Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A house by the cemetery

It seems nowadays that my visits to the cemetery get farther and farther apart from each other. That first year I used to visit every week and now it seems I can get there maybe once a month. It’s not that I don’t want to visit but lately the weather has been quite rainy and life is always so busy. It’s times like this that I wished I lived closer to the cemetery than the 30 minutes it takes to get there currently.

We ended up going to the cemetery on Sunday since it was such a nice day (a gentlemen was there putting more dirt on the graves, including hers). I got called into work so I had to meet Anthony there. The way I drove took me by a house. It’s a house that has sat empty since it’s been built, which has been years now. It’s a 4 bedroom home and it’s nice inside from the pictures I’ve seen of it online. The outside is very nice too. I assume that no one has bought this house because it is terribly overpriced. Or maybe they don’t like a cemetery being a hop, skip, and a jump away. I, on the other hand, wish I could live in this house to be closer to the cemetery. Who does that? Who wants to live beside a cemetery? Oh yeah, the parents of a dead baby. Me.

Whenever I pass by this house I dream of one day in the future buying it and taking walks to the cemetery. We could pack a picnic basket and go down there and eat with her. I can see the girls picking flowers to go take to her. I imagine alone time on a blanket right over her grave. I can even picture us loading up on the lawn mower and having Anthony ride us there. That makes me laugh just thinking about it.

We know eventually in a few years that we want to move. We want to move on the other side of the county and be closer to the cemetery. Really, I should say I want to move to be closer to the cemetery. I’m not sure what hubby wants but he seems fine with the plan I have made for us. Every time I go online and look through houses I look at it. Now we may very well never get this house because there is a better one out there or it could be sitting empty just waiting for us. I guess God’s will and time will tell, but every time I see it I think, “Wouldn’t it be nice to be so close to her…”

Some people dream of a house with a white picket fence. I dream of a house by the cemetery.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Mother's Love revisited

For May's blog hop for Faces of Loss I wanted to reshare something I shared on my blog back on January 31, 2009. On that day I had received an email from my Uncle Buck. He had written something he wanted to share with me. I am always moved by his writings and this one in particular is very close to my heart. I thought it was appropriate to share with those who may not have read it before.

A Mother’s Love

I will never understand the love a Mother has for her children. Today I have finally accepted it is simply beyond my ability to comprehend.

Like so many of us I took advantage of my Mom as a child, and given the gift of hindsight, I probably even did that as an adult. Mom was always there looking out for me. It wasn’t until her final moments that I thought about how much she had done for me. In those precious few minutes it dawned on me that I would never understand why she cared as she did, why she put up with all my mistakes, why she loved me as much as she loved all her other children. She died with me never understanding the love of my Mother.

I was equally dumbfounded later in life when a family heirloom that meant the world to me seemed to have slipped through my fingers once again. Yet there is a lamp in our house today that serves as a constant reminder a Mother's love is not limited to those children she bears. Why was I the one blessed with this special act of kindness? After all these years, words still fail to describe the emotion of that moment. And it convinced me all the more I will never understand the love of a Mother.

Even when I watched my wife and the interaction she had with our sons, I couldn't understand the love of a Mother. Those boys drove me nuts but Becky persevered. I remember when teen choices drove a wedge between father and son, Mom was there making sure the wounded family ties were repaired. While I felt a huge sense of loss when they left our house and later when they married, Becky didn’t waste any time welcoming 2 wonderful young ladies into our lives. When I was convinced I should have done more, Becky knew we had done all that was needed to prepare our sons to lead their own households. How did she know? Why was she right every time? I have no idea. But it pretty much proved beyond any doubt I am incapable of understanding the love of a Mother.

Today I am confronted once more with my inability to grasp the enormity of a Mother’s love. Holly, our sweet little Holly, hesitated not one second when asked if she wanted to carry a child that would not look like other children. She was told her baby would not live as long as other babies are expected to live. She would never see her baby leave for the first day of school, go on her first date, or share that special day when wedding rings marked a new chapter in the lives of everyone who loved her baby girl. But Holly never wavered in her decision. In spite of the hardship, or maybe because of it, she chose to continue a bittersweet pregnancy that tore out the hearts of those who thought they knew what was best for her. I was one of those people.

Holly was not ready for this. It was just yesterday that I watched her and Katrina playing in a small wading pool with my sons. Just yesterday she fell asleep in my lap after a long day of boating and many failed attempts at water skiing. Just yesterday she was a busy athlete on the track and field team, a goofy acting teenager racing to embrace the promise of tomorrow. Just yesterday she married and with Anthony began a family.

It was just yesterday. I was there. I know she was not ready for this.

