Thursday, May 31, 2007

Remembering Mom

I finally got the courage to visit Mom's gravesite this Memorial Day. She has a beautiful spot, next to 3 weeping willows and a stream. She & Dad chose a beautiful plaque in the ground rather than a headstone. Dad wants to be buried with her, so that's why he went ahead and put his name on the plaque (it was a bit wierd the first time I saw it!). I also went to my Grandparents grave, as well as Julie's friend, Darcy, who died a few years ago...all of whom were buried at "The Gates of Heaven" memorial gardens. God gave me peace the entire time. It was a great time of "remembering", but I was struck strongly with the fact that my Mom wasn't there...she is in Heaven rejoicing with my Grandmother, Darcy and the Savior. Thankfully I was full of Joy and not sadness. God is so good to me! My Dad's camera has gorgeous pictures of the tree's and streams- I'll put them up once I get them.

As simple as my parents plaque is, I couldn't help but being struck by the cross in the center of their two names. It will always be a strong symbol to me of how the Cross was at the center of their marriage and lives, and it they will always be an inspiration to follow in their footsteps.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Me & My Girlie

One of Julie's great friends, Kristen, took some pictures of Alathea & I for a Fathers Day gift for Joe (so its a surprise...don't worry, he doesn't read the blog). I thought I'd share them with you. Kristen is one Amazing photographer! Her blog:

We're Coming Home!!!

Lord willing Alathea & I will be safely home tomorrow morning. Joe is driving home tonite from NA. We CANNOT WAIT to see each other!!! Below are TONS of pictures "documenting" our trip. Enjoy them...and I'll be impressed if you make it all the way through! I look forward to seeing everyone soon!

We enjoyed spending Memorial Day at "Harbour Place" (were Dad, Grandpa & Uncle Billy each own house little houses on the Bay.) Alathea loved the little beach, which was just her size!

Alathea with My Grandpa & his wife Jane

Alathea LOVED my Dad's dogs. The very first thing she'd say once she woke up in the morning was "Woo-woo" (aka "Woof-woof"). She'd literally spend HOURS hugging, feeding, petting and playing with Boomer. She especially enjoyed giving him kisses (and didn't mind getting her face licked). I think we may be getting a dog one day :)

Dad & took Alathea to the National Zoo. It was a blast...and it was free! Her favorite animals were the Monkeys("Ooo-ooo") and Lions ("roooar").

We took Alathea to the park a bunch. This is the same park that I grew up playing at. For my Dad is was a trip down memory lane (he got choked up quite a bit)!

"Da-da's" leaving for New Attitude :( We missed him SOOOOO much and can't wait to see him in the morning!!! Alathea enjoyed talking to Joe on the phone every day, but got frustrated when she couldn't see him in person.

Here we are at Brookside Gardens- another beautiful place I grew up visiting. I was shocked how much Alathea enjoyed every flower, fountian and animal she saw. It was a treat seeing her get so excited. I love the picture of "Pop-Pop" giving her his famous "upside-down-tickle-tackle"- she loved it!

My little Bro, Rocky, with my Grandma

Alathea enjoyed "helping" Pop-Pop weed in the garden. One day while I was running she helped him weed for over an hour! (She's got her Daddy's blood!!)

"Uncle Rocky" became a quick favorite as "Aunt Julie" was in Hawaii all week.

A sad Dad had two dogs I grew up with- Boomer & Sandy (who is in this picture). Sandy died suddenly & completely unexpectantly in the middle of my trip. The ironic thing is that Joe's childhood dog, Desi, died the exact same day!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Psalm 46

I am sitting here at my Dad's house right now while everyone is asleep and Joe is at New Attitude and I found my mind drifting to fearful thoughts about the future of the Bowers family without my Mom. It doesn't take much to get me down a fearful road regarding things in our future that are bound to change. The reality is that I sure do miss Mom. But what is equally as true is that I am not resting in and trusting in the Lord. I so easily forget His awesome character.

