Sunday, June 30, 2013

Honor Lily Katherine With Her Headstone Fundraiser

I feel a little funny doing this fundraiser and am not sure if anyone will even donate anything, but I figured I'd give people the opportunity to honor, remember, and acknowledge Lily Katherine with me. If Lily's brief yet beautiful LIFE has impacted your life at all and if her legacy has touched your heart, please consider giving towards her Memorial Headstone. If those who follow along with Lily's legacy even gave just $5 or $10 (or whatever amount they are able to give), that would go a LONG way towards getting her stone! Thank you SO much!! :)

Read more and donate here:


Friday, June 28, 2013

Featured on Live Action News - Life of the Week

Live Action News has a really neat series this summer called Life of the Week.
Here's some information about the series from Live Action's website:

Starting tomorrow, June 7, 2013, you can expect to find an exciting new column here at Live Action News & Opinion.
Every Friday, we will share a “Life of the Week” story with you. Life of the Week will highlight a person – and perhaps his or her organization – who is working hard to make life count in our nation or throughout the world.
Through their work or their decision to tell their personal story, these people and organizations are having an influence on our culture. Though they come from many different walks of life, they have one thing in common: their desire and commitment to value life, however it comes.
We will share true stories of people who reach out to women in crisis pregnancies, parents who made a choice for life for their unborn children despite a tragic medical diagnosis, women who suffered from the effects of abortion and are now speaking out, artists and writers who use their talents to speak out for life, and more…
This series will run through the summer and possibly longer. Here at Live Action, we hope you are motivated and inspired by these stories to do your own part to save and value life. It’s one thing to talk about how precious life is, and it’s another thing to do something about it.
As you read the upcoming Life of the Week columns, ask yourself, “What can I do?” When you find your own answer, tell us on Facebook or Twitter (@LiveAction_News) or comment below the Life of the Week stories. We’re excited to see your answers!

I'm so honored to be featured in this series this week!

I thought Laura did a wonderful job writing this up. Thank you Laura and Live Action for posting this! Take a few minutes to read the column here: Life of the Week: From abortion to pro-life speaker. And please feel free to "like" and share! :)


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lily's "Mamie's Poppy Plate"

I recently got another beautiful keepsake in honor and memory of my Lily girl.

Last summer, I came across Mamie's Poppy Plates, "a donation supported non-profit whose mission is to provide tangible mementos to families who suffer stillbirth or infant death. Our keepsake plates, given to affected families at no charge, are customized with the baby's footprints, name and birth information. Mamie's Poppy Plates exists not to fill the impossible void of loss but to serve as a timeless reminder of their baby's brief yet profound life."

When I first found Mamie's Poppy Plates, they were charging for the plates (for the people who weren't directly tied to their local hospital). I meant to place my order then, but for some reason waited until this spring. When I went back to place my order, I saw that they now offer them FREE of charge!

For those who are interested in requesting a plate in honor of their baby of Heaven, all you have to do is print out the form and fill out your baby's information and how you want your plate to look, then you mail it in (along with a copy of your baby's hand and/or footprints) and wait a couple months for your plate to arrive!

My plate is absolutely gorgeous! I am planning on hanging it on my memorial collage wall for Luke and Lily. I have lots of things to hang and am trying to frame everything and get it all together. Once it's complete, I will share photos.

The plate came in an adorable box, along with a cute sticker with the Mamie's logo.

I wanted mine to be pink (the lettering has to be black), and wanted only Lily's first and middle names, her birthday, stats, and footprints. You can really request how you want it to be though. Check out the website for examples of what others have requested.

If you are able to contribute to this amazing ministry, please consider doing so. I thank them so much for this beautiful memento that means so much to me. I love getting things with Lily's precious prints on them. Since I cannot create new memories with her as she grows up, I treasure the sweet keepsakes I can get. The fact that she has a name and birthday and I have her prints, weight and length, proves that she was real. She was here!

Thank you, Mamie's Poppy Plates for everything you do! I will always think of your sweet Mamie when I look at my plate.

You can watch a News Clip about Mamie's Poppy Plates and a family that was blessed by their ministry here.

