7 Things

1. We just got home from Disney World and whoa!!!!  I have 1,000 thoughts on the trip and why it wasn’t our wisest choice to go two months after our 3-year-old died.  Lesson learned and now we know much better.  I’m still working through all those thoughts…I’ll be back with more to share.

2. Only a few days left to get your “but if not” apparel.  These tees go to support our family.  Sage Harvest has been so generous and kind to us during this time.  I got my tank and LOVE it!!!!  CLICK HERE to grab some fun apparel for yourself.

3. I’ve been eating healthy again and well, why?!?!?!?!?  Why do I do this?!?!?  But I’m feeling better and more focussed.  My head game is always way better when I am consistent with exercise and food.  Major props to Ashley, Ashley & Alissa for keeping me accountable and doing stupid things with me.

4. I shared another photo today in the Go Getter’s Getaway!  Only 2 days left…can you sense my nervousness?!??!  Keep those votes coming…we’re almost done.  There are now 5 photos which equals 5 votes per day.  All the direct links are below making it super easy to vote!!!  Thank you guys sooooooooo much!!!

CLICK HERE for Entry #1

CLICK HERE for Entry #2

CLICK HERE for Entry #3

CLICK HERE for Entry #4

CLICK HERE for Entry #5

 

5. I cleaned out another bowl of Everett’s medicines the other day.  I checked with Josh Kelley before I did so.  That’s what you do when you’re in this kind of mess.  It’s important to run things by your people to make sure they are ready too.  He was, so we disposed of more of his old meds.  I replaced them with some Everett love.

6. I ran upon this old photo of Solomon and Josh the other day.  Gah!!!!!!  Sol is such a gymnast.  I told him the next thing I’m signing him up for will be gymnastics.  He flips and cartwheels and walks around on his hands like there’s no tomorrow.  His upper body strength is insane.  I remember taking this photo and thinking, “He’d make a great gymnast.”

7. And we have something super fun coming up.  We have just been so blessed by so many of you crazy nice supportive people and oddly enough, one of the emails I get most is asking for more socks!!!  Hahahahaha.  Well, ask and you shall receive.  Stay tuned!

Josh is going into the hand model business. 🙂

Okay.  That’s it!  Don’t forget to head over and vote.  If I could I’d huge each of your necks and feed you cookies to show my thanks!

3 Days Left!!

Thank you so much for taking time each day to vote on my entries for Noonday’s Go Getter’s Giveaway to Guatemala!  I posted another photo today and wanted to share direct links to everything today.  The direct links take you straight to my entries so no scrolling and looking making it crazy easy to vote.  I would so appreciate your 4 votes for today!!  Each photo can be voted for daily, so 4 photos equals 4 votes per day.

CLICK HERE for Entry #1

CLICK HERE for Entry #2

CLICK HERE for Entry #3

CLICK HERE for Entry #4

We only have 3 days left so if you’ll just stick with me for 3 more days I could be incredibly grateful.  And  feel free to share and tell all your people!

Thank you guys!!!!

Keep The Votes Coming

You guys are flippin’ amazing.  Thank you so so much for voting and sharing with your people about Noonday Collection’s Go Getter’s Getaway.  I am just incredibly grateful.

Here’s the deal…the contest ends September 27th…so 5 more days and I was a day late getting started.  I hope I’m not going to drive you batty until then, but I’d really love to take this trip to see the beautiful country of Guatemala and it’s people.  You can vote once a day for every photo I post.  Example: Today I have 3 photos posted in all and you can vote once for each of the photos.  I have been trying to use direct links, but sometimes they can be a little wonky.

You can GO HERE and scroll through looking for the three photos posted below or you can find two of them via direct link below.  My most recent photo from today should be somewhere near the top.  Fingers crossed.

Click to vote for Entry #1

Click to vote for Entry #2

Today’s entry, but no direct link yet.

Thank you guys again and again x 1,000,000!  And always feel free to share.

Would Love Your Help

If you’ve been reading for pretty much any amount of time here on my blog you know I love Noonday Collection.  Like, love love!  Like true love!  I love everything it stands for.  I love the purpose and heart behind this company.  I love the products.  And I love their founder Jessica!  I still remember my first ever Noonday giveaway way back in 2011…WHAT!?!?!?!  Such a beautiful piece.

They recently launched their Go Getter’s Getaway where they are giving away a trip to Guatemala this November.  I had been thinking about it and then my friend Meredith really encouraged me to enter…couple that with a long car ride and I thought, let’s do this.

So here I am just a girl crying through her application paragraph asking you to vote for me. 🙂  It’s crazy easy.  All you have to do is CLICK HERE, find this phone of Everett and I and vote for me.  That’s it.

