Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Album from a Babyloss Mama

Jetty Rae is a gifted musician who desires to make art and beauty out of her pain - from the loss of her precious baby daughter. Obviously, this sort of thing is very near and dear to me, so please consider supporting her in the making of five music videos to accompany the songs on her new EP, "Climbing Clouds." She has some fun perks for your contribution. I am looking forward to hearing her love, joy, pain, and hope on her new EP, as well as seeing the music videos that are sure to be a big voice for pregnancy and infant loss. I know that much of my heart for my girl will be in her words to her girl. Tomorrow is the last day to contribute, so please help her reach her goal! To find out more about this amazing artist and worthwhile project, click here. To follow her on facebook, click here.

Here is Jetty Rae's Indiegogo Campaign Video...if this video is this beautiful, I can only imagine how beautiful the actual music videos will be! :-)


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Friday, April 26, 2013

On Loving the Post-Abortive and Those in Unplanned Pregnancies

As someone who has both had an abortion and chosen LIFE, I want to address the way the Church handles both post-abortive women, as well as women facing unplanned pregnancies. This is a post I've had in my heart for quite a while, and am finally sitting down to actually write it out...

It saddens me deeply when I receive harsh comments from Christians who say nasty things about my abortion. The way this society makes post-abortive women feel really makes my heart hurt. Many women carry the secret of a past abortion for decades because it is a forbidden topic of grief. They suffer in silence because they are terrified of what people might say or think of them, since it was their choice and quite frankly, the Church often paints a woman who has had an abortion as one who is unworthy of forgiveness.

I am here to tell you that women (including me) regret their "choice."

On one hand, many in this society are telling women that having an abortion is "the easy solution" to their "problem" and it is their choice and "no big deal." While on the other hand, others in this society are blaming women for believing these lies and for choosing abortion. We live in a world that is constantly bombarding us with messages of "choice," so why would we be surprised when people believe these messages? I think that the women who choose abortion are often victims of "choice" and have no idea what they are getting themselves into. People around them are saying it's "just a clump of cells and not a real baby." If abortion were not a legal "choice," I never would have chosen to have one (and I know many, many post-abortive women who agree with me).

Once women grasp that it is indeed "a big deal" and they come face-to-face with what they've done and realize not only did they lose their child, but they were the cause of this loss, do they really need Christians telling them they have no reason or right to grieve? Do they need to be called "baby-killers," "heartless," "murderers," etc.? Would we rather women not regret their abortions?

The Church judges and condemns women for choosing to have an abortion, yet what are we doing to encourage women to choose LIFE? Are we supporting them (practically, emotionally, and spiritually) in their moment of crisis? It's easy to say and think whatever we want, but what are we doing to change anything? The unborn and the women in unplanned pregnancies both need to be fought for. We need to pray and ask for God's heart for both sides because He has a plan and purpose for both and loves both equally! Being Pro-Life means being Pro-Every-Life.

When I was in my crisis pregnancy, my parents welcomed me back home with open arms. I pray that the way my parents responded to me in love will be an example to others to also respond in love to women facing similar circumstances. Women who do choose life need to have support and be honored for their choice of life.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, Lily (unwed at the age of 19), I felt ashamed at times for others to notice my growing belly, wondering if they judged me to be a sinful woman, undeserving of love, acceptance and forgiveness. It seemed as if people were looking for a wedding ring on my finger. I think the fear of such harsh judgement is what makes many women choose abortion. They cave in to the lie that it will be easier to live with that secret than it will be to face the hateful shunning and nasty glares of others.

It seems that women are judged if they choose to have an abortion, yet they are also judged if they choose LIFE.

I pray that the Church of Jesus Christ will learn to respond with love and mercy to those in unintended pregnancies, as Jesus responds to each of us in our sin. Rather than freely exhibiting disapproval, forgiveness and unconditional love needs to flow to the women who are suffering alone in their difficult situation, from which they see no hopeful escape.

Amy Ford, Co-Founder of Embrace Grace, said this on her twitter page this morning:

"What if a scared girl has a crisis pregnancy and she immediately knew three options:   abortion, adoption or keep and the Church will help."

What is Embrace Grace? Here is a little description from their facebook page:

Embrace Grace is an organization (pending non-profit status) formed for the purpose of providing emotional, practical and spiritual support for single young girls that find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy. The primary goal of Embrace Grace is to empower churches across the nation to be a safe and non-judging place for the girls to run to when they find out they are pregnant, instead of the last because of shame and guilt. We provide curriculum for the churches as well as offer grants to organizations that may not be able to afford the expenses involved with helping young women with crisis pregnancies. If the church, the body of Christ, would join together to support these girls that choose life, young moms will be more open to not abort their baby. Whether they keep their baby or place for adoption, Embrace Grace is a support system for them as they begin their journey of being a young mother or blessing another family with their baby. Emotionally and spiritually healthy mommies parent emotionally and spiritually healthy babies. Through the Embrace Grace program, lives are saved and generations are being changed. God loves these babies and their mommies and we do too.

Please, take the time to check out this amazing ministry and consider supporting them in whatever way you can. I pray God opens up Churches in this way across the country and world!

So, how can the Church be a support?

