Monday, September 29, 2008

"Y2K OK!!"

Claire was born July 8, 2000.

You may remember all of the hype about the year 2000 and the concern or (for some) expectation that at 12:01 am on January 1st 2000 all of the computers were going to crash because of some programing glitch! Jeff and I decided that if the world was going to come to an end we wanted to be doing something great! So we got tickets to the Gaither New Year's Celebration in Charlotte, NC. My parents met us there and we enjoyed a wonderful night of celebration and worship. Mark Lowery was there and he came out on stage with a yellow hard hat with "Y2K OK" written on it and a flashlight taped to it. It was a great evening! Abbigayle was with us and she retold stories from that night for a very long time, she would probably recount a few now, if asked!

Of course, we all know now that the midnight hour came and went with little disruption!! Throughout my entire pregnancy with Claire, I prayed and wondered many times what the world with be like for this child. With the heightened awareness of the "end times" around December 31st 1999, it was concerning to me what my child might deal with in his/her lifetime. What would a child born in the year 2000 face?

Even though Caroline and Sarah were born after Claire, I never had those same wondering thoughts as I did with Claire.

Today, almost all news stories are centered around the upcoming presidential election, the gas crisis or Wall Street. This is a pivotal time in our nation's history! Jeff and I are praying for our national leadership to seek God's wisdom in decisions that must be made for the betterment of our great nation.

Honestly, it is difficult to not be anxious about what tomorrow may bring, in light of all we have been through, but we try to daily surrender our anxieties to God and trust that He knows what is best for us and we continue to believe in that truth!

"As Jesus entered the village of Capernaum, a Roman captain came up in a panic and said, 'Master, my servant is sick. He can't walk. He's in terrible pain.' Jesus said, 'I'll come and heal him.'

'Oh, no,' said the captain. 'I don't want to put you to all that trouble. Just give the order and my servant will be fine. I'm a man who takes orders and gives orders. I tell one soldier, 'Go,' and he goes; to another, 'Come,' and he comes; to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it.'

Taken aback, Jesus said, 'I've yet to come across this kind of simple trust in Israel, the very people who are supposed to know all about God and how he works. This man is the vanguard of many outsiders who will soon be coming from all directions—streaming in from the east, pouring in from the west, sitting down at God's kingdom banquet alongside Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then those who grew up 'in the faith' but had no faith will find themselves out in the cold, outsiders to grace and wondering what happened.'" Matthew 8:5-10 (The Message)

If the Centurion, not a follower of Christ, had such great faith and recognized that Jesus had such incredible power, then shouldn't we have that same faith?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Alternative Ending

Angela and I are always looking for ways to be together as a family, even more so since Claire's death, so when I had to go to Boone last Friday to hold a training meeting Angela decided to bring Caroline and Sarah over for some shopping and family time. We had lots of fun with the girls and some GREAT people watching.

The girls fell asleep on the way home, so Angela and I decided to rent a movie for the two of us. Angela wanted a good "chic flick" so I proceeded to hunt for a good romantic comedy that is not “R” rated. Not an easy task these days. I found a movie that seemed like it met the profile called Married Life. It was not what I expected but it did hold our interest since I did not start the movie until after 10:00pm and Angela stayed up for the entire movie (not the norm).

At the end of the movie I looked to see what was in the special features and they had three alternative endings. As I was flipping through the different endings with my remote control it struck me of how bad I wanted to choose an alternative ending for my Claire. I wish that I could choose an ending where she wakes up from surgery and climbs up in my lap and snuggles up with me with her new cast on her right arm or where I take her with me to run errands so she is not even home to fall from the tree. But I have no remote control that will let me do that, so I turn to my heavenly Father and He reassures me that He is in control, that He knows the pain that I am feeling and that He will be with me every step of the way.

"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD.’As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts'" (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Putting One Foot In Front Of The Other

Well, Jeff, Abbigayle and I are home from our very emotional day in Winston-Salem!

We met with two of the doctors who cared for Claire and reviewed her autopsy report. Following the meeting we were able to visit with another doctor who cared for her! They have reviewed her case numerous times and brought in colleagues within other specialty areas to discuss her case (and care) with!

We really did not hear any new news! In most ways that was a relief. It was determined that Claire did have a cerebral AVM. In layman's terms, she had a cluster of vessels deep inside of her brain. They all concurred that there could not have been a worse place to have this malformation. Even if diagnosed it would not have been operable!

