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So with the beginning of the school year my life for the first time in 10 years finds me without a child at home! Can anyone else relate?? Did you send your baby off to Kindergarten this year? I know I am not alone and yet I did have a moment of oh my goodness what am I going to do with all this peace and quiet and TIME!!? It is funny how when your house is full of children, laughter, their messes and then possibly whining and fighting you just cannot wait until school starts then when it does you immediately miss them and cannot wait to hug and squeeze them once their school day is over! So as many of you have gotten to know me you know I am learning to live in the moment. I am embracing this new stage of life! I am still beyond blessed even though I do not have a husband bringing in income to have the privilege to stay at home. I consider it one of the BIGGEST ways God has loved on me and blessed me as He has provided income so I do not have to go back to work, just yet! =) SO as I embrace this time to write, read, volunteer at the school, be more involved in church ministry and prepare for my future speaking! AND that is all before 2:45 because it is then that I pick up kids, then we go to dance or swim, work on homework, eat dinner and be together after our full days! I think I am really going to enjoy my new season. I was at the gym on Tuesday sitting in the cafe reading a great book and watched several groups of Moms with toddlers walk in a realized in the blink of an eye a decade had passed and Jackson is a 4th grader and Bethany is in Kinder. No more babies at home, WHOA!! Did I think I'd ever be in this place sitting leisurely without time constraints enjoying my book. When I was wiping hinnies, noses and making lunches and keeping nap schedules did I ever think I would not be doing that?? NOT really. Well Moms, the time has come and now my daytime is very quiet and I could get sad about it but I am choosing to live in the moment and make the most of those 8 hours! If you are a SAHM enjoy the time with your kids because it will not last forever and before you know it will be gone!!
I also wanted to share that as I prepared for the first day of school I was a little nervous as I knew I would be emotional about Bethany starting Kinder and without Todd's very encouraging spirit here to make me feel at ease I was honestly dreading it a bit. BUT God in his goodness gave both my kids amazing teachers. They were so excited for the first day and because our school had a new check in policy I wasn't able to take Bethany in and that actually worked to my advantage emotionally, Yay!!
As we are in our third week of school, my kids are still LOVING it although they both LOVE sleeping in and would be happy with a later start time, me too come to think of it!! BUT in spite of our early morning wake up call my kids still wake up joyful and ready for their days at school. My BIG prayer for them this year is that they would fall more in LOVE with God, His Word and that they would LOVE people and be a light in their school!
As my kids grow and my life enters a new stage, I am still Living For More!
I did not expect to be so overcome with such intense emotion while in Haiti like I had experienced before. I did not think that my heart could break all over again as I took in the poor condition of this Caribbean country that I previously visited not once but twice before. As I helped in the feeding program I observed the children sitting patiently for their bowl of rice and beans. For some of these children, many of them, this would be their only meal that day. I could not help but think of my own children and so many children born in the USA who have an abundance of food. My kids are so impatient at times waiting for their next meal! My heart could not help but wonder and even think, "If God loves us all the same, why are these precious ones born into poverty in Haiti while me and my children are privileged to live in plenty in the USA??" I do not think there is anything wrong with asking why? I however chose not to dwell on the why but instead ask, how and what? How can I help with the knowledge I now possess and the resources I have. How can I help these precious ones? What is God asking me to do with the knowledge I have of these conditions?? After all if I was in the place of asking why? I would then ask God, "Why do some people get to grow old with their husbands and then some like me and many others have their husbands die an early death cutting that time short?" "Why do sweet young children get cancer, why do wildfires have to happen taking the lives of 19 men fighting to save lives?" The list could go on and on... I read a quote that has stuck with me written by Martin Luther, "Obedience is the fruit of faith. A true believer will put to death or crucify the question, "why" yet simply obey." There are just some things I will never understand yet I know that God is wholly good and wholly sovereign and I chose to completely trust and obey Him and His word. Some people may think that is silly or may not understand that concept but it has served me well and besides that dwelling on the why does not solve the poverty problem in Haiti, bring my husband back or cure cancer!
