Saturday, March 25, 2017

the Lighthouse

It has been 3 years and 8 months since Xander went to be with Jesus (1,311 days to be exact). The Lord has led us to this moment. We are returning, Xander is not physically with us, but we carry everything he believed in, lived for and taught us in our hearts.


Today we will load up and head to the Lighthouse. The Lighthouse is a retreat for families living with pediatric cancer. There are about 18 retreats each year that take place along the beaches of Destin, Florida. Our family had the privilege of attending the Lighthouse as a patient family on two different occasions. This time we will attend as a family partner. We are ready and anxious!

In 2011 Xander was in amazing health when we went to the Lighthouse, he won the cannon ball splash contest and no one would have ever known he was "the sick one" if it weren't for the scars on his body. It was an amazing time and we were served by wonderful family partners. We knew then that someday when Xander's cancer treatment was over, we would return as family partners.



In 2012 Xander's treatment schedule did not allow us to attend as a family, but Doug took a group of high school students to serve.

In 2013, one month before Xander passed away, we made the trip to the Lighthouse. It was all Xander wanted to do, this time he was 80% wheelchair bound. The two trips were complete opposites. Xander was dying. We knew that the Lord must perform a mighty miracle for Xander's body to be restored. Our dreams of returning as a family to serve with Xander were slowly fading. But we still knew we would return.




The Lighthouse has been a blessing to our family. The families that served us became dear to our hearts. They loved us, encouraged us, cried and rejoiced with us. We so badly desire to be just that this week.  My plan was to serve as a family and let Xander tell of the healing power of God and for him to bodly share the hope of Jesus with families that were hurting. The Lord's plan was different. I pray that the Lord will use us this week to share the hope of Jesus, to share the joy that can only come from knowing Jesus, to encourage and love these families that are in a place that might seem hopeless.

The Lighthouse is free for patient families. All fundraising and support comes from family partners. We have raised money through Xander's Lemonade Stand and t-shirt sales. However, it is not to late to make a donation to this effort. Simply go online to

https://app.mobilecause.com/vf/LFR2017/RickiLeaMoore


We appreciate your prayers and support.

Monday, September 26, 2016

the lunch box

We are having a big garage sale at the Xander Annex this Saturday to raise money for our FBC Lexington Youth Mission Fund. I have been cleaning out closets and drawers which is always difficult. I have never thought of myself as a “pack rat” or a “hoarder” but I do like to hang on to things. Today I found myself crying in the kitchen floor holding a superman lunch box with Xander Moore written in Sharpe on the back. There is no way to tell you all the things that ran through my mind when I saw that lunch box. But, here are a few……..I will never label anything for Xander again, this was the last character lunch box Xander ever asked for, will I let Baker carry it to school, what if Baker loses it, is Xander really gone, and then it happens; my heart just falls to the floor in pieces over a lunch box.
There are some things that send me to the floor, literally. It is like I’m being suffocated and I can’t get air. Grief and sadness can really physically hurt. I don’t have these moments as often as I used to but they still come. I remember a friend who lost a child years before I did telling me that waves of intense sadness will continue to come, some days you can stand up through them and then some days they wipe you out.
Xander’s lunchbox represents what used to be. It represents school and how much he loved it. It bears his name. It isn’t the most significant thing I have of his, but it was his. This lunchbox allowed me to have a good hard cry. It allowed me to thank the Lord for Xander. It allowed me to remember precious days of the past. As I am typing this, I’m reminded of this old chorus we used to sing in church.

The steadfast love of the Lord never changes,
His mercies never come to an end.
For they are new every morning, new every morning.
 Great is thy faithfulness Oh Lord.
 Great is thy faithfulness.


God is faithful. And I will be keeping the lunch box.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Legacy

A big day! Carter played his very last little league baseball game at our home field in Lexington. There are two players left in the league this season that at one time or another played on the same team as Xander. We took a picture of the two boys, one is Carter and the other is Carson Claunch (little bro to Xander’s beloved Kaden)


Carter is growing up. He is moving into a different phase in life. A phase that Xander did not get to live. It makes my heart hurt and swell with pride all at once.
Another reason this day is big is because 12 years ago Xander spent his 1st night at Children’s Hospital. I can remember every detail. For 9 years we celebrated that day by recognizing the miracle God had performed right in front of our eyes! It’s a weird feeling now because it is a day that stands out to me so vividly, but I’m not sure how to acknowledge it. It’s a day that changed my life forever. If you asked me this morning how I felt about June 15, 2004 and I were to be truly honest I would have said I’m not thankful for that day anymore. Something happened today that changed my mind.
This evening a dear friend sent me the following text message
“I had to let you know that one of my good friends is at children's church camp this week and just text me saying, "Steph! The preacher is telling Xander's story tonight." She had sat in Sunday school with me for years listening to my prayer requests for Xander and feels like she knows him.. Trey is also in the audience listening to Xander's story tonight. I'm filled with adoration for Xander's witness and heartbreak for your continued pain. Just wanted you to know Xander's legacy is preaching tonight. I love you- Steph”

I just sat and cried.
Wow.
 “Xander’s legacy is preaching tonight”

So many thoughts ran through my head, things like “what preacher”? “what camp”?

