April 08, 2016

6 comments


Keithlee's story . . . Week two ~ "A journey of faith & healing"

Thank you for joining us for week two of Keithlee's story . . .
I have had the privilege of Keithlee relaying her story to me first hand and upon hearing about the sudden loss of her mom, I was most overcome by how such a tragic event banded her family together in the most beautiful, most honoring way . . . Aside from her faith, what I treasure most about Keithlee is how her face lights up when recalling the moments & the memories ~ her smile is wide, her eyes bright, and there is wonderful joy in her laughter . . .
A reminder of Psalm 30, verses 11 & 12
"You turned my wailing into dancing, you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God,
I will praise you forever."

 

The dynamic of our family is one that is very unique. I mentioned earlier that my mom’s dream was to have a real family, a family that truly loved each other and wanted to be together.  With determination, faith and love, she and my dad made this dream not only come true, they made it explode. They not only sacrificed to make life the best it could be for us, but they were so intentional, making every moment fun and joyful, no matter what it was.

 I remember our first trip to Disney World like it was yesterday. It’s not even Disney World that we look back on together, it’s the car trip on the way there.  My mom had a suburban at the time and both my parents knew it was going to be a long trip to take with five children.  Back then, TV screens and movie players were very rare in cars, so my dad took a small TV with a built in VCR from our house and strapped it to the console in my mom’s suburban. We folded down all the seats, laid out sleeping bags and blankets, and watched movies and played games the whole way there. We constantly look back on this trip and just laugh because we had so much fun. It’s something so simple, but a memory that we will all cherish forever, as with SO many others.

      

With the love and strength of the Lord, Mom and Dad did this, they built this family, one that loves each other, that wants to spend time together, and who’s bond brings a strength that we never even knew we had.

I am one of five children. I have two brothers and two sisters, and I am the second child. I am married to my wonderful husband, Russ, and we have two little girls, Leighton and Everley.  My brother, Micah, is the oldest and is married to his amazing, beautiful wife, Tiffany. They have two boys, Jackson and Mason. My brother, Hunter is after me, and runs his own business, “Junk Boss.” My sister, Colbie, is married to her husband, Pope, and they have a sweet little boy, Little Pope. My youngest sister Blakeley is in her junior year of college at the University of Oklahoma. My dad runs his own contracting business, but his main job is loving his family.

Every one of us is very unique, but we share so much, and each person brings in their own strength that lifts the others in their weaknesses. Our mom always made each of us feel special through encouraging those strengths and allowing us to thrive in them in our own lives and together as a family. From the letters in books, to notes on our napkins in our lunches, to cards just written to tell us she loved us and how special we were, and just her words and actions alone, showed the amazing love and dedication she had for her family. She enjoyed time with her family more than anything, and she always made it a priority.

(the "girls" in Florida; mama, Colbie, Blakeley, me, Tiffany) 

This spirit that she had, brought us all to the place we are at today. We are each other’s best friends, and this has allowed us to have so much strength and encouragement during this time of grieving and healing. This bond has helped us to continue the traditions and legacy that my mom has left, and we are able to honor her through carrying them out with each other and in our own individual families.

Every one of us has dealt with our grief differently, but we have always, and continue to support each other through it all. We have also found support through close family friends that have reached out, and most definitely in our faith. There are many benefits to having a large, close knit family, especially in times like this.

Every one of us has found encouragement and hope in the love of our siblings and father. When one of us is down and grief stricken, the others help lift that person back up. Everyone feels something different at every moment, so there is always support no matter where we are in our journey. 

The support of family friends has been important as well. Our Godparents, Rick and Jenny Dunning, have been there every step of the way since the very beginning. They have been my parents’ closest friends since junior high school.  Jenny has been so strong for us since my mom’s accident happened. She and Rick have been there to pick up all the pieces that go along with this, when we just couldn’t handle them anymore.

 

(mama's wedding day with her best friend & my Godmother, Jenny) 

There was one day when my sisters and I had to pick out a dress for my mom for the viewing. It was only a few days after the accident, and we had so many emotions running through us. We stood in her closet and looked around at all of her beautiful, sweet clothes. Her closet smelled like her and everything we looked at, we could envision a time when she wore it. It was too much. All three of us just melted to the point of uncontrollable sadness and anger. Jenny came in the room and just wrapped her arms around all of us.  She was so close to mom, her hugs felt like mom’s hugs. We just sat in her arms and cried and she cried with us. That support is something that can’t be replaced, that we will always remember, and it still continues.

The love of family, friends, and of course, our sweet Lord is something that is crucial in these times, and all times. I look at the family that we have, that my mom and dad built, and the community of friends that they have brought into our lives, and the faith they have instilled in each of us, and I am so incredibly thankful and in awe of what the Lord has given us.   When something like this happens, you realize just how powerful your faith can be, because all you can do is trust and depend on God, hoping in the fact that His plan is good, and always better than our own.

