Tuesday, December 25, 2012

First Christmas

Usually I get a sentence out before starting to tear up, but just trying to think about how I'd start this one off I already need a tissue.

It's our first Christmas. Not first to celebrate or first as a Christian. And not even just the first without Kendall, but the first as our "new selves". And I did tear up a little today as the day went through. Once, I was remembering that I haven't journaled for Kristen and Drew lately. And remembering back to my last journal for Kendall before starting this blog. Just to remember back to when we thought everything was going perfect.

We had Christmas Eve with Kirk's family and my family came to our house early this morning. And normal activities with family were fine. Everyone excited to watch the kids rip into things. The one thing tangible on my list that I wanted the most was a new machine to use for the foundation. The foundation is my thing to keep me connected to Kendall and the pay-it-forward part is what is keeping me sane.

And just staying real, I don't have a tissue and just wiped my nose with my arm... I'm good... too lazy to get up... And my mom would ask why I would write that... and it's basically to show that through the day smiles and laughter wins through some tears.

With a break in the rain this afternoon, Kirk, Kristen, Drew, and myself went to visit Kendall. My second cry came from Kirk bending down and telling her "Bye-bye and Merry Christmas" as we were about to leave. My mind was thinking, "You shouldn't have to say that. It's just not fair."

And the third, not having much to do with Kendall, but God just letting me know He's listening.... Tucking Kristen into bed, she usually says her silent prayer and then I'll pray out loud. I had a little thought before she started to pray.... *I wish I could hear her prayer*

And a split second later, "Mommy, I wanna pray so you can hear me."

"Okay." Playing like it was no big deal... *HUGE GRIN*

I finished up and went to take out my contacts... And was thinking about what was my best present to receive. We asked Kristen what hers was. And we were talking about if Jesus gave Kendall a present. (Side note: Kristen thinks of Kendall as a 2-3-ish year old as well) And as much as I needed (I say "needed" b/c if I can't have my child, I better at least get the one material thing I wanted that connects me to her) the machine... it wasn't the machine. But continue to know God is listening and to hear Kristen's sweet voice as she prayed.

Merry Christmas baby girl... Kristen said Jesus knows how to braid your hair like hers!

Update on Foundation- check is written with paper work in the mail. Literally just waiting on the IRS! Who knows how long that will take. But now I have to learn how to use my Christmas present!








 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Needed An "Ugly Cry"

Haven't cried too much till Thursday night before bed, but haven't let up since with the CT kids.
It started off with something personal and on going; something I don't want to go I to detail here. Little things that would be stupid if anyone else talked about them sneak up and hit me when least expecting.
Then Friday came. I am saddened for the families of the ones killed. But my sadness is different. People post that they "can't imagine". I might not be able to imagine a horrific scene that took place, but I can imagine and will for the rest of my life, what it is like to live without one of your children.
And then some jealousy comes in. I'm aware that sounds wrong... Those families will have each other to lean on. Memories of their children laughing and playing. People who knew their children and can say "remember when..." And I'm sure there will be many events to come in remembrance and huge gatherings of love to continue to pour out.
When you lose an infant, there aren't too many people that can truly understand. The people I turn to the most, besides Kirk, are moms online who I will never meet. I somewhat look forward to "A Walk to Remember" with other families, but I don't know them either. And now not too many, even family, say much about Kendall.
Yes, I know that there's not that much to say. Sometimes I don't have the words either. But I rather talk about her than hide her. The pain is and will always be there, even when I have a smile on my face.
I'm thankful for a friend, Kathy, today for reminding us that other people are closer to home are hurting as much as those families in CT. I needed someone to remember (me- and I hate to be selfish or self centered) It made me cry but it was a cry of thankfulness.
Typing this on a dying phone, so I will edit mistakes later...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Happy 1/2 Birthday!

Thank you everyone for all your prayers through the holidays! Thanksgiving wasn't that bad. I think it's because it was "normal". I don't have any memories or traditions with the kids, that we would have continued with Kendall. Today might be a different story.

Kendall would be 6 months old today. And doing so much that I won't dwell on. But we started a tradition with Kristen and Drew that we will continue today with Kendall. Unfortunately we're squeezing it in, but it is happening, and that's what counts the most... that we don't skip it. Kirk and I have been to O'Charley's on each first 1/2 birthday for the kids. And with Kristen's school play tonight, we'll be there for the "realllly early bird".

That said, we're really excited that Kristen gets to be the angel Gabriel tonight!She's a beautiful angel today as well, with her little sister watching over her.

Today's Song:
Amy Grant- Breath of Heaven

I have traveled many moonless nights,
Cold and weary with a babe inside,
And I wonder what I've done.
Holy father you have come,
And chosen me now to carry your son.

I am waiting in a silent prayer.
I am frightened by the load I bear.
In a world as cold as stone,
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now.
Be with me now.

Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
Breath of heaven.

Do you wonder as you watch my face,
If a wiser one should have had my place,
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of your plan.
Help me be strong.
Help me be.
Help me.



Christmas cards are in the mail for a lot of you... but I wanted to post our Christmas letter here as well:

