Sunday, February 27, 2011

Just remembering...

One year ago today I held his tiny little cold body for the last time.  I kissed him and told him again I loved him and handed him to Jamie so that he could be placed in that little bitty box. The lid was closed and sealed and he was placed into the ground and covered with earth. There have been many, many times since then that I have literally wanted to take my bare hands and remove that earth for one more kiss or to fill my arms with his 4 pounds 7 ounces just one more time. What stopped me?  Well, because I know that he is not in that little box buried under the earth. He is in a place of perfect peace and rest...a place of serenity...of love...of no evil...Heaven. Often, when I go out there, I take my finger or hand and trace the imprints of his sweet little feet on the cold stone that covers his resting place. It reminds me of how very small and fragile he really was. I went yesterday and remembered just a year ago the last time I ever touched him. The last time that I knew the weight of him in my arms. I still have not gotten to the point that I can hold another infant because I do not want to replace the feel of him in my arms.  I know that soon I will hold his sister and that is in a sense perfect for me.  Not that she will or ever could replace him, just that maybe she can ease some of the ache in my arms. With each passing day I become more and more ready to hold our precious little Amelia.
It was also a year ago today that my milk came in for a baby who would never need it. I remember this being one of the most difficult things to deal with because yet again I felt my body had betrayed me.  I know it was just doing what it naturally does, but why this time?  Why should I have to deal with this on top of everything else. I'm not sure why this was one of the more difficult things to deal with. It just was. 
We sang happy birthday to him in church this morning.  That one act of remembrance means more to me than that congregations will ever in a million years know.  In a way he was validated today.  It is so easy for others to forget that he was ever really here.  I understand that and get it.  I do not even resent it.  It makes me sad that he could be forgotten so easily...but I understand. But, he was remembered and acknowledged and treated just like everyone else there with a birthday.  It was just beautiful and was good for my soul.  Thank you to the wonderful people I go to church with. 
I know that this is kind of all over the place...I just needed to get it out. 
Much love,

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Our Birthday Celebration for Eli

Yesterday we celebrated Eli's 1st birthday.  I couldn't help but think all day that we should be getting him ready to play in his smash cake.  As I had my camera out most of the day documenting our day, I had an intense longing to take pictures of a little boy toddling around and having a great first birthday.  Those are normal things, aren't they? Yesterday was difficult and gentle all rolled into one. 

Jamie and I wanted to make the kids a big part of the day.  We didn't want them to feel like they did not have a part in the day.  Jamie and I decided that instead of having Eli a cake made, we would let the kids help make him one.  Honestly, we had a pretty good time making his cake.  We decided to make him a chocolate cake because we just thought chocolate would be Eli's favorite.  My mother owns a tea room and we went up there to bake and decorate the cake as she had all of the pans and such that we would need. Here are a few pictures from our cake making adventure.

We had to let LR in on the action and she enjoyed every last lick. 

Jay enjoyed a few licks of his own. Don't fret Cooper got a few also!

As you can see LR is wearing more chocolate than the cake! The boys were wearing quite a bit also.
Once our cake making adventure was over we went home and met Jamie who had picked up balloons for us to release at the cemetary.  My mother, father, sister, and brother-in-law met us at the cemetary to release balloons.  My mom bought a precious statue for Eli's birthday and my sister put a sweet balloon out there that said Happy Birthday.  Here are a few pictures from our balloon release. 

After we release our balloons and spent a few minutes around Eli's resting place, we left and came back home to celebrate just a litte more.  Honestly, I think this was the point where things got really tough for me.  We came home to sing happy birthday to Eli, blow out his first birthday candle and eat his cake...only without him.  We all sang happy birthday to an empty seat and the boys blew out his candle. It just plain hurt. We has his teddy bear in the pictures because that is how we choose to fill his empty spot.  Here are just a couple of pictures from our last part of Eli's birthday celebration.

I really think the kiddos had fun doing something in Eli's memory. I am so glad we chose to make them a part of this day. The anxiety leading up to his birthday was pretty intense. It is almost as if some old wounds were reopened. Wounds that had begun to heal. I just felt raw yesterday and really the last few days. I want to thank so many of you for your kind words, prayers, and love you sent yesterday.  It helped in more ways than I can express.

