When all we see is our mess, but He sees us.

“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” -Mother Teresa

12694713_10153426711111989_4536754274534016780_oSince I’ve pulled my boys from there schools, I’ve returned to a slow paced and calm (ish) life. And I’ve had time to reflect and even look inward.  And OH how I’ve missed and needed this! 12716242_10153436427526989_6775363051451239941_o It’s different this time, for one, obviously Ted is gone that part is hard – but mostly because I just miss him. We all do.



12771553_10153444665221989_5198546652115345337_oBut I’m actually talking about a difference in me, in this season. I’ve found a newfound, or maybe I should say a renewing, of things I am passionate about. Things that bring me life. Even in how I mother. And ultimately all from going deep, remembering who I am at my core. 12747279_10153445374231989_8213789854029803742_o

Don’t get me wrong, it has been hard. And there have been many tears shed between my kids and I.  12622407_10153387077861989_6949008415152673507_oMany arguments, many a time where I’ve felt confused at how to help my kids where they are at. Many moments of lost tempers, patience and grace. 12496223_10153385164066989_4827455189661559232_oBut everyday I feel a new measure of grace and hope and perspective rise with the sun. Okay, woah cheesin’ big time… But guys it’s true! 12698624_10153417125386989_7483916795792617295_oAnd how beautiful and hopeful my life has felt as I’ve remembered this. 12695016_10153416311661989_5998714702086564629_oI mess up everyday in someway. And these 3 little faces peering up at me with such honest and pure unconditional love, and it reminds me of Jesus and his amazing grace and love for me. 12646860_10153409559161989_6676799095229820562_oJust like these precious souls, he doesn’t see my as my messes. 12615255_10153398453606989_5490379131347757456_o He sees ME. Who he’s created me to be. Sure the mess is there and we’ve got to organize, in a sense. Purge and get rid of what isn’t me. 12594038_10153385586471989_2059732738726609481_oAnd when I stop solely focusing so much on my own mess and failures, and listen, he helps me sift through all the mess and suddenly remember who I am, and recognize the girl beneath all of the things piled on me.  12694787_10153406307261989_6295064438992989985_oAnd I feel that happening, in this season. I’m ready, and he’s drawing out of me what he’s places inside of me. And to see that who I am, even in all my deep feeling ways, is beautiful and is useful.img_2437That I am not too much of this or too little of that. I’m not the lies I believe, or the words spoken over me.

 There are treasures inside of all of us. We often let all the pain and guilt and weight of the messes weigh us down so we can’t see that beauty within anymore.   And feel it’s hopeless to try to manage the mess anymore. (Have you ever seen an episode of Hoarders? I picture sometime like that. :)) but, friends…

He is forever faithful.
And loving.
And compassionate.
And kind.

He’s so faithful to work with us through whatever our mess may be. And however long it may take.

 This season has been painful, and difficult as I’ve decided to start facing my piles of pain, bitterness, rejection, loss, loneliness, selfishness, broken dreams, words spoken over me, parenting fails, etc … I could go on and on. Couldn’t we all?

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Or we do the opposite and believe there is no mess, no fault in us. I’ve had seasons like that too. Where pride, or perhaps fear, get in the way and we put on a disguise (knowingly or unknowingly).

img_1637
I’m beginning to remember who I am at my core, discard who I’m not – the things I’ve picked up along the way that maybe are someone else but aren’t me, face the things I’ve done wrong, and love, love and love myself through this process. Which is something I’ve never really done. Maybe you haven’t either.

I’ve spent years pouring my life into helping others, which does bring me life! But often time I have ONLY poured into others. I’ve even tried to prove my love and worth to others. And only recently it hit me, to be honest I felt burnt out and too weighed down by trying to live solely taking care of others, that I realized I {NEED} to remember to nourish my own soul, too. I need to work through these painful messes. I love the quote you see above by Mother Teresa. And I agree but wonder, what if take it a step even further back…What is we started with ourselves and then the person nearest us, and go out from there! God can use us broken, I believe it and I’ve seen it, but I believe he wants to help us to remember who we are and that our brokenness doesn’t define us at our core. Is shapes us in certain ways, for sure.

 And we will have scars, hidden and exposed, I sometimes think of the more exposed scars as perhaps as a way to share our stories and help another not feel so alone. And the hidden ones that are maybe too personal or painful to share with anyone besides Jesus himself or a close few. (We all have our own personal measures on what we share of course!)

 I’m realizing it isn’t selfish to look inward and take time to remember who you are at your core. Who has he made you to be? What are the things he placed inside of YOU? Maybe things that are beautifully YOU but you’ve unknowingly shut them down because of what man has spoken over you? Or maybe you just haven’t taken time for yourself in a long, long time and you’re weary of the mess you’ve made/collected/picked up along the way? Whatever your “mess” is, it isn’t too much for our Creator, our Father, our Friend. Don’t lose hope. You’re not in this alone!

Take time for YOU. Do things that bring you life and rid yourself of the rest, even if temporarily or maybe forever. For me I’ve limited my interaction with the Facebook world and focused more on reading, journaling, listening to music and singing, and playing with my kids, getting out into nature often – gathering new freckles from the sunshine, spending time with my friends. I’m working on my emotional/mental state and attempting to work on my physical state as well – but that’s for another post ;)

Also blogging is something  I want to pick up again, hence this post.  12764652_10153453776456989_787978701691174019_o

What brings you life? What refreshes and renews you? What disguise have you tried to maintain, maybe even unknowingly? What lies are you believing? Has busyness become your norm that you’ve forgotten how to be still and dig deep?

