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2 Years Since Losing Shannon

Today  marks 2 years since my best friend Shannon was
killed through an act of Domestic Violence.
and an amazing beautiful person was taken from so many people who loved her..
As a whole..each year seems to get easier.
But certain days are easier than others.

I flew into atlanta for a quick 1.5 day trip a couple weeks ago.
And even though I never said it out loud…
that night in the hotel I had a dream…
I was sobbing.
and was wishing I could go down the street to see Shannon.
Deep down I felt like a trip back home to atlanta
wasn’t complete without seeing her.

Sometimes I watch the video I made below…just to hear her voice in the first clip.
The last voice mail she left me..that didn’t show up till she was already gone.
Some days I just can’t watch much further.
While other days I cling to those memories because it was my last moments with ‘her’…


The day I walked into her house for the first time since I
walked through that door WITH her…was a hard day.
But also a beautiful one because I was able to see her sweet babies happy and growing.
I look back..and remember how when it first happened.. I just remember this incredible weight I felt. sadness. anger. I felt like I could just tilt and fall right over.
I remember asking my mom if I would ever not feel this way.
But over time I found strength.. and motivation to be a good mom and wife and friend.
I remember finding it so hard to want to socialize with other moms…feeling like a best friend was taken and how could I ever have that connection with anyone else…
 but then suddenly it turned into a desire to be with other moms to take advantage of the time we have..the moments we have of interacting with people, to make them happy..to invest time into friendships because you never know when you will lose that person.
I started to realize that God puts people in your life for a reason.
Don’t take advantage of the time that you have… and the people in your life.

I remember the first e-mail I got from a reader telling me how shannon’s story changed their life and gave them strength to act when in a domestic violence situation.
I remember thinking THIS…. this is why I started this blog so long ago.
If my words on this blog can help ONE person..then YESSSS… it is worth it.

It is very easy to be angry over losing shannon.
I have gone through many stages of grief.. numbness, disbelief, sadness, and I’m definitely JUST leaving anger… I’m trying to shake that.. to not focus on the details of how she was taken…and WHO took her…but how we had shannon for those years.

I never want to forget the good memories..
the goofing off..
the time we were extras for a movie in atlanta.
goofing off on the set and having fun.
(bobby jones: stroke of genius)
going to dances!
getting all dressed up… cassie’s mom doing our hair.. ;)
feeling pretty and dancing the night away!

the bridal shower the girls threw me…
when they blindfolded me and took me to a restaurant.
(I just found, during the move, the little notebook that they
all wrote in the pages and gave to me. I re-read shannon’s page more than once.)

and having her there next to me the day
I was getting married.. getting our hair done.

I’m trying to hold onto those good memories.
I will always miss you shannon…but happy to have had you in my life.
blessed actually.
blessed to have had you in my life.
To read all posts related to Shannon you can click here.
Please share her story..donate if you can.
If you have been touched by her story and would like to 
visit her Memorial Page you can visit here

Please Pray for peace in our world 
and for all those affected by Domestic Violence.


The Busy Budgeting Mama

Today Shannon would have turned 26…

A sad day for all of us who miss her….
but a happy day for those of us who believe in life after this..
I know she is celebrating in Heaven with us…
Today is another day that I pray so fervently that no one has to
mourn the loss of someone they love due to such a violent and horrible act of violence.
I pray for all those affected by domestic violence..and pray that you will join me in this prayer…
Speak up for those you know who might not be able to speak up for themselves.
Give strength to those you know who feel powerless.
Let each and every woman you know, know they deserve love..respect..they have dignity and are amazing. They are a child of God…who is madly in love with them.
I’m so proud of my shannon who got away from “him”…I think I will always have the sorrow of wishing I could have done more to protect her. But I’m praying for peace and strength to see that God has a plan…and that He will, and already has, use Shannon’s life and death to help other women have courage to protect themselves from Domestic Violence. Don’t be afraid to say something..do something..A life might depend on it.
story about the above picture is here


To read all posts related to Shannon you can click here.
Please share her story..donate if you can.
If you have been touched by her story and would like to 
visit her Memorial Page you can visit here

Please Pray for peace in our world 
and for all those affected by Domestic Violence.


The Busy Budgeting Mama

Shannon is in my Dreams – and on my Kitchen Wall..

