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


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.
 “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!