Sunday, December 27, 2009

"Tears stream down your face when you lose something you cannot replace"

I wrote this down on Christmas Eve:

December 24, 2009

From Jan. 1 to this very day, I think we all have had a stressful year. It's been emotionally draining from beginning to end and it ended with a bang with the loss of Pawpaw. Since he's been gone, not a single day goes by where I don't think about him. Losing him, by far, has been one of the biggest tragedies of my life and it's been such a battle choosing not to dwell in his absence. I tear up everyday, usually leading to a "boohoo", sometimes even 2 to 3 times a day. If there was ever a worst year to lose a loved one, this was it.

All that to say, it's been extremely difficult getting into the focus of the true meaning of Christmas. I definitely haven't been myself since November 2, so how can I try to make my heart feel something when sometimes I just want to feel nothing at all?

I've been praying the last few weeks for God to bring peace and joy into my life just so I am able to celebrate His Son's birth this Christmas. I pray that He takes away the sadness that is blocking my heart from remembering that night Jesus was born to save us. I've just wanted REST from the fact that my Pawpaw IS GONE. Especially since from now on, our holidays will no longer be shared with him.

One specific day, I was praying with such an urgency in my heart. I wanted the Lord to know how important His peace for my soul is for this Christmas. I prayed "God, just let me know that I can get through all of this while trying to deal with our tragedy."

And, sure enough, the Lord put Pawpaw being Heaven into perspective for me. He said "Heather, I know that you are so sad, even angry, that I took Pawpaw. But I want you to know how happy he is." You can't imagine how bittersweet it is to hear that from the Lord. God showed me that, in Heaven, Christmas is a whole new story, a whole different celebration from how we do it here on earth. He said that every single person realizes that they are IN HEAVEN because of Christmas. They realize "Christmas is why I'm here today!"

I thought of Pawpaw falling on his knees due to his first experience of Christmas in Heaven. What a party they must be throwing! All those times we sing "Away in a manger", all those times we hear the Christmas story in church or read it in the Bible, well the members in Heaven are hearing it straight from the mouth of Jesus! How overwhelmingly beautiful that must be! They are celebrating the birth of our King WITH THE KING HIMSELF.

THIS will be the most amazing Christmas Pawpaw has ever celebrated. The TRUE meaning of Christmas will hit him like a mack truck and I can only imagine the tears of joy he will shed because of it. I cannot wait to celebrate Christmas with my whole heart in Heaven and I'm so thankful that Pawpaw is doing that as we speak.

Typical of this man. Thank you, Savannah, for posting more pictures!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

charlie brown-ish

Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree

Hunter and I went to pick out our Christmas tree on December 2 at Lowe's. They had such a beautiful selection and really good prices- we were so excited! We got our tree and loaded it up. It smelled exactly how Christmas is supposed to smell.

Here's the beautiful tree we picked out in all it's voluptuous glory. It was full and fat and looked incredible once we got all the ornaments on it. BUT.......
I noticed that it wasn't drinking water from the start. I was a good little Christmas tree keeper and checked on it everyday. The water level never went down, but I'd still fill it up a little bit in hopes that it would absorb. Before I knew it, the branches started drooping and the ornaments hanging on the lowest part of the tree were touching the ground. The needles began to fall with the slightest touch. The evergreen smell quickly faded. It wasn't bright and green. But I was in denial that it died.

Then one day, my parents came over. I said "SEE OUR TREE??? Isn't it amazing??"
Dad touched it. He replied "It's dry as a bone....."
Then mom came inside and immediately looked at the tree. She said "Um. Your tree is dead."
Mom explained to me that if it was worth it to make the effort, I could take all the ornaments off, load it back in my car and get my money back because LOWES GUARANTEES THEIR PLANTS AND TREES!
So I loaded it back up. The whole drive over to Lowes, I was on the verge of crying. I just felt like I was doing something wrong. I'd gotten so attached to the tree, whenever I'd look in my rear view mirror, all I saw was our precious tree and it's pine needles blowing in the wind as if it were fur from a deer I had killed for the first time.

I got to Lowes. Yes, they said, this tree is dead. Here's your $28 bucks.
I took one look at their measly selection and said "I'm going to Home Depot...."
Thank goodness Home Depot still had 7 foot trees left. But there were no full, beautiful, luscious trees to choose from. My heart sank as I propped up each orphan tree and realized I was going to bring home something sad. I picked out one to the best of my ability, loaded it up and sadly drug it through our front door.
Hunter came home and forced a smile. "It's so skinny....."
"Yes, I know, Hunter...."
We put up the ornaments with frowns and all I could think about the whole time was our first tree just laying in the trunk and loading it in a buggy and leaving it behind...

