Friday, February 28, 2014

Preparing for Lily's 4th Birthday

Lily's birthday weekend is in only two weeks! It always comes up fast. I am so excited that birthday preparations are coming together finally. I have been hoping for quite some time to make it up to Virginia for her 4th birthday. Each of her birthdays thus far (including the actual day she was born) have been spent in North Carolina, where I live. But, I am from Virginia and that is where Lily is buried, so I really want to spend some of her birthdays there too.

This is the first year on Lily's birthday that her memorial headstone is there, so it is really important to me to be there. I want to be able to decorate her stone myself, rather than having to send things to my dear friend to decorate for me. I am so thankful this friend does this for me, but it is hard to figure out what I can mail that isn't too big or heavy. And it just doesn't feel right not to be able to do it myself. Tending to Lily's special spot and decorating it for her birthday feels like my way of mothering her. It brings joy to my heart, as strange as it may sound.

I wasn't sure if I'd be able to make it up there with financial reasons, work, school, etc... but as of today, things are working out and the plans are almost set. My mom and I (and maybe my dad and siblings) will be going up to Virginia on Friday, March 14th (the date Lily was due) and staying through Monday, March 17th (the date I left the hospital without her). And of course Sunday, March 16th is her 4th birthday in Heaven. Now that it is official we will be going, I need to get all the detailed plans together.

A big reason why I want to make it up there for her special day is so I can get her vase fixed so her spot looks perfect for her on her birthday and for any visitors she may have. I hope to figure all that out with her vase on Saturday. I also want to get all her decorations in place on Saturday so it can be out there for her entire birthday weekend and so I can enjoy it each time I am at the cemetery. I plan on spending quite a bit of time at the cemetery that weekend.

On Sunday (her birthday), is when I am planning a special time of remembrance. I am going to invite a few friends and family members to the cemetery for cake and celebrating Lily's LIFE. I need to call a local baker to see about making a special red-velvet cake (or maybe red-velvet cupcakes, we shall see. I have some ideas). Red-velvet is a tradition on her birthdays. Another tradition is to eat at my favorite restaurant, Cracker Barrel, on Lily's birthday, so we will be doing that as well.

A talented musician friend of my grandmother and aunt/uncle is going to be playing her guitar and singing "Beauty Will Rise" by Steven Curtis Chapman (some of the lyrics to this song are on Lily's stone). I spoke to her on the phone this afternoon to discuss details. Isn't that so kind of her? It means so much to have others remembering Lily with me on her day. I would love to have a butterfly release at the cemetery, but the weather may still be too cold for that... so perhaps we will have a balloon release. I also really want to finish her two scrapbooks by her birthday to share with everyone on that day!

Since a lot of these plans are outside, please pray for good weather! I am praying for blue skies and sunshine and no rain. Also, mid-March weather has the potential to be cold or spring-like in Virginia, so please pray it isn't so cold for us to be out there. I really want to be at her special spot on her special day.

I am missing my sweet girl as usual as her birthday gets closer, but am happy to be planning special things in her honor for her day. I am happy that I will be able to spend the day with my grandmother and other loved ones who I've never gotten to spend March 16th with. I don't know how I will feel on that day, so I pray I won't be too sad and not wanting to do anything and that I will have the energy to visit with people.

Anyways, these are the main plans as of right now. There are other traditions and things that will come together I'm sure in the next couple weeks. I would love to hear input from anyone with ideas for how to honor Lily on her day. I of course will be taking lots of photos of her day and blogging all about it. :)

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Inspiration for Lily's Stone

When I was working with a monument company to design Lily's memorial headstone, I knew what I wanted incorporated. I knew I wanted it small with a little lamb on top (as well as all the other things that are included). Stones with the lambs on top were very common Victorian markers for children and for different reasons (both the way they look and the meaning behind lambs) I was drawn to them from the first time I started seeing them. I had three years to think about what type of stone I wanted for Lily Katherine.

The monument company was creating Lily's stone completely custom-made (meaning there are no other stones in the world exactly like it... I love that it is special for Lily!) They asked for direction on size and the actual lamb. I tried my best to describe the type of lamb I wanted (trust me, all lambs are not the same - some are really cheesy looking and some don't even look like lambs) and they made one that I ended up not liking at all. My heart sank when I first saw photos of it in my email inbox and I was so disappointed and began to wonder if I'd ever be fully satisfied with a stone for my girl. 

