Tuesday, May 31, 2011

California-Part 3 {Celebration of Life Memorial}

No, I didn't skip part 2 of California, that was actually Norah and Josiah's Birthday party, I just did it out of order.  You can go here, if you missed reading it.   Ok onto part 3.

Celebration of Life for Carrisa and Darren

This was one of the main reasons for our trip to California.
My mom wanted a special celebration to put Carrisa and Darrens ashes in the Cemetary.  We wanted to remember them, there life, the joy they brought.  My sister Carrisa was gone instantly 6 months ago from a heart condition and My brother Darren died 14 years ago of an inoperable brain tumor (a story I will write about eventually), they were both cremated,  so it felt fitting that they be buried together.


It is hard to explain what it is like losing a sibling..... let alone two.....There is no one on earth like your brother or sister, there is no bond like that of sibling, especially when we all shared the loss of a father.  Sure, when were younger we may have fought over clothes, toys, attention, etc,  but there was a love, a relationship that no one else could/can ever share, no spouse, no parent, no friend, it is a special sibling bond. 

I wish you could have known my brother Darren. He was a servant, completely unselfish, he forever changed our youth group and those that knew him. He loved and served Jesus until his dying day, even when he could only blink his eyes. To watch someone suffer, a 20 year old, and still have incredible faith in the Lord, there is really no greater testimony. There were many people at this memorial just for him. To have people, 14 years after his passing, still come to celebrate his life just tells you the kind of person he was.
I love that his story still lives on 14 years later
Friends remembering Darren


Carrisa's death is still so fresh, sometimes it even feels like she is still here. She wanted so badly to live a life that emulated her brothers. I wish she could have seen and known that she did. Her love for the Lord and people was so evident. She had a contagious joy despite a difficult life.  She touched so many hearts and lives, more than she will ever know.   We shared such a wonderful bond of both being sisters and mommies.  She loved her daughter Norah more than I have ever known a mother to love her child. 

Remembering mommy Carrisa

Time Celebrating

We did a balloon release with notes attached to each balloon for Carrisa and Darren. It was a sweet moment, filled with life and hope in the midst of sadness.

Maya even wrote a note to uncle Darren and Aunt Carrisa......love her





Probably my favorite photo, Norah saying bye bye to mommy........

A place to remember


You may read this blog thinking I have it altogether. I don't. I have some very difficult, alone moments, wondering why half of my family is not on this earth anymore, why they were taken so soon, so many of them. I have hope though, hope that I will see them again someday, that we will be reunited as one family.
I really miss them though

Sunday, May 29, 2011

California part 1 {Paradise}

I always love traveling to California.  It is were I was born and raised.  I love seeing my family and friends, all the beauty, and eating the delicious fresh produce!  I heart California.  
This was a very different trip for so many reasons though.  The biggest is that it was our first with Norah.  There was a mixture of emotions throughout the trip.  There were some things that were very difficult, but there were many moments of happiness.  Since there were so many things that we did on the trip I am going to break it up into several parts.  The first one

 (take me down to the Paradise city where the grass is green and the girls are pretty...)

Going to Paradise was such a completely different experience than it has ever been.  Paradise is were I spent my years growing up, it is were most of my childhood friends used to live, it is where most of my family used to live......now so much of that is gone.  It was so strange going back and not seeing Carrisa, or staying with her......we stayed with a family that I really had only met once (Norah's grandparents).  I really didn't see any of my old childhood friends, mostly just Carrisa's circle of friends, and I didn't even go to my old church, we went to Carrisa's.  It was like I was somewhere else...... The hardest thing for me though was knowing it was going to be the first time for everyone there to hear Norah call me "mommy" and Brett "daddy," something that not to long ago was someone else's roll, my sisters roll......

My sister, Danae and brother, Jordan still live there, seeing them was probably the highlight of Paradise, it made things feel just a touch like home.  


And the weather, totally amazing!  I think the girls were outside 90% of the time.  Norah's grandparents are wonderful, they made us feel like family, opened their home, let us take over, provided food and just loved us.  Maya took to them very quickly! She wanted to follow grandpa Larry everywhere!

Spending time with grandpa Larry






They had a fresh garden (something rare to see in Colorad) and a lemon and limeade tree! so jealous!

So green, trees so big!

Look at all of the beautiful roses that grow so easily here!

Baby Sarah's first time in Paradise

Time with the Condits, Maya said she never wanted to leave!




Time with Grandparents




Although the trip was very different, it wasn't bad, it was good in many ways. New friends, new family and many reasons to go back!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Norah & Josiah's 2nd Birthday {Milk & Cookies}


Our trip has been wonderful and there are so many things to write about!  We Celebrated Norah's 2nd birthday while visiting Paradise, we did it that way on purpose.  We just felt like this year it would be best to celebrate Norah with the people who have grown up with her, the people who knew Carrisa best.  We wanted everyone to see Norah, to feel like they were still a part of her life, because they are.

One of Carrisa's good friends, Lynae suggested we combine her son Josiah's birthday, with Norah's.  (side note:  I truly considered Lynae one of my good friends now, I have always known her, but she has made me feel like part of her family and we have this very special connection of knowing Carrisa, she is a wonderful mom of 3 boys and if I lived in Paradise I know we would spend lots of time together)!
Norah and Josiah are just a few days apart in age and share many of the same friends.  I could not have done a party without her help and without the creativity of my sister Danae.  Lynae actually came up with the Milk and Cookies theme, with much of the inspiration coming from this blog.

Lynae and Danae did pretty much all of the work!  I just ordered the cakes and showed up to help decorate!






the birthday kids, Josiah and Norah












To say the Norah L.O.V.E.S cookies is an understatement!

It was a very fun and special birthday! It was probably one of the most beautiful days outside! I loved seeing all of Carrisa's friends and watching all of the kids have so much fun!   We were blessed in so many ways that day and we love seeing people love and care for Norah so much!  Norah loved every minute and Maya said she didn't ever want to leave!
Thank you everyone for coming!