This roller coaster we call life..

There is this new song that I have fallen in love with that is called “I wanna go back” and it has become one of my favorite songs.

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It talks about wanting to go back to Jesus loves me, this I know. Back to when things were easier. Back to when you were glad to have neighbor kids to play with. And I think about all the times I would go back to if I could and change my actions or do something differently. But that would also change who I am today.

I think a lot about missed opportunities with Trae. I don’t dwell on them too much because I want to choose to think in the good memories; on the times I had with him because that is what means the most to me. That is what I treasure most, after all! I think about the times I took him for granted because he was my little brother. I think about the secrets he kept  for me. I think about the harmonies we would attempt together. I think about the movies we added commentary to. I think about the times we laughed until we cried and I think about the times we cried together.
Trae’s heart was so big that most of the time, if he was crying it was because someone else was hurting and he was hurting for them. I think about the times we spent driving to school together and I think about the lunch table visits I paid to him every day. I think about the times he was helping me with my homework, the nerd.

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But then I think about the times when I didn’t go see his track meet. Or I didn’t have the patience to play another game of Monopoly, which for some reason he loved. I think about the way I got annoyed when he would tell on me. I think about when I would get mad at him for no reason. I think about those times when I wanted to jump on an airplane and ride it the whole way to California just to get off and hug him, but I couldn’t. I think about those times I missed with him and it makes me sad.
I think about how I would give so much to go back and not get annoyed at him as much. I think about going back and hugging him so tight he can’t move. I think about how I should have videod all his talks and whatnot because he was so wise and sometimes all I want to do is talk to him because he always knew some kind of answer. I think about how much I miss him more and more every day. I think often how it is not fair, but how it is God’s plan and so I need to be thankful for the time God have to me, which is so much harder than I think! I think about how life is different without him. When we are hanging out as a family, I look around and think about what he would be doing if he was here. He would find some creative, silly way to comfort Graham when his balloon comes off the string and flies up, up, up! He would find a way to make Sophie smile when she is frowning. He would give the perfect hug to mama when she was feeling down. He was always so chill and he passed that through himself to others by his actions. There is no doubt Trae is in Heaven because he treated everyone as Jesus would. He hardly ever got mad and he loved. He loved so much. He loved people and dogs and art and coffee and Jesus. He just loved and that, my dears, is the lesson. Just love. Just love and hug and smile and praise Jesus because he has given you life and he loves you!


Trae was my best friend for most of my life. There is not a day is the past [almost] 10 months that I wish I could hug him one more time. The weekend before Trae died, I was a mess. I spent most of Saturday crying because Mom and Dad were in Washington with Trae and I just missed him so much, it hurt! I cried and cried. Lowell didn’t know what to do with me. The week after Trae died, Lowell informed me that he had looked at tickets to send me to Washington the weekend after Mom and Dad were there so I could go see my baby brother. I was out there that weekend, but not for the reason I wanted to be. God has a funny way of doing things and I don’t understand. But I met amazing people who lives had been touched so deeply by my brother. I am blessed to call each of those sweet people family because of Trae. We may have never been together all in the same room with him, but they are forever my family. I am blessed by them every day! I wish Trae could see the effect to had on so many people and maybe he can. I often find myself mind wandering to what he can and cannot do and what Heaven is like and it excited and scares me at the same time. I don’t know what he can do, but it gives me comfort to think that he can check in on me and my family. My mom sees him in birds and random new fun objects she finds. I find him in music and movies because that is what we related on.
The past year has not been an easy one, that is for sure. There has been so many down on this roller coaster that has been the past year. However, there has also been many ups as well. I don’t like how God’s plan has panned out , but while it continues, I plan to praise him during the storm and during the calm. I tend to praise him when it is storming and call on him more during that season of life, while forgetting to praise him in the high moments too! I am trying to teach myself that I need Jesus just as much in those times as in those down moments. I am so thankful for a Jesus who loves unconditionally! I am blessed more than I deserve. I try hard every day and fail most days.
We had a couple at church this week who are missionaries in Indonesia. In Indonesia, if your family is shamed, you have to do what they call an “honor killing” to regain honor from your people. So, you are killing the man who made you look shameful. Well, one man was shamed and in his way to regain his honor when a man another Indonesian who knew Jesus stopped him and told him about how he was loved so much by Jesus that Jesus already she’d the blood for him. Jesus loves this man so much that he died for him and you and me. This man was so humbled that someone would love him so much that he changed his life. He started thinking about others and about how he could help others and not himself as much. The moral of that story; Jesus saves lives, y’all!

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We can spend all day finding things we wish we could go back and change or do one more time. We can spend weeks and months filling out pages on pages of things we wish we could go back and change. But the truth of it all is, we can’t go back. But we can start today as the first day of the rest of our life because it is. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. How will you choose to live it?


 

Literally LOVE THIS SONG!

My other favorite song right now! Works well since the eclipse was today!

 

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Time Marches On..

*I wrote this a couple weeks ago, so if any seems like it doesn’t make sense, I’m sorry. I tried to fix it.

I have been crazy busy and also trying to figure out what to write about and it seems like my mind is so full of thoughts and feelings, but when I go to put them down, my mind pauses and all my thoughts go mumbo-jumbo and nothing makes sense. It is awful when you love to write! I even started a post last week and it is still incomplete. But, as I was folding my laundry this afternoon (which I dislike doing), I was talking to myself (which I do so so so often) and I thought “I should write this down.” So, then I started texting myself… (which again, I do more a lot so I remember stuff) and I sat there and talked and used voice-to-text messaging and it got the main idea of what I was saying.

That first paragraph was seriously just how my mind works… Aren’t we glad we don’t say everything that we think? Thank you God for mind filters! 🙂 I did text myself though and it was long and had to be converted to a multimedia text just to be sent up to the satellites and then right back to my phone!

Recently, I told Lowell that I should write about being content… Then, I realized I already wrote about that! But, I am going to touch on that because I have been needing a reminder of that recently. I think sometimes when everything is changing in our life, we feel unstable and not content, making us want more.

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How has my life been changing? Good question!

in the past 6 months, everyone has moved… except me. Kala and Aaron moved to PA from Indiana in February. It was the plan for the past year; just took a bit of time to get here. It has been amazing having them here. I love having all my nieces and nephews in the same state! Milo and Carrie lived in mom and dad’s basement, so when mom and dad sold their house, they both had to find new places to live. They did and we moved them in May. We all live now in different houses, which is weird because for so long, we went to one house and everyone was there. Now, we have to plan out when all want to hang out so we can see each other. Saying goodbye to the home that most of your memories were in is very hard. The day after my parents settled on their house, I sat on the floor at the house I was cleaning and wrote an Instagram post and cried.. They weren’t home. So, it’s not completely weird, right?

I have to wake up every day and remind myself that part of my family is forever gone. That sounds kinda like something you wouldn’t forget. It’s not that I forget; it’s just something you don’t want to remember. Some days I don’t think about Trae much. Other days, I think about him constantly. We were on vacation a couple weeks ago and went deep sea fishing. For some reason, I kept thinking about Trae. We went to Florida when we were kids and grandpa and grandma took us deep sea fishing together. Most of the times i have been fishing were with Trae and those moments were brought to me while fishing. There is just certain moments in day to day life where his memories sneak up on me and surprise me. Other days, they are right in front of my face from the moment I wake up until I go to bed at night. When Facebook shows me memories every morning and a year ago today, he said something funny on my Facebook post. I was watching a new TV show the other week and this guys brother had died. He said, “I don’t think of {Brother, in this case, Trae}as being gone. I just feel like he’s on some endless trip around the world.” Honestly, I feel this way more than I should. Trae is not gone; He is just traveling around the world, seeing amazing things and meeting new people. I know that it is not true, but sometimes our own mind is our best trickster.

Those are the two main changes, but there are many small changes too! Life changes every day, but God gives us new chances every day. I have a sign in my dining room that I see every day that says, “365 days, 365  Chances.” I love being reminded every single day that I have a new chance every day to do whatever. I have the chance every day to let God be my guide and show me the way he wants me to go. What a blessing that is! Each of us have the chance every day to let God lead us. Two months ago, Lowell and I got baptized, but that is not when we started letting God lead us in our life. God has always been leading us and we are forever grateful for that.

SO this post is going to be a little chaotic. Just saying. This is most of the part I texted to myself… 🙂

Two months ago, we took a week off and went to Ocean City, New Jersey. We spent a lot of time on the beach. I have always found and been taught by my mama that the ocean is one of the best and most amazing places that you can see and feel God. The beach is one of the few places where I can feel how powerful God is. His presence is overwhelming as you stand there and watch the waves come in and out. You can feel God fill your soul and overwhelm you. That is like grief and love and most of the feelings and emotions go through every day. We feel overwhelmed as love or pain or grief or greed or whatever is consuming us at that moment in our lives. We feel overtook by it. We feel like the waves are flooding over us. But just like a lifeguard, watching the sea, watching over the people on the beach and in the water, Jesus is our lifeguard! With the help of Jesus, we can get through any wave that might pull us under. Now saying that, don’t take that seriously! Don’t go and swim in the ocean and trust that if you get pulled under, God will be there. He might, but take it figuratively.

But like a wave, I want the spirit of God to overtake me and consume me. I want the spirit to move me, to speak to me.. “Kaci, get up and Go! I am in control and I will guide you. Go and be amazing and show people Jesus. Show people me.” God wants us to share Him. God wants us to be the light to the world. If there was one main thing Trae taught me is that we are a light and we need to share it with the world. However, if our light is dim and shady, we are leading people away from the cross. We want to lead people to the cross with our light.

