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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Heaven

Before Catie died, I never thought a lot about Heaven. It's where I'm going when I die and that's about all I thought about it. I didn't give much consideration to what you do and what it's like. But with Catie there, it's definitely something I think about. I wish she could somehow send us a quarterly newsletter sharing the highlights of what she sees and does. As a Momma, it's hard not knowing what fills her life now. I don't know what Heaven will be like, but I know it will be so much better than anything I can even come close to fathoming... So, though I don't know what fills Catie's days (are there even days and nights in Heaven? time doesn't matter), I know that her heart is fuller and she is happier and more peaceful than I can even imagine. She is complete.

I do dream about what it will be like when I see her again. I always picture her with hair and still at the age of 4... and I picture her running... sometimes w/ her familiar wobble and sometimes not (is perfection being totally able-bodied or being accepted and loved by everyone you encounter for who you are, just the way you are?)... I always lift her and she fits her body into just the place she always fit and lays her head on my shoulder in the same place she always did. And I just hold her... and after a moment or two, her voice with that sweet southern accent begins to speak... and the words come out so quickly with her trying to share w/ me the things she's seen and known and done... And she laughs and she shares... And I just listen... and I soak it up... and I am grateful... grateful for a God who's plan was big enough to make a way for us to see her again... big enough to make a way to share her with us again....

I don't have any biblical back up for the specifics of my daydream... I don't know if we'll be in bodies or if it will just be our souls.... but however it is, I do believe that even as good as that daydream is, what will truly happen will be even better. I don't think our minds can comprehend the wholeness and completeness that is Heaven.

There is a song that Brad Paisley sings that I just love. I have it on my iPod and I confess to listening to it several times on some days. I know that when I get where I'm going, I will meet my Maker and I will lift Catie to my hip. There are no tears of sorrow in Heaven, but that day there may be tears of joy.

When I Get Where I'm Goin'

When I get where I'm going
on the far side of the sky.
The first thing that I'm gonna do
Is spread my wings and fly.

I'm gonna land beside a lion,
and run my fingers through his mane.
Or I might find out what it's like
To ride a drop of rain

(Chorus:)
Yeah when I get where I'm going,
there'll be only happy tears.
I will shed the sins and struggles,
I have carried all these years.
And I'll leave my heart wide open,
I will love and have no fear.
Yeah when I get where I'm going,
Don't cry for me down here.

I'm gonna walk with my grandaddy,
and he'll match me step for step,
and I'll tell him how I missed him,
every minute since he left.
Then I'll hug his neck.

(Chorus)

So much pain and so much darkness,
in this world we stumble through.
All these questions, I can't answer,
so much work to do.

But when I get where I'm going,
and I see my Maker's face.
I'll stand forever in the light,
of His amazing grace.
Yeah when I get where I'm going,
Yeah when I get where I'm going,
there'll be only happy tears.
Hallelujah!
I will love and have no fear.
When I get where I'm going.
Yeah when I get where I'm going.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

She Knows How to Get Her Point Across

Yesterday, Izzy and I were outside enjoying the gorgeous weather that we've been having. She is truly a country girl. Has managed her first skinned knee, scratched up her other leg, and has a couple of ant and mosquito bites. I seriously think she would stay outside the entire time she was awake if I would let her. :)

Yesterday, we were outside and she was piddling and doing her thing. I was trying to get some squash plants in the ground. She walked over to me and took my hand. I put down my trowel and followed her lead. She walked us to her wagon, opened the door, climbed in and sat down. She looked at me and said, "go! go! go! go!" Needless to say we had ourselves a nice walk yesterday afternoon!

Gotta go get the rest of the squash in the ground! :)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Izzy B

Just some fun pics of Iz. Yes, we actually do brush her hair... she was just blessed w/ my thin, flyaway hair! :)


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I love this one!

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That wrinkly nose

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Monday, April 14, 2008

At the Kitchen Table

Izzy is at that age when her language is growing by leaps and bounds. She's really learning to use her words well and knows a few signs that she likes to use also. Much to my dismay, she has already learned to say, "no." :) Her favorite time to use it is when we ask for kisses. She grins big and shakes her head back and forth as fast as she can telling us no! She seems to have a bit of her sister's teasing nature in her. :)

She loves to point at pictures and have you tell her what's in the picture. Sometimes it's in books, sometimes just photos around the house. Yesterday, we were at the kitchen table and she was pointing to pictures in a picture collage near the table and I was telling her who was in the pictures. She pointed to one: "that's Izzy..." then to another: "that's Izzy and Daddy." She pointed to the next: "that's Catie." Nothing unusual about this conversation so far... happens all the time. But the next thing Iz did caught me off guard. After I said, "that's Catie," she looked at me with a look very similar to this one on her face:

