I'm tired. 
I'm sore.
I'm defeated.

I just need a night to whine to my husband, and know that you would listen, non-judging, and hold me after I'm all done, rub my shoulders, and tell me how much you love me. For all the writing I do here, I know so many people feel connected to me and I appreciate the outlet to let people know where I'm at, but it also means I never actually talk it out. I just keep talking to your pillow...

Maybe you could meet me in my dreams? I just really need you tonight.

I miss you.
I love you.


I wish I could figure out how the kids are processing you not being here anymore. It comes out in bits and pieces. Some are hilarious, like when they recall funny moments with you. The other day, Caleb suddenly remembered that they jokingly called you "Uncle Jer" to tease you - I could tell he was proud to recall that memory. Then Faith piped in and reminded him that they extended the title to "Uncle Jeremy Allen" when you tooted and didn't say excuse me. BTW, thanks for the fact that the kids memories of you usually involve flatulence. I know you're cracking up right now.

Some moments are tender and sweet. When I tucked Caleb in for nap today, I laid beside him and he said "I wanna talk about Daddy for a minute." Sometimes now I think he does it cause he knows I'll bite since I love talking about you and he'll get to stay up later. I asked him what he wanted to talk about, he said "Daddy and Uncle Brian in Heaven." He continues to have me explain how each of you died, something he regularly does, and then talks about what he misses. 

Some moments of their grief are gut-wretching. Faith talked about your beard today and how she misses it and asked me if she liked it when she was a baby. And she tells me that she's sad inside, but doesn't show it outside. That's hard for me cause I totally get it.

And saw this as my status on this day last year:

listening to one of my favorite sounds in the world: the kids wrestling with their daddy. =]

It has and will always be one of my favorite sounds. I don't have it on video much which really makes me sad, but it seems to replay clear in my head tonight. I miss that beautiful sound. There was nothing sweeter.

I love you, baby.
I miss you more than ever.



One step forward, two steps back. That's how this is gonna go, isn't it? I've been so up and down lately, but felt like I was ready to just stop feeling sorry for myself and do something about finding some joy. And yet somehow I find myself sobbing at the end of the bed so violently that I wake up Faith. She comes and rocks with me until I settle down, then goes right back to bed. It's supposed to be the other way around, I'm such a mess.

I just can't believe this. How did I get here? I stood in the middle of my house and looked around in disbelief that you'd never seen it. It wasn't ours. It feels so lonely. I walk up the stairs to see Faith and Caleb sleeping on Faith's trundle - because they sleep together every night now - and I can't believe you haven't seen them in almost 10 months. They've grown so much. I can't believe you're never tucking them in again. I walk down the hall and check on Carter and I absolutely cannot believe that you've never met him, held him, tickled him, or talked about how much you hate changes his diapers. How is that possible?! This is our family we made together and you're missing it. I. HATE. THIS.

We took a picture today at the Renaissance Festival cause mom wanted to get her kids and grandkids all together. I looked at the picture a least a dozen times to check because I thought I was counting wrong or to see something appear that wasn't there. You're not in it. My brother is not in it. It doesn't look right. All those children, no fathers. Ugh, I feel sick.

I don't know how to get past this. How can I get it into my head that you're dead? When will it really sink in? Tonight, it just doesn't seem possible.

I miss you baby, so much so that the memory of your arms around me can make my shoulders tingle. I'm still holding on for you, I can hear you telling me to.
I love you with all that I am.


a broken heart

Right now, I am loving the sidebar on Facebook that tells me what my statuses said last year. It helps me remember and hold on to those last beloved months I had with you. But the one I saw today sat right in my throat:

Faith: "Mommy, what's a broken heart?" Me: "Oh sweet baby....I hope you never have to find out what that is."
 ·  · August 27, 2009 at 2:03pm

I had forgotten that moment until I read it. Then it came rushing back to me and made me sick. I specifically remember stopping to take a moment after this little conversation to pray for Faith and her heart, asking God to protect our baby girl. What's maddening is the irony. I would let Faith endure multiple broken hearts if it meant her daddy could be beside her through it, telling her and showing her what to look for in a good man. Her heart has been broken in a way that can never be fixed, nor can the extensiveness of the damage ever truly be measured.

I wonder what kind of idea or picture Faith must have had in her head when she asked me what a broken heart was. Life soon shower her a completely different picture of what it is. She knows my heart is broken. She knows you died cause your heart was broken. And she gets it because she's living it. A friend mentioned to me today that you could see it in her eyes how much she's grown up in the last year. It's true, she's had to step up and be a lot of things for me and for our family, and it's sad but incredible at the same time. What a girl, you'd be so proud of her.

