Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cherishing each moment

A rich walnut and chocolate aroma fills the October air as I sit here sipping coffee in an over-sized chair. This time of year, I'm reminded of years gone by, Octobers gone by...as a young girl spending hours adoring and accessorizing Addy, Josephina, Samantha, and Kaya. And then several Octobers later, as a preteen, with the dolls as lovely as ever, yet tucked away on the shelf, for I was far too concerned with make-up, fashionable clothes, and fitting in to give them much thought.

My mind wonders to thoughts of what Octobers not-yet-lived will bring. And I must remind my heart to slow down, there is a season for everything. Yet, the yearning for those hoped-for days runs so deep that at times I wish that tomorrow I would wake up on a brisk morning ten years from now and find myself nestled in bed in a cottage painted pink, with my husband's chocolate brown eyes gazing back at me...trying to catch a moment just to be before our bundled-up blessings come tumbling down the hallway, pouncing on the bed and begging mommy and daddy for kisses. I long for those days that I will see God in the yellow, orange, and red leaves falling off the trees we call ours and the joy of being entrusted with children that have the fingerprints of God all over them. 

Jim Elliot once wrote, "Wherever you are, be all there." These days, I'm finding it hard to be right where I am, when my dreams are so vivid, so alive. I find myself wishing I was there where my heart longs to be. He gently whispers to me, "Find satisfaction in Me, wherever you are...Romance can be found in every moment, if you allow Me to be your all."

Each moment is sacred, an adventure of learning to love like Jesus, learning to laugh 'til your belly hurts, learning to slow down and simply be, learning to find romance everywhere you look. 

I'm all in.


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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Sweetness of a Little Girl

Following is the sweetest letter at the back of Dr. James Dobson's most recent book entitled Bringing Up Girls:

Dear Dr. Dobson,

Today is the sixth anniversary of the day my precious little girl, Delaney, went home to live with Almighty God.  As my family and I remember with tears, smiles and confident thoughts of seeing her again one day, I can't help but think of you as you are writing Bringing Up Girls.

Although we had only sixteen short months with her, Delaney is a special gift.  As the father of one boy already at that time (now two), I can tell you that she was a completely different being.  From the time my boys were old enough to reach out and hug me, I always got the sense that they were practicing their headlocks, which they now use on me every chance they get.  To receive a hug from Delaney, however, was an altogether different experience.  She never tired of melting into my arms and burying her tiny face deep into my neck.  She was pure love.  She was my "Sweet Delaney Pie."

When sharing our story with others, especially parents, I am always careful to convey the most important perspective that God has blessed us (yes, blessed us) with through our tragic loss.  I always say to them, "I can live my life here on earth without my precious Delaney, but I cannot possibly conceive of spending eternity without any one of my children."  God has made the significance of this perspective so very clear to my wife, Becky, and me, and we are eternally (literally) grateful.  I wish this truth could become as clear to every parent without having to go through such a tragic experience as ours.

Even through all we've learned, we are still not perfect parents, but we don't have to be perfect in order to pass along God's eternal perspective.  Our sons speak often and with confidence of  "our sister, Delaney, who lives in heaven."  They also smile as they talk about what they will do together when they finally get to see her.  The faith of children is so pure.  I love that.

I don't know what Delaney will look like when I see her again.  Will she still be a little girl, or will she have grown to be a beautiful woman?  No matter.  We will embrace, and I will weep flowing tears of joy for a long, long time.  I will weep because the pain of her death will be gone forever.  What will be left will be the only thing that matters:  we will share eternity together.

May God bless you, Dr. Dobson, as you write this book, that your readers will take seriously the responsibility of raising, protecting and loving these special gifts - these tender, loving, precious little girls God has entrusted them with.

Your brother in Christ,

Mark



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Monday, October 25, 2010

I Will Carry Her

I carry her with me always. As I dance through the day, busying about with this and that. Through all the things that must be done, she is alive in my heart. She is always on my mind. Just one thought of her and I smile. She brightens my heart and my life. I am blessed to know her.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

A Picture for Remembrance Day

My friend Candy edited this photo of me and Lily for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.


She said, "A gift to you Hannah, in Lily Katherine's loving memory."

It's so precious and a sweet surprise.

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hospital Care Packages

I'm working on hospital care packages for families who must go home with empty arms...I would appreciate ideas of what to include in the boxes. Thanks! :)

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

October 15th Raleigh Remembrance Service

Last night, my sister, mom, best-friend, twin brothers and I went to a special October 15th service for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. This was the first year that I even knew such a day exists. 

This is what the event is all about:

October 15th Raleigh is a community wide event held in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Each year, approximately one million pregnancies in the U.S. end in miscarriage, stillbirth or the death of a newborn child.

