Today marks nine years. The day before my first day of high school. It seriously feels like yesterday that my sweet little sister, Emily, went to heaven after her two and a half year two-time battle to cancer. Up until a few years ago February 24th has always been a bitter sweet day. Today I choose to make it all sweet and leave out the bitterness.

For the first few years, against what I so strongly believed in, I questioned the pain, the hurt, and the grieving. There were days I would cry so hard I could barely breath and I was so emotionally worn out that I had no energy left to even think. My mom had always promised me that something so great and beautiful would come of all this. I was doubtful amidst my heartache. I couldn’t see past each day and my hope was small. I remember setting the dinner table each night. I would still grab seven plates like I always did and then found myself having to put one back. And sitting at the quiet dinner table thinking “someone is missing…”. We now had an extra seat in the car, her bed was no longer occupied in my room, her toys stayed in the same place, the IV polls and boxes full of medical supplies were gone. It was all the little things each day that were a constant reminder of her.

Today I choose to see beauty. Today my heart is happy. If it weren’t for Emily and growing up so fast at a young age I most definitely wouldn’t have been ready to get married, which means I wouldn’t have Justin (I can’t even fathom that idea)…and some of my closest friends I met through hospital get togethers, camp, and such. I can’t imagine my life any other way. The Lord promises that He heals the broken-hearted. It took me a while to allow him to do so, but now my life is SO BLESSED and FRUITFUL after the pain. Today I celebrate Emily, her favorite color purple, her life, her love for Jesus, and the joy that came from the suffering. I am so thankful for her (exactly) 10 1/2 years here on earth. She taught me that life is too short to not share the love of Jesus with everyone. I still miss her everyday, but my heart is healing, and I count my loss a blessing.

And because life is too short to spend all your days working, I took a day to myself to sleep in, snuggle with Milo, cook in the kitchen (you check out what I made HERE), bake cookies, and think about all the ways my life is blessed because of her. And when Justin walked in the door from work this evening, he had the biggest grin on his face and a bouquet of purple flowers in his hand. YES…I am blessed.

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