I just wish I could protect her from her broken heart. I wish I could put it back together for her. I wish I could know when seh'll realize fully that it's broken. If only she didn't have to find out so soon...

My heart is broken for her tonight.

I miss you babe. Meet Faith in her dreams tonight.
I love you always.


something more

There's gotta be more. Something more than worrying about how I'm going to survive the day. Something more than constantly feeling like I have no purpose, no meaning. There's gotta be more than wishing the day would just end.

Tonight, I decided I need to just stop feeling sorry for myself. I've been absolutely miserable lately emotionally and physically. I'm going to attempt to move forward, trying to clean some of the cobwebs out of my brain, and try to figure this out. I know I'm perfectly capable but I've just had no desire. I spend all my time being 'strong' and building this life of standing on my own two feet, but all I really want is for someone to come rescue me from it. I guess I'm just gonna have to rescue myself.

Stay close to be, baby. Guide me through this, I hate doing this alone. I am no good on my own. Help me figure out how to put one foot in front of the other. Sometimes I can hear your voice and I know what you'd say to help and encourage, but it's still not the same as you being here. I just need to do something - anything - to help dig me out of this hole.

I miss you, love. 
I love you forever and always.

-from "Blessing for Mothers" - the last gift I received from my brother before he died
DAY 21: Don't Give Up!
"Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary."  -GALATIONS 6:9

In other words, hand in there! Keep the faith! Don't give up! Finish the race! And it sure can't hurt to take a nap, either.



I don't know why the most random and ridiculous things set me off.

Today, I went to get an eye exam since I'm out of contacts. The eye doctor there is very old, well past retirement age. At first I pitied him. Then this little old man was carefully and very slowly cleaning the equipment while I looked around his office and saw pictures everywhere of him with his beautiful wife and kids. Suddenly, I envied him. I actually teared up out of nowhere vicariously living through this man who got to watch his children grow to adults and stand beside his wife through it. Why some and not others? Why you? Why me? I try to stay away from those why questions but sometimes they really sneak up on me.

One of the hardest things for me to do right now is look ahead. All those dreams of growing old with you are shattered and I can't see through all the debris left behind. We're never going to get to take a family picture when are children grow into adults. Hell, I'll never even have a full family photo since Carter and you never got the chance to be on the earth at the same time. The weight of that reality is seriously hard to swallow. 

I had to explain my story to a random banker today. I hate doing that, it's always so awkward, and I always get the strangest looks from people. But of course I do, I'm too young to be a widow. And today was mild since I didn't have the kids with me - when I'm toting 3 kids around, sometimes jaws drop. 

This whole charade is really getting old. I'd just like a day where my life doesn't feel like it's spinning out of control or falling apart. This ride is supposed to slow down soon, I hear. 

I miss you baby. All I ever wanted was to grow old with you. 
I love you always and forever.

-from "Blessing for Mothers" - the last gift I received from my brother before he died
DAY 20: Never Apart
"She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn't take them along." - MARGARET CULKIN BANNING

Once you are a mother, your children become such a part of you that you take them with you everywhere - even when they're really home with Dad feasting on caffeinated soda and dessert before dinner.

I wish.



Today, we spent the day celebrating Vicki. We were going to take her out for her birthday last month, but everything got postponed because of Brian's funeral. So we celebrated today with shopping, mani/pedis, a movie, surprise friends, and A LOT of food. But she deserved so much more for the incredible friend she has been and continues to be. Her loyalty is honorable, and I don't know what I'd do without her.

We took her to Gauchos for lunch - YES, I finally got to try it! You wanted to take me so bad and we never got around to it. I was excited and incredibly bummed at the same time. I even tried the fried bananas for you. I didn't like em, but at least I tried em. I know exactly why you loved that place. I wanted to pick up the phone and text you a million times about it, I could feel your excitement.

I actually had a really great time today. I am so thankful for my friendships that have bonded together, even if some of them did get stronger after you died. I wouldn't trade these women for anything. And it helps to know, they all miss you too.

I miss you babe. At the end of the day, even a really great one, I still just ache for you.
I love you with all that I am.

