Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A thousand times a day

"I am reminded of you at sunrise and sunset 
and a thousand other moments in between."

Most schools are starting this week...that means little ones are starting pre-school and kindergarten, middle school, high-school, and even college.

My heart is heavy as I take in yet another milestone I will never experience with my first-born. I plan on homeschooling my children, so Lily would have never "gone off" to school on the bus or anything like that. But, she would have learned and I would have loved getting her school books and supplies and teaching her from a Biblical worldview. I like to imagine how excited she might have gotten to get pretty pink notebooks with Hello Kitty on them. Of course that would be down the road from now. These days, she would probably be singing her ABC's and I imagine I'd clap when she finished and say, "Good job, Lily! I'm so proud of my smart girl." She'd smile up at me and I'd smile down at her, my chubby-cheeked girl.

In the next couple years, I may have sent her to pre-school to have the opportunity to be with other kiddos. I'd definitely want her around children, learning to play and share. A dear friend of mine recently posted a photo on facebook of her daughter's first day of 3-year-old-pre-school. She was standing by the door with her backpack on and had a huge-open-mouth grin on her face. Upon seeing it, I just about lost my breath. I couldn't bare to click "like." I just couldn't. I hadn't even thought of Lily's school days yet. I love this little cutie and her mama, but it's still so hard to see things like this. I like to imagine if Lily were here, she and this girl would be the best of friends. Those posts should be my posts...

I read a quote somewhere that says something along the lines of when you lose a child, they die a thousand times a day. Not only did Lily die on March 16, 2010...but in all those little moments that stack on top of each other that take my breath away...when I realize all that could have, should have been...but will never be...

Every day, I lose another piece of her and another dream I had for her life. All the fun things we'd do together. It's like not only do I grieve the loss of her life, but specifically all the things her life would have held. First words, steps, school, sleepovers, teaching her about Jesus, going to her wedding, being there for her babies...all the precious moments I will never know with her, all the milestones she will never hit, all the things she won't do, all the ages she will never grow into. She will never outgrow her clothes and shoes and need new ones...she barely even got to use the outfits she had, only ever wearing two. As everyone else's children grow up, mine is forever a babe...so many sweet kiddos born around the same time as Lily are growing so much. Some even have younger siblings now, which seems so strange.

I cling to the truth that though Lily is not here on earth with me to love and be there for all those special moments, Jesus is with her. There's no place else I'd rather she be. He takes such good care of her and I can picture them smiling at each other through all those precious moments (like in the picture below that makes me fall apart)...as he teaches her things and rocks her. She must smile so big when He tells her how her mama loves her and will be there with her one day very soon...to the thought of that, she must nestle into his strong arms and fall fast asleep, fully trusting in His love...just as I'm to do...

Today, I read this beautifully written post on Still Standing Online Magazine that shows that those who lose a child never "get over it." Every year, the grief changes as you realize something else you are missing. This mama writes about the five-year mark, two and a half years more than where I am in my grief journey. Reading it makes me feel not so alone in my thoughts. It's nice to have a glimpse into what the coming years might bring. I find myself wondering how different things will feel as the years march on.

If you are reading this and have lost a baby, know that it's okay to miss that baby forever, because a mother's love is forever...don't ever be made to feel that there is something wrong with you for not being "over it." You can go on in life and laugh and find joy, but that lost little one's absence will never be far from your heart...and for those who know someone who has lost a baby, please be gentle on them. This loss has irrevocably changed them forever.

"I wonder if there should be a manual for parents who lost about the later years, when the world expects you to be over it. Has anyone written about the unexpected landmines of the first day of kindergarten, the first father-daughter dance? Will I be a hot mess when the flier comes out about the school's Mother-Son Bowling Party next year? Will ten be like five? What about thirteen? High school? Will this ever settle into something gentler, more bittersweet? I know in grieving my parents who passed away years ago that memories of them now feel more like a hug, a moment of thanks that I got to have them as my parents. But grief for a child is so different, so much harder-maybe because I never got to know my younger children outside of me. Can these jabs ever evolve into sweet moments if I never got living moments with them outside of my uterus? Is this why the first day of school hurts more than some random Tuesday when my kids would have been three or four or six-because these should be milestone days that we look back on fondly?"


Monday, August 27, 2012

Set Free

The weight of the chains of sin held me down for so long...


I cried out to Jesus and that's all it took. He heard my cry and He hears yours too. I knew in the deepest parts of me that I could never break free of the bondage I was in. I so desperately wanted to, but I was weak on my own. Only by the power of the Cross could I be freed. His love, His sacrifice, is enough...enough for your sin, shame, anger, fear, lust...whatever it is that keeps you down.

