Saturday, February 18, 2017

What Being Pro-Life Means to Me

Being pro-life is not merely being part of a movement or a cause. It's not only speaking out against abortion, but rather an all-encompassing view of life and way of life. It's treasuring the sanctity of life that flows from a heart of praise to the Giver and Creator of Life. It's taking flowers to and visiting the grave of a friend's baby on their birthday in Heaven. It's awakening to the beauty and utter miracle of each breath given, to the gift of each day, each sunset, each touching song, each blooming flower, each crashing wave that only goes as far as His sovereign hand allows. It's not taking any day with your loved ones for granted. It's grieving with the mother whose baby was miscarried and validating that their life, though brief, matters immeasurably and will never be replicated. It's giving the post-abortive man or woman grace to wrestle with the reality of their choice and permission to mourn. It's financially and practically supporting the mother who has bravely rejected abortion. It's opening your heart and home to foster and/or adopt. It's ministering to the needs of the homeless in our communities. It's laughter. It's courageously facing cancer and dying with dignity. It's entrusting the Lord with life and death. It's being a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. It's walking in purity and honoring the temple He dwells within. It's turning to Him for spiritual, emotional, and physical wholeness, and directing others to do the same. It's seeing His fingerprint on every created thing. It's seeing His image in every human, no matter their age, level of development, or contribution to society. It's recognizing the unique gift that those with physical or intellectual disabilities offer to this world and can teach us all. It's putting others above ourselves. It's all this and so much more.  It's living pro-life. So when I say I am pro-life, please don't put me into a box of your own understanding.

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Memories That Make My Heart Swell

According to Facebook Memories, I had an ultrasound on this date in 2010. Lily was 6 pounds and "had the cutest chubby cheeks ever!" My cousin Daniel commented and said his son Owen, who was born 3 months before Lily, had a better triple chin than her. It was a joke between us, how much our babies loved eating and who would be chunkiest. Memories like this make me laugh and my heart swell with joy... But at the same time, I don't think I'll ever not get the feeling I get when I think of her full life ending so soon. ❤️

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Throbbing in My Heart

My sweet friend Tina who I met through my blog and also lost her daughter to stillbirth at full-term, left this thoughtful comment recently:

"I thank you for taking the time to share... you help me to process. Your blog slows me down in our busy life and helps me to focus on my grief that is always throbbing in my heart. It needs attention and tending to so that I can be healthy. That is how your blog helps me..."

It resonated with me when she said the grief is "always throbbing in her heart." That's exactly how I feel. Even all these years later, I feel like I must share in order to be healthy. Not only are these the only ways I can be a mother at all, but I tend to my hurting heart by writing, by speaking about Lily, sharing about her, projects and creating things for her, getting memorial items for her, and reaching out in many different ways to others because of her.

Some might think these things make me "stuck" or not healthy, when really it's the complete opposite. My mom once said to me that just as her 4 children are in her thoughts every day, it's only natural that my child is in mine every day. I don't understand how people can't comprehend that. Lily is still every inch as much my child as anyone else's. There is still as much love in my heart for her as other parents hold for their living children. I still want to talk about her like other parents. I still am proud of her like others are about their children.

It's a natural and healthy thing for those who have lost a baby to want to talk about them. And our parenting them is just as valid. Like my friend Stacy once said to me, my motherhood might look different than other people's, especially with no living children, but it is no less important or real.

Receiving words like Tina's bless my heart tremendously, to see how my girl's life and legacy continues to impact people in many different ways, even 7 years after her birth and death. Knowing that in my sharing, even just one mommy can process her own love and grief more is more than I could ask for.

As the years pass, in many ways it feels like I am getting further away from Lily, and further away from the time when it's societally acceptable to outwardly process my journey being a bereaved mother. It lifts me up to know God is still using her, that people are still reading and still care, and that there are those who are not sick of hearing about her.

If Lily has impacted your life, if you are here reading, whether as a new reader or a long-time reader, I would love to hear from you. It helps spur me on and comforts my heart. ❤️

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March Baby Birthdays

Hello friends. ☺️

If you are a mother or father with a baby in Heaven who was born during the month of March, please comment here (or message or email me) with their name and birthdate.

My sweet Lily Katherine was born on March 16, 2010 and I want to do something special for the other precious babies born the same month. πŸ’š πŸ€ πŸ’š

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Lily Touching the Heart of a Father

A father left me this touching comment about Lily Katherine's song: "I'm so sorry for your loss. This is a beautiful song. I actually heard this while I was in the hospital after my little girl Lillian was born. I don't think I've ever cried so much as when I heard this. I couldn't imagine."

There's something special about these words coming from a man. I guess with the birth of his own daughter, with a similar name, he connected that much more with it.   #LilysLegacy

Listen to Lily's song below (it was a gift from my friend, Heather for Lily's 4th birthday in 2014).

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Gift of a Butterfly Balloon

I'm all misty-eyed.

I saw a beautiful large pink butterfly balloon at Wegmans that I wanted to get for Lily's birthday celebration next month. πŸŽˆ Only thing is, they didn't have any extras in stock (just the one that was already inflated that I saw). I really wanted to get it though since I don't have a Wegmans near where I live in North Carolina and I'm leaving Maryland tomorrow. 

The sweetest lady who is an employee there offered to get it deflated for me and said with the type of balloon it is, it'll work to get in re-inflated. 

As we were standing there waiting, she asked what it is for, so I shared about Lily. She went on to ask some more questions, which is a rare thing for people not to shy away and act awkward about Lily Katherine. I shared that my baby girl died just before birth, that she'd be turning 7 in March, and that the balloon is for her grave for her special day. I even gave her a blog card (I keep them in my purse just in case because I never know who I might meet). :) She appeared to get a bit teary and had such kind and loving eyes. She asked if seeing butterflies feels like Lily saying "hello." I told her butterflies, roses and lilies are significant to me. 

After they were finally able to get the $9 balloon deflated, she folded it up, placed it in a bag, and told me "there will be no charge for this today." With tears, I responded, "really?" and then thanked her and told her how special it was to share Lily with her. 

One small act of kindness can mean so much. If you're reading this, Wegmans employee, you made my day. And by the way, the lady I was with was actually not my mom, but my mom's best friend, but I didn't think it was important to mention that at the time. :)πŸ’• #WegmansCustomerForLife

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Purple Butterflies

My dear friend Lissy in Australia sent me this photo and told me how when she was walking in the forest πŸŒ³ a couple days ago, she came across a kaleidoscope of little purple butterflies (she looked up the proper name for a group of butterflies hehe) and immediately thought of me and my "sweet and precious Lily." πŸŒΈπŸ’œ I love the fact that butterflies remind her of my girl and how amazing that she was able to capture a photo. πŸ˜ I don't know that I've ever seen a purple butterfly like this.
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