So tonight as I was heading down that "fearful 'what-if...' road", I felt the Lord reminding me of my need for truth. So I opened one of the most priceless treasures...the Bible that belonged to the only woman I've ever know who I respect as much as my Mom, my Grandmother- Eleanor Hennessey, who died an equally heroic death by cancer as my mom did, just three years prior. She was an incredible woman of faith (I guess it's no wonder my Mom was so incredible too..she had a wonderful example in her own mother, who by the way, raised eight children on her own when her husband died suddenly in his early 50's). I opened to a very well read section in Grandma's Bible (obvious through her markings)- Psalm 46. The Lord convicted my heart of fear and anxiety, and filled it with fresh faith and peace in an instant as I read it. God's Word is SO POWERFUL! If any of you are struggling with fear in any way...if you are forgetting who God really is, then I pray His Word will encourage you as much as it did me.

"God is our refuge and strength,
an ever present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though the waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging....

...The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress...

Come and see the works of the Lord...

Be still and know that I am God."

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Beach

We had a fantastic time as our little family this week at the beach. We were at Oak Island from Wed-Saturday. I realized that this was my first time at a NC beach! (I've been to Myrtle before, but thats SC). The best part of the trip BY FAR was watching Alathea just delight in being at the beach! I'm so glad we are now a family of three beach bums! We went to the beach from the time she woke up, went home for her nap, then back to the sand until the sun went down. We were blessed to have a little "tidal pool" for her to play in at low tide. This kept her strong temptations to go in the ocean down. Joe & I loved having the time just the two of us during naps and after bed time. Joe also loved his new favorite hobby- fishing. (By the way, a big joke now is to ask him if he caught any fish...after hours of fishing all he caught was a human! Seriously...he hooked this 17 year old kid who kept swimming were he was fishing. The kid was fine, just hooked his swim trunks. But its a big joke since two weeks ago Joe was fishing an cought over 40 fish at the same beach!).

Thursday, May 17, 2007

On the road again

Yep...thats right! We are off on another family adventure. We'll be at Oak Island Beach from Wednesday-Saturday...taking a long awaited little family vacation. Then we'll drive up to MD on Saturday to watch Nick & Mike graduate from the PC! Joe will drive home on Monday, and Alathea & I will stay in MD until after Memorial Day. Joe is coming home to have a much needed "personal retreat" for a few days, and then he heads up to Loiusville, Ky for NA '07! I'm sad to miss is, but I am excited to spend the whole week with my family. Joe will get home from NA late Tuesday night (May 29th), and Alathea & I fly home early Wednesday morning (May 30th) for a sweet family reunion. I'll be checking e-mail and updating while we gone. But I won't see you in person for two whole weeks!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Cousin Andrew

This kissing picture tops it all off! As you can see Alathea loves her cousin Andrew. They are best buds...and just 3 months apart! (Alathea is 15 months & Andrew is 12 months old)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mothers Day

The Lechner Momma's and the kiddo's (Alathea & I, Heather and her son Andrew and Marian)

Me and my Girlie (complete with her corn on the cob!)

We were "trying" to get a good family you can see Alathea just wanted to play

"Grandpa and Grammy" with their sweet Grand-baby's

Joe out did himself again! While I anticipated Mother's Day being like every other holiday this past 8 months (a big reminder that my Mom isn't with us anymore) turned out to be one of the best days all year. Joe showered me with words of encouragement, a sweet letter and gifts. He then made dinner for the entire Lechner family (it was quite delicious!) and we had a lovely evening in our back yard. Then on Monday he sent me off to Starbucks for the afternoon to get some extended time with the Lord. And that evening he took me out to a fancy dinner (thanks to our wonderful friend Hilary babysitting and a gift cirtificate from M28 friends!), and we celebrated again.

While I loved all of the festivities of the weekend, perhaps the most significant thing that happened was the Lord doing a work in my heart. As I spent time with Him on Monday afternoon, I was overwhlemed with gratefulness to the point of tears. Gratefulness that He would allow me the priviledge of being a Mom...and gratefulness that He would give me the most amazing Mom as my example. I realized that altough my Mom isn't with me physically right now, her wisdom and example is still having a huge impact on the way I live every day. So instead of being sad that Mom isn't here right now, God kindly shifted my focus to all that He has blessed me with. A sweet reminder that His ways are perfect- even when I may not totally understand.