Our mom's accident was something so sudden and horrible, we all just couldn’t understand the grief and the loss. It was and still is sometimes, completely incomprehensible. I remember shortly after I found out, Russ and I called my mom’s friend and Bible Study teacher, Cathy Jo. She is a long time family friend, who teaches Bible studies all throughout Oklahoma City and who helps a lot of people through these times. She is a very wise woman of the Lord. When we called her, she was with my family, but she prayed with Russ and I over the phone, and then she told me something that I still use today. She said, “For the next year, you will only look at and take the next step. You will not look any further. Looking ahead is too hard.” This statement has so much truth in it. If I look ahead, I begin to feel anxious about what it will be like without mom. The feelings of sadness take over and I don’t see the beauty that could come from what lies ahead. But, if I just take the steps as they come, I can deal with them, and often times, even through the pain of mom’s physical absence, I can see the hope that God has placed in front of me and my family. I can see the signs that He is there, and my mom is right there with Him.

(my mom's Bible study group)

Many of us have sought outside counseling to help us understand and process our grief.  My husband and I began our counseling through The Renewing Life Center in October.  Counseling has allowed each of us to process the feelings we are having and to understand that whatever we are feeling is ok and that those emotions need to come out.  It is all a part of the process. The emotions that are felt throughout the grieving process are all over the place. There are moments where I feel ok, and then there are moments of complete sadness, anger, numbness, fogginess, and total exhaustion.

Every day and every hour is different.  It is so easy to want to shut these emotions off, to deflect them when they arise. I want to create distraction from them. I have learned that, although it is difficult sometimes, I have to stop and rest and allow myself to feel completely. I believe that God has called me to a season of rest in order to heal. It is so hard to rest and allow the grief to process, but each time I do, it brings peace; a weight is lifted. I want to stay busy, I want to pray that the Lord will just take the hurt away, but every time I start to search, He draws me back and says, “Stop, just draw near and rest in me.” When I rest, that is when His Peace washes over.

I have learned that God gives us a beautiful life, I always knew that, but even in the worst times, He brings beauty, and we just have to see it. Life is a true blessing and a gift. My mom lived every moment of her life believing and reflecting this. She is forever with us. I feel her in everything and her presence is everywhere. It is so hard to see it in all the grief sometimes, but if I remember to rest in Jesus, and just be still, she is more present and glorious than ever.

   

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.”
~  Psalm 34:8(NIV)

** footnote . . . as we honor this season's nonprofit, The Renewing Life Center, please take a moment to read more about this wonderful organization on our Lavish "Your Heart" page.
 

 about our guest writer . . .

Keithlee Logan is a loving wife, mother, sister, daughter . . . When she's not chasing after her two beautiful little girls, Leighton & Everley, she keeps busy being a soccer mom, enjoys baking, reading & spending time with her husband of 8 years, Russ. She is devoted to keeping her "mama's" memory alive by embracing family traditions & honoring her faith. The Logan family reside happily in Henderson, NV.

Join our community to receive product updates, the latest in lifestyles, news and stories like this one by clicking here . . . and be sure to visit us next week when we post Week three of Keithlee's story. 

We are privileged to offer a charming children's book titled, "EVERY TIME YOU BLINK."
This precious book, written & illustrated by Camden Dunning, Keithlee's "God-sister," will help little ones know that although a loved one has passed, they are with them always, "every time they blink!"

All proceeds, (excluding shipping), will joyfully be donated to this season's nonprofit organization,
The Renewing Life Center ~ providing counseling, care & help to individuals, couples & families.
Order your copy while supplies last by clicking here . . .

Thank you to the Magness & Dunning families for their generosity & partnership!

with "lavish" love,
Laurel, Tammy, Lisa


 Lavish Three . . . a destination designed to lavish your heart, your soul & your home.
Find the perfect selection of treasures here!

We joyfully donate a portion of our proceeds each season to a nonprofit ~ visit our Lavish "Your Heart" page to read more about this season's organization,
The Renewing Life Center.

 


6 Responses

Rikki Abrams
Rikki Abrams

April 09, 2016

Keithley your blogs are unbelievably well written and uplifting to all who have the good luck to read them! The event of Debbie’s passing was so devastating to us all, but especially to your family and frankly I was most worried about you. Now, through your blog I can clearly see the work being done in you through our Lord and Savior and it is mighty! You are destined to do great things in this world—just like your momma! I truly see and believe that! Also I feel that somehow, supernaturally , your momma has left in us her friends the desire to sort of “see her children through” so to speak. Know that I am praying without ceasing for you all to become whole again—and I believe you are well on your way! Much love, Rikki

Jenny
Jenny

April 08, 2016

Whew! Several times today, I started reading your story, and several times I had to stop because I couldn’t get through without too many tears. But God just provided a moment for me to rest and hear and breathe and feel the river of mercy and grace that your words flowed on.

