01 Jan

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everyone! We pray that your new year is filled with the love of family, friends, and community and that you will be energized to make a difference in your lives and the lives of others.

We pray for those of us who have lost loved ones, especially for those of us who have lost children.   May God comfort us and lead us toward healing. May we celebrate the memories and know that one day we will be together again.  

Thank you for loving Paul and for remembering…

Chuck and Cindy
In loving memory of Paul

11 Nov

Happy Birthday, Paul!

Today I have spent some time thinking about the different kinds of parties that our children had growing up.  I think especially of Paul because today is his birthday.  He always loved having his birthday on Veteran\’s Day because he always had the day off from school.  We had birthday parties at home most years because he loved hanging out with his friends and playing games here.

Young Paul loved making his own cakes with me.  When he was about 5 we made a rectangular cake, iced it in white, and Paul \”drew\” happy face on it with red decorative icing.  Then he set 3 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles right in the cake!  It was wonderful and he loved it.  Another year he wanted a tiered cake, like those made for weddings.  We made 3 tiers, iced them in white and he helped decorate the whole thing in green.  These were such fun birthday, baking together and allowing the creative Paul to express himself.

He loved playing in the leaf piles in the backyard, jumping with his friends, cooking hotdog\’s, making hats from newspaper, paper airplanes, and playing traditional birthday party games.  One year as a teenager we had an \”away\” party at a paintball park.  What a fun year that was…about 10 young teenage boys playing paintball and running around like crazy!  I love that he didn\’t buy into the big parties at a theme park or restaurant.  He was happiest when we celebrated at home with a large group of kids, hanging out, eating, sometimes sleeping over, just being kids.
The thoughts of Paul\’s birthday parties bring back such sweet memories, as do the thoughts of all our children\’s birthday parties, but his are bittersweet memories, for you see, today he would be 24 years old.  He died at 18, less than 2 months before his 19th birthday.  Once again, it is the \”what could have beens\” that pain my soul and bring me to my knees as I ask \”why\”?  This is a question that will never be answered here on earth.  I pray that he is celebrating, maybe with other loved ones who have passed away and that he knows that we love him always.

We honor Paul\’s birthday today by giving a gift to the YMCA Urban services program, \”Escape to the Arts\” to help children experience summer camp for the arts. We hope that our gift will bring joy to other children, that they will grow up with sweet memories of being a kid and loving life!


12 Sep

Donate Life: Virginia

We want to share some great news with you about donation and Paul\’s gifts.  Chuck and I were asked to participate in a DVD for LifeNet Health  back in June.  The DVD is made up of four family stories of donation and organ transplantation.  It was very hard to participate in this endeavor, but in the end we are glad to have been a part of such a worthwhile project.  The DVD is part of a new program and a new web site for organ/eye/tissue donation in Virginia (It may be used other places in the future).  The new web site is:  http://www.donatelifevirginia.org/ and it was just launched this past Thursday.

I was asked to be a speaker in Richmond at the state DMV office for the launching of the new site and was honored to appear with the governor\’s wife, Maureen McDonnell, the state commissioner of DMV, another donor family member, and speakers from UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing).  It was an amazing experience personally, but most importantly through the use of the web site and the educational component of the project we will be able to reach teens and adults encouraging donation and educating people about donation.  It is in honor of Paul\’s memory that I speak and write.

I hope that you will look over the web site.  The LifeNet Health team and  volunteers who worked on this project did an amazing job.  Below is a list of the ways you can read and hear about Paul\’s story and see his photos.

The web site:  http://www.donatelifevirginia.org/ :

  • Go to \”Get the Facts\”
  • On the left hand side in \”Stories of Hope\” there is an article I wrote for a local magazine, \”Tidewater Women\”
  • Click on  the \”recycle\” logo on the left side and go to \”Go to Get Started\”, then to Lesson Plan, and finally click on \”Recycle Your Life Video\” and you can see the video in which we participated.
  • Back on the home page again, look on the left hand side and click on \”You Tube\”.  The video is there, too, on You Tube (what do you think Paul Harris would think of that!)

I love you and just wanted to share with those we love,

02 May

2010 Scholarship Fundraiser

Elvis will be \”in the house\” between 4:30 and 5:15! Drop by and hear him sing some of your favorite Elvis tunes! Check it all out on Facebook at: Paul C. Harris Soccer Scholarship Fundraiser

We hope to see you at the 4th Paul C. Harris Great Bridge High School Soccer Fundraiser! We will be honoring the graduating seniors on the varsity soccer teams that evening and raising money for the Paul C. Harris GBHS Scholarship. Come out, have fun, support the teams, and help raise money for scholarship! Thank you for your support!