God wants His children to be happy. Sometimes, we feel like we don’t deserve to be happy. Sometimes, we feel like our actions cause bad things to happen. For a couple of months after Trae died, I felt like everything around me was going wrong. I broke my phone. There was other things I broke or that figuratively fell apart and that made me feel like everything was falling apart. But Jesus mends us. Jesus mends our hearts. Jesus mends our life.

My mom spoke at annual meeting and talked about grief. She said that grief is a love story. If there is grief, that means there was love. If there is no grief, there was no love. How miserable would it be to look back and realize that the love was missing and there is no way to mend that fence now . I am not saying I am thankful for grief, but I am thankful for the love I have for Trae.

This post is literally off the wall crazy, here and there right now and I apologize. It is hard for me to think about one thing most days. I love writing and I hope that my mind can focus soon on one thing.

One thing I have learned…

If you can spend your time with your favorite people, doing what makes you happy, you will have lived a good life. Spend time with your family, your friends and your absolute favorite people. We went to the beach in May. We arrived there and barely got our stuff up stairs and two of my best friends arrive. While I was super mad because they surprised me, I was super happy because they surprised me. Find friends who do that for you. Find family who after they have all moved and you suggest moving soon, they say “Heck no. No more moving.” or “Sure, we will be there no matter what.” Find those people and love the crap out of them. Travel with them. Move with them. Gather together with them and just love each other! Just love, because above all, love matters most.

time is precious


Dear Trae,

It is hard to believe that we are almost through 9 months of living without you. I think about you every single day and miss you more and more each day. It pains my mind and my heart to think about just how much I do miss you. This week, I told Lowell that it finally hit me that you are never coming back and I will never again get a big, amazing hug from you. I wish I could go back and soak up those hugs from the past! We never realize how much we have until it is gone and we want it back oh so bad! I wish so bad for one more conversation, one more laugh, one more smile, one more jam session in my car, one more movie watching discussion; one more moment with you! I will hold tight to the promise of eternity with Jesus and you. xoxox


 

This song is my heart! I just love it so much!

AND this song! I love it so much and every time I hear it, I smile and just want those 5 more minutes!

6 months

180 days… or 6 months…

If you would have told me 6 months ago from right now, on the morning of October 26th, 2016, that my little brother was going to be shot and killed, I wouldn’t have believed you. I don’t know exactly what I would have done. I probably would have been calling him all day, making sure he was okay. He probably would have got tired of me and told me to stop calling, that he was fine.

However, one thing I have found more and more true every single day, is that God can still surprise me. Our timing doesn’t matter; God’s does! A friend of mine on instagram captioned her photo with 8 words that really stuck with me. “We do not choose the moment; God does.” No one but God wanted Trae to go. God looked down at his son and said, “Alright, you have done what I needed you to do. Come Home.” Trae obeyed. Trae listened and he went. He didn’t complain and he didn’t try to run. God could have saved Trae, but for some reason, God chose not to. We don’t know why, but we try and believe that God has got it under control.

We have went through a lot of firsts since October 26th, 2017. Every new thing is a first. These are not in chronological order…

  • Our first Sunday back to church.. It was hard. I cried most of the service. A lot of people talked to me and hugged me and nothing made it feel right. Sundays until about Christmas were that way.
  • Our first Thanksgiving.. We never really celebrated Thanksgiving much, so it wasn’t as bad. Lowell and I went to Indiana for the week and spent it with Kala and Aaron. Milo’s came out for Thanksgiving weekend. Uncle Dan & Aunt Karen and their kids came out for Thanksgiving Dinner. We ended the evening, going around and sharing our favorite memory of Trae.
  • Our first time to Washington.. Now, the reason we were there was just awful, but WA is a beautiful place. “Hills” that are here at home Mountains. They say it hardly ever rains in WA, but they must have got all the rain they get every year the weekend we were there. It rained the whole time. The second time we were here, it snowed most of the time. SO, I would like to see WA without rain or snow sometime!
  • Trae’s funeral was the first funeral that I remembered that was someone so close and meaningful to me. I have been to few funeral in my life, which I don’t count as a bad thing. I have never been to one with someone whom I was very close to! There are just some things in life you never wish have to happen!
  • My first time to the beach… The last time I was at Ocean City, MD, was with Trae. We went with him and some youth group for a one day trip! One day to go and come back home from Ocean City is not enough time… but we did it! It was a fun, tiring day! In January, two of my friends and I went to Ocean City for a long weekend. It was a well spent time with best friends, even though they got too close to a wild horse. It was nice to getaway and not have to worry about anything (other than your two best friends getting ate or mauled by a wild horse). But, standing there, on a windy beach, watching what was supposed to be a sun rising, but instead a cloud watching, gets to you. I stood there, talking to God, asking Him why, and complaining a little. He knows all my feelings and thoughts, but sometimes I have to say them out loud. Sometimes, you have to cry and just talk it out with God.

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    “Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”

  • First Christmas… Christmas for the Oyler family fell on the weekend of March 12… well into 2017! It was a jam-packed weekend for Lowell and I! It was a nice day. We had lunch, gave presents to the kids, released 21 balloons for Trae.. There was laughter and there were tears, like most events anymore.
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I’m almost sure Trae was laughing!

  • First move… They say you are only to do one major thing each year for the first five years after a death… I think we are packing it all into the first year; maybe we will chill after that! Kala and Aaron moved from Indiana to PA the third week of February! Since then, mom and dad have accepted an offer on their house, causing not only them, but Milo and Carrie to find new living places! So, we have a lot going on with life.
  • First big moment I wish Trae could have been around for… Lowell and I got baptized this past Sunday at our church, Pond Bank Community Church. The night before, I was talking to my mom about what I was going to say. Carrie asked me, “Oh, you are not going to make us cry, right?” I laughed. My mom then said that this is something that Trae had been praying and praying for, which I had never knew, so yes, there would be crying. Sunday morning, in front of many, many people (which was my fault) I shared my testimony.  Trae, I shared about you. I hope you were there or watching or knew somehow what was going on. I often sit and wonder if you can see what we are doing in our day-to-day life..
  • First time having authentic Chinese food… Sisi came for a couple of days and she made us a HUGE Chinese supper. She started at 10:30 and worked until 6ish at night!! She made lots of yummy food and soggy cabbage! I can say that because she calls church soup “soggy soup.” 😉 It was interesting and fun! Some of it was very spicy! She just laughs her sweet laugh! Trae told me while he was at ACTS that when he got home, he was going to teach me how to use chop sticks. He never got home and I still don’t know how to use chop sticks, but I was thinking of him as I ate my soggy cabbage!
  • First time to Trae’s grave.. I never thought I would be the type to visit a grave, but I have a couple of times! We don’t have a gravestone yet, so it is just dirt, but sometimes, it is where I feel comfort. Trae, Sophie told mom she wants to put a BIG HEART on your gravestone because she loves you so much! The kids talk about you all the time. You will never be forgotten! 15285040_10207414289382056_3125869043867340104_n
  • First death since Trae’s… We have heard many of people’s passing since Trae’s. The one that has been closest to us was two weeks ago. The Wednesday before Easter, a guy from the Fisher & Thompson (the company Lowell works for) Branch in Leola was on his way down to work with the guys in this area. They suspect he fell asleep and drove off the interstate, rolling and eventually, the vehicle caught fire. He was killed. Lowell went up to his viewing Monday after Easter. He told me that it was the hardest thing he has done since 6 months ago. So please pray for that family as they are just starting this journey!

There has been other firsts, but trying to remember them all is hard!

God has taught us all so much in the past six months.

  • Understanding… Trying to figure out why is one thing that never stops. Why now? why Trae? Why? Why? But, I don’t think I want to know why. If God has a plan and I keep asking “Why?” I am doubting God. I want to trust that God has got it all under control and that He will always provide. It seems like so often instead of putting my trust in God, I doubt Him and try to control the situation myself. That never works! Proverbs 3:5
  • Trust.. I just talked about trust! Trusting in God is giving Him all of the bad! Trust is not worrying, which is something I could win a gold medal for! Trust is something that is earn and can be broken in seconds. When that stranger pulled a gun and open fired on a random car, it broke my trust in humanity. My trust for the good in people wavered in a big way! I want to be the person who sees the bet in people, but it is hard after something major like this! I am trying daily to trust that God is in control and He is watching over us. Psalm 13:5
  • Fear… Fear gets the best of a person, especially me. It is said that he phrase “Do not Fear.” is in the bible 365 times, one time for each day of the year! If we are told every day by God, “Do not fear!”, then we should not have fear, right?! But we still do. That’s human nature. There was a man who killed on another man while live on Facebook last week and then was on the run. My mind turns to the worst.. Fearing going outside. I don’t want to be that way, but it is life after a murder. But, I am trying every day, to give my fears to God and just sit in His peace and presence, knowing He has got it! Joshua 1:9
  • Faith… I am someone who hold tightly to faith. Hebrews 11:1 is my favorite verse! Faith is super important to me. Faith is one of the only ways to get through grief. Faith is taking the step, even when you cannot see it. That is life. Life after a death is taking the nest step and the next step, not knowing what to expect always, but knowing that God won’t let you fall. Hebrews 11:1
  • The best is yet to Come… Trae collected forks from events that were memorable to him. My mom now has a cup full of forks. If you have never heard the fork story, I’m going to share it with you…

“There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things in order, she contacted her Pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.

She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in. Everything was in order and the Pastor was preparing to leave when the young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

“There’s one more thing,” she said excitedly.

