The Blaines

The Blaines
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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Hello my name is....procrastination

This upcoming week, is a huge week of St. Jude events for us, one in DC and one in Fredericksburg. Both events are working hard to raise money for Childhood Cancer Research, and as I try to prepare for both events, my mind keeps wandering back to my girl.


Three years ago, I starting blogging again to keep myself sane in a cramped PICU room. Three years ago, cancer become our reality. Three years ago, I learned that I can endure anything with the strength that Jesus gives me. Three years ago, I learned the power of strangers. Three years ago, I was changed.

I look around the house now...Noah doing a school project, SG pretending to take a nap, and Lulah walking around looking for more food and dancing, and it just seems like regular life. You look on the walls you see pictures of four amazing children, on the table you see textbooks of Richard's and of course toys and dog hair everywhere. Again, it looks and actually often feels pretty normal, this is our life and I am content.

But there are these moments...where I think I can feel the hole in my heart, where you cry so hard and when you take a breath, if feels like your stomach touches your back. Where you think....what in the world is going on in my life...how did I get here....how do I keep going....how do I keep it together today for the sake of my kids....and once you get through that moment, you realize the answer to every one of those questions is "God".

Three years ago, I knew St. Jude existed....I think. I mean I'm sure I saw them on TV or heard a radioathon or something. I knew cancer existed, but mostly in older people. I knew kids got sick, but surely there were cures or at least is wasn't my problem. However it quickly became my problem, and its a huge problem for a lot of other families out there. There aren't cures for so many of these kids, however it doesn't really seem to be a priority for anyone, except those families affected by pediatric cancer. Three years ago, I never imagined I would be sharing anything about my family with other people, never imagined God would use my crazy life to try to help other families and to help raise funds for a charity. But there I go, thinking again.

I'm procrastinating two different speeches...well story sharing experiences. I know what I want to say, but sometimes its so hard to put it all in one little speech because I want to share everything about my Ellie, I want to tell every one what the Lord has done and provided and how he has carried us through. I know people aren't concerned with my every little detail, but when I cut things out, I feel like I'm taking away from her or Him. I know it will all come together....I'm just a little distracted by the many memories of this time in our lives.

I mentioned two St. Jude events this week...both brand new to me...and new makes me so nervous! The first is the Gourmet Gala in Washington DC. When this opportunity was first presented to me and I started reading about the 500 people that would be there, Noah told me I just had to do it, he would hold my hand the whole time! I decided to leave it in God's hands, and said only if Richard will come with me, thinking he wouldn't really want to go...he said yes! So we head to DC, Noah will not be there to hold my hand, but he says he will still be proud of me! The second event is a St. Jude Teen Gala in Fredericksburg. Richard and I will once again be getting dressed up and heading to this event, headed up by a group of teenagers with a passion! I get the honor of speaking to them as well, an age group I have never presented to before, but I am excited about! These teens have a goal of $10,000, and are currently only $1400 away from their goal! If you'd like to make a donation or you have a teen that would like to attend, you can visit their event page here for more information. Thanks to a generous donation, any teen can attend for free, if they raise $100 they will be entered into raffles.

Now that I've wasted enough time and I need to start dinner...SG I think is really asleep now, and Lulah hasn't found any food!

"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" Psalm 46:1-2

"I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken." Psalm 16:8

Giving it all to God in this upcoming week
Prayers, Praise and Pink
~Carly

Monday, January 18, 2016

Giving Big

Ellie's Birthday is fast approaching and we are once again celebrating her by giving back to the community!

The first organization we are supporting is The Pregnancy Centers of Central Virginia by donating newborn diapers, which they provide to new moms. Our goal is 50 packages of newborn diapers.

"The Pregnancy Center is a Christian non-profit organization focused on the needs of women in the Charlottesville, Albemarle, Culpeper, Orange, Greene, Madison, Buckingham, Louisa, Fluvanna and Rappahannock, Virginia Communities. We offer free and confidential pregnancy testing, pregnancy options counseling, limited medical services including ultrasounds, and medically-accurate information on abortion, abortion alternatives, abortion procedures, adoption and parenting in a safe and private environment."