Do something healthy for you today. Because a healthier you, equals a healthier outlook on life, a healthier and more genuine way we reach people and show them who Jesus is. (Speaking to myself here too of course!!)

Maybe it’s time we unmasked the disguised version of ourselves, faced our messes, purged the hell out of the piles, and maybe even shared our scars with the world and watch what happens. I think we’d be amazed!

I already feel this way and I’ve only just begun. How amazing is our Jesus, who can use us along the way of purging these messes – that he doesn’t wait until we’ve reached perfection!

How beautiful His loving kindness that when all we see are our messes, He sees US. And longs to show us what He sees.

 

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my dream; the perfect picture.

(balloon pendant I bought from Mayo Mahem on Etsy)

Saturday night I dreamt I stood on a tiny little box and held tight to thousands of pink balloons. They lifted me and took me high into the sky (like you know when you’re on an airplane and you pass the first set of clouds and it kind of looks like a plain of clouds? I got that high) but then a point came where I could no longer hold onto them. The wind tossed them so strongly that little by little I let go. And I fell and as I fell I watched the balloons fly higher and higher until out of sight. I was so upset that I couldn’t hold on, that I’d let go…

I fell into the ocean and came up for my first breath only to have this wave immediately hit me and pull me under. Every time I would try to catch my breath, another wave came and then another and then another. (This was the majority of my dream until I woke)

I can’t even begin to tell you how perfectly this dream mirrors how I feel. I mean, at first I didn’t think so. At first, I felt upset and panicked when I remember how I felt in my dream, when I couldn’t hold on to the balloons. I told Ted I was afraid it “meant” I need to let her go. He immediately told me, no he didn’t think that’s what it represented. He felt it perfectly represented losing Eisley and how we felt when we lost her. That resontated in me. I wept.

If I could take how I feel and put them into a picture, this dream is a perfect picture.

When we lost Eisley, I felt an array of emotions. I can’t really pinpoint one. But I can say I had an overwhelming desire to hold on when I knew I couldn’t. Watching the “balloons” slip from my fingers until I could no longer hold them. The to watch them fly higher and higher, away from me, out of my reach, my heart screaming “no, no, no!” when my mind knew so clearly I couldn’t do anything to get “them” back.

And then, before I knew it, the waves came roaring in with all of their might and strength and swept me under before I can catch my breath fully. Before I even knew what was happening. And then the waves keep coming. Here and there the “waves” calm and I’m able to fully catch my breath and brace myself for the next round.

I was talking with my friend Petra about my dream. When I shared my dream with her, she immediately shared something so profound with me. I was hesitant to even share my dream on my blog but the collaboration of my dream, my feelings and the things I and others feel it means. I just had to share because I just had this feeling this would really, really speak to someone else like it did me.

(image from pinterest)

“right now you are in grief
because of the trauma and the sadness
grief = the crashing waves
suffocating
stifling
that make it feel like you will never breath again
but they will begin to ebb …you will still experience sorrow and sadness
the waves will grow gentler with time
gradually the grieving season will end
not the sadness
not the sorrow
not the missing Eisley
but the grief
the heart gripping, gut wrenching grief
it will
i promise
i know right now it feels like you can’t breath
and i don’t know how long the grieving process will take
and i also think its really important you let you know that you can have the saddness without the grief
that there will be a time where it feels as if you have grieved
don’t feel like you need to do it again
and dont start trying just because the feelings arent as deep anymore
because the seasons are all important
grief is not the goal
and its not the end
it is a process and it is so VERY necessary to embrace it
and to let jesus and those around you help be your life raft
take your time grieving
if you don’t grieve her now
and take all the time you need
then you will again later
and again
and again and agin
again
and it will eat.you.up.
when you know the season of grieving is coming to an end…let go of that part
not of eisley
that’s not what you’re letting go of
by allowing yourself to move from grieving to the next season may feel like at times you’re letting go of her
and i’m encouraging you now not to feel that way
when the time comes.
right now you have…the ache from missing her, the crushed dreams, the grief from loosing a child, the trauma from her birth,etc…, all together
the ache won’t go away
ever
you will ALWAYS miss her.
BUT you won’t always feel it as acutely as you do now
you won’t always feel all these things all together; the grief and the trauma…there will be a time when they are replaced with joy and laughter
i know that might sound trite
its not like you will ever forget that those things happened
but you will have the grace to carry on
and be able to feel his joy being your stregnth
but that ache and missing her will still be present
Whew. I copied her words during our conversation and pasted them in a note on our computer because I want to put them in my journal, they just really resonate and help me to understand my grieving in a better way.
I’ve been battling and trying to understand how I would ever stop grieving when I ache this much right now. I don’t know if I could even clearly express with words this battle within me. Whenever I hear “time heals all wounds” or anything related to with time it will get better, etc… my heart is confused. How is this possible? I don’t want time to heal this wound. I will always ache and I want to ache. I can’t explain what goes on inside of me when I think of the future and what people tell me of grief and “the grieving process”.
Slowly the pieces are slowly “falling into place” inside of my head and my heart with grieving, sorrow, loss, aching and the future. I’ve let it really bring me down but realized that I need to be in this moment now without letting it completely control me but also making sure I am really allowing myself to grieve how I need to grieve. In a healthy way. This dream and what I (and others) feel it represents helps me to understand this even more.
I need to be in this moment.
And this might sound crazy, but right now, I’d rather be in the crashing waves, banged up and bruised; feeling.
I’d rather this than be numb or to be done grieving. I’m not ready to be done.
All the while, I am carrying her in my heart.
Not letting her go, because I don’t have to.
I can face grief full force knowing this.

