Thursday, February 24, 2011

Establishing Laughter

It's been three months today since Jakin Isaac was born.  His name means "God Will Establish Laughter"  so we hope to post something on the 24th of every month that makes us laugh and hopefully bring a little laughter into your day.  There is just not enough laughter in this world!
Here is a clip from one of Ethan's favorite things to watch...America.s Funn.iest Home Vi.deos...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

MISS Article

I just wanted to share this wonderful article about Dr. Joanne Cacciatore of the MISS Foundation.  It describes the grief of a parent so well.  I love how she says it is "folded into who we are".  Please take a moment to read the article and pass it on to others. Education is key to breaking the taboo subject of death, grief and the loss of a child.
(Click the link above to go to the pdf of the article).

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rows for Remembrance

Shaina is a sweet mama I have had the pleasure of meeting long ago before we both experienced loss.  She has just started a new outreach for loss moms and I wanted to share it with you.  It's called Rows for Remembrance.  This is what Shaina says about her new ministry...

I want to minister to families who have had a miscarriage, or suffered the death of a baby while pregnant. Sadly, I know several women who fit this niche, and I know there are thousands more out there. I want to give them a blanket, an "unfinished blanket", to represent their babies sweet lives.

Each blanket will have rows that represent the weeks of their little ones lives. Our blankets will start out with a specified amount of rows (20) and then will have an additional row for every week that you carried your baby. If you had a miscarriage at eight weeks, like me, then your blanket will be 28 rows long. If you had a baby born sleeping at 34 weeks, then your blanket will be 54 weeks. Each row signifies those memories you have of your sweet babe.

Shaina has asked for help too.  If you can knit or crochet, she is asking for some help.  So go over and visit her blog and leave her some kind comments while you are there!

Friday, February 18, 2011



I know I have mentioned how I feel like my life is separated into Acts.  Act I was my life before September 2, 2009.  Act 2 is after.  During the first act of my life, HOPE was not something I really thought about all that much.  There are some really beautiful songs about HOPE.  "My Hope is in You" by Third Day and "Only Hope" by Switchfoot come to mind.  I knew some scriptures about hope.  ", hope and love. But the greatest of these is love" and "hope deferred makes the heart sick". And I heard people use it as a word to describe something that might not happen.  "I hope we can make it to the gas station without running out of gas."

In the "Act 2" of my life, HOPE has taken on a completely new meaning.  It's no longer a word to throw out like "maybe" or just a pretty sounding word.  HOPE is everything.  God is my only HOPE.  God is my everything.  He alone provides the strength, joy and laughter to get through the good and bad days alike.  He alone sends me glimpses of my babies.  Assuring me they are safe and happy and experiencing Him like I can only dream.  Sometimes the dreams so real that I swear He has wisked me away to some secret place.  Not just dreams while I sleep, but when I see them in my minds eye...when I visit their graves...when Ethan speaks of them...when I hold their blankets and say their sweet names.  Act 2 gives me the strength to say as Job did, "Though he slay me, yet I will hope in Him" (Job 13:15)

And now, it seems like I am entering a new time in my life yet again.  Act 2, Scene 2 is all about HOPE.  As we began this adoption journey (actually long before) we decided our little girl's middle name would be Hope.  Because God is faithful. This time in our lives we say, "We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.  In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.  May your unfailing love rest upin us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you." Psalm 33:20-22

What a gift HOPE is.  What  a gift Hope will be!

I've decided as a part of the little miracles blog hop, I will start listing the things that give me HOPE.  Since today is the first installment of this blog hop...let's just start with the number 1....

Things that bring me HOPE...
1. a sunrise
2. the smile of a child
3. Hearing the sweetest little boy I know learn to spell his first word..."H.O.P.E. Hope!" he screams from the other room.  Yes, son, Hope!
4. seeing a baptism
5. a fresh rain
6. Zephaniah 3:17 "The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."
7. my husband's embrace.
8. Rainbows
9. Strong mama's
10. innocent eyes

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lovely Giveaway Winners

Here are the winners of the giveaways I hosted!  If you are one of the winners, please contact me as soon as possible so I can get these great items shipped to you!  Please email me at the email address on the left sidebar.

The winner of this LOVE charm from My Forever Child is...


Love Dare Cards (40 Daily Dare Cards in Box)

The winner of the Love Dare Cards is....


I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy [Book]
The winner of Angie Smith's book, I Will Carry You is....