So this is our new tree. Very Skinny. Very sparse. Got a little chunk missing on the right side. But after we decorated it, I stood back and stared at it for a while. I thought,
"You know, our other tree got to spend a good 2 weeks here in our living room. It listened to our praises and had a good life. So now it's time to puff up this tree's pride. If it weren't for us, this poor tree might still be out in the cold at Home Depot knowing it's rejection. Now it's inside all warm and glowy and it saved us from a possible fire cause by dry dead pine needles and hot Christmas lights..... yeah..... Now it's time for this tree to have it's glory. I couldn't stand the thought of this tree being alone on Christmas day. This is OUR tree."

So there you have it. This is the tree that saved Christmas....


Merry, merry Christmas

Friday, December 11, 2009

this song reminds me of.....

You only know what I want you to
I know everything you don't want me to
Oh your mouth is poison, your mouth is wine
Oh you think your dreams are the same as mine
Oh I don't love you but I always will
I always will

I wish you'd hold me when I turn my back
The less I give the more I get back
Oh your hands can heal, your hands can bruise
I don't have a choice but I still choose you
Oh I don't love you but I always will
I always will

Thursday, December 3, 2009

"In the frosty aaaiiiirrrr"

7:30 am, on my way to be with the boys. the grounds are covered in frost, so much so that i thought it had snowed.

all i can say on the drive there is "wow, God..."

doing my laundry. me and hunter wear pawpaw's socks. they speak mounds about his personality. i'm sure he's quite the entertainment up there.

miss him...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Well, I tried to tell him that I was putting the sheets on the bed and that he needed to move. But he didn't.....

And he really didn't seem that interested in coming out.

Saw this at my favorite spot today and, of course, thought of Pawpaw.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"I know your life
On earth was troubled
And only you could know the pain
You weren't afraid to face the devil
You were no stranger to the rain

Go rest high on that mountain
Son, your work on earth is done
Go to heaven a shoutin'
Look for the Father and Son

Oh, how we cried the day you left us
We gathered round your grave to grieve
I wish I could see the angels faces
When they hear your sweet (I would have to change it to silly) voice sing

Go rest high on that mountain
Son, your work on earth is done
Go to heaven a shoutin'
Look for the Father and Son"

Friday, November 13, 2009

Took this at my favorite spot this morning...

     When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,     
     when sorrows like sea billows roll;       
   whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,     
It is well, it is well with my soul. 

Monday, November 9, 2009

Remembering my Pawpaw

William Joseph "Billy Joe" Clark
April 16, 1928- November 2, 2009
My Pawpaw

This is my Pawpaw. I was going through my computer and failed to find a picture of him that wasn't silly. You never could get him to take a serious picture. But now I've completely accepted that because all he wanted to do was make you laugh. And he always succeeded at doing so.

I hope you will take the time to read what he meant to me.

My pawpaw is a legacy. He is one of the most incredible men I have ever known and I'm so proud to call him my grandfather. Everything I could ever ask for in a grandfather- he was it. He was silly. He was strong. He was patient. He was in love with the Lord. He plays a huge role in defining my childhood. Most of my memories with him are out on the golf course. He wanted me to learn the game so bad, but the only thing I was good at was slicing the ball..... every time. So I drove the golf cart and kept his score. But I knew the course like the back of my hand and he would coach me. I loved watching him, and when our long day was over, we'd go to Krystals or to the donut shop. I love that EVERY time we ate dinner at his house, his favorite joke was "Whatchya want for supper? A goo goo bar?" and at every family gathering, his blessing before we ate was always "Rub-a-dub-dub three men in a tub. Thank you, Lord, for this grub. Let's eat!" The only form of discipline he'd ever given to his grandchildren was "You don't eat, you don't play. You don't eat, you don't play. You don't eat, you don't play...." It never worked. I loved every minute with him. 

I'm so thankful that as I got older, I started asking Pawpaw questions and wanted to learn about his life. He grew up with an abusive father who drank often and would disappear from time to time. His mother raised five children almost all on her own and they had very little money. In pawpaw's later years in life, he found out that he had half brothers and sisters that he had never known about. There were times when pawpaw went to school with good-for-nothing clothes and shoes. He and his sisters would put cardboard in their shoes so there feet wouldn't touch the street through the holes in the soles. He quit high school to join the marines and started earning money to send back home to his mother. He was 17 years old and weighed 120 pounds when he enlisted. His stories are incredible. He boarded a ship for a month long journey from San Diego to China and would stay there for 2 years. He said he was scared to death, but when he was 18 years old he was saved and said from that point on, fear never entered his body again. After China, the marines took him to Alaska for the next 2 years where he obtained his expert rifleman medal. He was discharged from the corp in 1949. 

