Thursday, June 30, 2016

Everything I Need

It's been a long week.  Long.  Long, long.  I am tired.  Not physically tired, but down to the core.  I find that I have a hard time dealing with the disturbances of life.  Everyday life, when everything is going well...that's hard enough, but throw a kink in the plan and I pretty much fall apart.  And there have been several kinks...

Good things, too, though.  Earlier in the week, we took William's processors and accessories to Hearts for Hearing to donate.  Hopefully some children will benefit from the gift of sound.  It was really hard to do it, but it also felt good to do.  On the one hand, it's so frustrating.  HE should be here wearing those items and enjoying life.  On the other hand, he was always so glad to help others and it makes me feel good that some other child will get to experience the blessing of technology.  I hope they have the same joy that he had.

It was also fun to take a couple of special gifts to some special people who made such a difference in his life.  Love these ladies!

I'm trying to press on.  I want to fulfill God's purpose for my life.  I want to have a full and joyful life.  I want to breathe easy.  I want to be carefree again.  I realize that I have changed.  I know that things will never be the way they were.  But I hope I won't always be an empty shell.  Will it always be so hard?  I don't know.  But He is faithful and He is carrying me.  He is everything I need.

When every step is so hard to take 
And all of my hope is fading away 
When life is a mountain that I can not climb 
You carry me, Jesus carry me. 

You are strength in my weakness 
You are the refuge I seek 
You are everything in my time of need 
You are everything, You are everything I need 

When every moment is more than I can take 
And all of my strength is slipping away 
When every breath gets harder to breathe 
You carry me, Jesus carry me 

You are strength in my weakness 
You are the refuge I seek 
You are everything in my time of need 
You are everything, You are everything I need 

I need You 
You are everything I need 
I love everything about You 

You are strength in my weakness 
You are the refuge I seek 
You are everything in my time of need 
You are everything, You are everything I need

Thursday, June 23, 2016

I Am Not Alone

I am sleeping much better, although I still can't sleep past 4:30a.  But it's okay.  I don't even want to sleep, which is kind of weird.

Even though I feel heartbroken and grief to my core, I feel carried.

Life has gone on.

I can't think about that for too long or it really bothers me.  It still feels as though life should have ended when he left.

But it did not.  And I am left here, struggling to overcome.  To persevere.  To fulfill my purpose.  And I will...because of Him.

When I walk through deep waters
I know that You will be with me
When I'm standing in the fire
I will not be overcome
Through the valley of the shadow
I will not fear
I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me
In the midst of deep sorrow
I see Your light is breaking through
The dark of night will not overtake me
I am pressing into You
Lord, You fight my every battle
And I will not fear
I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me
You amaze me
Redeem me
You call me as Your own

You're my strength
You're my defender
You're ,y refuge in the storm
Through these trials
You've always been faithful
You bring healing to my soul

I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Morning Peace

It's so peaceful sitting out here in the morning, listening to the bells.

I like how the sun lights up the face in the morning.

And how my little buddy enjoys coming with me. :)

"Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing can make them stumble." Psalm 119:165

I find great comfort in this verse.  I know that I belong to the Lord.  My doubts, my fears, my questions...He handles them all and combines my sorrow with peace.  He doesn't remove the heartache, but He gives me a greater desire, a longing for Him...for heaven.  And He carries me.  It is still hard.  Harder than I could have imagined possible.

I still have to force myself out of bed a lot.  Force myself to participate in this world.  Force myself to look for the good.  Sometimes it's extremely hard to find.  I still cry a lot.  I still question God.  I still wonder about His goodness sometimes.

But I feel Him again.  And, more importantly, I know Him.  I know His character.  I know He loves me.  So even though I still feel like a rebellious, pouting child at times, I know He is a good and loving Father.

He pulls me close to Him and gives me strength to face another day without my little boy in my arms.  To put one foot in front of the other.  To face my fears.  To take another breath.  To try to find purpose and meaning.  To show love.  To care.  To try to find joy.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Making of the Monument

Beginning to work on the monument was it's own process.  I saw this beautiful photo of a little boy coming out of the wheelchair and that became the idea in my head that I wanted for William's monument.

Unfortunately, we ran into several problems with this.  First, this one was designed and created by the boy's own father and he was not about to release the copyright.  Second, I emailed over a dozen artists across the US to try to help us come up with a similar concept that was also an original idea (is that even possible?).  :)  Of the ones who expressed any interest at all, I interviewed several over the phone.  I began to get desperate when it did not look like we would have any success.  We were quoted prices in excess of $100k!  I couldn't believe it!  And, even when we reduced the size the price was astronomical and the production time over a year.  Discouraging.

Then a friend suggested I contact The Crucible, which I did.  The owner, Mark Palmerton, was very sensitive to our situation and actually went to William's blog to learn a little about him.  He worked with us to get a piece that was more in our budget that would also fit William's personality and uniqueness.

