Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fall Activities

Sweet Lei Lei....

So many good memories keep coming to my mind today. Fall is here. That means pumpkins, costumes, hayrides, and lots of candy!

You would be shocked to know that we have not carved a single pumpkin this year. Can you believe that? Not a single pumpkin! This time last year (and the year before) you would have already carved 3 or 4 pumpkins. I remember last year we carved some with Grandad, Jo and Uncle Nigel while daddy was at work. We sat out on Jo's patio with Mylea and Macy. I gave you a black marker to draw the pumpkin face that you wanted us to carve for you. It was such a silly face! You thought the pumpkin inners were nasty and really didn't care much about scooping all of it out.

We have two pumpkins sitting on the patio. We just haven't carved them yet. I promise we will get them finished before the weekend!

This morning was costume day at the library. I think about all the past Halloweens. I always started looking in August for the perfect Halloween pair for you and Mylea. My favorite pair was when you were Little Bo Peep and Mylea was a sheep. favorite costume was your first Halloween. You were a Tootsie Roll. Every one loved it!!

I remember last year's Halloween. You wanted to be a wolf and Mylea to be Little Red Riding Hood. You only wanted the wolf costume so you could run around howling at people. We dressed up for costume day at the library and you were so excited to howl at your friends. Well, when we got there, things quickly changed. I will never forget the look on your face and the tears in your eyes when you came to me all upset because all of your friends were pretty princess' and you weren't a princess. We left the library and went straight to the store. You ended up being Dorthy with a pig-tail wig and you carried a dog in a basket. You were absolutely adorable! I love my picture of my two blonde haired girls wearing brown wigs.

I couldn't help but wonder if you still would have been Wendy. You wanted Mylea to be Tinkerbell or Peter Pan so that you could be Wendy. I remember you telling me that all I had to do was find a blue dress cause you already had a blue hair bow. Mylea has been asking to be Wendy since you have been gone. But I just didn't think it was right.

Mylea decided to go as Belle. Not that that should really surprise you. I really figured that you would have gone as Belle this year. I know how much yall have loved Belle since meeting her at Disney. Mylea has a wig with curls. She reminds me of you so much!

Tomorrow night is the fall festival at church. You sure did love playing games with all your friends. Last year, the maze that Mr. Mike built was "just awesome!". When I couldn't find you at the games, you could always be found in the maze. Your favorite game was Ms. Brenda's sticky egg game. You had so much fun throwing the egg at the frying plan. Every time I look at the picture of you throwing the eggs, it reminds me how you became the game leader towards the end of the night. You stood with Ms. Brenda and helped other kids play the game and then you gave them candy when they won the game.

It will be hard trick or treating with out you. We will go to Grandad and Jo's party Sunday after church. Their party friends always looked forward to seeing what yall came dressed as. It will be a little different this year.

Do you remember our hayride last year? It was so much fun riding through the neighborhood, unloading and reloading after we knocked on several doors. You were so excited to be the leader of the group. All your "little" (younger) friends had fun following you door to door. I think the adults had as much fun as the kiddos.

As I sit here, I think about all the times you played dress-up. You sure did love to play dress-up! I don't think there was a single day that you did not dress up as something. Well, your sister is the exact same way. She has been a different character every day!

I'm sitting here chuckling in my head. Remember the night (one of the many) that Logan and Laney were here and you were dressed up as Superman and Logan was a princess!!!!! It was hilarious!

Leightyn.....thank you for all the great memories!

I love you babes!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Faithful Abundant True

Dear Leightyn,

I just got home from Bible study and I can't wait to share just a few of the many things I learned tonight. We are doing the Faithful Abundant True study that is written by Kay Arthur, Priscilla Shirer, and Beth Moore. I heard these women speak at Memphis last you remember that weekend? I remember daddy calling me and telling me that you "smelled", well, really you just stunk! We thought that maybe you at an UTI. All weekend I worried about you. When I returned home, daddy was right about the "smell".....whew! We got you in the dr and had you checked. You didn't have an UTI. The smell continued so we went back to the dr. I will never forget the drama of you having to pee in a cup. I took you to the bathroom many times and nothing would happen. I finally had to promise you a surprise if you would just pee. Finally, about 45 minutes later, you peed in the cup. We celebrated in the bathroom! The sample came back and nothing was, were was the smell coming from. You finally told us that you stuck an M&M up your nose about 4 days earlier. I will never forget you telling me the story. You said you were at Jo's house and were eating candy. You decided to stick it up your nose to see if it would fit. Guess did! Not only did it fit, it got stuck. You didn't tell anyone for 4 days. That was the stinch!!! Daddy took you to the Dr and he pulled it out. Well, it wasn't candy! It was a piece of foam. You never told us where the foam came from. I will never forget that little adventure!!!

