Sunday, January 31, 2010

Blogs and Kisses

I just wanted to let everyone know I have started two other blogs.  I know...I'm a bloggy addict.  Seriously.  I could read blogs all day.  Too bad I can't get paid doing that, right?

My first new blog I started after finding a recipe for making my own laundry soap.  I tried it.  I loved it.  So then I started researching recipes for other cleaners and such.  We are on the road to being out of consumer debt (everything but the house) in April and I could not be happier!  We have been on Dave Ramsey's financial peace plan for a while and can't wait for the day that we can call into his radio show and scream at the top of our lungs "WE'RE DEBT FREE!!!"  I started this blog mainly for me to keep track of my "recipes", frugal tips and ideas.  Hop on over to Nothing But Love to check out those recipes and frugal tips.  But keep in mind, I haven't been doing much over there, and for some reason I can't create a link like I can in this blog, so you see the whole, long, web address when I try to link something...hmmmm....I will keep working on that.

My other new blog is a crafty one.  I love repurposing things, creating things, scrapbooking and paper crafting and when I found the wealth on information on all of these subjects in blogs online I started my own to chronicle my attempts, successes and even crafty failures.  Again, I just started and just have like three posts, but if you are interested, head on over to Creative Joy Crafts.  (Warning: there are going to be lots of baby crafts.  I have lots of friends having babies and I have found it is much easier for me to make gifts than to wonder around the baby department looking for them.)  The first crafty blog I ran across was Joy's Hope.  I found her first, because I found the story of her Joy Emma and how she is also a baby loss mama.  She is a wonderfully creative lady who has since been blessed with three little girls and always finds creative ways to remember her Joy.

I am finding so much enjoyment in looking through different kinds of blogs.  Baby loss blogs help me on my grief.  Creative blogs spur my creativity and give me ideas and inspirations.  Frugality blogs help me find new ways to save my family money and be creative with our income.  SO...I think I will be looking into a bloggy make-over for one of my blogs and I think I know where I will be going for that.  If you haven't heard, Franchesca (from  Handprints from Heavenand Abiding Hope Collages) has started Small Bird Studio and offers beautiful and affordable blog make overs.  The proceeds go to help her fund the Hope Collages.  So if you are in need of a makeover, go see her!

If you all know of any blogs I need to read, email me!

Monday, January 25, 2010


To put it mildly, I've been having a rough couple of days.  I wont get into it all, but trust me...I am not the person I want to be the past few days. 

Then, I opened my devotional and read this...

"We are Christ's ambassadors.God is using us to speak to you; we beg you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, receive the love he offers you-be reconciled to God." 
2 Corinthians 5:20

In light of my last post, my announcement that we have been asked to be the March of Dimes Ambassador in our area this year, I am a bit more than ashamed that I have had the attitude that I have had.  But gosh it's just so hard sometimes.

Abba Father,
Please help me be more beautiful in your eyes through not only my actions but my thoughts and REactions to things around me.  Let your light shine through me.  Help me through the next few days and the challenges that I am facing.  Your will be done in all things.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I started looking for a local support group back in October.  No luck.  We live in a pretty rural area and there was nothing here.  The only thing we have access to is private counseling, but I was really looking for a group we could be a part of and contribute to.  I researched the Compassionate Friends, Share, MEND, MISS, all of them.  Then, on a random websearch I came across the March of Dimes website.  I had no idea what all the March of Dimes did.  I had participated in the March for Babies before (when I was pregnant with Ethan was the first time), but I had NO idea the money raised also supported research in all kinds of health issues...including clotting disorders and other issues related to miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death.

I looked around their website some more and found that part of their mission is to provide support to bereaved parents.  Who knew!?  They even sponser "A Walk to Remember" (the steps they'll never take).  We might not have a lot here, but I do know the March of Dimes Regional Office in a neighboring county.  I sent them an email saying I was interested in learning more about any support groups or services.  Then I waited.  And waited.

