Post without Pictures!

For some reason, I always feel like I can’t post something without a picture, so often times I don’t bother because it takes me so long to resize things! But after reading some of my friends blogs, I realize they just share witty anecdotes and strange happenings in their lives without necessarily feeling the pressure to put up pictures each and every time they log on – so here I am without the facade of my precious cherubs to hide behind!

 Come to think of it, what is there to talk about besides my kids??? Well, I do have a fabulous husband that loves me more than life and is forever focused on God and our family. I got to have dinner with my angel of a mentor, Jackie, last night and be reminded that we are not held hostage to yesterday, that shame is not from God and that a man can legally hire a woman to take care of every need except the physical, so as wives we need to tune into that special need that only we can meet.

As there have been so many challenges in recent days, not only in our lives but in the lives of our friends and church family, I’m reminded that prayer is very real and necessary. I’m thankful for the friends that have come around us by bringing meals and caring for our kids so that we were in a place today where we could bring a meal to someone else in need. Nothing gets your focus of yourself and your own circumstances like serving others, and my husband is the pinnacle of that example.

On another encouraging note, our children are now drown-proof! Ok, so maybe I’ll have to attach a couple pictures, but we are so thrilled that they can both swim (or at least float) if they ever fell in the water. If any of you are looking for a top-notch instructor, Ms. Sarah really takes the cake. Ok, enough for today. I’ll try to do really do this without pictures next time ūüôā ¬†

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Taking things day by day

Stephen’s funeral last Friday was a beautiful tribute to His spirit although it was the “end” to a very long and difficult week. Even as I write the words, they seem to trivialize our experience, which in no means can compare to what Aunt Diane, Uncle Kenny and Jimmy are continuing to go through. We were supposed to go to Disney the day before the funeral, so we obviously postponed the trip and left the day after instead.

Unfortunately, Kariss woke up at 2am that morning throwing up and complained of stomach pain our entire drive up to Orlando. Her pediatrician called in some medicine and though there were some very fun moments, what we had hoped would be a relaxing escape proved to still be a bit more than we were ready to handle in our current emotional and physical state. Still, we enjoyed the perks of free meals during our stay and meeting the princesses with no wait! We even got to meet up with some friends from Hobe Sound & CF, Andy & Sue Mydock and their four boys, so it was fun to have friends with us on Sunday.img_2571web.jpgFamily at Chef Mickey’simg_2650web.jpgFamily match MGMSleeping Beautyimg_2330web.jpgEpcot with the MydocksBritton’s Haircut

Ricky’s had to work every day since we’ve been back and then we had Stephen’s graveside service on Saturday morning, so there still hasn’t been much downtime. We have been trying to get the kids back on schedule, including very little tv and a lot of love! They have one more week of swim lessons (if the rain will stay away!) and we’re looking forward to things cooling down soon (hopefully!).

Stephen’s service

Britton & Nanita¬†DiggingBritton¬†ElmoJupiter¬†LighthouseTomorrow we’ll be having a memorial service for Stephen at 2pm at the Grace Place in Stuart (there will be a viewing from 1-2pm). This has been a long week for many of us, though I cannot even begin to put myself in the shoes of Stephen’s mom, dad & brother. May we never have to experience the level of grief they are currently going through, though I know God uses all things for good according to His higher purposes.

Obviously we’ve had the kids up in Hobe Sound quite a bit, and Britton has taken advantage of the time with Nanita by doing some good digging in the dirt! Kariss, unfortunately, has once again been experiencing some extreme stomach pain the past 3 afternoons and even¬†vomitted at Aunt Diane’s house yesterday afternoon (that really cleared the room!), so we’re still searching to see what could be causing the pain. I’ve also included a picture of the Jupiter Lighthouse that my husband took to be included in Stephen’s memorial service because he loved the water so much. Just thought those of you from outside of Florida would like the peek into our scenery around here.

Britton “swimming”

Here’s our little boy after 3 weeks of swim lessons:

Holiday today?

We wanted to thank all of you for all your prayers, love and encouragement. Though tragedy never makes sense, we rest confident in knowing that our God is faithful and loving. We live in an imperfect world and take each day as it comes, with hope of a brighter tomorrow!

Though we have a few more details of Stephen’s death, we still do not know when his services will be. He was found in some “woods” not far from where Jimmy lives in Hobe Sound and had been there for quite some time. Because of the holiday weekend, we cannot talk with the coroner until tomorrow, and because of the way he died, there will need to be some investigations before the funeral home can step in. Needless to say, I cannot even begin to imagine how Aunt Diane, Uncle Kenny and Jimmy are feeling right now.

On a more upbeat note, the entire Cone family has been surrounded by love and an outpouring of support, including us. Our friends from our small groups (special thanks to Kelly, Holly, Jess & Dave!) have rallied around us to help us so I can get things done around the house, and have brought food and sanity! We love you guys! We’ve tried to keep the kids on somewhat of a normal schedule the past few days, and that includes their swim lessons. I wanted to share how Kariss is doing, and i’m going to try to upload video of Britton as well! Enjoy…

Mixed News

I come to you tonight with some encouraging, as well as some sad, news.

I finally heard back from Kariss’ specialist about the pathology reports.¬†I think I revealed to you already that the endoscopy found nothing alarming – only some irritation and abnormal redness on the bottom of her stomach. The doctor comfirmed that it is gastritis, but not the helicobacter she originally tested positive for, so that is a good sign. Though we don’t know what caused it, we’re thankful it’s nothing more serious as was feared. She’s on medicine for the next ten days and I hope that any of you that are in the nutrition world that know something about gastritis (we’re still not sure what that means),¬†might be able to shed some light on some natural approaches we could take with Kariss from here to ease her pain and¬†get¬†rid of the condition altogether.

The sad news is that we JUST found out that Ricky’s cousin, Stephen, passed away tonight. I don’t even know the details yet (we literally just got the call as I was about to put the kids to bed and Ricky has already left again) so I cannot tell you much except that I’m sure most of you remember Ricky’s¬†cousin Michael was just killed in a car¬†accident Easter weekend. Stephen is Michael’s brother. The oldest of the three boys, Jimmy, is now the only child left in the family and he¬†and Ricky are the closest (in relationship and age).¬†PLEASE keep the Cone family in your prayers, especially Aunt Diane and Uncle¬†Kenny as they’ve now lost two boys within a few months.¬†I’m sure I’m babbling a bit even as I write, but we just can’t get our head¬†around this.

For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever.
 Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion
      because of the greatness of his unfailing love.
 For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.

~ Lamentations 3: 31-33 NLT