“What’s that?” came the Pastor’s reply.

“This is very important,” the young woman continued. “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”

The Pastor stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say.

“That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the young woman asked.

“Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,” said the Pastor.

The young woman explained. “My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement. In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming…like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!”

So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder “What’s with the fork?” Then I want you to tell them: “Keep your fork ..the best is yet to come.”

The Pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young woman goodbye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the young woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice her age, with twice as much experience and knowledge. She knew that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the young woman’s casket and they saw the cloak she was wearing and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the Pastor heard the question, “What’s with the fork?” And over and over he smiled.

During his message, the Pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the young woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. He told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.

He was right. So the next time you reach down for your fork let it remind you, ever so gently, that the best is yet to come.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

I don’t know if this is why Trae collected forks, but it is a good reminder to all of us. “Keep your Fork… the best is yet to come.”

Life without Trae is a hard. It’s a constant reminder that your best friend has graduated into Heaven and he is not here walking alongside you anymore. It is sad and it is happy. It is one day at a time. It is trusting in God and having faith. It is more than we sometimes think we can handle, but God knows that we can tackle it and so much more.

Last Summer, we were doing the bible study ‘Jonah,” about the interrupted life. Carrie and I were talking one day about how we have never had anything major happen to us that we would call an interruption.. After Trae died, I thought about this and said, “God, I wasn’t complaining, I was just saying! You didn’t have to do that.”

Hey Bub, I cannot believe it has been 6 months since the last time I talked to you. it hardly feels like it right now, because 6 months ago now, you were here. We miss you daily and know our lives will never be the same. The kids talk about you all the time and how you are up there with Jesus, watching over us all! I have never been more thankful for an angel. It hasn’t been easy down here, but we are making it. love you!

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“As long as I love, you will live. As long as I love, you will be remembered. As long as I love, you will be loved.”  – unknown


 

 

 

 

Bring the Whole Splattered Mess..

Five months since you took your flight, bub!

Last night was 5 months since Trae went to be with Jesus and I have spent the past five months thinking, crying, missing, grieving and wondering! Thinking about Heaven. Crying tears of happiness and grief. Missing Trae. Grieving Trae. Wondering what he was doing in Heaven. Most recently wondering what God is trying to teach me.

I have spent the past couple of months wondering what God is trying to do in my life and what God is trying to teach me. What is God trying to show to me and my family? What is He trying to get across to us? I firmly believe that God is the best planner and He has a plan for us. We don’t always like or agree with God’s time maybe, but He knows best. That is what I keep trying to tell myself!

My small group bible study with some friends recently decided to try doing a bible study book. So, All 9 of us went to Lifeway and choose a book! We chose David by Beth Moore. It wasn’t my first pick, but I was so excited to start! The bible study is about David,a man with a heart like God’s. The whole bible study is about bringing your heart and forming to be like God’s. At the end of the first video, Beth is talking about our hearts. She tells us to bring our hearts to this bible study. Whether we have it all going right, or all going wrong, bring your heart to Him. “Bring the whole splattered mess.”

That is the whole point, isn’t it? Bring God the whole splattered mess that is your heart or your life.Bring it all before God. He will provide. God knew that I needed that this bible study in my life. If you heart is hurting or broken, do this bible study and heal your heart. I am only one week in and I am loving it.

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God is good. He is so good! I have been not really running to or away from God recently. My heart was being harden and I was annoyed. I would get mad and frustrated. I wasn’t trying to be that way, but I would have a good days and then something would happen that was bad and I would be completely defeated! I felt like everything was going wrong around me and nothing could go right. I honestly felt like God was mad at me and I didn’t know what to do or how to change it. Lowell keeps telling me that God is not mad at me and I know that. It just feels like it sometimes when everything is going wrong. I was feeling really low and I didn’t know what to do.

When someone close to you dies, everything is harder. Everything that is just a little hard seems way worse because of the stress and emotions going through you every single day! If you are tired, you cry about everything. If you are sad, everything is sad. If you are mad, you don’t want to be happy. At least, that’s how it is for me!

Friday night, we went to Winter Jam at State College with Church Youth Group. There, with anywhere from 13,000 to 15,000 other people, we let all of our problems go away and we worshiped God together. I listened as Sadie Robertson talked about David and Goliath (Which is my bible study, so I was totally fangirling and had chills) and Tony Nolan say “Whatever you are going through, He can get you through it!” I sang with my whole heart as the whole stadium worshiped God through Crowder’s amazing worship songs! I watched our youth group, lift their hands up to God and give it all to Him. I loved every second of that night! God brought me to that concert because He knew I needed that time with Him. I stand back often in complete AWE of God and how He works!

Newsong was at Winter Jam and they sang one of their new songs and it has stuck with me. It is called ‘I am a Christian’. I will post it at the bottom of this blog post. It says, “I am a Christian and my name is Pilgrim. I’m on a journey but I’m not alone.” We are on a journey, but we are not alone. Newsong actually started Winter Jam, so the band members were doing some of the announcing and whatnot, which I thought was very cool! Eddie Carswell came out and was talking about their merch table and what they had their. He had a girl named Casey ( I assume that’s how it is spelled, but I remember her name because it’s my name) up on stage with him and she had a T-shirt that said “I am a Christian.” They also had bracelets. He explained how they had a set amount for the first couple of shows and in the first night, they sold out of all of them! He said that it was so cool because they really didn’t expect that! But that, because of the times we live in, proclaiming Christianity is more important to people than ever! I, of course, got a bracelet! It’s not that I need a daily reminder of where my faith is set, but I look at this bracelet and I know that I am on a journey, but Jesus is walking before me and leading me home. IMG_20170327_134641

God does things in our lives that we don’t understand and we may never understand. It is so hard sometimes to hear how great He is, even though I fully believe it, because of the things He allows. He allowed a man to shot Trae and kill Him. But I also trust God and that He is making things good from Trae’s death.God is our support, our rock, our protector. God is the only one who will get us through the rest of our life.

My parents were in South Carolina all last week and they came home yesterday. So, we were all down there last night. Side note: having my family home is wonderful! Anywho, we were talking about different things dealing with Trae and his death. It is still very hard to think about not having Trae around and hearing that crazy laugh and his crazy ideas, but I am so glad my family is becoming more comfortable about talking about him. For awhile, I felt like I shouldn’t say anything because I didn’t want to upset my mom or dad or siblings. I don’t want them to feel sad. But, talking about Trae will never be a thing we stop doing. I love hearing my sweet babies talk about Trae and him being with Jesus in Heaven. They understand it with a raw, basic understanding which seems easier than how we understand it. I can’t wait to tell my own babies about their Uncle Trae, who was one of the bravest and sweetest people I ever knew. My kids will never know their Uncle Trae personally, and sometimes that is very hard for me to think about. However, they will ALWAYS know of their Uncle Trae because there will never be a chance to not tell them about him.

Spending time with your family is always a blessing. I get very annoyed when people complain about their brother or sister or whatever. I have kinda always been this way,though. We don’t realize how much we take for granted when it comes to our family. Yes, I am not saying my family or any family is perfect. But, think about if you didn’t have them around… Be thankful for the people and the things God sets in your life.

We can take anything for granted. I have been waiting for Spring for so long, and I maybe didn’t seem thankful for Winter, but I was. I am glad Spring is here now. We have to be thankful for whatever season we are in. Whatever God is giving to us at this moment, shouldn’t we be thankful for it? If we are not being thankful for what God is giving us, we are being ungrateful to God for what He has given to us. We always can find something to complain about before we can find something to be thankful for. I don’t know about you, but that’s not the type of person I want to be. I want to be a person who loves God with my broken, but healing heart. I want to be the person who is always thankful for what God has given to me, even if it’s a rainy day when I wanted to be on the beach. I want to be thankful that God has given me the chance to go out every single days and speak life to those who do not know Jesus. Isn’t that the type of person you want to be? God calls us out farther than we want to go because He knows we are capable of going that far; We need to take that leap of FAITH and take the step, full knowing we could fall, but trusting that God will catch us. Everything is beautiful in God timing. He might just be calling us to a season of waiting.. Think about it!

 

After Trae died, my dad wrote on the dining room window a saying he had found that went with what we were dealing with. I don’t remember it, but I believe that it was the quote I have below. If it wasn’t this exact quote, it was very similar.

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At the end, Dad wrote, “Thank You for breaking my heart!” I never understood why He put that. How could we be thankful for broken heart?! But, I am understanding it better. When Trae was shot, God broke our hearts. But, through a broken heart, we are bringing others to Jesus. Through our story, we are teaching others about How great our God is! We were talking about the outreach of Trae’s death last night. Just the amount of people all over THE WORLD that heard about his death and the impact that it made. I shared my story with my one Thirty-One FB group last month, thanking Thirty-One for helping me through this time in my life because they have. I have had something to distract me when I needed distracted! I have been so thankful for God placing Thirty-One in my life. Anyway, a couple of the ladies that saw it were from Yakima County and commented, talking about the impact that Trae’s death had on the whole valley! It is amazing to see and hear the testimony of people who never even met Trae, but heard of him through his passing and have been effected. So, if God would have not taken Trae home, He would not have changed so many people lives. Not that we wanted to lose Trae, but God knew that this is what had to be done. So, even though I would have never asked for it, Thank You Lord, for breaking my heart!

So, finally, What is God trying to teach you in your current season of life?