The winner of the "I Love You" Charm from My Forever Child is... 

I hope you all have felt the love over the past two weeks and are inspired to love more deeply and allow others to love you as well.

This is my command: Love each other.
John 15:17

"God’s love, though, is ever and always, eternally present to all who fear him, Making everything right for them and their children"
Psalm 103:17

Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
Jude 1:2

Monday, February 14, 2011

What Love Really Means ~ Day 14 + Giveaway!

Happy Valentine's Day you lovely ladies!!!

Today, we are going to visit TWO bloggers!

Natasha is Aiden's mom.  I'm new to Natasha's story, but I can tell by her blog she is a loving mama and wants to touch the heart of others.  When Natasha saw what going going on with all these LOVE posts, she wanted to join in!  Be sure to enter her GIVEAWAY while you are there!  Natasha's giveaway is sponsored by Kristi at Bugaboo Jewelry.

We are also visiting Melissa.  Melissa is mommy to a son here on earth and Mikayla Grace in Heaven.  Melissa has just started a project called Mikayla's Grace to reach out to bereaved families.  Go visit Melissa and show her some love today as well!

And don't forget to come back here tomorrow to see who won the giveaways I hosted!!!

And I have two great posts for you to check out today (or tomorrow if you are spending time with the ones you love today ;-)

Kelly at Sufficient Grace Ministries is doing a study on the book, Lies Women Believe and has a great post today about women at a helpmate and some revealing truths.  Please go over and see what she has to say.

Also Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience has a great post about love and a link-up about love.  Go over and read some of her beautiful posts!


I also just wanted to show a little love to my hubs.  Seven years ago today we met while decorating a church for the Sweetheart Banquet that would be held there to raise money for missions.  My dorm neighbor attended this church and it was my hubs home church.  We met that day and one month later started dating and were married a little less than 2 years later. 

I love that man with all my heart and feel so blessed to be forever joined with him.  He is a wonderful Father to ALL our children. 

I am blessed.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What Love Really Means ~ Day 13 + Giveaway!

Today we are visiting Jennifer.  Jennifer is mama to three beautiful kids here with her and Eli in Heaven.  Jennifer has been so kind to link to the posts in the LoveFest everyday!  She is a mama with a heart of gold.  Please go by and see what love really means to her as well as show her some love!

But sure to enter my GIVEAWAY!!!

Today's giveaway is donated by Sue at My Forever Child!

Sue is donating this beautiful charm...

To be entered into the giveaway, all you need to do is visit the My Forever Child store and then come back here and leave a comment to what your favorite item in the store is. 

I hope you all have a lovely day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What Love Really Means ~ Day 12 + Giveaway!

Today we are going to go visit Megan at A Story Unfolding.  Megan is mommy to three beautiful kids here with her and Savannah in Heaven.  Sweet Savannah was born with CDH (Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia).   To learn more about CDH click here. Megan also could use a few more hugs right now after just experiencing a chemical pregnancy and the hopes of another baby for right now.

While you are visiting Megan, be sure to enter her GIVEAWAY!

And be sure to enter the other giveaways here on this blog by the 14th and visit again on the 15th to see the list of winners!

Friday, February 11, 2011

What Love Really Means ~ Day 11 + Giveaway!

Wow!  Is it the 11th already?

Today we are going to see Jill.  Jill is mama to Emma and Chase in Heaven and her beautiful rainbow here on earth.  Jill has a big heart and reaches out to other loss moms with her project Vermont Angels.  Please go visit Jill and read what she has to say about what love really means to her.

Also, be sure to enter her GIVEAWAY!

I got this email in my inbox the other day about love being a verb and I just wanted to share.  The email is from Jill Savage, a speaker from the Hearts at Home organization.  She spoke at my church at a MOPS conference  a few years ago and really has heart for wives and mothers.


My friend and I sat across the table chatting over lunch.
With February being the "month of love," we began to discuss our plans (or lack of plans at that point) for Valentine's Day weekend. Eventually we moved into sharing some marriage lessons we've learned throughout our combined 45 years of marriage.

Without thinking much of it, I shared that I've learned that love has to mature for a marriage to go the distance. And then I followed that with, "I guess love has to move from being a noun to being a verb."

We both paused and considered the implications of that. My friend said it was one of the most profound things I've ever said. While I'm quite sure it's most likely the only profound thing I've ever said, I've definitely not been able to get the concept out of my head.