As much as William loved to ride, we actually considered something like this, depicting the freedom he had on the back of a horse, especially since participants coming in at The Right Path will pass it.  But we were never fully at ease with the idea.  When the idea of "Finishing the Race" came up, we were immediately pleased with the idea.

Mark helped us come up with what we would need to get started and determine size and budget, even giving us options and instructions for the things we could do ourselves to reduce the price.  We took in several photos and waited for the call, hoping to be able to install the memorial in October, around the anniversary of his death.

First, they got started shaping the clay.  After Tomaki (the artist) got the first rendition of that done, we went to look at it.  And made changes.  And made more changes.  For hours.  Bless his heart, Tomaki was very patient with us and never took offense at anything.  I won't post all the pictures here, but it was quite a process.  Later we went back with the children and he made more changes based off of their faces.  Originally we wanted the hair spiked.  Many of you know how much William liked to wear his hair that way.  But in the end, it just didn't look like him, so we changed it.  A few times.  :)

After we got the clay set, it was time to start the molding process.  They made a wax form of the sculpture.

Then they made a ceramic form around that so they could pour the bronze into the mold.  They move the pieces into the large fire kiln and it has to be extremely hot for the process to work.

After they bronze is poured, it sets for awhile.  When it is all cooled and ready, they put the pieces together and weld them.  Then it's time to put the patina (color) on the bronze.

Final bronze after welding and filing...

First layer of patina...

Scrubbing the patina off to the desired color...

After all patina is sprayed on and scrubbed down, they apply a hot wax for the finishing.

While we were waiting for the process of the bronze to be finished, we had the base set.  The men came out to build the form.

Then poured the concrete with dye in it.

Then I decided I wanted a different color... :)

So we acid stained it.

The boys helped move dirt around.

We went out and cut down several cedar trees and the children and Michael stripped them all.

Several friends came out to help set the bronze, hang William's bells, and build my swing...all in a day!  And it was a HOT day!  I'm so thankful for everyone's help.  I cannot express enough how much it means to all of us!

Getting an early morning start...

The Corinthian Bells go up...

Working on the swing...

After the monument went up, we started working on the flowers...

The finished product, just before friends began arriving...

We didn't get the putty removed before the gathering...just ran out of time.

Then we gathered with a few friends to celebrate William's life with a potluck and singing.

This is one of my favorite photos...children out by William's spot, enjoying life.

Singing I'll Fly Away... The first part is cut off and I'm not sure which child shot this video but I'm glad.  One of William's favorites.  He used to ask me if it was time for him to fly away when he got sick.  He would even tell me he was ready to fly away.  Just a few more weary days...

Monday, June 20, 2016

William's Monument

We finally got William's monument (headstone) installed!  It feels good to have it done.  I am so very thankful for all the people who helped make it possible!  We are overwhelmed with the number of people who donated funds and time to make it happen, simply out of love for our little boy.  Thank you all so very much!

Because of the cost factor, we decided to go a different route than the wheelchair.  We went with the theme of running the race and William's race now being finished.  We are very happy with it and I love the idea of him running!  It is beautiful!

William Aric-Hall Ocker
Loaned to us April 8, 2007
Flew home to Jesus October 18, 2015
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race.  I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7

There were so many aspects to completing this!  We are so very grateful to everyone and I will be posting more in the coming days of each individual component, but for now I just wanted to get this up quick for those who wanted to see it and to say...

Boys...I LOVE my swing!  It's the perfect place to sit and it's EXACTLY what I wanted!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I love to sit out there (especially in the morning) and listen to the beautiful Corinthian Bells that were given as a gift by dear friends.  We are so grateful to: 
*Mr. Osterhout and his crew for donating, framing, and pouring the base
*Mark and Tomaki at The Crucible in Norman for their MANY hours of hard work on the monument (You can check some of their work out on the History Channel's Monument Men)
*The many people who brought flowers and a tree to plant and helped with education on taking care of them
*Cimarron Sod for donating the sod to go over William's grave
*All the hard work put in by those who came out on Friday to install the monument, hang William's bells, and put my swing together (including cutting cedars!)
*Everyone who came to help celebrate William's life.

You all are amazing!  We love you dearly and are ever grateful for your kindness, love, and support!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Precious Child

Sleep is elusive tonight.  I cannot get that toddler out of my head.  The one from Walt Disney World.  I am so distraught over hearing people chatter on about him.  I wish everyone would just stop.  There is nothing, trust me nothing, they are saying or thinking that those parents haven't already thought of. Or will soon.  They will go through every could've, should've, and would've imaginable and probably invent a few more in the coming days, weeks, and months.  And, as hard as we wish to deny it, the truth could have been us.  Me.  You.  My child.  Your child.