Dear Family and Friends,

    We're not ones who usually type up anything with our Christmas cards, but this year hasn't been like any other. We'd like to continue our "thanks" for all you have done for us this year and for your continued prayers.
    I recently gave my testimony to the high schoolers at our church. Part of it told about my last days as a senior in high school, where I was handed a note card and asked to write where I'd like to be in 10 years. I wrote "1) Graduated college 2) Married 3) with kids". I realized that God let me do my check list. Thankfully God was still apart of the those ten years for Kirk and I to build a foundation on our marriage. This passed year God basically said, "You had your ten years, and now it's my turn".
    The hardest part of my journey with Kendall was the day we found out she had anencephaly. I never said "Why me?" but "What am I to learn from this?" Looking back on this passed year, I can see where things fit together like a puzzle to where we are now. God has broken us. But He has broken us to remold us (Is. 64:8). And Kendall was sent with a purpose (Is. 6:8).
    Since being in the hospital, I've wanted to be able to help others in similar situations. My sister-in-law felt called to help and we've started The Kendall Keepsake Foundation. Our non-profit will be encouraging families to go full term, letting them know their babies have a purpose and helping families that lose babies too soon capture moments with hand and foot print art. I know that I could not have started this without knowing how it is to be in their shoes (2 Cor. 1:3-7). He has called me to let them know their child is in Heaven with Him, and to share how they guarantee that they will be their baby again (John 3:16).
    God lit a fire under me. I'm not perfect, nor will I ever be, but I'm learning how to be a better disciple (Matt. 28:19, Acts 1:8, Rom. 1:6). So please keep the foundation in your prayers, so that we continue to put God first and walk in His path.
    November is the month of Thankfulness with Thanksgiving Day, although we should be thankful all the time. And people did their days on Facebook, but this year I did "thankful verses". I started that with a heavy heart at the beginning of November, because it had been a year since we knew Kendall was on the way. Yes, I'm thankful for a lot, but I found it hard to actually write "I'm thankful for..." (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Was I truly thankful for Kendall's death? So I prayed over those verses and remembered Isaiah 6:8, as it was Kendall who was sent. And if she were able to tell God, "Here I am Lord, send me". How could I not be proud of her and how could I not be thankful for how our lives have changed, as we grow closer to God because of her?
    I could have just blogged all this, and I might also post this, but not everyone who is reading this would have read the blog. It's Christmas time, and I'm truly putting Christ in Christmas, because if He's not, then what are you celebrating? Our baby came to die, just as God sent His Son... to change us. Jesus was not just sent for us, but for everyone (1 John 4). Without the Lord, how do we survive moments as these?
    We took our family pictures this Fall with Kendall represented by the lamb we had at the hospital and a doll a friend made us. She is always with us. The kids are doing very well. And Kirk and I will never be the same. But we can truly thank God for that!

May God bless you and Merry Christmas,
The Cribb's
 

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Year


It's not a year since Kendall's been gone, but a year since we found out she was on the way. I remember telling someone at a Halloween Party last year that I didn't want a "drunkin' gummy bear" she was offering b/c I didn't know if we were pregnant or not. I have taken enough pregnancy test, that I do the cheapo Dollar Store ones before wasting money on the $15 ones. This one changed colors immediately, no need for waiting. I think I told Kirk, "go on in and see" with a huge grin. He was thinking, "Already?" 

After telling family, we made it "FBO" (FB Official) November 1st, when starting my 25 Days of Thankfulness for Thanksgiving.

Looking back on this picture now brings some happy emotions. To remember how happy we were. And also to know how loved she is. But it also hurts to see this picture. Because that exact feeling of joyfulness at that moment probably won't come again. If we become pregnant again, we won't be doing the same "happy dance". It will be excitement with a side of scare to death. And until we meet that child and know it is 100% healthy, we will be holding our breaths.

Kendall, You were wanted, you were planned, you are loved, and we miss you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month


Today's song: Strong Enough

We're not strong enough without God pulling us through... we don't have to be strong enough. I've been reading Mark Cahill's book, One HeartBeat Away, and getting a lot of inspiration for how to talk to people about being a Christian. And between the book and the song today, I keep getting ideas for our website and how to talk to people...

I haven't blog in a while unless it's been about the foundation, which I'm still really excited about, but it's slow getting started... so there isn't much of an update there.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month...

(Backing Up)
Our church had a "Super September Celebration" where each Sunday in September was something new and different from the regular. There was Sugo John who was in the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001. Mark Cahill came and spoke, as well. The last Sunday was spontaneous baptism week. We knew there would be a baptism, just not 46 of them! It was really awesome to watch. We had Kristen with us. Kirk and I both some type of pull to go up as well, but confused on what was drawing us and we didn't. We had both been Christians and baptized, so we decided to ask our pastor what we needed to do.

My email summarized stated that after what we'd been through the past 10 months, we aren't who we were anymore. (And in a lot of ways that stinks. Our minds go places that we would never had thought of before.) But our strength in God and our walk with him has multiplied, which has been amazing. In a sense we've "grown up". Trivial things of life, don't seem to matter as much when you know how fragile life can be.You can always say that you know how fragile life is, but until you experience death outside the "norm" (older people), you probably don't really know. And sometimes that's an innocence I wish I still had.

We also have Baby Dedication coming up. We felt through our experience and the foundation we're committing to dedicate Kendall's life to God by continuing to share Jesus with others in similar situations, and because of her- is the reason we are who we are today. I'm not sure if I could be at Baby Dedication without being apart of it some how. If I wasn't I'd be torn up and have to skip the service probably.

A couple of weeks have gone by. We celebrated Kendall's life with Northside at their Walk to Remember, October 14. We were out of town for our Disney trip (Oct 17-21) which was great and healing to make fun memories with Kristen and Drew. My parents and grandmother also come with us.
Walk to Remember 2012

Someone's cart at Disney (I know the spelling is off)


After speaking with our Pastor a few times, we knew that re-dedication was what better defined what we needed more than a baptism. And to not possibly confuse some people at church during dedication, we will be going up towards the end of service for Pastor Bob to share our story.

So I'm thankful that this will be the way we're tying up our Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month. Celebrating Kendall and re-dedicating our new selves to God because of what we've been through with her.

Love you Kendall!



Sunday, September 30, 2012

Foundation Update

We have our EIN number and ready to go tot the bank for setting up an account. We, Ashlee and I, just need to find the time in our schedules to go together. We're almost finished with the 501c3 paper work. And we have set up a Facebook Page and have a website ready to be published once we have the bank account.

Please 'Like' us on FB: https://www.facebook.com/TheKendallKeepsakeFoundation 

This isn't for us to have numbers. This, I hope, won't be for your benefit. But to get the word out to others in the Atlanta area that might need our services. Take a minute to read and don't be afraid to 'share', b/c a friend of a friend might need our help. 

If there is anyone needing our services before we're "official", it won't stop us from helping anyway.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

If I Die Young

Lord make me a rainbow, I'll shine down on my mother  
She'll know I'm safe with you when she stands under my colors 
Oh, and life ain't always what you think it ought to be, no  
Ain't even gray, but she buries her baby

-The Band Perry 

These aren't lyrics that I just came across. When Kirk and I were in Hilton Head after the funeral, we sat eating at a restaurant outside on a deck, while they had a live singer. Thankful I had sunglasses to cover the tears. Heard them again this morning, while working on the foundation website. I'm always looking for rainbows. Even on days it doesn't rain.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Happy 3 Months to my Special K

Yesterday I felt the weight of the world was upon me. Anyone from Atlanta that listens to 104.7 lately has heard of Mark and Hannah. I went to school with Mark. Hannah passed away yesterday morning. And I could feel that deep pain that he must have been feeling.