I cried out to Jesus. He rescued me from the darkness. He set me free. Will you let Him set you free?

What a powerful illustration! The darkness trembles at the light. Every knee will bow before the Lord. Even the demons bow. Oh Jesus, come rescue.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Therapy for the Soul

I want to share a musician who the Lord brought into my life during the most difficult days I've known. This month, I have been reflecting a lot on August 2009. I want to share bits and pieces of my testimony and the things God used to change my life, in hopes that it will bless others as well. It was that month that my Aunt Sarah gave me a CD by an artist named David Teems. He reads Scripture, with soft piano music playing in the background and soft waves crashing in the distance. It's truly unlike anything I've ever heard.

My heart was in such turmoil at that point in my life. When I heard this CD, I cannot fully convey the peace it brought my heart. I would fall asleep to it nearly every night that August. It was so powerful to have that Scripture, that truth, being spoken over me in my darkest hour. The Scripture was truly food for my hungry soul and water for my thirsty spirit. I was captivated with the beauty of God's Word. He romanced my soul with it. It was during this season that God changed everything for me. I still fall asleep listening to David Teems and it brings me back to that time. It makes me feel that deep desire for my Jesus.

It was during this time that God radically changed my life in such a short amount of time that I heard this Scripture on the David Teems CD. I claimed them as my verses for that season of my life. He was asking me to trust Him, that He was fighting for me and I need only to be still and know.

"Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today." ~Exodus 14:13
"The Lord WILL fight for you; you need only to be still." ~Exodus 14:14
"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." ~Psalm 27:14

The two CD's that are my favorites are called "Hope" and "More Hope." My Aunt Sarah also gave me one called "In the Mourning" after losing Lily. The track that affected me the most is entitled, "I Am Poured Out Like Water." All the CD's are very affordable and completely worth it!! I have played them probably hundreds of times. It is a great way to memorize Scripture as well. David has such a soothing voice, especially mixed with the piano and waves. On the actual CD, he doesn't cite what Scripture it is, but it is cited in the CD case. He reads a little from different passages and puts them all together. You can purchase the transcripts for each CD on his website.

Description of David's music from his website:

"...this music offers the listener a moments quiet in the midst of all the gathering noise of the age. In this recording, many textures are woven together to form a structure that will settle warm and tranquil on the soul, and will ask little of you but to listen. The rich poetry of the scripture will touch the untouched in you, and with the voice of soft command."

"This series combines the beauty and reflective emptiness of a solo piano with well chosen scriptures. The voice comes with a soothing type of command, and the music is hardly there at all. It is the artful economy between the two that makes the difference, as well as something unknown that will not be explained."

"These CD's together can offer a timely, sensitive, and power-laden therapy for the soul."

Purchase David's music here. On the website, you are able to listen to each song. At some point in the near future, I hope to give away one of these CD's on this blog, so stay tuned! :)

Here is an example of David Teems' work:


Thursday, August 23, 2012

I Will Carry You, Little Lily Love

I love this live performance of Selah's "I Will Carry You," one of the songs I played at Lily's Celebration of Life Service and Burial in March 2010.


Difficult Moment at BLS Training

A hard moment happened today. I got certified in BLS (Basic Life Support) today. I wanted to know these things for nannying, as well as for my own life. I pray that nothing bad ever happens where I have to use the skills I learned, but I want the confidence and peace that comes in knowing how, just in case.

A friend of mine warned me beforehand that there would be baby manikins involved in the training. That was definitely hard to see those babies and then to have to practice CPR on them. It was especially hard to practice what to do when a baby is choking.


Those Bittersweet Moments

There are so many moments in my life that are bittersweet. My days are filled with happy moments tinged with sadness. As time keeps moving, I am finding that instead of being consumed by the sadness like I once was, I can acknowledge it and then concentrate on the happiness.

These are some of those bittersweet moments that remind me I am a mother...

Last week, I went shopping for a little girl named Sierra, who is my friend's foster daughter. I met them both last year when I was at Ellerslie. Right away, Sierra and I developed quite a special connection. We also just so happen to share a birthday, August 12th. She just turned 4 and I turned 23. :) As I walked around the store with the big red bullseye looking for the perfect birthday gift for her, I was smiling on the inside and outside! It felt so good to shop for a little girl. It was fun and felt so natural. If Lily were here, I would be shopping for a little girl all the time. My heart knows that. For a split second, I felt the sadness creep up on me, but it was mostly just a sweet experience. I wished that I always had the happiness of shopping for a little girl, no matter what stage of life she would be in. As I picked out the Hello Kitty shirt and sparkly pink and green headbands, I wondered if Lily would like Hello Kitty now? Or Dora? Or maybe princesses? In this moment, I felt a connection to my own little girl. Instead of dwelling on the sadness, I experienced it in that moment, but then chose to feel the joy instead.