Dear Trae,
You would have loved Winter Jam and I wish you could have been there with me. Maybe you were. Thanking you for being brave and amazing and loving Jesus so much. I wish to be just like you. I love you so much and I miss you beyond words!

xoxox kaci


 

Prayer Request:

  1. One of the sweet girls that was at ACTS with Trae. Her boyfriend was in a car accident the other night and was killed. Please pray for her, his family and her family as they go through this time!
  2. One of Lowell’s co-workers’ brother died last week from MS. Their dad just died in the past year or two. They have been through a lot. Pray for them too!

 


“Jesus is with me and He goes before me. Yeah, His love surrounds me; He’s leading me Home.”

Life’s been a journey; I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret. Oh, and You have been my God through all of it.” Colton Dixon was at Winter Jam, too!

“Oh wanderer. come down. You’re not too far, so lay down your hurt, lay down your heart, come as you are.”

Facing a Giant

Going on in life without someone we love can feel like we are facing a Giant…

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It has been 132 days or 4 months and 9 days since you took your flight to Heaven..

One day, there will be a blog post that is not based on the fact that Trae died, but that day is not today!

I have been thinking about blog topic for the past month that I have not written. We were sitting around my cousin, Nichol’s house this weekend and she asked me about my next blog. I said that I didn’t know. She told me that I could write about her, so here it is. You are part of it!  I have never had so much going on in my brain and so little words to put it out there like this! Thankfully, this weekend it all came together and here it is 🙂

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We were listening to “Giants Fall” by Francesca Battistelli on the way home from Ohio this weekend and it got me thinking about this topic. Mourning someone you love is like facing a giant.. just like David going up against Goliath. David was just a young boy with no fighting experience.

Everyone doubted David. Everyone, even his own father, thought he couldn’t go up against Goliath, let alone defeat him. When everyone doubts you is the best time to show them your strength!

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Facing a giant can be anything; death, divorce, job loss, a broken phone… I know the last one seems small and dumb, but I cried…! It was the first week in December and my phone fell off my lap while getting out of the car and hit the asphalt and cracked and the screen broke & went black! I sat there and cried and cried. While facing a giant, everything seems worse! This has been the past 4 months. I have told Lowell this many times. I have told Lowell that sometimes I feel like God is mad at me. We have had stress and everything and it gets piled up and I can’t handle stress well.

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting at a stop sign and waiting for a car to pass so I could pull out onto the road. As I was waiting, a funeral procession went by. The song “Tell your Heart to Beat Again” by Danny Gokey was playing. The mixture of those two things was too much for me. I just sat there and cried. It hits everyone at different times and when you don’t always want it to!

We were sitting at the Eaton Dekalb Super Pull Saturday night and for some reason, I kept thinking about Trae. Trae hated tractor pulls; thought they were completely pointless. Yet, I sat there the whole night, thinking about that crazy kid. He finds the craziest time to seep into my mind! God always makes him present in mind all the time. I am always thinking about Trae. I think about him most before I fall asleep. I think about Trae and Heaven and what he might be doing and what is going on. It overwhelms my brain and scares me at the same time. Every night I pray that God will ease my mind and let me fall asleep!

I think about the movie ‘Facing the Giants’ that I have seen many, many times! If you have never seen it, stop reading this and go watch it! I’m kidding, but seriously, watch it sometime! There are so many examples of facing your giant. The football team is in a major losing streak, with no winning in sight. When the coach prays and adjust his attitude towards the game, he starts changing the attitudes of the players. He says, “Your attitude’s like the aroma of your heart. If your attitude stinks, your heart’s not right.”

How often do we let our attitude get in the way of our thinking? I know that if I wake up and have a bad attitude, I usually have a bad day. How much different do you think we lives would be if we let our attitude up to God? If we trusted Him with our attitude every day, don’t you think we would have a better attitude and outlook on life?

So often, we let our giants get in the way of our thinking as well! My “giants” get in the way of my thinking, my attitude, and my life. I change my thinking because of what I am afraid of or stressed about. I let the giant in my life overwhelm me. I let it take control. I take my focus off of God to take on my giant… You all know where I am going with that? But like the first quote at the top of this post says, “You won’t fight them. I will.” God takes on our biggest fights and takes control. So, why would we take our focus off Him when He is fighting for us?

I often focus on my relationship with God most when everything seems to be falling apart! I used to have a bracelet from Lokai. Lokai bracelets were there to remind you to find your balance through the highs and the lows. It was a clear rubber bracelet with one white bead and one black bead. In the white bead was water from Mount Everest, which is the highest point on Earth. This was to remind you that when you are on top, stay humble. The black bead contained mud from The Dead Sea, which is the lowest point on Earth. The mud was to remind you that when you have hit your low, you need to stay hopeful! It is hard to find balance when everything is falling apart and it can be hard to stay humble when everything is going your way! But I would look at my wrist where my bracelet was and be reminded!

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In ‘Facing the Giant,’ they say, “If we win, we praise Him. If we lose, we praise Him.” No matter the circumstances are, we just need to praise God. We need to trust Him and He will take care of us. He will fight our giants for us!

We need to be like David. His heart was so good and he knew that God would keep him safe because God had kept him safe before. God knew David’s heart and wanted to help him. David went into battle with just five stones and a sling.

David’s trust was in the Lord and he didn’t need armor or swords because he had God on his side. He didn’t let what others thought get in his way. He had a giant in his path and he let his God take on the battle for him.

That is what we need to do. Whatever giant is currently in front of you, give it to God. Let God fight your battle. Sometimes we need to sit down and shut up and listen to what He is telling us.

Deuteronomy 20:4 says, “For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you victory.”

As we were traveling home Sunday, I saw a sign that said “Who is Jesus?” It made me think about who is Jesus to me and in my life… Jesus is a promise for the future and a hope of eternity. Jesus is a friend, a rock and a savior. Jesus is everything.  Who is Jesus to you?

When my aunt first saw me this weekend, she grabbed me and held me so tight! I held on so tight. And that’s what we need to do; hold each other as tight as we can for as long as we can because we have plans, but God is the plan master and know what is best! Life is too short to spend time with the wrong people, too short to spend time without Jesus, too short to spend time wasting the life that God gave you! So, don’t waste it.

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Get up and GO!

** Side note, if you are looking for someone to stay on one topic, I am not your gal. I feel like this is a little of everywhere, so thanks for sticking in here until the end!


 

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Dear Trae, We are all wearing our Trae bands and I think of you every time I look at it. I think of how brave you were and how amazing you are! I think about all the moments we had and I thank God for each one! You are an amazing brother and I love you to the moon and back! xoxoxoxoxo -Kaci

More songs than usual today..!

 

“Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers..”

“But if you lift your eyes, see it in a different light..”

“I know you’re always to hear my every prayer..”

“It’s easy to sing when there’s nothing to bring me down.”  One of my current FAVORITE songs!

Focus on the Shepard

I have spent a lot of time trying to decide on a topic to write about! It has been a whirlwind of thoughts in my mind the past couple of weeks and months. I think about something and I talk about it (to myself) for a while and then forget! I think about something and then remember I already wrote a blog about that!

I have never had writer’s block this bad…

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It has been 104 days since Trae went to be with Jesus! It is crazy that it has been that long. Some days it seems like it has just been a couple days. Other days, it feels like years!

The past 104 days have been filled with crazy emotions. One moment good, one moment bad. Taking it one day at a time!

I have spent more time than ever thinking about Heaven. I have spent so much time thinking about what Trae might be doing or what he might be seeing. I have spent time missing him and being jealous of the angels who are with him.

I have spent time wondering how we will go on without him. I have spent time distracting myself so I can just get through a day. I have spent time loving on my family and friends because you never know.

I have spent days in fear. I have spent days waiting for the next bad thing to happen. Every time the phone rings at an weird time or someone who doesn’t call often, my heart rate goes up and I star to freak out! It is not a fun way to live, but it also something that I don’t try to do.

I have spent time talking to God. I have spent a lot of time talking to God. I talked to God in my living room. I talked to God in front of His beautiful ocean as the waves rolled in. I have spent time talking to God about life and Trae and what I am supposed to do.

I have spent time crying. I have spent most Sunday’s in church crying. I have spent evenings, listening to music, crying. I see something that reminds of Trae and I sit and cry and laugh.

I think a lot about the times I had with Trae. I think about the good times and then bad times. I think about the moments we laughed until we cried and our sides hurt! I think about the random dance parties we had and random car karaokes.

I think about those times and I thank God. I thank God for the time I had with Trae. I thank God for every single moment he gave me with Trae because moments and memories are what I have now since Trae is gone. I hold those memories and moments so close and dear to my heart that it hurts and blesses me at the same time.

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I am not a super emotion, cry-all-the-time person. I don’t like to cry in front of people. I like to cry at home, alone. But, if I feel like I am going to cry, I am going to cry. I am not the person who can hold in tears. If I am going to cry, I am going to cry.

Most important of all, in the past 104 days, I have spent most of the time loving. Loving God. Loving family. Loving friends. Loving Diesel. Loving places. Loving things. Loving my time with God. Loving the time I had with Trae. Because it’s not about the time I didn’t have with him or won’t ever have with him, but the time that I did get to have with him.

I had a person tell me a couple of weeks ago to make sure I don’t let go of God during this time. This is a time where I need God in my life so much more than any other time in my life. Because I know that the devil is going to try and use my weak times against God. My pastor has been talking about worship recently. He said a couple of weeks ago, “When the devil sees us worshiping, it scares him because it releases power of God.”

Jesus went up to Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to help all of us at the same time. He sent us the Holy Spirit, so that we would always have a helper. What a comfort that is. How blessed are we..?