Someone in a child loss group stated, "Depending on how far down Grief Rd. you are, you may have already realized that you are a little stronger than you were before. You may know what I mean when I describe it as a little tougher and softer, at the same time. It reminds me of superhero's in the tv and movies. Just for the simple commonality that they too have an enlightened sense of being, but only after some personal traumatic event. Not all super hero's are the same though, they all have some specific attribute unique to thier circumstance. What is your superhero attribute?"

One person said they are really good at pretending. Putting on a mask for everyone else, when in the inside no one really knows her anymore. Some people after a child loss feel like they just don't fit in with anyone anymore. Mine was that I've realized that I probably have felt one of the deepest hurts and I can pick up on other's real pain very easily. Empathy, times a million. Like Superman could hear everyone crying out for help all at once and it drove him bonkers before he could control it.

The world is full of pain without hate, wars, bullying, etc. I didn't know Hannah, and barely knew Mark from high school band, but the loss is still there. Not only did I message Mark, but I found Hannah's mom and messaged her. I told Mark that I wasn't going to compared losing a spouse to a child, but from one mom to another I reached out.

Today is Kristen's 5th birthday and Kendall's 3 months in heaven. I knew the kids' birthdays would all be close, so from day one of knowing Kendall was on the way I was looking forward to saying, "I have a 5yo, 2yo (Aug 18), and 3mo." 

Friends arranged for us to meet at the cemetery once my kids were both in school today. When they were talking about going to see Kendall, I said sure, not thinking we could spend more than twenty minutes there. We stayed 2 hours! It was nice. Not a blue sky day, but perfect for watching balloons fly! We each wrote a note and sent it off together. 

I didn't take pictures today. I purposely left my phone in the car to spend quality time instead. I read my balloon out loud with hesitation. I almost stopped and let them read it, but I had to force myself to feel. I can easily think things in my head, but to say things out loud is like it's really real. I wrote something about watching over us and that she would be holding her head up stronger, smiling and laughing if she were here. (Side note: I don't really think of her as a baby when thinking about her in heaven. More like a 3yo.)

Just a short time of tears within the 2 hours, the rest was nice. Just chatted and showed my friends the "new hangout spot" (the pond and the baby section that we didn't choose). Kristen was sad that she didn't get to write on a balloon, so we'll be doing that again soon for her.

And as for Big K on her birthday... we already had a joint birthday party for her and Drew, so she chose one friend to come to dinner tonight with. It happen to be the daughter of someone who helped give their time and skills to us for Kendall's announcements, before even knowing who we were. So it was a good time celebrate and say thanks to new friends! 

Great Day!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Kendall Keepsake Foundation


So, in building our non profit Ashlee told me to pray for someone to help us with legal stuff. I knew no one to ask. And every Tuesday The Fish would do Random Acts of Kindness, where someone would call in and ask for help with something. I thought about it and decided to call this morning. I posted about it on our FB prayer page last night and got up to listen this morning. The song before they asked people to call in was How He Loves, one of our funeral songs and I started praying hard and crying. I had a feeling something awesome would happen. I told God that no matter if I got through or not, this was going to happen some way or form. I called...

And got through! Shaking and sniffling, and trying to sum up our story quickly.

John called in afterwards and said he'd help! Awesome guy!

We're on our way!

I've said a little here and there about what we'd like to accomplish, so here's more:

To spread the love of Jesus Christ by providing parents of unborn children with an adverse diagnosis with a keepsake package to memorialize their child through creative and personalized art that embraces the legacy of life that God has created.

As prenatal testing advances, more families are finding themselves faced with heartbreaking news and their world comes crashing down. In the mix of emotions, they have choices to make. Do they carry on with the pregnancy?

Some people consider these babies lives medically futile and pointless.

We will be providing a service for these parents to honor their child’s life, no matter how short. We want to provide more information to mothers on the benefits to carrying to term and how it works into God’s natural plan. It’s not about waiting for death, but embracing and celebrating a life.

Choosing to continue a pregnancy is a parenting decision that honors the parent and child. It allows parents to protect their baby for as long as they can; just as if it were another healthy child, doing everything possible for that child’s survival. Then, when and if the child’s death occurs, that time is a peaceful and natural goodbye in God’s timing.

We're building an organization that goes in and works with the parents in the hospital by creating foot and handprint art with the family. Something to display at home that celebrates their life. This will also allow us to be in contact with them before birth and have a way to encourage more mom's to carry to term.

We will be starting locally in Atlanta, targeting certain hospitals. We're going to be building the foundation first and getting a portfolio together, making brochures for the doctors offices, and making a website. Then we can be contacted by the parents; even those who would like it done for a baby that doesn't go full term, therefore getting our foot in the door before termination. And if that is still their decision, then we still have the opportunity to share the word of Christ with these families.

Future target artist could include art therapist, art students, crafty people in general and other grieving family members. For mothers who have been though these situations, giving their time to do art for other parents can act as their own art therapy; a way to remember their child and be able to share their story.


Christmas Ornaments

Keychains

Coasters
Designs


Canvases

Molds

Monogramming


Art for the whole family

Monday, August 20, 2012

Dear Kendall

We miss you and think of your often (non stop in my case). After picking Kristen up from school today, we headed over to the cemetery. I brought a hamburger bun for Drew and Kristen to feed the fish. There are ducks too, but they usually don't come to get food when we've been there with bread. I'm glad feeding the animals makes it a fun place to return with your sister and brother, so we can come often.

Today the cows were out in the adjacent field. We were looking at the baby calves, then it seemed like a stampede started. The horses must have seen us before we saw them, and they came running to see us. The cows knew to get out of the way. Drew was a little scared to be next to such a big animal, but I picked Kristen up to pet the horses.

From there, we went and visited you. Took some pictures and looked around a little before heading over to the pond.