This company is so amazing (email me for their name and information at roseandherlily@gmail.com) that they promised they would not stop working until I was fully satisfied with Lily's stone. They would remake the lamb for me. They just needed some more direction. I had no idea what more to say to describe what exactly I wanted and what I didn't want.

So my mom and I went to a large cemetery called Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina for some ideas. There are quite a few stones there with the lamb on top. I wanted to find the size of what I wanted and the type of lamb I wanted. Stones like these aren't so common anymore, which I am glad about because I want Lily's stone to be "old-fashioned" and timeless, rather than modern. 

We found a lamb and size of stone that the both of us loved after looking at many. I thought a lot about it and realized that this stone was the exact size I wanted! Not too small, but not too big. We actually took measurements of the tablet and lamb to send to the monument company. This way I knew exactly what I'd be getting and knew I'd be happy with the size.

Tablet: 12x4x13 (inches)
Lamb: 7.5 x 3.5 x 4 (inches)


Not only was the size of this stone what I wanted, but I really liked the lamb on top. The monument company asked for photos to reference when making Lily's stone, but I couldn't find any that I especially liked online. I was hoping and praying that I'd find something at the cemetery because I had been putting off responding for a while, not knowing what to do or say. I took photos of this precious little lamb to send to the monument company, not knowing how the final product would turn out.


I was nervous that the lamb wouldn't turn out right the second time around either. When I received the photos in an email, I held my breath while opening them. I loved the little lamb right away! It is everything I hoped it would be and more. I like it even more than the lamb from the cemetery. It turned out just right for my Lily.

Here are some side-by-side photos of the stone at Oakwood Cemetery and Lily's stone.


I wonder what little Henry's story is. I wonder who his parents were. He was born and died in September 1921. I hope his parents would feel honored that someone almost 100 years later was so inspired by their son's beautiful stone. I hope someone 100 years from now will be inspired by my Lily's stone. 

If you are designing your baby's headstone, consider going to your local cemetery for ideas on both size and design.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

He Gave Me a Mother's Heart

Every so often, I will remember something totally random from my pregnancy with Lily. Because I have been busy working on my pregnancy scrapbook lately, it seems I have been remembering more. I want to be sure to write all these things down so I never forget the precious time when she was alive within me.

One particular memory I have been thinking about over the past couple days happened in mid to late August 2009. I was around 11 or 12 weeks pregnant at the time and was working at a little restaurant in my hometown in Virginia.

It is amazing how things you haven't thought of in years can suddenly be so vivid and clear in your mind. As I remember this day, it feels as if I am back there on that hot August summer afternoon. The sky was clear and blue and the sun was warm on my skin. I remember I was wearing a green shirt I often wore and my favorite pair of jeans. It's almost like a movie and I am watching myself but also experiencing it again myself (I don't even know if that makes sense).

I had just celebrated my 20th birthday. God had been changing my heart so much in such a short amount of time. He kept me from going through with having an abortion on August 15th. My baby was still safe and alive.

At my job each week, we would receive a shipment of supplies and food needed for the coming week and I would help carry in the heavy boxes. Well this particular day, I remember so clearly thinking that I better not lift anything too heavy because I was pregnant and I didn't want to hurt my baby. Nobody I worked with knew I was pregnant. I hadn't even shared the news with my family yet. Only my child's father and a new friend who had also experienced an unplanned pregnancy knew.

This is one of the first times I recall feeling my motherly instinct to protect my child. It brings happy tears to my eyes to think of this because I was in despair not long before this day. But look how God had breathed LIFE into me and was giving me hope that can only come from HIM. Hope for my life and the life of my child. Assurance that He would give me everything I needed the moment I needed it and that He cared more for my unborn baby than I could ever know or comprehend. I knew we were in His hands. He was giving me a heart of love and the desire to care for and protect my sweet babe.

I remember my heart smiling on this August afternoon and a real smile finding it's way to my face, as an overflow from my heart. It was one of the first times I was excited to be pregnant, despite my circumstances. I had a baby in my belly! And for a short while longer, it felt like it was a precious secret shared between my sweet child and myself...

