Friday, July 18, 2014

Camp Joshua NC

I'm looking forward to spending the weekend at Camp Joshua North Carolina, a pro-life youth camp. I will be a counselor and speaking for the second year in a row. I will be leading the "Impact of Abortion" workshop, sharing my story and how abortion negatively affects many people. Please pray that the Lord moves mightily! Here is a photo of the students and counselors at Camp Joshua last summer!


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Monday, July 14, 2014

Heaven Retaineth Now Our Treasure

I haven't been blogging much lately, as I've been a busy bee working on Lily's scrapbook! I am so close to being done (with her pregnancy scrapbook) and can't wait to share it! :)

I do want to share something... A friend of mine shared this beautiful poem that she saw inscribed on a headstone. I searched the words and discovered it was a common poem in the 19th and 20th centuries. It reminds me of my sweet girl...

"Heaven retaineth now our treasure
Earth the lonely casket keeps
And the sunbeams long to linger
Where our darling Lily sleeps."


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Monday, July 7, 2014

Life, Still a Beautiful Choice

I am including blog posts that I wrote during my pregnancy in Lily's scrapbook. I just added a post that I wrote on November 18, 2009 called "Life, What a Beautiful Choice" to the scrapbook.

I am so thankful to have these words that I wrote during that time in my life. It is a gift to see my perspective at that point and to see just how much God was working in my heart and life.


This is what I wrote:

I first heard the song "Little One" yesterday during the ending credits of the new movie, Sarah's Choice, starring Rebecca St. James. I had been eagerly anticipating the release of this movie that portrays a single woman who must make the decision whether she is going to choose life or death for her unborn child. My expectations for this movie were definitely met! In fact, more movies like it need to be made. The story really struck a chord in my own heart because in the story of my own real life, I am dealing with a situation very much like this one. The story is raw and it is powerful and I feel like I understood everything "Sarah" was experiencing.

Listen to "Little One" below or by clicking HERE.
This song will always be incredibly special to me.

Over the past few months, I have had to make the decision about what "choice" to make with my own unborn child. Then, I realized I really don't have much of a choice. The choice was never mine to make. God gives and God takes away. I feel like the words to this song truly echo the words that my heart longs to express. How could I have ever lived my whole life without knowing my precious daughter? How could I have gone without ever holding her, kissing her, knowing her? I can't fully explain the joy and peace I feel these days and months that I'm carrying my baby. Feeling her kick and move is unbelievably exciting and amazing! It seems like whenever I try to let someone feel, she always stops! But, my little sister finally felt her kicking last night! Just knowing what is going on inside my body is enough to keep me thinking and pondering forever about God's goodness.

What once seemed to be the thing that would end my life is now the very reason that I live. Sure, my life is going to be different now than what I had originally dreamed or anticipated. But, God has so much planned for this little life growing inside me. And so much planned for me! He is already giving me a new vision and new dreams for my life! I now see that being unmarried and pregnant is not a sin in itself, but what got me here was the sin. My baby is not a sin. She is still a blessing and nothing to be ashamed of! I have turned from my sin and walked away, and God is blessing me for that. He is taking a situation the world would look at as horrible and impossible and bringing Himself glory and changing my heart for the better.

My sweet Lily almost never got the chance to live. But, my God saved her! Praise You, Jesus, for changing my heart and saving my child! And God saved me. He is truly an awesome, amazing God with a heart full of love and compassion. God, teach me how to love this baby. Teach me how to be a mother. Give me Your heart, patience, guidance, strength, wisdom, love, and peace. I feel so inadequate to be entrusted with such a great responsibility! But, I know You alone will give me what I need to get through each new challenge and each new day. And when that day comes, which is soon, that this lily-white princess is born, I will truly be looking into a face showcasing Jesus' love, forgiveness, and redemption. I long for the day I can gaze into her blue and curious eyes and know that I made the right choice. Life. And what a beautiful choice it is!