It didn’t really matter, but inside I was dying to know!!!!

You see, I don’t know the exact message preached, I don’t know all the details and stories shared. But what I do know is that God led the pastor to share Xander’s story for a purpose.
 We have always wanted God to be glorified!!!
What more could I ask for?
Truly, as a Christian it should be my greatest desire for others to know Christ. I should long for people to hear of God’s power and love.
I now know the name of the camp pastor and I can say with full confidence that he shared exactly that.

My heart finds comfort in knowing that Xander’s life was not lived in vain.  Xander’s suffering, my suffering, Doug’s suffering, our children’s suffering does not continue without a purpose.
I’m thankful for today. I’m thankful that for the phrase “ Xander’s legacy is preaching tonight”
preach on Xander Man!



Thursday, May 19, 2016

a thankful heartache

Starting with McClain’s baptism and Baker’s baby dedication at church on Mother's Day and ending today with the birth of my nephew………the past 2 weeks have been full.

McClain accepted Christ as her personal Lord and Savior on Easter Sunday. This is the most important thing we as parents pray for! Her baptism was her public commitment and act of obedience in following Jesus. Then Doug and I, along with our church family pledged to raise Baker in a Christ following home and teach him the word of God, praying for him to one day surrender his life to the Lord.

A few days later Carter turned 13 and McClain graduated from kindergarten. I sat there next to my 13 yr old son, listening to all the kindergarteners sing and smile and I just cried.

I didn’t cry because McClain was growing up, I cried because of all the hope and promise those little babies on stage represented. I cried because this was my 4th child to graduate from kindergarten and all the hopes and dreams I have had for each one of them came rushing in. Each and every parent that sat there was filled with pride and joy for their child, anticipating the day that their child will graduate high school and how quickly it will come. 

Xander is not here to celebrate these moments with us. He is not here to enter high school in August. He is not here to play catch with Carter. He is not here to take family pictures. He is not here to live life with us. He will not be here ever again. It shakes me to my core. Xander has been gone from this earth for 1001 days, and just the other night as we were leaving a ball game I found myself looking around and counting heads and couldn’t shake the fact that one of mine was missing. It is so bizarre how incomplete it feels. 

This last week my heart has been so full, I mean full to the brim. I live a beautiful life in my opinion. This is not what I would have chosen for Doug and I. But I am truly thankful. I am thankful for every thought I have of Xander. I am thankful for every moment he was in my arms. I am thankful for every tear I cry. I am thankful that I see Xander in Baker’s little face and when Baker grunts at me, I smile because Xander did the same thing.  The Lord will use my heartache. He will use my heartache to mold me and shape me into what He wants me to be. 

And then today……a sweet baby boy entered the world, born to my sister in law and brother in law. A little boy who will never know Xander Hall Moore this side of eternity, but will carry his name on earth. Wilson Hall Morreau, I have yet to hold you in my arms but I have prayed for your health and safe delivery. You and Baker Hall will be the best of cousins and I can’t wait til both of you are old enough to understand the miraculous power of God displayed in Xander’s big 11 years and 9 months.





Monday, April 11, 2016

Life with Baker Hall Moore

“The beauty I am experiencing with Baker right now I will never get to share with Xander, but the beauty that Xander is experiencing right now will someday be mine as well”
                                             
                                                                                                        
Our family welcomed Baker Hall Moore into the world on October 23, 2015 at 9:45pm. Baker weighed 8lbs 6oz and was 21 1/2 in long. Oh the joy and tears that flooded our home that night were indescribable. Carter rejoiced because he was so thankful to have a little brother and not another sister!! As I held the baby in my arms for the first time I still did not know if it was a boy or a girl. I simply knew that I was holding a new life, my baby had taken its first breath in the same room where Xander took his last breath. It was surreal. It was agonizing. It was beautiful. It was ordained by God. It was painful. It was a gift. The purest joy was present at the same time the purest of sorrow. Once again I was reminded that only God can allow someone to feel such extremes at the same time.

My entire pregnancy I was aware of how emotional it would be to welcome a new member of the family and continue to grieve for Xander. When I found out I was pregnant my very first thought was “I’ll never have a picture with all my babies”. I never imagined just how difficult the labor and delivery process would be. I underestimated the heaviness of grief and how it would affect labor. I am thankful for my husband and his complete calmness that day. Doug’s ability to meet all my needs was a blessing. I am thankful for my midwife who has known me for years, delivered Carter and Charli with me and was present at Xander and McClain’s births even in the hospital. She helped me embrace the sadness, fear and beauty of Baker’s birth. 