The second organization we are supporting is Courageous Faith Fredericksburg, which is a mission that is currently targeting families that live in motels in the Fredericksburg area and sharing the love of Jesus with them. They often hand out hygiene supplies and food to families in need. As we celebrate Ellie's birthday our family will be putting together blessing bags for them to hand out. My goal is 100 bags, 60 adult bags and 40 kid bags. There is an online registry with the supplies listed that we are requesting https://www.myregistry.com/public/elliesbiggive.  Things have come in from all over and we have finally organized it all and we are getting very excited!





And in a crazy last minute I created a t-shirt to help raise money for any supplies we didn't receive.  The first round of t-shirts raised $580 in 3 days!  Princess Strong people just continue to blow my mind and make me smile!  Due to the quick turn around for the shirts, a few people missed the deadline, so we have reopened the link.  The shirts are $15 each and can ordered up till February 1st.  20 shirts have to be sold in order for these to print, so if for some reason we don't sell 20, you will be refunded your money.  If you are interested, 


We will soon be celebrating in Tinker Bell style and I'm excited to once again honor Ellie's life!  We appreciate all who have donated and continue to support us!

For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’ Deuteronomy 15:11

Prayers, Praise, Pink
~ Carly

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Choose Joy

The day Ellie went home to Jesus, I remember the morning well. I remember the exhaustion we felt after such a long night.  I remember the frustration, wondering why God was dragging this out so long, and the numbness of just life.  I remember the quiet peace of her last breaths and I remember getting on my knees once she was gone and thanking God for the hope of heaven.  I remember all our family getting to our house before the funeral home did.  I remember thinking, if an outsider were watching all this....or if you had told me 5 years ago, this would be a seen in my house, I would have thought you were crazy.  Kids running around the living room, playing with toys, family all around and Ellie's body still here.  Yes, it sounds weird, but it was sweet.  After the funeral home came, I don't remember the rest of the day.  Maybe that's God's way of protecting our hearts, or I was just so tired...who knows.

Last year on December 22nd, I remember waking up and just having my family here, the 5 of us.  I do remember the joy I was filled with.  I know we went to the cemetery, but honestly I don't remember much of that day.  My post from last year, said we felt happy and that we were celebrating Ellie, but I posted at 10 in the morning....I don't know how the rest of the day went.

December 22nd, 2015...Started out like another lazy day together.  No one was moving too fast, still in our pj's, and snuggling.  I was reflecting back on how a few days ago I asked for prayer, when we were struggling.  The days leading up to Ellie's death are filled with lots of tough memories. Tension was high.  After I asked, I received, in a big way.  Smiles came back, we were doing better at understanding each others' attitudes and not taking offense.  We played around with the camera yesterday and took a great family picture (and a lot of bloopers!), and Richard came up with the idea to challenge others to share what gives them strength, using the hash tag #princessstrong.





We weren't moving at the pace I had hoped for, I kept thinking of all the "stuff" that needed to be done. The Christmas lights that still weren't up, the oil that needed to be changed, the laundry that was growing, the presents that needed to be wrapped, crafts that still weren't done yet.  As I found my anxiety rising, I started to find peace in all the #princessstrong posts I began to read.  I was glued to my phone reading about others' strength, honored that some people included my family in where they get strength from.  I loved reading all the praise God was getting...even as I could feel my own joy fading and my heart sinking...God was still giving me strength through all these other people.

We headed to the cemetery to bring Ellie's pink tree and decorate it...as more sadness creeped in, this hot mess, came out all ready to go...and how can you not smile at her crazy self?!?!

 Decorations up, sweet prayers said, crazy kids running up and down the hill, mission accomplished.

As we headed home, I told Richard I don't remember last year being this tough...maybe it was the newborn baby blur...but I just don't remember it.  I went back to last year's blog and realized I posted it at 10 in the morning, so for all I know it could have been just as rough.  The rest of yesterday was filled with many more tears, Ellie's favorite dinner of dino nuggets and mac and cheese on the living room floor. watching Disney videos and mommy heading to bed at 9 because I was just so emotionally drained from the day.  My sweet boys stayed up late in the dark putting up my lights because Richard knew just how much I was missing it.  Yesterday felt empty and full all at the same time, I was so happy we were all together, but absolutely lost in my emotions.