That was the beginning of my desire to protect Lily's LIFE... now I have a desire to honor her legacy.

I am so thankful for these memories that the Lord brings to my mind. This summer, it will be 5 years since I started mothering my Lily.

carrying Lily - 25 weeks in November 2009
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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Heart Locket for Lily

I was blessed to receive a gorgeous new necklace free of charge in exchange for writing an honest evaluation/critique on it. The company who gave me my necklace is called Jewelry Keepsakes. They have a HUGE selection of memorial and cremation jewelry, offering many different lovely pieces at ranging prices - really something for everybody.

I was able to choose any piece of jewelry that I wanted from the website. I took my time in searching through all the different options. The Sterling Silver Daisy Heart Keepsake is what I kept coming back to. I have always wanted an old-fashioned looking silver heart locket. I especially like that this locket has a flower on the front, which is appropriate for Lily, "my little flower." Hearts are special to me and remind me of Lily as well because I had a Valentine's-themed baby shower on February 13th, 2010. I prefer the look of silver to gold.

my new locket in the box it came in
Anyways, not only do I love how beautiful this heart locket is, but I really like how it incorporates several things into it. Some pieces that Jewelry Keepsakes offers are cremation pieces, some incorporate photos, and some have engraving... well this locket has all three!

When the locket is opened, Lily's picture is on the left (I wanted just her face. I chose my favorite picture of her) and there are words that I chose to be engraved on the right in script font (there were different fonts to choose from). I have other pieces of jewelry with her name and birthday engraved, so I wanted to do something different with this locket.

Lily's photo and the custom-engraving
I chose a phrase that is very special to me - "Forever and a day sweet Lily." I had thought about including this on Lily's headstone but didn't because there was only so much space to work with. They are lyrics from mine and Lily's song called "Forever and a Day" by Jewel (you can listen to the song below or by clicking on this link). I listened to it all the time during my pregnancy and Lily would just dance and dance. Forever and a day, I will love and miss Lily. Forever and a day, I will carry her with me. Forever and a day, she will be my first-born child.


I had trouble figuring out how to get Lily's photo small enough for the locket. I am still not pleased with it and am going to get a photo even smaller to replace the existing one (I don't want her hat cropped off in the photo). The easiest thing when placing a photo in this locket is to go to a place like Staples or Office Max and get them to resize and print the photo for you. Then you can cut it out and place it in the locket, which was simple enough. I took a hard copy of the photo with me to Office Max, but they could only get it so small that way. The guy who works there told me to bring back a digital copy and they will be able to get it even smaller. That should take care of it.

There is a secret compartment on the back of the necklace where I am going to place some of the dirt from Lily's burial site. I had thought of doing something like this a long time ago, but completely forgot until I saw it suggested on their website. This is the description of the necklace:

"This gorgeous heart cremation locket would make the perfect gift to a dear friend who has lost someone they loved. Each heart has been crafted of sterling silver and will hold one small photo of your choosing in addition to some cremains or cremated ashes, some ground from the site of burial or even a lock of hair to show your devotion."

I thought the cremation pieces of jewelry wouldn't work for me since Lily was buried, not cremated, but this is such a special idea! I don't have the ground to add to the necklace yet, but on my next trip to Virginia to see Lily's stone, I will get it. There is a small screw that seems like it will be easy to remove when I'm ready to add the burial ground. The ground where Lily is buried is holy and to be able to wear it on a necklace means so much to me. And because I live in a different state than where Lily is buried, it will be extra meaningful to have a bit of that ground with me. The necklace came with supplies and directions for adding the remembrance of choice to the necklace. Keep in mind that you can include other things in one of these pieces of jewelry even if your loved one was not cremated.

I received an 18" premium silver chain which is really pretty and sturdy. The chain works well with some of my other pieces of jewelry as well. :)

I was so excited and surprised when the necklace arrived at my home the day after I decided what I wanted! It is even more beautiful in person than online. It looks and feels like very high-quality. It is smaller than I thought it'd be.

