Thursday, June 30, 2011

Playground Dedication

This past Father's Day was incredibly special for our family. After church, we had a dedication ceremony for the playground that was filled with much love, prayer, gratitude, laughter... and of course cake and punch. :)

I had thought for a while about what I would want to share on that day that would really communicate all that Isaac's Playground means to us... not just as a memorial of our son's life, but also as a testimony to who God is. Prior to church that morning, I was imagining all of the squeals of laughter that would be heard later that day as kids got to play on Isaac's Playground for the first time, and I was reminded of how several times in His word, God promises to restore joy, and to replace sorrow with gladness.

The end of Isaiah 35:10 reads, "Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away."

Jeremiah 31:13 contains a similar promise: "Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. "

It is our sincerest hope that as parents play with their kids on Isaac's Playground and hear them laugh with joy, that they would be reminded of this truth: God is so faithful to restore joy and gladness. We deeply desire that Isaac's Playground would be symbolic of that. Each one of us will at some point experience sorrow; every one of us will face loss. Yet God is faithful, even in the most unthinkable circumstances, to restore gladness and joy... simply because of who He is and what we have in Him.

I am so thankful for that promise.

And with that... here are a few pictures from the dedication ceremony!

Monday, June 13, 2011

It Is {Finally} Finished!

Well, almost. We still need to install the safety fence, add some lovely shrubs, and plant some pretty flowers at the base of the memorial sign. But otherwise, Isaac's Playground is finished!

On the first Saturday this month, several men went out to the playground site and prepped the ground by digging lots of very deep holes. This past Saturday, over 25 people including family, friends, and folks from church came out in nearly 100 degree temperatures and worked tirelessly to install the playground. And it looks amazing!

We are so thankful for the kindness of numerous people who gave so generously of their time, talent, and treasure to make this happen. We are in awe of the fact that what started out as a vision nearly three years ago has finally taken shape. God's provision has been amazing. And while we would much rather have Isaac with here with us, we are grateful for the opportunity to remember him, to allow his life to continue to do good, and to glorify God in the process.

So to those of you who in some way helped this playground come to fruition... THANK YOU! Though, truly, those two simple words don't feel like nearly enough.

Enjoy the pictures...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

High Five

This sweet girl...

who turns 15 months old this week,

has developed the cute habit lately of wanting to give everyone and everything she sees a "hi-fi" (high five). Whether it's me or Spencer, the checkout lady at the grocery store, other little kids in our street, the characters in her books (which may or may not be human)... everyone and everything deserves a "hi-fi" in her book. It is precious.

Part of our bedtime routine with Eliana, after reading some books, brushing teeth, and saying our prayers, includes going into her room, looking at Isaac's picture, and blowing him kisses. It's so sweet how at this point, all Ellie needs to hear is, "Okay, let's blow Isaac kisses good night," and she immediately turns in the direction of his picture and does so with an enthusiastic "mmmmmwah!"

On Wednesday, though, when she was done blowing kisses, she looked at his picture and said, "Hi-fi? Hi-fi?" My heart melted... and my eyes swelled with tears.

I quietly explained to Eliana how sweet it is that she wants to give her brother a high five, but that right now, he can't give her a high five back. I told her, like I often do, how Isaac is in heaven with God, and that one day, she would be able to give him all of the high fives she wanted. And again, I felt that very real tension between the hope of eternity, and the reality of Isaac's absence on this side of heaven.

It's these little things, the unreturned high fives, that are subtle reminders of Isaac's absence, and how we still long it wasn't so. It's these bittersweet moments when I look at Ellie and am so thankful for the precious gift that she is, and yet am hit square in the face (and the heart) with the missing... even over 2 1/2 years later.

Some have asked me, "At what point do you just move on or get over it and be happy?" And I think this story is such a great response to this question, because it so delicately illustrates the constant balance between the joy that God has graciously restored to our lives and our family, and the missing that, in ever changing capacities, is there.

I don't really know if there are high fives in heaven... but part of me would like to think that maybe there are :)