It snowed last night and rained today - so another yucky day weather wise... Matt took the kids out so I could clean and get things ready for the party - and yet when people started showing up, I was still decorating and putting food out. So the beginning was a whirlwind and I felt pretty overwhelmed. I felt a little like I was in survival mode for the first half hour or so... but as things settled....And people kept coming in... I was blown away.
There were so many people here! I've never had that many people in my house - I think the closest I've ever come was at E's gender reveal. We live in 1200 sq feet on two floors. So just our family makes this house feel full! But here's the funny part... I told Matt I was planning for 50, even though my RSVP's said 11. When Karla & Caroline contacted me the night before to ask how many pretzels to make, I told Matt I wanted to tell her 50 and he said not to overdo it (I have a habit of doing that!)... so I said 25 would be safe. She wrote back and said "We've decided to do 43."
About half way through the shower, I suddenly *needed* to know how many people were here. So, if you were here and saw me walking around looking like I had lost something, I was just counting - LOL. I counted 50, including the kids.
It took me until tonight as I sat here uploading pictures to realize that if we didn't count the 7 of us, that made 43 guests.
I feel so emotional tonight.
As I looked around, I felt that feeling I had on her first birthday when I pulled into the cemetery and couldn't believe the amount of people there... ironically, that year we did a baby shower type thing too, except we had people send gift cards and brought all the items that I bought with them to Options and left them for a girl to pick up there. Maybe this is what I'm supposed to be doing.... I don't know. Matt also seems to really thrive being able to love on people like we did today. He had so much fun talking to all the strangers in our house - LOL. It's one of the few parties we have had that he told me "I had a blast!" Our testimony of where we came from certainly gives us a different perspective on so many things. And today I learned that I don't need to shy away from having people over just because our house isn't huge. Hospitality has not a whole lot to do with the size of your home as it does the size of your heart.
A couple of times, Matt had to go out and move cars because there were so many cars parked on both sides of our street that neighbors were having trouble getting down the street!! And I didn't feel a bit of stress about it, I just looked at Donna and laughed! She said "Well, you said you wanted a lot of people to show up and you got it! They have to direct traffic!!" I felt so full of joy.... so in God's will.
So much so that thinking about it, brings me to tears. Over and over.
Thank you so much to everyone who sent gifts, donations, cards, prayers... Thank you to everyone who came and showered this young couple with your love. What a testimony of God's love. I am so honored to be able to do things like this in Rachel's memory and have so many people find it worthy of their time and treasures. I'm so thankful that you continue to remember Rachel with me. I'm so unbelievably grateful to be able to share her even still. To love others in her memory when I can't love her. And I couldn't do any of this, like this, alone. From the very depths of my heart and soul, I thank you. You will never know what it means to me. Words could never express.
I'm also so thankful for those of you who brought me & Rachel gifts. I opened them after everyone was gone (so as to not steal the show at the shower) and I'm glad I was alone... I couldn't stop crying. Simple things, but so perfect. One item was a HOPE garden decoration "For Rachel's garden" which just reading the words made me happy enough, but when I saw that it is one I have the exact same thing of - that Matt & the kids gave me for Mother's Day after Rachel died and I didn't put out this year because I like to have 2 of everything so I can put one here and one at her grave - I just wonder... how can God love me so much? Seriously... the details... it's unreal.
The mug that a friend gave me that she bought me 2 years ago and forgot to give me - the verse on it... The Lord will guide you always, you will be like a well watered garden - Isaiah 58:11.... and at the very time that I have been getting amazing leading from Him on my health issues that just a week back I was trying to figure out in my own strength and relying WAY too much on doctors and not enough on my Great Physician... oh, and did I mention, I also started reading Isaiah again this week? What I've been praying is that He will guide me and restore my health. I read "you will be like a well watered garden" and I know in my heart that He is going to restore my health as I learn to lean on HIS understanding... not mine... not the doctors... just like I said a few posts back! The details... I can't make this stuff up.
The snow globe with a ballerina and perfectly falling "Rachel snow" all around her.... made me cry.
And the cake!! The cake. It's so perfect, everyone thought it was fake. And I still haven't cut into it because I can't get myself to do it. It's amazing and it was a gift. A free gift. Unreal.