Follow them on their Facebook page, Twitter, and find out more about their ministry (they also have a "Race to Remember") on their website.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Lily's Memorial Portraits

I received one of the most precious gifts I have ever been given in the mail today... all the way from New Zealand! I now have two beautiful memorial portraits of my darling Lily Katherine. I've been waiting and wondering when they would arrive and now here they are. :)

Back in February, I came across Eternal Hope Memorial Portraits on one of my favorite blogs, Baby Rachel's Legacy. For quite a while, I have longed for a beautiful portrait of my girl. I had looked online at several places, even some that specialize in memorial portraits... however, I hadn't found any place that seemed to fit what I was looking for... and every place was out of the price range I was willing and able to pay at the time. I also wanted to work with someone who I trusted with Lily's photos and someone who I knew would honor her memory. That's when I stumbled upon Eternal Hope. I saw the beautiful portraits that had been drawn of Baby Rachel for my dear friend Stacy and knew I would love to have one as well!

When I looked on Eternal Hope's Facebook page, I saw that the artist, Chloé, draws these unique pencil drawings as memorial gifts to parents who have lost a baby. As in, she uses her incredible talent for FREE! This woman is seriously amazing.

This is what Chloé says on her Facebook page:
My name is Chloé and I am an artist located in Christchurch, New Zealand. After the loss of my beautiful daughter, Hope, in 2011, I wanted to do something in her memory to help bereaved Mums and Dads honor their precious angels.
At such a difficult time, I realise another expense may seem like too much. This is why my drawings are gifts, and so I do not charge for them. (However, if you live far away I may need some help with postage!)
If you would like a drawing, or simply like to know more, please send me a message. I would love to hear from you and be a part of your healing journey.

I was absolutely thrilled to discover this beautiful lady and her ministry in honor of her daughter... especially after having wanted a memorial portrait for so long. (How awesome is the name of this ministry, that includes her sweet girl's name, but also points to Christ and our Eternal HOPE in Him... we will see our babies again!)

Immediately, I contacted Chloé and she quickly responded. For several months, we emailed back and forth... I shared the vision I had for Lily's portrait and she would send me updated pictures to see what I wanted tweaked. Chloé truly wanted my vision to come alive and for me to be happy with my portrait. She wanted it as close to how I imagined it as possible. I am amazed at all the hard work and time she spent on my girl's portrait. I had a vision for how I wanted it to look in the end, but I can say that it has far surpassed how it looked in my imaginings.

Here is Lily's gorgeous pencil portrait! She looks so cozy and peaceful in her blanket... my beautiful sleeping angel.

What I initially did was send Chloé the photo of Lily that I wanted her to use for the drawing. I chose my absolute favorite picture of her because she looks so feminine and pretty and the way she looks in this photo is how I remember her. I am amazed at how similar her portrait looks to her actual photo!

Chloé really helped me develop the vision... I told her what I wanted and she came up with the gorgeous layout. One of the main things I knew right away that I wanted to be incorporated into the drawing was lilies and roses, the two flowers that are very special and symbolic to me. I didn't quite know how that would work, but Chloé came up with the idea to have them look like they are coming from the background, wrapping around into the front, almost as if they are placed with Lily on her blanket. I sent photos of the specific rose and lily that I would like and it is more beautiful than I could have dreamed.

Speaking of the roses and lilies... around Lily's birthday, Chloé sent me the sweetest message with some photos. She said this:
I thought I'd just send you a quick message with something that happened the other day. I'd spent most of Saturday working on Lily's drawing, really focussing on the flowers in the background, and then the next day there were flower arrangements at church - we don't usually have flowers, they were left over from a function - and they were pink roses and lilies, just like the ones that I had been drawing with Lily! I love it when God sends us little signs like that, it made me think of you and Lily and was such a lovely surprise. I'll attach a photo of the flowers. We were allowed to take some when we left, so I had to bring home a rose and a lily.

God sends such precious reminders (even from across the world!) that He loves me and Lily and never forgets her.

Chloé wrote Lily's name in the sand in New Zealand on her 3rd Birthday in Heaven and sent me the photo. :)

I asked for this blanket of Lily's to be incorporated into the drawing somehow. This is the matching blanket that goes with the outfit she wore at the hospital... the only outfit she ever wore besides the dress she was buried in. I love that pretty pink and brown outfit (those were her two main colors). It is just so sweet with the baby birds, baby ducks, baby bunnies, and baby chicks on it. Chloé drew the blanket, stitching and all, so perfectly.

