Wednesday, December 29, 2010

And a Little Child Shall Lead Them......Isaiah 11:6

I awoke this morning with many thoughts of Jessi.   The main word on my mind initially was Discipleship.  It is one word that I have continually thought of for many many days.

Rewind to the Year 2007 and Jessi the age of 9 and in 4th Grade.  This was her first year at Towns County Elementary.  She joined Awana's and was amazed that she was at a school that you could actually acknowledge God or Jesus much less to actually be taught about Him......
That first year in Awana Jessi was able to memorize the names of all the books in the Old Testament.  I remember her reciting them one evening at dinner.  Her Dad and I was so proud.  Jessi stayed in Awana until she went to Middle School.
One day in particular stands out in my memory of that school year.  I would always drive Jess to school in the morning and this particular morning she asked me something that I will never forget.  Especially now as I realize that anything is possible if you believe it and work towards it.
Jessi said this to me that day "Mom......u know how there where 12 disciples with Jesus?.....Well, do u think I could ever become a Disciple?"    You had to be there to see the desire in her eyes.   Jess was not just saying this, she really was thinking about it.  It took me a moment to answer her because I did'nt want to really mess this moment up with the wrong words.  I did tell her this "Jessi, you can be anything you want, Im sure those 12 disciples of Jesus never thought that is what they would be doing, anything you set your mind to u can do it and with God on your side nothing is impossible".  She smiled big with a glow in her eye and as I dropped her off at the school I watched her walk in and was so very proud of her...

Fast forward to November 2010:

Jessi did become a disciple.....maybe not to the magnitude as those that actually walked with Jesus, but she did spread the Word.  In her short life of 14 years I know of 7 people that have been saved BECAUSE of Jessi.  I say because for the reason that anyone of us can lead someone to know Jesus but that necessarily isnt BECAUSE of anything we have done personally.  Most of us just witness to people and it's very easy to show someone in the Bible how to know Jesus as your personal savior and be saved.  Its is another thing to live by example and have people be saved Because of what you may have done or said that directly would impact someone in that magnitude.
Jessi set a huge example on another issue also......She became special friends with Baria in 7th grade.
Baria is a Muslim and Jessi is a Christian yet they became very close friends.  That is how we are all suppose to be.  By befriending Baria she showed that even though they have huge differences in beliefs they could still be friends.  Jess thought enough of it to actually mention it to me and her dad. She thought is was so awesome that they could be friends and not let their beliefs get in the way of a friendship. She spoke of how they shared of what each of them believed.  Jess said she told Baria that r belief is that to be saved you asked the Lord into your heart. And u live for the Lord and you have conviction over doing things that are wrong. Then when you die you live forever with Jesusu. You have eternal life forever.  Jess thought is was so funny that Baria said "Saved, what is that"  after Jess explained it she said Baria had told her " Well I know ur saved cause you dont cuss, lie or do anything real bad"  What a huge compliment I was so thankful Jessi shared that with us.   I believe that is an example of a true Christian.  Living it.  Not just on Sunday but everyday of your life. Jessi and Baria became such good friends in just one year of school together that when Jessi passed Baria called me and asked if she could speak at Jessi's service. Of course I told her absolutely. The funny thing was she had asked me if she could wear her traditional muslim clothing because she had never been to a Christian Church before. Of course my words to her where "Baria where whatever you feel most comfortable with". I know that is the words Jessi would have spoke to her. In one of Bill O'Reilly's books he states "You are who You associate with". Well said, I'm glad Jess made good associations and liked and loved people for who they where and not what they where. Something we can all learn from, and then put that learning into action.

I for one have not done that and am 46, so what does that say about me......I have learned alot from Jessi.
I'm very proud to say I am her Mom.  I'm thankful that I was given the chance to know her and raise her, and this question was posed to me the other day " If God had asked me if I would have still wanted jess knowing that she would be taken at 14"  my answer would still have been yes.
That would be because I wouldnt trade those 14 years for anything.  They have been the best years of my life.  I wish they had been longer more than anything in the world, but Jess accomplished more than most in her short time, I'm so very proud of that. 