In early December, I got an email!  The local office does not currently offer services for bereaved parents, but wanted to start a committee to lead up support efforts and they asked if I would be willinng to be a part.  Of course I said yes!  I was so excited!  We met once in December to brainstorm what we could do to support bereaved parent and parents of babies currently in the NICU.  The closest NICU is a little over 2 hours away, so we were trying to think of things to take there to support families du ring their stay.  I never experienced that.  BUT, I am going to be able to share what I know.  Which, sadly, is only death. Among the people that were in attendance, there were two March of Dimes employees, a mother with a lively little girl who was born very premature and is now 4 years old and healthy, there was a mom to twins that were born premature about a year ago and both are now doing great, a mommy to a set of twins who were born at 24 weeks, one survived, one did not, and then there was survivor here.  At times I wondered if this was the right place for me, but the more we talked, the more I knew it was.  LOTS of great ideas came from this session, but we left not knowing exactly where to start.

We met today for the second time.  There were just three of us there, but I still feel like we got a lot accomplished.  We are trying to get info out there and start some support services.  The March of Dimes employees are busy planning the marches and getting everything ready.  If you are familiar at all with the March for Babies, you know that every year the March of Dimes selects an Ambassador to share their story and lead the official March.  The Marches that I have attended, there is always a healthy baby or preschooler who has overcome many odds and is a survivor of premature birth. 

This year, they are taking a different approach.

They asked me today if we would consider being the Ambassador, in memory of our Shyla.  At first, I have to admit, I thought "I bet she doesn't remember my baby died.  There is no success story here.  There will not be a healthy bouncing baby girl at the march."  But as we talked more, it was very clear she remembered my story.  I will speak at the kick-off luncheon in a few weeks and share her story.  They told me I will need to speak with the press also and gave me a tip sheet on how to do that.  Then, in April, at the March for Babies, Ben, Ethan and myself (with Shyla's blankie in hand) will ride in a convertable and lead the march through the downtown area of that neighboring town where the regional office is located.  This will not only be a March for Babies, but a Walk to Remember our girl.

I am honored. 

She is honored. 

Pray that God is honored in all of my words and actions.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Another Visit

We will be making another visit to the funeral home this week.  My great aunt Mary passed away early this morning.  This is the aunt that we found out had cancer about two weeks ago, the same day as my cousins funeral.  Two weeks.  She had cancer in several different organs around her body and the doctors said they just caught it too late then sent her home. 
She is now safe and restored in the arms of our Heavenly Father and no longer in pain.  Please keep my family in your prayers.  So far, this year is not shaping out to be like we'd hoped.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


That's what I am.  I completely admit it now.

Pray for God's wisdom and guidance in our decisions.  Ben has been going through the rather lengthy process of interviewing for a different job.  His dream job.  The process began with a written exam...he passed with flying colors.  Then, there was a physical test.  No problem for him.  Then a packet of paperwork to fill out that included everything from info on his inlaws to a list of every person he has ever lived with (and yes the dreaded question: How many children do you have?  Give me some help, how would you answer this...think about it, you are asked ALL the time on paper work).  Then, lastnight someone came to our house to go over the packet and do sort of a mini interview.  Yes thats our house...

Most wives would probably be cheering their hubby on.  And I'm trying.  But I haven't gotten to the hardest part of this for me yet.  If he gets this job (I should say "when he gets this job" because it sounds like he's a shoe-in) he will have to go to training.  Lots of it.  I mean 18 weeks in one location, 10 weeks in a different location and 14 weeks in the field training. 42 weeks.  10.5 months.  Most weekends he will be allowed to come home from late Friday night until Sunday morning, about 36 hours, to do laundry and rest.  But then back at it.  The first 18 weeks will be about a hour and a half away.  Then 10 weeks will be two and a half hours away and then he can be placed anywhere in the state for field training.  Ugh.  I'm nausiated just thinking about it.  I admit it.  I am really dependent on my husband.  And it has gotten about 100 times worse since our loss.  I want him to be happy, I really do.  So we have talked and I have been there, supporting him.  But he knows how I get anxious about him being gone so much.

