We remembered Abby's first heavenly birthday this past Wednesday. We'd rather not think of it as the day she died but as the day she began her life in heaven with Jesus. It is a comfort to us. We thought it was going to be a really hard day but God was so good to us. I know many people were praying and we had been asking God for His peace. We really had a wonderful day. C. R. and I were able to each take a morning earlier in the week to get away alone to pray, cry and mourn. I think it helped us get through the day on Wednesday. We all went out to one of Abby's favorite restaurants--Good Egg. Then, we went to the zoo. It was a beautiful day weather-wise and the animals were very active. The kids also rode the carousel (Josiah rode the Panda in memory of Abby).
C. R. and I have both been surprised at how busy we have found ourselves in the past few months. First, Josiah had the opportunity to be involved in the Honeywell Aerospace Challenge. It is an annual competition when teams of students create a space station to house 100 people for a 2 year mission. They didn't get selected for the finals. However, his team did some pretty amazing work and we were very proud of them.
Next, Elizabeth's dance class had the privilege of performing at an assisted living residence. The dancers from several classes performed their holiday dances and then the children passed out holiday cards to the residents. Josiah, Daniel and Elizabeth all made cards. They loved giving them out and seeing the smiles they received in return. As always Daniel's smile was a big hit with the residents. We were also glad my parents were able to join us. My mom befriended a resident and asked her questions about her family. She has a wonderful talent for conversation and I knew she would be a blessing to someone there.
Finally, our biggest event is that C. R. started a new job this past week. After working at the North Central Association for 15 years he decided it was time to use his skills in a different way. Although he is thankful for the many friendships he made through NCA, he is excited about the opportunities he will have at Marvell Technologies (not to be confused with the comic book company).
Putting up the Christmas tree was different this year. Abby joined us in putting up the tree last year even though she wasn't feeling well at all, so, this was our first time putting up the tree without her. It was fun to see the kids taking turns hanging up all her special ornaments. They handled them with such care! It’s also fun to hear the kids say things like, "I remember when we all read that Christmas book together with Abby" or "Do you remember when we played Santa with that hat and toy bag with Abby?"
C. R. and I have commented that we often hear how difficult the holidays can be when you have lost a loved one. We understand this is probably true for some. We have so many traditions that will not be the same without Abby, yet we still find a great deal of hope and joy during this holiday season. God has so faithfully reminded us of what we can thank Him for and what we have to look forward to. He continues to be our strength and gives us a reason to rejoice even after we've had a good cry.
We hope and pray you all will enjoy a wonderful holiday season with friends and family. Thank you for lifting us up in prayer. Would you please keep Carlin’s family in your prayers as well? His mom posted a new entry to Carlin’s caringbridge site. You can read it at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/carlinshi . God Bless you all!