My heart aches everyday to be able to see her and hold her again, that will never go away,  I'm trying to find my way back to God in order to do and be what I firmly believe Jess would want me to do.

When I die and see her I dont want her to ask me something like "So mom what have you done all these years since I came to Heaven" 
I want to be able to tell her all the great things that she did to inspire me and all the things I accomplished through her.  Hopefully the Lord will open some doors for me and send me in a direction that I will be able to help many many people in whatever is left of my life on earth. I crawl back to God and wait on Him to direct my paths......I have a new inspiration in my life through a terrible tragedy that is unimaginable................

The inspiration....................................TO BE JUST LIKE JESSI................................................

Monday, December 27, 2010


The title for today describes life at the moment...........In a writing slump......This Christmas didnt not bring tidings of Joy. Partly because Christmas day marked 1 month that Jess has been gone.   It still does not seem real to me. I'm waiting for her to walk thru the door any minute.  I tell myself this could not have happened.  Thoughts of Jessi encompass me throughout the day.  One would think spending some time in a store not necessarily shopping would help a little just to be out walking around doing something besides sitting home in my pajamas for the entire day wrapped up in Jessi' blanket.   Well that would be far from the case.  For example...trip to Target....Jessi was everywhere.......On the toothbrush sporting goods by the school the home goods by the Blue microfiber plush blankets......I cant go anywhere that she is not there....that may come to be good as time goes on because I never ever want to lose one thing in my mind about her but today it is very painful.  Practically unbearable.  Her dad and I woke up this morning and we asked ourselves how are we gonna do this... There are no answers.  I know that when I pass from this earth Im going to Heaven with Jessi, but right now I'm living in Hell.  The actual place of  Hell could not be much worse than what I am feeling since Jessi went on to be with Jesus.  There is no greater pain.  I have lost both my parents and both my in-laws.  The relationship with my mom was not what it should have been because of many had an extra special relationship with my mother-in-law.  Her death was very painful to me, and still is today.  However, that doesnt compare to the feelings in every tissue of my heart for losing Jess.
I'm one of those parents who would rather be dead at the moment as that means I would be rejoicing in Heaven with jess.  The only way for that to happen is for when God says its my time or I decide its my time.  The only thing that keeps me from that is I know it would separate me from jess forever.  Though shalt no kill......that even means yourself.  The interesting thing about this I find myself realizing that God is real, Jesus lives in my Heart, for if that was not the case I wouldnt have the conviction that taking my own life is not the answer.   It's a very powerful feeling in the depths of my soul that keeps me from this very thing.   "Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1.  For without this Hope what would there be?

J - Joyful
E - Empowered
S - Saved
S - Special Smile
I -  Inspiring

Well, we made it past Christmas,  I have a break now from holidays until Mothers Day.  I used to always look forward to that day cause Jess would always make me something even if it was just a card sometimes.  Now I dread it.  But..........I will FOREVER be Jessi's mom........FOREVER..............

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sign Language from God.........

On the Tuesday after Jessi's service we still had family staying with us.  Jessi's cousin Katie who is 16 and her family where staying with us for the week.  We invited Jess's best friend Hannah over to spend the night with us.  We where just wanting her and Katie to get to know each other better.  I remember telling Hannah that Katie was the closest she would ever get to Jessi this side of Heaven.  Not only did she spend Tuesday nite with us she also spent Wednesday as well.  We didn't do much just watched movies and enjoyed each others company.  The first night Hannah came to stay I know was very hard for her.  But........she did it.  It was actually hard on all of us becuase whenever you saw Jess u saw Hannah.  I do think it was a step we all needed to take though together.  Of course many tears where shed that night, as well as many that will continue throught out the rest of our life.  Well, back to Tuesday nite.......

