Thursday, December 31, 2009

One more...

post of 2009.  This is it.  The last day...the last few hours of 2009.  This will always be Shyla's year.  The year we found out we would be expanding our family.  The year we lost our daughter.  The year that our perspectives changed.  But, just becuase 2010 holds new opporutnities and possibilities doesn't mean that we love her less or don't think of her less.  Everyday holds new opportunites and possibilities.

Here's to a JOY filled New Year for all of you! 

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

So we made it through Christmas.  No, we didn't just make it, we were carried through.  God brought us much comfort and joy.  That's not to say that no tears were shed.  There were.  But just like when a baby is comforted by the love in it's mothers arms, we too were comforted by our Father's love.
These are just a few of the things people had given us and we had picked out to help remember our baby girl this Christmas.


This is Shyla's ornament that we left on her stone.  Next year, we will hang this one on our tree and get her a new one.  I had a matching one with Mom on it on our tree at home.We left that pink tree there for her too.
We just loved this angel ornament with a pink dragonfly on it.  The picture really just does not give it justice.  It is really beautiful.
We gave these dragonfly ornaments to our family to put on their trees to remember Shyla.

This ornament was given to us by the funeral home that helped us with Shyla's service.  They held a remembrance service December 13. 

I participated in a secret Santa with other mom's that I met online who lost a baby due in November 2009.  This is one of the gifts from my "Santa".  Isn't it beautiful!  She also gave me a georgeous journal that I love!

This was a gift from a beautiful woman I am blessed enough to work with.  She painted this block as Christmas gift and I was so overwhelmed.  I'm afraid I could not adequately thank her for remembering my precious daughter.  It's rare for anyone to mention her, much less add her to our gift. 

These were made by my aunt.  Again, it meant so much just to have her remembered.

As the holidays approached, I really wasn't dreading them too badly.  Then, last Monday, my cousin's three month old baby tragically died unexpectedly.  The baby was the same age Shyla would have been and I was overcome with grief (I will have to write more about the revelation God gave me in this grief later).  So when Christmas Eve came, I just wanted to lay in bed.  Seriously.  I had been awake for a while, but didn't want to be.  I knew Ben was awake, but I didn't know what to say to him.  Ben must have noticed I was awake and simply said, "Merry Christmas Eve" and I broke down.  I cried so hard.  God was teaching me something.  For now, lets just say "lesson learned".  I will try not to question this pain anymore.  We went on with our plans for the day.  Christmas Eve lunch with my Mom, brothers, sis-in-law and 6 month old neice was the first thing on the agenda.  My older brother lives in Oklahoma City with his wife and daughter and my younger brother is away at college, so it was nice to have everybody together.  The last time we were all together was Shyla's funeral, so I can't say that didn't cross my mind.  We opened our traditional Christmas Eve gifts from Mom, new PJ's then it was off to the in-laws.
We made the hour and a half drive and had dinner and exchanged gifts with my husbands sister, brother-in-law, neice, brother, father and mother.  We had a good time and Ethan got lots of new toys and clothes.  He was so much fun to watch open gifts.  As he would tear into them he would say, "What is it Mommy?!?!?"  He was SO funny!  God has blessed me so much with him.  I don't know I would have gotten through without the love and excitement he had through Christmas.
We drove back home and stopped in at Mom's again to read the Christmas story from Luke and light our Christmas Eve candle.  Mom gave the kids some more gifts and then we went home.
Christmas Morning came and we read through all of the notes in Shyla's stocking.  You may remember we asked friends and family to help in filling her stocking by doing random acts of kindess.  This was such a beautiful way to begin our Christmas morning and I am so glad we did this.  We cried and laughed and had such joy in the kindess of others.  Thank you to everyone who helped to spread a little Joy in memory of our baby girl.

We woke up Ethan early and got started opening presents.  I got something really beautiful from Ben.  Keep reading to see what it was.  Ethan had so much fun!