The Harris Family and the Scholarship Planning Team


25 Dec

Merry Christmas!

Tonight as I prepare for sleep, I reflect on the past 24 hours. We met our family at church last night for the Christmas Eve family service. As we sat in the sanctuary listening to the music and the children\’s program, I looked down the pew which was filled with our family members. Hillary and Jeff were there with their two children, Morgan and Gracelyn; and Emily and Matt were there with Devin and Ella celebrating their first Christmas Eve as a married family. Matt\’s parents joined us, which was an honor. I sat next to Chuck looking down the row and my eyes filled with tears as I looked for Paul\’s red hair. I still wait and watch for him to come join us. I think we all do. We sang \”Joy to the World\” and I held Ella in my arms listening to her sweet voice. She knows the words and sings beautifully. Uncle Paul would love these little ones, I know.

During the service, my heart ached thinking about Mama spending her first Christmas in 61 years without her soul mate, my Daddy. I thought about our extended family as we all grieve for our Daddy and Grandpa . I miss him, but celebrate with peace in my heart that after a wonderful life of 88 years, he is resting in the arms of God. I believe that he is celebrating Christmas with Paul and that gives great comfort. But still I look for my son and miss him.

I had a good cry after church and finished the preparations for our Christmas morning traditions…opening the brightly wrapped stockings and gifts, sipping on coffee and juice, listening to the chatter and laughter of children, eating the family brunch in the dining room filled with the scents of warm baked bread and spicy sausage casserole. (This morning we even had a brief visit from Santa who happened to be in the neighborhood as prepared to fly back to the North Pole!) The house was warm and cozy and Christmas music played on the \”yule log\” channel. My heart overflowed with gratitude for the blessings we share. I found myself smiling as I felt Paul\’s presence in the room with us.

We talked on the phone to friends and family, sharing the gift stories and laughing at the antics of our grandchildren. Later when the rest of the family went to celebrate with others in their families, Chuck and I went to eat Christmas dinner with our next door neighbors, who have included us in their dinner celebration for the last several years. Paul would join us and we would share their Christmas dinner and than return home when our married families came back for the evening. This is a tradition which we love and Paul enjoyed.

I pray that your holidays are filled with love and peace…and some time for rest. Now that the gifts have been wrapped and exchanged, I wish for some time for reflection, to make time to bask in the glory of Christ\’s birth.

The words of the Christmas song by Jewel, \”The Face of Love\” speak to my heart, especially this year. May God bless you. Thank you for your continued love and prayers. We are blessed!

Until tonight
My heart was just half full
I\’d never known the fruit which fed the soul
But now I see what may put to rest my longing
For I have seen, the face of love
The grace of God, the face of love
In silence I feared my heart
Would remain words unheard
Inside a separateness of skin
But now I know that the skin just veils the soul
For I have seen, the face of love
The grace of God, the face of love
So take my hand and knowing
With it I also give my heart
Wanting never to be separate again
Let eternity begin
If you were flame
I\’d allow myself to be consumed completely
Were you wind I would wish you pass through me
But now I know that the skin just veils the soul
For I have seen, the face of love
The grace of God, the face of love

09 Dec

Worldwide Candle Lighting Ceremony 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

In memory of Paul and all other children who have died, please join us this Sunday, December 13th, in the world\’s largest candle lighting ceremony. The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting ceremony unites family and friends around the globe in lighting candles for one hour to honor and remember children who have died at any age from any cause. Candles are lit at 7 p.m. local time. This is a gift to the bereavement community from The Compassionate Friends and it will create a virtual 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. Hundreds of formal candle lighting events will be held in homes or churches as a support to this event.

Thank you for your continued love and support.

Cindy and Chuck

If you want to read more, you can read about it on the web site: http://www.compassionatefriends.org

03 Dec

Picnic to Remember Paul

3 years: 11.11.87 – 9.20.06

Sunday, September 20, 2009 from 12 noon until 3 p.m. at Little Island – Sandbridge. Please bring something to share for lunch…aka bring a potluck dish. Join us for lunch and an afternoon on the beach having fun, enjoying the beach and remembering Paul. Look forward to seeing you there!

