Friday, August 26, 2011

Ride4Grace 2011

The 3rd annual Sufficient Grace Ministries Ride4Grace was on Sunday, August 21st. Anthony and I made the trip back up to the northern region to go to it.

We had a small number of bikes show up and the weather started off really nice. We were ready to get out there and start riding! We said prayer first of course for a safe ride!!


As you can see in the pic below as soon as we started out it looked pretty ominous. Those dark clouds followed us pretty much the whole time. Felt a couple sprinkles once and it got chilly through one part of the ride but we managed to outride it.


It was around a 77 mile ride (shortened it from a 100 mile ride) and we stopped in McComb to fill up on some gas. As it usually is in small towns, people knew people who were at the gas station and got into some chit chat.


Took a couple of videos during the bike run. It’s pretty noisy with the sounds of the bikes and the wind.

Coming back into the parking lot I saw Kelly standing outside with her camera ready to snap away and welcome us back……with hot dogs and ice cream! I’m all about that!


I wish I could’ve stayed longer and talked with Kelly but Anthony and I had to leave to start heading back home since it was already getting late and we had a 2 1/2 hour drive ahead of us. But I really enjoyed hearing Kelly talk about her visit to The Haven Network when she visited the Chicago area. Wish I could’ve heard even more! You can read her post about it here!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Carleigh’s belly cast

Back on March 21, 2009 (just a week before Carleigh’s birth) I had a belly cast party and some of my friends from high school came and helped me create a cast as a keepsake from my pregnancy with Carleigh.

For over 2 years I have been waiting to have this cast painted. I had been so unsure of where to turn to have this painted. I didn’t want to do it myself and have it turn out less than what it deserved to be.

When I found out last year that Stephanie from Beyond Words Designs painted belly casts I knew I wanted her to do mine. I had seen all the fabulous paintings she had done and I knew she would be perfect. Plus, I knew she would handle something so precious with lots of love and care.

The picture below was taken July 13th and was right before I packaged it up and sent it off to Stephanie. Putting it on I couldn’t believe how small I was with Carleigh just a week before having her. This was at 36 weeks but I was only measuring about 29 weeks. I am so, so glad that I did a belly casting for Carleigh.


Today I received my painted belly cast. I got a reveal of it from Stephanie before it arrived and I was just blown away. (You can see her post here.) It was better than I even imagined and I love how Stephanie came to the design that she did. For the record, all I told Stephanie was that I somehow wanted stars and the color purple incorporated. I left the rest of the design up to her. I did send along Carleigh’s stamps of her hands and foot prints as I wasn’t sure if she would want to incorporate them into the design and I just love what she did with them!

Stephanie says, “I decided upon the midnight colors of deep purple fading into blue for the sky because my friend mentioned that the color purple and stars always made her think of her daughter.  The universe with millions of stars leapt into my head.  And the shooting star represents her life ~ shines so brightly, but briefly.   I saw a shooting star years ago during a very special evening in my life ~ and that image never left me. . .so I recreated it on the cast.  The hand and foot prints are the real prints of my friend’s daughter and their position within the cast is how she laid within her mama’s womb.”


The cast is currently hanging in our bedroom above our bed. I’m not sure if it will stay there but that’s where I had an empty nail so it works for now. It seems kind of fitting though. (I wish I would’ve done one of these for my other girls too.)

Thank you, Stephanie, for creating such a beautiful work of art on my Carleigh’s belly cast. It is much more than I ever imagined it would be.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Day of Hope


"August 19th is a day to break down the walls of society that keep pregnancy, infant and child loss a hush hush subject. People view the death of a baby as just a sad thing that happened.These babies that die are not sad things that happen. They are people, much loved and wanted children. They are brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, grandsons and granddaughters." ~Carly Marie Dudley

Remembering our precious children…..

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Project Heal Music Class- Week 2

This week is about Score music and how it heals and inspires.

I honestly do not listen to much score music but I do think that many scores are beautiful and moving. The score I have listened to the most is Phantom of the Opera. I have loved it since junior high school and have had my copy since then.

I think Jared Kraft has some unbelievably beautiful music that he composes. I would love to own some of his music to listen to.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Shared story

Today Carleigh's story was shared on stillbirthday.

You can read the story here:
(But it is the same as the link Carleigh's Story above.)

If you'd like to share your own story click here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Project Heal Music Class–Week 1

I decided to take part in the music class that is being hosted by CarlyMarie’s Project Heal. Music means a lot to many of us and has a big place in my own life so this is the perfect opportunity to share.

For the first music class we are to share about the music that we love. Did we grow up with it or play an instrument? What about singing? Has music played a role after loss? Feel free to share and link up too!

