Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dreading and Anxiously Awaiting Saturday...

I have spent the last couple of days taking care of three amazing children ( ages 15, 12, and 9) while their mom has been out of town. Last week was exactly one year since they lost their dad. Their mom was finishing up her nursing degree and so over the last year she has not only been grieving her husband but she has also had to finish school and become the sole provider. Being a new nurse, she has had to work some pretty crazy shifts. Her kids have basically had to grow up pretty quickly. They are some of the most responsible children that I know. They literally take care of themselves, but that is not what makes them so amazing to me. They are so steadfast in their standards and they have such pure hearts. They also care and love one another in the most tender way. I have never seen a brother and sister be such good friends, especially at the ages of 12 and 15. It has been such an honor and privilege to be in their home and feel of their spirits, especially this week of all weeks.

As the days get closer to Saturday, I feel myself getting more and more anxious for the week to be over. This Saturday, October 4th, was the date that Clairisa was going to be delivered if she had not already come. She has been on my mind constantly this last week and it has been really hard to focus on anything else. It is amazing how Cloey is so in tune with my feelings and emotions. I haven't talked to her or in front of her about how hard the last week has been for me, but I can tell that she just knows. Today in the car she said to me, "Mommy I wish I could pray for Clairisa to come back to us." It took everything in me to not just fall apart because she said exactly what I have been feeling. I feel like I have come so far in the last two months, but during this last week time has slowed and my thoughts have been consumed with the words, "what if..." and "if only". I know that Clairisa's life was in God's hands and that He has a specific plan and purpose for her, but this week all I want to do is cry. I've just got to make it through the rest of the week. Although Saturday will be an incredibly hard day, it will also be a wonderful day because I will be able to listen to the Lord's prophets and apostles and I know that through their words, the Lord's Spirit will somehow heal and comfort my empty arms and bleeding heart.

30 Has Never Looked So Good

Yesterday was Cory's 30th birthday. I forgot to take any pictures at his party on Friday or last night during our family party, so instead I decided to post two of my favorite recent pictures.

Katelund, Cloey, and I made up a list of 30 things that we love about Daddy. Then we read it to him last night while we gave him back, feet, and hand massages.

These are the ones I came up with...
1. He is VERY thoughtful and romantic
2. He is adventurous and loves to try new things
3. He is charismatic
4. He loves life
5. He LOVES being a Daddy
6. He has more friends than I can count and yet he always tells me that I come 1st b/c I'm his best friend
7. He is an incredible leader
8. He is an optimist
9. He is very charitable
10. He always believes in each of us and encourages us to never give up
11. He looks super hot in his new glasses
12. He loves to read and learn new things
13. He loves and respects his parents very much
14. He always puts his 3 girls first!!!!
15. He is still a little boy at heart

The next ones are Cloey's...
16. He is always nice to me
17. He loves me
18. He gives me food
19. He plays hide and seek in the dark with me
20. He does my make-up

The last ten are Katelund's...
21. He works for our family and our house
22. He is handsome
23. He always loves to play games
24. He shares everything
25. He is thankful for us
26. God made him
27. He lives a beautiful life
28. He loves us and always makes us feel like beautiful diamonds
29. He respects us
30. He is very special

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Thanks to my friend Destinee, I just watched the most incredible video and listened to my all-time FAVORITE song!!! Click here to watch for yourself.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Since Katelund has started school, she has gotten into trouble (her clipped was moved to yellow) four times!!! One time she got in trouble for talking when she wasn't supposed to be, another time when she was hugging a classmate instead of standing quietly in line, another time when she and her friends threw rocks at recess to keep the boys away, and yesterday she spit at a boy b/c he wouldn't leave her alone. What is a mom to do?

As I have thought about these situations, I have realized that there is some positive to be found. I know that sounds weird, but let me explain. I am so grateful that my daughter makes friends so easily and shows affection to them. She can be taught when and when not to talk, but it is a lot more difficult to teach someone how to love. And....hallelujah, I am so glad that my daughter is not afraid to put a boy in his place...okay so maybe not with spitting, but at least she doesn't let people bully her and she's not afraid to do something about it. The whole rock situation....yea there is just not a whole lot of positive to find out of that one...except for the fact that she wants the boys to stay away...I'll support that until she's 20. :)

Although I have found the positive in these situations, she does not know about them and all she knows is that she got in trouble at home each time. In fact, yesterday after school I made her write a letter to tell the boy that she was sorry for spitting at him. I'm not sure if she really meant it, but hopefully she will think twice before she spits at someone again(where did she get that from anyways???).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I LOVE to See the Temple

To learn more about LDS temples, click here

Yesterday me and two of my friends, Destinee and Kristin, went to the temple. I have been wanting to go to the temple ever since I got home from the hospital, and so it was a really big deal to me. Well, if you aren't familiar with the current crisis in Asheville, you will probably not understand why it would be a very difficult thing to plan for a 5 hour drive (total time there and back) to Columbia, South Carolina.

