Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Good Day

Bailey, Ross, and Jon Brent

Haley, Mrs. Mangum and Daniel
(Ashley's future sister in law, her grandmother, and brother)

Sweet Baby Anderson

Mr. Wayne (Ashley's dad)

Melinda and Nancy
(Ashley's mom and my mom)

My mom, dad, Scott, and Ashley

Brad, Sherri, and Mrs. Debbie (Sherri's mom)

Scott and Ashley

Anna Lea and Ally

Mrs. Peggy, Bailey and Mr. Jon Mark

Well, I made it through yet another first without Jason. I imagined that Thanksgiving Day would be much harder than it was, but it really was a good day. Obviously, there were moments where I felt so lost without him, but overall it was a good day. Thank you, Jesus! I know it was His grace that got me through it. As always, He provided my 'daily bread.'

We decided several weeks back that we needed to change up our normal Thanksgiving tradition in hopes that it would make the day more bearable. I am so thankful that we did. Usually we would eat lunch with Jason's side of family and dinner with my side. I decided to have both Jason's parents and my parents for lunch at my house, as well as the siblings, etc. Don't get too impressed... I did NONE of the cooking. I told everyone I would provide the tea and the rolls. Easy enough! Everyone else brought the food and it was perfect.

Everyone stayed all day and we even warmed up the food again for dinner. I was SO thankful that everyone stayed to keep me busy. Being alone is never good for me right now especially on a significant day. The more the merrier for me. :)

This weekend as we began decorating the house for Christmas, my soul longed for Jason even more than I thought possible. I know my God will continue to be faithful to me and once again see me through this season.

Thanks for walking this journey with me...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

Last Thanksgiving none of us knew it was our last with Jason. Even though things will be SO different this year and we certainly have experienced such a huge and tragic loss, I still want to give thanks to our Lord for His many blessings.

I am so very thankful EVEN in my great loss. Today I give thanks for my Savior, who has sustained me in both the good and bad days. Today I give thanks for His sovereignty. I don't have to understand His ways, but I give thanks that I can trust Him even when I can't see His plan. Today I give thanks that Jesus conquered death once and for all and that because of that truth, we all will live FOREVER with Him. How that promise gets me from one day to the next without Jason! Today I give thanks for Jason. I give thanks for the 16 years I had with him. I give thanks for our children. Oh, how I treasure them more and more each day!

I give thanks for my entire family. They have certainly done so very much in helping me get through this very hard year. I give thanks for 2008. It most definitely hasn't been the year that I had hoped for, but to God be the glory for all He has done because of Jason's leukemia! I give thanks for His church. Not just Temple, but I give thanks for the entire body of Christ. I give thanks for the opportunity to see the church be the church during this valley. I give thanks for my friends. I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends who have served me in so many ways this year. I am in debt to them all for a long, long time!

I could go on and on, but instead I will include Psalm 138. It sums up my heart on this Thanksgiving day.

I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; before the "gods" I will sing your praise.
I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.
May all the kings of the earth praise you, O LORD, when they hear the words of your mouth.
May they sing of the ways of the LORD, for the glory of the LORD is great.
Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me.
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever— do not abandon the works of your hands.

Finally, I give thanks for YOU! You will never know how your words of encouragement and prayers have carried me through some most difficult days. May God bless you all!

Give thanks to the Lord! His love endures FOREVER!

Monday, November 24, 2008

I plan to write more this week about the Thanksgiving season, which seems to get overlooked because of Christmas, but tonight I wanted to share a couple of pictures of my pilgrim and Indian. :)

Jon Brent had a Thanksgiving feast at his preschool where he got to dress as a pilgrim. He really wanted to be spiderman, but I didn't think that was appropriate. He still doesn't understand why he couldn't be spiderman. Notice Ally has on Christmas pajamas. (I am guilty of overlooking Thanksgiving, too!)

Anna Lea was an Indian and they made their costume at school. Kentucky Fried Chicken was the menu at their feast! So precious. We had great fun making a turkey for an art contest at her school. I didn't have a clue what we would we possibly do with this large Mickey hand when it was given to us at Disney World... the end result... a turkey!

