Sunday, February 26, 2017

Random Acts of Kindness for Ezra

WE FINALLY FIGURED OUT what we want to do to celebrate Ezra's 1 year in Heaven. Will you please join us?? Please read below and help us celebrate!
In honor of Ezra being in Heaven 1 Year, we are celebrating with 1 week of Kindness.
We will be doing acts of kindness for the whole week. February 26th- March 4th. With special emphasis on March 1st of course!
How can you help? Please do an act of kindness (or many) in honor of Ezra during this week! They can be simple or complex...whatever you want to do! When you do your act of kindness, please give them one of the “Ezra Cards” So Easy! My dream is that together we do hundreds of acts of kindness that week! The world needs some kindness! What better way to honor someone...than to bless someone else in their name!
One of the reasons we settled on Acts of Kindness is because we wanted to be able to involve our kiddos! So, please, involve the kids! They will often lead the way with their tender hearts!
Please text Michelle or write on Michelle’s FB wall or the Eating4Ezra FB page with pictures or just with what you did. I am so excited to see how we can bring joy to others, and celebrate Ezra at the same time : )
If you want Ezra Cards, please comment below...I can deliver You some, mail you some, or just send you the file to print for yourself.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Happy happy 11 months in Heaven Ezra!

Happy happy 11 months in Heaven Ezra!  You have been in Heaven for  337 days.  337.  Wow. Does it feel like just a blink to you too?  What are you doing?  Who are you with today?  What are you eating?  What are your favorite things?  Do you have a favorite color?  What does your voice sound like?  Do you still waddle or do you sprint from one thing to another?  Do you talk nonstop like I think you would?  What is your favorite song? What are your talents? Do your grandparents/great grandparents/cousins read books to you?  Do you have one particular favorite food or is it still pretty much all food is your favorite?  Do you and Grandpere look like twins….my guess is yes, but I long to see you two together! A million questions fly through my brain.   No answers. 11 months ago I knew the answers to ALL of these questions.  All of them.  I so wish I could see you or even just spy on you for an hour or two.  Just to see you.  Take in every single detail.  Breathe you in.  When I think about how long I have till I see you again….that’s when it is completely overwhelming.  How am I supposed to make it that long without seeing your sweet face? How have we even made it 337 days without you?  Grace.  Only grace.  Today your sisters and I were doing a devotional and the message was not a mistake.

“The future is like a huge mountain looming in front of you.  It’s peaks are spiked with troubles, and its sides are pitted with problems.  How can you face something so huge?

The real trouble is not the mountain-it’s that your’e looking ONLY at the mountain.  And because you aren’t looking at where you're going right now, you stumble on the easy path of today.

I know how much that future mountain worries you.  But it may not even be part of our path.  You don’t know what will happen today, much less tomorrow.  I may suddenly turn you away from the mountain, or show you an easier path.  But I promise that IF I ask you to climb that mountain, I will give you everything you need to reach the top.  My angels will protect you.  And I will be right by your side every step of the way. “  Jesus Calling Kids  February 1st

One step at a time.  Doing only what is asked of me this day is how I will make it.  Not looking at th 50-60 years in front of me without you.  Thinking of eternity with you..yes.  

Matthew 6:34 So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Amen.  Living in the here and now.  Standing on His promises.  Covered in prayers of friends and family.  Hoping in the Lord and renewing our strength (Isaiah 40:31)  Digging deeper in the Word.  Walking by Faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)  This is how we will live.  How we will continue to walk till we see you again.

I love you so much my sweet boy!  There is NO other place (besides my arms) I would want you to be than in Heaven with Jesus.  Have so much fun little one.  Explore all the places you can.  Learn your favorite things.  Be taught by the wise, strong, faithful that are there.  Because WHEN I get there….I will want to know EVERYTHING you have learned.  I will want to go ALL the places.  Eat all the special food you love.  Dance your favorite dances.  See your favorite animals.  And 30 zillion kisses and hugs are coming at you.  You’ve been warned!  I love you Ezra. #MissYouE

Jesus, all the words of thankfulness I have will never even be a drop in the bucket of how thankful I am for Heaven.  I spend time trying to imagine how you did what you did for me.  How you walked blameless.  How you knew how terrible it would be AND did it anyway.  How deep your love runs for me.   Thank you for Heaven Jesus.  Thank you for forgiveness.  With all that I am, for as long as I live, I will praise you.  When it hurts, I will praise you.  When times are good, I will praise you.  When life goes upside down, I will praise you.  And forever and ever, I will praise you.  You are worthy.

Grief Snapshots: ( I only know what grief & healing looks like in this house at 11 months.)

Healing doesn’t look the same from day to day.  When you see us out and about...most times you would never know that we are incomplete.  We look normal ( close as we can).   You can’t see heartache on the outside.  Sometimes we are faking.  Sometimes things are good.  Sometimes we are just doing what needs to be done.  Sometimes we cry a lot.  Sometimes we don’t.  Cleared things right up didn’t it?

Healing looks like a full on physical body shut down when your MIL calls telling you your son will need stitches. (He was out of town with her)

Healing  looks like midnight crying visits from your 9 year old daughter who desperately misses her roommate.  Who misses her buddy.   

