Friday, February 21, 2014

Rejoicing admist sorrow

Brad's step-grandpa married them.

Tessa's wedding was beautiful. We had another snowfall starting the night before the wedding, so we had to shake snow off of some of the decorations, but most of them we didn't  put out until right before the ceremony.  She was married at 4:00 pm and the snow stopped by noon. It was in the lower 30's and there were some gusts of wind that blew the snow in among those of us that were seated, but once she came down to the arbor, the wind stopped and it was quiet for the ceremony. She always wanted to be married outside, I just never thought it would be in February.  The picture below is taken on a pretty road about a mile from our house. The cemetery where Amy is buried is on the wooded hill in the background and our farm is just on the other side of the hill below the mountain.

She remembered Amy in the jewelry she chose to wear, using Amy's fingerprint, with a single pearl that was from a necklace of her grandmas, and also in the many butterflies she had in her flower arrangements and her bouquet.

A white butterfly in the middle of her bouquet in memory of Amy.

After the ceremony and picture taking we went to the reception inside the resort where Tessa works. It was so beautiful and the food was delicious. We had more pictures taken after the meal and this is when I finally fell apart for a short while. We took the family photo and my heart was aching, because there is a hole in our family now. Even with Brad filling an extra spot, the hole is still there. Unseen by anyone viewing this, but in my heart it is there. Amy should be in her chair right beside Tessa (blocking Emily's weird pose) and I should have my arm down in front holding her hand. I can see her there and she would be so very, very happy. Amy loved Brad, too. When they first starting dating she would make eyes at him as only Amy could do.

Then Suzanna (the photographer) took some pictures of just the kids. My kids, goofing off. James picked up Tessa and held her and they were all laughing and I couldn't keep the tears in any longer.  
They were all very kind and waited for me to control myself. Tessa was so strong. There were no tears from her on her wedding day!  I was able to get in a few more photos although with not as much makeup and shiny red eyes!

The last few days have been filled with packing up and moving Tessa's stuff out of her apartment. But I have had time to study God's word each day. In Second Corinthians 5, Paul talks about what is temporary and what is eternal. Verses 6-9 help me to have courage and to be pleasing to God.
"Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.  Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him."
And also today, as I was reading Chapter 6, I was encouraged to accept the results of this sinful, yet redeemed, life. I know that God has a plan for me, just as He had for Amy.  Paul suffered much more than I have, but he wrote in verse 10, "as sorrowful yet always rejoicing". That is what I want to try to achieve...... always rejoicing even if I feel sorrow.

And more news to rejoice over.......James and Laura are going to have a baby around the end of September. I'm finally going to be a grandma!

Photographer's web site

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Ten Months

Ten months ago Amy started her new life in heaven. 

One week from today her sister will start her new life with her fiance. 

My life has been filled with wedding preparations. The wedding will be here on our farm, so I have been cleaning and doing a little redecorating. Everyday I have cried about something that brings Amy to my mind. 

On the wall in the office I recorded the children's height throughout the years. As I was vacuuming I glanced at the wall and my heart was filled with sorrow. I have four children. That always seemed like a lot! Now Amy's gone, James has been married for three years, Tessa will be married very soon and that leaves Emily, and she is 27. Where has the time gone since they stood against that wall and I marked their heights?
James, the youngest, is the tallest. Amy was the shortest.  I was overwhelmed with missing her. 

As I continue to clean, I am constantly reminded of things in the past. I decorate with gifts people have given me, things of my own making and photographs. I have a lot of items that were my sister's (she died when she was 42 of melanoma) my parents or grandparents on my side and my husband's side. They each have a memory and each made me think of Amy. 

We have an old farmhouse and in our early years we would remodel one room at a time. We were married in the seventies, so there is wood paneling in almost every room. Having Amy in a wheel chair the wood would get marked up a lot on the corners or the door frames, mostly by me being in a hurry to push Amy! So a few times a year I would use a wood stain and cover up all the dents and scratches.  As I have not done this for over a year, It was really hard for me to do this past week. I knew this would be the last time I would ever have to do this and even though it is a chore I used to complain about, I sorrowed over not ever having to do it again. I know that sounds silly, but it was how I felt.

Last Sunday an elderly lady asked me how I was doing and then asked me if I felt like a burden was lifted off me. I hope I didn't act too shocked. This dear lady had a sister who was mentally handicapped  and she took care of her most of the time when she was younger. I know times would have been different back then, but I was very surprised that she referred to Amy as a burden. 

Amy was challenging to take care of at times, but she was what the Lord gave me to do. I loved her deeply, I still do.  I thought I would take care of her my whole life, but I was only given the privilege to care for her for the length of her life.

As we watched the Olympics last night, I remembered throughout the years of this always being a fun time for the family. Amy loved watching the figure skating. In the summer games, it was the gymnastics and the swimming and sometimes we would see the equestrian competitions. 

But now Amy is able to do acrobatics and ride horses in heaven if she wishes! 

I have finished my study of First Corinthians and the next to last chapter was so encouraging to me. Paul talks about heaven in Chapter 15.

Verses 51-56
 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

Someday Amy's death will not always bring sorrow. 

I know that she will be with us this Saturday, watching from heaven and laughing for her sister and new brothers happiness.