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Fifth Annual Scott Bradley Adventurous Life Scholarship

Today was the presentation of the fifth annual Scott Bradley Adventurous Life scholarship.  The scholarship winner is chosen each year through vote of the youth and youth leaders based on criteria of living a life of faith and adventure. Each year I find out who the winner or winners (there was a tie one year) are just before the presentation.  Coming from a rather large church, some years I am familiar with the name and face of the winner and some years I am not.   It is always interesting to hear from Pastor Marc a little bit about each winner and what makes them special.  

This morning when Pastor Marc told me that the winner this year is Alex Almer and that he had shared his testimony in the Easter program, I immediately understood what made Alex special.   I am glad that I had the honor of hearing Alex's story and testimony during the Easter program.  It was not a surprise to me having heard his testimony when Pastor Marc told me that Alex had won the scholarship in a landsl…

Importance of Preventative Medicine

For those of you who have followed our journey over the five and a half years since Scott’s death, you will remember that our concern was to make sure that Jaelyn’s heart was healthy and that she was receiving preventative screenings since we weren’t 100% sure of what caused the severe blockages in Scott’s arteries.  We decided, in consultation with Jaelyn’s pediatrician, to wait a little over a year after Scott’s death to complete the first screening for Jaelyn, in an effort to be more removed emotionally from the trauma of his death.  So, four years ago when Jaelyn went through her first Cardiology screening, both Jaelyn and I were anxious about it.  She was anxious because of new doctors, unusual (to her) tests, and bloodwork.  Although I think the bloodwork was the biggest fear due to her very strong aversion to needles.  I was anxious that something would show up on the tests or bloodwork.  Jaelyn made it through the bloodwork with the support of Grandpa’s arm around her and grea…

Easter in the Cemetery

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This morning I felt drawn to go to the cemetery.  I have never been to the cemetery on Easter day, although I come to the cemetery regularly in the 5 1/2+ years since Scott died.   Seeing all the palm leaf and floral crosses and fresh spring flowers against the starkness of the bare trees, brown grass, stone grave stones, and grey skies is a vivid reminder of the joy to come when I see Christ and my loved ones face to face.  I think of Scott and Jason, with hope for the day that there will no longer be sadness when I think of them.  Rather we will be celebrating with Christ together.   Seeing the sheer volume of spring flowers and crosses on scattered graves (as compared to an ordinary day), as well as the number of people still coming to place flowers and crosses on the graves is amazing to me.  I truly was not expecting to see what I saw this morning. Today is one of the busiest days I have ever seen (other than Christmas) at the cemetery.  It is impossible to drive or walk past mor…

"Just get over it already"

Even though this is our sixth Christmas without Scott, there is still a part of me that dreads Christmas.  —  Shouldn’t I “just be over it already?” — I have heard this comment made a few times to or about others this Christmas season.  Honestly, it breaks my heart.  It doesn’t matter how many years it has been, I will always miss Scott at Christmas and there are parts of the Christmas season that will always be difficult.  Yes, I will laugh and enjoy time with family, but I will also grieve the fact that Scott is not there to enjoy it.  Scott loved family get-togethers - eating, laughing, and playing games together with those he loved — and those get-togethers highlight the fact that he is missing.  Are my emotions as raw as the first year or two?  No, but that is not necessarily the case for everyone.  I will say that year five was almost as difficult as year one for me personally.  I try to take each day as it comes and work hard to find the spirit of the season, but some days and …

Soccer Effect

In the last two years especially of Jaelyn playing soccer, I grieve the fact that Scott isn’t here to enjoy this season of Jaelyn’s life.  He would have loved seeing her play and taken great pride in her ability and sportsmanship.  He would have been that loud parent on the side-line!  Although soccer was the one sport that Scott didn’t play growing up and despite his doubts in his ability to coach a sport he hadn’t played, Scott coached the last soccer team (indoor at the YMCA) Jaelyn played on before his death.  At that point we had no idea whether Jaelyn would stick with soccer and how much she would excel and come to love the sport. 
When Scott died I worried that she would give up the sport because it reminded her of her dad — and in the beginning that wasn’t a good thing.  She did want to give up the first season (practices for that season actually began the week of Scott’s death) after he died, but I wouldn’t allow her to quit.  That first fall and winter I pushed her to continu…

Kayaking Again

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Today I took a major step in my grief journey.  As most of you know, either from reading my blog or knowing Scott personally, Scott was passionate about kayaking and always wanted to share his passion for kayaking with his family.  The last time I was in a kayak was a little over five years ago when we took our last kayak trip as a family.  Six years ago we bought Jaelyn her first kayak - a youth kayak.  It was six years ago today that she tried it out, kayaking independently for the first time - at six years old.  The last time she used that kayak was our last kayak trip as a family.    
So today, a couple of firsts happened.  Today was the first time I was back in a kayak since before Scott’s death, five years ago.  Today was the first time that Jaelyn tried out her first adult kayak, exactly six years from the time she tried out her very first kayak.   We chose to kayak the Swatara Creek, which was also the same creek we took our last kayak trip on as a family.  I did choose a diffe…

Divine Encounter

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Driving home from work today, seeing the gorgeous and dramatic clouds gave me a craving to get out tonight with my camera.  After dropping Jaelyn off at youth group, I began driving toward Indiantown Gap, not really knowing where I wanted to go.  I began feeling this pull to go to the Indiantown Gap National Cemetery.  I haven’t been there for a while, but felt a pull to be there with Scott heavy in my thoughts.  
When driving into the cemetery, the clouds behind the Veteran’s Memorial and the sun shining on the front caught my attention.  Knowing how quickly clouds and light can change, I quickly pulled around so that I could get pictures.  I wasn’t out of the car but a few seconds when I heard the stirring sounds of a bagpipe echoing through the cemetery with the notes of a medley of hymns.  It was deep and clear echoing over the graves.  The beauty and peace of it sent chills down my arms.  It seemed as if time stood still while the song resonated across the cemetery.

Not sure where …