Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lily's Spot Decorated for Christmas

Last week, I was visiting family and friends in Virginia. It was a lovely week. I got to visit Lily's special spot twice. Last Saturday, I decorated it for Christmas. It was November 24th, so a month from Christmas Eve...what a nice day to do it.

I had been anticipating decorating her spot for a while. I was on the look out for things whenever I went shopping. I found several nice things for her from Target and Dollar General. 

Here is Lily's spot all decorated for Christmas with the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in the background!


Here I am visiting Lily's spot after I decorated it.


I left the pumpkin there that my friend Elise brought Lily for Autumn!


Here is the temporary marker I got Lily back in the summer. There are three different inserts I can choose from. I put the Christmas insert in.


Here is Lily Bear in her Christmas outfit!


I got Lily a white mini Christmas tree! White for purity. :)


I got an "L" ornament for her tree.


I decorated with a cute little wreath and a red bow.


I added a mini stocking and some other decor to her angel statue.


Some glittery butterflies and the thing underneath it has little Christmas presents on it.


Here is Lily Bear sitting on Aunt Rachel's and Bumpa's bench!


Here are my grandmother "Bumma" and I sitting on the bench by Lily's spot.


Bumma loves Lily Bear. :)


My twin brothers (Adam and Joseph) also came with us to visit Lily's spot and helped me decorate it!


How much I wish my little girl was here and that I was planning what to get her for Christmas and what special things we could do, rather than decorating the space where her body lies beneath...but this is my reality. And I am thankful I got to be there to do this out of love in her honor.

What about you...have you decorated your baby's spot for Christmas or are you planning to? What did you/will you include?

By the way, I want to wish a special Happy 3rd Birthday in Heaven to my dear friend Lori's precious son, Matthew! Lori is one of the first people that started reading my blog and commenting. I hold her and all three of her boys in a special spot in my heart. Lori and Matthew have been on my mind all day. I am sure the celebration in Heaven is amazing. I'm celebrating his life today and everyday! You can check out Lori's beautiful blog here and read the post she wrote for Still Standing Online Magazine in honor of Matthew's birthday here.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Lily at Gabriel's Garden

"A tiny flower, lent not given, to bud on earth and bloom in Heaven."

The lovely Catherine from Gabriel's Garden picks flowers in honor and memory of babies of Heaven and photographs them for free at a botanical garden in Southern California. Each flower is picked to represent one special child. She started doing this after losing her precious son Gabriel on July 19th of this year.

As Catherine says on her website, "The flowers are photographed so parents can forever be reminded of their child's everlasting beauty."

Everyone is able to request the kind of flower they would prefer, so of course I requested roses and lilies. :) Catherine picked a Peruvian Lily and a Pink Rose and photographed them for me. You are able to request a specific quote, phrase, Scripture verse, etc to be added to your photo. I asked for one of my favorite Scriptures:

"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you." ~Philippians 1:3

After the lovely flowers are "picked with a prayer" and photographed, they are released on the seashore of Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, California. The ocean waves wash them away. Catherine writes, "...this is a beautiful reminder that though we cannot see our children, we can be certain that wherever they are, they are surely free!" She will be sending me photos of this release soon! :)

Catherine also says on her website, "Flowers remind us that every living thing has a season and a purpose and that no life is without both."

Everyone I know who has lost a baby loves when other people remember them with us. It is amazing to see Lily's name written out and to know others are thinking of her and loving her. That is why Catherine started Gabriel's Garden, to help other babyloss mothers and tell Gabriel's story. She says doing this is healing for her and an honor.

Catherine, you are so sweet for what you are doing for this community. Thank you so much.

Request your flower from Gabriel's Garden by clicking here. And be sure to follow Gabriel's Garden on facebook!






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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Christmas Artwork by Carly Marie

I thought I'd share my gorgeous Christmas artwork in honor of Lily and Luke from Carly Marie. It is very special and sweet to include my babies in the holidays, even in small ways like this. I just LOVE everything Carly does and am always wanting to grow my collection of things from her. :)

Just in case anyone is interested in purchasing some of Carly's artwork in honor of their baby for Christmas, the first four photos are from the Christmas Butterfly Gallery, the next two photos are customized Christmas Sand Trees, drawn on a beach in Australia and the last two photos are more Christmas Butterflies. This year, Carly is also offering lovely images from the Holiday Season Remembrance Gallery.

You could print your special image and include it in your Christmas cards. Or you could print and frame them and have them by a special tree for your baby. 

Thank you Carly Marie for all you do! I really appreciate the artwork you gave me free of charge.

For more ideas on how to honor your child this Christmas, click here.









Much love and hugs as you prepare for Christmas,
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise! 
Give thanks to Him; bless His Name!" ~Psalm 100:4

It's Thanksgiving Day.


"O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: 
because His mercy endureth forever."
~Psalm 118:1

I thought I'd take a moment to purposefully thank the Lord for Luke and Lily.

