"Our Little Trooper"

"Our Little Trooper"
"Let me live, that I may praise you!" Psalm 119:175

Friday, December 5, 2014

"Tell her Mom that Heaven is really fun...and we played tag."

It happened again...

Last night as we were getting ready for bed, Rowan walked into the bedroom and saw the quilt I had been working on.  It is one made from some special clothes that belonged to his Angel friend in Heaven, Chrissie.  I am making it for her Mommy to give to Chrissie's new little sister Ruby for Christmas.  Rowan came up and touched it and said  "I miss Chrissie, I 'm going to try to dream about her tonight."  He said that he likes to see her in his dreams because it shows him what Heaven is going to be like.  It brought tears to my eyes, and I prayed he would get his wish.  As I covered him up he told me that he couldn't wait to fall asleep.

Well, in the middle of the night I woke up to hear him giggling in his sleep.  Not just one little chuckle, he was a full on giggle box.  It happened off and on for about 30 minutes.  Twice I grabbed my phone to try to video him, but he quieted each time I started to record.  Then, as soon as I plugged my phone back in to charge, he started up again.  It was ADORABLE, such a treasured sound.  I can't even adequately describe the joyfulness I was hearing, and I couldn't help but wonder if I was witnessing his wish come true.

I was gone most of the day today, but this afternoon I talked to him about it.  I told him how much he was laughing in his sleep last night, and asked him if he remembered why he was laughing.  He thought for a moment and then got a big big smile, and believe it or not (I myself do), he said he was dreaming of Chrissie.  He said "Oh yeah, we were playing and having a good time in my dream."  I asked him if he could tell me what his dream looked like.  He said that he couldn't remember everything exactly, but he remembers that the sun was really bright and they were playing tag outside in a field.  I told him I couldn't wait to tell her Mommy, and he said "Make sure you tell her that Chrissie is doing good and that Heaven is really fun!"

I don't really even know what to add... I mean, you cannot help but be moved by this special connection God has given Rowan and Chrissie.  I am forever grateful to get to witness it, blessed and overjoyed to share it with her Momma, and honored to get to share it with you all as well.   I hope it speaks to you.  I hope you are encouraged.  I also hope some of you get to giggle in your sleep tonight:)
Not only is Heaven real, it's really fun apparently too!

I wish I had a picture of what he saw in his dream last night, oh boy I wish I did, but since I don't, here are a few other special ones that show their unique connection...

Princess Chrissie


Rowan with the special Pink Balloon he left Chrissie's Celebration of Life with...
Rowan touching Chrissie's Leaf on the Memory Tree at Methodist Children's Hospital.  He goes and gives it a kiss whenever he is visiting the hospital.  He knows right where her leaf is and even told us once that he wanted to be on the leaf next to her's one day...

Rowan wearing his Boss Your Heart T-shirt...it has Chrissie's hand print on it, and he loves to put his hand on hers...
Rowan with Lorraine, Chrissie's Mommy.  He has a special connection with her too, obviously:)
 And finally, one of the most powerful pictures we have of Rowan at Chrissie's gravesite. (It is completely unedited.) When I uploaded this photo originally, Rowan looked at it and immediately pointed at the light or aura surrounding him and told us that Chrissie was shining down on him from Heaven.

The proof of God's presence and plan is written all over these pictures.  I hope you see it too:)
Keep playing tag and having fun in Heaven Chrissie!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Happy Birthday in Heaven Avery..."He chooses it all, not us."

Once again, I saw God at work through Rowan today, in an unpredictable, beautiful way.  I hope this story blesses you...I know it brought me to tears.

First, a little background...

Rowan and I have the honor of knowing the Canahuati Family.  Some of you may have read their daughter's story online or seen them on the news a couple years ago.  Their precious daughter Avery, was born on November 11, 2011. 

