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Happy Birthday Hannah Grace!!!!

Five years ago today our lives were completely changed forever.  Marci started having contractions around 11:30 pm on December 7th and by 2 am December 8th we were on our way to the hospital.  After some medications to start the contractions more regularly Hannah Grace made her appearance at 4 pm sharp.  During that day Frederick, MD (where Hannah Grace was born) was blanketed with around 8 inches of snow.  It's weird the things you remember and this story may sound completely random, but I said that to say this...

Marci took off work today so we could get things taken care of for Hannah Grace's balloon release this afternoon.  This morning we took cupcakes and snacks to Hannah Grace's school to have a Birthday Party.  We really didn't know what else to do for this day, but being able to see the kids eat their cupcakes and have a good time was worth it.  It was good to see Hannah Grace's teachers that loved her so much and some of her classmates from last year.

After we left the school we went into town to pickup balloons for Hannah Grace's Birthday Balloon Release.  On our way into 84 I had not even noticed yet, but Marci gasped really big and said, "SNOW!!!".  Imagine that in Dothan, AL we were driving down the road where it would be more likely for it to be 80 degrees in December and on December the 8th it was snowing.  It wasn't sticking to the ground for any type of accumulation, but it was snowing.  For a moment it was honestly like the Grace of God just settled on us as if to say, "It's OK, I am still in control".  Probably for everyone else in Dothan it was just a freak occurence if only for a few minutes, but for us it was the voice of God.

It is in those moments and still small voices that God still moves.  We are so thankful for the times that we had with Hannah Grace and the memories we will carry with us for the rest of our life.  Today was a roller coaster of emotions as we knew it would be, but at the end of the day we know that Hannah Grace's first birthday in Heaven was better than any of us have ever experienced here on earth.

Ashford Academy dedicated a fountain of a little girl pouring out water today in memory of Hannah Grace.  In addition to the monument dedication we had a balloon release to honor Hannah Grace's birthday.  We had around 100 people at the release and it was great to have everyone come out.  It was cold, but it was a special time.  I also want to thank special friends in San Antonio, TX and Hagerstown, MD who also held balloon releases today in memory of Hannah Grace.  We know that lives are still being touched by the life that Hannah Grace lived.

Just a quick note updating you on our family.  I will officially be a college graduate on Friday as I walk across the stage at Commencement at Southwestern Assemblies of God University.  All of us will be flying out in the morning going to Dallas until Saturday.  This is something I have been looking forward to and am so blessed to have had this opportunity to go back to school.

We know that the coming weeks and Christmas will be hard, but we will take each day as it comes.  We will cry on the days we need to cry and laugh on those we need to laugh.  Regardless, days like today just show us sometimes we need to slow down and listen for that still small voice wanting to speak to us.  I know He is always close ready to tell us and show us just how much He loves us.

Thanks so much for your continued prayer...  Also remember our friends Taylor, Bayleigh, Carly, Sadie, Noah, and so many others that are fighting with their lives.

In Him,

Jarrod, Marci, and Chandler

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