Now, here is the real TURKEY...Brad! Just kidding. This picture was taken recently and I just wanted to share. I love these two more than I can say. So very thankful for their love and many sacrifices they make for me and the kids. More to come...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


A week ago today was Jason's birthday and I must tell you it was such a rough day for me. I hurt so deeply and so badly wanted Jason here with me on this earth. I wanted to look into his eyes and tell him Happy Birthday. I wanted so badly to sit with him and fill him in on all that has transpired in the last 4 months. I wanted him to walk through the door and greet the kids the way he greeted them each day after returning home from work or school. The weather was so very gloomy on his birthday and that was exactly how I felt. Gloomy and so very sad. I was overwhelmed once again by the all the words of encouragement I received on that day through phone calls, emails, text messages, messages on this blog as well as facebook messages. However, the day just seemed to drag and feel...heavy. I could not wait until November 13 arrived. And it did.

On November 13th the sun was shining so bright and the sky was clear blue. Thank Jesus! I packed and cleaned all morning getting ready for Disney. I had prayed the night before that somehow the Lord would allow me to be genuinely excited about this trip. He once again was faithful. I woke up Thursday a.m. really ready for this trip. We flew out Thursday afternoon with 3 VERY excited kids. I think Ashley and I were just as excited as they were! Speaking of Ashley, let me just take a moment and thank her in this setting. Ashley hates any attention so I know she won't be happy with me about the next couple of sentences. This entire trip was Ashley's idea and provided for by her. She called me several months ago and surprised me with the idea. I was overwhelmed then and I still am overwhelmed at her love and generosity. I wish I could adequately express to you how very special Ashley is to me. I pretty much hand picked her to be my sister in law. :) (Scott, you know you can't argue with that statement!) I SO badly wanted to have a sister growing up and God blessed me BIG time as an adult to have 2 absolutely wonderful sisters in law who have become my best friends. I am so thankful for both of them. Anyway, the fact that she provided this trip for me and the kids is just who Ashley is... so giving. Giving, but she NEVER seeks the applause of others because of that giving spirit. You see, Ashley learned this trait directly from her parents. They also are SO giving to me and to my family.

Disney didn't fail us, it truly was a magical time. It has always been a favorite place of mine and Jason's, but it will now hold such a different place in my heart because of what it did this visit. For 5 days I was happy. Really happy. We talked of Jason a lot, but all happy memories. No leukemia memories. Oh, I can't tell you what that did for me. God used Disney to give me HOPE of what was to come. (Yes, you read it correctly... God used that possible? Some Southern Baptists would disagree with me!) Through this trip the Lord provided me hope for having true JOY again.

Grief is a tricky and rough process. Some days are easier than others. Let me back up and say some moments are easier than others. Some moments I smile/laugh and others I cry... A LOT. Some days I wake up ready for the day while other days I think, "there is no way I can make it today." Some nights I fall fast asleep while other nights I cry myself to sleep for missing Jason so much. The last 5 days I was able to have joy. Yes, I missed Jason tremendously, but for 5 days I had what I would call a reprieve from the heaviness of grief that I have experienced over the last 4 months. I guess it was more like a break from my reality. I can't tell you how thankful to the Lord I am for this break and glimpse of joy.

Recently I read a devotional by Beth Moore that spoke of this very thing. Allow me to quote her directly so not to mess up what God was saying through her.

"Joy may seem to pause as grief takes its course, but those whose hearts are bound by Him will experience it again." She then quotes Jeremiah 31:3-4. "You, O Lord, love me with an everlasting love; You have drawn me with loving kindness. You will build me up again and I will be rebuilt. I will take up my tambourine and go out to dance with the joyful!"

What a promise our Lord provides! I must admit when we landed in Atlanta for a quick lay-over Monday night, my reality hit me square in the eyes and the pain returned. I know this grief is for a season and one day I know He will rebuild me and allow me to be joyful again. The joy He will bring will last for more than 5 days, too. In the meantime, I am most thankful for the break He provided and for the HOPE I have as to what is to come. I will continue to allow Him to heal my broken heart in His time. I continue to lean hard into Jesus knowing His ways are perfect and that He is good.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Just a sample of the fun...