As you can see, she was a bright eyed beautiful child, a gift from God.  Soon after she was born they were given the devastating news that she was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA, and would likely not make it to her 2nd birthday.  They started "Avery's Bucket List" and began creating memories, giving her every wonderful experience they could think of.  People from all over the world wrote in, offering suggestions of where they should take her and what they should make sure she got to do.  Her amazingly strong Mom and Dad photographed and journaled all of these milestones, and shared with the world on their blog http://averycan.blogspot.com. I encourage you to check it out.  You will find an amazing story of a family who made the absolute most of the time they were given with their daughter here on Earth.  Their strength through adversity was unmatchable.  Avery passed away suddenly on April 30th, 2012 at just 5 1/2 months old.  Heartbreaking, I know, but her story doesn't end there.  In Avery's name and honor, her family has done more for SMA gene research than thousands put together.  Their sincere hope is that a cure be found, and the awareness and money they have raised has no doubt brought that day closer.  Until then, her memory, and contagious smile lives on in the hearts of many.
I was so touched by their strength and Avery's story that I  made a memory quilt for their family a little over a year ago.  I was able to incorporate some of Avery's clothes and family photographs into the quilt.  I tried not to waste a single scrap of the treasured outfits her mother gave me.  I incorporated every snap, ruffle, piece of trim, ribbon or bow onto the blanket, and sewed on each applique from her tiny onesies.  I prayed for her parents with each stitch, cried over each photograph, and did my best to honor her memory.  It took about a year to finish, because I took the work so seriously, and felt so blessed and honored to do so.  I think the quilt turned out beautifully, and not because of me, but because of the beautiful memories they gave her in those few short months.  The quilt doesn't represent someone who has died, to me it represents the priceless, important, beautiful life she had.

Fast forward to today...
  Avery's birthday is this coming week, she would be three years old.  I wanted to do something to show her Mother that I was still thinking of her and praying for her, so I woke up this morning and pulled out a few more of the tiny scraps that I had left from Avery's clothes, and decided to make her Mom a little keepsake bookmark.  I made it while Rowan slept in, in the same room I was sewing in. Here is a picture of the finished product.

I made it from some of her outfits, a piece of a gown, and some of her nursing cover-up.  The snap tab came off of one of her onesies.  It turned out really nice and I couldn't wait to mail it to her Mom this week. I started to put it into a "Thinking of you" card, so I could mail it, and Rowan woke up.  I showed him what I made.  He smiled from ear to ear and said "Aww, a bookmark for Avery's Mommy.  She's gonna love it! It's for her birthday right?" Then he grabbed a book from the bottom of my bedside table and said "Let's see how it works."  He flipped to a random page, in the first book he grabbed, and here is his little hand holding it in place. 
I took the picture because I love photos with little kid hands...who doesn't:)  As soon as I looked at the photograph though, I noticed something.  The book he had grabbed was "The Power of a Praying Parent". 
That alone could have been crazy coincidental enough (especially because, and I am a little ashamed to say this...but I haven't opened that book in years, and it was covered with dust) , second, I had not mentioned that it was her birthday this week, and third, look at the words on the page he randomly opened the book to!
The page starts with ..."peace only God can give...I was almost certain I heard the mountains and hills singing"
Then it goes on to say..."I know I still have many more times ahead when I will have to release my children into God's hands"
And next it talks about the story of Hannah who prayed to God for a child and she did give birth to a son.  Afterwards she said,  "For this child I have prayed, and the Lord granted me my petition which I asked of Him.  Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord" (1 Samuel 1:27-29)
The crazy part is that I had just written in her Mom's card that I hoped she would have an unexplainable peace this week ("a peace only God can give"), and told her that I was sure Avery could hear her when she sings lullabies to Avery's little brother, Carter too.  The first few words of the page Rowan opened the book to, echoed what I had just written!
The next thing I had written was something I had just seen on a necklace in a magazine the day before, which I thought was such a sweet sentiment...I told her Mom that I hope it encouraged her to know that ..."Heaven has in store what thou has lost", that God was with Avery until she could be with Avery again one day in Heaven.  The next paragraph of the page Rowan opened talked about that exact same thing...about "releasing children into God's hands" and "lending them to the Lord".  I was blown away!
Ian had come in the room at that point too, and I asked Ian and Rowan "What are the odds that Rowan chose THAT book and randomly turned it to THAT page?"
Ian's answer was simple,
"It's Rowan Mom." 
Rowan's answer was a little different...
"I didn't open the book by myself Mom.  God chose the book, and the page.  He chooses it all, not us.  It's all part of His plan, not ours. Why are you so surprised by that? It's God!"
Once again, Rowan is right.  It is much simpler than we tend to make it.  However, I am still in total awe of the way God works, especially through this little boy, and through little Avery's life.  I am so thankful for the Canahuati's friendship and for the gift of their inspiring story.
The lesson here, try not to be so surprised this week.  It's God, and God's plan, not ours.
Thanks for the reminder Rowan.
& Happy Birthday Sweet Angel Avery!


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Who wouldn't love their life?!