It's crucial, when ministering to these women, to remain calm and remember that God knew about these children before the creation of the world. Though it may be appalling to you, He is not surprised. Although sexual sin is wrong, it is not unpardonable, and the precious lives conceived are innocent of the sin involved. Just as the unborn are deserving of compassion from their mothers, women who end up with unplanned pregnancies, as well as those who are post-abortive, are deserving of compassion afforded them from the Body of Christ. Just because the Church links with these hurting women in a loving show of support does not indicate moral weakness within the Church body. On the contrary, such support displays Jesus' character. Once sin has been remorsely confessed and repented of, congregations are called upon to welcome the women back into fellowship, forgiving them of their sins and focusing on loving them throughout their pregnancies.

Practically, the Church can pray with and for these women and their babies; provide support as a listening ear and shoulder to cry on; offer words of hope and encouragement; remind them that God has a plan and purpose for their lives and the lives of their unborn children; drive them to necessary appointments, including offering to take them to a Crisis Pregnancy Center where they can hear and evaluate all possible options, take classes and acquire necessary supplies to help them care properly for their babies; give them baby showers; lend maternity clothes; provide free childcare; help them obtain employment and housing if necessary, etc.

It is necessary to promote all aspects of life in our Churches: teaching the value and dignity of human life at every age, participation with Crisis Pregnancy Centers, walks for life, speaking out on Sanctity of Life Sunday in January, being willing to not just support adoption, but actually adopt, and demonstrating loving action as you live out the pro-life message. It is positive life-affirming action to lead Bible studies specifically geared to living with the repercussions of abortion, and inviting speakers equipped to aid post-abortive women to share healing testimonies and stories of comfort and hope.

I am working on a post where I will share more practical ideas for how to get involved in standing for LIFE.

We can be Pro-Life and against abortion, yet loving, kind, merciful, and compassionate to those who have had an abortion (just as Christ doesn't condone our sin, yet He loves us in the midst of it).

No matter what anybody says to or about me, I will never quiet. I will love my Luke into Eternity and I will keep my promise to him alive as long as I am - I will be his voice!

May we show others the very mercy that Christ has shown us, instead of kicking the wounded when they are down. Abortion isn't worse than other sins, though humans may put it a category of it's own. God is mighty to forgive us and wash us clean of each and every sin. As Corrie ten Boom said, "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still."

Before judging, may we remove the plank from our own eyes (Matthew 7:5) and drop our stones (John 8:1-11).

I want to add that I realize not every Christian responds in an unloving manner and I appreciate those of you who are already showing the mercy and love of Jesus!

Please listen to this song and let the words sink into the depths of your heart...then pray and ask God how He's asking you to move!



Jesus, Friend of Sinners
Casting Crowns

Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth's become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they're tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I'm so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours

Yeah...

Jesus, friend of sinners, the one who's writing in the sand
Made the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees
Nobody knows what we're for only what we're against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours

You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they're the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
But you died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

'Cause You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours

And I was the lost cause and I was the outcast
Yeah...
You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Why I Don't Support the March of Dimes

It's that time of year when people are raising money for the March of Dimes. I have lots of friends who are walking in honor of babies they've lost, as well as their preemie babies. On the outside, it looks like a great cause to support, both by raising money and walking. I myself even participated in my local walk in 2012 in honor of my daughter Lily who was stillborn at fullterm on March 16, 2010.


I am going to share with you today the reasons why I will no longer support the March of Dimes. The reasons are probably unknown to most others who are participating, which is why I find it necessary to share...so at least people will realize what the March of Dimes supports. I in no way judge others for participating themselves, but as someone who is pro-life, I cannot participate (though I would love to walk in honor of babies both in Heaven and on Earth).

After I walked last year, my mother and grandmother both informed me that March of Dimes has been boycotted by those who are pro-life for decades. I was shocked to hear this because it seems like such a wonderful organization! After doing some research, I was very saddened to discover that they support Planned Parenthood (the nation's largest abortion provider). That in itself was enough to make me say "No, thank you." I know people think that Planned Parenthood is this amazing organization that does so much more for women than just providing abortion. Read about the 9 things you should know about Planned Parenthood - which reveals their true agenda. There are many others reasons why I do not support Planned Parenthood (such as the fact that it was founded by a racist eugenicist named Margaret Sanger), but that is another post in itself. The MOD says the money they give to PP doesn't fund abortions, but I wouldn't give money to even pay the electricity bill to keep that place operating. MOD says they are "neutral" on the abortion issue. The way I see it, not taking a stand is taking a stand. I don't see how an organization that is for babies can also be against them? Being for life should mean being for-every-life, both born and unborn, wanted and "unwanted."

We recognize that some of the things MOD has done are great, but their support of embryonic stem cell research, fetal tissue research, and abortion as an alternative to prenatal abnormalities is as anti-life as you can get.

Instead of explaining all this myself, I will link you to the articles I read which can help further your understanding:


Just do a simple search and you will find several articles like the ones I shared above. If you are supporting the MOD, in a big or small way, please do your own research and decide if this organization is truly something you want to support. I just want to educate others with the truth. Please pass this information along.

There are many non-profits such as the United Way and the Susan G. Komen Foundation that donate to Planned Parenthood. If you ever want information and a complete list of which non-profits support Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry, please visit Life Decisions International’s website. Life Decisions International does a great job of keeping an updated list on the various organizations that directly support the abortion industry.

Pray that more pro-life alternatives to the March of Dimes will become available!