The fish know when people come to feed them. They were waiting, looking at us. They would have followed us around if we didn't stay in one spot. We started feeding the fish a little before the ducks came waddling up. I'm not sure why they didn't fly from where they were. There was one duck that wasn't like the rest. It became a good lesson for Kristen to learn the difference between "weird looking" and "different because God made him that way".



video

Monday, August 13, 2012

"The book" Update

"The Book" will need a title one day, but the working title is A Journey Through Anencephaly, for now. Typed (8.5x11), I have about 67 pages so far. About 24 Chapters. Many of those are the blogs, which you've read. When talking about it, I have been referring to it as "the book". I'm still working through it, on it. Reading I Will Carry You, as well right now. Kirk's cousin sent it to me. thank you Tanya! I'm about half way through. 

A verse I posted on Feb. 23:
1 Cor. 10:13- No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Endure- to suffer patiently or tolerate.

In short- He won't give you anything you can't handle.  

You might be suffering patiently or tolerating something. He wants us to turn it around and still give Him the glory. The whole passage talks about people baptized into Moses, believers. Christians can stumble too.

Verses 23-33 are good to read as well. We might have the right to do anything, the choice. But that choice isn't always right. 

Bible study break out...  I didn't see that one coming... I typed it as it happened. It's cool that I was just working on "the book", decided to type a little on the "the blog" for an update, and God decides what He wants me to type. 

Don't hesitate to let me know who God wanted to share that with!



Monday, August 6, 2012

Bad timing; I'm human.

This is for all the people that have ever asked someone something and then put your foot in your mouth for asking.... Like: How's your baby? When the answer is not good.

We sit in the same area each Sunday at church, around the same groups of people. Each Sunday we shake hands with the ones around us and say "good morning". Most of the time, that's the extent of it... if I do see someone I don't recognize, then I'll say more.

There's been this couple who we sit around for years, I feel horrible I don't know their names. Our church directory probably needs updating, since it hasn't been done since even Kristen was born. Older couple, could be our parents. The lady has always been excited and sweet when we've been pregnant. Even gave us a gift when we had Drew.

She had a great smile, but I knew that she had recently been sick and not walking very well. Since we'd found out about Kendall's anencephaly, we hadn't sat close enough to chat when shaking hands. But every now and then she'd look over and wave. She might have been the one person I didn't want to disappoint when telling about Kendall, as she always told us that we could be like her kids.

Her husband had been coming to church by himself or with his daughter the last few weeks. And yesterday was the first time we'd sat close enough (right in front of) to talk with him. My thought was that his wife was at home. So when we turn to shake hands, I asked how his wife was doing.... and I was hit with a ton of bricks when he said, "She passed away, so not too good." For the short time we had to stand there, I said my condolences and turned around.

I cried (out of empathy) the entire service, not knowing a word of what the preacher talked about (sorry Bob), it was also communion day. I hadn't gone through 3-4 tissues since in a long while. In our bulletin there are usually loose papers, but not any blank side, but yesterday there was. I didn't have a card, but I wrote him a note about how sweet his wife was and handed to him when we left.

When it was all said and done, I probably felt worse for asking then he did for being asked. That's how I usually feel talking about Kendall. But in hind sight, I like being asked about Kendall, because those will be the only times I get to talk about her. So, like my friend who sent me the picture of the "Kendall Crib", if there is ever anything that reminds you of my baby, please don't feel bad for letting us know. We'd be happy to know she's been thought of.



Happy 2 Month Birthday baby girl!

Update: I received a  Thank You from Jim (husband, Linda wife). Sweet guy with a sweet wife.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Picture Drop





Made Kendall's Flowers

Horses and cows next to cemetery

Friend found Kendall's name while shopping... the BRIGHTEST!

She's with us every where we go!



Saturday, July 28, 2012

Leading to Carry to Term

 Part 1 

Strong Enough by Matthew West

Part 2: (not focusing on the debate of when life begins)

  • “Why would God do this?”
2 Cor. 1:9- But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.

Exodus 9:16- But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

Everyone has a purpose. So God might 1) show you His power and 2) have his name proclaimed in all the earth.

Instead of asking “why is God doing this?” Ask yourself, “what purpose do we have?” “We” being you and your unborn child. God wants us to know Him and to feel His love. And, "what are we to learn from this?"

But you might ask, “how is His love being shown through the death of my child?” By choosing to carry to term, you show the world around you the unconditional, unfailing love you have for your child. That you would do anything for your child. Giving God the time He might need to work a miracle. Whether that miracle be to heal you child or in other ways, by bringing others closer to God. God has unconditional love for us.

1 John 4:4, 8, 18- 4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world [Satan]. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

  • Some say, “I can not put my family through this pain.”

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love cast out fear.” This  feeling of protection may seem like love for the rest of your family, but it won’t show love for your unborn child. If you show your family how much love you have for you unborn child by carrying him or her to term, you cast out that fear by showing them love that overcomes all.

And as for the “fear has to do with punishment”… terminating a pregnancy might not seem to have a punishment, but it raises many questions and emotions that wouldn’t be there if you carry to term. All the “what ifs?”, guilt, and some may not know if “boy or girl?”

So have the courage to educate your family and children on the process of life and death. Not everyone leads a full life to the age of 90. If you walk around a cemetery, there are people of all ages. They were all sent with a purpose. Will you give your child the chance to fulfill their purpose?

  • Love

Titus 2:4- “Then they can urge [teach] the younger women to love their husbands and children”

Sometimes LOVE doesn’t come naturally. Some must be urged or taught. Through this experience one learns a deeper love than can ever be expressed in words. 

  • To Carry to Term:
  1. Shows your love for your child, others are encouraged by that love, the love brings hope.
  2. No Regrets, no worries of “what- ifs”
  3. Parenting, making decisions for your child’s life, birth planning
  4. Community support: don’t be afraid to share, the love will be returned and multiplied.
  5. TIME/Moments: Cuddling, bathing a child, dressing a child and inviting relatives to visit.
  6. Selflessness
  7. Keepsakes: videos, hand/foot prints, pictures, clothes, blankets
  8. Perinatal palliative care support

Making memories, celebrating a life.

"These little mementos can really help down the road," Spicketts said. "You can look back and say, 'Yes, this was a part of my life.' That way you treasure and deal with the emotion rather than try to stuff it away."

  • After a termination one may proclaim that she feels “alone and empty”.

