The Cactus and His Spittoon

For as long as I can remember, the Fourth of July was the biggest holiday in the Carter family. As big as Christmas was, the Fourth of July was bigger. We were always at the lake house and even after I grew up and had a family of my own, we would travel to the lake house for the Fourth. I associate the Fourth with my dad.

Here it is… my second Fourth of July without him in my life.

The last time I saw my dad alive was the Fourth of July holiday in 2012. We made the 600 mile trip from Tulsa to Kermit and instead of the lake, we celebrated in town, at his new house. He worked so hard to have it ready to accommodate all of his kids and their kids. He was literally still installing the shower in the shop guest house when we arrived. He had a new home, a beautiful new pool, and he was beaming with pride when showing it off to us.

I was four months pregnant with his namesake, Jaxx Henry, and that was the closest he would ever be to my fourth child. We enjoyed our time there and vowed to keep it an annual “reunion” before heading back to Oklahoma.

He died, suddenly, 29 days later.

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The Red Lamp

If I told you that my dad was watching over my brand new infant son, his namesake, the first couple weeks of his life outside of the womb… would you believe me?

Sometimes you just feel something in your soul.

I have only talked about this with a couple of people and have wanted to blog about it many times, but I always talk myself out of it. My lack of confidence in being able to put into words what actually happened is heavy. Many will try to find logical explanations for what happened.

But, sometimes you just feel something in your soul.

My dad died very suddenly and unexpectedly in August of 2014, while I was 5 months pregnant. Naturally, it rocked me to the very core of my being. I have experienced many deaths in my family and even friends, but losing a parent is indescribable. I don’t think there is an age that makes it necessarily better or worse, but I do think that in your adulthood, it sure feels stronger than it might in your youth, simply because you have become “friends” with your parents. You have grown out of the resentment and grown into respecting them. A very real part of your soul dies when you lose a parent. There really are no words… IT JUST SUCKS.

Jaxx Henry was born in December of 2014. A beautiful, bouncing, and very healthy baby boy, blessed with his Pappy’s name, yet he would never get to experience those giant hands holding him. He would never hear that deep voice say “Hey boy.” He will never know his grandfather.

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Faith > Fear

When you don’t have a foundation built on God’s Word, it’s very easy to allow Satan to weasel his way in and between everything you have going on in your life, big or small. When you take hit after hit, it’s easy to throw your hands up and give in to the attack. When you don’t know how to fully saturate yourself in faith, it’s easy to worry and fear things that are beyond your control.

There are so many people praying for you, Garrett! Satan doesn’t want you to heal! He knows he can’t attack us, the ones who are praying, so he’s going to attack you. You’re the weak spot right now. He’s going to make things look worse, he’s going to tell you that nothing is working, and he’s going to tell you that you can’t be healed.

DO NOT LET HIM IN.

DO NOT LISTEN.

You have a choice!

KEEP FIGHTING or SURRENDER.

sthdfh


Surrendering your life means:

Following God’s lead without knowing where he’s sending you;

Waiting for God’s timing without knowing when it will come;

Expecting a miracle without knowing how God will provide;

Trusting God’s purpose without understanding the circumstances.



 Healing comes when you focus on the best and let go of the rest.

WE WILL keep praying! WE WILL keep speaking faith and thanking God!

Normal people see and then speak about it…

We will keep speaking what we expect to see!

Let your faith be bigger than your fear.

PSALMS 41:3

The “C” Word

I will do this in journal form, from my point of view. I can’t always tell you what I’m feeling, so my hope is that you will have this to look back on for many, many years after you beat this.

I pray for this to have a happy ending.

October 1, 2015 –  Today is Thursday. On Sunday morning, you had a colonoscopy that will diagnose an abscess they found in/around your colon while searching for the source of an E.Coli infection. They told us that we should hear something by Tuesday. I’ve waited for my phone to ring with your face on the screen for days. I know that when it does, you will have the news. Pessimistic by nature, I just have a gut feeling it will not be good. Sitting at a volleyball game, I feel the vibration of my phone ringing and turn it to see Garrett Carter calling. I can tell by your voice that you’re fighting back tears, trying to be strong. You finally get those two words out… “colon cancer” and I physically feel pain in my heart. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know how to react. I wanted to be strong, but I was in shock. I wiped tears from my cheeks as I tried to finish watching the game and then put my “mom” face on afterwards so that she couldn’t tell I had been crying. That wasn’t the time to tell her. I went home and waited for you to break the news to friends and family. I got a Facebook notification at 7:28PM and still could not wrap my head around what I was reading.

 

I just sat there… staring, crying. How is this even real? I just can’t believe that it STILL continues to get worse for you. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING, GOD?!

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The Stone

My little brother says he wants to go to the cemetery for Father’s Day.

He says he “just wants to.”

I say, “Why? He isn’t there, Garrett.”

I know,” he says. “I just want to go there. I want to see his headstone. I want to talk to him. I want to cry. I just want to.”

Neither of us have seen our dad’s headstone.

The difference between us is that… I have no desire.

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The Proposal

Written August 31, 2009:

The week of August 24, 2009 was quite a week at work for me.

