Remembering By Doing

Remembering By Doing

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Each year when the birthday of a baby in heaven occurs, many parents do special things to remember their loved one.  I have a friend who donates books to our local library that are age appropriate for the age her daughter would have been.  One friend has a walk to remember her daughter on that day.  Many friends aren’t sure how to remember their child and instead, remember with sadness that day when their baby was born.

I’ll be honest – it has been one of the hardest things for me to do.  For many years, I did not look forward to the month of January and its remembrances for me.

Some years we have had a special family dinner with our extended families, but I have always struggled with this:  do we have a birthday cake?  If so, who blows out the candle?  When the girls were younger they wanted to celebrate Daniel’s birthday just like they would celebrate their own, but the cake was a bit too much for me.

One year we had a time of sharing what we were thankful for.  Then we sang hymns together…out of hymn books.  How cool does that make us that we have more than one hymnal in our home?  Ha!  If we could do that every year, it would make my heart so happy!  It is so true that a thankful/grateful heart gives joy and life to our spirits.

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”  Proverbs 17:22

Some years, I have gotten a letter in the mail that a family member had donated money in Daniel’s memory – and that just blessed me so much!  They didn’t forget his birthday!!!

The thing I have learned over the years is that I will never forget my son’s birthday, but how will I remember him on that day?  For me, I like to do something on his birthday because I am grateful to God for his life, no matter how short it was.

So I am going to share another opportunity that you can keep in the back (or front) of you mind:  you could donate an “I Have a Brother – My Brother is in Heaven” book (or books) in memory of your baby in heaven for your child’s birthday/Christmas, or give these books in memory of a friend’s baby who is in heaven.  They can be donated to a local NICU, funeral home, Christian Radio Station (ours will send books to folks who call in with prayer requests),  or OB/GYN offices.

Here is why I want to share this opportunity:

Because the purpose of “I Have a Brother” is to encourage grieving families with the hope that can only come from Jesus Christ, my book is considered controversial and politically incorrect.  While every hospital, funeral home, etc., that I have talked with has said they would love to carry this book and that its message is encouraging, none of these venues can purchase the book because of its controversial/religious message.

However, all of these locations have also said they would love to have copies of this book on hand to give to clients/patients who indicate that they are Christians.

Here’s the catch:  the only way to have these books on hand is to have them donated.

When a family loses a baby or infant, I have seen that they either turn towards the Lord or away from Him regardless of what their relationship with Him before their loss.  If we can help turn families toward the Lord and to see the hope of heaven, I pray that they will avoid much more heartache by distancing themselves from their Heavenly Father.

If you would like to donate books, check out the “Donate A Book” page and fill out the form at the bottom of the page.   Then we can communicate by e-mail to make all the arrangements to get some of these books to a place where they can be shared with other families experience a baby loss.

And if you know a family who has experienced a loss, let them know that you remember their child’s birthday.  It will mean more than you could ever know.

Even if you don’t choose to donate a book, I do hope that you will choose to remember those babies in heaven somehow on their birthday.  Put a flower on his/her grave.  Have a special dinner.  Give money to a local organization in their memory.    But never forget what the Lord has done in your life and how He has been faithful to you in the midst of your loss.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.”  Psalm 28:7

 

 

 

Table for Five, please

Table for Five, please

IMG_1718I have had a revelation.  And I will be honest and say that I cannot believe myself.

Before I share my revelation, I must first tell you that early in our marriage I realized something, our house cannot have lots of big furniture.  We must have smaller functional pieces.

And in my newlywed naivety, I purchased furniture without any measuring or thinking of how it would fit in our home.

And in my defense, it did not look so big in the store.

So when we found a table on Craigslist a few years ago, I was excited because we could fit five chairs around it without using the leaf to make it longer.  So we have had a nice little round table with five chairs around it for as long as we can remember.  When we have guests, I can get at least three more chairs (uncomfortably) around the little table.  But in the back of my mind, I know there is the leaf downstairs if I need to make the table longer and more rectangular.

So last fall, I knew we were having a Worship Team meeting at our house and decided to make the round table a rectangle.  No big deal.

And the rectangle worked beautifully for our meeting and the next morning the girls and I enjoyed the extra room as we worked on one of our favorite Christmas projects, homemade Christmas calendars.

I thought how nice it was to have this extra room on the table and wondered why I have not kept the table this size more often.

Then it came time for dinner.  And as I set the table, I realized why I don’t like to have it so large all the time:  Because of the empty sixth chair, the rectangular table shape reminds me of our loss.

And I laughed at myself for even thinking such a silly thought.  But here I will confess that I don’t like having an empty chair.

