"I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. " Romans 15:13

Time does heal.

December 2nd marked 3yrs since Ryan's accident. Crazy, huh? For me, this was the day stood out most. It was the day I received the phone call everyone prays you never get. It was the day that changed our lives forever! I used to think that every year would be hard, and that I'd have to replay everything all over again. But thankfully that is not the case. PRAISE GOD FOR THAT!!! People have always told me, time will heal the pain, and it will get easier. But when you are in a place where it hurts so bad, it's hard to believe that will ever happen. I'm not saying I've forgotten or don't care. It was just so nice to wake up on Dec. 1st and while I was thinking about my week it just dawned on me... what the date was. There wasn't that prep work that has happened in years past. (Two weeks before any anniversary I would start getting sad and anxious, thinking about everything. Missing Ry tons.) By God's grace and love He slowly mends our hearts. I miss Ryan like crazy, but it's a different kind of miss now. I know there will still be difficult days and today it feels good to be OKAY. I think it also has to do with the amazing amount of love, support and encouragement that my family recieves from those around us. God uses His body of believers to lift up and encourage one another. I love that!!

Facebook has been such a great avenue for me to stay connected with friends and family. Plus, I've made new friends so well. Today, I was blessed like crazy from all the words of affirmation my friends wrote. But it stumps me when people say they are amazed by my strength. WHAT STRENGTH????? I've got nothing on my own. I am terribly weak. IT IS BY HIS STRENGTH WE ARE MADE STRONG, NOT BY OUR OWN.

Thankful Heart

This summer God opened up an opportunity to join a new bible study group at my friends home. These women have been such an amazing blessing to me, the studies have challenged me to grow in new and exciting ways, and I look forward to being there every week. This fall we're doing a Priscilla Shirer study, "Discerning the Voice of God." (if you haven't done one of her studies, you should, they are great!!!!) I'm loving it.

My biggest prayer when Ryan died was that God would show me the purpose and plan He has my life as a widow. Whatever that is suppose to look like and for however long that is.
So this study has been good for me to practice and learn how to better Hear God's voice. He has once again tugged at my heart and given the opportunity to connect other other widows who recently lost their spouse. My prayer is that God would give me the words to comfort them and bring them His hope.

I am so thankful for the people God has placed in my life, to speak His truths to me. God is good, even when bad things happen. And most of the time it is in those times God reveals Himself in miraculous ways. We serve an AWESOME GOD!!!!!!
We've had fun swimming, which my kids favorite thing to do! Went to Medieval Times, the Grove & the American Girl Store, plus, got to spend time with some terrific friends here in Valencia. It's been a blast!

Time in So. Cal

It has once again been forever since I've updated my blog. Summer is coming to a close and we have had a blast. Enjoying the sun, the pool, camping trips with family, and time with friends. Hey is a few pics of our trip in Cali, visiting the Kostjuks. I am so thankful for my long time friendship with Ashley. We have been thru so much together and grown closer through each passing year. It's fun to watch our kids play together and connect again...

It's been forever...

I haven't written in so long. I just logged in and realized I have multiple saved drafts that seem so silly to post cuz there so old. My summer goal is to write at least once a week!! Let's see how I do?

"Mommy, why does God need Daddy?"

Anyone got an answer for that question? When my precious little one looks at me, as she is cuddled up in her bed, how do I respond to that?

~I have a few responses I could share, but I want to look deeper so that I may give her truth, not just what sounds good or what I've been taught, but God indeeds for me to share with her.

~It's not that God needs her daddy, but that God "ordains the days of our life" and knew when Ryan's life would be over. God has used Ryan's death, to glorify Him. This may be a difficult way to view the death of your loved one, but it's our chose to choose how you are going to look at your loss. I've made the choice to look at it this way because I TRUST and BELIEVE God loves us and that there is a purpose for ALL things that happen. It hurts, but I came to a realization that life is not about me, my kids, my family or friends. But we are here on this earth for one purpose... to honor, worship, and glorify our Father in heaven.

