Wednesday, November 12, 2008


It pains me to post without pictures. Why am I weird like that? I think I just realized why I need there to be pictures. ok, the pictures represent something. It's that I want you to "see" that we're going to be ok. I want you to see us smiling and "living" life even though our days are SO hard without her. This all came full circle for me this past weekend. Billy and I were driving to Troy's homecomimg and I said "So you're good for our pictures on Monday, right?" To which he replies "No, I can't do it." "You're kidding, right?" "No, I really can't, I had something come up with work that I have to do, I just got the email last night."

I could feel the lump in my throat. Now let me set the scene for you a little better. Some dear friends we've made here in Cullman offered to pay for us to have our first family picture whenever we were ready. I decided now was the time and we could hopefully use one for our Christmas card. Some of you may be thinking it's too hard for us to even do a card this year, but honestly, the thought of NOT doing one is even sadder to me. So I've realized that this year's card symbolizes so much more than just our picture. It's a symbol of hope for me. It means that we're going to "live" in the midst of this hurt and these tears. It's taking the next step on this journey. It's letting our friends and family see that we can smile and we're going to make it!!!!!! To see that we still believe in God's goodness. Does that make sense?

So all that to say, I had our outfits picked, the photographer scheduled to come to our house, etc. and Billy says he can't do it. He says (before realizing how important this is to me) "It's just a picture, we can reschedule." So after my anger boils on the inside for a while I say through my tears...."It's NOT just a picture...not this year!!!" We had a great talk about it and after listening to me he completely understood. So you can be sad when you see our picture but I also pray it will be a symbol of hope when you look at it.... and that it will remind you to pray. You know how the new year is always exciting...fresh starts, new goals, etc. I think of 2009 and I feel weary at the thought of moving forward without Lew. But God will give grace for those days too. Again, it goes back to surrender and trust.

Maybe the next post will be just one big slide show of pictures. We've been camping, done Halloween(even Billy and I dressed up this year) and went to Troy's Homecoming this past weekend. All very fun. It was good to laugh.

Or, maybe the next post will just be for you to listen to my playlist of songs. Sometimes I'm amazed at how the words seem to say EXACTLY how I feel. So if you ever wonder how I'm doing, just listen to the words.

Oh, one more thing. Last night I was reading back through cards that people have sent and came across these notes and it made me smile.....

"We can only say that our lives were blessed and enriched by knowing that sweet little sunbeam, Alaina. She of the bold spirit and cheerful countenance....of the extra-large hairbows and southern-style dresses...of the curious eyes and quick smile."..... I couldn't have described her any better than this!

"Time moves for everyone around you- but likely not for you. And I reckon that your broken hearts are hurting more now than even a week ago. God is faithful. When you are in the "I can't do this, God" desolate pit, Jesus will be there. My prayer for you will continue to be that God's grace flowing not just over you, but into the fissures of your broken hearts- will be a comforting reality."

God is answering your prayers! He gives us grace daily to keep walking, to keep pressing on.

Until next time(WITH PICTURES)
Hope :)


April Brown said...

Everytime I read your posts I walk away with such hope...for you, for your family, for myself. Thank you for living outloud. Really, it blows me away.

I love pictures, too. I love the silent stories they tell. I love the memories they keep for my forgetful brain. And I love Christmas cards...every year coming up with a theme or even just trying to get everyone out of pj's and into something decent! And because I am such a quality time person, I love receiving cards even more!! I seriously visualize the person writing our names on the envelope and I feel loved. Silly, I know! It's just who I am :)

We are continuing to pray for you and Billy...I hope to see you soon!


ps please, please, please upload pictures of you and Billy at Halloween...I'm sure you guys did not disappoint!!

Robin said...

You two are amazing ! We loved getting to be with you last weekend. Love to all..

Mrs. Robin

Amy said...

i too love reading your post. They remind me of God's grace and His goodness. It is only because of Him that you could say and truly mean the things that you write. When I read your words I am filled with worship and awe of our Great Father. In the midst of this great tragedy He is there carrying you through and it is completely obvious. Hope, I am praying for you and Billy and the kiddos. So often something happens and it always takes my thoughts to you. I can't wait to see your pictures and as much as I know they will break your heart to see I also pray that they will be that symbol of hope that you are looking for. God is good Hope....He is sooo good!!!

Brandi Barnes Parten said...

We are always praying for you!

Lindsey said...

i love the description of alaina as a sunbeam with the big bows and southern dresses. i am always encouraged when i read your posts that you guys are smiling and living in the midst of the pain and loss. i think about you all the time and wonder at everything you think, feel, dream, wish, miss about your sunbeam. i still pray for you all. we love you.