God, thank you for the gift of my sweet babies' LIVES. Thank you for everything You did in me because of them. Thank You for everything you are doing in others because of them. Thank You for the amazing plan You have for their legacies, far beyond anything I could dream of or comprehend. Thank You that they are in Your hands and will remain there forever. Thank You for giving me peace and joy in the midst of the sorrow. Thank You for keeping me in Your hands always and helping me trust You no matter what. Thank You for rescuing me. Thank You for fighting for me. Thank You for all You do and for Who You are. I praise You today and everyday, my beautiful King Jesus!

I am spending the week at Massanutten Resort visiting with friends and family in the gorgeous mountains of Virginia. It is one of my favorite places on earth and is so peaceful and beautiful. It's just the rest I need. I came here when I was around four or five months pregnant with Lily, so that makes it even more special. Anywhere I went while she was here is a sacred place and will always be bittersweet...but more sweet than bitter.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Enjoy some delicious food and precious fellowship today with friends and family...and remember to thank the Lord for all the blessings in your life! There are many more things in my life that I am thankful for and I will be reflecting on today. But I pray we remember to praise Him each and every day and not just one day a year. :)

"In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 
~1 Thessalonians 5:18

No matter what your life has held, we are called to give thanks. The Lord promises to work all things together for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28)...stand on that promise.


All Things Bright and Beautiful
Cecil F. Alexander

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
Each little flow’r that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.
The purple-headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.
The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.
The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day.
He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.


To watch an amazing retelling of the true story of Thanksgiving, click here. Some friends of friends of mine did this.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

From My Girl to You, Little Girl

This year, for the first time in Lily's honor, my mom and I packed and donated a box to Samaritan's Purse for Operation Christmas Child. We have decided to make this an annual tradition. 

What I love about Samaritan's Purse is that they provide both physical and spiritual aid to suffering people worldwide in the Name of Jesus Christ. It is not a humanitarian effort, but is all done for the glory of God and for His Kingdom. It is because He first loved us. They want to share the love of Christ and the hope of the Gospel, which is why I think it's wonderful to support organizations such as this, rather than just any organization.


It is hard around Christmas not to have our daughter and granddaughter here to give beautiful gifts to, when we so long to. Doing this brings such joy to our hearts and gives us the opportunity to shop for a precious little girl around Lily's age. You can choose whether you want your box to be for a boy or girl and what age group. The youngest age is 2-4 and since Lily would be 2 this year, it's the perfect time to start this tradition. We want to donate a box each year to a girl who is the age Lily would be that year.


We are able to give another precious child in need the things we would like to give to Lily. We still got the joy of shopping for things for a 2-year-old girl and we are so blessed knowing the box will be a blessing. A little girl is going to have a very special Christmas box that she wouldn't be receiving if it weren't for Lily.

The website gives a few recommendations as to what to add to the boxes, but really you can be quite free with it. We also chose to "Follow Our Box" and will hopefully be able to track by email to see where our box ends up.

These are the things we included in the box: a doll, a bunny, a toothbrush and toothpaste, hair clips, a coloring book and crayons, a book about Jesus and what Christmas truly means, a washcloth and gingerbread soap, and a comb. We wanted to include both fun and practical things. We wrapped it up in lovely Christmas paper and prayed over it.


We were able to include a note in the box, with our address, just in case anyone wants to write back. :) This is what I wrote in the card:

Merry Christmas, Little One! Even though we don't know you, our Lord Jesus does. It is because of His love for you that we love you too! You are on our hearts and in our prayers. This is a gift given to you from our little sweetie named Lily, born March 16th, 2010. 

With love from the United States, Lily, Hannah Rose, Ginny, and Emmaline (my mom and sister)

So Merry Christmas, little girl...whoever you are. From my girl to you.

Here is Lily Bear with the box!


Here is my mom and I with Lily Bear, my kitty, a mini-Christmas tree, and the box :)


The National Collection Week this year wrapped up on November 19th, to give enough time for the boxes to ship overseas so the children can have them for Christmas. But, I recommend everyone do this next year and all the years after that! For those with babies in Heaven, you could even ask your family and friends to donate a box in your baby's honor as well.

Since it's too late to put together a box now, for those who are interested, check out the Angel Tree Program, which is another way to help bring a beautiful Christmas to children in need. It is also a Christian based program.

I got a sticker that says "I donated a box to Samaritan's Purse" and am putting it in Lily's memory box. I will get a new sticker to go with a photo of the donated box each year and will put them in her scrapbook. :)

Lord, we ask that You would send this box to the little girl You have specifically picked out. You don't see the millions, You see each precious and individual life and You love this little girl beyond what we could ever comprehend. Please bless this little girl across the world from us. Draw her close to your heart. Use this box to show her a glimpse of the vast love You have for her. Thank You for using the legacy of our Lily in another beautiful way! Amen.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lily Bear-Made by Molly Bears