It is silly and yet completely normal for me to have thoughts about what might have been.  To think about what could have been.  But I have to keep myself in check…

“What is true?  Think about these things.”

It is true that I have three lovely little ladies and a wonderful husband and we all love the Lord and seek to serve Him daily.

That is what is true.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”  Ephesians 4:8

 

Howdy, Hello and How Do You Do?

Howdy, Hello and How Do You Do?

My goodness…has it really been almost five months since I last posted?  I cannot believe that I let this much time pass without a post at all.  Life has been full, but honestly, I have struggled with determining the direction of this blog.  I am still working through all of that, but for now, let’s just reconnect.

Since my last blog post, we celebrated the tenth anniversary of the day our son was born and the day he died.  TEN YEARS!

I remember wondering when we had just lost him if I would still hurt ten years later.  Would it still matter that our son had not joined our family here on earth?  Would I still cry about his short life?

The answer to these questions has been yes.  And no.  Let me explain.

Yes, it still hurts that our son is not part of our earthly family.  Yes, I still cry at times when I think about his short life.  Yes, I do still wonder what it would be like to have a little fellow amongst our little ladies.

And at the same time, these thoughts are no longer my focal point as they seemed to be for so many years.

In Granger Westberg’s book, “Good Grief”, he says that one of the last stages of grief is being able to accept your loss and to move forward.  While there have been times when I know I took two steps forward and fifty steps backwards, I feel like I am moving forward these days.  I have accepted the fact that we have a son in heaven and I am able to live my life.

I am thankful for the last ten years as I have grown so much through our son’s short life (and many other life events).  And while I look forward to seeing him in heaven, I know that I have a life to live here on the earth.  I want to live the life God has given me with all its ups and downs and to be a light for Him while I have breath.

If you have not read Westberg’s book, “Good Grief,”  I highly recommend it for so many reasons.  I re-read it a few weeks ago (you can read it in less than two hours) and it will be so helpful to you at whatever stage in life you are.  Because as Granger says, “Grief is a natural part of human experience.  We face minor grief almost daily in some situation or another.”

Grief is not just about death.  Grief is a part of daily life.  I will write more about my grief journey and how this book helped me soon…but for now, know that I muddled around in my grief journey for a long time not knowing where I was or if this was normal.  I am thankful for Westberg’s brief book that has helped me to understand where I was and that it was normal.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 1 Corinthians 1:3-4

 

 

Feel the Rain

Feel the Rain

I am so thankful that the Lord has not given up on me over the years.  He keeps refining me and taking me through situations I would never have asked for or wanted to experience…oh, but the Lord has plans for good!

One day in the middle of a lengthy wet spell, we were all getting a little stir crazy, some more than others in our home.  So when the rain let up a bit and someone asked to go outside, I said, “Yes!”

I figured a little wetness would not hurt…it could be a prelude to a real shower upon re-entrance to our dry abode!

When I looked outside, this is what I saw:

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I watched.   Stunned.  What was this child of mine doing?  Dressed in a pink and blue beret, a cute skirt, the smelliest sparkly Toms any child has ever worn and a beautiful wool coat with faux fur collar, just three sizes too small.

I just watched…wondering if I should make her come inside, but she was enjoying her time outdoors so much.  And honestly, I could tell she needed this freedom from our own four walls.

I snuck outside to get a picture of her in the rain, walking around with her hands held out, just happy as a clam.  So I joined her in the great (wet) outdoors, took her picture (unbeknownst to her) and asked her, “Lee, what are you doing?”

“I am feeling the rain.”

And such is life with her – she feels the rain in every situation.  When life is sad, her eyes fill with tears. When life is funny, she rolls with laughter.  When she sees an injustice, she burns with anger.  When she sees a need, she does her best to meet it.  When someone is sad, she gives them warm hugs.  She is not afraid to feel every emotion and to love every person she meets.

Before the Lord gave me Lee, I would steer clear of all these emotions and feelings…

God gave me Lee because He knew I needed her.  I needed to learn to feel the rain.  To live my life to the fullest and to enjoy every minute of it…whether rain or shine.

And I have learned to thank the Lord for both.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts, See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  Psalm 139:23-24

I’ve Been Doing Some Reading

I’ve Been Doing Some Reading

 

I have not always been a reader.  I know, “Readers are Leaders,” but as a young Daphne, I wondered who had time to read?  I was too busy doing, doing, doing…I read what was necessary (unless it was British literature…that was so painful ), but by and large, reading was not something I did for fun.

But in full disclosure, I don’t think I did anything special for fun…I was too busy doing, doing, doing to even know what I liked to do.

But that is another discussion for another day.

