Thursday, September 18, 2014

Kansas Family - Grief trip part 2

We are having an amazing week traveling about in Bessie (our trusty motorhome) making memories with our new family structure of 5.  We had always wanted to visit 2 of my mama's sisters and their families in Kansas and decided now was the perfect time. Time flew but I managed to snap a few photos along the way.  This will be mostly for my family but you are welcome to tag along.
Before I start let me tell you about how vast my extended family is so you will understand how special time with any of them are.  My daddy comes from a family of 19 children - 12 boys and 7 girls.  I haven't recently counted but I think I have 50 or 60 cousins from that side alone.  My mom is number 2 of 11 -5 girls and 6 boys and a multitude of cousins numbering more then my Marner side, close to 70 I think.
If there is one thing that has been really close to my heart in the last 8 weeks it is the importance of spending time with those you love.  Hence the decision to spend time with family and friends as we work through the pain we are processing.
We decided to spend one night with each aunt and they spoiled us royally. One morning they took me to visit a friend of theirs, Rebecca who lost her 18 year old daughter in a car crash one year ago this week.  It was strangely comforting to sit and visit with her and watch how she is walking through her process.

Aunt Rachel organized a balloon release party in honor of Abby's birthday the evening we arrived.  My cousin Emily's car was piled full of bright colors, some of which bore the message Happy Birthday.

We counted down like we did at her funeral...11, 10, 9....
We watched till they were nothing but small black dots.

Lester and Rachel made a giant bowl of popcorn over the fire in their very own Henry D "schisel"

Lots of games for the children.  My little cousins all somehow grew up and are adults now but how they played with and entertained my children and the rest of the next generation...

Kali took to my cousin Titus' little sweetie who not only happens to be 3 but has so many Abby "traits".  

Aunt Rachel took us on a tour of the country side on our way to lunch in Hutchinson.  I found the fields of Milo and the old cement grain bins/storage intriguing and beautiful. 

We all went for lunch at Freddy's Frozen Custard (similar to our Iowa Culvers) 
The girls all wanted to sit with Nathan.

Sweet miss Olivia 

You'd think after a few days I could tell which one of the twins are which 

Nana Rhoda (my kidos name for her) had one excited boy waiting for an ice cream party on the beautiful back deck area.

Dawdy and his twin Grandsons

My cousin Gideon and his family were able to join us as well.  He is from another branch of the Yutzy tree.  His mama, Naomi is my mama's sister also.

Marvin and Rhoda's house has so many unique and very beautiful features.  Alexia and I loved the different porches.

Aunt Rhoda took me on a 4 wheeler tour of their beautiful spread.

We got up this morning and had a scrumptious breakfast that included my very favorite tomato gravy made in typical Wagler fashion and fresh donuts.  Both mornings we woke to smells of baking. The children wished we could stay longer but we needed to make the trek to Nebraska today. We left with lots of hugs and promises of getting to see each other at the Wagler Thanksgiving in a few short months. I am so thankful for my heritage and for the extra special blessing of family who loves me!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Happy Birthday in Heaven

Dear precious Abby
 4 years ago tonite I went in to labor on my due date with you which was a first for me.  Beings you were baby number 4 I figured I could just head in and pop you out.  How wrong I was.  You were my longest birthing process, almost 12 hours.  You were different from the very start and soon after you were born and I sat holding you I had this strange emotion come over me, just a fleeting thought but very real and scary. It was simply this, that I may not get to hold you for very many years. I wrote it off to hormones and didn't think much more about it till that fateful night in the hospital on July 14 of this year (2 months before your birthday) when daddy told me he had the same premonition also.
You came into our lives at a spunky 7 lbs 11 oz (also Hunter's birth weight) and took over the rule of the roost almost instantly.

You brought so much joy and like we have all talked about how God gave you to us for a brief time because He had a job for you to do.  Part of that job was bringing joy into our home that was scarred from daddy and my's separation that had just ended right before I got pregnant with you.
You were strong and opinionated and a spitfire. You loved living and did everything you did with fervor and such joy.

Then all of a sudden your life was ended and you were gone.  We know Heaven is more beautiful with you there but we sure miss you here.  
We are on a special trip this week in honor of your birthday.  We are enjoying so many wonderful things and moments together as a family of 5 now.  

As we drove today, daddy and I cried as we listened to one of our new favorite songs that talks about how we feel and how homesick we are to come up to live with you and Jesus.

We are doing our best to go on living and sharing Jesus and his love with those we meet.
Just like our grieving the last 2 months is a place we have never been, we are literally in a place we have never been before - Kansas City. There are so many wonderful things here and I can only imagine your face and hear your oooing and ahhhing.

We are just taking our time and taking lots of pictures and making lots of memories as we never know how many more we will have the chance to make...

Kali, your never wear a dress sister found Elsa and Anna dresses while we were shopping and insisted we get them for her and Alexia.  They have worn them with pride all day and we talked of you.  At one of the places we stopped there was a huge Frozen display and we stopped and gazed and pointed and talked of which one you would have begged for.

We stopped in Kalona at the Amish bakery and got some fresh donuts to eat with our yummy Farmer's Creamery chocolate milk.

When we actually got on the road Daddy convinced me to take the wheel so he could see what it was like to walk around.  I was terrified but managed to stay on the road.