The locket next to a nickel for size comparison
I only have a couple "complaints," except they are not really complaints. When the locket first arrived, it wouldn't close all the way and there was an open gap where it should snap shut. I let the company know and they immediately said they were sorry and that they would send out a new necklace with a return label for the broken one. That necklace arrived with overnight shipping as well. I had a bit of trouble opening that one at first, but my dad helped me and it loosened up and is now working great. I was impressed with how kind the lady who I worked with was and how quickly she handled this.

I have many pieces of jewelry that I have either gotten myself or received as a gift in honor and memory of Lily. Each piece is unique and meaningful to me. I can already tell this locket is going to be one of my favorites that I will wear often. This is a special piece with multiple things incorporated. I like that it is private so nobody has to know who the necklace is for or what is included unless I choose to tell them. It feels like something between my girl and I. :)

If you are looking for a high-quality piece of remembrance jewelry that can be personalized, for yourself or for a loved one, I highly recommend looking into Jewelry Keepsakes. If you are wanting to order something for a special event or day but don't have much time, the fast shipping is excellent! The customer service is also wonderful. The lady who I worked with is named Hallie and she was very patient and kind with me and answered all my questions quickly and thoroughly. It was nice to work one-on-one with somebody. I can tell she truly cares about offering this jewelry to the bereaved. Hallie can be contacted by email at hallie@jewelrykeepsakes.com.

Thank you so much again Hallie! I love my locket! :)

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Lily's Little Feet

Lily had the sweetest little feet ever (I'm not biased at all). ;)

Oh how I wish these same little feet, now bigger at what would be almost 4-years-old, were running around, getting into all sorts of mischief and adventure. I picture her with painted pink toenails, wearing plastic princess heels one minute, and getting dirty from running around outside playing the next. I picture her as a feisty tomboy, but also loving all things that little girls love... much like I was as a child. I would play with the boys in my dresses.

It is hard to think about her getting older and all the things she would be doing now. It is amazing how a wave of grief can wash over me out of nowhere just thinking if she were here, she'd be the age where she'd want me painting her nails. Those little moments sure can catch me off guard.

I am so thankful to have a picture of Lily's little foot with my hand. I will forever regret not getting more and high-quality photos of Lily (including her hands and feet). I thought that I didn't even have a single photo which made me so sad, but then I realized that I could capture a still image of her foot from my hospital video recording. It's not the greatest quality, but I can still see what her little foot looked like and how tiny it is next to my hand.


This is from my ultrasound at almost 18-weeks on October 9, 2009 - the day I found out for sure Lily was a GIRL! I love that you can see her sweet little foot in it (towards the bottom left). She also looks as if she's smiling. :)


Lily's precious footprints.


This weekend, I am planning on posting an evaluation for a beautiful heart locket that I received. 

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

One Month and Valentine's Memories

Lily Katherine's 4th Birthday in Heaven is a month from today... I can't believe how quickly it is approaching. I am ready to plan a beautiful celebration in honor of her LIFE. March 16 is the one day a year that is totally and completely hers. And it always will be to me. March 16 is etched onto the heart of those who know and love my girl as a day that reminds us she was really and truly here.

On another note, Valentine's Day made me think of my sweet Heavenly Valentine and how four years ago on February 13th, I was celebrating her LIFE with my Valentine's-themed baby shower. Now the holiday will forever make me think of her and those special memories. It's one of those "days nobody remembers," as I've written about before

I really wish I could decorate her headstone/special spot for Valentine's Day. I had wanted to send some decorations to my friend Elise to do it for me, as she often does, but I didn't get around to it this year. Hopefully I can at least decorate her spot for her birthday. It's so hard living hours away and not being able to go as often as I'd like.

From Catherine at The Sacred Seashore
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Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Letter

Over the last day, my heart has been heavy over what has happened. For Luke's 5th Heaven Day which was Thursday, February 6th, I shared a letter and poem to him. It was shared on quite a few pro-life news sources as well as on The Blaze website.

Anyways, I got a message on Facebook this morning from a woman who said I had taken her words as my own... I feel the need to explain what happened and to apologize.