His son ADORES him.  I don't think I have ever met a child that is more of a daddy's boy.  This is one of the strongest reasons I dread all that time with him gone.  Another is due to our second child.  I know she is in Heaven and will not physically be here missing him, but in my weakest most bereaved moments, Ben is here for me.  He is an awesome man.  Really.  If you don't know him, you are really missing out.  Yet another reason this time away makes me uneasy is our third child.  The one yet to be concieved.  This was going to be our year.  We had talked about when we would like to add to our family, and with my clotting disorder, every year I age increases the risk of issues.  It's kind of hard to have a baby if your husband is three hours away.  So we talked about it and I started to believe I could do this.  If we timed it right, he could be gone our first trimester and then be home before I have to start giving myself daily injections of blood thinners.

Then the "what-ifs" started coming.

What it I have a miscarriage and he isn't here?  What if I get injured at home...who will be here to get me to the hospital?  What if I am put on bed rest?  What if I have much more restrictions due to having a high risk pregnancy?  What if I can't...

Then to add to this, when Ben asked the gentleman that came to our house lastnight if there was a family emergency during training, would they let him miss a day to come be with family.  Basically, the guy said no.  He said that you are not allowed to miss any training.  In extreme circumstance, he could possibly come home for a few hours to one day.

The "what-ifs"  were almost taken care of then and there.  I can't do this alone.  Then when reading lastnight, I realized I wouldn't be alone.  God is always holding me.

So, now we are praying and leaving it in God's hands.  Like we should have done from the beginning.

Ok, before anyone thinks that I am being incredibly whiny and attached here let me acknowledge that I already know that.  I know there are many, many amazing women who live without their husbands for months at a time while they are working or serving and protecting our country and I truely admire them.  But, for me, and for this time in our lives, it is almost too much to think about.  I did not get married to live alone.  not for one month...not for ten months.  So please don't take my words as wrongly.  My husband is truely an awesome man and a great father.  Just please pray God's will be done in our lives and that whatever path our lives take glory is given to God.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Reading Random Acts of Kindess

Before Christmas, Ben and I sent a letter and email out to friends and family asking them to help us fill Shyla's pink stocking with random acts of kindness.  On Christmas we read all of these acts of kindness.  It was a beautiful way to remember her this holiday and we weren't the only people who benefited from these acts, so did the recipients of each act that was done. 

I want to share these beautiful acts of kindness.  I hope that all of our friends and family were touched by doing these acts of kindness and continue to look for ways to be kind on a daily basis.

It always amazes me how people go in and out of our lives.  These letters are from family, in-laws family, co-workers, people we go to church with, girls that were my dorm neighbors in college, a fellow color guard member from college, friends of friends, random acquantances, a bridesmaid, friends from high school and complete strangers.  God has used each of them to bless me. 


The first letter I got, was a beautiful letter to Shyla.  I believe this was their random act of kindness...

Dear Shyla,

What a beautiful angel you are in the sky!  I bet you're having a grand time in Heaven filled with joy and laughter.  Ben, Mattie and Ethan are all looking forward to meeting you one day at your lovely new home.
Please watch over your mommy, daddy and your big brother who all love you very much.  Please help heal their broken souls.
You will never be forgotten, and I wanted to with you a very Merry Christmas!

AJL and family  Barbourville, KY


In Shyla Joy's Memory

I have donated money to the Voice of the Martyrs.  This money will go to provide aid in Vietnam, buying 5 Christmas Care Packages for children and 1 Village outreach pack.  Iv'e included a page to explain what these packs include.  I decided these could be gifts that keep on giving.

My love to you all,
Mom  Monticello, KY

Enclosed was this:


On the Monday before Christmas, a person walked through the door of a business that I was working and God said, "Thats the person for you to help".  I knew this person was in need.  It is against that companies policy for a vendor to give money to an employee.  I spoke with the manager privately.  He said he would be glad to give the money to the employee without them knowing who or where it came from.  This has made me realize we can reach out privately and help others.  Thanks Mattie, we will always remember the "Creative Joy" that Shyla has brought into our lives.  With our Love.  May God continue to bless others through you, Ben and Ethan's efforts.

RW, London, KY


Instead of doing Secret Santa this year, my department will be donating to the Children's Center here in OKC, in honor of Shyla.

A, and office  Oklahoma City, OK


I hope you guys are having a wonderful Christmas.  In Memory of Shyla Joy, my best friend (A) and her daughter (H) and myself made ornament to tak to our local nursing home.