Anyways, back to Bible Study.......

I was so excited when this study was chosen. I remember getting so much out of the weekend and I couldn't wait to do a more in depth look at the topics. Off all the topics, I remember Priscilla's the most. She spent the weekend on Ephesians 3:20, 21 "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." .

I have never shared this before, but Leightyn, this verse stayed with me while we were in the hospital. I kept thinking to myself "God is able to do more than I can imagine". I remember praying in the chapel "Lord, you are able to do a miracle for us, do it and do it better than I could ever imagine".

God didn't answer our prayers in the way that we wanted. I know He could have healed you, and I often wonder why He didn't. Well, tonight Leightyn, I gained a new understanding of why He didn't. I know that He has plans for us and had plans for you. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that "He knows the plans He has for us". Lei Babe, your plan was not what we had planned. God put you here on earth for a short while to show the love of Christ to others and to lead them to Him. It takes a special angel to do what you have done. Tonight it hit me that God had every thing planned out in His mind. While on earth, I may not see or understand God's reasoning for taking you home, but one day in Heaven, I will know His reasons.

Don't get me wrong. I would give anything to have you here with me. But that wasn't my decision. My job was to pray and believe that God could have healed you.....if it was His plan and His will. God has the ability and the power to do anything that He wills!

God had a purpose for taking you Leightyn. His kingdom purposes are way past my ability to understand at the moment. I think about the lives you touched, the ones that came to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, the ones who made wrongs right in their families, and all the other stories we have heard. God was using you to build His kingdom. Not only His Heavenly kingdom, but His army here on earth. Daddy and I are amazed every day when we get an email from someone telling us how your lifesong has changed them. How people who have not been in church in ages are now there every week. People who gave up on God and now know that He is all they have. People who have gotten back in the Bible and now have a relationship with God.

Lei Babe.....that's what gets us through each day. We worship a God who is powerful and mighty. He is able to do so much more than I could ever imagine. Look at how He used you....I never would have imagined all the miracles that have come from our loss!

"The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made" Psalm 145:17

I Love You Baby!!!!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Emotional Letter

Dear Lei Babe.....

WOW......What a week!

A very emotional week for your momma. I feel like reality has finally started to set in. It's once again a late Thurday night/early Friday morning and I am replaying every minute over and over in my head. I just keep thinking that there could have been something that I could have done to help you or maybe there was a sign of cancer that I missed. It just stinks! How could you really be gone for now? Like I said....a very emotional week. Reality is setting in and it's not fun. I see you every where. I feel like our house is so empty. I just miss you so much! Many days I feel like I am on the verge of an emotional breakdown. I have held back many tears this week and I have also let many tears fall. It has just been so hard!

It's report card time here...that means parent teacher conferences. I can't help but wonder what your teacher would have said about you. What would your grades have been like? What books would you be reading by now? Were you a big teacher's helper? Did you learn to make your "3" in the right direction or do they still look like a "S"? Would you be to big for momma to pick you up at the door?

Tomorrow morning we should be on our way to Branson. But Leightyn, I just can't do it. I can't go. I remember planning this Branson weekend back in June. I wanted to take you on a trip as a reward for doing great on your first report card. I told Uncle WeWe my idea and he wanted to join us. You were so excited to be going with your silly WeWe and also Madison. After your funeral, I still planned on going to Branson....just to get away for the weekend. However, the closer the dates got, the more it made my stomach churn. This trip was for you. The entire weekend was planned for you. Sure Mylea was coming with us, but she would not have enjoyed the water park as much as you. So, daddy and I talked and we are going to skip out on the trip. As emotional as the week has been for us....Branson is the last place we need to be.

So, what all are you and Grandma Sissy (Nancy) doing in Heaven. I know yall are having a blast. Her birthday was this week. I wondered what kind of party and cake you had for her. I can only imagine the types of celebrations yall are having. I know she loves having you with her. It's been hard not having her or you here to celebrate her birthday. We spent so many days with her and now you are getting a head start in eternity with her. Please give her a hug for me and tell her that I love her. While you're at it, make one of your silly faces that she loved. Oh yeah, don't forget her birthday spankings!