The problem lies in the fact that gas is a very rare commodity around here. It has been for a couple of weeks now. Most people in Asheville (who don't drive an Expedition) were able to make it through a couple of weeks without filling up, but now the problem is getting worse b/c people are running out of gas and so are the gas stations. It is really hard to find gas stations that have gas (you really just have to luck out and get there as soon as they get a new shipment). The police have to come and control the lines and traffic and you have to wait in line for about 1-1 1/2 hrs. and just pray that the gas won't run out before it is your turn. So on Tuesday, Kristin had 1/4 of a tank of gas and Destinee was almost on empty (and unfortunately I don't have a car during the day right now), so each of them had to fight the crowds and try to get lucky. We were all on our knees just praying that one of them would find some gas. Kristin waited in 2 lines that day for a total of 3 hours. Each time she was turned away b/c the gas had ran out. Destinee also waited in line for an hour and got lucky (actually blessed would be a better word). So we decided to go and just hope that we could find gas in S. Carolina on our way back (which we did).

It was the best day that I have had since Clairisa's death. As I sat in the celestial room, I felt my heart burning and I felt as if I was completely healed and whole again. It was the most incredible feeling. In fact, I didn't want to leave. I could've stayed there forever. The spirit that is felt in the temple, the Lord's house, is one of the most incredible feelings on earth. It is a place where all of my fears, pains, and worries are put at ease and all I can feel is the Lord's love and the Holy Ghost calming me and leaving me with nothing but peace, love, hope and joy.

At my Grandpa Black's funeral, all of the grandchildren sang the second verse to "I Love to See the Temple". Now as I go to the temple to feel closer to my sweet baby girl, the words to that song have greater meaning and deeper emotion to me than ever before.

I Love to See the Temple,
I'll go inside someday (or yesterday :) )
I'll covenant with my Father,
I'll promise to obey.
For the temple is a holy place,
where we are sealed together.
As a child of God,
I've learned this truth;

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Do You Ever...

Do you ever have one of those days...

When you feel so happy to be living and so grateful for the beautiful earth that you live on?
When you sit in church and feel your heart burn within you as the Spirit testifies of truth?
When you look at your husband and wonder how you ever got so lucky?
When you look at your children and realize that you have the best job in the whole world?
When you sing a hymn and it heals your heart?
When you feel so much love for the people around you?
When you realize that there is so much more good that you could be doing?
When you leave church feeling rejuvenated and ready to conquer the world?

Today I had one of those days.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Two Very Different Girls...

After school yesterday, Katelund and Cloey decided that they wanted to go running with me for a little bit. I told them to go upstairs and get dressed in running gear. When they came down the stairs ready to go , all I could do was laugh hysterically. It is so funny how different the two of them are!! First of all I have Katelund who comes down the stairs with one of her favorite outfits on...a soccer outfit that I got at Goodwill. She also has socks, tennis shoes, and a rubber band for me to put her hair back in a ponytail. Cloey on the other hand, comes down in a black velvet shirt and skirt....and with dressy heels. I told her that she could not run in that but after about 10 minutes of drama and coercing (on her part), I finally caved in and let her wear the black velvet with tennis shoes (but there was no way she was going to let me put her hair in a ponytail). If you don't already know this about Cloey, she insists on wearing a dress/skirt, high heels, and a headband every single day of the week (or else she says that she is not beautiful). I promise that those words have never come out of my mouth!! I don't know where she gets it from!!! I wonder what Clairisa will be like???....About half way through our run, Cloey was done. I made her keep running but she was not very happy about it.
Katelund is a really good runner and she'll keep going the whole time.... unless she sees flowers. Then we have to stop and pick them. :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Reality Check

Saturday night I had to go be a chaperon at a youth 80's themed activity/dance for our stake. It was fun to see all the youth dressed up and having fun, but I'm not gonna lie...it was also a little depressing. As I sat there watching them all of the sudden I had this huge reality check. I realized that it is no longer cool for me to go out on the dance floor and break out with my oh-so-many moves (especially my robot) with all of those teenagers. Although I guess I did go out one time and line dance but only b/c the girls asked me to. I also realized that they were all dressed up in MY DECADE (I was born in 1980)!!! They thought it was so funny to be wearing their jean jackets (you know like the one I still have in my closet) and their big puffy hair (okay so I did let that one die).

As much as I love being a mother and wife, I also miss the days of my youth. The days when I was out on that dance floor with my friends. The days where I was filling up my gas tank at 99 cents/gallon (on Saturday I filled up at $4.75/gallon b/c it was one of the only gas stations in town that had gas left)! The days where my responsibilities consisted of waking up going to seminary and school and then doing my homework. Wow, life was so much simpler back then.

Despite the reality check, I really did have a great time watching them and reminiscing .. AND... I even made a new friend (although she does live an hour away in the mountains of Frankin, NC).