You can upload new photos each day and honestly, I think it will be really sweet thinking about what photos to share and why.  Lately, small challenges and goals have been really good for me and especially when they are associated with our FuShuai.

And please feel free to share and ask all your peoples to vote too.  🙂  Thank you so much in advance.  You guys are always crazy kind, thoughtful and supportive.

2 Months {Missing Him}

Today was rough…really really rough.  I woke up and immediately my mind raced back to the night Josh Kelley and I had slept beside Everett in his hospital bed knowing full well he didn’t have much time left here on earth.  I looked over where Josh usually lays and he was already up for the morning.  I thought about how when I woke that morning two months ago I had looked over at our sweet boy and burst into tears knowing we did not have long left with him.

I’ve pretty much cried all day long.  I watched as everyone mulled around our house very solemnly this morning.  When I woke Hudson up for school he sat up in bed with the saddest eyes.  I immediately asked what was wrong because I had literally just watched him wake from sleep.  He said, “I just feel so sad.”  They didn’t even know what today was, but their little bodies remember.  I listened over the phone as Josh cried in his office at work and we talked about all the hard things and hard places our family is in.  We talked about game plans and decisions and all the ins and outs of 7 people grieving and what might be best for each.  Everything is just hard right now.  We feel isolated and lonely.  Our kids feel isolated and lonely and Harper has voiced how she just feels like no one really understands how and why this is all so hard on us.  It feels like a gut punch when you listen to your children voice the same thoughts and feelings in your own head.

The little and big acknowledgements we receive through out our days are life to us.  The thoughtful text messages, the I remembers, the cards and kind gifts, the quick emails…they all make us feel seen.  We don’t need big grandeur things…the simple and small are beautiful to us.

Last Sunday was my first time to go back to church.  Josh had already been another time solo with the kids since I hadn’t felt ready for it so this time I took all the kids and my niece Meiya since he wasn’t feeling up to it that day.  All morning long while moving about the house and getting ready Josh and I had been talking about how hard going back to church has been…just all the layers of our feelings.  We talked openly and honestly and thought nothing of the kids and our niece moving about our house that morning likely catching pieces of our conversations.

I was dreading it, but I knew I needed to make a step forward.  I even questioned God as I got ready “I don’t even think You will have anything there for me today.”  And even more truthfully, it was pretty terrible and no great epiphany awaited me…so I thought.  The people we’re all so kind and gracious and I received lots of hugs and I do so love hugs, but it was just hard and sad to me.  We also sang one of the songs we sang together at Everett’s burial and celebration service so immediate tears from that.  I watched as Solomon filled out a prayer card asking for prayers because he and our family we’re so sad about losing Everett.  More tears.  I sat in the pew, pretty much fighting tears the whole time, doodling on a post-it note and half paying attention when Solomon handed me two pieces of paper and whispered, “These are from Meiya.”  I peered down the pew and caught the eyes of my gorgeous niece and she flashed me a sweet grin.  I looked down at the little pieces of card stock and felt seen…like really genuinely seen…like my 8-year-old niece knew how hard this was for me…for us.  She loves Everett deeply and had spent lots and lots of time with him and I know she hurts too.

I snapped a picture of the rainbow colored Fiesta cards right there in church and text it to her parents and said something along the lines of “If you guys die I hope you leave her to us.” 🙂

   In that moment God reminded me yet again of His sweetness and how important it is to acknowledge others in the places they are.  We don’t have to do crazy big things, we just have to choose to sit with others and acknowledge letting them know we see them right where they are…color those notecards and pass them down to the person who needs them.

One of the biggest things, if not THE BIGGEST, I learned from my Mom’s death was even when we do not know what to do for ourselves we can still do for others.  It’s easy to turn so inward when I am so broken and sad and angry and confused, but I know I have to fight to still look outward to those around me who need acknowledgment too…who need to know they are seen and loved right where they are…they are not forgotten!

So, we’re two months into this shit hole 🙂 Two whole months since our sweet boy’s heart beat it’s last brave beat. And while it is pretty terrible, like nothing we imagined, there are still glimmers of hope and God is still good.  We are so broken, but we will always sing a song of hope because of God who deserves our praise and sits broken amongst us.

8 Things

 1. Thanks to everyone who came out to chat and introduce themselves Saturday at the Salty Dog Festival.  It was this combination of really great/super hard.  I love talking to people about Everett, but it also makes me really sad.  Kind of a catch 22.  I loved when one friend said, “How are you?” and before I could answer she said, “Well you’re here.”  And I felt seen.  I kept telling myself “You got out of the house.  You made some things.  You’re having conversations with others.  Be proud.”  It was nice being out in the sunshine too and some of our favorite people came and said hi and hung around all day.    Plus, the RetroSno truck didn’t hurt either.  The best snowcones around.

