Sunday, June 12, 2011

Photo Editing

I have been AMAZED with how many families we have connected with through Facebook, blogs,, Faith's Lodge, etc that have become such a source of comfort and strength for us. Each of us possesses our own gifts in life. While I have had the honor of making memory bracelets for mom's who have lost their precious children, other's have also shared their great gifts with us. We have received care packages, gifts especially for Olivia, resource referrals, gift cards, donations for Mara's Memory Bracelets, books. I know I must be leaving some out, but people's kindness, generosity and love have truly astonished our family!! The most recent was a friend I met on Facebook (who also lost her precious baby Grace) has been doing some photo editing for families. These are just a few of the photos she has done for us. Photos are some of the only things left we have of Mara and when people go out of their way to do something like this, they need to be recognized. If you have the time, please check out her page at: Amazing Grace Graphics and Names in Chalk. Thank you Jessica-Grace Hilbert!!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

No time

Ok, so much for frequent updates :) I've been wanting to put a post on here about Mara's Memory Bracelets, but time has just not been on my, how about a link to my Facebook page????

God Bless,

Friday, January 21, 2011

Faith's Lodge

First a few precious memories:

Faith's Lodge

As we were driving home from work on Thursday night, Dan mentioned this amazing place and opportunity called Faith's Lodge. This Lodge is located on 80 picturesque acres in the North Woods of Wisconsin. Faith's Lodge calls itself "A Place Where Hope Grows". And Hope is something that Dan and I are trying to get as much of as we possibly can. The Lodge provides a place where parents and families facing the serious illness or death of a child can retreat to reflect on the past, renew the strength for the present, and build hope for the future. It provides a peaceful escape for families to refresh their minds and spirits while spending time with others who understand what they are experiencing. A guest can stay from one to five nights and they have very specific guidelines such as Application process and a referral from a healthcare provider, clergy member or approved support organization. They also have specific weeks dedicated for Infant Loss. We do want to wait until this spring or summer though. While it would be over a 7 hour drive for us, the cost is only $25 a night per family for first time guests! Isn't that amazing!! This $25 also includes programming such as professionally led-discussion groups, therapeutic arts and crafts and north woods adventures. Mark and Susan Lacek are the owner's of Faith's Lodge. Faith was their beautiful baby daughter who was sadly taken away from them two weeks prior to Susan's due date because of an umbilical cord accident. They had been told of an old proverb that says a person can actually die two deaths. The first one happens when your physical body dies; the second occurs when people stop mentioning your name. They felt strongly that they would not let this happen to their Faith and that her brief time on this earth should have a legacy. This just makes the hair stand up on my arms and gives me goose bumps!!! I've been searching for a way to share Mara with other's as well. I've decided to start making bracelets. My sister Kim gave me one shortly after Mara's birth. It has charms with Olivia and Mara's name/birthdate as well as an angel from my dear friend Heather. This beautiful gift is a positive daily reminder of the love I have for my daughters. I want to make and give my bracelets in honor of Mara to those suffering a loss or going through a difficult challenge of their own. If anyone knows of anyone who may like one, please let me know. I'm certainly not an expert yet, but I will be taking a class on jewelry making and I have the greatest motivation of all.....Love.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

God Sent to Me an Angel

by Paul Dammon

God sent to me an angel

it had a broken wing.

I bent my head and wondered

"How could God do such a thing?"

When I asked the Father

why He sent this child to me,

the answer was forthcoming,

He said "Listen and you'll see."

"My children are all precious,

and none is like the rest.

Each one to me is special,

And the least is as the best.

I send each one from Heaven

and I place it in the care

of those who know my mercy,

those with love to spare.

Sometimes I take them back again.

Sometimes I let them stay.

No matter what may happen

I am never far away.

So if you find an Angel

and you don't know what to do,

remember, I am with you,

Love is all I ask of you."

I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, "You are my God!" My future is in your hands.