-from "Blessing for Mothers" - the last gift I received from my brother before he died
DAY 19: Hope
Hope transcends our current circumstances, elevating us above sibling rivalry, marital issue, financial strain, dirty dishes, and sleep deprivation by declaring, "This ain't all there is!" and "Something better is coming!" Jesus Christ, in whom the Christian's hope resides, certainly transcended His circumstances and gave us hope when He defeated death. Something better was definitely  coming!


where you are

I went back to your tree stand today for the first time since you died. 

It seemed like a good idea - we were passing right by it on our way out to Fenton to look at cars. Beautiful day, kids had never been. However, I didn't take into account that the last time I was there, foliage was dead and the bush wouldn't be so grown up. I spent 15 minutes pushing a stroller through a tiny trail past thorns and thousands of mosquitos - yes, I could hear you laughing at me. So once we got there, we did not stay and immediately turned back around to go home.

But it's still there, exactly like I remember. I was angry with all the mosquitos cause I still just really want to sit out there and be with you there for awhile. A dead tree fell onto the tree with your stand in it, but everything else in untouched. It's hard to drive up there and walk through there without those haunting images but it's oddly comforting to be there.

I realized that I haven't spent much time at your stand, memorial, or grave. All these places to honor you, but I don't visit them as often as I thought I would. Your grave is where I mourn you most but it's too far away to visit often. Your memorial at the college makes me so proud of the man that you were, and I love to bring the kids there cause it's our special place, but it's not private and I can't leave things for you there. Your stand is where I feel you most, your presence in the place you loved most - the outdoors. Maybe cause I picture where you walked, what you've touched, where you've stood, but I could lay there with you forever.

I miss you baby. I wish I could find a place to stay beside you forever.
I love you always.

-from "Blessing for Mothers" - the last gift I received from my brother before he died
DAY 18: Your children - His creation
Among the many acts of gratitude we owe to God, it may be accounted one to study and contemplate the perfections and beauties of His work of creation. Every new discover must necessarily raise in us a fresh sense of the greatness, wisdom, and power of God. 


one day

I don't know why, but I've had a tough day today. I've hurt for you more than usual. It's become a dull ache now most of the time, but not today. I'm not sure what brought it on. I had a productive morning tackling appointments, making phone calls, catching up with life since we've been traveling so much. Out of nowhere, I got the urge to look through old stuff, and came across this icard you sent. I've read it before and even posted it before, but today it crushed me and stopped me in my tracks.

"One day baby! I'm going to give you everything" The words were so thick in my throat, they just sat there. At first I was maddened by the fact that this statement will never be true and I was angry with God for not letting you keep your promise - because I know without a doubt you would have. Then I realized it might be true, because I know you are still trying to protect me and give me and the kids a good life. And it killed me to think about those dreams we had possibly coming true without you. I know you are trying to watch over me baby and I'm so sorry that I can't see past all this pain to appreciate the good. I'm trying, I really am. 

I finally cashed in on my massage gift certificate I've had for months today. But just when I was looking forward to relaxing and taking a breath, I laid there silently crying because images of the night you died kept replaying over and over. It's like when you try not to think about something and you end up thinking about it more. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get it out of my head. The sound of Sarah's voice crying to Jodie on the phone that you were dead. The helpless look on Jon's face as we sat in the ambulance trying to digest that this was all real. The screams and sobs of my mother. These sounds and images were haunting me today. I wish I knew why.

I've felt devastated and defeated without you today. I hate how much this still sucks.
I miss you so bad it hurts.
I love you always and forever.

-from "Blessing for Mothers" - the last gift I received from my brother before he died
DAY 17: Good Advice
"Do all the good you can, in all the way you can, to all the souls you can, in every place you can, at all the times you can, with all the zeal you can, as long as every you can." -JOHN WESLEY

What an extraordinary approach to life to teach our children - especially by example.


what matters most

I think I'm starting to realize what really matters.

I also think it's stupid, unfair, and absolutely heartbreaking that it takes such tragedies to make people realize what's really important. Don't get me wrong - you knew you were my number one. I always knew what was important, but now I KNOW.

When I think about the future it scares me half to death. I don't know what I want to do or where I want to go. All I know is I want to be surrounded by all the people I love. I see friends working their tails off to reach some monetary reward and I actually pity them now. I used to be one of them. I see statuses of people bragging about cool things they're doing at work, which is all well and good, but it's not what matters most. 

On a day-to-day basis, I plan most of my time trying to figure out who I can spend time with. Lucky for me, I have a lot of incredible people in my life. And every time I get to see them, my thought is "I wonder when we'll get to hang out with them again" I know this situation I've been brought to can be used for good, to see what other cannot see. I'm trying to hold onto in and not resent it. Right now, it's still difficult. But I see the amazing men and women in my life, or your parents and sisters, or my mom and dad and brother, or those three little blue-eyed beauties we made - and I know.

