Monthly Archives: April 2012

Remembering Kisha…


In the past, I’ve allotted quite the amount of time to reflect, reminisce, and remember on this day.  No longer the case with an amazing husband and energetic 5 year-old.  However, I left Josiah on full daddy-duty this evening so I could be sure to get away to do some reflecting, remembering, and reminiscing.

Eight years.  That boggles my mind.  I think it goes without saying that 8 years leaves a lot of room for change.  Some things that come to mind that have occurred within the past 8 years: finished my basketball career at UNT, studied abroad in Spain, student taught, graduated from UNT, moved to Los Angeles, barely survived my first year of teaching, met an amazing group of friends through FCA camps, lived with my sister, was in my  Mom and Jim’s wedding, participated in several seasons of Water Buffalo, broke off a serious relationship, moved to San Diego, completed a discipleship program, lived at Casa Schneple, started teaching again, traveled, moved to Casa Camden, met Lynn at Marshall’s, met my would-be husband, fell in love with my step-son, moved to Texas, started yet another job, began coaching, watched my sister begin an active life of sobriety, etc.  Whew.  There’s been a lot of sadness in those eight years too: lost Kisha, had an interesting relationship in Spain marked by a lot of miscommunication, left my college friends and teammates in my move, endured my first year of teaching, encountered a reality check of life in Watts/South Central, watched students battle battles a teenager should never have to face, had some turmoil in those friendships, my sister and I left each other after over a year of living together, watched my sister actively  battle addiction, feared for my sister’s life countless times, lost my Gramps, my best friend lost her Dad, etc. 

What an adventure the Lord has us on.  One marked with change, life, death, growth, disappointment, excitement.  And one I pray to handle with joy, grace, gentleness, and seasoned with love, patience and peace.  Some days turn out better than others.  But the Truth remains.  I am not alone.

I think the most alone I’ve ever felt were in those weeks and months after Kisha’s death.  Cleaning out her room.  Reading through memories.  Glancing through photographs.  Realizing that I no longer had a person there that I had shared countless hours with.  We worked together.  Ate breakfast together.  Lunch.  Dinner.  Went to games together.  Participated in intramurals together.  Attended school together.  Visited family together.  There were a lot of things that once were mundane that became a source of sadness and emptiness. 

So beautiful to me that losing her happened on Good Friday of 2004.  A day marked with death.  With grief.  Loss.  It was symbolic to me.  I’ll always be thankful for the Harriman family for taking me in, loving me, comforting me.  Just letting me be.  I think of the people that loved and supported me during that time: my family, Kisha’s family, Lindsay, Kisha’s teammates, Andrea, Eagle Ambassador friendships, Ashley in LA, Trisha in Spain, too many to name really.  And the Lord proved Himself amazingly faithful in my life.  To comfort me when the pain left me in despair.  To encourage me when I didn’t see an end.  To speak to me in moments that I couldn’t feel anyone.

I’m not sure what else I can say that hasn’t already been said in years past.  With technology these days, blogs are easily found and rediscovered.  I’m just overcome with a sense of hope.  How sweet that the Lord would allow us to celebrate her life with confidence of where she is celebrating.  How sweet that the Lord let the regrets remain minimal.  How sweet that the Lord is my Comforter.  How interesting that the Lord knew that when Kisha entered this world that she would abruptly leave it exactly 21 years later.  I’m eating a little lemon loaf at Starbucks in memory of the day that would have been Kisha’s 29th birthday – the day she would begin her 30th year here.  Instead, she’s spent the last eight in the most incredible place one can imagine.  I love reading through Revelation and books like, ‘In Light of Eternity’ and just think about the things she’s been able to experience in Heaven – about the One she’s been able to spend her days consumed by: worshiping, loving, dancing, singing. 

One time a dear friend of mind (and an avid atheist) said to me, “I find it so interesting that so many Christians focus on the DEATH of Jesus on the CROSS.   Isn’t the remarkable thing that Jesus supposedly raised from the DEAD to give LIFE?  Isn’t that what Christians should be concentrating on?”  It was so humbling to me because I feel like on Easter, Christians do a great job of that – but is that a thought that penetrates our soul daily when we realize the VICTORY we have in the LIFE that came after the death and resurrection.  My mind is kind of spinning now, as I’m sure your eyes are if you’re trying to keep up with this…it’s just amazing to me that the Lord would choose to give life to Kisha on the same day he would choose to ETERNALLY give life to her 21 years later.  That the day, April 9th, was  marked with excitement due to her birth then became seemingly marred by her death.  Let it not be so.  Let us celebrate her life.  Happy birthday, LaKisha Antinette Gentry.  You are deeply missed.

2011’s Post on Kisha:

2010’s Post on Kisha:

2009’s Post on Kisha:

2008’s Post on Kisha:


On the way here, “The Hurt & The Healer” was on….

 On the way home, “I Will Rise” played… (I can’t figure out how to post either in the blog as wordpress is not cooperating – yes, I realize this is more than likely user error…)


My 30th Birthday Weekend!


Seeing as my birthmonth has come and gone…it’s about time I write a weekend re-cap of my 30th birthday festivities.  Or I’ll forget.  Let’s be honest.

So, Thursday night I was planning to pick up my Mom from the airport.  For the previous two weeks, I’d been telling everyone that would listen that my sister had BETTER be surprising me as well.  I’d even looked up her school schedule online and noticed that we had the same spring break.  Come Thursday though, I’d chosen to believe there actually isn’t anyway that she would make it due to work and other demands.  I just didn’t want to be super disappointed.  So, there I was parking at DFW. I’d received a couple strange texts about late arrivals, etc. and now that I think about it, I still don’t know the whole story.  But, I had the chance to catch up with Mistie while I waited for their supposed late arrival.

