Our lives were forever changed the day we lost Corey. He was an amazing man who loved the Lord and his family with all that he was. The pain of losing him is like no other. Our only comfort comes from knowing we will see him again someday.

I have moved the slideshow played at Corey's service to it's own post page above, titled "Corey's Memorial Service - August 10, 2010"

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A condo in Florida...never!

Today was a tough day...This post is probably going to be a bit scattered...bear with me. I've been pretty emotional the last couple of days. It all started when I cleaned out Corey's clothes from our closet on Saturday. That was tough. Despite not ever wanting to have to do it, I felt like it was time...I am really trying to get a handle on our home (organizing and cleaning out clutter) and man he had a lot of clothes...they were taking up most of our closet. But not to worry, I won't be getting rid of them any time soon...that will likely take me another 5+ months.
     So back to today...I'm exhausted. It's almost 9:30 pm. I finally got my shower in for the day and I'm sitting in bed eating my dinner as I type this (one of my home delivered meals...thanks to my new best friend :)) see my last post if you're confused). The snow storm today brought repeated reminders that I am a widow and single mom. I was about to write that it brought repeated reminders that I am alone now, but with all the people blessing me with their help, it would be an insult to them and to God to say that. I sure have been missing Corey a lot though! It's a lot harder to have to depend on a number of people for things rather than just one person, your husband...
     No school today because of the storm. I drove to the cemetery this morning (in blizzard-like conditions) to try to take the decoration on Corey's gravestone in from the weather before the sleet that we were expecting hit later in the day. I got all the way there only to discover that the road leading to his grave had not been plowed. Big bummer. There wasn't enough room to pull off on the side of the road and hike in and I had the girls in the car and it wouldn't have been safe to leave them on the side of the road with the road conditions being what they were. So, we headed back toward home.
     I made my first big "guy" purchase last week...a generator to keep the house running in the event of a power outage. We had considered buying one last winter after some real doozy power outages, but winter came and went and we just never did it. Corey would have been so psyched to have been here when it got delivered yesterday.  A big 18-wheeler showed up on our road.  It couldn't come up our driveway of course. Hmmm, how was I going to get the 200+ pound box up to the house? I know how Corey would have handled the situation.  He would have driven his tractor down and put it right into the bucket loader, after which he would have raised the bucket up as high as it could go before driving it up to the house ;) That's how I would have liked it to go, but in his absence, the delivery guy and I put our heads together and came up with a plan. I drove the Subaru (station wagon) down, backed it up to the back of the truck and the driver lowered the gate lift so he was able to slide it directly into the back of my car. Back up the driveway I went. Now all I had to do was figure out how I was going to get it out of the Subaru and where it needed to go. Lately it has seemed like every time I get over one hurdle another obstacle lies in my way...obstacles that Corey normally would handle with ease. Boy do I miss how good he was at figuring things out and problem solving ways to handle sticky situations. Things that were no big deal for him feel like such foreign territory to me. I thought motherhood was supposed to make me more intelligent? Certainly not in the area of mechanics...what I could really use to do is grow some extra muscles ;)
      Next I had to figure out where the best place was to put the generator. Corey had actually already done most of the wiring for it with the help of our neighbor, Mark, who happens to be an electrician. Mark is such a good neighbor and friend (as is his wife Sue who is equally kindhearted). Corey really liked working with Mark on projects and they would often help each other out when one of them needed a hand with something. Mark reminds me of Corey in that he is just such a good and nice guy.  More about Mark in a minute...