As I spent 5 days in Haiti each day God showed me ways that since my last visit 3 years earlier life and the conditions in Jacmel had improved. Since our trip in June 2010 approximately 300 more children had been sponsored through Restore Haiti's feeding program and are now being feed 5 days a week in the feeding program and are in school. Several wells have been dug and are working to provide clean water for the village residents. A medical clinic has been established in the village as well and serves as a place where the people can get basic medical treatment. I was able to visit several houses which had been built with the help of Restore Haiti. SO I can see that many others have caught the vision of Restore Haiti and are doing their part to help this poor country.
As I was there I kept feeling like I just wanted to grab up as many kids as my arms would hold and take them back to Austin with me to care for and give them a better life, I want to heal this beautiful country and I want to see it look different. I was then reminded that God loves Haiti and he brought me there 7 years ago for the first time to make me aware that they need help. They need Gods love and grace first and foremost but in order to receive that intangible gift they need to see the tangible action behind it which means helping provide food, shelter and schooling for their children. God is transforming Jacmel, Haiti one life at a time with the help of hundreds of people who have committed their resources to help the least of these. The kids and I are doing our part by sponsoring a child every month in Jacmel and you can too. Will you pray about how you might help Haiti? You can check out more information on the Restore Haiti website at www.restorehaiti.com, I promise if you invest into the lives and hearts of these precious people you will forever be changed, for the better!
Beyond grateful for the privilege I have but never forgetting how I am changed because I choose to Live For More by LOVING Haiti!
Thanks for reading,
Well the kids and I have officially survived another school year. More than survived really. I mean life for the most part seems more "normal." I have settled in to the fact that I am a single Mom raising my two kids without their father. Do I like it, NOT really!! I still miss just about everything about Todd. Loneliness is still there and at times almost seems to consume me, and just when I think I can't take it God sends a gentle wind of encouragement or a reminder that this isn't it! This isn't as good as it gets! Then I smile and think of all the unknown adventures that lie ahead. It at times can still be awkward when for the first time someone realizes that I am a widow. Like the second to the last dance class Bethany had, I was chatting with a Mom who I had spoken to quite a bit over the year and she was asking me about the dance team. I said, "I think it will just be too hard and too much commitment for me as a single Mom," she said, "oh I didn't know you were a single Mom", I said, "well I am a widow." Talk about a conversation killer. She just looked at me with sadness in her eyes and thankfully it was the end of class but I think she was speechless. Then just two weeks ago at the end of our time working with students at my son's school. I was visiting with the other volunteer as we were leaving and talking about summer plans. I mentioned that I was traveling to Haiti and how I had been twice before with my husband. I said, "I don't know if you know this but I am a widow," She said, "oh my goodness I had no idea! Oh you are so young!" Then she said, "well at least you are not sitting at home." I said, well I did that some the first year." She left speechless. SO I still have those moments when my I am made very aware of my loss, it is kind of strange because it almost catches me by surprise! There is no escaping what has happened to me and how my life, my kids lives and countless others have been effected by Todd's loss. As I have met other widows or chatted with them on Facebook or through the blog, I think one the biggest thing that I am learning is how differently people handle their loss and grief. We all have a choice to make in how we cope or handle our loss. I continually think, "I am not the only one who has lost!" Yet the reminders are still everywhere and knowing that fact does not minimize the pain or the fear of what lies ahead! Yet through it all I am choosing to LIVE and TRUST a God whose ways are not my ways!! Todd lived life with reckless abandonment to Christ so I am reminded of his encouragement and example all those years to Live For More!!