We had a wonderful time making and distributing the ornaments.  It was a great blessing to us to see the happiness and smiling faces when we gave them their ornaments.  We made 102 total ornaments, but we had some left over.  So I thought you might like to give some to your family members.

Our hearts broke for you and your family when we heard about your loss, yet I truely saw your love for God in the face of grief.

M, B, A, B, H, T, and S  Berea, KY

Merry Christmas!


Today, I shoveled the snow off my neighbors' driveways and sidewalks as a random act of kindness, in honor of Shyla.

S.D.  Corbin, KY


I gave a (needy) infant in the church nursery a bath and some clean jammies (that I had purchased for G {her grandaughter and my niece}), in honor of Shyla.

T.M.  Fayetteville, AR


I hope Christmas morning is a blessed time for you.  I want you to know that I am in awa of not only your faith, but your willingness to allow others to see it so amazingly.  I have given a lot of thought to your "challenge" to honor your baby girl in some way during the Christmas holiday and I worried I wouldn't be able to find a cause worthy enough!

On Tuesday evening, we were presented an opportunity to serve others, I know that it was Heaven sent, with you in mind.  R and I were asked to help the church deliver Christmas gifts to four families that had been identified as "needy" by different church members.  One of families includes two children, a boy and girl, that attend our Kids Jam ministry that we have on the first Saturday of each month.  They often come without socks, appropriate shoes, coats, etc.  We were able to purchase clothes, coats, and toys for both of them.  You should have seen their faces when we knocked on the door.  The smiles alone were enough to bless our hearts.  We delivered to three more children in three different homes and the reactions were the same.

I am thankful for the opportunity, but more than that, I'm thankful that R got to see the real meaning of Christmas first hand.  It's not a coincidence that R's Christmas play at church was about taking food and gifts to the less fortunate.  His character did not wast to help deliver the gifts, he wanted to stay home and watch t.v.  Today, his teacher asked him jokingly, "R would you rather be at home watching t.v. today?" and he loudly answered, "This is a lot more fun than watching t.v.".  You can't learn these lessons in Sunday School alone!  We had a memorable Christmas Eve...

I pray that you have a wonderful Christmas morning and that the letters and emails will bless you in a way that only serving God can.  We love you!  Merry Christmas!

B and family (Monticello, KY)


Oh Mattie...I too lost my baby but it has been 12 yrs in October.  I already had two boys and to loose my third was more than words can describe.  Then on my birthday, three years later, welcomed my fourth little boy...such a joy.  I will be praying for you and your family always and this year we will add Shyla Joy to the gifts we give at the mission.  It will read:

To a very special child
From two very special children

In Memory of Brian Bo Williams
Shyla Joy

Love to your Family this Holiday Season
Merry Christmas
L.W.H.  Moore, OK


Three others and myself went in together to help a fmaily with 4 children, all under the age of 5.  We bought presents for the children to help the mom because they lost their dad a few months ago to h1n1.  It was nice to help such a sweet family and a blessing for I (her son) to be a part of!  Hope you have a Merry Christmas!  Thank you for being such an inspiration and ray of hope!  God Bless you and your family!

M.B.  Somerset, KY


In honor of Shyla, I gave my seat to a young pregnant girl, in the waiting area of a restaurant.

JW   Somerset, KY


We want to wish you a very Merry Christmas today and oray that this same Spirit of our Savior's birthday will continue with you through the New Year.

Your example of God's love through this season has been a true encouragement and blessing to us and many others, I am sure.  Thank you for sharing your hears and faith.

In honor of Shyla, we have donated items to the crisis pregnancy center.  Today we put together a gift bag with clothes, bottles, wipes, books, blankes and other items to donate.  We hope this Spirit of God's love and care with others not just through this holiday season, but through the days and years to come.

We love you and pray blessings on you continually,

The M family  Somerset, KY


In memory of Shyla Joy, I baked homemade carrot cake for my Pastor and his wife for Christmas, I also baked banana bread for all the computer workers at church.

Love ya,

D, T, & E  East Bernstadt, KY


Today, outside the grocery store, there was a Salvation Army Bell Ringer.  It's a cold, snowy, windy Chicago day.  There is a Starbucks inside the grocery store.  After putting a few dollars in the kettle, I gae the bell ringer a gift card for Starbucks and told her to get something warm and have a Merry Christmas.  I think by the time I loaded my groceries, she was inside.