Much love to you all,

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy First Birthday My Sweet Eli!

To my sweet Eli,

There are no words to express how very much I miss you today. Today you are one year old and I can only imagine the wonderful celebration you are having in Heaven.  Your brothers, sister and I are going to make you a birthday cake today.  The selfish parts of me wish that you were here to play in your first cake and enjoy our love for you on such a wonderful milestone. Dear Lord, how I long to hold you and kiss you.  I know the celebration you are having is unimaginably greater than anything we could do for you here.
You, my sweet little boy, have changed me so much in this last year. You have touched so many. I want you to know how proud I am of you.  I count it great joy that I got to carry you in my belly for 32 weeks and then hold your tiny little body as you slipped from this earth. You are and always will be a huge part of this fourth child.
I often sit and dream about what you are doing up in Heaven.  I can not even begin to imagine how wonderful it is there.  Do you realize that you have been there for a year now, or do you have no concept of time?  How many new friends have you made?  Does Jesus put you on his lap and tell you stories? I imagine that you are walking and running around in Heaven...but really, I have no idea.  So, I am left to dream of you in your Heavenly home...and dream I do. I pray to God every day to tell you how much I love you and miss you. Do you know that you are soon going to be a big brother?  How exciting!
I love you little man and I wish you the best first birthday ever!  We have a cake to make and balloons to send your way.
Happy Birthday Eli!
I love you more than words,

Saturday, February 19, 2011

One year ago today, I wrote this.  I had no idea that in almost 48 hours I would face all of those fears.  Where has time gone? I miss my sweet little boy so much today! Mama loves you baby boy!

Much love,

Monday, February 14, 2011

And the winner is............

I got my sweet honey to help me with my giveaway drawing. 

I Love Him!!
Isn't he just the cutest!
I could just hug him right now!

Sorry, I got forgot myself for a minute.

I put the names in a box

Jamie, my honey MAN...
Jamie drew this name

So congratulations Melissa @ Amazing Mikayla Grace.  If you will e-mail me your info I will get your prize to you.  Actually, I am going to have Wild Olive email you a gift certificate and you can get the shirt in what ever size you want...or you can get another tee that strikes your fancy!
Thank you everyone who entered and left your favorite quote.  I sure wish that I could have just given 10 tees away!  

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!
Now I need to go hug my honey ( I might even give him a sugar)!  Make sure you hug yours too (add sugar if you please)!

Much love, 

Last day of the Lovefest!

I am so sad that today is the last day of Mattie's festival of love blogs. Mattie is featuring two blogs today. I believe you will be blessed my what both of these mothers have to say today.  Natasha and Melissa are the two featured love bloggers today.  Natasha is also having a great giveaway.

Make sure to sign up for all of the giveaways before it is too late.  My giveaway is open to anyone!  I will leave it open until tonight so make sure to leave me a comment on yesterday's blog if you would like to be entered to win. 

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone!

Much love on a day of love,

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What Love Really Means To Me and a Giveaway!

Today, I will be contributing to Mattie's  love project by writing a blog post on love.

What Love Really Means

I felt very honored that Mattie would ask me to be a part of this.  I immediately began thinking about what I could say about love.  I came up with several ideas each day.  Then as I read every one's post on love...well I had to come up with new ideas.  I guess great minds think alike. I knew I wanted my writing to reflect my true feelings and my heart. I also knew that, since it is a Valentine's project, I wanted it to be about the love between a man and a woman.  The one theme that kept coming back time and time again was sacrifice. I feel like this is what God was leading me to write on.