Just a sample of some of the fun we had in Disney. More to come, but tonight I need REST! Disney is NO's WORK! Anyway, I plan to write more tomorrow about the last week and post a few more pictures. Thanks for checking in with me. To be continued...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

November 12

Today, November 12th, Jason would have been 34 years old. I assure you last year when we celebrated his birthday, we never dreamed it would be his last here. I was trying to remember exactly what we did to celebrate the day. What did we do to celebrate his very last birthday on this earth?

Allow me to reminisce... we ate at one of his favorite restaurants in Naples. Hurricane Grill. Naples has some of the most fabulous eateries, but we didn't get frequent those places too often. One reason is Jason was in graduate school, therefore we were on a very tight budget and another reason was we had 2 small kids! The Hurricane Grill is a very casual establishment that served the best boneless wings in town. The hotter the better for Jason. We frequented this place so often that we became acquaintances with the owner. He was from New Orleans so we always enjoyed talking about places we were all familiar with... this always made us feel close to home.
After a great meal we went home for birthday cake that was prepared by none other than Anna Lea. A homemade "funfetti" cake. This was Anna Lea's favorite and thus became Jason's favorite. The cake was so good that Jason consumed almost half of it ALONE in 2 days. I tried to make him feel bad about this since he was a diabetic, but his response was always, "it's my birthday, leave me alone!" And so I did only after I nagged him about it no less than hundred times. After cake, we put the kids to bed and decided to watch a movie, a favorite hobby of Jason's. We watched Hitch. We had seen this movie numerous times, but since most of the movies Jason owned were "kill 'em up dead" movies, this would fit my taste as well. That's all I really remember about his last birthday. That makes me even more sad. How I wish I would have savored the day a little longer. How I wish now that I would have INSISTED that he let me take his picture! (The picture above was taken close to his birthday, but not on actual day.)
November 12th will always be a day I will celebrate even though my pain is so incredibly great this year. I am forever a better person because of Jon Jason Weathers. I am so thankful that the Lord saw fit for our paths to cross and then allowed me the honor of being his wife for 10 years. I am blessed beyond measure to be the mother of his children. Although the task seems daunting right now without him, I am so thankful to our Savior for these little Jason's that are in my possession.
November 12th also marks exactly four months since Jason's passing. Four months...sometimes it seems like forever while other times it seems like just yesterday. I took some flowers to the cemetery on Monday with Jon Brent and Ally. (Anna Lea was in school still.) I don't really frequent the cemetery all that often. Not sure why, but for now it doesn't really comfort me to visit. Maybe one day it will, but for now I pretty much avoid going. Jon Brent was unusually quiet during the visit. I guess he was just taking it all in or as much as a 3 year old mind can take in. I sat Ally on the grass as I just quietly sat looking at both of them. They both have changed so much in four months. Especially Ally. My heart hurt so very much looking at their innocent faces. I hurt for them in that they don't get the benefits of having Jason walk with them through all life will throw at them. I had to continue to remind myself that He does have a plan and that His word promises us that He will work this for our good. I must be honest and say at that moment I couldn't see the good, but only fill the enormous hurt. I gave those feelings immediately to Jesus. All of them. I find myself having to do that sometimes on a daily basis. Who am I kidding? Sometimes an hourly basis.
I have thought a lot as to how we should spend today. I have even asked the kids as to how they want to celebrate daddy's birthday. Anna Lea wants to bake the funfetti cake. Jon Brent... well, when I asked him, his response was, "I want to go to Target and get a race car." This is how Jon Brent would spend every day! So, I am not exactly sure as to how the day will unfold, but I covet your prayers. Yes, it is just another day without sweet Jason, but a significant day nonetheless.
As I contemplate our day without Jason, I am also thinking of how he is spending his first birthday in heaven. My dear Mammaw's birthday was yesterday so I hope the two of them are having one fabulous celebration together. However, I imagine everyday is a fabulous celebration in heaven. So, Happy Birthday, sweet Jason. I know this one will be the best one for you ever and that thought brings me such comfort.
Hide me now
Under your wings
Cover me within your mighty hand
Find rest my soul
In Christ alone
Know his power
In quietness and trust
When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with you above the storm
Father you are king over the flood
I will be still and know you are God
Words by Reuben Morgan

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Just an update on me...