Yet what I know is not what I see because there stands Holly, glowing only as a happy mother-to-be can. There is Holly, smiling and reassuring all of us she is fine, that she knows this is the right choice. There is Holly, inspiring those who doubted, giving us the strength to carry on. At a time when she should be leaning on us she is instead the crutch a family depends on. How can she do that? Where does she find the strength? She has reminded me once again I will never understand the love of a Mother.

I deeply regret that I will never know little Carleigh. I would like to watch her grow and see her listen in wide-eyed wonder as I argue with her Grandma about whether she looks more like her Mom or more like her Dad. I would like to hear her laugh when I tell stories of her Mom as a toddler and teen.

I would like to tell her what a wonderful Mom she has.

But somehow, I think she already knows all the things I would like to tell her. And I suspect she knows even more because I am certain she understands the one thing I never will: the love of a Mother.

I hesitate to speak of God because I know so little and others are far more qualified than I am to speak of His love for us. But instead of wondering why this happened I choose to believe in His wisdom. I choose to believe that He knew Holly was the best choice to be the Mother of one of His most precious children. I choose to believe that He knew Carleigh would be safe and warm and loved. Seeing the smile of our young Mommy-to-be I know it was the right choice.

I may never understand the love of a mother but today I understand the love of our Father just a little better. He sees what we can’t see. He knows what we don’t know. He understands what I don’t, the love of a Mother.

WH 2009

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A few gifts

For Mother’s Day I took part in the Remembering Together Bouquet Swap.

We had to make a flower or bouquet of flowers and send it to a fellow babyloss mom. A lovely lady named Shannon made my bouquet and included the colors that remind me of my babies.


Thank you, Shannon, for the wonderful bouquet! It’s sitting in the middle of our table.

I also tuned in to the most recent Anchored By Hope radio show and won a customized snow globe from Kristie.

ABH Button

I just happened to pick the closest number to 12 and I picked 11 (my lucky number!!).


The snow globe is very pretty and has the words “Never lose hope” and is customized with Carleigh’s name. The song it plays is called Romance. I’ve never heard it before but it is a wonderful tune.

Thanks Kristie!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

March for Babies 2011

On Saturday, May 7th, we had our March for Babies walk for the March of Dimes. Since we don’t have a local one in our area anymore we go back to walk in the northern region since all of our family is up there.

I’m thankful for all of our family and our friends who walk with us and support us and our daughter, Carleigh.

I had Deirdre from Dee’s Tees design our shirts again for the 3rd year. She always does a great job. Although, Anthony informed me that next year his friend’s family member is gonna do it because they can do it cheaper. Whatever! As long as we get shirts I don’t care!

This year I actually came up with the design myself instead of throwing out some ideas and Deirdre designing it. I think it really turned out good! I also put the names of babies who were born too early or gone too soon on the back of the shirt. I put a request on Carleigh’s blog and on FB for names so those moms who requested had their baby/babies’ names put on the shirt. Plus I had a few extra spaces to fill so I put in a few names myself.


We had a good sized team this year just like last year but the big difference this year was the weather. Last year it rained but this year it was warm and sunny and just beautiful! (Later it ended up raining but I was so happy it held off for our walk.)


Our walk was a 3 mile walk and we started at the First Presbyterian Church. We had a great route that took us by Lake Cascade (old quarry that filled with ground water).


Kyndra and my niece Audrey were together in a stroller pushed by my parents. My dad tipped the stroller several times and then Kyndra fell and scraped her face up, poor thing!


Lainey did very well during the walk. She took it all in for a bit and then ended up falling asleep. I mostly walked beside my friend, Jen, and Todd’s girlfriend, Megan.


My cousin Amber ran half of the walk and did a great job! I wish I could’ve run it but I’m afraid I’m not quite as in shape as I used to be. I really need to start exercising again and maybe next year I can run it.


They had a little bounce house that the kids loved jumping in. Kyndra had a blast in it and skipped the lunch after the walk to go in it.


Thanks to everyone who came and walked with us and thank you to everyone who donated to me for the walk-Lisette, Jessica, Trisha, Susan, Crystal, Sara, Angela, and Natasha.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Women of Faith 2011

I have been meaning to post about Women of Faith sooner but I just haven't had the time to sit and write it all out until now. And even now I am trying to hurry before the girls wake up from their naps!

The Women of Faith conference in Columbus was April 29-30. Kelly got a group of women together to go to the conference together. Last year my cousin Amber and I only went on Friday because we were using Becki's and Kelly's tickets since they couldn't come down until Saturday. I knew after just that one day I wanted to come back for the full 2 days. It's an amazing conference!

Friday morning Amber drove down to my house and once she got there we (along with Lainey) left to head to Erin's house to meet up with her and Mattie and drive to Nationwide Arena. We left a little later than we wanted to and then on the road we had a little tire trouble so that made us even later but we made it and the 4 of us headed out to the conference.

