Saturday, June 25, 2011

Songs about the Rain

I'd never noticed before just how many songs there are that either mention rain or are about the rain. Just to start the list, there are three in the playlist at the bottom of the page:

Mercy Me- Bring the Rain
Casting Crowns- Praise You in the Storm
Healing Rain - Michael W. Smith

What songs come to your mind with the rain theme?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Contest Results are in!

Congratulations, "Birthday Buddy!"

Contact me for your copy of Todd Burpo's
"Heaven is for Real"

Thanks everyone for your input, I'll do this again sometime!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Caption Contest Entries - Vote now!

Check out the entries below, then select your favorite by submitting it at the top of the page. The winner of the book will be announced Friday afternoon!

*****If the poll is not working, feel free to leave your vote in the comments :) I'll still count it!****

1. Aunt Amy said...
Paxton says... "Being this perfect wears me out!"

2. April said...
Cuz april said....paxton says..."mom you really woke me up for this?"

3. Lara said...
Paxton says..."I love you too.....but can I pleeeeeease go back to sleep now?"

4. Meggie said...
Yes, yes mom & dad I know I'm cute but can I please just go back to sleep.

5. Crystal said...
Just a little bit longer and I will be able to go play with the kids and I can't wait. But right now I need a little more sleep.

6. Papaw Jim said...
Can you Believe IT... 2 Ounces and I believe I could hold one more.. Maybe?

7. Ruthie said...
Paxton says..I know I am handsome
but can you please turn out the lights????????

8. Tamara Sparks said...
Ooh, this burping is hard work for a small fellow.

9. rebma81 said...
Just 5 more minutes, Mom!

10. Pam said...
If I hear,"isn't he precious, or just look at those little toes one more time I think I'm going to spew!"

11. Holly said...
Mom, how many times do I have to tell you? I am NOT a morning person.

12. Tante Erin said...
Mom, I'm telling you. There are no more burps in this little body!! Oii, I'm exhausted.

13. Aunt Beth said...

14. Ritha said... Papaw finished preachin' yet ? ! ? !

15. Birthday Buddy said...
If I hear, "Just one more picture sweetie." one more time!! Just put the camera down, and no one gets hurt!

16. Mamaw Pam said...
"This eating stuff is ok, but I want to get home and get to the spoiling by Grandma!"

Monday, June 20, 2011


As I mentioned in last night's blog entry (Rainbows and Rainy Days), 
it's time for a caption contest. 

So, I chose a favorite photo of Paxton from his time in the NICU.
It's begging for a caption!
(keep in mind, he's my sweet, innocent baby boy)

Here's the deal: 
If I have at least 10 caption entries (from 10 different people) by 1:00 on Wednesday (48 hours from now), I will then post a poll with the entries and allow voting. The caption with the most votes will receive a copy of Todd Burpo's book, "Heaven Is For Real"

Happy Captioning!!
(Though I'm sure it won't be an issue, any caption that may be considered as disrespectful will be promptly removed)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rainbows and Rainy Days

A couple of nights ago, I was having one of those evenings when it all still seemed so fresh and raw. I expect those times to come…. And they do. I was missing Carys horribly and had been doing my fair share of crying. I was trying to pull myself together and saw a text from a dear friend. The text read, “I think Carys is about to rain on us!” (Thanks Leslie!)

Perfect timing. I smiled.

It helped some to think about the rain (since the rain now makes me feel closer to my baby girl), but of course it didn’t take away the sting. Then, I signed into facebook. I saw a status message about a huge rainbow in the area that I apparently had missed. I smiled a little more. Then, I noticed at least three people posted pictures of the same rainbow. Full rainbow, end to end, and very bright. It helped.

Every time it rains, I think of my daughter more than usual. It would seem other people do too, and that makes me really smile. It gives me comfort. After church tonight, I just missed another rainbow… but I was able to enjoy it thanks to another friend, who texted a picture of it to me (thanks Rhea!). 

Rainbows are not only beautiful, they’re also very symbolic… and intentionally so.

Genesis 9:12-16
12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

All life will never again be destroyed by the floods. He promised. Rainbows serve as a reminder of God’s promises to us… and He has also promised to prepare a place for me where I can once again hold my daughter in my arms!!

