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Day seven without Hayden. The notebook.

The day before Hayden died, Adam’s sister Elise was over to the house helping me go through just a bunch of random junk. I don’t know how or why I tend to accumulate so much worthless stuff. (I was going to say crap here, but I didn’t want to offend anyone 😊)

I know I don’t need any of these things and yet I would rather move it around the house, stack it in a corner or put it out on the porch than get rid of it. Seriously, how many mason jars, old curtain rods or plastic containers do I need? Not to mention if I can’t find it, how will I ever use it?

Trust me, ladies - if you haven’t used it in five years – sister you ain’t gonna. I suggest using the “Frozen” motto and “Let it go. Let it go, don’t hold on to it anymore.”

I digress, so back to the story.

Elise and I are like hardcore cleaning like I’m seriously in the zone. Old makeup, trinkets, half used candles and books going swish in the garbage can when I see Elise reach into one of the boxes set aside for the thrift store.

What she pulled out was a little notebook that one of the girls had made in Jr High. Maybe you remember what I’m talking about. Pages stapled together, some of them falling out, poor quality, black & white photocopier pictures, and a handmade cover from letters cut out of magazines. I didn’t give it a second thought because it looked worthless to me. I couldn’t see any value or redeeming quality in a shabby, dusty little handmade pile of papers.

Elise saw otherwise and plucked it out of the box, thumbed through it and said, “I think this is a gem.” What true words she spoke that day. I didn’t look at the notebook until a few days after Hade died. “Hayden’s Fantastical Life” is how the cover read. She had cut out letters from magazines for the title, and they were pasted on the front cover over a big photo of a pan of rice crispy treats. Oh the kindness of our great God.

This was a pebble of kindness on my path of pain.

An entry Hayden wrote for her Gramma Daisy.

Let me explain. A couple of days before Hade died, I asked her what she thought she could eat or sounded good to her. She thought for a second before stating an enthusiastic “homemade rice crispy treats.” Now we didn’t have any of the ingredients to make rice crispy treats in the house so my husband Rob says, “I’ll run to the store and get the stuff to make them”, to which Hade replied, “No dad, that’s too much work” as he was heading out the door. Such a great dad!

My husband came back from the store with a giant box of already made rice crispy treat bars and proudly presented them to Hade. He was thrilled because he had bought them on sale after he realized the store he went to was out of rice crispy cereal. Perhaps only a mother would see the slight disappointment on Hade’s face as she said thanks and hugged him.

If you knew Hayden, you would know that she was a” supertaster.” She could taste the tiniest hint of any flavor in something, and it would drive me crazy. It took me years to accept this was actually a gift and not meant to harm my self-esteem in cooking. So with this information in hand, I said to my selfless husband, “Hade really wants homemade rice crispy treats” to which he replied, “I’ll go to a different store, be right back.”

Yep, Hade got her rice crispy treats that night made with lots of love and a precious memory for me. So when I saw the cover of this little notebook, I was flooded with this memory. But wait, there’s more! Once I cracked open the little notebook Elise had saved, I found a treasure of memories.

Pages of handwritten stories and Hayden’s thoughts next to cut out glued down pictures and some of her very own artwork. I sat and read some of the stories to my husband and others to Chandler, and we laughed and cried together. Before my heart was ready, I was at the end of this little treasure. As I turned to the last few pages, I found the "My Philosophy” page followed by “My Bucket List” and the last page written in blue ink “My Will.”

As we read Hade’s will we laughed and cried and said “oh, that’s so Hayden,” and it made us miss her dearly and cherish her writings.

That handwritten will, such a prophetic page, ended up on the back of the program Chandler put together for her sisters funeral on Saturday.

Don’t you ever tell me that God doesn’t care about every single tear shed from his kids or that he doesn’t have a purpose in every moment of life? God knew He would use this little notebook from the 8th-grade year 2008, to bring comfort and blessings to my momma’s heart on November 10, 2017, three days after my sweet girl left the planet to be in His personal care.

As I think back over these memories, I am reminded of our loving God. Like my husband Rob, going to the store twice to get the perfect ingredients for his dying daughter, God is a selfless father to his children, sacrificing his son in exchange for our dirty, broken and worthless lives. God is the perfect author and finisher of our faith story. Only He can find the value and worth in redeeming a story that others would toss in a box headed for a thrift store or the garbage. Oh, what a Savior.

Romans 5:7-8 Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.

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