Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Out of the shadows

Well the time has come to say farewell. I love blogging. I love writing from the heart and bringing glory to God in the process. I am so grateful for the healing that I has taken place on these very pages. But it is time. My friend, Kristen, said it best at lunch today, there comes a point where you are just living life and there is not much to blog about and that is where we are. After much prayer about what 2014 goals should be it has become apparent that is time to step out of the shadows of cancer and grief and just start living. I wish I could blog and do that but unfortunately for me it is like trying to drive a car while looking in the rear-view mirror. It is time to look forward and drive on. There will be times this year that we remember who Craig was and create ways to keep his memory alive. But for the most part is time to concentrate on the present and growing each day. It is time for intentional steps forward. There may be a post or two with picture updates but for the most part this is the end.

Craig's 36th birthday would have been last Friday. I am ready to not dwell on what would have been but to celebrate who he was. We celebrated with DQ Health blizzards, b/c that was his favorite. I want the girls to know everything I can teach them about who Craig was but it has come to a time in this journey that we can't dwell on what "should" have been but celebrate who he was and keep moving forward.

2014 will be about "no excuses." It is time to start living rather than just reacting to our circumstances. My girls deserve a mom that is present. Please don't stop praying for me and girls just b/c I don't maintain the blog. We need your daily prayers still and always will.

Isaiah 43:18-19 Forget about what's happened. Don't keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand new. It is bursting out, don't you see it.

Craig, if there are blogs in heaven, I love you, I miss you and I will see you again. Love you.

Matthew West - Into The Light


Monday, December 23, 2013

for KING & COUNTRY - Baby Boy



I love this song for the Christmas season. I went to a grief workshop for the surviving the holidays back in November. The main thing that I took away from it was the Jesus came to end our suffering. God put Him on this earth to teach us how to live in Peace and Joy and SAVE us from this world with so much suffering. Although He didn't take away, cancer, divorce, all the heartaches of this world but He did much more by giving us Hope for the future. Some people have said that the second year without someone during the holidays is harder b/c you expect it to be better than the first. I am bracing myself for that but at the same time, reminding myself of the reason for the season. I still have a lot to celebrate this year. We have a lot to hope for in the future b/c He came to end our suffering. He ended Craig's suffering and he lives in paradise. When we talk about heaven at church I get very jealous. I am so jealous that Craig is already enjoying Christmas in heaven and I have to wait to see it. There are times when I see it the other way too. Hannah was talking about what she wanted for Christmas and he will never get to be apart of those conversations. She wasn't even talking when he was alive. So there are two ways to look at it. Either way we are both so blessed. I am blessed to be able to be here with the girls, be hopeful for the future and yearn for heaven. He already gets to live in the presence of the Lord and his suffering has ended. That is why Jesus came so that we could have an abundant life of enjoying the earthly blessing that we have today and to yearn for the ultimate blessing of living in heaven. That is something to celebrate!!

The Christmas season has not been bad this year. I think I have been too busy to think about it. October was rough and I think maybe I got a lot of it out of my system then. I am content with the life that I have and hopeful for the future. I give all the glory to God for that. Without Him we would be lost.

Isaiah 9:6 A child is born to us! A son is given to us! And he will be our ruler. He will be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

This year He has done hours and hours of counseling to heal this single mom, He has always remained strong, determined, patient and loving. He has brought Peace beyond understanding to our home. That is something to celebrate. We could dwell on Craig not being with us or we can focus on what the true meaning of the season is. For King and Country came to SE last weekend. They were so good. It was amazing to get to hear this song live since it rings so true this year. The first two lines of the song above ring true for this home. He is our cure.

Craig, If there are blogs in heaven, enjoy Christmas. You are missed, loved and we look forward to the day that we get to celebrate together again. Until then we will enjoy the blessings He provides. Love you. Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Emily's 8th Birthday

Emily turned 8 last Friday. I cannot believe that it has been 8 years since we lived in the little house in Willow Creek. She was a great baby and has always been a great sister. This year her birthday really wasn't as hard as Hannah's was this summer. Maybe it is just b/c Hannah's birthday is so close to Father's Day it is hard to catch my breath in between the two. We have been so busy around here. We went to Chicago for Thanksgiving I feel like we are have been going non-stop since we got back. They may another reason why Emily's birthday is easy as far as doing it without Craig. I am just too busy to even think about it.

She had three friends over for a sleepover which was so fun until 2:00 in the morning when Morgan unveiled the stomach bug. We had to cut the party short in the morning when everyone woke up. So we missed out on the pancake breakfast. But Friday night we played games at Incredible Dave's, went to dinner, decorated gingerbread houses, watched a movie and did mani's and pedi's with green and red nail polish. Great girl time.
Dinner with the girls

Watching a movie and getting ready to do pedis and manis

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Tis the season


Hannah's performance at VG

Walking off stage

Sisters after the performance


Hannah at Donuts with Santa

Really thinking about what she wants from Santa. (probably my favorite Christmas picture EVER)

Hannah and Santa

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Weekend


picking out Uncle Brad's Christmas tree


Riding the bus to Michigan Ave.