*Update several hours after first posting: When I posted this, I wasn't expecting to win a popularity contest for it. I have lost at least one blog follower and have received some not-so-nice comments (which I've chosen to delete for they were not uplifting or edifying). I want to remind everyone reading this that this is my blog and I can share whatever I want. If you don't like it, you don't have to be here. I am pro-life and this blog has a lot of pro-life material on it. Please do not attack me or say mean things to me for stating my beliefs. And people deserve to know who and what MOD supports. I am just trying to give people the truth so they can make their own decision on whether or not they want to support this organization. I also said above that I in no way judge anyone for walking or raising money because yes, it's true, MOD does do good...however, I cannot justify supporting the good they do in light of the bad. As a friend said to me earlier, not all good works are God-honoring. I don't judge others for supporting them so please do not judge me for not supporting them. As a pro-life, post-abortive woman, this is where I stand in my beliefs and I will not make exceptions.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Listen to an Audio Version of My Story

I have uploaded an audio version of me sharing my story on vimeo. Listen and feel free to share.


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Friday, April 19, 2013

Mother's Day Balloon Release Hosted by Molly Bears

Molly Bears is hosting a nationwide Mother's Day balloon release in honor of our babies in Heaven!

This Mother’s Day, we would like to join as a community to celebrate the lives of our angels with a nationwide, eco-friendly balloon release. Help us raise awareness for infant and pregnancy loss, share Molly Bears and raise funds for bear making. For only $7, you will receive a personalized balloon, raffia ribbon and commemoration card. To join in the event, click here.

Our angels may not be in our arms, but we are deserving of recognition and love on Mother’s Day!

Molly Bears will be selling balloons until they run out, so I suggest you go ahead and order your balloon if you want to participate. The balloons have the Molly Bears logo on the front and on the back say "In loving memory of" with space for people to write their baby's name/names. This is a great way to support the Molly Bears ministry! I think it's such a special idea to have a balloon release with other babyloss moms around the country! And it's a sweet way to be honored as a mother on Mother's Day by people who "get it," even if you don't have any other living children on earth. I know for me personally, Mother's Day is a tough day and most people don't even acknowledge me as a mother on this day. So, it means so much to find things like this to do. I hope to see photos of other people's balloons who choose to participate! I will definitely be posting mine! :-)

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mother's Day Name Event - Creative Photo Project

Catherine from Gabriel's Garden is doing something very special for us babyloss mamas in honor of Mother's Day this year! :-) She is hosting a creative photo project in honor of our babies.


The purpose of this project is to support one another on Mother's Day, find healing and peace, remember our babies, and connect with other mamas in the babyloss community. We all love to see our babies' names written by others and hopefully find peace in sharing this simple comfort with others.

To find out more details on this special project, click here. The only thing is - today is the last day to sign up, so if you're interested, you better do so now!

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

March for LIFE Video

I had the honor of sharing my testimony in front of the Supreme Court at the National March for LIFE in Washington D.C. this past January with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.

I just received the link to the video of me speaking. Please watch and share! As you can tell by the video, it was freezing that day! You can see the snow falling, big jackets, and my breath when I'm talking. It was in the 20's and I could barely talk! haha.

I am so incredibly thankful that God gave me this opportunity to share the lives and legacies of my precious Luke and Lily.

Click here to watch. In order to share, you will need to share the link to the video. It will eventually be uploaded to YouTube.


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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"Hey World"

Take a few minutes to listen to this award-winning Pro-Life song. Jessie Liz Clement is a talented young lady with a beautiful voice. How many of us take for granted the simple gifts in life that she sings about in this song? And how many babies will never, ever get to know the warmth of sun on their face and the lovely sound of birds singing in spring? May we always remember that LIFE is a precious GIFT! I pray we live each day in total surrender to God's call on our lives because we never know when we will breathe our last breath.


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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Lily's Spot Decorated for Spring

As I've mentioned before, Lily is buried in my hometown in Virginia, and I live in North Carolina, so I'm unable to visit her spot as much as I'd like and can't decorate if often myself. Thankfully, I have a great friend who lives in the town where Lily's buried who offers to do it for me and lets me send her the things I want to be taken to Lily's spot. And she takes awesome pictures for me to see! :-) As I like to say, it's the next best thing to actually going myself.

Elise decorated Lily's spot for her birthday last month and just decorated it again this month for springtime! I sent her this beautiful flag I got customized online.


I have had trouble finding flags that are appropriate for her spot, so when I discovered that I could custom-make them, I was so happy! If you are interested in getting a customized flag in honor of your baby, you can do so online and for not too expensive. Just google "custom-made garden flags" and then don't forget to also look for a coupon code online! Most places have coupons.

I am going to switch out the flags for different holidays and seasons. I love the bright colors in this one, and of course butterflies are special and symbolic to me because they symbolize new LIFE in Christ! I also have my butterfly flag stand, rather than just a typical one. Found that one after some searching online. Lily's spot has to be just perfect. :-)

Spring is a time of flowers blooming, so I got the words on this flag to say "Bloom in Heaven, Lily Katherine." Because even though "my little flower" isn't blooming on earth, like she would have been had she lived (she was born at the genesis of spring), I know with all my heart that she is blooming with LIFE Eternally with Jesus.

It reminds me of the quote that is perfect for her:
"A tiny flower, lent not given, to bud on earth and bloom in Heaven..."

Look at the gorgeous April sky and beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in the background. :)


Thank you, friend, for decorating her special spot for me and taking photos for me to see! ♥

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

On Twitter!

Hi, friends! I have created a twitter account for the same purpose I created my new facebook page - to share my story with more people. Please follow me if you are on twitter. God bless! :-)
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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sand Names from Lisa's Hawaiian

I got some beautiful photographs from Lisa's Hawaiian Names. She wrote Lily's and Luke's names in the sand in Hawaii and also wrote "Rose and Her Lily," which I have wanted written in the sand for a long time. :-) I love all these photos and really recommend Lisa's services...she's so sweet and wants to make you happy, writes beautifully, and takes gorgeous photos.