Molly Bears is a non-profit organization that creates weighted teddy bears to be given free of charge to families who have lost a baby. The bears are made to weigh the exact weight of the baby that passed away. It is a way to fill the empty arms of a family in need. Each bear is unique and special for the individual family. Molly Bears was named after a sweet little girl named Molly Christine, who was born sleeping on May 30, 2010 (just a couple months after Lily). Her mama, Bridget, first made a weighted bear to fill her own arms and then realized how healing it was for her and that she wanted to do it for others. By the way, Bridget was born on March 16th, so she shares a birthday with my Lily girl! :)


I first heard about Molly Bears in 2010 when it started, but for some reason I didn't place my bear request until January of this year. I wish I had gotten it much sooner, to ease my aching arms. I was #2209 on the list and expected to be waiting for quite a while. There are 5,000 people on the list, waiting to have their arms filled with one of these amazing bears! (Sadly, that many people need them.) But, then several weeks ago, my friend Morgan let me know that a couple of her friends had been involved in a bear drive (collecting bears to donate to Molly Bears so more families can receive them) and they were able to choose a couple people to have their bears made early! They chose me!! :) Morgan said she didn't know if she should tell me about it or let me be surprised, but figured she would tell me so I could get super excited! And boy did I! I have been patiently eagerly awaiting the arrival of my Lily Bear. I kept checking the website until finally it said it was "In Production." Then, I got an email last Sunday saying that my bear was on her way home! After checking the mail each day the entire week, my beautiful bear arrived home on Thursday, November 8th.

Leaving the hospital without Lily, I remember feeling the overwhelming feeling of having empty arms. My heart and my body knew that I should be holding a new baby to take home with me...but what I left with were a few momentos to remember her by and the precious memories of the time spent with her. I have those memories, but as time marches on, they are fading. And, oh I never want to forget. I am so thankful for Molly Bears because they are helping me remember...the way it felt to hold my girl in my arms. The weight of her, all 7lb9oz of her precious and perfect little body. It just feels so amazing to hold that weight again and remember what it felt like. It is a healing gift. After over two and a half years of not holding that weight, it is so precious and so emotional to feel it again...

Here is my beautiful Lily Bear! :)



When you request your bear, you can ask for specific things to be included that remind you of your baby, but they don't promise to be able to do what you ask. They use whatever supplies they have. From what I wrote when I requested mine, I had a general idea what my bear might look like. But, really I didn't know what to expect. When she came, she wasn't what I pictured, but I love her! I asked for a white or light colored bear, so I am very happy I got that! I also asked for roses to be on the ears and got that too.


I said I wanted it to look really girly, which I think she does look really girly in her coloring and in the face. I wish I had asked for a skirt, but didn't realize at the time what I'd want. Well, it turns out I had this little pink skirt for photography and decided to use it for my Lily Bear! It's really the perfect color for it. :)


I didn't know how I liked the red at first. Red is definitely not my favorite of colors and I don't know how much it will match other colors. But, as my mom and friend Morgan said, the red and pink is like Valentine's Day, which reminds me of Lily and my Valentine's Day themed baby shower. So, the red and pink together is growing on me. I love it now! :)

I decided to take the ladybug ribbon off, though I am saving it just in case I want to use it again. It's kind of neat that Lily Bear doesn't have much on her, so I can "decorate" her exactly the way I'd like! I am thinking about embroidering a butterfly and lily on the front (that way it would include roses, lilies, and butterflies which all remind me the most of Lily.) I also am getting an embroidered shirt with Lily's footprints on it to put on Lily Bear! I think it will be fun to "decorate" Lily Bear for the different holidays. I am so thankful she is home before Christmas!

Here are a couple other outfits for Lily Bear :)


This is an angel necklace with Lily's March birthstone in it.


This is my very favorite outfit! 



This dress was what I got for Lily to wear on my 21st birthday, when she would have been 4 1/2 months old. Instead, her bear wears it.




Molly Bears operates completely off of donations, so if you have the resources to donate some bears and/or other supplies or money to make the bears, please do so and help the many waiting families have their empty arms filled with something tangible and so very beautiful. You can also purchase a T-Shirt from the Molly Bears Shop, with all proceeds from the sale of the merchandise funding bear making.

Here I am with my Lily Bear! And I am wearing one of the Molly Bears T-Shirts. It says 
"An angel baby's cuddle sent to a family in need."



Here is my little kitty cuddling with Lily Bear. You can't see it, but she's resting in her arm. So sweet. :)


Here is a video about Molly Bears featured on Detroit 4 News:


If you would like to request a Molly Bear for yourself (this isn't for everyone, so you cannot request it for someone else, only for yourself) the request page opens on the 30th of each month for a 24-hour period. You can click here to see the information that they ask for. They offer bears for babies lost from conception all the way up to 22 pounds! They have micro bears up to extra-large bears. Look around on their website for lots more information.

Click here to become a fan of Molly Bears on facebook to keep up with their latest news.

Thank you so much to Holly and Kendra for choosing me to receive my bear early! Thank you Esther Grace's mommy, Tamberly, for making my bear! Thank you to everyone who so freely gives of their time and resources so others can have these bears. And thank you to Molly Bears for this absolutely incredible way you are serving the babyloss community!

*To see my Luke Bear, click here.*

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