I cannot express my joy as I read your spirit-filled words that beautifully describe your mama and how deeply she loves you. One of the reasons each of you and all of you feel her love so fully is because she sends it through her Lord Jesus and then it comes to you. Your mama discovered who she is in Christ and that clarity of identity freed her to love you with no barriers. And that’s what you felt and feel. This is rare and so lovely. It is why you can write like an angel flies…. Effortlessly and with the lord’s guidance.

I take away such unbridled joy as I feel your words and breathe them in like something tangible. (“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed are these who take refuge in Him.” Psalm 34:8). I think of your bright eyes, expansive smile and I know the twinkle of your mom’s sense of humor giggles out of you. You are the whisper of your mom in the most beautiful ways… As a sister, wife, mama, friend.

I am blessed to know something about your mama as a sister and friend. Thank you for your courage as you write about that hard day when we all held each other up and sobbed out of anger and longing. It wasn’t fair and we wanted her back. We still have these moments but we know that her spirit expands our hearts every day. Like Cathy Jo says, we will do this bit by bit, which is exactly all God promises us. We have this moment. Thank you Jesus!

I am so pleased as I watch how you are using this moment to glorify Jesus and spread hope, faith, mercy and love. I’m grateful for the times I can hug my best friend’s children. I do it because she steps into me and sends you her hugs. I do it because I love you each and every one bigger than the sky. I also do it because hugging you brings me closer to her. I trust my Lord and don’t have one worry about my Deb. But I am also a perfectly imperfect human and I miss my best friend. Every day, no matter what I’m doing, I say, “Okay Deb, let’s go to the store.” Or “Okay Deb, let’s go handle this problem.” Today I say, “Okay Deb, let’s hug Keithlee. Let’s show her how she delights us with her courage, hard work, and joy for the glory of our Lord.” It doesn’t matter that you are several hundred miles away from me, nothing stops your mama. :)

You honor your dad, Micah, Tiff, Jackson, Mason, your family, Hunter, Colbie, Pope, Little Pope, and Blakeley with your miracle words about your family, how you love each other, and how your mom set that in motion with the grace of God.

You honor all of your extended family, including Ricky and me, and all of your God-siblings. You inspire us all and draw us closer to God. Thank you, sweetie girl. I love you bigger than the sky!

Jennifer Dunford
Jennifer Dunford

April 08, 2016

Hi Keithlee,
I know you know that your mom and dad along with you and your siblings were a great part of our time in OKC. I was always blessed by Debbie’s sweet encouraging comments about being a mom and how crucially important it was (to both of us.) I admired her example so much and loved being around her to chat about nursing our babies, letting them sleep in bed with us while they were little, and just general child training challenges. We had our 5th and 6th babies during that time and she was definitely a friend who would be my cheerleader when others just didn’t understand. For Esther’s baby shower (our 5th) she gave me the red ‘You Are Special’ plate. It meant so much to me and I used it numerous times. I realized after reading your blog though that it had been misplaced in our move to Enid…so I had to write and let you know all of these things, along with the fact that I just ordered another red plate from amazon! I just couldn’t let that sweet memory and gift be forgotten!! So now after having our 12th sweet baby just two weeks ago (we found out about her the day before your momma moved to heaven), I still know, as your momma taught you, how precious every single day is with those we love so much…and how incredibly special is the power of a mother.
Blessings to you and all of your family, and we’re still praying. ?
Jen

Cathy Jo Wicks
Cathy Jo Wicks

April 08, 2016

So overjoyed to see & hear the glory of God pouring out of you. Your mom planted “living” seeds of hope in all of you/us—“Christ within you the hope of glory.” It was Shari Portman last week in class when we were talking about the loss of your mom & Will Harris, who said "In the book of Acts through all the sacrifice, difficulty, & loss the Kingdiom of God advanced. We all see you & your family advancing in the Kingdom. What a beautiful witness you are of the power & love of an indestructible life. Truly you are filled with the Holy Spirit!!!

Sheri
Sheri

April 08, 2016

Keithlee, I get chills when I read your story! God is speaking through you and touching so many lives! Just Beautiful! Walking in your Mama’s footsteps! Love you, Sheri

Dana Caples-Moore
Dana Caples-Moore

April 08, 2016

I was anticipating reading this story and with no internet I waited patiently ( at least I thought I was patient:) And once I got internet and start reading this amazing story … I had to catch my breathe ! And my tears continue to fall ! Keithlee I don’t know you but you have allow not only me but others in your family !! Many tend to grieve privately and if I was in your shoes I’m not sure if I could share as you have .. What I truly believe that we can find rest and peace in the arms of our Loving Savior Jesus Christ! The memories of the love your Mom gave is still alive and ..“It is well with my soul”
Blessings and Love???
Dana Caples-Moore

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