Friday, August 28, 2015

everyone has a story to tell...conversation with women...

My friend Emily is an inspiring woman. Listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit she started a website called "Conversation with Women" in order to facilitate the sharing of our stories on matters of faith, sexuality, marriage and society. Whether we share our NFP journey, our conversion story, tales of our marriage or of our love for church, everyone has a story to tell. 

I invited her to come and share how the Lord encouraged her to begin this website and where she thinks He is leading this ministry. I thank her for her forthrightness and her willingness to share her story here today. 

I strongly encourage you to take a peak at the Conversation with Women website and if you are so called, please consider sharing your story. You never know how it may help another woman going through the same thing. 

We are called to community and encouragement of one another. This is one place where that actually happens and I am happy to support Emily and her teams efforts. 


Emily from Conversation with Women

1. Can you briefly explain the story behind Conversation with Women?

I came back to the faith, in part, because I found supportive Catholic women in a mom’s group who shared their faith with me.  I remember the first time I heard one of them mention NFP. My reaction was “NFP? People do that?” I kept my shock under wraps and continued to listen, absorb, and explore what these women were discussing.  As I began my journey back to the faith, the women in this mom’s group became very important to me because they were the only fully-practicing Catholics that I knew.  I tried to share my faith with women back home but they just didn’t buy it.  They didn’t have a community of women living the faith, struggles and all, right in front of their eyes. 

I began to search for ways to bring this faithful community that I had found to all women, or at least to any woman who was interested.  

That’s when I stumbled upon a column in St. John the Beloved’s parish bulletin entitled Conversation with Women. The column, which consisted of anonymously written stories, was the brilliant inspiration of Denise Kissinger, Sue Malone, and Mary Clare Murray.  Each anonymous woman who had contributed a story wrote about her struggle with Catholic teaching in regard to either sexuality, marriage, contraception, or chastity.  The authors shared how they had struggled, but ultimately found peace, joy, and healing by living those same teachings with which they had struggled. 

I knew immediately that Conversation with Women could reach those women who were struggling and did not have Catholic community.  I wanted to expand the reach of the column and a blog seemed to be the best answer.  I approached the women who were running the column and they agreed to let me do it.  Mary Clare has continued to work on the blog with me. 

2. How do you think this website is helpful to women?

We are all in different places and Conversation with Women reaches out and touches you right where you are.  Conversation with Woman will be your confidant and your support.

If you are new to the faith and think some of the teachings are impossible to live, come on over and read a story or two and you will see how women handle the struggle and live the faith. 

Maybe you are a faithful Catholic who has never struggled?  When you read these stories and see the sacrifices some of these women have made in order to live their faith you will be fed in the same vein that we are fed by the blood of the martyrs. 

Many women today are living Catholicism but are worried about their friends or relatives who are not.  The stories at Conversation with Women are great conversation starters.  It might be difficult to approach Cousin Mabel and talk to her about the dangers of birth control but you could send her a link to a story and ask her what she thinks about it.
Maybe you need the support of some like-minded women? Or maybe you have that support, but you are too ashamed to tell them your struggles?  Either way, you can tell your story anonymously at Conversation with Women and find that support. 

3. How has your involvement with this website changed you?

My faith continues to grow! I am constantly refreshed and renewed in my faith by receiving these stories.  My prayer life has increased as I often ask our Lord’s help on behalf of these authors and their families. Also, my trust and confidence in our Lord have increased greatly.  I didn’t know anything about creating a website or blog.  I relied on God and He led the way!

4. What is your hope for Conversation with Women?

My hope is that Conversation with Women provides community and support to women who might otherwise be alone or isolated and that the stories at Conversation with Women provide kindling for many invaluable “in person” conversations.

5. How can women share their stories? Why should they consider it?

Just click on “Submit Your Story” and attach your document or copy and paste your text.
  
You should share your story because it has the potential to inspire others.  As much as we are all unique, and you are the only one that can tell your story, our struggles are similar.  Reading how you handled your struggle may be exactly what someone needs to hear in order to encourage her in her own struggle.

Thanks so much to Emily for sharing today. Y'all, go and check out Conversation with Women. The stories will inspire and encourge. I pray you consider sharing your own story as well. 



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

OOOOklahoma where the poop comes sweeping down the plains...

