Then, today, we went to a church in Searcy to share Hannah's story. I knew going into it that I was not in the right frame of mind, spiritually or emotionally. But, on the 90-minute drive there, God began to work through some of that, and by the time we arrived, I was ready. He allowed us to share His work in our lives through Hannah's story, and it was such a blessing. We have not shared in several weeks, so today was a great reminder of all He's brought us through in the last 21 months. I'm always amazed by the fact that even as people tell us they are blessed by our story, we receive a far greater blessing by telling it. By the time we left there, I had a new perspective and a revived spirit.
And, I guess I wasn't the only one, because on the way home, Bethany announced that she was ready to put up the Christmas tree. We had decided that, if we put up a tree this year, we would go out and get a real one...just to do something different than we had done in previous years. So, when we got home, we hooked the trailer up to the Blazer, and headed out to Lowe's. Bethany wanted a BIG tree, so that's what we got. We also bought a few new things for the tree...a star for the top, some pretty ribbon, and a special ornament in honor of Hannah. We brought it all into the house, set the tree up in the stand (dropping needles everywhere in the process!) and got out our ornaments. Now, we've never had a "theme" for our tree, or matching ornaments, or anything like that...our tree is filled with snowflakes the girls made in elementary school, construction paper wreaths with their pictures in the middle, candy canes made of red and white beads, etc. We have also gotten the girls an ornament every year, usually related to their interests or activites that year. So you can imagine the memories that went along with each item as it came out of the box. And you can imagine the emotions that were evoked.
Here's the special ornament Bethany and I chose to honor Hannah this year (Hannah's middle name is Joy, and she brought us so much joy!)
There is one other very special ornament that was given to us by some dear family friends at Hannah's visitation back in February. I got it out last...and we decided not to hang it on the tree. It came with a display hanger, so we placed it on our fireplace mantel, beside our favorite picture of Hannah.
Here it is up close...It pretty much says it all....