Immature love is a noun. A thing we long for. A feeling. An expectation of what someone will do for us.

Mature love is verb. An action we take. A decision. A choice to do something for someone else.

Unfortunately too many of us have yet to mature in our love, and our relationships bear the scars of that fact. But it's never too late to grow up. If we want our love to last a lifetime, we can't afford to keep believing that love is a noun. The feeling of love is short-lived. We have to transition to understanding that long-lasting love is really a verb.

But what does this English lesson of nouns and verbs have to do with real relationships? How do we take this concept and apply it to real life? Maybe these scenarios can help paint the picture.

Love as a noun spent all last week wondering what your spouse was going to do for you for Valentine's Day. Love as a verb spent all last week preparing your expression of love for your spouse.

Love as a noun feels despair when you no longer feel "in love" with the person you are married to. Love as a verb understands the ebb and flow of feelings. It focuses more on expressing love than feeling love.

Love as a noun demands its own way. Love as a verb works to understand differences and is open to new ways of doing things.

Love as a noun finds faults in others. Love as a verb gives grace and forgiveness.

Love as a noun expects others to serve them. Love as a verb serves freely.

Love as a noun expects to always feel warm and fuzzy and "in love." Love as a verb realizes that often we have to choose to love even when we don't feel like it.

The most frequently quoted Bible verse at weddings is I Corinthians 13, which is often referred to as the "love chapter." It says that "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

It wasn't until just a few weeks ago that I realized that every time love is mentioned in this often quoted verse, it is a verb. Maybe this concept has been right in front of my eyes all along, but I just didn't understand it until recently.

The most interesting thing, however, is a less often quoted part of the verse that says, "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me."

So love has to grow up. It has to mature. Who knew grammar could reveal so much about love?


Wife of Mark
Mom to Anne, Evan, Erica, Kolya, and Austin
Nana to 9-month-old Rilyn


Thanks for dropping by!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What Love Really Means ~ Day 10 + Giveaway!

Good Morning!  Go over and visit Katy today!  Katy is momma to Hannah and rainbow in Heaven as well as a precious little boy and rainbow baby girl here on earth.  Katy  makes some beautiful creations for loss moms and is part of the group at Anchored by Hope.  Anchored by Hope does an online Bible study in relation to loss and has some other great loss resources.

While you're sure to enter her GIVEAWAY!

And remember...


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What Love Really Means ~ Day 9 + Giveaway!

Today we are visiting Jessica!  Jessica is mom to Jonathan and Little One in Heaven and has a beautiful rainbow here with her as well.  Jessica creates Forever Remembered Photo Collages in memory of our babies.  She does such beautiful work.  Please go over and send her some love today!

While you're there, be sure to enter her GIVEAWAY!!!

(And don't forget to enter the giveaways from the last 8 days as well here on this blog!

Love and Hugs!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What Love Really Means ~ Day 8 + Giveaway!

Today we are going to visit Marie.  Marie has two beautiful children in Heaven, Alyssa-Joy and Evan and she is now pregnant with her rainbow!  Marie always shares her feelings and has always been so encouraging in her comments.  She is standing on God's promise of an expected end after experiencing two losses, IC, having a TAC and a subsequent pregnancy.  Please go by and show her some love today!

But sure to enter my GIVEAWAY!!!


Marriage is a gift and needs to be invested in and protected.  Today's giveaway is for something to help you invest a little time into your marriage!

The Love Dare Cards contain 40 daily dares based on the movie and book, Fireproof.

There are three ways to enter this giveaway! Just leave a comment for one each of these...

(1) How you and your significant other met.
(2) What was your first date with your spouse?
(3) How long you have been married.

Thats it!  I'll choose a winner randomly on February 15th!

I also wanted to share some great marriage resources...

Fire Proof My Marriage is a great website based on the Fireproof book and movie that has some wonderful links and other things.  It has advice for couples, churches and even a marraige help line.

Focus on the Family Marraige and Relationships site has an abundance of info, podcasts, and articles.

The Five Love Languages Test.  This site is where you can take the love language quiz and have your spouse take it too.  Find out how your loved ones feel loved so you can love them more fully.  There is also a quiz for kids!

Have a LOVELY day!

Monday, February 7, 2011

What Love Really Means ~ Day 7 + Giveaway!

