Saturday, July 20, 2013

Celebration of Life

 I always find myself up late the night before one of the kids' birthdays, blowing up balloons, curling ribbons, putting finishing touches on whatever cake they have challenged me with, laying out the cutest outfit to showcase their cuteness on a day that is all about them.  A celebration of life to reflect on the milestones of the year passed, the anticipations of the year ahead, and if the cake was a flop, at least there is always next year.

This night two years ago, I was up late preparing for a different celebration of life.  Instead of balloons, we had shopped for flowers, choosing bright hues of purple that would sprawl across a tiny casket.  I had stood in the middle of Babies R Us while people stared, tears pouring down my face when I couldn't find tights little enough to match a dress fit for a little princess.  Instead of finding the right sentiment on a card, we had had searched for the right words that would be etched forever when we visited her headstone.  All of these little details enormously important in the way we wanted our little girl to be remembered; because this day would only happen once.

Two years ago I sat surrounded by my most precious friends and family and soaked in every carefully chosen song and word as those closest to us helped us honor and remember every priceless day we shared with Ellianna before we had to close the chapter of her life here.

With aching hearts we closed the lid together and escorted her to the beautiful grounds where she would forever be remembered while we wait to see her again.

A breathtakingly painful day, but also a day of such tenderness and love, just fitting for how we wanted everyone to remember our little girl.

"He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion, until the day of Christ Jesus."
Philippians 1:6

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BE, don't GO

As we have been visiting for a church to call home, we have been looking to be challenged, encouraged, pushed to seek, and embraced by those who can walk alongside us.  The frustration with the cliquey-ness and fake conversations filled with spiritual platitude have brought me back to something my older brother told me several years ago when I expressed my dismay with the so-called christian influences in my life... He said "God doesn't call us to GO to church, He calls us to BE the church."

This statement illuminates truth in so many ways around me.  Although we have yet to find a "church home" we feel settled with, I can see how it is already all around me...

It's in the friends who welcome us into their homes with unconditional love and the freedom to share whatever is on our hearts...

It's in the hands of sweet neighbors who bring a meal without even knowing how much we needed it...

It's in the compassion of a woman who allowed herself to be vulnerable when she felt a tug to pray over me...

It's in the faithfulness of a friend who knows we don't always have to see eye to eye to be willing to drive to another state to be there for each other...

It's in the selflessness of a family who have taken our children in the blink of an eye, showed up to help on a moment's notice, and poured into us with mentorship on all things faith and family...

It's in the silence of a friend praying through each hospital stay, knowing no words are necessary...

Church is not in a pew or a gym or a well rehearsed sermon... it is in us.  It is in how we choose to touch the lives of the people around us, and how we will allow ourselves to be used.

Where is your church?

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Two Years

My Sweet Ellie Grace,

Today is the day when all of those horrible and frightening memories come to mind the most.  The day I am haunted by the sights, the sounds, the shattering pain of watching you die.

Today though, I want to think about the happy things of you.  I want to spend the day imagining what your smile must look like.  I want to imagine your fluffy hair blowing in a sweet breeze, and your dainty features eclipsed in the glory of the Everlasting Light.  I want to imagine the sound of your voice, and your carefree laughter as you play with the many friends you have made in Heaven.  I want to imagine the overwhelming joy I will feel when I get to hold you in my arms again.

Today we will go to the Butterfly Pavilion, to marvel at the beautiful creatures that always remind us of you.   We will visit your grave and bring you pretty flowers, and help your baby brother release his first balloon for you.  We will cry tears from the deepest gashes of our grief, and then we will hold each other close and we will press on another day, because we know each day brings us closer to kissing your sweet face again.

You are deeply missed my precious and beautiful daughter.  I am longing for Heaven.

Until we meet again,


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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Why of July

When the stars and stripes and fireworks appear, my gut is heavy, my breath sharp, because that day is coming again.


The day I chose a soft, neon pink onesie with a frilly little bow... not knowing that would be the last time I would dress you.

The day after I had filled a deep bath and soaked with your warm body against my chest... not  knowing that would be our first and last.

The day I called and your daddy said "What???" and I said, "Just get here."


The day the only thing I ate was a 3 Musketeers Bar, and how I can't eat them anymore because I get that same nervous, gut punched feeling I had that day.

The day I screamed at God to please not take you from me.

The day I watched in disbelief at hands that didn't seem to be mine holding you close as your soul slipped from your body.

The day I kissed each tiny toe and wondered if I had ever taken the time to do that while you were alive.

The day I set you down to be covered by that ugly orange knitted blanket before they rolled you away forever.

The day I walked out into the sun holding your daddy's hand and an empty car seat.

The day I watched your siblings dissolve into hysterical tears when I told them you wouldn't be coming home.


The day I watched a deep dark hole swallow up every delicate detail of you.

The July my heart broke forever.

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