5 months; the part where the shock wears off.

(5 months ago today, we held our precious baby girl, whispered our earthly goodbyes)

My fear of man keeps surfacing lately and I’ve really allowed myself to be so afraid of what everyone would think of where I am at in the “grieving process” (ugh) so I slowly find myself retreating from the truth of where I’m at when I share. I always hope to be real, raw and authentic but to also use wisdom in what I share and what I don’t (totally failed on that front more than once!)

All that to say, I really still want to share where I’m at. Okay, whoa, how’s that for a disclaimer ;)

Last Thursday, Ted got me out of the house, we went for coffee and then he took me to Hobby Lobby (which for me is relaxing haha). When time came to leave, I stood in line to pay for my few items and before me stood a momma with her baby girl. Her daughter looked to be around 5 maybe 6 months old. She had a cute little pink and brown monkey hat on and was chewing on a toy. I couldn’t stop staring… imaging… dreaming. I couldn’t help but think of my Eisley-girl. I teared up and tried to think of anything else to distract me from crying.

Then this Tuesday, I attended my first ever, mom’s group called “Moms 4 Moms” at my mom’s church. She has been asking me to go with her since this fall, but until now I haven’t had the desire or the strength. So I went, I did it! I actually had a really good time. It was so great for Chase to hang out with kiddos his own age and for me to be around other moms. I tried to prepare myself for the fact that there would probably be baby girls there (and there were many). I did pretty well when we arrived, but then when they asked about new visitors and asked my name and if I had any kids, I was taken back and didn’t really know what to say. I awkwardly answered, “I have a son, Chase, he’s 18-months-old”…. because I knew as soon as I spoke of her name, I would probably cry.

Holding it together sometimes just doesn’t seem possible unless I, I don’t want to say lie but I guess that’s what it is. Unless I withhold the whole story, the truth. But then I felt horrible because I also want people to know I have a daughter, my Eisley-girl. I do, I have a daughter, she’s just not here with me. When I face moments like that or when I seeing precious girls around the age Eisley should be, my heart breaks deeply, again. Over and over.

I find myself in this really dark and awful rut here and there. In the darkest parts of the “valley” where it feels like everything around me is crashing down and all hope is gone. Where the lies that I’ve failed her and that I’ll lose everyone I love, I begin to believe. Where the flashbacks and traumatic memouries haunt me. It is hard to get motivated, to have will power to do even the most basic things, on these days.

When I’m in this rut, it affects every area. I take care of Chase and his needs, but that’s it.  I can’t even find the strength to create something beautiful. Our house is also proof of this “rut”; piles of laundry, toys and books everywhere, dishes piled up, trashed bedroom, every thing is a huge mess.

My body is proof; my weight, my chewed fingernails, my hair from splitting my ends/yanking my ends off, the bags under my eyes, etc. I feel much older than my 23 years. Weary, worn down.

The enemy hounds me in every way possible, he has me questioning myself on “those” days where I’m so low, “Shouldn’t I be past this part in the “grieving process” yet?” and then the days where I am doing really well, still grieving but able to face life, I find myself battling guilt, “You didn’t even think of her once this morning. What is wrong with you?” “You haven’t cried in over two days.”

Sneaky, sneaky enemy. Wherever I’m at in my journey, he’s one step behind, trying to pull me down. Many would say that might not be so, but I tell you, in the darkest of the valley it’s true. He is one step behind you, constantly reaching for your ankle, to pull and drag you down. It really comes down to whether or not you allow that to happen. There have been countless times where I’ve believed the lies as truths and fallen, BUT let me just say, every. single. time….

I find {hope}. I think I know deep inside, even on “those” days, that there is hope. That I am not beyond repair. That there is promise and life and truth and healing meeting me where I am at, waiting for me to grab hold and begin to move forward.

To us this feels like the darker parts of the valley, the part where the shock wears off and the reality sets in full force.. I was telling a friend just the other day, that I really hate this place where I’m at because, honestly, I prefer the shock. For many, us losing Eisley was but a brief moment. For us, it is our life. In our life we will never had her here with us on earth. Never. She is gone. I really, really hate that this is our reality.

It all falls back to acceptance, again. I’ve talked about this before. Now that the shock has worn off, I really have to face this and … accept this.

As the shock wears off  and as I allow myself to really face the truth, I’ve found, that even though this (for me) is the most difficult part of our journey, I find myself healing. I cry even as I write this because I am slowly healing even though it doesn’t always feel like it. Even though sometimes I fight it because I don’t feel ready to heal completely and I’m far from being healed completly. I read this quote and this has helped me a lot because it’s something I’ve really struggled with since we’ve lost Eisley;

“Knowing the Lord and His comfort does not take away the ache; instead, it supports you in the middle of the ache. Until I get home to heaven, there’s going to be an ache that won’t quit. The grieving process for me is not so much a matter of getting rid of the pain, but not being controlled by the pain.” Dr. Larry Crabb

When I first read this, I just cried. Yes. God really spoke to me through this very word and showed me that I can begin to heal and still feel this deep, unending ache. And the even though the enemy is one step behind me, my Heavenly Father is walking beside me, not taking away the ache, but supporting me in the middle of it. WHEW. He is. And most of the time, I realize that He has me, “Resting between His shoulders”, carrying me, carrying us, through the darkest parts of this valley.

Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the ones the Lord loves rests between His shoulders. Deuteronomy 33:12

He carries our precious Eisley. And He carries us.

There is hope, forevermore and through every deep, dark valley and unending ache.

i wasn’t prepared.

Disclaimer; this post is really raw.

I wasn’t prepared to lose Eisley. You might argue that the time I had in the hospital might have prepared me, but honestly, all the time in the world couldn’t prepare you to lose a child. Nothing could, because even if you guard your heart sometimes and try to prepare, you still hope fervently and with {everything} inside you. You could never prepare, ever.

I wasn’t prepared for the {infinite} shattered dreams.

I wasn’t prepared for the constant shattering and the effect thereof.

I wasn’t prepare for how it feels when you lose someone you love so deeply.

I wasn’t prepared for how often grief is revisited. How quickly it surfaces when I read or see or hear things that reminds me of Eisley.

I wasn’t prepared for the insensitivity towards us.

I wasn’t prepared for the lack of response/encouragement to our loss of Eisley from ones we once called friends. Or even those who knew of what we walked through and never once said a word to us.

The flip side- We are so grateful for the friendships we’ve made and those that have deepened since we lost her. We are so grateful for the encouragement, love, care and letting us know that you are standing with us. That means the world to us right now. More than I can express.

I wasn’t prepared for those, even those who are pro-life, who never considered our loss a loss. I was 3 days away from 7 months pregnant. Our beautiful baby girl was a life lost, a beating heart gone. I wasn’t prepared for how people would treat us as though we never lost a child.

I wasn’t prepared for how quickly people think we should be moving forward.

I wasn’t prepared for how comforting and encouraging I find words like; “I haven’t forgotten Eisley or you guys”, “you are not forgotten”,  anything I hear about Eisley’s life and her impact on others, etc. The messages, comments, texts, calls… whew. They comfort our hearts a lot.

I wasn’t prepared for the deep ache I’d feel when watching others do the very thing I longed to do with her. The very things I had talked about, hope for, dreamt of, etc.

I wasn’t prepared for feeling so wounded.

I wasn’t prepared for the array of emotions or sudden force of them.

I wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming realizations that hit frequently.

I wasn’t prepared for so much more.

I sometimes lie in bed feeling so overwhelmed I don’t know what to do, I just weep into my pillow and even that sometimes isn’t enough…

The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Psalm 34:18

I also love this version too;

If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;
if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.

I am sitting here crying as I write this. We will not be overcome because it’s not by our strength that we’re getting through this. I believe that with my whole heart.

Jesus, give us the courage to face what we do everyday. As we face our reality. Please give us courage and be our everything for we cannot.

Edit: Please understand I know that (esp if you’re reading this) you’ve probably been one who has been there for us throughout everything. I am so very grateful for your love, encouragement , etc, etc! The above just sometimes overwhelms me more than it should and I focus on the negative too much sometimes.

shatter, shatter, pause, repeat.

(Eisley’s ornament for 2010)

Shatter, shatter, pause, repeat.

Sometimes the “shattering” is so deafening I just want to climb into bed and sleep the days away so not to deal with any of this. This probably seems incredibly dramatic, but it’s the honest-to-goodness truth.

Before our sweet girl passed away, I would have break downs, but never fully shattered because I had {hope} that she would live. September 14th so began the shattering …and it didn’t end there. It follows me and sneaks up on me as I’m reminded of dreams we had for Eisley, or even in the little things,  like today when I watching Chase play by himself in the bath.

There is an Eisley shaped hole everywhere I look, in everything we do.


I’m walking a road I’ve never walked before this year;  the road of mourning the death of a loved one. I’m 23-years-old and this is the first time I have lost a loved one. I was still in the womb when my biological father passed away and even though it did affect me growing up, I still didn’t feel loss in such a way as I do now. I lost my great-grandfather when I was 2 and honestly I don’t remember much. I’ve stood beside my husband as he grieved the death of his friend Phil, which was heart wrenching for me but in such a different way. I still have all my great grandmothers, all of my grandparents, my siblings, my friends, etc.

My first time ever losing a loved one and I’ve lost my daughter, my Eisley. It’s completely overwhelming that I sometimes wonder how people survive after loss. Some days I struggle wondering if I will ever be able to move forward. I struggle with not letting my mind go to the “what ifs”. There is just SO much that swirls through my mind, so many questions…. Will I always grieve? Will this ache ever cease? Do I really want it to? What would life have been like with Eisley? Should I even go there?  Will I be the voice I want to be for my daughter? ETC.

Or things like, How do you cope with seeing reminders so often? How do you rejoice in others joys as you ache so deeply? How do you respond with someone downplays what you went through? How do you respond to people who wonder why we’re still grieving, as if Eisley wasn’t a life?

Or things like how I’ve overreacted;  to people who didn’t say a word to us throughout everything, like how I, the very day I got home from the hospital, deleted a lot of people from my friends on facebook just because they didn’t say a word to us. Or how I’ve allowed reading/hearing things affect me to the point I was in tears. Or how I’ve taken certain things people have said directly/indirectly to us when their heart intentions were probably pure.

I’m learning a lot right now, in my first time walking through loss.

