The Blackburn Tribe went
to pick out a Christmas tree!
It was a lil wet and rainy.
The kids were a little crazy! (:
But we had a good time
and picked out a tree
that everyone agreed on!
We had a lot to do this weekend.
It all started with the games, Jv and varsity football and volleyball games on Friday. Then we went straight to Panama City where Paige made this awesome cake for Aaron (actually for his soon to be wife, Lydia! Very soon!).
Saturday we were outside all day. The children playing in the woods and eating (probably too much..but who's talking about that? I had two nice pieces of Paige's delicious cake!). A few of us played volleyball for a couple of hours, then the guys played football while I played with my camera!
Sunday found us at church where a really cute little boy decided to sit by me for morning services, and another one for evening services. And you know kids love taking pictures, especially of themselves! (:
Monday we were off to get Paige's license (YAY!) and then to vote before heading back towards home to another volleyball game. Where afterwards it has become a tradition for all of us to get a frappe before heading home.
All in all it was a fun weekend even if it was pretty busy! In between all of that the kids enjoyed visiting Grandma too (and the general spoiling that goes with such). (:
"No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear" ~~~~~C.S.Lewis
Grief is consuming. It
holds the rule book, and if you care to read it you will see there are
no breaking the rules of grief. The rules you have known all of your
life cease to apply. There are new rules. 1. You will live by these
rules the remainder of your life. Just when you think you will be able
to break these rules, grief will show you the truth. 2. Grief will
be the only thing you feel for a while. Hunger is gone, being tired is
gone, wanting to be awake is finished. Any feeling you think you have is
only allowed as it relates to grief. 3. Grief will rule your
thoughts for quite some time. You may try to think of other "normal"
things, but grief will rein. Pick up a book to read, all of the sudden
the pages are blank. If someone wants to hold a conversation...the grief
is there demanding it's proper attention. 4. Grief will rule your
actions. Just try to go to the store...it's not "normal" anymore. There
will be some mother decidedly rude to her small child, now instead of
being disgusted with her you feel an overwhelming nausea rise up and it
can't always be held back. Don't even let someone ask how many children
you have, there's no responding to that one for a while. Or the polite,
"have a nice day" is met with immediate thoughts of "NICE? There's
nothing nice about losing a child. Burying a child, or actually never
even being able to see my child before they were gone!" You may even try
to nod and hoping the tears won't spill over behind the sunglasses
before you can leave. Sometimes you make it through the store, sometimes
the list is forsaken for another time. 5. Grief changes your life. When in doubt, give it a few days and you will realize it still rules.
has been years, people who meet me never know I've lost a child. It's
not something I hide, my children do not hide it. It is just not always
as close to the surface as before. As we were sitting around having a
"normal" day with some friends..one mom reaches over and kisses the palm of her child's hand.
Her child is the same age Boaz would be. Tears spill out before I can
turn away. Grief fresh and anew...I hold back sobs as I fight
thinking...WHEN will this be easier. And the answer is whispered to me
again..."I am grief, I have changed all of the rules. Go back and read
It was a few days since Boaz had passed away,
maybe it was a few weeks...it was all the same to me. I was still having
a hard time breathing. I loved to read, it's relaxing, but now I cannot even see words
on the page, it is all white. I know the words are there, but my eyes
can not see them. My ears...they don't hear normal sounds, things are
fuzzy... You are talking but I'm not hearing, you think I'm not
listening on purpose. You think, she won't pay attention, she doesn't
want to do anything but think about what happened to her, like no one
else has had a loss before her. She's going to drown in her grief, and
she wants to. Believe me, grief seems much like drowning in an
emotional sense. The feeling of suffocating, there's no air, I can't see
clearly... Or maybe that's not it. Now I can see so clearly. I can
see what is so important. I can see that most of what people talk about
is so trivial compared with what is really important. My son died, I'm
not concerned about trivial things... Like where should we go out to eat
or did I hurt your fragile feelings. My son died, I don't care if your
dog ran away. I may seem rude or indifferent, but I have learned the
rules have all changed. Nothing matters that might have mattered
before, life has been brought sharply into focus. It amazed me how
many people (who had never lost a child) knew how I should be acting,
how much or little I should cry, or sleep, and when I should be doing
either. And the most surprising people understood enough to know they
had no idea, they accepted what I felt was normal, as we're my actions. I
had "close" friends quit contacting me. Maybe they lacked the words,
maybe they grew tired of my missing. Maybe they didn't understand the
new rule book.
In the beginning I though I was alone in these
thoughts. I didn't know the new rule book was for every parent who lost.
