Friday, January 9, 2009

A Place Called Home

What I used to call home
Being back here in Florida for a couple of weeks has in many ways been an incredible time of having my eyes opened to many things that I just didn't notice our perhaps couldn't notice when I lived here every day. I have seen myself and how God has used our move to Colorado in such a new light and have been humbled by how much God desired to heal so mAlign Centeruch in me that He orchestrated such a drastic change in my life to accomplish so much in this crusty ol' heart of mine. As I have engaged the true emotions of my heart and spent time traveling through the streets of this place I call home I have had the past flood my mind and heart. Memories fill my mind as I travel down a certain road or have coffee in my favorite coffee shop or I reminisce with friends. Many of these memories are moments in time from my past that are precious and stir such happy emotions while some are deeply painful. It is those deeply painful ones that have caused me to ponder my growth and healing over the past 4 1/2 months. The "lightbulb" moment of just how far God has brought me overwhelmed me the other day as I was taking the beautiful scenic drive along the river where we live. It is a drive that I have taken hundreds of times and one that leads me past a house that I love. It is a house that Mike and I designed and built just after we were married. A house that I had poured all of myself into and the physical place where some of the most precious memories of my life were made. It also is a place where I lost one of the most treasured gifts I will ever know, my son Connor. As you can imagine the emotions which are tied to this home are deep. When we built this house I envisioned Mike and I raising our kids there, growing old there and ultimately being there until I went to be with the Lord in my Heavenly home but as life would direct us along a different path we sold our beloved home in exchange for a condo which was more handicap accessible for our son Connor. It was during the time that we were awaiting the completion of our condo that my Connor made his way to Heaven. The house was already sold and we were renting from the new owners until the condo was completed. The day that we left this house rich with memories was horribly difficult. My sweet sister held me as I wept on that day wishing some how I could go back in time to a place when all was grand and the house was filled with the joyful life from our family but the truth on that day was that it was time to say goodbye and on that day I said goodbye, physically but not emotionally. For many years I would take this drive by "my house" and drive slowly grumbling at the new paint color on the front door or the removal of the playyard my dad built for the kids or the lack of care of the fruit trees that were so precious to my husband. I would be filled with a longing to walk up to the front door and beg for the new owners to give me my house back. I know it sounds so crazy but my heart was truly so tied to this home and I have come to realize that the hold that this physical place had on me was in fact a barrier to my healing and being able to hold onto the past and treasure it while letting it go at the same time.

And so I am driving this road once again the other day and as I approach this house I notice a few things that are different. I slow down and gaze upon the steps where I sat and watched Cody play on those warm Florida afternoons or the window of the room where my Connor slept and the garage that I drove in and out of hundreds of times with a car full of precious cargo and I realized I no longer had a longing to be in this house. It didn't bother me that there were changes and for the first time in 4 years it no longer felt like my home, I truly knew in my heart that it belonged to someone else. And so I thought why after all this time do I feel so different? Well, when God moved in our hearts and gave us a vision to move to CO, HE had a plan. And a part of HIS wonderful plan was to give me another place to call "home". Last year when God bestowed upon us the gift of our house in Colorado I could have never imagined that He was giving me more than a house. In an instant as I drove away from my former house I was flooded with some beautiful memories of my baby boy who I know is enjoying his face to face time with the God who made him. In a fast forward fashion I recalled things that I hadn't thought of in a long time and not once did a thought of the day he died invade my happy thoughts and almost as quickly as those thoughts rushed me the projection of thinking of the memories which are awaiting us at our home in Colorado....snowed in days with soup and hot cocoa, movie parties in the theater, sleepovers with a house full of giggling girls, lively basketball games in the driveway, a house full of teenagers, first dates, neighborhood parties, home group meetings and long dinners with dear friends. To say the least in the short 5 minute drive back to our condo I was overwhelmed, in a good way. And so, I said my final goodbyes to a place and a time of life that I loved. I hold in my heart all that is necessary to preserve my memories and no longer feel paralyzed to move forward and call my new house "home".