Reading what I wrote, I see how the Lord was giving me a mother's heart of love for my child. It is bittersweet to read these words. Bitter because I never did get to gaze into Lily's blue and curious eyes. Sweet because of how she changed my life.

I wrote this post to say that I was thankful that I had chosen LIFE for my baby. At that point in time, I never would have wished it any other way. I want to say right here, right now, that even though things didn't end up the way I thought they would (they were already going to be so different than what I had planned when I wrote this post), I am still so thankful that I chose not to have an abortion. Life is still a beautiful choice, when your baby lives and when your baby dies. It is still the right choice. As I wrote in my post, God gives and God takes away. Though I never could have dreamed He'd take her so soon, I still believe that Lily's life was/is in His hands.

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Lily's Angel Dust Butterfly

Carly Marie drew another gorgeous butterfly in the sand in Australia in honor of Lily. This time it's pink and I love it! I can never get enough artwork from this lovely lady. This will be hung on my remembrance wall. After Lily's name in the sand photo, this is probably my second favorite of my memorial artwork from Carly.

Carly has helped me honor Lily in so many beautiful ways with her artwork and special projects and events over the past more than 4 years. Her involvement in the babyloss community has helped my heart heal tremendously.


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Friday, July 4, 2014

Lily's Spot Decorated for Independence Day

I found some cute stuff at Michael's on sale to decorate Lily's spot with for July 4th/Independence Day. My brothers and I went to Virginia for the first weekend of summer (Adam moved back). I got everything for only $6. A little pinwheel that blows in the wind, red, white, and blue flowers, and a miniature American flag. They are all together in her vase. I think it looks so cute, bright, and cheerful!

I decided to take the flag stand down for now because the butterfly flag doesn't really match the 4th of July decor. I like how sweet and simple the stone looks with just these decorations.

After the fourth of July, my brother and grandmother are going to take back the summer flowers and flag stand. I like Lily' spot to always have decorations for the different seasons and holidays. :)




with my twin older brothers, Adam and Joseph, Lily's uncles
with my grandmother "Bumma," Lily's great-grandmother

Here is a little video of Lily's pinwheel spinning in the wind.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Happy Birthday to My Mother Dear

Happy birthday to my mother dear, my best friend in the world, and the person who I know will be there for me through anything and everything.

We've had a wonderful day celebrating LIFE! We ate at Red Lobster, went to see a movie (it's called America: Imagine A World Without Her. Go see it!), and enjoyed spending time with our neighbor/friend Joanna in the evening.

No matter how many candles are on my cake, I hope I'm always as excited about my birthday as my mom is about hers. ;)

Fun fact: today is also the middle day of the year.

My mom and I on her birthday (I am only 10 pounds away from my goal weight!)

In honor of my mom's birthday, I want to share what she wrote for Lily's celebration of LIFE service in March 2010. She is the best of mothers and grandmothers and I am so very thankful for her.

I told my mom I would be sharing this for her birthday and how I'm thankful to have things she and I wrote during my pregnancy and when Lily first passed away because it is special to have that perspective that we could never put into words again in the same way. She remarked on how strange it was that instead of caring for our newborn daughter/granddaughter, we were writing things for her memorial service. To celebrate and honor a life that had barely begun.

I think I will always grieve the loss of what could have been with my family and Lily. In the future, if and when I have more children, I will be with my husband living in our own place. The situation with Lily was different because I was living with my parents and they would have helped care for her in a very special way. It would have been really hard on all of us, yet so very dear. My parents will never share that type of experience with any other grandchild. Lily will always be their first-born grandchild. I am so thankful for how the Lord has given my parents such a heart of love for their precious "granddarling," as my mom calls Lily.

She would have been spoiled by her aunts and uncles as the first grandchild on my side of the family. I know I will always be the mother of the first grandchild and niece/nephew, however because I am not married and don't know if/when that will happen, I most likely won't have the first grandchild to be raised on Earth. It will be hard when another child takes all the firsts of what Lily should have had. I'm sorry it that sounds selfish, but it's just how I feel.