Hi All! 
My apologies for the small blog break. 

It was unintentional. 

I was a bit overwhelmed by all the feels that accompanied marking Courtney's birthday, our first since she died. Between that and the prepping/packing for our trip back to Jerry's hometown of Collinsville, Oklahoma for his parents 60th Wedding Anniversary celebration, I just lost track of time. We are home now and I thought what better time to have my hubster recap the weekend in his own special way.

Also, check out the update on our fundraising efforts to pay off our medical debt from Miss Courtney at the end of the post. Y'all are just the best! Truly. 

Happy Reading!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Greetings blog readers!

It is I, Mary's husband, plus one, Pookie bear...or as I like to say:




"So, sit right back and I'll tell you a tale...a tale of a fateful trip...that started from our little home and went down right to sh**."

Yes my friends, last weekend, our merry band of travelers went to Oklahoma to visit my parents for their 60th wedding anniversary...a remarkable achievement that should be celebrated.


On Friday, off we went at 4:30 A.M. to get to Dulles airport for our flight to Tulsa, Oklahoma and a lovely weekend filled with dominos, family tales, and cake.


ONLY...not so fast...as usual, we needed St. Courtney's intervention before lunch.


a) our flight got cancelled due to mechanical difficulty. 


b) we had to rebook on a different airline, which meant we had to go BACK to the ticket counter to get new boarding passes and make sure our luggage was transferred to the new carrier. We had to go BACK through TSA a second time since we changed airlines. I guess, while I was in that little screening booth the second go around, I should have asked they guy if he could do a virtual colonoscopy...since I was feeling like this was all a pain in the butt.


c) we sat in the airport all day to catch a 5:00 pm flight. They changed the gate one hour before takeoff...which meant we had to get across the ENTIRE airport to the third world gate. You know the one, where you walk out to the plane on the tarmac and the pigs and chickens get on the plane with you.  Fortunately that was a direct flight, so we finally arrived in Tulsa at 7:30 PM where...miracle of miracles, (ok, St. Courtney was working overtime for us) our luggage actually arrived.


So, off we went to my childhood home, had a late supper and went to bed.  


The next day we were up and headed to the church to set up.  Now some of you may ask...just how small is this town I'm from?




This is our town's hardware store...and I'm pretty sure it sells bait, tackle, beer, and ammo...making it, of course, the perfect one stop shopping.   Oh, yea....if you buy your nails, ammo, and bait at the same store, you might be a redneck.  

This is my favorite store in town...




That's right my friends, that is a gun store right in the middle of main street with a gunsmith on sight, needless to say, there is not a lot of crime in my home town...and yes, you park right off main street in diagonal parking spots after traversing four...yes FOUR stop lights (twice as many as they had the last time I was home).

It's a boom town now. 




The party was a lot of fun (BIG KUDOS to my sister who worked her butt off making it happen...I LOVE YOU SIS)
I, of course made our family's favorite meatballs and my personal favorites, pigs in a blanket, or as I like to call them, little bites of heaven..one day I will figure out how to make a quilt of bacon so those little piggies stay nice and warm.



My parents celebrated their 60th with all their friends and family and then we got down to the real business of the trip.



DOMINOES!

We even played at the church when all the work was done before the party started. 



OH, yes my friends, in my family dominoes occupies a special place with God, the Pope, Ronald Reagan, and bacon as things that are taken very, very seriously.

A tidbit of family history...my great-uncle Wayne was the greatest domino player I ever met. He was quite the character. My grandfather had to get him out of the pokie (not jail, we don't have those in Oklahoma, if you get arrested you go to the pokie) after a night of moonshine and brawling, to make it to the bus sending him to boot camp and off to World War II where he served in Italy. He could, no kidding, determine exactly what dominos every player had after the first round of play. It was a bit unnerving to say the least...he was the domino whisperer.


 But I digress.  Needless to say there were some serious dominoes played, where sadly, my father and I did not win.  Now I'm not saying we trash-talk or anything, but there might have been some "Yo mama wears army boots." (Duh, true) and the occasional "You musta been dropped on your head when you was little"  (Duh, also true, my big sister brags about it) or my all time favorite from the archive of 
Things my daddy says while playing dominoes...

"Shit'll do for brains if you got the dominoes."

