Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Free Photo Editing for Stillborn Babies

I recently had the honor of editing the photos of a precious baby who was born prematurely, at around half-way through pregnancy, and passed away. The parents discovered that their baby was in fact a girl, after originally thinking she was a boy and getting pictures in a blue outfit.

With my Lightroom photo editing program, I was able to change the coloring of the outfit to look pink and purple. It was incredibly meaningful to me to be entrusted with their cherished photos of their precious daughter. And it was deeply touching to me to see how happy they were with their edited photos.

I know how significant these pictures of our babies that we don't get to raise on Earth are. That is why I want to offer my help with anyone who has pictures of their baby in Heaven that they want edited... whether you simply want a copy in black and white, want the discoloration in your baby's skin to be lightened up and smoothed out, want their name, birthdate, or a special phrase added in a loopy and elegant font... basically whatever you want done and I am able to do, I would be happy to help you with. Your photos would be completely safe with me and I would never share them with anyone else. Also, just to clarify, I can edit photos of all babies, no matter what gestation they were lost. I want to help your photos look their best so you feel comfortable sharing them with others.

Feel free to email me at roseandherlily [at] gmail [dot] com.

Here is an example of a picture of Lily before and after editing (someone else edited this photo for me a few years ago, but I am just using it as an example.):


A couple posts I've written that you might be interested in reading:
-Retouched Photos for Babyloss Parents
-The Priceless Treasure of a Photo

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Her Every Detail

The most darling hand. I can't wait to hold it again. She was "perfectly formed and beautifully real," as her song says. Her tiny nails already growing out, her eyebrows and little eyelashes. Every part of her so very precious.


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Lily-Purse

Over the weekend, my mom got me this purse - the brand is called "Lily Bloom" and it has colorful butterflies all over it. I love having Lily-things as a part of my days, a sweet reminder of the little flower who budded on Earth and is now blooming in Heaven.


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Lily Remembered at Onslow Beach

Lily's name was written in the sand last week at Onslow Beach, North Carolina by my sweet friend, Roni. :)


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Saturday, June 25, 2016

His Higher Ways and Thoughts


At just the right time, the Lord brought me across a video testimony that has encouraged me, built up my faith, and left me in a puddle of hopeful tears. Watch the video below (email subscribers click here). I'll share my thoughts below the video.


Although our stories are different, many of the things they shared in the video are things I can relate to and feelings I'm wrestling with. Their story ministered directly to my heart.

The gist of the story is this couple grows up together, even living across the pasture from each other part of their childhoods. The husband is older than the wife, so as they are growing up, he thought she was a squirt and she always thought to herself that one day she'd want to marry someone like him. Little did she know, one day the Lord would bring them together as husband and wife.

When he was 12 years old, God gave him a vision of a little girl with dark skin and eyes. He showed him that this was going to be his daughter and her name would be Chloe. He kept this tucked away in his heart for years. He had assumed that he'd marry someone with a dark complexion.

One day they are sharing their hopes and dreams with one another and she tells him that she already has a name picked out for a hoped-for daughter... Chloe.

When they were married, they decided they were ready to have children. Only, they couldn't conceive for 4 1/2 years, which was understandably extremely painful for them. She put into words something that I too am feeling right now, but didn't even realize it until I heard her speak the words. She said as they were longing for a baby and not getting pregnant, she struggled with questioning God's goodness because she felt like it was such a mean thing to do, for God to withhold children. She wondered if God is good even when He's not doing things that she would define as good? I am not dealing with infertility, but I am weary from all these years of missing Lily and all these years of praying for a godly husband and the circumstances where I am able to have another baby. I must confess that it feels like God is being mean to me and treating me differently than His other children. He took my daughter away from me and is leaving me isolated and lonely. In my mind, it seems that His goodness would be displayed by writing a story of redemption, in bringing me together with a husband and having children to raise in the ways of the Lord.

They were talking about their hopes and dreams for the future and she said she felt like God made her to be a mother, that was her dream... They prayed that God would take the desire away if they weren't meant to be parents, but instead it seemed to only grow stronger. That is my dream too and I wonder, why won't God take this dream away if I am not meant to mother a child on Earth? The ache and longing almost feels too much to bear at times.