We had dinner and when we where finished Hannah went into Jess's room for a few minutes.  She came back and asked me "Did Jessi ever tell you about the crosses in her room?"  I about fell off my chair and was like what are you talking about Hannah?????  Well she proceeded to take me to Jess's room and show me........
What I am about to describe to u is indescribable.  You have to really see it to believe it......

 In Jess's room are 2 double windows, between each of those windows is a piece of wood trim that separates the windows.  The house was built in 1939.  When we moved in the wood in the entire house was painted with KILZ several times and then several coast of paint after that.   Her headboard and bed frame was handmade by her Dad and the wood came from Home Depot in Blairsville Ga.  In the CENTER of the windows where the wood separation is and on the Headboard of Jess's bed crosses have appeared.  There is no explanation.  They are not painted.  It seems as though they are in the wood.  They all have very similar characterics.  Kinda like a persons distinct handwriting.  They also all have  runs down the window as if "something" was dripping from them.  At first they where just in Jess's room and we thought maybe she had hung something or someone else had who had owned this house before us.  Which still would not explain the cross on her headboard.
The next morning we where sitting at the dining table and this is the only other area in the entire house that has a double window like the one in Jess's room.  I was sitting with my back to that window.  Bud was sitting to my left and his cousin Lynn was across from me.  Bud got up to turn on the dining light and about that time Lynn made a comment and pointed his finger to the window behind me.  I remember telling him "your not even funny".  There in the CENTER wood trim of the window appeared another cross.  That makes 4.  And interestingly enough 4 souls where saved at Jess's service.  Do I know what this means? Not really.........I'm still trying to figure it out and I'm not sure I will ever know the full meaning of them.  I do believe they are God's way of communicating with us.  I think the only way they could have gotten there is they where "written with the finger of God". Exodus 31:18  I have that verse highlighted in my bible from the beginning of this year.  That verse had caught my attention because right in that verse describes a physical God.  You could almost miss it, but I didn't. 
I do believe God is with us, at times I have not felt that way, but it was probly more me than Him.  He never leaves us.  It has been more of me leaving Him.  I have so struggled with Jess being gone and have never blamed God but have wondered why He didn't do more.  Why He didn't just make her well.  Let her stay with her Mom n Dad.  He could have. God can do anything.  But I was thinking about this the other day......The Bible says "but the very hairs on your head are all numbered" Matthew 10:30 and "For thou hast possessed my reins; thou hast covered me in my mothers womb. Psalm 139.13   So if God knows all about us because He made us I wonder that He also knows the day we are to be born and the day we are to die.  So........I do believe that He hears everyones prayers, but part of me also believes that Jessi's life was already determined long before I ever gave birth to her.  I have to believe this because it really is the only way I'm am going to be able to get through each day without her.  If I don't believe that my days will be riddled with anger towards God and I wonder if when my time comes to join Jessi that I don't want to do anything to jeapordize not being in the same Mansion with her.  I wanna be in her room and in her presence so I'm having to go back to child like Faith.  Even still, make no mistake, life will be very hard, forever.  I just don't want to point a finger in the wrong direction and have it come back on me later, and then trying to explain myself to God.  How in the world do you do that???  Well.......... you don't.  I am still working with God on some things and He knows my feelings,  I long for the day that I can sing again in church, raise my hand and clap to the great music.  I'm not there yet, and it is going to take awhile.  I know He won't give up on me.  After all patience is a virtue.
Last Tuesday when we went to deliver Jess's gifts one of the ladies from the 3rd floor came up to me and handed me something we evidently left in Jessi's room.  It is a clear oval looking stone and in the CENTER is a cross.  The words on it are Let Go and Let God.  It struck me that I would get that cross on our very last visit to that hospital.  I had said I was going back to deliver gifts For Jess because I knew she would not want them just dropped off in the lobby.   I knew that this was closure for me also.  So once again I do believe it is yet another sign from God.  It was time to Let Go of that place and that was part of what that day was about.
I was thinking about all these crosses right after they appeared and was puzzled about everything being in the CENTER.  I remembered back when Jess was starting 4th grade and new to town.  I bought her a little card that says "Put GOD in the center - and everything will come together.  I told her to remember that and always keep it with her.  Here now what was to be 8th grade she still had it, in her room and in a picture frame.  I'm trying to make sense of the whole thing and the only thing I can come up with is I believe God is with us.  He has given us many signs.  The hard part now is trying to make complete sense of it all, if that is possible.