But since my son still has to do the dishes and take out the trash, I do get some small measure of revenge.



Jerry's parents in 1955...their wedding day
All was going well until the very last day, Sunday.  The day started off well enough.  We were looking over some old family photos that my siblings and I had never seen.  One exchange went like this:

Mary:  who's this?
Mom:  that's Aunt Matha, not Martha but May-tha.  

Mary: Where is she now?
Mom: Dead.

My mom does not mince words.  Later we went over to an old family friends home for supper. His family owns several hundred acres and about 50 head of cattle. There we received some true wisdom.  Yes, for those of you familiar with "family life education," this is how we teach it in Oklahoma- 

"Don't let your pecker do your pickin'."

Yes, we are succinct and to the point, so to speak.  


But my favorite tale was about this past spring season in the pasture:


"We think our bull Steve might not be getting the job done. That's why we have our bull Jack. He's the clean up crew.  If it ain't nailed down, it is by the time he leaves the pasture."


I almost spit out my beer I was laughing so hard. But then that would be alcohol abuse. 

And...oh, yea, no Lenaburg story would be complete without the poop.  Lots of it.  All over my parent's basement bathroom floor.


On Monday morning, we were up at 0-dark-30 again to catch a 7:30 A.M. flight back to Dulles.  The basement toilet had not been flushing fully so my Dad asked everyone to take a quick sponge bath in the morning to not overload the septic tank.  Just as we were finishing up, my mom yells from downstairs to STOP RUNNING WATER...not sure what's going on I run downstairs to find...sewage coming up the downstairs toilet...and not a little bit either.  


We are talking 20-30 gallons backed up.  Needless to say it was not good.  The poop had hit the fan...or would have if my Mom hadn't quickly moved it out of the path of the rising tide of poop.  Mom grabbed a mop and shooed us out of the house to catch our flight.  


In the car we began begging our sweet Saint for a little intercession with the septic system. She's really good at those. We managed to get on the plane and had a fairly uneventful flight home, arriving in Virginia a little after 2:00 p.m. 


Home sweet home...with flushing toilets...and water pressure. 




BUT wait, the story isn't over. Later that day, the septic tank guy came out to the 'rents and said "Hmm, this is quite a mess." DUH! "Have you ever had your system completely cleaned out?"  

Apparently, it needs to be done more often than my parents were aware of, so they came up with a plan. St. Courtney was on the job again. Yes. plumbing and cars continue to be her specialty.  The guy knew what he was doing and fixed their problem.  


So, today they are happily washing clothes, doing dishes, and flushing toilets.


To answer the question many of you have been dying to ask...YES, we do have indoor plumbing in Collinsville  Oklahoma, population 6,131..we even have the internet and the Facebook and the Youtubes.


And four stoplights. Unless they begin to irritate people. Then we turn them off.


Until next time...

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help pay off medical debt from caring for our beautiful Courtney  

You guys are just so awesome!! As of yesterday (August 24, 2015) we have been able to pay off the credit card that contained the PT,OT and feeding therapies and supplies for the last five years!! I am stunned and so very grateful to everyone who donated and has continued to lift our family in prayer as we face a new world without our daughter. I praise the Lord for his provision once more. 

Our new fundraising goal is $9,748.23 which will eliminate the balance on credit card used for Courtney's durable medical equipment, specifically her floor mats, special chair covers, bolsters for the sides of her bed, special waterproof bedding, soft lamb skin covers to help with skin breakdown, therapy pillows and Tumbler chairs that insurance considered "not necessary for quality of life". Needless to say we disagreed. She sat in the Tumbler so often that we had to replace the chair twice and insurance would only help with one. In most of the photos of Courtney she is in her Tumbler.  If we can raise the full amount, we can pay it off and be that much closer to our larger goal. One thing at a time. Thank you so much for your help. 

The entire medical debt is extensive, it now stands at $63,900.00. It's a lot and will take years to whittle down, but with your generous help we are getting closer. Anything helps. Anything. So, I will keep it at the bottom of my posts for awhile. Every time we pay something off, I will change the picture above. 

You all have already given so much to our family. Our prayers are with you and we are so very grateful. We can never repay that kindness. So thank you...just thank you. 

If you would like our mailing address, please just email me at mary_romance@cox.net and I will send it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

ALL the feels today...