This month is Domestic Violence Awareness month.
I had no clue about this until it hit home this summer.
Those of you who have been following me..
 know my best friend, Shannon, was killed this June.
The estranged father of her children shot her during a custody exchange.
the final shot as she lay already wounded on the ground.
It’s like a dream….that ever so often hits me
and I feel nauseas and say a prayer and try not to think of how she died..
but how she LIVES. At Peace in Heaven.
Safe.. and where we all hope to one day be!
Back Home..Cherokee County remembers
Domestic Violence victims
including my best friend Shannon.



I Pray that this will encourage people to get out, speak up, and find safety.
Shannon is mentioned in this article written about tonight’s
Candlelight Vigil put on by the Cherokee County Violence Center

Every time I walk through the frozen food section of our store
I remember the moment I was told on the phone
what happened..and remember breaking down crying. 
For months I avoided that aisle.
But every time I see Pink Clouds.. I think of Shannon.
It looks like a glow coming from heaven…
left photo: on a car ride home  –  right photo: Her children’s baptism

Shannon comes to me in my dreams..
The last time “his” shadow was there too.
So it was a bitter sweet dream.
I woke up wanting to remember everything that happened though.
He gave her something..to win her back..and I can’t remember “what” she gave him…
but it symbolized that it was over. that she was never going to be his.
Then no matter how hard I tried to get ready to meet her
I wasn’t moving fast enough..and then it was over. 
She was there saying come on natalie!! haha. 
It’s funny because we used to get ready together for things..
We would both be in the bathroom doing our hair or makeup in the mirror being silly.
We used to go to XLT a Praise and Worship Night at the local Catholic High School.
We went every week.. and then went to taco mac/brusters with friends.
We had lots of fun together. We laughed A LOT. 
and sang dashboard confessional in the car at the top of our lungs. 


I have this photo on my fridge. I love you girls!
(Remember Shannon’s face in this photo….)

I had posted about this childhood
drawing of mine a while back…
How, during one rough day, I was unpacking boxes from our move
 and found this drawing I did when I was little..
just of me as a mommy with a guardian angel. 
No reason really behind it. 
But now……it means the world. 
It’s my shannon! (look at photo above)..
and it was a gift from above giving me strength to get through that day..
every day.



I framed it with an Ikea frame..
and hung it on my Kitchen wall.
Now, every day when I look at it, I can remember this blessing from above
and how Shannon is my guardian angel.





I will always love you Shannon..and miss you.
We were blessed to have had you in our life.
Please Pray for peace in our world 
and for all those affected by Domestic Violence.



To read all posts related to Shannon you can click here.
Please share her story..donate if you can.
If you have been touched by her story and would like to 
visit her Memorial Page you can visit here

The Busy Budgeting Mama

The truth needs to be told: The details of Shannon’s EXECUTION.

This is my best friend…it is very hard to read. But we all need to share her story.. Just today someone e-mailed me and said because of shannon’s story, they called the police on a domestic violence situation they had been too afraid to interfere with before.






CHANGE is possible. 
PREVENTION is possible.
And I for one, want to be a part of this.
My mom said something perfect to me today on the phone..i needed to cry to someone and she listens and helps…she said that shannon would be so proud of me..and that we are a team..she in heaven and me here..and we can work together to make change.
I cried. We ARE a team.
I can only hope that even just a handful of my readers will be touched by her story and take action to help other women like her..to prevent..to pray for those who feel they do not have the strength.to speak up for those who are too afraid to speak..
Below is the comment left by Shannon’s Dad,
in response to the article on the 
court date for the man who killed her.

“The story is not about the elder erdman’s emotional ranting as written in the referenced article above; it was that finally the public gets to know the facts of how Shannon died. Self defense? She was executed while lying on the ground, after being hit with two debilitating shots in the hip and the shoulder, with the children present! “He loved the kids.”?? Sure, he loved them so much he brutally murdered their mother at a scheduled custody swap, threw her in the back of his pickup truck like a trophy deer carcass and went to drop off the kids to his mommy and daddy while her blood dripped out of the back of the truck bed on the driveway as he left the parking lot of the scene of the crime. Then he took the body to a hospital an hour later instead of calling police immediately at the scene. This was the testimony cited today in court by the Milton Police Dept. of the events of that day.