It’s. so. so. so. overwhelming.

My mom just called me as I was blogging this and asked me how I was doing after the let down after the holidays. Oh…that might partly explain the sudden overwhelming I-don’t-wanna-get-out-of-bed feeling I had this morning.

I’ve been so busy making gifts for the past month at least, I’ve had a dear friend visit me and my mother-in-law come to town for a week, 3 Christmas celebrations, etc. It’s been busy, busy, busy and now it’s all calmed down. I never once felt completely okay over the holiday, but I also kept busy (sometimes intentionally) because I knew it would be hard to just sit still. I didn’t really think of after the holiday. I didn’t expect waking up this morning to be so difficult.

Bleh.

In November, I found myself in this pivotal moment where I knew if I didn’t pick myself up… I might never. So I began creating things for fall and Thanksgiving, and suddenly realized how therapeutic it was for me. I can’t explain it fully but it was so very healing. I realized that it was helping me and kept going and decided instead of giving up my goal of creating handmade Christmas gifts, that I would try. And I did it and it was {so} good for me.

All that to say, I’ve decided I am opening a Etsy store because creating is so very therapeutic for me. I feel like this is a really good outlet. I am hoping to get my Etsy store going soon. I think I need to because it’s healing. (Maybe it was perfect that I didn’t get the 2 nanny jobs I interviewed for?)

One thing that will help me immensely in the area of creating are a few of the gifts I received this year… I was pretty shocked to get a Cricut and a sewing machine plus Hobby Lobby and Joann Fabric gift cards! It’s so perfect and the best timing!

Please pray for me all around?

Thanks for loving me, even in my all over the place state.

Love, Jami

p.s. I’m doing a small giveaway on my blog this week. I will be posting it in the next two days and will announce the winner on 1.1.11!

{Forever Imprinted}- the full meaning behind my tattoo

While on bed rest I decided that I wanted to get a tattoo representing Eisley’s life and this season in our lives. I truly thought I would be getting a tattoo that meant or represented healing, because I truly believed our little girl would survive.

One week after we said our goodbye to her, I knew without a doubt, I wanted her footprints on me forevermore. I originally planned that I would wait until what would have been her first birthday to get this tattoo as well as one under my collar bone, above my heart (not literally) that represented her life and our time with her. It’s hard to tell you the reason behind why I did her footprints sooner that I had thought, but I will just say, I needed the daily reminder to be inspired by her life and the reminder to not let what we’ve walked through to ruin me.

I was afraid to share that I was getting this tattoo and even after I got it, I had to be encouraged by Ted to share it. I guess I was afraid that some people might call this an emotional whim tattoo. It truly isn’t there is so much meaning behind this tattoo. Here is the full meaning in the best way I can explain.

Her footprints:

The words to describe how healing it is for me to have her footprints on me are so hard to find.

Her tiny little footprint mold.

I got her footprints in the exact size, shape and imprint at are in the mold they created for us the day she was born. I saw my (amazing) tattoo artist 4 times beforehand to get it perfected. When she tattooed the footprints on me, she had the mold next to her to make it as similar as possible. {I love that she did that}

I got it on my right foot which was actually is important to me. I lead with my right foot. I hope to let her life inspire me and to be a piece of what helps me keep going. To keep moving forward and to live life fully.

The words;

“You are my sunshine” … I sung the words to this song over and over to her during my time with her. I could cry even now as I think about my time in the hospital with her and how, in those moments when all seemed hopeless, I’d lay with my hand on my belly singing her this song and also the simple song I wrote her, “Grow Eisley Grow”. 

I combined the two meanings into one for the tattoo. I used the words “you are my sunshine” and wrote them in the exact, broken handwriting I used to write her the “grow Eisley grow” song.

The handwriting is broken and isn’t perfect and that is what I {love} about it. It represents that time when I wrote to her, broken and afraid, yet believeing and holding onto hope. It represents where I was and am at now. Broken, yet moving forward holding onto hope and truth.

It also represents inspiration. The way I was inspired with her inside of my womb, I want to continue to be inspired, in an even greater way, by her life and the imact she had/has on me.

It represents my children. Eisley and Chase, they are my sunshines. That might sound dramatic or even cheesy, but Chase in his enthusiasm and joy, encourages me so very much on a daily basis. Eisley and Chase are my little sunshines. I’ve never yet called them my prince or my princess and maybe someday I will think of them like that but I’ve {always} thought of them as my sunshines from day one in the womb. I sung this same song to both of my children every night they were in my womb. I now still sing it to Chase but usually find myself in tears before the end of it. He still finds it comforting and I do too.

My tattoo as a whole:

I wrote before about her impact on my heart and my life, and now it’s even a physical reminder of the impact she had on me.

It’s a reminder; It’s a reminder to be inspired by her life and how deeply she touched and changed mine. It’s a reminder to keep pushing forward in that inspiration instead of letting this overcome me.

I want to look back years from now knowing that we grieved and mourned the loss of our daughter yet that we didn’t let it overcome us. I want to look back and see that we we were inspired by her little life and her impact on us. I want to look back and know we became better people because of her. I long to be her voice, and to be inspired and find pieces of her in how I create and look at life.

I want, in a very good way, to be changed and to never ever be the same again.