I just want you to know that I think this is a wonderful idea-Wishing you and yours a Happy Holiday Season.

J.C.  Chicago, IL


On Tuesday this week, I was out finishing my Christmas shopping and I decided to stop and get a hair cut.  Just a trim, nothing special.  As the yong lady, about our age, was cutting my hair, we were chatting about shopping and Christmas and the like.  Sher mentioned that very few people had been in that night and she was going to go home with very little tip money.  Only seconds later, God brought to my mind your request for Shyla's stocking.  I truly felt that God was calling me to scatter creative joy to this young lady.  So, after I paid her for the $12 haircut, I handed her a $20 bill and said, "Merry Christmas!"  Her face was priceless with a very large smile and she simply said, "Thank you."

I know that today God holds your entire family together in His almighty hands and I'm praying that He lets you feel His loving touch.  Merry Christmas!

E. P.  Lexington, KY


I do not know what this world would be like with Shyla.  Your lives would definately be at least one step more chaotic.  I do know that she would have been a very happy baby and her laughter and smiles are missed.  She has not been far from my thoughts this Christmas.

I helped various people I came in contact with in different ways:

Helped some find things they were looking for, even if it meant directing them to another store that I knew had what they were looking for.
Helped others reach items on a top shelf or pick up things inadvertently dropped.
Taking their cart to the cart return while it was raining.
Let many that were backing out of a backing out of a parking space know that it was clear for them to do so, especially the ones that appeared uncertain or nervous.

Once I started it was neat to see all the little things that can be done to just make something a little easier for someone.

I know each act for each of these people was not a lot to them, but it was nice to bring a smile to these people and make that moment in their day a little easier.

God bless you two and Ethan, this Christmas Season.

I love you all very much.

T. W.  East Bernstadt, KY


For Shyla-

Papa donated the money was that was left over from M fixing the roof at his house.  M was going to give Papa what was left but he told M to use it for 2 families that were needy this Christmas.  Also if any was left afterwards put it in the Church fund.

In remembrance of your precious angel we dedicated the Christmas service at the detention center.  We made lots of treats and to watch the faces of those who will not be with their family this holiday is special.  There was a moment of prayer and sharing about Shyla and all hearts were touched.

Thinking about you all.

E. and L.  Monticello, KY


This season we have been trying to think of all the ways we could spread some kindness for Shyla.  Every time we pass a Salvation Army bucket, K puts a few coins into it.  I love to see the look on her face when I tel her that she has helped some one have a Merry Christmas.  She gets a big smile and tells me that she is glad.  What a kind little heart she has.  The other day we gave a small donation of money to help provide a Christmas for some children in Lincoln County who would not otherwise have one.  Finally, todya we are baking bread to take to our neighbors as a way to with them a Merry Christmas.

We hope that each random act of kindness that someone has sent you brings happy tears to your eyes as we all remember Shyla's little life this Christmas.  May your fmaily grow in love and closeness through the challenges you have faced through the year.  We are going to say a special prayer for all four of you on Christmas Day.

We love you so much, have the merriest Christmas!

R, J, and K  Somerset, KY


I just wanted to share in this time with all of you.  I admire what you are doing.  God will bless you on this day and everyday to come.

My act of kindness was taking diapers in the size they were needing to the pregnancy center in Monticello.

With Love,
R.T.  Monticello, KY


This year, we decided to pick up two small children's names from the angel tree.  We decided that way, these kids would have a Christmas that may be a little better due to the kindness of strangers.  Shyla truely has been a blessing and has caused others to be inspired to do acts of kindness for others.

The P. family London, KY
I got another note from this same family a little closer to Christmas.

Other things we have done to celebrate your baby girl include:
Buying food for elderly people who could not afford to buy food for themselves.  We have done this everytime we go to the grovery store and buy special things for the holidays.
We have also took in a fmaily member that due to the loss of his mother would otherwise be alone on Christmas.  When I say we "took him in", we invite him to ALL of our family events.  Events that would otherwise be limited to just us and our parents.
When we cook dinner, we make enough to send to others that don't have a lot of food for themselves.
We would like to thank you all for inspiring us to do things that we should have been doing all along.  You are very dear to me.