I mentioned before that I was possibly going to nanny for a little boy who was born on the exact same day as my girl! Well, I accepted the job! I just felt a real peace about it. My nickname for him is "the little fella." :) A few days ago, we were watching Nick Jr. together when one of the little creatures names was Lily. The characters kept saying it over and over. A little wink from above...

I also found out that same little guy born March 16, 2010 has a dad who shares my birthday! I told him my birthday was coming up that week and he asked when. When I told him the date, he said, "That's mine too!" If only he knew how small of a world it really is...

I was drawn into a medical show a couple nights ago. The doctors discovered that a baby boy in the womb had a heart condition. He would need open-heart surgery soon after birth, to have any hope of survival. While she was still pregnant, with tears in her eyes, his mother said, "He may not be out in this world breathing, but his heart is beating. I feel him kicking...I love him." Yes. I understand, mama. That's why the bitterness hurts so badly. Because Lily was a real, living, beautiful baby girl. That precious little boy had a successful surgery and he lived, going home healthy with his parents. They even had to put his heart in a different position in his body! The doctors said he would live a normal life and could play football or whatever else he wanted to do. Look what modern medicine can do to save lives...why could no doctor, treatment, medicine, or surgery save my daughter?...I choose not to dwell on those thoughts. I choose to be joyful in the sweet truth that Lily was here at all.

I remember the first week after losing Lily, my mom and I were just driving around with no where particular to go. I needed to get out of the house. I wanted to escape. My own skin, my reality, my life. That was when the taste was only bitterness. Now there is much sweetness in there too...I'm learning to accept and embrace what motherhood is to me...what it will always be to me, no matter how many more babies I have in the future.

I am a mother.
I have all the hopes and dreams of a mother.
I have known the soaring excitement of a baby's first kick 
and I have known grief deeper than any ocean's depth.
There is a beautiful soul in heaven whom I carried and cherished here on earth.
I have known a love so strong and deep that only death itself 
could keep me so far from my beloved now.
With all my heart and soul, I have protected, cherished, 
hoped and loved beyond anything I've ever known. 
This is what a mother knows.
I am a mother.

Connected by Losses Decades Apart

A Wellness Center opened up this summer very close to my house. Last week, I was sitting in the hot-tub with a couple of older ladies (in their 80s). They start talking about how blessed they are to have healthy children. One of them turns to me and asks if I have any children. I said no. I just didn't want to go there with them. I have realized that I don't need to tell very person I meet about Lily, like I used to feel. And I have learned that I don't need to feel guilty if I don't mention her. It's not that I love her any less... it just makes things a little less...complicated or...awkward, I guess you could say.

Anyways, the lady wouldn't let it go and asked me again if I want to have a baby. I responded and told them actually I had a daughter who was stillborn in 2010. She asked me Lily's name and I told her. The other little lady chimes in and looks me in the eye, with tears in hers, and says she had a stillborn son almost 60 years ago. He was also her first. She told me a little of her story and how he was 13 pounds at birth and they should have done a c-section because she was too tiny and he was too big to have a healthy and safe delivery. She was over-due and there were complications. She never got to hold him. The first thing she remembers is waking up and her husband was feeding her oatmeal. She asked him, "He didn't make it, did he?" Her husband just shook his head no.

Her baby boy's name is Charles Walter and he will forever be loved and missed by his mama, who went on to have three more healthy babies after him. She said people were really kind and thoughtful and brought lots of flowers after he passed away. I am so sorry for this lady that never got to hold and meet her baby. She never had the closure of saying goodbye to him. I am sure that is so difficult. Thankfully, the nurses took a couple photos of him, so at least she has those. A lot of women who lost babies decades ago didn't even have that. Babyloss was a hush-hush thing back then. It was nice chatting with her and getting her perspective, especially on a loss that was that many decades ago. It got me thinking that I can't imagine that many years on Earth without my Lily. In a way, it makes me ache, knowing I could live that many more years without her. But, I know it is merely a blink of an eye in light of Eternity. I will be here until God calls me Home.

I guess I never know how many people I run into that have stories similar to my own. Just another reminder that you really don't know what someone has been through and I shouldn't assume that every pregnant woman is blissfully pregnant, naive to what could potentially happen. Maybe that's her much-loved, much-longed-for rainbow baby. 