The date:

December 17th- the date I got the tattoo also has significance. I felt it would be healing to get it on the day she was supposed to be due. The pain of getting the tattoo was both healing and significant. There were moments it hurt terribly, but more than anything it was emotionally painful and healing all at once. There was a part of me that kept thinking that I should be feeling the pain of labor instead and then there was that part of me that sat in awe of Eisley’s little footprints on my foot. The size of her tiny little feet on mine… I am crying even now. It’s hard to put into words the moment when she first placed the outline of my little girl’s footprints on me. 

My tattoo artist told me that the tattoos she had that were linked emotionally were actually some of the more painful tattoos. She was right. It was a lot more than the physical pain that caused the tears streaming down my face. I also shared Eisley’s story, I spoke it aloud, which was hard and healing simultaneously. Two times Ryan, the tattoo artist, had to stop and put her face in her arm to cry and even that was healing. Eisley’s life and story and legacy was touching another person. …I can’t find the words to tell you how much that means to me…

One thing I didn’t think about when I got this tattoo was of how it could impact the life of another. Ryan was the first and already, less than a week of having this tattoo, I have shared her story with a bank teller (seriously) and Eisley’s life touched her as well… the first of many, many more times to come I have a feeling. I will always share her story and it will probably always be painful yet healing.

I keep looking down and seeing her little imprints on me forevermore. It blesses and heals my heart more than I can find words to share. The physical reminder that she is with me is very healing. I had a  hard time finding the words to express fully what this tattoo means to me and I hope I was able to clearly portray the meaning. Thanks for “listening” and caring and loving us like you do.

Baby girl, do you see? I’ve got you now physically on me forevermore. You’ve impacted and inspired my life so deeply. …………..

back in september

(disclaimer: this post is really raw)

I keep reliving every moment. The good and the bad, mostly the traumatic. My heart and my mind still aren’t connecting in some ways. I just want everything to make sense and it doesn’t. Our little E was perfectly healthy. Perfect. What happened? What went wrong? “The placenta was too damamged by the bleeding”. How is that an answer? I know that even if I had an “answer” it wouldn’t be good enough.

I try so hard to understand, to try and make sense of everything and I let my mind go back to the first time I started bleeding and how terrified we were, to when they told us she was barely growing, to the first time on bedrest, to the first time they told us our chances of her surviving were slim, to the heart monitoring almost daily and then to the day I just knew something wasn’t right…

and it wasn’t.

I mostly flashback to the day, September 14th, when I realized something was terribly wrong. When searched for her hearbeat but only found mine racing because I knew she was gone. I flashback to the 3 days of labor and how often I’d ask them to drug me up not only so I wouldn’t feel anything physically, but because I didn’t want to feel anything at all. It was all too much. I remember as I was in labor and the tiniest part of me hoping for a miracle still. Hoping that when I delivered her, she would be screaming at the top of her lungs. That our daughter who we’d been dreaming of, and we’d all been hoping and praying for, would be alive.

I flashback to the moments we first held her. The first time I laid eyes on her and how beautiful she was. I close my eyes and cling to those memouries for they are all I have. I try and remember the peace I felt as I held her because I sure as hell don’t feel that peace now. I flashback to holding my beautiful, yet lifeless daughter…. and this is where I stay.

I feel stuck there. I feel as though I left her back in September and my life keeps moving forward at full speed. I need to go back and get her and bring her home… but I can’t. It’s like a horrible, terrible nightmare playing over and over in my head but it’s not a nightmare, it’s our reality. She is gone.

The mother heart in me is unsettled. As a mother you’d give anything to protect your child, to make sure they are nourished and well taken care of. You’d give your life for them in a second.

One day my fms sat us in her office and told me Eisley’s chances of living were close to none. She hoped that she would make it but believed that she would not. She told me I had a few options. 1. I could stay in the hospital doing what I was or 2. I could go home and live life like I was before and “let nature take it’s course”…

I felt so sick. How dare you even suggest that to me? The heart of a mother knew to keep fighting regardless of what the chances were, regardless of the heartbreak I might possible feel is the very thing we’d hoped for didn’t happen. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself had I chosen the second option. It wasn’t even an option for us.

We fought, and fought, and fought to keep her alive. And she fought, she fought a fight a baby never ever should. I am so proud of her and how hard she fought to live. They always told me she was “beating the odds” and “she is a fighter”.

I often think “why?”, “what happened?”, “what really went wrong” and have even ventured to the questions of “why us?” “why Eisley?”

I find myself in these really uncomfortable and sometimes terribly horrible places as I’m reminded of our loss. Our grief is constant and yet it’s also revisited with each flashback or reminder that she’s gone. Revisited as I suddenly remember the dreams I had for her and things I wanted to do with her and for her. Even silly things like the cute outfits and accessories and headbands and barretts that I wanted to make for her. How I’d imagine her first year photoshoot in a little tutu and pink converse. How I’d dreamt of her first canvas painting (like we did with Chase) in pink and orange paint everywhere and all over her. How I wanted her to be artsy and crafty like me. How I wanted to dress her like her momma. How I created teal and pink converse just so the two of us could be matchy matchy… the list goes on, and on, and on….from the tiniest and silliest little dreams to the biggest, most meaningful dreams.

I am also having a hard time differentiating truth and lies of people’s intentions towards me and it’s almost impossible for me to think clearly regarding this area right now. I am trying to find the balance in my heart and in my head of reading or hearing of what others write or tell me (when they know what we have/are going through) and somehow learning to not take it personally. To somehow let it go and not become wounded and bitter by everyone who writes whatever I read. (I wrote about it a it this post) I’ve even “removed” myself from the social networks for the most part and it’s helped a little bit but it all boils down to grieving and being envious. And the truth is I will always be reminded of our loss, especially right now in the thick of it.

