I was thumbing through the pages of an old photo album,
remembering this particular day with a smile.
My friend and photographer, Amy Parsons, did a photo shoot of our family as a gift the summer before Nick passed away; and I am forever thankful for every photograph she snapped.
I love that God knew on this day where we were headed, and that He was already ahead of us smoothing rough roads and making a way for us even when we could not see just how deep and dark the valley would quickly become.
I love that we took the photo above in our memory garden for Adrienne; although I never wanted to believe that this same garden would one day be expanded to be a memory garden for Nick.
A lot has changed since these photos were taken.
Erich is now married to our precious daughter-in-law, Mallory.
They have a home in Dallas, Texas; and Erich works as a nurse in a critical care unit of a hospital.
I know his smile brightens the lives of so many who are facing uncertain chapters in their lives.
Mallory works at a wholefood store which is perfect for her as she is passionate about healthy living. Erich and Mallory are both involved with several different outreach ministries within their church and community and have brought so much love and joy to our family as a couple.
Evan has spent the past two years in Los Angeles and is now planning a summer trip to Europe. Evan has inspired me in so many ways to live life fully and seek purpose passionately. Because of Evan's constant encouragement and belief in me as a writer, I was able to complete my first book,
Facing Dawn, and am now working on my second.
Todd is working on his business degree at Kentucky Christian University where Tim is a professor. He has been to Japan in the past year doing mission work and is now in South Asia for a semester doing a business internship. You can follow Todd both on Twitter (@toddn33) and Instagram (toddn33).
His posts keep us smiling and praying!
Olivia is now 16! She drives Tim everywhere and has driven me home from church one time (I'm just not the best passenger yet!) Her class load this year has been intense, so she spends a lot of time analyzing poetry and literature or studying biology and ancient world civilizations. She signed with a modeling agency about a year ago in Louisville, and I have been amazed at how God has shown up time and time again at her practices and auditions. I believe Olivia is our Esther and has been called to the modeling world for such a time as this.
Tim and I continue to lean on each other when the days are hard.
We both miss Nick so very much.
His smile keeps us pressing on, because we believe that even in the midst of all his suffering Nick understood what many never do:
Life is a gift.
Today, as you journey through yet another day of this gift called "life",
look back and thank God for all the ways He has carried you.
Then determine to press on, trusting Him to carry you through today, tomorrow, and the next day.
He walks ahead of you, behind you, and beside you.
You hem me in behind and before,
lay your hand upon me.