(Please note how profesh my art is hung.  It made me laugh out loud when I saw it.)

2. I listed all my remaining items from the show in MY SHOP.  Most things are gone, but there are still 3 sets of key fobs and discounted stationery up for grabs.  I’m also going to try and list some zipper pouches and text key fobs soon.

3. This week has been even more wonky and hard for so many many reasons.  It’s like everyone’s grief has been heightened by 10.  Some new things have come up with Everett’s death that we didn’t see coming.  The regret and guilt are suffocating some days.  And our neighbor brought over a piece of mail of ours he got by mistake.  When I opened it I gasped and then sobbed.  It was Everett’s birth certificate.  Instantly I just felt the searing anger of it all.  Nothing, nothing, nothing is right about getting your child’s death certificate before even receiving their birth certificate.  I felt all the rage and anger and pain.  I wanted to fight someone…like someone needed to pay for this.

4.  I looked down in our van the other day and snapped this picture to share.  If you’ve never read Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, well, make it a must read.  So incredibly good.  I read it years ago, but my SIL borrowed it and had just given it back.  So incredibly good.  And we are all about some books on CD.  The kids LOVE them so much.  Right now we’re doing all the Percy Jackson books.  We’ve been through 4 of them so far and just started The Last Olympian this week.  We check them out from our library and they always gives us ample time to finish them.  Everyone gets into it.

5. We said goodbye to the wave pool two weekends ago.  It closed it’s doors for the end of summer and we all lamented.  There’s something so fun and special about this place.  We love how fun and diverse and welcoming about Wave Country is…which sounds silly, but is absolutely true.  Until next year old friend!

6. This little niece lovey has been giving me some major love and life lately.  I don’t even like babies 🙂 but there are a few littles I make an exception for…she’s one of them.  And let’s all praise Jesus for the black and white filter after a long sleepless night, dark bags under my eyes & busted blood vessels around my eyes from crying so hard.  Thanks Jesus.

7. I’m trying to keep up with another 30 Days Of Bible Lettering.  I liked the idea of committing to reading the Bible everyday…even if it was just one single verse… plus creating with it.  I needed something like this.

And 8.  Oh Harper girl.  This girl has been put through the ringer this year.  So many big heavy things for a 10-year-old to carry and she has done it with such grace and honesty and love.  Her mornings are so hard and her nights are always filled with tears.  We hug a lot and cry together a lot in her bed.  The other day I was listening to the new Imagine Dragons album and their song I’ll Make It Up To You caught my ear.  I know it’s suppose to be about a couple, but for me, it’s about our Harper girl.

PSA: Imagine Dragons Evolve Album is the bomb.

Okay.  That’s all I’ve got for today.  I’m feeling quite proud of writing here twice this week.  Hahaha.  It doesn’t take much these days.  And thank you for all the kind words about our Everett boy.  You guys made me teary eyed and grateful so many know how special he truly is.

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What I Said About Him

Today is one of those days where I just want to remember him.  Everything about him.  All the ins and outs of his precious little personality.  I look through his photos over and over again.  And I want others to remember too.  Acknowledgment I’m realizing is the biggest gift to someone who is walking out deep grief.  I’ve been sleeping pretty crappy and still waking in the middle of the night and bursting into tears. So many words I want to share, but I thought today I’d just share what I said about Everett as his celebration of life service…his 4th birthday party.  Josh Kelley spoke too along with his brother Andy and they both nailed it.  I so wish we’d had the whole thing videoed, but I just beamed with pride over both of them getting up there and sharing the way they did.  Was so honored they spoke the way they did about our Everett boy.  So for today I’m just stopping in to say hi and I’ll leave you with what I shared about our FuShuai on the day we said our goodbye and celebrated his amazing little life.

I’ve thought and thought about what I would say today and finally started to put words down last night around midnight.  I listened to Josh read what he had written and I just cried because the love he has for his children is something fierce and wonderful to behold and I know he is so broken right now with losing Everett.  I’m not sure parents usually speak at their kid’s funeral…thankfully we’ve never had to attend a child’d funeral before.  We’re honestly not sure how any of this is suppose to work or go down, but I knew I didn’t want just anyone up here sharing about our boy and our God.