I am thankful for God's sign language, that is how He has chosen to speak to us.  I'm still waiting for Jess's sign language, that would be Heaven for me now or at least a glimpse of it if I could just hear from her just once and if only for 1 second.  I know she is ok I would just like to hear it from her.  If not for the sign language from God and all the things that He has shown us through all of this I would probably not be writing this today.  Why?  Because God gave us 3 things.......Faith, Hope and Love.....Love being the greatest......But as I write this I discovered one more thing....Hope is the Center.........If there was no Hope there would be no reason to go on. 

My Hope is to be with Jess one day forever........and with Faith I'm gonna be there........forever.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wishes Granted............Paying it Forward

Back a couple months ago while Jessi was in the hospital we met a family going through the struggles of cancer too.  Lily Anderson was across the hall from us with her mom and grandma.  They came and introduced themselves and from that moment we became special friends.  Lily is 9 and is now out of the hospital and doing quite well.  She did not have the same kind of cancer as Jessi but has been in and out of the hospital for the last year.  A year ago October after Lily was initially diagnosed an organization called http :// organized an event called Lily's Run to help the family.  The run was a huge success.  So successful that they did it again this year and am pretty confident it will be an annual thing.  So this year Lily's wish was for several other children to be granted a wish and Jessi was chosen as one of the recipients.
What an awesome example from a 9 year old that we should all learn from.  Jessi was so grateful.  She couldn't believe it.  The run this year was on October 10th.  We loaded up the car and drove to Cumming Georgia where the event is held.  Jess was not feeling too good in the morning so we decided to pack a bag and head that way thinking if she did'nt get to feeling better the hospital was not that far away.  Well, that is exactly what happened.  We stayed at the event for about 2 hours too long and decided she needed to be seen to find out what was going on.  She wound up staying in the hospital for 3 days.  Fever and dehydrated.
We wouldn't have done anything different that day, Jess wanted to see what the run was all about.  I just wish she would have felt better.  Within the 2 hours we where there she got worse pretty quickly.
Kingdom Kids is a great organization and you can go to there website and read all about them and the kids that get helped.  Kevin and Jodi Ford are the wish granters and they are some of the greatest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.  It truly is all about the kids.
Jessi's wish was to go on a shopping spree to The Mall of Georgia in Buford and to shop without having to look just once at a price tag.  Her wish was granted.
When Jess found out that she was gonna get her wish she came to our office and sat at the computer pen and paper in hand and started making a list of some of the kids on the AFLAC floor that she wanted to buy some things for.  She had said that times where hard and it was even harder on families with sick kids, especially kids with cancer.  She had a few other kids that where not in the hospital on her list also.
The week of November 8th the package came in the mail and was at home waiting on Jessi....She had planned to go shopping to get everyones gifts before Christmas.  Jessi new the package was at home waiting on her.  She never got to make that shopping trip.  After Jessi passed and we came home the package was waiting.  I saw Jodi Ford at Jessi's service and told her we would be sending it back. Amazingly she said not to, to keep it and fulfill Jessi's wish to buy for others.  Wow is all I know to say.  They had known about Jess wanting to buy for others and wanted that to still happen.  After all, that was part of her wish........
I initially thought it would be somewhat joyful to be able to do this for Jess, but when we got to the mall it really hit me....I missed her tremendously and the part that hurt so much was knowing how much she would have enjoyed this.  I felt shortchanged for myself and mostly for Jessi.  Her favorite store is Aeropostale and the first time I walked in I had to walk right back out.  Partly because that is the store we always went too.
We didn't get alot of shopping done that day, the nite before we came down and spent the nite with Christina (Ava's mom) and we went to the mall together and met Amber (Kayla's mom) at the mall also.  We unfortunatly have one thing in common.  Parents of kids with cancer who didn't make it.  We consider ourselves unlucky enough to be members of "The Worst Club Ever".  After the day at the mall we went to Cumming Ga to stay with Lily's family for the nite.  Jennifer made my fav food (italian) and even got me a birthday cake for my birthday.  We had a wonderful time with everyone.  We all share and unspeakable bond that one can only know if you are unlucky enough in life to be thrust into the world of cancer.
On Thursday (my birthday) Bud and I went back to the mall to attempt to shop again.  We managed to get everyone on Jessi's list.  We also where going to but things for the Youth at our Church with what Kingdom Kids gave.  We have managed to buy a Foosball Table, Basketballs, Footballs & Soccer balls.  Theres a few more things but it isn't Christmas yet so I can't name them all.  Our church dedicated the youth room to Jessi.  Another amazing story.  I will post some photos of that in the next few days along with the shopping pics and gifts.
So my purpose of writing this is to let you know that even though Jess is not with us physically, which pains me beyond anyones comprehension, she has carried out something that was on her heart.  So buy her expressing her wishes so many people where blessed by that.  Maybe this Christmas season, or throughout the next coming years and during your life you too can pay it forward,  it's much better than receiving any kind of material gift, and you get the chance to help someone else which in return may just be you that gets the most help..........Just saying.............