Even other people who have experienced a different loss may feel some
of these things to an extent. Someone said something that helped me in the
beginning. I was having a hard time with being "fine" one moment
(understand this is a new fine, don't forget the new rule book) and the
grief overtaking me within the next few moments. She (had lost her
mother) said the grief comes in like waves. As I thought back to that I
remember as a small child going to the beach and wading out until the
ocean was up to my chest. As the waves would roll in we would "jump"
them sometimes diving into them. Inevitably we would get out a little
further and the waves would roll in too quickly. We would barely have
time to get a breath before the next wave came crashing across pushing
us under and leaving is gasping for air. We would get a little closer to
land where we could touch better thinking it would be easier, only to
see the waves growing larger and crashing over our heads. Eventually we learned
to roll with the waves, accept them as they came, but it didn't change
the waves...and we still gasped for air. This is grief...coming in like
the sea waves roll. Sometimes all seems calm and breathing is
easier...you think you've got a handle on things. Then life
whispers.."the rule book" as the wave comes crashing in.
Since the loss of my son I have had many people try to "make things better" by giving me their theology, "kind" words, and sometimes just not realizing they didn't need to say anything. After talking to many other child/baby loss parents I realized that I wasn't alone in this problem. So, this is for anyone who ever wants to be a real blessing to other parents who will lose a baby/child. I never have blamed my God for "taking" my Boaz. Could he have prevented it, yes I definitely believe that. Am I mad because he didn't? If I was I would have to be mad about a few other things too.
When God created us he gave us a free will to chose to do what we want. Right or wrong, helpful or hurtful. Over several thousands of years we have been making these choices, resulting in some problems on this earth. Pollution, poor eating r exercise habits, even "conveniences" such as microwaves and cars present a problem. How can we after generation after generation of such expect God to keep our bodies (or our children's) perfectly healthy when we have been using our own free will to ruin His creation since time began? We cannot have God's complete protection AND have our own will also, the two are incompatible! Is my God unmerciful because he doesn't override the evil in this world to prove to us He can? NO! Why did God give us a will of our own in the first place? Because he desires our fellowship, not because we have to, but because we also desire His fellowship. He gave us a free will so that he could have the pleasure of us choosing Him when we didn't have to.
Then there is the question that has been posed to me before...Why did Boaz have to die? He has "good" loving parents that take good care of him, yet there are children with horrible parents and they get to keep their babies. I agree in our human minds that's a hard one to swallow. I loved my son, I did everything I could for him. And I'd have done anything to keep him. But I never felt like I "deserved" to keep him while someone else didn't. Don't mistake that for the thought that I'm okay with it. I guess it's possible for someone to bury their true feelings so deeply that you may not realize they miss their child. But I have never met anyone at all who did not miss their child and long to have them back. In fact normally if I met someone and it has been 15+ years the only way for me to know is if they tell me. The way they talk about missing their child is so vivid and the grief is so strong that it seems it must have been recent, and I am learning that's the way grief is.
If you want to help someone who has lost a child there are some things you shouldn't do: 1. Never, ever tell them you know how they feel if you haven't lost a child, because I promise you have absolutely NO idea what they are going through. It doesn't matter if you've lost your parent, sibling, or best friend. You do NOT know how they feel. 2. Do not tell them they didn't "lose" their child because after all their child is in Heaven and if you know where something's at it isn't lost. They are having a hard time breathing at the moment! If you care then understand that you can not understand. 3. Do not decide how they should grieve. Not how deeply, or how long, or how publicly. It has been three years since my boy passed.... The other night as my boys were kissing me goodnight (at least the youngest ones) as the youngest left I felt an intense sense of missing...there should've been one more running in to kiss me, giggling as he did, and saying, "I love you too mommy"..but there wasn't. My soul ached and my eyes teared up. My arms never get that privilege again. I could see his shining eyes and infectious smile as he would have hugged me..and his beautiful blond hair and bouncy tripping step as he raced out after the others. But it will not be...
I am not depressed, I am mourning. Mourning the loss of my child's life, hopes & dreams, events and milestones we would have shared. 4. Do not tell me "at least you still have __ children". I personally have seven children living. When Boaz first passed my house was SO empty! I let the children have friends over all of the time just as I always had, but that house was still too empty. It doesn't matter what you think, it matters how I feel. You can't know, your children are still alive. 5. Do not tell me it will get better. If the grief is fresh then believe me I do not want it to get better. If its been a little while I have realized it probably isn't going to get better. But since you have never been there, chances are you have no idea what "better" means in this situation.
We know you're just trying to help, but take it from someone who's been there, it's not helpful. It only makes us see you in a different light...uncompassionate. Even an animal can sense when to have compassion, so when people don't it isn't that they don't know how, it's more of they won't. We can see that it takes too much effort and you know SO much that you've lost the ability. Compassion is not puffed up. It's okay with us if you don't understand how we feel or if you don't have the right words to say. Just listening is sometimes a blessed thing.
Still if you have lost a child and do not feel this way, understand that everyone grieves differently and that's okay. Some of you are grieving your pet you had to put down a month ago, forgive me if I don't see the comparison. People are complex, grieving can not be defined in your textbook, it's not four easy steps...it's a lifetime process. I WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. Every day there is something vital missing from my day. At every event there is one person missing out...and that missing is felt deeply by all of us. Every once in a while while we are doing something special one of the boys will remark, "Boaz would have liked that" or "Boaz would have laughed his head off". It hurts that they are missing him too, but it is so nice to know they remember him...that is comforting and I smile as the tears form in my eyes.
