Wednesday, 30 July 2008


Little Maddie

This shot is of my younger cousin. She was so much fun to be with this past weekend. She and I did a little-mini photo shoot on Saturday night after dinner. She'll probably be featured in my next few posts.

What to say? Anna suggested writing an email to my friend but I didn't feel like an email was what I was looking for right now... Journaling? You don't get feedback from the pen and paper really though... So blogging is the answer. The service for Ben was on Saturday in Lexington, NC. It was a beautiful service and a wonderful celebration of Ben's life. I cried more tears in that amount of time then I thought I would. Just when I thought I was okay I started again. I was so glad for the friend sitting next to through out the whole service. The hardest part of the service wasn't watching the slide show of pictures that I had put together, it wasn't listening to Jesse speak or Uncle Dan or Aunt Lynda, it wasn't hearing David Neilson recount his memories of Ben at Covenant, or hearing his grandfather thank everyone for their support of the family through this time, it was sitting in the front of the church staring at the box that now held the body of my cousin who I love so much. Knowing that his body was in a box that in a short amount of time would be buried, never to be seen again in this life. I wanted to hear his voice telling me everything was going to be okay, I wanted one of his strong hugs after being apart for so long, I wanted to see him laugh, I wanted to wake up out of the daze I was in to find out that it wasn't real. How could it be real? How could I be at his funeral? How could he be gone? Even now as I write this and the tears continue to fall I can't believe it. He shouldn't be gone. I know that if he were here he would want me to to be strong and to trust in the knowledge that God is in control. I feel as if I have an emptiness in the pit of my stomach. I want to be with him, I don't want to hurt anymore, I have questions that will never be answered, I miss him... I miss him so much more that I ever would have thought possible. I wish I could have heard his voice one last time. I wish I could have said goodbye.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Final Project Black

I missed out on finishing Project Black so I thought I would post this... No I did not take it as I'm the 2 year old sitting in the middle. I love this picture. It's from my aunt and uncles' wedding. Yesterday I went through a TON of pictures of Ben from the time he was born up until a couple of weeks ago (thanks facebook). I'm getting all these pictures together for his service which is Saturday. It was hard going through all the pictures especially from when we were younger. I would see a picture like this one and start crying and then I would flip to another one a burst out laughing remembering some odd memory of us. I'm on an emotional roller coaster right now... I wish there was more to write on here but I'm not sure what to say... I'll post again soon hopefully after we get back from the service.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Project Black Take #4

Yup... I'm posting a black and white picture sorry... You'll just have to take my word for it that his hair is black and there is black in his shirt. If you don't believe me this little guy was in my first post for Project Black, he's my younger cousin. I love this shot of him... He's such a little thinker even though he's only 4 as well as being QUITE a little fireball. 

Where to begin with this post? I mentioned in a previous post how my heart is with so many people in so many different places around the world... Well, one piece of my heart died this morning along with my older cousin Ben. I can't even begin to express how much it hurts to have lost him so suddenly. Anna asked me when I was going to post about him so here goes. 

Ben was amazing. His family moved to Africa years ago and Ben attended Rift Valley Academy in Kijabe, Kenya. During his Sophmore year my uncle and the doctors in Africa realized that he had contracted Rheumatic Heart Disease and that his Aortic valve wasn't working properly. The fall of his Junior year (my freshman year) Ben's whole family came back and stayed with my family while he had open heart surgery at CHOP (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia). The valve in his heart was repaired and after recovering he went back to how he was before, playing soccer, going to school, etc. with no limitations. The last two years Ben has been attending Covenant College, playing soccer, and of course goofing off like every college student... This summer he went back to Kenya for his younger brother's graduation. While in Kenya he had a stroke. He unknowingly got and infection in his valve and the clots went to his brain. He then also had pneumonia. While he was with my uncle being med-evaced to South Africa he died when something happened to his heart. 

I can't believe he's gone... He was so young, so energetic, and with so much ahead of him. I loved him so much. He was my older cousin, my friend, and most importantly my brother in Christ. Through all his trials, surgeries, complications and set backs he always had a smile on his face and rested in the knowledge that God was in control of his life and had a plan. I called Anna this morning in and while I was sobbing she said "God took him Anna, God took him." God did take him. I wish God hadn't taken him, I wish he was still here, I wish I was still going to see him in August. I was talking online to one of his friends a little while ago who I met when he came to visit Ben after his surgery. We talked about Ben, how we wished we could have seen him one more time before he left us, how we both loved him, how great he was. At one point we were talking about how we felt selfish for wishing he was still here with us while Heaven where he is is so much more unfathomably better than him being here on Earth and Martyn told me about how once when they both were having heart problems they walked to the top of Mount Kenya and when they got to the top Ben said "I think God creates places like this so we can get little glimpses of Heaven." As if I hadn't been crying enough through our conversation I was full out sobbing when I told Martyn "Well he doesn't need glimpses any more because he has the whole thing to look at." I miss Ben so much more than I could ever think I could. It hurts to much to think that I won't ever see him again, I won't ever talk to him about soccer, I won't get to argue about Manchester United and Liverpool with him or Real Madrid and Barcelona, we won't sit in my house playing FIFA, we won't make late night trips to Dunkin' Donuts because he's got jetlag and needs to stay up, we won't race down the beach to the water or ride the kayak through the waves and compare who had the most crazy wipeouts, I won't interrogate him about his girl friends and he won't give me lectures about what guys I shouldn't date, we won't laugh at our memories of when we were younger with his brother and we all won't go through old family videos and laugh at our moms' weird hair. I could go on, and on, and on and on about what I won't be able to do with him in this life but I have to keep reminding myself that this life will be gone in the blink of an eye and then for eternity we can be together celebrating the presence of our magnificent savior who despite what we may feel or think at various points loves us so much and had our lives planned before we were even born. He is sovereign and is in control of everything. 