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Trying Times

Welcome to my new blog.........I hope that you will enjoy reading my posts and will diligently try keep it updated weekly, of course depending on how my days go.  This blog will take you on a journey through a child, a life, a family, good times, love, cancer and trying to live after you lose what is the most important thing in the world.  All my post will not be sad ones, but you may cry anyways.  The saddest part of our lives have just been the last 6 months but prior to that Jessi had a great life.  I want to share alot of the past and Jessi's abundant life, part of the present and trying to get through each day, and some of the future.  I say some of the future because as I well no  "Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for though knowest not what a day may bring forth" Proverbs 27:1.

I want everyone that reads this to know how thankful we are to everyone through the trial that was set before us on June 26, 2010.
There are so many and I am hesitant to list every single name as I might unintentionally miss someone.  The outpouring of love and support from near and far has been truly overwhelming.
Jessi had the most beautiful service.......was in awe at the turnout........If she could have planned it herself it would have been exactly what she would have asked for.  And the interesting thing is that the service was not really planned out.....It kinda just happened......That was so Jessi.......whenever you where with her things kinda just happened for us, our whole life with her we never really "Planned" anything.  We kinda just did it.
As a matter of fact,  we never planned for her to not make it through this horrible thing called cancer.  That just wasn't an option.  Part of me is glad i didn't spend valuable time worrying about something we could not predict.  Instead, the focus was on getting better, doing things together, enjoying each other.
Jessi's life consisted of 14 years and 47 days.......I'm thankful those years where used wisely.  Although I don't encourage missing school, I am so glad and thankful for the many times we did pull her out of school to do things that she actually learned more about that if she had sat in the classroom.  I remember thinking the other day how many times we got lectured about her missing school but I look back now and think I am so glad we did it any ways.  Does it really matter now that she hit the limit on days absent in one year? Not really.  She still had managed to have all A's.
I guess what I'm saying is live your life with no regrets and if your heart tells you to do something then just do it as long as it doesnt adversly effect someone else in a negative manner.

Jessi's life ended way too early, was so unfinished and incomplete.  There is much in life that will never be experienced.
But, Jess's life was a life that was lived. She lived fully but briefly. It was short but beautiful.

"We cannot, after all, judge a biography by its length, by the number of pages in it; we must judge by the richness of the contents........Sometimes the 'unfinisheds' are among the most beautiful symphonies"  Viktor Frankel.