Rowan had the amazing opportunity today of playing a role in a short film. He has done multiple stage plays, but this was his first ever film shoot.  He was so excited.  He had to dye his hair and eyebrows brown, wear nerdy glasses, and was cast to depict one of the leads a young boy.  The shoot went great, the crew was so wonderful with him, and he had a blast.  He told everyone he saw today all about it.  Tonight, in a conversation with me, he blew me away again with his faith, wisdom and unbelievable sense of appreciation. 
"Mom, I love my life.  I'm so glad God gave it to me.  I know I say that a lot, but, I really, REALLY love my life."
"So you had a lot of fun today?""
"Yes! You know how sometimes I feel kinda bad that I don't get to do things that normal kids get to do.  Well, today was awesome, and I actually got to do something that even some normal kids never get to do...I was in a short film!  A movie, Mom!"
"You sure were hon' . What was the best part?"
"All of it, and I don't even know why people always ask that...'what was your favorite part?' Because, it's your LIFE!  I mean, who wouldn't love their life?  God gave it to you, so it's ALL my favorite...ALWAYS!"
Wow, just wow.  Once again, Rowan puts things in perspective.  Don't get me wrong. We were both thrilled about today's opportunity for him to be normal, and even more.  We were both so grateful to Nadine Mansour, Mark Aaron, Sylvia Lawrence, and the rest of the crew, for their casting him, working with him, and encouraging him during this shoot.  But, Rowan really humbles me, and teaches me to be better.  I love how he expresses his appreciation, not just for the folks involved with the project, but for the life God has given him. 
May you all appreciate your life too...and voice it.  As Rowan said "Who wouldn't love their life?"  God gave it to you:)


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Happy Birthday Princess Chrissie and Welcome Home Precious Ruby!

Yesterday was another special day for Rowan.  It would have been Chrissie Patterson's 9th birthday.  Rowan tells us that she is still 4 in Heaven though, so that her Mommy doesn't miss anything until she gets up there with her.  I kind of like that thought, and hope he's right.
As he has done for the past 5 years since her death, Rowan took some gifts to Chrissie's Mom, and some treasures to Chrissie's grave. It is always a priceless gift for us as well though, just to witness the love he has for his friend in Heaven, and to learn from his pure faith.  While I wish this was a tradition we never had to start, and wish Chrissie was still here with her forever family on Earth, I can't help but cherish these days and the time we get with Lorraine, and I whole heartedly appreciate the lessons that God teaches us all through these moments.

The cross Rowan painted for her grave.

The birthday cake he helped me make for her family.
She loved chocolate and dressing up like a princess, and Rowan raised butterflies and released them at her grave one year, and has had a special connection with butterflies ever since... so chocolate cake with princess candles and sugar butterflies it was!

Rowan walking in with roses, a card and a picture for Lorraine, and a balloon and the cross for Chrissie.

Lorraine and Rowan, both sporting their Chrissie inspired "Boss Your Heart" T-shirts, with the memory quilt I made for them after Chrissie passed away, hanging above their heads.  It has 140+ photos of Chrissie's beautiful life on it.

Rowan just loves leaving gifts for Chrissie, and they are always pink and beautiful.
Like her birthday balloon... 
...a bright pink rose at the foot of her grave.

and the cross he painted...

But the sweetest gift he leaves her each year is his prayer.  Once again, on his knees, he thanked God for taking good care of her in Heaven, and said he just knew she was doing good there and was glad she was in a better place. 

 Chrissie's parents just returned from Trinidad, where they have recently adopted another precious doll, Ruby Jean.  We were lucky enough to get to meet her for the first time while we were out at their ranch yesterday, and we just adored her! So much joy in that little package!

Rowan colored this welcome home Ruby picture...
 He explained that God is in the sky, smiling down over Matt and Lorraine, and Lorraine is holding baby Ruby.  The lower right hand corner is Chrissie's grave with a rainbow coming from it, with the rock Rowan painted for Chrissie a few years ago, next to her grave.


 We thoroughly enjoyed meeting Ruby. She was precious and hilarious... she kept grabbing my face and kissing my chin all over!

 Rowan just kept repeating, "She's sooooo cute Mom!"

Thanks for introducing us to the newest Patterson Princess, and for the fun ride around the ranch!

So good to see you: Lorraine, Ruby, Kiefer, Ella...
We missed you but love you too: Matt, Mattie, Parker, Sawyer, Meribeth, Naomi, Selah, Conner & Cooper.

And thank you Keifer for Rowan's big rock crystal.  It matched his hair and he loves it!
Most of all...
Thank you God for the gift of the Patterson's friendship...
Thank you for bringing us together, even if it was through a tragedy initially.  And thank you God for the amazing connection you gave Rowan and Chrissie, one that crosses the boundaries of Heaven and Earth.
Happy Birthday Christyn Joy Patterson!
Whether you turned 9, or are forever 4 in Heaven,
 you are certainly forever in our hearts Chrissie!