Wednesday, May 6, 2015

I'm baaacckkk!

I have been trying to get back to the blogosphere for some time now.  Life has been so crazy busy and certainly gotten the best of me lately, especially in these last couple of months!  I feel embarrassed that it's been a solid year since I posted last!  So, I will do a little catching up on the fam for you :)

Scott--He's been back in the autism classroom this year, and while it is not easy by any means, he feels at home there.  He is so incredibly gifted to work with those with special needs.  I see the Lord so clearly working through him as he loves, cares, and advocates.  He has been coaching Shepard and Davis in baseball this year.  He's an amazing daddy and husband. It's really been so fun!  Not easy, mind you, especially not on the mama, but I wouldn't trade these memories for anything :)

Paige--You guys.  She is almost finished with 5th grade!  Like, elementary school is done. * Lets all take a moment while I recompose myself over this life event.*  She is just so precious.  She has grown so much this year, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.  She is entering the tween era, where she is still a sweet, simple little girl, but is curious and readying for what lies ahead.  She is gonna homeschool next year for middle school.  We have prayed over this decision for many years and the Lord has been clear.  We have had excellent teachers and been part of an excellent school these elementary years.  Her teachers have been phenomenal!    Middle school is just different.  Such formative years.  The middle school teachers are still equally great.  In fact, it's a down right calling to be a middle school teacher!  But, through the Lord's leading, we will attempt 6th grade at home.  I'm gonna take it year by year and evaluate.  Hopefully I won't mess her up too bad!!  You can pray :)

Annalee--Annalee has rocked the 3rd grade like no other.  She is so spunky and fun!  Not much gets her down.  She's very easy to parent for the most part.  When she has to be corrected, she never argues!  What!?  She just says "yes, ma'am" and lets it roll right off her.  But, because she's so easy, it's easy to skip over her.  I hate that I do that to her :(  She has the middle child role.  I have to try to consciously make a good effort to affirm and spend special time with her.  With five kids, that doesn't happen nearly enough!  But she is gracious and kind, and still always has a skip in her step :)  The Lord teaches me through parenting her, that he sees me.  Even when I feel looked over in life sometimes, He sees me.  I am thankful for those lessons through our children!

Davis--Davis is finishing up 1st grade!  He is reading so well, and when he takes his time, he has better handwriting than I do!  He has matured so much this year.  Really growing into himself.  He played soccer this Fall and had a blast and is currently finishing up his first Rookie season, where they hit off the pitching machine.  He started not being able to make contact with the ball at all.  And progressively through the season, he has gotten better and better.  It's been amazing to watch!  He even got an in the park home run last Saturday!!!  I have been 'that mom'.  I'm talking jumping up and down cheering like a mad fool…on more than one occasion.  He'll be embarrassed by me one day, but for now he just gives his shy grin, and I want to just pinch him!

Shepard--Oh Sheppy.  That brother, as most of you know, has broken the mold.  He is hilarious, smart, creative, and can be oh so stubborn.  We have had to learn some new parenting moves on that brother :)  But, I really do enjoy him being home with me.  He's gonna go to school next year two days a week; and it will be good for him, but I will certainly miss all his crazy antics.  He is all boy on so many levels.  I love him so.  He stretches me more than the others typically.  Most days I hate that.  But, on days that I can reflect, the Lord is sweet to remind me that I am a work in progress as well, and sometimes, I act like a stubborn toddler myself!

Judah--Judah baby, just celebrated his first birthday.  How in the world?  He is so snuggly and fun.  He is saying and repeating lots of words like mama, dada, bye bye, go, ball,…etc.  He started walking not long after his birthday and he is  With Shep as his older brother, he is already learning to defend himself ;)  I hold him more.  I give into him more.  I kiss his yummy little cheeks constantly.  I want him to stay little!!  He's a fun addition, and he reminds me almost daily of my mama, and I love that the Lord did that.