All their friends were having kids and she "had to just wait and put on this cheesy, fake smile and say we're happy for you." Each time they'd hear of someone getting pregnant, they would be devastated and think they were "fools who want kids and it's never going to happen." Oh man, can I relate to this. Literally day in and day out, I am surrounded by so many people getting into relationships, getting engaged, getting married, getting pregnant, having babies, having more babies... and I feel like I have to put on this cheesy smile and say I am happy for them. Now don't get me wrong, I truly am happy for those who have these gifts. But it hurts so badly wondering why God won't give me these good gifts too. Am I a fool who thinks I'll have a family of my own one day? Each time I see another person close to a decade younger than me in a relationship or someone who announces they are pregnant with their "rainbow" (a baby born after a loss) though I am many years further out from losing Lily, I can't describe the ache. I literally have to "unfollow" people because it just is a bitter reminder of what I am missing out on each time I see their photos and updates.

The Lord led them to pursue adoption (though the father was adamantly against it at first) and they got an email that a birth mother had chosen them to adopt her baby. Get this, the little girl was due in March 2010, when Lily was due and born. They went to meet the birth mother and she shared that before she even knew the gender, she had been calling the baby... Chloe. God had given that name to all three of them. It is precious to see the actual video footage documenting that time in their lives. Hearing this reminds me of how the Lord spoke so clearly to my heart very early in my pregnancy that my baby was a girl and her name was Lily. He so evidently knows our babies by name and has a plan and purpose for their lives.

She shared during their years of infertility and longing for a baby that God shifted her perspective and she realized she could live a full and happy life and be satisfied in the deepest way a human can be satisfied, even without having a child. I am praying that the Lord will give me the peace and contentment in knowing that I too can be fully satisfied and live a beautiful life, even if I never get married or have another baby. It's a painful possibility to even consider, but I know that it's true that my fulfillment comes in Christ alone.

These are some things spoken in the video that deeply touched my heart... After the Lord led them to adopt Chloe: "This surreal presence of God was all around us and I felt Him saying to me, 'see how much I love you? Do you see this, do you see what I've done? I've been writing this story. You had no idea. I've been writing this story for years, since Walt was a kid, I've been writing it.' I realized how foolish I was, how my perspective was so skewed in my own pain that what I saw as Him not loving me was in fact Him being the most loving He could have been.... It was like He was whispering to me in that moment, 'I've been here this whole time. You didn't know, but I've been here this whole time. I've been walking this thing with you and I was just saying, 'trust Me, trust Me, trust Me.' I've got something good up ahead."

"It's a constant struggle to just sit in His sovereignty and when everything is falling apart in your mind, just to wait.... He doesn't leave anything to chance. It's not random."

"I think God is just incredible. I think it's incredible the way He flung the stars into space and that same God, the same God who keeps the world from falling apart, He loves me, with or without us ever having a child. That's what He's taught me through this. He loves me and I can be so secure in that love. To be able to trust that and rest in that is the greatest gift."

Their words and story are a reminder to trust my Father's plan for my life. He walks with me. He is writing my story, even when I don't see Him doing so. My perspective is skewed by my pain, but I know He is still there. He is asking me to trust Him. I am to wait. Every small detail is in His hands. As the saying goes, "hindsight is 20/20." I believe one day I will look back and clearly see God's fingerprint on each season of my life, in everything.

This Scripture has been resounding in my heart and mind lately, like the Lord just keeps planting it there, showing me that I can trust Him...

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." -Isaiah 55:8-9

It is comforting to meditate upon this truth, that my God knows what He is doing. I can only see my immediate circumstances and concerns, but He sees the entire picture, my entire life. Even though I don't always understand what He's doing or why, I know I can trust Him. He is in absolute control over everything that touches my life.

Please pray for me at this time, that I will keep turning to the Lord and not give into listening to the doubts and discouragement that the enemy keeps whispering in my ear.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Tea Party and Lily Garden

This past Saturday was a truly special day. I was asked by my wonderful Bible study leader, Terri, if I would share my testimony at a ladies tea party. I of course am honored each and every time someone wants to hear my story, so I emphatically said I would.

Here are about half of the ladies who were there. We unfortunately thought to take a group picture when many of the ladies had already left. Several of the ladies were from my Bible study and several were from Terri's church.