This one was taken at Kaneohe Marine Corps Base in Oahu, Hawaii, obviously at daytime. Look at the pretty props Lisa uses in the photos!


And the rest of the photos were taken at sunset on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii.






Lisa even made a lovely collage for me. :-)



Be sure to "like" Lisa's facebook page to find out when her next visit to Hawaii will be. She writes the names of couples, babies, those in the military, and basically anyone or anything else you can think of! Thank you so much, Lisa! :-)

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Lily Remembered in Punta Cana

My friend Laura wrote Lily's name in the sand beautifully on a beach in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. She was so sweet do do this on her honeymoon!


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Slumber, My Darling

This beautiful song reminds me of my forever baby who is slumbering in this world, yet dancing in Eternity...

Slumber, my darling, thy mother is near,
Guarding thy dreams from all terror and fear,
Sunlight has pass'd and the twilight has gone,
Slumber, my darling, the night's coming on.
Sweet visions attend thy sleep,
Fondest, dearest to me,
While others their revels keep,
I will watch over thee.

Slumber, my darling, the birds are at rest,
The wandering dews by the flow'rs are caressed,
Slumber, my darling, I'll wrap thee up warm,
And pray that the angels will shield thee from harm.

Slumber, my darling, till morn's blushing ray
Brings to the world the glad tidings of day;
Fill the dark void with thy dreamy delight--
Slumber, thy mother will guard thee tonight,
Thy pillow shall sacred be
From all outward alarms;
Thou, thou are the world to me
In thine innocent charms.

Slumber, my darling, the birds are at rest,
The wandering dews by the flow'rs are caressed,
Slumber, my darling, I'll wrap thee up warm,
And pray that the angels will shield thee from harm


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Friday, April 5, 2013

Lily's 3rd Birthday Celebration!

"March 16th, I don't think there are any words that could follow this date. It's become a meaning of its own. It's this day that changed our lives forever because of dear Lily Katherine. While you were a life giver to her, she was and is a bringer of spiritual life through the redemptive story of King Jesus. What a beautiful soul sent for a beautiful purpose." ~my best friend, Kala (who always says such beautiful, amazing, quotable things about Lily)

March 16th was Lily's 3rd birthday in Heaven. The day was so special and beautiful and I want to share all the photos and memories. It is really important to me to document each of my girl's birthdays, both to remember forever myself and to share with others. Lily is so loved and missed by so many people and I want to share all the ways she was honored for her special day. :-) This was Lily's best birthday yet! And I truly believe it will only get better as the years pass because more people will know her story and I will come up with more ideas. I also have more energy around her birthday as each year passes.

Just so everyone reading knows, this is a super long post...I considered breaking each thing down into individual posts, but decided to keep it all in one post like I did for her first two birthdays. That's why it's taken me so long to write this post - because it's more like several posts in one.

Again, this year like last year, I had the birthday anticipation the week leading up to Lily's special day. It truly felt like an all-week celebration, especially with her birthday falling on a Saturday this year. The entire week is full of memories...the anniversary of my last ultrasound and appointment and the last time I saw her moving and heard her precious heart beating, the anniversary of the day she went to Heaven, the anniversary of her due date, and her birthday itself...so many memories.





On March 14th, we honored and remembered Lily on the anniversary of her due date. This will always be a special date to me. Because she was due on National Potato Chip Day, one of her nicknames was "Spud." And I thoroughly enjoyed hashbrowns throughout my pregnancy! In honor of that day each year, mom makes hashbrowns for us to eat in honor of our sweet little Spud. Many others joined me this year in eating hashbrowns for Lily...thank you to everyone who did that and thanks also to those who sent photos! :-)

That evening, mom and I got together with our neighbors for a special joint-birthday celebration. Over the past year, we have gotten very close with Joanna and her two kiddos. Two years ago, around Lily's 1st birthday, we found out her daughter Ashley shares Lily's birthday! She turned 10 this year. Since we all had our own plans on March 16th, we still wanted to celebrate together. I suggested the 14th since that was Lily's due date. We brought balloons, cute plates, cups, and napkins with butterflies, and delicious snacks. I also brought some of my special keepsake items of Lily's to share with Joanna. Here's a photo of Joanna, Ashley, and I, with Lily's hand and footprints to symbolize the other birthday girl.


Joanna had cake for us all. I brought ten candles for Ashley and a number three candle for Lily.


This was the third year in a row that we gave Ashley a gift for her birthday. Mom and I see it as a sweet way to honor Lily's life and special day...and besides, we really enjoy shopping for little girls! We loved watching Ashley open her gifts and it meant so much to see how she truly loved what we gave her! She made use of her gifts while we were there.



~~~~~

On Lily's birthday, I woke up and felt a deep sadness enveloping me. My mom came into my room and I burst into tears. We both cried together for part of the morning. I didn't sleep well at all and had a dreadful headache from lack of sleep and tears. It was dark and gloomy out, as it always seems to be on her birthday. I had special plans for the day and knew I didn't want to spend the entire day crying. At one point when I was alone, I started heavily sobbing, missing Lily so very much. I don't know how to explain how special, sad, beautiful, and sacred March 16th feels to me. My best friend Kala called me in the morning and the Lord used her to brighten my spirits. She reminded me through my tears that Jesus not only offered me His abundant grace and strength to get through March 16th, 2010...but He will provide that same grace and strength to get through each and every March 16th to come. For the rest of the day, I felt overwhelming peace and joy...yes, there were more tears. But, not overwhelming tears. 

My brother was so kind and brought me Chick-fil-A for breakfast...the chicken minis are my favorite! I thought it was appropriate because I always wanted to eat their for breakfast after my doctor's appointments when I was pregnant with Lily.
~~~~~