These feelings may often come up with an infant death at term as well. The child is not inside you or with you anymore. But when one carries to term, the feelings of being alone or empty don’t last as long. Your love that you have shown starts to come back to you, if it hadn’t already. People rally around, give support back. The natural way of life has come full circle and things are complete, without questions. Some say that there is something missing in there heart, or a hole. That hole isn’t empty, it become full of love. Your child being gone is not the hole, but your child fills that hole in your heart.

John 13:34- A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

(Updated) Someone asked me to address more of FEAR.

Again: 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Fear is hard to over come. Fear of the unknown; of this child inside you with what seems to be no hope. This pit in your stomach of confusion, heartbreak and pain. These verses give hope that love is more powerful than fear. When we choose to carry to term, God is there (we aren't alone) with comfort and strength that prevail.

  • Anxiety

 Phil. 4:6-7- Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Proverbs 3:5- Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

We may not ever understand, but unless we carry out His will we will never understand. Carrying to term could give more understanding than not doing so and always wondering.

I encourage you to read Mark 5:21-43
God is powerful! And says, "Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

Once you fully give your fears to God, you gain peace.

John 14:27- Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Children are a blessing. Whether here for a short time or a lifetime. When given a child, are you going to say, "I wanted a child, just not that child?"

Deut. 30:19-20- Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.

My journal to Kendall two days before I found out she had anencephaly:
"Feb 14, 2012: Happy Valentine’s Day! 20+weeks. I’m starting to feel some bigger kicks. Thursday is our big ultrasound. 2 more days! LOVE you!"


She was living inside me. She was my baby. I loved her just as much as my other kids already. There's no way I could give up on her.
 


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

God, Jesus and our Children

Continuing to build The Kendall Keepsake Foundation-
Our mission statement and business plan is in progress:
“To spread the love of Jesus Christ by providing parents of unborn children with an adverse diagnosis with a keepsake package to memorialize their child through creative and personalized art that embraces the legacy of life that God has created.”

More details to come, but I'm excited about the creative part and helping others celebrate their baby's life. This will be easy with families who choose the same path we chose.

And I remind myself everyday that this is a Christian ministry, and Christ comes first. And where are most of the unbelievers? The 97% confused and not carrying to term. 

Part 1:

This week on the anencephaly group that I'm in there have been some new comers. Some who choose full term and others who don't. And I can feel the pain of the ones who have chosen not to. They are torn, struggling, and confused. As someone who has grown up a Christian, it's hard for me not to want to reach out, shake them and say "why can't you just get it!?". But as our ministry is starting, I'm using it as a way to prepare for the hard questions. Where is my baby after they are gone? Is there a God? Why would God allow this to happen? Many have said they don't want to put their family through such pain. And how to I convey that without such pain they wouldn't be able to feel the depth of love that I know I have felt. And how awesome that feeling is. And how that feeling overcomes the negative.

We won't be able to talk with everyone face to face. So, I've been trying to compile some scripture that we'll eventually have on a website to help point in God's direction...

It seems easy to believe our babies are in Heaven. (Matthew 18:1-5) Many people also say, “we’ll see them again”. And many say that they are (like) Angels looking over us. I believe they are in Heaven as well. But it’s whether or not you/we will get to Heaven to be able see your/our baby.

How do you know you will be there?

John 3:16- For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.


God knows our pain of losing a child. But what does it mean to believe? Faith? A lot of people believe there is a God… but what do they do with that?

John 14:6- Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

We have to believe in Jesus, but what does it mean by “through me”?

Romans 10: 9-13- that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Sincerity-
Matthew 7:21- “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Mouth Confession? Whoever Calls? Prayer to God to be saved. What to Pray?

Faith, Repentance, Obedience, Confession:

Faith-
Hebrews 11:6- And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Repentance-
1 Kings 8:47- ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly’


Confession-
Leviticus 5:5- when anyone becomes aware that they are guilty in any of these matters, they must confess in what way they have sinned.

James 5:16- Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.


Obedience-
Romans 6:17-18- But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

Okay, I prayed a sincere prayer to God that I know I‘m a sinner, I believe that He sent Jesus to save us from our sins and that I want to obey and live for Him… now what?

People put Christians up on a pedestal. But we’re all human. We all still sin. But it’s that Christians try to turn away from sin that sets us apart. We realized we’ve done wrong and our hearts change to do better. We strive to be Christ-like. We obey. We read His word. We feel the Holy Spirit inside us leading us the right way. And we show and tell others about His love.

Show:
Baptism-
Acts 2:38-Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.


Acts 22:16- And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.

Matthew 22:36-40- 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”


Tell:
2 Timothy 1:8- So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord

Matthew 4:18-20- Jesus Calls His First Disciples
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.

Acts 1:8- But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 

Mark 16:15- He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Job 1: God knew Job was strong in his faithfulness and let Satan test him, taking away all he had. He proclaimed:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
    may the name of the Lord be praised.”

22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.


So going back to "why God would allow this to happen?" God didn't make this happen, but He uses these times for us to grow closer to Him...

Part 2 to come... probably focusing on a response to "I can't put my family/children through this". Benefits to going full term verses not.  Trying not to be condemning throwing out abortion verses, but compassionate to the pain people are feeling... This part might not be so straight forward in the Bible, so I'll need some prayers on the right wording.

Update 7/26/12: I've always been one to listen to people's issues, hear both sides of a story and give understanding to both parties. I was President of a sorority for 2.5 years... comes with the territory with 18-22 yo girls. So I realized today that to better give support on the reasons why I believe in going to term with pregnancies, I'll have to understand the (good?), bad and ugly of the opposite.

After reading about someone who is terminating their pregnancy, the word "miscarry" verses "terminate" or "abortion" gets thrown out. I know this is a touchy subject, and again, I know I'm not the one to judge, God is. I'm just educating myself. If you Wikipedia "miscarriage", "spontaneous abortion" is right next to it. So there again, it shows many people seemed confused by what they are doing... what is natural and in God's timing verses un-natural and in man's timing. 

Jesus Friend of Sinners (Casting Crowns)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Greater things have yet to come...

It's been two weeks since I've blogged and so I wanted to give a short update. Kristen and Drew have been keeping us busy this Summer and staying up late, so when we actually get time to sit down after everyone is in bed, it's almost time for us to get to bed.