Jackson finished his third grade year very strong!! He made the A honor roll all year! He set a goal for perfect attendance and no tardies and Praise GOD he did it!! As a side note my kids and I have taken a whole food supplement for the past 6 years called Juice Plus and we have been incredibly healthy with very little sickness. Jackson has not had even a cold in over a year, which can I say is pretty remarkable!! So as we wrapped up Jackson's 3rd grade year and Bethany finished pre-K. It is hard to believe she will start Kinder in the Fall!! The year ended on a high note. We were blessed by the kid's schools and the over the top love and encouragement and commitment by their teachers, coaches etc...
We celebrated the end of the school year with a camping trip to the Guadalupe River. The kids and I had a great time as we celebrated the successful completion of another school year with family and friends!! As I think about embarking on the second summer without Todd. I am especially grateful that by God's grace and incredible provision I still have the privilege of being a stay at home Mom. So for us our summer will be filled with LOTS of swimming as both my kids are on the swim team which equals about 18 hours a week!! They will each attend one camp. We have plans to visit new sites in and around Austin. Lots of great kids friendly movies are coming out, we love watching a good movie! We have also added a pop up camper to our family so we will be heading out to discover more of the beautiful outdoors this summer! WE are EXCITED!! Oh and did I mention I am headed back to Haiti! It will be my third trip but my first without Todd!! More about that to come!
A really cool activity the kids and started doing last week from Focus on the Family's, Thriving Family magazine. It's a fun, Bible based activity you can do with your kids over the next 60 days. You can visit www.thriving family.com to print this map (around the world in 60 days) an itinerary, passports and each day you visit a different country and learn fun facts about that country. The first day we visited New Zealand and learned there are 7 sheep for every one person. We read from Matt. 18:12-14, and learned that God cares so much about us He comes to find us when we wander away from Him! My kids are looking forward to "traveling" around the world this summer! Will you join us?
What are you and your family planning on doing this summer?? I'd love to hear from you! I am always looking for creative and fun ideas.
As the summer is well under way I am enjoying not so early mornings and the slower pace of the day. I am hopeful to write more while still balancing my time with kids and spending sweet time in Gods presence through His word and prayer! I hope you find the warmth of the summer sun a welcome friend and the light and love of Christ to be a even warmer comfort! John 8:12, When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light ofthe world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Happy Summer and I pray you will Live For More,
As we recently celebrated Mother's Day I could not help but think about what a difference a year makes. Last Mother's Day I was actually at Disney World with my kids which I thought would be a great place to getaway and celebrate life and motherhood. It was truly magical and we over all had a great time yet my heart thought of Todd almost every moment. I thought of how he would love to see the kids enjoying such a fun and wonderful place and how since he was really just a big kid at heart he would so enjoy everything as well! I was reminded of the way he helped me parent the kids and when we were in crowds he would carry Bethany as her little legs would get tired. Would have been a BIG help in Disney!! I unfortunately could not carry her very far, so thank goodness they had strollers to rent. =) It had only been 10 months at that point so I still longed and even ached for Todd. As I celebrated that Mother's Day my heart was heavy. I was missing his love and admiration and how he never let a Mother's Day go by without telling me what an incredible job I was doing and he regularly told me that Jackson and Bethany had the best Mom! So then I realized I had to change my perspective. Although it was not easy, I decided to remember and focus on all the years and celebrations we did share and didn't allow myself a pity party because after all I was in the happiest place on earth, lol!! So fast forward to this year and can I say, "THANK YOU GOD" for allowing me to make it through another year! My mother in law came into town and we watched Jackson play his last football game of the season and then celebrated my mother in law on Saturday night at one of our favorite places, County Line.
As a side note, I have to share what an incredible example and huge encouragement my sweet mother in law has been. She has been a second mother to me since I was 16 and has always embraced me as her own. I am grateful for her continued love, wisdom and support!! I am beyond blessed by her!
Then Sunday came and my kids came into my room that morning and served me my coffee and the following homemade goodies. What a wonderful surprise and treat!