Me--I'm tired these days.  It's that season where everything is busy as we wrap up the end of the year, and with working some evenings at the hospital on top of that, and baseball, and bible study meetings, and all that the Lord has marked out for me right now, I literally fall into bed exhausted!  It's a good tired I guess.  But sometimes I just get so caught up in wanting to complain about it, that I miss the fact that the Lord is in the midst of it all.  I want my heart to be more accepting in allowing the Lord to pour me out each day as He chooses.  I fail. A lot.  At parenting, being a good wife, a good friend, a good leader.  And when I'm certain that I'm at the end of myself, I sleep, and wake up to new mercies everyday, just like He promised.
 I still miss my mama.  This second year so far, has almost felt harder.  A different kind of hard maybe.  There's just more permanence. It's lonely.  I still find myself randomly wanting to call her.  I thought that knee-jerk reaction would've gone away by this point.  I grieve her especially as we approach Mother's Day.  It is a really joyous and honoring time, but it makes me sad too, because I just can't make it feel right without her.  She has left a beautiful legacy, and I'm so grateful for that.  By the grace of God, I hope to be even half the woman she was :)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Never the same again

This year as I celebrate my birthday it doesn't have the feel like it has in the past.  If you know me at all you know birthdays are my thing.  But, I know that the reason behind this is that tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of Mimi (Annie's mom) going to spend eternity with Jesus.  But the reality of those of us who are still here is simple, you are never the same again.

It's not always tough, but its always different.  Family events, holidays, simple special occasions like grandparents day or the first soccer game.  All of these events that are and were one time joyful, have a glimmer of grief around every corner.  The "I wonder what she'd think" or the "she would have loved this!" never goes away and I think it never will.  No you are never the same again.  

The hardest part for me has been watching the person I love the most suffer.  She's quiet and gentle and always caring for others, but her hurt runs so deep and her ache is more than I can imagine, understand, or bear.  Most of the time, I am the jerk of a husband who just wants her to "feel better."  But the reality is that nothing I do, or say can ever accomplish that.  I catch her faces as she reads a text from her sister or hear her voice change when her and her dad are not he phone and Mimi is the topic of conversation.  My bride grieves deep for her amazing mother, and nothing I can do will ever change that, or should it.  No, she also is never going to be the same again.

The second most difficult struggle is for my children.  They loved their Mimi more than anything and longed to be with her all the time.  She could convince them (and us) to drive over for a brief visits just so she could squeeze their faces, be excited about their triumphs, and tell them over and over that they were, "The cutest and the smartest."  Its hard watching Paige talk about her as what she did for each of them and to hear Annalee say ho much she misses her as she breaks into tears at the most random times.  When Davis talks about going to just Papa's house since Mimi is in heaven and to see Shepard still expect her to come out of her room at times and even this past month ask about her.  But what I think is hardest on me most is holding our sweet baby Judah and know that she will always be a story to her.  Mimi loved a baby better than most and was always willing to starve herself at any holiday so she could hold them while you ate and you better not argue cause she'd always win, call you son, and then tell you it was going to be her way anyway.  I learned to relent after losing a lot with our first two children, but I do miss those arguments.  They were always in fun, but we loved messing with each other.  And they all miss her.  More than I can imagine.  And They will never be the same.

Third, I hurt for our sweet Papa.  I have never grown to love someone as much as I have for him.  His gentle kindness and playful spirit with all of my family is clearly marked with such sorrow of hurt.  We've cried on my front porch, on the phone, and I have grown to say I'd lay down my life for that man.  He has loved me with respect and been willing to listen and not always agree.  He has my best interest in mind even if it hurts, but I know more than anything.  He will never be the same.

I know Christi and Jeff, Dana and Scott, Hayden and Larson, Dane and Jill, Aunt Jan and Uncle Billy, Kelly, Sam and Hannah, Kyle, and Ethan as well all feel the lose in such  great way and that this week and even past month has been a slow reminder of last year and  am sure that each of them will also never be the same.

But if that was the end of the story, then I think this world would have no point.  If that was the end of the story, then who would want to go one after that.  But the reality is that out of everyone the person who will never be the same again is simple


Mimi will never be the same again.  No cancer, no pain, no loss, no hurt, no tears, and more than all of that combined, she has the joy of sitting with Jesus.  We can think that she missed us, but she has her savior.  We can wonder if she can see whats going on, but we know that she is in the arms of the one who is above all things, hold all things together, and is the one who created all things.  There is no darkness for her as Jesus is her constant light.  There is no sadness in her at all, because the joy of the Father is constant in her thoughts.  Sickness.  GONE!  And as much as we miss her and remember how that woman came to a little league tee ball game and sat on a pillow in lawn chair in major pain to watch her sweet Davis take his turn at bat, we would never want to see her suffer like she did that last year.  So my prayer for my wife, my children, my Papa, and the rest of our family today is that though the pain may never truly subside, our Joy in Christ can come in the truth.  Mimi will never be the same again!

