Wednesday, July 21, 2010

In Our Hearts Photo Pendants

Another very special thank you to Heather at In Our Hearts Photo Pendants for making this glass pendant with a picture of Shyla's hand on it for me.  I love that I have this to wear close to my heart.  Love you Heather!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer Reminders (2)

After Ethan's balloon floated away, I was really disappointed that I didn't have the chance to get a good photo of the balloon and Ethan together on his day.  I was pouting a little I guess.  After a little more playing on the playground and a few more photos...

We got packed up and were starting to leave.  I turned to check the area and make sure we left nothing behind and something caught my eye.  A little, bitty, tiny one of these...

And I managed to snap several shots of it and it's friend that were a little late to the party.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Treasure from My Heart

Thank you so much to the Grandma of an Angel at Treasures from my Heart for making this image of Shyla's name!  I love it!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Forest

A very special thank you to Kristin for carving Shyla's name in Stevie's Forest.  I really love this photo, its just beautiful!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer Reminders (1)

We have been blessed to spend much time as a family this summer.  And it seems that everytime we get together to have fun, we always have a reminder of Joy.  By reminder of Joy, I mean one of those moments where you see or hear something that reminds you of that member of the family that is missing, but is a source of joy instead of just a pain.  Just one of those moments when, despite your grief, you smile, you remember, you allow yourself to feel the joy you felt before.

The first one of the summer that comes to mind was at Ethan's birthday party.  We had his party at a dock where there is a play ground and a shelter house.  I had found this great balloon at my florists with a puppy and a dragonfly and we got it for Ethan "from Shyla".  We tied it to part of the shelter house and near the end of the party, I untied it and carried it to the playground to take a few shots of Ethan holding his sister's gift.  Then this happened...

It was like it was happening in slow motion.  I felt the ribbon get lighter and looked up just in time to see the bottom of the balloon just slip from the ribbon and out of my reach.  Everyone that saw this begin just watched as I tried to jump and read the drifting gift.  Ethan kept watching for it.  He looked at the sky until we could no longer see the little speck that was his balloon.

I was a little unsure of how he would handle the balloon he had waited all day to play with floating away and out of sight.  I approached him and said, "Ethan, I'm so sorry your balloon floated away.  If you want, Mommy will get you another balloon on Monday."  He just kept looking up at the sky and said nothing.  "Ethan...can you still see it?"  It was I'm sure nothing but a tiny dot in the big blue sky by now.  He looked at me smiling and said, "It's ok Mommy, Shyla wanted to play with it."  He hoped down and went playing on the playground.

For a moment I was not sure how I was going to react.  Tears didn't come.  Nope.  All I could do at that moment was chuckle.  If she would have been there, I'm sure there would have been a battle over who got to hold the balloon in their little hand and who would get to play with it.  She is not here, but it was like they were wanting to play with the same toy and this time, she won!  It just made me laugh a little. 

I still was hurt that I never got a picture of Ethan and his balloon and my sweet hubby knew it.  The following Tuesday at work I recieved a small boquet of flowers with the same blue Happy Birthday Balloon with the puppy and the dragonfly.  Several people at work said, "Oh!  Is it your birthday!?" I had to tell a mini version of what happened at his party. 
When I got to my Mom's house that afternoon to pick Ethan up, I carried the balloon in to surprise him.  He got really excited and said, "Shyla sent my balloon back!  Awww, we sharing!"  This is where it was a little harder to keep my composure...

So that little balloon floating away was the first reminder of joy of summer.  We have had many, many since then (but I have been just terrible at blogging about them) so for the next few weeks, I will try to catch up!

What have been some of your reminders?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Treasure Beans

A special thanks to Casey at Treasure Beans for painting this beautiful rock for Shyla.  The Dragonflies and Daisies are just perfect!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Daddy Did It

Ben went on a kayaking trip in April and spotted these blue and black butterfly's gathered around this rock.  He thought Shyla would have liked it and he knew I would like to see her name, so he wrote her name in water from the river and took these photos for me.

Isn't he just the sweetest?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I've had him on my mind alot lately, and just wanted to share about my wonderful Grandpa.  Today would have been his 80th birthday. 

As I mentioned in the post earlier this week about my Grandmother, I grew up living next to my maternal Grandparents.  My Grandpa was a carpenter and had his workshop on the just across the street from my house.  So it's safe to say that I was either at my house, their house, his shop, or somewhere in between most of the time.  I love my Grandparents. 

My Grandpa was not one to show his emotions easily or to tell you how he felt about you, but you knew.  He was always telling stories and teasing my Grandma.  It was a holiday tradition to take pictures of him lifting her up or kissing her in a way that made her look like she was fighting him off.