If you have any answers to share please do. Comment and let me know what your thoughts are... I'm gonna continue to search. But first I have to pick up my kids.
When I stand before God at the end of my life I would hope that I would have not a single bit of talent left and could say, "I used everything you gave me." ~ Erma Bombeck

New family pics

We recently got some new family photos done. I can't wait to get the rest back. My friend Kirsten does an amazing job. This is another one of those things I've had to get used to. A family picture... that may sound weird, but the idea of us without "daddy," or "my man" in them took some adjusting for me. It always felt like a broken family. Maybe some of you understand what I mean? Do you? Or am I alone on this one? Anyhow, I have grown to realize this is my family!!! Perfect in God's eyes. And... I need to accept it. (Even if I don't like it) With time it has become easier which I am thankful for. Plus, I am grateful my 3 gorgeous blessings that God has given to me. So, here it is... The Campbell Family!

Yeah, for Changes!

I was thrilled to hear that Carnival Cruise Line, has made some positive improvements on board their ships! A friend of mine recently went on the same cruise line was on when he had his accident. She came back and informed me that there are now CAUTION signs and restriction areas posted and in place. You have no idea what joy that brought me to hear this news. I pray that with this new change that others will not EVER have to go through what we have gone through. It's a bummer someone had to die first before changes were made, but I'm glad that some good came out of this tragedy!

The Park

I had planned on writing this weeks ago, but failed to do so. But I think it's important to share because it was the perfect example of a typical day in life of a widow and children...
So, the other day the kids and I rode our bikes to the park. It was a gorgeous Friday afternoon. It's a park that near our home that we go to often, and normally is not very busy. But today was different. On this particular day there was families everywhere. By families I am referring to Moms & Dads with their children. At this small quiet neighborhood park there were couples everywhere with their children. This is a great thing...but tough to watch when that "use to be" my life!!! And it seemed they just kept coming. I didn't notice it at first, but then I saw my oldest off in the grass withdrawing herself from the situation. I went over to sit with her, asking if everything was alright. She sadly said, "No, you know what's wrong!" (Which meant she was thinking about her daddy. This is a common comment that she uses when frustrated and sad.) Then it hit me... WOW, we were the other family at the park that did not have both a mom and dad together. See that's the reality of our world. And it kills me that my precious baby noticed it, and remembered back to the days when we all (daddy included) would go to the park and play. Ryan was such an active, fun, energetic dad who played for hours with the kids.
I sat with my daughter talking and reminiscing of old times until she smiled and laughed, soon back playing with her siblings.

Then later that same day, my son came to me crying for no apparent reason. I picked him up on my lap and holding him. "What's the matter," I asked. He said, "why did daddy have to leave? I miss him so much!" OUCH! Once again I felt the pain he was feeling and desperately wished I could take away the pain. It is so heart wrenching for me at times when I am made aware of the fact that my kids DO NOT HAVE A DAD who is present and tangible in their lives. It's not that they don't have amazing family and friends who help out, but I am talking about having a DADDY to play at the park with, wrestle or play catch with. It can be a real bummer, to say the least.

I know I am not alone in this feeling. There are many others who feel this pain daily because of a loss of loved one, or maybe a broken relationship. In those moments when you feel so alone, call out to God for comfort and He will meet you where you are at if you let Him. That's what I always try to remember in the midst of these events. I know it is only with His strength and peace I will be able to make it through the many times we may face days like this.

Keepin on Shootin

This weekend we ventured down to our old stomping ground to visit friends and family. It was a quick trip, but fun and full of good times. We stayed with our sweet friends the Vaughans. Shauna got up and made us her deliciously Divine chocolate chips scones. Yummy! Justin then blessed me with taking my son with him off to the archery shoot. See, Ryan's grandpa help start the Siskiyou Bowmen MANY years ago. Now... my brother-in-law is the president of the club. And we love to come down and take advantage of one the greatest family sports. ARCHERY! It's a Campbell thing... which I (being the "city girl") have learned to love and appreciate. Since hunting was such a big part of Ryan's life I desperately want to teach and expose my kids as much as I can. I, personally don't hunt. But I'll cheer on those who do! Thankfully God's placed many people in our life that help teach and practice the art of archery. Cuz, we all know that's not my gift...

To watch my kids light up when we go out to shoot our bows, gives me such joy. I know Ry would be lovin it too!!! The kids remember goin huntin with daddy. So, when we go out and shoot with Grandpa Ron, Uncle Denny, or cousin Jeff the kids just love it, cuz it brings back those memories and we're making new ones too.