While I was in the midst of writing a long letter of love, from my grieving mother's heart, to Luke Shiloh in February 2013, I googled "letters to aborted babies" and came across a sweet letter written to "Aubrey" in 2008 from her grieving mother, Carla Stream. The letter deeply resonated with me because I had felt and expressed some of the same words about my beloved baby that she wrote in her brief letter to her beloved baby. I realize now that I crossed the line of simply being inspired by her letter to the point of actually copying a few of her sentences and ideas. (Side note: I did not go looking for letters to "steal" as some people have accused me of. My heart was hurting and I was simply looking for people who understood).

These are the parts of the letters that I am referring to:

Hers:
I was distraught even as you grew. I was distraught before the vacuum suctioned your body from mine. I was distraught after. Regret hardly conveys the depth of my emotion. A grief and a sorrow that consumes me at times. I can hardly bear it because I did not fight for your life. Fight to protect you. Fight for your right to live and grow and be. I did not place your life before my desperate thoughts of self-preservation. I was deceived into thinking you were a clump of cells, tissue, you were nothing, you were not even a baby.

Mine:
Regret barely conveys the depth of my profound emotion. At times over the past five years, the deep grief and sorrow has threatened to consume me...I was distraught as you grew, distraught as I took that little pill that I thought would “fix things” and distraught afterwards. I can hardly bear it that I did not fight to protect your life, like a mother should. I did not place your life before my desperate thoughts of self-preservation. I was deceived into thinking you were not really a baby yet at that gestation (6 weeks), so what I was doing was perfectly okay.

Hers:
The grief I feel is hardly as big as the love, Aubrey. The love I have for you knows no bounds.

Mine:
The grief I feel is hardly as big as the love, dear Luke. This love I have for you knows no bounds.

I want to apologize for making such an unwise and unthinking choice. Even though I shared some of her thoughts and feelings, I should have clearly expressed them in my own words, rather than using someone else's. I am genuinely sorry for hurting Carla and taking some of her words to her daughter.

"Nothing so clearly discovers a spiritual man as his treatment of an erring brother." -St. Augustine

I realize that I did something wrong. I admit that. I am not saying it is insignificant. However, I have been shocked and saddened by how people have treated me in regards to this. I have honestly felt like I am being bullied. People are gossiping about me and slandering me and saying things that aren't true. It's almost like people are delighting in this "juiciness." People have accused me of using this as a way to make a "name" for myself or make a "buck." People have accused me of wanting 15 minutes of fame. That I am trying too hard for recognition and looking for an audience. People have accused me of stealing another post-abortive mother's relationship and grief and passing it off as my own. That I am cold and callous. I have been called a fraud. That this is the most despicable thing they've ever seen. I have been called an emotional vampire. I did something wrong, but how is it going to help anything or anyone for people to talk about me with each other, as if they know anything about who I am?

First of all, if I were trying to gain fame or make a name for myself, why would I want to be known for having an abortion? Of all things. Also, I wrote the letter a year before sharing it publicly, meaning I did not merely write it to publish it. Some people are suggesting that I made it up and that I never even had an abortion. If I were going to make up something about my life, why would it be this? I will release my records from Planned Parenthood if need be. Secondly, I don't charge a single penny for anything I write or when I speak. I am a nanny and a full-time college student, living in my parent's modest home.

I did not steal another post-abortive mother's relationship. I used some of her words which I am so sorry about. But my grief over Luke and my loss is real.

I did not maliciously do this. I am not cold and callous. Her words poignantly captured something that my heart felt. I am someone who made a dumb mistake. I did not want anyone to be hurt. I care for the unborn and post-abortive women. I had nothing to gain from sharing this letter.

I have also been accused of only responding to Carla when this went public. I responded to her as soon as I read her message to me and immediately apologized. I tried to work it out with her just the two of us first. I didn't want to hastily post something about this on Facebook, so I took my time in praying about how best to respond... that was the "delay." I feel like I've been hit with a ton of bricks and I honestly had no idea how to go about this. This just happened today. I am sorry if people think I am not moving fast enough.

People have also accused me of not taking her words down and for continuing to take credit for her words. I am making every effort to have her words removed and have done so already on my personal blog. Where is the letter on my blog that people say is still here? Seriously, I don't know where it is and have tried to find what you are talking about. I would never want anyone to think Carla copied my words, as has been suggested. Anyways, observant people would see that she wrote her letter in 2008, a year before I had my abortion.