But I think Kendall-wise so much has been going on that it's keeping me busy. Last Friday night I had so much running through my head that I couldn't get to sleep and ended up staying up till 4:30am working on things in the making.

I am still trying to get the book written but a during 4th of July holidays I got an email from my sister-in-law that put a small hold on my progress of writing. I hope she doesn't mind me copying her email... some parts deleted for her privacy.

First, remember from my last entry, " And now I seem to ask myself what I'll do with this new me? I have a sense to help others, but how and when? I am a stay at home mom to little kids still, and that comes first (so I say now, just hope God agrees). I will toy with the idea of putting all this in a book form, but it will take some time. And there's being a Steven Minister at church, maybe in due time. We'll see how things play out."

Stephanie
When I get back from Ecuador [she was on a mission trip] I want to talk with you about an idea God has given to me for a ministry.  I have been praying about ... serving in a ministry....  I know you have also been praying about things as well.  This is an idea about how to minister to families that have a child diagnosed with a birth defect during pregnancy.  I will keep praying because I want to make sure it is from God and not just my idea!  Talk with you more when I am back.
Love
Ashlee

This email to Kirk and I was almost a shocker, but I couldn't wait for her to get back so we could talk! I looked at Kirk and said, "Wonder where God's taking us now!?" Last Sunday we talked about Isaiah's Commission (Is. 6:1-8), and what I took away from the sermon was what I put up on Kendall's FB page, "Here I am. Send me!" Kendall was sent, and if she could do so much with her little life, what could I do to keep that going?

Last Thursday was a stinky day at our house... some emotional, some having to do with the kids constantly screaming. And I was in the bathroom with Drew (beginning stages of potty training) and had a thought. Just a thought, not a specific prayer... "wish something good would happen today, maybe Ashlee would call". That SECOND, the phone rang! Guess who it was... :)

[Leaving out some boring details]  Now it looks like we are on our way to keeping Kendall's legacy alive through a non-profit organization that focuses on spreading Jesus' love, providing keepsakes to families in similar situations and embracing the little lives God has created!

There's a lot of details in there I choose to keep on the hush till we have things up and ready, but this has been what we're up to. [Hehe- excited and scared at the same time. Did I think I a year ago I'd be having a third child (with anen.), writing a book and starting a non-profit?? Three things I know NOTHING about!]

I wanted to share already this for two reasons: 1) like losing weight, telling people keeps me goal driven and makes me want to continue what I'm doing and be excited about it! 2) We still are in need of your continued prayers! This is going to be HUGE!!!!


Greater things have yet to come, and greater things are still to be done!





Sunday, July 1, 2012

It's July!

(Just for my records in later reading... 106 was the record high yesterday)

The 3rd will be our 8th wedding anniversary, the 4th is always fun whether we're on vacation or with family, but the 5th this year was/is my official due date for Kendall. And now the 2nd, tomorrow, is my first appt back at the OB for my post op. evaluation. (Updated 7-2-12: I guess I should round out with the 6th being Kendall's one month birthday)

We were talking with another couple at church today about the unexpected things that could make us cry or think about Kendall. Kirk had a moment this past week, while watching a TV couple find out they were going to have a baby. Today I started to worry about walking back into my doctor's office, but I have to remember to "give it to God" and I can get through it.

I have been starting to type out more of the beginnings of Kendall's story, before finding out of her anencephaly. Kirk asked what I was working on last night and was surprised I actually said, "the book". Between starting this and getting finished with projects (I got the hand print tree and finger print tree framed with a couple other things, got pictures developed and put in a book and I'm still finishing up announcements and thank you cards) my free time has kept Kendall on my mind and my mind busy.

After starting to think too much about tomorrow, I decided on sitting down to type some more for the book to get my mind off of my appointment. I've typed out how Kirk and I met, just the main details, b/c that in itself could be a small book. Then went on to spot light Kristen and Drew's births, before getting to where I am now... Kendall.

And here came the flood gate for a few minutes. I opened up my journal/file that I started for Kendall when she was conceived. I have one for each of the kids. I've mentioned it before. Here's Kendall's before we found out. Afterwards, this blog became my journal.

October 27, 2011
To Baby #3:
Kristen is 4 now, Drew is 14 mo., and we’re not getting any younger, so YOU’RE ON THE WAY! I started a journal about a year before Kristen was thought about. It talks about how we were planning for a family and how excited we are for having kids. Drew’s journal started to slow down as life got more crazy. I started his before he was conceived but, yours started the week we found out you were coming! #3 will round out our beautiful family! I’ll have to journal a little more and keep up with everyone, for you to look back on how life was “a long time ago.” And for your back story so far… Daddy is 39 and wants to be done having kids before he hits 41, so that’s why the shorter age difference between you and Drew then there is between Drew and Kristen. Daddy will be 40 and I’ll be 29 next year when you’re born. And you took only 2 months to conceive. We’ve already been praying for you and thank Him everyday for you! God is GREAT! My first doctors appt. for you isn’t till Dec. 1, so don’t expect much till then. But we will be telling the family about you this weekend! YEA!! Oh, one more thing. Since we have a girl and boy, we think we won’t find out what you are till you’re born. We love you all the same!  XOXOX


January 5, 2012
Happy New Year and the year you will be born! So our first doctors appt wasn’t on Dec 1, b/c I ended up fainting at 6 weeks and going to the ER to make sure everything was okay. It was. They wanted me to see a cardiologist and my heart has a few extra beats, but not enough to be alarmed. And I went to the Women’s Center to get you checked out after the ER visit. Got my blood tested and they put me on progesterone supplement. I was at the low end of normal and it was a precaution. I had to take that till 12 weeks. And I am now going on 15 weeks! 6 more till the big U/S, which we do not plan on finding out what you are. Only b/c we have everything for a boy or girl and we feel prepared and will be excited for a surprise. But we’ll see if that happens.


I’m still going to the gym. I’ve gained about 8 pounds so far. Feeling good now that I’m in the 2nd trimester! But I formed rhinitis of pregnancy at Christmas time.

We think we have your name if you are a girl, but no name yet for a boy. Kendall Mackenzie…. I’m shooting for Kaleb?? We’ll see. We love you and are so busy with your sister and brother that the time is flying by.  Love you and praying for you everyday!
 