I literally bawled my eyes out over every tiny, little, ridiculous thing that I’d been through that week when I got home Wednesday night. I had my face under my pillow, on my bed as Kelly laid next to me and attempted the ultimate test – to get me to talk.

Like almost every day in our lives, I knew Thursday was going to be crazy busy.

– We both worked until 5pm.
– I had a hair appointment at 5pm.
– Kelly had a show on Friday night, so the band was loading in on Thursday night at 7pm.
– I had to be home from getting my hair done by 7pm so Kelly could leave, but had to be at my second job by 8pm.

As I’m sitting in the chair getting foiled up, Kelly texts me and it says – “Are you still stressed out today?” I think to myself that this poor guy has put up with all of my crying and mood swings the last couple days, so I text back and say “Naaaaa!” He texts back, “Good! When’s the sitter coming?” I reply that she will be there about 7:45 and remind him to remind the kids to do their chores. He simply replies, “Ok.”

The time is now about 6:55, and I know that I have to get this bleach washed out of my hair and get out of there within the next few minutes. I didn’t have time for my haircut, but I figure I can just come back. So, I run out of there, hair dripping, and hustle home. I call Kelly on the way – cause that’s what we do… we’re disgusting like that… you know when you have to talk on the phone to the place you’re going, then while you’re in the place, then on your way home from said place??? Yeah that’s us… Anyway, I call Kelly and he’s like – “Okay, where are you? Hurry up.”

I walk in the door at 7:05pm… it’s silent. I’m like uhhhh….. where are my kids, haha. I walk around the corner and see Kelly standing at the table dressed to kill. I was like, “WHOA DUDE!!! Why are you dressed like that?!” Now, I have been with Kelly for 2 years and I have NEVER seen that boy lookin’ so fly, ever.

He grins from ear to ear and says, “I have good news and I have bad news, which do you want first?”
I say, “Where are the kids?”
He says, “I have good news and bad news – WHICH DO YOU WANT FIRST?!”
So, I say, “Bad.”
He tells me, as he looks at his phone for the time, that I have about 45 minutes to get ready, but the good news is that I do not have to work tonight, the kids are already at the sitter’s house, and he is taking me on a date since I’ve had such a horrible work week!

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Flat Croissants

Written February 24, 2015:

“The beauty of transparency is that, whenever you take the plunge to being transparent yourself, others in your presence will find their hearts opening as well – uncontrollably! Rather than thinking that being transparent is a risk, you understand the intimacy payoffs of revealing your true self.”

My five year anniversary is in a couple days and I’ve been wanting to gush and gag you all with lovey-dovey posts and pictures about how awesome my marriage is and how wonderful my husband is, but I’ve held back because honestly, I can just be TOO open most times. Some people are so very private and look down on transparency, but I guess there’s just a part of me that enjoys  sharing special things… my heart, my children, my struggles. That being said, I came across a quote from Unveiled Wife this morning and it encouraged me to share how plainly awesome my Monday night was.

As you all know, we have a new addition at our house. While he is the sweetest little blessing to our family, it’s still hard to get up at 3am with him. We’re tired, y’all. We’re two months in and we’re making it just fine, but it’s an adjustment! Yesterday, it snowed ALL DAY. It was gorgeous, but I got to watch it from my office window. When it was time to head home, I had already asked Kelly to go pick him up because the roads were looking scary. That meant I got to pull up at home and NOT have to carry in an 87 pound baby carrier! What did I do with that? Oh, I went straight to my bed! I didn’t even take off my clothes… just kicked off my shoes and got in my bed… at 4:30pm. I was sound asleep when they got home not even thirty minutes later. Now, let me backtrack for a second. Earlier in the day, over lunch, I told Kelly that I was pretty sure school would be cancelled today and we had no food at the house because the grocery fairy hadn’t visited us in a while. (oops!) Meaning – the kids would be there all day with no food and I needed to go to the store! Okay, back to my nap… When Kelly got home with Baby Jaxx, he had a truck full of groceries! Wow! Way to go, husband! Just steadily racking up the points! Took me to lunch even though he had plans – 1. Went grocery shopping all on his own – 1. (He says that’s so I wouldn’t give him a list 😉 Picked up Baby Jaxx for me – 1. Of course, I got up and got Jaxx out of said 87 pound carrier while the rest of our crew unloaded groceries. What is this I notice?! He was super sleepy! Hmmm… nap time! I put him right into his crib and went straight back to my bed. I figured he’d nap for thirty minutes or so and then I’d join the world, but at that moment, all I could think about was falling back asleep. Then I hear it… the sweet sounds of my darling baby over the monitor that is shining so bright right in my face. I look at the clock and it’s EIGHT PM! Holy moly! We’d “napped” for over three hours! Then I get a whiff of what smells like spaghetti from the kitchen. I drag myself out of bed and down the hall to see my wonderful husband standing at the stove cooking dinner! I mean to tell you – he has never looked more attractive! There are croissants on the counter and my first thought was how adorable it was that they were rolled the wrong way! Oh my gosh, I am in love with him!

I don’t exactly know how this might encourage someone, but if there are any husbands reading this, just know that it doesn’t matter if the croissants are rolled the wrong way… it’s little things like this that make us love you… more than flowers or jewelry could ever compare. Way to hustle, Kelly Kopp! I love you and I appreciate you!