Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy One Year Birtdhay Mary Grace

The same yesterday, today and forever. That's my God and that's my girl!! Mary Grace Summons blessed us with the most precious day in our lives. There is no denying the hurt, the emptiness, the sadness, the literal heart ache, the anguish that losing her has brought to us.....but more importantly there is no denying the Joy, the miracles, the happiness, the laughter, the praise, the pure love that she has brought into our lives. That is what we mostly focus on and when the negative comes creepin' in, God penetrates my heart in a way I can't explain and reminds me that everything that Mary Grace brought to us, is worth it all.

Yesterday I have to admit was weird. How do you do this? How do you celebrate a birthday of someone you love so deeply, one of your children that is no longer physically in your presence? It hurts, I wanted Mary Grace here and the whole "it's just not fair" was definitely there! And I had so many friends say "is there anything you need" but when it came right down to it.....God did provide everything I/we needed to enjoy the day. The day started off by me waking up to 2 little girls jumping in my bed saying "Mommy, they came again!!" Yes, my neighbors and friends had done the wishes and prayers tied to balloons again out in front of our home. Kailey and Allison was already excited for their little sisters birthday and honestly if it weren't for them, I would have just stayed in bed all day and felt sorry for myself. But it was as if Mary Grace was here and her birthday would be no different than anyone elses, well in fact a lot more special! So...we put on our warm clothes and headed outside and had a beautiful time of letting the balloons go up to Heaven. My sweet friend Melissa also had a breakfast platter out front with pink flowers, muffins, bagels, and fruit ready to eat. So...we read over all the cards and wishes as we ate our breakfast together. We cried and laughed and were overjoyed yet again with how God has blessed us with such wonderful friends around us. The thing that touched my heart the most is that Mary Grace is very much still there for everyone. Sometimes it feels like grief is all yours, it's so lonely and it hurts when you think...."hey stop....does anyone remember Mary can't just GO ON!!". So yesterday's balloons and all the comments and e-mails I received was a reminder that, yes life does go on....but everyone is different because of my sweet 3rd daughter Mary Grace Summons. Oh God is so good to remind me of that!!

I had breakfast with Mary's photographer, lunch with friends and dinner with just us. We came home and watched the slide show and after the girls went to bed Chris and I watched the video of that day. And you know....we were reminded of the pure Joy of that day, not of the sadness. Yes...sadness for sure came the next day, but on January 14th, there was nothing but Joy, celebration, laughter.....and the video made that apparent. So...yesterday was weird but it was good, as good as it can be without her actually being here....what more could I have asked for.

I didn't really know how yesterday would play out and there are some little friends of Mary Grace's who love talking about her and including her in pretty much everything they can. I also knew that Kailey and Allison wanted a party for Mary Grace so this past Saturday we had Mary's birthday party. We made stepping stones for her garden that is a work in progress....we sent off balloon's, had cupcakes and sang Happy Birthday to Mary Grace. It was fun and the girls (and one boy!) loved it! Here are some pictures.....

I also know that several of you prayed for us during Christmas. It again had the things that make you sad like seeing all the "baby's first Christmas" stuff and knowing that there is a stocking on the mantel that will not be opened by Mary's little hands. But over all this Christmas was good. We included Mary Grace in everything and my husband out did himself on two gifts that were all about Mary Grace which was thrilling to me. One of the best gifts I have ever received in my life he gave me this year, it was a personalized photo album of Mary Grace, he had taken the time to do the pictures and write comments with each one. It is beautiful.

Please let me also share another miracle that happened because of Mary Grace's sweet life. You will see that the timing of it being December was such a God thing. From the beginning....The photographer that took Mary Grace's pictures the day she was born (over 1,100 of them) as well as the prenatal pictures has become a very good friend of mine. What she provided us, memories of every detail of Mary Grace, means the world to our family and is priceless. About 1 1/2 years before Mary Grace was born Amber lost her home in a flood. She had since been displaced from her home and her family was living in a town home while they were waiting for things to be settled with the state and insurance - it was taking forever. We had an opportunity this past July to be included in the nomination process for Extreme Makeover Home Edition for their family. We submitted a letter to try to convey what Amber meant to us and what she provided us with - a hard letter to write!! This year's theme for the show is "Hometown Heroes" and Amber is definitely ours! Well, after finding out that over 10,000 Texas families had applied I thought that would be where it ended. Then in October the applicants had been narrowed down to the top 20 and her family was in that number. The show contacted us and me, Kailey and Allison were interviewed by a producer who was going to pitch it to the show. Well....November she was in the top 5 and at this point I thought hey this could really happen for them (why I doubted my amazing God I will never know!!). Well here came December, I was in a down right negative state of mind. I didn't want to deal with December and Christmas without Mary Grace was doing everything I could to to put on my game face for my girls. I didn't want to send out Christmas cards that didn't include her so I decided it wouldn't happen this year! Well God showed me!! On December 5th Amber and her family got the famous "knock on the door" by none other than Ty from Extreme Makeover Home Edition ABC!!!! They flew her to an incredible vacation spot and built her a dream home in 5 days!! God not only provided them a home but he provided us excitement and joy that was all about Mary Grace for us. We got to be a part of the whole process and unless they edit us out will be on the show in some form or another. I can't give away show stuff but it will air March 1st, so tune in to see yet another thing that Mary Grace helped accomplish in her sweet, short and amazing 7 hours of existence!! One of the hard things about not having Mary Grace here is not being able to do things for her. We can go to Kailey's school and Allison's dance recitals but that is void in our lives for our Mary Grace. It was THRILLING to be able to be a part of this process that was all about and all because of our sweet girl!! Here is our Christmas picture that God and Mary Grace made happen for us....

Thank you for your continued prayers for our family. We feel them and appreciate them so much. I pray that you all have a blessed 2009!

In my Christmas letter I ended with this:

One thing I have learned, let us never put God in a box! If you need a home He will provide. If you need some joy in your heart, He will put it there. If you need something as simple as sharing your family at Christmas time to include your angel in Heaven, He will make a way!! We pray God will bless and keep each of you this coming year.

Ephesians 3:19-20 “May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”