Today we are going to go see Kelly at Sufficient Grace Ministries!  Kelly is one sweet mama with a love for other mama's, babies, and marriage.  I'm very excited that I get to meet Kelly in April at the Women of Faith Conference in Columbus!  Kelly has three babies in Heaven.  Faith, Grace, and Thomas and has such beautiful words to say about each of them.  Please go by and show her some love and see what love means to her!

While you are sure to enter her GIVEAWAY!  She is giving away two amazing CD's today.  One of them I listen to all the time and is one of my current favorites!

This first 7 days has been love filled and I just can't wait to see what the next 7 hold!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What Love Really Means ~ Day 6 + Giveaway!

Good Morning Loves!

Today we are going to visit Heidi.  Heidi is one crafty mama!  I met Heidi on a board when we both lost our babies that were due in November of 2009.  Heidi's daughter, Jamie Lynn, was diagnosed before birth with a fatal condition.  Heidi decided to carry Jamie as long as she could and she met her beautiful daughter in October of 2009.  Heidi is also mom to three boys and has her rainbow due this month!  Please go over and visit Heidi and see what love means to her.  Also check out her beautiful embroidery she can do!

Please also take a look at her outreach to loss mammas.  She can embroider your baby's footprints onto a blanket.  I think it's really awesome and I plan on sending her a blanket and Shyla's footprints once her baby button is here and things have settled down.  Here is her daughter's blanket as an example:


To go along with Heidi's story of carrying to term, I am giving away a copy of I Will Carry You by Angie Smith!

I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy [Book]
To enter this giveaway, leave a comment for each of these...
(1) Be a follower of this blog.
(2) Comment on Heidi's post.
(3) Tell me one of the precious things you have to carry your baby's memory.

The winner will be announced on February 15th!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What Love Really Means ~ Day 5 + Giveaways!

Today we are going over to see what Lori has to say.  Lori is the mommy to Matthew.  I love that she and her husband both share their own story of Matthew.  You can find Lori's story here and her hubby's here.
Lori also is mommy to her beautiful rainbow Luke who was just born one month ago yesterday!  Please go over and show her some love and see what love means to her.

While you're there, be sure to enter her GIVEAWAY!!! 

I'm sure feeling the love with all these giveaways, aren't you!  Keep coming back because there is more to come!

I also just checked my reader and saw that there is another giveaway going on today!  Go over and wish KK's mom congrats for reaching 100 followers and enter her giveaway!

AND Kelly at Sufficient Grace Ministries is giving away a copy of the book The Gift of Time - Perinatal Hospice. 

Much love!

Friday, February 4, 2011

What Love Really Means ~ Day 4

I hope you all are feeling the love!

Today we are going to hop over to Lisette's!  Lisette is mom to an adorable little boy here on Earth, her precious Sami and her conjoined twin Faith in Heaven and is carrying her rainbow baby now.  Lisette is always so honest in her grief.  I love that she shares what's on her heart so openly and I love all the little pink hearts on her blog.  She has a beautiful soul and it just shines through!

Go over see what Lisette has to say about love!


Go over and visit Small Bird Studio for a free Valentines Day Subway Art!


I wanted to share another song today. 

Love Never FailsBy Brandon Heath

Love is not proud

Love does not boast
Love after all
Matters the most

Love does not run
Love does not hide
Love does not keep
Locked inside

Love is the river that flows through
Love never fails you
Love will sustain
Love will provide
Love will not cease
At the end of time
Love will protect
Love always hopes
Love still believes
When you don’t

Love is the arms that are holding you
Love never fails you

When my heart won’t make a sound
When I can’t turn back around
When the sky is falling down
Nothing is greater than this
Greater than this

Love is right here
Love is alive
Love is the way
The truth the life

Love is the river than flows through
Love is the arms that are holding you
Love is the place you will fly to
Love never fails you

Love NEVER fails you.  I love the idea that love is the place we will fly to.  That's where they are

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What Love Really Means ~ Day 3 + GIVEAWAY!!!

Good Morning!

Today we are going over to Caroline's blog!  Caroline is mom to four children and three step-children on Earth and three beautiful babies in Heaven, Riley, Little Muffin, and Sweet Pea.  Caroline is a very special mom and shares her heart very openly on her blog.  She, like so many of us balances the grief of our children not with us with the joy of those who are.  I was also happy that she is doing a project 365!  I started one as well this year and it's great to see another loss mom taking a photo a day to document our year!

