Monday, October 27, 2014

running the race

Yesterday was my birthday. I am now 36 years old. I have had two birthdays since Xander went to be with Jesus. The thought that keeps ringing in my head is that someday when I am 50 years old..........Xander will still be gone. The 11 years and 9 months Xander lived on this earth seem like a dream. It seems so distant, I can't reach out and get it, I can't feel it. It's just gone. Lately when I look at a picture of Xander it is hard to breathe. This weird feeling comes over me, I have to tell myself that he really was here on this earth. I did give birth to him, take care of him, love him, sit with him in church, dress him up for Halloween, watch him play baseball and basketball, travel to different places with him for treatment, hold his hand, hear his him take his last breath. It really did happen, yet it seems so far from my reach.

I find myself speechless at times.

I simply miss my boy, I miss Xander.

I see so much of him in McClain. Her facial expressions kill me! I think it's her eyes.
Xander's personality shines brightly in miss Charli, no gray areas for those two!
And Carter. Man oh man, he makes me so proud. He is growing in every aspect of life. I try not to compare him to Xander, but I can't help but believe that Xander would be so proud of his little brother. Xander would love to know that Carter has kept their bedroom so organized, just how Xander kept it.
All these things are precious to me. All these thoughts and daily reminders of Xander are gifts from The Lord. Yet, painful

My nephew turned 12 recently. I didn't really think much about it approaching, yet suddenly it occurred to me that he is the first one of the cousins to pass Xander's age. He was born after Xander and now he is older than him. This is the first of many. Xander has 9 cousins that are younger than him, eventually they will all be older than him.
Life just keeps happening.
I'm doing what I never dreamed I could do...... I'm living life without Xander. There is laughter, there is joy and there are new adventures. Sometimes I'm hesitant because I feel like I'm betraying my grief or my love for Xander. It's a struggle. It's a struggle that Satan wants to win. I have to claim victory in Jesus.

 Acts 20:24 " However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me, the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace"

Xander finished his race. I am still in mine. Part of my race is the task of living after the death of a child. What is that supposed to look like? What is the purpose of it all? I am truly trying. I am trying to bring glory to the Lord. I am trying to find joy in the midst of this suffering. Nothing should matter more than to run my race with perseverance and embrace what the Lord has planned for me.

Nothing should matter more to any of us than to complete the task the Lord has given to us.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow

Tomorrow Carter will begin 6th grade, something his big brother never got to do. It is so unnatural and seems so wrong to watch Carter pass Xander, in size, in strength, and now in school.  I am in awe of the young man Carter is becoming, I can't help but wish that Xander were here to see it. I know Xander would be proud of Carter. It takes me back to the moment last summer  when we told Xander that his disease was progressing rapidly and that we just didn't have any treatment options that were promising. Xander did not want us to tell Carter. Xander did not want Carter to worry. Xander loved his little brother so much. I really can't believe I am going to watch Carter grow up without Xander.

On another note, tomorrow is also a big day for McClain. She will start all day pre-k. (pause)

I don't even know where to begin. I can't explain the thoughts and feelings raging through me at this moment. We are quickly approaching the one year mark of Xander's life ending on this earth and the beginning of his eternity with Jesus. I am replaying each day leading up to Aug. 22, 2013 over and over again in my head. Conversations with Xander, moments holding him and caring for him, his smell , his face, his smile, all of it. It seems like a lifetime ago, yet still so raw.

Of course McClain going to pre-k pales in comparison to Xander's death, but once again my role is about to change. I have cared for a child all day everyday for the last 12 1/2 years. Tomorrow after I leave McClain at school I will be on my own! Oh dear Jesus, I hope I can physically walk out of the building tomorrow morning.

Let's not forget Charli Joy.......she proudly announced this evening that she does not need (or want) me to walk her to her classroom in the morning. The big 3rd grader can handle it all on her own.  Wow, hit a momma while she is down :)

I'm not sure why I am sharing all of this, I don't want you to feel sorry for me. I simply want to share that in the midst of all of the pain and heartache, life is happening. Life has not stopped. At times I wish that the world would just slow down and let me stay right here, within the walls of the first year without Xander. It won't and it never will. We are growing, spiritually and physically. McClain is so tall and Carter seems huge all of the sudden. It is just going to keep on, and as it does, our calling is to continue to glorify the Lord, even if it hurts. Something that really penetrated my heart yesterday.......