It has been raining all week, and we were getting so tired of cloudy skies.  Today God gave us a special gift...Sunshine.

This is the life for me...

Kali taking her first selfie

I captured a rainbow in the background.  We so enjoyed this fountain at Crowne Center.

We ate at a delish little cafe called Crayola Cafe where everything featured was to do with crayons.
I was expecting artificially flavored and colored things and was pleasantly surprised to find hormone free beef, ground turkey and yummy sides like hummus and pita chips plus whole wheat buns that were specially yummy!
We sat a table for 6 and colored pictures of course.

We took a walk over to Union Station via a long walk way called the Link.

Daddy called this the waffle ceiling

Alexia saw this view and said "mama the city is sooo beautiful, we must take a picture"

The inside of Union Station is breathtaking.
We were bummed that there were events taking place  in both Crown Center and Union Station blocking off some of the things we wanted to see.

Waterfalls everywhere...

We got back to the campground just in time to get some more play in.

Hunter was very taken with the roller coasters in the distance.

Kali's Sunday school class got her that Ripstic you all wanted and she is quite agile on it and does lots of tricks even in a skirt.

While everything is beautiful and we are enjoying our time together just relaxing, I catch myself dissolving into tears at just the slightest thought of you. 
I never imagined that we wouldn't have you here with us to celebrate your birthday.
Nana and Aunt Rhoda planned a small party tonite in your honor.  They are going to release balloons and reminisce.  Nana Rhoda and Great Aunt Rachel are planning something similar for when we get to their house on Monday night. 
Your life taught me so much.  And now I am learning more about God and life and the reality of Heaven since your death.  Hardly a day passes that we don't talk about coming there.
I love you Abby Marie and I know you will have the best birthday ever up there with Jesus.  I can just imagine how it would be to have the angels singing Happy Birthday to you...
Until we get there have fun dancing and twirling and know that we will come as soon as Jesus is ready for us.
I love you Abby Marie!  

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of God - unknown

How does one experience peace in the midst of complete chaos and the deepest pain one could fathom?
I used to question how one could remain calm and appear peaceable after having their life shattered by terrible tragedy or loss.
I am learning so much more about the large unseen presence that keeps one grounded when the current of constant tears, fears and doubts threaten to blow one away.
I can not explain it.
I am a worrier - always have been, probably always will be. I am constantly in a tizzy about life, especially when it comes to my babies.  Even though 7 weeks ago,  pure adrenalin carried me out to the cold cement where my daughter lay I did not feel terror as one might have expected. I felt an odd calm. Peace. I knew she was gone.  I knew Jesus had her.  Somehow that comforted me even though I cried out to him to please save her, meaning in my terms...please,  please let me have her for a while yet.
 He did what I asked, just not in my way.

Now before you go thinking I am all perfect and have it all together, let me put your mind at ease... be assured I do not. I still worry and fret and get really really angry (still working on that part big time!) and all that yucky stuff.
Since Abby left, my health for example has thrown some GIANT curve balls at me.  We have the flu at our house right now. I am one of the lucky recipients along with several of the others. That is no fun and I keep having giant pity parties for myself.  Why this now? Com-mon GOD!  Give me a break...
Another thing I wasn't expecting at my physical a couple of weeks ago was to hear my doctor say I had a lump somewhere I wasn't supposed to have one. My little cocoon of peace kind of exploded right then and there. My kidos just lost their baby sister.  Please God they really can't lose their mommy....big worry...little or no peace.
I have been tempted to be quiet about this particular worry/fear because of it being more private in nature. I mean, lots of people have lumps that are nothing. Not everyone needs to know about mine. Ha! I can hear the sighs (ah that is so Dorothy-ish) and clicking of tongues as people ponder my insanity at blogging about things of such nature.  Mine is supposedly also nothing..we just have to watch it and wait. Does that make it any less frightening? Not exactly.
  But then as I ponder about how God has worked the most in me I see it is usually when I am "blunt" for Him, something that believe it or not is not always easy for this jabber mouth.
The evil one loves nothing more then for me to curl up in a corner and cower in fear.
 Fear, my friends, is the greatest enemy of peace. Sometimes I fear that because I am vocal I am a bigger target for the enemy. Makes sense right? hmmm?  He after all doesn't like when we get the word out about the great God we serve. If there is one thing I keep learning though, it is simply the re-occuring phrase that keeps running through my mind...GOD IS BIGGER.
He is bigger then my fear.  He is bigger then the hole the size of Texas that has taken over my heart. He is bigger then the cancer my dear friends Jan and Danielle are battling. He is bigger then financial woes and wars and rumors of wars and obama care and all the other politically charged things around that strike fear and worry in many of our hears.
That, in and of itself, is why we can experience peace even when our circumstances are less then peaceful and far from perfect and when things do not go according to our plans.
He will carry us.  He is carrying me. He is the ability to put one foot in front of the other, the strength to get back to work.  He is joy in the small details like figuring out what we want to do on our vacation.  He is provision of prayer warriors, who like one of my favorite stories in the old testament, (Exodus 17-  Aaron and Hur held up Moses' arms when he was to tired and weak and the battle was won) lift my family and I up when we are to weak to pray on our own. He is being able to face each new day and remember that even though it is still so dark and ugly and painful to open our eyes, each moment of each day is truly a gift from HIM.
He is and will always and forever be Peace.