Merry Christmas to you and your entire family!

The P. family  London, KY


I'm hoping you will check your inbox one more time before reading the messages in Shyla's stocking.  My thoughts and prayers have been with you more than you realize, and I hope you find peace throughout this holiday season.

This year, in honor of your baby girl, my family (and extended family) has helped supply two families (seven total children) with Christmas gifts (pajamas, coats, clothes, CD's, stereos, overnight bags, and cash).

Please know that you have both been such an inspiration to me!  I honestly find peace through your peace...

Merry Christmas!

E.C.  Monticello, KY


We handed out hot cocolate and handwarmers at the Lexington Christmas Parade to share the love of Christ with anyone there!!  In Shyla's beautiful memory!!  We love you guys and will think of you during this Christmas.  We are so proud of all you are doing in her memory!!

C. and T.  Wilmore, KY
I also recieved this in an email from this sweet couple.

Ever since you sent out the challenge to do random acts of kindness in honor of Shyla, I've been trying to think of small things to do every change I get.  Yesterday, T and I went to Newport to get a way for a night and we had an hour to kill so we went to Gamestop and played some arcade games.  We ended up getting about 50 tickets and we knew we wouldn't use them.  As we finished up our skiball I handed our tickets to a mom who looked like she was about to kill her three boys who were tugging and pulling.  She was filled with so much joy at the fact that a stranger would give her boys free tickets and I watched as all of her frustration left her face and pure joy filled in its place.
It is truely amazing to me how you and Ben have turned a tragic situation into something so magical!  God is working through Shyla.  As all these people have done radom acts of kindness, Shyla's life has created pure Joy that we know comes straight from God.  This joy isn't just in the lives of others, but in us as well!

I just really wanted to share that with you.  I hope I never forget how easy it is to do small things and be used by God to create joy.  To be used by God is a true blessing!

Love you guys!
C. and T.  Wilmore, KY


After we recieved your Christmas card, K and I talked about it and decided to donate an umbrella stroller to the HELP Pregnancy Center.  This was the stroller we bought when KB (grandaughter) was born, but we didn't see her much during that time and never used it.  I was going to return it and get a refund, but we decided we would donate it instead.

We recieved your card on Saturday, on Monday, I went to the HELP Center, but they had closed until after the first of the year.  I will have to make the actual physical donation then, but wanted you to know on Christmas Day what we had planned.

After I left the HELP Center, I went to Walmart.  When I got in the line to check out, I had a buggy full of stuff.  The lines were pretty busy.  I lady was in line behind me, and I turned around and began speaking to her and looked at her buggy.  She did not have a lot of things in her buggy.  I thought of Christmas and invited her to get in line infront of me.  At first, she declinded.  I asked her again and she did accept.

When the HELP Center opens after the holidays, our donation will be made in Shyla's name.

Merry Christmas to your entire family,

We love you all,

Uncle K and Aunt L  Monticello, KY


On the day we received your card and letter, we saw a news report on WKYT of four children whose mother died in an accident the night before, after being at a friends house to make candy for the holidays.

The news report showed the fmaily a year ago at Christmas that included their father who had died 8 months earlier from a massive heart attack.

The children will be raised by a grandmother who has lost two sons in previous years leaving her with no children after losing her daughter in this accident.
The grandmother is going to raise the four boys.
K (the adult daughter of the author of this letter) and I immediately knew this would be a family we would like to help as an act of kindness in Shyla Joy's memory.  She also shared this with K (the author's other daughter).
I sent a sympathy card to the family, a love gift, and a letter explaining your loss and your request in Shyla's memory.

May your Christmas morning be special as you read acts of kindness done in Shyla's memory.  I know that it will bring strength and comfort knowing others have received in her memory.
May you feel God's presence very near.

Blessings and Peace,
for the New Year,

D. K. and K.  Somerset, KY


I think your idea of a way to honor Shyla Joy is wonderful.  I picked a few people who I would normally give gifts to but have everything they need to give the message enclosed to.  In lieu of a gift to them, I gave to a needy child at school.  This makes me feel really good about honoring these people in this way and remembering Shyla Joy in this way.  You two are such wonderful adults.  I admire you in many levels.  I know God has many blessings in store for you.  I hope your Christmas with your family is great.  I will be thinking of you and Shyla Joy on Christmas as you read all the goodness that comes from Shyla's remembrances.