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Family Night

Last night for Family Home Evening (our church designates every Monday night to be spent together as family) we did some hard things. First of all, we had to go the shop and pull all of our stuff out of our beloved Jetta. Cory got in an accident a couple of weeks ago while taking Katelund to school. Thankfully, nobody was hurt, except for the cars. They took our car to the shop to fix it, but apparently there was just enough damage that they are now classifying it as "totaled". So we had to go and say goodbye. I loved that car, but oh well, the Lord will provide something else for us. After that we decided to go up to Clairisa's grave site for the first time since the service. We stopped by the store to get some gerber daisies and so we were trying to explain to the girls how although Clairisa's spirit is in heaven, her body is buried in the ground and we were going to go to the spot where her body is and leave some flowers there. Cloey was trying to figure it all out. She suddenly got all excited, and then asked the following question, "so we are going to heaven to take flowers to Clairisa?" We all laughed a little and told her that we couldn't take them to her in heaven so we'll just leave them at her gravesite. To this Cloey said, "I know, we can go to heaven in a helicopter and then we can give the flowers to Claire Lissa (that is how she says her name)". If only that was how it worked. :) Although I think that if it were that easy to get there, then nobody would ever come back to earth.

Obviously, it was really hard to look down at the plot that was still freshly covered up. We all put our hands on the grass that was covering her little casket and we just cried together (well, Cory and I did, the girls were too busy looking at everyone else's flowers). Every part of me (except the logical part) wanted to pull up that rectangular piece of grass and dig out the casket so I could get to my baby and hold her again. I know that sounds weird, but those motherly instincts are just so incredibly strong! Although it was hard, it was also nice to be back there and to just cry in Cory's arms and remember her. It just amazes me how the ties and bonds of a family can be so incredibly strong. Just knowing that we can be together forever as a family if we live righteously, is one of the most motivating incentives for me. I couldn't imagine eternity without my family.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Moment

I have really hesitated with posting this picture. At first, I didn't want to share any pictures of Clairisa with anybody outside of my family, but as the weeks have past I have felt a need to share her with others. Not just others, but with each of you. Those of you who have read my blog and through your comments have brought me strength and courage to move forward. Those who through your words have brought me hope, faith, and love. To all of you... I cannot thank you enough.

Clairisa has changed my life in an incredible way. She has brought me perspective, gratitude, empathy and more determination to stand for the right. Through her short little life, I have seen the world in a different way. I hope that by showing this picture, I am not crossing over a line because I know that it was just her body, but in this moment I truly can say that I felt her spirit. I felt as if she was right there next to me. I long for this moment. In fact somedays I long for this moment so badly that I pull her blanket out of her memory box and just hold it on my chest and cry as I try to recreate this very moment in my mind and heart. If only I could express to you what I was feeling in this picture. It was a moment that I didn't want to ever end, a moment that still brings tears and heartache to me, and yet it also fills me with peace and joy. It was in this very moment that I was not only able to feel her but I was also able to feel Heavenly Father's love for her and for my family. I laid there with her on my chest for about an hour. It was the longest and shortest hour of my entire life. It was an hour that I knew would never ever be repeated in this lifetime, except in my mind. I would give almost anything to have that hour back, but at the same time, I would never want to experience the pain and agony that came when I had to place her in a box and let the nurse take her away.

Today my heart is aching to feel what I felt in this picture. To feel her. To feel in my heart that this would not be the last time I'd ever hold her. To know without any question that she was truly an angel sent to heal and bring a little piece of heaven to earth, even if only for a short while. To know that this earth life is just like a moment in time, a moment that will determine the rest of eternity.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Seriously?? Could she be any cuter?

Apple Festival Pictures

All along Main Street they had little tents set up where they sold every kind of apple imaginable.
Cory and his Dad were having a little too much fun swinging the girls in the air. Of course they both loved it.
I love this picture of Katelund and her Grandma!
They had a parade that lasted almost 3 hours! I didn't think it would ever end, but Katelund LOVED every minute of it. It was actually their first real parade.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Weekend Update

Yesterday I was sitting in church and a family with a 2 month old baby girl came up and sat in front of us. She was in her car seat and so I was thinking, "Okay Melissa, control your emotions. You can do this." Well I was doing just great until they pulled her out of her car seat. As soon as I saw her sweet little face, I lost it. I knew that I wasn't going to be able to pull myself together so I had to leave the chapel. It was kind of embarrassing, but at least I left before the uncontrollable sobbing began. Moments like these come periodically and unexpectedly, but at least it is just moments now, instead of all day, right?

Cory's parents drove up from Fayetteville to be here with us this weekend because I asked them to speak at our Standards Night (a meeting where the youth are reminded of their standards ( i.e. dressing modestly, no dating until 16 yrs. old, observe the Sabbath day, no pornography or immorality, no tattoos, etc.) They did such a great job!!! I love the youth so much and I feel so blessed to serve them. They are constantly teaching me in so many ways. Anyways, today we are going to spend our Labor Day at the Apple Festival here in town. I will post pics tomorrow. This morning Cory and I started the day off with some flag football at the high school. Cory and 9 of his buddies went to play and I went as well because I wanted to run on the track and then watch the game. I actually played for about 30 minutes b/c one of the guys got there late and then I ran 1 mile. Yep, I did it. I ran 1 mile for the first time in 7 months. It felt incredibly good. I am still so out of shape, but I'll get there.

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