Baker is now 5 1/2 months old. He brings so much sweetness to our lives. His little face looks like Carter and his mannerisms are like Xander. Carter tells me all the time "its the best of both of them". He is right. 
We are full swing into baseball, softball, and T-ball. Baker has learned to go with the flow! It's a little weird watching your 7th grade son run track while holding a baby. I am constantly reminded that when Carter graduates high school, Baker will graduate kindergarten!!!

There are so many moments that I wish I could share with Xander. So many times when we are all together experiencing one of Baker's "firsts" my heart will simply ache for Xander. Longing to see him hold Baker in his arms. Longing to have a picture with all 5 of my children. For the last 963 days of my life; I have missed Xander. My family has changed drastically. The family pictures that hang on my walls are now missing Baker, but new ones will not have Xander. UGH! 
We took pictures last month and when I looked at our family pic for the first time it looked so weird, kind of funny. Here Doug and I are with these 3 big kids and a baby :)
I literally laughed out loud. 
The point being this; life is good, but life hurts. From the moment that Xander physically left our home and entered into the presence of Jesus; life kept going. Some days its like I'm watching everything happen in slow motion. Its moving forward and I am trying to hold onto it with all my might. It will never slow down and it will never stop. I want to capture it all and I want to savor it. Yet, we are moving further and further away from the life with Xander. How can I live both of them together? 
I will continue to thank the Lord for the moments that I think of Xander, smile and have perfect peace. I will also continue to thank the Lord for the moments that I think of Xander, cry and feel my heart crumbling. It is in these moments that I experience God in the most personal ways. It is during these times that I must surrender to His will and wait patiently for the work He is still doing in me.

Enjoy the pictures and feel free to laugh (and cry) with me!





Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Xander's Funeral

About 2 months ago I came across some pictures on my dad’s computer. Pictures that I had no idea existed. Pictures that only my uncle Randy would take. Pictures that I am forever grateful for.
2 years ago on this very day, August 26, 2013, we celebrated Xander’s life and placed his earthly body in the ground. It was a surreal day, a beautiful sunshine day, a day Doug and I prayed we would never have to experience. No parent should ever have to bury their child. But we did, and we are still living and breathing to tell about it. Time has continued to move forward, even on the days we wished it would just stop, it hasn’t. As I look back on these pictures I see just how much Carter, Charli and McClain have grown and physically changed. I see just how much Xander’s friends have grown. These were babies, children………having to carry the casket of their dear friend. Nothing about these pictures is normal.
Yet, I could look at them all day long. I can look at them and remember the ache in my body. The physical depth of grief we were living. As I scroll through each picture I notice the people who were there to support us, to hug us and to cry with us. The people who LOVED Xander Hall Moore, the people who had cried out to God to heal this child, the people who carried us when we were too weak to function. Everyone from family, police officers, football players, best friends, teachers, doctors, nurses, and even some complete strangers filled the church that day.

We are still grieving and some days my body still physically aches and longs to hold Xander in my arms, to hear his voice, oh to hear his laughter. But we live, because Jesus lives, we live and we face each day with hope. The same hope that carried us through 9 years of battling cancer is the same hope we had on the day Xander took his last breath and it is the very same hope we had when we looked at his earthly body one last time. Our hope is JESUS! I pray that you would know that very same hope that can only be found in Jesus.
Here are a few of the pictures from Xander's Funeral service














Sunday, June 28, 2015

Going to camp

I'm packing for youth camp and all I can think about is the suitcase I'm not packing. Carter, Doug and I will go without Xander. Still doesn't seem real at times. All the while I'm feeling this new life kick inside of me. Life is beautiful and so painful all in one breath. My heart rejoices and my heart hurts. This is just he way it will be. Oh dear Jesus, you have blessed us with so much. Thank you for the 11 years and 9 months we had Xander. Oh how I wish he was still here. I wish he was going to camp with all his friends tomorrow. 
"Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be shaken. My salvation and glory depend on God, my strong rock. My refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is our refuge.  (‭Psalms‬ ‭62‬:‭5-8‬ HCSB)
I know that in my sadness, there is still joy. I know there are people hurting all over this world today that do not have joy. Without Jesus there is no joy. Even with Jesus we have to be willing to let  His joy fill our hearts. It's a choice. Because I believe in God's promises and stand on His truth. I know that joy, even on the days I don't feel it......I still know it in my heart. 
I pray that wherever this finds you today, you would trust God in all things, let His joy flood your soul. 
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Tomorrow we will go to camp. Please pray that lives are changed and that our youth will draw closer to the Lord this week and listen to His voice. Xander doesn't need church camp. Xander is already in the presence of his King, forever!