Please pray for Jonathon and Jamie Daniels. Their little baby, Rylin Faith, passed away this morning. At 4 weeks old she was diagnosed with basically whooping cough. She has been in the Egleston Hospital for about two months fighting for her life. She needed her heart and lungs to get better. Everyone who has been praying for them were really thinking she was going to get better. My heart aches for them. God, I don't understand why you do the things you do. I pray that you would be the great comforter and peace giver as that is what Jonathon and Jamie need now. Please pour out your love to them. Please put people in their paths to help them. Please bless their other daughter who has lost her baby sister. Please help us all not to question why, but to understand that your ways are higher and better than ours. You have a divine plan. Jeremiah 29 :11


So, I went to Savannah for Kasey's bachelorette weekend. We all had a great time. I did not cry at all on Friday. I kept telling myself, "It's not about me" I was always surrounded by people so I just told myself I wasnt going to cry. I held it in until sat morning when I cried at breakfast and Saturday night at dinner. I got home today and have been cleaning and doing laundry. I know I have to get a grip. I am crying right now. One of the girls I was with had a seizure this morning and I was there to catch her and tried to take care of her as she was going through it. It scared me. I realized how negative I have become and snappy and I hate it. I HATE that my dad was taken from me and my family. I do not want to turn into a bitter and sad person. I want to get back to loving what I do and caring for others. I want to quit crying and be "normal." I need to get my heart on the same page as my mind and my body to follow suit. I just want to figure out how to stop uncontrollably crying. It's taking me forever to write this little paragraph bc I cant stop crying. And by the way, have you ever cried so much your face hurt and you've given yourself heartburn. (Where's Allison with the tums when you need them?) I need to get myself in shape, my heart, my mind, and my body. I need discipline. Please pray for that. I want to be compassionate again and make my hurt go away. God, please heal me and restore me.

Please pray for Rylin Faith Daniels. She is the daughter of a guy I went to high school with. She is 3-5 months old(sorry not sure about that) and very sick. She was getting better. People have been praying diligently for her heart and lungs. She has not been doing well this weekend. Please pray for her and her parents, Jonathon and Jamie Daniels. God, please heal Rylin and restore her.


I have not blogged in two days about my feelings. I have kept them bottled except for when they came screaming out of my eyes. Now I can truly say I understand what stress can do to your body. I was angry at no one in particular, but just ready to be done working for the day. I was tired, it was sucking the life out of me while I was trying to keep the bad in. Physically my body revolted on me...poor sleep, aches in my body and pains in my heart and stomach. But I tried not to think of the hurt which meant subsequently not thinking about my dad. I've had chatty clients so I haven't had the piercing silence to deal with except at night. Oh the nighttime when my body says no more. No more niceness. No more doing for everyone else. Just doing for me. Blogging is free therapy. My cousin Whitney, who i dearly love said she just wishes she had advice for me, but all she can do is understand. I love her for the amazing strength she had and still has. I pray for strength and dedication like she has. I LOVE MY FAMILY!

So, I am reading a book from my friend Lisa called "A Grief Observed" by C.S. Lewis. He based the book out of his own journal he kept. He understands free therapy. He describes his grief from the loss of his wife who he knew had cancer when he married her. The foreward was written by Madeleine L'Engle and something she said struck me. She lost her husband of forty years. She says "He (C. S. Lewis) shows an impatience with those who try to pretend that death is unimportant for the believer, an impatience which most of us feel, no matter how strong our faith." I know my God. I know He has assured me of a hope and a future and that He is going to be my Sustainer, Prince of Peace, Redeemer and so on and so on. But I still grieve. C. S. Lewis makes it quite clear that the human being is allowed to grieve, that it is normal to grieve,and the Christian is not denied this normal response to loss. There's lots more good stuff, but I am tired and want to go to bed now. Trying to keep my feelings is unhealthy like they say. Just a reminder, if you have advice...great. If you don't, that's fine too. I am simply using this internet driven world as my very large pen and notepad. It's more for me to see my heart in print and know that I am normal. I love the comments and am thankful for each and everyone. ok now my ambien is really kicking in so...goodnight.


