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March graphic

This graphic was made by a friend of ours in 2007 for Carrie’s dance recital program.

march graphic

This graphic was made by a friend of ours in 2007 for Carrie’s dance recital program. I just reread the lyrics from the song that she danced to in this costume and thought I’d share some of them:

Lora by Genie

“Lora
Eyes so blue
Do you know how much I love you?
Lora
Deep inside
A beautiful bird wants to fly
But how can it fly with broken wings
How can it soar above the trees
And how can it glide upon the breeze
With broken wings?

Lora
I know a place
Where all pain has gone away
Come with us someday we’ll fly
With heaven’s (perfect) wings!
We will fly with heaven’s (perfect) wings
And we will soar above the trees
And we will glide upon the breeze
With (heaven’s) perfect wings
Lora
Eyes so blue
Do you know how much God loves you?”

Now Carrie’a pain has gone away and she has her perfect wings.

#ForeverMyChild ❤️ 🎈#CarryingOnForCarrie   #800273TALK #text741741

2019 Calendar

Please join us for the following events this year:

April 18, 2019

Carrie’s Birthday – Ephesians 4:32 Day (Carrie’s favorite Bible verse – Be Kind to One Another). Perform a random act of kindness for someone today and then enjoy a cupcake to celebrate the fun that Carrie brought in to this world. I plan to go pay for someone else’s birthday cake today.

May 10, 2019

Carrie’s graduation from The University of Arkansas. Final plans TBD, but the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at The University of Arkansas will award Carrie an Honorary Posthumous Degree during their commencement ceremony at 3pm on this day (thus fulfilling one of Carrie’s goals of graduating college before James).

June 22, 2019 

The Overnight walk in Boston. We will be walking all night long to raise awareness for suicide prevention and to inspire HOPE in those struggling. You can register to walk with us or support our team here:  https://www.theovernight.org/team/CarryingonforCarrie

September 10, 2019

World Suicide Prevention Day – To help spread awareness about suicide prevention, please share Carrie’s story, say a prayer, release a red balloon, light a candle, and make a donation to the Carrie Cotter Memorial Fund (www.CarrieCotter.com). 100% of donations go to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to help those who are struggling find Hope and choose to Live. We believe raising awareness will reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and then more people will seek help.

September 28, 2019

NAMIwalks Austin – Because it all starts with mental health.  Join us at The Long Center in Austin for a 5K walk to the Capitol and back. Meet at The Long Center at 8am; walk starts at 9am. Sign up to walk with us or support our team here:  https://www.namiwalks.org/team/CarryingonforCarrie

October 26, 2019

Dallas Out of the Darkness walk – Meet us at Addison Circle Park at 9am; the walk starts at 10am. Because what else would I do on the second anniversary of the worst day of my life? I can’t do much, but I CAN walk. Sign up to walk with us or support our team here:  https://afsp.donordrive.com/team/Carryingon4Carrie

November 2, 2019

Austin Out of the Darkness walk – Please meet us at the Texas State Capitol at 9am and walk with us to raise awareness for suicide prevention and to inspire Hope in those struggling. The walk starts at 10am. You can join our team, Carrying on for Carrie, by clicking on this link:  https://afsp.donordrive.com/team/CarryingonforCarrie

 

2018 recap and Looking forward into 2019

Year end financial information and More!
2018 donations to the Carrie Cotter Memorial Fund (excluding the donations to cover expenses) totaled $3437. The fund donated $3500 to The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in 2018. The current balance in the fund is $452.61.
We are so grateful for the generosity of our family and friends. We deeply appreciate your donations and the opportunity to help others find Hope and choose to Live. For those they may not know the story, in Carrie’s letter to us she used the phrase, “sleepy baby needs to sleep forever.” When we googled that right after her death (with quotes), we got 1 result – the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We believe this was her way of asking us to help others, even if she, herself, had lost Hope.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is the nation’s leading organization regarding suicide prevention. This organization runs all of the Out of the Darkness walks across the country. We are also grateful for your support of our family as we participated in the walks at Baylor University, Waco, and Austin. Larry and I also participated in their Overnight walk in Dallas in June where we walked about 17 miles, starting at 8pm. The inaugural walk at Baylor (organized by James) had 149 walkers and raised a total of $6278 (of which our team and a few other special friends raised $4150). Our team at the Austin and Waco walks raised $2165 and we appreciate everyone who supported our efforts by donating or walking in these walks with us. We also really appreciate our family and friends who participated in community walks in their own city in Carrie’s memory in 2018. Thank you for walking for her and raising awareness to inspire others.
As we begin 2019, we plan to participate in these events again, as well as recognize World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th and remember Carrie on her birthday on April 18th. Stay tuned to see how you can join us. We would also be honored to support you if you choose to walk for Carrie or organize a fundraiser to support an organization for suicide prevention or mental health awareness (AFSP, NAMI, Stop Soldier Suicide, Active Minds, etc). Let me know if you choose to do something. I believe raising awareness for suicide prevention and mental health will reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and more people will seek help and realize God’s promise, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you Hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. #ForeverMyChild ❤️ 🎈#CarryingOnForCarrie #stopsuicide#800273TALK #dontloseHope #carriecotterdotcom

Events in 2018

Join us!