I know that some people will think that I have lost all credibility. That is okay if you think that. A few words that I shouldn't have shared does not negate the thousands of words that I have shared about Luke and Lily. It doesn't take away the letter that I wrote to him. It doesn't change the beauty of their lives and legacies. It doesn't change my genuine grief and love.

I have removed my Facebook page entirely. I know that people are already saying that speaks to my character and that I don't want people to see my apology. Well, here is my apology. I had to take my page down for I could not take it anymore. I feel broken. No matter what I say, people are going to believe and say what they want about me.

I am sad that people think this defines me. Those who do know me know where my heart is. They know the truth of who I am. I am so thankful that God has a plan and purpose beyond what I can see right now and that HE sees my heart.

Again I am sorry and I ask for forgiveness. I am just so, so sorry to everyone who has been affected by this...

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Friday, February 7, 2014

Gimme Shelter

I am going to see the movie "Gimme Shelter" tonight. It hasn't been out very long and is already only at one theater now and only one show time - 10:10 p.m.! I don't usually go to late-night movies, but this is an awesome pro-life movie that I really want to support. And I thought it would be special to go see it on Luke's Heaven Day as a reminder of just how far God has brought me since this day five years ago.

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Luke's 5th Heaven Day

As soon as my eyes opened this morning, I remembered how five years ago on this day, I awakened with a heavy heart and tear-filled eyes. My unborn baby would be alive within me for just a few more hours. Five years seems like so much time.

I drove to Planned Parenthood that cold Friday February morning. It seems odd now that it's called Planned Parenthood, like I could somehow change the fact that I was already mothering a babe in my womb. The nausea I was feeling day and night was a constant reminder of this. I had never planned for this. I had never wanted a baby before marriage. I never thought I'd have to deal with such a thing. Nobody facing this situation ever thinks it could happen to them...

Two of us entered that clinic - my nineteen-year-old, selfish, sinful, broken self and my six-week-old unborn child. Only one of us was able to voice what we wanted. Only one of us would make it out of the whole ordeal alive.

At around four that afternoon, the pill that would cut off all life supply to my thriving baby was placed in my hand. Hannah Rose, run! Don't do it! I wish I could talk myself out of taking that pill. The Planned Parenthood employees stood there coolly, watching me put the tiny pill on my tongue and the cool water to my lips. I swallowed. There was no going back. This little pill called mifepristone would block the hormone progesterone, which is needed to maintain pregnancy. 

Once I took the first pill, I was required to take the next set between 24-72 hours later. I was told one last time what to expect and they said if I had any serious side-effects, I was to go to the emergency room. I was instructed to come back on February 17th, to make sure the pregnancy was "thoroughly terminated." If there were complications, I'd have to have a surgical abortion to complete the "termination". They sent me on my way. I left that afternoon in tears. Tears describe this entire chapter of my life. No words were spoken. What was there to say?

February 6th is a day of remembrance... remembering and acknowledging Luke's brief, but beautiful life. The fact that he truly did exist and was the first child of my womb. It's a day of remembering what this day held in 2009 so that I never lose the urgency in sharing the truth of how horribly ugly abortion really is. On this day of remembrance, I will light a candle for my sweet child whom I'll never get to know on Earth. I will talk about him and I will love and miss him. I will share his story so that other men and women won't have to know this lifelong pain and so that other babies might have LIFE.

Read my entire post-abortion pro-life testimony HERE.


First child of my womb,
Quietly you grew, hidden from all eyes.
Why didn't I choose LIFE?
Why did I believe the lies?

Flesh of my flesh,
My baby, forever you'll be.
I'm sorry I chose the wrong way.
I'm sorry I didn't SEE.

Your life was not wasted.
Valued and precious you are.
God is speaking mightily through you.
From my thoughts, you will never be far.

From darkness to light,
You will always be a part of the story.
Our Father in Heaven promises
To work all this together for His glory.

Your name means "light" and "peace,"
My precious little one.
That's what He's brought in all of this.
In Christ, the victory is won!

I promise to be your voice
Until my days on earth are through.
I will never be silent
Until the time that I meet you.

In that moment, 
I will gaze upon your face.
I will hold you, kiss you, know you,
In awe of His great mercy and amazing grace.