John 14:1-4
New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Comforts His Disciples
1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”

So, I know that Carys doesn’t make it rain (but I like to think that sometimes she may pray for it as a reminder to us), but the rain is a reminder of her. When I see rainbows, I think of beauty after the Rainn… I think of God’s promises… and I think of the splendor of Heaven.

Ezekiel 1:28
New International Version (NIV)
28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.
This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day.... THAT is how Ezekiel described the radiance surrounding the Lord. Oh, how I love dwelling on that though. Some day, I will be in the presence of that radiance. Some day, I'll join my sweet baby girl and other loved ones in that glorious place.

Praise God, Heaven is For Real... and closer than we even realize.

Wishing you peace, joy, and Rainnbows :) 

***Be watching (and Follow My Blog if you're not already!) because soon, there will be a contest, and I'm planning to give away a copy of Todd Burpo's book, Heaven is For Real.***

Monday, June 13, 2011


A couple of weeks ago, I caught part of a documentary called, “The Evidence for Heaven.” One of the people being interviewed said that usually, if someone has a near death experience and sees Heaven, they no longer fear death. I believe that. I’ve said it here before that I feel like we got a glimpse of Heaven the day our babies were born. Thought it wasn’t a visual glimpse, it was a spiritual one. My perspective on death has certainly changed. I don’t really fear it now. Heaven still seems closer. It’s almost like I can see it through the rain.

With that in mind, I’ve thought a lot lately about perspectives in general, and how life events can change them so drastically. Our daughter lived seven hours and 13 minutes… and for her, that was a long time (how could 7 hours and 13 minutes of life seem long??). Life seems so much more fragile. I connect with so many songs and scripture passages on a deeper level. The old Hymns about Heaven speak more closely to my heart. I think of death as painful to those left behind, but very much joyful for one who has entered into a Heavenly home. I feel more focused on what matters. Many petty things that seemed important before have lost their thrill. This world is so temporary, and it’s important to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have a relationship that is right with God.

Those who do not know God on a personal level need to hear this clearly: God loves you. He allows you to make your own decisions, and you have the choice whether or not to love Him in return, but He created you because He loves you and has a plan for you. He wants you to love Him (put Him first and put self aside). He wants a relationship with you. Individually you. He wants you to be prepared so when the time comes to leave this world, you can join Him in the place He created for you.

We’re all individuals, and by nature, self-absorbed to a degree (some more than others, but everyone has a self-centered nature). We can’t help it, we only know about the world through our own eyes and mind. We can’t read one another’s thoughts or feel one another’s feelings. We weren’t designed that way- that’s the gift of being individuals. However, we can make an effort to understand where someone else is coming from.

Have you ever embarrassed yourself or gotten into a predicament because you based your reaction to a situation on your own, limited perspective or misunderstanding? I’m sure we probably all have. I’m sure we’ve all probably also been hurt by others who make comments or take action without knowing or understanding the full story. We see it all the time. People say uninformed things that, if they knew the whole story, I’d like to think they’d never dream of saying. When people ask if Paxton is our first child, it’s hurtful. It seems like we’re leaving Carys out if we just say yes and nothing more. Of course… people who ask that have no way of knowing our story or that such a simple, well-intentioned question could be hurtful. They’re not expected to know.

Even so, there’s a big difference in being self-centered by nature and self-centered by choice. I think that’s part of the gift of free will that God gave us. We have the choice to be selfish (sinful) and concern ourselves only with our own wants and needs, or to put others first and try to understand the world from a broader perspective. Scripture says that God is Love (1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. – NIV), and that love is not self-seeking (go read 1 Corinthians 13). If we want to be sure our relationship with God is healthy, we have to change our perspective outward rather than in toward self.

We tend to worry about so many insignificant things in this world that, in the grand scheme of things, don’t really matter. What really matters is where we stand in our relationship with God. Are you loving God, or are you loving self? Only one way will get you to your Heavenly home. I don’t know about you, but I want to see my Heavenly Father and my loved ones who have gone on. I want to once again hold my daughter.

I am still amazed at what a huge impact has been made by a sweet little 3 lb baby girl. She’s changed my perspective on many things… and I believe that’s why God blessed me with the privilege of being her mommy.