When Ethan was born, he actually drove the hospital (about 30-45 minutes away) with my Grandma and visited with us.  He held him and made a fuss over his big feet.  Then, he made some comment about going to Mt.Vernon (about another 30 minute trip) to pick up a something for his car.  The next thing we knew, he was gone and he had left my Grandma sitting there!  She stayed with us about an hour and a half until he got back and we all had a good laugh.

Four weeks later, I took this picture of him holding Ethan at my Mom's house.

I just wish it was clearer, and I had more of them.  You see, the next day, my Grandfather had a massive stroke during the night or early morning.  He was taken by ambulance to the local hospital where they would try to air evac him to UK, but couldn't due to clouds, so they took an ambulance.  I was in shock. We were all in shock.  It was the week of the big 4th of July Reunion my Grandparents always hosted.  My Grandpa always got fireworks and my Grandma must be a saint to be a hostess to around 80 of our closest relatives every year.  But this year, we were hoping just to hear that he would still be with us.

We made two trips to UK.  The whole ordeal was a nightmare.  Ethan, just four weeks old and me a first time mom trying to nurse and recover from a c-section, along with my mom, both my brothers, my sis-in-law and my husband traveled together in our van the 2 hour trip the next day and just spent some time at the hospital.  Taking turns being with him.

The next time we would go, it was just my mom, husband, Ethan and me.  We spent some time with family and just held his hand.  Ben, Ethan and I then left the hospital to go rest at a friends house for a bit while my mom settled in to stay the night with my Grandma in the hospital.  She never left his side.

Before long, we got a call that he had gone to Heaven.


Seven.That is the number that always reminds me of him. 

He passed on 7-7-07, just 7 days from his 77th birthday.  He had 7 siblings that proceeded him in deathe and 7 surviving.  He was 7 months into his position as magistrate, something he enjoyed very much.  He had 7 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren at the time of his death.  7 days passed from the day of his stroke until the day of his burial.

Seven.  It's God's perfect number.  The number of Completion.  We took great comfort in all the "sevens".


When Shyla was stillborn at 7 months, I thought of him and knew that if we do recognize each other when we get to Heaven, he was holding her now and bragging about how beautiful she is.

The day of Shyla's celebration, when my Grandma handed me one of his handkercheifs, I thought of him again, and how much he would have been hurting for me if he were here.  Five of his 7 siblings that proceeded him in death all died before they were two months old.  I can't imagine the anguish his mother, my great-grandmother felt and was never allowed to express.   I can't imagine how common and yet taboo infant loss was in the early 1930's.


I plan on raising my children knowing who their Great-Grandfather was.  Just like they will know who their sister was.  His handiwork is all over our home.  The cherry, cane-bottomed chairs in our kitchen, the table that he refurbished, my cedar hope chest and two jewelry boxes he made.  The teddy bear my Grandmother had made the Christmas after his death out of one of his shirts.  There is also the bedroom suite that was my Grandparents when they married over 60 years ago.  It has been handed down from my mother to me.

I love having the things that he made. 


This post has become much longer than I anticipated, but I don't think I have ever written about him and all that he means to me.  If you are still reading, thanks for letting me share about him and taking part in my joy and grief.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Daddy's Girl

I just know she would have been a Daddy's girl.  We took Ethan to the fish hatchery the day after his birthday and while the boys were fishing, I thought about my girl.  Ethan saw what I was doing and wanted to help.

Daddy's girl's name written in some of his fishing lures.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ella's Parade of Butterflies

So, I can't believe I hadn't posted this yet!

Thanks so much, Bree!  It's simply beautiful!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Special Lady

Yesterday was a very special birthday for a very special lady.

It was my grandmother's 80th birthday!

She is such an amazing lady.  I grew up living next door to her and spent many afternoons and summers at her house.  She used to own a Hal.mark store and I remember playing behind the counters and up and down the aisles.  She still remembers to send everyone a card on their birthday, anniversary, wedding day, graduation, baby name it.  I have always felt a special bond with her.  Maybe it's because we share the same middle name, or the fact that she is just awesome.  

She was there in the middle of the night when my mom's beeper would go off (Mom worked for the Cabinet for Families and Children) and mom would have to leave to do an investigation.  She has always been there for me...and all of her grandkids and her great-grandkids. 

She sat two seats down from me at Shyla's funeral and brought me one of my Grandpa's handkercheifs to wipe my eyes.  Her grief was as visable as mine.  And on her wall, with all of the photo's of her great-grandkids hangs the one of the certificates we received from our state representative in sympathy our Shyla's death.  We recieved seven of these in the mail, out of the blue, to keep and share with her closest surviving relatives.  Everytime she says Shyla's name, I hear the hurt in her voice.