03 Dec


Reflections of Paul
teenage mutant ninja turtles, flashlight tag in camoflouge, climbing trees, building tree houses in the woods, street hockey, the most obvious missing front teeth ever, growing up with Dave, backyard ball games–foolball, soccer, baseball, my Dad yelling \”nice catch Red\”, red hair, red wirey hair, red wirey thick hair, tiny tots soccer, coaching Paul and Dave with Chuck, coaching against Paul\’s team and knowing he was one of the kids who could beat us, scouts, family camp, tipping sailboats at family camp, 8 & 10 year olds playing poker on the top bunk at family camp with tootsie rolls, Halloween, collecting candy in a pillow case because nothing else was big enough to hold all that he could collect from that much real estate, dumping all the candy on Mattie B\’s family room floor and trading, hustle, desire, passion for the game and for life, sand soccer, boys with 5 pounds of sand in their socks, sprinting full speed back to save a breakaway and somehow turning 180 degrees and kicking the ball upfield 40 yards–all in one step, making sure the opposing striker knew who won that ball, not taking any lip from the opposing players, talking more smack than the entire other team, watching one of the league\’s dominant sweepers turn into one of the league\’s dominant strikers, a hard-hitting middle school linebacker putting the hurt on opposing running backs, taking one of Cox\’s future stars to the wire in middle school wrestling, playing hurt but not hurting, lookin\’ mighty fine going to prom, winner, great and loyal friend, lover of Christ.

These memories are a gift that God has given to us because we have known and loved Paul. He is with God now, in His presence and witnessing His glory, and we are blessed to have had our time with Paul. Paul is especially blessed to have this time with Jesus. – Paul Schmidt

Paul\’s favorites
body boarding
snow boarding
camp silver beach
playing the guitar
hanging out with friends
jack johnson
boy scouts…not sure he would tell you though!
his cell phone
climbing anything and everything
his room and his nasty blanket

Jeremiah 29:11-14
\”For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me, if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me…\”

Max Lucado
\”Jesus humbled Himself
He went from commanding angels
To sleeping in the straw.
From holding stars
To clutching Mary\’s finger,
The palm that held the
Universe took the nail of a soldier.
Because that\’s what love does.\”

Hold Fast by Mercy Me
To everyone who\’s hurting
To those who\’ve had enough
To all the undeserving
That should cover all of us
Please do not let go
I promise there is hope

Hold fast
Help is on the way
Hold fast
He\’s come to save the day
What I\’ve learned in my life
One thing greater than my strife
Is His grasp
So hold fast
Will this season ever pass?
Can we stop this ride?
Will we see the sun at last?
Or could this be our lot in life?
Please do not let go
I promise you there\’s hope

You may think you\’re all alone
And there\’s no way that anyone could know
What you\’re going through
But if you only hear one thing
Just understand that we are all the same
Searching for the truth
The truth of what we\’re soon to face
Unless someone comes to take our place
Is there anyone?
All we want is to be free
Free from our captivity, Lord
Here He comes

\”Natures Path\”
Along this cycling path
Full of death and heartache
Examples of Gods wrath
In which there is no mistake
Only an invisible plan
Without the ones you love
A job not done by an ordinary man
For he invites earth\’s angels up above
To Walk with him hand in hand.

By: Adam Tatem

\”This Storm\” by Casting Crowns
I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
And stepped in and saved the day
Once again, I say Amen, and it is still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear you whisper through the rain
I\’m with you
As your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I\’ll Praise you in this storm
And I will lift my hands
You are who you are
No matter where I am
And every tear I\’ve cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will Praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry
You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can\’t find you

I lift my eyes into the hills
Where does my help come from
My help comes from the Lord
The maker of heaven and earth.

John 14: 1-4
1\”Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God[a]; trust also in me.
2 In my Father\’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
4 You know the way to the place where I am going.\”

Nancy Cashman
A tear,
A drop of sorrow,
That washes away pain,
And leaves the body,
Never to return.

Excerpts of Shakespeare\’s Hamlet and the Orthodox liturgy.
Alleluia. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. Remember me O Lord, when you come into your kingdom. Give rest O Lord to your servant, who has fallen asleep. The choir of saints have found the well-spring of life, and door of paradise. Life: a shadow and a dream. Weeping at the grave creates the song: Alleluia. Come, enjoy rewards and crowns I have prepared for you.

