Monday, July 25, 2016

Little Flower Girl

I realized I never posted this blog entry from 2013 about when my brother Joseph and his wife (my best friend) Kala got married. Their wedding date was October 11th, 2013. And now here we are, nearly 3 years later, with a new member of the family... My precious niece, Harvest.



My family at their wedding (missing Lily) 

Lily gained an auntie. Kala knew it would be a tough day for me without Lily there, who would be 3 1/2, the perfect age to be a flower girl. She was thoughtful in the ways she chose to include Lily in the day...

For one thing, she didn't have a flower girl because she knew it would be too hard for me. She said that Lily was the "honorary flower girl." (Click here to read a post I wrote about my little flower girl).

They had a multi-layered tier cake and the top flavor was red-velvet, in honor of Lily. For those who don't know, each year on Lily's birthday, it is a tradition to have red-velvet cake in her honor. I had a Valentine's-themed baby shower and that's the cake we had there. Kala had wanted to put a lily on the table by the cake.



She also wanted my bouquet to have a white lily in it, as the maid of honor. My mom was going to wear a lily in her honor... but unfortunately, we couldn't get our hands on some lilies the day of the wedding. I also wanted to get lilies painted on my nails, but wasn't able to. It was a busy, busy day.

Though I wasn't able to do everything I hoped, the small gestures of how Lily was thought about and included helped ease the ache in my heart for my girl who won't ever be there for special family celebrations. I wish my little flower girl could have been there...

The day was beautiful. The wedding was held at a charming southern Bed & Breakfast in South Carolina.


The Lord blessed us with gorgeous weather for an outdoor Autumn wedding. There had been rain on the days before and after the wedding. The bride was breathtaking and Jesus was the central focus of the day.

Praying together before the Ceremony (and not wanting to see each other)

Bridesmaids praying with Kala before the Ceremony

Kneeling together at the cross, which was the backdrop for the Ceremony

What a neat idea :)

Joseph and Kala have a beautiful love story. After meeting when they were in middle school, the Lord scripted quite the story - ending with them getting married at ages 28 and 29.

With the lovely bride

With the thrilled groom

The Allen siblings

Kala and her dad arrived to the Ceremony in a horse-drawn 
carriage and Joseph and Kala left in the carriage

Cute Bumma at the wedding

Walking down the "aisle" ...wearing my pink pearls for my pure little girl.

The Ceremony

As part of the Ceremony, I was asked to read some Scripture aloud.

First kiss as husband and wife

Bridesmaids


The entire bridal party


The reception was held under a tent on the property

Joseph and Kala's first dance as a married couple at the Reception

Delicious southern food!

Southern Bluegrass

Dancing with his beloved grandmother at the Reception

Leaving the celebration as newlyweds!

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Lily Remembered in Swanage

Lily's name was written in the sand in Swanage, which is in Dorset, England, by my friend Sophia who is "on holiday" there. 💕









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Friday, July 22, 2016

Red-Velvet Cookies

My sweet friend Stacy sent me these in the mail, thinking of Lily. Red-velvet is a "Lily thing," for those who don't know. I had red-velvet cake at my Valentine's-themed baby shower and now have red-velvet something each year for her birthday. That was so sweet and thoughtful of Stacy. She said her kids were upset that she wouldn't let them eat the cookies. They kept bringing them to her and she said "No, those are for Lily's mom." Aww... It was a nice surprise to receive these (I love getting snail mail). It warms my heart to know red-velvet makes others think of Lily too. My family is happy too because I'm sharing the cookies with them haha. 😌❤️🍪🍪🍪 


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Her Painted Name

Lily Katherine's name was beautifully painted in shades of pink by Jessica as a part of The Painted Name Project <--- follow link to make your request. 💕


She honors precious babies who are in Heaven by painting their names and praying for their mothers while she paints, sharing their stories, and sending the painted names via snail mail. It is such a beautiful ministry and I love her heart behind it... Acknowledging and celebrating life and that our children are seen, known, and loved by God. You can see the names Jessica has painted on her Instagram account.


This is what I shared about Lily's name for the project:

Since this project is about acknowledging our children by name and celebrating their lives, I want to share a bit of my daughter's story and the significance of her name... When I was 19/20, I had an unplanned pregnancy. In the first several weeks, the Lord connected my heart to my baby and revealed to me she was a little girl named Lily. There was never any question in my mind what her gender and name were. Lily means "pure and innocent." She was a symbol of my renewed purity and redemption in Christ. Her new life growing in my womb was a symbol and reflection of the new life God was cultivating within me. Her life was the instrument used to bring me new life. When I was selecting her middle name, I had no idea at the time that Katherine also means "pure and innocent." I knew that God was with me and had a beautiful purpose for the sweet baby girl He was knitting together in my womb, with her own unique name that He chose to reveal to me. Two days past my due date, on March 16, 2010, after a healthy pregnancy, I arrived at the hospital in labor. It was there I was told the life-altering words, "her heart is no longer beating." Lily's name took on an even deeper meaning... She will forever remain pure and innocent. I struggled with why God would let me walk that road, let me carry and love Lily so much, only to take her from me. But I rest in knowing it is all in His hands. I trusted Him with her life and now I trust Him with her legacy. She is an eternal flower, given as an eternal gift from an eternal God. And her legacy continues to blossom on this Earth.

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Jesus Be Near To Me

I recently heard this absolutely beautiful song and wanted to share it here.


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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Snippets of Lily in Conversations

I want to share these snippets from recent conversations to remember myself always how much my mom loves her first granddarling and how she is always thinking of her.

A couple weeks ago, I was talking with some of my family members about how most of our birthdays are in back-to-back months, meaning we have a lot of celebrating during late spring and throughout the summer. :) My sister's birthday is in May (and now so is my niece's), my sister-in-law's birthday is in June, my mom's and twin brother's birthday is in July, and mine is in August (as well as lots of other extended family member's birthdays thrown into the mix). Anyways, I said something about my dad's being in a different part of the year, November... Before I could say Lily's is also in a different part of the year, my mom chimed in and said, "of course, Lily's is in March." I was so happy she mentioned my little girl's special day. Lily and my dad were both born on the 16th day of their birth months, so that's a special connection they have. :)

Then yesterday, my brother, sister-in-law, and niece were visiting. My brother was saying how Harvest is the most beautiful baby he has ever seen (which she is truly gorgeous and of course everyone should think their baby is the most beautiful). I thought in my mind she's one of the most, with Lily being the most beautiful in my heart. My mom said out loud that she was one of the most beautiful. And I jokingly said, "and your 4 children too, right?" knowing how moms are about their own babies. And she responded, "and Lily too." :'-) *insert crying here*

Then later, I was holding my precious little niece and remarked on her adorable little knuckle dimples, as my mom calls them. My mom said, "I know, they are so sweet... Lily had them too." She did have them. She was "perfectly formed and beautifully real," as her song says.

I don't always want to be the only one who thinks of Lily and brings her up in everyday conversations. I told my mom it means the world to me that she thinks of Lily too, talks freely about her, and never, ever forgets her or her place in her heart or our family. I told her she helps acknowledge my motherhood each time she talks about Lily. She responded and said, "She is my granddaughter," like of course she is in her thoughts. Like how could it be any other way? But I know that it could be another way. I know that not every mother with a baby in Heaven has a supportive and loving family like mine. I know what a gift the Lord has given me in my mother.


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Lily Remembered at Paraparaumu Beach

My sweet girl's name was written in the sand over the weekend at Paraparaumu Beach in New Zealand by my friend Chloe. ❤️



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