Then the day just got better and better as I worshiped at church and then we headed to my Mom's in the Hill Country for lunch! I have to say my Mom has become one of my biggest supporters and encouragers and I could not have made it without her these past 21 months. She is one of my best friends and has been a true example of love and sacrifice!! I am grateful to God for my Mom and the incredible blessing she is to me and my kids!
The day ended and my heart was SO full of LOVE for and from my kids and family and for once that seemed to be enough, WHOA!! I had thought about Todd but was truly full of JOY. WOW, maybe I have turned a corner, maybe just maybe. I do know for sure that I am a little further down the road, HALLELUJIAH!!! I am continually reminded that I am not the only one walking life as a single Mom nor as a widow. I still have hard days and not so much because Todd is gone but just because life is hard. We live in a fallen, broken world and raising kids this day and age is harder than ever. I so admire the single Mom's who have gone before me and have done it well! They give me hope. If you are a single Mom or Dad out there I want you to know you are doing a good job! God loves you and believes in you!! He chose YOU to be your child's Mom or Dad and no one else!!
I had the privilege of sharing on a Sunday from the front with Todd in May of 2011 when he asked me to share a message on "Being a godly mother." What was interesting as I thought back on this message was at the time I was happily married to Todd enjoying life as a Mom who had a very hands on husband and Daddy. I remember thinking, "we have a lot of single Moms in our church so I have to keep them in mind and offer some hope and encouragement for them too" I also remember that I stopped and thanked God for allowing to have a wonderful husband to help me parent our children and that I did not have to do it alone! I never would have imagined that 10 weeks later I would be a single parent and raising my kids alone. As I listened to this message again I was reminded of the sweet relationship Todd and I had. It also hit me that this message was now a gift to me. It was meant for many who were there that day but for me now and perhaps you too it is a gift for today! God knew what my future held. He knows yours too. I hope you can take the time to listen.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen youand help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Thank you for walking this journey with me, I pray we can all Live For More,
I don't know about you but as a parent I am continually feeling guilty that I don't spend enough time with my kids. YES I am with them everyday, cooking for them, getting them to and from school, different activities and sports so yes there is time spent and conversation to be had, we even have some time at night snuggling and reading BUT is that enough?? As I sat and prayed recently thinking of my kids I realized that even though we are often in the same house day in and day out we are not spending QUALITY time together. We have quantity of time together YES but NOT always QUALITY! As my kids are getting older, Jackson is 9 1/2 and Bethany will be 5 in 3 weeks I know that my time with them is getting shorter and that window of opportunity is shrinking! Yet as a Single Mom I am at times or should I say most days, incredibly overwhelmed with the day-to-day responsibilities and care of my kids, my "to do list" is longer than ever as I take care of it all alone! SO how can I incorporate more quality time into our already packed schedule. Then the thought came over me, it's not about one more activity necessarily but about taking the time we are at home together and instead of us each doing our separate activities why not do activities and things together!! Not to say you can't have your alone activities because as a parent especially a single parent you definitely have to have those things in life that you do all by yourself. It helps you stay healthy... I so get that!! But as I prayed I thought, "why not ask the kids what they would want to do to spend more time together". So I called a family meeting at dinner Sunday night which by the way if you do not doing regular family meetings it is a great way to discuss things that may be on your heart and also give your kids a chance to give any input of things going on in the home at school or just in life in general. Here is what they shared:
Jackson suggested family movie night. SO Friday night will be a night where the kids pick a movie and we have picnic in front of the TV and watch a movie or two. Just the three of us! He also suggested that we have game night on Tuesdays (our one free school night). He has always liked playing board games and that is something we do not do nearly often enough so being intentional about putting this on our weekly schedule is good!
Bethany needed at little help with ideas as her idea of fun is playing Barbies or Babies 24/7, NO LIE!! Recently she has gotten into cooking and helping me in the kitchen so her and I will do some cooking or baking on Tuesdays while Jackson is at school, that is her day with me and I am sure there will be Barbie time as well. Today we are making iced sugar cookies, YUM!!