If you truly want to be a friend and want to help there are a few things you can do. 1. Listen without judging. Let them talk about their child, even if they only carried the child in their womb they had hopes and dreams for their child. Their feelings are real and normal. 2. Offer to do things for them, or just do something for them without asking. Take their other children for a few hours. Cook dinner and drop it by. Wash their clothes. 3. If you want to have a better idea of how they feel and what they are going through get a few books written by people who have lost a child and read them. Find a few blogs written by parents who have lost children and read them starting a little before they lost their child to present. 4. If they chose to confide in you and tell you how they feel, keep it to yourself. If they didn't broadcast it chances are they didn't want to. Realize they felt intimate enough with you to bear their heart. Respect that and realize it is a thing to be valued. 5. Realize that you understanding their grief is not what is needed to validate their feelings. Their feelings are valid, however off they seem to you.
I realize occasionally people quit living when their child dies. Quit judging every child loss parent by this. Realize it's not your job to correct them. If you want to continue to be a friend...refer to the above article.
As the tropical storm/hurricane
came rolling in
we headed out to take pics,
look at the waves,
and see how much the water was coming up.
We also took the extra time inside
to goof a little & paint my nails.
We caught a great prehurricane
sunset and the blue moon too!
We had so much extra time
we headed out of town
to tend some things...
where a few of the boys & Nick
were able to go fishing,
we did some work around my moms,
and cleaned up around
my Silas' spot.
It was a pretty busy week
but we got a lot done! (:
We took the day off from school and had a little fun today. From playing at the beach, giving Panzer some much needed exercise, and just hanging out at the house (me painting nails...the boys showing off their muscles)! (:
Our week in pictures!
-We have a great time swimming,
With the summer coming to a close
(that means school is starting lol)
we wanted to get a little
more swim time in. Stonewall was splashing Paige! :D
-The little boys wanted proof that I
took them to the store in their pj's.
Which I technically didn't cause
they didn't go in. But I guess it was good enough for them.
-A selfie picture
-Stonewall has decided to "sign"
his school papers with a self
portrait...notice the muscles! Haha
-MORE swimming! Hunter is standing on Josiah's shoulders.
-The handsome little one of a friends that sat with me (and slept on me) in church Sunday.
-Great clouds! If you can see there are three Army helicopters in between the power lines. Still an awesome sight to me any day!
-My three youngest looking good!
If your looking for a great way to introduce art to your young students
then you need to try Artobet. My younger children watched very attentively and
now we have a good reason to pull out those print outlines of the great
artists and have at it with our own brushes! We are using Artobet to
study the artists of different time periods with our geography and
cultures study. Artobet is a DVD by Little Great Thinkers geared towards young children. It goes through each letter of the alphabet combining the letter with an artists name to introduce art while reinforcing the alphabet. It would be a great way to have art class with pre-K or K-5 children while learning the alphabet.
We began studying history/geography together this year, as we have never done much of the notebooking or combined classes for school, so I was a little excited, but also apprehensive about how it would go. When I received Artobet for review I knew it would go great with our studies! We have created art before, but never actually studied artist or their work (excepting the one art museum we visited in Philly once which was an epic failure :o).
Keep in mind I do have all boys that would fall into the age range (3-8 years) for this video. God didn't exactly make little boys with an inclination to sit still for prolonged periods of time. I'm always a bit skeptical at how they will pay attention through something that doesn't have the flashiness of Cars 2 or excitement of Braveheart (LOL), so when they sat intently watching through the entire forty-two minute DVD I was pleasantly surprised. That is always the measuring stick for me: Is learning about this subject going to be drudgery, or fun? Not only did the boys pay attention but wer able to answer questions about the vidoe also! :) I have been collecting material to study artists and their work to the children, and this was the perfect introduction! As we study each area in our geography we will watch the DVD for artists living in that area, then we will begin to have a springboard to study their paintings/sculptures etc.
Overall we found Artobet to be interesting, informative, and now we can't wait to study art a bit more indepth! If you'd like to check out Artobet for yourself go to www.artobet.com and see some of their ideas!
Boaz loved for us to color with him. And we would every time, just to see his face light up. When we colored he loved to scribble on it, just to tease us. Then he would look at us with that michievous look and smile his gorgeous smile.
Sometimes children say the funniest things. Other times it's soooo typical that you aren't sure weather to laugh, or cry!!!
Stonewall: "I'm gonna go to Walmart and buy an airhorn, then I'm gonna use it to wake up Sister at 6:30!" Then he laughs hysterically!!!
Timothy (7): When I grow up my house is gonna be shaped like an alligator. You'll have to go in the mouth to get in, then slide down and people will scream!"