Romans 5:2b-5a  "and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance.  perseverance, character and character, hope and hope does not disappoint us."

I kept rereading that last part. "hope does not disappoint us" ! The foot notes in my bible said this
" hope is not equal to the believers optimism, it is the blessed assurance of our future destiny, and is based on God's love, which is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit and objectively demonstrated to us in the death of Christ"
Ricki Lea's notes: Hope is not just wishful thinking, hope, my hope is based on something more than that.  it is based on God's love, the cross and resurrection. Now, I am not rejoicing over Xander's death, but the "suffering" and heartache I am going through has changed me, and it has created a deeper hope in me than I have ever had and God's word says it (hope) will not disappoint me, and I believe in God's word. To quote an old hymn; strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Great is thy faithfulness.

We have decided to host the first annual Xtraordinary Lemonade Stand on August 23, 2014. This event will be a time to gather with our friends and family to remember and celebrate the life of an amazing 11 year old boy. We will sell lemonade, hot dogs, and baked goods. All proceeds will benefit pediatric cancer patient families. So many times throughout our 9 year journey we were blessed in ways that were unexpected. Whether it was gas cards, cash for vehicle repairs, airline tickets, school supplies, utility bills being paid or Christmas gifts. People gave to us generously and allowed us to focus on Xander's treatment. My kids want to give back to others who are enduring the same things we did.

Lexington's Xtraordinary Lemonade Stand will be held in the city park of Lexington, OK
Saturday August 23, 2014 from 10-4pm

If you are not local and would like to purchase "virtual" lemonade please email me at and I will send you an invoice via paypal.  

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Vacation Bible School

Vacation Bible School starts tomorrow. This will be my 13th year to direct VBS at First Baptist Lexington. Over the past 13 years VBS has been one of the highlights of our summer. I remember directing VBS when Carter was only 3 weeks old. I remember the very next year finding out that Xander had cancer and VBS was the very next week.  The year Charli decided she wanted to use the toilet and not wear diapers anymore was of course........the week of  VBS. McClain went to VBS when she was only 5 weeks old. Last year my very sick and frail Xander made it to every day of VBS except one and he only missed because he made a quick trip to Kansas City. This year, 2014, our family will attend VBS without Xander. Tonight I am laying out 5 VBS shirts instead of 6. I will take the kids picture tomorrow morning and Xander will be missing. I'm not quite sure what to do. I'm not quite sure of how I will hold my head up this week. My heart aches in ways I never knew it could. I close my eyes and picture Xander and he seems so out of reach and so far away. 
This week our VBS scripture is 1 Peter 3:15 " but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you"
Our kids will study the many miracles that Jesus performed while on this earth. They will learn that Jesus was more than just a good man. Our kids will study the evidence that God really did send His son to die on the cross for our sins.   They will study the resurrection of our Lord and they will know how to tell others that Jesus is ALIVE and that He offers salvation to us all.
The hope that is in me is because of Jesus. The hope that will carry my family through this week and through the rest of our lives is found in Jesus.

Know why you have hope. Always be ready to defend it!

Walk with me down VBS memory lane.............

Xander, 6 months old VBS 2002

Xander (& Kaden) VBS 2003, 18 months old

VBS 2004, Carter 1 yr and Xander 2 1/2 yrs

VBS 2005 Xander 3 1/2 yrs and Carter 2 yrs

VBS 2006 Xander  and Carter (Charli must have been in the nursery)

