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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thanking when I'm breaking

"And I don’t do this well – this thanking when I’m breaking but I do it anyway. And we question and wonder but keep giving Him thanks. And slowly the seed – the miracle — growing in us changes us… not Him or what’s happening around us but what’s happening in us.

Either way – any way – we keep offering it up to Him."~~from Ann Voskamp's sister whose new baby girl wasn't breathing well.

...this thanking when I'm breaking...

Emma at about 4 months

I so identify. This is the hard part. Five days from today marks the day Emma breathed her last labored breath one year ago. We have struggled through some of the past 360 days and sailed through others. This ebb and flow of grief, living while I'm dying, "thanking when I'm breaking." I am learning to heal. It's hard some days and easier others.

Emma's first day of Wee School...she was so excited

God knew what He was doing when He surprised us with Cora. She is such a bright spot, learning so much, soaking up everything around her. I know she would have adored Emma just like she does Carleigh and Luke. She has been good for all of us...teaching us to be good examples, to love, to laugh. Laugh

Emma coming to see Mommy

...this thanking when I'm breaking...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Burning Coals

Church was so good Sunday morning. Our pastors preached about loving, unconditionally. It's hard to love that way, for me anyway. We are learning about being transformed this month. The scriptures are from Romans 12:9-21.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

So many things spoke to me. I've read these verses 100 times before, but when I heard them Sunday, it was as if I had new ears. Especially verses 14-21 were new for me on Sunday. One of the pastors asked how many times we rejoice with those who rejoice, emphasizing the writer was not speaking about your friends in this verse. Ouch! It's hard to be happy, rejoice for someone who might not be on my side of the fence. And to mourn with those who mourn? Come again, pastor? That's a little harder to wrap my little brain around. For example, he said, most of you probably heard about the senseless shooting in the Amish community...

Following the tragic Amish school shooting of 10 young schoolgirls in a one-room Amish school in October 2006, reporters from throughout the world invaded Lancaster County, PA to cover the story. However, in the hours and days following the shooting a different, an unexpected story developed.

In the midst of their grief over this shocking loss, the Amish community didn't cast blame, they didn't point fingers, they didn't hold a press conference with attorneys at their sides. Instead, they reached out with grace and compassion toward the killer's family. The afternoon of the shooting an Amish grandfather of one of the girls who was killed expressed forgiveness toward the killer, Charles Roberts. That same day Amish neighbors visited the Roberts family to comfort them in their sorrow and pain.

Wow! There aren't even any words. Precious Lord, do a work in me.

19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Do you, like me, kind of like the idea of heaping burning coals on the head of your enemy? I said enemy, not the person who grates on your nerves, or cuts you off on the highway, or has 50 items in her cart in the express lane. Enemy, like one who slanders your name, kills your child, seeks to destroy you...enemy. Here's an interpretation of what the verse probably means...

"heap coals of fire on his head" - this was not as painful as it sounds. In Israel, if your fire went right out, you could go to your neighbour and he might put some burning coals in a bucket, which bucket you then carried, on your head, back to your own dwelling. So to "heap coals of fire" upon the head of your enemy, was to furnish him graciously with the neccessary elements of life - ie. food, water and warmth. Prov 25:22. (Cliff York)

Boy, do I have a lot to learn!

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer."

Saturday, January 22, 2011


We finally got around to seeing if the beauty I found in my neighbor's trash pile, of which I spoke about in this post, worked. It was a great chandelier, and all but one of the light fixtures worked. When we Kelvin tried to fix the one bad light, it sparked and acted funny, so we don't want to mess around with a potential fire hazard. Bummer! It would've looked great in our new dining space. (Did I tell you the the old playroom was giving me hives, and our eating space was closing in on me, so I rearranged and converted the playroom into the space for which it was intended in the first place? I'm LOVING it! And yes, we do eat in there.) Oh well, I'll find a replacement. It will need to be pretty soon, because we took down the ceiling fan/light fixture that was in there to replace Carleigh's. It might be kind of nice to eat by candle light too, though. Watch out Goodwill, here I come! I'll also search through the online classifieds, like craigslist and I'm determined to make this purchase a thrifty one.

We went to another funeral this week. When it rains, it pours. One of our very good friend's dad passed away. I look forward to the day when there is no more pain, sadness, or heartache.

On the agenda next week is cleaning out our large armoire. I'm looking forward to continuing my pursuit of organizing the house. The giant armoire will become an organized version of it's current state of chaos. I also plan on painting a small armoire we have now and using it for our craft, scrapbook and sewing projects cabinet. I just have to figure out the right place to house it. For those of you, who like me, love before and after photos, there will be plenty! I can't wait.

I'm sure all of this rediscovered love of projects, sewing, crafting,etc., is a good way to make my mind work. I would love to just stay in bed all day with the covers over my head, but that's probably not the best thing for me. These little projects seem to be a good outlet for my grief. I'm trying not to dwell on the fact that it's almost been a year since Emma passed away. Not that there hasn't been a day that went by this year that I didn't think about her and wish she were still here, but there is something about this anniversary that seems incredibly hard. I ususally like anniversaries, but not this one.

So what projects do you have on the books?