I also asked for Lily's matching hat that goes with the blanket and outfit to be incorporated into the photo, rather than the hat that was given at the hospital, which is shown in the actual photo. I love her special hat more (I keep all these things in Lily's memorial chest). The hat looks amazing in the portrait as well!

Once Chloé was almost finished with Lily's portrait, I was thinking about how much I'd love to have a drawing of her hands as well... so I ran it by Chloé to see if she'd mind drawing up a quick sketch of her hands and she was so sweet to agree to it. She drew yet another amazing portrait for me that looks just like the actual photo! In this portrait, Lily is wearing the outfit that matches the blanket and hat from the other portrait.

I love those sweet little hands. :)

I am planning on framing the portrait of Lily's face (and perhaps the other one) to hang on my wall. I will be getting a UV protected frame, so that it doesn't fade in the sunlight (make sure you do this too with handprints/footprints, portraits, photos, etc!) Once it's up on the wall, I will post a photo! 

I didn't know how large the portraits are, but the one of Lily's face is quite large and the other one of her hands is medium-sized.

This experience of working with Chloé has been such a delight. From the first glimpse at Lily's portrait (which she called a "rough sketch," even though it looked exactly like Lily), it was so exciting to be surprised with updates on Chloé's progress. The portraits are even more beautiful in person than how they looked through email (and these photos certainly don't do them justice!)

For someone who has not lost a baby, it's hard to put to words how much this means. I barely have any photos of my daughter, when I wish I was filling multiple photo albums and scrapbooks of her budding life. So, the few photos I do have, I cherish above all other Earthly possessions. Having a portrait like this is a special way to honor, remember, and celebrate her precious LIFE.

Thank you SO much Chloé for this incredible gift that I will treasure forever. I don't even have words for how much I love the portraits and how thankful I am for your kindness and generosity. Everything looks so detailed... her face and hands, the roses and lilies, blanket, hat, animals, everything. You are an amazing artist and doing such a beautiful thing in your Hope's honor and memory. I'm sure our sweet girls are friends in Heaven. :)

If you are interested in Chloé drawing a memorial portrait in honor of your baby, you can contact her through her Facebook page. You can also see and admire more of her work on her page. :)

Some other Memorial Portrait options:

If you know of any place that specializes in memorial portraits for babyloss, please share with me!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Thoughtful friends and a peek at Lily's headstone

For Lily's 3rd Heavenly Birthday, I had two very generous, thoughtful, kind people donate some money towards Lily's headstone. This truly meant/means the world to me! One of the people is my good friend who said she wanted to give a small amount in honor of Lily on her birthday towards her stone. The other person is someone I barely knew (I've gotten to know him more since then). My friend Tracey asked me to babysit for her and when I got there, she handed me an envelope and I opened it up to find a rather large amount of cash to go towards Lily's stone from her father! I was at a loss for words. To have people donate towards Lily's stone, especially someone who barely knows me, is incredible. To know that other people understand in a way how much this means to me... wow. When I see Lily's stone, I will always remember your kindness to me! I thank you with all of my heart, Brittany and "Papa Dude!" :)

Speaking of Lily's stone... I first placed the order the day before her birthday, so over three months ago already! The actual stone is in the process of being made. I am now working on finalizing the wording/design plans for the front and back. I am quite pleased so far with how the Monument Company I'm working with is handling everything. I will share much more about everything once it's all completed and installed. I can't wait to share photos of the actual stone, but until then, I couldn't resist sharing a little sneak peek of her beautiful stone!! I will share all the symbolism behind it and reasons why I chose the things I did later. Isn't it so beautiful for my beautiful girl? :)


Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Author of Life

I don't want to be known as someone who is part of the "pro-life movement," but rather as someone who is passionate about Jesus and His message of redemption, healing, mercy, grace, purity, and LIFE! 

Before about a year ago, I naively thought that in order to be pro-life, it must mean you love Jesus. God has allowed some tough circumstances into my life to teach me some important lessons. For me, being pro-life goes hand-in-hand with following Christ. My story just so happens to be a pro-life story, however the central focus of my story is JESUS! It is a story that has the Gospel at its core. The only reason standing for LIFE matters is because of the Author of LIFE! Without HIM, NONE of this matters! 