I have had ALL the feels today. 

ALL.THE.FEELS. 

I didn't know there were so many damn feels. 

I woke up at 5 a.m. and just lay there thinking back over all the details of the day my Courtney was born. Twenty-three years ago today at 8:21 a.m. in Brunswick, ME a miracle occurred. It was quick, five hours of total labor. It was intense and painful but after two pushes I was holding her in my arms. 

My daughter. My sweet Courtney Elizabeth. No drama. Just joy. 

So.much.joy. 

I had a little girl. A little sister to a big brother. Those blue eyes and little bald head just made me melt. Oh the love that flowed so freely that day between us. 

That love continued for the next twenty-two and a half years. I held her in my arms and she trusted me to care for her every need. That's a very precious trust between a Mama and her child. I reveled in it and I did my best every single day to make sure she knew she was loved. 

Every.single.day. 

And then it all changed. Her beloved called her home to Him and my arms were empty. My job as her Mama was done. Courtney's job was done. At least her job here on earth. I have no doubt she continues to work on behalf of her God to praise His name and spread His message of love and life. 

I wasn't ready, but then when God asks you to follow Him no matter what, it doesn't matter that you aren't ready. It just matters that you say "yes" and keep moving forward. 

My Mom joined me for morning Mass and then we headed over to the cemetery and planted some flowers for my girl. We chatted and told Courtney stories. No tears, just love. 



Then I got home and opened my email. Y'all are just too good to us. The emails, facebook messages and texts of love overwhelmed me. There may have been an ugly cry or three today as I read your beautiful words. I may have cried when my sweet friend with the voice of an angel sang Happy Birthday to Court over the phone. I may have cried when our sweet physician friend who signed Courtney's death certificate left a message of such kindness and love on my phone. He just wanted us to know how loved we were. 

Seriously.

too.many.feels. 

The day has been difficult. I won't lie. My husband weeping and filled with sorrow, missing his favorite girl. My son, with watery eyes trying to keep it together because his parents are hurting, visiting his sisters grave then bringing home cake and ice cream for dinner. 

My heart is overflowing with love for these two men. 

None of us knew what to do today. It was confusing and hard. the pain more prevalent than it has been in months. This first birthday without her here. Sad and quiet and filled with tears because to be without her is still foreign in some ways. 

Thank you for your words of love and kindness. Thank you for raising another $300 to go toward paying off Courtney's medical debt. We are getting so close to paying off that first credit card. All because you cared to share our story. Keep sharing it y'all. 

Thank you for listening to me drone on and on about my girl. Thank you for tolerating my overgramming and tweeting and facebooking photos of my daughter to keep her face alive for us. 

Thank you for lighting a candle for her today. Thank you for praying for us today. Thank you for asking for Courtney's intercession, allowing her legacy of love to continue. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart...for being you. 




help pay off medical debt from caring for our beautiful Courtney  

Our current fundraising goal is $3,209.00 which will eliminate the balance on credit card used for Courtney's PT, OT and Feeding therapies and supplies used over the last five years. We have raised $1420 of it so far. Only $1789.00 to go to pay this one off. If we can raise the full amount, we can pay it off and be that much closer to our larger goal. One thing at a time. Thank you so much for your help. 

The entire medical debt is extensive, now approx. $66,900. It's a lot and will take years to whittle down. Anything helps. Anything. So, I will keep it at the bottom of my posts for awhile. You all have already given so much to our family. Our prayers are with you and we are so very grateful. We can never repay that kindness. So thank you...just thank you. If you would like our mailing address, please just email me at mary_romance@cox.net and I will send it.

Monday, August 17, 2015

preparing my heart...


Last week a sweet blog reader and friend sent a little monetary gift in remembrance of my sweet Courtney. I set it aside and prayed about what I should use it for. I knew God and my Court would let me know when the time was right. 

Sunday at the blessing of Courtney's gravestone, it came to me. 

This morning I went to the local nursery with my BFF and we picked out some flowers to plant by Courtney's grave tomorrow. I wanted to spend part of her birthday with her and this way, I get to beautify her gravesite a little. I had only my small gift to spend so I said a prayer as we were adding things up. 

The total cost of what I wanted to get was exactly the amount of the gift. Exactly. God is so very good. 

