Saturday, August 14, 2010

A day of mourning and sadness...

Today, I attended Dan and Southern's funeral. It was at Friendly Baptist Church at 4:30 pm and the church was overflowing with supportive family and friends.  Which was a beautiful testimony of how many lives have been touched by knowing these wonderful people.

When I woke up this morning, all I could think about was April, Anna, and Sandra who were going to bury their loved ones today.  I thought about the times I had gone over to April's house and swam while Dan worked on their farm.  I reminisced how EVERY single time I saw Dan he was wearing overalls which I assume is a necessary piece of clothing for every cowboy's wardrobe and that the last time I saw him and spoke to him was at another sad occasion, which was Heather Whitehead's viewing before her funeral in April 2009.  The Dan I knew was a very loving father who would give his life to protect his family and others.  I've been mentally kicking myself for not ever taking the time to meet Southern and realized that now I would never have the chance.  I dreaded every hour that ticked by as 4 o'clock neared.  While my heart was heavy, I tried not to show it because we had company (Hobby and Hannah) over today. I loved on Jonah as much as possible.  When something like this happens to someone close to you, you can't help but hold your loved ones a little tighter and say "I love you" just a little more often.  It's times these that truly remind you that life is so precious, time is so short, and that we're never guaranteed tomorrow.  

When I arrived, they were directing traffic to parallel park along the driveways because they had run out of parking spaces.  I was sent upstairs into the balcony because the lower portion of the church was full. As I looked down at the stage, I saw a single, beautiful mahogany colored casket covered with a yellow and white bouquet spray, a folded American flag, and a small black cowboy hat.

It appeared the family had decided to bury the two of them together. Had Dan and Southern been here to choose, they wouldn't have had it any other way.  They had spent alot of time together, just Southern and Poppa, God had taken them from this world together and their bodies would rest in peace together until Christ's return to this earth.  They had also walked through the gates of Heaven hand-in-hand to meet their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ together.  You see, little 6 year old Southern decided on March 26th, 2010 that he needed Jesus and asked Him to become Lord and Savior of his life and he was baptized on March 28th, 2010.  His Poppa had been a Christian for many, many years so there was no question where he would be when he left this earth.

As I watched my friend and her family come into the sanctuary, tears rolled down my cheeks as I grieved for them.  They all, Sandra, April and Anna had a tissue tucked away in their hand preparing for many more tears to fall.  One would think that after three days of tears that you wouldn't be able to cry anymore but as the funeral proceeded, more tears fell.  The congregation was full of sniffles as others cried their own tears for this family.

Being from the country, it was only fitting that the family had decided to play Vince Gill's "Go Rest High On That Mountain" among other country songs throughout the service in memory of Dan and Southern and as a comfort to their loved ones left behind.  A slide show with pictures of Dan and Southern by themselves and with family members was shown reminding us just how alive the two of them were and cataloged the memories and lives they had lived.  It's kind of ironic how we try to document life as it's happening with pictures but you never see cameras at funerals because no one wants to remember such times of great grief. 

The present pastor at Friendly spoke and told a story about the first time he saw Dan.  He said he was there preaching in view of a call when all of the sudden he noticed this man in the back row with a beard down to his belly button and hair down to the middle of his back.  He said that he thought to himself, "What kind of people are they letting into this church?"  Well, little did he know that Dan's outward appearance was a facade. It wasn't until he actually met him that he realized that Dan's rugged appearance didn't define the man underneath.  Dan was a cop for the Tyler Police Department for 22 years and his "hair" was part of his cover.  He had nothing but praise for his brother in Christ and gave words of encouragement to the family.  He also spoke about his experience baptizing Southern just a few months ago.  He said "Southern, he was all boy because all he wanted to do was play and swim in the baptistry," which caused the congregation to laugh.  He said that he never saw Southern without a smile on his face and that he loved is Poppa very much.  

A fellow friend and co-worker spoke about his relationship with Dan, in the "real" world and in "God's" world. In the "real" world, Dan had his back.  In "God's" world, Dan had realized that God was in the small things.  That was Dan's life motto: God was in the small things.  Not a truer word could have been spoken or treasured at this time in their lives.  And who better to remind them and us about it than a friend of Dan.

The former pastor of Friendly spoke about being jealous of Dan because he could wear his overalls to church but his wife wouldn't let him. :)  He also told a story about a letter in the obituary section  from a family to a loved one in a small town newspaper. I'm paraphrasing but it was something like this.

"Dear Billy, 
The day you passed away our sun died in the sky. Even though our lives this past year have been very dark, God has turned on the headlights so we can see to go on. We love you and can't wait to see you again someday! 
Love, the Family"

This had to be such great words of comfort because how do you go on living after something like this happens?  I would just want to lay down and die because that would have to feel better than grieving and dealing with it. He also shared the gospel and how to become a Christian so we could have the hope of seeing our loved ones again in heaven like the Ross family would.