God has strongly impressed this on my heart - that I am not to seek to be in the pro-life movement, but rather to be just a girl saved by the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, a girl who wants to share the power of the Cross and the beauty of LIFE with others. He has shown me that I am to NEVER take the emphasis off of Him when I'm speaking and sharing my story. I know because of this, I will be rejected by some. However, I am to never change the message of my story, depending on who I'm sharing with/where I'm sharing. Maybe where I speak won't necessarily look the way I thought, but I want to remain open to what God is wanting to do and where He's wanting to take me. He is giving me new vision for my ministry. He will open the doors He wants me to walk through in His own perfect time and way.


Waves of Grief

Waves is a befitting description of grief. A giant wave just crashed upon the shore of my heart. Most days the waves are small, but they are always there. I have just learned how to keep my balance as they crash around me. Sometimes the sea of grief can seem peaceful and calm... other days, the intensity of the raging water feels like they will knock me over. Take my breath away.

I have noticed that the season of my grief often coincides with the actual seasons. Every season, in some way, reminds me of my girl and makes me miss her in a different way. Right now, we are embarking upon summer... the time of year when Lily's life within me first began. I am reminded of all the memories and emotions associated with that. 

There are so many sounds, sights, and aromas that can evoke an emotion in me. A feeling of missing Lily. So many things remind me of her, all year round.

Before I know it, my birthday will be here. My 24th... the fourth one without my girl. I was 19 when I got pregnant with her. That was four years ago, in the summer. As we are in summer now (officially tomorrow) I am just feeling so far away from her. Like I am moving farther and farther from those months and years where she lived. 2009 and 2010. I am getting older, the days, weeks, months, and years are passing by, with no regard for who it leaves behind. I just want to stay put for a moment. I must look at it not as moving farther away from her, but moving closer to her, where we will be together for all Eternity.

There are so many seasons to grief and seasons of love.

Oh, my sweet Lily, who was within me four summers ago... I miss you this season and every season.

"Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken." ~Psalm 55:22

My little one, my dear one, my love,
you will be with me forever:
in the thin sunlight and long shadows
of a clear winter's day;
in the dawn excitement of birds
sounding in early spring;
in the rustle of heavy-leafed trees
in a mid-summer's night;
in the rich aromas and bright colors
of a warm autumn day.
All that is excellent,
brushed by Life's
brightness and shadow,
will remind me of you,
My little one, my dear one, my love.
You will beat with my heart,
see through my eyes,
hear with my ears,
feel on my skin.
Because your soul is mingled with my soul, forever,
My little one, my dear one, my love.

~Edward Searl


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Love Letter to Lily for Series

I'm honored to be sharing a letter to my Lily in an awesome series called "Love Letters" over on Raquel's blog, Story of a Rose.

A little about the series:

The “Love Letters” is a collection of letters written by moms to their children expressing their love for them. 
It is specifically designed for those of us women who experienced the unplanned pregnancy at a young age.  For those women that were like me: alone, afraid, unwed, young, and broken.  For us – finding out we were pregnant was not the joyful, exciting experience it is meant to be.  In fact, it was quite the opposite.  Some of us planned abortions, others pleaded for the pregnancy to somehow end, and most of us just really did not want to be mothers….yet.  The truth is, once we accepted the reality of our pregnancies, accepted love and forgiveness, and dove into the lifelong journey of motherhood, we realized that we DID want our children, and we were madly in love with them (we just needed time to realize it).  The love letters is a collection of these letters to our children, explaining all of this to them.  Because of the unconventional family our children will grow up in, they will one day realize they came from an “unplanned pregnancy” and may question their wantedness.  These letters will hopefully squash any doubt they have in their mind and express that we LOVE them dearly, and they were anything but unplanned…because the truth is, they were planned by God in his perfect timing.  Because of them, our lives have been changed forever…for the better. 
Here’s to my daughter, AvaMarie who inspired me to do this.  I love you sweet girl, you saved my life; you showed me what real, genuine, authentic love is; you helped me believe in God and all that is good and beautiful again; and you are the best thing that has ever happened to me.  I love you little princess….and never forget that!

Such a beautiful series, right?

You can read my Love Letter to Lily here.

My story is a little different than most because my sweet babe whispered goodbye before I ever said hello... however, I believe it offers a needed, different perspective. And I am honored to share her beautiful LIFE and legacy with others. Please read and share! And be sure to read all the other sweet Love Letters that have been shared thus far.