I whole-heartedly believe that sacrifice is part of any love relationship, whether it be husband and wife, parent and child, friend, or our relationship with God.  However, I just want to focus on the relationship of husband and wife.
What is sacrifice?
If I had to give a definition in my own words of sacrifice, I would say it is giving of yourself without expectation of anything in return. Isn't that what God did when He sent His Son to earth to be ridiculed and crucified? There is nothing that we can do to earn God's love.  He loves unconditionally. We just have to step forward and accept His love. 
What is the lesson here?
That is how it should be in a marriage. Our men should not have to earn our love. That is not always an easy thing to fathom. Some days we just do not feel like loving our hubbies, and I am sure that is a two way street. Okay, I know that is a two way street. I think part of sacrificial love is demonstrating our love for our significant other even on those days they have not "earned" our demonstration. The best place to learn about love is from God himself.  Romans 5:8 says,
But God commendeth (demonstrates) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
 So, even when I am at my MOST unlovable...God still demonstrates his love for me.  To me that means that when my honey is at his most unlovable....I have to demonstrate my love for him.  Do I always do this? Do I always want to do this?
NO! Should I....YES! Sometimes that feels like I am setting myself up for emotional pain.  We all know that when someone is being not so lovable....well they can be mean and hurt our feelings.  That is why sacrifice is a risk.  We risk emotional pain when we give without receiving. Just because we do not receive does not mean that we should stop trying. Sometimes it might take Mr. or Mrs. unlovable a little time to come back around. I think that sometimes we have the misconception that marriage is a 50/50.  I say we because I catch myself in that trap sometimes. Sometimes, one or the other spouse will have to give more than 50%,  GASP!!!!!! Possibly 100%.
To love at all is to be vulnerable. C.S. Lewis
How do I sacrifice more when I feel like I have sacrificed too much?
Jamie and I knew November 30, 2009 that our love would be tested to its limits. In the first 10 years of our marriage we never really faced any significant tests. There were minor issues and minor spats that all couples face.  Looking back on that time, I realize that we were close but not as close as we could be...would be. In the two years before November 2009, we faced some stiffer challenges.  They were speed bumps that I am convinced God placed in our path to build our build our endurance. These were things that had we chosen to allow them, could have caused irreparable damage. We chose to each sacrifice and work through these things for the sake of our love, vows, and marriage. Then November 30, 2009 happened.  We found out that the child we were carrying was "incompatible with life".  We KNEW that this would change us one way or another.  We talked about it. We determined to let it grow us and not split us.  We KNEW that this would take sacrifice on both of our parts.  Some days Jamie has to pull a greater weight...some days I do.  I look back and see the great many sacrifices that Jamie has made since Eli's diagnosis and death. I am in awe of how selfless he has been. I have had to learn to make certain sacrifices also and I do it willingly because I love my husband.  We all know that the way men and women deal with the loss of a child is completely different. That has been a difficult thing for me.  I think that sometimes, men just want to know that we are going to be alright.  Some days...I just cannot answer that for myself...but I still need to reassure him that I will pull through. I realize that some days, I have to put my feelings aside for his sake...for his sanity.  Whether you know it or worry...especially about the ones they love. They take on more than they should because of this sense of total responsibility that they are born with. 
There are some days that I feel like I have been asked to sacrifice more than my fair share because God asked me to give my son back to Him.  Some days I do not feel like I can sacrifice anymore of myself.  I feel like there is nothing else left of me to give. The hard part is realizing that my hubbie might be in the same place and then digging deeper within myself and giving more. I have not been asked to do anymore than he has.  
I honestly feel like Jamie and I have grown...our relationship has grown...our love has grown having been faced with the loss of a child. We both realized that we were going to be asked to sacrifice more than normal, but we were prepared and willing to for our love. The reward would be that we have each other to walk this extremely narrow and winding path together. I would have his warm embrace...his hands that wipe my tears...his companionship...his utter devotion...his unfailing love...all things that I cherish and long for...all things I lovingly and gladly offer and share with him in return.  

Mattie posted a link to the song Love Never Fails by Brandon Heath on her blog the other day.  That is my very favorite song.  These are the verses in the bible that those lyrics come from.
I Corinthians 13:4-8 (ASV)
4 Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 
5 doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil;
6 rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth;
7 beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Love never faileth:
My favorite part of these verses is love endureth all things. Love never Faileth. This part gives me warm fuzzies, especially when I think about them in the context of my marriage and my husband.  I love him more and more each day and I am so thankful God placed us together. That being said...some days I have to work at it more than others, but it is absolutely worth it!

To show some love to all of you, today I am hosting a giveaway.  I will be giving away a Wild Olive Beauty from Ashes t-shirt.

