Sunday, February 24, 2013

What to write?

So I'm sitting here on Sunday evening wondering what to write about.  Well, you're going to get a hodge-podge.  Seems the blog about my purse yesterday hit a chord with a lot of people.  I'll start by saying I'm glad you don't think I'm nuts for carrying Chris' small urn with me.  I haven't encountered anyone who does; nobody that shared that information with me anyway. I'm sure I'm not the first but I'm the first I know of so thanks for embracing me, I was sort of nervous to share that.
This weekend was very nice.  Zumba on Saturday evening was a lot of fun but wayyyyy too energetic for me.  I'm inspired by the enthusiasm but I couldn't keep up with the pace, I sat out a lot.  I can see why it's a great workout! :-). Thank you to everyone who volunteered their time and effort to putting the night together, teaching the class and making us all feel welcome. 

Click below to view:

The slideshow was really moving.  I'm dumbfounded by the generosity of the Capital Region.  What wonderful people!  A ton came out to dance and participate which made for a packed gym.

On another note;
I went back to the Northway Church Sunday morning for another fabulous service.  It was nice to be in a room full of people who were all there for the same purpose; to praise God.  It's interesting to be in such a place after wandering away from it for a while.  It felt good knowing everybody's attention was focused in the same direction.  No one was looking at the next person because each was busy dialing into the sermon.  I had the pleasure of meeting Pastor Troy Gramling who was visiting while Pastor Buddy is out of town.  He spoke about not throwing in the towel, among a multitude of other things, and I found myself sitting in my seat wanting to raise my hand or jump up and interject with some of my own experiences as he helped the congregation reason their way thru the trials and tribulations of life.
I met my friend Melissa there and she brought her son Alan who happens to be one of Christopher's pals.  They played football together and became good friends.  I wanted to get Al's opinion of this church because I vividly recalled when I went there a couple of weeks ago this deep tug in my heart telling me Chris was with me and he was enjoying the service.  I was really curious to get Al's spin on it.  
The football team has been suffering terribly since Chris passed.  They are full of questions, they don't understand and they are also angry.  I worry about them because they're so young and at such a vulnerable age.  As they apply to colleges and prepare for graduation it hurts to see them confused and suffering.  I was hoping Al might find some relief and maybe enlightenment from the upbeat service.  I was happily relieved when he told me he liked it a lot. "I've never been to a church like that!" He said.  It made me smile all the more because it validated my instinct that Chris definitely would have like going there. 

I'm making progress on the Chris Stewart Memorial Scholarship.  If I'm able to share the details about it once completed, I will.  It may need to wait until May though, as that's when the awards ceremony is for the seniors.  Please know that all of you made it possible through your donations upon Chris' passing and my gratitude runs deep.  I'm really glad to have this scholarship to work on right now.  It keeps Chris' spirit alive.

I was running some errands today when I had a yearning for, soup.  I stopped at the Halfmoon Sandwich Shop (yum!) and lo and behold the family in front of me paid my bill! Wow, now that was really nice.  Of course being that my brain is mush some of the time, I can't recall their names!  I do know their young son plays SHEN basketball and the wife reads my blog.  Well, thank you for picking up my tab, it was very generous of you!  I'll pay it forward, I promise.

Seems you got menagerie of thoughts from me today.  Have a great Monday, make it count!

Thank you for reading


  1. I'm so glad you're finding a great community in the church. I personally have never been, but I know people who go to Northway and they really are spectacular.
    I always talk about looking at things as blessings instead of curses and maybe, in time, the football team will be able to take that perspective too. While they lost truly a brother, they gained a wealth of knowledge and perspective on life that not many have at our age. It's terrible that things have to happen this way but perhaps one day they can look up to the sky and say "Thank you, Chris, for teaching me how to live my life right." It won't be today, certainly not tomorrow, but I have faith that they will find the blessing in this situation. They have each other. I know they will get through this. Football teams really are a brotherhood that can lean on each other. If something happened to the BHBL football team, I know they could handle it too. It's reasonable and expected and encouraged to be sad, but one also needs to appreciate the little gifts that keep coming. I'm sure they will figure that out.
    The Halfmoon sandwich shop on Rt 67? I live right near there!

    Lots of love.

  2. Regina,

    Wow, again I am in awe and inspired. It just amazes me how you continue to try and lift others up affected by Chris's passing. Many moms would need all their strength to just get themselves through each day, you do that and manage to find courage and strength to help others, like the Winds,Chris's football pals, teachers, us...etc! Each day I read your blog and it just fascinates me more, you talk about the 518 strong...we, it is strong because of people like you living here!

    I am so happy you found a church where you can find peace, nothing makes me happier than to know you are comforted in your new place of worship. Someone said in one of the blogs for you to sit in adoration of the blessed sacrament and there is where you will find God...I am a die-hard Catholic, and I do not think adoration is for everyone...It is not for me...I find myself "vegging" out and my mind wandering and i am focused on anything but God when I sit in adoration...I do better worshiping with song and prayer, and the quiet of my car...this is where He speaks to me(I do go to mass every week and I am involved in my is just adoration I find difficult)...I think worship like everything else can not be prescribed it must be felt by the individual to work and if the Northway church is working..YAY!!!!