There...now its down on "paper" so next year, on December 22nd, when I possibly can't remember how last year went...it's here, the entire day, not just the morning.  (Note to self...Carly Marie, its okay to have a day like this...the next day, December 23rd, will come and you will feel better that you made it through another December 22nd)

I think my December 22nd amnesia is a gift from God.  If all we ever remembered was the sad stuff, life would be unbearable.  If we only ever focused on the negative and what God isn't doing and what's going wrong, there is no joy to be found. That is a conscious choice a person makes each and every day.  I agree there will be moments in life that stink and so much more.  There will be moments you cannot understand and wonder "where is God in this" but I promise you, He can be found, look at the people around you, the house you are in, the food you are eating.

Ellie's diagnosis of cancer was heartbreaking, watching her decline....tore my Mommy heart to shreds...her death, was joyous.  Because just 3 days after her death, a baby boy was born hundreds of years ago.  That baby boy was brought into this world with a purpose, just like my Ellie, just like all of us.  That boy's mommy, Mary, experienced the same heart ache I did.  She watched her son be tortured and die for all us...people she never even knew.  I'm sure as he was hanging on that cross, she wasn't jumping for joy...but 3 days later her beautiful baby boy rose from the dead and I'm sure in that moment, she found her peace, she saw part of God's plan.  You can find joy.

After Ellie's death, this moment was where I saw God's plan...

These little pink bags, painstakingly cut out with little shapes, each with a candle inside, illuminating the church the night of family night.  There were hundreds of bags, maintained by a crew that would be named Ellie's Elves.  The thought and heart that went into this effort from people I knew and from strangers, told me this life is so much more than I ever imagined. God has big plans for our lives!  I choose to see the joy, I choose to see the pink bags shining in the dark.  I choose to let the light God gave me to shine.

Let you light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Today, I pray you can find joy, no matter what is going on in your life!

Prayers, Praise and Pink
~Carly

Friday, December 18, 2015

Oh Christmas Card

Did you stress your Christmas card picture this year? Oh how I did!  (I must not have done Christmas cards last year...I guess having a newborn excused all that) It's tricky to pick a picture for a Christmas card when one of your children is no longer alive.  Do I pick a picture with Ellie in it? Of course then its always going to be the same picture or pictures, and it's tough enough to think you will never have another picture of Ellie and if I do an old picture then Lulah wouldn't be in it. Do you pick a new picture that Ellie is not in physically? Then maybe someone is going to be upset, possibly me and feel like I left one of my children out. This argument must have gone on for a day or two and it was exhausting.  I finally had to go with what felt right and push aside every worry or thought about what others might say or think, and I have to say, I'm pretty happy with the outcome.

When I first saw this picture after we did family photos again with Jackie of Jaclyn Rae Photography it took my breath away.  It was perfectly us. It didn't feel uncomfortable at all, it didn't feel empty or that we had left someone out, it felt natural....grumpy Lulah face and all!
This balancing act of life after a child's death, happens all the time for me.  I often find myself trying to decide how to sign our names to a card to not make anyone feel uncomfortable but still honor Ellie's life and include her in our family.  I know I over think it, isn't that what grown ups do best?!?! Noah was Christmas shopping today, and without missing a beat, he put Ellie on his list to shop for and announced he'd go put it at the cemetery for her.  He didn't bother with the "what if it gets wet" or "what do we do with it after Christmas" or "what if SG steals it", he just went with his heart....I love that about little people!
This past week hasn't been pretty around here.  Emotions are at an all time high right now and everyone is feeling it.  As "that day" gets closer we are all well aware, and it's almost like we all need a time out! (thank goodness for Christmas break!)  As much as I love my Time Hop app, there are days it brings a huge flood of tears and pain of the memories of those last few days.  This time two years ago was by far the toughest part of our journey with cancer.  For the first time since she was diagnosed we saw her in pain, of course she wouldn't ever tell us she was in pain...and the only way to help the pain was to give her meds that made her sleepy and out of it.  We watched our spunky and spirited girl slipping away.  This is the part of cancer I do hate, the pain, the absolute helplessness you feel as a parent. Those memories come back and hurt almost as much as the day they happened.  I know these memories serve a purpose beyond tears.  Those memories also serve as a reminder of what God can do in a family.  Those memories remind me of all the people that surrounded my family and prayed and helped and prayed some more.  Those memories remind me of how out of control I felt (which was so stinkin hard for me) yet how I was finally able to let God take control.  I'm reminded of family surrounding us in a living room, just being there.  I'm reminded of the fears I had of Ellie passing away when everyone was at our house, and how good God was to me, to take her home in a sweet quiet moment with just Richard and I.  Trust me, it's through tears I type these memories and with my joyful yet holy heart (a happy heart that still has a big ol hole in it). 