I know what matters most.

Help me hold onto it babe. I miss you so very much.
I love you always and forever.

-from "Blessing for Mothers" - the last gift I received from my brother before he died
DAY 16: For Now
I woke this morning
At three o'clock
To crying in my ears.
I calmed my child
Tucked her in
Then thought of all the years
Of diaper changes
Newborn cries
Feedings in the night
And told myself
Someday I'll sleep
But for now I'll hold her tight.


I love you the most-est

The "I love you" games have really come a long way since you left.

I smile every time I think about you and the kids arguing back and forth saying "I love you the most," "No I love you the mostest!" and "I love you the mostest-est-est-est!" and so on until someone gave up. Sweetest thing ever.

On the way to pick up Faith from camp today (she did a great job btw and had a blast), Caleb started on his usual "Mommy I love you" games.

"I love you the most buddy"
"I love you more than everything. More than the grass and the houses in the world."
"Oh yeah? Well I love you all the way to the clouds"
"No I love you more than a giant that's 100 tall."
"Wow, I love you to the planets"
"No, I love you more than all the stuff in the whole wide huge giant big world"
"Well I love you all the way to Heaven."
"Oh yeah, I love you all the way to Daddy."

He won.

We miss you baby. Thank you for giving me sweet kids who love me more than I deserve.
I love you always and forever.

-from "Blessing for Mothers" - the last gift I received from my brother before he died
DAY 15: Do the Impossible
"You must do the thing you think you cannot do." -ELEANOR ROOSEVELT

Today, maybe that "thing" was just to coerce your sleep-deprived body from your warm bed and plunk your exhausted feet on the floor.  Celebrate your accomplishment and, in God's strength, face your other impossibilities with faith and confidence.


I remember when Caleb made this and asked me to take a picture of his drawing of you to send to Heaven. Apparently, you have really long legs.

I had an interesting conversation with Caleb the other day, which is not an unusual occurrence. 

We were swimming in the pool together, and he suddenly got very quiet and sad. I said "What's up buddy, you look a little sad. Is everything ok?" He says "I miss my daddy. I thought he was gonna come to Aunt Karen's to swim."
"But Daddy's in Heaven bud, why did you think he'd come swimming with us?"
"I thought Daddy would stay alive until we came here."
"I wish that were true. He'd sure have fun with us, wouldn't he?"
"Yeah. I thought my daddy was the strongest in the whole wide world. One-hundred strong (he uses 100 as the biggest quantity he can understand)."
"Your daddy was very strong. I'm so sad he can't play with us today."

For some reason, this conversation made total sense to me. Caleb looked up to you the way any little boy looks up to his daddy. You were his hero, his role-model, the man he wanted to be when he grows up. No one is bigger or stronger than daddy. Surely a man of that magnificence can't die - Daddies are invincible. He is crushed that his hero isn't what he thought he was. I find myself realizing this on a daily basis because it's still so unbelievable to me that you're gone. And Caleb was realizing the same thing. 

My fear is that he is recognizing you aren't coming back and trying to find another hero. I'm doing my best to make sure that slot will always be yours. I'm thankful he has other role models, but I want him to always remember that you were a great man and that I hope he does grow up to be just like you. Just like I will do myself to make that real for Carter too. I tell him about you constantly, and try to show him pictures of you often. He loves to grab your ring on my necklace, and every time he does, I always tell him "da-da" to make sure he makes the connection. Maybe it's nothing, but it makes me feel like I'm doing something.

I miss you babe. I really thought you were invincible too. 
I love you with everything that I am.

-from "Blessing for Mothers" - the last gift I received from my brother before he died
DAY 14: Faith and Hope
"Pride is on of the seven deadly sins; but it cannot be the pride of a mother in her children, for that is compound of two carinal virtues--faith and hope. -CHARLES DICKENS
Faith-believing what you cannot see; and hope-an optimistic expectations...What would mothering be without them? Impossible.


too young/too old

This evening, I dropped Faith off for two days at Camp Hope. A camp for grieving kids who have lost a loved one, I think it will be a good experience for her to talk to other people. I see little pieces of her grief when it sneaks out, but she doesn't really let me in often because I think she's trying to protect me. I'm hoping this will be a time where she doesn't have to worry about me and she can just express her heart and how she's really feeling. There's only one problem:

She's 5 years old.

