Sunday, May 29, 2011

Our New Family Tradition- The Angel Baby 5K

A couple of Saturday mornings ago, our little family began what we hope will be an annual tradition.  Earlier in the spring, some friends of ours contacted us to see how we would feel about them gathering a group of people to participate in Luke's honor in the first running of the Maguire Davis Gilner Angel Baby 5k.  We were completely blown away by their thoughtfulness.  This 5k was designed to completely honor in loving memory of all of the babies who left this earth too soon.  The race was held a few short days after Lily's birthday, so unfortunately we were not able to physically compete, but we (on about an hour of sleep thanks to Miss Lily) made an appearance to cheer on the runners.

The original plan had been to bring Lily out to cheer everyone on who were running for Luke, but sadly, the day dawned cold (high 40s- in MAY!) and very windy.  So we opted not to bring tiny Lily out- she stayed home with Nana.  We were so inspired by everyone who showed up- and by the huge turn out for the inaugural race.  It was a fantastic event- lots of fun for the entire family- all ages!

The hub of the race- packets, snacks, inflatables for kids, vendors....

Prior to the race, they let off hundreds of balloons- sent straight to heaven where ALL angel babies live...
another glimpse of the balloons as they continued to fly away (and some shots of the crowd)

the racers as they headed for the starting line.... (the race was off road)
Our amazing friends had Luke's name added to the list of Angels...every year the race is run, more banners like this will line the meant so much to see his name on the list.  Never forgotten- always loved.
A close up of his name...
All along the course were these signs with different angel baby's names....seeing Luke's sign brought tears to my deeply touched by our friend's thoughtfulness and love for our sweet little guy....

Although Luke's little sister had kept us awake for most of the night before, we could not wait to join in the community of incredible people honoring all of the beloved angel babies- our sweet Luke included.  This race was an event both Joe and I were thrilled to be a part of in any way we were physically able.  We hope to lend our full support next year and in the years ahead as we plan on making this special race honoring sweet Luke a rich family tradition- a special day of loving, honoring and remembering him and his sweet angel friends.
With all of our hearts, Joe and I want to thank everyone and especially our friends who ran in this race on that cold morning! John, Corey, Chrissy, Shannon, Laurie and especially Angie!  Our hearts are bigger because of all you did and the efforts you put forth- we are deeply humbled by the way you all continue to love and honor our beloved Luke.  We can't wait to join you out there next year! Thank you! Thank you!  Thank you!!

*Note: For some reason, we do not have a team photo from race day! We know we posed for some, but I guess not with our own camera!  (sad!)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Be Still My Heart

Gratitude Project · Week 19

Gratitude Project · Week 18

Gratitude Project · Week 17

Gifts of Moments...

Today I experienced my own perfect storm.  It was after a feeding, in a quiet house, with a beautiful, healthy baby asleep and snuggled up on my chest, listening to her breathe along with gentle low rumbles of thunder outside....the realization that this is my life now- this bliss. No schedule or agenda. Heart to heart.  These precious, fleeting of presence if I allow myself to let go and be fully alive here.  It is the joy of getting to know my daughter...the gift of never having to stop. The husband who works to give me this life- this true love.  I could not stop the tears from flooding and rolling down onto her sweet, soft head. My deepest gratitude offered up to God...for this family He made, for the people in it that I adore more every day, for this day, this season in life, for sweet Lily herself, for the protection, provision and complete blessing over our lives.... Oh how I cherish these days of blurred moments rich with life and love.... help me to always remember.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Scenes from Lily's Birthday

We've had an incredible day meeting Luke's little sister.  Happy Birthday Lily!  We are so glad you are here.  Friends, thank you for all the prayers and encouragements.  Joe's grandpa advised us to not spoil her.  We won't be taking his advice for a while.  Plus, it's a little too late.

On the way to the hospital
Family Time

Enjoying a surprise visit from her uncle

Bright Eyes

Monday, May 2, 2011

It's all Over but the Waiting

My bag is packed, errands are run, the house is clean, the laundry and dishes are done, the to-do list is completed and now all that is left for me to do is wait.  Wait for Joe to get home from work.  Wait to go to bed so we can wake up and go to the hospital.  Wait as the doctors and nurses prep me for surgery, wait as the minutes count down until we get to meet our beautiful daughter tomorrow morning.  Waitwaitwait.

Sometimes, if you are lucky, waiting is easy and if you can stay busy, you almost forget you are waiting.  But other times it feels like time crawls and the waiting feels next to impossible.  What makes the reality of waiting so difficult is that it generally requires that we become still and recognize that there is nothing we can do to change the outcome of what is about to happen- and we do not know the outcome!  We have to simply stop, surrender our hearts and hopes, trust and pray.  Waiting well and full surrender brings with it no guarantees.  Sometimes we wait and feel rewarded while other times we are flooded with disappointment.

In my adult life, I have waited to marry the right man, waited to start my family until well into my 30s, waited the long 9+ months while our babies grew in my belly, waited to say hello and goodbye to my son all in the same day, waited for my daughter's arrival on pins and needles, waited for Joe to find a job, waited for Joe to find the right job, waited on test results, waited for my broken heart to heal, waited for death's sting to lessen, waited while my life transformed itself into something new and unexpected, waited to see how much longer I would have to work in the professional world, waited to see if my prayers would be answered....yes, it has been a whole lot of w.a.i.t.i.n.g.  - and I know I'm far from finished!

What most people might not know about me is that I am not a patient person.  To the untrained eye, I may appear patient, but in my heart I am anything but.  Waiting well is a struggle for me and as I continue forward in my journey of learning, I cannot help but wonder if God continues to provide me with so many major -and undeniable- opportunities to wait because he is trying to strengthen this characteristic in me.

Last fall, on a particularly difficult night for me, I heard someone say that when we ask God to make us a patient (you can fill in your own blank) person, he does not simply immediately transform our hearts, but instead, provides us with opportunities to turn to him and allow him to work in our lives as He develops that character quality in our hearts and lives...over and over, he will do this until we begin to slowly exhibit the desired characteristic.  These words made sense to me and helped me to glimpse how even through my struggles, disappointments and what felt like failures and heartbreaks, God was working proactively in my life and was actually calling these experiences and moments opportunities.  I had only to surrender and trust His higher ways for my life.  It was a complete paradigm shift for me- one that began to plant seeds of gratitude in my heart for the struggles and disappointments I was dealing with at the time.

I look back over all of the moments and difficult experiences and challenges I have faced and see how despite my tears, frustrations, crashes, disappointments and struggles, God was working in my heart and life to bring me to the place where I am today:  healthy, happy, about to give birth to a beautiful daughter, crazy in love with my husband, sitting alone (probably for the last time in a long time!) in a clean and quiet house, a newly minted  official stay at home mom, married to the man of my dreams, feeling kicks in my belly, eager and excited for all that is ahead.  Happy and thankful.

I know I would not be able to celebrate and enjoy this little moment or give thanks for it they way I am today without experiencing all of the struggles and heartbreak and waiting for the unknown and un-understandable I have had along the path to this day and these moments.   Thank you, God for saying 'no' and for seeing the much bigger and happier 'yes' I could not see, imagine or dream for myself.  I have a feeling I'm just catching a glimpse of the very beginning of a beautiful new chapter in my life and I'm happily counting down to tomorrow morning, waiting for it to begin.

Gratitude Project · Week 16