on his birthday. However most of the day felt like every other day, a day without our son, a day without a brother and best friend, a day longing to be together again. God is so faithful. He met us all day long with blessings from you friends; and with the deep love and grace that comes from His goodness. We will keep loving God and loving others.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Celebrate Indeed

Ran my first 5K in honor of my sweet boy. Over 526 names were listed on the Lost and Found website for a balloon purchase. You purchase a balloon for your loved one that has passed, join others at the balloon release and could run/walk the race in their honor. It was such a great but emotional day. I didn't want to be running in Gavin's name, because I wanted him with me. But as I looked around at so many others missing their loved ones too, I realized we are not alone on this journey. It broke my heart seeing so many families there, so many running to honor their loved one that had passed. My best friend April ran with me. She pushed me and encouraged me the whole time. I know we did my dad proud as we quoted Scripture verses to each other the entire time. Funny as he wanted us to quote on those Bible Bowl trips so many years ago, and we always fought him. And that training so long ago helped us this day. And even though talking at the same time as running a 5K was hard, we recited God's word to each other. Thank you dad for pushing us though we fought. Seeing my family and loved ones was so uplifting and I could feel the prayers from so many. Thank you deeply. Seeing my little girl and my husband holding encouraging signs up for us as we ran by did my heart good.
That was followed by a day in Mansfield with April and Lyndlee. April and I decided to treat ourselves to turning 30; so we went to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum. Lyndlee thought all morning we were going to see dinosaurs but ended up loving all of it. She is a girl after our own hearts.
Days away now from Gavin's birthday. These last few days we have been going to White Water in the afternoons. Today Lyndlee was playing in the kid section and this little dark haired, dark eyes, and dark skin boy kept circling the park. Melted my heart as I just pictured it as Gavin. Brennan took the kids once last year while I was in Cambodia. So I got to ask him what Gavin thought of everything. He said his favorite part was when food was brought over to him! I love my boy and could picture him chowing down his food. This 3rd birthday for Gavin will be different. We won't be planning a party of what he would enjoy or ask for. Maybe we will eat a cake. Maybe there will be balloons. I know there will be sadness. So thankful for the week being busy for our family, a blessing from God. We will still celebrate Gavin. We will celebrate his life that he lived on this earth. We will celebrate his life with Jesus now. We will celebrate Jesus making a way. We will celebrate Heaven, Love, and Grace. We will celebrate indeed.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

She does my heart good

I love how Lyndlee loves. She loves with her whole heart and teaches us every day how to love better. She enjoys making pictures and wanted to mail a picture to her friend baby Ruthie who is in the hospital. She got all dressed up to walk the letter to the mailbox. I love how she loves.
She also wrote me this letter yesterday.
She told me what is says: Dear Momma, I hope you love me through your heart. I like little ponies, my favorite is twilight sparkle. Gavin is in heaven. I will wait to see him. I love him, I love daddy. I can't wait to see Jesus. I love Him all through my heart. I love you all through my heart, all way down low. Love, Lyndlee. She does my heart good. I have been blessed with such sweet children who teach me every day and such a caring, loving husband. Thank you Lord.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Running the Race

I didn't enjoy running when I was in track in high school. My love for running started with my son. Gavin was a handsome, ornery, into everything, jumping and climbing on everything kind of boy. He spent more time tackling his sister, eating food and everyone's leftovers, and making strangers smile than he did sleeping. Sleep was boring to him. So nap time was a fight every single day. At a very young age he learned to climb out of his bed. I would put him down in bed for nap and he would jump out the minute I left the room. This would be followed by Lyndlee yelling to tattle on him. He got very smart and could hear my footsteps down the hall, so he would jump back into bed. By the time I got to the room, he was back in bed; pretending to be asleep with a huge grin on his face and twinkle in his eyes. This would be nonstop for hours. This is where my love for running started. Once he finally would fall asleep, I needed an outlet. I was frustrated and exhausted and would run on the treadmill. Sometimes I would cry because I would think why is he so naughty? What am I supposed to do? Sometimes I would laugh thinking of all the things he was doing. Sometimes I would text Brennan of all the naughty things his son was doing. Gavin had an outlet too. He would get frustrated at me making him nap, so he would tackle his monkey and get angry at it. We were too peas in a pod I tell you. After Gavin died, I stopped running. Satan really used that to make me feel guilty. He made me feel like I was a bad mother; that I was punishing him making him take a nap. But in March I started back running. Now when I run, I still have him on my mind. I long for the days I would be running because I was frustrated at him. But gone are those days. So now I run to spend time with the Lord. I run to think about my sweet boy at the throne of Jesus. I run to pray for my caring husband and precious daughter who are hurting so deeply. I run to run my race. My favorite verse lately as become Hebrews 12:1b Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us and let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. I may not fully understand this race now. I may not like it somedays. But this is my race Jesus has marked out for me and I will run it, focusing on Him. Next week my best friend and I will be running a race. This will be my first 5K and it will be in honor of Gavin. Its for lost loved ones and what an honor to be running in his sweet name, knowing fully he ran his race and he is done. He has completed his work and has received his full reward from Jesus.

9 Years

Brennan and I celebrated our 9 year anniversary. He is so sweet and thoughtful. He asked a friend at church if we could borrow this for the night. It was so much fun. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner together. I love that man and am blessed to be his wife.
Lyndlee got to do all this while we were "dating" is what she calls it! She is loved and loved so well.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


We traveled to Lawrence to see Eddie graduating from KU Law School. We were so honored to be there. Lyndlee was so excited to show support for her big brother. Eddie has been such a great friend, and part of our family. He always is visiting, making the kids feel so loved and special. He was in one of our first youth ministries we served at 6 years ago. Lyndlee has always had such a strong bond with Eddie and Gavin did as well. Lyndlee was beaming as Eddie walked across the stage. She said his name loud and waved at him proudly. I was cherishing the moment but sad at the same time that she wouldn't have this with Gavin. But I was thankful that Eddie and his family let us share in this moment. We are so proud of you Eddie. Come visit soon, your sister is waiting!
For Mother's Day Brennan and Lyndlee got me a new tattoo, I love them and they get me. Its my constant reminder that though the days are hard and overwhelming at times, that we have hope. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19
This week has been hard and overwhelming; full of more firsts. This being the first Mother's Day without my sweet boy in my arms. This morning I spent time praying, crying out and just being quiet. I was not going to let the grief take over, but I thought I would stay in the house and in bed for the day but a dear friend encouraged that we come for lunch. I am so glad she did. It was a great afternoon basking in God's goodness and His creation. As we were riding four wheelers on their beautiful property, I whispered to my husband that our precious boy was seeing so much more beauty than what our eyes can even imagine! That does my heart good to remember. When I am sad and missing him, I constantly ask God to give me strength, to show love and mercy, and let me remember His goodness, to hold on to the Hope we have as an anchor for our souls. Firm.and.Secure.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Things that make me Smile

Celebrating Lyndlee's life this week. What a joy she is.
Love this little cowgirl.
Lyndlee and her creativity.
Grateful for these two in my life.
Tea Party with my sweet family.
That I was chosen to be his mommy.
That He is coming back!