I haven't updated in almost a week and although I am so very tired tonight, I was drawn here. Ally has had a double ear infection this week. She's been most demanding as any child would be with ears as bad as her ears. I think we've all been fighting off a cold all week. I pray we are all on the mends again as we are to leave for Disney in just a few days. All I can say is thank God for my mom! She has pulled extra shifts this week in helping me with the kids... especially Ally. By the way, I think Ally thinks that my mom is her mom. :) You have to remember that right after Ally was born, I was spending most of my time taking care of Jason. Nana was her main care provider. Ally literally lights up like a Christmas tree when Nana walks in the room and she ALWAYS chooses Nana over me. I joke with my mom about being offended by this, but truthfully I am most thankful.

I was able to sneak off to Jackson on Friday and shop at Mistletoe Marketplace with some friends. This was medicine to my soul. I enjoyed so much the laughter that came from being there. I saw several people that I haven't seen since Jason died and all were so encouraging to me. It's amazing how a small word of encouragement can be such healing for my soul.

Today I stayed home ALL day except for a quick bite to eat tonight with family. I don't think I have stayed home like this in weeks! I got a lot accomplished and that always makes me feel better. :) My mom and I hung some pictures tonight in some areas of the house. Having pictures hung on the wall really makes a house feel like home. I sat in the den tonight just looking around in total silence. I was so overwhelmed with so many emotions. I know I have said this before, but I so wish Jason could have been a part of this house. Not that I want to bring him back to this earth from heaven, but I just know he would have loved this house. At first after I bought the house, I thought that Jason wouldn't have been so crazy about it, but now that I have our 'stuff' in it, I know he would have loved it. I still have so many of his things and I am not sure really what I plan to do with them, but right now I just want them with me. In some ways, it brings me comfort.

I ran in Target one day this week to pick up a prescription for Ally. I needed to run in the back of the store for a particular item which required me to be near the Christmas section. Immediately, I began to hear Christmas music. Ouch and ouch. Again ouch. This has already happened once in Wal-mart. Could everyone just turn down the Christmas music when they see me coming?!?!? (Kidding, of course.) In a matter of seconds, I was crying uncontrollably. Jon Brent was with me... thank the Lord. The conversation went something like this:
"Mommy, you crying cause you miss daddy?"
"Yes, Jon Brent, I miss daddy."
"Mommy, don't fry. You told me we'd see daddy again one day."

Out of the mouths of babes. Here in Target my 3 year old son was encouraging me. All I could say was, "you are right, Jon Brent."

Today I received word of a precious sister in Christ whose dad has been diagnosed with AML . I hurt so deeply for this family. I hate so badly for anyone to have to walk down the road we have had to walk. As I tried to find the right words to encourage her with all that kept coming to mind was, Jesus will be faithful. Regardless of how bad the news gets, He is always there. Even in my darkest days, He has been faithful to meet me there. Looking back on my journey thus far, my God has been so incredibly faithful to me even in those emotional breakdowns in Target over Christmas music playing in the background. What blows my mind even more about God's faithfulness is that I don't deserve Him. I deserve hell, but because of His grace, I will one day walk with Jason on the streets of gold in the presence of our faithful Lord. How I long for that day!

I want to close with the lyrics of a song entitled "I Will Run to You." This song has become my prayer over the last several days. Click here to listen:
Your eye is on the sparrow
And Your hand, it comforts me
From the ends of the Earth to the depth of my heart
Let Your mercy and strength be seen
You call me to Your purpose
As angels understand
For Your glory, may You draw all men
As Your love and grace demand
And I will run to You
To Your words of truth
Not by might, not by power
But by the spirit of God
Yes I will run the race'
Till I see Your face
Oh let me live in the glory of Your grace

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Papa Got a Brand New Book

(Papa and his grandchildren)

Well, Papa turned the big 60 today. Its hard to believe the decades go by so quickly. Papa spent some time tonight telling us how he spent the decades of his life and I thought I would share them with you.