If you would like to contribute to the "Love Letters" series, you can contact Raquel through her blog. Or if you know of someone who might like to contribute, please let them know about the series. While your over visiting Raquel's blog, take the time her beautiful story of choosing LIFE for her beautiful daughter, AvaMarie Rose (yes, I share a middle name with her and her daughter.) :) And check out her Facebook page.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Speaking at my second Pregnancy Center Banquet

A couple months ago, I shared that I will be speaking at my first Pregnancy Center Fundraising Banquet in Illinois this October!

Well, since then, I was asked to speak at another banquet in Kentucky this November! I'm so excited to see how God continues to open the doors for me to share.

How it happened was my blog friend Mattie is the director of her local Crisis Pregnancy Center and she saw that I am now speaking at pro-life events... she contacted me, saying they were looking for a speaker for their upcoming annual banquet this fall and asked if I'd be interested in coming to speak. I was of course honored that she'd even think to ask me! I surrendered the dream to the Lord and knew that if He desired for me to go, it would work out... though I was so hoping it would!

After she presented the possibility of having me come to speak to the Center's board of directors, they decided they do want me to come!

Now, I officially have two Pregnancy Center Banquets booked for this fall... and I'm waiting to hear back about another banquet next spring in another state.

What is so special is that Ellerslie Leadership Training, where I attended in Colorado, as well as my blog/blog friends I've met on this journey are so important to me. And now the first two Center Banquets where I will be speaking are through two sweet friends I've met through Ellerslie and my blog. :)

If you'd like to keep track of my speaking engagements, you can do so here.

Please pray for this Center, as well as for me, as the date of this banquet gets closer!


Monday, June 17, 2013

Those Who Share Lily's Name and Birthday

I know this might sound completely silly, but I am going to be honest and say that I really don't like hearing of other girls named Lily. It is a little different if I hear of a grown woman named Lily because my Lily is my child.

I have been trying to sort these thoughts out and figure out why exactly I feel this way and this is what I've come to...

It hurts to hear of other little girls named Lily because they are living and my Lily isn't living. I get deeply saddened by the fact that I will never get to call Lily her name to her face... I will never get to call her in for dinner, or help her learn to write her name for the first time, or learn how to write it in cursive. I'll never get to use her full name to tell her she better clean her room right now or else there will be consequences! I'll never get to call her by name out in public, causing others to turn their head to see my sweet child named Lily... many people don't know and will never know that I have a child whose named that... it hurts that I can't use her name in the most basic day-to-day life things that most people take for granted. Her name, Lily Katherine, is my favorite female name in the entire world and it is hard that I will never be able to even say it to the very one who I gave the name to. I will never get to call my own child by her name.

I also feel like many people think Lily is just a pretty name and that is why they choose it... for me, it is so much more than a pretty name. I treasure her name and its meaning. The flower and name are so meaningful and significant to me. You can read about how L.K. got her name here. God Himself chose the name I gave my daughter... it is so obvious in how it all unfolded. I believe there is great power and meaning behind names. So, yes... the name is beautiful, old-fashioned, and even a family name for me and I love having the flower to symbolize her life. But, those are just extras and not why I chose her first and middle name. It is so sacred and special to me and because of this, I feel like it's her name...and my name for her.

Instead of calling her by name, I am in the process of designing a memorial stone that will have her lovely name on it.

Don't even get me started on how I cringe when I hear people with animals who share my girl's name, like my good friend and neighbor who has a dog named Lily.

I also feel the same way at times about Lily's birthday, March 16th, just not as much as I feel about her name. March is a sacred month to me and it feels like Lily's month... especially her actual birthday. The thing is, because she died before she was born, there aren't many tangible memories or things in this world that I can call hers... so, when there is something that's hers, it is so sacred and beautiful to me and I want it to be only hers, if that makes sense.

And March is such a difficult month for me emotionally that it hurts knowing that others are going on with their happy little lives, without giving a second thought to my daughter who came and went in the month of March... the month I left a piece of me in the ground in Virginia.

There are times though where it's really special and sweet to hear of someone who shares Lily's name or special day in some way.

