The Blaines

The Blaines
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Buggin' For a Cure

Buggin' For a Cure
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Monday, December 22, 2014

Celebrate

Here it is. A day that many of anticipated.  The day that Ellie finally took her last breaths here on earth.  It has been a whole year since I held that sweet girl in my arms as her body finally stopped working.  That's how we explain death to children, and the beauty in that is its just "her body".  Her spirit doesn't have to stop working, her spirit is what lives on.  Yes, her body and her face are what we will picture when we think of her, but her spirit is the way we feel when we think of her, its the "sparkly" feeling we get in our hearts.  That never dies.

I just asked Noah if he knew what today was (we had talked about it a few days ago) he said "its the day we celebrate, right?" I have a smile on my face and monkey on my lap (SG had to put monkey down in order to shovel more food in her mouth!).  I think Noah is completely right. As I put my Princess Strong shirt on I feel her all around.

Someone asked me when the hardest part of this was.  Yesterday, since she died on a Sunday or today, the actual anniversary. The hardest part was last night, remembering all that we went through, all her body went through that night, remembering the tears and the prayers. But joy comes in the morning.

"For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning". Psalm 30:5

The morning Ellie died, I rejoiced. Cancer had taken her body, but God took away her pain.  No more hospitals or yucky medicine. No more needles. No more sitting on the couch all day while everyone else played. No more fighting over food, no more getting sick. I'm sure people could say, "well God didn't have to give her cancer in the first place."  You are right, but obviously there was a reason for it, there was a plan crafted before the beginning of the world. I can't change that. I can be grateful that He ended her suffering and through His son Jesus, he promised me that I can live with Ellie and Him forever.

So today we celebrate.  We celebrate Ellie, we celebrate Jesus, we celebrate this gift we've been given.  Cancer has made me a better person, it has made my family more compassionate. It has opened our eyes to a world we had know idea about. Cancer has made me better at my job. I listen better, I understand pain better, and I don't let little things bother me as much. Cancer has made me a better mom, I give more hugs and kisses, I take more pictures, I talk more. Cancer has made me a better wife. I try to share my feelings more, and not go to bed or say goodbye with anger in my heart.  (I'm by no means perfect, but I'm so much more aware of just how precious life is!)

When a guest preacher, preached an entire sermon on this one verse, i knew it had to be shared!
"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" 2 Cor 9:15
His gift to us was His son.  And a promise that even though we lose loved ones here on earth, if we just accept His gift, we can spend eternity with them.  We don't have to perform a million acts of service or sacrifice a cow. Its simple...
 "If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved." Romans 10:9-10

Today (at this moment) I feel joy, I am surrounded by my family, with a huge feeling of appreciation for all the gifts God has given me.  If you ever doubted God, I think today is the perfect testament to Him.  A day that could be extremely sad, is filled with joy.  We are not miserable, we are not angry, we miss her and I'm sure at some point there will be tears, but God gives us the strength to move through each day, through His grace we can look forward.

So today I invite you to celebrate Ellie with us! Wear some pink and thank the Lord for your gifts.  Spend time with the ones you love, doing something you love!  And Ellie's challenge to you all....
video

And if for some reason you can't see the video, the message is, put your phone down and dance! (I have personally turned mine off...and Richard's isn't working!)

We can thank you enough for lifting us up in prayer this week.  We have felt everyone of those prayers and are so grateful to have you all in our lives.  Thank you for following this journey with us and being a part of our family.  We love you!

Prayers, Praise and Pink
~Carly


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Stop and smell the silly string

For a few weeks now I have been trying to find the right words for what I want to say...I know, I know, me at a loss for words!  So many thoughts have come flooding through my head this time of year, I keep putting notes in my phone, of what I want to write about, the thoughts that come into my head...then I try to connect them all, and I don't know how. 

Richard works retail, so from Thanksgiving until after Christmas is always hard in our house.  He works a million hours, and as much as I hate that, I'm very thankful for his job.  But with the emotions that are stirring around this house right now, plus the addition of Richard working a ton, and a new baby in the house...things have been, well a little touch and go.  

Thinking back to year ago, we knew our daughter wasn't going to live, and we choose to let nothing else matter except spending time together.  We didn't worry about jobs, or making other people happy.  We did what we wanted to, when we wanted to and even though our daughter was dying, we were living life the way it was meant to be, filled with love and dedication to our family.  We didn't fight over chores, we didn't stress bills, or who would babysit, we just lived in each moment, because we truly knew what it felt like to not have tomorrow promised.  We let ourselves STOP and live. Now a year later, we are back to the busy life. Back to jobs, bills, babysitters, school, disagreements, tempers....stress.  The other day, when the stress was maxed out...I thought to myself why is it that it takes someone telling you your daughter is about to die, to slow down and truly enjoy what life is.  How quickly we forget to appreciate our lives, our children...how quickly we fall back into the chaos of life, pushing the important things, like family time, aside for other things.  