Monday, January 17, 2011


It's amazing how God provides exactly what you need at the exact time you need it. I found Ann Voskamp's blog one day as I was blog hopping. I've never met her, but she has been a funnel for the Holy Spirit to minister to my soul. Her blog is so peaceful, so comforting, I feel so at home. Below is an insight into her newly released book. I can't wait to get my copy. These past couple of weeks have been a time for healing. I struggle to keep the sadness of this world, this life from getting me down...death of loved ones, children suffering, evil, marriages crumbling, sin, disease, disorders, and so forth. I've enjoyed the slowness of the past few days...much needed.

Carleigh got an American Girl scarf making kit for Christmas. It was really quite a cool gift. it came with everything she needs to make a scarf for her and one that matches exactly for her doll. We worked on her scarf this weekend. She is so proud, and rightfully so! Good work, sweet girl!

You look marvelous, dawling!

Little bit likes it too!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Sometimes breathing is the hardest part. There are days when everything seems pretty ok, then out of nowhere it hits and takes my breath unbearable desire to hold her again, smell her hair, touch her skin, see her sweet smile. I type through tears as I think about Emma and how much my heart aches that she isn't here with us. I miss our girl.

Monday, January 10, 2011

I hope

We went to a funeral the other night. Mean Gene was his stage name, but he was anything but mean. He and his band played at both of Emma's Bayou Bashes. His heart was big, vey big, and he was extremely generous. Something the preacher said during the funeral service stuck with me. He said Mean Gene had some very big shoes to fill...that it would probably take a better part of the group in attendance to do what he did and touch the lives he touched. I would guess there were more than 500 people there. Wow! I hope that I make such an impact.

I have taken on the challenge to memorize two verses a week from the book of Colossians, resulting in memorizing the entire book by the end of 2011. I hope I can stay the course.

There have been many tragedies around us lately. It's hard not to get dragged down by the enormity of them. I hope I can remain faithful to pray even when the answers I seek don't seem to come as readily as I would like.

I hope I can get my Christmas decorations packed away this week. Am I the only one still enjoying twinkling lights and red and green?

My body is crying out for some exercise. I think my muscles have atrophied from lack thereof. I hope I can get my rear in gear in the next couple of days.

I hope my sister can find relief from her disorder. I wish there were no such thing as IC. I wish my dad's heart was strong and he felt well. I hope the doctors can find a solution for his pain.

We watched a movie last night. I identified with the words from one of the actors. He said, "God doesn't allow bad things to happen to us. He just takes care of us when they do." I hope I can rest in that truth.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Black Eyed Peas and other good food

If you live in the South, you know it's a must to eat black-eyed peas and cabbage on New Year's Day. I L.O.V.E. cabbage, but Kelvin thinks it smells like a dirty diaper and stinks up the house, so I refrained from cooking it this year. But I did make some very yummy black-eyed peas in the form of Hoppin' John Stew. Ooooh wee, it's good. You have to make the cheesy grits to serve with it or it's not the same. And don't forget the cilantro like I did; it gives it that extra little punch!

While at the deer lease I also made some delicioso chili and some ever popular chicken and cheese enchiladas.

Christmas morning was yummy around our house too. I made overnight Blueberry French Toast with sausage and hot chocolate. And for Christmas dinner, I whipped up a batch of crawfish étouffée to go along with all the other wonderful food at Kelvin's family's celebration...gumbo, turkey, dressing, etc., etc. For sweet treats, one of Kelvin's friend's wife made the most amazing chocolate chip pecan pie and chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese and chocolate chip filling. I wish I could relay to you how incredible these treats were. Just a minute while I wipe my drool.

Now that the food fest season is behind us, I need to get back on track with eating a bit healthier. I've gained about 8 pounds since Thanksgiving. Ugh! What are you planning to do to get back in the swing of things? I'm hoping to get busy around my house with some home workouts and maybe try my hand at running/walking again since I cancelled my gym membership. (Hope the 'ol hip will let me.) I'll see if they might have a better deal for the new year. I just got tired of paying every month and not being able to go. Plus, they cancelled all the classes I like. Blah! Oh well, we'll see. For now, I have to figure out what to feed my kids for breakfast this morning...

Luke wanted French toast and Carleigh wanted eggs and toast. It was their lucky day. Luke's French toast was extremely yummy if I do say so myself...topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon...mmmm!

Funny story...I was buying groceries before the holidays and had Cora with me. I went to the dairy case to grab a can of whipped cream, and when Cora saw it, she opened her mouth wide open like a little bird. See, in the Dunnam household, we like to squirt whipped cream straight into our mouths, and Cora is no exception! She wanted her whipped cream squirt right then, thank you very much! I made her wait until we got home.

Tonight I made Chicken and Dumplings speedy style. They were surprisingly good! Definitely one to save.