I also got a card this week with $43 to use towards a massage - so I am going to get one at the hospital this week (cheaper and you don't tip there!) to hopefully help with my headaches... I. can't. wait. And then today a friend gave me 110 minute massage to a therapeutic message place! It took serious math skills for me to realize that I have never had a massage that long in my life! Will I be able to get up after? I'm SO EXCITED!!!! This is what my neck and shoulders need - and you know how I know? Not because the neurologist said, but because I prayed and asked God "Please lead me with my health... if you want me to get massages, please provide a way" !!! I mean, does it get more clear than that?!?!?! The details... I can't stop crying.... I am overwhelmed by His love.
There was also multiple people wearing Rachel gear... daisy shirts and necklaces and Team Rachel/Rachel's Cousin shirts. It was awesome. So good for my heart. People were really fired up to celebrate Rachel. Like really into it. It wasn't just me. And it was with excitement over her life. Like she's not just a sad story, a dead baby. But that her life is to be celebrated.
God, I miss her....
OH!! And at the end of the party when most had left, a friend asked me if she could mop my floor! what?!? UM, yes please! And then when she got done taking care of my floor, she massaged my neck - which totally stopped my headache that was brewing all day! Thank You God! I'm so blessed. And I don't mean I'm blessed because I'm happy right now. I mean I am blessed in my heart because I can so clearly see how God takes care of me. Through the hard.... Through the pain... through the emotions... through the details.... I offer Him my "yes" and He pours his provision out on me. It's amazing.
I also wanted to share this....
My friend Hannah Rose - we (you!) helped her get her daughter Lily's headstone last year - sent $43 in honor of Rachel's birthday and in honor of Lily for Christmas and asked me to get something special for Lindsey. I waited to see what would be left on the registry and it was mostly just diapers... which didn't feel enough like Lily and Rachel...so this morning, when I opened my eyes, it came to me! A baby carrier and a memory book! What else says "We carry our babies everywhere we go and their memories are special" more than those together?! So I left to go get them and decided KMart would be faster than Walmart (I don't often go to KMart so I had no idea what to expect from their baby section) I picked up the carrier and the memory book I wanted without even thinking of price, because honestly, I didn't have time to! Do you know how much they cost? Yep, $43. UNREAL!!
I also added in the little "I'm on my way!" ultrasound picture frame as a special thing in Lily's honor because Hannah is a pro life speaker and writer and I felt like the idea of celebrating LIFE from the beginning - not when they come out, but when they are created - would be a good way to honor Lily for Christmas too! Love you Hannah <3 p="">
I also got 2 of the nicest cards from Matt and the kids I have ever gotten. Matt said he's "proud of me and how I care for them and share Rachel with the world for God's glory and those blessed to be touched by her rich life." I don't want to say he's never said that before.... but well, I don't think he's ever said that before! I need that. Des wrote in the "Sister" card from her and the boys and drew a dandelion. It was all so sweet. They gave them to me on the 3rd and actually, I cried at the fact they got them before I ever even opened them and read them. I'm so thankful.
And by now you all know my sweet Caroline?? Do you remember a while back I blogged that she was entering a picture of Rachel she drew in a contest that benefited Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep? Well, she won! :) And she won a $100 gift card to Bay Photo Lab and that 'just so happens' to be my favorite photo lab - and she is giving it to me for Rachel's birthday!
I am so so so SO thankful that people love Rachel. So thankful.
Let's see... what else... oh yeah... I was looking at this picture...
And I was overwhelmed with the thought "That used to be us." We were the young unmarried couple having a baby. And how amazing that we can come along side of people in a similar situation and comfort with the comfort we have received! I see this as a great honor and I was so appreciative that they let us do this for them, as awkward as it may have been!
Last minute a blog reader (Hi Caroline!) walked in... she gave me way more compliments than I deserve and is probably good for my ego... but I would like to share that she said in person I am "Much younger and way more tiny" than she thought from my blog! LOL, I almost pooped my pants. I love that. I'm young and tiny. ha! But in all seriousness, she reminded me a lot of why I do all I do here... to help other people know they aren't alone - even if it's been many, many years since their loss.
I'm the one just crazy enough to wear my heart on my sleeve on the World Wide Web... and I'm amazed that God can use it... me... in all my imperfections and weaknesses.... for His purposes. I will never grow tired of hearing how Rachel has changed someone's life. I'm honored to play a huge role in that - but I'd be doing everyone a great disservice if I took any of the credit or if I gave Rachel any of the credit - because every bit of it all is from the Lord. I'm humbled that He chose me to use in such a big way with Rachel's precious and perfect life. I hope I don't let either of them down.
|The water bottle labels I had made as favors|
I posted a slideshow of more pictures from today on the right side of my blog! Enjoy!