For instance, a sweet blog friend of mine lives in the midwest and told me a while ago that at the cemetery where her precious son is buried, there is a headstone there for a baby girl named Lily Katherine, same spelling and everything. Another family who is grieving the loss of their Lily Katherine. A Lily Katherine who is in Heaven with my Lily Katherine. I wonder who her family is, and what their/her story is.

Another example... a little boy I nanny for was born on March 16th, 2010 - Lily's exact birthday! God put us together before I had any idea when he was born. I find it extremely special and healing for him to share my girl's special day. It helps that he's a boy and not a girl... if he were a girl, I don't think I'd be able to handle working with him.

I also nanny a little girl who shares my middle and last name and has a sister in Heaven named Lily - who was due on August 12th, my birthday! It's so special that that we have a shared love of roses and lilies.

When I am feeling sad about these things, the Lord gently reminds me of something that is so comforting to my heart... yes, I may never get to call Lily Katherine her name to her face like other parents get to do... however, how many people get to travel the country to speak the name of their child with hundreds, if not thousands of people?! What a gift He has given me to share her legacy with so many. Friends, family, and strangers will know the name of my Lily Katherine.

I love what my dear friend, Kala, said to me (she will soon be Lily's auntie because she's marrying my brother this October!)

She said this: "I can understand it would be very hard for you. Just know that all the Lily's in the world could never take the place of Lily Katherine in the hearts of those who have been moved by her life. And it's A LOT of people. It's the truth and nothing will ever change that, no amount of time that passes, or new babies or new memories. Nothing."

Lily is now a popular name and my Lily wasn't the first to be named that and won't be the last. And she wasn't the first person to be born on March 16th and won't be the last... however, that doesn't take away that it's her name and birthday and will be forever.

I cling to the truth that one sweet day, I will call her by name... on streets of gold when we meet face-to-face.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

Today is Father's Day here in the United States and so I want to take a moment to acknowledge all fathers, traditional and non-traditional...

"Typical" fathers with their children on earth (whether raised already or still young children), those who hold some, if not all, their children in their hearts, rather than their arms, birthfathers who have had a child placed for adoption, post-abortive fathers (they grieve too), foster-care fathers, single fathers, step-fathers, spiritual fathers, and expectant fathers.

I also want to acknowledge the men and women, boys and girls who miss their father who is no longer living. Or those whose father is absent, whether physically or emotionally. well as the men who never got to be fathers, though they longed to be.

...and those who have broken relationships with their fathers, whether because of abuse or something else, as well as widowers who lost their wife and are now taking on role of mom and dad.

I also want to mention single mothers (widowers and other moms) who have no strong man to be a father to their child/ren. Father's Day can be a difficult day to cope with. Reach out to them today.

I also want to mention the fathers who are not close with their children because of many different reasons, whether because of rebellion or whatever else.

I apologize if I've left anyone out.

I want to wish a Happy Father's Day to my own dad who is Godly, supportive, hard-working, sacrificial, wise, loving, and caring. We love and appreciate you, dad!! And Happy Father's Day in Heaven to both of my grandfathers!

I am so thankful for my Heavenly Father who is all I have ever and will ever need! He is sufficient and the best father EVER for all of us, whether or not we have a loving father on earth.

One day I believe I will marry an amazing man who will be a wonderful father to our future children, and will adopt the legacy of Luke and Lily... I'm thinking of him today, whoever he is and wherever he is.

This day can be both joyful and sorrowful for people, just as with Mother's Day. Show all the fathers in your life that you love and care about them!

An older picture of my siblings and I with our dad
(from left to right: Joseph, Emma, me, Adam, and dad)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Aunt Rachel's 48th Birthday in Heaven

My Aunt Rachel would be turning 48 today, if she were alive. She and Lily will forever be the babies of my family.

You can read about her life and what she means to me in a post I wrote on her birthday last year.

I'm sure Jesus, Lily, and "Bumpa" are making today truly special for her birthday celebration in Heaven. ♥

Does anyone else have other babies in their families who are also in Heaven?

"All that we love deeply becomes a part of us." ~Helen Keller


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Camp Joshua North Carolina!

