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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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Howdy y'all !!

     The girls and I returned from our 6-day trip to Texas yesterday. We had a great trip. The actual travel was a bit challenging at times, to say the least ;) Lots of luggage and car seats to lug by myself, 2 kids to keep track of in a busy airport, flight delays and some turbulence, but we made it there and back safely and it was worth the effort. 
     Before I get too far into this post I just want to express a special thank you to Richard's cousin Pat who gifted us her air miles so we could get our plane tickets at no charge. This was a huge blessing and our trip would likely not have happened if it had not been for her generous offer of the miles which initiated our travel plans.  
     The girls and I hadn't seen Corey's parents since last August when they made the trip up here the morning after learning of Corey's passing. I wasn't sure how hard it would be for me emotionally to be in Texas without Corey. Every trip I've taken there up until this one has been with him. Corey was born in Texas and spent about half of his childhood living in Wylie, Texas up until the seventh grade. It was at that time that his parents moved the family to Shelburne, Vermont where Corey lived until he came here to NH in 1997. The first time I visited Texas was during my junior year in college. Corey and I were not engaged yet but were dating. We spent Christmas 1996 in Garland (a suburb of Dallas) with Corey's family and then flew down to Austin to see some family of my own who I had never visited including an aunt, uncle and numerous cousins. My uncle owns a ranch in the country (real Texas country - their town doesn't have a zip code). It was a real Texas experience complete with horseback riding and a cowboy hat. If I'm counting correctly we made 3 more trips over the years, making the last 2 trips down there to attend funerals for Corey's grandfather and then grandmother. This would have been our fifth trip together but sadly I was making it without Corey.
     I have lots to share. I think it will work best if I share the highlights in several separate posts. Some parts might be a little sad but for most of them you won't need Kleenex nearby ;) The girls and I really had some good Texas fun!

Here's an overview of our trip's highlights:
- Getting to sit outside in the sun without a winter coat on! The weather was wonderful. I'm not sure it was stellar weather for Texas but it was SO wonderful just to be out of the snow and cold. The temperatures hovered around the high 60s with a couple of days seeing low 70s. The girls loved getting to play outside!
- A number of relatives came over to have lunch with us on our first day in town. It was wonderful to catch up with them all! Mema (Grandma) Gladys stayed with us at Richard and Cindy's for a couple of nights. She is an amazing and dear 92 year old woman! She lost her husband after 60+ years of marriage just about 3 years back and is all too familiar with the grief of widowhood. We also got to visit with Aunt Lin, Uncle Dan and Cousins Matt and Kelly and kids. Am I forgetting anybody??
- Abi and Ali visited the Children's aquarium in downtown Dallas with Grandma and Grandpa. They got to pet sting rays!
- We ate real Tex-Mex on a couple of occassions! Yummy :)
- We visited the Dallas Zoo on one of the warmer, sunnier days. We fed and pet giraffes...cool! I've got some great pics of this to share.  Stay tuned...
- Shopping!!! Jill spent about 8 hours out and about by herself...lotsa shopping with some Mexican food in the middle.
- Abi and Ali went to the movies to see the kids movie Gnomeo and Juliet. They ate popcorn and drank lemonade. 
- I got to meet and have lunch with my boss who lives in the Dallas area. I've worked for Anissa for 3+ years now and had never met her face to face so this was really a cool opportunity and she is a wonderful lady! What made it even better? We ate Mexican for lunch ;)

There's more to share but for now I'm off to bed. It's approaching midnight...church tomorrow morning. G'night!

Someday my princes will come...

Last Sunday we visited Firewheel Church in Garland, Texas...great worship, in fact, I found myself holding back tears during one of the songs. I was unsuccessful. The lyrics really touched my heart. It's called Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King. I've added it to my playlist. It is from the old hymn Come Thou Fount but the lyrics have been changed some. I couldn't help but think of Corey as we sang the second verse...how he was lost in the utter darkness of his depression until God rescued him. Now his soul can sing a new song, his heart has found a home - his heavenly home. I closed my eyes as we sang and saw myself next to Corey worshiping together, singing that song. The chorus beckons Jesus to come, to hear his bride singing for him to come. I found a really cool ring while shopping at a Christian store while in Texas. It says, "Someday my prince will come." and has a cross on it. I was so excited when I found it (especially since it was only 3.99! I love a bargain :). I had never seen one with that phrase on it. It expresses perfectly my eager anticipation as I wait for my prince, Jesus, to come. I kinda wish it said princes, plural, since I know Corey will be there beside Jesus when I meet him face to face for the first time. It fills me such joy just thinking about that day. I can't wait!

Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I'm fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love

I was lost in utter darkness 'til You came and rescued me
I was bound by all my sin when Your love came and set me free
Now my soul can sing a new song, now my heart has found a home
Now Your grace is always with me
And I'll never be alone

Come, Thou Fount, come, Thou King; Come, Thou precious Prince of Peace
Hear Your bride, to You we sing, come, Thou Fount of our blessing
Come, Thou Fount, come, Thou King; Come, Thou precious Prince of Peace
Hear Your bride, to You we sing, come, Thou Fount of our blessing

O, to grace, how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

Come, Thou Fount, come, Thou King; Come, Thou precious Prince of Peace
Hear Your bride, to You we sing, come, Thou Fount of our blessing
Come, Thou Fount, come, Thou King; Come, Thou precious Prince of Peace
Hear Your bride, to You we sing, come, Thou Fount of our blessing

Nice, clever, and brave

(Just a quick note: I have started but not finished a few posts. This one was actually started on 2/15 and completed today, 2/26.)

Isaiah 40:11 ~ "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young."

Abi and Ali - Feb. 23, 2011

     I often am asked how the girls are doing these days so I thought I'd share an update. They of course are still really missing their daddy. Corey's name comes up usually at least once a day. Yesterday the girls and I were driving somewhere after they had gotten home from school. Abigail told me, "I had to sit alone today on the bus, so I pretended Daddy was sitting with me." It is sad to hear her say things like this but encouraging to hear how she is handling her grief. I think both girls are handling this loss in as healthy a way as they could be.
     Another thing I have noticed is that while the girls are playing I will hear the topics of death and heaven come up fairly often. They will pretend that their little animal pets or Polly pockets have lost a daddy or mommy and that they went to heaven. It's as if they are creating their own play therapy sessions as their little minds process their loss. I am so thankful they have each other. What a gift that they each can share their grief with someone who is experiencing the same loss and associated emotions.
     I had an appointment with a grief counselor through an organization called Pete's Place this past week.  My main purpose for going was to gain some insight into the how and when of explaining the cause of Corey's death to the girls - his depression and completed suicide. I want to be prepared to answer them when the questions start to come as they get older. If Corey had died from a heart attack or an accident then I probably would have already shared those details with them. But how do you explain suicide to a child? There just doesn't seem to be any "right" way to tell a child that their daddy caused his own death. I just have to keep going back to the fact that this was an illness. I've heard suicide described as a "permanent solution to a temporary problem." I wish Corey could have seen the temporary nature of his depression. It obviously felt anything but.
     Several years back 2 psychologists in Sydney Australia completed the 'Children Bereaved by Suicide Project'. They talked with parents and children who had lost a loved one to suicide. Out of the project a booklet was written called Supporting Children after Suicide. One child they interviewed was not told until much later about his brother's suicide. The advice he offered to adults was, "come straight out and tell them...'cause I didn't really like it being told at different times. I'd rather just accept it the way it was." The booklet goes on to talk about how children can often pick up on something happening in their family that they don't know about and that keeping significant information like suicide from children can affect a child's developing trust.  I am trying to be as honest with the girls as I can while not giving them more information than they are ready for or are in need of. We are all wired to want to know and understand a person's death. I think Abi is already seeking to better understand the why behind Corey's death.  She asked her teacher, "Did my Daddy die from cancer?" since she's been hearing a lot about cancer lately. When her teacher responded with, "I'm not sure" (Her teacher did not know quite how to answer her.) Abi said, "I think my Daddy died from cancer." I later talked with Abi to make sure she knew Corey didn't die from cancer.
     Overall, there seem to be many opinions on the subject of how to talk to children about death and many cautions on what not to say. Most of these cautions I wouldn't have really thought of on my own. They all make sense to me after learning them but we adults don't often think about how a child understands things.  Some of these cautions include not telling your young child the deceased went to sleep (trying to explain death as being like sleeping) since your child might then fear going to sleep at night. You should also not tell your child the loved one was sick since they might then fear getting sick themselves with a cold or flu...Or they could end up being afraid that if their mom or dad gets mildly sick they might die too. If you mention the word sick experts say you need to be sure to explain that 'sick' doesn't mean a cold or stomach bug. Some people have recommended using the word illness or disease. So many things to consider in discerning what is best for your kids. I have been praying about all this and am trying to trust that God will be faithful in guiding me as to how much, when and what I share with the girls. This is something I would gladly welcome your prayers on! Thinking about it makes me feel so inadequate to handle all of this as Abi and Ali's mom. One thing I do know is that I don't want to keep Corey's death a deep dark secret from my kids. I don't want it to be something they have to be ashamed of or afraid to talk about. The problem I see is that so many people don't understand suicide, particularly the depression as the cause of the suicide. I'm worried that down the road Abi or Ali, once armed with the knowledge of Corey's death, will in a matter-of-fact way tell someone how he died and will get a not-so-helpful or judgmental response from some ill-informed individual who might not even be intending harm.
     For now, the girls continue to enjoy being kids as they try to work out the reality they live with each day that Daddy is gone and isn't coming back. One day last week I overheard them having a discussion that warmed my heart but brought tears to my eyes. I had woken up one morning before they did and was coming out of the bathroom. I could hear they were just waking up and so I peeked into their room and just eavesdropped.  Allison had just sat up in bed and said, "I miss Daddy. I wish Daddy could come back." Abigail responded back to her with understanding, "I know, me too. Daddy's in heaven now though." It was so sweet how Abi tried to console Allison. They continued to talk about Corey and I wish I had been awake enough to remember everything they said. Abigail talked with such a big sister tone in her voice as she counseled Ali. Abi started walking to the door and I could tell Allison had just noticed me peeking in. The last comment from Abi I was able to catch before she realized I was at the door was, "Daddy was nice, clever, and brave." It made my heart feel good to know that they are remembering and also continuing to learn what was so special about their Dad. Abigail and her daddy were close. I can't help but feel bad that Allison isn't going to have as many memories to hold on to. It brought me some comfort to know that Abigail, being the good big sis that she is, is already helping Allison remember who Corey was. Corey would be so proud.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Another wave on my ocean of grief