This is Lily's "special spot" decorated beautifully for her 3rd birthday! Since I live in NC and she is in VA, my dear friend Elise, who lives in the town where Lily is, offered to decorate and tidy-up Lily's area whenever I ask! She is the sweetest! It's really hard on me living hundreds of miles away and not being able to go myself as often as I'd like, but this is the second-best thing. 

I mailed the things I thought would be nice for Lily's special day and am going to do the same for each season. I got that beautiful butterfly garden flag stand and a 'Happy Birthday' garden flag (which will be switched out for different holidays and seasons). I also got three balloons to symbolize Lily's 3rd birthday - a pink, heart-shaped balloon (special because of my Valentine's-themd baby shower), a 'Happy Birthday' balloon with cupcakes, and a 'Birthday Girl' balloon with a butterfly, ladybug, and flowers. Elise also got beautiful white lilies for my pure Lily!

Thank you so much, Elise, for cleaning up all the Christmas things and decorating her spot just the way I wanted it...and for taking photos for me to see! It means a lot that you would honor and celebrate the sweet birthday girl with me! It brings me peace knowing her spot was decorated for her special day. Not only did I want it looking lovely for her, but also in case she got any birthday visitors. :-) I love all the color, which is appropriate because she brought so much color to my life! Love ya, Elise! ♥ Next year, Lily's permanent headstone will be in place for her 4th birthday, which makes me really happy. :-)





~~~~~

This is Lily's gorgeous 3rd birthday cake - made by my incredibly kind, thoughtful and sweet friend, Alyssa! What made it extra special is our shared love of roses and lilies. Alyssa and her husband also lost a baby girl named Liliana (Lily for short) who was born early, but was due on August 12th - my birthday! They now have their rainbow, a little girl named Olivia Rose! She shares my middle name...and we have the same last name! Olivia is now 8 months old and I have been her nanny since she was 6 weeks old! So many special connections. ♥

The cake was truly the highlight of Lily's day! I requested a heart-shaped red-velvet cake (which is a tradition on Lily's birthday - started on her first birthday because of my Valentine's-themed baby shower), the colors pink and white, and roses and lilies (like the ones in my blog header and three lilies for her 3rd birthday)...and she came up with this beautiful design! 

The cake was not only so pretty, but also delicious! After singing happy birthday to Lily, we thoroughly enjoyed the moist red-velvet, with cream-cheese filling and chocolate ganache! And can I just say this lady has no formal training and is this talented and creative! I said the cake was too pretty too eat. Almost the entire cake (including the flowers) were edible, except for a few small details.

I said it's hard to know what kind of cake to have for an occasion such as this, but THIS is perfect. Such a sweet cake, which is just right for my sweet Lily girl! I didn't know what I wanted the cake to say, but came up with the wording the day Alyssa made it! I couldn't love this cake more, seriously!

This cake has been such a blessing to my family and I! I know it was made with love in honor of my sweet flower and it means more than words can say...Thank you SO much, Alyssa!

I'm so glad to have photos to remember it forever!


Alyssa and I with Lily's gorgeous cake :-)




For Lily's birthday, I and many other people wore pink in her honor. :-) That's her color and it's a tradition to wear pink for her birthdays!



~~~~~


Since eating red-velvet cake is a tradition on Lily's birthdays, I got this red-velvet cupcake candle at Target to light on her birthday each year.


~~~~~

Alyssa brought the cake around 4 p.m., which was close to the minute Lily was born - 4:24 p.m. I wanted to release pretty pink heart-shaped balloons at the exact minute my sweet girl entered the world. Since Alyssa was there, I asked her to join us. She gladly did.

Last year, I had a balloon release for Lily's birthday with several friends, but this year I wanted something more small and intimate. I decided to have the release at my house, in Lily's Memorial Garden...it was just myself, my family, and Alyssa. I loved the balloons I chose (which I found at Dollar Tree, for anyone interested...that reminds me - the night before Lily's birthday, when I was at the store getting her birthday balloons, there was a family there also shopping in the balloon section. I overheard the little boy say to his mom: "Can I have three balloons since it's my third birthday?" My heart sank. Just like last year when I was getting balloons for Lily's 2nd Heavenly birthday balloon release, there was a family there getting balloons for their little girl's earthly 2nd birthday celebration...now, it happened again this year that for Lily's 3rd Heavenly birthday balloon release, there was a family getting balloons for their child's 3rd earthly birthday celebration. It's crazy that I heard it because my mom didn't. And that both years, they just so happen to say something right in front of me about the age their child is turning. And out of all days, hours and minutes to be in there, they were there at the exact same time as me. And for it to be the same age both times and for a birthday celebration...rather than a baby shower, anniversary, or any other celebration where people get balloons. Sigh...it hurts my heart when these things happen because I too wish I were throwing a special birthday party for a little girl who is actually here to celebrate...who is actually here to pick out which balloons she likes best, what flavored cake she wants, what theme and colors, and all the other fun things that go into a birthday bash. I wonder how many children I will never meet in this life that would have been Lily's friends. How many kids would have come to her 3rd birthday party, but never could know now what they are missing out on?)

Anyways, my brother recorded the balloon release for me, which I thought was special. It was a really windy day and a couple of the balloons got stuck in a tree on their way up, but eventually broke free. Each year, I want to do something special for Lily's birth minute. I wish I had more photos of all of us at the release, but unfortunately don't. :-( That's what happens when the photographer wants to be in front of the camera for once. ;-)




After the balloon release, we heard the ice cream truck coming! It was such a beautiful day and the first time this year the truck has come through the neighborhood. So, I treated my mom and Alyssa to some ice cream.