Why is the news not reporting the heinous nature of this crime? This was not a lover’s “spat”; this was an execution.
Further, the Protective Consent Order clearly states supervised visitation in it’s own titled paragraph. And this guy thinks it was “optional”? The paragraph they cited in court was about “Transportation”; it says the parents “may” be involved. Obviously, someone should have been involved, as even the elder erdman admitted in his testimony. He says, “I just don’t know”, but his face was laden with regret. That is the type of reporting that should be done.

—“We must work to warn others that this can happen to them. People need to know the details now, to fully understand the extent of the pain the family has been in and to heed the warnings of this story for others in her situation, as well as for the judges on the bench.”-Shannon’s Dad, Randy

THE ARTICLE he is referencing:
via cantonsixes-patch by Don Plummer






“Despite pleas for his release by his mother and father, a 25-year-old Cumming man charged in the June 5 shooting death of a Canton womanwas denied bond today in Fulton County Superior Court.
Christopher M. Erdman will remain in the Fulton County Jail until at least Aug. 10 when Judge Karen Woodson set his next court date.
Erdman is charged with felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony in the death of his children’s mother, 25-year-old Shannon Lawrence. Woodson dismissed two felony child cruelty counts after prosecutors could not present conclusive evidence that the couple’s two children had been present during the shooting.
During a lengthy hearing attended by the parents, family and friends of Erdman and Lawrence, defense attorney Stanley Constant sought to bolster Erdman’s contention that he shot Lawrence in self defense after she attacked him with a six-inch knife in the parking lot of a bank in Milton.
Police detective Sgt. CS Barstow testified that about 1:45 p.m. a witness called 911 and said when he heard four gunshots he looked out the window of a church building and saw a “white male with red hair with blood on his forearms picking up a sandal and putting it in a white truck.”
About an hour later police were notified that Erdman and his father had arrived at the emergency room of Northside Hospital-Forsyth in Cumming with Lawrence’s body, Barstow said. Lawrence had been shot four times, Barstow said.
Spent rounds from two shots fired into Lawrence’s left cheek were found embedded in the pavement of the parking lot, he said.  Barstow said the evidence is consistent with those shots being fired after Lawrence was lying on the ground.
Questioned by police at the hospital Erdman’s father, Michael H. Erdman, said his son told him that Lawrence had attacked his son with a knife, but he refused to tell officers where the children, saying only “they were safe,” Barstow said. The elder Erdman would not say anything further when taken to Milton Police headquarters for questioning, Barstow said.
Testifying today Michael Erdman said his son and Lawrence had periodic “spats” during the years they lived with him.
But despite court-issued restraining orders filed in 2010 and 2011, Michael Erdman said his son loved Lawrence and his children.
“He loved those kids,” Michael Erdman said. “Next to Shannon those kids were number one in his life.”
The couple’s children are Emma Catherine Marie Erdman, who turned three on June 25 and Peter, who turned one the day before his mother’s funeral.
Erdman said both sets of grandparents initially attended the swaps, but stopped participating after several incidents of discord between his son and Lawrence’s mother and father.
“I just don’t know if that would have happened if I had been there,” Erdman said. “I just don’t know.””

MY THOUGHTS:
Ben and I were talking recently about losing Shannon..and domestic violence. and our conversation helped me think through things. When bad things like this happen..many people question why God lets it happen…but it is an example of how He doesn’t force us to love Him..that he lets us choose Him. So there will be those who do not choose to love Him in our world and do not love others..people that are jealous and cruel and turn from how God wants us to live…after all of this…I wondered where i’m supposed to go from here?? Hearing more details of Shannon’s murder made it very difficult. Last night my chest, my heart,  was just tight and burning. it just..hurt. and it wouldn’t go away. But I guess I’m supposed to choose now what I will do… And I choose to respond to God’s love…by loving God back. Thank you Shannon for bringing this to the front of my mind. For reminding me that through my actions each day…I am able to show God I choose to love Him. Please pray for me dear Shannon. my sweet friend and sister. That I might live this choice to the fullest. even when It seems impossible. I’m crying..but only because I miss you soooooo much..You are not suffering anymore..God has you in His arms. I love you. I miss you.

To read all posts related to Shannon you can click here.
Please share her story..donate if you can.
If you have been touched by her story and would like to 
visit her Memorial Page you can visit here

Please Pray for peace in our world 
and for all those affected by Domestic Violence.


The Busy Budgeting Mama

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