    As far as paying it forward..You have already done that and more...

    God Bless, XO

  3. I dont find it strange one bit that you chose to carry Chris everywhere you go. I can imagine it provides a sense of comfort, and not only that I feel like the grave is yet another place you have to say goodbye to, and then leave when you are done, I m not sure I like that idea at all. Im thankful we live in a community where others reach out, kind words, good deeds, good workers who want so badly to help make this situation a tad easier for the families. I am thankful for God after I read this post too, that he draws us right to where we need to be sometimes around his people and music and that he allows us to feel his healing presence and gives us a sense of hope. We are always praying for you, the Rivers, Matt and Bailey, we will send up some prayers for the football team too! Thanks again for sharing.

  4. Good morning Regina,
    I look toward and enjoy whatever you write. I am glad that you had a wonderful Sunday service. I wanted to go to the zumbathon Saturday but not having a car for a week errands got backed up and I was out of the house from noon until nine catching up on them. I am so amazed and proud to be a part of the 518 community. Thank you for sharing and God bless

  5. I was watching Pastor Buddy on the Northway Church channel yesterday ( prerecorded ) I assumed. But I automatically thought of you n Chris ... It looks like so much fun there..hopefully I'll be able to attend a service some time... I just want to thank you again for sharing so much of your personal life with us... You are AMAZING MRS.STEWART... god bless xxxooo

  6. So, I'm the one that introduced myself to you at the registration table. I was a nervous fumbling wreck. It was my first encounter with you and there are so many emotions tied to you that I wasn't sure how to react. After that I was too nervous and shy to approach you again.

    I'm the instructor in the bottom row, four in from the left. It was an amazing night and I was honored to participate. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself!

    I look forward to reading your blog, I just don't always have the time to read it every day. I like reading it during a quiet moment and taking a moment to respond to each of your posts. I think for the time you put in to writing it, you deserve to know I am reading and taking it all in, even if I just say Thank You.

    So, here I am saying thank you again for sharing yourself and Chris with me.

  7. Regina....once again I am in awe of you. Your concern for others, especially Chris's football brothers is just amazing. Glad to hear you are coming along on the scolarship criteria and that zumba was such a success, although neither surprises me. I am happy for you that you were able to return to Northway Church and I hope if it brings you peace and comfort you'll return again. How nice of the family to treat you to soup. But when you say you'll pay it forward I don't think you begin to realize how much you pay it forward every day with the writing of your blog. Reading the comments every one posts is a testament to that!

    Once again, thank you for sharing.
    hugs and peace

  8. I have been reading your blog for weeks now. I read about your son's death on Yahoo, since I don't live near you. I live in CT. I remember reading about his and Deanna's death the morning of my dad's funeral. I was just completely devastated by his death but when I read about Chris's I realized that my dad had a long life and now it had ended..but Chris and Deanna lives were just beginning. They were shorted not my dad.. We almost lost my dad numerous times since he was 5 yrs old.. we used to joke about how he was a cat and had 9 lives.. so when he had a stroke we all just sat in the hospital knowing it was bad but thinking well he still has a few lives left.. he didn't.. but he did have a nice long life. I read your blog and I cry and laugh and think yup.. been there done that with my son... Then when you talked about carrying Chris around in your purse I was like yup that would be me.. heck I have been carrying some of my dad around.. I am looking for the perfect thing to put him in.. The slide show that you posted was so beautiful.. I had tears in my eyes through all of it.. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.. God Bless

    1. Donna,

      Here are a few websites that you may find helpful...

      Just highlight them, right click, copy and paste them in the search box

    2. Thank you Anne.. I will check them out

  9. Regina

    I start my day reading your blog (as I have told you) and I also read my friend's prayer for the day. Today's prayer was: "Lord Jesus, You've Blessed us so much! Help us see and seize ways to bless others in our words and actions. Amen" Wishing everyone a great week, Let's Make It Count!!! ~peace~

    He always writes "Let's Make It Count" and that caught my eye with your entry today. I also thought about your pay it forward comment and other's comments about how you pay it forward with your words. I find it interesting the intertwining going on the last few days.

    I'm so glad to hear that no one said anything negative about you carrying Chris' ashes. I'm glad you got the support and that your fears about sharing were for no reason. How any of us handle what is "in front of us" really isn't for anyone to judge. Knowing how close and connected you were to Chris, I'm so glad the funeral director made the option of the small urn available to you. I'm not sure my mind would have been clear enough to think of it.