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She didn't say the words out loud, but her face was clearly asking, "where's Catie?" just as if she were looking for Tre' or Joey. For her that moment didn't seem significant, but for me it was. Maybe because I so long for what could have been... maybe b/c she realized that this girl Catie sure is in lots of pictures around here, so shouldn't I know her. Who knows... I'm glad she doesn't have to miss Catie like we do. I don't ever want her to have to know hurt like that. But somehow it felt good for her to be curious about her.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Catie

So it's been a while since I watched the "A Few of our Favorite Things" video that Uncle D made with pictures of Catie and some of her favorite music. I still can't believe that he was able to put that together in 2 days (no doubt I owe him big time for the sleep deprivation that weekend!). Well, I watched it this morning and it was so good... sometimes if I don't look back at pictures a lot, the memories that stick are the times when she was the sickest. Random memories will sometimes pop in my head... like the times I made her throw up b/c I didn't know yet that you shouldn't put cold liquids into a g-tube, or the time I had to access her port and her skin was raw from tegaderms and I had to scrub it with alcohol... There was too much she had to go through and goodness knows she took it with the grace of someone 5 times her age. The video makes me proud. Proud b/c despite the incredibly rotten hand she and our family were dealt in cancer, she really was happy. She smiled and she laughed and she lived and she loved and she was loved. I remember the setting for most every picture in the video... if she's laughing, I could probably tell you why... I can tell you if she's in the hospital (and if she is, if it's in Savannah or Atlanta), or at the beach or at home or somewhere else... I can tell you what point we were at in treatment... I can tell you that in one picture, she has hair as far as you can tell, but the back was completely bald where her hair had been rubbing off as she slept... I'm so thankful for pictures and for the memories they trigger. I know that I would not remember so many of those moments were it not for having them recorded. I'm thankful for the reminder that so much of her life was good, was happy... I love the pictures of her laughing or grinning or playing at the hospital. If she could do that in the midst of all she was going through, we can learn to do the same through tough stuff.. She made the best of life with cancer. We can learn to make the best of life without her here. Sure do miss her though...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Oh, You Guys are in Trouble!!

So I ordered a new camera and it came in today. It's a still camera, but has a video function on it that's much nicer than on my old camera. It's going to take me forever to learn all the bells and whistles on it, and you guys will probably be subject to far too many pictures as I learn. For tonight, I'll settle for sharing a quick video of Iz. Nothing fancy here, we were honestly just giving it a shot to see how it worked. The end is her "funny face" that she makes when she's trying to get you to laugh.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Beach Bum!!

We're at the beach this weekend. Iz has been to the beach, but this is the first trip since she started walking. I am here to tell you, she thinks it's good stuff... I'm thinking she is going to love it just as much as her sister did!!

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Sand!!!!!

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Where did the birds go?

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Momma!! Did you see that??

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Here I come!

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There's that bird!

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Pure JOY!

I'm not sure if you can tell, but she was COVERED in sand and SOAKED!!!! Can't wait to hit the beach again in the morning.

Check below for elf info. if you need it!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Elf Stuff -- You Interested??

Ok, so we've got the go to launch the elf project in other areas. Now we just need to make it happen. We would LOVE to see Elves from Catie in at least 10 other hospitals around the country.

The hope is to partner with groups or businesses and have them sponsor a hospital. The number of elves needed for a particular hospital depends on the needs of that hospital. One of the problems we're running into is that many organizations already have their calendars set for this year, so they are unable to help us for this year. We would still really like to meet our goal of 10 new hospitals.

So, here's where I ask for a bit of help. If you are a member of an organization or church group or business that would be interested in working with us on this, I would love to hear from you. We will partner your organization with a hospital -- ideally, one in your area. You would help us "elf-raise" to get enough elves donated for kids at your partner hospital.

Now -- how can you do this? All you have to do is contact me and we will help you get set up. Maybe your MOPS group is looking for a project for the fall. Maybe the teachers at the school you teach at or the folks where you work could have a dress down day where folks pay to dress down. Maybe your tennis team or book club would like to make a difference in the lives of kids fighting cancer. Maybe your company could offer this to its employees -- just have the information available so that people you work with could donate elves (and maybe the company would be willing to match the employees' donation). Maybe your church group is looking for a new project. Maybe you're a family who has been touched by childhood cancer and you would like to see the hospital your child was treated at benefit from Elves from Catie.

Remember that 30% from the sales of every single one of Elves from Catie goes to CURE Childhood Cancer. CURE is funding some tremendously exciting research right now. We would love to see this make a big impact. If you can help us out in any way, please let us know! 10 hospitals is the goal! We have to get things set up soon so that we can get elves donated in time to be sure there are enough for the hospitals we want to work with. Each elf will come with a book about an elf's adventures in the hospital. You can click benefit here for more information. I hope that link works -- I've never linked to a document from here. It may only last for 3 days though. We shall see!

Feel free to post questions in the comments section or e-mail me (jencarrollwilkinsATgmail.com). Use @ symbol, not word AT -- trying to prevent SPAM. Hope to hear from some of you soon!