 The hole still hasn't gotten smaller, in fact this year it feels bigger than last.  I don't imagine it will ever get smaller.  I do envision it like this - there's this tiara shaped hole in my heart, things flow through the hole, and take up a lot of space in the hole, but nothing is a perfect fit, and no matter how much space that thing takes up at the moment, its eventually gonna make its way through the hole...and then its empty again.   

My family is aching this week...and I only know about the people in my house.  I'm sure the family outside our doors is hurting too.  I still don't know how to help their grief, which I feel bad about....I can barely contain this household.  I feel like I should be able to listen to them and give them support and love...but I'm struggling....so if I come off as "fine and cheery" please know it's the happy school counselor in my trying to be strong for every one around me.  I'm pretty sure one day I will get to the place where I can see others cry about our Ellie and help them.  I'm so grateful for that family that totally understands me (or tries to) and never gets mad or takes offense.  They get that some things are just harder for me and they are helping me learn that it doesn't have to make sense to anyone except me.  My point for telling you all this is to ask for a lot of prayers for us.  Specifically that we would give each other some space and leniency.  We'd remember we are all hurting in our own ways.  I ask for prayers of peace as well.

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 
For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 
that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?
 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will" Romans 8:18-28
We appreciate all the love and prayers.  I know we will get through this week.  I know the 22nd will come and I will feel sad, but I will also feel happiness because of Jesus Christ, whose birthday is just 3 days after the 22nd.  And it's because of Jesus Christ I know that I will see my daughter again. 
We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3-5
Prayer, Praise, and Pink
~Carly

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Skies

If you follow my instagram, you often see the hashtag #lifeofaretailwife.  Richard has worked retail for what feels like a million years, so I am used to loosing my husband to the store around this time.  But this year was the first time he had to be in early on Thanksgiving day.  At first it felt like no big deal...but the more and more it sat in my heart it just felt all wrong.  My husband deserves a meal, my kids deserve time all together, I needed this holiday for him to be here.  So we set out to make our own Thanksgiving....not a huge undertaking...oh except for the fact, I've never cooked a turkey...much less a whole Thanksgiving dinner, with like 2 days prep time.

Noah and I set out on a shopping trip to find decorations and a thanksgiving menu.  Noah was quite upset that all the stores seemed to have forgotten that it was thanksgiving because they didn't have any turkey decor.  I had to remind him most people don't decide to cook a Thanksgiving meal 2 days before, and they probably got all there stuff a while ago!  Thankfully my trusty old Target had almost everything I needed, even some turkey window clings to make Noah happy!

After some flu shots, and a mini meltdown in Food Lion over a chicken and a turkey, and a phone call back to my mom to apologize for my mini meltdown, we were ready! 

I have to be honest, I was like a kid on Christmas this morning, who knew you could get so excited over cooking a bird...or maybe it was just the nerves of was it thawed out or not....remember I just got it yesterday! I think I read my directions a million times, said a prayer (for real, I prayed in the kitchen, for me to continue to remember what today was about, no matter what happened) and put it in the oven.  After loosing Lulah for a minute and having my first panic attack of the day, we got Daddy up and got to begin our family time! (Don't call CPS, she's a quiet crawler and had crawled herself into her room and closed the door.)  I can tell she has much of Ellie's personality, she's sweet, she listens and tries to push buttons, pretty calm and loves to eat!  

We pulled out the fine china, well  anything that's not a paper plate is fine china in this house.  With the help of crafty Noah and SG my coloring fanatic, our kitchen was perfect!



As we were setting the table, Noah ran to make another place card, he placed Ellie 's spot right beside him with a smile on his face.

We had to eat kinda quick, as Richard had to head out the door for work.  The turkey was cooked, the potatoes were ok (Noah says they were his favorite...love that kid!), the gravy was yummy...who knew some turkeys come with gravy packets in them!! Richard left, and my heart felt so at peace, I knew we had done the right thing.  The plus side of eating early, you have all day to clean up! 

