I just realized that this weekend I am on a victory tour with The Holy Spirit.  

About 4 1/2 years ago I hit rock bottom while on a short trip to Phoenix with some friends.  I really thought that I couldn’t handle the pressures of life any longer and that trying to improve myself was pointless.  I didn’t know what I could do.  

This is when I first heard from Jesus and first felt the presence of God.  I was shocked and pretty freaked out, but I felt like I needed to move in the direction of Jesus.

There have been so many ups and downs that have happened since that day in Phoenix.  Life and my priorities have been put into perspective.  I have grown and changed so much.  I have always felt ashamed by so many silly things all my life and that Phoenix trip had just been the straw that broke the camels back.

I haven’t wanted to come back to Phoenix or Arizona all this time because I had felt like I let my family, friends, and myself down.  Phoenix and Arizona had become a symbol for my old life and I had been staying away.

Yet, I felt the need to come back to Arizona this weekend.  I needed to deal with this.  I needed to overcome this rediculous pain.  I brought my family so they could support me.

However, when my family crossed the border into Yuma, I began to realize that I was all wrong.

He didn’t lead me back here so that I could face my fears.  I am here to reflect and see just how much I have changed with God in my life! 

I am on a victory tour with The Holy Spirit.  He is showing me that I don’t have to deal pain by myself.

God has a plan and he reversed this whole trip on me.  Trust in God, he is life.

Unexpected YouTube Notification

This morning I was informed by YouTube, via notification, that a video of mine had been viewed over one thousand times. Hmmm, I wondered which video? I have several silly videos and a few videos for work on YouTube. It could be any one of those. When I clicked on the link I was completely unprepared for the video that popped up.

As the video began to play and I heard the music, my face grew warm and I could feel a welling of emotion from deep within. A mash-up of happiness and sadness overwhelmed me and the tears poured out like a fire hydrant that has been crashed into by a truck!

With 1,129 views and 14 likes, Leo’s Memorial Video began to play. I had created this video right after Leo’s passing for the memorial service and as a way to remember my baby boy. The song I used was “This is Not Goodbye,” by The Sidewalk Prophets. This song was the anthem for this time in my family’s life and brings back so many emotions. I can’t listen to it anymore unless I want to relive those days right after Leo’s passing.

Struggling through this video I was amazed to see just how young Aly and Lily were. It reminded me of the life Angela and I lived before Leo and just how different we are now. It reminded me of how much people have helped us over the past 2 ¼ years. I remember my parents and Rose coming down and being there for us. We came home from the hospital that awful morning to my sister cleaning the bed and changing the sheets so that we didn’t have to.   That meant more to me than she will ever know.

I remember family and friends coming over and consoling us. I remember Lynette and everyone at WC putting on the Family Day of Play to help raise money for Funeral costs. I remember Amber and her family taking Aly and Lily so that Angela and I could grieve. I remember Tic, Bill, and Ed from Journey praying with us and helping to set up a memorial for our boy. I remember so many people bringing over food and cards.

I also remember Lorraine spending the day with us and giving us encouragement and a hand crafted casket from The Garden of Innocence, and how helpful the folks at Humphrey’s Memorial in Chula Vista were. Ed from La Vista was beyond helpful and I consider him a family friend now. Oscar was there to lend a supportive ear in those first weeks. As time moved on, I met Josh Lawson. Here was someone who had shared in painful heartache and loss. We began to meet regularly and I had the opportunity to share my thoughts without feeling judged.

As I reflect, I realize that a thick fog has settled around my memory of those first weeks after we lost Leo. There are so many others who were with us at that time. They made this bitter pill a little easier to swallow. The amount of love and support we received was so amazing and I am forever grateful to everyone for being there and sending their condolences.

In the end I am glad this YouTube notification popped up today. It reminded me of the strength I drew from so many during those initial hours, days, and weeks is a real testament to the awesome people around us. God placed the right people in our lives at the right time. He used this tragedy to show how loving people could be.

2 ¼ years later Angela and I are still rebuilding ourselves. We have some great kids whom we adore. We have our community. Also, we have each other. A few times now, we have been able to be there for others who are going through the same situation. Its not easy, but being there for people in their darkest times is healing to us.

Here’s the video: