Last post…

September 23, 2011

Hi Friends –

I guess this is pretty obvious at this point, but I’m not blogging here much any more.  This probably will be my last post on Susan’s website.  I’m leaving her blog up, of course.  It gives people a glimpse of who Susan was, and the fight she went through with breast cancer.  It is a snapshot of the love she had for her kids, for me, and her family and friends.  Of her love for God Himself.

I’m also leaving it up for our kids.  I want them to read about her, to hear her voice through her posts, to know her story.  I’m so grateful she started the blog, for many reasons, but especially that.  I hope that in ten or twenty years, they’ll still be reading about their amazing mother.

Bailey, Christopher, and Luke – Your mother led the kind of life that allowed blessing to rain down on our family.  Even if you don’t see the things she did now, please know that.  A generation of Laws have been impacted because of the way she loved Jesus, you, and me.  And remember that what you do, right now, with your lives, matters long after you are gone.

If you want to keep up with me, I’ll be doing most of my blogging at http://www.jerellaw.com.  I’ll have personal updates their as well as info related to writing/books.

We continue to grieve the loss of Susan.  Her death has created an enormous hole in our lives…we are slowly coming to terms with it.  It just seems to make sense to let this blog be, and not try to add anything else to it going forward.  I hope you will take time every once in awhile to go back and read Susan’s words here.

Thanks to our friends for their support, prayers, and encouragement.

Peace to you–

Jerel

Some fun mail today

July 9, 2011

I found a pleasant surprise waiting for me in the mailbox today:

An advanced copy of my first novel!

Goes without saying…but so fun to see this all printed up.  I’m thrilled with the cover.

A quick update – it’s going to be available this September at one particular store.  (I’d previously thought next April or so, but there’s a retailer that wants to have it as an exclusive for a period of time)  I’ll be launching an author website soon with lots of fun details, pictures, my own blog, and even a book trailer (and at that point hopefully I’ll be able to let you know who the retailer is!).

More to come!

Old Letters

July 5, 2011

Yesterday was the first Fourth of July in 20 years that I haven’t spent with Susan.  (Well – actually I went to D.C. with my college roommates one of those years…)  I was surprised at how emotional the day felt.  Although I guess I shouldn’t have been.  I took the kids down to Charlotte to be with Susan’s parents – it just felt like what we needed to do.  It helped to be there, to sense the strong memories that are there, to see her old childhood room, to look at pictures.  We played Pictionary with the grandparents, something Susan would have loved to do.  We made homemade ice cream and ate a hot dog.  We didn’t talk about her a whole lot, but her presence was all over the place.

A few months ago I was trying to find a bunch of letters.  I had already found a stack of letters I wrote her (that she kept in her bedside table) – and had pored over those slowly.  But I couldn’t find the ones she’d written me.  I was sure that I’d kept them – or almost sure.  I began to doubt myself when I looked all over the house, and then all over my parent’s house in Raleigh (even the attic), and couldn’t find them.  I resigned myself to the fact that, being an insensitive guy, I had thrown them away without thinking what they might mean to me some day.

For whatever reason, I found enough courage to clean out the shoe closet Saturday – which was one of Susan’s storage spots for apparently anything and everything that didn’t have another place to go.  There are several boxes full of pictures that I knew were in there.  But as I opened up those boxes, I found a surprise – stacks of letters.  Not one, but two boxes full.  It turns out that I did keep the things she wrote me when we were dating.  Lots and lots of letters, cards, and even notes that she passed to me when we would see each other in-between classes in Chapel Hill.  (I’m pretty proud of myself for keeping all of these, not to mention shocked.)

I had a deep sense when I found them that I wasn’t supposed to find them until now.  That God allowed me to see them this weekend, to remind me of some things, to encourage me, to help me feel some things that I get numb to.

As if you didn’t already know…Susan was an amazing person.  I’ve known that for 20 years, but it’s good to re-discover it through a box of old letters.

Summertime

June 24, 2011

Well, it’s been awhile here.  Not quite sure why I haven’t written in several weeks.  Life has been busy, that is for sure.  School ended, and that last week was full of classroom parties, and two graduations (Luke from kindergarten; and Bailey from 5th grade and elementary school – wow).  Bailey did a phenomenal job with her speech to the 5th grade class and parents.  She was school president this year, and we couldn’t have been prouder of her.  She also received the Presidential Award (one of 3 in the school to get it) – which goes to fifth graders who have made all As in 4th and 5th grade, and 90% or higher on EOGs each year.

Luke’s class had kindergarten graduation too – Luke received the award for Best Reader (Christopher got this in kindergarten too).  If there was an award for Most Energetic he would have won that hands down.

