Happy birthday, Daddy. I miss you still.

I sat alone in the dark last night, struggling to find the perfect way to honor and celebrate Dad on his birthday today. I could feel the heat boiling inside of me. Anger threatening to spew out every part of my being. I don't want to find a way to celebrate withOUT him!

I want to load up these babies and make the drive to Cleveland. I want to watch him laugh at whatever crazy gift Sophie put together for him. I want to watch him grin ear to ear while Maggie sings "happ birday, Pa" over and over again making him blow out his pretend candles and eat the pretend cake.

I want to buy him another new t-shirt instead of one for myself. I want to smell Old Spice and cinnamon gum and see if his beard is completely white now.

Yet here I am. Another year has come and gone. He is still gone and I find that the ache still creeps in. 

"...even during those times when the path is darkest, He leaves little bits of evidence all along the way - bread crumbs of grace..." (Marybeth Chapman) 
I love that! Sometimes I think they are more like whole, giant loafs of grace that you couldn't miss if you tried! 

So, at the end of today, God's grace has once again overwhelmed me and rubbed soothing balm on a heart threatening to crack.  The realization that my God will continue to do this year after year, never growing weary of soothing my aches with His Love, is overwhelming. How can anyone miss His goodness?! How can I ever wonder why He orchestrates things the way He does?! Because I am weak and tiny and in desperate need of more of Him! Blessed be The Lord God of heaven and earth, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort! 

{Happy Pa Day}

So, today.  Today we celebrated.

Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.  Yep, we started our day off punching the heads off robots.  It was a pretty good way to start the day, actually.  I can remember many times hearing Dad talk about playing this game as a little boy at someone's house and wishing so much that he had one of his own.  So, for his 50th birthday, I found one for him.  I was so excited to give it to him.  For a long time I actually grieved the loss of seeing his excitement in opening my gift.  Now I choose to just break it out on his birthday and enjoy not what could have been, but what is.  The girls have quite a bit of fun pounding away on these things and, okay... so do Josh and I.  Just don't play Wendy.  That girl gets a little crazy... :)

Sophie and I made a German Chocolate Cake.  Definitely Dad's favorite.  And I now have a new willingness to fork over the $4 per piece that Queenies charges for their amazing German Chocolate Cake.  Pain in the tush.  But I'll probably do it again next year.  And will most likely eat the whole thing myself.  It's a special occasion, afterall.

Anyway, Sophie get's so excited about birthdays and it is so important to me that they know Pa.  So, I thought making a cake would add to the fun of celebrating someone's birthday when they aren't even here.  I was really surprised that she hadn't request balloons and party hats like usual, but then I could tell she was really concerned about something.  I asked her what was wrong and she said "Mommy.  How are we going to get Pa's cake up to Heaven to him?"  *smile*  So, I explained to her that Pa doesn't need cake anymore, that we get to be the ones to enjoy it instead!  I can tell this is all still a little strange to her.  Then, she brought me this little post it note that she had colored on and said "this is for Pa."  I told her that he would have really liked to get her note. She says to me every once in a while, "Mommy, I want Pa to come down to here so I can see him."  Me too kid.  Me too.

Every year for Dad's birthday I would get him a new Christian t-shirt.  Not sure if he even still liked getting them, but it was tradition! :)  Last year Josh suggested that we start a new tradition where each year on Dad's birthday we all get a new Christian t-shirt.  So, this evening we headed over to our local Christian bookstore and did just that.  Somehow I feel like this is honoring Dad's memory in a simple, silly way.  It helps me anyway and hopefully someday the girls will look forward to it too.

I was asked to share with the ladies at our Church a little about grief.  This has caused me to want to go back through my "box".  I rarely ever go there.  I think I've opened it up twice in the past 3 years.  I see it almost every day, but never really have a desire to look inside.  It was so good to have a reason to take off that lid and remember.  Even though there were a few tears shed, I thoroughly enjoyed picking up each trinket and remembering.  It did make me miss him, but it was so good to have him on my mind in a fresh way.   Today I just stopped and looked at my box.  Dad.  In a box.  How does this one little container hold all that is my Dad to me?  Then, I remembered the old hymn The Love of God.  Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made, Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade, To write the love of God above, Would drain the ocean dry. Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Though stretched from sky to sky.  I was just reminded of my Dad's purpose as a Father.  He was to protect me, but he was also to be a representation to me of God the Father.  Even with his flaws, his broken fingers, bowed legs and total inability to carry a tune, he was such a good representation to me.  I have never really stopped to consider just how good.  He was firm, but at the same time so gentle and loving.  He was my small little glimpse of my loving God.  Just like my little container will never be able to truly hold all that is my Dad to me, the earth as a scroll stretched from sky to sky can never contain all that is my Abba Father.  