2 Corinthians 5

New International Version (NIV)

2 Corinthians 5

Awaiting the New Body
 1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
 6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
The Ministry of Reconciliation
 11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
 16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
  1. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Or Christ, that person is a new creation.
  2. 2 Corinthians 5:21 Or be a sin offering

Friday, June 3, 2011

"There should be two."

I've found that I don't sit in the nursery very often. I love the rocker/glider in there, but it seems like every time I sit in it, I look around the room and think about the nursery we'd planned- the one with two cribs. It's easy to start thinking things like, "There should be two cribs,"  "There should be little girl things in here," or "I should be rocking them both." I have to admit, those thoughts hurt. But, it seems that as quickly as they come, I hear God speaking to my heart to say, "I had other plans for her... she IS where she should be."

It seems like we always have an idea in our minds about what things should look like. We base it on what others tell us, on past experience, or on what we see (in media or life in general). When we found out we were having twins, we naturally started imagining what we thought it was going to be like. Though the thought was a bit overwhelming, we were excited. I was excited. Others made comments about how we'd have our hands full... like it was a bad thing... but I welcomed the challenge. I was looking forward to it. When we learned of Carys' diagnosis, all of that changed. Comments (by the unknowing) about us having our hands full with twins became heartbreaking. It wasn't how it was "supposed" to be. We should have had our hands full; because that's what we'd pictured. We thought that was the plan. In reality, Carys had a much different purpose here.

I think it all goes back to our human desire for things to be predictable and stable. Even those of us who love spontaneity expect things to work out as we plan (even if the plans are last minute). It can be difficult to process and accept when it doesn't happen the way we've pictured. I've written before about the natural tendency we all have to desire control over something. It seems like even our desire for control is a desire to know that something we do will have a predictable outcome. It makes us feel safe. This world can feel very un-safe sometimes, and not knowing what is going to happen can be scary. After all, isn't fear just anxiety about the unknown?

Situations we can control (that work out as we plan and picture them) help us feel more secure, but if we had control over every situation, how would that work out in reality? We have such a limited view of the world, and of life in general. We see things from a very small perspective in the grand scheme of things. I think I've shared the analogy before that a philosophy professor of mine shared in an undergrad class, but just in case I haven't, here it is: To think about time on earth, as we know it, picture yourself standing beside a street to watch a parade. You wait for the parade to begin, then watch each float, one by one, as it passes in front of you. Now, to think of God's point of view, imagine being at the top of a tall building to watch the parade. From that perspective, the parade is visible from beginning to end, without waiting. That's "time" outside of this world. That's how God sees it. He knows what's at the end of the parade when we are still watching the first float. If we were to have control over every situation, while only seeing one float at a time, we may not be prepared for what comes next. This is where faith comes in.

Hebrews 11:1
New International Version (NIV)
Faith in Action
1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

It's always tempting to allow ourselves to dwell on what we think "should" be. Other people "should" be nicer.     Our cars "should" run properly. The order "should" be filled as requested. It "should" be easier than this. Who says things "should" go like we want them to all the time? Some of our shoulds would be nice to have, but there's no law that says it has to be that way. We may be more comfortable if every situation went our way... for a while. However, if we want to have whatever God has planned for us in this life, we have to be able to accept the good with the bad. If we want God to bless us, we have to let go of our desire for control and let Him call the shots... after all, He sees the end of the parade when we don't.

James 1:2-4
New International Version (NIV)
Trials and Temptations 
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

If things had gone how I'd imagined them, I'd be rocking both of my babies to sleep. There would be two cribs, two bouncy seats, two car seats; two of everything. We'd have our hands full but I would be snuggling with both of my children (and Kleenex sales wouldn't have had such a sharp rise over the past few months!). As much as I miss Carys and wish that was the plan, it wasn't. It's hard. I'm at peace with what has happened, but it doesn't make me not miss my baby girl. Even when I miss her the most, though, I have faith that God is working. I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it for the rest of my life, but Carys was intentionally created just the way she was. She was so perfect... and her purpose here has only just begun. Carys was created exactly how Carys should be... and I'm going to continue to trust that God loves us and knows exactly what He's doing.