Hope your new year is off to a good start.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy 2011 to you! Can you believe it?! I saw one of my friend's post on Facebook saying she couldn't believe we weren't driving flying cars yet. Remember the Jetson's? I just looked it up, and we have 51 more years before life here is like it was for them. I wonder how things will shape up for us in 51 more years. I'll only be 89, so hopefully I'll get to check in on the action! I'll get my great-granddaughter or grandson to drive me around in a moon mobile. (Hee Hee)

So, I digress. I hope your Christmas was loverly and your New Year's Eve celebration full of sparkle! The only sparks in our new year's eve came from the camp fire at the deer camp, but it was wonderful to sit by the fire with Kelvin and Carleigh and ring in the new year. Luke and Cora didn't quite make it to midnight! 2010 was a very hard year to say the least, but Kelvin and Carleigh were able to rattle off several wonderful things that happend as well...Cora is growing like a weed and talking up a storm (thank the Lord!), Carleigh and Luke are doing well in gymnastics; we had a very successful Emma's Bayou Bash despite the terrible weather, enabling us to make a sizeable donation to BDSRA for Batten Disease research, as well as support the efforts of Emma's Hugs; we had a fabulouso vacation with our dear friends, the Parkhouses in Bald Head Island, NC; the summer was loaded with fun in the sun; Luke started first grade in public school and is doing wonderfully; Cora started Wee School and loves it; we had a splendid time for our first trip to Garner with our friends; Carleigh shot her first 8 point buck(WOW!); we received boundless love from so many wonderful people. I am always amazed at how much love, kindness and thoughtfulness is poured out on us! Amazed!

I could go on, but as much as I like to think about the good things that happened in 2010, they are still somewhat overshadowed, unfortunately, by the fact that my sweet Emma is no longer here. I know she is in a better place, not suffering, running and jumping, singing and dancing, but she isn't here. My heart aches for the loss our family forever has. There will always be a missing piece to the puzzle. It will always be hard to hear of miraculous healings for others. Yes, I'm overjoyed with news of miraculous healings, but my heart aches too. While we were at the deer lease this past week, we heard a story on the radio about a child who received a miraculous healing from a disease. Carleigh said, "Wow, that's so good!" and Luke said, with his head tilted and his brow furrowed just a bit, "Why not Emma?" Tears. We believed, we had faith, we prayed, as did so many of you, but God said, "not here." I don't know why, and I don't understand. I never will. I just have to trust Him, and let Him carry me, us, through this season. "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed." Psalm 34:18 "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3

Thank you for checking in on our journey. I hope you will stick around, send a comment or two, and let us know how you're doing as well. I hope 2011 brings blessing beyond measure for you and yours. I'm hoping for a little consistency in my eat a little less, exercise a little more, laugh, cry, love, read more, sit by the fire, drink good wine, listen, and live. Cheers!

You crown the year with Your good blessings, and You leave abundance in Your wake. Psalm 65:11 The NET Bible

Monday, January 3, 2011

We were "Bruced!"

One of the most precious ladies I know is Kim Boyd-DeBerry. She has such a beautiful testimony and shares it daily with people at her tea room, The Mustard Seed and flower shop, Boyd's Blossoms. She made a gorgeous rose cover for Emma's casket. I am blessed to know her. While eating and making cookies on Christmas Eve, in the pouring down rain, someone left this on our porch. Attached was this explanation...

Smile, you've been Bruced! You are probably wondering what this means. Well, let me tell you. See, Bruce was my husband and the father of our two wonderful children. Bruce was killed Decmeber 5, 2003, and that changed our lives forever. I believe God has many plans for our lives, and this was ours. He places many people in your path to help you through difficult times and realize those plans. Bruce passed away on Saturday, and my children and I were at church on Sunday. On that Sunday in my Sunday school class, John Leonard decided to give a type of memorial to Bruce. To his surprise, I was there, and there was no other place I would have rather been. He talked about Bruce and how he never saw him without a smile on his face, so he passed out smiley faces for everyone to wear. A friend of mine, Christy Lackey had lost her husband a few years prior and was told by someone to pray and ask God for a sign that everything would be ok. Well, I did, and my first sign was that smiley face sticker from John. We see them appear in all different places and shapes. Some of them are hard to believe, but they are so true. The smiley face for Christmas came from a friend, Resa Kogut. Resa paints, and since Bruce passed away at Christmas, and it was a hard time for my kids, she painted a smiley face that is about 9 feet tall with a Santa hat. When we woke and found it in our front yard, we could help but smile. The feelings that we had were so great that we knew we had to share this. Every Christmas Eve, our family sits down and decides who has touched our lives the past year, and you are that person or family. A lot of people think that Christmas is a time to get that certain game, jewelry or outfit, but it is so much more. Every year our family looks forward to making some family realize how special they are and how they made us smile. God has smiled on our family and has blessed us with an addition. Geoff and I were marrried November 29, and he has joined us in this tradition of making people smile. Have a Merry Christmas.
Love and Just Smile,

Kim, Geoff, Brok and Stormy Boyd-DeBerry

Dunnam Family

We selected your family for your incredible strength that you reflect and the faith you uphold. With all that your family endured you stay strong and give back to others. I believe when something happens to take us to our knees, we are to get up and learn from it to help others, and you have done that. Emma will never be forgotten, and she has changed so many lives. Thank for sharing her love with us all.

Thank you, Kim and family! You made us smile on Christmas Eve. What an honor to be thought of by your family.
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