Another thing I have gotten away from is allowing my kids to help me plan our dinner menu so as I talked with them I asked them what they would like for dinner this week they each chose a favorite dish I make and gave suggestions for other dinner options. SO I wasn't stuck figuring out what the kids may eat this week or if they would like the choices I was preparing for dinner.
I also realized since becoming a single Mom and since Jackson is in school everyday I do not have opportunities to hang out with just him anymore. SO I am instituting a Mom and Jackson date night again. We did that when Todd was alive and even some last year but it has been months. Jackson enjoys having one on one time with me just like B does. He will get to choose something fun and affordable to do!
Also one thing I thought about that I wanted to do with my kids is more camping! They really enjoy being outdoors and camping provides such a great environment for exploration in Gods awesome creation and is also great "quality" time. I am grateful to my Dad and Sherrill who have invited us to join them camping more this year. WE ARE EXCITED AND READY!!
An indoor campout was something I just read about recently that one family does. They literally came indoor with sleeping bags without using any electricity. They build a fire, cook smores, and only use flashlights and battery operated things. I think the kids and I will be trying this soon!!
So if your like me and you just need some help getting the ball rolling I hope some of these ideas that my kids and I have come up with will help you or at least get you started. I think sometimes we agonize or feel guilty about what we are doing or not doing and get stuck in that place and then do nothing!! My kids and I have to continue to keep moving forward in life creating those new memories. We are now a family of three which is complete and whole and as we look at this New Year the possibilities are endless as far as what we can do and experience. I am grateful to have the opportunity to parent such wonderfully amazing kids. I true gift straight from the hand of God! It is the most awesome responsibility I have been given. One I am not taking lightly!
Be encouraged today Mom or Dad, you are not alone. God is with you and His word says he will guide you and direct you in everything, that means parenting and spending time with your kids!! Stay tuned for other ways to encourage your kids spiritually...
Psalm 25:5 "Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."
Living for more with you!
PS Another idea shared by a friend recently is to take a notebook and write a note to your child and place it under his/ her pillow and then they reply and leave it under your pillow. It is a great way for you to encourage, or share anything with your child and stay connected. Then they can in turn have a place to share and write whatever is on their heart to you!! I LOVE this idea and am starting this with Jackson today!
My kids favorite soup is Potato Cheese Soup (it is very simple to make and I throw in frozen broccoli to give it a vitamin boost, my kids LOVE it)
1 cup potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 - 1 1/2 cups frozen organic broccoli
1/2 c. matchstick carrots ( I buy them at the store already cut like this)
3 c. water
2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 pint (2 cups) half and half
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 c. Swiss cheese, grated
2 c. (or more) Sharp or Mild cheddar cheese, grated
1. Cook vegetables in water and bouillon until tender.
2. Melt butter in separate glass bowl. Add flour and salt and blend well.
3. Stir in half and half in butter and flour mixture to thicken. Add to vegetables.
4. Stir in pepper and cheeses in until cheeses melt. Do not let come to a boil. Serves 6
**Lastly a great resource for creative ideas for you and your family along with helpful tips for parenting http://www.focusonthefamily.com/**
And now I'm glad I didn't know The way it all would end the way it all would go Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain But I'd of had to miss the dance...