5 years old. Too young to have lost a father, a key figure in her life. Too young to attend a camp for grieving kids. Too young to have to learn how to live life that doesn't look like everyone else's. Far too young. 

And yet, when I dropped her off today, she seemed too old. She's never done anything like this, gone away with strange people with literally no one she knows for two whole nights without me. I was anxious all day. You know how shy she can be when she doesn't know people. But not this time. She's been talking about it all week and has been excited to go. Every time I tried to tell her "Don't forget this" or "I packed this for you and I'm gonna put it here" or "Remember to do this" I can feel her rolling her eyes as she says "I know Mom!" When did she get so old?!? When did she grow so mature? 

I cried when I dropped her off today. Both because she is too young and because she is too old. This little sappy Momma heart really needed you today. I needed your hand, your shoulder, your advice, your voice to calm me. I needed you to help me raise this beautiful little girl.

I miss you baby. Watch over our little girl this weekend. Let her feel your presence and your love.
I love you always and forever.

-from "Blessing for Mothers" - the last gift I received from my brother before he died
DAY 13: Truth
"It is one thing to show a man that he is in error, and another to put him in possession of truth." -JOHN LOCKE
It is easy to point out our children's errors. But if we also point them to God's truth, we equip them to make wiser choices in the future. And directing them to His love will help them want to.


heartbreaking treasure

While I was going through pictures for Faith to take to Camp Hope this weekend, I suddenly felt the need to watch every. single. video sitting in our iphotos library. Many I had not seen. Like this one:

Oh, my heart. 

I don't even have words for it. I've watched a million times in 48 hours, and still can't decide whether to smile or sob. My favorite part is the very last split second, the sweet smile you give to Faith and I feel your contentment and your appreciation for the sweetest of that moment. Love watching you being a daddy, can't believe it will only be through a few videos from now on. A heartbreaking treasure.

I miss you love.
I love you more than anything.

-from "Blessing for Mothers" - the last gift I received from my brother before he died
DAY 12: A Happy Home
Happy the home when God is there,
And love fills every breast;
When one their wish, and one their prayer,
And one their heavenly rest.
Happy the home where Jesus' name
Is sweet to every ear;
Where children early speak His fame, 
And parents hold Him dear.

this day last year

I love this picture Sarah took of Caleb. I CANNOT believe how old he looks in this picture and it makes me a little sad when I think about how much bigger he is since the last time you saw him. But I love this picture because it looks SO much like you, it gives me chills. I know he looks like you but I just always saw Caleb. Not in this picture. I see you. Especially when I look at pictures of you as a kid:

Crazy. But I see you in his face now, not just when you were a kid. I see you looking out from his eyes. It's terribly heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.

I was reading on my Facebook that on this day last year, we went on a date together and went Christmas shopping for the kids. I'm so so glad we decided to do that babe, you have no idea. I'm glad the kids have those gifts from you to treasure forever. I just watched the videos of them opening everything last night, and it broke my heart.

Just another day, missing you. Another day I am still stuck here.
I love you with all of me.

-from "Blessing for Mothers" - the last gift I received from my brother before he died
DAY 11: Matched Set
Have a mirror handy? Take a look and you will see the mother God chose for your child. Now have your child look in the mirror and tell her that she is seeing the image of the child God chose especially for you. It's a match made in heaven!


questions without answers

Anytime I go out of town or keep busy for a certain amount of time or am doing something emotionally revolving around you, the day I come back home is always so difficult. I think it's because I don't want to come back to real life. I don't want to come back to an empty house or a day-to-day that feels meaningless. When I'm out traveling or visiting family or friends, I feel like I have purpose. Even if I'm there because of you, it distracts me or it pulls me closer to you and oddly comforts me. 

I'm arriving at a dark place. I feel like all I want to do is make you proud but I'm failing miserably at it. I'm gaining weight because I just don't care and I go too long without thinking to eat, then eat like crazy. I have no affirmation at home, no one to be proud of the work I'm doing, no one to motivate me. I find myself snapping at the kids sometimes when my responsibilities get to be too much. I hate this. I want to get out - I want to break this cycle. I know I need to do it for myself but there was something about making you proud, watching your face that could make anything worth it.

My dark place has holes of light. I need to poke some more holes. I want to be happy again, I want to feel alive and be in a place of contentment, but I don't want to let go of my grief. Grief is where you are, and letting it go scares me and makes me feel like I'd be letting you go too. It would make me feel like I didn't love you enough, and Lord knows that's not the case. How can I can really find that happiness when I'm still in love with a dead guy?

