Saturday, May 30, 2009


We are grieving with hope …

Overwhelmed, grateful, encouraged, blessed, sad, anxious, burdened, peaceful, hopeful … a short list of emotions felt this past year and today, Owen’s 1st birthday. Every first and every milestone this past year was bittersweet … our first “family” vacation without Owen, birthday celebrations without Owen, holidays without Owen, every day life without Owen. Each first and each milestone brought with it a flood of emotions. The absence of Owen is so painfully obvious at times.

We really didn’t know what to expect today, we didn’t know what emotions would surface. Would we get through the day with a sense of peace? Would the day overwhelm us? What we did know is that we wanted to honor Owen’s memory and honor and glorify our Father who has so purposefully etched out this past year for us. While we cannot say that we completely understand His plan or His purpose in losing Owen, we have hope in knowing that although Owen will not return to us, we will go to him (We will go to him, but he will not return to us. 2 Samuel 12:23).

Today, we celebrated and remembered Owen. We started the day with our traditional birthday pancakes. Then, after a storm blew threw this morning, which has significance in itself as "Praise You in This Storm" has been our theme song, the skies opened up to a beautiful, sunny day. We went to the cemetery and released balloons and had a picnic. Jack was a little worried about releasing the balloons as he was wondering if this was littering, but Samuel assured us that the balloons would go to Owen in Heaven. We also had a birthday cake made by a sweet friend. We were going to make our own birthday cake for Owen, but we don’t make Jack or Samuel’s birthday cakes, so it seemed natural to have a cake made for Owen as well.

In the weeks leading up to today it was painfully obvious that we were not planning the typical 1st birthday party for our little guy, I was not painstakingly creating invitations, we were not planning a coordinating birthday cake, nor were we planning Owen's birthday menu. Despite this, we did feel God's hand upon us today as we celebrated Owen and as we reflected on his life and the blessings he has brought to us. We also listened to Owen's Memorial / Celebration of Life service today. During which, our dear friend Jon put together a list of 15 "good things" that had resulted from Owen's short life. Over the past year, while still painful, it is obvious that the list of 15 has grown.

In memory of Owen, we are planning a family vacation to Tennessee this summer where we will drop off a donation at the Hope Clinic. We feel that a part of Owen is there at the clinic. A dear lady, Kaye makes beautiful tiles, and she made us a gorgeous family tile and a tile for Owen. She also made a tile for the Hope Clinic which uses a saying, “There is no foot too small that it cannot make an imprint on this world.” This had been and continues to be our “motto” for Owen’s life. In addition, she used a print of Owen’s feet on the Hope Clinic tile. Over the past few months we have been gathering supplies on the Clinic’s wish list. Thus, we are trekking down there this summer for our family vacation. We will see the tile in person and drop off our donation in memory of Owen.

To those who have so graciously remembered and encouraged us this past year and today, we are grateful. We love you all dearly and praise God for each one of you. And, we will continue to praise God as He gives and takes away. We may not always understand, but we will always praise Him, even in the storms in life.

Sweet little Owen, we love you and miss you ....

Praise You in This Storm
Casting Crowns

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away
And I'll praise You in this storm

And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You
But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth


Nikki said...

Been thinking about and praying for you all day, from the raindrops that fell this morning straight through to the glorious, sunny afternoon. I was confident God would send some rain on this day ~ another reminder that He's our shelter and refuge. We're so thankful for you all ~

Amy said...

A beautiful post! It was such strange weather today and I was so glad the rain let up and blue skies emerged for your picnic! It looks like another special memory was made. I like the picture of Owen's name made out of pasta (right?). Reminds me of the Stellen name gallery.

Love you! -- Amy

Amy Lu said...

Your family has been on my heart and mind in the last few weeks. When the Holy Spirit has brought you to mind I've taken that as a cue to pray. We love you, all of you.