We were in Boston for a lot of last week visiting cousins and hanging out in that great city.  I hope to post some pictures soon of our adventures.  Aunt Dana went with us which was a huge help – we couldn’t have done it without her.  (Especially getting 3 kids through airport security)  Of course, now that I think about it, she was the only one to get her bag searched…

So the summer has begun.  We have camps to do and trips to take.  The kids are enjoying their time out of the school schedule, hanging out with friends and going to the pool.  My work with church and writing continues.  I should have more news about the book within the next few weeks, including a release date, and a website launch.  If you don’t know the title yet, it’s called Spirit Fighter, and is being published by Thomas Nelson.  A middle-grade adventure about a brother and sister who discover they are part angel.

We miss Susan.  That goes without saying, of course.  I can’t believe it’s been six months now.  I can say that we’re in a different place in some ways than we were 3-4 months ago.  We’re grateful she is no longer in pain and isn’t suffering any longer.  But our pain, the pain of not having this beautiful woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend, in our lives, continues.  Many, many things remind me of her, from songs, to things the kids do (like Bailey pushing her hair back over her right ear in a certain way), to restaurants, to places we visit, TV shows, photos, books, a passage of Scripture…she’s everywhere, but not here.

(If that sounds like it doesn’t make sense, that’s exactly how I feel.)

So, we continue to plug away.  I spent some time this morning praying and reading some of the Psalms…and felt closer to God, and somehow closer to her too.

The good news is that we are moving forward (not in the sense of away from her, but we’re not just stuck), the kids and I are having fun and trying to do as good a job with living as we can.  Summer is full of not only strong memories of Susan, but great opportunities for fun and being together as a family.

 

Empty lunchbox life

May 24, 2011

I have five loaves and two fish.

That’s all.  Not enough to feed everyone.  Or to meet every need.  Not enough to get the kids to practice on time.  Or to make sure all their homework is done.  Not enough to solve every fight, to mend every hurt feeling, to wipe away every tear.  Not enough to get dinner on the table and do the laundry and dole out medicine and wipe snotty noses and empty the dishwasher and make lunches for tomorrow and break up the inevitable fight and get kids bathed and collapse so I can do it again tomorrow.

I have five loaves and two fish.

That’s all.  It’s not enough to do a good job with my job.  To take care of people who need care.  Or manage my responsibilities, or plan well for the future, or any of the thousand other things that seem, at times, necessary to my role.  It’s not enough to meet deadlines, to think clearly, or write well.

Five loaves and two fish.  That’s all the young boy had to give.  He didn’t have the capacity to do what God was about to do.  Maybe the desire, but not the ability.  He reached the limits of what he could give when he handed over his lunch for the day.  It was all he had with him.

Jesus gladly took it.  Maybe because He saw this boy give Him everything he had and He said to Himself, “I can work with that.”

God, I’m not asking for a different life.  Every time I read through Susan’s blog I am reminded that we have truly been blessed beyond measure.

What I am asking – what I need for You to do - is this: take my little offering and do a miracle.  Multiply whatever it is that I have to give.  Because God, there are many, many days where it feels like that’s what it’s going to take.  A miracle – where you breathe your power up into these dry bones and bring them to life.  Where, through some beautiful mystery, the whole becomes far greater than the sum of the parts.  Like that day long ago, where you fed a countryside of people with the lunch of a nine-year old.

So take it.  All I have.  My lunchbox is empty.  And I’m afraid I don’t have enough to give everyone.

But You do.

And I’m trusting You will fill it back up in ways that I can only dream of right now.

Finding the Comfort Zone

May 23, 2011

Bailey and Christopher had an amazing experience this weekend at Comfort Zone Camp.  The one word that continues to come back is just – “Wow”.  A friend of ours suggested the camp awhile back, and I’m so glad we made the effort to get them there.  It’s a really cool camp geared specifically for kids who have experienced a significant loss in their lives.  They do a bunch of normal, fun camp stuff (think s’mores, campfires, crazy songs, canoeing, challenge courses, etc) – but then they gather in Healing Circles with other kids their age, and adult leaders, to open up and talk about what’s on their mind, and to help the kids understand how to deal with their feelings.

One amazing thing – it is a one-to-one ratio of leaders to kids.  So Bailey and Christopher both had awesome college-age people hanging with them the entire weekend.  The camp folks called me a few weeks ago and talked to me for about an hour about Bailey and Christopher – all in an effort to understand their stories and make an appropriate match.  I was so impressed by the organization, because it takes a lot of effort to keep something like this running smoothly.

We’ll continue to “debrief” the experience this week and I’m sure I will see ways the experience has impacted both of them.  Just to have some friends who have been through the same thing, some adults who understand what they’re feeling, and some new ways of dealing with their feelings, was so worth it.