I have always loved the language of flowers. We chose zinnias for Courtney. Magenta Zinnias that represent Lasting Affection. Mixed Zinnias that represent Thinking (or in Memory) of an Absent Friend and White Zinnias which represent Goodness. I thought these represented my girl well. 

We will go tomorrow morning after Mass and plant them. I promise pictures. 

I spent most of today with my two little four year old friends. It was a good thing. Distraction these days is helpful. I shared several photos of Courtney through the years on instagram, facebook and twitter. It was a balm for my heart to see her smiling face all day long. 

I feel like I have to prepare my heart for tomorrow. The tears come easily as I type this. Its just that I miss her so much. Most days I just keep moving as I walk through the grief. I am productive and feel as if I am making real progress on getting on with life. 

Then I think about tomorrow and I just want her here. I just want her in my arms dammit! I want her back! Her birthday was always such a wonderful day of celebration. I want to celebrate with smothering her face with kisses, making her favorite sausage biscuits with scrambled eggs, making her giggle and laugh, reading her stories, holding her as she sleeps in my arms, feeding her chocolate cake and just soaking up life with her still here. 

But...that is not to be. Tomorrow I will face Courtney's first birthday without her here to spoil. I will face the memories of my beautiful daughter with as much grace and laughter as I can muster. I can do this. I know I can.I think I can. 

Hell. I have no choice. I must. So I will. God help me. I will survive it.  

Thank you to those who donated to Courtney's debt reduction in the last 24 hours. We are only $2089.00 away from paying off the first credit card with her PT, OT and Feeding therapies and supplies used over the last five years. I have updated the numbers below as well.  

It would be such a gift to us to get this one paid off, leaving that monthly payment to be added toward the next credit card which we used for some of her adaptive equipment that insurance called "subjective and not necessary for daily living", such as her tumble form chairs (replacing it three times we used it so much, she wore it out) and some of her home PT supplies. My back still works because we purchased this equipment for her. 

We are running several hundred dollars behind each month at the moment, in what comes in compared to what goes out. By paying off these credit cards, that would bring us even and allow us to take a breath and actually move forward instead of treading water. 

This is the part of raising a special needs child that no one talks about. All the hidden costs and hard decisions you have to make every day on what's going to get paid and what has to wait. so humbling and frustrating, but so very real. 

I also want to thank you all for your emails, cards and letters that have been coming in the mail these last few days. I am so grateful to you for taking the time to write and tell us how our girl impacted your life. SO many wonderful stories. 

I am also praying for those who asked for prayer as well. Thank you for trusting me with your needs. Thank you so much.

God is so very good. So very good. 

Love and Prayers, 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PS. I have fielded many questions about our current financial situation and taken suggestions as well. Thank you so much for your concern. We are using the Dave Ramsey method of debt reduction. It will take us several years to be completely out of debt and that's OK. The last five years of Courtney's life were the most expensive amazingly enough. It's also when ObamaCare started and our health insurance plan changed three times, not in our favor. It's also when we tried several different experimental treatments to help Courtney have better control with her seizures as well as to help her gain wait. None of those were covered by insurance.

We have paid all the large hospital bills and now we are working on paying off the credit cards that were used to pay smaller ER/Hospital bills, medicine co-pays, therapy co-pays, special footwear and therapeutic clothing, therapeutic equipment not covered by insurance, special bedding for her spinal scoliosis, her special food and formula, and the list goes on. We used them when we did not have the cash to pay for all of these different components of her treatment plan.

You can see our current fundraising effort directly below. As each card is paid off, I will put up a new one for those who feel called to help. Thank you so much for your prayers and your practical help. I don't know where we would be without it. Truly I do not. Blessings and Grace to each of you...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


help pay off medical debt from caring for our beautiful Courtney  

Our current fundraising goal is $3,209.00 which will eliminate the balance on credit card used for Courtney's PT, OT and Feeding therapies and supplies used over the last five years. We have raised $1120 of it so far. Only $2089.00 to go to pay this one off. If we can raise the full amount, we can pay it off and be that much closer to our larger goal. One thing at a time. Thank you so much for your help. 

