My name is Christy Payne, and I used to introduce myself as a homeschool Mom of 3 girls. I live in West Texas in the middle of no where with my husband, 15 year old daughter and various birds, rabbits, dogs and cats. We love to go camping and be outdoors, and enjoy watching the amazing tea each day in sunsets, stars, and nature in general.
I’ve mostly been a stay at home mom, I worked with the Census Bureau for 10 years and towards the end, started my own home business and moved strictly to working that business.
My oldest daughter, Ella was born in Colorado, and we moved to Texas not long after, when I was pregnant with Aranza. And then came Sarah, my spirited strong willed child.
We homeschooled the girls their whole life, so they never knew what it was like to go to public school. We had many friends that they grew up with, camping, sleepovers, tea parties, devotionals around the campfire, or movies in the front yard under the stars.
Ella graduated in 2019, we didn’t have a traditional ‘graduation ceremony’. She wanted a Graduation Dance. So we had beans and cornbread, I did a presentation and then we had a good old fashioned country dance. Complete with things like the Virginia Reel and Carolina Promenade. They learned to love the 1800’s dances with our homeschool group when they were very little. Our homeschool group would have dress up Civil War Reenactments with dances. We had a lot of good memories. Ella wanted to be a ballerina for as long as we could remember. When she was 6, I think, her Grandmother got her in a ballet class, and she never stopped. The summer between her junior and senior year, she went to a month long intensive program in Jackson MS. She got a job and raised all the money to pay for herself. She loved it! But shortly after she came back she decided she didn’t want to teach ballet anymore, but go in the Adventures in Missions program that is near here.
Aranza was the adventurous one. Ella, from an early age would tell her to do things first, to see if it was safe. Aranza’s laugh was amazing! Her smile would light up a room. She was very compassionate and caring for others. Aranza loved to read!! She started working my business with me. I did a lot of vendor events, and she started going with me. From the age of around 10, Aranza started working with me. It wasn’t long before she could do it all. She could do peoples’ hair, size them, check them out with their credit card, or count back their change. She saved up money she’d earned from working with me to even buy her own kit to work the business for herself!
At one of our shows, we met this guy who writes books for youth, with Aranza’s love for reading, she ended up proofing books for him. She proofed quite a few of his books and their family became good friends of ours. Aranza loved to sing! Actually all of girls loved to sing. (Of course, so do I). Aranza sang in a Children’s Chorus and even had the opportunity to sing in a children’s opera. She loved to act too. She REALLY wanted to be a part of the local drama, singing group, Moonlight Musicals.
All three of my girls had the opportunity to sing with the Keith Lancasters’ group for youth. A project called Regen. They tried out with some of our other friends and they were accepted to be a part. They learned the songs and did a 3 day recording session.
On Wednesday nights, Ella would drive herself and her sisters to Lubbock (about 45 minutes from here) to worship with a youth group there. Last August, August 7th, 2019, I had just finished my live video for the day and was watching a friends’ youtube channel. I kept checking my ‘stalker app’ as we call it, to see how close the girls were. I checked, and then checked again a few minutes later and it looked like they were in the same place, about 20 minutes away. I figured maybe they had a flat tire, or someone had to use the bathroom. But I sent a text to the girls asking, “is everything Ok?”
A few minutes later I had a call from someone asking if I had a daughter named Sarah. He said that there had been an accident. I asked if everyone was Ok, and he wouldn’t tell me anything. I knew that was a bad sign.
I ran out the door and made calls as I went to where my husband was. He drove the rest of the way to where the accident was. They were on a major 4 lane divided highway. A lady had got on the road going the wrong direction for 12 miles. She crossed into the lane Ella was driving, and hit them head on. Ella died immediately. Aranza was in critical condition. They got her out of the car and into the trauma copter to the hospital, and then got Sarah out and headed to the hospital in an ambulance.
Not long after we were there, the doctor came in and said Aranza had not made it either.
Through the next few days, we had to not only care for Sarah, but deal with the loss of Ella and Aranza. Ella was leaving for the Adventures in Missions program the next morning, her things were already packed in the back of my car.
Many hard days were ahead. We knew that they were in a better place. We’d never been so sure of someones eternal destination before. There was no doubt that my girls were in heaven. But the hole in our hearts is still there.