Sometimes I wish I had someone walking around behind me recording everything I say… This morning, I was walking around my house, talking to myself, which I do a lot more since Trae died. But, something I said this morning I really liked and now I forget what it was! That is a very frustrating feeling! If I think of it, I will let you know 🙂

Often, even though it seems kind of dumb, I think about “what if…” But as my husband has told me many of times, “Kaci, if God wants you HOME, He is going to take you when & where He wants. Whether you are out there, having fun or being boring, sitting at home.” That’s how he gets me to go on fun adventures.

So often, I let fear drive my life and it makes me crazy! If I trust in God fully and completely with my life, I should have no fear in the unknown. God wanted Trae there, and for reasons I have no idea why. But someday, I will. I trust that God has a plan far bigger than my biggest plans.

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God sat up there on the morning of October 26 and He said, even though we didn’t hear Him, He said, “I have to do this. You won’t understand. You will question. You won’t like it. But I have to do this. Some day, you will understand.” Just like Jesus told his disciples in John 13:7 that they would not understand what He was doing at the time, but later they would. I don’t think He was using in the context I am necessarily, but I think it has the same meaning. I don’t understand now, but I think there will be a day when I will.

There is a lot that I look back and realize I took for granted. I think that is one of the many things God wants me to learn from Trae’s death. I think God puts difficulties in our lives for a purpose. We might hate it, but He knows that we will. [God literally blows my mind. I can’t even imagine the amazing plans and things He knows.] I think God took Trae to Heaven with Him and they sit up there and figure out how they are going to teach people things. [I have to imagine Trae helping with God because it gives me peace; you may think I am crazy or weird. I am okay with that] I think God put Trae on this Earth for 20 years for a reason; I don’t know that reason and it hurts like crazy here without him.

There are times where it hits me so hard and I sit there and I cry and my heart hurts! I had never really felt this way before Trae died. Trae told my mom like, three weeks before he was shot, that He had never really had someone close to him die. This was right after a guy from WA was killed in a car accident. I had thought about that before too. No one close to me had ever died. We had been to quite a few viewings and whatnot, but no one close enough to make me feel too much. I can NEVER say that again.

A friend also told us that she humanizes Heaven. We don’t know what Heaven is like and we won’t until we get there, but this advice has given me some peace. Picturing Trae writing on a beach or swimming in a ocean, or climbing a mountain.. whatever it is, it gives me some peace.

Trae had a dream a long time ago. It was about Heaven. Trae always had weird dreams… [like SERIOUSLY weird] Anyway, he had a dream that Heaven was made of cotton candy [ I think it was cotton candy and YUM] and he was skiing on it and there was beaches and whatnot.. not your typical description of what Heaven might be like.. but VERY Trae.ish.


Sorry that is a mumble jumble of thoughts and musings. This is kinda my brain and thoughts for the past couple of weeks and months. Random small thoughts!


Dear Trae,
I miss you, but I know you are having a blast in Heaven. I talked to a friend yesterday and he reminds me so much of you and he is going to different countries and sharing Jesus with people, just like you did!  It was good for me. I love you like crazy and miss you every day, but I am trusting God has a plan for our family that will show us peace and blessing through the pain and tears.

xoxoxo, Kaci ❤

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My best friends…


 

 

Being Called and Being Chosen

81 days…

What if you would have known the last time you saw Trae before his death that it was going to be the last time here on Earth? What would you have done?

I know what I would have done… I would have hugged him a little harder, laughed with him a little more and loved on him a little longer.

I often wonder about this. I wonder about a lot and it makes me happy and sad.

As I stood in front of one God’s most amazing creations this morning, I talked to God and I talked to Trae. I do this a lot. It doesn’t have to be on the beach, watching the waves come in. It can be at 11 PM, sitting on the couch watching TV. I look up and I say, “Hey God,” or “Hey Trae.” I just tell them about life and how I feel and whatnot. It is really some of my favorite time anymore.

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A cold, windy morning at Ocean City (January 15, 2017)

Anyway, I stood on a windy beach this morning and I talked to God. I told Him how I was feeling and that I am trying not to get mad. I told him about life since Trae is gone, even though He already knows. I told Him to say hi to Trae and tell him I missed him. I firmly believe that God will deliver that message to Trae every time I ask! I tried so hard to read my bible but the wind kept blowing my pages crazy!

I cried. That’s normal. I was constantly reminded this weekend of two things:

  1. Trae’s love for the beach
  2. God’s love for me

One of the last times I went to Ocean City was with Trae and friends. We made a day trip. BTW One of the longest day trips EVER! We left early in the morning and came home that evening. We spent time in the ocean and on the Boardwalk. It was a great day and I loved every minute of it!

This weekend was a constant reminder of that weekend. I felt like something was missing. I know it was you. Not that you had to be there, but you have been texting me and telling me you were jealous or something like that! I miss that!

I miss you every day. But by now, that is normal. Missing you is normal and that is life. I pray that God gives me strength and shows me the right ways to go. Life is not easy, but God always helps!

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So, this morning, I was standing in front of the sea and thinking about life. I was thinking about being called. I looked up “called” in my bible index and it led me to Matthew. In Matthew 20, it talks about the parable of the workers in the vineyards. “Kaci, what does that have to do with being called?” Well, I’m going to tell you.

In Matthew 20:19, it says, “So the last will be first and the first shall be last, for many are called,but few chosen.”

“For many are called, but few chosen.”

I think I took it differently than the text was saying, but it caused me to think long and deep. This small  last half of the verse hit home. There is many ways I am going to incorporate this into life, so hang in there.

  1. We are all called to Heaven. God is up there, showing us small amazing earthly things that blow our minds. He is up there and He is drawing us in. “Come Home.” He wants us to follow Him and His son into those gates. He is waiting for us. Something that really comforted me right after Trae died is something one of my best friends said. He said, “There is no doubt that Jesus ran out of those gates, picked Trae up, and carried him in.” Like, we get to Heaven and Jesus is so excited that He wants to carry us in and show us around! Trae lived his life so much for God that Jesus was celebrating when Trae arrived in Heaven. We are called to Heaven and if we live our lives righteously, we will get that greeting from Jesus. Then, I think about Trae, whose life was cut [too] short. Trae was chosen, by God to come home. Sometimes that is super hard for me to say! Trae was hand-picked. God looked down and said “I want him.” We don’t know why, and it hurts. But God’s will is God’s will! We try not to argue or complain when He makes His ruling. We keep praying for understanding. God has chosen so many people to come home, not just Trae. We just try to understand and pray for strength daily. “For many are called, but few chosen.”
  2. Then I think back to Washington a month ago. Jeff was talking at the closing supper about how we were all chosen to experience this tragedy. We [Trae’s family] had always thought about us being chosen to have Trae. But God chose all those kids and families at ACTS to be part of Trae’s life. God chose a lot of people to be part of Trae’s life. God also called people to be part of Trae’s life, whether for a short or long time. I believe God calls people in and out of our lives. “For many are called, but few chosen.”
  3. God has known us forever. Like, since before we were even thought about by our parents. How crazy and amazing is that?! God has known us and He knows us better than anyone else. Isaiah 43:1 says, But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: I have called you by name; You are Mine.” God called us out. God formed us. God called me Kaci. God’s power is amazing and He constantly makes me stand back and say “Wow God, Wow!” God knew before Trae was even born that on October 26th, 2016 at 9:30 PM, He was going to choose to bring Trae home. It’s hard, but we can’t be mad at God. This was in the plan long ago. “For many are called, but few chosen.”
  4. God calls us to the waters. God calls us to be disciples. God chooses our paths. “Therefore GO and make disciples of all Nations, baptizing them in the Name of The Father, and of The Son, and of The Holy Spirit,” is told to us in Matthew 28:19, which was one of Trae’s favorite verses. God’s calls us to GO. He wants us to share the call with others. “The place God calls you to is where your gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” [Fredrick Buechner] “For many are called, but few chosen.”

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This morning, after I finished my freezing cold walk on the beach, I posted this [below] on Instagram and Facebook.

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“Sometimes, we are called to waters so deep and so terrifying. We are called beyond what we think are the limits to our strengths and talents. We are scared. We are questions God’s motives. This is how I felt the past 3 months; called too far. Called so far beyond my strength. But still called… God calls us out, knowing if we turn to Him, He will provide strength. He will provide the things we need. He will help us to walk on the water and show us the way. I feel God in my life now more than ever. So, when you feel under water or stretched beyond your limits, all you have to do is look up, The Son is rising.” [me. January 15, 2017]

I was with a friend last week for lunch. She shared with me that she has had struggled with her every day time with God in the past, which is always a struggle for me as well unfortunately. She shared that it has become a priority and that her life has felt better and happier since she has taken time to spend with God every day! Spending time with God every day will make us happier and yearn for more time with Him.

I spent a weekend at the east coast. I spent a weekend with two girls on the east coast and every where I looked, I saw God. We were riding around Assateague Island (where the wild horses are). We rode up the whole island, finding no horses. We were ready to leave. As we drove back, Mariah said, “I’m going to pray that God shows us a horse!” I looked out before the bridge and there was a horse across the way! We were so excited!  Meg was so excited. “I’m going to call him over here.” Within minutes, the horse was right in front of us. He just stood there, looking at us… I didn’t get close because it’s a wild horse, but my crazy friends did!

 

I am the one in the background doing the #mompose at these crazy kids! This morning, as I was standing there, talking to God, a seagull came walking on over and just stood right there in front of me, looking at me. My mom asks God for signs. I have never, but I have been getting them. He sends me signs that He is still here and He is still good!Last week, during worship, we sang “You are Good,” by Bethel.