VBS 2007 Charli  1 1/2 yrs

VBS 2008 Xander age 6 1/2 yrs

VBS 2009 McClain 5 weeks

My favorite one! VBS 2010

VBS 2011
Xander loved those green converse

VBS 2012 Xander 10 1/2 yrs, Carter 9 yrs, Charli 6 yrs and McClain 3 yrs

VBS 2013  7 weeks before Jesus called Xander home

Sunday, June 15, 2014

10 years ago

Happy Father's Day 

Today is a big day for my heart.
We will celebrate my wonderful husband on this Father's Day. Knowing how I felt on Mother's Day, Doug will probably just want to "get through" it. Doug is an amazing father and he has been blessed with 4 amazing children, yet one is not here with us. The void is constantly there and today is a huge reminder
 (not that we need one) of the reality that our first born, the one who first called him dada is not here anymore.
Today also marks 10 years since we spent our first night at Children's Hospital. Oh how I remember every detail of that day. I remember Norman and Denise Behymer meeting us at the hospital. I remember Steve & Patsy George brought us a roll of quarters, Chris & Robin Wall brought me a pulled pork sandwich from Coaches, Gary Bonner handed me a bag with some Tylenol and Excedrin in it, probably took it right out of Teresa's purse and said "honey you are going to need this".  So many of our friends and family lined the hallway. I now know that we must have screamed "new kids on the block" to the rest of the floor. I prayed so hard that we were just passing through. Never realizing that we were going to become familiar faces on "3G". How on earth can I remember all those details plus so so much more? Because it was a life changing day. For 9 years I "celebrated" June 15, 2004 because Xander was surviving! Xander had beat all the statistics, he was still living and we were thankful. I think deep down I am still thankful for that day because it changed my entire outlook on life, it changed my relationship with the Lord, it was the beginning of some life changing moments for a lot of people (so I have heard over the years). I have never been the same since June 15, 2004.
But today, if I'm real honest, the raw, aching part of my soul wishes it had never happened. I wish Xander had never had to suffer, to endure all that he did. I wish he could have had a normal childhood, one not interrupted by hospital stays, needles, chemo, surgeries, and pain. I wish he were still here.
 Then I quickly shift to the fact that "Xander Hall Moore was not your normal kid" and can I really wish away all that The Lord had planned for him? Planned for me? Planned for Doug? Planned for Carter, Charli and McClain? Each of us have a story to tell because of Xander's life.
The thoughts, feelings, and memories that are a constant flood through my mind are very difficult to process. The daily phrase now days is "a year ago today we were doing this........" And soon I'll have to refer to "2 years ago......."
However, there is one thing that never changes and that is God's word. I could never quote this scripture enough,

"Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:16)

Ordained; established, determined, yes all of Xander's days were determined before one of them came to be. I will be sad, I will feel Xander's absence til the day I'm with Jesus, but I will not argue His word.

Thank you for taking the time to read this glimpse of my heart.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

15 years of marriage

Today Doug and I celebrate 15 years of marriage. as I look back on these 15 years I'm amazed!! I'm amazed at all we have been through. I'm in awe of the blessings and I'm in awe of the sorrow. I sit here thinking about the next 15 years, wondering how they will compare to the first 15. Xander won't be in them.  Xander won't be in them.  I'm not really quite sure what to say after that.

When Doug and I said "I do" May 27, 1999 we had no idea the journey the Lord had planned for us. No one ever does. We simply pledge in faith that no matter what we face, we will face it together. This day marks the start of our family. It began with just us. We were married 2 1/2 years then the Lord blessed us with Xander, 18 short months later Mr. Carter Douglas came along. TWO boys!!!! I couldn't believe it, brothers so close in age, they shared it all. We had 2 cribs up at one point. I loved it. Then cancer showed up just one month after Carter's 1st birthday. We fought it hard for 9 months, then remission. Then we found out we were pregnant again. February 25, 2006 a precious baby Charli Joy was born. Xander was still in remission, life was really good. He relapsed September 2007 and life was still good. I found out I was pregnant again in September 2008 and McClain Faith was born June 10, 2009. Two boys and two girls, are you kidding? It couldn't get any better  than that. Our family of 6 was exactly what I had dreamed of.

A part of me wishes time had stood still at that point for forever, because the life we are currently living is painful. We are now a family of 5. Oh yes, in my heart we will always be a family of 6, but when we walk into a restaurant, buy tickets for a movie, load up in the car, or RSVP for a party........there are only 5 of us.
I know in my heart that the Lord will bless us once again. However it may be, I believe there is still goodness in my life in the days to come. Can I even fathom it? No. Right now do I want to think about "a good life" that doesn't include Xander? No. But I'm flawed, unlike the Lord who is perfect. His ways are perfect. His plan is perfect.  
"As for God, his way is perfect, the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him."  Psalm 18:30

I am thankful for my husband and the priceless 15 years of marriage we are celebrating.  I am thankful that in the midst of heartache and sorrow, we do truly love each other. I am thankful that our hope is in Jesus and not in the things of this world.