God truly showed us mercy the day that Clarie died, and for that we are ever so thankful!

Thanks to everyone for your love, support and encouragement! We are certainly at the beginning of a very long journey and continue to be amazed at the outpouring of love from everyone! You have been a powerful testimony to the staff at Wake Medical Center!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Brringg! Brrringgg!! Brrringgg!!!

Last Monday, I received the phone call I have been waiting on since we drove away from Brenner's Children's Hospital on July 18th!! Dr. Nakagawa's secretary called and said that he wanted to set up an appointment to meet with us regarding Claire's autopsy report! As I hung up the phone I honestly felt I might be sick to my stomach!! That phone call hit me a lot harder than I had ever expected!!

With that one phone call so much spoke to my heart!!
*It told me that it has been "six to eight weeks" that we have lived without Claire in our arms!!
*It said Claire is no longer with us and the reality of her death is so certain!
*It said that after Wednesday we may have answers about Claire's death or we may have more questions about Claire's death!
*It said God's is in control!

Please keep us in your prayers as we travel to Winston-Salem on Wednesday! Our appointment is at 11am.

"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 (NIV)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My God IS Real!!

I want to share with you some words of wisdom from Claire!! I have been going through Claire's things and found this story in one of her composition books and thought you could all use a challenge from her!! I know I did!!

Claire's doleirg story
by Claire Atkins

My name is Claire I like to drole it is so mutch fun because you can drole thing that are not rele and thing that are rele like munsters gowst skeltins those where the thing that where not rele these will be the thing that are rele. people kids Evrath lion Jesus and God night and day water Anamls.

(for those of you who do not read 2nd gradeese)
Claire's drawing story
by Claire Atkins
My name is Claire and I like to draw. It is so much fun because you can draw things that are not real and things that are real. Like monsters, ghosts and skeletons those were the things that were not real. These will be the things that are real. People, kids, Earth, lions, Jesus and God, night and day, water and Animals.

Which side of this story does your God belong real or not? I know that My God is Real!!

"God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!"

Ephesians 3:20-21 (The Message)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Calgon!! Take Me Away!!

WOW!! I know it's been a week!! Life just keeps moving forward and I feel like the hamster in her perpetual wheel!!

With three active children in our home, there is never a dull moment (I sure wish we had four active children)! Dishes continue to pile up; laundry must be done; food must be cooked; homework to help with; dance class to attend; cheer leading practice; piano lessons to practice; church activities and the list goes on and on!!!

Everyday brings about a new emotion for me and yesterday was "out of control"! The equilibrium or balance in our life is totally gone, right now!!

Two very dear friends came to clean our home, yesterday, and as I was preparing for them to come (you know try to clean before someone cleans) I quickly realized that some of the tasks I would normally be attentive to, I had not been!! Sadness came over me, because somehow I understood for a brief moment, again, the magnitude of our loss!!

Throughout the past two months, there has not been one single day to go by that someone has not reached out to us!! THANK YOU JESUS!!!! Everyday, we continue to receive phone calls; e-mails; cards; meals; visitors; love; love and more love!!!

You guys are incredible!!! We sure do need you right now!!

"The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don't, the parts we see and the parts we don't. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. You are Christ's body—that's who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your "part" mean anything." 1 Corinthians 12:25~27 (The Message)

As the body of Christ, you have all continually cared for us, grieved with us, loved on us and are helping us through this most unimaginable of times, we could never make through this experience without your prayers and support!! Thank You all from the bottom of our hearts for all you have done for us and are continuing to do!! Our Prayer for you is that Our Lord will Bless You in a Mighty Mighty Way!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Life Is Good!

Alright, how many of us have Jake on a shirt, window sticker, coffee mug or other such paraphernalia? I do and have really enjoyed his companionship over the past few years! I really fell in love with him almost four years ago when our dear friends The Rectors were going through, yet another crisis in their lives. Kim's mother was fighting cancer and they took on the "Life Is Good" theme for their family! We bought a window sticker in honor of Mrs. Mason then and have kept one on our vehicles since!

You know honestly, there have been several days recently that I would choose a different saying! And then I remember 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."

I look at the path that God has given our family and I am gently reminded that Life Is Good!! Our Heavenly Father knows where we have been and He, alone, knows what is in store for our future!