I still remember having a very confusing conversation with my mom where I just could not understand why I couldn't marry my Daddy.  My Dad was my first love.  I am forever thankful that I had a Daddy who stole my heart away.

Five Years

Five years ago today:
-I experienced true sorrow.
-I told my Mom what she already knew was true.  He was gone.  
-I laid on the bathroom floor and cried so hard and so deep that I just knew air was not going to fill my lungs again.
-I had grace heaped upon me.  Huge, massive portions of God's grace.
-I learned that this didn't mean I wouldn't feel the pain.  The deep ache.  The gut twisting, nauseating pain.  It meant I would survive it.  I would be okay.

Today marks five years since the last time I saw my Daddy.  It has been five years of longing for him, rejoicing for him, missing him, rejoicing for him, aching for him, rejoicing for him.  Him.  Somedays I just don't want to rejoice for him.  I just want him.  I want my Daddy.  Somedays I think "if I could just..." If I could just what?!  Hug him one more time?  Tell him I love him one more time?  See him just one time laugh and play with my little girls? It would never be enough.  I would never be ready to say good bye...

It has also been five years of gifts.  Little morsels from God.  Life-sustaining morsels.

I miss him so much.  But I think that's okay.  I know I will see him soon.

{Projects I am Dying to Try}

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea!  I am off to the thrift store tomorrow to hopefully score an oil painting treasure that I can turn into one of these fabulous "paint by numbers" creations!

Fabulous, right?!

Yesterday, Money Saving Mom posted a link to this very creative (and cheap) option for displaying children's books. Made from guttering! I have really been trying to come up with a way to get these girls of mine to read more.  At one time Sophie was crazy about books, but it's been work getting her to read lately.  And Miss Maggie just likes to pull them all off the shelf and throw them on the floor!  I think the idea of allowing little ones to see the cover of the book instead of just the spine is great and just might do the trick here!  They have the perfect spot for this in their room.  I can whip up a couple of floor pillows or bean bags and voila! reading corner fabulous-ness!

Looks almost like a nice wooden shelf, huh?!

{A Very Special Birthday}

Well, in the life of my sweet 3 year old anyway.  This morning Sophie declares to me that it is Thomas' birthday and we must decorate NOW! This girl is so passionate about everything.  She gets this very serious look and emphasizes every syllable of every word.  We. Must. Dec.Or.Ate. Now.  Oh how she makes me laugh.

I have really been convicted lately about enjoying time with my kids.  I do always make time for them or take them to do fun things, but I end up playing on my phone or reading a book while they play at the park instead of getting up and playing WITH them!  And what a shock - I have FUN when I finally get over myself and get up off my lazy tush and play with them.  Who knew? (note sarcasm)

So, this morning, we had a birthday party for Thomas.

Doesn't he look so excited?!


Lots of friends came.

Maggie too.

Sophie made a "cake".

And of course, there were gifts.

Showing Thomas his cake.  *Love this girl and her great imagination.*

My heart overflows with praise and thanksgiving today for the gift of little girls.  And the blessing and opportunity to play with them everyday!

{Because I Have No Where Else to Send This - A Letter to My Daddy}


Today I drove out to visit “you” in Blackburn.  I hate that place.  I hate that the part of you that I used to be able to wrap my arms around is rotting in the ground.  Being there reminds me of the reality of this world where pain, sorrow and loss are common. So many daddies and mommies and babies being mourned and missed by someone. I still have dreams about you that remind me of a silly Soap Opera or a cheesy movie where you are really alive, but have just had amnesia and are off living a different life somewhere else.  Well, you don’t have amnesia, but you are off living a different life somewhere else.  An eternal life in a really great place.  Soon.  Soon we will all be where we should be.

Anyway, for some reason on Father’s day I just really feel like I have to come visit.  So, I did.  I brought snacks.  An old favorite of ours, popcorn and orange juice.  It just wasn’t the same without Andy Griffith or an old John Wayne movie going.  Plus it was hot.  And you weren’t really there.

