Count of Chicks for Children

God's Plan For Us

This is our journey - God's incredible plan for our lives. When we followed the moving of the Holy Spirit, He opened the windows of Heaven and poured out upon us blessings we never dreamed of! Indescribable joy!

" For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, July 24, 2014



"You're a good Mama. You're a very, very, very, very, very good Mama.  You're the best Mama to me."

 
Truly, can there be any sweeter words to a mama's ears?

 
For some reason Ximi has started saying this to me every night when I tuck her into bed. She wraps her arms around me, pulls me down so that our faces are almost touching and says those sweet words. Then she hugs me tight and gives me kisses.

 Moments like this are little treasures that I tuck into my heart and will pull back out through the years.

When she's a teenager and going through the dreaded teenage angst, I will remember these words.

 When she moves away from home for college or job, I will remember these words.

When she's grown and has children of her own I will remember these words.

 
And one day, when I'm old and perhaps my memories fail me, I hope and pray she will still whisper these words to me...

 

“You're the best Mama to me!”

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Love in the darkness

In the darkest times, love shines brightest...

Brice's (our nephew) funeral was attended by about a thousand people. Many more were able to watch it over the internet. Our city is not large, but the outpouring of love was. It has been amazing to see the caring of so many in the face of difficulties. Our daughter, Emily, said there were over 29,000 people who viewed the facebook page that was set up to keep people updated about Brice while he was in the hospital. Tonya and David have meals coming to them for weeks.
David (Brice and Brianna's dad) got up and spoke at Brice's funeral. He set his alarm and a few minutes into his talk, the alarm went off. He did that to make a good point- we live our life around time. We hurry up when we should slow down and enjoy. He encouraged us all to take the time to do that. To not rush life but live in the moment. Not always planning and forgetting to live.

These past few weeks have been challenging for us, but also a challenge as well.

 It has made me and Virgil pause and think about what we are doing to show love to others. We have seen the love shown not only to Tonya and David, but also to us. Many friends helped with the girls while we sat up at the hospital. They brought us food, hung out with the girls and prayed, prayed, prayed. They were there for whatever we needed. People came to the hospital with meals for all of us who were there. They put thought into what they brought. a cooler filled with drinks, yogurts, fruit and cheese; money to pay for parking; quarters for the soda machine; envelopes (many anonymously) with cash inside; gift cards for gas, pizza, etc.; lotion and chapstick and toothbrushes (Brice's accident happened at night and they had nothing with them for the first day or so); baskets filled with snacks, mints, tissues; the list goes on and on. There were people who came to the hospital who knew none of us but felt compelled to come and pray with the family. Teenagers and young adults who had known Brice sat or stood in the hallway and waiting room for hours and hours. Not asking anything in return. Just wanting to be there.

It has been a bright spot.

Tangible, visible acts of caring and concern.

So many acts of love.

So many things to remind us to look for ways to help others.

To be a blessing just like the people who have crossed our paths these last three weeks have been a blessing to us.

To stop letting the clock (and the distractions of this world) dictate how we live and love others.

Virgil and I have decided to sit down this week and write out the ways we as a family are going to be intentional in being love in the darkness. Ways we can show Christ's love to others who are hurting. So many times we get caught up in the chaos of 'life' and forget how many around us need a little light in their dark times. We want to be blessing to others like we have been blessed.



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Monday, July 7, 2014

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away

I have shed a million tears in the last two weeks.

Two phone calls-one week apart -at almost the same time of night-changed our family's life forever.

Two weeks ago today, our 17 year old niece, Brianna, died from injuries sustained when a drunk driver ran a stop sign and slammed into her car.(the other girl in her car, Mickayla, is still fighting for her life) She had graduated high school only a couple of weeks before. The visitation went for 11 hours- without a lull. They finally had to close the doors. Throughout it all, her brother, Brice, was David and Tonya's  shoulder to lean on.(Tonya is Virgil's little sister) Brice got up and spoke at the funeral. He was strong for his parents when I am sure that all he wanted to do was grieve himself. Brice and Brianna were very close. More so than most siblings I know.

Even as I type this, I have a hard time telling - or believing- what happened next.

A week after Brianna was hit, some friends were holding a small gathering to remember her. The house  was just down the street from David and Tonya's. On the way home, Brice,  (their only remaining child) hit a deer that had run out in front of him. He was thrown from his ATV and suffered traumatic brain injuries. His parents were right behind him and watched it all happen. The same pilot that had flown  his sister to the trauma hospital in Louisville, picked Brice up and took him.

 Family and friends kept vigil by his bed, praying for a miracle. Praying for healing.

God chose to heal Brice by taking him on to Heaven. He died July 5.

This morning they will go to the same funeral home where they went two weeks ago and choose yet another coffin. Make another set of funeral arrangements. They will place their other child in the grave this Wednesday - one day before he would have turned 21, and two days before Brianna would have turned 18.


I know the hurt I have, and I know that my pain is nothing compared to theirs. They have shed a billion tears and will continue to shed them in the years to come. As David said, they had so many plans. So many things they were looking forward to. Now there will be no college graduations, no wedding plans, no grandchildren....

Throughout this time David and Tonya have displayed a faith that many will never understand. They have comforted the very ones who came to comfort them. I watched them as the people came through the line at Brianna's visitation.
 They did not rush them through.
They stood up there by the coffin THE ENTIRE TIME.
They hugged and cried with each one who came to pay their respects.

I watched them this past week at the hospital.
Comforting family and friends.
Taking time to speak with strangers who had heard their story and wanted to offer their condolences or pray with them.
Getting to know those who were caring for Brice. Hugging everyone who came into the room.

Every nurse who had Brice cried with the family. Most of the doctors who came through were crying as well.

Brianna's injuries kept her organs from being donated, but they were able to donate Brice's. We know  several people were given the gift of life through their generosity.

Brice would be pleased.       

 He was a giving person.           

He learned that from his parents.

The great comfort that we all have in this, is the fact that both Brice and Brianna had given their life to the Lord. They believed Christ died on the cross for their sins, was in the grave for three days, then rose again and is sitting at the right hand of God. Their Savior was there to welcome them both into Heaven - home for them now, and one day home for all of us who believe. We know that one day we who believe will see Brice and Brianna again. God comforts us with that thought and that promise.
God has sustained David and Tonya - and indeed all of us- through this dark time. We know He holds each tear we cry and we know He loves and cares for us.

The book of Job in the Old Testament talks about a man who lost all his children. When he was told the news that they had all been killed at the same time his comment was:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
    may the name of the Lord be praised.” Job 1:21
 
We know that through Brianna's death 4 people accepted Christ as their Savior. We pray many more will believe through the testimony of faith that is being shown during this time. We will continue to praise His name!!
 
 
Brice and Brianna