Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Moments to Remember

So I know I've been pretty quiet lately but that doesn't mean things haven't been happening. As usual though once I set my mind to writing a million things flood my mind and I can't hardly contain myself. Hopefully I can type as fast as I'm thinking tonight. So, I came to share with you something pretty funny that happened today (I'll probably get to that last) but as I got ready to post it asked me for a title. I racked my brain for something clever and came up with "Moments to Remember" which immediately made me think of two other things that have happened recently that I absolutely should blog about and share with all of you. So, there you have it - three stories, or maybe two stories and one statement? We shall see.

*Spoiler Alert* One's a tearjerker! Haha, I can't help but grin at that because if you're reading this and you've ever read ANY of my blogs it wasn't so much of a spoiler alert as it was a simple reminder - you're probably going to CRY. But hopefully you'll be encouraged and uplifted through it all too.

And can I just say, Thanks for reading this. I always wonder who would read this when I write something but I'm often told how my blogs effect people and I'm just glad someone thought enough of the fact I wrote something to take the time to read it. So I thank you sincerely.

#1 A Dream to Remember

Okay first off, I want to share with you one of the most breath-taking things that has happened to me in awhile. It literally stopped me in my tracks and I haven't been able to share it with one person I don't think without sobbing. **I've already had to stop and wipe crocodile tears from my eyes and I'm haven't even started yet** I was reluctant to share this initially because I didn't want to jinx it but then I'm reminded we can't jinx God's promises in our lives.

About a month and a half ago I received a text out of the blue from a friend. It started out saying "I dreamt of Owen last night. . . " I was blessed already because it always means so much to me whenever I hear that Owen is still in the thoughts of others - I don't know why I fear that his memory will disappear completely or that it will be as if he never existed. I know there's an enormous crown in heaven that proves otherwise but it just means the world to me to know people still love him and think of him. So already her message was enough to make my day, but she went on. " . . . He was so happy, all smiles and giggling away. He was so handsome . . ." Of course he was I thought. Of course he was smiling and happy - he isn't hurting, he doesn't have seizures, every breath every moment isn't a fight, of course he's happy, he's with Our Heavenly Father, he's home. Of course he's handsome - he was so beautiful. Of course it was Owen and then when I needed nothing more in this message, there it was - a message of love and hope. ". . . and he said he had a present for you."

Wow. I was smiling but tears were falling by the bucket full. And isn't it awesome that God counts every single tear we cry - he loves us that much - just had to throw that in there too. So, I thanked her for sharing that with me and then as if realizing it was all okay with me and not too upsetting she went back and elaborated on it all. She said in her dream he walked up to her and she knew it was him and she started crying, she hugged him and told him "your parents love you and miss you so much" to which he responded, "I know but I have a present for them" then he smiled and ran off. I know it was just a dream but for me it was a reminder that he's safe and happy and it was a reminder that God has wonderful things in store for us. More than anything else it was a message of hope and God's faithfulness - for me.

Here's the actual message

Okay so if that was the ONLY moment to Remember wouldn't it be enough?!!! Yes, absolutely but it's not. While I'm at it there are a couple of other moments that mean so much to me that I want to document them here so as not to forget about them (those who know me well know I'm good at forgetting)!!!!

# 2 A Day to Remember

So my 2nd moment to remember is really very personal but worth sharing (I think).

Do you ever have moments where you really feel like your life matters to someone? Well, not just someone but to God?! I know my life always matters to God but sometimes don't you feel so small in the mix of it all. In the grand scheme of things I mean, don't you ever think who am I in the grand scheme of things? What difference does my life make in this world? Well, I do and I'm not THAT deep of a thinker so I know that there are others who question it too. Sometimes I wonder what we're all here for, what's it all for, but I know - it's all to bring glory to God. Well, every once in awhile we get these amazing moments where we know without a doubt in the world that our life matters in the grand scheme of things. Last Sunday was one of those days for me.