“I sing because You are good
And I dance because You are good
And I shout because You are good
You are good to me to me”

I wrote a note in my notebook and want to share it. I wrote,

“Despite all of the trials and troubles, despite taking Trae home to Heaven, You are still good. Your love remains steadfast. I will continue to trust You because You are Good & You know what is good for me.”

God, You are good. I will love You. I will trust You. I will follow You. I will be Yours.

 

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“My precious child, I love you and will never leave you, never, ever during your trials and testings. When you only saw one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you.”

The past 81 days haven’t been easy… not even close. But they haven’t been unbearable because I have Jesus. I know Jesus. Never I Have been more thankful for this relationship!

God is going to call us out of our comfort zone, out into deep waters. But God will be there, beside us the entire time, making sure we don’t sink.

Let God call you. Let God lead you. Let God be there in every step!

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Thank you Jesus for this beautiful sunrise. Thank you Jesus for these beautiful girls I call friends and family. Thank you Jesus, Thank you!


I have shared this song before, but it is beyond fitting… “You call me out beyond the waters, the great unknown, where feet may fail…”

This song has stolen my heart recently.

“Oh, I’m handing over all my fears
Knowing you will meet me here
Fill my heart up with truth
‘Til there’s no room, no room at all
Why do I ever doubt
Even when I’m lost I’m found
Fill my heart up with you
‘Til there’s no room, no room
It’s just you, all you
‘Til there’s no room, no room”

“You are good to me…”

Sharing Jesus while mourning..

Do you know what the worst part of mourning is?

For me, the worst part of mourning is one minute you can be sitting there doing your normal thing and going on with life and it hits you again for the umpteenth time that your brother is dead… Tonight, like many nights, I was sitting watching a TV show and playing a game and something made me think about Trae and then “oh no, I can’t. He is gone.”

The other worst part is whenever I was sad, I always texted Trae because he always had a way of cheering me up and saying  something silly to make me grin like an idiot and smile for days. I would go back and laugh at what he said. I was reminded of things I had said to him while in Washington.

We were talking about eating Chinese food. He told me he had learned to use chop sticks and when he got home, he was going to teach me and we were going to sit around and eat Chinese food together while catching up on the TV shows he missed.  He told me about taking SiSi and William and Danny to Panda Express and how they didn’t like it because it was not real… ( I rolled my eyes because that is delicious, whether is legit or not)! When I said what I said I
a. was not expecting Trae to tell them what I said
b. was not expecting to ever meet these sweet people…
Anyway, I was laughing while talking about the chop sticks because the one diet I was on for a brief second (literally not long enough at  all) told us to use chop sticks because you eat less. I laughed and said that that is why you only see skinny Chinese people (I am not being rude…).

Well, me being me and my short-term memory (self diagnosed, of course) forgot I had said this. One of the times we were out there, I think it was the first time, SiSi turned to me and said “Are you the one who said Chinese people are skinny because they use chop sticks?” I was embarrassed and amused at the same time.

But that is so Trae. He was the best secret keeper when he wanted to be. If he was amused by anything he said or heard, he would tell anyone who would listen. I would find out months or years later that he had actually told mom and dad something I told him.. I would shake my head. Now I laugh at those moments.

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It doesn’t hardly ever feel like a blessing, but we do feel the comfort.

You never know what mourning will be like until happens to you. Mourning can also happen in different ways.

Mom and I went to Fredrick Friday (because we are crazy people). We got in traffic because of a couple different accidents. We take 70 which is a main highway from our area to DC and Baltimore. So a lot of traffic, especially right before Christmas. We were talking about Trae and how we are living since he died as we sat in traffic. We got up to the cars of the first accident and saw the result of a fender bender. As we passed by mom said, “you don’t realize how many people or mourning.. even mourning the loss of their car right here before Christmas.” (Those probably weren’t her exact words but you should remember above about my self-diagnosed short-term memory loss).

The past week has been a crazy blur or work and  shopping and emotions.I have walked in and out of stores, passing hundreds of people every day. You never know what people are going as you pass them and vice versa. People don’t know the stress and emotions that you go through every day. One of my main goals since Trae’s death has been to smile at as many people a day as possible. I try to smile at anyone who is looking at me.

Something I try to remind myself of during this crazy holiday time is that everyone is fighting some kind of battle. Before you get really frustrated at someone for being in a rush or cutting the line in front of you, think about them. They could just as easily be going through an unexpected death like me and not have Jesus, making their mourning much harder than mine. I try and be kind and do my part to share Jesus.

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If anything, I want to share Jesus more with others..

I was at the dollar store this morning and their was one check-out lane open and like five people in line. The lady in front of me was antsy ad complaining. She glanced at the front of the store, checking out where every employee was. She was so impatient. As soon as a lane opened, she was right there. As another lane opened, the man behind me looked at me and said, “you were here first, you go ahead.” As I moved lanes, I was distracted from saying thank-you by the lady who cut right in front of me to get in the lane that had just opened. I looked over the lane to the one I had just been in to say thank you to the kind man who had offered me the fresh opened lane. I pushed my frustration of the cutter out of my head to thank the gentleman who was kind to me.

I don’t think I have ever been more thankful to have Jesus in my life. I can’t even try to imagine mourning Trae’s death without Him. We often talk about that as a family. It is not easy and it is not fun, but we have Jesus, so it is easier. People keep tagging me in articles about mourning and grieving a death around Christmas, and honestly, I appreciate them but at the same time, I haven’t read any of them completely.

Every one mourns different. Something we have learned in our family. I don’t cry a lot, but when I do cry, I cry and cry and cry! And it always hits me in the times when I don’t want to cry. There will be times when I see something or hear a song or whatever and I want to cry… and its impossible. My body won’t let me. And then there is times when I am with people and I don’t want to cry at all because I don’t like crying in front of people, and I sit there and bawl!

Like at church Sunday… I wasn’t sure how I would do, considering it was Christmas. We had got up early because I needed to do my hair and I wanted to make bacon and eggs and we had to open our stockings… so much before 10 AM.. Any who, I was tired (don’t be mad, Pastor Jeremy) during the entire service. Just from emotion and lack of sleep from my crazy busy week and we had the Ray Garber Family Christmas Saturday! I was fine through the service as Pastor Jeremy talked about the prophecies of Jesus and His amazing birth. Then, before he closed, he played a song about the amazing gift of Jesus. That got me… That got me bad… I just sat there and bawled like a baby. A lady came over after church was dismissed and wrapped an arm around me and told me she was praying for us and asked for a hug. I never realized before how amazing the love of Jesus is by connecting us with the right people at the right time. I am greatly blessed as I sat there cried and half hugged this sweet lady!

I was laying in bed last week and I sighed and Lowell turned over, “whats wrong?” I was like my mom and said, “I just sigh a lot..” I laughed a little fake laugh and sighed again… “I am trying so hard to not be a complete bummer for everyone around me.” I know people don’t expect me to be cheery and happy all the time, but for me, it is draining to be sad and down all the time. I feel terrible if I just sit around and feel sad. I know how negative people affect other peoples feelings and actions. Being around people who are constantly down is depressing and hard on a person. There are times I say I am sad and Lowell says, “don’t be sad.” I tell him I am going to be sad and he asked why? I said that right now, life was honestly a good enough reason to be sad.

I am trying so hard to not be a bummer, especially right now, since it’s the holidays. I want to share Jesus. I can share Jesus by sharing Trae’s story and his life, which is sad because he is gone. But I am also happy for Trae because he is celebrating this holiday season with Jesus and How amazing would that be!

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I think about all of the amazing, beautiful moments I had with Trae. Laughing until we cried, dancing in an empty movie theater, while watching Footloose for the second of third time, bad singing to songs on the way to school, shopping trips to Walmart for mom, sitting in his room, talking late into the night, doing my hair and asking him to make sure it was all straight… the memories never end and that I am thankful for! I could sit here for days and write memories, but I am not going to.

Having a death in your family makes you realize how much you have to be thankful for. I am thankful for Jesus, first and foremost. I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for friends. I am thankful for my church family. I am thankful for places to go for comfort. There is more than enough to be thankful for every single day. Even though Trae is not here with us, we are still VERY VERY thankful for him, his life and his legacy! He left us here and it hurts. It hurts so bad. That is the next to worst thing. The almost worst thing is the physical pain that comes sneaking up on me. The pain that comes from missing Trae so much it hurts! But we know he wouldn’t want to come back and we also know that he wouldn’t want us to feel that pain.. but that’s how humans work. We hurt, we get mad.

Mom had someone send them a piece of advice in one of the cards they got. It said, “Time won’t heal but it will reveal God’s grace.” That has been what I keep rolling around in my head. People always tell you that time heals a broken heart, but we doubted that. But this advice has stuck with me and gave me some comfort.

Trae,
There are still days I don’t think you are gone. I am tired of the realization every so often of you being gone. I don’t like it. It is like a new heart ache each time. I expect bad news every time the phone rings. People keep checking on me. People keep wanting to help. I love the outreach people have shown me and my family, but I am an independent person and it is difficult for me to have help. I feel weak asking for help. I never liked asking for prayers; now I do it all the time. I just want to wrap my arms around you and have you try to tickle me like you always did when you hugged me. I want to cry in your arms, but if you were here, I wouldn’t be crying. We would be laughing and eating Chinese food. I miss you, but I will see you again, and that gives me comfort.
I love you!