Healing looks like your five year old looking your straight in the eye and asking, “Ok Mommy, when is Ezra going to actually come back?”  Ugh.

Healing looks like waking each of your children up only one time each night (on purpose) to make sure they are still breathing…..instead of the 399 times you want to.  Trusting.

Healing looks like high strung emotions by multiple family members, OR I don’t care about anything today.

Healing is exhausting.  I don’t know how to explain how completely exhausted we are after a “normal day”.  It is a hard work, but worthy of all the energy.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year! 10 Months away

Happy New Year Ezra!!  We miss you sweet boy. I was just looking back at pictures from last Christmas. My mind imagines what you would have been like this year at all the family celebrations.  You left a gaping hole down here.  Though I miss you more than I ever thought possible, I know you are in good hands.  You reached the goal so much sooner than expected. Today, my son, we are 10 months closer to seeing you again.  You better get ready, because the kisses, hugs, snuggles, and attention we have be unable to give you this past year…..will come out!  Think tidal wave : )   My precious one, we adore you still.  We talk of you every day.  You are not forgotten and you are SOOO loved.  Enjoy 2017 in Heaven baby boy! #MissYouE

Well, we did it.  We finished the year of 2016. We made it through ALL the family gatherings, all the opening of presents, family photos, and triggers.  We walked through all the things.  We are on the other side of the holidays.  Completed...YES.  The past two months have been like a sprint.  We have had….2 Eating 4 Ezra events in two separate towns, Ezra’s 2nd birthday, Thanksgiving, and then 4 family Christmases.  Whew.  That is 8 firsts in 60 days. That is not an easy road.  That is a HARD road.  They are behind us now.   

Emotionally exhausted in ways I do not know how to describe.  Empty down to the core.  “Dig deep” is a phrase we practice every day.  So we will take a little time and refuel.  Recharge for the next thing.  (Psalm 23:3)

 I had mixed feelings saying goodbye to 2016….ecstatic and MORE Ecstatic!   Seriously...this year has been a doozy.  Not just for the Smiths.

In 2016 we...
*Ezra unexpectedly went to Heaven
*Planned a funeral for our baby
*Picked out a plot for Ezra
*Read my 1st and (PLEASE GOD) last autopsy report for a child.
*Walked and sometimes trudged through the valley of death.

BUT also in 2016

*our friends said goodbye to their babies without even getting to hold them.
*our friend said goodbye to  her Daddy way too young.
*our friend said goodbye to  her Momma.
*our friend said goodbye to  her nephew unexpectedly.
*our friend said goodbye to  his wife.
*our friend were forced to say goodbye to the toddler they were adopting.
*our friend was diagnosed with cancer
*our friend said goodbye to her daughter who had cancer.
*So many more hardships that landed so close to us this year.

SO 2016...Good-bye...Don’t let it hit you on the way out.

In 2017 I pledge to..

Love more intentionally.
Dig deep into the Word.
Extend more grace.
Pray more.
Use my words to encourage and build up.
Continue to do the hard and uncomfortable things.
Hold tight to the things most important to me.
Let go of the things that are not important.
Stand on all the promises God has for me.

2017...never in my life have I been more ready for a new year!  I am ready for a year of abundant life. Bring it on.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Happy 9 months in Heaven Ezra!

Happy 9 months in Heaven Ezra! 276 days since I have held you and kissed your sweet face.
23,846,400 seconds
397,440 minutes
6624 hours
276 days
39 weeks and 3 days
75.41% of 2016
When you break it down into numbers, it is staggering to me how long you have been in Heaven. I feel your absence everyday. I think about how things would be different with you here. I think about what you would be doing. I look at other two year olds and smile (and then cry later) at all the fun learning they are doing. 😢
Today I just wanted to stay in bed. I wanted to pull the covers up over my head and not even attempt today.
Under the covers it is quiet.
Under the covers it is comfortable.
Under the covers it is warm.
Under the covers is a haven.
BUT I promised you I would be a better person in any and every way I can think of.
AND your brother wanted breakfast. 😜
And, as I am coming to find out,life is not quiet.
Life is NOT comfortable.
Life is not warm and cozy.
Life is not a haven.
We were unprepared for your Earthly departure. There were no clues, no warning signs, no sickness. Nothing. We blinked. In that blink you were gone, and we were hurled off a cliff. I'm not sure where we landed, but it is foreign territory. This land is uncomfortable. It is not routine. This land is like going through an obstacle course you've never seen before….blindfolded. We know there is no way through it but forward. We can't see what's ahead. We trust that there is good ahead.
We walk one step at a time..searching for solid footing. Finding our footing, we take another step.
Sometimes there are several steps forward in a row.
Sometimes we fall onto an obstacle.
Sometimes we fall off an obstacle.
Sometimes we fail an obstacle.
But each time, we get back up and go again.
And we will keep getting up.
Life is not quiet BUT “He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.” Psalm 23:3
Life is uncomfortable BUT He is the “God of all comfort.”
AND if I know that "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.” (Isaiah 43:2)
AND if I know that “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
I can stand in uncomfortable places,do uncomfortable things, have really uncomfortable conversations, and take another step.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John‬ ‭3:16‬)
I will see you again my sweet boy! I will see you forever. ❤️❤️
So this is a really long way to tell you I didn't stay in bed.
-We “helped” Daddy do some jobs on the road.
- We did our RACK for December 1st ( Random Act of Christmas Kindness) in memory of you! 
- And I made special memories with your brother and a $.99 ball
-We lived.
I love you son! We are one month closer to you. ❤️ #MissYouE

Monday, November 21, 2016

Happy happy birthday my sweet boy!