Because as diligent as a person may be, it is not their diligence, their watchful eye, their special care that keeps their child.  It is only a circumstance of the plan for their life.  We like to think we are in control of our lives, of our daily happenings, but that is an illusion we create for ourselves in order that we might sleep at night.  The truth is frightening.

Every day I wake up, I wonder...what if.  What if I had done this instead of that, gone here instead of there, called this doctor instead of that doctor...would I still be holding my little boy?  The parents of that toddler will do the same thing.  Only they have to do it under the spotlight of the cruel world.  God help them.


In my dreams, you are alive and well
Precious child, precious child
In my mind, I see you clear as a bell
Precious child, precious child
In my soul, there is a hole
That can never be filled
But in my heart, there is hope
'Cause you are with me still

In my heart, you live on
Always there never gone
Precious child, you left too soon
Tho' it may be true that we're apart
You will live forever... In my heart

In my plans, I was the first to leave
Precious child, precious child
But in this world, I was left here to grieve
Precious child, my precious child

In my soul, there is a hole
That can never be filled
But in my heart there is hope
And you are with me still

In my heart you live on
Always there, never gone
Precious child, you left too soon,
Tho' it may be true that we're apart
You will live forever... In my heart

God knows I want to hold you,
See you, touch you
And maybe there's a heaven
And someday I will again
Please know you are not forgotten until then

In my heart you live on
Always there never gone
Precious child, you left too soon
Tho' it may be true that we're apart
You will live forever... In my heart

Thursday, June 9, 2016

On the Other Side

William's monument is actually coming together.  It seems strange to be so near completion.  So final.  I'm not quite sure how I feel about it.  On the one hand, I will be very glad to have it all finished.  I think I will be able to rest.  On the other hand, it seems that it is the final thing I get to do for him, so it's hard to think of my work for him being done.

I received this very precious gift the other day...a picture I had not seen before, taken by a sweet friend.  It may be the only one I have that shows William in his shirt in full.  It's the only one I've come across anyway.  I sure do miss that sweet and ornery grin!

Wallace, Calvin, and I sanded and repainted William's bike over last weekend.  It has been sitting outside since he left it.  I haven't had the heart to move it.  It was beginning to rust and it bothered me.  He loved to ride that bike.  He couldn't really pedal it, but he could scoot it along.  He loved to have Adelina or Titus in the crate and he loved to have someone get behind it and push!

Anyway, I decided we should paint it.  Then, I filled the crate with soil and flowers and placed it out under the tree that stands over his grave.  It was nice to get it done.  The day after I planted the flowers, a lone gardenia bloomed.  It smells so sweet over there!

Today I noticed that the Sweet William plants are blooming!

We are developing a new normal.  It is strange.  I find myself drifting along.  But I am trying.  Trying to live.  Trying to find joy.  Trying to run the race that the Lord has set before me.  Trying to finish well.

A sweet friend sent me this song this week.  It was such an encouragement!  Thank you, dear friend.  And thank you for your constant prayers.  When I wonder if I'll make it to "the other side," I feel assured that I will...because of Christ's love and the faithfulness of dear friends who are interceding on my behalf.

On the other side the sun always shines
No minutes, no hour, there's no such thing as time
Where the streets are paved with gold
And you never grow old on the other side

On the other side everybody sings
There's miles and miles of flowers and lots of pretty things
Where the sky's pearly blue and everything looks brand new
On the other side

Well I've never been to heaven
I didn't know what it was like
But God let me have a glimpse
In my dream last night

And I could see you smiling
You were looking right at me
For the first time in a long time
On your face I saw some peace

I knew everything
Was going to be all right
On the other side
On the other side

On the other side, do you ever see me cry?
Do you know how much I miss you?
Wish I could have said goodbye
Just one more I love you
Oh, am I really getting through on the other side?

Well I've never been to heaven
I didn't know what it was like
But God let me have a glimpse
In my dream last night

And I could hear you laughing
You were looking right at me
For the first time in a long time
On your face I saw some peace

I knew everything was going to be all right
No more tears and no more sad good byes
On the other side
On the other side

I'll see you on the other side

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Trainer's Challenge Photos

Here are the photos that were taken by Fat Cat Photography LLC at the Trainer's Challenge.  I still don't have video, but I will post it as soon as I do...

My favorite... No bride!


Mounted shooting (though you can't see the gun yet)

Mounted shooting

Mounted shooting

No bridle

No bridle

Trailer loading with no bridle or halter, just point and go!


Abby wasn't happy with how Simone did for the showcase.  She had definitely responded better at home.  But with only 3 1/2 weeks to work, she was pretty nervous.  Abby handled her well and I'm REALLY glad she (Simone) didn't explode!

Beautiful pictures!  Thank you, Fat Cat Photography LLC, for some awesome shots!