Wednesday was Cora’s birthday. She would have been six.
The boys and I have started a little tradition of painting rocks to put at Cora’s stone. We still put flowers at her stone every once in awhile but they don’t last long in the Kansas weather…they usually freeze or blow away! But our rocks are always there and I love that. When I see that little pile of rocks it reminds me of my Rock. It is only because of Jesus that I have the strength to visit my daughter’s gravestone. It is only because of Jesus that I live in hope.
I love you, Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
I had this great idea of cutting fabric hearts out and gluing them onto the rocks this year. I thought the boys could help me paint on the glue. But they assured me that Cora would want her rocks painted…so pink and orange rocks it was!
And while the boys painted I made a few fabric heart rocks for my girl.
In the afternoon while Griffin was napping Levi and I ordered some books for Wesley’s Joyful Life Library.
Last year you all were so awesome and helped us fill up the ten Joyful Life Libraries with books. We decided we wanted to give some books for Cora’s birthday again this year. If you haven’t heard of the Joyful Life Library…go check it out! Levi had so much fun picking out his favorite books for the sweet kids at Wesley.
When Joel got home from work we drove to the cemetery with Cora’s birthday balloons and our pretty rocks.
Griffin had been sick and didn’t want to be in the birthday balloon photo. Poor guy. He looks miserable!
So Levi was in charge of sending the balloons off to heaven. The boys love this tradition and so do I.
They set out all their rocks too.
Levi and I wondered how big Cora’s pile of rocks will be when we are celebrating her twentieth birthday.
And then we celebrated sissy’s life with dinner and bowling. This was the first time the boys had been bowling. They loved it. Griffin even cheered up a little.
Levi was a pro in no time.
And Griffin was cracking me up. He kept saying “me do it” because he wants to do everything by himself. His ball took forever to reach the pins. And he would get so frustrated if we even tried to help his ball go a little faster.
It is always hard to know how to celebrate my daughter’s birthday. Even after celebrating six birthdays without her…we still feel like we don’t know what to do. We, of course, celebrate the precious gift of Cora’s life. She was and continues to be a blessing to our family in so many ways. Her short life was a gift and we know her days were ordained by God. But the reality is that celebrating birthdays without the birthday girl is just hard. A sweet friend sent me this note a few days before Cora’s birthday:
“Praying for you this week and that you experience Jesus’ loving presence step by step…He is peace…no need to try and create it…He is peace…life sucks sometimes but He doesn’t.”
Her note was so short and simple but so true. I often try to create the “perfect” birthday for Cora. Or at least as perfect as you can get when your daughter is not here to celebrate with you. I try to create peace. But you know what? I have found that usually the day doesn’t go like I expected…or like I hoped. I am so thankful that I don’t have to try to create my own peace…He is peace. It is true, life sucks sometimes. But even when our circumstances aren’t what we would consider “peaceful” we can still find perfect peace in our Savior. It wasn’t a perfect day. Our hearts ached and the tears flowed as we missed our sweet birthday girl. But we were truly filled with His peace. A peace that surpasses our earthly understanding.
You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.