~~~~~

For dinner on Lily's birthday, we ate at Cracker Barrel, which is another tradition (if you can't tell, I like traditions!) It is my favorite restaurant and we have gone there for all three of Lily's birthdays. It just has such a cozy environment and the food is delicious!

That evening when we got home from our dinner at Cracker Barrel, I was SO surprised to find these beautiful flowers waiting for me. Three gorgeous lilies for my three-year-old Lily. 

I opened the envelope to find this sweet card from my dear friend Molly Smith from Eden's Wings: "Hannah Rose, Happy Birthday to your beautiful Lily Katherine! I hope that your day is filled with peace and love. Thinking of you today and every day. Big Hugs, Molly"

Thank you, friend! So much. This was so incredibly kind, thoughtful, and sweet. Molly's daughter, Eden, just had her 1st birthday in Heaven two days after Lily's special day - March 18th. Isn't she so thoughtful to do this even with her own daughter's birthday just a couple days away? Molly said she saw these lilies and felt so moved to send them to me. :-)

This means SO much to me and really made Lily's special day extra sweet!! I get to enjoy the beauty of the lilies blooming for a short while, but will have the pictures to remember them forever. They remind me of my own Lily and how she bloomed for such a short time on earth, but she is most definitely blooming with LIFE in Jesus and will for all Eternity...



My mom also gave me a lovely lily plant for Lily's birthday, which will be planted in her Memorial Garden this spring!


~~~~~

This is Owen, my cousin Daniel's son who was born three months before Lily. Our boy and girl would have been the best of buddies and cousins, just like Daniel and I were growing up - we are all sure of it. Daniel is four months younger than me, so they are also a boy and girl cousins and almost the same age apart!

On Lily's first birthday, Daniel sent me a photo of Owen holding a "Happy Birthday Lily" sign. It meant so much to me and I thought how special it would be if Owen took a picture each year on Lily's birthday, wishing her a special day. She would be turning the same age as he is each year. How bittersweet it will be to watch him grow up, changing throughout the years, and to know my daughter will never get to grow up into a lovely lady.

But, this is such a precious way to honor and remember Lily and to have OandL "in a photo together." Owen's mommy Rachel said she told Owen Lily's story in the most simple way she could and he was so empathetic for her. He was really happy to do this for both Lily and I. He was so proud (as you can see by his face) because he wrote all the letters himself! Such a smart and handsome little fella he is. :-) Owen lives several states away and I wish I could see him, Daniel, and Rachel much more often!

Thank you for doing this for me, Rachel. It means more than you could know. I will treasure these photos always. Too bad we missed her 2nd birthday!

I pray Owen will know much more about Lily girl one day...the best buddy he never gets to meet on earth. Maybe one day, when he gets old enough, I'll tell him more about his cousin. I'll tell him all about the adventures that should have been had, the laughs that should have been shared, the joy that a sweet little girl would have brought to his life, had she lived. And maybe he'll know her through me and she will live in his heart and bring him joy still...

You can read a post I wrote about Owen and Lily called "Adventured never to be had" here.





Coloring a rainbow for Lily.
 
 
Decorating her birthday card! He wanted lots of color, which I found very appropriate! 
 
 
All finished! We love you, Lily!




You can see the pride in his eyes! He knew he was helping you feel better on such a hard day!

~~~~~

My best friend, Kala, gave me the most precious gift for Lily's 3rd birthday! ♥

She crocheted this gorgeous little blanket in her honor (truly, pictures don't do it justice...it is so beautiful in person). This past Christmas, Kala crocheted me a turquoise and purple (two of my favorite colors together) blanket, which is so cozy and beautiful and used daily! It also has the perfect colors for my room, so I decorate with it. :-)

Now, she has made this gorgeous, mini blanket for my girl. Each little square has it's own flower, perfect for my Lily - "my little flower," as I call her. Her blanket is so bright and colorful, which is just right because she brings so much beauty and color to my life and the lives of so many. The details on the blanket are so amazingly intricate.

Thank you, my dearest friend! This means SO much to me and makes my heart smile to know how much you love my girl. I know the time, energy, talent, creativity, planning, and love it took to make this creation. I said the only thing that could have made it better is if Lily had a matching one to be buried with. 

I am planning on keeping Lily's special blanket in her memory chest for now, but soon hope to frame it in a shadow box to hang on my wall. One day, I dream of hanging it on the nursery wall of my future child's room...so their big sister can be a part of each day. Kala is going to add a tag on the corner that says, "Lily's Legacy." 