He married my Mawmaw in September of 1957 and they started their family in August of 1958. There is one particular story that makes me unbelievably proud of Pawpaw. He worked for the phone company, gosh, I think for 40 years. In his early career with them, he worked at night splicing cables underground. In 1964, he was going about his job close to a four-lane highway. It was raining very hard that night. He heard a loud crash, but didn't come up to check things out. One of his friends came running to him to inform that a bad wreck just happened, so he came up to the road. He saw a car engulfed in flames and lots of spectators had started to gather. He noticed an elderly couple trapped in the car, but no one seemed willing to help. So my Pawpaw did the only thing that made sense to him. He saved them all by himself. At his first attempt, the hat he was wearing caught on fire and his scalp and hairs were singed. The first car door he tried was pried shut, so he ran around to the other side. He pulled the old man out and drug him to safety. Then he went for the woman. He said it was very difficult because they both weighed over 200 pounds and were in their 70's, therefore they had no strength. He was awarded and recognized greatly for his selfless heroic act. After Pawpaw passed, I was going through his things and found the newspaper article he had saved with his picture and his story. He ended the story by stating that the only reason he found the courage to put his own life in danger is because God gave him the strength to be brave.

Pawpaw has always made it his ministry to reach out to the needy. He never once thought twice about passing by someone who needed help. My dad said he remembers Pawpaw bringing home random families at dinner time because they needed a meal to eat. I remember a poor man named Bob from the Roebuck golf course that Pawpaw faithfully took care of. Bob was a special needs man, so the only job he could get was finding old golf balls in the bushes and ponds and sold them to the golfers. Pawpaw would always buy golfballs from him and would give him way more money than they were worth. He would pick Bob up and take him home. He always made sure that he had food and clothing. We read Matthew 25:34-40 at his funeral. It says:

"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.' 

Then these righteous ones will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?' 

And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!"

That verse perfectly describes my Pawpaw's life ministry. He was a great man of God. He never judged you, he never turned away from you, he just embraced you. No one could do wrong in Pawpaw's eyes. He unconditionally loved every person and selflessly gave with the heart of Jesus. 

I'll never forget when I heard about what happened. It was August 18. I was in California visiting my family. Hunter came to me and pulled me aside. He very calmly told me "Please don't worry because I want you to know that everything is ok, but I just got a phone call from your family. Pawpaw has had a stroke and is in the hospital." Of course, I didn't stay calm. Nothing inside me felt like everything was ok. My pawpaw didn't have strokes. My pawpaw got up everyday and played golf. My pawpaw worked out every single day. My pawpaw was the most active 81 year old I'd ever met. He was silly and energetic. He was invincible. A stroke? Not my pawpaw......

But he did have a stroke and he wasn't ok. As soon as we got home from California, we jumped in the car and drove down to Birmingham. That man in the hospital bed was not my pawpaw. And I had to watch him for the next two and half months slowly lose his life. It was terrible. I prayed everyday that he would get up out of that bed and defy everything he had against him. I was so angry that he, out of nowhere, had a stroke and wasn't being healed. The last week of his life, he decided he just wanted to go to his own house. On friday, October 30 he started therapy in the comfort of his bedroom. The nurses and hospice service chosen were amazing. Unfortunately, on saturday- less than 24 hours later, I received a phone call that his last days were approaching. We spent the night at his house October 31st, and seeing his condition by Sunday, the nurses informed us that the end was very near. He had lost so much weight, his urine and stools were full of blood. He had uncontrollable muscle twitches. He could barely open his eyes and his mouth stayed wide open due to the lack of being able to control his muscles. All he could say was "water" because his mouth was so dry, but he wasn't allowed to have any because he choked on it, seeing as how his body couldn't control swallowing movements. We decided to head back to TN and wait for the phone call. Before we left, I was so thankful for the opportunity of spending a few moments alone with him just holding his hand and thanking him for being the best grandfather I could ever ask for. 10:00 Monday morning, my aunt Lynn entered his room and saw that his eyes  and mouth were wide open and he wasn't breathing. She said to the nurse "Is he gone?????" But the nurse noticed his state at the very instant my aunt did. My mawmaw was called into the room to be with him as he passed. My aunt held his hand and cried out loud "Daddy, you're with Jesus now!" My aunt said that all of a sudden, pawpaw seemed very peaceful. For a moment, his eyes and mouth relaxed and closed. And briefly, he smiled. He was Home. 