I think I’ve always grown up loving music. When I was younger I took piano lessons and while I enjoyed it until I decided I loved gymnastics more. Those lessons though allowed me to learn what music was about so when it came time to join the band in school I was all for it. I decided the clarinet was instrument for me and I stuck with it all through high school and even dabbled with the oboe and played the saxophone in the jazz band. I had a natural knack for the clarinet and even made 1st chair and won some awards. My band teacher urged me to play in college but I decided not to. I wanted to focus on my studies. I did give one last hoorah though when I played in an orchestra for a musical. That was a neat experience. I then sold my clarinet and I really wish I would’ve kept it because there are times I would love to just pick it up and play and feel the fluidity of the notes as I played them. And I could go and buy another clarinet but the one I had was special and it was familiar. I have played other ones before but my hands never felt comfortable on them like it did with the one that was truly mine. I honestly miss playing and if I ever came across my old clarinet I don’t think I would hesitate to buy it back.

Along with playing an instrument growing up I also sang quite a bit and was pretty good. I often got the lead in our class plays. (Not sure if it was my singing or the fact that the main character always seemed to have blonde hair…..) People said I sang good and I just took their word for it. I really don’t think I’m that great of a singer now but I do enjoy singing, especially in my car and at church too. I love cranking up the music and singing at the top of my lungs.

As far as listening to music I mostly listen to Christian music and I like to listen to the Christian radio station KLOVE. It wasn’t that long ago that I used to listen to “regular” radio but with more and more songs singing about sex, drugs, and money it was becoming less and less appealing to me. It seems to me that music today isn’t as good as the music of yesteryear was. We loved listening to The Beach Boys growing up and I still love listening to them. It always reminds me of the times we’d take the boat out and we’d put in a Beach Boys cassette and it made it feel more like summer, which is why I love listening to them in the summer the most. Chicago was another one of my favorites from back then. There are more but those are the top two and the ones I have the greatest hits CDs of.

Music have become even more important to me since there are many songs I feel connect with what I am feeling. There were quite a few songs in the beginning after Carleigh was born that would bring tears to my eyes. I could always make a song relate to my loss in some way it seemed. There are still times and songs that can get to me.

One of the songs I’m currently loving at the moment is The Light In Me by Brandon Heath.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Happy Birthday August Babies

Happy Birthday to those babies who have birthdays in August.

Gracie ~ August 1, 2009
Isaiah ~ August 3, 2008
Lily ~ August 3, 2008
Andrew ~ August 7, 2009
Skylar ~ August 7, 2010
Leigha ~ August 7, 2011
Cayden ~ August 8, 2009
Elliot ~ August 10, 2009
Michael ~ August 10, 2010
Kelsey ~ August 11, 2009
Bryson ~ August 12, 2009
Sebastion ~ August 12, 2010
Emma & Chase ~ August 12, 2009
Reese ~ August 13, 2009
Aiden ~ August 13, 2010
Bryston & Colton ~ August 15, 2010
Leilani ~ August 17, 2010
Hope ~ August 19, 2008
Peyton ~ August 19, 2010
Isabella ~ August 21, 2008
Savannah ~ August 23, 2010
Nevaeh ~ August 25, 2009
Addison ~ August 27, 2010
Madelyn ~ August 28, 2009
Gloria ~ August 29, 2006
Luke ~ August 29, 2009
Ezra ~ August 30, 2008

If you'd like your baby added please leave a comment!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Kitchen Table with Glow: Time

I decided to participate in glow in the woods Kitchen Table discussion. If you’d like to take part too just click here. All my questions I am answering just for Carleigh.

1. How much time has passed since the death of your child(ren)? Do you mark grief in months, weeks or years? Does it seem to be going fast or slow?

Today it has been 2 years 4 months and 5 days and I only know it to that extent because I looked at the ticker on the sidebar of my blog. In the beginning of my grief, I counted days. Then the days turned to weeks and the weeks into months. Now the months have turned into years. When the 28th comes each month sometimes I totally forget until someone or something reminds me. The next “milestone” will be 2 1/2 years in September.

Looking back the time has went by so fast. How can my daughter be gone almost 2 1/2 years already? It just doesn’t seem possible. I don’t think the time has ever went slow. Life just passes too quickly and it seems the older I get the faster it goes. I wish I could slow it down because the farther away I get from the day she was born the more the memories of that day fade.

2. Do you have an end goal to your grief? How much time do you think that will take? How much time did you think you'd need to get there right after your loss? How much time do you think you need now?

I’ve never really even thought of an end goal with grief until this question was asked. All I’ve wanted is to do the best I can for my daughter and be happy and I think that I have done that.