May this beautiful blanket be a symbol of the promise of Lily's legacy...



~~~~~


This is Lily's gorgeous 3rd birthday sunset on March 16th, 2013 on Mullaloo Point near Perth in Western Australia - written by the lovely Carly Marie!


She emailed me on Lily's birthday saying she drew Lily a Pure Spirit Sand Butterfly (perfect for her name, which means "pure and innocent") on her birthday evening and she wrote her name under her birthday sunset! Carly said Lily's birthday evening was beautiful at the beach. What a sweet and thoughtful woman she is! This made Lily's special day extra special :-) ♥


It is neat that Lily's other name in the sand photo by Carly Marie was from 2010 - the year Lily was born and this one is from March 16th - the anniversary of the day she was born!




Lily's gorgeous Pure Spirit Sand Butterfly - also drawn by the lovely Carly Marie on her 3rd birthday! Perfect for my pure baby girl.






~~~~~


My sweet friend Chloé wrote Lily's name in the sand on her 3rd birthday on New Brighton Beach, Christchurch in beautiful New Zealand! This is the first time her name has been written there. As I've said many times before, having Luke's and Lily's names written in the sand all over the world is one of my favorite ways to honor them.

Chloé wrote: "Thinking of you and Lily so much right now. I said a prayer and spent some time thinking of your sweet girl. She is so special, loved, missed and remembered. Happy birthday, sweet Lily Katherine. I'd like to think her and my Hope are celebrating up in Heaven. Love and hugs and prayers"

Thank you so much for thinking of Lily on her birthday, writing her name in the sand, and taking a photo to send to me! It means so much to know Lily is on people's hearts all over the world! I can't wait to share Lily's gorgeous memorial portrait that Chloé is in the midst of drawing for me! :-)

Yes, she is loved, missed, and remembered...always. ♥




~~~~~

Birthday bags from Lily's special day...see the butterflies and flowers? :-)


I wanted to give my mom something special for Lily's birthday because she always helps to make Lily's day sweet for me and she is her only granddarling, as she calls her.

I thought how special it would be for us to have matching necklaces with Lily's footprints on them! I contacted the amazing Celia from In Our Hearts Photo Pendants and she said she could make me matching heart-shaped necklaces like I wanted with her darling little prints. It normally takes several weeks, but she was so kind and sent them to me in time for Lily's birthday. I could barely wait to give it to my mom on Lily's birthday, but didn't want to spoil the surprise. That morning, she opened it and we were both brought to tears with how precious and beautiful it is. And she loves that we have matching necklaces. We both wore ours all day on Lily's birthday and I've worn mine several times since then. I want to get my entire family matching necklaces (even if different shapes) with Lily's prints. 

Thank you so much, Celia, for being so thoughtful and sweet and for getting Lily's necklaces to me so quickly! :-)

Photo from In Our Hearts Photo Pendants facebook page
~~~~~

My dear friend, Laura, sent me such a sweet card and gift for Lily's birthday! She handmade this darling little journal that has lilies on it! I have decided to use it for something very special, rather than a typical journal because I would fill it up far too quickly that way...it is going to be my special little book where I record all the different places I share Lily's life and legacy...whether through speaking or writing. And all the information about when I donate comfort boxes to the hospital and how many, what places I donate in Lily's honor, etc. I think this is the perfect usage for it! I will treasure it always. It's a little book where I will document how God is using Lily's precious LIFE and legacy far and wide! And maybe even other fun things, like places all over the world where her name is written in the sand. :-) Thank you so much, sweet friend! I love it!!


~~~~~

My mom got me the "Never Let Go" sculpture from The Midnight Orange, which I have been wanting for a while...it is made specifically for people who have lost a baby. I chose the colors and couldn't love it more! Isn't it gorgeous?! I will be sharing my other Midnight Orange sculptures soon...it's pretty much my new favorite thing! :-) And the beautiful artist behind this sculpture was so very sweet to make sure that it got here for Lily's birthday, even though she wasn't technically taking orders at the time because of how backed-up she was!


~~~~~

My mom gave me a beautiful bracelet for Lily's birthday with a lily of the valley on it. I have been wanting this bracelet (and the rose one) for a long time and she got it for me when we were in D.C. for the March for LIFE in January and visited Mount Vernon (George Washington's home). The bracelet was in the gift shop there...I had to forget about it though until Lily's birthday. ;-)


~~~~~

My awesome Bible study leaders, Veronica and Lisa, read on my blog that St. Patrick's Day reminds me of Lily since she was born the day before and I left the hospital on the holiday. They gave me this pretty St. Patrick's Day windchime, which I love! I haven't decided yet if I want to hang it in my room or in Lily's garden...we shall see. Thank you so much for being so thoughtful and for remembering my girl with me! :-)


~~~~~

These are all the beautiful cards from friends and family...thank you to everyone who was so kind and thoughtful in sending a sweet card. It means so much to me and I will keep them always in Lily's memory chest. The wording of the cards people chose was really meaningful. If you look closely, you can even see a rose and lily on one of the cards I received. :-)


