Thursday, March 24, 2011


Levi: "Mommy, when will I be a grown-up?"
Caleb: "You don't want to be a grown-up. Then you have to vacuum and go to work and clean off beds."

Monday, March 21, 2011


So much to be thankful for these days...

354. watching Justin play with the boys (so different from the way I do it)
355. kisses goodbye before the sun rises as he goes off to work
356. a husband who loves God
357. the group of ladies in my Bible study sharing their lives
358. a husband who goes with me to the grocery store at night so we can use the car
359. discussing deep things of God with friends
360. play dates
361. a small trampoline at home to bounce out boy energy!
362. flowers picked by little boys
363. sound of wind rustling in the trees
364. a husband who trusts me
365. Justin taking over the nighttime/bath routine
366. rain storms
367. our pastor praying with us in the hallway at church
368. being with Nana in the hospital
369. telling her I love her
370. hearing her tell me she loves me
371. knowing my sweet Nana is with Jesus
372. sweet memories
373. successful ankle surgery
374. planning a tropical getaway
375. watching how much my boys love babies
376. that Justin makes talking to his family a priority
377. the way Justin loves his mom
378. that he never asks questions when I have not cooked dinner
379. his support as I homeschool the boys
380. checking on our children sleeping before going to bed
381. the yoga mat that has become a makeshift bed in our floor for scared little boys
382. spending time with my sister and her sweet girls in Texas
383. food cooked by friends that blessed us while I'm "out of commission"
384. so many prayers lifted up on my behalf
385. a great new Bible-wonderful maps and notes
386. getting "kissy face" pictures in my inbox from my niece
387. studying God's promises in the book of Isaiah
388. memorizing Scripture with our whole church - Matthew 5:3-10

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Remembering Nana

Nana holding Caleb the day he was born

I've been silent on this blog for a long time. After my grandmother unexpectedly passed away during our trip home in February, I haven't really known what to say. I've been grieving and thinking and trying to get back into our normal life here in Singapore. I think I'm ready to write about her.

During my growing up years my Nana was more like a second mom than a grandmother who lets you do whatever you want. We lived "across the street" from her and my Papa from the time I was 4 or 5 until the summer after I turned 13. And by "across the street," I mean our two houses sat on 4 acres of land and there was a gravel drive between the two. We didn't have a neighborhood; it was just us.

My sister and I would slam the door of my mom's piano studio in our house, hop the wooden fence of my grandparents yard, and run barefooted through the back door of their house. (I'm sure Nana would have been quick to correct us if we'd slammed the door of her house, though. We didn't get away with much around her!) Only strangers and rare package deliveries used the front door. It never occurred to us that we wouldn't be welcome at their house. We always were. Nana kept toys for us in the hall closet and poured peroxide on our wounds when we crashed our bicycles.

I remember dinners at their house; my Nana was an amazing cook...fried chicken, green beans, roast beef, chicken and dumplings, fresh homemade rolls...everything she made was amazing. And her angel food cake with homemade icing for my Mom's birthday every year is legendary. During the summer her freezer was stocked with popsicles and ice cream in a carton, and she loved to make us ice cream cones. I'm pretty sure she always had one, too, even though she would tell you she's "not an ice cream person."

Two weeks after Justin and I married in 2002, my parents moved in with my Nana. It was a great arrangement because Nana kept a lot of independence but my parents were there to take care of her when needed (and they were needed A LOT over those 8.5 years through sicknesses and falls and hip replacements and broken bones).

When we planned this trip home, our goal was for me to be with my sister when she had her baby (which I was, praise God!). We, of course, had no way of knowing my Nana would go into the hospital the day before we left Singapore, that she would be diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer a week and a half after that and would only live one week after the diagnosis.

I wish I could express the depth of my gratitude that I was there when all this happened. God is so gracious to me; He knows that living overseas means I miss so many family events, and while this one was not a happy event, I am so thankful to have been there. That this happened during the 4 weeks I was going to be home is purely the grace of God.

I was able to spend some good time with my Nana in the hospital before I went to Houston to be with my sister. That time with my Nana is so precious to me now. I was able to run down to the cafeteria and sneak her salt and pepper packets to try and make the hospital food taste like anything at all (it didn't really help). I was able to watch her sleep and help her get out of bed. I was able to tell her that I loved her.

On the day that I left the hospital the third time to return to my sister's house in Houston, I told my Nana that I'd see her the next week (in the nursing facility she was being moved to) before I left to come back to Singapore. Looking back, I think she knew she couldn't hold on that long. Right before I left, I was sitting on the side of her bed and she was sitting in the chair opposite me. She apologized to me that my mom and I had not been able to spend much time together during my time home because my mom was at the hospital all the time. I told her that was not necessary. Then she said, "I love you so much."

Less than two days later my sister and I were awakened in the middle of the night and told that our Nana had gone to Heaven, where my sweet Papa had been for 19 years.

There is such comfort in knowing that she knew Jesus, that she believed that He died for her sins, and that she is with Him now.

It doesn't make the missing her any less. I've thought about her almost constantly over the past month. When I'm making coffee, I remember how strong she used to make hers. Strong. When I put on my earrings, I remember how much she loved jewelry. When I look at my Levi with his big brown eyes, I remember that she used to call me her "little brown berry" because I, like her and like my mom, also had brown eyes. One child per generation after my Nana got her brown eyes.

My Nana remarked so many times that she never imagined she's live long enough to see her grandchildren graduate from high school, then college. She certainly never thought she'd see us get married. And to be able to hold our babies? The joy of her life. She loved them so much (and even they couldn't get away with slamming doors!).

My mind knows that she's gone, but I can't seem to convince my heart that it's real. It doesn't seem real. Having known her for my 32 years, there is an empty space in my heart knowing I won't again be able to walk into my parents' house and straight to her chair to give her a hug. I won't hear her voice pick up the phone and think she's talking to my sister and ask me how the girls are. I won't fly home this October to attend her 90th birthday party like I had planned.

She is so missed.

Nana holding Levi the day he was born

Reflecting Him

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