He admitted to the family that he spent the first decade of his life wetting his bed. No, not the first year. Ten years. You would think after a few years he would have his bladder under control. At least he didn't have to worry about ruining clothes since he and his parents lived at a nudist colony.

In the next ten years, he got into a little mischief. At 12, he ran away and joined the traveling circus. That was too much work so he became a used car salesman at the age of 14. Needless to say, it went downhill from there. Hooked on crack at 16, he moved back home and began to pawn his parents big screen tv(22 inch, black and white) and mothball clothing. They finally got him sobered up and off to college.

His parents thought that they had straightened him up. He then decided to become a lawyer. They gave up. He was later blessed with two sons. He spent the next two decades trying to keep one of those sons from being a delinquent(yes, Jason). He came home several times to "that son" throwing a surprise party for him. Unfortunately, it was not supposed to be a surprise or a party. Because of that time, the Lord later blessed him with Bypass surgery.

The next two decades he continued taking care of sons, grandsons, and granddaughters. The time has definitely flown by. I would say that I hope he makes it another 60 years but lets not push it. I am not really fond of changing baby's diapers, much less old man diapers. I'll take another 40 though.

Lets go walking Mississippi

(Papa and his well trained dog)

P.S. Papa did get a few books to read for his birthday.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

"Keep Walking, Steph"

It's been a crazy week. What is it with Halloween being so very busy? I've made it through other 'firsts' without Jason. Trick or Treating, Halloween parties, and USM Homecoming. I'll be honest, I wanted to skip out on all of it, but I know I have to keep going. A friend of mine sent me a text message the other day asking how I was doing. I began to converse with her about the deep pain I was feeling at the present and she sent me back simple advice, "keep walking, Steph." So, I keep walking. I so badly would love to stay in the bed and pull the covers over my head, but really what good would that do? My children wouldn't allow it for 2 seconds! Thank God for them during this most difficult time.

I was able to have dinner here in Hattiesburg with a friend of mine from Naples on Thursday night. Heather was doing some work in Jackson this week and made a HUGE sacrifice by driving down for the evening and taking me to dinner. What a treat! Heather is the first person from Naples that I have seen since Jason's death. Oh, the emotions that flooded my soul just seeing her sweet smile. I know I have written before about my time in Naples and I could write for days all that God did while there in two short years. How I wouldn't trade ONE single day that Jason and I had there now! I know for those of you who had to listen to me 'cry' over moving and even listen to me 'cry' over the fact we were 13 hours from home are now saying, "I told you so!" Go ahead, I give you permission.

Naples will FOREVER hold such a special place in my heart. God taught me so much about trusting Him completely while there. It was there that He began to prepare me for this journey I've been on for the last 10 months. It was there that He began dealing with me in regards to the fear of the unknown that had such a stronghold in my life. It was there that I had to completely get out of my comfort zone and rest in our Sovereign Lord. Another precious thing about Naples is that during our 2 years there, Jason and I grew SO very close to each other. So amazing how God works. I know I say this so often, but He really does blow my mind.

Naples will always be special also because of the people that we grew to love while there. Jason and I were so blessed to not only have our family and friends praying and encouraging us from the Hattiesburg area, but also those from Naples as well. We were constantly scratching our heads in astonishment each and every time we heard from anyone from Naples during Jason's battle with leukemia. I pray I get the opportunity to visit these wonderful folks in the near future. I know it will be a bitter sweet visit, but one I long to take.

I will close tonight by sharing a statement that I read this week by Beth Moore. "Every time we suffer loss, we have the opportunity for the loss to bring gain for Jesus' sake by allowing His life to be revealed." My prayer is that He will be revealed more and more because of this great loss. In the meantime, I'll keep walking.