April 18, 2018 – what would have been Carrie’s golden birthday (18 on the 18th). We ate tacos with lots of cheese and her favorite cupcakes and then released 18 red balloons on this day.

April 21, 2018 – Out of the Darkness Campus Walk at Baylor University, Waco, TX – Our very own James coordinated with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (the national organization) and the Active Minds chapter at Baylor, as well as other staff members at Baylor to host an “Out of the Darkness” walk on campus. This event will raise awareness about suicide and help others with mental health concerns know they are not alone and that there is HOPE!

June 2-3, 2018 – Larry and I will be doing The Overnight Out of the Darkness Walk in Dallas. Each year the AFSP has 2 Overnight walks in rotating cities that last from about 7pm – 5am (17 miles). It is a very moving event and we are fortunate to be a part of it this year. We finished at 3:02 a.m.

September 10, 2018 – Worldwide (anywhere you are!) – September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day each year. This is the day that Larry and I have chosen to be our own call to action day where we will solicit donations to the Carrie Cotter Memorial Fund (find link on this page). We plan to do this each year in conjunction with a Red Balloon release. Like our Family Day at the Lake 2017, we will be encouraging friends across the country to participate in releasing red balloons for Carrie on this day. We believe helping others find Hope is what Carrie would want us to do. All donations to the Carrie Cotter Memorial Fund go to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

September 29, 2018Austin, TX – This is the day of the NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) walk in Austin. Because it all starts with helping those with Mental Illness. In 2015 I took a class by NAMI which was very informative and helpful. At the time I was too overwhelmed to think about advocacy…still am, but I want to support them too.  Here is a link to join my Carrying on for Carrie team: team: https://www.namiwalks.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.team&teamID=20322

September 29, 2018 – Waco, TX –  Yes! Same day!  I am also going to the Waco Out of the Darkness walk in the evening on this day. Because I can’t do much, but I CAN walk!  Again, I believe raising awareness about mental health issues will reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and more people will get the help they need. Here is a link to join my Carrying on for Carrie team:  https://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donordrive.team&teamID=182619

October 26, 2018 – Austin / Waco, TX – Low key plans to be determined to mark the first “angelversary”.

November 10, 2018 – Austin, TX – This is the Austin Out of the Darkness Walk day. It will be held at the Capitol beginning at 10am. I have created a team in the hopes that others will join us. It is called “Carrying on for Carrie.” This should be about a 3 mile walk during the day! It is free to register and join us. Here is a link to sign up:  https://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.team&teamID=166225

We want to help all those suffering from mental illness realize what God has promised: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you Hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. This Bible verse was still hanging in Carrie’s dorm room on 10/26/17.

 

Music Therapy

Something that has helped me immensely in my grief journey has been praise music. I have been feeling the need to share some of the songs that have helped me along the way. I don’t know why, but maybe it’s for you! Each of these songs has served as my theme song at some point. The first song is an older one but I heard it on my way to therapy that first week and thought it really fit Carrie – I substitute “Carrie was more” when I sing it: “You are More” by Tenth Avenue North. It gets me every time. The next song that I needed to hear many times daily was “The Sweetest Gift” by The Piano Guys. One of Carrie’s friends shared this Christmas song with me right after Thanksgiving.  Grab some tissues before turning that on or reading the story behind the song. I then latched on to Mercy Me’s “Even If” and btw, I can really belt that one out! To draw nearer to God and rely on His strength during tough times is very empowering. Next, Matthew West’s “Do Something” became my song. That is really motivational and I love it! “Fear is a Liar” by Zach Williams is speaking to me now but it’s so sad. I wish Carrie had heard that song and understood it. Other songs that have touched me during this time are:

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing (the old hymn or Chris Tomlin’s version),
Matthew West’s “Strong Enough,”
Jonny Diaz’s “Breathe,”
Danny Gokey’s “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again,”

MercyMe’s “Greater,”
Casting Crowns’ “Thrive,”

Matthew West’s “Grace Wins,” and
MercyMe’s “I Can Only Imagine.” I often wonder what Carrie is seeing and feeling in Heaven these days. (I hope you saw the movie too – really good).  

I’m probably forgetting some other excellent songs that spoke to me, but I hope these might help someone. “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!” Psalm 95:1.  #ForeverMyChild ❤️ 🎈#stopsuicide #800273TALK #CarryingOnForCarrie #musictherapy #myHopeisinHim

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6fA35Ved-Y