3. Rather than a clear end goal, is there a milestone or marker to indicate that you are feeling grief less acutely, i.e. going to a baby shower, listening to a song that made you cry early in grief, driving past the hospital? How long did it take to get there?

Knowing that Carleigh was going to die gave me a head start on grieving. The time spent waiting allowed me to gain perspective on what laid ahead of me once she was born and helped me to cope better after she was gone.

I know I am doing better than those early days because I can see how certain things affected me then don’t affect me the same now. It happened slowly. There was no quick fix. In the beginning I avoided leaving the house as much as I could. I didn’t like crowds and whenever we did go out I often got anxious or angry or even annoyed. And it was mostly just at the situation. I’m out and about and I don’t have my baby with me. People are going about their normal lives and mine will never be normal again.

It wasn’t until an outing in October 2009 that I realized how my feelings had escalated. All these emotions were boiling inside and threatening to spill over. I knew that I needed to get a handle on myself. After I consciously decided to make an effort at handle my emotions things started to get better. Slowly. I often had to take deep breaths and relax and calm myself in my head. I have gotten to the point now where I am ok with crowds again.

There are other examples too that I have made progress. In the beginning I could barely look at newborn babies or pregnant women but now I can look at them with a smile. Any song with a hint of sadness would make me cry but now I can make it through most songs while singing along. I couldn’t make it through a single church service without the weight of my emotions bringing me to tears. I avoided (for the most part) singing, praying, and my church family. But now I feel lighter. I can sing and pray with joy in my heart and I openly greet my church family.

Again, it has taken time to get to where I am today. I can see that by looking back on my posts and reading what I wrote then. I am glad to be out of the times when I was shackled tightly by grief.

4. How do you view the time you had with your child, either alive (within or outside) or already deceased? Before you all answer "Too short! Not enough!", did you have time to "bond" or develop a future imagination about what this child would be like? Perhaps depending on whether yours was cut short, how do you now feel about the nine-month period of gestation -- too long or not long enough?

Oh my heart. The time I had with Carleigh is so, so cherished. I only knew my Carleigh alive while she was in my womb, but I felt like I knew her so well. I knew when she was active or the time of day she was mostly likely to get the hiccups. She loved sweets just like her momma and her sisters. And just like her sisters, she liked to keep her head in my right hip with her arms around her face.

I loved her from the moment I knew she existed. I wanted her before she was conceived. When I found out she was a girl I was overjoyed and dreamed of my two girls growing up so close and having so much fun together. And then my dreams were shattered. My baby girl would never grow up to do any of the things I had imagined for her. I had to fit in a lifetime of memories in just the few short months I had left with her. It seemed impossible but I had no other choice.

I wish that I would have done more with her and taken more pictures when I was still pregnant with her, but at the time it seemed like enough. Is there ever enough? While I don’t regret the choices I made regarding her birth I often wonder what the outcome would have been if I had waited longer than 37 weeks for her to come into this world or if I had decided not to have my water broken. The outcome may have been the same but what if she would’ve been born alive? What would that have been like? I think I would’ve been able to know my daughter in a whole new way than if she hadn’t been born still. I would’ve got to see with my own eyes who she was, but her soul was gone before I could see it.

I desperately wish I would’ve had more time with my daughter. Both in my womb and in my arms. Those moments are never long enough. They seem but a blink in time now.

5. One grief book suggested that it took 2-5 years to incorporate your grief into your life. Where are you on this timeline, and you do you find that to be true?

I think that timeline seems about right. We are approaching 2 1/2 years and I feel like my grief is in a good place and I have learned to incorporate it into my everyday life. Hard moments don’t come as often and I can smile most of the time at the memories. For me, the first year was the hardest. Once I got past a year I felt like I could be a little more free from my grief. Like my shackles were loosened.

6. There's a familiar saying, "Time Heals all wounds." Do you think this is true? Or do you subscribe to Edna St. Vincent Milay: "Time does not bring relief, you all have lied"?

I used to but not anymore. There are some things time cannot heal and that is a broken heart from losing your child. I think that over time it gets easier but never completely better. You still have moments when grief hits you hard. I think of the line from the song Address in the Stars, “Everybody tells me all I need is time, but the morning rolls in and it hits me again and that ain’t nothing but a lie.”

7. Has your relationship with the future (immediate and far) changed since the death of your child(ren)? How about your relationship with the past?

I think about the past and the future more because unfortunately my daughter is in the past but she is also in my future. I held her once but I will hold her again. It seems to balance itself out-the sorrow of my past with the hope for my future.

8. How long did it take to answer these questions?

About a day because I had to stop to take care of my girls and other things and then come back to it later.

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