We ended up arriving there before Kelly's group from up north did, which surprised me because I thought they would beat us with our late start. We were waiting outside of Nationwide Arena when we decided we'd go ahead and go inside to wait on them. It was then that I realized I forgot mine and Amber's tickets! Noooooooooooo!! I called Kelly and she said they should have a ticket place we could go to and that we'd figure it out when she got there. We went ahead and went to the main ticket place and the people at the ticket tables were so nice! I told them I had forgot our tickets and then printed us new ones no problem! Crisis averted! Thank you God! I didn't want to have to miss the conference because of my own forgetfulness.

Once my cousin Amber and I acquired our new tickets we went ahead and checked through. They check your bags for food and drink as you go through and after last year (Amber and I had to throw a ton of stuff away!) I knew I'd have to be clever to sneak something through. So I put some cheese crackers in a cloth sandwich bag and it was smooth sailing and because I had Lainey with me I was able to take my bottle of water in too.

I didn't realize it at first but Friday morning and afternoon seating was general admission so we could sit anywhere so we got to sit pretty close. Here's a pic of before the conference started as we were in our 'close up' seats.


The theme for this year's conference was Imagine.


Soon enough Kelly and her crew arrived and sat with us in our close up seats. The praise team did some singing and then the speakers started. We heard from a guy named Henry Cloud. I'm not real familiar with him but he was a good speaker. We also heard from Shelia Walsh. I really liked her!

Before we knew it it was time for lunch so we went and got our boxed lunches and took them back and ate in the arena. We also managed to snag even closer seats! Booyah! Lunch was pretty good. We had turkey sandwiches with chips and an apple. We also had a Little Debbie for dessert. Lainey chewed on mine and made it mush but it was still good!

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Such a fun time!

After lunch it was a Q&A session where people turned in questions for the speakers to answer. Then we got to hear a little bit from Angie Smith! She was so nervous and you could tell but God bless her she still did well and she was funny too. It just made us all jazzed up to hear her speak later in the conference.

They dismissed us for a few hours before the next session so some of us decided to go eat dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. We ate there last year and it was yummy good so it was kinda no brainer to eat there again.

Kelly, Stephanie, and Mattie with Lainey

I got the fried macaroni and cheese balls. So good!

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Eating away!

We had to get our cheesecakes to go because it was getting really close for the evening session to begin. Erin, Mattie, Amber, and me ate ours while I drove. I got the red velvet cake and cheesecake and it was so good!


The evening session was filled with some great music and dancing (mostly me lol) to Mary Mary! We also had to go to our assigned seats, which were up in the balcony but I was sitting right on the edge so I could see everything really well! It made Kelly nervous though. lol

Mary Mary2

By the time Friday night at the conference was over it was like 10 pm! And yet I was still awake! Whoa! The group split up to go to where they were staying for the night. Mattie was supposed to stay in the hotel with Kelly and her group but the hotel kinda messed up on their rooms and Mattie decided to go back to Erin's house to stay, which is where Amber and I were staying too. I was so excited! I was kinda bummed she wouldn't be staying again so it really made me smile that it changed.

The morning came all too quickly and we got ready and hit the road for Saturday's conference. The speakers we got to see this day was Luci Swindoll and Lisa Harper. We also got some more of Sheila Walsh. Nicole Johnson did some drama for us too. (I hope I'm getting things on the right days!)

During one of the small breaks I had to sneak away and get some ice cream from the UDF stand near us and some cotton candy! It was also the perfect opportunity to get some photos in of some of my great friends!

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Gotta have my treats!

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Me, Kelly, and Mattie

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Me, Kelly, and Becki

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Kelly and Becki

For lunch we got the boxed lunches again and ate on some tables near our seats. We had chicken sandwiches this time along with chips and oranges and a rice krispy treat. Lainey liked to suck on the orange.




Holly and Lainey2

One of the best parts of the conference was getting to hear Angie speak. She was simply amazing and she told her story so well. Like Kelly told us, she told our story too. And she really did!! You could tell she was so nervous but once she started telling Audrey's story her words just flowed and flowed so eloquently. Kelly had emailed Angie and had arranged for our group to meet her but we weren't sure when it was gonna happen so Kelly kept trying to make it happen for us.


We also got an amazing concert from Natalie Grant. She is really awesome to hear in person. I just knew too that she was gonna sing her song Held and by golly I was right. It was emotional to hear but even more emotional for me was when she started singing my favorite hymn, It Is Well With My Soul. It was That was totally from God because I was thinking before Natalie's concert how I would love to have sung that hymn while we were at the conference. Of course, it made me cry. And to hear so many women singing it was just chilling.


We even got a surprise performance from Laura Story with her song Blessings. That was definitely a blessing! Below is a video of her actual performance.