The Hannahs said...

You continue to be in my heart and prayers.
Love you,

Beth Scott said...

I see what you mean about your playlist. The words are INCREDIBLE and amazingly I can actually see you saying those things from your heart. You know me and music resonates in the very heart of who I am so I have been VERY blessed to sit and listen to the songs on your playlist. In fact, I figured out how to make my own by using yours :) Now, I am going to have to add that new song you just put in, "Whatever Your Doing (Something Heavenly)". When I hear these lirics, it reminds me of yall. Rich and I think of yall all the time and you are always in our prayers! We love you so much!! I look forward to getting your Christmas picture and will remember the hope it stands for. Thanks!!

Jimmy Thompson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Veenstra Family said...

After reading this post, I can only say. "Thank you Jesus!"

We continue to lift your names to our Father in prayer. Looking forward to any photos, cannot wait to see this year’s holiday card??

Kim said...

I love you dear friend. Once again you remind me to stand on truth as God gives you the moment's grace to stand on it. You point me to Jesus as God holds onto your broken heart and points you to His love in His son.

When we get your Christmas picture I will probalby cry, but I will also hope with you and pray for you and cling to the truth along side of you.

You, Billy and the kids are so loved by us.

Consider yourself hugged across the miles.
Love Kim and Dave

JJMERKEL said...

Dear Hope and Billy, you are always in our thoughts. We really miss you guys. We couldn't have asked for better neighbors.

I would have loved to see you guys all dressed up for Halloween. I am also looking forward to seeing how the kids have grown in your Christmas card. It will be very sad to see and I am sure we will cry, but it will be good to see that you are going to make it as well. I will continue to keep you in my prayers. Please tell Billy and the kids hi for us. We love you.

Jaime said...

Can't wait to get the Christmas picture and hopefully see you in Butler. Still praying for you.

Kristin said...

Oh, Hope, we love y'all. I want you to know that during my day when little things frustrate me -- whether it be discipline or a messy room -- I think of you. I think of you and how much you miss your Lew and how much less focused you are on "first time obedience", as you've said before, and I take a deep breath and whisper a quick "Thank you, Lord. Be with her." My perspective is changed, my frustration dissolves, and my heart looks to the Lord.

We love you and miss you. That Christmas card will be on our refrigerator the second we get it out of the envelope.

Michael and Jennifer Werneth said...

what a beautiful description of alaina - your little sunbeam! i, too, will look forward to your pictures. i feel that they say so much too. i hope that the family picture goes well. i enjoyed elley's broad smile this weekend. i am privileged to be your friend and am thankful that you have taught me not to be an island. God continues to send me reminders to pray for you: when i add hazelnut creamer, when i see alaina's pic on my way out the door, through the words of a song. i remember to pray for billy when i see someone run into a tree. ha! btw, i soooo love the words of your songs and the glimpse into your heart that they give us! what a beautiful, real heart that is! i am trusting that he is doing "something heavenly" and that he will "make all things new." love yall!

Shea said...

I think of you everyday, Hope. I pray for you so often; just hoping that my prayers are lifting in you some small way. To see you finding and making your way through the most difficult thing a parent could ever face; you really are an inspiration. I was complaining just the other day about something; maybe lack of sleep or just feeling exhausted from a day chasing Lilly and Cray. Either way, my thoughts went to you and I found the strength to get up and keep going. Just as I keep going for my own, I will keep praying for you and yours. Much love to you!


Anonymous said...

sometimes i feel like surviving tragedy should make you all the more profound. but that is not quite the case for me. i feel as wordless as i always did to offer some "right" encouragement. so, though with little to offer, i wanted to simply say that reading your words does indeed remind me of some of those same feelings i have had and have at different times. to shout loudly with our lives in whatever way possible that God is still good all the time. i take too many pictures these days as some kind of witness- to be able to catalogue all the life that still is. to be able to declare with no uncertainty that even the mightiest anguish cannot conquer our God. to see in our kids' laughter God's grace. to remind that as long as we cling to him he will continue to grow new life in unexpected broken hearts. thanks for leading in how to follow, michelle zegarski

Anonymous said...

Hope, can you send me your new address? my email is

Anothermadhousewife said...

Your faith is a beautiful thing to behold, Hope. And I'm confident that your name is not accidental ;) . . .Just wanted you to know that we're praying for you in Athens, Ga. Erika and the Whites (friends of Mulkeys)

Matt, Carrie and Lucy Allen said...

just wanted you to know i am thinking of ya'll and have been a lot lately. praying for you,