So this Christmas, my sister-in-love, Molly, wanted a book by a lady I had heard of before, Sally Clarkson.  Since I had drawn Molly’s name for Christmas, I decided to get Sally’s book and read part of it before I wrapped it for Molly for Christmas.  (Doesn’t everyone do that?)

The book she wanted was called “The Life-Giving Home.”  Its first twenty pages were wonderful…so I borrowed it from the library and searched for all of Sally’s books in our library system.

“The Life-Giving Home” is wonderful and I found two other books of Sally’s that have been so encouraging to me:   “Desperate: Hope for the Mom who Needs to Breathe” and “Own Your Life.”

And since my word for this year is “live,”  I have been so encouraged by Sally’s writings.  Sally’s encouragement throughout all of these books has been to live the life God has given to you and to live it to your fullest among many other encouragements.

I have been doing some other reading lately by two other authors that I highly esteem…I will share about them soon…but I need to do more reading first!

So what have you been reading lately?  I would love great reading suggestions!

 

The Eagle – Part Two

The Eagle – Part Two

I told you about the “Eagle Cam” earlier and while it is a really neat thing, it has also been hard for me to watch.

When we started watching right before Christmas, there were two eggs in the nest.  Mama and Daddy Eagle would take turns sitting on the nest and every once in a a while we would get a glance at the two eggs.  Someone at my house always thought they saw a crack in one of the eggs and were so eager to see a little eaglet (yes, that is a word) pop it’s head out.

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And we got to see the first eaglet, but days kept passing the second egg never hatched.

Now, please do not going to tell my high school biology teacher this, but I did not realize that there were sometimes eggs that did not hatch.

A few days ago, the other egg in this eagle’s nest was deemed, “Not Viable with Life.”

I did not like the sound of this at all. Read more

The Eagle Baby, Waiting on the Lord and My Word of the Year

The Eagle Baby, Waiting on the Lord and My Word of the Year

A few weeks ago, my husbband sent me an e-mail.

Romantic, huh?!?

We do that sometimes because it is easier than trying to cover all our bases when he is home and EVERYONE is vying for his attention.

This particular e-mail was an enthusiastic encouragement to show the girls the eagles who are sitting on their nest waiting for new babies to be born.

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I passed this e-mail by until later when he was home for the holidays and he asked our oldest if I had shown them the eagles.

Oops…MOM FAIL.  I had skimmed the e-mail, deemed no immediate action necessary and gone on to the next action item.

So he got the computer and pulled up the eagle-cam of the eagle sitting on the nest with two eggs beneath her beautiful feathers.  It was quite amazing to sit and watch.

I know this because as a family, we set the computer up in a prominent spot so that we could watch.  And this is what I heard throughout that day:

“She moved!”   “I see the eggs.”   “I think I see a crack!”  “This must be the daddy bird!”

At first I was fixated on the screen.  What was so amazing about this?  Yes, this is our national bird and at one time it was considered extinct.  But this momma and daddy bird are just doing their jobs.  They are doing what comes naturally…so why the big fuss?

But every morning after the initial eagle introduction from daddy, my oldest daughter would check to see if a baby had hatched yet.  And finally, one little cotton ball was hatched and we have enjoyed seeing its cute little being when mama moves from the nest.

It has been like the ordinary has become extraordinary.  Like doing what comes naturally is all of a sudden supernatural.

Then today I read a familiar passage from Isaiah:  “They who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”  (40:30-31)

After I read this verse, I recollected the eagle I had watched.  They are beautiful birds and they are so powerful.  Truly amazing creatures.

So I re-read the Isaiah verses and was encouraged that at the strength of eagles doesn’t come from doing everything perfectly or from running yourself ragged…quite the opposite…it comes from waiting on the Lord.

Doing what God called you to do, and wait for the Lord to lead you each step of the way.

These sweet eagles and a few books that I have been reading lately (which I will share soon) have encouraged me as I chose my word for this year.

So without further ado, my word for this year is:  LIVE.

LIVE – as in live each day to the fullest; as in live and do not be afraid; as in for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.  Live while I am waiting and live while I am soaring because life is for the living.

Not for the contemplating, overthinking, fearing and/or watching.  (All of which I have done in the past).  It is for the living.

Living means choosing to be in the present.  Living means choosing to enjoy the waiting, knowing that God has something in store for you…you must be faithful each step of the way.

Live.

Live each day to its fullest potential.

Not for my glory, but for God’s glory.

Because it is all about Him…for His glory and His grace.

What about you?  Do you have a word this year?  A verse?  I would love to hear others’ word/verse/thought!  It is always encouraging to hear what others are doing as well!!!

“Encourage one another and build one another up…”  1 Thessalonians 5:11