Finally, I went in to find my Mom.  After greeting and hugging the amazing Mama, there popped my sister!  She’d been hiding around the corner and, of course, her appearance resulted in high-level squeaking/screaming/squacking sounds that I’m sure were a delight for other travelers to hear at 11pm.  HOW FUN!  We made it back home around midnight, set up sleeping arrangements, and hit the sack.

Friday, we were up early with a full day ahead.  My mom and sister joined me at work and got to see some of the craziness of the day.  Sister complained commented about the fact that I never stay in one place for more than one class period.  There’s lots of running around.  And I love it!  They got to meet all my kiddos and a lot of my friends and co-workers and we got to meet Kalyb for lunch.  Upon arriving a little earlier than usual, we interrupted the set-up of a surprise birthday party from the aforementioned friends/co-workers!  They were celebrating my big 3-0 and Kristin’s big 4-0 which was quickly approaching as well.  Mom and Sister went home for a few hours during lunch to grab a nap and I desperately wished I could join them.  They returned and we wrapped up the day and went to pick up Kalyb 🙂  He’d had a great day (as is becoming the norm around here for the most part, praise the Lord!) and we headed home.  Friday evening, we headed to uptown to eat some Mexican food and spend some more time together.  Mom and Becca took Kalyb to their hotel so that Josiah and I could have a night together which was awesome!  We don’t get too much alone time!

Saturday, we were up and at ’em!  Sister woke up next to Kalyb and upon asking if he’d wet the bed, Kalyb immediately responded with, ‘I’m only answering that if there’s a washing machine and clean sheets.’  (Despite my adamant reminder to tell Kalyb to go to the bathroom IMMEDIATELY before bedtime, they took his simple ‘I don’t have to go’ as truth.  Not so with a 5 year old, not so.)  Anyways, we got a kick out of that.  Around 11am, we headed to Wal-Mart to collect some party goods.  Unfortunately, the keys also got inadvertently locked in the car at this time as well.  So we spent about 30 minutes waiting for AAA to arrive and come to our rescue.  And they did.  So we continued on. 

My hope was to have my birthday party at a park up at White Rock Lake.  Unfortunately, the rain/mud/wind/cold stopped this from happening.  Jessica Cowan, similar to AAA, swept in and saved the day!  She offered to host the little birthday gathering at their home.  A-MAZING!  The boys grilled and we had snacks to munch on and Jessica spoiled me with cake and cupcakes.  Really, what would we have done without her??  We played a game of Fishbowl (per norm), opened gifts (I didn’t know that still happened at 30!), and enjoyed a quiet afternoon in.  We wrapped up and headed to go see The Lorax at our $2.75 movie theater (plus a few dollars more for 3D – can you believe that?!).  What a cute movie!  On the way home, we stopped by the grocery store for some goodies and Josiah spoiled us with some salmon, asparagus and potatoes.  My favorite!  Saturday night was my night to head to the hotel with the girls.  Mom and I spent some time in the hot tub while Sister got her alone time and we had a great time.  What was not so great was losing that hour in the middle of the night.

Sunday we were up DARK and EARLY due to Daylight’s Savings.  We got ready and essentially searched the city of Dallas for a Starbucks.  REALLY?!  How were two non-existent, one was closed, and another inside a building that was closed?!  Unheard of.  We picked up the boys and stopped by a different Starbucks on the way to church.  Why I didn’t think of that ahead of time is beyond me.  Anyways, into church we went, Starbucks in hand and enjoyed a good message by a guest speaker.  Afterwards, we dropped the boys off and the girls went to play!  Okay, not really, but we went to get spoiled by massages and facials.  YES PLEASE!!  It was wonderful and kind of funny as Sister and I got a couples’ room.  Ha!  Afterwards, we were borderline about to pass out (thankfully we’d found some Girl Scouts and bought some cookies to hold us over) and were on the hunt for a yummy place to eat.  We ended up at the most random of places.  RANDOM.  I’m talking they served this tuna stack thing with a side of potato chips.  We had edamame.  Sweet potatoe fries.  Sushi.  It was quite amusing really.  And delicious! 

We headed back down south so that Josiah and I could make it to our Small Group meeting we have.  Mom dropped us off and then headed to drop Bec off at the airport :’-(  A short but sweet visit indeed!  After the drop-off, my mom returned and we wrapped up and headed home.  Monday was spent at the Dallas Zoo!  Most of it in line to park at the zoo, but nonetheless, we made it.  It was a BEAUTIFUL day and we were really impressed by the zoo!  Mom even spoiled us with an annual pass so that we can go throughout the year!  YAH!  (This in addition to the diamond earrings and bracelet, the party supplies, the meals, the massages, etc.  Can you say SPOILED?  I’m VERY appreciative though!)  We brought out lunch and had fun petting the giraffes, Mom and Kalyb rode a camel, and there were all sorts of other fun things to see.

Monday evening brought some stress as our plan was to leave by 6am the following morning and Josiah, Kalyb and I were then dropping my mom off at the airport and heading straight to Amarillo en route to Colorado Springs (that trip will be for my next post).  Thankfully, we survived.  Kalyb made it to Tae Kwon Do, we ran a bazillion errands and ended up back home to call it a night.

What a fabulous way to celebrate my 30th!  We all know this hasn’t been the easiest of years between the move and the move.  Really, that’s about it.  But lots of stuff comes with that – new job, new friends (not having friends for awhile), new place, etc.  As we look back on this year, what an amazing journey the Lord has brought us on!  We’re so thankful for the people in our lives, our families, etc.  Continuing to stand in awe of how blessed we are.  Happy birthday to me!