Xander has been with Jesus for 278 days. My heart longs to see him.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

National Day of Prayer

May 2, 2013  I stood in front of a large group of elementary students, teachers, and parents at a National Day of Prayer assembly. With Xander standing by my side, I shared about my belief in the power of prayer. I shared that over the last 9 years I had experienced firsthand the blessing of people praying for our family. I also shared that later that afternoon Xander would have a scan to determine if the pain he was in was caused by more cancer. It was a very emotional time on that stage. I had already turned in my notes, everything I was going to say had already been outlined a week prior. Then suddenly Xander was hurting and we are back to the doctor for testing. The thoughts racing through my head were different now. I stood there knowing that Xander was in pain. Knowing that it was probably more disease. Believing that God would conquer all of it, but being fearful of what that would mean for Xander and our family.
Today Xander is not standing by my side. Xander is standing next to his Savior. Xander is no longer in pain and I am no longer fearful.  God did conquer the disease and He conquered death.

 But my prayer life has been very different since Xander went to be with Jesus. For so many years I prayed for healing. I prayed for doctors. I prayed for a cure. I prayed for Xander. I prayed that God would be glorified through Xander's life.  Then suddenly, Xander is gone. Xander no longer needs our prayers. Xander has been healed. Xander's faith is now sight. Xander is living and breathing in the presence of the very one who hears our prayers.  Some days, most days actually, my heart is so heavy and full  that I don't even know how or what to pray.

Romans 8:26-27 "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God."

Some would ask, why do we even pray when God already knows our hearts? My answer is this; the time I spend in prayer is the sweetest part of my relationship with the Lord. The years I spent praying for Xander showed me more of the Lord's love and goodness than I could have ever imagined. It makes my faith stronger and it gives me confidence in the Lord's plans for me, because I KNOW HE HEARS ME!

Monday, March 24, 2014

my heart

I'm sitting in Xander and Carter's room. They have shared a room their entire lives. The walls are covered with photographs, drawings, hooks for hats and backpacks. The bookshelf is full. There might be room for a few more Lego displays, but it will be tight! The closet is jammed packed with clothes and lots of shoes, because we all know Xander loved shoes. The saddest thing is the empty bed. I don't know when Doug and I will be able to change anything. I feel close to Xander here. I can close my eyes and remember countless moments with my boys in this room.

Xander has been gone for 214 days. Each one of those days I have cried. Each one of those days I have longed for him to be here with us. Each one of those days I have looked at Carter, Charli and McClain and felt so fortunate, yet so incomplete and I have grieved for them and the loss of their brother. Each day I have thanked God for the impact Xander had in this world. Each day I am thankful that Xander is no longer suffering.

But this is beyond difficult. It's more than anyone could ever prepare themselves for. It's a constant struggle. I literally think of Xander all day long. I can't fathom what my grief would look like without Jesus, and yet there are people who face the same things I do everyday without Him. There are parents who put their child's body in the ground with no hope of ever seeing it again. There are people living this heartbreaking life on earth without the Hope and promise of Heaven. Oh I don't know how they breathe, much less truly live.

Even though my heart is broken in two, I can give it to the Lord. I can place my heart in His hands. I can cry out to Him for comfort and strength. I can read His word and focus on His goodness. I can grieve with hope.  

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning;great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, the Lord is my portion therefore I will wait for him. The Lord is good to those whose hope is him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord."
Lamentations 3:22-26

Saturday, February 22, 2014

6 months


I'm sitting here watching Carter and McClain play on the iPad together. Charli and Doug just left for the daddy daughter dance. Doug and I got home late last night from a wonderful week in Breckenridge. We skied and had the best time with precious friends. The kids are signed up for soccer, softball and baseball. I should be really excited about all the Spring activities.
But all I can think about is that Xander has been gone for 6 months today. It feels like eternity since I have held him and looked at his beautiful face. He is not with us. He is not here for all these little things. Tuesday Charli will turn 8. It's our first sibling birthday since Xander went to be with Jesus. He will miss it. We will miss him. We will keep going. There is not even a word to describe how Doug and I feel. I know that my true joy and happiness do not come from anything this world offers. Give me Jesus. Dear Jesus please carry me.