January 22, 2012
Dad likes Kolby…. Maybe? Starting to feel you this week (16wk)! Gained about 10lbs. Drew kissed my belly today!


Feb 14, 2012
Happy Valentine’s Day! 20+weeks. I’m starting to feel some bigger kicks. Thursday is our big ultrasound. 2 more days! LOVE you!


To re-experience where we were till two days before our lives were turned upside-down brings back a little of the painful moments. Who we'll never be again and what we would give the hit rewind and do it all differently.

But as much as it hurts to say it, I've said it before, we're better, newer people for God now... and that was His plan.

I didn't go back to write anymore for the book, as I jumped on here to write this post instead. 

I finished the last few pages of Choosing to SEE this afternoon. Brokenness is a word the stood out. And then the song Holiness. Minute 4:00 of the song.... Sang over and over through the years "Brokenness is what I long for, brokenness is what I need." Didn't know the magnitude of that word. "Brokenness is what You want from me."


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hilton Head

The night of Monday, June 18 Kirk started to talk about going somewhere, just him and me. The next day we did some brainstorming on where and decided Hilton Head. Just far enough, but not spending too much money. We did Priceline and we're out the door Wednesday (20th- original c-section date), after packing ourselves and the kids for staying with grandparents.

I was a little torn on going Monday night, trying to convince myself I deserved to go. We could spend the money on things at home that I really wanted done (painting- a project that I was ready to do before finding out about Kendall's anencephaly, but ended up not caring about it afterward). I wasn't sure if going and coming back would all be good for the time being or a "waste" when we returned. I'm happy we went, but still struggle with what is "deserved", almost like our consolation prize for losing a child... nothing can fill that. But as I got the chance to read two very good books on the trip, I would discover that the good memories of the trip would be positive things to think about in the future.

We'll be taking a family trip later in the year to include the kids, when it's not so hot.

So, as I have said before, I'm not a big reader. I figured out why... I started reading Heaven in for Real on the trip down and finished it 10 mins after we arrived in the hotel room, barely putting it down. I discovered a few things. I like reading about people's real lives. And I want to know the story beginning to end without having to put it down. So knowing this second fact, I realized that it's not that I don't have time to read at home, it's that I don't have time to read a whole book in one sitting. The second book I read was Choosing to See. Next on my list will be I Will Carry You.
These both were books friends had given me within days of finding out we'd lose Kendall. I wasn't ready to read anyone's else struggles while still going through our own. I almost thought I'd never have time to read them, but very glad I did. I might have to send the kids off for a day to read the third book. I'm at a place where I can finally step back and see the joy within the struggles; see God working through them.

Kirk and I got a chance to talk a little more about our feelings while driving to play putt putt at Adventure Cove, one of two places we played putt putt, which meant we played four rounds, 18 holes each. Yes, he beat me every time, but only by 3-5 strokes. But back to our feelings on Kendall. They weren't feelings of sadness. I do miss Kendall and love remembering her, but it's a deeper sense of love and life now. And now I seem to ask myself what I'll do with this new me? I have a sense to help others, but how and when? I am a stay at home mom to little kids still, and that comes first (so I say now, just hope God agrees). I will toy with the idea of putting all this in a book form, but it will take some time. And there's being a Steven Minister at church, maybe in due time. We'll see how things play out.

I didn't have my computer on the beach, so I took Kirk's journal and started writing, so not to forget anything. And I wrote...

"As I people watch, I see a 10-12ish year old boy that seems to have autism, being guided around by a parent. I hear his name is Joe. Watching Joe, I could go up and give him a HUGE hug! Knowing his life is an everyday challenge to him and his parents. But they willingly love and probably give up so much for him. And it makes me smile and tear up to know that is like God's love for us. It might not run through their minds that they have a choice to care for their son, but they do. And everyday they wake up and make the right choice. The choice to keep on loving and caring for him, no matter where it takes them."

I also told Kirk on that car ride that I haven't cried or gotten too emotional over losing Kendall  (probably b/c I know I can't bring her back), but I cry over the deepness of love that we now have experienced because of everything we have been through. Our love for Kendall and others love for us. And though it's not fair that people have to go through something to this degree to feel this way, it's worth it.

I wouldn't say that Kirk or I would wish this on anyone or to say we'd want to go through this again, but we are at a better place in our lives. A better understanding. And now not only do we have Kendall in our hearts, but she is and will be a huge part of our lives. So when I'm caught up in the hub-bub of life with what seems to be "mom of two", there is always going to be another. I'm a mom of three wonderful children and proud of it!

Never in my mind have I thought of having more than three kids, but God has now opened that door. What I'm about to type is a mere recording, so people might believe me in the future... I have told Kirk and a few friends... before having any kids, in a quiet time, I felt that I heard God pretty plainly say that we would have twins. Kristen went by, no. Drew, no. Kendall, no. I thought we were in the clear and I must have heard wrong because we'd be done after three. Maybe he meant twins in another way?? Now I have a silent laugh and shake my head that God is teasing me, for that chance might come. Twins, I was okay for Kristen, a little less with Drew, but still accepting. And with Kendall I was checking for her not to be a twin! But now I'd be thrilled! (Kirk, a little scared) Through it all, I love seeing God work in ways we can't even imagine!

Sitting on the beach I overheard two girl friends, probably newly engaged or married (both had rings), one saying to the other, "I don't even want a child." I know it's not meant for everyone, but oh the joys she could be missing!

What I learned from the two books:
1)  I'm happy I feel like I have been real with God. Don't need any "churchy, holy-sounding prayer to be heard in Heaven". Tell God what you think (even the bad), because he already knows it anyway.
2) Telling a child about a lost one can be hard, but the Chapman's put it as "going on a really long road trip. It's going to be a long time before we see her again, but we will see her again!" I've regained the hope that I thought I had lost in my prayers.
3) It's ok if you if you don't know what to say, "there are no words" is just fine with a hug.
4) God healed Kendall in a way I might not have picked to heal her (as I wanted her here, although I know that Heaven is a better alternative), but He is also healing us, in a way that will make us new for Him.

1Thess 4:13-18
13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

















Kendall's up there somewhere! XOXO















Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Kirk got his Father's Day gift yesterday with Kendall still physically with us. He only asked for chocolate moon pies, which we gave him on stage at her funeral. He's a wonderful father and husband and I couldn't have made it through this journey without him! Pastor Bob even mentioned Kirk (us and Kendall) as an example today in service, that made both of us smile and tear up. I love you Kirk!