As the sun started to set and the sky turned this amazing shade of pink again, I cried.
It was so pretty, and like Ellie, I can't see it well enough.  There are a million trees in the way that block me from seeing the pink clearly.  To me the trees are like earth...well duh they are part of the earth, but they are what keeps me from seeing her clearly and all her beauty.  I have to look really hard to find her some days and although she's bright and in my heart, its hard to see her and remember her clearly.  She feels so close but so far away, everywhere but untouchable....kinda like the pink sky I am so in love with.
"give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" 1 Thessalonians 5:18
We pray that your Thanksgiving no matter how early or late it was, was enjoyable and filled with love, and maybe even a pink sky!
Prayers, Praise and Pink
~Carly

Friday, November 13, 2015

What's your story?

I grew up knowing there was a God.  I went to church pretty regularly, I went to classes, I memorized prayers, I don't remember praying to God, I don't remember feeling like I had a relationship with Him. I went to school, life was good, I was having fun, I had friends and that's all that mattered. Went to college, still thinking life was awesome and I was invincible! Made some pretty dumb choices, God tried to give me a wake up call...and all I did was roll over and go back to sleep.  I knew there was a God, but I was definitely not afraid of Him or in a relationship with Him.

I met Richard, still knowing there was a God, probably thanked him a time or two.  Dated for a few years, thought life couldn't be better!  Had friends we hung out with all the time, jobs and debt! We got married in a church, because it just felt like the right thing to do.  We still felt happy with life, I graduated with my master's, got a job and we bought a house.  We moved to Orange, not as many friends here, loved our house, a lot more debt, but something was missing. We got pregnant with Noah, decided maybe it would be a good idea to raise our children in a church.  We had spent some time in Richard's brother's church and we loved the feeling of family there...but that was 3 hours away.  I remember being so worried about what people might think when we showed up in a church...I know its silly, but my worries you usually are.  We tried out one church, and while it felt comfortable, and I could easily blend into the crowd without being noticed, Richard felt like it just wasn't quite right. So then we tried the church down the road, it seemed small but the inside and the people made it feel huge and warm.  It felt right, so we stayed.  I remember being surprised how much they went to church, Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night...I thought that was a little crazy.  We kept going, even though at times I couldn't understand what Preacher was talking about.  I observed a lot of things I wasn't used to, that made me feel awkward and that I probably pretended I understood.  I saw people go up to the alter and pray, I saw people hug each other through tears and pray, I saw people get saved.  It was so new to me, I liked it, so I just went along with it.

My grandma passed away and I was out of town for the funeral.  Richard was visiting his brother, and then coming to be with me.  He called me that Sunday evening to tell me while at church with his brother, he had been saved.  I remember not knowing what to say, I think I was mad at him.  Mad that he did it without me and partly mad because I just didn't understand it all, I mean I was okay, wasn't I? I was going to heaven, I think.  I didn't need to do all that, going to talk to preacher, in front of a bunch of strangers...nope I was fine.  Next Sunday, I went to church by myself, Richard had to work, I sat near the back, I think it was the first time I had been by myself.  I blended in well.  I don't remember what he preached about, I just remember when he was done, my heart was about to pound out of my chest, I didn't quite understand what was happening, but before I knew it, I was in front of that church of strangers, crying and praying.  I professed with my mouth that Jesus was my Lord, asked for forgiveness of my sins and got hugged and loved by a ton of people.  

I knew what I had done was huge, I had heard about the changes people make in their lives once they are saved, but not much changed for us at first.  Noah was born, we became parents for the first time. We tried to continue living like we had before, doing the same things and that's when I started to notice the changes.  Music in our house started to change, movies and TV shows changed, language changed, the way we spent our Friday nights changed.  It didn't happen all at once, but slowly our lives changed. We became more involved in church and started teaching classes, we started being there every time the doors opened.  We were happy, we had a relationship with God now, we were learning more and more.