     (Big sigh) I told you this was going to be scattered...My friend Sarah's husband Bob came over last night and unloaded the generator for me...check! Marked that off my list...Thanks Bob :) Now I needed to deal with getting the wheels on it and locking it up, per Mark's suggestion. Next up, purchase a good lock. I called Mark to get the proper lock specifications as I drove to Home Depot. What kind of lock would I need to get that someone couldn't cut through? Corey would know, but I sure as heck didn't. I would rather have been shopping for a new pair of shoes, but I found the right thing and headed home to look for Corey's heavy-grade chain that I knew I had seen hanging around somewhere.  I found it without much trouble...check! With the car headlights on I attempted to slide the lock through one of the chain links...it was a good sized chain with big links, but....not quite big enough for the lock to fit through by probably not even a millimeter! Now what?
     I called Mark today to ask him for recommendations on dealing with the lock/chain issue. He said he was willing to drill out the links a bit to accommodate the lock. He came over late this afternoon. By that time I had managed to get one of our cars stuck in the driveway in the deep snow. I added getting it unstuck to my to do list and Mark agreed to help me with that too. I told him (jokingly of course) that I was thinking about moving into a condo in Florida. Mark got the wheels on the generator for me. I was going to have to go out in the blizzard to get gasoline so we could get it started but he bailed me out again with some gas he had on hand. The wiring we thought was complete to the electric panel wasn't, so Mark, within minutes, finished connecting the loose wires and had it ready to go...did I mention how great it is having an electrician as a friend and neighbor?
    So, what's my point in sharing all my winter woes? and would I really want to move into a condo in Florida?  Sometimes for a fleeting minute I think it sounds nice. Then I think about all the amazing and supportive people God has surrounded me with here. I don't like the continual reminders that I am "weak" in so many areas. It is hard to have to take help from so many different people and sometimes it takes a lot of coordinating times, dates, and people to get things done. Nagging my husband was much easier...only kidding ;) I hate being an inconvenience to others which fortunately most of the time I think is only my perception (I really hope this is the case).
     As I was shoveling my steps off last night with Mark working in my basement at the electrical panel, I stood stewing at God..."I wish I didn't have to need so much help God!" and then God reminded me that if I could handle it all myself I wouldn't need Him. I know that ultimately my provision comes from God. Those around me offering their help are being his hands and feet again and again and I am humbled in the process.  As I type this now God has brought to my mind the verse in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." It's quite a "coincidence" that after my conversation with God last night on the steps that he would lead me this morning (I'm wrapping this post up the next day) to another passage in 2 Corinthians 1:9 - the apostle Paul is speaking to the church in Corinth about the hardships he had to endure during his time spent visiting the province of Asia. He says in verse 9, "Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead."  Mind you now, I was supposed to be doing my daily reading in the book of Ephesians today but in trying to flip there I landed on this particular page and the topical heading (in my devotional Bible) read, "Our Comforting God" which caught my attention. I could use a little comfort today was my thought. I started reading the editors introductory notes (for these passages in 2 Corinthians chapter 1) which read:  "God makes himself known in powerful comfort. We discover that one of the supreme greatnesses of Christianity is that it does not seek a supernatural escape from the difficulties of life. Instead it offers a supernatural use for them. Troubles become triumphs as God makes himself known in our weakness."
     I am so grateful to God and to my supportive friends and family who are turning my troubles into triumphs daily! That certainly doesn't mean it's all easy breezy. Like I said, I'm exhausted...but where would I be without all the help that I am receiving? I think I'd be so weighted down with life's troubles that I wouldn't have the physical or mental energy to do much of anything!  Thank you to those who pray for me and the girls!! Thank you to those who plow and shovel us out in snow storms. Thank you to my church family who has supported me in more tangible ways than I could list. Thank you to my girlfriends who come faithfully each week to give me a break from the bedtime routine and for keeping me on top of my laundry and housework. Thank you to my family who is willing to drive from VT to spend time with us here in NH. That wouldn't be possible if I lived in Florida ;) Most of all, thank you to my great God who's grace is enough!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