The entire medical debt is extensive, now approx. $66,900. It's a lot and will take years to whittle down. Anything helps. Anything. So, I will keep it at the bottom of my posts for awhile. You all have already given so much to our family. Our prayers are with you and we are so very grateful. We can never repay that kindness. So thank you...just thank you. If you would like our mailing address, please just email me at mary_romance@cox.net and I will send it.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

a gravestone and chocolate cake...

Have you heard about our little project to take back the joy of Courtney's birthday? PLEASE JOIN IN!!  Project Blessing has begun. You can read all the details here. Pass it on and let's celebrate life, love, faith and hope!!

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I know I usually post a what I wore post on Sundays but I just wasn't feeling it today. I will double up next week. I promise. 

Courtney's headstone was blessed this afternoon. Surrounded by family and some very close friends, holy words were spoken over the stone that stands atop the remains of my girl, her forever resting place this side of heaven. As the Deacon prayed, my heart broke wide open with torrents of joy and sorrow all in the same moment. 

Joy that she is in heaven, free, whole and dancing at the throne of Our Lord. 

Sorrow that she is not with me, in my arms, laughing and smiling. 


As we stood in that graveyard, the sun beating down upon us, holy water being sprinkled upon Courtney's name carved in stone, I thought back to a year ago, when we were celebrating Courtney's birthday

I knew it then, that I would be standing at her gravestone sooner rather than later. I can't tell you how I knew, I just did. That's why we celebrated the way we did. I felt so strongly (thank you Holy Spirit) that we needed to mark the day and now I know why. 

It would be the last birthday I would make a cake for my daughter and she would eat it. Cake was not something Courtney had often. Sugar could bring on seizures so she only got it three days a year. Christmas, Easter and her birthday. 

Oh how she loved cake. Especially chocolate cake or pudding or a brownie or whatever. As long as it was chocolate, she was happy. 

I decided right then, that this year I would still make that chocolate cake on Tuesday. I need to make that cake for me. Courtney  feasts at a heavenly banquet, the glory of which I can only imagine. She has chocolate for an eternity. 

Standing there, I knew I needed to do something concrete with my hands to celebrate. 

So chocolate cake it is. 

This is so hard. This celebrating but not. This missing her but knowing she is always with us. This yearning to be with her bit knowing that only God can determine that timing. 

It's OK not to be OK. 

I know that. I embrace that. It doesn't prevent me from smiling or laughing or loving my family and friends. It's just where I am right now, today, this moment. 

Not stuck in the dark tunnel of grief, just OK with not being OK.

Jerry and I wept at our daughters grave. We wept during Mass when they sang "In Christ Alone". Holy mackerel did those lyrics take us both on a ride! By the time we returned home this afternoon, we were all spent and ready for a quiet evening. 

This week will bring ALL the feels. 

So not looking forward to it and yet I know I must face each wave of grief with faith, hope and love. 

It's what Courtney taught us to do everyday of her life. I would not want to disappoint my girl now would I?

Never once did she disappoint us.  



PS. I have fielded many questions about our current financial situation and taken suggestions as well. Thank you so much for your concern. We are using the Dave Ramsey method of debt reduction. It will take us several years to be completely out of debt and that's OK. The last five years of Courtney's life were the most expensive amazingly enough. It's also when ObamaCare started and our health insurance plan changed three times, not in our favor. It's also when we tried several different experimental treatments to help Courtney have better control with her seizures as well as to help her gain wait. None of those were covered by insurance.

We have paid all the large hospital bills and now we are working on paying off the credit cards that were used to pay smaller ER/Hospital bills, medicine co-pays, therapy co-pays, special footwear and therapeutic clothing, therapeutic equipment not covered by insurance, special bedding for her spinal scoliosis, her special food and formula, and the list goes on. We used them when we did not have the cash to pay for all of these different components of her treatment plan.

You can see our current fundraising effort directly below. As each card is paid off, I will put up a new one for those who feel called to help. Thank you so much for your prayers and your practical help. I don't know where we would be without it. Truly I do not. Blessings and Grace to each of you...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


help pay off medical debt from caring for our beautiful Courtney  

Our current fundraising goal is $3,209.00 which will eliminate the balance on credit card used for Courtney's PT, OT and Feeding therapies and supplies used over the last five years. We have raised $720 of it so far. Only $2489.00 to go to pay this first one off. If we can raise the full amount, we can pay it off and be that much closer to our larger goal. One thing at a time. Thank you so much for your help. 