A couple weeks ago, I received an email from the Assistant Director of North Carolina Right to Life. She had read my story on LifeSiteNews and happened to notice in my bio that I live in Raleigh, NC. She contacted me and we got together over coffee. She's super sweet and has wonderful passion for LIFE! I really enjoyed our time together. :)

Anyways, I am excited to be getting involved in pro-life ministry around the state I live in! I had just been praying recently about getting involved locally, rather than just traveling to other states. Well, now God has answered that prayer.

Camp Joshua is a pro-life camp that inspires and equips high-school students to be leaders in building up the Culture of LIFE! It is already around the country, but is coming to North Carolina this summer!

So, NC high-school students and parents of high-school students who are interested:

The camp will be over the weekend of July 19-21 in Smithfield, NC.

I will be speaking and sharing my story, and will also be a counselor there.

If you know of anyone else who might be interested in this, please share it with them! Let's get lots of high-schoolers to Camp Joshua this first year in NC!

For more information, visit Camp Joshua NC's website: (If you live in another state, you might like to search and see if Camp Joshua is coming to your community).

I'm very excited about this amazing camp and hope to see you there! :)


Pink Lilies

My friend Bonnie sent me these pictures and said: "My flowers finally bloomed and I thought of you and your sweet Lily!" They are so beautiful. I love the pink. Lilies just bloomed this week in my garden too. They literally appeared overnight. Thanks, sweet friend!


Monday, June 10, 2013

My Little Flower Bringing Forth Fruit

I keep every card given to me on Lily's birthdays, Mother's Day, etc... Yesterday, I was going through some of Lily's things and came across a card that my best friend, Kala, gave me this year on Lily's 3rd Heavenly Birthday. 

Kala will be marrying my brother, Joseph, this October, so she will truly be Lily's auntie... that brings a huge smile to my heart. :) She was one of the only people there on the day Lily was born. 

Anyways, the truth and beauty in her card is so profound and elegant that I just have to share it:
"It is hard to believe these years have gone by so quickly. The more time that passes, the more fruit comes forth from the tiny flower that grew in your womb. 
My heart and spirit are and will be forever grateful for your obedience and for the life Lily was given. 
Lily helped me to see the beauty of life, helped me to understand that we are all but flowers quickly fading here on earth - made for the good pleasure of the King and created to sew Truth into this earth - and life. Life. Was there ever a word so beautiful, apart from the Name above all names, King of kings and Lord of lords - King Jesus! 
I love you, Hannah Rose and Lily."

I am amazed yet again at how the Lord specifically chose the name Lily for my daughter - she's "my little flower," as I call her... the depth and meaning behind her name is still being revealed.

A gift from Marcia

Flowers were created to produce fruit... "A tiny flower" named Lily was created by God to produce good fruit... both in my heart and life and in the hearts and lives of others. She was made to sew Truth, beauty, and LIFE into this earth. Her legacy will far outlive the number of days her physical body was alive on earth. It is true that the more time passes, the more fruit God is bringing forth from her life!

As is very-often found in English translations, a single general word, in this case "flower," is used to translate a number of different Hebrew words that all mean "flower," but with some more specific or detailed meaning.

The Hebrew word pronounced peh-rawkh, means a bud of a flower (a partially-opened flower). Lily was only partially-opened on earth. She never spoke a single word... never even took a breath. And just as we wait and anticipate when a beautiful flower is about to burst forth in full bloom, knowing the beauty that is to come, so it is with Lily's life... I am waiting for the beauty of this little flower's legacy to burst forth in full bloom!

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

The Hebrew word pronounced tseets, means a brightly-colored flower. Lily brought so much color to my world and the world!

The Hebrew word pronounced nits-tsawh, means a blossom, a flower in full bloom. Lily may not be blooming on earth anymore, but she will bloom with vibrant LIFE in Jesus forever!

Isn't this amazing?!

Like Lily, I pray that we allow God to bring forth all the beauty in our short lives that He desires to... may we be fully willing, fully surrendered to His plans and purposes. All the temporal matters in this life don't have significance in light of Eternity. May we live with Eternity always on our hearts and minds!

As little flower Lily's life is teaching us, we are all flowers quickly fading... here today and gone tomorrow. Created to glorify the Lord with our lives.

"As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. The wind blows, and we are gone - as though we had never been here. But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and His righteousness to children's children, to those who keep His covenant and remember to do His commandments." ~Psalm 103:15-18

All flesh is grass, fading away.
Only You last, only You remain.
All flesh is grass, fading away.
Only You last, Only You remain...
the same, You never change.