    I'm glad you got some more positive energy from Northway Church. I remember those feelings from when I attended Grace Fellowship. I loved having the "tweens" go with me when I went. I loved seeing the reactions from them and seeing them come out of there with positive influences. I hope it helped Al some. I've been toying with the idea of trying Northway Church for over a year now (I pass it twice a month heading to my Elks meetings in Mechanicville) and I often wonder about it. I'm just not there yet. I am going to be on a College visit with Ally starting Wednesday and if we remain in Pittsburgh after her competition in Erie PA on Saturday, we will probably be going to church in Pittsburgh with my mother. I went to her church with her last time is was in Pittsburgh and it was a nice old "traditional" church, much like the one I went to last Sunday in Lansingburgh. It's funny, I had to share. When the Priest asked us to come "check out the church" he told me to come to the 9:30 mass because it was livelier than the 11:30 mass. I'm not sure what the 11:30 mass is like, but the 9:30 was far from lively! I had to chuckle because I had flashbacks of my time at Grace Fellowship and wondered what his definition of lively was because it was not even close! The choir was lovely. I actually thought it was just one man singing, but looking up at the end of mass the choir section was full!

    Well I hope you had some "make it count" moments to fill up your Monday. I did think of you often and wondered how your day was going.

    Until tomorrow...

    God bless...

  10. Hi Regina. My name is Katie and I'm a Junior at Siena College. In December, I was actually living in Siena, Italy. I remember when you wrote an entry about the "Siena connection" and how Siena isn't just a town in Toscana. I wanted to comment and let you know that prayers were being sent your way from half way across the world in that small town, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.

    I was walking around Rome on December 2nd and I must have lit a candle in every single church/cathedral/basilica I came across. I never had the privilege to meet Chris, your family or any of the families involved but I have never felt more connected. My friend actually was in Chris and Bailey's prom limo at Shaker I'm assuming because they're in so many pictures together. He was a familiar face, someone I felt like I would be friends with. Your words, stories and pictures make me feel like I've known him forever.

    I've read your blog since day one and it helps me get through my day and after your entry yesterday I couldn't help but comment. My dad passed away almost two years ago on March 12, 2011. Beginning yesterday two years ago, I found out how sick he was. I never had the best relationship with him but when I found he was sick, I sat down at my computer and did what you do every day--I wrote. I didn't have any set of ideas I wanted to write down to him, I just typed. It turned into a 3 page entry, single spaced. The morning he passed away, Siena began Spring Break and I was busy playing softball with my former high school team. I woke up at 7:40am after barely sleeping 4 hours, but I was wide awake. I went on with my day and when I came home from practice expecting to go see him in the hospital. I threw off my cleats and left them outside the front door like my mom always had me do (this reminded me of you and Chris) and ran inside to go get changed. My mom stopped me between the kitchen and the bathroom and I just knew I would never have the chance to read my letter to him. I have a point to all of this. I wanted to let you know that I firmly believe that Chris is reading every single entry you write, actually he's sitting down next to you as you write it every night. I like to think that my dad read my letter to him. I also started paying attention to the smallest of things to see if he's around. One night last summer, I went over to his urn in my Nana's room and sat there and just looked at it. I don't remember thinking anything in particular but I remember it was a very calm night, and after about 5 minutes of me sitting on the bed looking at him, the lights went on and off. For a second I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, and then it did it again. I don't have a small urn to carry around, but I do carry his mass card in my wallet. I told him before I left for Italy in September that he would be travelling with me. In every church I stepped in while abroad, I stopped and said a prayer and lit a candle.

  11. Recently, I had a dream about my dad. I've never really had any in the past but this story reminds me much of your story with not having the pictures from your camera because your computer crashed. When I was younger, my dad would take tons of videos of me and my 3 siblings. We would send my grandparents a video every winter when they went down to Florida to get out of the cold. He would video us on Christmas and Easter mornings before we wrecked havoc in the living room. But when he passed away, for some reason, I couldn't find them. They were all I wanted. I wanted to hear his voice and see what once was my reality. I had a dream almost a month ago, the first time I ever dreamt of him. I was sitting on the couch in my living room, with all of my siblings and my mom just as we are today, but my dad was there. He was sitting on the edge of the couch and watching the videos with us. I haven't been able to find them yet, but I know they're going to show up one day. I pray Chris blesses you with a dream sometime soon. It took me 22 months but I got one. Also, last Wednesday, I woke up from a nap to hearing someone say "I'm so proud of you." When I opened my eyes there was no one else in my dorm room so I did not know where it came from. My Aunt likes to think it was my dad, her brother, stopping by. I hope Chris stops by and makes a mess of that food cabinet you have for him!

    Regina, you remind me so much of my own mother. Your words give me goosebumps, but you also give me strength. Please do not stop writing. Even you not knowing what to write, has me reading. I want to participate in an event to raise money for the scholarship. I'm from Long Island so between going home for breaks and being back at school only a few short weeks I haven't had the chance yet. I wish to tell you these things in person, although you've definitely heard this over and over again. Thank you very much. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings so openly.

    Katie Risolo

  12. i didnt want to go here....but regina...what are your feelings/thoughts about all of the terrible things that are going on with respect to baily and the social media thing right now...i just cant believe i was reading this...why would people go there with this beautiful person after all she and everyone has at a loss. maybe you could post about it...or perhaps not give it any sort of credit. you are an amazing woman. i read this everyday and i havent written but this just made me lose it.