Love you both,
B.H.  Monticello, KY

The enclosed note read:

In lieu of giving gifts to those who are fortunate enought to have what they need, I picked a few needy students to give gifts to this year.  I will give a gift in your honor to one of those.  This random act of kindness is done in memory of Shyla Joy Wells who was stillborn to Mattie and Ben Wells on September 2, 2009.


I got so busy getting ready for Christmas that I completely forgot to write down the Random Act of Kindess that I did in honor of Shyla Joy. Sorry it is late, but wanted to let you know that I did and was blessed immensley from doing this in her honor.

1. I let others in front of me at the cashier line in Wal-Mart.

2. Instead of gifts for our church leaders, we gave to our church's building fund in their's and Shyla Joy's honor. We are now in the process of building a youth room above the Family Life Center which we pray will benefit many lives in the years to come. Our youth group has grown from 2 faithful members about 8 years ago to around 25. God is not only growing us in number but also spiritually! Now Shyla Joy will have a part in that for the future youth.

3. I was in line at McDonalds and Wendy's on different days and paid for the customers bill in the vehicles behind me. I told the cashier to let them know that this was an act of kindness in honor of Shyla Joy, that I wish them a Merry Christmas and challenged them to pay it forward. The first cashier was stunned and a little confused. The second one was all smiles and said that that's what it is all about.

I plan to do more as I was the one who was most blessed by doing this. I pray that you have had a good Christmas and please know that I love you, dear friend!

In Christ,

CR, Monticello, KY


Tonight at Waffle House, this little old lady came in ordering her food to go and she looked like she literally just got out of bed to come & eat. I let the cashier know that I would be paying for her meal. It was a very cool feeling. Thanks Shyla.

TL, Nicholasville, KY

*********************************************************There was WAY too much praise for Ben and I.  This project was done to remember her.  But, it was also done to help us get through Christmas without focusing on what we don't have, but what others do have because some one took the time to give.  Give money, give time, give of themselves.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.  That is all I can say.  There are no words to express my graditute to those of you who took the time to spread joy this season and let us know about it.  I also wanted to say thank you to the 52 people on facebook who "joined" in by saying they would commit a random act of kindness during the holiday season!  I was (and am) overwhelmed!

We love you all.

Friday, January 8, 2010

For Him

We celebrated my husband's birthday yesterday.  All day I was thinking of ways to make this day special for him.  I found this poem and shared it with him and thought I may pass it along to everyone.  Men grieve so differently than women.  Please take time to ask your hubby how he is doing in his grief journey.  If he doesn't talk much, it is probably not because he is not mourning, he just mourns quietly.

A Daddy's Grief
It must be very difficult
to be a man in grief,
Since men don't cry and men are strong
no tears can bring relief.

It must be very difficult
to stand up to the test
and take the calls and visitors
so she can get some rest.

They always ask if she's all right
and what she's going through,
but seldom take his hand and ask
"My friend, but how are you?"

He hears her crying in the night
and thinks his heart will break.
He dries her tears and comforts her
but stays strong for her sake.
It must be very difficult to start each day anew
and try to be so very brave,
He lost his baby too.

-Author Unknown

Sunday, January 3, 2010


I just found out my cousin (well, my Mom's first cousin) had a heart attack.  He and his wife adopted three children from the Ukraine after not being able to concieve.  The youngest girl is 10 and the twins are 14.  They were adopted when the twins were 5 years old and the baby was 18 months.  They are such a wonderful family and exude happiness everytime I see them.

He was the only son to his parents, my great uncle and aunt.  His parents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary just before Christmas and he and his family were there, so happy, so lively. 

Everyone is just devasted.  Please pray for his parents, his wife and his children.  The visitation and funeral will be later this week. 