My best friend Brooke's dad had a birthday yesterday and I forgot to post it on my blog. I did send him a text message yesterday for all of you who are thinking I am a bad person. I just was so stressed out with work yesterday that I couldnt think straight. Anyways, I love Mr Scott and Mrs Angie. They are precious and so sweet to me. Mr. Scott has nicknames for everyone and mine is Hedda. When I am not around he says Where's Hedda? You have to hear it to realize how cute and endearing it is. My nieces have adapted their own form of my name, Aunt Heather, and call me Ahedda(also something you have to hear, but it's so precious)
(this pic was the day that their first grandchild, Rylin Kate Strickland, was born.)


Kasey has been a really great friend to me. I love her dearly. I can't wait to be in her wedding in July. Happy Birthday friend!


So on the 10th of this month my brother informed me that I needed to go ahead and get a will. Well, that was the last thing I wanted to hear because it meant making decisions when I am already in such a vunerable state. Now, don't get me wrong, I love my brother, but he is the logical thinker and I am the emotional one. He's right. I need one. I have a business and a home. I have 2 precious nieces that mean the world to me. But that doesnt make thinking about my death any easier. Plus, this is the way it wouldve worked if my dad were here. He wouldve said Heather, here is your will, this is your executer, read it, sign it. Not that I wouldnt have a say in it, but he wouldve taken care of it for me. Now I have to make all the decisions and I'm sorry, but it sucks. I cried at the lawyer's office today. (I'm sure you are not surprised) I have all these things that I should be so happy about right now and I can't get past thinking...I wish Jesus would just come back. I'm really not ready to go, but I don't wanna hurt anymore. I don't wanna be a grownup right now either.

Thanks to my friend Allison who obviously listened to God today and knew I would need a friendly smiling face to cheer me up. Thanks for my sonic drink too!


A little humor for you...I had a thought while I was giving a massage today. Grief is like being bipolar. One minute you are perfectly fine and the next you are a basketcase! Now how's that for an analogy?



1. crying myself to sleep. Last night I was watching Iron Chef America and The Next Food Network Star and all I could think about were all the reality shows dad and I watched including these. When I bought my house and moved out, I would call during commercials and we would chat about what was going on with the shows and who we thought would win. Now I know you are thinking, those are good memories...and they are, but they make me miss him terribly. I was watching Denise Richards show(a little trashy, I know) last night and it was mostly about her dealing with the death of her mom to cancer last November. She shared a lot about how she felt, how sad she was, how much she missed her mom, how she had to call her dad for things now that she used to call her mom for, how she felt cheated for her loss and how her girls were cheated in the death of their grandma and how she has insomnia(the one symptom I only occassionally have). I relate to it all. I thought to myself, it doesnt matter what age you are or what stage of life you are in when you lose a parent, it still sucks for everyone. I cried as her little girls called their grandma their angel now. I cried for Ella Grace and Emma. I miss my dad.

2. hearing about how time will help. How do you deal until you get to that point? I know years down the road I will be able to say to people that Heaven is sweeter knowing I will have a precious reunion. I am happy now that my dad is not in any pain. He's not taking blood pressure and cholesterol, and heart, and whatever other tons of medications he was on. But even though I accept that he is in a better place, I still miss him now. That's what I need people to understand. I miss him. Time...whatever. I miss him. Yes, I made it through Father's day, but I have many other hurdles to jump with time. I know the amount of time we will spend in Heaven with Jesus will be so much longer than this span on this corrupted earth. I long for that day. My friend Jan told me the other day, "you will get through this, you are Bill Butler's daughter." So I will continue in his legacy. I will continue living because he would want me to. But that doesnt mean I wont cry or miss you get the picture?

So, I guess I am just physically and emotionally drained and need some rest like only my Heavenly Father can give. Matthew 11:28-Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."


