Saturday, March 31, 2012

Marching On

After our experience of having two little girls born prematurely, we have become aware of the need for continued research and development of the medical care that helps these tiny little miracles survive. After having two very different journeys through the NICU, our desire has grown to help other babies like ours have every opportunity they can to be healthy and thrive.

As a family, we have decided to participate in the March of Dimes March for Babies this year in memory of Ellianna, and in support of Isabella, who is our proof of miracles. March of Dimes provides the majority of funding to many NICU's to have the equipment, experience, and capabilities that they have to provide care to teeny little babies that otherwise would not live.
Bella and Ellie
We have two requests...

The first is that if you are in the local area, and would like to join our family for the 5 mile walk on April 28th, please visit our web page and join as a team member. We would love the company of anyone who would like to participate.

In addition, or if you don't live nearby, we would encourage you to make a monetary donation to support our team and help us raise this important funding. You can give a little, or give a lot; every bit helps provide care for preemies. There is an area on our web page where you can give donations.

Below is the link you can follow or copy and paste to get to the home page for our team, named Hope & Grace (the middle names of our two preemie girls).


Thank you so much for partnering with us to make a difference in something that is very dear to our hearts.

Ellianna holding Daddy's ring

Because miracles do happen...

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012


This past weekend I got to witness one of the most precious events; my little brother making his vows to the woman of his dreams.  I loved the joy in the breeze, the glow of their happiness, and the adoration that spilled from their eyes when they looked at each other.  Then, while they eagerly repeated the words of lifelong commitment to each other, I was hit by the breath-stealing dark that has taken root in my soul.  "In plenty and in want, in sickness and in health, till death do us part."  I feel like when I spoke these words 10 years ago I agreed to them, but never grasped the thought that any of those things could come true.  My mind insisted things would continue to be light and joyful and filled with nothing but promise.  As Jamie and Daniel exchanged their vows, I found my mind racing.... what is going to happen?  Will one of them get sick?  Will tragedy strike?  Will they have to endure losing someone they love? Will they look back on the snapshots of today and think "if only we had known..."  I hate that that's how my mind turns now.  I hate the fear I have seeded deep, wondering what will knock us down next, and preparing for that battle.

While some days I'm overwhelmed, it has gotten incrementally better.... I am no longer paralyzed by fear while driving... I can let the kids go out to play... I can accept that it's ok to just get through one thing at a time, and experience the peace that comes from having to trust.  I sure have lost some filters to my lens though.  I never used to focus on what could go wrong, but now I find myself seeing the flip side of many situations and preparing to brace myself if I should need to.  It is a huge journey of faith.  Faith deeper than I have ever known.  Deep enough that I will never lose hold of something to grasp for.  Faith that will bring me to healing no matter what I go through.  It challenges me daily.

I have been scrolling through some pictures... pictures that a bystander might oooh and ahhh over... happy times, memorable events, remarkable firsts... and that's the thing... now I see how many lasts there were.  You don't take most pictures thinking "this will be the last time."  ---Unless of course it's a last tooth lost or a last game of the season.  You don't take pictures thinking "this is the last time I held my child," or "this is the last smile she ever gave me."  And what if we had known?  It wouldn't have made it better, it would have changed the smiles and the glittering eyes.  They would look like the most painful and forced happiness... such as in the photo of the time I really knew "This is the last time."
The last time we held Ellianna alive.

The last time she held hands with her Daddy.


There is already coming a day when our hope is greater than our fear.  We can look back and see how it has progressed.  It doen't mean we have arrived... we need your continued prayers for peace and healing in place of fear.  Ellianna's death has not fit neatly into a "folder" of our lives... it has scattered pages throughout and will leave marks scribbled across pages for the rest of our days. We can only do the best we know how to grieve and grow and become deeper and more grateful for the hope we are chasing.   Ever so slowly the blooms grow back, and we learn to let ourselves fall, arms oustretched into the deep of healing and beauty and rest that has been promised us.  Here's to believing that day will come....

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Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Candle We Never Lit

March 2, 2012 marked an important day in our lives.  The listening stones the kids picked for the day gave an accurate picture of how we all felt.

Ellianna would be one year old... but instead of pictures of her smashing her first cake in her hair, another family snapshot of us visiting the cold, hard stone that marks where her beautiful shell is buried.  It was hard to know exactly what to do.  I bounced between wanting to have a celebration, and wanting to just ignore the day and not do anything at all.  In the end though, we wanted to celebrate more than just the anniversary of our daughter's birth.  We wanted to celebrate all that has happened in our lives because she was here.  The sweet memories we have of her, the growth in our marriage that the trials have cultivated, the way that our children have learned to feel and express and love because they have seen the value of living fully.  So we celebrated. 

We didn't get to birthday shop for Ellie, so we picked things we would have liked to have given her, and took them to her NICU.  The nurses chose for us a little baby girl whose family is experiencing the challenges of having a preemie.  We got to pay forward some of the love and support we have received since Ellianna graced our lives. 

We got to open our home to our worship group who surrounded us with love and caring.  They had encouraging words to share, gifts of sweet significance, and prayers that uplifted and strengthened our hearts.  We sent the most amazing cloud of glowing balloons off into the night sky...each scrawled with thoughtful words of grateful memories. 

We made it through another hard day, and came out the other side with a renewed sense of the blessings that are daily showered on our lives. 

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