A special thank you to ???

     Some very nice person or people (who wished to remain anonymous) gave me the gift of 10 "spa-inspired" gourmet meals through a home delivery service.  They were shipped fresh overnight delivery from Florida and made to order according to my preferences! Boy, do I feel spoiled! I just wanted to say thanks!! You now have a new best friend even if I don't know who you are ;)  Those of you who know me well know that I do not like to cook. I've been in a real dinner rut lately, just not knowing what to cook.  And it seems that every time I attempt to make anything I end up doing something wrong. Sometimes I lose track of how many cups of flour I've added or I mix all the ingredients instead of putting some aside, as instructed, for the 'sauce'...and then other times I get the recipe half put together only to realize I don't have all the ingredients in the house...you get the idea...
     The last Sunday Corey and I went to church together, at the beginning of the sermon the question was asked, "If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?" I leaned over to Corey and whispered that I would hire a personal chef and a maid, in that order. I would love to have someone cook all my meals for me.  So, thank you for the gift of my own personal chef, even if only for 10 meals.  They are being very much enjoyed!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas pics of the girls

My dear friend Jamie took some beautiful pics of the girls back in November. She even helped me create my Christmas cards that same day. Although I handed some out, I didn't get many of them mailed. So I wanted to be sure to get these on my blog. Thanks Jamie for bearing the cold temps to get the girls out in the snow in order to capture these!

Christmas in Heaven

I wanted to share a poem that my friend Leslie sent me that brought tears to my eyes. Grab your tissues...The author is unknown.

I've had my first Christmas in heaven
   A glorious, wonderful day.
I stood with the saints of all ages,
   Who found Christ the Truth and the Way.
I sang with the heavenly choir,
   Just think, I who loved so to sing.
And oh, what celestial music
   We brought to our Savior and King.
We sang the glad songs of redemption,
   How Jesus to Bethlehem came,
And how they had called His name Jesus,
   That all might be saved through his name.
We sang once again with the angels,
   The song that they spoke that blest morn.
When shepherds first heard the glad story
   That Jesus, the Savior, was born.
O dear ones, I wish you had been there,
   No Christmas on earth could compare
With all the rapture and glory
   We witnessed in heaven so fair.
You know how I always loved Christmas,
   It seemed such a wonderful day,
With all my loved ones around me,
   The children so happy and gay.
Yes, now I can see why I loved it,
   And oh, what a joy it will be
When you and my loved ones are with me
   To share the rich glories I see.
So, dear ones on earth, here are my greetings,
   Look up till the day dawn appears
And oh, what a Christmas awaits us
    Beyond our parting tears.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas 2010