So, I am at my parents house and trying to arrange all my scrapbook stuff so that I can make the big move to my office with it. Mom is going to be buying my brother's house as they are building a new one. (There wont be room for my scrapbook stuff there) I want my mom to be in a safe neighborhood and lets face it, Iola Drive isnt what it used to be. Besides the fact that when you were around Bill Butler, you just felt safe no matter where you were. I remember the first time I moved out of the house, I said I wouldnt live anywhere without gates and an alarm system. A few weeks after dad passed away, I even called a police officer to make sure they were still doing neighborhood checks in Blue Pool each night. That's one thing I think God tries to teach His to put your trust in Him because ultimately people will fail you. Now, I can't ever recall a time my dad failed me, but him not being here sure does put a kink into my sense of security. Anyways, I got everything sorted into piles and thought, it will be easy to move this and get reorganized and catch up(since I have not scrapbooked in quite a while) Then the thought of seeing all those pictures of happy times just made me sad. A couple of Sundays ago at my aunt's house we were looking through all the old Warren childhood photos. They could look at Uncle Stanley and laugh at some of the crazy pics or just smile. I can't wait for the day when I am at that point. Please pray for us as we make the transitions of homes. My parents lived on Iola for 31 years and it's the only house Chris and I knew to be home. I'm not too attached to the house as to the memories it represents. Please pray that when those days come to sort through and "God help us" throw away stuff that we will be okay with it all. Geez if yall thought I was sentimental before...whew! I ate dinner and watched tv in my old bedroom last night. I made it home around 10 and wanted to go to bed then. I went on a search for a plate stand I thought I put in a dresser. Well, the drawer was stuck. I was determined to get into it. I did just about everthing and finally got it open enough to see what was obstructing it. I pushed it down and opened the drawer. Then the tears came. It was a couple of framed police pics of my dad and a needlework that I had taken from their house. So I had a pity party for a while and some restless sleep to follow. I said that part to say that I overslept on Sat am and missed something important for one of my best friends. I am very sorry to her for that. It was then I realized that I need to get a grip. I want to grieve, but I don't want to lose the great friends I've made or have my friends want to stay away from me because I'm "not fun". I will leave you with this: My friend Lisa, who lost her dad 3 years ago, says "Love me for who I am and Love me for where I am."


Today is my good friend, Melanie Moorman's bday and Tuesday is our good friend, Amanda Eutzler's bday. Since I had some pics of the three of us, I thought I would group yalls bdays together. I love you so much. Thanks for being so caring and supportive of me. I can't wait till we can all be together again to celebrate. (apparently we need to update our pics!)


Ok so I just want to reiterate that I love you all! I thank you all for supporting me through this ordeal. I appreciate every phone call, card, email, text, comment ,basically anything you got to give, I'll take it. I know everyone grieves differently and when you havent been through loss, you dont really know what to do for people. (I sure didn't) I'm not posting this to say hey, give me more. (Although I have to thank my sister in law, Heather, for the hug yesterday and my cousin Kristy for the hug Monday.) I'm just saying that I don't want anyone to feel pressured to say anything or do anything. If you talk to me and I cry, don't feel bad. You didn't "make me" cry. I don't really think I could control it right now if I wanted to. I wish I could say I am going to be better and ready to be a whole person again soon, but I'm not feeling it yet. I know my grief may seem self indulgent to some, but I actually woke up yesterday thinking it was all a dream and he was still here. So I'm not choosing to be sad. I am trying! and then things like that happen. There is nothing you can say to make it better. It's just a process that I have to go through. So all I'm asking is that you continue to be the same great friends you have always been for me. I know you are storing up treasures in Heaven for the blessings that you have been to me and my family. Thanks and Love! (thanks to my friend, Rose, for my beautiful sunflower!)