I think it's important to carry on some of those special hobbies that our loved ones enjoyed so much. To me, it keeps their memory alive...plus it brings joy to know that we're enjoying something daddy loved to do too. Which tells the kids, "hey, I'm like my daddy!" Anyways, it was a great day! And I thought I'd share it with you.

How do I help my children cope?

Ok, it's been forever since I've written. I want to make this a weekly goal, but as most of you with children know... A LOT happens in a week and how do you some it up?

First of all, I can't begin to tell you what a blessing it is to see/read that I'm not alone in this desire to connect and find others who may be struggling with the same issues that go on in my heart, my home, and with my children. In the first few days of beginning this blog (and making a note about it on Facebook), God gave me the opportunity to connect with 2 more widows. It was so reaffirming to me that I did the right thing. That may sound weird, but opening up and putting myself out there can be difficult... but instead of feeling insecure, I instantly I was encouraged by your comments. Thank you!!

Last week I had a sweet young woman who lost her husband during the holidays ask me, "how do help your children cope?" Great question!! I still deal with that daily. It's not that life has not moved forward. Because we have. But that DOES NOT take away from the fact that we miss Ryan very much! It goes in waves, good days (or even weeks) to bad days (and weeks)! Or it may be just a moment of emotions that sweep over you or the kids. A certain smell, a song,a picture... I think you the idea.

A: I can give you few of the things we've done.
1) When they're sad and miss seeing his face: We have a video (slideshow) that was made for Ryan service. The kids love to watch that a remember what their daddy looked like... when he was little & big. Of course, it normally brings up tears, but it also is healing to keep their memories alive.
2)When they're angry: We like to have a pillow fight with the furniture! I remember one time when my son was really having a rough day (this was shortly after his daddy's death.) We went into the living room, I shared how I was really angry too. I said, "I'm mad, why did daddy have to die? It's not fair!" And I began hitting the couch. Tate soon began to share his frustrations to. The girls soon joined in as well. But by the end of this we were laughing and having fun. It's great to release the tension we all build up inside us!!
3) When we don't understand: The #1 thing we can do when we feel lost and confused is GO TO the LORD! We will never understand or have the answers we want here on earth. I have found so much comfort in reading God's Word! It is in Him we will draw strength, find peace, joy, and hope.
Romans 15:13
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

These are just a few things that have helped in our home. I've been making a list of verses that have been helpful and encouraging to me. I'll post those a little later.
One last thing that has been helpful for me and the kids is to be open about how we are feeling. God amazes me with the encouragement I find through the lives of my children. They are a true blessing and gift to me. God uses them to show His love and faithfulness to our family!

Speaking of children... I better be off to check on them. Last time I worked on the computer too long my son(5) cut off my daughter's (3)hair!! Boy, was that a day to remember!

I pray you have blessed week. I know this week may be tough with the holidays and all, but remember God loves you and He delights in you! He will not let you go!
Song of Solomon 7:10
"I am my lover’s,
and he claims me as his own." (NLT)

The Reason Why...

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path. Proverbs 3:5-6

This morning I got online and began to do a blog search for WIDOWS, and found very little. So, I decided to write my own! Being a widow myself, I wanted to find resources and others with similar stories. It's not everyday that you meet young widows or widowers who can relate to the issues of single parenting caused from a death of a spouse. I believe that I'm not alone in this quest for fellowship with others who've been widowed.

Just this past month, I've had 4 different women have contacted me, saying "my friend lost her husband." Who can relate to these women? What kind of resources are out there? Where will they draw their strength from? For myself, these were some of the questions I've dealt with & have struggled through. I believe there is a need for a community of widow/widowers to walk through the deep valleys that we will face in our grief. To look forward to new life that is ahead. God knew that one day we would be here, and He will be faithful to carry us through if we choose to walk through it with Him. Christ also gave us the desire for friendship. Someone who understands, who's been down a similar path. Having that common thread in each others stories can be such a huge encouragement.

So, that's what God's laid on my heart. To connect with others, encourage others, and share my story with others. God gave me this story for a purpose. I'm still not sure why??? LOL But I totally believe that there is a reason each of us endure difficulties and hard times. Often times we don't get to choose our circumstances, but we do get to choose how we will deal with them! What are you choosing?