Before today turns to tomorrow I just want to wish all my dear friends and family a Happy Valentine's Day! I hope it was a sweet one for you all.
     Today, not surprisingly, was a tough day for me. People say that the sadness of grief comes in waves. Sometimes the water is calm but watch out because you never know when a swell of emotions might come upon you. This past week leading up to today was difficult and exhausting. There were several instances that just accentuated the reality of Corey's absence from my life and it made me miss him all the more. All in all the last several days contributed to today being just plain hard. 
     Corey and I never went over the top on Valentine's Day. It usually gave us a good reason to go out on a date which didn't happen all too often (since having kids). Cards, chocolates, flowers and such usually made an appearance. I was deliberate about focusing my attention this year on Abigail and Allison and that helped. I gave them their valentine goodies this morning before seeing them off to school. I had a counseling appointment shortly after which was good timing given the day and how emotional I was and have been the last few days. I decided kind of last minute that I would take a drive to the cemetery on my way home. It was plowed which was fabulous because I did not have my snow shoes with me :) I had driven the Kia which does horribly in the snow so I was a bit worried that I would get stuck driving in even though the road was plowed but thankfully I managed just fine. The decoration the girls and I had placed a week or so earlier had some snow over it so I cleaned things off, sat in the car for a bit and then headed home. Sometimes I don't know exactly what I'm supposed to do when I go to visit the cemetery. I know some people talk to their dead loved ones. Talking to Corey just feels kind of weird to me. I guess I feel like talking with God is more productive. People have also told me that they can sense their loved ones with them at times. I really haven't experienced this. I think there are just too many questions in my head about whether Corey can see or hear me from heaven. And I'm just really not sure his spirit can be up there and down here too. I suppose those are questions I won't get an answer to until I'm there with him. So for now I just keep clinging to God and try to do what I can to keep my memories of Corey alive for the girls and I.  
     Tonight the memory of the first roses Corey bought me came to mind. I was 16 and in my junior year of high school (1993) and Corey was a senior. He was working at the Windjammer restaurant at the time. Apparently he wasn't going to get a chance to make it to the florist shop before they closed since he was working until later that evening. He told me later that he had sent a coworker out to buy a half dozen roses for me. He drove over to my house after he got out of work to deliver them. I guess by that hour of the night I probably figured that he hadn't thought to do anything for me. I think I had sent him a card or something. So when he showed up unexpected at my front door well into the evening I was thrilled! He was the first (and only) guy to ever bring me flowers ;) I had the perfect vase to put them in too...one he had made sometime that year in his ceramics/pottery class at school. I still have it. At his memorial service I had it placed next to his casket with a half dozen dark pink roses in it just like the ones he bought me on that Valentine's Day back in '93.  I actually took a picture of those flowers that he had gotten me. It's not posted here because I took it with a film camera (not digital) and I haven't had a chance tonight to locate it and scan it into my computer...It's a little hard to see the piece of pottery Corey made in the picture below but the roses stand out in vivid color.   
      This picture of Abigail was taken during the service. She had been sitting with me in the front row just to the left of Corey's casket. We were singing at the moment and she walked up to the casket and started playing with the 3 roses that were laid on the top (a red rose from me and 2 pink ones from the girls). Tris, the photographer, did a great job capturing the moment and played around with editing the colors to give it a cool effect.
     So to wrap up, the best parts of my day today included getting a pedicure with my friend Sarah and then making myself chocolate covered strawberries as a bedtime snack :)  And now I'm off to bed...I hope Corey meets me in my dreams tonight :)