Tonight, I feel full of questions without answers. Wish I knew where to go from here.

I miss you baby.
I love you forever and always.

-from "Blessing for Mothers" - the last gift I received from my brother before he died

DAY 10: Troublemakers
"My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it." -MARK TWAIN

Unless their halos glow more brightly than most, your children probably cause you a bit of trouble now and then. But whether they are difficult or delightful, appreciate them for who they are.

Sarah Beth Photography

I can't really describe the bittersweetness of leaving Youth in Action this weekend. It was one of our last big trips last year before you died, and I wanted to hold on to it forever.

I felt you there this weekend. I always say this, but the DeeperStill guys (or as Faith likes to call them now, "The DeeperStills") keep you alive for me. Or at least they keep you close. So often I find myself feeling you drifting away to becoming a distant memory, even a muddled picture I feel like I made up sometimes, like maybe you weren't real and I made it all up in my head. But their stories and their genuine love for you and our family pulls you close to me every time. We miss the fire and spark you brought to weekends like this.

It was a great weekend. It was a hard weekend. It was a sad weekend. It was a healing weekend. I miss you so much sometimes it makes me sick. But I love honoring you like we did this weekend, and carrying on the things that you loved.

On a completely separate note, Sarah took pictures for me last week. It started as Carter's 6 month shots, and ended up with family photos. There is a hole where you should be, but Sarah has a natural gift and talent, and the pictures turned out wonderful. I hope she doesn't mind me sharing these since I don't have the copies yet but I wanted to keep the watermarks on there for her credit. Love love love that girl, I don't know what I would do without her. And I'm so thankful she's captured moments for our family that I would otherwise never have record of. I know you would love these photos, especially the ones of your beautiful children.

I miss you, love.
I love you with all my heart.

-from "Blessing for Mothers" - the last gift I received from my brother before he died

DAY 9: It Take Courage
"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." -WINSTON CHURCHILL
Sometime we mothers have to speak our minds, but perhaps more often, we just need to listen to our kids. It does take courage, but joy and understanding come in hearing their hearts.



I'm at a loss tonight.

I just miss you. It's weird to say it every night and feel it stronger each time I write it. Such simple words that couldn't possibly convey the yearning in my heart for you. I am still stunned that I'll never feel you hug me or see your sexy smile ever again.

Dan mentioned something about my taking so many pictures this weekend. It's ironic cause I haven't turned on our new camera since you died and I took over your iphone. It takes great pictures and it's with me wherever I go. But for awhile I couldn't take pictures, didn't want to. Sarah took all my pictures for me, and I'm so thankful. But what I realized after frequenting funerals lately is how precious pictures can be. I treasure the very few pictures I have with my brother and wish I had taken more. I thought you and I had taken lots of pictures together, but I find myself constantly searching for more. So I've decide to take more pictures with the people I love, even if I have to force a smile. 

It's been a great weekend, considering. I know why this was one of your absolute favorite events to be a part of - they treat us so well and are so kind and loving. 

I found another little gift from my brother today. It was a post he put on his facebook in January encouraging his friends to click on Pennies on a Platter for us. What really struck a chord was the sweet sentiments he wrote about me, and especially about us:

"penniesonaplatter.com EVERYONE READING THIS: Please visit this website as often as possible during the month of January. Everytime you visit the site, money is donated to the website, and for the entire month of January, 100% of the proceeds are going to my beautiful pregnant sister Veronica, and her two kids Faith and Caleb, and baby Carter on the way! They lost a loving husband and father unexpectedly back in November. My sister is the greatest, most loving, religous, and good hearted person i know, and her marriage was a one of a kind loving one you never see anymore! Please help the cause, thank you everyone for your prayers and help! God Bless!!!

I love that kid. And it's good to know that our marriage and love for each other wasn't just something I made up in my head and put on a pedestal - he bore witness to it. And I've been hanging onto every word of that today, they're a beautiful symphony to me today in the midst of my chaos and confusion.

I miss him. I miss you, too, without ways to express the depth of it.
I love you always and forever.

-from "Blessing for Mothers" - the last gift I received from my brother before he died

DAY 8: Everlasting Forgiveness
"God pardons like a mother, who kisses the offense into everlasting forgiveness. -HENRY WARD BEECHER

Be reminded today that in the same way you are able to forgive your child forever and completely because you love him, your loving God forgives you as well. Forever and completely.


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