Happy happy birthday my sweet boy! I am writing to you on Saturday...tomorrow will be busy. What is it like to be 2 in heaven? Is it a party? Is there cake? Are you running or still waddling? I am sure you are talking. Probably even still a little bossy.
What I want more than anything I can think of is to hug you. Get my last hug as a one year old tonight. And the first 2 year old hug tomorrow. The truth is I got my last hug on March 1st. That was the last earthly hug I will ever get from you. There is an ache there. An ache to hold you. An ache to know every.single.thing. you do each day. Every.single.
I knew your birthday would be packed with Eating 4 Ezra, so I went out to your cave (as Izzy calls it) to spend some time alone. Izzy gave me some toys for you. (Side note: Your brother misses you like crazy. He talks about you, he talks to you, and he talks of going to Heaven to be with you daily. )
I have been trying to gather my thoughts about your birthday all day now. I try to imagine what you would be like, but how can I? The truth is today I am spent. I am exhausted. And I miss you. We all miss you.
Happy birthday Ezra! We will celebrate and honor you all day with many others. Party with Jesus little one! I am confident that Heaven throws better birthday parties than Earth ever could!
Love you so much I could burst baby boy! ❤️

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Elections & Emotions

The last couple of days it started.
My heart is heavy.
Dread fills me.
Overwhelming sadness accompanies me.
I just could not figure out what was going on. Why was I feeling dark, heavy? It would come and go during the last few days.
But it has been HEAVY. So heavy. It didn’t make any sense
It is NOT the election..I am at peace with the fact that my GOD is still King no matter the results...
It took me till 2 pm to figure out what it was.
It’s election day.
It’s Tuesday.
Ezra died on March 1st. He died on Super Tuesday. He died on the last big election day. Primaries. So every single sticker that says “I Voted” is triggering something I didn’t even know was there to trigger. It’s the symbol of the day when my life turned upside down.
When all my friends were voting (and yay that they do that), I was leaving the hospital without my baby.
How does one even do that?
So when you were watching election results, I was being investigated. I was telling my kiddos that their brother with Jesus.
While you slept soundly that night, I was up all night desperately making sure the kids were breathing, listening to the guttural moans of my husband, and holding the shaking, shock filled body of my oldest.
So today the grief is heavy, the flashbacks frequent, and the tears continuous. And that is ok.
I will...once again… give it all over to the ONE who holds my heart in HIS hands. ❤️
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Ezra, the Adventure [8 Months]

How repetitive is it if I say “How can it have been 8 months?’ I just can not believe how very fast time is flying by. I wish I could pause it. I feel like we are on a runaway train with no brakes. Life, the train, keeps gaining speed and I have no control over that. You, my boy, are missed fiercely. You are talked about and prayed for every. Single. Day. We are different people because we have loved you and have been loved by you. We have holes in our heart for sure. BUT we are braver, stronger, and kinder too. We are purposeful in walking through fears that creep up now. Life is too short to let fear rule. (And there are the 100’s of times that God says fear not in the Bible.) You have changed our behavior forever sweet one. We are thankful for that.
This past month was eventful around here. I turned 40. Your siblings say that I am “over the hill”, but how about if I am just on top of the hill? I’ll hang out on top for the next 40 years. Surely, you can stay on top for a while and don’t have to go straight over the hill :)
We made it through the entire Dittos week without a complete life altering experience. I call that victory.

Last week we went to the pumpkin patch. Without you. I have been dreading it like crazy. Last year’s pictures are some of my very, very, very favorite. Even the outtake ones….hilarious. Instead of corralling an almost 2 year old and cajoling you to look at the camera, we carried an 8x10 of you around. It was your sister’s idea. They all picked out which picture, and we framed a picture of you. We are now those people. People that make people uncomfortable. We talk about death. We talk about Heaven. We carry photos of you wishing so greatly that it was actually you.
If that wasn’t enough overcoming, we had the 1st Eating 4 Ezra event. You, sweet boy, were honored all day long. You are helping to raise awareness of SUDC and funding for research. Thousands more people know about SUDC because of you. Helping even one family is worth ALL the feelings involved.

Your pregnancy was an adventure.
Giving birth to you was a BIG adventure.
Your life was such an adventure.
And still, you are an adventure. Even still.
1 month closer. Dance with Jesus little one. You are treasured. #MissyouE
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
We are overwhelmed friends. We are awed at the way you stand with us. We are thankful that you say his name with us. We are strengthened by the way you lift us up to the Father. We pray blessings and blessings upon each of you.