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Special Gift for a Special Week

Over the weekend, a special gift came in the mail from my dear, sweet Ellerslie sister, Laura! It was a cherry on top of a special week (wrapping up my birthday and spiritual birthday week). This is what Laura wrote me:

"Well, the Lord's timing is perfect! When I emailed you for your address to send this out, I had no idea that this simple gift to remember Lily and the time of year you found out you were pregnant with her would turn into that, as well as a birthday and spiritual birthday present! Praise Jesus for the Spirit's leading in all things!

I hope this note and package finds you well, and loving our Savior more with each passing day. I know August must be both a beautiful and difficult month for you, so I just wanted to say that I'm thinking of you, sister, and your precious daughter. I thank God that you chose life for her, and for the legacy she left behind when she passed from this life to the next. I know that you have many things to remind you of her, so I thought you could have another to add to your collection. I hope it touches you as both of your lives have touched mine. Your courageous depth and sweetness has so inspired me as you walk with the Lord. Thank you for being the lovely example you are!

So, happy birthday, happy spiritual birthday, and happy "LIFE for Lily" day!"

I just love how she said "LIFE for Lily" day! I am definitely going to be using that expression from here on out. Below is a picture of the beautiful gift she sent me! It is a framed photograph of a gorgeous lily blossoming just as my Lily girl is blossoming in Heaven.

Laura is an absolutely amazing photographer and I am always admiring her work. :) She had no idea that the frame would go perfectly in my room and the color of the lily goes with the color scheme in my room.

There was also a beautiful quote with the lovely note:

"As a star that is lost when daylight is given,
She hath faded away to shine brightly in Heaven."

What a blessing this note and gift was and is to me. No matter how many things I have that remind me of my girl, I never get sick of them, especially when others remember her with me! It means more than people could ever realize.

Laura, thank you again for being so thoughtful and sweet! I love, love, love this beautiful gift! I have the perfect spot for it on my bamboo nightstand in my room. :)

Miss Laura and I at Ellerslie in December 2011 :)


Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 19th Day of Hope

"August 19th is a day to break down the walls of society that keep pregnancy, infant and child loss a hush hush subject. People view the death of a baby as just a sad thing that happened. These babies that die are not sad things that happen. They are people, much loved and wanted children. They are brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, grandsons and granddaughters.   

August 19th is about openly speaking about these children and celebrating their short lives.

Today marks four years since Carly Marie founded Christian's Beach. Since that day, she has honored nearly 16,000 babies and children's names on the shore of Mullaloo Beach in Western Australia! (including Lily and Luke). She is a treasure to the babyloss community.  

We honor Christian and all babies in Heaven. 

♥ Lily Katherine ♥

Much love and hugs,

Friday, August 17, 2012

He's Everything

In August 2009, I remember so clearly watching the Lifehouse Everything Skit. I was immediately captivated by it because I realized that girl was me. I was young and in love with Jesus, but then the world and the enemy came in and tried to rob me of His life within. I looked for satisfaction and fulfillment in many things outside of Christ, the only true source of LIFE. I was that broken, miserable, desperate soul. And I got to the point of being totally broken, realizing my weakness and that I could never return to the Lord in my own strength. I got sick of all the temporary highs of this world. I cried out desperately for my Mighty Rescuer, Jesus Christ, and He ran to my defense. He broke the chains that had held me down so long. Even though those things were making me miserable, I was helpless to change. I never got to the point of wanting to commit suicide, but I knew deeply in my core that my soul was dying.

I saw this skit during the time I was actually living through that spiritual battle. God used it to speak so much to my heart. He showed me His love for me. He showed me His power, His victory in all circumstances. No matter what is holding you down, He is stronger! But you must make that decision to turn from your sin. You must be willing to fight! Oh how He still adores us even when we break His heart by turning to other lovers. May we come to Him with a heart of repentance! 

I will let the skit tell you the story of my life. I still cannot watch it without tears, like that August three years ago. So many tears. It reminds me of the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15. I was a prodigal daughter. I was dead, but am ALIVE again! I was lost, but am found! ~Luke 15:32. Please take the time to watch this powerful video and let it minister to your heart. It truly is anointed. I read that a group performs it in nightclubs around the country and it has radically changed hearts and lives! Amazing!! What are the things that keep you back from Jesus? I pray that those chains will be broken. Our Lord Jesus is victorious always! 

Find me here, and speak to me 
I want to feel You, I need to hear You 
You are the light that's leading me to the place 
Where I find peace again 
You are the strength that keeps me walking 
You are the hope that keeps me trusting 
You are the life to my soul 
You are my purpose 
You're everything 
And how can I stand here with You 
And not be moved by You 
Would You tell me how could it be any better than this? 