First of all, those of you who have been on my facebook page, or my photography page know how much our recent Mission Banquet meant to me and so many others. I believe God called me out to do something for this family. I'm reminded of the scripture, "To whom much is given much is required." And that's how it is for me. Many would say look at what all was taken from you, Jerica, but I don't see it that way, look at what God gave me, look at what he entrusted to me, a precious sick child, one who needed so much in such a short amount of time. He chose me and he gave me a wonderful support system and a community who loved our son and took care of us so that we could be with him everyday. So, anyways, I got involved and I found my own way to give back to this family. In doing so I was the one who was blessed. I got to meet this incredible family and I got to see the heart of this amazing mother. I spent a short amount of time and energy in missions because I chose to help this missionary family. I would say it came full circle Sunday at our church service but it won't truly come full circle until they are back in Spain serving the youth of Europe and winning hearts over to Christ. But for me Sunday was the day we found out how successful it all was - in terms of raising the money to send them on their way. I stood in complete awe as our Pastor and his wife presented the check to this family and that alone would have made my day. It was beautiful and amazing and God was all over it. Prior to doing my "Making Memories for Missions" fundraiser I had spoken to Mrs. Anna once. I made a point to introduce myself at our women's bible study group. There are a lot of us women and I just hadn't had a chance to meet her until then. God had already planted a seed in my heart to do something to help her and her family but I didn't know what at that time. Well, looking back on it all this whole situation was like watching a room full of dominoes falling one by one all set in motion by a story shared with us from our Pastor's wife. That got the first tile falling then I got involved, then I just had to do a family shoot for this family, then I fell in love with them, their story, and their heart for missions, then we had the banquet, then I cried with Mrs. Anna - her on stage and me in my seat as her family was presented with a check for $50,000 - almost twice what they needed, then God and Mrs. Anna blessed my heart. I was on top of the world coming out of that service - it was awesome - the banquet the night before had left me so proud of our community and empowered by what a group of like-minded people can do when something really matters to them. And then God took it just one step further. As Mrs. Anna and I were chatting for what I'm sure will be one of our last conversations before she returns to Spain, she said I need to tell you something but I don't want to upset you. Well, if you know me I was like "Oh no, what is it? She hates her pictures? What did I do? What is it?" But with tears in her eyes she said, "I just wanted to let you know that I just know God is going to fill your arms again."


God is so good. That's all I know to say about it. And then as if that wasn't enough for one day, I mean so much good jam packed into a morning service at church, it happened again that day. Later, while finishing up a "Making Memories for Missions" photo shoot, a guy who I didn't know prior to that shoot, who hadn't been involved in planning or purchasing the photoshoot, who had no idea I was doing the shoot for missions, spoke prophetically into my life too. Twice in one day?! Man, it is GREAT to be highly favored!!! It was so sweet. He was the nephew of my client who had booked the session and he stuck around afterwards to tell me what God was getting ready to do in my life. Did I mention that this was a day worth remembering?!


# 3 A Prayer to Remember

Okay and finally the reason I was actually logging on to blog tonight (which may pale in comparison to the others but maybe not). Have you ever had one of those moments where a kid puts you in your place or teaches you a lesson - maybe even a lesson you already knew but needed to be reminded of? Well, that happened to me today and left me laughing (albeit scratching my head a little too). So here's how it all went down.

Currently, as many of you all know I'm working with the summer enrichment program at our church. So today I thought I'll teach my students an important lesson and take advantage of an opportunity for myself as well (it's not as self-serving as it sounds - or, well, maybe it is?)! So, I call all my little girls around me and I explain to them that God hears all our prayers but when a child prays it really touches his heart and a child's prayer is very powerful. I wanted them to understand how much God loves them and how he really hears them. I explained how sometimes we want something really bad and we just have to ask God for it (not like a toy or money but BIG things, important things).  Do you see where I'm going with this? Yes, I had innocent little children pray for me on the premise that their prayers are VERY powerful! So, sweetest thing ever, eight or ten little girls hands on my belly (oh and one very curious little boy) asking God to "put a baby in my belly." I know right?! Precious!  Precious in His sight as well as my own.  I wish ya'll could have seen it, or heard them, using their own little words to ask God for a baby for me.  So, then (and this is where I got schooled) I asked a couple of the girls if they said their prayers every night. And then I mentioned to them that if they remembered when they were praying that they could ask God to give me a baby.  Well, one of my sugary sweet little girls says to me, "You can't put two babies in your belly silly, we already asked him for one, you can't have two at one time."