Mourning is hard and every one does it different, just like every human is different. You never know what people are mourning. You never know what people are going through when you just pass them in the crazy stores crowds and lines. Take time to pray for someone you see that looks like they might be struggling. Take time to pray for someone who like they need a prayer. Love he people you have. Give hugs. Say “I love you.” Smile at strangers. Tell people about Jesus. c0aad5f4a2e461323af3aec79878d87c

Sorry if this is off the wall and weird and doesn’t make sense. It is now 11:30 and I should have been in bed an hour ago. Lowell is going to have a fit when he realizes how late I was up… I just write my feelings!

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I love you.!


This is the song Jeremy played on Sunday… “Wrap this one up, He is the lamb without blemish…” Jesus is the Reason for the season despite our personal life..

“Hello my name is child of the ONE TRUE KING…”

I have always loved this song because I often ask for God to show me the way, to show me the broken, to show me the need, to show me what I keep missing..

47 days of missing you, but looking back at the past 6 days..!

It has been 47 days… 47 days of missing you.

I have talked a lot about the past 47 days and the feelings and emotions that have come with the past 47 days. Today, I’m going to talk about the past 6 days.

p.s. I know these go at the end, BUT this is important. The last time I wrote was write after I got back from Indiana. I told you guys that I promised my bed I wasn’t going to leave it again… Welllllll… I left it again..!

p.p.s. haha I did it again… ANYWHO, WARNING…. below is a lot of words and a lot of pictures! Happy reading and viewing!

December 7th, 2016, we (Mom, Dad, Milo, Carrie, Graham, Damaris, Kala, and I) headed in Washington State. Why? The ACTS team was in Thailand from November 5th to December 6th. They were coming home and mom and dad wanted to go out and see them and hear about their trip and just be with them. They were the people Trae spent his last days here on Earth with. Some of them were the people he spent his very last moments, conversations, and time with.

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The ACTS team went to Thailand and a month there in the city and in the jungle. They spent the month telling people about Trae’s life and more importantly, about Jesus. They spent time figuring out their lives, thinking about where God was calling them. They spent time with kids, teaching them and playing with them. They spent time sharing the love of Jesus with anyone they met. They also spent time missing Trae, like we all have. They left for Thailand a little over a week after Trae died. They left with the love for him and with a hole in their team.

The returned home to Washington by Tuesday. They had just enough time to sleep some of the jet lag off before we arrived Wednesday. We, of course, arrived silly and tired. The lack of sleep had come over us and we just laughed and laughed at nothing really. When I say we, I mean mainly Kala and I, but our whole family. We were tired and so glad to be at ACTS and with these wonderful people. They accepted our craziness and wondered about us.

Before we had left, while I was packing I looked up the weather. The weather app told me that it was to snow 3-6 inches in Tieton, WA, which was our destination. So I am packing and I see this. So I decided to pack my snow boots. So then I had to take a bigger suitcase and my family was laughing at me because I packed snow boots. Well, Thursday afternoon, the snow started a-falling! Who was the silly one now?

Anyway (Sorry about the weird side note above), the students had class Thursday and Friday morning. Thursday morning, we went to Freddy’s and helped the sweet cooks with lunch while the students were at class. Then the students had to start packing for home. We explored the dorms and passed out pictures of Trae that we had made and a copy of one of he drawings Trae drew. We had snow ball fights and played in the snow. We threw snow balls at the students and then got back at us.. (Actually they got back at me. Milo threw snow balls too.) We were out in the snow in short sleeves and no shoes. I told them that was how to know you were from the west, but then I started doing it too…! Whoops! Mom helped with supper.

Thursday night, we had a supper for the ACTS team. The students then shared their biblical purpose, values and Godly vision. This is something I challenged myself to think about and I am now challenging you to think about. I don’t think it comes to us right away always, but it is something to think about and organize your life around it. Think about your life and what God is doing in your life. Think about the things in life you value and why you value them. And finally, think about where God is sending you. Think about what God is doing in your life and how you are going to go forward from here, working for Him.

After all the students shared, Jeff got up and talked. He wondered what Trae would have wrote. He wondered what Trae would have said. We sat there and listened and prayed and cried. We hugged one another and held each other tight. Then they preformed their drama for us. Their drama was put on Facebook a while back by mom and dad. The drama was done because of the language difference between them and the people in Thailand; a way of communication without saying a word. The tears just kept flowing. That night, Sojo’s was open. Sojourner’s in the coffee shop that GCM runs. We went over to drink coffee, hot chocolate, mochas and so much more and sit around and chat.

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This is on the wall at Sojourner’s (The GCM Coffee Shop). The picture of Trae is above where he always sat (the closest seat to the espresso machine) and says, “I know that my life is not my own & I cannot waste the time that I have been given. The least I can do is GIVE EVERYTHING I AM & HAVE for the cause of Christ. I believe in the cross of Christ. Wasting my life is out of the question.” -Wrote by Trae Oyler, Missionary to the World

Friday morning was spent relaxing and hanging out. The students had class and then lunch and then had to clean the dorm and campus. There was many snowballs thrown during this time. People packing and dodging snowballs as they carried stuff to their car. Smiling, laughing, freezing cold hands. So much fun. Mom helped with supper again that night. Friday night was the farewell supper. A time we were and were not looking forward to. A supper that meant after this, ACTS 18 is done. After this, everyone goes home. After this, this chapter of life is over and a new one begins. Supper was delicious. Then there was time of gifts for each student and sharing about the time at ACTS. Trae was not there to receive his gift but his family received gifts for him. Then, they shared a video of ACTS 18 time. Videos and pictures of all of the students. Tears again. Lots of tears. A night of tears.

This night was ended with prayer for the team as they go forth from ACTS. We prayed and hugged and cried and smiled and laughed. I wanted a picture with he whole ACTS team and our family (shown below). I also wanted pictures with each of the students because we were now family.IMG_4695.JPG

A family of people who have one moment in our lives that completely changed us all.We are all connected through Trae. Trae’s death has made us more than friends, but family.

These people are so so special to us. We are all so blessed to know each and every one of these people. My heart has been overwhelmed by the love in the past couple of days. Jesus bonded us with this group of people in a way that no one or nothing else can. Jess said at closing that we were chose by God for this to happen to us. We were hand picked by God to go through this and for some reason, God put this group of people together. We don’t understand why God did this to us, but we try not to question His ways. God chose us and we can’t sit around and be sad. We have to go out and tell people about this and share Jesus through Trae’s life. Mom keeps saying, when talking about Christmas or life in general, that she doesn’t want everything to be about Trae, but about Jesus. That is what we are trying to do. Share Trae’s life and his story and tell people about Jesus. You cannot tell Trae’s story without including Jesus.

Friday night was filled with hugs and a few goodbyes and pictures. Pictures of us, pictures of Trae, pictures from Thailand. Dad shared the slide show we played at Trae’s viewing here at home. We laughed at the pictures of Trae as a little kid and smiled at the photos of us when we were younger.

I loved being in Washington with these people. They were right there when Trae was shot. They know how we feel and what we are going through. Talking to them is so easy. I sat and talked to some of them for a while about how I was feeling and what I was going through. I was blessed to have them talk with me and pray for me and sit with me. I feel beyond blessed to have gained so many brothers and sisters. We ended our trip with lunch with a bunch of people, surrounding ourselves with more love and friendship. We enjoyed every moment of our trip.

Trae can never be replaced. We know that. That is not even possible. However, we have so many new brothers and sisters because of him that it helps with the pain sometimes.

Today as I was coming home from the store, I was thinking about Trae. Sometimes, and it scares me, I think He is still here. I don’t think about him being gone from this world; I just think of him being gone. He is still here; just over in California, or Washington, or Thailand. I have to remind myself of the fact that he is gone gone. It is not a fun thing to go through. I miss him more than words can ever say. I don’t know how many times I have wrote that in this blog since his death. I miss my little brother. I miss his laugh and his smile and his crazy obsession for coffee. I miss his random texts about movies and songs. He will always be missed and never be replaced, but God gave us people to ease the pain occasionally and we are beyond thankful for them and Him.

I always feel like I am dropping a bomb on people when I tell them about Trae. IN the airport and throughout traveling this week, people always ask where you are heading and for what. We tell them because they ask and they just sit there and look at us and give us the sympathy smile (Yes, that is what I am calling it and I am tired of it, but that is life). We tell them that Trae lived his life for God and he was so in love with Jesus. We are assured that he is in Heaven and that gives us comfort.

I remember Trae saying in one of his blog posts that he didn’t really think he had a testimony. I remember reading that and thinking the same thing. I have had a lot happen to me in my life that has shaped me into the person I am today, but nothing that has had such an impact on me as Trae’s death. I hope that I can share his story and his love for Jesus to bring others to Jesus. Trae is in Heaven, walking around and holding Jesus hand (That’s how I imagine him here), but his story is not over. His story is still going. His story will keep going and going. As long as there are people around that know Trae’s story, his story will never be over.

I am beyond blessed to have known Trae for his short 20 years and 11 months here on Earth. I am blessed to have him as a brother. I am blessed more than ever now, to have him as an angel in Heaven watching over me.

Use Trae’s story to share Jesus with everyone you meet. Tell people about Jesus every chance you get.

When you find people you love, hold onto them. Hug them. Love on them. Smile and laugh with them. Stay up all night with them. Just be with them and love the Lord with them. When you love Jesus, you already have so much in common.

The past 6 days have been filled with snow, cold, and frost. The past 6 days have been filled with tears and laughs and emotions. The past 6 days have been filled with hugs and love and “see you later”‘s. The past 6 days have been filled with JESUS!