You calm the storms and You give me rest 
You hold me in your hands 
You won't let me fall 
You steal my heart and You take my breath away 
Would You take me in, take me deeper now 
And how can I stand here with You and not be moved by You 
Would You tell me how could it be any better than this 
And how can I stand here with You and not be moved by You 
Would You tell me how could it be any better than this 

Cause You're all I want, You're all I need 
You're everything, everything 


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Spiritual Birthday!

The Cross at Ellerslie
Today I celebrate LIFE in Christ! It's my spiritual birthday! :) And it just so happens to be three days after my "physical birthday."

I grew up in a Christian home and accepted Christ into my life at a young age, so I don't recall any specific date that I was saved. It was more like a gradual thing. But, three years ago, in August 2009, was when my entire world was changed. Jesus wrecked my life. He rescued me from darkness and brought me into His marvelous light. Because of that time in my life, August will always remind me of that. It will always be a sacred month, marked by the beauty found in His victory! He intervened in my life and saved the life of my baby. I am forever changed because of it.

I decided that having a spiritual birthday to celebrate is even more important than the day I was actually born. Since August is so special to me, I wanted to choose a date in August. I chose August 15th. That is the date that I had a scheduled abortion at Planned Parenthood in 2009. That is the day that I didn't go because God kept me from it. I chose a day that could have been a day full of heartbreak, sorrow, and tears. Instead, it is full of tears of another kind. Tears of thankfulness and joy. Tears of feeling and knowing I am completely unworthy of my Precious Lord, yet standing in awe over all He has done for us, His children. August 15th was the day that the enemy wanted to end my baby's life. But, instead it is now a day that I celebrate her LIFE! She lived and she will live forever in my heart. And because of her and all Jesus did in me through her, I have eternal LIFE. Oh, Jesus, You are so beautiful...my Victorious Warrior, my Rescuer!

Today on my spiritual birthday, I will rejoice over LIFE. I will rejoice that You gave Your very life for mine. That my daughter can live forever with You because of Your perfect sacrifice. I could never find the words to thank you, Lord...

When I heard the lyrics to this song for the first time, I was amazed at how perfectly they describe my journey from darkness to light. I couldn't believe where my life was, yet my Jesus broke through.

I came across my journal from the summer of 2009. I have journaled my entire life, but when I was living my selfish rebellious lifestyle, I couldn't write anymore. My writings are my prayers and I didn't feel close to God. I felt I couldn't face Him because I didn't want to face my sin. I was ashamed. The first journal entry I wrote in probably over a year was on August 6, 2009. As I read it now, my heart recalls the brokenness and deep sadness I felt. I realize now that God wanted me to write it so that I would always remember the dark place I was in. I would remember how I came face-to-face with my wretchedness, realized I was nothing and had no strength, and cried out to my Mighty Rescuer. All He was waiting for was for me to cry out to Him. And all He's waiting is for You to cry out to Him. Watch as He runs to Your defense and Your rescue! What a contrast to see where I was in the beginning of August 2009 and the journey God brought me through, ultimately resulting in Him winning the battle! Jesus, You are amazing! I want to share part of that journal entry to show you just how deep in the pit I was in. And I hope and pray that as you see me now, you will realize that "there is no pit too deep that God's love is not deeper still." ~Corrie ten Boom

August 6, 2009

"How can one person feel so alone in a world with billions of people in it? With all the big cities? Yet, I feel like I'm the only one whose felt these feelings, these hurts, the only one whose has these thoughts. I just want Jesus. But, I feel so far from Him. Could I ever experience healing and forgiveness for the things I've done? The mistakes I've made? How could I have done these things? That trap me...slowly kill me. I feel all alone. No one knows my heart, my longings, my every sin. Except Jesus. I am utterly brokenhearted. I never knew I could feel like this. I'm trapped. I don't know how to break free. Lord, break me free. Make me whole again. Hold my heart. Hold me so close to You and never let me go! My soul is lost. The world got a hold of me. Yet, I feel You gently pulling me to You, with tears in Your eyes...Ready to hold me, cry with me, laugh with me, and make me new again. 

I never dreamed I could be hurt in the ways I have been. You are a beautiful God who is there for the weak and brokenhearted. This song by Bethany Dillon keeps running through my head: "The orphan clings to Your hand, singing the song of how he was found. The widow rejoices, for her oppressors are silenced now. The runaway falls at Your feet, You are what he has searched for. The rich man is broken, when he stands beneath a sky full of stars. And You sit at the table with the wounded and the poor. You laugh and share stories with the thief and the whore. When You could just be silent and leave us here to die...Still You sent Your Son for us...You are on our side!"