Psalm 31:14-15

Catching up :)

I knew it would be difficult to find time and energy to post often, so it's not surprising to me that it's been over 2 weeks since my last entry. I have really made a great effort to not stress out about getting everything done within a certain time frame and focus more on spending time with my family and friends. Christmas was filled with so much joy and yet so much sadness at the same time. We watched as Olivia was enveloped in the magic of the season and then Dan and I would look at each other and know exactly what the other was thinking....that we wish Mara could be here as well. Our life in a fog has yet to lift, but we do get glimpses of sunshine now and then. This week has brought another challenge into our lives, but as we have learned not to pray for specifics, we are praying for the strength and wisdom to weather this worry as well. We know that we are in God's hands and that through him we will overcome.

Here are some photos of our Christmas celebrations:
Trimming the tree
Enjoying some "warm" cocoa after all that work

Olivia loves to help me clean and cook these days

Getting into the spirit at her Christmas performance at Barnes and Noble.

Olivia's first snow Angel :)

Preparing to sprinkle the reindeer food

Olivia appreciated all of daddy's effort, despite the large amount of snow that had fallen.

Twas the night before Christmas

A little last minute posing before going to bed

Can't forget the milk, cookies and carrots!!!

CHRISTMAS MORNING!!! It wasn't as much as it's just that we couldn't fit much under our tree because it hangs so low.
Dan does a silly pose every year.

Olivia got her V-Reader that she really wanted or "E-Reader" as she calls it.
It was the year of the Princess

SEE---granted, she already had a few of these dolls. She just wanted to introduce them all to each other.

Olivia wanted to wear her new Belle outfit for the day because her Prince Jason was coming over. Jason is my sister's wonderful boyfriend.

Olivia and my SUPER cute niece Quinley, or Baby Q as we call her.

Aunt Jeanie and baby Q
Dan and Jason

Nana and Katie (and yes, Nana really did want a new laundry basket!)
Olivia instructing Jason on how a Prince and Princess get married

Mara's Safe in the Arms of Jesus ornament

Her name and birth date engraved on the back.

Friday, December 17, 2010

"How are you doing?"

This is a question that we have been getting asked often. As I have mentioned before, and I believe with all of my heart, the support and love from everyone has played a tremendous role in our family's ability to continue on without our precious Mara. So I know when we are asked, "How are you doing?", it comes from love, caring and a genuine concern for our family. But sometimes we struggle with how to answer that question. And honestly, the answer can change from one day to the next or even one hour to the next. To say we are doing well is not true. To say we are doing the best we can sometimes isn't even true. To some we've even said, while we are happy for the good in our life, we are very sad for who we have lost. Not only have we lost our daughter, but we have lost the life our family was to experience with her. Being afraid that my heart was starting to feel angry for being asked that question, I decided to do what I've done before....I prayed for guidance, I talked with my husband, I shared Mara's story with more people to search for comfort, I read passages from our grieving books and I poured over stories of other's who have experienced the loss of a child from Trisomy 13.
And then this morning it hit me. While we ourselves have felt great sadness, and we know other's do as well, please try to feel some happiness and gratitude. I feel grateful that I got to experience being pregnant, giving birth to and taking care of the most incredible little angel ever. Be happy that we are able to say that we had a very special little daughter who changed our lives forever and made us want to become better people. Feel comforted in knowing that we have a very special angel waiting for us up in heaven. But be especially happy that out of all the babies in the world, God picked Mara to give to us-even if it was just for a short while. So please try and not feel sad or sorry for us, for we were given a true blessing.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

First day back at work

This will be a short post, but today was my first day back teaching. I think I even surprised myself that it went pretty smoothly. Children certainly have the ability to keep you "busy" and sometimes that's not neccessarily bad. Since I hadn't been a part of the rehearing for the Holiday Program, I helped the other classrooms prepare for lunch while the children were singing. They came to a song called Thank God for Kids, which has a passage in it that says:
Thank God for kids there's magic for awhile
A special kind of sunshine in a smile
Did you ever stop to think? Or wonder why?
The nearest think to Heaven is a child
Needless to say, this brought tears to my eyes. I went to the bathroom so that I could compose myself. I think it went pretty much unnoticed. Some of the children made me welcome back cards and they brought a smile to my face. I enjoyed all their hugs and the welcome back Mrs. Brees. I teach with such amazing ladies and it was nice to see them again and I look forward to catching up on all the gossip (I am a girl afterall!)