The entire medical debt is extensive, now approx. $67,3000. It's a lot and will take years to whittle down. Anything helps. Anything. So, I will keep it at the bottom of my posts for awhile. You all have already given so much to our family. Our prayers are with you and we are so very grateful. We can never repay that kindness. So thank you...just thank you. If you would like our mailing address, please just email me at mary_romance@cox.net and I will send it.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

a fathers grief...

Have you heard about our little project to take back the joy of Courtney's birthday? PLEASE JOIN IN!!  Project Blessing has begun. You can read all the details here. Pass it on and let's celebrate life, love, faith and hope!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This morning my honey and I went to the graveyard where our beautiful daughter Courtney is buried. What a gorgeous summer day! Birds were chirping, the humidity was low and the sun was out in all it's glory. 

This is the first time Jerry has seen Courtney's gravestone. I wanted him to have a moment alone with Courtney before I joined him. 

I looked up and saw this...my heart broke one more time...




Oh Papa. 

How you loved your girl. How you miss her. 

I just could not hold back my tears. 

He stayed this way, weeping for a good fifteen minutes. I just took this photo and then set my phone down and prayed. I know that his grief is as deep as mine, but he keeps it hidden most days. It's how he makes it through the day. 

I don't blame him. I wish I could hold mine back a little more. It makes for some awkward social situations. 

Later, we took these videos...


Courtney's Gravestone - Papa from Mary Lenaburg on Vimeo.

The mail is trickling in for Project Blessing. It is wonderful to read your words on how our girl has changed so many hearts and brought them closer to Our Lord. I am humbled and in awe of my daughters legacy of love. 

I asked for prayers the other day. Thank you to all of you for holding our family up to the Lord. We can feel your love, truly we can. We sat down this morning with ALL the bills and finalized a plan to dig ourselves out of this monumental hole of debt. The cable is gone and dry cleaning. There weren't many "perks" to cut to begin with, but whatever was there is no longer. We are determined to pay everything off in the next five years. 

Yes, it will take that long. 

What was interesting is that when we were going through everything, we reminisced at the same time. There is one credit card that was used exclusively for her PT, OT, Speech co-pays. We talked about how strong Courtney was for so long. How awesome our team at GUH was and how much I miss seeing Miss Pam and her crew a couple of times a week. 

We also added up how much her special food cost. for the last five years of her life, it was about $100 a DAY for all the specific, fresh items we needed to help keep our girl as healthy as we could. HOW did we do that?? Thanks Master card and Visa. Thank you very much for helping us keep our daughter alive. 

The final numbers were hard to take BUT we will soldier on, this family of mine. If you feel moved to help financially (so many of you have and we are so humbled by your kindness) there is a link at the bottom of the post. We will face this as we have everything else, with joy and a lot of creativity when it comes to having fun together, date nights, perfecting the the art of the ironed shirt, celebrating special events, gift giving and anything else that may require $$$. 

It's a challenge we are going to conquer...together...Please Lord!!

We will face the coming week of Courtney's birthday, her gravestone blessing, a trip to Oklahoma to celebrate my in-laws 60th Wedding Anniversary and spending time with extended family that were unable to come for Courtney's funeral.

We will smile, we will laugh, we will weep and we will praise God for the gift of our daughter. The elixir of life is always filled with a bittersweet concoction of joy and sorrow. I am getting pretty good and pouring that sucker into a tall cool glass and sticking an umbrella in it. 

Cheers my friends. To life! To love! To Courtney!


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help pay off medical debt from caring for our beautiful Courtney  

Our current fundraising goal is $3,209.00 which will eliminate the balance on credit card used for Courtney's PT, OT and Feeding therapies and supplies used over the last five years. We have raised $720 of it so far. Only $2489.00 to go to pay this first one off. If we can raise the full amount, we can pay it off and be that much closer to our larger goal. One thing at a time. Thank you so much for your help. 

The entire medical debt is extensive, now approx. $67,3000. It's a lot and will take years to whittle down. Anything helps. Anything. So, I will keep it at the bottom of my posts for awhile. You all have already given so much to our family. Our prayers are with you and we are so very grateful. We can never repay that kindness. So thank you...just thank you. If you would like our mailing address, please just email me at mary_romance@cox.net and I will send it.
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