This is the card I picked out for Lily. I was feeling disappointed with the lack of cards that can work for such an occasion. Then, I found this one. It is beyond beautiful and so, so perfect...it has a flower and butterflies, both of which remind me of Lily. The flower is on the bottom, and turns into a butterfly going into the sky. It reminds me of a quote that reminds me so much of Lily, "A tiny flower, lent not given, to bud on earth and bloom in Heaven." I call her "my little flower" and just like a butterfly has new life, so does Lily. The card says: birthday - a celebration of a life in full bloom. Yes, we celebrate Lily's birthday still because we had the gift in knowing her! And we know that she's blooming with LIFE in Jesus forever! On the inside, it says: "You've grown another year more beautiful." I just added one word to make it just right. It now says: "You're legacy's grown another year more beautiful." This promise I cling to...that her legacy will grow more and more beautiful and impactful with each coming year.


~~~~~

A pretty birthday balloon with flowers for my flower :-) I also got a butterfly balloon, but forgot to get a photo.


Mom put a pink heart-shaped balloon on the mailbox in honor of Lily.


I got some pretty pastel-colored decorations for Lily's birthday.


I made a beautiful display area on the kitchen table, with cards, balloons, Lily's prints, flowers, and other special keepsake items. Also, Lily Bear joined the party, as well as some fun decorations. :-)


Lily Bear in her special outfit, the flowers I received for Lily's birthday, and her cake. Patch the Bear (who is a little bear who travels around the country from one babyloss mama blogger to another) came to visit and was here for Lily's special day! :-) I will be posting a blog about his visit soon. You can see Patch in Lily Bear's lap in this photo.


The pastel-colored plates, napkins, and utensils.


~~~~~

My friend Morgan sent me this adorable picture of her Marcellus Bear and rainbow baby, Ethan, wishing Lily Katherine a happy birthday! ♥ So thoughtful and sweet, friend. Thank you!


Wanted to do something today...just a tiny reminder that so many of us will never forget your beautiful flower!

Thank you, Tracey 


Gale, from Fittsies' Angel Balloons releases customized beautiful balloons of the east coast of North Carolina in honor of babies of Heaven on their special days, like birthdays and takes photos. She made Lily a balloon and released it in her honor! She paid so much attention to detail and decorated it so perfectly. It has roses, lilies, butterflies, a four-leaf clover, Lily's nickname "Spud," and other fun birthday decorations. I LOVE it! Thank you so much, Gale. That is so kind, thoughtful, and sweet of you. Since we both live in NC, I hope to meet in person sometime soon! :-)



I got Lily a Birthday Starfish from The Sacred Seashore. Catherine writes baby's names on a starfish on their birthday or special day and photographs it on a beach in California. She also sent me the starfish, which I will keep in Lily's memory chest. Thank you, Catherine - I love it. :-)




Thank you, Catherine, from Gabriel's Garden


Thank you, Catherine 


Dear Friend ~
I just wanted you to know that I'm thinking of you and your sweet little girl today.  
I hope your day is peaceful and that Lily's birthday in Heaven is spectacular! 
With Love,
Catherine 

Thank you so much! I LOVE this quote...it's so perfect for my Lily girl!


Thank you, Catherine 



Taking time tonight to remember...
 Lily ♥

Thank you, Jennifer for lighting a candle for Lily.


Here is her pink velvet cake with a number 3 candle! Wish I could do more  Much love and many hugs! 

My amazing blog friend, Kyla, made a pink velvet cake in Lily's honor for her birthday! Her family enjoyed the cake. We are only blog friends and she did this! How sweet?! Thank you so much, dear friend!


The cake Kyla made all decorated. :-)


Thank you, Kyla 




Thank you, Kyla 


The following several photos are from my sweet friend, Naomi! Thank you so much for your kindness and thoughtfulness! :-)

The rocks pics were taken last week, it rained since and this ice is gone. The hash brown, I made them today for the first time, they were yummy, my whole family loved them.
I hope today was not too hard on you...With love, in Christ, Naomi






It snowed last night...before the sun melted it, I was able to write Lily Katherine's name 


Wearing a pink bracelet today...This is a bracelet my oldest daughter made to wear at our Lily's memorial service. I have no pink clothing so she offered for me to wear her bracelet...


This morning is a cloudy and snowy one here but still a beautiful and unique one...


"The LORD gives strength to His poeple; the LORD blesses His people with peace." ~Psalm 29:11


At sunrise, it was very cloudy here, but God allowed me to see and capture a bit of pink in the sky on Lily Katherine's special day 


♥ Remembering Lily Katherine 

Thank you, Amanda


My friend, Kyla, had pink velvet cupcakes in honor of Lily at her daughter's tea party :-)


For sweet Lily's birthday!

Thank you, Gina! 


Thank you, Jeri, for honoring my girl and eating hashbrowns for her! 


Thank you, Shauna ♥


I got a beautiful surprise from a lizard and butterfly when taking the photos of the purple flowers. When I saw these flowers, they immediately made me think of you & Lily and Molly & her daughter, Eden. So today, I took the time to do both of your photos, and send both of your daughter's. Happy Birthday wishes!
Thank you, Kayla 


Thank you, Kayla ♥


Thank you, Kayla ♥



Happy 3rd Birthday to a beautiful flower in Heaven.  Thinking of you today Hannah. Much love and so many hugs

Thank you, Jessica 


For Hannah Rose and her Lily!

Thank you, Karen 


A lily for sweet Lily on her birthday.

Thank you, Crystal 



Another really exciting part of Lily's birthday is that I finally ordered her headstone after three years of wanting to!! I am so excited to share photos of the proofs soon. For Lily's birthday, my friend's incredibly kind father donated some money towards her headstone...I will be sharing more about that soon. And my friend, Brittany, also donated some money towards Lily's stone, which means so much to me because every bit helps!

I also hosted a triple giveaway in honor of Lily's 3rd birthday.

Thank you to everyone who honored, remembered, celebrated, loved, and missed Lily on her special day, whether through wearing pink, lighting a candle, eating hashbrowns or red-velvet cake, sending a photo, card, message, text, or gift, or even thinking about her or talking about her. It means more than words can say... 

~Read about Lily's 1st Birthday.
~Read about Lily's 2nd Birthday.

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