Anyways, here is what my mom wrote. It is so beautiful. I haven't read it for a long time. It has brought many bittersweet tears to my eyes. This is what it means to be pro-life...

Jesus called a little child and had her stand among them. And He said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. ~Matthew 18:2-4 

Red is the rose by yonder garden grows and fair is the lily of the valley. My flower, my first little girl, has birthed her flower, her first little girl. Like when Jesus was a young boy and Mary could make all things right when he experienced a hurt, I could do the same for Hannah Rose, when she was a little girl, like the day I saved her life, while she choked on a bite of hot dog. However, when Jesus was on his way to the cross, his mother was helpless to heal His situation, just as I am now. As Anselm of Canterbury said, “For I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this I believe - that unless I believe I shall not understand.” The silence in our home is as deafening as it was at Lily’s birth. We find great comfort in knowing that as her rosebud lips first parted to speak, it was to praise her Jesus! God obviously ordained the selection of her special name, for when Hannah Rose named her Lily Katherine, she wasn’t aware that Katherine, as well as Lily, also means purity. From the start, HR knew that Lily was special to God, and would be a pure set-apart girl for Him! The inspiration for Lily came from Song of Solomon 2:2 Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens. God is good for He has separated Lily unto Himself where the pain, sin, temptations, and suffering of this fallen world can never touch her. She will never taste the saltiness of tears. She will never have to battle the world, the flesh and the devil. She will never have the opportunity to reject Jesus. Hannah Rose’s Lily will remain forever pure! We take exceeding comfort in that! Opening her sparkling, blue eyes for the first time, she beheld her Saviour as He cradled her in His loving arms. This nine month journey has been precious. First of all, and most importantly, Lily saved her mother from her rebellious, back slidden condition, leading her back to Jesus. HR’s sacrificial love for her Lily brought my prodigal daughter back home to her family. God knew she would need our support, love and strength as she endured a difficult pregnancy and the ultimate loss of her little flower.

For the girls’ club to lose its newest member is a hard pill to swallow, especially as the earth is bursting forth with new life resurrecting with the beauty and promise of spring. We three immensely enjoyed the time God gave us with Lily: relishing deep, lively discussions and Bible study on living holy lives, forgiveness, repentance, God’s abundant love and His truth, card making, shopping, planning, fulfilling Hannah Rose’s (HR would always say it was Lily’s) food cravings, feathering our nest, making ready her nursery, going to the 4-D Imaging Center where we found out conclusively that she was a girl, enjoying ourselves with good friends at the cozy tea party baby shower in our home on February 13, appointments with Dr. M, ultrasounds to view our little love and watch her heart beat, traveling, weekly LifeCare classes and the wonderful support and friendships afforded us there, going on a tour of the Rex birthing center, spending all day at the Kids’ Exchange where we bought a matching stroller and swing for only $40., watching numerous birthing programs, as well as many hearty laughs at funny theoretical scenarios we‘re famous for. All of these activities were engaged in with exceeding delight. During her first ultrasound, we quickly became aware that Lily was a spunky girl, as she showed off her many flips. During each ultrasound, she would look directly at us so we could see her pretty, delicate facial features. Some of Lily’s favorite foods were strawberries on cereal, hash browns, Chick-fil-A, and pizza. Her homecoming outfit was the first purchase we made, even before it had been determined conclusively that she was indeed a girl. However, we just knew in our hearts that she was. That very special outfit is the one she’ll be buried in. It’s pink, bearing roses on the dress and hat in honor of her mother. Her brown shoes were a symbol of the possibility and potential her life promised. From the midst of our dashed hopes and dreams arose God’s higher plan. While shopping, Hannah Rose always knew where she could find me - in the baby clothes section of any store. Lily experienced many fun trips with us. She traveled to Thousand Islands in July when she was just a wee one. As she grew, she had fun with her adoring uncles, Adam and Joseph, at the Panthers/Eagles game in Charlotte on September 13, and in October, she was with the girls’ club when Grace took us for a brief respite to Topsail Island. She spent a week at Massanutten where her mother has enjoyed fun family vacations since she was a baby, and attended the annual banquet for the Pregnancy Centers of Central Virginia. She too was rejuvenated as we spent a restorative week at our retreat haven, with our devoted little charges, Luke and Lili, on Apple Green Lane in November. She tried to be born in Philly when we were there at Christmas time for the Eagles/Broncos game. Along with the rest of us, she had fun visiting historic points of interest, gawking at skyscrapers, traversing cobblestone streets, discovering quaint coffee shops and indulging in authentic Philly cheese steak subs. In January, she was with us as we marched in the annual Raleigh Walk for Life. She enjoyed listening to Copeland, HR’s favorite band, at their farewell tour in Chapel Hill early in March. All the music Lily heard helped her prepare the myriad dance moves she spent nine months perfecting for the viewing pleasure of her Master as she dances on streets of gold before Him. Of course, we looked forward to her first Easter, pushing her in her stroller on numerous walks, having her sleep in her comfy Moses basket next to her Dukes as she toiled in her garden, taking her to Emerald Isle for her mommy’s twenty-first birthday, her first Christmas, her first birthday, rocking her as we sang lullabies, hearing her say, “ma ma,“ and laugh for the first time, feeling her soft, chubby arms hugging me in return, even changing her dirty diapers. Our arms are empty but our hearts are full of precious memories we will hold forever dear!