We're all doing well. I'm kind of scared on how well I'm doing... scared that something is going to sneak up on me and I won't expect the emotions. The funeral went off smoothly... considering I've been planning it for quite some time, I probably cried less than most people there b/c I knew what was going to happen. I did practice a bit for my letter... or I might not have gotten through it.

Kirk and I both had a headache Saturday afternoon... we think it might have been a release of pressure of the unknown and now we don't have that anymore. We do have a couple more things to do- finalize marker, send out announcements, put together keepsakes, thank you cards.

But there is a crazy peace. Home is a little strange, basically back to before I was pregnant to begin with, like I skipped a few months and gained a few pounds... but there's a bigger love, more understanding, changed lives that fill the house instead focusing on the missing crib, car seat, tiny diapers, bottles, etc. And I say baby THINGS are missing, not Kendall, b/c she will always be with us. I feel her every time I think of her. Like I have fallen in love with Kristen and Drew, I have fallen in love with Kendall too.

Kristen talks about Kendall pretty often. She made angels in VBS, that she said were Kendall. She has another friend who has lost conjoined twin brothers, that she spoken to in church today. She loved showing her friends around at the visitation on Friday night. We look at pictures, as I go through them and decided which ones I want to print, and Drew remembers a little... looking at pictures of the cemetery taken before Kendall was born, he said "balloon", knowing that is where we were to release the balloons. They are looking forward to going back to Kendall's resting place with more balloons, pictures and flowers.

"We love you Daddy! XOXO" -Kristen, Drew and Kendall (Moon Pies to come every year!)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Funeral Service

Today was something I have been preparing for for a while, so all in all it was a good day of celebration. There were a few moments where I had to stop and pause, breathe, before tearing up, but I held it together... a lot more than other people, but that's okay. Here was the service:

 
 Introduction 
 I Will Carry You- Selah 
 Scripture and Prayer
Jeremiah 1:5- "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart..."
2 Cor. 1:6- In our time of waiting you have comforted us and taken on our suffering with us.
How He Loves- David Crowder Band
Speakers/Parents letter
"God is our Comforter" by Angela Thomas
Beautiful Things- Gungor
Message
God Of This City- Chris Tomlin

My letter to Kendall:
Kendall, My Letter to you:
   (Started a week before you are born) You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139:14). It’s hard to come up with the right words on what to say and how much we love you. Like all of our children, we’ve loved you before you were made. We’ve planned for you and long for you in our lives. Now we’re at a point where all we can count on is prayer. I’ve almost hit my body’s distance in how far I can carry you. We’re within 1 week and your fluid growing. And not being able to plan for a date, which keeps changing, is driving me nuts. Finally, we set a final date next week, June 6th, if we can still get to that day.
   I go between thinking the worst and then reminding myself to think of the best. Still praying for that all healing miracle. But most of all, I want to be able to hold you in my arms. I cry out to God to give us the time we need to hold you before you’re gone. For you to be able to meet your sister and brother, the rest of the family and hopefully some close friends. I feel like you’re a fighter. You’ve made it this far already. Keep kicking butt.
   (The day before, June 5) Tomorrow is the day and I won’t have the time to write anymore before you’re here. Many people are praying for you and us. You’ve already changed so many lives, especially mine and your father’s. We’re nervous, but anxious at the same time.  We have tried to be prepared as much as possible. Preparing our minds and hearts for joy and sadness at the same time. We won’t be packing the car with a car seat and we haven’t made a crib, but I’d be so happy to have to send people home to put those things together for you while we’re in the hospital.
   (June 8) Your birthday was beautiful and that’s because you were the star of the day. I loved looking into your blue eyes, loving on you and holding you. We all did. I’ll let your daddy tell you his side, but I’ll tell you your sister’s and brother’s side… Kristen loved holding and kissing your sweet cheeks, while Drew loved to point and say “baby”.  Kristen and Drew left for the day, but she asked to come back and see you one more time. She held you some more, and right before leaving Drew hugged you while you were laying in your basket the hospital gave us.
   You may not be here anymore, but your love still is. Like God’s love for us…1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” You have shown us how to love even more. To share that love with others, and encouraged others to share their love. And through that, we have made it thus far, and will keep spreading God’s love in your honor by helping others. 
   I’ve always had K nicknames in my head for all of you. Kristen is now my “Big K”, as she is oldest and tall. Drew (or Kyle) is “Circle K”, as he loves anything round, balls or balloons. And you’re my “Special K”. We love you sweet girl.



Kirk's Letter:
Dear Kendall,
    Four months ago we found out about your condition.  Before we found out, we prayed for your health.  After we found out, we prayed for your healing.  Mommy carried you for 37 weeks and we heard your heart beating and felt you kick.  You were alive!  Now you are alive in our hearts!  I was able to hold you while you were alive here on earth and you were loved so much.
    You were born with big feet and hands like your sister.  You looked so much like her and I will never forget Kristen holding you and telling you how beautiful you were.  Drew kept pointing at you and saying “baby”.  He had a tennis ball and wanted to share it with you.  When I look at Kristen now, I see you.  I think about reading to you, throwing balls with you and making you laugh and smile.
    It was not supposed to be like this.  You should be home and at night I should be checking on you when I go to bed like I have Kristen and Drew since they have been home.  I know you are in a better place but it is hard not having you here, taking care of you and watching you grow up.
Proverbs 3:5
    “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”
I do not understand this but I know I love you and have to trust the Lord that his plan is best.  You have many people that love you and you will always be in my heart.  Say hello to my grandparents for me and give them a hug.
I LOVE YOU!
-Daddy

***Wish we could have spoken to everyone there before going to the cemetery. Loved the turn out, love and support! Thank you everyone!!! If you were there, but we didn't get to see you, please let us know!***



At the cemetery we had a short prayer time and all wrote a note to Kendall on balloons, to send up to her before leaving.







(Beautiful weather, requested by Kendall) I'm in love, all over again. With a beautiful girl waiting for me in Heaven, who has a HUGE part of my heart. Like your Daddy wrote, save us a place up there! XOXO