Let me just say here I NEVER ever wish what we’ve gone through on someone else (hopefully if you know me, you know that).  I am happy for others and their healthy babies yet I think it makes sense that I am envious. To envy is to have a feeling of discontentment and to be honest I do.  To be jealous of someone is to be resentful of what they have. I am really trying to not go down that path. Please pray for me. I don’t want to resent. I am envious because I miss our girl and the reminders and really hard. Someday they might get easier. But everyone and their mom is having babies or pregnant right now ;) so it’s especially hard.

Just the other night as I drove to pick Ted up from work  (just me), I screamed out the deep anger that’s been welling up inside me and cried so hard that my face was swollen badly and my voice was raw. I am so thankful that God can handle me in that state. I haven’t ventured there often but when I do it feels so… healing. And He is faithful to remind me of who He is, even still, even amidst.

Where am I at, one day prior to my daughter’s due date? I’m an array of emotions, most healthy and some unhealthy ones that I am working through. I am praying for peace, but I kind of recognize it’s okay that I’m a mess right now. While everything else is unsettled within me I know without a doubt God is with us, He is still trustworthy and my daughter’s life has changed us and so many for the better. I am going to move inspired by her little life. I hope and long to be the voice, the art, the song, the creativity for my sweet E.

I am writing and being pretty vulnerable because I need your your prayers, your love, your support and please, your sensitivity.

Tomorrow is Eisley’s due date. My heart breaks even writing that…please stand with us in prayer for our hearts.

30 days of {truth} (3)

Tonight, I’m playing a little catch up on the 30 days of {truth} challenge. 

Day 13: A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough days.

Welp… the tough days are definetly here right now and I’ve been listening a lot to ‘Your Hands’ by JJ Heller and Mumford and Sons (especially ‘After the Storm’).

Day 14: A hero that has let you down.

This might be a little controversial, not because I’m trying to be…I really hope it’s not. I actually looked up the definition and to “let someone down” means to “fail to support”. So I am going to change it up a little bit because my hero hasn’t let me down but has disappointed me.

 So…”A hero that has disappointed you”

Here is the my {truth}.

The hero who has disappointed me is my God. Let me first say, He is my hero still. He will always be my saviour and my hero forevermore. But the {truth} is that sometimes I feel so disappointed by Him.

Right now I feel so disappointed that my Eisley-girl isn’t here in my arms. That her little heart stopped beating. I am disappointed that the healing I prayed so deeply for, didn’t happen in the way I hoped it would. I feel disappointed that I don’t get to see her smile, hear her laugh, feel her kisses, etc.

I’m deeply disappointed and He’s knows this, He’s heard my cries. Thankfully He can handle hearing my cries of confusion, of anger and of disappointment.

He disappoints sometimes, in the things I hope for, but  He’s never let me go.  He’s never even “let me down” and “failed to support” me.

One of the things I have learned throughout everything we’ve gone through with Eisley (not saying He did this to teach me a lesson), something that before I never understood, is that even in our deepest sorrow and disappointment He is still trustworthy.

I believe, even with my broken heart, that this is the {truth}.

Father, You are still trustworthy.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  2 Cor. 14:16-18

An {awe}some story and reminder.

I have an incredible story to share with you about this little Eisley Necklace

For Mother’s Day this year Ted bought me the above necklace with charms of Chase’s name and one with our initials and wedding date. I knew I wanted to add Eisley to my necklace when I came home from the hospital so I searched and found the one I wanted. I showed only Ted and a few family members and they all agreed, it was perfect! I wrote the The Vintage Pearl and asked them if they could please make me a charm of an angel wing with Eisley’s name on it. I waited and waited but heard nothing back (and still haven’t).

Not long after I had lost Eisley, my friend Sami (who I met while going through everything with Eisley) wrote me and told me she had something being sent my way but didn’t tell me anything about what it was. 5 weeks after having Eisley, she messaged me and told me “they” had emailed her and my gift was on its way and that she hoped it came in the perfect timing. I thanked her and she told me to thank God because He had totally laid it on her heart which made me even more curious!

So, then comes the day of my follow-up appointment. I was  in Arvada, standing in the Target parking lot and Ted calls me and says “Hey your charm came in the mail today!” I asked him what charm? And he told me, “the one of the wing with Eisley’s name on it”. “But I didn’t even order it yet!” I told him I hadn’t heard back  from the Vintage Pearl. We were confused and I told him I would check my paypal when I got home to see if I did order it and just forgot. My mind has been kind of jumbled lately, so it was totally possible. Ted and I talked about other possibilities, like maybe when I told the vintage pearl to make the necklace, they just went ahead and sent it. We briefly talked about the possibility that maybe this was what Sami had sent, but we were like “there’s no way” because it was exactly what I had asked for and she didn’t even know that.

When I finally made it home that evening, he showed me the charm and it just took my breath away. It was stunning and everything I hoped it would be… but I still was confused on how it came about. So I checked my paypal account and saw that I didn’t buy anything from the vintage pearl. I checked my email to see if maybe I had missed an email from them; nothing.  Because it was the very necklace I had written them about, I just assumed that they had gone ahead and sent it to me. Maybe it was a mistake and they didn’t realize I hadn’t paid? I decided before I wrote them I probably should write Sami to ask if this is what she’d bought me even though I still was thinking “there is just no way”. This was our conversation;

Me: Hey girl! I recieved a vintage pearl charm in the mail today. Is that from you?