We went to Mom's and my dad was already there.  My parents got divorced when I was about five, but he still comes every Christmas Morning to my Mom's house to be with us and now our kids.  We had sausage balls and muffins and breakfast cassarole.  We spent the afternoon playing our new Wii games with the family and then had Christmas night at my Grandma's house with my brothers, cousins, cousins kids, aunts and uncles.  There were about 23 of us I think.  8 kids from 6 months to 10 years old.  My brothers baby was the center of attention, and she should be, she was the youngest.  But Shyla should have been there.  That would have been her grand debut.  It hurt so much, not having her there.  I felt like everyone was a little afraid to speak to me.  I hope I didn't look as fragile as I felt.  I'm glad I made it through with relatively few moments where I had to compose myself.  It was hard, but I did smile and I was there, so I think I did good.
 Once, my neice was needing a nap and my Mom was trying to rock her, but there was just too much commotion in the living room.  I took her to the darkness of my Grandma's bedroom and I sang to her and rocked her and in moments she was fast asleep.  I took her back into the living room and sat in my Grandpa's recliner to rock her.  My Grandpa past away 2 1/2 years ago due to a massive stroke seven days before his seventy-seventh birthday.  I was really close to my Grandpa and the ache of his absence is still very strong, especially at Christmas.  So for me, this was a special moment.  Rocking my neice, this beautiful little girl, in my Grandpa's chair.  While she wasn't my daughter, I felt so close to Shyla in that moment.  Maybe my neice was dreaming about her or maybe God just was hugging me tight at that moment so I did not notice how empty my arms are.  Whatever the reason, that was just the most special part of the evening.  

Then, before my brother and his family left to go back to Oklahoma, I just had to get one more picture of the cousins together.

(Do you see the dragonfly they are playing with?  Cute, huh?)

I would post pictures of all of the sweet things my mother got me, but the post would go on forever.  The list includes a canvas print of one of the pictures I took of the flowers in Shyla's arangement.  It is beautiful.  She also got me th really neat dragonfly wall hanging and a frame.  As always, she got us all more than she should have, but she has such a giving spirit, she can't really help herself.

And while all of these gifts were great, Ben, my wonderful, caring, awesome husband got the most beautiful one.

Those are Shyla's footprints.

Like I said...BEAUTIFUL!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Written in the Stars

I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to Amanda at Written In The Stars for writing Shyla's name in a picture of the night sky.  Nights are my special time of reflection, prayer and talking with other mothers who bless me so.  Again, I can't thank her enough, this is just beautiful.

I am overwhelmed.

My cousin, C, will be burying her three month old baby tomorrow.  I have no words, just tears.  I am putting together some things for her and am completely overwhelmed.  Shyla would have been the same age.  Please pray for peace for her and her family and that they feel the loving arms of the father holding them right now.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Where Are You Christmas?

I recently heard this Faith Hill song on the radio and began to cry.  This pretty much sums up Christmas for me.  At first, I was questioning how I would feel.  I knew Christmas would be different this year.  Then I came to a realization that Christmas is not about me, right?  Christmas is about the love of Christ.  God himself sent his son to be born, and to die.  God knew from the moment he sent his son to earth in the form of a baby that he would one day soon see his son die.  And he sent Him anyway.  For us.  What love has our God for us that he would send His son to earth to die for us so that we may spend eternity with Him?  So then the greater realization is that Christmas should not just be thought of as a day, or even a season, but as an act.  We are celebrating the gift of Christ himself.  That is something, once really realized will transcend all of our earthly circumstances and bless us this time of year and always.   