Daddy, Mylea, and myself met Mr. Chad, Ms. Ashley, and Laney at Chick-Fil-A tonight. We had a great time with them. It was good just to be back to Chick-Fil-A with them. We sure have spent many nights there with them. I remember how we use to go there after t-ball practice. It got to the point that you and Logan wanted to skip practice and go straight to eat at Chick-Fil-A.
You guys sure were silly!!! Back to was what I needed. We talked, and laughed, and hide a few tears. Laney and Mylea had a wonderful time playing. Mylea needed that time with Laney. We were there for three hours...that's right...3 hours! Can you imagine playing there that long? Towards the end of the night, Laney came out and tried to tell Ms. Ashley a secret. She kept saying that you missed your sissy and that you were crying. Sure enough, I looked through the window and there were big tears streaming down Mylea's face. I know she misses you. I just wish I knew how to talk to her. I want Mylea to know that it is ok to miss you, to talk about you, and to cry over you. And that's what she got to do tonight with Laney Grace. In her own way, Mylea got to talk about things with Laney.

Mr. Chad was telling me a story that I just have to share. I hope I get it right. The other day, Logan was getting out of the truck. Mr. Chad told him to wait a second and he would help. Logan asked why he had to wait and if a car might run over him. Mr. Chad said yes and that Logan needed to watch for other cars. Logan looked up at Mr. Chad and said that it would be ok cause he would get to go to Heaven where Leightyn was. Oh Lei was the sweetest story. Logan and Laney miss you so much. Yall were the best of friends. God really gave you some special friends here on earth....friends that can't wait to see you again.

Guess what!!!!! Mylea drove her tractor the other day! It was awesome. I had to tell her over and over that it was ok to drive it. She was so afraid that you would be upset....cause you always drove. I convinced her to drive to McDonald's (the tree in the yard) and then to the ice cream store (the green flower pot) and she did! I stood next to her so she wouldn't be scared. Mylea said that you would be happy for her. I know you are!

Daddy and I go to the Dr on Monday. We are going to talk about what happened and go over your records from the hospital. I know that it won't make things any easier and that it won't bring you back, but I need some answers. I need to know how we missed this. What did you have? Does Mylea have a chance of having it? It will kill me if there is a chance that Mylea has it.
So, I'm just hoping for some answers.....answers that I need to hear.

Leightyn....I have so much guilt about some things that happened in those few short hours. I feel guilty that Uncle WeWe carried you out of the house. I just remember telling him "I can't do it", so he carried you. I should of carried you out. I remember him holding you in the driveway as I wondered around trying to call people and begging you to wake up. WeWe and I have never talked about it, but I know that it was his honor to be holding you. should have been in my arms....your momma's arms....and I'm sorry that I couldn't do it.

I should have never left your side at the hospital. I don't know why I did....other than just to get away for a few minutes. I should have been there, right next to you, the entire time. I am so thankful that your Jo stayed there for me. But once again, it should have been me. I really don't think that I understood how serious everything was. It was like a dream....a horrible nightmare.

I think about when it came time for the Drs to do the 12 step test to determine brain activity. We were told that anyone could be in the room during this test. I remember saying "I can't, I can't watch, I can't be in there". I don't even know what they did during this test, I have heard that it was hard to watch. But I should have been there as your mommy.

When organ donation was ruled out and it was time to take you off the machines and let you "medically" go, I should have been in the room. I knew you were already gone, but I should have been with you. I remember telling your daddy "I couldn't do it. I couldn't watch you die". Oh baby, I should have been there for you. Not looking through the window. Not stepping in for just a few minutes, only to step right out. I should of been the one holding you, telling you how much I loved you, and kissing you good-bye. I'm so sorry!

I remember someone asking me if I wanted to hold you, and once again, I just couldn't do it. You were so lifeless. I didn't want that to be my last memory of you. Not that that memory is any better than any other memories that weekend. What I wouldn't give to be able to hold you. I am so thankful that my family stuck around and were there for me when I couldn't do it. But still, it should have been me.

It's been a tough week....can you tell?

I Love You So Much!!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

God's Still Working

Just wanted to share part of the Rye Hill Baptist Church October newsletter.