Riding the bus to Michigan Ave.

LegoLand

Watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade (Freezing)

Riding the train after Starbucks and the parade

Pictures with Rapunzel play


Sorry for the delay in an update. October was rough for a lot of reason that I don't want to go into. It took quite a bit to dig myself out. Most times of extended grief I felt stronger when I came out of it. I am getting there but this time was a little different. The thing about the second year without someone is that normal seems to settle in. The intensity of barreling through the first is over but the dull pain of this is it? really?! is evident. We are so blessed in so many ways. We have friends and supportive family coming out of our ears. Acquaintances still email with supportive and encouraging messages. We are so blessed but there are times it just takes a pause to learn how to breathe again. Since my last post I have just taken time to surround myself with things that help build strength. There were several nights that I wanted to update the blog but went to bed early or read a book. I shut off a lot of stuff to just focus on getting back on track.

This weekend we are in Chicago. We went down to Michigan Ave. to visit the American Girl store, LEGOLAND and then Disney Store. Thanksgiving morning we were up bright and early and heading out in 19 degrees all bundled up. We watched the parade until I thought I was going to lose some toes to frost bite and then headed into Starbucks to thaw out and a bathroom break then back out to just catch the grand finale: Santa Claus. We walked around Christkindle market to search for the most fabulous ornaments. We found a couple small ones (hello expensive). We cooked and decorated Brad's Christmas tree with all homemade ornaments. Today we headed out to see the play Rapunzel. Everyone really enjoyed it and the cast was so sweet afterward. Tonight we are going to see the Christmas light at the Lincoln Park Zoo. We hope to see Santa there too. We haven't been able to talk with him yet.

I will update the blog again soon. I have several prayer request for the new year. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.


Craig, If there are blogs in heaven, we miss you, we love you, we will see you again.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

uncertainity

I'm struggling right now. I am struggling with the fact that life is so incredibly unpredictable. I have been stuck thinking about the past memories and how sick Craig was and fretting for the future. I want so badly to get back to being grateful for what I have in my life, and just taking one day at a time but I find myself going back and forth between tears of three years ago and fears of what the future holds. Nothing is guaranteed to anyone and that is so hard right now. I had it all and in the blink of an eye it seemed to vanish.

I want so badly to get back to the place of trust and security of God's hope but my heart just hurts so badly right now. I want the confident, happy, joyful, grateful, energetic Michelle back ASAP. I feel drained and scattered most of the time right now. I pull myself out of it temporary with a long talk with a friend, a devotional that hits home, digging into work, working out but within hours I'm back at square one trying to digging back out. The circumstances are really shaking my faith right now, to be perfectly honest.

I want so badly the memories of the first couple weeks of cancer-land to just be zapped out of my brain forever. I don't want to have to relive this year after year. It stirs up so many feelings and fears. At times it feels like it was easier to go through rather than remember it. I could at least take care of Craig and being DOING something about it but to go over the same memories over and over with nothing to able to resolve them is maddening. No one gets how very sick Craig was except for me. No else saw first hand what I saw day after day.

And I want so badly to have a crystal ball that predicts my future. I want to know that I won't see that kind of suffering again in this lifetime. I want to know that I will get my second chance at happily ever after. I want to know that my children will be successful regardless of losing their dad at young ages. I want some guarantees. Living what I have lived in the past three years, I know guarantees don't exist. When it comes down to it our only guarantee is seeing heaven when we put our trust in the Lord.  Right now I am pretty mad that I am left here to sort through this life while Craig is already enjoying our only guarantee.

This summer I did the study "Discerning the Voice of God" by Priscilla Shirer. I have looked back through it several times trying to figuring how to get myself out of this pit God's way. One paragraph that I found the other day is the following:
"God is the God of right now. He calls us not to be regretful over yesterday or worried about tomorrow. He wants us to focus on what He is saying to is and putting in front of us right now. The enemy's voice will focus on the past and the future while the voice of our God will focus on today. He is the God of right now."

Romans 8:28 We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who Love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Please pray for peace in my heart SOON. I am so sick of crying I could lose it!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

3 years ago

written yesterday:
I thought I could get by without a breakdown today. I've been good and hopeful and moving in the right direction but October 4th still stings. I still question what was so wrong with plan A that we couldn't just roll with that one?!! Each time I look at the clock I think this time three years ago we were.... In the morning we were still normal. The afternoon he went in the ER for test and by mid afternoon the staff knew what we were up against. Late that evening his fate and prognosis of 3-6 months was described. Life was forever changed on October 4th 2010.