Even then I know,
Your legacy will still live.
For He breathes beauty into this story,
And purpose He will continue to give.

I love you my little Lukey.
Thank you for changing me.
Until we meet, my darling,
A forever part of me you'll be.

With all my might, I'll fight in your honor,

Until the battle for LIFE is won.
In my eyes and heart,
You will always be my son.
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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Working on Her Scrapbooks...Again

I have written several times over the past almost 4 years now (you can see those posts by clicking HERE) about how I am making a scrapbook for Lily (which has now turned into two scrapbooks). One scrapbook documents my pregnancy and the time Lily was here on Earth and the other documents her birthday, memorial service, etc.

Since last week, I am again working towards completing both scrapbooks. My goal is to have them both done by Lily's 4th birthday on March 16. I can't believe it has taken me so long. I feel the need to finish telling her story in this way. I want to be able to look at the scrapbooks myself and share them with others. 

I have been spending hours thinking about what to include, googling ideas, going through photos, editing those photos, getting scrapbook supplies and coupons for those supplies, picking out the perfect background paper and stickers, figuring out how to structure the pages... it is quite a time-consuming process. And it is proving to be an emotional process for me. However, it is truly healing and special to be able to do something for my girl... to be able to tell her story in another way. 

I am first working on finishing my pregnancy scrapbook. I want this one to be a book that is only happy, a book that celebrates the fact that she lived. I want it to be like any other pregnancy scrapbook you'd see. The other scrapbook has a more somber feel. But, both make up Lily's story and both need to be told.

I was thinking about why over the years I would get really into scrapbooking and wanting to finish and then I would stop for months... but it was always on my to-do list of things I needed to do. I have realized that in some ways, I am a perfectionist. But mostly only when it comes to Lily. I feel like nothing I ever do is good enough... I don't want to look back on the scrapbooks I make and wish I could change them because they don't seem good enough. That is exactly what I feared when designing Lily's memorial headstone. That eventually I would get sick of it and think it's not good enough for her. That I didn't do the best I could do in the only way I know how to be a mother. I have already decided to re-do a few of the pages I did a couple years ago... they just didn't seem quite right. I hope I don't keep wanting to re-do over and over. But, I am willing to do whatever it takes to make these scrapbooks perfect for Lily... not perfect in that everything is cut perfect or proportioned just right. I have come to accept that I am not a perfect person, so these things won't be perfect. But, that is okay because there is beauty in imperfection. There is beauty in the fact that I am an imperfect person, an imperfect mother, just trying to do something for my girl. I want them to be perfect in the way it documents her life... I want people to see it and smile when they see what a beautiful little girl I had. I want people to celebrate my pregnancy and all those months I carried her. I want people to rejoice that Lily lived and that she is in Heaven right now... that's what will make these scrapbooks perfect.

I have also come to realize that nothing I ever do will ever feel "good enough." Because what I really want is to be a mother to a living child... living Lily. But, that will never happen on Earth. I hope and pray that I do have more children one day...

And when that day comes, I will have two beautiful scrapbooks to help tell them the story of their big sister Lily Katherine.


When I am finished my scrapbooks, I will share photos here... I will also give ideas and inspiration for those wanting to create their own pregnancy/babyloss scrapbooks.

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Even When I'm Not Looking for Reminders

I look for reminders of Lily and Luke throughout my days... a butterfly fluttering by... lilies on the side of the road. I don't have to look far to find things that make me think of them.

But even when I am not looking for reminders, they are there...

I was watching television one night this past week when I saw two commercials that made me think of them. The first was a commercial about the upcoming winter Olympics. I have written before about how the last time the winter Olympics were on, I was eight months pregnant with Lily and enjoyed watching them for hours with my family. It is such a bittersweet memory... I wish my almost-4-year-old Lily was here to watch them with us this year. So the fact that the Olympics are coming so soon again has me thinking of her... and the commercial reminded me that they start on February 6th - Luke's 5th Heaven Day.


I also saw a commercial for a television show that will air on March 16th - Lily's 4th birthday. 

It's crazy that I see both their dates in just a few minutes of each other. Having February and March back-to-back is hard for me. Around this time each year, I always see advertisements and other random things with their dates.

Even when my heart needs a break, I am reminded.

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