October, 2010

There is not a week go by that someone in our church doesn’t stop me and tell me what a blessing it is to see God moving in our church in such a mighty way. To see God’s children so happy in Jesus truly brings a smile on my face and joy to my heart. This past Sunday was a perfect example of how God’s presence is in our church. From the very first song, you could sense that God was going to do something special. During our time of decisions, two families joined our church fellowship. In talking with one of the families afterwards, they told me that the first time they came to our church that they knew that God’s Holy Spirit was here and that they would join our church. We also had a first time guest rededicate his life to Christ and give a testimony of how God brought him to our church and that the sermon was just for him. The other family that joined told me that it was time to come home. Praise God, this is what church is suppose to be like! A place where you are accepted, loved, taught the Word of God and are able to Worship with other believers in truth and in spirit. I pray that revival will continue in our church and that we will never take for granted the power of the Holy Spirit moving in the lives of our people and His church. To see the tears at the altar and everyone hugging each other is a testimony of the unity and love in our Church. Sunday night we had one of the sweetest testimony services that we have seen since we have been here. People were just thanking and praising God for what he has been doing here the last few months. Just a week ago we had 163 in Sunday School and 252 in Worship. We had the wonderful blessing of making a building payment last month of $31,505.33 because of a precious little girl named Leightyn. This brings our building balance down to $158,116.02 which is such a small amount from the $700,000.00 we started with just 6 and one half years ago. I could go on and on but time and space would not hold the many stories of how God is changing the hearts and lives of His people. To God be the Glory!

Our Ladies Sunday School classes and our Women’s Ministries have come up with a really neat idea of how we can keep the memory of Leightyn alive. Leightyn touched so many hearts and was such a part of our church that I feel like this is a great cause that our whole church could participate in. They want us to consider putting a memorial outside our building in the form of a prayer bench, called “Leightyn’s Prayer Bench.” They would also suggest we put the verse Luke 18:16 on it. Our youth have even said that they would like to plant a sycamore tree beside the bench. Somewhere also would be the words, “What a difference one beautiful little life made.” The cost of this prayer bench will be right at $1,500.00. With the churches approval, we will take a free will offering on Sunday October 24, to help the Women’s Ministry purchase this prayer bench in Leightyn’s honor. This bench would be in a place where anyone could go and pray at any time of the day. Please continue to pray for the Holmes family and the loss of little Leightyn.

I was shocked when I read the newsletter. I had no idea that the Women's Ministry wanted to do a prayer bench or that the youth wanted to plant a tree. A few hours later, Bro Mike posted on facebook that he received a call saying a couple in our church wanted to pay for the prayer amazing is that!!!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

... Every Single Day I'll Be Missin You

Well, I just finished reading mommy's letter to you. It is so amazing how she can put her felings into words. I love your mommy so very much, she is an amazing woman, and awesome mom!

Lei... You are suppose to still be here with us. I miss you so much. There is not a day that goes by that I dont think of you, think of the what if's, think of the how come's, the why's, and most of all that day when I finallt get to see you again. I miss what we miss every single day without you here. Everytime I see a post or hear someone talk about their kids being so smart, or so good at school, I get jelous. Me and your mommy both looked forward to so many things that we are not going to get to experience now. School functions, singing at church, trips, watching you grow into a beautiful woman. I wish I had the answers, I wish I knew what to say.

Mommy brought home your footprints and handprints in a sadow box the other day and it broke my heart. Just to see the imprints and to know that's it. I'm sorry, I know that it is selfish of me to want you here, but just know that my life will never be the same, never be complete. I know that you are having such an awesome time.We had some bracelets made in your memory. You would love them. They are yellow and pink, and we even got one for Mylea too. Mr. Steven did an awesome job on them. We are trying to sell some so that we can give kids the opportunity to be envoled in everything church and go on trips that they cant afford. Seeing how you LOVED church and awanas, we think it is a perfect fit.

Momma, Mylea, and me went on a walk the other day. When we got to the loop, we let Mylea get out and walk. She was "super fast". To tell you the truth though, it was bitter sweet. I remeber the last time we all went for a walk, we would race, and you always won. You tried not to step on the pine needles. Its so hard to see Mylea grow up witout you. You were always there with each other side by side. Alot of who Mylea is, is because of You. You taught her so much. Thank you for being a great big sister.

We learned that the women's ministry was wanting to put a "prayer bench" outside of the church in your memory. We got to see a picture of it last Sunday and it looked good. Just another of the many ways that your Lifesong Sings. They were going to take an offereing to raise the money, but to our surprise, there was a couple in the church that wanted to pay for the whole thing. Simply amazing!

Just like momma said, I feel bad for be able to live life without you. Please dont ever think for a minute that we have forgot you. As much as it hurts every single day, and as much as it stinks every single day, we have to go on. You want us to go on, you want us to be happy.

Love you, Miss You, CUWIGT

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Letter To My Lei Babe

Dear Leightyn,

It's been two months since our lives were forever changed. I can't believe that it has only been two seems like it has been a year since I have seen your smiling face and heard you say "mom....seriously". I haven't written to you in a long time. It's not that I don't have things to say, it just that as soon as I sit and begin writing....the tears and emotions start flowing. I'm sorry that I have waited so long.