I still can't believe he's gone. Losing someone does the oddest things to your soul. You experience such a deep sadness, and you feel like the only thing that will make you happy is to just be up in Heaven with that person- that nothing here on earth even matters anymore. And being in that house for a week after pawpaw passed was so surreal. I would hear someone's voice that, just for a second, sounded like pawpaw and my heart would flutter with excitement. Every room I was in felt like he was just in the next room over. I kept waiting on him to waltz in at any moment singing some silly nonsense, or walk in the kitchen and he'd be sitting at the table writing something down. The mornings were so quiet. Whenever we would visit in the past, I was ALWAYS woken up by pawpaw's boisterous voice and stomping around downstairs. It always aggravated me because he was my alarm clock at 6:00 am when I stayed with them. But now the mornings were quiet and what used to annoy me so much in the past, I longed to wake up to so badly. The absence of his presence was so obvious.

I miss him so much. But I do know that right now, he is hanging out with his mother and brother and King. He is playing on the most beautiful golf courses and making sure he shakes the hands of all the saints and popes. He's being sillier than ever and I can't wait to see him again. As for now, I will remember the man he was here on earth and spread his legacy.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

heart warmers

These simple things have made me OH SO happy today! :)

Our big, white squishy bed. Never made. Just always squishy.

I love it when God gets out His paintbrush.

He said "A little dab here. A little dab there. Lots of dabs here..."

"Sculpting every move you compose a symphony
You plead to everyone, see the art in me"

I LOVE.....

This time of year. It's like BANG! Halloween! Thanksgiving! Christmas! New Year's! Anyways, I got this in the mail today and I'm ready for Thanksgiving! I just love it because it means lots of amazing food with lots of amazing people.

My cat because he refuses to clean up the mess I made.

Our caricature! This was the wedding favor for Nick and Courtney's wedding. Such a good idea!

These acorn salt and pepper shakers. Can you even believe them?

The cheese dip I made on a whim. I got this sudden crazy urge to make it. I ruffled through my fridge to find some cheese. I didn't have enough of one particular cheese BUT I did have little bits of different kinds. I threw in a few cubes of cheddar, a few slices of white American, some shredded Wisconsin aged cheddar..... all in a pot on low heat and let it meeeelllllt down along with my heart. So good.

Hope you enjoyed the pics of things that have made my heart sing today!!!


One day, I will get creative and start an Etsy site. Right now, I totally have a few friends who could sell their stuff on Etsy and I'm quite confident they'd be successful! I wondered if it was possible to actually be successful on the site, and well, this article answered my question! So I wanted to share it!

Read it HERE.

Hope you find it helpful!! 

(It's almost the weekend!)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Nolan is 9!

For Nolan's 9th birthday, all he wanted to do was get a good old game of football going!

They just scored a touchdown... you can see victory in their eyes.

Huddle up, guys.

Ok, snack/lemonade break.

Yes, Hunter wore a Packer's shirt on Steeler's game day...

and Kasen.... slept through all of it. If you click on the actual picture, you can see that he's fallen asleep with his finger in his belly button..... little stinker.

Uncle Hunter is about to get sacked by little Hunter!

Yesterday was Nolan's actual birthday. So the family went over to his house and I made a big ol' pot of chili! We had a good time :)

Love my buddy-boy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

it was a cotton pickin' good time

Today was a great day. Kasen's preschool took a trip to the Ring Farm. We got to do lots of really fun things!

We learned how to make butter...
First, you milk your cow.

Then you shake, shake, shake it!

Then you put it on a cracker and eat it up!

After making butter, we headed over to the cotton patch.

We decided not to do the corn maze, but still learned a little bit about it!

Kasen's favorite part had to be taking the hay ride aaallll over the farm!

We had some really amazing views during the hay ride.
I love this picture. It's got five layers: the bottom layer is cotton. The second layer is corn. The third layer is a field. Then the tree line, then the beautiful sky!

Lettin' the wind blow in our hair!

We took a little break during the hay ride to pick pumpkins!

This is Kasen's class. Aren't they sweet?

After the hay ride, Kasen wanted to try out the huge slide!

Somehow, he ended up coming out upside down and backwards. Poor baby, it scared him.... he was done with the slide.

Gotta love a John Deere.

This sweet little kid (from a completely different field trip, with a completely different school) saw me taking picture after picture of Kasen and said "Will you take one of me?" haha!!

This is Kasen's cotton in a jar. Isn't it pretty??

What a fun day!