PS - And since it's Valentine's day...I had to include a sappy love song ;)  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

An unending love...even in death

     Romans 8:35,37-39 ~ Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

     Six months ago today Corey departed this earth for his journey home to be with the Lord.  It's hard to believe the girls and I have been living daily life without him for that long. This is the longest I've been separated from him and it continues to be painful, to say the least. I've been thinking a lot lately about God's love for me and how unending it is. As part of our wedding ceremony we wanted special attention drawn to God's unending qualities. Before typing this I listened to parts of our service to try to locate what was spoken before we exchanged rings. My tears were flowing as I listened to Corey profess his love for me and I for him. Hearing us both repeat the "til death do us part" line was like having a knife twisted into my heart. I know...I kind of set myself up for that one!
Here is what the pastor read about the symbolism of our rings:
     "The circle has long been a symbol of God without beginning or end and with no point of weakness.  The circle is a reminder of the eternal quality of God and of unending strength. Thus these rings serve to remind us of the relationship Corey and Jill have with God as well as the relationship they have with one another.  The rings are symbols of covenant and should serve as reminders of our need to be faithful in all relationships."
     Thanks be to God that because of Christ's death on the cross on our behalf, my relationship with Corey is unending just like his wedding band that I now wear next to mine on my finger. (I'm still not sure how I'm ever going to stop wearing them.) Our earthly matrimony may have come to an end but in Christ we will always be in relationship. And once reunited we will love each other with the perfect love of Christ forever! What a gift from God.
     In exchanging our wedding rings our vows read -
"I give you this ring as a symbol of my love for you, my covenant to be your husband/wife, and to be faithful to you and as a reminder of God's presence in your life."
     I had forgotten about that last part. We were intentional about the wording for our vows and made some changes to the traditional wording to incorporate our relationship with God. Shortly after I told Abigail her Daddy had died she asked me, "Who's going to be your husband now?" I told her that God would be. I hadn't even thought about how my wedding ring is representative of that also. I guess I do have a good reason to not ever take them off! :)
     In remembrance of the 6-month anniversary of Corey's passing the girls and I made a trip through deep snow to Corey's stone. Once again, the road leading to his grave had not been plowed. With all the snow we've been hit with this week I just don't think the town has been able to keep up with everything. I was prepared this time though and proceeded to unload our snow shoes from the car. (Grandma Janie had gotten the girls each a pair for Christmas). We hiked in and started digging the stone out. I was also prepared with a nice big shovel. The top of Corey's stone was at least a good 6 inches down. I dug out all around it and placed a heart wreath on top. There are 6 white roses in the middle to represent the 6 months we've been without him. The red rose and two pink roses are what we the girls and I placed on his casket at his Memorial service. I plan to leave the wreath on until after Valentine's Day passes.  Of course if the weather keeps on like it has been, it will long be covered by then. As I write this it is now thundering and lightening out! Crazy New England weather...I might have to rescind my comment about not ever wanting a condo in Florida ;)

I wasn't sure if taking the girls to the cemetery was the right thing. They weren't too excited about the idea when I brought it up this morning but that was mainly because they were comfortable in our warm house playing with their Littlest Pet Shops and watching cartoons.  I roped Abigail in easily enough by telling her she was going to get to help decorate Daddy's stone with lots of hearts and flowers. Allison is never an easy sell. Everything is on her own terms and in her own time. I told my mom today that she's like a cat ;) Guess that's why her nickname is Alicat! By the time we got to Milton Mills both girls were in a good frame of mind about our mission. While a little zany, Abi's decorating had the love of a child for her daddy written all over it!
     I knew I had made the right choice to bring the girls when Abi said, "This reminds me of Daddy." while she was sitting next to his stone. I asked her what it was that reminded her of him. She said his stone. I replied, "That's why we have this place, so we can come and remember Dad." I went on to remind her of all the things that daddy liked that were a part of this place - the trees, the open space, all the snow!!  I know Corey would have been proud of the 3 of us out there with our snow shoes on. He always loved being outdoors - so much more than I did, especially in the winter time!