Front view

Back view

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite love quote is and who said it. This giveaway will end on the evening of February 14 and the winner will be selected at random. If you would like to check out Wild Olive Tees for yourself, here is the link.

Have a great day! I am going to leave you with another quote from C.S Lewis that I really like.
This is one of the miracles of love.  It gives a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.

 Much love,

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What Love Really Means: Day 12 and a giveaway

Today's love post is written by Megan at A Story Unfolding. Megan issues a wonderful challenge in her post today.  Yet again, Megan's blog is new to me.  I really enjoyed reading what she had to say about love.  I will be keeping her in my prayers.  Megan suffered the miscarriage of her rainbow baby last week.  Make sure to click on over and read her words and enter her giveaway.  I have not read the book Megan is giving away, but it looks like a good book. Now, go visit Megan and be blessed today. 

Tomorrow, I will be posting my love blog for day 13 and I will be having a giveaway also.

Much love, 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 11 already!!! Show the love and a giveaway!!!!!

Today's featured blogger mama is Jill.  This is another blog that I have never visited before today but was so touched by. Jill's words ring so true.  Thank you for sharing your heart today Jill! 
Jill is also having a giveaway on her blog today!  It is a really cool giveaway!  Make sure to hop on over and show her some love today!

Much love,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What Love Really Means: Day 10 aaaaannnnndddd a giveaway!

I can not believe we are already ten days into Mattie's amazing love project. Today's love blog was written by one of the sweetest mothers, Katy.  Katy's blog post on love is a beautiful one that you will not want to miss. Make sure to visit her and show her some love today.  In return, Katy is showing some love with a giveaway.  You will not want to miss her post and giveaway! 

Don't forget that there are several ongoing giveaways on previous love posts.  If you have not entered yet, you still have time. 

Much love,

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What Love Really Means: Day 9 and (insert drumroll) a giveaway!

I do not know about you but all of the amazing giveaways have me crossing my fingers!

Sorry this is so late today.  I have just spent the better part of three hours in the doctor's office with my oldest munchkin, Jay.  He has strep throat and I am pretty sure after leaving the doctor we could be contaminated with something else.  Keeping my fingers crossed about that also and hoping no one's cough, sneeze, or whatever germs could reach us. So......without further delay, today's love blog was written by Jessica.  I had never been to Jessica's blog, so it was nice to visit a new space and read what love means to her. Jessica is also having a really cool giveaway.  So click on over and show her some love!

I also wanted to tell Anonymous that I LOVE the VALENTINE acrostic!  That is really cool.  If you are wondering, check back on the comments from yesterday's blog post.  It is a great use of John 3 :16!

Much love,

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Show some love for day 8 (and another great giveaway)

Today's love post was written by a sweet mama who has two precious babies in heaven.  Marie always speaks to me in her blog posts. She is such an inspiration. Go on over to Marie's blog and show her some LOVE today.  You will be glad you did.

Also, Mattie is having a really cool giveaway today. There are also three chances to win her giveaway. Make sure you check out Mattie's blog to enter her giveaway. 

Much love,

Monday, February 7, 2011

Love, love, love...Day 7 and yet again another great giveaway!

So, today you will be visiting Kelly at Sufficient Grace Ministries for a terrific blog post on love. As with all of these mothers, I have never met Kelly.  I feel like I know her though.  She writes so openly and freely.  She has a wonderful heart for Jesus.  Her love post today is so wonderful.  Kelly is also having a really great giveaway.  So, make sure you hop on over to her blog and be blessed. Thank you Kelly for sharing today. 

Thank you so much for your prayers for me and Amelia.  I woke up feeling somewhat better today and hope that it continues.  I think I am going to turn into a cranberry.  If it helps....well I'll just be a cranberry! I'm holding off on calling the doctor right now.  Thanks again!

Much love,

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Who doesn't love to talk about love? Day 6 and a giveaway!

Today's love blog was written by a mother whose blog I have never visited before.  I promise you I will be visiting again.  She really inspired me today.  Hop on over to Heidi's blog to be inspired yourself. 

Also, Mattie is having a giveaway today.  If you have not read the book she is giving away, you should check it out. I read it in a day.  I just could not put it down.