my sister, mom, and I when I was pregnant with Lily (almost fullterm)

On our merry way rejoicing to the Rex Birthing Center early Tuesday morning, we could never in our wildest dreams have imagined that shortly after arriving there, we would become aware that our precious little lamb had died several days before. Astute Emmaline pointed out to us while Hannah Rose was in labor that it was 3-16. Elaborating further as I appeared puzzled, she said, “John 3:16.” How special! That was my dear dad’s favorite Bible verse. It’s engraved on his grave marker and she will be laid to rest by him. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. It’s been encouraging and motivating to read all the chapter 3, verse 16 Scriptures in the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Both HR and I shared the thought that the sky was gloomy because Jesus was weeping along with us. As the sun slipped behind the clouds, God’s Son brought the peace that passes all understanding, Jesus’ healing balm. After she realized Lily was dead, during her long labor, Hannah Rose’s sparkling blue eyes appeared to see Heaven, her spirit was supernaturally sweet and she displayed such strength. She truly gave Jesus all authority, and He was glorified through the entire experience. At the same time we said, “hello” to our new joy, we were also required to say, “goodbye.“ Being afforded the blessing of spending time holding and rocking her was healing. In the true, inspirational book The Hiding Place, Betsy ten Boom tells her sister Corrie and the other women in the concentration camp with them that no matter how deep the pit, God is deeper still. The joy Lily brought will always be with us, even during this most difficult part of our journey, because happiness depends on happenings, while joy depends on Jesus! A tiny heart beating steadily for nine months has found its home in Him! I want to encourage each of you to heed what we‘re commanded in Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Realize too that the heart cannot exalt in what the mind rejects.

My mom with her precious granddarling at the hospital

Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall walk and not be weary. They shall run and not faint. Teach me Lord - teach me Lord to wait. ~Isaiah 40:31

As we have the need for everyone to mourn Lily’s untimely death with us, we also want you to join us in celebrating her lovely life with us! We lift our eyes to the Maker of the mountains we can’t climb!

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Breathtaking Lilies

A few days ago, I walked out the front door onto the porch to take an evening walk and was greeted by these beautiful lilies. The sun was filtering through them in a way that took my breath away. It reminded me of how many times the beauty of Lily's life and legacy has taken my breath away.


"We can’t know why the lily has so brief a time to bloom in the warmth of sunlight’s kiss upon its face before it folds into its fragrance and bids the world good night to rest its beauty in a gentler place. But we can know that nothing that is loved is ever lost and no one who has touched a heart can really pass away because some beauty lingers on in each memory of which they’ve been a part.” -Ellen Brenneman

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