My cousin Kate and I met for dinner in Moultrie last night. It was so nice to see another member of my huge family that I usually only see on holidays. She was a great dose of sanity for me and I think she enjoyed getting out of the house for a while. She told me about a book she read by Elizabeth Elliot who has had her share of heartaches. I think I'm gonna go get it today, so be looking forward to hearing about that. I was so glad I could be real with her and her be real with me. I even held it together until the end of our dinner! Thanks Kate for loving me and for spending time with me. (the first pic is me and Kate in early April and the second me and Emily at Garrett's wedding)
On another note: Emily Tillman sent me the sweetest email the other day and it was very helpful. I thought some of you might be able to learn from the analogy. "Life is like an onion, you peel off one layer at a time and cry a little along the way" this time in your life is one of your layers, soon something else will come along and another layer will need to come off, which will make the last one a little easier.
I am trying to get better. I am trying to trust God's plan and choosing to embrace His unconditional love. Here's another example of how I feel: I have seen in several cards, emails, and booklets these verses: Matt.7: 7-8 Ask and it shall be given unto you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Matthew 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
When I see those verses and ones like them my initial reaction is that's not true. I can't ask for my father back and get him back. I can't ask for one more hug or I love you or special occassion for my dad to send me flowers(we had a deal that until I got married he had to send me flowers, but I think he would have done it anyways). I am trying to peel off the layer of extreme pain from loss and loneliness. (not quite there yet) However, I do know deep down that those verses are true. God has guided me and given me things that I definitely don't deserve. I am so fortunate to have a family that loves and supports me. I know I was blessed to have my dad for 26 years. I know God guided my path to massage therapy even when some didnt believe it was the right choice. (I have had my own business since I was 24 and I'm about to be 27) My dad was around to see me "make it" with my business and buy my first home. He was around to see his son marry, to have another beautiful Heather, and to love his two precious granddaughters. So I do know God is faithful and He has a plan. I am just using those verses now as a crutch to say Please God take this pain and loneliness away from me. I am asking that you pray that too.


So, yesterday was father's day and it was NOT a good day. Emily and I went to Atlantic Beach in Jacksonville for the weekend. I just wanted to get away. I did not want to go to church where all the happy families were. I did not want to go out to eat where all the happy families were. I have tried to avoid malls or stores specifically because I knew there would be father's day signs up which to my heart was like a flashing neon sign saying, you dont have a father anymore. I did pretty well on Saturday. We went to the St John's Towncenter and went shopping and went to eat at the cheesecake factory. We made it to the beach and enjoyed the crashing ocean waves and the warm sun. We made it back up to the beautiful hotel room and started to get ready for dinner. Well, Emily did and I laid on the bed thinking how I wanted to stay curled up in that ball forever. That's when I thought of a rollercoaster. One minute you are having fun and enjoying the loops and spins and the next minute you are terrified or screaming or crying or hurting(if its an old rickety wooden coaster). One minute I am fine and able to enjoy life and the next minute all I can think about is how my dad is gone and the pain and tears flood to the surface. Sometimes I dont even have to think about him. I just get sad all of a sudden. We watched The Notebook on tv after dinner and then went to the beach for a late night stroll. I wanted to look up at the stars and tell my dad I love him. I wanted to hear the ocean and feel the sand- all God's magnificant creations and know that He was with me and "would never leave me or forsake me". I cried God please help me. I collected myself and we turned to head back to the hotel. We saw the most random thing, a wedding was being held on the beach at midnight with the 30 guests holding lanterns. Me and my nosey self wanted to get closer to see what in the world was it all about. It was over quickly with a couple of whoops and hollars and I was distracted enough to go to bed.

On sunday, Father's Day, we woke up late and had quite enjoyed sleeping in. We headed off to Krispy Kreme! Then out to the beach to soak up the sun. We rented the fabulous wooden lounge chairs with cushy padding and were set. One minute the sun was shining and the next, the clouds had rolled in, the lifeguards were blowing their whistles and the rain came down. I was determined to ride it out. I was determined to not go back to Valdosta and to have a "good" day inspite of my pain and sorrow. Nope! The rain didnt stop. I cried standing at the pool gate. Emily tried to comfort me the best she could. She is a great friend. We grabbed our things and headed for the car. I cried as I drove in the pouring rain in Jacksonville. You know its raining bad when Jacksonville drivers are going 30 and below. I think I even scared Emily driving and crying. Once we got to the interstate, the rain stopped, but my tears kept flowing. I would never get to have that special day with my dad ever again. I will never be able to show him how much I love him or honor him. All these things that I long for, I will never get...and it makes me sad. I understand why the people in the old testament tore their sackcloths...they were heartbroken. Brooke even got to witness my rollercoaster emotions when she called me I needed to call her back. When I did, I was full blown crying. I really appreciate all the people who called, emailed, or text me this weekend. All I can really say is I know who my Heavenly Father is and I know what He is capable of. I know that I will be sad for a while like Job when he sat sad for seven days and his friends sat with him. I ask that you pray for me and my family. I've made it through another day and I couldnt have done that without God. I can't imagine how people deal with loss without God. You would be signing me up for a permanent room at Greenleaf. I'm leaving you with the words from a song from Barlow Girl called Stand in the Rain...I thought it fit. I tried to find it on you tube but couldnt. "stand in the rain stand your ground stand up when it's all crashing down stand through the pain you wont drown and one day waht's lost will be found you stand in the rain"


the wedding...