Burying your child is so unnatural, no matter how old you or the child may be.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Four months

Has it really been that long already?  Four months since we said hello?  Four months since we said goodbye?  Really? 
Four months have passed and I still think of her everday.  I can't imagine there ever being a day that goes by that I do not think about Shyla.  My life with her, without her and because of her.  In four months, her life has touched so many people.  Because she lived, I have learned more about life, love and grief.  I know that God is in all of these things and that there is so much still to learn.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Revolution

I'm not crazy about New Year's Resolutions.  They are notorious for failing.  People make them out of tradition, but most never really follow through.  I really dislike that the closer we get to that big ball dropping in NYC we are increasingly bombarted with comercials for new diets, excercise equipment and fades to loose weight or get out of debt.  Enough already.  I want a real change.  Not a temporary change.  So how about about a New Year's Revolution?

Websters defines a revolution as a sudden, radical or complete change or a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something : a change of paradigm.  So I think I will do that instead.

I started by taking my prenatal vitamins.  Yup, those things I have hated since September.  My doctor advised me to take them all of the time. 

I am making some big changes.  Fundementally changing the way I think and visualize something...

I'm changing my paradigm.

I'm ready for a Revolution.

2010, here I am.

4 Years

That's how long we have now been married.

I was never nervous.  Not once.  If anything went wrong, I didn't care.  I was marrying my best friend.

As I began to walk down the aisle, everything moved in slow motion (and the fact I wanted to run down the aisle made everything feel slower).  The violinist playing Canon in D was so beautiful and I felt like a giddy little girl.  There was no hiding the large smile on my face. 

First my father walked me from the back of our large church to the last row of chairs and I was on my own with empty hands.  I had no beautiful boquet of flowers...yet... 
After a few steps, I met my older brother he hugged me and handed me a perfect white calla lily.  A few steps on, my younger brother did the same.  Followed by a close family friend and the man who would give us our first communion as a couple.  Next was my Grandfather.  He was so handsome that day.  Now I would get a hug from my Godfather, who was also the minister that would be marrying us in just a few moments.  Lastly, my Father in Law would hand me a flower, including me in thier family and them in mine.  I then walked to my mother who, just like she had done my whole life, tied it all together for me.
I then joined my groom in the front of the church to say our vows.

He was squeezing my hands so hard.  Nerved I think.  This was the same man who bluntly told me on our first date that he could just never see himself getting married...21 months later...there we were.

The ceremony was simple and beautiful.  We said the traditional vows (but I can honestly say I had no idea what "for better and for worse" meant until this year).  We played I will be Here, by Steven Curtis Chapman during the ceremony.  The words are so beautiful.

I Will Be Here

Tomorrow morning if you wake up
And the sun does not appear,
I will be here.
If in the dark we lose sight of love,
Hold my hand and have no fear,
‘Cause I will be here.


I will be here when you feel like being quiet;
When you need to speak your mind, I will listen.
And I will be here when the laughter turns to crying;
Through the winning, losing, and trying, we’ll be together,
‘Cause I will be here.
Tomorrow morning if you wake up
And the future is unclear,
I will be here.

As sure as seasons are made for change,
Our lifetimes are made for years,
So I will be here.


I will be here, so you can cry on my shoulder;
When the mirror tells us we’re older, I will hold you.
And I will be here to watch you grow in beauty,
And tell you all the things you are to me;
I will be here.

I will be true to the promise I have made,
To you and to the One who gave you to me.
As sure as seasons are made for change,
Our lifetimes are made for years,
So I, I will be here.
We'll be together and I will be here.


After we were declared husband and wife, our first act as a married couple was communion.  We realize that our love can not compare to the love Christ has for his Bride and we wanted to publicly show that He is the first and the center of our marriage and lives together.

After the ceremony, we took pictures...lots of pictures!

And then it was off to the reception, in our horse drawn carriage.

I was so glad we had a 60 degree New Year's Eve!  It was such a beautiful day!

If I had all of our photos on the computer, I would post so many more!  Like the beautiful decorations that my mom, brothers and friends helped make and put up.  Or the white chocolate oreos that my brother painstakingly drew little snowflakes all over.  Or maybe the real mistletoe that was shot down and hung on the dance floor for us. 

We had a wonderful day, with wonderful memories made.  We had so many people contribute to making our wedding day such a perfect day.  We love you all and wish you all a joyful new year full of beauty and grace!