The Cardinals Have Arrived

Shared by Misty Auer on November 24, 2020
Today we got snow!  We got snow, took our Christmas photos, and guess who showed up to scout out the feeder? At one point I'm pretty sure there were seven. This photo captured three.

Isabella's laugh

Shared by Dave Auer on November 23, 2020
One of the things I miss the most about Isabella is her sense of humor and her laugh.  Of the children, Isabella and I shared the most similar sense of humor.  My story today is about the first time and the last time I heard her laugh.  We were riding to Guttenberg to visit the Grandparents when she was only 4 months old.  Isabella was in her car seat that was facing backwards in our 2002 Ford Escape.  Shaggy, our 100 pound Golden Retriever, was riding in the very back with the luggage.  There was a dog gate that separated Shaggy from Isabella to keep her safe.  Isabella spent her early days watching Shaggy's every move.  During the ride, the luggage shifted suddenly and Shaggy jumped around in the back area to avoid a suitcase.  Her first giggle was the result of his distress!!!  She had that good sense of humor at such a young age.  Fast forward, 17 years and I also heard one of her last laughs after I told a joke about Joy. Joy was laying flat, facing her food dish.  I said she should prostrate towards Jesus, not her food. To which Isabella responded with a vocal snort and a twinkle in her eyes. Even though Isabella lost her ability to talk in her advanced illness in April, she still was able to laugh one last time.  Among many things I miss about her, I will always miss her laugh.

Penguins, Advent, and Hobby Lobby Ornaments

Shared by Misty Auer on November 18, 2020
The Background:
1.  Isabella loved penguins.  I don't know why, but she did.  They were always first in her heart at the zoo. Penguin figurines dot the shelves in her room, next to statues of saints, snow globes, and loads of books. She loved them.

2.  Advent is a favorite season in our house. One of our favorite traditions is preparing our tree for Jesus, just as we prepare our hearts throughout the weeks of advent.  We put up our bare tree on the first Sunday of Advent and every night after bedtime prayers each family member adds one ornament to the tree. The kids have fun digging through the tub to find their favorite ornaments, and to add to the fun, each year I buy them a new ornament to be gifted to them on the Feast of St. Nicholas, bishop of Myra (thanks to Ann for this idea). 

The Story:
A few weeks ago I was strolling the aisles of Hobby Lobby searching for this year's ornaments to give the boys.  I was sad, thinking about Isabella.  I'm not quite sure how we'll do things moving forward with her gone.  Will we put her ornaments on the tree?  Will we get a separate tree just for her ornaments? I wandered the aisles, misty eyes, pondering these things.  I had already picked out ornaments for the boys and they were in the cart.  I hadn't looked for an ornament for her. After all, she is gone.  I already am not sure what we'll do with the ones she has, but still the question came to mind, should I buy one for Isabella?  Before the thought had even finished forming I turned (to leave I think) and there directly in my line of vision was the girly-est penguin I had ever seen, and instantly I knew.  It may be the most fitting ornament I've ever found for her. It's been sitting on my mantle ever since and warms my heart each time I see it. It warms my soul not only because it is cute and reminds me of Isabella, but because finding it in the way I did was a gift.  It was a strong reminder that I do not walk alone. I don't know if it was my guardian angel, the Holy Spirit, or even Isabella, who directed my line of vision, but I do know that when it happened I immediately knew I was not alone in my thoughts or on my shopping trip.  Furthermore, this was a confirmation of our beautiful belief that this is not our true home and there is much, much, more to come! She's not just gone. She lives!

Today's Gift

Shared by Misty Auer on November 16, 2020
Dave's favorite birds are orioles and goldfinches.  I like both of those too, but my favorites are cardinals and bluebirds.  When Isabella and I had our little conversations about signs of birds and asking God to send them, I wondered how we might know it was a gift from God vs. just normal bird behavior in our yard.  The timing of the goldfinches seemed to do the trick, and was the first thing to bring me a bit of peace after she passed. That the oriole was a sign was even more obvious to me.  It was over the top and like nothing we had ever witnessed in our yard before or after, although my parents said they often have a tapper on the window.  Maybe normal for them, but certainly not for us.  As for cardinals, we normally have a pair in our yard each winter so I'll be expecting them to be around this winter as well.  If there are more than two I may get excited. I'm sharing all of this today, because this morning as Dave was leaving for work, he called me to the window.  He asked me to look at the bird in our crabapple tree.  I didn't recognize it at first.  Maybe because it was bigger than others I have seen.  Perhaps because its' orange chest was more dull than vibrant.  We looked and I commented that its' head almost looked grey, or bluish.  At that moment, it turned and fluttered its' beautiful wings and vibrant blue erupted from its' back. A beautiful, fat, bluebird sat in our tree.  As Dave hurried to get a picture, it flew away.  A moment's glance at this beautiful creature may not have been captured on film, but I will store the memory as a treasure in my heart and share it here, so as to never forget.  This bird marks the third time in ten years of living here that we have seen a bluebird in the yard.  In May of 2010 when we moved in, I saw one bluebird in the woods for several days.  I was so very exited because I had never seen a bluebird in person before.  It was gone after a few days and we didn't see another until May 2019.  Dave and the boys had built nesting boxes to try to attract bluebirds to the yard.  The day we took Isabella into the E.R. we had seen bluebirds in the yard, checking out the boxes.  I don't know how long they stayed, because we were in the hospital for the next 11 days.  When we came home there were no bluebirds though, and the boxes were taken over by amazingly aggressive little birds.  No more bluebirds.  So this morning's visitor warmed my heart. I had to wonder if it was a a request of my girl, granted by Our Lord, to comfort her mama. Afterall, our bird-sign conversations have been fresh in my mind since creating this website last week.  God is good and He cares for us and showers us with even the tiniest of gifts, like seeing a bird, that reminds us of His love for us and our sweet girl.  He's good like that.
Shared by Faith M. on November 12, 2020
This picture was taken last year at this time.  After making the 14 hour drive to visit the Auers, Ella and I were together in person at last.  After 2 years of connecting via Catholic Harbor, Seton Writer's Club, texting, and video calls, we were together. <3 