"Where Are You Christmas"

Where are you Christmas
Why can't I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can't I hear music play

My world is changing
I'm rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too
Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I'm not the same one
See what the time's done
Is that why you have let me go

Christmas is here
Everywhere, oh
Christmas is here
If you care, oh

If there is love in your heart and your mind
You will feel like Christmas all the time

I feel you Christmas
I know I've found you
You never fade away
The joy of Christmas
Stays here inside us
Fills each and every heart with love

Where are you Christmas
Fill your heart with love

So, I know where Christmas is.  It is here.  Inside me.  Inside you.  Christmas is not the gifts, decor and even all the get togethers with family.  Christmas is about a Father's love for His son, and all of His children.  While I still ache for Shyla to be here with us this Christmas, I wonder what it is like in Heaven at Christmas time.   My baby is celebrating with THE GIFT.  She is spending Christmas in Heaven and that is so much better than any present I could have ever bought her.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Shyla's Collage

Thank you so much to Franchesca at Abiding Hope Collages for this beautiful reminder of my baby girl.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I feel a bit speechless the past few days.  Words want to come.  So many words.  But when I open my mouth (or touch the keyboard) nothing comes.  Maybe I'm a bit like Zechariah.  I know God can do amazing things through my life to give glory to Him, but at times, my big mouth might get in the way.  Zechariah's mouth was shut by God so he did not mess up during Elizabeth's pregnancy with John.  He doubted, so he became mute.  Maybe God has got the mute button on my mouth right now so I can't nay say what he is planning to birth.  I can feel something brewing inside me and new opportunities have been presented to me.  A door has been opened and I am really hoping this is what I have been praying for.  Sorry to be so vague, it's just that things aren't really clear yet and I do not want my mouth to speak where it has no authority to speak and I don't want to underestimate what God can do.  So for now, I will sit and wait on the Lord until he sees fit to let me speak these things. 
I know that God can and will make beauty from ashes and I feel like I am watching this process before my very eyes.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Shyla's Stocking

Today is December 1.  Tomorrow will be 3 months since we said good-bye to our little girl. 

Christmas is my favorite time of year and I have been searching for a way to keep it that way, even in the midst of our pain.  I found this wonderful idea from another mom whose little boy is in Heaven and was really inspired to do the same thing she did the first Christmas without her baby.  The following is a letter I have sent to facebook friends, and will send to family in Chirstmas cards and email to other friends.  Please read, and if you feel so inspired, participate.  I know a lot of you are remembering your angels this Christmas, so feel free to do the same in memory of your precious child.

Dear Friends,

First, let me thank you all for your love, support and prayers over the past year. Thank you for sharing in the excitement of our pregnancy and in the sorrow of our loss. We know each one of you felt our pain during the loss of Shyla. We celebrate her life and, like a stone tossed into a pond, are now seeing some of the far reaching ripples of the donations made in her name to the Pregnancy HELP Center.

As the holidays are approaching, we are excited to spend time with family and friends and watching the excitement in Ethan’s eyes just overwhelms our hearts sometimes. But, we still feel the need to remember our daughter this Christmas. We have a little pink stocking, but really don't want to see it hang empty, so we have decided to enlist all of you to help us.
All that we ask is that sometime between now and Christmas, do something nice for someone, no matter how small or large. It doesn't have to involve money--just commit a random act of kindness. When you do it, think of Shyla and dedicate that act her. You can even leave a note saying, “This random act of kindness was done in memory of Shyla Joy", but you don’t have to. Please write down your act of kindness and send it to me through e-mail (at and put “Shyla’s Stocking” in the subject line or slip a note into your Christmas cards to us. I won't read it. I will print it out the emails and put it in her stocking. Then, on Christmas morning, we will open up all the notes and read them. Feel free to share this request with your other friends and family and forward to your facebook contacts, but even if only a few of you do this, we will have a really beautiful thing to share on Christmas in our sweet baby's memory and someone else (the recipient of your kindness) will benefit by a true example of the spirit of Christmas. I will pray that all of us will be struck by inspiration, that something will come to each of us, some kindness that we can share of ourselves, in Shyla’s name and in her memory, to benefit someone else.

Thank you so much for your participation and your continued love and support,

Ben, Mattie and Ethan

For idea’s and inspiration for random acts of kindness, visit

To read about how other moms remember their children spending Christmas with Jesus this year, visit Kelly at The Beauty of Sufficient Grace.