SMACK!  In my face!

She showed me the faith of a child, in her eyes it's done because she asked for it, so asking again would just get me two babies instead of just asking again (like added insurance) for what it is I  want.

In doing so she reminded me of a story I heard once about laying your troubles at the cross and leaving them there - stop picking it up and trying to carry it around all the time.  I'm telling you she really taught me a lesson, this little five year old. Sometimes we just need to trust God and then . . . wait!  That's powerful stuff too!

So like I said this was a lot crammed into one blog but I hope you got something out of it, hope, inspiration, encouragement, a SMACK in the face, anything. And when you experience these "Moments to Remember" that help you SEE that you are highly favored in God's eyes I hope you'll document them in some way so you don't forget them either!

Til next time,

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Time to Remember - NEW YEAR'S EVE 2011

I wrote this (well, started writing it) on 12/31/2011 in preparation of the New Year. I didn't finish it. Tonight (4/6/12) I stumbled upon Owen's blog to read one little thing. Remembering how I was feeling this past New Year's I was compelled to read that blog but before I could, I remembered that my New Years 2010 blog was especially good - at least I thought so -and I wanted to read it first then read the 2011 one because my feelings about New Years were completely different. Well, much to my surprise after reading the 2010 New Years Blog I couldn't find 2011's. I knew that I had written one. I remembered feeling how I felt and I even remembered re-reading the previous year's blog before I wrote this year's blog. But there between November 2011 and February 2012 was NO BLOG for New Years. I checked my drafts - I had to - it was that feeling when you know you know something but can't prove it. I knew I had written something and there in my drafts was my New Year's blog for 2011. Unfinished and unpublished. So tonight - over 3 months later I'm posting my New Year's blog - still unfinished but still worth posting all this time later. So here goes:

December 31, 2011
I've always LOVED New Year's - just look at my blog from last New Year's Eve. Ed proposed to me on New Year's because he knew how much I loved it, with all it's possibilities of what the new year would bring. But this year the thought of starting a new year is almost unbearable. Amazingly enough I held it all together through the Christmas holidays (mostly) but here I am on the Eve of the New Year falling completely apart asking now, of all times, for time to stand still.

As hard as 2011 was for all of us I just don't want to close the book on the year because Owen was part of 2011 and I just can't bare the thought of having to leave him behind. I know it's kind of ridiculous but us parents of angel babies get to be kind of ridiculous from time to time. I know Owen left us months ago but to think of moving on to a chapter of our lives that he won't be any part of hurts so bad. Yet at the same time I know that for the rest of our lives he will be part of us and part of our future.

I think I worry more that others will forget him and leave him behind. That as time goes on his memory will fade in the hearts of those who knew and loved him. I know we all move on and it's natural for us to do so but to think of it just hurts so bad . . .

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Souvenirs of You

Souvenirs of You
In loving memory of Baby Owen Wesley Ward
September 6, 2010 - March 16, 2011

Safe here in my bubble, protected by God's grace
yet everything around me, reminds me of your face.
My angel here on Earth, in heaven now you reign
and everywhere I look I see your life was not in vain.

Oh my son, I love you so, and surely you must see
even though you got your wings you are still right here with me.
In every breath I've yet to breathe in every tear I'll cry,
in every moment I want to quit but insist instead to try.
In every good deed I've left on this Earth to do,
in everything, with every hope there will be the thought of you.