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Christmas Moments

Christmas was a flurry of non-stop activity for us. We literally hit the ground running upon our arrival in Florida and haven't really had a chance to stop. I have to admit that I am quite anxious to have some days of no activities or events. I desperately need to clean and organize our condo not to mention try to dig us out of the sea of laundry which has consumed us. Despite the aftermath we had wonderful celebrations of Christmas and enjoyed sharing the time with our families.
As I mentioned in an early post, we treated the girls to their first performance of The Nutcracker Ballet...not sure if I will ever get them to another one though. I sure did enjoy it.
We spent Christmas Eve at my brother and sister in laws' home and enjoyed more food than we could ever eat and the girls added some Hannah Montana paraphernalia to their collection.
Christmas day was extremely mellow in that we didn't leave our condo and stayed in our jammies most of the day. I prepared Christmas brunch for Mike's mom and dad and we enjoyed a simple meal of potato soup, salad and bread with my mom and dad. It was really nice to just have a quite day. The day ended with a birthday cake for Jesus...(my best friend Lissa's, Mee-mee's Red Velvet).
The day after Christmas was spent celebrating with my family at my sister's house. We had decided to celebrate the day after Christmas because my grandparents and aunt drove down from GA on Christmas Day and we wanted to wait for them. Of course we had tons of good ol' traditional foods and the kids (and adults) had a blast rocking out to my nephew's Guitar Hero. I see one of those in our future. Mike and I got to snuggle with my sister's precious baby girl Bella and of course there was an abundance of gift opening.
Mike and I enjoyed an afternoon and evening by ourselves while the kids had some time with my parents and grandparents. We shared in the wedding of our good friends daughter. What a beautiful celebration it was as we had the privilege of seeing such a wonderful work of the Lord through the life of a mom and dad and their only daughter. The love of two parents for their baby girl as they rejoiced over her marriage was incredibly wonderful to witness. And I danced with my husband for the first time in YEARS. That treat was more precious than anything.
We had the pleasure of spending New Year's Eve with my sister and brother in law which was such a treat in that we had not had much alone time with them since arriving in Florida.
So that is about it. It is hard to believe that 2008 has come and gone and that we are now embarking on a new year. I have thought alot about my goals for the new year and have a long list of things that I hope to accomplish in the upcoming 365 days and am looking forward to what lies ahead for us as a family. God blessed us beyond our imaginations during the past year and more than anything I pray that as I begin this new year that I will always honor Him in everything that I do and say. I have thought and prayed for my sweet friends who are awaiting the blessing of a child whether it be through pregnancy or adoption. I can't wait to experience what I know will be a year of joy as God brings about the gift of precious children to beautiful families. Blessings to each of you in the new year and to all of my "blogging friends" I look forward with much excitement in sharing this year with your families as well.
Christmas Celebration at my Sisters Cousins
My sister and her baby girl.

My nana, aunt and sister relaxing after lunch.

Nana and my aunt chat.

Grandaddy supervises Emily on the Guitar Hero drum set.

The Boys.My nephew...isn't he adorable. Such a great photo subject...a boy of many faces.
Me and my precious neice...Miss Bella. She is so very snuggly.
Mike and Bella. I love this one.

Not much eating taking place at this table.

My beautiful girl.

Emily and Garrett enjoy yummy Christmas food.
Emily plays the drums....glad the drums stay at my sisters.

Cody plays a little Bon Jovi on Guitar Hero.

Camden adds some drums.

Now Mike gets in on the vocals.
Christmas Eve at my brother and sister in laws' home
Grace and some Hannah Montana goods.

This one is actually at my sisters...Emily and her serious face.
Come join us at "Chef Emilys"
Mike and Emily and some Hannah Montana stuff
Happy girl.

Cody and my nephew, Tony
Grace and Emily and their cousin, Allyson
Daniella and Christoper's Wedding
Mike snapped this one at the reception of a wedding we attended of a good friend. Daniella was a gorgeous bride.

Waiting for the Nutcracker to begin....see the excitement in Emily's face.
My girls before the Nutcracker in the lobby of our condominum building.

Me and my girls.
Skiing at Copper Mountain
I took this one of Mike during our ski trip to Copper Mtn. just before we left for Florida. The photo doesn't even capture the breathtaking beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Can't wait to head to the mountains again.