IN LOVING MEMORY, By Thresiamma Abraham
Don\’t greive for me, for now I\’m free,
I\’m following the path God laid for me,
I took His hand when I heard his call,
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way.
I\’ve found that peace at the close of the day.
If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Ah, yes, these things I too will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life\’s been full, I savored much,
Good friends, good times, a loved one\’s touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief,
Don\’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your hearts and share with me,
God wanted me now, He set me free.

Luke 23:43
\”And Jesus said to him, \’Assuredly I say to you,today you will be with me in Paradise.\’ \”

We\’ll think of you often
and make no outward show,
But what it means to lose you,
no one will ever know
You wished no one farewell,
not even said good-bye,
You were gone before we knew it,
and only God knows why.
You are not forgotten
nor will you ever be,
As long as life and memories last,
we will remember thee.
To some you may be forgotten,
to others a part of the past,
But to those who loved you dearly,
your memories will always last.
Nothing can be more beautiful
than the memories we have of you.
To us, you were someone special,
God must have thought so too!
If tears could build a staircase
and memories a lane,
we\’d would walk all the way to Heaven,
and bring you back again.

\’All Is Well\’
Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.
All is well.

By Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918)
Canon of St Paul\’s Cathedral

Friend Betty Gibbs, September 2007
I\’ll be thinking of you all,
And especially Paul,
When you meet in September
To smile and remember
A joyous young man
With a shortened life span.

Your memories will last
As you think of the past,
That red hair and smile
Having fun all the while,
Always doing his best,
And living life with zest—
And now he\’s at rest.

07 May

2 Days for Paul!

Paul’s Fundraiser has been postponed!

Big Day #1 is: Tuesday, May 12th at 4:30 p.m.

Soccer Fundraiser and Senior Night

…same place, same time, same awesome prizes for the drawings, same entertainment (thank you!), great food! Come join us!

Big Day #2

Savannah’s Bar and Grill

Wednesday, May 13th, 6-9 p.m. We will be handing out flyers Tuesday night. Remember that you must have the flyer for the money to go to Paul’s scholarship fund!

Call if you have questions:

Cindy 482.3054 or 630.3898

08 Feb

Happy February!

Dear Family and Friends,
Happy February! Here we are in the second month of 2009 and nearing Valentine’s Day. The last time I wrote on CaringBridge was during the Christmas holidays. Ours was a tender Christmas filled with joy and pain, laughter and tears, children and adults, time here in Chesapeake and time in Memphis. We were blessed to have Hillary, Jeff, and the children here and to enjoy the time with Emily and Ella still living in our home…what I call “Our Family Home”. Matt, Emily’s fiancé and his son, Devin were her whenever they could be.

We carried on the same traditions that have blessed us since we first had children, and we put up our “Paul Harris” Christmas tree for the 3rd holiday season. We shared gifts, church services, family and friends’ time, and memories. The little ones brought us smiles and laughter…joy…and plenty of “Kodak Moments”. Our hearts were full as we once again opened the gifts Hillary, Jeff, and Emily placed in Paul’s stocking. This year they gave us 3 pewter ornaments, each on a word…Grace…Peace…Believe. These words speak or our hearts and where we are in our journey without Paul. We shared letters to one another, one from the girls and their families and one from us.

Each year we give a gift to person or organization which has touched our lives or Paul’s, the “Paul gift”. Chuck and I gave our gift for Paul to the Eastern Virginia Food Bank. This is where we volunteered last year on September 20th in memory of Paul and where Paul volunteered several times for the Boy Scouts when he was growing up. We knew that they were in critical need, so we felt it appropriate to give this gift.

Here we are in 2009, winter winds are blowing and the temperatures are colder than usual. We begin this year with hope… Emily and Matt will be married on May 16th, hope for a new family. We will gain a new son and a new grandson, Devin. Paul would love Matt and Devin. They have many common interests, as did he and his brother-in-law, Jeff. We have hope for the Paul C. Harris Great Bridge High School Fundraiser which will be held in May. That hope is that we will have a great event and raise enough money to help a graduating senior with his or her college education. We have hope that Paul’s memory will live on in our lives, and that he is resting comfortably in the arms of Jesus.

We hope that you will check Paul’s web site: www.paulcharris13.org. Feel free to leave a memory of Paul, a thought, or a bit of wisdom on CaringBridge and/or on Paul’s web site.

God bless you all in 2009
In loving memory of Paul