October 15th Raleigh is an effort to bring comfort, healing and unity to parents in the Triangle who have suffered a pregnancy or infant loss. October 15th Raleigh allows parents to openly remember their loss and to have their loss recognized.

The service was held at Journey Church in Raleigh, NC at 7 p.m. It was absolutely beautiful. There was beautiful music, a time of babies names being read (including Lily's), a time of sharing, and everyone lit candles in honor of our precious babes in Heaven. 

I got to meet the lady who coordinated the entire thing and she knows who I am because she's read my blog. My blog is listed on the October 15th Raleigh website. 

I wore my Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope shirt that I recently got with Lily's footprints on the back.

I took the opportunity to share a bit about my vision for donating hospital comfort boxes to grieving parents. I saw some of my friends from my local infant loss support group at the service. And I met a new friend named Wendy who has has two miscarriages.

I am thankful for an evening of remembering my sweet Lily girl. It feels good when others also see how much her life matters.








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Friday, October 15, 2010

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day 2010

October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day


Today we remember all babies whom we carried but never met, all babies born sleeping, those we have held but could not take home, or those that came home but did not stay nearly long enough. 


There is a service at 7 this evening in Raleigh at Journey Church


Please come and celebrate Lily's life with me. If you cannot make it tonight here in Raleigh, light a candle at 7 pm (your local time) in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. ♥



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Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Night with the Chapmans

Tonight, my family and I had the blessing of spending "A Night with the Chapmans." Steven Curtis Chapman, his wife Mary Beth, and their sons Caleb and Will Franklin, are on tour as a family this fall.


Steven Curtis Chapman's Beauty Will Rise album has helped heal my heart in so many ways. Each song speaks to me in a way that only a bereaved parent can understand. My aunt gave it to me for Mother's Day this year and I have listened to it and cried as I sing along to it countless times since then.

My friend Dayna went with me to the concert as well. Her mother passed away last November, so we really connect in our grief and loss. 

The concert was such a precious time of tears and laughter. It was such a gift to hear the songs that have come to mean so much to me in person, which is much different than hearing them on a CD.

The evening was so meaningful, with Mary Beth speaking, the boys performing, and of course SCC performing. I will forever treasure the memory of this night...

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From Kalialani

Thank you Leila's mommy, Kalialani, for honoring Lily by writing and photographing her name.


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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Life on a screen

September 21st, 2010


A year ago today I saw the first evidences that there was life inside my womb. Pulling into the LifeCare Pregnancy Center, my heart was pounding. I didn't know what to expect, I simply knew I was going to be a witness to the miracle of life. The very hand of God was at work within my womb, shaping and creating this wonderfully and fearfully made individual. He already knew her long before I did. He knew her spirit long before I even knew I would have a beautiful daughter named Lily one day. I was barely 15 weeks pregnant. For three and a half months, she had been alive. I had wanted to have an ultrasound a month before this, but it didn't work at out the Pregnancy Center in Charlottesville. I had wanted to have one the week before at LifeCare, but with only one ultrasound machine, we moms had to wait. So, there I was...September 21st, 2009. I had waited for this day my entire life. The day that I would see with my own two eyes that I was a mother. We went back to the little room and I got up on the table. It was 9:30 in the morning. Right across from me, hanging on the wall was a picture of a Lily. My heart already knew she was a her. Doctors didn't have to tell me that. My heart was bonding with her heart, with my little girl's heart. Months later when I went back into that same room where I saw her for the first time, the picture was gone. Strange. I wanted to take a picture of it to put in my scrapbook.


The cold gel was put on my belly and the wand started moving around. I held my breath in anticipation. There she was on that screen. She must have known that we were watching her, so she decided to give us a little show. She was dancing and squirming all over the place! Flip, flip, flip. Laughing, I joked, "If this is any indication of what's to come, I'm gonna have my hands full." She was so tiny. Yet so developed, so full of life. She was my baby and I was amazed at what God was doing. I was amazed at the miracle of life. And I'm still amazed. 


"I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14




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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Lily Remembered in Oregon

Lily's name was written in the sand on a beach in Seaside, Oregon, by Leila's mommy, Kalialani!


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PAIL Seashell Heart

Corinne's mommy, Tami, came up with this beautiful project for October, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. She wrote the names of babies on seashells, photographed them individually, and then all together in a heart. :)





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Friday, October 8, 2010

Lily's Pumpkin

Thanks to Alexandra's mommy, Maggie, for sending me this pumpkin Lily photo. I'm missing her on what should be her first Fall "on the outside."


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Happy 1st Birthday, Jonathan



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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Remembered with Graffiti

Sarah honored all the precious babies who were born and lost in 2010 with graffiti, in recognition of October being Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.


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Friday, October 1, 2010

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

 October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Please join me in remembering Lily Katherine and the many other babies and their families who have had to say goodbye far too soon. 


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