"You're all I want! You're all I need! You're EVERYTHING! And how could I stand here with You and not be moved by You?!" ~Lifehouse

God, I need You. From the depths of my soul, I cry out to You! Save me...from myself, from the enemy, from the world. I am broken. I am scared. You are literally all I have. Is that what You want me to feel? Do You want me to cling to You? You're my only hope and that's true. I can't keep living without You...it's eating my very soul.

There are so many things in my life I would have and should have done differently. And, Lord, I know You want to save us from our sins. To wash them away and make us white as snow. You give us a way out...Looking back on my life, You gave me a way out of my pain and misery before I even made the bad choices I did. I'm so sorry. I want You, all of You forever. Break the chains of anything not of You! And hold me in Your strong arms! Fulfill Your purposes in my life. Amen."

It was literally right after I wrote this that the Lord moved mightily in my heart and life! He is so faithful, so true. And He is whispering to your heart...come to Me. I am all you need...

Today is marked by a sacredness, a beauty that cannot be put into words. As I remember who I once was and who I am now in Christ. The tears keep coming today because I am full of joy unspeakable. I knew that I was helpless and could not break the chains of sin myself, but He is mighty and strong always!

This is the song I wrote the lyrics to in my journal. It played in my mind so much during that time as I realized the heart of mercy and love that the Father has for us! He is truly on our side, wants to rescue and redeem us, and strengthen us to carry our His purposes for our lives, for His glory! As I listen to it now, it gives me chills to remember how hard He fought for me, how He never left my side, He wooed me, romanced my heart, captivated me. This song will always be so special to me and remind me of August 2009.

Rejoicing in His abundant LIFE,

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My 23rd Birthday!

Today is my 23rd Birthday. My third one without Lily here to celebrate with me. But, I celebrate while holding her close in my heart. Memories of birthdays past wash over me. Dreams of birthdays to come dance in my head. Birthdays hoped for with baby giggles and hugs and kisses and love showered over me.

My best friend growing up lost her husband unexpectedly on Friday morning, August 10. I am reminded afresh of the fragility of life and just how precious each moment is...may we never take a second for granted! May we live today the legacy we want to leave.

I am just so thankful to be alive. Thankful for this beautiful LIFE God has given me. Though saddened that Lily didn't live long enough to see even her actual birthday. Why do I get to celebrate so many and she didn't get to see just one? Why do some live to 100 and she not live past the womb?

Rejoicing today for LIFE and the gift of being alive and thankful...so very thankful...for the greatest gift I ever received. The blessing of being Lily Katherine's mother. Because of her life, I am fully alive. I see how precious this day, every day is.

Thank you, Jesus, for these 23 years. I don't know how many more birthdays I will get to celebrate here on earth, but I pray that You accomplish all your purposes in and through my life in that time.

The love of sweet Lily and Jesus shower down on me from Heaven today.

Thank You for LIFE...

I had a very special day celebrating. My mom made me a delicious birthday brunch, we watched the Olympics, I went to the Raleigh rose garden and got refreshing smoothies with my mom and sister, and now we are having pizza and watching the Closing Ceremony of the Olympics. The weather was nice out today, especially for mid-August in North Carolina. :)

I am looking forward to 23! It's funny...I asked random people this week how old they thought I was turning and I got 19, 29, and 33! Jeez, do I really look that old? Haha! I really do feel old though, which I know sounds silly. A friend posted something on facebook today that I really liked. She said may this milestone be another stone of remembrance of how far God has brought me. Amen to that. My life keeps marching on...though Lily's barely ever began...I can only hope to impact people a small fraction of how she impacted impacts.

"I daresay old maids are very comfortable when they get used to it." 
~Jo, from CYT's Little Women ;)

Farewell, 22. From now on, whenever I think of 22, I will be reminded of the beautiful season I spent at Ellerslie. I am looking forward to this next step forward in my adventure with Jesus! Only He knows what my future will hold. Each year of my life has been so different from the year before. Praying that this year will be full to overflowing with His love and light and that His plan for my life will unfold even more. :)

Today I am also honoring Sierra on her 4th birthday, Liliana's due date, Cassie's 12th birthday in Heaven, and a couple other friend's birthdays.

Thank you to all my amazing friends and family for all the love today!

Embracing 23!!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The mention of Lily's name

A lot of the time, people think it will upset me if they bring up Lily's name. I want to make it clear that I love to hear her name and love when people talk about her.