So it was February 13, 1998 and my sister Carla had come from Houston to stay with Todd and I the week before her 25th birthday. We had surprised her with tickets to see her favorite entertainer, Garth Brooks. I too really enjoyed his music although, Todd a mostly classic rock fan enjoyed some country but was not particularly a Garth fan. Nonetheless we bought floors seats which were fairly expensive but we knew we could not put a price tag on Carla getting to see her favorite artist! You see Carla had struggled most of her life with various health issues as a result of having Marfan Syndrome which is a connective tissue disorder and caused her bones and muscles to be thinner and weaker than most healthy people. Up to this point she had gone through 3 open heart surgeries including a heart transplant and most of the other parts of her body had been operated on as well. So she was definitely in need of a really great birthday present! Unfortunately we could never plan on when Carla's health would take a turn for the worse and as God would have it she started running fever the day after she arrived and then ended up in the hospital with Pneumonia. She was very sick that whole week leading up to the Friday night concert but we prayed and never lost hope that she would get better and get out of the hospital for the concert she had been waiting months to attend. I remember asking every one I knew to pray and we just encouraged Carla to focus on getting better so she could spend her birthday not in the hospital as she had done many years but celebrating at the Garth concert!!
So on that Friday morning of her birthday I arrived at the hospital hoping and praying she had drastically improved but as soon as I arrived I realized she was still very sick. She seemed in great spirits though and we just tried to be hopeful and continued to pray. Then shortly after lunch with the concert just hours away her doctor walked in with the biggest birthday balloon I have ever seen and said, "Happy Birthday Carla! I am going to let you out to go to the concert!" We screamed and thanked him and praised God for answering our prayers! Carla was still sick but not running fever on and a mega dose of antibiotics so with a release from the doctor although very weak we took her out and drove to Ft. Worth to see Garth. Oh and I forgot to mention that we had a friend in Colorado who knew someone at Garth's management company so we had been working for weeks to try and get her back stage to meet him BUT since she was still in the hospital the day of the concert her back stage pass had been released that morning to someone else. She was disappointed but still so grateful to be out of the hospital and going to see Garth! Todd was determined though to work his magic which in case I haven't shared before the man had skills, he could talk his way in and out of just about anything, so he was sure he could still get here back. I on the other hand was doubtful!
So we get the the arena and our seats were definitely on the floor but they were way in the back on these risers and we could not see the stage well but still we were beyond excited to just be at the concert. Todd got us situated in our seats and my Mom, Carla's best friend Angela and my mother in law were all there as well then he disappeared to make magic happen. I think he went to the back stage area not once or twice but three times before finally returning and saying, "I think it is going to happen!" Carla and I were getting giddy and butterflies were beginning to form in our stomachs as we thought about meeting Garth. This was a man who had just been voted Entertainer of the Year and as I watched my sister get excited and nervous about the thought I was beside myself with joy! Then these two guys with badges came over to where we were sitting and asked for Carla Rosales. She jumped up as if she had just won the million dollar lottery and said, "I am Carla Rosales!" The men said, "come with us please." Todd said, "well I need to go too as I have to carry her" He had carried Carla on his back to our seats as she had been too weak to walk. I jumped up and said, "I need to come also to take pictures." They said, "okay" and off the three of us went. I am actually getting nervous now just thinking about that moment. We walked to the back stage area with his manager Mick and walked passed Trisha Yearwood and her band and she was his opening act. Then there was a door way with stairs going down and we watched a young girl smiling from ear to ear carrying a picture of Garth come out and Carla asked Todd to put her down and I looked in the door and said, "Carla I see him!" She said, "Oh my gosh I think I'm gonna be sick." I said, "oh no don't get sick your okay!" We walked down the steps and there Garth was all by himself and he took off his hat, shook our hands, then gave Carla a hug and said, "so nice to meet you!" All Carla could say was, "you smell so good!" It was too cute! She was beaming!!