I was digging through pictures the other day and I came across this picture.
Our family was over, we were celebrating a niece's birthday.  Silly string was involved.  Silly string is something I have never played with, its something I have never even thought to play with.  My brother and sister in law brought it with them and we had a huge silly string fight in my front yard, we have it on video, it was so much fun.  Ellie wasn't too sure about it, but as long as I carried her around, she had fun.  This is the kind of silly and meaningful fun we had last year.  Yes, there was a large "stress" hanging over our heads, but we weren't "stressing" anything.  No worries about the mess, or who got who, or how loud we were or if we looked silly, we just played.  It's a shame we don't do this more. Its sad that we just don't STOP.  This pictures stayed in my head for days.  Why can't life be like this all the time?  Of course I'd love to go back to this time because Ellie was still here, but I loved the way we lived.  I loved what was most important in that moment - just that moment.  We truly lived in today.
We (I) spend so much time trying to rush through life, or we are too busy to enjoy what is going on in our lives. We don't stop, we don't slow down, and before we know it, that time is gone. We can't get it back, those people are gone that we wish we had been nicer to or spent more time with.  Our child is gone that we should have played with instead of saying "hold on".  Our parent is gone that we should have called and listened to even though we didn't want to.  Our old friend is gone that we never forgave or never told them we were sorry.  

This time leading up to Christmas has caused me so much reflection.  I have spent weeks watching others get ready for Christmas, I rarely see Richard because he works so much, I have tried hard to give people ideas for my kids for Christmas, and tried really hard to be excited for this holiday.  I won't lie, I'm not that excited.  I have loved Christmas my whole life.  I was the teenager still up at 6 am on Christmas because I couldn't wait to open presents.  I am the parent who lays in bed, just waiting for a child to wake up so I can see the joy of their faces....this year, I don't have that same excitement, and that makes me sad.  I am digging deep for that Christmas joy, its not easy.  Last year our lights were up in October, this year, there isn't a light to be seen. Its not because we are choosing not to, its just life is "too busy" I guess, and no one is really in the mood.  We just put up the Christmas tree, and that took Noah's persistence - thank goodness, it finally started to feel like Christmas.  To me this is technically our first Christmas without her.  Last year, she was here for the preparation of Christmas, for all the excitement, the beautiful lights...the only part she missed was the opening of the gifts.  Which I got really upset about...and angry for a minute.  But really...is that what Christmas is all about, opening gifts?  It shouldn't be.  She got to enjoy the joy of Christmas time, and then celebrate Christmas with the birthday boy himself.  Last year, I desperately wanted time to stop.  Our world stopped and we breathed in every word, step, giggle, kiss and breath.   

Over the past year I have struggled time and time again with a life that doesn't stop.  Life that continues to move on when one of my children is not physically here with us.  Life that continues to be chaotic and exciting but so lonely at times.  And I know life cannot stop.  My life was not meant to stop when Ellie died.  I am still here because the Lord has more to do with me.  He is not finished using me to spread His word and His love.  I am still here to love my amazing children who are a blessing, each in their own way.  My life is going to continue to be used in whatever way He sees fit.  

"For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him."
 Philippians 2:13

But I have learned that there are some things I need to stop doing and moments that I need to slow down and enjoy.

Stop worrying - about what others are thinking, about what others may say, about messing up, about making the wrong choice.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

Stop and take a selfie - These are my favorite pictures I have of Ellie and I.  It's not vain, it's capturing a moment in time, for all you know a moment you will never get back. It's being silly
Stop judging others or making assumptions about them, you never know what they have just experienced or what their day holds

Stop stressing dinner, PB&J is a fine meal and the kids love it!

Stop complaining...when you start, find something to be grateful for

Stop being quiet in the car (the thoughts I'm thinking are usually stressful anyway) - use it as an opportunity to learn all about Noah's day

Stop telling your kids "in a minute" especially if you've said it 10 times already
Stop crocheting and hold the baby (that one's totally for me!)

Stop holding in emotions, people need to understand I feel sad too.
Stop doing it all yourself and take time to shop with your hubby...or do something together.   

Stop looking at the computer, iPad, and phone so much - play with the kids

Stop holding a grudge - we all mess up, we all make mistakes, God forgives us all.  


I ask for prayers, not just for my family, but for the many families who are struggling this Christmas.  Many of Ellie's fellow fighters went home to Jesus this time last year.  And while we all deal differently, I can only imagine their pain is intense.  Thanks for the continued love you surround us with!

Prayers, Praise and Pink
~Carly