the bridesmaids luncheon
the rehearsal dinner

the lingerie shower...can't show you anymore! the couples shower

My friend Bonnie Soper got married to Nathan Johnson on Sat June 7th, 2008. These are some pictures from her events. I hope you enjoy.


A scar by its very definition implies healing.

My heart is very scarred right now. It aches. It is selfish. It wants things to be "normal". It longs for relief. It cries out to my Holy and Just God for help. I do know that God can heal my scars and fill the void of the loss of my father. I know that for some reason I am going through this trial. My mother finally admitted to her pain the other day and I felt as if things were "moving along" for lack of better words. Although today as Father's Day is approaching quickly I can say I am not doing well. I have already "lost it" twice this morning. My poor friend/business partner Emily never knows what to expect when she walks in the door. She has been so supportive though. We are going to my favorite place this weekend, the beach. Grief stinks. I can be "perfectly fine" one minute and crying sobs the next. I knew the milestones would be hard, but today's only Friday. Good grief! Wow, that's an oxymoron I never thought about.
Psalm 107:2 says Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. I never thought that would mean sharing my pain and hurt. I never thought I would be in the club...the loss of a loved one club. I couldnt believe the amount of people who had been through a loss that were in my close circle of friends and are now helping me go through it. What would happen if we all took our pain, hurt, worry, fear and helped each other heal? What would happen if we stopped caring about the petty and TRIVIAL things and started doing God's work which INCLUDES ministering to one another. The statement about you never know what someone on the same pew as you(at church) is going through, is do TRUE. I mean I never thought this verse was a big deal but now I want to scream it from the rooftops...psalm 146:9 The Lord watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; But the way of the wicked He turns upside down. and James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit the orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. I may be using these out of their true context or maybe not. In my pain, my head has not been too clear. I wish my scars would go away sooner than later. I am tired of hurting and having to explain to people that yes I am still hurting. However, if God is going to use this for His good, I will continue on. Please pray for me as much as He brings me to your mind this weekend.


Ella Grace and Emma have helped me get through many bad days, even though they dont know it. I am so thankful God had them in His plan. These pictures were taken on my Aunt Susies birthday. They were looking at us through the kitchen window and even giving us kisses. You shouldve seen the glass afterwards...oops. I'll have to get some off of my aunts camera that included me, but for now enjoy these. I love them so much.


This is from my devotional this morning. I wanted to share it with you all. I hope you understand that even though I may be crying or seeming hopeless when I blog, I do know who holds tomorrow. I do know that God will not give me more than I can bear(even though somedays I think he thinks I am stronger than I am). So let me reassure you that even though I am venting, I have a Heavenly Father who will take care of me and one day I will be reunited with my earthly Father.

(I have a friend who does quite a bit of sailing, so I asked him if he had ever been caught in a bad storm. "Many times!" he said. Unbelievable! I had to ask, "Then why on earth do you keep sailing?" His answer was profound. "Mary, every sailor knows that there will be storms. The trick is to learn how to respond to the storm. In a fierce storm, there is only one thing to do and only one way to survive. You have to put the ship in a certain position and keep her there."
The same is true for the believer. When the storms of life overwhelm us, there is only one thing to do. We must place ourselves in the comfort of God and He will keep us there until the storm is past. Yes, God's comfort is faithful! What a great promise that every time we have trouble He will be there with comfort! The faithful and consistent comfort of God depends upon nothing but the character and heart of God)

This song, Praise You In This Storm, by Casting Crowns has been a blessing to me. It's amazing how words can touch whoever, whenever. I'm trying to figure out how to post it on here for you, until then here's the website address...


So I thought I'd lighten things up a bit and put some pics up. These are some of the flowers I received at my house and office over the past two months. I am grateful for each bouquet as they do brighten my day. Thanks to all who sent them!