     My Christmas in Vermont was filled with several blessings this year.  It wasn't an easy trip...it took me what felt like forever to get the girls and I on the road to Vermont. I was hoping to leave Thursday morning (12/23) by 10 a.m. and it was after 1 p.m. by the time our car finally left the driveway. The girls are usually left to occupy themselves while I race around the house crazily grabbing everything from toothbrushes to dog food (yes, Bella came too) while trying not to forget any basic necessities (like underwear! and of course it wasn't the kids I forgot ;) Sorry...a little too personal.  Just when I thought I had everything and was ready to start driving, I had to make 3 or 4 more trips back into the house for random items we wouldn't be able to do without for the next 5 days.  The packing was followed by 5 hours in the car (an extra hour for bathroom and food breaks). I was ready for a good long rest once reaching my mom's house. When I did finally lay down to go to sleep a few hours after arrival...I couldn't. I was too sick to my stomach and ended up sick for half of the night with the stomach bug Ali had at the beginning of the week. 'Really God?' was my response and 'Could you just take me home now?' The next morning my mom and sister and I had to cancel our visit to the day spa because of my illness. Big bummer, but with how lousy I felt I was happy to just get to stay in bed. Where were those Christmas blessings? I'm getting there...The silver lining here actually was that I didn't come down with the stomach bug during our drive to VT that day...that would have been disastrous. Plus I had my mom there to deal with the girls while I slept it off. I can't remember the last time I was that sick and had my mom there to take care of me :) Thanks Mom! I did manage to feel well enough to make it to the Christmas Eve service at church that night and was really glad I did. I wrote about the service in more detail in the post before this one.  By Christmas morning, 24+ hours later, I felt like my self again...just in time for breakfast at my sisters after watching the kids tear into their presents that Santa left.
     Corey's brother Scott drove 10 hours from D.C. to spend Christmas in VT this year. The highlight for me was seeing Abigail's excitement when he showed up on my sister's doorstep Christmas morning. I think she was as happy to see him as she was opening any of her gifts. The girls haven't spent a lot of time with Scott since he has lived in D.C. for much of the time since they were both born, so to see her cling to him like she did was heartwarming. I know she felt closer to her Daddy having him there. She asked Scott several times that day if he was going to stay longer. It was sweet. He was a great sport helping me to get all the toys out of their packaging once the girls had unwrapped them.  Mannn, is that a chore! Elastics, twist-ties, tape, thread...Surprisingly, I don't think we needed the screw driver this year to get anything out! And after all that fun, Scott even played Little Pet Shops with the girls for longer than I would have lasted. I'm really not trying to embarrass you Scott. It just really meant a lot to have you with us this year.
     Scott had also planned to take Abigail skiing over the Christmas weekend. Corey had taken her for the first time last March at the very end of the season. I'll try to post a video Corey took of her that day with this entry. She loved it and so when Scott offered to take her she was super excited. It was a blizzardy day that Monday after Christmas. He picked Abi up around 7 am that morning and drove the hour to Smuggler's only to have her dissolve to tears while waiting for her ski lesson to start. Apparently her boot was hurting her and they tried to fix it but to no avail. She cried to come home. Thankfully, the people working at the resort took pity on poor Uncle Scott and teary-eyed Abi and they got a full refund! Scott was such a good sport about it and even said, 'we'll try again another time.'
    Allison's excitement on Christmas day was having a urologist look into her ear with an otoscope after she complained of an earache.  That sounded weird...let me explain.  While Ali can certainly produce a lot of 3-year-old drama, she isn't usually a 'faker' about aches and pains. Out of the blue she started complaining that her ear hurt. I was worried about letting it go and having it get worse come bedtime, so I decided to take action. My sister helped me call around a bit to try to find an urgent care center where I could take her. Of course, there aren't a lot of places open on Christmas day...It was looking like we were going to have to head to the emergency room...certainly not where I wanted to spend my holiday.  My sister's boyfriend (a Veterinarian) and his dad (a urologist) came to our rescue.  Liam (the vet) drove to his office and picked up his otoscope that he uses on hamsters :)  He called his Dad (the urologist), who he assured me was ready for some time out of the house, and they both arrived back at my sisters. Dr. Bison was great and after he put the scope in Ali's ear she was immediately better. No joke!  "My ear feels better now" were her words to the kind doctor. Little did she know it was really the ibuprofen I had given her 30 minutes earlier. I think it made Dr. Bison feel good though and gave us all a chuckle. And maybe it really did do the trick since he said her ear didn't look infected. I was grateful for the kindness of someone I'd never met before who was willing to make a house call on Christmas. Thanks for hooking us up Liam and sparing us that trip to the ER!
     So, all in all, despite this being our first Christmas without Corey, it was memorable and God was for sure in all the details! I just want to say how much I appreciate my family and friends. Everyone really went out of their way to make this Christmas a special one for the girls and I. You all were so supportive in showing us extra sensitivity and adding special touches that really made us feel loved!  I know there were more people than I can count who were praying for us over the holiday weekend. I had one friend who sent us a Christmas ornament with our family's name on it that had 4 stockings, one for each of us...Corey included :)  Another friend thought to take the girls shopping so they would be able to pick out a Christmas gift for me...something Corey would normally have done. I could go on and on and I wish I could list everything and everyone here...it just isn't possible. Know that I love and appreciate you all!

Addendum: This is a funny little add-on to the earache story (I couldn't resist).  Yesterday, Ali's teacher called me to tell me she was complaining her ear hurt (the other ear this time) and that she was in tears over the pain. I thought to myself, 'great, here we go again.' But being the good mother I am ;) I went and picked her up and brought her to the doctor.  Abi came with us and in a matter-of-fact manner informed the pediatrician, "Ali's ear is fine. She did this on Christmas. She just likes the tools" (referring to the otoscope). Have I mentioned I love my kids? Well, to our surprise Ali did have an ear infection! With kids, you just never know...they love to surprise you.