11+ years and heading for an eternity together...

     Many of you know that Corey and I were married the day after Christmas.  December 26th, 1998. We would have celebrated 12 years this year.  I appreciate that so many of you were praying for me that day and the days surrounding Christmas and our anniversary. I've had people ask me about how the day went and I wanted to take some time to tell you about how I spent it this year. It's taken me a while to put my thoughts together...
     Typically we marked our anniversaries with a night or two away, without the kids of course.  For many of our anniversaries we were in Vermont for the Christmas holiday, so we would find someplace local for an overnight stay.  A couple of years we stayed at a beautiful Bed and Breakfast in Ashland, NH called The Glynnhouse Inn.  All the suites are decorated differently but most of them have fireplaces and a corner hot tub next to the bed! One year Corey and I watched a movie (they have a DVD library) on the flat screen TV while hot tubbing with the fire crackling (okay, no crackling...it was a gas fireplace)...it was perfect!  What made the place even better was that The Common Man restaurant is right down the road.  This was one of our favorite restaurants for special occasions.  For those of you who are Vermonters, The C-Man, as they call it, is very similar to Fire and Ice in Middlebury. Corey usually treated himself to the prime rib. Some thoughtful person anonymously had one of the Common Man mugs mailed to me from their company store (gift shop) recently. Thank you for this whoever you are :) It was a really nice surprise that brought back sweet memories.  The C-Man store is located across the street from the restaurant (only at the Ashland location).  Corey and I would browse through it either before or after our meal. They sell lots of neat things and I could never seem to get out of there without making a purchase.
     Well, I had no idea how I was going to spend the 26th this year without Corey until just a week or so before the date. I knew I wanted to do something special to mark the day but figured I would just end up doing whatever...that it would be much like any other day. I really did not want to just brush over our anniversary. I felt like it would only be right to celebrate what Corey and I had for those 11+ years. I wanted to honor his memory and have time to reflect on all the good times we had together. So, the thought entered my mind that perhaps I would try to find someplace I could go by myself (bookstore, coffee house, etc) to just have some quiet time to think. The 26th fell on a Sunday so I was guessing that there wouldn't be a lot of places open very late that evening. Then I started thinking that I'd really like to have an entire night away, by myself...no kids. I ended up making a reservation at a hotel right in Burlington where Corey and I had actually stayed for our very first anniversary. I thought, how fitting that I would spend my first anniversary without him at the same place we spent our first anniversary together. Some of you may be thinking I'm a little crazy. You need not worry.  As I've mentioned before, going to places we've been together and doing things we did brings me comfort and helps me move through my grief. I know not everyone grieves this way but it seems to be working for me :)
     As usual, I planned too much for too short a period of time. I wanted to take time to reminisce over the almost 2 decades that I knew Corey, ponder goals for the new year, have some quiet time to just sit before God, and get a bunch of new stuff published on my blog, oh, and also finish a scrapbook album summarizing our 11 years of marriage.  Talk about unrealistic expectations. :) I really tried to pack light and consolidate but if you had seen me coming through the hotel lobby with all my bags, you would have thought I was staying a week.  Very little of the above actually happened but that was okay.  I tried to just let myself relax and do whatever I felt led to do.  I went away for the night really expecting God to show up.  I spent a good amount of time at the start of the evening in prayer asking him to bless my time 'away' and to direct me in how the time should be spent. I was really praying that I would come away with some good reminders of Corey's love for me. I read some scripture and listened to some music. It didn't seem like I had any "revelations" from God that night.  By the next morning I was kind of a little disappointed. I really was hoping to have something "big" to share with you on my blog ;-)  However, when I look at the bigger picture...the week leading up to Christmas as a whole, I can see that God did show up, just not in the ways I was looking for or at the times I was expecting. Another lesson in the fact that God works on his own terms. This can be hard to accept sometimes, but I remind myself that I can be thankful He doesn't operate on my human timetable since I know his timing is far better than mine...it's perfect! I just wish it could feel perfect all the time but then I wouldn't need to trust Him. I also came away a little disappointed that I didn't have more written reminders of Corey's love to hold on to. I was much more of a writer than Corey was (hence the blog...go figure!) I had brought along with me what I managed to grab of letters and cards we had exchanged through our years of being together. Not surprisingly there were many more of my letters to him than vice versa. What was even more disappointing was that I knew there were letters/cards from him to me that weren't in the stack I managed to pack. I came away feeling a little sad about this and so I sat down to intentionally think and list memories that I had to hold onto that spoke of his love for me. Those memories while many, seem like so little to hold onto.