And then our world forever changed.  Then we had to put all that learning and changing and teaching into real life application.  It wasn't just words in the bible anymore, it was real life.  It was time to see if this was legit, was this gift we'd be given for real?  For 10 months I prayed for a miracle, but I also prayed that if a miracle wasn't in God's will that we would continue to praise Him and our hearts wouldn't be hardened.  During that time I relied on God's word more than ever in my life. This blog became my outreach. God used this to help me grow, to help me learn and to help my family and those around us grow.  Because God saved me, I have the promise of eternal life.  Because God answers prayers, our hearts never became angry, we were able to see the meaning in our trial.  Because God loves me, He protects me and blesses me with little things to lift my heart and remind me of the glory that is coming.  Because I trust the Lord, I keep moving ahead, not sure of what the future holds or where our path is going but knowing He has it all planned out!
Because God is full of grace, He has forgiven me of every sin, and holds no grudge against me. Nothing I can do will ever separate me from that.

That's my story.

I felt compelled to share.  At church a few weeks ago, we were encouraged to share our stories with our children and our classes.  Noah had recently felt "Jesus knocking on his heart" but at 7 years old, had many questions and was having trouble understanding his own feelings and emotions. So I decided to take that challenge and verbally share my salvation story with Noah.  It was fun to tell him about how nervous I was and how I didn't know anyone really at church.  I loved that he asked questions and could relate to me, it was a sweet moment for us.

I'm also part of a pretty awesome group of ladies that do bible study together.  Our class also took the opportunity to share our salvation stories.  As I looked around at all these women and shed many tears with them, one thing was overwhelmingly obvious.  God is Good.  We all go through stuff and God uses every trial for something.  We don't always see the lesson right away, and maybe its others who learn from us.  But if we never share what the Lord has done for us, or what he has brought us through, our story is never heard.  No one hears and learns and is encouraged.  I know fear falls into play often and we don't know how to say what we want to say or we are worried someone is gonna think we are crazy.  Well call me crazy (I have a two year old that almost has me certifiable) but being saved, and opening my heart to let God work through me is by far the best thing that has ever happened to me.

So I challenge you to share your story.  Share it here, share it with your children, share it with your family, your co-workers. If you don't know you story, then your challenge is to find a church to help you write that story.



If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”  For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:9-13

Prayers, Praise and Pink
~Carly

Monday, September 21, 2015

It's Raining

When you say its raining, there's a few different ways it could be raining.  It could be pouring outside...like "there's no point in an umbrella, you're just gonna get soaked" rain. There's a steady rain, drivable, but enough to make some puddles.  Then there's that annoying rain that makes your windshield wet, but makes your wipers squeak when you turn them on.  The kind of rain us curly headed girls can't stand because it is for sure gonna make some frizz!  Rain can come with thunder and lightening,  and can make the sky scary dark.  Or it can come in and out of sunshine and rainbows. Some times we don't get enough rain and other days it feels like it just needs to stop raining! A good rain can bring such relief of a hot summer day but can cause destruction in excess.

Today its been raining for what seems like hours and hours.  That steady rain that just doesn't quit. The rain this evening just reminded me of tears and grief.  Grief, like rain, comes in so many forms.  There are moments when the flood gates open and no matter what kind of umbrella you try to put up, you are gonna get wet (and in my case I usually get tears on others). There's days the clouds just hang around all day, and all it takes is one thought, one smell, one song and it starts to pour again. There are beautiful days, that sometimes have a little rain cloud that passes through, it doesn't ruin the day, but it changes it. Some days its just nagging, you can't shake it, its not horrible, its just there, that feeling that the sun isn't gonna shine today, and maybe not tomorrow.  But that's why God made raincoats.  We can't change the weather, I can't make the rain slow down or hurry up.  I can't push the clouds away and I can't make rainbows appear in the sky.  There's always gonna be hurt and grief, that will never change.  And just like we need rain, we need the tears.  Sometimes I think people want the tears to go away, others want us to be okay.  They want us to not hurt, or they can't understand when something so small as a birthday party throws our world right back into a rain shower.  

I know grief hurts. Trust me, on a day like today, I wish it would stop raining, and just give me a break, give my heart a break.  But I know the promise of a rainbow.  

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” Gen 9:12-16

God doesn't send the rain to destroy us.  In fact after the the rain and the storms, He sends us a reminder that he won't destroy us, He's promised that. So why the rain? Why the heart ache?  Why the tears?

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

God has a plan, just bring your raincoat, and maybe some tissues.
Prayers, Praise and Pink
~Carly