I was with a friend recently and mentioned that I wanted to take her to visit Lily's special spot. She said that she had wanted to go for a long time, but didn't want to mention it because she was afraid she would upset me. She said she was waiting until I was ready to bring it up. I am always ready to hear Lily's name and speak her name. It means so much to me to know that others are thinking of her too and remembering her precious LIFE with me.

The mention of my child's name may bring tears to my eyes, 
But it never fails to bring music to my ears. 
If you are really my friend, 
let me hear the music of her name! 
It soothes my broken heart and sings to my soul! 
~Author Unknown~

I read somewhere that a grieving mother said something along the lines of if you ask me a question about my child and it makes me cry, that just means it was a good question. The fact is, this is my life. Missing Lily is my reality. But so is loving her...my heart is full of joy because God chose me to be her mommy. The mommy of a set-apart Princess of Heaven, betrothed to the King before her birth.

I just want everyone to know that I love talking about my daughter and it makes my heart smile when you bring her up, when you remember her birthday, when you just drop a quick message to let me know she was on your heart because you saw a lily blooming outside or something else that reminded you of her. Just because you're not bringing her up doesn't mean I'm not constantly thinking about her. No matter how much time passes, I will never forget her and I will love her forever. You not bringing her up will not help me "get over it." I will never get over loving her! Sometimes I don't bring Lily's name up in conversation because I know it upsets others, which is honestly quite ridiculous. I have mentioned Lily and had to comfort people because they were so upset. Please don't hesitate to ask about Lily, talk about her, or even ask how I am doing.

Much love and hugs,

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Seek First His Kingdom

A family friend sent me this beautiful photo that a young woman designed. She lost her little brother.


STILL Project

"STILL is a documentary film committed to breaking the silence surrounding pregnancy and infant loss. Woven together using first hand accounts of families who have lost a baby to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS and other causes, STILL will take an inside look at the devastating isolation and the steadfast resilience that results when a baby dies."

Visit the STILL page on indiegogo to show your financial support for this film! Also, be sure to like the facebook page and pass this information along. Blessings!

Here is a little preview of what the film is about and who is behind it:


First Lily of the Season

A blog friend commented on my blog one morning and that day when the sun came up, the first lily of the season was blooming! :)


Thursday, August 2, 2012

When You Lose a Baby

I found this beautiful piece on Still Standing Magazine, written by Franchesca Cox.

When you lose a baby...
You don’t know what to expect.
People surround you. For a couple of weeks. Making sure you are not going to kill yourself, refuse to get out of bed, or start rocking a baby doll like the crazy lady they heard about from a friend.
You get lots of sympathy cards, clearly written and designed to be sent to console a daughter losing her father. Not the other way around.
You get free baby formula in the mail. For months and months and months.
And free baby magazines. And free baby coupons.
You secretly envy every pregnant woman. But not without a tinge of guilt, because you know all too well that she might be one in four- expecting her rainbow child.
It seems like the whole world is expecting a baby.
You have baby stuff around your home. Because you never imagined you wouldn’t need it.
You feel jarred. In the grocery store. At a birthday party. At the dinner table. At Christmas. Driving.
The baby you never knew, but lost changes every part of your life. Every. single. part.
You see baby clothes and it brings tears to your eyes.
You get sick and tired of crying. You never knew it was possible to cry this much.
You find yourself angry at God. Angry at yourself. Just angry.
You sware you can feel them kick but they’re gone. They call them phantom kicks. I call them painful, all kinds of painful. But sweet too.
You know, or you have a strong feeling of knowing what your child would have looked like, and been like. You see a child in the store, or on the street. Their hair color, dimples, smile, their personality and suddenly you are reminded of your child. You miss your child even more, if that’s even possible.
Your Babies R’ Us Registry is still active. There is no delete button on their site. The babies r’ us people don’t make a dime on people like us. Why bother right? You have to call them, plead with them to remove your freaking’ registry, because there will be no baby shower. There is an awkward silence. There is sadness. There will be no baby.
You get hospital bills about 3-4 months after you buried your child. You have to pay for the baby you delivered but didn’t bring home.
You find that moment of happiness in life for the first time, but the guilt swallows it up almost immediately.
You remember the size of the casket. The size of the plot. The face of the funeral director. The expression of those that attended the funeral. The feeling of raw pain, like your chest has literally been ripped open.
Somehow you convince yourself that you deserve happiness. Because you really do. But in the happiest, purest moment, there is still that hole that only they were meant to fill.
People compare your pain to their own pain. The loss of their grandmother, husband, their failed marriage, rebellious teenagers. Somehow this comparing leaves you stranded. If they can compare their pain of a situation to the loss of your BABY, they will likely never get it. Babies are not supposed to die. End of story.
You lost a dream. And it almost feels like you imagined their entire existence up. Their name becomes a distant memory on the lips of others.
There is awkwardness when you talk about your child in a crowd. No one knows whether to cry, walk away or pretend you never brought him or her up.
You lose friends. You find new ones.
You can’t believe that women have actually survived this and you never knew about it. Not really, anyway.
You would do anything for another minute with your child.
You cry when others bring up your child, not so much because it hurts but more so because it such a precious and rare gift.
You long for the rewind button, even after many many instances of acceptance.
You want to know what went wrong, and why…
You find a new appreciation for moments in life that make you laugh… you laugh harder and love stronger.
You know that you can die bitter, or die thankful. There is no in between.
You never ever, EVER get over your child. The one you hoped for, prayed for, carried and loved for the weeks and months they were with you.
You learn to live with the pain.
You are better for having known them at all.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I'll Be Seeing You