To close out the camp, all the parents and kids met together for a closing ceremony.  Kids got up, in groups, and by themselves, and shared what they had learned – through songs, poems, and in other creative ways.  It’s hard to describe how emotional of an experience this was – both for the kids and their loved ones.  Christopher surprised me – toward the end, the camp director called him up front, and he grabbed the microphone and said that he had a song to share.  That when he hears this song he always feels like it is his mom’s words for him.  He came back and sat down beside me, and we all listened to it play on a CD together.  Amazing.  The cool thing is, he is right.  This is a song that was used on Susan’s slideshow.  Specifically because she had told me in the past that this was “her wish” for her kids.

It was an amazing moment.

Here is the song, if you want to listen:

Happy Anniversary, Susan.

May 20, 2011

5-20-95



Random Rundown 5.17.11

May 17, 2011

Hi friends – thanks for continuing to walk with me and read this.  Here are some things that are happening, in no particular order:

  • I’m working at the “office” today.  I love my office.  Free refills, free wi-fi, people who know my name, good salads, and great bread.
  • What’s with the NFL?  I don’t think I really care any more…
  • The kids have EOGs this week.  End of Grade tests, for those of you who don’t know elementary school lingo.  Bailey has 5 straight days of testing, Christopher 3, and apparently Luke (who is in kindergarten) is doing testing this week too.  Come on, people, seriously?  Out of control.
  • Bailey and Christopher are going to a camp this weekend in VA, specifically geared for kids who have experienced a significant loss.  Please pray for them, that God will use it to provide healing in their lives.  They seem pretty excited about it.  It’s a normal camp in a lot of ways – campfires, s’mores, ropes course, etc.  But they have counselors trained to deal with kids going through grief, and a 1-1 ratio of adults to kids.
  • Multiple times a day, something happens and my first instinct is to share it with Susan.  I had a really nice email from someone yesterday, and I wanted so badly to show it to her.  To hear her ‘attaboy’.  (Although I don’t think she would have said ‘attaboy’)  These are some of the most difficult moments right now.
  • I had a dream about Susan last week.  Which was significant, because it’s the first time since she passed away that I’ve dreamed about her.  I couldn’t see her face, a song was being sung, and she was pointing me to the words.  It was very worshipful, and very comforting.
  • Friday would have been our 16th anniversary.  This, I think, will be a tough day.  It’s interesting about anniversaries – they are unique.  This is something just for the two of us, no one else celebrates it.  Other holidays are different – Christmas, Easter, even Mother’s Day – these are shared experiences between families.  An anniversary, though, is very personal.  It’s a normal day for everyone else.  But a very special day for you.  It makes me wonder if she is thinking about it too, or just what in the world is going through her mind right now.  Maybe time is not like it is here, where she is.  I do believe, somehow, that she will be thinking about it, and us, that day, and celebrating too.
  • I watched The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe with the kids over the weekend.  CS Lewis wrote it as an allegory, and what a great reminder it is of what we have to look forward to.  That there is an adventure that awaits us, an unseen kingdom that one day will come into full view, a battle that we are even now a part of.  Paul says that now we see faintly in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  I was reminded that everything here is a glimpse, a mere reflection, of what’s to come.  And that my typical view of heaven is terribly inadequate.  It will be much more exciting, hopeful, and colorful than the pictures we are used to.  And that living life in anticipation of that coming kingdom looks a lot different than living as if this is it.  Susan has gotten to see that coming kingdom, and be invited even deeper in.  You and I are invited in as well.  This is simply the prologue.  Chapter one hasn’t even begun yet.

The Mane Man

May 16, 2011

I finally got a video loaded up from Luke’s kindergarten musical.  He’s the lion…and what a great lion he was.  Check it out:

Mother’s Day

May 6, 2011

I was just looking at this photograph – most people haven’t seen it.  It hangs in a collection of black and whites on our wall.  I pulled it out this morning.  I’m staring at it, remembering, straining to feel every detail from that day…the way the beach smelled, the wind blowing on our faces, the feel of the sand in our toes.  How big sister Bailey directed the chaotic traffic that is her two brothers.  Christopher, hugging, laughing, running, and throwing sand.  And Luke, wide-open and smiling at everything.

I like looking at every detail of Susan.  The way she holds the kids.  The strands of hair the wind blows across her face.  Her effortless smile that is full of love for her kids.  The grace that radiates from her.

Mostly, today, this weekend, I remember how great of a mother she was to our kids.  It was one of the things she was born to do – be an amazing mom.  We will remember, and celebrate that, on Sunday.

Happy Mother’s Day, Susan – we love you, we miss you, we can’t wait to see you again.


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