Happy Birthday To Me!!!!!

Yep! I am 29 again this year! I have been 29 for so many years that I cannot remember what my actual age is. I have to always ask my husband! I haven’t been writing lately. I have been caught up with life. Caught up in my own problems and self-pity. What a better day than today to get back at it. I thought I would do a year’s review and let everyone see a summary of how life can change, rise, fall and flourish.

We have had many happy events this year. Some major life milestones. Savannah graduated high school! Krista got to sing the national anthem twice at Atlanta Motor Speedway. I got baptized! Luke has been working hard at being a firefighter. We got to meet Richie’s heart recipient Lance. We also met a tissue recipient Morgan. Luke bought his first truck with actual payments and even got lasik surgery. We have a new addition to our family. Maggie. A great dane/ german shepherd mix. Richie’s dog Sam and his hamster Pippin are still alive and kicking. (Pippin is now living beyond normal hamster years.) We have Jeff’s stomach issues under control and that is a relief. Will started college! We are officially settled into this house and preparing for some remodeling.Jeff and I have attended many Donate Life events in honor of Richie. Just to name a few for the ones in the house.

Other good news! Sydney is about to head off to University of Alabama! Dillon and Lauren got married! Kaelyn and Nolie are walking! Hunter is still awesome! Briggs is adding more fish trophies to his name. Brandy is about to bust with boy #2. Josh has found him an awesome lady that we have just fallen in love with. Wesley is playing his heart out on stage in Florida. Ingles got to meet Lance! My family got to meet Lance! So many of Richie’s friends have just been out and tackling the world. I love when they call me to tell me what they are doing!

I have made many friendships this year. I have met many people that have touched our lives and hearts! Tonya and Robert have become close friends that we cherish like family! Debbie M and I have become like sisters. Misty started coming to my church and has quickly become my sister in Christ and confidant! I have made many friends through my blogging and Donate Life journey. I have gotten very close to our piano player at church after we bonded when she lost her son. I have also become very close with people in the community that reached out after Richie passed and have become more than acquaintances. they have now become people that I can depend on and reach out to share the good and bad. Our small circle of friends has now grown abundant.

Well, I was going to share the bad that has happened this year also but now I think I will just let it rest. Why should I focus on the bad? No matter what happened in the past year, nothing can be as bad as the day we lost Richie. So why focus on them? I think that is a big problem for the world today. Rather than focus on all the good things in life we tend to get hung up in the bad. The dishwasher broke, the tire was flat, JimBob didn’t get the promotion. Who cares! You still have life, your world didn’t stop turning. There are very many little blessing that should be celebrated each and every day. Even if it is just the fact that you and your family woke up and were able to put your feet on the floor. It would be very easy to get sucked into a world of self-pity and I have to stop myself daily. Life’s problems can consume us and make us miss God’s little blessings and rainbows. So what is the past year had hiccups along the way. I have been through the worst and none of it equaled that! So here is to turning 29 next year! May it be filled with many more milestones and many more friends!

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Remembering GB8

Friday the 5th, I had the honor of attending a balloon release in memory of yet another child called home to soon. I reached out to his mother when I heard of his passing and we have leaned on each other since. Young Garrett’s birthday is today and I thought I would share in his family and friend’s words just how special he is.

When I pulled up to Sherry’s house the yard was already full of teenagers. I walked into the house to find Sherry and there was a good bit of family and friends all gathered around hustling to make this day perfect. I was glad to see that Sherry was surrounded by people of all ages that wanted to support her. After a long hug with Sherry and a few tears, we started the party!

Everyone gathered in the front yard in a circle. Holding balloons of every color. There were jokes and laughter,. Tears were starting to form. Sherry spoke to the circle of love and then we all released balloons. It was quite a sight. Everyone kept looking up even though the sun was blinding. The balloons seemed to stay in sight longer than usual. It almost seemed as if they were reaching for a plane that was flying over. Quite a sight.

I began going around talking to people and asking them to share with me a story of Garrett. Or something about him. I had never met him and wanted to know who he was. What he was like. The stories and memories were plentiful. One thing that was always said was he loved to make you laugh. Here are some of the memories shared with me:

Kaitlin and Kylie- “We would spend weekends over and have bon fires. He was always doing something dumb to make us laugh. Garrett always made us watch the stupidest movies! And he loved to jump from the tree platform to the trampoline.”

His Granny- “He would come in my room and just jump up with no hands. He would move around like a fish until he got up there. He was just a joy. Kind hearted and always caring about others.”

His PawPaw- “He knew he could always come to me if he was worried about anything and he always did. His driveway is long and we let him drive the old 79 Chevy truck to the end of the driveway in the morning to get on the bus. When he got off the bus he drove it back up the drive. After a huge rain he it stuck and we had to go pull him out. I just miss my buddy.”

Jaron- “Garrett was always calling before I ever got up in the mornings wanting to do something. He would call until I finally got up. We are all bigger boys and when he would leave we would find these his tiny underwear. He was always leaving it at our house.”

Aunt Angie- “He was the most kind hearted boy. There are so many memories that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I especially will miss watching him unwrap Christmas gifts from me.”

Zach- “He was like a brother. Never a dull moment when he was around and always laughter. He always brought people up. He was a person I leaned on.”

Tyler- “He was like the little brother I never had. We always hung out together. I miss the times we would go mud bogging and get the 4 wheelers stuck and have to jump off in the mud. He was always joking, making you laugh. I hope to see him again someday.”

Joy – “I only met him once to take the family pictures but he made an impression that would last forever. He just had this laugh.”

As you can see from the stories that were shared with me, he is truly missed. I regret never getting the chance to meet him. As his mother said at the beginning, “He should be here but I know he is riding in the clouds watching over us.” Happy Birthday Garrett!

Garrett

Garrett

Releasing the balloons to heaven

Releasing the balloons to heaven

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Sherry, her oldest son Austin, Garrett's pup and motorcycle

Sherry, her oldest son Austin, Garrett’s pup and motorcycle

Sherry having a  tender moments with Garrett's friends

Sherry having a tender moments with Garrett’s friends

Sherry and her oldest son Austin

Sherry and her oldest son Austin

All that gathered to remember Garrett

All that gathered to remember Garrett