Those days we had together are ones I'll never forget.  I will always cherish them as some of my dearest memories.  The time spent simply being with her was such a blessing to me.  Every moment we spent together edified me and lifted my soul to God. 

Ella and I didn't talk much about what would happen if she didn't receive a miracle.  It was maybe the one thing left unspoken in all of our conversations.  But when our visit came to an end I knew we probably wouldn't see each other again in person this side of heaven.  We sat in her room that day, talking, and letting the silences between words say more than we ever could.  It was after one of these silences that she said, so quietly, "Faith, I'm going to miss you so much when you leave."  To me, words carried so much more than a simple "I'll miss you."  I saw it in her eyes and it was one of those moments that break your heart and heal your soul at the same time.  To me, it was her saying all the things we couldn't bring ourselves to voice.  To me, it was a goodbye.  Not a permanent one, but an "Until we meet again."  "I'll miss you.  You'll miss me.  But we'll be together again; you'll see." 

And then we just held hands for a while, letting the silence wrap us in a gentle embrace.

I miss her so much today. <33 

Directions in the Clouds

Shared by Misty Auer on November 12, 2020
On the morning Isabella was buried, while we were driving from our home to the Church, we looked up at the blue sky and saw the most beautiful cloud.  It looked like a giant young girl in a dress, lying on her stomach, with long hair flowing back, and with arms pointing across the whole city towards the Church.  We snapped photos and later realized (and it was confirmed by the driver's daughter) that her vault was being transported in the vehicle ahead of us.  God had taken back into His complete care, one of the six greatest gifts He has given us.  He knew our sorrow and showered us with consolations to dull the pain.

Emeric's Gift from Our Lord

Shared by Misty Auer on November 12, 2020
Emeric loves dandelions.  Shortly before she died, he picked dandelions for her.  At her burial, he picked dandelions and placed them on her grave.  She knew his love for her and his love for dandelions.  In the early days after she passed, it seemed our Lord was gifting us with small signs.  Growing in our yard was what appeared to be a gigantic dandelion.  In reality it was multiple flower heads growing from one stem.  We took one look, laughed, and said, "Emeric, this one is for YOU." God is good!

A Gift from God...A Friendly Oriole

Shared by Misty Auer on November 12, 2020
Dave's absolute favorite bird is the oriole.  A little over a week after Isabella passed we heard a bird singing (LOUDLY).  We looked out the window and an oriole was sitting on our backyard deck.  This had never happened before and we thought it was very cool. We went back to our daily routine and shortly thereafter we looked to see it had moved to the edge of the window.  This was causing quite a buzz within the house.  The next thing we knew there was a tapping at the front window.  We looked, and sure enough, there was the oriole, boldly tapping on the window.  It spent most of that day flying, tapping, and peeking in, from our back deck to the front porch window, to Dave's hummingbird feeder in the front yard.  Before Isabella had died we had conversations of her asking God for permission to send us little signs of her well-being.  One of the possibilities of signs we discussed was birds.  In particular birds in a way in which we would know it wasn't just typical bird behavior we had previously witnessed.  We counted this as one such sign.  We didn't see the oriole around much the rest of the summer.  We viewed this as further confirmation that this little bird visitor was a gift from Our Lord, via Isabella's request.

A Gift from Our Lord...Goldfinches

Shared by Misty Auer on November 10, 2020
The day after Isabella passed we found great comfort in the following:

God is good, and I am spoiled. So spoiled. He shakes His loving head at me, I'm sure. Anyone who reads her caring bridge page or her facebook group page knows I am struggling with not feeling her, and I know you all probably prayed for us upon reading that. Like the pestered father who gives in to the persistent toddler, He gave me and our entire family, a great gift this morning. In the weeks leading up to her death, she and I had many conversations about her asking Him to allow her to show me/us her presence. One specific idea was she would ask Him to allow her to send lots of birds to us, as we love to watch them. This morning Dave looked out the kitchen window and in a tree counted 7-10 (depending on the moment) goldfinches (one of his favorite birds) in one tree. Praise be to God, for giving me more than I deserve.

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