And like everyone else, I still miss her as well.  She made my life so much better and probably was my biggest cheerleader in all that I strived to do.  I wish I could tell her what has happened and what the Lord was doing but I know that like everyone else, because of her life and who she was, I too will never be the same again.  And for that I am truly grateful.  She was a difference maker in so many peoples live and helped make me see my potential.

I miss you singing to me today more than you can imagine!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Judah Asher Parks is finally here!  He was born on April 7, 2014 at 4:10 pm and weighed 6 lbs 12 oz.  We were all instantly in love.  Well, except Shepard :)  He had some warming up to do ;)  Shep is a great big brother, just a little rough around the edges if you know what I mean!  Judah has been oh so sweet.  I hold him. A lot.  He has been exactly what the Lord intended him to be so far.  A welcomed joy that is filled with hope.  He is special.

The joy of his birth comes mixed with emotions of grief as well.  I miss my mom.  Its been almost 6 months since she passed.  6 months without my mom.  I want it to be easier.  Sometimes it is.  Other times it's just not.  I could not imagine her not being here for the birth of this precious boy, and even the day of delivery, with all the family and friends that surrounded us, it felt like there was a gaping hole in the room where she should've been.  It was all so very bittersweet.

Mother's Day is this weekend.  I find myself wanting to skip it altogether. This particular holiday is harder than others because it was a day marked out to honor her!   I don't want life to keep moving on without her.  I have voicemails on my phone that I listen to, just to hear her voice.  I let Judah listen too, so he can know what she sounded like.    I just can't believe this is reality sometimes!

So, in light of remembering her on this upcoming Mother's Day, I wanted to jot down a few things, out of pages that I could fill,  that made her so special:

-She loved the Lord.
-She was a faithful wife.
-She worked so hard.
-She loved fiercely.
-She chose to see the best in people.
-She sacrificed herself for the good of others.  ALOT.
-She was tough.
-She was a fighter.
-She was a loyal friend to many.
-She was a servant.
-She was so hospitable.
-She was forgiving.
-She was strong.
-She was thoughtful.
-She was the BEST Mimi.
-She was my mama.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Missing her...

For several weeks now, I have felt the Lord urging me to blog about my mom.  There are so many thoughts and emotions, I have trouble making sense of it all.  As a whole, I don't write too many things down.  I've always wanted to be an avid journaler, putting on paper my deepest thoughts and feelings.  But….nope.  I tend to just keep that at arm's length ;)  When it comes to my mama though, something certainly just needs to be written.

On November 13, 2013, just 10 days from my previous blog post, I got a call from my middle sister that mama was having some trouble breathing.  An ambulance was called and I met them at the hospital.  She was doing better when I got there after a little oxygen and some fluids.  They were just gonna keep her overnight and the plan was to send her home the following morning on some oxygen.  I stayed with her until about 1 am, and she had been sleeping soundly.  She had been doing well and was adamant that she was fine and I needed to go home and rest.  My sister was coming back in a couple hours and the nurse said she would be right outside the room, so I went home.  As soon as I walked in the door I got a phone call to come back up to the hospital quickly, because she was having trouble breathing again.  When, I got back to the hospital, she had been sedated.  She never really woke up again after that.  We spent the next 7-8 hours holding her hands, kissing her face, and telling her just how loved she was.  Around 10 a.m. on November 14, 2013, while we surrounded her bedside, she took her last breath here on earth, and her faith became sight.  She was finally Home.

That day.  I thought I would be more ready, but the truth is, I don't think I would've ever been ready.  She could've lived to be 120 years old, and I still don't think I would've been ready.  I miss her.  She is my mom!  I had not lived a day on this earth without her!  I didn't get to tell her we were gonna have a baby boy and that his name is Judah!  She won't be here to hold him and kiss and snug him up the way Mimi always did.  Sometimes my chest physically hurts because I miss her so bad.