There have been so many things lately that have been reminding me of Lily...

I have been considering getting a nanny job for quite some time. I figured I'd go for it, using care.com (I've heard lots of great things about this website). I put my profile up, contacted a few families, and just prayed and waited.

A lady contacted me first on there, saying she wanted to interview me. I went to their house yesterday and met her sweet little boy. She said he was 2 years old. My girl would have been 2. So, naturally I wanted to know when his birthday is. I asked her and she said, "In March." I said, "Oh...really. What day in March?" "The 16th." ... Yep, the little boy that this lady wants me to nanny was born on the EXACT SAME DAY as my Lily girl. Out of all the families and nannies in Raleigh, what are the odds of that? Crazy stuff. I nearly fell over. I didn't say anything about it, because I didn't want to freak her out. If I accept the job, I plan on one day telling her about my special connection to that day. After she gets to know me and realizes I am a normal, happy person and not some unstable, baby-snatcher or something. "J" almost didn't make it because he was born three months early and had all sorts of health issues.

It was very strange to see someone that would be literally the exact age as my daughter. It helped that it was a boy, rather than a girl. But, it was still so surreal, especially since Lily will always be a baby in my heart and mind.

Another interview that I had, the lady turned out to be a counselor specializing in neonatal loss because she had experienced a loss like that herself. It ended up not working out because she didn't think she would be able to separate herself from my story and not give me advice (as the counselor in her coming out). And that wouldn't be good in a nonclinical setting. I trust God has it all in His hands and I will work for the family(s) that I'm supposed to.

Butterflies are really significant and symbolic to me. People are always giving me things with butterflies on them, even those that don't know why or how much I like them. I didn't used to especially like them until the last couple years. I noticed recently that a picture I chose for my bank security four years ago is a butterfly.

My moms new debit card has significant pin numbers (obviously I'm not going to say what they are lol) that remind us of Lily. She didn't even choose the numbers herself.

I really enjoy watching the Olympics and have been with my family every evening since they started last Friday. It's just another reminder of Lily. Last time the Olympics were on, I was eight months pregnant and watching them on the couch for hours upon hours with my family. Those were the winter Olympics and the summer Olympics are on now, but it still reminds me so much of my girl.

Another thing that is so interesting...Lily was due on March 14 (some calculations said March 15) and born on March 16. Well, a friend of mine had her daughter this year in February, but she was due on March 15! And another friend is now pregnant with her baby due on March 15 next year. Out of all days to be due...seriously? It honestly made me upset to hear about these due dates at first. Like these babies are stealing Lily's dates. Like I am going to have to relive all my pregnancy memories.

Yes, it's tough to deal with these things that seem to just find me. But, instead of being upset and sad about them, I choose to see them as little winks from Heaven. A reminder that Lily is never forgotten. That she is on my heart and I am on the heart of Heaven. A reminder of my future there.

I see Lily everywhere. In everything. All the memories of my pregnancy and time with her, all the dreams I had for her life, all the crazy similarities I come across every day. I miss you, sweet girl. But, I am so happy to carry you with me all my days and see you so much. As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be...

I'll Be Seeing You

I'll be seeing you
In all the old familiar places
That this heart of mine embraces
All day through

In that small cafe,
The park across the way
The children's carousel,
The chestnut trees, the wishing well

I'll be seeing you
In every lovely summer's day
In everything that's light and gay
I'll always think of you that way

I'll find you in the mornin' sun
And when the night is new
I'll be looking at the moon
But I'll be seeing you.

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