There were two old guys hanging around.  They were just wandering around looking at the different headstones and talking about the people.  It reminded me of how you used to take us out there and do the same thing!  Ha!  It must be a Blackburn thing…  Then, I started thinking about “wolf hunts” and how we used to all just hang out down on the dirt road listening to the dogs chase coyotes.  I still don’t understand that whole thing.  Was the intent to chase off the coyotes?  Why did you guys call it wolf hunting?  Or was it all just another excuse for all you country guys to just sit around and talk?  Probably the last one.  Maybe BoBo would know the answer to that one.

I drove past that huge old barn that you liked so much.  I remembered the time that we just pulled up in their driveway and you asked if we could go look inside the barn.  I don’t think you even knew the people! Ha!  Didn’t matter… you never met a stranger and people never seemed to mind. :)

I decided to take the scenic route and go through Blackburn.  I passed Jody and Vickie Denny on four wheelers.  It reminded me of the time we were at the Tournament of Champions and you could see Jody across the court with binoculars searching the crowds.  You stuck your finger up your nose and waited for him to see you.  It brought you great delight to see them notice you and start cracking up. You were so funny.

Someone built a little camp just before you get into Blackburn.  It reminded me of your dreams to someday build a camp out on our land in Cleveland.  I think this is a lot like how yours would have looked too… metal buildings everywhere! :)  I do wish that God had chosen to use you in camp ministry and in building docks for camps and full time workers like you had dreamed.  I just have to accept that His ways are higher than mine and His understanding more than mine… He knew that you were a willing servant and this is how He chose to use you.  I have seen so many great things as a result.  Thank you for even being a servant in death.

I drove past the Blackburn Baptist Church.  Man have they really fixed that place up!  It looks totally different!  I don’t know who the preacher is now, but I couldn’t help but remember our time there.  You had your first shot at public speaking with giving announcements.  I remember that even in that teeny group, with only announcements to give you still got so nervous. :)  The Lord was preparing you, wasn’t he?  I may be wrong about this, but in my opinion that time at Blackburn was just a stepping stone into great spiritual growth for you (and all of us, really). 

The old gas station is still there.  I wish they still had the old fashioned pop machines with the glass bottle pop.  I remember we always stopped by to get one, probably after walking around at the cemetery! Ha! I remember as a little girl going in there with you and I would always stand on the metal pop crates while you paid for our stuff.  Of course there was that one time… I won’t mention it. :)

I picked wildflowers on the way out.  I love picturing you stopping to pick every kind of wildflower you came across between Grand Lake and home to put in the antique bee smoker for Mom.  It was so special to her which I’m sure you knew, but you probably didn’t realize how special it was for your kids to see love displayed so clearly.  We all have a thing for wildflowers now. 

On the way back I started cracking up when I passed “The Cove” restaurant, or what used to be that is.  I remembered you telling us how you could see into the kitchen and you could watch the great big lady flipping burgers in a sleeveless shirt, sweat dripping on the grill.  And you still ate there!!!  That still makes me want to throw up. Yikes.
The lake looked awesome.  I would give anything to be on an innertube while you tried your hardest to cause permanent brain and spine damage!  That may have been the most fun thing I have ever done in my life.  I can still remember how you looked standing with one leg propped on the seat, craning your head to see behind you.  You always had on cargo shorts, a t-shirt, a ball cap and tennis shoes with socks.  On a boat!  That still cracks me up.

I can still remember the way your whiskered face felt and how you smelled of hard work, Old Spice and Tide.  I have your green chair in the girl’s room and for a really long time I could still catch a whiff of you.  I loved that.  I can still hear you say “ah heck” and that “hee hee hee” laugh you used to do when you were being ornery. 

This weekend I realized something.  I am healing a little.  That made me bawl.  I guess because it means you have been gone long enough that time is started to heal my wounds.  I don’t want it to have been almost 5 years since I’ve seen you, but it has.  Soon.  Soon I will get to see you again.  I can’t wait!  I don’t think it takes away any from the glory of the Lord for me to be excited to see you too.   I love you.

Your Sugar Booger
Me.  Brooke. :)

{I Love Being Mommy}

Footer Photo

{Face Behind the Design}

Hi, it's me - Brooke. I'm the *face* behind the design. I'm wife and mommy. I'm child of God, redeemed by the blood of Christ, seated with Him in the Heavenly places! I'm crazy list maker. I'm equal parts stressed and goofy. I love to create, inspire and be inspired.