I find myself picking up my phone, on a daily basis, to call her.  Most of the time I don't even have anything important to tell her.  I just want to check in, or tell her something funny one of the kids did, or tell her Shepard had a fever, or Paige has a choir performance, or Annalee said something hilarious, or Davis wants to show her how good he's reading!   She always wanted to know about the little details of life.  She worried with me like only a mother does.  She would call several times a day if I had a sick child.  She worried about me especially when I was pregnant and wanted to make sure I was taken care of.  Oh, if I could just talk to her.

We made it through Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it was really hard.  So many things remind me of her.  She was always the life of the party!  She loved to host us and wanted to be right in the middle of all the action.  There was an obvious missing link.  Scott and I and the kids spent the night with daddy at his house and had Christmas morning there.  It was great to be able to share that time with him.  The kids thought it was the absolute best.  She would've loved that.  

This grief is deep.  I don't know what to do with it much of the time.  It seemingly comes out of nowhere sometimes, and just washes right over me uncontrollably.  The Lord has been near to me.  I am able to grieve with hope, knowing that her salvation and mine, will reunite us with the Father for an eternity.  He has held me up with His righteous right hand, and I can honestly say, that apart from Him I would literally be in pieces.  I am thankful that she is made whole.  I am grateful that she is free from pain and will never suffer again.  She wins!  She left a beautiful legacy.    I just desperately miss her on this side.  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hearing Him

This summer I walked through a bible study that challenged me to partially fast from different areas in life (i.e. food, media, possessions, etc.).  Subsequently, when I spent less time focused on some of these areas, the Lord's still small voice was suddenly a giant roar!  He met me, right where I was.  It was so very personal.  So refreshing.  It was such a gift.  I needed Him desperately.  In the midst of this intimate time with Him, He revealed something I was not quite ready for...

I had been spending time studying some different verses on obedience and at that time was fasting from some of my possessions and purging.  During my time with Him that week, I felt the Lord urging me to consider having another baby.  My first reaction..."No."  Lord do you realize how many kids we have? That is just plain crazy.  I can't.  I cannot.  So, each day, He laid it before me again.  He gave me more as time went on.  But it wasn't necessarily what I wanted to hear.  My mom was sick, but at that point in time, was still managing ok and we were still on track to travel back and forth to MD Anderson.  However, I knew she would likely not meet a new baby. I just could not even go there.

The Lord was clear that this baby was to be a sign of hope and healing.  He was clear about the fact that He wanted me to obey.  I just could not do it.  After weeks of battling back and forth with Him, I told Scott what was going on and asked him to pray as well.  At this point, I was still taking my pill  (Like I have control ;) )  I was begging the Lord, that if I was hearing Him, to please give me a clear sign.  Like, write it in the flippin' sky kind of sign!  And simultaneously asking Him to give me clarity if I was somehow not hearing His voice.  To make me aware that I am wrong, and I was gonna be A-ok with that!

About a week later, I woke up in the middle of the night, and it was as if the Lord was sitting in the room with me saying. "Annie, why are you choosing not to obey?  I don't need you, but I am giving you the opportunity to surrender and obey and be a part of this miracle.  Why are you choosing not to obey?"  Uhhhhh....I was a little dumbfounded, but still unwilling to trust Him.  I told Scott the next evening about what happened and he said that he thought I should stop taking my pill out of obedience.  So I didn't take it.  Well, that night I woke up in a blind panic about what I was gonna do if my mom got sicker?  How was I gonna travel back and forth to MD Anderson on bed rest?  What would I do if she needed me to take care of her and I couldn't???  So I decided I would take the pill I missed first thing in the mooring, catch up that night and that would be that.

Fastforward to the next morning.  I get up pop the pill out of the package, it shoots up into the air and then goes straight.down.the.drain.  It didn't even bounce. Never hit the side.   Straight down.  Gone.  Sigh.  Ok, Lord.  I see the sign. Ok.