Thank you anonymous for posting a poem also!  I love it when other's play along!  I saw your heart in your poem.  It was evident that your focus is where it should the Lord! So thanks again!

I would also like to ask for prayer for myself and Miss Amelia.  I have been feeling like I am developing a UTI for the last two days.  I called the doctor on call yesterday and he suggested I go to urgent care and let them run a simple test to see what was going on.  I went to urgent care yesterday and the doctor there said everything according to the test looked good.  Well, I am still having some discomfort.  I have been drinking plenty of cranberry juice and water.  If it continues, I will call my doctor tomorrow.  As I learned with my pregnancy with Eli, a UTI can irritate the uterus and cause contractions.  I do not want that.  So please pray that whatever is going on will clear up.  I am in week 31 of my pregnancy and it is just too soon for contractions.
Much love,

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Lovefest: Day 5 and a giveaway!

I'm pretty sure Lori, who wrote today's love blog had a hard time tearing herself away from her brand new and so stinking cute little guy, Luke to write for us.  I was so blessed by her words and I know you will be also! Lori is also having a giveaway on her blog today thru Sunday night.  If you love Thirty-one goodies make sure to hop on over and leave her a comment.

I really am enjoying all of these lovely blog posts! Thanks to lovely Marie and my super sweet hubbie for adding to my poems! Marie, I loved yours! Jamie I laughed out loud at yours (You know me so well, don't you!).

Much love,

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lovefest day: 4

Today you will be so blessed to read Lissette's blog.  She shares her love for her family so beautifully in her post.  Thank you Lissette for sharing with us today. 

I was so completely bummed that there were no takers on my poem challenge.  That's alright, I'll post mine anyway and if you still want to share you can in the comments section of this post or yesterday's.  I still love you guys! If you are like me you have been way busy!  I'll share with you later about the concert I went to last night.  Just a hint...Kerrie Roberts, Jason Gray, 33 Miles, Building 429... tired today...can't get moving. Well, I digress.  Without further delay I will post my poem.

Lost in the joy with
Openness abounding even through
Valleys and on top of peeks
Everlasting affection remains.

Alright, now your turn! The challenge remains!  I'm just determined...or stubborn...or I just can't let things go. You'd have to ask Jamie which one it true, but then again maybe not because as I said...I just can't let things go.

Much love,

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lovefest: Day 3

Wow, reading all of these love posts has really given me such joy.  Today Caroline at The Croley Gang has written a blog post about the secret ingredient to life.  Her story was so touching and sweet!

Also, Mattie is having a giveaway today that you will not want to miss.

I'm going to leave you today with a small assignment.  What can I say...It's the teacher in me!


You guessed it!  It is an acrostic poem.  Leave your poem in the comments section of this blog post.  I can not wait to see what you come up with! I'll post my poem tomorrow! Now go...hop on over to these sweet ladies and show some love. 

You can get to these blogs in one of two ways.  You can click on the button on my sidebar or you can just click on the person's name. I have created a link that will take you directly to whatever page you want to visit. Hope this helps. I had a question about how to get to specific pages.

Much love,

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lovefest: Day 2

I know you will be truly blessed by today's love blog! Holly wrote today's post.  Holly blesses me so much. Her blog on Steadfast Love is a beautiful one.  She is also having a giveaway on her blog today.  Thank you Holly for sharing your heart with us today! Also today is Mattie's baby girl Shyla's 17 month anniversary in the arms of Jesus.  Her brother Jakin recently joined her in heaven.  Visit Mattie and show her some love today also!

What Love Really Means

Much love,

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Lovefest: Day 1

I am so excited to post the link to Franchesca's blog today Small Bird Studios.  Franchesca wrote the first blog of this lovefest.  Mattie kicked off this lovefest with an introduction that you should also read here.
Then finally there is a giveaway to announce.  Tiffany is having a special giveaway on her blog that is sponsored by Franchesca from Small Bird Studios. 

What a wonderful and exciting way to start off the month of love...February!

Remember to tune in each day from now until February 14. You can also share the love by grabbing the button on Mattie's blog and adding it to your blog if you have one.

Much love,