Sami: Hope it came in the perfect moment. Just read your tweet about Eisleys tests. I’m sorry….

Me: Is it a charm with an angel wing and eisley’s name on it? I’m sorry, this will make sense in a minute I promise!

Sami: Yeppers!!! It should have came with a necklace and a little pearl too. Let me know if it didn’t :)

I read her reply and put my hand over my mouth and began to cry. I just couldn’t believe it. I told Ted and we were both just dumbfounded. This was our God. He wanted to let us know “I’m still here with you”. He knew we needed this and most importantly that we needed to be reminded that He was still with us…. and the fact that it came to us the very day of our follow-up appointment…I’m in awe!  This was our God. How else could this be explained?  Some might say coincidence but I say this is truly God.

I like the way my friend Sami put it;

“Psalm 34:18 “He IS close to the brokenhearted…and saves those that are crushed in spirit.” I am so humbled and so thankful that it was beyond what I even knew. I cannot fathom that it was the exact necklace you had desired. God is so good…even in the pain. He IS near you. He IS holding you. It doesn’t take the pain away, but somehow the peace will carry you. Everytime you look at that necklace it can be a reminder of your love for Eisley and His love for the both of you.”

The story actually got even more incredible. Sami told me ”You have no idea how long ago this plan was put into motion by Him” because she had actually spent the past few months trying to buy a charm for her necklace with a gift card but everytime she went to buy it, she would either get distracted or it would freeze up. She told me that one night put all her information in to order the charm but got distracted and when she came back her husband had accidently closed out of it.  She decided to try again later and went to bed and felt God told her “EISLEY… it’s not for you… it’s for Jami”. When she went to order it she almost did 2 day shipping but her friend told her to send it normally and it would arrive at the right time.

And boy did it ever. The very day of my follow-up appointment?! Thank you God.

Whenever I wear this necklace (which is often) I will think of my precious Eisley-girl and I will also remember the story of how this necklace came to be and that He is still with us, even when it doesn’t feel like He is. He’s still with us in our broken state and in our pain.

The “F” word (not what you think).

Tonight I can’t sleep for many reasons but the main one is that I can’t stop thinking about the  f word.

Funeral home.

The place I sometimes passed on a drive here or there but never imagined I would someday be walking into to plan the burial of my daughter. Today marks 6 weeks since we have birth to Eisley and we have yet to burry her.Yep, you heard right. Part of the reason F word is always on my mind because our daughter is still there. We have yet to even buy a plot and I’m reminded of that every day because we live a few blocks from the cemetery where she will be burried. I can’t even bring myself to call and make the final arrangements for her burial and honestly I think it’s for that very reason. Final arrangements seems so official.

She is gone.

We are reminded of this everyday and yet sometimes it still stuns me that this is our reality. She is gone. I don’t want to watch them put her in the ground because it feels so awful even thinking about it.

The other reason the F word is still on my mind is because they are going to call us any day now and tell us we need to come and get her body or we need to buy a plot and get it over with. Of course, they will probably not be so direct and blunt as I just was, but that’s pretty much the jist of it.

The first time we walked into the funeral home, they had no idea who we were. There was a mix up and somehow a different Alnutt Funeral Home had all of our information. It took so much to muster enough strength for us to even walk through their front doors and then they didn’t even know who we were or why we were there.

The second time we went in, just a few days later, they had us sit in a room with a really nice lady and fill out a bunch of paper work. When she asked me the name of my daughter and how to spell it, I made it through E-I-S-L-E-Y and by the time I got to her middle name I couldn’t even speak. I just kept thinking, “this isn’t happening” although clearly it was. After the paperwork came the hardest part… picking out an urn to put our daughter in. She handed us a booklet with a bunch of different urns. All of them just looked so awful. Like death. Like I was in a funeral home picking out an urn. As we were looking through the choices, she told us that she knew of a few really pretty ones and ran and grabbed another book.

Ted and I both just really wanted to get out of there quickly, but we had both talked prior to coming in, about picking out a beautiful urn so we waited. When she came back we flipped through the pages and Ted stopped and pointed to a beautiful pink and black coloured urn with a flower on the front of it and said, “That one. It reminds me of you.” We’ve talked about how Eisley probably would have been a lot like me  so that one just felt so perfect.  That might sound weird, picking out a “beautiful” urn and I can’t really, honestly find the words to explain why but it helped a little.

Walking out of the funeral home was a relief  and an incredibly sickening feeling all at the same time. It all just seems so official. And to think of burrying her… I can’t even go there. It’s going to take the same strength to burry her as it was to walk into the funeral home the first time… and then again the second time. The same strength it took to go through 3 days of labor (and I don’t mean physical strength), the strength it takes to get up everyday, the strength it takes to get out of the house, the same strength it took for me to go to my follow up appointment, etc, etc, etc…

I feel like we’re in a valley right now, where the sun can’t shine because it’s so deep. It feels so lonely and dark and scary because there are a lot of unknowns behind and ahead of us.  Along the way we’ve stumbled again and again at the painful reminders that she is gone and sometimes it takes us a day or two or more to get back up. But I know, deep inside, that if we can keep moving forward, our feet will once again walk upon ground where the sun is shining bright.