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On the last speaker of the day the group made its way down to wait in line to get Angie's autograph. I'm so glad we left when we did because they closed the line at a certain point. But Angie had our back because she told the people looking over things to make sure the Sufficient Grace girls were in line! Thanks Angie! ;)

We were all so very excited to meet Angie. At least those of us who knew who she was and how BIG of a moment this was for anyone who has lost a child. She gives us a voice. When it was our group's turn Kelly went up to her and told her it was the Sufficient Grace group and oh man were there squeals! Angie took a few minutes for each of us and then signed books for us. She really cared for each and every one of us.

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When it was my turn to go up I just happened to be breastfeeding Lainey but that didn't stop Angie! Oh no! I think it may have even made her more excited. You should've seen her face! She even asked if she could take a peek and of course I totally let her. She even said that it was the first time she ever saw a blog reader's boob. lol She is so funny!

meeting angie3

meeting angie2

I can't even begin to tell you how amazing it was to meet her in person and to share a little bit of our children with her. When she was signing my books I told her about how she sent me the song I Will Carry You to use at Carleigh's funeral before it was released and how much it meant to me and I thanked her from the bottom of my heart. I actually teared up telling her and so did she. She is just the sweetest ever!

meeting angie group 2

I was a little sad for it to be the end of the conference already. I so wished we had another day! We had a wonderful group of ladies attend and it was a pleasure spending the weekend with them.

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Erin, Mattie, Amber, and I split from Kelly's group and went to my van. (We parked in a different area.) We decided we weren't ready to call it a day yet so we decided to go out to eat at Olive Garden. We ended up staying there for like 3 hours just eating and talking. The time went by so fast. I even sampled 2 glasses of wine (my first!). For 25 cents you can't beat a sample!

erin and lainey

After dinner we went back to Erin's house and just sat in my van talking for a while. Mattie decided she was gonna stay at Erin's for the night and then Amber and I decide to stay too since it was already 10 pm and I am not a good night time driving (I tend to fall asleep). Erin, Mattie, and I stayed up until 2 am just talking. We seriously stayed up until we couldn't stay up anymore. We were all yawning and struggling to stay away. We talked about our babies, this journey, and so much more. I wish I could sit in the same room and talk to them like that more often. Even Lainey stayed awake later than usual.

Holly and Lainey (2)

Oh gosh, the morning came too quick! I seriously wanted to keep sleeping but we had to get on the road and so did Mattie. So after some goodbyes we got on the road and on our way home. What a truly great weekend. :)

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Happy Birthday May Babies

♥ Remembering those babies with special days this month. ♥

Anthony ~ May 1, 2009
Bethany ~ May 3, 2009
Emily ~ May 3, 2008
Olivia ~ May 3, 2010
Beckett ~ May 4, 2009
Jenna ~ May 5, 2009
Christian ~ May 6, 2009
Kristen ~ May 7, 2009
Moira ~ May 8, 2009
Stevie ~ May 8, 2010
Eliana ~ May 9, 2009
Ella ~ May 10, 2010
Noah ~ May 10, 2009
Karinne ~ May 10, 2010
Olivia ~ May 12, 2010
Janessa ~ May 14, 2009
Iris ~ May 14, 2008
Gerardo ~ May 15, 2008
Tatum ~ May 15, 2008
Rylan ~ May 15, 2010
Shealyn ~ May 17, 2009
Duncan ~ May 19, 2009
George ~ May 19, 2009
Leila ~ May 21, 2009
Vayden ~ May 23, 2009
Jack ~ May 24, 2009
Lane ~ May 27, 2009
Joel ~ May 28, 2009
Julius ~ May 30, 2010
Wyatt ~ May 31, 2010
Ayana ~ May 31, 2009
Sophia ~ May 31, 2011

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

A little bit of Hawaii for me ♥

I wanted to share the beautiful pictures that Lisa from Lisa’s Hawaiian Names created for my Carleigh. I don’t really share name pictures on here anymore since I put them all on the FB page, but Hawaii has always had a special place in my heart and the fact that these were written in Hawaii plus Carleigh was still with us when we made our last trip there makes these extra special to me.

You can get your child’s name written by Lisa too. Just click the button below.

Here are the pictures Lisa sent me that she took on the island of Maui. I just love the color of the sunset so much.

Maui, Hawaii (1)Maui, Hawaii (2)Maui, Hawaii (3)Maui, Hawaii (4)Maui, Hawaii (5)

Along with the photos I also bought what is called an Island Keeper. They are made by an artist in Hawaii. Lisa put in my island keeper some sand from the beach where she wrote Carleigh’s name and also a dried flower, sand dollar, shell, a piece of coral, and a small green turtle. It was neat seeing all that was in there.


Thank you so much Lisa!

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