As the ceremony was drawing to a close, the police department presented Sandra with the folded American flag that had lain on their casket the entire service serenaded by a beautiful rendition of "Amazing Grace" by a man playing the bagpipes.  They then removed the small cowboy hat, which had to have been Southern's, the flowers and wheeled them out of the sanctuary.  The family followed behind them one-by-one.  My heart immediately flooded with grief knowing that the next several hours were going to be the most difficult.  The finality of burying your loved one or loved ones is very hard to accept.  Unfortunately, I didn't attend the graveside service which was in Van, TX. I think that the graveside service should be a private family-only ceremony so you can spend the last time with your loved ones and be able to fall apart if you need to without the whole world watching.

I cried most of the way home thinking about my friends and what they were about to face. It was also a time of reflection for me and what's really important when all the "fluff" of life goes away.  I hope I never take my family and friends and the time I have with them for granted because we never know when it might their last.

Dear God,
Please continue to hold the Ross' in your arms. Turn on the headlights for them so they can see in the midst of the darkness. Show us how to show them love from you through us in the coming day, weeks, months, and years.  Let them know you are ALWAYS with them through the good times and bad and that you're very much into the small things.  I love You and I praise You!
In Jesus name I pray,

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Dear God,
Yesterday, you decided to take home two loved ones from the Ross Family. Southern was only 6 years old and the only son of my dear friend, April. Not only did you take Southern but you also took April's father, Dan, with him.  It's with a VERY heavy heart that I come to you and beg that you'll wrap your gentle, loving arms around April, Anna, and Sandra tightly and give them a peace that passes all understanding. My mind can't and doesn't want to fathom the great amount of grief they're experiencing right now.  I know that you have the power to give and take away because EVERYTHING is yours anyway.  It just doesn't seem fair or time to take them from this earth to be with you so soon.  I also know that in time you will provide them with healing.  Please Lord show them that even though they may not see or understand it right now, that you do have a plan and a purpose for their lives.  Please be their calm in the midst of this storm and allow them to feel your presence.  In Jesus name, I pray.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

So You Think You Can Dance!

This is my favorite dancer so far this season! Kent is my 2nd favorite!

Lauren Froderman - What an amazing performace!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


My, my how time flies! As you can see it's been a while since my last post. It's been 5 months and a week today since the little baby I was fretting about came into my life and turned it upside down for the better. Oh how I love him so much! He makes we want to be a better mom, wife, daughter, sister, cousin, just basically a better person altogether. I was so scared about having Jonah that it consumed most of my thoughts in the last few weeks before I had him. But within a few hours of having him all of those "fears" went away. No doubt, a who other set of fears came into mind after he was born...but none of the same anxious thoughts about being a mom were there anymore. There have been so many moments of joy and lots of joyous tears and a few frustrated tears shed since he came into our lives. All in all, I would recommend having a baby to EVERY woman I come into contact with. It's the closest thing to heaven and hell in my opinion. Loving someone so much that you would die for them is a blessing and agony all at the same time. Being Jonah's mommy is the greatest joy I have ever experienced in my life so far.

My husband has become a "new" creation since having Jonah. I always knew he had the potential to be a great daddy but since he came from a home without one, I was skeptical. He has risen above and beyond my expectations as a father to Jonah! I cannot imagine raising Jonah without him. The moment the nurse handed Jonah to him, Justin fell in love and it's something he proves to Jonah everyday! I'm so thankful and so blessed! I can't wait to see what God has in store for my wonderful expanded family!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Waiting patiently...

for my little boy to arrive! I'm excited, scared, and ready all at the same time. His crib is ready, the clothes are washed, his bag is packed, mine's almost there, now is just the waiting period. I believe that I've been having Braxton Hicks contractions but being a FTM, I'm not really sure what they feel like. It seems today as if my son has dropped a couple of inches from where he normally is but that could just be wishful thinking. It's a little bit discouraging when family and friends are saying things like "you haven't had that baby yet?" and "he'll probably come late." I know that everything will happen in due time because God knows when he's ready and when I'm ready. If feel so blessed to have had such a wonderful pregnancy and I know that Jonah is going to rock my world for the better!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Baby Hiccups

Awww! I think Jonah had the hiccups today. I was sitting here and I kept feeling these methodical movements, not like any gouge I've been feeling, so I assume they are hiccups. Michael encouraged me to blog about this so that I'll remember it.

She also shared a HILARIOUS story about one of her babies having the hiccups that almost made me pee in my pants at work. Thanks, Sis! I love you!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


So far being pregnant has been the most facinating thing I have ever experienced! It's also the most un-normal I have ever felt in my entire life! The best way that I can describe how I feel is like's like I'm sick but I'm not sick. I just feel uncomfortable in my own body, if that makes any sense at all. I'm trying to decide at this point if I even like being pregnant. Some women love it and then some don't enjoy it at all. I think it's the skinny ones that enjoy it because they can eat WHATEVER they want and don't have to worry too much about gaining too much weight. Us fat ones can't even tell we're pregnant or don't even feel comfortable telling people we are pregnant until the baby is big enough to strech out the fat rolls and be seen. UGH! I'm just curious if I will ever feel the way I did pre-pregnancy? It may just be because I'm short and I don't have much room between my boobs and my pelvic bone so I just feel like everything is squished! I don't know! The sad thing is...I have 21 more weeks to go and if I'm already not enjoying this completely...what's next? Is incessant complaining a sign of being pregnant too or is it just me?