Daddy and I were talking the other day about how crazy this all has been. It's crazy that our healthy girl had cancer and we never knew. It's crazy that you are no longer here with us. We sometimes feel like you have gone on a trip and that at any moment you are going to walk in the door and be back with us. It's crazy how life can change in a matter of moments.

I feel guilty that I am able to move on. Wait, I don't mean move on....I feel guilty that I have continued life without you here. I feel like I should be in a pit, unable to live, unable to think, unable to accept my new normal. When I think about losing you, it makes me sick. Should I be able to adjust so quickly? I don't know how we have found our new normal so quickly. You are on my mind and in my thoughts. Lei Babe, I will never forget you and I will never stop loving you. But we have had to adjust for Mylea. She needed to know that we were still going to keep on keeping on.

Mylea misses you so much. Daily she talks about you and ask questions about you. While at Hobby Lobby, she found this blond pig-tailed scarecrow. I think she was instantly in love! Mylea calls the scarecrow "Leightyn". She just needed a way to know that you were still around. And Leightyn, I love it! Mylea takes you with her everywhere. She plays with you and talks to you. Just a few days ago, I had to buckle "Leightyn" up so that she wouldn't get hurt while we were running errands. Mylea has grown up so much in the last month. She just talks and talks and talks. She has started doing school work because "my sissy did her school work". Mylea loves going to Awanas. She is very proud that you taught her some verses and the motto. At bedtime, she ends her prayers with "Tell Leightyn hi and I love her". It is the sweetest thing to hear!

This past Sunday was my first week back in Children's Church since every thing happened. I remember the last week I taught, you wanted to sit in my lap the entire hour "cause I love my momma". Anyways, I had gotten a lesson together on the Lord's prayer, but God had something else in mind. During song time, we began with "Every Ounce of Me", and the "I Have Decided....No No No" and ended with "My Savior, My God". Did you notice that all of those songs were your favorite songs! I can still hear your voice singing loud and proud each of those songs.

When it was time to start the lesson, I couldn't get the first words to "My Savior, My God" out of my head. I sat the kids down and we talked about the words "I am not skilled to understand, what God had willed, what God has planned". Oh Leightyn......that was exactly how I felt. I don't know or understand why God planned to take you early. Why you? Why not another child? Why couldn't our miracle be that you would have woken up and be fine?

The next words we talked about were "My Savior lives, My Savior loves, My Savior is always there for me, My God He was, My God He is, My God He's always gonna be". That's so true Leightyn, no matter what happens, my Savior and my God are the same as they were before we lost you. God was just doing His will, and even though we don't like it, God is still on the throne!

After we talked about the song, I tried to go in to my lesson, but I just couldn't. I wanted to keep talking about you. We talked about Heaven. The kids wanted to know if you were ok. If you would remember them. If you were scared. If they would see you again. If they would have to say good-bye again. We had the best discussion (and some tears) about how you are having the time of your life in Heaven. We talked about us getting to see you again and how this time there would be no good-byes. We talked about forever.....i mean FOREVER. The kids were in awe of how long fffoooorrrreeeevvvveeeerrrr would be. They were excited to know that you would remember them and that you would be so happy to see them. They asked if you could give them a tour and let them meet your new friends. Oh Lei....what a day it will be when we get to see you again......forever!

The kiddos at church miss you so much. There isn't a service that goes by with out one of your friends telling me how much they miss you. Last week, I peeked in one of the Awana rooms. On the board, a child had written " I Love Leightyn". It brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes. That night, someone else had written you a message on another board. They don't understand why you are gone (and neither do I), but they sure do miss you!

Last week, I got the privilege to speak to the women's group at church. You know how much those gals loved you. There were tears, tears, and more tears. I got to share all of the miracles we have seen and heard about through your little life. It is amazing how many lives you have affected in your short five years on earth......more that most people ever reach! That's what keeps me going! Hearing how my girl has changed people.....makes me one proud momma!

There is a song that your daddy and I listen to constantly. When I think about this song, I can picture you in Heaven, telling us to see...

Right now all I can taste are bitter tears
Right now all I can see are clouds of sorrow
From the other side of all this grief
Is that you I hear, laughing loud
Calling out to me

See, its everything you said that it would be
And even better than you would believe
And I’m counting down the days
Until you’re hear with me
And finally you’ll see

I Love You Leightyn Nan!