Monday, February 10, 2014

treasures in Heaven

Life is really moving forward. Despite all my efforts to freeze time, it keeps going. We have had a very cold and snowy winter. Lots of days spent indoors watching movies by the fire. Sounds perfect, huh? Its not, someone is missing. A son, a brother, our Xander is missing. Oh the ache in my heart! I think of all the things he loved about this time of year........he would have loved the movie marathons, free days from school, chicken and dumplings (which i cannot bring myself to make), playing in the snow, but most of all he would have loved the fact that he lived so close to the church gym that even the slick roads couldn't keep him away and that his father had a key!

Xander was our "go" child, and we are learning Charli is just like him. He wanted to go somewhere everyday and school didn't count. He was the first to remind us of a high school basketball game and the first to volunteer to go up to church early with his dad. He would jump at the chance to run errands with me. He loved everything about being with people and just being social.

This weekend was our youth Alpha Weekend (AKA Disciple Now back in the day). It was incredibly hard to think of anything other than the fact that Xander would have loved it. He would have been right in the middle of everything. His wheels would have been spinning with excitement that this time next year it would be his turn to be a REAL youth, not just the youth ministers son.
To be honest, I'm not sure how we are going to handle the reality that if Xander were here, he would be standing on the steps, quickly approaching the YOUTH GROUP! It literally hurts every part of me.

While it hurts, there is a precious warmth that comes over me as I see Xander's friends. I love to see all the kids that he loved so dearly. All the kids he went to school with since pre-k. I need to see them. I want to see them play basketball, as painful as it was. I want them to be involved in church. I want them to be involved in the youth ministry. There is a connection that I can't explain.

I am learning that Joy and Sorrow can coexist. I realize as each day passes that sadness is still so real and present. There is also laughter and joy in our home, which is normally followed by tears. Its just the way it is right now. This is just our life, this is our grief, this is our sadness, this is our joy and this is our thankfulness.

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed."
2 Corinthians 4:7-9

My hurts, hardships, sufferings, joy and blessings are treasures in Heaven. This world can't take them from me.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

holding on

I have tried to post something for several days now. I keep going over things in my mind that I want to share but then just can't put it into words.
Christmas was very nice. Very difficult but very nice. A friend who lost her son several years ago shared with me that the days leading up to the holidays were actually harder than the day itself. Although the day was hard and emotional, it was nothing compared to the couple of weeks leading up to it! The ache of Xander's absence is so real and there is only comfort in the hope of Heaven and the promise of Christs return.
Now its a new year. I don't want it to be! I don't want to enter into a year that Xander was never in. Even when I say it out loud it sounds crazy because there is absolutely nothing I can do to change it. But it did come and at this moment its just not fun or exciting to celebrate 2014.

2013 started out with so much hope of Xander's recovery from his transplant. Everything was going so smooth and Xander was feeling stronger and stronger with each day. I remember him begging the doctor to let him go back to school early and once he went back to the basketball court you knew all was well! Oh what I would give to watch him play one more time. I know Carter would give anything to shoot with Xander one more time.

 2013 will be one of the most defining years of my life. It is in that year that I faced my worst fear. It is the year that I felt God's greatest peace. It is the year that I knew my first born son, Xander was so in tune with his savior. It is the year that I held his hand on so many occasions and assured Him that the Lord was in control. It is the year that I knew he was leaving us and bound for Heaven. It is the year that I savored so many things like never before and it was the year that I held him in my arms for the last time. So I will hold on to 2013 for the rest of my life.
Xander January 2013

Carter & Xander January 2013

silly kids April 2013
May 2013 he was proud of his muscles
McClain's 4th birthday June 2013
holding his hand and singing him to sleep at Falls Creek 2013
VBS July 2013: 6 weeks before Xander went to Heaven

December 2013, i don't even know what this caption should be :(