Go over and share some love with Caroline!

But sure to enter my GIVEAWAY!!!

Today, I'm giving away a LOVELY charm from My Forever Child...

The winner of this charm will be chosen at random on February 15th.  The winner will also get to choose which color Swarovski Crystal you would like added to the charm!

There are a few ways to enter this giveaway...

(1) Follow this blog
(2) Follow my 365 blog, Love * Joy * Laugh 365
(3) Leave a comment about what color crystal you would like if chosen as the winner.
(4) Copy the button on my sidebar that says "What love really means" and put it on your blog.
(5) "Like" Beauty Will Rise on

You can do any of these, but please just leave a separate comment for each way to enter! 

I hope February is being kind and gentle to you all!

Much Love.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

2nds for Shyla - Creative Joy

It's been 17 months now.  I can hardly believe it. 

Last month, I had the idea to post a funny video, story, or joke every 24th of the month in memory of Jakin Isaac, whose name means "God Will Establish Laughter".

Shyla's name means "Creative" and her middle name was Joy. 

If I post every month on her day how I'm feeling, there will be little change from one month to another.  So instead, I'm going to post something that makes me think "Creative JOY!"

Today, is February 2nd.  February is of course the month of LOVE and so I thought I would share some of these great Creative ideas for Valentines Day!

Oreo Kisses! (I love these!!!)

Oreo Kisses

Valentines Photo Tree


Felt Flourish Heart Wreath

Heartbreaker Valentines

What Love Really Means ~ Day 2 + Giveaway!

Today the lovely Holly is sharing her heart. 

Holly is the mom to two beautiful kids here on Earth and to Carliegh and Jordan in Heaven.  Holly's love for her children is so apparent and the scripture on her sidebar above Carleigh's photo has always touched my heart.

I have loved you with a love that lasts forever. I have kept on loving you with faithful love. Jeremiah 31:3

Everlasting love.  Beautiful.

Holly's compassion for bereaved mom's glows as her comments always make me smile and she always remembers special dates!  I wish I could be as thoughtful as her!  Go over and show her some love!

And while you are there, be sure to enter her GIVEAWAY!!!

The 2nd is very special to me because it's Shyla's day.  Today has been 17 months since we held her in our arms.  Wishing you and yours much Creative Joy today!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What Love Really Means - Day 1 + Giveaway!!!

Happy February!  Today begins what I hope to be a very encouraging 14 days.  Some very great bloggers have agreed to share with us what love really means to them! 

What Love Really Means

Franchesca from Smallbird Studio has agreed to share with us today.  Please go show her some love! 

I'm sure most of you know Fran and the story of her beautiful Jenna Belle and her handsome rainbow she sweetly refers to as "Bubby".  Franchesca is the face behind the design of my blog (and so many others) and she also makes the most beautiful flourishes she sells at her shop!  She has a great big heart and has found ways to give back to the loss community by creating Hope Collages and giving backto the NICU with some very creative NICU projects.  One of her NICU projects is collecting journals for parents whose baby is spending time in NICU.  She hopes to donate 100 journals to NICU in honor of Jenna's 2nd birthday!  And I have to mention the very amazing canvas art inspired by her daughter called, Jenna's Alphabet!  Franchesca has shared so much of herself through these projects I hope everyone will take the time and send her love today ans she shares her heart with all of us. 

If you want to learn more about how you can help with Jenna's Journal Drive, click here.


Also go visit Tiffany today and enter her awesome giveaway that is sponsored by who else...Franchesca!

One more thing...

I also wanted to share with you the inspiration behind titling this series of blog posts "What Love Really Means".  It comes from the JJ Heller song by the same name.  The chorus says:

Who will love me for me?
Not for what I have done or what I'll become.

Who will love me for me?
'Cause no one has shown me what love, love really means.

She is answered in the last chorus by our Heavenly Father...

I will love you for you.
Not for what you have done or what you will become.
I will love you for you.
I will give you the love, the love that you never knew.

It is my hope that you will be encouraged by the lovely posts by these lovely women who have so graciously agreed to show us their hearts through their blogs.  I pray you are inspired to recieve love more openly, love others more deeply and are just blessed!

If you want to spread the love and let your readers know about these lovely women, just copy the code in the sidebar!

Be sure to check back everyday from now until the 14th to see who is sharing with us!  There will be lots of giveaways going on as well!

Much love,