Sunday, October 03, 2010

HELLOS, GOODBYES

As I sit her pondering how to get back into the blogging world, I ask myself what has kept me from something that I have enjoyed so much.  And as I begin to gather photos and consider what I will write, my body begins to react in a very physical way.  And then I realize that the answer is easy and the answer is hard.  To revisit any part of the last three months means that I have to face the joy and the pain of emotional hellos and emotional goodbyes.  And while the good was very, very good, the not so good was very, very not so good.

I realize now that giving up blogging is not really an option.  It would mean that I would have to say another goodbye to yet another dear friend.  And honestly, I just can't do that.  Even though my emotions will probably be all over the place until I hit the post button and perhaps for several days after; once it's done, it will be done.   And I can go back to posting about decorating and craft projects and life with a new grandbaby and all sorts of nonsense.  And it will be normal again.  Soon. 

Ryan came home for a visit before his deployment to Afghanistan.
My baby is now a man--a warrior.
There was laughter.
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And there were tears.
And I had to trust God in bigger ways.
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And I had to say good-bye.  For now.
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And even before my heart could recover,
I had to say good-bye to our youth pastor and his family.  
Tim, Emily, Olivia, and Sarah Cate
They love with abandon.  They make me laugh.
They serve the Lord with all their hearts--in a big way.
And I will never forget them.  It would be impossible.
New Orleans is where they were meant to be.
But it hurts.
bray famiily
When my mom was diagnosed with brain and lung cancer in May, my sister, Pat, left her home in Pennsylvania to take care of her in Ohio. Because of that, I was able to spend more time than ever before with my sister. And because my sister found the Lord this year, it was a special time. And amidst the serious, there were times when we laughed.
Pat and granddaughter Hayden with me and granddaughter Kenzie
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And there were times when we cried as we prepared to say goodbye to our mom.
We faced many emotions together,
not just as sisters, but as sisters in Christ.
PAT MOM ME
And if life wasn't complicated enough, we welcomed a German exchange student.
Katja would turn out to be the sister, the daughter, the friend that we all needed.
KATJA TESSA
Her laugh was contagious.
And she taught us so much about ourselves.
abby katja kristi
She embraced our family and our culture and our God.
And she will never be the same.
And we will never be the same.
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And my heart broke once again this summer when we received word that Ryan's very best friend, Justin, had stepped on a land mine on day six of his deployment.  He lost his leg below the knee.  In God's providence, we were able to visit him while in Washington for the Restore Honor Rally.
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Two weeks ago today, Kelly developed pregnancy complications that resulted in a hospital stay and ultimately, an induction.  It was a long and sometimes scary process with the health of mom and baby at stake. Jett Alexander made his dramatic entrance, and for what seemed like an eternity, did not respond.  And for a brief moment, I wondered if, in fact, I was going to have to face another goodbye.  
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But God, in His sovereignty, saw fit to bless us beyond measure.
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jett home
And as this post comes to a close, 
the Brays are prospering in their new home.
Katja is back home in Germany.
Justin is recovering in Texas.
My mom is safe in the arms of Jesus.
My sister is growing in the Lord.
Jett is sleeping soundly.
And Ryan is proudly serving his country.
ryan 3 afghan 9-10
And this mother's heart skips a beat when she sees photos from war.
ryan 2 afghan 9-10
And this mom prays that there will be no more goodbyes this year.
ryan afghan 9-10
I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.  Psalm 121:1-2