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This song is the song that plays during the drama. It is a song to make you think about your life and what and who you are. “This is your life… are YOU who YOU want to be?”

“I’m learning to be the Light.”

“And a memory of a day like today {every day this week and every day spent with Trae} can get you through the rest of your life.”

Grief & Pain & Thanks & Birthday

Lowell and I got home yesterday from a week in Indiana. A week spent with family and friends. A week of laughing and crying. A week of crazy shopping trips and funny movies. A week of giving thanks for the things God has given to us. A week of traveling.

Do you know what one of the BEST things about traveling is?

COMING HOME!

Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel and see people I love and go to fun places.. but there is not a much better feeling than coming home!

Our trip home felt very long. Traveling the Sunday after Thanksgiving is a BAD idea! Seriously, just DO NOT DO IT! We ran into so much traffic because of accidents and whatnot.. just CRAZINESS! It took us 1-2 hours longer than it should have! I have never been so happy to see my front door!

Anywho, back to being at home and the wonderful feeling that follows… Seriously, just feels like a hug walking in your door to your home. Laying in your bed, hugging your bed and promising not to leave it again (Seriously, every time I get back… I lay in my bed and think “Why did I ever leave you?”)… Taking a shower in your own shower. The first night in your own bed. There is not many words that can describe the feelings, but ya’ll know. You have went on a trip before. One thing I dread about coming home is unpacking. I am the person who lives out of a suitcase for weeks, just to avoid unpacking. There is always one thing that I packed because I NEEDED IT and don’t wear it or use it for weeks and it sits in my suitcase and eventually Lowell’s gets tired of seeing it and puts the suitcase away. Then I suddenly need that thing and cannot find it! I believe this is described as #firstworldproblems!

I love seeing my bunny as well. He is a crazy thing and we are blessed by sweet friends (Mariah & Tanner & Brett & Dakota.. Thank you so much) who stopped in to check on Diesel the week we were gone. My bunny sitters are amazing! One of the many reasons I love Diesel is how easy he is to take care of. We can leave for a week or whatever and as long as someone check in on him every day or every other day and gives him food, water, hay and some love, and he is fine. We let him roam our living room so he has plenty of room all day to stretch his legs whenever he needs to!

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Diesel, waiting on a treat because I was sitting near the treats, trying to love on him, last night when we got home!

He has started shedding, however. It is not the best homecoming gift. Bunnies shed every three months and grow a new coat. What does this mean for Kaci and Lowell’s house? It means it looks like fluffy snow under the couch! HA! Not fun!

I am not here to give a history on bunnies, though. That is not what it says in my title, anyway. I am the person who makes up the title soo…. yeah! But maybe you learned something new today about bunnies. My one teacher in middle school said you can go home after you learn something new.. He never let us though!

It has now been 32 days since Trae was shot. Today is November 28th, 2016. Today is Trae’s birthday. He would have turned 21 years old today. I don’t know how to celebrate a birthday of someone who is in Heaven or even what to say, so I am not going to say a lot.

Happy Birthday, Trae. Happy Birthday in Heaven. I saw this song yesterday and it talked about dancing in the sky and I thought of you. You were always out dancing in the rain… and not even the fun rain. The cold, damp rain. I mean you would dance in both, but most people wait for the fun rain. SO, today, I hope you are dancing around the sky.

This week was Thanksgiving. My family never had a Thanksgiving tradition, so we weren’t really affected by the empty spot at the table. It will hit us at Christmas.

However, this year at Thanksgiving, giving thanks and being thankful for what God has given us meant more to me than it ever did before. After having a tragedy  in your family, you really start looking at everything you do differently. Your choices are made by what is most important.

We went out to supper with Lowell’s sister and parents while we were in Indiana. She lives in North Indiana and we met her in Kokomo. She was saying she didn’t have time for much because her job (she is a teacher at a GB school) is very time consuming. She doesn’t have time to give people, including her family, a call because she is constantly busy! I kinda laughed. “Sweetie, there is NOTHING more important than family. You always have time to talk to your sister because you don’t know when the last time it will be.”

I remember my last conversation with Trae. It was on my birthday (October 24th). It had texted me earlier that day and said “Happiest Birthday! Breaking the rules here!” I laughed. He called me later that night because they were up in the mountains and not on campus. We talked for a little bit about what they were doing in the mountains and what we did for my birthday, which wasn’t a lot. Everything he said made me smile or laugh. He had a way of saying all the right words to make me feel better.

Honestly, that is my favorite memory of Trae. Every time (which was a lot, so maybe, favorite memories) he made me smile or laugh or feel better when I was sad or feeling down. That was the best! I always felt like I should be the one making him feel better, but it was hardly ever that way.The Saturday before my birthday  I was really sad because mom and dad were out in Washington with Trae and I wanted to be there so bad! I missed him so much in hurt (hurt which seems so small compared to the current hurt). I cried the whole way to Lowe’s and in the Lowe’s parking lot. I called mom and Trae talked to me. He told me that it was okay and soon he would be back from Thailand and Washington and we were going to catch up on movies and TV shows we watch. We were going to eat Chinese together and he was going to teach me to use chop sticks. He made me laugh and feel better. He comforted me in ways no one else knew how to. He always said the right things to make someone laugh. I remember so many times being so mad at him and he would make me laugh and I would lose focus on being mad at him. He was a people person through and through.

Memories like these keep me holding on. Holding on to hope. Holding on to Jesus. I have been struggling a lot recently with fear. I am afraid all the time. I am scared to drive in the dark. I am afraid of the dark. I am afraid of sketchy looking people and cars. I don’t want to be afraid, but fear is getting the best of me. I keep praying that God will help me with the fear I feel.

It still feels like a dream most days. It doesn’t feel real that he is gone gone! I don’t want to believe it some days. I just want to sit in a corner and not think about it. I want him to come in my front door and give me a big hug the way he always did and make everything okay. It is hard to say and harder to believe that he is gone from this earth.

There is a quote that says, “Grief never ends, but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith. It is the price of love.” We will never stop missing Trae. We are not weak or unfaithful because we miss Trae. We love Trae so much, so we miss Trae SO MUCH MORE!

We have talked many times as a family of the pain and grief we are experiencing. We have said that as difficult as it is, grieving Trae, it would be so much harder if our family was not as close as we are. I have always loved how close my family is. In a time like we have now, it is so much more important that we are close than ever! It doesn’t mean that it is easy to grieve. It just means we always have someone to grieve with always.

It is hard to explain the pain we feel today and every day. There are times I sit on the couch, watching TV and it hits me. Then, I feel sad and I want to cry. We all grieve differently. I don’t cry a lot. I don’t cry when I want to which frustrates me. I cry when it hits me in the middle of random things! I tear up at random parts of TV shows (like right now, I am watching How I Met Your Mother with tears in my eyes). Trae and I talked most about movies and TV shows. We had plans to watch all these new movies and TV shows together once he got home. That is what we talked about most. We talked about Harry Potter and other fun nerdy things.

End note::: Be thankful. for Jesus. for family. for friends. for the weather. for food. for life. for love. for people you don’t even like or know. for flowers. for mountains. for corn fields.  for chocolate. BE THANKFUL! That’s the message. Far too often, we complain about the small things in life. We take the things that are given to us for granted instead of being thankful! We just need to be thankful for what God gives us each and every day. We need to live our life for God every day and He will help us move those mountains!

Hold onto to the people you love. Take pictures as much as possible. Make memories. Be silly, because those are the memories that last forever. I can’t tell you all of the memories I have with Trae, but some of the fondest are when we were tired and silly and lying on the middle of the living room floor. Having push up contests (He always won because I have no upper body strength and would just lay on the floor). Telling jokes. Taking selfies on mom’s phone. Talking about school. Watching Disney Channel together. We would go to Hoss’s and I would get ice cream and I would try every time to get it just right so there would be a little swirl-thingy at the top (we called it a doop-de-doop). He would ALWAYS stick his finger in it and mess it up!

Jesus has a way of holding our hearts and our hands and helping us heal in a way no one else can! Seek Jesus and he will heal your heart! It might take years, but Jesus will heal your heart. Just because you are healing, doesn’t mean you won’t hurt.

We will NEVER forget Trae. He will always be in our minds and in our hearts! But hopefully, eventually the hurt won’t be so deep.

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Personal Note:::

My last blog post hit amazing results and I was beyond blessed by the amount of people it reached. In just 3 or 4 days, my blog was viewed 4,872 times by 3,759 people in 37 different countries all over the world! It was so awesome to see the outreach of my little blog. Trae had that impact on people though! God’s will for Trae’s life in not over yet! He is still working, using the legacy and memories of Trae to change people.

I would really love if ya’ll would drop a comment in the comments below (if you are comfortable doing so) of where you are from or where you are reading this at! I would love to hear from you! Ya’ll don’t eve have to put your name (I think you can opt out of putting your name) if you want. It is encouraging for me to hear from you guys; whether you knew Trae or not. Trae’s story has gone so far beyond his HUGE circle of friends.

 

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Dear Trae, Happy 1st Birthday in Heaven. I miss you more and more every day. You will forever be in my heart! I love you, best friend. I love you so much! Happy Birthday to my angel! So for your 21st earthly birthday, cheers to you! Here’s to your short life, your amazing life, your inspiring life lived!

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Every time I hear this song, I think of Trae. I feel like he would have so many questions, but as he looks around the Throne, he is at a loss for words!

“..There’s a promise for the ones ho just hold on..”

“…If You can hold the stars in place, You can hold my heart the same…”
“…Here I am holding, lifting up my heart, to the One who holds the stars.”

 

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