He told us, "to sit down and take a load off" as he pointed to the couch. I remember thinking, "OH MY GOSH, it's GARTH BROOKS!! Carla just stared at him and said, "It's you, I can't believe it's really you!" Todd began sharing how Carla was in the hospital but she told her doctors she had to get out and go to the concert. He also mentioned that it was her birthday. At this point Garth's manager came back in and Garth said, "Mick can you get Carla a birthday bag?" Mick left a returned with a large bag filled with two concerts shirts, 2 hats, 2 key chains and 2 posters and a program. Garth signed most of it and even got a silver pen so his signature would show up on her black concert shirt. It was just about time for him to go and perform and he made us feel like he had all the time in the world to talk with us. Carla shared that she so enjoyed his music and that she felt like she could relate to a lot of the songs and he humbly said, "thank you!" I think Carla and I mostly just stared with our mouths hanging open as we were definitely having a very surreal moment but of course Todd who was not star struck at all just kept making jokes and was his usual funny self. He actually offered the hand made vest he was wearing to Garth. He said, "Come on Garth you know you want to wear this. It will look really good!" Garth graciously declined. As we spent about 15 to 20 minutes which really felt like a lifetime Todd told Garth that Carla had gone through 3 open heart surgeries and even had a heart transplant. Garth replied, "wow that is pretty incredible!" Carla then mentioned that her favorite Garth song was The Dance. She said, "I have told my family and friends that is the song I want played at my funeral." He said, "Oh your gonna live another 80 years!" As we said our goodbyes he went to shake my hand and I said, "can I have a hug?" I mean it's not every day you get to meet a star like that so why not? He gave us all a hug and told us how great it was to meet us and then he asked where we were sitting and realized Carla would have to stand up the whole time so he upgraded our seats which ended up being the best seats in the place!
We walked down the hallway to our new seats and we were all beaming! Todd and I had walked into the arena really there supporting Carla but after that meeting we felt as though it was our birthday and we had just had a brush with an amazing, humble, kind, and truly the most down to earth person we had ever met. Although he was a the height of his career he made time for my sister who he had never met and had nothing to gain by meeting her. We had a new love and respect for Garth Brooks and he became one of our favorites after that!
I know this story is long but hang with me just a few more minutes. So the concert starts and it's as though Carla had been shot with energy and adrenaline and she was on cloud 9. She stood almost the whole concert belting out every song and during one of his songs in the middle of the chorus he looks straight at her and says, "Happy Birthday!" I began to cry! The women in the seat next to Carla said, "you know him?" Carla simply smile and said, "Yeah." The concert was amazing it lasted two and a half hours, he danced, jumped around and sang his heart out and after he sang all his hits we were thinking he had to be almost done. SO after he finished a song and it was quiet he began strumming on his guitar and said, "as I travel around I get to meet some pretty cool people and today I met a really special girl, she has had a lot of health challenges and was literally in the hospital today but she told her doctors, I have to get the heck out of here I'm going to see Garth!" "She told me her favorite Garth song is my favorite song, The Dance so I'd like to dedicate this song to her." At this point Carla is radiating JOY from ear to ear and tears are just streaming down my face, I couldn't believe how special this night was! He sang the most beautiful version of The Dance I have ever heard! The night ended with Mick his road manager putting Garth's guitar pic in her hand and saying, "Happy Birthday!" We left the concert that night and Carla's ultimate dream on earth had come true and we just thanked God for such an incredible gift! Unfortunately the high of the night would not last as Carla relapsed and returned back to Houston on Sunday and then went back into the hospital. However, when life got hard we would play Garth's music and relive that night with Carla over and over again and no amount of pain and sickness could take away that gift!
My precious sister and best friend had such an incredible faith and love for Jesus Christ and her family. She was admitted into the hospital on July 15th then passed away into the presence of her Savior on October 15, 2001 at the age of 28. Per her wishes we played The Dance at her funeral and there was not a dry eye in the room. So in honor of Carla's homecoming yesterday marking 11 years I thought it was only fitting to share this incredible story.
Carla taught me how to live a life of faith under pressure and great trial. She showed me how to persevere and to trust God when things don't make sense and seem unfair. I know she is now in perfect peace and is doing all the things her physical body was unable to do here on earth. I also believe she is hanging with Todd. They are praising our Lord together and having a party even bigger than her greatest night on earth... the night we met Garth. I am thankful we didn't miss the pain and truly experienced the most beautiful DANCE!
Live For More,