I love my Grandma and have been blessed to have her in my life. 

Please Pray

For the family of little Luke Sexton.  Benson and Kristin have just posted that their little fighter went to his Heavenly Father lastnight.  Their faith has been unwaivering and inspiring.  Please go send them love.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

History and Sorrow

Almost a year ago, I went on a business trip to DC and saw this statue outside the capital building.  It's called "History and Sorrow".  Sorrow is behind History.  It is meant to symbolize that the sorrow of this country is in the past and the pain.  I can't remember the exact date it was made, or by who, but the idea struck me that day.  An important person in our country's history had so much hope and belief in what our nation stood for, they erected this huge monument to declair that sorrow was part of our history, but not our future.

I pray that each of you can find that hope.  That's not to say bad things will never happen in our lives again, but that everytime they do, we have enough hope in us to look forward with hope.  Not forgetting our sorrow, but rather living as a companion we share our joys as well as sorrows with.

Happy (late) Independence Day! 

I hope all of you had a safe and enjoyable weekend and spent much time with those who bring you joy!

Friday, July 2, 2010

10 Months

Sorrow is one of the things that are lent, not given.
A thing that is lent may be taken away;
A thing that is given is not taken away.
Joy is given; sorrow is lent.
We are not our own, we are bought with a price...
[Our sorrow] is lent us for just a little while
that we may use it for eternal purposes.
Then it will be taken away
and everlasting joy will be
our Father's gift to us,
and the Lord God will wipe away
all the tears from off all faces.
Amy Carmichael

What a beautiful thought.  Our sorrow is lent to us for eternal purposes.  I pray I have used what has been lent to me in a way that has eternal fruits and I praise God for the joy and hope He has given me. 

It has been ten months since we held her and saw all her tiny features.  I try to imagine what Heaven is like and all of the joy she and all those around her are enjoying in the presence of the Lord, but sometimes it is just too much to fathom.  I can't wait for that glorious day!

Grief at 10 months is much different that grief at 5 or 8 or any other month.  Something in me is changing and a that peace that passes all understanding has fallen on me like a thick fog in the past few days.  I smile more than cry when I think of her.  And I really like that.  Don't get me wrong, I still cry and sometimes I cry hard.  And that's OK.  But it also OK to feel happiness and joy in her memories. 

Am I still mad at times?  Yes.  Do I still wish more than anything to have her here with me?  Of course.  Does it still hurt to see babies (especially baby girls) that were born around the time she was or was supposed to be born?  You bet.  It even hurts to see so many people I know due this year around the same time I was due last year.  Not that I am not happy for them, I am SO happy for them, but at times, I'm still sad for what I should have and what feels like should have been.

In the midst of all of these feelings is a feeling of peace and joy that has never left us. Not for a second.  Sure, sometimes it was harder to feel than others and at times I didn't want to feel joy.  But for now, for today, for this moment I feel more hope than I have before and I pray this feeling continues. 

Thank you all for your love and prayers the past 10 months.  You will never know how much your affirmations and prayers mean to this mother's heart.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Angie's Book

I know many of you are familiar with Angie Smith and the story of her precious Audrey.  If you aren't you really need to go check out her blog.  I would give you a summary of who she is, but it would not do her or the love she has for God any justice in my own words.  Just trust me.

Anyway.  I was blessed enough to win a giveaway that Kelly at Sufficient Grace Ministries was doing of Angie's book, I Will Carry You!  Which is really amazing, because I was getting ready to order my own when I found out I won.  So now, I still plan on buying one, but giving it as a gift.

I won this book some time ago, but just started reading it last week.  (I do book reviews for publishing companies and I had a few due before I could get to a book strictly for enjoyment). 

All I can say is WOW.  Their story.  Their faith.  Their love for their children.  It all was beautiful and breathtaking.  The thing that struck me the most was her love for the Lord.  She so eloquently writes about the balance of grief and love and joy.  All the contradictions parent who experience loss live with each day.  Her honesty was refreshing.  Let's not sugar-coat it people.  This is awful, but you know what, it all goes back to Him.  We don't have to have the answers and that's OK.  The way she relates to scripture and all the amazing ways she loves her daughter are inspirational.

I highly recommend this book!

I read through it quickly, but I want to read through it again and study what she says.  Her reflection of the story of Lazarus and Mary and Martha and the loss of her daughter really just moved me so much. 

Angie and her family just welcomed their fifth child, Charlotte and I couldn't be happier for them.  Please keep them in your prayers as they live out their lives as great examples and as honest, real, people who really love the Lord.