So, about two weeks later, a positive pregnancy test it was!  Unreal.  This is really happening.  We are gonna have 5 kids.  5!  We have officially stepped over the line right into crazy, and are trusting the Lord with every breath.  I am currently 14 weeks along and am due May 2, 2014.  The Lord has given us specific first names which is Hope for a girl and Judah for a boy, meaning faith.  We find out the gender in about 2 weeks and are looking forward to it!  So, please be in prayer as we continue on our journey!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Road

Those eyes.  They melt my heart.  I was thinking about eyes today as I was sitting in a waiting room with some time to reflect as we waited.  Eyes are described as the windows to the soul.  I wonder what people see as they look into my eyes?

The Lord has decided that my mom has cancer.  We found out about a month ago, that she had a colorectal mass that was an adenocarcinoma.  The course of treatment at that point was to send her to MD Anderson (MDA) in Houston.  It was at least stage 3 at that point because there were no other scans done to know if it was elsewhere.  It was communicated that they thought they could get us out there the following week so they didn't want to do any more testing because they would just do them all at MDA.  Well, one week went by, then two, then almost three!  We finally got an appointment for April 1 and were glad but over-anxious because several weeks had passed already. So we had a plan.

The Lord likes to wreck my life from time to time to remind me He is in control.  So, on Sunday, eight days before leaving for Houston, my sister calls concerned, telling me that momma is having some strange neurological symptoms.  I knew, as I stood in the kitchen, preparing dinner for my family, that it was in her brain.  I wept.  I tried to grasp at other ideas of what else it could be, but in the depth of my heart, I knew.

The following day we went to the hospital for lots of scans and tests, only to find out that it was definitely in her brain, as well as her lungs and liver.  Wow.  Numbness.  Ears ringing.  Mind swimming.  I was overwhelmed.

We talked to several different doctors and pleaded with the Lord about what His plan was going to be.  Ultimately, the plan was to go to MDA on April 3 to see what they could do.  They think they can do surgery to remove the tumor in her brain and as for the rest of the treatment we will find out soon.

So, here we are.  I am sitting in one of the billion waiting rooms at MDA still trying to wrap my head around the fact that this is real.  The Lord has been very near.  He has provided abundantly in so many ways so far!  For me personally, I am having to leave my 4 sweet children and my precious hubby!  That is hard.  I am OCD.  I don't like having to ask others for help.  I feel like a burden.  I don't know how long this will be.  How long I will need other's help!  God has provided such selfless, sweet friends though.  They have literally just taken over, loved my kids, picked them up, dropped them off, brought dinner, and I could go on and on!  I honestly do not deserve to be loved that well.  It is a gift from the Lord.

My husband is having to play Mr. Mom, and bless his soul he is doing it so well :) I don't like being away from them, and thank the Lord for FaceTime so I can at least see everyone's face.  They are an extension of me, and while I would not be anywhere else than at my mom's side, I do not feel whole apart from them.  I struggle with missing them.

So, as I take time waiting, hoping, praying, and dreaming, I am asking the Lord to show me the places in my soul that I long for Him!  I want the windows to my soul to be clear with Christ!  He is here.  I am thankful.  "The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still."  So, I'm trying to be still.  I'm waiting and hoping in the Lord, and whatever his plan may be.  Please pray with me friends.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Music To My Ears

I love music!  I always have.  I know the words to most songs, however I could not tell you title and artist!  I am terrible at that! I have been without music for a while though.

 While we love our van, something went wrong a while back and the radio, cd player, dvd player, etc... all stopped working!  Something electrical.  To fix everything, we would have to replace the whole console.  So, that seems simple enough.  We look into it, and it costs about $4000 to replace said console.  We are planning on driving the van until it dies and since it is paid for, we are hoping that is a LONG time!  In light of no music in the vehicle that I feel like I spend 75% of my day in, I have missed it!

Well, for Christmas, my hubby got me an iPhone!  I know!  What a gift, right?  Other than the fact that I am an iphone dummy, I really do love it!  Well, I loaded the Pandora app and  So I type in an artist that I like and it develops a whole station of songs to circulate that are either that particular artist or others like them.  Now, I can turn on pandora, anywhere I am and listen to music anytime!  It makes my heart smile :)

And now that I have re-read my post, it makes me sound like I live in the dark ages!  Well, minus the new iPhone!