It was neat that my "Aunt G" was able to come to the tea party. She had never heard me speak in person before. She is an honorary aunt, having been friends with my mom since college. She makes me laugh a lot and I consider her one of my dear friends. I always love having her visit from Maryland. When she was leaving, she said "you make us laugh and you make us cry." Haha


The tea party was held at a charming Bed & Breakfast in a nearby town. The weather on Saturday was unseasonably beautiful for this time of year in North Carolina. The breezes were refreshingly delightful sitting on that front porch.


The beverage area.


Lilies were part of the centerpieces. :)




Yummy snacks.



The tea party and the fellowship with other ladies was wonderful in and of itself. The cherry on top was having the opportunity to share my story! I was blessed that it was well-received and I enjoyed talking with some of the ladies afterwards. At the end of my sharing, I played Lily's song <--- email subscribers, click to listen. Everyone who hears it is always deeply moved by it. I was told it's the perfect way to end. I couldn't agree more.



That big front porch is amazing!


After I shared about my sweet girl, my mom and I visited a local Daylily Farm that our friend Shelby told us about. It's not far from where the tea party was held. I thought it was the perfect time to go, when my own little Lily was heavy on my heart.


In a field of lilies... the perfect place for this Rose to be. :)


All the different colors of lilies are gorgeous!







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Father's Day

Father's Day makes me grieve all that Lily's father is missing out on with her.

His love for his daughter, as well as his anguish over losing her, are both clearly written on his face in this picture. 💔


Lily's hands with her daddy's... she had his hands and feet.


They will always be a part of each other.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Lily Remembered in Cyprus

Lily's name was written in the sand in Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, by my British friend Sophia. She wrote: "Here are some pics I took just for you and your precious Lily all the way from Cyprus. I had to write very quickly as the sea came in quick in this tiny bay." Loooove!! And what a sweet butterfly by her name. 😍  







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Lily and Rachel Remembered at Atlantic Beach

My sister-in-law Kala beautifully wrote Lily and my Aunt Rachel's names in the sand at Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, this week on June 14th, Rachel's 51st birthday. I love the picture with both their names. :)




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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Happy Birthday, Aunt Rachel

My Aunt Rachel Ross would be turning 51 today. She was born on June 14, 1965. June 14th is Flag Day and Rachel was given the middle name Ross partly after Betsy Ross, who sewed the American flag.

Sadly, Rachel only lived for 3 months outside of the womb. She died on the operating table at UVA on September 10, 1965 as her doctor attempted to save her tiny, deformed heart.

Rachel was the seventh child of my grandparents, James Kirk and Nancy Virginia Bain. My mom is the eldest of the seven. This is the only family picture of all nine of them (baby Rachel in my grandmother's arms and my mom is in the back with the glasses). They are standing in front of Holy Comforter Catholic Church in our home area of Charlottesville, Virginia on the day of Rachel's Christening.


My mom was 9 when Rachel died, so she clearly remembers that time and has shared her memories with me. She even has a diary she wrote in then. 

My grandmother still grieves and attends Compassionate Friends meetings and events. We now have the bond of knowing what it's like to have a daughter in Heaven. We were always close, but Lily and Rachel have brought us closer. 

My mom said one of the few times she saw my grandfather cry was when Rachel died. Her absence has left a hole in my family. Each year, we remember her on her birthday. We will always miss her and wonder who she would have become and what other cousins I might have had. I'll always love her and hope future generations will speak of and remember Lily the way I do Rachel. Even when I was a young teen, before I ever knew I'd lose my own child, I would go to CF meetings with my Bumma. I see now how God was preparing me for a future only He could see.

You can read more about my Aunt Rachel in a blog post I wrote by clicking HERE.

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Lily Remembered at Glasanacardoch Bay

This is the Glasanacardoch Bay in Scotland. Lily's cousin's grandma sent me this beautiful photo and wrote: "I couldn't write Lily's name because of the rocks. We were thinking of her though as I do every time I am near the water!" I love that. :)


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Monday, June 13, 2016

Lily and Rose Candle

My friend Chloé in New Zealand (who drew Lily's portrait) shared this photo with me and said "look what I just saw in the shop!" I love the candle itself, the fact it made her think of my girl and I, and that the rose and lily look similar to those on my blog header/on Lily's stone. :)


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