Surely man is like the flower of the field,
And life is but a vapor, at best it's but a vapor.
Surely man is like a flower of the field,
And the fragrance but a vapor, at best it's but a vapor.

But, You O God,
are better than a thousand blooms.
~Misty Edwards


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Will They Be Loved and Acknowledged?

I've been doing a lot of thinking about how Lily and Luke will fit into my future hoped-for family...I've thought about it before, but it has been especially on my heart since I read this post on LifeSiteNews (please read before continuing).

My heart is heavy, yet hopeful.

I relate to so much of what she wrote. The quotes she shared are some of my favorites. Her thoughts, some of my own. It was really special to read her perspective as someone who lost a sibling. Her mother miscarried at just 6 weeks gestation...6 weeks, the same age my Luke Shiloh was when Jesus welcomed him into Heaven. Anytime I hear anything about that same gestation, it makes my heart beat a little faster.

Reading her words of love and acknowledgement for her sibling somehow makes it more real to me. I know that Luke was a real person and will live forever with the Lord. But, sometimes, it's harder for my mother heart to grasp that he was and is just as real as Lily. After all, I didn't get to hold him or feel him kick and all the other special things I shared with his younger sister.

At times, it hurts deeply to think of Luke and Lily being forgotten or not acknowledged by their future siblings. I don't think that is possible since I will raise them telling them all about their big brother and sister. I will be sharing my story whenever I get the chance, so I know it will be a big part of our family. But, I must admit...there is a part of me that fears that because my first two children will only be half-brother and half-sister to my future children and because they will never meet their younger siblings, Luke and Lily won't seem real. They won't be counted. And, oh how that grieves my mother heart. That's what makes it extra complicated - the fact that I am not married and the father to my future children will not be Luke or Lily's father...I am afraid I will be the only one who truly knows and loves Luke and Lily.

It is my hope and prayer that when asked how many siblings they have, my future children will include Luke and Lily among that number. I pray that the story of their older siblings will make them warriors for LIFE. I pray they learn to honor, love, remember, and celebrate them in their own special ways. I pray they know them through me and that my mother love will keep them alive in the hearts of others. They will always and forever be alive within my heart and memory, for I know they are dancing and full of vibrant life on the other side.

I love when the writer of the post said this:
"As someone who spends her life advocating for the rights of pre-born humans, I realized my lack of reference to Paul Francis was a betrayal of my beliefs—for if the pre-born are as valuable as the born, if I would reference a sibling who only lived until the age of 2, 10, or even 20 years, why not acknowledge this sibling?  Do I really believe Paul Francis was just as human, just as precious, just as unrepeatable as a late-term fetus, infant, toddler, or teen?  Would I hide the death of an older sibling?  Then why hide the death of a younger sibling?
By referencing my deceased sibling, some people inevitably ask what happened, and when you explain miscarriage, that individual is challenged to look at miscarriage in a different light—to look at it as a great loss, as losing a born child is a great loss.  As a result, my deceased pre-born sibling becomes the impetus for a discussion about how we view the pre-born, and an opportunity to normalize treating the pre-born like the born."

I believe that when people deeply grieve the loss of a child who passed away before birth (no matter the reason), it is a beautiful testimony to the beauty of each individual life. That's why I am so open and honest about my grief and love for both Lily and Luke.
"...we don’t find healing by stuffing—we find healing by releasing, wrestling, grappling, and honouring."

No matter how short or long one lives, they deserve to be acknowledged and celebrated. I thank this writer for discussing the topic of early pregnancy loss...the fact that her sibling can have a name, can make a difference, and can be a part of her life forever is a beautiful thing.

This writer ended her post with a special poem she wrote in honor of her brother who is in Heaven. This specific part brought me to tears as I thought about my future children thinking this very thing about their older brother and sister.

You were first to grow in her womb,
And in that way we’re connected.
We both spent time beneath her heart,
And with love we were infected.

They will be connected...I need not fear. All my children have and will grow within my womb, right beneath my heart, and that is a very special, very beautiful thing that brings peace and comfort to my mother heart. And though my two first babies now reside in my heart and memories, and my future babies will hopefully reside on Earth with me, they will all shape me in their own way. They will all be instruments that God uses to mold me into the person He's called me to be.


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