Everett was a gift.  A true treasure.  Yet another amazing child Josh Kelley and myself are so unworthy of.  I tell my kids almost everyday “I’m the luckiest mama in the world.  Why am I the luckiest mama in the world?”  To which they know to reply “Because you have us.”  Just like all of you parents here know you are the luckiest too.  I will never get over or understand God’s goodness in the way He has knit our family together, but I am forever deeply grateful.  Sweet Everett was no different.  We didn’t chase after him because we’re good people…we chased after him because he was our son.  We knew the incredible blessing that awaited us.  None of our children are our good deeds or our ministry…they are our kiddos…a deep seeded part of our hearts that God knit together so beautifully.  Josh and I know full well we are the lucky ones and put our little family together and we all make each other better.  We knew Everett would make our family even sweeter and boy did he.  He was hilarious and fun and kind.  He was braver and stronger than I’ll ever be.  He loved big.  I’ve never met a more empathetic child.  I remember laying in his bed one night before we left for Michigan and I started to cry while holding him close.  He said, “You crying mama?”  And I said, “Yes, buddy, but it’s okay.” The next thing I felt was his sweet little arm stretched across me and his own hot tears on my cheek.  He did this with anyone when he knew they we’re crying.  Goodness did he love well.  It’s an honor and privilege to be his family.  We know how crazy amazing it was to be loved by Everett.  To have spent almost 5 months with him all together as a family is a gift I will never get over.

And this was not the first time Everett had known love.  He was cherished and loved and cared for by the sweetest of people across the ocean his whole little life.  To those people Josh and I are forever grateful because they loved our son like he was their own before we could.  How do you ever repay that?  They kissed his face and hugged his sweet little body.  They celebrated birthdays and holidays and sang songs and played games.  And even more Everett spent his life with his best friend Tai who loved him fiercely back.  The night before we left for Michigan Shuai and Tai facetimed together and it will always be a highlight of my life watching those best friends see each other and chat with each other and laugh with each other again.  My favorite moment was when Tai said something to Everett in Chinese and Everett flashed a giant smile, turned to me and said, “He misses me.”  Goodness do these boys love well.

We miss our FuShaui terribly.  Nothing about this feels good or right.  Everything about it feels so backwards and wrong.  We are broken and sad and angry and confused.  We feel like a giant mess.  But this is the power of the love of Christ…that we don’t have to be okay with any of this.  We can cry out to him in love or anger or sadness or confusion or pain…in any state we can cry out to Him and He is there.  We do not have to fix ourselves up.  We do not have to be okay.  We do not have to change one thing about ourselves to come to Jesus.  God loves us as is right now.  We’ve done nothing too terrible or embarrassing or mean or unjust…nothing keeps us from our Father.  So if you leave here with anything today please know you are loved.  You count.  You matter.  You are cherished and beautiful and seen by a God who created you in His image and that is absolutely worthy of our Creators love all on it’s own.  He loves each of us immensely and longs for us just as we are.

We cannot thank this community that has rallied around our boy and our family in our darkest days.  You have showered us with the love of Christ and allowed us to experience Jesus in a way we never have.  We will lift His name high because He is absolutely worthy of our praise.

I’ve Been Creating

I have seriously sat down and started to write here about 13 different times this week.  So many thoughts and feelings and emotions currently swirling around our hearts & house.  Each time I just feel like the writings are for me right now so they sit unpublished and that’s okay.  I’m really hoping to share a bit tomorrow, but today I’m here to just share about two things.

1. I’ve been creating.  I am not open for custom orders yet because my mental game cannot handle that right now.  I have been slowly creating at my own pace and so far it has been working really well.  Some days I know I just couldn’t handle the pressure of completing orders along with deadlines, etc so this is the route I’m taking because I feel like it’s better suited for my grief right now.

Our bank actually gave me a booth in the Salty Dog Art Festival this coming weekend…Saturday September 9 from 10-4.  It’s literally at the end of our street so it worked out perfectly.  I told myself I would show up with at least something.  It gave me something to work for, but I took the pressure off myself by giving myself that one rule…just show up with something you created with your hands…anything will do.  It also gave me some inspiration to try something new.  If you’re local come out and see me.  I’m sure to have some super cute little assistants and there are always tons of amazing artists and yummy food trucks.

I’ll have stationery sets almost 1/2 price, some art pieces, lots of key fobs and zipper pouches.  I’d never sewn a zipper in my life, but it was always something I wanted to do so no time like the present.  And then it became a good stress creating project so 24 8×6 zipper pouches later and voila.

So if your in the area and need some fun goodies be sure to swing by and check out the Salty Dog Art Festival.

And 2. There is still time to grab “but if not” apparel from Sage Harvest Gourmet Jerky in support of our family and Everett.  I actually got mine this weekend and it’s crazy soft and I’m thinking about ordering a second one. 🙂  You can place your order HERE.  They also kindly sent us some of their jerky to try as well and it’s so tasty and delicious.  Each flavor was super good, but I polled our house and the favorite flavor went to Western!!  If you’re a jerky loven be sure to snag some.

Thank you guys again and again.  I receive the kindest of emails and messages and comments all the time.  Thank you so deeply for loving on and praying for our family.  We truly mean that.