I don't understand why Ben is gone and I never will. I will always miss him and love him. 

When I went for a jog today in between sobbing and trying to breathe I listened on repeat for 2 hours this song by Caedmon's Call... I can't think of anything else to say. I hurt, I cry, I wonder, I miss and I don't have any answers but I will see Ben again and I have to rest in that knowledge.

Late at night I wonder why
Sometimes I wonder why
Sometimes I'm so tired
I don't even try
Seems everything around me fails
But I hold on to the promise
That there is a reason

Late at night, the darkness makes it hard to see
The history of the saints who've gone in front of me
Through famine, plague and disbelief
His hand was still upon them
Cause there is a reason
There is a reason

He makes all things good
He makes all things good
There's a time to live and a time to die
A time for wonder and to wonder why
Cause there is a reason
There is a reason

I believe in a God who sent His only son
To walk upon this world and give His life for us
With blood and tears on a long, dark night
We know that He believed
That there is a reason
There is a reason


For the lonely nights
And broken hearts
The widow's mite
In the rich man's hand
And the continent
Whose blood becomes a traitor

For the child afraid to close their eyes
The prayers that seem unanswered
There is a reason
There is a reason


This one was edited by Anna C.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Project Black Take #3

Sorry I didn't get to post yesterday it's been quite a week... I posted another shot of one of these lanterns back in May (see here). For this project I've been so busy that I've been going through my archives for shots to post. This shot is from when I was in Granada, Spain. Hope everything is going well with the other participants of Project Black!!! I can't wait to see what everyone posts today!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Project Black Take #2

Thank you to everyone who commented on my picture from yesterday! I was so shocked to come home from work today to see that I had 20 comments I feel very flattered that you would all take the time to look at my blog and then comment on it. So thank you very, very, VERY much! I feel like the last picture deserves a little explanation as I was kind of rushing to post it so here goes- that was a shot from when I was in Chicago during the fall (see here). It was of my younger cousins who I absolutely adore. We were at the zoo for the afternoon and I think he was probably looking at the bears knowing him... 

Anyway, back to this post. This shot was from my room the last two summers. I loved the windows in the house I lived in. They were so old and had so much character unlike mine now which are just your basic, average windows that slide up and down. I miss those windows, I miss that room, I miss that house, but most of all I miss the people in that house and the others who were there frequently. This summer is VERY different from the two previous and I'm trying to be content but its hard. My heart isn't here and I wish I could be where it is but the problem is that it's broken up in pieces scattered around the world with so many different people in so many different places. It's okay though because my heart isn't broken in fact it has never been better because there is so much love that comes with each of the pieces that are all around the world that it's impossible for it to feel broken.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Project Black Take #1

Yay!!! First post for Project Black!!!! I'm going to be getting back to my video conference with Anna (the older). Cause it's just too much fun ;-)

Sunday, 6 July 2008


There are no words and no pictures. I just can't right now.... Read the last three entries here

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Viva España!!!

Words cannot express how amazing the game on Sunday was. I wish everyone could watch that game and maybe understand the passion and emotion that is the sport of football around the world and why I love it so much and why I am so passionate about it. Spain won the game 1-0 and when the final whistle blew my friend and I were jumping up and down hugging each other, and I'm not going to lie I had tears in my eyes. It wasn't the same type of celebration that my cousin experienced in Spain but it was the best we could do... Ah, the game was SO awesome! I looked through my pictures from Spain to see if I had any that would be a good expression  and celebration of the Spanish national team but I couldn't find one that was quite what I was looking for so I settled for this one. It's a shot from when I was at the Alhambra in Granada. I just like it... there really is no more explanation for it... Haha.

Well I have sometime now so I thought I would write a little more that I typically do. I started working as a lifeguard in a section of the city called Feltonville. At times it's insanely boring and at other times it just makes me want to pull my hair out... A bit of an extreme there no? The majority of the kids who come are under 14 or 15, come with out any parents or adult supervision of any kind and most are latino or african american. There are some kids who couldn't be and sweeter and it makes me happy to see them everyday when they come in and say "Hi Anna!" . Yesterday was a particularly crazy day though. One of the other guards had to jump in and get a little kid out (he was of course with out a parent or guardian), I had a grab another little girl out of the deeper area and remind her to stay in 3 ft (not the first time I've had to do that to this little girl) and for whatever reason the kids were just particularly crazy yesterday. It ended on a good note for me though when two of my regulars (as my friend who is also a lifeguard would call them) came in. They're two little Puerto Rican brothers who have been here for a year and typically come to the pool with their uncle. They were so happy yesterday when they figured out that I speak Spanish. It made my day getting to hang out with them for a few minutes while there weren't many people in the pool. Kids like these two remind me that I'm at this particular pool, in a not too great part of the city, for a reason more than just to sit in a pool chair and be a glorified babysitter. I'm there for the kids and I need to remember that more often.