    I thought back to a few nights prior when I had been reading in a book on the grief process.  In the last chapter of the book the author shared a bit about his wife's death from cancer and how he dealt with his own grief in the aftermath.  He says, "You see, I believe I haven't seen the last-- or the best-- of Joan. One day I will finish my journey on earth as she did, and as I stand before God, there she will be too, only better than I ever remembered her-- radiating the glory and goodness of God who made and loves us all. Then, I believe, I'll understand completely for the first time what love really is. I'll see how our love for each other on earth is but a reflection of the real thing." Part of a verse kept coming to my mind that next day but I just couldn't recall the entire verse or the reference.  It was something about, "now I know in part, then will I fully know..."  After some searching (that night of our anniversary while at the hotel) I was able to figure out it was found in 1 Corinthians chapter 13- you know the one...all about love.  In my memory, I can still hear Corey's dad Richard reading these verses at our wedding ceremony. Verse 12 says, "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." The counselor I saw for many weeks encouraged me when she told me, "Corey's love for you is perfect and complete now" (now that he is in heaven).  The love for me that he once knew in part is now fully known as he stands face to face with God and reflects God's love perfectly. One day I will know and experience fully Corey's perfect love for me and he will experience my perfect love for him.
      In my loneliness of missing Corey, I am trying to allow God and not other things to fill the gaping hole in my heart.  I am reading a book called, Heaven, by Randy Alcorn.  The book explores the topic of Heaven as described by God's word, the Bible. When I first got a hold of a copy of the book I jumped right to the section 3/4 of the way through that discusses relationships in heaven and what they will be like.  It addresses the question of whether or not there will be marriage in heaven.  Alcorn, using Bible verses for support, basically says, yes, there will be marriage in heaven. There will be one marriage between Christ and his bride (the church- the body of believers). Citing Ephesians 5:31-32, Alcorn says, "Paul (the apostle Paul who wrote the book of 1 Corinthians) links human marriage to the higher reality that it mirrors: "For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh---but I am talking about Christ and the church." Again, what we now know of marriage is but a "poor reflection" of what we will one day know as Christ's bride.  In my loneliness God has been impressing on my heart that I need to continue (probably moreso now in the absence of an earthly husband) to fall deeper in love with Christ.  I want to know what it would be like to experience as much love toward Christ as the love I have experienced for Corey.  I understand there is a difference between the spiritual and the physical dynamics of a relationship as well as there being different parts of love- love, the feeling and love, the action...but I sure would like to experience more here on earth of this perfect union that believers in Jesus will one day experience in heaven.
     As the girls and I were driving to the cemetery the morning before we were to leave for Christmas in VT, a song came on the radio with lyrics that matched these thoughts I had been having. It's called More like falling in love by Jason Gray. The basic gist of the song is that being a Christian is about having a relationship with Jesus Christ...not having a religion. I know a lot of people are wired to be more "logical than emotional" so falling in love with Jesus might not hold much appeal...Corey was much more into the "logic" side of what it meant to believe in Jesus...studying the Bible, history and the facts that supported the Truth that he clung to. I certainly agree these things are vitally important and as a way to honor Corey I hope in future posts to share some 'facts' that Corey clung to as he put his faith in Christ. He was always eager to share these kinds of things with anyone willing to listen.
     I mentioned that I listened to some music as I sat in the hotel room on our anniversary. I put in a Hillsong song title at pandora.com. If you're not familiar with pandora, it is really cool. You can listen to tons of free music. Basically you type in a song title or author that you like and the website creates your very own personal 'station' of songs that are similar to the one you told it you liked. I can't remember exactly the name of the song I put in, but it was one of the songs Corey really like to play on the drums. I wrote down the titles to some of the songs that it played for me and have added some of them to my playlist here on the blog. It's been time for some new music on here for a while! Well, I couldn't help but notice a theme with many of the songs being about God's great love for me and what my response of love should be for Him. I had my own private worship time that night. : ) Enjoy the new tunes!