In every corner of our life, pieces of you remain
and though you're gone, for now at least, these pieces they are staying.

A drawer holds cards from states afar where friends were all in prayer,
your nursery hasn't changed at all - it's still hard to go in there.

In the window where I wash the dishes there's a rose from the spray
that sat upon the treasure box we buried you in that day.

We kept a piece of your prayer cloth, it's in your bible still,
your toys are in the living room, I haven't moved them yet, I'm not sure if I will.

There are pictures of you nearly everywhere you look
and just yesterday in some paperwork I found your favorite book.

I saved the candle from your cake, the teddy bear topper too,
I keep these things sometimes because I don't know what else to do . . .
      there will be so few, new souvenirs of you.

There's a monkey in your crib still - well you remember "Mo,"
one you took with you that day and one we just couldn't let go.

There are arms with no baby to cradle - that's the saddest reminder of all.
   Letters and cards still come in the mail, people still pray and still call.

I wear your photo around my neck almost every single day.
A beautiful precious gift from God, I hope you're remembered that way.

I painted a flower pot last year with some kids who'd lost someone too
it holds a peace lily someone sent, in memory of you.

That windmill still sits outside - it reminds me of your last moments here
and when the wind blows and it rattles, I know you are always near.

Now every September and March, every blue sky and rainbow,
reminds me of my precious son, who I never wanted to let go.

And everytime a tear falls, from your daddy's cheek
and every moment frozen in time when the pain makes us too weak,
is another chance for us to grow and for us to heal,
       a time for us to acknowledge your life was God's will.

I miss you more than there are words - it's a pain you will never have to know,
and because of that I understand, why God felt it was your time to go.

My angel boy I love you - mommy misses you, I do,
      so I hold on to all these souvenirs,
              while our Heavenly Father holds onto you.

With all my love,
Written by: Jerica Elizabeth Ward
March 29, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

I Carry Your Heart With Me

Wow. I can't believe it's been 3 months since I've blogged. So much has happened. I just logged on to share one little thing but so much has happened since my last blog I feel like I should share at least some of it. So how bout I just tell you about yesterday quickly then post what I came for tonight.

Yesterday was 11 months since Owen passed away, that seems so unreal. In a way it feels like just yesterday that I held him in my arms as he gasped for his very last breath in this world and went to live forever in another. In other ways it seems like an entire lifetime ago - everytime I use the phrase a lifetime ago in respect to Owen I can't help but think about his actual lifetime and realize it's been almost two lifetimes ago.

Yesterday morning as I was getting ready for work, Ed was ironing his work clothes and I mentioned to him that it was the 16th. Before I could completely get it out of my mouth I got the hiccups - I didn't immediately realize it. I walked through the house and when I got back to Ed I said, I have the hiccups. He smiled at me and said I know, he had noticed. I said I got them right when I mentioned Owen, he said, I know. Now I know there are quite a few things that immediately make me think of Owen (hiccups, rainbows, ladybugs, the wind . . . ) but it just reaffirmed for me one more time that Owen wants me to be okay and he WANTS me to know that he's ALWAYS with us.

As I was thinking of him and time and him being with me all the time and me being with him I thought of a poem that I LOVE. I haven't read it in respect to him but once I did I realized it was absolutely perfect. Whether it's been 11 months or 11 years this poem is so true. [Just a sidenote - anyone who knows me knows I cringe anytime I see a lowercase i in emails and such - but for authenticity I'm typing it exactly as the author wrote it - so don't think I'm just being careless - LOL - okay I'm done now] Here it is:

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]
by E.E. Cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Owen, I carry you with me always and I know you're always there. You are my heart and I'm a part of yours. Now I try harder to always think before I speak or act, so that the things I do glorify God and make you proud to tell all the other angels that I'm your mom. I can't imagine a world in which you never existed - everything we went through was worth it to have you as a part of our world for as long as we had you and a part of our life for as long as we live. We love you son. Sweet dreams.